“Hope for Haiti Now” Telethon Raises $61 Million, Recording Becomes First Digital-Only Release To Reach U.S. #1

It’s true what they say: in times of great need, the world joins together in more ways than one could have ever imagined. And of course, the odd celebrity endorsement never hurts. The much-anticipated “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon aired last Friday night, raising over $61 million and garnering an average of 24 million viewers, and that’s not including the 5.8 million viewers streaming the special online. In addition to raising money for victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti about two weeks earlier, the telethon also featured performances by A-list artists including Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Matt Morris, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Bono from U2.

Collaborations between artists included Timberlake and Morris singing Leonard Cohen’s famed ballad “Hallelujah” and Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Bono’s rendition of “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour).” Needless to say, these collabs vastly helped the efforts to raise money, while the “Hope for Haiti Now” recording has beat out all current chart-topping artists on Billboard 200 and on iTunes’ albums chart. The recording is set to enter #1 this week on the US charts, with roughly 175,000 units sold, making it the first digital-only release to reach #1. And that’s representing less than three days of only digital sales, as Hypebot reports.

• Hope for Haiti Now: https://hopeforhaitinow.org

The Strange Boys Finish New Album, Add Dates with Spoon & Deerhunter, Will Continue to be Boys

I’m gonna go ahead and take an obvious tack with this one. “What’s so strange about The Strange Boys” you ask? ” What’s so unusual about four taut young lads from Texas ripping out uptempo, blues-driven garage rock?” Gotta tell ya, there’s nothing willfully odd about the whole endeavor, but it sure is fun. If you caught their full-length debut released on In The Red last year, The Strange Boys…And Girls Club (TMT Review), or their rowdy live session at Austin’s 91.7 KVRX, you know their influences are familiar, but their jams are exuberant and refreshing. Their sophomore effort, Be Brave, will be released February 22 in the UK by Rough Trade and February 23 in the US by In The Red. (The title track was released earlier this week as a limited-edition 7-inch single.)

In February, the Boys will take a western jaunt with Chain and the Gang before they tag along with fellow Austin-tinians Spoon.

02.19.10 - Austin, TX - Emo’s *#
02.21.10 - Marfa, TX - Padre’s *
02.23.10 - Phoenix, AZ - Trunk Space *
02.24.10 - San Diego, CA - Casbah *
02.25.10 - Isla Vista, CA - Biko Garage *
02.26.10 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo *
02.27.10 - San Francisco, CA - Elbo Room *$
02.28.10 - Reno, NV - Rainshadow Community Charter High School *
03.02.10 - Salem, OR - The Space *+
03.03.10 - Olympia, WA - Northern *+
03.04.10 - Seattle, WA - Comet Tavern *&
03.05.10 - Vancouver, BC - Media Club *
03.06.10 - Portland, OR - East End *
03.07.10 - Boise, ID - Visual Arts Collective
03.08.10 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
03.09.10 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
03.10.10 - Boulder, CO - University of Colorado - Club 156
03.12.10 - Lubbock, TX - Bash Riprock’s
03.18.10 - New Orleans, LA - Republic %@
03.19.10 - Birmingham, AL - Workplay Soundstage %@
03.20.10 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle %@
03.22.10 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club %@
03.23.10 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club %@
03.24.10 - Richmond, VA - The National %@
03.26.10 - New York, NY - Radio City Music Hall %@
03.27.10 - Boston, MA - House of Blues %@
03.29.10 - Toronto, ON - Sound Academy %@
03.30.10 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Music Theater %@

* Chain and the Gang
# Yellow Fever
+ The Hive Dwellers
& Lovvers
$ Ty Segall, Nodzzz
@ Spoon
% Deerhunter

• The Strange Boys: http://www.myspace.com/thestrangeboys
• In The Red: http://www.intheredrecords.com

Titus Andronicus to Release The Monitor in March

Dust off your history books, garden state rockers Titus Andronicus are back. The Monitor, the follow-up to their well-received 2008 debut The Airing of Grievances, is due March 9 via XL Recordings. The release coincides with the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads, in which the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia fought off the coast of Virginia.

You might be asking what a Civil War battle has to do with an indie rock record, and those concerns are not unfounded. Patrick Stickles, lead singer/songwriter, describes the album as “sort of” a concept album about the Civil War, clarifying that “Really, it is a record about how the conflicts that led our nation into that great calamity remain unresolved, and the effect that this ongoing division has on our personal relationships and our behavior and how they’re all out to get us (or maybe not?) and yadda yadda yadda.” Sounds light and jaunty.

The Monitor was recorded in August of 2009 by Greg Calbi in New Paltz, NY and includes guest appearances from members of The Hold Steady, Ponytail, Vivian Girls, and Wye Oak.

Expect a tour closer to the album’s release date (some dates are announced at the band’s MySpace), as well as a 7-inch of lead single “Four Score and Seven” (split over the A-side and B-side) on February 9.

The Monitor tracklisting:

01. A More Perfect Union
02. Titus Andronicus Forever
03. No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future
04. Richard II
05. A Pot In Which To Piss
06. Four Score And Seven
07. Theme From “Cheers”
08. To Old Friends And New
09. …And Ever
10. The Battle Of Hampton Roads

• Titus Andronicus: http://www.titusandronicus.net
• XL Recordings: http://www.xlrecordings.com

Panda Bear Announces More 2010 Solo Dates

Noah Lennox, a.k.a. Panda Bear, has announced more solo dates for 2010. Yes, the dates are in Europe, wah wah wah, but that’s why we have technology right? Here’s what we need to do: find a couple Europeans (preferably white), have them bootleg the Panda Bear shows with MD recorders and digital cameras (preferably Japanese), find bloggers (preferably “of color”) to post the audio/video pointing to ZIP files and YouTube, and then HAVE MULTICULTURAL SEX WITH EVERYONE INVOLVED.

After we’re done boning each other, hopefully Panda Bear will announce details for his new solo album, rumored to be titled Tomboy. Here’s what he said about the album in an interview with Pedestrian.tv last year:

The rhythms are really basic and kind of raw and simple and are electronic. It’s not live instrumentation, I’ve been playing guitar but I feed it through the same thing that the sequences are on. It’s a very electronic sound and very voice heavy. A simple arrangement of drums, the guitar and singing. Really there are only two or three elements to every song. It’s pretty raw sounding for better for worse. The tone is a lot darker and it sounds sort of dramatic or romantic to me.

You can check out a couple new songs (made possible by the same bootleg/blog/bone template from above) here (via Gorilla Vs. Bear):

02.12.10 - Lisbon, Portugal - Lux Fragil
03.10.10 - Paris, France - Cabaret Sauvage
03.11.10 - London, UK - Heaven
03.12.10 - Dublin, Ireladn - Vicar Street
04.29.10 - Krems, Austria - Donaufestival
05.07.10 - Minehead, Somerset, UK - Butlin’s Holiday Centre (ATP)
05.27.10 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound

[Photo: prusakolep]

Live Nation-Ticketmaster Merger Approved (Not By Us)

Before I go to a live music or sporting event, I weigh my ticket options carefully. Sometimes I’ll get my tickets from Ticketmaster, other times times I’ll buy them from Ticketmaster, or to save time and waste money I might purchase tickets online with Ticketmaster. That may all change, however, with the new Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, which plans to open a world of options for sporting fans and concert-goers (like myself) everywhere.

First, some background. Live Nation owns over 100 venues, promotes and/or produces 22,000 events annually, and sold over 50 million tickets in 2008. Ticketmaster—as if you didn’t know—is the US’s premier ticket sales and distribution company, selling over 142 million tickets in 2007. As a company, Ticketmaster is reviled (by just about everyone) for their notorious service charges and poor-to-non-existent customer service. Combined, these two already-powerful companies will coalesce into the perfect shit storm for ticket buyers, venues, and musicians.

So what do they have to say for themselves? In yesterday’s press release, the new super company assures us that, “Through this merger, the parties believe that the combined company will have the tools to develop new products, expand access, improve transparency and deliver artists and fans more choice. This will drive greater attendance at live events and bringing more value to all major constituents in the industry.”

More choice? More value? Improve transparency? Ticketmaster, please don’t piss on our backs and tell us it’s raining.

The merger was proposed last year in February, finally clearing with approval by the US Department of Justice on Monday, but not without some legal stipulations. According to the DOJ, the new company will be “watched” for 10 years and forced to obey “tough anti-retaliation provisions,” supposedly to prevent abuse to any competition. But then again, who could really compete with Ticketmaster before the merger?

To find out more about what’s being done to combat the merger, and to sign a petition against it, head over to TicketDisaster.org which is directly affiliated with the American Antitrust Institute.

Alec Ounsworth Announces First Headlining Tour; Vows To Not Be Forgotten Like Whats-His-Name From Tapes ‘N Tapes

Desperate to not end up like whats-his-name from Tapes ‘N Tapes, Alec Ounsworth is hitting the road without his Clap Your Hands Say Yeah band mates for his first headlining tour ever, in support of his new album, Mo Beauty and his side project band Flashy Python’s Skin and Bones, both out on ANTI- Records.

01.28.10 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg &
01.29.10 - New York, NY - Terminal 5 &
01.30.10 - Chicago, IL - The Vic Theatre &
02.02.10 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
02.03.10 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
02.05.10 - Austin, TX - Emo’s Alternative Lounge
02.06.10 - Denton, TX - Hailey’s
02.09.10 - Tucson, AZ - Solar Culture
02.10.10 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah
02.11.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Bootleg Theater
02.12.10 - San Francisco, CA - Café du Nord
02.13.10 - Brookdale, CA - The Brookdale Lodge
02.15.10 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
02.16.10 - Seattle, WA - Neumo’s
02.18.10 - Boise, ID - The Neurolux
02.19.10 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court Gallery
02.20.10 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
02.22.10 - Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room
02.23.10 - Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar
02.24.10 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
02.25.10 - Chicago, IL - Schuba’s

& Cold War Kids

• Alec Ounsworth: http://www.myspace.com/alecounsworth
• ANTI- Records: http://www.anti.com