The Clean’s David Kilgour releases another solo album on Merge to make ends meet after losing a bet on last night’s Bulls/Pacers game

The Clean's David Kilgour releases another solo album on Merge to make ends meet after losing a bet on last night's Bulls/Pacers game

The Clean have always been an on-again, off-again band. Their future is still up in the air — will they succeed? Will they become famous? Luckily for guitarist David Kilgour, he’s had a back-up plan these last 20-30 years. You can never tell if a band’s going to make it big or not (have you ever heard “Tally Ho”?), so during The Clean’s ‘off’ years, Kilgour has made his name as a reputable solo musician from New Zealand (probably playing, I don’t know, a pop take on traditional Maori music or something).

In keeping with the tradition, while The Clean worked together to release Mister Pop (TMT Review) in 2009, Kilgour took a break from his solo work and made the rounds, touring and being a team player for Merge (who have released The Clean’s and Kilgour’s material for years now). Now that The Clean have had their intermittent day in the sun again, Kilgour is back with another solo album with The Heavy Eights: Left By Soft, out on Merge April 26.

Kilgour himself says, “To me, it sounds like the band on a good night, warts and all… It’s probably the first real ‘band’ LP I’ve made since Frozen Orange [Merge, 2004] or the David Kilgour and The Heavy 8’s LP from the mid ’90s [Flying Nun,1997].” Now, don’t take this the wrong way, but if that doesn’t sound like an “I’m old, I’m not dead yet” proclamation, I don’t know what does. At any rate, David, we’re glad you’re around, “warts and all!”

Left By Soft tracklisting:

01. Left By Soft
02. Way Down Here
03. A Break in the Weather
04. Steel Arrow
05. Pop Song
06. Autumn Sun
07. Theme
08. Diamond Mine
09. I’ll Climb Back Up That Hill
10. Could Be on My Way
11. Purple Balloon

• David Kilgour:
• Merge:

HP to introduce cloud-based music soon. Or possibly music-based clouds. That’d be way more next-level.

Okay, we’re through the looking-glass here, people. It seems that Hewlett Packard (the people who make that printer with the SD card thing that your mom doesn’t know how to work) will soon join Amazon in beating the rest of the heavy favorites to the launch of one of those wait-what’s-the-catch?, tenuously-legal cloud music things you’re always hearing about on Tiny Mix Tapes. According to a post on preCentral late last week, this latest proverbial case of coming too soon is being half-assedly propagated in the PowerPoint presentation that HP is using to hock its up-and-coming TouchPad computer tablet to all the small and medium businesses that aren’t too above sitting through a PowerPoint presentation.

The TouchPad, which drops this summer, will apparently come with this stuff that the boys in HP Labs are calling ‘software.’ This software uses LITERAL CLOUDS (maybe?) to sync and store music on the device remotely no matter where in the world you are. Even Google, Kansas. In other nonsense geek-talk, HP also plans to use a “smart algorithm” that will “ensure that the music the user is most likely to listen to is cached locally on the device,” as well as allowing users to “stream music that they don’t yet own,” even to HP smartphones that have the newest OS. People that are up on this sort of thing will note that these claims are a little snazzier than Amazon’s current cloud music operation, which, you know, also make them a little more SUABLE.

• HP:
• More on cloud-computing:
• More on regular clouds:

What the heck? We’re already announcing this year’s What the Heck Fest? And Earth are performing??

Summer in the Pacific Northwest: a time when the rains finally subside, the gray skies are dispersed by fresh sunshine, and the mass string of seasonally produced suicides slow down — at least for the time being. What could be a better time or place for the yearly What the Heck Fest, scheduled this year at various venues all over the bustling little coastal town of Anacortes, WA from July 15-17. So you’re saying to yourself, “why the heck would I go to the far end of the country to some podunk town like Anacortes, WA for an event called What the Heck Fest?” Well, I’ll tell you, kind sir or ma’am. Because not only are local notables and K Records vets such as Mount Eerie, D+, and Arrington de Dionyso’s Malaikat dan Singa performing, but the fest has also attracted quite a Northwest A-list, if you will.

Some other bands worthy of mention include Earth (!) from Seattle, Broken Water from Olympia, and Thrones from, well… somewhere around there. Also being featured over the weekend will be an exhibit hall of publishers, as well as Anacortes’ very own “Shipwreck Day” — a junk sale taking place in downtown Anacortes on Saturday. You can go ahead and snag a weekend pass including a free meal for the modest price of $65 right here with the option of receiving your meal Friday or Saturday evening. Choose wisely, for you know not what your dietary future may hold.

Initial lineup:

Wyrd Visions / Ben & Bruno / Earth / Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets / For The Birds / LAKE / Arrington de Dionyso’s Malaikat dan Singa / Takhoma / Laura Leif / Bitpart / Broken Water / Sam Lohmann / The Drink Up Honey / D+ / Lovers Without Boarders / Mount Eerie / Ô Paon / Mecca Normal / Thrones / Brave Irene / The Zaps

• What the Heck:

Farewell, sweet Stills: the Montreal five-piece calls it a day

Ah, The Stills, we hardly knew ye.

After a decade of rock ‘n’ roll, the Montreal five-piece has called it quits. The band recently posted on their website explaining their decision to stop performing together under the name The Stills. Prior to the announcement, the website had been relatively update-free, and the group hadn’t released an album since 2008’s Oceans Will Rise. The album received mixed reviews, but also picked up Canada’s Juno award for “Alternative Album of the Year.”

Fortunately, the split appears to be amicable, so, dear Stills fan, please don’t go to bed tonight thinking that if you had made your bed more often or eaten your vegetables when bass player Olivier Corbeil asked you to the band might still be together. It’s okay. The Stills still love you. In the words of the band, the breakup was motivated by the members’ desire to “live fully, creatively, and freely.” Here’s the full statement:

Dearest Friends of The Stills,

How does one go about writing a message like this? I don’t know, but I will do my best.

We have been silent for many months now, discussing amongst ourselves how and when to announce this news, as we’ve needed some time to think it over and let the dust settle, so we hope you can understand our silence.

After the better part of a decade together, several months ago we sat down and decided to disband The Stills and part ways. Simply put, The Stills have broken up.

We love each other, we have taught each other, and we’ve grown up together, through all kinds of madness and years and twists and turns, and we spent the better part of the last year trying to keep it going for each other, out of love for one another and out of respect for our long past together. But ultimately, the best decision for each one of us, and in order for each of us to live fully, creatively, and freely, being true to our hearts, this had to happen.

Perhaps the most difficult part of all this is announcing it to you — I hesitate to say ‘fans’ — Our Friends. We’ve been extremely lucky to have shared this time with you, and for the love you’ve shown us, we are humbled, moved and thankful beyond words. You held us up, you encouraged us, and you made this a profound and deeply meaningful journey for each of us. Please know in your hearts that we felt your love and will always keep it with us in our own hearts as we move on through life.

To all who helped us through the years, encouraged us, supported us, worked with us, put up with us, put our records out, toured with us, loved us, and beyond - we are forever touched by you.

We were creating our own story as we went. It’s not easy to know when the best ending is, but we found ours, and it’s one that allows us to look back on all we’ve achieved with great pride and a sense of real accomplishment. Now that the book closes, we can look on the journey and see it as one trip, from beginning to end; one complete and perfectly imperfect universe.

And now our music and what it means rests in your hands. It belongs fully to the world out there, and especially to you. Make it all you wish it to be, in whichever way you most want to.

May your lives be filled with joy and happiness,

The Stills

• The Stills:

The Rentals to donate all profits from new album Resilience to Japan relief. Who loves Japan? The Rentals love Japan.

As part of the continuing aid and help that American musical artists have been sending toward Japan, The Rentals have announced that they will be releasing a new album, Resilience, with all profits going directly to Red Cross disaster relief efforts throughout Japan.

As we all know, Japan has had some really shitty luck lately but when it seemed hopeless for the country, musicians and artists from around the world began doing everything they could to raise awareness and help the earthquake-struck nation. The Rentals, as the compassionate humans they are, are throwing in their lot and have made Resilence available for immediate digital download on iTunes.

The album, featuring 18 orchestral compositions originally created for Songs About Time (“a photography, film, and music project that brought together a large group of accomplished artists who devoted themselves for 365 continuous days to create what the Germans call ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ — a total work of art”), will also be available May 3 through other digital music providers, in stores on both CD and 180-gram vinyl, and can be preordered at the band’s website.

A statement on the site say this of the album: “The music collected has a touch of melancholy but ultimately, when one listens attentively, it expresses hope and a quiet countenance. With its orchestral gestures, delicate piano and poetic interludes, the music paints a fitting tribute to the character and resilience of the Japanese people.”

Resilience tracklisting:

01. October Thirteen
02. February Twenty Four
03. March Ten | Part Two
04. November Twenty Four
05. September Eight
06. December One
07. November Ten
08. June Two
09. February Ten
10. January Twenty
11. March Ten | Part One
12. March Three
13. December Thirty One
14. July Twenty Eight
15. July Twenty One
16. May Twelve
17. February Three
18. October Twenty Seven

• The Rentals:
• Red Cross:

RIP: Billy Bang, free jazz violinist and composer

From The New York Times:

Billy Bang, a violinist whose gritty, expressive and spirited playing earned admiration in contemporary jazz circles, died on Monday at his home in Harlem. He was 63.

The cause was complications of lung cancer, said Jean-Pierre Leduc, his friend and agent.

Prominent as a bandleader and a sideman throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Mr. Bang achieved his most substantial success with the 2001 album “Vietnam: The Aftermath,” which featured music inspired by his time serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, played with peers who had also served. The album — and a 2005 sequel, “Vietnam: Reflections,” which included Vietnamese musicians — in turn inspired “Redemption Song,” a 2008 documentary film about him.

• Billy Bang: