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Merge Preps New American Music Club, Radar Bros. LPs

Merge Records is a trusty source for things musical in nature, and this spring, they're got a couple discs lined up from a pair of veteran acts practically guaranteed not to disappoint.

First up is Auditorium, the fifth LP (and third for Merge) from the Radar Bros. Out January 29, Auditorium was recorded entirely at vocalist Jim Putnam's home studio. Jim and the lads will step out in public every Monday night in January at Los Angeles' Echo, where they'll play for the low low admission fee of zero dollars. Can't beat that price!

The ninth LP from veteran sadsack Mark Eitzel and his kinda-recently-rejuvenated American Music Club, entitled The Golden Age, is due from the label February 18. Eitzel and longtime partner Mark "Vudi" Pankler are joined by "new guys" Sean Hoffman and Steve Didelot on the disc. In The Golden Age, expect a wealth of longing, heartbreak, and songs about the city by the bay (the band's former home). In spring of 2008, expect a full-bore American Music Club tour, though in the meantime, you'll have to catch 'em in Cali. Or wait until February and head to Europe. [MORE...]

The Cool Kids Sign to Chocolate Industries
Their raps melt in your ears, not in your stereo

The bike-obsessed, retro-not-retro dudes known as Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks, aka Chicago rap duo the Cool Kids, have made the switch from the Fool's Gold label (run by buddies A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs) to Chocolate Industries for a flurry of forthcoming releases.

UPDATE: While Fool's Gold loves the Cool Kids, they were only signed to the label for a single. So there wasn't any kind of "switch" involved, as implied here.

First, in late November, comes the single for BMX anthem "Black Mags". Then, their long-awaited EP The Bake Sale will follow in late January. Finally, Chocolate Industries-- the former home of Lady Sovereign-- will release their debut full-length in the middle of next year. If previous reports stand, that record's title is Totally Flossed Out.

The Cool Kids are about to kick their kickstands and pedal in high gear across North America on their previously reported tour with M.I.A. The first non-CMJ date of the tour is October 29 in Miami. [MORE...]


Mars Volta Head to Bedlam in January, Plan NYE Show
New Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Quintet LP on the way, too

Might wanna think about warming up that blacklight now, kiddies: The Bedlam in Goliath, the latest blueprint from those engineers of enormity in the Mars Volta, will be released January 29 on GSL/Universal. Produced by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and featuring guest noodles from John Frusciante, the disc sports a tidy dozen tracks. Man, some of 'em must be, like, not all that long!

To toast Bedlam and ring in '08, the band has booked a New Year's Eve gig at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. For the special show, they promise "una serata con amici e sorprese presentata in un modo straordinario", which roughly translated, means "free bagels for everybody" "one evening with friends and surprise introduced in an extraordinary way". According to a press release, "costumes are required."

January 29 being some three-odd months away, fans will need something to tide them over in the interim. Lucky thing Omar's got all those records he did in Amsterdam way back when, and another one's on the way. The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Quintet's The Apocalypse Inside an Orange drops November 20 on Infrasonic Sound Recordings. A 60-minute double LP, Orange squeezes in seven brand new tracks and a previously unheard take on "Jacob Van Lennepkade" from Omar's self-titled album. The Quintet features three Mars Volta members: bassist Juan Alderete de la Pena, drummer/percussionist Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, and horn player/percussionist Adrian Terrazas Gonzales, as well as keyboardist "Money" Mark Ramos-Nishita, who has worked with the Beastie Boys. [MORE...]


Photos: Glass Candy / Bunny Rabbit / High Places / Partyline [Chicago, IL; 10/20/07]

LadyFest Chicago would have been hard-pressed to assemble a more eclectic lineup for this, the penultimate show of its week-or-so long festival of gigs, panels, film screenings, workshops, and the like, which wrapped up this past weekend.

Each act that took the stage at AV-aerie (before a crowd that was sometimes frustratingly listless) took a decided detour from the one before it. Glass Candy-- set to play ATP vs. Pitchfork next spring-- topped the bill, marrying witching hour synth sorcery with the stage acrobatics of vocalist Ida No, possibly the most fit and flexible person I've seen outside of a circus.

Glass Candy's fine-tuned tunes were a far cry from Bunny Rabbit's goofy, gritty, raunchy raps about sex, killing dolphins, and sex. Joined by DJ/hype-lady Black Cracker, CocoRosie pal Bunny did what she could to give the evening's proceedings a jolt, but the pair probably suffered the most from this generally blank-faced crowd. Interaction is key with hip-hop, after all, and despite their efforts these two weren't getting nearly enough of it.

Also a duo, but on another stylistic tip altogether, High Places preceded Bunny Rabbit with perhaps the night's most eye-opening set, full of delirious rhythms and jumprope song vocals, part Animal Collective, part gamelan, part "Iko Iko", and all fun. (Full disclosure: High Places includes the sister of a former Pitchfork staffer.)

Partyline, featuring Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile fame, charged through a rapid-fire set of spunky punk tunes (augmented by Wolfe's frequent cheerleader kicks), and chatted excitedly through every spare second in between. And that had precisely nothing to do with the sprawling, slowburn country of Lady Lucille, the evening's first performer. Something for everyone, indeed.

Glass Candy are on the road now with Architecture in Helsinki.






Daniel A.I.U. Higgs Exhibits Art, Tours

One can't put a stopper on the veritable hose of artistic creation: that thing's gonna spurt no matter what you do, and it's gonna get everywhere. Lungfish vocalist gone solo musician and part-time dabbler in the visual arts Daniel A.I.U. Higgs knows about the many forms expression can take, and two of his outlets will feature prominently over the next few months.

Since early October, Higgs' visual art has been on display at London's 96 Gillespie Gallery. Containing work in pen and ink, paintings, and water colors from his newish Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot book, the exhibition will run through November 4.

Higgs also snuck out another musical offering last week, a four-song CD titled Metempsychotic Melodies. It's available now through Portland's Holy Mountain imprint.

Finally, Higgs will soon make his way to London to play Thrill Jockey's previously reported anniversary show alongside other members of that venerable label's stellar stable of talent. He's got one show with labelmates Extra Golden this week in Austria, and a few following the TJ throwdown around the UK. [MORE...]

Radiohead Eyeing Unique Label Deals for Rainbows CD
Would work with XL, Side One, and Dave Matthews' label, retain ownership

Well, at least it ain't Starbucks. As rumored for a little while-- and reported this morning in The New York Times-- Radiohead are, in the Times' words, "close to signing a series of deals to release [In Rainbows] independently and leave the major record companies behind."

The proposed deals would have Thom Yorke and the boys working with Coran Capshaw-- Dave Matthews Band manager and co-owner, along with Matthews himself and others, of ATO Records-- in the United States. Radiohead would release In Rainbows on CD next year through ATO in tandem with another Capshaw venture, Side One Recordings.

Meanwhile, XL Recordings-- which put out Thom Yorke's The Eraser last year-- would "market the album internationally."

What's more, the unique deals would allow Radiohead to retain ownership of their recording while licensing the album "for a specific period of time."

Radiohead's publicist could neither confirm nor deny this report.

In Rainbows, as if you needed reminding, is out now digitally; Radiohead will also independently issue a discbox version in December, and they plan to tour next year.

Illegal Torrent Site OiNK Busted by Police

Bad news for people who like illegal free music has come this morning, as the popular torrent-sharing network OiNK has been shut down by British and Dutch police, according to a BBC report. The home of a 24-year-old IT worker from Middlesbrough, England, was raided, as was his place of employment ("a large multi-national company") and his father's home. OiNK's servers, located in Amsterdam, were also seized. The IT worker, allegedly the mastermind of the operation, "is being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and infringement of copyright law," the BBC says.

OiNK was an invitation-only service in which membership was maintained by the consistent sharing of new music torrents. The more tunes you uploaded, the better your standing. Monetary donations were also encouraged.

According to The Northern Echo, OiNK boasted up to 180,000 members. The BBC reports that the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) claims that OiNK was responsible for leaking "60 major pre-release albums this year alone."

Blitzen Trapper Saddle Up for More Live Dates
On Blitzen!

Photo by Jade Harris

With Wild Mountain Nation coming to vinyl on November 6 and a truckload of Taco Bell to keep them going until then, Blitzen Trapper will play a heap of shows in non-U.S. nations this fall.

First, though, they'll treat San Francisco to two gigs later this week. Then those UK and European dates begin in earnest in November. Buddies Two Gallants will be headlining the shows, just like on the current U.S. tour. [MORE...]

Stars of the Lid Plan Fall Tour
Sell specially made astronomy-themed Tupperware at shows

Here's one you don't hear every day: Ambient duo Stars of the Lid have announced their first tour in six years to follow their first album in six years, this year's And Their Refinement of the Decline. And yet, they'll show no love to their native U.S. of A. on the tour, as all of the shows are in the UK and Europe. What gives, guys?

Ah, we spoke too soon. According to SOTL's MySpace, "There is a tour of North America being planned for April 2008." That's better! For now, though, the duo sets things off in Brighton, England on November 20. [MORE...]

Les Savy Fav, Phosphorescent, Bazan Play Troika Fest
Along with Bodies of Water, Jennifer O'Connor, Des Ark, Carol Bui, Rosebuds' Ivan Howard

Troika: it's Russian for threesome, don't you know. But unlike that messy tryst in college that cost you a few trips to the doctor's office and eight months of regret, the Troika Music Festival packs all of the pleasure with comparatively little itching.

The event is a three-part affair, kicking off at Durham, North Carolina's Duke Coffeehouse October 27 with Jennifer O'Connor, the Rosebuds' Ivan Howard, Darren Jesse (ex-Ben Folds Five), and others. Most of the action is split up over the weekend of November 1-3, with the likes of David Bazan, Phosphorescent, Bodies of Water, Megafaun, All Smiles, David Karsten Daniels, Carol Bui, Bellafea, and several dozen others spread among various Durham venues. They'll bring it all back November 16, when Les Savy Fav, Des Ark, and more play the very same Duke Coffeehouse. Consult the full schedule at the festival's website.

Will Oldham Covers R. Kelly, Bjork, Danzig on New LP

Sure, you knew he'd been hanging out with the guy. But did you ever think you'd hear Will Oldham's take on R. Kelly's triumphant "The World's Greatest"?

I suppose it's a little hard to say just what Oldham's gonna do next, but-- for now, at least-- we've got a notion: Bonnie "Prince" Billy's Ask Forgiveness, eight covers ably tackled in all their nimble glory by Oldham, Espers' Meg Baird and Greg Weeks, and cellist Maggie Wienk, due in the UK November 19 thanks to Domino Records (no word quite yet on a U.S. release). It will be released November 20 in the U.S. via Drag City.

From Björk to Danzig to Robert Sylvester Kelly, Ask Forgiveness runs just about every gamut imaginable-- and that's just three tunes. Committed to tape in an "off the hoof" fashion in Philly, the disc will arrive on both CD and (for the club DJs out there, of course) vinyl. We've done our sleuth work, but are still looking into just who provided those other tunes' original versions: after all, there are a lot of songs named "My Life", and it would be silly for us to just assume it was the Mary J. Blige track, right? Much as we might wish it to be so? (Gosh, that'd be good.)

Although Drag City would confirm that the tracklist for the UK and U.S. versions would be the same, they declined to let us know exactly who did the originals of each song. "The mystery is sort of the fun part," said a publicist.

UPDATE: Drag City has revealed the rest of the covers. They include Mickey Newbury, Phil Ochs, Frank Sinatra, and the Mekons, as well as a Will Oldham original.

Oldham currently has no tour plans, though he recently popped up in Chicago to sing a few tunes with the Mekons, and in New York City for the Wordless Music Series. Keeping up with Bonnie "Prince" Billy: the weepiest, most bearded Where's Waldo? book ever. [MORE...]


Einsturzende Neubauten Uber Alles on New LP

Experimental Berliners Einstürzende Neubauten will release Alles Wieder Offen-- their 20 gazillionth album in a career that has spanned gazillions of years-- via their own Potomak label tomorrow (October 23) November 6 in the U.S. (it's already out in Europe).

The title of the record, the official public follow-up to 2004's Perpetuum Mobile, translates to "all open again," which refers to the fact that the band has taken almost all matters related to the album into its own hands.

The reason the phrase "official public" modifies the "follow-up" above is that Neubauten released over 10 albums since Perpetuum Mobile came out. These albums were self-released to subscribers to the band's website (creepily called Supporters), and the material on them ranged from piano compositions by Neubauten members to something a press release calls "the musical possibilities of ritualized wine consumption."

Many of these albums were conceived through alternative compositional techniques, and both these techniques and some of the material from these albums ended up on Alles Wieder Offen in one form or another.

The subscriptions of the aforementioned Supporters financed the recording of Alles Wieder Offen, and for their contributions, the Supporters also got to watch the process via webcam and participate in live online discussions with the band about that process. Neubauten will further reward the Supporters' support with a special edition of the album (accompanying DVD optional).

We wouldn't expect a band so invested in undermining traditional music industry practices to release a single, but that is nonetheless what they did with the worldwide digital release of "Weil Weil Weil", out now. The single includes a radio mix (dudes, seriously? You're not just pulling our legs here??), remixes of the song by each band member, and a karaoke version. Now if only someone could make karaoke versions of Throbbing Gristle tracks.

Fortunately, Neubauten don't have any tour dates for us to type out now... What's that? They're planning a European tour for the spring. Gah! [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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