Lower Dens announce new album, drop first single “Brains,” possibly a veiled endorsement of Newt Gingrich

Lower Dens announce new album, drop first single "Brains," possibly a veiled endorsement of Newt Gingrich http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-12-01-lower-dens.jpg

Lower Dens — you know, the newish rock band led by Jana Hunter, former lead singer for the influential band Jana Hunter — are proving once again that they’re the hardest working indie-leaning group with initials LD (sit down, Lavender Diamond and Lucky Dragons) by announcing only 17 days into the new year that they have a new album coming out May 1 AND a first single from said album. The single is called “Brains,” and by leap of faith I’m going to say that the album is called Nootropics, based on what’s written in the “Album” field of the Mp3 once you’ve downloaded it. Hey, the Mp3! Go get it! Click on the big picture here to download, or click here to make less of a commitment and just stream it.

After releasing Twin-Hand Movement (TMT Review) in 2010 on Hunter’s long-time label Gnomonsong, the band was later spotted releasing a 7-inch via Sub Pop on the most recent Record Store Day, and somewhere along the way they lost both their drummer and a guitarist — go here to read about all that, but to summarize: they couldn’t handle the punishing schedule nor the future plans to sell Lower Dens-emblazoned Mike’s Hard Lemonade coozies. The good news is that apparently their replacement drummer is effin’ Nate Nelson of Mouthus and Crazy Dreams Band!

If you’ll allow me to make one last conjecture, given that “Brains” is streaming on Ribbon Music’s SoundCloud page and available for preorder on 10-inch vinyl, plus Ribbon put out that last John Maus record and are going to put out that next Black Dice record, it sure seems like Nootropics is going to be on Ribbon. It’s the way these labels work, man… put your ear to the ground and suck in the fumes. You’re not young anymore. Get wise.

Nootropics tracklisting:

01. Alphabet Song
02. Brains
03. Stem
04. Propagation
05. Lamb
06. Candy
07. Lion in Winter Pt. 1
08. Lion in Winter Pt. 2
09. Nova Anthem
10. In the End is the Beginning

• Lower Dens: http://lowerdens.com
• Ribbon: http://www.ribbonmusic.com

Lil Wayne is his own Boswell, dutifully chronicling his eight-month prison stay in upcoming memoir

In spite of the fact that you can’t autotune great literature, Lil Wayne is getting into the memoir game. The Grammy award winner signed a deal with Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette, to publish the rapper’s forthcoming book about his stint at Rikers, Gone Till November, which frankly has an uphill climb toward achieving the greatness of the Wyclef Jean song. What can fans expect from Weezy’s first foray into the literary arena? “An internal monologue,” according to Billboard, all based on the soul-searching diaries he kept while serving eight months on gun possession charges. “We are thrilled to be publishing Wayne’s prison memoir,” Grand Central Publishing executive editor Ben Greenberg said. “He kept detailed journals of his inner and outer life while he was on Rikers Island, and they certainly tell a story. They are revealing.”

The book is scheduled to hit stores on November 28, just in time for the holiday season, when Americans traditionally gather to share stories about what they did to survive maximum security prisons. So mark your calendars now, Weezy fans. You’ve got a long wait — even longer than Mr. Wayne’s time in the big house. Lil Wayne is represented by Matthew Guma, the literary agent who worked with Jay-Z on his hit book Decoded.

• Lil Wayne: http://www.lilwayne-online.com
• Grand Central Publishing: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/publishing_grand-central-publishing.aspx

Mount Eerie and Earth celebrate their geographical proximity by touring as far away from the Pacific Northwest as possible (but together)

If two bands or artists were respectively named “Peanut Butter” and “Jelly,” and they happened to live close by to one another, I would expect them to eventually tour together, by obligation. Similarly, if two bands or artists were for some reason respectively named “Paris” and “Lohan” (no relation to the Hollywood figures), I would expect both to garner an unexplainably large fan base, tour together, probably snort cocaine out of marble fountains backstage, have anonymous sex with members of the stage crew, and then fade into oblivion just as quickly as they had achieved notoriety. The names “Mount Eerie” and “Earth” aren’t quite as complementary as peanut butter and jelly, or earth and fire, or wind and water, or water and heart (by your powers combined…), but the bands represented by these individual monikers have at least two things in common: they both hail from the endearingly gloomy region of Northwest Washington, and they both make music fit for the endearingly gloomy region of Northwest Washington, though clearly, with certain stylistic differences and departures. Oh, and beginning March 3, they’ll be touring Europe together. So, at least three things.

Lest anyone falsely (but reasonably) assume that this is the first time that these two bands have toured together, I need only refer back to last September, when they enjoyed a brief stint in the Southeastern US. Accompanying Earth and Mount Eerie on this upcoming tour will be Canadian musician Ô PAON a.k.a. Geneviève Castrée, who, alongside Phil Elverum, now resides in Anacortes, Washington. Isn’t it nice making new friends?

Mount Eerie, Earth, and Ô PAON dates:

03.03.12 - Bristol, UK- Arnolfini Gallery
03.05.12 - Dublin, Ireland - Button Factory
03.07.12 - Manchester, UK - Ruby Lounge
03.08.12 - Edinburgh, UK - The Caves
03.09.12 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
03.10.12 - Minehead, UK - Butlins Holiday Centre, ATP curated by Jeff Mangum
03.11.12 - London, UK - Union Chapel
03.12.12 - Brighton, UK - The Haunt
03.13.12 - Haarlem, Netherlands - Patronaat
03.14.12 - Leuven, Belgium - Het Depot
03.15.12 - Paris, France - La Maroquinerie
03.16.12 - Bordeaux, France - Iboat
03.17.12 - Bilbao, Spain - Askena
03.18.12 - Madrid, Spain - El Sol
03.19.12 - Barcelona, Spain - Musichall
03.21.12 - Lyon, France - Epicerie Moderne
03.22.12 - Torino, Italy - Spazio 211
03.23.12 - Firenze, Italy - The Box
03.24.12 - Parma, Italy - Auditorium Del Carmine
03.25.12 - Lausanne, Switzerland - Le Romandie
03.26.12 - Wiesbaden, Germany - Schlachthof
03.28.12 - Vienna, Austria - Arena
03.29.12 - Leipzig, Germany - UT Connewitz
03.30.12 - Prague, Czech Republic - Dobeska Theatre
03.31.12 - Berlin, Germany - Festsaal Kreuzberg
04.02.12 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen
04.03.12 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Truckstop Alaska
04.04.12 - Oslo, Norway - Inferno Festival
04.05.12 - Stockholm, Sweden - Strand
04.06.12 - Helsinki, Finland - Nosturi

• Mount Eerie: http://www.pwelverumandsun.com
• Earth: http://www.thronesanddominions.com
• Ô PAON: http://www.opaon.ca

RIP: Jimmy Castor, influential (and oft-sampled) funk musician

From the Amoeblog:

For the past few hours word that the beloved American funk musician Jimmy Castor had died has been flying round the Interweb - albeit without final confirmation from any reliable source. Unfortunately though that sad confirmation of the passing of Jimmy Castor has just arrived through his good friend Cliff Perkins. Castor was 64 years of age and so far cause of death is not confirmed. Castor will be remembered by for songs like his oft-sampled 1972 million selling hit single “Troglodyte (Cave Man)” but more importantly his influence on hip-hop music - the song “It’s Just Begun” is among those select records that is a key part of the foundation of hip-hop itself - long being a staple of hip-hop DJs and B-boys to break to.

The saxophonist, singer, band leader began his career as a doo-wop singer in the fifties replacing Frankie Lymon in The Teenagers in 1957. By 1960 he had switched to playing saxophone. Sixties hits for the artist included his own 1966 Smash Records single “Hey Leroy, Your Mama’s Callin’ You” and Dave “Baby” Cortez’s “Rinky Dink” on which he played sax.

Castor’s real success came in the 70’s as leader of The Jimmy Castor Bunch whose 1972 album, It’s Just Begun, was popular back then and - thanks to hip-hop endlessly sampling his music - ever since. The album’s two hits - the title track and the aforementioned “Troglodyte (Cave Man)” - have been sampled a lot as have much of Castor’s other funk releases. The spoken intro of “Troglodyte” - “What we’re gonna do right here is go back…” - is one of the most sampled soundbites in hip-hop history.

• Jimmy Castor: http://www.jimmycastor.com

Michael Gira brings his solo show to the historic dungeons of Europe in April (and to the US in March!)

This spring, Stetson-wearing noisemonger Michael Gira is returning to the land of Bergman, Genet, and a freakin’ ton of dungeons. That’s right: America’s favorite vacation destination, Europe! Gira’s going the solo route this time, bringing little more than his trusty guitar, a Chinese lacquered box full of self-loathing, and Cool Ranch-flavored Doritos, plus Swans’ Christoph Hahn as an opening act. Together they’ll all navigate the roads of the Olde World, charting a magical course from familiar destinations like Paris to those more off the beaten path, such as the beautiful Norwegian town of Stavanger, which is fondly referred to by locals as “the town of a thousand creepy basements.”*

So what can European music fans expect from the tour being billed as Cool Ranch Tostitos Presents Michael Gira’s Totally Crunchtacular European Summer Vacation 2012?** This is a solo tour, so lots of great Gira classics with perhaps an Angels of Light or Swans jam thrown into the mix to spice things up, much like how Cool Ranch Doritos spice up any party!! Try ‘em today! In Original Cool Ranch and New Cool Ranch. Anyway, the tour will serve as a taster for the newly revived Swans’ upcoming live album, coming soon via Gira’s Young God Records. Crunchtacular.

* No, it’s not. My apologies to the people of Stavanger.
** Again, just kidding. My apologies to Michael Gira, summer, and Europe. But not Cool Ranch. Yuck.

UPDATE: Gira also has a handful of US dates with Sir Richard Bishop and one with Wovenhand starting mid-March. YES. Check the dates below!

03.15.12 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall #
03.16.12 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo #
03.22.12 - Seattle, WA - Triple Door #
03.23.12 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios #
03.24.12 - Denver, CO - Oriental Theater %
04.04.12 - Dublin, Ireland - Button Factory
04.05.12 - Belfast, Ireland - Black Box
04.06.12 - Glasgow, UK - St. Andrew’s Church in the Square
04.07.12 - London, UK - Cafe Oto
04.09.12 - Paris, France - Le Point Ephemere
04.10.12 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso Upstairs
04.11.12 - Kortrijk, Belgium - De Kreun
04.12.12 - Tilburg, Netherlands - Roadburn Festival/Midi Theatre
04.14.12 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen
04.15.12 - Aalborn, Denmark - Studenterhuset
04.17.12 - Oslo, Norway - John Dee Club inside Rockafeller
04.18.12- Stavanger, Norway - Cementen
04.19.12 - Stockholm, Sweden - Debaser Slussen
04.21.12 - Helsinki, Finland - Korjaamo Culture Factory
04.22.12 - Berlin, Germany - Roter Saloon inside Volksbuhne
04.23.12 - Vienna, Austria - Chelsea Club
04.25.12 - Lausanne, Switzerland - Le Bourg
04.26.12 - Dudingen, Switzerland - Cafe Bad Bonn
04.27.12 - Ravenna, Italy - Bronson Club
04.28.12 - Florence, Italy - Sala Vanni
04.29.12 - Rome, Italy - Chiesa Evangelica Metodista
05.01.12 - Zurich, Switzerland - Exil

# Sir Richard Bishop
% Wovenhand

• Michael Gira: http://younggodrecords.com

EXTRA: VELVET UNDERGROUND SUES ANDY WARHOL OVER IPAD SHOULDERBAGS

Founding Velvet Underground members Lou Reed and John Cale have filed a lawsuit against the Andy Warhol Foundation, claiming trademark infringement over the usage of their iconic banana. The foundation recently licensed the recognizable The Velvet Underground and Nico cover image for use on iPad accessories, such as cases, sleeves, covers, shells, wraps, dust jackets, shoulder bags, and skins.

According to the suit, “[The Velvet Underground]’s use and application of the design to symbolize the group and its whole body of work has been exclusive, continuous and uninterrupted for more than 25 years.” In 2001, Reed and Cale upheld this exclusivity streak by licensing the image for use in an Absolut Vodka ad.

Consider this: The original The Velvet Underground and Nico cover was designed by Warhol, reproducing a public-domain image of a banana. Could the usage of this image on iPad skins be, in fact, a great work of reappropriation art? That is to say, perhaps the image appearing on various consumer products is not a copy of the iconic album cover, but a new work in and of itself. Perhaps the designers are truly great, progressive artists in the vein of Sherrie Levine or even Andy Warhol himself. The “Warhol Book Jacket” for iPad 2 is available from Incase for $79.95.

• Dubious Rolling Stone Coverage: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/velvet-underground-sue-andy-warho…
• Dubious New York Post Coverage: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/the_velvet_underground_file…