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Archive for May, 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Drive-By Truckers back Bettye LaVette on new album

Soul vocalist Bettye LaVette is backed by Southern rock combo the Drive-By Truckers on her new album, “The Scene of the Crime.” Due Sept. 25 via Anti-, the album finds LaVette interpreting material penned by such artists as Willie Nelson and Elton John. A track list has yet to be announced.

In addition to the Truckers, contributions were turned in by Muscle Shoals keyboardist Spooner Oldham and bassist David Hood, who is the father of Truckers vocalist/guitarist Patterson Hood. “To have recorded with Patterson’s father all those years ago, and now to have recorded with both of them was singularly unique,” says LaVette, who made an album at Muscle Shoals in the early 1970s that was shelved by Atlantic and not released until nearly 30 years later.

“The Scene of the Crime” is the follow-up to 2005’s acclaimed “I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise,” which reached No. 4 on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums chart.

The hard-touring LaVette will be on the road all summer, beginning June 7 at the Burlington (Vt). Discover Jazz Festival.
(via billboard online)

Kingblind Downloads

Sufjan Stevens – In The Words Of The Governor

Savath & Savalas feat. Jose Gonzalez – Estrella De Dos Caras

Colin Meloy – Oh No [Lavender Diamond cover]

REM:: Demos 1990

Talking Heads – Demos (1975)

Minutemen: 1983-12-16, Philadelphia

Polyphonic Spree:: Running Away New Track

Bloc Party vs. Gwen Stefani “What You Hunting For?”

Bloc Party vs. Coldplay “Hunting For Witches In My Place”

Bloc Party “Say It Right” Nelly Furtado Cover

“Fancy Footwork” Guns N Bombs Remix

Nada Surf Eyes Gibbard, Hatfield For New Album

Veteran rock outfit Nada Surf is eyeing a January release for its next Barsuk album, tentatively titled “Time for Plan A.” The set was recorded in February in Seattle with producer John Goodmanson and will likely feature guest appearances from Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Juliana Hatfield, Harvey Danger’s Sean Nelson and the Long Winters’ John Roderick.

“We tracked maybe 20 songs. I’d say a third of those still need lyrics,” frontman Matthew Caws said of the follow-up to 2005’s “The Weight Is a Gift.” “It’s probably 70% there, but of the ones we’re going to put on, maybe three songs still need words and the other ones need to be cooked a little.”

Caws says he can’t accurately describe the sound of the album because he’s still not sure what songs will make the cut, but admits, “there is some hard rock, almost early ’80s British metal for a couple of minutes. I don’t even know if the record is going in a positive direction or a vitriolic direction. I think it’s getting weirder. But then some songs sound like Tom Petty, which is a great thing if it works and a bummer if it doesn’t.”

Seven songs feature cello accompaniment, about which Caws marvels, “It’s not cheesy and it doesn’t suck the rock out, which has happened to us before.”

Nada Surf is plotting a special September acoustic tour, which it may book by soliciting private houses to play at via MySpace. “If you have a house, can put 100 people in it and make sure it doesn’t get shut down because there are too many cars on your lawn, let’s do it,” Caws says. A brief South American tour is also in the works for October.

But beforehand, Caws and drummer Daniel Lorca will play an acoustic set at a June 3 benefit in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in an effort to save the area’s historic Domino Sugar Factory from demolition. The space is likely to be turned into luxury housing on Williamsburg’s burgeoning waterfront. “This is a neighborhood already packed way beyond capacity,” Caws says. “Taking the subway here is insane, and that’s without the 80,000 new units or whatever.”

In addition, the band’s long out-of-print “Karmic” EP will be reissued June 12 via Hi Speed Soul, the in-house imprint of San Diego record store M-Theory that is named after a song from Nada Surf’s “Let Go” album.

“Flattery will get you everywhere in that case, so we were like, ‘Sure! You want to put out our EP? Cool!,'” Caws says. “Karmic” will also include the extra track “Pressure Free,” previously only available as the B-side to Nada Surf’s second seven-inch vinyl single.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

iTunes 7.2 supports DRM-free ‘iTunes Plus’ music

An update to Apple’s iTunes software is available for download from Apple’s Web site and through the Software Update system preference. The new version, 7.2, adds support for previewing, purchasing and downloading DRM-free music through the iTunes Store.

“We have always believed that music should be accessible and DRM-free,” Chris Bell, Apple’s director of worldwide marketing for iTunes, told Macworld. “This is the right direction for the future.”

Apple is calling the new music “iTunes Plus,” and plans to offer it alongside the FairPlay-encrypted AAC files it has offered for some time through the iTunes Store. “iTunes Plus” files cost a bit more — $1.29 per track, versus the $0.99 per track for protected files — but have been encoded at a higher bit rate, 256Kbps AAC, instead of 128Kbps AAC, which should yield better audio fidelity.

There are several links to iTunes Plus when you go to the store. Apple is also offering a one-click upgrade for all of your EMI purchased DRM songs. If you choose to upgrade, iTunes gives you the choice to save the original songs on the desktop or delete them from your computer.

“We believe iTunes plus is the future so we made it very simple to upgrade,” said Bell.

Apple first announced in early April plans to start offering songs for sale through the iTunes Store that don’t use Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. The company made the announcement with music publisher EMI, and said that all of EMI’s catalog of music and music videos would be available for download sans DRM by the end of May. With the introduction of iTunes 7.2 this week, Apple is set to do just that.

During the April announcement Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that EMI is only the first major label to join with Apple to offer DRM-free music. Jobs predicts that by the end of 2007, more than half the songs on the iTunes Store will be DRM-free.

Bell reiterated Jobs’ timeframe and added that “Indie labels are already embracing iTunes Plus and they will be on soon.”

Kingblind Downloads

The New Pornographers My Rights Versus Yours NEW TRACK!

Foundry Field Recordings:: transistor kids

Rasputina:: Cage In A Cave

Nadir:: Slave (Distorted Soul Album Version)

The Ladybug Transistor:: Three Days From Now

Sub Pop to distribute De Stijl Records

How charming to see Sub Pop growing up and even becoming a parent. The label is soon to birth spinoff Hardly Art. And now it will act as a step-parent for De Stijl. No, that doesn’t mean Sub Pop will be re-releasing copies of the old White Stripes album of the same name. De Stijl is also a little imprint out of Minneapolis. Sub Pop and De Stijl first joined forces in 2003 to bring Michael Yonkers’ Microminiature Love from vinyl (the format De Stijl has specialized in up to now) to CD. Now the two outfits will form an ongoing relationship with a string of releases set for this year, including more back catalogue material from Yonkers and others. You can head to the label’s website for more details.

The Cult Inks With Roadrunner

Veteran British rock act the Cult has signed with Roadrunner. The group’s first new album since 2001’s Atlantic set “Beyond Good and Evil” will be released Sept. 25 in conjunction with its own New Wilderness imprint. The as-yet-untitled set is being recorded in London with producer Youth.

Beginning June 5, the Cult, which now includes lone founding members vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, will be on the road in Europe supporting the Who. North American dates are being booked for the fall.

Following the release of “Beyond Good and Evil,” which Astbury previously told was a “soul destroying” experience, the Cult was inactive for three-and-a-half years before reuniting to tour in the spring of 2006.

As previously reported, Astbury guests on “Burn My Shadow,” the first single from the upcoming UNKLE album, “War Stories.”
(via billboard online)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Police Return To The Stage With Vancouver Warm-Up

The Police played their first concert in more than 20 years last night (May 27) in front of a 4,000-strong, fan club-only audience at Vancouver’s GM Place, rocking through a 21-song, 125-minute set that went heavy on hits from the band’s early 1980s heyday. The show opened with “Message in a Bottle” and closed with the spirited early hit “Next to You.”

The group officially begins its mammoth reunion tour tonight at the same arena, with support from Fiction Plane. The trek is expected to last through the end of the year and will likely finish as the top ticket seller of 2007.

The reunion already has taken in $102 million on sales of 900,000 ticket in North America and another $66 million from sales of 650,000 tickets overseas, according to estimates by Billboard.

Among the oddities that appeared in the warm-up show set list were “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” which was rarely played live during the band’s first incarnation, and a medley of “Voices Inside My Head” and “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around,” which was first tested out during a February press conference in Los Angeles.

Here is the Police’s May 27, 2007, set list:

“Message in a Bottle”
“Synchronicity II”
“Don’t Stand So Close to Me”
“Voices Inside My Head”/”When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around”
“Spirits in the Material World”
“Driven to Tears”
“Walking on the Moon”
“Truth Hits Everybody”
“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”
“Wrapped Around Your Finger”
“The Bed’s Too Big Without You”
“Murder by Numbers”
“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”
“Invisible Sun”
“Walking in Your Footsteps”
“Can’t Stand Losing You”
“King of Pain”
“So Lonely”
“Every Breath You Take”
“Next to You”
(via billboard)

Electrelane:: No shouts, No alarms (Album Review)

Written in Berlin and recorded in Michigan, the cosmopolitan quartet’s fourth album proffers glinting indie rock served with a dash of art school hauteur. Thus, Stereolab and Neu! influences abound, while connoisseurs’ bonnets are sporadically doffed to post-punk avatars like The Auteurs. Having eschewed the over-earnest knob-twiddling of erstwhile producer Steve Albini, Verity Susman’s vocals and Mia Clarke’s guitars now sound crisp and urgent, and when the envelope gets pushed – as on the strings and horns-caressed In Berlin – the band’s detached cool melts into a pleasing joi de vivre.
(David Sheppard)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wilco performs “What Light” from the “Shake it Off” DVD and album “Sky Blue Sky”

Friday, May 25, 2007

Kingblind Downloads

Quietly anthemic indie rock band The National have just released their new vaguely Smog-like gothic Cave and Cohen-esque album ‘Boxer‘ and are gearing up for a sold out five date residency at the Bowery Ballroom in New York.
The National – Fake Empire

The National – Slipping Husband

The National – Murder Me Rachael

The National – Cold Girl Fever

The National – Son

The National – Wasp Nest

The National – High Beams

Pinback Sets Date For Second Touch & Go Album

Pinback will return Sept. 11 with its second Touch & Go album, “Autumn of the Seraphs.” The 11-track set is the follow-up to 2004’s “Summer in Abaddon.” Drumming was provided by both Mario Rubalcaba (ex-Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes) and No Knife’s Chris Prescott.

“This one is probably more of a departure than anything we’ve done,” vocalist/guitarist Rob Crow said earlier this year. “It’s unexpectedly ‘up,’ perhaps. It seems a bit more like a band is playing than any of the other ones. It could be the tightest we’ve had, actually.”

As of yet, the band has not announced tour plans, as Crow is busy with a number of upcoming projects on his own Robcore label. Two new albums from Crow’s Goblin Cock side project are finished; the first, “Come With Me if You Want To Live” is a “regular” album, while another, “Dragonf*cker,” is “One side with a 20-minute long song; the other is a bunch of covers with a 10-minute Osmonds medley,” according to Crow.

Fans can also look for new releases from Aspects Of Physics, Optionally Yours and Thingy, as well as a 7-inch vinyl single from Alpha Male.

Here is the track list for “Autumn of the Seraphs”:

“From Nothing to Nowhere”
“Good to Sea”
“How We Breathe”
“Subbing for Eden”
“Devil You Know”
“Blue Harvest”
“Off by 50”

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Liars announce new album details



What do you expect from Liars?
Noise? Concept? Both?
Their new LP delivers neither.

Liars announce details of a brand new release. Out on Mute on August 28th 2007, ‘Liars’ will be available on CD, white vinyl and download.

Recorded on the heels of 2006’s ‘Drum’s Not Dead’ somewhere between LA and Berlin, Liars’ 4th album marks another bold transition for Angus Andrew, Aaron Hemphill and Julian Gross.

For the new album Liars have foregone theory for a more practical approach, one based on traditional song structures and instrument usage.

“I’d never felt like a songwriter ‘til this album,” explains Angus. “If you told me last year Liars would release a record like this, I would have laughed. If you said I’d be playing guitar solos, I’d have called you a liar. We never know what we’re making ‘til it’s made… this time I’m a bit shocked.”

Plaster Casts Of Everything
Leather Prowler
Sailing To Byzantium
What Would They Know
Cycle Time
Freak Out
Pure Unevil
Clear Island
The Dumb In The Rain

THE NATIONAL:: Boxer (Album Review)

The chamber rock quintet the National broke through in 2005 with “Alligator,” a moody album that sounded more than a little like the Willard Grant Conspiracy gone post- punk. The band earned plaudits for mixing disparate styles and avoiding the “woe is me” shoe-gazer tar pit. Eager to replicate that success, the National hews too closely to established formula on “Boxer,” content to revisit previously explored territory without expanding its sound.

Granted, “Boxer” is a big-sounding record, laden with strings, horns, piano, guitar and singer Matt Berninger’s rich voice, each element interlocking with jigsaw precision and buffed to a high black sheen. And given the tenor of the times, Berninger’s worldview is appropriately gloomy – when he sings “we’re half-awake in a fake empire” on the opener, “Fake Empire,” he could be reciting America’s new letterhead-ready slogan – but its effectiveness is weakened when the gloom spreads over of a dozen songs. The record’s brighter spots (“Apartment Story” and “Green Gloves,” which recall the band’s pre-“Alligator” Americana- influenced work) strike a better balance between gloomy and, er, less gloomy. Still, night-black, painstakingly crafted and bloodless, “Boxer” is musical obsidian.

The White Stripes announce US tour

The White Stripes have announced a tour of the US, kicking off in Chicago in September.

The band will continue on their quest to play all remaining 16 states they have yet to travel to in support of their forthcoming album ‘Icky Thump’, set for release on June 19.

The September stint will see them play eight more never-before-played States, including Alaska and North Dakota, as well as revisiting a number of others.

The dates confirmed so far are:

Chicago, IL Aragon Ballroom (September 4,5)
Lincoln, NE Pershing Center Auditorium (6)
Fargo, ND Fargo Civic Auditorium (7)
Rapid City, SD Rushmore Plaza Civic Center (8)
Jackson Hole, WY Snowking Center (10)
Boise, ID Idaho Center Theatre (11)
Salt Lake City, UT The “E” Center (12)
Albuquerque, NM Kiva Auditorium (13)
Austin, TX Austin City Limits (14-16)
Inglewood, CA The Forum (19)
Berkeley, CA Greek Theatre (21)
Anchorage, AK William A. Egan Civic Center (24)
Seattle, WA Paramount Ballroom (26,27)
(More dates are expected to be announced shortly)
via nme