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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...]

Sufjan's Literary Event Back On for December 17

Well, that didn't take long. Sufjan Stevens' on-again, off-again PEN American Center-hosted literary event, originally scheduled to take place this past Wednesday, November 28, has been rescheduled. It's now taking place December 17 at Brooklyn's Southpaw. There, our boy Sufjan will chat with Wesley Stace, aka songwriter John Wesley Harding, in an evening hosted by author Rick Moody. (Thanks again to BrooklynVegan.)

This nice little tidbit brings us again to the Cliff's Notes edition of all that is Sufjan in late '07: he's fresh off "The BQE", he's got a little tour in the works, he's got some stuff up for auction tonight, and that song contest ends tomorrow. [MORE...]

Tonight's Sufjan Stevens Literary Event Postponed
Plus: Asthmatic Kitty advent calenders!

Sufjan Stevens and John Wesley Harding might be chewing the fat about their new fave rave softcovers and small presses and the like tonight, but they probably won't be doing it together, and they definitely won't be doing it at Brooklyn's Southpaw. The pair's aforementioned "literary event" hosted by PEN American Center, previously scheduled for this evening, is off until further notice, with the PEN website citing "unforeseeable circumstances" as the cause. Still, it looks as though rescheduling proceedings are in the works at the moment, so don't fret: your nerdlinger hero shall come anew. (Thanks to BrooklynVegan.)

In other Sufjan news (of which there is never a shortage), he did that "BQE" thing, he's providing some warez for a good cause, he's heading out on tour, and he's got a fun little gift exchange on the way.

And in the spirit of generosity, Asthmatic Kitty is giving away advent calendars with the purchase of Suf's Songs for Christmas box set via their website. Designed by illustrator Tom Eaton (who drew them pretty pictures for Sufjan's "Put the Lights on the Tree" clip), the calendars can also be purchased separately through the Asthmatic Kitty store.



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...]

Ya Ho Wa 13 Play First Shows in 30 Years, Reissue LP

We're hard-pressed for words to describe 1970s group Ya Ho Wa 13 beyond their traditionally vague "psychedelic" tag, so here's some math:

the Polyphonic Spree's numbers, cultishness, penchant for robes
the Hare Krishnas' meditative spirituality, penchant for robes
general hippiedom
more robes

Ya Ho Wa 13 and the Source Family cult/commune around it

Theirs is a confusing history, to say the least, and one that's better documented by others who are more knowledgeable.

But here's what we can tell you: Cold Sweat Records will reissue the band's Penetration: An Aquarian Symphony on February 5.

Better yet, surviving members of the band-- whose leader, Father Yod, died in a hang-gliding accident in 1975-- will play their first public shows in 30 years this month in conjunction with the publishing of Process Media's The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13, and the Source Family by Isis Aquarian. The performances and accompanying slide shows, home movies, book signings, and more only take place in California, but really, what did you expect from these guys? [MORE...]

Hold Steady, Husker Du Guys in Replacements Book

Behind the flannel shirts, mussy hair, and "Beautiful Loser" archetype, the Replacements were just a pretty great (if also pretty self-destructive) rock band with some good stories. Minneapolis rock critic Jim Walsh has gathered those stories for an oral history of the band that goes beyond their chapter in Our Band Could Be Your Life.

The Replacements: All Over but the Shouting is an oral history of the Replacements told through Walsh's interviews with their families, friends, fans, former manager Peter Jesperson, Twin/Tone label co-founder Paul Stark, and musicians who count Paul Westerberg and company's band as an influence-- including the Hold Steady's Craig Finn, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, and Hüsker Dü's Bob Mould and Grant Hart.

While officially due November 15, All Over is actually available now via Voyageur Press. Check out some excerpts from it here.

There are a number of All Over-related literary and musical events that will take place this fall and winter, starting with the November 15 reading/signing/general party at Minneapolis' Treehouse Records/CC Club. [MORE...]

Franz Ferdinand Subject of New Book

An A-Z of Franz Ferdinand is Helen Chase's searing exposé of the seamy underbelly of the Scottish angle-rockers, a Kitty Kelly-style autobiography that digs up every last speck of dirt on the perpetually scandal-ridden, drug-addled renegades.

Sike! Remember, folks, this is a band whose frontman wrote a book about food. Still, there's plenty to learn about Alex and the lads from the tome. According to, Chase's A-Z features a series of thematic vignettes and never-before-seen photos, which should school even the biggest Franz Ferdi-fan (yep, went there). Chase conducted a series of lengthy interviews and did extensive research for A-Z, which seeks to serve as a definitive guide to the band's first five years. And beyond, apparently: the author dishes with the dudes about their elusive forthcoming third LP.

The book will be published by Northumbria University Press and will be launched November 18 at Newcastle, England's The Cluny. Bands Modes and Marcheys House are scheduled to play, because standing around looking at a pile of books on a table isn't a very good way to kill an hour. Though there are no concrete plans to release the book outside of the U.K. at the moment, Northumbria Press is currently in talks with an American publisher, with the hope of putting out the book around the time the new Franz disc drops next year.

Franz Ferdinand have no touring plans to speak of, though they do have a tune on that "Saturday Night Live" comp, which is kind of like a Franz Ferdinand concert, only far shorter, and no longer live. Hmmm.


Mount Eerie Unleashes Massive Photo Tome With LP

Your coffee table is so not ready for this. On November 6, Southern Distribution and P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd. will treat Phil Elverum devotees to Mount Eerie Pts. 6 & 7, a furniture-shattering 132-page oversize volume packed with full-color photographs-- gorgeous landscapes, primarily, akin in mood to the films Phil has been showing on tour and meant as a "visual counterpart" to the man's recordings over the years.

Pts. 6 & 7 also houses Mount Eerie music in the form of a single 10" picture disc record, one which holds in its grooves the "sequel" to the Mount Eerie album, released under the Microphones moniker in 2003. Considering the five tracks on Mount Eerie (which have non-numerical titles) parts 1-5, the 10", then, collects the next two parts on its two sides.

The most devoted (and loaded, as this thing carries quite a price tag) of Elverum devotees may already have this artifact-- it's been available on Phil's site for a little while now, and he's been selling it on tour-- but the rest of us will have a chance to scoop it up as Southern spreads it far and wide next week.

And if the aforementioned price tag has you queasy, know this: According to the Mount Eerie website, Pts. 6 & 7 was "printed and bound at the best printer in North America...on 10,000 lbs of FSC certified 50% recycled, 35% post-consumer 'Endeavor' paper ('savings': 20 full grown trees, 60 lbs of water-borne waste, 9000 lbs solid waste, 1000 gallons of water, 1900 lbs of greenhouse gases, 14870 (000) BTU's of energy)." So, yeah.

What's more, Phil spared no expense with the recording, enlisting veteran board-man John Golden to mix it. Phil even wrapped copies of his book in a dust jacket printed on a special stock of paper that feels like, well-- have you ever touched the stringrays at SeaWorld? It feels rather a lot like that. Apparently Elverum thought it the grossest thing ever, which is why he's gleefully sharing it with you. Aww, thanks man. You're the best.

Mount Eerie is presently in the throes of a sizable cross-country trek. Tonight, November 2, finds him in Providence, Rhode Island. [MORE...]

Darnielle Writes About Sabbath, Drew Daniel Writes About Throbbing Gristle, Plus More 33 1/3 Series News

For people who like their music criticism lengthy, in-depth, and focused on one album at a time, Continuum Books' 33 1/3 series is the place to turn. There are currently over 50 books in the constantly growing series, and chances are good there's one about your favorite album just waiting for you to read it. (As previously reported, previous volumes have included the Decemberists' Colin Meloy examining the Replacements' Let It Be, Joe Pernice of the Pernice Brothers writing about the Smiths, and tomes about Prince, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, the Beastie Boys, David Bowie, and many, many more.)

Pitchfork's own Associate Editor-in-Chief Scott Plagenhoef is responsible for one of the most recent entries in the series, about Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister. Check out an excerpt here. Pitchfork contributor Amanda Petrusich's book on Nick Drake's Pink Moon just came out as well; an excerpt is available here. Stephen Catanzarite's take on U2's Achtung Baby is also out now.

Several other Pitchfork contributors have books forthcoming in the series. December holds the release of Forker Carl Wilson's book on Céline Dion's Let's Talk About Love and Forker/Matmos half Drew Daniel's book on Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats.

Lest someone suspect Pitchfork staffers of stealing the show, David Smay's book on Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones also comes out in December. Then in March and April, the series will reload with books on albums by Black Sabbath (by Mountain Goat John Darnielle), Slayer (by DX Ferris), and Patti Smith (by Phil Shaw).

Or, if you've got a short attention span (or prefer singles to albums-- zing!), there's 33 1/3's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, which compiles excerpts from many titles in the series.

Now, if you just read over that list of forthcoming titles, you may have noticed that Carl Wilson's choice of a Céline Dion album is, perhaps, less traditionally canonical than the rest of the series' subjects. But wait! The book isn't just about Céline Dion. It's subtitled "A Journey to the End of Taste", and according to the book jacket, "As Wilson strives to understand Céline's immense global popularity, he faces the question of what drives personal taste-- and whether it's possible to change it."

The folks at 33 1/3 are convinced that the book is so good, they will send PDFs of the first two chapters to anyone who sends an email to You can also read an excerpt from the book's third chapter at the 33 1/3 blog here. It's just like the library!


Robert Pollard Attack! Two More LPs, Art Show/Book
Bob's art to show in gallery run by guy from "The Sopranos". No, really.

Robert Pollard is, as we all know, a man with the Midas touch. Dude need only lay a finger upon a blank CD-R and-- presto!-- new album in the can. And not surprisingly, Mr. Pollard has been getting his magic fingers all over the place of late, which means we can expect two new Pollard-centric releases in the early '08.

"But wait!" you say. "Did Mr. Robert Pollard not just hit us with two simultaneous releases via the respected Merge imprint?" And indeed he did. But those, my friend, are so last month.

This month (um, November) is all about anticipating Pollard's upcoming Chicago show, while the next (that would be December) is reserved for experiencing and reminiscing about the guy's gig in Newport, Kentucky (and his art show, but we'll get to that).

Which leaves January wide open for the release of the next Pollard LP, Superman Was a Rocker. Due the 29th of that month from Bob's Happy Jack Rock Records (also responsible for that singles series), Superman finds Dayton, Ohio's own crime-fighter from another planet festooning a bunch of instrumentals he's been hoarding over the years with vocals. Old pals Tobin Sprout, Jimmy Pollard (pal and brother to Bob), Doug Gillard, Mitch Mitchell, Nate Farley, Kevin Fennell, and Kevin March all pop up on this release.

February 26, then, has the same label offering up We've Moved by Psycho and the Birds, Pollard's collaboration with Guided by Voices producer Todd Tobias.

And the Pollard touch doesn't stop at music, mind you. Also a master of that kindergarten art-making staple, the collage, Pollard will soon display some of his best work in the medium at a New York City gallery. "Do the Collage" runs at Studio Dante-- co-owned by Michael Imperioli of "The Sopranos" fame-- December 9-10 and features over 50 of Pollard's renderings in cut-outs and glue.

What's more, Pollard's cleverly juxtaposed clippings-- some of which have served as cover art for his myriad releases over the years-- will be collected in the book Town of Mirrors: The Reassembled Imagery of Robert Pollard, due from Fantagraphics in 2008. [MORE...]

Tweedy, Strummer in Wilco Documentarian Jones' Book

Chances are, you've come across Sam Jones' work somewhere: in magazines, perhaps, or-- since you're here, after all-- in the 2002 Wilco documentary that he directed, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. The occasional filmmaker is really a photographer at heart; those haunting, skeletal black and white shots of Chicago in Trying were evidence enough of that. Now Jones' print work has been anthologized in The Here and Now: The Photography of Sam Jones, out this week from Harper Entertainment.

The Here and Now collects over 100 of Jones' images of famous faces, some starkly captured in black and white, and many gussied up in uncharacteristic, borderline wacky wardrobes. Thespians abound, though a few tunesmiths made the cut: Jeff Tweedy of course, Johnny Ramone and Joe Strummer perched next to each other, a very preggers Tori Amos, a grinning Willie Nelson, Ice Cube at the movies, Aimee Mann and Michael Penn re-doing Dylan's famed Freewheelin' cover... oh, and barenaked Barenaked Ladies with their manparts tucked between their thighs. :-(

On the actor tip, there's some Cusacks, Seth Rogen, and a mustachioed Will Ferrell playing ping-pong, among others. George Clooney not only provides the book's foreword, but stares back at you with those mysterious, knowing eyes from the cover.

Jones is also lined up to direct a screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace's 1,000+ page novel Infinite Jest. How does one go about making a film with footnotes?

Six Organs Craft Exclusive CD for Co-Written Book

For exactly 50 of you, here's some very good news: walk into Los Angeles' Book Soup bookstore around 7 p.m. this Halloween and you'll be presented with a Six Organs of Admittance Empty the Sun soundtrack CD free of charge. The disc won't be available anywhere else, and there's only a few of 'em out there: more than 50, though, as the purchase of any Hotel St. George Press book on that evening will get you one, too. Still, that's a generous offer... a little too generous if you ask me. Must be a catch, right?

Eh, not unless you're allergic to the written word. The night is a celebration of Akashic Books' new experimental imprint Hotel St. George Press, and a number of HSG authors-- including co-founders Alex Rose and Aaron Petrovich, the latter reading in a straitjacket-- will be on hand to read from their work. So, too, will Joseph Mattson, whose Empty the Sun is a collaborative novel with Six Organs of Admittance. Man, Ben Chasny, when do you sleep?

Not anytime soon: Chasny and his Organs have a string of West Coast dates and a single British gig next month. What's more, their latest LP, Shelter From the Ash-- pressed in a quantity exceeding 50, we're sure-- drops November 20 on Drag City. [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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