Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Art of the Cover - Kurt Vile's "B'lieve I'm Goin Down..." (2015)

"It's a weird, accepting, mature record, acknowledging the inherent immaturity of being a person whether father, husband , partner, adult, musician, not perfect, but compelling for its understanding ... that's life though so sad to say."
 -- Kim Gordon

The beautifully presented 3-LP Deluxe Vinyl Edition of  Kurt Vile's "B'lieve I'm Goin Down..." which just dropped via Matador Records.

The 3xLP vinyl Deluxe Edition contains an extra 4 original songs plus instrumental reprises.

The imited-edition triple-LP edition of "B'lieve I'm Goin Down..." features a third disc, extra fold-out gatefold, extra printed innersleeve as well as a nice poster.

The 3-LP Deluxe Vinyl Edition edition is limited to 3,500 copies.

The Deluxe Edition, of course, also includes a download code for the album.

Art Direction and design was by Gary Burden and Jenice Heo.

Cover and front jacket photography was by Henry Diltz with additional photography by Farrah Katina, Henry Diltz and Katherine Sheehanm as well as by Jesse Trbovich, Kurt Vile and Rob Laakso.

Yap, I've really been digging the hell out of this one, the past few days!

With some wonderful extended instrumental jams as well as some beautiful minimalist word sculpting, "B'lieve I'm Goin Down..." is definitely a more leisurely, medatative and, dare I say it, mature collection from Vile.

His 6th album showcases Vile both deeply introspective and briskly self-assured.

Strong resonances of the work of legendary guitar supremo John Fahey pervade the album as well as nods to Bob Dylan and - of course - Bruce Springsteen pervade the album .. all great things in my book!

Truly, this is a thing of intimate beauty to get immersed - and lost - inside.

Kurt Vile does his own myth making; a boy/man with an old soul voice in the age of digital everything becoming something else, which is why this focused, brilliantly clear and seemingly candid record is a breath of fresh air. Recorded and mixed in a number of locations, including Los Angeles and Joshua Tree,  "B'lieve I'm Goin Down..."  is a handshake across the country, east to west coast, thru the dustbowl history (valley of ashes) of woody honest strait forward talk guthrie , and a cali canyon dead still nite floating in a nearly waterless landscape.  
The record is all air, weightless, bodyless, but grounded in convincing authenticity, in the best version of singer songwriter upcycling. In Kurt's words ....  I wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me. I really wanted it to sound like it s on my couch -- not in a lo-fi way, just more unguarded and vulnerable.


01 – Pretty Pimpin [5:00]

02 – I’m an Outlaw [4:23]

03 – Dust Bunnies [4:39]

04 – That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say) [6:28]

05 – Wheelhouse [6:15]

06 – Life Like This [4:06]

07 – All in a Daze Work [5:00]

08 – Lost my Head there [6:57]

09 – Stand Inside [5:13]

10 – Bad Omens [2:52]

11 – Kidding Around [4:28]

12 – Wild Imagination [5:52] 

13. - B’lieve i’m goin down*

14 - Less talk (more walkin away)*

15 - Nicotine blues*

16 - Bad omens (no faders)*

17 - No stranger to the ball bust*

18 - Sax omens (j turbo)*
*Tracks 13-18 exclusive to deluxe 3xLP vinyl.

The Shot - La La La La Sun

Art of the Cover - Julia Holter's "Have You In My Wilderness" (2015)

Half of what I say is meaningless but I say it just to reach you ..... yap, she's back!

Yap, a nice enigmatic portrait adorns Julia's new opus.

And this guy really loves it ...

A breathtaking headphone record that rewards amplified, focused listening, Holter's new album can be best understood through her choice of instrumentation. Rich with strings, piano, brass, harpsichord, shakers and various acoustical tools, the 10 songs highlight delicately placed tones and textures as old as the ages, but harness them to create defiantly contemporary work.

This shouldn't be much of a surprise to those who have already learned to trust the instincts of this Los Angeles artist. Over the last decade, the California Institute of the Arts alum, whose visual aesthetic is as striking as her compositional reflexes, has issued a series of albums, mixes, cassettes and digital files that illuminate her skills and evolution as a songwriter and arranger.

Her last album, "Loud City Song," was one of the best of 2013; "Have You in My Wilderness" is even better. Imagine Joni Mitchell's meandering, fluid approach to structure mixed with strings that suggest Van Dyke Parks' liquid arrangements and Brian Wilson's joyful percussive accents. The harmonies woven through "Lucette Stranded on the Island" seem to carry Holter's voice as if on waves, and when percussion arrives, it strikes like a tempest. "Everytime Boots" is a piano romp about riding a motorcycle. The smoky "Vasquez" is propelled by jazz-accented double bass. Each song is a new adventure; combined, they create an essential Los Angeles record

by  ... latimes.com 


1. Feel You 4:09
2. Silhouette 3:54
3. How Long? 3:58
4. Lucette Stranded On The Island 6:47
5. Sea Calls Me Home 3:07
6. Night Song 4:13
7. Everytime Boots 3:29
8. Betsy On The Roof 6:16
9. Vasquez 6:37
10. Have You In My Wilderness 3:37

Art of the Cover - Cocteau Twins' "Garlands" (1982)

A1 Blood Bitch 4:35
A2 Wax And Wane 4:03
A3 But I'm Not 2:43
A4 Blind Dumb Deaf 3:56
B1 Shallow Then Halo 5:15
B2 The Hollow Men 5:02
B3 Garlands 4:29
B4 Grail Overfloweth 5:24

Monday, 12 October 2015

Art of the Cover - Protomartyr's "The Agent Intellect" (2015)

The Agent Intellect cover art

I will make you feel the way I do ....

Nice idiosyncratic piece of cover artwork. One referencing the album's title: it being named after an ancient philosophical questioning of how the mind operates in relation to the self .... or something!

The boys in Protomartyr have sure been busy,  knocking out three great albums in three years. And here we have the spanking new The Agent Intellect, their third and finest work to date.

Impassioned, powerful, intelligent music straight out of Detroit. A thunderball laced with elements of the best post-punk of the early 80's. All with the American version of an impassioned/ raving Mark E Smith in the form of idiosyncratic lead singer/bard Joe Casey.

I really played the shit out of their previous platter - 2014’s mighty Under Color of Official Right - and I'll be doing tthe same to this!

Protomartyr carry the torch of post-punk’s forefathers — the Fall, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Nick Cave — but do so with a brutal, emotional honesty and melodic expertise that shows they can burn just as hard as their ancestors. The Detroit-based band returns after 2014’s excellent Under Color Of Official Right with an even darker, spikier follow-up. Agent Intellect is thoroughly flooded with intense conflict, tension, and dread. Frontman Joe Casey’s deadpan, drawling ruminations on mortality and the human condition reach a nearly Dostoyevsky-esque level of existential conflict. But within the swamp of these bleak, deeply troubled phrases, a stream of light, and perhaps hope, peeks through. The melodically driven, dynamic nature of these songs creates a level of complexity and brightness that makes Agent Intellect more than just pure doom-and-gloom. These tracks also bounce and shake with a sky-soaring energy. 


1. The Devil in His Youth
2. Cowards Starve
3. I Forgive You
4. Boyce or Boice
5. Pontiac 87
6. Uncle Mother's
7. Dope Cloud
8. The Hermit
9. Clandestine Time
10. Why Does It Shake?
11. Ellen
12. Feast of Stephen

Art of the Poster - François Truffaut's "Day for Night" {aka 'La nuit américaine'} (1973) [Japanese]

The Art - Ramen, Ramen

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Word - Your Painted Pout

“I saw you again, Aurora Lee .... Your painted pout and cold gaze were, come to think of it, very like the official lips and eyes of Flora, my wayward wife, and your flimsy frock of black silk might have come from her recent wardrobe.”

- Vladimir Nabokov's 'The Original of Laura'

The Cover Version - The Postmarks cover Blondie's "11:59"

take me down the highway like a rocket to the ocean - we can run ....

A real nice blast form the recent past, here!

Yap, the wonderful - and badly missed - Postmarks do a fine version of Blondie's deliciously odd, frenetic, apocalyptic love song (else a tribute to High Noon!) "11:59".

The band recored the song for their gorgeous album of cover versions By The Numbers, released in 2008.

In 2008, The Postmarks had the novel idea to release a new song each month (via Emusic) with each month represented by a cover version of a song with a number in it; January was "One Note Samba," February was "You Only Live Twice," and so on. The song titles climb from one to eleven while the twelfth track is cleverly left to a version of the Pointer Sisters' "Pinball Number Count"!

In November that year, the songs were collected on CD under the title  By The Numbers.

The original "11:59", of course, appeared on Blondie's classic Parallel Lines LP back in 1978.

The lovely video here was directed by the Postmarks own Jonathan Wilkins.

Oh yeah ..... Tim Yehezkely, I still fucking love you, wherever the hell you've gone to!

The Eyes Have It - Olivia's Gaze

Art of the Cover - FFS (Franz Ferdinand & Sparks) "FFS" (2015)

Great artwork.

Great album title.

Great bands.

Great music.

What? ... FFS, of course, is Franz Ferdinand and the legendary Sparks .. For Fuck's Sake!!!

Collaborations don’t work, or that’s what FFS would have us believe on their debut album. When the seminal Los Angeles duo Sparks and Glasgow-based quartet Franz Ferdinand decided to record together, it was a flawed and potentially disastrous idea, right? Wrong! ‘FFS’ is one of the strongest albums of either bands’ career!

After learning Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand were big fans of theirs in  the mid 2000s, seventies US synth rockers Sparks really wanted to record with FF - a band they too adrmired.

They finally got round to it late last year and the result is FFS comprising a twitchy lean rock sound with clever song titles and verbose lyrics shared often by Alex Kapranos and Russell Mael, vocalists from both bands. While not the dramatic makeover one might have expected, it does give a well needed shot in the arm to their sound with both rubbing off on the other.

The studio chemistry was immediate and the album ‘FFS’ took only 15 days to complete.

"Johnny Delusional" is chirpy dance rock with a slightly off kilter bent and Sparks' Ron Mael's insistent piano riff constant in the background. "Fasten your seat belts we soon will land, at LAX hope to see you again" goes the refrain on the martial-sounding "Dictator's Son" during one of several musical detours in the song. "Police Encounters" swings in a quirky manner, while the frantic dance/rock "Save Me From Myself" (with some intricately layered harmonies) recalls vintage Franz Ferdinand.

With no let up in momentum, other standouts include the synth-heavy "So Desu Ne", the singalong "Piss Off", the atmospheric ballad "Little Guy From The Suburbs" ("there are no heroes" goes the hazy refrain), the lovely synth ballad "Things I Won't Get" (which reels off a list of unattainable desires which pale in comparison to love), the satirically titled theatrical piano-driven "Collaborations Don't Work" (which meanders unexpectedly), and the ominous spoken/sung "A Violent Death" (available on the deluxe edition).

 'Kimono My House'-era Sparks fans will recognize how ‘FFS’ highlights their classic ‘pop rock’ DNA, and Franz Ferdinand fans won’t be dissapointed to hear the band at their peak of their powers as they bring their exhilaratingly unique and witty modern rock sound to the collaboration.

Very much a new project, FFS doesn’t truly sound like either band, but a striking and fascinating mutation. So in the right hands, collaborations DO work, and beautifully. The strength of the two bands is bigger than the sum of the parts.

Produced by Grammy-award winning John Congleton (St Vincent, David Byrne) at London’s RAK Studios. 


01. Johnny Delusional [3:12]
02. Call Girl [3:21]
03. Dictator’s Son [4:15]
04. Little Guy from the Suburbs [5:09]
05. Police Encounters [3:10]
06. Save Me from Myself [3:57]
07. So Desu Ne [3:52]
08. The Man Without a Tan [3:28]
09. Things I Won’t Get [3:03]
10. The Power Couple [3:02]
11. Collaborations Don’t Work [6:42]
12. Piss Off [3:55] 

Cult Cuties - Sweet Swet Jane

The Art - New York is big and small

Photo/ Text:Emily

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