Crooked Fingers has been Eric Bachmann’s primary band for the past decade, but before that, he fronted Archers of Loaf, the seminal college rock act that sprung from Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s vaunted ’90s indie rock scene. And while Bachmann made news this year by reuniting Archers in January, then taking them out on the road at festivals like Sasquatch, he was holding an ace the whole time: Breaks in the Armor, a new, superb Crooked Fingers album.
Bachmann, who writes, records, and performs songs mainly under the name Crooked Fingers, lives in Athens, Georgia, these days, where he recorded at The Bakery with Matt Yelton (live sound engineer for the Pixies) throughout the winter of 2010/2011, enlisting the help of Liz Durrett on backing vocals. It’s a cohesive and diverse set of songs with less adorned and more direct and affecting arrangements. Beautifully understated, artfully phrased, and ultimately a paean to perseverance, the album seems to suggest that the breaks in the armor are more important than the armor itself.
Over the course of the coming year, Bachmann will alternate between touring as Crooked Fingers and with Archers of Loaf, making the most of two distinct and rewarding modes of expression and performance. All of which seems to be exactly where he should be again.
Order your copy of Crooked Fingers’ Breaks in the Armor on CD, LP, and digital download in the Merge store today.
Crooked Fingers on tour:
Oct 15 Carrboro NC – Cat’s Cradle – OCSC 10-Year Anniversary
Oct 27 Asheville NC – Grey Eagle
Oct 28 Knoxville TN – Pilot Light
Oct 29 Charlotte NC – The Evening Muse
Oct 30 Richmond VA – The Camel
Nov 01 Washington DC – IOTA
Nov 02 Philadelphia PA – Johnny Brenda’s
Nov 03 Hoboken NJ – Maxwells
Nov 04 New York NY – Mercury Lounge
Nov 05 Brooklyn NY – Cameo Gallery
Nov 06 Boston MA – TT the Bear’s
Nov 07 Montreal QC – Casa Del Popolo
Nov 08 Toronto ON – Drake
Nov 09 Detroit MI – Magic Stick
Nov 10 Cincinnati OH – MOTR Pub
Nov 11 Chicago IL – Schubas
Nov 12 Milwaukee WI – Cactus Club
Nov 13 Minneapolis MN – Triple Rock Social Club
Nov 14 Omaha NE – Waiting Room
Nov 15 Denver CO – Larimer Lounge
Nov 19 Portland OR – Mississippi studios
Nov 20 Seattle WA – The Crocodile
Nov 22 Santa Cruz CA – The Crepe Place
Nov 23 San Francisco CA – Bottom of the Hill
Nov 25 Los Angeles CA – The Echo
Nov 26 San Diego CA – Casbah
Nov 28 Tempe AZ – Club Red
Dec 01 Austin TX – Mohawk
Dec 02 Houston TX – Fitzgerald’s Downstairs
Dec 03 New Orleans LA – One Eyed Jacks
Dec 04 Atlanta GA – The Earl
The highly anticipated self-titled debut album from Wild Flag, the 4-piece Portland, OR- and Washington, DC-based rock group including Carrie Brownstein, Mary Timony, Rebecca Cole and Janet Weiss, is in stores today! Featuring members of Sleater-Kinney, Quasi, Helium, the Minders and Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks to name just a few, Wild Flag premiered with a tour of small west coast rock clubs in the fall of 2010.
Order the album on CD or LP in the Merge store, or buy it from your favorite retail outlet today!
Wild Flag on tour:
# w/ Eleanor Friedberger
Oct 03 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theatre
Oct 04 Omaha, NE – Waiting Room
Oct 05 Kansas City, MO – Record Bar
Oct 07 Champaign, IL – High Dive
Oct 08 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
Oct 09 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
Oct 10 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
Oct 11 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
Oct 14 Boston, MA – Paradise #
Oct 15 Brooklyn, NY – Bell House
Oct 16 Hoboken NJ – Maxwell’s #
Oct 18 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom # w/ Hospitality
Oct 19 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer #
Oct 20 Washington, DC – Black Cat #
Oct 21 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle #
Oct 22 Athens, GA – 40 Watt #
Oct 24 Birmingham, AL – Bottletree #
Oct 26 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks #
Oct 27 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s Downstairs
Oct 28 Dallas, TX – The Loft
Oct 29 Austin, TX – Emo’s
Oct 31 Tempe, AZ – Rhythm Room
Nov 01 San Diego, CA – Casbah
Nov 02 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
Nov 03 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
Nov 04 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
Nov 05 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
Nov 07 Arcata, CA – Humboldt State
Nov 09 Portland, OR – Doug Fir
Nov 10 Portland, OR – Doug Fir
Nov 11 Seattle, WA – Neumos
Nov 12 Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
Dec 08 London, UK – The Lexington
Dec 09 Minehead, UK – ATP Nightmare Before Christmas
On Tuesday August 2, to mark the 1-year anniversary of the release of Arcade Fire’s epic, Album of the Year Grammy-winning album The Suburbs, Merge will release a deluxe edition that will include two brand new tracks recorded during The Suburbs album sessions (“Culture War” and “Speaking in Tongues” featuring David Byrne), an extended version of album track “Wasted Hours,” Spike Jonze’s short film, Scenes From The Suburbs, and an 80-page booklet as well as other exclusive content.
The 30-minute film, inspired by The Suburbs, is directed by Spike Jonze and co-written by Spike Jonze, Will Butler and Win Butler.
The Suburbs Deluxe will include:
* CD: The Suburbs album, including an extended version of “Wasted Hours” and two non-album tracks “Speaking In Tongues” feat. David Byrne and “Culture War.”
* DVD: Scenes From The Suburbs (30 minutes), a behind the scenes documentary and the official video for The Suburbs’ title track.
* An 80-page booklet featuring stills from the film, behind the scenes photographs from the film’s production, and lyrics.
* Exclusive to physical copies of The Suburbs Deluxe reissue, a bonus download coupon offers an acoustic demo version of “Sprawl I (Flatlands)” and “Ready to Start” (Remix by Damian Taylor and Arcade Fire)
On September 8, Merge will release new albums from The Clean and Polvo. Both albums are available to stream and for pre-order in the Merge store.
The Clean – Mister Pop Mister Pop sees The Clean continue the great pop pastiche they began in 1978. Circus ragas (“Moonjumper”), gorgeously hazy sunset anthems (“In the Dreamlife You Need a Rubber Soul”), and the sometimes-loose Dada approach to wordsmithery continue right alongside “proper” lyrical forays, and a few Autobahn-referential instrumental moments to boot (“Tensile”). Robert Scott’s love of pastoral UK folk has brought some added weight into the overall Clean equation, as does David Kilgour’s Eastern and African guitar jones, though all this has always fit in with—and still constitutes—the total basis of the Clean sound journey.
Polvo – In Prism
Polvo formed in 1990 in Chapel Hill, NC. Their lineup consisted of vocalists/guitarists Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski, bassist Steve Popson, and drummer Eddie Watkins. The band released 2 full-length albums and 2 EPs on Merge Records, and 2 full-length albums for Touch and Go before disbanding in 1997. Polvo, joined by drummer Brian Quast (Cherry Valence), reformed in 2008 when asked to perform at ATP by Explosions in the Sky. Several festival shows followed, and new songs emerged. The Philadelphia Weekly said in a recent preview, “In the 1990s, no one used more hard angles, sharp turns and squirrelly tunings than the dos guitarra barrage of Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski.”
“the noise-rockers are still in fine, angular, all-over-the-map form.” ~Stereogum.com
Click to watch video of Jenn talking about her love of "Wheezy" on Uncensored Interview
In case you missed the big news, Wye Oak’s new album, The Knot, is streaming in the Merge store. Go ahead and pre-order your copy while you are at it!
Wye Oak have a CD release show at the Ottobar in Baltimore with special guests Oakley Hall on July 21st. Then, they will join She & Him and American Music Club at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill on July 26th for the grand finale of XX Merge. Tickets still available!
Also, if you have not seen it yet (I somehow missed it completely), SPIN.COM has a video interview with Oakley Hall and some live footage from this summer’s McCarron Park Pool Party. Check it out here.