Jeff Mangum eats falafel sandwich, writes music for Robert Schneider and Robert Beatty to perform using their brains

Jeff Mangum eats falafel sandwich, writes music for Robert Schneider and Robert Beatty to perform using their brains

It’s been a few years since Jeff Mangum headlined our hugely successful Tiny Mix Tapes Fest, and though he’s made the occasional headline since then, most Neutral Milk Hotel fans are still disappointed that Mangum has yet to announce plans to visit them individually, touch their faces, and magically improve their lives. Nevertheless, Jeff still maintains some form of agency in his own life, so what else can we do as music appreciators but root through his trash, hold stethoscopes up to the walls of his home, and report our findings to a fickle, mean-spirited public?

And so: Jeff Mangum has composed a musical score for Teletron, the instrument that Robert Schneider of The Apples in Stereo invented last year by modifying a Mattel Mindflex toy so that a performer could change a synthesizer’s pitch using only their mind. The Teletron was demonstrated using Mangum’s score last week during a neuroscience class at Duke University, dually wielded by Schneider and Robert Beatty (of Hair Police, Three Legged Race, Burning Star Core, and amazing album art). Schneider explains the process of composing and performing with the Teletron thusly:

A Teletron score is a collage-like sequence of opposing pages, where the right page speaks to the left side of the brain, which is more logical, and the left page speaks to the right brain, the intuitive side. Two opposing images are to be understood by the reader as a single thought or statement. The images are also projected for the audience to view. The melody played by the synthesizers is completely based on the conductor’s thoughts, while Robert and I adjust the Moog filters to taste, each of us playing the role of one side of the brain and reading only one side of the score. Finally, the synthesizers are sent through stereo speakers to feed the sounds to corresponding hemispheres of the listeners’ brains.

For now, this appears to have been a one-time-only event, but Schneider “and colleagues” are bringing his Teletron down to Athens, Georgia on May 7 for the AUX Festival, so maybe he’ll bust out the Mangum piece there. We leave you with a video, not of Jeff Mangum running from TMZ reporters, but of a collaboration between Robert Beatty and visual artist Takeshi Murata that seems to simulate what might happen if they hooked up the Teletron to Mango’s head and projected the results.

• The Apples in Stereo:
• Robert Beatty:

Ganglians announce new album Still Living. Do you know what their band name always makes me think of?


Still Living tracklisting:

01. Drop the Act
02. That’s What I Want
03. Evil Weave
04. Sleep
05. Jungle
06. Bradley
07. Things to Know
08. Good Times
09. The Toad
10. California Cousins
11. Faster
12. My House

North American release date: August 23 (Lefse Records)
European release date: August 29 (Souterrain Transmissions)
Track download: “Jungle.”

• Ganglians:
• Lefse:
• Souterrain Transmissions:
• In Memory of Bill Erwin:

Modest Mouse collaborate with Big Boi on new record. This headline is real and I have a confusion-induced headache.

Here’s some big news for your Thursday: indie rock mainstays Modest Mouse are hard at work on a new record. Now, here’s some really big news: the band is collaborating with OutKast member/awesome solo artist Big Boi. Get it? Big news, ‘cause it’s Big Boi!! I kill me.

There’s not a lot of information on what exactly Big Boi is doing on this forthcoming Modest Mouse record. In fact, the only information whatsoever comes from the following quote from the rapper’s Twitter account: “Been camped out in the Lab with Modest Mouse all week, workin on the new mouse LP, coolest cats ever. Long Live The Funk.” There you go. Once there’s some sort of indication of the nature of Big Boi’s involvement, I’m sure you will hear about it incessantly. Personally, I hope that he ends up the KRS-One to Isaac Brock’s Michael Stipe and that Brock wears a silly looking hat in the video.

• Modest Mouse:
• Big Boi:

The Mountain Goats tour West Coast this summer, distracting grad students everywhere

If you’ve ever taken an undergraduate beginner creative writing course in college, then the odds are you were taught by a graduate student who had a quaint fascination with The Mountain Goats and/or Tom Waits. Everything seems to remind the grad student of The Mountain Goats, including chalkboards, grass, telephones, and life in general. When The Mountain Goats announce a new album or tour, for the grad student it immediately becomes the only acceptable time to develop a boner for a goat.

Loosen your shorts: The Mountain Goats will tour the West Coast in support of their latest album on Merge, All Eternals Deck (TMT Review). The band will also play Lollapalooza in August and open for Bright Eyes on a few dates. Ironically, the same people who cried in the mirror listening to Bright Eyes in high school are now creative writing grad students who now cry in the mirror over their poor decision-making skills.


06.14.11 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater
06.16.11 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox
06.17.11 - Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore Cabaret
06.18.11 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
06.20.11 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
06.23.11 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
06.26.11 - Bloomington, IN - Rhino’s Youth Center (solo set)
07.27.11 - Lewiston, NY - Artpark *
07.28.11 - Gilford, NH - Meadowbrook US Cellular Pavilion *
07.29.11 - South Burlington, VT - The Green At Shelburne Museum*
07.30.11 - Montreal, QC - Osheaga Festival
07.31.11 - Baldwinsville, NY - Papermill Island Amphitheatre *
08.03.11 - Grand Rapids, MI - Meijer Gardens *
08.04.11 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room *
08.05-07.11 - Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza

* Bright Eyes

• The Mountain Goats:
• Merge:

Three Lobed (and cats) release psych comp feat. Sonic Youth, Sun City Girls, Bardo Pond, Wooden Wand, etc.

Who thought? Who knew? Who even slightly pondered that psychedelic music would be staging the modern comeback that it has? What’s most impressive is the form that psychedelic music has presently taken, in the form of a cross-genre hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated music formats that bear almost no aesthetic similarities other than the mutual embrace of the psych. I remember first delving into psych music in the early 2000s when the mid-to-late-90s psychedelic scene had long ago crested, listening to “The Sounds of Psychedelphia”, filled with anger toward my parents for not popping me out five years earlier. Alas, here we are in 2011, this album is a current Eureka! pick, psych is back hard, and I can finally, after all this time, forgive my parents.

So who better than long-standing purveyor of psych (even when it wasn’t cool) Three Lobed to document this moment in history with a killer comp featuring the top tier of artists representing the ultimate in mindfuck music. Not the Spaces You Know, But Between Them will be released at an indefinite date this summer as a 4xLP box set featuring such prestigious artists as Sun City Girls, Sonic Youth, Comets on Fire, Mouthus, Bardo Pond, D. Charles Speer, Wooden Wand, Steve Gunn, and Eternal Tapestry, with each artist getting a whole side of vinyl to themselves (besides Wooden Wand and D. Charles Speer, who share a side). The set comes with four distinct and separate inner sleeves for each record, an insert bearing some written word from the notorious Marc Masters, a free download card, and the whole thing (minus the Sun City Girls selection) was mastered by Patrick Klem. These things look hella killer and there’s only gonna be 700 of these puppies pressed. Meaning you can roll over to the Three Lobed website and preorder the set, see a more detailed tracklisting, and read about how felines influenced the whole process.

Not the Spaces You Know, But Between Them tracklisting:

A1. Sun City Girls, “Wide World of Animals”
A2. Sun City Girls, “Sangkala”
A3. Sun City Girls, “Caravan”

B1. Steve Gunn, “The Lurker” (extended)

C1. Sonic Youth, “In & Out”
C2. Sonic Youth, “Out & In”

D1. Mouthus, “Cabled Away”
D2. Mouthus, “Echo the Sun”

E1. Comets on Fire, “2950 3rd St.”

F1. D. Charles Speer & The Helix, “Big, Big City”
F2. D. Charles Speer & The Helix, “Shooting Star”
F3. Wooden Wand, “Holed Up (Spooning with the Void)”
F4. Wooden Wand, “Hall of Blame”
F5. Wooden Wand, “Black Nikes”

G1. Eternal Tapestry, “Doing Your Own Being”

H1. Bardo Pond, “The Invisible Fire”

• Three Lobed:

Disappears tour this summer with The Psychic Paramount and Obits, sit in a tree, K-I-S-S

Who are Disappears? Disappears are whoever you want them to be, baby. Are they Krautrock? Are they garage rock? Facts are scant, but we do know that the band consists of 90 Day Men’s Brian Case, Graeme Gibson, and at times, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth. Shelley appears on Disappears’ most recent album, Guider (TMT Review), which came out in January on Kranky. The band will be hitting the road to rep Guider this summer.

Joining Disappears on tour will be The Psychic Paramount, an experimental band from New York who just snuck into our “Favorite 100 Albums of 2000-2009” list. Toward the end of Disappears’ great American roadtrip, they’ll meet up with Obits, who’ve got a little record of their own to show off, Moody, Standard and Poor, available now on Sub Pop.


05.05.11 - St. Louis, MO - Bilken Club
05.06.11 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle *
07.21.11 - Detroit, MI - Lager House **
07.22.11 - Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dee’s **
07.23.11 - Monreal, QC - Casa del Popolo **
07.24.11 - Alston, MA - Brighton Music Hall **
07.25.11 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall **
07.26.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool **
07.27.11 - New York, NY - Cake Shop **
07.28.11 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s **
07.29.11 - Baltimore, MD - Sonar **
07.30.11 - Pittsburgh, PA - Brillobox
07.31.11 - Columbus, OH - The Basement
08.18.11 - Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore Cabaret ***
08.19.11 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile ****
08.20.11 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge ****
08.22.11 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill ****
08.24.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Satellite Club ****
08.25.11 - San Diego, CA - Casbah ****

* The Eternals
** The Psychic Paramount
*** The Hard Feelings, Obits
**** Obits

• Disappears:
• Kranky: