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Exclusive: The Decemberists Sign to Capitol Records

Confirming a rumor that has been floating around the indie world for weeks, Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy revealed to Pitchfork this weekend that his band has indeed signed to Capitol Records. The deal follows a successful run with the beloved independent label Kill Rock Stars, which culminated in the release of the Decemberists' third (and best) album, Picaresque, earlier this year.

"The idea of reaching a wider audience has become really attractive," Meloy said. "It just felt like we had tapped out the resources of Kill Rock Stars. We could have stayed on that label until the end of time, putting out proper Decemberists records that sold x amount of copies. But there was a general thought after this last tour that the music and the stage show were evolving. We felt like there was an opportunity for something bigger."

"We adore Kill Rock Stars and we're profoundly lucky to have worked with such a wonderful group of people and to have been elbow to elbow with such an amazing roster of artists. That's one of the things that breaks my heart to move away from, saying that Deerhoof are our labelmates." Perhaps being in the company of the Beatles, Beach Boys, Radiohead, Coldplay, LCD Soundsystem, the Band, and Frank Sinatra will help ease the pain.

Meloy said that longtime fans shouldn't be shocked by the Decemberists' decision. "We've never been the sort of group that has lived and breathed indie-ness. Even after we recorded [2003's] Her Majesty the Decemberists, it was pretty clear that we would probably be at a point after the next record that we would be moving on to something bigger."

"We totally recognize the risk that we're taking. In some ways, that risk is kind of exciting."

When asked what he thinks Capitol wants out of the Decemberists, Meloy replied, "I have no idea! That's what's so winsome about them. Capitol bent over backwards for us, even knowing the kind of band that we are. We're not Franz Ferdinand. We're not making new wave Gang of Four music. We're kind of the opposite of that. We have this penchant for moldy, dusty 60s British folk music and songs about chimney sweeps."

Meloy assured Pitchfork that we won't be seeing the Decemberists working with the Matrix and duetting with Kelly Clarkson any time soon (not that either of those would necessarily be a bad thing). "We're the same band and we'll create the same music, if not stranger," he said. "We've never been a band that can churn out radio hits, and I don't think that Capitol sees that either. They were able to meet us on our own terms more than any other label we talked to, and were also the most forward about making sure that we don't change for this deal."

"Having grown up seeing what major labels do in the early 90s, I was skeptical about it all along. I've been steeped in that mythology, Steve Albini essays and things like that. But the whole idea about selling out seems like such an antiquated notion. I don't just say that out of defensiveness. A lot has changed since Fugazi in the 90s. People have come to realize that that's a really difficult standard to maintain."

He continued, "The contract that we have with Capitol is peppered with the words 'band approval'. It's really as good a contract as we could hope for. If they do have a nefarious agenda, it's completely hidden on me."

Meloy added that the Decemberists will remain on Rough Trade in the UK, since Rough Trade is "pretty much the coolest label on the planet right now."

The band will begin recording their Capitol debut in their hometown of Portland, Ore., in April, with Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie behind the boards once again, and Tucker Martine (Long Winters, Jesse Sykes) helping out. "The plan is to find a mansion to move into and take a little bit more time than we did for Picaresque," Meloy said. "Walla is intent on recording it exclusively on 24-track, rather than the 80 tracks that we used recording Picaresque. In some ways, we're scaling back a little bit."

A new record isn't the only thing Meloy is expecting in the spring of 2006. He revealed to Pitchfork that his girlfriend, artist Carson Ellis, is pregnant with their first child. (That high-pitched moan you hear is the collective wailing of a nation of heartbroken indie girls.)

In the meantime, Meloy has a solo tour scheduled for January, and he intends to record a set of covers of songs by 60s British folkie Shirley Collins for a tour-only EP. All of the shows will be recorded for a future live album release on Kill Rock Stars.

As previously reported, here are those Meloy solo dates:

01-18 Seattle, WA - Showbox *
01-19 Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater *
01-20 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall *
01-21 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey *
01-23 Chicago, IL - Park West *
01-25 Boston, MA - Paradise *
01-26 New York, NY - Town Hall *#
01-27 Philadelphia, PA - Theater of Living Arts *
01-28 Alexandria, VA - Birchmere *

* with Laura Veirs
# with Amy Annelle

As for that long-anticipated Decemberists DVD, which has been in the works for over a year, Meloy said, "It's kind of in a holding pattern. We filmed our last show in Portland, at the end of our national tour, but my voice was kind of shot. I have a feeling we're not going to keep that show, which means we'll probably end up filming another show and putting off the release date. This whole DVD project has been an epic journey. But it will come out eventually on Kill Rock Stars."

In addition to a full live show, the DVD will contain backstage footage and all of the Decemberists videos, including a previously unreleased one for all eighteen minutes of the band's 2004 EP The Tain. Created by filmmaker Andy Smetanka, who resides in Meloy's native Missoula, Mont., The Tain video is made entirely from "silhouette crepe paper stop motion animation," according to Meloy.

Meloy and Decemberists drummer John Moen also appear on the forthcoming self-titled Minus Five album, due February 7 on Yep Roc. Meloy sings on the song "Cemetery Row". "I've been a Young Fresh Fellows fan from eons ago," Meloy said, referring to Minus Five leader Scott McCaughey's former band. "It was really exciting to meet him. Right before we left on this last tour, I just went over to Scott's house, sat in his living room and recorded the song.

"That was one of the crowning achievements of my life, to be on a Minus five record. I'm very serious."

As if all of that wasn't enough to keep a man busy for three lifetimes, Kill Rock Stars also plans to release an anthology of recordings by Meloy's college band, Tarkio on January 24. The two-disc Omnibus collects Tarkio's 1998 album I Guess I Was Hoping for Something More, 1999 EP Sea Songs for Landlocked Sailors, and various demos and outtakes.

Meloy said listening to Tarkio's music after all these years felt "good and kind of scary." He added, "I feel proud of a lot of them, and I feel like a lot of them stand up to what we're doing now, though a lot of them kind of show a bit of a gestating songwriting ability. Some of it's kind of silly and embarrassing. It's just fun to get it out there."

Tracklist:

Disc 1:

01 Keeping Me Awake
02 Caroline Avenue
03 Neapolitan Bridesmaid
04 Save Yourself
05 Better Half
06 Eva Luna
07 Kickaround
08 If I Had More Time
09 Sister Nebraska
10 Helena Won't Get Stoned
11 Your Own Kind
12 Candle
13 Standing Still

Disc 2:

01 Devil's Elbow
02 Weight of the World
03 My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist
04 Mountains of Mourne
05 Tristan and Iseult
06 Never Will Marry
07 This Rollercoaster Ride
08 Following Camden Down
09 Slow Down
10 Annabelle Leigh
11 Carrie
12 Am I Not Right?
13 Mess of Me
14 Goodbye Girl

Meloy ended the conversation by sheepishly asking Pitchfork, "Will you guys will still like our records, even if we're on Capitol?"

As long as your records are good, we'll like them, Colin. Don't worry.

* The Decemberists: <a

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Cat Power Announces 2006 Tour

Step aside, Ali, and you too, LL, ‘cause Cat Power is The Greatest, and all y'all can do is abdicate. And swoon. She's dubbed her new album with the proclamation, even wrote a song about it, and now enchanting Chan Marshall is stepping into the tour arena with her eyes on the prize: your delicate heart.

Marshall returns January 24 with The Greatest, her Matador-stamped seventh long-player (if you count that covers disc), and has announced a nine-date jaunt to further assert her sublime superlative-ness. In her corner, a backing ensemble known as the Memphis Rhythm Band, featuring such heavy hitters as guitarist Mabon "Teenie" Hodges and bassist Leroy "Flick" Hodges from the legendary Hi Rhythm band, drummer Steve Potts from the MGs, and guitarist Doug Easley, producer/engineer for everybody from Sonic Youth and Guided by Voices to the Gories and the Box Tops. In the other corner? That dread spectre of stage fright which has notoriously plagued the singer/songwriter. And rumble they shall!

Of course, self-aggrandizement has never been Chan Marshall's game, and let's not forget the aforementioned title track opens with a wistful "Once I was...". So somewhere down in Georgia, a tongue is fondling a cheek, but that's no reason not to catch Chan and her spirited retinue as they aspire to some degree of greatness on these American stages and beyond. And for crissakes, sit down this time around. This means you, Chicago.

Get KO'd:

02-14 New York, NY - Town Hall *
02-18 Boston, MA - Berklee Performance Hall *
02-20 Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre *
02-22 Los Angeles, CA - Wilshire Ebell *
02-23 San Francisco, CA - Palace of Fine Arts *
02-24 San Francisco, CA - Palace of Fine Arts *
02-26 Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre *
03-04 London, England - The Barbican *
03-08 Paris, France - Grand Rex *

* with the Memphis Rhythm Band

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Dinosaur Jr., New Pornographers, Drones Set for ATP

It's tough to keep up with all tomorrow's festivals when the British behemoth All Tomorrow's Parties insists on organizing massive music marathons all year 'round. But we try.

Less than a week after the Mars Volta-curated winter All Tomorrow's Parties came and went, ATP headquarters announced that Ween have withdrawn from their curatorial duties for one day of the spring 2006 version of the festival, citing "personal reasons." (Too much brown acid?)

It's not all bad news, though. Ween's first choice for a successor, Dinosaur Jr., have agreed to take the reins, extending their well-received reunion a wee bit longer. As previously reported, the "United Sounds of ATP" festival will take place on the two consecutive weekends of May 12-14 and May 19-21, and will feature a different curator for each of the festival's six days. Mudhoney, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Devendra Banhart will helm the first weekend, while the second weekend will be spearheaded by the Shins, Sleater-Kinney, and Dinosaur Jr.

So far, Mudhoney have picked Black Mountain, Comets on Fire, the Drones, the Scientists, Country Teasers, and David Dondero for May 12 performances. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have chosen TV on the Radio, Liars, Ex Models, Blood Brothers, Celebration, Imaginary Folk, and the Tall Boys to rock May 13. Rounding out the first weekend on May 14 will be Banhart's choices: Espers, Vetiver, Jana Hunter, Bat for Lashes, and the Metallic Falcons. Don't forget that all of the curators will play their own sets on their respective days, if you're keeping score at home.

Weekend Two's not so filled yet, but hey, Dinosaur Jr. just got the gig. The Shins and Sleater-Kinney must just be slackers. The Shins, who will helm May 21, have only signed up the New Pornographers, setting the stage for an indie-pop clash of the titans. Sleater-Kinney have recruited the Gossip, as well as David Cross as their MC, for May 20.

Refunds or exchanges for the second weekend are available until January 5 for ticketholders who had their hearts dead set on Ween, as Ween fans are known to do.

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Wrens, Okkervil River Rock for KEXP

It's not our regular tack to go out of our way to rage against the inanity of commercial radio, but seriously, who the fuck decided that playing Jesse McCartney three times an hour is a good idea? And why do I hear "The Electric Slide" every single time I tune in to one of those alleged "play whatever we want" Jack stations? Is this some kind of conspiracy run by Bar Mitzvah DJs?

Sorry. Got a little carried away there.

Anyway, the solution to this hair-tearing airwave plight has got to be something like Seattle's KEXP. The noncommercial station has built a loyal following in the U.S. and beyond through smart moves, technological availability, and a genuine love of music. Aided by a partnership with the University of Washington and an original boost from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Experience Music Project, KEXP has grown into a warm retreat for the indie-obsessed across the dial and on the web.

This coming weekend, December 16 and 17, the station will host its third annual Yule Benefit fundraising event at Neumos in Seattle, featuring a host of high-class acts. Jersey boys the Wrens and lit-rock faves Okkervil River will headline both nights, with local heroes Pretty Girls Make Graves, Harvey Danger, and others providing support. Shoegazer heartthrob Mark Gardener, formerly of Ride, will perform a set in support of his recent solo debut album, on Saturday.

The full lineup:

12-16 The Wrens, Okkervil River, Pretty Girls Make Graves, the Purrs
12-17 The Wrens, Okkervil River, Harvey Danger, Mark Gardener, the Divorce

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John Vanderslice Gives Away Live Show Online

John Vanderslice sure adores his fans. And what gift says "I love you" better than free music? (Well, maybe one of those new Xboxes, but those are like impossible to find...)

Last week, Vanderslice uploaded the entirety of his November 5 performance at the Independent in San Francisco onto his website, for each and every one of us to enjoy free of charge. Each song is available individually as mp3s, or the whole shebang is downloadable as one big ol' .zip file.

Here's the setlist:

Letter to the East Coast
Plymouth Rock
You Were My Fiji
Up Above the Sea
Angela
Keep the Dream Alive
Trance Manual
White Plains
Continuation
Dear Sarah Shu
The Mansion
Underneath the Leaves
My Old Flame
CRC 7173, Affectionately
Exodus Damage
Pale Horse
Radiant With Terror
Promising Actress
They Won't Let Me Run
Me and My 424
Time Travel Is Lonely
New Zealand Pines
Credits

Christmas spirit isn't the only motivation for Vanderslice's generosity. "I wanted to record the last show of our 'I've Been Living in a K-Hole' US tour to document the best band I've ever had playing my songs. They are my permanent band and I'll be recording the next full-length with them this summer," he said in a press release. Keep showing that band off, John, and you'll hear no complaints from us! Well, at least not until the next review.

href="http://pitchforkmedia.com/news/05-09/30.shtml#johnvanderslice">John Vanderslice Kicks Off American Tour Tonight

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Ariel Pink Reissue Due in January

If there's one thing about Ariel Pink that everyone can agree on, it's that his live act is, well, something we can all argue about. But hey, agreement is boring! So let's say we get some more of that vaguely disturbing, finger-snappin', lo-fi 70s AM glam-pop, shall we?

Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label, in their infinite wisdom, will be rising to the occasion by re-releasing Pink's House Arrest on January 24. The album was originally issued as a 2-LP set alongside the Lover Boy album on Ballbearing Pinatas in 2002. (Lover Boy will be reissued on that same label in February.) Paw Tracks veteran engineer Rusty Santos has remastered House Arrest, and the packaging will include new artwork.

Watch out for the ankle bracelet:

01 Hardcore Pops Are Fun
02 Interesting Results
03 West Coast Calamities
04 Flying Circles
05 Getting High in the Morning
06 Helen
07 Every Night I Die at Miyagi's
08 House Arrest
09 Alisa
10 The People I'm Not
11 Almost Waiting
12 Oceans of Weep
13 Netherlands
14 Higher & Higher

But how ya livin' now, Ariel? According to Paw Tracks, he's currently recording new material for his first new album in years, which is tentatively scheduled for release in the late spring or early summer. Accordingly, Pink is scheduled to tour North America in February and March, with a SXSW appearance thrown in for good measure. Sound board operators everywhere cringe in anticipation:

02-10 Los Angeles, CA - Echo Lounge *
02-11 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill *
02-13 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge *
02-14 Seattle, WA - Chop Suey *
02-17 Minneapolis, MN - Entry *
02-18 Chicago, IL - Schuba's *
02-19 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick #
02-20 Toronto, Ontario - X-Space #
02-21 Montreal, Quebec - Zoobizarre #
02-22 Boston, MA - TT the Bear's #
02-23 New Haven, CT - The Room #
02-24 New York, NY - Knitting Factory #
02-25 Philadelphia, PA - Vox Populi #
02-26 Baltimore, MD - Salisbury College #
02-27 Durham, NC - Duke
02-28 Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
03-01 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
03-02 Houston, TX - Mary Jane's
03-03 Austin, TX - Emo's
03-04 Dallas, TX - Hailey's
03-06 Tucson, AZ - Solar Cultural
03-07 San Diego, CA - Casbah

* with Belong
# with Psychic Ills

And finally, Paw Tracks is currently running a "Write Your Own Ariel Pink Song" contest. The label's website asks that lyrics be sent by the end of January, and the winning composition will be turned into a tune by Mr. Pink. What an honor!

* Pitchfork Review: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti Worn Copy

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Warp Records Celebrated in New Book

Obsessive-compulsive electronic music nerds and people with empty coffee tables take note: On December 14, London's Black Dog Publishing will release the first in its series of Labels Unlimited books devoted to individual record labels that have shook the industry on. The subject of the inaugural tome? The pioneering Warp Records.

Following the label since its inception in the industrial town of Sheffield, England in 1989, English music journalist Rob Young (who helped developed The Wire magazine) tells the story of Warp's rise to power. It couldn't come at a better time for the label, as it caps off a year of successful releases from Maxïmo Park, Broadcast, Boards of Canada, Prefuse 73, Jamie Lidell, and others.

Everything from Sheffield college newspaper clips, handwritten interview notes LFO faxed to a Japanese magazine, to interviews with Warp co-founder Steve Beckett and an account of the unfortunate death of his co-conspirator Rob Mitchell are included in the book, on top of detailed analyses and portrayals not only of the label's artists (from Aphex Twin to Plaid, from Autechre to Squarepusher) but the visual art and film associated with the label as well. A complete Warp discography is also included.

Next up in Black Dog's Labels Unlimited series will be a book about Rough Trade, due out in August 2006.

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Prince Signs to Universal

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here 2day 2 get through this thing called life...and 2 announce that Prince has signed 2 Universal. According to Billboard.com, Mr. Rogers Nelson's next album, 3121, is scheduled for release by the largest record company in the world. Let's go crazy!

Seriously, this is crazy. Remember when Prince was all about fighting the major label system and releasing his music himself? Remember when he wrote "SLAVE" on his face? Remember when we all hoped he'd sign a distribution deal with Kill Rock Stars? (Ok, maybe that was just me.) Guess the success of his last album, 2004's Musicology, which was delivered to stores thanks to some convoluted arrangement with Columbia Records, has filled the Purple One with the ta$te for corporate green once again.

But hey, a new Prince album is a new Prince album, so no complaints here. Unless it sounds like N.E.W.S.

Billboard.com also reports that the video for 3121's first single, "Te Amo Corazon", will debut Tuesday, December 13, through Prince's online NPG Music Club. It stars actress Mia Maestro (Frida, The Motorcycle Diaries) and was directed by...wait for it...Salma Hayek! I am not making this up.

In other news: Prince is still awesome.

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The Shins' James Mercer Talks Third Album

The Shins are hard at work on their third album, and they've got insomnia on the brain, frontman James Mercer told Pitchfork earlier this week. According to Mercer, the follow-up to 2003's Chutes Too Narrow is slated for a summer 2006 release on Sub Pop, and is tentatively titled either Wincing the Night Away or Sleeping Lessons, though Mercer remarked, "It looks like Sleeping Lessons is winning."

In September, the Shins laid down the album's drum tracks with producer Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Chutes Too Narrow) in Seattle, and since then they've been working in Mercer's basement studio. The writing and recording processes are occurring simultaneously, with two songs near completion at this point in time. One track is called "Pah Pah Pah Pah", while the other remains untitled. Ideas for song names include "Salt for the Orchard", "The Phantom Limb", and "She Wants In". The band currently has fifteen songs in the works, but Mercer said that they won't all be featured on the album, and some will be saved for b-sides.

Mercer recently gave RollingStone.com a synopsis of one of the tracks, saying, "One song is about the Fifties, when all of these modern conveniences were being invented-- like microwave ovens. People predicted that we wouldn't work as much, but we work just as much, just more efficiently. Human life is about enjoying it, and this American worth ethic prevents people from really experiencing life."

Talking to Pitchfork, Mercer reflected on the album's various influences. "One of the songs reminds me a bit of old My Bloody Valentine," he said. "That means so much production-wise, though, and I don't know if it'll end up being produced the way that those songs on Ecstasy and Wine and stuff were. As far as the way I'm playing it right now, it's sounding that way." "We have another one that's a real finger-picking folk song. And one of them actually kind of reminds me of a Fugazi-style song, which is crazy, but musically, it's kind of like that."

Mercer said his goal is to have the finished album turned in to Sub Pop by April 1, as he's getting married to writer Marisa Kula that month. Now there's something that changes your life!

The Shins are heading out on a brief Australian tour at the end of the month, playing a couple festivals (yes, it's summer there right now-aren't you jealous?) before headlining three club shows with new Sub Pop signees the Brunettes. Mercer said a full-scale international tour should follow the new album's release.

Oh, inverted world:

12-30 Marion Bay, Australia - Falls Festival *
12-31 Lorne, Australia - Falls Festival *
01-02 Busselton, Australia - Southbound Festival *
01-06 Brisbane, Australia - Tivoli #
01-07 Melbourne, Australia - Corner Hotel #
01-08 Sydney, Australia - Metro #

* with the Dandy Warhols, the Grates, Ian Brown, Ozomatli
# with the Brunettes

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Plot 2006 Tour

Having traded their Jesus and Mary Chain posters for bootlegs of The Band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are ready to take the down-home fuzz of their well-received third album, Howl, on the road. Yup, the trio will be bringing their Americana to America, on a two-month trek in February 2006, spreading the gospel according to retro from sea to shining sea (and one stop in Canada).

Next week, the BRMC will don their Santa hats and bring some yuletide cheer to L.A. with a pair of acoustic gigs at the Hotel Café. We recommend shouting out requests for covers of such unplugged classics of two-wheeled glory as "1952 Vincent Black Lightning", "Speeding Motorcycle", and "Black Boys on Mopeds".

Jingle bell blues-rock:

12-15 Los Angeles, CA - Hotel Café (two shows)
02-05 Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre *
02-07 Minneapolis, MN - The Quest Club *
02-08 Chicago, IL - Metro *
02-09 Cincinnati, OH - Bogarts *
02-10 Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall *
02-11 Slippery Rock, PA - Slippery Rock University *
02-13 Cleveland, OH - The Odeon *
02-14 Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Smalls Theatre *
02-15 Northampton, MA - Pearl Street *
02-17 Boston, MA - Avalon *
02-18 New York, NY - Webster Hall *
02-19 Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts *
02-20 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club *
02-22 Carrboro, NC - Cats Cradle *
02-23 Athens, GA - 40 Watt *
02-24 Nashville, TN - Exit In *
02-25 St. Louis, MO - Mississippi Nights *
02-27 Atlanta, GA - Roxy Theatre *
02-28 Orlando, FL - The Social *
03-01 St. Petersburg, FL - The State Theatre *
03-02 Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Culture Room *
03-05 New Orleans, LA - The Parish *
03-06 Houston, TX - Meridian *
03-07 Austin, TX - The Parish *
03-08 Dallas, TX - Trees *
03-10 Phoenix, AZ - The Clubhouse *
03-11 San Diego, CA - House of Blues *
03-13 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre *
03-15 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore Auditorium *
03-16 Sacramento, CA - Empire
03-18 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom *
03-19 Bellingham, WA - Nightlight *
03-20 Seattle, WA - The Showbox *
03-21 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore *

* with Elefant, the Morning After Girls

For a taste of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club live experience, a recent performance of the Howl songs "Complicated Situation", "Fault Line", "Devil's Waitin'", "Ain't No Easy Way", and "Restless Sinner" is available via the digital music store Rhapsody. Click here to get yr BRMC on.

* Pitchfork Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Howl

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Make Up Live Album Coming in February

Buckle that white belt and put on your face, because the Make Up is coming at you LIVE! Wait, don't get too excited-- Ian Svenonius' beloved 90s soul-punk band is still broken up. But on February 21, Drag City sub-label Sea Note will release the Make Up live album Untouchable Sound - Live!.

Recorded in 2000 at a gig at Washington, D.C.'s Black Cat by Brendan Canty (Fugazi, Rites of Spring, Lois), the show featured an expanded Make Up lineup, including Alex Minoff (of Golden and Svenonius' current band, Weird War) on guitar, percussion, and backing vocals. And the best way to experience Ian Svenonius is up close, personal, and screaming political slogans in your face, right?

13-Point Program to Destroy America:

01 Intro
02 Save Yourself
03 Every Baby Cries the Same
04 Hey! Orpheus
05 Call Me Mommy
06 They Live by Night
07 I Am Pentagon
08 The Prophet
09 The Bells
10 Born on the Floor
11 Wade in the Water
12 White Belts
13 C'mon Let's Spawn

The packaging for Untouchable Sound - Live! will include a 12-page collage of photos of the band "in all their fanta-putrid, oxy-odious glory." We're not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds like it smells bad.

As previously reported, Drag City will publish Svenonius' book The Psychic Soviet in early 2006. We're not sure what Weird War are up to right now, though. Probably busy plotting the overthrow of the capitalist system through the use of hair products or something.

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Even More T. Rex Reissues Due

After enduring scores of shady budget compilations released by the bucketful since his death in 1977, the ghost of corkscrew-haired folkie-turned-glamster Marc Bolan can finally rest in peace. Reissue specialists Rhino Records recently announced that a second wave of archival discs from Bolan's legendary band, T. Rex, is due to hit shelves on January 24. Getting the "pimp my album" treatment this time around are 1973's Tanx, 1975's Bolan's Zip Gun, 1976's Futuristic Dragon, and a collection entitled Work in Progress.

As is the general rule in Rhino country, all of these will come as two-CD disc sets with rare recordings tacked onto the remastered original albums. The 23-song Tanx bonus disc will contain 14 rough mixes from the Tanx sessions, four acoustic guitar and bass demos, and five demos played by Bolan solo on acoustic guitar. Bolan's Zip Gun is beefed up with 19 extra tracks, including early and rough takes of album tracks, the outtakes "Do You Want To Dance" and "Dock Of The Bay", and a 1974 live version of "Zip Gun Boogie" recorded in Cleveland during T. Rex's last U.S. tour. Futuristic Dragon's 20-song second disc includes two different mixes of "Futuristic Dragon (Introduction)," three different versions of "Casual Agent", and the outtake "Dawn Storm".

Work in Progress collects 55 unreleased tracks recorded between 1972 and 1977, covering "everything from rudimentary acoustic song sketches and sprawling lyrical ideas to full-bodied gospel songs and hairy guitar workouts," according to a Rhino press release. The first disc is all demos recorded by Bolan solo at home, and the second is full-band studio outtakes.

Holy crap, that's a whole lot of T. Rextacy comin' atcha all at once. We're still digesting Rhino's first round of T. Rex reissues, which came out November 8. They included remastered and expanded versions of 1972's The Slider (arguably Bolan's best work), 1974's curiously soul-stirring Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow, 1977's punk-influencing Dandy in the Underworld, and the collection T. Rex Wax Co. Singles: A's and B's 1972-77. Whether these eight remodels (plus the label's 2003 release of the 1971 tour de force Electric Warrior) quench Rhino's thirst for Bolan's brand of boogie remains unclear. And though we love us some T. Rex, can we just request that they wait at least a year before bombarding us again?

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Do you have a news tip for us? Anything crazy happen at a show you attended recently? Do you have inside info on the bands we cover? Is one of your favorite artists (that's not somebody you know personally) releasing a new record you'd like to see covered? You will remain completely anonymous, unless we are given your express permission to reveal your identity. (Please note that publicists, managers, booking agents, and other artist representatives are generally exempt from this rule, but will also be granted anonymity if requested.)

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