Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thom Yorke forms a new a band and readies single
The flurry of activity from Radiohead and more specifically Thom Yorke continues today with the announcement that he's formed a band to perform solo material and he has new single coming on October 6th.

Here's the details straight from Thom himself:

hi in the past couple of weeks i've been getting a band together for fun to play the eraser stuff live and the new songs etc.. to see if it could work! here's a photo.. its me, joey waronker, mauro refosco, flea and nigel godrich.

at the beginning of october the 4th and 5th we are going to do a couple of shows at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. we don't really have a name and the set will not be very long cuz ..well ...we haven't got that much material yet! but come and check it out if you are in the area. we've also got locals Lucky Dragons playing.
all the best

Thom Yorke - Feelingpulledapartbyhorses/The Hollow Earth
12-inch out Sept. 21
Digital single out Oct. 6

Dear Sir or Madam
This is to inform you of the release of two more bits of work shortly.
They are loosely under the Thom Yorke name this time, although these days its all getting kind of blurry. FeelingPulledApartbyHorses is written & played by Jonny and I and is a radical rework of an old tune that's been kicking around without a home since 2001? i think. The Hollow Earth is a bass menace that was born out of the Eraser period but needed a little more time. Both were produced by Nigel Godrich as ever. And mastered by Bob Ludwig. They are being put out on 12" with sliced sleeve by Stanley and Tchock. My sources tell me this will be available from the 21st of September if you're interested...On sale in the w.a.s.t.e part of our website (with a gratis download.) Or you can go buy it in a good record shop if you are lucky enough to have one near you. Then later on there will be like a normal download thing i think around the 6th of Oct through the usual channels.

And so it goes. all the best


Ciao My Shining Star
: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy was released today via Shout and the albums opening track is Thom Yorke's take on, All For The Best. Alongside Thom there are 20 other artists including Dinosaur Jr, The National, and Mercury Rev paying tribute to Mark Mulcahy's music as well as raising money to help him continue to make music and raise his twin three year old daughters after the death of his wife.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Colonial Drones

On Tuesday Boston's own, Hallelujah The Hills released their second album, Colonial Drones via Misra Records. Recorded sometime between the summer of 2008 and this past January at The Soul Shop in Medford. What the band hinted at on 2007's Collective Psychosis Begone is fully realized on Colonial Drones. The band has taken a big step froward by delivering a sharp and infectious pop record, anchored by Ryan Walsh's ability to balance his dark lyrics with moments of melancholy, sing-alongs, and guitar crunch throughout the album. My only problem with the album is that I can't seem to shut up about it, not much of problem really. Do yourself a favor buy Colonial Drones today, highly recommended.

Make plans to join Hallelujah The Hills as they celebrate the release of their new album Saturday night at Great Scott with You Can Be a Wesley, and The Big Big Bucks.

Check out two tracks from Colonial Drones:
[MP3/Stream] Hallelujah The Hills - Blank Passports
[MP3/Stream] Hallelujah The Hills - Classic Tapes
(featuring Cassie Berman of The Silver Jews)

Buy the album at the Misra store

Friday, September 18, 2009

We Dance
Pavement Reunite

I didn't see it coming, did you? Pavement the seminal indie rock band from Stockton, CA have reunited and will be touring in 2010. These are things we all have come to learn over the last few days. Like many of you I can hardly contain my excitement at the thought of seeing Pavement live again. The details are pretty much everywhere, at this point Pavement have announced three shows in New York City on September 21st, 22nd, and 23rd at Central Park Summerstage.

This news immediately took me back to the 1st time I saw the band live. It was way back in the spring of 1994 at the now defunct Venus De Milo. I was just young aspiring college disc jockey and I had the fortune to interview the band prior to them taking the stage that night. I really wish I could find that old cassette, but I think that must have been a casualty of the basement flood. At that point Pavement were still a young band and one that was quickly becoming royalty with the indie set with the release of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. When I think of all the shows I've seen in the clubs of Boston, that night in 1994 often comes to mind largely because the band were on fire.

We have a year to wait but I can do 365 days standing on my head waiting for the NYC shows, after all we've been without Pavement since the summer of 2000. Welcome back gentlemen. Feel free stay as long as you would like.

Here's two great performances from Pavement, recorded live on Later with Jools Holland. VHS to Digital transfer so it's a bit grainy but it's worth your time, I promise.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The AGP Presents: An Interview with Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls and Menomena

As a long standing fan of Portland, OR's Menomena I was thrilled to hear that Brent Knopf had plans to not only release solo material under the name Ramona Falls, but that he would be taking the project on the road. Intuit, Brent's solo debut album is an excellent collection of off kilter pop that on first listen fits in nicely with his full time bands catalog, but over time reveals itself as something all it's own, a multi-layered opus. Thanks to Brent for taking the time to answer some questions from my little music blog. Here's how this interview came about. I sent Brent the questions via e-mail and he answered in front of his computer's camera and returned the answers via a quicktime video. I did my best with the transcription, I hope I did it justice. I'd also like to thank Grant McCallum at Barsuk for setting the whole thing up.

Ramona Falls
play Great Scott tonight with Brian Bonz and the Dot Hongs.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: Could you tell us how the recording of Intuit came about and how your many collaborators came to be on the album?

Brett Knopf: Well it became clear that the Menomena record was taking longer than we thought. So I began recording Intuit and I thought it was a good opportunity to ask some friends and people I respect, including my mom to make a guest appearance on the record. So I did that. I made two lists, one was things I thought the songs would benefit from in terms of different instruments. The other list was some people I wanted the excuse to ask to work with. I would look at the list and if I thought a song could use viola I'd e-mail my friend Lisa who plays viola and we went from there.

AGP:When you were writing these songs did you immediately know that you would end up releasing them as a solo artist and not with Menomena?

BK:Some of them yes and some of them no. A couple of the songs I sent to Menomena and never heard back, so assumed they weren't interested. A couple of the other songs I knew right from the get go that they wouldn't be interested.

AGP: Intuit seems to be an introspective record, especially the track Going Once, Going Twice. Did you feel any vulnerability releasing such a personal record?

BK: I'm not sure Going Once, Going Twice is about me. However I feel like there's a lot of personal stuff on the record. Yeah I definitely felt vulnerability, but if you're not be vulnerable what's the point, really. The records I respond to the most are the ones that are honest. I often feel vulnerable when I'm honest.

AGP: Now that you have a few dates under your belt with Ramona Falls, how have the shows been going so far?

BK: They've been great. I've been having a blast on the first leg of the tour and I'm excited for the second leg. The guys I'm touring with our excellent. The shows in San Francisco, LA, Portland, and Seattle have been really really fun. In the other cities too, but that's where we had a crowd, it felt bigger. We've played some smaller shows which have been fun as well.

AGP:What can fans expect from this tour opposed to your shows with Menomena?

BK: New music with a different feel, a different style, and me singing lead most of the time. It's a four piece in the U.S., Danny Seim the drummer of Menomena is playing bass, Paul Alcott is playing drums, and Matt Sheehy is playing guitar. It's really dynamic, lots of louds and quiets.

AGP: How has the process of writing and recording the new Menomena record been going?

BK: It's taken longer than I thought it would and I've been less able to move forward than I thought I was able to.

AGP: Can you explain the possible influence of Cher on the forthcoming Menomena album?

BK: Lets just say I believe in life after love.

AGP: What have you been listening to in the van on those long drives from city to city on the current Ramona Falls tour?

BK: A little bit of Mirah, D'Angelo, and Alice in Chains.

[MP3/Stream] Ramona Falls - Russia Live on KEXP
[MP3/Stream] Ramona Falls - I Say Fever

Brent Knopf explains the recording process which he used to record Intuit.

Buy Ramona Falls' Intuit via the Barsuk shop.

Ramona Falls/myspace

Thursday, September 10, 2009

LC! vs. The Beatles

Los Campesinos! made their best attempt to upstage the fab four's release of their remastered catalog and video game, with an excellent new track from the yet to be titled new album, expected to be released sometime in 2010. The album was recorded in Stamford, Connecticut with John Goodmanson and has been described by the band as the dark second album, due to the fact the band doesn't count the limited released We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed as an official album. Gareth Campesinos commented via the bands twitter account: "I kind of feel like we've upstaged 'Beatles Day' putting out this new song today. Sorry Paul. [...] At least I didn't get 'Los Camp! Frogger' sorted in time. Would have really stolen the show then."

The Welsh collective have posted The Sea is a Good Place To Think About The Future for free download at their official blog and website. As far the song itself it's a beautiful slow building track complete with strings, but before you get all misty eyed, the band brings it to a chaotic and devastating end. A high recommendation to say the least.

[MP3] Los Campesinos! - The Sea is a Good Place To Think About The Future

The video produced by Ellen Campesinos.

You can also enter to win The Record Box Project at the bands site. It's essentially a box filled with a ton of cool 7" the band picked on their recent tour of America. Visit loscampesinos.com for entry info and to see the massive list of music that the band's forking over.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Return to The Middle East

It's been quite a year for New York's The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Their superb self titled debut was released by Slumberland Records back in February and the band has been extremely busy playing shows,making there network television debut on Last Call With Carson Daly, and releasing singles throughout the past several months. One of the things I love about The Pains is there knack for releasing those singles, splits, and excellent b-sides much like those C86 bands they admire. I haven't heard a bad track from this band yet.

On September 22nd the band will release the Higher Than The Stars EP via Slumberland. The EP consists of four new tracks and it even includes a remix of the title track by Saint Etienne.

[MP3/Stream] The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Higher Than The Stars

I was in attendance at The Middle East on a late February evening when The Pains of Being Pure at Heart took to the stage after solid sets by Pants Yell! and The Depreciation Guild and delivered a concise yet stunning set. Although the band at that point, had only a full length and a couple of singles under their belts, the material more than makes up for it in sheer quality.

Don't miss out when the new noise pop torchbearers return to Boston this Saturday night at The Middle East downstairs. The Pains will be supported by The Depreciation Guild and Cymbals Eat Guitars.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Zero to 99 [MP3]

Boston Spaceships return on October 6th with their third release, Zero to 99 out on Guided By Voices, Inc. The album is being hyped as "Robert Pollard's most relentlessly hook-laden, pop punk record since GBV's classic Alien Lanes".

I just had my first listen to a track just posted for download over at robertpollard.net. I'll try to temper my excitement and fandom of all things Pollard. All I'll say is that the above statement is spot on. Look for some rare tracks from the Suitcase releases to get the Boston Spaceships full band treatment on Zero to 99 as well as a wealth of new pop gems from Pollard, Moen, and Sluserenko. Trashed Aircraft, indeed.

[MP3/Stream] Boston Spaceships - Question Girl All Right