Jherek Bischoff launches Kickstarter, tours OZ with Missy Higgins - September 23, 2014
It's been over a year since we've brought you any Jherek Bischoff news. Which is not to say there hasn't been any. This versatile composer/producer/sideman/arranger is just so prolific he's hard to keep up with. We couldn't report on everything unless we turned www.brassland.org into a 24-7 Jherek Bischoff news service. (Come to think of it, for something like that experience you should check out his Twitter feed, or ours.)
Anyhoo, there are two pieces of particularly BIG NEWS to announce at the moment, so let us break the drought: (1) Jherek's just announced his forthcoming Brassland release, Cistern, and (2) he is in Australia for the next two months, supporting Missy Higgins on her OZ project, which he helped create. Before we get into the details, though, watch this video and contribute to help make Jherek's next record a reality.
Ah, the wonders of crowdfunding & multi-media: Putting record labels & writers out of business since 2009ish. Ha ha! Ahem....
On a more sincere note: We at Brassland are total geeks for ambient music. From Satie and Eno's placid zone-out soundtracks to Terry Riley and Aphex Twin's more wigged-out explorations of the form, ambient music is often the kind of tuneage that makes non-believers say "Hey, my kid could do that!" but, believe us, the subtle skill and sly restraint required to compose ambient music that you can listen to again and again and again is, in our opinion, one of the real signs of genius. And, on that front, Cistern is the music that sold us on working with Jherek in the first place: a series of ambient pieces written for chamber orchestra that may not break new ground, but certainly could become your "on repeat" digital go-to tracks or a re-spun turntable fave. (Yep, we will be releasing this on vinyl.) Inspired by the echoey confines of a 2-million gallon, empty water tank near Jherek's native Seattle, the appropriately named Cistern was recorded with hot-s**t contemporary classical ensemble Contemporaneous, and is planned for release in early spring 2015.
If you're new to Jherek's world, we've created this pay-what-you-wish Bandcamp sampler of his music in honor of the Kickstarter. Im fact, if you want a taste of what you're being asked to fund, the last track on the sampler is a demo for the title track of the new album. Stream or download it right here:
Speaking of Jherek and new worlds, have you heard that he's doing a 25-date tour of...Australia? Did you even know that such a thing was possible? (Australia's population: 23 million-ish. # of major cities: maybe 5. Do the math.) The occasion for this amazing happening is not the inexplicable trendiness of ambient orchestral music in Australia; nor is it that Jherek is touring tiny, DIY squats started by classical geeks. (Nope most of the concerts will be for audiences of around 1,000.) Here's the deal: in addition to creating his new record in 2014, Jherek has been quite busy this year working with Australian pop star Missy Higgins to co-produce her new album OZ. It is her attempt to define "the Australian songbook," and features intriguingly orchestrated (ahem, thanks Bischoff) cover versions of songs by artists such as the Go-Betweens, Slim Dusty, Something For Kate, the DiVinyls, Paul Kelly, and...wait for it...the Drones! We were surprised and delighted when we got our ears on the first release from Missy's new album, when we discovered it was from our old friends the Drones, who you may remember from the cross-country American tour they did with Devastations back in 2008. Missy's take on their song "Shark Fin Blues" sure took us back, and aback, in a good way:
This all goes to prove the old saying: "In the music business, some people are just good to work with—and Bischoff’s clearly one." Actually that's not an old saying at all but something that appeared in the Seattle Weekly's recent best of issue where they named Jherek as Seattle's best collaborator. Weirdly, we've never heard about these supposed good-people-to-work-with in the music business, but then again, we're not journalists, are quite sure they did their research, and think the "good to work with" bit certainly applies to Jherek.
Speaking of which, we're going to skip some of the other exciting stuff he's had going on—including his deepening relationship with Kronos Quartet (!?!); his lovely contribution to the Sony Masterworks compilation Red Hot + Bach; his well-reviewed and sold-out concerts at Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse; this theater music collaboration Johnny Breitwieser: A Criminal Ballad from Vienna which will premiere in Austria this November; and his full-orchestral arrangement of ex-Hüsker Dü member Grant Hart's new music for the ensemble Stargaze which premiered this summer at some European rock festivals.
Oh wait, we managed to cram it all into this post. Yay. Now give him (and us) some of your money to help assure there's plenty more to come.
Buke and Gase offer new song, USA + Dublin tour date(s) - August 29, 2014
Let's get the most fun part out of the way first: Buke and Gase have just posted their new song "Seam Esteem" to Bandcamp for free download. Grab it:
"Seam Esteem" premiered on All Songs Considered. You can also stream it on their Soundcloud.
I know what you're thinking: These announcements came out of the blue. What gives? Well, hopefully you're already one of the lucky internet browsers who caught wind of the their Soundcloud postings from March to June of this year, during which the duo shared aural snapshots & snippets of recent improvs, recording experiments & works-in-process. As the band put it: "These sketches became the basis of our Soundcloud #MondayMissions project. Inspired by an article by Brad Troemel " in The New Inquiry Magazine about "athletic aesthetics”, we began posting a short track every Monday as an exercise in communicating more with our audience and involving them in the process. This required us to take a stab at our standards of Quantity-Vs-Quality on a weekly basis, and the sense of urgency to reveal something vulnerable gave us an added creative boost."
It's finally been revealed what all this (atypical-for-them) internet activity was leading up to: namely, the finished song "Seam Esteem," some chatter about a new record in-the-works and, more concretely, a 9-date tour that will take them through the northeastern quadrant of North America: Montreal to the north, Chicago to the west, Philly to south and, naturally, a Brooklyn homecoming.
And here's another more concrete thing: the entire run of #MondayMissions in the form of a single-playlist. (At least as long as they leave it live on the interwebs.)
We'll wrap up this post with a little congrats to the Bukes on their latest experiment. We've been blown away since the day we met them with their ability to balance considerable creativity and freedom with the qualities needed to spread the products of that creativity far & wide: resourcefulness, a work ethic, self-sufficiency and a general capability to get shit done. DIY has always been part of Brassland's DNA, and continues to be part of it, be it This is the Kit's relentless European touring, or Jherek Bischoff's home-recorded orchestral innovations. But Buke and Gase have embodied the idea in ways that would challenge any band in the history of music, ever.
It's been a joy to work with them, and we hope to continue doing so — which reminds us, they're also planning to take part in this crazy event we're doing in Ireland this December. You can BUY TICKETS for their first ever Dublin gig right now. More plans in the UK and Ireland to come...
Brassland @ National Concert Hall in Ireland this December - August 20, 2014
Dia dhaoibh! We have some news for you and it's completely craic for anyone in the general vicinity of Éire. If you haven't given up on this post already due to confusion, or offense at our half-assed use of Celtic greetings & Irish slang, please read on: Brassland has plotted an event at the National Concert Hall of Ireland (NCH) this December. It's going to be awesome.
The location is Dublin; the dates are December 13 and December 14. On Saturday we'll present a marathon of individually ticketed shows. It kicks off at 3pm with three intimate gigs in their Engineering Library and finishs up that evening with our headliner in the main room:
- 3pm: Crash Ensemble performing the music of Bryce Dessner
- 4:30pm: This is the Kit
- 6:30pm: Buke and Gase
- 8:00pm: Sounds of the South featuring Frazey Ford, Matthew E. White with members of Megafaun and Fight the Big Bull performing music collected by American folklorist Alan Lomax
On Sunday, comes the European debut of Doveman's Burgundy Stain Sessions featuring:
- Glen Hansard (Swell Season, Once, The Frames)
- Paul Noonan (Bell X-1)
- Lisa O'Neill
We'll add more guests and sidepersons to this post as we confirm them.
You can BUY TICKETS right now. Or check this video playlist if you want a preview of what's in store.
Note that the lead video includes Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver), the dulcet-toned dude who co-founded the Sounds of the South project; however, he will not be part of our weekend. We're sad about that. We're also sad to report that the inspiration for the SoS project — song collector Alan Lomax — will not make an appearance. (Lomax passed away in 2002, so it's not like anyone was expecting him.) Point being, the amazing music that inspired both Vernon & Lomax will be in full effect. So it's all good.
We know what you're thinking: Brassland has done events at Australia's Adelaide Festival & Germany's Haldern Pop. But the National Concert Hall? -- that sounds like quite an upgrade! And you probably have other important questions: Do they serve beer at NCH? (Or, well, at least Guinness?) How about veggie burgers, and light bites featuring kale? (Actually, we're not sure if Ireland does kale. Sorry Brooklyn!) For the record, we have already confirmed NCH serves drinks. We'll work out some food recommendations closer in.
Now for the other whys & hows: About a year ago we began a conversation with our longtime acquaintance Gary Sheehan—NCH's head of programming—about a weekend of concerts that would plot the common ground between the hall's new Perspectives series and the music associated with the Brassland label.
We decided the crossover is a place where folk, classical and alternative rock traditions meet in unexpected ways without getting bogged down in either classical music conventions or folksie informality. Together, we plotted a weekend that focused on musicians whom, on the surface, seem to be do one thing really well, but actually do an entirely other thing just as well. I.e. A rock guitarist who writes composed music for strings & things (i.e. The National's Bryce Dessner); alternative rock & folk groups whose music sounds unusually well-composed (Buke and Gase, This is the Kit); and, of course, the two main stage concerts which treat 20th century vernacular song with the respect & attention usually reserved for 18th century German dudes in powdered wigs. In a roundabout way, we're trying to show how the song-based traditions of Ireland & Scotland deserve just as much respect.
Too much explanation, you say? Well, here's a trailer for what looks to be a sweet ass Alan Lomax documentary about America's "patchwork culture" derived, in this case, from Irish, Scottish & British tradition:
(If you're hooked, watch the doc in full right here)
In a less genealogical sense, we think it's self-evident that there's a commonality between the poise & chops that Doveman brings to the singer-songwriter tradition; the intensity and virtuosic-ish-ness of Buke and Gase's take on post-punk; and the way the Sounds of the South and This is the Kit find, in folk music, the same aesthetic aspirations & deep insights into human potential that others find only in composed music. And, of course, the connections between the artists playing our weekend, Ireland and The National's extended family tree shouldn't go unmentioned. For a catch up, check out The Irish Times' recent oral history on The National's decade of memorable concerts in the country — or, heck, just look at this gift box which "The U2ers" had delivered to the boys from Cinci backstage in Dublin last month.
Does that answer the question about if there'll be drinks? Did that last quip just lose Doveman a shot at getting Bono to sing a tune with him? (No worries! We're holding out for Sinead, cause she's the boss.)
Anyhoo, the NCH has prepared a press release explaining the weekend right here. Forward that link to any friends who might find Brassland-dot-org style news stories to be overly chatty and rambling.
Go ahead, read up at that other site.
Okay now that you're back, a special thanks Mr. Gary Sheehan who we've known since the early '00s when he was a show promoter interested in the cross-genre explorations of our artists Clogs and Erik Friedlander. It's been nice reconnecting with him a ways down the road.
Hopefully, Brassland's December weekend in Dublin will become part of our story & your story, very soon...
Call For Interns - June 16, 2014
Brassland is always looking for qualified interns with a strong interest in the music industry. Our interns gain first hand experience in the label side of things with the possibility of experience in publishing and management.
All positions are unpaid.
Must live in the greater New York area for the duration of internship.
Must be available for at least two full days a week
Must be in at least junior year of college
Submit resume AND cover letter to glenn AT brassland DOT org with the subject line: “I WANT TO BE AN INTERN OR HELPER PERSON! (______ season)”:
Spring Internship: Jan – mid May
Resume submissions due December 1
Summer Internship: mid May – late Aug
Resume submissions due April 1
Fall Internship: Sept – Dec
Resume submissions due August 1
- Your top 5 all time favorite records
- 5 most recent concerts attended
- A favorite or funniest YouTube video
(Don't worry - we won't judge you...much.)
- Duties vary based on your expertise (writing, programming, etc.). It will almost definitely include packing vinyl and CDs — and updating websites.
- Previous interns have gone on to bright futures as employees and freelancers here & at other music-related companies
Demonstrate your genius in (1) blogging, (2) Soundcloud, (3) Bandcamp, (4) Flickr, (5) YouTube, (6) Tumblr, (7) MyShopify or (8) some crazy internet thing we've never heard of. (Nothing dirty, please.)
If you can do all that, you're hired!
People Get Ready announce new album, NYC gigs - April 23, 2014
When is a band more than a band? People Get Ready has inspired that question since their self-titled debut was released a year and a half ago. The shows in support of the record blew many people away, and took place everywhere from DIY clubs around Brooklyn, to a cross-country opening slot for Deerhoof, to "high art" performance spaces like BAM, LA's Skirball Center and Duke University. The group frequently adds auxiliary performers and homemade instruments (i.e. a "circumstantial guitar" strapped to its wearer's back and dragged on the ground by its headstock), but sometimes they simply attack their songs as a ferocious (in a joyful way!) four-piece. NPR’s Bob Boilen has ranked their performances among his top concerts of the year two years running now, including a nod as his single favorite gig of 2012. Bob's a fellow who sees literally hundreds of gigs a year. Big deal, huh?
We think of it in simpler terms. People Get Ready are like that kid in high school who was weirdly good at everything: their club gigs are hot sweaty dance parties; their "performance" pieces combine movement & music in ways that defy audience expectations for both rock & dance audiences; and, oh yeah, their songs are also catchy as hell. To use a sports metaphor, this band is a "triple-threat." Not that we've seen them play touch football or anything. I think they prefer just hanging out at the beach.
And, now People Get Ready are getting…ready to... Erm, well, just listen here:
Now let's try that again: We're proud to announce the band's sophomore full-length Physiques will be released on June 24. Produced by Brooklyn friend and recent tour mate Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, the album began as a collection of deliberately incomplete sketches developed over three months of improvisation, revision and accidental magic. To set the scene, the three months of tracking took place at the Clocktower Gallery in downtown Manhattan, a legendary "alternative art" space which has (sadly) just been shuttered for renovation into condos. (To answer your question: No, neither People Get Ready nor any Brassland employees gets first divs on one of the condos. New York real estate is an experience in tough love.)
Anyway, check out the Physiques track list below.
4. Aquarium Date
7. Hot Fruit
8. You Should Have Seen Our Face
PRE-ORDER the record right now:
- CD + t-shirts
A hallmark of the People Get Ready experience, of course, is that live show. No matter the setting, their gigs are never less than a sweaty, kinetic party. With so much hype surrounding People Get Ready’s performances, it would be a bit of tease not to announce some New York shows.
- April 29: Brooklyn, NY: Union Pool (w/ Jolie Holland)
- June 19: New York, NY: North End Way (River to River block party)
- June 24: Brooklyn, NY: Rough Trade NYC (record release show)
Keep your ears peeled for new news...