Yes , it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke – Indie Dispatches has returned and is back in a regular fashion. And as predicted we did indeed forget a few of the notable items so far in 2011…
* The indie rock power couple in WAVVES and Best Coast went out on tour together (and were seen at the Satellite recently in L.A. checking out their buddies in DOM). Interestingly enough, Bethany‘s Best Coast sales have far outstripped those of Nathan’s WAVVES… wonder if this is ever a source of tension.
* The New Goth Movement? It’s official… Zola Jesus led the charge, and now Esben & the Witch are close behind. With more to come!
* LCD Soundsystem operated under the classic mantra “live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse” with a week of life-affirming shows in NYC culminating in a 3 hour party Saturday night as the band’s last appearance on stage. From starting as the sound guy for Sub Pop‘s Six Finger Satellite to bowing out with headlining show at Madison Square Garden… James Murphy, we salute you!
* Tennis released an album with arguably the worst looking sleeve you’ll see this year.
* Did The White Sea remix Britney?
* My Morning Jacket lined up a new album, Circuital, hitting stores May 31st.
* Did TV On the Radio leave the indie world behind, parting from 4AD internationally?
* The dulcet tones of Mike Berenyi from Lush were heard by millions as Seinking Ships had a pretty striking sync use on ABC‘s hit show Private Practice.
* Avi Buffalo recorded a new 45 that is coming out shortly – great news!! Alas once again it looks to be enclosed in less than stellar jacket art.
* Underground super-group Middle Brother (with members of Dawes, Delta Spirit & Deer Tick) released an excellent album on Partisan, sounding as close to Crosby, Stills & Nash as you’ll hear this year (well, maybe until the new Fleet Foxes album)
* After almost 20 years, NJ’s favorite post-Velvet Underground popsters, The Feelies, recorded a new album Here Before that hits stores April 12 on Bar/None Records.
* Still wonder why we feel that there are too many bands and too many records? Just check out this list of forthcoming releases on Pitchfork…
* Adele put a further stamp on the recent intrusion of the independent label into major label’s chart domination (at least in the UK) as her second album 21, released on XL Recordings, raced to over 1.8 million sales in old blighty. That’s over 6 times platinum pop kids!!!!
* The latest installment of Record Store Day - scheduled for April 16 – announced their list of releases, including a bunch of stupidly limited items that you’ll undoubtedly see popping up on Ebay April 17.
* Former Super Furry Animals singer Gruff Rhys has a new album, Hotel Shampoo, due on Wichita Recordings next month. This teaser video is plain awesome.
* Another one destined for the top 10 records of 2011 lists come December? The long awaited follow up to Bon Iver‘s debut For Emma, Forever Ago.
* The 2 most exciting words of the first part of the year though? WILD. FLAG. Watch out, this one is going to be rad…
- Cool Hand Luke
Lost in the warm fuzzy glow over the Arcade Fire topping the charts last week, one rather important item was neglected, which is that amidst all of their efforts to create the landmark 2010 Merge is having, the label owners Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance also found time to record a new album. Yes ladies and gentlemen, reason to rejoice, as there is a new Superchunk album on the way! It’s entitled Majesty Shredding and is due for release on September 14 – on Merge Records of course! A number one record and a new Superchunk album – now that really IS a banner year.
Speaking of landmark years, the same can be said for Best Coast who surprised more than a few people with their #36 debut (with one industry rag leaving them out of their charts altogether!) for the album Crazy for You. But kudos to the Mexican Summer label for a superb job of artist development, and it just goes to show that in amongst all the clutter of the ‘long tail’ music biz in 2010, the same formula of great songs, a good build up and a masterful job of marketing can achieve results! Alas, not so fortunate were WAVVES, whose latest album King of the Beach only trickled to a #168 chart position first week, despite some great reviews and a ubiquitous presence amongst the blogs.
Also benefitting from a nice job of development and marketing is Los Angeles act, Fitz and the Tantrums, who are riding a great word-of-mouth wave leading to the August 24 release of their album Pickin’ Up the Pieces on Dangerbird Records. After a glowing review in the LA Times, a “you had to be there” jam-packed performance at the Hammer Museum, an exclusive streaming preview of the album on KCRW, and an instore performance at Amoeba Records in LA scheduled for release day, the buzz is becoming rather deafening. Which makes it hard to believe it was barely a year ago that the retro-soul combo was playing to a small scattering of early adopters at the 3 of Clubs…
- Cool Hand Luke
Google's Music Plans
Google is headed for the cloud, or so it would seem with further reporting on the search giant’s forthcoming moves into the music space. No concrete details yet, but a download store could launch as early as this year, with a cloud-based service slated for 2011. Should the Apple rival be careful not to move too quickly…? Interscope cleared the release decks this week to make way for the new Eminem album Recovery. The question from many is whether or not the highly-anticipated release that dropped yesterday will live up to its name after the industry’s recent extremely sluggish sales-weeks… Leading up to the Northside Festival in Brooklyn this weekend, Sirius XMU is featuring special artist-hosts starting today including Real Estate, Woods, Au Revoir Simone and Wavves… Jes Hudak is the Los Angeles winner of the Ourstage 2010 Lilith Fair talent search; she will perform at the July 10th festival stop… And tonight at El Cid a Gulf Coast Relief benefit concert for Global Green will feature acoustic performances from local artists Voxhaul Broadcast, Trevor Hall, Heavy Young Heathens and others…
** Today only head HERE to get a %20 discount on badges for Northside Festival with promo code “LMAG”
Nathan Williams, the central figure in San Diego lo-fi noise combo WAAVES, has seen the bottom, one could argue the very bottom. He played what seemed to be a set of uniformly derided shows at SXSW 2009, was embroiled in an ongoing spat with the Black Lips, where the two camps peppered away online like kids in a schoolyard (before ending up in a physical confrontation in Brooklyn) and then there was the much publicized meltdown on stage at the Primavera Sound Festival in Spain. But just to show there is only one way to go from the bottom, WAVVES released a new track online this past week that has been getting quite good reviews. The single, “Post Acid,” was released for free via Green Label Sound, and is 2 minutes and 9 seconds of great west coast fuzz pop. The track is a sample from the band’s album King of the Beach, due out on Fat Possum August 3rd.
After the success of Waved Out earlier this year, the Echoplex/Echo park complex once again plays festival host this week with the NY Woodsist label (who first released Wavves debut album) bringing their Woodsist Festival to Los Angeles. Featuring the cream of the label’s roster, Woods and Real Estate, as well with Kurt Vile, locals Abe Vigoda and others, the festival will hit the Echo Park venues today (June 15th). Word has it that the much blogged about Real Estate are currently free agents, and on the hunt for a new label.
And in the legends-of-the-Grunge-era-reform-to-release-new-album-in-2010 stakes, the Stone Temple Pilots have just been ousted from the top spot by UK favorites The Vaselines. After reforming to play a series of shows to support their retrospective Enter the Vaselines on Sub Pop, the duo of Frances McKee and Eugene Kelly, of course notable in counting Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain as a major fan, entered the studio to record a new album, Sex with an X. The full-length doesn’t come out until September 14th , but in the interim head to the band’s website to download an early free teaser, “I Hate the 80′s”. Look forward to a live tour in the fall – the last set of dates were a riot, with the onstage banter between Kelly & McKee worthy of a finalist slot on Last Comic Standing.
- Cool Hand Luke