Ratatat Release New Album, Enter Billboard Chart for First Time, Tour the U.S., Clean-Up Street Crime

Ratatat have come a long way since the release of their first record, and this summer is shaping up to be their grandest peak yet. Having already released their third album, the plaintively titled LP3 (TMT Review), to generally favorable reviews across the board, the boys are now looking to get noticed on a wider scale. It doesn't hurt that their hard work is now being validated by their induction into the” Cool-Kids-Only” Cool-Club of the Billboard Top 200 chart. While most young bands may be happy to just appear on the list, Ratatat have entered the sales race at a satisfying #82. They also appeared as the #2 Electronic album, #4 Indie album, and #15 on the Digital chart.

In an effort to cater to this new and ever growing fanbase, Ratatat have announced a nice, little summer tour to satiate their fans' desires to dance.

Finally and easily the best news: Ratatat have vowed to use their chic, quasi-electronic music to fully eradicate street crime from all the cities on their tour itinerary. They plan to offer a revolutionary “Move Your Feet, Don’t Hurt Your Street” motivational tactic to turn all current and potential criminals into loyal members of their audience and street team.

Why do birds suddenly appear, every time Swervedriver and Interpol are near?

Romance, she is a beautiful thing. The catch in your throat, the scent of fresh-cut flowers, the sigh in the air when that special person brushes past you in a crowded room. They say penguins mate for life. According to a website I found, so do termites, barn owls, and gibbons. All these creatures, although at varying stages on the adorable-to-gross scale, embody the delight and wonder of loving partnership. But do any of them make kick-ass rock jams? Probably not. And for that we must turn to one of America's most recent creative alliances, that between members of Interpol and Swervedriver.

Divided, they are Interpol's Sam Fogarino, Adam Franklin of Swervedriver, and Toshack Highway. Together they are -- Magnetic Morning. Introduced by a mutual music journalist pal, the two plan on heading to Athens, GA to record a full-length debut this August. Earlier this spring, Magnetic Morning released a self-titled EP of five dream-pop tracks on DH Records. This project marks a change in Interpol drummer Fogarino's musical trajectory. He describes how he doesn't "contribute all that much to the melodic side of Interpol, only in the ways it's colored, treated, and effected. But in Magnetic Morning, I'm usually the one to bring forth a chord progression, or a melody that Adam will add to, musically, lyrically, and vocally."

The intrepid duo will be hitting the road this autumn, with more dates in the works.

Fall Festival Fans: Mark Your Calendars for Fun Fun Fun Fest in November!

Fun Fun Fun Fest, presumably the funnest fest in Texas, has begun announcing its initial lineup, with a few artists starting with D (I really hope they're not doing this alphabetically). While it's the fourth letter in the alphabet, these artists are decidedly first-rate: Dan "Spiderman of The Rings" Deacon, Deerhoof, and punk legends The Dead Milkmen.

A few rumored acts are also starting to show up on blogs around the web. Pollstar has Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino and Swervedriver's Adam Franklin making an appearance as Magnetic Morning, and Trail of Dead's Jason Reece has said a few words about the festival. Keep an eye on FFFFest's official website and MySpace for more confirmations.

FFFFest will make its third appearance November 8-9 in downtown Austin's Waterloo Park. And if last year's lineup has shown us anything, it's that one of the best spots in town is not in Zilker Park. Sure beats paying $150+. See you in November.

Chris Schlarb to Perform Twilight and Ghost Stories in Its Entirety in San Francisco and Austin

Chris Schlarb is one active guy. Not only is he the head of Sounds Are Active and executive producer of the recent 40 Bands 80 Minutes! DVD, but he's also released music under the name Xn, plays guitar/drums in I Heart Lung, and is a founding member of Create (!), a free-jazz outfit from Long Beach, CA.

Late last year, Asthmatic Kitty also released Schlarb's first album under his own name, titled Twilight and Ghost Stories (TMT Review). Our own P Funk ended his review with what seems to succinctly capture the feeling one might get after hearing the album: "In a world that allows the paranoid, antisocial, and self-obsessed to abuse art as a forum for vapid 'self-expression,' Twilight and Ghost Stories is not a Statement, but a gift." Needless to say, I was sold. Twilight and Ghost Stories is a tremendous album and certainly one of the more notable Eureka! releases of recent memory.

This weekend, Schlarb will be performing the entire album with a vast array of artists, including Subtle's Alex Cort and Ellul's Joel Brown-Tarman, at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco, CA. Schlarb will then head to Austin, TX later this month for two more Twilight and Ghost Stories events with a new batch of collaborators, including members of The Weird Weeds (TMT Review) and

* free rehearsal, open to the public

Best Buy To Sell Albums by Local and Unsigned Artists; The Laughter of a Child Still The “Best Buy” Of All

Having just announced its experimental foray into selling vinyl again (TMT News), electronics retail giant and owner of the largest private geek army in the world Best Buy has announced plans to stock CDs by local and unsigned bands. Playing a nice foil to Wal-Mart’s strategy of not carrying any album without an American flag or Steve Perry on the cover, Best Buy has partnered with RegionalCD.net to inject local flavor into select franchises.

According to CMJ, bands are judged on their Internet exposure via MySpace and Facebook, as well as their local followings and live performances. Artists will be paid a cut for each CD they sell, starting off with “light orders at select stores — instead of costly overstocking — and let demand dictate the proper inventory levels for each location,” says Best Buy.

Whether Best Buy’s intention is to find the next Vampire Weekend, move in on the independent record stores, or simply to please the local bar band crowd with heaps of CDs from the winner of Senor Frog’s Summer Band Battle Bone-anza remains to be seen. Either way, it’s always interesting and frightening when the big boys dip their toes in the indie pool.

Take the plunge here, if you dream of being shelf-mates with Carrie Underwood.

They Never Drew First, But They Drew First Blood: Not-So-Young Guns Universal and MasterCard Join Forces in Downloading Initiative

When you're number one, you have to flaunt it. If we didn't get the tips of our fingers cut off by grisly henchmen for not paying up on our "Hell's Kitchen" bets (we thought Petrozza had it in the bag!), we would blow on our nails and rub them haughtily on our chest like the brazen boasters we are. In our opinion, TMT runs classier industry news stories than anyone, period. We newsies certainly love to grab them, mangle the facts so much that they don't even resemble news stories anymore, then post them to a bewildered audience who smile politely at our inanities, but roll their eyes when we're not looking. Our attempts lately have focused primarily on the uneasy future of the music industry, the difficulties of competing in this modern download-reliant world, and the newfangled ways the big record companies market their product.

This story is no different because Universal Music Group is hooking up with wallet-controlling superpower MasterCard to deliver free downloads to their already crippled-by-interest customers!

The imaginatively named "Roots of Rock" could have only been devised by a turret-dwelling wizard or by hotshot New York advertising agency McCann-Erickson, who did indeed concoct this scheme to provide free songs to customers under the card's Priceless umbrella. Financial terms of the deal were not specified, but MasterCard said that once 100,000 songs had been downloaded it would continue to provide the Universal catalog at the very reasonable price of 80¢ per song. Apart from the large number of artists available for download, some live video performances that aired on PBS's Soundstage concert series will be available free to cardholders.

Additionally, every time a consumer uses their MasterCard until August 31, they will be automatically be entered in a sweepstakes competition to win a meet-and-greet with either Jon Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, or Eric Clapton and get a historical tour of each of these artists respective home towns (New Jersey, Nashville, somewhere in England). Who wouldn't want to wistfully stroll through this with Jon Bon Nob Noj?

Amy Fuller, group executive, Americas marketing MasterCard Worldwide, had this to say about the contest: "Consumers' passion for their music is unmatched Music is something that is very individual and we know that personalization is something consumers love to experience. With 'Roots of Rock,' we've created unparalleled music experiences with three of the world's most popular artists, providing consumers with and intimate perspective on these icons that few fans will ever have."

That may be true, but if this means more slowhands will be making me wait by using their MasterCard to pay for two items in the express checkout at the grocery store, then I'm not all for it!

José González, he of the Argentine name and Swedish hometown, of the Knife cover that wound up in European advertisements for the Sony Bravia LCD Television, of the really awesome cover of Bruce Springsteen's "The Ghost of Tom Joad" (as a member of the Swedish trio Junip), is preparing to get his tour on. While some of us will be going back to school and others will probably be forever seeking employment in this stupid, dead-end economy, González will be embarking on a selected series of dates in the United States.

Mute Records artist González' last release, In Our Nature, was released in late 2007. The success of his 2005 debut, Veneer, resulted in a slew of SXSW performances, late-night television gigs, and that pinnacle of indie rock breakthrough success: a featured song in a season finale episode of The O.C.. Where will he go next? Well, it looks like Spain.

* DJ set, with Richard Swift

** BAM Next Wave Festival: Red Hot + RIO

MusicFest NW Music Festival: Tickets are cheap and there are actually bands worth seeing!

What's this, some kind of joke? A music festival that's actually affordable and features several bands worth seeing? Could this really be true? Sure enough, Willamette Week's MusicFest NW in Portland, Oregon is happening September 3-6 and is going to give comparable summer fests a run for their money. Dan Deacon, Calvin Johnson, Mogwai, John Vanderslice, Mirah, Vampire Weekend, TV on the Radio, Del the Funky Homosapien, and The Murder City Devils are heading up the large festival bill, with more acts still yet to be revealed.

Tickets for the event are only $50 a pop for a wristband, which can get you into any show if you arrive early enough and do a bit of prioritizing. Shows will be happening at around 15 different venues located in the Portland area, and individual tickets are already on sale for some of the larger shows. This is the 8th year for the festival, which has seen attendance growing considerably in the last couple years.

Check out the rest of the lineup and how to purchase tickets at MusicFest NW's official website.

Scott Walker Produces Concert Cloaked in Mystery/Lack of Information!

Have you ever wanted to experience the lush, orchestral works of Scott Walker without, you know, actually experiencing Scott Walker perform them? If so, then you'll definitely want to head on over to London's Barbican this November for three magical nights veiled in mystery. The mystery in question being exactly who is performing during the event, entitled Drifting and Tilting: The Songs of Scott Walker. At this point, the lineup has yet to be revealed by either the 4AD or Barbican websites, but you can count on taking in some Scott-produced versions of classics from -- taa daa!!... Tilt and The Drift. And while Mr. Walker himself will not be singing the hits, or well, any songs, the Scott Walker band will be present and active. Plus there will be an orchestra, loads of music geeks in the audience, and what 4AD promises to be "special" guests, so whoever it is, it's got to be good

11.13-15.08 - London, UK - Barbican Theatre