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Postal Service Accuse Apple of Plagiarism

Like Motley Cr�e before them, the Postal Service just can�t seem to escape controversy. Way back in 2003 it was a cease-and-desist order from the United States Postal Service, which resulted in a bizarre cross-marketing compromise. Now it�s Apple Computers and a couple of shifty directors who have allegedly maligned the soft-spoken electro-pop duo by aping their "Such Great Heights" music video in a hokey television commercial-- entirely unbeknownst to poor Ben and Jimmy.

Last Thursday, the following blurb appeared on the Postal Service�s official website:

"It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers' new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for 'Such Great Heights' made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original. We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent. -Ben Gibbard, The Postal Service"

But don�t take Ben�s word for it, see for yourself. Pretty effing blatant if you ask us:

Exhibit A: Video for "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service, directed by Josh Melnick and Xander Charity.

Exhibit B: Commerical for Intel processor chip in Apple computers, directed by Josh Melnick and Xander Charity.

Presently, neither the Postal Service, nor their label Sub Pop, have plans to take legal action. And perhaps they shouldn�t bother? "Such Great Heights" topped the iTunes video downloads chart yesterday and currently sits at number seven. Can�t argue with that.

And finally, breaking news on the NEW Postal Service record... JK LOL!!


Art Brut Announce North American Tour

Hey guess what? Art Brut formed a band. Look at them, they formed a band. Now Art Brut is taking its Top of the Pops aspirations overseas for a mammoth tour, culminating in an epic rematch with the North American club circuit. Except this time, the stakes are higher, the clubs are larger, and the hype's gotten pretty damn hypey. (Pitchfork's third best album of 2005, anyone?)

Britain's favourite sons (and daughter) must first wrap up an extensive tour of Europe before landing on these shores just in time for SXSW. Will Emily Kane make it to one of these shows?? Oh, the drama!:

01-24 Cologne, Germany - Stollwerck
01-26 Milan, Italy - Rainbow
01-27 Florence, Italy - Sonar
01-28 Bologna, Italy - Covo
01-29 Rome, Italy - Zoobar
01-30 Roncade, Italy - New Age Club
02-01 Bordeaux, France - Angouleme
02-02 Nantes, France - Olympic
02-03 Evereux, France - L'Abordage
02-04 Rennes, France - L'Ubu
02-06 Paris, France - La Maroquinerie
02-07 Dijon, France - Le Grand Mix
02-08 Lille, France - La Laterie
03-15 Austin, TX - The Parish (SXSW)
03-16 Austin, TX - TBA (SXSW)
03-17 Austin, TX - Emo's Annex (SXSW)
03-19 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
03-20 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
03-21 San Francisco, CA - The Independent
03-23 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
03-24 Vancouver, British Columbia - Richard's on Richards
03-25 Seattle, WA - Neumos
03-28 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
03-30 Chicago, IL - Metro
03-31 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
04-01 Toronto, Ontario - Horseshoe Tavern
04-02 Montreal, Quebec - La Sala Rossa
04-03 Cambridge, MA - Middle East Downstairs
04-04 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
04-05 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
04-07 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
04-08 Haverford, PA - Haverford College
04-09 Washington, DC - Black Cat
04-10 Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
04-11 Brooklyn, NY - TBA


Flaming Lips Unveil Mystics Tracklist

Deep beneath that fuzzy, sugary, rainbow-colored visage, we all know what the Flaming Lips are truly about: violence. Consider the evidence! They're following up the much-ballyhooed Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots with yet another opus to bellicosity, At War With the Mystics. Of all the tracks they could have chosen to lead a recent EP, they choose "Fight Test". And let's not forget 1992's major-label leap Hit to Death in the Future Head.

Now we have this, the official tracklist for At War With the Mystics, due out April 4 on Warner Bros. Records. Just take a peek below for more glimmers of violence. Rebellions? Most assuredly violent. More references to ambulances and their drivers? Violence implied. Pompeii? Totally decimated by a violent volcano, dudes. See for yrself:

01 The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
02 Free Radicals
03 The Sound of Failure/It's Dark...Is It Always This Dark??
04 My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion
05 Vein of Stars
06 The Wizard Turns On...
07 It Overtakes Me/The Stars Are So Big, I Am So Small...Do I Stand a Chance?
08 Mr. Ambulance Driver
09 Haven't Got a Clue
10 The W.A.N.D.
11 Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung
12 Goin' On

The Lips, ever hep to the times, will unleash At War With the Muggles--er, Mystics-- in both regular and special edition format, the latter featuring "extra tracks, videos and a 5.1 audio mix", according to Billboard.

Since its digital release last week, "The W.A.N.D." has become a staple of iPod nanos everywhere. So has "Mr. Ambulance Driver", having turned up on last year's Wedding Crashers soundtrack. Speaking about the latter track, Lips frontman Wayne Coyne disclosed the following to Billboard: "Every time I hear it, I think Flaming Lips fans will get it and like it. The metaphors and the ideas in the waiting for the ambulance or something to come and save you still hit me." Hitting? There they go again with the violence.

Coyne and company play out their War wares first at March's Langerado Music Festival, then over four dates across the UK in April. A full-blown, extravagant-beyond-comprehension tour will no doubt follow, dates to be announced. Until then:

03-11 Sunrise, FL - Markham Park (Langerado Music Festival) *
04-19 Edinburgh, Scotland - Usher Hall
04-22 London, England - Royal Albert Hall
04-24 Birmingham, England - Birmingham Academy
04-25 Manchester, England - Apollo

* with Wilco, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Secret Machines, Rjd2, bunch of hippie bands

Other dates to highlight in your Lips planner: January 31, when The Soft Bulletin arrives in deluxe DVD format, and the "imminent" future, when the first two Flaming Lips full-lengths re-drop deluxe colored vinyl-style. The second two will "follow later", according to the Flaming Lips official website. And if Shawn of the Dead taught us anything, vinyl LPs make great projectiles.


Silver Jews Add U.S., UK dates

Considering that it took David Berman and co. a decade and a half to schedule their first-ever tour, it figures that they'd want to get it right. Accordingly, the Jews have extended their upcoming American tour to an unprecedented fourteen dates (come to think of it, even two dates would have been unprecedented), adding stops in New York, Chicago, Bloomington, and Carrboro. Talk about power cities!

Following the North American tour will be three-day jaunt through the United Kingdom this April. A show in London will be followed by two nights at Scotland's Tryptych festival at the end of the month. What better way to celebrate the end of a long-awaited tour than with a hip European music festival? And Mogwai is going to be there too! That's cool, right? Isn't it?

Punks in the beerlight:

03-10 Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
03-11 Atlanta, GA - The Earl
03-12 Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall
03-14 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
03-16 Charlottesville, VA - Satellite Ballroom
03-17 New York, NY - Webster Hall
03-18 New York, NY - Webster Hall
03-19 Cambridge, MA - Middle East
03-21 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
03-22 Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
03-24 Columbus, OH - Little Brother's
03-25 Ann Arbor, MI - Blind Pig
04-13 Bloomington, IN - Bluebird
04-14 Chicago, IL - Double Door
04-25 London, England - Scala
04-27 Edinburgh, Scotland - Bongo Club (Tryptych Festival)
04-28 Glasgow, Scotland - Tramway (Tryptych Festival)


Mogwai Announce European Tour

The Scottish police force has noticed an increase in monster-related chatter recently, with informants indicating that March 6 will bring a particularly violent attack upon the UK (an American ambush is anticipated for the following day, March 7). Since the Loch Ness Monster announced her retirement from the game years ago, and has been working with local youth gang-prevention initiatives ever since, there can be only one source for the coming strike: the deadly Mogwai.

As previously reported, the instrumental crafters of guitar lull and swell will unleash their fifth album, Mr. Beast, on those fateful March days. It will be preceded by the first single, "Friend of the Night", on January 30. Only one more week, folks! Be prepared!

The first of March will bring the band to the USA for a slew of tour dates (although the West coast will be unjustly ignored), after which Mogwai will continue their post-rock-rock-rockin-it skull crushing (followed by a sweet kiss, of course) back in their own United Kingdom. The newly announced dates include an appearance at the Triptych Festival in Edinburgh in late April, alongside the Silver Jews (see the news story right above this), as well as shows in France, Germany, Italy, and Holland . And in a burst of obsessive-compulsive foresight and planning, a September London date has been announced, for which tickets went on sale this week.

Government commissioned dates:

01-24 Tokyo, Japan - Unit ~
01-25 Tokyo, Japan - Unit #
03-01 Chicago, IL - Logan Square Auditorium %
03-02 Columbus, OH - Wexner Center for the Arts %
03-03 Lexington, KY - The Dame %
03-04 Charlottesville, VA - Satellite Ballroom %
03-06 New York, NY - Avalon %
03-07 Baltimore, MD - Sonar %
03-08 Chapel Hill, NC - Cat's Cradle %
03-09 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel %
03-10 Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge %
03-11 Atlanta, GA - WhirlyBall Atlanta %
03-12 Atlanta, GA - WhirlyBall Atlanta +
03-14 Houston, TX - Numbers +
03-15 Austin, TX - Stubb's (Matador SXSW Showcase) =
03-29 Bristol, England - Academy
03-30 Southampton, England - Southampton University
03-31 Wolverhampton, England - Wulfrun Hall
04-01 Oxford, England - Brookes University
04-02 Cardiff, Wales - Coal Exchange
04-04 Cambridge, England - Junction
04-05 Liverpool, England - Carling Academy
04-06 Newcastle, England - Northumbria University
04-07 Sheffield, England - The Plug
04-08 Lille, France - Splendid
04-09 Strasbourg, France - Laiterie
04-11 Toulouse, France - SDF
04-12 Clermont-Ferrand, France - Cooperative de Mai
04-13 Paris, France - Bataclan
04-14 Rotterdam, Holland - Motel Mozaique Festival
04-15 Cologne, Germany - Live Music Hall
04-18 Florence, Italy - Flog
04-20 Milan, Italy - Rolling Stone
04-21 Treviso, Italy - New Age
04-23 Munich, Germany - Elserhalle
04-24 Berlin, Germany - Postbahnhof
04-25 Hamburg, Germany - Gruenspan
04-27 Edinburgh, Scotland - Queens Hall (Triptych Festival)
09-22 London, England - Royal Albert Hall

~ with Melt-Banana
# with Afrirampo
% with Growing
+ with Torche
= with Belle and Sebastian, Cat Power, New Pornographers, Brightblack Morning Light, Jennifer O'Connor

You might notice that the Atlanta dates are booked at a venue that doesn't usually show up on most band's itineraries: the WhirlyBall Atlanta. That's because the WhirlyBall isn't your average bar or club. It's a place where you go to play a game that is "a combination of basketball, hockey, and Jai-Alai played while riding an electrically powered machine, similar to a bumper car, called a WhirlyBug," according to the WhirlyBall website. Holy mother of god.

Oh, and the March 12 show? It takes place at three in the afternoon, is being billed as "Brunch With Mogwai", and coffee and donuts are included in the ticket price.

Bumper cars, coffee, donuts, and Mogwai? Our brains are incapable of processing how awesome that is going to be.


Test Icicles Plot American Return

Test Icicles may be getting their fair share of obligatory UK hype-by-association right now, but don't expect it to go to their heads. Given the speed with which these smart-aleck artcore screamos consume information, it wouldn't stay very long in their brains anyway.

Raaaary Decihells (Rory Atwell), Sam E Danger (Sam Merran), and DevMetal (Devonte Hynes) will attempt to incite American audiences raised on the Locust and Blood Brothers with their first-ever U.S. tour, kicking off in Brooklyn on March 1. They're touring in support of their debut album, For Screening Purposes Only, which finally comes out in America tomorrow, January 24. (It's been out since October in the UK.) Lucky Texans and industry peeps can test the band, as well as their Domino labelmates, at the label's SXSW showcase in Austin on March 17, where they will share the stage with Arctic Monkeys, the Beautiful New Born Children, and the Archie Bronson Outfit. Get in line now.

For show-going purposes only:

01-25 Brighton, England - Ocean Rooms *
01-26 Cardiff, Wales - Barfly *
01-27 Birmingham, England - Barfly *
01-28 Nottingham, England - Rock City (afternoon show) *
01-28 Nottingham, England - Rescue Rooms (evening show) *
01-30 Sheffield, England - Leadmill *
01-31 Oxford, England - Zodiac *
02-01 Stoke, England - Sugarmill *
02-02 London, England - ULU *$
02-05 Amsterdam, Holland - Melkweg
02-07 Hamburg, Germany - Molatov
02-08 Berlin, Germany - Magnet
02-09 Munich, Germany - Orange House
02-11 Zurich, Switzerland - Mascotte
02-12 Treviso, Italy - Roncade
02-13 Rome, Italy - Cicolo
02-14 Milan, Italy - Rocket
02-16 Paris, France - Les Inrocks Club Night
02-17 St. Malo, France - La Route du Rock
02-24 London, England - Hammersmith Palais
03-01 Brooklyn, NY - North Six
03-02 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
03-03 Philadelphia, PA - North Star Bar
03-04 Baltimore, MD - Sonar
03-06 Seattle, WA - Neumo's
03-08 Portland, OR - Lola's Room
03-09 San Francisco, CA - Popscene
03-10 Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland
03-11 San Diego, CA - Casbah
03-13 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
03-14 Chicago, IL - Logan Square Auditorium
03-17 Austin, TX - La Zone Rosa (Domino SXSW Showcase) #

* with Damn Arms, Help! She Can't Swim
$ with Lethal Bizzle
# with Arctic Monkeys, Archie Bronson Outfit, the Beautiful New Born Children

The journey has been christened the "What's Your Damage Tour", not in homage to Heathers, alas, but in reference to the band's latest UK single. "What's Your Damage" is available on CD, 12" and two different 7"s, because Brits like to be silly like that. The various versions come backed by a Lamacq live version of "Catch It", a new track called "Class Is Over", as well as remixes of "What's Your Damage" by Alan Braxe and Fred Falke, Digitalism, and Mark Williams.


Micah P. Hinson, Chin Up Chin Up Sign New Deals

Formerly troubled Texan Micah P. Hinson has seen his luck and life change drastically since his flat-broke days which, according to the singer, "held only cheap booze, cigarettes and recording." While his tales of addiction, bankruptcy, tough love, and brushes with the law are all pretty bad, it's hard to get past the most miserable and degrading thing we've heard about Hinson's pre-fame existence: that he had to work as a telemarketer to make ends meet. Yikes! You've got a whole discography's worth of suffering right there.

Thankfully, veteran punk imprint Jade Tree has announced that it will soon take time off from all those hardcore bands you loved in high school and will start feeling Hinson's pain. First up is a re-release of Hinson's debut EP, The Baby and the Satellite, which will be available in the U.S. for the first time in the next few months. The reissue will feature new versions of the EP's songs, recorded with members of the Earlies. Tracklist:

01 The Dreams You Left Behind
02 Wasted Away
03 The Leading Guy
04 Or Just Rearrange
05 For Your Eyes
06 The Last Charge of Lt. Paul
07 The Day the Volume Won
08 The Dreams You Left Behind (Reprise)
09 The Baby and the Satellite

Hinson and his new label plan to issue an LP of brand-new material later this year, and to re-release his debut album, Micah P. Hinson and the Gospel of Progress in early 2007. Hinson is also busy with his side project the Late Cord, a collaboration with John Mark Lapham of the Earlies. Their debut EP, Lights From the Wheelhouse, is due early this year on 4AD.

According to Spanish label Houston Party Records, the Primavera Sound Tour, pairing Hinson with Portland-based folkie Erick Messler, begins February 10 in Barcelona.


02-10 Barcelona, Spain - Apolo
02-11 Valencia, Spain - El Loco
02-13 Madrid, Spain - Moby Dick
02-15 Farmilacao, Portugal - Casa das Artes
02-16 Vigo, Spain - Vademecum
02-17 Bilbao, Spain - Kafe Antzoki
02-18 Santo�a, Spain - Club Tropicana

Also turning over a new leaf (several new leaves, actually) are Chicago underdog favorites Chin Up Chin Up. In addition to signing a deal with Seattle's hotshot Suicide Squeeze Records, the band recently announced that Jesse Woghin of the Narrator will serve as the full-time replacement for bassist Chris Saathoff, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver on February 14, 2004. (As previously reported, Saathoff's killer, William Giraldo, was sentenced to seven years in prison in August 2005).

CUCU are currently writing material for their Suicide Squeeze debut and are scheduled to begin recording in May at Chicago's Engine Studios, under the watchful eye of Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine). The album has already been given the firm release date of October 10, 2006; damn, that label is either super-organized or telepathic.

The only Chin Up Chin Up live date scheduled at the moment is an appearance at the Suicide Squeeze showcase at SXSW, which will take place at Emo's on March 16. Joining them will be new labelmates Minus the Bear (minus keyboardist Matt Bayles, who recently departed the band to concentrate on being a producer), Crystal Skulls (sophomore album Outgoing Behavior due April 11), and Baltimore teenagers Metal Hearts (debut album Socialize due February 21).


José González prepares EP, U.S. tour

His debut album Veneer may be three years old by now, but Swedish-born Argentinean (or Swede of Argentine parents, whatever you prefer) Jos� Gonz�lez is still a fresh-faced up-and-comer here in the States. That should change soon.

Following up Veneer's U.S. release back in September, Hidden Agenda will put out a five-song EP from Gonz�lez, Stay in the Shade, tomorrow, January 24. Two days later, "Stay in the Shade" will be featured on "The O.C.", and, well, you know what that means. Jos� will float on, no doubt.

Known for his similarities to Jo�o Gilberto and other dexterous acoustic guitar strummers, Gonz�lez also has an affinity for pop divas. You might have heard his cover of the Knife's "Heartbeats" (from Veneer) in that Sony Bravia commercial with all the bouncy balls. And now, this EP features a cover of Kylie Minogue's "Hand on Your Heart". We hope he goes for Annie next.

The EP also includes three new songs (one of which is a lengthy instrumental) and an extended version of "Stay in the Shade," which originally appeared on Veneer.

What's on Seth Cohen's iPod?:

01 Stay in the Shade
02 Down the Hillside
03 Sensing Owls
04 Hand on Your Heart
05 Instrumental

Gonz�lez will take his dude-with-guitar show on the road through America in March, with a stop at SXSW as well as a few dates with the Books. If the Books don't loop some of Gonz�lez's acoustic hooks during their set, then they have no right touring together.

One night to be confused:

01-31 Dublin, Ireland - RDS $
02-01 London, England - Shepherds Bush Empire ^
02-02 Manchester, England - Academy 2 ^
02-03 Glasgow, Scotland - Oran Mor ^
02-04 Edinburgh, Scotland - Liquid Room ^
02-05 Brighton, England - Concorde ^
03-20 Los Angeles, CA - The Hotel Caf� *
03-21 Los Angeles, CA - Echo *
03-22 New York, NY - Joe's Pub (two shows)
03-23 Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts #
03-24 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom #
03-25 Philadelphia, PA - International House #

$ with Bell XI
^ with El Perro Del Mar
* with Astrid Swan
# with The Books, Death Vessel


Controller.Controller release LP, Tour With OK Go

Sure, Canada's got the whole prolific and incestuous musical collective phenomenon on lock, but come on, with all that government scrilla pouring into music funding and recording, it's hardly a challenge to devote your free time to having one foot in Broken Social Scene, the other in the Arcade Fire, and a third in Wolf Parade. Whatever happened to governments ignoring or, better yet, cutting funding for the arts, like we have here in the good ol' US of A?

While so much attention is focused on these freeform indie rock jam sessions of our neighbor to the north, it's easy to overlook the razor-focused disco beats of a band like Controller.Controller (no, that isn't a typo, there really is a period and no space in their name). A tour with DFA1979, some shows opening for Franz Ferdinand, being on the same label as the Deadly Snakes-- what more will it take for this band to get some attention �round these parts?

How about having an album out in America? On March 7, Paper Bag Records will release X-Amounts, Controller.Controller's debut full-length. (It's been out in Canada since October.) Tracklist:

01 Tigers Not Daughters
02 PF
03 Poison/Safe
04 Rooms
05 Future Turtles
06 Straight in the Head
07 City of Daggers
08 Heavy as a Heart
10 The Raw No
11 Magnetic Strip

Controller.Controller will embark on a North American trek to hype up the album starting tomorrow in New York City. (The tour was supposed to start tonight in Hoboken, New Jersey, but "a loss within the Controller.Controller family" has caused the show to be canceled, according to the band's website.) They'll be opening for Chicago jokesters OK Go, who you probably know from that video with them doing a choreographed dance in the backyard.

Controller.Controller probably won't break out the synchronized moves at the following shows:

01-24 Brooklyn, NY - North Six *#
01-25 Burlington, VT - Higher Ground *#
01-26 Providence, RI - Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel *#
01-27 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club *$
01-28 New Haven, CT - Toad's Place *#
01-30 Moncton, New Brunswick - Manhattan *
01-31 Halifax, Nova Scotia - The Pavilion (early show)*
01-31 Halifax, Nova Scotia - Stage Nine (late show)*
02-02 Montreal, Quebec - Cabaret Music Hall*
02-03 Ottawa, Ontario - Surface
02-04 Kingston, Ontario - Grad Club (two shows)*
02-06 Guelph, Ontario - Vinyl *
02-07 Hamilton, Ontario - Casbah *
02-08 Waterloo, Ontario - Starlite *
02-09 London, Ontario - Call the Office *
02-10 Toronto, Ontario - Lee's Palace*
02-13 Quebec City, Quebec - Caf� Nord-Quest
02-14 Trois Riviere, Quebec - Chez Dagobert
02-23 Sudbury, Ontario - Townehouse
02-24 Sault Ste Marie, Ontario - The Downbeat
02-25 Thunder Bay, Ontario - Killroys
02-27 Winnipeg, Manitoba - West End Cultural Centre
02-28 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Louis
03-01 Edmonton, Alberta - The Starlite
03-02 Calgary, Alberta - The Warehouse
03-03 Vancouver, British Columbia - Richard's on Richards
03-04 Victoria, British Columbia - Lucky
03-05 Nanaimo, British Columbia - Queen's
03-07 Seattle, WA - Fun House
03-08 Portland, OR - Towne Lounge
03-11 San Francisco, CA - Popscene
03-12 Los Angeles, CA - Echo %
03-14 Tucson, AZ - Hotel Congress

* with OK Go
# with Apollo Sunshine
$ with Tally Hall
% with Kiss Me Deadly, Voxtrot


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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