Wednesday, March 4, 2009

TVD First Date with | These United States

It could be that These United States' singular mission is to dispel the notion that Washington, DC has no character, nor soul, or grit amidst the starched white underbelly of its marbled column malaise. And if you've been paying attention, they're making waves all over the place with their much-hyphenated psych-folk-lit-pop-rock.

After releasing 2 albums and playing 200 shows in 2008 (!), These United States have a new release in the queue and head south to SXSW (selected via ye olde EPK at Sonicbids) for four days of showcases.

TVD dialed up (the sleep-deprived) Jesse Elliott (vocals, guitar) for a few bits, not on bitrates, but on that analog medium just before the boys hit the road for a tour that begins in Kentucky on 3/3 and ends in Kentucky on 4/11--with 29 dates in between...

"The past is not the past - it's never dead, you never forget it, you never can afford to, never should want to, not too badly, critical as it is to the present, and the present to the future. Vinyl has nothing to do with Sound for me - I'm a deaf shit, have been ever since I was a tiny kid with way too many ear infections in the first 2 years of his life. And my family always had bad speakers anyway. But my dad also had Disraeli Gears and Aqualung and a whole bunch of other works I'd never really fully understand til years later. Mom had Bookends, The Natch'l Blues, the other half of who I'd become. I didn't know anything about blues. I didn't know what young people were supposed to like, and weren't, who white people were supposed to be, and weren't, what I was supposed to think of Jethro Tull, and wasn't. Vinyls, early on, were the least mediated of all media experiences I'd had. There was no context, and that was magical, and that itself would become the context. They didn't come automatically attached to a website, and with them there was no feeling of keeping up, let alone getting ahead of the curve. Just getting lost. Just the infinite maze of the past, which, you know, who can do anything but just surrender to it? Some tracks I loved (still love), some bored me to tears, all of them I played, all the way through, because they were all connected. Not artistically, figuratively, conceptually - but literally, physically, temporally connected. Side one. Side two. Only two choices there - no skipping ahead or back - I couldn't stand the sound of a bad needle drop, so I rarely even tried. Don't like this song? Another one will be on in 4 minutes - relax, see the present through to its logical, if not necessarily yr own personal favorite, conclusion. By then, you prolly came back around to the sound you were cringing at originally anyway. The context became yr own life, and gradually, maybe months or years later, you saw how that connected to the larger musical community, the people you'd eventually discover who'd dropped the same needles on the same sides. Yr patience was rewarded, very viscerally, often in/with the face of another human being. This is the same old nostalgia everyone has about this listening experience, yeah? But that nostalgia has served a function now - artistically, commercially, communally. That collective vinyl-doting has brought something back, it seems - at least in a quiet way. That big collective silly sloppy dreamy-eyed siiiiigh has now served as not just a yearning, but as a very real Decision about who we were, who we still are, how we want the world. We just dragged the past right back into the present, where it should be, looking forward. I'm gonna give my kids a stack of vinyl - the good, the bad, the confusing - prolly not a huge stack, and with few essentials - I'm as broke as my parents were, and already half as deaf. But you don't need a lot with vinyl - there's so much in every Side. The future'll be theirs to get lost in."

These United States - Honor Amongst Thieves (Mp3)

TVD's Record Store Day 2009 Newswire

Rhino readies Jane's Addiction RSD09 Reissues
Rhino has announced that it will release 180-gram vinyl versions of Jane's Addiction's landmark albums 1988's 'Nothing's Shocking' and 1990's 'Ritual De Lo Habitual' to celebrate Record Store Day on April 18. (Read more here.)

Jesus Lizard Mark Record Store Day with Boxed Set
The band, which recently announced plans to reunite for British shows, will drop a Record Store Day exclusive through Touch and Go Records, collecting out of print 7-inch releases for a boxed set. The tracks, all remastered by Bob Weston, are collected in fancy clear packaging.

The boxed set will be available at independent music retailers as part of this year's Record Store Day April 18. (Read more here.)

Taking Back Sunday ready RSD09 7"

Taking Back Sunday will announce a US/Canada tour and the release date for their upcoming New Again soon. You want webisodes? A fresh new batch of them will debut with the band's new website, which you will see soon. A new 7" will be released for National Record Store day in April. Follow up their conversation in the replies with your own snarky comments. (Read more here.)

Wilco plans album, tours on Ashes of American Flags DVD
As promised, Wilco will be hitting the road this March for an international tour in support of the band's forthcoming concert DVD Ashes of American Flags. The excursion will see Jeff Tweedy and his band of merrymakers getting folked up across the Midwest and points South before hopping across the Atlantic for a string of shows in Spain.

Ashes of American Flags is out April 18 (Record Store Day!) at select independent record stores, and April 20 everywhere else. (Read more here.)

Domino signs up for Record Store Day exclusive
Organisers of Record Store Day in the UK have announced a fresh load of exclusive releases, which will be offered for sale by participating retailers at the event.

Following the news last week of two exclusive seven-inch releases from the Beggars stable to mark the day, which intended to celebrate independently-owned music retailers across the globe, Rough Trade East store manager Spencer Hickman has revealed details of five new exclusives. (Read more here.)

Def Jam Launches 25th Anniversary Celebration With Record Store Day Release Of Double Vinyl Set
The greatest names in the history of hip-hop, rap and R&B - from LL Cool J and Slick Rick to Rihanna and Kanye West, from Public Enemy and 3rd Bass to Ludacris, Redman and Rick Ross, from Jay-Z to Young Jeezy and dozens more - have made Def Jam Recordings the destination for Urban artists over the past quarter century. Now Island Def Jam Music Group is set to turn up the heat in honor of Def Jam's 25th anniversary in 2009, starting with the launch of DEF JAM 25.

To help with the celebration of Record Store Day, Def Jam will release a limited edition 4 LP deluxe set. (Read more here.)

TVD's Libertine Circle | William S. Burroughs

"Critics constantly complain that writers are lacking in standards, yet they themselves seem to have no standards other than personal prejudice for literary criticism. (...) such standards do exist. Matthew Arnold set up three criteria for criticism: 1. What is the writer trying to do? 2. How well does he succeed in doing it? (...) 3. Does the work exhibit "high seriousness"? That is, does it touch on basic issues of good and evil, life and death and the human condition. I would also apply a fourth criterion (...) Write about what you know. More writers fail because they try to write about things they don't know than for any other reason.
–William S. Burroughs, 'A Review of the Reviewers'

William S. Burroughs - Reads From 'Naked Lunch' (Mp3)
William S. Burroughs - Excerpt From Ah Pook Is Here (Mp3)
William S. Burroughs - '103rd Street Boys' From 'Junkie' (Mp3)
William S. Burroughs - Totally Corrupt (Mp3)
William S. Burroughs - What Washington, What Orders (Mp3)