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Rufus Wainwright's Judy Garland Tribute Hits CD/DVD

Photo by Akmal Naim

On April 23, 1961, Judy Garland took the stage at New York City's Carnegie Hall and, by all accounts, tore the roof off the sucker. The performance is the stuff of legend: Just ask Rufus Wainwright, who's spent the past years performing a tribute to the performance and to the memory of Garland herself. A CD/DVD set collecting a pair of Wainwright's recent performances of Garland's material will be released December 4 from Geffen.

Featuring musical direction by noted Broadway maestro Stephen Oremus, the Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall CD finds Mr. Wainwright taking the same stage as his late muse in an October 2006 performance. The accompanying DVD, Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy! Live at the London Palladium, captures Wainwright's antics in the UK earlier this year. Both were reportedly inspired by the comfort Wainwright took in Garland's music following the September 11 attacks, a rejection of "this blissful ignorance of the state of America" which Wainwright felt took over in the wake of that tragedy.

Wainwright, currently touring Europe, has quite a few gigs all over the world in the next few months. Those dates after the jump. [MORE...]

Sigur Ros Working on New Album With Flood
Uproot from Sundlaugin studio to record in Reykjavik

When Pitchfork spoke to Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi Þór Birgisson earlier this month, the conversation ended somewhat abruptly. Sure, Birgisson had plenty to say before that point. And while it's useless to speculate, one wonders if, had the discourse continued, he might have elaborated on, say, this new LP they're preparing.

No matter, really. Now, thanks to a report today in Icelandic newspaper Fréttablaðið (translated to English via email by a representative of the paper), we have the initial details on the next Sigur Rós record and follow-up to 2005's Takk. Gotta love the interwebs, erasing oceans with a few clicks and scrolls.

Sigur Rós drummer Orri Páll Dýrason spoke to the paper and revealed that the Icelandic quartet will shack up with veteran producer Mark "Flood" Ellis (U2, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, PJ Harvey, and so many others) next week to do some preliminary work on the record.

"We're gonna try working with him for two weeks and see where it takes us," said Dýrason.

Where they'll shack up might raise a few eyebrows, as it won't be the band's own beloved swimming pool-turned-studio, Sundlaugin. Instead, they've opted for a more urban locale. "We want to take a break from Sundlaugin, distance [ourselves] a bit," Dýrason explained. "We will be renting a house in downtown Reykjavík and record[ing] the album there."

These guys aren't always keen to discuss their art-- "[It's like] you're erasing the magic of the music or something by talking too much about it," as Birgisson put it last week-- and Dýrason didn't really let on much to Fréttablaðið either. "We really don't know what this new album is going to be like," he said. "Right now we only have ideas for new songs and they always change when we start recording." So, basically, it will probably sound like the other ones. Which is more than fine with us.

As a reminder, live DVD Heima checks in Stateside on November 20 (it's available now elsewhere), while the rarities/acoustic collection Hvarf/Heim is out now all over the place thanks to XL. Heima's screening in quite a few places too; find out where by clicking here.

Lee Ranaldo Pens Poetry Book Based on E-mail Spam
Art by Meat Puppets' Curt Kirkwood

Photo by Kathryn Yu

Spam e-mail: Some block it, some purge it completely, some giggle at its come-ons, and some (very few, we hope) delve right in, seeking the financial solvency only a plea from an ex-leader of a tiny nation can provide. Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, however, mines his spam folder for fodder for his poetry. Hello From the American Desert, a 40-page collection of Ranaldo's spam-inspired poetry, accompanied by artwork by the Meat Puppets' Curt Kirkwood, is out now on Chicago imprint Silver Wonder Press.

Hello collects verse written between 2004 and the present in a chapbook limited to an edition of 1,000. This isn't Lee's first foray into the literary world, nor is it his first book of poetry, but it is his first to potentially include explicit instructions on how to score deep discounts on overseas prescriptions, so it oughta pay for itself after the second use.

As previously mentioned, Sonic Youth are taking their well-loved tunage Down Under in February for a spate of ATP-aided Don't Look Back shows. Sonic Youth has a handful of other gigs around the official Don't Look Back dates, though each and every show they've got lined up will see them rolling over Daydream Nation. Hey, that's a good album! [MORE...]

Secret Machines Add Member, Work on LP3

Photo by Stephen Lindley

Someone's been tinkerin' with the Secret Machines, making certain they're well-oiled and warmed up for their forthcoming third LP, due next year from Reprise.

The Machines-- now with Phil Karnats properly installed on guitar following the departure of his ex-Tripping Daisy bandmate and School of Seven Bells headmaster Ben Curtis-- are currently grinding away on the new record at New York's Magic Shop studio with producer Brandon Mason, who helmed the Ten Silver Drops sessions. Fans can expect live favorite "Now You're Gone" to show up on the as-yet-untitled disc, as well as a guest appearance by megaproducer/Secret Machines aficionado Tony Visconti.

Bolted down at the moment in the studio, the Machines have nary a plan to tour for now.

Kate Bush Records New Song for Soundtrack

The Golden Compass is an upcoming movie based on a fantasy novel (by Philip Pullman and part of his His Dark Materials trilogy, if you're asking) that explores theological themes with a cast of angels, witches, and talking animals-- so who better to soundtrack it than fantastical English singer Kate Bush?

"Lyra", named after The Golden Compass' main character Lyra Belacqua, is Bush's first new musical offering since 2005's Aerial. It will play over the movie's end credits, according to a BBC report. Bush wrote and produced the song, which features vocals from the University of Oxford's Magdalen College choir.

"Lyra" will also appear on the film's soundtrack, due December 11 Stateside from New Line Records. The film, meanwhile, hits theaters December 7.

Animal Collective 2008 Plans: EP, LP Box, Recording
Special prize at the end if you read this whole story

What a year it's been for Animal Collective! Cue the checklist:

* New label: secured
* Globe-trotting tour: wrapped
* Network television: conquered
* Youth: corrupted
* Person: pitched
* Hair, Eye: pulled and rubbed, respectively
* Strawberry: jammed

Time to hibernate, right guys? Hardly. As revealed in a recent AC message board post from Avey Tare (confirmed by the band's publicist), Animal Collective already have a good part of 2008 mapped out. Surprise, surprise, it'll be plumb full of activity.

Thanks to reader Lee for the heads up.

Among their resolutions: a new EP, that LP box set, a couple extracurricular sessions for web and radio (those should actually appear before 2007 is up), some more touring abroad, and a return to the recording studio. And if this sounds an awful lot like a story we ran last year, well, it is, but all the specifics are different save for the LP box.

Anyhow. The EP will include "Street Flash" and three other Strawberry Jam-era tunes. It's being mixed right now by Nicholas Vernhes at Brooklyn's Rare Book Room, and Avey and the guys hope to have it out by the coming spring.

The LP box set, in the works for some time now, should soon see the light of day. Wrote Avey, "plans to start working on the artwork for the 3 lp box are hopefully it wont be much longer on that." He also asked that folks cease bugging Catsup Plate, the label that will release the box. They'll let you know when that's ready, and you can bet we will too.

The recording studio return happens "early next year," and while we can't yet forecast just what will come out of it, know that Animal Collective "are excited about it and that yes, we are trying to record near the beach!"

As for the radio/web sessions, keep your eyes and ears peeled for a forthcoming "Take Away Show" from the guys, as well as a BBC broadcast featuring "our most recent live versions" of "Doggy" and "Hey Light", plus "two newer jams." UPDATE: The broadcast in question is the Monday, November 19 session of the Rob da Bank show on Radio 1. It will happen at 2:00 GMT, and will be archived here for seven days afterwards.

Hang in there, you've reached the home stretch, patient reader! And it involves touring, naturally. In addition to a forthcoming fest appearance at the Explosions in the Sky ATP, AC have confirmed a few dates in Japan and intend to hit up Europe in the Year of the Rat. Plus they'll "perhaps [play] at least one show in April in the USA," so there's that.

Annnnd if you've made it this far, congrats, here's your prize. [MORE...]


Band of Horses Plan New Year's, 2008 Dates

Some bands are controlled by demons (or would appear to be, anyhow); others, by ghosts. And the ghost in the house and at the reins of Band of Horses, it would seem, has commanded the combo to roam, roam, roam across the wild prairies and rolling knolls of Europe next year.

But not before they party, party, party through a three-night residency at Atlanta's Earl leading up to New Year's Eve. And hold yr Horses-- there are still all those November dates to stampede through! More like Cease to Begin Sleeping Until Next Spring, amirite?

In other exciting news: there's a February 29 next year! Score! [MORE...]

Hot Chip, Kelley Polar Remix Caribou on New Single

Photo by Sanchez and Kitahara

Dan Snaith and his Caribou thing may run towards 60s psych-pop revivalism, but when it comes to dropping a single for Andorra's swirling, harmony-soaked charmer "She's the One," he's erring on the side of the ultramodern. A single for the tune (which was co-written by the Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan, who also sings on it) is up in the iTunes store now via Caribou's European label City Slang. U.S. label Merge does not plan to release the single in a physical format. For a throwback sorta dude, Dan Snaith is all about embracing the now.

And the now is hugging back, with some new remixes of "She's the One" available on the single. Kelley Polar does his thing to the track, as do Hot Chip, in what must be their billionth remix of the year. Lucky for us, they're good at it.

Having just wrapped a trek around North America, it's off to Europe for Caribou. Dan and his arsenal of drumkits will make their way around the continent for the next month or so before calling it a year. There are rumblings of a new tour and a new EP early in '08, but all we know for sure is this: Caribou, along with a heaping scoop of your other favorite bands, will make their way back to England in May for the ATP vs. Pitchfork festival. [MORE...]


Psych Pop Rarities Collected in Remastered Rubble Box

You got your Nuggets, sure, but when you run those nuggets through the sifter yet again, you wind up with a whole lotta Rubble.

Volumes 11-20 of the legendary Rubble psych-pop series (mining similar chronology as the famed Nuggets set, if a largely different slew of artists) have been remastered and re-boxed as The Rubble Collection: Volumes 11-20, due for reissue November 20 via Fallout Records. Each of the 1,000 limited edition, numbered boxes features over 150 tracks from names familiar-- the Lovin' Spoonful, the Pretty Things, Blossom Toes, Soft Machine-- rubbing up next to the likes of Boeing Duveen & the Beautiful Soup and the Portobello Explosion. Tasty!

The new edition of Rubbles comes with a revised booklet chock full of band histories, rare photos, and discographies, because, really, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown isn't half as crazy until you've learned just what led Arthur down that loopy path.

Richard Swift Embraces Science, Technology on New LP
Also tours with Cold War Kids

You know Richard Swift as the genial, barrelhouse piano playing guy with the fuzzy hair and the pretty darn good records. You may also know Swift the filmmaker, as his many audiovisual antics include stepping behind the camera for a number of his own music videos. But do you know Richard Swift, engineer of pulsing, largely instrumental krautrock? Nah, we haven't met that dude either.

But all that should change January 22, when Secretly Canadian releases Music From the Films of R/Swift, the debut full-length from Swift's Instruments of Science & Technology project. Collecting a dozen cuts from the multi-talented Swift's more open-ended side, the disc promises to bewilder and beguile in equal measure.

The Swift we already know and love has a few plans for the near future as well: a forthcoming LP of "60s style" rock tunes, and a more imminent tour with Cold War Kids. I'd go (instru)mental too if I had to endure this every night. [MORE...]

Photos: Black Dice / No Age / Mika Miko [Los Angeles, CA; 11/13/07]

Photos by Akmal Naim

It was an evening of disparate noises at Los Angeles' Echoplex last night, as hometown punks No Age and the equally noisy ladies of Mika Miko opened for sonic scramblers Black Dice, who mished and mashed tunes from their newest LP, Load Blown. Mika Miko, meanwhile, shouted into their telephone mics and looked generally adorable, while No Age's Dean Spunt and Randy Randall took it back to the basics. More photos and tour dates below.

Bonus! Black Dice have shared some photos from their tour (with captions), also yours after the jump. UPDATE: Sorry, those photos had to go bye bye.





White Stripes Nab Beck for "Conquest" B-Sides
Jack White plays bullfighter in "Conquest" video

Photo by Thom Johnston

Mystery solved! All loose ends left untied after that not-exactly-specific message those White Stripes posted on their website some weeks back are now firmly knotted. A message posted on their site yesterday revealed all. Their covert collaborator? Beck. Their super-secret video? It's for "Conquest". And the new tunes? They'll show up on a handful of "Conquest" singles due next month.

The Stripes recently recorded a mess of B-sides with Mr. Beck Hansen in his living room, which they'll splay over a trio of 7" "Conquest" discs and an all-encompassing U.S.-only digital download. In addition to co-producing the sessions, Beck contributed vocals and piano to "It's My Fault for Being Famous" and played a little slide guitar on "Honey, We Can't Afford to Look Cheap". One black, one red, and one white 7" will be issued, each with "Conquest" on the front and a different B-side on the back, due in the U.S. December 18 from Third Man/Warner Bros. and in the UK December 31 on XL.

The Stripes put the "Conquest" video to tape in Artesia, California with director Diane Martel. "Filmed with a visual urgency that brings the song's Spanish themes, frantic horns, and compulsive pounding rhythm to life," their website adds, "the video follows an explosive-- if unconventional-- love story that pits man against bull in the ultimate conquest." To add an air of authenticity to the proceedings, Jack White trained extensively with noted bullfighter Dennis Borba. The clip will hit MTV November 26 and iTunes the following day.

And then, the bonus goodies: "Inspired by the 'Conquest' video, each single will also include a Mondo Toro trading card featuring the legendary, near-mythical matadors El Sloth, El Bianca Rosa and El Perdador. Despite being from early 1900s Spain and Portugal, these bullfighters look strangely familiar. U.S. copies of these singles will also include a different poster with each release." In your conquest over our wallets, you have emerged victorious, White Stripes.

Still no word on any touring plans for our Stripes, but, hey, if Beck invited you over to jam out, you wouldn't really wanna leave the house either, wouldja? [MORE...]

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