New Arcade Fire Album in May 2010?

According to Billboard, Arcade Fire will release their third, as-yet untitled album in May 2010. This will be preceded by a single, and the band are aiming to play some summer festivals. Reports Billboard:

While details of the new album are scarce, the BBC revealed yesterday that the band has spent the past six months ensconced in the studio with producer Markus Dravs, who has worked with the likes of Coldplay, Bjork and Brian Eno, and served as engineer on "Bible." According to British musician Marcus Mumford, Dravs has called the band's new songs "better."

The hype machine is in overdrive already, but was I the only one who thought Neon Bible (TMT Review) was a huge disappointment?

There are plenty of things to do in Quebec during winter. You could attend an evening of high culture, stay at an ice hotel, beat this bonhomme to a bloody pulp, gorge on poutine, or smoke a carton of "green deaths". It is all good francophone fun, but those with their nose in the snow know that real sport lies with playing some home province shows and releasing your new album south of the border.

French Canadian noisettes We Are Wolves will undoubtedly do all of the above but will focus mainly on the music side of things for the next few months. Although already available in Canada, the spazz rock trio of Vincent Levesque, Antonin Marquis, and Alexander Ortiz will release its third album, Invisible Violence, in the U.S. on February 2 through Dare to Care.

Voici les chansons:

1. Paloma
2. Holding Hands
3. Walking Commotion
4. Dreams
5. Vague
6. Reaching for the Sky
7. Me As Enemy
8. Blue
9. Near Fear
10. La Rue Oblique
11. The Spectacle of Night
12. Bounty Waterfalls

We Are Wolves will play around Europe and on both coasts of North America in 2010, but for now they'll be sticking closer to home with some Quebec dates:
12.03.09 - Alma, QC - La boîte à bleuets
12.04.09 - Chicoutimi, QC - Le Bunker
12.05.09 - Dolbeau, QC - Vox Populi
12.10.09 - Victoriaville, QC - Vieux St-Pierre Resto-Bar
03.06.10 - Shawinigan, QC - Trou du diable

Study: Artist Income Grows While Labels “Suffer”

Amongst all the doom and gloom about falling revenues in the music industry, little attention has been paid to the monetary success, or otherwise, of artists themselves. According to a study, however, it turns out that they’ve actually been doing very well (how do you feel now, Lily Allen?).

The UK’s The Times has shown that “revenues accrued by artists themselves have in fact risen over the past 5 years, despite the fall in record sales.” The main reason for this is ticket sales from gigs, but a larger share is also coming from PRS revenues (“royalties collected on behalf of artists when their music is played in public”).

The Times also notes that industry revenues as a whole have grown in this period, although not by much.

What this clearly shows is that labels need to start sucking more from their artists’ labor. Personally it brings a tear to my eye to see label executives without their swimming pool extensions. The likes of Chris Martin, Lily Allen, and Beyoncé need to start donating more of their income to the greater good (of executives). Who would have thought the solution to the music industry “crisis” would be so easy!

You Can’t Resist the Rural Pull: The Magnetic Fields Folk Around in 2010 with Winter Tour and New Album

Standard procedure dictates that once you conquer, you move on to unexplored territory. Stephen Merritt, along with his long-standing company who play as The Magnetic Fields, know this too well, and from this point forward will linger on one style no more! As we have previously reported, after successfully aping The Jesus and Mary Chain's sonic pop bliss with Distortion, the beloved band will release an altogether different side of their indie vision come the New Year. If anyone has the ability, the ingenuity, and the goddamned right to continually eff around with their effin' sounds it is The Magnetic Fields, who will take a sharp turn away from the distorted reality of Distortion and head into an entirely acoustic realm with Reality. Containing no electric instrumentation whatsoever, and using "untraditional percussion instruments, ranging from tabla to tree leaves," this may be the most rustic version of The Magnetic Fields you will ever hear, unless the band decide to dig up Francis Child himself for a winter solstice mummers play with a side of Morris dancers and Aran sweater giveaways. Available on January 26 through Nonesuch, The Magnetic Fields' eighth opus comes with the usual trimmings: complimentary mp3 downloads with purchase of LP or CD, free signed poster by Merritt for the first 250 orders through the Nonesuch store, and bedside renditions by the group to ailing fans (with legitimate doctor's notes only).

Procedure also states that when an album is released, it is customary to tour said album. Never one to stick a thorn in the consumer's paw, The Magnetic Fields will play North America this winter including one date in Montréal. The band's FIRST EVER SHOW in Montréal. What?!?! Apart from some ill-formed bias against "the Frencher sex," how is that even possible?
02.04.10 - Washington, DC - Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University
02.06.10 - Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
02.08.10 - Toronto, ON - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
02.10.10 - Boston, MA - Wilbur Theatre
02.11.10 - Boston, MA - Wilbur Theatre
02.13.10 - Brooklyn, NY - Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM
02.21.10 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
02.22.10 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
02.23.10 - Seattle, WA - Town Hall
02.24.10 - Seattle, WA - Town Hall
02.27.10 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
03.01.10 - San Francisco, CA - Herbst Theatre
03.02.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Wilshire Ebell Theatre
03.04.10 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre
03.05.10 - Bloomington, IN - Buskirk Chumley Theater
03.06.10 - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
03.07.10 - Chicago, IL - Harris Theater, Millenium Park
03.10.10 - New York, NY - Town Hall
03.11.10 - New York, NY - Town Hall
03.22.10 - London, England - Barbican Hall

As I said, news of this tour comes mere weeks since we last wrote sweet somethings about Merritt's merits. In the spirit of repetition, here again is the tracklisting for Realism:

1. You Must Be Out of Your Mind
2. Interlude
3. We Are Having a Hootenanny
4. I Don’t Know What to Say
5. The Dolls’ Tea Party
6. Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree
7. Walk a Lonely Road
8. Always Already Gone
9. Seduced and Abandoned
10. Better Things
11. Painted Flower
12. The Dada Polka
13. From a Sinking Boat

RIP: Monty Stark of Stark Reality

From Stones Throw:

News comes today that Monty Stark of Stark Reality passed away in the early evening of Thanksgiving, November 26, 2009. Friend Dennis Sexton wrote, “Monty courageously battled Cancer on his own terms, seeking not to endure the pain of the usual therapy, but went his own way at Hospice of the Valley in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he lived out his last several weeks.”

Monty's group Stark Reality - with John Abercrombie, Phil Morrison, and Vinnie Johnson - released the 1970 album The Stark Reality Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop, a brilliant jazz/funk/psychedelic-rock fusion reinvention of 50's children music by songwriter Hoagy Carmichael.

Much could be said about the power of this rare record to inspire a diverse range of musicians, collectors, hip-hop producers and casual listeners over the years - but it might be summed up by Hoagy Carmichael's own reaction, from the album's original liner notes:

“This is children’s music!?…I say, ‘Stark mad,’” Carmichael wrote. “Monty’s voice?...somewhere between the filings on the edge of a pie pan, and the singing of a guru during one of his most exalted moments.”

- Monty Stark official website

The Appleseed Cast Sign with Graveface and Head Out on U.S. Tour; Hope You Liked Low Level Owl!

At the tail end of 2001, The Appleseed Cast successively released two
albums and only two months apart. The mellow sounds of those albums,
Low Level Owl, Vols. I and II, their most critically acclaimed
releases to date, will be heard again starting in February of next
year, as The Appleseed Cast kick off a 26-date tour in Oklahoma. Combined, the two Low Level Owl albums are just shy of a two-hour
runtime, and The Appleseed Cast has announced they will be playing both albums,
in their entirety, back to back for their upcoming tour.

Also announced, a new live album will be available on the tour, being
the band's first release on Chicago-based Graveface Records. Labelmates Dreamend will be opening every show, and both bands will have full-length albums out in late 2010. And now for the
02.24.10 - Norman, OK - Opolis
02.25.10 - Ft. Worth, TX - Lola's
02.26.10 - Houston, TX - Rudyards
02.27.10 - Austin, TX - Mohawk
03.01.10 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
03.02.10 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
03.03.10 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
03.04.10 - Pomona, CA - Glasshouse
03.05.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo Plex
03.06.10 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
03.08.10 - Portland, OR - Berbati's
03.09.10 - Vancouver, BC - Biltmore
03.10.10 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey
03.11.10 - Spokane, WA - Empyrean Café
03.12.10 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
03.13.10 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
03.15.10 - Omaha, NE - Waiting Room
03.16.10 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
03.17.10 - Dekalb, IL - House Café
03.18.10 - Madison, WI - High Noon
03.19.10 - Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
03.20.10 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
03.21.10 - Kansas City, MO - Record Bar