Saturday, December 31, 2011

America Salutes the Carter Family: R. Stevie Moore, LAKE, Lazer Zeppelin, Jeffrey Lewis, Calvin Johnson, etc

Mark Morrison of LAKE and Lazer Zeppelin has finally put the finishing touches on his 3+year project of compiling a tribute to Old-school-Folkie-Fam, The Carters. While on tour, he recorded over 60 artists direct to a crappy old hand-held tape recorder. The first volume compiles 30 of these tunes onto a 90 min cassette tape. The fidelity and method are appropriate since it is similar to what the Carters would have been dealing with when they started recording in the 1920's. Everyone playing into a single microphone, directly onto the recorder. The output always had a tinny, fragile, hissy quality that is really iconic of the beginnings of recorded sound. These new recordings follow in that aesthetic.

Artists that made the cut for the first volume include: Calvin Johnson, R. Stevie Moore, LAKE, Lazer Zeppelin, Jeffrey Lewis, Peter Stampfel, Castanets, Golden Boots, Sandman the Rappin' Cowboy, Paleo, Pinehill Haints, and Jack Lewis, amongst many others.

Pick up the cassette and download for $10 or the 30 track digital album for only $5.

http://cartertributetape.bandcamp.com/album/america-salutes-the-carter-family

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Show Review - Guns N Roses - Key Arena, Seattle, Dec. 16th

When I received an email from Groupon offering me $70 worth of tickets to see Guns N Roses for only $20, they caught me in the right mood. "Hell yes!" I accidentally yelled out loud with a giggle, startling the four or five students that were eating lunch in my room at the moment.

Like most other people, I stopped taking GNR seriously a LONG time ago. Especially since the only time I've heard anything about them was Axl being hours late to a show, not being able to sing, firing managers, settling lawsuits with promoters, etc, etc, etc. But, when tickets are that cheap, you don't have to work in the morning, and you've got someone to go with (that is equally ambivalent about whether it is a trainwreck or not), it's a no-brainer.


Before I start describing the GNR show, which was beyond ridiculous, I want to put out there that it was actually REALLY good. Sure, the band isn't the Slash/Izzy/Duff/Adler lineup, but you've got dudes from Psychedelic Furs and the Replacements in there, which ain't too shabby. And obviously all of them were great musicians.

OPENERS: Duff McKagen's horribly named band, Loaded, opened up the show. Probably one of the best current bands I've seen that was fronted by the former bass player of a hair band. Pretty typical hard rock, but pleasant enough.

MUSIC: GNR hit the stage a mere 45 minutes after Loaded finished, which I understand is nothing compared to some other recent shows. They played most of the hits you wanted to hear (Jungle, Brownstone, Sweet Child, Don't Cry, It's So Easy), plenty of covers (James Bond theme?!!?!, Riff Raff (AC/DC), Knockin on Heavens Door, Live and Let Die), plenty of stuff I didn't care about (the entire Chinese Democracy album) but that was surprisingly un-annoying, and a bunch of extended solo pieces from all the members, including a Tommy Stinson solo-song (while Axl was off-stage). They DID bring Duff out to play bass on one tune, You Could Be Mine, from the Last Action Hero soundtrack. Why they didn't have him play Sweet Child O' Mine, since that has the best bass line in the history of bass lines (in my humble opinion), I don't know.

MEMBERS: All of the members looked like over-the-top caricatures of "Rock Stars", as if they'd just been pulled out of line from some NBC sitcom casting call for the new boyfriend who has to meet the parents of the teenage daughter. Guitar player with dreadlocks pulled up into a bun on top of his head and a bifurcated beard? Check. Guitar player with full sleeve tattoos and a green Ebenezer Scrooge tophat that looks like it has been run over? Check. Guitar player with the 19 year old Scream-O band frontman hair-do? Check. Bass player that looked and played like Sid Vicious with Paul Cook's haircut (I love Tommy Stinson, don't get me wrong... and when I say "play like Sid Vicious", I only mean that he moved like him, not that he actually PLAYED like him, since we all know, Sid sucked, and Tommy has been awesome since he was 12.), and then, for good measure, throw in a drummer that looks EXACTLY like Suge Knight (from the middle balcony, at least), and you've got yourself a band. Now, all you have to do is throw in Axl in his "Marty-McFly-trying-to-"fit in"-to-1955" leather jacket and fedora, and you've got GNR circa 2011.

PROFESSIONALISM: The most surprising aspect of this show was how professional the band was. When I went to pick up my buddy Carlos for the show, he said that a couple of the members had been kicked out of a local bar the night before and that Tommy Stinson had canceled an in-store appearance because he was "sick". This, obviously did not bode well for the evening, but I was really there more for the trainwreck than the rock show anyway, so I guess it DID bode well for the evening. However, once GNR hit stage, it ran like a well-oiled machine. It went so well, the whole thing had a kind of choreographed quality to it. The kind of show where, if you'd been to a few in a row, you'd be able to say "Ok, this is where the dude with the dreads-in-a-bun and bifurcated beard runs to the other side of the stage, up the ramp, stands up on the railing and takes a big long solo while sticking his tongue out!" I looked up the setlists, and with a few minor exceptions, they'd been playing pretty much the same setlist every night of the tour.

My favorite moment was in the middle of the second song (Welcome to the Jungle), when Axl is doing his thing on the front monitor, and somebody throws a ratty brown leather Members-Only jacket at him, and it nails him and sort of hangs on his head. "Here comes the meltdown!" I grinned and leaned forward, rubbing my hands together.... and you won't believe what happened next! Axl, very gently, removed it from his head and lightly dropped it off the stage next to the monitor, and continued the song. Didn't even phase him. Way to go Axl! I knew from then on, that I was just going to have to enjoy the show for what is was supposed to have been in the first place, a kick-ass nostalgia trip.

PROJECTIONS - Probably the stupidest aspect of the entire show (other than the appearance of the band members), were the Jumbotron projections. They spent a lot of money to project images THAT stupid, and for that, they should be commended, I suppose. We are talking about things like dolphins swimming in place, LONG, SLOW, pans around the face and body of a female model in underwear, (looking sultry, like she was auditioning for Red Shoe Diaries), stock flame footage, monochrome sunsets, etc. I couldn't have dreamed up more ridiculous visuals. I felt like I was watching a Mark Gormley video!

WRAP-UP - All in all, I walked out of that arena with a new appreciation of one W. Axl Rose. Sure, they had to sell 993 steeply discounted tickets on Groupon (the Groupon section was EMPTY mid-set), and still only filled about half the place, if that. But Axl is fighting really hard to maintain some sort of relevance. He knows his rep, and he's beating down the demons and trying to fix it. I'm not going to run out and buy Chinese Democracy (or even download it for free). I didn't buy a commemorative T-Shirt for the evening. But, I DID just spend the last 2 hours writing a review of the show for the 3 people that read my blog, and THAT is something I would only do for someone I respect. Axl, you got me, buddy. You worked hard, you played some songs I wanted to hear, and you sang and shimmied your heart out. You worked hard up there, pal. 34 songs! You weren't messing around (but really, what was up with the Michael J Fox outfit?) and the next time you come to town, I'll be there. In the Groupon section again (who pays $75 + $15 Ticketbastard fees for seats like that?), but I'll be there none the less.

Setlist from Setlist.com

Boxset Update & Your Daily Dose of Wooden Wand Prescription runs out...

Well, it made you laugh, it made you cry, it made me wonder why I ever decided to start a blog in the first place, but the Daily Dose of Wooden Wand has now run its' course. Every one of the 70+ songs from the upcoming Wooden Wand Archives Vol. 3 were put up one(ish) song at a time over the course of two and a half months. I did better than I figured I'd do, punctuality-wise, and I hope you love them like I do. This set is amazing (as those who downloaded them discovered.)

Now, for those of you who already ordered the physical set, here is an update.

The records are shipping from the pressing plant TOMORROW! They will arrive at my place on the 28th, and will be stuffed into the covers and boxes at a record packing party at my place on the 29th. If you live in the NW and want free food and beer in exchange for a couple of hours of hanging out with the coolest folk in Olympia, shoot me an email. I will then spend the entire day on the 30th packing them up into shipping boxes, addressing them, etc. and then mail them out on the 31st of December. That is, assuming all goes as planned, which, in the record game, is never a sure thing. This will require, literally, 7 or 8 trips to the post office in my tiny little Prius, to mail 150+ 13x13x4" boxes.

Therefore, you should be receiving your box shortly after the new year. Should be a great way to kick off what may be a slow year for the old Wandster. James has told me that he will not be releasing much, if anything, in early-mid 2012, as he puts all of his energy into the writing and recording of Briarwood II. Which, in a way bums me out, because he is one of my all-time favorite dudes to work with, but also means that the new record will sound that much sweeter! And, at least you've got SIX killer LPs of tunes to listen to in the meantime!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Of Montreal, Deerhoof, Tortoise, Akron/Family, etc on Flexidisc series...

Joyful Noise, a kindred spirit of a record label out of Indianapolis just announced their 2012 Flexi disc series.
One flexi disc a month from artists like: Akron/Family, Danielson, Dead Rider(ex US Maple), Deerhoof, Jad Fair (Half Japanese), Lou Barlow (Sebadoh/Dinosaur Jr.), Make Believe (ex Cap'n Jazz/Owls/Joan of Arc), of Montreal, Racebannon, Rafter, Richard Swift, and
Tortoise. Only $4/month, plus shipping, paid out subscription style through paypal, so you don't have to cough it up all at once.

For those that want to do it up, deluxe style (and you probably will), add in $20 and get a special silkscreened wooden box to keep your flexi discs in!

There are only 500 copies available, and with a lineup like that, you had better get on it soon if you want to get one. Once the "tastemaker" blogs get ahold of it, these will be gone. But, there are no "chillwave" or "indie-crossover hip-hop" artists here, so maybe nobody else in the blogosphere will care.
Pick up your copy at www.Joyfulnoise.com

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fruit Bats - Echolocation 10th Anniversary Limited Vinyl Reissue

From the "I wish I was releasing this record" files (although anything I post here is a record I wish I was releasing).

The Fruit Bats debut album, Echolocation is getting the deluxe hand silkscreened limited edition reissue treatment. It will come out on Jealous Butcher Records on December 20th, but is available for preorder at their site now.

Killer album of quirky folk from the former Califone multi-instrumentalist and Shins guitarist Eric Johnson.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Free Album - Xmas with Skrill Meadow (Mem of Lazer Zeppelin)

Getting tired of playing that Beach Boys Christmas record? We've got an instant holiday classic for you from Skrill Meadow (Mark Morrison (of Lazer Zeppelin) and friends). A bizarre album literally recorded in my backyard. Unfaithful takes on old standards, some obscure gems, and some all-new tunes. Play this album at your family gathering this Christmas and ENSURE that Aunt Sherri never comes back again.

Skrill Meadow has a new tape coming out on Gnar Tapes very soon, so keep an ear out. It's pretty damn good.

DOWNLOAD XMAS WITH SKRILL MEADOW HERE.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New R. Stevie Moore Documentary: Tape to Disc

Plenty has been said about his influence, his tenacity, his genius, and of course, his prolificness. But if there ever was a man who has been living his life as if the internet existed for 3 decades before it ever really did, it's R. Stevie Moore. There used to be a time when you had to actually PAY to buy videocassette tapes, and a decent video camera cost almost as much as a decent used car. The amount of information that Moore has been constantly and compulsively documenting since the 60s would leave any bored, 15 year old with a webcam in the information-overload, unlimited-free-data-storage age in the dust.

Therefore, compiling a documentary about the "Godfather of Home Recording" doesn't seem like an enviable task. The sheer volume of cassettes and VHS tapes that Stevie has must be staggering. Luckily, someone has taken up the challenge and put together a pretty comprehensive film in three parts.






Monday, November 14, 2011

Marriage Records turns 10! EVERYTHING $5!

One of my favorite NW labels, Marriage Records, is celebrating their 10th anniversary. Everything on the label (except skatedecks) is only $5!

In my opinion, they haven't released too many records that aren't Very Excellent or better, but I personally recommend:
Little Wings: Black Grass
Be Gulls: Be Gulls
Little Wings: Soft Pow'r
Thanksgiving: Bitches is Lord
Karl Blau: Dance Positive
Dirty Projectors: New Attitude

Go buy check it out HERE.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Free Exclusive Track: The Great Lakes: Blood On My Tooth

We, here at the PIAPTK Blog, go out of our way to try to bring you exclusive, unreleased tracks from amazing bands that you may, or may not, already know.

Today, we've got a great unreleased tune (and commentary) from Brooklyn psych country act, The Great Lakes. Great Lakes have been, over the years, a revolving cast of players focusing around Ben Crum. They are associated with the Athens, GA Elephant 6 crew and have shared members with Of Montreal, Neutral Milk Hotel, Elf Power, Olivia Tremor Control, Essex Green, etc, etc.

If you haven't heard them before, I HIGHLY recommend starting with Diamond Times, a playful, upbeat, psychedelic romp with pedal steel (and one of my top 20 favorite albums of all time) or their last record, Ways of Escape, which is a more subdued (but no less beautiful) collection of introspective country tunes.

New Great Lakes record is coming in 2012!

Blood on my Tooth
"Blod på tann" (blood on the tooth) is a saying I learned from a friend while on tour in Norway. It means about what you'd think it would: once you get a taste of something good you want more, and you're not going back to how things used to be. Kinda like the way people in the US say "whet my whistle" or the way the Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski says, about Bunny, "How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Karl Hungus?" At the time I wrote this I'd been reading Keith Richards autobiography, Life, in which he gets into some shop-talk about his discovery of the open G tuning. He tells of how some of the first people to introduce him to it were Phil & Don Everly, and goes on to enthuse about their rhythm guitar playing in open G on songs like Bye Bye Love. The rhythm guitar part for this song came out of me messing around with that style. The dirty-sounding vocal echo and electric guitar stuff were both nods to Dave Edmunds' I Hear You Knocking. Blood on my Tooth was written, recorded and mixed in a couple hours on December 5, 2010. I like it, but it's not going to go on the new Great Lakes record because it doesn't fit stylistically. So it's available for your listening pleasure here. I hope you enjoy it. - Ben Crum, Great Lakes

The Great Lakes - Blood On My Tooth by PIAPTK

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Arrington DeDionysio returns from Indonesia with TWO new albums!

Arrington de Dionysio (former frontman for noise dance act, Old Time Relijun) is the crown prince of Olympia weirdos. When he plays live with his new band, Malaikat Dan Singha, he (throat) sings (imagine Tom Waits gargling gravel while being electricuted (that description is intended to be flattering, and I'm sure Arrington would take it that way)) exclusively in Indonesian, does this weird Witch Doctor/Praying Mantis dance thing, and is generally only wearing a pair of boxer briefs or maybe some yoga pants. He's got two excellent full length LPs available on K Records with Malaikat, who is filled out by a rotating cast of local (or touring) players. I've seen him play as a trio and as a 12 person "orchestra". Regardless of the line up, it is repetitive, rhythmic, droney and hypnotically trance-inducing. My coworkers walked in while I was playing it today and they said "ugh... what the hell is this? It's AWFUL". If you knew my coworkers, you would know that there is no higher praise for any artist who is trying to do something remotely interesting. Arrington is no Jack Johnson, that's for sure.

Malaikat also released a couple of lathe cut picnic plates through PIAPTK a while back. He liked the picnic plate thing so much, that he bought a couple of his own lathes and totally broke PIAPTK's stranglehold on the Olympia lathe cut picnic plate market. He now cuts one-off, totally unique records that he packages inside beautiful hand-painted covers and sells on tour.

Through Kickstarter, Arrington managed to raise enough money to fund a trip to Indonesia, where he had, what I can only imagine, was the time of his life. He played live shows and collaborated with local musicians all over the country.
Link
Check out his email below and go download some of his very bizarre Bandcamp.com releases and check out some of the really fun videos from the trip.

From Arrington:
I am back from a month and a half in Java, Bali and Lombok. I performed about ten concerts with a new version of Malaikat dan Singa featuring local musicians, which was an amazing experience, but perhaps even more incredible I was able to IMPROVISE with some TRADITIONAL musicians. I've posted two "albums" to my bandcamp site along with some notes. "Lombok Island Improvisations" features Gombloh playing the preret, a
double reed instrument used in Sasak/Hindu temple ceremonies, and also my first experience recording with a Sasak Village Gamelan. "Trance Music of East Java" features some very raw and sweaty recordings from two different concerts and a studio session with "Jaran Kepang" groups, also known as "Kuda Lumping". This is an incredibly rich and diverse tradition of TRANCE MUSIC involving wild masks, dancers, and sometimes eye-popping spectacles such as the eating of glass or live chickens, etc (I didn't actually see any of that this time but there are plenty of youtube videos showing such feats).

It goes without saying I feel incredibly honored and fortunate to have been able to perform with these groups. These recordings represent an attempt at true cross cultural collaboration, this is not "objective" ethnomusicology, nor is it exactly "free" improvisation in the usual sense of the term. Let's say it's the beginnings of what I intend to be an ongoing engagement and experimentation with re-imagining HUMAN music in the 21st Century.

All musicians were PAID for performances and recordings, thanks to my kickstarter fund. I'm pretty damn close to broke upon my return, SO- PLEASE- Listen, download, share, enjoy the music as much as you like, consider making a donation of any size to help me continue doing work like this through the bandcamp site, I'd love to hear any feedback or questions!

thank you! Arrington de Dionyso

TWO NEW ALBUMS
http://arrington.bandcamp.com/album/lombok-island-improvisations
http://arrington.bandcamp.com/album/trance-music-of-east-java

Also- see footage from the original concerts!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz8Vq-i7rbs
www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSTq9uE1Vpo
www.youtube.com/watch?v=08yafwUgDCw
www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c10r0eQ8b0
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIBnlx7AAiY
www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL4QYZ5hPLk

Thursday, November 3, 2011

CD format to be abandoned by Major Labels in 2012!


CDs may finally give up the ghost, circa Dec. 2012 (one way or another)!

Well, we knew it couldn't last forever... those annoying little plastic discs that you rip music from and then store in a box in the basement (until the next summer garage sale), (that is, if you even still buy them in the first place (which most people haven't for years)) are finally about to bite the dust. At least for the major labels, and in non-limited edition format, according to Sideline Magazine . Deluxe limited edition discs will still be made and sold, because they are still "viable" (AKA sellable). This only goes to prove a point I've been making for years... People want a THING worth having... after over a decade of music being essentially free and easily available to anyone with a little tech savvy, they still want something interesting that they can touch and look at.

Note: there are no legitimately quoted sources in the article, so it may be less than reliable, but it is interesting to consider regardless.

Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Interview: Doc Feldman of Good Saints

I recently got to "sit down" via email with Derek "Doc" Feldman of KY AltRootsiCountriCana act.




How did the members of Good Saints meet/start playing together?

Good Saints essentially started with a friendship and collaboration between myself and James, and then truly formed into a band with a bit of "divine intervention" in finding Jake "Newt" (dobro, guitar, and vocals), Mark (bass), and Dave (drums) all at the same time. James and I had tried a few different permutations with other local musicians, but nothing really clicked until we found these guys.

How and where was your new EP, Driftwood on the Fire, recorded?

We are extremely lucky that Mark, our bassist, has a big 150 year old house just South of Lexington in a town called Lancaster. He's got two rooms and a hallway set up with some great recording equipment. His studio is lovingly referred to as "Shaker Steps" and gets its name from the authentic Shaker spirit drawings on the steps in his house leading up to the studio. The band meets there almost every Sunday and either practices if we have an upcoming gig or records. Now that we're becoming more comfortable playing gigs, and more comfortable with our own catalog of 20 some odd (and ever increasing) original songs, we're transitioning into primarily focusing on creating new songs and recording. We're recording about two full new songs every Sunday we meet there and we don't seem to be slowing down. We work pretty fast because we record everything live with just one or two takes.

With three distinct songwriters, how does the band writing process work?

Our songwriting process is probably the best part about this band. It's the primary reason why this band excites me so much. While we definitely have three distinct singers, we really aren't three distinct songwriters. We're a band--in the truest sense of the term I think. Each member brings their own unique strengths to the table. I know it's a cliche, but we really are a band that's greater than the sum of its parts. Something special is happening here, and I don't think any of us take this small "miracle" for granted. Not only do we do what we do because we find meaning and connection in it, but we also have a ton of fun and for a bunch of slightly "melancholy" type guys, it's just good for us. If you happened to be watching one of our practice or recording sessions, you'd see laughing and lots of it. Our live shows have that same energy to them I think.

Like I said, each member contributes in their own way to our songs. Clearly, one of the biggest strengths James brings to the band is his songwriting. Each Good Saints song has its own story and songwriting process. Sometimes James has a nearly fully formed song, and all that's really required of everyone else is to just "Good Saintsify" it a bit. Just fill it in with what feels right to create that sound that works for us. Other songs come fairly raw. He may have a few verses, but doesn't quite know what to do with them. He'll throw them out and ask for help with ideas for a chorus or a refrain or some sort of addition to the musical structure of the song. James is also really good at filling in ideas or adding lines or verses on other people's song ideas too. A few of our songs were created out of old songs James essentially threw away. Upon my rather pushy insistence, he actually graciously allowed me to listen to and even dissect, rearrange, and salvage for scraps a bunch of his older throwaway songs he referred to as "Castaways." There are a couple of Good Saints standards that came out of that process actually. I think those helped solidify James' trust in me as a songwriting collaborator.

That kind of stuff is really my specialty probably. I bring different parts together and make them work in harmony. For example, one of our songs was based on a chord progression I created with one verse of lyrics. James added a verse of lyrics and so did Dave (our drummer). Then I went back and smoothed out the three verses to make them all work together. Other songs have been created by me adding lyrics and melody to a guitar riff Jake (aka Newt) was playing or Mark will send me a bass line and I'll rearrange it a bit with some chord changes, a melody, and some lyrics. James will fill out some additional lyrics if needed. I guess I'm giving away trade secrets or showing you how a magician does his tricks, but I'm just so proud of our process. It's a free and open environment. The writing process seems completely limitless the way we do it. We foster that atmosphere of creativity and everyone contributes. I guess I'm the defacto "band leader" though Good Saints honestly doesn't really need a "leader" per se. We are all motivated, and we're all always willing to do our part. If a decision has to be made, we prefer to go with whoever feels the strongest about it. If all else fails, I can choose a fair compromise, and we just go with that.

Jake is clearly the best musician in the group. He may also have the best voice, which is why we're all pushing to give him more songs. Look for that to be the biggest area of growth for our newest songs. More "Newt." His talent is really unmistakable. He's an incredibly humble guy--almost to a fault. If you come to one of our shows, you'll see it. People can't help but pay attention when he's playing.

Mark is the band's center in a lot of ways, and like any good bass player, he's a real work horse. His musical ideas and bass lines have helped spur the creative process of a number of our songs. And there are two songs in particular that just wouldn't be the same at all without the bass lines Mark came up with--"Go Easy" and "Mississippi Slowdown." I also think to a great extent Mark is the one pushing us when really jam out a song. When we're improvising, Jake is usually leading us, but Mark really helps the band hit those peaks. He also acts as engineer, co-producer, and live sound man for the band. And he books our gigs. Did I mention he created our band logo, as well? He's definitely a Renaissance man.

What can I say about Dave our drummer? I mentioned before that Jake was probably our best musician, but that's only because Dave is a drummer. *smiles and gives Dave a nudge.* Dave is definitely one of the most tasteful drummers I've ever played with. He really serves the song, and he plays with great intuition. He's willing to hold back, which is always great for building tension in our songs and then really pushes us when we stretch out to jam. I know for a fact we haven't even really begun to utilize Dave to the full extent of his abilities. Look for us give him more and more freedom to create songs based on his rhythms and percussive elements he can bring. And how many drummers do you know that can throw out lyrics as well?

Do you have any upcoming releases?


Yes, we have a split 7" with Kill County that is being sent off to press as we speak actually. We're hoping to release it before the end of the year. Maybe a nice Chrismahanaquansikah present for that music lover?

We also plan on doing a split 7" with Langhorne Slim that should be out by Spring. We're considering using Kickstarter.com for this project, so keep an eye out.

Then we expect to release our first LP sometime after that.

In the meantime, check out the Good Saints at Reverbnation or Bandcamp.

Bicycle that plays records

From the " Why didn't I think of that?" files: A bicycle that plays records as you ride along at 33 rpm. Read the whole article at Treehugger.




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dub Narcotic Disco Plates - Hive Dwellers, LAKE, White Rainbow

KRecords is, of course, an inspiration for PIAPTK. Not only do they release great music, are extremely prolific (500+ releases!), very iconic (and/or infamous) around Olympia, but label honcho, Calvin Johnson is weird and hilarious.

K releases a series of 7"s called Dub Narcotic Disco Plates. The A sides are all recorded at Dub Narcotic Studio, the amazing 2" tape studio packed with vintage gear and weird instruments that is located in the basement of the former synagogue that is now the K Records offices. The B side is a Calvin "remix". His usual treatment is to add a lot of effects, drop instruments in and out of the mix and add a whole lot of melodica. There is an upcoming Mount Eerie release soon, and a lot of awesome recent releases from Karl Blau, Kendl Winter, Bobby Birdman, Christmas, etc.

Most of the DNDPs come in plain white dust jackets that are stamped and have a letter (the first letter of the band name) punched out with a big, 50's industrial paper punch. They rarely punch all the way and usually have weird "hanging chads" kicking around, making the letter unreadable unless you fold it. You know how much I love imperfect, handmade packaging.

I just picked up three of the new DNDPs last week:

The first one is "Lynch the Swan" from the Calvin Johnson fronted Hive Dwellers. A smooth, sexy bari-droner with such Calvinisms as "It's hard to know which came first, the chicken or the hearse". Plenty of fuzzy Casio and intermittent guitar over a slow-dance rhythm.

The second is a new track from LAKE called Gravel. A beautiful Ashley Erickson (CORRECTION.... LINDSAY SCHIEF!) fronted soft rock gem. This one is apparently not available yet. So keep an eye out.

And last, is a new tune from the long time K-ollaborator and loop lunatic, Adam Forkners' White Rainbow called The Making of Thriller b/w The Making of Star Wars. This one is centered around variations on the Calvin-sung phrase "Making Love is Beautiful"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

PIAPTK.com MEGAsale!

In honor of People In A Position To Know Limited Edition Vinyl and Handmade Musical Artifacts, LLC's Fifth Anniversary, everything at www.PIAPTK.com is on sale (well, almost everything, the only exceptions are preorders or distro items). Even lathe cuts are on sale. LPs as low as 4.99, 7"s as low as $2.49. And ALL digital downloads are $1.99 for LPs and $0.75 for 7"s!

This sale ONLY LASTS FOR 24 HOURS! At midnight on Oct. 31st, all items will revert to their already low prices.

Band to Know: The Harlan Twins

I just stumbled across this band about 30 minutes ago thanks to a post by my internet buddy, Zach Klein. He generally has pretty good taste, so I take his recommendations seriously. The Harlan Twins, from Pittsburgh, have the kind of rootsy, spacey, harmony driven country folk sound that I love. I'm only halfway through their self-titled LP on Bandcamp now, and I'm already smitten. Comparisons are odious, as they say, but you've got the vibe of a co-ed The Band, with some sultry female vocals reminiscent of Cat Power balanced by some great Alt-countricana dude vox, backed up by jangly, twangy guitars that sound like The Unicorns meet Waylon Jennings. I'm really into it.

Why would I bother posting about a band I know nothing about, and haven't heard an entire album from yet? Because today and tomorrow only, you can get their first two records for free at their Bandcamp. So, I'll do more homework, and get more details on the band for a later posting, but right now, time is NOT on your side, so hurry over to The Harlan Twins bandcamp. My Kid Cudi-loving students are going to get really sick of hearing this album every day next week during class. But, hey, they should have brought their own headphones.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Saints Live Video

Two songs from one of the first Good Saints shows last week. Download their EP

The James Jackson Toth fronted Southern Colorado Song about "Colorado sibling fugitives the Dougherty Gang"



And San Antonio Missions with Doc Feldman at the helm:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Band to Know: The Blank Tapes: Big In Brazil

I first came across The Blank Tapes through their connection with artists like Graves, Little Wings, Gift Machine, Lee Baggett, etc.
The West Coast Stoner-Surf-Lounge scene is an incestuous one. Everybody plays on everybody else's records, and most "bands" are really only a main songwriter (in the case of The Blank Tapes, Matt Adams), with a revolving cast of friends from other bands or projects who play when they can and don't when they can't. This gives every album and live show a spontaneity and uniqueness that you don't get from bands with set lineups (unless maybe that band is Fugazi). Every show has a different setlist, different instrumentation, and can go either way: utter brilliance or total trainwreck. It's that unpredictability that makes it exciting.
These bands also tend to be pretty prolific. It's easier to record when you don't have to actually work around 4 specific people's schedules or when you can play all the instruments yourself. The Blank Tapes are no exception. Not only have the they released 6 Albums (most clocking in at 20+ songs, a couple of EPs, and who knows how many random tape, Cd-r, and compilation releases (I highly recommend the FREE Adams curated Universal Western Attractions) in the last 7 years, but Adams also records, produces and plays in bands like Dirty Birdy, Collin Ludlow, Sleepy Todd, and Sugar Candy Mountain. On top of all that, 2012 is gearing up to be a ridiculously busy year. They've already got 5 releases lined up:
Invisible Colors - A Split album with Magic Leaves - a collection of older recordings too rocking and random for any other release
An all new split album w/ Sugar Candy Moutain is "being recorded in Brazil, featuring the newest batch of songs, sexy, funny songs if i (Matt Adams) dare say so".
Vacation - A new album recently recorded at New, Improved Recording (tUnE-YaRdS, Thao & Mirah, Deerhoof).
Geodesic Domepiece - a stoner concept album recorded to 2" tape which will come out on April 20th, of course.
A couple albums of new and old 8 track recordings called SHA-LA-LOVE & and yet to be named one along with a hodge podge of other random recordings.

CHECK OUT THE BLANK TAPES BANDCAMP FOR $5 (or less) MP3 albums.

Here are three exclusive demos of tunes that will be (or have been) rerecorded for Blank Tapes albums to be released in 2012.

The Blank Tapes - Exclusive Demos from PIAPTKBlog.com by PIAPTK

In a weird fluke that is the stuff that musician dreams (and jokes) are made of, a Blank Tapes song was licensed last year to be used in Brazilian candy commercial. The commercial and song were so popular, that a band that played house shows for 30 people in the US were soon on their way to Brazil to play large venues. They are currently in Brazil for the second time, check the dates here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Daily Dose of Wooden Wand!

Sometime around Thanksgiving, the Wooden Wand Archives Vol. 3 6xLP boxset in beautiful, hand made and stained heavy duty wooden boxes will be shipping to the lucky 200 people who preordered them (a handful of these sets are still available at PIAPTK.com). Only 16 of the 70 previously unreleased or out-of-print tunes on this set were officially released digitally, because James wanted to keep the release as "vinyl-only" as possible. I, personally, felt these tracks (I sorted through 300+ (mostly good to great) unreleased tunes initially) were SOOO good, that people deserved to hear them, regardless of their turntable status. It is, after all, the digital age, and after a PIAPTK vs Wand, Best 3 out of 5 Scrabble Death Match, I won the rights to include a 16 song "Selections" disc.


DAILY DOSE OF WAND - Despite everything above, when I pitched a promotion idea for the brand new PIAPTK blog; "How about if I post a single song download from the Boxset, every day, for only 24 hours?" his reply was, "Sure! Post whatever you want!"

So here it goes:

Every evening, between 7 and 10 pm, from now until the boxset preorders ship, I will post a new, unreleased Wooden Wand tune from the upcoming boxset (and occasionally totally unheard rarities). I will leave the song up for streaming for 7 days, but will disable the download option as soon as I upload the new song the next day.

To get it kicked off, let's do THREE tunes!

Day One: Nothing To Declare
Daily Dose of Wand 10/26 - 01 Nothing To Declare by PIAPTK

Day One: Drill Myth Shit
Daily Dose of Wand - 10/26 - 03 Drill Myth Shit by PIAPTK

Day One: Easy Street
Daily Dose of Wand - 10/26 - 04 Easy Street by PIAPTK

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New (classic Lineup) GBV Free Track!

Under the Bushes, Under The Stars was my first real introduction to Guided By Voices, when I picked it up in a used bin in 1997. It has remains my favorite GBV record to this. Imagine my excitement when Bob got the original boys back together last year. Maybe I'm a little late to the party with the announcement of their new record, Let's Go Eat The Factory, which is supposed to "pick up where Under The Bushes, Under The Stars Left Off". It is due out on Matador in January 2012, but today, RobertPollard.net posted The Unsinkable Fats Domino, the first single from the album.

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Glossary Record, "Long Live All Of Us"

Glossary is one of those bands that is extremely consistent. You always know what you are going to get. They don't try to "New Coke" it up. They've got a great formula worked out and they stick to it and work around it. Their brand of Americana Soul (think Wilco meets Van Morrison) really shows off the excellent songwriting of frontman Joey Kneiser while the music and arrangements come off as an easy group effort. Friends in a living room with a six pack (or 6) of cheap beer and an occasional smoke break.

I first came across Glossary in 2004, shortly after they released "How We Handle Our Midnights". I had heard the name through tours they had done with some Texas bands that I kept up with. I'd heard the name, heard good things, but never actually heard their music. I went to see them at a Wednesday Night showcase at SXSW and was blown away. I saw (stalked) them for the rest of the week and saw them 5 or 6 more times. I've been a fan ever since.

I was pretty excited to hear from Bingham Barnes (bassist in Glossary and Jescos (with James Toth of Wooden Wand & Tim Bracy of The Mendoza Line) that Glossary had a new record. "Long Live All Of Us" is the first Glossary album that was not recorded in a studio, under time constraints. Instead, they rented a house ("between a church and a "Meth house in the woods") and took their sweet time recording it themselves. And it shows.

Check out "Trouble Won't Last Always" and "Keep It Coming"

Songs from "Long Live All Of Us" by Glossary by PIAPTK

New Turner Cody LP "The Radioman Sessions"

Turner Cody gets lumped into the "Anti-Folk" scene, perhaps because of his appearance on the genre-naming Rough Trade compilation, or maybe because of tours he has done with Adam Green, Herman Dune, etc. Or perhaps because of his turn playing the title character in Jeffrey Lewis' hilarious video for Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror. Regardless, the always dapperly dressed Cody has a depth of style that most Anti-Folkers don't. And his new album, The Radioman Sessions, definitely run the gamut, sylistically.

According to Cody himself "(A) soundtrack to the film that never was, "Radioman Sessions" navigates the NYC of the imagination, from 2nd st and the Bowery to the Hudson river, all night cheap hotels and New Jersey. These songs are subtle meditations on the desperation, grit and ultimate redemption of the urban experience. Musicians include Sam Grossman, John Dydo, Kevin Thaxton, Tim Love Lee, Jon Natchez, Mike Termini. Produced by Dan Myers."

It features nine tracks with 5 songs followed by 4 alternate, stripped down versions, which all come off as completely different songs, despite identical lyrics. "Ounce of Gold", has a Hanna Barbera jungle cartoon theme meets Tom Waits-at-his-silliest vibe. "Weary to the Bone" is reminiscent of Dylan's best late 60's rockers. And you can almost picture a 30's crooner singing the Tin Pan Alley influenced "2nd Street". George Jones wishes he'd been given "City Walls", though I doubt even he could have done the countryish ballad any better. And finally, I have no idea WHAT to compare the frantic, paranoid "Hey Jim", but it's good...

Check out both versions of "Weary to the Bone"
Turner Cody - Weary To The Bone by PIAPTK

New Benoit Pioulard 12" and tour

Newly transplanted Seattlite, Thomas Meluch, AKA Benoit Pioulard, has just released a new 12" EP called "Benoît Honoré Pioulard Plays Thelma"on Desire Path Recordings. It's limited to only 300 copies.

He will also be touring in November, where he will have copies of the Thelma 12" and the Through The Fractured Lens/An Absolute lathe cut 7" (only 66 made!) available for sale.

BENOIT PIOULARD TOUR DATES:
10/29/2011 Philadelphia PA St. Mary’s Hamilton Village
10/30/2011 NYC NY West Park Presbyterian Church
10/31/2011 Montreal QC Casa del Popolo
**11/1/2011 Toronto ON Drake Hotel
**
Record Release Party for Thelma. There will also be a special performance from Kyle Bobby Dunn.
11/2/2011 Pittsburgh PA The Warhol at Carnegie Museum of Art
11/3/2011 Cincinnati OH Southgate House
11/5/2011 St. Louis MO Off Broadway
11/6/2011 Chicago IL Lincoln Hall
11/7/2011 Minneapolis MN Cedar Cultural Center
11/10/2011 Seattle WA The Triple Door
11/12/2011 Portland OR Holocene
11/14/2011 San Francisco CA The Independent
11/15/2011 Los Angeles CA The Satellite

Stream "Calder" and BP's Soundcloud:
Calder by Benoît Pioulard

Thursday, October 20, 2011

R. Stevie Moore Collaborates with Ariel Pink!

The godfather of mid-fidelified-beyond-prolific-home-recording, R. Stevie Moore is not as weird in real life as you might imagine if you heard his music and knew his story ( which is soon to be a documentary). I know. He came over to my house and hung out on the trampoline in my back yard and ate Doritos. It does, however, take a certain mindset and eccentricity to record as obsessively and for as long as Stevie has.

In his latest collaboration (He has previously worked with Mike Watt, Billy Anderson on this PIAPTK released 7", Dr. Dog, Jad Fair, MGMT, etc etc.) he's teamed up with reverby-soft-rock-weirdo Ariel Pink. The album isn't complete, but Stevie's already sharing some of it on his SoundCloud site. It sounds exactly like you'd hope it would... a nice hybrid of Pink's swirling ambience with sawtooth synths and Moore's PowerBritPop sensabilities. Actual songs interspersed with repetitious and weird musical interludes.

Check out "Stevie Pink Javascript" below.
SteviePink Javascript by kukluxglam

Hear a LOT more at their Sound Cloud.

Shortly before Stevie came by my house for the whole Doritos on the trampoline thing, he spent some time down the street at Dub Narcotic, a little studio that has recorded a couple albums you might have heard of, like One Foot In The Grave, This is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About, Black Candy, etc.

I Just Wanna Feel You is typical of recent Stevie... Unabashedly and Unashamedly Sexy. Lyrics like "I just wanna feel you... I wanna use my hands" would certainly creep you out if Stevie said them to you in person without knowing who he was. I've been fantasizing about making a Christmas movie with Stevie as a hired Santa Claus working a bachelorette party. His only lines would come straight from his lyric sheets. Oliver, Francis, college RTVF major... call me, let's get working on this. It will blow "It's a Wonderful Life" out of the water.

It is, potentially going to be released sometime in the near future as a K Records 7". It was recorded with the amazing Tropical Ooze who has been touring as Stevie's support and band since he began touring earlier in the year. Amazingly, after 50+ years of recording, he had never done a proper tour! Strangely enough, Tropical Ooze turned out to be the band of a long-lost friend of mine from college. Hipstertown is a small world.

I Just Wanna Feel You ~ R. Stevie Moore by kukluxglam

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scud Mountain Boys Reunite!

According to a typically-snarky-and-long-winded-email-filled-with-inside-jokes-I'm-outside-of, from the Pernice Brothers email list, one of my favorite alt-country bands from the 90s, The Scud Mountain Boys, are reuniting!

Well, they are playing a handful of shows (which may or may not lead to additional dates, anyway), none of which is anywhere near my side of the country. So, my joy at the reunion is also filled with deep sorrow at my inability to attend. I'm really hoping my daughter learns to talk soon that I can train her to ask her mom for tickets to the Washington, D.C. show for her first birthday.

SCUD MOUNTAIN BOYS REUNION TOUR-ISH

Friday, Jan. 13, 2012

Bowery
Ballroom, New York, NY

Saturday Jan. 14
Brighton
Music Hall, Boston, MA

Sunday, Jan. 15
Pearl Street Clubroom, Northampton, MA

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012
Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012
The Black Cat, Washington, DC