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Bobby Byrd, James Brown Sideman, R.I.P.

Bobby Byrd-- singer, songwriter, and celebrated foil for the Hardest Working Man in Show Business-- died yesterday of complications from cancer in his Loganville, Georgia home, reports. He was 73.

Byrd worked with James Brown from 1953-1973, first in the Famous Flames and then the JBs. He is perhaps best known as a co-vocalist on some of Brown's most famous songs: You'll recognize him immediately as the source of all the "get on up!"s on "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine".

A solo artist in his own right as well, Byrd recorded several albums and numerous singles, most famously the oft-sampled "I Know You Got Soul".

Brown and Byrd reunited in the years before their deaths, and Byrd performed at Brown's memorial service in Augusta, Georgia in December 2006.


CYHSY Guy's Guns N' Roses Tribute Band Returns!

In news that should single-handedly raise Pitchfork's review of music to at least a 7.1, Mr. Brownstone-- the Guns N' Roses tribute band that counts among its hallowed ranks Clap Your Hands Say Yeah drummer Sean "Axl Rose" Greenhalgh-- has returned!!

The Axl-aping combo, as you may have read, called it quits last year. This sudden reunion shouldn't come as much of a surprise, though. As Greenhalgh told Pitchfork last June, "We've claimed to be playing our 'final shows' more often than Axl has claimed that Chinese Democracy is coming out. But this time it's for real."

Significantly more "real" are the pair of shows Mr. Brownstone have lined up, including a New York gig in November (with support from an "All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees", my oh my) and a Boston show in December.

Word is that these will, in fact, be the final Mr. Brownstone shows, but you know how that goes. Greenhalgh's Clap also have a bunch of their own gigs, as previously reported.

In related news, Chinese Democracy. Hahahaha. [MORE...]

Photos: Arctic Monkeys / Voxtrot [Chicago, IL; 09/12/07]

"This is the best crowd we've had so far on this tour," Voxtrot's Ramesh Srivastava remarked about halfway through the Austin quintet's set opening for Arctic Monkeys at Chicago's Riviera Theatre last night. He spoke too soon.

By the next banter break, some bratty Monkeys fan had let forth a particularly harsh "GET OFF THE STAGE!!" Ramesh, however, had the last laugh. "This one's for you," he retorted, and the band launched into "Brother in Conflict", which opens with the line "I wanna drown you in a pool of blood." Touché!

Along with "Firecracker", "Brother" appeared to galvanize Voxtrot, who had before this point seemed all too aware of the less-than-soft-and-warm reception they were getting (despite Ramesh's crowd-praising remarks). This crowd was, for the most part, not having Voxtrot's frilly jangle-pop and near-constant stage acrobatics. They were anxious to see the no-nonsense Arctic Monkeys, and who could blame them? Srivastava seemed relieved to announce that Voxtrot would soon be back in Chicago for a headlining show-- one which will likely find band and audience on the same page.

Those no-nonsense Monkeys, naturally, were received rapturously by the youngish crowd. Their appeal is understandable, and lead vocalist Alex Turner has stumbled into a pretty enviable stage persona. On the one hand, he's endearing and engaging, keeping his eyes wide open almost constantly and scanning his surroundings like a curious schoolboy. And although you couldn't understand half of his between-song chatter, it still felt natural and unrehearsed.

On the other hand, he may as well be rolling those eyes he keeps open, as he managed to appear aloof much of the time-- in a way that's still fairly charming. During parts of songs where he's not required to play guitar, Turner just stood there in front the mic, arms hanging lazily by his side like he was waiting in line at McDonald's or something. At once he's above all the silliness of the music biz, and yet still down-to-earth.

The kids are lucky to have a band like this.





Mos Def, Aesop Rock on DJ Krush DVD Retrospective
Plus: the Roots' Black Thought, DJ Shadow, Company Flow, Mr. Lif, Anticon crew

The History of DJ Krush is pretty much exactly that: a three disc set of documentaries, live footage, and music videos from the longtime Tokyo recordman. Lavishly decorated with photos, liner notes by producer Noriko Asano, and extensive gig-and-discographies, the DVD set lands September 18 from Red Ink/Sony Japan.

Mos Def appears on the A-Un DVD, which collects footage of Krush from his early career through the mid-1990s. The second, Ko-no-Michi, follows Krush from 1995's Meiso LP through last year's world tour. DJ Shadow, Black Thought, Company Flow, Aesop Rock, C.L. Smooth, Mr. Lif, Sly & Robbie, and the Anticon crew are among the guests on the disc, which also sports Krush's first long interview and a Tokyo DJ set from last fall shot specifically for the DVD. The third disc, Clips, describes itself; tracklist for that one-- along with Krush's upcoming intercontinental tour dates-- after the jump. [MORE...]

Mobb Deep's Havoc Readies Kushy Solo Debut

Destruction, Terror, and Mayhem beware. The abstract, violent force Queensbridge producer and MC known as Havoc will unleash his ferociously titled The Kush (okay, maybe not so ferocious) via Nature Sounds on September 18.

It's been 15 years since Havoc made a name for himself as one half of Mobb Deep, yet The Kush is Havoc's solo debut (though it's somehow billed as a prequel to an "official" solo album). And this pre-official solo release boasts a few guest spots, including one from Mobb Deep-mate Prodigy, whose Return of the Mac landed earlier this year.

Havoc has a few hometown dates heralding The Kush's arrival. The next one is tonight, September 13. [MORE...]

New Porno Fancey Gets Schmancey on Second Album

It was almost a year ago when we spoke to New Pornographers guitarist Todd Fancey about releasing his sophomore album under the Fancey moniker, the follow-up to 2004's self-titled debut. Well, the cheekily titled Schmancey will finally hit shelves this fall via What Are Records?

Overeager collectors of all things Porno-related (clear history! clear history!) should be able to download the digital version of Schmancey from the What Are site on September 14. On the very same day, the full Fancey band will play a show in Seattle to kick off a tour supporting Lavender Diamond and, you guessed it, the New Pornographers. A CD version of Schmancey, meanwhile, is expected in early October.

Of course, Señor Fancey Schmancey will also accompany the NPs on guitar for the rest of their previously reported fall dates. [MORE...]

James Murphy Talks Arcade Fire, FABRIC36, LCD LP3
He's remixing "Black Mirror"!

Photo by Kirstie Shanley

In May, James Murphy and his LCD Soundsystem caused heavy palpitations in a capacity crowd at Chicago's Metro venue, only to slink downstairs to the basement Smart Bar an hour later and spin disco records nobody had ever heard of (but everybody dug) until the wee hours.

Murphy remembers passing out on the floor that night. We're hardly surprised.

James Murphy does a lot of things very well: make records, produce records, and play other people's records. Though the first two skills should be familiar to anyone who makes it to the second paragraph of any piece about Murphy on this website, you used to have to be in the right place at the right time to experience him in action on the ones and twos.

Thankfully, FABRICLIVE36, the mix James and his LCD Soundsystem cohort Pat Mahoney crafted for the venerable London club/label Fabric, gives you a little peek into the crates of a dude whose record intake is as impressive as his recorded output.

Over the phone from London earlier this week, Murphy noted the difference between making bodies move from behind the wheels of steel, rather than via his regular gig centerstage with LCD. "There's nothing to look at, it's not like a performance," he said. "You're just trying to make people dance and forget about you, which I like. When you're playing live, people don't have a chance to forget about you. They're pretty different. DJing is much more about trying to make people happy." [MORE...]


Deerhunter Play Benefit for Georgia Arts Lawyers

Don't most lawyers get enough seamy characters and microphone deepthroaters when they're not working? Eh, not the esquires of Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, the Atlanta-based non-profit organization that assists in securing pro bono (that is, free) legal counsel for artists and non-profit arts organizations in Georgia.

The organization-- who've probably sat down with a mic-licker or three before-- will host its hometown's recently reshuffled Deerhunter at nearby Athens, GA's famed 40 Watt Club for a benefit for the organization September 19. Fellow Peach State denizens Mouser, People, Alexis Gideon, and Powers will join the band in paying off any future karmic mishaps, drug busts, or insurmountably actionable online poker debts.

Thanks to Mike Melonakos for the tip. More Deerhunter dates after the jump, just for kicks. [MORE...]

Sightings Drop Andrew W.K.-Produced LP, Tour

It's time to party! Or, failing that, whatever you do when you listen to noise rock (make dinner?). Through the Panama, the latest neighbor-buggering long-player from blaring Brooklynites Sightings, will hit the streets October 28.

And it's about damn time, too; we've only brought up its impending release twice already. But that may have something to do with Panama's beloved whirling dervish-cum-producer Andrew W.K., who probably lends the proceedings the same whiff of spirit a cheerleading squad might. All that spirit; can you hear it? Well, you can in October, anyway.

To note: Through the Panama will be released on CD from the folks at Load, while Ecstatic Peace will grind Panama into the vinyl. Thurston Moore: an analog warrior for these digital times.

What's more, Sightings will take the Panama party to the people on a short run of October dates. [MORE...]

Nick Drake's Fruit Tree Box Reissue Due

Fragile folk-rock icon Nick Drake coaxed three albums out of his brief recording tenure, all of which have grown in reverence from fans in the years since Drake's death.

Once upon a time, far before the folks at Volkswagen gave Drake a boost, those albums-- Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter, and Pink Moon-- were collected together in a box set that served as the perfect encapsulation of Drake's majestic ways to blue. That box, titled Fruit Tree (and not to be confused with this year's Family Tree), has been out of print for seven years. But come November 6, as previously mentioned, UME/Fontana will give fans a crack at accruing a good chunk of Nick Drake's discography all at once.

Apart from the classic trio, the 10,000 copies of the Fruit Tree CD box and the 2,000 vinyl sets will come with a 108-page book "featuring song by song analysis by producer Joe Boyd, engineer John Wood, arranger Robert Kirby and songwriter/music journalist and friend Robin Frederick," (says the press release) as well as a DVD copy of the recent Drake documentary A Skin Too Few. This is, the manufacturers warn, a one-time-only run, so acting fast is advised.

In addition, the San Francisco City Arts & Lectures series will host "Remembering Nick Drake", which finds Nick's sister Gabrielle, his producer Joe Boyd, and songwriter Jolie Holland in conversation. That'll take place at San Francisco's Herbst Theater October 2. Both Ms. Drake and Mr. Boyd will be on hand in L.A. October 5 when the American Cinematheque presents "A Place to Be - A Celebration of Nick Drake", which features more dialogue, the L.A. premiere of A Skin Too Few, and a series of short films inspired by Drake and composed by the likes of longtime video lensman Tim Pope and Aussie dreamboat Heath Ledger. A Skin Too Few will also screen October 3 as part of San Francisco's Documentary Festival.

The Cure Announce Rescheduled Dates

In a Venn diagram attempting to show the overlap between fans of the Cure and NBA diehards, we imagine the two circles would be on opposite sides of the room. But both groups share one major thing: the venues where they worship their respective idols.

Thus, the Cure explain that their rescheduled tour dates are taking place a little later than expected as the result of cities trying not to schedule concerts during the NBA Playoffs: "A lot of the venues we needed wouldn't let us confirm dates in the March/April period, but we understand they all have to live in hope!" wrote the band on its website. Hey, maybe Cure fans and basketball fans have more in common than we thought.

And so, the new Cure tour kicks off May 9, 2008, in Washington, DC and runs through late June.

As for ticket logistics, all tickets to the canceled shows will be valid for the rescheduled dates, all but one of which are at the original venues. The lone exception is the Seattle date, which the band will make up for by playing an extra long set at next year's Sasquatch! Festival. Tickets to the old Seattle show will be good for general admission to the festival.

The good news is that the Cure were able to include even more cities on the new, later route, including shows in Phoenix, Austin, and Cleveland. Still, anyone who wants a refund on a 2007 ticket can obtain it at the point of purchase until November 1.

Of course, the Cure still have those few appearances left this year. Their next show is October 6 in Mountain View, California.

Thanks to Geoff Cox for the tip.

UPDATE: 65daysofstatic are opening all of the rescheduled shows. [MORE...]


Photos: Interpol and Liars [Boston, MA; 09/12/07]
Plus bonus Liars videos!

Photos by Josh Bean

The dynamic duo of Brooklyn post-punks Interpol and NYC/Berlin/L.A. shapeshifters Liars have just set out on their joint fall tour, in support of their new albums. The sharply dressed rockers we love to admire donned their suits and ties last night at Boston University's Agganis Arena, after the Best New Music-earning Liars warmed up the stage with their frenetic tunes and comedy stylings. During the set, Angus Andrew donned a Paul Pierce Celtics jersey and boasted about the new words he's learned in Beantown-- "stabbing," perhaps.

As previously reported, Cat Power will play with both bands tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden. The rest of the dates and more photos below.

Sorry we didn't grab any shots of Angus' jersey in all its glory-- photographers were only allowed stage-front access for the first three songs of Liars' set, and he took his jacket off after that. But to make it up to you, we've got these two cool little video promos the band made for their new album, Liars:



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