Death Grips, the tUnE-YarDs of aggressive rap, shout “WE MAJOR,” as in label… strap in NPR!

Death Grips, the tUnE-YarDs of aggressive rap, shout "WE MAJOR," as in label... strap in NPR!

Death Grips bucked and snarled to life with last year’s “Full Moon (Death Classic),” a debut single that grasped the dayglo backpackers by their meaty cheeks and spewed venom all over their dopest ironic tees. Stefan Burnett, Zach Hill, and Andy Morin instantly capitalized on their initial outburst with both a well-oiled publicity campaign and a debut LP — April’s Exmilitary that blew most of us sideways and confirmed that hip-hop had stepped back another few paces from ringing that heavy death knell. Exmilitary was so good and so genuinely bonkers it wound up on countless best of 2011 lists and allowed for the trio to emerge with one of the more important debuts of last year and as one of the better live acts currently gracing your local watering hole.

Now news comes that Death Grips has inked a sweet deal with Columbia/Epic to release two new LPs in 2012. The Money Store is due April 24 and will include the songs “Blackjack” (see below) and “Get Got.” No Love is due later this fall. The video for the “Get Got” single (now screening at the Chocolate Grinder) features what appears to be homemade special effects and Stefan Burnett roaming the city and performing live. The move to a major label has already divided the group’s devoted fan base (if the snide, snarky comments on YouTube for the new single are any indication) but its always interesting to see how groups react to both a little major label shoving and the almighty dollar; here’s hoping they don’t fuck it all up.

• Death Grips:
• Epic/Columbia:


“If these walls could talk.” Okay, let me pull up a stool and lay some truth on you. Or if you have a chair, I’ll turn it around and rest my arms on its back. That phrase, the one about the talking walls, is disgusting. If the walls of your house could talk, they would yell at you about the horrific things they have seen. At the bare minimum, those walls have watched you and anyone you live with and any of your houseguests poop over and over again. Being a sentient house is to live in an endless nightmare.

But the memories! Bah, if I wanted memories, I’d listen to dreamy Sub Pop outfit Memoryhouse. All the memory, all the house, none of the icky implications. The band released their debut album The Slideshow Effect on Tuesday, complete with all the gauzy haze you’d expect from a group + album combo with the words “memory” and “slideshow.” Now, it’s time to create new memories. Memories can be made from anything, as long as those things happened. If you go see Memoryhouse on their tour, whether it be in North America or the UK, you’ll one day have memories of that time you saw Memoryhouse on their tour. Eventually, Memoryhouse will turn your memories into a new album and that is how the sausage is made.

Memoryhouse dates:

03.01.12 - Iowa City, IA - The Mill
03.02.12 - Ames, IA - Maintenance Shop at Iowa State University
03.03.12 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club
03.05.12 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
03.07.12 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
03.08.12 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
03.09.12 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile
03.10.12 - Vancouver, BC - Waldorf Hotel
03.11.12 - Portland, OR - Bunk Bar
03.13.12 - San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Shop
03.15.12 - Santa Barbara, CA - Soho
03.16.12 - Los Angeles, CA - Bootleg Theater
03.17.12 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
03.23.12 - Glasgow, UK - School of Art
03.24.12 - Dublin, Ireland - Whelan’s
03.26.12 - Manchester, UK - Deaf Institute
03.27.12 - Bristol, UK - Louisiana
03.28.12 - London, UK - Cargo

• Memoryhouse:
• Sub Pop:

Pitchfork Festival 2012 initial line-up announced. I give it a 7.7 (which really means 5)

Get your big sunglasses and small regular glasses ready, America. The next-best thing to Pitchfork Music Festival Paris is finally crossing the pond and coming to a dusty and way-too-small baseball field near you. Finally, the youth of U.S.A. will get a taste of what it must have been like to see a killer weekend of pre-approved-as-good bands in their parents’ day (a.k.a. Intonation Festival) when The Pitchfork Music Festival comes to Chicago’s Union Park July 13-15.

Yesterday, they announced their initial crop of acts for the thing, which includes most of the lynchpins, like Vampire Weekend, Feist, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Hot Chip, AraabMUZIK, A$AP Rocky, and more. But with an additional 30 or so additional acts TBA, that leaves plenty of room for them to ask my band, your band, and Nicolas Cage’s band. Fingers crossed! Tickets are on sale Friday, March 9 at noon (CST) over at the festival’s Angelfire page, and, notably, are still just $45 for a one-day pass and $110 for a weekender. Which is good, because as soon as we finish this hitter and get back to work on getting our festival together, it’s gonna be a thousand dollars a head and Jay-Z is gonna be there.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2012:

Vampire Weekend
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Hot Chip
A$AP Rocky
The Field
Kendrick Lamar
Cloud Nothings
Tim Hecker
Willis Earl Beal

• Pitchfork:

[Photo: Jim Kopeny]

Erykah Badu banned from performing in Malaysia over, of all things, a promotional photo

Erykah Badu, well known for doing some pretty risque stunts, has been banned in Malaysia over a promotional photo with the arabic word for Allah temporarily tattooed on her chest. A local paper unknowingly published the photo to promote the concert and has since publicly apologized following complaints from politicians and religious groups. The Information Ministry subsequently banned Badu, who was already in the country, from performing at an upcoming jazz festival in an attempt to prevent “various situations that may lead to social excitement…”

Badu has said that image was inspired by the 1973 film, The Holy Mountain, a surrealist film directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, and was clearly not produced as an insult to the Muslim world, which includes Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Badu has responded to the ban in a pretty classy way, though, stating that, “It’s sad, because we traveled a long way, but I’m totally understanding of (the minister’s) protection of the laws and its people. He doesn’t want anything to happen. I’m good with that.” Malaysian media seem to be taking that as an apology, which is probably stretching it, but the daughter of Ms. Jackson herself is definitely taking the high road here, going so far as to explain her understanding of the way art is often misinterpreted in religious countries:

“I think art is often misunderstood in the realm of religion, and it’s OK,” she said. “In America, it’s a lot different. Art is also misunderstood but it is not such a harsh gesture to promote the names of God. I am learning and understanding about Islam in other countries more as we travel.

While we could go on and on about how awesome Ms. Badu is, her handling of this unfortunate situation is probably example enough for now.

• Erykah Badu:

Xiu Xiu announces tour, releases a split 7-inch with Dirty Beaches, all the while passing out candy to strangers

What if Jamie Stewart has tricked us all? Maybe he’s pulled a fast one with Xiu Xiu’s upcoming album, Always? For all I know, he’s been strolling down sidewalks with wagons of puppies and reading The Lorax to kindergartners and maybe writing songs about unicorns dancing in fields of ice cream cones. Hell, what if Always is downright cheerful?

It’s not (surprise!). Stewart discussed his inspirations for each track over at Spin and mentioned topics such as “living a rotted punk house in Seattle” and “feeling impossibly imperiled by the fragility and cruelty of Earth.” I’m just going to hazard a guess and say this means he won’t be zipping around in a cloud mobile with Care Bears when Xiu Xiu embarks on their world tour in March, but Dirty Beaches will be along for the ride, and so will Yamantaka // Sonic Titan as well as Father Murphy.

Speaking of Dirty Beaches, who earned the #17 spot on our end-of-the-year list with Badlands (TMT Review) — how about pairing Alex Zhang Hungtai’s lo-fi rockabilly with Xiu Xiu’s noisy freakouts? They’ll be releasing a limited-edition split 7-inch for Record Store Day — just a little music for those times you feel like wandering through swamps at midnight with the ghost of Elvis.

Before that, however, Xiu Xiu will release RARE, which includes 16 songs off various 7-inches and compilations as well as a few bonus tracks, all ranging from 2002-2011. The album also includes three EPs: Fag Patrol, Tu Mi Piaci (acoustic covers), and Creep Show (a collaboration with Grouper). RARE will see a March 6 release via Xiu Xiu’s website, the same day as Always, which will be out via Polyvinyl.

Xiu Xiu/Dirty Beaches 7-inch:

A. “Always” (Xiu Xiu covering Erasure)
B. “Tu Ne Dis Rien” (Dirty Beaches covering Francoise Hardy)


03.11.12 - Den Bosch, Netherlands - FebriQ Festival
03.12.12 - Bristol, UK - The Fleece
03.13.12 - Manchester, UK - The Ruby Lounge
03.14.12 - Glasgow, UK - The Captain’s Rest
03.15.12 - Brighton, UK - Sticky Mikes Frog Bar
03.16.12 - London, UK - Rich Mix
03.17.12 - Lille, France - La Peniche
03.18.12 - Paris, France - Point Ephemere
03.19.12 - Strasbourg, France - Stimultania
03.21.12 - Bordeaux, France - Le Saint Ex
03.22.12 - San Sebastian, Spain - Lugaritz
03.23.12 - Murcia, Spain - Microsonidos
03.24.12 - Barcelona, Spain - Sala Be Cool
03.25.12 - Santander, Spain - Black Bird
03.27.12 - Madrid, Spain - Teatro Lara
03.28.12 - Valencia, Spain - El Loco
03.29.12 - Seville, Spain - Malandar
03.31.12 - Marseille, France - Grim
04.01.12 - St. Gallen, Switzerland - Grabenhalle
04.02.12 - Bologna, Italy - Locomotiv Club
04.03.12 - Milan, Italy - Salumeria della Musica
04.05.12 - St. Petersburg, Russia - Zal Ozhidaniya Club
04.06.12 - Moscow, Russia - Avant Fest
04.07.12 - Istanbul, Turkey - Salon IKSV
04.09.12 - Vienna, Austria - WUK
04.10.12 - Munich, Germany - Kranhalle
04.11.12 - Berlin, Germany - Festsaal Kreuzberg
04.12.12 - Hamburg, Germany - Kampnagel
04.13.12 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Stengade 30
04.14.12 - Stockholm, Sweden - Strand
04.16.12 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - OT301
04.17.12 - Brussels, Belgium - Botanique
04.18.12 - Ghent, Belgium - Vooruit
05.01.12 - Raleigh, NC - Kings Barcade
05.02.12 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel *
05.03.12 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church *
05.04.12 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
05.05.12 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Downstairs *
05.07.12 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse *
05.08.12 - Portland, ME - SPACE Gallery *
05.09.12 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa *
05.11.12 - Ottawa, ON - Mavericks *
05.12.12 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Place *
05.14.12 - Pontiac, MI - Crofoot Ballroom - Pike Room *
05.15.12 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Pyramid Scheme *
05.17.12 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall *
05.18.12 - Madison, WI - Memorial Union Terrace *
05.19.12 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock Social Club *
05.21.12 - Omaha, NE - Waiting Room *
05.22.12 - Lawrence, KS - The Jackpot Saloon
05.23.12 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater *
05.24.12 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge *
05.27.12 - Seattle, WA - Neumos (Barboza room) ^
05.28.12 - Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret ^
05.29.12 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge ^
05.31.12 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill ^
06.01.12 - Los Angeles, CA - Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock ^
06.02.12 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar ^
06.05.12 - Marfa, TX - Padre’s ^
06.06.12 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk ^
06.07.12 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks ^
06.08.12 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree ^
06.09.12 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl ^

* Dirty Beaches, Father Murphy
^ Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Father Murphy

• Xiu Xiu:
• Dirty Beaches:
• Polyvinyl:

RIP: Davy Jones of The Monkees

From ABC News:

Davy Jones, the lead singer of the 1960s rock band The Monkees has died. He was 66.

An official from the Martin County, Fla. medical examiner’s office confirmed to ABC News that the office has been notified of Jones’ death and is is “currently evaluating whether or not the medical examiners office will take jurisdiction.”

Representatives for Jones did not immediately respond to’s requests for comment. Jones is survived by his wife, Jessica, and four daughters from previous marriages.

The British born Jones joined The Monkees in 1965 and fronted a stable of rock hits, including “Daydream Believer” and “I’m a Believer.” The band was formed as part of a TV series about a rock band also called “The Monkees.” When the show got canceled in 1971, the group, which included Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith, broke up.

They reunited in various incarnations, most recently last spring for a tour through England and America. A second leg of the tour was slated for fall 2011 but the dates were axed without explanation in August.

• Davy Jones: