Hey, It’s Been About a Year… Time for Another Fiery Furnaces Record (And Also for a Good Long Look in the Mirror, Mr. “I’m Going Back to School Soon, I Swear”!)

Man, I don’t know about you, but by the time Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger released their EIGHTH album, I kinda thought that I’d be a little further along in life. I still remember skipping down to the record store as a youngster, happening upon an unassuming-yet-generally-rewarding Gallowbird’s Bark by a young Fiery Furnaces in the pop/rock rack, and plunking down some odd change and a few crumpled dollar bills from my paper route to purchase said record on the now-defunct medium of “Compact Disc.” My whole future was ahead of me, there were these guys called “republicans” in Washington, and hamburgers cost 35¢ each at the McDonald’s, which was right next door to this curious old building that said “Washington Mutual” on the front of it. Ahh, those were the salad days, I tell you...

Hey! Wait a minute! That wasn’t 17 years ago... come to think of it, that was only 6 freakin’ years ago when their debut came out! I forgot -- The Fiery Furnaces just tend to put our a record every 10 months or so. And this one, their newest studio effort I’m Going Away, is set to be released July 21 on Thrill Jockey Records. Described as an album of “70’s sunshine-glazed piano pop, filled with cascading note slides, head-nodding grooves and some of the sweetest melodies in their seemingly endless arsenal of musical ideas,” this new effort promises to sound, well, probably mostly like all of their other records; which is to say: nothing like any of their other records?

Um, anyway, the affair was produced by Matthew, with drums and percussion by the returning Robert D’Amico, plus bass and mixing by the returning Jason Loewenstein. As usual, song were written by Friedberger and Friedberger (save for the title track, which is traditional, natch). And hey, since its only 6 years later, we’ve all got some time on our hands before we really need to grow up and get our shit together, after all! I swear, by album #9, I’ll be somebody.

I’m Going Away tracklist:

1. I’m Going Away
2. Drive to Dallas
3. The End is Near
4. Charmaine Champagne
5. Cut the Cake
6. Even in the Rain
7. Staring at the Steeple
8. Ray Bouvier
9. Keep Me in the Dark
10. Lost At Sea
11. Cups and Punches
12. Take Me Round Again

Once Again, J Dilla Posthumously Puts Every Other Hip-Hop Producer to Shame with Jay Stay Paid

This one time, I was at a party, right? And there were big, gorgeous hardwood floors in this gigantic house just begging to be danced on, so of course, everyone was outside smoking cigarettes. I decided this would not do, so I threw on a copy of J Dilla's Donuts, and what do you know? Mood lighting appeared, a disco ball descended and began rotating sensuously, and... okay, this is a load of shit, honestly. I really did put on a J Dilla album at a party, and maybe I had a bit of whiskey confidence going on, but I swear on my copy of After the Gold Rush that the entire room relaxed.

Dilla's life was cut short in 2006 at age 32 when he died from lupus-related complications, leaving behind scores of unreleased mixes and material, some of which surfaced in 2008 when his unreleased album for MCA, Pay Jay, was leaked. Luckily, the rest of this treasure trove is in the best hands possible: those of his mother, Maureen Yancey (a.k.a. Ma Dukes). Acting as executive producer, Yancey called on producer/DJ/rapper Pete Rock, Dilla's only real-deal idol, to pull together another collection of unreleased material from the vaults.

Jay Stay Paid runs like a radio show with Rock at the helm, guiding the listener through the brand-new tracks. "It wasn't rushed and it wasn't haphazard," Yancey explains. "This album combines what he did in the beginning of his career, what he did in some of our early hospital stays, which was very deep, and some stuff pulled from old floppy disks & DATs. It's mind blowing... this is like the missing links to Dilla's legacy."

Jay Stay Paid is due June 2 on Nature Sounds, with guest spittin' from Black Thought of The Roots, DOOM, Havoc of Mobb Deep, Pharoahe Monch, Blu, Pacific Division, and M.O.P. Let's hope this is not the last we hear from The Dee.

[Photo: Mpozi Tolbert]

Xasthur to Release New Record; Decides to Skip This Reissue Bullshit That Will Happen Ten Years from Now and Go Ahead and Release the Bonus Tracks Too

Nothing is worse than having to buy a record twice. No matter how great a record or awesome the bonus material, I always somehow feel cheated. What are you supposed to do with your old copy -- just throw it away? The record store probably won't take it because they already have, like, five copies, since everyone else is now returning their original copy.

Well, this time Xasthur has beaten that idea into the ground: Hydra Head Records will be releasing a new Xasthur record, All Reflections Drained, on May 26 with a special second disc of bonus material. If that's not enough, there are also three different vinyl versions, one being "red mist"-colored with an exclusive slipmat, and one being a picture disc with an exclusive backpatch.

On All Reflections Drained, Xasthur -- usually comprised of only one dude, Melefic -- is joined by guest vocalist M. H. It includes the "usual symphonic contempt bordering on blurred beauty and solitary misery."

So, who's going to pay up and get the 2xLP with the backpatch?

All Reflections Drained tracklist:

1. Dirge Forsaken
2. Maze of Oppression
3. Achieve Emptiness Part II
4. Masquerade of Incisions
5. Damage Your Soul
6. Inner Sanctum Surveillance
7. Obfuscated in Oblivion
8. All Reflections Drained

Grab Your Glowsticks, The Crystal Method Are Going On Tour This Spring

When you’re at a dance show, the music and/or groping from people on E can get a bit repetitive after the first five hours. Here is a handy time-killing game you can play with a friend when you see The Crystal Method this summer:

One point for spotting:
- Someone waving a glowstick
- Someone wearing these pants
- Someone sucking on a pacifier

Ten points for spotting:
- Vicks VapoRub being applied to a naked chest
- Sunglasses being worn indoors
- A Crystal Method-themed tattoo

Fifty points for spotting:
- Your dignity

The Crystal Method will be touring in support of their new album, Divided by Night, due May 12 on Tiny E Records.
05.06.09 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
05.07.09 - Montreal, QC - Metropolis
05.08.09 - Toronto, ON - Guvernment
05.09.09 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
05.10.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts
05.11.09 - Cleveland, OH - House of Blues
05.12.09 - Baltimore, MD - Ram’s Head
05.14.09 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Revolution
05.15.09 - Orlando, FL - House of Blues
05.16.09 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
05.17.09 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
05.18.09 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
05.19.09 - Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa
05.20.09 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
05.22.09 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
05.23.09 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee
05.24.09 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
05.25.09 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
05.29.09 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
05.30.09 - Seattle, WA - WaMu Theatre (USC Anniv. Party)
06.01.09 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore
06.03.09 - Calgary, AB - Whiskey Nightclub

Flaming Lips Win Oklahoma State Song Battle, Despite State’s Suspicion They Are That Kind of Flaming

First Iowa legalizes same-sex marriage, and now Oklahoma has chosen The Flaming Lips' “Do You Realize??” (the single from their 2002 album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots) as their official state rock song. Methinks the rest of the United States need to get on this cool horse.

Of course, the Lips were initially met with a bit of controversy from “religious wackos” in the Oklahoma house of representatives, who were upset when band member Michael Ivins wore a sickle and hammer t-shirt (which, of course, is common attire worn by a commie pinko bastard, dadgum it), but this saga ends well and gives the state of Oklahoma some much-appreciated scene points. First off, The Flaming Lips beat out the All-American Rejects, Leon Russell and The Call in the state rock song contest, which is living proof that a significant chunk of Oklahomans have "good taste." What's more, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry vetoed the representatives' rejection of the contest results, which with 21,000 votes, named “Do You Realize??” as the winner.

Showing home state pride, frontman Wayne Coyne says: “... I think everybody's knee-jerk reaction in the beginning was, ‘Ah, we knew it was too good to be true. That's more of the Oklahoma we thought we were dealing with.’ But it's not true, and I think that's the main reason I wanted to make sure I got to say something about it. For the governor to stand up and veto it and be on our side, it's such a great story in the end."

According to Billboard, Henry will sign an executive order today, April 28, giving the song its official status in Oklahoma rockdom. Meanwhile, Coyne plans to print up some hammer-and-sickle t-shirts for the the occasion, which will undoubtedly send certain members of the house of representatives running for their Snuggies.

Liberal Documentary Film-Makers Embark on Record Label Hit-Job with Their Kill the Record Labels DVD Release

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse in this country, thanks to our Socialist/Fascist (depending on which frame of mind you’re in) President, liberals have decided to go after fine, upstanding businessmen in the music industry.

Back in the good old days, rich white folk were guaranteed mega-sales from the stars of hip-hop. But then cheeky bastards like 50 Cent and Bun B upset the natural order of things and decided to adapt the labels’ own formula and promote their own music. Understandably, the corporations promised vengeance against these traitors and, along with the RIAA, began to encourage raids on offices, helping to arrest key figures in the hip-hop "community."

Of course liberals can’t stand inequality (even though they trumpet evolution... go figure) and have decided to cast a light on the justifiable practices of record labels in the United States. Charles Rand & T. Thomas’s Kill the Record Labels documentary, available May 12 through MVD Visual, seeks to “give DJs, artists, and producers a voice,” in exposing the “dark side of hip-hop.”

The film will retail at $19.95 and you can pre-book it here. But for $20, you’d be better off buying a couple of Miley Cyrus albums to help support hard-working Americans.

The Helio Sequence Make Two Revolutions Around the Country

If shoegazing ever makes a comeback on par with its popularity during
the early '90s (and it almost has a couple of times -- remember Serena
Maneesh?), add The Helio Sequence to the head of that pack.

Since 1999, Portland's Helio Sequence has synthesized strong bubblegum
pop melodies into effects-laden space rock that potheads and SETI
observers can equally appreciate. Though we haven't heard from them
in a while, it's exciting to see Helio Sequence sailing back into
orbit for a three-week jaunt across North America. Unfortunately
they're touring with Keane, but hey, Helio Sequence will sound
righteous on million-dollar PA systems across this land. Hit the bong
and hit them up (but no hippie dancing, por favor)!
05.08.09 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater &
05.09.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium #
05.12.09 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kingsbury Hall #
05.13.09 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theater #
05.15.09 - Maplewood, MN - Myth #
05.16.09 - Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom #
05.19.09 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall #
05.20.09 - Upper Darby, PA - Tower Teather #
05.21.09 - Boston, MA - Bank of America Pavilion #
05.23.09 - Toronto, ON - The Sound Academy #
05.24.09 - Cleveland, OH - Time Warner Amphitheater #
05.27.09 - New York, NY - Radio City Music Hall #

# Keane, Mat Kearney

& Keane

Sonic Youth Append Tourdates to “Buy Early Get Now” Schedule

If you want to pre-order The Eternal (TMT News), Sonic Youth's Matador debut, you should do it, like, now. It's called "Sonic Youth Buy Early Get Now" (part of Matador's Buy Early Get Now Series), and here's what you get:

- April 28: The Eternal album stream
- May 12: Bonus SY MP3
- June 2: Another bonus SY MP3
- June 9: Copy of The Eternal, bonus live vinyl LP, and limited-edition poster

The Buy Early Get Now deal was previously only available in select physical stores, but since it's available online now, you don't even have to get your ass off your chair/bed/couch/friend's dick. And if you sign up this week, you'll get access to the presale tickets for their summer tour. What summer tour? Bitch, THIS summer tour:
06.28.09 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theater
06.29.09 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre
07.02.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
07.03.09 - New York, NY - United Palace Theatre
07.06.09 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
07.08.09 - Richmond, VA - The National
07.10.09 - Knoxville, TN - Bijou Theater
07.11.09 - Nashville, TN - War Memorial
07.12.09 - Birmingham, AL - Sloss Furnaces
07.13.09 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
07.15.09 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
07.16.09 - Tulsa, OK - Cain's
07.18.09 - Kansas City, MO - Uptown Theater
07.20.09 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall
07.21.09 - Minneapolis, MN - First Ave
07.23.09 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory
07.25.09 - Seattle, WA - Capitol Hill Block Party
07.28.09 - Portland, OR - Roseland Ballroom
07.30.09 - Salt Lake City, UT - Twilight Music Fest
07.31.09 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theater
08.02.09 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater

Indie punk/funk/electro collective Mahjongg, one of Chicago's best kept secrets, is touring Europe this spring. The group kicks the tour off in Marseille at the Festival B-Side and winds its way across the continent and the UK from May to the end of June. Mahjongg's second album, Kontpab, was released in 2008 by K Records. Based on our completely stereotypical view of European electro music fans, expect the shows to be full of old, mustachioed Kraftwerk fans, overenthusiastic teen ravers, and guys in gym shorts with creepy names like Franz and Dagmar.

Tour schedule:
05.27.09 Marseille, France - Festival B-Side
05.29.09 Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Festival
05.31.09 Düdingen, Switzerland - Festival Kilbi / Bad Bonn
06.01.09 Geneve, Switzerland - L'Usine
06.02.09 Lyon, France - Sonic
06.03.09 Bordeaux, France - St Ex
06.04.09 Rennes - Mondo Bizarro
06.06.09 Cardiff, UK France - Clwb Ifor bach
06.07.09 Leeds, UK - Chinchillafest / Brudenell Social Club
06.09.09 Manchester, UK - TBA
06.10.09 London, UK - Barden's Boudoir
06.11.09 Paris, France St Ouen - Mains d'Oeuvres
06.16.09 Wuerzburg, Denmark - Cairo
06.17.09 Nuremberg, Denmark - Musikverein / K4
06.22.09 Ljubljana, Slovenia - Channel Zeo / Metelkova

Despite Kurt Cobain’s Continued Reclusiveness, New Nirvana DVD to Be Released in May

It feels like years since Kurt Cobain and Nirvana have headed back into the studio to record any new music, but come May 4 you’ll be able to allay your desire a little longer by purchasing and then watching the new Nirvana live DVD, Life Takes No Prisoners. Despite the unfortunate title, the video stands to be quite satisfactory, as it will finally make available the classic 1992 performance by Nirvana at the Reading Festival in the UK. The show is fondly remembered by those who attended, and by those who didn’t, as one of the all-time, top-five, best-ever Nirvana performances EVER. Yes, I did mean to include two typings of “ever” -- that’s how good the show was.

The explosive set opens with the classic image of Cobain (who had just days before overdosed, on cough syrup I think, and was subsequently admitted to a local hospital) rolling on to the stage with the aid of a wheelchair, dressed in hospital scrubs. The grungy front man then warbled his way through “The Rose” before crumbling to the ground, seemingly bereft of energy. The collapse served to cement fan fears that Cobain’s health would prevent a concert. However, Cobain, suddenly rocketed to life by his remembrance that he HATED Courtney Love, pulled himself together and urged, no, cajoled his band to a stellar display of Rockerocity (Rock + Ferocity). Nirvana proceeded to rip, burn, tear, destroy, and overall absolutely amaze as they played a super-charged 27-song set, including a bitchin’ cover of Boston’s “More Than a Feeling,” finally ending the whole affair with a psyched-up, punktastic (Punk + Fantastic) version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the newly christened Alternative Nation. Immediately following the last note, Cobain proceeded to shoot both arms up with such massive doses of heroin that he literally rocketed through the sky, showering the audience with love and spit. At least, that’s how I remember it.

If you’re a fan of the band or if you’re one of the many people who claim to be present at the show, then pick this fucking DVD up. I once saw a bootlegged version, when me and my brother both imagined ourselves as Kurt Cobain Jr., and my mom totally had a crush on Kurdt, and it was amazing. It is amazing. BEST NIRVANA SHOW EVER. Except for that whole Unplugged thing -- that was cool too.

To repeat myself: On May 4, 2009, the DVD, Life Takes No Prisoners, detailing Nirvana’s performance at 1992’s Reading Festival, is being released. Here’s the tracklist for the show:

1. The Rose/Intro
2. Breed
3. Drain You
4. Aneurysm
5. School
6. Sliver
7. In Bloom
8. Come as You Are
9. Lithium
10. About a Girl
11. Tourette's
12. Polly
13. Lounge Act
14. More Than a Feeling/Smells Like Teen Spirit
15. On a Plain
16. Negative Creep
17. Been a Son
18. All Apologies
19. Blew
20. Dumb
21. Stay Away
22. Spank Thru
23. Love Buzz
24. The Money Will Roll Right In
25. D-7
26. Territorial Pissings
27. The Star-Spangled Banner



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