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Photos: Beirut Live on KEXP [Chicago, IL; 10/03/07]

Photos by Sanchez and Kitahara

With all the tours we report on a daily basis, it's easy to forget they're actual events that involve real people losing sleep and spending days in vans just to play their music for an hour or so before doing it all over again.

When Beirut arrived at Chicago's Engine Studios yesterday for a live radio session on KEXP, they inadvertently reminded me of the reality of touring with their mussed hair, dirty clothes, and general grogginess. But they didn't need to look rested to play their six-song set like pros. All they needed was a little warm-up (which, due mostly to the band's instrumentation, looked and felt like a high school band rehearsal) and the presence of bandleader Zach Condon's strong vibrato.

That voice would probably sound good over rush hour traffic, and I feel bad for the bandmate that has to harmonize with him. But the whole ensemble gave five songs from The Flying Club Cup and one traditional ("Cocek") a casual feel that suited the music well, allowing those of us present to drift in and out of Condon's already dream-like world.

The set was a prelude to Beirut's show tonight at the Portage Theater, and when the session's host asked Condon if the band plans to ease up on the touring any time soon, he responded, "You go until you collapse, basically." That's great, guys, but please don't actually collapse.

More photos and tour dates below.


A Sunday Smile
Forks and Knives (La Fête)
The Penalty

Hear the whole thing HERE.


Fujiya & Miyagi, Busdriver Do Shows for Autistic Kids

Camelot for Kids is a nationwide organization that offers assistance and therapy for children and teens with mental and behavioral problems, such as autism. They help kids via outreach programs, schools, and residential treatment centers, and music plays a big role in therapy.

Josh Scholl, Director of Community Relations for Camelot's Des Plaines, Illinois treatment center, used to work in the music business, and he understands the value of rocking out to live bands, no matter who you are. Scholl has helped line up a pair of private shows for the Camelot kids taking place over the next two months at Chicago's Empty Bottle.

Tomorrow evening, October 5, Fujiya & Miyagi will perform a short set for the Camelot folks before taking the stage that night for a regular show. They will also participate in a question and answer session. Busdriver will follow suit November 16 before his own show at the Bottle.


Malkmus, Albini, Molina in Silkworm Documentary
Former Silkworm members form new band, Bottomless Pit

Following the death of drummer Michael Dahlquist in a 2005 car accident, unassuming indie rock mainstays Silkworm were gone-- but not forgotten by the loyal cult of fans who kept them going for so long (since 1987!). Among those fans are director Seth Pomeroy and producer Shawn Girvan, who have decided to use their love for the band to document its history in a documentary called Couldn't You Wait?

So far, the film features interviews with Stephen Malkmus, Steve Albini, and Jason Molina (hilariously featured in the trailer below asking, "Are you saying that a Henry James novel is inaccessible just because you don't want to read all those pages?"), but it's not yet completed. The filmmakers still have over two dozen interviews with musicians and label owners to do, but they created the trailer to help raise the money they need to finish shooting. They are accepting donations to the project via this PayPal link.

Couldn't You Wait? trailer:

However, Couldn't You Wait? isn't the only way fans can expect a taste of new Silkworm-related material. There's also Bottomless Pit, the new band featuring Silkworm members Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen collaborating with Seam's Chris Manfrin and .22's Brian Orchard. The Chicago-based foursome will release their debut album, Hammer of the Gods, via Comedy Minus One on November 6. (No, you're not crazy-- we have indeed mentioned Bottomless Pit before.)

BP also have a handful of tour dates scheduled for this fall. The first is in Milwaukee on October 19.

Finally, apropos of very little, here is a screenshot of Stephen Malkmus in Couldn't You Wait?'s trailer sporting a Spencer Krug porn 'stache. Also, that shirt sure looks familiar. It's laundry time, Malkatraz!



Photos: !!! / The Field [Austin, TX; 10/02/07]

Photos by Zach Vowell

The Field's Axel Willner joined Chk-Chk-Nic Offer and his punctuation-minded pals !!! in Austin, Texas Tuesday night for a show show at La Zona Rosa. The warehouse was shaking all night as the Field manned the ones and twos (or the "one" and "two" keys on his Vaio, anyway) for a set of his discombobulated dance tunes. !!!, meanwhile, got hips shaking and feet moving with a set of tunes mostly culled from their recent album, Myth Takes. Willner plays a few more dates with !!! this month; see more photos and their schedule below.





Robyn Issues "Handle Me" Single, Tours Europe
Album coming out in the U.S. this winter, maybe?

When you make an album comprised entirely of potential singles, it would be foolish not to try to make every track a hit, right? That seems to be the thinking behind Robyn's recent campaign to chop Robyn into a tiny pieces and serve it up in bite-sized portions.

"Handle Me" is the latest in a string of fabulous singles by the Swedish pop maverick. Her own Konichiwa imprint will release the diss track in the UK as a digital download on October 22, with the CD, 7" and 12" coming a week later on October 29. "Handle Me" will be remixed by the likes of Björn Yttling (of Peter, himself, and John), Williams, OrtzRocka, and Soul Seekerz. There's also an acoustic version of her last single, the Kleerup-assisted "With Every Heartbeat" on the CD, too, which oughta slay.

We just figure she's gotta get these singles out of her system before she starts work on that follow-up, right?

Hey, and speaking of the Robyn LP, Entertainment Weekly recently reported that the disc will hit U.S. shelves December 4. (FREAKIN' FINALLY, ahem) This info hasn't been confirmed yet, but, boy, if it does, a whole lotta people I know will be having a sassy Swede-pop kinda holiday. Sounds a little more merry than a sleepy Sufjan Christmas, no?

In other Robyn news, she's got quite a few live dates to her name in October and November in Europe. The Trentemøller remix of "Konichiwa Bitches" pops up on his new thing, and "Bum Like You" is in some soccer video game or something. Is Robyn's ubiquity threatening to overtake that of T-Pain? Could it, please? [MORE...]


Drones Release 7", Tour With Band of Horses

The Drones are taking a break from drinking Foster's, shooting dingos, riding kangaroos, and all the other stuff we're sure totally happens all the time in Australia to release a new single and tour both their native continent and North America alongside Band of Horses.

The single is the first in ATP/Recordings' Custom Made series of limited edition gatefold seven inch/digital download releases, in which contributing artists are asked to include something old, something new, something borrowed (a cover), and something blue (open to interpretation). No word on whether or not they are also asked to exchange vows with their singles.

Each entry in the series will come in a run of 1,000, 100 of which will have silk-screened covers numbered and signed by the sleeve designer. The Drones single features artwork by Michael Motorcycle.

The Drones' Custom Made comes out in the UK on November 5, and here's how the single's four tracks meet the requirements: Their "something old" is a new recording of old song "Cockeyed Lowlife of the Highlands". "Something new": Gala Mill's "I Don't Ever Want to Change". "Something borrowed": a cover of Charles Aznavour's "I Drink". "Something blue": Wait Long by the River's "Shark Fin Blues".

The Drones are currently on the road in Australia, and will head to North America at the end of October for their tour with Band of Horses. [MORE...]


Feist Extends Tour Into 2008
Tour in support of popular television commercial continues

Photo by Rich Orris

Reminder: Feist is on tour right now! And to those of you for whom a simple statement of fact just will not cut it, the Canadian crooner offers a gift in the form of added dates.

Granted, a few new shows isn't as exciting as a new iPod nano, but we'll bet the residents of places like Louisville, Madison, and St. John's, Newfoundland (!) appreciate it.

Feist's next show is in Hamburg tonight, October 4. [MORE...]

Wu-Tang: A Beatles Interpolation, Not a Sample; Download the Song Now!

Photo by William Kirk

Remember the big to-do the Wu-Tang Clan made yesterday about how they'd secured the first Beatles sample in history? Turns out, they didn't.

This evening, they posted the following message on their MySpace page, under the headline "**We didn't Sample the Beatles, it was a replay, pardon**":

"The statement that we made yesterday was incorrect and we apologize for any confusion it may have caused. We DID NOT sample the Beatles, I repeat, we DID NOT sample the Beatles, rather we did an INTERPOLATION of the classic George Harrison composition 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps.' In a historic collaboration, Dhani Harrison, son of George, through his friendship with the RZA, played guitar on the song and he himself helped secure the REUSE LICENSE. Also appearing on the song are John Frusciante, guitar player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Erykah Badu singing the chorus.

'To satisfy everyone's curiosity, the song will be streamed exclusively on tonight. It will be the first single and video from the forthcoming album '8 Diagrams' in stores December 4.

'Thanks again to Dhani Harrison and the Harrison Estate for helping us make history."

And it's true-- the song is available on right now-- as an mp3! Check out the link below. Not quite as historic, but still pretty cool. Try to ignore the creepy whispers though.


New Stephin Merritt Song Coming to Volvo Ad, iTunes

Photo by Clay Walker

That Volvo ad with Stephin Merritt is nice, isn't it? I know I respond more favorably to whatever product's being hawked when said onslaught'o'commerce is soundtracked by one of my favorite maestros making their way through a purty tune (though they really couldn't play that Feist ad any more if they tried, eh?). But, as Merritt's a heck of a songwriter (and "The Wheels on the Bus" is intentionally annoying, if catchy), I'll take a Merritt original over a reinterpretation any day.

So don't touch that dial, 'cause it seems Volvo will follow the "Wheels" ad with another spot later this month featuring "I'm in a Lonely Way", a new Merritt composition. What's more, according to Merritt's website, the tune from that ad will appear on the iTunes store under Merritt's given name October 3. That's today, right? It is, but as of press time, the track's not up just yet. These things take time.

Speaking of which, still no word on what's up with that Magnetic Fields album-- for which we were promised both a title and a release date some three months ago-- due early next year.

Dan Deacon Cancels Several Dates Due to Exhaustion

Photo by Jason Bergman

The road between a headline like "Dan Deacon Adds Even More Dates" (emphasis Maher's) and "shows canceled due to exhaustion" is a short one, paved with good intentions though it may be. In the case of Dan Deacon's, the road took less than a week to travel down, and now, well, here we are.

After missing one gig a short while back due to gunk, Mr. Deacon-- a more dedicated performer than most, we're compelled to add-- has axed a few dates over the next two weeks due to that pesky exhaustion thing. When Britney gets exhausted, we assume the worst; when it happens to Dan, he's just a tired dude.

So, then, tomorrow night in Oberlin is out, as are all dates from October 11-13. The rest of the shows are still happening, including a few in between Ohio and St. Louis. One dares not even dream of standing up a seasoned professional like Tay. [MORE...]


Wire Announce New Read & Burn EP

If the much-loved genius-punks of Wire were thirty years ahead of their time at the time of 1977's unspeakably great Pink Flag, that would mean we're all just catching up with them now (I'm looking at you, every "post-punk" band out there today). And, as such, that makes a Wire EP in the '07 the sound of the 2030s. Care to gaze into the future? Nab Read & Burn 3 when it drops November 12 on the band's own Pinkflag imprint.

Read & Burn 03 is the first in their series of EPs since the second installment dropped in late 2002. And, unlike past Read & Burns, we're assured that this material isn't going to wind up on the next Wire LP (as was the case on 2003's Send). Didja hear that? There's gonna be another Wire album in the foreseeable future! Not to mention they've gotta do seven more EPs to justify having that 0 in there holding the place for double digits. Wooo 2037! [MORE...]

Subtle Reveal LP With TVOTR, Wolf Parade Members
MP3: "Deathful" ft. Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio

Subtle's had a bad run. As we've reported in these pages, in the last two years, the genre-bending Oaklend sextet survived a tour van crash that left keyboardist Dax Pierson a quadriplegic, were robbed in Europe, and their major label debut, last year's For Hero: For Fool, received raves from the critics but less-than-breakthrough sales. Subtle's magnetic, magnanimous frontman, Adam Drucker, aka Doseone, has been a cult phenomenon in avant-hip-hop circles for years, but his intricate lyrics and jawd-ropping live performances have yet to find a wider audience.

So what do they do? Keep working. Yell & Ice, a remakes and remixes collection based on For Hero: For Fool, comes out on Lex Records October 23. It features contributions from members of TV on the Radio, Wolf Parade and the Notwist, as well as Anticon associates Why? and Chris Adams of Bracken and Hood. Check out "Deathful", featuring Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, by clicking on the link below. (The full tracklist for Yell & Ice and Subtle's upcoming tour dates cam also be found below.)

Doseone describes Yell & Ice as a labor of love. "Like fuck it, make it fun for these artists that we're cold-calling, that we love," he said. "We're not paying, there's no money turned around on this record-- which I love-- and so it's like, I send this to you, you should take what inspires you and fuck it up a little bit, ruin it, make it pretty, send that to us, we will do the same, and just keep remaking things. What I like is that it expresses, quietly and in a mature way, how committed we are to the depths in our music. That we can go in and remake all these songs because we made a bunch of rights, and we could've made lefts. And they're just as valid."

We recently spoke with Dose about his upcoming albums and projects, Dax Pierson's recovery, and how a cover of Shellac's "Prayer to God" wound up on Subtle's setlist this year. We also talked at length about the storyline behind the three Subtle LPs, A New White, For Hero: For Fool, and the upcoming conclusion, ExitingARM, which will come out as both an album and a website. And much, much more. Stay tuned to the Features section of Pitchfork, where the full interview will be published within the coming weeks. [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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