Well, this news seemed to have come out of nowhere. Germanic trio The Notwist have just announce that they have a new album coming out in June. The 11- track LP, The Devil, You + Me, will be released by Domino, the label that put out the band's last effort, 2002's Neon Golden (TMT Review). It should also be noted that the 20+ members of the jazz-art weirdo known as Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra will be in the house, er, on the album.
Unless you are incredibly aware of the doings and happenings of The Notwisters, I'm sure you're thinking, "What the hell took so long? I am the consumer, and you are the musician, so make some damn music already, so I can consume it and, if I have time, talk a bunch of shit about it in a few blog comment boxes." (Btw, you're a dick.) But do the names 13 & God, Lali Puna, Ms. John Soda, Console, and Tied And Tickled Trio ring a bell? These are all side projects by the various members of the band, which have occupied their time since promoting NG. In other words, they have been busy, so shut up and circle the whole month of June in red marker on your calendar. Then, in a month or so, when the record has a specific release date, make a bunch of arrows from the circle inward toward the exact day of the album's release. Then sit and wait.
The Devil, You + Me tracklist:
I'll spare you the details of my hellacious week, but suffice to say, I'm in a bad mood and pretty tired, so I'm not going to use any exclamation points in this news article. Don't take it as a lack of enthusiasm for Sonic Youth -- I'm a big fan. Yay, Sonic Youth.
So, it's March, spring cleaning time, which is exactly what Sonic Youth was doing when they discovered the master tapes to the 1987 Master-Dik EP they never got around to releasing on CD.
Thurston Moore: Shit... you wanna run out and put this on a CD?
Some other member of Sonic Youth: Yeah, boss.
And there you have it. Eight tracks, including a cover of The Ramones' "Beat on The Brat" and a probably-hard-to-endure sound collage of "psycho-distorto-soundscapes recorded by the band while on tour and at Wharton's Palace of Confusion," available now at the Sonic Youth gift shop.
Master-Dik EP tracklist:
2. Beat on the Brat
3. Under the Influence of The Jesus and Mary Chain/Ticket To Ride/Master-Dik(version)/Introducing the Stars
4. Ringo/He's On Fire/Florida Oil Drums/Westminster Chimes
5. Chinese Jam
6. Vibrato/Guitar Lick/Funky Fresh
7. Our Backyard
But wait, there's more -- like the seventh installment of Sonic Youth's experimental goulash, which touts itself as a self-released, vinyl-only edition, among several other abstruse adjectives and compound modifiers. SYR 7 consists of two pieces, Side A's "J'accuse Ted Hughes" and Side B's "Agnes B Musique," merging as a total of 40 minutes of experimentation that I honestly don't have the patience for when I'm moody and tired. Available April 22; get ‘em while they're hot.
SYR 7 tracklist:
1. J'accuse Ted Hughes
2. Agnes B Musique
It’s a tough world out there for those elder statesmen of indie rock. You’re trying to put out new albums and stay relevant -- Real Emotional Trash (TMT Review) in Stephen Malkmus’ case -- and meanwhile, you have an entire new generation of bands yipping at your tired heels. Bands that are young enough to be your kids!
Well, Malkmus is not about to let Vampire Los Weekend Campesinos get him down. Oh no, he’s going to show those kids that he and his merry band of Jicks are worth their salt by adding a few European dates to his already lengthy Spring tour.
Take that, youngsters:
# John Vanderslice
^ The Joggers
Hide your ones and zeroes, folks, ‘cause the the criminal organization of musicians known as Sigur Rós will be releasing their potentially deadly Heima virus on YouTube tomorrow (Friday). Word has it that Sigur Rós will take over all 12 video slots on YouTube's front page, plastering them with ten videos from the "Minn Heima" YouTube/Sigur Rós competition, a "special message" from the band (possibly of the terrorist variety), and Heima in full, their viral documentary most likely about amateur pornography and Icelandic carpentry.
You can read the terrorist propaganda on their site here.
Half Japanese are playing five shows at SXSW this year, with one of its early lineups of Jad Fair, David Fair, Mark Jickling, Rick Dreyfuss, John Dreyfuss, and John Moremen. A couple of the shows will exhibit art by both Jad and David (worth checking out because Jad's art is AWESOME, and I'm sure David's is too), while the WFMU Showcase will feature Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan on saxophone.
Meanwhile, you can checkout free Jad Fair albums at his MySpace, and you might as well start changing your SXSW plans to fit in all five Half Japanese shows. I'll be sure to tell you to do other things in future TMT news stories.
We Are Those Who Ache With Amorous Love, as long as you have a badge:
* Jad Fair art exhibition
# Jad Fair and David Fair art exhibition
So, I came into the TMT offices today, and guess what? Same old shit. Mr P's in his office with a couple TMT fans, Gumshoe is yelling at a newbie for incorrectly using a semicolon, and NicoleMC99 is complaining to Squeo about the ass-chafing, eco-friendly toilet paper. Nobodaddy called in sick, and P Funk hasn't even showed up for the past two days! Don't get me wrong; I love TMT. But I'm getting so sick of it here.
Which is why I'm thinking of applying to Pitchfork. In addition to its foray into branding (TMT News), Pitchfork actually has its shit together. I'm sure you've heard of Pitchfork.tv by now, Pitchfork's "online music video channel" that debuts April 7. It'll feature full-length concerts, feature films, and more! I mean, why can't TMT do anything interesting? Seriously. Mr P's all "I don't want to post MP3s and videos because it's too promotional, blah blah blah." What a d-bag. I hear where he's coming from, but what about trying to expose new acts to readers? Is it really so bad to promote bands you believe in? Criticism is dead, Mr P! The lines have blurred a long time ago!
It really comes down to this: Jim DeRogatis (critic for Chicago Sun-Times and co-host of Sound Opinions) interviewed Pitchfork editor-in-chief Ryan Shreiber for his blog -- when asked if he knew who Mr P was, he responded: "Mr P? Isn't that a pizza shop on 46th?" Anyway, it's worth checking out the interview. He asks Shreibtown some tough questions:
- Now, what band is going to deny you the right to videotape them and show that content for free on Pitchfork.tv if it’s worried about not getting a good review on the Web site? What band is going to say no to playing the festival, even if it has a better offer somewhere else, and what band is going to reject letting you include them on a videogame soundtrack?
- I don’t know if I believe in the notion of selling out, but I do believe in the notion of credibility, and you guys have been very credible critics up to now. But when you get into the business of lining up bands for the soundtrack of a baseball video game, I’m going to start to wonder if I can trust that 9.4 rating anymore.
- What about the video game soundtrack? Doesn’t that kind of tarnish what you say Pitchfork is doing?
Meanwhile, check out Pitchfork.tv in April, and, really, stop reading "pizza shop" Tiny Mix Tapes. I've had one foot out the door for quite some time now. Oh shit, Mr P's coming. Gotta publish this quick!
Spring time: a time for gently falling rains, blossoming flowers, and the hatching of tiny, fuzzy chickens still too cute to be eaten. As the evil, cold, greying snow melts from the ground, new life bursts forth into the balmy, sweet air. It's a time for rebirth, for new hopes, for celebrations. But whatever, who really cares about all that when you know that it is also time for a Bonde do Role tour?!?!?!
After the departure of singer Marina Vello late last year, the future of the Brazilian baile funk dance powerhouse Bonde do Role was a big question mark. But they're back, and possibly better than ever! (Judge for yourself -- I haven't seen the new lineup yet.) They're performing at Coachella and across North America, and they've added not one but two new vocalists! These upstanding young women, Ana Bernardino and Laura Taylor, joined the band after what must surely have been a grueling audition process staged in conjunction with MTV Brasil.
Take off that parka, and get ready to get down, because Bonde do Role is coming to a town near you!
Good day consumers! Why the happy greeting, you ask? When your dependence and concerns over shares and other equities about your portfolio are at an all-time high, when subprime losses are turning everyone into headless investment chickens, when you throw good money after bad in the vain hopes of recovering some market and personal respectability, when both big-wig hedge funders and half-penny stock players are running for life's exits doors, why have I dared to open this otherwise asinine news story with that pert and positively perky welcome?
Because all news is not bad.
Drag City's financial advisers are standing by to give you some much needed respite from your anguish with this following optimistic portent: Silver Jews will return with a new album, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea. The band, the label, and a frothing pack of industry experts say that June 17 is the day when you should divert funds normally headed to your over-padded 401(k) or to your over-spudged collection of vintage Oui and Cheri skag mags and put them toward the latest effort by the incomparable David Berman and his current gang of touring, and now recording, collaborators: partner Cassie, Tony Crow, Brian Kotzur, Peyton Pinkerton, and William Tyler.
Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, Lookout Song Titles:
1. What Is Not But Could Be If
2. Aloysius, Bluegrass Drummer
3. Suffering Jukebox
4. My Pillow Is the Threshold
5. Strange Victory, Strange Defeat
6. Open Field
7. San Francisco B.C.
8. Candy Jail
9. Party Barge
10. We Could Be Looking for the Same Thing
Berman seems hellbent on making up for lost time lately, jumping into mundane muso activities like press and promotion and touring, with a zest that he used to reserve for things like shunning the telephone and daylight. When a Silver Jews North American tour is announced, we will bring it to you, but for now, the following dates are on Berman's sched:
05.07.08 - Brighton, England - Concorde 2
05.09.08 - Glasgow, Scotland - ABC #
05.16-18.08 - Minehead, England - Butlins Holiday Resort *
05.29.08 - London, England - Indig02
05.30-31.08 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival
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# Deathbomb Arc/Cock Rock Disco/Load Records SXSW showcase
Pitchfork Media Lends Its Name, Discriminating Taste to Video Game Soundtrack; TMT Maybe Gets Back to the Future Pinball Machine for Office
Consummating a collective wet-dream for scrawny, irony-loving music hipsters everywhere who have longed for years to reconcile their fanatic love of music and geeky appearance with their severe phobia of all things athletic into a singular, unholy, masochistic mashup of love-to-hate-it, "cool-because-it's-not" clusterfuckage, 2K Sports (you know, the sports publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.?) has announced plans to partner with influential music outlet Pitchfork Media in support of their highly anticipated new game, Major League Baseball 2K8.
2K Sports has invited Pitchfork -- who, according to... ummm, Forbes Magazine... uh, "shares a passion for the game of baseball" -- to select half of the music to be featured in Major League Baseball 2K8, with the somewhat monstrously capitalist hope that the nerdy and jobless will be able to enjoy a pointlessly cutting-edge selection of the most intimidatingly discriminating music around (along with the deepest and most authentic baseball simulation experience available, of course). Artists include Modest Mouse, Peter Bjorn & John, The Cure, The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Apparently, the old bleacher mainstays like Van Halen's "Jump" and Mungo Jerry's "In the Summer Time" just don't cut it anymore, huh?
"Baseball and video games are two of Pitchfork's favorite hobbies, so the opportunity to select music for Major League Baseball 2K8 is a dream come true," says Chris Kaskie, associate publisher at Pitchfork and lover of free video games. "Partnering with 2K Sports is a natural fit for Pitchfork, as they're a like-minded company that shares a passion for music and a desire to promote forward-thinking and exciting new projects instead of following a more traditional path. We're thrilled to work with 2K Sports to select one half of the Major League Baseball 2K8 soundtrack, and can't wait to play the game."
Oh, but the brand-building doesn't stop there. Each artist and song selected for the game by Pitchfork will also be denoted as a "Pitchfork Pick," when and wherever it shows up in the game, and each tune will supposedly include "additional bio information" as well. That way, you can stop to read a highly detailed review of the track you’re listening to before you, you know, play a simulated game of baseball from your couch.
"Pitchfork Media is a respected and reliable part of the independent music community and an integral part of the lives of hundreds of thousands of music enthusiasts worldwide," says director of brand and lifestyle marketing at 2K Sports Tim Rosa. "This is the first time Pitchfork Media has partnered with a video game publisher, which is exciting since we share the same dedicated passion for highlighting new artists and being involved in independent music. We've always respected their impeccable taste and no-holds-barred voice in the music industry because it complements our approach to games -- we both want to push our respective industries further by supporting independent substance over mainstream smoke." You heard him, people; give that little indie game Major League Baseball 2K8 a chance!
And speaking of awkward assimilations into "indie rock" culture, 2K Sports will apparently also join the 3rd Annual Pitchfork/Windish Agency Day Party at SXSW this year on Friday, March 14, because they are bros now. The lineup will include, duh, "Pitchfork Pick" Jay Reatard among others. Don't miss it! Meanwhile, Major League Baseball 2K8 (rated E) is due March 4, 2008 for just about every game system that is still competitive (sorry, Virtual Boy owners).
* denotes a "Pitchfork Pick" selection