At last, it has happened. A new album by The Howling Hex is on the way, promising kinda weird indie rock, cryptic titles like "O Why, Sports Coat?" and... ranchero music. According to a recent press release from the Hex's label home, Drag City, the band -- with records released under both the Howling Hex moniker and mastermind Neil Michael Hagerty's given name -- will release Earth Junk on September 23, 2008. Could September 23 get any better????
And now, a little background because there's not really much left to this story without it: The Howling Hex started up as the brainchild of New Mexico resident Hagerty, who lives half an hour from the border of Old Mexico, or "Ol' Mexico" like the name of a popular (?) restaurant near my hometown. The band features a revolving cast of musicians, the only constant being Hagerty, a man with considerably more ambition than me, as evidenced by his band's previous eight albums and his two published books.
Earth Junk, the band's ninth album, promises a "Mexican polka" flair, lots of fuzz, and basslines played on organs! What more could you ask for in an early autumn release?
Earth Junk tracklisting:
Beck Announces Vinyl Release, Adds More Tourdates; Danger Mouse Not to be Directly Involved with Either
As if guilting you into buying his 10th (!) studio album wasn't enough, that pesky, arm-twisting Beck Hansen is at it again, this time laying it on thick with some cock-and-bull story about some additional tourdates that you "really should" go to and some sort of innovative new vinyl edition of Modern Guilt that "your mother would be ashamed of you for not picking up."
And why not? He's practically got you "by the balls," as they say, now that he's "graciously" decided to tack these relatively modest club dates onto his crowded summer festival plate. Maybe you couldn't justify getting out to the West Coast for Bumbershoot because you live in Chicago and your little brother is currently borrowing your car so that he can move back into college in a few weeks? Well, now there’s no excuse not to take that Red Line Train to one of two shows that Beck's "gone through the awfully big trouble" of putting on just for YOU! Damn, this guilt thing really works!
But wait. You're not off the hook yet, son. Beck still wants more from you, and he knows how to get it! How about a brand spanking new vinyl edition of Modern Guilt, in stores July 22, that includes download codes for high-fidelity (320 kbps) MP3s produced from an actual playback of the literal vinyl master?!? Come on, folks, the first MP3 actually starts with a needle drop, and the 10 MP3s that follow sound like a hissing, crackling, vinyl playback. I mean, just think of all the "trouble" Beck went through to cook this up. And now you want to go and spit in his face by not hoofing it out to the nearest retailer on foot (you don't have a car right now, remember?) and picking-up your very own copy, pressed with the ubiquitous loving care that Beck Hansen is known for?!? Well I've got news for you, Mr. Arrogant Bigshot. Your MOM is on the phone, and she's got three words to say to you about that: "Shame on you."
The extended Guilt trip:
College is a lot different than I expected. It's hard being away from home, even if the people are nice. It's a lot of work, too. Three-hour classes! Plus there are a lot of distractions. High-speed internet is great -- they haven't blocked BitTorrents yet, thank god. I got Nick Cave's whole library in remastered 5.1 surround sound. The rooms are nice -- cable television, and we've got our own bathroom right in the room. No floor showers like when I visited you at school. All in all, it's not bad. It'll take some getting used to. Some guys, Jordan and Matt I think, down the hall, they're having a party, but I don't know if I'll go. It's good to hear from you, tell the folks I miss them.
I am LOVING college. Yesterday I played Frisbee on the quad, AND made four new best friends: Jordan, Carrie, Matt, and Tommy. Carrie is from California. The West Coast! Tommy is studying poli-sci, just like me, and he sits behind me in this HUGE room -- Tribbey Lecture Hall. The prof is real cool, too. We don't even call him Professor or Mr. Fernald or anything stuffy like that. Just Craig. Or Craiggo, but pronounced like Prego, you know, the spaghetti sauce? College is NOTHING like I expected. Jordan and Matt live together -- they're best friends from the ’burbs -- and they're throwing a party down the hall tonight; it is going to be off the hook. Anyway, it was good to hear from you, and YES I am eating fine. Tell Mom and Meghan I said hi.
First of all, thanks for the package. Mom's cookies were great, as good as Grandma's. The CDs were much appreciated, too. How's home? I'm adjusting to the college life pretty well, I think. It's a lot different than I expected. I'm not used to the whole dorm thing, doors open and all that. I love that I can connect to everyone's iTunes on the network, you know? If they didn't block it. Some kid has Nick Cave's ENTIRE catalog in 5.1 stereo. Jordan has surround sound and we watched The Punisher last night, but I hooked up my PowerBook to it and rocked out. It sounded decent, I suppose; 5.1 is cool I guess, for the novelty and all that. I was just PUMPED to hear No More Shall We Part from all angles. What's really cool is that it isn't even out yet. The first four albums are out next month on Mute, with B-sides and expanded packages. Don't tell the government! Anyway, tell mom and dad I said ‘hey,’ and don't let them mess up my room or anything. I'm still living there. Later.
Ryan Adams Announces Tourdates, Cancels Tourdates to Mope Over Breakup With Mandy Moore, Re-Announces Dates After Record Company Forces Him To
Oh, Ryan Adams, others may find you temperamental and obnoxious, but you’re so hard to resist when you photograph incredibly well and broke up with Mandy Moore just for me. I also hear you make some pretty great music, too. Too bad you’re not coming to Chicago so I can check out your "music," but feel free to message me for my number so we can hang out soon. I know you must be lonely now that you’re single again.
Love Is Hell:
[UPDATED] My Life in the Bush of Whoa! David Byrne and Brian Eno Confirm First Set of Autumn Tourdates; Byrne to Self-Release New Album with Eno!
UPDATE: Despite reports, including ours, Billboard has posted an update to the original story that leaked word of a possible Byrne/Eno tour. According to Byrne's publicist, turns out Brian Eno will not be joining him onstage for these shows, which means Roxy Music songs surely won't be performed live either. Boo! You can read the rest of the details here.
After a 30-year hiatus, the tall, suit-sporting, Oscar-winning Talking Head David Byrne is joining forces yet again with that Roxy Music-quitting, Windows 95-sound-composing baldy Brian Eno. After months of speculation on whether or not the two brothers in strange would reconvene for a 2008 tour, the duo have at last reported three dates for the fall, according to Billboard.
The trio of dates are billed as “The Songs of Talking Heads' David Byrne and Roxy Music founder Brian Eno." This basically guarantees a glut of material from Talking Heads’ glory days (during which Eno was an integral producer of several albums and co-songwriter on the Heads’ classic Remain in Light) and songs from Eno's two-album stint in Roxy Music. Additionally, Byrne and Eno can choose music from their first collaboration, 1981's seminal My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, as well as songs from their slated-for-late-’08 second collaboration, an as-yet untitled album that Byrne has described as “electric gospel” (TMT News). Don’t worry, David; that’s all we needed to hear. Billboard reports that the album will be self-released by Byrne.
Although the cities and dates have been named, the venues, alas, have not. But don’t worry, David and Brian aren’t going to be playing at the Reginald Bullionhauser Hall of Old Money or anything too bank-breaking like that. The most expensive seats for the Atlanta show are listed at $48.50, while the priciest Santa Barbara seats are $65. Sheesh, I’ve already given David Byrne that much cash when I bought Stop Making Sense on CD, vinyl, and DVD. Whoa, let me leave you with this image: remember how much you love Stop Making Sense? Well, picture that, with Brian fucking Eno.
Yeah, I’m excited.
The Great Curve:
09.20.08 – Atlanta, GA
09.26.08 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits
10.04.08 – Santa Barbara, CA
The Magnetic Fields, maestros of sardonic indie synth-pop since 1990, plan to tour the U.S. this fall on the heels of successful European and North American tours earlier this year. The dates will bring the group to a number of midwestern and southern locations that the band missed on their spring jaunt across the U.S. The tour will kick off October 10 in the almighty city of Minneapolis and will come to a close in our nation's markedly less almighty capital a little over two weeks later.
The band's third tour in 2008 comes on the heels of the critically successful LP Distortion (TMT Review), which saw them junking both the synth sounds of their ’90s records and the spare instrumentation of 2004's i. Opting instead "to sound more like the Jesus and Mary Chain than the Jesus and Mary Chain," Fields frontman Stephin Merritt draped his meticulous pop masterpieces in snarling guitar feedback, hence the album title. Because this sound is difficult to duplicate on stage, and possibly due to Merritt's well-documented hearing problems, the singer has said that the songs will be performed "completely differently" live.
While the tradition of lengthy gaps between Magnetic Fields albums makes a new release unlikely anytime soon, Merritt will, as always, find a way to stay busy. According to The Magnetic Fields' official website, Merritt is writing the score and songs for next spring's Off Broadway theatrical adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline.
Pre-sale tickets for The Magnetic Fields' fall tour are available now. Regular advance tickets will go on sale at the end of this week.
- Boredoms official site
- Boredoms MySpace
- NIKE Sportswear
- NIKE business site
- Global Exchange: NIKE
- Pitchfork news story: "Nike Brings Boredoms' 88Boadrum to L.A., Brooklyn"
- TMT news story: "Boredoms Looking For New Drummer; 77 BOADRUM Documentary Being Screened — Rad"
Think You’re Tough? Think You Can Stomach Predictable Headlines? Try Some of This: We’re Happy When it Rains Jesus and Mary Chain Box Sets!
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery the The Jesus and Mary Chain must be close to death from the flattery battery they have endured from similar-sounding counterfeits since the legendary misfits started begetting back in 1984. But, as is often the case, some replicates have been interesting, most embarrassing, and none as charismatically aloof and downright exciting as the original copy. With this genuine pioneering spirit in mind, it is only fitting that the brothers Reid will release a four-disc retrospective of rarities entitled The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities through masters-of-the-reissue Rhino September 30.
The four-disc set includes a large number of notable rarities: unissued tracks from 1983-1998 (Psychocandy to Munki), a primitive cassette recording of "Up Too High," the previously unreleased "Till I Found You," all the rare booty found on 1988's Barbed Wire Kisses (minus one track), compilation efforts, alternated versions, and a lot of unnecessary acoustic renditions of classic tracks. Seriously, what word besides "distortion" comes to mind when I say "The Jesus and Mary Chain"? Exactly. Is it too much to ask for some recordings of their infamous early gigs that featured the band in all their intense wall-of-sound glory? In my experience, ear-bleeding bubblegum noise mixed with a sense of complete contempt from the band is always a crowd-pleaser.
1. Up Too High
2. Upside Down
3. Vegetable Man
6. Just Out of Reach
7. Boyfriend's Dead
9. Just Like Honey (demo, October 1984)
11. Taste of Cindy (acoustic)
12. The Hardest Walk
13. Never Understand (alternate)
14. My Little Underground (demo)
15. The Living End (demo)
16. Some Candy Talking
19. Cut Dead (acoustic)
20. You Trip Me Up (acoustic)
21. Walk and Crawl
1. Kill Surf City
2. Bo Diddley Is Jesus
3. Who Do You Love
4. Everything's Alright When You're Down
6. Happy When it Rains (demo)
7. Happy Place
8. F. Hole
10. On the Wall (demo)
11. Surfin' USA (outtake)
12. Here It Comes Again
13. Don't Ever Change
16. Surfin' USA (summer mix)
19. Break Me Down
21. My Girl
1. In the Black
2. Terminal Beach
3. Deviant Slice
4. I'm Glad I Never
5. Drop (acoustic remix)
9. Tower of Song
12. Why'd You Want Me
14. Teenage Lust (acoustic version)
15. Reverberation (Doubt)
16. Don't Come Down
18. Something I Can't Have
19. Write Record Release Blues
20. Little Red Rooster
1. The Perfect Crime
2. Little Stars
3. Drop (re-recorded version)
4. I'm in With the Out Crowd
5. New York City
6. Taking it Away
7. Ghost of a Smile
8. Alphabet Street
9. Coast to Coast (alternate take)
10. Dirty Water (alternate take)
11. Till I Found You
12. Bleed Me
13. 33 1/3
14. Lost Star
15. Hide Myself
17. Easylife, Easylove
What's better than free music? Sex! But since you're not getting any, you'll be happy to know that HUSH Records is here to distract you from your hornball tendencies (stop touching me there) with a FREE compilation of music (seriously, no means no). Celebrating 10 years of existence, the Portland-based label has compiled 28 tracks spread over two "albums" titled DECA: A HUSH 10th Anniversary Compilation, featuring artists ranging from Colin Meloy, Loch Lomond, and Bobby Birdman to Flash Hawk Parlour Ensemble, Novi Split, and Podington Bear (the project of label head Chad Crouch, for your information).
Like I said, the comp (which includes a 36-page PDF booklet) is free, but if you want a high-quality ZIP version, you can head on over to this page and do a pay-what-you-want sorta thing. According to HUSH, the proceeds will "go to funding a retreat for the artists who participated. Songs are the richness of our community and we enjoy sharing them. It is an increasingly rare and meaningful gesture – which does not go unnoticed – when one is willing to pay for them of their own volition."
High school was the best. You could figure out someone’s personality just by looking at them; girls with belly rings were easy, guys who did musicals were gay, fat chicks could never make cheerleading, and kids in bands were smelly burnouts. It was a simple, easy time when trans fats were legal and status was ascribed.
And remember your high school’s battle of the bands? Longhaired Cobain-wannabes, sexually confused folkstresses, soccer players in eyeliner, and Zeppelin cover bands all competed for BOTB champion, the rocker’s equivalent of prom queen (minus a tiara and plus a double kick pedal).
You may have graduated from your teenage stereotype, but for those smelly burnouts with guitars, high school really doesn’t ever end. Take, for instance, Austin City Limits Festival’s online band competition, “The Sound and the Jury.” Texan bands and global groups will be vying for votes to play ACL Fest late this September, along with internationally recognized artists like The Mars Volta, David Byrne, Beck, and Foo Fighters.
Sure as hell beats the $100 music store gift certificate that 1st place bands won at my school’s BOTB. Plus, it won’t be in a high school gym; it’ll be on a massive stage. Not to mention that The Sound and the Jury is sponsored by Dell computers instead of the local Boys’ Club. Or that over 600 bands will compete instead of, like, ten. And voting happens online, not by a good ol’ show of hands. But the sentiment’s still there, and maybe if you vote for one of the awesome artists it’ll make up for that time in high school you called me -- er, one of those grungy rockers -- an angst-ridden lesbian.