The Knife return with new album, new free download, and new ways to be kinda creepy

Ladies and gentlemen, dust off your freaky lookin’ bird masks: The Knife are releasing a new album! The brother and sister duo are putting out a studio recording of their Darwin-themed opera, Tomorrow, in a Year, set for a March 1 release. For a sample of what tunes inspired by “Richard Dawkin’s gene trees” sound like, you can visit the band’s official website for a free download of “Colouring of Pigeons.” Mt. Sims and Planningtorock are also collaborating with the plague doctor imagery/bird mask lovin’ siblings on this album.

CD 1:

1. Intro
2. Epochs
3. Geology
4. Upheaved
5. Minerals
6. Ebb Tide Explorer
7. Variation of Birds
8. Letter to Henslow
9. Schoal Swarm Orchestra

CD 2:

1. Annie’s Box
2. Tumult
3. Colouring of Pigeons
4. Seeds
5. Tomorrow in a Year
6. The Height of Summer

Jeff Mangum, Bill Callahan, Yo La Tengo, Jay Reatard, and Flying Nun Crew Pay Tribute to and Help Chris Knox Recover from Stroke with Covers Record

This past June Chris Knox (Tall Dwarfs, Toy Love, etc) suffered a life-changing stroke at his home in New Zealand. Thankfully since then he has been on the road to recovery. To give him a little boost of energy (and a little cash to help out) some big names of today and yesterday's indie rock scene are paying tribute to the man responsible for influencing and creating the punk/indie New Zealand scene by covering one of their favorite Chris Knox songs. One of the most interesting contibutions to this compilation is a track from Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) who has come out of a long hibernation period to pay tribute to Knox by covering Tall Dwarfs' "Sign the Dotted Line." Among the other contributors are Yo La Tengo, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Lambchop, Mountain Goats, Lou Barlow, Bill Callahan, and Jay Reatard, as well as a bunch of Knox's old New Zealand associates: The Bats, David Kilgour (The Clean), The Chills, and The Verlaines.

The double-disc Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox is available for download from the Merge store] and will be available in real-world stores on February 23. If you pre-order the album now, you'll get a free digital download anyway so you don't have to wait for it. All proceeds will go to help Knox with his recovery. For more information and updates on Chris Knox, check out the Stroke website where you can also preview many of the tracks off the record.

Check out the Mangum cover here, via Stereogum.

Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox tracklisting:

Disc 1:
1. Jay Reatard – Pull Down the Shades
2. The Checks – Rebel
3. The Bleeding Allstars – Ain’t It Nice
4. Peter Gutteridge – Don’t Catch Fire
5. The Chills – Luck or Loveliness
6. David Kilgour – Nothing’s Going to Happen
7. The Crying Wolfs – All My Hollowness to You
8. Stephin Merritt – Beauty
9. Portastatic – Nostalgia’s No Excuse
10. The Mint Chicks – Crush
11. Jay & Sam Clarkson – I’ve Left Memories Behind
12. The Skygreen Leopards – Burning Blue
13. Shayne Carter – The Slide
14. Pumice – Grand Mal
15. Hamish Kilgour – Knoxed Out

Disc 2:
1. Boh Runga – Not Given Lightly
2. Red & Zeke (Feat. Bill Doss and Neil Cleary) – Bodies
3. Jeff Mangum – Sign the Dotted Line
4. Bill Callahan – Lapse
5. Genghis Smith – Growth Spurt
6. Yo La Tengo – Coloured
7. A.C. Newman – Dunno Much About Life But I Know How to Breathe
8. Alec Bathgate – Glide
9. Don McGlashan – Inside Story
10. Sean Donnelly – The Outer Skin
11. Lambchop – What Goes Up
12. The Mountain Goats – Brave
13. The Tokey Tones (and friends) – Round These Walls
14. The Bats – Just Do It
15. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – My Only Friend
16. The Finn Family – It’s Love
17. Jordan Luck – Becoming Something Other
18. The Verlaines – Driftwood
19. Lou Barlow – Song of the Tall Poppy
20. The Nothing – Napping in Lapland
21. Tall Dwarfs – Sunday Son

RIP: Dannie Flesher, Wax Trax! co-founder

From Wax Trax!:

Former co-founder of Wax Trax! Records, Dannie Flesher passed away from complications with pneumonia Sunday evening. Flesher, 57, stepped away from the music industry in 1999 and retired in his home town of Hope, AR in 2005.

Flesher and long time partner Jim Nash, opened the Wax Trax Record store in Denver in 1974. Later relocating to Chicago in 1978, the store quickly became the headquarters for Chicago’s budding underground music scene. After years of releasing bootlegs and rarities, Flesher and Nash took their operation to a new level and the Wax Trax! Record label was born. The label pioneered the industrial music movement and was home to such acts as Front 242, Ministry, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Underworld, Sister Machine Gun, KFMDM, Revolting Cocks and many more influential artists.

In 1992, the label would file bankruptcy and be sold to New York based TVT Records. The two would retain creative control of the label until Nash’s passing in October of 1995. Flesher then continued to [oversee] label operations until the label folded in the late 90’s. Even though the label was no longer in existence, their impact on the music industry will be forever remembered.

• Wax Trax: http://www.waxtraxrecords.com

RIP: Yabby You, reggae artist

From the AV Club:

I own maybe five reggae CDs, having never really explored the genre for whatever reason, but one of those is Yabby You’s Jesus Dread 1972-1977. I have a pretty clear memory of hearing it for the first time, when it was issued in 1997 by the respected Blood And Fire label. I still can’t put my finger on what struck me about it–maybe its utter starkness or its lack of super-positive vibes, or maybe even its Christian leanings, which was/is strange for reggae. It’s raw and gorgeous, and maybe owning it, along with a couple by Augustus Pablo and the mandatory Bob Marley collections, is all the reggage I require. Vivian Jackson, a.k.a. Yabby You, died January 12 in Jamaica. He was 63.

• Yabby You: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yabby_You

Pavement “Quarantine the Past” and Declare the 1990s Off-Limits.

As you should know by now, Pavement have scheduled a handful of live dates for the first time since 1999 and, in preparation, are also releasing a 23-track greatest hits compilation. The double CD/LP (and digital!) collection will span the entirety of the band’s career, from their 1989 vinyl-only releases up to and including “all the hits” from classic albums like Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and Brighten the Corners. Quarantine the Past, as the album is called, is set to be released March 9 via Matador (try guessing the tracklist!). The comp will totally be one of the albums that you give your kids when they ask “Daddy, what were the ’90s like?” Way to go, Dad! When you give a kid a Pavement CD, they’re only a couple steps away from Television and Steve Reich. Before you know it, you’ll have a hipster for a child!

Pavement 2010 dates announced so far:

03.01.10 - Auckland, New Zealand - Town Hall
03.04.10 - Sydney, Australia - Enmore Theatre
03.05.10 - Sydney, Australia - Enmore Theatre
03.06.10 - Meredith, Australia - Supernatural Amphitheatre (Golden Plains Festival)
03.07.10 - Adelaide, Australia - Thebarton Theatre
03.08.10 - Perth, Australia - Metro City
03.10.10 - Brisbane, Australia - Tivoli
03.12.10 - Melbourne, Australia - Palace Theatre
03.14.10 - Melbourne, Australia - Palace Theatre
04.07.10 - Tokyo, Japan - Studio Coast
04.08.10 - Tokyo, Japan - Studio Coast
04.10.10 - Osaka, Japan - Zepp Osaka
04.12.10 - Nagoya, Japan - Zepp Nagoya
05.04.10 - Dublin, Ireland - Tripod
05.05.10 - Glasgow, Scotland - Barrowland
05.07.10 - Paris, France - Le Zénith
05.08.10 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
05.10.10 - London, England - Brixton Academy
05.11.10 - London, England - Brixton Academy
05.12.10 - London, England - Brixton Academy
05.13.10 - London, England - Brixton Academy
05.15.10 - Minehead, England - All Tomorrow’s Parties
05.18.10 - Brussels, Belgium - Ancienne Belgique
05.19.10 - Berlin, Germany - Astra
05.20.10 - Prague, Czech Republic - Palac Akropolis
05.21.10 - Vienna, Austria - Arena
05.22.10 - Munich, Germany - Muffathalle
05.24.10 - Rome, Italy - Atlantico Live
05.25.10 - Bologna, Italy - Estragon
05.27.10 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Festival
05.29.10 - Quincy, Washington - Sasquatch! Festival
07.01.10 - Roskilde, Denmark - Roskilde Festival
08.12.10 - Oslo, Norway - Oyafestival
08.14.10 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Way Out West Festival
09.21.10 - New York, NY - Central Park Summerstage
09.22.10 - New York, NY - Central Park Summerstage
09.23.10 - New York, NY - Central Park Summerstage
09.24.10 - New York, NY - Central Park Summerstageer

Thom Yorke Continues Quest for Latter-Day Messiah Status, Writes New Songs for Tibet Documentary

Thom Yorke has been in good deed overdrive lately, all doin’ nice stuff to change the world like Will Smith in that movie where he has “a fateful secret” that catalyzes him to do things to help people. (No, I don’t know what the “fateful secret” is. I just looked this up on IMDB but trust me, it is TOOOOOOTALLY an appropriate simile.) The latest cause to receive Thom’s assistance is an upcoming documentary about Tibet, entitled When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun. Yorke has contributed three new songs to the flick, which takes an inside look at Tibetans’ struggle to free their country from Chinese occupation. Damien Rice and Philip Glass have also lent a hand to the film, which is expected to premiere early this year.