Superfurry Animal Gruff has a very fine new solo item out May 3 and it's titled Hotel Shampoo (Wichita Records).
Well, he's not just a singer, songwriter and leader of the aforementioned Welsh surrealist beat combo, he's also one half of
electro twins Neon Neon and he recently did a bit with Gorillaz and De La Soul on "Superfast Jellyfish" from their Plastic Beach album.
Hotel Shampoo was inspired by the collection of miniature shampoo bottles Gruff had amassed over 15 years of touring.
Recently, Gruff built a hotel sculpture made out of his tiny hotel shampoo collection in an art gallery in Cardiff, Wales and spent the night inside.
L.A. people, hit up The Roxy tonight, Friday, May 6, for the ripping Dessa, the Minnesota
rapper + whose debut album A Badly Broken Code you might recall made all that
big chart splash in 2010. Dessa's a rapper, sure, but a whole lot more, and she's coming
from a different place: She's a poetry-slam veteran, former philosophy student and published
author, and when she rhymes you get a genuinely literary experience that's decidedly not like sitting
thru a lecture. The charismatic Dessa just plain takes charge, and her hiphop cabaret boasts a superb
bunch of players to bring it off onstage, and that be Doomtree labelmates Sims and Lazerbeak.
The Notwist and Themselves
(+ Dax and Antonionian from Subtle) collaborate as 13 & God on Own Your Ghost, their first
album in six years; it's coming out May 17 on the far-seeing Anticon label. Oakland art-rap kingpins
Themselves (Adam "Doseone" Drucker and Jeffrey "Jel" Logan, plus Subtle's Dax Pierson and Jordan
Dalrymple) and German pop warpers the Notwist (Markus and Micha Acher, Martin Gretschmann)
together bring oddly uplifting songs on the subject of death via a musical process that focuses on
spontaneous composition that doesn't skimp on opiated melodic plushness and betrays an undying will to do
something new with it. Interesting how this music can be grim and threatening sometimes (they
sampled Sylvia Plath, the masochists), yet the effect is cleansing, liberating.
Zomes is the stagelike nom de plume of that Asa Osborne from Lungfish, and his new longplayer is called Earth Grid (Thrill Jockey), coming out April 12. On Earth Grid,
Zomes explores repetition, repetition, spinning quaint basic melodies in and out of a morass of brainpinching drones and sundry harmonical tones issued forth via
keyboards and beat loops. And it's not as shopworn a thing as that description might sound. Here, pry into:
"The Bad Energy From LA Is Killing Me," say Sonny and the Sunsets on their new album Hit After Hit, out April 12 on Fat Possum. Sonny –– a.k.a. Sonny Berger, Declan (Sonny) Burke,
Sonny Smith, Dave Gil –– is a sensitive guy who makes loopy as in dreamer pop that concerns itself with subject matter like hypnotherapy, extrasensory perception, fortune tellers, palm
readers and channelers. Sonny began singing while a patient at Warm Springs Foundation Hospital in Texas, for his own amusement and to bring a little light and joy into the lives of the
other sad and lonely patients all cooped up with nowhere to go.
Things happened. Sonny picked up Kelley Stoltz in SF to play drums in his rock combo; a couple other people were added, they lived in
a van for three years, made some recordings that were destroyed when a hurricane hit the studio they were working in...But some of it survived, and Hit After Hit is the result. Below are
two examples of the so-rightness of Sonny and his Sunsets' art:
With his very, very musical Wondervisions LP out now on Luaka Bop, New Jersey lad Delicate Steve weaves us into a new kind of not-so-crazy
quilt of supremely melodic rock/pop ideas, mellifluously layed out in his bedroom studio with many, many guitars and even more effects boxes.
Headspinningly eclectic in its classic-rock/vintage R&B/electro-exotic source flavors, the album's glorious hazes of lovingly layered loudness
cannot hide the infinitely hummable pop song structures that dart out of the fray and fly into the sky. Well, see/hear for yourself when the redoubtable
Delicate Steve opens for Akron/Family at The Echo in Los Angeles on April 6, that's Wednesday nite, don't miss out! A most energetic show is promised...
Identical twin brothers Matt and Jesse Kivel and mates make a precisely structured and most melodically different sort of new "rock" music,
often but not always graced with literary themes and surprisingly juxtaposed pop and art refs. They've got a new album in the works, coming soon.
For now here's “To the Alps” which comes b/w “The Electrician” on a limited-ed. 7" single (digitally too) coming out 3/29 on Hit City USA:
If you're in L.A. tonight, March 7, make a beeline for John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble at REDCAT downtown. This is big band stuff that end-runs on the old swing corn to cross over
into a whole lot of other areas, Hollenbeck's charts emphasizing wildly inventive melodic and harmonic turns –– and the rhythms they pump very, very hard. The 20-piece ensemble
boasts several idiosyncratically great players including Matt Mitchell of Claudia Quintet and Theo Bleckmann of Refuge Trio, saxophonist Tony Malaby, trombonist Jacob Garchik and
bassist Kermit Driscoll.
SUNDAY, February 20
Rare (not in the beef sense) music videos, new dublab VisionVersion films, comedy clips, out-there animation and other
eye-melting magic...After the films stick around for a party on the Spanish Patio featuring the Labrat DJs playing soundtrack selections.
Surprise guest performer immediately following the films! All ages, yes!
Highways, Ghosts, Hearts and Home
is the brand spankin' new album by SUSAN JAMES,
the highly accomplished singer/guitarist who has delivered a beautifully written, performed and arranged
sojourn thru the Americana dream. Simple songs sometimes, subtly complex tunes too, and a few
in-between: keen observations on life, love, experience, the ways things are and the way they oughtta be.
James is in fine, fine vocal form, and her guitar playing is gorgeous. The album was self-produced,
and James got help with an ace brace of musicians including Paul Lacques, Paul Marshall and Shawn Nourse of
I See Hawks in LA; Gabe Witcher (Punch Brothers) on fiddle and Danny McGough (Shivaree, Social Distortion) on
very tasty Hammond B3. It was recorded at Nourse by Northwest Studios in L.A. by Shawn Nourse
(Dwight Yoakam, Rosie Flores) with additional recording and mixing at Fully’s Studio in Topanga, by
Fulton Dingley (Stereolab, Robert Wyatt, Kulah Shaker,
Anti-Pop Consortium's putting out his first non self-produced record w/ help from Fourtet, Tobacco, Tunde of TV on the Radio, In Flangranti, members of Interpol, Clark and others. Album's called End It All,
out Feb. 15 or thereabouts.
BILL LASWELL, BUCKETHEAD 'N' BRAIN: on or before February 8, seek out this basically wicked new Praxis thing
Profanation: Preparation for a Coming Darkness. Heavy emph. on singers gifts us with Iggy Pop, Serj Tankian, Mike Patton, RAMM:∑LL:Z∑∑, Doctor Israel, Killah Priest
and toaster Hawk.
This symposium aims to expand understanding of how experimental
filmmaking evolved in Los Angeles and to contextualize its place in postwar
art history. Focusing on the community of filmmakers, artists,
curators and programmers who contributed to the creation and presentation of
experimental cinema in Southern California, it will add to the
definitive overview of the topic provided in David James’s book The Most Typical
Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles.
PJ Geissinger a.k.a Starkey from Philly is all things street bass and grimy crunk world, etc. etc., and
he gets the nod from the likes of Amon Tobin, say no more. Starkey's part of the Trouble & Bass crew, co-owns the Seclusiasis and Slit Jockey record labels,
and hosts a quite heavy-duty radio program on Sub FM. Grab some Starkey and a ton of other relevant stuff here:
Regarding the new album Analog Drift by Chico Mann, well,
it's being released on October 26 by Wax Poetics Records; Chico does electro-freestyle-Afrobeat nirvana, and here's
"Ya Yo Se" to wet your whistle:
Veteran performance artist Annie Sprinkle and her partner Elizabeth Stephens have presented the series of site-specific performances around the globe, including at the 2009 Venice Biennale. They were to perform the piece again October 23 at the Farnsworth Amphitheater in Altadena, but received a note on October 8 from the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department canceling their reservation of the venue due to "unsafe conditions."
[Note to international readers: Gay marriage is illegal in California.]
Update (October 14):
Sprinkle and Stephens are in negotiation with the L.A. County Parks & Recreation Dept.
On October 12 Doug Paisley releases his second album, Constant Companion, on the No Quarter label. He's a songwriter-arranger of
countrified elegance; helluva good singer, too. On tour across the USA in October-December.
Savor this lovely track by Doug Paisley:
from Grupo Fantasma's El Existential, out now on Nat Geo Music:
The Schloßfestspiele Ludwigsburg will dedicate its closing gala
performance to the music of Irmin Schmidt, with a focus on his work for film. A
selection of Schmidt’s work has been arranged for orchestra by Greg Cohen and
Eyvind Kang and will be performed by the Orchestra Schloßfestspiele Ludwigsburg
and conducted by Schmidt, with special appearances by Markus Stockhausen (trumpet), Gerd Dudek (saxophone),
Christiane Oxenfort (flutes), Ingrid Oberkanins (percussion), Kumo
(electronics), Serge Ferrara (accordion), Greg Cohen (bass) and Eyvind
Kang (viola); they will also perform two versions of the Can track
"Spoon." Irmin Schmidt & Kumo perform two tracks from their
albums Masters of Confusion and Axolotl Eyes.
Wenders will give a post-concert honorific speech and present his recent film Palermo
by Irmin Schmidt) in an open-air screening at the Akademiehof.
Catal Huyuk is a psychedelic salad created by Poloka Lele, Jacques Olivier and friends to celebrate
Terence McKenna's life and to blend his ideas with an organic mix of live and house flavors. House remixes and recordings of Terence in Uxmal contributed by Nick (Baba) Doof.
The album was produced at the turn of the millennium and released just prior to Terence's departure from this earth, with his blessing.
A play on GPS tracking technology, Strange Positioning Systems (SPS) looks at the aesthetic, cultural and psychological peculiarities of positioning the self and collective enterprises in a fluid,
electronically dislocated environment. SPS has been evolving as a temporary environment with feeds from various places in the world. Each evening is dedicated to the work of one artist and will be presented in
a multitude of ways, none following the format of the last.