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Oldham, Faun Fables Release Letting Go Demos

Will Oldham is a busy guy all of a sudden. Right on the heels of releasing the Bonnie "Prince" Billy covers EP Ask Forgiveness (and contributing to some stunning duets on the new Scout Niblett album), he has revisited last year's The Letting Go with Wai Notes, out this week via Drag City imprint Sea Note.

Credited to "Dawn McCarthy & Bonny Billy," the 10-song set is a collection of demos for The Letting Go from Oldham and Faun Fables' Dawn McCarthy, who sang on the album. To add to the sudden nature of the affair, Wai Notes is limited to an edition of 10,000 copies worldwide, so if you want a copy, get thee to a record store now! [MORE...]


Kevin Barnes, Jeff Mangum in Wacky Elephant 6 Movie
Plus: Olivia Tremor Control's Hart, Elf Power's Rieger

Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes as a bumbling constable! Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum in a lobster suit! It's something only those crazies in Athens, Georgia could dream up, and now they've snatched that dream out of the ether and committed it to celluloid.

Major Organ and the Adding Machine, the filmic companion to the mysterious Elephant Six Collective omnibus album of the same name-- long a subject of intrigue among E6 maniacs-- will finally find its way to screens in 2008. And boy does it look bonkers!

The city's own Orange Twin imprint, which released the original album back in 2001, plans to unleash a Major Organ DVD/expanded CD set in spring of next year. The short film should also soon be invading select theaters and various festivals.

Directed by Joey Foreman and Eric Harris, Major Organ counts among its cast members the aforementioned Barnes and Mangum, along with William Cullen Hart (The Olivia Tremor Control, Circulatory System), Julian Koster (OTC, NMH), Andrew Rieger (Elf Power), and the ladies of Dixie Blood Mustache. These folks also contributed to the making of the Major Organ album, but shhhh, you're not supposed to know about that.

Liars, No Age Members Team for Sissy Spacek Show
The band, not the actress, awesome though that would be

Prolific avant artist and noisenik (also Sunn O))) collaborator) John Wiese will play a show with his group Sissy Spacek at Los Angeles' the Smell tomorrow night (December 13). But Sissy Spacek are from L.A., so another hometown show is no big deal, right?

Not quite, since the Sissy Spacek playing this show isn't the usual duo or trio. It's the Sissy Spacek 13-Tet, a 13-piece orchestra consisting of members of bands like Liars, No Age, White Magic, and Mika Miko.

The 13-Tet will perform two sets at the Smell on Thursday, and the full list of the orchestra's members (including what they'll play) is as follows:

Mitchell Brown (ex-Gasp), percussion
Kate Hall (Mika Miko), percussion
Joseph Hammer (L.A. Free Music Society), tape
Aaron Hemphill (Liars), guitar
Tim Koh (White Magic), percussion
Giles Miller, woodwinds
Damion Romero (ex-Slug), electronics
Corydon Ronnau (Obstacle Corpse), guitar
Jarrett Silberman (ex-Young People), guitar
Dean Spunt (No Age), percussion
David Scott Stone, electronics
Shannon Walter (16 Bitch Pile-Up), electronics
John Wiese, electronics

Various Production Leave XL, Plan Releases

UK dubsteppers Various Production have ended their business relationship with XL and ushered in a wave of typically vague new release news in the process. Various wasn't technically signed to XL to begin with. Instead, the group licensed XL the release of The World Is Gone from its own Various imprint. Despite the seemingly relaxed nature of the arrangement, both parties have reached what a press release calls a "mutual decision" to part ways, and that's about all the juicy insight we have into the split.

This means the ball is in Various' court when it comes to releasing their second album. Might we suggest perhaps "doing a Radiohead"? We hear it's all the rage.

However they release it, the currently untitled album will come out next year, but a bunch of other Various miscellany (redundant?) comes first. There's the remix of Ian Brown's "Sister Rose" that's out now. Then, a Christmas bundle with a 12", USB bracelet, and t-shirt comes to the UK on December 17 via a newly formed imprint called Misc001. Finally, Various' album-length collaboration with Glaswegian poet Gerry Mitchell-- not to be confused with Various' second album-- will see release next year.

Photos: Kevin Drew with Metric's Jimmy Shaw and Chikita Violenta [Mexico City, Mexico; 12/03/07]

Photos by © Toni Francois

Canada, meet Mexico. Mexico, Canada. Now how about a little jam?

Bridging the continent-spanning void that is the United States of America, Canada's Kevin Drew and Jimmy Shaw (Metric) linked up with Mexico's Chikita Violenta for a collaboration-heavy and supremely intimate gig this past Monday night at Mexico City's tiny Pata Negra.

A capacity crowd of perhaps 200 was treated to short sets from Drew/Shaw-- balancing Spirit If... songs and Broken Social Scene bangers proper-- and the Mexico City-based combo (if this collab and Chikita Violenta's music don't clue you in to these guys' BSS fanhood, know that they recorded their latest album with Dave Newfeld and named it The Stars and Suns Sessions).

To close out the evening, both acts united to premiere five all-new Kevin Drew compositions.

Drew returns to his native Canada tonight. He'll end 2007 with a run of gigs up north, then it's off to Japan for a spell in the new year.




Photos: Deerhoof with Ken Kagami [Miami, FL; 12/04/07]

With their herky-jerky, topsy-turvy take on pop, Deerhoof have been known to make mashed potatoes of listeners' ears. And last night, thanks to artist Ken Kagami, they made gravy of our eyes too.

As previously reported, Deerhoof and Kagami teamed at Miami's Ice Palace Film Studios to present a unique and fruit-ful multimedia collaborative piece based on Kagami's character Milk Man-- cover star of the Deerhoof album of the same name-- to patrons of the NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) Art Fair. Japan-based Gallery Sora, which arranged this meeting of warped minds, shared these photos from the hyperactive happening. And yes, that's Kagami himself clowning around in the all-white Milk Man getup.

Deerhoof continue their aural assault through two more December gigs, while guitarist John Dieterich joins members of Xiu Xiu and others for an improvised set in Oakland tomorrow night.


Devin the Dude + France + Architecture in Helsinki = !?
So, a rapper and some indie rockers walk into a French club...

So, where to begin with this one? Let's start with Devin the Dude. Know the guy? He likes his weed, in case you hadn't heard, and he put out one of 2007's best rap LPs, Waitin' to Inhale. Seems Devin has also been spending some time in France (perhaps en route to Amsterdam?), or at least jamming to some French club fare. That might explain why he's hooked up with Paris-based party starter and TTC member Teki Latex to record a track "presented by" NYC trio 33Hz.

While they were at it, 33Hz also enlisted a regular rogue's gallery of remixers, including Architecture in Helsinki, Curtis Vodka, Gentlemen Drivers, Max Pask, and In Flagranti to rework the track. So, hip-hop act? Check. Dance/electronic act? Check. Indie rock act? With Architecture, checkeroony. As far as genres we at Pitchfork fill our pages with go, this is like hitting for the cycle.

And the track? It's called "Paris, Texas". Yep, like the city and the movie and the pop punk band. It's out now in CD, 12", and 7" formats thanks to Brooklyn's Dither Down imprint. Let the mash-ups begin.

Califone, Sparhawk, Kozelek Help Do Presidential Songs
As do Wooden Wand, Charalambides' Tom Carter, Rosie Thomas, Denison Witmer

In most journalism circles, one of the biggest stories of the next year will be the 2008 U.S. presidential election, but since Obama, Clinton, and Giuliani have yet to form a shoegaze supergroup, we here at Pitchfork must stick to the Radiohead tour updates, Grizzly Bear collaborations, and indie rock nudity.

Nonetheless, Standard Recording Company has thrown us a bone in the politics department in the form of a three-CD box set tentatively titled Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs About 43 U.S. Presidencies. The set's subject matter is apparent, and its backstory doesn't disappoint.

Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken (Nice Monster), and Jefferson Pitcher (ex-Above the Orange Trees) wrote nearly all of Of Great and Mortal Men's songs back in February 2006 as part of February Album Writing Month, a songwriting challenge to write 14 songs in 28 days. They pooled their efforts to pen a song apiece about all of the U.S. presidents (3 x 14 = 42, with the George W. Bush tune arriving later), and they came out of it with a heap of demos.

Then, they fleshed (and are fleshing) the songs out with studio contributions from Califone, Alan Sparhawk (Low), Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters), Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice, Rosie Thomas, Denison Witmer, Marla Hansen (Sufjan Stevens's band), Vince DiFiore (Cake), and Tom Carter (Charalambides), among others.

Kiefer calls the resultant box set "a walk through American history and an inquiry into what makes us Americans as filtered through the lens of our highest public office. There's heartbreak and beauty and criticism and revelation. We're trying to make it work like a big beautiful historical novel."

Of Great and Mortal Men does not yet have a definite release date, but Standard plans to put it out in the summer. The tracklist is here (seriously, it's that simple). Susan Archie is scheduled to design the art for the box itself, and the package will come with 43 cards, each with an image of one of the presidents done by one of 43 different artists.

Finally, Standard will supplement the set with a 44th song, available next November following the election. As soon as the results are official, everyone who bought the box set can go to the label's website and download Mr. or Mrs. 44's song.

Shia LaBeouf Working on Cage Biopic
Plus: Cage album update

As the star of '07 summer blockbuster Transformers, Shia LaBeouf has quite a few options when it comes to future projects. Already, he snagged a role in fourth Indiana Jones flick Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull alongside Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett, so what could be next? A movie with Martin Scorsese, George Clooney, or Hilary Swank? Maybe a stint on Broadway? Alas, no. Instead, it seems LaBeouf will travel down the tricky, so often indulgent road of the "pet project." And his pet project is... a Cage biopic.

Yep, you read right. LaBeouf is looking to play Def Jux rapper Cage, aka Chris Palko, in a forthcoming film about the MC's life, according to an article in the December issue of SPIN. "I have been listening to Cage since I got into hip-hop when I was 12," LaBeouf said. "I grew up on the West Coast listening to a lot of 2Pac and Eazy-E, so when I found out that Cage was white, it was incredible. I'd never heard anything like that."

After having gained a measure of fame due to his roles in tween hits Holes and Disney Channel show "Even Stevens", LaBeouf contacted Cage about making a documentary about the rapper, and Cage allowed him to film his tour in 2006. (Whoa... could Shia LaBeouf have been at the Pitchfork Music Festival last year?) According to SPIN, at some point along the way, the prospect of drawing from Cage's history of drug abuse and psychiatric problems for a biopic became more enticing than a straight documentary. And thus, the idea was born.

As Tom Breihan wrote in the Pitchfork review of Cage's 2005 album Hell's Winter, "Cage has the kind of life story most aspiring new-schoolers just lie and make up. He was abused by his dishonorably-discharged junky father and his stepfather, kicked out of high school, overmedicated in a mental hospital, became a white-rap wunderkind in the early 90s, almost put out an album on Columbia, kicked around the major label system, got hooked on drugs, had a kid, got dissed on the first Eminem album, and found himself a home in underground rap." Sounds like a promising story arc to us.

Talking to SPIN, LaBeouf made it clear that this will be a chance for him to subvert Hollywood's expectations of him as a squeaky clean boy next door, saying, "It's kind of like how no matter what film De Niro was making, he was always ready to pull Raging Bull out of his back pocket. Cage is my Jake LaMotta." It seems the movie will also allow LaBeouf to explore themes of delusion and overstatement.

Despite all the talk, the movie is still very much in its beginning stages. LaBeouf is producing it (probably under the umbrella of his own Grassy Slope production company), according to a recent Cage interview with, but the two are still looking for a writer and a director.

As for the specific content of the movie, Cage claims in the interview that "it [covers] from birth to about '98 or so, after I dropped 'Agent Orange'." He also didn't rule out the possibility of making a cameo.

Today, Cage posted the following message on his MySpace page, referring to the SPIN article:

"By the way it's not.... Plus I be disturbed it's Plus happy disturbed in that Agent Orange quote no matter how many websites tell you different.That's right people I was an angry misogynistic angel dust smoking suicidal high school drop out former mental patient lashing out in music and stumbled into everything including the movie being made about it.
We are in development we can't get a writer until the strike is over and that is where we are.
I hope this answers some of your questions."

Cage is currently working on the follow-up to Hell's Winter, which he first talked to us about over a year ago. It's still titled Depart From Me, and it's due out summer 2008 on Def Jux. Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw/Head Automatica is serving as executive producer, Sean Martin of Hatebreed contributes production, and Phil Caivano of Monster Magnet is recording the album. According to Cage's publicist, "it's a very progressive record that is mostly sample-free and guitar-heavy, with beats ranging from 88 to 200 BPMs-- not a typical rap record by any means."

Finally, as photographic proof of Cage and LaBeouf's BFF-ness, below is a photo of the former on the set of Transformers. Awww.


Bright Eyes' Oberst Forms Band With M. Ward?
Oberst sheds Bright Eyes moniker for two intimate shows

Conor Oberst and M. Ward go way back. Ward opened Bright Eyes' 2002 Lifted tour. He joined Oberst and Jim James a couple years later for their collaborative triptych trek. And when Bright Eyes serenaded Los Angeles with help from the LA Philharmonic a couple months ago, Ward was there.

So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone that Oberst and Ward have taken the next logical step with their musical relationship. They've allegedly gone and formed a band.

The news comes from an Omaha City Weekly report, which indicates Oberst and Ward's unnamed band plans to record an album next year. Representatives from neither Oberst's nor Ward's camps could confirm the collaboration, however. But given these guys' history, it falls a wee bit closer on the likeliness scale than, say, a Bright Eyes/Soulja Boy collabo.

The City Weekly bit also mentions a second Oberst side project set to record in 2008. This one finds our perennially bedheaded emoter working with Jake Bellows of Omaha act Neva Dinova. Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova, as you may recall, previously collaborated on the 2004 EP One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels-- so again, not exactly a shocka, even if this too has yet to be confirmed.

The picture may become a little clearer come December 29 and 30, as Conor Oberst takes the stage at Minneapolis' 400 Bar with nothing but the name his parents gave him. Well, that and "a different backing band," according to a Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune report. "Word from 400 Bar management," the report states, "is that Oberst wants it explicitedly known these won't be Bright Eyes shows-- i.e., he won't be doing any of those songs! He will be playing new material." We'll leave it to you super sleuths to put two and two together here.

Thanks to reader Marissa Malouff for the tips! [MORE...]

Herbert Seeks Phoned-In Vocals for New Big Band LP

Master auditory junk merchant Matthew Herbert is looking for a little help for his forthcoming project. No, for reals, a little: Matthew quite literally only needs you for a second. According to a recent MySpace bulletin, the one they call Herbert is seeking 100 people to sing a single word apiece on his forthcoming LP under the Matthew Herbert Big Band guise. He would like very much if all interested parties would e-mail this address with "I'LL SING FOR MY DINNER" as the subject. Ooh, I hope my word is "steak."

Herbert makes it clear that "you don't have to be a professional" to be considered, just "someone with enthusiasm." This, I'm told, is exactly how Spencer Krug got his start.

Of course, this isn't Herbert's first foray into trolling the fanbase for help; recall this item from last February, where Matthew discusses the 175+ folks whose pipes he mined telephonically for Scale's "Just Once". Still, with only 99 other voices to compete with here, you've got a much better shot at hearing yourself amongst the cacophony of broken typewriters this time around.

Still on the way from Mr. Herbert: those Björk remixes of his, and, apparently, a new Matthew Herbert Big Band LP, due out next fall. Exciting!

Herbert's also lending his production touch to a couple projects, including London-based Micachu and the Invisible, a band comprised of members of Gramme, Bugz in the Attic, Zongamin, and Polar Bear; expect the debut LP from the former in May and a single from the latter in July, both via Herbert's Accidental Records.

James Murphy, Nelly Furtado on Fucked Up Holiday 7"
Plus: Matt Sweeney, Jay Reatard, members of Black Lips, Faint, Chromeo, Rites of Spring, AFI

Photo by Jason Bergman

Generally, where gift giving is concerned, you want to reach as deep into your heart as you do your wallet and come up with something nice and thoughtful. But sometimes, when you know the person on the receiving end will be into it, you wanna give something a little fucked up.

Well, the capital-F Canuck punks of Fucked Up have the perfect idea for that special someone on your list: a star-studded, limited edition, hand-wrapped, self-released, multi-denominational holiday 7" single. 1,000 copies of "David Christmas" will arrive just in time for the holiday season, but it's the B-side that's filled us with a warm seasonal glow.

The track, a "Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa song" called "Stars on 45", finds Fucked Up joined by a retinue of guest stars that must be read to be believed. Ready? OK: LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, Black Lips' Cole Alexander, Matt Sweeney, the Faint's Jacob Thiele, Jay Reatard, the Horrors' Faris Rotter, Rites of Spring's Mike Fellows, Chromeo's Dave One, Shenae Grimes of "Degrassi: The Next Generation", AFI's Davey Havok, What's Your Rupture? label guy Kevin Peterson, Panthers'/Orchid's Jayson Green, Poison Idea's Jerry A., Terror's Scott Vogel, Attack in Black's Dan Romano, Face to Face's Trever Keith, and-- as if this thing could get any stranger-- Nelly Furtado.

They made the list, and checked it twice: "This is not a joke," the band claims, and wild as this thing reads on paper, it's the real deal. People, this is our "We Are the World". Or, at least, our "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Either way, wow.

All done up in special Fucked Up paper, this season's most perfect present goes on sale December 15 at a special Christmas themed gig at Toronto's Sonic Boom Records. The band will perform a number of yuletide covers, and they're hinting all over the place that somebody's gonna be donning a Santa suit and letting the kiddies sit on his lap.

The band may also test out some tunes from its forthcoming album, The Chemistry of Common Life, due next year.

Oh, and here's something not the least bit fucked up: all proceeds for the single (and, should you be feelin' it, any donations at the otherwise free Sonic Boom event) will go to the George Herman House, which gives support to mentally ill women in the Toronto area. The band also asks that those who attend the Sonic Boom gig bring nonperishable edibles for the local food bank. Nice folks, that Fucked Up lot.
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