Mountain Goats announce plans to Beat the Champ with new album, an illegal move gone completely unnoticed by the refs

Before we start this news item, covering the Mountain Goats new record Beat the Champ out April 7 (April 13 in Europe) through Merge Records, let me give you some advice. If you’re here on the internet (which you are), there is nothing better you can do than look up animated GIFs of WWE owner Vince McMahon. Here, I’ll help you out:

Now that you have spent at least 40 minutes in ecstasy, let’s move on to the story.

Beat the Champ is the Mountain Goats’ first album since 2012’s Transcendental Youth, breaking in half the longest stretch between albums in the group’s history. As the title suggests, the record is a collection of songs about pro wrestling, a longtime love of Mountain Goats core member John Darnielle. “I wrote these songs to re-immerse myself in the blood and fire of the visions that spoke to me as a child, and to see what more there might be in them now that I’m grown,” said Darnielle.

First single “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero” can be heard below. The track covers Darnielle’s childhood fandom of wrestler Chavo Guerrero, while seemingly also touching on the stepfather relationship explored in the Goats’ classic LP The Sunset Tree. As of now, no tracklist has been announced for Beat the Champ, but one writer (this writer) hopes for a track examining the man’s man, Steven Regal.

Theoretically, you can pre-order Beat the Champ on CD, double LP, and deluxe double LP at the Merge website. As of this writing, demand for a Mountain Goats album possibly containing a song about the time Sting wore a mask of his own face has overwhelmed the Merge website. By now, this has probably been fixed, allowing interested parties to buy the deluxe LP pressed on gold and green vinyl that also includes a red 12-inch featuring non-album track “Blood Capsules” with a dub version on the B-side.

Much like the touring WWE house shows, The Mountain Goats are playing a series of dates beginning in April. If they aren’t playing your city, there is an open invitation for anyone to come to my house April 7. We’ll be seeing if Beat the Champ syncs up with The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age Smackdown.

Mountain Goats dates:

04.02.15 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
04.03.15 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
04.04.15 - Savannah, GA - The Jinx (Savannah Stopover Music Festival)
04.07.15 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
04.08.15 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
04.09.15 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
04.11.15 - New York, NY - City Winery
04.12.15 - New York, NY - City Winery
04.13.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
04.14.15 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
04.16.15 - Cincinnati, OH - Bogart’s
04.17.15 - Detroit, MI - Majestic Theatre
04.18.15 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
04.19.15 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
04.21.15 - Louisville, KY - Headliners
04.22.15 - Columbus, OH - Wexner Center
04.23.15 - Millvale, PA - Mr. Smalls Theatre
05.08-10.15 - Atlanta, GA - Shaky Knees Music Festival
05.26.15 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre
05.27.15 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
05.29.15 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox
05.30.15 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
06.01.15 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
06.03.15 - Los Angeles, CA - Mayan Theater

• The Mountain Goats:
• Merge:

Daniel Lopatin scores upcoming thriller Partisan, the feature debut of Ariel Kleiman

Daniel Lopatin a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never Number One Stunna has crossed over into the film world once again, following his work with Brian Reitzell scoring Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring in 2013 and his re-scoring of Koji Morimoto’s 1995 Magnetic Rose anime last October. Lopatin has now provided the music for Ariel Kleiman’s directorial debut, Partisan, an Australian drama/thriller produced by Warp Films, distributed by Madman Films, and starring Vincent Cassel, who I keep thinking is Matthew Lillard. (Already it can be definitively stated that Partisan will be better than SLC Punk.)

The film is set to debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and the first teaser trailer has just been posted, featuring some ambient atmospheres, angelic near-choral melodies, mechanical tap-triggers, and juddering bass swells you might be familiar with:

How’s about that? I’ll catch you in the adjacent D-BOX seat.

• Daniel Lopatin:
• Warp Films:
• Madman Films:

Kreng announces new LP The Summoner, a relatively sample-free endeavor

The notorious metal bands of Scandinavia like to think that they have a musical monopoly on inspiring fear, but in the event that you come across this particular brand of egotism first-hand, it’s now obligatory that you interrogate them on their familiarity with composer Pepijn Caudron’s Kreng project. If they aren’t familiar, lend them a copy of Works for Abbatoir Fermé 2007-2011 and observe the entirety of their listening session. Patiently watch as their unimpressive notions of “fear” are upended to the point of voluntary seclusion and… wet pants. Sweet revenge, you arrogant bastards! Here’s a blanket.

Kreng’s prepped a new full-length called The Summoner, and it’s out February 6 on Erik Skodvin’s Miasmah label. The album’s absent many of the unique samples that have adorned his previous work, and while this might inspire a longing for the inherent creepiness of antique lullabies, it’s for the sake of something much more personal: the five (or six) stages of mourning, as a reflection of the unfortunate deaths among Caudron’s close friends over the past year.

Simplified, 12 string players directed to “play around” characterizes the first half. The second half is a bit more ambiguous, but “haunting” seems like a reliable adjective. So on that note, dear god:

The Summoner tracklisting:

01. Denial
02. Anger
03. Bargaining
04. Depression
05. The Summoning (feat. Amenra)
06. Acceptance

• Kreng:
• Miasmah:

Four Tet releases album collecting material under Percussions alias, rumors begin swirling whether or not Burial is Percussions

As you folks may well know, Kieran Hebdan a.k.a. Four Tet is an accomplished electronic musician of many years. He is also Burial. “Me, I’m Burial” said Hebdan in an interview confirming that he was reclusive genius Burial. It was then that rumors started swirling that Four Tet is Burial.

That said, Four Tet is not Burial. (Probably.) But there’s nothing in the rulebook saying you can’t have other alter-egos besides Burial, so that’s why Hebdan has been putting out material under the name Percussions since 2011. Namely, a series of 12-inches released on his own Text Records label, which, as FACT reports, have been collected in a new album appropriately titled 2011 Until 2014. As a warm gesture, he’s also thrown a few tracks onto the album that have not appeared on a previous 12-inch.

If you’re looking for a release date, stop looking now, you sack of dumb. 2011 Until 2014 is available now through the Percussions Bandcamp page, where it can be streamed or purchased for £6. I’ll save you the legwork: £6 is $9.11 in American dollars.


• Percussions:
• Four Tet:

Tlaotlon layers down the law; new album Natural Devices out in February on his own label

Fresh off a contribution to Fat Cat Records’ ongoing split 12-inch series (b/w Katie Gately), or rather in the centuries since its release, as it came out in October 2014, Australian dance producer/device user Tlaotlon is back in February, releasing a cassette called Natural Devices on his own newly minted label, World Memory Records. Tlaotlon’s other major release was in July 2014 (so in web-years roughly the early 90s) on 1080p, and our own Simon Chandler gave it a favorable review, commenting on the producer’s ability to both draw in and keep out the listener through over-stimulation, “leaving her stranded in a psychically indeterminate limbo.” But an enjoyable one!

The new album removes perhaps one or two layers from the chaos of Ektomists but strays even further from its dance-music anchor by stretching the rhythms, mixing and matching, rerouting the forward thrust, adding a footnote here and there, crunching the numbers on the unquantifiable and spitting out a non-sum. I pledge no personal allegiance to the vibe of techno, but Tlaotlon’s stuff draws me in anyway, the same sort of material doing a different set of balancing acts. Keep your eyes on the label page for a place to order the tape.

No preview tracks yet, but here’s one from that Fat Cat 12-inch:

Natural Devices tracklist:

01. Delta Vista Pacific
02. Illuminated Biomass
03. Kurzweil Empirical Shadow
04. The Co-domain
05. Open Systems
06. Aircheck
07. Templex
08. Tri-fold Pattern Language

• Tlaotlon:
• World Memory:

Lydia Lunch lurches lovingly, letting loose new 3x3 EP, leaks a little about forthcoming LP

A snarl on the breeze wafts through your open window, knocking over your carefully brewed single-origin coffee and spilling it all down the front of your sweater. It can only mean one thing: there’s a new Lydia Lunch release afoot. Still recovering as you are from the cold sweats and vomiting induced by 2013’s Retro Virus, you’re not really sure you’re ready, but that, friends, lovers, inchoate flesh-beings, grappling up from the “below,” that is precisely how we know that it is time! And as such, there is now a Lydia Lunch Bandcamp page, which feels a little weird to say, but I said it, and it’s true! And on that Bandcamp is a new four-song EP called 3x3 EP that contains new studio recordings of older material — check it out below.

The EP is a teaser/collection of outtakes for an upcoming full-length by Lunch and the Retrovirus band — including Weasel Walter on guitar, Tim Dahl on bass, and Bob Bert on drums — that will contain nine more new recordings of older songs. No firm release date yet, or any other details really, but the album will be out on Rustblade in Europe and Widowspeak in the United States. There’s also plans to get more Lydia Lunch releases up on the Bandcamp in the near future, so keep your eyes trained like the misbehaving dogs they are.

• Lydia Lunch:
• Rustblade:

Etix founder Travis Janovich buys Hopscotch Music Festival

At first thought, festivals seem like too amorphous a “thing” to be bought and sold on the open market. But if you were thinking that, you probably also forgot that this is America, where eventually clean air will be privatized and the poor will only be able to afford the bargain brand that’s tainted with farts, factory pollution, and moldy cheese odors. We’re hopelessly dedicated to laissez-fare here, just in case you forgot.

So on a related (but less cynical) note, the inimitable Hopscotch Music Festival has been sold! Festival Director Greg Lowenhagen had been seeking out a new owner since at least last September, when he told Indy Week about his desire to “talk to some people” deemed serious enough to provide some capital to the festival. Now the unofficial human epitome of “seriousness,” Etix founder Travis Janovich, has taken the reigns with the goal of ultimately making things even more successful. Reportedly, Janovich’s enthusiasm, proximity (with Etix being local to Raleigh), and “reluctance to overhaul the festival” were what put him above the competition.

Likewise, those associating “sale” and “growth” with “inevitable devolution” should rest easy, as Lowenhagen will continue on as the festival’s director. It’s all about harnessing financial resources here, and it certainly helps that Etix has been a partner with Hopscotch since the latter’s inception five years ago. Greg’s just putting a ring on it, is all.

Expect an initial lineup for Hopscotch 2015… this spring, I suppose?

• Hopscotch:
• Etix:

Cannibal Ox announce long-awaited sophomore album, Blade of the Ronin

Remember when Cannibal Ox pinky swore they’d release a new album in 2013? And remember when 2013 came and went and all you had to show for it was a bunch of shitty albums? I remember, too, and am still v. fucking pissed. But I also remember 2001’s The Cold Vein, an album so good that it was no wonder it made #17 on our decade list. And now that nostalgia is an aesthetic, memory is apparently “half-remembered,” and the flow of time itself is being questioned, maybe all that matters now is that the duo of Vast Aire and Vordul Mega is finally releasing its second album. Titled Blade of the Ronin, the album features 19 new tracks, with guest spots by DOOM, U-God (of Wu-Tang Clan), Elzhi, Kenyattah Black, Artifacts, and more.

Blade of the Ronin is out March 3rd via IGC Records/iHipHop Distribution. Check below for the album’s tracklist and its first single, “Gotham,” which was released back in 2013.

01. Cipher Unknown (Intro)
02. Opposite of Desolate f/ Double A.B.
03. Psalm 82
04. The Power Cosmiq f/ Kenyattah Black
05. Blade: The Art of Ox f/ Artifacts & U-God (of Wu-Tang Clan)
06. Pressure of Survival (Skit)
07. Carnivorous f/ Elzhi & Bill Cosmiq
08. Thunder In July f/ Space, Swave Sevah & Elohem Star
09. Water
10. The Horizon (Interlude)
11. Harlem Knights
12. Sabertooth f/ Irealz & Bill Cosmiq
13. Iron Rose f/ MF Doom
14. Solar System (Cosmos) (Skit)
15. The Fire Rises
16. Gotham (Ox City)
17. Unison (Skit)
18. Vision f/ The Quantum)
19. Salvation

• Cannibal Ox:

Björk surprise-releases Vulnicura two months early cuz of dirty leakers

Though originally set for release in March, Vulnicura, the latest album from ninth wonder of the world Björk, has had its digital release date moved up to… five minutes ago. So get your pre-orders in ASAP!

Along with a link to its iTunes page, Björk has shared an explanation of where the album is coming from — apparently a place of personal heartbreak:

i guess i found in my lap one year into writing it a complete heartbreak album . kinda surprised how thoroughly i had documented this in pretty much accurate emotional chronology …. like 3 songs before a break up and three after . so the anthropologist in me sneaked in and i decided to share them as such . first i was worried it would be too self indulgent but then i felt it might make it even more universal . and hopefully the songs could be a help , a crutch to others and prove how biological this process is : the wound and the healing of the wound . psychologically and physically . it has a stubborn clock attached to it .

there is a way out

Also check here for the first handful of live dates.

Vulnicura tracklist:

01. Stonemilker
02. Lionsong
03. History of Touches
04. Black Lake
05. Family
06. Notget
07. Atom Dance (feat. Antony)
08. Mouth Mantra
09. Quicksand

• Björk:

The Go! Team return with a new album this spring in an effort to keep “indie pop” in the OED for one more edition

If you were like me, you’ll probably remember shambly Brighton, UK six-piece power indie group The Go! Team being all kinds of awesome 11 years ago. But also, if you’re STILL anything like me, you probably read this news headline and thought to yourself “whoa, haven’t thought about that band in ages; those dudes are still a THING? Huh…”

Well. First off: congrats on being a little like ME. That’s awesome for you. Secondly, though, yes! Those dudes are still a THING! Although, technically, I guess they haven’t been much of a thing for almost five years running now, which is about when they released the album Rolling Blackouts before “splintering off into different musical projects, getting married, teaching, experiencing real life.” Yuk. And also, by “those dudes,” I guess we’re really talking about frontman Ian Parton, who, according to the nice and neat, hindsight-is-20/20 narrative concocted by his press people, took the band’s dissolution as an “opportunity to return to the working methods he’d used at the origins of the band — crate digging, fooling around by himself, trying to nail a feeling.” Hey, great. That’s what I’ve been doing since college!

But I guess all that is to say that Parton has apparently finished his crate digging and soul searching and whatnot, cuz he’s returning as The Go! Team on March 24 with a new album entitled The Scene Between on Memphis Industries. Writing, performing, and producing everything by his lonesome, Parton says he committed himself to the following four rules for the album: “melody would guide the song, samples would be treated as an instrument rather than a basis for the song, the production would vary across the song like flipping the dial on a radio and the singers must all be people he’d never previously heard of.” He elaborated, “I wanted to make an album driven by melody and song writing because catchiness is the hardest thing you can do. Brill Building hooks but permeated with a kind of wobbly VHS feel.” (Okay, wait; again: didn’t he already do that???)

Anyway, you can pre-order the thing now on vinyl and CD over here and digital-style over here. All orders also come with instant download of the title track, which, DUH, you can also check out down below right now for free, because it’s 2015 and this an online music magazine and there’s embed codes and shit.

The Scene Between tracklisting:

01. What D’You Say?
02. The Scene Between
03. Waking the Jetstream
04. Rolodex the Seasons
05. Blowtorch
06. Did You Know?
07. Gaffa Tape Bikini
08. Catch Me on the Rebound
09. The Floating Felt Tip
10. Her Last Wave
11. The Art of Getting By (Song for Heaven’s Gate)
12. Reason Left to Destroy

• The Go! Team:
• Memphis Industries: