Bradley's Almanac

[Musical Nutshells] Kristin Hersh/Throwing Muses, Chris Brady/Pond, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Survival Knife/Unwound, David Bazan/Pedro The Lion

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm | 4 Comments

In keeping with the frequent squirrel appreciation reflected in my blog (and my life), I’ve decided to file these random “various & sundry” posts under “nutshells” from here on out. Just go with it…

Kristin Hersh, the distinctive voice and guitar of both Throwing Muses & 50 Foot Wave, let fly some seriously exciting news in her latest email update to fans, and I must share. Frankly, I can hardly contain myself.

First: “The new Throwing Muses record — four years in the making —  is finally mixed and mastered. We’re now designing the book that it will be (like the Crooked book, but with a CD included).” Kristin is supported, in large part, by regular contributions from fans (called “Strange Angels“), who get a variety of special perks and access to new songs in the making. One of those fringe benefits was an early listen to this upcoming 33-track (!) Muses record, not due out until early next year. It’s titled Purgatory/Paradise, and it is absolutely epic. I’m overwhelmed by it, in the best way.

Next, Kristin says: “I’ve just recorded basic tracks for what I believe is the best acoustic record I’ve ever made. And because of you, that record includes Martin McCarrick (cello) Rob Ahlers (drums) and Dave Narcizo (drums, too.)” For those unaware, Martin McCarrick is the brilliant cellist who has contributed to a wealth of beautiful string sounds to songs from the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, This Mortal Coil, The Glove, Therapy?, Lush, and so many more. And those drummers? Naturally they’re her bandmates from 50 Foot Wave and Throwing Muses, respectively. Both of them on the same record? Hot damn.

But wait, there’s more: “50 Foot Wave just finished another Ep with Mudrock. As soon as we find a spot in the release schedule where it will get the most attention — from us and you — we’ll get it out there in the world where it can make friends.” More 50’~? Yes, please.

Also? “I’m writing a new book, with another two in the pipeline…” I inhaled her written debut, “Rat Girl”, and the promise of more thrills me.

As exciting as all that info is, she tops it with this corker: “I’ve started a happifying new project called Outros, with Rob Ahlers and Chris Brady (Pond & Audio Learning Center), two of my favorite people and favorite musicians.” Now this, I can hardly believe. Y’see, I’m basically a Chris Brady fanboy. I absolutely adore the songs he wrote with Pond and ALC, love his bass playing, voice, and lyrics, and have always hoped he’d get back to making new music. The fact that he’s doing so with Kristin is a dream come true – a dream I never knew I had. This trio is the musical version of a comic book superhero team-up.  The first time I heard a Chris Brady-penned song? 1992, just before (the real and only) Pond’s debut album for Sub Pop was released, and just after they finished their first UK tour… opening for Throwing Muses. Full circle.

Work on Ted Leo & his Pharmacists’ next full-lengther is well underway, and I’m assuming/hoping we’ll get some news from Matador any day now on when we’ll hear the results. While we wait, Ted’s been touring solo with some truly talented ladies lately (the UK with Rebecca Gates last month, and a North American tour with Aimee Mann, that starts tonight – with Boston on 11/3), and I figure he’ll kick into full-band mode once the record hits (in early 2013?). His personal Soundcloud page, where he shares the occasional self-recorded oddity, has been pretty quiet for the past few months, until he offered up a little gem a few days ago. As he says: “Francesca Blumenthal’s heart ripping torch song re-purposed for election season.” Have a listen…

I’ve lamented this too many times, but one of the great disappointments of my band-loving life is the cancellation of Unwound’s Boston-area show during the tour for their final (and my favorite) album, “Leaves Turn Inside You”. The reason was more than understandable (the date? 9/11/2001), but the fact that they broke up shortly after was a tough pill to swallow. No future chances to see them, and worse, no new Unwound songs. Ever.

Which makes this year’s unexpected arrival of Survival Knife all the more appreciated. It’s Justin Trosper (vocals/guitar) and Brandt Sandeno (guitar) from Unwound, Meg Cunningham (bass/vocals) from Blues Druid, and Kris Cunningham (drums) from Western Hymn. The quartet made their debut in late March with a show in Olympia, Washington, and they were tight right out of the gate. According to Facebook, they’ll start recording in November, and yes, they sound just enough like Unwound for me to love them immediately and intensely. Oh, how I’ve missed Justin’s guitar playing and songwriting style. Feels like a long-empty void has been filled.

Gloriously, you can watch the entirety of their first show on YouTube. Here it is…

I first became aware of the band back in early May thanks to Swan Fungus, who shared up the setlist from that debut show along with a soundboard recording of one song, “Thud of the Jackboot” (it’s since been removed). Rather than reshare that track, here’s another live one. Tag team: Let’s see another blog share another song, and so on…

[MP3] Survival Knife – “Divine Mob
(live at Eagles Hall Bar, Olympia, WA, 3/29/12)
Incidentally, word is there’s an Unwound archive of live shows (audio & video) in the works. Right now the site is password protected, but here’s hoping it opens up soon.

Next week David Bazan and his band will hit the road for a month to play Pedro the Lion‘s amazing “Control” album from front-to-back, and they’ll be in Boston at Brighton Music Hall on November 13th. Tickets here. They’ll no doubt be lugging boxes full of newly-remastered Pedro the Lion vinyl releases, so make sure you bring extra cash and hit the merch table. I couldn’t quite pull the trigger on buying the beautiful box set of Sloan’s “Twice Removed” LP for $90 when I was at their BMH show last week… but $70 to pre-order those 5 remastered Pedro LPs (Hard To Find a Friend, The Only Reason I Feel Secure, Control, Achilles Heel, and Winners Never Quit)? With bonus goodies that won’t be sold individually? Yeah, I pre-ordered that sucker the day it was announced. Bring it on, Mr. Mailman. They have arrived!

Listen to the remastered “Control”…

… and one remastered track from each Pedro the Lion LP …

Big weekend coming up… heading down to Brooklyn with Colin & Dana to play drums on some Let’s Whisper recordings. Equal parts nervous and excited… hope the rust comes off easily. Keep an eye on my Twitter account for potential in-studio updates from within Marlborough Farms, if you’re into that sort of thing.


4 Responses to “[Musical Nutshells] Kristin Hersh/Throwing Muses, Chris Brady/Pond, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Survival Knife/Unwound, David Bazan/Pedro The Lion”

  1. ned
    October 25th, 2012 @ 6:21 am

    ah, but would you pay $60 (shipped) for the sloan box set?

  2. Brad Searles
    October 25th, 2012 @ 9:30 am

    Now THAT is far more tempting. Hmmm…

  3. John
    November 4th, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

    Re: Unwound. Spoke with Sara about the cancelled 9/11 show when she was in town playing with Corin Tucker. She said, “That’s right. We owe Boston a show.” Yes please.

  4. Brad Searles
    November 4th, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

    Oh man. If only.

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    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

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