Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 11, 2010 9:55:19 GMT -8
Alexis Gideon - Video Musics
I could have sworn that everyone in Portland but the fire marshall himself had squeezed into Holocene on October 23rd, 2009, but admittedly my capacity for quantifying space or counting people or, you know, focusing my vision was getting soft-pedalled. Some brash, rockabilly Residents/Man Man hybrid called Nuclear Power Pants was stomping around onstage in neon green shark heads and that wasn't doing it for me, so I smoked a cigarette until I reached cruising altitude and waited for them to finish.
'Video Musics' is only twenty minutes long, but Alexis Gideon likes to talk. At the time I didn't know either of these things, all I knew was that my pupils were the size of wagon wheels and some dude was giving an incredibly long preamble to his performance. I was about to give up and go wander around the block until it was time for Dan Deacon to plug in his marvellous machines, but if I'd done that I would have missed one of the greatest performances I have ever seen.
Some of you may have actually seen this. 'Video Musics' is an animated/claymated video opera based on Hungarian folktales. The beats are crunchy as shit, and Alexis Gideon raps (do we still call it 'rapping'? 'spitting verses'?) like a thompson gun surgically attached to the jaw of a friendly little white dude.
The animation is rudimentary but VERY effective. There are six sections in 'Video Musics', and each has its own musical and visual style, as well as its own contained narrative which is a part of the larger story. As it is with folktales, the beauty is in the details of the telling so I won't try to summarize the story, but it involves a unique creation myth, a princess, a magic scarf, a roguish lizard space cowboy and a bunch of rabbits.
I don't casually use the word 'epic' as an adjective, but 'Video Musics' truly is epic. At the time I felt like I was watching the universe expand and contract. In performance, Alexis projects the visuals onto a screen behind him while he sings, builds guitar loops, plays a glockenspiel, and just generally keeps the show running single-handedly. When he sings the parts of one of the characters, the rapid-fire syllables and lightning fast triplets sync up perfectly with the animation. He's like a machine.
Like all of my favorite music, the visual element is inseparable from the music, but since the DVD release comes with a CD you get a chance to hear just how well the music stands on its own. This is fantastic headphone music; Alexis is relentless in his attention to sonic detail. The bass in 'Clement Mason' is absolutely crushing, and the psychedelic flourishes in 'Rabbit Shepherd' are great like classic Brian Eno. 'Sock Hop' has Alexis diving from a flawless falsetto into a verse straight out of the durrrty south.
The premiere of 'Video Musics II: Sun Wu-Kong' was in September. It's a much larger and more ambitious piece, based on the classic Chinese story of the monkey king. Visually it is absolutely fucking gorgeous; I've got some of the original animation stills hanging on my wall. He's touring that piece now, and if you get a chance to see him I strongly urge you to take that chance. There's greatness and probably massive success in Alexis Gideon's future. Nobody does what he is doing right now.
Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 12, 2010 9:55:23 GMT -8
The Residents - Duck Stab
How the hell do I write about The Residents? Trying to cover even the most essential aspects of historical information would take pages. They formed in the late `60's in Shreveport, Louisiana and relocated shortly after to San Francisco. They take their name from a rejected demo tape they sent to a record exec at Warner Bros. without a band name or any personal information on it; it was returned, addressed to 'residents'. Over a nearly forty year career, they have released more than five dozen albums and undertaken nine world tours, but have never revealed their names or appeared in public without a disguise. They are credited with inventing the music video format, and were in heavy rotation on MTV in its earliest days. The Residents make music from another planet, and 'Duck Stab' was their moment in the sun.
Almost too strange for words, unsettling at its best and terrifying at its worst, 'Duck Stab' reminds me of an admonition from the pages of MAD Magazine, in which Alfred E. Newman urges his loving gang of idiots to "Add your voice to the howls of a dying culture!". Sun Ra, Van d**e Parks, Zappa and Beefheart had paved the path for The Rez' brand of weirdness, and ten years down the line bands like Talking Heads and DEVO were cramming that weirdness into conventional song structures. And it was working for them. So the Residents - NEVER to be outweirded - convinced themselves that they could mine the same territory and have it be dismissed outright, because they were The Residents and they were used to being the weird kid that nobody wanted to dance with.
They were wrong, and 'Duck Stab' was a (relatively) huge success. This is the record that Les Claypool hangs his hat on. Pretty much every song he's ever written can be traced back to 'Duck Stab'. He admits to copping his entire vocal style from this period of the Residents career. When in an interview, a band indicates that the Residents were a huge influence, this is the disc they're talking about.
All of The Residents' most recognizable songs are here, including 'Hello Skinny', 'Sinister Exaggerator' and 'Constantinople', all of which have been covered by Primus. The lyrics - which to the last sound like a stream of concsciousness emerging from a fever dream - were written using 'phonetic organization', meaning the words were chosen specifically for the way they sounded without any regard for what they mean. Brian Eno used much the same approach writing 'Here Come the Warm Jets', 'Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)' and 'Another Green World'. Coupled with the weirdly distorted guitars, shrieking violins, a refusal to adhere to the scales traditionally used in Western music and the woozy, stoned southern drawl of the Singing Resident, the effect is like robo-tripping your way through a nervous breakdown.
Sounds menacing, right? It is. But can you dance to it? Well you sure as hell can. It's not really any more abrasive than the cradle death of punk music at the time, but no matter how many times you listen to it and try to let it under your skin it still never starts to sound normal. 'Blue Rosebuds' comes close, for a minute sounding almost safe with the singer adopting a sappy croon before he inhales a weather balloon's worth of helium and nitrous and starts shrieking about how 'infection is my finest flower, mildewed in the mist'. 'Krafty Cheese' pulls the halves of your brain in different directions with burbling bloops and bleeps and then hands you off to the false security of 'Hello Skinny', before you surrender yourself to 'The Electrocutioner', which I honestly feel is attempted mass murder pressed on wax.
It doesn't sound anything like any other Residents album, but no two Residents albums are at all similar. 'Duck Stab' lacks the high-minded unifying theme that pretty much every other Residents record has, but for a time when I think The Residents felt like everyone around them was writing Residents songs, they just wanted to give it a try themselves. The result is one of the most strangely self-assured, but entirely gonzo, choruses of 'Happy Birthday to Me!' ever sung.
Guaranteed to clear the room. God bless 'Duck Stab'.
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Nov 12, 2010 10:41:35 GMT -8
"which I honestly feel is attempted mass murder pressed on wax"
Oh man! I remember being shown NON (Boyd Rice) by my older cousin when I was like 10 years old and I seriously believed people were being killed right in front of my ears. Music changed for me that day and the world got a little scarier.
Great review, this is definitely the type pre amble you need at your disposal any time you talk to people totally unfamiliar with the Residents.
Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 12, 2010 10:50:41 GMT -8
I had a great pair of Sennies for a while until they got stolen. At the moment I'm using a $20 pair of Sony studio monitors, until I can finally get myself a nice Bose set.
The cheapies treat me just fine, though, and they're comfortable. I had a pair of those fucking awful Skullcandy headphones for a while because they were the only ones I could find on short notice, but fortunately those things are built to break and it wasn't long before I was able to throw them away.
I had a pair of those fucking awful Skullcandy headphones for a while because they were the only ones I could find on short notice, but fortunately those things are built to break and it wasn't long before I was able to throw them away.
ugh... I'm currently waiting for my pair to break!
these are really interesting by the way... keep it up!
Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 15, 2010 9:20:13 GMT -8
The Philistines Jr - If a Band Plays in the Woods...
This record has been out for less than a month and it is already permanently a part of my Top Five Ever list.
There are albums that you call your favorite during a certain part of your life, and five years later the reaction you have to the music is more nostalgic than emotional. Probably 'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea' is that way for a lot of us; I know for my part I can hardly stand to listen to it anymore for all the memories it conjures. The thing that made 'Aeroplane' so special for me, and for a lot of people, was that when I found it it was completely MINE. Nobody I knew for hundreds of miles in any direction had ever heard of it. I thought it was just a strange, beautiful thing that had found its way to me and nobody else. This was in the couple years after it came out, since then of course it has become inescapable. But the other day I was thinking about the records in my collection that I would have chosen as subjects for this column were I writing it ten years ago: 'Castaways and Cutouts', 'Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies', 'Electro-Shock Blues'.
It's a heartbreaking thing to have a band that you've loved so intensely, and so vigilantly and ferociously promoted to your friends and anyone who will listen, suddenly catch on and become part of the collective consciousness. Nobody says thanks for the recommendation. Sometimes when a person tries on the 'I loved these guys when nobody knew who they were' routine, it is an expression of deep sadness and loss and not a credibility grab. Trust me.
So about two months ago when a news story popped up on Pitchfork about the new Philistines Jr album, I started bracing myself. This is The Music that got me through more hard times than I can even remember right now. For more than ten years, I've gone through copy after copy of the handful of records they have released since the early 90's. This one, to me, is really something special.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, the Philistines Jr consists of brothers Peter and Tarquin Katis and drummer Adam Pierce. Pierce is the drummer for Mice Parade and runs FatCat records. Peter Katis is one of the best and most respected producers working today. He produced the first two Interpol albums, as well as records from Jonsi, Frightened Rabbit, Tokyo Police Club, Tapes n Tapes, and the National -- including 'Alligator' and 'Boxer', which I'm sure we can all agree are two of the best sounding records of the last decade. The photograph on the front of 'Boxer' is the National performing at Peter Katis' wedding.
Being in the middle of so many success stories and armed with music as sincere and finely constructed as that of the Philistines Jr is, I honestly can't fathom why they are completely and utterly unknown. Even among the hardest core, aggressively well-informed music people I know the name gets a shrug. I'm going out on a limb letting you in on the secret because my heart would break if after twenty years the Philistines Jr. suddenly caught on.
Structurally, this is pop music. Overall much more accessible than most of what I've written about here. Guitars, pianos, a theremin for a touch of class. There's also a Dewanatron, but my feelings regarding Brian Dewan are for another day. Lyrically... Well, the Philistines Jr only write songs about themselves, specifically. Katis' lyrics at this point are concerned with the frustrations of being a producer, or at litterbugs and road rage in his neighborhood, or just about getting older and figuring out what to do next.
It hits me on a gut level, and hard. I can't figure out if it just doesn't have the same effect on other people or if some friendly, innocuous band from Connecticut has just never had enough circulation for people to love them the way I do. Several times, in several songs over the course of this record, a verse will be banging its head on the keyboard almost as if in despair, only to launch into the same chorus:
Hey! Hey! It's the end of the world again Here we are just waiting for everything to end
It means something a little different every time. I've listened to this record at least twice a day since it came out mid-October. Not only because a recurring lyrical theme over the course of PJR's career is that 'If you hear it enough times you'll like it more' is something that I really believe is true (and is ultimately the flaw with digital music; people's ability to amass a record collection in an afternoon that would have taken twenty years at one point = less quality time spent with difficult records), but because the 'End of the World Again' chorus has started to sound very, very reassuring to me.
It's hard to explain. This review is less focused and more emotional than some of the others have been, but that is what I was hoping to get down. I'm in the honeymoon phase with a record that I know will be in heavy rotation for the rest of my life. I know it like I knew it the first time I heard 'Ziggy Stardust' and 'Dark Side of the Moon'. But it also has qualities of the consuming love affair I had with 'Aeroplane' ten years ago - it's all mine. Nobody else's opinion of the record can inform how it makes me feel, because I don't know a single soul who's heard it (besides Peatrick).
It really is a beautiful album, and against all my better judgment I'll say that I can't recommend it enough. I'll even post a link to a place where you can stream the whole damn thing, I'm just that kind of guy. Do me a real favor though, on just this one record: if you like and want it in your collection, send the Philistines ten bucks for it.
Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 15, 2010 9:27:35 GMT -8
And here's the alternate version:
The Philistines Jr - If a Band Plays in the Woods...
Hello Philistines Jr.
Once a week, for the last few years, I have checked in at the Tarquin Records site looking for any sign that the band might come back to life.
I could hardly believe the announcement of the new record was true when it happened, even after promises of forthcoming music had been floating around for a while.
Your music means a lot to me. Not to sound corny, but it has been a source of comfort, peace and joy more times over the last ten years of my life than I can probably express.
The new songs that I've heard make me feel the way I want and need PJr songs to make me feel. I'm already looking forward to spending the next ten years with them.
I hope that, when you tour, you find your way out to the Pacific northwest. To hear you perform even a handful of your songs in a live setting is honestly more than I ever thought I could hope for.
Forgive the disjointed and decidedly goonish fanboy nature of this email; I just want you - whoever this message finds its way to - to know that so much of what you've done means so, so much to someone out there. I hope the new record finally brings you the success that you deserve, even if it means me losing you to the world a little bit. I can still believe that your song about Northern Exposure was actually, secretly, written about me specifically.
Thank you for everything, and everything to come. I am so incredibly excited.
That's probably the nicest letter we've ever received. Thank you so much for all your kind words. It really made our day...our week, in fact!
Sorry for the insanely slow response. We set up that email and kind of forgot to check it. This is my direct email.
Tarquin and I are both so appreciative that we'd like to send you a modest package of free PJR stuff. If you send me your mailing address, I promise to send something soon. I can be a little slow, but I won't forget!
So thanks again. Our band has been a source of great joy for us too over the years, but also a prolonged excercise in frustration and disappointment. Letters like yours make it worth all the effort...
Peter & Tarquin
P.S. A Portland show isn't in the works at this point, but it's not unthinkable. We'll keep you posted!
Peter, Tarquin --
Well guys I just don't even know what to say. It honestly means the world to me that you took a minute to write back. Of course at this point I've spent a couple weeks with the new record. Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that for the last little while I have been in the middle of a hurricane of hard times and 'If a Band Plays in the Woods...' has been saving my life the way that only a great record that lands at just the right moment is able to. After nine years, the timing is impeccable.
I couldn't say no to any PJR contraband you might decide to send my way. That is monumentally kind of you. My mailing address is:
XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX
Again, thank you so much for everything. Especially 'The Bus Stop Song', dammit, some days I don't know what I'd do without it. If that sounds superlative, it is no less sincere.
Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 16, 2010 9:57:28 GMT -8
The Gerbils - The Battle of Electricity
If I sat down with my stack of Elephant 6 CDs I'd have material for this column for at least a month. Some of those discs - some of my favorite ones, honestly - are kind of unlistenable. The first wave of E6 bands generally fell somewhere between the lines established by the frequently wanky sound collages of Olivia Tremor Control and the shiny fuzz of the Apples in Stereo. But by 2000 or so, it seems anyone who lived in Georgia or any of its bordering states and who owned a 4-track recorder became ancillary members of the 'collective'. We started to get bands like Beulah and Boom Box 2000, who didn't really have any formal connection to the original crew beyond probably having smoked a bowl with them at one point.
Probably the best music to come out of this period is the result of a series of loose collaborations between the initial group of musicians who formed the collective, including members of Neutral Milk Hotel and of Montreal. The Gerbils actually share two of its members with NMH - Scott Spillane and drummer Jeremy Barnes join John D'Azzo and guitarist Will Westbrook to record The Gerbils' second and final record, 'The Battle of Electricity'.
Recorded during the time that Mangum was freaking out and making Bulgarian field recordings and released in 2001, 'The Battle of Electricity' is actually better than most of the records released by E6 prime. The sound collages - which have not aged well on ANY E6 record except for maybe 'On Avery Island' - are kept to a minimum (although not absent entirely). The instruments are probably the same ones that were played on 'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea', minus Julian Koster's singing saw, so the trumpet and the drums will sound very familiar. The vocal harmonies are perfectly balanced and hum deep inside your ear, like the first time you hear the Beach Boys when you're on drugs.
Jeremy Barnes brings some of the ruckus over from NMH, and tracks like 'A Song of Love' and 'Meteoroid From the Sun Strikes a Dead Weirdo' have the same shambling thunder of 'Ghost' or 'Song Against Sex'. If you listen carefully on ballads like 'Are You Underwater?' and 'Lucky Girl', you can pick out backing vocals from a very young Kevin Barnes.
The absolute highlight of this record is 'Lucky Girl', just about as lovely a song as you will ever hear. 'Lucky Girl' is the most frequently played song in my iTunes library, by a margin of several hundred plays. I developed a relationship with it on a particulary wild-eyed acid trip one night, when it pulled me back from the brink of almost going a little bonkers. It keeps the tempo of a hammock swinging in the wind and has the most gorgeous five-part harmony in the chorus. I refuse all forms of prescription medication, especially those for anxiety, so when the anxiety comes - and it does - 'Lucky Girl' is always my first line of defense.
The Elephant 6 way of life is perpetuated these days by Orange Twin, a record label/co-op/hippie commune in Athens. Orange Twin is what happens when the hippies get too old to trip every weekend, and they start trying to find the light in the soil instead of in the sky. The music isn't the same, the feeling is gone, but I like to think there's a little pocket of weirdness down there in the South where people spin this record all the time. It's the best E6 record you've never heard.
I hope Jeff Mangum never comes back to Earth. I hope there's never another NMH record that causes a resurgence of these bands and this kind of music. I say it and I mean it. This shit sounded like music from another time when it was new. I consider 'The Battle of Electricity' to be one of the last gasps of 90's music, of the sincerity and lack of irony that is entirely pre-9/11. I don't miss the music because it's still here; I miss the placidity and the emotional headspace that made it possible for records like this one to rise to the surface because that is gone and it's never coming back. The light, I suppose, is in the soil now.
I couldn't find it on YouTube, but here's 'Lucky Girl':
Copy and paste that link to get there, it doesn't click right. iLike only let's you load a song once and then it'll only give you a 30-second clip, so if you're too lazy and that doesn't work for you then here's 'Are You Underwater?':
Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 17, 2010 9:38:07 GMT -8
Various Artists - The Powerpuff Girls: Heroes and Villains
Some of the greatest music I know came to me through children's television. Tiny Toon Adventures gave me They Might Be Giants when I was eight; The Adventures of Pete & Pete turned me on to Mark Mulcahy (Polaris, Miracle Legion), the Magnetic Fields and the ever-mysterious Nice a couple years later. Harry Nilsson, Joe Raposo, Hocus Pocus Alamagokus!
I didn't make that last one up, although it's not really a band. My point is that my dad always told me not to be a snob about where you take inspiration from. My dad also told me that I couldn't watch Ren & Stimpy because it was 'lowbrow', but I appreciated the sentiment anyway.
I'm too old to have been really into The Powerpuff Girls when they were on Cartoon Network, although I'd seen 'No-Neck Joe' at probably six consecutive years of Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. So I knew the Powerpuff Girls had a pedigree (The Whoop-Ass Girls), and I knew it was much better than almost anything else on children's television at the time. Still I wasn't running out the door to buy the album of 'music inspired by' the series. Until I saw the tracklist.
I wonder how they were able to make this thing come together. Original tracks from DEVO, Frank Black, the Apples in Stereo, Optiganally Yours, the great Swedish pop band Komeda, Shonen Knife, Bill Doss of Olivia Tremor Control, the Sugarplastic and Bis. Songs written ABOUT the Powerpuff Girls, so you know these aren't just spare tracks these bands had lying around.
The record is structured like a little musical episode of the cartoon. DEVO chronicles a surprise attack on Townesville by Mojo Jojo. Frank Black turns in an aggressive, almost biblical song about calling the girls in to save the day. Komeda, Dressy Bessy and Shonen Knife each write a song about one of the girls and Optiganally Yours takes the plum for themselves by writing a song about the clueless, pickle loving Mayor.
So this isn't a half-assed cash-in thing. It tells me two things: Craig McCracken and the people who produced the Powerpuff Girls have great taste, and they also have a lot of respect for their audience. I like to think of all the kids who insisted on their parents bringing this thing home for them and got an instant education in second-wave lo fi. More to the point, ten years later, I like to think of all the eighteen and nineteen year old girls who have been listening to Optiganally Yours and the Sugarplastic since they were eight because of a cartoon.
Ok, so like most records that insert character voices and sound clips between songs, on repeated listenings the shrill voices of the Powerpuffs starts to get old. I can't REALLY complain about that, it is what it is. I never had it this good when I was a kid. The Ren & Stimpy album "You Eediot!" (yeah Dad, I bought it) had some cool spacey jazz on it, but it wans't half as good as this. If I had been in the target demographic for this disc it would have established my taste for me in an instant. As it was, I was shelving CDs at a bookstore and my jaw dropped when I saw Komeda on the tracklist of a children's record (although the thrill wasn't so sweet when they turned up on a Maytag commercial a couple months later).
Linked below is the Sugarplastic's 'Don't Look Down', written from the point of view of Professor Utonium, the Girls' father. The trampoline beat, the rubberband guitars, the almost-too-clever lyrics... Clearly they're aiming for the same part of the brain that the Tiny Toons were when they had Plucky Duck and Hamton Pig sing 'Particle Man'. This album was made with love and it shows. It's weird that there is a really fantastic record full of great songs that just happen to be about the Powerpuff Girls, but well there ya go. TMBG work for The Mouse now. Life's weird.
Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 18, 2010 9:27:36 GMT -8
Self - Gizmodgery
Matt Mahaffey of Self is another one of the true unsung heroes of pop music, like Peter Katis of the Philistines Jr or the great Jon Brion. His technical ability as a musician and a producer overshadows his songwriting so much that it is almost completely ignored. His skills pay the proverbial bills, and you've all crossed paths with his work at one point I'm sure: if you saw Beck on tour in the last ten years, there's a good chance Mahaffey was his guitarist (the guy with the bandana over his face, bandit-style). If not, you may also remember the old Yahoo! jingle (the one with the yodeling), or maybe the Jumbone commerical...
Fate has conspired to keep Matt Mahaffey a secret. For one thing, he named his band 'Self'. Try to Google it, and good luck. For another thing, as happened with lots of great bands in the 90's (eels, Gomez, Morphine) he had the misfortune of being signed to Dreamworks records, which was a sinking ship during the entire span of its existence. Then, once he extracted himself from the rubble of that train wreck, poised with a new album to take another swing at success, his brother Mike Mahaffey - who was also his guitarist - died.
Bad run. 'Gizmodgery' is Self's fifth album, and it's so cool it doesn't seem like the question of his success should have been up in the air so long. It was recorded using entirely children's toy instruments. The drums, the guitars, the little battery-powered keyboards and tin xylophones. The See-and-Say. It really speaks to Mahaffey's technical abilities in the studio that he can take all of these chintzy little sounds and sew them together into something so bombastic.
Prince is a heavy influence, and he's not afraid to show it. Prince is an alien, and the way his style has filtered down through the two generations since his heyday is really interesting to track. The body of a black person is the one that the Prince-alien selected, but 'soul' isn't something that comes naturally to him. It's manufactured and synthesized out of pure determination. A cover of the Doobie Brothers' "What a Fool Believes", played with keyboards that probably have multi-colored keys, is at least as legitimate as the original.
This is the time when "alternative rock" was just starting to mutate into the many-faced beast that we call "indie rock" today. This was around the time that we started to have to use hyphens to tell the Strokes apart from Interpol. So there's still a fair amount of FM radio and the MTV Buzz Bin rattling around in there. The same guitar distortion that EVERYBODY used after Bush's "Glycerine" until everyone got all somber and only wanted to listen to Iron & Wine and Elliott Smith for a couple years is all over these tracks.
Self is kind of like that scene in 'High Fidelity' where John Cusack says, "I will now sell five copies of 'The Three EPs' by the Beta Band" and then puts on 'Dry the Rain'. Immediately someone asks, "Who is this?". "It's the Beta Band." "It's really good!" "I know." If you spin some Self in a room full of people, some part of it is going to appeal to someone. The lyrics are dreadfully clever, his voice makes you take notice, the production is deep and varied and interesting. Check out 'Trunk Fulla Amps' for the full Self experience in under four minutes.
Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 18, 2010 10:58:28 GMT -8
Thanks Brad. It's great for me because I'm taking the time to revisit some of the classic staples of my collection that, in some instances, I haven't heard for a little while. It's a prolonged journey down memory lane/acid flashback.
Plus the two things that really get me off in life are getting people high and introducing people to new music. Win/win.
Post by Horned Gramma on Nov 18, 2010 17:05:28 GMT -8
An interesting footnote to the Philistines Jr record that I forgot to mention:
Indie-pop band Philistines Jr. is set to release If a Band Plays in the Woods…?. on Oct. 19, their first release in nine years. Frontman Peter Katis, a producer by day for indie bands such as Interpol and the National, recruited some indie friends for a second companion album, If a Lot of Bands Play in the Woods…?. Expected out this winter, the album will feature remixes and covers by the National, Jonsi (of Sigur Ros), Tapes n’ Tapes, Tokyo Police Club, Oneida, Mercury Rev, Mice Parade, Kissaway Trail, Mates of State, Jukebox the Ghost, Guster, Mommyheads, Tjeerd Bomhof /Dazzled Kid, and Locas in Love, among others.