NOBODY'S FALL BUT OURS
Let the wind blow! Even in the damp-infused tropic-locales of our venerable Northern Hemisphere, seasons are still changing somehow. Once again, everything is dying - and not a moment too soon! While Drag City proudly represents All Nations (and all the contradictions they imply), everyone comes from somewhere - and so we can't deny the woody, windswept essence of our mid-northern roots, which require quarterly herd-thinnings by that most judicious of hunters, Ma Nature! Out on the left coast, the shit's been wilting for some months now - top of the world, ma - but here, all is right with the world; too much rain and a late-October warm snap are all that get between us and Our Autumn Dream. Which is: the death rattle in the wind, strangely reassuring on dark-at-four cold nights as we wend our way back to hearth and home - and yes, music on the box! Getting the tits out for summer jams is flawless spirit-logic, there's no doubt - but puttin' em back in and swaddling 'em tight in layers of shirt and sweater in preparation for the freeze ahead is somehow closer to our heart - an icicle through the bitch, you might even say (if you meant what? - thoroughly baffled ed.). And so 2015 finds us once again standing and delivering with music thoughtfully provided by friends and family - in this case, Wand, Joanna Newsom, Six Organs of Admittance, The Blue Jean Committee, Nuno Canavarro and The Silence - providing lyrical instances of the iconic and the eternal to resonate with whatever 4th quarter climates you have at hand. If the leaves don't rattle, but instead mush like over-saturated cereal in the swampy reaches of your bowl; if the days burn bright and the nights float with a soothing cool; if in fact, summer is just beginning - hello Sydney! - and really, no matter WHAT, these musics are gonna fuse with your humours-at-large to make this a season of whatever to remember. As soon as you're done reading this shite anyway!
It is, we're sure you already know, a special autumn - and no, we're not referring to Trump and Bernie and the gang (though they are fine for light relief (and not much more)) - but because (in a separate and infinitely more important universe of significance) the wind has FINALLY blown in a new album from Joanna Newsom, the first in what seems like years (what is WRONG with you? it HAS been years! - last-nerve ed). Divers also represents only the fourth album EVER from Joanna, which seems like few, don't it? Until you consider that Ys was a double and Have One On Me a triple-album - so perhaps four records over a dozen years is exactly enough from such a beloved artist! But look at us here, shamefully discussing things in terms of quantity rather than their more essential counterpart, quality! To this end, we're bound to come up short no matter how hard we try - for Divers finds Joanna concentrating her music, her vision and her power to an apex of pure, potent, musical joy. Now, "joy" - is this Divers then a simple, leather-lunged laff-fest-cum-clog dance? Of the spirit, perhaps - but it is BECAUSE there's lots of dark despair in and amongst the dynamic moods in song on display throughout Divers that this scans as joy. The completeness with which each motion and emotion is rendered turns us to goo as the leaves turn and blow past, and it is an achievement which we simultaneously salute and recommend to any and all - even yer headbanging fucks out there! We found a few passages worth lashing the whip that does not lash - and upon recovering from our foolish experimentation (OUCH), we can at least offer to veterans the chance to thrash to the prettiest damn expressions of despair yet thrash'd to! Other people who never heard Joanna Newsom before are bound to like this music as well - but that's not news, that's just something that's been happening every day now for over a decade! Still, with fresh music on our hands, and with such a consolidation of traditional strengths from the artists, we can't help but envision actions which long ago become rote as activities that really OUGHT to happen, early and often! We've long been advocates of the diametric increase in the Pop Sound - and as of 2015, it seems to us that Joanna Newsom is out on the frontlines of all the people doing that good work and existing in that worthy tradition, making popular music in as complex a way as it allows and letting in the increased number of details that the populist ear can still consider - until next time! So of COURSE we want to share that with everyone. Get it together, people.
THE LONG AND WANDING ROAD
1000 Days and counting: Wand are TOTALLY ready to take it to the stage - in fact, they already have, for the crowned heads of Eurp back in the summer days and nights that just expired before our eyes. But that was ALSO way back in August and September - AGES before 1000 Days had begun - and so that makes the US tour that's about to be embarkened upon the ULTIMATE proving ground for their latest musical construct/visions. Wand are a band that relate to LIVE, as it suits their quest for energy and the unknown, which can be best encountered in the MOMENT. If you've already started experiencing 1000 Days, you may have already realized this, alongside the additional and contradictory recognition of Wand's studio-oriented world order. Yet, however carefully crafted and ingeniously integrated their album creations are, Wand manage to perfect their songs in-the-moment to ever-greater evolutions! How other than PUMPED can we find ourselves about the live shows ahead, given how we know we feel about the albums that fueled them? If you haven't bought the new record yet, but they're coming to your town, sure - you might wait. The moment of decision could be best played out when you stand in Wand's witness. But is it really advisable to play fast and loose with your time like that? There's no telling what might happen. Fate might play a hand! To think of yourself cast into some dark shade of the universe without these songs stuck in your head - what will you hum as you consider your bleak outcome? Best to get started on 1000 Days before you go any further. Check out the "Sleepy Dog" vid, see the Wand show - maintain an active life! Just keep it together, man.
HARK AND HERALD: THE SILENCE JAMS
O, epics of the fall, when will you cease? Until we're finished, we pledge NEVER (so, until next year then? - playing pessim ed.)! It is in this spirit that we've rigged up our last release date of the years to include the truly monumental SECOND release from The Silence in our Year of the Infinite, 2015, Hark the Silence. Emerging from nowhere (like you do), The Silence became known to us last year when long-time Ghost leader Masaki Batoh told us that he had a new band and that they intended to make a lot of music in the immediate future (he didn't say incredible music, it's true - but understand this: Batoh is a humble man, and furthermore, it's understood that we'll only work on incredible music together, that's just part of what we do). Their self-titled debut album was released in March; it kind of reminded us of Ghost's Snuffbox Immanence the way it combined deep electric and acoustic tones in a song-based album (also the way it swung a classic cover - Snuffbox'd featured the Stones' "Live With Me," while The Silence boasted Can's "Tango Whiskeyman"), a strong aroma of musics with which The Silence intended to play. Now, The Silence is based in Japan - so ostensibly, Japan is having all the fun by being nearby (by which we mean, surrounding) The Silence and therefore, close to the gig. It's hard to bring this quintet band over here even BEFORE we start considering gear rental. Gongs may hang from trees but they don’t grow from them! However, The Silence have provided to us a compelling way forward in the form of this new album, which conveys their live power with whopping intensity over nine elegantly crafted songs, without the sacrifice of any of their color or deep spirituality, all of which is captured in full analog studio performances. The onslaught of early Crimson is recalled, along with a brace of other psych- and prog-heroes of yon 'n yore - but always under the flag of The Silence with purity and justice for all. And if it always takes the flag at least five minutes to unfurl, that's just more musical time-gravy for you! Because even as each minute is moving forward horizontally, it's also moving up, vertical-style - and herein lies the true beauty of The Silence and their expanding universe. Hark the Silence abides over a greatly increased space, and one filled with wonders. Don't miss the expansive journey of The Silence. All together now!
Every month is part of a larger whole, right? And every year can be broken down into increments - in our case, four seasons, twelve months, 52 weeks and so forth - and really, this isn't a static measurement - a year's worth of time can be marked from any given standing date. It's a numeric thing, you might not understand. Also a matter of numeric record (and potentially not understanding) is the sequence of releases beginning with Wand in September and continuing with Joanna Newsom in October and concluding with the November release of the second The Silence album as well as the second Six Organs of Admittance album of 2015! Together these releases form a collective equation that spans a gamut of spirituality in music with a several fields of aligning motives. It's this sort of internal formula that help us really sink our teeth into what we do around here! Math happens, people - formulas matter. Take Six Organs of Admittance. Hexadic II is a far more than a second chapter new musical exploration/elucidation on the possibilities of Ben Chasny's Hexadic System book (don't ask us - read it!); this vibe has shifted into timelessly, otherworldly acoustic perspective, as opposed to the unearthly heavy electric mass of its predecessor. And with it come other possibilities and other moods with which the Hexadic compositions are imbued! Yes, nobody does transcendental and/or mystic quite like Six Organs of Admittance - the acoustic sounds that haunt Hexadic II are cut from the same straight-from-the-pyramid cloth that was unfolded over legendary excursions like Dark Noontide and For Octavio Paz - proving once again that not only are life's moments arrayed more obliquely than our linear concepts of time regularly allow for, but also that the reordering of increments of time, as demonstrated above, works not only for a greater understanding of our calendar, but with respect to the refined elements of music that Six Organs of Admittance have worked into full Hexadic Acoustic mode! The hissing, scheming, yet ultimately serene soul of Six Organs is in full bloom throughout Hexadic II, making a layered listen experience for both the fans of the original Hexadic music as well as those freaks who didn't hear that but like their consciousness expanded using as traditional ingredients as are possible. The traditions of Hexadic II may be lost ancient practices - they may not even be fully accepted as EXISTING yet - well, we accept them - but they are there, every time the music plays. En masse!
Also in November! We think collectively, don't forget! And so, what better way to disperse the mysterious energies of the universe in all their glorious abstraction then to add to The Silence and Six Organs of Admittance new releases with a reissue of one of our favorite experimental records of all time? Nuno Canavarro's Plux Quba was an enigmatic reissue-to-be when it was brought to us back in 1998 by Jim O'Rourke for release on his fledgling Moikai label. Plux Quba hails from late 80s Portugal, as it transpires, but the true nature and pedigree of the music wasn't clear to Jim and his open-eared fellow listeners when they heard the record in the early 90s. Years were spent glorying in the ambiguity of a work that seemed to combine hard-core experimental electronics with modern classical and ambient in an absolutely scintillating 40 minutes or so - always room to slip this on at parties, always someone to be blown away by the sounds and music! So it came out, and sure enough, it turned a lot of heads around and we sold a bunch of LPs and CDs (as was the style in those times). Now, 17 years later, it needs to be reissued again, to be returned to vinyl, and this time, on the Drag City label. Though there are still good Moikai CDs available - the first and only CD edition of this proto-digital effort from the still-mysterious Nuno Canavarro. In November, we've got a feeling you'll (collectively) dig it.
BLUE JEANS AND MOONBEAMS
So, how best to play out our November hand? Records from The Silence, Six Organs of Admittance, Nuno Canavarro and - The Blue Jean Committee? That's hardly a straight flush folks - but sometimes, the best hand is the one dealt, and after one listen to the "Catalina Breeze" record, we think you'll agree that the soft sounds of the BJC complement and ground our wackazoid other November releases. At the same time, the Blue Jean Committee are a story unto themselves - and the story was already, and best told, on Fred Armisen and Bill Hader's IFC series, Documentary Now!. Basically, it's about a couple of blueswailin' Chicago boys who transformed their rootsy sounds into one of the most effervescent concoctions of early-70s LA, going to pop heaven before plunging back to earth in one of the more unfortunate crash-n-burn tales of the rock and roll era. Their early demise may account for you not knowing who they are - but that's okay man - because here are some of their best-loved songs all in one special package designed to bring the fragrances of the day vividly back to your ear-nostrils! The title track, along with lite classics like "Gentle and Soft," "Mama You're a Dancer," and "Mr. Fix-It" are designed to keep your feet tapping, if not outright soft-shoeing across the deep-pile shag! But like the taraxacum that was so emblematic of their vibe, the Blue Jean Committee blew away. Now the seeds have come floating back on a sweet breeze - "Catalina Breeze"! Catch it in your sails in November - just in time to give it to someone you love and mend that ever-strained relationship! Yes, we know it’s not all your fault. It takes two to tango - not to mention do the acoustic boogaloo!
And then, we're quote-unquote done! But nothing's ever really finished, is it? In December, Joanna Newsom will be touring in America and Death will be available for you to see in the UK. Jessica Pratt will be continuing a year of furious touring (although using the word 'furious' to describe anything she does seems a bit misleading - she's actually quite nice!) with a string of dates across Australia (which in themselves, follow the dates she's currently playing across Europe!). And Royal Trux will be playing another miraculous reunion show in the town where they made their first records - which is NYC, kids. For the first time in a cats and dogs age! And maybe even more than that. So there's a lot of can't-miss apparitions being cast around on the face of the earth - and meanwhile, somewhere south of the North Pole, the Drag City workshop will be bustling with the kind of work that makes next year possible. Oh, have we got some hot shit prepared for you! We'll tell you more about it come November.
Come back for the fast-breaking news - but stay for the deep-hitting music.
Drag City Inc.