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Tweedy, McGuinn, Some Mekons Play School Benefit

It's been half a century since Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music set up shop, and they've finally figured out something a lot of Chicagoans already know: Northside rent don't come cheap. To celebrate their birthday-- and to help keep those classes, workshops, and concerts coming-- the school will host a benefit concert at the city's gorgeous Auditorium Theatre December 1.

Jeff Tweedy, former Byrd Roger McGuinn, the Mekons' Sally Timms and Jon Langford (as part of "The Bloodshot Family Band"), one-time Old Town School "dean of teachers" and former Weaver Frank Hamilton, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Chicago staple Robbie Fulks, bluesman Lonnie Books, David Bromberg, and plenty of other folks (get it?) will perform. Proceeds will go to scholarship funds for Old Town School students, youth outreach programs, and the continued utilization of the Old Town School's performance and practice spaces.

Phil Elverum Cancels Remaining Mount Eerie Dates

Aw shucks. Phil Elverum and his traveling Mount Eerie roadshow/book fair have been forced to shelve any and all forthcoming tour dates. Phil had this to say about the change in plans on his website (emphasis his):


No, thank you for letting us know! And thanks to several readers for the tip. Take note of the scrapped dates after the jump, and get lost in the pages of Mount Eerie Pts. 6 & 7 in the meantime. [MORE...]

T.I. Speaks Out in Video Statement, Names New LP

"It's not over, and the king ain't dead," Clifford "T.I." Harris notes at the end of a video statement issued from the Atlanta rapper's home, where he is currently under house arrest stemming from an October gun charge. Thanking his lawyers and his judge, reasserting his innocence, and briefly touching on Paper Trail, the album he's working on while locked up, T.I. had plenty to say in the first of what he promises will be many video blogs (via Idolator).

And according to, T.I.'s calling the LP Paper Trail due to a resurgence of an old method. Though he wrote out his verses on his 2001 debut I'm Serious, each subsequent LP found the rhymeslinger committing his lines to memory. On Paper Trail, he'll return to longhand as, according to his rep, "he wanted to take more time to really put something down."

Harris, a convicted felon, was charged last month with the purchase of illegal weapons after his bodyguard was caught by ATF agents reportedly buying guns on T.I.'s behalf. His prior convictions make the acquisition of said weapons a federal offense. A search of Harris' home also turned up a number of other weapons, which Harris is also forbidden to posess. According to, he is currently restricted to his home while awaiting trial, with a limited number of visitors allowed at any given time. A recent proposal which sought permission to allow additional guests to attend a Thanksgiving dinner at Harris' home was withdrawn this week by Harris' attorneys.

Air Tour Europe With Au Revoir Simone

A mellow mood will almost certainly hang heavy on any proceedings featuring slinky French ambient popsters Air or tantalizing trio Au Revoir Simone. Put them together, and you may just find yourself comatose with pleasure.

Indeed, the salute to smoothness is happening right now, and will hit quite a swath of Europe before the two part in early December. Au Revoir have a couple dates on their lonesome once the joint tour wraps. I guess even with a name like theirs, saying goodbye never gets any easier. [MORE...]


Neko Case Big Ups Poetry in Poetry Magazine
"My Flaming Hamster Wheel of Panic About Publicly Discussing Poetry in This Respected Forum"

Williams, Eliot, Pound, Frost... Case? That's right, scarlet-haired singer Neko Case has joined the esteemed ranks of those published in Poetry magazine (three guesses as to what it covers).

In Poetry's November issue, which features art by David Byrne on its cover, Neko Case explains her history with poetry in an essay titled "My Flaming Hamster Wheel of Panic About Publicly Discussing Poetry in This Respected Forum". The essay is just one in a series called "The View From Here", where folks reflect on their personal experiences with the form.

The full text of Case's "Hamster Wheel" is available online here, but here are some choice bits:

"I am an awkward, heavy-handed mule of a high school dropout. I guess I just need permission to be in the same room with poetry...

"Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus haunts me. Aaron's death speech is veiled, venomous gospel music...

"W.H. Auden scares me under the couch (even when he's being funny)...

"Dorothy Parker makes me manic! I can't even make it through the first three lines of 'The Godmother' without bursting into tears...

"Lynda Barry and Sherman Alexie save my life constantly..."

Thanks to reader David Congdon for the tip!

Case will pick back up with the New Pornographers for a European tour on November 17, but she has solo dates in Tucson and L.A. on November 15 and 16, respectively. UPDATE: NEKO WILL NOT BE ACCOMPANYING THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS IN EUROPE If for any reason you need to prep for those solo shows, her entire back catalog was recently reissued. [MORE...]


Manu Chao Preps Digital Releases, Reissues

You'd think a year filled with big festival appearances, a sold-out tour, and an internationally successful new album would be enough for Manu Chao. [Cue Belushi] But noooooooo! He's got to go plan reissues and digital releases of a bunch of his old records too. Dude is insatiable.

The first of these "new" Manu Chao releases appears on November 20, when a good portion of his back catalog makes the jump to (legal) digital format.

Then, in late January, physical reissues of three Manu Chao releases will hit stores. Proxima Estación: Esperanza, Manu Chao's 2001 album, comes expanded with four videos, for "Me Gustas Tu", "Merry Blues", "La Chinita", and "Mr. Bobby". The 2002 live album Radio Bemba Sound System is the other CD getting reissued, and it comes with three clips from a 2007 Manu Chao concert in Paris as bonuses. The third reissue? Why, it's live DVD Babylonia en Guagua. That reissue comes with bonus documentaries Babylon's Fever and Todos a Genova, plus two other bonus films: Proxima Estacion...Esperanza and Infinita Tristeza.

All of these things come courtesy of Nacional/Because.

R.E.M., Beasties, Roots Play Langerado 2008
Also: National, Of Montreal, !!!, Dan Deacon, Walkmen, Blitzen Trapper, Shout Out Louds

Leave it to the organizers of South Florida's Langerado Music Festival to announce their fest's lineup before we even have time to get used to cold weather and limited daylight. We don't really want to start thinking about summer just yet, which is okay because Langerado takes place in early March. Still technically winter!

Langerado 2008, the sixth annual version of the event, takes place March 6-9 at a new location: the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in the South Florida Everglades ("mile marker 49 on Alligator Alley," according to a press release.)

But wait a second-- didn't we say something about a lineup? Why yes, we did. The first round of confirmed artists includes R.E.M., Built to Spill, Of Montreal, the Beastie Boys, the Roots, the National, !!!, Dan Deacon, the Walkmen, Blitzen Trapper, Dr. Dog, Minus the Bear, Shout Out Louds, Pelican, Matt Pond PA, Busdriver, the Postmarks, and Vampire Weekend. Also: 311, which, despite recent claims to the contrary, is still eh'thang.

Opeth Unleash a Live Album, Play a Cruise Ship

Emerging from the peak of proggy Swedish death metalsmiths Opeth's epic tour in support of 2005's awesome Ghost Reveries LP, The Roundhouse Tapes is a live record captured at a gig at London's Camden Roundhouse. The set features the group at the height of its powers, rolling through nine tunes over two discs. Tapes, available now in Europe and due November 20 in the U.S. on Peaceville Records, even boasts an "exclusive box set" package for its first edition.

Though there's not a goddamned thing mellow about them, Opeth will play the Melloboat-- a daylong cruise between Stockholm and Helsinki that'll also feature Katatonia, Leafhound, a reunited Comus, and others-- March 8 of next year. They say don't rock the boat, but, uh, yeah.

Opeth will also play Bloodstock 2008 at Derby, England's Catton Hall next August 17. [MORE...]

Former Dismemberment Planners Prep Statehood LP

Photo by David Holloway

Almost a year ago, Pitchfork reported the formation of Statehood, a new band featuring former Dismemberment Plan/ex-Maritime bassist Eric Axelson and former Dismemberment Plan drummer/actual rocket scientist Joe Easley. For their background, you can read that story. But now, the band has finally finished its debut album, and the talk from here on out is Futuretown, USA.

Led by songwriter Clark Sabine and rounded out by guitarist Leigh Thompson, Statehood will release Lies and Rhetoric, the aforementioned debut record, on November 19. That's a Monday (the industry norm is Tuesday), but since they're self-releasing, they can roll like that.

Also taking place in times yet to come: Statehood's tiny East Coast tour, which starts November 16 in Philly. And since we're talking about the D-Plan, don't forget Travis Morrison is also touring out East this month. [MORE...]

Photos: Jay-Z [Baltimore, MD; 11/09/07]

Photos by Kyle Gustafson

American gangster Jay-Z debuted his newest masterpiece on a small club tour last week, a brief hit-and-run trek that took him from Los Angeles to Philly in six days. We caught up with Mr. Carter at Baltimore's Ram's Head on Friday, right in the middle of the outing.

No word yet on any plans to tour the album further, but at least we can watch that "Storytellers" episode over and over again.

More photos below.



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...]

EMI Deceiving Radiohead Fans?

Say, have you heard that awesome new album Rainbow by the acclaimed rock band Radiohead? No? Here, just click on this link here and-- hey, wait a minute...this looks an awful lot like that catalog box set and creepy bear USB drive thingy. Neither of which, come to think of it, include the new Radiohead album. And isn't the new album actually called In Rainbows? WTF?

Here, let's attempt to set things straight. According to a Guardian Unlimited report today, folks who Googled the word "Radiohead" last week were presented with a highlighted, paid-for link that read as follows:

Radiohead - New Album New Album "Rainbow" now available as Boxset inc. CD, USB, Digital

The above link, however, leads not to the In Rainbows deluxe discbox so often mentioned in these pages, nor to anything involving In Rainbows at all. Instead, it takes curious clickers to a page where they may purchase the previously reported Radiohead catalog set in physical, digital, and USB formats from EMI/Parlophone. Which, as you may recall, was not Radiohead's idea.

EMI/Parlophone, of course, is Radiohead's former label, and the fact that they're dropping a box set around the same time Radiohead delivers their discbox has already aroused suspicions. Now comes this Google ad-- rather plainly misleading, wouldn't you say?-- and the plot thickens.

Guardian Unlimited asked EMI whether they had indeed placed the ad, and received the following in response: "Parlophone were aware of the data source glitch and removed the link immediately." Data source glitch, right, gotcha.

The link has indeed been removed, and quotes a Radiohead spokesperson as saying, "We accept that it was a genuine error and that it has been rectified." Regardless of what exactly is going on here, I think it's safe to say Radiohead and EMI will not be on each other's Christmas card lists this year.

In Rainbows CD and vinyl, meanwhile, arrives in North America January 1 via TBD/ATO, in the UK December 31 via XL Recordings, and in Japan December 26 from Hostess Entertainment.

On a lighter note, Scott Plagenhoef's Radiohead webcast play-by-play should bring a smile to even the grinchiest of faces.
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