On the weekend of the 25th-27th May 2012 at Alexandra Palace, London, All Tomorrow’s Parties present the second UK I’ll Be Your Mirror event. Tickets are on sale now via ATPFestival.com.
We went along last year to see Beach House perform, and this year we shall certainly be heading back – Dirty Three will perform on Saturday 26th of May on a day curated by Mogwai. More information can be found here.
Dirty Three will release their first album in 6 years, Toward The Low Sun, in March 2012.
We here at Bella Union are very big fans of all the work the folks at End of the Road Festival do, so the news of a new festival called ‘No Direction Home’ is very exciting, especially when lots of Bella Union bands are selected to play…
Today ‘No Direction Home’ announced its first group of artists with Andrew Bird, Dirty Three, The Low Anthem, Lanterns on the Lake and Veronica Falls among these. The festival will take place in the grounds of Welbeck Abbey, on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest from 8th – 10th June next year.
Until 31st December tickets for the festival will be £89 (direct from the festival) and you can pick these up here.
Toward The Low Sun is the product of the most ceaselessly creative period of the band’s career. In the 6 year’s since the release of their previous album “Cinder”, Jim White, Mick Turner and Warren Ellis have been relentlessly creating music in different permutations and locations around the globe. The artists they have performed and recorded with is testament to the high regard in which they are held. Warren resides in Paris, though is regularly to be found touring with the Bad Seeds and Grinderman or working with Nick Cave on soundtracks for such films as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Proposition and The Road. Jim is based out of Brooklyn but endlessly tours the world, recording and/or performing with Cat Power, Bonnie Prince Billy, Nina Nastasia and PJ Harvey, whilst Mick lives in Melbourne where he has developed a fine reputation as a visual artist and released the Blue Trees album alongside the occasional Tren Brothers release.
However, even amidst this frantic activity and incessant creativity a return to the mothership was inevitable. “Toward the Low Sun” is a cacophonyic explosion of influences and attitude that has the energy and urgency of a first release. There is an energy and a raw excitement evident from the first electrifying opening moments through to the album’s finale. In Warren’s words, “Dirty Three has always been about the way we play together and feed off each other. We wanted this one to be a return to the more improvised and instinctive approach of the earlier recordings”. And indeed Toward The Low Sun sounds like a first ever recording, a punk avant-garde art-jazz record! And for all their incredible music of the past, the Dirty Three have never seemed more relevant. Live they remain a force unto themselves. Women faint and men weep openly.
Don’t shade your eyes… Look Toward the Low Sun and you will know once again the burn of the Dirty Three!
Way back in the spring Fleet Foxes visited the Maida Vale studios to record a session for Zane Lowe. The result? A wonderful rendition of much of ‘Helplessness Blues’ and from this ‘The Shrine/An Argument’ proved a real stand-out. So, a little while later, we decided to put this fine song on to wax. ‘The Shrine/An Argument’ comes with ‘Blue Spotted Tail’ (Live From BBC) and album opener ‘Montezuma’ and you can purchase this now over at the Bella Union store.
Watch Sean Pecknold’s animation film for the album track below:
It has been quite the year for Veronica Falls, after releasing their self-titled debut in October the band featured in the top 10 of Rough Trade shops ‘albums of the year’ poll as well as featuring on the cover of both The Fly Magazine and Loud & Quiet. The band are set to continue such form in 2012 and have just announced a string of dates throughout Europe and UK. All details below…
5 – FEIERWERK, Munich tickets
6 – BRUT, Vienna tickets
7 – HAU 2, Berlin tickets
12 – Rotown, Rotterdam tickets
13 – Eurosonic, Gronigen tickets
14 – Ekko, Utrecht tickets
27 – Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich tickets
28 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds tickets
8 – Leaf, Liverpool tickets
9 – Deaf Institute, Manchester tickets
10 – Stereo, Glasgow tickets
11 – Stereo, York tickets
13 – Brighton, Haunt tickets
14 – Scala, London tickets
19 – AB, Brussels tickets
20 – Lagerhaus, Bremen tickets
21 – Molotow, Hamburg tickets
23 – KB18, Copenhagen tickets
25 – Henriksberg, Gothenberg tickets
26 – Bla, Oslo tickets
28 – Faust, Hannover tickets
29 – Melin, Stuttgart
30 – Plastic, Milan tickets
31 – Moon Club, Venice tickets
2 – Mascotte, Zurich tickets
3 – Les Sonic, Lyon tickets
4 – Les Trinitaires, Metz tickets
5 – La Fleche D’or, Paris tickets
31 – 2 June – Primavera, Barcelona tickets
7 – 10 – Primavera, Porto tickets
Having released their summery new album “The Errant Charm” back in June on Bella Union records, VETIVER will be bringing their sunny west-coast sounds to the UK in December… Andy Cabic and co have been supporting label-mates Fleet Foxes throughout Europe over the past few weeks and will end this tour in the UK with a headline show at The Dingwalls in London on Monday 5th December. Details below…
Following numerous film scores and collaborative projects, PETER BRODERICK has at last completed the long-awaited follow-up to “Home”, his critically-acclaimed Bella Union debut. Entitled “http://www.itstartshear.com”, and due for release 20th February 2012, the album is Peter’s finest and most complete work to date. Below are Peter word’s on the record…
“How do you feel about music downloading?” is a common question addressed to musicians and one that I have been asked several times in interviews. My response has always been that it doesn’t bother me. It is unavoidable. And in the best case someone who downloads an album and likes it might consider buying it at some point.
What does bother me about downloading is how most of the time the listener doesn’t have access to the artwork and/or text that comes along with a physical copy. Perhaps for many people this doesn’t even matter, but personally I have always felt a great satisfaction from having an image and some words by the artist to accompany and enhance the sounds.
So, http://www.itstartshear.com was designed simply to be a place where all listeners, no matter what format they obtain the music in, can easily access all the lyrics and notes and visuals which are meant go along with the songs. And as a title,http://www.itstartshear.com serves the music well by automatically becoming a link any time the album is written about. A link to the place where people can learn all about the album, directly from the source. A link that is the album. Or at least a link that will be the album, once it comes out, on February 20th 2012.
For those who read this and hear the music before that date, I am happy to tell you thathttp://www.itstartshear.com was produced by Nils Frahm and is my first project on which the sonic timbre of the songs was treated equally as important as the music itself. I have been in awe of the sound on the many records coming out of Nils’ studio over the last couple years, so I thank him deeply for helping me to explore a richer, wider sonic landscape. Many of the songs on this album were made in dedication to someone or something in particular. There is a recollection of a romantic letter exchange from several years ago (A Tribute To Our Letter Writing Days), a song written by my father when he was 19, which I discovered on an old cassette tape in late 2008 (Blue), a remembrance of a friend who passed away in a kayaking accident, for which I enlisted anyone and everyone to submit recordings by sharing a commemorative text over the internet (Asleep), a celebration of a little-known artist who has inspired me greatly (Colin), and a dedication to a bird whose life I stole while driving alone in the countryside (Trespassing), among others.
ANDREW BIRD will return on Monday 5th March with a new album titled ‘Break It Yourself’ – the follow up to 2009’s ‘Noble Beast’. And on the very same day Andrew Bird will celebrate the release of ‘Break It Yourself’ with a performance at The Barbican in London. All details below…
Monday 5th March – LONDON, Barbican (£15 – £22.50)
One could arguably describe Andrew Bird as the quietest, most exquisite big deal in the music business. His last album Noble Beast (2009) sold 150,000 copies in the US alone and debuted on the Billboard chart at #12. He also has cumulative album sales of well over half a million and is fast becoming somewhat of US TV veteran after appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
In the intervening three years since Noble Beast, Bird, a man who sometimes structures his live sets by selecting thematically linked songs, has continued the rigorous touring that has made him one of the hottest concert tickets around (and not just in the United States where he played to 50,000 people on his headline tour for Noble Beast – a barely announced headline show at London’s Barbican Centre in the spring is nearly sold out).
He’s also settled down in New York and become a father, soundtracked the highly acclaimed movie Norman, contributed to the open ended reinterpretations of Congotronic favourites Tradi-Mods V Rockers, and collaborated on the Sonic Arboretum project with Ian Schneller, trained sculptor and founder of the Chicago School of Guitar Making http://mcachicago.org/performances/now/all/2011/742
First staged at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2010, where Bird performed through some fifty of Schneller’s amazing handbuilt speaker horns placed all round the venue, this ongoing experiment has been hosted this December at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, with Bird providing new site specific compositions.
Let’s commence with the self-produced new album Break It Yourself. It was put together in a more traditional way, recorded to eight track at Bird’s barn in Western Illinois with a core group of drummer Martin Dosh, guitarist and keys man Jeremy Ylvisaker and Mike Lewis on tenor sax and bass. “It started out as a glorified rehearsal, the opposite of production, four musicians playing in a room together,” he says, eager to avoid the traps of modern recording. “Too many records sound like a series of decisions, not a performance.”
That’s not the case here. The tongue-twisting and catchy future single ‘Eyeoneye’, is as alive as recorded sound gets. “The DVD has film of us performing the actual take. Three quarters of the way through something clicks and it injects some adrenaline,” says an enthused Bird.
‘Lusitania’, a country-flecked duet with Annie Clark aka St Vincent, a sometime touring partner and intuitive collaborator, holds the listener close in its embrace (and features a divine couplet in “You’re laying mines along your shore/ Through my hull it ripped and tore).
Bird’s lyrical flights have been commented on. “I’ve been accused of being wilfully obtuse,” he concedes. But he’s happy with these songs. “Lyrically I’m closer to the bomb. I handle topics not often handled in pop songs.” Certainly, the wonderfully frisky opener ‘Desperation Breeds’, using the reported extinction of bees as a metaphor, is highly original. But the lovely melodies of the gorgeous and deeply unusual ballad ‘Sifters’ (surely worthy of reinterpretation- “No one’s covered one of mine yet,” he says) and the gloriously imaginative ‘Lazy Projector’ are just as striking.
“Who the hell is editing the story of what you were? Who inside my head decides what I choose to remember?” he says, explaining the latter. Given that, the line “I can’t see the sense in us breaking up at all’ become even more plaintive and affecting.
During the song’s mixing, the great Randy Newman popped by “at half an hour’s notice. He’s a very perceptive man,” says Bird, “He was gesticulating, shouting ‘it’s like a different song’.” He was right. Half of the composition was originally commissioned for The Muppets movie soundtrack, of all things, another of Bird’s ongoing interests (Bird’s own unique version of ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ was on The Muppets tribute album and he did appear on the movie soundtrack with ‘The Whistling Caruso’).
Prettier still is ‘Fatal Shore’, with Dosh’s heart-stopping punctuations leaping out. “There’s your morning songs and there’s your late night songs…,” says Bird, making it clear what time it was put to tape.
But Break It Yourself has a wider reach than simply a.m. and p.m. The entirely self-played ‘Hole in the Ocean Floor’ is reminiscent of Bird’s immersive solo shows, created from loops (it also allows room for his voice to truly reveal itself), while ‘Danse Carribe’ attempts to track a style from the American South to distant Trinidad. Bird even evokes Exuma, a seventies Bahamian band described as “a Caribbean Parliament” (as in the P-funk creators, not a political institution) and Niger’s Etran Finatawa.
‘Give It Away’ is a relatively straightforward pop song, its loose chorus shaking itself free. Yet the fiddle led ‘Orpheo Looks Back’ with its energetic drones straddles the line between Celtic and North African music, perhaps not so surprising for a man who grew up playing Irish songs as well as classical violin, while the closing ‘Belles’, a minimal loop with crickets chirping underneath, is pure Bird-balm.
In short Break It Yourself is as warm-hearted and eclectic as ever. It sounds like all the music and no music you’ve ever heard, from jazz to country to classical to folk and pop, visiting a thousand exotic places along the way and the public has no problem with that. Pondering his increasing popularity, which can’t simply be put down to a hard work ethic, Bird suggests why he has registered with a much wider audience. “People have been exposed to more and different things – palate is the right word. It’s a sensory thing,” he says. The implied food comparison seems apt, the ingredients don’t necessarily produce what one expects but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.
As he says of his music, “It’s about the company you keep.” And what exquisite company it is.