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Kanye Designs Jewelry With Murakami
But are the diamonds from Sierra Leone?

Below photo from Lorenzo Santini / WireImage

Kanye West's history of contradictions is well documented, so it only makes sense that we'd run a story about how he's designing a collection of jewelry at the end of the same week we reported that he was nerding out over on his new blog.

Kanye revealed the news of his jewelry line to (Women's Wear Daily's website, via Jezebel) at a Givenchy fashion show in Paris on Wednesday, October 3.

He was sitting front row at the show and sporting a "huge gold Manga-style diamond-studded pendant," which he designed with the help of Graduation cover artist Takashi Murakami. The chain is a prototype for the forthcoming collection, but West made sure to mention that the pieces in the actual line will be "more accessible. They won't be all diamonds."

True to his "my flaws are part of my perfection" form, Kanye also revealed that the prototype's "eyes are not perfectly done. Murakami cringes when he sees the eyes."

The jet-setting Chicago MC still starts touring again in Nashville on October 12.

In other Kanye-related news from the same Givenchy show, he apparently <3's Hole 4 life:



Lily Allen Tours, Designs Shoes

Man, what is up with musicians and shoes these days? It's like designing kicks for Nike is the second step after creating a MySpace page on the path to a career.

Just a few minutes ago, we told you about MF Doom's skateboarding shoes. Now, Lily Allen has jumped into the game as well, teaming with Nike for the "Lily Allen Air Max 90", according to a press release. "The shoe, which will only be available via various exclusive U.S. promotions this summer, will be red, white, and blue with stars on the laces." How rave! Of course, Lily is no newbie when it comes to clothing design.

When not cooped up behind a sewing machine, Lil has plotted out a world tour that, by all indications, is going rather well at the moment. She's hopping from England to Russia to Japan to Australia, back to Europe for a bit, dropping down to South America for a couple nights, and then finally heading to the States. Here, she'll play a half-dozen West Coast dates with an up-and-coming gentleman named Kevin Michael (who sounds a little bit like what might happen if Chris Brown got into Odelay). [MORE...]


MF Doom Tours, Reissues LP, Designs Shoes

No, the follow-up to Madvillainy is still not yet visible on the horizon, (nor is the long-rumored full-length Ghostface collab), but an MF Doom tour is almost as good.

The ever-elusive (and allusive, come to think of it) Stones Throw MC will hit the road quite soon, in fact. He now has a handful of solo dates to go along with his previously reported appearances on the Rock the Bells tour, which has the almost unquestionably finest lineup of any hip-hop tour this summer (just look at it!).

Doom's dates begin July 29 in New York City and end exactly one month later, on August 29 in Detroit.

Before Doom sets foot on stage, however, Rhymesayers will reissue his 2004 album Mm..Food?, which has been out-of-print for almost two years. The reissue comes on CD and double LP, and included is a DVD with over an hour of live and behind-the-scenes footage. A limited edition of the reissue will come in special packing that includes a sticker, a tour poster, and a chocolate-scented scratch-and-sniff wrapper. Talk about dedication to a concept. The Mm..Food? reissue is out July 24.

And following in the, uh, footsteps of everyone from Jay-Z to Johnny Marr, MF Doom has designed his own shoe. His Nike Skateboarding high-tops are available now, but judging by a Google search, you're gonna have to shell out some serious cash on eBay or at a specialty sneaker site to get 'em. Or pre-order the Mm..Food? reissue from Fifth Element and enter to win a pair.



Patrick Wolf Models for Burberry

When I think of the clothing brand Burberry, I think upscale preppy, khakis and earth tones, well-tailored suits, trenchcoats to wear to the steeplechase at the Countess' manor.

When I think of the rising star Patrick Wolf, I think glam rock, glitter, sparkles, bright colors, flamboyance, fairies, magic, the horrified looks on the yuppies' faces in the audience when I saw him open for Amy Winehouse.

But thanks to the wonders of cross-marketing, these two very different aesthetics have joined together to form one big happy fashion family. Wolf is one of the stars of Burberry's fall 2007 campaign, set to run in August. The advertisements were shot by famed photographer Mario Testino. According to Fashion Week Daily, in addition to Wolf, the campaign also features Brit rockers such as the Paddingtons, Edward Larrikin, and members of the View, along with a bevy of British models.

When he's not busy sporting fancy threads, Wolf has shows schedules throughout July and August. This Friday, June 29, he'll play a "secret acoustic show" in London, which will also serve as a birthday celebration. Happy birthday, Patrick! [MORE...]


Arctic Monkeys Line Up UK Gigs for April

Hey remember that suspicious April-long gap in the middle of those Arctic Monkeys tour dates we reported just yesterday? The one that happens to encompass both the April 16 release of new single "Brianstorm" and the April 23/24 unveiling of Favourite Worst Nightmare (both on Domino)? The one they couldn't possibly spend just sitting around twiddling their opposable thumbs? Well, duh, they're touring then.

As announced today, Sheffield's favourite ruffians Arctic Monkeys will play a string of smaller, blink-and-they're-sold-out shows across England and Scotland throughout April. The trek leads up to their Coachella appearance and subsequent tour of the States with fellow whipper-snappers Be Your Own Pet. There's a fairly convoluted ticket pre-sale going on via the Arctics' website/mailing list. Go there for details.

In related news, following in the footsteps of the Wu-Tang Clan, Lily Allen, Pete Wentz, and pretty much everyone else, Arctics drummer Matt Helders will debut a fashion line in May via UK-based Supremebeing Clothing. [MORE...]

Lily Allen Designs Clothes, Tours North America (Again)
Gwen Stefani, you have met your match

A typical Lily Allen dress may bear a suspicious resemblance to a re-stitched tablecloth, but that won't stop the British singer from designing her very own clothing line: "Lily Loves". According to The Guardian, fashion chain New Look will debut the collection on May 9 in 312 of its stores worldwide. "Lily Loves" will include six dresses, two pairs of shoes, and various accessories, according to an report.

Lily Allen will begin her previously reported European tour dates on February 27 in Brussels. She will then return to the U.S. for South by Southwest and a whole new batch of North American dates. [MORE...]


Flaming Lips, Metric, Lil Jon Team Up With Playboy
Sorry ladies, no Wayne Coyne nude pix involved

Now all Playboy needs is drugs. The magazine will add rock'n'roll to its tried and true sex-sex-sex approach with a project titled "Rock the Rabbit" that will debut in February.

According to a press release, Rock the Rabbit invited an enormous crew of musicians to design t-shirts offering "their own personal stamp on the Playboy brand and logo" in cooperation with Playboy's Annual Sex and Music Special Issue. Contributors include the Flaming Lips, Rhymefest, Lil Jon, Metric, Soulwax, former Luna members Dean & Britta, Kasabian, Thievery Corporation, stellastarr*, Oh No! Oh My!, and bunch of low-level indie bands. (What, Tommy Lee was busy?)

These limited edition t-shirts and the artists who designed them will appear in a six-page fashion feature (shot by photographer Mick Rock) in the March issue of Playboy, which-- true to the somewhat confusing nature of print publication-- comes out February 9. Playboy will make the t-shirts available for public purchase in late spring/summer at select retailers and online at In the fall, Playboy will auction the "original prototype" t-shirts to benefit LIFEbeat: The Music Industry Fights AIDS.

So just to set all of this straight for you, a porn magazine asked some musicians to make t-shirts for a fashion spread and eventually an AIDS benefit. Hey, maybe the folks at Playboy are on drugs after all!

Our heads are still spinning, but the full list of artists who contributed t-shirt designs is below. [MORE...]


Dinosaur Jr. Reveal Reunion Album Details
Pig has officially been freed

By this time, you're probably aware that J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph are back in full Dinosaur Jr. force. (When Lou isn't too busy with that whole Sebadoh thing, that is.) But they've gone beyond the reunion tour(s) for, um, Beyond, their John Agnello-engineered full-length due out May 1 on Fat Possum.

Beyond was recorded at Mascis' Bisquiteen studio in Amherst, Massachusetts, and according to a press release, it's both "some of the best music Dinosaur Jr. have ever made" and "an adrenaline-inducing ride, not of nostalgia, but of bona fide excitement." Well then, color us excited and full of adrenaline.

On May 29, Dinosaur Jr. will release their previously reported Image Entertainment DVD Dinosaur Jr.: Live From the Middle East. Nike will make the previously reported Dinosaur Jr. skate shoe available in a limited edition in February. So hurry up and get in line, because we know demand for those kicks will be high. Right. [MORE...]

A-Trak Releases One of Everything

A-Trak's current schedule looks more like a list of New Year's resolutions than an actual calendar of events: it includes the releases of a live CD, a mixtape, and two albums, as well as partnerships with clothing, toy, and skateboard companies. We think it's called "expanding your brand."

The live CD is a double disc release on French label Disque Primeur containing A-Trak's and tourmates the Rub's sets at the Indianapolis stop of their 2006 "Sunglasses Is a Must" tour. It is available for online purchase here.

The albums are debuts from A-Trak himself as well as Chicago MC Kid Sister, a collaboration he revealed to us back in July during his Pitchfork Music Festival interview.

The mixtape is titled Dirty South Dance, and a preview in the form of a remix of UNK's "Walk It Out" (which totally slays, by the way) is available for download below. Since when did the Gossip become the go-to source for dancefloor bangers?

As for the clothes and other goodies, there are so many companies coming out with Sunglasses Is a Must gear that it's best just to list them: "New Era hats, Crooks & Castles t-shirts, Kid Robot toys, Stussy sunglasses, and Zoo York skate decks," according to a press release. That's a lot of stuff, but man cannot live on sunglasses alone.

A-Trak will play with Kanye West at Pepsi Smash in Miami, Florida on February 1.


Ellen Allien Remixes Beck and Yorke, Owns 2007

Ellen Allien is all about 2007. In fact, she's so excited about it, she's practically planned out the entire year already, for both herself and the label she lovingly oversees, Berlin-based techno powerhouse Bpitch Control. Remixes, compilations, mixes, new albums, new signings, tours-- it's all in the works, so pull up one of those futuristic-looking pod chairs, pour yourself a glass of Tang, sit back, and check it out.

First up, Allien pays her respects to 2006, which wasn't too shabby at all for the gal. In collaboration with Shitkatapult co-chief Apparat, she released the Pitchfork Recommended Orchestra of Bubbles this past spring-- and she and Apparat judged a "Way Out" video contest held by MTV-owned (now Qoob). Check out the winning clip, painstakingly put together by Marco Testoni, below. Like a low-budget "Take on Me", it's an absolute marvel of animation on the cheap, although it might have fit slightly better with a gritty rock song than Allien & Apparat's nocturnal electronic bubblings.

After a series of DJ gigs in Europe this month and a New Year's bash in Berlin with Sascha Funke, Allien hops on the 2007 trajectory and doesn't look back. In March, she'll hit us with both the third Bpitch Camping compilation (including a new Allien track) and the CD/DVD Time Out Presents: The Other Side Berlin mix (which arrives March 30, courtesy of Fujiya & Miyagi's U.S. home Deaf Dumb & Blind Communications; tracklist below). Allien's Berlin mix culls together everything from a German version of David Bowie's "Heroes" to Swiss robo-seductress Miss Kitten to the minimal superstar Ricardo Villalobos. And heads up: Madlib's The Other Side L.A. mix drops then as well.

In the fall, Allien dons her mixing hat once again for Boogybytes Vol. 3 on Bpitch. Like previous Boogybytes releases mixed by Funke and Kiki, this one features another cover photograph that should frighten all the birds and small children away. As if that weren't enough, she has a Fabric mix on the way in May.

An unstoppable mistress of the mix, Allien will also give the remix treatment to tracks by Thom Yorke ("The Eraser"; joining Four Tet, Various, Surgeon, and others), Beck ("The Sun"), and, along with Apparat, Kate Wax-- those should see release in the near future. [MORE...]


Cat Power Loves Chanel, Touring

We've always thought Chan Marshall was beautiful, but what do we know? We're indie rockers. We think brand new 7" vinyl is beautiful, too.

Turns out the beautiful people think Cat Power is beautiful, too. And they know what they're talking about, or so we're lead to believe. Women's Wear Daily reported on Monday that Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld has fallen for the songstress, who "has been tapped as the new face of Chanel's jewelry collections."

According to Matador Records, Marshall is not confirmed to appear in any Chanel ads at this time, although she and Lagerfeld have indeed become friends.

WWD reported that Marshall was decked out in gold Chanel jewelry (a necklace, ring, and bracelet) at a party celebrating the release of Lagerfeld's compilation CD, Les Musiques Que J'aime. (The comp features tracks from the likes of Devendra Banhart, the Boy Least Likely To, Lindstrom and Prins Thomas, LCD Soundsystem, the Pipettes, Black Mountain, Fiery Furnaces, Matmos, the Fall, Caribou, and Goldfrapp. Hey Karl, wanna write for Pitchfork?)

Marshall told WWD that Lagerfeld approached her while she was hanging out in front of the Mercer Hotel in NYC: "I was outside waiting, sitting on a pile of Louis Vuitton luggage, drinking water, with an apple and a cigarette in my hand, my cell phone, oh, and two guitars, and out comes Karl. He walks up, looks at me and says, 'Only a woman can look glamorous when smoking.' And I lowered my glasses and pointed to [the shadows under my] eyes and said, 'With these?'"

The masses will have the opportunity to revel in her beauty starting at the end of this month, as Cat Power has European and North American tours scheduled through the end of the year, including just-announced East and West Coast dates. [MORE...]


Devendra, CYHSY, Stars Design Shirts for Charity
So do Wolfmother, My Brightest Diamond, and more

Who's that in my closet? Is it R. Kelly? Nope-- it's Devendra Banhart, Stars, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, My Brightest Diamond, Wolfmother, Hayden, King Creosote, and Joseph Arthur! They're in there waiting to help you get dressed, all in the name of charity.

Charities, that is. The Yellow Bird Project, a Montreal-based non-profit organization, has recruited a handful of indie rock stars to design shirts for girls and boys everywhere. They cost $25 apiece (pretty good, as they're American Apparel), with all money going to the charity of the designer's choice.

For instance, Wolfmother have drawn up a "Free the Gnomes!" print and selected the Teenage Cancer Trust as their charity. Clap Your Hands are directing all funds received in exchange for their crying-man-on-a-plane design to Art for Change. Devendra, the first artist to contribute a shirt, will raise money to benefit the Ocean of Love (whose name sounds like a potential Devendra Banhart song title, come to think of it).

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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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Photos: Pop Montreal [Montreal, Quebec; 10/03-10/07/07]

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