Dan Deacon and Neko Case Headline Forward Music Festival in Madison, WI

After an exhausting summer of sweating it out at music fests like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and the ever-impending TMT Fest, Midwesterners will be happy to hear that Forward Music Fest, hits just as the weather cools off, coming September 19-20 to Madison, WI. Don't matter that it's indoors -- by September, the land of dairy and snow will be well into single-handedly disproving global warming with ball-shiveling gusts. But that wont stop acts like Neko Case, Bob Mould, Shearwater, Leslie and the LYs, Dan Deacon, The Detroit Cobras, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, Dillinger Four, Killdozer, Pale Young Gentlemen, Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons, The Gomers, Blueheels, Droids Attack, Things Fall Apart, and more TBA from congregating in the various Madison venues participating in FMF.

And more: concert-goers, after buying an all-access pass for $25, can shell out an extra $10 for guaranteed entry to select shows, which is damn egalitarian if you ask me. VIP status at a nominal price. I love Wisconsin!

The Black Kids Are Virgins – No, Wait, The Black Kids Tour With The Virgins

Remember when you lost your virginity? Yeah, me neither, but to honor The Black Kids' upcoming fall tour with The Virgins, we asked our readers to share their stories of how they lost their V-cards:

Erin Matterson (Athens, GA): “The first time we made love, I had no idea what was going on. Afterward, he didn't speak; he passed out. I was so alone. I've never hated myself more. But it was done, my virginity was gone. It didn't matter after that: sex became an everyday occurrence. My only fear was losing Bobby. He was the first, and even if he treated me bad (and there were those times), I was going to do anything I could to hang onto him.”

Darren Haas (Rochester, NY): “I messed up big time my junior year of high school. I started having regular sex with my girlfriend. I was a Christian, therefore the momentary pleasure was there, but the relationship was a miserable one. I am still scared from the instances that took place. It took me until the summer before my freshman year at college (during camp) before I realized that God had already forgiven me, but I wasn't letting go. I found out that I have to totally let go of something to keep it from holding me down. I will never completely forget what happened, but I worship an awesome and forgiving God. The biggest statement I would like to make is the fact that I would give anything to take it back and to have my virginity still to this day. Hang on to it; you will only know later how happy you'll be!”

Eric Glenbeck (San Jose, CA): “Losing my virginity has caused many problems in my life. For the longest time, I cried myself to sleep -- I felt dirty and ashamed of myself. A few days ago, I finally mustered up enough courage to go and get tested for STDs. I'm still waiting for the results.”

You can read more “real life stories” here, or you can ask The Black Kids about theirs at the following tourdates (I dare you):

$ The Virgins

Ryland Bouchard (ex-Robot Ate Me) To Self-Release Box Set for the Fall

I know him as Ryland, and you probably know him as The Robot Ate Me -- but we all know him as obscure ’50s tennis superstar Pancho Gonzales, which makes it exciting for everyone to know that Mr. Bouchard is currently in the studio with Alan Lechusza (who did the arrangements for Robot Ate Me's Carousel Waltz), putting the finishing touches on the music for a massive "wood holding box" called SEEDS. Engraved, numbered, and set for release on his own Swim Slowly label, the set not only features three "mini-albums" both on CD and spread across three colored seven-inches, but it also contains a full-color book with illustrations by Daniel Gibson, an additional CD of B-sides/unreleased tracks, a DVD, and hand silk-screened items, including a t-shirt, poster, lyric sheets, carrying bag, and more. Phew!

You can order SEEDS October 1 for $125, but Ryland is already taking pre-orders, which reduces the price to $100. Keep in mind that you won't be able to find the set in record stores, and the music isn't expected for release on a "regular" format. And did I mention it's limited to only 500 copies? Yeah, so if you want these yummy, sweat-infused fetish objects, I'd recommend putting your economic stimulus checks to use sooner rather than later. For all you get in this set -- CDs, vinyls, book, t-shirt, etc, etc. -- you can bet your sweet smellhole that I already plopped down my cash (and then picked it up, deposited it into PayPal, and then used PayPal to buy the set).

Check out Ryland's MySpace page for early versions of "Henry The Devil," "nohandnoclothes," and "Born in the Middle." And make sure your upcoming fall/winter schedule is flexible, as Ryland will be making the rounds throughout Mexico, North America, Europe, and Japan.

Hercules and Love Affair Tour Every Single Country in Europe Besides Estonia, Release Album in the U.S. Today

It's summer time. The sun is blazing, the beats are bumpin', and the booty shorts are EVERYWHERE. You've got ice cream, and you've got sunscreen, but still summer seems somehow... incomplete. What could it be? The lack of killer nouveau disco jams, of course!

Andrew Butler, innovator behind the body-moving grooves of Hercules and Love Affair and pal of Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons (who guests on the upcoming H&LA album), is going on what is possibly the longest tour EVER. (At least that I have had to type out for a news story. SIGH. I am gonna be typing in my dreams tonight...) He's hitting pretty much every single country in Europe, a load of summer festivals, a tiiiiiiny handful of dates in America, and finally seeing the group's self-titled album (TMT Review) get released today here in the U.S. on Mute Records. If people still wrote those "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essays, Butler would definitely not be at a loss for words.

I love the nightlife:

Special, Magical, Seminal, Chicago-based, Post-Rock Band Tortoise Tours… Slowly

Well, well, now. Come on now, youngster. Come on now and sit right down here next to me. Well, well, now... that's it... don't be shy... Yes, that's it, don't be shy. Now then, let me tell you a tale. A special tale. A magical tale. Let me tell you a special magical tale. Yes, son, don't be shy and let me tell you a special, magical tale about a band. Well well, now...

This band is a special magical band. This band is a post-rock band, seminal in scope and influence and Chicago-based in nature. Yessiree, youngster, this band is a seminal, Chicago-based, post-rock-group kinda band. The name of this special, magical, seminal, Chicago-based, post-rock band is Tortoise. Did you know that, now, youngster? Come closer now.

Well, well, come closer now, youngster. I am about to tell you the most special, magical part. The most special magical, post-rock part of this seminal, Chicago-based tale. See, this seminal, special-based, post-magical Tortoise-based Chicago band is planning something. And the something that this tale-based magic-band is planning is none other than a tour. And the seminal tour which they are planning (this magic-based band Tortoise, of course) is happening this summer, youngster. Did you know that???

Come closer, Chicago. Now, that tour is rumored in this tale to encompass some places. Some places that the tour will encompass are in shy North America, and some of the places that the tour will encompass are in seminal Europe. These shyly seminal places that the Chicago-rock, post-based Tortoise band will visit are in support of a magical, special record. The name of the record being post-supported by Chicago-touring come-closers Tortoise is called A Lazarus Taxon, and this record is out now on Thrill Jockey, youngster. Well, well, now, Tortoise. Well, well!

Dates of the North American/European-based Tortoise tour:

* My Bloody Valentine, Meat Puppets, Thurston Moore

RIP: Useless Wooden Toys Singer Stabbed to Death After Defending Woman

Useless Wooden Toys, a Minneapolis hardcore punk band, lost its lead singer Christopher Johnson Saturday June 21. According to Johnson's memorial website:

Police say 32-year-old Christopher Johnson was stabbed after an altercation in Bloomington Saturday night with a man from Warsaw. Witnesses told police the fight started after Brian White of Warsaw grabbed a woman and Johnson tried to intervene. [...] Officers later found White hiding in a cellar. He faces a preliminary charge of murder.

- Useless Wooden Toys MySpace
- Christopher Johnson memorial website
- Star Tribune story

She & Him Tour & Stuff

My window looks out onto the roof, and I'm watching a little bird wash itself in the rain gutter. It's a pleasant black bird, with warm eyes and a beak that somehow forms a smile. It picks its head up and locks eyes with me. My knowledge of cartoons and all things fantastical makes me think it's going to start whistling "Goodbye My Coney Island Baby" with a squirrel, a rat, and a beleaguered alley cat.

It doesn't. I'm learning to live with contradictions.

I'm in that mood though. That animals-sing-to-you mood. The problem is that people think it happens when you've just fallen in love, but it's always a bit more melancholic than that, almost bitter, like when you want to fall in love but don't. It's a mocking song. The birds sing, and sure it's cute and everything, but if you look into their chocolate-colored eyes, you can see that they know you're blue but want to keep it that way. "This is how good you could feel," they seem to say. "If only you could be a bird like me."

If you look into their eyes long enough, though, staring at them while they wash themselves in the rain gutter, you can also see they aren't so well-adjusted as they'd have you believe. Not everything is delightful up in the sky; they just don't wear their hearts on their sleeves. "Why don't you ever sing to me?"

The bird's friend splashes down, another little black one. It dips its head in the water and shakes it off before looking at me too. "We have feelings, why don't you sing to me?" Two more fly in and bathe, and suddenly the gutter is filled with morose birds. "It isn't all about you," their eyes all seem to convey. "Our hearts hurt too. Why don't you sing to me?"

They bottle their emotions and drink alone. If only we could sing to them when they're blue to cheer them up.

"I don't sing," I tell the birds. They splash water on me. "Don't be like that. Hold on." I open the window wider and turn on my stereo. What might help them?

I put on She & Him's Volume One (TMT Review), Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward's melancholic yet bittersweet album about falling in love but probably not falling in love. It sounds sweet. It feels like it should cheer them up, but I play it to mock them as they mock me. "How do you like it?" I sneer.

They don't like it at all. It's pleasant music, but it hurts. I feel satisfied, but horrible. We'll all have to get better at living with contradictions.

They're touring, as the crow flies:

DJ Scotch Egg Tours, Garners Widespread Critical Something or Another

Quotes about DJ Scotch Egg (Shigeru Ishihara) from around the web:

"He's not a DJ, he's definitely not Scottish and he's probably not an egg." --DJ Scotch Egg official website

"Scotch Egg creates day-glo gabba techno splattered with paintballs of punk fury and modern minimalist composition." --TMT Review of Drumized

"Individual neon tones slingshot against, around, and through one another, spin, spike, and woosh, ping and pop and wink or — as on the title track — tinkle and skip across dense fields of digital static before vigorously fluctuating into quicksilver mush." --CityPages

"DJ Scotch Egg’s influences include Karlheinz Stockhausen, SKREAM, John Carpenter, Walter Karloss, Steve Reich, Moondog, John Cage and Speedfreaks amongst others." --Load Records

"It sounds like a Kōji Kondō outtake for some alternate universe where Mario and Bowser trip ’shrooms and count their ducats." --Paper Thin Walls

"Not for the faint hearted." --Drowned in Sound

"KFC is amaging!!!" --MySpace

Photo: [WrongMusic.com]

Miss Kittin and the Hacker Tour: Now with Less Black-And-White Striped T-Shirts

Do you miss 2004? I know I do! What could be more magical than the tail end of electroclash? The sheer excitement of deadpan female vocals, metallic beats, and songs about being rich all made an indelible impression on the young people currently staffing American Apparel. But it's now 2008, and those golden days are gone. How can American dancefloors ever hope to recover from the encroaching threat of nu-rave? Why with the icy Teutonic beats of Miss Kittin and the Hacker, of course!

Miss Kittin's latest, Batbox came out earlier this spring on Groove Attack Records. It's dark, it's electro, it's got some kinda goth-lookin' bat on the cover. What's not to love? I'm not gonna suggest that you should run out and purchase some tight black leggings, put on a Bauhaus t-shirt, and do some research on the latest designer drugs, but I mean -- well, you get what I'm saying.

EMI Hires Creator of “Second Life,” Looks to Virtual World in Order to Deal With Real Life Grimness

Gather ’round young'uns and take a knee. I've got stories to tell...

Back in the day, record peddlers bankrupted themselves by driving from town to town, blowing radio DJs in exchange for a little airplay for their label's latest signings. If you were lucky, sometimes you got a home-cooked meal of a roast rabbit and some sweet cider for your efforts above and beyond (and below). All monies that were accrued from hard-fought sales were shipped off to Dick Clark, who used the cash to brainwash the nation to support the war effort against the commies through images of pogo-ing teenyboppers via a new fangled device called the "television" (ask your parents). The rest he spent on pomade and crow's feet cream. Between spittin' and rinsin' and paying the pimp, there was little time to enjoy ourselves. Every second Friday down at the town hall, we would sockhop ’til the break of 8 PM and whip Kewpie dolls at the squares before going home to look to the skies for UFOs. We would also grab some sody pops and drive our hotrods up and down the same suckin' street 70 times a night, until our whitewalls were grey from all the Silly Putty, which could be found in the better-built roads of the day...

Sorry, I had an old-fart moment there. Of course, things are different now. The big record companies are having to look outside the box to bump up their revenues and compete, as they evolve from traditional sales businesses to digitally distributed ones. Case in point: EMI -- home to highly-original, critically-loved, and well-known acts like 30 Seconds to Mars, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Alpha Galates respectively -- have announced the appointment of former Linden Lab Chief Technology Officer Cory Ondrejka to the company as senior vice-president of digital strategy, presenting him "with a rare opportunity to influence the digital music industry, by helping artists reach their fans in more relevant ways and by allowing fans to find and acquire music through new business models," says the new recruit.

It seems like a perfect fit. Ondrejka discusses his music obsession on his blog thusly:

I neither buy not hear much music. Since 2000, I've only purchased 5 albums. Three by Rush (enough of my friends are Rush fans, so somebody reminds me when they release a new album), Pearl Jam's Pearl Jam (I read a Rolling Stone review in an airport), and R.E.M.'s Accelerate (best Terry Gross interview on "Fresh Air" in months.) [...] I hear lots of new music I like -- anything from the first couple seasons of Alias would work -- but I never hear new music in the right context to buy it.

Uh huh. Well, there is obviously a good reason why EMI would seek out the geek services of "Three by Rush" Ondrejka. The hiring is, of course, a digital strategic decision, and who better than the co-founder and prime builder of the online virtual world phenomenon Second Life to help EMI through these current troubled industry waters. As Hypebot claims, "In addition to developing the core code and building the company from 4 to 250 people, Ondrejka drove multiple initiatives that generated enormous value from user participation, creation, and collaboration. The ecosystems he helped create led directly to the success of Second Life, as well as the ongoing use of Second Life as a platform for music, education, and business."

EMI, the world's fourth-largest music group, is taking great strides in establishing itself as a music industry pioneer in regards to digital technology. The Ondrejka announcement comes hot on the heels of hiring the former chief information officer of Google, Douglas Merrill, to the post of President, Digital Business of EMI Music. Merrill piped up on the addition of Ondrejka to the EMI family:

Cory shares my passion for driving technology and innovation in the digital music business. His unique experience building online environments, like Second Life, will be invaluable to EMI Music, as we create new digital communities for fans and artists. Adding Cory to the leadership team of the company continues to reinforce out commitment to the digital market.

That may all be true, but can Ondrejka hula hoop on top of a telephone booth crammed full with zany letterman sweater-wearing high schoolers? Fuck no, Bazooka Joe!

In related news, Rush album sales are soaring.