Boris' Golden Dance Classics

Posted by Kells, September 12, 2009 01:32pm | Post a Comment

New Boris vinyl. Some of you are drooling at those words and others are heaving a sigh and moving on. The good news is that it's in the store now, stocked in quantity and cheap! The bad news is that there is no bad news unless you think the title Golden Dance Classics bodes ill, and for some of you it will. The A-side consists of two dance-perfect, disco/electronica trips courtesy of 9dw (the artist who initiated this release as a result of their fifteen year friendship with Boris) and the B-side: two new songs from Boris that check into a crossover grey area wherein some decidedly experimental compositions mix loose, simplified electro dance rhythms with Boris' signature guitar-bloodletting, wall of sound hugeness. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it --- I'm pleased to say I like it very much!

If you're afraid to try it, never fear, Boris will be releasing the first in a set of three sequential picture disc 7" records full of new "heavy" works on Southern Lord by month's end (the other two following in October and December) which ought to pack at least one fog-bomb tremblor for all the droners to nod off to (personally I cannot wait to hear the track "Heavy Metal Addict" slated to appear on the October release --- now that is a song I've been supporting 200% since I was thirteen years old). In the meantime, if you're into that pesky "allkindsamusic" genre, which is what happens to most folks who find themselves working in any branch of the music business for any length of time, you'll probably dig on this quirky split from Catune records. 

And if you're attending the very special Flaming Lips curated Boris performance of their outstanding 2003 album Feedbacker in its entirety this Sunday at ATP New York 2009, just pour a little out on the floor for me, mmmkay. Thanks.

Mt Egypt Interview - His New Album III Is Out Now

Posted by Miss Ess, May 13, 2009 04:58pm | Post a Comment
Travis Graves is the one and only member of the musical act known as Mt. Egypt. His latest album, III, is out now on vinyl only from Secret Seven Records and available at Amoeba. Airy, cyclical and sweet, nature seems to surround the album. Its acoustic songs are confessional and simultaneously sunny- sounding. The record kinda makes me want to go to the beach but maybe for a good cry down near the crashing surf. Mt. Egypt's music has beautiful harmonies and gorgeous moments of sonic intensity. This all seems strange perhaps, coming from a formerly sponsored skateboarder who mostly listens to hip hop, but welcome to the enigma that is Mt. Egypt -- read on for more about what makes Travis tick, how his new record III came to be and also his brushes with greatness, including tours with Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson, Cat Power and even...The Osbournes!

Album artwork by Justin Limoges

Where does the name Mt Egypt come from?

Travis: The name Mt. Egypt came from an area in rural North Carolina out by my father’s house. It’s an homage to him, his songwriting and to spending long periods in the wilderness with little to no human contact.

When did you pick up the guitar?

Travis: My old man got me playing guitar when I was 12 or 13.

How did you start writing songs?

Travis: By the swimming pool – summer camp, Maryland – right before the lockers [literally] fell on my forehead. I was six or seven…

What musicians' posters did you have on your walls growing up?

Travis: I only ever had skateboarding posters on my wall.

What albums or artists do you like to skateboard to?

Travis: I don’t skateboard to any music, but what gets me hyped to skate right now: 1) E-40The Ball Street Journal 2) The first Wu-Tang 3) NasUntitled.

What was the album that really sparked your interest in music when you were growing up?

Travis: Will Oldham’s music made Mt. Egypt happen. I was 18. In particular, “Oh How I Enjoy the Light” from the album Lost Blues [& Other Songs].

What was the first live show you ever went to?

Travis: REM with my mom circa ’87.

I know you have toured with artists like Willie Nelson, Band of Horses, Flaming Lips and Cat Power...Please share some stories about these artists' idiosyncrasies that you learned from touring with them!

Travis: Willie Nelson smells good. Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses can knock you out. Wayne Coyne is a sweet, thoughtful man. Chan Marshall is a reminder of how strong women are.

What was the Flaming Lips' tour bus like?

Travis: Being on the Flaming Lips’ bus made me realize how much better vans are…I get motion sickness in buses…puke…

How did you end up touring with Willie Nelson and what was it like?

Travis: Miss Caitlin Crowell [Rodney Crowell and Roseanne Cash’s daughter who worked for Record Collection, Mt Egypt’s last label] hooked up the Willie tour. I was frazzled, but it made my grandpa proud.

Who produced this album and what was your concept for its sound?

Travis: Blake Mills produced this record…no concept, just song by song.

What was the process of making the record like? Where was it recorded and how was the experience of committing your songs to tape?

Travis: This record is all pro-tools. I’m glad these ghosts finally have a home. It was recorded at Zeitgeist Studios [in Los Angeles] by Sean V. with ghost dog Tony Berg.

A little bird told me you were on The Osbournes?! How did that come about and what was the
experience like?

Travis: The Dillman [pro skateboarder Jason Dill] brought my friend Nicki and I over there. It was like being at the circus. I didn’t talk to anyone really…watched the little dogs hump each other though.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

Travis: All musical pleasure with no guilt, I must say.

What have you been listening to lately?

Travis: Nas, Nastradamus; The Game, LAX; and 105.9 in LA.

What is next for you once the record comes out?

Travis: Just keep working at my day job, skateboard whenever it feels appropriate, eat food, drink water, coffee, kombucha, listen to the rain and frogs all night. Go to Greg’s wedding…

What has been your best find at Amoeba over the years?

Travis: [Employee] Gregory Todd -- “Make new friends and keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

Mt. Egypt - Perspectives from MIKE PISCITELLI on Vimeo.

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Zaireeka listening party!

Posted by Kells, February 11, 2009 03:09pm | Post a Comment

 Trolling around on the internet looking for choice nuggets of info on the Flaming Lips' Zaireeka, a four CD set which prompts listeners to play all four discs simultaneously with meticulous attention paid to track numbers and accompanying instructions, I came across a really awful review from respectable online music publication. Now, Zaireeka comes with a fat warning label on the front that is unique to its creation in that it is not a parental advisory sticker or, in the case of Guitar Wolf's Jet Generation, a label suggesting that your speakers might blow when played at normal volume levels (Jet Generation is, or at least was at the time of its release, the loudest album ever recorded), but a simple statement that attempts to convey the lengths one must go to merely try to listen to the thing properly-- that is to say, the way the Flaming Lips intend for their audience to hear it. I, for one, like to think of the act of listening to music as an effortless pleasure that requires little more than pressing 'play.' The thought of puzzling out four walls of sound via four audio components, for me, is tired from the get go. I guess I could spread out on my bedroom floor with four boom boxes all loaded with all four Zaireeka discs at finger's and toe's length, but I own only one boom box and I don't think I'm coordinated enough to seriously consider contorting my free time just to check out a silly little alt-rainbow-rock record made in 1997. Anyone can see how an album like Zaireeka may be doomed to less-than-stellar reviews from folks who frankly can't be bothered to give a damn about properly experiencing it, folks who don't have friends (and the necessary extra boom boxes) who unconditionally love music.

And so Zaireeka had always been a blasé "whatever" for me until recently when one of my most esteemed co-workers asked me over for a Zaireeka listening party. He invited me with the assurance that it was going to be great, after all he had already hosted many Zaireeka parties in the past and claimed that the best thing about it was that it is a singular sound experience as it never, ever sounds the same twice. I must admit that had any other person alerted me to participate in such an event I probably would've declined the invitation. This particular person, however, I hold in high regard for many reasons: too many to disclose here. His taste in music, as far as I understand, knows no prejudice and it is as as broad in scope as it is epic in depth. A master musician/DJ/actor/cosmic innovator, his repertoire has given many at Amoeba cause to regard him as a talent that is more than a little bit legendary and less than absolutely mysterious. Meeting friends at his place to do the Zaireeka thing proper was an offer I simply could not refuse. Not everyone has a musical guru to escort them through the lesser travelled waters of musical innovation, but here are a few tips for enjoying Zaireeka:

1. Get your people and equipment together. Four CDs means four CD players and four people to man and synch them. The set up at the party I attended consisted of one boom box, one stereo component, one computer CD drive with speakers attached and one portable CD player coupled with a small amp -- one in each corner of the room.

2. Get your den together. The listening party we enjoyed resembled a one of those pleasure paintings of an off duty harem and rightly so. Plenty of snacks, big jugs of wine and varied sorts of creature comforts any music nerd might wish for. Plus, pillows and cushions strewn about the room to afford maximum relaxation in the middle of the speaker set up so that those who would, could drift away in a vortex of Zaireeka sound. 

3. Be patient. Zaireeka must be synched track by track thus requiring those who man the CDs to re-collaborate their efforts after each song-- hence the statement "Zaireeka never sounds the same twice."

4. Give your inner critic the night off. There is no need to steel oneself against any preconceived ideas of Zaireeka being an awful wreck of pretentious crap, as the album itself is essentially an experimental work worth any music-lovers' inquisitive bite. 

Zaireeka is immensely enjoyable and a great banner to rally friends under for the specific purpose of gathering to enjoy music together -- a pastime that should be enjoyed more frequently. Anyone who writes off the Flaming Lips for this wondrous, technically involved endeavor, and their fans for eating it up, should embrace the comfort of their niche interests in music and refrain from pooing on others for foraging further afield. After all, record store clerks aren't always gazing down from on high in aloof indifference these days, and I suspect that music reviewers can no longer afford to. 

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