It’s hard to tell exactly what El Guincho (a.k.a. Pablo Díaz-Reixa) has up his sleeves for his tour this month, but after writing him countless letters expressing my sadness over his canceled dates this past summer (one of which I was planning on attending!), the man has finally written me back:

Dear Anna,

Thank you for your genuine concern for my well=being. I can assure you that I will not cancel any more dates, especially since those threats you made against me sound pretty painful. Please know that I’ve hired of Montreal’s costume and set designer for my November tour and plan on using his ideas to my full advantage.

See you at the show,

Pablo

In other less life-threatening news, El Guincho’s newest album, Alegranza!, finally received a worldwide release last month via Young Turks/XL Recordings.

Musician and Drum-Maker Dies After Contracting Anthrax from Animal Skins

File under bizarre and tragic: a Hackney, England drum-maker man has died following the inhalation of anthrax spores after handling animal skins. Fernando Gomez, a 35-year-old Spanish folk musician, died in Homerton University Hospital November 2, surrounded by his wife and family.

While this story is a rare one, it is not the first instance of a drum-maker dying of anthrax spore inhalation. In 2006, Christopher Norris, an artist and drum-maker from Scotland, died after inhaling anthrax from touching West African animal skins at a drumming workshop. Since 1974, there have been only four known cases worldwide of drum-makers dying from anthrax apart from Gomez and Norris. While many drum skins are created using man-made materials, other traditional drums like djembes and bodhrans will always use the skin of cows, goat, and deer. Some drum-makers prefer the more exotic skins of bison, yak, and llamas.

Anthrax cannot be passed between persons, and Health Protection Agency (HPA) officers have sealed Gomez’ apartment and workshop for testing and cleansing. Eight other people who had been in the room where the spores were inhaled have been given precautionary antibiotics, but are not thought to be in danger of contracting anthrax, nor are the nearby neighbors of Gomez’ east London flat. Professor Nigel Lightfoot, chief advisor to the HPA, said in a statement, “We have stressed to all residents throughout this incident that there is no risk to their health as a result of the case of anthrax, or the testing.”

Lightfoot added, and in turn, eased the high-strung nature of skin-thumpers throughout our world, “It is important to stress that it is the making of the animal skin drums that is the risk from coming into contact with anthrax rather than playing or handling drums.”

An inquest has been opened to determine the source of the spores and the HPA began carrying out tests in Gomez’ apartment this week. Gomez taught music to local children on the Morningside Estate in Hackney and was a member of an alternative folk group called alasVALS.

Ohmygod You Guys! Cutie Chad VanGaalen Just Announced Tourdates!

Seriously, guys, how cute is Chad VanGaalen?! He's like Zac Efron mixed with the older Jonas Brother, plus sort of like Penn Badgley from Gossip Girl! And hey, did you know he’s touring this fall!? It’s in Europe, but maybe if you ask your parents for an early Christmas present, and I ask my parents for an early present too, we can both get plane tickets and go! I’ve been listening to his newest album, Soft Airplane (TMT Review), soooo much that the other day my little brother walked by my room and was like “Ew, you’re still listening to Chad VanGAYlen?!” And I was like “SHUT THE FUCK UP, I LOVE HIM! Re-open Proposition 8 for California!” For realz.

Typing like a teenage girl is exhausting:

Ticketmaster To Drop Service Charges; The Economic Collapse Pretty Much Rocks

I am LOVING this economic collapse. I mean, I don’t want to rejoice over the pain and suffering of millions of Americans, because that would be horrible, but in all honesty, it’s brought us a lot of good: My mother just called me yesterday to tell me she paid under $2 per gallon of gas for the first time in forever; Barack Obama and his jolly gang of socialist/terrorist pals defeated the evil Sarah Palin and her 400-year-old, out-of-touch running mate; and, most importantly, everybody’s favorite super-evil-behemoth-man-got-you-down-corporate-ripoff-machine Ticketmaster is doing away with service charges! Rejoice! Collapse!

Okay, it's not totally doing away with the charges. According to new CEO Irving Azoff, Ticketmaster is “experimenting” with dropping convenience charges at certain events. Still, it’s progress. Ticketmaster is pretty famous with the plebes for tacking on all kinds of ridiculous surcharges and fees on top of every ticket sold. For years now, your $88.50 Bruce Springsteen ticket has magically jumped to $105, mainly because Ticketmaster is chock full of greedy bastards. The crazy thing is Ticketmaster KNEW everyone thought that, yet it CONTINUED with its crappy policies. But now, everything has collapsed. People can’t afford to pay an arm and a leg to see Neil Young, and if nobody buys tickets, that’s bad for Ticketmaster’s bottom line.

Just remember, it is not that Ticketmaster has suddenly decided that it wanted to be nice, it’s just that its stocks are down. And if the stocks are down, investors are unhappy. And then even Ticketmaster is sad. And we don’t want that, do we?

_Oxford Collapse’s_ Tour Is Beginning _today_, And It’s Going to be _immense_!

Yes, it's true! _Oxford Collapse_'s tour begins _today_! Hitting up cities like _Hamburg_ and _Bologna_, this tour should be _immense_. But despite how _immense_ it'll be, it's expected to be _uproarious_ too, because _hum-a-nuh-hum-a-nuh-hum-a-nuh!!!_.

_Oxford Collapse's_ latest album is _BITS_, which was released or is set to be released _August 5, 2008_ via _Sub Pop_. The funny part? Well, did you know that _your face looks weird_?? HAHA!

Anyway, here are the tourdates for _Oxford Collapse_, which again, starts _today_ and hits up cities like _Hamburg_ and _Bologna_. Just don't be surprised if _your face looks weird_, like I said in the second paragraph!

* The Spinto Band

KCRW’S Nic Harcourt Steps Down From Music Director Position; Oh No, Who Will Introduce Bands Like Coldplay To The Airwaves now?!

Although Nic Harcourt is an important, well-respected guy -- he was once called “The most influential DJ in America” by music writer Mark Weingarten -- he’s also famous for bringing some less-than-stellar artists to the KCRW airwaves, such as Coldplay, Damien Rice, Dido, and Norah Jones. Regardless of Harcourt’s questionable taste in music, though, it was announced via press release that he would be stepping down November 30 from the Music Director position he has held for the past 10 years with the Santa Monica, CA-based station. However, Harcourt will continue to be a KCRW DJ, hosting a three-hour show on Sundays from 6-9 PM.

“I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to come to work every day and be surrounded by creative and passionate people and I want to keep the connection alive on my Sunday show,” said Harcourt. “As a parent of two young children, I believe it’s time for me to explore new career opportunities and expand upon my other activities in movie, television, voice over work, advertising and the Internet.”

He then turned away, put his headphones on, and as Chris Martin’s croon brought him back to simpler times, Harcourt sighed, crying softly to himself.

RIP: Mitch Mitchell, Drummer for The Jimi Hendrix Experience

From YouTube:

From KGW.com:

The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s drummer Mitch Mitchell was found dead in a downtown Portland hotel Wednesday.

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office said 62-year-old Mitch Mitchell likely died of natural causes. His body was found just after 3 a.m. at the Benson Hotel. [...]

Mitchell had been playing with the Experience Hendrix tour that just made a stop in Portland at the Schnitz last Friday.

Mitchell along with bass players Noel Redding and Billy Cox backed Hendrix for the generation defining sounds of his electrified psychedelic blues. The Experience played behind Hendrix at Woodstock and the Isle of Wight festivals in the late 1960s.

- Mitch Mitchell Wikipedia entry
- Mitch Mitchell MySpace

Owen Tours in an Effort to Remind Folks That You Don’t Need to Record Albums to Effectively Be A Downer

Polyvinyl's Owen may not have released anything since 2006's At Home With Owen, but that doesn't mean they (read: Mike Kinsella) can't tour. Chicago's Kinsella is continuing to tour with his solo act in an effort to remind fans that he's still around in case anyone wants to indulge their loneliness with his sad sack of songs. Owen will play most of these dates with openers Caithlin De Marrais and El May -- bands who, ideally, will be just upbeat enough to balance the evening out without jarring anyone into a happy mood.

Outka$t Forka$t: Big Boi and Andre 3000 to Deliver Two $olo Album$ And Another Group Effort in 2009

Recession? What recession?! No one told Big Boi about any “recession,” that’s for sure! In fact, 2009 promises to be the most profitable year for he and his partner-in-exile, as the two Outkast hit-and-skit makers promise not only a pair of solo efforts, but, low and behold, another proper Outkast release to, you know, tie it all together. Three albums in early ’09? Now that’s an economic bail-out plan we can all get behind!

"The South got something to say, and we gonna keep on talking," Big Boi told MTV recently in Atlanta. And, uh, by that he of course means that he’s getting his second solo album, Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty, prepped and groomed for the ol’ Outkastian throat-cram-overhype, despite the delays that have prevented its release thus far. But wouldn’t you know it? These pesky delays just so-happen to cause the roll-out plan for his new LP to coincide once again with the release of Andre’s next big thang. The plot thickens!

"Me and 'Dre were on the conference call,” Big “explained.” "He's working on his album; my album is done. [I’m] gonna wait until the top of the year — January or February — to put it out. Then 'Dre is gonna come hit y'all, and [then] we're gonna do the Outkast album. So y'all gonna get three records from the 'Kast next year." You’re welcome, America.

But not so fast there, MTV Generation with your cell phone wall paper and your... your wide shoes! Recall that we have definitely heard talk about “the 'Kast” pulling the wallet-grabbing-trifecta of albums before, and it has never actually materialized. Still, the stars over Stankonia seem to be in alignment this time around, as Andre has actually confirmed that he’s finally started work on his album. "To be honest, I work best when people doubt me," 'Dre explained. "Our whole Outkast career has been built on people doubting us. [Hip-hop fans] up North hated on us from the get-go. We wouldn't be Outkast if people didn't understand what people would call weird. You know, none of that would've happened. Actually, if you see me, tell me I'm wack. That's the best thing you can do for me. You know, if you want a greater album, say that. Say that!"

You’re whack, Andre. You’re double-super-triple-mega-whack. Here’s hoping...

Cut Copy Announce Final U.S. Tour For In Ghost Colours

Last time I reported on Cut Copy’s tour itinerary (TMT News), things were pretty different. The economy hadn’t completely collapsed; I had never heard of Shibu Inu puppies before (nor spent six hours a day watching them); and Sarah Palin didn’t have a Wikipedia page yet. Most importantly, Cut Copy were playing small venues. However, after touring nonstop in 2008, they’re about to raise the bar for 2009 on their final North American tour in support of In Ghost Colours. With Matt and Kim opening, a light show, and a surprise guest DJ, it’s guaranteed to be a good final goodbye tour to the album.

Seriously, click the puppy link, and thank me later:

& Matt & Kim

  

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