Jeff Mangum to play Chris Knox benefit. Also playing: people who aren’t indie rock’s version of Bigfoot.

Jeff Mangum to play Chris Knox benefit. Also playing: people who aren't indie rock's version of Bigfoot.

I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new here, but Jeff Mangum is hardly Bradford Cox or that guy from Wavves or . Aside from rare occasions like the Elephant Six Holiday Surprise Tour or popping up at Elf Power shows, the public has hardly seen hide nor hair of the Neutral Milk Hotel leader in the past decade. So, when the man is scheduled to play honest-to-god music on stage, it’s a big deal. Big deal of the moment: Mangum will play a short acoustic set at the May 6 benefit for Chris Knox taking place at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge.

Surely you already know who Mangum is (if not, I’d recommend picking up In The Aeroplane Over The Sea real quick like), but who is this Knox fellow and why is there a benefit for him? Well, he would happen to be one of New Zealand’s most respected punk rock musicians of the 70s and 80s, along with also wearing the hats of comic artist, television host, film reviewer, and producer of many releases on the legendary Flying Nun label. Last year, Knox suffered a series of life-changing strokes. To benefit the musician and his family, Merge has put out Stroke, a tribute record featuring covers of the man’s work, and Le Poisson Rouge, Wordless Music, and WFMU are putting on the aforementioned benefit. Aside from the roughly $2,500 in costs for club expenses, all money from the benefit will go to Knox’s family.

Although Mangum’s participation in the event will be the main incentive for many, there’s no lack of major talent involved in the proceedings. Among those playing are Yo La Tengo, Portastatic, TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson, Sharon Van Etten, The Clean (along with solo sets by members Robert Scott and David Kilgour), comedian John Mulaney, and Dimmer, which is fronted by Straitjacket Fits singer Shayne Carter. Tickets are SOLD OUT of course, but the show will be partially broadcast on WFMU (at a later date), along with various New Zealand community radio stations.

Indian Jewelry TOTALED-LY have a new album coming out

Psych-outs, shit-storms, and endless paranoiac-dumpster-scrambling are bound to run parallel with the impending release of the new new Indian Jewelry album, as is with basically any Indian Jewelry release. The Houston freaks are throwing this one out of the sewers on We Are Free come May 11, and regardless of whatever mutant-like form its likely to take, it will be named Totaled. It was recorded in Houston and L.A., probably in the sewers.

Totaled tracklist:

01. Oceans
02. Look Alive
03. Lapis Lazuli
04. Excessive Moonlight
05. Sirens
06. Vison
07. Tono Bungay
08. +++++++
09. Simulation
10. Diamond Things
11. Never Been Better
12. Parlous Siege & Chapel
13. Heaven’s World Destroyer
14. Touching the Roof of the Sun
15. Dog Days

Some shows to fill in the gap:

04.23.10 - Austin, TX The Mohawk / Austin Psych Fest 3
04.24.10 - Norman, OK Norman Fest

• Indian Jewelry:
• We Are Free:

Broken Bells (Dangermouse/James Mercer) going on tour for the first time ever

Super-duo Broken Bells (made up of Brian “Dangermouse” Burton and The Shins’ James Mercer) released their self-titled, debut-album last week. The new album, Broken Bells, has already shot to the number-one spot on iTunes and the number-seven spot on Billboard, so the guys decided that they would head out on their first-ever North American tour starting May 18, with support by The Morning Benders.

The band has played a number of stand-alone gigs already in Los Angeles, New York, and most recently at SXSW, and if past ticket sales are any indication, then the newly-announced, 15-date tour should shape up to be a pretty hip event! If you need a more “expert”opinion on why you should go, then listen to US Weekly, who described the show as like “being at a cozy, intimate underground basement party somewhere in Northern California with the best art rock band on the coast providing the soundtrack.”

More information is available at Broken Bells’ website.

05.18.10 - San Diego, CA - Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay
05.19.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
05.21.10 - San Francisco, CA - Regency Ballroom
05.24.10 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
05.25.10 - Seattle, WA - Showbox at the Market
05.26.10 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
05.29.10 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre
05.31.10 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theater
06.01.10 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrews Hall
06.02.10 - Toronto, ON - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
06.04.10 - Boston, MA - Royale NightClub
06.05.10 - New York City, NY - The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza
06.06.10 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
06.07.10 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
06.10.10 - Atlanta, GA - Center Stage
06.11.10 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club

• Broken Bells:

Franz Nicolay announces West Coast tour, new album, new touring gig with Against Me! Take THAT, Hold Steady!

As he’s made abundantly clear already, mustachioed keys-master and former Hold Steady “whoa-whoa-hoa” man Franz Nicolay is a busy, creative, fervent, funny, deep, busy, creative, compassionate, busy genius. He don’t need no flower sniffin’, kitty pettin’, corporate rock whores like The Hold Steady steadily holding him down. He’s got plans. Secret plans. Secret plans and clever tricks. So back off.

Recently, Nicolay climbed the nearest mountain and announced, in a booming voice, all of the shit that he has going on in 2010. Said “shit” includes the recent release of his short story collection, Complicated Gardening Techniques, an upcoming West Coast solo tour backing his recent Major General LP and subsequent St. Sebastian of the Short Stage EP, a summer gig as a touring member of Floridian punky anthem-pop band (yeah, kinda like The Hold Steady) Against Me!, and some plans to begin work on his follow-up record with producer Jim Keller (Muse, Laurie Anderson). The album is scheduled for a fall 2010 release, and you can check out demos of Franz’s new songs over at his MySpace.

Damn that’s a lot of announcements. And, you know, there might have even been a few more that I didn’t catch. It was actually kind of hard to hear his thunderous proclamations, on account of the Hold Steady records that I was furiously rocking out to at the time…

Franz Nicolay:

04.10.10 - Portland, OR - Millenium Music (instore)
04.10.10 - Salem, OR - Cherry City Music Festival, Mission Hill Museum
04.11.10 - Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern
04.12.10 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
04.14.10 - San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
04.15.10 - Visalia, CA - The Cellar Door
04.16.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Bootleg
04.17.10 -Silverlake, CA - Home
04.23.10 -Hoboken, NJ - Stevens Institute of Technology
05.14.10 - Brooklyn, NY - WORD Bookstore

Against Me!

06.01.10 - London, UK - Garage
06.02.10 - Manchester, UK - Academy 3
06.03.10 - Birmingham, UK - Academy 2
06.13.10 - Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo
08.13.10 - Oslo, Norway - Oya Festival

• Franz Nicolay:

[Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev]

RIP: Herb Ellis, jazz guitarist

From the LA Times:

Herb Ellis, a jazz guitarist perhaps best known for his work with the influential Oscar Peterson Trio, has died. He was 88.

Ellis, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died Sunday morning at his home in Los Angeles, said his son, Mitch.

During his long and varied career, Ellis played with Jimmy Dorsey and Ella Fitzgerald. He also worked as a studio musician and played in the bands of several television shows, including Steve Allen’s and Merv Griffin’s.

“There have been changes in jazz and new styles come along. I play straight ahead, what you might call mainstream, jazz,” Ellis told the Columbus Dispatch of Ohio in 1996. “That’s what I played when I started and that’s what I still play. I wish everyone else good luck and God bless, but I’ve found mine and I’m going to stick with it.”

• Herb Ellis:

[Photo: Vernon Hyde]

Members of Animal Collective, Beauty Pill create new music for D.C. Boombox Event This Saturday (Wayne Coyne suspiciously not invited)!

Hey everyone: stop protesting about Everything Ever on the National Mall for a second. Washington DC-based experimental psych-rock band Bluebrain has a special treat for you this Saturday. With the help of D.C. movers and shakers ReadysetDC, the duo of brothers has called in some awfully big favors from heavy-hitting friends to help compose new music for a good old-fashioned “Boombox Event” that’s fixing to go down this Saturday, April 3 on the capital’s National Mall.

In case you’re an L7 Weenie, here’s how the whole Boombox Happening thing works: fans (e.g. fans of the respective bands involved, fans of experimental music, fans of illicit substance abuse, fans of cherry blossoms, etc.) are asked to bring their own boomboxes, and Bluebrain will supply each fearless freak with a cassette tape. Each tape is part of a giant composite soundtrack featuring music from Chad Clark of Beauty Pill, Brian Weitz of The Animal Collectivez, Maureen Andary, Sean Peoples of Sockets Records, Outputmessage”, Will Eastman, Alfonso Bravo, and of course, Bluebrain. Attendees are then instructed to “hit play, motherfuckers” at the same time for a unique musical/spacial experience as they march across the Mall with its famous cherry blossoms in full bloom. The aforementioned motherfuckers will then be instructed to erase their cassettes (though some will just pretend to do so) and will be promptly booted from the premises so that some angry mob or another can play through. But hey, if you’re going to affiliate yourself with a faction of crazies, they might as well be cool, fun, music-loving crazies, right? Not like those OTHER crazies. They’re just crazy.

Cherry Blossom Boombox Walk
Saturday, April 3rd - 5:30 PM
@ The National Mall, Washington DC
Presented by Bluebrain and ReadySetDC.

• Cherry Blossom Boombox Walk:
• Bluebrain:
• ReadysetDC:



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