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

Architecture in Helsinki to Release That Beep – Not An Expletive Censor Beep, But An LP Single

While we wait for Architecture in Helsinki's next full-length album (which is expected sometime this year), we can at least look forward to the release of their latest single "That Beep,", which is available now digitally and due February 17 on CD and 12-inch on Polyvinyl Records. The single is already getting considerable airplay in their homeland of Australia (Australia? Yes, not Finland. Australia) and generating quite the buzz for its infectious, head-bopping, and danceable synth beats in the UK music scene. Four remixes from friends Radioclit, Haima, and Vandergaff accompany the original track.

Also garnering attention for the Aussies is the single's video, directed by Krozm, who's also notably worked with Van She and indie darlings Cut Copy. Listen to it. View it. It's Smurf-tastic. Bottom line is: Architecture in Helsinki's "That Beep" will likely have you tapping your piggly wigglies, rather than wagging your finger.

Tracklisting for "That Beep":

1. That Beep
2. That Beep (Radioclit's French mix)
3. That Beep (Radioclit's Swedish mix)
4. That Beep (Haima's mix)
5. That Beep (Kasper Vandergraff mix)

And, of course, we'll keep you updated on their next full-length.

John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon Sells Out… For Butter

Ah, John Lydon: punk stalwart, experimental musician (with PiL), loud-mouthed jerk. We all know the many ways our society labels The Rotten One, but now you can add “spokesman” to the list. Yeah, right, we know all about that Kid Midnight. He is obviously one of the biggest “spokespeople” for punk rock who ever lived. Tell us some real news! No, wait…you’re not listening. John Lydon is helping to sell butter now!

Wait... what?

It's true: John Lydon has recently been appearing in a series of advertisements for “Country Life” butter. ‘Cause he might have “Problems,” but at least he’s got butter!

Dairy Crest, owners of the Country Life brand, are even reporting to Reuters that their sales for the formerly sinking Country Life brand have risen by an astounding 83% since the ads began appearing.

In case you’re wondering: the TV ads carry the slogan “It’s All About Great Butter.” Yes, it is, isn’t it, at least once you hit middle-age, run out of ideas, and find yourself slumping down in a comfy chair to spend your time buttering bread.

As expected, fans of The Sex Pistols have created quite the wave of backlash in response to the ads. Most fans find themselves angry that Lydon has “finally” sold out his punk values. One fan even sent me a telecommunique by way of passenger pigeon. The note read: “I just can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it. Johnny Rotten has been lying to us the whole time!” Yes well, that’s to be expected from the Great Rock ‘n’ Roll swindler.

On the flipside, Chicago area grocery store manager and punk fanatic Ben Gomez had this to say: “Hey, as long as the butter is great, I don’t care HOW rotten he was. Oh, and stop calling me Armenian; I’m Hispanic and Irish -- now get back to work!”

Okay, Boss!

  

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