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The Mary Onettes Issue Debut in the States

Photo by Peter Mogensen

The Mary Onettes
list "mostly music from the eighties" as their only influence on their MySpace page, and, well, no one's gonna accuse them of any lack of self-awareness. The Swedish popmakers make some sweetly skuzzy sounds nestled somewhere between the stickiest new wave tunes and those early synthpop-indebted Magnetic Fields LPs, and their "Pleasure Songs" ought to please most ears already tickled by the recent Swedish explosion. The band's self-titled debut came out last year in their homeland, but is due in the U.S. December 11 on Labrador Records. The band recently wrapped a handful of Swedish dates, but no future shows are lined up. [MORE...]
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The Teenagers Lust for Scarlett Johansson on Single
Indie girls still waiting for someone to pay musical tribute to Michael Cera

Ah, puppy love. Who hasn't felt its pleasurably painful pangs? And who better to communicate those feelings in MySpace-style "melodramatic popular song" than teenagers? No one, that's who, and that's where London/Paris trio the Teenagers come in.

The band's newest single, a follow-up to this year's "Homecoming", is "Starlett Johansson". It's a paean to indie heartthrob/Tom Waits interpreter Scarlett Johansson, and who's to say that when she's done hanging out with Bob Dylan, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, David Sitek, and Justin Timberlake, these three couldn't be next?

Okay, so it's unlikely the Teenagers will get any alone time with the actress, but at least the rest of us can join the fantasy on December 4, when XL releases the single.

Currently, the Teenagers are recording with producer Gordon Raphael (the Strokes), and they have a couple shows in the UK to close out the year. Then next year, they'll head over to North America for a tour in January/February. [MORE...]
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Jackson Reissues Thriller With Kanye, will.i.am, Akon
T-Pain feels left out

Michael Jackson's bazillion-selling Thriller album turns 25 today, but the folks at Epic/Legacy are giving themselves a few extra months to plot a party befitting such a milestone. On February 11 the world over, and the following day in the U.S., the label will issue Thriller - 25th Anniversary Edition, which features the original album boosted by the usual slew of unreleased tracks, rarities, and music videos. It's a must-own LP in any form, but this gets us especially excited: Kanye West will provide a remix of "Billie Jean" for the set. Sounds really good, doesn't it?

The disc also sports remixes of "P.Y.T." and "The Girl Is Mine" from will.i.am, and a new take on "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" from will.i.am and Akon. As for the strictly Jacko bonus material, this new Thriller has it in spades: Michael's original demo version of "Billie Jean", non-album tracks "Someone in the Dark" and "Carousel" (all available on 2001's Thriller Special Edition), and the previously unreleased "For All Time", recorded during the original Thriller sessions. The disc also includes a DVD featuring the iconic clips for "Thriller," "Beat It" and "Billie Jean", as well as Jackson's star-solidifying performance of "Billie Jean" from the "Motown 25" TV special in 1983. To top it off, Michael's checked in from CrazyworldNeverland to pen a "personal greeting" exclusively for this release.

In related news, rumors have been swirling that the Jackson Five will reunite for a tour next year. [MORE...]

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Band of Horses Sandwich Tour With More Dates
All BoH sandwiches made with secret-recipe reverb

For Band of Horses' album, Cease to Begin is a fine name, but when it comes to their ever-expanding tour, we wish they'd make a reunited-hair-metal-band move and call it "The Cease to End Tour." (Dudes, we're totally willing to sell you that idea. Call us!)

The name is now even more accurate, as Band of Horses have added a big chunk of U.S. dates to go in between their previously reported New Year's shows and European dates in February and March.

Next up for the Horses is a December 14 performance on British TV show "Later With Jools Holland". And since it's finally seasonally appropriate, don't forget to pick up one of the band's Glass Casters Union charity ornaments for the old Christmas tree. [MORE...]

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New Portishead Album Due in April

Photo by Grumpy Man DJs

We knew they were working on it, and then wrapping it up, and now we know they're actually going to release it this time. We even know approximately when! According to an Island Records rep, the as-yet-untitled new studio album from Portishead will arrive in April in the UK, a mere 10-odd years after the one before it. Patience pays, people!

The long-overdue full-length will be the Bristol trio's third. No word yet on a U.S. release, nor all those friendly details we like to pepper these pages with. Here's hoping they give it a better name than Alien, the rumored Portishead album title that was all the rage circa 2003.

Portishead will, of course, play two gigs at the upcoming Nightmare Before Christmas ATP event that they've also curated. Those visions of sugarplums turn deadly from December 7-9. Guitarist Adrian Utley is also set to join Goldfrapp's Will Gregory and others in Bristol and London over the next couple days to premiere Gregory's score for the silent film He Who Gets Slapped. [MORE...]
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Radiohead's "Jigsaw" Single Details Fall Into Place

Most bands put out an album's first single well in advance of the album in question, but as we've learned over the last few weeks (and, I guess, the last fifteen years), Radiohead get away with stuff most-- though not all-- bands only talk about.

As previously reported, "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" is the first single plucked from Radiohead's stellar In Rainbows. It drops in a plethora of formats (CD, 7", and one-track digital download) January 14 in the UK from XL Recordings. The single's B-sides, which vary whether you opt for the CD or 7", were culled from the Nigel Godrich show "From the Basement" and are otherwise unavailable in audio format. The single will be available some two weeks after the album emerges in tangible form on XL December 31. No word yet if "Jigsaw" is headed to the States.

Keep an eye peeled for your mail carrier: your discbox is on its way. Patient sorts have a little more than a month to wait for In Rainbows' release in North America, or a week and a half for that other box set that the band isn't too keen on. And all those nonspecific tour dates we reported yesterday remain that way, after the jump. [MORE...]
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Dean & Britta, Keren Ann Link Up for Spring Tour

Through much of the month of February, jet-setting chanteuse Keren Ann and the ongoing testament to marital bliss that is Dean & Britta will make their way through the wilds of North America together on a joint tour.

It makes sense, really, and not just because both play lovely, languid music. Both acts also put out new albums in 2007, and both have dates of their own in the meantime, giving them plenty of time to road test each other's songs for any potential set-closing, stage-clearing collaborative jam sessions. Because, after all, nobody jams out like, uh, Keren Ann. [MORE...]
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Stars Extend Tour Even More

Photo by Michael Alan Goldberg

Though they've only got a few dates left before this year's up, Stars are really packing it in come 2008. The dukes and duchess of melodrama have added to their previously reported list of gigs in the new year with a number of new European dates, as well as a trip Down Under in late February and early March. A couple of the Aussie dates find the band linking up with the second weekend of the traveling Laneway Festival, at which their fellow Broken Social Scene associates Feist and Kevin Drew are also scheduled to appear. Can our boy K.D. resist a chance to play with people he actually knows?

Need your Stars fix a little sooner than that? A remix of their "First 5 Times" also pops up on the recently released benefit album At the Barricades Volume 1 (a compilation in support of Lake Ontario's water quality), along with Broken Social Scene, Pete Seeger, Chris Brown, and others. No, not that Chris Brown. [MORE...]
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Shia LaBeouf Working on Cage Biopic
Plus: Cage album update

As the star of '07 summer blockbuster Transformers, Shia LaBeouf has quite a few options when it comes to future projects. Already, he snagged a role in fourth Indiana Jones flick Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull alongside Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett, so what could be next? A movie with Martin Scorsese, George Clooney, or Hilary Swank? Maybe a stint on Broadway? Alas, no. Instead, it seems LaBeouf will travel down the tricky, so often indulgent road of the "pet project." And his pet project is... a Cage biopic.

Yep, you read right. LaBeouf is looking to play Def Jux rapper Cage, aka Chris Palko, in a forthcoming film about the MC's life, according to an article in the December issue of SPIN. "I have been listening to Cage since I got into hip-hop when I was 12," LaBeouf said. "I grew up on the West Coast listening to a lot of 2Pac and Eazy-E, so when I found out that Cage was white, it was incredible. I'd never heard anything like that."

After having gained a measure of fame due to his roles in tween hits Holes and Disney Channel show "Even Stevens", LaBeouf contacted Cage about making a documentary about the rapper, and Cage allowed him to film his tour in 2006. (Whoa... could Shia LaBeouf have been at the Pitchfork Music Festival last year?) According to SPIN, at some point along the way, the prospect of drawing from Cage's history of drug abuse and psychiatric problems for a biopic became more enticing than a straight documentary. And thus, the idea was born.

As Tom Breihan wrote in the Pitchfork review of Cage's 2005 album Hell's Winter, "Cage has the kind of life story most aspiring new-schoolers just lie and make up. He was abused by his dishonorably-discharged junky father and his stepfather, kicked out of high school, overmedicated in a mental hospital, became a white-rap wunderkind in the early 90s, almost put out an album on Columbia, kicked around the major label system, got hooked on drugs, had a kid, got dissed on the first Eminem album, and found himself a home in underground rap." Sounds like a promising story arc to us.

Talking to SPIN, LaBeouf made it clear that this will be a chance for him to subvert Hollywood's expectations of him as a squeaky clean boy next door, saying, "It's kind of like how no matter what film De Niro was making, he was always ready to pull Raging Bull out of his back pocket. Cage is my Jake LaMotta." It seems the movie will also allow LaBeouf to explore themes of delusion and overstatement.

Despite all the talk, the movie is still very much in its beginning stages. LaBeouf is producing it (probably under the umbrella of his own Grassy Slope production company), according to a recent Cage interview with LAist.com, but the two are still looking for a writer and a director.

As for the specific content of the movie, Cage claims in the LAist.com interview that "it [covers] from birth to about '98 or so, after I dropped 'Agent Orange'." He also didn't rule out the possibility of making a cameo.

Today, Cage posted the following message on his MySpace page, referring to the SPIN article:

"By the way it's not.... Plus I be disturbed it's Plus happy disturbed in that Agent Orange quote no matter how many websites tell you different.That's right people I was an angry misogynistic angel dust smoking suicidal high school drop out former mental patient lashing out in music and stumbled into everything including the movie being made about it.
We are in development we can't get a writer until the strike is over and that is where we are.
I hope this answers some of your questions."

Cage is currently working on the follow-up to Hell's Winter, which he first talked to us about over a year ago. It's still titled Depart From Me, and it's due out summer 2008 on Def Jux. Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw/Head Automatica is serving as executive producer, Sean Martin of Hatebreed contributes production, and Phil Caivano of Monster Magnet is recording the album. According to Cage's publicist, "it's a very progressive record that is mostly sample-free and guitar-heavy, with beats ranging from 88 to 200 BPMs-- not a typical rap record by any means."

Finally, as photographic proof of Cage and LaBeouf's BFF-ness, below is a photo of the former on the set of Transformers. Awww.

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Child Ballads (ex-Jonathan Fire*Eater) Send EP to U.S.

By the time Child Ballads' (aka the Childballads) Cheekbone Hollows (Pop. 1/2 Life) EP hits U.S. shops on April 15, some 18 months will have transpired since Pitchfork initially reported its existence. For head Balladeer Stewart Lupton, the wait must seem a lot longer, considering 2008 also marks the ten year anniversary of the end of his stint as the lead singer of Jonathan Fire*Eater.

To support the Gypsy Eyes Records Stateside release of the EP-- which hit UK shops earlier this year via Loog-- Child Ballads are planning to tour next year. But for now, Lupton's hometown fans can hop over to Brooklyn's Luna Lounge on December 7 for the band's only currently scheduled show. [MORE...]
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Morrissey to Sue NME Over Immigration Remarks
Update: Morrissey's Polydor/Decca deal includes U.S.

Photo by Alissa Anderson

Morrissey is certainly no stranger to controversy. And the latest little shitstorm he's found himself the center of involves some comments he made to the NME, the NME's presentation of said comments, and, you guessed it, lawyers.

The Moz is sittin' pretty on the cover of the current NME (requisite tagline: "Bigmouth Strikes Again"), but some words he shares within aren't looking so pretty to some people. According to a BBC report, Morrissey purportedly told the NME the following when asked if he, presently residing in Rome, would return to live in England:

"Although I don't have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears. So the price is enormous. If you travel to Germany, it's still absolutely Germany. If you travel to Sweden, it still has a Swedish identity.

"But travel to England and you have no idea where you are."

Morrissey then gave a follow-up interview in which he clarified his remarks: "It could be construed that the reason I wouldn't wish to live in England is the immigration explosion. And that's not true at all."

Yet the original quote appeared in the magazine, prompting Morrissey to demand that the magazine print an apology. The NME did not do so. Thus, Morrissey's lawyers are planning to sue the publication and its editor, Conor McNicholas, for defamation, according to the BBC.

The issue is further compounded by the fact that the article's author, freelance journalist Tim Jonze, asked to have his name removed after NME editors severely reworked his words, according to Moz fansite True to You.

On to slightly less sensational news: just yesterday we reported that everybody's favorite puppy-eyed mope had signed a UK record deal with Polydor/Decca. Today we've learned that said deal extends well beyond the British Isles, encompassing the 50 states that comprise the U.S.A. as well.

And so it would seem Polydor/Decca will have the pleasure of delivering the latest two Moz offerings unto English-speaking lands on both sides of the Atlantic. Yes, two: recall that the one-time Smith has both a new LP proper (the follow-up to 2006's Ringmaster of the Tormentors) and a greatest hits collection of sorts (nevermind that he already sorta has one of those) cued up for 2008.

According to Morrissey's publicist, the greatest hits collection will boast two additional all new Moz cuts. And, we can only hope, better cover art than the other one.

Denizens of France, Scotland, and London: Make a date with Moz in the months to come. [MORE...]
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Boris Smile for New Album
Boris/Merzbow split out now

Typically, April showers bring May flowers, but blooming could be harder after the downpour of arrows, tanks, napalm, and other destructively bad-ass things that comes when Boris release a new album next April via Southern Lord.

The official studio follow-up to the killer Pink is called Smile, and it features contributions from previous collaborators such as Michio Kurihara and Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley.

There's not much other info about Smile available, but we have high hopes that Boris can stick to a release timetable better than Brian Wilson. In fact, the band will precede the album's release with a single on CD and seven-inch as well as a new video.

And remember that Boris/Merzbow live split we mentioned a while back? It's out now on Southern Lord. This latest collaboration between Boris and Merzbow spreads 13 tracks across two discs and comes on CD in groovy die-cut gatefold packaging designed by Southern Lord/Sunn O)))'s O'Malley.

Boris have three tour dates left this year, starting with a show in Tokyo tomorrow, November 30. [MORE...]
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Do you have a news tip for us? Anything crazy happen at a show you attended recently? Do you have inside info on the bands we cover? Is one of your favorite artists (that's not somebody you know personally) releasing a new record you'd like to see covered? You will remain completely anonymous, unless we are given your express permission to reveal your identity. (Please note that publicists, managers, booking agents, and other artist representatives are generally exempt from this rule, but will also be granted anonymity if requested.)

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