The Carrboro, NC supergroup Speed Stick has announced that their debut album - titled simply Volume One - will be released on January 22, 2021 via Don Giovanni Records. Today, they are releasing the debut single "Knots," featuring Kelley Deal (of The Breeders and R. Ring) on lead vocals, guitars, and bass.
"Knots" can be heard here, as well as on Bandcamp and on all digital streaming services.
Speed Stick is an ever-evolving project among a group of friends—Ash Bowie (Polvo), Charles Chace (The Paul Swest), Laura King (Bat Fangs), and Thomas Simpson (The Love Language)—whose musical achievements reach back as far as the 1990s. But as its live shows attest, the band does not want to rehearse old accomplishments. The songs for Volume One were created in unusual fashion over the course of a year. Initially, Speed Stick only consisted of two drummers. They distributed nine studio tracks and a single live track to select musicians. The musicians’ task was simple: draw inspiration from the beats in order to create music that spreads laterally and horizontally like a rhizome. Indeed, Volume One has utterly discarded the yoke of genre by instead tethering intricate, interlocking drums to myriad creative personalities: Mac McCaughan (Superchunk, Merge Records), Kelley Deal (The Breeders, R. Ring), Mike Montgomery (R. Ring), Stuart McLamb (The Love Language).
This approach of collaborative music making - outsourcing to multiple creative consciousnesses - lends itself to the content of the ten tracks that make up Volume One to be as varied and dynamic as the contributors themselves. The tracks range from Yoko Ono-esque noise sound collages, single chord drone, chant call and response, lyrically led hip hop, and four-on-the-floor melodically-driven indie pop. Drummer Laura King described the anticipation and excitement of receiving each individuals contributions to their percussion compositions, when reflecting on hearing Deal and Montgomery's arrangements to "Knots" for the first time:
We got the track "Knots" back from Kelley and Mike on the night of a show we were playing, so we all jammed in my car outside the venue and I hit play. Eyes widened and our jaws dropped, then we all laughed. It was a perfect moment to sit in. Nervous laughter and excitement. Time really did stand still, and knowing me I probably even teared up. It was perfect."
The genesis of the project of Speed Stick was King asking herself: How, as a drummer being the lead creative force, does one make a record? And furthermore as an improvised drum duo with Simpson, how could they translate their live experience to recorded document? She found inspiration for the multiple-collaborator approach from Minutemen bassist Mike Watt's seminal solo album Ball-Hog or Tugboat? and later, a kismet connection of King touring with Watt and his former fIREHOSE band member ed fROMOHIO Ed Crawford. It was seeing them play every night "that really sealed the deal on me realizing I could probably do whatever the fuck I wanted to do...just took some years, courage, experience, and getting to know and play with some really talented musicians."
Album Track list: 1. Protect Your Magic (featuring Ash Bowie/Charles Chace) 2. Knots (featuring Kelley Deal/Mike Montgomery) 3. Twin Collision (featuring Stuart McLamb) 4. Plants (featuring Ben Felton) 5. And Again (featuring Nora Rogers/Jenny Waters) 6. Lurk On Me (featuring Juan Huevos) 7. SS Grandmama (featuring Mac McCaughan) 8. Let It Shine (featuring Ryan Gustafson) 9. Pretty Sure (featuring Casey Cook/Laura King/Rob Liberti) 10. Spleed Splick (featuring Clarque Blomquist)
Today, Don Giovanni is releasing a new four song EP from Lee Bains + The Glory Fires titled "2 4 6 8 Motorway," which includes a cover of the Tom Robinson Band tune of the same name. Rounding out the EP are three new acoustic studio versions of Bains originals, previously released on his Youth Detention and Dereconstructed albums. The EP is available now on Bandcamp, and all digital streaming platforms.
In reflecting on the inspiration to record and release this EP, Lee Bains stated:
"Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Dr. Angela Davis’s statement that “freedom is a constant struggle.” The way people talk around elections sometimes, it can start to feel like freedom is a race with a finish line. What Dr. Davis and others’ work illustrates, though, is that freedom work is forever struggling, pushing forward, regenerating, and that it grows from the people, not from the powerful. No matter whether Trump wins or not (and dear Lord, let’s all do our best this Tuesday to make sure he doesn’t), the movements of, by, and for the people that we saw show themselves so powerfully this summer against white-supremacy, the carceral state and worker-exploitation will trudge onward, whether it’s to the gates of a Biden White House or a Trump White House.
To us, a rocker whose work has exemplified that long highway of freedom is Tom Robinson, whose Tom Robinson Band’s first album in 1978 gave British youth and punkers a vision of the UK for all the people: for LGBTQ people, working-class people, Black people, Muslim people, free people. Their song “2-4-6-8 Motorway” was not only an anthem of the open road, but a celebration of a nationalized infrastructure and of the seemingly endless horizons lying before a youth movement devoted to equality, justice, and freedom.
This is our version of “Motorway”—along with versions of “Whitewash,” “The Company Man,” and “Dirt Track” that I cut with just me and an acoustic guitar. We’ve been missing the interstate, the motorway, and all of y’all since being grounded in March, and look forward to the day we can pile in the van and kick out the jams. We’ll see each other down the road, and God willing, we’ll all be a little freer when we do."
Don Giovanni is excited to announce the signing and debut release from African-surrealist documentarian, educator, digital griot and blx ecstatix performance artist ọmọlólù. Today, she is releasing the EP titled laiii 222 rest ooo,available digitally and in a limited run cassette now.
laiii 222 rest ooo : blx ancestral sonix salves is medicine made for this moment of Black grief-stricken, pandemic-ridden isolation. In reflection on the content and origins of the release, ọmọlólù stated "it triangulates three points that ground me in the healing depths of Black sound by honoring my Yoruba, my Sotho-Tswana and my blx African ancestors in America. laiii 222 rest ooo excavates, celebrates, and reverberates three essential truths:
1) blx sonix healIN be an ancestral rite...
2) to pass thr(u) the grief of capture uuu must BE guided, uuu must BE moved, uuu must BE provoked...
A diasporic daughter of blx Southern migration ọmọlólù is in constant practice, reverence and searching for blx sound in all it’s haptic, visual, sonic, strategic, mobile, logical mutations. Using image, video, prose and sound she attempts to stun whiteness and create a divine glimmer of blx relief, a brief moment of sanctuary for folx to come home into. She believes that she is here as a grief worker using convoluted artistic gestures as a way to contract folks out into the wild, into the woods to be in a sacred space of blx revival together.Mixing acoustic and digital tones, soundscape field recordings, sung and spoken moments backed by ancient rhythms, this ambitious EP is the first ever released music by the artist, who has spent extensive time in the visual arts fields and in study of blx sound, thought, and life. The music is meant as ancestral blx medicine meant to move, guide and provoke blx breath. It is in the school of sista docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Sangodare’s, “Black feminist breathing chorus” -- it is a breath re-alignment tool.
Also released today is a music video for the second track on the EP titled "tr(u)(iii)" in which ọmọlólù performs a relinquishing ceremony for herself and her parents, to let go of grief she's held onto from her experience with institutionalized racism in academia. She reflected..."The video documents a relinquishing ceremony that I created for myself to let go of the grief I've been holding onto from my experience of white schooled institutionalization. while i was a student at the university of north carolina chapel hill I and fellow students organized around the legacies of white supremacy and anti blackness that founded the institution, were glorified in building names and confederate monuments on campus and reproduced through administrational violations against Blackness. this video shows me reclaiming my power, my image and my sanctity of peace."
CLEVELAND— Announcing a five episode live music docu-series that illuminates the story of the eight artists, musicians, and writers who formed the music collective Mourning [A] BLKstar. Mourning [A] BLKstar is partnering with a new streaming platform called blk//blur and ORTVI, a global art streaming platform that seeks to interrupt traditional models of distribution by redirecting funds directly to artists and curators for their work. blk//blur will launch with the premiere of the Afro-futurist collective Mourning [A] BLKstar’s latest project, The Mourning [A] BLKstar Residencies, which follows the story of the collective as they prepare their sixth studio album.
Tickets and more information about the live stream can be found at www.blkblur.art
Each 50 minute episode will be released weekly over a five week period on the blk//blur channel of ORTVI, a global art streaming platform designed to fairly compensate artists and curators while connecting them more intimately with their patrons. Episodes may be purchased individually or as a set.
The Spaceship Preview November 8, 2020 - November 10, 2020 (midnight EST)
Afro-futurist collective, Mourning [A] BLKstar will host a special preview event in support of the five Northeast Ohio venues their ambitious project, The Mourning [A] BLKstar Residencies, a five episode live music docu-series produced by the collective's Theresa May and RA Washington. The series is an intimate, and insightful look into one of music's most prolific outfits and features over 35 live musical performances spanning the entire catalog, along with unreleased material from the upcoming follow up album to 2020's The Cycle, released May 15 by Don Giovanni. The live performances were filmed on location at five Northeast Ohio venues, including the legacy institutions, Beachland Ballroom and Grog Shop..
Tickets for the preview go on sale October 22nd, and will be a special rate of $35 for all five 50 min episodes. Episode 1 is 90 mins, with a special live set Video//collage of 2018's Rhizome Performance in Washington D.C.
This series is generously sponsored by SPACES’ Urgent Art Fund with funding from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
"The Cycle is some sort of dystopian gospel record. The album encompasses jazz and soul, Afrofuturism. It is wild and celebratory, and feels revolutionary in the literal sense. You can get lost in this record for ages." - Stephen Thompson, NPR All Songs Considered
“Mourning [A] BLKstar’s The Cycle is necessary, secular gospel for the healing of a truly damaged nation” - Bruce Miller, Pop Matters
“ORTVI is thrilled to announce a channel by blk//blur Media presenting a BRAND NEW series with Mourning [A] BLKstar.” - Karin Schneider, co- founder, ORTV
About BLK//Blur // A Utopia Of Streaming// blk//blur is a collaborative curatorial platform for the distribution of individual projects, exhibitions, and programs. It allows artists to retain ownership over their artworks while compensating creators through a collective economy. Conceived by artist, writer, and producer, RA Washington, blk//blur highlights time based mediums that question the notion of socially constructed identities within an increasing POV digital landscape. blk//blur seeks to connect curators and content creators with audiences to ignite an actively anti-racist, art forward, genertive, and innovative eco/future—a utopia of streaming.
blk//blur disrupts predominant art world structures codified by public and private institutions over the last few decades. The platform calls for the inclusion of new voices, seeking to broaden and expand upon overrepresented narratives. Curators are invited to pursue works that attend to the visual entanglement of isolation, the blurring of borders, and other multi-media meditations on the creation and consumption of art.
About Mourning [A] BLKstar Founded in 2016, Mourning [A] BLKstar is a multi-generational, gender and genre non-conforming amalgam of Black Culture dedicated to servicing the stories and songs of the apocalyptic diaspora. The band consists of vocalists James Longs, Kyle Kidd and LaToya Kent, guitarist Peter Saudek, trumpet player Theresa May, drummer Dante Foley, trombonist William Washington and bassist/producer, RA Washington.
About ORTVI ORTVI is a global art streaming platform that seeks to interrupt traditional models of distribution by redirecting funds directly to artists and curators for their work. This subscription based service ensures that profits are sent directly to the participating artists and curators and allows patrons to be a part of the collective economy. Subscribers actively support creators and foster the creation of new works including: art, sound, performance, dance, choreography, music, storytelling, documentary, narrative, science fiction, and more.
By participating in ORTVI, patrons and creators are supporting a streaming platform built around fair and sustainable compensation for artists and curators. ORTVI will always be fully transparent about its economic structure and algorithms. Learn more by visiting their website: Ortvi.art.
“Circuit City considers both the implications of time and of space involved in privatization of public housing, gentrification, displacement, and redevelopment. The residents of Circuit City are integrating the time(s) of redevelopment, privatization, and hyper-gentrification, into the pre-established temporal dynamics of the community, layered over and within the communal historical memory and the shared idea of the future(s) of that community.” – Rasheedah Phillips
The newest LP from Philadelphia poet, noise musician and activist MOOR MOTHER is titled Circuit City, and it will be released this Friday, September 25th via Don Giovanni Records. Circuit City is the recorded soundtrack of a staged-production of the same name, set in a living room in a futurist corporate-owned apartment complex. Part musical, part choreopoem, part play, the work was composed by Moor Mother (aka Camae Ayewa) to address and eliminate systemic problems associated with the injustice of housing rights, public vs. private ownership, and technology.
Divided into Four Acts, Circuit City is bursting with beauty, frustration, anger and love, conveyed through a frenzy of free jazz. Framed by Ayewa’s bold poetry and bolstered by new Moor Mother music performed live by members of Irreversible Entanglements and the Circuit City Band, Circuit City is an afro-futurist song cycle for our current climate.
An essay included in the liner notes Playbill of Circuit City written by Moor Mother collaborator Rasheedah Phillips, describes the inequity of housing availability, illegal evictions, and hyper-gentrification, and how these disproportionately affect women of color, Black people, LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants at an alarming disparity. These themes are central and of paramount importance to the work of Moor Mother, and specifically the material contained in Circuit City. As Phillips states in the essay, “Single mothers and their children, seniors, Black people, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and people living with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by evictions and lack of access to safe, habitable, and affordable housing. The ACLU, for instance highlights how “women of color bear the burden of eviction,” noting that women of color made up 62% and 70% of the tenants facing in eviction in Chicago and Philadelphia respectively. This loss of housing has a distinct racial impact, where 63% of African-Americans live in project-based housing compared with 44% of the city’s population, and where African-Americans are disproportionately more likely to carry severe housing cost burdens in the city.”
Resources and more information on housing justice, as well as social and legal services related to unjust housing practices, can be found at https://www.nhlp.org/