From bradleys almanac
The New Pornographers provided their mailing list subscribers with a first taste of the Neko Case-designed artwork for their next album, "Challengers", which arrives August 21st on Matador. Here it is...
According to the band, mixing is "...underway at the moment, and going better than expected!", and they note that while it's not the final version of the album art, it will be what appears on a limited edition screened poster that they're selling at their summer shows. Even better: Every print has a special code on it that, when emailed to the band, will score you a free mailed copy of "Challengers" when it comes out. Any Coachella-goers wanna pick me up one of 'em?
Frog Eyes - Tears of the Valedictorian
[Absolutely Kosher; 2007]
Why is this valedictorian crying? For the classmates he's leaving behind? For that van full of kids who drove drunk into the storm ditch after prom? No, if the speaker is Carey Mercer, who fronts Victoria, B.C.'s Frog Eyes, he's bawling because he's supposed to be an adult now.Frog Eyes have been a band more namechecked than listened to, thanks to now-and-then keyboardist Spencer Krug's other groups (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown), and Mercer's collaboration last year with Krug and Dan Bejar of Destroyer under the guise of Swan Lake. While Mercer shares his friends' elliptical and bombastic, he's at once more of an orator and more of a synesthesist, working with smears and splatters more than melodies, and bringing his own fixations.Tears of the Valedictorian is Frog Eyes' first substantial advance since 2003's The Golden River, which was a fanciful songcycle on a backdrop of ecological anxiety. The Folded Palm (2004) approximated the frenzy of their shows, but at the expense of the songs. The intervening mini-albums were pleasant small-scale studies. Valedictorian again mobilizes the band's full palette-- Mercer's wife Melanie Campbell's stomping drums and flat stutter cymbals, Krug's keyboards switching from crosshatch shadows to radiant showers, Michael Rak's grounding bass, Mercer's and McCloud Zicmuse's light-seeking insect guitars and, always, Mercer's gibbering, his croon, his grumbles, his yodeling yip.Mercer stands in the lineage of rock frontman as half-carnival-barker, half-gnostic-preacher that Greil Marcus describes as the "crank prophet," from Screamin' Jay Hawkins through Arthur Lee of Love, Captain Beefheart, David Thomas of Pere Ubu, Tom Waits, and the Pixies' Frank Black. But Frog Eyes' sound owes more to early Roxy Music-- music that filtered out blues in favor of high modernism-- as well as advertising jingles and John Philip Sousa. In keeping with Victoria's Brit-dominated demographics, it also recalls English music hall, though the hall is on a riverboat and the river on fire.Mercer's preoccupation here seems to be masculinity, as it often has been in rock, the music of boys coming of age. But unlike Mick Jagger or Bruce Springsteen (whose trace, as so often these days, shows up here in some surprising runs of piano fills and exhortations), Mercer is stalking the heath of manhood's ruination. He turns over artifacts of Romanticism like an anthropologist on a dig, sketching out the landscape and puzzling over how these dick-swinging ancients survived. His yowls are the cry of somebody waking up from history with a hangover-- "he was what the Poor call the Maimed," he sings-- as its dreams disperse over the horizon of legibility.I don't mean to make Mercer sound like a nostalgist. His voice is nothing if not urgently present, struggling to pull his warring selves into some workable here and now. He invokes patriarchs just to dispose of them, from the "Roman ambassador" who is "torn apart by plaster and reassembled after" in the opener, "Idle Songs," to the "druken and besotted father figure" who's pushed out to sea on an ice floe in "Evil Energy, the Ill Twin of..." They stand between Mercer and a longed-for future in which the masculine spirit somehow gets sane and whole. Meanwhile, touchingly, that bad dad out on the ice "trembles and he trembles and he puts his heart on tremble."Mercer breaks from the crank-prophet line in that he wants to defeat his solipsism, to hack his way out of the thicket of male ghosts and build relationships-- with nature, lovers, family, his band and the listener. This album is peppered with references to himself as singer, from the epic second track "Caravan Breakers, They Prey on the Weak and the Old" ("I bet you are sick of hearing songs about the trail") to the entrancing near-closer "Bushels", which assures "there's a colony in song" and ends on the simple statement, "I was a singer and I sang in your home." In between comes "The Policy Merchant, the Silver Bay", an acoustic, falsetto-sung ballad in which he teases, "Mercer is a merchant, a policy merchant/ He calls himself urgent!/ He gathers all of the urchins up in their tearaways/ He gathers them into his palm and then he sings 'Another Day.'"These wry acknowledgments feel especially gracious from a singer who is so under siege by sound and by the unending, unpredictable demands of all the voices of past and future birthing and dying in his gullet. But that's what Frog Eyes achieves here, not just in the songwriting but in the band's new dynamic range and precision-- for the first time, there's space in their hermetic universe for the rest of us. It's graduation day.Reviewed by - Carl Wilson, May 03, 2007
Check out the new Architecture in Helsinki-videohttp://blog.eardrumsmusic.com
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! did a serious sat. radio seshSatan Said Dance (Acoustic)