Tag Archives: tour

Stream/Download: Zeus – “Opera”

Zeus - "Opera"
Zeus – “Opera”

Well, here is something to wake you up on your Monday morning. Apparently I should be keeping a closer eye on the scene in Italy because recently I’ve been hearing some really great music, and it’s not like they are all doing the same things either. Just recently I wrote about The Delay in the Universal Loop, a band (well, one dude) that is creating lushly orchestrated dreamy synth music; and then there was the psych-prog of Julie’s Haircut.

Now I’m listening to Zeus, and I want you to do the same. They’re a bass & drum prog-metal duo that has less in common with Lightning Bolt than you would think. I mean, I know that whenever I see that a band is a bass/drum duo I get really skeptical right off the bat. I’m such a huge Lightning Bolt fan (that’s obvious) that I never think that any other band is ever going to be able to live up to those expectations. I guess that what I forget, or fail to recognize, is that there is still so much that can be done in the format.

What Zeus does is they create highly energetic, rhythmically complex music that swings from jazzy and tight to violent and cacophonous the next. Often times, as in Grindmaster Flesh (very clever, guys), the duo is in lockstep throughout a meter that refuses to sit still until suddenly everything erupts into a static haze with screaming and crash cymbals covering near everything. They do have one thing that Lightning Bolt tends to (dare I say) lack, and that is shape.Though Zeus does still focus more on rhythm and less on harmony, they make up for it with contrasting dynamics and formal development. There’s more of a part structure at work.

The band’s latest, “Opera,” was released February 14, 2013 (how sweet) and you can preview the entire thing on their bandcamp and download it for $11, or listen to the entire thing above first. While you are listening, see if you can catch all the puns in the titles of the songs. My personal favorite is “La Morte Young,” though “Blast but not Liszt” is a close 2nd. Check out all 11 blasts of noise above.

The band is currently out on a European tour. You can find the dates below.


Zeus Eurpoean Tour Poster

New Release: The Blind Shake – “Key to a False Door”

The Blind Shake
The Blind Shake

There is a direct connection between my love for Thee Oh Sees and my love for The Blind Shake. I’ve talked about it before, the first time that I saw both bands at the Empty Bottle in Chicago in July of 2012.

Since that time I have kept going back to their album “Seriousness” and it looks like they are picking things up and getting ready to start a tour once again. And again that tour is going to be supporting Thee Oh Sees all over the U.S. and Canada. All of this also in support of their forthcoming album “Key to a False Door,” which is set to be released by John Dwyer’s (of Thee Oh Sees) Castleface records on September 17.

Brooklyn Vegan has posted a song, “Garbage on Glue” from the forthcoming album and you can check it out here. And if you haven’t heard “Seriousness” then you can check that one out in its entirety on their Bandcamp page (highly suggested) and it can be purchased on vinyl or digital download from the bandcamp page as well. It’s on Spotify as well, if you are so inclined. But seriously, just buy the album already. And no matter what, see them live. You will not be disappointed.

You can find The Blind Shake and Thee Oh Sees on tour in a town near you on the dates below:

Thee Oh Sees — 2013 Tour Dates
10/10 The Chapel San Francisco, CA with The Blind Shake, OBNIIIs, Fryborg
10/11 The Chapel San Francisco, CA with OBNIIIs, The Blind Shake, Old Light
10/12 The Chapel San Francisco, CA with The Blind Shake, OBNIIIs, Dreamsalon
10/16/2013 The Rickshaw Vancouver BC
10/18/2013 Republik Calgary AB
10/19/2013 VFW MIssoula MT
10/21/2013 The Amsterdam Minneapolis MN
10/22/2013 The Empty Bottle Chicago IL w/ The Blind Shake, OBN IIIs
10/23/2013 The Empty Bottle Chicago IL w/ The Blind Shake, OBN IIIs
10/24/2013 The Shelter Detroit MI
10/29/2013 Irving Plaza New York NY w/ The Blind Shake, OBNIIIs, Dreamsalon
10/30/2013 Underground Arts Philadelphia PA
10/31/2013 Kranky’s Winston-Salem NC
11/02/2013 Terminal Atlanta GA
11/04/2013 The Stage Miami FL
11/08/2013 Fun Fun Fun Fest Austin TX
11/10/2013 Low Spirits Albuquerque NM
11/12/2013 Bar Pink San Diego CA
11/13/2013 Observatory Santa Ana

The Blind Shake – 2013 Tour Dates
Sep 26 GONERFEST 10 Memphis, TN
Oct 10 The Chapel San Francisco, CA
Oct 11 The Chapel San Francisco, CA
Oct 12 The Chapel San Francisco, CA
Nov 13 Constellation Room at the Observatory Santa Ana, CA

The Blind Shake: Bandcamp//Facebook//Twitter//Web//

New songs: Sharon Van Etten – “Live at Pickathon 2013”

Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten recently played the final show of her tour here in Oregon. The Pickathon is a yearly music festival that happens outside of Portland. This year the festival was on August 4th and we have a really good recording of the entire set. Even more exciting is that this recording provides some really high quality versions of a few new songs that Sharon played that afternoon.

The first song, on my recording simply labeled “New Song” as she opens the set with it and doesn’t introduce it, but I think a fair bet is that the song is going to be called “I Know.” It’s a great choice for a set opener with just Sharon singing at the piano, her voice confident and stronger than ever. She moves effortlessly between a subdued, soft voice drawing us in, and a powerful full-voiced near shout at the top of her range before seeming to calm herself down singing “I know…..I know.” The dynamic play pushes and pulls us through the song, while melismatic turns casually float by before coming to an end with Sharon softly singing “all I ever wanted was you.”

I Know

Abut the other new track, “Tarifa,” Sharon explains,

 “this next song is about a vacation, it’s a new one that we’ve been working on, it’s call Tarifa….it’s [in Spain] on a fucking cliff overlooking Morocco,  but it is amazing – in the middle of nowhere. There was a bunch of bulls, that I was afraid of, in the pasture next to me, but they could give a shit that I was there. They didn’t try to run me over or anything weird. I had to ask my boyfriend, I was like ‘can I wear red? Are they gonna charge at me?’ They didn’t. I tried it out. It was fine. Anyway, this song is about that.”

It’s more fleshed out than “I Know,” beginning with Sharon and her guitar, and the rest of the band soon following. The verses move through a gentle waltz, while the choruses are more concerned with driving straight ahead.


And while you are checking those out, you should also head over to this site to purchase a t-shirt designed by Sharon with all of the proceeds going to charity.

“The artwork used is one of my early contour drawings when I first moved to New York and the charity chosen is Women in Need (WIN). WIN transforms the lives of New York City homeless women and their children by providing a holistic solution of safe housing, critical services and ground-breaking programs they need to succeed on their own – so the women can regain their independence and their children can look forward to a brighter future.”


Sharon Van Etten designed Yellow Bird Project t-shirt
Sharon Van Etten designed Yellow Bird Project t-shirt

So there you have it. Two new songs and a way to help a great charity. This is where I would normally say “you can catch her on tour” but, like I said, the tour is over. Look for the album within the year. You’ll forget by then, but I’ll remind you.


New album: Twin Peaks – “Sunken”

Twin Peaks - "Sunken"
Twin Peaks – “Sunken”

Please somebody, tell me what they are putting in the water supply in Chicago. I have always been a fan of the Chicago rock scene since I was in high school and loved Hum and The Smashing Pumpkins like it was my job, but now – between Smith Westerns and Twin Peaks – there is a whole generation of bands that grew up after those bands were out of commission (I know, I know. Hum still plays semi-regularly, or at least sometimes and don’t even get me started on the Pumpkins. The pumpkins died after Machina II. What is touring now is not the Smashing Pumpkins, but rather Billy Corgan trying to convince everyone that he is still relevant and then crying like a baby when people scream for him to play the hits.) But I digress…

Maybe rather than questioning what they are putting in the water supply in Chicago, I should ask what they are putting in the school lunches in Chicago. Smith Westerns were playing the Pitchfork Music Festival the same weekend as their senior ball, and that was right around the time that their 2nd album came out. Now we have Twin Peaks, who are barely old enough to drive, and they’ve released easily one of the best things that I have heard this year so far.

Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks

“Sunken” is a guitar heavy, echo laden, mass of jangle and energy. It’s an infectious cross between pop and some of the grittier rock that I have heard lately. Though the album is barely 20 minutes long (they are apparently playing the Japandroids’ game of “how short can we make an album while still calling it an album?”) but despite that short length it packs quite a punch. “Fast Eddie” could easily be a radio hit with a guitar line that I just can’t get enough of (though I have always been a sucker for the tasteful use of echo). The chorus really opens up, and even though I can’t figure out what the words are, I want to sing along.

“Ocean Blue” sounds like something that could have been on the first Beach Fossils release. Or Real Estate. Its swirl of reverb is hypnotizing. Normally I would say that nobody should use a crash cymbal that much, but here it really does add to the sound, it’s a necessary component. And “Stand in the Sand” is another stand out track on an album full of stand out tracks. I could go on about the catchiness, but I think that by this point you get the picture. Oh, and you are in luck because you can listen to that track below.

For kids this young to be able to tie an album together this well is astonishing. If you are 35 and still picking up guitars off the wall at your local guitar center hoping one day that you’ll “make it,” just know that you are going to end up playing Molly Hatchet covers in a dive bar on the outskirts of town while these guys are doing it right. It’s great to hear players so young that are able to capture something, and have it down so well and know their sound inside and out. Perfect summer album. It’s out now and you can purchase it on vinyl or as a digital download by clicking here.

They do have a couple tour dates left on the west coast in the coming week, so if you live out here then you should try to catch them.
8/6: Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex!
8/7: Fullerton, CA @ Burger Records 9/13-15: Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest & Carnival 2013 (Exact Date TBA)
9/18 Dallas, TX @ Three Links+
9/19 Austin, TX @ Mohawk+
9/20 Houston, TX @ Fitzgeralds+
9/21 Baton Rouge @ Mud & Water+
* supporting Foxygen
! supporting Palma Violets + supporting Bleeding Rainbow

Twin Peaks Web//Purchase//Facebook//Twitter

New track: Deerhoof – "The Trouble with Candyhands"

(Originally posted on Tympanogram on August 7, 2012)

Deerhoof - "Breakup Song"
Deerhoof – “Breakup Song”

Everyone’s favorite San Francisco based fun-time art-pop band, Deerhoof, are preparing to release a follow up to 2011?s Deerhoof Vs. Evil with Breakup Song due in stores on September 4th via Polyvinyl.

They have released a typically quirkily named track, “The Trouble With Candyhands” on the Polyvinyl Soundcloud page that provides us with a short glimpse of their ever evolving sound. The addition of staccato brass adds a bit of a danceable salsa flair to the typically frenetic sound of the band. The guitars are dialed back significantly but Greg Saunier continues to carve intricate, shifting rhythms right through the heart of the song with Satomi’s high falsetto soaring sweetly above the foundation. You can hear snippets from the entire album by popping a token in the Jingletron. Based on this first listen it sounds like Deerhoof are placing a little more emphasis on their electronic leanings that started to show a bit more on Deerhoof Vs. Evil.

With a new album comes a new tour and Deerhoof are ferocious live, so check them out when they come to a town near you. And if you are in Portland, OR for their show (with the equally amazing Buke and Gase opening) I’ll let you buy me a few beers.

You can buy “Breakup Song” from Polyvinyl here.

Find Deerhoof:  Tour | Facebook | Polyvinyl

New track: Lee Ranaldo – "Off the Wall"

(Originally posted on Tympanogram.com on March 5, 2012)
Lee Ranaldo
Lee Ranaldo
Watching your favorite band break up is tough to do. It’s like being a kid and having to decide if you are going to live with your mom or your dad after your parents get divorced. I’m still in the phase where I’m holding out hope that Sonic Youth isn’t going to disband, but rumors of this coming Summer’s Lollapalooza performance being the bands last are going around, and sooner or later we are all going to have to face the inevitable together.

In the meantime, Thurston Moore has released an album of genteel, somnolence-inspiring arrangements that function essentially as ruminations on open guitar tunings; Steve Shelley is drumming with Disappears (a band that nobody would be paying attention to if Steve Shelley wasn’t drumming for them); and Lee Ranaldo is making his debut as a solo songwriter with his album “Between the Tides and the Times” on Matador Records.

This isn’t his debut album by any means, as he has released a handful of highly experimental albums including East JesusFrom Here to Infinity, and Amarillo Ramp (for Robert Smithson) that would test the fidelity of any true Sonic Youth fan. These albums are in addition to other free jazz albums that he has collaborated on.

So far we only have one song from the new album, set for release on March 20. “Off the Wall” is structured in typical verse/chorus/verse fashion with a free-wheeling easiness in the melody that sounds like it would fit perfectly on Rather Ripped. This is, oddly, quite a departure considering Ranaldo’s other works. Leave it to someone so completely left-of-center as Lee Ranaldo to release a straight ahead rock track and have it seem like a departure. The truth is that this track does sound like one of the songs that would appear on a Sonic Youth album, where Ranaldo is typically woefully underrepresented.

He’s also got some solo performances coming up, including a spot at Primavera. Check him out live if you can, as his band includes not only Steve Shelley (you know, the guy from Disappears), Nels Cline, Alan Licht and John Medeski. His tour, with M. Ward and Disappears, mostly hits up the East Coast and parts of the South and Midwest. You can check the dates here, and pre-order Between The Times and The Tides at Matador.

Lee Ranaldo on: Facebook | web | Twitter

[audio:http://quartertonality.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Lee-Ranaldo-Off-The-Wall.mp3|titles=Off the Wall]

ETA (March 13, 2012): Lee’s album, “Between the Times and the Tides” is now streaming in its entirety on Rolling Stone.com.

Lee Ranaldo OFF THE WALL Official Video from Lee Ranaldo on Vimeo.