The Atlas Sound, Ryan McGinley, and the Bands That Inspire Artists

Musicians and visual artists often have a symbiotic relationship, inspiring one another and collaborating on work. Recently, all-grown-up boy genius photographer Ryan McGinley opened a show at New York’s Team Gallery with a party featuring the musical stylings of Atlas Sound, a project from Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox. In addition to having the band play the opening, McGinley filmed the ordeal and today you can watch the video, thanks to Pitchfork.

Despite his inventive nature (and beloved tactic of taking photos of nude young folks cavorting), McGinley wasn’t the first person to marry music and art. Remember The Velvet Underground? Practically Andy Warhol’s house band, the Lou Reed-fronted group, which wrote plenty of songs about Warhol and his posse, let the Pop Art mastermind produce their records and even design the famous banana album cover.

No less than the Radiant Child himself, Jean-Michel Basquiat didn’t just enjoy music—logging countless hours at the famous Mudd Club while bands like DNA and James White and the Blacks provided the soundtrack—he made it as well. Basquiat played in the avant-garde noise group Gray (originally called Test Pattern), that might not be as recognizable as his visual work but is worth soaking up nonetheless.

California-based artist Raymond Pettibon shot to collectible fame as the guy who helped define the look of SoCal punk, most notably designing the logo, album covers and flyers for Black Flag, the band his own brother, Greg Ginn, played guitar for.

Multimedia artist Wynne Greenwood might be known for her work in the Whitney Biennial and her general art star persona, but before any of that was going on, Greenwood played in a variety of Pacific Northwest punk bands including Mimi America and Tracy & The Plastics, the electro-video project that eventually catapulted her into the art world.

Pitchfork Music Festival Finalizes Lineup: Beach House, Wild Flag & More Join the Fun

Today, Pitchfork added the final batch of bands to its 2012 music festival lineup, well ahead of the July 13-15 weekend where the excitement will go down in Chicago’s Union Park: Beach House, Wild Flag, Real Estate, Atlas Sound, Big K.R.I.T., Nicolas Jaar, Cults, Chavez, Ty Segall, Oneohtrix Point Never, Youth Lagoon, Thee Oh Sees, King Krule, Lotus Plaza, Dirty Beaches, Lower Dens, Milk Music, the Psychic Paramount, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Outer Minds, and A Lull. The festival might not ever be as fun as the year when they sold Sparks at the beer tents, but sometimes life forces you to make sacrifices for sanity’s sake. You can look at the final lineup, which is looking pretty healthy, after the click.

Pitchfork, in my opinion, is the best deal in national music festivals. For the cost of a one-way plane ticket, you get to see dozens of relevant, high quality bands at varying points in their life cycle: buzz acts finding their live presence, indie veterans who’ve settled into a comfortable set list, and the random top-shelf name brand gifted with a headlining set for a crowd that’s absolutely reveretial of their presence. And the people watching! The people watching is absolutely superb. Three-day passes are sold out, though you can still purchase individual one-day tickets if that weekend is still looking free on your schedule.  

Friday, July 13:

A$AP Rocky
Willis Earl Beal
Big K.R.I.T.
Clams Casino
Dirty Projectors
Tim Hecker
Lower Dens 
The Olivia Tremor Control
Outer Minds 
Purity Ring

Saturday, July 14:

The Atlas Moth
Atlas Sound 
Danny Brown
Cloud Nothings
Flying Lotus
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Hot Chip
Nicolas Jaar 
Lotus Plaza 
The Psychic Paramount 
Schoolboy Q
Sleigh Bells
Wild Flag 
Youth Lagoon 

Sunday, July 15:

A Lull 
Beach House 
Dirty Beaches 
The Field
King Krule 
Kendrick Lamar
The Men
Milk Music 
Thee Oh Sees 
Oneohtrix Point Never 
Real Estate 
Ty Segall 
Unknown Mortal Orchestra 
Vampire Weekend

November Music Reviews: Florence and the Machine, David Lynch, Atlas Sound


Florence and the MachineCeremonials (Island Records) That Florence Welch nominally aligned herself with the machine makes good sense. Since the 2009 release of her chart-topping debut, Lungs, the 25-year-old English singer has transformed into something of a juggernaut, steamrolling through glossy editorials, awards ceremonies, and multicontinental tours. On her latest effort, produced by Paul Epworth—fresh from Adele’s 21—Welch swaps her pre-Raphaelite look for the harder-edged Modernism of Tamara Lempicka (don’t worry, she’s still a redhead). Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Ceremonials trades in big themes—no less than love and death, guilt and violence—without seeming grandiose, and the result is every bit as rousing as Lungs. On single “Shake It Out,” a return to form is a step forward for Welch. –Megan Conway

David LynchCrazy Clown Time (Sunday Best Recordings) For fans, David Lynch’s break from filmmaking has been disconcerting. But it’s a comfort to know the enigmatic and fundamentally unsettling nature of his work is still alive, even if it arrives in the form of his new album, Crazy Clown Time. Though described by the director as “blues-inspired but not blues,” the music faithfully reflects that most American of genres. You can almost see the radiating blue light of Mulholland Drive’s Club Silencio (now a real club in Paris, backed by Lynch). The 14-song record seduces you into a haunted dream world, and if that sounds familiar, it’s because the music shares many elements with Lynch’s past collaborations with Angelo Badalamenti. “Strange and Unproductive Thinking” is essentially a spoken-word manifesto on how dental health effects mental health, while the title track approximates a psychosexual teen nightmare à la pre-elastic Laura Palmer. If you’re truly Lynch-obsessed, you’ll revel in the eccentricities, but if you’re just tuning in for the hype, you might need a lobotomy afterwards. —Hillary Weston
WimWim (Modular Records) Aussie quintet WIM arrives in the States via Modular Records, home to a bevy of successful, eccentric musicians, including Architecture in Helsinki, Ladyhawke, the Rapture, and Cut Copy. But the group’s emotive, piano-based melodies and strong vocal harmonies are a strange fit for the label’s aesthetic. Their sound builds methodically and at times a little too conventionally, which can make their self-titled album a bit pedestrian. “John,” the strongest track, breaks away from the pack with its beautiful accordion introduction and innovative use of vocals at the bridge. Despite the lukewarm debut, though, WIM has promise, and with Modular backing them, they’re sure to succeed in this hemisphere.—Dana Drori
KorallrevenAn Album by Korallreven (Acéphale Records) The debut effort from Swedish trance pop artists Daniel Tjäder (also of the Radio Dept.) and Marcus Joons, known collectively as Korallreven, follows closely on the heels of their ambitious August mix, A Dream Within a Dream. “As Young as Yesterday” sets an ambient tone for the 10 tracks, with breathy vocals from Taken by Trees singer Victoria Bergsman (who appears twice on the album) layered over a hypnotic medley of 808s and acoustic guitar. The result is as a crisp as autumn in Stockholm, punctuated by sudden bursts from electronic synths and drums to kick up the groove. —Nadeska Alexis
Carter TantonFreeclouds (Western Vinyl) The name may not ring a bell, but odds are good you’re familiar with Carter Tanton’s work: the New York-based musician used to front the band Tulsa, and his captivating vocal skills were showcased on the group’s much-heralded, My Morning Jacket–like 2007 EP I Was Submerged. Now a member of indie-rock outfit the Lower Dens, the singer-songwriter still managed to carve out some time to record and release his solo debut, Freeclouds. A number of the songs—not to mention the title—were inspired by David Bowie’s 1969 “Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud.” Tanton skillfully weaves his own bittersweet tales—all steeped in nostalgic Americana—over eclectic samples and twanging guitar chords. —NA
Atlas SoundParallax (4AD) Much like the albums that preceded it, Bradford Cox’s third solo effort, Parallax, features the Deerhunter frontman’s soothing and experimental sounds, but the LP is surprisingly poppy and uplifting, too. Traces of catchy rock songs can be found on tracks like “The Shakes” and “Te Amo.” Even melancholy terrain like “My Angel is Broken” is set against upbeat guitar riffs. Cox’s lyrics take center stage here, often repeating in succession to create rhythms that all but hypnotize the listener. The elegiac “Terra Incognita” and the folksy, haunting “Flagstaff” (which evolves into an experiment in lo-fi soundwaves) represent the album’s rare dark moments, but Cox raises the tempo for “Nightworks,” ending with an optimistic bang. —DD
Noel GallagherNoel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Sour Mash/Mercury Records) More than a decade ago, a then fresh-faced Pete Doherty called Oasis’ Liam Gallagher “a town crier” and his brother, Noel, “a poet.” On High Flying Birds, Noel’s first full-length solo effort, the British rocker puts the full range of his rhapsodic talent on display—sans heavy guitars. Free from the confines of the band, he ventures into new territory while holding fast to his poetry. Instruments vary from song to song, shifting from moody minor keys to brassy oomph. The big band sound on “The Death of You and Me” is a throwback to ’70s Kinks. —HW