When I first read the news “Sigur Rós frontman to release picture book,” I immediately imagined lead singer Jón Þór Birgisson hunched over a desk, busily creating a children’s picture book. He seems like the type that would use a quill to write, probably lit by a candle in the musty storage attic of an Icelandic modern art museum, so I imagined that too. It was only later that I learned his book was not a “story” picture book at all, but rather a genuine picture book, filled entirely with... well, pictures. Perhaps I just liked the idea of Birgisson as a children’s author, the idea of children and hipsters everywhere uniting around such a cute commonality. Perhaps I liked the idea that kids would give up kickball on playgrounds in favor of improvised, ambient jam sessions. Perhaps I just liked the idea that another musician might one day come along and dethrone Madonna as dictator of the musician/children’s author world.

Regardless, Birgisson’s book (which he co-wrote with his boyfriend, Alex) entitled Rice Boy Sleeps, was released in Iceland on November 24 and is due for international release in 2007. No clues have surfaced as to what, if any, plot the book will be centered around, but both the title and sources close to the author have hinted a possible “vegans taking power-naps” theme. Faxes and e-mails were sent to Birgisson’s publicist, but all were returned in Hopelandic and therefore were useless from a journalistic standpoint.

More information on Rice Boy Sleeps can be found here.

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton Will See You Next Year, On Tour

I don’t know about you, but the kids at my elementary school were a bunch of little comedians, little Richard Jenis in training, if you will. On the last day before winter break (one that usually lasted about three weeks, starting in mid-December), a specific scenario would be played out multiple times throughout the day:

Little Comedian: I guess I won’t see you again until next year.

Clueless Kid: What? Is your family moving overseas? Are you getting an operation or something?

Little Comedian: No, not next school year, next year. Get it? The next day of school will be NEXT YEAR. Ha ha ha.

Clueless Kid: That’s stupid.

Anyway, it’s kind of like what Emily Haines is doing to us. She, of Metric, Broken Social Scene, and countless (if you're lazy) other bands, is taking her solo act on the road, but you have to wait until next year to see the shows, specifically January 4, 2007. Haines and her backing band The Soft Skeleton will be playing songs from Knives Don’t Have Your Back, put out earlier this year by Last Gang Records.

Hopefully, Metric fans like the solo stuff, because Ms. Haines says that the mellower style from the solo LP will also be present on the next Metric album. She told Billboard, “I can already see how my work on 'Knives' has affected the direction of the next Metric record, which is cool," adding "We're making up lots of music in a bit mellower vibe.” The band spent part of this month writing songs in a “secret” studio in the Seattle area.

Drummer Scott Minor and bassist Paul Dillon will come along to back her up during these dates, and the show will also contain films projections by director Guy Maddin. Tall Firs, who are supporting their 2006 self-titled album on Ecstatic Peace, will open the entire tour.


Jagjaguwar Officially Going Steady With Canada; Canada Welcomes Attention but Not Ready for Full-On Penetration Yet

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of little-known author and poet E.C. Bentley. While his name means sweet F.A. to most, the man should be given his proper dues for two significant achievements. First, his early 20th-century story "Trent's Last Case" set the benchmark for future mystery novels and influenced giants of the genre like Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. (It's also notable for being really funny, too; the main detective, Trent, falls for a primary suspect — always a really dumb idea — and figures out the motive for the crime, but only after getting every one of his deductions incorrect and only after being told by the criminal himself how it was envisioned.) And secondly, he was the inventor of humorous, biographical, four-line, limerick-like poems called clerihews (his middle name). With irregular line lengths and simple structure and rhyming (AABB), the clerihew is the perfect medium for wannabe poets, pranksters, and roasters, and hence, for this amateur-in-every-way TMT scribe.

Not one to rest on its huge laurels, Jagjaguwar Records has announced that it will start the new year with one obvious goal: to continue its amazing run of strong albums. If anyone can follow up a year in which it put out two Simon Joyner albums, Pink Mountaintops' Axis of Evol, the self-titled Ladyhawk LP, Swan Lake's Beast Moans, Oneida's Happy New Year, and a slew of other releases, our favorite Bloomington, Indiana-based label can.

You might be wondering what a long-deceased, mysterious author/poet has to do with the never-forgotten record company. Um, nothing. But when I put them together, it gives me a chance to post tracklists and try my hand at writing some truly terrible clerihews of my own about two upcoming Can-rock Jagjaguwar releases: The Besnard LakesThe Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse (out February 20) and Woke Myself Up by Julie Doiron (to be released January 23).

Besnard Lakes are from the Montreal,

The home of le smoked meat, y'all.

You know they are hung, of course,

Because they are the Dark Horse.

The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse:

That old David Nadelle

Thought he was as smart as a bell. (Wha?)

Oh yeah, a genius, a real academic,

He's about as cool as a flu pandemic.

Nothing would be meaner

Than to knee him in his weiner.

But you know he would deserve it,

Because his clerihews stink like shee-it.

Okay, you think you got the skill

to write some clerihews that kill?

The best one sent to me

Will win a mixed CD!

Click on my name below

And attach your verse and address, yo.

I promise this single thing to you,

My mix will be better than my clerihews...

Isis Probably To Tour Or Something, I Wasn’t Really Paying Attention

Listen, is there any way we can get this out of the way, like, really fucking quickly? My Wii arrived a few hours ago, and to be honest, I don’t really care too much about Isis going on tour in some country I don’t even live in. Like, Isis are great and everything, but, like, Zelda, dude! There’s even this bit where you can throw goats around for no reason at all.


Isis: TOUR!

Jesu: SUPPORT! (Holy shit, that’s actually pretty damn cool. Way to go, yanks!)

Dates: AS BELOW!

Grizzly Bear Consider 2007 Tour: Names Bearbacking ‘Cross America? Grinnin’ And Bearin’ It? The Grizzling?

Though it's sad they lost all their gear on their last tour, Grizzly
Bear will be back on the road this February as headliners! Isn't that
rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat? I think it's great.

Bear-ly worth mentioning (j/k!!!):

House Dems Ask FCC Follow-Up Questions After Media Ownership Hearing In Nashville, Demand Their Druthers

So the FCC has started to feel the pressure, but according to those rascally Democrats, it's time for them to feel the burn. Fresh from a Monday public hearing on media ownership rules down in Nashville, TN, Chairman Martin and his tightest bros have decided to commission "ten economic studies pertaining to the effects of media ownership, and... well, you know, stuff like that." House Dems are pleased that the studies are being conducted but are concerned with the way Martin trailed off at the end of his sentence and gazed longingly at an ice cream truck passing by the window. Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and six others have sent a letter full of question marks to Martin, demanding further details about the studies.

"Were those conducting the studies given further instruction in addition to the assignment of their respective topics?" the letter barks. "If so, what were the instructions given to each participant?" "How much money is being spent on each study?" "What internal and external resources will be made available for those conducting the studies?" And those are only the juicy bits! The sentiment of all these questions can be summed up as follows: "Are you actually going to do what you said, you dirty little rat?"

Congress ain't the only ones wary of the FCC; Monday's hearing in Nashville drew hundreds of concerned members of the public, including a slew of country music stars. Porter Wagoner sauntered up to Chairman Martin at one point, real smooth-like, and mentioned that "the days of an artist receiving regional airplay or breaking as a new act on radio are gone, and you are now considering making the situation even worse by letting some broadcast dynasties become even bigger broadcasting dynasties." John Rich of Big & Rich also declared that the lack of country stations in cities like New York and Los Angeles is patently "anti-American," to which those sitting around him agreed by hocking into a spittoon.

This hearing was the second in a proposed series of six, though Martin may only be responding to questions with lewd gestures by the fourth.