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Illegal Art sampler of upcoming releases surfaces on Pitchfork — features tracks from Girl Talk, Steinski and the soon-to-be-released albums by Oh Astro and Realistic

Illegal Art sampler of upcoming releases surfaces on Pitchfork — features tracks from Girl Talk, Steinski and the soon-to-be-released albums by Oh Astro and Realistic.

Stefan Robinson a.k.a. Yea Big puts in three-song guest spot (Lionel Richie shows up too!) on Oh Astro’s forthcoming Champions of Wonder. Yea Big + Kid Static’s debut self-titled album on your desk now.

The Illegal Art record label continues to birth its Negativland-inspired, Deconstructing Beck credentialed and Girl Talk reinforced releases into a world where copyright laws are beginning to crumble. Case in point – the label will release new albums from two of its roster artists – Oh Astro and Realistic in the coming weeks.

Also on deck for Illegal Art is a career spanning collection from hip hop pioneer Steinski and an album of brand-new material from Girl Talk. A sampler featuring tracks from these upcoming records (save for Girl Talk – the track featured on the sampler is from a long out-of-print compilation) was recently made available for free download by Illegal Art in hi-resolution MP3 format. A post by Pitchfork linking users to the sampler download promptly crashed Illegal Art’s server.

Listeners should take note of the Oh Astro track “Hello Fuji Boy” (MP3) which features a sample from Lionel Richie’s infamous tune “Hello” immortalized in the wonderful video featuring a blind sculptress creating a model of Mr. Richie’s oversized noggin. The song appears on the band’s groundbreaking new album Champions of Wonder (on your desk now!) XLR8R recently chimed in with some early praise for the record, saying: “In true Illegal Art fashion, Jane Dowe and Hank Hofler’s first full-length as Oh Astro is comprised almost solely of sampled material, but this is far from a Girl Talk record. Champions of Wonder is an experimental conglomeration of glitchy techno, ambient, and broken-beat, all layered with distorted vocals that offset the album’s poppier moments with ghostly eeriness.” Also not to be missed is the album’s exquisite cover of Olivia Newton-John’s “Xanadu.”

The way-ahead-of-the-game publication also recently praised the upcoming Jib Door release of the retro-futuristic self-titled collaboration of comic book beats and rhymes between Chicago producer Yea Big and rapper Kid Static. Coincidentally, Big also appears on the upcoming Oh Astro record, lending his skills to three of the album’s tracks (one is a significant remix of a track from his debut release, The Wind That Blows The Robots Arms.) XLR8R says: “This LP is worth listening to just for Deejay Yea Big’s production. Stuttering, glitchy, and just plain jaw-dropping, Yea Big’s beats are up there with the big guns of Prefuse 73 and Daedelus. With Kid Static’s humorous, yet angst-filled rhyming filling it out, this duo have put excitement and innovation back into hip-hop.”

Also on tap from Illegal Art this October is Perpetual Memory Loss, the latest album from James Towning a.k.a. Realistic. With Realistic’s latest release, the Illegal Art label continues to challenge the restrictions of copyright as perceived by the larger music industry. The uniqueness of Realistic in comparison to other artists on the label further illustrates that sample-based music is strikingly some of the most original, innovative, and exciting music being made in the 21st century. Illegal Art claims Fair Use for all of its releases and has professional legal counsel nearby if needed.

More about Oh Astro:

Married duo Jane Dowe and Hank Hofler are both rooted firmly in experimental music, but with the Oh Astro project they continue their move towards odd interpretations of popular forms. Club music, children’s songs, and fragmented samples of pop/rock all intersect on their first full-length album, Champions of Wonder, under the Oh Astro banner.

Jane Dowe entered the international electronic music scene in 1998 on two critical CD releases, Institutional Collaborative on Mille Plateaux, and Deconstructing Beck on Illegal Art. On Institutional Collaborative, Dowe and Terre Thaemlitz created abstract music that was described as a “table-tennis mixing game with ‘lounge’ and ambient soundclips” (The Wire). Dowe resurfaced in 2005 on Illegal Art with the debut Oh Astro mini-album, Hello World, which was hailed as “funky and pretty, Hello World’s bite-sized samples concoct a weird pop universe” (CMJ New Music Monthly). While Hank Hofler peripherally contributed to the project, it wasn’t until after Hello World that he became significant collaborator in Oh Astro. Besides creating music Dowe has also done installations in galleries internationally and codes idiosyncratic software for her various projects.

Hank Hofler’s first performances were in Japan as part of the live electronic improvisation scene from 1998-2001, playing shows with Japanese artists such as Otomo Yoshihide, Merzbow, Ikue Mori, and Sawako. As Dowe was too shy for live events, Hank’s earliest shows were actually performing as “Jane Dowe” (further confusing the identity of the pseudononymous Dowe). As he developed his own reputation, Hofler began to be billed under his own name, began street performing in Tokyo, and later also took on the live shows for Oh Astro. As a tenure-track professor, Hofler currently teaches in an Arts Technology program at Illinois State University. Both Hofler and Dowe hold advanced degrees from prestigious institutions such as Dartmouth College and Keio Univeristy (Japan), but have strong reservations about the esoteric qualities of academic art/music.

The purposely-pixilated digipak artwork for Champions of Wonder was created by the internationally known producer/artist Terre Thaemlitz utilizing illustrations by Aiko Tsuji. The physical release also contains surround sound mixes of the first three tracks by Aaron Paolucci (who also mastered the stereo mixes) that can be played on a computer connected to a 5.1 sound system.

One of the common techniques on Champions of Wonder is the manipulation of vocals by spectral software that is coded by Dowe and long-time mentor Christopher Penrose. Even the more experimental or ambient tracks contain ghostly sounds of vocals that have been stripped from their original context and placed into the pulsating electronic world of Oh Astro. The other common practice on the album is that every sound, with the exception of some of the vocals, is sampled from pre-existing recordings. The types of music sampled range from top 40 songs to indie hipster music to the obscure. In the end, it’s more about what is done with the sample than what was originally sampled.

More about Yea Big + Kid Static:

“What Andy Kaufman did for comedy, Yea Big has done with their new album…” – Treblezine

Ever wonder what happened to the fun in hip-hop? What happened to the Digital Undergrounds, the Biz Markies and the De La Souls ? With all this serious rap, who fills in the gap for the people who just want to get their dance on? The answer: the dauntless duo of deejay Yea Big and emcee Kid Static.

Yea Big a.k.a. Stefen Robinson is a detail obsessed mad scientist of the mix reared on Ravi Shankar, bluegrass & Motown. He released his first full length CD, The Wind That Blows The Robot’s Arms, in 2006 on Chicago’s Jib Door label to much confusion and praise. One dude called The Wind “an ADD trip through instrumental spaz-hop”. Yea Big has done remixes for Minneapolis avant-hip hop outfit Kill The Vultures, the 12 Apostles label, Illegal Art, and continues to produce tour only mash-up and remix EP’s, the first two of which feature The Mae-Shi and Rapider Than Horsepower. In the fall of 2005, Yea Big took a beating on one of Chicago’s largest hip hop message boards for reasons no one really remembers too well these days. Kid Static watched as the crossfire obliterated this unheard of deejay and, after checking out some of his music online, invited Yea Big to collaborate with him. Drawn to Big’s atom splitting beats, Static says, “he’s doing the music I always heard in my head”. For his part, Yea Big, was mesmerized with Static’s presence. “His voice has an energy & grit. His phrasing, texture and flow did it for me.”

Over the last two years of collaborating together, Static and Big have played for Michigan meth farmers, cape cod yacht rockers, snacked on cheesesteaks behind the backs of Philly vegans and played grabass and smacked hi-fives with each and every one of them. Because in the world of high misadventure of Yea Big and Kid Static, the odd man out is always in.

More about Realistic:

“Following the aesthetic of Negativland and John Oswald, Realistic borrows material from every possible source: classic rock, disco, self-improvement records, soap operas [and more]. Towning demonstrates a knack for unconventional looping, sonic accumulation, and a good joke.” – All Music Guide

Realistic’s third album, Perpetual Memory Loss, features sixteen tracks of intricate sample-based compositions — a beautifully sophisticated celebration of found sound, recorded media, technology, and electronic composition. Slices of field recordings mesh with surreal electronic melodies, which creates enjoyably odd multi-layered musical fun. Realistic is the guise of sound collage artist James Towning, a musician and graphic designer originally from OhioIn 2003 he moved to Brooklyn, NY and currently works a full-time job as a motion-graphics designer in Manhattan.

Realistic has also appeared on releases with (or been remixed by) The Evolution Control Committee, Girl Talk, The Bran Flakes, Wobbly, Sawako, Pimmon, and Monochrome (Charles Noel).

A recurring source in Towning’s compositions is the nostalgic sounds of 70’s and 80’s techno-pop and rock artists that were personally influential over the years. As well as using computer-based waveform editing and sampling, Towning carries a portable digital recorder to capture various audio environments on a daily basis. Whether the source samples are found around the house, on TV, on a busy Chinatown street, or a crackly sound effects record, Realistic’s juxtaposition of head-spaces always creates something surreal and altogether new.

“There’s such a rich texture of sound and visuals in New York. I’m constantly entertained with the sounds that I record,” said Towning in a recent interview. An ever-increasing collection of thrift-store records and cassettes is another likely source of audio inspiration. “I love composing little sound pieces using whatever source material I choose. It’s a cathartic, fun, and essential part of my life,” said Towning.

With Perpetual Memory Loss, the Realistic sound has evolved into a tighter and more structured mesh of musical patterns and mangled beats. Tiny rhythmic patterns and subtle textural layers are revealed upon repeated listening. Sampled dialogue is used more sparingly than in previous Realistic releases allowing the musical voices to be heard more clearly. Each complex track is its own self-contained little world, with disjointed characters, funky grooves, and odd but familiar musical samples. Throughout the 45-minute album, expressionistic patterns of sound twist and fold into one another as the tracks evolve. At times the entire audio spectrum degrades and distorts in groovy syncopation. The tracks on Perpetual Memory Loss are more complex and refined, but what remains is the underlying sense of humor, rich production, and an offbeat composition style that is distinctively Realistic.

Regarding the album’s artwork, Towning explains, “The CD art was designed by me. It consists of many thumbnails of snapshots I’ve taken over the past three years or so. That timeframe coincides with the production of the audio tracks, too. The snapshots represent memories in a very literal way. They vary in subject matter from pictures of my cats, still-lifes, industrial landscapes, detailed textures, and random found art. The inside artwork reveals more snapshot thumbnails in varying degrees of clarity.” Towning further elaborates, “Beneath the CD, a collage of found images and photographs explodes and bleeds over into the snapshots. The technique of collaging with found and personal imagery reflects the style of the audio tracks too. The primary colors of red and green that I chose were inspired by and derived from a vintage Christmas card I received from a friend a few years ago. Again, a nostalgic reference.”

As for the title Perpetual Memory Loss Towning says it “speaks to the process of growing older and the mind’s ability to store, lose, and constantly distort memories. And how sometimes those memories are recalled in a random and overlapping order. As we get older, more and more memories are stored while others are buried deep or lost. The title also references the similarities between the ever expanding human mind and a computer’s finite hard drive and its ability to retrieve random and corrupt data.”

Oh Astro Live:
11/06 Normal, IL University Galleries
11/27 Normal, IL KRH
01/22 Joliet, IL Laura A. Sprague Gallery

Yea Big + Kid Static:
10/18 Jamaica Plain, MA The Milky Way
10/19 Brooklyn, NY Sound Fix (Fanatic CMJ Showcase)
10/21 Chicago, IL The Note
10/26 Kankakee, IL Myrtle House
10/31 Bloomington, IN Uncle Festers
11/09 Chicago, IL Darkroom
11/16 Chicago, IL Kinetic Playground

Oh Astro

Champions of Wonder Tracklisting:

Release Date: November 6, 2007

01. Snow Queen (MP3)
02. Hello Fuji Boy (MP3)
03. Lucy Sees the Moon
04. Candy Sun Smiles
05. Empty Air
06. Xanadu
07. Journey to the Center
08. Itch Box
09. Robot Love I Love You
10. Quiet Mouth
11. Pet Apples

Yea Big + Kid Static Tracklisting:

Release Date: October 23, 2007

01. The Screaming Starts At Sundown
02. We’ve Built A Time Machine That Runs On Beats. We Shall Only Use It For Good.
03. Static Leads The Coup
04. Transmission Ended
05. Joining Forces
06. Speak The Facts
07. Low Budget Battle Scene
08. The Basement / Enfant Terrible
09. On The Blink
10. Repairs Are Needed
11. Duck, Mother Fuckers! (MP3)
12. Revel In The Aftermath
13. The Life Here
14. Things Have To Change, Pete
15. Why The Fuck Does This Keep Happening
16. Back Into The Sleeve

Realistic

Perpetual Memory Loss Tracklisting:

Stream The Album HERE

Release Date: October 23, 2007

01. The Camera Track (MP3)
02. Music in the Round
03. Conversation Hearts
04. Post-Corporate Fantasy
05. Amazing Fall
06. Welcome to Heaven
07. Brand Name Sunday
08. Library Music
09. Wandering Aimlessly
10. Have a Nice Trip
11. April and August Sixth
12. There is Always More
13. In Loving Memory
14. Snowday Plaything (MP3)
15. The Numbers Test
16. Uneventful Fall

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Old Time Relijun wants to tell you a thing or two about Catharsis In Crisis, darlings of the rockcritstocracy host press day in midst of CMJ showcases and grueling national tour.

Old Time Relijun wants to tell you a thing or two about Catharsis In Crisis, darlings of the rockcritstocracy host press day in midst of CMJ showcases and grueling national tour.

“Unless I read them wrong (and I may; the music itself is the opposite of describing it: it’s wet, and bloody, and it smells like fresh earth and red cinders, and it’s a good goddamn time, is what it is) Old Time Relijun’s theory is that ‘the underground’ (I know. I know. I know) isn’t an identity that reinvents itself once or twice per generation, but a permanent place within a culture – maybe within all cultures – where styles don’t go in and out of fashion but are always floating around in the air just above our heads.” — John Darnielle, Last Plane to Jakarta

“The music kicks ass: brutal, fluid, funky, spasmodic, violent, sexual…I wish there were more visionaries like Dionyso around.” — Everett True, Village Voice

The Pacific Northwest’s beloved, esoteric uprooters of rock’s antecedents, Old Time Relijun has announced it will host an interview day in New York City on Thursday, October 18th in the midst of its comprehensive U.S. tour. The band will also play two showcases during the CMJ Music Festival: Fanatic Promotion’s daytime party at Soundfix Records (onstage at 4pm sharp on 10/19) and Panache Booking’s showcase at the Knitting Factory later that night. For complete tour dates, please see below.

Old Time Relijun’s latest K Records meisterwerk Catharsis In Crisis (STREAM) has already received an impressive outpouring of premature critical praise months prior to its release this week. Legendary music scribe Everett True — he who put Sub Pop and myriad others on the map with his writing in NME and Melody Maker, as well as current author and Plan B editor — rated Catharsis In Crisis #1 in his “Top 5 Antifolk Songs” column in the Village Voice. A couple of weeks later, True followed that article with a column raving yet again about Old Time Relijun.

Likewise, esteemed critic and musician John Darnielle (singer/songwriter of The Mountain Goats and Last Plane to Jakarta editor, et al.) writes one of the most eloquent and flowing prose pieces about the latest Old Time Relijun disc in his latest zine. The review (clumsily quoted above) must be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated.

However, in addition to what the critics are saying, the band’s spokesmen, guitarist/vocalist Arrington de Dionyso and bassist Aaron Hartman have their own unique ideas to express regarding the concepts behind the album and its execution. So, the eminently quotable musical adventurers have made time available for interviews in order to share their vast ideas with members of the press (and blogs alike.)

Old Time Relijun continues to further shatter rock’s imperious formalism with its latest K Records release that landed in shops on October 9th, 2007. Song after song, the ferocity of vocalist/guitarist Arrington de Dionyso draws listeners deeper into a world where language, rhythm and unrepentant libido collide. The music is temperamental, unwieldy and unyielding; aimed to cut listeners to the bone.

Catharsis in Crisis was written and recorded at Calvin Johnson’s fabled Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, WA over four inspired days and nights. Legendary producer Steve Fisk was recruited to mix this raw material into OTR’s most fully realized album to date. OTR + Calvin Johnson + Steve Fisk = a magical alchemy of sound and light. But don’t worry folks, it’s still terrible background music.

Arrington de Dionyso’s electrifying vocal delivery retains the blood-soaked risk of a true underground visionary, while showcasing his mastery of over-the-top nuance. Aaron Hartman (contrabass) and Germaine Baca (drums) propel the album forward with relentless bump-and-grind. Catharsis in Crisis is the first album to reveal OTR’s new secret weapon, subversive “saxophonista” Benjamin Hartman, who uses and abuses his classical training to drive the band further into the spheres.

Often lazily compared to a No Wave version of Captain Beefheart, Old Time Relijun’s subversive — dare we call it sadistic — mashing of world folk music styles sounds brutally fresh. No Wave? Forget that. Catharsis in Crisis is Yes Wave for the young millennium. “Daemon Meeting”(MP3) blazes through a bizarre convocation of underworld creatures, to conclude with the query, “what does it mean to be human?” A tenor saxophone throttles the dub-infected “Liberation” with propulsive urgency through a zone of “young life and decay,” while songs such as “In the Crown of Lost Light” and “Invisible New” confront infinity with their bright shimmering sound. Even Dante is given a run for his money with the Ennio Morricone influenced junk-disco centerpiece “Veleno Mortale,” actually an Italian “re-translation” of the brutal “Burial Mound” featured on OTR’s album 2012.

Taken as a whole, the three discs of “The Lost Light Trilogy” (in reverse chronological order Catharsis in Crisis, 2012 and Lost Light) are a tour-de-force of myth, dream and autobiography. ”We wanted ‘The Lost Light Trilogy’ to be a kind of rock opera,” de Dionyso says. “But with a non-linear development of plots and characters. Every song on each album contains musical or lyrical fragments of other songs within the trilogy, like broken shards of mirrors reflecting each other infinitely, the way a cubist painting presents multiple perspectives of the same subject, or the labyrinthine twists in a Borges story.”

Catharsis in Crisis, while concluding the trilogy, also stands on its own. Like the confrontational, compulsively danceable live show for which OTR is known and loved, Catharsis is a record and a testament to the oscillations of opposites. Darkness and Light, Water and Fire, Spirit and Matter struggle within Old Time Relijun’s alchemical oeuvre. From this elemental battle, the music emerges, dripping and triumphant.

More About Old Time Relijun:

Olympia, Washington. New Year’s Day, 1995. A dark and smelly basement. Three young musicians gather to tackle the vast songbook of Arrington de Dionyso. They had heard his self-recorded cassettes. The songs were wild and lovely. Arrington (the rebellious son of Methodist ministers) played every instrument with the soul of an outsider artist who didn’t know any better. He knew he needed to bring his songs to life.

The original trio was brought together for one show. Just to see what would happen. They called themselves Old Time Relijun. Arrington played a $20 guitar and a beat up bass clarinet. He sang with a mixture of piss and vinegar that exploded with naive charisma. Bryce Panic harassed the drums. Aaron Hartman beat on a two-string upright bass with a microphone taped to its bridge. They communicated with the clairvoyance of long-married ninjas.

That first show, everything went red: strings broke, the bass was a solid mass of feedback, the PA was blown. They used Arrington’s songs as a template to meld shock-ritual with a mad-tea-party-dance-vibe. They barely noticed the college kids in full Riot Grrrl gear screaming, they had no idea that punkers and hippies were dancing together. Something awful happened that night. A band was born.

Soon they were playing full sets to friends and taste-making Olympia hipsters alike. They played every show they could – whether or not they were on the bill. They developed the kind of intuitive free-jazz rapport of which most bands could only dream.

In 1996, OTR recorded its first album, Songbook Volume One. They released it themselves, financing the production by tricking a friend out of his meager inheritance. The CD was packaged in stolen popcorn bags.

In 1997, Calvin Johnson invited the band to record a song for the Selector Dub Narcotic compilation for his K Records label. At that point, a beautiful relationship was born.

After Bryce left to pursue a life of dance and yoga in India, one of the band’s younger fans, Phil Elvrum, asked if he could join. He moved to Olympia, and OTR’s second of many lives began. Phil’s caveman beats and undeniable production savvy helped launch the first three Relijun albums K would release. Uterus and Fire (1999), was a bombastic exercise in recording in the red. Serena de Pecera (2000) was a one-night multilingual wonder, acting as a coda to the unyielding momentum of Uterus and Fire. Then came the band’s first true masterwork, Witchcraft Rebellion (2001), an album as deep and bizarre as anything you’ll find on your record shelf. A retelling of the first chapters of Genesis from the serpent’s point of view.

After a couple U.S. and European tours, Phil decided to focus his energy on his recording projects and his own band, the Microphones. Old Time Relijun continued in a variety of mutated formations, with various lost souls sitting behind the drum set.

The group experienced a brief lull in activity as Arrington began a vagabond period that would take him hitch-hiking across the United States and back and forth between Italy, France and Argentina. A compilation of unreleased oddities, Varieties of Religious Experience, was released in 2003, and both Arrington and Hartman had time to reevaluate the direction their band would take.

During his travels, Arrington composed an outline for what would become “The Lost Light Trilogy”. The first two installments, Lost Light (2003) and 2012 (2005), recorded with the help of drummers Rives Elliot and Jamie Peterson, respectively, saw extensive touring, a wider audience for the band, as well as high praise from critics world wide.

Old Time Relijun Live:

10/10 Pittsburgh, PA Garfield Artworks
10/11 Middleton, CT Wesleyan
10/12 Hanover, NH Dartmouth
10/13 Brooklyn, NY Southpaw (WFMU event w/ Oneida)
10/14 Montreal, QC Divan Orange*
10/15 Quebec City, QC Bal du Lezard*
10/16 Halifax, NS The Seahorse*
10/19 Brooklyn, NY Soundfix Records (Fanatic CMJ Party)
10/19 New York, NY Knitting Factory (Panache CMJ Showcase)*
10/21 Annandale on Hudson, NY Bard College*
10/24 Asbury, NJ Asbury Lanes*
10/25 Poughkeepsie, NY Vassar College*
10/26 Jamaica Plane, MA The Milky Way*
10/27 Providence, RI as220*
10/28 Philadelphia, PA COPY Gallery*
10/29 Baltimore, MD The Talking Head Club*
10/30 Washington, DC Velvet Lounge*
10/31 Brooklyn, NY Todd P NYC*
11/01 Hudson Valley, NY WFMU Live Performance
11/02 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
11/03 Charleston, SC Cumberlands
11/04 Athens, GA Secret Squirrel
11/06 Birmingham, AL Bottletree w/ Don Caballero
11/07 New Orleans, LA Circle Bar
11/08 Houston, TX Proletariat
11/09 Austin, TX Emo’s
11/10 Denton, TX Hailey’s
11/11 Oklahoma City, OK Conservatory
11/13 Kansas City, MO Record Bar
11/15 Denver, CO Hi-Dive
11/16 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
11/17 Boise, ID Neurolux

Catharsis In Crisis Tracklisting:

Stream The Album HERE

Release Date: October 9th, 2007

01. Indestructible Life!
02. The Tightest Cage
03. Daemon Meeting (MP3)
04. Liberation
05. Garden of Pomegranates
06. Akavishim
07. Dark Matter
08. The Circular Ruins
09. Veleno Mortale
10. Dig Down Deeper
11. A Wild Harvest
12. The Second Day of Creation
13. In The Crown of Lost Light
14. The Invisible New

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The Octopus Project continues to charm the press, prepares for the release of Hello, Avalanche, launches headlining tour, does a bunch of cool other stuff, too. MP3 of the band’s most awesome song ever Truck now available for download.

The Octopus Project continues to charm the press, prepares for the release of Hello, Avalanche, launches headlining tour, does a bunch of cool other stuff, too. MP3 of the band’s most awesome song ever Truck now available for download.

“…here’s a vote for The Octopus Project as the greatest band ever.” – Boston Globe

“…surprisingly irresistible.” – Nylon

“The lovely Theremin lead… suggests that technology just might save us after all.” – Pitchfork

All things considered, it’s no wonder that taste-making outlets like Rolling Stone, Resonance, Magnet, XLR8R, Harp, CMJ, Wired, ReadyMade, DIW, Pitchfork, Stereogum, Under The Radar and Spin have taken note of The Octopus Project’s remarkable talent and charm. After two albums, a split release with Black Moth Super Rainbow, a performance at last year’s Coachella festival, several high profile South By Southwest appearances, and a sold out headlining tour, the Austin-based band suddenly seems to be everywhere.

The group recently finished road stints with Stereo Total and Aesop Rock, and is now launching a nationwide headlining tour in support of its third album, Hello, Avalanche to be released by Peek-a-Boo Records on October 16th. The new album was recorded and co-produced by The Octopus Project and Ryan Hadlock (Blonde Redhead, The Gossip) at Bear Creek Studio in Seattle and was mixed by the band with Erik Wofford (Voxtrot, Explosions In The Sky) back home in Austin.

The Octopus Project live experience is an exciting one – check out some footage from the band’s recent McCarren Pool Party headlining gig as captured by New York Magazine HERE. Of the tour, drummer Toto Miranda says, “After all the detail-oriented work we put into the record, we’re really looking forward to taking the new batch of songs to the people – usually our tunes continue to evolve as we play them out and it’s exciting to start crossing them over from the perfectionist studio world into the somewhat more chaotic live show.”

Wow — this is a band that keeps itself busy! Owing to the age of multitasking, The Octopus Project is involved with appearances in video games, remixes, satirical side bands, crafting, and basically just being the cutest, most endearing group on the planet. “Music Is Happiness”, a track from The Octopus Project’s 2005 album One Ten Hundred Thousand Million currently appears on the soundtrack of the “Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground” videogame. Pitchfork recently unveiled The Octopus Project’s remix of the You Say Party! We Say Die! song “Like I Give a Care” (MP3).

And now for something completely different! A The Octopus Project fun fact about drummer Toto Miranda: In addition to time spent in the bands Woozyhelmet, The Fuck Off and Dies, Jracula, and WWJLD (a Jesus Lizard cover band), Miranda also used to play in Terry Gross, an instrumental metal band where all the songs are named after NPR commentators.

The Octopus Project is also collectively crafty. Along with making the adorable stuffed animals and wallets that are sold as band merchandise, Theremin goddess Yvonne Lambert sews dresses and belts, Miranda makes collage art and curates a T-shirt line, and Lambert’s husband, The Octopus Project guitarist Josh Lambert, is heavily involved with web design and animation which he contributes to the band’s videos and visuals.

One of Josh Lambert’s next projects is helping to finish the video for the next single from Hello, Avalanche. The song “Truck” has closed the band’s show for some time and is not only a crowd favorite, but considered by some to be the group’s most revelatory and rocking tune. Stereogum recently debuted the track and it can now be downloaded en masse, along with the album’s first single “I Saw The Bright Shinies” via the links below. See below for The Octopus Project’s complete tour itinerary as well and stay busy with the band it sets up shop in your town this fall!

Hello, Avalanche Tracklisting:

Stream Selected Tracks HERE

Release Date: October 16th, 2007

01. Snow Tip Cap Mountain
02. Truck (MP3)
03. Bees Bein’ Strugglin’
04. An Evening With Rthrtha
05. Black Blizzard/Red Umbrella
06. Upmann
07. Mmaj
08. I Saw The Bright Shinies (MP3)
09. Ghost Moves
10. Vanishing Lessons
11. Exploding Snowhorse
12. Loud Murmuring
13. Queen

The Octopus Project Live:

% = w/ Enon
10/04 Houston, TX Numbers w/ Bring Back The Guns
10/05 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
10/06 New Orleans, LA House Of Blues
10/07 Tallahassee, FL Beta Lounge
10/08 Orlando, FL Back Booth
10/09 West Palm Beach, FL City Limits
10/10 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbit’s %
10/11 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn
10/12 Knoxville, TN Pilot Light
10/13 Charlotte, NC Milestone
10/14 Raleigh, NC Duke University
10/15 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
10/16 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel
10/17 Philadelphia, PA John Brenda’s
10/18 New York, NY High Line Ballroom
10/19 Northampton, MA Iron Horse
10/20 Boston, MA Great Scott
10/21 Montreal, PQ La Sala Rosa
10/22 Toronto, ONT Sneaky Dee’s
10/23 Buffalo, NY Soundlab
10/24 Pittsburgh, PA Garfield
10/25 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop %
10/26 Chicago, IL Abbey Theater %
10/27 Chicago, IL Abbey Theater %
10/28 Milwaukee, WI Mad Planet
10/29 Minneapolis, MN Entry %
10/30 Omaha, NE Waiting Room
10/31 Oklahoma City, OK Opolis
11/01 Lawrence, KS Replay lounge
11/02 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge
11/03 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
11/05 Seattle, WA Chop Suey
11/06 Vancouver, BC Media Club
11/07 Portland, OR Holocene %
11/08 San Francisco, CA Bottom Of The Hill
11/08 Visalia, CA Howie’s
11/10 Los Angeles, CA The Roxy
11/11 San Diego, CA Casbah %
11/12 Tucson, AZ Plush
11/13 Phoenix, AZ Modified
11/14 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad
11/15 Lubbock, TX Jake’s
11/17 Austin, TX Emo’s

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65daysofstatic to play San Franciscos Download Festival this weekend with The Cure, AFI, Kings of Leon and others. Band confirms rescheduled 2008 Cure arena tour, announces upcoming releases.

65daysofstatic to play San Francisco’s Download Festival this weekend with The Cure, AFI, Kings of Leon and others. Band confirms rescheduled 2008 Cure arena tour, announces upcoming releases.

“Kicking off with their trademark electric crackle, it’s clear that with their third album 65daysofstatic have resisted the urge to tone down their quite frankly mental tsunami of noise and make a play for the mainstream sales potential of an ever scene-conscious world. Instead, they have done what they’ve always done — thrown the rulebook out the window and grown organically. With such clinical conviction 65dos are utterly peerless in their chosen field of post-rock.” — Razio Rauf, Kerrang Magazine

“65daysofstatic have made their masterpiece, or something close to it; three albums in, in the most dirty, shallow decade of music we’ve known, who else can say that? A handful, not enough. The Destruction of Small Ideas is a weight, a tower of babel, a journey, learnings, understandings, communication, evolution. I’ve been waiting. I was promised this or something like it. The rise and fall. All so deep, so rich, so comically dynamic and detailed and powerful for it that it makes me want to cry. How to make a record. Play loud.” — Stylus Magazine

65daysofstatic, the Sheffield-based band who blew us all away at South by Southwest 2007 as one of the best live acts in recent memory, will play the main stage of the Download Festival in San Francisco on Saturday, October 6th along side AFI, Kings of Leon and others. The band is supporting its latest album The Destruction of Small Ideas, released earlier this year to worldwide acclaim by the UK label Monotreme. Headlining the Download main stage will be The Cure. 65daysofstatic were recently selected to open all of The Cure’s US tour dates in the Fall of 2007 and while that tour was postponed until May 2008, 65daysofstatic are now confirmed to open the rescheduled dates. See below for a complete itinerary.

Interest in 65daysofstatic has been ever increasing in the US following the band’s success in its native UK, and in Japan where it has played before thousands. It has taken time for US audiences to latch on the band’s eclectic and methodical instrumental sound. Those that have, have fallen hard for 65daysofstatic’s intensity, earning the band fawning press notices and the kind of intense fandom that resulted in a UK sellout of the initial pressing of The Destruction of Small Ideas in the first week of release.

Fans will have the chance to pick up more 65daysofstatic music very soon, too. Vinyl junkies can get their hands on the beautifully packaged limited edition double vinyl version of The Destruction of Small Ideas this November, and Monotreme is planning some new US releases of previously import-only material as well. The Fall of Math, 65daysofstatic’s 2004 debut album which fans call the group’s most radio friendly (the NME called the album’s “Retreat! Retreat!” single “…possibly the most life-affirming four minutes of rock music you’re likely to encounter…”) will see its first US release on Monotreme on February 18, 2008. Also out that day will be the band’s Hole EP, originally released outside of America in March of 2005. The EP culls its title track from the The Fall of Math album and also includes remixes of other album tracks. Listen to “I Swallowed Hard, Like I Understood” (MP3) and “Hole,” (MP3) both from The Fall of Math by 65daysofstatic.

The futuristic tone of The Destruction of Small Ideas is a refreshing gene-splice of electronic glitch and guitar girth, making for what amounts to a seductive score for an unwritten sci-fi epic, melding cutting guitars with sampled beats, live drums and glitch. Where IDM culture cuts out in the low end however, 65daysofstatic delivers a thunderous wall of guitars that’s reportedly still shaking the venues and festivals the band played during the summer of 2007. Be sure to see and hear for yourself this weekend in San Francisco.

65daysofstatic Live:

* Supporting The Cure

10/06/07 San Francisco, CA Shoreline Amphitheater (Download Festival)*
05/09/08 Washington DC Patriot Center*
05/10/08 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum*
05/12/08 Boston, MA Agganis Arena*
05/14/08 Montreal, PQ Bell Centre*
05/15/08 Toronto, ONT Air Canada Centre*
05/17/08 Chicago, IL Allstate Arena*
05/19/08 Kansas City, MO Starlight Theatre*
05/21/08 Denver, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre*
05/23/08 Salt Lake City, UT E Center*
05/25/08 George, WA The Gorge Sasquatch! Festival*
05/26/08 Vancouver, BC General Motors Place*
05/29/08 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl*
05/31/08 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl*
06/03/08 San Diego, CA Cox Arena*
06/04/08 Phoenix, AZ Dodge Theatre*
06/06/08 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center*
06/08/08 Austin, TX Austin Music Hall*
06/09/08 Houston, TX Toyota Center*
06/11/08 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum*
06/13/08 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Bank Atlantic Center*
06/15/08 Atlanta, GA Gwinnett Center*
06/16/08 Charlotte, NC Charlotte Bobcats Arena*
06/18/08 Cleveland, OH TBA*
06/20/08 New York, NY Madison Square Garden*

The Destruction of Small Ideas Tracklisting:

Stream The Album HERE

01. When We Were Younger & Better (MP3)
02. A Failsafe
03. Don’t Go Down To Sorrow (MP3)
04. Wax Futures
05. These Things You Can’t Unlearn
06. Lyonesse
07. Music Is Music As Devices Are Kisses Is Everything
08. The Distant & Mechanised Glow Of European Dance Parties
09. Little Victories
10. Primer
11. White Peak/Dark Peak
12. The Conspiracy of Seeds

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L.A. underground favorites HEALTH hits the road this fall. Cold Sweat Records signs on to release LP version of forthcoming album.

L.A. underground favorites HEALTH hits the road this fall. Cold Sweat Records signs on to release LP version of forthcoming album.

The impressive word-of-mouth excitement about L.A. underground quartet HEALTH that has surged throughout that city like a series of rolling blackouts has quickly become an international phenomenon. The band recently ripped a swath across the U.K. — garnering praise from the NME, BBC radio and many more — and this week HEALTH announce tour dates throughout the US beginning on September 25th (see complete dates below.) The band’s live shows are sweaty, packed fits of beautiful noise that could perhaps be best compared to Liars, Animal Collective and latter-period Black Dice.

HEALTH‘s self-titled debut full length on the ultrahip Lovepump United label hits shelves on September 18th. Soon thereafter, L.A. based Cold Sweat Records (Battles, Phantom Family Halo, This Moment in Black History) will issue the vinyl version of the album. As if that weren’t enough HEALTH activity, the band has announced a slew of commissioned remixes to follow hot on the heels of the album. The impressive list of remix collaborators includes Pink Skull (Minneapolis), David Gilmore Girls (Amsterdam), Crystal Castles (Toronto), Curses! (NYC), Toxic Avenger (Paris), CFCF (Montreal), Juiceboxxx (Milwaukee), Narctrax (Tokyo), Lovely Chords (Buenos Aires), et al.

The group’s surging notoriety is also due in part to the magic of the Interwebs. “Crimewave” was the #2 most blogged about song according to Elbo.ws. Likewise, HEALTH was recently the #5 most blogged about band according to that blog aggregator, and #9 on Hypemachine.com. Anthem Magazine recently shot an amazing live performance of the song “Glitter Pills” at The Smell (where the HEALTH album was recorded) in downtown L.A., which can be seen HERE. Additionally, director Nik Mercer shot a collaboration between HEALTH and Aa (Big A Little a) reworking the band’s “Crimewave” that can be viewed HERE.

Regarding the remix onslaught, the band issued the following statement: “HEALTH likes to make scary noises, we like to chant until our faces go red, we like to beat on drums until there’s blood on the floor. But we also like to boogie, and sometimes we need help from people we admire. There is a great big world full of music and there is no excuse for standing in the corner with your eyes closed. You can always make friends with the other kids in class, even If your favorite band is Slayer and theirs is Bell Biv Devoe, so let’s hold hands.”

Instead of finding a room where the only thing one can hear is their heartbeat, HEALTH recorded its debut full length in one of the band’s favorite places. The Smell is an all ages music venue in downtown Los Angeles. It is open and brick and dirty and dark, but when you sing a church hymnal or hit a drum as hard as you can the sound is beautiful. They did both of these things on the record. They also went out and found equipment built the same time as The Smell, mostly ribbon microphones designed by the BBC for radio broadcasts in the 1930’s, things George Martin liked to use, and other things they didn’t know about. The record is 11 songs in less than thirty minutes – on it there is new music with old sounds.

HEALTH was six months old the first time they played for real people. Before that, there was more talk than music, mostly about art, food, sex, animals, records, drugs, politics and sleeping. After two more shows in Los Angeles, the group self released a 7” and went on tour. While they were traveling, people told them their music was weird. When they got back they played on a bill with Ex-Models and Death Sentence Panda. They felt like grown men. After that, people let them play shows more often, mostly at all ages art spaces like The Smell and Il Corral. They became friends with other L.A bands like No Age, The Mae Shi, Mika Miko, BARR, Captain Ahab, Anavan, and Abe Vigoda. Then they went on three more tours and a trip to SXSW.

HEALTH has also had a hand in 8-bit glitch duo Crystal Castles’ recent success. In addition to a Crystal Castles/HEALTH split 7” (to be released concurrently on Lovepump United with HEALTH‘s LP), Crystal Castles highly anticipated Crimewave EP is named for a HEALTH remix for which the two bands recently shot a video.

HEALTH Live:

* w/ Crime Novels
^ w/ Yip Yip
09/25 Phoenix, AZ The Modified*
09/27 Denver, CO Rhinoceropolis *
09/28 Lincoln, NE Pile of Kevins*
09/29 East Moline, IL Mixtapes*
10/01 Bloomington, IN Uncle Festers*
10/02 Madison, WI King Club*
10/04 Oberlin, OH Oberlin College*
10/06 Montreal, QC Pop Montreal^
10/07 Rochester, NY Bug Jar*^
10/08 Poughkeepsie, NY Vassar College*
10/09 Middletown, CT Wesleyan College*
10/11 Northampton, MA House Party*
10/12 Boston, MA Obrien’s Pub^
10/13 Providence, RI May N Kevin 4 Eva^
10/14 Pompton Lakes, NJ Mainstage Club^
10/16 Purchase, NY Suny Purchase*^
10/17 Annandale-on-Hudson, NY Bard College*
10/18 Philadelphia, PA Danger Danger Gallery*^
10/19 New York, NY Knitting Factory CMJ^
10/21 Baltimore, MD The Depot
10/22 Washington, DC Civilian Arts Project*^
10/23 Charlottesville, VA Bridge Progressive Arts Space*
10/24 Charleston, SC Cumberlands*
10/25 Savannah, GA Jojos Backyard*
10/26 Atlanta, GA Lenny’s Bar*
10/27 Birmingham, AL Bottletree*
10/29 Houston, TX Proletariat*
10/30 Austin, TX Emos*
10/31 Denton, TX Eighth Continent*
11/01 Lubbock, TX Bash Riprocks*
11/03 Los Angeles, CA The Smell*

HEALTH Tracklisting:

Stream The Album HERE

Release Date: Sept. 18, 2007

01. Heaven
02. Girl Attorney
03. Triceratops (MP3) | (CFCF Remix MP3)
04. Crimewave (MP3)
05. Courtship
06. Zoothorns
07. Tabloid Sores
08. //M\\
09. Glitter Pills
10. Perfect Skin (MP3)
11. Lost Time

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Illegal Art’s first release of Fair Use mayhem following Girl Talk’s Night Ripper is the latest from artist James Towning, aka Realistic

Illegal Art’s first release of Fair Use mayhem following Girl Talk’s Night Ripper is the latest from artist James Towning, aka Realistic.

“Following the aesthetic of Negativland and John Oswald, Realistic borrows material from every possible source: classic rock, disco, self-improvement records, soap operas [and more]. Towning demonstrates a knack for unconventional looping, sonic accumulation, and a good joke.” – All Music Guide

Realistic’s third album, Perpetual Memory Loss, features sixteen tracks of intricate sample-based compositions – a beautifully sophisticated celebration of found sound, recorded media, technology, and electronic composition. Slices of field recordings mesh with surreal electronic melodies, which creates enjoyably odd multi-layered musical fun. Realistic is the guise of sound collage artist James Towning, by day a Brooklyn-based motion-graphics designer.

With this release, the Illegal Art label continues to challenge the restrictions of copyright as perceived by the larger music industry. The uniqueness of Realistic in comparison to other artists on the label (Girl Talk, Oh Astro, Steinski) further illustrates that sample-based music is strikingly some of the most original, innovative, and exciting music being made in the 21st century. Illegal Art claims Fair Use for all of its releases and has professional legal counsel nearby if needed.

Towning has been a fan of electronic music since his college days, mostly the UK scene. Artists like Human League, Soft Cell, Cabaret Voltaire, Wire, Art of Noise, and Meat Beat Manifesto were early influences, while Mu-ziq and Kid Koala can be counted as contemporary ones. In a recent interview Towning says, “I also go off on binges of Queen, ELO, XTC, The Beatles, and Bowie.”

A recurring source in Towning’s compositions is the nostalgic sounds of 70’s and 80’s techno-pop and rock artists that were personally influential over the years. As well as using computer-based waveform editing and sampling, Towning carries a portable digital recorder to capture various audio environments on a daily basis. Whether the source samples are found around the house, on TV, on a busy Chinatown street, or a crackly sound effects record, Realistic‘s juxtaposition of head-spaces always creates something surreal and altogether new.

“There’s such a rich texture of sound and visuals in New York. I’m constantly entertained with the sounds that I record,” said Towning in a recent interview. An ever-increasing collection of thrift-store records and cassettes is another likely source of audio inspiration. “I love composing little sound pieces using whatever source material I choose. It’s a cathartic, fun, and essential part of my life.”

With Perpetual Memory Loss, the Realistic sound has evolved into a tighter and more structured mesh of musical patterns and mangled beats. Tiny rhythmic patterns and subtle textural layers are revealed upon repeated listening. Sampled dialogue is used more sparingly than in previous Realistic releases allowing the musical voices to be heard more clearly. Each complex track is its own self-contained little world, with disjointed characters, funky grooves, and odd but familiar musical samples. Throughout the 45-minute album, expressionistic patterns of sound twist and fold into one another as the tracks evolve. At times the entire audio spectrum degrades and distorts in groovy syncopation. The tracks on Perpetual Memory Loss are more complex and refined, but what remains is the underlying sense of humor, rich production, and an offbeat composition style that is distinctively Realistic.

Regarding the album’s unique artwork, Towning explains, “The CD art was designed by me. It consists of many thumbnails of snapshots I’ve taken over the past three years or so. That timeframe coincides with the production of the audio tracks, too. The snapshots represent memories in a very literal way. They vary in subject matter from pictures of my cats, still-lifes, industrial landscapes, detailed textures, and random found art. The inside artwork reveals more snapshot thumbnails in varying degrees of clarity.”

Towning further elaborates, “Beneath the CD, a collage of found images and photographs explodes and bleeds over into the snapshots. The technique of collaging with found and personal imagery reflects the style of the audio tracks too. The primary colors of red and green that I chose were inspired by and derived from a vintage Christmas card I received from a friend a few years ago. Again, a nostalgic reference.”

As for the title Perpetual Memory Loss, Towning says it “speaks to the process of growing older and the mind’s ability to store, lose, and constantly distort memories. And how sometimes those memories are recalled in a random and overlapping order. As we get older, more and more memories are stored while others are buried deep or lost. The title also references the similarities between the ever expanding human mind and a computer’s finite hard drive and its ability to retrieve random and corrupt data.”

Videos From Previous Realistic Releases:

“Private Moments”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJAaDZZawLo

“Music for Voyeurs”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzIUnevtrFc

“Angel 2001”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ0eKMJKnm0

“Spectacle of Slop”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bTYS2HQqqI

Perpetual Memory Loss Tracklisting:

Release Date: October 23, 2007

01. The Camera Track (MP3)
02. Music in the Round
03. Conversation Hearts
04. Post-Corporate Fantasy
05. Amazing Fall
06. Welcome to Heaven
07. Brand Name Sunday
08. Library Music
09. Wandering Aimlessly
10. Have a Nice Trip
11. April and August Sixth
12. There is Always More
13. In Loving Memory
14. Snowday Plaything (MP3)
15. The Numbers Test
16. Uneventful Fall

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Boston post-punk quartet Junius to release EP collection in October, cut new studio album with producer Kevin Mills

Boston post-punk quartet Junius to release EP collection in October, cut new studio album with producer Kevin Mills. Current tour dates across the U.S. and Canada.

“The most engaging dark rock to come out since Joy Division last graced a stage.” – Disclosure Magazine

“Genius as far as contemporary new wave/cinematic art-rock goes… An epic audio masterpiece.” – The Big Takeover

Boston post-punk / post-rock (let’s call it post-wave) quartet Junius has slowly built up a strong following over the course of a pair of EPs and some very impressive live shows. Soon, the band’s epic, dark sound will spread even further with the October release of a self-titled disc compiling the two previous records on Radar / S.A.F. Records. Junius is currently touring across the U.S. and Canada en route to record its debut full length in September at Henson Recording with Tom Syrowski and Kevin Mills (AFI, Weezer, The Bravery) under the working title The Martyrdom of A Catastrophist. See complete tour dates below.

Boston has long been known as a breeding ground for renowned political dissidents as well as mind-expanding sonic adventurists. A legacy of great progressive labels (like Hydra Head, Tortuga and Big Wheel Recreation) and a harbor full of Earl Grey attest to that. Carrying in that tradition is Junius – at once an enigmatic letter-writing historical footnote (and political critic from the 1700’s) as well as a rainy, Brit-inflected supernova of gigantic guitars, entrancing lights and erudite lyrics founded by drummer Dana Filloon, singer/guitarist Joseph E. Martinez and guitarist Mike Repasch-Nieves.

The New England coast was first illuminated by Junius on Friday, February 13, 2004 at a sold out show at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA. Drawing upon influences as diverse as Failure, Hum, Sunny Day Real Estate and The Cure, Junius electrified the rapt audience with the spellbinding walls of dreamy guitars and alluring lights that have continued to define the band’s signature aesthetic. Together with fellow Bostonians Seneca and Constants, they formed the core of the Radar Recordings collective-a community of self-funded progressive artists founded in 2002 — which filled a void left behind when the aforementioned labels uprooted and expanded to warmer climes.

Shortly after releasing their first EP, the post-wave pioneers began a relentless touring regimen of multiple headlining and co-headlining North American tours to fan the flames of an already relatively blazing press. Of the EP, Disclosure Magazine wrote, “One of the most engaging dark rock albums to come out since Joy Division last graced a stage.” Junius played over 200 shows in 2005 alone, and spent nearly 9 months on the road that year.

The songs which make up Junius’s self-titled album (Radar / S.A.F. Records) were recorded by Will Benoit (of Constants), and mastered by Nick Zampiello (Isis, Converge, Pelican, Cave In.) Hailed as “genius” by The Big Takeover, Junius’ work is borne of experiments in isolation and ascetism, including month-long stints in remote places including a storage facility in Texas, a farmhouse in Vermont, a cabin in Pennsylvania and a small room in the swamps of Louisiana. It’s this austere approach that adds a weighty foundation of authenticity to the members of Junius as credible artists. Themes of forbidden knowledge, supernatural and extra-terrestrial phenomena, and religious mythology permeate singer Joseph E. Martinez’s esoteric lyrics, while the group’s music pushes sonic boundaries.

In addition to the release of the eponymous compilation, 2007 finds Junius as tireless as ever, with a new 7-inch (Radar / Anchorless Records), further touring and plans to begin recording their next album, entitled The Martyrdom of A Catastrophist this Fall. The forthcoming record is based on the life of controversial scholar Immanuel Velikovsky. Martinez, along with illustrator Matt Gauck, will also be releasing an accompanying graphic novel for the record. Junius’ brutal itinerary extends well into 2008, with plans to hit Europe, Japan, as well as more North American dates to solidify their already solid fan base. Appearances on MTV’s On the Rise and scores of “Most Anticipated Album” nominations have all but catapulted Junius to the forefront of the world’s sight line. With this self-titled release, as well as the impending album, the specter of the Junius enigma will loom heavier in the public’s mind than ever before.


Junius Live:

07/24 Burlington, VT 242 Main
07/25 Montreal, QC Zoobizarre
07/27 Toronto, CA Siesta Nouveaux
07/28 Lansing, MI Mac’s Bar
07/31 Denver, CO 2126
08/01 Salt Lake City, UT Liquid Joe’s
08/04 Spokane, WA Prago
08/10 Turlock, CA Mr. Slice Pizza
08/11 Santa Cruz, CA Cafe Pergolesi

Junius Tracklisting:

Stream The Album HERE

01. [Elan Vital]
02. Hiding Knives
03. From The Isle of The Blessed
04. [Elan Fatale]
05. Forcing Out The Silence
06. [The Annunciation]
07. Blood Is Bright
08. A Word Could Kill Her
09. In The Hearts of Titans
10. At The Age of Decay

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OFFICE To Release A Night At The Ritz On September 25

OFFICE
A NIGHT AT THE RITZ
Scratchie/New Line Records
September 25, 2007

AUDIO: The Ritz

Scratchie/New Line Records are thrilled to announce the debut release from one of their newest signings, OFFICE. Due out September 25th, A NIGHT AT THE RITZ is full of the irresistible and sophisticated pop songs that have made this band one of the most popular acts in Chicago over the past year.

Recorded over the Winter and Spring of 2007, A NIGHT AT THE RITZ was produced by frontman Scott Masson, who, along with the band, did the majority of the work on the record at his apartment. Final touches and mixing took place at New York’s Stratosphere Sound.

Over the past year and a half, OFFICE has built an enormous organic buzz at home, through steady gigs in Chicago (including a performance at Lollapalooza ’06) and Masson’s native Detroit, as well as through their two self-released demo albums. Though featured in nearly every publication in Chicago, the band also caught the attention of such national outlets as Billboard, who featured the band in their “Now Hear This” column; Magnet, who reviewed the band’s 2005 self-release, Q&A; NPR, which gave the band a “Song of the Day” feature; and Spin.com, who included OFFICE as one of 32 contenders for the 2007 Artist of the Year.

Born out of a series of conceptual art pieces at the turn of the century, OFFICE is the brainchild of Scott Masson. Masson would fill galleries with cubicle displays, Xereox paper, boxes, pop culture items. As he recalls, “They were all very minimal and blank-looking, but it was the start of some thematic dialogue within myself.” After about a year, Masson turned his attention to music, recording numerous demos with various friends. In these songs, Masson dealt with similar themes to his sculptures: OFFICE imagery, city life, pop culture, work environments, love, social structure and money. A few years later, OFFICE became a full-fledged band, with the current lineup of guitarist Tom Smith, bassist Alissa Noonan, drummer Erica Corniel and backup singer/multi-instrumentalist Jessica Gonyea, and put out a self-released album of infectious new-wavey pop tunes entitled Q&A.

During the Summer of 2006, the band caught the ear of Scratchie Records owners James Iha and Adam Schlesinger, and the heads of parent company New Line Records, and by November, OFFICE had signed a deal with the label.

A NIGHT AT THE RITZ contains brand new material, as well as select gems culled from five years worth of demo recordings that have been re-worked and re-recorded. All persons involved with OFFICE and THE RITZ felt that these older songs were simply too good to not be released on a wider level. About the album, Masson muses, “This album has easily been the most grueling recording project I’ve ever been a part of, but also the most rewarding. It’s not like this was setting up a band in the studio, and pressing the record button. There are tympanis, keyboards, concert percussion, electronic flourishes, machines, studio tricks, tape machines, choral vocals, and acoustic moments. It was years of revision, reworking, rethinking, subtracting, adding, and re-recording until it got to where it is now.” He adds, “I feel like we live in completely surreal times, and this album is a reaction to that sensation.”

TRACK LISTING
1. Oh My
2. If You Don’t Know By Now
3. The Ritz
4. Company Calls
5. Wound Up
6. The Big Band Jump!
7. Plus Minus Fairytale
8. Paralyzed Prince
9. Had A Visit
10. Q&A
11. Dominoes
12. Possibilities
13. Suburban Perfume

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Made Out Of Babies press release

Made Out of Babies announces summer tour, band led by the singer Decibel calls “Metal’s Most Riveting Frontwoman” and Revolver picks among the “Hottest Chicks in Metal” brings intense, volatile live show to the masses.

Made Out of Babies — the New York City quartet that looks like renegade fashion models and sounds like a ferocious hybrid of PJ Harvey, Jesus Lizard, Babes In Toyland and Big Black — has announced tour dates throughout the east coast and midwest in July. See complete tour dates below.

The band’s sophomore Neurot Recordings album, Coward (E-CARD) received an 8 out of 10 rating from Decibel Magazine and ranked in that publication’s Top 40 Best Albums of 2006. Likewise, Revolver Magazine currently features vocalist Julie Christmas in its “Hottest Chicks in Metal” issue. And, despite the group’s menacing sound and intimidating glamour, much of the mainstream music media has embraced MOoB’s dark portents.

“Metal’s Most Riveting Frontwoman” might be the type of accolades awarded in a construction industry trade magazine, but we double-checked and such high praise for Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice wailer Julie Christmas is indeed that of the esteemed rock monthly Decibel Magazine (which also awarded the Battle of Mice debut a perfect 10 out of 10!) Likewise, several other publications have sung the praises of Coward since its release in October, 2006.

Made Out of Babies first captured the attention of the underground punk/metal scene with its Neurot Recordings debut Trophy in 2005. On stage, caterwauling front-woman Julie Christmas paces the floor, yelping with a bewitching intensity that defies her charming beauty and occasionally cherubic whispers. Meanwhile, towering guitarist Brendan Tobin coolly strangulates leaden sheets of guitar strata from his battered six-string, bassist Cooper lunges in time as his instrument rumbles and slithers around Matthew Egan’s relentlessly churning rhythms and blood-splattering drum fills.

There’s no rock machismo in the sounds of Made Out of Babies, which just might be what makes it so unsettling and unique. Instead, the group bears a mysteriously unified all-out visual and aural aesthetic assault reminiscent of mid-period Black Flag. And yet, there’s a certain curious glamour to MOoB that gives it a monolithic appeal.

MOoB’s sophomore album was recorded with the equally intimidating Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago, which could only be described as a match made in… loud. Where its previous album condensed its songs into a single psychotic impulse, Coward blasts its sound inward as well as outward, like a cathartic supernova from a band driven beyond any point of being rational.

From the very first throat-searing yowl that opens the album, Coward is, quite simply, bigger that you. “Proud To Drown” lurches with Cooper’s staccato bass line tugging at Eagan’s pulsating 6/8 drum pattern while Tobin’s Middle Eastern tinged riff winds it all up to erupt. While “Fed” temporarily cools the band’s frenetic energy to greasy throb, it seems primarily to highlight the fact that Julie can really sing – not that any of us are likely to coax a sweet lullaby out of her anytime soon. But, her vocal acrobatics — leaping effortlessly from a demure whisper to a note-perfect murderous scream — are in finest form here, reminiscent of Leslie Rankine of Silverfish and/or a more demented Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Throughout, the album Made Out of Babies remains evocative, intimidating, brutally frank and — as the International rock press shouted with glee over the band’s stunning debut – by far Neurot Recordings’ most unabashedly rocking outfit.

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Girl Talk goes topless for Playgirl, eats hot dogs with Congressman Doyle and Newsweek

Girl Talk goes topless for Playgirl, eats hot dogs with Congressman Doyle and Newsweek, quits his job and goes on tour with Dan Deacon.

Although you’re more likely to see Gillis strip down to his skivvies at a Girl Talk show, half a million people saw Gillis exposed in June’s “Man of The Year” issue of Playgirl Magazine. When discussing what he likes to do in his free time, Gillis says, “I enjoy swimming, playing basketball, lighting off fireworks, snacking it out, and bro’n down.” About the issue, Gillis says, “I didn’t know it was out, and a friend actually spotted it in a women’s restroom at this pretty dive-y bar in Pittsburgh. She didn’t know I was in it, she was just browsing. Pretty funny situation.”

What some might find even funnier is the fact that Gillis ate hot dogs with Newsweek journalist Steven Levy and Congressman Mike Doyle shortly after the Playgirl piece hit stands. Levy and Congressman Doyle flew to Pittsburgh to meet Gillis at local hot dog joint Franktuary to discuss Doyle’s recent statements supporting Girl Talk ’s sample based music on the floor of Congress. Read all about it (LINK).

Gillis recently was granted the freedom to do the above mentioned things, as he recently resigned from his job as a biomedical engineer that up until now has also kept him from taking on more remix projects and touring on a regular basis.

“I couldn’t keep up with both worlds,” Gillis says. “It was just too much. I keep getting sick because I’m in a constant state of running somewhere else. Music has always been my main interest, but I never really thought of it as a possible career. I think I’m extremely lucky to be in the position I am in now, where I can dedicate at least a year of my life to music and stay afloat.”

According to Gillis’ booking agent Sam Hunt at The Windish Agency, “It shouldn’t have too great of an impact on his live schedule. There’s something awesome about only playing on the weekends, and we’d like to do our best to keep that going,” Hunt says. “However, there have been a number of uniquely awesome opportunities that have been impossible because they took place during the week. Also, there’s a chance he’ll be able to do a more thorough/actual tour involving multiple consecutive shows!”

Gillis’s resignation also granted him the opportunity to go on tour with Dan Deacon, more flexibility to perform at special events during the week and also more time to work on Trey Told ‘Em, a band he started with friend and collaborator Frank Musarra (Hearts of Darknesses). The duo has already completed one remix for Tokyo Police Club, and has many more in the works including tracks for Simian Mobile Disco and Professor Murder.

Girl Talk was one of the highlights of this year’s Coachella festival (VIDEO), with Paris Hilton (mere weeks before her incarceration!) and Perry Farrell dancing alongside him and throwing confetti. As usual, Gillis had a crew of dancers join him on stage, with gigantic bright yellow balloons tied to their wrists. Girl Talk was also a hit at this month’s Bonnaroo Festival and the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona.

Who ever thought you would see the day when the words Playgirl, Newsweek and Paris Hilton could all be used in one of our press releases? In true Girl Talk fashion, he never ceases to amaze.

In addition to the tour with Dan Deacon, Gillis is excited to be playing several more summer festivals, including Pitchfork and the Winnipeg and Montreal Jazz Festivals. He will also put his fan base to the test this July by playing Red Rocks in Colorado with Violent Femmes and Blues Traveler, soon to be followed by a show with Widespread Panic in Boston. This just further illustrates Girl Talk ’s notorious “down for whatever” attitude about music.

Girl Talk Live:

* w/ Dan Deacon

07/04 Morrison, CO Red Rock Pavillion
07/14 Chicago, IL Pitchfork Music Festival
07/18 Boston, MA Bank Of America Pavilion
07/27 Seattle, WA Capitol Hill Block Party
07/28 Louisville, KY Forecastle Festival
08/04 Baltimore, MD Pimlico Race Park
08/09 Indianapolis, IN Talbott Street
08/10 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
08/24 Tulsa, OK Cains Ballroom
09/08 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
09/12 Toronto, ON Phoenix*
09/15 New York, NY Webster Hall*
09/17 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church*
09/20 Charlottesville, VA Satellite Ballroom*
09/21 Asheville, NC Orange Peel*
09/22 Atlanta, GA MJQ Concourse*
09/27 San Diego, CA Epicentre*
09/28 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex*
09/29 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore*
10/04 Lawrence, KS The Granada Theatre
10/05 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
10/06 Iowa City, IA The Picador
10/11 Calgary, AB The Warehouse
10/12 Edmonton, AB The Starlite Room
11/01 Houston, TX Engine Room
11/02 Dallas, TX Palladium Loft