MICHAEL GIRA/ YGR NEWSLETTER MARCH 2005
- Created on Saturday, 26 February 2011 22:01
Our website has been inactive for several months now, but itÂ’s now back up in a more manageable form. Ted, our web master has been working steadily (as time permits, between his something like 3 full time jobs!) on upgrading Â– a lot of behind the scenes stuff that makes it more reliable and easier to use. We were forced to shut down commerce for a while, since our shopping cart system had become a complete nightmare to deal with. I pack up all the orders here and send them out myself, and just navigating its haphazard juggling of orders Â– out of sequence, or sometimes not arriving at my email at all Â– became a full time job. I still have to make my own music (!) as well as run the label with my cohort Kerstin, so we decided to close it down until we could come up with a better system. ItÂ’s fixed now, completely secure and reliable, so orders around here will resume as of March 15.
HereÂ’s whatÂ’s new or coming soon:
The Angels of Light Â– The Angels of Light Sing Â‘Other PeopleÂ’. This is a new collection of my songs, utilizing my talented young friends of the band Akron/Family as my backing musicians, as well as a few other friends. Read about it here. You can of course listen to sound samples of it at this link, and MP3s will be available for download as well very soon. I hope you find something to enjoy in it!
Â….(note: we are working on getting all music on YGR available for MP3 downloadÂ…coming soon, coming soon)Â…
Akron/Family Â– debut album. These young fellows are just plain fantastic. I co-produced this album with them, and the experience was so enthralling that I then solicited their services as musicians in Angels of Light. Read about them here, listen to sound bites, download MP3s etc..
Since completing this album a few months ago they have developed even further, into a raging, ecstatic beast. DO NOT MISS THEM PERFORM LIVE. They manage to be innovative, experimental, highly developed musically, with astounding, calamitous moments as well as spine tingling vocal harmonies Â– alternately delicate and like a turbine engine of sound advancing across the tundra of your helpless mind. Ha ha! Anyway, they are highly, highly entertaining, is I guess, my point. Forgive my hyperboleÂ…
SPECIAL NOTE:Angels of Light (with Akron/Family as my backing band) and Akron/Family are playing a record release show at Tonic here in New York City (http://www.tonicnyc.com ) on Friday, March 11. Tickets are $12. THE FIRST 50 PAYING CUSTOMERS THAT ARRIVE AT DOOR WILL RECEIVE ONE FREE AKRON/FAMILY CD AND ONE FREE ANGELS OF LIGHT CD. This show is also a benefit for Tonic (ie we are passing on all proceeds to them). Tonic is simply the best small-scale music venue remaining in NYC. Zero attitude from the staff, no smarmy Â“Rock/Music BizÂ” atmosphere Â– a very low key and comfortable place to hear live music, and a highly eclectic booking policy that includes everything from Improvised Music to New Folk (Devendra got his start here) to Electronic Music to forward-leaning rock-related music. They have suffered from the horrific rent increases that have managed to drive just about anything and everyone of interest out of Manhattan these days. PLEASE get out to one of their benefits listed at their website http://www.tonicnyc.com and support this incredibly vital, last-stand venue! If you can afford it, make a donation at their website! They MUST survive.
Angels of Light and Akron/Family Tour April/May 2005:
We are in rehearsals now for this tour. We hope to see you there.
Here are the tour dates:
Tue, Apr 12, 2005 Allston MA Great Scotts
Wed, Apr 13, 2005 Montreal Qbc La Sala Rosa
Thu, Apr 14, 2005 Toronto Ont Music Gallery at St. George the Martyr Church
Fri, Apr 15, 2005 Cleveland OH Beachland Ballroom
Sat, Apr 16, 2005 Chicago IL Subterranean
Tue, Apr 19, 2005 Milwaukee WI Points East
Wed, Apr 20, 2005 Minneapolis MN Triple Rock Social Club
Tue, Apr 26, 2005 Portland OR Berbatis Pan
Wed, Apr 27, 2005 Seattle WA Tractor Tavern
Sat, Apr 30, 2005 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
Tue, May 3, 2005 Hollywood CA Barnsdall Gallery Theater
Fri, May 6, 2005 Tucson AZ Plush
Sat, May 7, 2005 Albuquerque NM L'AUNCH PAD
Mon, May 9, 2005 Austin TX EmoÂ¹s Inside Room
Tue, May 10, 2005 Dallas TX Gypsy Tea Room
Wed, May 11, 2005 Houston TX Orange Show Center for Visionary Arts
Fri, May 13, 2005 New Orleans LA One Eyed Jacks
Sat, May 14, 2005 Atlanta GA E.A.R.L.
Mon, May 16, 2005 Winston-Salem NC Project Space 211
Tue, May 17, 2005 Arlington VA Iota Cafe
Wed, May 18, 2005 Baltimore MD Otto Bar
Thu, May 19, 2005 Philadelphia PA The Khyber
Fri, May 20, 2005 Brooklyn NY North Six Club
Thu 26th May London, UK U.L.U.
Fri 27th May Paris, France- CafÃ© de la Danse
Sat 28th May Brussels, Belgium- AB Club
Sun 29th May The Hague, Netherlands, Den Paard Club
(Please do not email us asking how to get tickets to any of these shows. Please contact the venue instead Â– look them up on one of those there internets. I have no idea about this kind of stuff. Sorry!)
Body Lovers/Body Haters Double CD (reissue): (available April 15/05). ThereÂ’s been a lot of interest in seeing this material back in print, so weÂ’re doing it. This is the Â“soundtrack-without-a-filmÂ” project I did immediately after terminating Swans Â– this music was recorded in 1998. ItÂ’s the culmination of the sonic preoccupations that inhabited me through the 15 years of SwansÂ’ existence. I personally think the music of Lovers/Haters here is some of the best IÂ’ve ever done. The Body Haters disc contains a new track I recently completed here in Brooklyn, with my friend Jason LaFarge at SeizureÂ’s Palace Recording. It also contains new artwork by the fabulous Nicole Boitos http://www.nicoleboitos.com . Read more about it/listen here . The Website Exclusive Version (available only at this website) is a special package designed by our friend Ben Kirkendoll. It folds out/opens like a book, each page being one of NicoleÂ’s images. ItÂ’s made of nice, heavy stock paper, and is quite pleasant to Â“fingerÂ”. Ha ha! WeÂ’ve made only 1000 of these special versions. A jewel case version will be available in stores.
Michael Gira Solo Â– Â“I Am Singing to You From My RoomÂ” . IÂ’ve decided to make another 1000 of these (the first 1000 sold out quickly, a while ago now). TheyÂ’ll be signed and numbered 1000 through 2000. When these are gone, IÂ’m not going to make any more. I make these here at home with a wood block print, assemble them/package them myself. ItÂ’s me singing my songs/playing my guitar into one microphone. No other adornments. You can read more/listen here. This will be available in the next few weeks. Please check back at the site from time to time. I tried to have them ready for general March 15 re-launching of commerce at site, but havenÂ’t had time due to intense rehearsals for tour as well as the usual 1000 other tasks.
Devendra Banhart Double LP Vinyl out now or coming soon on Young God Records. There have been numerous production problems with this, so I canÂ’t say exactly when, but IÂ’m told any day, any week. This double gatefold album contains both the Rejoicing In The Hands and Nino Rojo albums in their entirety, and includes new artwork by Devendra as well as stupid me ineptly reading a few impromptu poems Devendra wrote, one poem at the end of each album. ThatÂ’s a big selling point, huh? Ha ha! Anyway, the music is great, and IÂ’ve said enough about that at this website. Look around at his various pages, if you havenÂ’t already. We will not be selling this through the YGR website. My office is about the size of your bathroom, probably, so thereÂ’s no room to stock it here. Instead, if you want to buy it online, I recommend you go to our esteemed distributorÂ’s (Revolver USA) website and purchase it there. HereÂ’s their URL: http://www.midheaven.com . When this release is available it will immediately be accessible there, as well as in stores, of course.
MI AND L'AU, COMING SOON ON YOUNG GOD RECORDS . We have recently finished recording an album by Mi and L'au here in Brooklyn. I co-produced it with them. It turned out very lovely indeed. It was a privilege to work with such talented, sincere, and intensely focused individuals. They have a quite passion that is expressed both in the way they are as human beings and in their songs. The music is austere, but simultaneously warm. Picture a glacier with a red ember glowing in its center. HereÂ’s something I wrote a few months ago about them: Mi and L'au met in Paris a few years back. Mi is Finnish and was working as a model to make ends meet and L'au (who's French) was working in the music industry (soundtracks, I think). They fell deeply and immediately in love, and after a short period of moving from apartment to apartment in Paris, they gave everything up and decided to move to the woods in Finland, so they could be alone together in peace and to spend their time discovering each other and their music. They live in a small cabin in complete isolation with the barest of essentials (except in the brutal Finnish winter, when they move to Helsinki) and they spend virtually all their time making music together in solitude. They are pure and gentle souls (Devendra's song, from oh me oh my "gentle soul" was written for L'au Â– the two had met in Paris when Devendra was wandering there, and L'au took him in, and they also made music together). Their music is bare and austere, made with simple instrumentation - voice, acoustic guitars, and other very sparse orchestrations. I wouldn't say it compares at all to the current crop of neo hippy "weird folk" etc. It has the naked quality of certain early Nico recordings, or Chet Baker...soulful and elegant, without being touchy-feely or confessional. Their music reminds me of how one might imagine a winter Finnish landscape - haunting and pure.
I played a solo show in Tempere, Finland, and they drove up and played the show too. I was immediately convinced that YGR needed to release their music. Their songs and stage presence were utterly poised and compelling. With the simplest of means, they quietly occupied the stage and room with understated confidence - an almost theatrical, empty calm, similar to the way space is occupied in a Beckett play, minus the grimmer aspects. Seductive and captivating.
WeÂ’ll get some sound samples up of them at this website soon. Other contributors to this recording included the Â“house bandÂ” (!) of Akron/Family Â– playing a variety of instruments as usual - as well as strings by Julia Kent and Paul Cantelon, and double bass by the esteemed Jerome OÂ’Brien. It was recorded at SeizureÂ’s Palace by Jason LaFarge and Mixed by Bryce Goggin at Trout recording. Here is what Mi and L'au look like.
Angels of Light Â– Akron/Family split Mini-Album: We are going to record this immediately after our tour together. It will feature all new songs. I am really, really looking forward to this. The new songs I have, as well as their songs, are going just great in rehearsals. This is also something I havenÂ’t managed to do in years: record the music and songs immediately following a tour, when the songs have developed the best possible feel and have taken on a new aspect because of it. By the way, I am doing a version of I Pity The Poor Immigrant by Bob Dylan, both for the tour and this album. I wonÂ’t go on any more here about AkronÂ’s new material, lest I reveal myself as a foolish fan-boy. This album will be released in October.
Angels of Light Compilation CD: I am putting together a compilation of songs I choose from all 4 Angels albums, primarily for the Australian market, as a way of insinuating my music into their world. It will also be available, fitfully perhaps, here in USA/Canada. Looking at October for that as well. It may or may not include unreleased tracks, depending on my mood.
HereÂ’s a few random notes: I recently completed a solo tour of Russia and Scandinavia. It was the experience of a lifetime. I love touring solo. The crowd in Moscow was ridiculous. (For me) it was huge. Something like 1400 people. Screaming. Gesticulating. Drunk. Yelling incomprehensible, weirdly marshal gibberish. AmazingÂ… I wrote a piece for The Wire, in their Â“EpiphaniesÂ” section Â– last page of the magazine every month. It details a pivotal musical experience from my sordid childhood. The text is here. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of the Wire, no matter which issue, though. ItÂ’s the best music magazine there isÂ…Thor Harris, my good friend and oft-contributor to Angels, is playing with the recently revamped and excellent band Shearwater, of Austin, Texas. I saw them at Mercury Lounge a little while ago and was stunned. ThorÂ’s as handsome and hairy as ever tooÂ…Devendra has been signed to beggars Banquet here in the USA, and XL Recordings elsewhere. HeÂ’s apparently at work on a new album. We are pleased and proud to have the music we release by him on YGR, and it made perfect sense for him to move to a larger label. We reached a certain point where we could simply not keep up with the success he was achieving. WeÂ’re a small label, and want to stay that way. So, we wish him the best as he now flies screaming and laughing through the universe! All of his YGR releases of course remain available through this website (as well as in stores)Â… If I do not have a heart attack first I will be touring select cities in the USA sometime in October or November, taking along Mi and L'auÂ…Speaking of heart attacks, I had one when I recently heard for the first time the music of Cerberus Shoal. A great band. The music is all over the place Â– from improv to melodic and soulful songs. I instantly contacted them and wanted to put them out on YGR, but reality has (at least temporarily) intervened. WeÂ’re just two people here at the label, and we need sometimes to find time to sleep or breathe. Go to their website, buy everything they have released!: http://www.cerberusshoal.com Â… ThereÂ’s an updated, extensive bio of me here at this website, written by RW Hessler. I thank him here endlessly for both his kind words and the effort of doing this. HereÂ’s the link.
There are photos of Akron/Family, as well as new photos of me and a collection of other YGR artists at this link. These are downloadable. Somehow, with the new formatting of the website, the photo galleries associated with each artist have temporarily disappeared. Ted is working on it and theyÂ’ll be back up soonÂ…Once we catch up with everything we are going to start offering music here at the site that is exclusively available as MP3 download here (ie not on CDs or anywhere else). Also videos of live performances, that kind of thingÂ…coming soon, coming soonÂ…Speaking of Ted, he has worked, and continues to work diligently and hard on this website, in his (non existent) Â“spareÂ” time Â– an often Herculean effort, and I once again thank him here for his generosity, good soul, and technical virtuosity! Â… As far as I know or can remember at this moment, that covers it for now.
Thanks again for your interest in our music, and Best Wishes, Michael Gira