December 9, 2013

Euro Tour Report

The trio tour in September was great fun. It already seems very long ago.. not as far back as, say, the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, about whom I have been educating myself this past two weeks, but long ago. By the way, about those ancient Egyptians: I’d always assumed that tomb and pyramid building culture was obsessed with death, but it turns out they were probably more obsessed with going on living, because life was so darned great along the super-fertile Nile in 2600 BCE. Their metaphysical ideas also turn out to be much more complicated and interesting than I thought. For anyone curious for a quick idea, check out this link (it’s only a tourist site, but still can offer you a pretty cool 60 seconds of wondering).

Anyway!

In Bern we spent a bucolic two days in the calm B&B Im Klee, and despite a slightly bumpy first show at Cafe Kairo, had the usual fun hang with the lovely staff there.

We played in Ilanz for the first time and discovered a tribe of dedicated culture vultures up there near the snowline, centered on the architectural award-winning cultural outpost, Sil Plaz. We met a huge cast of amazing new friends, played atop a high stage, danced madly until dawn, and were taken the next day touring in the beautiful mountain passes and parks by Martina and Ramun.

TourPixCollage1

Michael drove us from Switzerland to Berlin in one day to share the stage with louche cabaret master Paul Wallfisch at venerable indie squat-turned-landmark Schokoladen. At the show, Anton got tossed upside down in the air and caught again by Herculean local restauranteur Tommy. We found old expat friend Tony. We were treated afterwards to a late-night hang in the rarely seen studio in the catacombs underneath the club.

Returning to Zurich, we tried a lot of new material out on the charmingly jaded crowd of Helsinki Klub, who have seen everything, and still succeeded in surprising a few of them. We think.

In Basel a show at the riverside oasis Cargo Bar found us facing strangely sideways on stage, and we were treated afterwards to a bar crawl in the back streets by our knowing old friend Sandra.

We took two days to visit old friends in Amsterdam (including phantom society king and official tour-guide voice of Purgatory J.C., and local pop star Nicolette) and take lots of photos. Gina got new boots.

In Liege, Joel (and co.) welcomed us back to the really great L’An Vert for an extremely fun night and some excellent spaghetti.

TourPixCollage2

In Antwerp we were thrilled to play a show in the spooky abandoned ancient stock exchange of Antwerp, now inhabited by artists and other denizens of the Twerpeen demi-monde such as Michael and Carina. We loved meeting everyone.

Our tour climaxed with a show alongside our old friends the adorable garage-popsters the Skatebirds in Metz: after an outdoor banquet at an immense table we enjoyed the natural reverb of the Opera-Theater’s rococo ballroom… and much later, Catherine’s amazing quiche.

You may find yourself in the picture collage somewhere. You may also notice a mini-theme of Gina appearing alongside totemic animals.

April 20, 2013

April Update: New Party-Show, New Track

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Little darlings, it’s been a long, cold lonely winter, and I’ve let things lapse. Now we’re awake and back.

New Show

First and foremost: The next Anton Sword show worth going to is Saturday April 27 at The Church, the sporadic loft party on the Williamsburg-Bushwick border (142 Manhattan Avenue, between Montrose and Meserole, quite accessible by subway). If you haven’t come before, come now, because Sword & Slave (Anton, Gina on bass & Michael on guitar) will be joined by fabulous adorable Skatebirds, who are returning from France to sing their garage-pop songs about life in Lorraine and visits to our ‘hood. The legendary Sans Culottes will also play at the end of the night, as well as the excellent local band Discovery, and there will again be spectacular psychedelic back projections by the video-keyboard playing B.A. Miale. Preceding the night is an Art show in the same space. You can therefore visit this hall of culture heavenly and hellish at 7 pm and have your various needs satisfied without ever leaving until 4 a.m. Yeah there’s only one bathroom, but you’ll be so entertained and happy you’ll forget you’ll need to go.

Here is a link to the Facebook event for those of you who are on FB:
Time Bender’s Ball Sat April 27

New Track

In the meantime there is a new track – actually an old song,  written decades ago but only recently recorded in NYC and then mixed by the fabulous and adorable Ingo Krauss at Berlin’s Candybomber studio. We don’t claim it will change the world or much of anything, but it is something. There will be more to come througout the spring and summer.

Play ‘Leading To The Ledge (Candybomber Mix)’

(The lyrics are below, at the bottom of this post).

Sometimes an old tune has to get finished, even though it may not represent the most current vision. It’s clogging the channel, and needs to get done just to make room for other, newer stuff waiting to emerge. Personnel on this track: me on vox, keys & programming as always; Michael Lawson on guitars; Gina Marie Rodriguez on bass. Recorded in NYC by me, with special help from the golden-eared Carl Barc; mixed & mastered by Ingo Krauss at Candybomber, Berlin.

New Gear

What else? During the winter I partly occupied myself acquiring and exploring a lot of new equipment, hard and soft. Know what I mean? Here’s some hard:

for many questions, the answer is simply MORE KNOBS

for many questions, the answer is simply MORE KNOBS

despite the predominance of the Moog logo, my favorite right now is that square semi-modular synth-box, which is called a ‘Dark Energy.’

In the soft realm I also acquired a plug-in that’s called the ‘Voice of God’. It looks like the black monolith from ’2001: a space odyssey’ and its purpose is to give one more control of low-frequency resonance. Between the Dark Energy and the Voice of God a new universe may very well be created, but it will probably take until mid-summer at least. But enough Sonic Theology!

New Misc

MEYLENSTEIN, Berlin-based multi-media designer extraordinaire, has been busily making a video for ‘The Air’ (from last spring’s ‘Here in the Hurricane’ release). It should be ready soon!

Here are two pix from the last Sword & Slave show at The Church:
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New Fall Europe Tour

And it looks like we’ll be returning to Europe in late September if we cobble together enough shows. If anyone wants us to play a particular place, we’ll gladly consider whether it fits the tour schedule, so just contact:  earworm@antonsword.com.

That’s all for now. Oh, here are the lyrics to ‘Leading To The Ledge’. They date from the days I was still writing obsessively in couplets:

Our love’s a combination lock set in an ancient safe
We work the picks and the cylinders until our fingers chafe
Kneeling there together sweating underneath our masks
We both got so tired of questions we never even asked

Partners in crime, our treasure is unhoardable
What’s yours? What’s mine? The portions are unsortable
We bit the dust and tried to split the take to escape
But all our dynamite couldn’t put the wine back in the grape

Our secret names all blew away in dead confetti mail
And all our dreams in bottles from the belly of the whale
They spilled out across the flood but could not make a bridge
No they just rolled out a thin red carpet leading to the ledge

Love is a word with a hole punched in the center
The silence may hurt but it lets the pleasure enter
Still upstairs in the bedroom dresser in the back of the bottom drawer
There is a crumpled paper ball that won’t unfold anymore

(repeat the chorus).

Copyright 2013 Anton Sword/Fugue State Music.


December 14, 2012

Dec 14 Show, Dystopian Ideas, Euro Tour Post-Mortem

Dystopian ChitChat

My recent pessimistic obsession with things ecological congealed last week into an idea for a dystopian science fiction movie/series: in the future, the population has exploded and all resources (food and fuel, which by then are basically the same things) are running out fast. However, habitable planets have by then been found in other solar systems. The race is on to transport humanity to these planets using the remaining fuel and food before it runs out and strands us on Earth forever. Simultanously, an alternative strategy is being pursued: staying on Earth, but shrinking everyone (using a new shrink-ray invention, of course) so that the ratio of population to resources improves. Of course, if this is done, we still have to contend with monstrous insects. And the evil few who stay unshrunk in order to lord it over the tiny new people. It could be a whole series! Go ahead, make the movie. I’m too lazy.

Dec/Jan Shows

Meanwhile, on planet Earth, Sword & Slave is playing a trio show Friday December 14 at midnight at The Church, the most excellent loft at 142 Manhattan Avenue (Brooklyn) that was once a pentecostal church or something like it. $5 gets you 5 bands: Sword & Slave, Ichicuts, Public Speaking, Sprinkles, and Martin Lucifer. Doors at 8:30. Also psychedelic visuals will be provided by B.A. Miale. Sword & Slave play at midnight.

Also!
Saturday Dec 22, 7:30 pm – playing a duo or trio set at Bowery Electric’s Map Room. 327 Bowery, NYC
Friday, Jan 11, 11 pm – playing a duo or trio set at Branded Saloon. 603 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn (Prospect Heights).

European Tour Post-Mortem

I played several shows in Europe in October & November, all by my lonesome self, and I enjoyed playing solo and seeing the friends who turned up, as well as making many new ones:

Saturday Oct 20: Liege, Belgium: L’An Vert, with Belleclose – Liege turned out to be a lovely town with a new train station that looked like something from a 1960s French Sci-Fi movie. Belleclose, also known as Catherine, kindly took me on a tour of the charming old city, its huge flight of stairs to the old fortress/park, and its cafes. L’An Vert is a lovely club too, run and patronized by nice, cool people.
Thursday Oct 25: Bern, Switzerland: Cafe Kairo – Trina, Queen of Kairo, harangued me into reading Kinky Friedman, the Jewish Redneck Detective author. I’m still absorbing the shock. I slept and ate well in Im Klee, the B&B on Bern’s outskirts, which I recommend highly. Kiss the staff for me.
Friday Oct 26: Zurich, Switzerland: BundesHaus zu Wiedikon – Tom Rist kindly had me play at his other club in Zurich (other than Helsinki) and treated me to a tasty pancake and some whiskey. Frank and I discussed the joys of playing music in a band when it all goes well.
Saturday Oct 27: Longwy, France: L’Appartement, with Skatebirds – the Skatebirds and I performed the Stephin Merritt’s adorable song ‘San Diego Zoo’ together, and the crowd of Lorrainers there made me play “Here in the Hurricane’ again at the end of my set, even though I’d already played it at the beginning. Everyone danced. I also had some excellent political discussion with Metahri & friends.
Friday Nov 2: Berlin, Germany: Mandy’s – despite having to assemble my own makeshift P.A., which didn’t manage to fill the room of revelers with sufficient sound, I had a great time, as I always do at Mandy’s. I don’t think the other patrons or staff were too offended either. I kept Miss Koala up too late and got her too drunk.

Oh Yes And

Hurricane Sandy happened. Taking an excellent suggestion from a perceptive friend, i decided as a publicity stunt to donate all $ from any bandcamp sales of my EP or single ‘Here in the Hurricane’ (presciently written two years before) to Hurricane Sandy relief (The Red Cross, Humane Society, Foodbank NYC, and Occupy Sandy). So far several kind folks have downloaded the tracks and paid money to do so. Aside from the 15% that goes to Bandcamp, I guarantee that ALL of the revenue goes to charity, though the end of 2012. Donations have already topped $500. Here’s the link to the EP to download it: Here in the Hurricane (http://antonsword.bandcamp.com/album/here-in-the-hurricane-ep) .

Finally, I will return to Europe in the late spring or summer, and bring some other musicians this time. If you simply must have us play your club or ballroom or theater or livingroom, contact me at earworm@antonsword.com to discuss.

Don’t forget to ‘like’ the Facebook page for Anton Sword (https://www.facebook.com/antonsword) . to get more up-to-date updates to update yourself.

October 3, 2012

NYC and European Tour Dates Oct/Nov 2012

After a six-month hiatus, the full We Ours quintet reunites for a show at Brooklyn’s Union Hall, Thursday October 11, at 10 pm. Kristin “Dr. Fill” Mueller on drums, Julian “Flash” Maile and Michael Lawson on duelling guitars, and of course Gina Marie Rodriguez on bass. Come and say hi. The planet is spinning crazily through a dark cold void. Who knows when we will see each other again? And if you get bored, there is always food and indoor bocce (yes!) upstairs. We will play some new songs. Preceding us will be our friends The Snow at 9 pm and our other friends Roman Game & Ghostwise at 8 pm. Union Hall is in Park Slope, near the R,2,3,4,5 and Q trains, sort of. 702 Union St, Brooklyn. Admission is $8. If you come and tell me your favorite (or least favorite) song in the set and do so intelligently I will give you a free CD. And as I mentioned, if you hate music but just want to come to see friends, Union Hall has indoor bocce upstairs.

European Tour Dates:

I’m playing several shows in Europe this month, all by my lonesome self, and I very much look forward to saying hello to you at one of them. Besides the singing, drinking, eating, and moving equipment, the fun of touring is seeing old friends. I promise to play something you haven’t heard before. Here are the dates (all dates are also posted on the ‘shows’ page on this site):

Saturday Oct 20: Liege, Belgium: L’An Vert, with Belleclose. rue Matthieu Polain 4
Thursday Oct 25: Bern, Switzerland: Cafe Kairo. Dammweg 43
Friday Oct 26: Zurich, Switzerland: BundesHaus zu Wiedikon. Kalkbreitestrasse 33
Saturday Oct 27: Longwy, France: L’Appartement, with Skatebirds. 12 bis rue Victor Hugo
Friday Nov 2: Berlin, Germany: Mandy’s (Bierstube). 61 Reichenberger Strasse

After returning to New York, I will rejoin the duo that has become a trio, Sword & Slave, for another show at the fabulous disco/new wave/electro dance party VVYNL -
Monday, Nov 12: Brooklyn, USA: The Woods, with many other acts. 48 South 4th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Other Problems and Solutions

I became unhappy upon hearing that there is a lot of elephant slaughter happening again in Africa. Elephants are like fascinating wrinkly people; should one kill them just to take their oversized teeth? I became pointlessly obsessed with the seemingly endless Presidential campaign for a while, then recovered. I began eight books but have only finished one. My dog got sick but seems to have recovered. So it was a tough few months, but I also was given a used bicycle and I rode it, which was fun.

Last but perhaps least, the ‘Here in the Hurricane’ EP is now available in PHYSICAL (gasp!) form from CDBaby.com here.

April 3, 2012

Small Beast #150 – Sword & Slave, And The Wiremen, Skatebirds

Sword & Slave / And The Wiremen / Skatebirds

Sword & Slave / And The Wiremen / Skatebirds

Small Beast reaches its sesquicentennial! It may be small, but it lasts longer. FREE. The latest in Paul Wallfisch’s long-running series of Monday night eclectica with a Euro aura at The Delancey, 168 Delancey Street, NYC between Clinton & Attorney. Monday April 9

9 Sword & Slave

Anton Sword, Gina Marie Rodriguez & Michael Lawson on piano, bass, guitar, clouds of sound, and blind cool. Neo-glam synthpop and indie-electronic music for cynical yet inwardly tenderhearted bookworms. Drawing on British crooners, 80s synths, cocktail piano, krautrock, prog, and glitchy electronics, Sword combines his influences to create “Interesting, musically subtle, tasteful, original, witty music…infectiously rhythmic and impossibly memorable.” (neverlearnedtoswim.com). And you’ll hum it in the shower as well. Assuming you take a shower. You may not want to afterwards.

9:45 And The Wiremen

And The Wiremen is a Brooklyn-based ensemble led by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lynn Wright. As the primary songwriter and lyricist, he specifically works and collaborates with core members Paul Watson (Sparklehorse) on trumpet, Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu) on bass, and longtime partner in crime Jon Petrow (Cloudroom) on guitar (with whom Wright also shares time in another laudable Brooklyn-based outfit, Bee and Flower). The experience, ingenuity, and craft this collection of musicians brings to the table is further enhanced by their collective willingness to defy genre. They are improvisatory, whimsical, and pleasurably good at leaving a listener playing a song-to-song guessing game. At times heavily Latin-influenced–with strokes of cumbia and an underpinning of Colombian and Brazilian percussion–these songs comfortably move into jazz, avant-pop, or blues–sometimes within the same number–despite a deceptive minimalist approach to song structures. Lyrically, Wright is cogent, funny, and literate; a virtuoso, really. He has a knack for catchy one-liners (hardly throwaways) and passages that sound indebted to some wily trident of Faulkner, South American Surrealism and film noir–aspects which combine to push both the music and Wright’s smooth, cool-as-a-cucumber delivery into the lofty realms of fable.

And The Wireman FB page

10:30 Skatebirds

In 1984, during the late new-wave period, the public of Longwy, a steel town in Lorraine, France on the Luxembourg/Belgian border, discovered a young band as swift, as edgy and as peculiar as its name : “La Toyota Fantastique.” The trio toured throughout the three-border area in 1985, but was stopped in its tracks by the passing of its drummer. However, the other two members and a replacement drummer went on playing together in various bands, getting stronger, edgier, and more peculiar, and here they go again! In 2009. Martin Calou, Ricky and Baârkus Daddly reformed a new trio and started playing songs composed by the original, but the original sweetness is now informed by twenty years of hard living, Lorraine style. The influences on Songwriter Calou’s raw, catchy, charming melodies are obvious — Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Beach Boys, Kevin Ayers — tinged with the dark and raging neo-garage of the early nineties: Yo la Tengo, Nirvana, Daniel Johnston. After a warm-up tour and several great shows in Paris, the Skatebirds — their new name — now feel ready to test their mettle against the sidewalks of New York. Come check their NYC debut.

Skatebirds Myspace page