By Dave Cantor
The greatest myths are good stories. And tales behind the discovery of any band are just decent fiction—or at least realities tweaked well enough to conjure up towering imagery.
Sweden’s Goat isn’t issuing its Stateside debut because of outstanding European festival performances but rather because a band it shares practice space with just shot a video over to Chris Reeder, UK’s Rocket Recordings honcho, and he dug it. That’s only part of the story, though.
“Over the course of the next few months when we were putting the seven-inch together, the band themselves started communicating with us,” Reeder says about his earliest digital interactions with the Swedes. “Then we didn’t really hear anything else from them until about May … when out of the blue ‘World Music,’ all finished and mastered, landed in our inbox.” Read the rest of this entry »
By Dave Cantor
Paul Williams is dead.
And while the journalist’s March 27 passing has little impact on Akron/Family, its new disc “Sub Verses” or the fact that the trio, augmented by Los Angeles-based synth-junkie M. Geddes Gengras, is set to appear at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday, Williams’ death points to a necessity to discuss music differently.
Postmortem, the Crawdaddy! founder is amid some of the widest appreciation he’s been afforded in decades. It’s easy to resurrect the dead’s legacy and reflect on it in an age of digital cataloguing. But what the guy keeps getting credit for is commenting on music in a way that had less to do with picking out what time-signature’s being used and more connected with what those rhythms make a listener feel—how the emotive qualities in a recording work on the person taking it in.
Akron/Family drummer Dana Janssen may or may not be aware that Williams is no longer spinning vinyl and opining, but the Portland-dwelling percussionist says he hopes journalists can eventually write uniquely on his band. Read the rest of this entry »
By Dave Cantor
The Midwest can be alright. But it’s also a place that a lot of folks can’t stand.
The sprawling plains and seemingly dead industrial centers stretching through Illinois, Indiana and Ohio track a decaying history of punk that only folks who lived it can properly comprehend.
“People just didn’t know what it was,” Dale Lawrence says over the phone from Indianapolis. “So it’s gratifying to be able to play every few years.”
Lawrence and several other recruits were dug out of Bloomington, Indiana to constitute the Gizmos. Read the rest of this entry »
The biggest names in surf music are pretty much all sideshows at this late date. Reviving them isn’t even really a possibility. But their music still pervades our culture and continues to impact scores of performers as well as movie fans astute enough to hear echoes in Ennio Morricone’s work. Marco Cappelli, an Italian-born guitarist and composer who has worked in academia and alongside Han Bennink, Marc Ribot and other thoughtful performers, has taken an appreciation for New York’s downtown jazz, his cultural background and love of reasonably obscure horror flicks and blended them in his Italian Surf Academy project. Read the rest of this entry »
Formed by two Slumberland alums, Sic Alps began an ambitious career by issuing an unrealistic number of singles over the course of its first few years in existence. The torrid release schedule allowed the band to get some of its more verbose moments on tape while simultaneously readying the troupe for long-form endeavors. The rough edges, though, were pretty much the focus of 2006′s “Pleasures and Treasures.” Read the rest of this entry »
Imagine getting a glimpse of your favorite band’s entire career, from their earliest output to their most famous work, with detailed liner notes accompanying more than two decades of recordings.
That’s how Allison Schein describes the Malachi Ritscher Collection, an archive of more than 4,000 unique live recordings of Chicago’s experimental and improvised music scene. Schein is the archive manager of the Creative Audio Archive, an initiative of the Experimental Sound Studio that launched a recently successful Kickstarter campaign to preserve the late Ritscher’s personal library.
“It is the most complete documentation of what was going on in a very important music scene,” Schein says. Read the rest of this entry »
So late in the year, the frequency of quality festivals tapers off. But setting off that autumnal awe is the tenth installment of Adventures in Modern Music, a joint venture between the Empty Bottle and The Wire, to bring together a sizable selection of out-sounds from different genres. One of the better-known acts to be fitted into this sprawling look at contemporary music is R. Stevie Moore, who’s been given credit for presaging the slew of home-recording projects clogging up the internet nowadays. His work’s something like Daniel Johnston’s in that there’re clearly some ghosts being worked out in each affectional composition. He performs Wednesday. To highlight Adventures’ desire to strip genre of meaning, Rob Mazurek’s São Paulo Underground takes a spot on stage during the same evening, raving up experiments that use jazzy frameworks birthed from south of the equator. Read the rest of this entry »
Sun Araw/Photo: Fabian Villa
By Dave Cantor
Electronic experiments in the States and Jamaica’s vocal tradition may be one of the few remaining untapped combinations in the music world. Luckily, Cameron Stallones, who performs and records as Sun Araw, was already privy to the work of a North Carolinian who wouldn’t distinguish between acoustic folk traditions and 1950s minimal compositions. Unwittingly influenced by Henry Flynt’s recombination, Stallones generates at the crossroad of disparate sounds.
“Some of that stuff is the most relentlessly psychedelic music—like the violin strobe stuff,” Stallones says of Henry Flynt’s fiddle improvisations, which are set atop looped drones for 1981’s “You Are My Everlovin’.” Read the rest of this entry »
From track to track, it’d be difficult to deduce which Lightning Bolt long-player one’s listening to. But with the drums-bass setup, that’s unsurprising. What is out of the ordinary is the ruckus drummer Brian Chippendale and basser Brian Gibson are able to summon from their pair of instruments. Beginning as a Rhode Island School of Design project and branching out to international van dwellers, Lightning Bolt’s sub-terra popularity followed the broader emergence of a self-sufficient noise scene, replete with low-rent tape releases and enough DIY venues to support a torrid touring schedule. Read the rest of this entry »
When Columbus’ the Black Swans began recording, New Weird America was in its fetal stage. And while the revolving troupe of players led by Jerry DeCicca weren’t active players in that almost-genre, the band did issue a disc through Pennsylvania’s La Société Expéditionnaire. Apart from the band’s instrumentation, DeCicca’s oddly pitched vocals gliding atop updated country arrangements hint at the ensemble’s intention of reveling in its own brand of American music. Read the rest of this entry »