Hello all and welcome to this month’s edition of Hardly News.
As always, there is a lot happening in the world of Hardly Art. As readers of fashionablemusicblogs will know, just yesterday we made available the first mp3 from the new Le Loup record (Family_, due September 22nd), a lovely little jam we like to call “Beach Town”. Please, listenBeachTown.mp3.
It’s good, right? We thought you might think so, and we have accordingly made the new record available for pre-order over at our website. In addition to releasing this wonderful new record, Le Loup will be crisscrossing this great nation of ours in October—check out tour dates right over here and find the one closest to your house/apartment.
In Hardly Art Bands Touring with Someone Massive News (pt 1), the Dutchess & the Duke will be heading out on a brief tour of Canada and the Midwest next week with none other than indie institution (ind-stitution?) Modest Mouse. Check out details on that mind-blowing tour right here. In addition to spreading their campfire punk to the masses, this tour will be an early chance for loyal Dutchess & the Duke fans to hear some material from their upcoming record Sunset / Sunrise, due October 6th on (of course) Hardly Art.
In Hardly Art Bands Touring with Someone Massive News (pt 2), Boston spazz-punks Pretty & Nice will be hitting the road in September with recently reunited emo-stalwarts the Get Up Kids. Check out that sweet sweet action over here.
If you (like us) are local to Seattle you very probably (like us) love both the Moondoggies and KEXP. Well Seattle friends, you are in luck! On Friday August 21st the Moondoggies will be playing a free show at the Seattle Center, the final installment of KEXP’s Concerts at the Mural Series. Also playing are Sub Pop’s Fruit Bats and Johnny & the Moon —good stuff all around.
And finally, Tony and I wore the exact same shirt today (see above).
That’s it for now! Tune in next month!
Welcome to our second installment of “For the Record”, our new subpop.com feature wherein one of us picks a record we are fond of, writes a few lines about why we like it and then we put it on sale for 48 hours. Last time was Richard on the Foals, this week we’ve got Alissa talking Love as Laughter.
So in my short life (and I’m speaking strictly of my stature here, I’m actually getting kind of old) I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being overly, uh, negative. And you know, I really hate it when jerks say stuff like that! Rude. I’m not negative, anonymous commentators on blogs are negative, I’m just opinionated. Or maybe it’s spirited? Yeah, I like spirited. (See? I’m liking stuff already in this paragraph.) But just to prove how enthusiastic I am capable of being, I am here to talk about something I really like, something I can be positively the opposite of negative over – Love as Laughter. Cuz good god, I really do like me some Love as Laughter. And For The Record, I specifically happen to love “Laughter’s Fifth”.
I mean, Sam Jayne? The guy just knows his way around a great rock song. And man, that voice of his is straight up one of my all time favorite voices in music. What’s the expression? I could listen to him sing the phone book? Something like that, and yeah, I would listen to that shit. But until that phone book recording is released, I can be content just re-listening to this record, no problem.
Now I know this might go a long way towards the above-mentioned issue of perceived negativity, but it is true that it’s sometimes easier to get into what I don’t like about any given thing than for me to explain what I really love about it (unless we are talking about Zach Galifianakis but that’s another discussion).
But for once, figuring out what I like about this record is pretty straight-forward: this music is just like my favorite kind of people in this world. And by that I mean these songs have the genuine, smart, quick-witted and easy going confidence that I always am drawn to, with just enough of the slightly melancholy, self-deprecating, unkempt style for me to completely relate to them. I mean, dang, I wanna buy this music a beer or something. And I guess if I’m gonna go and personify these songs like that then it’s not that hard to figure out why I’d wanna spend so much time with them, right? Makes sense to me.
But just in case my rare exhibition of unbridled enthusiasm isn’t enough to peak your curiosity, here’s a couple of right-to-the point record reviews that can back up my claims: All Music No Rip Chord
So there you have it. Negativity be damned, this record is great.
Listen for yourself – track 6 Dirty Lives
For the next 48 hours you can pick up Laughter’s Fifth for $6 on CD and LP and for $4 digital. What a deal!
Click here to buy!
Our old pal Zak Sally (musician [Low, Dirty Three, Kid Dakota, etc.], cartoonist Recidivist, Sammy the Mouse, the forthcoming Like A Dog hardcover collection due this fall from Fantagraphics], and publisher La Mano 21) somehow ended up making a record; wrote, sang and played every damn thing on it, recorded it with his old pal Ben Durrant (Andrew Bird, Dosh, Shearwater) at Crazy Beast Studios.
It’s called Fear of Song (as in: “Zak Sally’s Fear of Song,” get it?). 9 songs 37 minutes, and will be released on CD in a signed and limited edition, with all the packaging and such done BY HAND on the La Mano press. It will be very nice. We at Sub Pop also did a 7" from that record, featuring the single “Why We Hide”, and an exclusive track “When I Said I Missed You I Just Meant My Aim Was Off (The Quiet Life)”. It’s here. You should really buy a copy.
There is also probably going to be a video for that first thing by Phil Harder (Foo Fighters, and, uh…Prince). The release date for the single is July 21, release date for the CD is July 22.
Zak has set up an associated HUGE, AMAZINGRECORDRELEASESHOW/ LA MANOBENEFIT!
It’ll be hosted by the good folks at Eclipse Records (and therefore is ALLAGES and CHEAP) right on University Ave. in St. Paul. Starting at 5:30-ish, you will see performances by these local luminaries:
JIMANDTHEFRENCHVANILLA (Jim from the blind shake’s solo venture) PAULMETZGER (solo treated guitar unbelievable-ness) SKOALKODIAK (sorry everyone else, but the best damn band to come out of Minneapolis in a decade solid)
T.O.G.P.T.F.F.S.O.T.W.O.T.E.R.A.T.S.Y.O.A (Three Old Guys Play The First Five Songs Off The Wipers’ Over The Edge Record And The Song Youth Of America) featuring Zak Sally, Dale Flattum (Milk Cult, Steel Pole Bath Tub), and double duty from Freddy Votel (Cows, Skoal Kodiak, a million other bands)
and the SEAWHORES.
Besides that, there will be tables selling zines, posters, books and whatever by a bunch of your favorite local arteests. ALLAGES. CHEAP. How does SIXBUCKS sound? The aforementioned “benefit” aspect in this case means that the $6 you spend getting in will get you SIXBUCKSOFF OF ANY LA MANOBOOK OR POSTER (and aside from all that, the first hundred or so people in the door will almost certainly get some free thing from the La Mano archives, not sure what exactly yet, but…).
In addition, and further on the benefit/funding the making of his record front, Zak is also selling on eBay the original painting he created for the cover of Low’s 2005 album The Great Destroyer. Check out the auction here!
Following a more than 10 year hiatus, all four original members of pioneering Seattle rock band Sunny Day Real Estate will regroup for a 20-date US tour starting Sept. 17th, 2009. In addition, Sub Pop Records will re-issue both Diary and the band’s second full-length album, commonly known as LP2 (or The Pink Album for its entirely pink cover). Both re-mastered albums will include rare bonus tracks as well as newly written liner notes and will be released on both CD and LP Sept. 15, 2009, just prior to the start of the tour. Tour dates can be found here.
Originally formed in Seattle in 1992, Sunny Day Real Estate featured Nate Mendel (bass), William Goldsmith (drums), Dan Hoerner (guitar,vocals) and Jeremy Enigk (vocals, guitar). Diary, the band’s first full-length album, was released in 1994 on Sub Pop, going on to become the seventh-best selling record in the label’s history with more than 231,000 copies scanned in the US alone. Diary was recorded at Chicago’s Idful Studios with producer Brad Wood and released to critical acclaim. Following the completion of a US Tour to support the debut release, the group headed back into the studio with Wood to record the follow-up.
But during the recording sessions, internal tensions splintered Sunny Day Real Estate, resulting in a sudden break-up and the finished album being turned in to Sub Pop without a title or artwork. LP2 was released in November 1995, by which time both Goldsmith and Mendel had joined Foo Fighters and Enigk had begun a solo career. Without Mendel, Sunny Day Real Estate reunited in 1997 and released two more studio albums (the 1998 Sub Pop release How It Feels to Be Something On and in 2000 The Rising Tide on Time Bomb) before disbanding again in 2001. Sunny Day Real Estate’s influence has grown exponentially since the band’s initial split.
“I wasn’t around for the second version of the band that recorded the 3rd and 4th albums, so I’ve always had a feeling of unfinished business there,” Mendel explains. “We had all these out-sized ideas back then, ’Everyone’s going to learn a new instrument,’ and ’Let’s do a rock opera,’ but before we could get anywhere with them, the band broke up. We left behind all these weird and beautiful songs, though, and they’ve stuck with me all this time. I’m really happy that we get a chance to play them together again.”
Obits are a 4-piece rock band from Brooklyn, NY who released their debut full-length album earlier this year. It’s called I Blame You and if it doesn’t wind up on your personal list of this year’s best albums, well, your list could use some fixin’. Scott Gursky is the band’s drummer and he’s also an amazing visual artist. He’s the one responsible for this and also this. Mr. Gursky is herewith also our second guest editor for an installment of our increasingly less unknown feature: “For the Record”! “For the Record,” of course, is our semi-regular web feature wherein we (or people who we convince to do so) rhapsodize on something from the (let’s be honest) checkered Sub Pop catalog and then, in a not even thinly veiled attempt to persuade you to take a chance and purchase the thing in question, deeply discount that album for a brief period of time.
And with that, we proudly present, Obits’ Scott Gursky on Pond…
When we told you the first time: February 1st, 1993
I first heard Pond around 1993 on MTV’s 120 minutes, a show I regularly relied on as a teenager to pick up hints of any “cool music” that would otherwise never find its way to my suburb. The video was for the song “Agatha”, and although the video wasn’t particularly interesting, the song definitely scared me. Guitarist Charlie Cambell drones on and on with one eerie chord, everything sparse and stripped down, with mantra-like vocal harmonies. To this day, I don’t have any idea what they are singing about, but I like to imagine this song is about a haunted house.
I bought their album Pond on cassette and wore it thin. I came to really appreciate (and even tried to emulate) Dave Triebwasser’s strong and steady drumming, and I was fascinated by bassist Chris Brady ‘s pop sensibilities butting up against the darker moods that Cambell and his guitar seemed to contribute. When at their best, during songs like “Gone” and “Spots”, they came across really murky and drone-y, a bit unhinged and heavy, but never without a strong hook to keep the foot tapping. It was distorted, heavy pop-rock music, lots of bands were doing it. But this trio had a certain way mixing the minor key with just enough melody and energy to keep it fun, and this separated them from the pack. When I was lucky enough to catch them live in Philadelphia, they had small amps, and Dave pounded a frankenstein of old drum kit orphans, very cool. There was something scrappy about this band, something that told you they didn’t have lots of money, they practiced in a damp basement, that they made weird, spooky power-pop because they really loved doing it and that was enough. The cynics will say Pond never made exceptional music, left no superstar legacy and that this record is (mostly) forgotten on the shelf, just another product of its time. Yet for me this time is a nostalgic one, one of cassettes and self-discovery, when against the odds you found special records, and special records found you.
You get Pond’s S/T release at our FTR sale price of $6 CD/$4 Mp3 here for the next 48 hours!