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Photos: Menomena / Illinois [Boston, MA; 11/09/07]

Photos by Jason Bergman

Touring in tandem: a great way to make both Friend and Foe. Luckily, a few weeks on the road together seem to have made tourmates Menomena and Illinois very much the former-- they even swapped members for a spell this past weekend at Boston's Paradise. Menomena's Justin Harris aided Illinois with his trusty sax, while Illinois frontman Chris Archibald ditched his shirt and joined Menomena to, well, you'll see.

The boys have but a few more dates together; then comes the sweet sorrow of parting and a few scattered shows for each beyond.

And since you're here, don't forget Menomena's Danny Seim has a new Lackthereof album due this December.




Roots Curate Fest, Do Entire Things Fall Apart LP Live

The 2008 POPPED! Music Festival pops off at Philadelphia's Drexel University June 20-22, and based on the first act alone, we can tell you this thing will be a doozy.

Not only will Philly's favorite sons the Roots curate the first night of next year's fest, they will also perform catalog hallmark Things Fall Apart in its entirety, Don't Look Back-stylee. Hot dang.

Black Thought, ?uestlove, and the guys will join some 40 more performers to rock POPPED! 2008, and if all goes according to plan the Roots won't be the only ones performing a modern day classic from start to finish.

While we wait with baited breath for lineup updates, know this: POPPED! has taken initiatives to help make its 2008 bash green-friendly. So you can rock out with a clean conscience. What's more, fest organizers plan to hold several satellite events in the months leading up to POPPED! 2008.

Kelley Stoltz Serves Up Sounds for Sub Pop
Plays shows with Blitzen Trapper, Two Gallants

Kelley Stoltz is on a roll. The San Francisco-based home-recording craftsman shared an album just last year, his third overall and first full-length for Sub Pop, Below the Branches. Now he's got another one primed to blow up in early 2008, and a tour popping off right now.

Circular Sounds is set to arrive February 5 via Sub Pop, packing 14 more examples of that signature Stoltz sunshine onto one thin plastic disc. As Stoltz describes it, he's no longer "lo-fi", having embraced what he calls a "mid-hi" aesthetic on the new offering.

"I work in a second-hand record store and that's made me more of a hi-fi advocate," Stoltz explained via press release. "It's hard for me to listen to stuff that was recorded on a cassette player nowadays. By the last record I was mid-fi. I think I'm mid-hi now!"

Get mid-hi yourself and catch Stoltz on tour overseas now, playing quite a few shows with Two Gallants and labelmates Blitzen Trapper and hawking copies of his just-released "Your Reverie" / "Owl Service" 7" on Sub Pop. [MORE...]

Donda West, Mother of Kanye, Dead at 58

Dr. Donda West, mother of Kanye and an educator, author, and businesswoman, died Saturday night, November 10, in Los Angeles, according to an AP report. She was 58 years old.

A BBC report quotes Dr. West's publicist as saying her death was "the result of complications from a cosmetic surgical procedure."

Dr. West was the former chairwoman of the English department at Chicago State University, where she had worked since 1980, according to the AP report.

In 2004, she left academia to help manage Kanye's career. She was the chief executive of West Brands LLC, the company that handles Kanye's various business ventures, and she also served as the chairwoman of the board for education-oriented nonprofit the Kanye West Foundation, where she helped her son create its first initiative, "Loop Dreams".

On a more personal note, Dr. West raised Kanye herself after his father left when he was three years old, according to the AP report. Earlier this year, she published a book titled Raising Kanye: Life Lessons From the Mother of a Hip-Hop Star. The two Wests' relationship was also touchingly documented in Kanye's "Hey Mama", a song from 2005's Late Registration.

According to the BBC, "West's spokesman said the family 'asks for privacy during this time of grief.'"

Kanye has a run of shows scheduled to begin November 17 in Paris; no word yet on whether or not they are canceled. [MORE...]


Weezer Announce Release Date for New Album

Mark your calendars, boys and girls. The new Weezer album, which the boys are affectionately referring to as "Album Six" for the moment, has a release date. I bet you want to know what that release date is, don't you? Here, just have it: April 22, 2008. Hey, that's Jack Nicholson's birthday! Coincidence?? Er, probably.

"Weezer fans truly have something to look forward to," gushed Weezer bassist Scott Shriner about the new Weezer album on the Weezer website. "The entire band has accomplished some of its most challenging goals as a group and as individuals. It's all coming together on this album." Throw your Weezer signs in the sky, guys!

Of course, that's hardly the only thing cooking in camp Weezer of late. As previously reported, Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo-- the one with the Ice Cube cover-- lands December 11 via Geffen. You know, I listen to a lot of Ice Cube when I'm all by myself too.

Radiohead Announce North America Rainbows Release
Plus: Behind the scenes at Friday's webcast

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Radiohead announced this morning that ATO Records Group will handle the North American physical release of their latest album, In Rainbows. (Yes, this means Radiohead are officially on Dave Matthews' record label now.) It's due out January 2 1 here, two one days after the UK release on XL. So now you can go out and re-buy what you already "paid" for.

And yes, that's a Wednesday; the previously rumored January 1 release date didn't make too much sense since most stores are closed on New Year's Day. UPDATE: APPARENTLY IT ACTUALLY IS COMING OUT JANUARY 1. The album is coming out on the band's own TBD Records via ATO and no, that's not a typo-- it's actually called TBD Records. According to, a "label spokeperson says, 'we ran into trouble in trying to clear all previously discussed potential label names.'"

The press release announcing all this added, "TBD/ATO are currently focusing on both 'Bodysnatchers' and 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place' as the North American radio singles." Right, because Radiohead really need North American radio to help increase their fan base.

In case you missed it, Scott Plagenhoef's play-by-play of Friday evening's webcast is over here. But if you'd like a real insider's view into the shenanigans that went down, check out TV/radio writer/producer/performer Adam Buxton's website. (Thanks to Ateaseweb.) Key insights: David Byrne stopped by to interview Thom Yorke for Wired magazine, the bicycle helmets in the "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" performance were actually cameras, and the whole experience was "funtense."

Pictured above: A photo from Buxton's site of producer Nigel Godrich, Jonny Greenwood, director Garth Jennings, an unidentified person/monster, and Yorke.

Ateaseweb also reports that In Rainbows will be released in Japan by Hostess Entertainment on December 26.


Naked Man Tasered in the Ass at Girl Talk Show
"Don't Tase me, bro!" jokes officially no longer funny

Photo by Jason Bergman

As we know, Girl Talk shows can get pretty crazy. But Friday night's performance at the Gargoyle Club on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis will go down in history as the craziest Girl Talk show yet.

Here's the short version of what happened: According to various sources including reader emails, the Washington University student paper Student Life, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Riverfront Times, Girl Talk's set was cut short after a man exposed himself and got Tasered in the ass.

Here's the long version: The Riverfront Times reports that the November 9 show started out as a typical Girl Talk affair. Packed, sweaty, people going nuts and crowding the stage, security getting everybody off the stage, etc. (For photos from the show, pre-Tasering, check out Todd Owyoung's blog.) Most people seemed to be having a great time, except for those in the vicinity of one rowdy concertgoer.

Eyewitness reader Greg Sabo wrote in an email, "There was one 20-something (who seemed to be under the influence of something) who kept on causing problems. He threatened basically everyone around him. Attendees asked the bouncers to remove him several times, but they were basically unsuccessful. This person starting a lot of pushing bouts during the show. There were several chants by the crowd to get this one man out. He also jumped up on stage once after everyone else had gotten off."

Apparently, the bouncers finally got the word. Student Life reports that at 10:45 pm, the troublemaker was removed from the venue by security. "He then shoved a security guard and pulled down his pants." Sabo points out that "he was already topless." The Washington University Police Department was called. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the man exposed himself.

Student Life continues, "When WUPD arrived they repeatedly told the man to pull up his pants or face arrest. The student refused and an officer attempted to handcuff him. When the student struggled to resist being handcuffed, the officer pulled out his Taser and threatened to use it if the student did not comply. The man continued to resist and was Tasered." According to both Sabo and the Riverfront Times, the Taser gun was pointed at the man's rear end. The reader writes that he was Tased twice: briefly at first, then "for at least 10 seconds (maybe as long as 20)."

The man was a 22-year-old student, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, though Washington University has not released his name. Student Life reports, "WUPD took the student into custody and had him examined at a hospital before booking him in the St. Louis County Jail. Hospital examinations are standard protocol following Taser usages. The police will recommend that the student be charged with Sexual Misconduct and Resisting or Interfering with Arrest."

Girl Talk, aka Gregg Gillis, had no idea that any of this was happening at the time. In an email to Pitchfork, he wrote, "I guess this is all true. I didn't see the tazing [sic] or anything." He was, however, upset that his set had been cut short, and promised to make it up to concertgoers with an after-show performance. The party moved to the basement of a fraternity (Student Life reports that it was Sigma Alpha Mu), where both Girl Talk and opening act the Death Set performed. Gillis wrote of the frat performance, "It was out of control. The Death Set's set was magical." [MORE...]


Sigur Ros' Jonsi Birgisson Talks Plans, Interviews
"I think definitely we'd make different music probably if we grew up in Jamaica or something."

Photo by Chris Owyoung

Some bands love to talk. And some bands like to let the music do the talking. You may have seen the somewhat (okay, totally) excruciating video of Icelandic gorgeous-core act Sigur Rós dodging the questions of NPR's Bryant Park Project left and right early last month. However, Pitchfork's interview with singer Jón "Jónsi" Þór Birgisson wasn't quite so disastrous. Birgisson was friendly and understanding through a spate of sound problems, even laughing while telling me one of my questions was on his "hate list." But he's certainly not going to win any prizes for chattiness, and the talk did end with an abrupt hang-up. It's okay though, we were pretty much done at that point anyway.

Pitchfork spoke with Birgisson in the middle of a whirlwind North American trek to promote the band's stunning new live DVD Heima and lovely rarities/acoustic LP Hvarf/Heim. (Heima comes out in North America on November 20; Hvarf/Heim is out now on XL.) We talked the productive year his band is about to wrap, their plans for the immediate future, and exactly what happened in that other interview.

Pitchfork: Back in April, you posted a long list on your website of everything the band planned to do this year. It was quite a docket of stuff, and with the release of Hvarf/Heim, you've completed just about everything on it. Do you feel a sense of accomplishment at this point?

Birgisson: Yeah, definitely. I mean, we've been touring for a long time, so I think that's really good. Because when you're touring, you can't do anything else. You can't do a lot of things while in motion.

Pitchfork: Do you feel as though you've been working especially hard this year?

Birgisson: I think I've been working hard. You're always leaving a lot of stuff unfinished. But when you're touring and stuff, it seems like much, much harder work. All the traveling is ruthless, and always going from place to place. But this year, we could sit at home. We haven't actually done a lot of the things before, too. Later in the year-- the end of the month, actually-- we're going back into the studio. We have a lot of ideas. And songs. We have some songs written and some ideas.

Pitchfork: Will that be for a proper album?

Birgisson: Yeah, what we're going to do now in November is going to be a full-length album.

Pitchfork: You've performed acoustically before some screenings of the film, and Heim is all acoustic. What was behind the decision to focus on acoustic music this year?

Birgisson: When we were touring in Iceland, for about two weeks excepting one concert in the Highlands, it was only acoustic performances for the whole time. We only played the acoustic songs, and it was a little bit of an eye-opener. We had never done that before. I kind of liked it, to hear the songs really raw and naked. It was really hard to play them. They're so naked! It kind of helped me at the same time, I was just learning sort of how to do it. I think that's why I wanted to make an album like that. We had decided that it would be a more exciting thing to do than a live album. We kind of didn't like the idea of a live album, how to display the songs from your last album, because the songs could end up sounding worse.

Pitchfork: Certainly you've seen many beautiful locations all over the world, but you chose to shoot all of Heima in Iceland. Other than the fact that you're from there, is there something about Iceland that ties in with the music that you make?

Birgisson: We have got this question so many times-- it's just one of the questions on the hate list [laughs]. Maybe it is. Maybe, I don't know. Of course, like you said, you are from there, you grow up there, you are raised there, so definitely I think in some ways. Maybe it's just more unconsciously than something planned. It's kind of hard to say, but I think definitely we'd make different music probably if we grew up in Jamaica or something [laughs]. [MORE...]

Broken Social Scenesters on New Jason Collett Album
Collett plays some shows with Feist

Unlike his Broken Social Scene bandmate Kevin Drew, Jason Collett doesn't cede the marquee when promoting his records. This is a Jason Collett LP, understand-- but that doesn't mean some friends haven't joined in its making.

Recorded in Toronto with producer Howie Beck, Here's to Being Here sports guest turns from Apostle of Hustle's Andrew Whiteman (also of BSS), Liam O'Neil of the Stills, and New York jazz scene staple Tony Scherr, among others. The LP follows fairly close on the heels of last year's fine Idols of Exile set, boasting what a press release calls a "tasteful", "old school" guitar sound via "the energy and musicianship" of Collett's touring band, Paso Mino.

North Americans, Here's to Being Here will be at your local record shop February 5 from Arts & Crafts.

In addition to a regular old tour schedule (including several dates with pal Leslie Feist), Collett will perform a special series of gigs dubbed "Jason Collett's Basement Revue" the first three Tuesdays in December at Toronto's Dakota Tavern. Jason will play songs both old and new with some assistance from "special surprise guests." Given this guy's address book, that could literally be anybody. [MORE...]

Photos: Battles / Caribou / White Williams [Chicago, IL; 11/08/07]

Photos by Sanchez and Kitahara

A lot went down at Metro last night, but if one impression lingers from the night-- which featured four fairly disparate acts, each threatening to spill over the edge of the stage, rocking before a sold out crowd-- it'll be the powerhouse drumming. The sweaty, lockstep, violent sort of drumming where even the little dust particles that fly up with each hit seem to do so with particular alacrity.

Battles' (and Helmet alum) John Stanier, of course, brought it all home; he was so caked in sweat halfway through the first song that he looked like a wax sculpture of himself. Caribou boasted two ace kit-kickers, including project mastermind Dan Snaith, who multi-tasked with guitar and electronics as well. Even the sticksman for Warp-signed Toronto trio Born Ruffians held his own among this accomplished company. All of which made White Williams' show-opening airy electro-rock thing-- which uses a drum machine-- that much more ironic.

Dates and more photos ahead.






Black Kids Add Dates
None with Whitest Boy Alive, alas

Photo by Jason Bergman

Flags, Dice, Keys, Dogs, Mountains, Lips, Strobes, Swans, Eyes, Angels, Devil Disco Clubs, Rebel Motorcycle Clubs, and Moth Super Rainbows: there is a whole lotta Black covered in these pages.

And fast making their way to the upper echelons of Bands With "Black" in Their Names are Jacksonville, Florida's Black Kids, darlings of CMJ, creators of a Best New Music-stamped EP, evaders of labels (for now), and masters of punnery (just check that EP title).

The Kids' native Florida and the UK mega-metropolis of London may not have too terribly many things in common, but that'll all change soon, as both locations can look forward to a hearty helping of Black Kids shows in the weeks to come. The next one pops off in Orlando tomorrow night (October 10), and the kids have a couple previously mentioned gigs in Georgia too. All may be yours with but a click. [MORE...]

Polvo Reunite for All Tomorrow's Parties
Explosions in the Sky weekend also adds Animal Collective, Four Tet

With their signature guitar whirl and crunch, Chapel Hill band Polvo helped define the American indie rock sound of the mid-90s. (Singer/guitarist Ash Bowie also did the same as the bassist in Helium.) After releasing several albums on Touch and Go and Merge, Polvo broke up in 1997, and haven't played together since. Until the weekend of May 16-18, 2008 that is.

Curators Explosions in the Sky have gotten Polvo to reunite for their first show in over a decade for their edition of the 2008 All Tomorrow's Parties festival, taking place that weekend at Butlins Holiday Resort in Minehead, England. And it will be a full-on reunion: original members Bowie, singer/guitarist Dave Brylawski, bassist Steve Popson, and drummer Eddie Watkins will all be there. For now, this is the only scheduled Polvo reunion date, though a London show is a possibililty.

UPDATE: It will not be a full reunion, as Watkins is not participating. Brian Quast, formerly of the Cherry Valence, will be drumming.

Explosions in the Sky have also added quite a few other noteworthy artists to their ATP: Animal Collective, Four Tet, Ola Podrida, Eluvium, Lazarus, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, and the Paper Chase. They will join previously reported performers Dinosaur Jr., ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Iron and Wine, Broken Social Scene, Adem, and EITS themselves.

As you know, the Explosions in the Sky weekend is just one of many events All Tomorrows' Parties has planned in the coming months. There's Portishead's fest, Don't Look Back shows, and, of course, ATP vs. Pitchfork.
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