Mew to support Pixies in US

MEWMew will bring their intoxicating live shows back to the U.S. beginning November 30 in Philadelphia and running through to December 14 with a final stop in Los Angeles headlining the Henry Fonda Theater. The band has also been tapped by The Pixies to join the legendary band at their December 1st show in Washington, D.C. at Constitution Hall.  The Pixies aren’t the first influential band to hand select and generously give Mew their stage. Throughout Mew’s touring career, the band has been given numerous and critical opportunities to open for some of the biggest names in music. And now it’s their chance to pay it forward.  Mew will be giving local bands in 8 different markets on their upcoming headlining tour this fall (see asterisked dates below) an opportunity to submit themselves to be chosen as direct support for Mew. Check back here for details on how local bands can enter to win in select markets:

Jonas-Bjerre“Yeah, the title sounds pretty bleak,” admits singer Jonas Bjerre, 32. “It comes from having watched a lot of TV when I was a kid. I feel like I’ve been told so many stories in my life I don’t need to hear anymore, and so I’ve kind of given up on being impressed by stories. But the cover art is really happy and colorful and it shows the positive side-which is to go out, become part of the world and make your own stories.”

Like its 2006 predecessor And The Glass Handed Kites-which Pitchfork described as “a masterpiece for people who haven’t smoked weed yet but are thinking about it” and “as magnificent as they’re hoping to be”-No More Stories… demands attention. Listen once, the songs are catchy confections, mood-swinging between happy and somber, whimsical and troubled. Listen more, the songs’ internal space-traveling puzzles reveal and endear themselves. “You try to make every song stand out from the others,” guitarist Bo Madsen, 33, says. “At the same time, the songs work together because the gene material is basically the same.”

“We tried to give each song as much personality as possible.” Madsen added. “if you view each song as a little human, allowing them to each develop their own personality, I think you have a good chance of getting a diverse and colorful record.” Producer Rich Costey (Franz Ferdinand, Glasvegas, NIN) helped the band invent the album’s singular soundscape, which they fleshed out with eccentric samples (like a spoon hitting a wooden table) and vintage instruments (a 1950s marxophone chimes like a hammer hitting a piano chord on “Cartoons And Macramé Wounds” and wooden blocks of a marimba give “Vaccine” a warm island feel).

Written and recorded in Brooklyn mostly (but also in Copenhagen and the south of France) No More Stories… radiates warmth, thanks to loads of percussion, handclaps, and choral vocals. Tracks like “Hawaii” and “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy” sound as if they were recorded in a farmhouse around a fire-all very different than the more guitar-driven Kites, which was written when it was, as Bjerre puts it, “pretty cold.”

And so, while the songs bear Mew’s trademark complexity-abstract dream-inspired lyrics and tricky shifting keys and time signatures-most would fit easily on an episode of Gossip Girl. “We decided to be more cheerful and bright, adds drummer Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen, 31, “and maybe more direct, more to the bone in some places.”

The warped and woozy opener “New Terrain” sets the tone. Segments were recorded backwards giving the track a disorienting push-and-pull that mirrors the lyrics (“We should not lose terrain/Wild and young, we got seasick/On your seven soft sheets”).

With cool syncopated drums and off-kilter guitars, the second track “Introducing the Palace Players” announces their trial-by-fire rebirth with a distinct, jubilant (and uncharacteristic) funkiness. “Well, not James Brown funky,” Bjerre says, “our own version of funky, like when a beat is purposefully sloppy or a part is kind of swingy.”

On previous discs, Mew enlisted guest stars to record duets-Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis, Swedish singer Stina Nordenstamm, and an unknown American teen named Becky Jarrett. For No More Stories… they went back to their old school and asked the kids choir to sing the chorus and the 88-year-old avant-garde Danish singer Mari Helgerlikova on “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy.”

Mew’s fifteen years of making music started in Hellerup, a northern suburb of Copenhagen. Bjerre and Madsen met when they were six years old, but it wasn’t until they were assigned a film project in the seventh grade that they became friends. “We were extremely different but we discovered a common interest in art house cinema and alternative music,” Bjerre remembers. “Eventually, when you are hanging out all the time,” adds Madsen, “you need something to do, so we started playing music.” They met Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen through a classmate of Madsen’s and quickly bonded over Dinosaur Jr, My Bloody Valentine, and Pixies records. “We had a hard time finding a drummer with the same sensibilities as ours, and then Silas came along and his drumming was unlike anything we had heard, and it just immediately clicked.”

But no one wanted to be the singer. Bjerre reluctantly accepted the task and much screaming in the microphone ensued. “I was a really shy kid. And I never sang before, so it was very awkward,” he says. “But I must have had a secret wish to do it, just like people dream of parachuting even if they are scared of it.”

To compensate for his shyness on stage, Bjerre made original animations to go along with the set. “I thought, that even if I was not so communicative, I could still show people something from inside of me,” he says. Soon cats playing fiddles and sea aliens with nipples and other trippy interpretations of the songs were projected behind them, becoming an integral and exciting part of the show. (For their upcoming tour, they approached some artists they know and admire to collaborate on the projections.)

Their debut A Triumph For Man was released in 1997 and produced by Damon Tutunjian of the indie band the Swirlies. In 2000, Mew released Half The World Is Watching Me, which they produced themselves with the help of Flemming Rasmussen, who, quite possibly has the coolest name ever, and is most known for his work with Metallica in the 1980s. Excitement over their live performances finally reached outside Denmark and caught the attention of Epic Sony who signed them in 2001 to produce the band’s first international release. Collecting the best songs off their first two albums, plus writing a number of new compositions, the band went into the studio to record with Costey 2003′s Frengers. Two years later, critics around the world endorsed And the Glass Handed Kites. The songs “Zookeeper’s Boy,” “Special” and “Why Are You Looking Grave” (with J Mascis) became international radio hits and led the band to sweep the 2006 Danish Music Awards in four categories, including Best Band and Best Album.

Mew Tour dates:

11/30 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero*
12/1 Washington, DC Constitution Hall **w/ The Pixies
12/2 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club*
12/4 New York, NY Webster Hall*
12/5 Montreal, QC Carbaret Du Musee Juste Pour Rire
12/6 Toronto, ON Mod Club
12/7 Chicago, IL Metro*
12/10 Seattle, WA Neumos Crystal Ball Room*
12/11 Vancouver, BC Venue
12/12 Portland, OR Hawthone Theatre*
12/13 San Francisco, CA Mezzanine*
12/14 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda*

*Denotes Local Band Contest Market

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