Music Review: Mouse On Mars – Dimensional People

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Mouse On Mars

Dimensional People

[Thrill Jockey; 2018]

Rating: 2/5

Warm synths simmered down by warm blankets. Absence rather than presence, then back again. An iridescence like the nacreous interior of an abalone shell. An aura that massages you. Cocktails crafted by extraterrestrials in spaceship lounges overlooking the darkness of the galaxy.

Spoken word vibes; jazzy electronica chillaxin’. Then back into this noisy, uniquely Germanic space. Songs divided into parts that make you wonder why anyone would divide a song into parts. From a ray of sunshine that speaks of the African American experience to the turbid murk of some Wald. It’s not about nature, of course. Just a marathon through a certain type of membrane-space that may or may not be about the madness of being normal and the madness of collaboration.

Yeah, so they were inspired by footwork. I don’t think there’s a trace of that here, honestly. Instead, we’ve got all these cameos from dead-end artists like Spank Rock (remember him?) and Zach Condon (remember him too?). Although it’s nice to see these guys guest on this album, it’s not a good look. Wrong time portal maybe? Dimensional People wants to be a major rap album, complete with cameos stacked way high, all epic and prodigal. But it’s just not all there.

So, how did they do it? Did they ask each artist, one by one? Who asked who? Who was where, and why? Did sunlight slash their sunglasses as they signed the papers?

The Sea and Cake add west coast dates to an expectedly lovely tour in support of pleasantness (and their new album)

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You generally know what you’re going to get with any given Sea and Cake album, and with that comes a level of comfort that serves to mitigate the anxiousness brought about by the unpredictability of every day life occurrences.

Should I be worried that the Honey Nut Cheerios I’m eating for breakfast will suddenly mutate, enlarge, and hoop over my torso as a result of its newfound consciousness and desire to enact human enslavement? Possibly. But ought I to worry that any future Sea and Cake album won’t feature Sam Prekop’s relaxing vocals (and the calming melodies accompanying them) infiltrating my mind? Or that it’ll somehow veer off dramatically into some brand new genre coined by Chicago-based members themselves?? I should think not.

Consider the familiar sounds of The Sea and Cake’s brand new album Any Day (which is still scheduled for release in about a month’s time). The only real curve ball I can think of is that new albums from US-based bands are frequently accompanied by supporting tours of BOTH coasts and not just one of them…

Oh wait. Here’s comes a list of just-announced West Coast shows now, just below the prerequisite tour trailer.

See? What’d I tell you? Sweet, comfy PREDICTABILITY.

Sea and Cake, from sea to shining sea:

05.13.18 – Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
05.14.18 – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse
05.15.18 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
05.16.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere
05.17.18 – Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel
05.18.18 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
05.19.18 – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern
05.20.18 – Durham, NC – The Pinhook
05.21.18 – Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle Tavern
05.22.18 – Nashville, TN – Exit In
05.23.18 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle (early show)
05.23.18 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle (late show)
06.09.18 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
06.10.18 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
06.12.18 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
06.13.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Zebulon
06.14.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Zebulon
06.15.18 – Tucson, AZ – 191 Toole
06.17.18 – Austin, TX – 3TEN ACL
06.18.18 – Dallas, TX – Deep Ellum Art Co.
06.19.18 – Norman, – Opolis
06.20.18 – St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House
06.21.18 – Lawrence, KS – Bottleneck
08.16.18 – Chicago, IL – Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion

John Parish tends neglected flock, announces new album Bird Dog Dante, featuring PJ Harvey

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Look alive, bird dogs: John Parish has a new solo album for you to sniff out. It’s called Bird Dog Dante — out June 15 on Thrill Jockey. And speaking of sniffers, he almost snuck this one out under PJ Harvey’s nose, too — she only appears on one (!!!) song.

The album is being billed as Parish’s first “song-oriented” (i.e. not film music) album in nearly a decade. The aforementioned Harvey feature comes in the form of a duet on advance track “Sorry for Your Loss.”

Parish has been prolifically collaborating with Harvey since the ‘80s; their creative output includes two co-billed full-lengths, in addition to myriad Parish production/playing credits on Harvey’s solo material. The material on Bird Dog Dante reportedly originated from the time Parish spent as musical director on Harvey’s world tour following 2016’s The Hope Six Demolition Project, during which Parish used Harvey as a sounding board for lyric ideas.

Before Bird Dog Dante drops like a dead pheasant in June, Parish will also give a commemorative performance of Nick Drake music on what would have been the British folk musician’s 70th birthday. “Remembered for a While – The Music of Nick Drake,” will take place at St. George’s in Bristol on April 12, and it will feature, in addition to Parish, a variety of other performers including Aldous Harding, Nadine Khouri, H. Hawkline, and the Lochrian String Quartet.

But for now, pre-order Bird Dog Dante from Thrill Jockey, and check out “Sorry for Your Loss” (and gander at the album’s full tracklist) down below.

Bird Dog Dante by John Parish

Bird Dog Dante tracklisting:

01. Add To The List
02. Sorry For Your Loss
03. The March
04. Let’s Go
05. Type 1
06. Rachel
07. Buffalo
08. Kireru
09. Le Passé Devant Nouse
10. Carver’s House
11. The First Star

Be Positive! Heady power trio E (Thalia Zedek, Gavin McCarthy, Jason Sanford) to release Negative Work this May through Thrill Jockey

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Ah, the potency of the triumvirate: each member bringing different strength sets to the group, shoring up the weaknesses, and challenging each individual to truly examine their core values and beliefs. Equal contributions without the asinine adversarial nonsense that comes with groups of two and four. I’d like to think E knows this and picked its name in honor of the alphabet’s most common letter — the power letter — the one that has three equal parallel prongs distending influence from its command base. Or maybe the threesome simply picked the name because it is the first letter in the word “enough.” As in: “eeeeeeNOUGH about the origin of our band name E, ya jackass!”

Name play aside, the tight-knit, twin guitar-led trio E will release its latest ear attack on May 25 through the esteemed Thrill Jockey. Negative Work once again features Gavin McCarthy (Karate) on propulsive smashing, Jason Sanford (Neptune) on an amazing variety of custom-built string things and rigging, and Thalia Zedek (Live Skull, Come) on deathless guitar.

Negative Work is the second album proper from E (not including the Foundations/Trials cassette) — as well as their second on Thrill Jockey (after debut E) — and it’s available to pre-order on CD, DL, and limited white-vinyl LP here and here. Meanwhile, listen to the urging leadoff single “Untie Me” below. It’s E-z as 1-2-THREE!

Negative Work by E

Negative Work tracklisting:

01. Pennies
02. The Projectionist
03. Poison Letter
04. A House Inside
05. Down She Goes
06. One in Two
07. Untie Me
08. Cannibal Chatroom
09. Hole in Nature
10. Hollow

LivE datEs:

05.24.18 – Providence, RI – AS220
05.25.18 – Boston, MA – Midway Café

Marisa Anderson announces Thrill Jockey debut Cloud Corner; shows with Circuit des Yeux & Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and some prime pickin’ fest sets

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“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” So said “honorary doctorate” bestseller Stephen King. Regardless of your views on the assembly-line horror master, there is a lot to be said for hard work. It does take a LOT of hard work to get very good at something.

Someone else who is very good at something — namely, the guitar — is Marisa Anderson, who will finally release her latest album, Cloud Corner, June 15 on Thrill Jockey.

If you’re not up to speed: Marisa Anderson is a sickeningly skilled guitarist. (Yeah, and water is wet.) But this talented musician also possesses truly special traits that aren’t easily birthed OR practiced. Whether she is interpreting traditional and public domain songs or creating empathetic originals, getting sounds so solid and so spacious simultaneously is nothing short of a miracle. Her style is the embodiment of “American music” and she is one of the few instrumentalists that can tell a story and retell a history.

Pre-order Cloud Corner at Thrill Jockey or on Anderson’s Bandcamp now, and listen to Cloud Corner’s titular track down below, followed by tracklist and live dates. Among those listed below are unmissable shows with Circuit des Yeux (!) and Godspeed! You Black Emperor (!) and appearances at two of the best fret-centric festivals in the U.S.: The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose and Pickathon.

Cloud Corner by Marisa Anderson

Cloud Corner tracklisting:

01. Pulse
02. Slow Ascent
03. Angel’s Rest
04. Cloud Corner
05. Sanctuary
06. Sun Song
07. Lament
08. Sant Feliu de Guíxols
09. Surfacing
10. Lift

Marisa Anderson live:

03.30.18 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
04.06.18 – Madison, WI – University of Wisconsin @ Der Rathskeller #
04.07.18 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar #
04.09.18 – Durham, NC – Duke’s Coffeehouse #
04.10.18 – Asheville, NC – The Mothlight #
04.11.18 – Knoxville, TN – The Pilot Light #
04.14.18 – Takoma Park, MD – Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium %
05.19.18 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre $
05.21.18 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren $
05.22.18 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory $
05.23.18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern $
05.24.18 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory North Park $
05.25.18 – Pioneertown, CA – Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace $
05.26.18 – North Fork, CA – Bandit Town $
05.28.18 – Santa Cruz, CA – Rio Theatre $
05.29.18 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater $
06.02.18 – Garden City, ID – Visual Arts Collective $
06.03.18 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre $
06.04.18 – Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre $
08.03-05.18 – Happy Valley, OR – Pendarvis Farm ^

# Circuit des Yeux
% The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose Festival
$ Godspeed You! Black Emperor
^ Pickathon Festival

Sorry to bother you, but I think the Sea and Cake are going on an East Coast tour

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If you’re the newshead you claimed to be when we were sipping red wine under the pale moonlight six months ago, then you already know that The Sea and Cake — those heroically abiding jazzy Chicago boys — have finally gotten themselves on Twitter! (And also have a new album called Any Day coming out May 11.)

But I don’t know. Maybe everything you told me as we both looked east at the river was false. Maybe you have no idea that the Sea and Cake have been cranking out consistent releases since before you even knew how to speak, much less lie through your teeth about whether or not you’ve got “over a thousand” RSS feeds programmed to alert you at any moment.

Sure. Let’s say all that. I bet I don’t even have to tell you of all people, then, that The Sea and Cake just announced a tour starting in May and that they just dropped “These Falling Arms,” the latest single from the album. You already knew all of that and more, didn’t you? I get it. You don’t need me. I’m just a schlub with parsley in my teeth looking at a river. That’s fine.

Any Day by The Sea and Cake

Here’s those Sea and Cake tour dates you’ve already got memorized:

05.13.18 – Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
05.14.18 – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse
05.15.18 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
05.16.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere
05.17.18 – Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel
05.18.18 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
05.19.18 – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern
05.20.18 – Durham, NC – The Pinhook
05.21.18 – Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle Tavern
05.22.18 – Nashville, TN – Exit In
05.23.18 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle (early show)
05.23.18 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle (late show)

Wooden Shjips erect their jibs, prepare to land sail across U.S. on upcoming nationwide tour

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Good news, sailors: it seems that Portland-based experimental jam quartet Wooden Shjips have finished rebuilding their futtocks and patching up their nylon spinnakers just in time to strike out across the grand ol’ US-of-A on a nationwide tour, which will commence next month (April 13) with a sending-off show at Portland’s very own Bunk Bar.

News of yonder tour (which, unfortunately for all you right coasters out there is pretty West-coast heavy) comes several weeks after the recent announcement of V., the band’s upcoming full-length record that’s scheduled to sail into port May 25 on Thrill Jockey.

In addition to the Portland show, Shjips will be playing a sailor-hat-trick of major festivals across the months of April, May, and June, including Austin’s Levitation Festival (April 29), Ohio’s Nelsonville Music Fest (June 1), and Sonoma’s Huichica Festival (June 9).

You can check out the complete dates and venues for the tour (listed below), and if you haven’t already done so, be sure to go ahead and crease your sheet (I have no idea what that means) and sail on over to Thrill Jockey’s official store to contemplate all your V. pre-ordering options.

Oh, and one last thing: make sure to check out the record’s first single “Staring at the Sun” down below – it’s a bright, 8+ minute psychotropic jam-fest that’s about as quintessentially “Wooden Shjips” as the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria all rolled up into one.

Wooden Shjips 2018 North American tour:

04.13.18 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar
04.14.18 – Bellingham, WA – Shakedown
04.20.18 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Old Princeton Landing
04.21.18 – Santa Cruz – Michael’s On Main
04.29.18 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival
05.25.18 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
05.26.18 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile
06.01.18 – Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival
06.02.18 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
06.04.18 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar
06.05.18 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
06.07.18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge
06.09.18 – Sonoma, CA – Huichica Music Festival

Mouse on Mars announce new album Dimensional People, share new single feat. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon

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“Woo woo (woa woa) woo woo woo woo
Bakada baa baa baka doo kaa
Bakada baa ba waa daa taa”
– “Pinwheel Herman,” Niun Niggung (2000)

“Ooooooo-pd (doo chh, doo chh, doo chh ch ch) ooooo gsh gsh gsh dgdgdgdggdggg”
– “Chartnok,” Varcharz (2006)

How else to describe the loopy sounds of Mouse on Mars? No help that the IDMers have changed their sound dramatically over the years, even doing a full prog-rock 180° for their live shows.

This year’s no different. For their upcoming LP Dimensional People, out April 13 on Thrill Jockey, the Berlin-based duo of Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma have teamed up with an assemblage of musicians like Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Bryce Dessner (The National), Zach Condon (Beirut), Spank Rock, Swamp Dogg, and others. Such unlikely eclecticism is the Mouse Way™, as is collaboration on a massive scale (see the 30 tracks on 21 Again Collaborations). The album was supposedly borne of “a spatial composition using object-based mixing technology that plays with possibilities of sonic design and collective musicianship.” Oh, and Chicago footwork.

Closest aligned to the ambient-leaning Glam, first single “Dimensional People Part III,” featuring Justin Vernon, speaks for its glitchy self. Fans of Bon Iver expecting a traditional approach will find Vernon’s voice merely used as a source to be fucked with à la Matmos. In other words, fans of Mouse on Mars will be pleased. Stream it via Spotify down below (and if you find any resemblance to Chicago footwork there, be sure to let me know):

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Dimensional People Tracklisting:

01. Dimensional People Part I
02. Dimensional People Part II
03. Dimensional People Part III
04. Foul Mouth
05. Aviation
06. Parliament Of Aliens Part I
07. Daylight
08. Tear To My Eye
09. Parliament Of Aliens Part II
10. Parliament Of Aliens Part III
11. Résumé
12. Sidney In A Cup

YoshimiO, Susie Ibarra, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe exponentially multiply their experimental forces on formthcoming album Flower of Sulphur

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Think of what it means for music to be “accessible,” and you’ll probably think of some catchy pop tune that follows the tried-and-true verse-chorus-verse format, and which has that certain mass appeal that doesn’t send mainstream radio hosts (to the extent that they exist nowadays) into fits of facial contortions.

The musical opposite of that accessibility certainly exists in various forms, but certainly vying for the top spot in aural difficulty is the newly announced collaboration of YoshimiO (Boredoms and OOIOO), Susie Ibarra, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens). The independent work of each of these artists would be more than enough to promote possibly injurious head-scratching among the Top 40 crowd. But now that they’ve combined forces, something tells me we’d need to raise the potential puzzlement-factor to the 3rd power?

I guess we’ll find out on Feburary 23, when their album equivalent of a Rubik’s Cube, entitled Flower of Sulphur, is released on Thrill Jockey. The recording documents a 2016 concert in which YoshimiO, Ibarra, and Lowe played as a trio for the first time, and official press on the subject points out how each musician has their own configured instruments, which were played improvisationally for however long the Roulette venue in Brooklyn would suffer the impenetrable waywardness.

In addition to YoshimiO’s aforementioned pedigree, Susie Ibarra is an award winning percussionist who’s otherwise received impressive kudos in recognition of her work studying indigenous music in the Philippines. And Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe has made waves with his voice, playing the modular synth, and working with Jóhann Jóhannsson on two noteworthy film scores.

If you’re unfamiliar with any of these cutting-edge badasses, you can watch the trailer for the album here, acclimate yourself by watching a few relevant vids down below, and pre-order Flower of Sulphur from the thrill jockeys at Thrill Jockey right here.


Flower of Sulphur tracklisting:

01. Aaa
02. Bbb
03. Ccc
04. Ddd

Keiji Haino & SUMAC say “we’ll do it live!” in the studio, announce collaborative album on Thrill Jockey

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A favorite artist collaborating with another favorite artist is a dream that most of us know will go unfulfilled, but consider Keiji Haino the exception to the rule, because he’s essentially made a career out of saying “yes” to everyone/everything except maybe pineapples on pizza (and who would blame him?).

The legendary Japanese noise musician has probably spent the most time sharing practical ideas with Jim O’Rourke and Oren Ambarchi; but in between those albums, he’s worked with (on separate occasions) Tatsuya Yoshida, Pan Sonic, Coil, Thurston Moore, Peter Brötzmann, Merzbow, and tons more. WHY NOT throw a little SUMAC spice into the mix? (The heavy North American trio recently gave us a kick-ass taste of our own anxiety last year, via What One Becomes and is set to hit the road for some west coast dates in January).

The converged twain’s resultant collabor-album is entitled American Dollar Bill — Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On, and it comes out February 23 on Thrill Jockey. The album resulted from “a series of unrehearsed, completely non-premeditated sessions” that took place between Haino and SUMAC this past summer. And the anticipated level of intensity — what with Haino and staple of the American doom scene Aaron Turner possibly sharing vocal duties — is basically…UNFATHOMABLE.

Luckily, you can pre-order the release here and watch a handy album trailer down below…both of which should help a little with the intensity-fathoming:


American Dollar Bill — Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On tracklisting:

01. American Dollar Bill – Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On
02. What Have I Done? ( I Was Realing In Something White and I Became Able To Do Anything I Made a Hole Imprisoned Time Within It Created Friction Stopped Listening To Warnings Ceased Fixing My Errors Made the Impossible Possible? Turned Sadness Into Joy) Pt. I
03. I’m Over 137% A Love Junkie and Still It’s Not Enough Pt. I
04. I’m Over 137% A Love Junkie and Still It’s Not Enough Pt. II
05. What Have I Done? ( I Was Realing In Something White and I Became Able To Do Anything I Made a Hole Imprisoned Time Within It Created Friction Stopped Listening To Warnings Ceased Fixing My Errors Made the Impossible Possible? Turned Sadness Into Joy) Pt. II

SUMAC tour dates:

01.19.18 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre *
01.20.18 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon *
01.21.18 – Portland, OR – Bossanova Ballroom *
01.23.18 – Berkeley, CA – Cornerstone Berkeley *
01.24.18 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst Atrium *
01.25.18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Regent *
01.26.18 – Santa Ana, CA – The Constellation Room *
01.27.18 – San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick *
01.28.18 – Mesa, AZ – Nile Theatre *

* Converge, Cult Leader