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Photos: Arctic Monkeys [Portland, OR; 05/02/07]

Photos by Nilina Mason-Campbell

As seems to be their custom, Arctic Monkeys pummeled through their set at Portland's Roseland Theater last night, not stopping to make conversation with the audience, only playing the tracks. The UK foursome launched into it with "Brianstorm" B-side "If You Found This, It's Probably Too Late", and didn't let up until they arrived at closer "A Certain Romance"-- tackling some twenty songs in just minutes over an hour and pretty much exhausting their thin catalogue.

Arctic Monkeys' spring tour with Be Your Own Pet continues tonight in Seattle. They've also snuck in a bunch of dates overseas since Pitchfork's last report.


CSS Open for Gwen Stefani, Get Remixed by Hot Chip
Let's make love and listen to Return of Saturn

From touring with Diplo to cavorting with everyone's favorite green goblin Paris Hilton at Coachella to, this summer, opening for Gwen Stefani, CSS have proven time and time again one unerring truth: they have a lot of blonde friends. The Brazilian baile-dancers will warm up eight crowds for the Lonely Goatherd in the UK, who herself is currently out with Lady Sov and Akon. Wonder what that green room is like.

In other CSS news, they'll put out the "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above" remix single in the UK May 14 and on July 10 in the U.S. on 12" vinyl on Sub Pop. It with reworkings of the track by Hot Chip, Simian Mobile Disco, and Calvin Harris. Fresh! [MORE...]


Great Lake Swimmers Tour, Unleash Ongiara

If you've ever peered down into the murky waters of Lake Michigan, you find that the beach'll do just fine, thanks. So take note of the bravery of maverick alt-countryman Tony Dekker, aka Great Lake Swimmers, who-- following his present overseas excursion with band-- will hit the dusty trails of the U.S. in search of adventure next month.

The jaunt aims to drum up support for Great Lake Swimmers' otherworldly third album Ongiara, out May 8 on Nettwerk. Ongiara features ten tracks of languid folk and guest spots from, among others, Final Fantasy's Owen Pallett. [MORE...]

Califone Expand, Kick Off Tour

Sometimes, Califone once pointed out, good weather follows bad people. So if you're out at a gig put on by the raggedy folk troupe and the sun is shinin', well, you know that Tim Rutili must be making some mischief.

No, it's not like that; summer's here, and the time is right for a little hazy Dobro and hush-plucked banjo. Such is Califone, the lovable low-key Chicago institution hitting the road tonight for a month of dates, many of which you're already aware. One expects they'll run through quite a bit of the lovely Roots & Crowns, and perhaps take a spin around "Ladders", the song they contributed to the Trials of Darryl Hunt soundtrack. Heck, they'll play 'em all; those guys have quite the stamina. Eric Johnson of the Fruit Bats supports Califone for bunch of these shows.

Califone, as we recently revealed, might just exceed their set times at this summer's Pitchfork Music Festival, and we couldn't be happier about it. We just hope they bring some of that good weather with 'em. [MORE...]


Albert Hammond, Jr. Plots Spring/Summer Jaunt

At the rate the Albert Hammond, Jr. train is going, the Strokes may be facing a downtime between albums of Radiohead-like proportions. The curly-haired noodler has announced his spring and summer dates, and he's got enough shows to keep him busy through the end of August.

After a few weeks of club dates in the U.S. and Mexico, Hammond and his band (bassist Josh Lattanzi, drummer Matt Romano, guitarist Steve Schiltz, and guitarist/keyboardist Marc Eskenazi) will head over to Europe for two fistfuls of festival dates.

Hammond and co. start things off May 20 in San Francisco, and joining them on their U.S. dates will be Cambridge, Mass. group the Dead Trees. [MORE...]

Download Fest Nabs Shins, Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade
And Incubus!

The third U.S. incarnation of the gadget-gaga Download Festival will make four stops in the States as the late summer turns to early fall. According to and the festival website's press photos, Download will bring with it old friends like the Shins, Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade, and Incubus. More like Succubus! Burn. These four succulent acts are just a taste of the fest's sure-to-be-stunna lineup, which'll get a whole lot heftier May 29.

The Download Fest is merely the little brother to the long-running, testosterone-fueled UK throwdown, which stretches over June 8-10 in Leicester's Donington Park, and sports Korn, Linkin Park, Mötley Crüe, and Hinder, among others. Suddenly, the prospect of standing in the beer line while Incubus plays "Drive" doesn't seem so bad. [MORE...]

Klaxons Cover Timberlake's "My Love" on New Single

Post-Coachella, Klaxons may have shifted their focus to saturating European clubs and festivals with their neon-flavored rock goodness (save for their July 15 appearance at our own Pitchfork Music Festival), but they still have the U.S. on their minds. Namely, our futuresexy r&b superstars.

Case in point: their cover of Pitchfork's favorite song of 2006, Justin Timberlake's "My Love", which Klaxons will release as the B-side to another cover, "It's Not Over Yet", originally by Paul Oakenfold. The single is out June 25 in the UK, according to a report from (According to the band's U.S. label, Rinse/DGC, no American release is planned at the moment.) Both the CD and etched 7" versions of the single will include "My Love" along with the Justice remix of the A-side.

True to form, the new rave (not new rave) trio have added even more dates to their tour, including a May 20 appearance at BBC Radio 1's free Big Weekend festival. [MORE...]


Coxon Rep on Blur/Coxon Reunion: "Nothing Concrete"

Weary, perhaps, of one-upping The Great Escape over and over on his own, Graham Coxon has apparently given in to years of speculation at last and jumped back onto the good ship Blur. Most of this reunion chatter stems from a widely- circulated quote from Blur bassist Alex James, whose autobiography, Bit of a Blur, hits UK shelves June 7: "We're all heading into the studio this summer," he said. "Graham's coming too."

The quote has been generally attributed to this story on Yahoo!'s Dotmusic, although it appeared two days prior (April 28) on several other websites, none of which names a source. James purportedly added that the reunion is fairly tentative, and that the boys are "gonna see if they've still got it... if not, I think we'll just call it a day." We're hopeful-- at this point, Damon Albarn could form a band with Matt Damon, Damon Wayans, Damon Dash, and Johnny Damon of the Yankees and make it work.

While not exactly denying the studio rendezvous, Graham Coxon's management, meanwhile, isn't confirming anything at this point. "There's a lot of rumour and conjecture around about Blur at the minute," Coxon's manager wrote today in a statement to Pitchfork, "but I can tell you that nothing concrete has been planned for the band."

No word on how drummer Dave Rowntree's potential post as Marylebone district councilman might affect the possible reunion plans; guess they'll hash that out after the results arrive from today's elections. Wait, election day is Thursday in England? Buncha tea-sippin' weirdos.

Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Beat Happening on Vera DVD
Plus: Sebadoh, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Dead Moon, Gun Club, Gories

Vera Club, the Groningen, Netherlands alt-rock aggrandizing institution, is as well known for the shows they host as they are for the unique posters that accompany each band's visit to the the north-country locale. Graphic designers Niek Schutter and Ricky Van Durren have collected 330 posters from past Vera Club shows and called it Rockin' on Paper, a book featuring images and text pertaining to the perennial project.

Out now in limited edition, Rockin' also includes interviews with members of Sonic Youth and more. And to help us relive the memories even more vividly, the book comes complete with a DVD featuring live vintage Vera Club performances by Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Beat Happening, Sebadoh, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Gun Club, Dead Moon, the Gories...and Monster Magnet. Memory lane, here we come. [MORE...]

Mike Watt Collab Fever: Petra Haden, Go! Team's Kaori

As inspiring as the Minutemen lyric is, if Mike Watt were in a group today who said, "Our band could be your life," the real question would be, "Which band?" Between his time spent on tour with the Stooges (and writing about it here) and various records and shows with side projects like the Missingmen, Unknown Instructors, and Dos, Watt's 2007 is shaping up to be a typically busy year. And that's not even including his contribution to the previously reported Guilt by Association compilation or his weekly radio show, "The Watt From Pedro Show".

It is in the spirit of Dos, his two-bass duo with former Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler, that Watt has added even more to his plate in the form of two new duos.

The first is Pelicanman, with Watt's longtime friend and collaborator Petra Haden, who is working on a record of a cappella songs from movies in her own free time. Pelicanman started when Haden asked Watt to play with her at an upcoming benefit on May 6 for the Society for the Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound (SASSAS). From there, Watt gave her a handful of songs he had written, and now they practice every day in preparation for the benefit. They hope to record at some point, but right now, they're working mostly on adding original, collaborative songs to their repertoire.

Watt's contribution to the Guilt by Association comp featured Haden as well as Nels Cline (Wilco guitarist), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer), and "Money Mark" Nishita (one of a few "fourth Beastie Boy"s). It's a super-fun cover of Blue Oyster Cult's "Burnin' for You", and you can download it via the link below. Haden also contributed to the GbA comp with her own cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'".

The second of Watt's new duos is with Go! Team guitarist Kaori Tsuchida. Going under the name Funanori (Japanese for "shipman," a nod to Watt's sailor father), the duo features Watt on bass and Tsuchida on vocals, flutes, drums, and an Okinawan stringed instrument called the sanshin. Funanori will make their debut on a forthcoming Transduction Records split EP with Tokyo quartet LITE. The EP doesn't yet have a title or a specific release date, but Watt informed Pitchfork that Funanori's songs for it are due at the end of May.

Finally (if that's even possible to say with Mike Watt), Watt and Kira Roessler will release the fourth Dos album soon, and he also has plenty of tour dates to keep him busy through the spring and the summer. [MORE...]


Pipettes Songwriter Monster Bobby Unveils LP Details

Monster Bobby-- the songwriter behind the polka-dotted pop machine known as the Pipettes, and the author of a forthcoming book about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop titled Hauntologies-- will release his previously reported debut full-length July 16 in the UK via Hypnote (July 17 in the U.S.).

The album's title, Gaps, is a play on the fact that it features "the almost complete absence of any gaps between tracks, each one segued into the next with the aid of field recordings and other assorted noises and soundscapes," according to a press release. In addition to those noises and soundscapes, Gaps features bassoon, glockenspiel, tuba, and cornet in the Monster mash.

Monster Bobby apparently has a sense of humor: Gaps' tracks include "Let's Check Into a Hospital Together" and "The Closest Experience to That of Being With You Is the Experience of Taking Drugs". Ryan Morey, who mastered an album called Funeral by some band with an awful name (Video Game Flame or something?), is mastering Gaps as well. [MORE...]

Madonna Charity Tribute [ft. Devendra] Details Emerge

At times, it's no cinch to justify one's love for EstherMadonna; every "Hung Up" comes paired with a Swept Away, reminding us that even greatness can benefit from a forthright editor from time to time.

But a whole bunch of wonky indie artists are making it okay to love Madge again, thanks to Through the Wilderness, a loving freak-folk-heavy tribute to Madonna from the freaky folk at Manimal Vinyl. Way back in February, we told you just a bit about the CD/LP, but we're just rolling in the details now: there's a full tracklist, a few new artists on the roster (Ariel Pink chief among 'em), a September 4 release date, and a worthy cause Wilderness will support: a quarter of the profits will be funneled to Raising Malawi, the Madonna-helmed organization designed to support the million HIV/AIDS orphans in Malawi.

The CD version of Through the Wilderness comes complete with a megamix from Doctor Awesome, whose other awesome job involves pounding on shit; pull back the curtain, and Doctor Awesome is none other than Gabe Serbian of the Locust. We're also told of a pair of release parties in Los Angeles and New York featuring many of the compilation's artists, plus "a special guest." No details yet, but could it be the former Mrs. Penn herself? [MORE...]
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