The Sea and Cake announce west coast tour dates for 2020

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In commemoration of their latest-and-therefore-greatest album Any Day being out for, like, 600 fucking days now, The Sea and Cake have decided to set aside not just ANY day, but several any-days in the name of touring the west coast of the US.

Interestingly, the west coast of the US will also (barring one of those pesky Climate Change flair-ups) be a considerably warmer place to inhabit in early March than the frozen tundras of Chi-beria (f.k.a. Chicago). But I’m sure that’s just a happy coincidence.

Keep scrolling down past this third paragraph of pure rhetorical padding to view those three west coast tour dates you so eagerly clicked on this page to learn about. And yes, that’s right, I said “three.” I mean, come on: Prekop, Prewitt, and McEntire aren’t exactly TEENAGERS, here.

The Sea and Cake Over America:

02.29.20 – Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle
03.02.20 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
03.04.20 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
03.05.20 – Los Angeles, CA – Zebulon

Lightning Bolt to reissue their debut self-titled album, share US tour dates

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In a perfect world, I walk into a cafe — any old cafe — order my espresso, and then take off my jacket to reveal an arm tattoo that reads, “D.I.Y. saved my life.” Maybe it would be in Comic Sans, so you would see it and have to double take, wondering,”is this idiot for real?” But oh yes, my friends. For I have seen Providence underground lifers Lightning Bolt one time in college at an art gallery, and **in hushed tone for emphasis** the power got shut off mid-set. It could have been the cops, or a fuse blew out. I’ll go with the former, as it lends my tat a little more *cred.*

On a related note: as previously reported, Lightning Bolt’s Load-era back catalog is being reissued by the duo’s current label, Thrill Jockey. On January 17, the band’s self-titled debut, sometimes referred to as “The Yellow Record,” is coming out in an ultra-lux, screen-printed 2xLP version. The release comes hot on the heels of the band’s latest, Sonic Citadel, which came out in October.

On a related-related note: Lightning Bolt is up for pre-order now. Stream a track below, and scroll even further below to peep a few of the duo’s upcoming US tour dates.

Lightning Bolt tracklisting:

01. Into the Valley
02. Murk Hike
03. Caught Deep in the Zone
04. Fleeing the Valley of Whirling Knives
05. Mistake
06. Zone
07. And Beyond


12.04.19 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
12.05.19 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
12.06.19 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
12.07.19 – Brooklyn, NY – Pioneer Works

OOIOO (feat. YoshimiO of Boredoms) announce new album “Nijimusi,” out in January via Thrill Jockey; listen to first single “kawasemi Ah”

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A full xix years after their last effort — 2013’s Gamel — Japanese experimental outfit OOIOO are back with a new record, Nijimusi, out January 17.

The band, featuring Boredoms’ percussionist/guitarist/vocalist YoshimiO, were founded in 1995 as a collective of “musicians who move freely between the audible and inaudible, rhythm and non-rhythm, noise and silence,” according to their label, Thrill Jockey. The first taste of Nijimusi, “kawasemi Ah,” suggests a free-wheeling, psychedelic sound, which is my kind of happening, baby, and it freaks me out!

The album, created after the addition of Mishina on drums in 2016, is described as “a reflection of the sounds resonating from OOIOO while as they were completely present in the moment. The sounds are like the cries emanating from a creature called OOIOO, proof that it is a living, breathing being.” Hear for yourself, with “kawasemi Ah” streaming below, and pre-order the full album from Thrill Jockey here.

Nijimusi by OOIOO

Nijimusi tracklisting:

01. nijimusi
02. nijimu
03. jibun
04. tisou
05. asozan5
06. bulun
07. walk for “345” minutes, while saying “Ah Yeah!” with a “Mountain Book”
in one hand, until a shower of light pours down
08. kawasemi Ah

Lightning Bolt release animated video for their latest album’s opener “Blow To The Head,” add new US and European tour dates

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Front page news!!

THIS is the kind of world we live in!!!

Here’s the video (directed and animated by Caleb Wood!):

And here’s the tour dates(!):

10.13.19 – Moreno Valley, CA – Desert Daze
11.05.19 – Metz, FR – Trinitaires ^
11.06.19 – Koln, DE – Gebaeude9 ^
11.07.19 – Dunkerque, FR – Skatepark ^
11.08.19 – Utrecht, NL – Le Guess Who? Festival ^
11.10.19 – Brussels, BE – Atelier Claus ^
11.11.19 – Brussels, BE – Atelier Claus ^
11.12.19 – London, UK – The Underworld ^
11.13.19 – London, UK – The Underworld ^
11.14.19 – Bristol, UK – Trinity ^
11.15.19 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club ^
11.16.19 – Glasgow, UK – Studio Warehouse – SWG3 ^
12.04.19 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
12.05.19 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
12.06.19 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
12.07.19 – Brooklyn, NY – Pioneer Works

^ DJ Fugvel Og Geimskip

Sonic Citadel is OUT NOW via Thrill Jockey(!).

Music Review: Emptyset – Blossoms

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[Thrill Jockey; 2019]

Rating: 3.5/5

Static’s always just around the corner. What reliably comes clear is that humans are deeply faulty organisms. Even the most seemingly balanced among us are subject to all manner of destabilizing existential menace. In this light, there is a sort of relief that the machine-learning software that has formed this release didn’t improve upon Emptyset’s superb discography (plus 10 hrs of wood, metal, and drum skins that this reviewer can’t speak to). Seems our massive advances are dwarfed by our inherent ability to get in our way. Stands to reason that we’d pass this on to even our most sophisticated of technology. Blossoms can come across like a series of calloused provocations, full of spell-breaking rests that seem to say “Like that?” in a mocking way. Like the program doesn’t know what the hell Emptyset wants with it. This is a victory for us, of course. It has otherized the duo’s spartan sound to an extent, but it’s also given listeners an intriguing detour rather than something more or less significant.

While fascinating, the conceptual approach to Blossoms naggingly skirts the obligatory or novel. Yet there is a disheveled acclimation that occurs with the music produced by this experiment. Perhaps around the third track (a decidedly rubbery post-nasal drib, oddly titled “Bloom”), there’s a sour and smudgy trance that settles around the head, like watching a sordid b-movie in slow blinks. In a way, this is the darkest Emptyset release, in that it raises goosebumps with macro insectoid emissions but doesn’t quite pound and swell in the trademark fashion that might make the project more palatable for some. But this listen should be rewarding to all blessed with a compulsive temerity to de-settle through its rude gradient rub. What’s the reward? I don’t know. The sense that the messy human hand is never too far from whatever ostensibly autonomous structure may spring from it? The experience is a striking glimpse, however elusive. Sometimes a work looks at you cockeyed and it holds your gaze anyway.

Blossoms by Emptyset

The sophistication of the process is immaterial to the enjoyment of Blossoms, especially when vastness of variables seems the main point of intrigue. And to exist is, often enough, to be a sputtering engine of hyper-stimulated grasping. The album’s less a reverse Frankenstein’s monster situation than an extended collaboration with chance — not unlike Ben Chasny’s Hexadic card system of songwriting with Six Organs. The 10 selections are less a swirling cacophonous summation of Purgas and Ginzburg’s documents thus far than a series of muted, disorganized footnotes. They step out and freeze like models on a runway at a pace both deliberate and seemingly tentative. With “Blade,” there is a pastoral, Loscil-esque thing happening, but it’s surrounded by remoteness and rote, ragged machinations. Still, it’s plain that humans made this stuff, even (or especially) if it’s out of a desire to make their self-expression less so. It’s not alien or cold or even emotionless. It belies a familiarly human sort of stoicism, with the physical plane playing less of a role than usual. Like unlearning the object permanence of acquainted sound in its own tall, tinny greyed-out shadow. Most vitally, Blossoms is Emptyset continuing to do uncompromising, restless Emptyset, with no sign of stagnation (even if this very phenomenon continues to be a crucial aspect of their sound).

Lightning Bolt strike back with new album Sonic Citadel, punish our ears through 2020 with reissues of Load albums

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Not to get all existential on you, dear reader, but Lightning Bolt, the Providence, Rhode Island-based noise outfit of Brian Chippendale and Brian Gibson, has been rocking and rolling all across the world for 25 years. When these cats got started, I was a wee lad getting up early before school to sip hot cocoa and watch Garfield (joke’s on you, though, because I still sip cocoa and watch Garfield).

But I digress, because “The Bolt” haven’t lost their edge, and in some ways they are pummeling our eardrums harder than ever before. Their latest LP, Sonic Citadel, comes four years after Fantasy Empire, and turns it up to 11 after the latter maxed out at a 10.5, maybe 10.7. Seriously, how can these dudes not be deaf already!?

Lightning Bolt are also set to give a little history lesson, with their Load Records (RIP) back catalog being reissued via Thrill Jockey, their current label. The reissue mania begins with Wonderful Rainbow and continues into next year.

Sonic Citadel is out October 11, with pre-orders locked and loaded. Scope the (delightfully familiar-looking) cover art, full tracklist, and select tour dates below.

Sonic Citadel tracklisting:

01. Blow To The Head
02. USA Is A Psycho
03. Air Conditioning
04. Hüsker Dön’t
05. Big Banger
06. Halloween 3
07. Don Henley In The Park
08. Tom Thump
09. Bouncy House
10. All Insane
11. Van Halen 2049


09.06.19 – Denver, CO – Denver Hex Festival
09.14.19 – Brooklyn, NY – Open Air at 99 Scott
10.10-13.19 – Lake Perris, CA – Desert Daze

Experimental duo Emptyset to get all ambitious and flowery on forthcoming AI album (despite the relatively dispassionate band name)

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I know what you’re thinking: “Goddamn, how much more ‘experimental’ can James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas of the U.K./Berlin visceral electro superduo Emptyset even GET, Dan?”

Well, first of all: thanks so much for swearing. I really think people should swear more. Seriously. I think it’s great.

Second of all, I got four words for you: fuckin’ MACHINE LEARNING, pal!

That’s right, Ginzburg and Purgas’ new album — entitled Blossoms — is focused entirely on “ideas of evolution and adaptation, bringing together Emptyset’s body of exploratory sound production with emerging methods of machine learning through neural networks and raw audio synthesis.”

I know what you’re thinking: “Holy ever-loving shit, Dan, what does any of that shit mean?!”

Welp, let me answer that with an even denser cluster of words that I didn’t write:

The machine learning system for Blossoms was developed through extensive audio training, a process of seeding a software model with a sonic knowledge base of material to learn and predict from. This was supplied from a collection of their existing material as well as 10 hours of improvised recordings using wood, metal and drum skins. This collection of electronic and acoustic sounds formed unexpected outcomes as the system sought out coherence from within this vastly diverse source material, attempting to form a logic from within the contradictions of the sonic data set. The system demonstrates obscure mechanisms of relational reasoning and pattern recognition, finding correlations and connections between seemingly unrelated sounds and manifesting an emergent non-human musicality.

Got it now?

Great. In that case, pre-order Blossoms from Thrill Jockey here in advance of its October 11 release date, and then thrill to the machine-victorious trills of the album’s opening track “Petal” down below. (It’ll give you a pretty good idea of where the duo is headed here; since — let’s be honest — you still aren’t exactly sure what the fuck I’ve been talking about.)

Blossoms’s complete plant morphology:

01. Petal
02. Blossom
03. Bloom
04. Pollen
05. Blade
06. Axil
07. Filament
08. Bulb
09. Stem
10. Clone

The Body announce mostly European tour; handful of American cities also have unease to look forward to

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Musical dread and melancholy are pretty easy to come by if you are actively listening for it; but I’m trying to think of a sound that’s comparable to The Body’s take on those particular meta-tones, and the only thing that readily comes to mind is…that new iPhone commercial with the lady at the hairdresser laughing incessantly. The audio doesn’t really compare, of course, but the ad itself manages to inspire that same terrible feeling of hopelessness that can only be resolved by Slip N’ Slide during summer time. (It’s impossible to retain a frown on a thoroughly lubricated trip down one of those things!)

Can the Slip N’ Slide bring joy to YOUR life, even if you’re inclined to commiserate with The Body’s Uniform collaboration or non-collaborative album from last year, though?

Only one way to find out: check out Lee Buford and Chip King’s full anatomical presence when they go on tour beginning in July. That’s when the favored European leg starts, and prior collaborators Full of Hell and Thrill Jockey label mate, Black To Comm, will be making appearances at various shows along the way.

The shorter American leg needs a prosthesis and only includes six dates in September. But Assembly of Light Choir will join them for a few of those.

Here’s the complete listing of everything. Take a running start and slip/slide your way down this shit, why don’t you?

The Body dates:

07.04.19 – Roskilde, Denmark – Roskilde Festival (set w/Full of Hell)
07.05.19 – Kassel, Germany – Goldgrube ^
07.06.19 – Leipzig, Germany – Conne Island ^
07.08.19 – Prague, Czech Republic – Modra Vopice ^
07.09.19 – Budapest, Hungary – Durer Kert ^
07.10.19 – Munich, Germany – Backstage ^
07.11.19 – Paris, France – Gibus ^
07.13.19 – Dour, Belgium – Dour Festival (set w/Full of Hell)
07.15.19 – Nijmegen, Netherlands – Valkhof Fest ^
07.16.19 – Berlin, Germany – Zukunft Am Ostkreuz ^
07.17.19 – Oberhausen, Germany – Drucklufthaus *
07.18.19 – Crispendorf, Germany – Chaos Descends Festival
07.20.19 – Birmingham UK – Supersonic Festival
07.21.19 – Sheffield, UK – Doomlines V
07.22.19 – Glasgow, UK – Broadcast *
07.23.19 – Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen *
07.24.19 – Bristol, UK – Rough Trade *
07.26.19 – Moscow, RU – Mutabor
07.27.19 – St Petersburg, Russia – Opera
07.28.19 – Rokycany, Czech Republic – Fluff Fest
07.29.19 – Milano, Italy – Macao *
07.30.19 – Bologna, Italy – Freakout Club *
07.31.19 – Linz, Austria – Kapu *
08.01.19 – Kosice, Slovakia – Tabacka Kulturfabrik *
08.02.19 – Katowice, Poland – OFF Festival
09.05.19 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
09.06.19 – Denver, CO – Denver Hex Festival
09.07.19 – Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
09.13.19 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre #
09.14.19 – Hudson, NY – Basilica Soundscape 2019 #
09.15.19 – Brooklyn, NY – The Bell House #

^ Full of Hell
* Black To Comm
# Assembly of Light Choir

Thrill Jockey to release Martin Brandlmayr’s (Radian) award-winning radio play Vive Les Fantômes in June

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Like most people, I’ll often happily while away a couple of hours coming up with fantastically complex cut-ups in my head. While I dream of imaginary crumbs, Austrian percussionist and composer Martin Brandlmayr (Radian, Autistic Daughters) creates real-life, boundary-punching projects.

The 2018 recipient of SWR’s prestigious Karl Sczuka Prize for Works of Radio Art will see his ambitious audio play Vive Les Fantômes released by Thrill Jockey on June 14.

Shaped by Jacques Derrida’s 1993 deconstructionist treatise “Specters of Marx,” Vive Les Fantômes is built upon fragments of interviews and performances from Brandlmayr’s influences: Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Chris Marker’s “Sans Soleil,” Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” and many more. Just as Les Fantômes are never entirely invisible, Brandlmayr’s presence can be felt entering and leaving the audio rooms, weaving in and out of morsels of dialogue with percussive quick hits and manipulated found sounds as the extended track explores and questions conventional tenets of communication, memory, and repetition.

Pre-order the CD of Vive Les Fantômes and listen to an excerpt from the piece here.

Vive Les Fantômes tracklisting:

01. Vive Les Fantômes

Psych titans Pontiak to strap on their Kodiak boots for Canadian trek with Sleep in September

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You can’t always freely decide where you want to tour; fans have to be made, bills have to be paid, and bosses have to be obeyed. But to deliberately choose to spend over two weeks in the unfriendly confines of Canada, where the temperature never gets above -20 degrees Celsius (whatever that is) and where beer and weed is rarely consumed? Well, that’s just plain madness!

No, take it from a lad from the land with a universal, publicly funded health-care system: Pontiak — the band of brothers and brewers — will have no trouble finding suds and buds north of the 49th parallel when they hook up with doom doyens Sleep for a coast-to-coast Canadian tour in balmy September.

Jennings, Lain, and Van Carney will hit the Great White North for a tour beginning in Victoria on September 1, ending in Halifax on September 16, and hitting most of provinces along the way (no Newfoundland, P.E.I., New Brunswick, or the Territories this time around; curiously, no Toronto show either).

It has been two years since the last Pontiak album, so expect freewheeling, trippy sets at these amazing double bills. To get you reacquainted, have a listen to “Ignorance Makes Me High” from Dialectic of Ignorance (Thrill Jockey) below.

Pontiak live:

05.28.19 – Richmond, PA – Richmond Music Hall *
09.01.19 – Victoria, BC – Capitol Ballroom #
09.02.19 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom #
09.03.19 – Nelson, BC – Spiritbar #
09.04.19 – Calgary, AB – The Palace Theatre #
09.06.19 – Edmonton, AB – The Ranch Roadhouse #
09.07.19 – Saskatoon, SK – Coors Event Centre #
09.08.19 – Winnipeg, MB – The Garrick #
09.11.19 – Guelph, ON – Guelph Concert Theatre #
09.12.19 – Ottawa, ON – Algonquin Commons Theatre #
09.13.19 – Montreal, QC – MTelus #
09.14.19 – Quebec City, QC – Theatre Imperial #
09.16.19 – Halifax, NS – Marquee Ballroom #

* Dead Meadow
# Sleep