Ted Leo Tours the World, Admits to Being a Fanjaya

The last time I saw Ted Leo (solo, at a benefit for Callum Robbins), the hollers from the crowd, usually something hilarious like "FREEBIRD!," took on a different nature. This time it was a little less American band and a little more American Idol. Mr. Leo, who once covered the inaugural Idol Kelly Clarkson's smash-hit "Since U Been Gone," received numerous pleas from an overzealous crowd all calling for a cover of the pop gem. But like any self-respecting connoisseur of pop culture, Ted knew that the shelf-life of cover-song irony is comparable to a carton of milk (that is to say, in this case, expired). Preferring to stick to his more timeless repertoire of Wire and Springsteen, Leo politely ignored the persistent heckles and concurred when an audience member asked, "Don't you wish you never covered that song?" That's exactly why I've come up with this list of potential cover songs for Ted that just never get old:

"Higher" by Creed -- Come on, Teddy; you can't be so punk all the time. Get in touch with your Jesus side!

"It's All Coming Back to Me" by Celine Dion -- Because he has trouble booking shows, I heard he was looking for a residency at Caesars Palace.

"I'm A Flirt" by R. Kelly -- If only to hear Ted Leo say "I'ma chick mag-a-net/ And anything fine I'm bag-gin it."

"Sorry 2004" by Ruben Studdard -- We already know he can do the A-Idol thing; give Big Rube some love.

Taking requests all through the summer:

Old-Man Corgan Finally Gets Put into a Home… Uh, I Mean a “Residency”

Smashing Pumpkins frontman and renowned bald-headed, pale-faced, trench coat-backed, egomaniac Billy Corgan has at least looked crazy for about seven years now. Now, with his long-on-hiatus Chicago rock outfit once again rising out of the pumpkin patch to fly through the air with copies of their new studio album Zeitgeist, due July 10 via Martha's Music/Reprise, to give to good little girls and boys all over the world, the infamously stubborn, scratchy-voiced singer is finally getting locked-up.

Well, sort of, anyway.

Apparently, despite all of his rage, Corgan and Co. are scheduled to cage themselves into clubs in both Asheville, North Carolina and San Francisco, California for several week-long “residencies” this summer, during which they will be performing a different setlist from the band’s infinitely sad career each night. Billy and the newest patch of pumpkins will smash themselves into The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC for a series of shows in June and July before they roll out West for a second residency at San Francisco’s Fillmore set for later July and a date in August. Tickets for these events are, of course, sold out.

And in a new twist, the Great Pumpkin is apparently asking any and all fans of the band (well, such as they still exist) to record shows throughout the residencies on their own audio and visual equipment. Logically, one would suspect that the reason for this ill-advised encouragement of piracy might be to later put together some kind of fans-eye retrospective... but no such reason has been given by the pumpkins’ spokesperson yet, save for to say that the band will be digging “deep into their back catalog” and playing material from their new album, as well as “songs written on the day of the show.” In other words, you might want to tape Corgan being full of himself now, before he breaks up this incarnation of the band, too.

Speaking of which, it still has yet to be announced who will be joining Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin on stage for all these shows, but bassist Ginger Reyes, guitarist Jeff Schroeder, and keyboardist Lisa Harriton were the stoolpigeons last night in Paris for the Pumpkins' first show in seven years. Hopefully this time around the beginning doesn’t prove to be the end is the beginning is the... aw fuck... nevermind. Click here for tourdates.

Here's the setlist from last night:

The Bible Clearly States That Le Loup Shall Be the Second Band To Sign to New Label Hardly Art

Hardly Art, the new affiliate label of Sub Pop, has officially signed its second band. According to the Bible, this is glorious news as stated in Leviticus 6:12, "An independent label is nothing until it has at least has two signed bands." This so-called messiah is a seven-piece tyrant aptly known as Le Loup, which in French translates to ‘The Wolf.’ Though this may be another wolf band in French ‘wordery,’ there is more to offer than wolf-band comparisons. They are currently finishing up their debut album, The Throne of the Heaven of the Third Nations' Millennium General Assembly, which will be released in the fall. Historically, the ambitious title dates back to a piece of folk art of the same title, by James Hampton in the 1950s. You can learn (yes, learn) about the story behind the folk art here.

If you can't wait until the release, you can rush to be in-the-know before everyone is like, "Have you heard that new band Le Loup?" Simply visit their MySpace or website (yes, bands still have "official websites"). A year from now, you will be all like, "Beotch, I knew about Le Loup a long time ago. Way before your mom birthed you. I had sex with your mom. And I am your father. And I knew about Le Loup before all of this." You will be saying convoluted shit like that all the time in the future, and you'll even possibly be wearing a Tiny Mix Tapes shirt (we won't have those then).

Hardly Art's first-signed band Arthur & Yu will debut their album on June 19. So you might want to get a move on with that as well. You have a lot of work to do Mr. and Mrs. TMT reader! Get to it, or I will tell Mr P on you! Remember the book of P, "Thou shall take everything literally and do as TMT says, unless otherwise informed by the Lord (a.k.a. Billy Joel)."

What the Heck Fest Going Down: Everybody in the Pacific Northwest Gettin’ Tipsy, Ghostride the Pacific Northwest, Make it Rain on the Pacific Northwest, Etc.

So there are some dudes, right? And they’re doing this thing from July 19 to July 22. This’ll be the sixth time they do it. They do it in Anacortes, Washington. It’s some pretty interesting stuff, but I’m warning you in advance: You might miss a few television shows and/or internet memes if you check it out. So what’s your incentive?

Like 40 indie pop bands, stupid! Cripes! It’s called What the Heck Fest! Calvin Johnson is playing! Mount Eerie! YACHT! Adrian Orange! Mecca Normal! The Blow! Laura Veirs! Little Wings! A whole mess of other artists! Full passes for the entire fest can be purchased from the fest’s site for a mere $50 apiece. The $50 also will net you a full meal at the “dinner” show, which the site refers to as the “thematic center of the entire event.”

If the price seems like a lot, the site even has a neat, little manifesto deal that, in between parts that are kind of confusing, spouts wisdom such as “production values increase as the artist’s respect for the audience’s imagination decreases.” On top of being musically and thematically consistent, What the Heck Fest is probably the most articulate music and arts festival of the entire summer. If you choose to take your shoes off, make some cutoffs and attend, the hilarious cat pictures will probably still be on the ‘web’ when you get back.

Duck, Duck, Goose / Has This Headline Been Used? / Gang Gang Dance Tour / Don’t Be a Loser!

Scene: A bunch of white-belt, indie-rock-oriented kids sitting cross-legged (formerly, ‘Indian-style’) in a large circle.

Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Goose! (slapping the head of Brian DeGraw)

(Brian chases me around the circle; I dive down into Brian's former seat. Brian is now the goose.)

Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Goose! (gently tapping the head of Tim DeWitt)

(Tim jumps up and chases Brian around the circle. Brian barely makes it into Tim's former seat. Tim is now the goose.)

(This process repeats itself until all members of Gang Gang Dance have been the goose. As a collective geese, Gang Gang Dance tour the collective United States, playing sympathetic venues in support of their new CD-and-DVD combo scheduled for release May 22 (today!) and titled Retina Riddim.

All dates on the tour have Ocrilim (which is Mick Barr of Orthrelm, Crom-Tech, Quix*o*tic, Octis, that collab with Zach Hill, etc.) opening, except the Los Angeles show with Ariel Pink and Architecture In Helsinki opening instead:

* Ariel Pink

# Ariel Pink and Architecture In Helsinki

The Mullins Prophecy: Major Labels Release Prompts Wicked Heavy White Stripes Make-Out Sesh; or, Absurdly Appropriate Lie to Promote Icky Thump For Release June 19

I told her I ain't so sure about this place,

It's hard to play a gig in this town, and keep a straight face,

And it seems like everybody’s got a plan,

It's kinda like Nashville with a tan

-Shawn Mullins, “Lullaby”

Most likely, you’re too painfully hip for a reference to the aforementioned ‘boy meets girl who is rich, but seeks to challenge her emotionally and thinks she is prettier when she smiles’ music to ring true. Allow me to enlighten you, oh hip ones.

I’m discussing a sub-genre of top-40 hits, typically but not exclusively based on the struggle of 25- to 30-year-old men working to save affluent, non-smiling women with poor home lives from the confines of the upper class. Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” was the prototype of said genre. A more recent example is Shawn Mullins’ “Lullaby”; i.e., that song that repeats “Everything’s gonna be alright. Rock-a-bye.”

It seems like everyone’s got a plan, it’s kinda like Nashville with a tan, sings this mysterious Mullins.

And, he’s making me nervous for Meg and Jack White, given that Icky Thump, The White Stripes’ sixth album, scheduled for release June 19, was apparently recorded at Blackbird Studio. You guessed it -- Blackbird Studio is in Nashville. Additionally, this is the first modern studio the Stripes have ever recorded in. Changes in Nashville.

Shit, Stripes.

On “Lullaby,” Mullins’ vague damning of Nashville should be unsettling for the Stripes and Icky Thump for two reasons:

(1) Nashville is referenced in this ever-unremarkable “Lullaby,” potentially cursing any future musical association to the city (damn you, Mullins).

(2) What if Mullins is right about Nashville? What if it's a no-good city of ulterior motives, a place where it is impossible to play a gig and keep a straight face, a place similar to an unnamed, tanner counterpart? This reality could be something even beloved Jack and Meg can't... sibling their way out of.

Perhaps most appropriate, though, is the third option, which would be a shameless, appeal to both the Mullins-induced curse (option 1) and Mullins' own prophecy (option 2):

(3) Jack and Meg making out to "Lullaby" in the saucy-hot, Nashville air after watching a similarly saucy-hot Nashville sunrise and jamming out to... saucy-hot... jams. Like their first title track ever, "Icky Thump."

Or "Uptown Girl."

Seriously.

The maybe, maybe-not siblings’ stint with a major label, Icky Thump, will be released June 19 on Warner.

Tracklisting:

1. Icky Thump
2. You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You're Told)
3. 300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues
4. Conquest
5. Bone Broke
6. Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn
7. St. Andrew (This Battle Is in the Air)
8. Little Cream Soda
9. Rag and Bone
10. I'm Slowly Turning Into You
11. A Martyr for My Love for You
12. Catch Hell Blues
13. Effect and Cause

  

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