Bastardgeist

So, 2014 will see mini50 working with this awesome artist from Chicago, Bastardgeist.  Our desire to expand the label, improve the label and make the label, well just fucking immense will be helped greatly by this young man.  And guess what Scotland……he’s playing shows here this week.  All the information you need about these are below along with some nice videos of Joel playing some songs in an abandoned mental hospital.  Awesome.  If you can get along to one of the shows please do as he will have vinyl to sell and stories to tell.  Thanks.


Bastardgeist, aka Chicago’s Joel Midden, is an intensely talented singer, kalimba player and producer who released his second LP, entitled Infinite Lives, in 2013 via Brainlove Records.

Bastardgiest has enthralled audiences around the USA and Europe with his delicate falsetto voice, textured electronics and acrobatic kalimba playing. He recently recorded live sessions of Notable American Women (gleaned from the LP) and L.A. Looks, a new song, for Derelict Music in London, shot in an abandoned mental hospital.
Stream/embed the captivating results via YouTube here & here.
Midden will embark on some live dates in Scotland in February. Further US & UK dates will be announced soon. Infinite Lives is available now on vinyl and digital formats via http://bastardgeist.bandcamp.com.
More on Bastardgeist: http://projekta.is/bastardgeist.
FEBRUARY SCOTLAND DATES:
01/02/14 Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh https://www.facebook.com/events/503086476471202

Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

I feel like I’ve been writing about Damien Jurado for such a long time.  I’ve been listening to him for a long time, that’s for sure.  In all my time loving music I have only met one or two other people who were massive fans.  I really am not sure why this is the case.  I think it’s a bit like Father John Misty.  I’ve been a fan of J.Tillman’s for a long time and really don’t understand why he’s not a bigger name than he is.  Fear Fun is a stunning record deserving of critical acclaim.  He just doesn’t seem to get that acclaim on these shores though.  Jurado – same deal.   So, it seems appropriate that rather than me attempting to explain why Damien Jurado’s new record is so amazing I leave you with the words of Father John Misty.  Enjoy:

Damien is out of his goddamn mind.

This isn’t a recent development, but it’s an important aspect of his work that often goes ignored. In place of this key element is the idea that his music is a sober and in-depth excavation of the American landscape and rural psyche. Well, folks, I’m sorry, but it’s not. In other words: there is no railway station east of Ohio.

Abandoned motels, barren highways, magazine killers, Chevrolets backing out of driveways in the middle of the night, wedding photos, intoxicated hands, bleary-eyed circus clowns, barstool salvation, yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it: “America.” We’d all like to live there, but we don’t. No one does. We’re stuck with Jamba Juice and the internet, occasionally a charming, aesthetically pleasing dilapidated monument of the pre-Air Conditioned Nightmare on the side of the road. For a minute we can marvel and say “Wow, there’s nothing out here!” Nothing except a huge fucking interstate freeway and a massive telecommunication network on which we can Instagram bucolic isolation.

Out there is nowhere, but inside is endless.

You know what else they have a lot of in “America”? Religion. Don’t leave out that old-time relijun or your souffle of polite, revisionist, fantasy America is going to fall flat at the foot of the Cross. When “folk” comes up in their iTunes genre column, them lily-white champions of gravel-voiced, hard-won-wisdom-shilling, Millennial old-timin’™ expect some goddamn symbolic imagery, man! Not actual faith per se, I mean, c’mon now, what are you: fucking insane?

Damien Jurado is every character in every Damien Jurado song. He is the gun, the purple anteater, the paper wings, the avalanche, the air show disaster, Ohio, the ghost of his best friend’s wife. It is a universe unto its own, with its own symbolism, creation myth, and liturgy. You might go as far as to call it a religion, and your religion is a character in his religion.

Level with me. You’re reading this because of Damien Jurado’s new album, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (produced by Richard Swift). You are a progressive minded, left-leaning person who in parlor-style conversation regarding the globo-political ramifications of Sky Person relationships laughs knowingly so as not to be judgmental and very reasonably concedes “Well, I don’t believe He’s some old man with a beard sitting up in the clouds” at which point everyone agrees on [insert benign middle-ground] and moves on.

Consider this: What if the only way to understand a religion is to create your own?

Who is this Silver community? Where the hell are they in the Bible? Is this heresy? Agnostic reference? Isn’t this sun business a little, I don’t know, animistic? Pagan? Go ahead and answer that question for yourself. I’ll give you a second.

Do you understand the music any better?

Faith is like theater: it isn’t meant to be read, or analyzed it is meant to be performed and inhabited. Upon being asked if he believed in Gawd or not, Norman Mailer replied, “Sure, why don’t you and make him better?”

You know that adage we all use so we have something to say while we shrug our shoulders? “People change”? That one. Is that applicable to Jesus Christ? Maybe he’s been on a personal journey of discovery since he ascended. He went through the 60’s, 70’s, he turned on, tuned out, got disillusioned. Why can’t we talk about that Jesus? Does it have to be the old-timey one all the time? American folk Jesus, ugh. The one who’s always winning Best Soundtrack Oscars for people. Rarely do stories of faith make us identify with Jesus. It’s Abraham, Satan, Silver Timothy, Salome, Dr. J, Saul of Tarsus; divinely imperfect brothers and sisters who give Gawd something to do.

Damien Jurado made up his own Jesus because a Damien Jurado album needs a beautiful Jesus. Some freaky space Jesus that I don’t recognize. The name is the same, a lot of the imagery is the same, but he’s reborn. Born again, I mean. Yeah, as if Jesus got born again. That’s what this album sounds like.

Jesus is out of his goddamn mind, and I want to live in Damien’s America.

Sign me up.

Now Wakes the Sea – Hospice

Some of you may have seen this, a lot of you won’t have.   mini50 artist Now Wakes the Sea decided to do a lo-fi cover record of part of ‘Hospice’ by The Antlers which you can find below.  This record has been publicly endorsed by The Antlers themselves on their twitter feed and it really is worth checking out.  The Antlers are one of my favourite bands and it’s so refreshing to see an established act take the time to not only listen to something sent to them by a smaller artists but also to acknowledge it to their fans.  Lovely touch.

Anyways, enjoy.

Mogwai – Rave Tapes

I said to myself that I wouldn’t write music reviews anymore.  I said to myself that I had no right to try and critique music – who wants to listen to me anyways?  I said to myself that I would focus on using the blog for mini50 purposes and put the music writing on the back burner.  I said to myself that I didn’t have the time to write about other music.  I said that it would take some special music to make me want to write again.

Mogwai.  One simple word but along with Wilco, Sparklehorse and Tom Waits, are an essential part of my musical taste and upon hearing their new record ‘Rave Tapes’, I felt compelled to write again.  I’ll be honest too, the albums by There Will Be Fireworks, The Notwist and the Benoit Pioulard remix album have also got me right in to the musical swing in 2014.  So it’s a great start to the year for my little ears.   Long may it continue.

And yet, I will refrain from reviews.  I will simply say this about Rave Tapes: it continues to highlight the importance and relevance of Mogwai, nearly 20 years on from when they began. It’s 15 years since I saw them live for the first time in the Netherlands and in these 15 years I have watched them grow from a tiny Scottish band to one of the most important and ground breaking acts in the UK.  So it’s with great excitement I tell you to get your hands on Rave Tapes.  Owing more to last years ‘Les Revenants’ than to ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’, this album is essential listening in 2014 for all people with ears in need of musical love.  Enjoy.

2014 A Personal Odyssey

2014 is going to be a big year for me on a personal level.  There is a lot happening musically…a lot!

Fans of The Kays Lavelle will finally see the release of album two for starters.  It’s been 4 years since ‘Be Still This Gentle Morning’ and it feels like the time has come to finally get album two out there.  The record feels more mature, more experimental and more challenging.  Hopefully fans of the first album will still identify with what’s happening but I do feel working on the Graveyard Tapes and glacis records has helped me grow as a musician and think in a different way about what I want.  I also feel free on this record to express myself as it’s not a band offering.  It’s me alone, with the help of a few friends.  It’s going to be called ‘Paint the Devil on the Wall and the Devil Will Come’ and I am hoping it will be out in the later half of 2014, most likely through mini50 records – unless of course there is an offer from somewhere else.

As for Graveyard Tapes, we will also have our second album out in 2014.  Again it will be released through Lost Tribe Sound and it is anticipated to be coming out around October time. Both Matt and I are very excited about this record seeing it as a big leap forward from ‘Our Sound is Our Wound’.  Along for the ride on this album was Ben Chatwin, better known to many as Talvihorros.  Ben has a number of writing and performing credits on the record and we feel he added a lot to the process.  It’s going to be an exciting time with that record.  After the lovely reception we received for our debut we are keen to see how this record will fare.

As for glacis.  Well, I have one record – a collaboration with Ed Hamilton in the final stages of mixing, ready to be mastered and released.  I am working on a record with William Ryan Fritch and my girlfriend Ali Millar – recording some more pieces for this in February.  And I am also working wit photographer Julien Lambrechts to produce ‘Lost Again on Waking: Volume II’  So all in all, it’s a busy, busy year ahead.  There is much I want to achieve through music this year and hopefully my 3 different projects will yeild some successes – whatever these may be.

mini50 is another thing altogether.  As highlighted in my previous post we are facing an exiting and busy year as a label.

It’s all go.  Exciting times.

mini50 in 2014

So it’s 2014 and already we are back to it big time. 

So what’s happening with mini50 this year? 

Well, first up we are going to have the new EP by Old Earth entitled ‘All Kill’.  This has been in the offing for some time now and because it’s going to be download only and because of the way Todd likes to work, it’s kind of going to drop like a bomb out of the blue.  Whilst we do like to do things properly at mini50 and offer our artists the best press/opportunities, Todd is a wild child and doesn’t like to operate this way.  So, keep your eyes open because in the next few weeks I reckon we will go live with a beautiful art print featuring a download code for the brand new Old Earth EP.  Old Earth also has a full length record planned for this year – later this year obviously. 

First up proper though, on 24 March to be precise, is the brilliant new album ‘Fireworks and the Dead  City Radio’ from Sketches for Albinos.  For those not in the know, Sketches is the alias of Edinburgh based sound artist Matthew Collings.  You can read more about his work here and you can also check out his other work as Sketches, under his own name and as one half of Graveyard Tapes.  Anyways, this album is going to come as 12” vinyl and will be accompanied by a lovely photo book produced by Matt and his girlfriend Elin Svennberg.  It will also come with a DVD containing various bits and pieces.  So all in all it’s going to be a lovely piece for collectors.   

In May this year we will have the brand new album from Scottish artist Now Wakes the Sea.  Massive thank you to all those who have picked up a copy of the cassette release we did last month of his record ‘Fluoxetine Morning’.  In May we will release his new album ‘Bildungsroman’ which we can assure you will not disappoint.  In fact, we are very excited about this record because it’s awesome.  This will be a cd release.

There are plenty other releases on the agenda for this coming year, but we are in the early stages of discussing these and moving forward.  It’s going to be a big year for sure.  Why not check out our winter sampler in the meantime to get an idea of what’s coming up in the not too distant future.

The website is now up and running.  Here you can find information on all our artists as well as the music both physical and digital.  If you are interested you will also find our new subscription offer.  This gives you the option to support the label on a 6 month or yearlong basis.  Do check this out.