Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Recording Review/Tour/Video)

Thurston Moore

Demolished Thoughts

Matador Records

Those expecting Thurston Moore’s solo record Demolished Thoughts to sound like his work with Sonic Youth –  experimental noise rock – will doubtless be surprised. The LP falls into Moore’s song-propelled, rather than improv-oriented, catalog. But it’s the arrangements that are game-changing.

The instrumentation is quite different from SY’s, with an emphasis on acoustic guitars and even strings. Moore explores this “softer” palette enthusiastically, but he never loses his conceptual edge. There’s still a dysfunctional tinge to the lyrics. What’s more, many of ths songs exhibit a druggy post-psych folk ambience: Moore attributes this to his observations of the college age alterna-hippy set in his hometown – Northhampton, Massachussetts (He even dedicates the video below to these fair minded NoHo inhabitants).

Whatever the influence, Demolished Thoughts is a pleasant surprise, one that suggests that Moore’s music contains yet more previously unexplored multitudes.
Thurston Moore plays the Pitchfork Festival tonight. You can check out his other tour dates, and a video for the album cut “Circulation” below.

Thurston Moore Tour Dates

7/15 Pitchfork Festival, Chicago, IL
7/16 High Noon, Madison, WI
7/18 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theatre #
7/21 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre #
7/23 Portland, OR – Alladin Theatre #
7/26 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall #
7/28 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour #
7/29 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour #
7/30 San Diego, CA – Casbah #

# w/ Kurt Vile

Pure X: “Twisted Mirror” (MP3)

Austin ecstatic poppers Pure X release Pleasure, their debut LP on July 5 via Acéphale.

They are sharing a teaser track, “Twisted Mirror,” as a free MP3 download.

Twisted Mirror

in the lead-up to the LP’s release, Pure X is also doing a mini-tour (dates below).

Tour Dates w Sleep∞Over and This Will Destroy You:
May 25 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
May 26 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre
May 27 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
May 28 – Chicago, IL – The Bottom Lounge

Woods share new track, tour with Fresh and Onlys

Sun and Shade, Woods’ sixth LP, is out 6/14 on the Woodsist imprint. They’re sharing a teaser track on Soundcloud (embed below).

“Pushing Onlys” – Woods by forcefieldpr

They’re also touring far and wide this summer!

Woods Tour Dates
Sat-May-28 Hartford, CT Comcast Theatre / B.O.M.B Fest 2011
Mon-Jul-11 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall *
Tue-Jul-12 Montreal, QC La Sala Rossa *
Wed-Jul-13 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace *
Thu-Jul-14 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop *
Fri-Jul-15 Bloomington, IN Russian Recording *
Sat-Jul-16 Chicago, IL Pitchfork Music Festival
Mon-Jul-18 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry #
Tue-Jul-19 Fargo, ND The Aquarium #
Sat-Jul-23 Vancouver, BC Electric Owl #
Sun-Jul-24 Bellingham, WA The Shakedown #
Mon-Jul-25 Portland, OR Doug Fir #
Wed-Jul-27 Sacramento, CA Sol Collective #
Fri-Jul-29 San Francisco, CA The Independent #
Sat-Jul-30 Big Sur, CA Woodsist Festival – Fernwood Lodge ***SOLD OUT***
Sun-Jul-31 Big Sur, CA Woodsist Festival – Henry Miller Library ***SOLD OUT***
Tue-Aug-02 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex #%
Wed-Aug-03 Phoenix, AZ Rhythm Room %
Fri-Aug-05 Austin, TX The Mohawk %
Sun-Aug-07 Oxford, MS Cats Purring Dude Ranch %
Mon-Aug-08 Atlanta, GA The Earl %
Tue-Aug-09 Asheville, NC Grey Eagle %
Sat-Aug-13 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom %!
Sun-Sep-04 Dorset, UK End of The Road Fest
Mon-Sep-05 Manchester, UK Sound Control *
Tue-Sep-06 Glasgow, UK Stereo*
Wed-Sep-07 Bristol, UK The Fleece *
Thu-Sep-08 London, UK Scala *

* = w/ Kurt Vile and the Violators
# = w/ The Fresh & Onlys
% = w/ White Fence
! = w/ Ducktails

Newspeak’s sweet light crude (video)

The new indie classical kids on the block, Newspeak, have just released their first video. David T. Little’s composition sweet light crude, featuring soprano Mellissa Hughes in fine voice and the ensemble grooving up a storm, is ready for your delectation on YouTube.

The piece has been given the “jump cuts and jitter” treatment by videographers Satan’s Pearl Horses.

sweet light crude, Newspeak’s debut CD, is slated for release by New Amsterdam Records on November 16. Jitter not included: perhaps that’s for the best.

Newspeak on Tour

Fri., Nov. 12 (today):  Progressive Rock Showcases at Orion Sound Studios (2903 Whittington Ave # C, Baltimore; 410-206-1801). WithKayo Dot.

Sat., Nov. 13:  Secret Art Space, Bethlehem, PA (24 Rink St. at South New St.).  With Kayo Dot.

Sun., Nov. 14:  Littlefield, 622 Degraw St. (between 3rd and 4t Aves), Gowanus, Brooklyn.  With Kayo Dot and Loadbang.

The 1900s: Return of the Century (Review)

The 1900s
Return of the Century

On Cold and Kind, their 2007 debut, the 1900s explored the plight of those left behind after the Rapture. Return of the Century, the band’s latest Parasol LP (out this week), is similarly imaginative in its choice of setting. The songs are populated by characters from an underground world where “people’s minds are held in thrall in the name of spiritual advancement.”

If all of this sounds a little too highfalutin in sketch form, or if concept albums in general leave you cold, fear not. The story is a loose framework for a collection of compelling songs. The band has pared down a bit to a sextet, and Return of the Century’s arrangements are correspondingly tauter, leaning more towards folk/pop rather than the orchestral ambitions of some of 1900s previous endeavors. There are moments when the rock guitars come to the fore, as on “Zerkalo’s” incendiary solos and the psych-tinged breaks found on “Babies.”


But mostly we’re treated to vocals front and center, and when the harmonizing is felicitous, as it is on “Bmore” and “Amulet,” folk-inflected melodies craft a beguiling ambience.

The 1900s – Amulet from The 1900s / M/\ZES on Vimeo.

Tour Dates:

Fri. Nov. 5 - Chicago, IL @ Reckless Records (Wicker Park in-store – 5:30 PM)

Tue. Nov. 9 - Cincinnati, OH @ The Comet

Wed. Nov. 10 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox

Thu. Nov. 11 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (early show – 6:30 PM)

Fri. Nov. 12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s w/ Buried Beds, Tunng

Sat. Nov. 13 - Brooklyn, NY @ The Rock Shop

Sun. Nov. 14 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East (upstairs)

Fri. Dec. 3 - Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle

Rufus Wainwright on tour (video)

Rufus Wainwright is having a busy August! Hot on the heels of All Days are Nights, his latest album and first recording that’s just a voice and piano affair, Wainwright is hitting the road for a bunch of dates.

August 1
Paramount Theatre – Asbury Park, NJ
August 3
Opera House – Boston, MA
August 4
Mann Center for the Performing Arts - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
August 6
The Ridgefield Playhouse - Ridgefield, CT
August 7
The Music Center at Strathmore - North Bethesda, MD
August 8
Carnegie Music Hall – Pittsburgh, PA
August 10
Pabst Theatre – Milwaukee, WI
August 11
Orchestra Hall – Minneapolis, MN
August 13
Bank of America Theatre – Chicago, IL
August 15
The Midland by AMC – Kansas City, MO
August 17
Paramount Theatre – Denver, CO
August 20
The Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
August 21
Fox Theater – Oakland, CA
August 22
Uptown Theatre - Napa, CA
August 23
The Mountain Winery – Saratoga, California
August 25
Paramount Theater – Seattle, WA


Casiokids’ Debut US LP

Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar
Polyvinyl CD

We’re experiencing one of the nastiest heat waves on record here in the Northeastern United States. Unaccustomed to relentless temps above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, folks are grasping at anything to keep cool. One newspaper article I saw suggested that ‘thinking cool’ simply must be part of the equation if one is going to weather this heat wave with any sort grace. In that spirit, I’ve been casting about for music that makes me think of cooler climes. Happily, there’s a great deal of terrific Scandinavian pop that’s fueling my wishful dreaming.

A prime example is Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar (rough paraphrase – the local bar has terrific ambiance), the US Debut CD of Norwegian electro-pop collective Casiokids. It’s touted as the first Norwegian language pop release in the States. And, while apart from a few Nibelung names, my Norwegian is virtually nonexistent, I can attest that there are no musical language barriers here.

As their moniker indicates, Casiokids happily channel eighties era synth pop signatures. But they mold these into a disparate soundscape, that encompasses both dance pop and more avant electronica: often simultaneously! The results are apt to capture both one’s intellect and their choreographic impulses. I’d dance too – if only it weren’t so darn hot!

Casiokids have been championed by a number of indie stalwarts; chief among these advocates are their label mates Of Montreal. One can see why they’re excited by the catchy yet substantial fare. Indeed, several tracks from Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar have inspired remixes. “Fot i Hose” has been the recepient of particularly fruitful attentions. Courtesy of our friends at RCRDLBL, check out the song below.

Casiokids Tour Dates:
Wed 8/18 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe Du Nord
Thu 8/19 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
Fri 8/20 – Seattle, WA – The Vera Project
Sat 8/21 – Vancouver, BC – Media Club
Tue 8/24 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
Wed 8/25 – Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern
Thu 8/26 – Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
Fri 8/27 – Toronto, ON – Supermarket
Sat 8/28 – Brooklyn, NY – Glasslands
Sun 8/29 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
Mon 8/30 – Washington, DC – DC9
Fri 10/8 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland

Jamie Lidell video: "The Ring"

Jamie Lidell’s new CD, Compass, is slated for May release on Warp. He released a sneak peek today: a video for “The Ring.”

Tour Dates

April 27 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom)
April 29 – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
May 7 – Koln, DE – Burgerhaus Stollwerck
May 8 – Hamburg, DE – Knust
May 9 – Berlin, DE – Festssall Kreuzberg
May 13 – Zurich, CH – Kaufleuten
May 14 – Lyon, FR – Nuits Sonores Festival
May 17 – Brussels, BE – Nuits Botaniques Festival
May 18 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
May 19 – London, UK – 229 (
May 21 – Paris, FR – Alhambra
May 22 – Roma, IT – Dissonanze Festival @ Palazzo dei Congressi (
May 29 – Antalya, TR – SunSplash Antalya Festival
June 9 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe
June 12 – Toronto, ON – The Mod Club
June 14 – Vancouver, BC – Venue
June 16 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
June 31 – Montreal, QC – Osheaga Festival

Owen Pallett's Heartland: Score, CD review, video, touring


Making the classical aspects of the burgeoning indie classical movement abundantly clear, crossover albums are now crossover marketing musical scores. Via his website, composer Owen Pallett has released a limited edition score for the music on Heartland, his latest Domino recording.

Owen Palletts Heartland

Owen Pallett's Heartland

Joined by the Czech Symphony Orchestra and a host of guests (including composer Nico Muhly) Pallette has crafted his most consistently engaging music to date. In some critical circles, indie classical has, rightly or wrongly, been under the microscope for making pop into a ‘longhair’ genre, robbing it of its immediacy in favor of overt sophistication. I’d submit that this vantage point doesn’t give enough credit to indie audiences, who seem to be just fine grappling with orchestral arrangements by Pallett and electronic experiments by Animal Collective alike.

What’s more, recordings like Heartland amply demonstrate that one can, if they’re talented, craft sophisticated music that has just as many catchy hooks as a three-chord, three-minute anthemic single. A case in point is the loop-laden and jaunty “Lewis Takes off his Shirt;” the music, and the video below, suggest that pop can indeed combine sophistication with immediacy, and that its orchestral incarnation can be downright cheeky!


For those of your with a case of ‘artifact avarice,’ the full orchestra score for Heartland is $46 and has been printed in a limited run of 300. In addition to the music it also provides lyrics and a chart of diagrams of patches for the ARP 2600.

Owen Palett’s touring a bunch in support of Heartland. Here are some dates:

04-08 Toronto, Ontario – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
04-10 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
04-11 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
04-12 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
04-13 Columbus, OH – Wexner Center
04-14 Pittsburgh, PA – Andy Warhol Museum
04-15 Washington DC – Black Cat
04-18 Indio, CA – Coachella Festival
04-20 Boston, MA – Institute of Contemporary Art
04-22 New York, NY – Webster Hall
04-24 Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery
04-25 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church
04-27 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
04-29 Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
04-30 Austin, TX – The Mohawk
05-05 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
05-08 Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
05-09 Vancouver, British Columbia – The Vogue Theatre
05-10 Victoria, British Columbia – Alix Goolden Hall
05-11 Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
05-13 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
05-14 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge

Visit to the Village

Visual/Aural/Personal Discovery

 Bleeker Street Records

Kay and I went down to Barrow Street to hear the second Keys to Future concert last night. In addition to some pieces with which I was very familiar, the program also included works that were new to me. Discovering a new piece or previously unfamiliar composer in a live venue can be thrilling; especially when Amy Briggs and Stephen Gosling are playing! It was an excellent show; my review of it should post on Musical America later this week.

We got to the Village a little early, and had time to enjoy a preconcert dinner and stroll around the shops on Bleeker Street. A browse through Bleeker Street Records reminded me of one of the reasons why I’m so glad that there still are a few brick ‘n mortar stores around; and why I’d be sad if they went away. ‘Digging’ for vinyl or CDs can reveal sought-after treasures; but it can also lead to pleasant digressions and discoveries. While looking for something else, one of the CDs I grabbed off of the rack struck my visual fancy. I have no idea who the band is, what style of music they play, or whether they are any good. The artist who rendered their booklet cover, on the other hand, had such a vivid imagination that it was worth the five bucks just to see if the music could compare.

One of the debates as we ‘go green’ and cut costs is about the efficacy of digital distribution; whether we really need artifacts or whether digital copies, with all their conveniences (and foibles) instead suffice. I have grudgingly converted to obtaining some recording acquisitions via digital download. Even with the current sonic compromises of MP3, the convenience and comprehensiveness factors of many digital stores are seductive. And the 30-second sonic snippets can be handy for triaging selections.

Still, the experience of digging through shelves of recordings in person and having some album art catch your eye, paging through the storybook of lyrics and wondering if the musical rendering will compare – that’s magical!

One of my favorite places to browse in the digital domain is Silber Media. The imprint specializes in experimental artists, particularly of the alt-electronica persuasion. A number of their artists are on tour this summer; dates below!

The mystery CD from Bleeker Street is in the changer. I’m about to press play – wish me luck!

Silber Artists on Tour
Aarktica ( )
May 21 2009 8:00 PM
AARKTICA w/ Mark Van Hoen (Seefeel), Millimetrik, Luxa (Loveless Music Presents) New York

Northern Valentine ( ) – indie ambient
May 26 2009 9:00 PM
 Northern Valentine @ Greenline Cafe Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hotel Hotel ( ) – post rock
May 22 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ rgrs denton, Texas
May 23 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ the foundation kansas city, Missouri
May 24 2009 8:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ nomad pub minneapolis/st. paul, Minnesota
May 25 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ LEMP st. louis, Missouri
May 26 2009 8:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ tba columbus, Ohio
May 27 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ bela dubby cleveland, Ohio
May 30 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ friendship cove montréal, Quebec
May 31 2009 8:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ tba boston, Massachusetts
Jun 1 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ goodbye blue monday bushwick, brooklyn, New York
Jun 2 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ the khyber philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 3 2009 8:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ the good cherry forest, Virginia
Jun 4 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ caledonia lounge athens, Georgia
Jun 5 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ kavarna decatur, atlanta
Jun 6 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ the blind mule mobile, Alabama
Jun 7 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ tba new orleans, Louisiana
Jun 9 2009 9:00 PM
 hotel hotel @ superhappyfunland houston, Texas

Remora ( ) – post apocalyptic pop
May 25 2009 9:00 PM
 Remora @ The Nightlight Chapel Hill, North Carolina
May 30, 2009 – 8:00 PM
 Remora @ BFF Bog   Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Small Life Form ( ) – aggressive ambient
May 31 2009 8:00 PM
 Small Life Form @ Badgerhaus Raleigh, North Carolina