John Lurie Returns as Marvin Pontiac

In recent years, John Lurie has been known more for his artwork and entertaining Twitter feed than his music career. An ongoing battle with Lyme disease has kept the former Lounge Lizards leader sidelined. In fact, his last formal release was 1999's The Legendary Marvin Pontiac. That changed on Friday when Lurie emerged with a brief statement announcing a new digital release:

The Asylum Tapes marks the return of Lurie's Marvin Pontiac alias. Lurie sings on the album and his stream-of-consciousness style is a direct compliment to his artwork. Pontiac is a fictitious, deceased mental patient that Lurie cultivated and even went as far to write a full biography for:

Marvin Pontiac was hit and killed by a bus in June 1977 ending the life of one of the most enigmatic geniuses of modern music. He was born in 1932, the son of an African father from Mali and a white Jewish mother from New Rochelle, New York. The father’s original last name was Toure but he changed it to Pontiac when the family moved to Detroit, believing it to be a conventional American name.

According to later tweets by Lurie, there are no plans for a physical release for The Asylum Tapes or any live appearances, but it sure is great to have him active in the music realm again.

Photo courtesy of Ray Henders

Grouper Releases Lost Track from Ruins

In light of recent threats from our incompetent President to ban members of the transgender community from serving in the military, Bandcamp has announced that they will donate 100% of their profits today to the Transgender Law Center. A long list of record labels and artists have announced that they will do the same. In honor of this event, Liz Harris of Grouper has published "Children," an unreleased track from 2014's Ruins. All of today's profits from the track will be donated to the three charities that Harris has included in her description below.

Towards the end of making RUINS I wrote a song that never made it onto the album. Though it felt aesthetically similar, something about the content and energy felt distinct in a way that didn’t fit the rest of the music. I pushed it away, unsure what to do with it, and eventually forgot I’d recorded it. This year, amidst chaotic and painful political times, while working on another project, it reemerged and made more sense.

I will be donating all the proceeds for the next 24 hours to Silvia Rivera Law Center, Transgender Law Center and Trans Assistance Project.
— Liz Harris

Image courtesy of Grouper Bandcamp

Jawbreaker Documentary to Premiere in August

Jawbreaker are currently preparing for their first live performance in more than twenty years, which will take place at Riot Fest in September. However, that is not the only bit of exciting news from the legendary San Francisco trio. The long-awaited documentary about the band has a trailer and a premiere date. Directed by Tim Irwin and produced by Keith Schieron (the team behind 2005's Minutemen documentary, We Jam Econo), Don't Break Down examines the legacy of Jawbreaker and the factors that led them to disband in 1996. The trailer can be seen below and the film will premiere on August 11th at the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco. Fans of singer Blake Schwarzenbach's post-Jawbreaker outfit Jets To Brazil may also be interested to learn that Epitaph are finally reissuing all three of that group's records on vinyl on August 18th.

Images and trailer courtesy of Jawbreaker and Don't Break Down production site

Bark Psychosis to Release Hex Remaster

In 1994, Bark Psychosis released the influential Hex. The album would pave the way for many artists that would be referred to as post-rock (whether they liked it or not). In my opinion, it is simply one of the best albums of the 90's. Founding member Graham Sutton would not release a follow-up to Hex until 2004's underrated Codename: Dustsucker. Since then, Sutton's presence in music has largely been devoted to production for artists such as British Sea Power and Silver Apples. At this point, any news regarding Bark Psychosis would be quite a surprise. That is why I was so excited to learn that Sutton has completed a full remaster of Hex alongside Stuart Hawkes at Metropolis Studios. Fire Records in the UK will reissue Hex on CD and double vinyl on September 15th. Considering that copies of the original release on vinyl regularly sell for over $100 on the trading site Discogs, this is one reissue that is absolutely necessary.