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.
Check out his email below and go download some of his very bizarre 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


Also- see footage from the original concerts!

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 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"