Yes, this Saturday is 4/20, but if you can detach yourself from the bucket bong, it’s also Record Store Day. The annual celebration of independent record stores has grown into quite an industry, and as ever, there’s a heap of awesome-looking releases to trawl through once you’ve fought your way through the crowds and thrown enough judicious elbows to make your ways to the crates of vinyl — so much so, in fact, that the selection can be somewhat overwhelming. Never fear, though, because we’ve sifted through the list of this year’s RSD exclusives to bring you the best of the best. What’s on your shopping list? … Read More
As we noted yesterday, we’ve been going quietly gaga about the new Scott Walker record ever since we got a copy of it a few weeks back. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Bish Bosch is that, weird as it is — and, mark our words, it’s really fucking weird — it’s still not as strange as the career trajectory of the man who made it. Walker’s journey from the fresh-faced MOR pop idol of his Walker Brothers years to the experimental maverick who’s just made what’s arguably his best album yet at the age of 69 is one of music’s most unlikely stories, and got us thinking about other unusual career trajectories. We’ve put together a selection of our favorites, so click through and let us know what you make of it all. … Read More
This week sees the release of Ocean Roar, the new record by Phil Elverum, aka Mount Eerie. Apart from being a rather lovely record in its own right, Ocean Roar is notable for being the second Mount Eerie record of the year, following May’s similarly excellent Clear Moon. This makes Elverum one of 2012′s more prolific musicians, although not necessarily the most prolific, because a couple of the music world’s most famously productive musicians have also had busy years. You’ll find a rundown of these super-busy types, along with some of music’s most prolific artists, past and present, after the jump — as ever, feel free to jump in with further suggestions in the comments section. … Read More
Jon Foy’s fascinating and unexpectedly personal documentary Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles hits DVD today. The film explores the strange urban mystery surrounding hundreds of tiles adorned with cryptic, metaphysical messages found across the U.S. and South America, which have perplexed people since the 1980s.
Other films have examined the unexpected and unrecognized genius, strange pathology, and obsessively creative works of outsider artists in similarly intriguing ways. Many of the documentaries themselves have taken a low-fi approach to their portrayal, creating a similar mood to the works being investigated. Others come from a straight documentary angle, but all are compelling portraits. Head past the break to check out other outsider documentaries that introduce some of art and music’s most expressive creatives on the fringe. … Read More
When Girls’ Christopher Owens first revealed, circa the release of the band’s debut album, Album, that he’d grown up in the Children of God cult, you could almost hear the collective intake of breath from music journalists everywhere (and, we suspect, from the band’s publicists, too). After all, it makes great copy: musician grows up in cult, overcomes weird childhood, makes great album, lives happily ever after. But really, when you read them, the truth is far more complex and less facile — and Owens’ stories of his early years are genuinely disturbing. Plenty of other musicians over the years have arrived at their music via lives that have been unconventional, to say the least. And so, with Girls’ new album due next week and streaming now at Hype Machine, here’s a selection of weird and compelling musician back stories. … Read More
Musicians are, almost by definition, exhibitionist types — given to loud costumes, flashy spectacles, well-publicized romances, and various publicity stunts. But how about the exceptions that prove the rule, those recluses who have always made their music in seclusion, shied away from performing, or retreated to a shack in the middle of nowhere after years of fame? You may question what’s driven them away from the adoration of millions, but in the end, you also have to respect them for refusing to cash in and feed tabloid culture.
In fact, December has been a big month for these mysterious iconoclasts, what with Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum showing up to perform a set in Brooklyn and Lauryn Hill announcing a string of tour dates. After the jump, we take a look at the careers of some of music’s most reclusive artists, from Syd Barrett and Scott Walker to Hill and Mangum. … Read More