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Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan DJs on WFMU
Dude, I bet they'd give you your own regular show if you quit threatening them with ass beatings

With their penchant for yanking obscure covers out of the ether, Yo La Tengo aren't just a great band-- they're a great band with bottomless knowledge of rock'n'roll's fringes. And the band has been known to flex their music nerd chops on the much-loved New Jersey radio station WFMU, playing cover requests from listeners. But recently, Yo La frontman Ira Kaplan has been spending a little time on the other side of the boards over at WFMU, showing off that well-defined taste of his as a guest DJ.

Ira's averaging about one show a month, filling in for absent DJs. While he doesn't have a regularly scheduled show, you could do a lot worse than sitting around all day listening to WFMU waiting for Ira to pop up in place of your regular DJ. Or, you could use this handy dandy little gizmo on the Yo La Tengo website that will e-mail you whenever Ira is set to reach out to radioland.

The WFMU website sports playlists and streams for Ira's past shows, and an MP3 of a full Christmas Eve set. Turns out he likes the Black Lips and Amon Tobin!

However, don't expect much Ira DJ action between January 9 and 19, as Yo La Tengo are heading out on the southern leg of their Freewheeling Yo La Tengo tour. Lambchop's Kurt Wagner, no stranger to freewheeling himself, will open all dates. [MORE...]


Beyonce PWNS Kanye in Connect Four
Connect Four : Kanye West :: Chess : Wu-Tang Clan?

Kanye West returned to the blogosphere January 2 with his first post since the death of his mother, Dr. Donda West, in November. It's a fun post full of details about pal-ing around with his famous friends, the specs of Jay-Z's new 40/40 club in Vegas, and epic sessions of... Connect Four... against Beyoncé!

Kanye is apparently an avid Connect Four player, and he chronicles his road to grand champion Beyoncé in the post, which we've reprinted below in its unedited entirety:


When I was in Europe I would play this game for hours and hours... it helped me zone out. Everybody would get envolved... Derrick Dudley (Common's manager) and Consequence were the best other than me... I beat Lexi... Don C beat Jay... Tony Williams beat Common... but every now and then people would speak of this legendary connect 4 champion........... BEYONCE!!! I had 2 play her! last night at Jay's new 40/40 club in Las Vegas (which is sidebar, crazy big w/ 24krt gold flooring, Black Jack tables, $500 slot machines,the biggest projection screen in the universe and the best turkey burgers I've ever had in my life) she beat me 9 times in a row! (and I didn't even spaz lol) here's a photo of the only game I won!"

Kanye's winning photo is the one above, and below the jump are two more pics from the battle, with both superstars deep in strategic thought. Also after the jump are Kanye's remaining live dates, which all take place at the previously reported Good Vibrations Festival.

In other Kanye news, that book of his should ship soon, and the reissue of Thriller that comes with his remix of "Billie Jean" hits stores February 11. [MORE...]


Hot Chip Reveal Made Tracklist, Single, New Dates
"Ready for the Floor" single features Diplo, Soulwax remixes

We don't ordinarily fancy ourselves prognosticators of any particular skill, but that "good feeling" we had last time about Hot Chip returning to the U.S.? Turns out it was smack on the money for once.

Today comes the announcement that Hot Chip will indeed rekindle their romance with U.S. fans following those previously reported intimate gigs on the coasts, that February-long UK jaunt with Matthew Dear, and a recently added spate of EU gigs in March. The new Stateside dates all fall within the cruelest month (April, yo) and find London's finest increasing the temperature of salty, potato-derived snacks from Philly to San Fran.

By April, of course, you'll have perfected your palette of moves based on Made in the Dark, which we'd be remiss not to remind you lands February 5 in the UK and February 6 in the U.S. via Astralwerks/DFA. Said album now has a tracklist (see below), while first single "Ready for the Floor" is set to land January 28 overseas, boasting remixes from Diplo and Soulwax. What's more, Made will also be, er, made available with a limited edition bonus DVD. Plenty of fodder there for your rug-cutting exercises.

And by the time the whole party comes home to roost at May's ATP vs. Pitchfork hootenanny, you'll be a regular dancefloor demon. Or something.

Finally, Hot Chip recently assembled a smokin' mix for BBC Radio 1 that includes some new tunes off Made. Check that here. [MORE...]

M83 Reveals Full Album Details

Now that he's gotten his ambient kicks with this past fall's Digital Shades Vol. 1, Anthony Gonzalez is ready to release his fifth album as M83, titled Saturdays = Youth. The album is apparently focused on more structured songs than the Digital Shades material, though "Couleurs", available for streaming now, doesn't seem too reliant on traditional pop song structure.

As previously reported, Gonzalez recorded Saturdays with producers Ken Thomas (Sigur Rós, Suede, Cocteau Twins, the Sugarcubes) and Ewan Pearson (the Rapture, Ladytron). Mute will release the album on April 15.

"Graveyard Girl" will be the album's first single. [MORE...]

Grand Archives Reveal Sub Pop Debut Details, Dates

What do the founder of the Canadian province of Manitoba, a world record-holding collector of four-leaf clovers, and cheap furniture have in common? They all pop up on the tracklist to the forthcoming debut from Seattle's Grand Archives, naturally.

The almost self-titled The Grand Archives arrives February 19 on some upstart hometown imprint known as Sub Pop. It collects 11 tracks, at least three of which Forkcast fiends may already know well: "Torn Blue Foam Couch", "Sleepdriving", and our aforementioned mutant shamrock collector, "George Kaminski", all of which also appeared in demo form on the self-released Grand Archives tour EP. A pair of tunes from the debut LP-- "Miniature Birds" and "A Setting Sun"-- may be streamed from the boys' MySpace as well.

Recently expanded to a quintet, Grand Archives will take to the road the day after their debut's release and four-part harmonize their way into early March. [MORE...]

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Tour for Trash

As we mark off the days until Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks sully our earholes with their Real Emotional Trash, we're happy to have another scrap of Malky news to tide us over. Filthmongers and germaphobes alike will be able to pick up and file through their Trash March 4 thanks to Matador, and Malkmus and company will take their rubbish on the road in late March and early April. And, unlike those dudes in the big trucks who wake you up every morning, this trashy bunch make a racket you'll be pleased to hear.

This current spate of Malkmus dates is awfully generous to the eastern half of the country, but more Jicks live garbage is promised in April. [MORE...]

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.

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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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