Categories
reviews

Eels – Wonderful, Glorious album review

Mark Everett, main mind behind the 90’s rock band Eels and better known as “E,” does not have a reputation for being a happy man. Over the past 18 years, Everett has used the band’s nine albums as a sonic diary, detailing instance after instance of love, heartbreak and bad times. We followed E through broken relationships, family death and a concept album trilogy based on “desire, loss and redemption.”

So what would Wonderful, Glorious, E’s 10th album, have to tell us?

Well, from the first single ‘Peach Blossom,’ it sounds like E finally has something to be happy about.

The album breaks out a bit from standard Eels formula. Wonderful, Glorious comes on strong with opener ‘Bombs Away,’ pointedly declaring that E has “had enough of being complacent,” and that he “no longer gonna keep [his] mouth shut.” Between this and the fun, distorted and aptly named follower ‘Kinda Fuzzy,’ Wonderful, Glorious looks to be a new direction for Eels – where many artists soften up after producing music for so long, E seems to have taken a turn for the harder, the rougher.

Though the new sound isn’t consistent, other tracks of interest are the Tom Waits-inspired ‘The Turnaround,’ slinky blues ‘New Alphabet’ and upbeat ‘Stick Together.’

There are a few misses sprinkled through the good stuff – Accident Prone is a bit of a buzzkill towards the start of the album and ‘You’re My Friend’ is a little awkward in the grade school simplicity of its lyrics.

Penultimate ‘I Am Building a Shrine’ is a blissfully pretty love song, leading into the album’s title track and closer. Wonderful, Glorious ends on a high note, leaving the listener hopeful, and maybe a little relieved, because the protagonist in the story of Eels appears to have finally gotten a break from the seemingly-constant sadness featured so prominently in past chapters.

Amanda Palmer Gets Standing Ovation for TED Talk At TED2013 Compares Crowd-Funding to Crowd-Surfing

“When You Connect With People, They Want to Help You…
Maybe instead of asking ourselves how we can make people pay
for music, we should ask ourselves how to LET them.”

Watch Amanda’s TED Talk, “The Art of Asking” below.

Amanda Palmer has made an art out of crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding, making headlines last year for raising $1.2 million on Kickstarter to fund her latest album. Amanda says they are simply the modern day versions of the street-performing she did to support herself for many years as the 8ft Bride, and the couch-surfing she’s done throughout her years of touring.

“Couch-surfing and crowd-surfing are essentially the same thing. You’re falling into the audience, and asking your fans to catch you,” she notes. “So when it came time to put out my new album, I turned to crowd-funding, and I ‘fell’ into those thousands of connections I’d made and I asked my crowd to catch me.”

Moreover, she believes that the meaningful human relationships that develop from these acts –and the vulnerability they require – are as old as art itself. “For most of human history musicians and artists have been part of the community – connectors and openers, not untouchable stars. Celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance. But the internet and the content we’re able to share on it is taking us back, and it’s about a few people loving you up close, and those people being enough.”

Lastly, she feels that the lessons she learned as a street performer might just solve the music biz’s current dilemma around trying to get people to pay for music: “Maybe instead of asking ourselves how we can make people pay for music, we should ask ourselves how to LET them.”

Amanda’s self-released album, Theatre Is Evil, debuted in the Billboard Top 10 last September, and is available for a “pay-what-you-want” price (including free) in her web store.

Categories
music videos tour dates

The Tontons April Tour + National Anthem at MLS Season Opener + 11 SXSW Shows

The Tontons are thrilled to announce upcoming West Coast tour dates for April. The run will follow an epic schedule at SXSW 2013 that sees the band playing 11 separate shows. The rest of America will get a taste of one of Houston’s best kept secrets this Saturday when the four-piece’s lead singer Asli Omar kicks off the nationally broadcast Major League Soccer season opener on NBC Sports with the National Anthem at 8:00 pm EST. Upcoming tour dates and SXSW schedule below.

The band made waves last year on account of their breakout EP Golden, which had The New York Times writing that the “hard-touring quartet trades in smart, hooky pop songs built around the glimmering blues growl of the band’s leader, Asli Omar.” They tour this spring in support of that release as well as their recent 7″ single Bones.

Watch the music video for “Golden” on YouTube

The Tontons are fronted by Asli Omar, who’s commanding vocals draw instant attention, while bassist Tom Nguyen’ rumble forms the foundation of the band. Brothers Adam and Justin Martinez come in with titanic guitars and drums to round out a powerful yet buoyant rock ‘n’ roll. When not on the road this spring and summer the band have been in the studio recording the makings of their next full-length album.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

MARCH

02 – Houston, TX – Cactus Music (In Store Performance) at 3 pm

08 – Houston, TX – Discovery Green at 7 pm

SXSW SCHEDULE

09 – Saturday – Holy Mountain (Convoy Group Party) at 1 pm

09 – Saturday – Stubb’s BBQ (Discovery Channel Party) at 10 pm

10 – Sunday – Stubb’s BBQ (Sailthru/Charity:Water Party) at 8 pm w/ Dawes

11 – Monday – Stubb’s BBQ (AudioTree Party) at 10:15 pm

12 – Tuesday – Cheer Up Charlies (No Play Music/Pop Press Intl Party) at 4:30 pm

13 – Wednesday – 512 BAR (SXSW Showcase) at 10 pm

14 – Thursday – Wuwu Sushi (Wuwu Fest) at 3:00 pm

15 – Friday – Jackalope (Requimme Mgmt Party) at 12:55 pm

16 – Saturday – Shiner Saloon (Eye In The Sky Party) at 1:00 pm

16 – Saturday – Brush Square Park (Rags To Riches Party) at 2:10 pm w/ P. Diddy

16 – Saturday – Hangar Lounge (SONY Red Music Showcase) at 3:30 pm

29 – San Antonio, TX – The Korova

30 – Austin, TX – Holy Mountain

APRIL

01 – Phoenix AZ – Yucca Tap Room

02 – Tucson, AZ – PLUSH

04 – San Diego, CA – The Griffin

05 – San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside

07 – Santa Monica, CA – The Central

10 – Las Vegas, NV – Beauty Bar

11 – Salt Lake City, UT – Bar Deluxe

12 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge

13 – Lawrence, KS – Replay Lounge

MAY

5/17 – 5/19 – Gulf Shores, AL – Hangout Music Festival

Manchester’s Ghosting Season remix Young Galaxy’s ‘Fall For You’

Manchester’s Ghosting Season remix Young Galaxy’s ‘Fall For You’.

Listen to the remix here. Band announce SXSW shows.

Toronto — Young Galaxy will release their new single ‘Fall For You’ on March 5th. The track is available to stream below and Gorilla vs. Bear who said the song is “currently vying with ‘New Summer’ for favorite-song-on-the-record status on the strength of its lofty, timeless chorus, and Catherine McCandless’ smouldering, hopelessly romantic vocal turn”. Today, the band are streaming the singles’ b-side, a remix from Manchester’s Ghosting Season, here.

Young Galaxy will be returning to SXSW this year. A full list of dates can be found below.

Ultramarine is the name and colour of Young Galaxy’s fourth LP, the first album they have made away from Montreal, across the sea, all together. Like 2011’s Shapeshifting, Ultramarine was made with electronic producer Dan Lissvik (Studio); but this time it was made in Gothenburg, Sweden, at Lissvik’s studio; this time five musicians stood in a room with Lissvik, playing their instruments; this time every song was sung by co-founder Catherine McCandless. Ultramarine will be released by Paper Bag Records on April 23rd.

“In being away from home we felt like we could risk more,” McCandless says. “Take bigger chances. Things we didn’t think would work, we tried anyway.” Whereas Shapeshifting was compartmentalized – songs recorded in Montreal, sent to Lissvik to transmute – Ultramarine came to Gothenburg as a live work, the sum of a performing band’s blood and sweat. Once they arrived in Sweden they reinvented the material, together. But the live performances’ visceral energy stayed at the forefront – these songs aren’t mixing-board creations, they are kinetic, inhabited, and full of breath.

Ultramarine is more direct than previous Young Galaxy records have been, with songs of azure longing, Young Galaxy haven’t lost their other aspect: a willfulness, a purposeful independence, and a sense of darkness, unilluminated. As lighthearted as Ultramarine can be – as much as you can dance to it – there is also something elemental, something underneath.

Chalk and Numbers Release Second Single “Pretty Colors”

Brooklyn duo Chalk and Numbers is pleased to release the 2nd single “Pretty Colors,” off their upcoming Parade EP. “Pretty Colors” has the hallmarks of a Spring-time song. In particular it is led by the energetic instrumental composition which is all framed around Sable Yong’s warm vocal harmonies. As a whole, Parade shows a band who has hit their songwriting stride. This EP prevails as the band’s most indelible and satisfying release to date and will be available March 12.

Download the track here courtesy of Rolling Stone.

Brooklyn outfit, Chalk and Numbers, play modern pop music inspired by classic styles. The duo, consisting of Sable Yong (vocals) and Andrew Pierce (multi-instrumentalist/songwriter) combine their artistic abilities to craft pop songs influenced but not entrenched in 60’s musical canon. Yong’s vocals play a large part in the band’s repertoire. Her lush, graceful voice never rushes but guides the listener through the sparkling melodies composed by Pierce–who also plays the role of co-producer along with his brother, Dennis. In producing the tracks the brothers use analog technology to create warm, robust tones that accentuate songs while avoiding the contemporary pitfalls of stifling the recordings with noise. Pierce asserts “a lot of current bands reference the past but feel the need to drown it in fuzz or reverb, we wanted to stay away from that.” In the pursuit of creating great pop songs, Chalk and Numbers has used influences both old and new and has emerged timeless.

Chalk and Numbers are finishing up their debut LP to be released in early 2013.

Categories
tour dates

O’Death Announces Anniversary Tour

“A pack of humble Brooklyn scruffs who raise the dead with haunted Appalachian punk…This is the sound of the Pogues madly slurping mothers’ milk and brothers’ blood at Gettysburg” – SPIN

O’Death, New York City’s homegrown purveyors of gothic-American rust-punk, are excited to announce a spring tour in celebration of their tenth year as a band. Fitting for the anniversary, the band is getting back to it’s roots by throwing extravagant shows along the North East seaboardwith too many support artists on the bills. These shows are intended to serve as a reminder of attending the mini-festivals at the East Village’s short lived Apocalypse Lounge nearly a decade ago, back when only the band’s brothers and cousins were willing to wade through the drunken mess that was a regular O’Death performance. Full tour dates are below.

Having come a long way since the early days, these upcoming shows promise to deliver an eclectic and artful concert experience, spanning their three studio albums and various singles and EP’s.

In the spirit of their mini-festivals, O’Death will be joined on stage by a range of artists that reflect their disparate influences and friendships including Wild Yaks, Amour Obscur, Hungry March Band, Trummors, Butcher Boy, and Coke Weed.

O’Death Tour Dates:

4/19 – BSP – Kingston, NY ^

4/20 – North Star Bar – Philadelphia, PA

4/21 – Mexicali Live – Teaneck, NJ *

4/22 – Elevens Club – Northampton, MA &

4/23 – Le Poisson Rouge – New York, NY #

4/24 – TT The Bears – Cambridge, MA @

4/25 – Space Gallery – Portland, ME %

4/26 – Lompoc Cafe – Bar Harbor, ME

^ – w/ Breakfast in Fur, Trummors

* – w/ Big Wilson River, Nude Dudes

& – w/ Bella’s Bartok

# – w/ Wild Yaks, Amour Obscur, Hungry March Band

@ – w/ Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band

% – w/ Butcher Boy, Coke Weed