Bernard Stollman, founder of the influential, otherworldly ESP-Disk label, has passed away this week at 85. New York Times obituary. The independent label was home to blazing, provocative recordings from avant-jazz greats like Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, and Sun Ra, as well as underground rock outsiders like the Godz, the Holy Modal Rounders, and the Fugs. The label's discography is deep, strange, and still largely unexplored by everyone but hardcore music geeks (who tend to be highly passionate about it). From Stereogum: Remembering Bernard Stollman: 10 Essential ESP-Disk Albums.
Jim O’Rourke Live in Tokyo in June of 2014 [Part 1] [Part 2] Jim O’Rourke Plays “Women of the World” (Live on Christmas Day, 2013). Jim O’Rourke at Work on the Grizzly Man Soundtrack; Special Appearance by Werner Herzog. [more inside]
Minneapolis foursome City of Sound make music that's part Mars Volta, part Death From Above 1979, and all experimental madness, listing influences like Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles. Both their albums, L'Implosion and Creatures, can be heard in full on their Bandcamp page.
The Mars Volta is no more, lead singer and self-described 'Latin Danzig' Cedric Bixler-Zavala announced on twitter early this morning. Not coincidentally, this came on the heels of bandmate Omar Rodríguez-López' new band, Bosnian Rainbows, releasing the first track from their upcoming album on soundcloud: Torn Maps. [more inside]
With Sonic Youth on indefinite hiatus, the band members are keeping themselves busy with other projects. Thurston Moore is playing solo shows centered around his latest solo album, the Beck-produced Demolished Thoughts, with a band he jokingly(?) referred to this past Friday night as "Dush Krew" in honor of his crush on actress Eliza Dushku. Kim Gordon recently designed clothes for French brand Surface to Air, is currently playing shows with Bill Nace as part of the noise improvisation duo Body/Head, and was kind enough recently to share her favorite taco recipe. Lee Ranaldo is poised to release his first song-oriented solo album on Matador Records; he debuted the music video for the first single ("Off the Wall") today on his website. Steve Shelley played drums on Lee's new album, recently collaborated with Pete Nolan of Magik Markers (Sonic Youth's most interesting protégés) on Nolan's side-project Spectre Folk, and is currently drumming for Chicago's Disappears whose new album is out via Kranky records in March. Meanwhile, Jim O'Rourke is preparing to curate the All Tomorrow's Parties I'll Be Your Mirror Festival in Tokyo this April, where he will also perform his 1999 album Eureka in full with a 12-piece band.
"We were so dumbfounded at the noise that was coming out of our instruments it took us a while to get a handle on what we were hearing, let alone thinking in terms of how any records would be structured." Music journalist Ned Raggett assembles the oral history of British experimental rock group Disco Inferno's five EPs.
Punkcast is a long running series of videos of live underground music in NYC shot by Joly MacFie. Each video is usually one song. The Internet Archive hosts its videos and offers downloads in a variety of formats. MacFie also has a YouTube channel with 480 videos and a video podcast [iTunes link, feedburner link]. Here are a few bands that caught my fancy: The Icicles and The Besties, The Slits (1, 2 ), Andrew W. K., Oneida (1, 2), The Long Blondes, The Gossip, Acid Mothers Temple & Cosmic Inferno, Art Brut, Be Your Own Pet, Cansei de Ser Sexy, Lesbians on Ecstasy, The Fall, Fred Frith, Rose Melberg and Jennifer O'Connor, The Horrors, The Homosexuals, Bat for Lashes, Radio 4 and Teddybears, Kimya Dawson and Tiny Masters of Today, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Nikki Sudden.