Tag Archives: Hollister Dixon

Clipping. Announce 2017 World Tour

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By Hollister Dixon

Los Angeles experimental hip-hop collective Clipping. have been steadily warming their engines since their triumphant return following frontman Daveed Diggs’ exit from his role in the smash hit Broadway musical HamiltonThis year saw the release of the Wriggle EP, and their first LP since 2014’s CLPPNG, called Splendor & Misery – a densely packed story of distant future space slavery and digital love (as only Clipping. could tell it). Today, the band have announced a lengthy world tour to support Splendor & Misery, which is slated to start in early December and go straight on ’til April. For all of you in the Northwest, you can get tickets to their Holocene (Portland) show right here, and their Crocodile (Seattle) here.

The band also stopped by Conan to perform Splendor cut “Air ‘Em Out”, which you can check out over on the Team Coco site. After the jump, have a look at their tour dates and check out the videos for “Air ‘Em Out” and Wriggle‘s “Shooter.” Both Splendor & Misery and Wriggle are out now on Sub Pop Records and Deathbomb Arc.

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The Wrens Return With a New Song, “An Irish Exit”

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By Hollister Dixon

It’s been so long since we’ve heard from New Jersey’s The Wrens. They’ve been teasing their long-awaited followup to 2003’s The Meadowlands since 2014, but we’ve only gotten occasional bits of music from them. Why the album has taken so long to be finished is something we may never know, but we do have our first big bite of the album.

On Wednesday, on the Wrens’ Twitter account, frontman Charles Bissell responded to someone asking about a surprise release of their new record by saying, “thinking about it, though I can’t drop album (much as I’d love to be done w/ it all), fuck it, I’ll post a song later today.” It took a couple extra days, but he made good on this promise on Friday by dropping a mostly instrumental demo of a song called “An Irish Exit”, as well as a nice long note about the song, his motivation for releasing it, and updating everyone on the status of their fourth LP. You can check that out below.

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Just As Was Told: Lift To Experience Detail Definitive Reissue of The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads

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By Hollister Dixon

This is the story of three Texas boys: in 2001, the Denton, TX band Lift To Experience – comprised of guitarist Josh T. Pearson, drummer Andy “The Boy” Young, and bassist Josh “The Bear” Browning released their stunning, singular statement, the double album The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, wall-of-sound tale of Jesus Christ coming back to earth and finding himself in Texas. The band didn’t last more than a few years, but in the 15 years since Crossroads was released, the album has become one of the great unheard records of the 21st century. Earlier this year, the band reunited for just a moment to play a handful of shows, including the Meltdown Festival in London, at the behest of Elbow frontman (and Pearson bandmate in Western Arms) Guy Garvey.

In honor of their own personal Second Coming, as well as to mark the 15th anniversary of the release of Crossroads, the band have detailed a mammoth, definitive reissue of the album. Crossroads was originally recorded live to tape, but the band have gone back into the studio to give the album the mix it deserves. Josh T. Pearson explains, “We went back to the studio, neck deep in the heart of Texas, where Lift recorded The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads – remixing the album the way it should have be mixed originally. It’s good to have our balls back after years spent being castrated.”

The reissue of Crossroads will be out February 3rd, 2017 on Mute Records in three forms: CD, LP, and a beautifully expansive vinyl box set, which will feature Lift To Experience’s classic 04/15/2001 Peel session as well as their demo EP from 1997.

After the jump, you can listen to the remastered “Just As Was Told”, check out the brand new artwork for the reissue, an homage to the Texas-based graphics design studio Pen & Pixel famed for their 90’s Southern gangsta rap album covers, and see the tracklists for each of the three reissues. In addition, you can check out their new interview with The Quietus right here. Continue reading

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Los Campesinos! Announce New Album, Sick Scenes, Announce Tour

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By Hollister Dixon

Los Campesinos!, the best band in Wales (yes, the best, sorry Super Furry Animals) got somewhat quiet in the wake of their fifth album, No Blues. After rumblings of new recordings, this is set to change with their newly-announced 6th LP, entitled Sick Scenes. On the album, frontman Gareth Campesinos! had this to say:

We recorded the album, co-produced by long-time collaborator John Goodmanson and band member Tom Bromley, during Euro 2016 in Fridao, Portugal. The album exists as an expression of the pent-up aggression we felt due to being inactive for so long, but it’s also a celebration of just getting to be a band, of getting to play music with our friends. Thematically the record is concerned with fumbling for personal relevance while trying to be a better person. Repressing anxiety and attempting to function while constantly maintaining the perfect two-beer buzz. It is set upon a backdrop of non-league football, prescribed medication, and crumbling hometowns. These truly are the Sickest Scenes.

The album will be released on February 24th, 2017 worldwide courtesy of the always-lovely Wichita Records, and it’s available for pre-order right here. On top of that, they’ve released the first taste of the album with “I Broke Up In Amarante”, a song which hearkens back to their pop-punk infused roots. They’ve also announced a three-week North American tour, which will include (as Gareth Campesinos! points out, and as this writer is more than aware of) their first west coast dates in five years – This will include a date at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge, if you, dear reader, are interested in seeing your writer in a state of joyful apoplexy. Tickets for all of these shows will go onsale at 9pm local time on Friday, November 11th. All North American dates will feature support from New York chiptune rockers Crying.

After the jump, you can have a listen to “I Broke Up In Amarante”, gander at the tracklist, and check out when they’ll be stopping by your town.

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LIVE: Sigur Rós, Keller Auditorium, Portland, OR

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Sigur Ros // Photo: Hollister Dixon

By Hollister Dixon

There’s something remarkable about the career trajectory of Sigur Rós. Their lyrics and song titles are almost entirely in Icelandic, except for ( ), their 2002 album sung entirely in Vonlenska (otherwise known as Hopelandic), a completely made-up language. Icelandic is an impossible language that a scant 300,ooo people speak – to put that into perspective, the population of Portland is just under 600,000, so if every Icelandic-speaking person lived in this city, there would still be another half of the city that didn’t understand a word of it. And yet, for the last 20 years, the band have built an obsessive and adoring fanbase all over the world who have fallen in love not with the words frontman Jónsi is singing, but with the sound of his angelic falsetto, the sound of a guitar being played with a cello bow, and the breathtaking landscapes they create with their music. They are emotional on the same level as bands like Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor: the words may not exist (or, in Sigur Rós’ case, may not be understandable), but they’ve gotten unbelievably good at emoting without the need for a shared language.

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MFNW Presents Project Pabst (Night Two): The Hollister Dixon Report

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Ween // Photo Credit: Yousef Hatlani

This review is part of a series on MusicFest Northwest Presents: Project Pabst. This include Digable PlanetsGuided By Voices, and Day One of the festival.

By Hollister Dixon

When the merger of MusicFest Northwest and Project Pabst was announced, I had my concerns and doubts. There’s always a worry that it’ll be a “too many cooks in the kitchen” affair, where everything adds up to be less than the sum of its parts. I’ve been a die-hard fan of MFNW for years, but when compared to the lineups of Project Pabst in the two years that the festival has been at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the newcomer Project Pabst has completely outpaced the longer-running festival with a focus on acts that make you say, “Wait, they’re playing Project Pabst? That’s so cool.” To put it simply: it says a lot about that festival that Violent Femmes performing their first album front-to-back is an act that had to be relegated to the undercard in the first year. MusicFest Northwest at the Waterfront was a blast both years, but it was hard to ignore that the lineups both years felt a little too predictable at times.

The marriage of two minds that lead to MusicFest Northwest Presents Project Pabst (or just Project Pabst for short; sorry MFNW, but the full thing is just a mouthful), a two day (or five, if you count the night shows) Waterfront Park blowout with the likes of Ice Cube, Ween, Duran Duran, Tame Impala, Drive Like Jehu, and more.

My biggest disappointment this year came in the form of adulthood getting in the way of the full immersion I’ve always loved to engage in. Other than seeing Guided By Voices at the Crystal Ballroom, I completely missed the first day of the festival because of work, leaving Arya Imig to pick up the slack. Here’s what I saw during my few hours at the festival on Sunday:

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LIVE REVIEW: Digable Planets, Portland, OR

This review is part of a series on MusicFest Northwest Presents: Project Pabst. This includes Guided By Voices and both Day One and Day Two of the main festival.

By Hollister Dixon

While waiting for Digable Planets to start, my show companion (Colin McLaughlin) and I had a long discussion about truly underrated hip-hop albums. For me, the band’s Blowout Comb – their second and final record, released in 1994 – is a shoe-in for that Top 10. Blowout Comb sounded like it was from the future back in ’94, and listening to it now it’s striking how ahead of its time it still sounds. At times, it feels as though the trio – made up of Butterfly (Ismael Butler, later of Shabazz Palaces), Ladybug Mecca (Mary Ann Vieira), and Doodlebug (Craig Irving) – built a time machine with the sole purpose of seeing what soul and funk sounded like in the 3070’s and bringing those vibes back to the 90s. The band broke up shortly after, though they’ve reunited sporadically in the 20 years since.

There’s always a worry that any reunion is a lazy cash-grab, done “for the money”. Let’s set the record straight, before we go on: if Digable Planets are playing for us again “for the money”, it presents an entirely compelling case for capitalism.

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Seu Jorge to Bring The Life Aquatic to Portland

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12 years ago, Seu Jorge recorded a series of Portugese covers of David Bowie songs for Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic. Only a few of them made it into the movie – and onto the film’s soundtrack – but a year later Jorge released an entire album’s worth of the songs, captivating even David Bowie himself – leading Bowie to remark, “Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese, I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.” Now, after all this time, Seu Jorge has decided to take this music on the road, using the tour to pay a fitting tribute to the late musician.

This November, Jorge will tour the country with this tribute, including a stop at Portland’s Revolution Hall. Each show will be performed amidst set dressing designed to evoke that of The Belafonte, the boat on which the majority of The Life Aquatic takes place, complete with sails acting as screens for projected images throughout the show.

Check out Seu Jorge’s “Ziggy Stardust” after the jump, as well as tour dates for his travelling tribute.

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Notes on Pickathon 2016

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Yo La Tengo // Photo Credit: Hollister Dixon

By Hollister Dixon

Editor’s Note: Due to some unfortunate technical issues, all of the actual photos I took over the weekend were lost. I have a few decent ones I got with my cell phone, however. I apologize for this.

I’ve been hearing about Pickathon for years. Two years ago, Faces on the Radio cohost Arya Imig went for the first time, and came back with stories of immeasurable joy and brilliance. I resolved to get there as soon as I possibly could. It took a year longer than I would have liked, but I finally made it: I spent three unbelievable days at Pickathon 2016.

I’m just going to get this out of the way, before we move on: I really struggled to find things that could be better about the festival. Eventually, I realized that “There’s just too much hay for my liking” and “It’s about five degrees too hot out” weren’t valid criticisms, but minor ways for me to try and rectify the fact that I am, by and large, an incredibly positive critic. Still, Pickathon is a festival made for people like me: people with an obsessive need to geek out about music, with other people who want to do the same, in an environment that breeds that kind of behavior. Pickathon isn’t so much a festival as it is a four-day summer camp where all of your favorite bands are playing, and nobody feels like they’re there out of obligation. I had a few conversations with different performers about how they felt about the festival, and the consensus is that it’s the perfect antidote to just about every other North American festival out there. It’s clean, it’s free of gigantic sponsors, it’s eco-friendly. It does everything right.

I really, really wish I could talk about things that are wrong with it, but I haven’t got much. All I actually have is the fact that I would have liked to do and see more. There were some tough scheduling conflicts, and the smaller Lucky Barn was so consistently packed, I never actually saw a band perform there. I also never saw the Starlight Stage or a night show at Galaxy Barn, but this is a consequence of a) seeing the final act at the Woods Stage every evening, and b) not camping out, but instead going home every night. I also never made it to the fabled Pumphouse, which apparently saw a set by Dan Boeckner and Arlen Thompson’s Frankfurt Boys, the “the one-millionth Wolf Parade offshoot band” (in Dan Boeckner’s words), which was plagued with technical issues. And still, the experience I got was truly satisfying, in a way I haven’t experienced at any other festival – or, at least, haven’t come close to since the old multi-venue days of MusicFest Northwest.

It was impossibly hard for me to figure out how to break this festival down, because doing it day by day feels wrong. So, I’m going to do it in two Top Fives: The Old (bands I already knew), and The New (acts I discovered this year). All said and done, I saw 24 performances by 20 different acts (with four acts seen twice).

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LIVE: Weird Al Yankovic, Edgefield Amphitheater, Portland, OR

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By Hollister Dixon

I have a lot of love for Weird Al Yankovic. He’s a man who’s career I haven’t followed as closely as should, but my love of his music goes back – like most people – to when I was a kid. I remember hearing Seattle’s KISS 106.1 premiere “The Saga Begins”, and I remember the joy of seeing him at the Puyallup Fair on the Poodle Hat tour when I was all of 13 years old (my third concert ever). Over the last 30 years, Yankovic has built a perfect legacy as the parody artist, one with an almost superhuman ability to create fantastic pop songs within another person’s framework, as well as creating pitch-perfect pastiche pieces (Running With Scissors odyssey “Albuquerque” springs to mind immediately, which may be his best work). I haven’t seen Yankovic perform since I was a kid, so it seemed like it was time to finally watch him work his magic with adult(ish) eyes.

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