Just Another Diamond Documentary: Vashti Bunyan Flick Debuts at London Film Festival

We know it exists. We know people have seen it. But where can we non-London or Copenhagen residents see it? And when? The new CC-Films Vashti Bunyan (TMT Interview) documentary is something like a velociraptor in that way. We know they existed once, but when will they come back?

Let's take a look at the facts. Filmmaker Kieran Evans recently collaborated with St. Etienne on their film love letter to London, Finisterre, and now Vashti Bunyan: From Here To Before has been making its way around the fall film festival circuit -- well, at least in the previously mentioned Copenhagen, where it was screened earlier this month, and London, where the film debuted at The Times 52nd London International Film Festival. Described as "a lyrical, modern day road movie," the documentary chronicles Bunyan's first big London show, 30 or so years after she recorded the undeservedly long-forgotten Just Another Diamond Day, and features interviews with big-name music execs like Joe Boyd, Andrew Loog Oldham, and Robert Kirby. The documentary also retraces the horse and buggy journey!!! Bunyan took across Great Britain to join a commune in Scotland (during which she recorded her debut LP with Joe Boyd) and appearances by Adem Ilhan, Max Richter, and, of course, Devendra Banhart.

Alas, no upcoming screenings have been announced, and no DVD news is pending, but if we've learned anything from Jurassic Park I-III, it's that if people want something bad enough -- be it a bloodthirsty, fast-running tiny lizard monster or a documentary about a critically-acclaimed English folk artist -- it won't be too long before it shows up in a theater near you.

The Strokes Announce Plans to Start Tracking Again in February, Or As Soon As It’s Warm Enough for Leather and Snake Skin Outerwear

The Strokes (Wait, who? Is that that band from Sweden who wears red and black?) have been so busy with their individual side-projects lately that the members of NYC’s one-time rock ‘n’ roll saviors (oh yeah, those guys) have probably almost forgotten what it’s like to sit hunched over their instruments in a live room worrying about their image and secretly hating one another. Fortunately for us, they’ll be experiencing that personal hell for our benefit soon enough, as the band has announced that they’ll be heading back into the studio this coming February.

In a recent interview with Spin, Strokes bassist and, umm, Nickel Eye frontman Nikolai Fraiture elaborated on his hopes that the band will find a new sound naturally when they finally reconvene in the studio. "The dynamic will be different and it will seep through," Fraiture said. "Maybe that'll be our producer, maybe it will be different songwriting; it's a little too early to tell. But I think the only way to go forward is to change.” TMT Translation? “I better get to write some of these new Strokes songs, or ELSE...”

Fraiture also revealed that the band had tried to come together for a new album for some time, only to have their personal lives (read: side projects, pregnant girlfriends, etc.) get in the way. "Everyone in the band is eager to get back... we've been trying for the last two years, on and off. But people need to do what they need to do. That's how all of the side-projects came about — wanting to continue to play music."

Oh, and speaking of those now comically-numerous side-projects, Fraiture’s aforementioned Nickel Eye project is scheduled to release its debut, Time of the Assassins, January 27. Though, between you and me, I think that the band would have more yuppie appeal if it were called “Dr. Fraiture Crane,” don’t you?

Ten Kens Are Touring Europe. Oh Joy! What an Opportunity to Write a Zany, Predictable News Story About the Origin of Their Name!

Puddle of Mudd, Rascal Flatts, Ratt, and The Bacon Brothers. All amazing band names, for sure, but trying to figure out how those very same band names came to be is utterly impossible. The same used to be said about Ten Kens until it was made known that the moniker was derived quite literally from a four-pronged, shared admiration for ten people named Ken, as impossible as that sounds. While this tale of teleKennethis is now the stuff of Canadian musical folklore, the identities of the actual ten adored Kens was never known... until now!

1. Ken Masters, character in Street Fighter

While all fans of Street Fighter, Ten Kens are even more fans of Masters’ attire, favoring to take the stage wearing the fiery red gi of Ken over Ryu’s understated vanilla gi and red headband combo. Singer Dan Workman also likes the Bret Michaels-esque mane of Ken as opposed to Ryu's chopped "Zoolander" look.

2. Ken Dryden, former Montréal Canadiens goalie, present Liberal Party of Canada stooge

Although the four band members hail from Toronto, they bleed blue, white, and red as far as hockey is concerned. They also happen to like the way Dryden, the politician, holds his caucus.

3 Ken Wahl, actor

TV’s “Wiseguy”... enough said!

4. Ken Jennings, 74-time "Jeopardy!" champion

A favorite among Ten Kens (though drummer Ryan Roantree, in a previous life, was the world's leading "Tic Tac Dough" historian).

5. Ken Kesey, counter-culture author

Because they are too young to be beatniks and too old to be hippies.

6. Ken, Barbie’s effeminate half

True confession: guitarist Dean Tzenos dressed up as Ken for Halloween in 2004, which is not that long ago, when you think about it. And for the record, he actually made his greatest candy haul that year wearing a costume of short blond bouffant, pastel v-necked sweater, and pressed trousers with visual trouser snake.

7. Ken Burns, documentary maker

Fact: Ten Kens can’t get enough of that sexy documentarian!

8. Ken Caminiti, former professional baseball player

The band admired the late slugger's hitting and steroid/cocaine intake prowess. (Ouch... too soon?)

9. Ken Follet, thriller novelist

Follet has written books centred around World War II espionage. Ten Kens are Nazi sympathizers. No brainer!

10. Ken River in India

"Best tributary ever!" claimed bassist Lee Stringle, before grabbing my living room lamp and my shoe and running out the door shouting "Free the Fairyland Two!"

Alright... so Ten Kens have nothing to do with ten Kens and everything to do with creating mighty psych rock shitstorms. Live, Ten Kens are even more devastating, displaying the power of ten of any Ken you would care to name. The Toronto quartet will look to build upon the positive atmos surrounding their recently-released self-titled debut album with a small tour of Scotland, Wales, and England, the latter being the home to its record label, FatCat. Ten Kens' British tour continues tonight with a headlining show in Edinburgh and will include a number of gigs opening for A Place to Bury Strangers. Ken you dig it?
12.01.08 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Cabaret Voltaire
12.02.08 - York, England - The Duchess
12.04.08 - Manchester, England - The Roadhouse %
12.05.08 - Leeds, England - The Cockpit %
12.06.08 - Cardiff, Wales - Clwb Ifor Beach %
12.08.08 - London, England - ICA %
12.09.08 - London, England - Blow Up Metro
12.10.08 - London, England - Club Fandango ^

% A Place to Bury Strangers

^ Stricken City

As The Saying Goes, “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade, And Also Check Out Pontiak on Tour If You Feel Like It.” That’s a Weird Saying, Come to Think of It.

- Pontiac is a brand of automobiles, produced by General Motors that has been sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico since 1926. Pontiac is marketed as General Motors' "athletic" brand and specializes in mainstream performance vehicles.

- Pontiac or Obwandiyag (c. 1720 – April 20, 1769), was an Ottawa leader who became famous for his role in Pontiac's Rebellion (1763–1766), an American Indian struggle against the British military occupation of the Great Lakes region following the British victory in the French and Indian War.

- Pontiac is the title of Lyle Lovett's second album, released in 1987.

- Pontiak is made up of three brothers from the Blue Ridge farm country of Virginia, Van (guitar, lead vocals), Lain (drums, vocals) and Jennings Carney (bass, organ, vocals). Their music is swaggering guitar rock that straddles the line between a power trio and something far more expansive in sound and scope. Their broad song structures allow ample room for three-part vocals, drums, organ and stellar slide and lead guitar to stretch and captivate.

- Mamma Mia! is a 2008 stage-to-film adaptation of the 1999 West End musical of the same name, based on the songs of successful pop group ABBA, with additional music also composed by ABBA member Benny Andersson. The film did very well at the box office and is the most successful Hollywood film musical of all time. It also sucks ass.

@ Golden Animals

& Rebel Drone

John McCain Countersues Jackson Browne in Fair Use Trial; Meanwhile, Kool and the Gang Send Barack Obama a Hickory Farms Basket for Repopularizing “Celebration”

Way back in August, when Sarah Palin was still just Alaska’s problem, John McCain used Jackson Browne’s classic 1977 hit “Running on Empty” in an attack ad against Barack Obama’s energy plan. Needless to say, the hippy dippy Browne was decently cheesed at McCain for using the tune without his permission and promptly filed suit against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. McCain, who admittedly had bigger things to deal with at the time, pulled the ad and carried on with his campaign, effectively ignoring the lawsuit until he could finally deal with the matter from the comfort of the Oval Office.

We all know how the rest of the story goes. Obama and his Hopeskateers stormed the polls and snatched victory from the floppy jaw of McCain. Now finding himself with too much time on his hands, McCain needs something to fill the long hours while he patiently waits for death, so he’s decided to tie up some loose ends from his campaign days. First on the list: Jackson Browne. After months of silence, McCain’s fleet of lawyers countered the folkie with two bullshit 20-page motions against his suit. I’d call McCain a sore loser, but at his age he’s probably always sore, so I guess there’s no use in being redundant: McCain is a loser.

The Billboard article describes the first motion about as succinctly as possible:

The first is a standard motion to dismiss, claiming that McCain's use of the song was fair use. The campaign's fair use reading is based on the application of the standard four-factor test that includes the purpose and character of the use of the song (McCain argues it was non-commercial and transformative); the nature of the work (McCain derides the song as old, old, old, with a title that's an acknowledged cliche); the amount and substantiality of the use of the song (McCain only used the title phrase, and cites a recent judgment against Yoko Ono, who had sought to prevent the unauthorized use of John Lennon's ‘Imagine’ in a film); and the effect of the use of the song (McCain says that rather than damage the song's commercial potential, his use ‘will likely increase the popularity of this thirty year-old song’).

Holy Toledo, what a load of caca! The second motion is even worse. McCain claims that Browne is impeding on the Arizona Senator’s free speech by suing over use of the song. As a result, McCain is demanding attorney fees and court costs for his trouble. Goddammit, John McCain, you just ran for president of the United States! You’re telling me you don’t have any money left over to deal with this crap? Rather than go into another paragraph ranting against John McCain (after two years of campaigning, I have already wasted too many paragraphs on that man), I’ll leave you with this video about the ins and outs of fair use. It should explain well enough why, yet again, John McCain doesn’t have a wobbly leg to stand on.

The Jesus Lizard Are Coming! The Jesus Lizard Are Coming! And They Have Reissues!

Another day, another reunion story. But this one's sliiightly -- just slightly -- different. Mostly because it's about a band that people can't accuse of cashing in on the 30th anniversary of punk (they weren't around), or because there's not a reality show about finding love with one of the members (it probably wouldn't capture the Paris Hilton's My New BFF demographic), or whatever else people blame these reunion things on. That band is The Jesus Lizard.

They haven't played a show in 10 years, but next spring they will magically reunite in the oh-so-charming coastal town of Minehead, England for the famed All Tomorrow's Parties festival.

- The date: May 9-10, 2009.
- The players: David Yow, Duane Denison, David Wm. Sims, and Mac McNeilly.
- The other band you can see, if you either (a) live within traveling distance or (b) are a Jesus Lizard superfan who will do ANYTHING to see David Yow sing something off of Goat for one possible last time: Sleep, Devo, Spiritualized, Young Marble Giants, The Cave Singers, Antipop Consortium, and Sleepy Sun.
- The mystery: this is the Fans Strike Back version of ATP, in which attendees vote for the bands they want to see play -- since the votes have not yet been tabulated, not every artist has been announced.
- My vote: Al Franken!!!

In addition to the ATP festivities, Touch and Go will also reissue and remaster several Jesus Lizard albums, including Liar, Head, Goat, and Down, with the expanded packaging and fancy liner notes we reissue collectors have come to know and love. Release dates are set for sometime in May 2009, and Drowned in Sound is reporting that Bob Weston of Shellac will be the man behind the remastering with Mr. Steve Albini himself "sitting in."

Fortunately, if you're broke like me and can't envision yourself getting any closer to this totally bitchin' reunion than maybe possibly saving up for a reissued LP, there is good news. The Jesus Lizard are playing a super-limited, super-secret series of shows (well, "secret" in a they-haven't-revealed-them-yet way) in the months after ATP, concluding with a final final show in the infinitely-closer-than-Minehead city of Chicago next November.

Constantines Play North America Again, White Fans Welcome Them With Apple Pie, Baseball, and Parochialism

After Constantines' first visit to Meh-hee-ko (which we didn't report because we have no confirmed Mexican readers), the band is presumably rushing back to North America to play to whiter audiences.

"I can't wait for their return!" exclaims a pale-skinned TMT reader. "Their music says a lot about my race and the complex history from which I was born into."

The band starts up the tour tomorrow in Waterloo, supporting its latest full-length, Kensington Heights (TMT Review), perhaps one of the "whitest" permutations of rock released since Eric Clapton's The Road to Escondido. Their most recent evidence of whiteness can be heard on the B-side of Constantines' third 7-inch single, "Our Age": a cover of Neil Young's "Fuckin' Up."

^ Obits

HRSTA Are Going on Tour, But Does My Friend Know Who They Are?

Hey, have you heard of HRSTA?

No, what is that?



I was going to write a news story about HRSTA, and I wanted to see how many people actually know them.

Well, who are they?

They're a band on Constellation. They released an album called Ghosts Will Come And Kiss Our Eyes (TMT Review).

Oh, I know HRSTA!! Mike Moya, Brooke Crouser, Harris Newman, and Eric Craven, right? They released that album last year, and it was recorded and mixed at The Pines in Montreal by David Bryant. If memory serves me, Newman mastered it at Montreal's Greymarket. Right?

Oh shut up.

M83 To Open For The Killers; No, Seriously!

Although the touring combination of M83 and The Killers may seem a bit odd to fans of Anthony Gonzalez’s atmospheric soundscapes (maybe not so much to fans of The Killers’ ’80s rip-offs), the two bands actually have more in common than you think. For example:

- Both bands have charted on Billboard, with M83’s latest album, Saturdays =Youth (TMT Review), debuting at #1 on the Top New Artist Heatseekers Chart and The Killers charting on, uh, every Billboard chart in existence basically.

- Saturdays = Youth is also the #1 record of 2008 at Urban Outfitters (since when do they have the authority to rank albums?), and I’d venture to guess that most fans of The Killers have a few overpriced “vintage” tees and cardigans from the clothing chain.

- Rolling Stone said in their review for Saturdays = Youth that it is full of “70mm songs for John Hughes movies yet to be filmed," and (what a coincidence!) most Killers fans weren’t even in the womb yet when Uncle Buck was in theaters.

If you really want to see M83 live but don’t want to deal with the "angst" of a Killers crowd, maybe the common ground between the two bands will make you feel a bit better. Or maybe you should just wait until M83 tour by themselves again.

Ah, Sweden. You good Scandinavian people just keep cranking out the classics. Whether your tastes in the arts run more towards the Runestone (it makes a reference to Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great! OMG!) or towards breathy female pop vocalists, Sweden has something for everything. And it has recently been revealed that Lykke Li, one of this beautiful northern nation's finest indie exports, will be embarking on a North American tour this winter in support of her debut full-length Youth Novels (TMT Review). This is great news, not only because "Little Bit" and "I'm Good, I'm Gone" are stone-cold killer jams, but also because this tour is largely above the Mason-Dixon line, and for those of us living in the wintry Midwest, any artist who goes on tours in February is basically considered some sort of entertainment-bringing demigod who must be revered and celebrated for breaking up our frost-bitten, boring, sozzled monotony.

So, cheers to you, Lykke Li, and your cold-enduring, Walpurgis Night-celebrating compatriots for bringing a little joy into the freezing desolation of middle America. And thank you for this wonderful opportunity to look up your homeland on Wikipedia in order to scrape up even the slightest of content for this story. Without your upcoming tour, I never would've learned about the delightful (and gross) summer tradition of kräftskivor or crayfish dinner parties. Tasty!