Chris Garneau Dances With The Stars, Tours

"If you need anything, just put a dime in the phone," says my landlady. She's a nice person, a bit eccentric, a bit odd, but a real sweetheart, if for no other reason than she claims the above phrase is "an old Italian expression."

"How old?" I'll ask, but I already know it can't be any older than telephones, and no more recent than when you actually could put a dime in the phone. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not an old Italian expression but a universal phrase.

It's a very democratic phrase. Imagine politicians using it as a slogan. We'd be much more appreciative of our representatives if we could follow my landlady's advice. Plus, anyone in doubt of such a candidate would be prompted to rethink their position with the question my landlady asks after everything: "Am I right or wrong?" You're right, so very right.

I mention all of this because it reminds me of Chris Garneau. His music feels open and sweeping in its own insular nature. It seems like a lesser-known, downtrodden definition for "Democracy" that no one uses, something smaller and independent and all-encompassing in emotion rather than one grand idea. If the National Anthem were changed to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," Garneau's music could wait in its shadow, its animas, its black sheep. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. He's honest, or he seems like it anyway. If I really did need something, I could just put a dime in the phone.

Of course, a phone call costs more than a dime, and he knows that. He knows, and he'll give you the extra 15 cents just because. This is the land of opportunity, and he is going on tour in support of Music for Tourists starting May 13 in North Manchester, Indiana. It sounds like a nice place, am I right or wrong?

Right.

According to Eighteen Seconds Before Sunrise, Sigur Rós (the band, not the sports drink) have been busy this year with several projects. Perhaps in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint -- it was Earth Day yesterday, after all -- Sigur Rós announced the release of a new "full-length album of acoustic songs." Reports indicate that the album consists of a hybrid technology involving the replacement of petroleum-based, battery-powered D'Addario strings with wound steel strings (technology made popular by Nirvana on MTV Unplugged). No final release date has been confirmed, but there's a tentative release month of October.

Sigur Rós also plan several other releases for 2007 and early 2008. In addition to a new EP due in August that will feature tracks "Salka," "Lagið í gær," "Rokklagið," a new version of "Von" (which was originally released on the group's first album, Von), and bonus live footage, the group has tentative dates penciled in for three DVDs:

(1) Film/soundtrack Hlemmur will finally see release as a DVD/CD package in July.

(2) A live DVD of last summer's tour in Iceland will be issued around the release of the acoustic full-length LP.

(3) Odin's Raven Magic in concert will be available also as a DVD/CD package sometime early next year.

There's also a 32-page book called In A Frozen Sea, which will "come encased in a 12″ vinyl jacket and be available on its own or as part of a limited edition vinyl package with three of the band’s 12″ lps," scheduled for June 1. You can read more about this release here.

In other Sigur Rós news, the band this past weekend performed two new tracks on Saturday Night Live (with Scarlett Johansson hosting), while former member Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir (under the name Kria Brekkan) will release a new album titled Pullhair Rubeye with Animal Collective's Avey Tare tomorrow. Meanwhile, Sigur Rós the sports drink announced it will only use meat from free-range chickens starting sometime in July.

Photo: Morgunblaðið & Fréttablaðið

According to Eighteen Seconds Before Sunrise, Sigur Rós (the band, not the sports drink) have been busy this year with several projects. Perhaps in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint -- it was Earth Day yesterday, after all -- Sigur Rós announced the release of a new "full-length album of acoustic songs." Reports indicate that the album consists of a hybrid technology involving the replacement of petroleum-based, battery-powered D'Addario strings with wound steel strings (technology made popular by Nirvana on MTV Unplugged). No final release date has been confirmed, but there's a tentative release month of October.

Sigur Rós also plan several other releases for 2007 and early 2008. In addition to a new EP due in August that will feature tracks "Salka," "Lagið í gær," "Rokklagið," a new version of "Von" (which was originally released on the group's first album, Von), and bonus live footage, the group has tentative dates penciled in for three DVDs:

(1) Film/soundtrack Hlemmur will finally see release as a DVD/CD package in July.

(2) A live DVD of last summer's tour in Iceland will be issued around the release of the acoustic full-length LP.

(3) Odin's Raven Magic in concert will be available also as a DVD/CD package sometime early next year.

There's also a 32-page book called In A Frozen Sea, which will "come encased in a 12″ vinyl jacket and be available on its own or as part of a limited edition vinyl package with three of the band’s 12″ lps," scheduled for June 1. You can read more about this release here.

In other Sigur Rós news, the band this past weekend performed two new tracks on Saturday Night Live (with Scarlett Johansson hosting), while former member Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir (under the name Kria Brekkan) will release a new album titled Pullhair Rubeye with Animal Collective's Avey Tare tomorrow. Meanwhile, Sigur Rós the sports drink announced it will only use meat from free-range chickens starting sometime in July.

Photo: Morgunblaðið & Fréttablaðið

The Decemberists Embark On Orchestral Tour And Trip Into Utter Insanity

Sooooo, The Decemberists are embarking on a tour. But it's not just a tour. It's... (whisper it) orchestral. The Decemberists are going to be playing alongside orchestral arrangements composed by Sean O'Loughlin.

This is a problem. A serious problem. It puts them firmly at step 5 of Nunpuncher's Patented Ambitious Indie Pop Band Descent Metric (NPAIPBDM -- colloquially known as the Nuhpaipbuhdum). The Decemberists have been on my watchlist for a while, but it's only now that I feel I have enough evidence to go public with my findings.

I just... I just wish I'd been brave enough to speak up earlier. Before it was too late.

Nunpuncher's Patented Ambitious Indie Pop Band Descent Metric:
1) Decent album
2) Another decent album
3) Album with at least two songs over 7 minutes
4) Concept album

* POINT OF NO RETURN *
5) Orchestral tour
6) COCAAAAAAAAAYNE
7) Poetry collection
8) Double album
9) Tour involving EITHER: a choir of dancing children, OR: dancing midgets in some capacity
10) Further cocaine
11) Album of songs played in a new scale based on obscure numerological system that singer invented after reading books on the Mayan apocalypse prophecy, European stone circles, and Mexican sitcoms from the 1980s
12) Declaration that singer is queen of Spain

Pass the yayo:
07.07.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl (with LA Philharmonic, Band of Horses opens)
07.13.07 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park (with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra)
07.14.07 - Columbia, MD - Merriweather Post Pavilion (with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra)
07.15.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center (with the Mann Festival Orchestra)
07.18.07 - Chicago, IL - Grant Park Music Festival at Pritzker Pavilion (with Grant Park Orchestra) - Freeeeeeeeee!

And for those of you who would rather not watch The Decemberists twisting in the steely grip of the Nuhpaibuhdum, they're playing some gigs entirely orchestra-free:
06.17.07 - Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo Music Festival
07.16.07 - New York City, NY - Central Park Summerstage (Grizzly Bear, Land of Talk open)
07.22.07 - Portland, OR - Edgefield Winery (Menomena opens)

Four out of Five Crooners Agree: The Jesus Lizard Will Be Ring-A-Ding on DVD!

"Rock 'n' roll smells phony and false. It is sung, played and written, for the most part, by cretinous goons. And, by means of its almost imbecilic reiteration, and sly, lewd and in plain fact, dirty lyrics -- it manages to be the martial music of every side-burned delinquent on the face of the earth."

"A rancid-smelling aphrodisiac."

"Rock 'n' roll is the most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear."

All of the quotes above were said by Frank Sinatra. For a man who simply hated rock 'n' roll, we can't help but wonder what he must have thought of Chicago friction-filled foursome The Jesus Lizard. Unbelievably (seriously, don't believe this), I recently unearthed an interview that "Ol' Blue Balls," er, "Eyes" gave just before he kicked the bucket that contains a rant about our favorite antagonistas. The tape hiss is loud and it's kinda scratchy too, but I can make out that legendary Jersey-accent saying the following words: "Listen, pally. This band of hoodlums and finks are the most smashed punks the world has ever seen. Their live show was a spectacle of degeneracy fit for the likes of Caligula and the Marquis de Sade. I'm dyin' when I hear those 18-karat bums. You'd do well to cash out your class-A barn-burner broads from these creeps as well, because they will give them the crabs. Avoid these crumb-bums at all cost and your life will be a gas. If you're a cool customer like me, you'll realize that Jesusing Lizard is not your bag. Scramsville to the coolest club and give your ripe tomato a twirl instead. That is the living end; those Jesus Lizards are original losers. Dig, Harve?"

Caligula? Crabs? Crumb-bums? I don't recall any of that when The Jesus Lizard played live. If only there was a way to see a taped performance -- eek, there is! MVD will be releasing a 65-minute DVD featuring the band live in Boston at the Venus de Milo club in 1994. MVD also stocks Nude Black Auto Mechanics 101, Latina Girls Gone Bananas #3, something called Thugs and Hot Tubs, and the 1996 made-for-TV movie Project: ALF -- bless their big hearts! But that's a whole other story. Jesus Lizard: Live will be out on June 5, and it contains 20 songs in video form (five of which are taken from a 1992 New York CBGB show, tracks 16-20 below) and has liner notes written by Michael Azerrad (Our Band Could Be Your Life).

As far as quotes go, I prefer this one from the Touch & Go website: "To put it bluntly (or perhaps to merely state the obvious), The Jesus Lizard were the greatest live band of the last decade of the 20th century. Mr. David Yow will forever be the frontman to end all frontmen." That may be all true, but did they ever bang Ava Gardner? End of story, pally!

My own urine-stained tracklist:

1. Gladiator
2. Mouthbreather
3. Destroy Before Reading
4. Puss
5. Bloody Mary
6. Nub
7. Horse
8. One Evening
9. The Associate
10. Killer McHann
11. Mailman
12. Boilermaker
13. Fly on the Wall
14. Chrome
15. Seasick
16. Then Comes Dudley
17. If You Had Lips
18. My Own Urine
19. Wheelchair Epidemic
20. Monkey Truck

Cat Power Doppelgänger Tours With The Dirty Delta Blues In July

Allow me to take the moral high road for a moment of your time: I am concerned for Chan Marshall. The more I hear about her new lease on life, the weirder I feel inside. A burgeoning acting career, spokesperson for Chanel, "candid interviews" about alcoholism and depression? It feels wrong -- not like Dylan doing a Victoria's Secret commercial, but like she's apologizing for the music she's made and acknowledging that ridiculous, tired assumption about "depressing music." What happened to the person who wrote "No Sense"? Or "Shaking Paper"? Or "Satisfaction"? Well, we know what happened to the person who wrote that last one: he's been catatonic for years. Cat Power's best songs destroy with each line and transcend with single words, something infinitely hard to do when good lyrics are so 1995. The sound of a solitary person in a dark room -- nothing else let in, physical or otherwise (other than the occasional Beastie Boys loop) -- that's the Cat Power I miss. Come back down here, pretty pretty please with a skull on top.

HEY, Y'ALL PUMPED FOR THE TOUR NOW???!!:

* Built to Spill

Photo: Mark Whitely

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