Late '60s band reforms for 2007 tour... ugh. News of this sort of thing would normally require a few stabs to my genitals with an old geometry set compass just to keep me awake and humored, but for some odd reason, I am intrigued. Blue Cheer, known for being weightier than a Hummer driven by Rosie O'Donnell, Pavarotti, and the motorcycle-loving world's fattest twins, haven't actually reformed; they have been back together in some way, shape or form since the late 1980s. (Sorry... that fat crack was very lowest-common-denominator of me. Like I should talk. I break into a heavy sweat getting in and out of bed.) One of the, if not THE loudest band of all time will be touring the U.S. and Canada starting April 6 in Philadelphia, and they promise to be heavier than ever. If there were any doubts, playing with incomparable Wilkes-Barre noiseniks An Albatross will ensure that they keep that promise.

As for An Albatross, the band that never stops touring will stay on the road after their Blue Cheer shows, because they have to finish the second leg of their honkin' huge European tour, which began earlier in the year. The following dates are for the tour-happy band, so there WILL be more dates added anytime (expect dates to be added for the U.K., Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Atlantis, Oz, Eurasia, Babar's Kingdom, etc.). Blue Cheer/An Albatross shows are marked with a happy, horny $, %, ^, or *.

Rock on, seriously:
03.16.07 - Austin, TX - Redrum, SXSW Eyeball Showcase
03.31.07 - Wilkes-Barre, PA - Café Metropolis #
04.06.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Northstar $
04.07.07 - New York, MY - Rebel %
04.08.07 - Boston, MA - Great Scott ^
04.09.07 - Montréal, Quebec - La Sala Rossa $
04.10.07 - Toronto, Ontario - Sneaky Dee's $
04.11.07 - Buffalo, NY - TBA $
04.12.07 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom $
04.13.07 - Lansing, MI - Mac's Bar $
04.14.07 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's *
04.15.07 - Columbus, OH - Ravari Room $
04.16.07 - Vermont, MN - TBA $
04.17.07 - Washington, DC - Black Cat $
05.02.07 - Paris, France - TBA
05.03.07 - Limoges, France - Cafteur
05.04.07 - Rennes, France - Mondo Bizarro
05.05.07 - Évreux, France - Abordage
05.06.07 - Dunkerque, France - TBA
05.07.07 - Brighton, England - The Hope
05.08.07 - London, England - Old Blue Last
05.09.07 - Exeter, England - Cavern
05.10.07 - Leeds, England - Brundenell Social Club
05.11.07 - Liverpool, England - The Magnet
05.12.07 - Glasgow, Scotland - Nice 'n' Sleazy's
05.13.07 - Birmingham, England - Barfly
05.14.07 - York, England - Fibbers
05.15.07 - Cardiff, Wales - Barfly
05.16.07 - London, England - Barfly
05.21.07 - Hamburg, Germany - Hafenklang-Exil
05.22.07 - Münster, Germany - Gleis 22
05.25.07 - Munich, Germany - Feierwerk
05.26.07 - Beilefeld, Germany - AJZ
05.29.07 - Milan, Italy - Magnolia

# Hot Cross

$ Blue Cheer

% Blue Cheer and Stephen Brodsky's Octave Museum

^ Blue Cheer, Doomriders, and Stephen Brodsky's Octave Museum

* Blue Cheer and Del Rey

The Polyphonic Spree Totally Lose It, Release Album

Have you ever noticed how The Polyphonic Spree are engineering a career trajectory for themselves that resembles nothing more than a manic-depressive single mom from some Midwestern suburb? They arrive in the neighborhood in 2002 with a big batch o' home-baked cookies for everyone, The Beginning Stages Of... and a huuuge grin on their faces, and isn't it such a great day? The kind of day that makes you really happy to be alive, the kind of day that makes you want to sing to the birds and the trees? And everyone's all welcoming and stuff, and oh, aren't they the sweetest, and isn't that album great, but they all think that if they just, y'know, toned it down a little they wouldn't be so damned creepy.

So then they get dropped from 679, and oh well, got to soldier on, don't you? Life's like that, but if you just take some time to smell the flowers once every so often, you'll realize things aren't that bad at all. So they get some new clothes and release Together We're Heavy on Hollywood. Their neighbors all nod and smile, but they can't deny that it's all looking a little desperate. And it's really sad. All they ever wanted to do was make a few people happy. If only they could be a little less creepy.

And now it's 2007. They've been dropped from Hollywood, and presumably at some point in the last year, they cracked, and there was a huge gin-fueled meltdown where they slumped in the corner of their friend's kitchen and in great heaving sobs complained how nothing ever goes right for them, and what's wrong with wanting to be nice to people every once in a while, and they think they're getting fat, and nobody likes them and they're stupid and fat and ugly, and the neighbor did all they could and put them to bed with a glass of water.

What I'm trying to say is, The Polyphonic Spree are back, and they've gone way past creepy into fucking terrifying. Forget the robes -- now they're all dressed up in military fucking fatigues, fatigues with hearts and crosses sewn on, as if that makes them look jolly and friendly and not, y'know, Waco survivors.

They've signed on to TVT Records, and their first release on the label, The Fragile Army, is due to drop in June. I'd buy it, if I were you. If only so that Tim DeLaughter doesn't firebomb your home in a fit of righteous zeal. I'd look out for him. You seen pictures of him recently? He's got this look in his eyes, the look of a stone-dead killer. If you crossed him, he'd probably drive a pen through your eyeball in a split second.

The Fragile Army (or, The Final Document In A Slow And Harrowing Descent Into Utter Insanity):

Elvis Costello Goes on Tour; Oliver’s Army Joins in the Fight for Iraq

Elvis Costello has either given up on his childish protest Radio Radio and has decided to soak up the riches of being a rock star, or maybe he is looking to fight the big dogs of Viacom and Clear Channel this spring with a mini-tour. Let us assume the former, right? I mean, every photo I’ve seen of him for the past umpteen years has involved a fedora, suit, and varying patterns of ties over varying patterns of button ups. The man has money. And I didn’t want to admit this, ya dig? Remember ’77? I sure do. A little of Less than Zero, and then he turns around a la Hendrix on the BBC and tells the Attractions and the Saturday Night Live crowd and most importantly the Man that he ain’t going out in chains. He’s going to play Radio Radio dammit! But alas, I’ve lost track of myself. And so has Elvis it seems. Mr. Fedora and square glasses will be playing with The Imposters this time around. Most likely in support of Elvis’ cover of Little Boxes from the show Weeds. But whatever, I mean (some of my friends sit around every evening and they worry about the times ahead, but everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference and the promise of an early bed). Don’t sweat it; here are the dates:

Elvis Costello - 2007 Tourdates:

Library of Congress Archives Significant Recordings: Velvet Underground, Sam Cooke, Bob Newhart

The National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 is definitely in my top five Acts of all time, trailing closely behind the Flood Control Act of 1944, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Act V of Hamlet, and ActRaiser for the SNES. This more recent Act places responsibility on the hallowed Library of Congress to choose select recordings each year that are at least a decade old and are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." While most official selections of "significant music" are endlessly nausea-inducing (oh if only I could be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!), the Library of Congress and its resident social pariahs know their shit. Just last year, they chose albums by Gil Scott-Heron, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frank Zappa, and Sonic Youth. Along with traditional "album" recordings, they induct other wacky stuff, like the sound of an old foghorn used in Kewaunee, Wisconsin! Librarians: I demand a mixtape.

This year they've chosen a similarly boppin' crew. Jelly Roll Morton, Cole Porter, Carl Perkins, The Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke, Paul Simon, and The Velvet Underground all get to rub shoulders with the likes of, FDR and, um, Bob Newhart. In total they've decided on 25 recordings, one of which is a finger-snappin' ditty I like to call the 1924 National Defense Test. Thus far, there have been 225 entries in the Registry.

Nominations for the 2007 list are currently being accepted here. Together, friends, we can preserve Mariah Carey's seminal '94 Merry Christmas for our children and for our children's children.

It took months for me to see the light. I steadfastly avoided Sub Pop's (São) paulistano sextet Cansei De Ser Sexy for reasons of perceived hokiness and novelty. Of course, I was way off-base as usual. You have to be a quadri-miser-asshole of the highest order (I'm thinking along the lines of a Hitler/Steve Jobs/Ty Cobb/Ebenezer Scrooge mix here) to not get CSS, or to not at least break a smile and some dancefloor sweat when you hear those synth-propelled, racy electro riddims. I was planning on submitting one of my standard dullard stories for the upcoming CSS Euro/North American tours but was then surprised and more than a little hot and bothered when lead screamer Lovefoxxx herself (or most absolutely someone posing as Ms. 'Foxxx) sent me this to post; how could I say no?

Call me on over so you can take me for a wink wink,

I turn the tables and quickly strap you to the sink, sink.

Take all your cash then to the airport on time,

Catch the first flight to Europe, order Stolis with lime.

Get off on the plane, confiscatin' my sexxx toys,

Seven Irish dates makes us feel like The Waterboys.

All over Europe we'll be shakin' our thangs,

Gonna knock out your guts so you suffer from stomach pangs.

Cra-zy cra-zy cra-zy! Wha the fuss? No foolin'.

Spaniards and Frenchmen, it's your brains we'll be unspooling.

Soaking wet crowds make me open like the halls of Big Ben,

It's tough luck to know I am lovin' up so many men.

Beats come so hard you'll think that you're pissed,

Spitting green chunks like that chick from The Exorcist.

Grab hold of the microphone, I'm screaming your name,

Ten pints of beer makes me feel that you're all the same.

Skinny boys all over us insisting they're well-hung,

Knock them all down with a lick from my sharp tongue.

We end in San Fran-disco for some mad love NoisePop slop,

Then I'll hop on you quick like I'm hop-hoppin' on top-top.

Untie you quick just to keep you off your feet,

Sitting on the floor, face buried in my Mini-Wheat ("Frosted!").

I hurts my heart to have to mess with your mind,

This kind of loving means I'm cruel to be super-kind.

By the smile on your face I know I'm not mean,

CSS is so hot that you cream in your blue jeans.

I leave knowing well that my job here is done,

I leave knowing well that my job here is never done.

'Cause Cansei De Ser Sexy is a force that won't stop,

As pert, perky, perfect as a smooth, sexxxy lollipop.

C'mon! How is a poor newsy going to compete with that? Some of the dates below (particularly the Euro ones) are with Tilly and the Wall and Ratatat. I'm not sure which ones though

04.01.07 - Helsinki, Finland - Tavastia Club
04.03.07 - Porto, Portugal - Casa Da Musica, Sala 2
04.04.07 - Lisbon, Portugal - Club Lux
04.05.07 - Madrid, Spain - Sala Carocol
04.06.07 - Barcelona, Spain - Razzmatazz
04.07.07 - Marmande, France - Festival Garorock
04.09.07 - Brussels, Belgium - Botanique
04.10.07 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
04.11.07 - Cologne, Germany - Gebaude 9
04.12.07 - Berlin, Germany - Maria
04.13.07 - Vienna, Austria - Flex
04.15.07 - Milan, Italy - Magazzini Generali
04.16.07 - Rome, Italy - Circolo Degli Artisti
04.18.07 - Paris, France - Élysée Montmartre
04.20.07 - Cork, Rep. of Ireland - Savoy
04.21.07 - Dublin, Rep. of Ireland - Ambassador Theatre
04.22.07 - London, England - Astoria
04.23.07 - London, England - Astoria
04.24.07 - Manchester, England - The Ritz
04.25.07 - Edinburgh, Scotland - The Liquid Room, Triptych Festival
04.26.07 - Glasgow, Scotland - Barrowlands, Triptych Festival
04.29.07 - Indio, CA - Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
05.10.07 - Carlow, Rep. of Ireland - The Music Factory
05.11.07 - Dublin, Rep. of Ireland - Trinity College
05.12.07 - Belfast, N. Ireland - Mandela Hall
05.13.07 - Limerick, Rep. of Ireland - Dolan's Warehouse
05.17.07 - Brighton, England - Great Escape Festival
06.01.07 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza
06.02.07 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East
06.03.07 - Montréal, Quebec - La Tulipe
06.04.07 - Toronto, Ontario - The Horseshoe
06.06.07 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Richard's on Richards
06.07.07 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
06.08.07 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
06.09.07 - San Francisco, CA - Noise Pop, Mezzanine
07.07.07 - Kinross, Scotland - T in the Park Festival
07.08.07 - Naas, Rep. of Ireland - Oxegen Festival

Our Brother The Native Finish Second Album, Plan Tour, Create Arby’s Melt/Beef ’n’ Cheddar Hybrid

There are several mysteries on earth that man may never know the answer to. Riddles that need solving, problems that need solutions, puzzles that need, er, jigsaw-ing — that kind of thing. But who are we as mere mortals to expect everything to be placed on our lap like a dinner-time napkin? It’s just not how life works... some things are meant to remain a mystery.

For example, what’s the difference between an Arby’s Melt and an Arby’s Beef ’n’ Cheddar? They both have beef, both are lavishly topped with cheese that should by all rights be plopped on a nacho, both are housed comfortably by a bread-based bun. Questions like this have haunted man for centuries; you could spend your entire life knocking your brains out, or you could just accept that you don’t know everything... but man, what is the difference? And why do tortilla chips have to be a snack and not a meal, you know? I don’t understand stuff like that...

Many people were equally confounded when I put Our Brother The Native’s debut album, Tooth and Claw, wayyyyyyyy up high on my 2006 Top-25 list. “What are you thinking, you fool, you blasphemist, you conjurer of messy roast beast!” they said. “Go back to the indie cave from whenst you came and take your beefy cheddars and large curlies with you. You... you disgust me. [whispering] Oh, and could I bum a few curlies before you hit the road?”

My reasoning? Well, I think it’s a great album. It stirred the juices of inspiration in me like only a superior piece of art (or a superior order of curlies) can. When I heard it for the first time, I stood up in the middle of my sprawling workplace and yelled, “My life now starts ANEW! Things are going to be different for me from now on!! You! Yes you, with the purple shirt, GET ME A CUP OF COFFEE!! You with the arched eyebrows, FLUFF MY SEAT CUSHION! THAT’S RIGHT, REALLY KNEAD THAT SHIT!!! I’ll be back to rule some more after my two-hour lunch break. BE AFRAID!”

And that was about it. I might have also used my super-powers to manipulate the weather, thus causing a huge indoor hurricane, but I don’t really remember. I was pretty tired that day. Speaking of tired, Our Brother The Native aren’t tired at all. In fact, they’ve completed their sophomore [pronounced ‘Soph-OOOO-Meuvre] album for FatCat Records, to be entitled Make Ammends, for We are Merely Vessels. They’ve even planned a short beef ’n’ cheddar, I mean, tour, for March. Well how about that, a tour! Some real go-getters, they are.

[I think it has to do with the size/persuasion of the bun, the weight of the roast beef, and the mandatory use of special sauce]: