Stars of the Lid and Stars Tour Separately

How to make a Star Finder:

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How to play the Star Finder game:

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Now play with your Star Finder at rock concerts!

Stars of the Lid tourdates, in support of last year's tremendous And Their Refinement of the Decline (TMT Review) on Kranky:

Excepter Saves a Chicken, New LP and Tour

Excepter and a chicken are playing in a meadow. Excepter falls into a mud hole and is sinking. He calls to the chicken to go and get the farmer to help pull him out to safety. The chicken runs to the farm, but the farmer can't be found, so he drives the farmer's BMW back to the mud hole and ties rope around the bumper. He then throws the other end of the rope to Excepter and drives the car forward saving him from sinking.

A few days later, the chicken and Excepter were playing in the meadow again, and the chicken fell into the mud hole this time. The chicken yelled to Excepter to go and get some help from the farmer. Excepter said, "I think I can stand over the hole!" So he stretched over the width of the hole and said, "Grab for my penis and pull yourself up." And the chicken did and pulled himself to safety.

Moral of the story: If you're hung like Excepter, you don't need a BMW to pickup chicks.

Debt Dept will be released March 11, Excepter's first album for Paw Tracks.

The Futureheads Tour the U.K., Are My Second Favorite Active Band with an Obnoxiously Strong British Accent

The first is Art Brut. Now that we've got that out of the way...

The Futureheads have a little treat for all the kids in the U.K. First of all, they're touring the shit out of the place, but they're also offering a free download of each night's rendition of "The Beginning of the Twist," the first single from their upcoming record. Every. Single. Night. This strikes me as great news for the following populations: (a) deranged fans who think that drummer David Hyde's extra high-hat flub at the Oxford Academy show is a sign of the second coming or (b) singer/guitarist Barry Hyde's high school guitar teacher, who will hear him drop a chord in the second verse at the Exeter and consequently leave him a "you naughty, naughty boy" voicemail. Otherwise, I'm not exactly sure who will be downloading nine live versions of the same jam without the context of an entire live show, but hey. If you're one of those people, shoot me an e-mail... I'd love to know how your mind works.

No tour companions yet, but some nice fellow on the band's official site promises they will be "some ‘waxer-belter’ (really great) support bands on the fight-card"! (Sometimes I really don't know what you Brits are talking about. But I like it.)

Bangers and mash, sod off, Chrimbo, other assorted phrases I don't understand, etc.:

The RIAA Finally Straightens Itself Out and Hires a Former FBI Agent

Kathy Leodler, a 23-year veteran of the FBI investigating everything from immigration to mail fraud, has signed on as the acting chief of the RIAA’s San Diego office. Bully for her, really, because she’s just the woman the RIAA needs to achieve its goal of stamping out every iota of illegal file-sharing.

Until now, the goal has always seemed just slightly out of reach for the RIAA constantly slipping through the fingers of the dedicated-but-inexperienced staff. With Leodler on the case, the organization can finally earn its keep. Pirates have waited far too long for the other shoe to drop, and I’d like to congratulate Leodler in advance for her swift and inevitable victory.

It will not surprise me if Leodler’s efficiency at her new post elevates her to a status similar to the rock stars she has altruistically vowed to protect, redefining not only the post of acting chief for an RIAA office, but the meaning of law enforcement itself.

As we raise our collective glass to toast Leodler’s inaugural few weeks in the position, I’d like to take a moment to look into the future, when Leodler, on her last day on the job, gets up from her desk and exits her office for the last time, her stoic expression belying the quiet confidence and shark-like detective skills that will no doubt have eliminated file-sharing forever. Cheers, Ms. Leodler.

Late that night, a stranger rolled into town. It was legendary punk band X on their 31st Anniversary tour!!

A lonely wind whistled through the parched streets of the small town. The sun beat down relentlessly and the townspeople stared at their feet as they trudged solemnly through the dusty lanes. It had not rained for weeks. At night, one could hear wolves howling in the distance.

The longer the town went without hydration, the more tempers flared. Anxious cattlemen huddled around the bar at the saloon, desperate for an escape from the rising heat and dying grass. Within the week, two men had been shot dead for cheating at cards. The wind blowing from the west carried the scent of the fires currently tearing down the coast.

The proprietor turned his back to put a new song on the Victrola. The crowd was starting to get loud and rough. It seemed all they ever did was wait for the rain to fall once again. Suddenly the saloon doors opened with a bang. In strolled John Doe and Exene Cervenka, trailed by Billy Zoom and, in the rear, D.J. Bonebrake. Heads turned as the legendary punk band X began to tune their instruments. "I hear you people have been having a mighty hard time of it," said John Doe. "Well, we can't make it rain, but we can make it ROCK!"

"We're touring to celebrate the band's 31st Anniversary," Exene added. "We've got a good number of shows announced, and possibly even more to come!"

"If only I'd known you were coming!" one of the ranchers exclaimed. "I would've put on my good hat."

"Well, from now on, I'd advise you to read Tiny Mix Tapes," said D.J. Bonebrake with a smile. "It's totally my preferred source for music news."

John Doe was right. It didn't rain, but no one cared because they got to hear "White Girl" and "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline."

Foreign Bjorn, Er, Born Just Ain’t One Of Us Tour

Bjorn started here about a month ago, and from the start, I could tell he just wasn’t one of us. Everyday when the lunch whistle blew, me and the guys’d go to the corner, talk about the missus', have a couple brews, heck, sometimes more than a couple.

Bjorn? ...Bjorn was different. Strange. An odd fuckin’ bird. He’d come into work all dressed up, somekinda thick gunk in his hair, always talking in that accent about something nobody could understand. One time he nearly dropped a girder on my head, not that I hold a grudge or nothing, but you get the idea. Frankly, we were all sick of it. So it’s a good thing he hasn’t come in these past few days.

It’s a damn good thing.

Tourdates:

It’s the TMT failsafe: when struggling for a story idea, confuse the band’s name with some other noun. Today, I confuse the English band, Clinic, with a methadone clinic. Don’t worry, Scout, I’m not really a junky.

Of course I know about Clinic. Where do you think I go every Wednesday at noon? Get my shit worked up real good. It's a bummer though, because if I had it my way, I'd only go once a month. Laws say they can only give me, at most, one week's supply of methadone. Major bummer. So, yeah, I know about Clinic.

It all happened by accident, of course. One of my dudes said, "Hey, inject yourself with this shit. It feels good." I figured it was something innocuous like vitamin C. Turns out it was heroin -- chick, brother, Harry Jones, China white, PURE H. Did it feel good? Did I feel like God? Hell yes, and before I knew it, I was full on like King Kong. I was floating. I was chasing the dragon. I was a sleepwalker.

So, yeah, again, I know about the clinic. So? Oh shit! You meant Clinic, not the clinic. Of course! What about them? They cleaned me right up... err, I mean, yeah rock ‘n’ roll! Just a sec, let me "Google" the fuck out of ‘em. Ahhh, yes, yes, now I remember: "a decade of funk, celebration and soft metal." They wear masks. Do you think they'd hook it up with methadone?

I know Clinic. They are the dudes who tour and don't come to Indiana. Don't you hate hearing tour announcements and then finding your state not on the itinerary? It's like a handjob with sandpaper. Maybe.

But yeah, these dudes, Clinic, not the dudes at the clinic, are pushing out their fifth studio album -- not weekly supplies of methadone. Titled, Do It!, the album will be released April 8 from Domino Records. Instead of turning into a cotton shooter, you should listen to the first single from Do It!. Visit clinicvoot.org February 1 for a free download of "Free Not Free"/"Thor."

There, of course, will be a tour to support Clinic's new album. Ideally, I'll be seeing these guys in NYC because I'm tired of the weak-ass Nixon shit that's been filtering into the Midwest lately. So, if anybody has a room for me in May, let me know. Okay? Thanks.

Do It! tracklisting:

What Made Milwaukee Famous Tours, Contemplates What Made Them Famous

What Made Milwaukee Famous:

- Miller beer
- Summerfest
- The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, a.k.a. the world's largest four-sided clock
- Harley-Davidson

What Made Milwaukee Famous (the Barsuk Records band, not the city):

- Performed on Austin City Limits with Franz Ferdinand, making them the only unsigned band to do so in ACL’s 32-year history
- Fooled everyone into thinking they’re from Milwaukee when they’re really from Austin
- Opened several shows for The Smashing Pumpkins in 2007

But don’t expect WMMF to be content with that list; they’ve got a city with the same name to compete with after all! Their sophomore album, What Doesn’t Kill Us, is due out March 4 on Barsuk, and they’ve got a whole slew of tourdates this spring to help spread the good Milwaukee name around. Good luck, boys -- I heard the city’s been around since the 1800s.

What Made Milwaukee Tour:

Open Wide: Black Dice To Blow Their Load on Tour

So, you think you figured out what Black Dice meant when they titled their latest album Load Blown (TMT Review)? Think again, junior. Had Black Dice answered my e-mails/calls, they would've explained how Load Blown isn't merely about jerking off and then having your "load" "blown." They're talking about you jerking off, having you shoot off an initial load, and then having that load get a blowjob -- hence, your "load" getting "blown." Fucking hardcore.

Now it's your turn to show Black Dice how hardcore you are, by jizzing all over fucking everything -- the walls, toiletries, bar stools, staff, fans, stage, music equipment, roadies -- fucking everything your load can reach at the European venues below. As for you women? Well, all I can say is that you should definitely consider sporting protective eyewear.

Back and forth, up and down:

Ice Cube Changing the Face of Hip-Hop, Not Including a “Feat. T-Pain” in a Potential Collaboration with Nas, Scarface

According to hip-hop’s sweaty-solid-cool Ice Cube, there could be an upcoming collaboration featuring the rapper himself, Nas, and Scarface in the future.

And, in bizarre departure from everything that’s been going on as of late, the potential collab does not mention a plan to feature T-Pain in any way.

Obviously, T-Pain will take this lack of inclusion as a personal insult, considering the incendiary, Earth-shattering nature of an American hip-hop artist NOT featuring the teamwork-happy artist, and NOT having to maybe share a Grammy with him.