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Malajube Kick Off Tour

It's easy to lose Canadian bands in the shuffle these days, there are so damn many of them (not that we're complaining). That's especially true of Malajube, who don't have a blog or a million side projects, and who sing in their native québécois. But Malajube's excellent second album, Trompe-l'Oeil, came out just last year, and come on, our attention spans are longer than that, right?

Hoping the answer to that question is "Yes!", the band will head out on a North American tour that will keep them going all the way into December. The tour begins tonight, October 31, in Ottawa, and its tail end finds Malajube exploring the overlooked corners of their native province: Lavaltrie! Rimouski! Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu! Sounds like a Sufjan song title. [MORE...]
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B-52's Craft Funplex, First Studio LP in 16 Years

Ready the Aqua Net and throw some extra starch on your skinny ties: the B-52's are taking you out past the "Love Shack" all the way to the Funplex.

Funplex
is the first studio LP from the Athens, GA campy post-punk legends since 1992's Good Stuff, which, as you've already subtracted, is an awfully long time away from the studio. The disc, produced by Happy Mondays/New Order knobsmith Steve Osborne, is bubbling over with what guitarist Keith Strickland calls (in the press release) "loud, sexy rock and roll for your pleasure zones, with the beat pumped up to hot pink." Colorful!

Funplex emerges February 26 on Astralwerks, and the band will show it off on a handful of live appearances over the next few months-- including a Halloween gala in NYC tonight with the Rapture. [MORE...]

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Pink Floyd Studio Catalogue Reissued in Box Set
I'm in the high fidelity first class traveling set/ And I think I need a box set

For their 40th anniversary, Pink Floyd could have gone out and bought red convertibles or taken a month-long vacation in Cabo or ran off with their secretaries. Instead, they've taken a more civilized approach to being "older, shorter of breath, and one day closer to death" (as they themselves said in "Time"). And that approach involves reissues.

Just last month, they reissued their essential debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, in two- and three-disc 40th anniversary editions. Now, they've packaged Piper with their other 13 studio albums for a box set called Oh By the Way.

Capitol/EMI will release Oh By the Way on December 4, and the set presents each CD in a miniature vinyl-style wallet, complete with original artwork. Some of the longer albums are on two CDs, and some of the sleeves are gatefold. There are also various stickers, posters, postcards, and other extras included in the package, as well as a 40th anniversary fabric poster designed by Pink Floyd album artist Storm Thorgerson. [MORE...]
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Stars Announce 2008 Dates
Next year = after the war?

Photo by Michael Alan Goldberg

Stars, the most romantic musical theater troupe around, have extended their War campaign.

In their pursuit of the ears, minds, and hearts of anyone with a penchant for idealism, the Canadian quintet announced a run of UK dates that will take place early next year, after the band wraps up its current North American tour.

And speaking of those North American shows, the next one is tonight, October 31, in Dallas. [MORE...]

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Jay-Z Tapes Episode of VH1 "Storytellers"

Ahh "Storytellers", that VH1 institution that has allowed viewing audiences insight into the creative processes of James Taylor, Counting Crows, and Jewel (also kind of a lot of actually good artists). Now Jay-Z has joined the flock of mostly acoustic singer-songwriter types, and his episode of the program will premiere November 8.

Jay-Z taped the hour-long episode at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn on October 24. His set featured eight tracks from the forthcoming American Gangster (out November 6) with backing from a 12-piece band he called the Roc Boys. Of course, interspersed throughout the performance are revelations of the songs' inspirations.

The Roc Boys will also accompany the Def Jam head honcho on his tiny tour of the U.S. scheduled to start November 6 in L.A. Didn't get tickets to the shows? Too bad. Apparently, they were gone in 60 seconds.

One other piece of Jay-related news has surfaced recently: The impending signing of Jadakiss to Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam. In an interview with MTV.com, Jay said, "[The deal] is not done. It's about 90 percent [complete]." [MORE...]
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Sunset Rubdown, Final Fantasy Draw Sea Monsters
As does Cadence Weapon

It takes all kinds: some folks to lead, others to follow. Some to start wars, some to fight them, some to end them. Some to create, some to destroy. And at least one guy to make a zine collecting drawings of sea monsters.

Trevor Basset is that guy, and Sea Monstre is his zine. Initiated earlier this month, Sea Monstre presently exists in blog-form on the world wide web, but the Seattle-based Basset hopes to sell hard copies in zine-friendly local shops and online in early 2008.

So just who has contributed to Sea Monstre thus far? Well, in addition to a few of Basset's fellow illustrators and graphic designers, a handful of musical types you might recognize have served up leviathan renderings. Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy), former Pitchfork contributor Rollie Pemberton (Cadence Weapon), and three members of Sunset Rubdown-- Spencer Krug, Michael Doerksen, and Jordan Robson-Cramer-- all gave it a go; those are Krug's, Pallett's, and Pemberton's doodles, respectively, above. And since this is an ongoing project, who knows just who will pop up next?

Now if only we could get some indie rock celebs to put stuff on their cats...
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Helio Sequence Keep Looking Ahead on New LP, Tour

The longest track on Keep Your Eyes Ahead, the forthcoming fourth full-length from Portland duo the Helio Sequence, clocks in around four and a half minutes: a far cry from the long-legged tendencies of their past works. Could the Helio Sequence be seeking their big pop moment? Hard to say this far out-- especially when the press material makes note of both "impossibly big guitars" and "newfound appreciation for minimalism"-- but the judgment's yours to make January 29 thanks to Sub Pop.

The Sequence is currently on the road with Minus the Bear and labelmates Grand Archives. Dates and the KYEA tracklist after this thing. [MORE...]
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Band of Horses Launch Tour

It's a good time for Band of Horses. They just released a killer sophomore album, Ben Bridwell's Georgia Bulldogs are ranked #10 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, and now, the band gets to celebrate both by heading out on tour.

Though the Horses' MySpace page lists the first date of their tour as taking place in "get some, Virginia," it actually starts tonight, October 30, in Charlottesville. Close enough, right? [MORE...]

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Patrick Wolf Starts Label, Plans Reissues, Takes Photos

Photo by Kathryn Yu

The Wolf-man sleepeth not, it would seem. At some point in between wrapping up a North American tour, gearing up for dates in Australia, Japan, and the UK, planning a lavish tour finale, and talking in tomes to this very website, young Patrick Wolf has found time for a few more extracurriculars.

Given that Wolf has long championed unsung kindred spirits, it makes perfect sense that he's gone and started a label. Bloody Chamber Music, as he's christened it, will first see about reissuing in expanded form Wolf's two pre-Magic Position LPs-- 2004's Lycanthropy and 2005's Wind in the Wires-- before getting to the work of other artistes.

According to a recent MySpace post from Wolf, the first outside release for Bloody Chamber Music will come courtesy of London pop singer Craig Template. The Wolf reissues, meanwhile, will sport "new digital booklets and videoscapes for you to engage and get lost in." Trippy!

While this whole label endeavor is still technically in the planning stages, Wolf and co. hope to fire it up around the end of 2007.

Wolf has also been keeping a Fujifilm-sponsored tour photo diary over on Facebook.com, which is some kind of social networking website or something. In conjunction with this, he'll play a special secret show in London on November 19-- open only to 100 lucky folks who win a contest on Wolf's Fujifilm Facebook page.

If fortune shines upon you and you get into this gig-- or go to any other, for that matter-- Wolf has also humbly requested, via MySpace, that you TURN OFF YOUR GODFORSAKEN FLASH should you wish to take photos. Actually he was much nicer about it than that, but angry capital letters are fun. [MORE...]
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Bradford Cox's Atlas Sound LP Gets Release Date

Photo by Jason Bergman

On February 19, Chicago-based experimental imprint Kranky will release Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, the debut album from Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox's Atlas Sound project. The disc is a true solo project, with all parts laid down by Cox, who received recording "guidance" from Kranky labelmate Nudge's Brian Foote. Foote's imprint (no pun intended) on the proceedings was recently documented on Deerhunter's blog, with Cox expressing a particular fondness for a "vintage warmer" plug-in he claims should be "all over" the LP.

"This album is for my best friend Lockett," says Cox in the press release, referring to Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt. "It has a lot to do with childhood. I wanted to make an album that was uplifting but honest, which is why it seems sad a lot of the time. I want to make music that could be 'healing' or therapeutic to people who relate to it."

Whatever kind of music he's making, he's cranking out a lot of it. The hyperprolific Cox recently completed an EP under the Atlas Sound moniker while driving from Austria to Switzerland. The EP-- entitled Altitude Sickness-- is available via the band’s blog.

Deerhunter are presently in Europe, where there'll be for much of the next month. In Europe and looking to get rocked in a manner befitting a Pagan? ATP will release those Bats this weekend. [MORE...]

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Frog Eyes, Bejar's Hello Blue Roses Split a Single
Frog Eyes play Israel, Hello Blue Roses Sign to Locust

In the latest missive fired from the "Canadian songwriters with funny voices" camp, Carey Mercer's Frog Eyes and Dan Bejar's Hello Blue Roses have recorded a split single, out December 4 (or, if you will, just "in time for the holidays") on Absolutely Kosher on both 7" vinyl and digitally.

Frog Eyes gets the A-side, so we'll start with them. The single sports rerecorded versions of "Policy Merchant" and "Stockades" from this year's Pitchfork-recommended Tears of the Valedictorian. The new recordings feature a new member of the Frog Eyes flock: Chet/Himalayan Bear frontman Ryan Beattie on guitar and backup vocals.

Then there's Hello Blue Roses, yet another side project from Destroyer's Dan Bejar. The newish act, comprised of Bejar and singer Sydney Vermont, has a full-length in the works for an early '08 release on Locust, but for now, their two songs on the 7" will have to do. "Foam Hands" is a Hello Blue Roses "cover" of a tune from Destroyer's forthcoming full length, with Vermont handling the vocals rather than Bejar. To end the set, there's a cover of "Wall of Death" from onetime lovebirds Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out the Lights.

The disc will come stuffed in a full-color jacket and will only be available to the first 500 people who pony up the dough. Fret not: The digital EP of the tracks is unlimited.

Though you may just catch Dan Bejar making an appearance on the current New Pornographers tour, you'd be playing some cagey pool to bank on it. A surer bet: Frog Eyes' European tour currently in progress, with a couple new dates in Israel added. [MORE...]

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Secretly Canadian Signs Seattle's Throw Me the Statue

Photo by Jacob Krupnick

Tossing around chunks of marble and steel sounds to me like a darn good way to lose some teeth, but the friendly, cornfed types at Secretly Canadian have been strapping on the padded gear and practicing their ducking just the same in preparation for the arrival of their latest signee.

Seattle-based Throw Me the Statue, helmed by one Scott Reitherman, have become the latest members of the Secretly Canadian fold. SC will issue a slightly amended version of the group's debut full-length, Moonbeams, on February 19 (the disc, in its original form, has been out for a few months now on Baskerville Hill).

Moonbeams' fluttering, harmony-drenched lo-fi-- crafted primarily by Reitherman and multi-instrumentalist Casey Foubert (Pedro the Lion, Crystal Skulls, Seldom)-- calls to mind a particularly sunny day with the old K Records roster. Here, just check out first single "About to Walk" for yourself in the download section below. Or, if you must, hold tight until December 4 when "About to Walk" gets backed with "The Old Believer", pressed into a 7", and released as a single by Secretly Canadian.

But you can't wait that long, can you? Duly noted. Adventurous sorts can peep Reitherman's game as he opens four shows on new labelmate Jens Lekman's tour, then plays one hometown gig in December. Just, you know, watch your head. [MORE...]

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File-icon Wed: 12-26-07: 05:00 PM CST
Radiohead Celebrate New Year With Webcast

File-icon Wed: 12-26-07: 04:00 PM CST
Jay-Z Leaves Def Jam Presidency

File-icon Wed: 12-26-07: 02:46 PM CST
R.I.P. Oscar Peterson, 1925-2007

File-icon Fri: 12-21-07: 07:00 AM CST
The Pitchfork Guide to New Year's Eve

File-icon Tue: 12-18-07: 04:30 PM CST
Indie Bands Sue Camel, Rolling Stone Over Ad

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