The ugly American in me wants to think that Sigur Rós (and probably Björk) are the only Icelanders making a decent living after the near total collapse of their nation’s economy. Then again, that’s like saying The Fray (and probably Taylor Swift) are the only Americans making a decent living after the near total collapse of their nation’s economy, which... now that I think about it... might be true... Nah! I’m pretty sure Beyonce’s doing okay, too. No need to worry, America. Crisis averted.

Despite a horrid fiscal situation the world over, the voice of Sigur Rós, Jón Þór Birgisson, ain’t doing too bad for himself. Hot on the heels of Sigur Rós’ fifth record Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (TMT Review), Birgisson will release a new record with colleague Alex Somers on July 20. The pair has collaborated on a number of art exhibitions over the last few years as Riceboy Sleeps, which coincidentally is the name of the album. Here’s one of their art pieces. One motherfuck of a downer, ain’t it? Well, that’s Iceland for you. Or America. Or some other place in the world where lives are being crushed either by senseless monotony or nose-diving bank accounts. Hmm, I guess that’s everywhere. Oh well, fuck the world and fuck all of you!

Ghost Make Their Way Out of Secret Ancient Temples Long Enough To Tour the U.S.

Legendary Japanese pysch band Ghost will be making their way over to the United States at the end of April for a three-week tour. They'll be hitting up everywhere they can between the east and west of the USA. Along the road, they will be joined by fellow Drag City newbies Magik Markers (TMT News) for a five-day stint.

Here are the dates:
04.28.09 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
04.30.09 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
05.01.09 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile
05.02.09 - Missoula, MT - The Badlander
05.04.09 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
05.05.09 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
05.06.09 - Pontiac, MI - The Crofoot (The Pike Room)
05.07.09 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Museum
05.08.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
05.09.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg*
05.10.09 - Washington, DC - Velvet Lounge*
05.11.09 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506*
05.12.09 - Ashville, NC - Grey Eagle Tavern & Music*
05.13.09 - Athens, GA - Tasty World*
05.14.09 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
05.15.09 - New Orleans, LA - One-Eyed Jacks
05.16.09 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk
05.18.09 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
05.19.09 - Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad
05.20.09 - Tucson, AZ - Hotel Congress
05.21.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland

* Magik Markers

Rhys Chatham Finally Reaches Guitar Quota for Compositions, Begins Writing Horoscopes for Online Magazine (Seriously)

You know Rhys Chatham as an experimental musician who gained renown with his epic guitar compositions and who tuned the pianos/harpsichords of many avant-garde artists, including Glenn Gould. Perhaps you think of him as the fellow whose career really took off with 1978's Guitar Trio, which he performed alongside Glenn Branca and Nina Canal of Ut. Or perhaps you know him as the dude commissioned by the city of Paris to create a performance piece for 400 guitars. But, whatever you may think, Rhys isn't only about guitars and guys named Glenn.

With the recent unveiling of the French and English language psych/drone/out/folk blog Visitation Rites (created by TMT contributors Emilie Friedlander and Sophie Pécaud), you can also add astrologist to the list. Now, normally I like to look at my horoscope quickly and surreptitiously before I head off to work (so no one will judge my desire for guidance from the stars), but Mr. Chatham really seems to have tapped profoundly into my life. Take a look at this excerpt from the Virgo horoscope for this month:

How about those emails you were supposed to respond to? Or finally looking at your bank account to discover what horrors it holds? This is a good month to do a bit of spring cleaning.

It's like Rhys Chatham has actually looked into my inbox, my empty bank account, and my soul. Because all those things need urgent attention. And if I can read a review of a movie about Vikings with music from Brian Eno and Judas Priest while tapping into Chatham's otherwordly knowledge, then it's all for the better.

Check out Chatham's first entry here.

RIP: David ‘Pop’ Winans of Gospel Group The Winans

From MTV:

David "Pop" Winans Sr., of the Grammy-nominated group the Winans, passed away Wednesday at the age of 76.

The patriarch of one of the most-respected gospel families died at a Nashville hospice following complications from a stroke and a heart attack he suffered last October. According to reports, his wife Delores "Mom" Winans was at his bedside at the time of his passing.

"Pop" Winans made a name for himself following his first Grammy nomination for his 1999 solo CD, Uncensored. Winans and his wife Delores recorded a joint disc together, Mom & Pop Winans, which was also nominated for a Grammy.

- Winans family Wikipedia entry

Do You Like Soundtrack Music? British Sea Power Settle an Old Score with a New Composition

There is a classic tour bus scene in Ladies and Gentlemen…The Fabulous Stains where Fee Waybill’s Lou Corpse character goads Ray Winstone’s angry young Billy by pontificating on how everything (musically) has been done before and how nothing (and especially Winstone’s gang of Looters’ take on punk) was new. Although his spiel is overly cynical, his argument has merit. Often, anything truly special either flies so far under the radar that its creators bang their heads against the wall until they no longer have heads to bang or gets stale quickly as copycats are mass-produced for the inevitable sell-out and cash-in. If everything has been done, adventure-seekers must look to those doing it differently or those putting a new spin on something old. A good example of pioneering spirit is English nautical juggernaut British Sea Power who have looked far into the past to record a brand spanking new score to the 1934 “docufiction” Man of Aran.

The band will release their archipelago-loving accompaniment on May 18 in an original film DVD + soundtrack CD package. Exactly a month before that issue date BSP will preview their new music at the Duke of Yorks in Brighton and again at the British Film Institute Southbank venue on April 23 (alongside a screening of the film, I presume). Here are the band’s upcoming live shows, including a spattering of festival dates.

Something old, something new..

04.18.09 - Brighton, England - Duke of Yorks #
04.23.09 - London, England - British Film Institute #
06.20.09 - Kent, England - Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
07.18.09 - Cheltenham, England - 2000 Trees Festival
08.06.09 - Ledbury, England - Eastnor Castle Deer Park, The Big Chill Festival
08.07.09 - Lancaster, England - Morecambe Library, Get it Loud in Libraries
08.16.09 - London, England - Open Air Festival
08.21.09 - Brecon Beacons, Wales - Glanusk Park, Green Man Festival
08.22.09 - Chelmsford, England - Hylands Park, V Festival
08.23.09 - Staffordshire, England - Weston Park, V Festival

# playing Man of Aran soundtrack

Broken Social Scene to Release Book; Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning Should Write Their Own Solo Biographies

The story of Broken Social Scene is a complicated one, filled with a revolving list of band members, romantic trysts, and lots of pot. Now you can finally have BSS’ story in words, with the release of their biography, This Book Is Broken, from House of Anansi Press. According to the press release: “The book is drawn from hours of interviews with members and affiliates of the band, complemented by over 150 exclusive works of art, gig posters, full-color and black and white photographs, taken from the personal collections of those closest to the band.”

This Book Is Broken was compiled by Toronto journalist Stuart Berman and features a foreword by BSS co-founder, Brendan Canning. It will be available in North America on May 16.

In a related story, Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning were both seen turning in drafts of their early autobiographical manuscripts to their respective publishers. No word yet on whether or not Feist and Jason Collett are going to get in on this solo action too.

Hold Onto Your Reverb, Crystal Stilts Are Going on Tour

Crystal Stilts, everyone's favorite spooky psyche band doused in the blood of Morrissey's ghost, are going on tour to promote their debut album Alight of Night (TMT Review), which was released on Slumberland last October. There are some new songs out there for the echo-inclined among us, too, with a brand new 7-inch, "Love Is a Wave," on their merch table, if you're into that sort of thing. But if records are just too analog for you, check out their recent Daytrotter session to hear some new jams.

04.09.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie*
04.12.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall*
04.24.09 - Seattle, WA - University of Washington^
04.26.09 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell’s
05.08.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Bell House#
05.18.09 - Rome, IT - Circolo degli Artisti
05.19.09 - Ravenna, IT - Hana Bi
05.20.09 - Milan, IT - Casa 139
05.21.09 - Turin, IT- Spazio 211
05.22.09 - London, UK - ICA
05.23.09 - Bristol, UK - Dot to Dot
05.24.09 - Notting’am, UK - Dot to Dot
05.25.09 - London, UK - Luminaire
05.27.09 - Paris, FR - Point Ephemere
05.28.09 - Bordeaux, FR - BT 59
05.29.09 - Barcelona, SP - Primavera
05.30.09 - Barcelona, SP - Primavera
05.31.09 - Marseille, FR - La Machine a coudre
06.18.09 - Manhattan, NY - Cake Shop@

* Comet Gain

^ Wavves

# Blank Dogs & Religious Knives

@ The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

April Pontiak Showers Bring May Pontiak Tours… By Showers I Mean They’re Putting Out a New Album. I’m Not Implying that Pontiak are Urinating on Anybody. Honest. Ain’t No Bands Urinating Here. Just a New Album and Tour, That’s All. Hey, Stop Looking at Me Like That. Oh You Damn Well Know What I’m Talking About, The “Is He Actually Gonna Pee on Me Right Now” Stare. For the Thousandth Time, TMT Readership, I’m Not Going to Pee on You! Also that First Line is an Off Rhyme So Yeah Deal with THAT or something.

Fraternal riff masons Pontiak get shit done quick. Hardly half a year has passed since their beefy sophomore effort Sun on Sun (TMT Review) dropped, but nevertheless Pontiak have just released a brand new record of well-contained chaos and backyard stoner drudge this past Tuesday. The recording of the new LP, dubbed Maker, nearly mimicked that of Sun on Sun, with Pontiak cutting almost every track live in their tiny rural studio. The major difference between Maker and its predecessor, though, lies in guitarist Van Carney’s amps, which blew out during recording but incidentally provided him with just the type of deteriorating monstrosity he was looking for all along. Aww, Pontiak should option a movie with this record and have Ryan Gosling play Van Carney and Rachel McAdams could play the dying amplifier. Think of the romance! Think of the heartbreak! Think of all the heavy riffs and beer!

Maker marks the Carney brothers’ third release in less than a year after collaborating with fellow Thrill Jockeyers Arbouretum on a record called Kale along with Sun on Sun. Pontiak will continue their streak of productivity with a big-ass two-month tour, preceded by a date in their native Baltimore. May your tour be full of joy and your amps always on the on the brink of death, fellas.
04.24.09 - Baltimore, MD - Sonar
05.01.09 - New York, NY - Cake Shop
05.02.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Death By Audio
05.03.09 - New Haven, CT - Bar w/Ocean
05.05.09 - Portland, ME - Space Gallery
05.08.09 - Toronto, ON - Drakes Hotel
05.09.09 - Rochester, NY - Bug Jar
05.11.09 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
05.13.09 - Milwaukee, WI - Sugar Maple
05.15.09 - Des Moines, IA - The House of Bricks
05.16.09 - Lawrence, KS - The Replay Lounge
05.18.09 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
05.21.09 - Oakland, CA - The Stork Club
05.22.09 - Ashland, OR - The Stilwater
05.23.09 - Portland, OR - Rotture
05.27.09 - Olympia, WA - All Ages Project
05.28.09 - Chico, CA - Cafe Coda
05.29.09 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern
06.01.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Blue Monkey
06.02.09 - San Diego, CA - Radio Room
06.03.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Trunkspace
06.06.09 - Austin, TX - Mohawk
06.09.09 - Tallahassee, FL - The Engine Room
06.11.09 - Tampa, FL - Crow Bar
06.12.09 - Orlando, FL - Backbooth
06.13.09 - Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
06.16.09 - Asheville, NC - Emerald Lounge
06.18.09 - Richmond, VA - Nara Sushi
07.24.09 - Birmingham, UK - Supersonic Festival

MoHa!, one of my absolute favorite bands in the history of the universe, are on tour in places where I am not. But I'm not going to complain. Sure, I'd love to see them perform tracks from last year's Rune Grammofon release One-Way Ticket to Candyland (TMT Review), an album I consider flawless (and I hate people who use that word!), but hell, life ain't fair. Plus, I suppose just knowing that the group is out there playing music is enough to keep me satisfied.

So, no, I am not going to whine, no siree. I'm perfectly happy formatting these FUCKING tourdates...

Talibam!, Scorch Trio, Ultralyd:
04.08.09 - Olomouc, Czeck Republic - Ponorka - Hospoda u Muzea
04.09.09 - Budapest, Hungary - Cöxpon Cafe Thater
04.10.09 - Timisoara, Romania - Simultan
04.12.09 - Bucharest, Romania - Rokolectiv
04.13.09 - Plovdiv, Bulgaria - TBA
04.14.09 - Sofia, Bulgaria - Pistolet
04.16.09 - Thessaloniki, Greece - Street Attack
04.17.09 - Kavala, Greece - TEI - Accion Mutante
04.18.09 - Athens, Greece - Mixanourgeio
04.21.09 - Bari, Italy - Bohemian
04.23.09 - Ancona, Italy - La Cupa
04.24.09 - Perugia, Italy - Ex Mattatoio
04.25.09 - Rome, Italy - Sinister Noise
04.26.09 - Firenze, Italy - Ex Fila Connessione Metropolitane
04.28.09 - Mulhouse, Italy - Noumatrouff
05.04.09 - Lyon, France - Grrnd Zero
05.05.09 - Barcelona, Spain - Sala Monasterio
05.06.09 - Zaragoza, Spain - Arrebato
05.07.09 - Alicante, Spain - Bar Coyote
05.08.09 - Madrid, Spain - El Perro club
05.09.09 - Bilbao, Spain - L'mono + Akauzazte
05.10.09 - Getaria, Spain - Gaztetxe de Getaria
05.11.09 - Poitiers, France - Clauricaume Café
05.12.09 - Nantes, France - BITCHE
05.13.09 - Le Mans, France - L´inventare
05.14.09 - Kortrijk, Belgium - The Strip

Rivers Cuomo Preps Live CD, Gives Rainn Wilson Yet Another Chance for Goofy Mugging

Thirsty for a drink from the mighty River of Cuomo? Get yer canteen!
The release of last year's Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers
has sparked the upcoming release of the Weezer frontman's live
CD and accompanying DVD. It was recorded in December 2008 at Fingerprintz Records in Long Beach, CA, during a promotional in-store solo
performance of Weezer and Cuomo solo songs that included plenty of
participation from the 150-member audience. The DVD will feature an
interview between Cuomo and actor/musician Jason Schwartzman.

Hopefully all you fans of nerdy, sensitive geek boys are sitting down,
because it doesn't end there. Cuomo and Schwartzman have also been
recording new material together, which they will debut April 11
on Sirius Radio's Alternative Radio Countdown. Not only that, but
apparently Rainn Wilson, best known as The Office's Dwight Schrute,
makes an appearance on the new material. Just what he's doing there is
the million-dollar question.

In other Weezer news, the band will be playing its first tour date of
2009 at Tokyo's Fujirock Festival on July 26. Other U.S. and
international dates are in the works, possibly in support of the
band's seventh album, which is rumored to be dropping later this year. They are also rumored to go on tour with the newly reunited Blink-182.