The New Pornographers Tour, Joe Francis Doesn’t

WARNING: The following story contains material not suitable for children.

Ever wonder what happens what you take an all-star band of absolutely outrageous co-eds, get a few instruments in ‘em, put them all up on stage together, and fly them all around North America for a summer???

Of COURSE you have!!!

(Cue the Hawaiian Party music, please)

Introducing British Columbia’s own New Pornographers, Uncut, UN-fettered, and UN-leashed!!!

This summer, you can hear ALL of what you’ve been missing (and we mean ALL of it!) on the new Challengers LP, on sale August 21 from Matador, and catch eyeful after unbelievable eyeful of the sensuous action as the colorful cast tours the continent in search of the hottest clubs, theaters, and festivals around!

That’s right! These seven sexy singles are packing themselves into a tour bus and bearing it ALL while they support the release of their fourth studio album. But when the houselights turn OFF, these rowdy boys and girls turn ON... if you get my awkward innuendo!

WATCH all the action as Neko Case and A.C. Newman let it all hang out at the Pitchfork Festival Afterparty in Chicago...

LOOK-ON as Dan Bejar and Kathryn Calder end up “accidentally” sharing a hotel room together in Seattle...

OBSERVE as I run dangerously low on synonyms...

But that’s not all! Order NOW and receive a complementary MP3 download of the song “My Rights Versus Yours” from The New Pornographers’ website FREE with your purchase!!! Man, this band is Outta-control Krazy!!! You’ve got to hear/see it to believe it!

Don’t miss your chance to see the most outrageously out-of-control show in Indie Rock! Don’t make me use another exclamation point! Just look at theeeeeese beauties:

The Challengers LP is NOT available in stores! (Yes it is!)

Call Now! (Don’t call anywhere!)

Iceland. The word rarely has the chance to breathe before the ethnocentric in all of us quickly jumps up whenever the country’s name is spoken and spurts “cold,” “weird,” and “northern” before downing the last of our cigs and Silver Bullets and drifting off to dreamland mumbling something that sounds like “ bunchh neer f‘fn sslandinavbian....”

But did you know:

- Phonebooks in Iceland list residents by their first name because most Icelanders practice patronymic and matronymic name calling... who knew? You?

- Lots of people fish in Iceland. Surely this is strange for an island community, no?

- There is a ring road in Iceland that links many cities together. Roads linking cities? Wow. I... am... truly... speechless!

Iceland, with its phonebooks, fishing, and roads, doesn’t seem that different from Porkey, PA, Chicken, AK, or Yeehaw Junction, FL, but different it is. We can read all of the useless trivia we want, but us last-name cataloging nitwits will never come close to understanding this peculiar republic unless we all go over and spend a month in a turf house writing Nordic sagas after consuming large amounts of Brennívin and pickled ram testicles. A more palatable option for “coldweirdnorthern” comprehension is to learn a little about Ice-island culture through enjoying their artists: poets, writers, composers, and for our purposes, their musicians.

Normally, Tiny Mix minions throughout the land do this by embracing the bigger Icelandic stars like müm, Sigur Rós, and Björk. Like those incredibly odd and incredibly talented artists, umpteen-piece pop orchestra Benni Hemm Hemm will soon be commanding some attention of their own Stateside when they undertake their first U.S. tour.

Benni Hemm Hemm -- which is either Icelandic for “Birdy Num Num” or the nickname of band leader Benedikt Hermann Hermannsson -- released their debut album in May on Morr Music called Kajak. If you are not familiar with the band, our very own master bird-watcher, raconteur, “extreme fencing” instructor, and resident BDSM dominant with a knack for knots Jeffrey Canino thought this about the album. There. Now you’ve read the review and you’ve read the news tour blurb. I guess the only thing left to read is a completely unrelated and wholly inappropriate and nonsensical Led Zeppelin and Benni Hemm Hemm/Iceland-referencing lyric mash-up: “Ah-hah-aaaaaa-ah! Ah-hah-aaaaaa-ah!/ Come from the land of the ice and snow from the midnight sun where the glaciers glow/ Hemm Hemm of the Gods/ We drive our tour trucks to new land/ To fight the self-important TV chefs, celebrity poseur whores, and douchebag politico pundits/ America I am comii-iii-iii-iing...!”

Benni Hemm Hemm: their only goal will be the Western shore:
07.05.07 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
07.06.07 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East, Upstairs
07.07.07 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell’s
07.08.07 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
07.09.07 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
07.10.07 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry
07.13.07 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile Café
07.14.07 - Portland, OR - Towne Lounge
07.16.07 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
07.17.07 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
07.18.07 - Phoenix, AZ - Paperheart
07.20.07 - Austin, TX - Emo’s
07.21.07 - Houston, TX - Proletariat
07.24.07 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
07.25.07 - Wilmington, NC - Bella Festa
07.26.07 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
07.27.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
07.28.07 - New York, NY - Union Hall

Jay Reatard (ex-Reatards, Lost Sounds, Bad Times, Final Solutions, Terror Visions, Destruction Unit, Nervous Patterns, current Evil Army) Gets Off His Lazy Ass and Tours

Reasons Jay Reatard is Cool:

- Displays stick-to-itiveness by retaining nickname he adopted in his mid-teens.

- My friend Liz says so, and she regularly gives me free stuff from the coffee shop where she works.

- Cool Go-Betweens cover on his new "I Know a Place" 7-inch.

- Swears sometimes.

- Has been constantly recording music for over a decade and has toured the world multiple times in near-countless bands.

- I am sorry for copping out and using the list format.

- Has mounted a tour of southern Europe and eastern North America.

- Released his solo debut Blood Visions and a new a 12-inch single, entitled "Night of Broken Glass" on In the Red Records, known for releasing material by The Ponys, Sparks, The Black Lips, and other luminaries.

- In spite of its high-profile release and subsequent tour, retains underground appeal after blogs refer to the single as “the sort of crusty nugget that will make students of the post-punk era wish they studied harder.”

If You’re Thinking of Being An Akron/Family Groupie, Here Are Some Awesome, Somewhat Famous Places You Should Check Out Throughout Their Tour

So you've already packed your bags, loaded up your debit account with funds, and are waiting for each venue to begin selling tickets. Okay, after you've bought all of your tickets and are well on your way to the first show, you may start thinking, "Wow, if I'm going to be doing this for a while, I should totally check out some really cool landmarks and vacation hot-spots!"

That my friends, is where I come in. Using my excellent tourist intuition, I'll direct you to all the right places. But first off, let's cover one thing quickly: Akron/Family is an excellent band that totally owns ass (your ass, ya damn groupie), and that's why you want to be a groupie right? Right! Okay, let us continue! Today I will select five special places for you to visit while on your exciting trip to see Akron/Family more than they want to see your screaming groupie face. You will be passing through all of these cities, I promise. Let's begin:

Awesome Famous Place/Landmark #1

The Michigan Soldiers' And Sailors' Monument (Detroit, MI)

*It's an awesome Civil War monument, check it out and buy some postcards while you're at it!

Awesome Famous Place/Landmark #2

All The Oak Trees In Raleigh (Raleigh, NC)

*Just walk around the city and find out why it's really called the "City of Oaks"! Take some pictures!

Awesome Famous Place/Landmark #3

The Horseshoe At Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)

*Their football stadium is a fucking horseshoe! How rad! Be sure to take a tour!

Awesome Famous Place/Landmark #4

The National War Memorial in Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)

*This isn't just any ol' war memorial; it's in Confederation Square. That has to mean something. Marry someone in front of it!

Awesome Famous Place/Landmark # 5

Strip Clubs (Portland, OR)

*It's a known fact that Portland has more strip clubs per capita than any city in America. I don't think you can take pictures at these famous places, but you can most certainly try.

I highly recommend all the above places (and Akron/Family!), five stars to each and every one of 'em. Expect news of a new Akron/Family LP soon, but for now, I'm sure your crazy groupie ass just wants some tourdates, so here you are (I've even used annoying asterisks to mark which cities the Awesome Famous Places/Landmarks are!):

* Awesome Famous Place/Landmark #1

** Awesome Famous Place/Landmark #2

*** Awesome Famous Place/Landmark #3

**** Awesome Famous Place/Landmark #4

***** Awesome Famous Place/Landmark #5

[Photo: MK12]

McSweeney’s Internet Pregnancy Throws A Fly In The Financial Ointment

I have always had mixed feelings about Dave Eggers' McSweeney's and its umbrella of publications. Style is as important as substance, and that bothers me. There is a great essay on Design Observer on the saturation of books and publishing, and it does a particularly excellent job of describing exactly the look and feel of independent publishing houses:

"These publications have a very particular voice and visual appearance both of which derive from the dustier corners of book publishing’s history: the heavily footnoted meanderings of science textbooks, earnest political treatises and tracts, hobby manuals and the like. For many, the ultimate goal is to channel the essence of an out-of-print illustrated pamphlet on the preferred techniques for the propagation of indoor ivy plants. The best-known touchstones of this meticulously arcane tone can be found in the satirical output of the McSweeney’s empire."

And yet, for all the criticism -- which McSweeney's tends to gather like a lightning rod, for all this reduction of the creativity that is The Internet Tendency and The Believer and Wholphin and everything else they do, we would be less than whole without it. McSweeney's combines media in the way NPR airs audio stories on sculpture, but doing so in a tongue-in-cheek fashion and in a unique package. I love, love picking up the three books held in a binder by magnets, and I don't even know why. This is new forms and history with clever writing, and we need it. The internet, most of all, needs it. Unfortunately, we may not have it much longer, because McSweeney's in the midst of a financial hardship.

According to The Trip Wire, "on December 29 their distributor filed for bankruptcy and McSweeney's lost about $130,000. As a result they now are holding a special sale and auction on eBay to help raise funds. Some of the items up for grabs include a personal tour of The Daily Show, original artwork from Chris Ware, Marcel Dzama, David Byrne, and Tony Millionaire; a limited-edition music mix from Nick Hornby; rare early issues of the quarterly, direct from Sean Wilsey's closet; and more. Rumor has it there is even a Dave Eggers's painting of George W. Bush as a double amputee, from the cover of Issue 14."

If there is oversaturation of anything, it is creative work on the internet. McSweeney's is a bastion of quality, and whether its online or in a magazine, we need Eggers' "empire." Although I may be on the fence with it sometimes, McSweeney's is respectable, clever, and fun. Criticize it, but read it and save it, as I will.

Click here for the special sales and auctions.

Rhino Records To Release “British Box”; Deny Association With Posh Spice’s Vagina

You know that one part of the record store with all of the box sets? Does anyone buy those things? Yeah, the ones with 73 previously unreleased Velvet Underground or Bruce Springsteen B-sides, demos, and live cuts that absolutely no one needs. Don't even try to justify a 2-track demo of "I'm On Fire" or paying $74.99 for a warped full-length demo of "Sweet Jane." And yes, 100,000,000 Bon Jovi fans can be wrong. Regardless, Rhino Records is joining the box set party (again), which should appeal to the richest (and show-offy-est) obsessives and/or yuppie bankers who'd like to impress that bitchin' alternative chick from Whole Foods with their knowledge of '70s Lou Reed. Their anthology, however, sounds fairly enticing and is titled The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze and Brit-pop Gems of the Last Millennium.

I can just hear the infomercial now -- and God knows I'm holding out for Moz to host it. If he can't sell a $65, 4CD set in the shape of an English phone box complete with an 80-page book of essays and interviews, then I don't know who can. The set is pieced together in chronological order as follows: Disc 1 (1984-1990), Disc 2 (1991-1993), Disc 3 (1994-1995), and Disc 4 (1996-1998). It features acts such as Cocteau Twins, The Stone Roses, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Suede, The Divine Comedy, and many more. For 17 easy payments of $3.82, The Brit Box can be yours! But wait! Call within the next 15 minutes and we'll throw in a second set of steak knives at no additional cost! And if you aren't completely satisfied...

The Brit Box: U.K. Indie, Shoegaze and Brit-pop Gems of the Last Millennium tracklist:

Disc 1:

1. The Smiths - "How Soon Is Now?"
2. Cocteau Twins - "Lorelei"
3. Felt - "Primitive Painters"
4. Shop Assistants - "Somewhere in China"
5. The Mighty Lemon Drops - "My Biggest Thrill"
6. The Cure - "Just Like Heaven"
7. Echo & The Bunnymen - "Lips Like Sugar"
8. The Jesus and Mary Chain - "April Skies"
9. Spacemen 3 - "Walkin' With Jesus (Sound of Confusion)"
10. The Primitives - "Crash"
11. The Wonder Stuff - "Unbearable"
12. The Stone Roses - "She Bangs the Drums"
13. The Charlatans UK - "The Only One I Know"
14. Happy Mondays - "Step On"
15. Primal Scream - "Loaded" [single version]
16. Inspiral Carpets - "This Is How It Feels"
17. The Trash Can Sinatras - "Obscurity Knocks"
18. The La's - "There She Goes"
19. The Sundays - "Here's Where the Story Ends"

Disc 2:

1. Ride - "Vapour Trail"
2. Pale Saints - "Sight of You"
3. My Bloody Valentine - "Only Shallow"
4. Lush - "For Love"
5. The Telescopes - "Flying"
6. Chapterhouse - "Pearl"
7. Catherine Wheel - "I Want To Touch You"
8. Bleach - "Trip & Slide"
9. Curve - "Coast Is Clear"
10. Five Thirty - "You"
11. Moose - "This River Will Never Run Dry"
12. The Family Cat - "(Thought I'd Died) And Gone To Heaven"
13. The Dylans - "(Don't Cut Me Down) Mary Quant in Blue"
14. Thousand Yard Stare - "0-0 A.E.T. (No Score After Extra Time)"
15. Ned's Atomic Dustbin - "Grey Cell Green"
16. Birdland - "Shoot You Down"
17. Manic Street Preachers - "Stay Beautiful"
18. Teenage Fanclub - "Star Sign"

Disc 3:

1. Suede - "Metal Mickey"
2. Swervedriver - "Duel" [radio edit]
3. Eugenius - "Breakfast"
4. Superstar - "Barfly"
5. New Order - "Regret"
6. James - "Laid"
7. Nick Heyward - "Kite"
8. The Boo Radleys - "Lazarus"
9. Saint Etienne - "You're in a Bad Way"
10. Stereolab - "Wow & Flutter"
11. Blur - "Tracy Jacks"
12. Oasis - "Live Forever"
13. Pulp - "Common People"
14. These Animal Men - "Speed King"
15. Mega City Four - "Wallflower"
16. Echobelly - "Insomniac"
17. Gene - "Sleep Well Tonight"
18. Menswe@r - "Sleeping In"
19. Supergrass - "Alright"
20. Cast - "Alright"
21. Elastica - "Stutter"

Disc 4:

1. Dodgy - "In a Room"
2. Ash - "Girl From Mars"
3. Sleeper - "Sale of the Century"
4. Marion - "Sleep"
5. Kula Shaker - "Tattva"
6. Ocean Colour Scene - "The Riverboat Song"
7. Babybird - "You're Gorgeous"
8. The Bluetones - "Slight Return"
9. Super Furry Animals - "Something 4 the Weekend"
10. The Divine Comedy - "Something for the Weekend"
11. Cornershop - "Brimful of Asha"
12. Silver Sun - "Service"
13. Spiritualized - "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space"
14. Mansun - "Wide Open Space"
15. Hurricane #1 - "Step Into My World"
16. The Verve - "Lucky Man"
17. Rialto - "Untouchable"
18. Catatonia - "Mulder and Scully"
19. Placebo - "You Don't Care About Us"
20. Gay Dad - "Oh Jim"

  

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