Broken Bells (Dangermouse/James Mercer) going on tour for the first time ever

Broken Bells (Dangermouse/James Mercer) going on tour for the first time ever

Super-duo Broken Bells (made up of Brian “Dangermouse” Burton and The Shins’ James Mercer) released their self-titled, debut-album last week. The new album, Broken Bells, has already shot to the number-one spot on iTunes and the number-seven spot on Billboard, so the guys decided that they would head out on their first-ever North American tour starting May 18, with support by The Morning Benders.

The band has played a number of stand-alone gigs already in Los Angeles, New York, and most recently at SXSW, and if past ticket sales are any indication, then the newly-announced, 15-date tour should shape up to be a pretty hip event! If you need a more “expert”opinion on why you should go, then listen to US Weekly, who described the show as like “being at a cozy, intimate underground basement party somewhere in Northern California with the best art rock band on the coast providing the soundtrack.”

More information is available at Broken Bells’ website.

05.18.10 - San Diego, CA - Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay
05.19.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
05.21.10 - San Francisco, CA - Regency Ballroom
05.24.10 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
05.25.10 - Seattle, WA - Showbox at the Market
05.26.10 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
05.29.10 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre
05.31.10 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theater
06.01.10 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrews Hall
06.02.10 - Toronto, ON - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
06.04.10 - Boston, MA - Royale NightClub
06.05.10 - New York City, NY - The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza
06.06.10 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
06.07.10 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
06.10.10 - Atlanta, GA - Center Stage
06.11.10 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club

• Broken Bells:

Franz Nicolay announces West Coast tour, new album, new touring gig with Against Me! Take THAT, Hold Steady!

As he’s made abundantly clear already, mustachioed keys-master and former Hold Steady “whoa-whoa-hoa” man Franz Nicolay is a busy, creative, fervent, funny, deep, busy, creative, compassionate, busy genius. He don’t need no flower sniffin’, kitty pettin’, corporate rock whores like The Hold Steady steadily holding him down. He’s got plans. Secret plans. Secret plans and clever tricks. So back off.

Recently, Nicolay climbed the nearest mountain and announced, in a booming voice, all of the shit that he has going on in 2010. Said “shit” includes the recent release of his short story collection, Complicated Gardening Techniques, an upcoming West Coast solo tour backing his recent Major General LP and subsequent St. Sebastian of the Short Stage EP, a summer gig as a touring member of Floridian punky anthem-pop band (yeah, kinda like The Hold Steady) Against Me!, and some plans to begin work on his follow-up record with producer Jim Keller (Muse, Laurie Anderson). The album is scheduled for a fall 2010 release, and you can check out demos of Franz’s new songs over at his MySpace.

Damn that’s a lot of announcements. And, you know, there might have even been a few more that I didn’t catch. It was actually kind of hard to hear his thunderous proclamations, on account of the Hold Steady records that I was furiously rocking out to at the time…

Franz Nicolay:

04.10.10 - Portland, OR - Millenium Music (instore)
04.10.10 - Salem, OR - Cherry City Music Festival, Mission Hill Museum
04.11.10 - Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern
04.12.10 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
04.14.10 - San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
04.15.10 - Visalia, CA - The Cellar Door
04.16.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Bootleg
04.17.10 -Silverlake, CA - Home
04.23.10 -Hoboken, NJ - Stevens Institute of Technology
05.14.10 - Brooklyn, NY - WORD Bookstore

Against Me!

06.01.10 - London, UK - Garage
06.02.10 - Manchester, UK - Academy 3
06.03.10 - Birmingham, UK - Academy 2
06.13.10 - Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo
08.13.10 - Oslo, Norway - Oya Festival

• Franz Nicolay:

[Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev]

RIP: Herb Ellis, jazz guitarist

From the LA Times:

Herb Ellis, a jazz guitarist perhaps best known for his work with the influential Oscar Peterson Trio, has died. He was 88.

Ellis, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died Sunday morning at his home in Los Angeles, said his son, Mitch.

During his long and varied career, Ellis played with Jimmy Dorsey and Ella Fitzgerald. He also worked as a studio musician and played in the bands of several television shows, including Steve Allen’s and Merv Griffin’s.

“There have been changes in jazz and new styles come along. I play straight ahead, what you might call mainstream, jazz,” Ellis told the Columbus Dispatch of Ohio in 1996. “That’s what I played when I started and that’s what I still play. I wish everyone else good luck and God bless, but I’ve found mine and I’m going to stick with it.”

• Herb Ellis:

[Photo: Vernon Hyde]

Members of Animal Collective, Beauty Pill create new music for D.C. Boombox Event This Saturday (Wayne Coyne suspiciously not invited)!

Hey everyone: stop protesting about Everything Ever on the National Mall for a second. Washington DC-based experimental psych-rock band Bluebrain has a special treat for you this Saturday. With the help of D.C. movers and shakers ReadysetDC, the duo of brothers has called in some awfully big favors from heavy-hitting friends to help compose new music for a good old-fashioned “Boombox Event” that’s fixing to go down this Saturday, April 3 on the capital’s National Mall.

In case you’re an L7 Weenie, here’s how the whole Boombox Happening thing works: fans (e.g. fans of the respective bands involved, fans of experimental music, fans of illicit substance abuse, fans of cherry blossoms, etc.) are asked to bring their own boomboxes, and Bluebrain will supply each fearless freak with a cassette tape. Each tape is part of a giant composite soundtrack featuring music from Chad Clark of Beauty Pill, Brian Weitz of The Animal Collectivez, Maureen Andary, Sean Peoples of Sockets Records, Outputmessage”, Will Eastman, Alfonso Bravo, and of course, Bluebrain. Attendees are then instructed to “hit play, motherfuckers” at the same time for a unique musical/spacial experience as they march across the Mall with its famous cherry blossoms in full bloom. The aforementioned motherfuckers will then be instructed to erase their cassettes (though some will just pretend to do so) and will be promptly booted from the premises so that some angry mob or another can play through. But hey, if you’re going to affiliate yourself with a faction of crazies, they might as well be cool, fun, music-loving crazies, right? Not like those OTHER crazies. They’re just crazy.

Cherry Blossom Boombox Walk
Saturday, April 3rd - 5:30 PM
@ The National Mall, Washington DC
Presented by Bluebrain and ReadySetDC.

• Cherry Blossom Boombox Walk:
• Bluebrain:
• ReadysetDC:

Jóhann Jóhannsson to release And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees, tours US

Following his fairly recent couplet of releases built around the theme of the American dystopia and in support of his upcoming album And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees, Icelandic knob fiddler Jóhann Jóhannsson will be giving a slight tour of the states in the month of May. Originally released last summer in very limited quantities while Jóhannsson was on tour, his score to Marc Craste’s film Varmints will be getting a proper release through Type come April.

According to the artist’s website, the arrangement for the tour will consist of his usual six-piece ensemble, one of these individuals being long-time live collaborator Matthías Hemstock. The tour commences at New York’s infamous Le Poisson Rouge just before the month of May rears its head. A fitting setting and time for music which carries such warm shades and supple imagery.

Places, dates:

04.30.10 - New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge
05.01.10 - Brooklyn, NY - Littlefield
05.02.10 - Boston, MA - Brattle Theater
05.03.10 - Montreal, QC - L’Astral Theatre
05.04.10 - Toronto, ON - Mod Club
05.06.10 - Pittsburgh, PA - Garfield Artworks
05.07.10 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
05.08.10 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
05.11.10 - Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Theater
05.12.10 - Seattle, WA - Triple Door Theater
05.13.10 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
05.14.10 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
05.15.10 - Los Angeles, CA - TBD

• Jóhann Jóhannsson:
• Type:

Screaming Females Head into the Studio, Tour with Ted Leo, Just Scream and Scream and Scream and Screeeeeeeam

Let’s start this story out the right way with a quote from the venerable Teen Vogue. Ahem:

Screaming Females is a rock trio from my home state of New Jersey. And like many NJ notables, these two guys and gal know how to rock.

A sterling assessment from an esteemed cultural institution indeed! I wonder if that quote came from a single person or if the Teen Vogue staff just gathered all their iMacs on the Jersey Turnpike and typed in unison. Damn you press release for your lack of specific attribution!

Anyway, in case you hadn’t heard, Screaming Females are two guys and a gal from New Jersey who really know how to rock. How much about rocking do they know, you ask? Well you can find out for your damn self on their upcoming tour with none other than Ted Leo and his Phamous Pharmacists (Not to be confused with Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist). But if you can’t make it to a show, that’s okay, because once they’re back home in Jersey, Screaming Females are screaming into the studio to record their fourth full-length album, due sometime in autumn. It looks like that state’s gonna have some real good days ahead of them, at least until season two of Jersey Shore pukes back onto the airwaves.

03.31.10 - Austin, TX – Emo’s *
04.02.10 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jack’s *
04.03.10 - Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder *
04.04.10 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade *
04.05.10 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle *
04.07.10 - Richmond, VA - Gallery Five
04.08.10 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club *
04.09.10 - New York, NY - The Fillmore at Irving Plaza *
04.10.10 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club *

* Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

• Screaming Females: