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Everything You Wanted to Know About Sufjan's "BQE"
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Right at this very moment, an opera house full of some very lucky New Yorkers is taking in the premiere of Sufjan Stevens' orchestral piece "The BQE" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The rest of us are patiently waiting to find out what the hell "The BQE" actually is.

Lucky for us, the Asthmatic Kitty website posted today a tractor-trailer-load of information about the piece.

Want a brief overview of Sufjan's fascination with the hippest highway in indie rock? Go here. How about Sufjan's thoughts on how the hula hoop is related to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway? There ya go. Or a list of things Sufjan and the NYPD found on the side of the road? (Choice quote: "4. Your cane. Why walk, when you can drive the BQE!") The official bird of the BQE? The House Sparrow, of course.

What about, you know, the actual music thing? Oh, that. Here's a list of everybody who's performing with Sufjan. Looks like My Brightest Diamond, Marla Hansen, and members of Crystal Skulls, Clare & the Reasons, Antony's Johnsons, and many, many more.

So what did we learn here? Well, Sufjan is a very good writer. And a funny guy! Also, we should all move to Brooklyn.


Chamberlin Sick, Pumpkins Reschedule Dates

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Another cancellation today? Nah. It's just a postponement for the Smashing Pumpkins, who've moved a handful of dates on their current tour due to the illness of drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Experiencing chest pains, Chamberlin was taken to an Atlanta hospital Tuesday where he was diagnosed with a partially blocked artery. He was released yesterday, but due to his recovery, the band was forced to shelve their last two shows and the next three, all of which have been moved back a few weeks starting November 11. All tickets will be honored for the rescheduled dates.

Quoted on the band's MySpace blog, Chamberlin says, "the good news is that my heart checked out. No damage. Basically a small build up of plaque on one of my arteries. This combined with stress, fatigue, and all of the other good things that go along with being on tour was the cause of my pain. So obviously we had to postpone the end of the tour while I recover. It should only be a week or so until JC is ready to rock again." For a full message from, um, JC, go here.

Just to recap: Jimmy Chamberlin refers to himself in the third person, by his initials. This band, I tell ya. [MORE...]


Daniel Johnston, Lightning Bolt's Chippendale Show Art

In ten years on planet Earth, Philadelphia's Space 1026 gallery/venue/cooperative/ gathering place has pretty much seen it all. Diplo, Lightning Bolt, Daniel Johnston, Mirah, Bahamadia, and Need New Body have all played there. Plastic Little call the space home. MF Doom laid a bunch of tracks for the Viktor Vaughn Vaudeville Villain album to tape at 1026, and a nascent Man Man recorded in the space as well. And that's to say nothing of all the art, some of which looks pretty damned awesome.

So in tribute to ten solid years of creative mayhem, Space 1026 will dust off some of its finest work and put it back on display for "Never Forget! Do It Yourself With Other People". The exhibit, which opens November 2 and runs through December 20, gathers pieces from the musician/artist likes of Johnston, Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale, Brendan Fowler (aka BARR), and Plastic Little's Jayson Musson, plus Dischord affiliate Cynthia Connolly, OBEY/Zeitgeist guy Shepard Fairey and tons more.

In conjunction with the celebration, there will also be an art auction on December 7. Here's to ten more inspired years, guys!

Darnielle Writes About Sabbath, Drew Daniel Writes About Throbbing Gristle, Plus More 33 1/3 Series News

For people who like their music criticism lengthy, in-depth, and focused on one album at a time, Continuum Books' 33 1/3 series is the place to turn. There are currently over 50 books in the constantly growing series, and chances are good there's one about your favorite album just waiting for you to read it. (As previously reported, previous volumes have included the Decemberists' Colin Meloy examining the Replacements' Let It Be, Joe Pernice of the Pernice Brothers writing about the Smiths, and tomes about Prince, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, the Beastie Boys, David Bowie, and many, many more.)

Pitchfork's own Associate Editor-in-Chief Scott Plagenhoef is responsible for one of the most recent entries in the series, about Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister. Check out an excerpt here. Pitchfork contributor Amanda Petrusich's book on Nick Drake's Pink Moon just came out as well; an excerpt is available here. Stephen Catanzarite's take on U2's Achtung Baby is also out now.

Several other Pitchfork contributors have books forthcoming in the series. December holds the release of Forker Carl Wilson's book on Céline Dion's Let's Talk About Love and Forker/Matmos half Drew Daniel's book on Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats.

Lest someone suspect Pitchfork staffers of stealing the show, David Smay's book on Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones also comes out in December. Then in March and April, the series will reload with books on albums by Black Sabbath (by Mountain Goat John Darnielle), Slayer (by DX Ferris), and Patti Smith (by Phil Shaw).

Or, if you've got a short attention span (or prefer singles to albums-- zing!), there's 33 1/3's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, which compiles excerpts from many titles in the series.

Now, if you just read over that list of forthcoming titles, you may have noticed that Carl Wilson's choice of a Céline Dion album is, perhaps, less traditionally canonical than the rest of the series' subjects. But wait! The book isn't just about Céline Dion. It's subtitled "A Journey to the End of Taste", and according to the book jacket, "As Wilson strives to understand Céline's immense global popularity, he faces the question of what drives personal taste-- and whether it's possible to change it."

The folks at 33 1/3 are convinced that the book is so good, they will send PDFs of the first two chapters to anyone who sends an email to You can also read an excerpt from the book's third chapter at the 33 1/3 blog here. It's just like the library!


Decemberists Cancel Rest of "Long and Short of It" Tour

Sad! Just two dates into their fall "Long and Short of It" tour, the Decemberists have announced that they are calling the whole thing off. It looks like the sickness that befell a member of the band a month ago, resulting in the cancellation of their British tour, just hasn't gotten better.

Here's the statement from the band:

"With much regret the Decemberists have cancelled the remainder of 'The Long and Short of It' tour.

"One of our band members has been ill for a while but we thought all would be well in time for these tour dates. After a couple shows, though, it has become clear that the illness is much worse than we had initially realized. We need to return home so our friend can mend.

"It saddens us to disappoint our fans. We hope everybody understands it is only because of an extreme situation that we had to cancel a tour we've all been excited about doing since the idea was originally hatched.

"Our deepest apologies but at this time no plans are being made to reschedule the dates. Ticket holders should seek refunds at point of purchase."

Get well soon, guys! [MORE...]


The Rumble Strips Come to America

The Rumble Strips, those English lads with the tremble-causin' moniker and the loads of punky, horn-y hooks, are coming to the U.S. at last. On November 27, Kanine will issue the boys' first Stateside release, the Alarm Clock EP. In addition to a half-dozen hot slabs of British rock and/or roll (including a cover of Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town"), the disc comes with videos for both "Alarm Clock" and "Oh Creole".

The band will harness that Rumble of theirs on a handful of plotted live appearances both at home and abroad, including a number of rare Stateside gigs in late November and early December. And on November 19, they'll release new single "Time" in the UK. [MORE...]


Michaels Showalter & Ian Black Tour Together
My buddy, my buddy/ Wherever I go, he goes...

Photo via Chicagoist

Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter share more than just a first name and a knack for absurd humor. For starters, their resumes both include "The State", "Stella", and Wet Hot American Summer. They also both have new albums (Black's I Am a Wonderful Man is out now, Showalter's Sandwiches & Cats comes out November 13 via JDub). And now, the Michaels have decided to share a handful of U.S. stages in support of those records.

Though three dates of the tour have already passed, there are still six remaining. Their next show is November 14 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. [MORE...]


Interpol Expand Love With DVD, Prep Single

Photo by Matt Ziegler

You snooze, you win, apparently. Folks who slept on scooping up a copy of Interpol's Our Love to Admire when it came out this past summer, get ready for a treat: Interpol are about to offer up even more Love to Admire, as the deluxe edition of the album arrives November 19 in the UK via Capitol/Parlophone.

Just how deluxe, you ask? Why, bonus DVD deluxe, my friend. In addition to the 11 audio tracks that comprise the regular release, Love redux will also come packed with a bonus DVD EP boasting live performances-- recorded at London's Astoria earlier this year-- of jams from the past two Interpol discs, plus a couple Love music videos. Alas, no "Stella", and no Carlos D centerfolds. Maybe next time, guys.

What's more, the next Our Love to Admire single is due December 3 UK-ways. Not surprisingly, it's for "No I in Threesome" (that video's been around for a minute now), and format and tracklist details have not yet materialized.

Interpol set sail for Europe, with first mates Blonde Redhead, next week. [MORE...]

Photos: M.I.A. [Atlanta, GA; 10/31/07]

Photos by Jason James

It was Halloween night in the ATL, and M.I.A. was on hand for the festivities at Earthlink's Center Stage. Looking a bit like a yacht rocker's blinged-out girlfriend, Miss Arulpragasam strutted and bounced around stage, performing tracks from this year's Best New Music'd Kala. She was even joined at one point by some scandalously clad young ladies. Those (SFW) shots and more, plus tour dates, below.



Isis 10th Anniversary Bash: Two Singles, One Tour

Welcome to the dark, turgid realm of double digits, Isis! Just think: in a couple years, that sneer you've perfected in your ten years on earth is going to turn into a bona fide measured brood. And then we're all gonna be in trouble.

Indeed, the longstanding, gloomy prog/metal act is a decade old, and to celebrate, they've got a pair of Ipecac singles and a bi-coastal tour on the way. "Holy Tears" [pictured above], along with the titular In the Absence of Truth tune, comes packaged with a video directed by Dominic Hailstone, a live version of "Tears" from fall 2006's tour with Tool, and a remix of Truth's "Not in Rivers, but in Drops" by the Melvins in collaboration with Lustmord. "Not in Rivers" also gets its own single, with a remix of "Holy Tears" and a video (what symmetry!). Both singles are due in February, but precise details for the second one are, for now, TBA.

As for the tour, well, it kicks off tonight (November 1) in New York. Go easy on the cake. [MORE...]

Reactivated Pylon Embark on Fall Tour

The DFA's reissue of jangly Georgian juggernauts Pylon's mini-masterpiece Gyrate must've been the kick in the rump the infrequently active act needed to move this whole reformation thing onto the front burner.

Tonight (November 1) in Atlanta, the band will embark on its first proper tour in quite some time, solidifying "five dates" as the magic number for hip, quasi-retired veteran types. Show 'em what you got, Pylon! [MORE...]

Photos: The B-52's / The Rapture [New York, NY; 10/31/07]

Photos by Ryan Muir

What's Halloween without a party? And what's a party without the world's self-professed "greatest party band?" New wave pioneers the B-52's joined the Rapture at New York's Roseland Ballroom last night for an evening of Halloween hullabaloo.

In the spirit of the holiday, the Rapture boys donned the khaki jumpsuits of the Ghostbusters and unloaded blasts of fiery dance-rock. And the B-52's-- who next year celebrate the 30th anniversary of their first hit single, "Rock Lobster"-- show no signs of stopping soon: the veteran popsters showed off songs from their forthcoming eighth LP, Funplex.

More photos and tour dates below.

THE B-52's



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