Decemberists’ Jenny Conlee’s breast cancer in remission

Decemberists' Jenny Conlee's breast cancer in remission http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-11-10-decemberists_0.jpg

Here at the TMT/Bob’s Pickle Pops offices (they sublet our basement in exchange for providing free lunch for all the staff here), we keep an old, 1860s-model telegraph fully operational in case someone ever needs to contact us on it. Tech’ing it drives our IT guy nuts. His argument is a reasonable one: “No one ever contacts the music press via telegraph, you hillbillies!” Well, no one, that is, except for The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy.

But as it happens, today was a good day to have a working telegraph on hand. See, Colin took some time out from churning his family’s winter supply of butter to wire us some fantastic news (coincidentally corroborated three days earlier by SPIN) regarding the status of his band’s keyboard player Jenny Conlee in her ongoing battle with cancer. If you remember, Colin and Jenny took to The Decemberists’ website this past spring to deliver the unfortunate news that Jenny had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would have to sit out during all of The Decemberists’ spring and summer tourdates in support of The King Is Dead. But after noting that she had luckily caught the cancer early on, Conlee stated that she was “thinking positive and hope to be back on the road soon.”

Well, after five months of treatment, it now looks like that wish has been granted, as Meloy painstakingly tapped us the following morse-coded message: “For those of you wondering, saw Jenny this week; our girl’s officially in remission! #teamjenny #beyondchemodome.” Turns out he had posted that same message on his Twitter earlier, but still: suck it, IT guy. And according to a recent news item on the band’s site, Conlee may be back in the fold as early as next month: “John, Chris, Jenny, and Nate will be joining forces with Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey to form the King Charles Trio, the backing band for John Wesley Harding‘s upcoming November tour.” Their site lists those shows as starting on Guy Fawkes Day (November 5). So… congrats Jenny! Now if you’ll excuse me, news this great calls for a delicious, chilled pickle pop.

• The Decemberists: http://www.decemberists.com
• Capitol: http://www.capitolrecords.com

[Photo: Amanda M Hatfield]

Amy Klein leaves Titus Andronicus (replaced by Liam Betson), keeps her Tumblr/Twitter name as a memento

When I first heard that Amy Klein joined Glen Rock’s finest, Titus Andronicus, I’ll admit it caught my attention. While there had always been some female presence in the band, it never seemed that prominent to me, and the word went that this would change with Amy. So I kept my ear to the ground. Then, passing along The Monitor (TMT Review) to a certain friend from nearby Basking Ridge, who possesses the most extreme feelings one could have about the Garden State, he mentions after a playthrough, “Wait a sec…I know Amy!” This is not the first time this has happened to me, but it was still pretty awesome. Continuing onward, I kept apace with her work, especially as she developed her personal Tumblr into one of the finer personal blogs I have read in quite some time. I was really looking forward to her contributing to the next Titus Andronicus album, whenever that will be.

So I am rather let down by the news that Ms. Klein has now left Titus Andronicus at the end of the current tour, well before they have begun recording their next album. Thankfully, according to both parties, the split was among the more amicable I have seen in a while: “No, there was no big fight or anything — no wild partying, drug, or alcohol addiction leading to me getting fired — no dramatic story — nothing like that. It is just time for me to move on.” Liam Betson, who played guitar on The Monitor will take her place, at least for the time being. Both Ms. Klein and Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus have posted their pieces on the matter, and the band has also posted some of Amy’s greatest hits, including her live cover of X-Ray Spex’ “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!”

It is, admittedly, a shame we will not see her in the next album. But this is not to say that what she is doing now is insignificant. In fact, she has done quite a lot of amazing things in the last year alone: she posted her first solo album, started up two bands (one of which features our former writer Heidi Vanderslice on cello), and established a new feminist arts and activist organization, Permanent Wave. Ms. Klein is doing a lot of good out there already, and I will not be surprised in the least if, in the coming years, she becomes someone especially integral and important to the music community at large. Keep at it, Amy!

• Amy Klein and the Blue Star Band: http://www.facebook.com/AmyKleinandtheBlueStarBand
• hillyeye: http://hillyeye.bandcamp.com
• Titus Andronicus: http://www.titusandronicus.net

Die Antwoord announce their second album, Tensions, keep making funny quotes that sound like your little brother talking about rap music

If you thought Die Antwoord had disappeared into the recesses of musical history, placed neatly next to other oddball acts like Moondog or JC Chasez, well you were wrong. The South African rapravers recently sat down with SPIN and offered up five tracks for review, all of which are planned for release on the group’s next album, Tensions. SPIN declared the new music “even freakier and more absurd, yet simultaneously smart and culturally relevant.” Which is a weird quote to me, and I kind of want to punch the writer in the mouth and ask, “Why can’t freaky or absurd be smart? Why does it have to be ‘yet smart’ as opposed to just ‘absurd and smart’?”

Anyway, the tracks seem to follow in the footsteps of 2010’s $O$, and I’m sure that all you dance kids will really enjoy it! However, I still find myself unable to listen to Die Antwoord because guys with ironically weird facial hair just turn me off like a light switch at noon. But I must say: the fact that Ninja and Yo-Landi sound like suburban rap fans from the late 90s makes me laugh. Here’s my favorite quote, about the track “Baby’s on Fire”: “But it could also be a girl that’s dancing is making you think, ‘Oh shit, that bitch is on fire and shit.’ But also sometimes a girl makes you so fucking crazy that you want to do something bad.” Hahahahaha!!

Expect a new album and plenty of funny-looking press photos by January 2012.

• Die Antwoord: http://www.dieantwoord.com

Raekwon to release Just 4 Laughs Pt.2 mixtape on Black Friday, presumably as a goof

Top-tier Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon loves a good goof. But there is a goof, and then there is murder. And then there is a mixtape. The Shaolin warriors at Prefix report that Rae is putting out Just 4 Laughs Pt.2, a free mixtape, on November 25.

For those who work retail/don’t hate going out into the physical world to purchase presents, that very date is known as Black Friday. Presumably, the Chef intends for the world’s holiday shoppers to soundtrack their mall trips with a sequel to 2010’s Just 4 Laughs tape, replete with tales of coke cooking and Wu braggadocio. Or, at least, to give those cowering in the dankest corners of their houses, expressly for the purpose of hiding from the mobs of actual humans, something to listen to. Personally, I was planning for some Scott Walker, but I’ll give this a shot, too. The mixtape’s title track is up on YouTube, but there’s no actual confirmation that the track will actually be on the mixtape. Logic be damned; you know how those things are.

• Raekwon: http://raekwonchronicles.com

Zomby to release Nothing on 4AD, though technically he’s already released something

I had the rather unique opportunity of catching Zomby perform at Decibel Festival in Seattle this past September, which was somewhat of a surprise in and of itself, considering the British dubstep producer has a history of just not showing up for scheduled live events. But he showed up for this one, and boy was it… something. After a fairly enthusiastic first half of gamut-running electronic music, the mysterious man in the Guy Fawkes mask seemed to lose energy in a manner similar to a cigarette-smoking Solid Snake. Only those weren’t fags Zomby was smoking. Possibly discouraged by the obvious technical issues that seemed to increase as time went on, he spent the latter portion of his set toking up, sitting backstage, and occasionally returning to touch his laptop once or twice. He ended the show with possibly the most I-don’t-give-a-shit V sign I’ve ever seen.

I dare say Zomby’s general attitude toward life may be the inspiration for the title of his upcoming EP Nothing, to be released November 28 in the UK and December 6 in the US. Details are scant, but when a release is only 22 minutes in length, I’m not sure how much detail you really need. The EP, according to a press release, is being billed as, “both a companion piece and ‘something of a bridge’” between it and the slightly longer LP Dedication (TMT Review), which was released in July, also via 4AD. If this is what an indifferent Zomby sounds like, I’d love to see what an energetic and aspirational Zomby could accomplish.

Nothing tracklisting:

01. Labyrinth
02. Digital Fractal
03. Equinox
04. Sens
05. It Was All a Dream
06. Trapdoor
07. Ecstasy Versions

• Zomby: http://www.myspace.com/zombyproductions
• 4AD: http://www.4ad.com

Ceremony tour family-friendly destinations in November and December; pack the kids up!

Looking for a way to keep your young family happy while still nurturing your love of hardcore shows? Just because you’re getting up in years and don’t see your old friends as much as you used to because you fall asleep at 9 PM every night, long before they’re even getting ready to go out, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to still take in a good up-tempo scream fest every once in a while — and here’s how you do it.

You’ve already got that vacation planned to Disneyland/World because Madison and Quinn wouldn’t stop talking about it, right? Well, now there’s a bright spot in your itinerary because Ceremony will be taking off to Southern California and Central and Southern Florida (your family vacation destinations extraordinaire) in November and December, and if you play your cards right, the stars might align and you’ll be able to sneak away from the family after a long day of meals with people in furry costumes to see a good and proper punk show.

Just make sure and take a nap and set the clock on your phone, because if you miss it on account of the rides and the pool and those damn kids wearing you out, you will never live it down. And don’t go in the pit. You’ll hurt yourself.

Tourdates:

11.06.11 - Austin, TX - Fun Fun Fun Festival
11.10.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
11.11.11 - Santa Cruz, CA - Pioneer
11.12.11 - San Francisco, CA - Submission Gallery
11.13.11 - Ventura, CA - Zoey’s Cafe
12.08.11 - Orlando, FL - Will’s Pub
12.09.11 - Miami, FL - Churchill’s Pub
12.10.11 - Tampa, FL - Tansitions Art Gallery

• Ceremony: http://www.ceremonyhc.com
• Matador: http://www.matadorrecords.com