Lawrence Arabia’s new album The Sparrow takes flight in late July

Lawrence Arabia's new album The Sparrow takes flight in late July

Sunshiney New Zealand crooner Lawrence Arabia is back with a third album of 60s-influenced pop on Bella Union. The Sparrow is the follow-up to 2009’s Chant Darling, which won the hearts of even the most charcoal-souled critics and put the fellow who toured as Okkervil River’s bassist and supported Feist on a jaunt or two front and center. Of course, James Milne (as Lawrence Arabia’s birth certificate calls him) has been doing the music thing for nearly a decade, so he knows his way around a stage, having been a member of both The Brunettes and Ruby Suns. Milne has also contributed to film soundtracks like Eagle vs. Shark and produced original tunes for TV, film, and theatre.

Recorded in late 2011, Arabia’s third album was the work of Milne, Elroy Finn, and Connan Mockasin, who all holed up together in a big house in Surrey, England that they called the Japanese Academy. (Such charming people. I call my house That F*$%ing Apartment Where Everything Breaks Down & Which Will Probably Collapse On Top of Me in an Earthquake. Mark my words, dear reader.) Although you may think from listening to the album that an entire orchestra was also bunking at the Japanese Academy, it is my journalistic duty to tell you that strings and horns were added later at Roundhead Studios in Auckland. Sorry to dispel any romantic orchestral notions. Arabia mixed and produced the album himself. The Sparrow takes flight (sorry, I had to, it’s just begging for it) on July 24, and Lawrence himself is flying around New Zealand just before then (with more US/EU tourdates coming soon). Check out the dates below the album trailer.


07.13.12 - Christchurch, New Zealand - St. Michael’s and All Angels
07.14.12 - Dunedin, New Zealand - Sammy’s
07.20.12 - Auckland, New Zealand - Auckland Town Hall
07.22.12 - Wellington, New Zealand - Wellington Opera House

• Lawrence Arabia:
• Bella Union:

Aesop Rock to tour North America this summer like it’s his freakin’ JOB. Oh wait…

It’s been nigh on five years since rapper/producer/my total bro-dog Aesop Rock has done the whole “make an album and tour on it” thing as a solo artist. Maybe that’s because doing all of that stuff totally sucks and the music industry is a soul-crushing, creativity-vaporizing, family-and-friends-alienating sham-machine whose sharp, rusty, metal implements are oiled by the hot blood of a declasse group of bound and gagged musical pack mules and all that stuff. Or maybe it’s just because he’s been busy working with other artists and chillaxing with some kombucha. Personally, I don’t really know or care which, as long as all music everywhere is always readily available, high quality, and free!

Speaking of which, dude’s putting out a new record on July 10 via Rhymesayers called Skelethon that I should probs totes find a good rip of somewhere. It features Kimya Dawson, Rob Sonic, DJ Big Wiz, Allyson Baker of Dirty Ghosts, Hanni El Khatib, and some other dudes, maybe. I don’t know. Who cares, right? Where’s the MP2’s for my Winamp? Oh, and then a few days later he’s hitting the old dusty trail to promote the thing, backed up by Rob Zombie and DJ Big Whig or whatever their names are (and p4k sayz the openers are Edison and Dark Time Sunshine). I’ll probs go to one of the shows and kick it with a beach ball and whatnot, if my buddy that works security at Chicago’s Metro can hook it up, of course. Anyway, here’s a vid for one of the new tunes. I’m out.

Skelethon tracklisting:

01. Leisureforce
02. ZZZ Top
03. Cycles to Gehenna
04. Zero Dark Thirty
05. Fryerstarter
06. Ruby ‘81
07. Crows 1
08. Crows 2
09. Racing Stripes
10. 1,000 O’Clock
11. Homemade Mummy
12. Grace
13. Saturn Missiles
14. Tetra
15. Gopher Guts


05.27.12 - Shakopee, MN - Soundset Festival
07.13.12 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
07.15.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
07.19.12 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
07.20.12 - Vancouver, BC - Venue
07.21.12 - Seattle, WA - Seattle Block Party
07.23.12 - Salt Lake City, UT - In The Venue
07.24.12 - Denver, CO - Summit Music Hall
07.27.12 - Madison, WI - Barrymore Theatre
07.28.12 - Chicago, IL - Metro
07.30.12 - Toronto, ON - Mod Club
07.31.12 - Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
08.02.12 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
08.03.12 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza
08.04.12 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
08.05.12 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
08.07.12 - Atlanta, GA - The Loft
08.09.12 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
08.10.12 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s
08.11.12 - Austin, TX - Mohawk
08.13.12 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theater
08.14.12 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theater
08.15.12 - San Diego, CA - Belly Up

• Aesop Rock:
• Rhymesayers:

Dylan Ettinger tours the United States; somewhere, a baby bird learns to fly

Sometimes you think about all the things that are going on in the world right now, as you live your everyday life. Things like… butterflies going extinct, Stephen Colbert making a cameraman laugh with boundless joy, a child in Uzbekistan putting the final stitches on your Urban Outfitters short shorts, a baby bird building a home with its mama bird. Beautiful things. Terrible things. And into the midst of all that worldly clamor comes psych/synth/dub mad genius Dylan Ettinger, merrily driving his tour van deep into the heart of tour land. (That’s from a nursery rhyme my roadie uncle Knifeface used to sing me to sleep with. What? You’ve never heard of it? Ha ha what are you, some kind of child laborer in the former Soviet Union?!?!) To keep things short, Dylan Ettinger was on tour yesterday, he’s on tour today, and if you live in the Eastern half of these great United States of ours, he’s probably coming on tour somewhere near you.

And in his mystical van, Mr. Ettinger has a magical record! (This is also part of the nursery rhyme. Try to stay with me.) It’s called Lifetime of Romance, and it came out on the always fabulous Not Not Fun label a few weeks ago. The critics have been lapping this thing up, so you might have to elbow Simon Reynolds to get to the merch table. But it’ll be worth it. You can check out the video for The Cure-inflected lead single “Wintermute” here. Just don’t do it at work. Unless, like, you work at a naughty Weimar Republic-era cabaret. Dylan Ettinger is on tour throughout the month of May.


05.17.12 - Madison, WI - Mickey’s Tavern
05.18.12 - Minneapolis, MN - Palmer’s
05.19.12 - Minneapolis, MN - Yeti Records
05.19.12 - Iowa City, IA - Public Space One
05.20.12 - Kansas City, KS - FOKL (Kansas City Psych Fest)
05.21.12 - St. Louis, MO - Negative Cold
05.22.12 - Knoxville, TN - TBA
05.23.12 - Atlanta, GA - Space 2
05.24.12 - Ashville, NC - Izzy’s Coffee Den
05.25.12 - Lexington, KY - Backlot
05.26.12 - Brooklyn, NY - Body Actualized Center
05.27.12 - TBA
05.29.12 - Columbus, OH - TBA

• Dylan Ettinger:
• Not Not Fun:

The Pirate Bay attacked, not by Anonymous, but by anonymous former member of Anonymous (anonymously?)

Earlier this week, FACT Magazine reported that Swedish site The Pirate Bay had been cyber-attacked, knocking the file sharing site offline for a full day. Originally, it was thought that the attack may have come from famed hacktivist group Anonymous, simply because the style of attack — a disturbed denial of service (DDoS) attack — had been previously used against Virgin Media by Anonymous after Virgin’s ISP began blocking The Pirate Bay in the UK following a court-ordered injunction.

Eventually, though, Anonymous came forward, anonymously, and declared that they were not responsible for the attack, noting that the DDoS form of attack in and of itself represented the type of censorship the group fights against. The Pirate Bay followed suit by posting on their Facebook timeline that Anonymous was not a suspect. Oh, but how the plot thickens!

A “former” Anonymous member going by the somewhat less anonymous name of “Nyre” has come forward to claim responsibility for the attacks, announcing, “The Pirate Bay was a press-release Website for Anonymous,” a group Nyre purportedly no longer cares for. As CNET reports, though, there are still reasons to be skeptical. Checking out Nyre’s Twitter account reveals some other issues he (or she… no, let’s be honest) had with the site, including a lack of his preferred type of pornography available for download. Nyre also seems to have some pretty strong racist and homophobic tendencies, so I think we’ll just stop talking about him now.

The Pirate Bay is now up and running again, so if you still use the site, you can stop worrying and get back to downloading your preferred type of pornography.

• The Pirate Bay:

RIP: Donna Summer

From TMZ:

Donna Summer — the Queen of Disco — died this morning after a battle with cancer … TMZ has learned.

We’re told Summer was in Florida at the time of her death. She was 63 years old.

Sources close to Summer tell us … the singer was trying to keep the extent of her illness under wraps. We spoke to someone who was with Summer a couple of weeks ago … who says she didn’t seem too bad.

In fact, we’re told she was focused on trying to finish up an album she had been working on.

Summer was a 5-time Grammy winner who shot to superstardom in the ’70s with iconic hits like “Last Dance,” “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls.”

• Donna Summer:

John Maus collects rarities and previously unreleased material for A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material

John Maus released We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves (TMT Review) to world-spanning acclaim last year (making #7 on our own year-end list), but did you know that this was not his debut album? Of course, no shit it wasn’t! Love Is Real came out four years before that, and Songs (TMT Review) was even earlier. But did you know that John Maus was making music long before the release of Songs? Of course, no shit he did! He’s been associated with Ariel Pink since the late 90s. Well good, I’m glad you know so much about John Maus. I’ll just get right to the point in that case. Bully.

Ribbon Music will be releasing A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material on July 17 in North America and July 16 everywhere else. Most of the tracks are from the Demos 2011 collection, briefly available on Maus Space, but five songs can be traced to compilations (most recently the Record Store Day Smugglers Way flexi disc), and two haven’t been heard by nearly anyone on Earth. Okay, right, he emailed them to you personally a decade ago. Well now others can be so lucky. Listen to “Mental Breakdown” from 2004:

The collection will be available in an edition of five billion CDs, but for LPs there will only be a one-time pressing of 3,000 copies (plus 500 web-exclusive LPs on translucent pink vinyl). All the tracks are remixed/remastered to the satisfaction of John Maus, and the cover art (pictured above) is a 2004 piece by Wolfgang Tillmans that makes me think of the bubble-gummy back cover of RTX’s Transmaniacon. But anyway. I see you’re tiring of me.

A “smattering” of live shows surrounding A Collection’s release date are planned, taking Mister Maus from New York to Seattle, Oslo to Gothenburg. Check the dates out below the tracklist, and then do me a favor and FUCK YOU!! *throws water balloon and runs off*

A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material tracklisting:

01. North Star (2008)
02. The Law (2003)
03. Castles in the Grave (2010)
04. Angel of the Night (2010)
05. Mental Breakdown (2004)
06. Bennington (2007)
07. Big Dumb Man (2003)
08. No Title (Molly) (2008)
09. Lost (2003)
10. All Aboard (2007)
11. This is The Beat (2005)
12. My Hatred is Magnificent (2008)
13. The Fear (2003)
14. Fish With Broken Dreams (1999)
15. Rock the Bone (2008)
16. I Don’t Eat Human Beings (2008)


06.15.12 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace (NXNE)
07.12.12 - New York, NY - Pier 84 (River Rocks Series) *
07.20-22.12 - Seattle, WA - Capitol Hill Block Party
08.09.12 - Oslo, Norway - Oya Festival
08.10.12 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Way Out West Festival

* Dan Deacon

• John Maus:
• Ribbon: