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Phil Spector's Murder Trial Declared Mistrial

Photo by Gabriel Bouys / AP

After about five months of testimony, the trial of legendary "Wall of Sound" producer Phil Spector ended in a mistrial today, September 26, according to an AP report.

Spector is charged with second-degree murder for the gun death of actress Lana Clarkson four-and-a-half years ago, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler declared the case a mistrial after each juror told him they were unable to reach a verdict.

Fidler made the decision on the 12th day of deliberations, and the foreman of the nine-man, three-woman jury revealed that there was a 10-2 deadlock without specifying which way they were leaning.

So far, there has been no talk of a retrial.

Also related to the trial-- though apparently not factoring into the decision to declare a mistrial-- is authorities' investigation into a possible threat to Fidler made via a post to a "Team Spector" MySpace page.

The post said, "I love Phil Spector" and "The Evil Judge should DIE!!!!." It was signed "xoxo Chelle"-- a reference to Spector's wife Rachelle-- and later taken down, according to Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini.

Christopher Plourd, one of Spector's defense attorneys, denied Rachelle Spector's involvement in the incident.

A few weeks ago, Fidler and Rachelle Spector clashed over her communication with the media about the case outside of court, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

MF Doom: Not Dead, Not Lip-Synching, Not an Imposter

If you've been paying attention to underground hip-hop gossip (yes, such a thing exists) lately, you've probably heard a few things about the things you haven't been hearing from MF Doom. Following talk that the masked marvel was lip synching his way through shows (and, perhaps, sending someone else out on stage to don the headgear in his place), the recent chatter concerns Doom's health. Having ducked out of a few recent gigs at the last minute, some postulated that Doom had suffered a heart attack. Others claimed he was dead. Or in the hospital at least.

So what up, Doom?

"What up? I'm dead."

In an effort to put the rumors to bed, Doom's label Stones Throw posted this. It confronts the lip synching rumors "(Listen to the videos on Youtube)", the imposter rumors ("he did lose some pounds") and the hospital rumors ("he's in his studio...or if not there, you can find him in the pub with the grub stain)."

It also gives a recording update: "DOOM was in Los Angeles recently and recorded a few verses at The Bomb Shelter studio, where Madvillain, Quasimoto, YNQ, and Madlib classics have been made. Among the new joints recorded was one with him and Guilty Simpson over J Dilla's 'Mash' and another over Dilla's 'Lightworks'. 'Mash's Revenge' will be released on the album B-Ball Zombie War on October 2."

No word on any of the other dozens of releases-- like another Madvillain record, or the one with Ghostface-- the once fantastically prolific Doom reportedly has in the works. But maybe he'll be working on them once his laundry's done. I hear club soda works wonders on grub.


King Khan, Mark Sultan Tour Under Many Pseudonyms

King Khan and Mark Sultan: two dudes with too much rock to give and a couple more monikers than even the most fact-conscious reporter can fathom. Let's do what we can to get it all straight, shall we?

Canadian-by-way-of-Germany, King Khan-- garage rock powderkeg personified-- is taking two of his many bands out on tour. King Khan and His Shrines (aka King Khan & the Shrines) just wrapped up a lengthy European tour, while the King Khan & BBQ Show-- which finds Khan alongside his former Spaceshits bandmate Mark "BBQ" Sultan-- will step to the U.S. for a month and a half of dates starting in late October, following Sultan's own time in Europe.

Both Khan bands and Sultan have put out fine releases in the last year or so: the Shrines' What Is?!, the Khan/BBQ Show's equally vicious What's for Dinner, and Mark Sultan's rising Sultanic Verses. See all of these people, or some of these people, or perhaps none of these people at the loco-ales following the jump. [MORE...]

Bonde do Role Cancel Shows

Bonde do Role have kept up a perpetual-motion-machine pace so far this year, but even one of the most energetic live acts around can't defy the laws of science forever. Thus, the trio's cancellation of several upcoming U.S. dates due to exhaustion and illness is understandable, albeit still a bummer.

Bonde still have five shows to play before their recuperation begins, starting with a show in Seattle tonight, September 26. Also, they still have a ton of European shows after the little break, so let's hope they hit the chicken soup hard during those three newly empty weeks.

To make up for the canceled dates, all of which are listed after the jump along with the other dates, the band hopes to get another U.S. tour up and running next year. [MORE...]

Booka Shade Do DJ-Kicks Mix, Tour

In this life, there are just some questions we'll never get satisfactory answers to. For example: is the first 's' in Les Savy Fav silent or what? Is Dan Deacon allergic to big boy clothes? And what exactly is the deal with that Devendra guy? But the answer to the mystery of just what's in Booka Shade's record bags will be released October 22 from !K7, when the Berlin-based blip-blop duo unleashes its entry in the DJ-Kicks mix series.

So what secrets lie buried in Booka Shade's crates? Eh, not much beyond what you'd expect, really, which doesn't mean their Kicks aren't worth digging into. Remember how mellow, knotty, and funny last year's excellent Movements was? Well, Booka's DJ-Kicks pulls the same punches with other peoples' sounds (and a few of their own, too). I mean, the thing's got Yazoo's "Situation", a buncha microhouse, and excerpts from the Escape From New York soundtrack-- and that's all in the first half.

So now you've got the record and the DJ mix; where to next with Booka Shade? Well, you could pore over all their dozens of remixes and singles. Or you could see 'em live! Booka Shade are touring Europe and South America a bit this fall, with a U.S. tour reportedly in the works for that magical time we Americans like to call "TBA". 'Tis the season! [MORE...]

Photos: Midlake / Maria Taylor with Conor Oberst [Los Angeles, CA; 09/25/07]

Photos by Akmal Naim

The stars turned out once again in L.A. (you don't say!) for Midlake's show last night at the Henry Fonda Theater. But this time those stars included Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, an on-the-rise group of cover-happy, pint-sized rockers, and at least one Superstar -- that being Har Mar.

Oberst, in town preparing for Bright Eyes' upcoming orchestral spectacle with the LA Philharmonic, joined Maria Taylor and Sean "Har Mar Superstar/Sean Na Na" Tillmann onstage as Taylor and band opened for the headlining Denton outfit. Oberst, as you may know, guests on "The Ballad of Sean Foley" off Taylor's sophomore solo LP, this year's Lynn Teeter Flower. Tillmann, eh, probably had nothing better to do last night.

Opening act Wild Youth turned some heads as well, having impressed Midlake with their cover of "Roscoe"-- despite having a mean age of 12. The quartet also tried their hand at tunes by Band of Horses, David Bowie, and Nada Surf. The wee-est of the bunch had to skip out before Midlake took the stage, however; apparently it was past his bedtime.

Midlake capped off the evening with a bunch of songs off last year's The Trials of Van Occupanther, and a few oldies as well. Dates and more photos ahead.






Of Montreal Reissue Rarities, Release Acoustic EP
Launch tour tonight

While the (romantic, indie) world waits with hungry, uh, ears for the release of the Babs'n'GG Allin-inspired follow-up to Of Montreal's fantastic Hissing Fauna LP (and Icons, Abstract Thee EP), the Kevin Barnes camp has whipped up a pair of tasty apéritifs: a live, acoustic EP and a reissue of a rarities collection.

For our first course, there's Sony Connect Set, four unplugged tracks recorded in Los Angeles back in January by Barnes and bandmate Bryan "The Late B.P. Helium" Poole. In addition to a pair of Hissing cuts, the digital-only set for the doomed digital music store sports covers of Neil Young and Love Is All tunes. You can tuck that away on the hard drive of your choice starting October 2 from Sony Connect/Polyvinyl.

Up next is the commendably titled If He Is Protecting Our Nation Then Who Will Protect Big Oil??? Previously released in 2003 on Track & Field outside America, it gathers a baker's dozen deep cuts and such from the Of Montre-vault. Polyvinyl reissues it October 23.

For now, our dessert comes in the form of a tour, kicking off tonight at the Book Eaters benefit in Boston and wrapping at a newly added Atlanta date. Dig in to the full spread after the jump. [MORE...]

Radiohead Continue Cryptic Cryptograms, Make LP Site?

The latest buzz from the Radiohead faithful surrounds the launch of a mysterious website-- which may be the work of the band, known for their mystery-mongering, or simply the work of a sly and mischievous fanboy/fangirl.

The site, which has undergone a few cosmetic changes since first turning web-heads yesterday, features a username/password function, the words "Radiohead" and "LP7", some vaguely threatening chatter hidden in the coding, and not much else.

At present discussion on the fan boards tends toward cries of "Hoax!", with dissidents citing as evidence everything from cheap programming to "LP7" sounding clumsy to the font on the page being beneath Radiohead designer-guy Stanley Donwood (co-sign!).

As of press time, no one's cracked the password. Good luck, guys; I hear it's the same as what the dude says at the end of the "Just" video. :-P

A previous incarnation of the site also included those little dudes with the hands-- deemed Worm Buffet by fans after this t-shirt-- that Radiohead, as you're likely aware, have been posting on their blog Dead Air Space since late last week.

Most of the recent Worm Buffet dispatches translate to typical Yorkean paranoia-speak ("xendless" crops up frequently), while a few may hold clues concerning the new album, new songs, label courtship, and the like.

A post today in plain English points to the possibility of the tune "Up on a Ladder"-- tossed around since the Hail to the Thief sessions-- appearing on the new disc. Said post consists of "im stuck in the tardis", the song's opening line, and a blurry picture-- tagged "upontheladder.jpg"-- of what appears to be Thom Yorke before a microphone.

Well then, that clears that up. Tea, anyone?

Sufjan, Death Cab, Killers on Kids Xmas Lullaby Disc

It's only two months until December... just in time for the Rockabye Baby series to wrap up a nifty little package full of meta with their Lullabye Renditions of Christmas Rock Classics CD. Featuring soothing, toddler-friendly takes on such otherwise-punishing holiday classics as Death Cab's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and Sufjan's "Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!" (from that big box o' Suffy Xmas jams) and tracks by the Killers, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Ramones, and more, the disc collects 13 tracks sure to beam visions of sugarplum fairies directly down to your tiny tot come Tannenbaum time.

(And here I thought every Sufjan song was the lullaby rendition of itself!)

The disc is out now on Baby Rock Records, the folks who brought you Lullaby Renditions of Radiohead, Björk, Pixies, Queens of the Stone Age, et al. Prediction: A race of superadvanced, supercool humanoids to take over the planet in about 15 years. [MORE...]


Spoon Cancel Three Dates to Do "Saturday Night Live"

Spoon have canceled a trio of dates surrounding the weekend of October 6, due to the fact that they're performing on "Saturday Night Live" that night. (With Seth Rogen hosting! Dork-chic extravaganza!) Maybe they really wanna meet those "Laser Cats"? The sacrificed shows were to have taken place October 3 at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, Kansas, October 4 at Rhodes College in Memphis, and October 5 at Bogart's in Cincinnati.

This is the second time in a little over a month that Spoon have shuffled their schedule, having canceled a pair of Washington, DC headlining gigs in order to open for the Shins. (However, one of those shows was later reinstated.)

But, hey, the Britt giveth, and the Britt taketh away. The band apologized to their fans via posts on their site and on MySpace, and vowed, "we'll be back to see you in the spring for sure." Spoon have also added a few more dates to their tour.

Thanks to several readers for the tip. [MORE...]


Sex Pistols Redo "Anarchy" for Guitar Hero, Add Dates

Anarchy in yr PS3! The reunited, reissued Sex Pistols have re-recorded their sneering, seminal anti-hit "Anarchy in the U.K." for use in the forthcoming Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Awesome! I mean...uh, what?

The first new Sex Pistols studio recording in three decades is going in a bloomin' video game?

Johnny "Rotten" Lydon, Steve Jones, and Paul Cook ducked into London's Air Studios with original Bollocks producer Chris Thomas, employing vintage equipment to replicate the sound of the original track. You know, for use in the video game with the black plastic guitar and the buttons. These guys wouldn't even accept induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they'll let you tap along with them alongside "Slow Ride" and "Barracuda"? Who ever said there's no future? Oh, yeah, those dudes.

Guitar Hero III is out October 28, just in time for the Pistols' string of reunion shows (expanded from the single one announced previously.) And those reissues. [MORE...]

Fan Dies at Smashing Pumpkins Show

Photos by Shervin Lainez

A 20-year-old man from Richmond, British Columbia died after he was dragged unconscious from the mosh pit at a Smashing Pumpkins show on Monday, September 24, in Vancouver, according to a report in The Vancouver Sun.

Citing an interview with Vancouver police spokesman Constable Howard Chow, the report said three or four other young men at the Pacific National Exhibition Forum concert pulled the man to security just after 9 p.m. He was then taken to St. Paul's Hospital, where he eventually died.

A coroner is investigating the death, but Chow said, "There was nothing to indicate there was any foul play or anything suspicious about his death." Instead, he pointed the finger at the generally unsafe nature of mosh pits and crowd-surfing.

The Sun
mentioned unconfirmed radio reports claiming the man had crowd-surfed, but PNE spokeswoman Laura Ballance (not the Superchunk bassist, as far as we know) said that was not the point: "Regardless of how it happened, a 20-year-old who came to enjoy a night of music is gone. It's extremely sad and very tragic."

Chow asked that anyone who witnessed the incident, including the men who were responsible for bringing the victim to security, contact the police.

Unfortunately, this is not the first death at a Smashing Pumpkins show. There was a similar incident in which a woman was crushed to death at a 1996 performance in Dublin, Ireland.

The next date of Smashing Pumpkins' tour is in Salt Lake City on September 28. [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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