Friendly heads-up people: the Breeders are coming to the Rio Theatre in August. The band has not played together since 1994 and lucky us, Santa Cruz is one of the stop on the LSXX (That’s the cool name they’ve given it.) tour.
If you want in on the action, get tickets now, because you know that show is going to sell out, and probably soon.
Now you know.
Kevin Ayers truly lived life. The stories and work he left behind attest to that. He was a member of the Wilde Flowers, who started out as a British beat group and later incorporated jazz and psych into their sound. The group split up and formed The Soft Machine and Caravan, two extremely influential groups who made their own style of progressive rock known as the Canterbury Scene; Ayers’s own writing style influenced the quirky lyrics in the Canterbury genre.
The Soft Machine played regularly with Pink Floyd at the legendary UFO club in London. The band’s distinctive mix of jazz and psych caught the interest of Jimi Hendrix, who became a close friend to Ayers. Jimi later brought the band along to open for him on his American tour. Many who were there say that the Soft Machine blew Jimi out of the water almost every night. A highlight of the show was an endless version of “We Did It Again” written by Ayers, who sang it with his very distinctive baritone voice. It was his favorite song to play and he had so much fun singing it that he didn’t want it to end. The song personified the kind of person he was – the only lyrics in the song also make up the title of the song.
In true Ayers fashion, just as the group was getting recognition and touring became more strenuous, Ayers sold his bass and gracefully retreated to a beach in Spain to relax. Jimi Hendrix gave him an acoustic guitar and encouraged Ayers to continue to make music, which he did, writing several songs that would end up on his first solo album called Joy of A Toy. Backed by his Soft Machine bandmates and one Syd Barrett, he laid the blueprint of his style: laid back, quirky, eccentric, experimental pop. This gave way to a long prolific career. Every album was different from the last.
Ayers had no interest in what people thought of his work. He simply laid back and played for himself. He just wanted to have a good time and that’s exactly what he did.
Ayers passed away in his sleep on Feburary 18th at the age of 68. A note found by his bed read, “You can’t shine if you don’t burn.”
by Cat Johnson
It’s official. Jack White, longtime supporter of records, record stores and independent labels has been chosen as this year’s Record Store Day ambassador. In a recent post on RecordStoreDay.com, White waxes lyrical about the importance of books, face-to-face interactions, art-house films and theatres, and records. He also imparts the importance of educating young people about the joy of listening to music on vinyl and getting their asses into record stores.
“We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others. The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn’t know that it’s a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. You put the record in their hands. You make them drop the needle on the platter. Then they’ll know.”
In the following video, White takes us on a tour of the United Record Pressing Plant in Nashville while illuminating various conspiracies involving Steve Jobs, asteroids, Masons and more.
by David Morales
Past the gentle reverbial haze we see 24 year old Jacco Gardner. The Dutch dandy released his first solo single, “Clear the Air” in February of last year and every swirly and his hip mother were wetting themselves. Jacco uses all the essential baroque pop instruments: harpsichord, strings, flutes, and acoustic guitar to create beautifully melancholic music. And as with all the best baroque pop, the recording and production is just as, if not more, important than the music. To combine so many sound textures and make them sound so fluid, beautiful and effortless is what separates Jacco from the rest. Even if you go back in time to 1966 and use Brian Wilson’s studio and his equipment, it won’t give you the knowledge needed to create beautiful pop music such as this:
The people at Chicago’s superb label, Trouble In Mind, heard this and were blown away. The following September they released Jacco’s second single, “Where Will You Go,” another instant classic, proving that he is not a one hit wonder. Swirling acoustic guitar, jazzy drums, and mellotron strings slowly fade in and politely dance between your ears. Reverberated keyboard play wafts in the middle, and Jacco’s innocent vocals fit in nicely. He knows what he wants and that is exactly why Jacco mostly works alone from his home studio, playing all instruments heard (minus the drums). If you ask me, this song is better than the first single. It’s another modern baroque pop masterpiece.
Next month, Trouble in Mind will release Jacco’s first full-length album Cabinet of Curiosities and Jacco will continue to tour Europe, including this year’s Le Beat Bespoke Weekender in London. In March Jacco will tour the US for the first time ever. Sadly, there are no tour dates in California, the home of baroque pop.
US Tour dates
March 1 – Wesleyan University – Middletown, CT
March 2 – Death By Audio – Brooklyn, NY
March 3 – Middle East – Boston, MA
March 6 – Golden West – Baltimore, MD
March 7 – The Pinhook – Durham, NC
March 8 – Savannah Stopover Festival – Savannah, GA
March 10 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA
March 12 – March 17 – SXSW
March 18 – The Bishop – Bloomington, IN
March 19 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
March 20 – Case Western Reserve University – Cleveland, OH
March 21 – Garden Bowl – Detroit, MI
March 23 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
In case you’ve never taken the time to sync up Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz, here it is. On the video’s YouTube page, user shelbyfrigginkatz adds some notes about the most significant sync points.
by Cat Johnson
Bad Religion got its start in the music world, in part, by selling records out of their local record store. In this video, Brett and Jay talk about the band’s beginnings and how record stores played a role in their early success.
The band has a new album, titled True North, coming out on January 22. A return to their early days, the album features 16 songs in 32 minutes. Here’s a teaser:
We have a fresh batch of cool freebies that you get when you buy the new album by the artist(s) represented. Among the goodies are: a Trash Talk, numbered lithograph, a Mumford & Sons flat, a Ty Segall flat, a Flying Lotus poster and a Ry Cooder sticker. If you already bought the album from us but didn’t get the freebie (sometimes they arrive later than we would like), come in and ask nicely.
As ever, this is a “while supplies last” type of thing.
We’re having a flurry of great new releases right now and some of them have sweet freebies that you get with purchase of the album. There’s a Green Day lithograph, a Grizzly Bear poster, a Mumford & Sons silkscreen, a Down beer cozy, a Grateful Dead sticker sheet and lots more. They’re all super-limited and are going fast, so get in while the getting is good. It’s a while-supplies-last type of deal.
by Mari Stauffer
So what’s all the fuss about the year 2012? Well, Mayan prophecies aside, 2012 marks 21 years since British band Blur released its debut album Leisure. I distinctly remember hearing the single “There’s No Other Way” on the radio before the album came out in the U.S. That is one catchy track! The simple guitar hook in the beginning drew me in right away, only to be accompanied by the signature “Madchester” syncopated drumming and Damon Albarn’s lackadaisical vocal musings. This combination ensured my love of not only the song, but this entire album.
Leisure came out on the heels of the “Madchester” music scene, known for mixing rock, usually on the psychedelic side, with dance music (think Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Charlatans U.K., New Order…). The whole album has many of these musical elements. Some tracks have a more shoegaze feel, with a droney guitar sound. There are also moments of more Smiths/Cure-like jangles and mesmerizing reverb. As prevalent as the syncopated beats are, there are some slower, more exploratory tracks which give the listener a glimpse into future Blur endeavors. I swear I can hear an embryonic sound of the Gorillaz in one of the songs. Many critics claim Leisure to be the least developed of all the Blur albums, but it still remains one of my very favorites. This is a simpler Blur, as they came upon the music scene. Even though it may not sound as technically complex as future albums, it is still, no doubt about it, a Blur album complete with signature Blur elements (observational lyrics of daily English life, anyone?), not the least of which is the Brit-pop sound for which they have become so well known.
To mark the 21st anniversary of Leisure, the band has reissued every studio album they’ve released (7) on CD as well as vinyl. Each CD comes with a bonus disc, with b-sides and previously unreleased gems. Each vinyl record has also been remastered, and are double records, with the exception of Leisure. Come into Streetlight to check out these special releases. Happy 21st to one of my very favorite bands!