….sure, it’s Autumn, and in our slow-melting world that’s somehow still a distinction that seems to mean something. We, however, mean it the other way! That way when you got nowhere to go but you can’t stay here, you know? So let go! Jump! FALL. Join us in midair. All you have to lose is everything. All you gain? Well yeah, that's abstract, at best – but in the abstraction can sometimes be found All That There Is – a key to understanding your soul and your life and your freakin’ destiny, even! And believe us, from that look on your face, you are in dire need of such a key. You call that look restful? Let go. It’s Fall time!
The cry arises from all corners of Drag City World! The artists are revolting (but we love ‘em anyway)! They want their voices to be heard, and we’re the make-em-heard apparatus of there choosing. And what the hell - there’s a buck in it, we both agree that music's the shit, right? That’s why you have (or ought to have) new Drag City records released IN THIS VERY YEAR from Wand, Dope Body, Peacers, Meg Baird, Jim O’Rourke, Sir Richard Bishop, Six Organs of Admittance, Bitchin Bajas & Natural Information Society, The Silence, Alasdair Roberts andJessica Pratt. But that ain't all - there's SO much more out there for us and you to do - like ALSO remember the records recently released from our label partners at Blue Chopsticks, Streamline, Sun Ark and GOD?, just for starters! Lord-God of record labels, you know we can only do so much. Give us strength to get through another AMAZING season of releases – like the Wand which just came out, and the Joanna Newsom which comes out next month, and the new records from Six Organs of Admittance and The Silence and the reissues from The Blue Jean Committee and Nuno Canavarro we’ve got penciled in for November (just in time for your Christmas shopping!). And give us strength to count the pittance of unsold copies at the end of the year during Inventory. If you do that, we’ll come back and release more expressions from our INSANE friends in 2016. Okay? Amen to that, motherfucker!
GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WAND
In a world full of options, why is so hard for people to choose FUN? Of course, when we talk about "fun" here at mothership central, we're alluding to something that’s fast, funny, funny, twisted, deep, oblique and hallucinatory at times - a ride we DARE you toake and NOT have a memorable experience in so doing! Fun always is, ain’t it though? We’ve been having TONS of it since the days of Royal Trux, whose encounter with rock seemed to leave rock a little worse for the wear. It was fun listening to that battle, fun feeling our mind shuffle in time with the outcome. This month, that kind of thing meets a whole OTHER thing in the form of the Wand’s LP/CD/CS(/DL – digital-head ed.) release, 1000 Days. These young ‘uns are moving at the speed of light right now, and flashing a variety of hues as they go. 1000 Days spreads doses of the madcap eclecticism of their debut Ganglion Reef on the slabs of rock found on Golem and sprinkles a specially-prepared tincture of synths to come up with a far-out set of new tunes that feel Frankensteined together in a thoroughly diggable way! Eschewing the outlines of songs as they used to be, but loving them nonetheless, Wand take to each of their new structures with a virulent sense of play, the kind of obsessive pursuit that once took men to outer space. Bubble-gummy riffs are deployed to accompany dark visions of captivity and mental torture, and heavy riffs suddenly intrude to score the flip-side, the ecstasy of the vision. What's more, Wand never lose their balance while walking the high-wire and juggling the pieces in exactly the order they desire. It’s a tremendous outing of 21st century pop, soon to be brought to clubs all across the US (after they chill out from their recent run through Europe). Wand is opening up – and now that it's in the marketplace, 1000 Days is certainly a generous window – jump in! And get OUT.
Is it just us, or do things seem a little funny to you too? Like, weird and even a bit giggly as well! Sometimes when it’s retrograde we get this way here in our hermetically-sealed Ivory Bunker, but even so....strange things DO seem to be a-happening. Like, we sit down at the desk first thing in the am to sort a couple of things and look up and the sun’s coming back down. Where’d the day go? Was there a blackout, or were we just amazingly productive? Because the good money’s on option one, actually! Meanwhile, the telephone just doesn’t stop ringing all day, and it’s from all sorts of places we don’t usually hear from, whic, don’t get us wrong, it’s GOOD to hear from them, but what’s up? We’ve had this sort of feeling since a month or so ago – we remember it because it was right around the time we heard Divers for the first time. Initially, we thought it might have to do with the music – so stimulatin’ and packed full with musical details and feels, not to mention WORDS. It can’t be that though - we’ve been listening to Joanna Newsom’s new music for over a decade now, and we’re well prepared to deal with the curious strain of warrior’s madness that comes over us following that first extended exposure. It’s largely audio-visual: you start noticing things you didn’t even know were there before – but there’s also some logic stuff that come up, like as if problem-solving were easier. It’s almost like listening to instructional tapes while you sleep, your brain starts getting out from under you and doing things without your full will. It's at times like this that we REALLY miss Dr. Sacks - he'd have something informative to say on the matter! But like we say, we’ve been there before. Still, with Have One On Me all the way back in early 2010, it’s been awhile since we’ve had this sensation! It’s a type of cognitive reordering that we’re looking forward to sharing with the rest of you – but natually, we don’t want to cause an international leveling-up out there; the world might stop working in the dumb old way in which it’s set up if everyone gets the same musical bath salts from Joanna all at once. This is why we dropped a second song last week from her forthcoming Divers record, as part of an effort to break your collective consciousness in easy. Following the feeding frenzy of ologies that erupted in the wake of “Sapokanikan”’s video release in August, another, earthier side of Joanna is on display with “Leaving the City” – and still, we had the internet splashing back at us with phrases like “not all easy bucolic escapism,” (cheers, Flavorwire!) “she sings, maneuvering a tricky hemiola against the drums and playing the word "incidentals" not just as the chance result of another action but the expenses of doing a job” (well-turned yourself, Pitchfork!) and, inevitably, Tolkien references and “full medieval punk” to boot (oh, Noisey)! Clearly, people have already begun aggressively over-caffeinating themselves at the trough of Newsom and are struggling with the new language that is only now becoming apparent to them! Hang on people - we’re just getting started here! Listen to the YouTube links for the 2339th time, preorder your cassette (congrats, now you got all three formats), and above all BREATHE. Divers hits the brick-n-mortar streets and internet pathways alike on Friday, October 23rd!
2015 will be remembered probably for a lot of things, but we probably couldn't all agree on a single ONE of 'em at the moment - so let us suggest the undeniable TRUTH of this being the year that Six Organs of Admittance expanded their reach from the realm of the purely musical and became an influence in the fields of theoretical speculation that they'd played in over the course of ten gripping modern folk-rock albums of various shades here in our horrific new millennium. It’s all been worth it: this is the year that denizens of philosophy, religion, numerology, the occult and probably several other mysterious schools of thought we haven’t even heard of yet are welcoming Six Organs of Admittance and Ben Chasny’s Hexadic System to the solution! Because FUCK music – it is thoughts, and particularly thoughts about systems, and particularly systems that are open, like this Hexadic one, that are currency and befurtherment to the thinkers of our world, who realized long ago that we’re gonna have to let go of our old concepts of ‘monotheism’ and ‘capitalism’ and ‘democracy’ and all the rest – the hybrids of the now century have put all that to pasture With his Hexadic System, as outlined in the book The Hexadic System (now in its second printing!), Ben is surfing aspects of random choice, mathematics and atonality like the modern classical composers of old , but with a compact design that anyone who can use a deck of cards and operate a guitar can understand. Portability will turn out to be a key in this new century, just you wait and see. And operating without electrical power. Anyway, this system brought out some exciting new angles and depths in Six Organs' music on the Hexadic release back in February, and then touring for the album clearly brought some more thoughts to bear, since we just checked the schedule and we’re releasing something called Hexadic II in November! And when you touch needle to vinyl (or tape head to oxide, as you cassette fans invariablty will), you’re gonna hear an acoustic treatment of Ben’s Hexadic compositions that takes the material in completely different directions! Operating by the rules of the open system, Six Organs is able to reread the roadmap to locate a separate dynamic place inside the same compositional structures! The sounds of Hexadic II remind us of hearing Dark Noontide back in the day, and being confronted with an alien, yet utterly compelling sound that appeared to be made up of old acoustic elements taken in another direction. That’s kind of what Six Organs of Admittance is all about – but with Hexadic II, we’re definitely getting a fresh and aromatic blast of the essence. 11+20+15= Hexadic II.
So November is Hexvember, apparently – but not so fast, Six Organs of Admittance! The Silence has something they’d like you to hear (and actually, 6OOA is gonna LOVE it! - I know Ben Chasny personally ed.)! Debuting one month after Hexadic earlier this year, The Silence’s self-titled album was a reintroduction to the sound-world of Masaki Batoh, who has stalwartly represented his vision of psychedelic folk music over the years with Ghost, in addition to solo records like the recent Brain Pulse Music and in his two duo albums with Helena Espvall. Always, Batoh is striving for freedom in his music, but using classicist rock boundaries to inform his efforts, alongside of a deep understanding of traditional musics not just from Japan, but from many other regions of the world as well, all in uncanny harmony with Batoh’s own sound. The Silence introduced a new variation on this sound, with increased use of keyboards and reeds in Batoh’s rock and folk hallucinations. Now, just eight months later, Hark The Silence forges fearlessly ahead, evolving the sound of The Silence into a massive, brawny-yet-fluid jamming outfit, with an eye toward precision and perfection while commuting works of wide-spanning exploration. Naturally, Hark The Silence is a double-LP; how else to commit to the fullness of the three-part opening song-suite “Ancient Wind,” and still include epic trips like “Galasdama” “DEX#1” and “Fireball”? In the course of this sublime action, Batoh finds himself and The Silence in new places that we’ve never heard from him before – which is awesome, and why we listen to music. Along with Six Organs of Admittance, The Silence will be rewiring intersonic space involving songs with singing, finding new ways of working WITHIN THE TRADITION starting in the public eye on November 20th!
You see, when we started this company, we liked music and thought we knew what it was. The form it took when we liked was what we wanted to put out. Little did we know that the music we solicited was going to cause a revolution! No, not in the streets! It’s not time for the world – not quite yet! – but it has been for the past two decades in our very own heads! Today, our concept of music has been blown up time and again by the many and sundry artists of Drag City. If we thought relative rock-and-rollers like Royal Trux and Pavement were “different,” we were in for a shocker when new kids on the block Gastr del Sol turned in their now-classic efforts! And if we thought we knew what Palace Brothers were supposed to sound like, we were shocked when we heard what Palace Songs sounded like, not to mention Palace Music! And so on, and it keeps happening and we dig it. But those Gastr guys, they had a line on some crazy shit, so we started doing reissues with them of super-weirdo stuff like Voice Crack, Circle X, Derek Bailey, Merzbow and a bunch of others – and then we did some more later in the decade on Moikai. Reissues are a blast; it’s no secret that old records are the BEST records, and old records you never heard of that come back are extra-pleasureful. We’ve had the amazement of being associated with the reissue of Mayo Thompson’s Corky’s Debt to His Father, and Gary Higgins’ Red Hash – not to mention the first-ever release of Death …For the Whole World to See down the years, so we’ve had our fun and learned a lot about what music was and is in the process. But Plux Quba….wow. The “something else” that Nuno Canavarro conjured with this set of recordings is with us today, still as wild and free as it was when it seeped out in 1988, and yet, so much more a part of people's musical thoughts. This was a record that generally made the rounds in pre-internet days by accompanying its discoverer on a plane to other parts of the world! No, a cassette wouldn’t do – one had to hold the cover and stare into its mostly negative space while the gentle yet completely jarring sounds washed over. How was it made? Who made it? Which one was Plux? The eerie electro-acoustic space with its gorgeous melodies and magnetic disruptions was beguiling on the ear and a goal to emulate for members of Koln’s A-Musik scene, along with fellow deep-space voyagers like Christoph Heeman and Jim O’Rourke. Once Jim wore his own copy out (it took a few years), he went on the hunt for the maker of the album – and with the help of fellow Portuguese avantist Rafael Toral, he found Nuno Canavarro. And what better way to get a new copy of the record than to make it himself! So we've sold Plux Quba on LP and CD since '98 or something? – but it’s been a long time since we’ve had LPs, and now we, the people of Drag City are the ones who are gonna make new Nuno records to listen to! If you haven’t yet, prepare for an extremely SWEET spatial dislocation occurring all around your brain when the LP reissue hits in late November. Welcome (back) to Drag City, Plux Quba.
THE BJC IS BACK
We told you! Old music is the BEST music – and you can take it from us, we listen to new music that we’re putting out everyday! Why would we lie (a profusion of utter stupidity? – fed-up ed)? This week, IFC-viewers across the nation saw for themselves first hand the story of a band who played the MOST LISTENABLE music from the easiest-on-the-ears decade of all, the 1970s! Life was good (unless you lived in Africa, or South America, or South Asia, or if you were a minority in America, or a woman…but we digress) and the music was there to keep the mood afloat. Principle among the groups who tapped the soft vibes of that all-too-brief era was The Blue Jean Committee, but their sudden and premature break-up has for some time now cut them off from the pleasures of posterity. No longer will this be a miscarriage of rock and roll justice, thanks to the Documentary Now! screening of their story. In the wake of this revelatory tale comes….of course! The music! Catalina Breeze collects the BEST of The Blue Jean Committee, miraculously containing their great songs on one side of an LP (the other side has a soft-and-gentle screen print that almost deserves to be hung on the wall, if it weren’t for the sweet jams on the other side!) and, at last, restoring the fine name of The Blue Jean Committee to the history books – and our ears. We deserve these light sounds!
WARTS IN A NAME
Sure, we have a lot of interesting and exciting new music that we think you need to buy, for your benefit almost more than our own. However, before you run along to the record shop, we wish to speak seriously for a moment. As a label with over 25 years of experience, we are well aware that bands should never be named anything provocative that offends anyone in any way. This is why when we meet a new group we want to work with, we suggest they call themselves ‘Foam,’ or ‘Color’ or ‘Sustenance,’ something along those lines. It has to be either something purely benign, or something with a positive connotation. “Equality’ is a good example, because nobody ACTUALLY wants such a thing, and so many have been hurt by the assumption that it exists (it doesn't), so this actually would be a BAD name! But really, families of victims and victims themselves are DISENFRANCHISED by the "clever" decontextifications so often found in band names; it is incumbent upon us as not only a provider of cultural mastication but also sympathetic humanity (when necessary) to be considerate of every other person and their pain, lest the image of their pain ever be recalled to them! Humans in general have a LONG history of really awful activity, and we think a good way to fix this is by eliminating words from our language that refer to the awful things we did! Seems reasonable, right? (well…. – reality-based ed.) Actually, it IS gonna be really difficult to reprint everything in our catalog that might be interpreted as exploitive in order to reflect socially-acceptable expressions...so maybe INSTEAD, anyone who has been harmed or traumatized by the following things – or belongs to any of these groups or designations and/or objects of harm and trauma: trucks (royal or otherwise), pavement, red crayolas, burnouts, smog, magic markers, hamburgers, saddle sores palaces, brothers, princes, papas, ghosts, flying saucers (or attacks involving flying saucers), fur in any state, llamas at any altitude, organs of any number, war of any kind (but particularly weird ones), pearls in any assemblage (with or without brass), disheveled groups of three of any kind, bananas of any color, riders (either alive or dead), children of any root race, toasters at any temperature, bums of any age, anyone born in August, anything involving the number of years totaling two centuries, the USA (or maple trees native to it), Dharmic religions and/or gods of said religions, all descendents of the Boone family tree, dope, bodies, the Alps, the color white, magic, fences, caves, wands, champs, end tables, social climbers, free agents, scenes, creamers, chestnuts, stations, fauns, fables, music, madness, movies, tones, heists of any kind, drags, cities, blue jeans, committees, silence, anything involving the hour of midnight and finally, any mention of death – please accept our motherfuckin’ apology on their behalf? All these bands and us put a lot of thought into contributing to the conversation under the offending names of choice, and didn’t mean to hurt anyone in the process. Well, except Silver Jews. That’s a case of straight-up political, antisocial, META-semetic and racist band-naming from a bunch of smart-ass young Jews. Plus thoughtless. But that’s just one isolated case, come on!
Whatever. Even if you never speak to us, don’t blame the bands. They are some of the best people you’ll ever pay to listen to – or to witness playing in concert! Check them out, and come back here for more love next month.
Yeah, we got your love for you, right here.
Drag City Inc