Pet Shop Boys Release Album, Write Ballet, Tour, Lose True Love to the Undead

Pet Shop Boys -- my favorite drolly cynical synthpop duo and America's fourth (they're behind Madonna, Donna Summer, and Janet Jackson on the Billboard dance charts all time list) -- are back with a new studio album that came out this week on Astralwerks. Entitled Yes, it features production by Xenomania (who has worked with Saint Etienne, Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Cher, and Kylie Minogue), orchestral arrangements by Owen Pallett (Last Shadow Puppets, Final Fantasy), and guitar work from Johnny Marr of The Smiths fame. Previously, the London duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have worked with heavy hitters like Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Liza Minnelli, Madonna, Robbie Williams, Electronic, and The Killers, and this year they've remixed a track for Lady GaGa, co-written Girls Aloud's popular U.K. single "The Loving Kind," and produced a #1 U.K. dance hit for Kompakt artist Sam Taylor-Wood. Recently, they were given an Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the Brit Awards and, ya know, they're also working on a ballet. Here's to hoping it's a more fleshed-out version of the video for "Heart," in which Sir Ian McKellen portrays a vampire who steals Tennant's wife.

The ever ironic witticists describe the process -- or what they think might've been the process -- for selecting their 10th album's title: "We can't seem to remember how we came up with the title Yes," says Tennant. "Our official story is that we may have taken it from the famous Yoko Ono exhibition in 1967 where you had to climb up a step ladder -- as John Lennon famously did -- pick up a magnifying glass, look at a tiny word written on the ceiling, and the word was 'yes.' I think it partly came from that."

"We thought No was a bit negative," Lowe adds.

Tracklisting:

1. Love, etc.
2. All Over the World
3. Beautiful People
4. Did You See Me Coming?
5. Vulnerable
6. More Than a Dream
7. Building a Wall
8. King of Rome
9. Pandemonium
10. The Way It Used to Be
11. Legacy

Tourdates:
06.10.09 - St. Petersburg, Russia - Ice Palace
06.11.09 - Moscow, Russia - Luzhniki Palace of Sports
06.13.09 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg - Rockhal
06.14.09 - Stuttgart, Germany - Theaterhaus
06.15.09 - Zurich, Switzerland - Maag Event Hall
06.18.09 - Manchester, United Kingdom - Apollo Manchester
06.19.09 - London, United Kingdom - The O2 - London
06.22.09 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Heineken Music Hall
06.24.09 - Cologne, Germany - Palladium
06.25.09 - Berlin, Germany - Tempodrom GmbH
06.26.09 - Leipzig, Germany - Parkbuhne
06.28.09 - Stockholm, Sweden - Cirkus
07.02.09 - Helsinki, Finland - Ice Hall
07.04.09 - Roskilde, Denmark - Festival Grounds (Roskilde Festival)
07.07.09 - Barcelona, Spain - Pueblo Espanol
07.08.09 - Madrid, Spain - Palacio Vistalegre
07.11.09 - Naas, Ireland - Punchestown Racecourse (Oxegen)
07.12.09 - Kinross, United Kingdom - Balado (T In The Park)
07.13.09 - Liverpool, United Kingdom - Liverpool Echo Arena (Liverpool Summer Pops)
07.17.09 - Suffolk, United Kingdom - Henham Park (Latitude Festival)
07.18.09 - Dour, BelgiumFestival Grounds (Dour Festival)

Bonnaroo 2009; Also, Girl Talk “Experimenting” with Actual Song Structures for Next Record; Will The New Album be as “Experimental” as the Latest Fountains of Wayne, Then? Hey, Stay Tuned!

Gregg Gillis -- a.k.a. mash-up party-monger Girl Talk -- is honing in on what he considers a “new direction” for the follow-up to 2008's party-mongering Feed the Animals (TMT Review).

"I'm experimenting with different structures and different ideas," Gillis told Billboard.com, seemingly oblivious to his complete “novelty act” status. "I'm interested in working on individual songs -- kind of in the style I've been doing, but with actual repetition as opposed to linear structure and stuff like that, some elements with a verse-and-chorus sort of structure as opposed to going through 50 minutes of change-ups the entire time. I want to evolve and keep refining." Watch out, Richard D. James.

"I'm constantly working on material," Gillis added, noting that there’s no set time table for LP #3 as of now. "Every day I cut up music. I try not to be concerned with what will be on an album. I just try to come up with small ideas I introduce into the (live) set, and I'll eventually get to the point where I say, ‘OK, here's this slightly new sound. I feel like there's some evolution.’ I'm interested in putting out music, and it's always nice to give people music." Watch out, DJ/rupture.

Gillis said there's a possibility he'd also consider some live releases from his shows, and after appearing at last weekend's Coachella Music & Arts Festival, he's starting to plot out what he wants to do this year’s upcoming Bonnaroo Festival, which may well include music from other artists on the bill. But "I won't go out of my way to sample an artist because I'm playing (at the same festival) with them," Gillis carefully noted. “There's lots of ideas floating around...I want to be as diverse as possible." Watch out... er, Phish?

Anyway, in actual news, tix for this year's Bonnaroo are on sale now, and the complete lineup (yes, featuring tons of highly-experimental artists that will also play some of those extremely forward-looking verse-chorus-type song structure things) is viewable here. Oh, and it takes place June 11-14 in jolly old Manchester, England. I mean... Tennessee.

Bonnaroo 2009; Also, Girl Talk “Experimenting” with Actual Song Structures for Next Record; Will The New Album be as “Experimental” as the Latest Fountains of Wayne, Then? Hey, Stay Tuned!

Gregg Gillis -- a.k.a. mash-up party-monger Girl Talk -- is honing in on what he considers a “new direction” for the follow-up to 2008's party-mongering Feed the Animals (TMT Review).

"I'm experimenting with different structures and different ideas," Gillis told Billboard.com, seemingly oblivious to his complete “novelty act” status. "I'm interested in working on individual songs -- kind of in the style I've been doing, but with actual repetition as opposed to linear structure and stuff like that, some elements with a verse-and-chorus sort of structure as opposed to going through 50 minutes of change-ups the entire time. I want to evolve and keep refining." Watch out, Richard D. James.

"I'm constantly working on material," Gillis added, noting that there’s no set time table for LP #3 as of now. "Every day I cut up music. I try not to be concerned with what will be on an album. I just try to come up with small ideas I introduce into the (live) set, and I'll eventually get to the point where I say, ‘OK, here's this slightly new sound. I feel like there's some evolution.’ I'm interested in putting out music, and it's always nice to give people music." Watch out, DJ/rupture.

Gillis said there's a possibility he'd also consider some live releases from his shows, and after appearing at last weekend's Coachella Music & Arts Festival, he's starting to plot out what he wants to do this year’s upcoming Bonnaroo Festival, which may well include music from other artists on the bill. But "I won't go out of my way to sample an artist because I'm playing (at the same festival) with them," Gillis carefully noted. “There's lots of ideas floating around...I want to be as diverse as possible." Watch out... er, Phish?

Anyway, in actual news, tix for this year's Bonnaroo are on sale now, and the complete lineup (yes, featuring tons of highly-experimental artists that will also play some of those extremely forward-looking verse-chorus-type song structure things) is viewable here. Oh, and it takes place June 11-14 in jolly old Manchester, England. I mean... Tennessee.

Matt And Kim Bare Their Naughty Bits In Times Square

No, Matt and Kim are not taking up prostitution as a means to make more money; they actually shot their new music video for “Lessons Learned” in the buff in Times Square. Out of all the potential indie bands to shoot a music video in the nude… really, Matt and Kim? Don’t get me wrong, they’re both attractive in their own right, but I would have preferred any of the following:

- Ryan Adams & Neko Case
- Kevin Drew (BSS) & Emily Haines (Metric, BSS)
- James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) & Mia Matsumiya (of Kayo Dot)

...Yeah, I have a predictable taste in indie rock men and women -- deal with it. In the meantime, if you’re curious, have a peek at “Lessons Learned,” if you dare:

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Loney Dear is Emil Svanängen, the most lovable Swede to come along since the chef on The Muppets. Instead of offering us jibber jabbing epicurean lingo, as the latter did, Loney Dear has cooked up some sweet-sounding, confessional pop. This Swede likes to ruminate! Dear John, his latest album, was released in late January (TMT News) on Polyvinyl. Since the album release, he's been traveling with the likes of the equally talented, whistling, and fiddle-playing Andrew Bird. Having recently finished playing at SXSW, Loney Dear will begin touring again in May. Here's something to hold you over until then: the video for "Airport Surroundings." Amuse bouche, anyone?

Loney Dear tourdates:
05.04.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie
05.05.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
05.06.09 - Boston, MA - Great Scott
05.07.09 - Montreal, QC - Il Motore
05.08.09 - Toronto, ON - Rivoli
05.09.09 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's
05.10.09 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
05.13.09 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile
05.14.09 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir
05.15.09 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of The Hill
05.16.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland
05.17.09 - San Diego, CA - UC San Diego

SPOONX3 Fest: Carrying Austin in the Afternoon, Go and See Spoon, They’ll Be There Soon

April 24, 2009

From: Mike McHugh

To: Austin, TX

Re: Just catchin’ up + the staggering amount of good bands that play in your city.

Hey, Austin. How’re things? Good? Shit, that’s great, dude. I’m so glad to hear things are kicking so much ass for you… So hey, how’ve you been since SXSW? Oh, shit’s been fantastic? Damn man, that’s great, I’m happy that you’re so happy, and– wait, shit is really going that well? Things have been so kickass in fact that Spoon is coming back to their native Austin in July to play three shows at Stubbs in the inaugural SPOONX3 festival?! That’s insane, son! I mean, the highlight of my live-show life this year was when I broke my glasses at a Lee Ving show last month but… shit, this… this… um, it’s real cool, man! Spoon is a great band. Good for you! You’re so special, dude! I’m sure things will keep ruling Charlemagne style, and I’ll just catch you later and — wait, what? Atlas Sound is playing, too? AND Low? AANNDD Trail of Dead? On separate nights? In the same city? Well dog-shitting Christ in an Elvis diaper, Austin, that action is too goddamn much to keep this player from being polite about it. I have to fucking speak out on the behalf of the rest of Middle America. Excuse me.
07.09.09 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s (Trail of Dead)
07.10.09 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s (Low)
07.11.09 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s (Atlas Sound)

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April 24, 2009

From: Mike McHugh

To: Middle America (Mainly Eastern Missouri)

CC: Good Bands

Re: BOOK GOOD BANDS, YOU FUCKS

Dear Middle America/Good Bands,

Hello. We are the Midwest, besides Detroit, of course. And Chicago. And Kansas City. Okay, basically we are just St. Louis, MO, and we want you to play here. And by “we,” I mean only me, but still, I am certain reasonable humans within the St. Louis City/Country metro area and myself would love it if you (the few, the proud, the good bands of America) would come to our fair city. Or even Columbia, MO, or O’Fallon, or Wright City, or anywhere within a two-hour radius so I could actually see you! I love Austin, but I don’t want to waste 200 clams on a steel bird or 20 hours + silly-ass gasoline every time I want to see a good show, goddammit! I got things to do, bills to pay, and people to smile at and want things from! So just point your rusty-ass doody van towards the Arch and go go go until you reach my stinky town. We desperately need quality entertainment. Do you know how many Jimmy Buffett cover bands I’ve seen in the last five years? At least half a dozen, and we ain’t even 50 miles away from any decent beaches. And Sammy Hagar-itude has become so prevalent in Gateway culture that he even has his own restaurant in one of the city’s classier casinos! So save us, dammit! Please, good bands like Spoon, come back to our city, too. We really need your patronage. PLEASE.