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!

Ten years old, Sunn O)))'s seventh album, Monoliths & Dimensions is coming out of the vortex May 18 on Southern Lord. Fans of walls of sounds, loud noises, and feedback, mark your calendars, because this album is promising to be a doosey just given the sheer size and shape of the ensemble surrounding it. The band, however, emphatically states that this is not "SUNN with strings." Instead, they "took an approach concentrating on more of allusion toward the timbre of feedback and the instruments involved, so the piece is really illusory, beautiful and not entirely linear."

Not sure what that means, but I do know the facts, and the facts are that, in addition to Oren Ambarchi and Attila Csihar (man, I hope his mom named him that on her own), this time they are working with Eyvind Kang (who has played viola in or with the likes of Bill Frisell, Secret Chiefs 3, Mike Patton, Blonde Redhead, and Laura Veirs to name a handful), Julian Priester (who has worked with Sun Ra, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock), Dylan Carlson (Kurt Cobain's total BFF and lead guitarist/singer/basically only constant of droney band, Earth), and Stuart Dempster (a horn player who not only won the Guggenheim in ’81, but is also credited for introducing the didjeridu to North America) as well as three upright bassists, French and English horns, a harp and flute duo, piano, brass, reed and strings ensembles, and there's rumor of a partridge in a pear tree, but that has not been confirmed as of yet. Oh, and there's also a Viennese woman's choir led by Jessika Kenney.

Monoliths & Dimensions tracklist:

1. Aghartha
2. Big Church [megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért]
3. Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia)
4. Alice

[Photo: Mike Burns]

James Blackshaw Was Always a Young God, But Now It’s Official

London-based 12-string guitarist James Blackshaw has shown scant loyalty to record labels in his relatively short album career, giving a bit more love to Tompkins Square than others, but it seems he has finally found a home with Young God Records. Young God houses early works by acoustic wunderkinds Devendra Banhart and Akron/Family, who, come to think of it, should probably tour with Blackshaw immediately. If you're unfamiliar with him, this label switch should convince you to give him a listen, even if “12-string acoustic guitar, instrumental only” makes you want to run screaming off a cliff. Blackshaw is completely one with his instrument, creating exquisite, rolling landscapes of sound that completely consume the senses, never losing momentum for a second, leaving you hanging even after the song surpasses the 10-minute mark. I especially recommend him to city-dwellers who want to make their fire escapes feel like wraparound porches. Blackshaw's first YGR release will be called The Glass Bead Game and will drop in late spring of 2009.

But wait! You don't have to hold out till then, because he's touring in support of his last release for Tompkins Square, Litany of Echoes. Michael Gira of Young God described his live show as “no effects, nothing, just a mic on his guitar, [and] the room was filled with swirling overtones and a million points of light.” Sounds like someone's excited about his new toy, but can you blame him? For these dates, Blackshaw is joined by equal parts Portland rockers Grails and Drag City folkie Meg Baird.

Finger cymbals discouraged:
02.19.09 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe du Nord #
02.20.09 – Santa Cruz, CA – Folk Yeah Presents #
02.21.09 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland #
02.22.09 – San Diego, CA – Casbah #
02.24.09 – Oakland, CA – Stork Club
02.26.09 – Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern @
02.27.09 – Portland, WA – Dantes @
03.02.09 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung-Fu Necktie %
03.03.09 – Baltimore, MD – Talking Head Club % $
03.04.09 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge % &
03.05.09 – Boston, MA – Brattle Theatre % +
03.07.09 – Brooklyn, NY – Issue Project Room %
03.08.09 – New Haven, CT – BAR %

# Grails

@ Earth and Sir Richard Bishop

% Meg Baird

$ Arbouretum

& Heather O'Donnell

+ Michah Blue Smalldone

Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart Announces Spring Solo Tour, Launches Subscription Series of Experimental Works; New Xiu Xiu LP Slated for Next Year

Jamie Stewart, front dude of Xiu Xiu, has announced his first solo tour since 2003. Drawing from over 80 songs, the setlist will feature a mixture of new and old tunes, all played with an electric guitar, bird call whistles, and a stylophone ("a late 60s toy synth that one plays with a pen," according to his publicist). The set will also feature songs from Xiu Xiu's forthcoming full-length, Dear God, I Hate Myself, which is tentatively scheduled for release in 2010.

I've seen Xiu Xiu live plenty of times, but the prospect of seeing Stewart perform solo is enough to let him take nude photos of me holding a plastic doll. Actually, I sorta have that chance, as Stewart and David Horvitz will be taking a photograph of every single person at every single show. Yes, EVERY single person, from the sound people to the janitors, the promoters to that stupid TMT journalist jotting down the setlist. Each photo will be published on Xiu Xiu's blog, and the "best 300" will be published in an upcoming photo book. There'll also be lots of merch, including some hand-decorated mix CDs.

Finally, Stewart is launching a one-year, 12-disc subscription series in an edition of 50. Each will be hand-wrapped and hand-numbered, featuring experimental and minimalist works by Stewart. Costs $100, but if you throw in an extra $10, you'll get some hand-made chocolate made by Stewart himself. Order here, and check 'em out here:

Jamie Stewart solo dates:
04.02.09 - Greenville, NC - The Spazzatorium
04.03.09 - Norfolk, VA - The Boot
04.04.09 - Richmond, VA - The Triple
04.05.09 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
04.06.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Monkey Town
04.09.09 - Durham, NH - The Stafford Room
04.10.09 - Chicago, IL - Ronny's Bar
04.11.09 - Grinnell, IA - Gardner Lounge (Grinnell College)
04.14.09 - Seattle, WA - The Vera Project
04.15.09 - Portland, OR - Backspace
04.17.09 - San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord
04.18.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo Curio
04.19.09 - Tucson, AZ - Solar Culture
04.21.09 - Austin, TX - Salvage Vanguard Theater
04.23.09 - Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder
04.24.09 - St. Augustine, Florida - Cafe Eleven
04.25.09 - Atlanta, GA - Wonderroot

[Photo: David Horvitz]

Santogold Changes Name to Santigold

I like to copy-paste bullshit:

Change the graffiti on the bathroom wall, get your tattoo fixed, get your t-shirt airbrushed and change the name on your year end list- Santogold is now Santigold. She’s not telling you why, that’s just how it is. No unpronounceable symbol, no numbers where they shouldn’t be, no random capitalization, just plain ass Santigold so remember that.

Downtown/Lizard King released Santigold’s self-titled breakthrough CD in April and it instantly became one of 2008’s most acclaimed albums garnering international raves. Critics and radio have championed the record’s standout tracks “L.E.S. Artistes”, “Creator” and her latest single “Shove It”.

Travels Return with a Sweetheart of an Album, Despite Pat Benatar Warning That “Love Is a Battlefield”

It doesn’t take a degree in Obamanomics (didn’t take long, did it?) to realize that we could potentially be in store for a new era rife with personal freedom and consideration. A more caring would would be wonderful, wouldn't it? Unfortunately, it’s hard to be optimistic for a liberating life in a “nice” place. In fact, it would probably take a mandate to reanimate the corpse of Mr. Rogers just to guilt everyone into showing an ounce of respect to their fellow beings. Oh well, maybe you just gotta take niceties when they are offered, like when the duo of Mona Elliott and Anar Badalov, a.k.a. Travels, will self-issue their latest album called The Hot Summer.

Hackily described on this very website by this very same hack as "a safe house in a world of confusion," the debut Travels disc caught many unaware with its unassuming, fragile beauty. This time around, Travels give us more tender tracks, a few curveballs, and a variation of one of their previously recorded songs: “Olivia Hurt.” If you couldn’t feel enough of the love, here is a mellooooow cover version of [“My Funny Valentine,”->] recorded by the duo to celebrate the release of “The Hot Summer” on Valentine’s Day (that’s February 14, for you unattached apathetics). Ah, the things some do for love. I’m as romantic as the next person, and I have as healthy a relationship with my right hand as other well-adjusteds have with actual, separate human beings, but I never felt the need to perform a duet with my “Mighty Righty.” Call me an olde-fashioned romantic...

Hit me with your best shots:

1. The Forgotten
2. Favorite People
3. Olivia Hurt
4. Happiness (you woke up)
5. Buzzards Bay
6. Severed
7. Dogs
8. Fairy Tales
9. Animal
10. A New Year

Travels abroad (but really at home):
02.14.09 - Somerville, MA - PA’s Lounge #
02.20.09 - Baltimore, MD - Talking Head Club $

# Animal Hospital, Arms & Sleepers, Mary Page

$ Mr. Moccasin, Ari Schenck, The Owls Go

From the BBC:

Buena Vista Social Club founding member Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez has died in Cuba aged 76.

The double bass player died in a Havana hospital from complications after having prostate surgery.

Lopez became a worldwide sensation as part of the group of elderly musicians who were living quietly in Cuba before being brought together in 1996.

He was considered to be Buena Vista's "heartbeat" in the band's mix of traditional Cuban rhythms.

- Orlando López MySpace
- Orlando López Wikipedia entry

Death Cab for Cutie Speak Out Against Auto-Tune, Accidentally Raise Male Breast Cancer Awareness

While Twitter kept you informed about the Grammy Awards against your will, you probably didn't see Death Cab for Cutie sauntering around wearing light-blue ribbons. The cause: an anti-Auto-Tune campaign.

The digital manipulation of people's voices is affecting thousands of singers, Ben Gibbard told MSN UK, "So we just want to raise awareness while we're here and try to bring back the blue note... The note that's not so perfectly in pitch and just gives the recording some soul and some kind of real character."

It was only a matter of time before some sort of Auto-Tune backlash emerged. Let's look at its pros and cons:

- Makes people "sound good"
- Can be used as an instrument
- Ribbons bring out your eyes

- Not what "real people" sound like
- Nation looks to American Idol for talent
- Sounding like T-Pain

No word yet on the 5K run against Auto-Tune

03.07.09 - Miami, FL - Langerado Festival
04.07.09 - Upper Darby, PA - Tower Theatre #!
04.08.09 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall #!
04.09.09 - Davidson, NC - John Belk Arena/Davidson College #!
04.10.09 - Louisville, KY - Louisville Palace #!
04.11.09 - Memphis, TN - Orpheum Theatre #!
04.12.09 - Tulsa, OK - The Brady Theater #!
04.13.09 - Omaha, NE - Holland Theatre #!
04.15.09 - St. Paul, MN - Roy Wilkings Auditorium #
04.17.09 - Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom #!
04.18.09 - East Lansing, MI - Breslin Events Center/Michigan State University #
04.19.09 - Waukesha, WI - Van Male Fieldhouse/Carroll College #!
04.24.09 - Spokane, WA - McCarthey Athletic Center/Gonzaga University #!
04.25.09 - Boise, ID - The Morrison Center #!
04.27.09 - Sacramento, CA - Memorial Auditorium #!
04.29.09 - San Diego, CA - RIMAC Arena/UC San Diego #!
05.01.09 - Austin, TX - Austin Music Hall #$
05.02.09 - New Orleans, LA - Contemporary Arts Center #$
05.04.09 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium #$
05.05.09 - Birmingham, AL - BJCC Concert Hall #$
05.06.09 - Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre #$

# Ra Ra Riot

! Cold War Kids

$ Matt Costa

Earth to Tour Selected Parts of Actual Earth (Namely Europe)

Legendary drone band Earth, better known to you as both the band that destroyed most of your inner ear during freshman year of college and the band that released its well-received seventh album The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull (TMT Review/TMT Feature) last year, is packing up the Sunn amps and heading to Europe this spring. In addition to promoting last year's album and split LP with experimental guitarist and Sun City Girls member Richard Bishop, the band will be spreading awareness about Wikipedia's terrible disctinction between its pages for Earth (the band) and Manfred Mann's Earth Band

03.26.09 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
03.27.09 - Leuven, Belgium - Stuk
03.28.09 - Nantes, France - L'olympic
03.29.09 - Poitiers, France - Le Confort Moderne
03.30.09 - Bilbao, Spain - El Balcon De La Lola
03.31.09 - Porto, Portugal - Passos Manuel
04.01.09 - Madrid, Spain - Caracol
04.02.09 - Barcelona, Spain - La[2]
04.03.09 - Lyon, France - L'epicerie
04.04.09 - Paris, France - Glaz'art Moderne
04.05.09 - Kortrijk, Belgium - Sonic City Festival
04.06.09 - Hamburg, Germany - Molotow Club
04.08.09 - Oslo, Norway - Inferno Festival
04.09.09 - Stockholm, Sweden - Strand
04.11.09 - Berlin, Germany - Prater
04.12.09 - Leipzig, Germany - Ut Connewitz
04.13.09 - Munich, Germany - Feierwerk
04.14.09 - Stuttgart, Germany - Club Schocken
04.15.09 - Koln, Germany - Gebaeude9
04.16.09 - Brighton, UK - St Andrews Church
04.17.09 - Birmingham, UK - Hare and Mound
04.18.09 - Manchester, UK - Islington Mill
04.19.09 - Glasgow, Scotland - Stereo
04.21.09 - Dublin, Ireland - Whelans
04.22.09 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
04.23.09 - Bristol, UK - The Croft
04.24.09 - London, UK - The Borderline
04.25.09 - Tilburg, Net - Roadburn Festival



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