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Photos: Sigur Ros / Will Oldham at Wordless Music Series [New York, NY; 10/05/07]

Photos by Chris Owyoung

Despite sweltering conditions inside the Good-Shepherd Faith Church near the Lincoln Center, Toronto's Sandro Perri (aka Polmo Polpo), composer Nico Muhly, and Icelandic producer/artist Valgeir Sigurðsson played to the rapt attention of a standing-room only crowd. And it was worth the effort: the three artists were joined by special guests Sigur Rós, who played a short and intimate three-song acoustic set, and Will Oldham.

With every artist incorporating vocals into significant portions of their music, the evening was a worded exception for the 2007-2008 Worldless Music Series.

As previously reported, the series explores the intersection points between classical music and more traditionally unassociated genres such as indie rock, electronic dance music, and free jazz. Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, Múm, Max Richter, and Grizzly Bear are among the artists scheduled for the remainder of the 2007/2008 season.

Sigur Rós setlist:

Ágætis Byrjun





The Decemberists Cancel UK Dates

Sorry, British Decemberists fans. The band has been forced to cancel the remainder of their European tour due to illness. A message posted on their website on Saturday stated:

With much regret The Decemberists have cancelled the remainder of our European tour. One of our band members is ill and needs to return immediately home to mend.

Our deepest apologies to all of our fans whom have purchased tickets to our forthcoming European shows. Unfortunately our calendar doesn't allow us to return to Europe at any point soon so please refund tickets at point of purchase.

Full calendar, eh? All I see is this month or so of "Long and Short of It" dates. You guys hitting the studio soon? Please? [MORE...]

Photos: Arcade Fire / LCD Soundsystem / Les Savy Fav / Blonde Redhead [New York; NY 10/06/07]

Photos by Ryan Muir

Indiepalooza! Randall's Island, out in the middle of the East River off the coast of Manhattan, was the site of a massive concert this weekend, as the Arcade Fire / LCD Soundsystem tour came to a close, with Les Savy Fav, Blonde Redhead and Boston's Wild Light joining in the fun.

The Fav's Tim Harrington stuffed his face and did a little striptease for the crowd, while LCD's James Murphy tore through some of the Sound(s) of Silver. Arcade Fire blasted out a boisterous set of tunes from this year's Neon Bible, then hit the crowd for a megaphone-blasting encore cover of the Violent Femmes' "Kiss Off".

The only downer? Win Butler announcing that this would be the last time the band would play NYC for a few years. Sounds like the band is taking a well-deserved break.

More photos and tour dates below.







Zach Condon Guests on New Final Fantasy Single
Indie rockers in the mirror are far more excited about upcoming joint project than they appear

There's been no shortage of Final Fantasy music in the year-and-a-half since the release of He Poos Clouds; it just generally hasn't been his own. Whether arranging strings for some band or other, fiddlin' around on the records of several dozen others, or coming up with those loopy covers, Mr. Pallett's been too busy giving himself away to give us anything of his own. Until now. Sort of.

On November 20, Tomlab will unveil the X release in its Alphabet Series of 7" singles, the work of Final Fantasy assisted by the steady hands of Beirut's Zach Condon. It contains two new tracks that are longtime live staples: "Hey Dad" and "What Do You Think Will Happen Next?" According to a press release, "'Hey Dad' begins in an unassuming dream-state only to build to a gorgeous drum-roll and tambourine march. 'What Do You Think Will Happen Next?' seeks a life sans cigarettes with a tight rock drum, nearly synth-sounding violins, and the help of Mr. Condon's signature horns." Sounds a lot better than the patch, eh?

Tomlab's only pressing up 500 of these puppies, and seeing as both these dudes are so hot right now, making haste is probably in your best interest if you'd like one of these things. And, hey, while you're zipping around doing things in a disorderly fashion, maybe you'll stumble upon Owen as he traverses this North America of ours on tour. [MORE...]


Ghostface/Rakim/Brother Ali Tour Features Live Band
Venues take cues from jam scene, sell weed, hemp clothing, grilled cheese in parking lots

Rakim photo by William Kirk

It's not quite the animated mayhem Ghostface is currently enjoying on his Adult Swim tour, but with Brother Ali and legendary old-schooler Rakim in tow, the first annual Hip Hop Live! Tour is hardly sneeze-worthy.

While we've already reported most of the tour's dates, the new dirt is that 10-piece band Rhythm Roots Allstars will provide the live licks for all three MCs. Those who attended Rakim and Ghost's set at SXSW in March got an early taste of the tour, as the Allstars played with both gentlemen there. They have also performed and recorded with a few other notable names: Outkast, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera, among others. So if the R busts out a tongue-twisting freestyle over "Beautiful", don't say you weren't warned.

Rakim's place on the tour is in support of two forthcoming releases, the Live DVD and new album The Seventh Seal.

Brother Ali is also touring his ass off this fall; he's in Canada right now, and hits NYC for CMJ. He's touring in support of his new album The Undisputed Truth.

Ghostface also has some other stuff going on. [MORE...]


Pitchfork Curates All Tomorrow's Parties Spring 2008!
Of Montreal, Man Man, Caribou, Los Campesinos! among first bands announced

Pitchfork and All Tomorrow's Parties: Together again! As you probably remember, back in July at the Pitchfork Music Festival, we partnered with our London friends to bring you the North American premiere of the Don't Look Back series. Well, we had such a great time that we're re-teaming with ATP for their festival in England.

The spring 2008 All Tomorrow's Parties will take place over two weekends in May, and for the first weekend, May 9-11, Pitchfork has chosen roughly half of the 35 bands that will be performing. ATP themselves chose the other half, hence the title "ATP vs. Pitchfork".

Here is the initial list of artists:

Chosen by Pitchfork: 

Of Montreal
Man Man
Los Campesinos!
Glass Candy
Dirty Projectors

Chosen by ATP: 

Pissed Jeans
Fuck Buttons

And there's still 24 more to come!

ATP vs. Pitchfork will take place at the original All Tomorrow's Parties site, Camber Sands Holiday Park, near Rye in Sussex. Part of the fun of ATP is living at the festival site for all three days. Included in the ticket price of £140 are accommodations at Camber Sands' chalets, which feature private bathroom suites, bars, a swimming pool, restaurants, a supermarket, go-karting, and mini-golf!

Yes, that's right: nearly three dozen amazing bands, PLUS go-karting and mini-golf. Pretty much the best thing ever. Can you imagine what happens when the members of Man Man hit the go-kart course?

Tickets for the weekend can be purchased through ATP's website in blocks of four, five, six, seven, or eight.

The dates and lineup of ATP 2008's second weekend, which will take place at Butlins Resort at Minehead, are coming soon.

We are extremely honored to be following in the footsteps of such esteemed past ATP curators as Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, Shellac, Matt Groening, Stephen Malkmus, Slint, Devendra Banhart, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mogwai, and Sleater-Kinney. We thank All Tomorrow's Parties for this wonderful opportunity.


Thrill Jockey Unveils Anniversary Box Set Details
David Byrne covers the Fiery Furnaces, the Sea and Cake cover Califone, Arbouretum team with Beach House's Victoria Legrand

Without even making us pin the tail on the donkey, the folks over at Thrill Jockey have finally revealed the tracklist and release date of their limited edition, 180-gram-vinyl, 7"-only, 15th anniversary compilation box set. (Don't worry, we're experiencing information overload too.)

The spiffy package of Thrill Jockey artists covering their favorite Thrill Jockey tunes features re-workings from David Byrne, the Fiery Furnaces, Tortoise, Califone, the Sea and Cake, Arbouretum (featuring Victoria Legrand from Beach House!), Pit er Pat, Archer Prewitt, Bobby Conn, Howe Gelb, Adult., Angela Desveaux, Eleventh Dream Day, Sue Garner, John Parish, the Lonesome Organist, the National Trust, Pullman, the Chicago Underground Quartet, Nobukazu Takemura, Giant Sand, Thalia Zedek, Freakwater, and the Zincs.

The box set will be available first at the label's ATP-sponsored anniversary shows at London's Koko on November 11 and 12. Thrill Jockey will then release it in the UK on December 3 and the next day in the U.S. An alphabetical list of the box's tracks-- there are 18 across nine 7"s-- is after the jump.

Finally, the label is planning an anniversary event similar to the London shows to take place in Chicago sometime in December. [MORE...]


Blur Reunite
...for lunch

A message posted yesterday, October 4, on Blur's website (via NME) on the subject of a full-blown reunion with Graham Coxon in tow has brought us from "nothing concrete" to "lunch." The message reads:

"In light of recent press speculation, would like to confirm that Alex, Damon, Dave and Graham met for an enjoyable lunch on Monday, but there are currently no other music plans for Blur."

And that's it. We won't hold our breath for new music anytime soon, but the prospect of these four guys together again is nonetheless pretty exciting. And then again, who knows? Maybe they'll go all Radiohead and spring their In Rainbows on us over the weekend.

Also, the Damon Albarn-scored Monkey: Journey to the West "circus opera" is running at Paris' Théâtre de Chatelet from September 26-October 13. Next year, it will head to Berlin for a week-long run from July 8-15.

Klaxons Put Liars, Wu, Justice on Bugged Out! Mix

Whether it's their rollicking, untethered style, their proclivity for injury, or their devil-may-care hairdos, some might say Klaxons are bugging out. And some would be right: Jamie Reynolds of the recent Mercury Prize recipients has compiled two discs of the band's favorite tracks for the Bugged Out series. The set is out this week in the UK on New State.

The first disc, "A Bugged Out Mix", focuses on club tracks, while the second, "A Bugged In Selection", highlights the group's influences. The first disc ends with the previously unreleased Brodinski remix of "It's Not Over Yet", which features spoken word vocals by Aleister Crowley!

Klaxons are presently bugging out the patrons of a Lawrence, Kansas Wendy's in preparation for tonight's gig. They've got shows from now through the near futures, spanning several continents and pairing them with some fine bands. Not along for the ride as originally planned: Shitdisco, who've canceled their planned dates with the band. In their place? The slightly more PG Apes. [MORE...]


Sunset Rubdown Kick Off Random Tour

We're not really sure what Spencer Krug is singing about most of the time (except when he does that cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U"), but Best New Music knows no language. It also knows few geographical bounds, since Krug and the rest of his Sunset Rubdown crew begin a tour this weekend that will cover a good deal of North America.

So memorize Random Spirit Lover (out October 9 on Jagjaguwar), eat your dinner in a fancy restaurant, and hop on over to one of these shows, starting with the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar Showcase at Pop Montreal in Montreal tomorrow, October 6. Fellow Wolf Parade offshoot Johnny and the Moon opens most of the shows. [MORE...]

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:



Photos: Jose Gonzalez Live on KEXP [Chicago, IL; 10/04/07]

Photos by Sanchez and Kitahara

Because his records are so unadorned, because he is largely disinterested in flourish, because I suspect there is a strong streak of perfectionism running through his every gesture, there's really very little separating a live performance by José González (like the one I caught at Chicago's Engine Studios yesterday afternoon as part of a live radio session for KEXP) and his records. That said, the serene beauty you've heard etched into wax is preserved in concert, as is that nagging feeling that you wish he wasn't so goshdarned straightfaced about it.

Not that José isn't lovely, as a person, singer, and guitarist. That voice, those plucked strings, that gentle hush seems to emit from the core of Mr. Gonzélez, and he (rather admirably, considering) batted KEXP DJ John Richards' overager softballs right back with a genial shrug. His songs seem more delicate on first blush than they truly are, and "How Low" and "Fold", however indebted to Nick Drake, could never be as sweet coming from anyone else.

But whether it was the air conditioning or the forced friendship from Richards or José's gossamer voice and the soft strings of his guitar, I felt a bit sleepy. No complaint: I suspect perhaps this is the idea. These are political songs, some of 'em, and love songs otherwise, and both those things, when done just right, oughta ooze passion. José's passion, I suspect, is closer to perfectionism, and though I'm sure it made for fine radio-- as it makes for fine records-- it wasn't a sight to behold.


Down the Line
How Low
Killing for Love

Hear it HERE. [MORE...]

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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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