The B-52’s are BAAAAAAACCCCCCKKKKK!

Just pop enough to feel clean and danceable, just weird enough to not be cloying, and just camped up enough to sound like the house band for Pee-Wees Playhouse, The B-52's are the ultimate weirdo party band -- and they are fully back. Not that they ever really left, but now they are releasing their first album in 16 years.
16 years?!?

Yeah dude, 16 years.

It’s called Funplex, and it’s hitting the streets via Astralwerks on February 26, 2008. Produced by Steve Osbourne (he's worked with New Order), the album has been described by guitarist Kevin Strickland as "Loud, sexy rock & roll with the beat pumped up to hot pink."

Tracklist!

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get A Stateside Release of Inside The Smiths

When you think of The Smiths, you think Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke, right? You think of the groundbreaking drums and bubbly bass that made The Smiths a household name in the ‘80s and a looming influence on everything indie since then, right? The snotty romanticism of the lyrics and the signature jangle of the guitar lines are pretty much an afterthought in any conversation about The Smiths.

That's right... it's opposite day!

Of course, if one were to know even a tidbit about The Smiths, it would be concerning Morrissey or that guy from Modest Mouse. That's why a DVD documentary from the point of view of the band's B-team (Joyce and Rourke) is not enough to make America's twee set spend $35 for an import of Inside the Smiths, which has already been released in the UK. It could, however, drum up enough interest to make said set plunk down $16.95 when it's released stateside January 22.

If it suits your fancy, you can take a look at a trailer for Inside The Smiths at here.

Without Mozz and Marr (or any Smiths' music due to legal issues), we're left with Joyce and Rourke guiding us through the band's history, tales of Rourke's heroin addiction and subsequent dismissal, and outsiders like Peter Hook and The Kaiser Chiefs (?) discussing the scope of the The Smiths' influence.

It may turn out to be quite interesting, or (and judging by the Amazon.co.uk customer reviews) it may wind-up like listening to a Garfunkel album.

Friends Of John: Tokyo Police Club and Vampire Weekend To Play a Benefit Concert For Ra Ra Riot’s Late Drummer

When Ra Ra Riot's John Pike was found dead only 24 hours after being reported missing, the entire music community's thoughts went out to his family and friends. Now, in his memory, Pike's bandmates have teamed up with two of his favorite bands for an unbelievably charitable cause. Titled "Friends of John," Tokyo Police Club and Vampire Weekend are scheduled to headline a benefit concert December 15 at Boston's Middle East.

Organized by Syracuse's Ra Ra Riot, all of the proceeds from the event will go to a memorial fund in Pike's name, which aims to lend musical instruments to underprivileged children. According to CMJ, the band's violinist Rebecca Zeller noted, "Because we are musicians and because John loved music, we thought a benefit concert would be the most appropriate way to raise [that] money."

If you cannot attend the show but wish to show your support, donations are accepted by mail (c/o Citizens Bank, 37 Enon Street, Beverly, MA 01915) or through PayPal at johnryanpikememorialfund@gmail.com. Meanwhile, tickets for the event can be purchased here.

"The show this year will mainly focus on getting money to help the family get the library started, and hopefully in the years to follow, we will be able to do more and more with the money raised," said Ra Ra Riot's manager, Josh Roth.

The Magnetic Fields Tour; Spread Way More than 69 Love Songs Across America

The last time Stephin Merritt and co. hit the road, it was 2004, and critics and fans alike were murmuring “i. i? i?!” in an attempt to find deeper meaning in the title of that year’s Magnetic Fields album, which was of course, named i. The title of each track began with an “i” word or the pronoun “I.” What WILL they think of next? 2008 brings us the answer in the form of a new record entitled Distortion, and you know what that means!

Tour (readers’ input as to what Chicago did to get so lucky are welcome):
02.11.07 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
02.12.07 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
02.14.07 - Somerville, MA - Somerville Theater
02.15.07 - Somerville, MA - Somerville Theater
02.22.07 - New York, NY - Town Hall Theatre
02.23.07 - New York, NY - Town Hall Theatre
02.28.07 - San Francisco, CA - The Herbst Theatre
02.29.07 - San Francisco, CA - The Herbst Theatre
03.02.07 - Los Angeles, CA - The Henry Fonda Theatre
03.03.07 - Los Angeles, CA - The Henry Fonda Theatre
03.06.07 - Seattle, WA - Town Hall
03.07.07 - Seattle, WA - Town Hall
03.14.07 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music $
03.15.07 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music $
03.16.07 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music #

$ two shows, 6:30 PM and 10:00 PM

# two shows, 6:30 PM and 9:30 PM

Secret Machines Set Record for Least Newsworthy Story Ever, Prepare New Album… I Guess

I don't know about any of you, but New York spaceout psychsmiths Secret Machines aren't fooling me with any of their "cool band name shit."

These boys may play like a pack of ‘roided-up alien kill bots set to "freakout" at their live shows, but from the looks of things, they ain't got no "secrets," clandestine or otherwise.

Seriously. There's nothing up their sleeves whatsoever.

"What about the news of recently departed (uh, from the band, not from the earth) bandmate and/or sibling Benjamin Curtis," you say??

Nope. That's old news at this point. Dude was only holding ‘em back anyway, if you ask me.

"But did you know that they recently did a four-week residency at The Annex in Manhattan, where they debuted a bunch of epic new songs like ‘The Fire is Waiting,’ ‘Atomic Hell,’ and the more free-form epic ‘Have I Run Out,’ which bass/keys/vocalist Brandon Curtis describes as a ‘long section of instrumental music,’'' you persist??

Yeah. I knew that too. And besides, they did that residency like two months ago. Hardly worth reporting, man. Sorry...

"Well, okay, okay," you continue. "But there must at LEAST be some big news about their forthcoming third album for Warner Bros, the follow-up to 2006's Ten Silver Drops that they're currently working on completing, right? Maybe something about Brandon Mason handling the production duties? Some juicy studio details? A tracklist? Some cover art? A drop date??"

Man, I WISH. Well, actually, Brandon Mason IS producing, but i don't even know who that dude IS (probably not this guy, huh? ). And other than that, no, no, no, and NO.

No tracklists.

No release dates.

No nothing.

They're not even playing any goddamn shows until next year! What the hell is THAT?!?

Get with it, Secret Machines. If you guys scare up some details about your next LP, feel free to e-mail me. In the mean time, I'm going to go watch Food Network...

Fiery Furnaces to Tour U.S., You to No Longer Need Coats, Mittens, Blankets, or Those Warming Inserts for Snow Boots or Gloves

Warming up never felt so warmed-up, ladies and gents.

Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger are hitting the road this holiday to spread the gospel o’ Widow City (TMT Review), their recent debut LP on Thrill Jockey.

And according to a recent press release, your favorite bacon ‘bergers are shifting their style a bit. Known for rearranging their work as medleys in live performances, this string of dates marks a significant cherry-pop for FF. As in, they’re going to play songs normally. Apparently.

Maybe. Don’t hold them to it.

For... posterity:

Del The Funky Homosapien Goes Nerdcore!

Hip-hop is dead. Nas said so. So where does that leave the vets still cranking out good tunes? It's tempting to overfetishize early ‘90s boom bap and turn Enter The 36 Chambers into a religion, keeping hip-hop alive in the same way Elvis impersonators imitate his behavior and insist he was really abducted by aliens and is living fat and happy in outer space, an approach that's worked wonders for the likes of Jedi Mind Tricks, Army Of The Pharohs, The Demigodz, etc. Others, like the Def Jux crew (who had a fabulous diss war with JMT n' Co. a few years back), leave it all behind in a mess of incomprehensible abstractions about martians and comic books, along with a sense of production reaching more toward industrial music and The Mary Anne Hobbes show.

It's not much of a surprise, then, seeing Del team up with Def Jux. Last century's Deltron 3030 laid Del's sci-fi nerd roots bare over Dan The Automator's Big Money Sound, and Hieroglyphics has always indulged in fantasies involving extraterrestrials. So, let's get excited already -- more self-consciously intellectual babbling over broken synths and found sounds! Awesome!

Seriously, though, this is an exciting development for the "independent as fuck" crowd, whether you think Celph Titled is the second coming of Christ or Aseop Rock is a mouthpiece for the Godhead. Del's produced the entirety of his new LP, The 11th Hour, on his own, so we won't have to worry about El-Producto getting his grubby little hands all over his sound. Who knows, maybe Del can bring a little of that early ‘90s sound he had on I Wish My brother George Was Here and No Need For Alarm to Def Jux's relatively stagnant "experimentation." You can do some detective work on your own and see Del perform his new material live with that Devin The Dude guy, or alternatively pick up Del's new DVD, also titled The 11th Hour, shot during the early stages of production for Del's first solo work in eight years. Let's just hope we can figure out what the hell Del's going on about once the album's released on February 26, 2008.

Radiohead’s In Rainbows To Be Released on TBD Records/ATO Recordings

Free press release (TBD Records = Radiohead's own imprint, FYI):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 12, 2007

RADIOHEAD'S IN RAINBOWS CONFIRMED FOR JANUARY 2 RELEASE

On January 2, 2008, TBD Records/ATO Records Group will release in North America the physical version of Radiohead's In Rainbows.

Released in download format earlier this year, In Rainbows has already received tremendous acclaim in the press. British music magazine Q wrote "In Rainbows is a brilliant work" while Rolling Stone said the album "delivers an emotional punch that proves all other rock stars owe us an apology." New York magazine raved, "Radiohead has made their best music in years, maybe ever."

TBD/ATO are currently focusing on both "Bodysnatchers" and "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" as the North American radio singles.

Produced by Nigel Godrich, In Rainbows is the band's seventh studio album and the follow-up to 2003's RIAA certified Platinum Hail to the Thief.

More information about the album release and the band's touring plans to follow.

Now, check out how pathetic we are:

- 11-09-2007: Paste Magazine Pulls a Radiohead (And a Saul Williams, Jane Siberry, etc.), Lets You Pay What You Want — But How Much Is It Worth?

- 11-08-2007: Radiohead Release Date and First Single Confirmed. Oh My God, No Way.

- 11-05-2007: Radiohead Webcast, Box Set, Etc., Etc.

- 11-01-2007: Radiohead’s In Rainbows Confirmed For Release on XL

- 10-23-2007: Madonna Signs Progressive Deal With Live Nation, Is Still Nowhere NEAR as Cool as Radiohead

- 10-15-2007: Radiohead In Rainbows review

- 10-10-2007: Radiohead Love The Sound Of Radio More Than You Know; Near Radio Quality MP3 Downloads Of In Rainbows Out Now!

- 10-04-2007: Radiohead Close to Signing with Side One Recordings/ATO — So Would They Be Considered an "Indie" Band?

- 10-01-2007: Radiohead to Release "Standard" Version of In Rainbows in 2008

- 09-30-2007: Radiohead to Self-Release New LP! Remember When We Wrote That as a Fake Headline Two Years Ago??

Future Radiohead stories pending.

Hot Water Music Are Post-Hardcore; My Journalism Is Super Post-New Journalism – Dr. Gonzo, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer Can Kiss My Ass

Hot water music, cold war kids, kids in the hall, hallway monitor, flat screen, drug screening, lsd, dsl, donkey lips, potato chips, donkey bits, monkey tits, finger tips, roofie slips, money clips, cowboy whips, cowgirl hips, lazy eyes, fruit flys, johnny thunder, sleep asunder, cookie monster, red lobster, john foster, America, America, god bless erica, tricky dick, fat-lipped mick, number nine, number nine, naked time, dandelion wine, feel just fine, leather pants, true romance, high school dance, super hickey, rourke comma mickey.

What?

Oh, Hot Water Music are getting back together! It's been almost two whole years since the band stopped doing stuff. Specifically, they haven't done anything since March 13, 2006, the day they "officially disbanded"! HOLY SHIT! Wait, that's not a long time. I've taken longer shits than two years. Isn't two years essentially just a break between projects? I mean, most sophomore efforts take two years to write. I don't know. This is all very confusing. Has the Shitfaced Newsathon ended? Whatever.

Hot Water Music are getting back together for three shows this winter, but no plans for new music have been announced. However, there is a compilation in the works, titled Till The Wheels Fall Off, set for release January 22 via No Idea Records.

Catch ‘em, kids!

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s Lies Exposed, Sort Of Tours Too

Howdy, padner. I’m gonna spin you a little yarn about ol’ Ramblin’ Jack – one from back in the day when he wasn’t so ramblin’. We return briefly to the Age of Giant Reptiles, or, as I like to refer to it, 1993:

A little old movie called Mr. Baseball hits theaters to mixed critical reviews. A risqué biopic that gets at the true nature of Ramblin’ Jack, the real Jack Elliot. None of that fluffy, Time Magazine, cowboy bullshit. The sordid tale begins, as Wikipedia so eloquently states, when “[Elliot] an aging American baseball player [is] put on the trading block by The New York Yankees in favor of a younger player (former Chicago White Sox legend, Frank Thomas), and there's only one taker: the Nagoya Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.”

Needless to say, Jack didn’t much like Japan. As you can image, the movie documents how “the arrogant Elliot clashes with the Japanese culture and soon alienates his new teammates.” Truth is, Jack’s been dealing with aliens all his life. Ever since they picked him up as a small boy in Brooklyn and performed all those experiments on him, he’s been a little... well, let’s just say Jack’s been jumpy. Speaking of which, let me tell you about th... whoa... give me a second... there it goes again. Alright time to take summore of my medicine. I’ll catch you fine folks on your way back.

Tourdates:
11.09.07 - Midway, UT - Herber City’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair
11.10.07 - Midway, UT - Herber City’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair $
11.10.07 - Midway, UT - Herber City’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair $
11.10.07 - Midway, UT - Herber City’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair $
12.01.07 - Berkeley, CA - The Freight

$ Multiple performances (12 PM, 1 PM, and 6PM) as part of the CPGBF

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