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Black Mountain Announce West Coast Dates

Photo by Jessica Miller

The lads and lass of Black Mountain might seem like friendly folk, and they are. That is, until they harness the powers of rock'n'roll and melt your face clean off.

The Canadian riffmeisters have busied themselves doing just that to onlookers all over the globe this fall, drumming up anticipation for Jagjaguwar's January 22 release of second album In the Future. And they're set to do it again to brave souls on the West Coast come February. We're told these gigs represent just an initial batch of 2008 dates for the band, so you can expect the puddle of facial goo to stretch on indefinitely as the itinerary is expanded.

In other Black Mountain news, Josh Wells and Matt Camirand side project Blood Meridian's Liquidate Paris dropped recently. [MORE...]


Albert Hammond Jr. Talks New LP, Songcraft, Strokes
"When you feel like you're doing something over again, it gets stale. And nobody has fun and bad stuff starts to happen, like fights and things like that."

Photo by Valerie Jodoin-Keaton

With his band the Strokes on the back burner for the moment, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. has been keeping plenty busy. His solo debut, Yours to Keep, is barely a year old (and only hit the States this March), but Albert's already played-- by his count-- 128 gigs to support the record. And in October, he hit the boards to lay down its as-yet-untitled follow-up, tentatively due in the spring. Yesterday, we checked in with Albert in the studio as he prepared to mix the tracks he'd spent the last month or so perfecting. We spoke about his swift return to the recording booth, letting others make the tough decisions, and what's going on with the Strokes.

Pitchfork: So what's the status of this new solo album?

Albert Hammond Jr.: We just finished five weeks of recording and now we've got to mix it. So about another week and a half of mixing and then mastering on January 8th and then we'll be done.

Pitchfork: You set a five-week deadline for yourself for recording the album. Was there any particular reason for that?

AHJ: Well, the first record, we didn't even know we were making a record until the end when the songs came together. It was done a day here, three months off, a day here. So it was nice that we were going to be able to go in for a chunk. And so I figured all these songs-- we recorded like 16 songs-- I thought three weeks would be too short. Four is probably right, but five just seems like a nice round-off kind of number. And it was cool. We had a lot of different challenges to do. We had strings on this one, some weird long songs to do. So I just thought five weeks seemed appropriate.

Pitchfork: Do you feel that you got everything accomplished that you needed to at this stage?

: Well, you always want to do a little more, but I couldn't be happier with what we did get. We got 16 very different songs and we were able to get everything we wanted. So I can't complain. But I feel like you're always shooting for more.

Pitchfork: Tell me a little bit about how it came together.

AHJ: I have a studio at home, so I did a lot of pre-production at home with an engineer I work with, Gus Oberg, and we did quite a lot there. [Drummer] Matt [Romano] would come and lay down drums on MIDI, so we still have a lot of problems there, but the songs range from an eight-minute instrumental to a two-minute-30-second pop song to... You know, the biggest difference, I'm thinking about it now, is just the different extremes that we didn't really have on the first record. Just from the softest thing I think I've ever written to the hardest thing I think I've ever written, to everywhere in the middle. That's kind of why we went in to record so many songs-- we didn't know which direction the album was going to go in. And now we have to sit down and pick which ones really fit the record. Maybe all of them, maybe ten. [MORE...]


Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Add Winter Dates

That thing that Sharon Jones and the Daptones do-- brushing the thin layer of film off of some dusty grooves and making them shine again-- they do mighty well. And they've been doing it, as you know, all over the stages of North America this fall, and as they head into winter, well, they're gonna do their thing well into February. The band have added a number of dates to their itinerary following their stint at sea on the "Jamcruise," listed for your looking pleasure after the jump. Do note: Their gig next Saturday in Washington, D.C. has been moved to January 17.

As for Sharon, she's all over the forthcoming Great Debaters soundtrack, and even pops up in the movie. Oh, and that record she just made, 100 Days, 100 Nights? Still rules. [MORE...]


Too $hort(!) Contributes to In Rainbows Remix Record

Oakland DJ and producer Amplive (of Zion I) is a big Radiohead fan, which is odd considering the band hasn't released anything since 2003's Hail to the Thief. Psych! They totally put out this record called In Rainbows that basically invented God, made time travel possible, and brought the Orange Julius back to previously unimaginable heights of popularity.

Anyway, Amplive was such a fan of In Rainbows that, unlike most of us, he actually did something about it. He created an eight-track (but not like that) remix record called Rainydayz Remixes, featuring collaborations with Too $hort, his Zion I partner Zion, and others. Yep: Radiohead and Too $hort, together at last.

On January 10, Amplive will release the online-only album for free as a .zip file with 320 kbps mp3s and high-resolution artwork, but to get your digital hands on it, there's a bit of a catch. You need to forward any email from Radiohead's W.A.S.T.E. online store (like but not at all limited to the ones confirming the purchase of In Rainbows) to It's fairly simple, but a little tricky, especially considering that the In Rainbows download option ends December 10. Better hop on the free train while you still can, folks!

Robyn, I'm From Barcelona, Shining Play EuroSonic
Plus: Lightspeed Champion, Kleerup, Familjen, Hanne Hukkelberg, Para One

EuroSonic (aka Noorderslag Weekend) is a bit like the CMJ of Europe: 250 bands, few of whom could carry a marquee on their own, gather in Groningen, Netherlands over three days to make themselves known to the industry and just about anyone else who sees fit to pack a long weekend with rock. (Also like CMJ, there are panels and talks too to help the industry folks justifying writing off their bar tabs as business expenses.)

This year's EuroSonic takes place January 10-12, with the likes of Robyn, I'm From Barcelona, Shining, Familjen, Lightspeed Champion, Kleerup, Para One, Hanne Hukkelberg, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Reverend and the Makers, Mugison, Calvin Harris, Blood Red Shoes, Hooverphonic, Yelle, Ida Maria, Lykke Li, Little Dragon, and oh so many others making the trip. If you're stuck behind a desk that weekend, fret not, as much of EuroSonic will be broadcast on the radio via the European Broadcasting Union's many services.

Karlheinz Stockhausen R.I.P.

Photo by Harald Fronzeck (via

Renowned German composer and electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen passed away December 5 at his home in Kuerten, Germany, according to statement released today by Stockhausen-Verlag. He was 79.

Born August 22, 1928 in a village near Cologne, Stockhausen rose to prominence in the 1950s with a number of pieces that broke decidedly with convention. Across a career that extended into this century, he invoked both awe and controversy with his unorthodox works, noted for their innovation and complexity.

A man content to exist outside the classical establishment, Stockhausen saw his influence extend beyond it as well. Among his advocates were the Beatles, who included the composer on the collage cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The 362 works Stockhausen composed include the world's longest opera cycle (Licht, completed in 2003), the first annotated and published piece of electronic music (1954's Electronic Study II), and a piece for string quartet that also called for four helicopters (1993's Helicopter String Quartet). Like John Cage, he demonstrated a fascination with aleatory composition, that which accounts for an element of chance. Early in his career he was also a proponent of serialism, composition based on mathematical formulas.

Stockhausen studied under Olivier Messiaen and Les Six member Darius Milhaud, among others. He was a highly respected teacher as well, whose students included several of krautrock's prominent figures, including Can's Holger Czukay and Irmin Schmidt.

"In friendship and gratitude for everything that he has given to us personally and to humanity through his love and his music," wrote longtime collaborators Suzanne Stephens and Kathinka Pasveer in the Stockhausen-Verlag statement, "we bid farewell to Karlheinz Stockhausen, who lived to bring celestial music to humans, and human music to the celestial beings, so that Man may listen to God and God may hear His children."

Licht will be performed in its entirety for the first time at October 2008's Donaueschingen Festival in Germany.

Kanye, Wilco, Flaming Lips Items in Darfur Auction
Also, stuff from: Decemberists, TVOTR, Gnarls Barkley, Bloc Party, Aesop Rock, Common, El-P

Once again, Waxploitation has united a ton of excellent artists (and sure, some less than excellent ones too) in a benefit for the victims of the conflict in Darfur.

The label's fourth auction for the cause has already begun, and it includes signed guitars and other items from Kanye West, Wilco, the Flaming Lips, the Decemberists, TV on the Radio, Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz, Bloc Party, Aesop Rock, Common, El-P, Coldplay, Thievery Corporation, RJD2, and my personal faves (seriously) Deftones.

There are also unsigned items in the auction from Brian Wilson, Lupe Fiasco, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Don Cheadle, Bam Margera, and Adult Swim. You can access the auction here.

100% percent of the auction's proceeds will benefit three organizations: Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam America.

If you'd like to help those organizations' Darfur relief efforts even more, there's also Waxploitation's Causes 1 compilation.

Dead Meadow Herald New LP With Show, Pre-Release

Dead Meadow will return to the world of non-reissue releases with Old Growth, their new album coming February 5 on Matador.

The band will celebrate the album's release with a show at New York City's Bowery Ballroom on January 16, their only currently scheduled show. But this isn't just any show; it's also a chance for eager beavers to purchase the new record early.

Here's how: Go to Matador's online store, the Bowery Ballroom, or Other Music, and plop down some bills for a ticket to the show and the Old Growth CD. Then bring your receipt to the show's merch table and cash in. Ah, simplicity. [MORE...]

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...]

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...]

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.


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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