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Justice, Peaches, 2 Live Crew, A-Trak Do NYE in L.A.

Big surprise here: in Los Angeles, on New Year's Eve, Steve Aoki's gonna be playing records at a party.

But, hey, so are Justice (doing a DJ set), Peaches (performing, and counting down to midnight), that Spank Rock cover band 2 Live Crew, A-Trak, Busy P, Whitey, Softlightes, and a full roster of the usual suspects as well.

And you, too, can be there for Hard New Year's Eve, provided you're 21 years of age and can make your way to the city's Premiere Events Center on the evening of December 31. Auld acquaintance will be wiped clean over the minifest's generous eight hour run time, and all those DayGlo hoodies ought to keep you upright well into 2008.

Bat for Lashes Drop iTunes EP With Plaid Remix

Much like the flying rodents after which she's named, Natasha Khan and her Bat for Lashes have snuck up on us all unexpected-like.

The lovely "What's a Girl to Do?" from her similarly lovely Fur and Gold LP made its way to iTunes today as part of an exclusive EP featuring the original song, a remix thereof from Plaid, and a live take on "The Wizard" from a recent gig in New York City. The much-lauded, previously Forkcasted "Girl" video comes bundled with the thing, too, should you or your media device be tiring of that Feist vid. Perish the thought.

As for Khan, she's taking a rare break from the road at the moment. Whatever for, you ask? Why, "working on writing the next album," of course. [MORE...]

Michael Showalter Talks Sandwiches, State Reunion
"I think within the next two years, you will be hearing about a State movie. In the vein of a Monty Python film, which is to say a sketch comedy film. Like The Meaning of Life or something."

To promote the release of his very first comedy album, Sandwiches & Cats, Michael Showalter recently took to a handful of blogs and started writing. One of his juicier posts appeared on My Old Kentucky Blog, where he revealed that his mid-90s sketch comedy group the State, they of the beloved MTV show of the same name, "is reuniting (though in truth we never broke up) to make a sketch comedy movie. All I can say about it is that we're back together after a brief ten-year break, and it's going to be about the history of our country. Hopefully, funny."

Pitchfork's (and a whole bunch of other people's) interest piqued, I called Showalter to talk to him about the reunion and all of the other things he has on his plate at the moment. In addition to the obvious stuff (the reunion, his album, his tour with fellow State member and frequent collaborator Michael Ian Black), we talked about hecklers, the Writers Guild of America strike, and his relationship with Sandwiches producer and former Shudder to Think frontman Craig Wedren. And yeah, sue me, I talked to yet another person about baseball.

Pitchfork: Are you and Michael [Ian Black] performing on stage together at all on this tour?

Michael Showalter: No, no. Not really. We're traveling together, but we're not performing together.

Have you influenced each other's sets indirectly in any way? Any sabotage, intentional or unintentional?

MS: I think so. No sabotage, but I think we feed off of each other in certain ways.

What sorts of ways?

MS: Mostly we eat food off of each other's stomachs and stuff like that.

Do you clean it up before you go on stage, or do you just leave it on your stomachs?

MS: We try to, but sometimes there's no time.

Pitchfork: So you gotta work on the fly?

MS: Yeah. And I go up first, so I'm usually a little messier.

Pitchfork: You go up first?

MS: Yeah. I open.

How was that decided?

MS: Well, Mike is sort of the headliner because he's more famous than me. He just has a lot more exposure than I do. He's a more recognizable face than I am. So like, when I'm traveling with Michael, I would say that for every ten people [who recognize] Michael, eight of them also [know] who I [am].

Pitchfork: So it's like he is 25% more popular than you, is what you're saying?

MS: He is probably a little bit more like-- and popular is also not the right word. He's just more famous. He's probably 30% more famous than me. [MORE...]

Tim Hecker Preps New Vinyl EP

Soundscape architect Tim Hecker will follow the success of his most recent full-length, Harmony in Ultraviolet, and the reissue of his Radio Amor LP earlier this year with a vinyl-only EP called Atlas. The EP comes out via Audraglint on November 27 in a limited run of 500 copies on white vinyl.

Included on Atlas are two 10+ minute tracks, "Atlas One" (recently featured in Forkcast) and "Atlas Two". The physical release will be the only place you can get these tracks, since they will not be available digitally.

Hecker has a couple shows left this year, starting December 6 in Lausanne, Switzerland. He's also working on a full-length follow-up to Harmony in Ultraviolet for a forthcoming release on Kranky. [MORE...]

The Mountain Goats Reveal New Album

Photo by Kyle Gustafson

Let's let John Darnielle explain just why Heretic Pride, the forthcoming billionth LP from his Mountain Goats, will see the light February 19 from 4AD, and not a moment sooner:

"We are really excited about this album, and we wish it were out right now, but there is a law against releasing albums in December unless you are Queen. Any album you see released in December is actually by Queen, no matter what it says on the cover. Then in January everybody is recovering from having listened to too much Queen. Hence, February. See you then!"

Heretic Pride arrives with the mark of guest appearances by St. Vincent's Annie Clark, Superchunk's Jon Wurster, Peter Hughes (naturally), old pal Franklin Bruno, Erik Friedlander, and the Bright Mountain Choir. The disc was produced by John Vanderslice and Scott Solter at Prairie Sun Studio, and features artwork from longtime 4AD fave Vaughan Oliver.

While you wait, you've got a few shots at hearing the new stuff live at a handful of Mountain Goats dates over the next few weeks. They've also got that post-Queen-hangover set at this spring's Noise Pop festival, which we reported earlier today. [MORE...]

Wu-Tang Clan Plot Winter Diagrams Tour
Ghostface lands cameo in Iron Man film

Photo by William Kirk

Face it, the Wu is back; following close on the heels of the December 11 release of their while-in-the-making 8 Diagrams LP, the RZA, the GZA, Inspectah Deck, etc. will take to the stages of this fair country on a full-bore Wu-Tang Clan tour.

They have eleven shows lined up right now, but more dates can be expected to follow-- and given the notoriously inexact way these guys do things, you'll want to re-check the venue website before you head out to any of these shows. Still, barring incident, all your guys (and, dollars to donuts, Cappadonna and some jokers from the Brooklyn Zoo) will reform like Voltron live onstage over the next couple months. And when that happens, it's always something to behold.

In other news from the Wu, Ghost's Big Doe Rehab seems to be shaping up quite nicely. Nicer than my throne of money, anyway. And speaking of Ghost, the rapper will soon blow meta minds with a cameo in the forthcoming filmic adaptation of the Iron Man comic book series, according to an report. [MORE...]

Dresden Dolls Tour, Amanda Palmer Goes Solo on LP
Palmer solo disc produced by Ben Folds

In late December, Beantown twosome the Dresden Dolls will embark on their first tour since this past summer's cavalcade of True Colors, making their way around well-traveled portions of North America.

Quoth Doll Amanda Palmer via press release: "We're planning on a simple, stripped-down, go-out-on-stage-destroy kind of show. Of course, I always say that and we wind up with a ton of people on stage, doing weird things. How does that always happen?" Dunno, but you can do weird things beginning December 27 in D.C.

Seems Palmer's got quite a bit to say of late. Amanda's solo debut, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, is due early next year. Produced by piano man Ben Folds, the album has apparently transformed from a simple solo joint to, as Amanda puts it, a "full-production monster."

The in-process disc will feature tracks "Don't Take Flowers", "Night Reconnaissance", "Awful Detail", "The Mouse & the Model", and "Blake Says", though it sounds like pretty much everything else about it is up in the air at this point. Pester Amanda for progress reports if you please at one of her forthcoming solo shows, kicking off this weekend and listed after the jump.

Oh, and the Dolls have a characteristically off-kilter merchandizing thing going on, too. It's called Post War Trade, and it's a call for designers and doodlers alike to submit logos and the like to potentially be printed on official Dresden Dolls merch. Besides fame, glory, and so forth, a hefty portion of proceeds from sales of the selected stuff will go to the original artists. [MORE...]

The Walkmen Stroll Into 2008 With Live Dates

Photo by Natalie Kardos

The Walkmen, as their name would suggest, are males of action. And so, having primarily busied themselves of late with work on their follow-up to last year's one-two punch-- which their website claims should be done by year's end, with a release in the spring-- Ham and company have lined up a brief January tour to stave off boredom and stretch those legs proper-like. Busy: it's the only way they know.

That album might come a little faster than expected now that the band's scheduled appearance at the Corona Music Fest December 1 is off, pending rescheduling. It appears the Corona folks failed to consider the disruptive nature of all the hot soccer action going on in Mexico City that weekend and have moved the event to a TBD date in spring 2008.

Still good to go, barring an infestation of cartoon alligators: Langerado Festival, where the band will perform in early March. [MORE...]

Photos: Peter Moren (of Peter Bjorn and John) [New York, NY; 11/19/07]

Photos by Kathryn Yu

What do you get when you subtract the B&J from PB&J? Typically, a crunchy nut that would hardly befit a sandwich by itself. But of course, we're not talking about nuts, but rather Peter Morén of Swedish popsmiths Peter Bjorn and John, who played a solo gig last night at New York City's Joe's Pub.

The butter showed up for the encore, as PB&J bandmate Björn Yttling joined in on piano and Morén rolled through Writer's Block anthem "Objects of My Affection". Strings were also enlisted for a few tunes, and Morén even treated the gathered to a cover of one of the biggest international hits ever to emerge from Scandinavia, a-ha's unstoppable "Take on Me".

As previously reported, Morén is putting together a solo album too. He'll rejoin B and J later this week for a full-on American tour, with the Besnard Lakes playing support, and also duck out for one more solo NYC date next month. Those tour dates, plus more P solo shots, lie just ahead.


Joe Lally/Capillary Action Gear Stolen in San Francisco

Fugazi's Joe Lally and Philly's Capillary Action were enjoying a nice stop over in San Francisco following a shared gig on their current tour when tragedy struck. November 16, between the hours of 3-10 a.m. on the corner of Valencia Street and Clinton Park, someone broke into Capillary Action's tour van and grabbed a few things without asking permission first. And they were:

Roland KC350 Amp with bent corner
Yamaha S03 Keyboard with cracked side
Alesis QS7 Keyboard
Sharp VLNZ50U MiniDV Recorder with 3" Color LCD Screen (you'll find footage from a November 15 show in Palo Alto inside)

Look, people, if you absolutely must steal, don't take the broken gear of a notoriously generous dude. While Lally has indicated that he didn't personally lose anything of great value, I'm sure his friends in Capillary Action would like their gear back. Got some info on the theft? Place that tail between your legs, gulp down all that pride, and shoot an e-mail to this address.

The joint tour continues tonight in Olympia. Lally has also lined up a round of February 2008 dates. [MORE...]

NIN Remix Site Halted by Universal Music Group

A little more than a month or so back, we spilled what we could on Nine Inch Nails' mysterious Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D LP. The disc in all its forms is out today (November 20), but the accompanying website--, designed as a hub for submission and discussion of fan remixes-- might as well be a LOLcat at this point.

Seems "The Man"-- played, in this instance, by Doug Morris and his Universal Music Group-- doesn't want Trent and company R3M1Xing sans regulation while the project is being hosted by Universal. And, since Universal owns all the Nine Inch Nails master tapes (recall that NIN's former label Interscope falls under the Universal umbrella), the project is contingent upon their agreement.

In essence, the notoriously litigious Universal Music Group doesn't want to appear to be backing a copyright-disgregarding free-for-all when they've been spending so much time squelching such behavior elsewhere. They're not so much worried about Nine Inch Nails tunes becoming the subject of silly mashups as they are appearing like hypocrites (and, naturally, getting sued) for infringing on the copyrights of the other artists and songwriters who may be sampled or mashed by the Nine Inch Nails loyal.

As Trent writes in a statement on the NIN site (linked via Stereogum), "Universal feels that if they host our remix site, they will be opening themselves up to the accusation that they are sponsoring the same technical violation of copyright they are suing [YouTube and MySpace] for. Their premise is that if any fan decides to remix one of my masters with material Universal doesn't own-- a 'mash-up', a sample, whatever-- and upload it to the site, there is no safe harbor under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (according to Universal) and they will be doing exactly what MySpace and YouTube are doing. This behavior may get hauled out in court and impact their lawsuit."

Universal are willing to let Nine Inch Nails host the remix site, provided Trent's willing to take legal responsibility should any problems arise. In addition, Reznor writes, "part of the arrangement is having user licenses that the fans sign (not unlike those on MySpace or YouTube) saying they will not use unauthorized materials. If they WERE to do such a thing, everybody sues everybody and the world abruptly ends." Hyperbole, perhaps, but Trent's still mulling this one over, and as such, the "cool and innovative site" they have ready to launch is presently in limbo. "More to come" is the only indication of when we can expect the situation to change.

Gang of Four Share Demos, Plan EP

They must've put something in the water earlier this month at Seattle's MusicTech 07 conference, as something's gotten into Gang of Four bassist Dave Allen. Ever since he returned from Seattle, Allen's blog has been full of musings on the state of the industry, plenty of talk regarding the In Rainbows model, and-- best of all-- chatter about a new Gang of Four project, complete with demos.

Allen seems to be mulling over just what form these new recordings will take; he spoke with us over a year ago about a new LP, but he seems to be coming around to the notion that the album-- or, at least, the compact disc format-- is kaput. For the moment, the Gang plan to put together a four-song digital EP in the spirit of their original release, 1978's Damaged Goods EP. Allen, meanwhile, has crafted an entertaining, astute list of eight criteria the project will hopefully adhere to, which you can read here.

Rule #5: "It's imperative that we give away MP3s." And so Allen has, with new jams-in-progress "Second Life", a couple different versions of "Password", and the promise of "Faking It", "American Man", and another version of "Second Life" (working titles, all) on the way next week.

Naturally, we'll let you know just where they're going with this once they figure it out. As for other plans, the Gang's website suggests a tour is in the works for next year, though those dates have yet to emerge.
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