Blonde Redhead announce badass Japan benefit compilation, with exclusive tracks from Deerhunter, John Maus, Liars, Four Tet, and more

Blonde Redhead announce badass Japan benefit compilation, with exclusive tracks from Deerhunter, John Maus, Liars, Four Tet, and more

Two simple questions, kids: Do you want to do something to help with Japan’s still-very-much-ongoing recovery from this past March’s tsunami? Are you into music that’s awesome? If you answered “no” to either of those questions… well, then fuck you, I guess? But if you answered “yes” (and you did), you’ll be happy to know that Blonde Redhead front woman Kazu Makino has curated a new compilation to help benefit her native country’s continuing relief efforts. As Pitchfork reports, the comp is called We Are the Works in Progress and will be released on January 10 via Blonde Redhead’s brand-new imprint, Asa Wa Kuru (Japanese for “morning will come”).

But here’s the second-most cool part: not only does the album include contributions from the likes of Deerhunter, Liars, Four Tet, John Maus, Karin Andersson (The Knife/Fever Ray), Terry Riley, Pantha du Prince, and more; but but a lot of the tracks are either rare rereleases or 100% exclusive to this comp. In fact, some of them seem to be downright brand new. According to a statement from Makino, the compilation’s title is meant to reflect the fact that many of the songs included are, in fact, still works in progress. “Unfinished things often carry more energy… the possibility of it eventually becoming something great is infinite without having to be quite yet,” she said. “I’ve noticed that each songs relates to one another.” As of now, proceeds from the sale of the album will benefit the Japan Society and Architecture for Humanity, but Makino hopes to add more agencies to that list soon, including those whose focus is on limiting the necessity for nuclear power. And just think, all you have to do to be a part of this is bump some awesome jams.

We Are the Works in Progress tracklisting:

01. Four Tet, “Moma” *
02. Karin Andersson, “No Face” *
03. Terry Riley, “G Song” %
04. Nosaj Thing, “Nightcrawler” *
05. John Roberts, “Berceuse” *
06. Blonde Redhead, “Penny Sparkle [Drew Brown remix]” *
07. Pantha du Prince, “Bird on a Wire” *
08. Broadcast, “In Here the World Begins” ^
09. Liars, “Drip [Blonde Redhead remix]” *
10. Deerhunter, “Curve” *
11. Stalactite, “Stalagmite” *
12. John Maus, “Castles in the Grave” *
13. David Sylvian/Ryuichi Sakamoto, “Bamboo House”
14. Interpol, “Song Seven” $

* exclusive
% new version
^ re-release from vinyl-only tour release
$ previously released B-side

• Blonde Redhead:
• 4AD:
• Japan Society:
• Architecture for Humanity:

Jóhann Jóhannsson to bring contemporary classical/unpronounceable words to NYC, Winnipeg, and Los Angeles

Like many of my fellow Americans born in the late 1980s, I previously drew all of my perceptions about Icelanders from the grossly underrated piece of cinematic art known as D2: The Mighty Ducks, originally released in 1994. Arrogant, youthful good looks, and a Soviet-style hatred of everything that epitomizes American culture — these were just some of the characteristics that were at the fore of Disney’s less-than-flattering depiction of the isolated island nation. It was only semi-recently that I discovered that Icelanders seriously kick ass at music. Like, very seriously. More-than-average seriously. Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is just one of many talented musicians inhabiting the country, but he’s sure to draw some extra attention come late January and early February, when he headlines three unique performances in New York City, Winnipeg, and Los Angeles.

Here’s a basic rundown of the performances:

On January 31, as a part of WNYC’s Wordless Music Series, Jóhannsson, alongside a 22-piece brass and string ensemble, will perform the entirety of his reportedly “haunting” soundtrack to Bill Morrison’s film The Miners’ Hymns, which was released on DVD earlier this year. The event will take place in New York City, at the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden — a venue which appears dangerously susceptible to stone-throwing, but remains fitting nonetheless.

The second performance will take place at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, Manitoba on February 3. Supported by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Jóhannsson will perform the world premiere of “A Prayer to the Dynamo,” a piece, according to a press release, specifically commissioned by the orchestra for the New Music Festival in Winnipeg. Adding further Icelandic flavor to the evening, Sigur Rós keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson will also be on hand for a performance of his own.

The final performance will occur on February 8 at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. Jóhannsson will be joined by the California-based Formalist Quartet for a concert described as “retrospective,” and preceded on February 7 by a performance on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” which airs at 11:15 AM PST.

I rarely resort to air travel for the purpose of seeing individual concerts, but I’m feeling a bit compelled this time around.

• Jóhann Jóhannsson:
• 130701:

The Promise Ring prep rarities album and rigorous two-city reunion tour, then weep while watching Chasing Amy

If indie/emo second-wavers The Promise Ring are famous for one thing, it’s probably leader Davey von Bohlen’s precedent of grown men intentionally encouraging the use of the diminutive forms of their first names. Thanks to his truly inspiring wussiness, rapidly aging men everywhere learned that they could soften their image (and, hence, fuck more college chicks) simply by advertising themselves on paper as a wide-eyed manboy who had Radio Flyer decals on his manual-transmission two-door. Heck, if it wasn’t for Davey’s influence, you might be reading Nobodad’s news story right now. But he probably wouldn’t get laid at music journalism conferences nearly as much as Nobodaddy does.

But apart from their singer (calling him a “vocalist” is just plain incorrect) giving men an excuse to be creeps, The Promise Ring’s secondary impact was, my editor tells me, their music. And what better way to celebrate that music than with a nice little reunion run? As Alternative Press reports, Promise Ring’s “formative lineup” — von Bohlen, drummer Dan Didier, guitarist Jason Gnewikow, and bassist Scott Schoenbeck — will be celebrating the… um, anniversary of, I don’t know what exactly… by releasing a new album of rarities next summer on Dangerbird Records (home to Didier and von Bohlen’s Maritime project). According to Didier, the album will feature “one song from the Wood/Water session that didn’t make the record [“All Good Souls”… as well as] three songs that we demoed before W/W that again, were rockers, that we never recorded for the record. There are a few different odds and ends as well throughout, but that will be the meat of it.” Oh good. Because everyone totally loved the LiteFM, adult-contempo mess that was Wood/Water, right?

Luckily, the band is also reuniting to play a few shows in early 2012, and they’ll probably play songs from the good albums at those. As of now, they’ll be hitting their hometown of Milwaukee on February 24, followed by Chicago on February 25. Tickets for both shows are on sale now and are probably quickly being snatched up by balding 30-year-olds all across the Midwest. But if you can’t get tickets to these shows, don’t cry in your thrift store golf shirt just yet. Didier seems to think that, at the very least, a few more live performances are likely. “From there [after the release of the rarities album], we will look into potentially doing more shows throughout 2012,” he said. Then again, I’d trust him more if his name was Danny, wouldn’t you?

02.24.12 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall
02.25.12 - Chicago, IL - Metro

• The Promise Ring:
• Dangerbird:

Incriminating emails in Universal complaint spur Grooveshark to warn Digital Music News of potential subpoena requests

Grooveshark appears to be preparing for a grand battle with Universal Music Group (UMG)! As was previously reported, UMG has filed a complaint in New York against Escape Music Group (the owners of Grooveshark) alleging that Grooveshark executives and employees illegally uploaded hundreds of thousands of UMG artists’ tracks for users to stream. Digital Music News (DMN) has secured a copy of the complaint, and as suspected, it includes a quote from an anonymous DMN user who claims to be a Grooveshark employee where he or she explains how the internal workings of Grooveshark mandate, encourage, and incentivize the uploading of non-authorized content to Grooveshark’s site.

In the wake of the complaint, Grooveshark has preemptively contacted DMN to warn them of potential subpoena requests from either Grooveshark or UMG, stating that, “I must request that you preserve all electronic information and any other records related to that comment, as it can be reasonably anticipated that either Grooveshark or Universal may find it necessary to subpoena such information as the case progresses.” DMN noted that UMG has yet to contact them in any way regarding the comment or the larger dispute.

And why would they? Though the anonymous comment is very intriguing, it’s not the kind of thing that would reasonably hold up in court. The emails included at the end of the complaint, mainly from Grooveshark Executive Chaiman Sina Simantob, do a much better job at setting up UMG for a successful takedown of Grooveshark. In one email to a potential investor, Andrew Lipsher of Greycroft, LLC, Simantob states that Grooveshark “bet the company on the face that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.” In a subsequent email exchange between Simantob and an investor, Simantob goes out of his way to point out how they’re using the labels by stating that, “we are achieving all this growth without paying a dime to any of the labels.”

Simantob goes on to explain that the underlying scheme at play with Grooveshark is to upload songs illegally to get users interested in the content, reach a certain number of unique page views to get corporations interested in the data they’re collecting, then work out minuscule compensation packages with the labels after the fact, at which point they’d be making more money on selling data than they would be paying out fees to rights holders. Kind of a ballsy move to lay it all out in an email.

Good luck Grooveshark — it was nice knowing you while you lasted!

• Grooveshark:
• Universal Music Group:

Die Antwoord announce 2012 tour, lapping up vast pools of nostalgia for the year two thousand and ten

Sometimes I forget that Die Antwoord are real human beings and not simply something the now-sentient internet created for its own shadowy means. See also: Lil B! Still, there are people who claim to have seen Die Antwoord in the flesh. I remain skeptical. Exclaim!, however, appear to be true believers, reporting that Die Antwoord have both US and Australian dates planned for 2012. Look, I’ll be convinced when someone tries to touch them and their hand doesn’t go straight through, all hologram-style.

Supposedly, the interne…Die Antwoord are putting out a new record with the very Die Antwoord title of TEN$ION in 2012. Proof that such a thing will exist lies in the video for new track Fok Julle Naaiers, which I believe translates to “For Julie Newmar.” The video has butterflies and other things.

Die Antwoord dates:

02.09.12 - Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero Theatre
02.10.12 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
02.11.12 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza
o2.14.12 - Toronto, ON - The Phoenix Concert Theatre
02.19.12 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
02.22.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Regency Ballroom
02.24.12 - Los Angeles, CA - Club Nokia
02.25.12 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
03.03.12 - Bisbane, Australia - Doomben Racecourse (Future Music Festival)
03.04.12 - Perth, Australia - Arena Joondalup (Future Music Festival)
03.10.12 - Sydney, Australia - Royal Randwick Racecourse (Future Music Festival)
03.11.12 - Melbourne, Australia - Flemington Racecourse (Future Music Festival)
03.12.12 - Adelaide, Australia - Ellis Park (Future Music Festival)

• Die Antwoord:

The Flaming Lips announce plans for New Year’s Freakout 5 thing. Also, all that gummy-USB-strobo-fetus-whatever crap is on sale.I’m too tired for exclamation points today.

When you’re on little-to-no sleep, it’s amazing how annoying all of Wayne Coyne’s boundlessly enthusiastic creative energy can be. I just saw his tweet from the other day about The Flaming Lips’ fifth annual New Year’s Freakout thingy with its nine or so exclamation points, and it literally made me wince and reach for my coffee. I mean, I love the guy and all, but can’t a guy just be unexcited about one of these kooky Lips schemes for once? But anyway, yeah, they’re doing two shows this year, December 31 and January 1, at the Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City. Oh, and speaking of tiring, they’re bringing Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band with them. According to their publicist, the band is going to “pull out all the stops with MORE of everything” (then there’s an exclamation point at the end of that sentence, but like I said earlier, I’m not typing that). “More confetti, more balloons, massive volume, and maximum weirdness.” God, guys.

Oh, and speaking of obnoxious, there’ll be a bunch of crazy and exclusive merch available at this thing, including: some gummy fetuses that contain a USB drive with three new songs on it that I’m sure are probably loud (“Enthusiasm For Life Defeats Existential Fear Part 2,” “Steven’s Moonbow,” and “Squishy Glass”); some gummy skulls that contain “The Soft Bulletin: Live La Fantastique de Institution 2011”; a “mesmerizing light illusion toy,” The Strobo Trip, which also includes a USB drive with three exclusive tunes (“Butterfly, How Long It Takes To Die,” the six-hour “I Found A Star On The Ground,” and “Evil Minds”); and probably more stuff that’s equally obnoxious to the sleep-deprived. Tickets are $100 per night or $150 for both nights, and each ticket gets you into the afterparty at The Womb (which will feature, according to Coyne, “naked movies,” “paranoid soundscapes,” and Stardeath and White Dwarfs “playing an electric sunrise interpretation of Mahler’s 9th Symphony” so that you can stay awake even fucking longer). The band recommends you get your tickets at this place over here. Whew, alright. Made it to the end of this. Goodnight, everybody. Sorry, Wayne.

• Flaming Lips:
• Warner:



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