No Date for Valentine’s Day Yet? Matt Pinfield Wants You!

Every year around Valentine’s Day, singles join together across the country to commiserate their pain of not having a significant other with which to share Hallmark’s biggest manufactured holiday. If you’re one of those singles, Matt Pinfield -- former host of MTV's 120 Minutes -- wants you to know that he feels your pain. In fact, he feels your pain so much that he’s willing to go on a special Valentine’s Day date with you!

Time Out New York is running a “Dating in NYC” feature right now, where you can choose from a list of “Hot NY singles” and solicit them for a date. Basically, it’s a giant list of random New Yorkers who are lonely and have nothing better to do than, uh, date other random people from the internet. But, if you happen to like historical movies, eating out, and the arts, then Matt Pinfield may just be the man for you! Although, I think I just found the perfect man for me. Sorry, Matt!

Give the Gift of Music You Can All Agree On; Go See Meg Baird

Don't know what to get your girlfriend for Valentine's Day? Have you been searching for that perfect musical gift that they would truly love and won't drive you insane like that new Sara Bareilles song? Good news for you; Meg Baird is going on tour. With her debut album Dear Companion released in 2007, Baird, dreamy and talented, seems to have proved old Ricky Nelson wrong -- you can please everyone. More famous for being a lead vocalist of psyche-shoegazing band Espers, Baird's solo music seems to almost channel John Fahey and Nick Drake, producing less pure psychedelia and more ethereal vocals than she does with her band. In fact, I have yet to find anyone who likes singer/songwriters and who hasn't been pleased with her (especially among the ladies). Listen to "The Waltz of the Tennis Players" and you'll know what I'm talking about. Oh, and did I mention she's not Norah Jones, yet?

Here are her tourdates (with James Blackshaw):
03.02.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie
03.03.09 - Baltimore, MD - Metro Gallery
03.04.09 - New York City, NY - Le Poisson Rouge
03.05.09 - Boston, MA - Brattle Theatre
03.07.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Issue Project Room
03.08.09 - New Haven, CT - BAR

New Sonic Youth Album Details, We Haz Them; Producer Agnello Weighs in on the Album

Sonic Youth are back with their 384,204,489th album, and I am more than okay with that, and you should be too. Titled The Eternal, the album marks Sonic Youth's triumphant return to the indie world, as it's set for release on Matador. It also features the chops of veteran rock producer John Agnello, who worked on 2006's barn-burner, Rather Ripped.

Laid down during November and December of last year in Hoboken at Echo Canyon West Studios, The Eternal breaks more creative ground than your average bear, almost as if saying “sayonara” to Geffen made ’em let their hair down more than usual. Kim, Thurston, and Lee sing together for the first time in recorded SY history, and well, shit -- considering their gigantic stack o' records, I'd say that's pretty significant. We've also got the first tracks ever recorded in a studio by former Pavement/Dustdevils bassist Mark Ibold, who's only been a live component until now.

I spoke briefly with producer John Agnello, who seems in awe of his (and the band's) own handiwork, saying, "This is the record I wished I could have made with them throughout the nineties. Which proves all things come to he who waits. The magic they created in the studio together tracking was unparalleled to anything I've seen before. Some of these songs are already SY favorites to me." Which is a pretty bold statement, as Sonic Youth have created about a zillion masterpieces in their 28-year career. But hey, he's heard the record and I haven't, so I trust him.

The Eternal drops on June 9, but you can get it sooner with a special Buy Early Get Now deal, which Matador will be announcing down the pike.

In the meantime, SY fans in Germany and Brooklyn should be totally stoked about shows in their areas, but if that's not your jam, you can read about some of the many (many, many) projects they're working on here. Quantity AND quality, you betcha.

The Eternal tracklisting:

1. Sacred Trickster
2. Anti-Orgasm
3. Leaky Lifeboat (for Gregory Corso)
4. Antenna
5. What We Know
6. Calming The Snake
7. Poison Arrow
8. Malibu Gas Station
9. Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn
10. No Way
11. Walkin Blue
12. Massage The History

RIP: Estelle Bennett of The Ronettes

From the BBC:

Estelle Bennett, former singer with The Ronettes -- who are best known for their 1963 hit Be My Baby -- has died aged 67.

The singing trio helped epitomise the famed wall of sound technique that was created by producer Phil Spector.

Bennett was found dead at her home in New Jersey. It is not yet clear what the cause of death was.

- Estelle Bennett Wikipedia entry
- The Ronettes Wikipedia entry

Iron and Wine to Release Rarities, Let You Pick Setlists

For their upcoming Major Cities and Tiny Venues Only tour, Sam Beam and co. will let fans decide what they play. That means 10 different setlists that you can vote for on their official site starting next month.

The tour will wrap up right before the release of their new double-CD, triple-LP album Around the Well May 19 on Sub Pop. Songs will hark back to their earliest, lo-fiest releases, all the way up to their latest, clappiest full-length The Shepherd's Dog (TMT Review).

You might also note a Garden State-free "Such Great Heights" on there.

Disc 1:

1. Dearest Forsaken
2. Morning
3. Loud as Hope
4. Peng! 33
5. Sacred Vision
6. Friends They Are Jewels
7. Hickory
8. Waitin' for a Superman
9. Swans and the Swimming
10. Call Your Boys
11. Such Great Heights

Disc 2:

1. Communion Cups & Someone's Coat
2. Belated Promise Ring
3. God Made the Automobile
4. Homeward, These Shoes
5. Love Vigilantes
6. Sinning Hands
7. No Moon
8. Serpent Charmer
9. Carried Home
10. Kingdom of the Animals
11. Arms of a Thief
12. The Trapeze Swinger
05.04.09 - Seattle, WA - Vera Project *
05.05.09 - Seattle, WA - Triple Door #
05.06.09 - San Francisco, CA - Swedish American Hall *
05.07.09 - San Francisco, CA - Swedish American Hall $
05.08.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Masonic Hall at Hollywood Forever Cemetery #!
05.09.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *
05.12.09 - Chicago, IL - Lakeshore Theatre %
05.13.09 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's
05.17.09 - New York, NY - Abrons Arts Center ^
05.18.09 - New York, NY - Abrons Arts Center +

* Yogoman Burning Band

# Alela Diane

$ Magic Leaves

! DJ Small Town Talk

% Katie Stelmanis

^ Lia Ices

+ partyface

Calvin Johnson, former Beat Happening front man and K Records head honcho, is going on tour with his brand new band, The Hive Dwellers. The tour will kick off on April 14 with K newbies Chain and the Gang, featuring Ian Svenious (Nation of Ulysses, the Make-Up, Weird War, etc.) Interestingly, aside from the front men, the two groups will consist of the same members -- Bret Lyman (Bad Thoughts), Brian Weber (Dub Narcotic Sound System), Sarah Pedal, and Fred Thomas (Saturday Looks Good to Me, City Center).

In addition to showcasing Johnson's new project, the tour will support Chain and the Gang's debut LP Down with Liberty... Up with Chains, which is due April 7 on K. Down With Liberty... Up With Chains will also feature Johnson, as well as an all-star cast of mostly K Records players, including the aforementioned Brett Lyman, Sarah Pedal, and Brian Weber, as well as Faustine Hudson (The Curious Mystery), Veronica Ortuño (Finally Punk), Nicolaas Zwart (Desolation Wilderness), Karl Blau, Chris Sutton (Hornet Leg), Sixx (The Vibrarians), Arrington de Dionyso, Aaron Hartman, and Benjamin Hartman (Old Time Relijun).

Before the tour kicks off, Johnson will also be doing a round of solo shows in Japan with fellow K alumni, Karl Blau.
03.19.09 Yamagata, Japan – Obihachi*!
03.20.09 - Sendai, Japan –Heaven*!
03.22.09 - Tokyo, Japan - O-Nest*!
03.24.09 - Matsumoto, Japan – Gunzyo*!
03.25.09 - Kyoto, Japan – Urbanguild*!
03.27.09 - Hiroshima, Japan – Babaji*!
03.28.09 - Fukuoka, Japan – Yojigen*!
03.29.09 - Kokura, Japan – Soap*!
03.31.09 - Matsuyama, Japan - More Music*!
04.02.09 - Nagoya, Japan – Tokuzo*!
04.03.09 - Tokyo, Japan - O-Nest*!
04.09.09 - Salem, Oregon - Cherry City Music Festival*#
04.14.09 - Springfield, Illinois - Black Sheep Café+#
04.15.09 - Bloomington, Indiana - The Cinemat+#
04.16.09 - Pittsburg, Pennsylvania - The Nerve+#
04.18.09 - Boston , Massachusetts - Outside the Lines Gallery+#
04.19.09 - Providence, Rhode Island - AS220+#
04.20.09 - Annandale on Hudson, New York - Bard College+#
04.21.09 - Danbury, Connecticut - Heirloom Arts+#
04.22.09 - Montreal, Quebec - Lab Synthese+#
04.23.09 - Hamilton, Ontario - The Casbah+#
04.24.09 - Toronto, Ontario -Whippersnapper Gallery+#
04.25.09 - Rochester, New York - The Bug Jar+#
04.26.09 - Brooklyn, New York - Market Hotel+#
04.27.09 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -The Barbary+#
04.28.09 - Baltimore, Maryland - Talking Head Club+#
04.30.09 - Akron, Ohio – Musica+#
05.01.09 - Detroit, Michigan - UFO Factory+#
05.02.09 - Chicago, Illinois - Co-Prosperity Sphere+#
05.03.09 - Grand Rapids, Michigan - The DAAC+#
05.05.09 - Minneapolis, Minnesota - The Eclipse Record Store+#
05.06.09 - Iowa City, Iowa - Public Space+#
05.07.09 - Indianapolis, Indiana - Public Space 1+#
05.08.09 - Louisville , Kentucky - Skull Alley+#
05.10.09 - Athens, Georgia - Secret Squirrel+#
05.11.09 - Atlanta, Georgia – Eyedrum+#
05.12.09 - Huntsville, Alabama - Vertical House Records+#
05.14.09 - New Orleans, Louisiana – Spellcaster+#
05.15.09 - Scott, Louisiana - Bourque's Social Club+#
05.16.09 - Austin, Texas - Emo's+#
05.19.09 - Santa Fe, New Mexico - Warehouse 21+#
05.20.09 - Tucson, Arizona - Solar Culture+#
05.22.09 - Los Angeles, California - The Smell+#
05.23.09 - San Francisco, California - Million Fishes+#
05.24.09 - Oakland, California - Ghost Town Gallery+#
05.25.09 - Santa Cruz, California - Crepe Place+#
05.27.09 - Eureka, California - Accident Gallery+#
05.28.09 - Portland, Oregon – Rotture+#
05.29.09 - Seattle, Washington - The Vera Project+#
05.30.09 - Vancouver, British Columbia - The Sweatshop+#
05.31.09 - Anacortes, Washington - The Department of Safety+#

* Solo Set

+ Hive Dwellers Set

! Karl Blau

# Chain and the Gang

Hip-hop may be dead, but reggae lives on: Nas recording album with Damian Marley

Firebrand rapper Nas announced last week to MTV News an as-yet-unnamed collaboration LP with the heir of one of the most harmonious, peaceful music legacies ever, Bob Marley's son, Damian "Junior Gong" Marley. The two first worked together on Marley's 2005 album Welcome to Jamrock on the track "Road to Zion."

Nas' manager Anthony Saleh says to expect the album to drop sometime this spring. In an intriguing preview of what the collaboration will contain for fans, Nas said "The record's ... all about really the ’hood and Africa also as well." Geez, really? You get these two guys in a studio and you'd expect something more along the lines of pastoral, Ray Davies-esque character portraits, am I wrong? But hey, let's give these guys a chance; we'll see what they do with the "hood and Africa" thing.

In Most Disappointing News of the Day News, Warp Records’ Online Store, WarpMart, Merges with MP3 Si

Warp Records, home to such artists as Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, and Gang Gang Dance, recently merged their online store Warpmart with its MP3-peddlin’ sister site Bleep.com in celebration of Bleep.com’s fifth anniversary. Feeling somewhat obligated to actually look at the new website before writing this article, I was greatly disappointed when my browser pointed not to an online store for the Warped Tour, but to a regular ol’ respectable online music store. Now what will I do with all my lip-ring jokes and Scary Kids Scaring Kids quips?

I once went to Shabat at my local synagogue once and was surprised to discover a veritable gift store in the lobby, replete with Star of David beanie babies, Jordanic water bottles, and bedazzled yarmulkes. This is kind of what I was I was hoping for with Warpmart — you stop by to pick up your Less Than Jake tallit prayer shawl before entering the temple so that you’ll fit in.

The new mega-Bleep is regretfully absent of all Judeo-nu punk regalia, but check it out for yourself here.

In Most Disappointing News of the Day News, Warp Records’ Online Store, WarpMart, Merges with MP3 Si

Warp Records, home to such artists as Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, and Gang Gang Dance, recently merged their online store Warpmart with its MP3-peddlin’ sister site Bleep.com in celebration of Bleep.com’s fifth anniversary. Feeling somewhat obligated to actually look at the new website before writing this article, I was greatly disappointed when my browser pointed not to an online store for the Warped Tour, but to a regular ol’ respectable online music store. Now what will I do with all my lip-ring jokes and Scary Kids Scaring Kids quips?

I once went to Shabat at my local synagogue once and was surprised to discover a veritable gift store in the lobby, replete with Star of David beanie babies, Jordanic water bottles, and bedazzled yarmulkes. This is kind of what I was I was hoping for with Warpmart — you stop by to pick up your Less Than Jake tallit prayer shawl before entering the temple so that you’ll fit in.

The new mega-Bleep is regretfully absent of all Judeo-nu punk regalia, but check it out for yourself here.

Does Bill Callahan’s New Album Signal the End of the Depression? One Writer Thinks So.

In 2007, Bill Callahan, contemplative folkster, shifted away from his dark moniker of 10 years (Smog) to his given name (Bill), and with that shift resolved positivity. At nearly the same time, financial institutions around the world began to crumble. Callahan's new album, Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle is coming out April 14 on Drag City, and we are all fairly sure by then the world will be in complete financial collapse.

So why are otherwise sedate, thoughtful people so giddy? Did I not say that Bill Callahan is releasing a new album? I mean Shirley Temple was the biggest hit of The Depression, right? And those creepy songs about putting on a happy face? Remember, Bogart went from being a scary gangster in the ’20s to being a leading lover in the ’30s. Maybe Bill Callahan is our Bogart, and his continuation out of the land of sadness will in turn make all other things in our lives a little brighter. Maybe we're just looking for some more upbeat news from the former companion of our misery. Then again, maybe he's just happy cause he's really into that Joanna Newsom chick, and it has nothing to do with us. I mean, she is pretty hot. In either case, here's the tracklist.

1. Jim Cain
2. Eid Ma Clack Show
3. The Wind and The Dove
4. Rococo Zephyr
5. Too Many Birds
6. My Friend
7. All Thoughts Are Prey To Some Beast
8. Invocation of Ratiocination
9. Faith/Void