Text your friend “Bobby”: (Sandy) Alex G is coming on tour to a city near you!!

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You know what Keith Richards says when he’s all strung out on hemp seeds and journalists ask him how he’s been touring non-stop for the better part of 50 years? He says (in my head at least, with that loose Cockney accent of his): “You know, love, it’s a young man’s game…”

This is odd, since Keith is older than the hills now and is closing in on the tail end of the British male life expectancy faster than a Joe Satriani guitar solo. But it is true; touring is a young man’s game, and Philadelphia’s Alex Giannascoli — a.k.a (Sandy) Alex G — probably knows this as well as anyone at this stage in his career.

After finishing up virtually all of the past twelve months on the road (with the likes of Fleet Foxes and Dr. Dog), Alex has just announced a string of headlining North American tour dates, which will be commencing November 1 at Toronto’s Mod Club and concluding December 14 at Warsaw in Brooklyn.

Instead of playing second fiddle to his Philly compatriots Dr. Dog, though, this time around Alex will be le plat principal — sharing the spotlight with no one other than his trusty (Sandy) bandmates.

Tickets for the tour will go on sale Wednesday, August 15, and you can snatch them up here via any form of major online payment. And in case you need a little pumping up up for a live, in-the-flesh Alex G (FADER has audaciously cited him as “America’s greatest living songwriter”), here’s his fiddle-laden hit single “Bobby” from the wickedly successful 2017 LP Rocket:

(Sandy) Alex G tour dates and locations:

11.01.18 – Toronto, ON – Mod Club*
11.02.18 – Akron, OH – Musica*
11.03.18 – Detroit, MI – El Club*
11.04.18 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall*
11.05.18 – Milwaukee, WI – Colectivo*
11.06.18 – St. Louis, MO – Duck Room at Blueberry Hill*
11.08.18 – Dallas, TX – Deep Ellum Art Co*
11.09.18 – Austin, TX – Barracuda*
11.11.18 – Tampa, FL – Crowbar*
11.12.18 – Orlando, FL – The Social*
11.13.18 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade – Hell*
11.14.18 – Durham, NC – Motorco*
11.15.18 – Washington, DC – Black Cat*
11.16.18 – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church*
11.18.18 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club*
12.14.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw ^

* Half Waif
^ Duster, Harmony Tividad

Mmm…Blood Orange three ways: new video released, new album on the way, and tour dates announced

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I might be way off base here, but methinks modern day renaissance man Dev Hynes isn’t one to sit around and binge watch “The Handmaid’s Tale” or “Riverdale” like the rest of us time-wasters. Besides stints with/as Test Icicles/Lightspeed Champion respectively, Hynes’ accomplishments are the sort of staggering stuff that stirs envy and resentment in others (writing and producing for the likes of Solange Knowles, FKA twigs, Carly Rae Jepsen, A$AP Rocky, Kylie Minogue; improvising live with Philip Glass; film-scoring Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto).

No matter the moniker, everything the man touches turns to gold soundz. Over the span of ten years and three enthusiastically-received albums, Hynes’ main outlet has been as Blood Orange. The fourth Blood Orange album, entitled Negro Swan, is out August 24 through Domino Records (pre-order here or directly from Domino). And the first video from Negro Swan, “Charcoal Baby,” can be seen below.

Hynes has had an ear for the sounds of the human soul ever since he heard note one: “My newest album is an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color,” he says. “A reach back into childhood and modern traumas, and the things we do to get through it all. The underlying thread through each piece on the album is the idea of HOPE, and the lights we can try to turn on within ourselves with a hopefully positive outcome of helping others out of their darkness.”

Fresh off his set at Pitchfork’s annual fete in Chicago, Hynes has also slotted the Blood Orange band into some juicy festival lineups and mouth-watering club dates. See ‘em all after “Charcoal Baby” below. Hynes is a particularly hot piece right now, so many of these shows might sell out quick. You’ve been warned, slackers and binge-watchers!

Negro Swan tracklisting:

01. Track 1
02. Track 2
03. Track 3
04. Track 4
05. Jewelry
06. Track 6
07. Charcoal Baby
08. Track 8
09. Track 9
10. Track 10
11. Track 11
12. Track 12
13. Track 13
14. Track 14
15. Track 15
16. Track 16

Blood Orange live:

08.05.18 – Montreal, QC – Parc Jean-Drapeau, Osheaga Festival
09.14.18 – Vancouver, BC – The Orpheum, Westward Music Festival
09.15.18 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre
09.16.18 – Portland, OR – Roseland
09.20.18 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theatre
09.21.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
09.22.18 – Las Vegas, NV – Downtown Las Vegas, Life is Beautiful Festival
09.26.18 – New York, NY – Central Park Summerstage
09.27.18 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore
09.28.18 – Washington, DC – Lincoln Theatre
10.01.18 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
10.02.18 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
10.06.18 – Austin, TX – Zilker Park, Austin City Limits
10.13.18 – Austin, TX – Zilker Park, Austin City Limits
10.29.18 – London, UK – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
10.30.18 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg Max
11.02.18 – Paris, France – Grande Halle de la Villette, Pitchfork Music
Festival Paris
11.03-04.18 – Turin, Italy – Lingotto Fiere, Club to Club Festival
11.06.18 – Berlin, Germany – Columbia Theater
11.07-10.18 – Reykjavík, Iceland – Iceland Airwaves Festival
11.08.18 – Copenhagen, Denmark – The Grey Hall

George FitzGerald taps Moby for contemplative new rework

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George FitzGerald taps Moby for contemplative new reworkGeorge Fitzgerald PC Rhodri Brooks 12 300 Dpi

George FitzGerald has tapped the inimitable Moby for a brand new remix of his All That Must Be track “Burns.”

Though FitzGerald’s recent album as a whole is severely contemplative, “Burns” is a considerably melodic standout with fleeting vocals and a soothing melody. Moby takes “Burns” hand-in-hand and slow-dances with the track, creating an emotional new rendition of the tune with equal parts house music wisdom along the way.

FitzGerald is gearing up for a fresh new set of live tour dates, with performances locked in across North America and the UK later this fall.

Music Review: Pram – Across the Meridian

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Across the Meridian

[Domino; 2018]

Rating: 3/5

There’s an odd charm to the Japanese New Wave. Spanning through the 1960s and encompassing the works of Nagisa Oshima, Shohei Imamura, and Seijun Suzuki, the film movement took the lead of their European counterparts (Godard, Truffaut, Resnais, etc.) and further pushed their provocations both formally and thematically. Yet, interestingly, rather than using rock music as a signifier of youth rebellion, most Japanese New Wave films boasted jazzy scores. Hence, we get to see their abject rebels and nihilistic antiheroes against a background of hard bop and modal jazz. And that’s what makes these movies even better: the combination of universal and local themes, very dated and somewhat timeless tropes, adds up to much more than the sum of its parts.

Pram’s work across the last couple of decades shares that capacity, turning an apparent aesthetic dislocation into their most potent weapon. How else can one describe the appeal of a band creating experimental pop music with stylings from before pop took the shape we know? Across the Meridian, the Birmingham band’s first album in over a decade, provides a worthy new chapter to their 25-year career. In the smoky, jazzy vein of 2003’s Dark Island and 2007’s The Moving Frontier, the new album adds a dreamier hue to Pram’s palette. A bit more laidback than its predecessors and encapsulated by exotic shades, Across the Meridian sits somewhere between Les Baxter’s lovable cheese, the playful ingenuity of Pierre Bastien, and the more twisted corners of a 1970s European TV station library music.

Indeed, Across the Meridian sounds ready to score a black and white movie featuring a trip to Cipango, a 1950s Martian lounge, or a Eurotica-leaning noir story. Yet what gives these songs character and brands them as part of the Pram canon is the eerie undercurrent running through them. That spirit comes to the surface often too, via some ghoulish organs and slightly dissonant guitar work (“Thistledown”), grooves two metal scraps away from summoning Tom Waits (“The Midnight Room”), or an exotic sense of menace (“Footprints towards zero,” “Mayfly”). In total, an uncanny beauty very few artists are able to attain.

Across the Meridian’s 12 tracks partake in the strange elegance that has always characterized Pram, reminding us what hauntology was before all those triangles, inverted crosses, and Polaroid-by-way-of-Instagram filters became trendy. Therefore, even if at times it feels tentative and slight, Across the Meridian is a solid work by a band settling into maturity, drifting from post-rock to a less defined version of psychedelic music, leaving a post-punk rooted gene pool to join pastoral experimentalists like Broadcast, Robert Wyatt, and even The Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Considering the band’s catalog as a whole, such a process is as much a rediscovery as a reinvention. And certainly more than enough to spark our curiosity for what a band as restlessly inventive as Pram might want to do next.

Cat Power emerges from six-year cat nap with new album Wanderer and tour

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Quick, run and open your windows! Listen to what all the people are yelling! It’s true what they’re saying: Chan Marshall (Cat Power for all you fake fans) has finally returned with her first album since 2012, Wanderer, and it’s out through Domino on October 5. Thank you, kind strangers! I’ll return the favor if I ever hear of any important Fiona Apple news!

Where was I? Oh yeah — hiatuses, wanderings, cats, and their powers, etc. Wanderer was produced my Marshall herself and features guest vocals from Lana Del Rey on a song titled “Woman.” Here’s Marshall on the record’s personal significance:

[Wanderer’s 11 tracks encompass] my journey so far. The course my life has taken in this journey — going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale; with reverence to the people who did this generations before me. Folk singers, blues singers, and everything in between. They were all wanderers, and I am lucky to be among them.

Speaking of the undying spirit of the eternal wanderer, as depicted in such classic films as Wild Hogs, Chan Marshall is headed out on tour in support of the album (and feline rights, of course). Check out the full itinerary of dates (in both North American and European flavors) by wandering on down below. While down there, you might find a nifty little trailer for Wanderer, as well as the full tracklisting for the album. Once you’re done exploring every digital inch of this page, though, why not mosey on over to these pre-order links for digital and physical formats and pick up a few records for family and friends? After all, everyone’s on their own journey, and every journey needs its soundtrack. This has been Casey Kasem.

Wanderer tracklisting:

01. Wanderer
02. In Your Face
03. You Get
04. Woman feat. Lana Del Rey
05. Horizon
06. Stay
07. Black
08. Robbin Hood
09. Nothing Really Matters
10. Me Voy
11. Wanderer / Exit

Cat Power dates:

09.15.18 – Chicago, IL – Riot Fest
09.25.18 – Berkeley, CA – The Greek Theatre *
09.27.18 – Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center for the Performing Arts *
09.28.18 – Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion *
09.30.18 – New York, NY – Forest Hills Stadium ^
10.05.18 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
10.06.18 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
10.08.18 – Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre
10.09.18 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
10.11.18 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Theater
10.12.18 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
10.13.18 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage
10.23.18 – London, UK – Roundhouse
10.25.18 – Paris, FR – Le Trianon
10.26.18 – Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique
10.28.18 – Berlin, GE – Astra
10.29.18 – Zurich, SW – X-Tra
10.30.18 – Lausanne, SW – Les Docks
11.01.18 – Barcelona, SP – Razzamatazz
11.02.18 – Madrid, SP – Circo Price
11.05.18 – Bologna, IT – Estragon
11.06.18 – Milan, IT – Alcatraz
11.17.18 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
11.18.18 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
11.21.18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Theatre at Ace Hotel
11.23.18 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory OC
11.24.18 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park
11.25.18 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
11.27.18 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
11.28.18 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
11.29.18 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
11.19.18 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls Theatre

* The National
^ The National, Future Islands, U.S. Girls, Bully

Animal Collective unveil new audiovisual album Tangerine Reef, remind us all that coral is an animal

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Oh yes!

Just when you thought that the Alternative Rock combo known as Animal Collective had perhaps finally arpeggiated their last “oh-oh-oh” sound, Avey Tare, Geologist, and Deakin (Panda Bear is still hanging with his homies at the Waffle House, I guess) ARE BACK, BABY!

And lest you previously thought the band’s circle of empathy for the Kingdom Animalia ended with the Mammals (or hell, even with the VERTEBRATES): they’ve just announced that their newest album will come in the form of a “visual tone poem” called Tangerine Reef, consisting of 13 audiovisual sequences-worth of “time-lapse and slow pans across surreal aquascapes of naturally fluorescent coral and cameos by alien-like reef creatures.” (In other words: no CGI or artificial enhancement, just some real-ass, naturally-psychedelic-as-fuck UNDERWATER ANIMALS!)

The album was created in collaboration with the “art-science duo” Coral Morphologic in commemoration of the 2018 International Year of the Reef and will be available on streaming audio services, CD, and 2xLP on August 17 via Domino (a limited-edition, color 2xLP will also be available).

Head here to pre-order any/all of those animalicious things, watch the album trailer down below, and check out the music video (directed by John McSwain and Coral Morphologic) for the opening track/clip “Hair Cutter” exclusively on Apple Music here. (Oh, and don’t forget that the Sung Tongs tour is still a thing that’s happening too! — new dates posted below!)

High-five, my fellow animals!

Tangerine Reef tracklisting:

01. Hair Cutter
02. Buffalo Tomato
03. Inspector Gadget
04. Buxom
05. Coral Understanding
06. Airpipe (To A New Transition)
07. Jake And Me
08. Coral By Numbers
09. Hip Sponge
10. Coral Realization
11. Lundsten Coral
12. Palythoa
13. Best Of Times (Worst Of All)

Sung Tongs tour:

07.17.18 – Atlanta, GA – Symphony Hall
07.19.18 – New York, NY – Town Hall
07.20.18 – New York, NY – Town Hall
07.21.18 – Washington DC – Lincoln Theatre
07.23.18 – Austin, TX – Paramount
07.25.18 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
07.27.18 – Chicago, IL – Vic
07.29.18 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre
07.30.18 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theatre
07.31.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Ace Theatre
08.01.18 – Los Angeles, CA Ace Theatre

Music Review: Dirty Projectors – Lamp Lit Prose

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Dirty Projectors

Lamp Lit Prose

[Domino; 2018]

Rating: 3.5/5

Dave Longstreth has always seemed too sincere for the cynical, self-denying idiom of experimental rock. The genre steeps itself in alienating tools like harsh feedback, challenging song structure, and cold, abstract lyrics while often conforming to the guitar-bass-drum paradigm that grounds and distinguishes rock & roll from other styles. It postures itself as subversive and polarizing while at the same time denying its reliance on that tried and true music foundation. So to hear Longstreth, on the song “Two Brown Finches” from 2003’s The Glad Fact, longingly sing, “We drank a two-liter of Orange Crush” over a lo-fi, borderline no-fi guitar strumming pattern that sounds a little like a Charles Manson song is unusual, to say the least.

That lyric of adolescent reminiscence, of restrained heartbreak, is the kind of contemplative, romantic poetry that set Dirty Projectors apart from the lo-fi outsider artists who came into being alongside the band in the early aughts. On “Finches,” Orange Crush was the sugary, calorically empty drink of romance. On Bitte Orca’s “Temecula Sunrise,” the libation of choice changed to Gatorade as Longstreth and his partner sipped heartily in afterglow. This motif concluded last year on the band’s self-titled LP; on “Up in Hudson,” Longstreth sings of former girlfriend and bandmate Amber Coffman hanging out in Echo Park “drinking a fifth” in remembrance of him while he wallows to Kanye’s music on the Taconic Parkway.

Longstreth is a romantic, first and foremost, and as such, he was an outlier in the experimental rock circles that the Projectors were so often lumped into in their early days. But it also appeared that he and his bandmates were always interested in a more conventional pop aesthetic, with the group embodying an increasingly accessible sound with each passing album. With oblique but not totally inscrutable lyrics and labyrinthine guitar lines that slowly laid the pathway toward an orthodox R&B/pop sound, Dirty Projectors made no bones about their pop-oriented ambitions. And on Lamp Lit Prose, the band make good on those ambitions and offer their most conventional collection of songs yet.

Lamp Lit Prose is in many ways a wiping of the band’s slate. The Projector’s eponymous album last year served as an attempt at rebranding, but it was ultimately a breakup album and, as such, was rooted in the group’s past, particularly Longstreth’s personal attachment to Coffman, who departed the group in 2013. But Prose is a new beginning. On “Blue Bird,” Longstreth declares, “I feel just fine on this bench with you” in an access of contentment. The bottle of soda is gone from the scene, but the romantic sentiment of “Finches” remains. “You and me, me and you/ Something sweet, something new,” goes the chorus. The airy R&B backdrop is a bit understated for this bald-faced declaration of jubilance, but in that it isn’t without its charm.

Like any good pop composer, which is what Longstreth always wanted to be, it seems, the singer best conveys his ideas by way of big, hefty instrumentation. Take “I Found it in U,” whose opening line echoes that of “Blue Bird:” “Ask now, I’m in love for the first time ever.” The song’s busy percussion and halting power pop guitar breathe life into the awe-stricken lyrics and forgive the vagueness of the song’s titular hook. Likewise, the excitement of “I Feel Energy” comes from the song’s disconnect between its kinetic futurist R&B dance posturing and use of broad, defeatist lyrical fodder (“We are fundamentally alone in the universe,” “The world is gonna end,” etc.).

The album’s successes in its admixture of striking music and lyrics is hampered, however, by its reliance on the tricks of some of Dirty Projectors’ earlier songs. Opening track “Right Now’s” precisely plucked Spanish guitar harks back to 2009’s “Temecula Sunrise,” as does “That’s a Lifestyle’s” twin acoustic zig zagging. “Zombie Conqueror,” with a meretricious folk intro and electric stomp chorus, bears a resemblance to Orca’s “The Bride” that’s more than coincidental. And while these songs aren’t uninspired in their revisiting of the group’s back catalogue, they don’t capture the manic grace of a band deftly towing the line between experimental and mainstream rock that those Bitte songs did. On these tracks, it sounds as if Longstreth were looking into a mirror and seeing (or wishing to see) the long-haired, clean-shaven librettist who once fronted the Projectors, rather than the bearded, romantic zealot leader he is today.

Dirty Projectors remain such an elusive band because their career trajectory has been so unpredictable. Few groups have the temerity to follow a high-concept reimagining of Black Flag’s Damaged from memory with a string of romantic avant rock song cycles. But Lamp Lit Prose is a quiet retreat into the confines of basic rock and pop trappings — perhaps not an unpredictable stepping stone in the group’s career, but certainly not unwelcome either. As its bookish title suggests, the album can be quaint, yet Prose is not an overthought practice in understatement. It’s a work of populist experimentation, a piece of music that flails outward as much as it meditates inward.

Avey Tare announces new 12-inch Essence of Eucalyptus to cool down those burning ears of yours

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Good news, fellow animal-people: Avey Tare — the animal-guy who proudly brought you Eucalyptus last year — has apparently managed to squeeeeeeze a few more drops of essential oil out of those eucalyptus leaves, because he’s just announced a new 12-inch record chock full of songs from that album “as remixed by fellow Animal Collective members Geologist, Panda Bear, Deakin,” plus “a recording taken from a live performance” behind last year’s tour.

Without thinking too super-hard, he’s decided to call the new four-song offering Essence of Eucalyptus, and it’s available for your turntable needle’s tactile pleasure RIGHT NOW from Domino!

Woo! If you live in the USA, get ready to start your upcoming 4th of July holiday off with a quadruple-sized BANG — of cool, slow-motion underwater grooves and hypnotic, meandering loops, that is! Who’s ready to veerrrrrry, mellooooooowly paaaaaaaaarty??

Awesome. In that case: bust out your minty herbal tea and croquet set, stream the songs down below via YouTube, and head basically anywhere to claim your own vinyl and/or digital copy of the special-surprise goodness now.

Essence of Eucalyptus tracklisting:

01. When You Left Me (Geologist Remix)
02. Melody Unfair (Panda Bear Remix)
03. Ms. Secret (Deakin Remix)
04. PJ / DW aw One for J (Live)

Watch: How To Dress Well – “Vacant Boat (shred) | Nonkilling 1 | The Anteroom | False Skull 1”

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How To Dress Well has returned after a two-year break with a new track called — take a deep breath — “Vacant Boat (shred) | Nonkilling 1 | The Anteroom | False Skull 1.” HTDW’s new one is a graceful, unassuming composition that finds depth among its subdued vocals and its gripping, club-tinged percussion. Wholly engaging for a 7-minute song, “Vacant Boat…” provides a weirdly smooth ride though a series of jolting texture and mood changes; the darkness that unfolds at the 5-minute mark is especially cool.

“Vacant Boat…” is part of a single called “Land Of The Overflowing Urn,” out now on Domino. If the song is any indication of what’s to come later this year, we can expect something a little more frayed and dissonant than what HTDW has offered in the past.

Trigger warning: YouTube may play a Jack White video after this one ends—it did for me.

Cult post-rock band Pram return with first new album in 11 years, share instrumental single “Shimmer and Disappear”

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The late ’90s called, and they want their music news back. Pram, one of the most original English “Alternative” (when was the last time you saw that word in print!?) bands of yesteryear, have announced their first full-length album since 2007. Across The Meridian will be out through Domino on July 20 and is preceded now by the video for instrumental single “Shimmer and Disappear,” which you can view down below.

Variously classified as post-rock, prog-rock, lounge-core, and “cinematic krautrock,” Pram were an important precursor to Ghost Box’s hauntology: a genre of retro-minded pop music whose sole MO was to conjure the eerie feelings one has when reminiscing about a future that never materialized. Over nine albums and a fifteen-year career, Pram had perfected a wonderfully insular sound that relied on evoking the memories of monsters under the bed, B-movie scores, and vintage synthesizers — a sound that put them in the same league as Stereolab, Broadcast, and this guy.

Sadly re-uniting without founding member and singer Rosie Cuckston, the group now consists of Matt Eaton, Sam Owen, Max Simpson and Harry Dawes. Across The Meridian was recorded in Foel studios in Wales, and, according to Eaton, “It’s slightly more hi-fi than previous albums with digital tech making everything more possible.” Well…at least SOMETHING is better now than it was 11 years ago.

Across the Meridian tracklisting:

01. Shimmer and Disappear
02. Thistledown
03. Electra
04. Wave of Translation
05. Shadow in Twilight
06. Ladder to the Moon
07. The Midnight Room
08. Footprints Towards Zero
09. Mayfly
10. Sailing Stones
11. Where the Sea Stops Moving
12. Doll’s Eyes