Friday, October 30, 2009

Megafaun unveils new video, announces European tour dates and European label, Crammed Discs.

Video: Megafaun -- "Impressions of the Past"

"Megafaun don't just just catalogue American musical languages, they breed them." Brian Howe -- Pitchfork

2009 continues to be a banner year for Megafaun. Brothers Brad and Phil Cook and fellow Eau Claire, Wisconsin native Joe Westerlund have toured North America extensively in support of the group's Hometapes-released and critically-acclaimed second album, Gather, Form & Fly. Having shared the stage and road this year with likeminded groups such as Bowerbirds, Bon Iver, and The Dodos, Megafaun is poised to bring its album and live show to Europe (tour dates and details below).

Megafaun is also unveiling a video for the song "Impressions of the Past", an audio and visual document of the band's 2009 North American Tour.

Thousands of miles, thousands of images. On tour with its new album Gather, Form & Fly, Megafaun was captured, piece by piece, by the photographer Tim Lytvinenko. Part-documentary, part-sense memory, Tim's images took on a life of their own as he traveled across the west with the band, the music, the landscape, and everything in between. He set his first magical trademark sequences to the album's epic and beautiful "Impressions of the Past" --- and a video was born. Further shaped across the plains, the mountains, the coast, and the desert of North America, the video became a daily experience for the band on tour. Tim's memories became everyone's, almost just as real as the moments they documented. This seemed to be the perfect expression of this song --- one that came by surprise, and one that conjures up the collective nostalgia of Summer 2009, and perhaps all those bygone seasons before.

So enjoy. Put yourself in it. Fill in the blanks.

Megafaun 2009 European Tour

11/13/09 - Paris, France - Point Ephemere *
11/14/09 - Evreux, France - Abordage *
11/15/09 - London, UK - Scala ∆
11/17/09 - Lille, France - Le Grand Mix ∆
11/18/09 - Nantes, France - Olympic ∆
11/19/09 - Strasbourg, France - La Laiterie ∆
11/21/09 - Amtwerp. Belgium - Trix ∆
11/22/09 - Groningen, Holland - Vera ∆
11/24/09 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen ∆
11/25/09 - Dresden, Germany - Beatpol ∆
11/27/09 - Amsterdam, Holland - Paradiso
11/28/09 - Utrecht, Holland - Le Guess Who Festival
11/29/09 - Cologne, Germany - Studio 672 ∆
12/01/09 - London, UK - Borderline †
12/02/09 - Aldershot, UK - West End Centre
12/03/09 - Manchester, UK - Dulcimer
12/04/09 - York Moors, UK - The Band Room
12/05/09 - Cork, Ireland - Opera House Festival
12/06/09 - Dublin, Ireland - Wheelans

* with Akron/Family
∆ with The Dodos
† with Deer Tick

Praise for Gather, Form & Fly:

“…Gather, Form & Fly has a psychedelic mind and a Pentecostal heart, applying raggedly strummed banjos and woozy acoustic guitars to harmonies that swell heavenward like ghostly dust clouds.” Steve Hyden - The Onion A/V Club

“Megafaun’s roots are familiar; the bloom is uniquely theirs” David Fricke - Rolling Stone

“All the sounds and ideas emanate from the same sources and desires, and the prismatic contrasts between them illuminate this intriguing and heartfelt album.” Stephen Deusner - Pitchfork

Gather, Form & Fly is a monument to a band that thousands have experienced on stages, under trees, in galleries, on floors, in headphones, and through radios-with-the-windows-down over the past three years. All the hints they’ve given us -- from songs Stereogum described as “mournful, slow-blooming banjo-and-white-noise-laced epics” to tours with The Rosebuds, Arnold Dreyblatt, and Akron/Family -- have culminated in a record that is an ode to death, love, musical history (from blues to musique-concréte), community, tradition, and experimentation. In all, it’s an ode to the listener.

Based in Durham, North Carolina, Megafaun was built by brothers Brad and Phil Cook and fellow Eau Claire, Wisconsin native Joe Westerlund. The trio, plus longtime friend Justin Vernon (a.k.a. Bon Iver), made the cross country move together from WI to NC as the band DeYarmond Edison, ultimately splitting in 2006. Megafaun was born from those ashes and proceeded to record the remarkable album Bury the Square in 2007. The band found a home on the road, collaborating with friends (they also joined Akron/Family and Dreyblatt as backing band) and developing an American musical language that is exquisitely translated by 2009’s Gather, Form & Fly.

Brad, Phil, and Joe have been playing in bands together since 1997, after meeting at jazz camp in Wisconsin as teenagers. With the end of DeYarmond Edison, a paradigm-shift was imminent. "Brad and I left our primary instruments behind and picked up secondary ones. We booked a seven day tour without having written any songs," said Phil, revealing the seeds of the improvisational spirit that both Megafaun and their fans now cherish and exalt. "We've become song writers collectively and individually through the birth of this band," added Joe, "and Gather, Form & Fly marks a huge growth and change in our thinking about time and song form."

Megafaun’s past three years ripple with the power of varied experience usually reserved for a lengthy decade: 250 shows over the past two years, supporting tours doing double-duty as backing band/collaborator with nearly every notable and diverse tourmate, and musical exploration spanning albums, generations of musical history, and fathoms of personal exploration. That self-survey daringly brings itself to the stage: “We thrive on situations that allow us to expose our nuances, our imperfections, and our spontaneity. We are not afraid of the imperfect set, but are afraid to limit ourselves to the non-spontaneous nature of recitation,” said Joe. That same spirit informed the album, which was self-recorded in three bedrooms, a kitchen, a yoga studio, a living room, a basement, and in a forbidden university piano studio that they had to break into to find an in-tune piano. In act of further embracing the new, Megafaun brought in Chris Stamey (the dBs, Holsapple-Stamey, et al) to help mix and guide Gather, Form & Fly, adding another dimension to the exquisite result.

Gather, Form & Fly rings out in its honesty to its makers and, thus, to its listeners —- both on wax and on stage. Phil, Brad, and Joe move with awareness of their every move, acknowledging in near-unison that this album shares Bury the Square’s broad stylistic and emotional palettes —- group percussion, cacophony, drone, and folky narration will not disappoint —- but also reveals sounds and words that have been, somewhat silently, with them all along. There are the moments, present in every song, that will turn heads toward speakers, turn eyes toward the sky, and turn all notions of music on their sides, if just for one shimmering and genuine moment.

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