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Waits, Weller, B-more Club on "The Wire" Soundtracks
Oh, indeed

As if we "Wire" geeks needed yet another thing to get riled up about this winter. Two different soundtrack albums to accompany "The Wire"-- one of the finest things to touch TV since rabbit ears-- are due January 8 from Nonesuch.

The first, "...and all the pieces matter" - Five Years of Music From The Wire, contains a sampling of the music the show has employed over its four seasons. It includes several takes on the show's theme-- the Tom Waits-penned "Down in the Hole"-- by the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Neville Brothers, and DoMaJe, as well as tunes from Steve Earle, Paul Weller, Solomon Burke, the Pogues, and others, all interspersed with dialogue culled from the show.

The second, Beyond Hamsterdam: Baltimore Tracks From The Wire, is just as heavy on the club rap native to the show's Baltimore locales as its title would suggest. The disc features such underground cuts as Rod Lee's "Dance My Pain Away", Tyree Colion's "Projects", Diablo's "Jail Flick", Mullyman's "The Life, the Hood, the Streetz", and "What You Know About Baltimore?" by Ogun featuring Phathead.

The booklet for Five Years includes essays from series writer George Pelecanos and hip-hop journalist Jeff Chang, and an interview between the show's creator David Simon and novelist Nick Hornby that originally appeared in The Believer.

The release of both discs coincides with the show's fifth-- and, alas, final-- season premiere January 6. Oh, and in case you hadn't heard, season four of "The Wire" hit DVD this week. [MORE...]
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The Mountain Goats Reveal 2008 Dates

Photo by Kyle Gustafson

After the announcement that their Heretic Pride-- which is definitely not by Queen-- comes out February 19 via 4AD, it was only a matter of time before the Mountain Goats spilled the beans about some tour dates to go along with it.

Well, those beans were spilled, and John Darnielle and co. will hit the road for a couple weeks of West Coast shows in February and March, starting with a trip to Alaska! Jeffrey Lewis & the Jitters, bracing for the January 29 Rough Trade U.S. release of Lewis' all-Crass-covers disc 12 Crass Songs, provide support on most dates. The Goats also still have a trio of UK dates that start tomorrow, December 8. [MORE...]
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Photos: Dewey Cox and the Hard Walkers [Chicago, IL; 12/06/07]

Photos by Joseph Mohan

John C. Reilly is a man of a thousand faces: he's been a WWII sergeant, a lonely divorced man, a race car driver, another race car driver, and even a porn star. But you'd be hard pressed to find a Reilly character with more stage presence or cross-marketing potential than Dewey Cox.

A parody of both Hollywood's recent biopic fascination and our enduring fascination with legendary musicans, Reilly's newest film, Walk Hard, finds him playing Cox, an archetypal dim-witted, womanizing, drug-addled rock'n'roll star. To spread the word about the new flick, Reilly and his ad hoc band have been playing a few dates around the country as Dewey Cox and the Hard Walkers; last night found the act at Chicago's Cubby Bear. Walk Hard hits theaters December 21.








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Sufjan to Play Tibet House Benefit

Photo by Denny Renshaw

Sure, Sufjan Stevens tends to focus on the good old U.S. of A. in his music (assuming he even remembers his own 50 States project at this point), but his most recently announced gig will find him branching out into international territory. On February 13, Sufjan will join Philip Glass, Nawang Khechog, Marisa Monte, and some as-yet-unannounced others at New York City's Carnegie Hall for the Tibet House Annual Benefit Concert.

The rest of Sufjan's 2008 looks to be pretty international as well, with his Australian and Japanese dates scheduled for January. The Down Under dates, we're told, will be supplemented by video projections and a wind and brass ensemble. Stevens' only appearance before that tour is at that rescheduled PENultimate Lit show in Brooklyn this month. [MORE...]
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Bjork "Declares" New Single Details

We were going to put "Declare Independence" at the top of our list of New Year's resolutions, but with Björk's third Volta single of the same name coming out January 1, 2008 via One Little Indian in the UK, it's like she's done it for us. Now the Icelandic singer has revealed the full details of the single, which will come in CD/DVD, download, and 12" formats.

Jarring remixes from Matthew Herbert, Björk's former Sugarcubes bandmate Einar Örn's Ghostigital, and Mark Stent all appear on each version of the single. The two-disc CD/DVD comes augmented with the song's recently Forkcasted Michel Gondry video, Björk's sixth video collaboration with the French director. The download, exclusive to iTunes, features the same tracklist as the CD/DVD, including the video.

Fans have a few more chances to see Björk live (with Ratatat!) before the resolutions kick in, but her 2008 world tour dates remain intact. [MORE...]
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Underworld Reschedule Tour

Between their name and the title of their new record, Oblivion With Bells, Underworld don't seem like the cheeriest of electro-minded duos. Their gloom even got justified this year with member Rick Smith's riot injury and subsequent tour-derailing "severe illness."

Fortunately, there's some light at the end of Underworld's tunnel in the form of a rescheduled European tour that will take place early next year. The new dates cover almost all of the originally scheduled cities. What's more, the guys will do a special Christmas "live jam" webcast from their studio on December 12; tune in here. Hooray for happy endings, even in the Underworld! [MORE...]
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Murdoch, Albarn, Harvey Write Charity Postcards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Less than a week after our subhead suggestion of the merchandising similarities between Belle & Sebastian and Gorillaz, both bands' leaders are part of the same charity auction. Postcards written and signed by Stuart Murdoch and Damon Albarn join offerings from Robert Plant, PJ Harvey, Gorillaz artist Jamie Hewlett, and Massive Attack's Daddy G, among many others, as part of a benefit for Carers UK, an organization that gives financial and emotional support to individuals who provide unpaid health and social care.

The postcards, which were collected by Nothing to Write Home About authors Michelle Abadie (aka Maj) and Susan Beale (aka Dolly), are up for auction on eBay now.

Murdoch's touching little postcard is pictured above, with one of Plant's four abruptly hilarious ones below it. Among the other celebrity contributors to the auction are actress Helen Mirren and Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London. Check out the full list of participants here.

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Dan Deacon to Greyhound Buses: Fuck You!
"These rats stink like rotten cum. Fuck them with 1000 fires...Eat my shorts you dickless pig fuckers."

Something strange is afoot on the Greyhound bus, and for once, it's not that guy in the trenchcoat who won't stop staring.

Included in this month's issue of electronic music mag XLR8R is a four postcard pullout advertisement emphasizing just how easy it is to traverse America's rock'n'roll underground via the notoriously slow transit system named after the notoriously fast dog. The insert bears the likenesses of Dan Deacon, Baltimore laptop-noise act Wzt Hearts, Japan's Ruins, and a crowdsurfer at a Team Robespierre gig. They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, but there are probably better ways to handle publicity concerns than the way Greyhound allegedly did with this foursome. Both Deacon and Wzt Hearts' Jason Urick have publicly complained that they were not contacted about the use of the photos, and, naturally, aren't too pleased.

Urick apparently caught wind of this business first, and made a post to crewcial.org's message board alerting friends and well-wishers to the budding controversy (his alias is "airplaneglue"). His first post asks, simply, "Can you sue if a company uses a picture and a blurb of your band without asking... because apparently Greyhound just did that with us. wtf?" The resulting discussion finds Urick and the rest of the board readers trying to determine just what Urick's legal rights might be in this situation.

In the meantime, Urick contacted friend and fellow B'more resident Dan Deacon, whose history with Greyhound is, apparently, a bit rocky. In a MySpace bulletin posted this afternoon entitled "IN NO WAY DO I ENDORSE OR PROMOTE GREYHOUND BUSES", Deacon railed against the corporation, claiming that no one had asked the permission of either him or New York's Silent Barn, where the shot was taken. He then went on:

greyhound bus company is one of the worst run, bullshit companies i have ever had the misfortune to use. they are a total monopoly and take advantage of that with poor service and price hikes and route cancellation. they have bought all the other smaller companies and run them out of their office in dallas. they treat both their employees and customers like shit. they are a cancer.

since i do not drive i used to use them to get to shows (when nothing else was available). on many occasions i had to cancel shows because the bus would be late, my luggage would get lost/stolen, the over sell their buses, and fuck i fucking hate them.

it really upsets me that i am being used to promote them. if i had my way i would see all their buses transport guns to all the people they have fucked over.

like many evil companies they are trying to use subversive advertising and i will not allow myself to be a cog in their wheel of lies and deceit. these rats stink like rotten cum. fuck them with 1000 fires.

in case this message finds its way to someone in the advertising department of greyhound: eat my shorts you dickless pig fuckers.


Oh, Dan, you always know what to say! [MORE...]

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HEALTH Sketch Out 2008 Dates

Prospective New Year's resolutions: go easy on the O'Doul's, take care of that pesky credit card balance, and spend a little more time improving my health.

Lucky me, the noisy Los Angelenos in HEALTH have a great plan worked out, with a traveling paean to wellness making its way up and down the West Coast in early 2008. There, they'll be joined at times by fitness guru Dan Deacon and the gutbustin' White Williams, and I'll finally have a chance to put my old exercise tape to rest.

Dates are slowly trickling in for that previously mentioned jaunt with Crystal Castles as well. [MORE...]
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Malkmus/Jicks Reveal Emotional Trash Tracklist

Photo by Jen Reel

Are you ready for Real Emotional Trash? If not, you have until March 4 to prepare yourself for the arrival of the previously reported new disc from Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. To aid in your preparations, here, just have the freakin' tracklist. No really, just scroll down and take it, free of charge.

Real Emotional Trash gets dumped all over us thanks to Matador, and marks the second release under the Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks banner (technically the follow-up to 2003's Pig Lib) and the fourth to bear the words "Stephen Malkmus" on the cover (first since 2005's Face the Truth).

It's also the first Jicks disc to include latest recruit Janet Weiss, who takes over drum duties from John Moen (now in the Decemberists). Trash was recorded by TJ Doherty (Sonic Youth, the Hold Steady, etc.) at SnowGhost Studios in Montana.

For the moment Mr. Malkmus has but two dates, but recall that he did promise a U.S. tour and possibly some dates in Europe and Asia as well. Let's hope he makes good on that in the '08. [MORE...]
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Camel, Rolling Stone Under Fire for Indie Rock Ad
Cigarette company pulls campaign after class action suit

You don't see creepy Joe Camel anymore these days, and that's because he-- and any cartoon used to sell cigarettes-- has been made illegal, thanks to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1997 (Google it).

Yet if you scooped up a copy of the November 15 issue of Rolling Stone, you probably did see a four-page fold-out editorial section titled "Indie Rock Universe", rife with faux notebook doodles, ridiculous music/cosmology puns (Lost in Bass! Planet Twee!), and the names of pretty much every huge-to-marginally popular indie/indie-ish act you can think of. Laughable at best, but harmless-- were it not for the item's placement in the publication.

"Indie Rock Universe" fell amid several pages of advertisements for Camel cigarettes' "The Farm" campaign. The Farm's tagline? "Committed to Supporting & Promoting Independent Record Labels". Coincidence? Rolling Stone would have you think so, according to a New York Times report linked via The Daily Swarm. Publisher Ray Chelstowski, quoted in the NY Times piece, claims Camel's parent company R.J. Reynolds Tobacco "had no idea [the Indie Rock Universe piece] would take a cartoon format." Likewise, "the editors don't see the advertising."

Yet that plea of ignorance hasn't stopped Rolling Stone-- and, of course, Camel-- from drawing the ire of everyone from anti-smoking advocates and promoters of journalistic ethics to fans and the indie rockers themselves.

Amid increasing pressure and a lawsuit filed this week by nine state attorneys general, Reynolds has, for the moment, ceased the Farm campaign, according to a Winston-Salem Journal report (also via The Daily Swarm). Indeed, the campaign's website is presently down. The Journal also suggests Reynolds could face a fine of up to $100 million for violating the Master Settlement Agreement.

Still under debate are Camel-sponsored gigs, a number of which have popped up in recent years featuring big name indie acts like the Flaming Lips, Band of Horses, and the Faint. Camel has no plans to discontinue these right now, according to the Journal.

Meanwhile, Rolling Stone has come under fire from bloggers and message board pundits who believe the publication complicit in an alleged scheme to dupe lovers of indie rock. If some breach of ethics surrounding the advertorial/editorial divide is discovered, Rolling Stone could find itself in what we like to call the "Nasty Litigation Universe". (Regardless, it's pretty funny that this list is probably the only way that many of these bands would have ever appeared in Rolling Stone.)

Still, the greatest crime in all this may be the puns. "Lost in Bass"?!? C'mon, people!

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DeVotchKa Sign to Anti-, Ready New Album

March 18, Denver's daring DeVotchKa will return with A Mad and Faithful Telling, their proper LP-length follow-up (epilogue?) to 2004's How It Ends. The disc, their first for the Anti- imprint, spices up its ten tracks with the band's trademark Eastern European folk-inflected flavor and, reportedly, "improved production." Isn't that somethin'?

DeVotchKa have a trio of Spanish tour dates in the run up to Telling's release, and frontman Nick Urata will play a solo gig in his hometown December 14 at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret. [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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