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by PopMatters Staff

15 Apr 2009


C.L. Chafin says in tomorrow’s review of Black Dice’s Repo that the album “melds overmodulated drumbeats, guitars, otherworldly chattering, distorted saxophone, and a million other bleeps and blurps into echoy sonic clouds. It’s by turns engrossing, boring, and terrifying.” The Brooklyn-based group has just released a video for “Glazin” and has announced their upcoming tour schedule (after the jump).

Black Dice
Glazin [MP3]
     

by PopMatters Staff

15 Apr 2009


The Paper Chase release their new album Someday This Could All Be Yours (Part 1) on May 26 and have just offered up the first MP3 from the effort to the Tripwire.

The Paper Chase
“What Should We Do With Your Body? (The Lightning)” [MP3]
     

TOUR DATES
Jun 18 2009 Walter’s on Washington Houston, Texas
Jun 19 2009 Thirsty Hippo Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Jun 20 2009 Drunken Unicorn Atlanta, Georgia
Jun 21 2009 Local 506 Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Jun 22 2009 DC9 Washington DC, Washington DC
Jun 23 2009 Brillobox Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jun 24 2009 M Room Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 25 2009 Mercury Lounge New York, New York
Jun 26 2009 Maxwell’s Hoboken, New Jersey
Jun 27 2009 AS220 Providence, Rhode Island
Jun 28 2009 II Motore Montreal, Quebec
Jun 29 2009 The Drake Toronto, Ontario
Jul 1 2009 Mac’s Bar Lansing, Michigan
Jul 2 2009 Cactus Club Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Jul 3 2009 Empty Bottle Chicago, Illinois
Jul 4 2009 The Busted Lift Dubuque, Iowa
Jul 5 2009 Firebird St. Louis, Missouri

by Sarah Zupko

14 Apr 2009


Dale Watson is an unrepentant hard country traditionalist from Austin who comes firmly from the George Jones and Merle Haggard school of musical hard knocks. His regular shows at the Continental Club in Austin are always packed affairs (tour dates after the jump) and his live albums are generally some of his best efforts. In true country tradition, Watson also sings trucking songs and has a second volume of road rambling tunes releasing on Hyena Records next week (April 21st.)

Dale Watson
“Truckin’ Man” [MP3]
     

 

by Sarah Zupko

14 Apr 2009


Singular singer-songwriter Jill Sobule pursued an innovative approach for the development of her new album California Years in working with her fans to finance the recording sessions. In tomorrow’s review of the record, Jill Labrack says of Sobule: “like her musical peers Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson, Sobule delves into the pervasive sadness of living with a sense of humor that makes it all okay, even magnetic.” “San Francisco” is the new video from the project directed by comedienne Margaret Cho and featuring a lyrical riff on Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”.

Jill Sobule
“A Good Life” [MP3]
     

by Evan Sawdey

13 Apr 2009


In case you didn’t know, Billy Bob Thornton’s music career hasn’t exactly taken off. Though often marginalized in the same way that Russell Crowe, Bruce Willis, Kevin Spacey, and Keanu Reeves’ musical ventures have been, Thornton at least made a stab at something a bit more legitimate when he decided to form the Boxmasters: a swinging country-pop group that relies heavy on nostalgic “golden age” country production without giving too much consideration for the present. The result? Our own Charles A. Hohman gave the Boxmasters’ debut album the much-dreaded 1/10 score.

Some Hohman’s score this stems from the fact that Thornton—the band’s principal songwriter—often relies on base, juvenile humor to get his point across, unrelenting with the sheer number of vulgarities at his disposal, all in the name of supposed humor.  Naturally, a “celebrity band” is going to take quite a drubbing from the press, and, as such, it’s up to the celebrity in question to do whatever he can to raise the profile of the group in order to get exposure.  Now a few days after the QTV interview, many people know of the Boxmasters—but for all the wrong reasons.

Appearing on The Q Show on CBC, host Jian Ghomeshi happily introduces the Boxmasters, noting how the group has put out three albums of the past 12 months—two of which were double-disc affairs—and soon finds out that the band has at least three more discs already in the can. Things start off like a normal interview, but then, of course, Thornton has to open his mouth. Some of his stories are completely unrelated to the music-oriented discussion that Ghomeshi is leading the band towards, and Thornton, at times, becomes livid over the fact that Ghomeshi mentions his acting career. Best of all, however, is when Ghomeshi makes passing mention about how Thornton is passionate about his music, to which Thorton fires back, asking if he’d ask the same question to Tom Petty.

Confused yet? The world is right there with you. Ghomeshi, it should be noted, does his best to handle things, but also makes sure that the questions he’s asking—the ones that deal with the music, specifically—get answered. Thornton had absolutely no reason to become as introverted and cryptic as he did, which has lead to much widespread speculation that this strange interview (which achieves an Office-level of listener discomfort) is on par with Joaquin Phoenix’s infamous encounter with David Letterman a few months earlier.

The real question, though, is why Thornton chose to act the way that he did. Being irritated over something like mentioning his cinematic achievements is slightly forgivable (we’ve all had bad days, haven’t we?), but going on about building models for a magazine contest without once answering a question about the music he listened to when growing up—it’s curious, to say the least.

Yet was Thornton conscious of his actions? Does he know that behavior like this tends to generate more negative publicity than good word-of-mouth? (Or, to put it another way: does this appearance make you want to actually go out and see the Boxmasters live?) Strangest of all, however, is that the Phoenix and Thornton interviews are both based on the same thing: a noted Hollywood actor turning to a music career and doing a media appearance to promote it. It would be more of an epidemic were it not for the fact that Zooey Deschanel, Jason Schwartzman, and
Scarlett Johansson have all pulled off the transition without this wave of media-crazy—those albums have all achieved respectable amounts of acclaim, even.

So what is Thornton accomplishing with his antics?  More importantly: why do we care?  Until we get some answers, we can at least take solace in the fact that this train wreck is admittedly pretty fun to watch ...

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