Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s “Keep Your Head Up,” is a spirited tune and a standout from their acclaimed A Tuba To Cuba documentary and soundtrack. The song was released in the spring of last year, with Cuban singer Eme Alfonso on the album version and in the official video. Later that summer, an update with rapper Pell was released for Penguin’s Original Tracks series and was performed on the streets of the artists’ hometown of New Orleans.
Last month as a Stay At Home order was declared in Louisiana, Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Ben Jaffe began performing ‘Keep Your Head Up” every evening from his New Orleans home (and filming it on Instagram Live) encouraging his fellow citizens to participate by opening windows, hanging on their porches, in their backyards, and decks to make musical sounds and rhythms with pots, pans, instruments, and their voices. A daily, uplifting, 5-minute break from everything, bringing people together by connecting families with their neighbors, community through sound, and through music.
Jaffe says of Pell’s contribution to “Keep Your Head Up,” “We couldn’t be more grateful to have a dear friend as talented and kind as Pell lend his spirit and voice to our song.”
Pell offers this, “This song is more important than ever in reminding us to enjoy every day, despite how much uncertainty and adversity this global tragedy has brought upon us. Stay safe, inside, and keep your head up high. Love.”
[Photo credit: Chris Swainston]
Late last week, the Preservation Hall Foundation launched the Legacy Emergency Relief Fund. The fund provides grants to the Hall’s Musical Collective to help with vital living expenses resulting from loss of work due to the Coronavirus.
Jaffe, who is also Preservation Hall Foundation’s creative director, had this to say, “The doors at Preservation Hall are closed for the foreseeable future and our 60-member Musical Collective is facing great uncertainty. We’re focusing all of our attention towards caring for our musicians in helping them weather the crisis.”
The Musical Collective performs over 1,500 concerts at Preservation Hall, serves over 30,000 students through numerous education and community engagement activities and performs globally at major music festivals, theatres and performing arts centers throughout the year.
In this time of Covid-19, enduring quarantine and the world seeming to be turned upside down, it’s a welcome reprieve to see something impressive and inspirational (rather than depressing…). And so! We present to you: the Losers who won! This year’s Sub Pop Loser Scholarship winners are a profoundly impressive bunch. Our scholarship committee spent hours poring over the hundreds of applications and through a very difficult decision-making process, we’ve come up with three ultra-inspirational scholarship winners. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to you all - you have brightened up some dark days.
First up is Jane of Eugene, Oregon. Jane got hit by an egg, and we thought it was beautiful. Her essay showed our committee that she was in touch with the values that Sub Pop stands for. Jane has taken a love for music and turned it into a lightsaber, slashing through injustices in her community. Over the past four years Jane has found time to raise money for families of school shooting victims, start multiple bands that have performed at social justice functions, fought off sexual harassment and bullying in her school by taking the fight to the school board. Through the Planned Parenthood action panel Jane fought to bring safety to those in her school who faced a harmful environment. Because of Jane’s activism, her house was egged and her stuff was destroyed by anonymous high school doofuses. And yet, she persisted! She stands up for what she believes in, she speaks articulately with a powerful voice and uses her musical talents and stellar singing ability to fight off those normies who would seek to oppress her as well as others. Jane rules!
Next up we found Ada, from the great state of Washington. Ada’s story is filled with rejection leading to dejection and social isolation. However, through it all, Ada always found a way to maintain self-love and positive energy to outshine those bullies who tear people down. Ada is an exhilarating musician, guitarist, singer, and songwriter who is able to transform the emotional baggage of the teenage world into high-energy, positive, moshpit-inducing music with the incredible band New Moon. And, as if that weren’t enough, Ada has spent many hours volunteering with youth and supporting the all-ages scene at the Redmond Firehouse. What. A. Loser!
Finally, we were completely won over by Sofia of Seattle. As a teenager, Sofia has found more ways to contribute to the Seattle music scene than most adults. Some of Sofia’s greatest hits include sound engineering for The Vera Project and Easy Street Records, DJing for KEXP’s youth radio program 90.TEEN, as well as participating in the MoPOP Youth Advisory Board. Sofia has found a way not only to navigate some traditionally male-dominated spaces, but to shift the culture of the Seattle scene to be somewhat more inclusive and intersectional. We know Sofia has big things to come!
Thanks for playing to all who applied, you are all an inspiration! And we can’t wait to see what’s ahead for all of you.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever announce their second record, Sideways to New Italy, out June 5th on Sub Pop, and today present a new single + video, “She’s There.” For the five-piece, returning to Melbourne after long stretches looking out at the world through the windows of airplanes and tour vans lead to a dislocation, like being the knot in the middle of a game of tug-o-war. Sideways to New Italy sees the band interrogate their individual pasts and the places that inform them. In clicking the scattered pieces back into place, they have crafted for themselves a new totem of home to carry with them no matter where they end up.
Lead by singer-songwriter-guitarists Tom Russo, Joe White, Fran Keaney, and rounded out by bassist Joe Russo and drummer Marcel Tussie, the band began grasping for something reliable after emerging from relentlessly touring their critically regarded debut Hope Downs. Rather than dwell in the displacement, Keaney was determined to channel how he was feeling into something optimistic. The album is inspired by New Italy - a village near New South Wales’s Northern Rivers – the area Tussie is from. A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pit-stop of a place with fewer than 200 residents, it was founded by Venetian immigrants in the late-1800s and now serves as something of a living monument to Italians’ contribution to Australia, with replica Roman statues dotted like souvenirs on the otherwise rural landscape.
”I wanted to write songs that I could use as some sort of bedrock of hopefulness to stand on, something to be proud of,” says Keaney. “A lot of the songs on the new record are reaching forward and trying to imagine an idyll of home and love.” This is the bulk of Sideways to New Italy, which boasts love songs, and familiar voices and characters, grounding the band’s stories in their personal histories.
“She’s There” is about love and heavy delusions. Over pummeling guitar and fundamental percussion, White sings: “I should’ve done better but the time rolls on // Open the window, in the air, in a mirror, she’s there // Every time I speak her name there’s a cold shiver in my veins.” The accompanying video was directed by Nick McKinlay at Melbourne’s Coburg Motor Inn. “We tried to convey that feeling in a dream where you need to be somewhere, and you don’t really know why, but you are determined to overcome every obstacle to get there,” says the band.
“We tried to make these little nods to our friends and loved ones, to stay loyal to our old selves,” Russo explains. There’s something comforting, too, in knowing the next time they’re buffeted from stage to stage around the world, they’ll be taking the voices of their loved ones with them, following cues from their neighbors and ancestors and anyone else who responded to their newfound displacement by crafting a utopia in their own backyard.
“Chocolate Souffle” is a scorching, electrofunk standout and the second official video from Shabazz Palaces‘ The Don of Diamond Dreams, directed by David Shields and James Nugent (Marshawn Lynch: A History). The performative visual stars Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler amid a dizzying array of images set to match the songs rapid-fire lyrics, and was compiled by Shields, Nugent, and Butler (who acts as the video’s director of photography).
Recently, Butler sat down with his son Lil Tracy while in Los Angeles for Interview Magazine, where they discussed their lives, their music, and more (read the interview here).
Shabazz Palaces The Don of Diamond Dreams will be available April 17th, 2020 worldwide on Sub Pop. The album is now available for preorder from Sub Pop over here. Preorders of the LP through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear vinyl with a silver swirl (while supplies last). All LP preorders through the Sub Pop Mega Mart will also receive The Mushroom, a 90-page, 8x8 inch zine from the elusive author TTT, inspired by The Don of Diamond Dreams (the book will also be available for purchase at Shabazz Palaces live shows).
Meanwhile, LP preorders through select independent retailers in the U.K. and Europe will receive the limited Loser edition on sky blue vinyl (also, while supplies last). There will also be a new T-shirt design available.
Dream Hunting… is now available for preorder from Sub Pop. LP preorders through megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited Loser edition on white vinyl with a pinkish swirl (while supplies last).
After street date, a limited supply of the Loser edition LP will be available at select independent retailers in North America and at Man Man’s future live shows. Meanwhile, in the U.K. and Europe, preorders through select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition on pink vinyl (also, while supplies last). There is also a new T-shirt design available through megamart.subpop.com.
Man Man’s previously announced U.S. tour dates (April 24th-May 22nd) in support of Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between are in the process of being rescheduled at this time. Additional info to be announced soon.