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2012/12/31

2012 Gigography


Here is the list of concerts by Joseph Arthur in 2012 *.

Concerts in green are concerts with an existing recording.

If you own an audio / video recording and an "unavailable" concert, thank you kindly send me an email to whenyoucryyoureyesarehollow@gmail.com


2012-01-01 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2012-01-13 Naked Grape Wine Bar , Wilton Manors, FL USA
2012-01-14 Central Square Records, Seaside, FL USA
2012-01-14 Rosemary Beach Town Hall, Rosemary Beach, FL USA
2012-01-19 David Letterman Show, New York, NY USA
2012-02-15 Barnes and Noble Union Square, New York, NY USA
2012-02-23 Able Fine Art, Chelsea, NY USA

2012-03-16 Club Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, NY USA
2012-03-17 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2012-03-22 Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON Canada
2012-03-23 Café culturel de Chasse-Galerie, Lavaltrie, QCCanada
2012-03-24 Le Mouton Noir, Val-David, QC Canada
2012-03-29 Au Vieux Saint-Pierre, Victoriaville, QC Canada
2012-03-31 Boquébière, Sherbrooke, QC Canada
2012-04-12 Largo, Los Angeles, CA USA
2012-04-14 * Art Exhibition *, Los Angeles, CA USA
2012-05-06 Viadukt, Zürich Switzerland
2012-05-09 Fargo Store, Paris France
2012-05-10 * Art Exhibition *, Paris France
2012-05-11 Salle Maurice Schumann, Sequedin France
2012-05-12 La Flèche d'Or, Paris France
2012-05-13 Cactus Club, Brugge Belgium

2012-05-14 * Art Exhibition *, Bielefeld Germany
2012-05-17 World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA USA
2012-05-23 Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY USA
2012-05-26 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2012-05-28 The Kentucky Theater, Lexington, KY USA

2012-05-30 WFPK Radio, Louisville, KY USA
2012-05-30 Waterfront Park, Louisville, KY USA
2012-05-31 Radio Radio, Indianapolis, IN USA
2012-06-01 KDHX Radio, St. Louis, MO USA
2012-06-01 Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO USA
2012-06-02 Proud Larry's, Oxford, MS USA
2012-06-03 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville, TN USA
2012-06-06 One Eyed Jacks, New Orleans, LA USA
2012-06-07 Mountain Radio, Birmingham, AL USA
2012-06-07 The Bottletree, Birmingham, AL USA
2012-06-08 Red Clay Theatre , Duluth, GA USA
2012-06-09 The Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC USA
2012-07-07 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2012-07-26 Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY USA
2012-08-27 City Winery, New York, NY USA
2012-09-13 Café culturel de Chasse-Galerie, Lavaltrie, QCCanada
2012-09-14 Centre culturel, Beloeil, QC Canada
2012-09-15 Le Sous-Bois, Chicoutimi, QC Canada
2012-09-16 Le Cercle, Quebec City Canada
2012-09-19 La Sala Rossa, Montreal, QC Canada
2012-09-22 I'll Be Your Mirror, New York, NY USA
2012-10-02 France Inter Radio, Paris France
2012-10-20 Drew's Place, Ringwood, NJ USA
2012-10-21 City Winery, Nerw York, NY USA
2012-10-29 Sirius Radio, New York, NY USA
2012-10-31 The Badlander, Missoula, MT USA
2012-11-02 MusicHall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY USA
2012-11-03 Black Cat, Washington DC USA
2012-11-04 Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA USA
2012-11-05 Jimmy Fallon Show, New York, NY USA
2012-11-07 Newbury Comics, Boston, MA USA

2012-11-07 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA USA
2012-11-08 Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY USA
2012-11-09 Coronoa, Montreal, QC Canada
2012-11-10 Algonquin Theater, Ottawa, ON Canada
2012-11-11 Lee's Place, Toronto, ON Canada

2012-11-13 Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL USA
2012-11-14 WXRT Radio, Chicago, IL USA
2012-11-14 Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI USA
2012-11-15 1st Avenue & 7th St.Entry, Minneapolis, MN USA
2012-11-16 The Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS USA

2012-11-18 The Fox, Boulder, CO USA
2012-11-20 Fingerprints, Long Beach, CA USA
2012-11-21 Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA USA
2012-11-23 GAMH, San Francisco, CA USA
2012-11-25 Music Millenium, Portland, OR USA
2012-11-25 Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR USA
2012-11-26 Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC Canada
2012-11-27 KEXP Radio, Seattle, WA USA
2012-11-27 Easy Street Records, Seattle, WA USA

2012-11-27 The Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA USA




* : Here is my source. You should check the amazing work of Xavier & his team !!
The complete JA Gigography is available here : http://lonelyastronauts.com/gigography.html

REVIEW : Redemption City - AntiMusic.com



When I heard the lovelorn ballad "In the Sun" by Peter Gabriel in the late 1990s, I thought it was an original until I saw the songwriting credits- "Written by Joseph Arthur" which led me down a path to this wondrous musical genius. Despite watching him evolve as a musician and painter nothing could have prepared me for when I heard his latest record Redemption City, a sprawling twenty-four song collection capturing the eccentricities of the human condition. If releasing a double record was not ambitious enough, it is available free in the highest possible MP3 quality with the option of lossless files (FLAC) on his website. 

If 2012 ended today Redemption City would be my record of the year, which most people would not expect from a record given away. Joseph Arthur has created some of the most captivating records of the last two decades. He was the first American act signed to Peter Gabriel's Real World record label in the 1990's and has since become a free agent who creates out of necessity. Arthur's records offer melancholy and blossoming landscapes performed through a variety of non-traditional instruments notably pedals and a moog synthesizer but they never overshadow the lyrics. His stories jump out at the listener through his raspy spoken words. His writing is lean and direct while dancing above us in elegiac exquisiteness. With acute life observations at hand, Joseph Arthur infuses Redemption City with candor and veracity missing from so much music today. So many musicians mean well but often falter in their industriousness. They construct the music to the point of manipulation with over-the-top production and choruses to be deciphered in any language. There's nothing wrong with this route, but at some point, the meaning behind the music becomes hollow as they're playing to the audience instead of pleasing themselves. Arthur tackles the draught of societal direction with relish. He has created a masterwork that serves society as a deliberate rally cry. On Redemption City Joseph Arthur takes us all down to the river for a baptismal renewal where we will all walk hand-in-hand.

Redemption City opens with "Travel As Equals", a dashing acoustic strummer with poetic beats and a lilting injection of hope. Redemption City may be too opaque for the casual listener to grasp as a whole, but "Travel As Equals" is a contender for the song of the decade with its underlying message of understanding. With its roots in the folk music of the 1930s, Arthur has created a startling declaration of resolution and empathy which is something desperately needed at this moment in time. His fury is inconspicuous and instead of rage, he brings the song into focus through his rhythmical lyrics and a galloping beat that prove to be a rallying cry for all of us. There is an underlying thesis of preservation that is comforting and hearkens back to the Bob Dylan of the 1960s. When he sings, "The only way we can survive is travels as equals or not at all", he lays it out for everyone to hear. The chaos and confusion of life is enough to suffocate most and unless we're willing to fight the battle together, we might as well surrender. In life, we search for affirmation above all else. Whether it's in the form of a cheering crowd, a hug from your child or a partner willing to take the risk and take a lifelong journey with you. The barriers set before us are daunting and we seek assertion in our hopes, desires and fears. He opens his arms to the rich and poor, this isn't about tearing anyone down but coming together because the uphill voyage will always be better as a community. It is inspiring that Arthur manages to cut through the red tape of life and finds a way for all of us (the disenfranchised, the rich, the poor, etc.) to be socially liberated where we all stand as one.

The production is nothing short of glorious with tracks built upon one another as each attempts to provide a GPS to a better mindset. Not a single note or lyric within the record feels forced. It instead elevates us where we are able to follow the light without a logjam of static. As we wrestle with what feels like an impending doom, Arthur offers a hand of hope through his songs. On "Wasted Days" he manages to find his way inside my head with this vivid metropolitan view of society at the brink of exhaustion. Walking down a city street you zip past more hurt and uncertainty that you could ever imagine. As we study their body language I wonder if they happy, sad or lost in a world at large? "Yer Only Job" (which also is a children's book available on his site) finds Arthur slashing through the red tape of our lives. We stress and fret over our 9-to-5 existence so much so, we forget what is most essential; our lives. He doesn't preach but speaks and steers. "I Miss the Zoo" offers a kaleidoscope of lifestyles from drug hazes to exhilarated life joys. "No Surrender Comes For Free" has an over the moon chorus ready-made for radio which sadly in 2012 it simply isn't bombastic enough for FM dials. "Night Clothes" is searing noir landscape full of ghosts seeking their home in a society without limitations, stereotypes or tags. He paints a picture of a fractured society all seeking consolation but it is lined with amorous insight. "There With Me", "Yer Only Job", "You're Not the Only One" descend upon the listener through repeating loops, Dylan-esque protest acoustic chords, synthesizers, drum machines and monotone vocals that inform, teach and impart momentous wisdom. The message is effortless, but is dressed up in such a colorful manner, it elevates the significance. Arthur has a rare ability (along with Michael Franti) to channel the yearning of a better tomorrow into hymns that truly make you feel as if we're on the path to salvation. He turns the ugliness on its head focusing on the beauty of it all. We don't need an invention from science, we don't need money piled to the ceiling, we simply need a healthier way to communicate compassion, which is exactly what he does on Redemption City.

It's important to note, that despite Redemption City being twenty-four songs long, it should largely be judged by the first twelve tracks ("Part 1" is what constitutes my four-star rating). This is the proper album as Arthur intended it. However, since he opted to give the record away, he wanted to give his twelve outtakes the proper context as well. As Arthur explains on his website, "Which would have otherwise remained on the cutting room floor or else been leaked out over time in various ways, fragmented beings with no brothers or sisters or home. I think both parts serve to strengthen the whole." "Surrender to the Storm" opens the second half of the record and the sprawling eleven-minute opus is languorous with some of the most yearning guitar work to grace his recorded output to date. The lyrics drop off his tongue on "Free Freedom", a cut too good to languish in a vault while "Visit Us" and "I Am the Mississippi" augment the first twelve songs with cryptic musical interludes that may not work as standalone songs but reflect the DNA ofRedemption City. Instead of losing these songs to time, Arthur has given them to proper framework allowing them to breath on their own. Closing the collection out is a reprise of "Travel as Equals" bringing the album full circle. The songs on Redemption Cityencourage the listeners to embrace light and love instead of drowning themselves in a quicksand of anger. Arthur's ability to embroider these vitalizing lyrics with layered atmospherics is a rare one. He delicately designs each song so that its point is driven home during the listen. This isn't bedroom music, but a lightning rod awakening that dissipates isolation.

Most music communicates feelings we long for, whereas Joseph Arthur captures magic by writing about the human existence at its core in there here-and-now. He offers answers to the ominous diseases that infect our society- jealousy, isolation and desperation. Nevertheless, when you hear listen to Redemption City he draws you closer to the light. Arthur provides graceful yet elegant guides for life without sacrificing his artistry. He believes in his craft so much that you can download this record free at his website in high quality MP3's or even FLAC files. Joseph Arthur is a traveling troubadour of the human heart whose rhapsodic blend of gentle poetry and lush soundscapes represents a triumph not just of artistic expression but also of personal connection. Preaching a prophecy of eventual hope, Redemption City isn't just one of this decade's great albums and 2012's best, it's a catalyst to a better tomorrow.

REVIEW : Redemption City - Examiner



Make no mistake, Joseph Arthur is not some dime-a-dozen singer-songwriter, plucking an acoustic guitar and bemoaning the state of his love life. The man is an artist in the truest sense of the word — a sculptor of soundscapes constantly pushing his craft, a poet of stunning wordplay prowess, a painter whose works have aesthetic merit and aren’t just a musician’s self-indulgent moonlighting — a Captain Beefheart of the digital age, in spirit if not in audible homage. Yet even in consideration of all his many hats, new double-album Redemption City stands apart. It’s may be a bit early to tell, but the record has the makings of a masterwork.


Throughout the 24-song sprawl, Arthur continues experimenting with the limitations of folk music, merging it with electronic, at times even trip-hop, aspects into a kaleidoscope of rich melodies. Like a mad scientist swapping a lab for a recording studio, Arthur merges disparate sounds, frankensteining components that should compete with another and clang about discordantly, but somehow fall together in a collage like pieces of a puzzle (a suggestion: listen to this with a good set of headphones to best absorb the textured nuances). “Night Clothes,” in particular, is quite the concoction, a seductive hip-hop groove laced with a synthesized Jew’s harp twang, while the 11-minute “Surrender to the Storm” is a guitar freakout-cum-spiritual, Arthur meditatively intoning amid the distortion “I surrender/To love reborn.”

The title track is another fine example of Arthur’s synergy, opening with countrified acoustic guitars and Arthur listing characteristics of Redemption City as drum machine beats and synths hover to the fore. The delirious verses juxtapose the light and the dark of the modern urban landscape: “Redemption City, sons and daughters saved/Redemption City, fill-in every grave.” It’s no surprise this song lends its name to the album entire, as it more than any other track encapsulates the dichotomies of hope and despair squaring off throughout.

The scorcher here, though, is lead single “Travel as Equals,” a Dylanesque finger-pointer with rapid fire lyrics spitting hope in the face of social injustice, a nod to Blonde on Blonde (come to think of it,Redemption City could be this era’s response to Mr. Zimmerman’s own double LP). The theme of perseverance’s reward peppers throughout, its repetition making it a mantra of solidarity: “The only way we can survive/We travel as equals or not at all.”

The lyrical highlight is found in the affecting “I Miss the Zoo,” a stream-of-consciousness litany of vivid imagery, hallucinatory in a surrealist swirl. It’s tempting to ascribe autobiographical context to the lyrics, rife with references to a former life nearly eroded by drug use and debauchery: “I miss the simplicity of addiction and the scene/I miss wandering aimlessly in half-dead sewers/with rats for eyes chewing on forgiveness/and the will to apologize.” The instrumental cadence evokes the feel of walking down sidewalks overgrown with memories. It’s a catalogue of the past, simultaneously nostalgic and grateful for having moved beyond and gained the perspective that only could come from achieving salvation from a psychotropic haze.

As a testament to his resistance to cynicism, Arthur on Jan. 18 released the album on his website for free in MP3 and FLAC formats, with fans able to make a donation if they so choose (“We are figments of the Internet/its hand reaching out/bleeding through our eyes/in the heart of our drought,” Arthur fittingly sings in the paranoia of “Humanity Fade”). The record is Arthur’s second in nine months, predecessor The Graduation Ceremony having dropped in May 2011. Such prolificacy might have contributed to the record’s only flaw, that being the second half lacks some of the cohesion of the preceding part. Still, it’s hard to consider this a fault as Arthur has said in his website's introduction to the record that the latter 12 tracks are deep cuts that “would have otherwise remained on the cutting room floor or else been leaked out over time in various ways.”

All lauding aside, prospective listeners take note: the album is a nocturnal affair. To listen to it in daylight hours is a form of blasphemy. Arthur’s voice is your disembodied guide on this nighttime tour along potholed streets beneath the auspices of glowing streetlights, a shadow looming through the fog (at its most ghostly on “Wasted Days,” rising up below crunchy synthesizer lines like blue cigarette smoke). All elements of the city are here — the hip downtown and the ritzy uptown, the seedy ghettos and the posh neighborhoods. The city’s glory days may be long since spent, but an attainable return to prominence is within reach, so long as its residents are willing to fight for its rebirth.


REVIEW : Redemption City - Blurt Magazine



You don’t listen to a Joseph Arthur album so much as live with it. Arthur’s songs work on
many levels, revealing meaning in layers. At first they’re complex
orchestrations of loop pedals (he uses tons of Moog equipment) and captured atmosphere, and then they’re sonic paintings
of emotional topography. And then they’re songs with all the potential to
remain for years, decades, forever on mix tapes. And then they’re Arthur’s
secrets told without shame to the universe to do with what it will. We the
listeners are Arthur’s confessors, even as it turned out he’s actually giving
away our secrets.

This is all the more true for Redemption City, the Brooklyn-based
singer/songwriter’s latest release. Coming less than a year on the heels of
2011’s The Graduation Ceremony (in
fact, Redemption‘s
final track, “Travel As Equals (Reprise)” shares the melody of Graduation‘s title track), it’s an
astonishing feat of recording. Two dozen tracks. And all available for free
download. But these aren’t mere remixes or B-sides. Not just a little something
for the fans. Redemption is a staggering body of work, nearly all spoken word pieces, and possibly
one of the most word-dense recordings even released.

Some of the tracks have been appearing in Arthur’s live shows. “Yer Only
Job” was first attached as a spoken word piece to “Almost Blue” fromGraduation (check the below clip from
last summer in Asheville, NC),
while “I Miss the Zoo” (also performed on his 2011 tour while
live-painting on stage; also below is a clip from Chicago) recounts in heartbreakingly
beautiful verse his experience with addiction.



But Redemption expands beyond that. These are not just
poetic musings, not just spoken word extras. They go deeper: true poetry from
an age when poets were rock stars. When Lord Byron and Percy Shelley spend a
summer dreaming of Gothic monsters and penning fevered words. Arthur is our
Byron, our romantic bard. But he’s also fully engaged in the now, marrying
verse to electro dream-pop. And he’s not just waxing poetic; he’s calling out a
flawed system – something he seems especially passionate about. His poem
“We Stand As One,” written for those involved with the Occupy Wall
Street movement doesn’t appear on Redemption, but “Travel As Equals,” which
he performed on Late Show with David Letterman earlier this month, carries a similar tone: “Bloom disgust and class
divide, I saw it written on the wall, The only way we can survive, We travel as
equals or not at all.” (It’s possible that some molecules of the late
political spoken word poet Sekou Sundiata, still bouncing around this plane,
merged with Arthur’s already over-active creative mind.)



While Redemption doesn’t float amidst dappled light and
lovelorn ache of Graduation, it’s not
without lush soundscapes, rumpled sheets and dove-gray mornings. “There
With Me,” words nearly obscured behind electronic scratches and ethereal
chatter, is as spiritual as it is romantic. “Touched” moves even
closer to the realm of ecstatic love. Arthur talks about himself in second person
(“you get up, have your coffee by your canvas, throw yourself against the
wall”) before launching into some larger, braver realization of self and
suffering as part of the bigger picture.

Both musically and thematically, Redemption is a work of risks and dares, an artist
not just pushing boundaries but hammering through walls. Arthur creates beauty
without playing nice. The itchy, staticy “Kandinski” (sic) is a
nightmarish art history lesson, trawling modern works for meaning, or the
unraveling of meaning. (“Kandinski is in my room. So is Edgar Allen Poe.
The shadows dream in color. And that is their final revenge.”) “I Am
the Mississippi”
looms heavy. Renowned producer Daniel Lanois (who is not involved with this
project) could have been in the room along with his penchant for reverb and
echoes and ghosts.

And there’s “Night Clothes,” a sexy, aphotic prowl through the clank
and churn of some concrete underbelly. It reminds a bit of “Radio
Euphoria” from Arthur’s 2008 EP Crazy
Rain. Not that the two songs sound the same, but there’s a revisiting of themes, which Arthur tends to from album
to album. It’s like he’s less concerned with making cool, current music and
instead is processing and evolving through his art, before our eyes (and ears).


That Redemption is digital and free speaks to this. Few artists could sell (through labels and
mainstream outlets) what is, in essence, a double album of spoken word pieces.
By deciding to go independent, Arthur freed himself from those constraints. The
11-plus minute “Surrender to the Storm,” all washes of guitar and
high, blithe vocals, is a fine example of what a musician can do when he frees
himself.

Then again, “It takes a lot of time to live in the moment,” Arthur
says in a song of the same title. With Redemption it’s clear that he’s trying his damnedest
to do just that.

COVERART : RNDM's Acts









LYRICS : Where Is My Van?



I ain't no
Peter pan
I ain't no
Son of Sam
I don't have
A silver hand

Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh
Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh

I live in
A tiny can
I got no
Hundred grand
Come on man
Come on man

Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh
Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh

I ain't blaming no
New York cop
I ain't blaming
My ma and pop
I just don't want to
Ever stop
And I'll keep going
Til I drop

Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh
Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh

I need it back
My mobile home
It ain't a biscuit or a
Telephone
It ain't a copter or a
Dead end train
I swear it knows
When I'm feeling pain

Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh
Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh
Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh
Where is my van?
ouh ouh ouh

Where is my van?

REVIEW : RNDM's Acts - Stereoboard



Thursday, 22 November 2012 Written by Ben Bland

Note : 2 of 5 stars


It’s hard to know what to make of RNDM. They are not really a bona fide supergroup, but then the presence of Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam on bass is probably all they need to get a far greater than average amount of attention for this, their debut album. Musically, this is all solid meat and potatoes alt-rock. There is little of the restless creativity that has been an integral part of Ament’s main band for the last fifteen years or so, but then there is actually a rather distinct lack of... well, anything at all pretty much.




'Acts' is difficult to pin down because it lacks any definable musical personality. A record in which overlong ballads compete with tired attempts at aggression, 'Acts' is just too tame to have any sort of immediate impact on listeners. It is not an exclusively terrible record by any means. Odd tracks, such as the Dinosaur Jr (minus J Mascis’ excellent guitar work) esque 'The Disappearing Ones' and the well-developed 'What You Can’t Control', are promising but this is an album that is unfortunately more noticeable for what it lacks than what it actually has.

For instance, Joseph Arthur, the singer-songwriter fronting this project, is clearly capable enough. His songs are decent enough but they just seem completely lifeless in this environment. The guitar work is often painfully dull and the hooks occasionally sound as if they have been buried under an avalanche of wet sand. Opener 'Modern Times' is so pedestrian that it is almost hard to believe it made the record, let alone got released as the first single. Not so much bad, as deeply underwhelming, it sets the tone for a series of moments on 'Acts' that sound like they have been sucked dry of any power and meaning.

Lyrically too, RNDM fail to really connect. A song like 'Williamsburg' should have the listener sympathising with Arthur’s narration but it is so hard to care that by the end of the song it isn’t hard to completely forget what the thing was all about anyway. The one time there RNDM threaten to pack a real punch is on closer 'Cherries in the Snow'. For a split second in the middle of the song Arthur seems to have an almost alarming fire and emotion behind his words, but then it is gone, along with RNDM’s hopes of producing a record that captures their intentions.

There are so many alternative rock bands around that it is almost upsetting to think that this will get a big whack of attention just because of the names of one of its creators, but then that is how the music business sadly works. 'Acts' is really spectacularly average, to the point that it actually feels worse than it probably is. Limp and devoid of anything to set it apart from (ironically) many devotees of the early 90s American rock scene that Pearl Jam so comprehensively defined, RNDM shouldn’t be going anywhere fast with this effort.






REVIEW : RNDM's Acts - AllMusic



AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas

Note : 2,5 of 5 stars


Less of a side project, RNDM is the long-conceptualized but slow-to-materialize band of Pearl Jambassist Jeff Ament and veteran songwriter Joseph Arthur, joined by drummer Richard Stuverud, who previously backed Ament in his Three Fish solo project. Though the three musicians had planned their collaboration for over ten years, debut album Acts was spawned from a fly-by-night recording marathon that churned out these 12 songs from start to finish in just four days. While the players have all been around long enough to know the nuances of both songwriting and studiocraft inside out, the shadows of their '90s Seattle roots hang over Acts, in particular the enormous cloud of Pearl Jam, whose influence colors some of RNDM's strongest moments. 

Melancholy alt-rock radio songs like "Williamsburg" and "What You Can't Control" seem lodged sturdily in the muted earth tones of alternative rock's glory days. Even the album's eclectic turns from moody rockers like "Hollow Girl" to funk-infused groove rock have a dated feel, throwing different ideas at the wall, but in a way that's been watered down so much since the days when grunge ruled supreme that it fails to connect 20 years later. While Acts isn't without its chemistry and moments of clarity, the unintentional throwback feeling of the majority of the songs renders even the strongest moments a little dull.

COVERART : Redemption City





REVIEW : RNDM's Acts - Consequence Of Sound


BY FRANK MOJICA
ON NOVEMBER 19, 2012


Once upon a time, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament met singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur at a gig for Ament’s Three Fish solo project. Although they stayed in touch, the pair only got together for a jam session nearly 13 years later, joined by Three Fish drummer Richard Stuverud. Despite that late-blooming history and the supergroup’s vowel-free moniker,RNDM comes across as controlled and clear in purpose on their debut album Acts.

Acts may have been recorded in four days, but RNDM have worked themselves into a kind of groove akin to a band that’s been together far longer. On “What You Can’t Control”, slow-burning guitar lines and Arthur’s laid-back delivery weave an atmospheric splendor before Ament and Stuverud pick up the rhythmic pace, the closing instrumental section urgently poignant. A Pearl Jam influence is especially undeniable on album standout “Darkness”, specifically alike Ament’s Vitalogy-era compositions such as “Nothingman”. Here, RNDM spins a hypnotic lament that’s elevated to the status of long-lost alternative rock anthem thanks to an apparent channeling of Eddie Vedder’s weathered sincerity.


Not to be pigeonholed in their own past, the trio unleash some ferocity on rockers “Look Out!” and “Walking in New York” and embrace their folksy side on closer “Cherries in the Snow”. Although RNDM sound as if they are working in harmony on a variety of styles and sounds, Acts comes short of delivering something new and unexpected, the variety a sampler of things they’ve done in the past. Nevertheless, their take on alt-rock is an enjoyable memory of a fading genre.


Essential Tracks: “Darkness”, “What You Can’t Control”


REVIEW : RNDM's Acts - PopMatters



BY COLE WATERMAN

28 November 2012

Note : 7 of 10 stars


RNDM HAS ACCOMPLISHED A RARE FEAT — UNDERCUTTING THE CRITICISMS LEVELED AGAINST MOST SUPERGROUPS BY NOT ATTEMPTING TO BE SOME GRANDIOSE CONSTRUCT, INSTEAD BEARING THE MARK OF THREE BUDDIES MAKING MUSIC FOR THE HELL OF IT.


The concept of a supergroup has always been a dicey affair in the annals of rock. The temptation to assess such bands through the lens of their respective main groups’ outputs is a hard one to resist. Coupled with that is rock fans’ almost schizoid vacillating expectations for projects involving their favorite musicians. Most fervid fans (myself included) foster hopes for the new endeavor to surpass the participants’ establishedoeuvre, for the strongest components of distinct bands to come together and yield the best material of their careers. At the same time, this anticipation is usually tempered by a cynical conviction that the new offering will be decidedly inferior, the product of disparate parts clanging against each other rather than meshing cohesively. (“Scott Weiland is joining up with the guys from Guns ‘N’ Roses? This is going to be awesome! *Sigh* Who am I kidding? No, no, it won’t.”) We want to get Cream, but we tend to end up with Velvet Revolver.

The vanity license plate-named RNDM, though, has managed to undercut the criticisms leveled against most supergroups that fall on their face, predominantly by not attempting to be some grandiose construct. Comprising cult singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, and drummer Richard Stuverud, the band comes across as buddies making music for the hell (or joy) of it, rather than a contrived shtick designed to rake in the disposable income of distinct fan bases. This perception is bolstered by the fact that though Arthur and Ament’s main projects inspire intense devotion, neither man is a chart-topping rock star or concerned with taking on that guise. In this light, the trio’s debut album, Acts lends itself to being critiqued on its own merits.

The members’ insouciant approach is palpable on the resulting 12-song record, a loose and improvised feel running throughout it. One gets the impression the record is a document of three guys jamming in the studio, free from worry over meeting outsiders’ expectations. In short, the guys sound as though they are having fun. This is not to say, however, that the songs themselves are half-assed or self-indulgent. Being the veterans they are, even when Arthur, Ament, and Stuverud are enjoying themselves, their focus on songcraft is unshakable. The idea seems to be that if you’re coming together to make music for fun, that’s fine, but if you’re not going to make the best tunes you’re capable of in the process, there really is no point.

From the outset, opener and lead single “Modern Times” makes it clear there is no mistaking Acts for an Arthur solo album. The tune sets the aural template that defines most of the record — a crunchy, rollicking guitar riff, Ament’s signature thumping and sinuous bassline, galloping drums, and Arthur’s alternately dusty croon and falsetto. An urgency is conveyed in the surging rhythm and Arthur’s advocating for the individual to be resilient as the demands of modern life weigh heavy. “When we dream we still laugh with the stars anyway / It’s our time to come through this life until we pay”, he sings, a chorus both consoling and defiant. It is a suiting introductory single, but in truth, more than half of the tracks could serve this role, as each is decidedly different yet representative of RNDM overall.

In a perfect world, “The Disappearing Ones” would be a radio staple with its jangly, R.E.M.-style verses abruptly shifting to a surging chorus. The more subdued character study of “What You Can’t Control” offers reassurance amid a backdrop of swirling guitar effects and hammering percussion. The song sees Arthur describe the descent of a woman taking on more than she can handle, the music around him eliciting a sensation of release and supporting his admonition to move beyond “a past you can’t see through”. For the distinction of most compelling cut, though, “Walking Through New York” receives the honor. The music’s rumbling low-end, spinning melody and digital bleeps create a hallucinogenic, noir vibe, the paranoia of meandering aimlessly through a large city, strangers eying you from alleys and streetlights casting a harsh glow. “The blood beneath your feet / The downtown city street / Is swallowing you whole”, Arthur sings, summing up the anonymity and alienation of one adrift in an urban environment that cares nothing for you.

Throughout the album, Arthur’s lyrics are less refined and more freewheeling than those of his solo work, another effect of Acts’ ramshackle feel. He retains his trademark balance of playfulness and earnestness, though the scales are tipped more in the former’s favor here. He likewise still manages to express his almost childlike optimism, keeping an eye toward a better future to make up for a dark past. Arthur preaches resilience with the authority of one that has himself come through some pretty dire shit, and lines that could be clichéd in another’s voice are weirdly fitting. Take the chorus on “Hollow Girl”, for example: “Find a little bit of hope / When there ain’t none / Get your head out of the rope / From where you hung / When they’ve got you by the throat / Just give them love / And you’ll rise above”. On paper, it seems trite, but coming from Arthur, extra leeway is given. “New Tracks” may even top “Hollow Girl” with its sentimental romanticism (or romantic sentimentality), a veritable hymn designed to uplift, its refrain of “You’ll find / A way to make it out soon” about as direct as it gets.

Good as the record is, it’s not without its flaws. The punk scorcher “Look Out!” is a misstep, not adding anything to the mix and sounding tossed-off. “Throw You to the Pack”, another rocker, is a far superior take on the same idea of resisting those looking to drag you down. “Letting Go of Will”, a fine song in itself, is repetitive in its message due largely to its placement as the album’s penultimate track. By the time it arrives, we’ve heard its style of encouragement several times already. That the song is sandwiched between two of the record’s strongest pieces — the shuffling soul of “Williamsburg” and the Dylanesque closer “Cherries in the Snow” — keeps the album from ending on a near-perfect note.

These minor slights aside, Acts is a pleasant conundrum among 2012’s releases — an album made without concern for anything but the music itself by artists branching out and trying something new. In the future, the record should join the slender ranks of supergroup/side project albums that prove gems can arise every now and then.


REVIEW : Redemption City - Their Bated Breath



by David D. Robbins Jr. , January 20 2012


Singer-songwriter and painter Joseph Arthur’s newest record “Redemption City” is one of the biggest, more ambitious wonders of the new year. It’s an epic record, addressing the state of things in America and in Arthur’s mind. It canvasses the meaning of human interconnection and that feeling like something isn’t right with the world. But it’s also a record about finding solace, restoration and transcendence. “Redemption City”, even in the title itself, suggests a pouring out of passions, dreams, desires, and hopeful notions of something better around the corner. It’s a sprawling two-disc, 24-song record (divided into 12 songs each). Arthur unfairly is sometimes categorized as a far-reaching musician. Too esoteric. Too pseudo. Too keen on personal idiosyncrasy. In truth, in a day and age where idiocy is mistaken for populism, and intelligence makes one ‘suspect’, he’s more or less a victim of the times. But his tight-knit core of fans is devout, and with good reason. The value of his vision and voice speaks for itself on the new record. On the opener “Travel as Equals”, Arthur sings in prophetic verse about how to survive in a world of division and chaos: “In the dark of graveyard chatter / In the light of freedom’s call / In the heat of any matter / We travel as equals or not at all / Bloom disgust, class divide / I saw it written on the wall / The only way we can survive, we travel as equals or not at all.”

There’s an urgency to the song’s pacing, the soaring nature of the harmonic choruses, and the Bob Dylan-like rattling word-soup of lyrics running wild, like an artist on a mission. The song’s anthemic, jumpy rhythm fades into a scattering of barely audible spoken word, strange electronic squeaks, white noise and distortion. It’s a masterstroke to begin a record with. “Mother of Exiles” slithers with nastiness. It’s a scorching track, reminiscent of an industrialized David Bowie doing “I’m Afraid of Americans” off his 1997 album “Earthling”. It’s funky, with searing guitar accenting Arthur’s devilishly dark low moans.

At first, the intro to “Yer Only Job” feels like this is the point in the record where things will slow down. But acoustic guitar and light piano give way to some of the better, fiery verses Arthur has ever written. Yes, it’s plain spoken in some ways, but ascendent in others. It’s a song about what real freedom (a word Arthur uses in three song titles) feels like and that old Shakespearean notion that man can be ‘bound up in a nutshell’ and still count himself the ‘king of infinite space’. It’s absolute lyrical genius: “Your only job is to be free / Free to live inside a tree / Free to see the way you see / If it’s strange then let it be / Your only job is to be free / Free to laugh, free to sing, free to think / You might be king / Or you might fly or swim the sea / You have it all when you are free / Freedom puts the fear in some / And they will tell you not to run / Not to dream … / For freedom fathers no command / Has no feet, no arm or hand / Has no language, has no rhyme / Has no clockwork or the time / For freedom is its own reward / It’s own protection without a sword / Without a fight, freedom stands / All day long with phantom hands / To your heart, above the sky / Winter lips, mountains cry … / Freedom is its own reward / Distorted power, singing chord / Freedom lifts the stars in space / Freedom is an angel’s face /The planets bouncing rubber balls / Freedom bouncing off your walls / You catch and throw, and catch some more / Freedom opens every door …” The track ends with a circular and unifying sentiment similar to the album opener, that we’re all in this thing together, and that “I am you and you are me.”

This is a record made by a musician with a love for creating mood, and a joy for the written word. “I Miss the Zoo” plays like a lyrically psychedelic Lou Reed ode to the wild days of back-alleys, marijuana smoke, vagabonds stories, youthful hook-ups, innocent laughter, and simply living life, taking it all in. Arthur takes listeners on a journey of wildly poetic verbosity, with a bluesy guitar and organ playing in the background. He also plays with ambiance, building complex timbre through guitar and electronic textures in “There With Me”. If there’s something that stands out more than anything else in the first half of this two-disc record, it’s the propulsive and fevered nature of the songs. The anthemic grooves and run-on verses give this record an immediacy. Despite its gloomy assessment of the way things are, the first half of the record remains optimistic, gracefully bounding with a real pop-rock energy in a track like “No Surrender Comes For Free”. It’s a record that means something without being didactic.

The second disc is more eclectic and tempered, beginning with the surreal 11-minute warm glow of the guitar-instrumental “Surrender to the Storm”. The song sheds the intellectual submersion of the first 12 tracks and finds a home in something decidedly more tranquil and organic. That’s not to say that the record turns soft. It doesn’t. It’s as if it gets deeper into the mind of Arthur, more experimental and odd — which is why a song like “Fractures” makes perfect sense in the large concept of the record. The music begins like aquatics in reverb, blending into a soulful and self-deprecating assessment of one’s weakness. It’s a meditation on god, Arthur speaking words in the vein of William S. Burroughs, “I float like an old piece of wood on the Hudson / I may have a purpose, but it’s mysterious to me / I wait in dark corners for instructions / Get on my bike, peddle over bridges / Along rivers that wind back where I started …” The electronik marvel “Kandinsky” (using the name of famed painter Wassily Kandinsky as a jumping point) is a beautiful spiritual/artistic sprawl.

The record continues in its dense descent into wonderfully avant garde territory. The sci-fi apocalypse, “Humanity Fades”, creeps along eerily, about the ways people are connected (but not). The song imagery is of human beings with souls plugged into walls, connected by mainframes and cyberspace. It all sounds like the death of what it means to be human. Maybe that’s why the second half of the record ends with “I Am the Mississippi”, a song about being connected to something real, natural and moving. (The actual last song is a reprise of “Travel as Equals”, but “I Am the Mississippi” is the preceding track. However, it’s easy to see why Arthur would like the record to end where it began.)

“I Am the Mississipi” is a poetic stream of consciousness that feels more akin to the style of “Surrender to the Storm”, with lyrics. The river becomes the place of redemption, a baptismal of one-ness. (The song feels like it has a touch of Langston Hughes to it.) The Mississippi flows like history, connected to real human events big and small. Along the river bank, the singer speaks of chiaroscuro, a woman’s breath, slaves sold on a boat, a water of hidden bones, generations and lifetimes of people who hover in the river’s story like ghosts. He ultimately finds connection in the river and the calm contemplation of his thoughts rushing over it. 

Note: “Redemption City” is available from Joseph’s site for free, with the option to buy a Limited Edition vinyl. For the freeloaders, there’s MP3s and FLAC versions, but this record is so good you should shell out some bucks to keep the artist on the path to making more of this good music. (All lyrics referenced in this review are unofficial.)


Ain't Got No Mag 7



 RNDM posted the song on their website on November 2012. It's a mix between "Ain't Got No" by Nina Simone & "Magnificent Seven" by The Clash.


"After spending the last few days in New York City, we decided to make our studio recording of Ain't Got No Mag 7 (Nina Simone/The Clash) available for free, with the hope that you might feel the love and be compelled to make a donation to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy."




TAB : Travel As Equals



All the verses go like this:
Dm 
In the dark of grave yard chatter 
In the light of freedoms call 
In the heat of any matter 
We travel as equals or not at all 

And the chorus is the same way: 

Dm F C G 
In your way, you found a way free 
Dm F C G 
In your way, you found a way, follow me 
Dm F 
Give it up, give it up 
C G 
Give it up to your destiny 
Dm F C G 
In your way, you found a way free 



Where Is My Van?



"Where Is My Van" is a song written with Kraig Jarret Johnson on August 2012 about his misadvendture with his old dodger van.

The first version of this song was recorded on a dictaphone.

A studio version was recorded with the help of Peter Buck, and Joseph shared it freely on his website on 2012-09-06. He was just asking for a donation to bring back his van, who had been auctioned off by the city of New York for $1000.

A fundraiser concert was organised at City Winery in Manhattan on Sunday, October 21st, with special guests.

Fortunately, Joseph tracked down his Dodge and paid $5,500 to get it back, with the help of a private investigator and Jeff Lebowski’s favorite lawyer Ron Kuby.



"So after all this I got my van back!

I can’t thank y’all enough for your support and help.

It cost plenty, but I’m very happy to have my art and my gear back.

Jose (the guy who had it) drove a hard bargain (Ron calls it a sort of hold up)

and sold it all back to me for $5,500 after he paid a grand for it,

but I’m trying to keep it in perspective,

Things like this can’t be measured strictly with numbers

and the life lessons it taught were of greater value than the dollars and cents.

The main one being the support I got from all of you.

Along with the people,whom without I never would have gotten it back,

Ron, Vic, Lea, Carla, Julie, Peter, Kraig, Ehud and Spencer – THANK YOU!

The list goes on, but now I need to search this four wheel goliath for my tarot cards and try to catch new dreams.

Thanks again everyone and I hope to see you down the road.

I’ll be the one driving a van more famous than me.


much love,

Joseph"




COVERART : Where Is My Van? (Digital Single)



2012/12/10

2007-04-15 - La Tulipe, Montreal




Great show with the Lonely Astronauts

Greg Wiz (drums), Kraig Jarret Johnson (guitar) and Sibyl Buck (bass)]


Tracklist :

too much to hide 
black lexus
enough to get away
good life
precious one
take me home
you are free
chicago
lack a vision
cocaine feet
slide away
prison 
a smile that explodes 
birthday card 
invisible hands 
in the sun
spacemen
honey and the moon
i will carry
diamond ring
don't tell your eyes


2007-04-15 La Tulipe





2012-05-17 - NON-COMMvention, WXPN, Philadelphia



Tracklist :


black lexus
almost blue
yer only job
out on a limb
horses
travel as equals
i miss the zoo 



2012-05-17 WXPN






2009-03-25 - France Culture



Tracklist :

faith
turn you on


2009-03-25 France Culture Session






2006-07-23 - Paléo Festival, Nyon





Tracklist :


mercedes 
she paints me gold
can't exist
a smile that explodes
prison
birthday card
innocent world
history
honey and the moon
exhausted
leave us alone
all of our hands
in the sun
toxic angel



2006-07-23 PALEO




2006-09-18 - WBJB Radio, Lincroft





Tracklist :


enough to get away 
spacemen
nuclear daydream
when i was running out of time
in the sun
don't tell your eyes



2006-09-18 WBJB





2012/12/04

REVIEW : RNDM's Acts - Pop 'stache


written by: Shannon Shreibak December 4, 2012


RNDM (pronounced “Random”) truly lives up to its name as far as origin is concerned, but their music is an organized, well-packed punch to pop-rock today. Ament and Stuverud collaborated for late-90s super band pursuit Three Fish, and Arthur landed an opening spot for the band. After staying in touch for years, Arthur cemented the friendship with a slot at last year’s PJ20, which resulted in Ament’s invitation for a jam session, spawning a slew of songs to be slammed on RNDM’s album.

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, prolific, indie-leaning singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and Seattle punk-rock fixture drummer Richard Stuverud combine their rich musical inclinations to create Acts, RNDM’s stellar debut album. Composed in a whirlwind four-day recording session, Acts is an undeniably eclectic—and still cohesive—body of work reflecting each member’s unique musical point-of-view. Palpable group chemistry discounts any suspect of the band’s recent formation, as if they’ve been churning out alt-rock gems together for years.

Arthur’s vocally focused compositions are rife throughout the album, and his position at lead vocals allows his aural landscapes to bloom throughout the album. Ament’s jam-packed bass lines and relentless approach lends an edge to the music and Stuverud’s almost-lyrical drumming complements Arthur’s silver-throated delivery.

The album opens with the melodic chopping of the intro to “Modern Times” and Arthur’s inimitable upbeat drone easily harkens back to his work with the Lonely Astronauts. Arthur’s singsong drone dances over the pedal-pounding riff while Stuverud‘s steady drumming and liberal fuzz-guitar wallops, the song gains traction where the folk lean would have fallen flat. Heavily layered vocals add dimension and are consistent with Arthur’s penchant for intricacy.

Charming acoustic hook of “The Disappearing Ones” and Arthur’s purposely fumbling verses lend a charmingly sloppy tilt to an otherwise unsettlingly polished folk-rock number. An echoing chorus and heavy cymbal thrash push the song to more assertive territory amidst a clichéd barrage of “yeah yeah yeah’s” clutter the bridge. Arthur flexes his artistic muscle as he coaxes Ament’s powerful bass lines into more pensive veins.

“Walking Through New York” could have easily wedged itself into Arthur’s darkly romantic 2004 masterpiece Our Shadows Will Remain, with macabre guitar trills and wrenching lyrical poetry. Arthur’s artistic input is most evident on the album’s middle-marker; the densely layered, macabre groove complements layers of Arthur’s hurt falsetto. One of the most introspective songs featured on Acts, RNDM shows that they can jab at raw nerves without aggravating open wounds or tripping through platitudes.

The emotional tenderness is quickly abandoned in favor of alt-rock thumpers like “Look Out!,” which bears considerable aural weight of heavy wah’s and pedal-pounced flourishes. Sparse lyrics give the seasoned trio ample time to flaunt their musical chops while exercising some appreciated restraint.

The album caps with “Cherries in the Snow,” a campfire hymn featuring harmonica and tight acoustic guitar working, and wraps Acts on a wistful note. The opening lyric, “did I thank you for coming here to visit me,” seems like an offhand thank you to listeners who stuck around for the 12-track quickie out of both intrigue and fandom; but there are no thanks needed when an album of this musical fortitude is at hand.

Alternating between quick and dirty punk inclinations, elastic funk grooves, romantic folk twang, and alt-rock forcefulness, RNDM has proven themselves as one of the year’s most unclassifiable bands. While this lack of would normally signal directionless, RNDM embraces their opposing musical backgrounds to form an inimitable brew of modern-age rock. Not an album that can be sliced and diced into neatly packed singles but more of a cohesive full-bodied work standalone, Acts signals the birth of one of rock’s saving graces in the form of three divergent musical personalities meeting in one place long enough to churn out a thoughtful musical chronicle.



2012/11/26

2012-11-21 - RNDM - West Hollywood




The recording available here is an audience recording.

2012-11-21 Troubadour audience



2012-10-16 - RNDM - Bootleneck, Lawrence





Tracklist :

What You Can't Control
Modern Times
Darkness
Hollow Girl
The King of Cleveland
Look Out!
New Tracks
Williamsburg
Walking Through New York
The Disappearing Ones
Throw You to the Pack
When The Fire Comes
Can't Exist

Cherries In the Snow
Picture You On The Moon
Walls
Into You Like a Train
Ain't Got No, I Got Life + The Magnificent Seven







2012-11-10 - RNDM - Algonquin theater, Ottawa





Thanks to Bootlegottawa for this great recording !!

Tracklist :



What You Can't Control
Modern Times
The Disappearing Ones
Darkness
Hollow Girl
The King of Cleveland
Look Out!
Throw You To The Pack
New Tracks
Williamsburg
Walking Through New York
When the Fire Comes
Can't Exist
Cherries In The Snow
Into You Like A Train
Ain't Got No Mag 7



2012-11-10 Ottawa




2012/11/23

INTERVIEW : 2012-11-23 RNDM: Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament Finds New Life In Old Friends (by David Bevan)



Seattle rock veteran unites with Joseph Arthur and Richard Stuverud to create beautiful noise that belies its "side-project" trappings






In April 1990, Jeff Ament was reeling from the death of his friend and bandmate, Mother Love Bone frontman Andy Wood. But it wasn’t the subsequent, much mythologized formation of Pearl Jam that righted his course. It was an unexpected set of jam sessions with fellow Seattle outfit War Babies.

“I was having a tough spring and a tough summer,” Ament said recently over lunch at the Breslin in New York’s Ace Hotel, War Babies drummer Richard Stuverud seated just to his right. “I felt like [Mother Love Bone] was my shot at being in a band that could put out records. But War Babies had lost their bassist and Richard had asked me if I would play with them. So we’d get together to just jam and I’d bring along a Prince song or a Cameo song, just some kind of rhythmic workout.” Stuverud interjects, his eyes wide: “It was so refreshing. It was this big, amazing beginning, of letting go, of trying new things. I never knew about Cameo. It completely changed my world.”

“And I,” Ament continues, “went from feeling like I was going back to art school to, within a few rehearsals with Richard, thinking, ‘Oh, this really iswhat I’m supposed to do.’ There’s nothing that gives you that feeling. It’s a volume and a connection that you have. Something happens to your body chemically when you play music, especially when you connect.”

And though Ament would go on to form Pearl Jam alongside Mother Love Bone guitarist Stone Gossard instead, that chemistry and connection between Stuverud and Ament brough them back together again as two, time-keeping thirds of RNDM — a recently formed, Joseph Arthur-fronted psych-rock unit that was born during similarly spirited jam sessions early this year. Arthur first met the 49-year-old, Montana-born bassist in the late ’90s when opening for his long defunct side-trio Three Fish (which also included Stuverud on drums) at a small show in lower Manhattan. Ament, a fan of Arthur’s work and voice, kept in touch over the years, eventually asking him to sing on “When the Fire Comes,” a spare, spectral number he wrote for his quietly released solo LP, While My Heart Beats. (Pearl Jam devotees may recall the two performing it together at at the band’s 20th anniversary festival, PJ20, last Fall, where Arthur also provided opening support.)

“I don’t have a great voice or even a good voice,” Ament says. “But Joe has agreat voice, a really resonant tone and texture. I always want to hear those voices alone, like in the beginning of [2000 Clash documentary Westway to the World,] when Joe Strummer sings ‘White Riot’ by himself. That’s the essence right there. We’ve all made records that were slightly bloated and had too much going on, maybe a little too much paint on the canvas. This is an opportunity to do something different.”

Ament invited Arthur and Stuverud to his home, 30 minutes outside of Missoula, and within hours of landing, the three had set up to start playing in Ament’s studio-living room-basketball court. Not one of them knew they’d begin recording two LPs worth of material together in just days, but they did, finishing one another’s already written songs and following every whim, creative or otherwise. “I remember eating dinner pretty late the night and we were starting to joke around about what the name of the band would be, what we were going to do on tour and the T-shirts we’d design,” says Ament. “By the third day, all of those jokes became sort of serious. We were realizing that, maybe we actually have a record here.”

The name RNDM (pronounced “random”) was one such joke. Originally, the three had settled on the name “Random Gong,” after a chance encounter Arthur had recently had with a gong owner in upstate New York. “He had eight gongs, in this little apartment,” says Arthur. “‘Who needs more than one gong?’ I asked him, ‘What’s with all the gongs?’ He says, ‘Do you want to hear them?’ I said, ‘sure,’ and he hit each one. It was amazing. I told these guys that story and I don’t know who, but someone said, ‘We should be Random Gong.’ A couple of days later Jeff said, ‘Maybe we should lose the gong.'”

They did, and although there’s an unreleased, instrumental track (“Theme From Random Gong”) from those sessions that lives on, the resulting full-length, Acts is a loose and liberating rush of guitar-phrased exchange that’s testament to the intense bond the the three come to share. (There is a more experimental EP ready to go, which Arthur calls “acid jazz” to Acts’ more streamlined Thriller.) That extends to more than just the music: on this particular day in New York, their heads are all freshly shorn and Ament, the son of a barber, having convinced his bandmates to adopt his mohawk-like mane, as captured in the silent film-like clip for the single “Modern Times.” It’s another part of the less-is-more philosophy on which their still growing output seems to be founded.

“[Pearl Jam] made that record with Neil Young [1995’s Mirror Ball] and after we were done,” Ament says, thinking back to an experience he drew upon for RNDM, “he was telling how great we were at holding back. We were like, ‘Really?’ He would come in with a song and he’d play it for us once and then say, ‘OK we’re going to record it.’ We didn’t have time to learn everything and there were moments when someone didn’t know the part so they’d just lay out. He took that as us being like, ‘We’re only going to play when we need to play.’ But there was a lot to learn in that. On tour, we would watch the Booker T. and the M.G.’s guys learn how to play with Neil and it was incredible. Neil speaks in tongues. He’s talking about colors and how something feels and you’d see them make the adjustment, make a hole where there wasn’t one before. That profoundly changed how I played music. The people Neil chooses to play with and why he chooses to play with them when he does, I get that. I get why it took him 10 years to play with Crazy Horse again.” With his hands, he gestures to his bandmates on either side of him. “Because we’re a trio, there’s more space and there’s a little more pressure. You can’t really hide behind a wall of guitars as much.”

But that pressure, felt most when the three perform together (as they have on a month-long North American tour this November) bears no connection to their hefty pedigree. And though they’re both old friends and veterans, all three talk about this band like it was their very first. “I don’t really have any expectation for RNDM,” Ament says, his face glowing. “I just want it to continue. I mostly hate to tour and the only reason why I committed to this tour was because I love this band so much. I rarely bring my side projects to the people in the Pearl Jam office, especially not until everything’s done. But with this, the day I got back to Seattle after we finished recording, I came right in was like, ‘I gotta play you something.'”




2012/11/21

INTERVIEW : 2012-11-21 Songwriter Joseph Arthur keeps himself busy with RNDM (by John Lucas)






No one could ever accuse Joseph Arthur of being lazy. The Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter has his own successful solo thing going on, and that would be enough to keep most musicians busy. Not Arthur. He’s also a member of Fistful of Mercy, alongside Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison. And these days, he’s fronting RNDM, which features Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament on bass and drummer Richard Stuverud, who’s a veteran of numerous acts, including the Fastbacks and Ament’s Three Fish.

Reached at a tour stop in Minneapolis, Arthur tells the Straight that he’s thrilled to be part of a power trio, and that, unlike some of his previous collaborative efforts, RNDM is neither merely a backing group nor a one-off. This is, he insists, a real band.

“It’s great to be in a rock ’n’ roll band, for me,” he says. “I love it. It’s very liberating. I mean, I’ve had moments along the way of trying to get that going, with Holding the Void, this band I put together with Pat Sansone who’s in Wilco now. That was over 10 years ago. We made kind of a rock ’n’ roll record. The Lonely Astronauts were rock ’n’ roll to a large degree. But this feels like something else again. Just playing with Jeff and Richard, it feels like coming into a fully formed situation in a way, because those guys have been playing together for 15 years or something like that. So, in a way, it’s kind of like being the new lead singer of Van Halen or something.”

He says that last part with a laugh, of course. Gary Cherone has never written a song as effortlessly cool as “Modern Times”, which kicks off RNDM’s debut album, Acts, with a fuzz-strafed guitar riff backed by a percolating bass line and a super-caffeinated shuffle beat. The trio slows things down for the harmony-laced jangle pop of “New Tracks” and the dirty-streets soul of “Williamsburg”, but picks it up again for the punkadelic thrasher “Throw You to the Pack” and “Look Out!”, which boasts some incendiary lead-guitar work.

Given the instant notoriety that comes with having a member of Pearl Jam in your band, to say nothing of Fistful of Mercy’s star power, you might think Arthur is wary of being pegged as “the supergroup guy”. He says, however, that he just plays well with others, some of whom happen to be famous. “If you do this stuff long enough, collaboration is just part of it,” he reasons. “You develop relationships, you get to know people. If you’re healthy artistically, or in life, you end up collaborating and getting involved with other things, and just sort of branching out into different opportunities. So that’s the way I look at it, really.”

Modest to a fault, Arthur says he doesn’t consider himself particularly prolific, although Redemption City, his double solo album from earlier this year, offers strong evidence to the contrary. “Andy Warhol used to say that he didn’t understand why songwriters didn’t write, like, 10 songs a day,” Arthur says. “And there is some truth to that. That’s a little bit much to ask, but I think there’s not much expected of people who write songs. Ten a year is considered a lot. And it really shouldn’t be considered a lot, man. You know what I mean?”





2012/10/29

INTERVIEW : 2012-10-29 Getting RNDM with Jeff Ament (by Travis Hay)





It’s been more than three years since Pearl Jam has released a studio record and bassist Jeff Ament has found plenty of ways to bide his time until the alt-rock icons jump back into the studio. Tomorrow will see the release of the third record Ament has been a part of in the past 36 months when RNDM, his latest side project, releases its debut record Acts. The band is a power trio which features Joseph Arthur (Fistful of Mercy) and Richard Stuverud (Fastbacks, Tres Mtns) and the album is a potpourri of rock filled with uptempo, grooving numbers (“Look Out!”), quieter cuts (“Walk Through New York”) and straightforward power-rock songs (“Modern Times”).

If you’re a regular Guerrilla Candy reader you know I am a big Pearl Jam fan so I was thrilled when the RNDM camp got in touch and offered up a chance for me to chat with Ament. Below is the first part of our conversation where Ament talks about his new band, its origins, color scheme and his experience behind a barber stool. The second half of the interview will be posted tomorrow when RNDM’s Acts is released into the world.

Is the band’s name any indication of how the three of you got together? Is there any meaning behind RNDM?

For me, I’m really visual, so if somebody says something I sort of visualize the word, and Joe was telling us this crazy story. Some artist friend of his was telling him that he had to go to his neighbor’s house because there was something he had to see. So he went over to the house and he had this whole room full of gongs. And he goes, ‘Yeah, there were random gongs everywhere.’ And I was like ‘Man, that’s a band name, Random Gongs.’ So that was kind of the working title for the project for three or four days. We actually even wrote an instrumental track called “Theme from Random Gong.”

That’s kind of the way the whole project went. We were constantly spewing stuff back and forth between one another. But then as time went on I was like, ‘the gong is kind of wearing off on me, but I like random.’ And then to kind of contemporize it we pulled vowels out of it and that’s the name.


Jeff Ament onstage with Pearl Jam. Photo by Karen Loria/courtesy Pearl Jam



The three of us had still only been in the same room together for seven days during the whole course of this, so it’s still a pretty honeymoon feeling. Most of it has been Joe and I sending texts back and forth. That’s how the video thing came up. He sent this creative treatment and we started throwing ideas back and forth and in a couple of weeks I was going to New York and shooting a video.

Jeff Ament to release solo record

I read that you guys had a four-day recording process. That sounds pretty intense.

You know, there really wasn’t any plan for there to be a record or for this to be a band. If I had anything in the back of my head, I was thinking maybe we’d release a seven-inch, or a four-song EP, and it would be this weird little thing we threw out there. But after the first day we had six or seven things down already and then we started talking as if we were a band. We were like, ‘well when we are on tour and we’re in Australia we’re going to do this …’ It was just a big joke, the entire thing. I think even at the end of the four days we still didn’t even think it was going to be a band. We all thought we probably had a record, but we weren’t thinking about being a band. But then after sitting with the record for a couple of weeks it was like, these songs would be fun to play live. They’re all pretty straightforward and most of it kind of rocks, so after a few dozen texts back and forth we kind of turned it into a real thing.

That sort of sounds like how Tres Mtns started. From what I’ve read that started out with the thought of the songs being fun to play live and then the band sort of came together.

Yeah, the difference there is with that thing is that it took us almost ten years to finish that record. The Tres Mtnsthing was two, maybe week-to-ten-day sessions, of which we got ten things out, of which is still a pretty good clip compared to other bands I’ve been a part of. This thing was totally different. Joe chose a song or maybe I would have an idea and show them what I had going with it and then we’d go through it three or four times and if it wasn’t happening we would move on to the next thing. We didn’t really waste a lot of time producing the tracks or getting too precious with them so it was very much a pro atmosphere. We were super-focused. … In the beginning we were super-stoked and knocking ideas back and forth and it just got to the point where we were staying up until two or three in the morning and by nine or ten in the morning people started waking up and were excited to start working on more stuff. So by the end of the four days we were pretty wrecked. I’m almost 50 years old so if I only get four or five hours of sleep a night for four or five nights in a row it’s not enough.


Was it difficult to get Joseph to turn things up a bit? He’s more of a quiet singer-songwriter on his solo material and RNDM is a rocking power trio. 



Jeff Ament. Photo by Karen Loria/courtesy Pearl Jam

The song that he put vocals on for my last solo record, “When the Fire Comes,” sort of started this whole thing. The conversation we had at PJ 20, when we played the song, he said it was really fun to work on that song because it is a little more uptempo than what he is used to doing. He said ‘I have a really hard time writing more uptempo stuff’ and I said ‘Man, I have tons of uptempo stuff that’s already on tape so if you want to come out and throw vocals on stuff …’

That ended up becoming “Throw You to the Pack,” “Look Out!” and those kind of songs. That was probably the one premeditated idea we had about the band; that we wanted it to rock a little more than some of the stuff that he would normally do. The other thing was to strip it back. I think his nature and my nature when we work by ourselves is to just layer things and multitrack with tons of vocals and tons of keyboards and stuff. With this it was kind of like, I think the one guitar sounds good; we don’t need to put another guitar under it. Or, I don’t think you need to double your vocal on every single song. It was kind of trying to limit ourselves into keeping within the space that was there. It always sounds so great whenever you have three instruments – drums, bass and guitar – it always sounds so cool. You can always hear the textures of the instruments and we were trying to keep it like that as much as possible.


So how does the creative process with RNDM differ from the creative process with Pearl Jam?

With RNDM there was no history with the band. In fact, it wasn’t a band. It was just three guys getting together to do some recording. I think sometimes when you take that little bit of pressure away from a situation it really frees you up because there isn’t really anything there. There are no expectations. There’s nobody at the other end saying ‘Hey, when’s the record going to be done? Is it good enough to stand up to the rest of your catalog?’ I think sometimes that freedom can make it better because there’s no fear involved with any of it.

With Pearl Jam we have certain expectations with ourselves. We don’t want to do anything half-assed. You kind of want to your best foot forward. I have to say the last few times Pearl Jam has gone in the studio it’s been in a similar way. We knock out seven or eight ideas and everyone gets super-excited. Maybe we’re starting to get back to that way of making music. For a few records it was people bringing in complete demos and the band playing the demos.


You mentioned that you’re a very visual person. Tell me about the orange color scheme with RNDM?



Jeff Ament, far right, with Joseph Arthur, far left, at PJ 20. Photo by Anna Knowlden/courtesy Pearl Jam

The orange thing initiated from my drum kit in Montana. It’s a fluorescent orange and one of the tracks was called “Orange Drum in the Forest” or something like that, I can’t remember what it was called right now. And so over the course of these texts Joe and I would send back and forth it got to the point where it was like, ‘Okay, having been in the music industry for thirty years you see bands where everybody has an opinion on different things. You always witness somebody in the band doing something where you’re like, you should never do that. What that guy is doing right now should be against whatever is in this book of unwritten rock rules.’ So we started talking about all of this stuff and we thought that this band should be all about breaking all the rock rules we’ve created over our crusty thirty years of being in bands. Let’s do things we never would do in our respective bands and careers.

Then we just started pushing ourselves to do these things. Let’s shave our heads. Let’s dress up in orange jumpsuits. Let’s wear suits. I’ve always been an anti-suit guy. So it sort of became this thing where we were daring each other to do things that we never would do. That just ended up making the whole process super-fun and edgy. Those guys letting me shave the sides of their heads … They had to trust I wasn’t going to butcher their hair too badly. Those guys have good haircuts. Richard and Joe have real stylish, proper, English, rock-style haircuts.

You had to sport the shaved head too, right?

Yeah, I had to show them I was serious so I pretty much took mine to the bone. I actually sat in a chair and shaved it all the way down to show them I was serious about it. It’s grown back now but there’s already talk about tightening things up before the first show.

Maybe if RNDM sticks around there can be free buzz cuts at Safeco Field. Instead of Buhner buzz cut it’d be RNDM buzz cut night. Anyone who wears orange gets a free shave from Jeff.

There ya go. Well, my dad was a barber so I was around that culture.

Check back tomorrow for the second half of the interview where Ament talks about his home state of Montana, staying away from being a nostalgia act and the key to Pearl Jam’s longevity.