Friday, August 22, 2014

Last call to donate through Give Forward

It's Friday night in Los Angeles, which means that this blog post will ultimately get buried. Most of my neighbors are off and celebrating Shitty Beer Night, as they should be. But I want to 1) tell anyone who's donated to Letha Rodman Melchior's medical fund that you're a true mensch, and 2) put out what will likely be a final request for donations to the fund, as there is now just over one month left in the fundraiser period. Dan Melchior has indicated that Letha will be entering hospice at home, which is wonderful in the context of comfort, but, you know, an unfortunate turn. Their fundraiser page at Give Forward has just about hit the $5,000 mark, which is fantastic. But their living expenses and health care will require a bit more of a push for the time being, so anything you can offer would help enormously -- even $5-10 donations will add up to something significant. Truly.

Donate to Letha Rodman Melchior's medical fund by clicking here.

Additionally, there will be a couple of benefit shows in the coming month to help support Dan and Letha's living expenses and Letha's medical bills. Please go if you live nearby!

Aug. 30, 8pm
The Union Bar & Grill
18 W Union St, Athens, Ohio 45701
Blam Blams / Ghost Stories / TBA

Sept. 17, 8pm - $10 suggested donation
Emporium Arcade Bar
1366 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60622
Mr. Ma'am / Melkbelly / Beat Drun Juel / Soddy Daisy

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'll Be Your

This track by The Tallest Tree is essentially the auditory equivalent of gentrification -- it's twee, tame, whimsical. It's white people paying $6 for toast with homemade jam. It's 34-year old women wearing bangs and vintage cardigans, playing kazoos, riding bikes, pretending to be six. It's incredibly mild. But it's sweet, and it sums up the husband-wife team comprising the band:

We met a couple years ago when Armando's band, The Oats, was playing in Canada. 
And that's when Armando fell in love with Dawn.
Every time Dawn came to visit Mexico City, we would write a new song.
Now Dawn and Armando are married.

New Twilight Sad is here!

And it's a hark back to Forget the Night Ahead.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Walkin' Bicycles

Quite happy to receive this one, the third single off Him That Wills The Way, which will be released August 11 on Highwheel Records. Walking Bicycles are like a hybrid of Jane's Addiction and Death From Above 1979; they're also energetic, middle-aged, and have origins in Arcata, CA. (They're now Chicago-based.) Among a sea of EDM, and pop music made by countless women who sound like Lykke Li -- really, there's an entire sea of Lykke Li out there -- this is quite a refreshing find.

Also related: the story of their guitarist's incarceration for possession of marijuana.

Two songs for a hearty laugh

Here's the newest by Seattle-based Relays, for you unsentimental types.

Also, one from the Chicago-based Oscillator Bug -- it's like Oneida and Half Japanese and Devo all rolled into one giant mess!

Tales of Us comes to a close.

Completely in love with the final song in the Tales of Us series by Goldfrapp, the video for which was released today.

Here are the others in the series, directed by Lisa Gunning:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Get Ummagma the hell out of Ukraine!

Speaking about the parts of the world experiencing war at the moment -- had a very nice albeit humbling conversation with the lovely Shauna McLarnon, of Ukraine's Ummagma. McLarnon is a native Canadian, residing with her husband and their daughter in Ternopil, and they're looking to make an exit back to the world's most neutral territory. And really, can you blame them? The best way to support them right now? Through their music, which is quite decent and will appeal to fans of alternative/synth/shoegaze hybrids. They're also featured on this brand new Sounds of Sputnik album, which will be available not only as a digital download but as a 50-Euro "post-Soviet music bundle," which contains the new Sounds of Sputnik album, digital access to two Ummagma albums, and mixed collections of Ukrainian and Soviet/post-Soviet music curated by the two bands. Here's a small taste:

All Ummagma albums can otherwise be purchased here.

If nothing else, at least Israel's got its music.

The former guitarist of Monotonix (Tel Aviv) has got a thing of his own going, and not only is he a joy if you're a fan of, say, Dungen (or Monotonix -- albeit it's a bit more dignified), but Yonatan Gat will be at the Smell in Los Angeles this Thursday.

Other good news coming out of Tel Aviv? A couple of freshly recorded Vaadat Charigim demos, "Have No Place in this Planet" and "Where it Ends." A while back, I had the opportunity to interview Juval Haring of Vaadat Charigim about living in Tel Aviv, and since then, the updates have gotten quite surreal, particularly as most of us only hear about Israel in the context of their war with the distance of media. From Facebook:

Walking down the street in Tel Aviv just now, we heard a siren. We were next to a random apartment building so we went in. The neighbors were running down the stairs with their dogs, leading us down to a small cellar where people keep their old bicycles. We stood there for about 10 minutes. Every few moments we could hear a distant BOOM. I thought to myself - these wars are strange, these for-show missile attacks on civilians, our ego-driven responses. Someone must be gaining something somewhere, and i know its not the people. It makes no sense why on such a lovely summer day, we would all be standing sweating in an old cellar with our pets. This is just another war, fought by ideologists and leaders of men, on the expenses of civilians. People are just people. They just want to hang out, be with their kids or friends. Someone is gaining something from this. Someone is profiting off everyday peoples thirst for revenge, people's desperation, fatigue, on both sides. And the losers are us, hiding from missles instead of basking in the sun, pawns in a game designed by greedy people to be so big that us everyday folk will never be able to grasp it. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Yes I'm Leaving (is a band) / I know a place where you can put your money.

Becoming increasingly convinced that Australians survive on a diet of ground meat and terrible beer. Case in point:

Yes I'm Leaving comes out of Sydney and they've got a record called Slow Release coming out September 29 on Homeless Records. There's going to be a limited pressing of 100 grey/white records, too. You can preview "One" from it at Stereogum. And for those of us who aren't up on much of Australia's music scene, Yes I'm Leaving has got a pretty great record from 2013 that's sold out but is still accessible by stream.

Speaking loosely of Homeless Records, Dan Melchior has been part of their roster in the past, and if you've followed along here every so often, you might've come across a post on Dan and his wife Letha, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma almost four years ago, has experienced a whole variety of tumors since, and has been making her way through as many treatments as are available. Financially, cancer is quite draining -- if you've ever been a patient of any sort in an American hospital, there's a good chance that you're already aware. Factor in the obligation to give up work due to disability (Letha) or caretaking (Dan), and you've got yourself a hole. This is where assistance is very much needed. In addition to the Paypal account set up for Letha's medical fund in 2012, you can help them out by purchasing Hunger, a Dan Melchior und Das Menace best-of of sorts that was curated by John Dwyer and recently released on Castle Face. You can purchase any of Dan or Letha's records to help, really, and they're all available here.

Additionally and related, I recently set up a Give Forward page to help reboot donations to their medical bills and living expenses, and while we've gotten to a fabulous start, almost $3,800 in a single month, donations are quickly losing momentum. If Letha can make it four years beyond a Stage 4 diagnosis, then there's a good chance medicine has come far enough to help her fully recover -- let's pitch in and ensure that she's got the financial coverage she needs to get completely treated and make it happen. Can the fund reach $5,000 by the end of the week?

(You can also click that spiffy long button in the top right corner of the page)