La Sera - Break My Heart

Sic Alps - Glyphs

This is Pop Download-o-rama

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November News: New Decemberists in January!

It must be November as Decemberists news has arrived today.  Just in time to warm our winter weary hearts, The King Is Dead, the Decemberists' new album, arrives January 18th in North America via Capitol and a day earlier in Europe via Rough Trade.   But this is where it gets even better. The new album will be available in all the usual formats, a special edition as well as a deluxe limited-edition box set, which will feature the album on CD and 180-gram white vinyl, as well as a DVD, a unique Polaroid photo, a hardcover book, and an art print-- all in a linen-wrapped clamshell box with a foil-stamped cover. You might just have the coolest coffee table in town if this piece were to make its home there.

Here's the details.  Only 2,500 of these boxes will be available. For the box, the band teamed up with the Polaroid film manufacturers the Impossible Project and the photographer Autumn de Wilde. De Wilde took photos of the band's recording sessions in rural Oregon and L.A., and each box will come with a unique photo. The DVD contains Pendarvia, a 30-minute documentary about the making of the album by filmmaker Aaron Rose. The 72-page hardcover book features photos from de Wilde and illustrations from Carson Ellis, and the GiclĂ©e print is of an Ellis illustration and signed by Ellis herself.

Friday, November 26, 2010

RIP Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson

Early yesterday morning came sad news that one of the great pioneers in electronic music has died. Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson died in his sleep, at aged 55. As a founding member of Throbbing Gristle, he was part of one of the most experimental, influential and notorious British groups of all time. Considered to be the first industrial band, their music spanned styles from machine-like noise to pure electro-pop.

Formed in 1975, their performances (which included performing naked and vomiting onstage) inevitably created considerable controversy. At the time, British MP Nicholas Fairbairn famously gave the band their ultimate seal of hypocritical condemnation/approval when he pronounced the band "wreckers of civilisation" – shortly before he was arrested for indecent exposure himself.

Christopherson helped Throbbing Gristle frontman Genesis P-Orridge form the similarly influential Psychic TV Christopherson and his partner John Balance (pop's firstly openly gay duo) formed the pioneering band Coil. Fronted by Christopherson, Coil produced intensely dark music that appeared in the films of Derek Jarman. Prior to this, Christopherson worked as a designer for the hugely influential design agency Hipgnosis, creating iconic record album cover for the likes of Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel.

RIP Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson

Longtime friend and collaborator Chris Carter shared this fond remembrance of his friend:

From boingboing.
Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson
27th February 1955 - 24th November 2010

Peter Christopherson, affectionately known as Sleazy, died peacefully in his sleep on the 24th of November at his home in Bangkok, Thailand.
The music and art world has lost a great talent whose unique approach ignored the conventions of the day and often challenged the status quo.
Sleazy's playful and inspiring creativity saw him pushing boundaries as a musician, video director and designer throughout his life. He had recently returned to Thailand from Europe, where he had played a short but spectacular series of live shows as a member of Throbbing Gristle and in the newly formed trio X-TG with Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter.
Sleazy's visual art career included work as a member of the influential British design agency Hipgnosis, creating iconic record sleeve artwork in the 1970s for Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and, later, Factory Records. He took the first promo photographs of the Sex Pistols, created a highly controversial window display for Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's clothing shop, SEX, and went on to design the logo of the hugely popular fashion company, BOY. In 1976 Sleazy met Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge and together they formed electronic music provocateurs Throbbing Gristle and Industrial Records, creating one of the first independent record labels of the era and laying the foundation for a new genre of music. The band was infamously described in the Daily Mail by Tory MP Nicholas Fairbairn as "the wreckers of civilisation".
TG ceased operations in 1981, after which Sleazy formed Psychic TV with Genesis P-Orridge and they produced two albums. The second, Dreams Less Sweet included his future life partner Jhonn Balance as a member, with whom he went on to form Coil and to release an extensive body of work up until Jhonn's passing in 2004. Subsequently, Sleazy left the UK to live in Bangkok, Thailand and to continue his artistic and musical vision in the guise of The Threshold HouseBoys Choir and Soisong.
Following their original break-up, Throbbing Gristle's legacy steadily grew within the music and art world, leading to their reformation in 2004 and a series of sold-out performances, including in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall.
At the time of his death, Sleazy was in the midst of assembling what was to be Throbbing Gristle's next project: a cover version of Nico's Desertshore album.
Peter was a kind and beautiful soul. No words can express how much he will be missed.
Throbbing Gristle / X-TG
Cosey Fanni Tutti
Chris Carter

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday, Not Just Record Store Day Jr.

Got this from my friends at Record Store Day today: 
This Friday, of course, is Black Friday, and word is out that your local indie record store may just be the place to be this Post-Thanksgiving-Shopping-Melee-Day. And that’s because indie stores across the country will be the place to get special releases created just for you, for giving and getting this holiday season, and they’re scheduled for release on Black Friday.

Now, this is not Record Store Day, Jr. or RSD 2 or Son of the Return of Record Store Day. This is just a group of special releases that you can only find at record stores. Some of them are uber-limited, some of them are available at record stores before they’re available anywhere else. But they’re all special, and they kind of fly in the face of what Black Friday has become, which is “I have to shop, let’s see how fast and cheap I can get it over with”. The magic of these pieces is that every one of them is something someone will really LOVE to get, and you’ll really ENJOY giving.  And you’ll have the extra nice feeling of supporting a local independently owned business during the holidays. So check out the list of titles
LOCATED HERE, and keep in mind that not all stores on this page will carry everything, so start a conversation with your local store. Or print this out as a WISH LIST and hide it where your gift-giving loved ones are sure to find it.

On top of that, you should know that RECORD STORE DAY 2010 t-shirts and POSTERS of course make great gifts as well, and in the spirit of holiday shopping, they are now at their lowest price ever: $10. Get ‘em while they last,

And finally, a little something we’re thankful for: YOU. We couldn’t do what we do, which is shine a light on the glory that is the record store, if you weren’t out there supporting them. So thanks. And keep up the good work.

So many special Black Friday releases to get you our to your favourite independent music store on Friday. Get out there and find that special release for yourself or your favourite music fan. With the holidays just around the corner you might just find something amazing.

Let England Shake in 2011

As the year end lists are being compiled some bright news all ready for the year ahead. PJ Harvey's eighth album entitled Let England Shake, will be released February 14th via Island, according to her website. The album was recorded in an old Dorset, England church with longtime producer Flood and veteran Harvey collaborators John Parish and Mick Harvey, will feature in her live band along with drummer Jean-Marc Butty. Upcoming European PJ Harvey dates are listed below:

PJ Harvey:

02/18 Brussels, Belgium - Cirque Royale
02/19 Brussels, Belgium - Cirque Royale
02/21 Berlin, Germany - Admiralspalast
02/24 Paris, France - Olympia
02/25 Paris, France - Olympia
02/27 London, England - Troxy
02/28 London, England - Troxy

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don’t Miss the Correction Line Ensemble

I would be remiss if I neglected to tell all of you about the amazing concert coming to this city on Thursday night (November 18th) at the Aeolian.

The Correction Line Ensemble is a newly formed chamber ensemble involving six highly creative musicians from diverse backgrounds, weaving together an engaging and seamless conversation between classical and modern music: Cristina Zacharias, a Toronto-based violinist who specializes in early music; Leanne Zacharias, a Brandon-based cellist specializing in contemporary music and pedagogy; Ed Reifel, a Toronto-based percussionist of classical and modern music; Robert Honstein, a Brooklyn-based composer from the classical music tradition; and Christine Fellows and John K. Samson, two Winnipeg-based narrative songwriters

Together, these six musicians create and perform arrangements of original repertoire by Honstein, Fellows and Samson, alongside classical repertoire arranged for cello, violin, marimba/percussion, piano, electric guitar and six voices, bridging the gap between musical genres and disciplines. To experience this kind of interaction and movement between genres in one concert is unique.

Of the Correction Line Ensemble Robert Honstein wrote:

It’s a pretty exciting group, with each member bringing considerable experience and accomplishment to the table. But more than being incredibly talented musicians, these guys are awesome, wonderful people. If I weren’t making music with them I’d probably trek up north anyway just to have a beer.

Plan to attend. This is a one of a kind opportunity to hear some amazing musicians.

The Correction Line Ensemble pairs Bach, Bartok and Honstein with works by songwriters Christine Fellows and John K. Samson of the Weakerthans.

The Aeolian and LOLA presents: The Correction Line Ensemble
November 18, 2010 20:00 - 22:30

Tickets available at The Aeolian Box office, 795 Dundas St. E, 519-672-7950 and online: and
Cash only at Grooves, L’Atelier Grigorian, and The Village Idiot.

$22 advance
$25 door
$15 with student card (not availble online)

The Aeolian
795 Dundas St. E
London, ON

Monday, November 15, 2010

Clear Eyed and True – A Special Blog Post in Two Parts

Everything is Pop Exclusive Download from The Lightning Bug Situation -  Part One

The maple leaves are blanketing my front yard for the second time in as many months. (It’s been a very blustery autumn.) The familiar greens of the neighbourhood swapped with decidedly more earthy hues. Fall has made her presence felt; her now familiar beauty all breathy and wise. Time to contemplate, celebrate and commiserate.

Seasonal poetics aside, today I have a very special treat for Everything is Pop readers. I am equally thrilled and privileged to offer this exclusive download to you, for your listening pleasure. “Fall” is a single from the brilliant new album by the Lightning Bug Situation, Call. And if that were not enough you can also download the accompanying artwork by John Dezort, a fantastic remix by Nick Burcher and even a previously unreleased song called “Your Heart Behind Pale Skin”. 

All of this for free!

Download Here!

Some of you may recall I named The Lightning Bug Situation’s A Leaf: A Stream as my record of the year for 2007. (You can also read my review here.) The Lightning Bug Situation is the project of the Speakers' Brian Miller. Please visit his blog here.

You can also purchase Call here:  (I would wholeheartedly recommend this.)

Thank you so much Brian Miller (The Lightning Bug Situation) for your awesome generosity.

Want to know more about this amazing recording?  Read Part Two

Clear Eyed and True – A Special Blog Post Part Two

Discussions on the Record - Call by the Lightning Bug Situation

Once in a while a record comes along that resonates with me on every basic level. Emotionally, spiritually and even physically. The music, the lyrics and even the artwork exploring very human themes in turn revealing certain universal truths . Radiohead's Kid A did that for me, as did Tim by the Replacements. Both are very different records but they became a part of me because I can relate to them on a deeply personal level. Over time they become a part of me in a sense because they help to explain me. Not an easy task at the best of times. Albums like this are rare gems and I hold them in very high esteem. Another record that has done that to me is the new release by the Lightning Bug Situation entitled Call.

Rather than doing a typical record review I have opted to discuss the record with my dear friend and fellow blogger Barbara (the Bad Tempered Zombie). The discussion, a series of questions from each other on our thoughts and observations on this very special album.  You can see her fab observations here.  Mine are included below.  (A HUGE thank you to her for playing along).

Tell me about the first time you listened to this album.

I first listened to Call on a very early morning drive. The combination of brisk temperature and colourful display of autumn leaves somehow seemed the perfect incidental visual accompaniment to the music on the disc. At first jarring, deliberate and mechanical the music evenly morphed to this very warm incandescent atmosphere as it progressed. It has a very cinematic quality. I remember the record made me feel as if I was watching an old home movie shot on Super 8 film- All faded colours, vaguely identifiable faces and uncomfortable smiles from the past flickering by me. It sets up some powerful imagery; couple that Brian Miller's lyrics and I really felt drawn into his world. The effect is compounded as his songs always seem to remind me of my own past. For that reason Call at once brought me a certain amount of sadness but also brought me great joy. I guess thats why I immediately replayed the disc as soon as it ended.

To take your question a step further though, the first time I really truly listened to this record was two nights after this as I took an evening walk around my neighbourhood. It was here I was better able to focus on and discern Miller's profound lyricism. That night was a different listening experience than the previous one because of those lyrics. At one moment putting a smile on my face, next questioning my skills as a Dad and quite nearly bringing me to tears. His small stories so very affecting and reassuring because ultimately you see one's own universe in them. That is their power and testimony to his talent. We know sadness and heartbreak but we also know beauty and truth (to turn Miller's phrase) will “heal our insides” and everything will be all right. The fact that the record ends with a sound fragment of Brian laughing felt very reassuring to me.

What colour are these songs?

This is a very interesting question. I say so because of the fact that I perceived four very distinct colours as I listened to this record right from the start. (My apologies if any synesthesia is showing.) The first colour, a robin's egg blue, then light brown, tan perhaps and lastly dark, dark blue, not quite black. (Understand that this is only a perceptual assessment of mine.) The colours are very distinct though and seem to get bolder and more pronounced as I continue to experience and grow with this album. To give you perspective on those colours the robin's egg blue, imagine a faded blue sky from an old photograph or postcard. The light brown, the colour of decaying leaves or earth in the fall. The dark blue almost blood like. All of these colours so very organic, representing, I think the cycle of life. This in turn, mirroring the very organic instrumentation and song styles of the album.

What makes this album so powerful?

I touched on this earlier but I think its the flashes of recognition in Miller's lyrics that allows the listener to become a part of the story he is trying to tell. His condition reminds us of our own and it is that sense of relativity that endears the record to me completely. Themes of doubt, love, fear, wonderment, joy and even death are head turning themes. As a listener then, it makes for a very powerful listening experience. I swear I did a full-on double take when Miller uttered this line in “Groundhog”
“I swear I've been thinking the same thought since I was one.”
To explain. I have very strong recollections of my youth. A series of disjointed images at best , but all very clear. Now, I may be stretching the meaning of the line but for me that youthful soul is still very much a part of me today. Wiser but intrinsically the same. That mindset never truly goes away. A good thing too.

I think so many records I listen to work as a form of escape but my favourite ones are the ones I go to for comfort. To remind me of the good things and the bad and that we are not alone. Call is exactly that for me and very, very powerful.

The lyrics are intensely personal, but simultaneously universal. Which lyrics struck particularly close to home?

Another great question. I suspect I could name a favourite line in every song on the album. Avoiding the obvious though, I would say the line in “For Nancy, With a Bruised Heart” absolutely slays me every single time though.
“I hope this song comes on and heals your insides.”
A sentiment so hopeful, earnest and heartbreakingly beautiful that hearing it just makes my eyes sparkle. (You know what that is code for.) Miller may have been comforting his wife Nancy with this one but for me it describes in one simple sentence the single intention of every mixtape or CD I have ever shared with anyone. To use your phrase, that one hit VERY close to home.

The other line from “Pull” the opening track on the album.

“I'm stuck under a pillow, a pillow made of stone. ”
I guess it reminds me of how we can easily take the simplest of things or concerns and eventually let them burden us completely. Perhaps its telling us we should be tossing the simple concerns aside and deal with the bigger issues. The important one. That one too kinda hit close to home.

You’re being sent on a one-man mission to Mars and you can take only one track with you. Which one?

That's really tough, but for those one-man missions to Mars I would have to say “Fall”. A song about my absolute favourite season. The song is also very representative of everything I love about the Lightning Bug Situation. From the simple, clock like instrumentation to those haunting, yet stoic and reassuring lyrics.

“I wanna be a good Dad, clear-eyed and true."
I'm pretty sure with a line like that it might just give me the necessary encouragement I need to stay on track and focus on my Martian mission

Describe Brian Miller’s voice. Does he remind you of anyone?

Hmmmmm, that one is tough. His voice so clear, with a troubled fragility that belies a weary yet wise storyteller. The perfect complement to his little world lyricism. It is a voice that is quite singular but does contain certain elements of others. Brian Miller's voice reminds me of a couple of artists. For instance the timbre and clarity of his voice at times reminiscent of John K Samson from the Weakerthans. At other times his voice is evocative of Mark Everett of Eels.

What one word best describes Call?


For the uninitiated, what’s the best way to listen to this album?

Nothing beats walking with this record. It really does work as the perfect soundtrack for the present season too. Reminding us to soak the allure of it all in. A beautiful record for beautiful times. Be forewarned though you might just want to hit repeat and do the whole walk over again.

You can order a copy of Call here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New R.E.M On the Way in the New Year

Guest Stars A-plenty On This One

Tidbits of information have been emerging in the blogosphere of late concerning R.E.M.'s upcoming 15th LP. Officially titled Collapse into Now, the band once again brought Garret “Jacknife” Lee to handle production duties. In an interview with Spin, bassist Mike Mills revealed more information about the record; namely that it will feature guest spots from Eddie Vedder, Peaches and once again, Patti Smith.

Mills also disclosed the directions Collapse into Now has taken via Spin.
"With Accelerate, we were trying to make a point by making the songs as short and as fast as possible," he said. "So we wanted this new one to be more expansive. We wanted to put more variety into it and not limit ourselves to any one type of song. There are some really slow, beautiful songs; there are some nice, mid-tempo ones; and then there are three or four rockers."
The bassist also declared that the album promises to be "very personal, very human," a departure from the more direct and openly political Accelerate.

This time out R.E.M. switched up their method by scheduling sessions in different cities -- Berlin, Nashville, New Orleans -- with breaks between to write and rewrite songs.
"It's also fun for us to go to the cities we really love and spend some time," says Mills. After a day's work in the studio, the band would go out to dinner. "It's really important to go out, get great food, shrug off the debris of the day, and just be friends and have a good time. In Berlin you drink beer and eat wurst. In New Orleans you eat Cajun food and drink Sazerac. In Nashville we ate a lot of fried chicken."

There's no word as to the exact release date, but it is expected to be out sometime in spring 2011. (Nor was there any explanation for Peter Buck’s new Prince Valiant haircut... ed.)