Jeffrey Lewis to Release New Album, Tours Oceania, Lectures on Watchmen – Wait a Second, I Thought that Movie Didn’t Come out for Another Month

Okay, let’s ditch this boring stuff: Jeffrey Lewis is an underground comic book artist/anti-folk hero who releases his rekkids on Rough Trade and does cool shit like draw comics and write funny folk songs that sound like Jonathan Richman if he had a sizeable package. He also put out an album of Crass covers (TMT Review) (bad ass!) and is releasing a new album called Em Are I sometime in ’09. Oh yeah and he also blogs occasionally for the NY Times and is setting off on a tour of Australia and the works over the next few months, but fuck it -- I’m too lazy to format and post the dates here, so just jump to his MySpace and save us all the trouble, ya knuckleheads!

Phew! On to the interesting bit! So if you didn’t already notice from all the comic talk in that first ’graph, Jeffrey Lewis is a man who loves himself some visual narrative. So fond is he of the graphic stuff that on February 24 Lewis will be giving a lecture on Alan Moore’s um-yeah-it’s-pretty-good-I-guess graphic novel Watchmen at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. Now don’t think this will be another one of your Pop Tart-toting, Dragonforce-worshipping buddy’s Mountain Dew-fueled tirades about why Watchmen is one of the most important works of modern fiction and why you should totally read it ASAP before the movie fucking ruins it (even though it is and you should and the movie will almost definitely suck balls). Jeffrey Lewis, on the other hand, knows what the fuck he is talking about. His acclaimed college thesis “The Dual Nature of Apocalypse in Watchmen” serves as the basis of his lecture in addition to his many years of scholarship and study on the book.

So if you happen to be in London town on the 24th, check out his talk and please let this poor Midwesterner know what the hell he talks about. Just make sure you’ve read Watchmen at least once beforehand -- as requested by Lewis -- and I will really appreciate it! Toodles!

Last.fm Denies Providing Users’ Listening Data to RIAA

Many Last.fm users -- myself included -- were shocked when TechCrunch reported a story Friday evening that Last.fm and its parent company, CBS, handed over user-specific listening data to the RIAA. According to the unsourced article, the RIAA was interested in users whose profiles showed they had listened to U2’s recently leaked album, No Line On the Horizon. Of course, the story exploded all over the internet -- some Last.fm users even went so far as to delete their profiles.

But now that the weekend’s over, the Last.fm team is busy on damage control. A CBS spokesperson said that “to our knowledge, no data has been made available to RIAA,” and Last.fm systems architect Russ Garrett posted the following on the site’s forum that Last.fm “never had any request for such data by anyone, and if we did we wouldn’t consent to it. Of course we work with the major labels... but we’d never personally identify our users to a third party.” And according to Last.fm developer Jonty Wareing, “most of the Last.fm staff [would] walk out of the office door and never return” if the site had actually shared the data.

So, the whole shebang is still an unsubstantiated rumor, but seeing as the RIAA is always desperate to find new ways to ferret out illegal downloaders, let's just hope this scenario never actually happened or will never happen in the future. Either way, if you were one of those users who deleted your account, Last.fm says it can reinstate it if you contact their support, which means that Last.fm is storing all your data anyway.

Thank God (or the Devil): A Proper Daniel Johnston Concert Film

Music docs give you rad backstage footage, fights, bellyhoo, and loads of concert footage, but no music film was as devastatingly candid as 2005's The Devil & Daniel Johnston, which not only framed a warts-and-all portrait of "outsider" music's most intriguing figure, but also exposed his music and prose to the film world. Cultivating an ever-growing fanbase after more than a quarter century output of honest, mind-bending folk and steadying his life for the better, Daniel Johnston emerges victorious over his storied demons, culminating with a new DVD that serves as the ying to the Devil's yang.

Despite Daniel's crippling stage fright and unusually short setlists, The Angel and Daniel Johnston presents an 81-minute, 21-song concert film shot at London's Union Chapel in the summer of 2007. Daniel invited friends James Yorkston, Adem, and early collaborator Brett Hartenbach to join him for a cross-catalog setlist. The DVD itself is getting all the high tech treatment you'd expect from a professional gig, including Dolby 5.1 opportunities, bonus rehearsal footage, interviews, and Daniel's own artwork adorning the jacket and inside booklet, created exclusively for the film.

I don't mean to come off as too much of a sales asshole in this story, but this film is a long time coming. There is nothing quite like the intimacy and ambiance of a Daniel Johnston performance, and although nothing will compare to seeing him live, his mark on music deserves proper documentation. The Devil exposed his troubled life; The Angel exalts his gorgeous music.

[Photo: Tim Broddin]

RIP: Snooks Eaglin, R&B guitarist

From NPR:

Soul, blues and R&B guitarist Snooks Eaglin died of a heart attack Wednesday in his hometown of New Orleans. He was 72.

In the 1950s, Eaglin was a one-man band on the streets of New Orleans. That's where folklorist Harry Oster saw him and asked him to record the album of acoustic blues that would become New Orleans Street Singer. But it wouldn't be long before Eaglin had a band to make the music he really loved: electric R&B.

Blind from birth, Eaglin learned how to play by listening to the radio. He created mesmerizing rhythm and lead tracks from a unique playing style that utilized his thumbnail.

- Snooks Eaglin Wikipedia entry

The Life Of Dee Dee Ramone Documented in Lech Kowalski’s History On My Arms DVD

Subsequent to Dee Dee Ramone's death in 2002, filmster Lech Kowalski released Hey Is Dee Dee Home, a documentary about the Ramones bassist, one of the founding fathers of punk rock. On March 10, History On My Arms will be released as a two-disc set, and it includes the lengthier Hey Is Dee Dee Home feature as well as additional short films, History On My Arms (the release's namesake) and Vom In Paris.

Much of the footage for Hey Is Dee Dee Home was taken in 1992 when Dee Dee contributed to Kowalski's Johnny Thunders film, Born To Lose: The Last Rock And Roll Movie. Dee Dee's contribution: candid interviews chronicling moments in rock ‘n’ roll history, all about the ’70s punk rock scene, past girlfriends, Johnny Thunders, tattoos, drugs, irreverence and mischief. From what I gather, Vom In Paris and History On My Arms offer more stories and more mischief.

Finally, the DVD comes bundled with Dee Dee Blues, a CD of remastered guitar recordings. A special treat, indeed!

The Handsome Family Is Releasing a New Album and Will Be Touring. Honestly? That’s Fantastic! Paul McCartney’s New Firemen Album Is Called Electric Arguments. Seriously? That’s Terrible.

For 15 years now, The Handsome Family's Brett and Rennie Sparks have perfected the functional family dynamic model, making music side-by-side in commingled bliss. They’re the ideal, what the rest of us strive to achieve with our actual bloodline families, or with our music website news families, but ultimately fail to emulate. It is not always easy to stand up to your dad when he grills you about homework, where you left the car, where you lefts your pants, etc. Likewise, it is never easy to put up with “Dad the TMT Editor” when he constantly assigns you endless Interpol news stories, even after you have insisted how much you can’t stand the sight of those talent-less dinkuses -- and, I mean, c’mon, why am I still getting snookered with these hand-me-down scraps of stories when I not only cleaned and polished your beloved 1989 Dodge Shadow last week (inside and out!), but also offered to spiff up your own undercarriage too. You didn’t have to meet my offer with a blank stare and barely-restrained rage! Okay, okay, I won’t explode when I can quietly seethe, bottle up my emotions, and work out some demons as I write a curt complaint via the dysfunctional family letter generator. I won’t waste space here with my results, but let’s just say that the phrases “beastly dark matter,” “pooh-pooh head,” and “bravely dislodged the toothpaste cap from the toilet bowl” were peppered throughout!

Ah, feels good to get that out. Who knows, maybe The Handsome Family have these types of unwarranted venting shitstorms from time to time too, although I doubt it. I’m guessing they are too mature to let little things like imaginary tiffs about covering wildly overrated NYC acts on TMT or about who ate the last Rolo get to them. Besides, who has time to argue when there are new musical ventures to seek out and new people for whom to play. First up, on April 14 we will see the release of the new Handsome Family album, entitled Honey Moon. Released by Carrot Top, Honey Moon is a change of record for the family Sparks in that it is an unabashed album about love, sans the usual dark detours the duo tend to explore. Also, the album decidedly takes in a greater variety of styles than we are used to: “tin-pan alley songs, country songs, r&b songs, a bluegrass song, pop songs, jazz songs, and even rock ballads,” states Brett. So, basically everything but grime polka, and two-step thrash then? Behold... titles!

1. Linger, Let Me Linger
2. Little Sparrows
3. My Friend
4. When You Whispered
5. The Loneliness of Magnets
6. Junebugs
7. A Thousand Diamond Rings
8. Love Is Like
9. The Petrified Forest
10. Wild Wood
11. Darling, My Darling
12. The Winding Corn Maze

Rennie and Brett will pump out the Honey jams on the road too, when they play a number of North American shows before jetting off to the UK for some more. Additionally, like every red-blooded musical act in the world, The Handsomes will certainly be in Austin for the annual SXSW festivities in March, but the date is yet to be confirmed. These, however, are:
04.16.09 - Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar
04.17.09 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
04.18.09 - Chicago, IL - Schubas
04.19.09 - Chicago, IL - Schubas
04.21.09 - Toronto, Ontario - El Mocambo
04.22.09 - Wakefield, Quebec - Black Sheep Inn
04.24.09 - Cambridge, MA - Lizard Lounge
04.25.09 - New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
04.26.09 - Arlington, VA - Iota
05.14.09 - Brighton, England - The Great Escape, Mojo Night
05.15.09 - Leeds, England - Brudenell Club
05.16.09 - Farndale, England - The Band Room
05.17.09 - Glasgow, Scotland - The Tron Theatre, Americana Festival
05.18.09 - Sheffield, England - Memorial Hall
05.19.09 - Manchester, England - The Ruby Lounge
05.20.09 - Gateshead, England - The Sage
05.21.09 - London, England - Islington Academy
05.23.09 - Bedford, England - The Ent Shed
05.25.09 - Birmingham, England - The Glee Club
05.26.09 - Cardiff, Wales - St. Davids
05.27.09 - Swansea, England - The Garage
05.28.09 - Bath, England - Spiegel Tent
05.29.09 - Bexhill, England - De La Warr Pavilion
05.30.09 - Reading, England - South Street
05.31.09 - Exeter, England - Arts Centre

Mario Speedwagon’s Under The Radar News Roundup: MF Doom Pulls A Diddy, Mono Release Fifth Studio Album, Nada Surf Reissue LPs On Vinyl, Vetiver Tour For New LP

Happy Friday, everyone! So, I got tagged in one of those Facebook “Notes” where you make some sort of list or fuck with your iTunes and then tag another 25 people, etc. Anyway, this one was kinda hilarious. It was a three-step process involving Wikipedia, Quotations Page, and Flickr to find your band name, album name, and album cover. Mine was…

Dude, I love SHARK WEEK! Anyway, on to the roundup...

- So, MF Doom is now just DOOM. Whatever. His album BORN LIKE THIS (previously titled Born Into This) comes out March 24. Look for it on Lex Records.

- Mono are dropping their fifth album, Hymn To The Immortal Wind, March 24 via Temporary Residence Limited. You can catch them May 8 at The Society For Ethical Culture in New York performing with the Wordless Music Orchestra. Far out.

- On April 14, Nada Surf are reissuing three of their studio albums -- The Proximity Effect, Let Go, and The Weight Is A Gift -- on vinyl. These albums have been individually out of print for a while now, but were available in the fall as a box set (which is now sold-out) with High/Low and their latest, Lucky. It was a pretty heavy box set. Oh, and if you happen to live in New York, you can catch them at the Bell House on April 15.

- Vetiver are hitting the road in support of their first full-length album, Tight Knit (TMT Review). They're currently in Europe, but by the beginning of March, they’ll kick things off in Philadelphia with Sian Alice. Their tour continues until mid-April and includes dates with Larkin Grimm and Richard Swift.

L8R.

King Khan and The Shrines Tour the Warm States; Originally EU-Only Album Reissued by Vice Records

Finally! King Khan and the Shrines, the garage rock band everyone can agree on -- from your kid sister to that co-worker who you think might be cool, but can't really tell -- is getting the ol' reissue treatment for their (presumably) bitchin' 2007 album What Is?!. Originally released on the German label Hazlewood and previously unavailable in the United States, our friends at Vice have given the album a "do" and will be releasing the new domestic version April 21.

But that's not all! King Khan and the Shrines will also be the honorary guest judges at Pollywog, Alabama's annual All-You-Can-Eat pie contest! Winners get their names inscribed on the town's bronze tadpole statue and get a $500 gift certificate to Baker's Square, where legions of old ladies drinking coffee after church will idolize them and pinch their cheeks. DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT AT ALL TRUE I MADE IT UP TO ADD MORE CONTENT TO THIS STORY. What is true is that King Khan and his crew of merry garage rockers will be touring throughout the southern states, with a final stop at the Vice Records SXSW showcase.

What Is?! tracklisting

1. (How Can I Keep You) Outta Harms Way
2. I Wanna Be A Girl
3. Welfare Bread
4. Land of the Freak
5. I See Lights
6. 69 Faces of Love
7. No Regrets
8. Cosmic Serenade
9. Le Fils Du Jaques Dutronc
10. Let Me Holler
11. In Your Grave
12. Take A Little Bit
13. Fear & Love
14. The Ballad Of Lady Godiva
03.06.09 - Elkton, FL - Harvest of Hope
03.07.09 - Miami, FL - The Vagabond
03.10.09 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade
03.12.09 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
03.13.09 - Nashville, TN - Exit In
03.14.09 - Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone Cafe
03.15.09 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
03.16.09 - Dallas, TX - Palladium Loft
03.17.09 - San Antonio, TX - The Warhol
03.20.09 - Austin, TX - Emo's Vice Records SXSW Showcase to Shame all Other Showcases

Superchunk Blowin’ Some Chunks for the First Time in Eight Years, EP Due in April

Here's to slacking, motherfuckers. Legendary indie rock band Superchunk, who we last heard from in the studio in 2001 with Here's to Shutting Up!, have announced plans to release a new EP entitled Leaves in the Gutter to coincide with their upcoming performance at Coachella. The release is a way to "clear the decks" of nearly a decade of gestating material in order to prep an upcoming full-length album, says singer Mac McCaughan.

"A couple of (the songs) I really like, but they already feel like they're from another era and wouldn't fit on a new album anyway," he says, "and the newer ones are from the new era but we've recorded them and they sound good so here they are."

Wow, eight years. Really guys? Nothing doing for the entire Bush Administration? Not a single obligatory post-9/11 song or anti-war ballad? Okay, okay -- we'll take what we can get. Leaves in the Gutter comes out April 7; Superchunk play Coachella April 18.

Leaves in the Gutter tracklisting:

1. Learned to Surf
2. Misfits & Mistakes
3. Screw It Up
4. Knock Knock Knock
5. Learned to Surf (acoustic demo)

Riddle: What do you get when you cast Parts & Labor’s Sarah Lipstate, GHQ’s Steve Gunn, Paul Duncan, Tom Gerke, and both members of Talibam! in a dance performance?

Hint: The answer does NOT involve a live appearance by the above parties in tutus and fitted bodices.

Answer: Think Punk!, an evening of music and dance by world-renowned choreographer Karole Armitage, whose dismantling of classical technique and ties to the New York No Wave scene earned her a reputation as “the punk ballerina” in the early ’80s.

On show at The Kitchen next month, Think Punk! casts a younger generation of New York noisemakers in a remake of Drastic Classicism, a hybrid of choreographed movement and rock ‘n’ roll à la Mudd Club, born out of a 1981 collaboration between Armitage and composer Rhys Chatham. Additional selections include The Watteau Duets (1985), a leather-clad deconstruction of the ballet pas de deux set to music by David Linton; Wild Thing (1987), featuring music by Jimi Hendrix and décor by artist Jeff Koons; and Mashup (2009), whose score ambitiously crosses Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante” and X-Ray Spex’s “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!”

Picture Robert Longo’s “Men in the Cities” series come to life.
03.04.09 - 03.07.09 – New York, NY – The Kitchen
03.11.09 - 03.14.09 – New York, NY – The Kitchen

  

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