Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Paul Weller Video of New Song "That Dangerous Age"

Paul Weller, British pop superstar, is releasing a new album Sonik Kicks on March 19 and this video is for the first single That Dangerous Age. On first listen, it's not as compelling as his last release, the stellar Wake Up The Nation, but still great to see Weller doing his thing. Yet another example of someone who is so revered and influential in the UK and elsewhere, and largely unknown in the US...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Growlers at SXSW 2010

The Drums Announce U.S. Tour

21st April – Black Cat, Washington DC
22nd April – Webster Hall, New York City
23rd April – Union Transfer, Philadelphia
25th April – Paradise Rock Club, Boston
26th April – Club Lambi, Montreal, QC
27th April – Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON
29th April – Subterranean, Chicago
30th April – Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
1st May – The Waiting Room, Omaha
3rd May – Hi-Dive, Denver
5th May – Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City
6th May – The Reef, Boise
8th May – Venue, Vacouver, BC
9th May – Neumos, Seattle
10th May – Doug Fir Lounge, Portland
12th May – Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
13th May – Body English – Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas
14th May – El Ray Theatre, Los Angeles 


The Drums are delighted to announce a new tour of the US and Canada. The band are also excited to be joined by Craft Spells (Except DC) & PART TIME. A fan pre sale begins tomorrow at midday EST over at

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"R U Mine?" Video of New Arctic Monkeys Song

Download an MP3 of "R U Mine?" here...

Huh.... the lads snuck this song out.... introduced on the video by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones from the studio of his KROQ radio show, it's a previously unknown, unreleased song, released on YouTube tonight....

Courtesy of our friends at Arctic Monkeys US, the lyrics:

I’m a puppet on a string
Tracy Island time-traveling diamond
Coulda shaped heartaches
Come to find ya fall in some velvet morning
Years too late
She’s a silver lining lone ranger riding through an open space
In my mind when she’s not right there beside me

I go crazy cause here isn’t where I wanna be
And satisfaction feels like a distant memory
And I can’t help myself, 
All I wanna hear her say is “Are you mine?”
Are you mine?
Are you mine?
Are you mine?

I guess what I’m trying to say is I need the deep end
Keep imagining meeting, wished away entire lifetimes 
Unfair we’re not somewhere misbehaving for days 
Great escape lost track of time and space
She’s a silver lining climbing on my desire

And I go crazy cause here isn’t where I wanna be
And satisfaction feels like a distant memory
And I can’t help myself, 
All I wanna hear her say is “Are you mine?”
Are you mine? (Are you mine tomorrow?)
Are you mine? (Or just mine tonight?)
Are you mine? (Are you mine?)

And the thrill of the chase moves in mysterious ways
So in case I’m mistaken, 
I just wanna hear you say you got me baby
Are you mine?

She’s a silver lining lone ranger riding through an open space 
In my mind when she’s not right there beside me

And I go crazy cause here isn’t where I wanna be
And satisfaction feels like a distant memory
And I can’t help myself, 
All I wanna hear her say is “Are you mine?”
Well are you mine?
Are you mine?
Are you mine?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

1963 Field Footage of The Blues

OTRA from J. Sprig on Vimeo.

Woody Guthrie Lives!

New Multitudes – Original Music Set To The Lyrics of Woody Guthrie

by Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker & Yim Yames

Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel), Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Gob Iron, Uncle Tupelo), Yim Yames/Jim James (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk), and Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron) 

Official Site

New Multitudes, featuring 12 songs with Woody Guthrie's lost lyrics brought to life stunningly by these four fine musicians, will be released next week.... a bonus disc contains additional tracks by Ferrar and Parker only.... it was originally conceived of as a Ferrar solo album... thank god the mighty Jim James became involved in the project as well....

The album is streaming now on Conan's site:

Now it's also streaming on the Rounder Records site:

New Multitudes track listing:

1. Hoping Machine (Jay)
2. Fly High (Anders)
3. My Revolutionary Mind (Jim)
4. VD City (Will)
5. Old L.A. (Anders)
6. Talking Empty Bed Blues (Jim)
7. Chorine (Will)
8. Careless Reckless Love (Jay)
9. Angel’s Blues (Anders)
10. No Fear (Will)
11. Changing World (Jim)
12. New Multitudes (Jay)

Bonus Disc (Jay & Anders):

1. Around New York
2. Jake Walk Blues           
3. Whereabouts Can I Hide           
4. Old Kokaine           
5. I Was A Goner           
6. San Antone Meat House           
7. Dopefiend Robber           
8. World's On Fire           
9. When I Get Home           
10. Atom Dance           
11. Your Smile Cured Me
Woody's daughter Nora Guthrie has done her father, and the World, a great service by opening up the Guthrie Archives  for new interpretations by contemporary artists such as Billy Bragg, Wilco, and Natalie Merchant (on the Mermaid Avenue albums).... and now we have this offering...

Can't wait to catch the New Multitudes tour, coming to Portland on March 9 at the Crystal Ballroom.

Tour Dates: March 2012

6 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
7 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Mayan
9 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom

10 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox
12 – Alexandria, VA @ The Birchmere
13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
14 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall

16 – Boston, MA @ Paradise

Been listening to the album all morning.... it's so good! If you are a fan of folk and Americana, and if you are a fan of Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, M. Ward, Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes... or for that matter, The Fleet Foxes, The Dodos, Steve Earle, Mumford & Sons, Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Iron & Wine and The Decemberists... and always kinda had a soft spot for Bob Dylan.... 


By the way, if you haven't heard the Yim Yames/Jim James Tribute To George Harrison (hmmm.... today would have been George's 69th birthday....) please correct that situation immediately:

oh... this is kinda cool too...

... and so is this.....

....and who could resist this after seeing The Big Lebowski a few dozen times?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Songs in Heavy Rotation This Weekend...

Craig Finn (The Hold Steady) - solo album Clear Heart Full Eyes and non-album tracks "Save Me Jesus", "Sarah I'm Surrounded", and "Jeremiah's Blues"

Girls (Christopher Owens) - "I Will Always Love You" (live tribute to Whitney Houston)

Gorillaz - "DoYaThing" (13-minute version) feat Andre 3000 and James Murphy

Grand Duchy - new album Let The People Speak

Kasabian - new song "Narc"

Tom Jones "Evil" (Howlin' Wolf cover, feat. Jack White on guitar)

Spiritualized - new song "Hey Jane"

M. Ward - two new songs "Primitive Girl" and "The First Time I Ran Away"

Rick Santorum - audio clip of speech "Burning" (" see what's in here..." (points to heart), "...what's up here..." (points to brain)..."... and what's burning down here!" (points, er, down there... awkward!)

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - "Wheels of Fire" (L.A. Guns cover)

Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) - "Olivia, In A Separate Bed" (Demo)

Jack White - "Love Interruption", "Machine Gun Silhouette", and "Love Is Blindness" (U2 cover)

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Black Cab Sessions

Pete Doherty - new Demos, esp. "Birdcage" (Love Is...)

Also, The Growlers, Arctic Monkeys live in Paris (feat. Miles Kane and Richard Hawley), new Leonard Cohen, new Tom Morello, Wilco's iTunes Session, Refused, Jeff The Brotherhood...

"Hey Jane" Great New Song by Spiritualized....

Fleet Foxes Lead Dude Robin Pecknold Releases Depressing (But Nonetheless Beautiful) Demo About Love Lost Called "Olivia, In A Separate Bed" (Demo)

You can hear it here....

.... Or Download It Here....

He just lost his drummer and announced that he was really single for the first time in ten years.... then he released this beautiful heartbreaking demo about love lost "Olivia, In A Separate Bed"... then he deleted it from his Soundcloud.... but it's "out there" and it's well worth a listen....

Craig Finn (The Hold Steady) Solo Live at the Doug Fir, Portland, February 23, 2012

We here in Portland last saw Craig Finn in October at The Wonder Ballroom with his excellent band The Hold Steady.

Here are a bunch of videos I shot at The Hold Steady Wonder Ballroom show last October...

Then we heard he was doing a solo album but don't worry, The Hold Steady are just on a break, not breaking up. The solo album and tour, with a band he picked up in Austin (where the solo album was recorded), was meant to allow Craig to perform this song series, something a little different than The Hold Steady - more mellow, more subdued, more pensive and reflective...

But listening to the album, you had to notice there are a few rockers, some with a country, Americana twang (thanks pedal steel guitar), along with the mellower songs. Still, it wasn't just Craig solo with a guitar. The band still had several guitarists (up to 3), a bass and drum, and during the first song, Apollo Bay, the familiar gestures and stagecraft of Craig came through loud and clear, so this show was a lot more Hold Steady-ish than many of us expected.

Of course there were a few drunks hootin' and hollerin' as if it were a Hold Steady show (and who were those bastards talking so loud at the bar during the quiet songs?!???! Fucking rude assholes!!! Don't you guys know that Craig Finn is one of the most important artists in America today??? Show some respect, motherfuckers.....), even calling for Hold Steady songs to be played (as if....). We had to be content with whooping it up to New Friend Jesus and Save Me Jesus....

Speaking of Jesus..... Jesus, Craig.... if you love Jesus so much, why don't you freakin' marry him.... oh, i forgot, Catholic guys can't marry guys... but what if they're dead guys? And I would think Jesus could pretty much do whatever the fuck he wanted to in his own religion...

Oh, if you didn't notice, Craig talks about Jesus a whole lot. That's cool. Jesus is just alright. The premise is quite compelling... Craig getting drunk as a skunk on Saturday night, singing in a bar band and howling at the moon... only to rise from the dead (much like Jesus) on Sunday morning to go to church (every Sunday) at home in Brooklyn...

Although I haven't met Craig, I'm going to go ahead and assume that he is not the kind of Catholic, like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich (sad to think these losers are America's best known Catholics at the moment...), who want to take away the rights of women and gays, and is more in the grand tradition of Catholic intellectuals like Simone Weil... I went to Catholic school for 12 years. I like their art, but that's about it at this point. It is a little hard for me to take someone seriously who is both smart and Catholic, but on the other hand, hey, whatever gets you through the night, bro... And using a Catholic idiom to express themes of sin, salvation, desperation, redemption, hope... well, there's a tradition associated with that obviously, too...

They got sisters and brothers fighting with one another
They got dreams and schemes and war machines to try to outdo one another
They got children that are starving but that don’t bother them
They’re all too busy getting rich to worry about the little children.

Save me, Jesus! Save me, Jesus! 
Save me, Jesus, Jesus save me… 
From this God-forsaken place 

They got satellites and spaceships flying 'cross the universe 
They killed before and they'll kill again, just so they can say they were the first 
They build monuments and churches and things I ain't seen yet 
And they've signed them all with their autograph in case you might forget 

Save me, Jesus! Save me, Jesus! 
Save me, Jesus, Jesus save me… 
From this God-forsaken place 

And, Lord, when it's all over, they’ll tell you should be proud 
And they'll be a few who'll offer you anything for your job 
So when you take me, Jesus, please put me among friends 
Don't put me back with these power-crazy money-lovers again

Save me, Jesus! Save me, Jesus! 
Save me, Jesus, Jesus save me… 
From this God-forsaken place 

Save me, Jesus! Save me, Jesus! 
Save me, Jesus, Jesus save me… 
From this God-forsaken place 

Save me, Jesus! Save me, Jesus! 
Save me, Jesus, Jesus save me… 
From this God-forsaken place  

Save Me Jesus (1972) by Bobby Charles (1938 - 2010). Best known for writing See You Later Alligator and Walking to New Orleans (for Fats Domino). He also appeared in The Band's The Last Waltz.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Free Download of "Do Ya Thing" by Gorillaz, Andre 3000, James Murphy

Download it free here....

Gorillaz, feat Damon Albarn of, er, every other band in the world, Andre 3000 (OutKast), and James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) collaborate on this song sponsored by a shoe company... (they have Gorillaz sneakers too... limited edition and you can design your own and i guess some people will be psyched about this....)

Oh wait... now there's a 13-minute version you can stream here....

and there's a video now too....

Bruce Springsteen: If I Was The Priest (1972)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Video of New Kasabian Song "Narc"

Obama Sings The Blues

Obama joins Jagger, B.B. King, to belt out blues

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president just couldn't say no: Mick Jagger held out a microphone almost by way of command, and soon Barack Obama was belting out the blues with the best of them.
The East Room of the White House was transformed into an intimate blues club on Tuesday night for a concert featuring blues all-stars of the past, present and future — and the president himself.
The surprise performance by Obama came at the end of the playlist when the blues ensemble was singing "Sweet Home Chicago," the blues anthem of Obama's home town.
Buddy Guy prodded the president, saying he'd heard that the president sang part of an Al Green tune recently, and adding, "You gotta keep it up."
Then Jagger handed over the mic, and Obama seemed compelled to comply.
"Come on, baby don't you want to go," the president sang out twice, handing off the mic to B.B. King momentarily, and then taking it back to tack on "Sweet Home Chicago" at the end.
That was how Obama ended the night.
This was how he began it: Obama said sometimes there are downsides to being the president. You can't just go for a walk, for example.
And then there are the times that more than make up for all those frustrations, he said, like Tuesday night, when Jagger, King, Jeff Beck and other musical giants came by the house to sing the blues.
"I guess things even out a little bit," Obama joked at the start of a rollicking East Room concert that was electrified by Jagger and the rest.
"This music speaks to something universal," Obama declared. "No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note. "
King, 86, arrived in a wheelchair but rose tall to kick off the night with a raucous "Let the Good Times Roll," quickly joined by other members of the ensemble. And he followed with "The Thrill is Gone."
From there, Obama and his wife, Michelle, were swaying in their seats and singing along to an all-hits playlist including "St. James Infirmary" and "Let Me Love You."
Beck slowed things down with an instrumental "Brush With the Blues," as anticipation built for the arrival of Jagger, who did not disappoint.
The longtime Rolling Stones frontman delivered on "I Can't Turn You Loose" and then teamed up with Beck on "Commit a Crime." Jagger got the president and his wife up out of their seats, swaying and clapping to the music, and picked up the pace with "Miss You," performed with Shemekia Copeland and Susan Tedeschi.
Obama was clearly savoring the moment, closing his eyes at times and nodding his head as he lip-synced the words.
The president rose at the end to introduce the ensemble as the "White House Blues All-Stars" for the final song of the night, "Sweet Home Chicago."
"For Michelle and me," the president said, "there's no blues like the song our artists have chosen to close with — the blues from our hometown."
With that, the ensemble wrapped up the evening with "Sweet Home Chicago." And then Jagger handed off the mic to Obama for his presidential coda.
In advance of the concert, Grammy-winner Keb Mo had joked during a rehearsal break that Obama himself would perform, and there could even be a record in the works. He joked that Obama's record would be called, "After the second term, now I can finally get my groove on."
Maybe he wasn't joking after all.
The lineup for Tuesday's concert spanned multiple generations, from legends like King and Guy to young faces such as 26-year-old Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Gary Clark Jr., whose style blends hip hop, contemporary soul and indie rock. Also performing were Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, with actress Taraji P. Henson as the program host and Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader.
The blues concert will be part of the "In Performance at the White House" series that airs on the Public Broadcasting Service. This one, designed to recognize Black History Month, will be broadcast on Monday on PBS stations and aired later on American Forces Network.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jack White Solo Album Tracklisting from


Third Man Records just unveiled Blunderbuss in an advance listening party for 20 lucky contest winners at the label’s Nashville HQ. The contest was exclusive to The Vault, Third Man Records’ subscription service offering members-only limited edition vinyl, exclusive ticket pre-sales, contests, and other Vault-only giveaways and events.
Complete track listing is below:
1. Missing Pieces
2. Sixteen Saltines
3. Freedom At 21
4. Love Interruption
5. Blunderbuss
6. Hypocritical Kiss
7. Weep Themselves To Sleep
8. I’m Shakin’
9. Trash Tongue Talker
10. Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
11. I Guess I Should Go To Sleep
12. On And On And On
13. Take Me With You When You Go

Jack White will perform on Saturday Night Live on March 3, 2012....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bob Mould live, Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, February 19, 2012

This gig was rescheduled from last November, when, as Bob explained from the stage, he was called on "Foo Fighters duty" (opening for their Fall tour). Two throw away lines.... "How many people here heard of us from The Foo Fighters?..... How many people heard of The Foo Fighters through us?" got a predictable cheer from the capacity crowd who had come to hear queer hero Bob Mould, of punk pioneers Husker Du and indie pop stand-outs Sugar, read from his recently published memoirs and play a few songs.

It was great to see Bob again. He seemed in fine form and even happy and having a good time. I realized on my way to the show that I have been following his career for almost 30 years. I saw Husker Du play at an SST night at UCLA in 1984 (along with The Minutemen and The Meat Puppets), really got into Sugar's three albums in the 1990s, and then saw Bob solo several times in New York and San Francisco over the past 15 years or so.

It was a great show. Bob really seemed to get energized toward the end. He read a few passages directly from the book, but more often paraphrased and retold the stories, before going back over to guitar for a song or two. I was a little surprised that the stories and songs appeared to focus less on Husker Du and Sugar and more on his solo work, but it was still a great show.

Bob's still standing on the edge of the Hoover Dam, and his smiling visage is nearly ready for the indie pop version of Mount Rushmore.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New York Times article on Sleigh Bells

Enjoying the Sweet Pains of Success

Photo by: Josh Haner/The New York Times

Derek Miller, Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells. The Brooklyn duo will release its 2nd album, "Reign of Terror," on Feb. 21.

Published: February 14, 2012, New York Times

Tampa, Fla.

FIRST came the recorded sound: drums and riffs, some demonically heavy marching band. Next, a couple of guys with guitars, who immediately started messing with their pedals in the darkened club. Two minutes later there was Alexis Krauss, with ripped jeans and a distinct saunter. She raised her arms as she reached the microphone, the black-haired queen of this stage. White lights exploded behind her, over a wall of Marshall stacks and an unfurled American flag.

In a breath she ripped into “True Shred Guitar,” the first track on a new album written with her band mate, Derek Miller. The crowd surged, pleased. Sleigh Bells were on tour again.

Backstage, before the show this month at the Ritz Ybor here, was a bit less grand. “Oh my Godddd,” Ms. Krauss moaned, “I have the worst bangover right now.”

Too much headbanging at the previous night’s gig was taking its toll. She popped some Advil and stretched. Mr. Miller drank Bud Light, paced, cracked his neck. “Every time you get on tour again after a break, the morning after it’s like you’ve been in a car crash,” he said, sounding sort of elated at the opportunity to beat himself up. A few nights later he fractured a rib crowd-surfing.

This prerelease tour, and the tattoo on Mr. Miller’s left biceps — a thin blue outline of Florida, his home state — were the result of a barroom wager, friendly but determined. It’s another example of how ambition and happy accidents, coupled with musical savvy and careful planning, have shaped the career of this band.

Since they appeared in 2009, a duo with a striking sound and a fully-formed vision, they have adroitly navigated the pitfalls that often scuttle new indie rock groups subject to breathless online hype — the cyclotron of buzz, backlash and boredom that plagued many acts before and many since. Instead, Sleigh Bells has so far managed to thrive, a feat they hope to continue with their new album, “Reign of Terror,” due on Feb. 21 from Mom + Pop Music. It’s a sweet but tense spot to be in.

“Nothing is a given for how this will actually be received,” Mark Richardson, the editor in chief of Pitchfork, the music site, said of the album. “I’m very interested. I feel like they’ve done it right so far.”

Even before Sleigh Bells’ first album, “Treats,” was released in 2010, they were darlings of the indie scene, propelled by a perfect storm of attention. There were early demos circulating to all the right tastemakers, breakout shows at the CMJ Music Festival attended by eager industry types, and suddenly, the interest of the rapper M.I.A., who called Mr. Miller into her studio to produce for her after hearing a few of his tracks. The Sleigh Bells sound — Mr. Miller’s pummeling wave of distorted guitar riffs and hip-hop-inflected beats, over which Ms. Krauss provides catchy, breathy, melodic vocals — was hailed as a new direction even for noise pop, earning glowing reviews of “Treats.”

Sleigh Bells had barely played a dozen shows before they were booked for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, a month before their debut album was out. A European tour with M.I.A. followed, putting the new duo in front of tens of thousands of fans. Their tracks showed up in blue-chip commercials for the likes of Nike and Honda, and in shows like “Gossip Girl;” BeyoncĂ© expressed interest in their production technique.

By the end of the year the band was named to many best-of lists, including in The New York Times. “Each whipsaw only whets the appetite for more,” Jon Pareles wrote of their songs.

All of this happened while Mr. Miller was privately dealing with a family tragedy that threatened, minute by minute, to overtake him. Instead it became the basis for the heavy “Reign of Terror.”

The new record is unmistakably Sleigh Bells, with dense but bigger production that puts Ms. Krauss’s voice into sweet relief over Mr. Miller’s dark metal peals. It is even more guitar driven — Mr. Miller discovered a model, the Jackson USA Soloist, that he loves — and more narrative and lyrical, with a crisper focus on arrangements and harmony over beats. (On tour — they have sold-out dates in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles this month, and are playing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the spring — they are joined by Jason Boyer on guitar.) They began recording “Reign of Terror” just days after the 14-month tour for “Treats,” which sold 149,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, solid for an indie debut.

If a sophomore album is tricky, for Sleigh Bells — now an established act with an established sound — it is a particular leap. “They’re not going to have the same ‘what the heck is this?’ kind of thing happening this time,” Mr. Richardson said.

But he added: “Despite the splash they made, they did a pretty good job avoiding oversaturation. They were away for about the right amount of time, where people remember that record fondly.”

That is no coincidence. Mr. Miller is a musical obsessive who can recall the first time he heard Brazilian baile funk, in 2004 — “Light bulbs were going off in my head,” he said (“A/B Machines,” on “Treats,” uses its 130 beats-per-minute rhythm) — and closely observes his industry.

“It’s a puzzle,” he said. “And if you put the pieces together correctly, you get a picture. It’s going to work.”

He and Ms. Krauss are careful stewards of their creative brand. They rejected offers to perform on TV when they started out (“too soon,” Mr. Miller said) but felt ready for “Saturday Night Live” on Saturday. They parted ways with M.I.A., who put out “Treats” on her label, N.E.E.T., jointly with Mom + Pop, but were diplomatic about her involvement.

“From the start she was a champion of our band,” Ms. Krauss said. “We can never repay her for that.”

Neither were musical neophytes. Starting in high school Mr. Miller, 30, played in a Florida hardcore band, Poison the Well, which signed with a major label, Atlantic. And Ms. Krauss, 26, the daughter of a New Jersey musician, was in a teen pop group, Rubyblue, from 12 to 16, and performed in wedding bands through college. In their early 20s both had moments of disillusionment with performing: Ms. Krauss taught in the Bronx with Teach for America, and Mr. Miller quit Poison the Well and focused on composing and becoming a producer.

In March 2008 Mr. Miller moved to New York expressly to find a female vocalist for a duo. “I’m just obsessed with female vocalists,” he said in an interview in his only slightly messy Brooklyn apartment a few days before the tour, naming Harriet Wheeler from the Sundays, Belinda Carlisle, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper as his favorites. (The Cranberries played on a mix in the background.) “I don’t want to say I was really determined,” he said, “but I was really determined.”

In April 2008 he began waiting tables at a Brazilian restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. One day in July Ms. Krauss came in for lunch with her mother, who struck up a conversation with the waiter. He mentioned that he was a musician looking for a singer. And that, fortuitously, was that. “He was very polite,” Ms. Krauss said. “I could tell he wasn’t hitting on me. And the conversation we had about music was very sincere.”

Ms. Krauss, who is engaged to Tyler Mate, of the hardcore punk act Wet Witch, was a nominee for a Rhodes scholarship, she said. But — with her family’s blessing — she decided to pursue Sleigh Bells instead.

Though half of “Treats” was written before Ms. Krauss ever got involved, for “Reign of Terror” she was a more equal collaborator. “She was there for every single stitch of this record,” said Shane Stoneback, the engineer who recorded both “Treats” and “Reign of Terror.” Mr. Stoneback, who has worked with Vampire Weekend and Cults, praised Ms. Krauss for her attention to the minutest details, like the week they spent listening to individual drum machine rhythms.

They spent four months in his Chelsea studio, recording vocals and guitars in a makeshift echo chamber and honing a sound that Mr. Stoneback said was inspired by Mutt Lange, the producer of AC/DC, Def Leppard and Billy Ocean. “The immediate grenade pin that we pulled was big ’80s rock stuff,” he said.

But “Reign of Terror” is also an autobiographical record, Mr. Miller’s attempt to deal with his family trauma. In June 2009 as he was working on the first Sleigh Bells demos, his father was killed in a motorcycle accident. He told only his intimates, like Ms. Krauss. “Treats,” with its party-ready anthems and simplistic lyrics, was “like a denial record,” Mr. Miller said.

He buried himself in the band, whose quick success sometimes salved and sometimes seemed unimportant. “It was a really strange balancing act,” he said.

Then, as they were on the road in 2010, Mr. Miller’s mother learned she had cancer; he said he felt as if his family was under attack. He tried to quit the tour, but his mother forbade it. “She was like: ‘This is the only good news in our family, you doing this band. Don’t you dare come home,’ ” he recalled. (His mother’s illness is now in remission, and she’s faring well, he said.)

For Mr. Miller it was an emotional wallop that was alleviated by writing “Reign of Terror,” whose title dates to that period. “I still don’t know how to talk about it,” he said. “But the record is my first attempt to try to not let that define me anymore.”

The track “Leader of the Pack” references the Shangri-Las hit about a motorcycle crash in its chord progression and theme, with the lyrics “Don’t you know he’s never coming back again?” “Born to Lose” imagines suicide. But on other songs, like the single “Comeback Kid,” and “Crush,” there’s some uplift. “Immediately, once he got into the studio, I could see how cathartic it was for him,” Ms. Krauss said.

Their chemistry is about balance: Mr. Miller is a partier, Ms. Krauss, a homebody. One reason Mr. Miller wanted to work with a female singer after Poison the Well was that he was done with the dynamic of an all-male band: the “macho, testosterone-driven behavior, which I’ve had plenty of,” he said. He labors to make space for her in his creative process but likes to hide behind sunglasses in photos; she relishes the artistic challenge and is comfortable as the center of attention onstage.

For the encore at the Ritz, during “Rill Rill,” Sleigh Bells’ biggest hit, Ms. Krauss swanned backward into the outstretched arms of the audience. They carried her for a few bars and returned her, still singing, to the stage; the tour manager came to help her up. But she pushed him off, hard, and sailed out over the fans again, never losing her place in the crescendo.

Afterward she and her band mate sat backstage, damp and elated, hashing over the set. “How was the front of the house?” Mr. Miller asked a friend.

He swore bluntly. “My ears are still ringing,” he said.

Mr. Miller grinned big: “Good.”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guardian (UK) Article on Skrillex

Behind the music: Bass, the final frontier

Freed from the encumbrances of a band or the need for record sales, DJs such as Skrillex are discovering a huge new audience
Watch this bass … Skrillex at the 54th Grammy awards, 12 February 2012. Photograph: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
A songwriter and producer I know recently told me that every time he meets US record labels these days they ask if he's got "any of thatdubstep stuff". However, the only way you'll hear dubstep on US radio is if a few bars are slotted into a Britney Spears track. This is one of the reasons why UKFDubstep (there's also a UKF Drum & Bass channel) has become one of the most popular music channels on YouTube, currently racking up almost 1.2m subscribers – with 60% of them coming from the US.
AEI Media, the company behind the channel, is doing its bit to employ young British talent. It was founded by Diluk Dias and James Cotterill 16 years ago in Sheffield to promote drum'n'bass nights, and it recently hired 19-year-old Luke Hood, founder of UKF, as head of music. Apart from promoting club nights and running music channels, the company also has a record label – and a newly formed joint venture with US publisher Verse Music will create the first specialist bass music publishing house in the world.
Pretty much all their record deals are joint ventures as well, since most DJs earn enough from touring to not require an advance. There's also usually no need to hire musicians to play on the records (Skrillex has said he left the emo hardcore band From First to Last to focus his attention on making "music I could make alone on my laptop").
As Simon Cowell recently said, DJs are the new rock stars. Some women have always swooned over DJs, but dubstep acts such asBorgore, from Israel – whose first album was called Borgore Ruined Dubstep – take it to a whole new level, says Karl Nielson, a director of AEI Media. "The women just go nuts for him."
UKF recently put on a Bass Culture night at Alexandra Palace in London, featuring Nero, Chase & Status, Knife Party (a Pendulum side project) and Skrillex. The 11,000 tickets sold out three months in advance, way before the inclusion of Skrillex was even announced. "Had we known they were going to sell so quickly we wouldn't have had to pay to bring Skrillex over," Nielson says.
Their forthcoming Bass Culture night at Brixton Academy, on 2 March, sold out in less than three days. Yet there are difficulties in booking tours for emerging bass music acts. "Guitar bands can hone their craft in the Barfly, but our acts have to make quite a big leap right from the start – it's not like you can put them on at the Bull & Gate," he laughs. Then there's the demographic. Nielson says 42% of their audience is 14-18, and another 42% is 18-24.
"Then again, with YouTube you don't have to be in a club to hear the music," he explains. And there are underage club nights, such as Under the Radar and Let's Go Crazy. "Half-term on a Tuesday you can find thousands of kids at Ministry [of Sound], dancing to drum'n'bass and dubstep all night, paying £25 a head for the pleasure. It's the only club where I've seen people being carried into the club," he says, referring to the old trick of consuming all the alcohol for the night before entering a "dry" club.
Touring is where these acts really have an advantage over guitar bands. Whereas rock bands rely on tour support from the label – even low-budget hotels and transport for a band, their crew and equipment quickly adds up to tens of thousands of pounds – DJs have hardly any overhead (they don't even have to travel with record cases any more), and even a moderately successful one can make thousands of pounds each night. No wonder Skrillex says he doesn't care if people download his music for free (I wonder if his label, Warner Music, agrees).
It's true many bass acts sometimes perform live with musicians, but they often don't. "We can have one of the guys [in Nero] playing in the US on the same night the other is playing in Australia," explains Nielson. "Cause most people don't know what they look like."
Still, bass music has some way to go before becoming mainstream (notethis blog from accusing Skrillex of using "Satanic and homosexual influence to win Grammys"). This summer UKF is setting up a residency at Amnesia in Ibiza for the first time, but Nielson says it's taken a while to pop the residency cherry on the island. "Swedish House Mafia and David Guetta doesn't scare the typical Ibiza VIPs. Our music does."