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Photos: GZA Performs Liquid Swords [New York, NY; 12/13/07]

Photos and text by Drew Katchen

Wu-Tang Clan have been all over the place in late 2007, with Raekwon performing at the J.A.M. Awards last month, Ghostface doing Hip Hop Live!, RZA on the road, and Wu about to set off-- not to mention the arrival of Ghostface's Big Doe Rehab and the first Wu record in six years, 8 Diagrams.

And then of course, we have GZA's pair of performances at the Knitting Factory, the first of which went down last night and saw his 1995 classic Liquid Swords cut up, reworked, enhanced by enthusiastic crowd participation, and temporarily abandoned in favor of Wu-Tang or Ol' Dirty Bastard songs. Pitchfork Music Festival attendees this past summer will recall GZA swinging through Swords in between Slint and Sonic Youth.

Here, GZA-- backed by an on-stage entourage at least 10 deep-- didn't make mention of the canceled McCarren Park Pool Liquid Swords show that would have closed out the park's series of summer live concerts. But just before "Gold", he did playfully acknowledge the Knitting Factory's intimate size and his recent UK trip for ATP's Nightmare Before Christmas show. Ultimately, the showcase took Swords' eerie verses and frigid beats and made them into something warm and revelatory.

After a second run through Liquid Swords tonight, GZA will join up with the Wu for a jaunt across the U.S. Dates and more photos below.



Thrill Jockey B-Day Bash: Become Yr Fave Album Cover!
Single tickets available, final night-by-night lineup revealed

As if 16-some ace acts spread over two nights of Windy City rocking weren't enough, Thrill Jockey has gone and spruced up its previously reported 15th anniversary bash with a little party attraction straight out of Coney Island.

An exhaustive, page-by-page search of our office copy of the O.E.D. has yielded no concise term for these things, but you've surely seen them before. Head-putter-througher thingers, let's call them-- only for the TJ par-tay, as depicted above, they've been made to resemble classic Thrill Jockey album covers! I mean, who hasn't dreamt of looking like Bobby Conn decked out in his Sunday morning best?

Chicago's own Busy Beaver Button Co. created the cut-outs especially for this festive occasion. (Special thanks to model Eric Harms of Picture Books.)

That bash, once again, goes down tonight (December 14) and tomorrow night at Chicago's Logan Square Auditorium. The lineup has altered slightly since our last report-- Freakwater and Angela Desveaux are no longer on it-- and although Thrill Jockey still won't reveal who plays when, they have shed some light on which acts you can expect each night. Check those below. Accordingly, they've also made single-night tickets available.

You can still scoop up two-day passes, of course, and those still come with the excellently-named Super Epic Thrill Jockey Mega Massive Mix by Trey Told 'Em, aka Gregg Gillis (Girl Talk) and Frank Musarra. Copies of the just-released, massive, cover-swapping 7" box Plum will be up for sale as well.

And, last but not least, surprise guests are still promised. [MORE...]

The Decemberists to Return to the Road in January

Photo by Rich Orris and Marina Teper

It's not quite a month-long concept tour, but after the cancellation of their "Long and Short of It" trek due to illness earlier this fall, any news of the Decemberists hitting the road is welcome.


Colin Meloy and his merry men (and woman) have announced a quartet of dates in January-- two shows in the band's hometown of Portland and two more in Seattle.

In the MySpace bulletin announcing the shows, the band said, "We know this may be a small consolation to those of you outside of Portland and Seattle that had tickets to the fall tour, but the band has rested up and was excited to play some dates close to home. These shows will be neither Longs nor Shorts, just good ol' fashioned Decemberists shows."

Hey, we'll take what we can get. [MORE...]


Rocket From the Crypt Resurrected on Live CD/DVD
John Reis starts new band with fellow former Hot Snakes

With Rocket From the Crypt dead and gone, all fans have left is their tattoos, their memories, and maybe a couple tubs of hair grease to go along with the old records. But wait! What's this bony hand poking up out of the grave? On February 26, the beloved garage punk band will be resurrected with the Vagrant release of R.I.P. The CD/DVD package is a live document of the band's final show in San Diego on Halloween in 2005, with frontman John "Speedo" Reis in a Screaming Jay Hawkins costume and the rest of the band dressed equally wackily. Check out the DVD's trailer below.

Reis has also formed yet another new band. In addition to Reis, the currently unnamed group features the talents of Gar Wood (Hot Snakes, Beehive & the Barracudas), Jason Kourkounis (Hot Snakes, Mule, Delta 72), and Tommy Kitsos (CPC Gangbangs). The band will make its debut on March 25 with the release of its first album via Vagrant and Reis' own Swami Records. Then they'll hit the road, though not, we assume, in costume. But if they stick around until Halloween, who knows?!


Lupe Fiasco Plots Sizable U.S. Tour, Cool Happenings

It's starting to dawn on us that, no matter how many times Lupe Fiasco explains this whole three-headed, patty melted LP to us, we're gonna have to spend some time with The Cool to figure out just what he's talking about. So, kindly enough, Lupe's scheduled a series of symposiums around the country in hopes of spreading Cool awareness and hopefully dropping some Cool knowledge. Sure, those lectures are taking the form of electrifying rap concerts and other entertaining affairs, but where Lupe's concerned, no matter the context, you just know you're gonna get schooled.

So, then, a sizable U.S. tour has been scheduled-- dates listed below the jump. Lupe Fiasco's The Cool, as you know, drops December 18 on 1st and 15th/Atlantic. The day it hits stores, Lupe will perform at New York's Irving Plaza, and relaunch with a ton of new stuff, including a video game called "THE COOLest" that, considering the source, is probably worth checking out.

Two days later, he'll hit Chicago hip-hop culture shop the Bassment for an in-store appearance. Then he'll head to Honolulu just after Christmas for his first ever Hawaiian gig. The proper tour kicks off in Portland January 10, and more dates can be expected. What I wouldn't give for this guy's work ethic.

In other Lupe news, he was recently nominated for a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for Food & Liquor's Jill Scott-boosted "Daydreamin'". [MORE...]


Radiohead Reveal Cool In Rainbows CD Packaging
Rainbows! Stickers! But where are the ponies?

Chances are if you're reading this and you like Radiohead you've probably already heard In Rainbows. Perhaps you downloaded it (for free or otherwise) way back in October. Perhaps you scooped up the discbox and even gave the bonus material a whirl too.

Which is all to say that web-trolling folks' In Rainbows anticipation levels-- at least music-wise-- won't exactly be shooting through the roof in late December/early January, when CD and vinyl copies of the latest Radiohead masterpiece land in stores the world over.

Well! Good thing music isn't the only thing to get all riled up about here, eh? Radiohead have let us in on a few secrets surrounding the packaging that will protect all CD copies of In Rainbows when they invade Japan December 26 (via Hostess Entertainment), the UK December 31 (via XL), and the U.S. and Canada January 1 (via ATO/TBD and MapleMusic, respectively), and they're totally taking us back to the days when we tricked out our Trapper Keepers with Lisa Frank adhesives.

First and foremost: There will be no jewel case. Instead, your Rainbows will come in some kind of paper product-type container that also includes-- wait for it-- stickers! Yes, stickers, such that you may turn any old battered jewel case into a bona fide Radiohead opus. Nothing quite so elaborate as the veritable arts and crafts set that was Beck's Information, but still, pretty cool. And environmentally friendly, of course!

All of this fanciness has been illustrated magician-stylee in a special In Rainbows telly advert which you wanderers of web may view here:

The cute teaser trailer is here:

Finally, lest ye forget, the "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" single comes to the UK January 14, and Radiohead are poised to hit the road in 2008. No North American dates quite yet, but leave it to these guys to announce those sometime around midnight Chicago time on January 1, when the entire Pitchfork News staff is otherwise occupied. Wood duly knocked on. [MORE...]


Kindercore Serves Up Xmas Charity Comp/Comic Book
Featuring Bunnygrunt, Headlights, Venice Is Sinking, King of Prussia, the Observatory

Kindercore Records is back and here to stay, and so is the label's beloved series of Christmas compilations. Third holiday offering Xmas-3: The War on Christmas! came careening down chimneys this week, its trusty sack packed with choice cuts from psych-tinged indie pop faves, all bundled with a compendium comic book and wrapped in that Stan Lee-inspired cover you see over there.

Bunnygrunt, Headlights, Venice Is Sinking, Elephant Six affiliates the Observatory, Je Suis France, and Kindercore's own King of Prussia and Ruby Isle are among those contributing festive fare to the 19-song suite. The doodles, meanwhile, come courtesy of Travis Fox, Ryan Lewis, Jesse Lockwood, Nethie Lockwood, Mat Lewis, Maya Livio, Rama Hughes, Lauren Gregg, and Craig Sheldon.

If you actually want to physically touch this thing, however, you'd best act fast. Only 100 hard copies have been pressed/printed; stall and you'll have to settle for the digital retailer version-- which does, let it be known, still include complete scans of the comic.

Best of all, all proceeds from sales of Xmas-3 go to Oxfam. So score a copy for you and/or your mother-in-law this Christmas. I mean, does she really need that Josh Groban CD? Does he do a holiday jingle called "Baby, Please Don't Get Stoned (It's Christmas)"? Didn't think so.

Kindercore's rebirth continues January 29 with the release of King of Prussia's debut mini-album Save the Scene. [MORE...]

Black Lips Release Very Limited Edition Single
Single available at one Atlanta store, also serves as ticket to show

Following in the footsteps of their pals and fellow Atlanta residents Deerhunter, Black Lips have contributed an exclusive tune to the second Chunklet "WhirlyBall" single. The Lips track is a cover of a song from the Ethiopiques compilation series. Atlanta bands Gentleman Jesse & His Men, the Baby Shakes, and Coffin Bound contribute the single's other three tracks.

Just like the last one, this single is only available at Atlanta's Criminal Records, and the 7" also serves as the only way to get a ticket to a show featuring all four bands. The gig goes down at WhirlyBall Atlanta in Roswell, Georgia on January 19. The ticket is physically attached to the record's sleeve by a perforated edge.

Chunklet plans to continue the WhirlyBall single and show series throughout 2008.

In other Black Lips news, have you heard they're touring? They're also playing ATP vs. Pitchfork.



Portastatic, Annuals, Rosebuds Rock Trekky Recs Xmas
Them, and just about every other band in North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina's Trekky Records favors keeping things close to home; after all, the imprint got its start as a forum for the music of friends of founders (and, of course, North Carolinians) Martin Anderson and Will Hackney.

So you'll be expected to don your tar-iest heels for the label's annual Christmas party, an all-NC affair that brings Portastatic, Annuals, the Rosebuds, the Moaners, Schooner, Sweater Weather, and more of their fellow Old North State residents than you can shake a candycane at to Carrboro's Cat's Cradle December 19. "Christmas at the Cradle", they're calling it.

As with last year, the headliners here aren't a name non-locals will recognize right off. They're the Trekky Yuletide Orchestra, they only play original and traditional Christmas music, they number at least 20, and they're comprised of members of the Trekky Records roster. All proceeds from the gig go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Beach House Team With Papercuts for 2008 Tour
Papercuts preferable to sand in shorts?

Hey, it's the newest episode of "2 bands, 1 tour"*: Baltimore's Beach House and San Francisco's Papercuts are pairing up for a 2008 tour that will bring them not only to their respective coasts but pretty much everywhere in between as well. Principal Papercut Jason Quever will serve double duty on the tour, as he'll sit in on drums for Beach House.

Beach House will be touring in support of their sophomore album, Devotion, out February 26 on Carpark.

* Don't worry, it's not that video. [MORE...]


Labels Seek Apology From Rolling Stone for Camel Ad
Kill Rock Stars, Touch and Go, Skin Graft, others send angry letter to magazine

Pour bad journalism, shady advertising, and the music you love into the media cauldron, let simmer for a few weeks, and you get that ugly mess we reported about last week. Camelstonegate, let's call it. In summary: In a recent issue, Rolling Stone tucked an editorial section name-checking heaps of indie bands into a big ol' advertorial promoting a Camel cigarettes campaign targeting indie rockers. A huge no-no for a number of reasons.

Nine states have already sued Camel over the fact that the "Indie Rock Universe" section was basically one big cartoon. (Using cartoons to sell cigarettes violates the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1997.) Now, not surprisingly, a bunch of labels representing bands unwittingly lumped into this whole scheme have stepped forward to demand an apology from Rolling Stone.

Today, an open letter to Rolling Stone signed by Kill Rock Stars, Touch and Go, Skin Graft, Lovepump United, Lucky Madison, the defunct 5RC, Audio Dregs, and Fryk Beat, was sent out by Kill Rock Stars' Maggie Vail. It begins, "We, the undersigned independent record labels wish to share our indignation regarding Rolling Stone's November 15th pull out editorial, which featured the names of our artists in conjunction with an ad for Camel cigarettes."

The full text of the letter is available after the jump, but basically, these people are pissed that their artists' names were used without their consent to push product, and rightfully so.

As previously mentioned, Rolling Stone has insisted the ad and editorial content came together by mere coincidence, but KRS and the others are calling the publication's bluff. Ultimately, the labels "ask that Rolling Stone apologize for blurring the line between editorial and advertisement, and in doing so, implying that the bands named support the product being advertised."

Individual artists have also begun expressing their displeasure as well. The Daily Swarm points us to a Toronto Star report that suggests post-hardcore maniacs Fucked Up-- one of the many stars of Rolling Stone's "Indie Rock Universe"-- are planning to pursue legal action. They also weighed in on the issue in humorous fashion on their blog.

Fucked Up's litigious ire, however, appears to be directed toward music service Rhapsody, which allegedly licensed bands' music without their consent to the online version of the Rolling Stone piece.

UPDATE: Rhapsody was not involved in the Camel advertisement at all. The online version of the piece contains no links or references to Camel. [MORE...]


Electrelane Organize Anti-Trafficking Benefit
Alex Paterson from the Orb, Charlotte Hatherley, Adrian Sherwood perform

Kicking around London on a Friday night waiting for the ink to dry on that paycheck? This particular Friday night-- meaning tomorrow, December 14-- you could do a lot worse than to head over to The Fly, where you'll be treated to an evening of fine, fine music of both the live and prerecorded varieties. And it's for a good cause!

The recently disbanded but still chummy Electrelane have organized a benefit show for the Anti-Trafficking Alliance, which works in the UK and abroad to end forced abduction and trafficking into sexual slavery. Alas, Electrelane themselves won't be playing live, but they will be DJing, as will Alex Paterson of the Orb, Anjali, the Early Years, Sinqueso Sisters, and the Broken Hearts. Live, you'll get Charlotte Hatherley, Dot Allison, Adrian Sherwood, It Hugs Back, and Freddie Stevenson rocking and rolling and carrying on.

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