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Spoon Cancel Three Dates to Do "Saturday Night Live"

Spoon have canceled a trio of dates surrounding the weekend of October 6, due to the fact that they're performing on "Saturday Night Live" that night. (With Seth Rogen hosting! Dork-chic extravaganza!) Maybe they really wanna meet those "Laser Cats"? The sacrificed shows were to have taken place October 3 at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, Kansas, October 4 at Rhodes College in Memphis, and October 5 at Bogart's in Cincinnati.

This is the second time in a little over a month that Spoon have shuffled their schedule, having canceled a pair of Washington, DC headlining gigs in order to open for the Shins. (However, one of those shows was later reinstated.)

But, hey, the Britt giveth, and the Britt taketh away. The band apologized to their fans via posts on their site and on MySpace, and vowed, "we'll be back to see you in the spring for sure." Spoon have also added a few more dates to their tour.

Thanks to several readers for the tip. [MORE...]


Sex Pistols Redo "Anarchy" for Guitar Hero, Add Dates

Anarchy in yr PS3! The reunited, reissued Sex Pistols have re-recorded their sneering, seminal anti-hit "Anarchy in the U.K." for use in the forthcoming Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Awesome! I mean...uh, what?

The first new Sex Pistols studio recording in three decades is going in a bloomin' video game?

Johnny "Rotten" Lydon, Steve Jones, and Paul Cook ducked into London's Air Studios with original Bollocks producer Chris Thomas, employing vintage equipment to replicate the sound of the original track. You know, for use in the video game with the black plastic guitar and the buttons. These guys wouldn't even accept induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they'll let you tap along with them alongside "Slow Ride" and "Barracuda"? Who ever said there's no future? Oh, yeah, those dudes.

Guitar Hero III is out October 28, just in time for the Pistols' string of reunion shows (expanded from the single one announced previously.) And those reissues. [MORE...]

Fan Dies at Smashing Pumpkins Show

Photos by Shervin Lainez

A 20-year-old man from Richmond, British Columbia died after he was dragged unconscious from the mosh pit at a Smashing Pumpkins show on Monday, September 24, in Vancouver, according to a report in The Vancouver Sun.

Citing an interview with Vancouver police spokesman Constable Howard Chow, the report said three or four other young men at the Pacific National Exhibition Forum concert pulled the man to security just after 9 p.m. He was then taken to St. Paul's Hospital, where he eventually died.

A coroner is investigating the death, but Chow said, "There was nothing to indicate there was any foul play or anything suspicious about his death." Instead, he pointed the finger at the generally unsafe nature of mosh pits and crowd-surfing.

The Sun
mentioned unconfirmed radio reports claiming the man had crowd-surfed, but PNE spokeswoman Laura Ballance (not the Superchunk bassist, as far as we know) said that was not the point: "Regardless of how it happened, a 20-year-old who came to enjoy a night of music is gone. It's extremely sad and very tragic."

Chow asked that anyone who witnessed the incident, including the men who were responsible for bringing the victim to security, contact the police.

Unfortunately, this is not the first death at a Smashing Pumpkins show. There was a similar incident in which a woman was crushed to death at a 1996 performance in Dublin, Ireland.

The next date of Smashing Pumpkins' tour is in Salt Lake City on September 28. [MORE...]


Photos: White Williams Meets Big Boi
aka White Williams Tour Diary Part 3

As the Girl Talk/Dan Deacon/White Williams tour winds down, it seems things keep heating up. While in Atlanta this past weekend, a surprise guest turned up during Girl Talk's set at the MJQ Concourse. His name is Big Boi, and he's part of a rap/hip-hop duo known as Outkast. Perhaps you've heard of them?

Sensing a golden opportunity, Joe "White" Williams and the tour's resident visual artiste Andrew Strasser invited the man born Antwan Patton to try his hand at running the visuals for a few moments. Big Boi happily obliged. Williams also posed for the charming photo you see above. White Williams, indeed.

Catch more of the Williams crew's photos and captions below. For part one of the tour diary, click here. For part two, here. And stay tuned for more shenanigans.

Day 9: Charlottesville, VA, September 20, 2007

Hayes has been extremely quiet on the tour-- we wonder if everything is ok.

This guy went nuts for the camera as Joe from White Williams snapped away at an audience unaware of their participation in the visuals for Girl Talk.

Sometimes Joe likes to lay in bed and browse the internet-- other times you see him nervously minimizing windows as you approach him.

Day 10: Asheville, NC, September 21, 2007

Another orb appears during the show-- stage right.

On the road objects begin to morph-- for example, this banana peel that began to reveal itself as a dead parrot. In coming to terms with our road psyche, Joe flicks it off as we bury it in the wilderness. "We gave the dead parrot the bird."

Photos: Craig Finn at Boston College [Boston, MA; 09/25/07]

Photos by Alex Burack

Boston College's "Master Class: Alumni in Residence" speaker series typically introduces students of the historic Jesuit school to alumni with whose work they may not be too familiar. That was certainly not the case last night, as the Hold Steady's Craig Finn, darling of college radio stations around the country, sat down with English Professor Carlo Rotella to discuss his music, writing, and experiences as a student at BC.

Although there were a couple lighthearted moments (one student prodded Finn about the "penetration park" lyric in the song "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"), the evening, according to the organizers, was intended to have an "Inside the Actors' Studio" feel. In which case, for future events, Professor Rotella should probably work on that beard.


Kim Gordon: Starbucks "Less Evil Than Universal"

Selling out just ain't what it used to be. The concept is as ambiguous and potentially moot as ever, but now it usually comes with handy explanatory quotes. Just ask Kim Gordon, who, along with the rest of Sonic Youth, has taken some flak for choosing to release the band's forthcoming celebrity-studded tribute compilation, Hits Are for Squares, via Starbucks.

Or rather, let videographer Liz Glover ask Gordon for you. During New York City's recent Fashion Week, Glover approached Gordon to ask exactly why the band chose to go with Starbucks. The result is the short clip below, featuring Gordon's pithy, pretty awesome reply:

"They're less evil than Universal."

(Universal being Universal Music Group, parent company of Sonic Youth's label, Geffen Records.)

Last we heard, the compilation's release was "technically a joint effort between Starbucks Entertainment and Universal Special Markets," so the logistics are still complex. Nonetheless, Kim Gordon: 1, Universal: 0.

Just a reminder: Sonic Youth have a trio of Texas tour dates this fall starting with an October 5 appearance in Austin. And Kim's hubby is on the road now.

Also, Glover has a few other interesting musician interviews over at her Vimeo profile, including some typically scandalous stories from Deerhunter. [MORE...]


The Shins Announce More Fall Dates
The Shins fall, announce bruises

Favorite Pacific Northwestern sons-- aside from Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Built to Spill, Sleater-Kinney (using "sons" symbolically), Sunny Day Real Estate, Death Cab for Cutie, and...well, whatever-- the Shins have added even more dates to their previously reported fall tour in support of this year's Wincing the Night Away.

The tour will now take the band outside of the U.S. for shows in the UK, France, and Japan. Their next show is in Berkeley, California on October 5.

Oh yeah, the Shins are up for a bunch of these Woodie Award thingys, including the "Viral Woodie", which sounds like something you can catch from the town hussy. [MORE...]


!!! Cancel Several Euro Dates, Launch Tour
This is a tragedy!!!

When you name your band after a trifold exclamation, you run the risk of constant overstatement. !!! play that well, but I don't always. So, that in mind, forgive me my melodrama: For a week or so around the end of October, !!! have axed their previously reported European dates!!! Dancing days are over!!! Sadness abounds!!! Must be the moon!!!

Fret not, gentle continent: Not all of the !!! dates are off, leaving you more than enough time to pump up those bike tires and get ridin'. Or, as a consolation of sorts, Warp Records will release the "Yadnus" digital single on October 9. It features "Yadnus", the Emperor Machine dub mix of "Must Be the Moon", and "Yadnus" remixes by Still Going, DJ Kaos, and Scottie B. Not quite the same, but it'll do in a pinch.

Thanks to reader Damien Thouvenel for the tip. [MORE...]

Comedians of Comedy Release DVD, Tour
Audiences of comedy rejoice

Minus the whole "being Canadian" thing, the Comedians of Comedy may be the closest thing the comedy world has to a Broken Social Scene. Both operate as (sometimes very large) groups of exceptionally talented individuals who come together all Voltron-like for tours and releases in their respective mediums. Both choose rock clubs as their preferred stomping grounds (no matter that it's expected of BSS). And both have founders/de facto leaders who have just released pretty great solo albums, those being Patton Oswalt's Werewolves and Lollipops and Kevin Drew's Spirit If...

For the unconvinced, look no further than the Comedians' upcoming fall tour, on which Eugene Mirman (their Feist?) will join the lineup of Oswalt, Brian Posehn, and Maria Bamford (sadly, it seems Zach Galifianakis will be absent, though he has dates of his own). The tour begins in Seattle on October 3, and you should hear their cover of "Stars and Sons"*.

The tour is in support of the group's Comedians of Comedy: Live at the Troubadour DVD, which features live and backstage footage of the Comedians at the L.A. club and comes out via Image Entertainment on October 2. In addition to the group itself (and Mirman), there are appearances by David Cross, Sarah Silverman, and Galifianakis' "twin brother"/alter ego Seth.

Even better, the whole Troubadour concert will air completely uncut and uncensored on Comedy Central's "Secret Stash" on September 29.

* So should we. It doesn't our knowledge. [MORE...]

Did CMJ Reject Artists Without Even Listening to Them?

Though it seems as though, like, everybody plays the CMJ Music Marathon-- the annual musicstravaganza going down on the streets of New York October 16-20-- the real purpose is to highlight acts slightly lower on the radar. Thousands of bands from all over the musical landscape apply for the chance to score a slot on any one of dozens upon dozens of bills, but there's only so many hours in the long weekend, and only so many clubs in New York City. Eventually, something's gotta give.

But a rather sizable group of artists who had sent in their application materials to CMJ were turned away from the conference in a couple of peculiar ways. First, when they received their rejection emails, they found that CMJ had forgotten to use the BCC function. Thus, the identity of hundreds of rejects was revealed.

CMJ blamed Sonicbids, the MySpace-like site they employed to let bands submit songs and press kits electronically. Sonicbids' system allows the artist to see how many times their songs have been played. Many CMJ applicants were furious to discover that their songs had received zero plays, and called foul on CMJ for not even giving them-- or their $45 application fees-- any consideration.

When we contacted CMJ about this, we received the following statement from Matt McDonald, Vice President, Artists & Events:

"We very much appreciate the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that each artist puts into his/her music, and the CMJ Music Marathon wouldn't have lasted for 27 years if that appreciation were not in clear focus for everyone involved in the event. As head of the staff who reviews the music and selects the artists for the marathon, I can tell you firsthand that we do in fact listen to at least two songs from every single artist who applies. For the ease of listening, the showcase department downloads mp3s from Sonicbids EPKs and drops them into our iTunes player. Sonicbids has recently changed their system to track streamed plays, however it does not currently track these mp3 downloads, making it appear that we did not listen when in fact we did. We can report back which specific songs were reviewed. Our review process is extremely thorough and difficult and with or without payment for submissions, I cannot even fathom the injustice of ignoring any submissions. I can reassure you that each and every artist was given the same respect and critique."

So, in an effort to get to the bottom of all this, we threw a track that sounds an awful lot like "Chocolate Rain" onto Sonicbids under our new Pitchfork office band name, Solarski and the Solarskies (, rec'd, not yet BNM). We then proceeded to stream and download the track a number of times, watching the play count all the while. To say the SonicBids software is erratic is an understatement: our play count was, at one point, as high as nine, but currently sits at zero. But we downloaded a lot more than we streamed, and Sonicbids appeared to be logging each download. For a while, at least.

Whatever the source of the wonkiness, the artists, understandably, are pretty pissed. Those who have contacted us feel as though their time and money were wasted on this effort. A little multiplication would suggest that CMJ is netting over $30,000 from these rejectees, and that's assuming every rejectee received the e-mail with the faulty BCC.

Even without the computer glitch, many are complaining that CMJ should've capped the number of applications it accepted to something closer to the number of available slots. Most are demanding a reimbursement.

As consolation, CMJ is offering those bands whose applications were denied a discounted pass to the marathon. Think they'll take it?


Sleeping States Goes to Many States on Tour

Markland Starkie gets more done with his eyes shut than the rest of us do after a double-shot of espresso and a run-in with a tardy-minded employer!

Markland-- known to the land of independent rock as Sleeping States-- just dished out There the Open Spaces, his well-liked debut LP for the Misra concern, and has lined up about a month of tour dates for himself, currently in progress. All that-- if I may be permitted to enumerate this overstretched metaphor-- while remaining in a sleeping state. Me, I'm told I'm a drooler. [MORE...]

Islands/Unicorns Offshoot Th' Corn Gangg Returns
More side projects spring from the mind of Nick Thorburn

C'mon, you know you missed 'em. Th' Corn Gangg, whose creative spellings serve to remind that they give fuck-all about what you think, have revealed plans to take their thangg to the next level.

Th' Gangg, as you may recall, features current and former members of Islands and the Unicorns rocking out while underground MC chums like Busdriver and Subtitle spit game over the riffs. While there were live gigs and chatter about an album a few years back, nothing really materialized. But now, according to a MySpace post from Gangg-banger Jamie Thompson (who also records as Small Is Beautiful), the Gangg is primed to spring back into action.

Wrote Jamie, "My former co-conspirateur in the unicorns/islands Nick Thorburn and myself are hard at work on the long talked about, much rumoured corn gangg project. We have honest-to-goodness songs in the can and are building up our roster of rapper friends. We should be releasing the debut ep sooner than you think."

First though, they'll dump the name. "We are considering changing the name to 'the G-whizards' AKA 'the Whizz Kids'. We'll decide later." Clearly nomenclature is not these fellows' forte.

Thorburn confirmed the news via email, and also shed some light on, yep, more side project action. In addition to the previously mentioned Juiced Elfers thing with Les Savy Fav's Syd Butler and a former member of AIDS Wolf, and the previously mentioned Reefer thing with Daddy Kev, he now has a thing called Human Highway with sometime Island and ex-Royal City mayor Jim Guthrie.

Human Highway have recorded their debut LP, Moody Motorcycle; they've yet to mix and are still looking for a label. Described Thorburn, "It's largely acoustic with rich harmonies, kinda-sorta-sometimes reminiscent of the everly brothers, orbison, sam cooke. garfunkel and simon." Good company, that.

Thorburn's also doing a comic book, mixing the next Islands record in Los Angeles with Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith), and hoarding "an album's worth of Islands songs up my sleeve for the next next record." Sleep is anathema to this man.

Thanks to reader Dean for the tip.

Finally, Islands have a pair of festival performances lined up. [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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