Grimes is playing the side stage Saturday night of Pitchfork Music Festival, while Godspeed You! Black Emperor headlines the main-stage area. I’ll likely opt for Grimes. The day is short of rock acts but includes a number of interesting options. I intend to get to the fest early enough to see Cloud Nothings, which I’ll (unfortunately) have to cut short to catch Lotus Plaza, a side project of Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt. Oddly, Lotus Plaza overlaps with another Deerhunter side project, Bradford Cox’s Atlas Sound. I’m determined to see a bit of all three shows.
The full lineup for Pitchfork Music Festival was released today. A number of ATYP faves were added, including Wild Flag, Atlas Sound, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Lower Dens, Beach House and Real Estate. Read the full list here.
There was so much good music released in 2011 that I find it’s actually hard to confine a list to the top 40. These are some of the albums that struck me as interesting, exciting or irresistible.
I’ll count down from 40 to 1 in two posts.
40. Bass Drum of Death – GB City: This is such a fun debut from two guys from Mississippi. It rocks hard.
39. The Obits – Moody, Standard and Poor: Indie vet Rick Froberg plays stripped down, loud rock ‘n’ roll.
38. Male Bonding – Endless Now: Great second album from these London punks.
37. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien: Band pays respectable homage to Pavement.
36. The Babies – The Babies: What do you get when you cross Woods with the Vivian Girls? A pretty boss album.
It’s been a good week for new releases, highlighted by Atlas Sound’s Parallax and Cass McCombs’ Humor Risk. McCombs’ album is his second of the year and a more uptempo follow to the somber Wit’s End. For Bradford Cox, it’s his first official Atlas Sound album since the awesome Logos in 2009. A year ago, you may recall, he released a ton of free music, the Bedroom Databank songs.
Also out this week: Kurt Vile’s EP, So Outta Reach. The release features five songs from the recording sessions for the excellent Smoke Ring for My Halo and a Bruce Springsteen cover. (In addition to making one of the best albums of the year, Vile was one of my noted highlights from Pitchfork fest.) As I posted earlier this week, Summer Camp released its debut, a fun, synth pop album that pays homage to the ’80s.
Bradford Cox ended up releasing four albums worth of Atlas Sound demos last week for free on his blog. In a bizarre twist, mega record label Sony took down volumes 2 through 4 of the Bedroom Databank releases, citing copyright infringement.
“Apparently Sony Music Owns my bedroom,” Cox says on his blog. Neither Atlas Sound or Cox’s other band, Deerhunter, is signed to Sony. So what’s the fuss about? Cox speculates that a Bob Dylan cover may have upset the suits at Sony. But that song, This Wheel’s on Fire, was on volume 1 of the Bedroom releases, which wasn’t removed. It’s disturbing how myopic and reckless the big labels can be.
Cox uploaded the links again and you can find them here. I’m still processing the massive music dump but there’s some good stuff in these recordings. And Sony doesn’t have a thing to do with any of them.
Check out this fan video below (before Sony tries to shut it down for no reason):
UPDATE: Pitchfork reports that Sony apologized, responding to anyone who inquired about the tracks: “The Bradford Cox tracks were mistakenly removed. We advised Mediafire that the titles were mistakenly taken down. We have communicated all of this to Bradford Cox and his manager. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Two free albums released in two days? Maybe Bradford Cox feels others are trying to one up him for giving away music and he’s striking back? Cox is offering two Atlas Sound releases, Bedroom Databank Vols. 1 and 2 here. He’s given away Atlas Sound and Deerhunter songs in the past. But no-cost, full-album releases are less common. Lately, there seems to be more full-length freebies offered by both new and established artists.
Gregg Gillis just offered his latest Girl Talk album for free. Kanye West released early versions of songs off the just-released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. New Zealand buzz band Secret Knives is offering its album for free.
UPDATE: Bradford Cox is unstoppable! On Wednesday, he released Volume 3 of Bedroom Databank. That’s 14 more songs — 41 total. Once again, go here to download.
Here’s the Atlas Sound song Shelia off of last year’s excellent Logos album (you have to pay for it):
Living in Chicago, the choices for live shows in January can be pretty bleak. Which is why it’s exciting that Schubas and its new sibling Lincoln Hall are staging a five-day fest, Tomorrow Never Knows, starting Wednesday.
Among the headliners: Surfer Blood, Neon Indian, Atlas Sound, Voxtrot, Bowerbirds and Clues. There are strong supporting acts, too, including Bear in Heaven (opening for Surfer Blood at Schubas Thursday) and the Dead Trees (opening for the Cribs Wednesday at Lincoln Hall).
At least a couple of the shows are sold out. Look here for the full schedule.