Magnetic Fields to Embark on Second U.S. Tour of 2008 in October

The Magnetic Fields, maestros of sardonic indie synth-pop since 1990, plan to tour the U.S. this fall on the heels of successful European and North American tours earlier this year. The dates will bring the group to a number of midwestern and southern locations that the band missed on their spring jaunt across the U.S. The tour will kick off October 10 in the almighty city of Minneapolis and will come to a close in our nation's markedly less almighty capital a little over two weeks later.

The band's third tour in 2008 comes on the heels of the critically successful LP Distortion (TMT Review), which saw them junking both the synth sounds of their ’90s records and the spare instrumentation of 2004's i. Opting instead "to sound more like the Jesus and Mary Chain than the Jesus and Mary Chain," Fields frontman Stephin Merritt draped his meticulous pop masterpieces in snarling guitar feedback, hence the album title. Because this sound is difficult to duplicate on stage, and possibly due to Merritt's well-documented hearing problems, the singer has said that the songs will be performed "completely differently" live.

While the tradition of lengthy gaps between Magnetic Fields albums makes a new release unlikely anytime soon, Merritt will, as always, find a way to stay busy. According to The Magnetic Fields' official website, Merritt is writing the score and songs for next spring's Off Broadway theatrical adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline.

Pre-sale tickets for The Magnetic Fields' fall tour are available now. Regular advance tickets will go on sale at the end of this week.

Photo: [Mike Yesenosky]

Think You’re Tough? Think You Can Stomach Predictable Headlines? Try Some of This: We’re Happy When it Rains Jesus and Mary Chain Box Sets!

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery the The Jesus and Mary Chain must be close to death from the flattery battery they have endured from similar-sounding counterfeits since the legendary misfits started begetting back in 1984. But, as is often the case, some replicates have been interesting, most embarrassing, and none as charismatically aloof and downright exciting as the original copy. With this genuine pioneering spirit in mind, it is only fitting that the brothers Reid will release a four-disc retrospective of rarities entitled The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities through masters-of-the-reissue Rhino September 30.

The four-disc set includes a large number of notable rarities: unissued tracks from 1983-1998 (Psychocandy to Munki), a primitive cassette recording of "Up Too High," the previously unreleased "Till I Found You," all the rare booty found on 1988's Barbed Wire Kisses (minus one track), compilation efforts, alternated versions, and a lot of unnecessary acoustic renditions of classic tracks. Seriously, what word besides "distortion" comes to mind when I say "The Jesus and Mary Chain"? Exactly. Is it too much to ask for some recordings of their infamous early gigs that featured the band in all their intense wall-of-sound glory? In my experience, ear-bleeding bubblegum noise mixed with a sense of complete contempt from the band is always a crowd-pleaser.

Disc One:

1. Up Too High
2. Upside Down
3. Vegetable Man
4. Suck
5. Ambition
6. Just Out of Reach
7. Boyfriend's Dead
8. Head
9. Just Like Honey (demo, October 1984)
10. Cracked
11. Taste of Cindy (acoustic)
12. The Hardest Walk
13. Never Understand (alternate)
14. My Little Underground (demo)
15. The Living End (demo)
16. Some Candy Talking
17. Psychocandy
18. Hit
19. Cut Dead (acoustic)
20. You Trip Me Up (acoustic)
21. Walk and Crawl

Disc Two:

1. Kill Surf City
2. Bo Diddley Is Jesus
3. Who Do You Love
4. Everything's Alright When You're Down
5. Shake
6. Happy When it Rains (demo)
7. Happy Place
8. F. Hole
9. Rider
10. On the Wall (demo)
11. Surfin' USA (outtake)
12. Here It Comes Again
13. Don't Ever Change
14. Swing
15. Sidewalking
16. Surfin' USA (summer mix)
17. Shimmer
18. Penetration
19. Break Me Down
20. Subway
21. My Girl

Disc Three:

1. In the Black
2. Terminal Beach
3. Deviant Slice
4. I'm Glad I Never
5. Drop (acoustic remix)
6. Rollercoaster
7. Silverblade
8. Lowlife
9. Tower of Song
10. Heat
11. Guitarman
12. Why'd You Want Me
13. Sometimes,Br>
14. Teenage Lust (acoustic version)
15. Reverberation (Doubt)
16. Don't Come Down
17. Snakedriver
18. Something I Can't Have
19. Write Record Release Blues
20. Little Red Rooster

Disc Four:

1. The Perfect Crime
2. Little Stars
3. Drop (re-recorded version)
4. I'm in With the Out Crowd
5. New York City
6. Taking it Away
7. Ghost of a Smile
8. Alphabet Street
9. Coast to Coast (alternate take)
10. Dirty Water (alternate take)
11. Till I Found You
12. Bleed Me
13. 33 1/3
14. Lost Star
15. Hide Myself
16. Rocket
17. Easylife, Easylove
18. 40,000K
19. Nineteen66

HUSH Records Celebrates 10th Anniversary with a FREE Compilation!

What's better than free music? Sex! But since you're not getting any, you'll be happy to know that HUSH Records is here to distract you from your hornball tendencies (stop touching me there) with a FREE compilation of music (seriously, no means no). Celebrating 10 years of existence, the Portland-based label has compiled 28 tracks spread over two "albums" titled DECA: A HUSH 10th Anniversary Compilation, featuring artists ranging from Colin Meloy, Loch Lomond, and Bobby Birdman to Flash Hawk Parlour Ensemble, Novi Split, and Podington Bear (the project of label head Chad Crouch, for your information).

Like I said, the comp (which includes a 36-page PDF booklet) is free, but if you want a high-quality ZIP version, you can head on over to this page and do a pay-what-you-want sorta thing. According to HUSH, the proceeds will "go to funding a retreat for the artists who participated. Songs are the richness of our community and we enjoy sharing them. It is an increasingly rare and meaningful gesture – which does not go unnoticed – when one is willing to pay for them of their own volition."

So, have your choice: free or donate. Choose to donate.

Album 1:

ACL Fest Hosts Online BOTB; Relive High School, Vote Now, Vote Often

High school was the best. You could figure out someone’s personality just by looking at them; girls with belly rings were easy, guys who did musicals were gay, fat chicks could never make cheerleading, and kids in bands were smelly burnouts. It was a simple, easy time when trans fats were legal and status was ascribed.

And remember your high school’s battle of the bands? Longhaired Cobain-wannabes, sexually confused folkstresses, soccer players in eyeliner, and Zeppelin cover bands all competed for BOTB champion, the rocker’s equivalent of prom queen (minus a tiara and plus a double kick pedal).

You may have graduated from your teenage stereotype, but for those smelly burnouts with guitars, high school really doesn’t ever end. Take, for instance, Austin City Limits Festival’s online band competition, “The Sound and the Jury.” Texan bands and global groups will be vying for votes to play ACL Fest late this September, along with internationally recognized artists like The Mars Volta, David Byrne, Beck, and Foo Fighters.

Sure as hell beats the $100 music store gift certificate that 1st place bands won at my school’s BOTB. Plus, it won’t be in a high school gym; it’ll be on a massive stage. Not to mention that The Sound and the Jury is sponsored by Dell computers instead of the local Boys’ Club. Or that over 600 bands will compete instead of, like, ten. And voting happens online, not by a good ol’ show of hands. But the sentiment’s still there, and maybe if you vote for one of the awesome artists it’ll make up for that time in high school you called me -- er, one of those grungy rockers -- an angst-ridden lesbian.

of Montreal Announce Tourdates; Skeletal Lamping Cover Features a Cartoon of My Hairdresser Naked; Let’s Go Outback Tonight

I’m pretty pumped about of Montreal (yes, we've decided to go with the "official" way of presenting their name) heading out on tour. Not because they are coming to my town, but because they are from my town, and I get a vay-cay from those asses for about two months. Suh-weet! Just kidding, they’re awesome kids.

The band is heading over to Europe in early August for a few festival dates, followed by a small European tour in October and about of month of U.S. dates. The band is doing all this mess to promote their new album Skeletal Lamping, due on Polyvinyl October 7 (TMT News). The cover features some naked people, one of which I recognized as the dude who cuts my hair. I’m pretty sure it’s him. It looks exactly like him, and he’s friends with the band. I don’t know those other nudies.

Skeletal Lamping tracklist:

^ Sinkane

* HEALTH

July 17 to July 19 marks the days of the difficult-to-pronounce Slottsfjell Festival in Tønsberg, Norway. I have no idea how to say that name, but I do know how to say the names of most the bands that are playing... except for Ólöf Arnalds, but it doesn’t seem too hard. I can say Fuck Buttons. I say fuck a lot, though.

Slottsfjell Festival features a healthy mix of hype-y bullshit indie rock bands and Scandinavian bands. The lineup includes Stereolab, The Little Ones, Gogol Bordello, Fuck Buttons, Cadence Weapon, Annie, Lukestar, Ida Maria, Woven Hand, The Floor Is Made Of Lava, and tons more. But don’t worry kids... there will also be death metal. I mean, if you’re in fucking Norway, you better hear some metal, right? Hopefully everyone looks like Rob Darken from Graveland (yeah, I know he’s Polish):

The festival is held in the medieval ruins of the city of Tønsberg. I did a Google image search of Tønsberg, and it looks pretty amazing. Information on where to sleep, where to eat lutefisk, and how to get around the city are posted on the festival website, which is available in English -- sorta.

Broken Social Scene Whore Themselves Out Once More with Tour

Sometimes I like to think that Kevin Drew, ringleader of Broken Social Scene (BSS to cool people), was ostracized from clubs and scenes as a youth. I picture that Simpsons episode where Homer wasn't allowed into the secret "No Homers Club" ("But you let in Homer Glumplich!"). Perhaps as a subconscious revenge, Drew has developed his own keen pecking order upon U.S. citizens: If you're not American, you're not allowed in. Bullcock! Drew has spoken out against our beloved President Bush for the last time! Ironically enough, the so-called Broken Social Scene have been quickly dissipating away from their most famed collaborators, including Feist, Emily Haines, and Amy Millan. Now this group of Canadian hooligans is beginning to look more like the Buena Vista Social Club.

The band will be touring with a collage of previous material and supporting the latest Broken Social Scene presents... Blah, Blah, Blaaaaaah. Actually, the album is Brendan Canning's Something for All of Us, due July 22. But really, this article is a call out to everyone fed up with "exclusive scenes": pay the $475 to see BSS (I'm cool now) at Lollapalooza, sneak up onstage while Drew collapses over a tired drunken tirade spiel before the encore, and commence in playing with the band to show just how badass us Americans can truly be. Do it naked or don't do it all.

You can't fix what was always broken:

* Yeasayer

Comcast Ordered to Stop Interfering with BitTorrent Traffic, Faces FCC Sanctions

Comcast, like many internet service providers, has been accused by consumer groups and press sources of interfering with customers' connections in order to block peer-to-peer traffic and disconnect BitTorrent seeds. Yet after months of denials and false promises, as well as an FCC investigation that began in January, the nation's largest cable company has been ordered by the Federal Communications Commission to stop throttling its users' traffic.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that FCC chairman Kevin Martin will not only demand that Comcast cease its interference, but also plans to recommend FCC sanctions against the company. While the punishment will not include a fine, it will stipulate that Comcast disclose where and when it interfered with traffic in the past and announce full details of its new "protocol agnostic" traffic management plan, which will ostensibly try to control all Comcast traffic as opposed to focusing on peer-to-peer networks. Martin explained that the relatively light punishment was designed "to try to clarify what is allowed and what isn't."

The decision has been claimed as a victory by some involved in the net-neutrality movement. According to TorrentFreak, Free Press lawyer Marvin Ammori declared, "This is an historic test for whether the law will protect the open Internet. If the commission decisively rules against Comcast, it will be a remarkable victory for organized people over organized money." Martin (a Bush appointee, surprisingly enough) echoed the broad, broad political significance of this policy announcement in an interview with The New York Times, saying "The Internet is based upon the idea that consumers can go anywhere they want and access any content they want."

Comcast Ordered to Stop Interfering with BitTorrent Traffic, Faces FCC Sanctions

Comcast, like many internet service providers, has been accused by consumer groups and press sources of interfering with customers' connections in order to block peer-to-peer traffic and disconnect BitTorrent seeds. Yet after months of denials and false promises, as well as an FCC investigation that began in January, the nation's largest cable company has been ordered by the Federal Communications Commission to stop throttling its users' traffic.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that FCC chairman Kevin Martin will not only demand that Comcast cease its interference, but also plans to recommend FCC sanctions against the company. While the punishment will not include a fine, it will stipulate that Comcast disclose where and when it interfered with traffic in the past and announce full details of its new "protocol agnostic" traffic management plan, which will ostensibly try to control all Comcast traffic as opposed to focusing on peer-to-peer networks. Martin explained that the relatively light punishment was designed "to try to clarify what is allowed and what isn't."

The decision has been claimed as a victory by some involved in the net-neutrality movement. According to TorrentFreak, Free Press lawyer Marvin Ammori declared, "This is an historic test for whether the law will protect the open Internet. If the commission decisively rules against Comcast, it will be a remarkable victory for organized people over organized money." Martin (a Bush appointee, surprisingly enough) echoed the broad, broad political significance of this policy announcement in an interview with The New York Times, saying "The Internet is based upon the idea that consumers can go anywhere they want and access any content they want."