Cutie patooey Conor Oberst, best known for fronting the not-sellout band Bright Eyes and for looking good, is releasing his first solo album in roughly 13 years via Merge Records. Recorded in Mexico and produced by Oberst and Andy LeMaster, the self-titled (of course) release will feature a "special band" known as The Mystic Valley Band, who will surely have a little less brightness and a little more mystique, if my inside sources are to be trusted.
Conor Oberst is expected August 5. Oberst's first three solo releases were released on cassette, so if anything, this new Merge release is an indication that this boy is going places. I suppose that's what you get for having a flawless nose.
Conor Oberst tracklist:
Subtle Tour, Ready New Album + Graphic Novel, Make Funny Pictures, and Generally Do Not Live Up to Their Name
Attention all other musical acts: Independent hip-hop innovators Subtle are about to make you look like a bunch of lazy slobs, based on the fact that they will be dropping the following items on us, much to our delight. Ahem:
1. A new album! Ah-doy. ExitingARM comes out May 13 on Lex Records, promising to be the most accessible Subtle record yet. Yeah, that's what they all say. Except they seem pretty serious about all of this, so I wouldn't fuck with them. Subtle specialize in making music that's equal parts beautiful and credible, IMHO, so let's get our hopes up, shall we?
2. An online graphic novel. In case you haven't noticed, the graphic novel has total status these days, so feel free to correct anyone who jabs you for reading online comics. They're graphic novels, GOD! The Ought Almanac of Amassed Fact Vol. I accompanies the new album, and you can read it here.
3. A possible show on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, featuring the collaborations of Subtle frontman Doseone and animator Ghostshrimp, with Doseone lending his vocal chops. Doseone also animates "NOTgarfield" with the help of bandmate Jeffrey “Jel”” Logan - check it.
4. A tour is a tour, of cour ... that didn't work at all:
RIAA Sues Homeless Man For Cardboard Boxes, Can of Beans, Cool Stick Thing With Tied Polka Dot Kerchief on It
Seriously. In Warren v. Berry, the RIAA recently sued a homeless man. Rumor has it they were in it for the shopping cart.
"Gonna walk around and drink some more" might be a fine credo for the generally drug-addled laze-abouts that populate the scraggly yarns spun by Brooklyn-via-Minneapolis singer and Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn, but the trajectories of the real-life Finn and his chops-laden, avant-bar band members are looking infinitely more purposeful than that these days.
Well, okay... they're probably still going to do a lot of drinking, but at least they'll be doing a lot more traveling while they do (let's hope that someone else is driving, huh?).
Case in point, the famously thirsty band has recently signed a deal that will have their new album released through the legendary Rough Trade label in the UK and Europe, with the distribution rights being licensed from the boys' home team of Vagrant Records.
In a much more coherent statement than one might expect, Finn stated that the band is "really excited to begin this relationship with Rough Trade" for their fourth album, which of course will constitute the follow-up to 2006's breakthrough slice of Springsteen-on-Kerouac pie known as Boys and Girls in America (TMT Review). "From The Smiths to The Strokes, they have consistently released music from great artists and we are honoured to be a part of the roster. Rough Trade records have been part of my own collection since I started buying my own records in the early 1980s."
Hey, way to date yourself there, Craig.
Oh, and speaking of dates (seamless!), the band will also be doing a few victory laps around their new territory this spring. Catch them if you can, and maybe you can by them a drink to walk around with... or I guess "fly" around with, since they're big-time now.
05.11.08 - Camber Sands, UK - ATP
05.13.08 - Dublin, IE - Academy
05.14.08 - Belfast, UK - Spring and Airbrake
05.16.08 - Brighton, UK - Great Escape
In its latest effort to appear more "hip," "relevant," and "not like the Devil," Universal Music Group is reissuing a set of titles that will be exclusively packaged in recycled paperboard. These hippified titles will only be available at Wal-Mart, as the venture is being carried out in honor of the chain's "Earth Month." You thought your eyebrows couldn't possibly be raised any higher? Well, allow me to prove you wrong. The insert included in each CD will, when planted in the ground correctly, sprout wildflowers. Hopefully, the Happy Tree Friends will also appear to complete the circle of ridiculousness.
The albums receiving the green thumb treatment are mostly greatest hits compilations, which is an interesting roster in itself, prompting one to ask questions such as: "K-Ci & JoJo really had enough chart-toppers to warrant a ‘greatest hits’ album?" or "Would KISS really want their album insert to sprout dandelions?"
Let's get gardening!:
Bryan Adams - THE BEST OF ME
Bon Jovi - CROSS ROAD: GREATEST HITS
Boyz II Men - LEGACY: THE GREATEST HITS COLLECTION
James Brown - 20 ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS!
Jimmy Buffett - SONGS YOU KNOW BY HEART
Eric Clapton - CREAM OF CLAPTON
Patsy Cline - DEFINITIVE COLLECTION
Sheryl Crow - VERY BEST OF SHERYL CROW
Def Leppard - VAULT GREATEST HITS
Eagles - HELL FREEZES OVER
Melissa Etheridge - GREATEST HITS: THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
Marvin Gaye - EVERY GREAT MOTOWN HIT
Vince Gill - SOUVENIRS
Jimi Hendrix - EXPERIENCE HENDRIX
K-Ci & JoJo - ALL MY LIFE: GREATEST HITS
Toby Keith - GREATEST HITS
KISS - VERY BEST OF KISS
Lynyrd Skynyrd - ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS
Van Morrison - STILL ON TOP
Willie Nelson - SONGS
New Found Glory - HITS
Nirvana - NIRVANA
Lionel Richie - DEFINITIVE COLLECTION
Rush - THE SPIRIT OF RADIO
Scorpions - BAD FOR GOOD: BEST OF SCORPIONS
Soundgarden - A-SIDES
Steely Dan - DEFINITIVE COLLECTION
Styx - GREATEST HITS
Forget Facebook. Forget MySpace. Forget Friendster. (What, you've already forgotten Friendster???) I'm not telling you this because I want you to ignore the drunken messages I sent you last night. I'm telling you because your favorite major music conglomerate Universal Music Group has teamed up with Buzznet to bring you the most amazing, most exciting, most music-y new online social media content EVER.
Now, word on the street (or Billboard magazine, whatever you wanna hear) is that Buzznet has been kickin' it with a slew of new investors and partners. But, if you're like me, the only one you will really care about is this budding relationship with Universal. It's like this: Buzznet gets to use UMG's catalog for some streaming music and video action, as well as editorial content from Universal-signed artists cum guest bloggers. (Holy shit, right? Imagine the insights and life wisdom that Beck and Chamillionaire will be able to drop!) In return, UMG gets an equity stake in the company and the opportunity to disseminate the Pussycat Dolls' views on Iraq.
Blood On The Wall Found At Various American Venues Starting Friday (Though You Are Likely To Find Even More Disgusting Substances On The Floor)
New York group Blood On The Wall can, on paper, seem like a blast from the past. With vocals sounding occasionally like Thurston impersonating Black Francis, instrumental sounds sounding (in a crooked-line kinda way) like those fellows' most famous bands, and a sprinkle of early Sub Pop, some would be forgiven for thinking Blood On The Wall came out 15 years ago. Forgiven, but very wrong. See, BOTW has the type of qualities that overshadow their influences, making you nearly forget they exist. Besides, these are other things that BOTW have been compared to: a summer's day, a hearty Thanksgiving Day meal, and a swift kick to the head that alters your consciousness.
If you have checked out the band's three LPs, 2004's Blood On the Wall, Awesomer from 2005, and this year's Liferz (all on The Social Registry), then you know what I am talking about. One thing that can easily be gleaned from those records is that they must be absolutely devastating live. They've opened for bands like Sonic Youth, Black Dice, The Kills, and Dinosaur Jr., and now they are set to embark on a headlining tour of their own, starting in the place where its citizens should win the coveted "Most At Peace With Their Lives" award: Denver. For a month afterward, the band will blanket the USA with their sonic onslaught. Now, who doesn't like to be blanketed?
Band of Horses to Tour, Some Indie Kids to Not Have Real Taste and Misunderstand Ben Bridwell’s Alcohol-Induced Alt-Country Masturbation as High Art, or: An Intensive Questioning of Why Having a Crucial Beard Automatically Validates Anyone Artistically
Re: above headline.
THE HARD NEWS: Bridwell and the gang are doing the tour thing. Get out of ye olde U. S. of A. this summer and grab a lock of B’s beard hair at any of the following dates:
It’s a Thursday night. You’re exhausted from driving the kids to and from soccer practice in your Lexus SUV; all you want to do is curl up on your couch and watch the newest episode of Grey’s Anatomy (That McDreamy is something else, mmhmm.) You turn on the TV but... shit! It looks like the cable is out again! Fucking Comcast high-definition. You look around for something else to occupy your time with. The kids are in bed (thank god), your lawyer husband is “working late” at his office, and there’s only your new laptop to keep you company. The glow of the screen is inviting, soothing your lack-of-Grey’s migraine as you peruse your email.
Your eyes settle on a particular email, so you click it open. Your face lights up as you read the list of tourdates belonging to Maria Taylor, the very Maria Taylor that used to play in Azure Ray (a CD you swiped from your daughter) and who now has a solo career that is the soundtrack to your SUV-driving soccer mom suburban angst. And she’s playing the Knitting Factory in New York City! You mostly frequent the Upper East Side, but you may have to make a trip with your girlfriends down to Tribeca just for this. Sighing, you look around at the scattered toys on the floor and dirty dishes piled up in the sink. You could definitely use a night out.
Girls night out:
* Johnathan Rice
& Taylor Hollingsworth
^ Nik Freitas
It's Anacortes, WA where, historically-speaking, kids have always been riddled with Adderoll and stoked on citywide rummage sale days, but it wasn't until 2001 when they decided to celebrate their heritage of independence and mediocrity.
July 18-20 marks the seventh year running of What The Heck Fest, held concurrent with Shipwreck Day, the aforementioned citywide sale. As a ticketed event*, WTHF gives an air of officiality (not a word) to what would otherwise be any other day in the life of a politically dogmatic and rurally located Pacific NW music fan, which means fun for the whole family!
Slated events (actual and invented) include: swimming in the lake, trying to get your friend's older brother to buy you beer, drinking that beer in the basement of someone who looks vaguely familiar, feeling socially awkward and uncomfortable in a community center as you wait for Karl Blau to start his set, wearing the pants you got at Shipwreck Day without washing them, listening to original poetry and snidely remarking that it's "so Leaves of Grass," watching movies, wondering if the theatre and dinner show has a vegan option, playing with Kimya Dawson's baby, and living dangerously.
I'm actually really excited about all of this.
Confirmed performers with more to be announced:
Al Larsen, Alyse Emdur, Angelo Spencer, Bryce Panic, Calvin Johnson, D+, Karl Blau, Khaela Maricich/The Blow, Kimya Dawson, Katy Davidson, Lucky Dragons, Mount Eerie, Mirah, Nate Ashley, Ô Paon, Rich Jensen, The Gift Machine, The Graves, The Owl & the Pussycat & the Moore Brothers, Your Heart Breaks.
*$50 for a three day pass and no other way around it, on sale now.