Kristin Welchez - aka Dee Dee, leader of internationally acclaimed rock outfit Dum Dum Girls, will release X-Communicate, the debut album from her new solo project, Kristin Kontrol, on CD / LP / DL / CASS worldwide May 27 via Sub Pop. Tapped as the first single, “X-Communicate” melds new wave with synth pop in a slice of glistening cosmic disco. You can share/listen to the track right over HERE.
The album pre-order is underway HERE. Fans who pre-order X-Communicate digitally will instantly receive “X-Communicate” as well. Additionally, the limited, blue-vinyl Loser Edition is available to pre-order customers at megamart.subpop.com, and at select independent record stores (while supplies last).
With Kristin Kontrol, Dee Dee sheds her skin, ditching the alter ego she’d assumed in Dum Dum Girls – for her given name, Kristin. Once again, she is smashing boundaries, only this time it’s the ones she had drawn to define herself artistically.
“For me as leader of Dum Dum Girls it felt very stoic and serious, and I am serious, but anyone who really knows me knows the other side; I’m silly – I smile a lot,” explains Kristin. “As the years went on, it was so weird that I kept so much of me out of my art.”
[Photo by Jimmy Fontaine]
As Kristin Kontrol, she tells her stories using a sonic palette splashed with bold pop melodies, her vocals showcasing a range hitherto unexplored on record. The album was produced by Kurt Feldman (of Ice Choir and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) and Andrew Miller (who played guitar in the Dum Dum Girls’ last incarnation). Longtime Dum Dum Girls producer Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, The Go-Go’s) provided “sonic consultation,” giving Kristin feedback on the new songs and inspiring her to continually push further. After writing 62 songs for the project, she whittled them down to the 10 that will be featured on this debut.
“The first music I really identified as my own was very poppy, classic 80s, from Debbie Gibson and Tiffany to Janet Jackson and Madonna,” says Kristin, who grew up in Northern California and now resides in New York City. “I didn’t want to make another rock’n’roll record.”
With its synth-sax flourishes and minimal groove, album opener “Show Me” sounds like the soundtrack to a previously unseen John Hughes movie montage. ”(Don’t) Wannabe” loops Enya-esque vocals and features her first reverse guitar solo while “White Street” is Kristin’s most narrative song yet, telling the tale of a specific night - last New Year’s Eve - in New York City. Kristin spoke more about the upcoming album in her recent Sirius XMU interview with Jenny Eliscu HERE.
Dum Dum Girls was Kristin’s guise for the best part of a decade. After posting her bedroom recordings online, she caught the ears of Sub Pop. From there she assembled her group of badass, black-clad cadets and toured the world. Over the course of three albums, four EPs and a bold brace of singles, Dum Dum Girls morphed from the girl group-gone-bad moves of debut album I Will Be (2010), to the comparatively plush noir-pop of 2014’s Too True.
In a review of Too True, The New York Times observed, “each successive album has largely offered refinements and variations.” “Too True preserves what makes Dum Dum Girls great, while pushing the band to brilliant new heights,” said Alternative Press and MOJO praised its “mythic ambition. “Dum Dum Girls supported Too True with a North American tour, a performance on “Late Show with David Letterman,” and a series of videos, including ”“Lost Boys & Girls Club,” which was produced with support from H&M Life, and “Are You Okay,” which was produced and directed by novelist/screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis.
Kristin Kontrol will announce live dates soon, but in the meantime, fans can find her DJ’ing at SXSW later his month. Her recent video capturing a street art tribute to David Bowie, that was painted on the railings on a New York City street, caught fire and now has more than 13 million views. It can be seen HERE.
Heron Oblivion’s U.S. tour schedule in support of their self-titled debut, has been extended, and now spans March 3rd in Oakland, CA at Starline Social Club though June 18th in Portland, OR at Mississippi Studios. Newly added dates include stops in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, DC, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago in late May and early June. Additionally, Heron Oblivion’s festival schedule includes: March 11th in Marfa, TX for Marfa Myths; June 10th -11th in Sonoma, CA at Huichica Music Festival; and the Levitation Festival’s two North American dates, held on April 30th in Austin and June 17th in Vancouver. (complete tour dates below.)
You can now hear Heron Oblivion in full via NPR Music’s “First Listen”.
NPR Music says of the album: “Heron Oblivion shows an uncanny ability to merge and move between authentic forms of psychedelic expression, be they slow burners like “Beneath Fields” and the 10-minute “Rama,” or in woollier offerings like “Oriar” and the whammy-bar-heavy “Faro,” in which Baird enters a vocal trance from which many might never return. Across the whole endeavor, Saufley and Harmonson display a shared language of dynamic shifts and withering, feedback-laden bursts of guitar that create a deeply unsettling effect. Miller hangs back, providing a near-perfect foil to Baird’s minimalist, atmospheric percussion.
“Still, it’s Baird’s voice that sets Heron Oblivion apart: Clear and breathy, it evokes the spirits of Sandy Denny, Trees’ Celia Humphris, Judy Dyble, and the vocal performers from the Wicker Man soundtrack, among others. It cuts through even the grimiest displays of noise the band can muster, punctuating the band’s doom-laden sentiments with bell-tolling finality and grave seriousness. Even if it’s not what the group had envisioned as its calling card, that stern mood helps Heron Oblivion stand out. With any luck, this music will mark a sea change in how we approach psychedelic music in general: as a sound that’s both rooted in history and geared toward the future (see“First Listen” February 24th).”
Heron Oblivion will be released on CD / LP / DL / CASS worldwide Friday, March 4th through Sub Pop. The album, which features the highlights “Oriar”, “Beneath Fields”, “Your Hollows” and “Sudden Lament”, was produced and mixed by the band in San Francisco at The Mansion.
Heron Oblivion is now available for preorder from the Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Bandcamp. LP preorders from megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited “Loser” edition on clear vinyl with a white swirl (while supplies last). Additionally, a slate gray T-shirt will be available with CD and LP bundles and as a stand alone item.
More on Heron Oblivion from WFMU’s Brian Turner: Pastoral pummel. Listening to Heron Oblivion’s album feels like sitting in a lovely meadow in the shadow of a dam that’s gonna heave-ho’ any minute. Members of this new San Francisco combo have put in time in both raging and relatively tranquil psychedelic sound units—this is the premise and the synergy behind this very unique and special new album (read more atSub Pop).
Tour Dates: Mar. 03 - Oakland, CA - Starline Social Club* Mar. 04 - San Francisco, CA - Amoeba Records (instore) Mar. 05 - Los Angeles, CA - Resident^ Mar. 06 - San Diego, CA - ‘Til Two Mar. 11 - Marfa, TX - Marfa Myths Mar. 20 - Santa Cruz, CA - Don Quixote’s International Music Hall** Apr. 30 - Austin, TX - Levitation Festival Jun. 17 - Vancouver, BC - Levitation Vancouver (Cobalt) May 27 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle May 28 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool May 31 - Washington, DC - DC9 Jun. 01 - Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop Jun. 02 - Detroit, MI - UFO Factory Jun. 03 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen Jun. 10-11 - Sonoma, CA - Huichica Music Festival Jun. 16 - Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern Jun. 17 - Vancouver, BC - Levitation Vancouver - Cobalt Jun. 18 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios * with CCR Headcleaner, Bill Orcutt ^ with Morgan Delt, Itasca ** with Fred & Toody (of Dead Moon)
What people are saying about Heron Oblivion: “…A raging new psych band.” - Uncut
“These San Franciscans are that rarest of beasts: a supergroup that delivers more than the sum of its parts. Their debut album triumphs, thanks to how well those constituent parts complement each other…Heron Oblivion’s blend of tender melodies and lysergic moods works so well you wonder why these kindred spirits waited so long to collaborate; let’s hope it’s no one-off.” [4/5] - MOJO
“Anyone hoping to hear the mash-up of extroverted guitar blowouts and folk-derived lyricism promised by their collective CV will get what they came for, but Heron Oblivion’s root equation is multivariate multiplication, not addition. The way they factor in bits of Crazy Horse, Fairport Convention, and The Stooges and High Rise gets complicated in a hurry, so that even when you recognize the elements they own the final sum.” -The Wire
“…Like Pentangle and Black Mountain gorging on magic mushrooms at a woodland commune” - Q
“Whereas Baird’s serene vocals are reminiscent of folk greats like Sandy Denny, the unhinged guitars are pure psych firework displays, exploding frequently, shimmering and screaming, waningmomentarily into the background, and then blasting off again with frazzled gusto.” - The Quietus
“Expressive guitar lines laced with feedback sprawl out again and again without trailing away too far. Meg Baird’s serene voice harkens back to ’60s folk singers, subdued in a way that lends special gravity without being bombastic. Frankly, the group sounds exactly like what psychedelic rock should sound like.” [“Oriar”] -Stereogum
“Not much of HO’s music lives online at the moment, but what’s there suggests a group— Ethan Miller, Noel V. Harmonson, Meg Baird, and Charles Saufley—who like to jam for long durations in the fuzzy, fiery guitar-laden zone where Neil Young’s Zuma meets Joe Walsh-era James Gang. (One track is called “Funeral Funk 49,” and while it’s not as funky as James Gang’s 1970 hit, it takes you deeper into trance land.) Heron Oblivion alsoclaim influences from the Japanese power-psych label PSF and UK electric folk rock, and Baird’s vocals counterbalance the swarming sound with a dulcet breeziness.” -The Stranger
“San Francisco band Heron Oblivion (who just signed with Sub Pop) opened the night. Fronted by singer/drummer Meg Baird of the Espers (and a Philly ex-pat who’s sung backing vocals for Vile), the band set the tone for the night with some moody psych-folk/noise rock that was made all the more impressive when paired with Baird’s powerful, haunting voice.” -Three Match Breeze
Grammy Award-winning folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords (aka Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie) will return to the U.S. this summer. The “Flight of the Conchords sing Flight of the Conchords Tour,” is their first since co-headlining 2014’s “Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Tour.” Jemaine and Bret have new material in the works, which they’ll showcase exclusively at these shows. The amphitheatre and concert hall tour will make stops in Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Seattle, Atlanta, and more.
The “Flight of the Conchords sing Flight of the Conchords Tour” begins June 11th in Cleveland, OH at State Theatre and ends July 27th in Los Angeles, CA at The Greek Theatre. Highlights for the tour include July 5th in Morrison, CO at Red Rocks Amphitheatre; Newport Folk Festival July 22; and New York’s Central Park Summerstage July 24th. Tickets are on sale beginning Friday, March 4th at 10am. (complete listing below.)
Bret had this to say of the upcoming tour: “I’m thrilled to get back on the road with over half the original band.”
The Conchords have also partnered with the charity organization Global Citizen for this tour. Amy Freeland, Senior Manager of Global Citizen Tickets, had this to say of the union, “We are so excited that Flight of the Conchords has joined the Global Citizen Tickets program for 2016! Offering two tickets to each show on the upcoming “Flight of the Conchords sing Flight of the Conchords Tour” will engage and motivate Global Citizens across the U.S. to take action to end extreme poverty by 2030.”
Tour Dates Jun. 11 - Cleveland, OH - State Theatre Jun. 12 - Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center for Performing Arts Jun. 13 - Washington, DC - Wolf Trap Filene Center Jun. 14 - Columbus, OH - Palace Theatre Jun. 16 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre Jun. 17 - Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Jun. 18 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre Jun. 19 - Chicago, IL - Pritzker Pavilion Jun. 22 - Redmond, WA - Marymoor Park Jun. 23 - Vancouver, BC - Orpheum Jun. 24 - Portland, OR - Keller Auditorium Jun. 27 - San Francisco, CA - The Masonic Jul. 01 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl Jul. 02 - San Diego, CA - Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre at SDSU Jul. 03 - Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre Jul. 05 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre Jul. 07 - Kansas City, MO - Starlight Theatre Jul. 09 - Austin, TX - Bass Hall Jul. 11 - New Orleans, LA - Saenger Theatre Jul. 12 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre Jul. 14 - Nashville, TN - Ascend Amphitheater Jul. 16 - Boca Raton, FL - Mizner Park Amphitheatre Jul. 17 - St. Augustine, FL - St. Augustine Amphitheatre Jul. 18 - Cary, NC - Koka Booth Amphitheatre Jul. 22 - Newport, RI - Newport Folk Festival 2016 (Fort Adams State Park) Jul. 23 - Boston, MA - Blue Hills Bank Pavilion Jul. 24 - New York, NY - Central Park Summerstage Jul. 27 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre
About Flight of the Conchords: Bret and Jemaine first met in 1996 at Victoria University Wellington. Jemaine vividly remembers the first time he met Bret; “he was wearing a hat”. Bret doesn’t remember meeting Jemaine, but says it was unforgettable.
They were both acting in a University Drama Club production called Body Play. Bret and Jemaine were put in a group of five men to create a short theatrical piece about male body issues. The most memorable part of the show was the costumes. They wore nothing but skin coloured bike shorts giving the audience the illusion that they were naked. From that short vignette the group of five developed another pseudo nude show called So, You’re A Man. They performed to sell-out audiences in Wellington andAuckland,and were then invited to perform at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
They flew to Australia for a one month season at a Melbourne comedy club called The Last Laugh. The group couldn’t believe they were being paid to perform and Bret blew his entire first pay cheque on a pair of leather pants. Unfortunately the Australians didn’t appreciate the show like they had in New Zealand, and the season was cancelled after one week.
In 1998 Bret and Jemaine decided to start a band. With a combined knowledge of three chords on the guitar they set about jamming out. The first song was Foux Du FaFa, (two chords) and they called themselves Moustache. The four piece band had Bret on casio-tone, Jemaine on guitar, and their friends Toby Laing and Tim Jaray on trumpet and double bass. They performed their one song at the Wellington Fringe Festival late night club and members of the audience were said to have been “mildly impressed” by the act.
After the encouraging feedback the pair continued to write songs in their living room, subjecting their six flatmates to relentless three chord jams. After several weeks they knew four chords and Jemaine got them a gig to perform at the Thursday night Comedy Club. On the afternoon of the gig they realized they needed a band name. The initial list of names included Roxygen Supply, Albatrocity, and Tanfastic. But the final name was chanced upon in a series of events that went something like this: Jemaine went to the bathroom and noticed the flat toilet was called the Concorde, he returned from the bathroom to suggest the name Conchord, and Bret said “What about Flight of the Conchords”, and Jemaine said “okay”, and Bret said “okay “, and Jemaine said “okay then” and Bret said “We should go to the gig, we’re late”.
That night was their first performance as Flight of the Conchords. Bret and Jemaine were so nervous they couldn’t speak between songs. Despite their performance anxiety the crowd of eleven people enjoyed their gig and were heard clapping and talking amongst themselves (read more at Sub Pop).
exchange sparks new in-flight partnership with Sub Pop Records
BY KEEGAN PROSSER for Alaska Airlines
Looking for something fresh and exciting to do during your
next flight? Then Alaska has some good news for you. Beginning this month, the
airline is partnering with Seattle’s Sub Pop Records to bring some of the
label’s best music onboard – for free.
Launched with Beach House’s latest
album Thank Your Lucky Stars on
February 1, the new program offers fliers the chance to listen to one
complimentary featured Sub Pop title per month on Alaska Beyond Entertainment,
Alaska’s direct-to-your-device inflight entertainment service, and two albums
per quarter on the rentable tablets.
“We didn’t have inflight entertainment on most of our
flights until about a year and a half ago,” says David Scotland, manager of inflight
entertainment and connectivity for the airline, adding that one of Alaska’s
priorities is to ensure that customers aren’t receiving “plain vanilla anything”
aboard its flights. “We have our own unique way of designing every experience of
travel – from locally sourced food to space-enhancing seats and now music,” he
continues, noting that the record label takes a similar approach in curating
its artists. “And Sub Pop is a way for us to do that in the music and
The partnership itself came about when a former Sub Pop
employee was on an Alaska flight and tweeted to ask why the two companies
weren’t working together. Soon after, the Twitter conversation turned into a
real plan of action.
“There’s definitely a big appeal for doing something
specifically with Alaska,” notes Chris Jacobs, General Manager of Sub Pop
Records. “Because Sub Pop is so overtly and proudly associated with the region,
and so is Alaska, it makes sense.” According to Jacobs, albums selected for the streaming and
tablet platforms are based on timeliness and appeal to a variety of listeners,
with March’s featured album set to be Shearwater’s latest
release Jet Plane and Oxbow. “The music we put out can range pretty widely, from
relatively accessible to relatively not,” Jacobs says of the label. “So we are
trying to focus on bands at the more accessible end.”
In that spirit, Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiberg sees
the inflight entertainment platform as a great way to gain new fans. “My hope is that the record feels accessible and friendly on
first listen but has enough depth and detail that you’ll want to play it
again,” he explains of the project, which pairs dreamy indie rock with punchy
‘80s synths. “We spent many weeks laboring over the texture and colors of the
sounds.” He also sees it as a great alternative for his music to be
consumed. “I’m just glad for the chance to reach people who might
never hear our music otherwise.”
And fellow Sub Pop artist Cullen Omori, whose solo
debut New Misery will be featured on
Alaska flights in April, shares the sentiment. “There’s no better audience,” says the former Smith Westerns
vocalist, whose collection of genre-bending pop rock cuts hits stores March 18.
“You have a captive audience that’s stuck on a plane for X amount of hours. And
so, there’s no better time to pitch them some music to listen to.”
As Scotland points out, teaming up with local brands such as
Sub Pop, the Seattle International Film Festival, fashion designer Luly Yang and Tom Douglas restaurants enables Alaska to deepen the
relationship it’s built with core customers and provide them with a piece of
home. “One of the things that our customers from the Seattle area
tell us very often is that they feel like they’re already home when they get on
the plane, and there’s a comfort there.” But it also leaves a lasting impression with customers who
may be flying in the region for the first time. “There is something cool and unique about the PNW,” he
continues. “We do march to the beat of our own drum. We’re not like the rest of
the country. And being an airline, we get to introduce a lot of people to some
of the best parts of the Pacific Northwest.”
- - - - -
Guest Writer Keegan Prosser is a full-time pop culture junkie and part-time freelance music journalist who is based in Seattle and has contributed to Seattle Weekly and RollingStone.com. When she’s not writing about Justin Bieber for radio prep service ReelWorld.com, Keegan flies Alaska to cities with good food, great people and exceptional live music.
Sam Beam (of Iron & Wine) and Jesca Hoop present the story behind Love Letter For Fire via this short film. The two discuss the process of how their collaborative album came to fruition and how two people not in love wrote an entire album of love songs. The clip also features exclusive performances of the two in a stripped down and intimate setting [link here].
Love Letter for Fire features Beam and Hoop on vocals and guitar along with Robert Burger (keys), Eyvind Kang (violin, viola), Glenn Kotche (drums, percussion), Sebastian Steinberg (bass) and Edward Rankin-Parker (cello). The thirteen-track album features the single “Every Songbird Says” and was produced, recorded and mixed by Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse, Decemberists, Neko Case) at Flora Recording & Playback in Portland, and mastered by Richard Dodd in Nashville.
Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop have scheduled a North American tour in support Love Letter for Fire, which begins Tuesday, May 17th in Ann Arbor, MI at The Ark and ends Saturday, June 11th in Chicago, IL at Thalia Hall. (complete tour dates below.)
More on Love Letter for Fire: The inspiration behind Love Letter for Fire was Sam’s love of classic duets, most of which are ones he grew up hearing on the radio. “Some of my favorite songs are duets, because the narrative is expanded. It’s not just a monologue. It’s a conversation, and so it gets complicated. I had melodies over the years that I’d been compiling that I thought, this sounds like a classic Kenny and Dolly, ‘Islands in the Stream’ kind of thing, or George and Tammy”. While the record itself is not Countrypolitan in nature, the two have carved out something that feels wholly original and should have no trouble appealing to fans of their previous work.
Over the course of thirteen songs Love Letter for Fire brims with a joyful energy, contrasting Beam and Hoop’s songwriting styles yet never feeling forced, nor pandering. Veering from disparate pop (“Every Songbird Says” / “Chalk It Up To Chi”) to introspective folk (“One Way to Pray” / “Soft Place to Land”) to a few things in between (“Welcome to Feeling” / “Midas Tongue”), the record never rests solely on just the two voices but rather showcases the new chapter of songwriting each found in the collaboration. Beam notes: “(Jesca) brought a lot of energy and a lot of heart in places where I would be cerebral, she would bring heart. In places where I would be steady, she would add an exclamation point.”
Recorded in Portland, Oregon with the steady hand of Tucker Martine, the album features a collection of handpicked musicians. The band includes Rob Burger, a frequent Iron & Wine contributor, Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Fiona Apple), Teddy Rankin-Parker (Primus), Eyvind Kang (Decemberists/Tzadik and Ipecac labels) and Glenn Kotche (Wilco). This particular set of musicians had never worked together, but quickly found themselves on equal footing. For Beam it was a bit of a dream team: “It was a really funband, and a lot less guitar than I usually have on my [Iron & Wine] records. Tucker and the band were able to help bring out what’s inside of you that you might not know is there (read more at Sub Pop).”
Tour Dates May 17 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark* May 18 - Toronto, ON - The Danforth Music Hall* May 20 - New York, NY - The Town Hall* May 21 - Washington, DC - The Lincoln Theatre* May 22 - Boston, MA - The Wilbur Theatre* May 24 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer* May 26 - Atlanta, GA - The Buckhead Theatre* May 27 - New Orleans, LA - The Civic Theatre* May 28 - Dallas, TX - The Kessler Theater* May 30 - Tucson, AZ - The Rialto Theatre* May 31 - Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda Theatre* Jun. 02 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall* Jun. 03 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater* Jun. 04 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theatre* Jun. 05 - Boise, ID - The Egyptian Theatre* Jun. 07 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater* Jun. 08 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown* Jun. 09 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater* Jun. 10 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall Ballroom* Jun. 11 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall* * w/ Marlon Williams