Polvo Reforming... Even More

So you may have already heard... Explosions In The Sky is curating the upcoming All Tomorrow's Parties, to take place a month from now. They were asked who they wanted to be on their bill, and from what I've read it what almost an off-the-cuff joke when they suggested Polvo, who had been broken up for ten years and showed no signs of reunion. It's a shame Polvo's torch hasn't been carried nearly a tenth as brightly as their contemporaries The Pixies and Pavement, so who could blame the guys in EITSky for trying. Well, apparently that suggestion was all it took to get the ball rolling, Ash Bowie and most of the guys were up for it, and they were booked. What started as a couple of warm-up shows and the ATP gig itself has now expanded into a few more additional shows, and in Bowie's recent interview with Pitchfork, looks to be gearing up for maybe an album (full tour?). So if you see older music geeks giddy with excitement over the next few weeks, a big Polvo reformation may be why. I saw them once around '94, maybe '95, opening for Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 in Austin, I think at Liberty Lunch (RIP) if I'm not mistaken. You don't realize how monumental some of those memories will become when you're experiencing them. I'll never forget witnessing the sheer beautiful dissonant weirdness coming from Ash Bowie's guitar, and I'm giddy myself thinking about seeing it again. Please come play Austin again.

I've read a few reviews online of the following Polvo performance, it's probably their most essential live recording, if not concert. Not soundboard, but the content outweighs my other Polvo live recordings. It takes place in their Chapel Hill hometown area, at Merge Records' fifth anniversary party. I've seen it called a couple of things, especially Mergefest, but since I can't be sure I'll just call it the fifth anniversary party. Inspired covers and a couple of rare Polvo tracks mark this essential piece of indie rock history.



If you don't have any Polvo, I would probably start with Exploded Drawing, then Today's Active Lifestyles. Most of Polvo's discography is available at Merge, often with the choice of mp3, flac, or CD.

And here are the confirmed upcoming Polvo shows:

May 9 Washington, DC - Black Cat
May 10 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
May 16-18 Minehead, England - Butlins Holiday Resort (Explosions in the Sky All Tomorrow's Parties)
May 29-31 Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival (ATP stage)
June 20 Cambridge, MA - Middle East
June 21 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
June 25 Chicago, IL - Subterranean


SXSW Audio - Breeders, Holy Fuck, MGMT

I've finally got my hands on the two SXSW performances I saw which were broadcast by KEXP (Seattle) from the Austin City Limits studio - The Breeders and Holy Fuck, as well as a couple of songs broadcast in the UK of a MGMT set.

The Breeders
2008-3-14 SXSW @ACL studio, KEXP

Bang On
Walk It Off
Here No More


Holy Fuck
2008-3-14 SXSW @ACL studio, KEXP

Tone Bank Jungle
false start
Lovely Allen
Royal Gregory


2008-3-13 SXSW @ Rio, BBC

Electric Feel
Time To Pretend

Thanks to Dime user bpshell for recording and uploading the Breeders and Holy Fuck, and PontiacB for the MGMT. All three of these sets can still be found in high lossless quality at DimeADozen. And yes, I'm the dumbass who had to yell "Holy Fuck" and test the seven-second delay button. It worked.


Big Dipper Reunion

Back in the late 80's I was getting most of my music from MTV's 120 Minutes (when it was good), recording each week two hours of videos not usually seen at any other time on MTV. Stuff that seems essential now like the Pixies and the Stone Roses could usually only be discovered for those two hours, most often on Sunday nights. One video and song that I always loved was "Faith Healer" from Big Dipper, I played that VHS video scores of times before finally hearing the LP. I remember scouring the new and used "cassette" stores (cuz that's what they were) trying to find a copy of Big Dipper's Heavens (Plus Boo Boo), which I later learned was an album called Heaven with the previous EP Boo Boo tacked on the end, which ended up kicking the ass of most everything else around at the time. It is pure 80's power-pop, and as I listen again its lack of gaudiness and pure inventive rock has let it age quite well. A cursory google search will show you Big Dipper is regarded often as one of the best bands of the 80's, and even more often as one of the "top 10 bands from Boston of all time". And they are reuniting for three shows in a couple of weeks:

04.24.2008 - Hoboken NJ @ Maxwell's
04.25.2008 - Brooklyn NY @ Southpaw
04.26.2008 - Cambridge MA @ Middle East Downstairs

Don't miss this rare chance to see real 80's legends, I wouldn't if I was on the East Coast. Big Dipper's Merge page also shows the track listing for the just-released Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology - 3 CD Set, available direct from Merge on mp3, flac, or CD.

And Merge also has another track from Heavens (and the anthology) called "She's Fetching" for mp3 download at the BD Merge page, and other notes about the upcoming reunion. And here's the video for "Faith healer", too, kind of low sound, but something just great about it that still gets me even on what must be my 50th viewing of it:


Fashion and Suicide

So somebody asked me to come up with three songs to use in a fashion show. I was told it was for "hip and contemporary" clothes. There was a committee that was doing the music, and they were having trouble coming up with music for this part of the show, and so this person took my three choices to them. My choices were all immediately and summarily dismissed. Eventually the first song was reconsidered and will be used, but I'm still a little taken back. Have I lost it? I thought for sure that each of these three songs would be perfect, what I would expect to hear at New York Fashion Week. I think they are, actually, and these people just didn't realize it. Or maybe they didn't want that. I don't even necessarily love MGMT, but I don't see how it wouldn't be perfect for this, how on first listen somebody wouldn't go "yeah, that's exactly the sound we're looking for." I think I'm right and these three songs would have been perfect:

About that last song: When I saw Spectrum (Sonic Boom) do a one-man audio mind-melting at the Mohawk a couple months back, he opened with this song. I wasn't familiar with it, and after a long google and soulseek search found him doing it as Sonic Boom with a band called Fuxa. I also learned it was a cover from a band called Suicide. For me, another one of those names I've heard, and finally get around to listening to, and realize I've been wasting a lot of time not listening to them. They are like Can: you listen and can't believe this shit is coming from the 70's. You can immediately sense the influence to Spacemen 3 and Stereolab and other 80's and 90's electro-trance pioneers and a whole host of other bands like Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream. When I read the Allmusic band overview, I realized the true unheralded weight of their genius. Two guys, basically a keyboard and a microphone, creating more dissonance than most punk bands of their era, out on their own making spooky electro music way before it was cool. Heather Phares' Allmusic review of their essential 1977 First Album says about the following song: "one of the most harrowing songs ever recorded. A ten-minute descent into the soul-crushing existence of a young factory worker."

And here is that cover of "Girl":