James Jackson Toth Buries His Wand, Readies New LP, Tours with Indefinite Royalty

After collaborating with several backing bands under the Wooden Wand moniker, most notably with The Vanishing Voice, James Jackson Toth is set to release Waiting In Vain, his first album under his own name. The official announcement, posted on Toth’s MySpace page, describes the album as “layered, almost-dreamlike” with “touches of blues, country and soul; the occasional flash of punk swagger; and even some sweet Fleetwood Mac-inspired pop.” You can hear for yourself by visiting the link above.

Waiting In Vain will be released July 29 through Rykodisc, but the day before Toth will play a free record-release show at Grimey’s in Nashville, TN. He then heads west on August 13 to begin a four-week national tour in San Francisco. Interestingly, the tour will pair him with an as-yet unspecified Duchess and Duke. Obvious possibilities include Prince Richard Alexander Walter George, Duke of Gloucester, or Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Duke of Cornwall (except for when he visits Scotland, where he is referred to as the Duke of Rothesay, technically making him two dukes). Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh seems unlikely, because, let’s be honest, he’s pretty old. I don’t see him fitting in with Toth’s reckless rockstar lifestyle. Prince Edward George Nicholas Patrick Paul, Duke of Kent, also seems like a bad match. I mean, look at this guy. Nobody is taking him on tour anywhere.

It seems Toth will be keeping this shrouded in secrecy until the tour begins. With any luck some San Fran bloggers will let us know August 14.

Waiting In Vain tracklist:

All dates with The Duchess & The Duke except noted*

Q: How Many Guitarists Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? A: None, They Just Steal Someone Else’s Light. Billy Corgan Gets the Signature Fender Treatment.

If the ego wasn't big enough already, Fender has helped to expand the size of Billy Corgan's melon by green-lighting the release of his own Stratocaster model. Corgan is the latest guitarist to be immortalized with a signature Fender guitar, joining the ranks of Eric Clapton, J Mascis, and Yngwie Malmsteen, all of whom have worked with the venerable instrument maker to produce axes according to their exacting preferences. The Smashing Pumpkins leader is not often recognized for his guitar prowess, partly because he is not overly flashy, but he is underrated and has a distinctive sound (“buzz-saw tone,” say some folk). Fender claims that Corgan emerged in the grunge period and “stepped forward with lengthy and unconventionally next-level instrumental breaks that could go from shredding, screaming incendiary intensity in one song to delicate, whispering beauty in the next.” They then mentioned something about his time spent as a shepherd, freeing Hebrew slaves, receiving commandments, and parting seas with an apathetic shrug, a few teen angst-fueled words, and oodles of fierce distortion and dramatic shifts in song tempo.

Guitarists are a serious species, so for spec lovers (I am specifically thinking of a high school acquaintance who had his walls covered with guitar layouts and configurations... he also got his hair permed to play in a Ratt tribute band), the Corgan strat features: alder body, satin lacquer finish, maple neck, 9.5' radius maple fingerboard, 22 jumbo frets, 25.5' scale length, chrome hardware, Fender standard cast/sealed tuning machines, modern hard tail bridge, 3-ply pickguard, special design Dimarzio 'Billy Corgan' single spaced humbucking bridge pickup, Dimarzio ‘Chopper’ Middle Pickup, special design Dimarzio ‘Billy Corgan’ single-spaced humbucking bridge pickup, 5-position pickup switching blade (full humbucking bridge, inside coil of bridge and full humbucking middle, full humbucking middle, full humbucking middle and outside coil of neck, full humbucking neck), 2-tone master control (neck and bridge), choice of Fat Black or Olympic White satin nitrocellulose lacquer finishes, and an exhaust, because it's so smoking hot! Hisssss.... rock... on...

Ra Ra Riot To Tour, Spin Editors to Wet Themselves, TMT Newswriter Recalls Pregnant Lady Playing Pool Fondly

In 2007, Spin depicted a Ra Ra Riot! Really, they did. Meanwhile, I depicted a pregnant woman playing pool.

Tastemakers, we are.

Ra Ra Riot's new album, The Rhumb Line, comes out August 19 on Barsuk.

Ra Ra Riot tourdates:

Madvillain to Release Box Set, Madlib Release a Couple Albums

This news should be about a new Madvillain LP. It also should be about an entirely new LP from Madlib on Stones Throw. And whatever happened to that fucking MF DOOM/Ghostface collaboration? Okay, so maybe these little nuggets ain't quite ready yet, but there is quite a bit of related material rolling out. Ready? Let's go:

- Madvillainy 2: The Box: This is a beast. Not only does it feature Madvillainy “2” The Madlib Remix, a 25-track remix CD that Madlib made on a 10-hour plane ride to Tokyo, but it also contains the "One Beer (Drunk Version)" 7-inch, a 12-track demo tape on cassette, a Madvillain t-shirt, and a comic book called Meanwhile... (the sequel to the All Caps video on the CD). All of this is housed in a 12x13x13 inch box, "wrapped in a silver like a mask," according to Stones Throw. You can pre-order the box until August 15 for $124.99 (plus shipping) here. Too expensive for you? Luckily, you can also purchase the remix album as MP3s for $9.99.

- Madlib's Remixes 2: Saturday Morning Edition and WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip: The first release is Madlib Remixes 2: Saturday Morning Edition, a collection of remixes "made entirely of samples from early 80s funk and disco," released by France's Le Smoke Disque. The second is WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip, Madlib's contribution to BBE's Beat Generation series, which has in the past included works from Pete Rock, DJ Spinna, will.i.am, J Dilla, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. It's set for release on September 9 via Rapster/BBE.

- Dilla Ghost Doom's "Sniperlite" 12-inch: Okay, enough typing. Here's what Stones Throw had to say about this one: "In late 2005 Ghostface Killa and MF DOOM were both recording over tracks from J Dilla's instrumental opus, Donuts, which saw release the following February. Some of these were released on Ghostface's Fishscale in 2006, while others, including a Dilla-Doom project, were postponed indefinitely after J Dilla's passing. Two of these tracks, ‘Sniper Elite’ and ‘Murder Goons,’ are presented here for the first time. The two are taken from two sequential songs off Donuts, meant to mix together. We are presenting the two songs unmixed, plus the two mixed together as a bonus track."

...

Soooooooo... what about a new Madvillain album? According to Stones Throw, "Every once in a while we hear from DOOM, and he tells us he’s getting closer. Madlib still sends him beat CDs." Ugh. C'mon DOOM! What do you want? Some private cheerleading??? Actually, that'd be pretty cool. Give me a ring.

WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip tracklist:

Deerhoof Releases First Single from New LP as a Score, Intended for Every Good Boy Who Deserves Fudge

Grab your keytars and get crackin’, people -- Deerhoof have a new single coming your way! Ever the clever cookies, the band has left you, the consumer, with the task of recording their latest dittie, “Fresh Born,” from their upcoming album Offend Maggie (TMT News), based on the sheet music the foursome has provided.

In an effort to prevent any track leaks (and to do something really cool), Deerhoof wants you to download the tune’s sheet music here, record your own version, post it on your blog or website, then post the link back here at the same place you got it. Deerhoof plans on releasing their own version soon, but first they want to see all your smiling MP3s up on that website!

Deerhoof sent their fans to work on the song at the band’s recent show at New York City’s Prospect Park, but unless you speak fluent toy piano or ukulele, it’s hard to identify what the song sounds like just yet. All the more reason for you to do it yourself, ya bum! Let’s hope that these past few years of pot smoking and American Gladiators hasn’t destroyed all memory of your childhood piano lessons.

Offend Maggie drops October 7 from Kill Rock Stars. Here are a couple of dates to hold you over until then:
07.27.08 – Hollywood, CA – Hollywood Bowl
08.31.08 – Vancouver, BC – The Malkin Bowl

Liz Phair Adds More Exile in Guyville Dates (to the Tune of “Scarborough Fair”)

Are you going to check out Liz Phair?

“Fuck and Run,” “Flower,” and “Gunshy”

are some songs that she might play there.

She will play Exile three more times.

Have her sing like it’s ’93.

Husky-low for “Stratford-On-Guy.”

See PA, Boston, and DC.

There she’ll play Exile three more times.

She sold out four shows back in June

and sold out with track “Why Can’t I?”

Fifteen years have passed since she bloomed.

Now she’ll play Exile three more times.

Paul Westerberg Self-Releases New Full-Length Album for 49¢ on Amazon

Artists are spoiled nowadays. No, I'm not talking about "artists" like Vampire Weekend (side note: I hope they die). I'm talking about artists like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and Girl Talk. They think they can do whatever the hell the want, with little-to-no regard for the perfectly fine, finely tuned, tunely perfected, perfectly-pitched, pitchfork media music distribution template.

Add Paul Westerberg, former Replacements dude, to the list of spoilers. Last Monday, the guy completed a new album called 49:00, delivered it to his manager the next day, and by the weekend, the entire album was selling for a measly 49¢ on Amazon, apparently the only digital retailer willing to sell the album for that price. Keep in mind, this is coming from an artist who doesn't own a computer and whose official website is a members.aol page.

We're on to you Mr. Westerberg. You and your kind are trying to shake up this capitalism-driven distribution system, but we aren't having a bite of it. What you're promoting is borderline communism, my friend -- do you really think you can get away with this?

Ani DiFranco To Release 20th Album, Napolitano Cites Concerns: Economy, Inability for ’90s Feminists to Experience Love

(New York – TMT) Feminist musician Ani DiFranco is set to release her 20th album, Red Letter Year, via her label, Righteous Babe, September 30. Though the album is apparently her “cheeriest, funkiest and most collaborative to date,” partner and producer Mike Napolitano addressed some concerns over Red Letter Year’s ability to engage listeners in a private interview yesterday.

Napolitano said label insiders cite United States economic downturn as affecting Birkenstock, oft-cited as an unofficial political hub for DiFranco – a circumstance which could negatively influence how the album is received.

“People can’t even afford Birkenstocks. This means they certainly won’t be in a position to accept Ani’s politics. See, liberalism is a learned thing, though Ani is afraid to admit that in some sense a corporation cultures her fanbase,” he said.

Additionally, Napolitano says the low childbirth rate of DiFranco’s former ’90s “free spirits” could distance longtime fans from the discussion of her loving a child in tracks like “Present/Infant,” something he says could cause a crucial rift between songstress and listeners.

“Frankly, I’m worried,” he said, adding that for this reason he urged DiFranco to include “Alla This,” a seemingly anti-government track.
“Plus, I made her start shaving. The fans don’t know that. Hey, don’t print that, though,” he added.

Brian Wilson Refunds Disappointed Fans After NYC Charity Benefit Fails to Make Them Feel Better About Themselves, Preps New Album

Following a series of complaints from disgruntled fans, Brian Wilson and Melinda Wilson (whom some press sources insist on calling his "manager-wife") will be refunding attendees of a July 11 show at which Wilson played for an allegedly scant 75 minutes. The show, a charity benefit for NYC-based non-profit Stand Up For a Cure, took place at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Fans who attended the show complained that their pricey seats offered poor visibility, that Wilson's band was too small, that the set was too short, and that Wilson did not play enough solo or Beach Boys rarities.

In response to these complaints, Melinda Wilson posted on her husband's official website to offer Brian's apologies and to announce that fans who wanted a refund from the July 11 concert could send their ticket stubs to Wilson's publicist and receive their money back. Explaining the decision, she said that Brian is "really sensitive to all of your feelings and doesn't want to offend anyone. He wanted to make this offer to keep everyone cool."

Wilson has a handful of U.S. tourdates currently scheduled for the rest of 2008. He also plans to release a new album, That Lucky Old Sun, September 2. The album was written in collaboration with Van Dyke Parks, who also worked with Wilson on Smile.

RIP: Khia Edgerton, the “Club Queen K-Swift”

From an article in The Baltimore Sun:

Khia "K-Swift" Edgerton, one of the city's most popular radio DJs and performers, died early Monday morning after a pool accident at her home. She was 29. The cause of death was unclear, but an autopsy was planned. [...]

Edgerton, known as the "Club Queen," introduced a younger generation to Baltimore's club scene and helped breathe new life into an aging genre. Born in Baltimore, she started working at WERQ-FM 92.3 10 years ago as a mixer and worked her way up the ranks.

- Club Queen K-Swift official website
- Club Queen K-Swift MySpace
- Baltimore Sun: "DJ K-Swift is dead at 29"