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Boredoms to Invade America This Spring

For the first time in way too long, Boredoms are coming to America for a full-out assault. From mid-March to early April, the Japanese beauty-and-noise machine will conquer the U.S. with the brute force of their meticulously scattered psych-rock, heading slowly but surely towards our nation's capital, spreading their potent message of apathy and the superness of roots to many of our major cities. Will boredom reign over these United States in the wake of a Boredoms invasion? It might be best to start watching VH1 reality programming to build up an immunity to the stuff just in case.

Take note: The shows in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and New York will be "in the round," placing the Boredoms right in the middle of things. Plan accordingly, but remember not to have too much fun: No matter where you are in the room at a Boredoms show, there's always gonna be at least one Eye on you. [MORE...]

Xiu Xiu Bolster Lovers With DVD, iTunes Exclusives
Tour shaping up, Jamie Stewart to play Polaroid book launch

Xiu Xiu-- all four of 'em-- are poised to unleash their sixth studio album on January 29, as you may well know by now. But like any intrepid musical act in this age of digital media, these Bay Area provocateurs are giving you, the fan and record buyer, quite a few options when it comes to scooping up the Kill Rock Stars-stamped Women as Lovers.

First up, something for online early birds and patrons of indie retailers: 2000 extra special copies of Lovers will come bundled with a bonus DVD titled What's Your Problem?, available only to Kill Rock Stars online preorder-ers and at ma'n'pa record shops.

While the tracklisting for said DVD is being kept strictly under wraps (it's a surprise, see), we do know it will contain some four tour films, 100 photos, and no less than 16 music videos, including clips for "I Broke Up (SJ)", "Bog People", "Muppet Face", "Don Diasco", "Sad Pony Guerilla Girl", and latest jam "I Do What I Want When I Want".

Next up, something for legal download addicts: the iTunes version of Women as Lovers will come with an EP's worth of exclusive bonus tracks, five in all. One of the songs, "Juarez", features vocals from Eugene Robinson of Oxbow.

What's more, Xiu Xiu will donate proceeds from the sales of Women as Lovers to Nyumbani, a Kenyan organization dedicated to helping children orphaned amidst the AIDS crisis in Africa. Nyumbani, as you may recall, was also the benefactor of a recent DJ gig put together by members of Xiu Xiu.

Additionally, Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart will help herald the release of that oft-delayed Xiu Xiu Polaroid book by treating those gathered at Brooklyn's Lutheran Church of the Messiah to a set of his solo stylings tomorrow night (January 4). Xiu Xiu percussionist Ches Smith will also perform under his Congs for Brums moniker.

And finally, the inevitable Women as Lovers tour trek is slowly shaping up for late winter and early spring. [MORE...]

Beck's Odelay Given Deluxe Reissue Treatment

Lord (only) knows Beck's Odelay is a readymade, ramshackle, Catskill-rockin' classic. The 1996 hunk of hot wax belongs on just about every record-holding shelf we can think of, and if you don't already have it, now would be the time that we gently chide you into heading to a retail location of your preference to pick up a copy.

Or, better yet, wait until January 29, when the two-disc Odelay - Deluxe Edition will be released from Geffen/UMe featuring 19 tracks not available on the original version. It also features brand new artwork, pictured above. Pretty cool, huh?

Although the exact order of the tracklist hasn't been confirmed yet, we do know which extra goodies will be tacked on to the set, and they offer a solid overview of Beck at his cold-lampin' collagist peak. (UPDATE: FULL TRACKLIST AVAILABLE NOW! SEE BELOW) From the original Odelay sessions come the previously unreleased tracks "Inferno" and "Gold Chains", both produced by the Dust Brothers. There's the Life Less Ordinary soundtrack cut "Deadweight", known for its kickass Michel Gondry video. Then there are three remixes: Aphex Twin's take on "Devil's Haircut" (aka "Richard's Hairpiece"), UNKLE's mix of "Where It's At", and Mickey P.'s version of "Devil's Haircut" (aka "American Wasteland"). And finally, a shit-ton of B-sides: the Mario Caldato Jr.-produced version of "Thunder Peel" (which originally showed up on Beck's 1994 album Stereopathetic Soulmanure), "Clock", "Electric Music and the Summer People", "Lemonade", "SA-5", "Feather in Your Cap" (which showed up on the SubUrbia soundtrack), "Erase the Sun", "000.000", "Brother", "Trouble All My Days", "Strange Invitation", a cover of Skip James' "Devil Got My Woman", and a Spanish language mariachi version of "Jackass" called "Burro".

In other Beck news, he's been nominated for a Best Rock Vocal Grammy for the recent iTunes-only surprise "Timebomb" single, and he recently helped the White Stripes with their "Conquest". And he did something with Jamie Lidell, but we still really want to know exactly what that something is. [MORE...]


Smashing Pumpkins Issue New EP Today

Front page photo by Shervin Lainez

Just in case you were trying to come up with a good excuse to buy another copy of the Smashing Pumpkins' Zeitgeist, well, how's about some more bonus material? Today, January 2, Billy the kid and his ragtag crew released American Gothic, a four-song EP, which is available in the U.S. exclusively through iTunes. You can purchase the EP all by its lonesome or as a bribebonus for picking up a copy of Zeitgeist for your iThing. Outside the U.S., the disc will emerge in physical form sometime later this month.

The tunes were mostly penned during the band's summer residencies in Asheville, North Carolina and San Francisco, and laid to tape at L.A.'s Pass Studio while the band rested up between tours late last year. One notable exception is "The Rose March", which will be familiar to some who caught Billy solo after the release of his 2005 solo LP The Future Embrace. Pete Townsend is apparently a fan of the track, and balked when young Corgan told him the tune wouldn't be appearing on Zeitgeist. Maybe if he'd bought the right version! Oh, right, here we are.

That respite between tours is coming to a close later this month when the band hits the European circuit. They'll follow that with four stops on the previously reported V Festival down there in Australia. [MORE...]

Cat Power Plots Jukebox Tour

A gal's bound to run out of quarters to pump into the Jukebox eventually. When that happens, it's time to start singing for crowds larger than just whoever shows up at the local diner.

Cat Power and her Dirty Delta Blues band will bring their covers extravaganza out on tour in late January and early February. Expect plenty of selections from their forthcoming Jukebox LP, due January 22 from Matador. And since this is a tour for a covers record, the ban on yelling extra hard for "Freebird" has been temporarily lifted.

Chan's overseas charity project is currently underway, as she recently checked in on her MySpace blog from Bangalore, India to decry the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan. [MORE...]


R.E.M. Gear Up to Accelerate on New LP
There's some bands we like to report on, and one of them is R.E.M.

The name all but gives it away, but according to, R.E.M.'s forthcoming 14th LP, titled Accelerate, is gonna be fast. The lethargic (read: forgettable) touch of 2004's Around the Sun is nowhere to be found, replaced with what band manager Bertis Downs calls "rockers." Accelerate emerges on Warner Brothers April 1 in North America and the day before in the UK and elsewhere, but a good new R.E.M. LP can't come fast enough.

Though a full tracklist has yet to be finalized, quite a few tunes from the band's recent live residency in Dublin made the cut, including "Living Well is the Best Revenge", "Until the Day is Done", and "Horse to Water".

R.E.M. has also launched a website to promote the album,

The band plans to tour this spring, but with those dates still up in the air, your best chance at previewing these snappy tunes and smiling patiently through a slow one or two will come at March's Langerado Festival.


Oberst Woos Iowans for Obama
Call it O-Town

With the big presidential hopeful nail-biter known as the Iowa caucus about to pop off tomorrow, those vying for the Democratic party ticket have made the Hawkeye State into a second home in recent weeks in an attempt to rally voters.

At least one of them, Barack Obama, brought along a secret weapon: Dreamboat indie rocker Conor Oberst, of Bright Eyes fame, warmed up the Obamacolytes during a rally last night (January 1) in Council Bluffs, Iowa-- a mere hop, skip, and jump away from Oberst's native Omaha, Nebraska. (The event, by ironic coincidence, took place at the Iowa School for the Deaf.)

According to a New York Observer report, Oberst played a few tunes and addressed those gathered by saying, "I met the next president of the United States earlier today." The Observer also noted the enthusiasm of "the younger Iowans in attendance." Let's hope these youngsters are old enough to vote!

Oberst joins previously mentioned music-world Obama-backers such as Jeff Tweedy and the Cool Kids. More like Ba-rock Obama, amirite? Thanks to reader Michael Giuliano for the tip.

No stranger to politicking, Oberst's Bright Eyes previously partook of the politically-motivated Vote for a Change tour back in 2004, as you may recall.

Young Conor kept particularly busy over the holidays, also introducing fans to heaps of new material at a pair of previously mentioned, intimate club shows at Minneapolis' 400 Bar where he was billed under his given name. According to a Star Tribune report, Oberst was joined at the shows by a five-piece band that included previous collaborators Nik Freitas (guitar) and Rilo Kiley's Jason Boesel (drums). Rumored guest M. Ward, however, never materialized.

Evan Farrell (Magnolia Electric Co./Rogue Wave) R.I.P.

Bloomington, Indiana musician Evan Farrell died on December 23 in an apartment fire in Oakland, California, according to various reports.

Farrell served as bassist for Rogue Wave until early last year and toured with Magnolia Electric Co. this past fall, playing bass and pedal steel. He was also a member of the Secretly Canadian collective the Japonize Elephants, and had a hand in numerous other bands and projects over the years.

On the Rogue Wave website, Zach Rogue wrote, "If you ever saw Evan play music, you would know he was an exceptional and passionate musician. And if you ever had the chance to hang out with him, you would have no doubt been laughing at some point, because he was one of the funniest and most charismatic people ever. Always the extrovert, Evan was meant for the stage. Sometimes I almost felt he was from some other time, some other place."

A post on the Magnolia Electric Co. website echoed these sentiments, concluding, "We love you, Evan, and we are better people for having known you."

Farrell leaves behind a wife and two young children. A memorial fund has been established to help his family during this difficult time. Contribute by clicking here.

Panda Bear Designs Sweatshirts
But are they Nautica sweatshirts? We hear Nautica sweatshirts are pretty comfy

What's a crafty guy like Noah "Panda Bear" Lennox to do when he's all done weaving together our favorite record of 2007? Why, retrofit some toasty garments with alluring new textures! (Alluring textures being a Lennox specialty in both sound and fabric, it seems.) All the better to warm the very hearts he touched on the stupendous (albeit soooo last year) Person Pitch LP.

Lennox and his wife, Fernanda Pereira, have started 2nd Things, "a second project for both of us and... a second chance for forgotten clothing," with a line of artfully altered sweatshirts, presently available for purchase through their website. However, Mr. and Mrs. Bear have only crafted 50 of the things, so get crackin' ASAP if you want one of these soon-to-be ultra-rare collector's items.

No word on just what's next for 2nd Things, though fuzzy black-and-white mittens are our choice for a logical next step.

Of course, this is just another strand in that lengthy thread of Animal Collective doings in this new year, what with a new EP, a box set, some new sessions and a tour on the way. [MORE...]


Neko Case Schedules Winter Shows

Neko Case doesn't get around nearly as much as that band she's in sometimes, so when she does, it's worth taking note. Ms. Case has announced her first plans for the road in 2008, currently comprised of six dates up in the northeastern part of the U.S. It's not much at the moment, but we'll take it, especially since Neko's website promises new songs.

Eric Bachmann, of Crooked Fingers and ex-Archers of Loaf fame, will open all dates.

In other Neko news, she recently expressed a fondness for poetry in Poetry magazine, as appropriate a forum for such a thing as I can think of. And the entirety of her back catalog was recently reissued, which we hope cleared out all the cobwebs in anticipation of yet another fine solo disc. [MORE...]


Bjork Discusses "Independence", Videos, Grammys
"Music is being abused so much. There are so many things with no emotion, no feeling, and without craft-– it's a tool of power. I've always felt that it was my role to do the other thing. To keep it emotional."

What better way to start a new year than a talk with Björk? The Icelandic superstar has already set 2008 off with a bang, releasing "Declare Independence", the third single from her latest album, Volta, on January 1. (The accompanying video, which premiered in December, reunited Björk with director Michel Gondry, who helmed such classic clips as "Human Behaviour" and "Army of Me".)

Shortly before the holiday break, we chatted with Björk about "Declare Independence": the song, the video, and the remixes. We also got an update on the video for the Antony duet "Dull Flame of Desire", as well as Björk's thoughts about a certain music industry award.

Pitchfork: Congratulations on the Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album for Volta. Do these kinds of awards mean anything to you?

Björk: I don't know. I'm not going to pretend I don't care about awards, but I don't think I will ever win a Grammy. I've been nominated before. But I think they find me...I think it's a really conservative, middle-of-the-road thing. I think they're probably a little scared of me.

Pitchfork: Let's talk about "Declare Independence". The song has a political element to it, but it's also very broad. I know you've talked about that before-- how it's about freedom and justice for everyone, that it's a personal as well as political message. But in the video, you and director Michel Gondry use a lot of military-industrial imagery. Were you nervous about how that might potentially narrow the scope of the song?

Björk: The military thing was Michel's idea. I was quite intrigued by using the costumes that we had been using live; they're very colorful, very happy. But for him, because of the whole thing with the string being the only part that's in color, the costumes couldn't scream for attention. So the military thing was something that we thought might help [the performers] blend into the background.

Pitchfork: Like camouflage.

Björk: Yeah, that was kind of the idea. When I spoke to Michel, it was important to me that it was a live performance. And it was important to me that there wasn't a hierarchy. That everyone be kind of equal. I never see myself in a position of controller, or as someone with authority, even though I happen to be on stage. So that was something I was quite sensitive about. That [the other performers] would be giving me as much energy as I was giving them, that it was an equal thing.

Pitchfork: Well, quite literally, with the string, there's an amazing exchange of energy.

Björk: That was one of the reasons we were all wearing the same thing. We're supposed to be on the same level. If I was wearing some crazy colored dress it wouldn't be balanced. But maybe-- I haven't really thought about this-- but maybe you're right, maybe it comes across as too military. It wasn't military, it was more just about trying to make everybody equal. Having the clothes be neutral. I think we were more excited about the flags on everybody's arms.

Pitchfork: What is the significance of the flags?

Björk: It's Greenland's flag and the Faroe Islands' flag. Iceland became independent from Denmark 60 years ago. We were a colony for 600 years, and we were treated really badly, as all colonies are. And Greenland and the Faroe Islands are still part of Denmark. The song was partly written to those countries. In Iceland's newspapers, there's always some talk about the Faroe Islands and Greenland wanting independence, and Greenland seemed close, but then they found a lot of oil, and Denmark doesn't want to let that go. If you were to go into a local bar and ask about Greenland and the Faroe Islands, people get very feisty. People are very supportive of Greenland and the Faroe Islands getting independence. I think that Greenland and the Faroe Islands have looked a lot to Iceland as an inspiration, the way we set up our bank systems, the way we became more and more independent.

And I thought it was hysterical to say to your friend who is having a lot of problems with his girlfriend, to just say 'Declare independence and raise your own flag.' Maybe it's just my silly sense of humor. But it's definitely written to Greenland and the Faroe Islands. [MORE...]


While We Were Out
Stuff that happened during the break

(Image from I Can Has Cheezburger?)

After toiling away for fifty weeks in a row to bring you to-the-minute updates on the Arcade Fire's exact coordinates and what Sufjan Stevens had for breakfast, the Pitchfork news team takes a well-deserved two-week break at the end of every year. The rest of the music world keeps on turning, though.

A few things caused us to get up from the massage table and hit the laptop, like the Rolling Stone/Camel lawsuit filed by Xiu Xiu and Fucked Up, Oscar Peterson's death, Jay-Z's departure from Def Jam, and Radiohead's New Year's Eve webcast. But a whole lot more happened between December 14, 2007 and January 2, 2008.

Here's a short round-up of newsy notes to tide you over until we get caught up and back in the swing of things.

Happy new year!


When he wasn't busy celebrating the physical release of In Rainbows with a New Year's Eve webcast, Thom Yorke spent his holidays feuding with EMI, Radiohead's former record label, and the Times of London newspaper. On December 28, the paper published a story reporting that Radiohead had demanded an exorbitant amount of advance money from EMI for In Rainbows, as well as a share of the rights to their back catalog. When EMI refused, the band left the label. On December 29, Yorke took to Radiohead's blog, Dead Air Space, refuting the Times' and EMI's claims. Here's what he wrote:

F Y I_____ if you care

for your information>>>

we did not ask for a load of cash from our old record label EMI to re- sign.
that is a L I E.
The Times in the UK should check its facts before it prints such dirt.

whAT we WANTED WAS some control over OUR WOrK and how it was used in the future by them-
that seemed REASONAblE to us,
as we cared about it a great deal.

Mr Hands was not interested.
So neither were we.

We made the sign of the cross and walked away. Sadly.

We are extremely upset that this crap is being spread about.

To bedigging up such bullshit, or more politely airing yer dirty laundry in public,
seems a very strange way for the head of an international record label to be proceeding.

On a happier note we took no 'BRead-HEAd' advances at all from both independent labels XL and TBD for our new record.

So judge for yourself.

AND we are really excited to be working with them. SHock!

AT least they do not behave like confused bulls in a china shop.

much love


Thom also took some time out to joke around on British television. (Via At Ease)


Back in early November, we announced "The Great Sufjan Song Xmas Xchange!", a contest run by Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty label. Fans were invited to submit an original Christmas song, Sufjan himself would pick his favorite, and the winner would get the rights to a brand new Sufjan original Christmas song.

On December 20, Asthmatic Kitty announced the winner: Alec Duffy's "Every Day Is Christmas". Sufjan wrote an amusing note about how and why he chose the song. "It feels, at once, like a classic show tune, the perfect parlor song, a bar ballad, and a church hymn. It is unencumbered with the pejoratives and prophetic exclamations of Christmas, the most complicated of holidays," he wrote.

You can hear "Every Day Is Christmas", as well as several finalist songs, on the Asthmatic Kitty website.

But the brand new Sufjan song, titled "The Lonely Man of Winter"? Don't hold your breath for it to show up in Forkcast. Duffy is saving the song for the 2008 holiday season, when it will premiere as part of a production by his theater company, the New York-based Hoi Polloi.

In a message on Hoi Polloi's website, musical director Dave Malloy explains that Duffy and his company have decided that "The Lonely Man of Winter" is "the song that will never be uploaded." They want to preserve the excitement and mystery of the rarity with a song that isn't easily accessible via a click of the mouse. (Malloy's message makes some excellent points, and is definitely worth a read.) Thanks to All Good Naysayers for the tip.

So we'll just have to wait until someone tapes the Hoi Polloi 2008 holiday show on their camera phone and puts it on YouTube.


It's January-- that means South by Southwest is only two months away! Helping us get psyched nice and early was the December 20 announcement of a few of the festival's speakers, including Lou Reed, Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates, Sire Records founder (and Belle and Sebastian song inspirer) Seymour Stein, and a conversation between Thurston Moore and legendary composer Steve Reich. Shit, Thurston Moore and Steve Reich talking to each other, and we get to listen? A hundred million cool points go to anyone who breathes the same air as those two dudes.

The music portion of SXSW goes down March 12-16 in Austin, Texas. A million billion bands will play, but for now, we only know a few: A Place to Bury Strangers will be there, and the Kills, Lightspeed Champion, Sons & Daughters, These New Puritans, and White Williams are scheduled for the Domino showcase.

Oh yeah, White Williams signed to Domino.


Lil Wayne is always one for surprises. Remember that Tha Carter III prequel The Leak that was supposed to come out on December 18? Well, it looks like it was replaced by a five-song, digital-only EP, also called The Leak, which came out on Christmas day. It includes "I'm Me", "Gossip", "Kush", "Love Me or Hate Me", and "Talkin' About It". Tha Carter III is still due in February, according to



The Shortlist Music Prize, seems to have fallen on hard times...again. Once heralded as the American answer to the UK's Mercury Music Prize, the Shortlist honors the best albums of the year that have yet to sell 500,000 copies in the U.S., as voted on by a variety of artists, journalists, and other tastemakers. Past winners include Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power, and TV on the Radio, and past nominators have included Stevens, Wayne Coyne, ?uestlove, Jack Black, Beck, Trent Reznor, Cameron Crowe, the Cure's Robert Smith, and other luminaries.

However, infighting among the award's founders lead to its cancellation in 2005, its resurrection as the New Pantheon Awards, and then its reversion back to the Shortlist. And even though competition sprang up from the likes of the MTVU Woodies, the Plug Awards, and Canada's Polaris Prize, it was always fun to see which artists nominated which records. (Hey, Norah Jones digs Devendra! John Mayer is a Nellie McKay fan!)

Until this year, that is.

On December 21, the Shortlist announced the 2007 listmakers, as well as their initial picks. And those listmakers are...a dude from Snow Patrol, a dude from the Killers, a dude from KCRW, some dudes from something called "Hunnypot Internet Radio", and a dude from CMJ who seems to have named himself "Rev. Moose".

Really, guys? Really?

The list of finalists (which will be whittled down to a, um, shortlist of 10, and then a winner, in the coming months) includes, like, everybody who was on any critic's best-of list this year. The Arcade Fire, Feist, M.I.A., Justice, LCD Soundsystem, Spoon... You get the picture.

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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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Antony Designs Dress for Charity

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