Category: Refused

FYF Fest 2012: Refused, Wild Flag, M83, Yeasayer booked

Carrie Brownstein of Wild Flag
Now in its ninth year, the independent-focused FYF Fest is returning to the Los Angeles State Historic Park and for the first time since moving downtown will expand from one to two days. The lineup for the Labor Day weekend fest is an adventurous mix of acts young and old, leaning heavily on punk and veterans of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Top-billed artists this year include the reunited Swedish punk band Refused, reunited local rock band Redd Kross, the trippy M83, indie-punk supergroup Wild Flag and electro-soul artist James Blake. 

Once again the FYF Fest is working in conjunction with Coachella promoter Goldenvoice. This marks the fourth straight year that FYF has been stationed at the Chinatown-adjacent State Historic Park, also the site of this summer's dance-focused Hard Summer. While FYF has long specialized in promoting punk and noise shows in and around Echo Park, this year's lineup was first unveiled on Santa Monica's non-profit KCRW-FM, a sign of FYF's growing influence on the local scene.

Other acts booked for the festival, which will take place Sept. 1 and 2, include the reunited Desaparecidos, the politically inclined scrappy punk outfit led by Bright Eyes architect Conor Oberst, and the global influenced music of Yeasayer. All told, more than 50 acts were revealed Monday morning. Among the highlights: hard-core act Quicksand, noise-pop aficionados Sleigh Bells, '80s revivalists Twin Shadow, electronic act Purity Ring, the patiently ambient rock of Warpaint and in-the-news punk band Against Me!

Weekend passes will start at $77 and will go on sale Friday via Ticketfly. FYF Fest is all-ages and will run from noon until midnight each day. Tickets will also be available at independent record stores in the L.A. area and select Chilli Beans locations. Visit the FYF Fest site for a complete run-down of outlets. 

Complete lineup and poster is after the jump:

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Notebook: Goldenvoice's April surprise of Coachella surplus shows

This morning, Los Angeles concert and Coachella promoter Goldenvoice unveiled its April calendar, and in the process answered a question that had floated around the music world ever since the promoter announced it was expanding the annual festival in Indio, Calif., from a single three-day event to two consecutive weekends. What, we wondered, would all those idle bands stuck in the Inland Empire for 10  days be doing with their time (other than, of course, having sex, doing drugs and playing rock & roll)?

Many acts had already announced dates in the area outside of Coachella's contractually stipulated ban on Southern California shows in the weeks surrounding the festival: San Francisco is going to be flush with Coachella acts (Miike Snow, Band of Skulls, SBTRKT, Pulp, Seun Kuti, others), as are Tuscon (Tuneyards, St. Vincent, Firehose) and Phoenix (Kasabian, Florence + the Machine).

Listen to Randall Roberts' 'Coachella 2012 Highlights' mix on Spotify

But until now Goldenvoice has been conspicuously silent about its plans for the period leading up to the beginning of Coachella's first weekend on April 13 and the end of weekend No. 2 on April 22. It was a gaping hole of potential, and you just knew that Goldenvoice's Paul Tollett and company understood this as they watched surprise shows pop up each year before and after Coachella that skirted the ban. 

Hence the whopper of a roster below, spanning from Pappy & Harriet's in Pioneertown (where Girls and Yuck will gig April 19) to many events at the Fox Theater and Glass House in Pomona (co-founded by Tollett and his brother Perry) to a full week of surprises in Los Angeles.

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Epitaph reissues Refused: The shape of punk that came

Refused wasn't the first punk band to incorporate drum machines and synthesizers (that would be Suicide), nor the first to turn hard-core's regimented song structures inside out (that would be the Minutemen). But they were the first to very seriously suggest that both of those things belonged in stadiums of thousands.

Released in 1998, "The Shape of Punk to Come" was as sonically ambitious as its title was fantastically arrogant. The album didn't just make room for free-jazz breakdowns, glitchy sampler wrangling and scalpel-sharp guitar interplay alongside Refused's noise detonations -- they made them inseparable and necessary to each other. But even more unexpectedly, the end result wound up sounding absolutely huge, maybe even with the potential of a "Nevermind" to bring brutal, innovative music to a very mainstream audience.

A three-disc reissue of "Shape," out today on Epitaph, underscores that potential, sadly never fully realized as the band broke up soon thereafter. "New Noise" still feels like a jock jam for Marxist eco-terrorists, "Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine" takes the dry-cleaned guitar licks of ESG and gives them Fugazi's fangs. The great irony of hard core is that, at heart it's an orthodox, conservative genre, and Refused was one of the few bands in that tradition that could capably upend it.

But the package's extras add some necessary context as to why Refused was both special and sort of doomed. The accompanying live album finds the band just demolishing a festival in its hometown of Umea, Sweden, while the accompanying documentary "Refused Are F- Dead" has a title as prophetic as that of "Shape." Ambitions like theirs often comes in a difficult personality, and singer Dennis Lyxzen is as flinty in person as his band is on record (and the band's members seem to know what fate awaits them the whole time).

That said, let this completely essential reissue be a hint to Paul Tollett's reunion-alchemy department that they would be really, really nice to have at Coachella 2012.

-- August Brown

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