Tonight and tomorrow night, The Cave Singers will wrap an incredible North American tour with their Seattle folk brethren Fleet Foxes. Along the way, they’ve played some of the country’s most gorgeous theaters — from Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium to last night’s visit to New York’s United Palace Theatre. Brooklyn Vegan has posted some stunning photos of last night’s sold-out show. That’s The Cave Singers’ Pete Quirk up above doing some serious conjuring at the United Palace, and below are a couple other great shots of the show. Head over to Brooklyn Vegan to peep them all.
Fear not, Cave Singers fan. The band has miles and miles of touring ahead of them. The summer has in store two European dates, as well some short runs of the US that include appearances at The Newport Folk Festival and Austin City Limits. Please head to the Jagjaguwar tour page to see all the confirmed dates AND if you haven’t listened to No Witch yet, just do it already.
Today, Pitchfork.tv premiered The Cave Singers’ whimsical and lovely video for “Black Leaf,” the latest singe from their Jagjaguwar debut No Witch. In the video, we follow three young heroes on a day’s adventure across their wintery, lakeside town that eventually leads them into a monster’s lair.
Odawas’ Michael James Tapscott has a new, limited edition cassette called Challenger available now through Digitalis Industries. A collaboration with old friend and poet Andrew Kenower who provides some field recordings he made in Holland, the piece contains sonic thoughts and visions from NASA’s The Challenger disaster of 1986 and the human error that caused it. Much of the vision was provided by Chapter 2 from Edward Tufte’s Visual Explanations. We’ve given this a suck a spin and it’s actually a lovely, deep listen.
Order Challenger now HERE.
R. Alverson’s New Jerusalem, which features Will Oldham in his first leading role since 2006′s Old Joy, premiere’s on the 31st of this month at the 40th International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film will premiere as part of the Bright Future selections. To boot, Alverson, Oldham and co-star Colm O’Leary will all be present at the festival.
A special press screening of New Jerusalem in Rotterdam will be at 16:00, Jan. 28th at Cinerama,
New Jerusalem Screening Dates at Int’l Film Festival Rotterdam:
Jan. 31 18:15 Pathe 3 (INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE)
Feb. 1 11:45 Cinerama 1
Feb. 2 13:45 Pathe 6
Sean (O’Leary), an Irish Immigrant to America, returning from military service in Afghanistan, finds his heart and mind in dsarray. He befriends Ike (Oldham) a strong willed Evangelical Christian, who endeavors to ensure Sean’s salvation. Inundated by a relentless fragility, Sean is confronted by a choice between the temptation of certainty and the chaos of the world around him. A meditation on friendship, need and frailty, New Jerusalem explores the allure and limitations of modern utopian belief.
To cap of their lovely US tour together this month and celebrate the season, S. Carey and Dead Oceans’ White Hinterland worked up this great improved version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” They just passed it along to us. And truly, it’s just the perfect thing to send us off on our week-long winter break. Stand-up bass and mouth trombones from the S. Carey crew lay down a nice, loose jazz foundation for White Hinterlander Casey Dienel’s lilting croon. Good year, gang.
About this time last year, the Tired Trails Collective label released a hyper-limited cassette called Mind of Christ, featuring all new music from San Francisco’s absolutely sublime Odawas. Now, the band has made that music available for free on its official site. The collection delves deeper into Odawas’ atmospheric acumen and dark experimentation. The first track is the band’s soundtrack for filmmaker Neil Blakemore’s Cannes-selected short film, Kill Yr. TV. The other tunes were sort of created opposite to how Odawas songs usually come to be, with synth-warlock Isaac Edwards handing over two experimental piece for to be given shape by songwriter Michael Tapscott.
Get Mind of Christ for free HERE.
Two of Jagjaguwar’s dear friends, Simon Joyner and Ben Goldberg, recently announced their Grapefruit Record Club, a subscription-based vinyl-only label that will release four exclusive LPs in 2011. And for its inaugural year, Grapefruit has selected Jagjaguwar’s Richard Youngs to join artists Lampchop, L. Eugene Methe and 200 Years (Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance and Elisa Ambrogio of Magik Markers).
Having just returned from a tour and adventure in New Zealand, Richard is recording his contribution to the record club as I type this very blog entry. However, Richard has described the forthcoming Grapefruit album as “a meditation on native birdsong, Maori place names, the Pacific Ocean, satellite navigation, and clutch failure in Wanaka.” Yes, we are officially signed up.
Subscriptions for 2011 are open until Valentine’s Day. Kind of a perfect holiday gift for your household vinylophile black sheep, eh?
As mentioned previously, Wolf People guitarist Joe Hollick is not only a super shredder; he’s also, in a sense, Wolf People’s art director, designing the band’s album art and flyers. For the singles compilation, Tidings, released on Jagjaguwar earlier this year, Hollick made miniature paper models of vintage amplifiers. The authenticity and detail are unbelievable.
For the band’s full-length debut, Steeple, due Oct. 12 on Jagjaguwar (Oct. 11 in the UK), Hollick went a different, more abstract, more experimental route. He worked with glass and acrylics to try and achieve the earthy themes of the record. I’ll let Hollick himself talk about it (below). First, take a gander at the cover above and look close for the little blood orange steeple in there.
From the desk of Joe Hollick, discussing the process and inspiration behind the artwork for Steeple:
“I tried to do something illustrative orginally, but it just wasn’t working, as soon as I try and illustrate something it tends to start looking like a pastiche, as if I’m blatantly trying to attach imagery to the music, forcing it. I don’t class myself as an artist in the slightest so it was quite a push to get things going. I also got really fed up with computers, I like using them for the output stage of things, but for creating in them I find them hard work. Much of my day job involves the damned things, so any chance outside of that to go a bit mad and get my hands dirty is welcomed. I would never ever get a chance to work like this elsewhere so I wanted to try something new.
As you were finishing your coffee this morning, chances are The Cave Singers were rocking the last show in a string of live dates in China. It’s been a magical time for the band. See above the band featured in Chengsha’s evening news paper, which was handed to the band just as they boarded a plane bound for Shanghai. That there is the makings of a surreal, awesome afternoon.
The band is finishing up a new album — the first as part of the Jagjaguwar family — and have big, nasty plans for 2011. Stay tuned.
Seattle friends, be sure to welcome our homies in The Cave Singers back to the USA when they play The Showbox on November 5.
Note: The headline above is “Wow!!!” written in Chinese, according to a very quick Google and with the understanding that the Chinese language probably doesn’t use the exclamation mark as we know it.
Since the very moment Jagjaguwar brought UK’s Wolf People into the label fold, the tour pairing of Black Mountain and Wolf People was slated as a “Must Happen” on our label dream list. Well, friends of rock, that wondrous day has come. Today in Oxford, UK, the stoner jam behemoths get together for a 7-date run of all that is right and hirsute and unkept in the rock world. Boogie on.
Fun Fact: Wolf People’s own Joe Hollick created that killer poster featured above. Probably on his coffee break or something. Joe handles all the Wolf People album art. And well, he kind of nails it most every time.
Black Mountain release Wilderness Heart on Sept. 14, and Wolf People release their first proper full-length, Steeple, on Oct. 12.
Labelmates that festival together stay together. The above photo was sent from Wolf People’s Jack Sharp this morning. In it we find members of Wolf People and The Besnard Lakes celebrating their respective Green Man Festival victories during The Flaming Lips’ performance. Of special note here is that The Besnard Lakes’ Jace Lasek is seen without his signature black cowboy shirt, swapped out with a sleek anorak.
And out of mutual Green Man Festival respect, The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne commemorated The Besnard Lakes’ performance with this lovely tweet and photo of his wife in the downward-facing dog yoga position.
Wolf People’s first proper Jagjaguwar full-length, Steeple, is set to drop Oct. 12 (Oct. 11 in the UK). Read a bit more about this fantastic record and download the first mp3 “Tiny Circle” here.
It’s a proud moment of fandom, but also very much akin to wearing the same dress to prom. First man in the office owns the rights for the day. Today, this man was me.
By the time R. Alverson’s The Builder made its New York City debut earlier this month at Brooklyn’s Zebulon, the Internet was already buzzing with the trailer for Alverson’s follow-up feature, New Jerusalem, and starring Will Oldham (Old Joy, Bonnie Prince Billy) and The Builder‘s Colm O’Leary. You can see the trailer at Alverson’s vimeo site HERE.
O’Leary plays an Irish immigrant living in the US after a non-combat tour of Afghanistan who is befriended by Oldham, an evangelical. It takes another leap in refining Alverson’s visions of America’s margins.
Some excellent, lovely new additions to The Builder‘s foundtrack, Songs for The Builder, are also now available on the Jagjaguwar site. Both Sharon Van Etten (who was kind enough to play at the Zebulon screening) and the venerable Califone have amazing selection there for the taking. Download them both HERE.
Jagjaguwar’s first feature film release, The Builder, will have its New York debut on July 7, with a very special, free screening at Brooklyn’s Zebulon. The evening will also include a performance from songwriter Sharon Van Etten, who has contributed an original song to the film’s “foundtrack,” available digitally on the Jagjaguwar site. Listen to Van Etten’s stark, crushing “I Couldn’t Save You” HERE. The film’s director R. Alverson will also be in attendance.
To help announce the Zebulon screening, The Independent Film Channel recently ran pieces of a video interview with Alverson. These somewhat surreal interview clips find the director touching on the films of Cassavetes, rationality versus intuition, and his one and only visit to a psychiatrist. Alverson’s vision is one devoid of film gimmicks and set firmly on a celebration of humanity, be it unsettling or touching.
Odawas’ Michael Taspcott often noted Eric Serra’s soundtrack for Luc Besson’s “The Big Blue” as the largest inspiration for Odawas’ 2009 longplayer The Blue Depths. Paired with his well-known love for Vangelis’ work on “Blade Runner” and “Antarctica,” it’s no secret Tapscott has a wide open heart for the soundtrack genre. Now, he’s lent his own talents to two film scores, both from director Neil Blakemore (who is incidentally no stranger to Jagjaguwar, using his mad bookkeeping skills to help keep us afloat back in the day.)
Much to the band’s chagrin (and ultimate understanding), Sightings were hailed in the Village Voice earlier this year as “Brooklyn’s greatest living noise band.” While it’s probably the best press quote most bands could ever hope for, the term “noise band,” isn’t particularly agreeable with the artists placed under that label.
In the most recent issue of The New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones takes the term head-on, speaking with artists such as Sightings, Yellow Swans and HEALTH about the application of term “noise” to their brands of music. A truly excellent read, it perhaps once and for all clarifies what these “noise bands” have been groaning about for years and years. As SFJ writes: “To many people now, noise isn’t necessarily an aggressive or alienating element; it sounds more like nature than nature does.”
Read the entire New Yorker piece HERE.
“The Builder carves a unique, welcome mental space.”
— David Gordon Green
Jagjaguwar is extremely honored to present as its first-ever feature film release the debut film by writer/director R. Alverson. The Builder (released July 27 on DVD) is bold in its subtleties, and finds Alverson trekking beyond the emotional and existential territories of his work in Jagjaguwar band Spokane. Here, he establishes a cinematic voice that is timeless, yet desperately needed in the stylization and snark of our time. While the movie deals with escapism by way of a character’s self-made isolation, it serves us, its viewers, as a retreat from cinematic escapism, a rare opportunity to look good and deep at disillusionment and disappointment, accepting “the real” over redemption.
Over the course of his diverse, prolific career, Richard Youngs has used his voice — be it careening, pleading, soothing or caught in a strange, multi-tracked dance with itself — to great effect. Recently, Youngs contributed an acapella track, “Fen Flowers,” to Root Strata‘s Tsuki No Seika 7″ series, which focuses on the endless capabilities of the lone human voice. Of the contribution, Root Strata writes: “Richard Youngs is no stranger to this acapella lark (take a listen to his Summer Wanderer LP, for further details), and his hypnotic ‘Fen Flowers’ manifests itself as a minimalist, abstracted, multitracked take on the traditional, Ewan MacColl school of hand-on-ear folk singing. It’s a strange blend of disciplines, but his hypnotic delivery has real weight and resonance to it.”
The flip-side of the 7″ offers an acapella cover of the Mudhoney classic “Touch Me I’m Sick” from Portland-based Kranky artist Valet (aka Honey Owens), which is “rendered within a swarming, groggy swirl of edited vocal tones that brings some kind of cloudy beauty to the piece.”
With only 400 of these lovely 7-inches in print, it would probably be in your best interest to head to Boomkat now for your own copy.
Just on the heals of their epic turn at SXSW, The Besnard Lakes will tomorrow, Wednesday, March 23, make their U.S. television network premiere on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where the band will be burning through the galloping “This Is What We Call Progress,” a cut from their recently released longplayer, The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night.
Our Love by Sharon Van Etten
Every Time the Sun Comes Up by Sharon Van Etten
Strange Attraction by DIANA
Ambulance City by Pink Mountaintops
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