18th Annual Noise Pop Festival Set to Snap, Crackle, and Pop in San Francisco; Dates and Lineup Teasers Announced

"Noise Pop has been described as one of California's most important music festivals,” says festival co-founder Kevin Arnold, “and is a perfect opportunity to experience San Francisco's world renowned music scene, and the 18th year will be no exception.” In a move surely done to confirm Mr. Arnold’s predictions, the suits behind the Noise Pop Festival have begun to release dates, locations, and performers for the annual festival celebrating independent music, art, and film. The entire shebang is set to run February 23 through March 1, 2010 at venues throughout the San Francisco, CA metro area.

Artists already confirmed to play include The Magnetic Fields, Mark Kozelek, Rogue Wave, Atlas Sound, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Four Tet, John Vanderslice, We Were Promised Jet Packs, Wallpaper, Zee Avi, The Limousines, & Foreign Born. Further announcements regarding shows, musicians, films, artists, and more will be forthcoming.

The festival will also play host to the Industry Noise conference where open discussions, panels, speakers, interpretive dances, and individual mentoring focusing on the topics of independent music, technology, artistic and musical business ventures, and the changing industry will take place on February 27 at the Swedish American Hall in San Fran.

Updates, and further information on the Industry Noise mini-conference, are available at their website.

Disappears Get Kranky, Debut Full-Length Due Out Next Year

Chicago's Disappears are many things and irritable is apparently one of them. Well, not irritable, but at least slightly kranky, as in Kranky Records, the label they just signed with this week. Kranky will release Disappears' debut full-length, Lux, next April. Meanwhile, the band (which features members of The Ponys, 90 Day Men, and Boas) is hitting the road in February with another small-time Chicago band, Tortoise, and stirring up interest for their forthcoming debut at a city near you.

Disappear here:
02.11.09 - Louisville, KY - Headliners
02.12.09 - Nashville, KY - Exit In
02.13.09 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
02.14.09 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
02.15.09 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
02.16.09 - Washington, DC - The Black Cat
02.17.09 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Small Theatre
02.18.09 - Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace

Slayer and Megadeth and Testament, Oh My! Co-Headlining Tour Announced for Metal Greats

It’s been 18 years since Slayer and Megadeth last shared an American stage together (1991’s “Clash of the Titans”), but planetary alignment and ancient Sumerian rituals have once again forced Behemoths of Metal Slayer and Megadeth to join forces and rid this world of boredom. The two bands, joined together into one mega-band known as SlayDeth, have jointly announced the “American Carnage” tour and released dates for shows throughout the U.S. of A. The tour will also feature Testament, who were also on the “Clash of the Titans” tour, as special guests.

Both bands will be supporting recent albums: Megadeth’s Endgame and Slayer’s World Painted Blood (released in September and November, respectively). Testament will be supporting a special tour edition of The Formation of Damnation, which will be released on February 23, 2010 and features “special unreleased bonus tracks.” Each stop on the tour will also feature a limited amount of tickets at the “1991 price” of $10 to help out fans in our tough economic times

01.18.10 - Seattle, WA - WaMu Theatre
01.19.10 - Portland, OR - Memorial Coliseum
01.21.10 - San Francisco, CA - Cow Palace
01.22.10 - Long Beach, CA - Long Beach Arena
01.23.10 - Phoenix, AZ - Dodge Theatre
01.25.10 - Denver, CO - Magness Arena
01.26.10 - Albuquerque, NM - Tingley Coliseum
01.27.10 - El Paso, TX - El Paso Coliseum
01.29.10 - Houston, TX - Verizon Wireless
01.31.10 - Nashville, TN - Municipal Auditorium
02.01.10 - Duluth, GA - Gwinnett Arena
02.02.10 - Louisville, KY - Broadbent Arena
02.04.10 - Minneapolis, MN - Roy Wilkins Auditorium
02.05.10 - Chicago, IL - UIC Pavilion
02.06.10 - Detroit, MI - Cobo Arena
02.09.10 - Wallingford, CT - Chevrolet Theatre
02.11.10 - East Rutherford, NJ - Izod Center
02.13.10 - Camden, NJ - Susquehanna Center
02.14.10 - Lowell, MA - Tsongas Arena
02.16.10 - Quebec City, QC - Pavillon de la Jeunesse
02.18.10 - London, ON - John Labatt Centre
02.19.10 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
02.20.10 - Montreal, QC - Bell Centre
02.22.10 - Moncton, NB - Moncton Coliseum
02.23.10 - Halifax, NS - Metro Centre

Harvey Milk are ahead of the curve. Not only do those guys eschew the typical limitations of traditional metal, they also eschew the typical limitations of traditional time. Generally, a group will release their debut record, then follow it up with more records. Not Harvey Milk, though! These guys have put out roughly five records over the past decade-and-a-half, but are only now putting out their debut LP.

Now, there are a few important things you should know about Harvey Milk’s debut record:

1. Frequently know as “The Bob Weston Sessions,” this self-titled set was originally set for release in the early ‘90s, but never saw the light of day.
2. Hydra Head is releasing the first official master of the should-have-been-debut record on January 26.
3. The first song on this thing is called “Blueberry Dookie.”

Obviously, fact #3 is far more important than the other two.

Harvey Milk tracklist:

1. Blueberry Dookie
2. Plastic Eggs
3. Merlin Is Magic
4. Dating Pressures
5. My Father’s Life’s Work
6. Probölkoc
7. Smile
8. Jim’s Polish
9. F.S.T.P

10. Anthem

Papa M Performs Live from a Shark Cage

Ever heard of Slint,
Tortoise, Stereolab, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? If you answered yes, then you should know David Pajo a.k.a. Papa M, the guitar genius with a Midas touch, who has played for (or with) the aforementioned groups.

His most recent endeavor, playing with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on their
It's Blitz! tour has come to an end, or at least a pause. David --
donning the moniker Papa M -- will be playing at the "10 Years of ATP" festival in
Minehead, England, and then will be making his way to the U.S. for two
California dates. Mr. Pajo will be playing his 1999 solo project album Live from a Shark Cage, a slow and moody post-rock album with hints of ambient psychedelia. If you somehow missed this album, do yourself a favor and take a listen now. And if you're on the West Coast, grab tickets fast, even if it means canceling holiday plans

12.11.09-12.13.09 - Minehead, England - Butlins Holiday Centre (ATP)
12.18.09 - Venice, CA - The Stronghold
12.20.09 - San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord

Postal Service Threatens Steve Albini Christmas Charity Drive (The U.S. Postal Service, That Is… If It Was Ben Gibbard, Albini Would Just Whoop His Doughy Ass)

Okay everybody. I guess the terrorists have finally won, because the U.S. Postal Service is currently making it extremely difficult for music recordist/instrumentalist/band leader/temperamental curmudgeon Steve Albini and his considerably less descriptor-laden wife, Heather Whinna, to carry out their annual holiday Christmas gift drive, through which the two have doled out over $100,000 worth of presents each year to poor Chicagoland families over the past decade (presumably those present aren’t just Shellac and Big Black records, either).

Here’s how it usually goes down. Funds are raised each year through the Second City Theater's annual benefit (which has featured past performances from the likes of Jeff Tweedy, The Breeders, and Shellac). Albini and Whinna then spend time painstakingly perusing the mountain-loads of heartbreakingly adorable and piteous “letters-to-santa” that are sent to the post office each year asking for a (cue the tearjerker, here:) “Christmas Miracle” to help them through difficult times! Aaaaaaargh! The couple then surprises the neediest of those families by showing up on their doorstep on December 25, bearing gifts like a couple of converted Ebenezer Scrooges! Isn’t that just amazing? Take a few notes, Ty Pennington.

But now, as the Chicago Tribune recently reported, thanks to a policy change by the U.S. Postal Service, Albini and Whinna are running into some trouble with their schooling all of us in Altruism Class. See, the Postal Service is no longer allowing access to the names and contact info of people who send Letters to Santa, citing increasing security and privacy issues. This, of course, makes it much more difficult for potential donors like the Albini-Whinna clan to reach families in need. Sending gifts to needy families is still allowed, but they must be sent the mail, rather than delivered in person. But, as Whinna told the Tribune, "The idea of mailing a gift [...] almost makes me think the postmaster general has never been to a housing complex. If there's no human contact, it will kill the program."

Come on now, USPS. There’s got to be some way to work this out? Don’t get all Jacob Marley on us, here. The last thing you want after an entire career hitting the streets and delivering mail is to have to trudge around for all eternity in those dowdy uniforms.

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