Massive Infection: 20 Cities to Contract Menomena

Alert the Hazmat Teams, alert the mayors, alert FEMA (hah), alert your grandma, and alert Homeland Security, because 20 cities across the U.S. and one in Canada will receive Menomena via a misleading tour van. The infection will spread between May 11 and July 22, leaving poor old Troutdale, OR in the wake of its destructive path. I called my local disease control office about Menomena, and here are some tips I received from them:

- If gig posters start showing up for a band named Menomena, take charge and inform the proper authorities.

- If you hear hipsters on the streets talking about Menomena's new album, which came out this year on Barsuk Records, stop them, pretend to be a tourist, and snap pictures of them. Send them to Homeland Security and they will be able to take proper action against the deviants.

- If you see white earphones on someone who looks like one of the hipsters above, stop them and ask them if you can look at the screen on their iPod. If anywhere it says "Menomena," then you should immediately confiscate their MP3 gadget and deliver it to the nearest law-enforcement office. Recommend the person from whom you to took the iPod to get themselves to a hospital as soon as possible. Do not listen to the music. We repeat; do not listen to the music.

- Do not follow a crowd of people into a booby-trapped Menomena concert. You may hear faint noises from outside of the venue that will speak to your ears with eclectic pop rock with electronic flavoring, but do not enter. What you are hearing is designed by the disease to draw you in so it may claim your brain. After the show, you may also see people walking out with t-shirts that say 'Menomena'; do not fall for this; these people are zombies now.

After giving me these helpful tips and forcing me to consent verbally that I wouldn't attend a Menomena concert, they decided to share with me the dates of a so-called "tour":

Will Kweli Be Makin’ The People Be Takin’ Impatient Vacation From Rap Masturbation?

When I introduce people unfamiliar with Talib Kweli to his early albums, Train Of Thought and Quality, they all typically react with the same bewilderment. “Who is this guy?” they demand to know. “Why isn’t he, like, really popular? Isn’t he much better at rapping than every popular rapper?” These are questions that we all must ask ourselves. Do we really want to live in a world where Young Jeezy outsells Talib Kweli?

Kweli’s latest LP, Ear Drum, is set to finally drop on July 24. It will be the first release from his new label, Blacksmith Music, which he named during a recent visit to Colonial Williamsburg. As for the name of the album, Kweli says it derives from “the image of the ear and of the drum, which are powerful enough by themselves, but put them together and it's an instrument in your body that helps you hear.” With symbolism like that in the title, one can only speculate as to what kind of vague metaphors the lyrics will feature!

The album will feature work from a slew of producers, including DJ Hi-Tek, Pete Rock, and Madlib. It will also include tracks produced by Kanye West (let’s just hope Kweli didn’t give him a mic) and will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas (let’s also hope Kweli didn’t give him directions to the studio). In addition, the album will feature guest spots from UGK, Norah Jones, and Jean Grae (no joke here, sorry).

Hopefully, the album will showcase Kweli’s talents, rather than focusing on the collaborators. I mean, if I wanted to hear a song by Kanye West, I’d just buy the latest Common album. In my opinion, Kweli was his strongest when he kept it the simplest (on Train Of Thought and most of Quality). He came close to recapturing this old-school MC-and-DJ feel on Liberation, his 2006 collaboration with Madlib that featured lo-fi beats sampled from soul 45s. But Kweli has warned fans on his MySpace page, “do not use [Liberation] to speculate what Ear Drum will sound like. It is a different project with different influences.”

“They say I’m back, but I ain’t go nowhere though. Been here the whole time. Where you been? You back. Matter of fact, apologize.” So says Kweli between verses on the new track, “Say Something,” sounding a bit like a negligent father accused of accidentally leaving his child at a rest stop on the Garden State Parkway. Maybe the “child” is the future of hip-hop, and Kweli’s insecurities about abandoning his roots are showing through? No? Well, it makes more sense than an instrument you can hear with that’s inside your body, doesn't it?

You can listen to “Say Something” here (streaming):

- Quicktime
- Real Audio
- Windows Media

The single “Listen” is available for purchase from the iTunes Music Store, but you can stream it from Blacksmith’s website, along with a handful of other songs from the label.

They Think My Penis is a Mr. Bungle; I Think It’s a Secret Chiefs 3

My friends and I have been playing a new game, a time-waster, really. It combines two of our greatest passions — our genitals and the music we like. The game consists of ascribing a band name to one's genitalia. Granted, band names tend to be more conductive to the male genitalia, but I see no reason why the ladies can't play. It bears out, however; when we play it's just guys.

I suppose you can adopt your own rules, but the chosen band is best when it is significant to the player in question. Ben prefers to call his penis Big Black. That's a good (though probably racist or something) one, but we might counter that by calling his dick Dead Kennedys. It's hard to say if Ben won — it's not really a game you can win, so it's a lot like the movie War Games with Matthew Broderick. That is to say, you win by not playing. Okay, so it's a game of one-upmanship or "playing the dozens" or whatever you want to call it.

Phil chooses The Kinks for himself. We think he's more of a Neil Young. Elliot chooses Wooden Wand and we give him Calvin Johnson instead. As you can see, a shit-ton of band names work.

That brings the game to me. By the time I've struggled to come up with nothing, the group has already come to a consensus. I'm Mr. Bungle. This is particularly damning. I was a fan of Mr. Bungle, but now, I mean, times have changed, right? They've got me cornered, and the name sticks — for days.

As time passes I come up with a list of better alternatives: Cock E.S.P., Captain Beefheart, hell, even Melt-Banana or Tortoise would be better than Mr. Bungle. But I can't shake it. I'm Mr. Bungle.

And then it hits me: Secret Chiefs 3!

The name conveys an amount of mystique, not to mention the nuts and bolts of the cock-and-balls trio. Likewise, Secret Chiefs 3 borrow a handful of members from the ill-fated Mr. Bungle, making them that much more relevant to this time in history. Besides, the perpetually elusive and absent Secret Chiefs 3 are back in a big way.

You see, just released is a retrospective and rarities CD Path of Most Resistance, available from their label Web of Mimicry, and there's more: Splinter groups have formed from the Chiefs to release four limited-edition 7-inches. The first is a split between Electromagnetic Azoth and UR titled The Left Hand of Nothingness / Personnae: Halloween, the second a split between Ishraqiyun and Electromagnetic Azoth titled Balance of the 19 / UBIK, the third by UR titled Kulturvultur / Drive, and the fourth also by UR titled Circumambulation / Labyrinth of Light. The four 7-inches are limited to 1000 copies each, and rumor has it about 600 copies of each have already sold. Also, Secret Chiefs 3 have a release titled Book of Souls, Folio One slated for a near-to-distant future release.

Lastly, SC3 are touring:
05.12.07 – Melbourne, AUS – East Brunswick Club
05.13.07 – Melbourne, AUS – Corner Hotel
05.15.07 – Sydney, AUS – The Factory
05.16.07 – Sydney, AUS – The Factory
05.17.07 – Newcastle, AUS – Cambridge Tavern
05.18.07 – Bangalow, AUS – A & I Hall
05.19.07 – Gold Coast, AUS – Coolangatt Hotel
05.20.07 – Brisbane, AUS – The Zoo
05.26.07 – Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
05.28.07 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
05.29.07 – Seattle, WA – Neumo's
05.30.07 – Bellingham, WA – The Nightlight
05.31.07 – Vancouver, BC – The Plaza
06.01.07 – Eugene, OR – W.O.W. Hall
06.03.07 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall

Charalambides “News” – Extensive Tour, Plentiful Releases

In what is being seen as a potential hammer blow to the already struggling CD-R market, Charalambides have announced that up to two of their releases this year will be actual manufactured CDs, with catalog numbers and shit. Reaction from the CD-R manufacturing community has been quiet so far; however, it is rumoured that Maxell are considering backing out of their multi-trillion dollar sponsorship of the forthcoming Charalambides tour of Europe, the Northeastern U.S.A., and a little scrap of Canada. When asked for comment regarding this rumour, Maxell's CEO Chip Funck would confirm nothing but did claim that "those peons would regret the dark day that they succumbed to the false glory of a catalog number."

The first of the non-CD-R releases will be Electricity Ghost, on the band's own Wholly Other label, which is available from the website or on their forthcoming tour. Additionally, in the fall, Kranky will be releasing Likeness, their fifth release for the label. As is the wont of Mr. Tom and Ms. Christine, there'll be plenty of other bits and bobs released through the year too -- Tom Carter collaborations with Christian Kiefer and Pete Swanson of D Yellow Swans (which will be a one-sided vinyl release) are coming pretty soon by the sounds of it, as well as a vinyl reissue of Christina Carter's Electrice. Tom's also making a new CD-R (thank god), entitled Whispers Towards Infinity, available on the tour and from the same website.

And, of course, no news article on Charalambides would be complete without details of yet another set of tourdates. First off is a trek across continental Europe, which kicks off tomorrow in Castellon. Then, in early June, Charalambides will play two dates in Montreal at the Casa del Popolo festival and one in Toronto, prior to a brief sojourn south of the border with fellow drone godheads GHQ.

Buffer overrun protection enabled:

EUROPE:
05.09.07 - Castellon, Spain - Casino Antiguo (SONS) w/ Daniel Gutierrez
05.10.07 - Madrid, Spain - Nasti w/ Daniel Gutierrez
05.11.07 - Lisbon, Portugal - Galeria Ze dos Bois
05.12.07 - Barcelona, Spain - Pocket Club w/ High Llamas, Red Krayola
05.15.07 - Azkoitia, Spain - Matadeixe
05.16.07 - Pau, France - Salle Recaborde
05.17.07 - Nantes, France - Planetarium
05.18.07 - Paris, France - Instants Chavires w/ Tara Jane O'Neil and Jana Hunter
05.20.07 - Lieges, Belgium - Barricade
05.21.07 - Brussels, Belgium - Recyclart
05.22.07 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Kulturforeningen Art and Colour
05.23.07 - Bremen, Germany - Zakk
05.24.07 - Karlsruhe, Germany - Jubez
05.25.07 - Cologne, Germany - Kulturbunker Mulheim
05.26.07 - Antwerpen, Belgium - Rotkot
05.27.07 - Hasselt, Belgium - Kunstencentrum Belgie w/ Primordial Undermind, Dream Triangle (Skaters+Jan Anderzen)
05.28.07 - Treviso, Italy - Oficina di Buenaventura
05.29.07 - Bolzano, Italy - Bunker
05.30.07 - Geneva, Switzerland - Cave 12
05.31.07 - Marseilles, France - TBA

CANADA, U.S.A. (all shows w/ GHQ, except *):
06.06.07 - Montreal, QC - Casa del Popolo festival (solo sets)*
06.07.07 - Montreal, QC - Casa del Popolo festival
06.08.07 - Toronto, ON - Tranzac Tiki Room
06.09.07 - Buffalo, NY - Soundlab
06.10.07 - New Haven, CT - BAR Nightclub - Sundazed
06.12.07 - Brooklyn, NY - Lutheran Church of the Messiah
06.13.07 - New York City, NY - The Cake Shop
06.14.07 - Montagu, MA - Book Mill
06.15.07 - Providence, RI - AS 220
06.16.07 - Burlington, VT - Firehouse Gallery
06.17.07 - Portsmouth, NH - The Red Door (The Great Invisibles are also appearing at this show, however improbable that may sound)

Who Signs to Touch and Go Ipecac? Qui Signs to Touch and Go Ipecac!

David Yow likes playing music. Touch and Go Records likes it when David Yow plays music, because David Yow used to front Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard, two of T&G’s best and most recognized bands. Matt Cronk and Paul Christensen like it when David Yow plays music, because he recently joined their similarly minded outfit Qui. Touch and Go Records likes it when the three boys get along so well, because it permits them to see Qui as a worthwhile financial investment and a reason to work with their old friend David for the first time in eight years, not counting Scratch Acid’s reunion at T&G’s 25th anniversary last fall.

Fans of Qui and David Yow like it when Touch and Go are so supportive, because it has led to the eventual September 11 release of Love’s Miracle, Qui’s second LP and first with Mr. Yow on the mic. Qui like it when their fans are excited about their record, because that satisfaction will make their upcoming U.S. tour -- from September 12 to October 27, 2007 (dates are tentative) -- a lot more fun. Qui also appreciates Touch and Go’s global realm of influence, because they also get to tour Europe sometime in November. David Yow likes this chance to bring his show on the road, because his drunken, rambling, often completely nude stage presence is the stuff of legend.

Our David Yow bears no relation to this David Yow, who is an Evangelical blogger. David Yow The Blogger likes Margaret Thatcher, the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra, Pilsner Uruquell, and pointing out that former American Idol contestant Sanjaya resembles Halle Berry. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he doesn’t like Qui. His loss.

Update from Touch and Go:

"Ok, maybe we got a little ahead of ourselves when we posted a statement about releasing a Qui record. Maybe we rushed it a little. It turns out that Qui's fantastic record, Love's Miracle, will actually be released on Ipecac, not Touch and Go. We apologize for getting anyone prematurely worked up. It was an honest mistake, officer. Regardless, we remain friends with all involved, and are sure that Ipecac will do an amazing job with the album."

Akron/Family Taking Pledges of Support for a 5k Race This Saturday!

It's one thing if you're known for your psych-folk influences, but you become a crossover jack-of-all-trades once you take on a sport. On a break from recording a new album, the members of Akron/Family will be taking pledges for the 1st Annual Vision Builders 5k Race on May 12 held at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, MI. They will be "Running, Returning" in order to raise money for Vision Builders, a non-profit organization that helps to bring health care and education to children in various parts of the Himalayas.

In order to pledge for the long-haired, short-shorts-wearing musicians, you can simply visit this link. Once you are there, select 'Register Now', then 'Donate or Sponsor a Participant.' In the 'Select Your Fundraiser' option, choose 'Akron/Family(39019)'. Then you will have done some good for once.

If Akron/Family's running experience is anything like my high school cross country experience, then they will be in the locker room showers playing soap soccer in no time.

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