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Okkervil River Drop Free Covers Mixtape, Add Gigs
Tackle Serge Gainsbourg, John Cale, Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny, the Fugs

Sometimes you love a song so much you just have to cover it, and sometimes you're pleased enough with the results to share them with the world. So it went for Will Sheff and his Okkervil River, who have pieced together a handful of choice live covers and readied them for your downloading pleasure, free of charge.

Golden Opportunities Mixtape is what they're calling it, and apart from one Okkervil original, the other eight tunes here come courtesy of folks like Serge Gainsbourg (translated to English by Sheff), John Cale, Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny, the Fugs, and Jimmy Webb (by way of Nina Simone). All were recorded by Okkervil "at various radio stations, concerts, and empty hotel stairwells" in 2006 and 2007.

You can nab the whole thing right now-- complete with digital artwork, liner notes, and your choice of audio quality-- on Okkervil's website.


What's more, Sheff has made it known that he wants feedback. Golden is no random smattering of other people's songcraft; indeed, the collection boasts "loose thematic ties" to Okkervil's latest, The Stage Names. Perhaps you'd like to ask Mr. Sheff himself for more insight? Send questions to and they just might be answered. Or inquire via the Okkervil message board, your call. Then swing over to the Okkervil website Friday (December 14) morning, where all will be revealed.

Finally, that tiny 2008 Okkervil jaunt we brought to your attention a little while back has since grown five-fold. Among the new stops are quite a few in Europe and a handful Down Under to coincide with the band's previously mentioned Laneway Festival appearances. Okkervil River live: hey, I'd watch it! [MORE...]


The Mars Volta Whip Up More Dates

Intent on taking the Bedlam far beyond wherever Goliath is, the Mars Volta have added to their previously reported European tour by throwing a couple weeks' worth of U.S. shows onto the front end.

The new dates are all in January, before the January 29 release of the Volta's fourth album, The Bedlam in Goliath, on Universal. [MORE...]

Radiohead Pad Out Tour With New Dates
MapleMusic handles Canadian release of In Rainbows

The freeloading has ended, but the date adding continues. Radiohead have announced a whopping three new live shows as part of their 2008 summer tour. The new dates are second shows in Dublin and Milan and a set at the Main Square Festival in Arras, France.

Radiohead will also grace another locale with In Rainbows jams, but in their studio forms, as MapleMusic Recordings will release the album on CD and vinyl in Canada on January 1. Hey! That's the same day it comes out physically in the U.S. (via TBD/ATO) and the day after the UK unveiling (via XL).

In other Radiohead news, we have it on strong suspicion that at least one member of the band will visit the restroom today, so stay tuned. [MORE...]

Jens Lekman Plots 2008 Dates

Photo by Sigurd Fandango

If Jens Lekman gives you that line about tonight's crowd sing-along to "Pocketful of Money" being "the most beautiful version ever," tell him to cram it up his nice-hole. A little birdy told me he's throwing that one out at damn near every stop on tour, and one can only assume he'll feed the good people of Europe the very same thing when he visits them early next year. And, okay, we'll still gobble it up every time.

Fibber though he may be, Jens' forthcoming dates are very real, and he'll spend a couple weeks on the road in the Old Countries starting just after Valentine's Day. Jens also has a few dates remaining on his fall tour, including a gig tonight with the lovely Clientele.

And, of course, no discussion of Mr. Lekman would be complete without a mention of his appearance at this May's ATP vs. Pitchfork festival in Rye, England, or his stop at the Explosions in the Sky-curated ATP the following weekend. [MORE...]

Photos: ATP's Nightmare Before Christmas [Minehead, England; 12/07-12/09/07]

Portishead Photos by James Cadden; Above: Portishead

'Twas the night a couple weeks before Christmas, and all through Bultins Holiday Centre in Minehead, England, quite a few creatures were stirring to the sounds of a reinvigorated Portishead, a Liquid Swords-swinging GZA, and the elusive ghost of IDM's past, present, and future, Aphex Twin. These jolly souls and more partook of the Portishead-curated, All Tomorrow's Parties-sponsored Nightmare Before Christmas bonanza, which capped off Sunday night at the seaside locale.

Also on Santa Pitchfork's "good" list: Madlib, Sunn O))), Boris, Fuck Buttons, Glenn Branca, Silver Apples, Sparklehorse, Om, Oneida, Julian Cope, Oren Ambarchi, and Primavera Club two-timer Thurston Moore. Kick back with an egg nog and check out all the usual photo action below. And if you prefer your Portishead live images with motion and sound, make Forkcast your next destination. why does that sound familiar?











Marina Leaves Bonde do Role
The day the party died

It turns out the reason Bonde do Role recently cancelled their Australian dates was more than the usual "exhaustion and illness" we suspected. In fact, widespread breakup rumors have proven partially true, as the trio has become a duo following the departure of charismatic MC Marina Vello.

In a MySpace bulletin titled "super ultra important announcement", Bonde's DJ (Rodrigo) Gorky and Pedro D'eyrot explained the situation:

"Due to several internal problems between us, we had to cancel a lot of our shows from the European tour, and we also had to cancel the scheduled Australian tour (everyone knew how excited we were about it!). For that we're really really sorry.

"And we also announce that Marina is no longer with us, due to these internal problems. We wish her all the best in whatever she decides to do with her future, and she can always count on us as friends. We are working these issues [out] right now as we speak, and we hope we can make it up to everyone who we let down this year, in the most awesome way we can!"

UPDATE: The group's PR has released an official statement, reiterating many of the same points. It reads as follows:

"Following the departure of Marina from the band, it is with great regret that Bonde do Role have had to cancel their Australian tour. The band will no longer be continuing with the same format, and remaining members Pedro and Gorky are currently working hard to recruit a new member. Bonde do Role have had an incredible year and have been through some unforgettable experiences together, and still remain friends."

Ghostface, Raekwon, Kweli Guest on New Hi-Tek Disc

Cincinnati beat maker Hi-Tek has returned with his third Hi-Teknology solo album, and while it doesn't have a nifty subtitle like last year's Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip, it does have a similarly respectable list of guest contributors. Obviously, all the production on Hi-Teknology 3 comes from Hi-Tek himself, but the album features lyrical contributions from Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Estelle, Little Brother, Young Buck, Sean Kingston, and Tek protégé Dion (a lot).

Babygrande releases Hi-Teknology 3 on December 11, which is today. [MORE...]

Built to Spill Keep on Trucking Into 2008

Last week, following a tip from reader Caleb Goldkamp (thanks dude!), we started sniffing out a Built to Spill February and March tour. And then, lo and behold, the entire month-long itinerary spread out before us like a succulent holiday feast. These guys sure love the road, don't they?

Fingers are still crossed regarding that Built to Spill/Modest Mouse/Love Is Laughter collaborative covers LP, Doug's got a tune on that Bigtop soundtrack, and they've got an ornament up for a good cause. [MORE...]


The Cure Lend Guitar to West Memphis Three Auction
Add European leg to 2008 tour

Is it me, or are charity swag auctions the new childrens' indie rock comps? Remember when you couldn't do a cartwheel without landing on one of those things? No complaining though-- while the merits of the latter are debatable, you can never have enough good deeds. And all that's to say that the Cure are the latest act to contribute to a charity auction.

Robert Smith and his gloom patrol have lent an extra special guitar to a cause of a different sort. They join Henry Rollins, Metallica, Eddie Vedder, Steve Earle, and other outspoken supporters of the men believed wrongfully accused in the hotly-contested West Memphis Three murder case. Proceeds from the auction will go the West Memphis Three's defense fund.

The six-string up on the auction block is a Schecter RS-1000 acoustic (pictured), custom designed according to Smith's specifications, put to use in the studio this year, and signed by Smith and the other three present members of the band. Place your bids beginning tomorrow (December 11) via Skeleton Key Auctions or the Cure's website. The auction closes Christmas Day.

The Cure embark on that rescheduled North American tour in May, and they've added a run of European dates in the months between then and now. And speaking of causes, the Cure also appear on Waxploitations's recently issued Causes 1 compilation. [MORE...]

RZA Sets out on Solo Tour, Wu-Tang Clan Add Dates

As you may know, popular rapping group Wu-Tang Clan have a new album called 8 Diagrams coming out tomorrow, December 11. And while the whole crew will kick off their winter tour (now with more dates!) this weekend, Wu sonic mastermind RZA will play a few solo shows even sooner.

RZA's tour starts tomorrow in San Francisco, with four stops in California and one in New York City. He'll be backed by the live band Stone Mecca on all dates.

And hey, it looks like someone's going to miss the first stop of the Wu tour... [MORE...]


Un-T.V. Eye: December 10-16, 2007

Thanks to the strike, tonight we get to take a time machine back to 2004, when Liz Phair played "Leno".

Monday, December 10:

NBC: Tonight Show With Jay Leno: Liz Phair (rerun)
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Rilo Kiley (rerun)

Tuesday, December 11:

CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Kings of Leon (rerun)

Wednesday, December 12:

NBC: The Today Show: Feist
FUEL TV: The Daily Habit: The Bravery
NBC: Tonight Show With Jay Leno: Kings of Leon (rerun)

Thursday, December 13:

FUEL TV: The Daily Habit: Dust Galaxy

Saturday, December 15:

FOX: Fearless TV: Hot Chip


Various Production Leave XL, Plan Releases

UK dubsteppers Various Production have ended their business relationship with XL and ushered in a wave of typically vague new release news in the process. Various wasn't technically signed to XL to begin with. Instead, the group licensed XL the release of The World Is Gone from its own Various imprint. Despite the seemingly relaxed nature of the arrangement, both parties have reached what a press release calls a "mutual decision" to part ways, and that's about all the juicy insight we have into the split.

This means the ball is in Various' court when it comes to releasing their second album. Might we suggest perhaps "doing a Radiohead"? We hear it's all the rage.

However they release it, the currently untitled album will come out next year, but a bunch of other Various miscellany (redundant?) comes first. There's the remix of Ian Brown's "Sister Rose" that's out now. Then, a Christmas bundle with a 12", USB bracelet, and t-shirt comes to the UK on December 17 via a newly formed imprint called Misc001. Finally, Various' album-length collaboration with Glaswegian poet Gerry Mitchell-- not to be confused with Various' second album-- will see release next year.
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