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Menomena Collaborate With Friend Artist Live
Foe artist shafted for obvious reasons

Photos by Pierre-Yves Arnoux

Menomena are serious about their art. Their Friend and Foe LP from this year had interactive artwork that allowed for a variety of different permutations. The sweet posters for their first-ever European tour featured drummer Danny Seim's pug/Menomena's manager, Ms. Geddy Lee, in a pair of movie roles. And now, on five dates of their already scheduled second tour of Europe, the band is collaborating onstage with Friend and Foe visual artist Craig Thompson (also known as the guy behind the sweet graphic novel Blankets.)

Seim explains the collaboration like so: "[Thompson]'s stretching a giant (approx. 3'x9') piece of butcher paper horizontally across the back of the stages and visually interpreting our set behind us with a brush & ink as we play. Pretentious? Maybe. But super fun all the same."

The first of these five, non-consecutive collaborations took place September 29 at the Nouveau Casino club in Paris. After the encore, Thompson tore his creation from the wall and, with the help of the band, tore it into pieces and passed the pieces out to the crowd. "He's ten times the rock star that we are over here," says Seim. For proof, there is YouTube documentation here. For more photos of the show itself, see the post-jump.

The next Menomena show is a collaboration with Thompson, and it takes place tonight, October 3, in Amsterdam. The next two collaborations are in Milan and Barcelona over the next week and a half. [MORE...]


CocoRosie's Bianca Casady Exhibits Her Art

When more traditional hip-hop artists want to explore their non-musical sides, it's often acting they pursue first. But when it comes to experimental freak folkies whose ties to hip-hop come in the form of the occasional use of beats and a penchant for fitteds, an art show is perhaps a better place for them to fully express the depth of their weirdness.

CocoRosie's Bianca Casady seems to think the same way, as she will debut a collection of her visual art in New York City on October 6. Titled "Lil' Girl Slim 'Cosmic Willingness' Pipe Dreamz A Revelation", the exhibit will feature work in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, video, works on paper, and performance.

"Lil' Girl Slim..." will run at Deitch Projects through October 19, when CocoRosie will also perform at the space. The Casady sisters also have a solid number of European dates scheduled for this fall, the next of which is tonight, September 27, in Paris. [MORE...]

Black Swans Go Through Change! on New Album, Tour
Band members find feathers in awkward places, experience urges to fly in V formation

Columbus, Ohio's the Black Swans have all sorts of goings on going on across a variety of media and U.S. cities this fall, including the release of an album, a bunch of a shows, an art exhibition, and a lecture on Bob Dylan by singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jerry DeCicca.

Let's start with the record, Change! (mere coincidence that the title combines two Dismemberment Plan LPs?), which comes out on La Société Expéditionnaire on November 6. It's the band's sophomore full-length and the follow-up to last year's Sex Brain EP. The CD's cover artwork is a painting called Untitled by Debbie Porchetti, a member of Arc North Workshop, which is a sheltered art workshop under the umbrella of Columbus' Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. The limited edition vinyl version of Change! comes in a run of 500, and each LP features a different cover with art by Arc North members. You can see video of Arc North artists at work on the project here.

The art exhibition is a showing of these covers at Columbus' Yeah, Me Too Coffee Shop, and the Black Swans will play its opening on November 2. But the art opening is only one of a couple handfuls of shows the Swans will play this fall, most of which are in either Columbus or Brooklyn, though the next one is in Nashville on September 29.

Still with us? Good, because maybe the most awesome of the flock of Black Swans-related news is Jerry DeCicca's guest lecture on Bob Dylan at the Ohio State University's Denny Hall on November 14. Unfortunately it's not open to the public, but OSU students should keep an eye out for DeCicca's From Infidels to Time Out of Mind: The Unhinged and Rhymed Mind of Bob Dylan in the 80s and 90s.

Finally, DeCicca recently co-produced recordings by former Monument Records artist Larry Jon Wilson, the latter's first new stuff in 30 years. That music will see a UK release early next year via 1965 Records/Sony. [MORE...]

Knife, Cat Power, Stipe, Animal Collective in Visionaire
Also: Sonic Youth members, Antony, Yoko Ono, David Byrne, Sunn0))), Danger Mouse

"Multi-format album of fashion and art" Visionaire will take the form of five 12" vinyl picture discs [pictured above] for its 53rd issue, "Sound", which will come out in December.

"Sound" features contributions from David Byrne, the Knife, Animal Collective, Cat Power, Michael Stipe, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Antony and the Johnsons, Andrew WK, Yoko Ono, Beastie Boy Adrock, Danger Mouse, U2, Courtney Love, Malcolm McLaren, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian, Laurie Anderson, UNKLE, Sunn O))), Gang Gang Dance, Christian Marclay, Miss Kittin, Trevor Jackson, Nigo, Robert Wilson, DJ Spooky, Doug Aitken, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, and Helmut Lang, among many, many others from the worlds of art, fashion, and, of course, music.

These contributions amount to over 100 minutes of previously unreleased audio experiments, samples, spoken word pieces, and even actual songs.

The images on the picture discs were created by a number of artists you might recognize from their work on your favorite album covers, including Peter Saville, Cindy Sherman, Raymond Pettibon, and Robert Longo.

"Sound" comes in an edition of 4,000 numbered copies, and the full package includes the five records, an acrylic dome case, a booklet with credits and instructions, two CDs containing all of the audio content, and a battery-operated toy car that plays the records through a self-contained needle and speakers as it drives along the grooves.

Best happy meal ever.


Band of Horses Reveal Purty LP Cover Art

Aww, would ya look at that? Kinda makes you want to toss your computer out the window and get back in touch with nature and stuff (heck, this one did too). Perhaps a bit too nocturnal for these guys, but really though, lovely, simple, graceful, and a fine antidote to all the visual static clattering up record racks these days.

Yep, that's the cover for the forthcoming Cease to Begin from Sub Pop's own halfway house for recovering jam-banders, Band of Horses. Take it home with you beginning October 9, and catch Band on the run with Modest Mouse right now. [MORE...]

Melvins Release Demos With Comic Book

Photo by Andrew Kesin

Stoner metal elder statesmen Melvins will release a collection of eight previously unreleased recordings from 1987 called Making Love Demos on October 9 via Bifocal Media.

The CD will come in a package with MANCHILD 3, the third book of comic art by Brian Walsby, who has not only designed Melvins album art but has also played drums with the likes of Polvo and Ryan Adams.

On his MySpace blog, Walsby gives the Making Love Demos tracklist (below) and includes a little bit about their history as well. Featuring a good number of songs that ended up on 1989's Ozma, these are the last Melvins recordings with original bassist Matt Lukin (who would go on to be in Mudhoney). The title of the collection comes from a KISS song the band covered (!) for it but which got lost in the ensuing two decades.

For those wondering why the Demos come with Walsby's book in particular (other than the fact that he's a friend of the band), the connection is that MANCHILD 3 includes Walsby's "Illustrated Melvins tour diary."

Speaking of touring, Melvins have a pair of dates scheduled for the coming months. The first is tomorrow (August 4) in L.A., and the second is a Don't Look Back event with Melvins playing all of Houdini and Mudhoney playing Superfuzz Bigmuff and Early Singles. [MORE...]


Sigur Ros' Birgisson to Exhibit Art in Arkansas

Sigur Rós' Jón "Jónsi" Birgisson and Parachutes' Alex Somers have been coming together for the sake of art under the name Riceboy Sleeps for some time now. Heck, they even managed to wrangle a picture book out of it-- one which, according to their manager, the duo hopes to release in the U.S. this fall.

But residents of Hot Springs, Arkansas and the surrounding areas will be the first Americans to see the works of Riceboy Sleeps in person as part of an exhibition at the city's Gallery 801 running August 3-September 7. Both members of Riceboy Sleeps will be on hand at the opening event, which marks the first time their new "window prints" will be seen outside of Iceland.

What's more, Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson-- better known as Sigur Rós-friendly ambient duo Hammock-- will perform live for the very first time at the Riceboy Sleeps exhibition opening afterparty, which goes down August 3 at Gallery@4048.

Riceboy will follow the Arkansas exhibition with a showing at the Melbourne International Arts Festival October 11-27; they'll then run to Reykjavik to shoot a new video piece for that city's Sequences Art Festival.

Of course, this is just one of many things the members of Sigur Rós have on their docket for 2007, though it's certainly among the most unexpected.

Zak Sally Releases Comic, Plays in Wipers Cover Band

Former Low bassist and current publisher, freelance writer, graphic novelist, and Tool fan Zak Sally will unleash the first volume of Sammy the Mouse, his previously reported "big long 250-300 page story about an alcoholic mouse and his alcoholic pals" on the world through a release party at Minneapolis' Big Brain Comics on Thursday, June 21.

At the party, Sally will sign copies of the comic-- a 32-page, two-color affair titled Sammy the Mouse #1-- before the whole thing moves a block down the street to Grumpy's bar, where Sally will play with his self-explanatorily named cover band TOGPTFFSOTWOTERATSYOA (aka Three Old Guys Play the First Five Songs Off the Wipers' Over the Edge Record and the Song "Youth of America"). Joining Sally in Three Old Guys are bassist Dale Flattum (ex-Steel Pole Bath Tub) and drummer Freddy Votel (ex-Cows). After their set, karaoke will ensue.

Sammy the Mouse #1 comes out via Fantagraphics Books in the U.S., and it is getting Italian, Spanish, and French editions through Fantagraphics' "Ignatz" series.

New Magnetic Fields Album Due Next Year

Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephin Merritt is ready to end a quiet period that has lasted most of this year, though he's not revealing the exact details of his or the band's return just yet. An update to his website claims "the new Magnetic Fields album is now planned for release in early 2008," though "the exact release date and album title will be announced shortly, as well as information on other Stephin Merritt projects."

The Magnetic Fields will likely tour the U.S. after the album is released.

While we wait for more info regarding the mysterious album, tour, and "other projects," Merritt is working on several new theater productions, including an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline for the stage.

Thanks to reader Shannon Malloy for the tip.

Album Art Cop: Interpol Vs. Ola Podrida

This just in: It seems Interpol and Plug Research-signed folkies Ola Podrida frequent the same Los Angeles County Natural History Museum (and Deerhoof too, for that matter).

You folks are probably already familiar with the carnivorous threesome that adorns the cover of Interpol's forthcoming Our Love to Admire (out July 10 on Capitol). You may have also stumbled across a series of aesthetically similar wallpapers recently added to the Interpol homepage (go there and click "Extras" if not). And you may, like sharp-eyed Pitchfork reader Adam Zielinski, have noticed that one of these wallpapers-- a non-violent depiction of four, um, deer-like creatures we'll not embarrass ourselves by trying to identify-- is, well, pretty much exactly the same as the cover of Ola Podrida's self-titled debut album, which Plug Research put out earlier this year.


Exhibit A

Exhibit B

A rep from Plug Research tells us that Ola Podrida's art comes from a photograph processed to look like a painting. It was taken by a friend of the band, Keona Norris, at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County-- which is where, we'll presume, Paul Banks and company got their visuals too. Who knows who had the idea first-- and really, any schmo with a digital camera (a really really nice one in the case of Interpol) can apparently take the same photo at that museum-- but let's just chalk it up to the great artistic collective consciousness in the sky, eh?

We're not exactly sure what purpose the Interpol image will serve on Our Love to Admire-- booklet photo? back cover? But Billboard recently reported that "a deluxe version of the CD, featuring a hard-back, 24-page book expanding on the provocative animal-dioramas photography done for the album, is due out the same day as the standard edition." So maybe it shows up there?

Interpol and Ola Podrida are on tour right now. [MORE...]


Callahan, Camera Obscura, Clientele Contribute to Book
Also: Quasi, Lavender Diamond, Ariel Pink, Espers, Jana Hunter

The second volume of Penny-Ante, a book of art and literature created by rockers and artist-types will hit shelves on June 12.

(You might remember the first volume, which came out a year ago and featured work by the likes of Devendra Banhart, Jamie Stewart, and Jim James.)

The list of contributors to the second volume includes Carey Lander (Camera Obscura), Alasdair Maclean (the Clientele) Sam Coomes (Quasi), Bill Callahan, Greg Weeks (Espers), Lavender Diamond, Ariel Rosenberg (aka Ariel Pink), Jennifer Herrema (RTX, Royal Trux), Jana Hunter, Slim Moon (Kill Rock Stars founder), LD Beghtol (Magnetic Fields), Winston Smith (Dead Kennedys cover artist), Matt Cronk (Qui), Entrance, Feathers, Gris Gris, Tex Kerschen (Indian Jewelry), Boyd Shropshire (Human Television), Silver Apples, Farmer Dave Scher (Beachwood Sparks), Alice Bag (the Bags), and many more.

To celebrate the book's release, the folks behind Penny-Ante are holding a release party in L.A. at Dave Young's Warehouse on June 9. Spindrift, Qui, RTX, Ariel Pink, and Moris Tepper will all perform live at the party, and some of the DJs include book contributors as well: Jason Yates (Fast Friends Inc.), Matt Fishbeck (Holy Shit), NCSteele, and DJ Dirt Reynolds. Though the party isn't free, all attendees will receive a copy of Book #2.

The musical love will continue to spread this summer over at Penny-Ante, as their recently founded offshoot label Gifted Children Records has its first batch of releases cooked up for June and July. June 26 will see releases from Women & Children and the Moon Upstairs. Legendary psych duo Silver Apples will put out a Gifted Children release on July 10, and street performer the Space Lady will release music in September.


PJ Harvey Contributes to Captain Beefheart Art Exhibit
Beef'art, if you will

Quasi-abstract expressionist painter Don Van Vliet is presently exhibiting a body of his work at New York City's Anton Kern Gallery. You may know Don better as beguiling visionary Captain Beefheart, he of Magic Band and Trout Mask Replica fame.

The exhibit, titled 1985 - 1995, runs through July 6 and includes 15 paintings and several drawings from Van Vliet, who is represented by Michael Werner. It's the first showing of Van Vliet's work in NYC in six years, and the art is presumably eons more exciting than this here text.

While taking in Van Vliet's renderings, pay mind to the words of Don's friend Polly Jean Harvey, who penned the preface to the exhibit's catalog. You may know Harvey better as the chick who kicked your ass.

Harvey has a trio of dates lined up for July. [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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Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip Remix Ladytron

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Photos: Pop Montreal [Montreal, Quebec; 10/03-10/07/07]

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