Tuesday, December 9

The Knife's Karin Preps Fever Ray Album, Single

The Knife's Karin Preps Fever Ray Album, Single

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, make way for Fever Ray. The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson has lifted the shroud of secrecy surrounding her previously mentioned solo project to reveal a debut album due next year and a lead-off single due much sooner.

Get acquainted with Fever Ray by way of inaugural single "If I Had a Heart". You may recall we discussed the instrumental version of this track last time, and it's still available for streaming at the Fever Ray MySpace. Well the "If I Had a Heart" single proper descends on digital retailers December 16 in the U.S. (via Mute) and in Australia/New Zealand (via etcetc), and the day before in the Scandinavia (via Rabid) and the UK/rest of Europe (via Cooperative Music). So many labels!

Meanwhile, a video for "If I Had a Heart", helmed by Knife/José González director of note Andreas Nilsson, should surface soon.

Karin's still keeping mum about the title and tracklist for her debut album as Fever Ray, but that set does have a release date. Or rather, several: March 24 in the U.S., March 23 in Australia/New Zealand, and March 18 in Scandinavia and the UK/rest of Europe, with the same label distribution as above. So many places!

As if all that weren't exciting enough, here's Karin in the Fever Ray press release: "I hope that my newly found live band will make it to the stages next year. We are rehearsing and building something beautiful and brilliant." Keen!

The Knife, as you'll recall, are in the throes of writing music and words for an artsy opera loosely inspired by the theories of Charles Darwin. Alas, it is not titled On the Origin of Creepy.

Posted by Matthew Solarski on December 9, 2008 at 11 a.m.

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Blur Reunion: It's On! For Real!

Blur Reunion: It's On! For Real!

After much dilly-dallying, Blur have FINALLY confirmed that they are indeed reuniting, for real this time. Damon Albarn, Alex James, Dave Rowntree, and, yes, Graham Coxon will take the stage for a concert at London's Hyde Park on July 3, 2009. This will be their first full-lineup performance since 2000.

In a video interview on their site (email/mobile info necessary), the band says the reunion rehearsals have been like "putting the A-Team back together" and "like riding a bike."

No other future plans have been announced yet, but we wouldn't be surprised if a Coachella set was in the cards...

Posted by Amy Phillips on December 9, 2008 at 8:45 a.m.

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M. Ward Announces Hold Time Tour

M. Ward Announces <i>Hold Time</i> Tour

Photo by Jen Reel

M. Ward has revealed the first tour in support of his next album, Hold Time. The tour begins near Boston on February 18, which just so happens to be the day after Hold Time comes out on Merge.

As a prelude of sorts to the tour, Ward will appear with Zooey Deschanel as She & Him on Elvis Costello's Sundance Channel show, "Spectacle". She & Him will be Costello's guests on February 11, and Jenny Lewis and son of Bob/Wallflowers guy Jakob Dylan will join them.

Those thirsting for a taste of Hold Time, head here and click on the television knob to hear the lushly orchestrated title track.

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Bloc Party, Cut Copy, Hercules, Crystal Castles Do Ultra

Santogold, Simian Mobile Disco, Ting Tings, Busy P also slated to play Miami fest Bloc Party, Cut Copy, Hercules, Crystal Castles Do Ultra

The weekend of March 27-28, 2009, soon-to-be-sweaty throngs looking to dance will make their annual bee-line to Miami for the Ultra Music Festival. The 11th annual Ultra fest goes down at the city's Bicentennial Park, bringing with it performances from Bloc Party, Cut Copy, Santogold, Crystal Castles, Simian Mobile Disco, Hercules & Love Affair, Roni Size & Reprazent (in their first Stateside appearance in seven years), the Presets, Busy P, the Ting Tings, Deadmau5, and Tiesto. In addition to performing twice, Carl Cox will host a "Carl Cox and Friends" arena with an ultrasecret group of as-yet-unannounced special guests. 

Posted by Paul Thompson on December 9, 2008 at 7 a.m.

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The Tallest Man on Earth Hits the Road With Bon Iver

The Tallest Man on Earth Hits the Road With Bon Iver

Overlooked Swedish songwriter Kristian Matsson, aka the Tallest Man on Earth, heads off on a three-week tour of the U.S. starting tonight (December 9) in New York City. A number of the dates on the tour are with Bon Iver.

In other news, the Tallest Man recently released this year's Shallow Grave in vinyl and digital formats in North America via Mexican Summer. The LP edition is limited to 1,000 copies.

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Annuals Line Up Winter Tour With Jessica Lea Mayfield

Annuals Line Up Winter Tour With Jessica Lea Mayfield

Photo by Autumn de Wilde

The dawn of a new year seems as good a time as any for a band like Annuals to kick off a brand new tour, and so it will be in January, when the North Carolinian set hits North America for a little more than a month. They will be joined at every turn by young Ohioan Jessica Lea Mayfield-- whose recent With Blasphemy So Heartfelt is worth more than a few spins as the weather turns sour-- and What Laura Says, who will represent Annuals' own Terpsikhore imprint.

Mayfield has a few Annuals-less dates of her own before she joins in on all the Fun.

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Monday, December 8

Kanye Thinks Will.i.am Is Producing the New U2 Album

They might be one, but they are most definitely not the same Kanye Thinks Will.i.am Is Producing the New U2 Album

Um, yeah.

But you know what? If Kanye's right, I gotta hand it to U2. That would be one ballsy move. Handing over the keys to the biggest rock band in the world to the guy behind "My Humps" and "I Got It From My Mama" is even riskier than letting the Edge mumble over industrial music or busting out a giant lemon for a world tour. Could it work? Maybe. But if it failed spectacularly, it would be FUCKING HILARIOUS.

Posted by Amy Phillips on December 8, 2008 at 4:20 p.m.

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Mark Kozelek Donates to West Memphis Three Auction

Mark Kozelek Donates to West Memphis Three Auction

Mark Kozelek, it would seem, is a man with a heart of gold and a surplus of sweet swag lying about. How else to explain the Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters master-melancholic's participation in yet another charity auction, his second this year?

July found the Koz selling off some old (blue?) guitars for the benefit of the American Red Cross and Midwestern flood victims, while this month Mark traded pick for pen and autographed a bunch of cool stuff to aid the West Memphis Three, the trio of then-teens believed wrongfully convicted of a 1993 triple homicide and imprisoned (and a favorite cause of more than a few musical types).

The auction runs from now until December 18 (bid here), and includes a number of CDs and LPs, a concert poster, and copies of the Nights of Passed Over lyrics book, all bearing Kozelek's signature. Proceeds go to the West Memphis Three's defense fund.

As if Mark weren't being generous enough already, he's also streaming the entirety of his covers/rarities collection The Finally LP on his MySpace right now. That set hits stores tomorrow (December 9) via Mark's own Caldo Verde imprint, and even the cows on the cover look kinda glum.

Posted by Matthew Solarski on December 8, 2008 at 3:15 p.m.

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Bell Orchestre (Arcade Fire Mems.) Sign to Arts & Crafts

Bell Orchestre (Arcade Fire Mems.) Sign to Arts & Crafts

They're a Canadian band (Montreal!) of a certain size (six!), which makes Bell Orchestre a prime candidate for inclusion into the fold at Arts & Crafts, home to such large Canadian troupes as Broken Social Scene, the Hidden Cameras, and, er, honorary Canadians Los Campesinos!

As you might recall, Belle Orchestre is comprised of the Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry and Sarah Neufeld, plus Stefan Schenider and Pietro Amato of Jorane, Mike Feuerstack of snailhouse, and Kaveh Nabatian. The group will issue their as-yet-untitled follow-up to 2005's Recording a Tape the Colour of the Light early next year. They crafted the album with Tortoise's John McEntire at Chicago's Soma Electronic Music Studios.

Once their Arts & Crafts debut is out, the band will hit the road, hard. A few dates have emerged thus far, if that's the sort of thing that rings your proverbial bell.

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Tokyo Police Club Patrol the Venues of North America

Tokyo Police Club Patrol the Venues of North America

This year has been an impressive one for the gents of Tokyo Police Club, what with the release of their debut LP Elephant Shell, lotsa big-time touring (including a stint with Weezer), and their recent Wisteria Lane residency as seen on "Desperate Housewives" (scope the clip here).

The Ontario outfit will cap the year as part of the "Jingle Bell Rock" tour of Canada, and get into the swing of 2009 early with a pretty expansive late winter tour of the States. TPC will also hit up CBS on Wednesday (December 10) for an apperance on "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson".

Once the live stuff wraps, they'll split their time between crafting the follow-up to Elephant Shell and raiding the TiVo for the next program to plunder. May we suggest...

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