Let’s Take Volumes of X and Ride This Trans Am to OUTER SPACE
It is no secret that I am a longtime fan of Maryland’s future-forward robotic new-wave kraut trio Trans Am. Not only the band itself but also the wonderful label it has resided on throughout its exciting career, Thrill Jockey (currently best known as the label of Vince’s recent wet dream band-with-that-crazy-dancing-frontman Future Islands, but also home to legendary jazzy electronia post-rock outfit Tortoise and bubbly buttery poppy nice guys The Sea and Cake, among many, many more — including a recent foray into the metal world with Liturgy and The Body).
And now, coming up on their 25th anniversary as a band, those delightful Trans Am-mers are back with a new album (their 10th) entitled Volume X (due out in North America/Japan/Australia tomorrow and in Europe on August 11th). I haven’t heard the new album yet; only what the band/label has released thus far: the live version of “Megastorm”, which sounds kind of like a depressive’s take on the band’s signature robot rock, and the alternate version of “I’ll Never”, which has a Beach Boys on mushroom tea vibe. Admittedly these tracks don’t sound nearly as vibrant as the band in its heyday, but I’m retaining hope — shitty Pitchfork review notwithstanding, this is a band that is unafraid to evolve and experiment, and absolutely deserves our ears.
Not to mention Trans Am’s ties to the metal world makes the band that much more pertinent to us heavy music folk: guitarist Philip Manley (well actually lead guitar, bass, keyboard, vocals) is also a member of guitar heroes The Fucking Champs (and btw Trans Am’s two collaborations with The Fucking Champs are definitely worth checking out, especially the second one, entitled Gold, with a powerful guest appearance by Manley’s Life Coach former collaborater Jon Theodore, from The Mars Volta in its heyday and currently Queens of the Stone Age), and drummer Sebastian Thomson (well actually drums, bass, keyboard, guitar, vocals) is now the drummer for prog-pop metal superstars Baroness. Trans Am has toured with Tool and The Bronx, and please note that Manley is wearing a Saviours t-shirt in the “Megastorm” video as well.
The band is about to embark on a speedy lil US tour (I’m guessing in a van, not an actual Trans Am); dates below followed by a few of my old-school TA faves…
May 22, 2014 – Washington, DC – The Black Cat
May 23, 2014 – Brooklyn, NY – The Knitting Factory
May 24, 2014 – Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose
May 25, 2014 – Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle
May 27, 2014 – St. Louis, MO – The Firebird
May 28, 2014 – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar
May 29, 2014 – Dallas, TX – Three Links
May 30, 2014 – Houston, TX – Rudyard’s Pub
May 31, 2014 – Austin, TX – Red 7
Jun 02, 2014 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
Jun 03, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA – The Satellite
Jun 04, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent