It is a long-standing joke among my friends (3) and acquaintances (5) that I myself am a joke when it comes to seeing movies. It is not that I don’t like movies -- I really do enjoy most that I happen to see. I just don't happen to make the effort to see many. I guess I am just more of an old-fashioned book guy or a “squatting-in-the-bushes-outside-your-house-for-hours” kind of guy. Regardless, any excuses I can muster would be lame because there really is no justification for the fact that the last time I stepped into a movie theater, it was either to see a young “MJ” Fox time-travel back to 1955 to resist the very real urge that every young man has to bang his mother or to witness Ralph Macchio's stringy crane-foot connect with the windpipe of a nasty Cobra Kai.
Music-wise, I’ve seen almost every act I have wanted to see, with few exceptions. For our purposes here, despite recommendations and near misses, and although they are not a movie, Mahjongg are on my “haven’t seen” list (which incidentally includes four of the six Star Wars movies, any Matrix, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter flick, most old “classics” like Gone With the Wind or Casablanca, anything directed by Todd Solondz, P.T. Anderson, Lars von Trier, Walter Salles, Spike Jonze, Todd Haynes, the Coen brothers, David Lynch [!!!...yep, can you believe that?], any of the Godfathers, anything voiced-overed by Bruce Willis or Roseanne Barr... the travesties go on forever!). It just hasn't worked out yet, but I know my quality time with Mahjongg will come, and it will come soon, because the rhythmic agitators are starting to gain momentum and notoriety, and some of the following winter dates are within hitchhiking distance from my hovel.
Here are the nights on the tiles:
01.22.08 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
01.23.08 - Buffalo, NY - Soundlab
01.24.08 - Cambridge, MA - TT the Bears
01.25.08 - Providence, RI - AS 220
01.26.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Southpaw
01.27.08 - Baltimore, MD - The Depot
01.28.08 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
01.30.08 - Columbus, OH - Skully's Music Diner
01.31.08 - Chicago, IL - Subterranean
02.21.08 - Milwaukee, WI - Mad Planet
02.22.08 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
02.23.08 - Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College-Gardner Lounge
02.24.08 - Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room
02.26.08 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
02.27.08 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
02.28.08 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
03.06.08 - San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
03.08.08 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
03.09.08 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
03.13.08 - Denton, TX - Rubber Gloves
03.15.08 - Lawrence, KS - Jackpot Saloon
Next month, Mahjongg will bestow upon the public the greatest gift short of a syphilis and Q-Ray bracelet: a new album! Kontpab, their first release for K Records, will be out February 12. In the words of Sensei Kreese: “Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy.”
3. Kottbusser Torr
4. Tell the Police the Truth
5. Those Bords Are Bats
6. Wipe Out
9. Rise Rice
"Caring Is Creepy" lyrics:
I think i'll go home and mull this over
Before i cram it down my throat
At long last it's crashed, it's colossal mass
Has broken up into bits in my moat.
Lift the mattress off the floor
Walk the cramps off
Go meander in the cold
Hail to your dark skin
Hiding the fact you're dead again
Undeneath the power lines seeking shade
Far above our heads are the icy heights that contain all reason
It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
That let us bet when you know we should fold
On rocks i dreamt of where we'd stepped
And the whole mess of roads we're now on.
Hold your glass up, hold it in
Never betray the way you've always known it is.
One day i'll be wondering how
I got so old just wondering how
I never got cold wearing nothing in the snow.
This is way beyond my remote concern
Of being condescending
All these squawking birds won't quit.
Building nothing, laying bricks.
Wales' sexy indie pop band Los Campesinos! are a lot like those crazy open-source Linux users. First off, "los campesinos" is Spanish for "the peasants," which could also be used to describe Linux users. You see, these people get little-to-no compensation for what they do, but still love helping each other out. It's actually pretty cute. Which brings me to my next point: Have you seen the Linux mascot, Tux? He's like the cutest penguin ever! And Los Campesinos! are pretty damn cute as well (especially Harriett... oh I love it when she plays the violin).
That's just surface-level shit. Check it:
- Los Campesinos!'s new album is called Hold on Now Youngster..., and it opens up with a track called "Death to Los Campesinos!" The title convinces me of the group's assuredly Linux roots, what with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates continually screaming "Death to Linux Users!" from atop their closed kingdoms. Okay, that's kinda dubious. But there's more.
- Track three "Don't Tell Me to Do the Maths" (probably) focuses on how Linux users are total fuggin' nerds and don't like to be told what to do. (Word to the wise: these motherfuckers are stubborn; just ask them to fix your computer, and they'll just offer to install Ubuntu instead. No questions asked; they hate questions, but they have all the answers.)
- "We Are All Accelerated Readers" sums up how much smarter these crazy technophiles are than you. But they've always stood out intellectually -- that's why they're Linux users. They love bashing Apple users for their jackassedness when it comes to brand loyalty, but you better be damn sure the Linux users love being in with the "out crowd," and they want you to know it.
- Despite their elitist behavior, the Linux doods are nice. Yeah, that's right. That's why on track nine, "You! Me! Dancing!," Los Campesinos! sing about how Linux lovers want everyone to be living harmoniously in some kind of pseudo-communist society, where everyone lives underneath the GNU license. Yeah, it'd be weird, but somehow I think we'd all be happy. Plus, our computers would at least work. (Fuck you Vista.)
So, check out Los Campesinos!'s debut album, Hold on Now Youngster..., and find out whether or not it's truly about the magical world of Linux when it's released February 25 in the UK and April 1 here in the states. You can download the digital album from Arts&Crafts February 25 as well. But whatever you do, don't play the trax in iTunes because that shit is closed source. Get another program like Totem or some shit.
I hope you are viewing this tracklisting on your open source Firefox browser:
1. Death to Los Campesinos!
2. Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats
3. Don't Tell Me to Do the Math(s)
4. Drop It Doe Eyes
5. My Year in Lists
6. Knee Deep at ATP
7. This Is How You Spell. "HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics"
8. We Are All Accelerated Readers
9. You! Me! Dancing!
10. ...And We Exhale and Roll Our Eyes in Unison
11. Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks
Be sure to put these awesome tour dates in your open-source calendar program:
# ATP vs. Pitchfork
* with Les Savy Fav, Future of the Left, Cut Off Your Hands
Get ready, my galactic-a-go-go guys and gals. Hell, even mark up your Belle and Sebastian calendar*. Stars is touring Europe, starting January 22 in Ireland.
What better way to ring in 2008? Especially since you OBVIOUSLY have a Belle and Sebastian calendar to mark up.
Did I also mention, reader baby, that I really love Nesquik, Red Bull, Ray Bans, Google, and American Express?
Tour dates probably inadvertently supported by Nesquik, Red Bull, Ray Bans, Google and American Express (I mean, isn’t everything?):
* Indie product placement-a-go-go
Le Loup Tours WITHOUT Bodies of Water
Bodies of Water Tour with Le Loup in 960,375-Part Vocal Harmony
UPDATE (1/9): We originally reported that Bodies of Water and Le Loup are going on tour together. Turns out, Bodies of Water are instead going on tour with Sons & Daughters. Updated tourdates below, but we kept the same story, because, shit, why not keep things a little confusing? We're living in confusing times, my friends. -Editor
SC: So you have that band, Le Loup.
HA: Uh... yeah.
SC: It has about 75 people in it playing 84 different instruments.
SC: We have a band that does that too. We think they're pretty good.
HA: Yeah? Well, ours likes to bust a move on stage once in a while. Collectively.
SC: My band does too. I bet they'd kick your band's lily asses in that department.
HA: I bet not.
SC: I'll bet you a U.S. tour.
HA: You're on.
SC: Great! The first date is in Dallas, Texas. Don't be late! (hangs up)
HA: Uh... I think we just booked a tour for Le Loup. Oh well. Cool. Except they're not going to fucking Texas; I'll say that right now!
I mean, you can take this or leave it. Just throwing it out there. Either way, this'll be a rager of a tour. A very well-orchestrated rager, I might add.
The French horn is cool again (THESE DATES ARE LE LOUP DATES, NO BODIES OF WATER):
New York City triad Rings (formerly First Nation) will begin touring the South with White Williams at the beginning of February, in support of the release of Black Habit (due January 15 on Paw Tracks), their first album under the new moniker.
As previously reported (TMT News), the name change reflects the band's new lineup; original members Nina Mehta and Kate Rosko added Abby Portner (sister of Animal Collective's Dave Portner) after Melissa Livaudais left the band. Rosko says the name change was also in part politically motivated, as Native Canadians identify themselves as citizens of the First Nation, and the band no longer felt the use of the name was culturally sensitive. In an e-mail message, Rosko also said, "The songs on the Rings album reflect a really different -- more personal and poppy -- feeling than the songs on the First Nation record, which I think are a little more political and socially oriented and harder sounding."
Rings are also planning a West Coast tour at the end of February, as well as a few more East Coast dates, including a record release show in NYC. For more information, visit the Paw Tracks website.
* White Williams
On their catchy-as-all-get-out single "Oxford Comma," Vampire Weekend asks us the burning question, "Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?" Though the most famous band ever to have not yet released an album may well have meant this rhetorically, I must insist that I do, in fact, give a fuck about an Oxford comma.
I'll admit, I had to look it up (at the website www.askoxford.com, no less). But when I found out that an Oxford comma is the "optional comma before the word ‘and’ at the end of a list," I realized it was something worth fighting for. While technically superfluous, that helpful, little punctuation mark adds a subtle symmetry to sentences and -- yes -- makes my heart beat a bit faster.
So while I fundamentally disagree with indie rock's favorite Ivy League grads on certain, non-essential points of grammar, I can't get that goddamn song out of my head. If you weren't lucky enough to acquire a copy of their now-legendary "Blue CD-R," you can catch the ditty on their forthcoming, self-titled album. Vampire Weekend (XL) hits the street January 29, and the band begins their tour with a sold-out Bowery Ballroom show that night.
Most famous band ever to sell out two dates at the Bowery Ballroom without even releasing an album yet:
01.29.08 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
01.30.08 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
01.31.08 - San Francisco, CA - Popscene
02.06.08 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
02.07.08 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
02.08.08 - Williamstown, MA - Williams College
02.09.08 - Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts
02.13.08 - Cincinnati, OH - The Gypsy Hut
02.14.08 - Columbus, OH - Wexner Center, Ohio State University
02.15.08 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Museum
03.06.08 - Toronto, Ontario - The Social*
03.07.08 - Big Cypress Indian Reservation/South Florida Everglades -
Langerado Music Festival
03.09.08 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl*
03.10.08 - Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree*
* The Walkmen
EXTRA! EXTRA! Nobodaddy Writes PANDA BEAR Story, Galvanized Public Voraciously Reads On Despite Ambiguous Headline
So, not that I'm Noah Lennox's pitch person or anything, but ever since animal-powered art-rocker Noah Lennox gnawed the shit out of all comers in this past year's heady Album of the Year throwdown like they were helpless sticks of bamboo, it just seems like anything the man does qualifies as news... especially here at TMT, where we'll cover just about ANYTHING as long as it makes you love us more, dear reader! You DO love us, don't you??? :)
And so, it is in this spirit of insecurity, eeeeelectric-yellow journalism, and Pitchfork-reading that I excitedly report that Panda Bear has taken the next logical step in his career arc as a successful musician and artist: badass clothing designer.
That's right, folks, Lennox and wife Fernanda Pereira (sorry girls, looks like you'll have to redirect your secret crush back to Howard Roark and Stephen Dedalus) have recently announced the creation of 2nd Things, "a second project for both of us and... a second chance for forgotten clothing." Intrigued? Well, you should be. Mr. and Mrs. Bear say that their new company will offer a line of second-hand sweatshirts which have been skillfully and artfully altered for your indie-cred convenience, and that these little numbers are presently available for purchase through their website. However, the Pandas have only crafted an initial run of 50 of these things, so they are naturally all sold out at the moment. They say that they'll be trying to fill orders as they can, so if you want your very own piece of Panda, you'd better act quickly.
No word yet on what's next for 2nd Things, but at this rate, Noah will be on MTV hosting "Making the Indie Band" in no time!
Animal Collective ‘08 Dates (a.k.a. 1st Things):
* Kria Brekken
Broken Social Scene Tour, But Not In America, Causing Me To Seriously Rethink Whether Or Not I Feel Like Writing This News Story (Especially Since Microsoft Works Crashed and I Am Writing it Again)
Sure, Broken Social Scene toured America. Did I know about it? Yes. I'm only a music news writer. Did I go? No. I directly blame the dreaded "Man." Stay in college, kids, stay in college.
The Scene laid low toward the end of 2007, with the exception of Kevin Drew's secret acoustic show Mexico City last month. (Eff you too, Mexico.) Thankfully, all 87 other members (even Feist, who had to be talked out of becoming the new Breck Girl) of BSS will be joining him on the road starting February 20 in New Zealand. Not New York. I quit.
BSS will be mine. Oh yes, they will be mine:
The Hafler Trio should need no introduction. A forerunner of the oh-so-hip hauntology movement (though never by "their" admission, of course), Andrew McKenzie and his associates/collaborators -- recently including Pan Sonic, Autechre, Fovea Hex, Jónsi Birgisson, David Tibet, Blixa Barageld, and less recently Chris Watson (formerly of Cabaret Voltaire, currently a resident BBC sound recordist putting out fantastic field recordings on Touch Music) -- have been steadfastly exploring and redefining what's possible with sound as early as 1979, since The Hafler Trio's beginnings as part of the post-Throbbing Gristle industrial fallout in Britain (including but not limited to Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound, and Psychic TV -- the last of which very briefly included McKenzie within it's ranks). So, after over two decades of elaborately packaged and endlessly fascinating releases, you ought to have a few of them. But perhaps you've been wondering about that "Simply Superior" logo found on many Important Records releases? A message sent to David Tibet to be posted on durtro.com can perhaps shed some light on the matter:
http://www.simplysuperior.org is an attempt, by the Hafler Trio and its esteemed associates, to address the situation with which the marketplace confronts those engaged in the creative act and to equitably deal with interactions there, thus providing an alternative way of approaching the problems and benefits such opportunities offer. Rather than complain about how changing circumstances affect creativity, it is an attempt to create a place where such endeavours can be seen in a new light, and take root in a new soil. Finally, it is also an attempt to repay the debt of being allowed to exist in this fragile system for many years.
For those of you accustomed to Andrew's peculiar manner of communicating ideas, that ought to be enough; for the rest of you adventurous consumers increasingly jaded by commercial music but a bit bewildered with McKenzie's prose, a summary: With the beginning of the new year, The Hafler Trio have opened an online store of epic proportion, addressing the ideological and monetary divides between so-called "high class" art/gallery art and Sound Art with a most intriguing item for sale. At Simply Superior, in addition to being stimulated visually and aurally, you'll find that an edition-of-one, personally crafted Hafler Trio release is available for any rabid fan willing to shell out nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine euros. Lord knows if I'll ever be able to afford one, but it's certainly exciting and probably worth saving up for. In the meantime, the shop also features less expensive items from the h3o back catalog available for considerably more affordable prices, with the assurance that an increasingly varied selection of products will be available as time goes on.