Unplugging: A week of firsts for artists

Posted by Lily Angelle, MXDWN

This week was all about firsts in music, whether it be first headlining tours, first annual festivals or first collaborations. Originality is not sparse amongst musicians right now, and we can’t wait to see what happens.

Moon Block Party announced their first annual Desert Daze Festival, an 11-day festival held in North Palm Springs. Set to take place April 12-22 at Dillon’s Roadhouse, the festival is completely free, although a $5 donation is encouraged.

The epically long festival will feature 111 bands on 3 different stages, as well as food vendors, live art, workshops and visual installations. The headlining lineup includes bands such as Dengue Fever, Dead Meadow, The Fresh & Onlys, Spindrift, Free the Robots and many more.

Following a stop by SXSW March 16th in Austin, Washed Out will kick off their very first headlining tour April 16th in Carrboro, North Carolina.

In support of Within and Without, this nationwide month-long tour will feature Washed Out at much bigger venues than they’ve played at before. Within and Without is Washed Out’s critically acclaimed 2011 album which received much praise, so surely it will be great to see live!

The reunited post-punk outfit Swans has announced that their forthcoming album will feature performances from Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Akron/Family.

The new album will be a long one at almost 2 hours, on a double CD and triple vinyl. Michael Gira, Swans front man, confirmed that some of the tracks would hit the 30-minute mark. Besides this new effort, Gira is currently on tour in support of his solo effort, The Milk of M. Gira: Collected Solo Home Recordings 2001-2010.

An antique shop in New Jersey has recovered a piece of music history. The shop has possession of the postcard that inspired the artwork on indie-rock band Neutral Milk Hotel’s album, In The Aeroplane Over the Sea.

The postcard features a young girl wearing a bonnet, waving into the distance. For the band’s album artwork, however, artist Chris Bilheimer replaced the young girl’s face with a potato. To the delight of fans enraptured by the mythology of Neutral Milk Hotel, a picture has been created that traces the evolution of the piece of art, up to the group’s album cover.

Singer/songwriter Rosie Thomas, besides releasing a new album titled With Love, has teamed up with Sufjan Stevens for the first of a Hit and Run series. Both from Michigan, it made sense for Stevens and Thomas to collaborate for Hit and Run Volume 1, the first entry in their split 7” series.

The first track, “Where Were You?” is a rendition of Thomas’ track from her latest album called, "Where Was I?" The second track is Steven’s "Here I Am." Meanwhile, Thomas is at the starting point of a national tour in support of With Love, centered around love and its transformative influences on the soul.

Unplugging in Brief:

Moon Block Party Announce 11-Day Desert Daze Festival – The first annual Desert Day Festival is an 11-day music festival in North Palm Springs, and it’s completely free!

Washed Out Announce First Headlining Tour in Support of Within and Without – Washed Out is kicking off their first headlining tour, in which they’ll play some of their biggest venues yet.

Swans to Collaborate with Akron/Family, Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, and Karen O. on New Record – Swans’ new album will feature a slew of guest performances, making the album about 2 hours long, featuring tracks that last up to thirty minutes.

Original Postcard Found that Inspired Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In The Aeroplane Over The Sea’ Cover – An antique shop in New Jersey recovered the postcard that inspired the album artwork on Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.

Rosie Thomas and Sufjan Stevens Premiere New Track – In light of Thomas’ new album, she and Stevens have collaborated on the first 7” entry in their Hit and Run Volume I series.

Lily Angelle, MXDWN