Walt Wagner’s Reworks will be in stores November 17th, 2017.
Sub Pop will release Walt Wagner’s Reworks – an album of renditions popularized by the likes of Band Of Horses, DJ Shadow, My Bloody Valentine, Prince, Fleet Foxes, Phoenix, and more – on November 17th, 2017. The veteran pianist recorded the songs live on October 9th, 2016 at the famed Canlis Restaurant in Seattle, Washington.
Charles Darwin said it best: adapt or die. Okay, maybe that’s not an exact quote, but the great English scientist was definitely on to something. Organisms that respond over time to the ever-changing environment are more likely to survive and thrive.
While you may not find this crazy idea in Junior’s textbooks these days, it’s audible in every facet of Walt Wagner’s Reworks. With its distinctive renditions of songs popularized by DJ Shadow, My Bloody Valentine, Fleet Foxes, and more, this live recording of the beloved pianist’s farewell performance shows how three Seattle institutions – Wagner, Canlis restaurant, and Sub Pop Records – have evolved over the years.
When veteran pianist Wagner first landed at Canlis in 1996, the Emerald City’s premiere destination for fine dining was in the midst of significant changes: a new chef, new uniforms, modifications to its iconic building overlooking Lake Union. That required a fresh approach to dinner music, too. “I knew what the status quo was, but the owners wanted new energy,” recalls Wagner.
Although he started out with a set heavy on the Great American Songbook and the occasional pop tune, that gradually gave way to more adaptations of modern fare. “Increasingly I kept working in more new, edgier music. In the beginning my sets were 90 percent standards. In the last few years, I was mostly playing very contemporary music.”
As young staff members recommended new artists and songs, Wagner’s repertoire grew deeper and more varied – especially after the next generation of the Canlis family took over in 2003. Yet whether the source material was Pink Floyd, Prince, Metallica, or the Weeknd, the challenge remained the same: “To distill the vibe on a record, the very essence of a song, into solo piano playing.” Performances as memorable yet tasteful as the cuisine, interiors, and views of Canlis.
One fateful night a couple years ago, Sub Pop CEO Megan Jasper and co-president Tony Kiewel were dining at the award-winning restaurant when they recognized melodies by Adele and Daft Punk wafting through the restaurant and decided to investigate. Canlis co-owner Mark Canlis offered the Sub Pop crew a full tour, and when he pulled out a vintage copy of the ’60s LP Live At Canlis, an idea was born. With Wagner preparing to retire, the time was ripe for a live recording that captured his inimitable gifts in their natural surroundings.
In preparation for the big night, Wagner sat down with Jasper and Kiewel for more ideas. “I wanted them to feed me tunes that they loved and could imagine hearing me play.” Sub Pop alumni Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses were already staples of Wagner’s sets, but what magic could he work with DJ Shadow, Phoenix, or My Bloody Valentine? He had three months to find out.
The album’s opening selection, “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt,” provides a glimpse into Wagner’s modus operandi. “The first time I listened to it, I said ‘well what can I do with that?’” he recalls. “But the more I listened, the more I noticed these signature moments in the song, and through messing around with those and improvisation, I ended up with my version.”
Recorded before a packed house on October 9, 2016, Reworks is more than just a souvenir of a very special evening; it captures decades of musicianship that forged Wagner’s distinctive style. At the age of six, he couldn’t keep his mitts off of the family piano – even though it was stored under a moving blanket in the basement. He studied classical piano throughout his youth, yet kept his playing secret until he’d reached his teens, when he began playing in rock bands.
While learning to improvise and play more rhythmically made him a hit with his peers, his classical instruction made his band the Exotics especially popular with local bookers. “We were one of the only bands that could read music, so we accompanied different stars of the time: Dick and Dee Dee, Johnny Crawford, all these ’50s and early ’60s artists that came to town.” The Exotics even cut a single, a Wagner original entitled “Oasis,” that made it to #3 on local radio station KJR in the summer of 1961.
In the years that followed, Wagner played at downtown Seattle watering holes and eateries including the Dublin House and Plaza Five, and refined his jazz chops. In the ’70s he began working on cruise ships and supporting entertainers like Bob Hope and George Burns. Two decades at Canlis taught him to interact with listeners in a whole new way. And now, flush with excitement over Reworks, Wagner may not stay retired for long.
“This record is totally out of the box for me,” he concludes. “It’s a totally new adventure, and I don’t know what kind of life it’s going to have. If it catches on, I could see myself making a lot more music in this style.”
Walt Wagner’s Reworks will be available on CD / LP / DL from Sub Pop and select independent retailers on November 17th, 2017. Pre-order it now here.
Reworks Tracklist 1. Building Steam With a Grain of Salt (DJ Shadow) 2. I Only Said (My Bloody Valentine) 3. Desiree (The Left Banke) 4. Mykonos (Fleet Foxes) 5. 1901 (Phoenix) 6. Bondye (Goat) 7. No One’s Gonna Love You (Band of Horses) 8. Purple Rain (Prince) 9. The Funeral (Band of Horses) 10. Ever Fallen In Love (Buzzcocks)
Cost of Living LP is Out Now on Sub Pop + International Tour Continues
Downtown Boys use their ferocious energy and powerhouse live shows to unite crowds in the struggle to smash racism, queerphobia, capitalism, fascism, boredom, and all things people use to try to close our minds, eyes and hearts. The band underlines their fearless and steadfast work towards these common goals with every conversation, song and performance as well as the “Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)” video released today via Univision.
Directed by Eavvon O’Neal, the video opens with a short clip from powerful Cost of Living album single “A Wall” and quickly transitions into Spanish-language track “Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)”. The video pits emotionally charged live performance footage of the Downtown Boys against a children’s birthday party in Brooklyn with piñatas fashioned after hot-button political signposts and eventually breaks out into a food fight.
Here for you now, is a related statement from Downtown Boys:
“We hope you enjoy this video. Chulas are people who believe in the mergence of our past experiences and what we want the future to be. This mergence becomes our reality, and right now that includes a lot of pain and healing in our community at so many levels. We feel that the recent decision made by the white supremacist faction of our Federal government around DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was not a decision based on economic justice for the USA nor based on advancing real immigration reform. It was based on racism against immigrants. We know a lot of people who like Downtown Boys, come to our shows, or listen to our music are affected by this. We also want to acknowledge the millions of immigrants that were never even eligible for DACA and face criminalization, deportation, and racism daily. We must continue to fight against all borders. Demonizing people of color and immigrants is not a solution. We know we can’t do much, but we can try to get as much information on this out there as possible. We urge anyone who is affected by the DACA decision or knows someone who is affected to look into United We Dream and the National Immigration Law Center. People have until October 5 to renew their DACA paperwork, please read more info on how to get involved and things to know here).
Produced by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, Downtown Boys recently released their highly anticipated and critically acclaimed third album, Cost of Living, on Sub Pop. Listen here, and buy it here.
Downtown Boys wrap up a National US tour this week with a performance at The Broad museum in Los Angeles, hit stages across Europe this fall, and return to the US for a handful of show in November. Full list of dates and links to purchase tickets are HERE.
Time for you to stream METZ’s ripping new album Strange Peace on repeat, a full week before release (it’s out Friday, 9/22), courtesy of NPR Music’s First Listen right over here… and you too, Canada! Tune into CBC Music’s First Play here now.
NPR Music’s Jason Heller says of Strange Peace, “Recorded with Shellac’s mastermind Steve Albini, Strange Peace is an album that doesn’t need to be explicitly political to make a statement about our current chaotic climate. The opening track, “Mess of Wires,” gallops out of the gate like a malfunctioning industrial robot, a tangle of mechanical riffs and Edkins’ oddly infectious chants. The band’s ability to inject melody into the weirdest of places is most striking on “Cellophane.” Slightly more laidback than the usual METZ song, it’s closer to a garage-rock anthem than a skin-peeling punk rager, and Edkins’ refrain of “How will I know? / How will I know?” is designed to lodge itself in the brain of the listener like some insidious implant….cathartic rather than hopeless — an exorcism of nervous energy at a time when it’s direly needed.”
And CBC Music’s Andrea Gin says of the album, “Their uninhibited, electrifying shows also earned them a reputation as one of the best live bands around…Strange Peace does a good job of capturing the band’s intense live show — from the blistering opener ‘Mess of Wires’ to the careening finale of ‘Raw Materials,’ it creates sonic turmoil and embraces it. You can almost feel discord in the air as you listen.”
Next week, METZ has a Reddit Indieheads AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) scheduled for Monday, September 18th at 1pm PST/4pm EST. Bookmark this page, then ask them anything! No really, the band says you should feel free to ask about “Dogs, vans, pizza, cartoons, movies, doodles, basements, first shows, Toronto, books, touring, ozak, fridge magnets, coffee… and anything else I guess.”
METZ will resume their international tour schedule in support of Strange Peace on September 22nd at Detroit’s Princess Riverboat. The tour currently runs through December 16th. In the midst of that run, METZ will serve as direct support for Modest Mouse on October 10th and 11th. Additionally, METZ will play shows with Suuns (September 29th-30th), Uniform (October 2nd-8th), Protomartyr (Sept. 22nd and November 2nd-8th), Brian Case (November 9th), Drahla (November 12th-24th), and Cherubs (December 15th). All of their current tour dates follow.
2017 METZ Tour Dates: Sep. 19 - Seattle, WA - Live on KEXP Sep. 20 - Seattle, WA - Sonic Boom Records Instore Sep. 22 - Detroit, MI - Detroit Princess Riverboat ! Sep. 23 - Madison, WI - Majestic Theatre Sep. 25 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall Sep. 29 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace * Sep. 30 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace * Oct. 02 - Boston, MA - Sinclair # Oct. 03 - Philadelphia, PA - The First Unitarian Church # Oct. 04 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg # Oct. 05 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom # Oct. 06 - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel # Oct. 07 - Hamden, CT - The Ballroom Oct. 08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa Oct. 10 - Providence, RI - Lupo’s ** Oct. 11 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom ** Oct. 18 - Halifax, NS - The Marquee (Halifax Pop Explosion) Nov. 02 - Prague, Czech Republic - Futurum ! Nov. 03 - Wroclaw, Poland - Klub Firlej ! Nov. 04 - Warsaw, Poland - Klub Hydrozagadka ! Nov. 06 - Berlin, Germany - Bi Nuu ! Nov. 07 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen ! Nov. 08 - Hamburg, Germany - Knust ! Nov. 09 - Zwolle, Netherlands - Poppodium Hedon ^ Nov. 10 - Kortrijk, Belgium - De Kruen (Sonic City Festival) Nov. 11 - Utrecht, Netherlands - Le Guess Who? Festival Nov. 12 - Le Havre, France - Le Tetris % Nov. 14 - Nimes, France - La Paloma % Nov. 15 - Bordeaux, France - Theatre Barbey % Nov. 16 - Toulouse, France - Club Metronum % Nov. 17 - Barcelona, Spain - La (2) De Apolo % Nov. 18 - Madrid, Spain - Moby Dick % Nov. 20 - Nantes, France - Pole Etudiant % Nov. 21 - Paris, France - Le Trabendo % Nov. 22 - London, UK - The Garage % Nov. 23 - Bristol, UK - The Fleece % Nov. 24 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club % Nov. 25 - Brighton, UK - The Haunt Dec. 07 - Seattle, WA - Neumos Dec. 08 - Vancouver, BC - Cobalt Dec. 09 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Dec. 11 - San Francisco, CA - Independent Dec. 12 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom Dec. 13 - San Diego, CA - Casbah Dec. 15 - Austin, TX - Mohawk & Dec. 16 - Houston, TX - Studio @ Warehouse Live * w/ SUUNS # w/ Uniform ! w/ Protomartyr ^ w/ Brian Case % w/ Drahla & w/ Cherubs ** w// Modest Mouse
The inimitable Father John Misty sat for an interview and performed “Things It Would Have Been Helpful To Know Before the Revolution” from Pure Comedy, on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Watch the interview and performance here:
Father John Misty’s previously announced international tour schedule in support of Pure Comedy resumes tonight, September 13th, with a show in Boston at Blue Hills Pavillion and runs through November 20th in Lisbon, Portugal at Coliseu dos Recreios. The tour will feature support from newly-signed labelmate Weyes Blood (September 18th-November 20th) and Phosphorescent (September 13th-15th; October 7th). Details + links can be seen here.
On Thursday, September 14th at 9pm ET, fans can live stream Father John Misty’s performance at Port Chester, New York’s Capitol Theatre in it’s entirety via Pitchfork Live beginning at 9pm ET.
Father John Misty’s recently delivered the official video for Pure Comedy standout “Things It Would Have Been Helpful To Know Before the Revolution,” a gorgeous, stop-motion video directed by Chris Hopewell (Radiohead’s “Burn the Witch,” Run The Jewels’ “Don’t Get Captured”). The song‘s apocalyptic themes and subtle humor are captured brilliantly throughout. The “…Revolution” video was constructed and filmed in three weeks at Jacknife Studios in Bristol, UK [watch here]. Additionally, puppets “…Revolution” were recently auctioned off and the proceeds will be donated to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Weyes Blood has 2017 North American and European tour dates supporting Father John Misty
[Photo Credit: Katie Miller]
Yes indeed! We signed Weyes Blood (!!!) aka Natalie Mering for the world, to release her label debut in 2018. We’ve been longtime fans of the Los Angeles-based musician/singer’s work, from her four releases for Mexican Summer, as well as her collaborations with the likes of Ariel Pink, Perfume Genius, and Drugdealer.
Weyes Blood’s most recent release is the universally acclaimed, Front Row Seat To Earth. Pitchfork gave the album “Best New Music” and said, “…She crafts emotional epics that masquerade as psych-folk ballads, subtly symphonic songs that are informed by yesterday but live and breathe right now.” The Fader raved, “The exceptional voice of Natalie Mering never ceases to sweep us off our feet…” And NPR Music offers this, “She embraces composure as a response to her generation’s uneasiness with the ruination of the planet and fading promises of stability and prosperity. Rather than treating gentleness and grace as liabilities, she refracts her kinship with the voices of ’60s folksingers like Joan Baez and Mary Travers, ’70s soft rockers like Karen Carpenter, and Celtic new-age stylists like Enya — particularly their dulcet timbres, cursive phrasing and willowy vibratos — through her own vision.”
While we wait for the new album, Weyes Blood has just released a new 7” single via Mexican Summer [link here]. The single featuring covers of Soft Machine’s “A Certain Kind” and Fred Neil’s song “Everybody’s Talkin”. “Everybody’s Talkin’” b/w “A Certain Kind” is a capsule of Mering’s care for those artists and songs that have influenced her but also a discovery of a different kind — the words and melodies become Mering’s and ours through her intimate interpretation and commitment to seeking culture’s fringes for deeper meaning. For more information on the single, please visit mexicansummer.com.
Natalie Mering aka Weyes Blood has released three full-length albums, a couple EPs, and has collaborated with such acts as Ariel Pink, Drugdealer and Perfume Genius. Mering’s entire output thus far has been an exercise in exploring the atemporal. She is a musician and a singer, after all, but the particular process of Weyes Blood’s development and Mering’s experimentation, with everything from her early days of local-noise-scene strangeness, to her present mastery of timeless balladry highlight her as a meticulous sonic alchemist.
The Innocents, Weyes Blood’s Mexican Summer debut, deepened and broadened the shimmering murkiness of her earlier album, The Outside Room, by shaving away the fuzzy lo-fi production to reveal a classic and singular songwriting ability.
Cardamom Times, the EP that followed, went further down the folky, lyrically evocative path that The Innocents traveled. The influence of classical music can be felt throughout these two works, rivaling the folk music lineage one may like to situate Mering’s songs.
Weyes Blood’s most recent album, the critically acclaimed Front Row Seat To Earth, captivates immediately with its frank clarity in both sound and word. Still retaining the deep influence of the classical while also blending in noise experimentations, Mering is at her most intimate and vulnerable here, due in large part to her stunning vocals and simple, essential lyrical phrasing.
Weyes Blood is currently touring and working on her Sub Pop debut which will be released in 2018.
Weyes Blood Tour Dates + Ticket Links
Weyes Blood will also act as direct support on Father John Misty’s forthcoming North American and European fall tour in some of the largest rooms she’s played to date. The tour begins September 18th with a sold out show at Toronto’s Massey Hall and ends November 20th at Lisbon’s Coliseu dos Recreios. Along the way, she’ll play one-offs at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Pop Montreal and Joshua Tree’s Desert Daze.
Sep. 14 - Boston, MA - The Institute of Contemporary Art Sep. 18 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall * [SOLD OUT] Sep. 19 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre * Sep. 20 - Chicago, IL - Auditorium Theatre * Sep. 21 - Grand Rapids, MI - Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium Sep. 22 - St. Louis, MO - Peabody Opera House * Sep. 23 - Columbus, OH - Palace Theatre * Sep. 25 - Asheville, NC - Thomas Wolfe Auditorium * Sep. 26 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium * [SOLD OUT] Sep. 27 - Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle * Sep. 29 - Austin, TX - Bass Concert Hall * [SOLD OUT] Sep. 30 - Dallas, TX - Bomb Factory * Oct. 01 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall * Oct. 02 - Austin, TX - Bass Concert Hall * Oct. 04 - Phoenix, AZ - Orpheum Theatre * Oct. 05 - San Diego, CA - The Observatory North Park * Oct. 06 - San Diego, CA - The Observatory North Park * [SOLD OUT] Oct. 11 - Santa Barbara, CA - Arlington Theatre * Oct. 12 - Las Vegas, NV - Brooklyn Bowl * Oct. 13 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre * Oct. 14 - Pomona, CA - Fox Theater Pomona * Oct. 15 - Joshua Tree, CA - Desert Daze Nov. 01 - Edinburgh, UK - Usher Hall * Nov. 02 - Glasgow, UK - O2 Academy * Nov. 04 - Cardiff, UK - The Great Hall * [SOLD OUT] Nov. 05 - Manchester, UK - O2 Apollo * [SOLD OUT] Nov. 07 - London,UK - Hammersmith Eventim Apollo * [SOLD OUT] Nov. 08 - London, UK - Hammersmith Eventim Apollo * Nov. 09 - Brighton, UK - Brighton Dome * Nov. 11 - Paris, FR - Le Trianon * Nov. 12 - Brussels, BE - Ancienne Belgique * Nov. 13 - Utrecht, NL - TivoliVredenburg * Nov. 14 - Berlin, DE - Huxley’s * Nov. 16 - Milan, IT - Fabrique * Nov. 18 - Barcelona, ES - Razzmatazz * Nov. 19 - Madrid, ES - La Riviera * Nov. 20 - Lisbon, PT - Coliseu dos Recreios * * w/ Father John Misty
What “The People” have said about Weyes Blood and Front Row Seat to Earth:
What people have said about Weyes Blood and Front Row Seat to Earth:
“Weyes Blood captures a particular sort of generational anxiety and mystery on her fourth album, a softly orchestrated work of pensive, symphonic folk.” - Los Angeles Times
“Singer to watch” - Esquire
“…’60s-leaning throwback bursting with cinematic harmonies, a lysergic, dream-like melody, and vocals that sound like they were dug up from ’70s-era Laurel Canyon and Downey, when the likes of Joni Mitchell and the Carpenters roamed…” - Elle
***** - The Guardian
“Mering envelopes hearts with her mournful, full-throated bellow, which would have been just as at home in the folk-heavy ’70s as it is in 2016.” - Newsweek