FOGGY JAM .01
& very special guests
We are delighted to announce the first of our new all-day series, Foggy Jam: an opportunity to catch seven wonderful live artists in one day for a budget ticket price. Heading the bill is L.A.’s NO AGE, one of the most exciting modern noise-pop bands in the world right now who release their new Sub Pop album Everything in Between in late September (more info below).
MICE PARADE is the work of New York’s Adam Pierce and a rotating ensemble of musicians. Their incredible back catalogue tackles all sorts of musical crossover with folk styles, electronics, Krautrock, Eno inspired minimalism and Loveless-era MBV. The new album What It Means to be Left-Handed soaks up West African Highlife, Flamenco, Brazillian Jazz, and even 80’s indie-rock (More info below).
Also joining the line-up is new Sub Pop signings MALE BONDING, a London trio whose debut album Nothing Hurts is jam-packed with messy vintage 90s noise-pop. And SILJE NES, a Norwegian singer-songwriter and Mice Parade’s Fatcat labelmate whose beautiful layered recordings full of strings and woodwind are joys to behold.
For Foggy Jam’s Irish representation we’ve picked two of current favourites. Fake Blood is the debut seven inch release by SQUAREHEAD the single of the year so far for us – Kurt Cobain meets the Everly Brothers, slacker-rock meets doo-wop, just pure pop all the way really. And HIPSTER YOUTH is revelatory stuff. A Dublin teenager whose Teenage Elders album makes 8-bit electronic music that is beautiful and poignant.
NO AGE – Everything in Between
Forever cascading forward in a positive direction, gleefully instinctive, No Age erupt out of your speakers, blasting away the clouds above the smoggy cityscape to reveal a solar flaring sun. With an ecstatic force bubbling around and beyond their music, they release contagious energy like they’re main-lining a field full of whirring wind turbines, while tuned into an ancient celestial power source.
No Age is the duo of Dean Spunt and Randy Randall, they are on a constant journey to explore the furthest reaches of sound. They set out with one particular rule in mind: To write songs that we would be psyched to listen to. On a first listen, discovering each new dose of their alchemy is exhilarating—they produce perfectly crafted songs, underpinned by infectious melodies and ear-piercing cacophony. This swirling mix of unstoppable momentum is catapulted into the stratosphere by sweeping bursts of symphonic growls. Their power is enunciated through their ability to take their core of catchy song-writing and expand its emotional influence through tone, structure and noise. Everything in Between, their third album and follow-up to 2008’s Nouns has now arrived.
The pair has now shifted far beyond their LA skate-punk origins, accentuating their development in each and every creak and crack on Everything in Between. The record represents a bold step in their creative evolution, it documents their lives and their artistic progression more prominently welded into a permanent union. It is a culmination of reflecting upon life’s ruptures and triumphs; the process of moving through these moments banged and bruised, yet better off for the wear and tear. These moments have provided fervent creative springboards, inspiring Dean and Randy to push the limits of sound collage and song arrangements further than they have before. From the huge parts to the quiet sound-escapes, Everything in Between is more intentional and composed, constructing an honestly raw and captivatingly detailed record.
Dean and Randy connect the dots within the heritage of their constellation of influences: The Byrds through Husker Du, John Cale through The Ramones, The Go-Betweens through My Bloody Valentine; SST to Flying Nun, Sub Pop to Creation. All excitedly routed through the fury of the American underground. Influences are not regurgitated in a reverential style, but soaked up, understood, ripped apart, shredded, collaged and articulated into an inimitable sound through their dense layers of fuzz, haze and experimental art-pop.
They emerged from former band Wives in 2005, to become No Age, worldwide glowing talismans for the DIY art-punk scene in LA, now famously known as having its epicentre at The Smell, a clubhouse where art-life/music-life welded and inspired a creative movement and attitude which has fertilized a purple patch of like-minded punkers and artists around the globe. Since the release of Weirdo Rippers, their 2007 debut album (on FatCat Records), through Nouns , the band’s 2008 follow-up on Sub Pop, and beyond, No Age has earned enthusiastic notice from an incredibly wide array of sources; from Pitchfork to The New Yorker (Let It Rip, Nov. 19, 2007), and found themselves unlikely Grammy nominees (for Best Recording Packaging in 2008). No Age have risen from sweaty basement shows and art galleries to having their songs blast off the walls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), to performing at unconventional spaces both close to home and abroad.
The pair released Losing Feeling, a four-song EP, in 2009 and then spent six months, on and off, recording this new album from November through May. It’s the longest they’ve spent recording any project. They also found the time to soundtrack a short film from photographer Todd Cole for fashion label Rodarte, and wrote and performed a soundtrack to the Jean Jacques Annaud film The Bear. And the extra time was well-spent: editing down 25 songs to a lucky 13, and allowing for greater perspective by playing the new songs on the road at random shows in random towns, to reflect and fall in love with certain songs, and fall back in love with other songs.
Everything in Between is loaded with the epic jams you’ve come to love from No Age. You’ll be rapidly addicted to the tingling sensations and uplift of Glitter, Fever Dreaming, Shred and Transcend, and the final sweet flare of “la-la-la’s” on Sorts will make your soul fizz wildly. They’ve pushed themselves in challenging and different directions, deconstructing their weird-out pop songs while still maintaining their original aesthetic and intent. Where their explorations in sound were previously suspended separately around instrumental reveries and misty coatings of distortion, these abstractions are now adding to the emotion and euphoria throughout every song. Melody is formed from noise and samples; disorienting rhythms, howling tones, fuzzed-out scuffs, cuts and grazes, and heart-wrenching skree are all vital to embellishing the raw sentiment of the album.
At times it feels heavy, especially when Dean utters the refrain to the Bowie-tinted, Common Heat: Why do I come so close expecting to control/everyone around me knows I’m in trouble. It’s like they’re shedding a skin, cathartically transmuting past mistakes and pains into something positive. In so many ways, these punks have come of age. There’s a genuine and apparent baring of the soul here which manifests itself most clearly in the album’s two solo instrumentals (the first time they’ve included solo songs on an album). Both Dean’s Dusted and Randy’s Positive Amputation sway with melancholy vapours, adrift with life’s intense push and pull, though eventually burst free into a euphoric escape. The effect leaves you woozy and light-headed like you’ve spun around in a frenzy, arms outstretched, eyes sky-gazing as clouds giddily orbit your head.
With Everything in Between No Age proudly flies along personal artistic lines with no codes or rules, but a clear sense of who they are, and how much they can continue to explore sound within their own constructs. There is fire and magic in crafting sound to exude such positive feeling. It’s a fire with such warmth and life, you never want it to burn out. With No Age it is now clear this fire is effervescent, sparking and infinite. It will never fade away.
MICE PARADE – What It Means To Be Left-Handed
What It Means To Be Left-Handed is the stunning new full-length from Mice Parade. It is the first to be released in the band’s second decade of existence, the sixth to be released through FatCat, and a lustrous contribution to a glowing musical canon.
Coloured by splashes of West African Highlife, Flamenco, Brazillian Jazz, even 80’s indie-rock, the album is knowingly un-hip and as distinctive and idiosyncratic as the band’s previous records. It is a giddy-paced, flickering, enveloping, soaring and respectful nod to the musical influences that lend themselves to the band’s sound, yet it is never derivative.
Formed by the multi-tasking Adam Pierce in the late 90’s, Mice Parade was originally a solo project that saw Pierce writing each individual instrumental track as he recorded. The band now encompasses a globally-scattered handful of collaborators including Caroline Lufkin, (aka Temporary Residence’s Caroline), classical guitarist Dan Lippel and drummer Doug Scharin (of HiM, Codeine, Rex, Loftus, Enablers), playing alongside guest contributors such as Swahili vocalist Somi, Meredith Godreau – aka Gregory and the Hawk (FatCat) – and members of the Japanese bands Clammbon and Toe, among other musical allies hand-picked by Pierce.
Pierce, as ever, remains the most prominent performer on this new record. His percussive work is inspired and truly unique; his Flamenco guitar playing is flowing and graceful; thick musical textures created by tuned percussion, keyboards and subtle sampling gently underpin a wealth of instrumentation. As with the earliest recorded work of Mice Parade (but not the last couple of releases), Pierce had no firm objectives before pressing the “record” button, sticking instead to a “create-as-you-go” process.
The album opens with the gorgeous, frolicking Kupanda, performed by Pierce alongside Somi and kora player Abdou. The track is one of a set of Highlife-influenced pieces that lie around songs that stray more overtly from the trodden Mice Parade path: the polar extremes found on What It Means To Be Left-Handed include lush, sophisticated pseudo-electronica (Tokyo Late Night), a dizzyingly blissful Tom Brosseau cover (Mary Anne) and drifting miniatures (Pond, Recover), yet all somehow fit effortlessly within the Mice Parade persona. The album may consist of a collection of individual assets, but its identity is held together by extraordinary musicianship, by its faithful and enthusiastic acknowledgment of a “music existing for music’s sake” philosophy, and by its rich, home-produced sonics.
Pierce tells of an event that, for him, captures the essence of his intentions with the record: “Amelia – the 8 year old daughter of mastering engineer Alan Douches – dancing with her friends in the lobby, all having the time of their lives, as the record was being played through the lobby’s speakers. At that moment, critical opinion didn’t matter, judgement had no place, music was just music, and its very existence was its purpose.”
What It Means To Be Left-Handed was mostly recorded at Adam’s home studio in upstate New York, a cosy place at the edge of a forest which over the last two years has also served Animal Collective, Frightened Rabbit, Tom Brosseau, Ensemble and others in various capacities. Peter Katis (The National, Frightened Rabbit) mixed In Between Times and Even, and Jeremy Backofen (Felice Brothers) engineered and assisted Pierce in mixing the rest.