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FCC Holds Media Ownership Hearing, FMC Hosts Party
Party for your right to fight

Hosting a party on the eve of an important public hearing-- on a topic as hot as media diversity-- might seem a bit weird. But not when the host is the Future of Music Coalition, and the soirée in question-- the Rock the Media Party-- is designed to raise awareness about the issues at stake and get folks psyched for the next day's symposium.

First, the hearing: On September 20, the Federal Communications Commission will host the fifth of six hearings on media ownership, with the intention of fostering a dialogue on the attendant issues. Among the more contentious topics: media consolidation, particularly that stemming from laws such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which helped clear the path for huge corporations like Clear Channel to gobble up media outlets left and right. This hearing will take place at the headquarters of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in Chicago, beginning at 4 p.m. (central time).

Anyone may come by, but those who wish to make their voice heard at the hearing must sign up in advance by emailing

Whether this is the moment you've dreamt about for months, or you're relatively new to the debate, all are invited to the FMC's Rock the Media Party, popping off September 19 at Delilah's in Chicago. Heck, Jon Langford will be there, so why shouldn't you? Brush up on all the details surrounding the party, the hearing, and more here.

In related FMC news, don't forget the Future of Music Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. is going on right now.

Photos: Shudder to Think / A Camp [New York, NY; 09/17/07]

Photos by Kathryn Yu

We shudder to think of the regret fans are feeling if they missed the Shudder to Think reunion show last night at New York City's Mercury Lounge. It was the first time frontman Craig Wedren, guitarist Nathan Larson, and drummer Kevin March shared the stage since the band's collapse in the late 1990s, and as of right now, there are no plans for it to happen again.

Wedren opened the set with a mix of solo material from his 2005 LP Lapland and a forthcoming follow-up called Wand, joined by Time of Orchids bassist Jesse Krakow and Gosling's Mark Watrous on guitar. Soon, Larson jumped in mid-song, and it blossomed into a full-on STT gig.

The Cardigans' Nina Persson was on hand, opening the show with her side project A Camp, which also featured Larson. Persson joined Wedren and company on vocals for their last few tunes.





Man in Skates Climbs NYC Globe Statue, Throws a Bunch of Black Lips Fliers, Eats Orange, Gets Arrested
UPDATE: The band responds!

Photo by Ade in New York, via Gothamist

The boys in the Black Lips would be the first to tell you what bad kids they are. But when they become a toxic influence on their fans, well, we may have an epidemic on our hands. According to a story in The New York Times yesterday...

A 57-year-old man wearing in-line skates climbed atop the large metal globe outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower at Columbus Circle and threw out confetti and fliers promoting a rock band before being arrested, the police said. The man, identified as Richard Fredette of East 10th Street, climbed into the globe at 1 Central Park West shortly before 2:30 p.m. Witnesses said Mr. Fredette then climbed to the top, pulled an orange out of his pocket and held it aloft. "Then he started eating it," said Sarah Shenfeld, 24, of Bushwick, Brooklyn. After throwing the fliers, he descended voluntarily, with help from officers. Mr. Fredette was charged with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct, the police said. Asked what the police believed to be the motivation for the stunt, a lieutenant said, "Publicity."

Although the band's label, Vice, claims to have had nothing to do with this, they were able to confirm that the band in question was, indeed, the Black Lips.

The Black Lips play a few times in NYC today and tomorrow, though we suspect legal reasons may keep Fredette away. Shame. We think he would have particularly enjoyed the "Black Lips Circus and Bad Kids Parade", which starts at the Williamsburg record store Sound Fix and ends at the band's gig at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, a few blocks away.

Perhaps he-- and you-- can catch those Black Lips elsewhere as they wreak havoc on tour for the next month or so. Dates after the jump.

UPDATE: The Black Lips posted the following message on their MySpace blog this afternoon: 

"We, the Black Lips, would like to send our love to this super fan. We would like to add that He, Richard Fredette, will be added to the Black Lips guest list for both New York Shows if he'd like to come out. 

Bowery Ballroom- Sept. 18
Music Hall of Williamsburg- Sept. 19

We've never met or talked to Richard before, but we now hear his cry and are beginning to understand his appreciation for the Black Lips.  Although we don't condone risking your life on roller skates to help promote our shows, we do think doing it on top of the world is pretty cool!

Luv, Black Lips"


Rage's Zack de la Rocha Completes Solo Album

Quick! Time to get a new algebra notebook, because you'll soon have a whole mess of new lyrics to scrawl all over the margins!

That's right: today comes news, via, that ex-ex-Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha has finished his very first solo record, a labor of love Zack has been attacking since Rage initially split back in 2000.

De la Rocha collaborated with Golden stickman and one-time Mars Volta/Royal Trux drummer Jon Theodore on the LP and recorded some of it at a studio belonging to acousti-surfer-dude Jack Johnson. Zack doesn't have a title for the record and is still considering his release options, so no word yet when he'll rally 'round your family with this pocket full of new songs.

It's also unclear whether post-millennial de la Rocha collaborations with DJ Shadow, ?uestlove, and Trent Reznor will make the LP., however, quotes a source saying that Zack's first solo foray sounds like a mix of "Led Zeppelin and Dr. Dre. Some of it has the power you'd expect from him in Rage." So there's that.

Witness this so-called power as the reunited Rage rock a pair of festivals in late October. [MORE...]

British Sea Power Issue Krankenhaus? EP, Tour
Reminder: Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Can't wait to hear what those nautical nuts in British Sea Power have up their sleeve for their forthcoming LP? You're gonna have to wait 'til early next year to find out for sure. But the ship of new BSP jams hasn't sailed just yet; no way, no how. The band has a new EP titled Krankenhaus? on the way that should tide you over.

Says BSP's Yan (yes, just Yan), via a press release: "The title of the EP is Krankenhaus?, which is German for hospital. This could equally allude to the healing and/or life-saving qualities of indie rock music, or perhaps the vast quantities of pharmaceuticals associated with both of these. The green cross adorning the front could be the one used to locate a chemist's, or maybe a symbol of a new ecological religion. The answer is up to you."

Krankenhaus? will be released digitally in the UK October 8 on Rough Trade, and the next day in the U.S. and Canada via Rough Trade/World's Fair. And, should North American types care to exercise their patience all the way 'til November 20 (or buy it twice, I guess), that's when the CD will be released, with a pair of videos attached. (Though UK fans won't be able to buy the CD in stores, they're welcome to order it from the band's website.)

The EP was recorded with the help of ex-Arcade Fire drummer Howard Bilerman and Godspeed/Silver Mt. Zion's Efrim Menuck, so, uh, if you like Canadian musicians from big bands, Krankenhaus? might just be your thing.

To celebrate, British Sea Power will head out on a brief U.S. tour in October, as well as a lengthier UK tour. The UK leg culminates in a performance at "From the Earth to the Moon" at the Scala in London on November 10. That show also features "DJs and vaudeville and cabaret acts." [MORE...]


Photos: Bjork [Atlanta, GA; 09/17/07]

Photos by Ashley Williamson

Fresh off a date with the recording studio, Björk and her dynamic live band have returned to the road to close out the year with another brief bit of adventuring in support of Volta. Last night found the living icon and her entourage-- including the oh-so-colorful Wonderbrass hornblowers-- working their magic at Atlanta's Fox Theatre. Brooklyn-based Spank Rock associate Santogold warmed up the crowd.

Björk has but two North American dates remaining on her tour; she then takes a trip across the equator in late October, where I hear she twirls counterclockwise instead of clockwise.



Animal Collective Fete Guy Fawkes With "Fireworks" 10"

Photo by Nilina Mason-Campbell

There's a plot afoot, and while this one doesn't exactly involve gunpowder, it does involve that photogenic band Animal Collective smuggling even more records into your collection.

On November 5-- known to our UK brethren as Guy Fawkes Night-- the Domino-signed crazies will enact the next phase in the Strawberry Jam revolution with another UK single, as confirmed by our spies*. In most appropriate fashion, the track will be "Fireworks", and it will come on a (flammable?) 10" slab of vinyl with the tune on the A-side, and a lovely etching on the flip. Or exercise your freedom and opt for the digital download. Can't beat that, eh?

Conveniently enough, Animal Collective will find themselves in the UK when the new single drops; for now though they have dates aplenty across the U.S. and some televisions to blow up.

* i.e., their publicist [MORE...]

Sweden's Club 8 Can't Stop Dreaming on New LP

Photo by Kjell B Persson

Long before Swedish pop became a buzz-phrase and folks like Peter Bjorn and John, the Concretes, Shout Out Louds, and I'm From Barcelona were mounting international conquests, Stockholm's Labrador imprint was quietly rolling out consistently excellent releases (as this year's Labrador 100 goes to show) and label chief Johan Angergård was recording exquisite pop with Club 8.

Indeed, Angergård handles production and every single instrument on The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming, Club 8's sixth longplayer, due September 26 in Sweden and November 13 in the U.S. via Labrador. Meanwhile the other half of Club 8, Karolina Komstedt, drapes her lovely vocals over the 12 tracks on this latest collection of indie pop bliss.

UK residents can look forward to The Boy Who via Fortuna Pop! on December 3, while Germany, Austria, and Switzerland get it from Labrador on October 12. Rabid indie pop fans across the Pacific can expect the LP via Avex (in Japan), Magnum (Taiwan), Zoo (Hong Kong), Chili (Korea), Universal (Philippines), Smallroom (Thailand), and Aksara (Indonesia).

Angergård keeps fairly busy-- in addition to running Labrador, he's also in Acid House Kings and fronts the Legends-- but Club 8 have a few, ahem, club dates lined up in Sweden around the album's release. [MORE...]

Rhino Releases Control Soundtrack, Joy Division Reissues

We won't lie: the avalanche of recent and forthcoming Joy Division-related releases leaves us as overwhelmed and confused as anyone. How exactly did Ian Curtis become the next Biggie/Tupac/Ray?

What we do know is that there are currently two films devoted to the band, an eponymous documentary and Control, a Curtis biopic. Both films will be released this fall, and Control has a soundtrack that will see commercial release via Rhino Records on October 30.

The soundtrack features Joy Division songs alongside tunes by Iggy Pop, David Bowie, the Velvet Underground, Roxy Music, and the Buzzcocks, as well as a previously unreleased cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" by the Killers, and previously unreleased music by New Order from the film's score.

Rhino also has a ton of non-Control Joy Division music coming out, starting with the release of a vinyl box set last week. Included in the set are reissues of the band's two full-lengths, 1979's Unknown Pleasures and 1980's Closer, and the 1981 rarities compilation Still.

Individual editions of these vinyl reissues will follow today, September 18, followed by double-disc CD versions on October 30. The first disc of each CD features the remastered original record, and the second disc features an assortment of previously unreleased live rarities.

Hmm, does all that sound familiar? It's probably because we reported about the UK versions of the reissues a few weeks ago. The tracklists for all that stuff can be found in the last story-- they're the same on the U.S. versions.

Finally, to complete the transformation of Ian Curtis into a posthumous rap superstar, Rhino will also release ringtone versions of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and "Transmission" on October 30. [MORE...]


Photos: Wolf Parade / Holy Fuck [Los Angeles, CA; 09/13/07]

Photos by Carlie Armstrong

No follow-up to Apologies to the Queen Mary quite yet, but Wolf Parade have been out there shaking off the rust at a short series of late-summer shows. The band that spawned a dozen side projects popped up at Musicfest NW a weekend ago and marched through Los Angeles' El Rey Theatre late last week with fellow Canadians Holy Fuck.

That'll do for the former's shows (for now), but the latter-- now Young Turks, all of 'em-- have a whole mess of gigs yet to cuss through. Catch the usual dates/photos one-two below.





Constantines Sign to Arts & Crafts

The folks at Canadian label Arts & Crafts seem intent on living up to the latter part of their name. In just the last few months, the label's roster has grown to include Los Campesinos!, the Stills, and now, Constantines, who have signed to A&C for a worldwide record and management deal. And that's in addition to collaboration-and-side-project-friendly label stalwarts like Broken Social Scene, Stars, and Feist.

As for the newest members of the A&C family, Constantines are hard at work on their next album, the follow-up to 2005's equal parts tough-and-tender Tournament of Hearts. Arts & Crafts will release the album in March.

The Toronto quintet has a single tour date scheduled for September 22 in London, Ontario's Victoria Park as part of the previously reported LOLA Festival.

Photos: Girl Talk / Dan Deacon / Simian Mobile Disco / White Williams [Boston, MA; 09/14/07]

Photos by Jason Bergman

The trippy green skull-- fresh from its exploits through the backwoods of Indiana-- returned triumphantly into the hands of Dan Deacon just in time for the dance party of the season. At Boston's Avalon on Friday night, mashup king Girl Talk, dance-rockers Simian Mobile Disco, and hot newcomer White Williams, joined Deacon as he filled out the hall.

Girl Talk's Gregg Gillis, meanwhile, was up to his trademark stage-packing, crowd-surfing antics (see if you can spot him in the throng of fans!), while SMD apparently recreated the set of Battles' new video on stage. White Williams opened the show with his Bolan-flavored electronic pop.

More photos of the concert and a pre-show hot dog-eating contest, as well as tour dates, below.






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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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