Unfortunately for Death Cab for Cutie lead guitarist Chris Walla, his four-years-in-the-making solo album Field Manual hit a snag on the home stretch. Speaking to MTV, after finishing recording:
"Barsuk Records hired a courier to bring the album back from Canada. And he got to the border and he had all his paperwork, only they turned him away, and they confiscated the drive and gave it to the computer-forensics division of Homeland Security …And now I couldn't even venture a guess as to where it is, or what it's doing there… I don't know if we can hire an attorney. Is there a black-hole attorney? You can't take a black hole to court."
You know who can take a black hole to court? Chuck Norris. In an effort to settle the dispute, I've turned to an impartial source of evidence: the lyrics from Walla's main band. Sure, he didn't write them, but he still could have, at any time, stopped the release of immoral subject matter. But did he? No.
Number of DCFC songs mentioning:
- death: 8
- dismemberment: 5
- things burning: 3
- booze: 11
- Jesus: 0
Not to mention the fact that the "rocks left in both of our shoes" line from "Soul Meets Body" are clearly explosives.
Such incriminating evidence makes me happy that our tax dollars are hard at work catching terrorists working under the guise of independent recording artists. Good job, Homeland Security. I feel a lot safer at night, now that you've stopped this imminent threat to our nation's welfare.
In today’s “Star Talk” feature, four megastars from the critically-adored (really?) and commercial feel-good monster hit of the summer, Ocean's 13 -- George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, and Matt Damon -- show off their human sides as they answer questions from the press about the music they relax with while kicking back at home.
Serious journalist: So guys. What kind of music do you find yourselves listening to lately?
Clooney: Tony Bennett. Tony Roma. Tony Robooomba, Tony Toni Toné... Dean Martin, Martin Short, Sinatras, both senior and junior. Hey, did you know that people refer to us as the new “Rat Pack”? Hey Sammy! [shouting at Cheadle] Grab us a couple of Rob Roys, will ya?
Cheadle [muttering under his breath]: Oh shut the fuck up, you ass... you’ll get yours soon enough...
TMT hump (crawling from beneath the makeshift bar wearing underwear overtop of jeans): Hic... Do any of you like Frog Eyes?
Pitt: Frog Eyes? I was getting some of those from a chick at the Paris premiere!
Clooney (grabbing Pitt around the shoulders): Ha, ha, ha, ha... I love this guy! THIS IS THE GUY!
TMT hack (urinating into flowerpot): Um, anyway... Frog Eyes. Yeah, the ass-punching Victoria band will be playing a bunch of shows in Europe.
[Your trusty TMT newsie then passes around a list of Frog Eyes’ European tourdates scribbled out on bar napkins to everyone except Clooney, who recoils and claims to be deathly afraid of catching “averageness” from a “commoner.”]
Damon: Great. I may just check one of those shows out if I’m around. I really liked their last album Tears of the Valedictorian (TMT Review).
Cheadle: Yes, thanks for the head’s up. I’ve been a Frog Eyes fan since for years and just picked up the expanded reissues of The Golden River and The Bloody Hand. They are a wonderful live band.
Pitt: Why can’t everybody just bumble be, instead of bumble do?
Clooney: Yes! Yes! YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!
[Damon and Cheadle look puzzled and uncomfortable. Pitt sits with an idiotic grin like he just won the Nobel Prize for “Quips.” Clooney is collapsed and convulsing in a pool of drool.]
Serious journalist: How has George been to work with since his big Oscar win.
Damon [jovially]: Well, he's been a bit more of a taskmaster since he won that Oscar -- he, he....
Clooney [shooting daggers at Damon]: WELL, AT LEAST I’VE WON ONE FOR MY ACTING... WHAT HAVE YOU EVER DONE YOU PIECE OF PISS?!?!
Pitt [pretends to strip]: “Yikes, it's getting hott in herre... so take off all my clothes....”
Clooney: You are gold, my friend. Gold! Where's Sammy with a song and dance when I need one!? Get over here “Candyman!”
[Cheadle takes out revolver, blows away Clooney, pistol-whips Pitt, leaves the press conference, and walks into the moonlight holding Damon’s hand. They share a kiss as E.T. and Elliott fly overhead on a BMX.]
Tours of the Valedictorians:
Burial's music has been compared to everyone from Massive Attack (the forthcoming album Untrue was described as a "Blue Lines for the '00s") to Joy Division, as seen in K-Punk and TMT's own glowing five-star review of his first, self-titled effort. Both Wire and The Guardian voted the anonymous producer's debut as the number one album of the year in 2006, and it's considered to be the flagship album of the entire dubstep movement, which has since born much fruit and expanded globally in the 18 months since Burial's first album was previewed on BBC Radio 1's Mary Anne Hobbes show.
It now occurs to me that there is absolutely no way to cover this story objectively and without sounding like a total fanboy, so here are a few links regarding anticipation for the album, as well as a Mary Anne Hobbes quote from her intro to Kode 9's preview mix of Untrue, broadcast late Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning on Radio One (an irritatingly short 15-minute tease -- killer marketing, of course):
- "...This mix is a work of art in itself. I have to say I think it's the most wonderful mosaic of sound I've ever heard in my whole life, it doesn't even sound like it was made on this Earth, it could be a transmission from a star in a galaxy far far away... and I don't know about you, but this excites senses deep in my soul that I didn't even know I had, and it makes me feel like I'm falling in love with music at a completely different and way deeper level."
You can listen to the show, provided you allow Real Player to be installed on your computer, through Radio One's website.
Untrue is being released via Hyperdub in the UK November 5; shoppers outside of Britain can head to any one of the five online retailers listed at the very bottom of Hyperdub's website to pay money for the following 13 tracks:
Now, you kids listen here. I’ve been riding these rails for upwards of 30 years, and I’ll wager I can tell you a thing or two about trampin’. It’s a hard life, but I figure that’s the price a fella’s gotta pay to live free under these wide, open skies. I’ve seen cities change, I’ve seen people come and go. Out here, you gotta think on your feet, ‘cuz you never know where your next meal’s gonna come from. At the same time, you gotta take time to appreciate the good things in life: the epic sunsets, the camaraderie of good friends, the latest Soulsavers album. See, I don’t hold much store by much of the music nowadays. Hip-hop, electronica, arty postrock — none of it really speaks to me as a man born and bred alongside these dusty highways, a man with a keen sense of retribution and redemption.
But that all changed when I heard the Soulsavers had teamed up with Mark Lanegan for their latest outing, It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land. Columbia Records released that album yesterday in these fine United States, and ever since I heard the news, I’ve been traveling the old Canadian-Pacific line just to see ‘em in action. The band has come all the way over from England with main Soulsaver Rich Machin accompanied by an eight-piece band, two gospel singers, and Mr. Lanegan himself.
Well, you don’t have to take my word for it, but if this ain’t the tracklisting, then I ain’t a lonesome drifter!
PARIS – Outside a closed café in the alleys of Montmarte stands Jacques ‘Johnny’ Gaffe, lead singer of French punk legends Les Gaffes. At six-and-a-half feet, Johnny casts a foreboding shadow on the cobblestone street in a turtleneck and a pair of oversized dime-store sunglasses. In between sips of Turkish coffee, he tells me about the band’s latest project: an attempt to recreate Dirty Projector’s Rise Above (TMT Review) from memory in Les Gaffes’s own unique style.
“Yes, ziz is our favorite song to do. Zo we decided to make a... how you say... cover song,” he says with palpable indifference. “I have zeen the album cover in a garbage can while I was pizzing in ze street one day, and zat is all ze research I have done. The rest iz from memory.”
“Ve are wrestling ze essential French... ehh... punkrockness from zis American album.”
The origin of Les Gaffes is, as much of French history and culture, shrouded in mystery. But with the upcoming release, there seems to be big things in the future for Les Gaffes.
“I don’t know if we vill ever go to America. Ze wine and cheese is shit I hear. Ziz is important for ze punk rock.”
TMT Exclusive: Les Gaffes - "Histoire de Police" (a reimagining of The Dirty Projectors' "Police Story")
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Dirty Projectors tourdates:
Travels to Self-Release Debut Album But Will Continue to Seek Sponsorship Deal from L’OrÃ©al (Because They’re Worth It!)
Don’t let the big words and sophisticated air phase you: supermarket tabloid writing is not as difficult as people make it seem. It’s simpleton work... trust us, we’re more gutter than The National Enquirer, The Weekly World News, and People combined. Here is how we stir and spin the pot:
Take a subject, one who has already oversaturated the market like Britney (ALWAYS kick them while they’re down), less high-profile celebs like Meg White (we liked the potential of your alleged sex-tape a few weeks ago, even if it turned out to be someone else), and/or a forgotten B-lister completely off the map (the old and the bad, or those who can be made to look old or bad, are good targets). An affair is good. An STD can add a nice touch of class. A “source” is essential, but preferably one who is untraceable or entirely fictional. The basic rule is there are no rules except the presence of mandatory exclamation marks at the end of every sentence. Just grab someone who is famous, infamous, someone whose 15 minutes o’ fame are just about done, someone who cannot be bothered to care if their life is being ruined by a “journalist,” someone that doesn’t even exist, etc. and put them together in any way, shape, or form you desire. E.g.:
I had a three-way with Meg White and Betty White!
I had a four-way with Britney, Sanjaya, and Pinhead from Hellraiser!
Britney: “Pinhead from Hellraiser gave me the crabs!”
Betty White Death Watch! Former lover, Pinhead from Hellraiser, devastated!
When we are lucky, it takes even less time and effort than these pitiful but passable efforts above. We grudgingly report true news from time to time too when it falls onto our laps. Take this: Travels, Anar Badalov (Metal Hearts) and Mona Elliott (Victory at Sea) will independently release their superb self-titled debut album October 30. Travels contains 10 tales of perceptive pop, detailing life in all its seriousness, sadness, hope, and triumph. You can order the album and check out a couple of songs that stink of intelligence and originality here. There, no truth-bending and no shadow sources equals no lawsuits. I didn’t need to drum up excitement with exclamation marks for this one; the news did all the work by itself. Actually, it is a nice change writing pure and honest news stori... wait, did I just hear someone say something about J. Lo, Jar Jar Binks, corn cob holders, and a hot tub? Gotta go...
Travels, without my aunt:
1. Golden Sun
2. The Smell of Kerosene
3. Sixty Five and Sunny
4. People Sleep
6. There Is Movement
7. Love I Could Not Afford
8. Friends in Quotes
9. Hearts Racing
10. Olivia Hurt (Desolation in My Heart)
Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips has a special announcement to make! Please hold your cursor over him to see what he has to say and what he insisted on showing you.
For more info on the Zaireeka parties, go to The Flaming Lips' MySpace page.
(If you really feel the need
Read Pitchfork's review)
Back to the story...
Hot Chip have a new record
Called Made In the Dark
Tracks inspired by
Their energetic live shows
Comprise the album
The record will be
Released on DFA next
Haikus sure are fun
Let's hear it for creative
A short, One-Act play entitled: "How Alex Kapranos Accidentally Cock-Blocked Himself; A Cautionary Tale."
Scene: A Basement billiard room in the Franz Ferdinand Glasgow mansion
Alex Kapranos (timidly): Guys, I think I'm ready to ask Eleanor out, finally.
Rest of Franz Ferdinand (spitting out beer and dropping pool cues): Eleanor Freidburger!? Are you daft, man?? She lives in Brooklyn, and we're way over 'ere in Glasgow. It'd never work, mate. Not to mention that weirdo brother of hers! That bloke’s a few sheep shy of a herd, after all! Have you heard the new Fiery Furnaces record?
Alex (chalking his pool cue nervously): I know, i know, but I think maybe I can win the old girl over anyway. I just need a... a good opening line! You know, to sweep her off her feet! Her brother’ll never have to know.
The Franz (sarcastically): yeah... well, you work on that, Alex. See ya...
The band exits. Alex takes another swig of the beer bottle he'd been nursing, sits down on a nearby La-Z-Boy, and sighs heavily
Alex (now alone): Okay. Think Alex, think! Just one or two good lines... By Jove! I've got it. Where's the bloody telephone??? Ah, here it is!
Alex leaps up and reaches for his antique, rotary Mickey Mouse telephone and slowly dials the long-distance number
Eleanor Freidburger (sleepy): Hello?
(Alex clears throat)
Alex Kapranos (with feeling): “Eleanor, put those boots back on.
Kick the heels into the Brooklyn dirt.
I know it isn't dignified to run,
But if you run,
You can run to the Coney Island roller coaster.
Ride to the highest point and leap across the filthy water;
Leap until the Gulf Stream's brought you down...”
Alex: Eleanor?? Well, what do you say... Oh, nevermind. You're probably just too busy anyway...
Eleanor Freidburger: No, no, Alex! Wait. Actually, that sounds great! I'll be there in November with the band, right after the release of our fifth Fiery Furnaces LP Widow City (TMT Review) via Thrill Jockey! Oh, Alex, I'm so happy! I can't wait to see you! Isn’t that convenient???
Eleanor: Alex? What's wrong, sweetheart??
Alex: Wait... you're not going to bring Matthew with you, are you???
Upcoming UK Dates (much to the chagrin of Alex Kapranos):
British Sea Power Tour, Release EP And LP With No Mention of Pirates, Actual Sea Power Of Any Kind, Or Historical Events Older Than Five Minutes In This News Story And A Woman Nearly Spills A Cup of Coffee On Me
I’m not one to believe in karma (Okay, I’m already lying; you don’t get $500 in parking tickets for helping old ladies cross the street), but in the last five minutes:
- A young woman in a business suit spilled a cup full of steaming hot coffee just inches from my leg, laptop, and this news story.
- A homeless man sitting next to the Staples, from which I am currently accessing the internet, started smoking a cigarette.
- A pair of Germans sitting next to me gently pulled a scrap of paper that had fallen out of my pocket and into the coffee water on the ground and offered it to me hopefully.
The signs of mojo a-workin’ are everywhere. Take, for example, British Sea Power. If they can keep it together, that just gives me all kinds of warm, fuzzy hope for the rest of us.
A new EP (Krankenhaus?), a new CD (Do You Like Rock Music?). WOW.
Krankenhaus? digitally out now, on CD November 20:
# Stardeath and White Dwarfs
## CMJ Show w/ Pela, 1990s, Tiny Masters of Today, Stardeath and White Dwarfs, The Grey Race
### Wild Beasts
@ The Vanguard, Tracy is Hot and the Clap
* Revenge of Shinobi.
#### Wild Beasts, Micky P, Kerr, Jonjo Feather, A Love Supreme
& Wild Beasts, The Witch and the Robot, Fear of Mountains
##### White Mischief Event 'From The Earth To The Moon'