New Cursive out in February

Cursive will release yet another lyrically thematic album on February 21, 2012 when Saddle Creek issues the band’s seventh full-length, I Am Gemini.

Via the press release:

I Am Gemini is the surreal and powerful musical tale of Cassius and Pollock, twin brothers separated at birth. One good and one evil, their unexpected reunion in a house that is not a home ignites a classic struggle for the soul, played out with a cast of supporting characters that includes a chorus of angels and devils, and twin sisters conjoined at the head.

Sounds heavy. Lyricist Tim Kasher has already exhausted divorce, redemption, suburban ennui, and aging, so why not twins separated at birth? The part of the press release that interests me most, however, is where it states that I Am Gemini is Cursive’s “heaviest in years.”

Track listing for I Am Gemini:

This House Alive
Warmer Warmer
The Sun and Moon
Drunken Birds
Lullaby for No Name
Double Dead
Twin Dragon/Hello Skeleton
This House a Lie
The Cat and Mouse
A Birthday Bash
Eulogy for No Name

(Hopefully Not) Sonic Youth’s Last Concert Ever

After issuing a joint statement announcing an end to their 27-year marriage via their record company, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon essentially gave Sonic Youth an expiration date (because being in a band with your ex probably wouldn’t pan out too well). It’s hard to imagine a world without Sonic Youth. The band has been around longer than I’ve been aware of music. Good music, anyway. Even though Sonic Youth isn’t one of the immediate bands on the tip of my tongue if you ask me some of my all-time favorites, there is no doubt it ranks very high. I think I’ve seen Sonic Youth live at least seven times since 1992. I own every single one of the band’s full-length albums. I’m pretty sure that makes Sonic Youth one of my favorite bands, even if I’ve taken it for granted. This video is part one of three of the band’s (possibly final) set in Sao Paolo, Brazil. No official statement regarding Sonic Youth’s future has been issued, and, likewise, there are no details as to why Moore and Gordon are breaking their union. They will continue to share a daughter, so why not a band?

In Case You Were Wondering: Courtney Love Is Still Batshit Crazy

Courtney Love recently stormed off stage in Brazil because a fan held up a photograph of her deceased husband, Kurt Cobain. As with most actions by this woman, her ramblings on stage seemed inexplicable at the time. Her nonsensical rant also included digs at former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl. In the video above, Love attempts to explain her actions by spouting the usual dose of wild inaccuracy and hyperbole. As much as I genuinely dislike her, I can’t help but feel sorry for her. She is not well. [via Punk News]

The New Order Reunion Is a Joke without Peter Hook

New Order reunited recently to help raise money for friend and video-producer Michael Shamberg, as he fights a debilitating illness. Well, some of New Order reunited. Bassist Peter Hook was sadly absent from the festivities. Not every band’s bassist is integral to its sound. Some bass players are, in fact, totally replaceable. However, Peter Hook is not one of them. Almost every New Order song has a distinct bassline and melodic lead composed by Peter Hook. His style is one of the building blocks that we associate with the post-punk sound. It’s no secret that in-fighting amidst New Order’s ranks has been an ongoing problem for decades. The hiatus between 1993’s Republic and 2001’s Get Ready was always blamed on the band members being sick of one another. But it wasn’t until the past few years that we were spectators to the public sparring between Hook and vocalist Bernard Sumner. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s New Order remained frustratingly enigmatic. Since reforming, however, the band has let its collective guard down. Nasty words have been exchanged. Infantile name calling. It’s all rather silly and easily dismissed until the remaining members decided to toy with its own legacy and reunite without Hook- a passive aggressive stunt on a mammoth scale. Hook has expressed both disappointment and frustration at the news, jokingly stating that “NEW ORDER without PETER HOOK is like QUEEN without FREDDIE MERCURY, U2 without THE EDGE, SOOTY without SWEEP!” While those are hyperbolic examples, he’s not entirely wrong. New Order without Hook is a joke. A sad joke. Replacing him on stage with two random blokes is beyond reproach. Consider my fandom revoked until this is resolved. And don’t get me started on Hook’s own legacy-flogging as he tours a Joy Division tribute band …

Laura Marling Performs “Night After Night” on WNYC’s Spinning On Air

I was only recently turned onto Laura Marling. I read a reference to her in some record review, which I wish I could locate now. The reference was so glowing I stopped whatever I was reading and immediately looked her up. When I saw that she was categorized as “folk,” I almost quit before actually listening. I’m not a huge fan of folk or of the singer-songwriter schtick as a whole. But there are always exceptions. And Marling is a big one. She’s so strikingly talented I almost can’t believe she’s not a household name. Her music isn’t exactly accessible in the way that makes you a household name these days, though. She’s of the Joni Mitchell ilk when it comes to songwriting, which is praise of the highest order. Her melodies are daring and complex and her accompanying guitar playing is jaw-droppingly good. The fact that she’s only 21 years old just blows my mind. Her voice is so confident. I can think of few singers with such poise. This performance for WYNC’s Spinning on Air encapsulates everything amazing about her.

Ryan Adams Performs “Ashes & Fire” on Jools Holland

With his latest album Ashes & Fire, Ryan Adams seems to have reconnected with much of his audience, although I’m confused as to why he had to reconnect in the first place. I don’t have much in common with those who haven’t liked anything since Heartbreaker. I don’t even really understand that attitude. I mean, yeah, he’s put out a lot of material over the past decade and, no, not everything has been a home run. But I’d rather an artist I admire put out too much than too little. Most bands take three to four years between records, which is just rubbish. Adams does as he pleases. I respect that about him. So, his internal editor may not be as choosy as some would like, but I’ll take the bad with the good. And, yes, Ashes & Fire is a great record. I don’t view it so much as a return to form as much as a logical progression. If you’re comparing it only to Heartbreaker, it’s a much cleaner album. It showcases Adams’ pristine voice and songwriting chops, where Hearbreaker was more of the moment- a snapshot of Adams’ burgeoning potential. Haphazard and loose. But on Ashes & Fire Adams’ vocals have never sounded so good. He’s at the top of his game vocally. And this performance on Jools Holland just hammers that point home.