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Will Oldham Covers R. Kelly, Bjork, Danzig on New LP

Sure, you knew he'd been hanging out with the guy. But did you ever think you'd hear Will Oldham's take on R. Kelly's triumphant "The World's Greatest"?

I suppose it's a little hard to say just what Oldham's gonna do next, but-- for now, at least-- we've got a notion: Bonnie "Prince" Billy's Ask Forgiveness, eight covers ably tackled in all their nimble glory by Oldham, Espers' Meg Baird and Greg Weeks, and cellist Maggie Wienk, due in the UK November 19 thanks to Domino Records (no word quite yet on a U.S. release). It will be released November 20 in the U.S. via Drag City.

From Björk to Danzig to Robert Sylvester Kelly, Ask Forgiveness runs just about every gamut imaginable-- and that's just three tunes. Committed to tape in an "off the hoof" fashion in Philly, the disc will arrive on both CD and (for the club DJs out there, of course) vinyl. We've done our sleuth work, but are still looking into just who provided those other tunes' original versions: after all, there are a lot of songs named "My Life", and it would be silly for us to just assume it was the Mary J. Blige track, right? Much as we might wish it to be so? (Gosh, that'd be good.)

Although Drag City would confirm that the tracklist for the UK and U.S. versions would be the same, they declined to let us know exactly who did the originals of each song. "The mystery is sort of the fun part," said a publicist.

UPDATE: Drag City has revealed the rest of the covers. They include Mickey Newbury, Phil Ochs, Frank Sinatra, and the Mekons, as well as a Will Oldham original.

Oldham currently has no tour plans, though he recently popped up in Chicago to sing a few tunes with the Mekons, and in New York City for the Wordless Music Series. Keeping up with Bonnie "Prince" Billy: the weepiest, most bearded Where's Waldo? book ever. [MORE...]


Einsturzende Neubauten Uber Alles on New LP

Experimental Berliners Einstürzende Neubauten will release Alles Wieder Offen-- their 20 gazillionth album in a career that has spanned gazillions of years-- via their own Potomak label tomorrow (October 23) November 6 in the U.S. (it's already out in Europe).

The title of the record, the official public follow-up to 2004's Perpetuum Mobile, translates to "all open again," which refers to the fact that the band has taken almost all matters related to the album into its own hands.

The reason the phrase "official public" modifies the "follow-up" above is that Neubauten released over 10 albums since Perpetuum Mobile came out. These albums were self-released to subscribers to the band's website (creepily called Supporters), and the material on them ranged from piano compositions by Neubauten members to something a press release calls "the musical possibilities of ritualized wine consumption."

Many of these albums were conceived through alternative compositional techniques, and both these techniques and some of the material from these albums ended up on Alles Wieder Offen in one form or another.

The subscriptions of the aforementioned Supporters financed the recording of Alles Wieder Offen, and for their contributions, the Supporters also got to watch the process via webcam and participate in live online discussions with the band about that process. Neubauten will further reward the Supporters' support with a special edition of the album (accompanying DVD optional).

We wouldn't expect a band so invested in undermining traditional music industry practices to release a single, but that is nonetheless what they did with the worldwide digital release of "Weil Weil Weil", out now. The single includes a radio mix (dudes, seriously? You're not just pulling our legs here??), remixes of the song by each band member, and a karaoke version. Now if only someone could make karaoke versions of Throbbing Gristle tracks.

Fortunately, Neubauten don't have any tour dates for us to type out now... What's that? They're planning a European tour for the spring. Gah! [MORE...]

J Church's Lance Hahn R.I.P.

Lance Hahn, longstanding member of the punk community and leader of Austin, Texas-based punks J Church, died Sunday (October 21) due to complications from his lengthy battle with kidney disease.

In addition to his work in J Church, Hahn (a native Hawaiian) played with Hawaii-based punks Cringer for most of the 1980s, and even moonlighted on guitar with Beck in 1994. Hahn, in addition to his strictly musical pursuits, owned and ran Honey Bear Records, was a frequent contributor to the venerated Maximum Rock'n'Roll magazine, published the Some Hope and Some Despair zine, and was working on a book on anarchist punk history at the time of his death. He was 40.

Patrick Wolf, Rufus Wainwright Perform Plague Songs

Many moons ago, a mess of fine art-rockers from across the spectrum-- Scott Walker, Stephin Merritt, Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, et al-- gathered to write and record songs inspired by the biblical plagues (always a fun time). Those tunes were performed live in various permutations around the small seaside town of Margate, England, and released on a CD last year.

Seems the sickness has held on for another round: a few survivors of the last plague and some fresh blood will take to London's Barbican Hall to sic their plague songs both old and new on audiences. Patrick Wolf, Rufus Wainwright, the Handsome Family, Imogen Heap, King Creosote's Kenny Anderson, Sandy Dillon, and veteran English folkie June Tabor are among those getting down with the sickness.

Patrick Wolf will in fact be debuting "Plague of Apathy (Count of Casualty)", a tune from his forthcoming LP. The performance takes place October 28.

Villalobos, Shackleton, Appleblim on Skull Disco Comp

Skull Disco: is it a label? Well, yeah. A collective? Indeed, inasmuch as the dubstep imprint's co-heads and fellow music makers Shackleton and Appleblim roll pretty tight. And you'll soon have the label/collective's legacy at your fingertips, as tomorrow (October 23), Rough Trade will issue a 19-track compilation of Skull Disco's greatest tracks (including one Villalobos remix).

All of these cuts are lifted from Skull Disco's original 12"s, which makes the tracks technically new to the world of lasers and ASCII and stuff. The set, dubbed Soundboy Punishments, drops on two CDs and as a digital download. [MORE...]

T.V. Eye: October 22-28, 2007

Live music on TV this week:

Monday, October 22:

CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: John Fogerty (rerun)
NBC: The Tonight Show With Jay Leno: Bright Eyes (rerun)
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Ferraby Lionheart (rerun)
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Andrew Bird (rerun)

Tuesday, October 23:

NBC: The Today Show: Feist
NBC: The Tonight Show With Jay Leno: Editors (rerun)
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Zap Mama (rerun)

Wednesday, October 24:

CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: 50 Cent (rerun)
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Flight of the Conchords (rerun)
ABC: The View: Feist
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Jamie T (rerun)

Thursday, October 25:

ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Interpol
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: the Mooney Suzuki (rerun)
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Peter Bjorn and John (rerun)

Saturday, October 27:

NBC: Saturday Night Live: Spoon (rerun)
FOX: Fearless TV: Theo and the Skyscrapers

Trail of Dead Leave Interscope, Reveal Tour Dates
Fans so divided on whether to go or just stay in their basements watching cartoons

Photo by © Rachael Warner

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (and Our Bread) recently revealed the dates of their Adult Swim-sponsored tour of colleges with "Metalocalypse" band Dethklok. And they've also revealed a healthy portion of small club shows to accompany the tour, and those shows have already begun.

TOD's next show is in Nashville tomorrow, October 23, and the Adult Swim tour begins in Albuquerque on October 29.

Exciting in a different sort of way: Trail of Dead have parted ways Interscope Records-- or "prison," as the press release on the matter colorfully refers to it-- and they plan to re-enter the studio early next year to get to work on their sixth LP and So Divided follow-up. Producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, So Divided) will be at the helm.

What's more, the band is planning a "Not So Greatest Hits" collection (aka (s)HITS), and frontman Conrad Keeley has taken his artistic muse for a spin: he will be selling ballpoint pen sketches from his Blue Series and other works during another, to-be-announced spring TOD tour. [MORE...]

Fuck Buttons See "Bright Tomorrow" on Single

Bristol Brits Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power may have ruined the generally accepted cuteness of buttons for all of us with their nom de musique, Fuck Buttons, but they're doing their best to make up for it.

Today (October 22), the duo issued the "Bright Tomorrow" single in the UK via ATP Recordings. The single is a seven-inch picture disc with "Little Bloody Shoulder" on the B-side, and the duo will follow it up next year with a full-length titled Street Horrrsing.

The Buttons currently have dates scheduled with Pitchfork favorites like Liars, Deerhoof, Black Lips, Deerhunter, and Stars of the Lid. Granted, those first four are all part of one show, but that just makes it cooler.

Finally, Fuck Buttons are also among the artists who will play the recently announced and updated, partially Pitchfork-curated ATP vs. Pitchfork next May. Get psyched! [MORE...]

Jay-Z Announces Fall Dates

On the same day Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam drops his un-soundtrack to American Gangster, the one they call Jay-Z will-- according to hold court at Los Angeles' House of Blues.

That date will kick off an all-too-brief run of live gigs the Jigga man has lined up in early November. He'll rock a grand total of five shows, sticking entirely to material from American Gangster. Just be glad he didn't pull that trick for the last one.

All aflutter for November 6? Tide yourself over with the recently reported tribute to Reasonable Doubt over at Damon Dash's social networking site. Yeah, it sounds a little weird when we read it, too. [MORE...]

Photos: Joanna Newsom with Orchestra [Milwaukee, WI; 10/21/07]

Flanked by busts of Beethoven and Wagner at the gorgeous Pabst Theater, Joanna Newsom kicked off her all-too-brief orchestral tour in Milwaukee last night. It was appropriate, really, for what is Ys if not a symphony of sorts in five movements (or, perhaps more accurately, a concerto for harp and voice with orchestra)?

And, just as she had been doing on tour with the Ys Street Band, Newsom and orchestra-- joined also by Ys Streeters Neal Morgan and Ryan Francesconi-- stuck to the score, taking on Ys in sequence from start to finish (with the orchestra standing by during the album's solo centerpiece, "Sawdust & Diamonds").

It was at once everything a Ys devotee could ever hope for-- Van Dyke Parks' sumptuous arrangements brought to life!-- and over all too soon. Once the strings dropped out at the end of "Cosmia", that was that for the orchestra. Following an intermission, Newsom, Morgan, and Francesconi returned to play a handful of Milk-Eyed Mender favorites, plus Ys Street Band EP showstopper "Colleen".

Newsom closed out the second set with an untitled, unaccompanied new song-- interestingly, it was only at the conclusion of this set that the seated crowd finally gave a deserved standing ovation.

Newsom's orchestral adventures continue in Austin this weekend.


RZA Bumps Wu's 8 Diagrams Back to Please Ghostface

Last Tuesday, word (which, after all, is bond) came down that Ghostface had taken some umbrage with the perpetually shifting release date for the Wu-Tang Clan's eagerly anticipated 8 Diagrams LP, which had made its most recent move to December 4, the same date as Ghost's Big Dough Rehab LP.

Troubled by the possibility of diminishing sales returns for his own disc in light of the first new Wu-Tang album in six years, Ghost spoke, and the RZA-- slicing through the tension much as his nickname might suggest, and perhaps feeling generous after his recent chess conquests-- has worked out a new date for 8 Diagrams: December 11. Ahhh, that feels better.

In a video interview with MTV-- while perched next to a very giddy looking Common-- RZA explained that he was largely unaware of Big Dough Rehab when the December 4 date was set for 8 Diagrams. He detailed the tribulations that've gone into getting 8 Diagrams out there at all, then (sweetly) added: "Ghost is my brother, you know what I mean? I love him to death." And, that in mind, RZA moved the date back (a gesture also confirmed by the Wu's publicist), ensuring "mad cream" for all at the close of 2007.

Again, for enumeration purposes: Ghostface's The Big Dough Rehab will be out December 4 from Def Jam. Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams drops exactly seven days later (to the day!) on Loud/Universal/SRC/Wu Music Group. Let's let that be that, all right, fellas? I just wanna hear these things.

Ghostface, as you know, is touring with some of his fellow heavy hitters: though, sadly, none of them are named U-God. His next show is at this coming weekend's Vegoose Festival. [MORE...]

Killing Joke/Ministry Bassist Paul Raven R.I.P.

Photo by Steffan Chirazi

Paul Vincent Raven-- bassist for post-punk pioneers Killing Joke and, in more recent years, industrial elder statesmen Ministry-- was found dead Saturday, October 20 in a private home in a small French village on the border of Switzerland, near Geneva. According to initial reports, his death was the result of a heart attack.

The 46-year-old Raven was in the thick of a couple different musical projects at the time of his death. He was in Geneva to record with French band Treponem Pal, and he planned to release an album by Mob Research-- a collaboration with members of Warrior Soul and the Mission UK-- on Ministry leader Al Jourgensen's 13th Planet Records next year.

After Raven's death, Jourgensen released a statement saying, "I am in total shock. The world of music is a sadder, emptier place. Not only was Raven an extraordinary talent, but one of my closest dearest friends. Our condolences and prayers go to his immediate family. He will be truly missed by artists, musicians, and his fans the world over."

For a statement on behalf of the Raven family, visit Mob Research's MySpace blog here.

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