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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...]

New Pornos Announce More Dates, YouTube Contest #2

The Challenge-obsessed New Pornographers have returned to address the "YouTube nation" with another contest: "sing one of our songs in your best Michael McDonald voice."

As in, Michael McDonald the fire-keeping, Warren G-sampled former Doobie Brother? Hell yes, that Michael McDonald. So swallow a stick of butter and get to smooth-singing, because an iPhone is at stake.

In less smooth New Pornos news, they have added quite a few UK and European dates to the end of their tour. Their next show, however, is tonight, September 25, in Salt Lake City. [MORE...]


Photos: ESG / Yo Majesty / Bahamadia / Psalm One [Chicago, IL; 09/21/07]

Photos by Joseph Mohan

An era came to an end on Friday night at the Abbey Pub in Chicago. ESG, the Bronx band that has served as a post-punk and hip-hop bedrock for the past three decades played what they are calling their final show ever. With a lineup that included the founding Scroggins' sisters' daughters, the band delivered a set that served as a somewhat anti-climactic cap to a brilliant career. We hope they stage at least one more show, preferably in their hometown of NYC, preferably featuring Public Enemy and Liars as special guests.

Friday's show was part of the Estrojam festival, and also featured knockout performances from new Domino family members Yo Majesty, pioneering MC Bahamadia, and Rhymesayers spitfire Psalm One. Yo Majesty and Psalm One are on tour now; check out the dates and more photos below.







Photos: Klaxons [Boston, MA; 09/23/07]

Photos by Alex Burack

Mercury Prize winners
Klaxons continued their victory lap across the world this weekend, stopping off at The Paradise to spread some of their glowstick joy to Boston's masses.

The combo is catching up on missed time in the States (sorry, Aussies, no rescheduled tour down under yet), before heading off to play 'round the continent; then it's back home to the British Isles. They even opened for Icelandic goddess Björk last night at Madison Square Garden!

Check out the rest of their tour schedule, plus more photos, below.


Photos: Gruff Rhys / All Smiles [Brooklyn, NY; 09/22/07]

Photos by Matt Ziegler

Newsflash: there's a Super Furry Animal on the loose! Of a most peculiar species, this particular creature, known as Gruff Rhys, is armed with a guitar and some winning hooks (such as those showcased on Candylion). He's known to cavort with All Smiles. If spotted, the best thing to do, really, is smile wide, dance in a twee fashion, and hope Gruff just continues playing his songs.

These here photos, snapped at Brooklyn's Union Hall this past weekend, should give you an idea of what Gruff looks like (hint: he's the one with the mane). Meanwhile, authorities have projected the escaped Animal's presumed trajectory and listed it below for your convenience. Beware!





Most Serene Republic Increase Population in October

Come October 2, The Most Serene Republic-- that other Canadian several-tet with a penchant for pretty progginess-- will issue their second full-length disc, Population, on the Arts & Crafts imprint. The self-produced Population gathers a baker's dozen fresh MSR tracks, sequences them just so, and digs them into CD, LP, and digital download formats for your listening satisfaction.

What's more, they've rented an extra-capacious van to tour in! The group has a handful of dates both north and south of the border over the next few weeks, with more reportedly on the way. What they've got, they're gonna give you after the jump. [MORE...]

Tokyo Police Club Prep New EP

Canadian traitors (read: recent Saddle Creek signees) Tokyo Police Club will emphasize the latter part of their name with the release of the fanclub-esque Smith EP. It's out via Paper Bag on November 6 in the U.S. and October 23 in their homeland.

A follow-up to last year's A Lesson in Crime EP before the band's full-length debut arrives next year, Smith is a rarities collection of sorts. It makes "Box" and "Cut Cut Paste" available on CD for the first time and rescues "A Lesson in Crime" from mere Japanese bonus track status. Also included are an exclusive RAC remix of "Be Good" and videos for three TPC tracks.

The Club will convene live in October, starting with two dates opening for Bloc Party. The first of those shows (and of the beginning of their whole tour) is in Providence, Rhode Island on October 2. [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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