STREAM: Survival Knife “Name That Tune” (ex-Unwound!)

When the sound board recording of Survival Knife’s first show appeared last March, forums and blogs exploded with links and opinions about Unwound’s Justin Trosper’s return to music. And I was one of them, scrambling for my copy like a giddy schoolkid. The band consists of two of Unwound’s original members, drummer Brandt Sandeno and, of course, guitarist/vocalist Trosper. Sandeno has switched to guitar but Trosper’s style is hard to disguise, even with a new rhythm section backing him. This is a good thing. Survival Knife may eschew some of Unwound’s noisier tangents, but the riffs are unmistakably driving and Trosper’s growling yelp is in fine form. The band’s first 7″ is being released by Sub Pop on March 5, 2013 with (hopefully) a full length to follow. [via Pitchfork]

Foals: Neither Fiery, Nor Holy

This snippet from a quick Guardian review of the new Foals album exactly sums up my feelings on it after three listens: “Foals find themselves on their third album, trying to sound big rather than clever.” Yes, exactly. Too bad.

Let It Never Be Said That Steven Patrick Morrissey Lacks a Way with Words

Best concert cancellation excuse ever.

I am terribly sorry that the next three shows have been moved back. The worst is for the best. I am certainly on the road to recovery, but caution and prevention demand further IV blood work lest I keel over and die before your very eyes. I apologize to an almost annoying degree for any trouble I’ve caused to anyone by way of travel plans and dog-sitters and ticket-outlay and re-molded hairstyles. I should be as fit as a ferret for San Diego. Please don’t be too appalled if you see me out and about this week in the Hollywood area. Perversely, it’s all in accordance with doctor’s orders: to have myself re-integrated with the call of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd; the flash of light and the full thrust of mosh-pit sound. Illness turns the body into a complete stranger, and I’ll be testing the capabilities of my strides at the most unlikely music shows this week. The will to get on with it runs strong. Even death can be used as a springboard. For those scholars who are heatedly curious, my ulcer is now under reins, even if neither asleep nor dead, but the continued cause for concern is a slightly embarrassing absence of blood – most of which the bleeding ulcer relieved me of. Anemia sets its own terms with quite obvious biological conclusions, and I have spent these last weeks under expert medical care in Los Angeles with an almost erotic dependency on various IV drips. Sitting around reading indecent books is no substitute for continuing the tour, but my progress holds great promise and Flint shall not escape quite so lightly. We are all at the mercy of biological chance, and I once again beg for your liberal tolerance. If you bump into me this week at a heavy rock show, please understand that I’m lowering myself into the cut and thrust after weeks on ice – horizontal, with sockets empty of eyes. In the midst of the abyss, I’m saved by the news that tickets for the tour continue to sell very well, and my straightjacket twitches with excited gratitude. But the patient must be patient. Our goal, now, is San Diego, by which time my blood-work shall have finally taken its course and I shall be shot from a cannon and might even be equipped with an extra eye. We just never know, do we? Being on life’s danger list, I’ve found, actually prevents you from thinking about how you are, and there’s a bread-like warmth in giving in to whatever was meant for you and whatever wasn’t. The only critical mistake might be to confuse your pre-med with creativity – which is certainly worth the confusion if it renders you not fully present in your own life. Finally, I gorge myself on thanks for the many and varied messages of support that I’ve received over these recent four weeks. They have yanked me out of prolonged mood dips and cured a crisis of spirits. I fully realize that the word ‘cancellation’ in every known dictionary is followed by my own name, but no morale drops as low as my own at the mere suggestion of re-jigging shows. I sincerely ask for your pardon and your understanding. As for those of you who claim to now be officially sick to death of me – if this is really true, then why exactly are you reading this? As a matter of fact, I am even prepared to humble myself to nothing before those who carp; you see, any hospital-stay leaves us in danger of becoming unnecessarily agreeable. Life will right itself.

Whatever happens, I love you.

Los Angeles

David Bowie Announces Second Single from The Next Day

With his first album in a decade not out until March 12, 2013, David Bowie is already announcing his second single, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” which will precede the highly anticipated album, The Next Day, by two weeks. His first single, “Where Are We now?,” which sneaked up on the press without warning on Bowie’s birthday, January 8th, kicked off unprecedented buzz for new material from the long-dormant star. His past two albums were met with respectful yet uneventful press. The references in the first single to his time in Berlin have many fans hoping the new material in some way harkens back to what many consider his peak artistic period. [via The Guardian]

The Next Day tracklist:

01. The Next Day
02. Dirty Boys
03. The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
04. Love Is Lost
05. Where Are We Now?
06. Valentine’s Day
07. If You Can See Me
08. I’d Rather Be High
09. Boss of Me
10. Dancing Out in Space
11. How Does the Grass Grow
12. (You Will) Set the World on Fire
13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
14. Heat
15. So She (bonus track)
16. I’ll Take You There (bonus track)
17. Plan (bonus track)

Half of Echo & the Bunnymen Reunites As Instrumental Poltergeist

Poltergeist, an instrumental trio that reunites Echo & the Bunnymen’s guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattison, is streaming its new song “Cathedral” over at SoundCloud via Slicing Up Eyeballs. The collaboration is underway via Pledge Music. I can’t help but be turned off by all these Kickstarter-type fundraisers. It comes off as begging to me. Isn’t it about supply and demand? If you don’t fit into the music business paradigm, do it yourself. Put out your own records. Play shows and raise money. If you suck, people will let you know, either by telling you or by not coming out to shows. I understand bands not wanting to – or not being able to – put up the funds to make the records to their standards or even at all, but doesn’t that mean maybe they shouldn’t be made, especially if no one else is knocking down the door to do it for them? Promising autographs and liner credits and all sorts of other zany things just to get a record made seems sad and desperate to me. A lot of “career” musicians whose careers have admittedly waned have been resorting to this sort of behavior simply out of survival because music is the only thing they know how to do. And maybe a Kickstarter is the only way for them to get a record made. So be it. But I much prefer the not begging way.  More importantly, though, how much does Les Pattison hate Ian McCulloch not to be involved in any of Echo & the Bunnymen’s current activities?

Atoms for Peace doing Reddit’s Ask Me Anything

Atoms for Peace is just the worst, worst, worst band name. It’s just so earnest. They may as well be called Champions for Clean Water in Third World Nations. The music itself is fine. It sounds like blippy, latter-day Radiohead with extra doses of paranoia, despite access to Flea’s bass talents. I’m just so turned off by the name. And I’ve been in my share of bands with bad names. But earnestness I can’t abide. The band is participating in Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” today at 12:30 EST (which has already begun).