Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It can't always be good news -- Nanobots full-length delayed!

The Nanobots' full-length debut Pink Circuits, due out March 29 (today), has been delayed.  PETERBOT, 1/2 of the tiny duo, was flush with excitement over the clamorous finished product -- which flirts with ambient soundscapes as much as with white noise, drone, and passages that sound like a gamelan being kicked down a flight of steps -- and decided it would be a good idea to take the master tapes out for a night on the town and play the new album for some friends.

In the ensuing blur, the master for Pink Circuits was misplaced -- perhaps left in the back seat of a cab?  Or could it still be in that friend-of-a-friend's PS2?

We apologize for the delay while this mystery is being solved.  If you, by chance, know the whereabouts of Pink Circuits, please contact ITAV headquarters.  In the event that the master tapes cannot be located, we will rebuild the album from its basic tracks and have it out as soon as possible this spring.


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The master tapes for The Nanobot's new full-length, Pink Circuits, have been misplaced (in the style of Hendrix's Axis: Bold As Love)! Have you seen them? Please leave their possible whereabouts in the comments section of this blog post (below). Most creative sighting of Pink Circuits will win an exclusive, handmade 1-of-a-kind physical copy of the album!!

Example:  "I was looking at a grainy photo of the Sasquatch, and I'm pretty sure he was holding a copy of Pink Circuits."

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Monday, March 14, 2011

3-Way Singles Club launches May 1st!

ITAV's "3-Way Singles Club," hearkening to all those great singles series of the distant (and recent) past where you would receive a 45 RPM record in the mail every month, will launch May 1st with a very special 3-song/3-artist tribute, in miniature, to beloved indie rock/slowcore band Low.

Envisioned as a monthly series of digital triple-A side singles, each volume of the 3-Way Singles Club will feature 3 exclusive songs by 3 different independent artists.  Some of the singles will have themes, some will be more freeform in nature.  Some of them will juxtapose musical styles, others will celebrate particular genres.  Right now, we have about the first 6 months worth of singles lined up, featuring an all-star cast of Midwest musicians such as The Plurals, The Hat Madder, Cavalcade, Narc Out The Reds, The Playback, Flatfoot, Frank And Earnest, Jet Lag Superstar, RxGibbs, Karyatid, Cat Midway & The Knick-Knacks, and many more.

For the inaugural May single (Vol. 1!), 3 bands will cover Low songs:  Double Saginaw Familiarity will interpret "Dragonfly," Joshua Barton & The Brothers And Sisters will perform "Shame," and Stargrazer will record "Hand So Small" (from the great out-of-print E.P. Low did in conjunction with electronic duo Spring Heel Jack.)

Volume One of the 3-Way Singles Club will be FREE!  Stay tuned for the link, which will be provided May 1st!  You can also visit the 3-Way Singles Club Page for more information on the series and to see upcoming singles.

Volume 1's miniature tribute to Low precedes ITAV's planned summer release of a full-length Low tribute recorded by East Lansing sound engineer/producer Bryan Kay.  Bryan assembled a collective dubbed Cardboard Academy to record "Metal & Fire: Songs Low Taught Us."  Look for more information on that upcoming release around the same time Volume 1 drops -- and by the way, the 3 songs on Volume 1 are all different than what will appear on the full-length!

To all of the artists on Volume 1, Low has played an important and influential part in their lives and in their development as musicians.  The spare, stately harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, Low's principal members, combined with music as melodic as it is minimal, presents just as many openings for interpretation as it does challenges.

Dan Pehachek, a.k.a. Double Saginaw Familiarity, experienced Low in perhaps their most ideal setting, live:

"I first fell in love with Dragonfly hearing it live, and the memory is mostly an emotion set off by a guitar tone and harmonized vocals filling a small room.  Low taught me how to project emotion through sustained tones and silences, and I wanted to capture some of that in my cover.  I also wanted it to be something I could easily recreate live, so that whether I play it in a venue or a listener plays the recording loud in their room, the experience can trigger the same set of emotions and memories."

That sense of immediacy that is so integral to Low's music is also something Joshua Barton (of Fields Of Industry and their parent collective, AvE Records) seeks to capture.  He also confided in me that Low had provided part of the soundtrack for his relationship with his wife, Mary Jane.  Initially, his cover of the elegaic "Shame" off of the Long Division album was envisioned as a duet between he and she, however the idea expanded to include other members of AvE who also shared connectivity with Low's music.

Of the recording, Joshua aims to "record as live as possible and utilize harmonies beyond just Mary Jane and I."  If that isn't tantalizing....

Finally, I was unable to keep myself away from this project.  In addition to making a cameo appearance on Songs of Metal & Fire, where I play the last few bass notes of the closing song "Point Of Disgust," my own musical life has benefited so much from exposure to Low.  As a solo bass singer/songwriter, minimalism is the ocean I swim in (as a certain polar bear once said, of warfare).  Learning to let the spaces between notes sing is something I can trace directly back to their work.  The Bombscare E.P. that they recorded with drum 'n' bass duo Spring Heel Jack, circa 2000, was my first real exposure to them -- a slightly more ornamented sound, but one infinitely sensitive to the underlying, beautiful songcraft.  Therefore, Stargrazer delivers my own unique lo-fi interpretation of "Hand So Small," a song I hear in my dreams and deep within the fabric of every note I play.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fiona Dickinson / The Break-Ups / Stargrazer / Families - LIVE March 13 at B414

Sunday March 13, Stargrazer (my solo project) will have the distinct honor of opening for Bellaire, MI-based singer/songwriter Fiona Dickinson, who is making her first Lansing appearance at the free-thinking art spot Basement 414.  Here's a map to B414.  You can get there by walking to the end of Jay Street, a half-block long street that runs off of southbound Cedar St., behind The Nuthouse Bar.  You'll know you're there when you see a tall brick chimney (however I suggest parking on Michigan Ave. or in one of the lots nearby, as Jay Street itself is a tow-away zone.)

Dickinson's debut album, Duende, can be streamed or downloaded here, and it is truly a gorgeous and emotionally evocative set of songs displaying her incredible range and songsmithing abilities.  Here's a short bio I clipped from her bandcamp page:

Fiona Dickinson is a British singer/songwriter currently residing in Michigan. Taking a cue from Bjork-esque vocalists, as well as adding elements of shoegaze, old time folk, and lush string arrangements, Fiona creates a beguiling dark sound. While the instrumentation of reverberated guitars, violins, and cellos is invariably complex and often provide unexpected hooks that draw a listener in, Fiona's most affecting instrument is her voice. Rich and mature, she drives it fluidly between sweetly breathed coos and full-throated wails. Her live shows are intimate and deep, begging the undivided attention of the listener. You can feel her voice pushing back the demons as she digs deep into a growl, and then angelically welcome in the healing process with the voice of tranquility. 

I'm truly looking forward to seeing her live performance, as I find the album quite bewitching: sonically timeless and yet very of-the-moment with current Michigan independent music.

Also playing Sunday night will be my labelmates at GTG Records, The Break-Ups.  Led by Timmy Rodriguez, the Break-Ups have the ability to shapeshift from Beatles-meets-Velvet Underground noisy pop to thrilling forays into 90s-style alt rock that hits the sweet spot.  They're one of Lansing's best kept secrets and put on a hell of a show.

The fourth band on the bill, Families, hail from the Detroit area, however a google search of "Families" and "Detroit" proved fruitless, so if anyone can provide a link to them I'd really like to check them out.  I've heard good -- albeit vague -- things about them, so they'll be the surprise treat for the evening. 

As for Stargrazer, I'll be debuting a half-electric, half-acoustic set -- bringing out all my toys for a live one-man-band debut that probably owes more to Can and The Mountain Goats than to more polished loopmeisters like Andrew Bird.  I'm pretty excited for this!  The electric set will consist of a single song that I've been calling "Thing," followed by a set of new songs and old favorites on my trusty Ferrington acoustic bass with some witchy atmospherics thrown in.  If you've seen my set before, this will be something else entirely, the culmination of several of my lo-tech experiments of the past coupled with my purchase of a decidedly hi-tech Boss loop station.  I am having so much fun with it!

Doors are at 8 PM, and the show will probably kick off around 9 PM.  There is no charge at the door, and this is an ALL AGES show.  Bands will have music and other merchandise on sale, and it'd be great of you if you could bring a donation to help cover the travel expenses of the bands from out of town -- I'm sure they'll pass a hat or something.  Also, B414 is a spacious, inviting, and acoustically pleasant art gallery, so please drag your friends with you for an evening of music they won't regret.