Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Follow the Train's Final Performance... documented!

Alright, nearly half of 2009 is over and we here at 37 flood have been a little shy, we're sincerely sorry for that but real life pops up from time to time and eats into your fun. This same thing happend to Louisville's beloved Follow the Train. The band experienced an exodous due to founding members moving on with their lives in fall 2006 but reformed again early in 2007 with only one remaining member Dennis Sheridan and a powerhouse of new "Train"ees! 

We were able to see Follow the Train most ever time they played here in town and even a couple dates in Athens, GA opening for MMJ and not one time did they leave me ungrateful for seeing them. On January 2009, FTT played their last show at Headliners Music Hall and our friend Mr. Brian Porter gratiously taped the show with his superior audience recording gear. He also introduced me to a recording of the band's first show together in early 2007 at Lisa's Oak Street Lounge. 

We've got some photos and the mp3s here for your viewing/listening enjoyment, thanks go out to Dennis, James, Mike, Carlos, Justin, Brandon and Dave for all the good shows and allowing their shows to be recorded by fans as well as Brian P. for taping it. Enjoy and I know that I hope to one day see the Train back on it's rails again!

January 10th, 2009
Headliner's Music Hall
Louisville, KY

01 Intro
02 The Final Countdown
03 Coffee
04 Movin'
05 219
06 Flower
07 Listen
08 Mellwood
09 Division
10 Mercury
11 Seamless
12 Wake Up
13 I Want to Know What Love Is [Foreigner]

February 9th, 2007 
Lisa's Oak Street Lounge

Monday, May 25, 2009

review: Dark Night Of The Soul (By sparklehorse & Danger Mouse)

as quiet as a casket, some of the largest names in pop music managed a milestone this month in the ongoing war between major music labels and artistic talent.
earlier this month the full length album "Dark Night of the Soul" written by Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) and Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous) was released to widespread criticle acclaim. the album features guest vocals by pop music icons including Iggy Pop, vic chestnut, Susan Vega, Frank Black and others as well as a limited edition book of 100+ color photographs inspired by the music created by cult film director David Lynch.
While this in itself, though impressive, is no great feat, the true amazement is that this album was not released by a major or even minor music label. in fact officially, this album has not been released at all. popping up on various pirate music websites for the last few weeks, this album can not be found in record stores or on pay sites. the only way to obtain this album is to find bootleg copies and take it, and this is by design and encouraged by the artists.
this collaboration has been in the works for quite some time, but the release was shelved In what has been described as an 'ongoing dispute' with the record label EMI and Danger Mouse. The album's website does not go into detail about the dispute, only stating "Danger Mouse is unable to legally release the recorded music for Dark Night of the Soul without fear of being sued by EMI." in fact all of the information on the site barely adds up to five sentences.
aside from anonymous posters without any information aside from the collaborators names appearing at select music events, it seemed DNOTS would fade into rock lore. that was until May 15th, when National Public Radio put up the album in it's entirety on it's website. in uncharacteristic NPR fashion, the website, which kept the cloak and dagger aire surrounding the release, offered little information about decision to premiere the album in this manor, or about the dispute with EMI or even the album it's self. NPR producer Robin Hilton wrote that promotional materials arrived with no return address and "an unnamed spokesperson" for Danger Mouse had contacted NPR Music saying that due to the dispute Danger Mouse will be releasing the photobook with a blank CDR, with the title of the album printed on the face, with the instructions "for legal reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will."
the DNOTS website states "Danger mouse remains hugely proud of Dark Night of the Soul and hopes that people lucky enough to hear the music, by whatever means, are as excited by it as he is."
in a time when Labels and musicians are struggling to control how music is distributed online and watching their sales drop, Danger Mouse became famous by turning his back on conventionalism and the lure of cashing in, by recording albums using samples of music he did not have the rights to, and leaking the albums onto the internet. his 2004 "The Grey Album" made by mashing up and sampling the music of Jay-Z's "the black album" and the Beatle's "the white album" became a household name when EMI famously tried to halt it's distribution.
the spotlight from this fight earned Danger Mouse a loyal following and "best album of 2004" by Entertainment weekly as well as attention by many music labels.
this time around EMI has seemed to learn not to rock the boat by keeping relatively restrained about the dispute, stating "Danger Mouse is a brilliant, talented artist for whom we have enormous respect. We continue to make every effort to resolve this situation and we are talking to Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) directly. Meanwhile, we need to reserve our rights."
The success of the Grey Album may have gotten Danger Mouse signed, but did not change his thoughts about the free distribution of music, or stop his creative and public displays against mainstream music and distribution. in 2006 he, along with british artist Banksy, replaced 500 copies of Paris Hilton's album Paris in British music stores with CDs containing similar artwork and a 40 minute instrumental containing quotes by Hilton.
But Danger Mouse isn't known solely as a defiant artist and prankster, he has created a name for himself as half of the International sensation, Gnarles Barkley, with hip hop artist Cee-Lo Green, and as a gifted Producer credited with producing countless albums from artists such as The Gorillaz, The Rapture, Beck, and the Black Keys.
in 2006 Danger Mouse produced the Sparklehorse album, Dreamt for light years in the belly of a mountain. by This time Sparklehorse had already gathered a cult following with the success of 3 studio albums and had already worked with many of the guest vocalists that would appear on DNOTS. With Sparklehorse' dexterity, allowing him to transform music, moving seamlessly from noise to experimental to pop all in the same song, and Danger Mouse's uncanny ability to adsorb and magnify an artists essence, it seemed to be a natural fit for the two to collaborate. with the familial sound of Gnarles Barkley's melancholy keys, and Sparklehorse's fondness for demented orchestral strings, DNOTS paints a portrait of an alien landscape, oddly familiar, like dark thoughts we would never dare tell anyone about. such as on Revenge, the album's opening track, Flaming Lip's Wayne Coyne sings "in my mind, i have shot you and stabbed you through your heart, i just didn't understand the ricochet is the second part."
keeping with the writers' affinity for collaboration, every track not only has a guest vocalist, but each vocalist co-composed and produced their tracks. this is very evident in songs such as Pain with Iggy Pop, which has the classic garage pre-punk vibe of the Stooges, and the poppy tinny guitar in Little Girl with the Strokes' Julian Casablancas.
The album's strongest tracks have vocals from the one guest collaborator who isn't a well known musician, David Lynch, who is the only guest vocalist with multiple tracks, and also supplied the visuals. His two tracks, the title track and Star Eyes (I Can't Catch It), are otherworldly explorations into a surreal daydream. Vibrato driven lullabies that would be right at home with the soundtracks of Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet.
this is not Lynch's first turn as musician, he has written music for many of his films, as well as for friend and singer, julee cruise, and has released his own full length album, Bluebob.
despite having over a dozen musicians co-writing and producing, DNOTS is a cohesive, strong album that brings together many different types of artists/styles and proves that sometimes musicians make music for the sake of music, wanting nothing in return.
in the past, the iron fist of the record industry has stopped artists from releasing work for good. in today's digitally motivated climate , where new formats are endless, confusing, and are turning the music industry upside down, DNOTS reminds us that in the end it's about the music, by any means necessary.