Go See It: Birdy Bardot New Album Release Show @ The Casbah – Fri. June 23rd

tempbirdy2_t350San Diego’s talent rich Redwoods Music collective is ramping things up this summer, beginning with the release of Birdy Bardot II this Friday, June 23rd at the Casbah.

We fully recommend getting out to the Casbah to see Ms. Bardot commanding the stage with the new material backed by some of San Diego’s finest musicians, which compromise the wide cast of characters of Redwoods Music. With the new album being a truly collaborative endeavor, the evening promises a dynamic stage full of guest performers and contributors.

The band is primed for Friday’s album release show, having just recently returned from a west coast swing with the Redwoods Revue that included performances in Big Sur, Healdsburg, and Napa at the Bottlerock Festival.

Birdy Bardot and band giving their all to audiences on California's central coast. Photo by Kristy Walker, who beautifully chronicled the joy and camaraderie of life on the road on the recent tour.

Birdy Bardot and band giving their all to audiences along California’s central coast. Photo by Kristy Walker, who beautifully chronicled the joy and camaraderie of life on the road during the recent performances.

Birdy will also be supported by the anticipated return of The Heavy Guilt, Los Angeles critic darlings The Dead Ships, and label mates Dani Bell and the Tarantist. This is a full bill that promises a night of pure music making joy from a connected group of inspired bands and individuals.

Also be sure to check out the album’s first single “Fortune” below:

Go See It (Maybe Now, Definitely Later): Top 5 Reasons to See Father John Misty Live


Supporting his new release Pure Comedy, Father John Misty is opening a massive world tour right here in San Diego at Humphrey’s this Wednesday (April 12). Sold out for some time, this might be an extremely difficult ticket to score, but thankfully he will be back around in the fall primed and seasoned after a summer of global festivaling. Two dates (Oct. 5 &6) at the Observatory North Park go on sale on Friday at 10am. 

We’ve covered Father John Misty’s releases here at Monofesto in the past, but the live experience is something completely in and of itself.  A true performer, Mr. Tillman’s live act definitely makes for an evening not to be missed and not soon forgotten. Here are the top five reasons Father John Misty is a Must See.

5. “That Show”

The number five reason for seeing FJM is based upon word of mouth buzz. There are too many times to mention I have been with a group of music lovers talking concerts or at a concert where “that show” people have been talking about is FJM. They instantly go to, “That show was the best show I’ve seen in a long time” or “That show was the best I’ve ever seen.”  One young couple talked about it like how it must have been what it was like to see Dylan in the early 60s or Bowie in the 70s. The show leaves an imprint and has people talking.

4. Rants

You may get a chance to experience a true impassioned and heartfelt rant from Mr. Tillman. What makes his rants unique is that they are usually coherent, intelligent, and only slightly cliche (although aware of their own cliche matter in a meta way).  He may also steal a cell phone here and there as well; be warned. He loves to provoke.

3. Theatrics

Tillman is truly a born frontman (hard to believe he restrained himself for so long behind a kit with the Fleet Foxes).  He is a showman by all accounts, and his dramatic lyrics and song structures are brought with equal stage dramatics and bodily expression. Every song, no matter the tempo, is brought forth with demonstrable engagement and commitment to acting out every note and providing an appropriate insight into the tone of satire or frustration or elation.


2. Zeitgeist 

Although it can be argued that what he is saying has already been said before, there is no denying that Tillman is touching upon what needs to be said now. Much of the attraction to his music can be credited to the collective nerve that he is tapping. For the most part, he paints a picture of an insane society and bleak future, but he is saying what we are thinking and, more importantly,  writing melodies and songs that reflect how we are feeling in this world in the present tense.

1. Connection

It helps that most of the people that go to a FJM concert know every lyric, but what leaves people most stunned at the end of a show is his effort to connect with his audience throughout. Tillman truly embodies the purpose of shared live music, which is a chance to commune together and somehow feel more connected and hopeful at the end.  As mentioned above, it is not always a rosy view, but the emotions are so open and raw that we feel closer to our own feelings, which are honored by his nightly effort to bring the room together with a grand production that sweeps the history of sociology, philosophy, and musical genres.  Heavy stuff, but at the end of the night it feels like we are taking it on together.

The Library of Babel – Improvised Music for the Brave of Heart

I first heard the Library of Babel release on Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records several months back and it caught my attention and imagination immediately. The music is primarily improvised and as you’d expect with this sort of experiment, some moments are amazing and other create the listening tension for the next aesthetically pleasing moment to arrive. This is the type of music that takes chances and as a listener you can reap huge rewards for your courage if you dig in and really explore what’s unfolding.

From Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records:

Unconscious gasps of breath. Finger skin sliding on metal strings. An acoustic guitar is flanked by cello and double bass in a relationship that at times feels almost parental – the two bigger instruments keeping a watchful eye over the junior one as it gambols ahead, constantly investigating and testing.

This is a very special release. If what this label has relished in before is pairing occult, abstract instances of sound to partly-erased images and letting the spectator simply make of it what it wishes, a new strategy for Blue Tapes might be to try and apply that lovingly rendered abstraction to music – things people might actually want to hear. Records, some people call ‘em.

So, without compromising our position, it would be an exciting experiment to attempt to curate releases that anyone could hear and get something from. Even if – especially if – the hypothetical listener weren’t quite sure what it was they were getting out of this.

I think the nineteenth release in the tape series, by The Library of Babel, achieves this. This music is delicate, intricate – an intimate conversation in real-time between three gorgeous-sounding instruments. So intimate, in fact, that as a listener you imagine yourself between the instruments, the sounds slipping and buzzing around you, the warm breath of the players on your neck; sometimes even more intimately you feel yourself between the the strings, the notes, sliding as they ring and you vibrate.

The music has an instinctive narrative although the playing is improvised. Fans of blue twelve: Tashi Dorji, in particular, will appreciate this – especially as guitarist Shane Parish and bassist Frank Meadows are friends and regular collaborators of Tashi in their hometown of Asheville, NC. The sounds the pair make with cellist Emmalee Hunnicutt potentially have wide appeal, though, caressing the dopamine centres of brains wired for jazz and free folk alike.

Gratifyingly, though, there is an absence of any real genre to call a home for this music. It is animalistic in its intuition and motives. Seemingly oblivious to its own wisdom and only concerned with the moment.

I love this music very much. I hope something in it captures you too.

Blonde Redhead – 3 O’Clock EP

After a wave of releases by Blonde Redhead that were loathe to move me like their early work, a new EP emerges with great promise. There are not as many angular, noisy surprises but there is a plethora of crafty chord changes and subtle textures. An exercise in beauty and restraint. Worth a listen!

The debut video for the 3 O’Clock EP was masterfully done using interesting lighting techniques and no post-production effects. Really a gorgeous effort.

From their press release:

Blonde Redhead - 3 O'Clock EP

Blonde Redhead – 3 O’Clock EP

Not many bands make it through extended careers with constant evolution and experimentation and a general willingness to change things up. Blonde Redhead deserves a place in this category. Over the course of nearly 25 years, the acclaimed New York-based trio went from the noise rock of the early years to the refined dream pop of Misery Is A Butterfly, before reaching the sensual electronic textures of the studio album, Barragán which was released in 2014. Now it’s time to make a step forward once again, or a sidestep, because, despite the variety of styles, the band has always been able to keep a personality and a unique identity that’s easily recognizable. Fresh from the box set Masculin Féminin (September 2016) and the remix “Freedom of Expression on Barragan Hard” (March 2016) releases, Japanese Kazu Makino and twin Italian-Americans Amedeo and Simone Pace return with a new EP 3 O’Clock, out today on the band’s own label Asa Wa Kuru Records. Four songs, two of them sung by charming Kazu while the other two by guitarist and second voice of the band, Amedeo, which still mark once again the willingness to broaden their musical horizons.

Father John Misty – Two Wildly Different Perspectives

Beautiful song, sparse and spacious arrangement, incredible voice. Check it out!

Sub Pop Press Release for Father John Misty’s new album Pure Comedy:

“What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said,
‘See, this is new?’
It has been already
in the ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.”
– Ecclesiastes

Pure Comedy is the story of a species born with a half-formed brain. The species’ only hope for survival, finding itself on a cruel, unpredictable rock surrounded by other species who seem far more adept at this whole thing (and to whom they are delicious), is the reliance on other, slightly older, half-formed brains. This reliance takes on a few different names as their story unfolds, like “love,” “culture,” “family,” etc. Over time, and as their brains prove to be remarkably good at inventing meaning where there is none, the species becomes the purveyor of increasingly bizarre and sophisticated ironies. These ironies are designed to help cope with the species’ loathsome vulnerability and to try and reconcile how disproportionate their imagination is to the monotony of their existence.

Father John Misty

Father John Misty

Now all of a sudden they expect light in the dark, warmth in the cold, and to make something out of nothing. Cooperation among the species to achieve these goals eventually yields a worldview wherein some among the species believe that there are individuals for whom this type of work is maybe ill-suited. The contribution of the ill-suited is of a more abstract, inspirational nature. The ill-suited begin to make subtle distinctions among themselves that extend beyond “eaten by a bear/not eaten by a bear”. These distinctions involve do-it-ness, cool-face-and-body-ness, craftiness, etc. – an arrangement emerges where these traits can be traded in for better-than-ness. This better-than-ness really starts to run rampant, and the species begins to wonder if there isn’t a Sky-Man in the sky who is perhaps the source of all better-than-ness. It seems like a pretty good explanation for why the species is so important.

Sky-Man pretty much runs the show for a really, really long time, and his inner-circle of better-thans gets increasingly smaller and smaller, even though by the end of his reign everyone in the species considers themselves one. Unfortunately there are some better-thans who get together and decide that one way of better-than-ness is better than other betters-thans’ better-than-ness and teach their little half-formed-brain babies as much (most who interpret this distinction as “me’s” vs. “not-me’s”). “Not-me’s” eventually come to encapsulate everyone that is not a single “me” at any given time, and this paves the way for incredibly distasteful behavior until the species arrives at a place of such alienation and fear there is really nothing so horrible that one of them wouldn’t do to the other. To deal with this less than ideal state of affairs, which seems suspiciously incompatible with how progressive and evolved they are by this point, they set about to entertain themselves into an oblivion with politics, sex, finance, philosophy, and other games of war. This they do until they are so numb, and the idea of any “not-me” so untenable, that they are blissfully incapable of noticing they’re all dead. This happens more or less on an infinite loop until the end of time.

Something like that.

Imagine if you will, as the album starts, that you’re way out in space looking at the earth and, though it’s impossible to “fall” through space, you start a free fall anyway in the direction of the bright blue marble. For the next 75 minutes you plummet toward the earth, losing more and more perspective on what an abstract and impermanent place our planet is, how predictably we step on the same rakes, slip on the same banana peels over and over again through the ages, quickly becoming more and more immersed in the very messy business of being a human – the dubious privilege of being here, the elusiveness of meaning, true love and its habitual absence, random euphoria and the inexplicable misery of others, truth and its more alluring counterfeits, the sophistication of answers that don’t make any sense, the barbarism of our appetites, lucky breaks and injustice, faith and ignorance, crippling, mind-numbing boredom, and the terror of it all ending too soon. Before you know it, you’ve delicately crash-landed and find yourself lying on your back looking up at the stars. If you’re lucky, with someone you love; even if just for a day, a year, a lifetime. Though just an hour has passed you have no recollection of what the earth looked like from the far-flung reaches of space, nor how simple it all seemed a matter of minutes ago.

I know everyone doesn’t feel the same about what’s going on right now. What for some is clearly garden-variety violent white nationalism serving as a catch-all for any number of paranoia-induced anti-fantasies foisted upon the poor and uneducated precisely by the ideologues bent on manufacturing voters who can be manipulated into voting against their own interests by making good and sure they remain poor and uneducated before cravenly

blaming their problems largely on people bearing distinctions like race, gender, and sexuality so people forget everything that’s good about the American experiment, is to others an opportunity to wrench the country back from the influence of hypocritical corporate tyrants bent on enslaving our minds with spineless liberal rhetoric in order to justify wiping out the jobs of decent people so they can fulfill their fey utopian dream of an impossible global community designed to profit only its architects (probably Banking Consortiums, pedophile rings, and definitely The Illuminati).

This album does not espouse either of those views.

Both of those views take for granted a certain degree of sophistication, or at least a knack for cooperation, that I’m absolutely convinced humans do not possess; not to mention some kind of innate logic to the proceedings here on Earth – which make a much better case for being some kind of demented joke than anything else.

The terrifying reality concerning the dilemma above is everything is chaos and no one is really in control of anyone or anything.

But what about the well documented history of humans making life a living hell for other humans since time began?

There is no intellectual, political, or spiritual explanation that will ever satisfy anyone for longer than a moment, least of all this, the only explanation with any dignity. The explanation that appeases both our instincts for compassion and liberation. The explanation that we can either accept and move forward together or keep screaming to our respective heavens, “Why, God, why?”

Things are the way they are because this is how we, the human race, want them.

This is how we want it.

Hold the motherfucking phone. Josh Tillman, you have said and done some stupid fucking things since we’ve known you, but this is too much.

Now the liberals and the conservatives are both outraged because that is a sentiment that is so profoundly insensitive to the ways in which the other side is clearly wrong in objective ways regarding basic decency, but what’s the alternative? We’re either all complicit in this purest comedy, or the people who aren’t to blame are at war with the people who are to blame until everyone is dead. Simple as that.

Is progress possible? What does it look like? The conversion of everyone to our respective beliefs? Well, we’ve seen how that typically goes. The destruction of everyone who fails to conform? That’s not it. The erection of institutions with the power and infrastructure to enforce a rule of law with the good of as many as possible at heart? Not much evidence for that panning out.

What I recommend is this: we return to the Vedic cycle and submit ourselves to the likelihood that many of us will end up getting eaten by bears. It’s only natural. What if instead of imbuing our expectations for the quality of our lives to include perpetual happiness, dream fulfillment, excessive painlessness, existential certitude, material wealth, and all variety of romantic stimulation, we were just grateful for every day that didn’t involve getting eaten by a bear? What if progress only meant literally progressing from one day to the next without getting violently dismembered by a 9-foot tall, 500-pound grizzly?

The irony here of course is that many more humans than we’d like to think, most of whom are not reading the interminable liner notes to a folk rock album, do live in daily, perpetual fear of getting killed by a mammal far more terrifying than a bear, and I think you know the one to which I refer. This form of mammal attack is made all the more nightmarish by virtue of the fact that the mammal in question kills purely ideologically. Bears kill because they’re hungry; they’re very reasonable in that way. So maybe we should submit ourselves to their authority. Bears we can trust.

Bottom line is that as long as we expect to live in such a way – immune to the natural laws of this godless rock that govern everything else here – human existence will continue to be a cruel joke. I fear, however, that it is too late for us to go back into the natural order. We have no desire to return to our primal scene. We like the way things are. We’ve got sandwiches when we’re hungry! Airplanes for when we want to go somewhere! Social media when we want our voices to be heard by all God’s creation! We know that these magical conveniences come at a staggering price, and that excess for the few is based on the scarcity of the many, but that’s why we invented the business of globalization! We’ve already built the wall! It’s a great, great wall that goes up to the heavens and is as transparent as museum glass. It’s a beautiful wall that winds surgically through nations, cities, neighborhoods, and sometimes even homes. It is a globe within a globe, and those who live within its interior are as clueless as to what’s happening on the other side as we are to what’s happening right now on the far side of Mars.

There’s only one creature that can penetrate that wall, friends, and it is bears. Bears can smash through that glass like a pitcher of sugar water through a brick wall. The equalizing revolution of bear justice is coming too. Sooner than you think. As it gets hotter and hotter, they’re coming. They’re coming into our neighborhoods, they’re coming into our schools, into our churches, into our banks, into our places of business, into our governments, into our beds.

The joke is that the best we can do is keep on keeping on, which we’ve proven ourselves pathologically adept at. We’re going to save the planet alright, and it will be a glorious sacrifice just like the Sky-Man we invented showed us how.

Bears, man.

RIP William Onyeabor March 26, 1946 – January 16, 2017

So sad to hear about William Onyeabor’s passing today. What an incredible musical visionary. His story is a mystery as William Onyeabor preferred to stay out of the limelight and refused requests for all interviews. Big thanks for Luaka Bop records for helping to bring this great music into the collective global music consciousness.

From Luaka Bop’s website:
William Onyeabor (March 26, 1946 – January 16, 2017)
It is with incredibly heavy hearts that we have to announce that the great Nigerian business leader and mythic music pioneer William Onyeabor has passed away at the age of 70. He died peacefully in his sleep following a brief illness, at his home in Enugu, Nigeria. An extraordinary artist, businessman and visionary, Mr. Onyeabor composed and self-released 9 brilliant albums of groundbreaking electronic-funk from 1977-1985, which he recorded, pressed and printed at Wilfilms Limited—his personal pressing plant in southeast Nigeria.

For people in his hometown of Enugu, Nigeria, Mr. Onyeabor was simply referred to as “The Chief”. He was known for having created many opportunities for the people in his community. In his early 30s, he traveled the world to study record manufacturing, so that he could build, “the greatest record manufacturing business in all of West Africa.” After those successful years as an artist and record label President in the 1980’s, he opened a flour mill and food processing business. In 1987 these new business ventures saw him awarded West African Industrialist of the Year—just two years after the release of his most successful song “When The Going is Smooth and Good”, and what should have been the height of his musical career. He was given the honorary title “Justice of the Peace”—a local judicial position elected by the community to provide independent legal ruling. In the early 1990’s, he became the President of Enugu’s Musician’s Union and Chairman of the city’s local football team, The Enugu Rangers. Despite all of these extraordinary achievements, his biography was always shrouded in mystery—some claimed he had studied filmmaking in the Soviet Union, while others placed him in France or Great Britain. To his great amusement (and ours too for that matter), this mythic image was at times so deeply ingrained, that we often encountered people who were convinced that he didn’t actually exist. Whenever we shared this with him, or would ask him a question about his past, he would just smile and say, “I only want to speak about God.”
After five long years of painstaking waiting, negotiating and intense research, we were finally able to release “Who is William Onyeabor?” in 2013 and his music and story took the world by storm. The release was featured in major newspapers, radio and television stations around the world. Time Magazine listed him as number 4 on a shortlist of that year’s best albums. In 2014, the film documentary “Fantastic Man” followed, as well as the “Atomic Bomb! Who is William Onyeabor?” live shows, which travelled to the most regarded festivals and music venues worldwide-starring over 50 special guests from many diverse generations, genres and backgrounds.

Still, William Onyeabor would never speak about himself and for a long time refused any of the many interview requests that came his way. For an artist that had never performed live in his entire life, he repeatedly, and very sadly, would always decline our invitations to take part in any of the joyous celebrations that were created in his honor. Having become Born Again in the latter part of life, he had turned his back on the music from the earlier part of his life.

As one of the absolutely smartest people we ever encountered—William Onyeabor was always in charge, whatever the situation may be (and even though he was living in a fairly isolated part of rural West Africa). As can be heard in many of his songs, he looked at the world from a bird’s eye view. He would watch American, Chinese and European news simultaneously, so he could learn about the different points of view from around the world. In his later years, he was still conducting business as usual. Whenever we visited him in Nigeria, he welcomed us warmly into his home. Whether it be at his palace outside of Enugu or via crackly phone lines to America, he always made us laugh. As is also very evident in his songwriting—another example of his true intellect and originality—he had the greatest sense of humor. His life and accomplishments will never cease to astonish us. More than anything, and still to this very day, his music continues to live on—nearly 40 years after it was originally released.

Chief William Ezechukwu Onyeabor is survived by his wife, children, and four grandchildren. We would like to send our deepest condolences to his family and thank each and every one of you who has helped share the love for his music around the world.

In the short and wonderfully intense nine years that we came to know him, he changed our lives in many ways. If he hasn’t yet, we hope he will affect you too, one day.
Eric, Paul & Yale, Luaka Bop

David Bowie – Blackstar

David Bowie’s absence in this world is still felt. The void for many is unmistakeable. That being said, how great is it that his last work is so strong! I’m relieved that the punctuation on such a glorious career was something so intense and challenging, something that even months later after its release, I can’t stop listening to it. Thank you David Bowie!


The Gotobeds at the Soda Bar Nov. 9th

Newly signed to SubPop,The Gotobeds performed at the Soda Bar on November 9th promoting their 2016 release with the parodic title Blood//Sugar//Secs//Traffic. Young and looking like permanent residents of a tour van, the band is upbeat and energetic though it’s not hard to imagine these guys stumbling out of that hot boxed van with beer bottles tumbling out seconds before taking the stage.

First-timers in San Diego, The Gotobeds’ are a Post-punk quartet sounding somewhat like the Strokes with a blend of more unconventional indie rock and noise rock. The band’s various tempo changes and skilled guitar dueling that provides a cool stereo effect, were at times reminiscent of San Diego’s own indie rock band No Knife.

Twice throughout the show, the band partook in a seemingly ceremonial round of mid-set tequila shots. A third proposition by chatty singer/guitarist Eli Kason, possibly nervous due to the intimate setting of the venue, was refused by the rest of the band and the music continued. The show, at times, felt more like a frat party than a rock show, but it was a good show nonetheless with plenty of energy, only a minimal amount of pretentiousness, and enough tequila to make The Gotobeds go to bed early.

Kason, who’s showmanship sometimes border lined with showboating, proceeded to wrap his entire head in masking tape for the finale, seemingly having nothing more to say. An appropriate ending, if anything, for such an eccentric performance. As the ringing subsides from the Soda Bar patrons’ ears, the band continues their North American tour and Blood//Sugar//Secs//Traffic sits on the shelves awaiting your hard-earned dollar bills.

The Gotobeds

Photo by Shawn Brackbill. Courtesy of SubPop.