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Piano Magic Conjure Part Monster
Macaulay Culkin hellbent on conjuring Party Monster sequel

Led by pedal-fixated guitarist Glen Johnson, Piano Magic have helped soundtrack late night excursions into the nether realms for over ten years now, championed by those who still long to shoegaze like it's 1991.

The band returns May 22 with the release of Part Monster on Massachusetts' Important Records. Marrying shoegaze's dreamy aesthetic with cinematic rockers, folk balladry, and other genre dabblings, Part Monster features production from Laika's Guy Fixsen, whose part in shaping the shoegaze sound (through working with My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Lush, Chapterhouse, Moose, Revolver, and more, as well as Stereolab and the Breeders) cannot be overstated.

Among its 10 tracks, Part Monster also includes a slightly souped-up version of last year's wonderful "Incurable", titled "Incurable (Reprise)", and the transcendent old-school gazer "Saints Preserve Us".

Piano Magic have a shoe-ful of European gigs lined up in the coming weeks-- most of them, appropriately, in boot-shaped Italy.

In related news, Johnson (who also records as Textile Ranch) and bandmate Cedric Pin recently put out an album on LTM as Future Conditional. Titled We Don't Just Disappear, it's available now in the U.S. via Darla. Sometime Piano Magic vocalist Angele David-Guillou also served up an album last month, on Peacefrog, as Klima. [MORE...]

My Morning Jacket to Open for Bob Dylan
Jim James to play New Orleans benefit

Bob Dylan is not to be underestimated. The man continues to have excellent taste in opening acts. My Morning Jacket will warm up the crowd before Dylan at two Colorado dates in July.

MMJ songwriter Jim James has also added another solo show to his previously reported repertoire of full-band festival dates, solo one-offs, and a DJ set. The new show is the second "Musicians Bringing Musicians Home" concert to benefit New Orleans musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Following a May 26 tour of the city to see some of the damage that still remains as a result of the hurricane, James will play alongside OK Go's Damian Kulash, Indigo Girls, Matt Nathanson, and New Orleans musicians Al "Carnival Time" Johnson and Bonearama. The show takes place May 27 at Tipitina's Uptown and was organized with the potential for the performers to sit in on each other's sets.

The Future of Music Coalition and Air Traffic Control are presenting the concert, and proceeds will benefit Sweet Home New Orleans, a coalition of non-profit organizations whose goal is to help New Orleans artists find affordable housing in the city.

Don't forget that James' pre-My Morning Jacket band, Mont de Sundua, will unearth their sophomore album for a May 22 release on James' Removador label. [MORE...]

Casiotone, Bunnygrunt, BMX Bandits Do NYC Popfest
Plus: caUSE co-MOTION!, Pipas, Pelle Carlberg, Human Television, Dear Nora, Ballboy

Twee kids, this one's for you! Giving a glitter-speckled finger (with Lisa Frank polish on the nail) to all those bands in New York City who take themselves way too seriously, NYC Popfest descends upon the nation's most populous city this coming Memorial Day weekend.

Wait, another Popfest? Didn't Pitchfork just report one of these things yesterday?

And indeed we did. But that was the Athens Popfest (going down in August), and this is the NYC Popfest (going down later this month). And while both boast similarly twee-tastic lineups and share a spiritual kinship, they're separate entities organized by separate pop-loving bodies.

Anyhow, from May 24 through May 28, Popfest NYC takes over assorted city venues-- including Cake Shop, the Knitting Factory, Union Pool, the Delancey, and more-- to bring you a delightful and eclectic assortment of indie-pop goodness.

Highlights include Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Bunnygrunt, Pipas, caUSE co-MOTION!, Human Television, Pelle Carlberg, Dear Nora, Ballboy, a performance by Michael Grace's post-My Favorite project the Secret History, and a rare appearance by longstanding Scot-poppers BMX Bandits.

The happy-go-lucky lineup is rounded out by the following: the Smittens, the Lil' Hospital, Pants Yell!, Cars Can Be Blue, the Besties, Michael Leviton, the Ballet, Baskervilles, the Gazetteers, My Teenage Stride, Yellow Fever, the Specific Heats, Surefire Broadcast, Affair d'Coeur, Best Fwends, Brown Recluse Sings, the Gritty Midi Gang, Harvey Williams, Lispector, the Metric Mile, Mitch Easter, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the Reverse, Titans of Filth, Shirley Beans, and the Orange Peels.

Ladytron DJ Across North America

Dress up rock and/or roll with as many synths as you can plug into the big board; it still takes some real goosin' to get folks to dance to it. Ladytron hit that sweet spot more than most as a live band, but they also like to move bodies using only the magic of spinning records.

In their nonstop quest to get you groovin', Mira Aroyo and Reuben Wu of Ladytron will embark on a DJ tour, starting tonight in Atlanta. The tour will feature the duo spinning what Wu refers to as "a mixture of rocky-dance, dancey-rock and several shades of in between." Rocky dance!

The band will also take their Ladytronics on the road as a fearsome foursome a number of times this summer, all the while dreaming up ways to compile the 20 songs they've recorded for the follow up to 2005's Witching Hour. [MORE...]

Photos: The Blow / Electrelane [New York, NY; 05/15/07]

Photos by Kathryn Yu

With cohort Jona Bechtolt recovering from a recent YACHT trip with LCD Soundsystem, the Blow's Khaela Maricich worked the mic solo-style at New York's Irving Plaza last night, dispensing relationship advice culled from 2006's excellent Paper Television over charming lo-fi beats.

Electrelane-- featuring former Pitchfork scribe Mia Lily Clarke on guitar-- played as well, treating showgoers to selections from this year's lovely No Shouts, No Calls.

Both bands have dates in the coming weeks, with Electrelane opening several shows for Arcade Fire.




Exploding Hearts' Bankston Cooks Up Memphis Treat

Though he left Exploding Hearts before the release of their first (and, sadly, only) album, Guitar Romantic, "King" Louie Bankston has carried the rock torch for his former bandmates since the untimely deaths of the Hearts' Jeremy Gage, Adam Cox, and Matthew Fitzgerald in a 2003 automobile accident.

Bankston has recorded in several incarnations in recent years. His most recent full-length, Memphis Treat, is credited to King Louie & the Loose Diamonds, a group that includes members of Tearjerkers, Kajun SS, and Viva L'American Deathray Music. The record was mixed by the legendary Jim Dickinson, who has produced Big Star, the Replacements, and many, many others.

Empty Records will release Memphis Treat on June 5.

Thanks to reader Ben Glover for the tip.

The Nice Boys, the new band from surviving Heart Terry Six, released their self-titled debut album last year. They have a few shows scheduled for the end of May in the Pacific Northwest. [MORE...]


Sufjan Pens Eggers' Nonrequired Collection Intro

When the 2007 edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading hits bookshelves (in paperback and hardcover formats) on October 10 of this year, it'll come packed with one extra reason to make fans of literate, sensitive white guys get all McSwooney.

In addition to series editor Dave Eggers (of You Shall Know Our Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius fame), who once again selects the essays, short stories, screenplays, comics, blogs(!), and lit ephemera that comprise this eclectic collection, the sixth volume in the annual series will feature an introduction penned by Sufjan Stevens, very much in touch with his literary side in recent months.

Sufjan follows in the inkblots of previous Nonrequired intro scribes like Beck, Matt Groening, Viggo Mortensen, and Zadie Smith. We'd venture to guess that #1 Decemberists fan Carson Ellis did the cover art for this one.

Published by Houghton Mifflin, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007 also includes contributions from Stephen Colbert, Alison Bechdel, Matt Klam, Scott Carrier, Lee Klein, and others. Students from Eggers' 826 Valencia writing center helped the editor choose material for this year's collection.

Interpol, CSS, Bloc Party Play San Fran's BFD
Also: Kaiser Chiefs, QOTSA, the Faint

The BFD-- a yearly grand day out put on by San Fran terrestrial radio station KITS Live 105-- is, as its name would suggest, a Big Festival Day (wink). And this year, it's gotten even bigger, featuring indie-friendly (though, curiously, not always radio-friendly) acts like Interpol, Queens of the Stone Age, Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, CSS, the Faint, Cold War Kids, and Silversun Pickups.

Though the rest of the lineup is peppered with the likes of Sum 41 and the Bravery, there's always the chance you could catch Sum 41 hubby Avril Lavigne skulking around, yelling at babies or something.

BFD will rattle Mountain View, CA's Shoreline Amphitheatre on June 9.


Dinosaur Jr. Touring All Over

It wasn't enough for Dinosaur Jr. to stage one of the finest indie rock resuscitation of all time; they had to go and make it stick.

The prehistoric prog-poppers, who've gotta be feeling good about their immensely satisfying, freshly-issued record Beyond, have added a whole lot of dates to the back end of their tour. What's more, Lou Barlow himself will pull double-duty as he opens a handful of the band's U.S. dates by his lonesome.

In other Dinosaur Jr. news, the guys are involved in few new DVD projects: one being a compilation of performances from the Netherlands' Vera Club, and the other a live set captured at a number of locales on their 2005 tour. The Vera Club DVD's is out now in limited Euro-only edition; Live in the Middle East, as the latter's called, is out May 29 from Image Entertainment. And Barlow backers will be glad to know there's a 52- track reissue of Sebadoh's debut out July 10 from Domino, too.

And don't forget that on June 11, Dinosaur Jr. will perform an 8:00 pm free show at the Urban Outfitters in  Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as part of Free Yr Radio. Remember, that Yaris thing that benefits local community radio stations? This show benefits WERS.

Man, if real dinosaurs moved this fast, we'd all be dead. [MORE...]


Brightblack Morning Light Kick Off Euro Tour Tonight

Keeping it fine and mellow is Brightblack Morning Light's business, and business is booming. The repose-rockers-- still flying high on the strength of last year's fine self-titled debut-- have soared all the way to the great European beyond for a string of dates ("The Many Nations Peaceful Crystal Totem Turr") kicking off tonight in London.

They'll switch off club sets with stints at some of the continent's biggest festivals before taking a big ol' vacation through most of June. That is, unless they schedule more dates, or plan to spend the month kicking around Holland, both of which we'd believe. Set an alarm, guys. [MORE...]

The Horrors Ditch BRMC, Schedule Solo Dates

It turns out the Horrors have love for the U.S. after all. Though their debut LP, Strange House, was previously reported as a UK-only release on Loog Records, the album is out in the U.S. today via Stolen Transmission.

The London quintet have canceled their North American tour partnership with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but they will celebrate the album's release with a North American headlining tour beginning June 4 in Brooklyn. After wrapping things up on these shores in June, the band will head to Europe for a couple fistfuls of festival dates. [MORE...]

Prince, Andre, Kweli, Rhymefest on Cornel West LP
Plus: Black Thought, Killer Mike, KRS-One, Dead Prez's M-1, Michael Eric Dyson

Dr. Cornel West-- prominent intellectual and scholar, author of Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and current professor of religion at Princeton-- follows up his 2001 foray into recorded music, Sketches of My Culture, with another CD marrying the topics of the day with beats and rhymes. And this time he's brought some friends.

Prince, Outkast's Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, Rhymefest, the Roots' Black Thought, Killer Mike, KRS-One, Dead Prez's M-1, and Rah Digga all contribute to Dr. West's Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations, out June 19 on soul imprint Hidden Beach's new Hidden Beach Forum offshoot, according to

"This is an attempt to go back to hip-hop's prophetic roots," West told the publication, "which are about truth-telling, exposing lies, and having fun."

Fellow thinkers Michael Eric Dyson and Tavis Smiley also guest, as does singer Gerald Levert, who passed away last fall. [MORE...]
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File-icon Wed: 05-16-07: 03:29 PM CDT
More Interpol U.S. Tour Dates Added

File-icon Wed: 05-16-07: 02:38 PM CDT
Young Jeezy Will Make Your Dream Come True

File-icon Wed: 05-16-07: 12:38 PM CDT
My Morning Jacket to Open for Bob Dylan

File-icon Wed: 05-16-07: 11:20 AM CDT
Photos: The Blow / Electrelane [New York, NY; 05/15/07]

File-icon Wed: 05-16-07: 11:00 AM CDT
Exploding Hearts' Bankston Cooks Up Memphis Treat

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