Monday, June 4, 2012

The Brian Jonestown Massacre has always been a polarizing band. Either you love them for their audacity or you hate them for it. Anton Newcombe, mastermind of the BJM, is a polarizing figure himself. He is equal parts mad genius and equal parts pretentious asshole. Ever since the release of the documentary “Dig!”, a film that focused on the triumphs and trials of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, it was as if Newcombe is constantly trying to stay one step ahead of critics who easily dismiss him as a talentless hack
But those who know better understand that that is not the case. Attitude and drug problems aside, The Brian Jonestown Massacre have always been a prolific band. They have released 20 albums and EPs since their start in the early 90‘s, sometimes even releasing two albums in the same year. They are also fond of wearing their influences on their collective sleeves, from the Stones-esque rock ‘n’ roll of “Take It From The Man!”, the feel-good psychedelic pop of “Strung Out In Heaven”, and the trippy shoegaze of “Methodrone”, and the Bob Dylan homage “Thank God For Mental Illness”. While some may dismiss these records as pastiche, one thing is clear: Anton Newcombe just wants to make music that he would listen to.
“Aufheben” is their latest album and it is also their most fully-formed record to date. “Aufheben” means both “to abolish” and “to preserve”, making it an apt description of this record as a whole. With this album they deconstruct and reconstruct psychedelic music. With “Aufheben” they eschew the pompous swagger of their earlier albums for some truly transcendent psychedelia. Most of the tracks are instrumentals, except for much of the latter half of the album where the repetitive Krautrock-inspired grooves are replaced by songs with actual hooks. It serves as a nice change of pace from the first half of the album.
It’s hard to do a track by track review of this album because it was meant to be experienced as a whole. Some of the instrumental tracks bleed together making for a truly hypnotic listening experience. Some standout tracks include the trippy opener “Panic In Babylon”; the cleverly titled “I Want To Hold Your Other Hand”, aptly titled because the song is the closest they’ve ever come to a Beatles homage complete with glockenspiel parts; and the closing track “Blue Order/New Monday”, a 90s throwback that reminds us that The Brian Jonestown Massacre can still make memorable songs. Its uplifting melody serves as a light at the end of the psychedelic tunnel…  like coming down from a really good trip.
This is the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s most mature and most consistent album to date. Every song is memorable in their own right, but the album must be listened to in its entirety. It’s a truly unique transcendent experience; a good acid trip in the form of an album. Put this record on, close your eyes, and let it take you to another plane of existence.

xxx o xxx

Review: The Brian Jonestown Massacre @ the Hi Fi

Jun 03, 12 Review: The Brian Jonestown Massacre @ the Hi Fi
here is absolutely no denying that the Brian Jonestown Massacre has a cultesque, niche appeal. What I didn’t realise is how many of these followers of Anton Newcombe and co. were about to converge on Brisbane’s Hi Fi Bar for one glorious evening of slow, shoe-gazing psychadelic pop-rock.
Having come to the attention of many music enthusiasts in Australia via the much-loved documentary DIG! (paralleling seven years of the lives of the BJM and the Dandy Warhols), all were anticipating a show like none other seen in Brisbane.
One thing that keeps the BJM so interesting is the constant change in line up, with the exception of the ever-interesting and somewhat crazy Newcombe and tambourinist/percussionist/acting frontman Joel Gion. It’s great to see old member Matt Hollywood rejoin the set also. What perplexes me is how on earth the outfit requires five guitars in some songs – the drone of them in a chorus together is certainly a beautifully heavy sound, but still seems a little overkill. Gion, taking the piss even mentioned between songs that “they have way too many guitar players”.
Kicking the set off in perfect BJM style with Stairway To The Best Party In The Universe, the swaying, shoe-gazing rituals began. Over the course of the two-hour setthe eavy drone of the guitars seemed to be reflected with a thick smoke of weed in the front of the venue and the increasing rowdiness of the crowd in anticipation for more. Moving through the set, highlights were definitely Got My Eye On You and Anenome.
Towards the end of the set, the crowd favourite Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth came blasting out into the room, and as anticipated the audience erupted into loose swaying, moshing, crowd-surfing, and many other strange forms of interpretive dance. This audience has to be the most eclectic and unique I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing!
With this being the first time I’ve seen the BJM live in person, I was secretly hoping for an angry, violent episode from the erratic Newcombe, known for crazed outbursts and lengthy rants. With only one request for Australia to fix our “shitty fucking internet”, he stayed silent, hidden in the darkness on stage-right.
Mindful of the hype of sorts attached to this band, this was certainly a special show that Brisbane hasn’t had the chance to experience very often. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the psychadelic outfit returns.

( this blog is updated almost non-stop )


next concert: berlin,de

Brian Jonestown Massacre w/ The Raveonettes @ The Forum, Melbourne 20/5/12

Review originally published in Inpress on May 30, 2012
The Raveonettes are an inspired choice to open for Anton Newcombe and his band of merry men. Their recently released vinyl EP was fantastic, and besides… is there a more delicious feast for the senses than walking into Melbourne’s best music venue as two incredibly attractive Danes coat floor to ceiling in fuzzy, feedback drenched pop goodness? 
They’re incredibly noisy, and yet restrained – the rhythm is pushed along by a drummer playing to a backing track and Sharin Foo’s minimalist bass handiwork. Foo has a beautiful voice, too… but it’s Sune Rose Wagner (who now even looks the spitting image of William Reid circa 1985!) who steals the show tonight. The way he holds back until breaking point song after song to absolutely unleash blistering his feedback-heavy guitar parts is as sexy as it gets. Set closeAly, Walk With Me is mesmerizing. Well played. 

Now, The Brian Jonestown Massacre have strong ties with Melbourne and band leader Anton Newcombe wasted no time tonight in announcing that it’s one of the greatest cities in the world. His band has played some of their finest shows here. They’ve played some of their most debauched here. They’ve found love here. The Brian Jonestown Massacre love Melbourne and judging by the sea of BJM faithful singing along with each and every lyric, it’s clear that Melbourne loves them too. 

As always, Anton stands as far to the side of the stage as possible while his band, positioned in firing-squad like formation, stand and deliver their trademark wall of sound. They open withStairway To The Best Party In The Universe, a track taken from the excellent new record Aufheben… And with that, they’re off; taking Melbourne on a two-hour-long journey of new material, classic Jonestown staples and songs we thought we’d never see them play again. There are too many individual highlights to mention… Wisdom, Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth, Servo, Open Heart Surgery… it was relentless. It’s always nice to see the longstanding Matt Hollywood singing lead vocals on a bunch of songs, too (Oh Lord!).
Then came the ending. And what an ending it was. Picture this… a 10 minute long rendition of Straight Up And Down, that somehow seamlessly transitioned into Hey Jude. Before morphing into Sympathy For The Devil, back into Straight Up And Down, and finishing with 5 minutes of drone and strobe lights… and then nothing. No encore. No banter. That’s how to finish a show.

There are so many bands who’ve built their entire sound around what the Brian Jonestown Massacre do. And why wouldn’t there be? Tonight, Anton Newcombe once again showed Melbourne why, even after over 20 years, they’re still the most beautifully brutal rock and roll band in the business. 
Posted on June 4, 2012 with 1 note 


Track Of The Day #53: The Brian Jonestown Massacre – The Clouds Are Lies

Published on June 4th, 2012 by TC
Digg This

The Brian Jonestown Massacre have just released their thirteenth studio album, ‘Aufheben’ which, for the philosophers amongst us, was a methodology used by Hegel (and being philosophers you will feel compelled to correct mThe Brian Jonestown Massacre have just released their thirteenth studio album, ‘Aufheben’ which, for the philosophers amongst us, was a methodology used by Hegel (and being philosophers you will feel compelled to correct me or expand on it – don’t!). Anyway, I’ve never paid much interest to TBJM and decided, on a whim, to take the new album for a ride. Well I enjoyed it, not enough to go listen to the other twelve, but enough to put a track right here. It’s sixties psychedlia with more than a hint of The Doors and The Velvets and you may just like to try it out too.

  < speaking of clouds,here is a rather jaded review from google from some jerk in canada >

The Dandy Warhols

Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON June 3

Reviews breadcrumbsplit Concert breadcrumbsplit Jun 04 2012

The Dandy Warhols - Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON June 3
By Mike SauveAn exuberant Sunday night crowd tried to relive a period of popular music history that many would prefer to forget: the late '90s. The Dandy Warhols did not disappoint them, relying heavily on material from their two biggest albums, The Dandy Warhols Come Down and 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia. The audience, composed largely of people pushing 50, might be compared to an audience of middle-aged women at a New Kids on the Block revival. It all makes perfect sense if that music played a significant role at a significant time in your life, but to observers with less investment, the adulation heaped upon mediocrity bordered on the absurd.

But you have to give the Dandies credit for excellent lighting, showmanship and Courtney Taylor-Taylor's broad vocal range. Songs like "You Were the Last High," "I Love You" and "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth" sounded as good as they ever have. Hearing them literally drone on through the by-now-somewhat-tedious psychedelic pop motions, however, hardly inspired a renewed interest in the group.

At the midway point, the band left the stage for their regular pee break. Taylor-Taylor then enjoined the crowd to participate in a sing-along on "Every Day Should Be a Holiday." He complained that an effort to do the same thing earlier in the day during an acoustic show at Sonic Boom didn't go so well. Maybe that's because, while a decent song, "Every Day Should Be a Holiday" isn't exactly "Blue Suede Shoes" in terms of songs people remember word-for-word, and from the period of the Dandy's heyday, it isn't even "Long December."

The Dandy Warhols then rejoined Courtney for the most pared-down, hard-rocking, no-nonsense version of "Bohemian Like You." Nothing to complain about here, but hey: Earth to Dandies -- you may want to drop the nostalgia act, because if you refuse to evolve and plan to keep treading water in pools the size of the Phoenix Concert Theatre, you better hope your audience still wants to dance-jump around and yell out "woo" once they reach retirement age.

The Dandy Warhols are inexorably linked to the Brian Jonestown Massacre because of the 2004 documentary Dig. And while the Dandies provide a tighter, more cohesive and probably more fan-friendly show most of the time, it's the BJM that really deserve the respect. As weird as whatever Anton Newcombe is doing at any given time, he remains on the vanguard, which is about the furthest place from where these Dandies appear to be.


Courtney Taylor-Taylor:
The TVD Interview

The Dandy Warhols have been called “The best British band from America.” In my professional musical opinion, I simply call them the best overall rock n roll band to come out of the 1990′s who continue to make amazing music.
Touring in support of their new record This Machine, lead singer and primary songwriter Courtney Taylor-Taylor took time to sit down with me before his sold out show at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore to talk about his ambitious new album, as well as a fascinating career of making incredible music.

What’s your favorite touring moment, past or present?
Meeting Stevie Nicks and hanging out with her when we were out with Tom Petty. We played the Greek; it was just an amazing show and an amazing time. It was right after Earth to the Dandy Warhols came out. She’s probably the single coolest human I ever met in my life.
Really? Is she a fan of the band? Does she know your music?
I don’t think so. I think she just heard us play and was like, “Wow! Your harmonies are really good, you guys are awesome.” We all had beards at the time and dressed in these tight pinstripe suits without the jackets. So, you’ve got the vest, pinstripe trousers, high heel boots, and blousy shirts with an ascot. She was like, “Man, I was seriously tripping earlier when the 4 of us were downstairs talking. I kept having to go, wait this is not my band. It is not 1975. This is not –” And I just kept thinking to myself, I wonder if she’s thinking that.
Ever had a Spinal Tap moment on tour?
Are you kidding? Everything about touring is so continuously Spinal Tap. I’m trying to think of a moment that isn’t Spinal Tap right now.

The song “SETI vs. Wow! Signal” from the new album is a standout track. It reminds me of the old school Dandy’s. Can I say old school?
Yeah, sure.
What’s the story behind that song?
I just think that it’s amazing that thing exists and no one ever talks about it.
There’s no explanation.
Yeah. It’s proof of extraterrestrial, intelligent life. We have never had more proof than that signal. It’s an organized thing that we can perceive as sound, but what else is attached to it? What other molecules are there which could be receivable by other senses? The five limited senses that we do have, plus the machinery that we have to interpret, we just don’t know. That signal’s been traveling through space for a fucking long time and it did not come from Earth.

I have to ask about the track “Alternative Power to the People.” What’s going on with that? Great groove to it, but are those lyrics and is that you?
No. That’s –
Just scratching?
Yeah. I just get so fucking whipped up and angry about politics. All we ever get is whatever kind of douche-baggery is going on. I’m not going to write lyrics about it, that’s the last thing I’m going to do. That song just happened. I named it that because it just seemed like being gagged. We just filmed the video for it on the green screen and in the video I just have a piece of tape over my mouth holding the microphone.
The new record is a bit more stripped down than the usual Dandy Warhols material. Do you prefer the stripped down stuff or the bigger, more polished material from the earlier records?
Right now, I like it stripped down. We do whatever we want to hear happening in the world. We wanted harder rock, then the dance club hipster thing that’s been going on for so long, then the 80’s synthie stuff. And now there are some amazing songs out there. The um, what’s their names? The Foster the People hit.
Oh, “Pumped Up Kicks?”
Yes. It’s such an amazing song. I don’t think anybody should bother doing that kind of thing anymore. Now there’s just too much of it going around since it was such a huge hit. It was just so good that I think it should be the last word. I’m tired of that sound now. I’m going to laugh and mock anyone else who tries it. I think that’s a wrap. Can we produce some fucking hard rock bands now? Let’s have some rock.

I am a huge fan of your early stuff. The first time I heard “Boys Better” was on a mix tape I got while working in a record store. The first thing that popped in my head while listening to it was that these guys have to fucking love ELO. Is that the case?
Absolutely, but not all ELO.
You picked the best parts ELO, put them together with some My Bloody Valentine and made a huge wall of sound Phil Spector style.
Thank you. It was great, and that was necessary at the time. We purposely did something that was 4 years out of fashion. Shoe-gazer was gone. It was over. It died 4 years before that record. I was like, really, that’s it? As if shoe-gazer is never going to get harder rock than that? I want all that: Swervedriver, My Bloody Valentine, Catherine Wheel. I didn’t think Catherine Wheel was the end of it, I thought that was the beginning of the new hard rock version.
So we continue, then rap rock was kind of big. It got bigger and even bigger. Then Boy Band-Girl Band happened, followed by the fun broke kids with pop punk. That’s when we decided to make the Dylan Desire-ish, Dead-ish 13 Tales. Then Jack White came out. Once Jack White starts playing guitar, nobody else needs to do that anymore. I mean, what are you going to do, make a better record than Jack White on guitar? No. So, then we did our kind of Synthe – 80’s thing. Then everyone started doing 80’s.

Which one did you like better? Which version of Welcome to the Monkey House? The one Capital Records released or the or the one you released yourself?.
At the time, the Russell El Levado one. You know the New York one. I like that one a lot better. But I’m glad we made the slick Nick Rhodes version, really glad. It’s an amazing record. It’s something we couldn’t have done by ourselves.
Did he bring the pop sense? Did he pull something out of you that wasn’t there before?
I don’t really know. It was a long process so it’s hard to say how or what. He laid down a lot parts individual parts and directed the mixes to be slicker.
Lots of double claps. It’s an under appreciated cherry on the top of the songwriting sundae; the double clap.
He didn’t put them there. That was me – I’m the double claps guy.
Hey. How about the Strokes? Den, den, den, [clapping]. Den, den, den [clapping].
I love the double clapping. It’s timeless.
The pattern in the Stroke’s song “12:51″ is far more legendary than they will ever get credit for. It is incredible. I’m telling you the fucking Strokes really crushed it on that whole record. It is one of the most miraculous feats of song writing I’ve ever heard in my life.
The fucking clap pattern on the song is…I melt. That song is amazing.

Is there a Courtney Taylor-Taylor solo record in the works?
I was thinking about making a solo record and almost did, and then this record came together. So, I made it instead. If I make a solo record, I don’t know who I’d work with.
Do you still get approached by major labels? And is there any instance that you would ever go back to one?
No, we don’t at all. We shopped this record and sent it to a lot of people who helped us out with connections. We’d make a phone call and get the rough mixes to these people but no one was interested. No big labels were interested at all.
These days, do you agree that you just need a good PR company and great manager and you’re set?
I’ll let you know in a year.

The song “Mohammed” is one the crown jewels of your entire catalogue in my opinion. How did that song come about?
Oh, probably just about getting dumped by somebody I was dating. Being real sad and depressed. Then self loathing and self analyzing about it while sitting in the basement. These little chord changes and guitar things have been my therapy all of my life. The Dandy Warhols is my first time playing guitar and singing. I literally learned how to play guitar as a salve or balm for my my self torture. They all come from there, it’s self loathing.
How are things with you and Brian Jonestowne Massacre?
Anton and I took our ladies out for dinner last week when they were in Portland. We hung out and saw the guys and everything.
So you still keep in touch? Everything good?
Yeah, it’s great. I wish we could get a tour together and be pals again. But they’re busy, we’re busy. We don’t get to see each other very much. And it, it’s just financially not feasible for us to tour together. And also our crowd is, you know, our crowd is just a kinder, gentler type of person.
They might frighten your crowd?
It would scare the shit out of them. They might hurt them. (Laughs) One of their crowd might get on their hands and knees behind one of our crowd and then another one of their crowd might push our – you know. We’re both Cure, kind of 80’s Goth kids. You move on and just keep going forward. I’m just glad that I get to see that guy. Anton is just a fucking witty, funny hugely informed and awesomely, irresistibly, charming man. I’m all into Anton right now because we just got to hang out for a couple of afternoons.
That’s awesome.
Taylor: So, yeah. I’m… I’m sort of missing him a lot right now.

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Brian Jonestown Massacre: Aufheben

Brian Jonestown Massacre


A Records

The American-based indie group Brian Jonestown Massacre have been spitting out a range of psychedelic-alternative sounding records since their formation in the early ’90s. Perhaps it is leader Anton Newcombe’s ability to play 90 different instruments or his eclectic writing style but whatever the case may be, the band has shown that they still have an ear for experimentation. Their new record, Aufheben, which was released on May 1, portrays the energy and passion that they have always had.
The first track, “Panic In Babylon,” is an instrumental song with flutes from the Middle East and an upbeat drum section that leaves a feeling of walking through a desert in Egypt. There is another instrumental piece on the album, “Face Down On The Moon,” which begins with a mystical sitar and progresses into what sounds like an ancient Mayan flute influenced jam. These two tracks speak the most out of the album in that they cover cultural boundaries in music which demonstrates what the band is all about—diversity. The other songs all have a common theme. Each one begins with a riff that is ’70s influenced and moves into a modern sound that deviates from the typical genre today. Their compositions show the groups contemporary aspect of a clash between music both past and present.
In its entirety, the record can potentially resonate in the hearts of any fan of today’s British trip hop genre with its powerful yet crisp backbeats. The consistency of sound and lack of solos among instruments is what makes Aufheben a very soothing and pleasurable listen. Bands such as the Brian Jonestown Massacre are an asset to both the music industry and the common spiritual living person for their providing of a feeling that is both retro and diverse.
In A Word: Unique
—by , June 4, 2012
    and something else:
The Digital Mellotron is now available for pre-order

By pre-paying you will get a designated early serial number. The first production run is being delivered right now and I am taking orders for the second production run. The first in the second production run will be delivered in April.

Please write to for pricing info of the M4000D Digital Mellotron.

The new digital Mellotron was very well received at NAMM 2010 and Frankfurt 2010.
It and has been developed by us here at Mellotron and is solely our own product and has nothing to do with any other manufacturer.

Some initial specifications:
It is a 24 bit digital uncompressed audio playback unit with ca 100 Mellotron and Chamberlin sounds. Extra cartridges will be available. It has a custom built full Mellotron style wood keyboard with depth sensitivity. The front panel user inteface has 2 TFT-displays of high quality and are capable of showing pictures of the actual instruments. The dimensions of the cabinet are 34"x19.5"5.25" (86x50x13.5cm) (WxDxH).

Thanks for all the kind words and feedback!!

Digital Mellotron Digital Mellotron panel

Here are some pictures of the digital Mellotron with it's user interface and a side and back view of the cabinet.
We will be at Frankfurt Musikmesse 2011 in the EMC booth (Moog distributor for Germany) in hall 5.1 booth C47.

Links and pictures with some DigitalMellotron users:

Robyn at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2010

"Celestial Ghost" by Nicklas Barker
(from the "El Ăšltimo Fin de Semana" O.S.T.)


Mando Diao
Mando Diao, Berlin
©Matt Wignall

Hardwood (walnut/mahagony)
Wurlitzer leg attachments
Handles for back panel (useful for stage use)

For more info on these options please contact


If you like more information about the new Digital Mellotron please write to:



  1. "Firing squad" formation. I like that.

  2. The Dandy's were awesome in Toronto. I have seen them 3 times and that was probably the best.