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Alan Sparhawk's Black-Eyed Snakes Go Skiing on DVD
Black Mountain pissed they didn't think of idea first

Usually when a band releases a DVD, it's of some live show, or it's a documentary chronicling the history of the band, or maybe it's some kooky music-related movie with interviews and music videos as extras. Not so for Low guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk's Black-Eyed Snakes side project.

The Snakes have released a short film called Cross Country With the Snakes on DVD, featuring the cross-country skiing talents of the band and, in particular, those of drummer and one-time Olympic hopeful Brad Nelson. And sure, the DVD-- shot by skiing fanatic Hansi Johnson-- also has some live footage from the shows the band played on its Colorado/Utah road trip, but the real prize is getting to see the Snakes' impression of Low's "Belarus" video.

As part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival tour, Cross Country With the Snakes will screen at Minneapolis' Midwest Mountaineering on November 16 and 17 and at the Duluth Cross Country Ski Club on November 18 and 19. The DVD is available from Low's now.

For their part, Low still have those Down Under dates scheduled in January, starting January 9 in Auckland, New Zealand. [MORE...]

Dan Deacon Reveals Ultimate Reality Tour Details
Tour to focus on music, images rather than globalization, poverty, alienation

Wham Citizens Dan Deacon and Jimmy Joe Roche have turned Ultimate Reality, their collaborative DVD/"dominant pansexual ubermyth" into a dominant pansexual ubercircus with the announcement of a 2008 tour in support of the recent release.

On these dates, Deacon's regular set will come after a screening of the DVD, which will be accompanied by live music from Deacon, Roche, and drummers Kevin O'Meare of Video Hippos and Jeremy Hyman of Ponytail. Deacon has plenty of regular old tour dates as well, starting with a show in Baltimore on November 15.

According to Deacon's label, Carpark, he is readying a Spiderman of the Rings follow-up for a tentative May release. In the touring department, he hopes to supplement his February/March trip to Australia with February dates in Japan, followed in the spring by a potential European Ultimate Reality tour.

And finally: "Wham City" ringtone. [MORE...]


The Band's Levon Helm Helps Ida Prepare Prayers

When it came time to record Lovers Prayers, their follow-up to 2005's Heart Like a River, New Yorkers Ida did the Bon Iver retreat-into-the-woods thing. The thing is, they chose a pretty cool patch of woods for the retreat: the home studio of Levon Helm (Arkansas native, drummer for the Band, actor in The Right Stuff, all-around cool-seeming guy) in the Catskill Mountains.

While there, the band was able to get Helm to sit in with them for a little bit of drum recording. And in addition to the work of new band members Jean Cook (Mekons) on violin and Ruth Keating on drum and multi-instrumental duties, contributions to the album included guitar, drums, and cover art from Tara Jane O'Neil, cello from Jane Scarpantoni (R.E.M., Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright), pedal steel from Matt Sutton, and engineering from Justin Guip, Helm's own engineer. Longtime Ida collaborator Warn Defever (His Name Is Alive) helped the band produce the album.

Lovers Prayers marks Ida's seventh full-length overall and second for Polyvinyl, which will release the record on January 29. The band has three New York dates scheduled for this month, starting with an NYC show on November 15.

Finally, during the time they recorded Lovers Prayers, Ida were also afforded the opportunity to collaborate with one of their heroes: songwriter Michael Hurley, who lends fiddle to Lovers. The band is currently working with him on another new project. [MORE...]

Photos: The Walkmen [San Diego, CA; 11/10/07]

Photos by Natalie Kardos

Hamilton Leithauser and his Walkmen strolled into San Diego this past weekend to, yes, rock the Casbah. The Saturday night gig was but one of several engagements the NYC five-piece has lined up in the days to come. Tonight finds them in Santa Barbara, and apart from one lone date in Mexico next month, December is wide open for all the "Sex in the City" DVD-viewing slumber parties these guys could ever want.


Major Stars Join Drag City Roster for New LP, Tour

Almost 10 years into their recording career, Major Stars' pummeling psych attack doesn't look to let up any time soon. And for their sixth album, Mirror/Messenger, Massachusetts natives Wayne Rogers and Kate Village have found a new label, Drag City, and four additional members, giving them a three-headed hydra in the guitar department.

Drag City will release Mirror/Messenger on November 20, and the band will follow the album's release with a rare tour of East Coast and Midwest dates. Their first show is November 27 in Pittsburgh. [MORE...]

Los Campesinos! Name Album, Add 2008 Dates

Things seem to be going swimmingly on the current Los Campesinos! world tour. Except for "the twat in Newcastle who tried to steal the Melody Horn, the smegga in Southampton who DID steal a microphone and the dickstick in Cambridge that tried to cause a fight after 'coming on' to Ellen," the enthusiasm radiating from the band's latest MySpace bulletin/outpost from the road is contagious. And while you seek out a real live British person to tell you the meaning of smegga (...icky!) and furiously Google in hope of helping Gareth in his quest to find a "decent Bis t-shirt," feast your eyes on the title of the forthcoming debut LP from the LC!:

Hold On Now, Youngster...

"This is the title of our album," Gareth writes on behalf of the band and their new ellipsis-laden thesis statement, "because it is the best title for any album ever." Debatable, but that'll do. You kids sure do like punctuation! The band has "a tracklisting and stuff too" for Hold On Now, "but that's all secret for the time being."

The disc is set to drop around the time Los Campesinos! embark on a fresh new run of tour dates in February. "We promise we'll have some amazing bands playing with us, because we know no other way." Indeed: just check out the ever-expanding lineup for next May's Pitchfork vs. ATP festival if you don't believe 'em. [MORE...]


Travis Morrison Rounds Up Hellfighters for Fall Tour
Call him T-Mobile

Photo by David Holloway

When I found out Travis Morrison and his Hellfighters are about to go on tour, I immediately pictured one of the Orcs-gearing-up-for-battle scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies. Fortunately for the audiences at these shows, Morrison is easier on the eyes than that.

But even without Hellfighter accompaniment, Morrison's Prince-like live antics are not to be missed. So get on down to these shows, which start November 15 in NYC, and watch TM and band tear into some All Y'all tunes. [MORE...]

Un-T.V. Eye: November 12-18, 2007

As the Writers Guild of America strike goes into its second week, we've got even more reruns for ya here at T.V. Eye. The two exceptions: Fuel TV and Fearless TV.

Monday, November 12:

CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Ryan Adams (rerun)
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Thurston Moore, Common (rerun)

Tuesday, November 13:

NBC: The Tonight Show With Jay Leno: Cold War Kids (rerun)
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Modest Mouse (rerun)
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: They Might Be Giants (rerun)

Wednesday, November 14:

FUEL TV: The Daily Habit: Ra Ra Riot
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Ben Lee (rerun)

Saturday, November 17:

FOX: Fearless TV: Heavy Trash, Clare & the Reasons
NBC: Saturday Night Live: Foo Fighters (rerun)


Art Brut's Argos, Black Box Recorder Cut Xmas Single
Help them take it to number one!

"Top of the Pops" may be off the air, but that clearly hasn't quashed the ambitions of Art Brut's Eddie Argos one bit. If this year is anything like last year, there will be a "TOTP" Christmas special, and Argos hopes to crash it with a bona fide Christmas number one.

To do so, Eddie has teamed with another UK act fond of the speak-singing, lovable cynics Black Box Recorder, and a pal who goes by the name of Keith Top of the Pops. Together as the Black Arts, this upstanding bunch has recorded a holiday heatseeker, conveniently titled "Christmas Number One", about-- get this-- a Christmas single that takes on a life of its own. This "One" has it all: jingle bells, children singing, some tacky rhymes, a bridge in waltz time, the delirious barks of Argos, and the authoritative coo of BBR's Sarah Nixey.

Meanwhile, B-side "Glam Casual" has Argos reminding us that "the internet is full of mean and evil people." Errr...

Fantastic Plastic offers up "Christmas Number One" as a limited edition (1,000 copies) slab of green 7" vinyl on December 10, and as a digital download on December 3. But it's up to you, the record-buying public, to take it to number one. And if you don't, THERE WILL BE NO CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR. (Haha, kidding, but Christmas won't be nearly as funny.)

This isn't the first time Argos has comingled with the Black Box Recorder camp. BBR's John Moore and Luke Haines joined Eddie and Keith to form the English Travelling Wilburys (nevermind that George Harrison and Jeff Lynne are English, and the original spells it "Traveling"), who recorded a BBC radio session, while Moore played on both Art Brut records. World, watch out: the crew may try its hand at a Eurovision entry next.

Black Box Recorder have no immediate plans for the moment, while Argos and Art Brut are on the road now. [MORE...]

Kanye, Bowie, Cat Power Design Charity Lunchboxes
Also: Bright Eyes, Beastie Boys, TV on the Radio, Interpol, Lily Allen, Michael Stipe

Superman, move over. There's a new batch of lunchbox designs in town. Kanye West, David Bowie, Cat Power, Interpol, the Beastie Boys, Bright Eyes, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Yoko Ono, Michael Stipe, Rufus Wainwright, Lily Allen, TV on the Radio, Courtney Love, Patti Smith, and Scissor Sisters among many others (including lots of famous Hollywood types), have all decorated pails for this year's Lunchbox Auction, an online charity auction for hunger relief in New York City and South Africa.

Bidding on the celeb-designed lunchboxes will begin at on December 6, and the proceeds from the auctions will go to two charities: The Food Bank for New York City and the Lunchbox Fund.

Check out some lunchboxes from the 2005 auction. Here's Conor Oberst's:

And Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino's:

And a collaborative effort between David Bowie, wife Iman, and daughter Lexi:


Photos: Menomena / Illinois [Boston, MA; 11/09/07]

Photos by Jason Bergman

Touring in tandem: a great way to make both Friend and Foe. Luckily, a few weeks on the road together seem to have made tourmates Menomena and Illinois very much the former-- they even swapped members for a spell this past weekend at Boston's Paradise. Menomena's Justin Harris aided Illinois with his trusty sax, while Illinois frontman Chris Archibald ditched his shirt and joined Menomena to, well, you'll see.

The boys have but a few more dates together; then comes the sweet sorrow of parting and a few scattered shows for each beyond.

And since you're here, don't forget Menomena's Danny Seim has a new Lackthereof album due this December.




Roots Curate Fest, Do Entire Things Fall Apart LP Live

The 2008 POPPED! Music Festival pops off at Philadelphia's Drexel University June 20-22, and based on the first act alone, we can tell you this thing will be a doozy.

Not only will Philly's favorite sons the Roots curate the first night of next year's fest, they will also perform catalog hallmark Things Fall Apart in its entirety, Don't Look Back-stylee. Hot dang.

Black Thought, ?uestlove, and the guys will join some 40 more performers to rock POPPED! 2008, and if all goes according to plan the Roots won't be the only ones performing a modern day classic from start to finish.

While we wait with baited breath for lineup updates, know this: POPPED! has taken initiatives to help make its 2008 bash green-friendly. So you can rock out with a clean conscience. What's more, fest organizers plan to hold several satellite events in the months leading up to POPPED! 2008.
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