Monday, July 21, 2014

Scamu Scau! Meet Meenk.

Christ, it's been a while. Breaking this lengthy hiatus, first, to say how happy I am that we live in a period where it's cool for women to be musicians again (it was cool twenty years ago, and then the Lilith Fair sort of scared women out of it, I think, because no one wanted to be pinned as the next Tracy Bonham or whatever, but now it's okay again because everyone's forgotten what was cheesy about the '90s). And I'm pleased that girls are increasingly unafraid to pick up guitars. I don't usually rant about gender because music is music, but at one point, it was difficult to name three female guitarists, and now, there are tons of female rock musicians, and boys are finally finding it acceptable to enjoy them. The shitty times we've lived in, ladies.

On that note, I've already gushed about a good lot of the Exploding in Sound roster -- Speedy Ortiz, Ovlov, Palehound, Geronimo! (and so forth, and so forth). And said roster leads us quite smoothly to Meenk, a project by May Rio, whose current guitarist is Ben Scherer of Palehound. Rio sounds impossibly young but is already a graduate of RISD, and one with a sweet, sweet Jughead-inspired menswear portfolio at that; her voice is halfway between the relaxed slur of Lana Del Rey and the sweetness of, well, a child -- did I mention that she sounds impossibly young? -- and she's no doubt inspired to the nines by Pavement, so much so that it'd be all too easy to lump her into a club with Sadie Dupuis and Ellen Kempner, respectively of Speedy Ortiz and Palehound.

The music of Meenk is simple, witty, and feminine. May Rio is Joey Lauren Adams in Chasing Amy, and she's the singer-songwriter at the coffee shop that the creepy single dad is lusting after while he and his kid play backgammon at the table by the stage, and she's the girl who doesn't have a ton of friends because she'd rather be drawing than chatting about gel manicures. I like her.

Go listen to Scamu Scau!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A mess'a easy lo-fi

Here are two lo-fi, beachy acts that we can lump together quite smoothly. The first is Ladada, a fellow from Virginia Beach named Josiah Schlater, whose debut EP will get released August 5 on Gold Robot Records.

The next one is London's Proper Ornaments, who are about to release Wooden Head on Slumberland on July 8. Here are two from the record.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mankind, rippin 'em off

Stockholm's Mankind are quite young, and while "Blood, Sugar" essentially rips off the structure of Nirvana's "Aneurysm," sort of precisely, the band reminds me of how much I enjoyed Swedish pop and garage rock ten to twelve years ago [think Randy, Division of Laura Lee, T(I)NC]. Their publicist describes them as part of "an emerging scene reacting to the overwhelming EDM rains that floods every single garage here without mercy," and while my first instinct is to call them an imitation of a range of bands that were popular between about 2000 and 2004, a fair number of those bands were an imitation of a '60s aesthetic, and that was half a generation ago, anyway. So it's time for the kids, currently being fed all sorts of electronic whatsits, to get into something more energetic, as we did at the turn of the century. Here's an overdue introduction to Mankind:

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Just a reminder that this is ongoing. Anything helps! Also using this as an opportunity to mention that Dan Melchior und Das Menace's Hunger gets released on Tuesday.

Edit (6/24): I've set up a new donation page for Dan and Letha on Give Forward so that any additional new funds can be tallied (there's no way of knowing that donations have slowed if you can't see what's been given, unfortunately). All donations will be sent to Dan and Letha as they are received. You can also donate by clicking on that nifty little white button-thingy on the right side of this page.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world...

Another Song, By Toad release is out, this time a 12-inch split featuring David Thomas Broughton, Jonnie Common, Sparrow and the Workshop, and Siobhan Wilson, by whom a lead single has been released for free listening.

The selection comes partly from Matthew Young's Edinburgh-based Song, By Toad Records, and was drawn from the lineup of Aviemore's Insider Festival, where the recordings took place (at the nearby Inshriach House). You can find the record here starting July 14. The single track by Wilson and two by Broughton, which sandwich the album, are both the most stripped down and the standouts of the record.

Additionally! There will be an Indiegogo campaign launching tomorrow, to support a documentary on David Thomas Broughton. Have a look at this trailer, as well as a few words from filmmaker Greg Butler:

This is a trailer to music documentary currently being made about the eccentrically surreal performer and heartbreaking musician and songwriter David Thomas Broughton.

The film is in the early stages of production and this trailer was created after conducting the first five interviews. Since the trailer was first put together 12 interviews have been shot and included contributions from Shearwaters Jonathan Meiburg, Sam Amidon and David Shrigley. Many other interviews have been lined up over forthcoming months including Beth Orton, Liz Green and James Yorkston among others.

A crowd funding campaign is about to get underway so please pledge some money if you are fan of David’s work at all (from 23rd June on Indiegogo) So far I’ve put purely my own money into this project and I need some help if I am to make something really special and make the film that that David’s talent deserves.

The film should be completely shot by September and edited by the end of the year. Let me know if you can help me in any way shape or form, any help would be much appreciated and maybe even rewarded in a small way.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Well, now, this here thing is going on.

Weekend Pass: $24
Individual Days: Friday $8 (6pm - 12am)
Saturday $10 (1pm - 12am)
Sunday $10 (1pm - 12am)

If not sold out in advance, tickets will also be sold at the door.

Proceeds will benefit the California Justice Committee's campaign to house ALL veterans. 

The Vortex is located at 2341 E. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What's the blues, when you've got Greys?

Quite eager to hear this new record from Toronto-based band Greys, who are filling in where Les Savy Fav seem to have left off; they're getting comparisons to '80s/'90s groups like Fugazi and Nirvana, and the influence is there but certainly not stolen. Greys play confidently and merge grunge with the angular guitar style that seemed to dominate the indie rock world about ten years ago, but they're not the least bit inaccessible or intimidating. Hear, here:

And of course, tour dates:

6/18 Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha
6/20 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
6/22 Toronto, ON @ Edward Day Gallery
6/24 Windsor, ON @ Phog Lounge
6/25 Grand Rapids, MI @ Mulligan's Pub
6/26 Milwaukee, WI @ Ground Zero
6/27 Chicago, IL @ The Observatory
6/28 Minneapolis, MN @ Gen's Dental Office
6/29 Winnipeg, MB @ Union Sound Hall
6/30 Saskatoon, SK @ Vangelis Tavern
7/01 Edmonton, AB @ Wunderbar
7/02 Calgary, AB @ Broken City
7/04 Vancouver, BC @ Cobalt
7/05 Seattle, WA @ Victory Lounge
7/06 Seattle, WA @ Black Lodge
7/07 Portland, OR @ Habesha Lounge
7/09 Oakland, CA @ Eli's Mile High
7/10 San Francisco, CA @ Honey Hive Gallery
7/11 Fresno, CA @ Cafe Infoshop
7/13 Los Angeles, CA @ The Crest
7/14 Riverside, CA @ Blood Orange Infoshop
7/15 San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe
7/16 Phoeniz, AZ @ 51West
7/18 Salt Lake City, UT @ Shred Shed
7/19 Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
7/20 Kansas City, MO @ Vandals
7/21 Lawrence, KS @ Replay Lounge
7/22 St. Louis, MO @ Lemp Arts
7/23 Nashville, TN @ Stone Fox
7/24 Kalamazoo, MI @ Cooper Mansion
8/08 Toronto, ON @ SHIBGBs

New Total Control!

Melbourne's Total Control will be releasing a new record on June 24 (Typical System will be put out by Iron Lung Records), and it's marvelous and streamable at Pitchfork Advance right now. I had the opportunity to see Total Control open for Thee Oh Sees in 2011, and they're very much not to miss if the opportunity arises! Here's a taste of their earlier releases: