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Harry Potter Bands Rock Against Media Consolidation
Or, if you will, "Voldemedia"

Ah, well that explains a lot: Media consolidation-- that unfortunate trend that has humongous corporations snatching up their tiny competition right and left-- is actually all the work of the nefarious, nose-less, all powerful half-blood wizard hellbent on killing Harry Potter!

And we have the legions of Harry Potter fanatics the world over to thank for this alarming discovery. Best of all, these Potter-philes sure as hell aren't going to let Lord Voldemort get away with it. They've launched an all-out war against the perils of "Voldemedia", complete with an informative website and a free mp3 compilation packed with bands indirectly born of the pen of J.K. Rowling.

Our dear friends Harry and the Potters join acts like the Remus Lupins, Roonil Wazlib, and the Whomping Willows on Rocking Out Against Voldemedia, available for free right now on the Harry Potter Alliance-helmed, Stop Big Media-allied campaign's website. You should also swing over to said site to learn what you can do to fight media consolidation. Even if you're just a muggle.

Just a hunch, but maybe this atrocity is the work of Voldemort as well?

And hey! Speaking of Harry and the Potters, those funny dudes have a New Year's Eve gig planned at Boston's Hynes Convention Center. Sure beats another lonely night with Dick Clark. [MORE...]

My Bloody Valentine Headline Benicassim Festival
Also playing: the Rumble Strips, Babyshambles

The 14th annual Festival Internacional de Benicàssim in Benicàssim, Spain has announced the first three names in its 2008 lineup, and the reunited My Bloody Valentine is one of them. (Via AngryApe.) Holy OMG, Batman!

The other two bands in the Benicàssim lineup right now are Babyshambles and the Rumble Strips.

The festival takes place July 17-20, which places it at the end of MBV's currently scheduled reunion shows, but we have a feeling there are quite a few more of these puppies to come. [MORE...]

Sambassadeur Let Migration Free in the States
Shh, don't tell the border guards

Their melding of the delicately wispy and the heavily orchestrated may be strictly Swedish, but Sambassadeur's Migration is headed all over. Already out in the homeland, the disc will migrate to the States January 22 thanks to Labrador/Darla, with a UK release planned for April on Creeping Bent.

The band has also crafted a Sweden-only single for Migration's "Final Say", followed on its CD by "Crooked Spine", laced with vocals from bandmember and infrequent crooner Daniel Permbo. Look for that one come February 6.

As for other domestic concerns, the indie-poppers have a couple of tour dates over the weekend in their native Sweden. However, with their minds set on Migration, tours of both the UK and Spain can be expected in 2008 from these goodwill Sambassadeurs. [MORE...]

Kevin Barnes, Jeff Mangum in Wacky Elephant 6 Movie
Plus: Olivia Tremor Control's Hart, Elf Power's Rieger

Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes as a bumbling constable! Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum in a lobster suit! It's something only those crazies in Athens, Georgia could dream up, and now they've snatched that dream out of the ether and committed it to celluloid.

Major Organ and the Adding Machine, the filmic companion to the mysterious Elephant Six Collective omnibus album of the same name-- long a subject of intrigue among E6 maniacs-- will finally find its way to screens in 2008. And boy does it look bonkers!

The city's own Orange Twin imprint, which released the original album back in 2001, plans to unleash a Major Organ DVD/expanded CD set in spring of next year. The short film should also soon be invading select theaters and various festivals.

Directed by Joey Foreman and Eric Harris, Major Organ counts among its cast members the aforementioned Barnes and Mangum, along with William Cullen Hart (The Olivia Tremor Control, Circulatory System), Julian Koster (OTC, NMH), Andrew Rieger (Elf Power), and the ladies of Dixie Blood Mustache. These folks also contributed to the making of the Major Organ album, but shhhh, you're not supposed to know about that.

Liars, No Age Announce Joint Tour

How's this for an inspired pairing? Earth-scorching noise-punks Liars and squall-pop up-and-comers No Age will link up for a month-long U.S. tour that kicks off in San Francisco come late January.

This, of course, will hardly be the first meetup between the two bands; tonight, as we mentioned yesterday, No Age drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt and Liars guitarist Aaron Hemphill will join the Sissy Spacek 13-Tet at Los Angeles' beloved Smell. But the prospect of dueling distortion rigs and unbridled rock'n'roll enthusiasm is far more than just one night can contain. Hence, a tour.

Liars have no other big plans at the moment, though No Age have plenty to chew on, what with their Sub Pop debut and their set at this May's ATP vs. Pitchfork festival on the horizon. [MORE...]

Justice Release "Phantom" Single
Featuring remixes from Soulwax, Boys Noize

Photo by Natalie Kardos

Releasing singles ain't no thang for Justice. They're a dance act; it's what they do. So the December 17 UK single release of track "Phantom" via Ed Banger/Because is less remarkable for its existence and more remarkable for the fact that the group releasing it can now claim to be "Grammy nominated electronic music duo Justice."

That's right, the two Parisians have been nominated for three Grammy awards: Best Dance Recording and Best Short Form Music Video for "D.A.N.C.E." and Best Electronic/Dance Album for .

Otherwise, it's business as usual for Justice, who'll play a couple handfuls of live dates to close out the year, starting tonight, December 12, in Milan.

Also, the single artwork is pretty great:



Stephen Malkmus Talks Trash
"It's like if you look at eBay rare acid folk psych albums and the guy will describe it, 'I don't see how there's any way this could possibly have sold a single copy when it came out,' and that's a good thing."

A month ago, a post on the website of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks mentioned "how to make a great record the VERY hard way." That great record? Real Emotional Trash, due March 4 on Matador. The VERY hard way? Well, under normal rock'n'roll circumstances, we'd assume that would involve inter-band rifts, overdoses, and other Behind the Music-type stuff. But the way Malkmus-- 41 years old and recently a father for the second time-- tells it, the hangups were appropriately adult. The biggest hurdle, it seems, was finding just the right place to mix the thing.

We recently rang up Malkmus at his Portland, Oregon home, where he was putting the finishing touches on Real Emotional Trash. He told us the tale of the record's birth, which took the band from Montana to Jeff Tweedy's place to Brooklyn, and gave us a preview of its sound. He also explained the meaning of each and every lyric on the album. (Kidding.)

In the process, we discussed Pavement's legacy, Malkmus' work on the I'm Not There soundtrack, and the Portland scene. Also, how too many beer ads at a show suck.

Pitchfork: So what's going on?

Stephen Malkmus
: Not much. Let's see, I did another interview before. But what's going on? Oh, you know, just down in the basement, fucking around.

Pitchfork: With anything in particular?

SM: Trying to secure the cover art for this new album. Like, all the inside stuff. But yeah, just another day here. [laughs] I'm renting some movies. That's about it.

Pitchfork: Sounds pretty good. If you're already dealing in artwork, this record must be pretty close to done at this point.

SM: It's all done except for the artwork. It's coming out in March. And yeah, song order, mastering, that's all done.

Pitchfork: Does it feel good to have it all behind you?

SM: Yeah, that does. At this point, it's taken us quite a while to make up our minds about everything, so it got a little bit fussy at the end but, you know, even if it doesn't matter, you can't help but go there sometimes. About song order or some cymbal being too bright or something. But yeah, it feels good, I guess. At this point, more like a relief.

Pitchfork: You guys made a comment a few weeks back about "making a great record the very hard way." Care to get into that?

SM: Yeah. It's just how we chose to record it. We just went to this wild card place (Snow Ghost Studios) in Montana that we could drive to-- we live in Oregon-- and we didn't know the guy that well, but he had pictures online. It turned out to be a nice place, but it was slightly deceiving how big the room was, so we moved out into this other big room. And then, for the tape machine, the tape was this Dutch tape-- they're not making tape anymore, you know? So we hooked up with this Dutch company and we decided to go with them because it was a little cheaper, and then it was like a bad batch of tape and it started shredding off. But it lasted through the drums, so we did the drums on there and some of the bass and then we had to put it in the computer for the rest, which we didn't plan on doing. But, you know, that's what people do these days.

It was just kind of weird there. The place was brand new so it didn't have any bugs in it, but it was just this clean, clean place that the recording engineer [T.J. Doherty] wasn't really familiar with, so it was a challenge for him. T.J. recorded Wilco's last album and the one before that, and he said we could go to Wilco's place and do the singing, which is a really generous offer; it was mainly Jeff Tweedy's place, but he's a really gracious, nice guy. He's like, "you guys can go in there, you're mature, you won't trash things." So we went there. So that was traveling to another place to sing because it was a free studio.

Then we tried to mix it in Portland, but then this place that was a nice place was sort of too far away to drive every day. And things just kind of went south there. Which had never really happened to me, you know, where the sound's not right, wasn't how I remembered it, it's going weird. So we decided not to do it with T.J. anymore, because he recorded it all, and he was like "this sounds pretty good to me," but he was just getting crazy, I think, from trying to figure out all these weird places that he was. So then we said, "okay, we're going to mix it somewhere else."

So then we had to hunt down someone to mix it with. I asked Nigel Godrich-- sorry, I'm kind of name dropping a bit here-- but I asked Nigel to do it and he was busy. He had finished that In Rainbows album and he was burnt out. And I just went to what I knew, people I knew, and then I was like, "Hey, what about Nick [Vernhes] at [Brooklyn's] Rare Book Room?" He's been in a lot of stuff that Pitchfork would like, like Fiery Furnaces and Animal Collective -- I didn't know he'd done that-- and he has a new label, and he's nice, and he's like "Yeah, I'm free." He had done the Silver Jews' American Water with me and I'm, like, "oh yeah," you know? That was great, finally the point where we could say "okay, we've got something."

We did it in his computer, which I wasn't planning on doing, but at that point it's like you don't care about being all vintage or running things through a machine. You just want to do it great, you know, do it fast and a way that someone else knows. So we did it at his place in New York about a couple of months ago, and that went really well. In the end, everything was great, but it was just this long way around the question. It would've been nice just to go to one place.

Pitchfork: I see what you mean by the "very hard way." [MORE...]


Ike Turner R.I.P.

Ike Turner, rock'n'roll pioneer, r&b legend, and volatile husband to Tina Turner, passed away at his San Marcos, California home today, according to TMZ. Aged 76, he reportedly died in his sleep.

Born Izear Luster Turner, Jr. in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Turner first found fame as leader of the Kings of Rhythm, whose 1951 single "Rocket 88"-- billed to Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats-- is regarded by some as the first true rock'n'roll recording.

Turner's place in popular music history wasn't cemented, however, until he met a young, fiery vocalist by the name of Anna Mae Bullock in 1956. Bullock would eventually take the name Tina Turner, and the pair would enter a relationship, both musical and romantic, as notoriously tumultuous privately as it was electrifying live on stage and on record. Throughout the 1960s and early 70s, Ike and Tina remained at the forefront of rock'n'roll culture, touring with the Rolling Stones, recording with Phil Spector, and churning out hits like "Proud Mary" and "River Deep - Mountain High".

Turner's reputation was, of course, mottled at best. He has been painted as an abusive and domineering husband to Tina, who left him in the mid-1970s. Turner also landed in prison in the early 1990s after various drug charges, and was in fact incarcerated when Ike & Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Yet Turner had, by most accounts, cleaned up his act in subsequent years. He also regained some of his footing musically, winning a Best Traditional Blues Grammy this year for Risin' With the Blues. He was also apparently working with the Black Keys and Danger Mouse on a forthcoming album.

Calexico Tour-Only Jams Now Digital Via Touch & Go

As they hit the dusty trails of the world, those traveling troubadours in Calexico pack up their gunny sacks with the usual fare: lonesome horns, reverby guitars, and, of course, tour-only EPs aplenty. But before December 4, the only way a person would have been able to grab these goodies would have been to hitch up alongside Calexico while they were out on the road. (Or order them from Calexico's website.) Now, six previously tour-only releases are available through Touch and Go/Quarterstick's digital store. From 1999's '98-'99 Road Map to this year's previously reported Toolbox-- with Travelall, Aerocalexico, Scraping, and The Book and the Canal in between, they're all up for grabs now. Shed your former constraints and roam free, Calexico jams!

In addition, mildly offensive Michigan punks The Meatmen have seen the entirety of their Touch and Go catalog issued digitally through the T&G site as well. Blud Sausage, the Crippled Children Suck EP and the Stud Powercock comp are exclusive at the Touch and Go outpost, with We're the Meatmen, the Crippled Children Suck LP and Meatmen frontguy Tesco Vee and the Meatkrew's Dutch Hercules LP available for download elsewhere.

As for Calexico, they've got a lone date of their own to attend to: December 28 at Tucson, Arizona's Temple of Music and Art.

Bradford Cox Publicly Apologizes to Samara Lubelski
"I take total responsibility for what a dickhead I was."

If you read Pitchfork's interview with Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox published in June, you may still have a bad taste in your mouth from a series of comments Cox made in reference to Samara Lubelski.

The NYC-based singer/songwriter/producer helmed some Cryptograms recording sessions, although the resulting material was subsequently scrapped. When asked about the shaky recording situation, Bradford, well, pretty much tore into Samara. We'll spare Mr. Cox the further embarrassment of reprinting those comments here; they're in the original interview, if you care to find them. Needless to say, they were nasty.

And anyway, Bradford has already gone and reprinted them himself-- along with a detailed, profuse apology to Samara-- in a recent Deerhunter blog entry.

"My single biggest regret [this year]," writes Cox, "is that I allowed what started as a simple nervous breakdown to [culminate] in a public defamation of a very talented musician, technician, and artist: Samara Lubelski.

"Unfortunately, due to my immaturity at the time, and my admittedly fucked up mental state I used the [interview] opportunity to fuck over someone who absolutely did not deserve it. What makes it worse is that I made statements that were not factual, or that were based on my completely warped perspectives.

"Make no mistake, I take total responsibility for what a dickhead I was...To Samara, I sincerely apologize for my bullshit."

Read Bradford's complete statement here, and please, if anyone ever starts a website that rates apologies based on their humility, give that one a 10.0.

The Deerhunter blog has, surprise surprise, seen a flurry of activity of late, including a year-end list of sorts, heaps of Atlas Sound mp3s, several mixtapes, and an interview Cox conducted with influential Athens act Pylon.

The Deerhunter band, meanwhile, is now officially in "hiatus" mode, though they'll reemerge for ATP vs. Pitchfork in May. Cox takes Atlas Sound for a whirl beginning February 19 and delivers the act's debut LP the very same day. Samara Lubelski's latest, Parallel Suns, is out now thanks to the Social Registry. [MORE...]

Yorke Preps 12"s With Field, Four Tet, Burial Remixes
And also Various, Modeselektor, Surgeon, and Christian Vogel Remixes

Lonely? Looking for love? Good thing it's singles day all up in here at today, eh? And our de facto tribute to the shortest-playing of formats continues right now with the announcement of a newly-pressed series of three-songers from Thom Yorke, due early next year.

Wait a minute, Thom Yorke? Didn't that guy's solo album come out in, like, 2006? It sure did, but that hasn't stopped XL Recordings from preparing a trio of slick new 12"s collecting remixes of assorted tracks off The Eraser. Bearing the clunky but informative titles "And It Rained All Night (Burial Remix) / Skip Divided (Modeselektor Remix) / Analyse (Various Remix)", "Atoms for Peace (Four Tet Remix) / Black Swan (Christian Vogel Remix 1) / Black Swan (Christian Vogel Remix 2)", and "Harrowdown Hill (The Bug Remix) / The Clock (Surgeon Remix) / Cymbal Rush (The Field Remix)", the 12"s contain, well, precisely that. Look for them in UK shoppes beginning January 21, January 28, and February 4, respectively.

Oh, and if a few of these remixes sound familiar, perhaps you downloaded them off Yorke's site one whole year ago this week.

In related news, some band involving Yorke did something something tour blah blah Rainbows etc. [MORE...]

Diplo Remixes Spoon's "Don't You Evah" for Charity

Spoon's "Don't You Evah", from their fine Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga LP, has a nice little swing to it, sure. But leave it to Diplo to crank up the bottom end in just about anything he touches, even a straight-ahead rock track from a bunch of tightly-wound Texans.

Diplo's crafted a remix of "Don't You Evah" which the Merge Records digital store is selling this very moment. All proceeds from sales of the tune go to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, an organization that advocates fair practices within Texas courts.

When they're not matching wits for a good cause, Spoon and Diplo are out on the road. (Not together.) Both have but a handful of dates over the next few months. And Spoon presently have a poster signed by the band up on eBay as part of Merge's previously reported charity project. [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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