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Arcade Fire's Neon Bible Debuts at #2

The Arcade Fire's second album, Neon Bible, claimed the No. 2 spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts this week, stomping all over new LPs from Daughtry, Relient K and Robin Thicke. According to Billboard, the album sold 92,000 copies this week; only Notorious B.I.G.'s Greatest Hits sold more. That album, which was released ten years after the rapper's death, sold 99,000 copies. This position is miles ahead of Funeral's chart ranking, which peaked at #131. The album also topped the Independent and Rock Album charts. Neon Bible also took #2 in the UK, coming in second to the Kaiser Chiefs' Yours Truly, Angry Mob.

The Pitchfork Guide to SXSW 2007

For the next 96 hours, humble Austin, Texas becomes the center of the music universe, a delirious shitstorm of over one thousand bands, industry heavyweights by the gaggle, and soused fans coalescing around the intersection of Red River and 6th streets.

Whether you're headed to zip code 78701 to sign, see, or be the next big thing, let Pitchfork offer a few SXSW suggestions: Both here in our news section, where we'll run down some of the biggest showcases, and over in Forkcast, we'll shine a light on more than three dozen emerging artists playing Austin this week. The beauty of the event is options-- at any given moment you've got several dozen of them, most a block-long stagger away.

While a handful of local acts strut their stuff Sunday night and Chamillionaire rocked the mic for a riveting 20 minutes Tuesday evening, the bulk of the music festivities go down over four nights: Wednesday, March 14 through Saturday, March 17. And although SXSW is an indie rock-centric adventure-- with hip-hop, metal, and other genres sorely underrepresented-- there's still plenty to get amped for.

Oh, and if-- like the majority of our readership-- you're not headed to Austin, don't despair! Satellite provider DirecTV will premiere SXSW Live this year, the first-ever real-time broadcast from the music bonanza. The special airs March 15-17 on DirecTV's channel 101, and will feature performances from the Polyphonic Spree, Buzzcocks, Annuals, and Lee "Scratch" Perry, among others, along with festival commentary from Andrew WK(!) and interviews with Pete Townshend, Robyn Hitchcock, Perry Farrell, and Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Plus beloved former MTV VJ Matt Pinfield co-hosts!

For our Austin-bound, pull up a chair, break out the pens and Palm Pilots, and feast your eyes on SXSW's finest delights. Before you dive in, bookmark/print the official SXSW schedule and revisit Pitchfork's 2006 coverage, in several fun parts.

Pitchfork's regular news schedule will be suspended for the rest of the week, as we'll be busy reporting on what we've checked out in Austin starting tomorrow through Sunday.

Wednesday, March 14

The first night of music proper goes off with tremendous fanfare, as Sub Pop, Beggars/4AD, Merge, and Frenchkiss go head-to-head with rock solid showcases. Peripheral highlights abound as well.

Beggars/4AD might have the night's strongest showing, with the former taking over Emo's Jr. and the latter Emo's Main Room. Hometown heroes Voxtrot head the Beggars event, which also features gritty ex-Mclusky rockers Future of the Left and moody NYC trio Calla. 4AD will likely see a full house turn out for gypsy boy wonder Zach Condon and his Beirut ensemble, who'll warm the stage for longtime favorites the Mountain Goats and Blonde Redhead, the latter debuting songs from this year's exquisite 23. Arrive early to watch ex-Delgados singer Emma Pollock premiere solo material.

Merge, meanwhile, invades Antone's with "specials guests from Austin", aka Spoon, along with recent signings the Broken West. Indie vets Imperial Teen make a much-anticipated return to the stage, while the Rosebuds show off their new 80s stylings, as heard on the forthcoming Night of the Furies. We hope they're sporting some Flock of Seagulls hairdos too.

Les Savy Fav, who some might be inclined to call the best live band in the whole goddamn world (with good reason), headline Frenchkiss' showcase at Red Eyed Fly. The Big Sleep and Call Me Lightning and usual suspects Thunderbirds are Now! and Rahim open.

Sub Pop rolls out several of its newest recruits at Emo's IV Lounge, including high-octane rock trio Oxford Collapse, Swede songsmith Loney, Dear, and Pacific Northwest folkie Tiny Vipers. Ascendant Chicago quartet Maps & Atlases, who play math rock with heart, open the showcase.

Other sure bets: The Rapture, The Pipettes, and Swedes-of-the-moment Peter Bjorn and John crash La Zona Rosa; Florida's the Postmarks serve up pretty indie pop at the Ritz's Blender Bar; 8-bit electro-shock duo Crystal Castles turn up the voltage at Beauty Bar; Banhart-approved faerie queen Bat for Lashes attempts to conjure some magic at Dirty Dog Bar; and Glasgow's fabulous Twilight Sad emote over fuzzed-out crescendos at Mohawk Patio.

If you're beats-and-rhymes inclined, Visions plays host to a couple of the fest's better hip-hop opinions: Chicago crew Kidz in the Hall and chilllllled-out weed-fiend Devin the Dude.

Finally, if you're just mad about Donovan, tonight's your chance to see the folk legend in an idyllic setting: the holy (and seated!) confines of Central Presbyterian Church.

Thursday, March 15

Here's where things really get going.

Band for band, the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar showcase owns the night, with a pair of stages at the Mohawk featuring the wonderful Okkervil River, rambunctious indie rockers Evangelicals, droll Swedish chanteuse Frida Hyvönen, and brooding Austin outfit I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness. Do not miss the majestic overtures of the Besnard Lakes, who'll play tunes from this year's dazzling Are the Dark Horse, and get there early for Dirty Projectors, whose latest incarnation-- essentially overzealous crooning atop female vocal harmonies-- might be their most promising yet.

Hydrahead gets heavy at Emo's Annex, with Justin Broadrick's Jesu crunching out soaring post-shoegaze, while Chicago's Pelican let the riffs ring out and Karp-descended metal agitators Big Business wax apocalyptic. All three should sound positively refined next to manic openers Daughters and Oxbow.

Fat Cat teams with DiCristina to present what's sure to be an inspired evening of adventurous folk at Central Presbyterian Church, kicking off with a set from Matador's latest signing, Okkervil River offshoot Shearwater, and culminating with the rejuvenated Vashti Bunyan. David Karsten Daniels, Jana Hunter, Tom Brosseau, and Nina Nastasia & Jim White round out this ace lineup.

A bunch of Pitchfork favorites warm up for our day party with some late-night showcases, including Deerhunter and Do Make Say Think at Soho Lounge, the Ponys at Emo's Jr., Menomena at Buffalo Billiards, and Fujiya & Miyagi at Karma Lounge. We trust they'll get to bed and rest up immediately afterward.

Glaswegians Shitdisco just might assassinate Franz Ferdinand with their taut, punchy dance-punk headcharge; witness their energetic confections at Beauty Bar Patio-- or step inside for quick-tongued grime star Lethal Bizzle. Down the street, Epitaph's newest signing Cadence Weapon-- aka ex-Pitchfork scribe Rollie Pemberton-- puts his verbal skills to work at Copa.

Pimp C and Bun B of UGK light up 401 Guadalupe, while Vice-signed rabble-rousers Black Lips put the rage in garage rock at Flamingo Cantina. Elsewhere, fey folkstress Marissa Nadler sings her woes away at Bourbon Rocks, while Aa conduct sonic experiments at Parish II and Norway's New Violators get criminal at Emo's Jr. And lucky day: If you missed Voxtrot the night before, catch them now at Emo's Main Room-- following the Gossip, the latest indie sensation to take the major label plunge.

Finally, the night's veteran award goes to Mary Weiss of Shangri-Las fame, who'll showcase material from this year's Dangerous Game at Red 7.

Friday, March 16

We imagine a large portion of the attendees will line up to gawk at/listen to Amy Winehouse-- but there are also many other options.

Damon Albarn's latest non-Blur enterprise, the Danger Mouse-produced the Good, the Bad and the Queen, shoot 'em up at Stubb's, with dashing Andrew Bird taking flight a few hours before. Psych-rock stunners Boris paint Spiro's Pink, while Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore plays two different sets at Mohawk, amid revered noise rockers Magik Markers and new folk favorites Charalambides, Sunburned Hand of the Man, and MV/EE with the Bummer Road.

Cuddlecore and c86 fans should be delighted to find Tullycraft and the Manhattan Love Suicides playing Parish II as part of Magic Marker Records' showcase, while the short-attention-spanned would do well to catch Matador-signed lo-fi rock trio Times New Viking at Exodus or wacky Dan Deacon at Tap Room. Or get happy: Former Q and Not U drummer John Davis plays with infectious indie pop duo Georgie James at Bourbon Rocks, while perennially positive Texas supercult the Polyphonic Spree preach the feel-good word (with new costumes!) at Austin Convention Center.

Great night for hip-hop, too: Def Jux infiltrates Emo's Main Room, with El-P, Aesop Rock, Cage, Brother Ali, and Galactic (featuring Lyrics Born, Blackalicious' Gift of Gab, and the Coup's Boots Riley) slinging rhymes. UGK return to play Visions, along with Crime Mob, while Chicago MC-on-the-rise Kid Sister works the crowd at Beauty Bar after A-Trak goes all Picasso on the turntable and Domino's latest signing Bonde do Role start the party right. Or don your stunna shades and Vans and step outside to catch the Pack and the Federation at Beauty Bar's Patio.

More options: Canadians Rock Central Plaza horse around at Dirty Dog Bar; reliable rockers the Walkmen get had at Emo's Annex; mascara'd Saddle Creek neo-new-wavers the Faint preview brand new songs at Eternal; Doris Day-tripping Nellie McKay elicits smiles at Exodus; Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys gets crafty at Bourbon Rocks; Simian Mobile Disco start the party at Karma Lounge; Polyvinyl-signed Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin turn up the energy at Red 7; and Broken Social Scenester Apostle of Hustle pimps good tunes at Habana Calle 6 Annex.

Stay up late to witness Beach House whisk us into a druggy haze at Tap Room, Hella shake things up with their new five-piece lineup at Maggie Mae's, or Earthless-- featuring former Hot Snakes/Rocket From the Crypt drummer Mario Rubalcaba-- tear it down at Lava Lounge.

For vets, try Public Enemy at Town Lake, Daniel Johnston's Danny and the Nightmares at Austin Convention Center, or Robyn Hitchcock at Dirty Dog Bar.

Saturday, March 17

Start the night early and catch a rare live appearance by super-recluse Jandek, who'll forgo silly things like rhythm, meter, and melody in favor of 75 minutes of cold, stark, skeletal blues at Central Presbyterian Church. Stick around for Smog-free Bill Callahan. Or, for something completely different, laugh along to Aziz Ansari, Patton Oswalt, Eugene Mirman, and co.'s Human Giant at Friends.

Or try the five-step adrenaline rush of metal behemoths Mastodon at the Town Lake, six-string banshee Marnie Stern at Emo's IV, fist-pumper Andrew WK at Exodus, costumed noise-terrorists White Mice at Room 710, and Norwegian rock legends Turbonegro at Emo's Main Room. For a different sort of rush, opt for spastic Saddle Creekers Cursive at Beauty Bar Patio, erratic ramblers Frog Eyes at Habana Calle 6 Patio, or the David Yow-endowed Qui at Emo's Jr.

The women of Kill Rock Stars, including the aforementioned Stern, take over Emo's IV Saturday night. Herky-jerk trio Erase Errata, Helium graduate Mary Timony, and Australian emcee Macromantics also perform. Elsewhere, the irresistible Pipettes pull shapes at Beauty Bar Patio while Au Revoir Simone pull our nostalgia strings at Copa.

The men of indie rock make a strong showing as well: Canadian upstarts Tokyo Police Club crackdown at Beauty Bar Patio; Danish dreamweavers Mew take us back to days of wonder at La Zona Rosa; Texans Midlake take us back to the 70s at Buffalo Billiards; Spoon dishes out the goods at Stubb's; and England's Field Music keep it spry at Beauty Bar Patio.

Move your feet to Danish duo Junior Senior at Exodus, or remove your clothes to Girl Talk's head-smashing set at Elysium. Hip-hoppers, meanwhile, get another chance to experience Lethal Bizzle, this time at Flamingo Cantina. Exit the festival in winning fashion with either Trae at Zero Degrees or Redman at Cedar Street Courtyard.

Vets: Buzzcocks sear through Emo's Main Room, followed by the reunited Meat Puppets. Danny and the Nightmares play again at the Ritz's Blender Bar. And what better way to end your SXSW adventure than with Lee "Scratch" Perry, who closes out the night at Flamingo Cantina? While nursing your own aching feet, do take a gander at Perry's one-of-a-kind kicks.


Casiotone Hits the Road With Xiu Xiu, Shearwater

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, aka one Owen Ashworth, will tour both with Xiu Xiu and Shearwater on previously reported dates and all by his painful lonesome on dates that bookend those. The tour starts communally enough, with a show in Chicago with BARR on March 17. There'll be no merry-making this St. Patrick's Day!

Even more U.S. dates are in the works, and Ashworth is also planning an early May tour of eastern Canada with P:ano's Nick Krgovich. Look out for, like, 322 limited seven-inch releases from Owen this year. [MORE...]

The Black Angels Kick Off North American Tour

The Black Angels will descend upon their hometown of Austin this week with five South by Southwest shows. Then, the sextet will take its psych-rock assault to the rest of North America in support of last year's Passover, starting March 21 in Houston. VietNam will join them on most dates.

Look for a second leg of spring dates soon. [MORE...]

OOIOO Embark on Rare U.S. Tour, Get Remixed by Eye

Over there in Japan, they do things a little differently. Instead of the usual chorus to "Old MacDonald", they sing "OOIOO". And instead of the plucky banjo and fiddle arrangement, it has this sort of free-form, tribal feel, with lots of erratic shrieking. Oh, and they don't call it "Old MacDonald" at all-- round there it's referred to as Taiga.

Yep, we're totally full of crap. But one thing remains true: Experimental rhythm quartet OOIOO, led by Yoshimi of Boredoms and pink-robot-battling fame, kick off a brief but welcome U.S. tour on March 20 in New York City. They'll play six dates over here in support of last year's Thrill Jockey LP Taiga, aka [OMG] one of Sufjan Steven's favorite records of 2006!!! [/OMG]

Even more exciting, Boredoms' Eye has remixed a pair of tunes off Taiga-- "UMO" and "UMA"-- for a new EP informatively titled Eye Remix EP. Look for it in CD and 12" formats on April 24 via Thrill Jockey.

OOIOO also released a DVD music video collection in Japan back in January. [MORE...]

Sir Richard Bishop Tours With Bonnie, Animal Collective

Since Charles Gocher's death last month following a battle with cancer, the remaining members of Sun City Girls-- brothers Alan and Richard Bishop-- have nixed the possibility of new tours or records under the SCG name. They do, however, have plenty of unreleased material that they hope to put out eventually, and it seems that they will continue to write and perform.

In fact, Richard Bishop kicks off a tour tonight as Sir Richard Bishop. He'll join Bonnie "Prince" Billy on a European jaunt, and in May, he will travel the U.S. with Animal Collective. [MORE...]

Winter Music Conference 2007 Invades Miami

Let the silly indie kids have their silly SXSW, with their flannels and ironic t-shirts, their jangle and distortion. The rest of us have the cool, crisp, rhythmically dependable sounds of electronic music in its many-splendored forms: techno, house, dubstep, electro, disco, and more, plus all the hybrids and subgenres and unclassifiables. And they all come together once a year in sunny Miami for the annual Winter Music Conference.

This year marks the 22nd year of the festival. A true endurance test, it goes down at Miami Beach Resort & Spa from March 20-25. All sorts of satellite events take place across Miami's club scene-- including the previously reported Ultra Festival-- and a whole heaping lot of the biggest names in dance music will be there, including the Cure (eh, sure, we'll dance to them), Peaches, Fischerspooner, Booka Shade, Matthew Dear, El-P, A-Trak, Kid Sister, Justice, Digitalism, Crystal Castles, Henrik Schwarz, MSTRKRFT, Tiga, M.A.N.D.Y., Richie Hawtin, Escort, Miss Kittin, Marco Bailey, the Presets, Deep Dish, Josh Wink, DJ Hell, Paul Van Dyk, Carl Cox, and the inimitable Ferry Corsten, plus like a bajillion more.

It would be easier to tell you who's not playing, frankly. Consult The List-- the "official 'unofficial'" guide to WMC events-- and search for your favorites. And check out the official official conference website for details on panels, interviews, and other fest happenings.

Trust us-- after this one, you will never want to dance again.

Amon Tobin Schedules Tour

After one show at South by Southwest on March 17, Amon Tobin will take the film-inspired The Foley Room to venues across Europe and North America in April and May.

Most of Tobin's dates are DJ sets, but quite a few of those are in Surround Sound. For the Surround Sound sets, Tobin will mix material from The Foley Room with the music that inspired it, using his turntables more as samplers than as traditional turntables.

The tour begins April 3 in Montpellier, France and ends May 26 in Los Angeles. [MORE...]

Datarock Sign to Nettwerk, Revise/Reissue Debut
Kick off U.S. tour this week

Photo by Knut Åaserud

Hello hello! Today today we're pleased pleased to announce that Datarock have signed signed to Nettwerk-- normally home to tamer tamer fare like Sarah McLachlan and Hanne Hukkelberg. If you're seeing double double, good! Because Nettwerk has plans to release Datarock's debut debut, Datarock Datarock, in physical formats on June 12. iTunes users can scoop it up March 19, and the most zealous fans can score it right now via the duo's MySpace.

Datarock Datarock is actually a slightly revised/expanded edition (tracklist below) of the original Datarock debut, which the band released on its own Young Aspiring Professionals (YAP) imprint way back in 1912. Or maybe 2005. By revised, we mean that a few new jams have been added to the tracklist, and the most overtly gay numbers-- "Night Flight to Uranus", anyone?-- have been conspicuously removed. Where's Columbia's LGBT label when you need it??

Datarock play an impressive six SXSW shows before embarking on their previously reported U.S. tour. The duo then returns to its native Norway for scattered appearances. [MORE...]

Lungfish's Higgs Signs to Thrill Jockey

Thrill Jockey will release Lungfish frontman Daniel A.I.U. Higgs' Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot on June 5. The second in a series of full-color, 6" X 8" hardcover book/CD packages that so far includes Aki Tsuyuko's Hokane, Tarot features six tracks and 48 pages of Higgs' visual art.

According to the Thrill Jockey website, "The yggdrasil is the great tree of Norse myth that connects all worlds of cosmology... In his relentless pursuit of the indivisible, Higgs travels up and down this spine and hatches a new transubstantiation of sound and image into life form."

We smell a tour opening for Mastodon!

In addition to the book and CD, Thrill Jockey will also transubstantiate the album into a limited edition vinyl version.

Higgs is currently on tour in the UK, and he will return to the U.S. with Brightblack Morning Light in April. [MORE...]


Morrissey Announces American Tour

True to his depressive persona, Morrissey will spend the summer mostly indoors, and mostly in the dark.

From late April through at least the end of June, Moz will woo these great United States on a gargantuan tour, according to Morrissey authority True to You. Interestingly, he's sidestepping Coachella in order to play a casino in Sparks, Nevada. Oh, Morrissey!

Only the western half of the tour has been announced so far, save for June 30 date at Madison Square Garden. Look for the rest of the dates to be filled in later in the week.

Kristeen Young will open all shows. [MORE...]


Booka Shade Get Physical on World Tour

People of North America, get excited-- it's not often that acclaimed tech house duo Booka Shade grace these shores. After all, Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier are in-demand producers and remixers, with a riveting live act that's won them invitations to festivals the world over.

But don't take our world for it-- scope these jetsetters' 2007 tour itinerary below. After a two-week run on this continent, they bound around the world...for the next six months. Australia. Manchester. Roskilde. Portugal. Greece. Even Serbia, where we thought dancing was banned or something. It's all there. All in support of Movements, Pitchfork's 50th Favorite Album of 2006. And you can witness it first, right up against the booth, making an ass of yourself. [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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Wed: 02-27-08 Tue: 02-26-08 Mon: 02-25-08 Fri: 02-22-08 Thu: 02-21-08 Wed: 02-20-08 Tue: 02-19-08 Mon: 02-18-08 Fri: 02-15-08 Thu: 02-14-08 Wed: 02-13-08 Tue: 02-12-08 Mon: 02-11-08 Fri: 02-08-08 Thu: 02-07-08 Wed: 02-06-08 Tue: 02-05-08 Mon: 02-04-08 Fri: 02-01-08 Thu: 01-31-08 Wed: 01-30-08 Tue: 01-29-08