Tag Archives: Califone

New Tara Jane O’Neil video: Blow

I have no idea what is going on in this video from Tara Jane O’Neil but it’s vaguely cult-ish and I am fascinated by cults so…

It’s also a lovely, whispy song. From her self-titled ninth album, “Blow” is a bit of a musical meditation. I’m told she’s hypnotic live and lucky for you and me she’s on tour right now. Check her out.

Tara Jane O’Neil is out now on Gnomonsong Records.

Continue reading New Tara Jane O’Neil video: Blow

Superchunk at Taste of Randolph Street

Superchunk in ChicagoWhat better way to celebrate Father’s Day than to leave your kid with a babysitter and head down to a street festival to see Superchunk? That’s as good as it gets, as far as I’m concerned. And by the looks of the crowd last night on Randolph Street, there are plenty of other dads who would agree with me.

Streets fairs are a summer ritual in Chicago, happening every weekend in neighborhoods across the city, but most of them feature the same crappy vendors and the same bland cover bands. You still go, of course, because it’s summer in Chicago, and it feels great to finally be warm and to walk down the middle of the street with a $5 plastic cup of Miller Lite. But Randolph Street boasts some of the best restaurants in town, and whoever books the entertainment for the event knows what they’re doing. Last year’s Taste featured the Posies, Tinted Windows, and the Hold Steady. Several years ago I saw Evan Dando (with Juliana Hatfield!) there.

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New Califone video: Funeral Singers

Video: Califone – “Funeral Singers”

New video from Califone featuring footage from All My Friends Are Funeral Singers, the feature film that Tim Rutili wrote and directed. Starring Angela Bettis. It’s a cool acoustic song. Not sure about the Moonies up in the attic with the goofy wallpaper though…

The album’s out now on Dead Oceans.

MP3: Califone – “Funeral Singers”

Califone: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Continue reading New Califone video: Funeral Singers

Fun with Forkcast, Round 17

Pitchfork: ForkcastWe’ve been spending a lot of time listening to 40-year-old music lately, but that doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to new stuff. The fine folks at the Fork have been uncovering all kinds of new music for you to check out. Here’s our latest roundup of the good stuff that Pitchfork has given up recently on their Forkcast:

Radiohead: “These Are My Twisted Words”

Circulatory System: “Round Again”

Califone: “Funeral Singers”

The xx: “Do You Mind” (Kyla cover)

More fun after the jump…

Continue reading Fun with Forkcast, Round 17

Califone: Strike Up the Band

The Return of Califone: “We’ll have a couple years where we make a bunch of records and do a bunch of tours, and then we’ll lay low for a while. That seems to be the rhythm of Califone.” Roots & Crowns is due in October.

Califone – Heron King Blues

CalifoneHeron King Blues (Thrilljockey)

Heron King Blues is the most chaotic of Califone’s studio releases, and though they share the same cavern in Rutili’s memory, this album maps something entirely new for the band and for rock music. It has been likened to the band’s two live releases Deceleration I and Deceleration II: soundtracks composed and performed live with a feature film, or improvised alongside film loops. These live recordings prove how daring the band is, but they are not for the weak of heart—and certainly not for the weak of heart who, on a whim, decides to play the CD (especially Deceleration II) while driving alone at 3AM—or for listeners unwilling to be a little scared.

While some of the album is a result of in-studio experimentation, improvisation, and jigsaw-like puzzle-piecing, the songs on Heron King Blues are complete—not just half the presentation. Rutili’s lyrics provide the wholeness that the Deceleration releases leave for the imagination. His voice and images easily substitute for what’s lost when listening to the movie soundtracks without a projector in the back, flaring.

In “Lion and Bee,” Rutili sings in quiet, enigmatic intricacy: “Beggars breathe / all one lung / all one engine choir / looking lost / and left undone by the riverbed / sending off winter.” The song ends with Wil Hendricks’ fading organ. “Two Sisters Drunk on Each Other” is vastly different. It begins with a drumbeat like Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” that sends the speaker reeling, a funky piece of the nightmare.

Only Califone’s previous listeners will admit they’ve heard anything like this before, but these same fans will no doubt admit that Heron King Blues is altogether new and unheard-of. New listeners are in for the greater surprise, but should beware: it’s the kind that leaps from behind a corner squawking like the a heron and laughing as the victim collapses to the floor, curled in the fetal position.

Various Artists – The Amos House Collection, Volume III

Various Artists – The Amos House Collection, Volume III (Wishing Tree Records)

A house is a place where people escape rain and snow, where parents raise babies, and sometimes where musicians record. Some people own their houses, some live in others’ houses, some live in condemned houses, and some have no houses, by choice—but more often ill fortune.

Guilt is a powerful tool. However, a tool even more powerful than guilt is the knowledge that someone is already fighting pain in one way or another, with no personal gain in mind, and no fear of sacrifice. Here, even those with no idea where to begin need only make an easy decision: buy one hell of a collection—two compact discs with a surprisingly consistent lineup—and simultaneously help some lost Providence, Rhode Island residents.

Similarly, anyone interested in beginning a rewarding search for new music can turn to this collection. Even set aside the fact that twenty groups contributed new or previously unreleased songs with a selfless goal in mind. Volume III is basically a list of lower-profile musicians who write songs more skillfully than nearly everyone in the mainstream.

Wishing Tree’s own elf-ish lady, Emily Sparks, immediately steps back from the rest of the set’s philanthropic feel with her song, “Find Your Own Fire,” and although it is gripping and well-realized, her first words “Find your own fire / Stop playin’ with mine” seem to imply the kind of selfishness found in the streets and among people with little or nothing to share.

Skipping tracks is basically unnecessary on this collection. Spoon‘s acoustic, energetic “Jonathan Fisk (Demo)” complements Sparks’ uniqueness, A quiet track from another Wishing Tree artist, Richard Davies, is similarly different, and a medieval-sounding track from British folk hero James William Hindle follows perfectly.

The mood picks up with Wheat‘s “Long Shadow, USA—Wheat vs. Tim Rutili,” (recorded in Califone-friendly Clava Studios and mixed by indie superman Brian Deck) in which Scott Levesque’s “Come on, come on, come on,” challenges and comes head-to-head with T.R.’s crushing, explosive guitar. An epic battle ensues, and in the dust clouds that follow, amazed listeners witness Rutili’s victory celebration, as he leads Califone in an intense rendition of the Stones’ “Ventilator Blues.”

The second disc is just as good, and even boasts a sorrow-drenched track by Wilco called “Let Me Come Home.” In all, The Amos House Collection, Volume III is near-perfect in its lineup, contribution, and message.

Truly, this collection invokes a multiplier effect: although charity alone should leave buyers with a kind of satisfaction, the music is equally rewarding. Each listen brings new appreciation for what’s hidden in the independent underground—certainly, whatever the mainstream is, this is something entirely new and different, and reinforces the notion that rock and roll will never die. Just as the charity helps to jumpstart some near-lost lives, this collection brings new sparks to rock and roll.

Turn Away from the Light: Califone Contest Results

Tim Rutili, songwriter and singer for Califone wanted to know how close you’ve come to the light. So we asked you to tell us about your closest near death experience and the best story wins a copy of Califone’s new album, Quicksand / Cradlesnakes. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Here is the winning entry.

October 1991. Aragon Ballroom. Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili

Peppers. Mosh pit. Suddenly, the crush gets a little too much and I’m stuck

about two layers of people behind the gate in front of the stage. I can’t

move. I feel a bit light headed. I pass out. After an undetermined amount of

time, I come to in the space between the gate and the stage, staring directly at

Anthony Kiedes’crotch. I dust myself off only to find a boot print square in

the middle of my chest and a lot large bruises on my lower legs. All signs of a

good show I guess.

Susan will receive a copy of Califone’s new album. And here are some of the runners up…

Continue reading Turn Away from the Light: Califone Contest Results