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Sleeping States Goes to Many States on Tour

Markland Starkie gets more done with his eyes shut than the rest of us do after a double-shot of espresso and a run-in with a tardy-minded employer!

Markland-- known to the land of independent rock as Sleeping States-- just dished out There the Open Spaces, his well-liked debut LP for the Misra concern, and has lined up about a month of tour dates for himself, currently in progress. All that-- if I may be permitted to enumerate this overstretched metaphor-- while remaining in a sleeping state. Me, I'm told I'm a drooler. [MORE...]

Islands/Unicorns Offshoot Th' Corn Gangg Returns
More side projects spring from the mind of Nick Thorburn

C'mon, you know you missed 'em. Th' Corn Gangg, whose creative spellings serve to remind that they give fuck-all about what you think, have revealed plans to take their thangg to the next level.

Th' Gangg, as you may recall, features current and former members of Islands and the Unicorns rocking out while underground MC chums like Busdriver and Subtitle spit game over the riffs. While there were live gigs and chatter about an album a few years back, nothing really materialized. But now, according to a MySpace post from Gangg-banger Jamie Thompson (who also records as Small Is Beautiful), the Gangg is primed to spring back into action.

Wrote Jamie, "My former co-conspirateur in the unicorns/islands Nick Thorburn and myself are hard at work on the long talked about, much rumoured corn gangg project. We have honest-to-goodness songs in the can and are building up our roster of rapper friends. We should be releasing the debut ep sooner than you think."

First though, they'll dump the name. "We are considering changing the name to 'the G-whizards' AKA 'the Whizz Kids'. We'll decide later." Clearly nomenclature is not these fellows' forte.

Thorburn confirmed the news via email, and also shed some light on, yep, more side project action. In addition to the previously mentioned Juiced Elfers thing with Les Savy Fav's Syd Butler and a former member of AIDS Wolf, and the previously mentioned Reefer thing with Daddy Kev, he now has a thing called Human Highway with sometime Island and ex-Royal City mayor Jim Guthrie.

Human Highway have recorded their debut LP, Moody Motorcycle; they've yet to mix and are still looking for a label. Described Thorburn, "It's largely acoustic with rich harmonies, kinda-sorta-sometimes reminiscent of the everly brothers, orbison, sam cooke. garfunkel and simon." Good company, that.

Thorburn's also doing a comic book, mixing the next Islands record in Los Angeles with Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith), and hoarding "an album's worth of Islands songs up my sleeve for the next next record." Sleep is anathema to this man.

Thanks to reader Dean for the tip.

Finally, Islands have a pair of festival performances lined up. [MORE...]

New Pornos Announce More Dates, YouTube Contest #2

The Challenge-obsessed New Pornographers have returned to address the "YouTube nation" with another contest: "sing one of our songs in your best Michael McDonald voice."

As in, Michael McDonald the fire-keeping, Warren G-sampled former Doobie Brother? Hell yes, that Michael McDonald. So swallow a stick of butter and get to smooth-singing, because an iPhone is at stake.

In less smooth New Pornos news, they have added quite a few UK and European dates to the end of their tour. Their next show, however, is tonight, September 25, in Salt Lake City. [MORE...]


Photos: ESG / Yo Majesty / Bahamadia / Psalm One [Chicago, IL; 09/21/07]

Photos by Joseph Mohan

An era came to an end on Friday night at the Abbey Pub in Chicago. ESG, the Bronx band that has served as a post-punk and hip-hop bedrock for the past three decades played what they are calling their final show ever. With a lineup that included the founding Scroggins' sisters' daughters, the band delivered a set that served as a somewhat anti-climactic cap to a brilliant career. We hope they stage at least one more show, preferably in their hometown of NYC, preferably featuring Public Enemy and Liars as special guests.

Friday's show was part of the Estrojam festival, and also featured knockout performances from new Domino family members Yo Majesty, pioneering MC Bahamadia, and Rhymesayers spitfire Psalm One. Yo Majesty and Psalm One are on tour now; check out the dates and more photos below.







Photos: Klaxons [Boston, MA; 09/23/07]

Photos by Alex Burack

Mercury Prize winners
Klaxons continued their victory lap across the world this weekend, stopping off at The Paradise to spread some of their glowstick joy to Boston's masses.

The combo is catching up on missed time in the States (sorry, Aussies, no rescheduled tour down under yet), before heading off to play 'round the continent; then it's back home to the British Isles. They even opened for Icelandic goddess Björk last night at Madison Square Garden!

Check out the rest of their tour schedule, plus more photos, below.


Photos: Gruff Rhys / All Smiles [Brooklyn, NY; 09/22/07]

Photos by Matt Ziegler

Newsflash: there's a Super Furry Animal on the loose! Of a most peculiar species, this particular creature, known as Gruff Rhys, is armed with a guitar and some winning hooks (such as those showcased on Candylion). He's known to cavort with All Smiles. If spotted, the best thing to do, really, is smile wide, dance in a twee fashion, and hope Gruff just continues playing his songs.

These here photos, snapped at Brooklyn's Union Hall this past weekend, should give you an idea of what Gruff looks like (hint: he's the one with the mane). Meanwhile, authorities have projected the escaped Animal's presumed trajectory and listed it below for your convenience. Beware!





Most Serene Republic Increase Population in October

Come October 2, The Most Serene Republic-- that other Canadian several-tet with a penchant for pretty progginess-- will issue their second full-length disc, Population, on the Arts & Crafts imprint. The self-produced Population gathers a baker's dozen fresh MSR tracks, sequences them just so, and digs them into CD, LP, and digital download formats for your listening satisfaction.

What's more, they've rented an extra-capacious van to tour in! The group has a handful of dates both north and south of the border over the next few weeks, with more reportedly on the way. What they've got, they're gonna give you after the jump. [MORE...]

Tokyo Police Club Prep New EP

Canadian traitors (read: recent Saddle Creek signees) Tokyo Police Club will emphasize the latter part of their name with the release of the fanclub-esque Smith EP. It's out via Paper Bag on November 6 in the U.S. and October 23 in their homeland.

A follow-up to last year's A Lesson in Crime EP before the band's full-length debut arrives next year, Smith is a rarities collection of sorts. It makes "Box" and "Cut Cut Paste" available on CD for the first time and rescues "A Lesson in Crime" from mere Japanese bonus track status. Also included are an exclusive RAC remix of "Be Good" and videos for three TPC tracks.

The Club will convene live in October, starting with two dates opening for Bloc Party. The first of those shows (and of the beginning of their whole tour) is in Providence, Rhode Island on October 2. [MORE...]

Cat Power, A Place to Bury Strangers Play DAM! Fest
Plus: Craig Wedren, Cloud Cult, Dirty on Purpose, Slaraffenland

"U-S-A! U-S-A!" This is the chant attendees of the upcoming District's Awake! Music Festival must scream before every performing band's set, according to the rules listed on www.okayyougotuswejustmade

Nonetheless, since the fest takes place across various venues in beautiful Washington, District de Columbia from October 11-15, it couldn't hurt, right? When in Rome, etc.

As for the recipients of those cheers, here's a helping of them:

Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues, A Place to Bury Strangers, Craig Wedren, Cloud Cult, Stellastarr*, iLiKETRAiNS, Dirty on Purpose, Hallelujah the Hills, Slaraffenland, the Big Sleep, the Teeth, So Many Dynamos, Foreign Islands, Dragons of Zynth, Via Audio, Casper and the Cookies, Southeast Engine, and the ubiquitous TBA.

Antony Does Music for Fashion, Needs Your Help
We all suffer for fashion, or whatever

Photo by Chico De Luigi

So we all know Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons fame) is a fashionable guy, and we all know he's a musical guy-- but how often do we get to witness these two of Antony's many talents combined?

SHOWstudio will give us just that opportunity come September 26 and 27, when the "online fashion broadcasting company" enlists Mr. Hegarty to create some original music for some model types to strut their stuff to. Antony's music will appear in a film showcasing "Readings", aka the spring/summer 2008 collection of fashion designer Hussein Chalayan.

Here's where you come in: SHOWstudio, Chalayan, and Antony are looking for treatments for the music Antony's about to record. Writes SHOWstudio chief/fashion photographer Nick Knight: "The spirit of this should be experimental and pragmatic: the sounds might be as simple as clapping, speaking, tapping filled glasses of water, or singing; they might involve random objects or instruments such as tambourines, guitars, or pianos. But [the] more out of the box the better! We invite you to suggest whatever Hussein Chalayan's written concept inspires in you."

Chalayan's concept entwines ancient icons and the modern day cult of celebrity; it's reprinted in full just after the jump. Act fast though! Antony's tapping fingers hit the water glasses tomorrow, so make haste and submit your treatments here.

Antony, as you know, has of late been dabbling in new recordings, film projects, guest vocal turns, and the like-- just basically spreading his bountiful artistic seed all willy-nilly. [MORE...]

Photos: Supersilent [Bergen, Norway; 09/21/07]

Photos by Eirik Lande

Listening to Norwegian avant-jazz combos may be more dangerous than you thought! Supersilent's gig at Bergen's USF Verftet this past weekend was meant to be a celebratory affair: a party in honor of the numerically-minded outfit's latest LP-- the just-released 8 on Rune Grammofon-- and a return to the same stage where the now decade-old group played its very first show.

Yet, according to Pitchfork photographer Eirik Lande, during a particularly noisy part of Supersilent's set, a fire alarm went off-- and proceeded to slip right back into the cacophony undetected. Folks only knew to hightail it when the club finally cut the stage lights. Lucky for those in attendance, this turned out to be a false alarm (guess the band was just on fire, ohhhh!), and after a chilly, unplanned 15 minute intermission, band and crowd returned and continued right where they left off.

Supersilent head to China in October. Be careful.


Austin City Limits TV Schedule Finalized
Chances your mom likes this news item more than most: 78%

"Austin City Limits"-- the long-running PBS music show your TiVo loves to watch while you're out sloppin' it up on Saturday nights-- will kick off its 33rd season October 6 with a performance from the incomparable Norah Jones. But, um, it gets a bit more exciting after that.

A week after Ms. Jones is a two-fer featuring the Decemberists and Explosions in the Sky, with subsequent performances from Arcade Fire, Wilco, Bloc Party, Roky Erikson, Regina Spektor, Femi Kuti, Lucinda Williams, Crowded House, and Kings of Leon, among many others. Encore presentations of shows featuring Van Morrison, Gretchen Wilson and P4K news team fave Miranda Lambert also grace the schedule, which wraps with a dispatch from San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Hey, that's hardly strictly Texas!

Additionally, the folks at "ACL" are hard at work revamping their website, which when complete should store a wealth of expanded content ("the stuff Forkcasts are made of"). Thanks, dudes! [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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