Salon's Scott Timberg has a piece about the grim financial straits in which many jazz and classical musicians find themselves due to poor payouts from streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. Man, is it depressing.
But between low royalties, opaque payout rates, declining record sales and suspicion that the major labels have cut deals with the streamers that leave musicians out of the equation, anger from the music business’s artier edges is slowing growing. It’s further proof of the lie of the “long tail.” The shift to digital is also helping to isolate these already marginalized genres: It has a decisive effect on what listeners can find, and on whether or not an artist can earn a living from his work. (Music streaming, in all genres, is up 42 percent for the first half of this year, according to Nielsen SoundScan, against the first half of 2013. Over the same period, CD sales fell 19.6 percent, and downloads, the industry’s previous savior, were down 11.6 percent.)...
[Indie labels] have been largely left out of the sweet deals struck with the streamers. Most of those deals are opaque; the informed speculation says that these arrangement are not good for musicians, especially those not on the few remaining majors.
Jazz historian Ted Gioia offers one possible solution to this seemingly hopeless situation. He says labels, in conjunction with their artists, need "to control their own streaming.... They need to work together with a new model, to control distribution and not rely on Apple, Amazon and everyone else. The music industry has always hated technology—they hated radio when it came out—and have always dragged their feet. They need to embrace technology and do it better.”
Do any jazz and classical musicians out in Slogland have any anecdotes to relate re: your own streaming payments?
• Satire king “Weird Al” Yankovic released a brand-new album last week—Mandatory Fun—with eight days of video releases expertly spoofing Iggy Azalea, Pharrell Williams, Charli XCX, Lorde, Robin Thicke, Crosby, Stills & Nash (?!), and more. Though his shtick is polarizing, we’re firmly planted in the “he’s a fucking genius and always has been” category. Stay weird!
• Sub Pop’s A&R squad hit up Chop Suey Saturday night to check out flamboyant LA prog-pop group Fever the Ghost. But one rep told us that he was more impressed with dynamic psych-rock openers Morgan Delt. “Their album’s fucking incredible,” the Sub Pop staffer said. He’s right. No offense to FTG, but we hope Sub Pop opts for Morgan Delt.
• Substrata 1.4 lived up to our high expectations. Rafael Anton Irisarri’s annual festival of experimental drone and ambient music featured nine acts July 17–19 at Wallingford’s beautiful Chapel Performance Space; all were compelling, and a few were sublime. Finnish producer Mika Vainio ruled, his set a shocking conflagration of extreme frequencies, tension-building pauses pregnant with danger, and sounds of otherworldly war. Mountains member Koen Holtkamp used his Eurorack module synthesizer to optimal effect, erecting radiant, oceanic drones and punching out manic, Subotnick-like passages that sounded like termites doing the cha-cha. Once again, Substrata gave us our highbrow musical highlight of the year.
(Neumos) Seun Kuti is the youngest son of the legendary Afropop king Fela Kuti. He has been making music since he was a boy. Music is the only life he knows. Seun currently leads Egypt 80, a band his father founded in 1979. In 2011, Seun released a solid album From Africa with Fury: Rise (which the legendary Brian Eno coproduced); in 2014, he released A Long Way to the Beginning (which features production and musical contributions by the genius jazz pianist Robert Glasper, and also some spitting by M-1 of dead prez). The reviews for Beginning have mostly been positive, and we can expect to hear many of the tracks from this album during the show tonight. We call also expect to see lots of good sweat flowing down the faces and bodies of people on the stage and in the audience. CHARLES MUDEDE
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(Hollow Earth Radio) Right off the bat, L.A. Takedown's band name wants you to know what they're all about: the soundtrack to a fashionable, slicked-back Los Angeles summer in the early to mid 90's. An arid synthesizer creates a backdrop for the evening, which is full of hot sunset colors and lots of teal; sultry guitar riffs enter the scene with a handgun that is never used, but creates tension. They have song titles like "Crying in the Shower," "Sexual Blue," "Something About Forgiveness," and "Something Else About Forgiveness," and a highly-stylized eight-minute music video for their song "Heatwave." I assume this project is very related to the actual made-for-TV movie L.A. Takedown, upon which the movie Heat was based-though I've never seen either of them. With Lori Goldston, Slashed Tires and Nicholas Krgovich. EMILY NOKES
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We have finally reached the end of Weird Al Yankovic's eight-day album-release assault, in which he debuted a new video from his new album on a different website every day for over a week. If you missed the weekend debuts, you can watch all eight videos right here. A friend of mine texted me on Friday that he had finally gotten sick of Weird Al, which is something that neither of us would have believed to be possible a decade ago. But that's the problem with these internet marketing onslaughts; if they go on too long, they move from "flurry of amiable press releases" territory into "maddening internet ubiquity."
What do you think?
I know, I know. Weezer. Oof. At this point you either love the band unconditionally and are happily going along for whatever ride they're taking you on (read: dad jams and summer cruises), or your heart is forever broken past the point of repair and you'll never like another song they write ever again.
I fall into the latter group, but I still couldn't resist listening to the first single of their new album, "Back to the Shack."
What the hell is this? First of all, if you're going to write a throwback song about how you want things to be the way they used to be, you sure as hell should make it as good as it used to be. This is not. Secondly, I understand your desire to rhyme, Rivers, but how can you go "back to the shack" when you were never in a shack? That was a garage, dude. You were in a garage.
Please, Weezer, just stop. You really did give it a good go, but that's enough now. That's more than enough.
The documentary Alive Inside is an attempt to garner support for Music and Memory, a bunch of science types who've proven music therapy is a way to combat dementia. Theirs is a simple solution: Give dementia patients an iPod full of music, preferably music they loved when they were younger and more lucid and, as they listen, they come back to life! It is SO awesome to watch!!
I bet most all'a y'all have already seen the remarkable clip from Alive Inside featuring, "Henry," a dementia patient who is essentially paralyzed from the condition. Well, if not, WATCH THE CLIP—it's fucking beautiful. There are no pills involved with this therapy; it's all sensory, and you can actually watch Henry's brain light up as it reconnects paths, even as his alertness is fleeting.
Alive Inside did screen at SIFF this year, but returns August 22 at the Varsity.
For those of you who like to look at, talk about, and/or buy posters, Ghost Gallery and yours truly have chosen 27 Poster of the Week veterans to show new and classic work from July 19 through August 10 at Saint John's. Don't miss the opening artist reception on July 19!
I met Betsy about eight years ago, when I walked into a hair salon on a whim and she happened to be the next available person. She was so genuine and friendly—telling me stories of her days playing bass in her band Blank Its or her past Bellingham bands, Mystery Date, Foxmange, and A Frequency (she'd moved to Bellingham from Napa before settling in Seattle), and talking about how her husband, Johnny Samra, was a phenomenal cook, and they "just knew" from the second they met (they would celebrate that day, March 18, 2000, as their "love-at-first-sight-iversary; they married in June of 2004). She quickly became my all-the-time hairdresser (who put up with my frequent and tedious hair-color changes), and we discovered mutual friends in local bands like the Coconut Coolouts while bonding over our belief that the Funhouse was pretty much the best venue at which to play and/or see a show. It wasn't long before I considered her my real friend (who still put up with my frequent and tedious hair-color changes).
In July of 2010, Betsy and Johnny realized their dream of running their own hair salon and record shop and opened Radar Hair and Records in Sodo—the grooviest shop to get your hair done and buy artwork, records, and vintage clothing while bands like the Cramps or the B-52s blasted through the speakers...
(Chapel Performance Space) Most folks, your columnist included, are beyond thrilled that Finnish minimal-techno legend Mika Vainio is crossing the Atlantic to grace us with his uniquely icy and monomaniacal takes on ambient and bare-bones dance music. An innovator of noise-infused techno with Pan Sonic, Vainio (aka Ø) has created a bountiful canon of Andrei Tarkovsky–soundtrack worthy analog synthscapes and industrial- disaster techno. Might be prudent to bring earplugs. Evan Caminiti made his rep in the two-man guitar-desperado lineup of Thrill Jockey artists Barn Owl. Like a slightly more cosmic late-period Earth, Barn Owl loft grandiloquent, twangy, astral drones for those blessed with long attention spans. In his solo work, Caminiti adds synthesizer to his guitar machinations to produce a more interiorized strain of contemplative zoners that may tickle the tympanic membranes of anyone who flipped for those mid-'70s Fripp/Eno LPs. On records like Dreamless Sleep and Night Dust, Caminiti's compositions bloom at the intersection of deep thought and profound bliss. The wife-husband duo of Mamiffer (multi-instrumentalist Faith Coloccia and ex-Isis guitarist Aaron Turner) patiently build somber, majestic songs that sound like doom metal transposed to the conservatory. A mysterious, elegiac mood informs Mamiffer's ennobling gestures and Coloccia's stoic, dulcet vocals. Listening to their music is one of the heaviest ways to get lifted.
(Chop Suey) Rare is the modern-day musician who can replicate the without sounding like a hopeless poseur. To smoothly assimilate the opiated feel and sonic trickery of that late-’60s psych rock in the 21st century requires a special skill set that’s beyond the earnest record-collector pantomime artists. Enigmatic California phenom Morgan Delt is one guy who’s mastered the gloriously disorienting and intricately designed song structures of that era’s best psychonauts. He released Psychic Death Hole in 2012 (Trouble in Mind reissued it this year as Morgan Delt); it sounds like a long-lost psych classic from 1968, but not in any corny-ass way. Delt deploys a light instrumental touch and reverbed, willowy vocals to create songs that approach you like a watery mirage. For example, “Little Zombies” seems to have sprouted from the strangest bits of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and gone into an even deeper zone, the better to alter your brainwaves. If Delt can manifest the magic of his debut LP live, we’re in for a spectacular treat. With Fever the Ghost.
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And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, and beyond!
Seattle experimental composer/keyboardist/visual artist Garek Druss (A Story of Rats, Dull Knife, Saint Genet) performs today at the outdoor Sylvan Grove Theater at 7 pm. His set will be an extrapolation of the auditory tours—known as Summer Field Studies—that he recorded to be heard while perusing artworks on University of Washington's campus, from Henry Art Gallery to the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering.
For another facet of Druss' music, check out an excerpt of the performance by his very sporadic side project, Stenskogen (with Midday Veil's David Golightly and Ecstatic Cosmic Union's Aubrey Nehring), who played a certain Stranger writer's birthday party at the old Comet Tavern a couple years ago.
(Showbox at the Market) If you're new: Modest Mouse are a band from Issaquah, Washington. Fronted by the high-voiced Isaac Brock, they were considered by some to be indie rock's early-2000's savior when The Moon & Antarctica gave everybody chills on the inside with its smart 'n' sincere lyrics and swells of melodic guitar-jangle music that flickered from chaotic to meloncholy. Nerds will tell you the earlier stuff was better, and they may be right; I will tell you that I was a salty college freshman-done with whiny boys and their whiny music-when "Float On" played approximately every half-hour on the radio. I didn't get it then, but I kind of get it now. And that's the best you're going to get out of me. EMILY NOKES
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(Neptune Theatre) The Hold Steady’s boozy, swaggering, late-’70s radio rock has always been a bit of a tough sell for the general public. But their charm stems from Craig Finn’s boisterous storytelling, which manages to address sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in a capacity that is neither glamorous nor cautionary. Over the course of their last three albums, the Hold Steady have gussied up their sound with bigger choruses and stronger production, tapering Finn’s revelatory rambling into more traditional songwriting. This bodes well for the band’s accessibility, but it also diminishes the impact of their strongest asset. Still, for listeners reading along with the lyric sheet at home, recent songs like “We Can Get Together” are as poignant as anything Finn did in their early years, provided you can see past the glare of the high-gloss production. BRIAN COOK
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Johnny Winter, the older brother of Edgar "Frankenstein" Winter, died this past Wednesday. In the '70s, this gaunt, albino guitarist was a heavy. Like, he was an ordained GODHEAD of rock 'n' roll. Now, however, he's prolly best known for his hit, the sweaty, classic rock standard "Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo."
Winter grew up in Beaumont, Texas, and was performing by the time he was 10 years old; by 15 his band, Johnny and the Jammers, had recorded a 45: "School Day Blues." Post-the Jammers, Winter got real busy. In fact, if he'd only left a trail of 45s (I think he recorded something like 15 singles in eight years), he'd still be considered an incredibly important and prolific Texan. Oh, he also played on some Roy Head sides, too. DAMN!! It was one of his first albums tho', The Progressive Blues Experiment, which defined his career. The LP wasn't, in fact, that progressive, but his playing style on the LP became his standard: sweaty, long-haired, rockin' urban blues rock. Um, sometimes there'd be heavy riffs or perhaps he'd get a bit "out there," but mostly he stuck true to the blues-rock form. In 1969 he was signed to Columbia after he was invited on stage to play with Mike Bloomfield. Also, later in'69, he turned in a stellar performance at at Woodstock. He continued on through the '70s playing blues rock and in 1977, he achieved his dream of making an album with Muddy Waters: Hard Again. Winter would record two more albums with Waters, I'm Ready and Muddy "Mississippi" Waters – Live. All three Waters records earned Winter Grammys. After his success with Waters, and up till his death, Johnny Winter had continued recording and touring; he'd just played on Monday night at the Cahors Blues Festival in France.
Lewis’ L’Amour album might be the most mystery-shrouded release in Light in the Attic’s history—which is saying something, as the Seattle/LA-based reissue specialists have a knack for unearthing records with mighty peculiar back stories.
According to record collector/blogger Jack D. Fleischer’s liner notes, not much is known about the auteur behind L’Amour, which was self released on the R.A.W. label in 1983. Lewis’ real name apparently is Randall Wulff, and on the cover shot done by Ed Colver, he looks like Nicolas Cage’s better-looking, blonder brother. Lewis reputedly lived at the Beverley Hills Hilton, dated a model-beautiful woman, drove a white Mercedes, and paid photographer Colver with a bad $250 check. Like most private-press albums, L’Amour went nowhere and Lewis pretty much vanished from the scene. And Colver’s still out a quarter grand.
Thankfully, Lewis left a low-key gem of an album that is one of the most minimal and shiver-inducing singer-songwriter opuses I’ve ever heard. Embellished with tasteful synthesizer sighs from Philip Lees, the 10 songs here feature Lewis delicately playing piano and guitar and singing in a voice that drifts somewhere in the vicinity of Nick Drake, Arthur Russell, and John Martyn—hushed and mush-mouthed (you can decipher like every five words Lewis sings, but it doesn't matter; the feelings come through clearly).
The general mood is lugubrious but oh-so light, every sound tickling your ears and causing little bouts of ASMR (a really good thing). This record should sound dippier than a collab between Dan Fogelberg and James Taylor, but through some strange force in the air at that time and in that Hollywood studio, L’Amour captures a poignant mournfulness and aloneness that make you want to elevate it into the pantheon next to Five Leaves Left and World of Echo.
Superficially, L’Amour scans as a hybrid of folk and country, but it’s so stripped of those genres' usual signifiers that it seems to exist in a hermetically sealed capsule, a stark yet lush specimen of West Coast melancholy, cut by a damnably handsome enigma. There’s a song on L’Amour titled “Things Just Happen That Way,” and that seems like a fitting epitaph for this record.
The CD for L’Amour came out in May; the vinyl version was just issued. Learn more about it here.
It's time again for that splendid display of rarefied drones and other unconventional, highbrow musical manifestations known as Substrata. For the fourth year in a row, Rafael Anton Irisarri has booked an extraordinary festival composed of artists who rarely venture to Seattle. He and his wife, Rita, recently had most of their possessions stolen before they moved to New York in June, so this event will surely have even more resonance than usual for them. Let's look at who's going to be expanding your mind this year in the acoustically magnificent Chapel Performance Space.
(Chop Suey) If there's one thing Seattle loves, it's an independently produced show in which musicians are interviewed on a boat. One such show, Clyde Petersen's Boating with Clyde, will be setting up shop at this year’s Bumbershoot. The other such show, Bobbi Rich's Hangin Tuff, is gearing up for its second season of interviewing musicians on a hot-tub boat, and tonight's Chop Suey show is a benefit for Hangin Tuff's forthcoming season, while simultaneously being a release party for the brand-new EP by Thunderpussy, the anti-demure Seattle quartet who'll perform tonight alongside Lozen, Dusty Lips, and Unprotected Sax. DAVID SCHMADER
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(Barboza) “Sci-Fidelity,” a cut off Free the Robots’ stunning Ctrl Alt Delete album for Alpha Pup, pretty much captures his music’s essence in one neat phrase. Sure, a lot of musicians take inspiration from science fiction and space-age/comic-book effluvia, but Free the Robots (aka Chris Alfaro, Santa Ana, California’s finest producer) forges those familiar raw materials into potent laser beams of kitsch-free, bass-heavy productions that sound like a more fun-spirited Flying Lotus. Steeped in jazz, funk, hiphop, weird early electronic music, prog, and psych rock, Free the Robots disperses his eclectic influences into eventful, equilibrium-upending tracks that put him in the upper echelon of Low End Theory-affiliated artists. DAVE SEGAL
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...and comes up with a song (and video) that's taking the internet by storm—which makes the work sound more salacious and directly confrontational than it is. The lead single off his forthcoming LP Too Bright, "Queen" finds singer/songwriter Perfume Genius (aka Seattle's own Mike Hadreas) adding some highly rewarding aggression to his music. Citing influences on his new sound, Hadreas has mentioned Kate Bush's The Dreaming, a classic example of a would-be wispy type harnessing the power of furious percussion. But in "Queen," I hear more of what Dave Bry at the Awl rightly clocked as T-Rexiness. The video is its own work of art, littered with beautiful visual provocations. Enjoy.
"Hi, Tori Amos! Good morning!" I practically scream into the phone. I was a little excited. In reality, my "good morning" was a ridiculous faux pas—she was calling from Istanbul, which is 10 hours ahead of regular old Seattle time. But who cares? Good morning, good afternoon, good night—good what-the-fuck-ever. Tori Amos!
"I'd always imagined talking to you sitting on beanbags with a great big smoldering bong between us!" I confess. She laughs, generously enough. Such a darling laugh! I imagine that she smells like strawberries, patchouli, and a fresh summer breeze.
"Hello, Adrian! I am so happy to be talking with you!" Oh, really. Tori Amos is so happy to be talking with me? Well. You know what this means, naturally. I can die now. "Well, let's pretend we are on beanbags!" she says. "My beanbag is in Istanbul right now, and your beanbag is in Seattle."
And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, and beyond!
We're finally wrapped in the fur of summer's swelter, and a luscious clatter rises with the heat off the road. Is it Foghat with Nancy Sinatra singing, or is it AC/DC? Is it Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold"? Also, something smells sweet, like nectar. Let's land on that smooth pad with fanged teeth and check it out. We take a couple steps, then WHAP, teeth shut all around, locking us in. What is this? This is Thunderpussy, the Seattle rock band, and their Venus flytrap is sprung. It's Molly Sides on the mic, Whitney "Sweaty" Petty (the Grizzled Mighty) on guitar and whip, Leah Julius on bass, and Lena Simon (Kairos, La Luz) on drums—together they perform period pieces, and their period is straight-up, trigger-pulling rock 'n' roll. Live, Thunderpussy strut, flaunt, stride, and stake a bootheel claim at the crossroads. They tie you to a stool there and whip the piccolo flute right out of your mouth. Sides wields poses and high-heat vocals in a hell-cat mash-up of Patsy Cline and Paul Stanley. Thunderpussy granted me this interview based on one condition: that I get waxed. So they took me to a place near South Center and ordered me a male Brazilian (I think) called the Banana Split. It was a Weedwacker/hot-glue/duct-tape combo to the groin area and upper back. Afterward, they took me to a bedroom and poured me a glass of cold, fresh milk.
I fell in love with Belinda Carlisle when I was 19 years old—I remember the moment perfectly. When I was a kid, I always liked her just fine. I knew who the Go-Go's were and I loved their song "Vacation" (because it's the best song ever written, duh). My parents kept Carlisle's solo tape Heaven on Earth in the car, so I happily listened to "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" and "Circle in the Sand" a bajillion times, and Carlisle looked so glamorous, lounging across the album's cover.
But aside from your average childhood adoration, Carlisle and the Go-Go's were replaceable pop acts to me; I also really liked New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul, and Janet Jackson. At that age, I didn't care who was singing the songs—my only requirement was that the singer had to be a woman I wanted to be or a boy I wanted to kiss (Joey Joe 4-ever).
Then I became an angst-filled teenager and discovered punk music...
And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, and beyond!
The New Age revival continues apace. Last year’s Light in the Attic released I Am the Center, a massive box set spotlighting some of new age music’s peaks from 1950 to 1990 that helped to increase awareness of this movement. Now Red Bull Music Academy’s getting into the act with a site called Eternal Bliss™, dubbed "the internet’s most relaxing site."
Using tracks by artists such as Gora Sou, Lucretia Dalt, Johnny Nash, Nightwave, Venice, Suzanne Kraft, Anenon, May Roosevelt, Daisuke Tanabe, A.R.T. Wilson, and Spokane-born producer/musician James Pants, Eternal Bliss™ tailors each piece to a certain zone, e.g., rainforest trance, rise and shine, aquatic, celestial chrome, quantum harvest, tropic of drift, refresh your chakra, Ayurveda dream, Pangaea, etc.
You’re convinced that Eternal Bliss™ is earnest and sincere, until you see the seemingly solemn pronouncements scroll slowly down the screen, such as “You are floating in vast emptiness”; “Allow the diamond deep within yourself to meditate the chakra in your tongue”; “Take responsibility that what you are experiencing/perceiving is your creation”; “Dash out of the light body and into the context.” These instructions seem just off enough for skepticism to creep into your supremely tranquil mind. Nevertheless, I recommend that you venture forth and choose meditation sessions of 1 minute, 10 minutes, an hour, or ∞. This shit actually works, even if Red Bull's hyper-energized tongue is in its cheek.
Here we stand, people, witness to our reward: summertime in Seattle, subject of a dozen bad local rap songs. It really is worth the rhapsodizing, though. We've got it all: green trees, blue sky, sparkling water everywhere. Booming high-tech industry. Legal weed (retailing at $20 a gram, so clearly somebody's high), a Super Bowl ring, and cops who will kill you if you don't pay the proper fare on the light rail. Multiplatinum rap acts and high-art hiphop (Shabazz Palaces' Lese Majesty comes out July 29, y'all). An embarrassment of riches—and a couple rich embarrassments...
I've always posted the first FIVE of my annual Top 10 BI-annually, 'cause a year-end wrap up kinda sucks. C'mon, guys, what if I forget something important? GAH! So, here you go! My ONE rule—these are songs or albums I heard for the FIRST TIME during 2014; their actual release date matters fuck all.
1.Tin House: Tin House LP
Dig this hard-rockin' hard rock from 1971. The first two tracks are good, but once "Be Good And Be Kind" opens up...it's all over. I only admit to not knowing this LP till now 'cause it's expensive; the LP was produced by Mr. Rick "Rock 'n' Roll Hootchie Coo" Derringer.
Jump the hump for the others!
Do you still listen to punk rock? Like, blast a Germs record or anything?
Yeah, sometimes I do. I’ll put the Clash on. The one punk album I’ll always listen to is usually Wall of Voodoo, I love Wall of Voodoo, I think they still sound fresh. And the Clash still sound fresh to me.
I read in an interview that you love Beyoncé.
I did. I think she’s lost a little bit of her authenticity, to be honest. There’s no question that she is talented and probably the most beautiful woman on the planet, but to me she’s sort of gotten uninteresting. I’m not taking anything away from her. I do think that watching her live is mesmerizing, that’s for sure.
What other current musicians are you a fan of?
I don’t really listen to a lot of current stuff. My tastes are more world music; I listen to a lot of world music. I don’t really listen to a lot of pop anymore. Sometimes I hear something, it’s really good, but I don’t know who it is. Usually it’s out of the UK. There are more unusual, better things coming out of the UK than the US. That is my opinion.
You live in France part-time. Are there any artists in France right now that haven’t made it big in the US that you think the US needs to know about?
There are a lot of really good, amazing French artists. I can’t think of any off the top of my head, I mean I usually see them when I’m at the gym on the video [laughs]. There’s a girl named Natasha St-Pier that has an amazing, amazing voice and she has amazing songs. There are a lot of iconic artists here, like Serge Gainsbourg. Serge Gainsbourg was the first punk; way before Lou Reed or any of those New York people, there was Serge Gainsbourg. He was the ultimate punk and not a lot of Americans know about him. He’s probably my favorite French artist of all time. I did a French album about six or seven years ago and I covered two of his songs, “Contact” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” He was really prolific, he was a very interesting person. There’s a biography on him called A Fistful of Gitanes, which is amazing.
This poster by Matt Harvey has been on the streets for a while now, and I love it more each time I see it. Its simplicity draws you in and makes you ask the questions that any great poster should: What is happening here? And why? See more of Matt's work at mharvey.net.
Japanese producer DJ Krush’s July 16 Neumos show has been canceled due to the ever-popular “visa issues.” However, there are plans for the veteran beatmaster to reschedule a US tour at some point. To help you get over that devastating news, have a listen to his track “Kemuri” (off 1994’s Strictly Turntablized), which is 20 years old and still remains the absolute summit of triphop—no offense to Massive Attack, Portishead, Tricky, Earthling, DJ Shadow, and Pigeonhed.
Using an impossibly stark and funky breakbeat sample from Dalton & Dubarri's "I'm Just a Rock 'N' Roller" as its foundation, Krush expertly drops in deeply haunting, filtered flute debris throughout and generates a bass presence that's like underwater fog. Krush maximizes the integrity of just a few elements in "Kemuri," in one of the greatest displays of the "less-is-more" ethos in sample-based music.
(Triple Door) Never mind "an evening with the Fixx." Thanks to MTV, I spent my entire adolescence with the Fixx, whose slender stylishness and angular pop—both gathered under the border-free banner of "New Wave"—were beamed into my brain on an hourly basis. Rewatching the video for "One Thing Leads to Another" 30 years later, I recall every shot. (Microscope mystery! Tunnel of light! Kissing pinschers! Scary distorted neck shadow!) What surprised me was the durability of the song, with Cy Curnin's aggressive vocal melody earning "One Thing" its own place in pop music history. Tonight, the reunited Fixx spend their evening with an audience at the Triple Door. DAVID SCHMADER
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(Barboza) Named for a classic Gregory Isaacs record, San Francisco's Extra Classic show an almost too-reverent love for the reggae sounds of yore, using all-analog equipment and filling their songs with winking, dub-inflected touches. Composed of members of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and the Anniversary, Extra Classic won SF Weekly's "Best Unlikely Reggae Band" by crafting Technicolor tunes that touch on ’50s jukebox pop and modern psych, while also playfully mimicking the golden ’70s productions of Lee Perry and the like. Though I have an innate bias against white people making reggae (same as white people with dreadlocks; does that make me racist?), there's always the chance they get it right. In Extra Classic's case, I give ’em a pass. KYLE FLECK
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