Friday, January 18th, 2013 | musiX | No Comments
I like Ty Segall. I like glammy Satanic makeup. I like flesh. I like tongues. And I like blood. But I don’t like feet … disgusting things. Do with that what you will while you watch Segall’s vid for “Thank God For Sinners” from last year’s Twins album (his third LP of 2012).
Saturday, December 22nd, 2012 | musiX | No Comments
1. Tilts – Tilts (Robotic Empire)
2. Swans – The Seer (Young God)
3. Lisabö – Animalia Lotsatuen Putzua (Bidehuts)
4. King Tuff – King Tuff (Sub Pop)
5. Ozarks – Ozarks (Wil-Ru Records)
6. Sic Alps – Sic Alps (Drag City)
7. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes (4AD)
8. The Men – Open Your Heart (Sacred Bones)
9. Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II (In The Red)
10. Gaytheist – Stealth Beats (Good to Die Records)
Thursday, December 20th, 2012 | musiX | No Comments
11. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Alleluja! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)
12. Titus Andronicus - Local Business (XL Recordings)
13. Ty Segall & White Fence – Hair (Drag City)
14. Plankton Wat – Spirits (Thrill Jockey)
15. Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory (Carpark Records)
I’m still listening to Ty Segall’s Melted; now he’s already got a new one in the works? OK! Segall will release Goodbye Bread on June 21 on Drag City. Watch here as he performs the title track in a bathroom stall. Luckiest toilet in the world.
Monday, January 17th, 2011 | interviewZ, musiX, pdX | No Comments
Sic Alps haven’t put out a proper record since 2008′s U.S. EZ, but it doesn’t mean the San Francisco band has just been lazing about in some exclusive lo-fi vacation spot located on a secret island off the coast of Yemen.
Close. The trio—Mike Donovan, Matthew Hartman and new member, former Comets On Fire echoplexist Noel von Harmonson—have essentially been living out every band’s dream, opening for indie-rock heroes Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo as well as being hand-picked by the fellas in Pavement to perform at All Tomorrow’s Parties (Donovan also directed a schizoid video for Portland rock gods Quasi last year). No big whoop. It should also be noted that the band shares a zip code with TDoL faves Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, the Sandwitches, Amoeba Records, The Mother Hips, Escape From New York Pizza, Hank IV, SFMOMA … simply put: If it didn’t cost $1,500 a month for a closet-sized apartment, I’d be in San Francisco.
So what is it about Sic Alps? For years the band has been blasting out nuggets of rock that tend to stumble and lurch in beautiful cacophony. They continue to make good on that tenet with their latest Napa Asylum (out January 25 on Drag City)—a sprawling double-album filled with 22 concise little noisies. Of course, there are loads of shiny, happy hooks buried underneath the racket, and first single “Do You Want to Give $$?” offers only a small taste.
Sic Alps’ Mike Donovan took some time to answer TDoL’s burning (and itching) questions about the new record, playing ATP with Pavement, and a little San Francisco music history.
TDoL: Napa Asylum travels a lot of musical territory—thematically and stylistically—was that the point in doing a double record?
Mike Donovan: We had a lot of material going in, although at end the debate was on whether to go with the single or double.
It was originally supposed to be a concept album, right?
My friend John [Harlow], who makes some of our videos with us, has a picture on his wall that he bought at a yard sale—a pencil drawing of the Napa Asylum building which was torn down in 1949. Out the gate this was the inspiration for the album; but 22 songs about an asylum is just a crazy idea.
Do you have any particular favorite double albums?
The Basement Tapes. Although if I had a record press I would press up all 125 or so songs from the “Original Basement Tapes.”
Napa Asylum feels like an album in the classic sense. What do you think of the fact that most people these days just grab the mp3s they like?
It’s always been that way; eventually you skip ahead to the faves.
There’s an incredible amount of great music coming out of San Francisco. It seems pretty tight-knit …
Please come to the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on February 9 for a show with Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps and Ty Segall. It’s a benefit for the Homeless Coalition here in S.F.
So, Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane?
I’m the only guy in the band who likes the Dead, but it’s OK—I like them enough for everybody.
Moby Grape or Blue Cheer?
Death Angel or Metallica?
My friend Mike used to tour manage Death Angel if you’re looking for some off-the-record tales.
John Dwyer or Ty Segall?
Too close to call.
What went through your mind when you got the invite from Pavement to perform at All Tomorrow’s Parties last year?
That was the most exciting part—being asked to ATP and also to open for them at Brixton Academy in London. Brixton is a complete blur, but I’ll always remember getting that e-mail and flipping out. Pavement is a huge part of why I do this and it was a giant honor. We went and saw them the night before we opened for them in London and it hit me pretty hard. I’m not too easy on myself when it comes to music but it was hard not to reflect and say, “Damn, Donovan. You’ve done good.”
Are there any artists or things that inspire your live performances?
What’s the one thing you won’t leave home without on tour?
Markers and scrap paper.
So, what’s next for Sic Alps?
A coffee break.
“Do You Want to Give $$?” – Sic Alps
Photo by Jason Fisher
Monday, December 13th, 2010 | musiX | 2 Comments
To this day, there’s something about Detroit that still captures the imagination. Once a shining beacon of American industrialization, the Motor City also gave the world Motown in addition to countless blues and jazz artists. Of course, throughout the ’60s and ’70s Detroit became an epicenter for all things rock ‘n’ roll—Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, Creem Magazine, Bob Seger, Alice Cooper—and it could be said Detroit’s gritty skyline also spawned punk rock in the form of The Stooges and MC5.
Then there’s a little band called Death, made up of three brothers from Detroit who caught a whiff of rock ‘n’ roll and never turned back. They never really got their due, either—not until some 35 years later. Last year Drag City released …For the Whole World to See, a collection of songs recorded in 1974, not long after Dannis, Bobby and David Hackney decided to stop playing R&B and change their name from the Rock Fire Funk Express to the simple, effective, ominous Death (not to be confused with the Florida metal band). Detroit’s Death played jittery punk rock with a sinewy rhythm section—as the New York Times would later put it: “Punk before punk was punk.” It didn’t last long, though. The members balked when it was suggested they change their name to something more agreeable. After self-releasing 500 copies of the single “Politicians In My Eyes,” the LP was shelved, and that was that.
Needless to say music publications got all hot and bothered last year upon the release of …For the Whole World to See, and rightfully so. But Death’s story doesn’t end there. It was recently announced that Drag City would be releasing more lost material under the title Spiritual, Mental, Physical (out January 25), which includes songs that preceded the 1974 sessions. The collection feels immensely intimate—almost as if you’re sitting in on one of the band’s rehearsals. “The Masks” and “Can You Give Me a Thrill???” are full on—vocals are barked, guitars throttle, and Dannis Hackney’s drums alone could rattle the skin off your skull.
Spiritual, Mental, Physical isn’t what I’d call consistent; the record loses some of its clang and bang toward the back half. But who cares? I sleep better at night knowing that three black kids from Detroit—who called themselves Death—were making this kind of racket around the same time John Denver was singing “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” And with the auto industry crumbling and Detroit’s population having plummeted by almost half since the 1960s, Death’s music might be even more revelatory in 2010.
“Can You Give Me a Thrill???” – Death
Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 | musiX | 4 Comments
Did you miss me? Even if you didn’t you should lie to me and say you did … I’m very fragile. Real life has taken me away from my duties as a professional blogger (real life = working for a paltry pence; professional blogger = sitting around in holy boxers writing about music). Stupid real life.
Needless to say my mind is backlogged with all sorts of rants and musings and witticisms (rants and musings and witticisms = my 2 cents). But I’m going to ease into it, or something might pop. I’ll start with the new video from Bonnie “Prince” Billy for the song “How About Thank You” off his Chijimi 10-inch. It’s a good example of Will Oldham’s quirkiness and coming together with another one of his stunning and sad tunes. Worth it just to see Oldham do a little hip-sway in Dance Dance Revolution.
As for the rest of this week … let’s just say Christmas is coming early this year at TDoL.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy, “How About Thank You”