Friday, December 5

Rufus Wainwright Talks Family Christmas Show, Opera

"There's no suicides or wars or babies being poisoned or anything." Rufus Wainwright Talks Family Christmas Show, Opera

Photo by Shannon McClean

Spending the holidays with your family can be a bit trying-- to say the least-- if you'd rather not revisit a treasure trove of bad memories. But if your flock consisted of a bunch of Canadian folkie legends, some cool young kids who make some fine music of their own, and an extended crew including Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Emmylou Harris and that Jimmy Fallon joker, your Yule season might be a tad bit merrier, yes? That would appear to be the idea behind the "McGarrigle Christmas Hour", an annual variety show put on by longstanding folk duo the McGarrigle Sisters and rounded out by friends and family alike.

Singer/composer Rufus Wainwright is the son of McGarrigle Sister Kate McGarrigle, and he'll join the Christmas Hour when it hits New York's Carnegie Hall December 10, sharing the stage with his mother and aunt Anna, his sister Martha, aunt Sloan Wainwright, Linda Thompson and kids Teddy and Kami, the aforementioned Reed, Anderson, Harris, and Fallon, and drag queen Justin Bond. Such a wild bunch could lead to some standard family dysfunction, but as Rufus tells it, a little dysfunction is kind of the point.

We spoke to Rufus Wainwright earlier this week about what to expect from the big holiday show, what growing up in a musical family was like around Christmastime, and the looming debut of his first opera, Prima Donna.

Side note: The whole McGarrigle/Wainwright family (minus Rufus' father Loudon Wainwright III) will appear on "The Martha Stewart Show" on Tuesday, December 9 to "bake ski biscuits with Martha," according to Rufus' website. That should be...interesting. He promises, "I'm premiering a brand new song called 'Christmas Is for Kids' - it's about how jealous I am when Martha gets more presents than I do. 'It's easier to buy stuff for girls': THAT'S SUCH BULLSHIT!!!!!!"


Stipe, Bright Eyes, Beasties Design Charity Lunch Boxes

Stipe, Bright Eyes, Beasties Design Charity Lunch Boxes

The Lunchbox Auction has returned for another year with more sandwich containers designed by famous people for charity. This year's crop includes designs from Bright Eyes, Michael Stipe, Beastie Boys, Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, Rufus Wainwright, Tony Bennett, the Ting Tings, Ellen Page, Salman Rushdie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and the cast of "Gossip Girl" (the lunch pail that is "every parent's nightmare"). Pictured above is Yoko Ono's lunchbox.

The lunchboxes will go up for auction at the Lunchbox Auction's website on December 11, with bidding ending December 18. Proceeds from the auctions will go to two hunger relief charities, the Food Bank for New York City and the Lunchbox Fund of South Africa.

Posted by Dave Maher on December 5, 2008 at 7 a.m.

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Thursday, December 4

Hey, It's an Animal Collective Film Project Quasi-Update

Hey, It's an Animal Collective Film Project Quasi-Update

Way the eff back in August 2006, word was the mighty Animal Collective were "starting to film for a very special release next year." When we talked to Noah "Panda Bear" Lennox a few months later in November, he affirmed that filming for the project had begun and added that "AC will make the music for it" once director Danny Perez (who also did the "Who Could Win a Rabbit" video) was "done editing all the footage." So far, so good.

Fast forward to a Saturday afternoon at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival (also captured for, where Dave "Avey Tare" Portner spoke of filming assorted "scenarios" inspired by art/experimental films and apparently featuring the acting talents of the AC guys. Portner also claimed "we've been coming up with music ideas" and noted the "visual record" would ultimately surface on DVD.

All caught up? Great. That brings us to a report today, in which Portner teases a bit more about the project in question. "This year, we got to a place where we can start doing demos and nailing all the sounds down, while we're at home," he told "It's something new for all of us. It's been a work-as-we-go process." Portner again refers to the thing as a "visual record."

Still no word whatsoever on when we'll actually see the thing, but it's not like Animal Collective don't have plenty else going on in the meantime. Merriweather Post Pavilion and its trippy cover art (speaking of "visual" records...) descend in January, and AC have a short run of live dates surrounding the release.

That's all for "Animal Collective Non-News" today, folks. Tune in tomorrow for a non-update on the AC box set that's been "due to arrive soon" for approximately 55 years now. Or, hell, have it today: according to a late October post on label Catsup Plate's website, "All we can say is that it's coming."


Vetiver Sign to Sub Pop for New Album, Hit the Road

Vetiver Sign to Sub Pop for New Album, Hit the Road

Andy Cabic's Vetiver have signed on with seasoned Seattle imprint Sub Pop, which will issue the act's fourth LP, Tight Knit, February 17 on CD and vinyl. The long-gestating 10-track set was produced by old pal Thom Monahan at a few California locales. And, with that, Sub Pop have now officially cornered the market on bearded bands with a thing for flannel.

Cabic and company will take to the road beginning tonight (December 4) for a bunch of dates, several of which they'll share with those Black Crowes.


The Boy Least Likely To Finally Announce New Album

The Boy Least Likely To Finally Announce New Album

"This record should have been released sooner," admits a press release for the Boy Least Likely To's forthcoming sophomore album, The Law of the Playground. Unfortunately, the album got tangled up in label drama, but it will finally see release March 3 via the English duo's own Too Young to Die label in the UK and in North America via +1.

Contrary to a previous report, the follow-up to 2005's The Best Party Ever will not include recently Forkcasted holiday single "The First Snowflake". It will, however, include not-so-recently Forkcasted ditties "I Box Up All the Butterflies" and "Balloon on a Broken String".

"The First Snowflake" will be released as a download-only single on December 15, and that will be the only way to get it until the Boy Least Likely To release a greatest hits/B-sides and rarities/holiday album, of course.

The Boy Least Likely To's only show scheduled right now is an appearance at a Christmas party at London's Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen on December 15, the same day as the single's release.


NIN Tour Film Not Coming to Theater/DVD Near You

Band adds 2009 dates, Reznor hints at NIN hiatus NIN Tour Film <i>Not</i> Coming to Theater/DVD Near You

Photo by Kirstie Shanley

Imagine it: all the power and the glory and the fancy technology of Nine Inch Nails' epic live show for this year's "Lights in the Sky" tour, as filmed by James freakin' Cameron's production team and plastered across an IMAX movie screen near you-- in three riveting dimensions! Now hold onto those imaginings, because they're all you're gonna get.

In a post on the NIN website this week (permalink here), Trent Reznor broke the bad news that the 3D NIN tour document he had dreamed up for theatrical release and eventual DVD issue just wasn't meant to be. Reznor chalks it up to "two critical mistakes." As he writes, "One was to approach a certain record company that owns some of the song rights about producing/funding. The second was to allow said company to fuck around as usual for months before saying um... no." Golly, now which company might he be talking about?

Papa Angst goes on to declare his live thing "FOR SURE the best show of the year and any bullshit end-of-the-year poll you may read in the next few weeks that says otherwise simply has it wrong. Those of you who saw it know I'm right." Thankfully he calls this "a Kanye West moment" so we don't have to.

Nine Inch Nails have added a run of 2009 dates Down Under, and oh hey, here's an interesting thing: Quoth Trent, "The shows we have announced in 2009 and any more that may be announced will be a completely different approach with some different personnel and will likely be the last for the foreseeable future." Some folks might call that a "hiatus," so NIN fans, consider yourselves warned.

All upcoming dates and the full text of Trent's post reside below.


Arcade Fire Lend "Body" to Benjamin Button TV Spot

Arcade Fire Lend "Body" to <i>Benjamin Button</i> TV Spot

Big is a movie about a kid who gets his wish to be a grown-up, Jack is a movie about a kid who looks like a grown-up, Youth Without Youth is a movie about a grown-up who grows younger, and, well, the forthcoming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button appears to roll aspects of all these films into one.

Starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, Panic Room), Button looks to be quite the drama-rama-- which may explain why some savvy marketing person decided to soundtrack a TV spot for the film with a portion of the Arcade Fire's grandiose, organ-saturated Neon Bible closer "My Body Is a Cage" [via The Playlist]. Check it:

Big whoop, right? Songs are in movie trailers all the time. True, but the Arcade Fire have been especially particular about where and to whom they license their music, resulting in precious few crossover deals like this one. The Playlist report suggests the band made an exception in this case due to an admiration for director Fincher's work, something the Arcade Fire camp has yet to confirm.

UPDATE: According to the Arcade Fire's management, "This is the first time the band have used their music in this way. David Fincher asked them to look at the trailer. They all thought it was a good use of the music. They have no issue with licensing music when it’s used in a creative way. It rarely happens."

Oh, and lest there be any misunderstandings, the Arcade Fire are not doing the score for this one, either.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is due in theaters Christmas Day (December 25).

Posted by Matthew Solarski on December 4, 2008 at 12:15 p.m.



Times New Viking Play Velvet Underground Cover Show

Times New Viking Play Velvet Underground Cover Show

Times New Viking will plant a sloppy kiss on the Velvet Underground catalog at a Valentine's Day show in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

The February 14 performance is at the closing party for the Wexner Center for the Arts' Andy Warhol exhibition, "Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms," and it will feature Times New Viking playing a set of Velvet Underground covers.

All the Valentine's Day sweetness without the chalky taste of candy hearts!

(Full disclosure: A few weeks ago, Pitchfork managing editor Mark Richardson spoke on a panel at the Wexner Center about the Velvet Underground, in conjunction with the Warhol exhibit.)

Thanks to reader Jared Hamilton for the tip.

Times New Viking are currently wrapping up a tour with Deerhunter.


Long Blonde Cox Rehabs From Stroke With Robo-Glove

Long Blonde Cox Rehabs From Stroke With Robo-Glove

Photo by Devon Banks

Long Blondes guitarist Dorian Cox's stroke paralyzed the right side of his body, forced his band to break up , and cast doubt on his ability to play guitar ever again. But now, really sweet technology is helping him regain movement in his right hand. What is this sweet technology, you ask? It's called a SaeboFlex glove, and based on the way it looks, we're kind of hoping Cox forgets about music and decides to start fighting crime .

According to a report , "The SaeboFlex supports the weakened wrist, hand, and fingers, strengthening muscles and helping patients re-learn how to grasp and release objects. The device is entirely mechanical, using springs and levers instead of electricity." Cox is using the glove in a regimen at the PhysioFunction center in York, England.

"It's helping tremendously, and I think it can work wonders for me and others-- it's almost like a gym for my hand," Cox said.

Cox still can't play guitar, and he is aware that his musical future remains uncertain: "I know things might never be the same again, and nobody can give me a definite answer about whether I'll play guitar again." Either way, he said, "I'm getting back on track," and hooray for that.

Posted by Dave Maher on December 4, 2008 at 10:30 a.m.



Weezer, Daft Punk, Justice Hit Tap Tap iPhone Apps

Plus: Basement Jaxx, Chemical Brothers, Moby, Digitalism Weezer, Daft Punk, Justice Hit <i>Tap Tap</i> iPhone Apps

See, Virginia? Sometimes Christmas wishes do come true. As you may recall, Weezer front-bro Rivers Cuomo suggested earlier this week that the band had recorded new renditions of yuletide classics for iPhone gaming app Tap Tap Revenge. Turns out he wasn't just elfing around: today Tap Tap producers Tapulous unveiled Christmas With Weezer, a new app all set to stuff e-stockings this holiday season.

Rejoice in hearing Rivers and the gang rollick through perennial favorites "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", "Silent Night", "O Holy Night", "The First Noel", "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", and "O Come, All Ye Faithful" as you compete to see how fast you can come down with carpal tunnel syndrome while pecking away at your iPhone screen.

All six carols were recorded specifically for this game, though Weezer fans in a non-festive mood will be pleased to know Christmas With Weezer also includes Red Album singles "Pork and Beans" and "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)" as bonus tap-alongs.

Or, for the more discotheque-oriented iPhone user in your life, it's Tap Tap Dance, another new app from Tapulous that beefs up the bpms. Jams from Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, Moby, the Chemical Brothers, and Digitalism help make up the tracklist, along with an epic Soulwax remix of Justice that serves as a final level, complete with custom visuals inspired by the ending of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ahhh, so that's what the creepy black monolith thing was supposed to be: an iPhone prototype.


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