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Mountain Goats, Darnielle Play Benefit/Celebration Gigs

Mountain Goats songwriter John Darnielle (who still has one of the best music blogs on the interblock) doesn't have a lot of shows scheduled this spring, but the shows he will play are all of the highest quality.

On May 5, the Mountain Goats will play Chapel Hill's Local 506 as part of the club's anniversary celebration. Then on May 11, Darnielle will go solo at a free in-store at respected Brooklyn record store Sound Fix to commerorate the re-opening of the store's café.

Alongside Superchunk, the Mountain Goats will also play the Eff Cancer Benefit at Chicago's Metro on June 20.

Darnielle's last two currently scheduled dates-- both solo and "probably unamplified either in a barn or outside" (according to the man himself in a Mountain Goats website update)-- are benefits for Farm Sanctuary, a vegetarian organization that "rescues animals from all kinds of situations and gives them a place to live out the natural terms of their lives in peace and tranquility." The shows are free, with a ten dollar suggested donation at the door.

In order to raise even more money for Farm Sanctuary, Darnielle is "still batting around the idea of a fan-constructed set where you give more donations the deeper into the back catalog you go. That set would probably be on Sunday [June 17]."

The Farm Sanctuary shows will also feature solo sets from fellow Mountain Goat Peter Hughes and the Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers' Perry Wright. For full information about those shows, including parking, camping, and culinary requests (no meat snacks out of respect for the organization), visit here. [MORE...]


NPR to Broadcast Bjork NYC Gig
I feel the dull flame of Mara Liasson

Raise your flag! Or, at least, your antennae: Björk will beam Volta's electric charge into your whip and down to your tinny computer speakers when her May 5 performance alongside Konono No1 at New York City's United Palace is webcast. Bark if you must at the next NPR pledge drive interrupting "Whad'Ya Know?", but the tote-bag surplus shop/public commodity will be kindly hosting the 'cast on their website, with a little help from New York's own WNYC.

Just in case Vicky Promqueen wants to take you out for smoothies Saturday night at 8 p.m. EDT-- leaving you temporarily untethered from that life-giving box you call laptop-- you'll have a couple cracks at hearing the Björk jams while wallowing in dateless self-pity: NPR will host a stream and an "All Songs Considered" podcast from the show absolutely free of charge, and WNYC will rebroadcast the show from their website and over the airwaves May 14 at 7 p.m. EDT.

Been busying yourself with set design for your "Innocence" video, crafting a wimple for Joanna Newsom, or jerry-rigging a giant clock to count down the hours until Volta's May 8 U.S. release? Give the craft fair a rest, Charlie, and get all up in Björk's grill (in a non-stalkery way, please) on one of her oft-repeated string of tour dates, listed again for the delight of your eyeballs. [MORE...]

Sea & Cake, Jandek, Tim Hecker Play Montreal Fest
Plus: Akron/Family, Sunburned Hand, Charalambides, Fucking Champs, Ex

Some festivals think they can cram an experience into a couple days, but the folks at Montreal's Suoni Per Il Popolo know better. The festival, highlighting all manner of experimental and outsider music (and a few relatively straight-and-narrow acts as well), engulfs an entire month, kicking off June 1 and refusing to let up until June 27.

Dozens of bands will bring the strange to many of the French Canadian town's finest venues. Highlights include the Sea and Cake, Jandek, Tim Hecker, Akron/Family, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Charalambides, the Fucking Champs, Nadja, Les Georges Leningrad, the Ex, Marc Ribot, and Simply Saucer. Way-out parents looking to freak out their four-year-olds should take particular note of June 16, which fest organizers have deemed "Popolo in the Park" family day.

Full festival passes are on sale now, and tickets to individual shows will also be available. For a full performance schedule, make haste towards the festival website.

Exclusive: Imperial Teen Reveal New Album Details

The madames and gents of Imperial Teen haven't exactly reflected their band's name in some years, but after a half-decade absence from the recording booth, they're definitely into class reunion territory. Indeed, the moniker-belying title of their upcoming fourth album (and first in five years) demonstrates such adult-like domesticity. The Hair, the TV, the Baby and the Band will step out August 21 thanks to Merge Records.

In the five year interim between 2002's On and now, the band's been busy thinking of good names for their don't-call-it-a-comeback record, and indeed, they had no further to look than the concerns of the day-to-day. Jone Stebbins, with her hairstyling business, is the Hair; Roddy Bottum's work in the televised arts is the TV; Lynn Truell's had an active womb-life (hence the Baby); and Will Schwartz's side-act Hey Willpower is, natch, the Band.

Though there's nothing firmed up at the moment, Imperial Teen plans to usher out the late summer on tour. [MORE...]

Junior Boys' Goodbye Goes Deluxe
Includes bonus disc packed with remixes, iTunes session

So that wasn't goodbye, after all. Electro-pop heartthrobs Junior Boys, determined to linger a little while longer after the parting words, the valedictory hug, the awkward pause, the second valedictory hug, the half wave, the second awkward pause, etc., hope to milk their Goodbye well into 2007. Hence, So This Is Goodbye (Special Edition), a two-disc deluxe version of the Boys' 2006 masterstroke.

Special Edition arrives June 5 in the U.S. and June 11 overseas via Domino. It features, on disc one, the unadulterated whole of Pitchfork's 11th favorite album of last year. On disc two: a hearty sampling of Goodbye remixes from the likes of Hot Chip, Morgan Geist, Kode 9, and Carl Craig (several of which crop up on the recent Dead Horse EP), as well as Junior Boys' fabled January iTunes live session.

For your complete Junior Boys fix today, do check out the new video for "In the Morning", burning up pixels right now over in Forkcast.

The duo's massive spring trek wraps up this week, with a couple scattered North American dates and an EU jaunt thereafter. [MORE...]

Lupe Fiasco Spills Sophomore Album Details

Photo by Anoulay Tsai

Good luck keeping a mouth as prolific as Lupe Fiasco's down. Backstage at this weekend's Coachella, the West Side Chicago wordsmith blabbed to a few early details of The Cool, his follow-up to last year's boom-bap buffet Food & Liquor. If the title sounds familiar, that could be because it's shared by a track on Food & Liquor. Eh, cool with us.

Lupe's looking at a Halloween release for the record, and is nothing if not modest in his ambitions: he's still looking to pull Pink Floyd to back his shrewd syntax on a track. And, hey, if that doesn't work, he could use Super Furry Animals and no one'd know.

Lupe also told of a 'top secret' collaboration with "another superstar rapper and someone who is a rapper/producer." Gee, think he means K. West and Jigga? Whatever; I'm riding for Jazze Pha and Reh Dogg.

Young Fiasco's got a couple tour dates planned for the summer, and here they are. [MORE...]

Big Boi to Perform With Atlanta Ballet
Big Boi becomes ballerino?

Those who pegged Andre 3000 as the artsy-fartsy member of Outkast may have to reconsider the matter. According to a report from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Big Boi will collaborate with the Atlanta Ballet for a performance scheduled to debut April 10-13 of next year.

The Atlanta Ballet's website describes the event as "an adventuresome, exhilarating evening featuring the world-renowned musical artistry of Big Boi of Outkast as well as artists of Purple Ribbon Entertainment. Daring, progressive, and soulful, these very talented artists perform a stunning collaborative piece, LIVE on stage with Atlanta Ballet's exquisite dancers."

Beyond that, few details have emerged on the performance, but the MC is meeting today (May 1) with members of his Purple Ribbon Entertainment collective and choreographer Lauri Stallings to discuss it. We can only hope the result is something like a reversal of the costumes in this picture.

Zombies to Reunite for Odessey Anniversary Shows

Odessey and Oracle, the blood-coursing, stake-pierced heart of the Zombies' undead catalog, shall walk the earth when four of the original five Zombies-- Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent, Chris White, and Hugh Grundy-- reform to play the entire album through, twice.

Fifth original Zombie and guitarist Paul Atkinson, barring any actual undead activity, will not be present; he passed away in 2004. Keith Airey will round out the fivesome for these special shows, which celebrate Odessey's 40th anniversary.

But that's fuzzy math, you say. Odessey came out in 1968. And indeed, according to Blunstone's website, you'll have the time of the season March 7 and 8 of next year (2008-1968 = 40) at London's Shepherds Bush Empire. Tickets for the bonanza went on sale today.

The concert will be split into two parts; the second, of course, being a run through the gem-packed dynamo, and the first being a cavalcade of classics from other Zombies records, material from Blunstone's solo career, and hits by Rod Argent and Chris White's post-Zombies project, Argent. By hits, we of course mean "Hold Your Head Up".

Photos: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists [Chicago, IL; 04/28/07]

Capturing Ted Leo in still frame is akin to videotaping an apple; it works, but one feels the wrong device is being employed. Standing agog through 80 minutes of Leo's whirling dervish act, one wonders just exactly how he replaces the protein in his vegan diet: despite getting a serious shine on (figuratively and otherwise) circa tune two, Ted never faltered this past weekend at Chicago's Metro.

Sweaty Teddy and his pill-counters spread their set nearly evenly between back catalog highlights and Living With the Living, pausing only briefly for a solo take on Joe Strummer's "Johnny Appleseed". The added oomph of the live setting wears well on "The Sons of Cain" and "Army Bound" (and leaves no room to pick up that confounded whistle in "A Bottle of Bucky"), but "La Costa Brava" and "The Unwanted Things" quickly show their haunches, pleasing though they were to the youthful crowd.

Even the lesser material manages to captivate on the shoulders of Leo's boundless cheerleading, and one can never hear "Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?" or "Me and Mia" too often. After nearly an hour and a half of rudeness-- including an encore-capping all-star jam with the Jai-Alai Savant's Ralph Darden and openers Love of Diagrams-- the set's 10 p.m. endtime couldn't have come soon enough. It's tiring, watching somebody pogo about like that. Tiring, but satisfying.

Ted Leo wraps up his North American tour this month, barely catches his breath, and then does it all over again in Europe.



Postal Service, Flaming Lips, Spektor Cover Lennon

Instant karma's gonna getcha; provided, that is, you plop down some dough on Instant Karma, a 21-track CD of John Lennon covers performed by some of your favorite artists (and, uh, Jack Johnson) with proceeds headed straight to Amnesty International's campaign to save Darfur.

Pitchfork faves the Flaming Lips, R.E.M., Big & Rich, the Postal Service, and Regina Spektor have donated tracks to the disc, while the likes of Willie Nelson, Duran Duran, and Ozzy Osbourne will offer up tracks for digital download. Also, Avril does "Imagine"; for some, a punchline, for others, manna from heaven.

Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur
arrives June 12 via Warner Bros. And yes, some of these covers have been in the ether for a while, but hey, good cause! [MORE...]

T.V. Eye: April 30 - May 6, 2007

Pitchfork's T.V. Picks for This Week:

Monday, April 30:

CBS: "Late Show With David Letterman": Dinosaur Jr.
NBC: "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno": Kaiser Chiefs
NBC: "Late Night With Conan O'Brien": Arctic Monkeys
ABC: "Jimmy Kimmel Live": Silversun Pickups (repeat)
NBC: "Last Call With Carson Daly": Silversun Pickups (repeat)

Tuesday, May 1:

CBS: "Late Show With David Letterman": Modest Mouse
NBC: "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno": Patti Smith
ABC: "Jimmy Kimmel Live": Kaiser Chiefs

Wednesday, May 2:

ABC: "Jimmy Kimmel Live": Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
CBS: "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson": Fountains of Wayne
NBC: "Last Call With Carson Daly": Teddybears

Thursday, May 3:

CBS: "Late Show With David Letterman": Tori Amos
NBC: "Late Night With Conan O'Brien": Patton Oswalt (non-performing guest)
ABC: "Jimmy Kimmel Live": Macy Gray

Friday, May 4:

NBC: "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno": Ne-Yo
NBC: "Late Night With Conan O'Brien": Snoop Dogg (non-performing guest), Tom Waits
IFC: "The Henry Rollins Show": Iggy Pop (guest), the Stooges

Elvis Costello Best-Ofs, Digital Reissues Due
Don't you think that I know that lavish repackaging won't make you a miracle man?

Though his middle-aged musical-leg-stretching has lead him down oft-softer paths, genre- dipping word-tinkerer Elvis Costello once punk rocked with the best of 'em.

Costello, in conjunction with Universal Music Entertainment, hand-picked 22 of the more propulsive numbers from his back catalog and called it Rock and Roll Music; which-- alongside the similarly self-selected Costello crash-course The First 10 Years: The Best of Elvis Costello-- will file in with the seemingly unending pantheon of Costello reissues tomorrow, May 1.

May 1 will also see the digital debut of Costello's first 11 albums. They'll pop up on the iTunes music store May Day and migrate to other outlets 30 days later.

Costello and his current band of Imposters are not coincidentally out on the road for a few dates throughout May. [MORE...]
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