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

5) Orchestral tour
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.


* Built to Spill

Photo: Mark Whitely

Field Music Take A Break from Indiedom

"We basically want to do things that aren't classed as 'Field Music indie band.' It just makes us sick, so [we] want to do something else. We want to still work with the people we like recording with and recording in the way that we do and make the music that we do. But we don't want to have to compete in the sphere of indiedom. We're not going to be a band for a bit."

This quote, (and its "Range Life" paraphrasing) is from a Field Music radio interview on BBC 6 Music. This whole music thing, i.e. "indiedom," apparently has gotten the FM boys down, so they are going on hiatus. Not a full-blown break up, just a break, albeit for an indeterminate length of time (how long is a bit?). In that same interview, the band goes on to say that Field Music "aren't going to be over because we've already got a bank account under the name, so we'll just continue [as] a company," and then added that it's "time to go and do some real work."

Field Music's timing couldn't be worse (have they been taking career advice from the Test Icicles?), as the past few months have seen the English band releasing its second LP, Tones Of Town (TMT Review) (Memphis Industries), to great acclaim, as well as taking part in a successful U.S. tour with Menomena. Plus, taking the story from odd to perplexing, the band just this week released TOT's second single in the UK, "She Can Do What She Wants," and still plans to play its upcoming summer European shows. They kinda stink at this "hiatus" thing. But to be fair, the h-word will likely start at the end of June, once all their shows have been played. Although, in the now times, with many once-broken up bands reuniting, no group is ever "taking a break," "on hiatus," "on extended hiatus," or "broken up" for too long.

Chemical Brothers Reveal New Album Tracklist, Collaborators, Minty Fresh Fragrance

Are you Willy Mason, Fatlip, Ali Love, Midlake, or The Klaxons? If so, congratulations! You're guesting on the new Chemical Brothers album, We Are The Night. By my calculations, there's now around 18 bands or artists left in the world who haven't yet collaborated with the Chemical Brothers, which probably goes some way to explaining Willy Mason.

British nu-rave champions The Klaxons (who still haven't successfully explained what, if anything, nu-rave has to do with, er, actual rave) are playing on All Rights Reversed -- see what you did there, clever -- while Midlake appear on presumably epic album closer "The Pills Won't Help You Now." Willy Mason is playing on "Battle Scars," and Ali Love is featured on the first single from the album, "Do It Again." Most concerning of all, though, is Fatlip appearing on a track called "The Salmon Dance." I mean, seriously, dude? As much as I dig The Pharcyde, there's just some things that I don't want to see a grown man do.

We Are The Night is going to drop on June 19. The Brothers will do their usual British festival circuit, before touring America in September.

Do the salmon, yeah, the salmon, uh, uh, the salmon, yeah, OH FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING:

Gorillaz Drop Music and Get Down with Harry Potter; Moms Everywhere Burn Old Blur Records

Little known fact kids, Terry Gilliam was J.K. Rowling’s first choice for directing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone back in 2000. As we all know, Christopher Columbus was picked for the job. And according to Gilliam, those versions were “just dull; pedestrian.” Most people would curl and die after being passed over for a job like that. One of the most successful film series to date and the execs say, “No, we want some fifteenth century explorer. Not one of the funniest British minds ever.” The thing is, dig, Gilliam was born in America, and you know what that means? He wasn’t born a quitter. The boy has resilience! He bleeds red, white and blue! Though he did denounce his U.S. citizenship in 2006. Whatever.

Wait, this is about Gorillaz. Yeah, so Gorillaz are done making studio albums. Instead they are making a movie for which they will write the score. Now it has been rumored that Terry Gilliam is on ship with the boyz to make this movie happen. With that said, we can only assume that Gilliam has acquired the rights to the next Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

The list of characters is incomplete as of now, but there are a few obvious choices. Firstly, Murdoc is going to play Professor Snape. The boy is creepy. I mean he’s a member of Gorillaz, so at the end of the day, he is a good guy, but with his drug addictions and what not, we can’t wholeheartedly trust him. And we all know how slippery Snape can be. It’s a perfect match. Also, Murdoc claims to have lost his virginity at age nine. Creepy. 2D, the band’s lead vocalist, would most likely play the lead of Harry Potter. He is, after all, the band’s official pretty boy. And, like Harry, has marks on his face that have gained him recognition. Noodle, the only girl in the band, gets to be Hermione by default. Russel, the overgrown drummer, will play Hagrid. This move is done more for his size than any other reason.

Neither Gilliam nor the members of Gorillaz could be reached for comment on their newest endeavor, but Damon Albarn, one of the men closely connected with Gorillaz had this to say: “We're trying to make a film next, starting in September hopefully. It will be a film score. There won't be another pop record. When we made the first Gorillaz record, we had no idea it was going to be a pop record. You don't make records with that in mind. They become that if the public love them.”

Okay, well that quote had nothing to do with the potential of Gilliam directing the newest Harry Potter flick, nor did it have anything to do with the potential of 2D playing the role of Harry Potter. Thanks a lot Albarn. “Ring, Ring” “Hello?” “Oh hey, Albarn, it’s for you. Blur called, they said you peaked eight years ago.”