fall tour and new album: Warpaint

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One of my favorite bands is Warpaint. The all-female band plays soothing, swirling, pretty, contemplative, dreamy, free-spirited music. Warpaint is Emily Kokal (guitar, vocals), Jenny Lee Lindberg (bass, vocals), Stella Mozgawa (drums, vocals) and Theresa Wayman (guitar, vocals). Heads Up follows their critically beloved debut EP Exquisite Corpse, 2010’s The Fool and 2014’s Warpaint. The band will release its new album Heads Up [Rough Trade] on September 23, 2016. The new album sounds a bit more pop, a bit more loud and loose without departing from the loveliness that makes up Warpaint’s current musical catalogue. Warpaint will begin its tour on September 19 in Seattle.

“The doors were a little more open in terms of what was accepted and what wasn’t, because we were sharing ideas so rapidly between us,” says the band’s drummer Stella Mozgawa of the recording process. “The roles that each of us individually had—or had established—were a little more malleable.”

“Everybody was allowed to have their space, time and creative freedom with songs and figure out, ‘I wonder what the best notes would be? I wonder what the best part would be to play?’” says bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg. “Everybody got to sit and go, ‘What do I want to do on this? What’s my part? What’s my role? How can I make it the best?’”

debut single “New Song:”

TOUR DATES:

September 19 /// Seattle, WA /// The Showbox
September 20 /// Vancouver, BC /// Imperial Vancouver
September 21 /// Portland, OR /// Wonder Ballroom
September 23 /// Oakdale, CA /// Symbiosis Festival
September 24 /// Long Beach, CA /// Music Tastes Good
September 25 /// Las Vegas, NV /// Life is Beautiful
September 27 /// Englewood, CO /// Gothic Theatre
September 29 /// Minneapolis, MN /// Varsity Theater
September 30 /// Chicago, IL /// Thalia Hall
October 1 /// Detroit, MI /// St. Andrews Hall
October 3 /// Toronto, ON /// Danforth Music Hall
October 4 /// Washington, DC /// 9:30 Club
October 6 /// Boston, MA /// Paradise Rock Club
October 7 /// Brooklyn, NY /// Warsaw
October 8 /// New York, NY /// The Bowery Ballroom
October 9 /// Philadelphia, PA /// Union Transfer
October 12 /// San Francisco, CA /// The Fillmore
October 13 /// Los Angeles, CA /// The Fonda Theatre

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show preview: Dick Dale at Middle East Club on Thursday, Sept 1 with Three Day Threshold

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Kick off September with surf instrumental music from Dick Dale. The 79-year-old musician was born in Boston in 1937, Dick Dale grew up in Quincy. His Beirut-born father and Lebanese background influenced his music choices—drawn to Middle Eastern music and later surf instrumental. He learned to play piano at age nine and then guitar. His family moved to and he learned to surf and invented surf music in the 1950s– fast-paced, laid-back grooving guitar –that reflects the surfing experience.

Dick’s wife and manager Lana Dale writes: “Dick has a stoma bag for 10 years now, Renal Failure, Major Prostate and Bladder issues, Anemia, Fistula’s which develop from him straining and performing, Fistula’s are leakages and they are very dangerous for DD.
DD has a stoma bag, renal failure, diabetes with insulin plus
Gallstones and now recently we were just told he has Cancer again.
We are busy around the clock with Medical for him and also with Touring and Venues and Casinos and Festival Events plus me running our business and I myself Battle the disease Multiple Sclerosis and a Hurthel Tumor Rt. side Thyroid…Plus Thyroid disease and much more as i have had many Medical issues most of my life.
We believe your body follows your mind so we live life And cherish each day.
We are strong Advocates all our Lives of No Drugs, No Alcohol, No cigarettes and No red meat and have both been this way all Of our Lives! We want to see the young people survive this day and age!”

She adds: “Dick Pioneered and created the AMPS WITH LEO FENDER AND ALSO much of the equipment back in the day with Leo fender including strata-caster guitar.
AS HE WAS always called THE FATHER OF HEAVY METAL in Spain as DD is loved Dearly all over the World.
DICK WAS THE PIONEER OF IT ALL from 1955 on. THE BEACH BOYS, JAN AND DEAN, RITCHIE VALENS, BUDDY HOLLY, The Kingston Trio plus many more ALL OPENED FOR DD IN THE LATE 50S AND VERY EARLY 60S. DD taught Jimi Hendrix the slide. Jimi Idolized DD as Buddy Miles Jimi Drummer did as well and hundreds of thousands of others.”

discography:

  • Surfers’ Choice (Deltone 1962)
  • King of the Surf Guitar (Capitol 1963)
  • Checkered Flag (Capitol 1963)
  • Mr. Eliminator (Capitol 1964)
  • Summer Surf (Capitol 1964)
  • Rock out with Dick Dale and his Del-Tones: Live at Ciro’s (Capitol 1965)
  • Greatest Hits (GNP Crescendo 1975)
  • The Tigers Loose (Balboa 1983) [live album]
  • Tribal Thunder (HighTone 1993)
  • Unknown Territory (HighTone 1994)
  • Calling Up Spirits (Beggars Banquet 1996)
  • Spacial Disorientation (Dick Dale Records / The Orchard 2001)

Opening for Dick Dale is Boston alt-country/Americana band Three Day Threshold is: Zac Taylor [guitar]; PJ Aspesi [drums] Evan Gavry [lap steel and banjo]; Kier Byrnes [singer] and Johnny Stump [bass]. Three Day Threshold has performed for U.S. military in the Middle East, at a Belgian prison, at the  Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and opened for Zac Brown and The Avett Brothers.

GUITAR LEGEND DICK DALE on Thursday, Sept 1, 2016 with Three Day Threshold. Doors at 8pm. Tickets here.

venue info:

MIDDLE EAST DOWNSTAIRS
480 MASSACHUSETTS AVE
CAMBRIDGE, MA

 

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new single and North American tour: Teenage Fanclub

one of my favorite bands ever. brilliant lyrics, shoegaze murmury guitar. A band that will always remind me of former longtime Bad Religion drummer Bobby Schayer. We kissed while Teenage Fanclub played on cassette in his hotel room YEARS ago on a Bad Religion tour. Hello my friend. The band will release a new album, Here, on September 9, 2016. Teenage Fanclub founded in 1989 in Glasgow, Scotland. Albums include Bandwagonesque [1991], Thirteen [1993] and Grand Prix [1995].

current members: Norman Blake; Raymond McGinley; Gerard Love; Francis Macdonald; Dave McGowan

 

TOUR DATES

October 12 – Toronto, Lee’s Palace
October 14 – Washington, DC, 9:30 Club:
October 15 – New York, NY, Bowery Ballroom
October 16 – Brooklyn, NY, Music Hall of Williamsburg
October 17 – Cambridge, MA, The Sinclair
October 18 – Philadelphia, PA, World Cafe Live
October 20 – Cleveland, OH, Beachland Ballrom
October 21 – Chicago, IL, Bottom Lounge
October 22 – Minneapolis, MN, Fine Line
October 23 – Madison, WI, High Noon
October 25 – Detroit, MI, Loving Touch

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review: two novels that explore mother/daughter relationships

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Hot Milk by Deborah Levy. Bloomsbury| July 2016| 224 pages | $26.00| ISBN: 978-1-62040-669-4

RATING: ****/5*

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Bloomsbury.

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The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood. W.W. Norton| August 2016| 241 pages | $25.95| ISBN: 978-0-393-24165-5

RATING: ****/5*

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from W.W. Norton.

–review by Amy Steele

Both Hot Milk [long-listed for the Man Booker Prize] and The Book That Matters Most center on mother-daughter relationships. Both novels feature two mothers seeking answers and two wayward twenty-something daughters. Both novels explore both the connection between mothers and daughters as well as a daughter’s efforts to forge her own path in the world. Both novels explore setting and sense of place. Both novels burgeon with vivid characterizations and stories. The Book that Matters Most sparkles in its focus on reading, the power of books and those that love books and reading.

Hot Milk takes place in southern Spain where Sofia, a budding anthropologist, takes her ailing mother, Rose, to meet with a world-renowned yet unusual specialist in somewhat of a last attempt to reduce her mother’s pain. The Book That Matters Most traverses between New England and Paris. In Rhode Island, Ava joins a book club to meet new friends when her husband abandons her after decades of marriage.  Points to Ann Hood for gathering an eclectic group of readers to this library book club. She expounds on quite a few of the members as they relate to Ava’s journey and each month’s book selection–particularly her friend Cate—librarian and book club leader. While Ava’s acclimating to the new group and becoming engulfed in novels, her daughter Maggie—who had been studying abroad in Italy– goes missing in Paris.

Both Sofia and Maggie enjoy themselves as any women [particularly young ones] should, exploring and pushing one’s comfort levels—Sofia takes two lovers in Spain, a young local man she meets on the beach and another vacationer named Ingrid. Author Deborah Levy writes: “We have become lovers. Ingrid is naked. Her blond hair is heavy. There is a fine mist of sweat on her face. Two gold bracelets circle her wrists. The blades of the fan spin and rattle above our heads.” Maggie jumps from guy to guy until she meets an older French man who offers her his lovely apartment to crash in as well as an unlimited drug supply—“He brought her such good-quality drugs that sometimes they knocked her flat for days. When that happened, everything turned soft and gauzy.” It’s the drugs that cause most problems for Maggie as she overdoses and hangs by a thread until her next fix.

Ava remains rather serious in her endeavors. Her younger sister died in a tragic accident and her mother committed suicide a year afterwards. Author Ann Hood writes: “But Ava, with her unruly brown hair and blue spectacles, her tendency toward pouting and sarcasm and a generally sour personality, only pleased her mother by being a voracious reader.” In the book club, each member chooses a book that holds special meaning. Ava chooses a book called From Clare to Here. It turns out this book proves difficult to find as its out-of-print. Ava also promised to invite the author to that month’s book club. As she searches for the novel and her daughter the two mysteries become entangled in quite an intriguing and formidable manner.

During her mother’s treatment, Sofia becomes increasingly detached—“Rose’s lips are moving and Julietta is listening but I’m not listening. I have been asked to be present but I am not present. I’m watching Bowie concert from 1972 on YouTube and it is buffering while he sings.” She’s soon needed less often and finds herself contemplating several issues, as one might do. Sofia learns she thrives outside her stifled London environment. She’s able to be the free spirited soul that enables her to embrace her unique qualities.

As an outsider with a smudgy circuitous route rather than a neat, linear route, I could relate to both Sofia and Maggie– not the drug usage but the not knowing exactly what to do with one’s life professionally or personally. Both young women are resilient and determined.  These characters bounce off the pages. Following their journeys through lovely writing proves fulfilling and resonant.

 

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book review: Jonathan Unleashed

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Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff. Viking| July 2016| 275 pages | $25.00| ISBN: 9781101980903

RATING: 3.5/5*

There’s an absurdist quality to this novel about a millennial taking care of his brother’s dogs and growing attached to them. Jonathan loses interest in his job and his fiancée, which he may never have been terribly attached to in the first place. Author Meg Rosoff finds much to say about ambling about mindlessly and figuring out one’s sense of place. She also adeptly and amusingly describes both millennials and hipsters. What I couldn’t bear was that the titular character Jonathan allowed things to happen around him and as a result to him without particularly caring. Excellent writing but not the best story I kept reading for the turns of phrase and superb vocabulary like “He never once mentioned the Byzantine quality of his dogs’ inner lives, the practical and spiritual difficulties of caring for other sentient beings..” also: “Once he took her out to lunch and tried to explain the ties that writers had with pens, how writing with a gel pen felt like slipping around in mud or transferring lines straight from brain to page, while a ballpoint indicated a frugal no-frills personality, someone you’d barely want to know.” Definitely worth reading for the high-quality writing.

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Viking.

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book review: The Muse

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The Muse by Jessie Burton. Ecco| July 26, 2016| 416 pages | $27.99| ISBN: 9780062409928

RATING: ****/5*

Sometime I might want to read (or perhaps write) a novel from one viewpoint in one time period. Historical fiction does draw me in particularly with vivid descriptions, an established sense of place and depth of character. The Muse intrigued me by its lovely black cover, the title and the settings: 1960s London and 1930s Spain. A muse generally refers to someone who influences one’s art. Author Jessie Burton created two independent-spirited and determined women despite their circumstances and the time periods. But who’s kidding anyone? Women still have it tough in 2016. In this novel I didn’t think a muse existed. Although without giving anything away there might be an unexpected muse. Flip the expectations for a muse. This is Burton’s second art-focused historical fiction novel. The Minaturist came out in 2014. I wanted to adore it but just couldn’t. It was quite well-written but a bit too melodramatic. The Muse fares much better mainly because the characters pursue their own artistic goals.

“Ever since I could pick up a pen, other people’s pleasure was how I’d garnered attention and defined success. When I began receiving public acknowledgement for a private act, something was essentially lost. My writing became the axis upon which all my identity and happiness hinged. It was now outward-looking, a self-conscious performance.”

An exclusive London art gallery hires Odelle Bastien, a well-educated immigrant from Trinidadian, as a secretary. Her interesting manager Marjorie Quick quite likes the young woman and they commence a friendship of sorts. Odelle aspires to be a published writer. At a wedding she meets the dashing, sophisticated Lawrie Scott who brings a painting to the gallery for appraisal. The painting causes quite a stir. The narrative turns to 1930s Spain where Olive Schloss lives with her family in the small town of Arazuelo. Her father, a Jewish art dealer, fled Vienna in advance of Nazi persecution. A talented painter, Olive Schloss earned acceptance to the Slade School of Art but her father doesn’t think highly of female painters. Olive never tells her father. Burton describes how Olive feels after finishing a painting: “She had made, for the first time, a picture of such movement and excess and fecundity that she felt almost shocked. It was a stubborn ideal; a paradise on earth, and the irony was it had come from a place to which her parents had dragged her.” Half siblings Teresa and Isaac Robles become ensconced in the Schloss family. Isaac Robles paints as well as carries out revolutionary missions in Spain. For Olive who becomes involved with both there’s deceit, betrayal and secrets galore. Burton connects the two women through this one mysterious painting and its back-story.

As often happens I preferred one time period and character arc (the 1960s story-line) to the other. The chapters involving Odelle definitely captivated me the most. She’s from Trinidad, a country under British rule during the 1940s when she was a child. She’s dating a white guy. Burton’s writing in Odelle’s voice –the Trinidad speaking-style with her friend as well as focusing on how others react to Odelle, how the young woman feels and how she finds her place enhances this novel. Burton writes: “I hadn’t scrapped with the boys to gain a first-class English Literature degree from the University of the West Indies for nothing.” I’d have preferred an entire novel about Odelle. I understand the need for this intrigue or a desire to examine several time periods but Olive’s story-line became a bit trite and dull. Odelle stays true to herself at all times while Olive falls for Isaac and allows her art to become influenced and overshadowed by him. A definitely strong summer read, pack this one on your next long weekend getaway.

–review by Amy Steele

 

<em>FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Ecco. </em>

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new music: Tomemitsu; DYAN

Tomemitsu, “Can’t Stop Thinking”

First thought: this sounds a bit like The Jesus and Mary Chain. The beat. The deep whispery vocals. So L.A. artist Tomemitsu has the whole 90s shoegaze thing down. It’s a pretty, meditative song. Most of us overthink things. Clearing the mind isn’t easy but songs like this definitely help to take you out of your own thoughts for a moment. That said now I’d rather go listen to The Jesus and Mary Chain on Spotify. This single is off Tomemitsu’s sophomore album Loaf Eye. He collaborated with some of his  musical friends in Los Angeles including Colleen Green,  Devin Ratliff and Erik Felix of So Many Wizards, as well as Christina Gaillard and James Roehl of Crown Plaza.

 

DYAN, “Days Upon Days”

Hypnotic synthpop in the vein of Chvrches and Beach House. there’s something about the beginning of this song that sounds way too familiar. I know it’s difficult not to sound like other artists but this melody sounds like a Beach House song. While Alexis Marsh possesses passionate vocals and this song rips into you with an unencumbered intensity I can’t get beyond the familiarity of the opening riff. DYAN posits itself as not quite as inventive and emotional as Chvrches and Beach House but promising. DYAN’s Looking For Knives will be available on CD and digital formats July 29th with 2xLP colored vinyl release to follow.

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