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Archive for January, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

McCartney, Killers, Cure Anchor Coachella Lineup

Paul McCartney, the Killers and the Cure lead the bill for the tenth Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, to be held April 17-19 at Empire Polo Field in Indio, Calif. Also confirmed are My Bloody Valentine, Amy Winehouse, Morrissey, Leonard Cohen and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

McCartney will be making his maiden American festival appearance at the event. “I have heard that Coachella is one of the greatest festivals in the world,” he said in a statement. “I’m really excited to get out there and rock!”

Coachella has been after My Bloody Valentine for years, and nearly had the band booked for its 2008 festival. But frontman Kevin Shields ultimately decided the freshly reunited MBV would not have been ready to perform by last year’s show date and instead waited until the fall before playing North American shows.

As for Winehouse, this will be her first major American appearance since performing at the 2008 Grammy Awards. The U.K. artist’s 2007 Coachella set came at a time when she was breaking through in the States with her single “Rehab” and album “Back to Black,” but in the past 18 months she’s been beset with drug problems and erratic behavior.

Meanwhile, Cohen’s Coachella appearance will be part of his first North American tour in 15 years, which begins Feb. 19 in New York.

Other highlights of the festival lineup include Fleet Foxes, Conor Oberst, the Black Keys, the Hold Steady, Superchunk, Dr. Dog, TV On The Radio, Okkervil River and Band Of Horses from the world of indie rock; and MSTRKRFT, Girl Talk, Thievery Corporation, the Crystal Method, Throbbing Gristle, Groove Armada and Roni Size from the dance and electronic community.

The Drive-By Truckers will perform their own set on April 18 as well as back soul legend Booker T & the MGs, while rock veterans such as X, Paul Weller, Henry Rollins and Bob Mould add a dose of experience to the lineup.

Among the buzz bands and notable newcomers playing this year are White Lies, who currently have the No. 1 album in the United Kingdom, N.A.S.A., the Airborne Toxic Event, Cage the Elephant, Gang Gang Dance, Hercules and Love Affair, Vivian Girls, Lykke Li, Late Of The Pier, the Knux and the Gaslight Anthem.

Coachella tickets go on sale this morning via Ticketmaster. For the first time, festival promoter Goldenvoice is offering a layaway plan for three-day passes, which is available only online and through Feb. 28.

Here is the lineup for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival:

FRIDAY APRIL 17: Paul McCartney, Morrissey, Franz Ferdinand, Leonard Cohen, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, Beirut, The Black Keys, Girl Talk, Silversun Pickups, The Ting Tings, The Crystal Method, Ghostland Observatory, Crystal Castles, The Airborne Toxic Event, We Are Scientists, N.A.S.A., Patton & Rahzel, M. Ward, The Presets, The Hold Steady, A Place to Bury Strangers, Felix da Housecat, Buraka Som Sistema, Ryan Bingham, Bajofondo, Peanut Butter Wolf, Noah & the Whale, White Lies, The Bug, Alberta Cross, Los Campesinos!, Craze & Klever, Molotov, Switch, Gui Boratto, Steve Aoki, The Aggrolites, People Under the Stairs, The Courteeners, Cage the Elephant, Dear and the Headlights.

SATURDAY, APRIL 18: The Killers, Amy Winehouse, Thievery Corporation, TV on the Radio, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, MSTRKRFT, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Atmosphere, Mastodon, TRAV$DJ-AM, Henry Rollins, Crookers, Turbonegro, Hercules and Love Affair, Superchunk, Glasvegas, Dr. Dog, Drive-By Truckers, Booker T & the DBT’s, Amanda Palmer, The Bloody Beetroots, Surkin, Para One (Live), Calexico, Liars, Bob Mould Band, Zane Lowe, Electric Touch, Blitzen Trapper, James Morrison, Drop the Lime, Glass Candy, Thenewno2, Gang Gang Dance, Billy Talent, Ida Maria, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Zizek, Cloud Cult, Tinariwen.

SUNDAY, APRIL 19: The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Throbbing Gristle, Lupe Fiasco, Paul Weller, Peter Bjorn and John, X, Antony & the Johnsons, Roni Size, Public Enemy, Jenny Lewis, Groove Armada, Paolo Nutini, Christopher Lawrence, Lykke Li, The Kills, Okkervil River, M.A.N.D.Y., Clipse, Sebastien Tellier, Fucked Up, Perry Farrell, The Horrors, Late of the Pier, K’naan, Junior Boys, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Supermayer, No Age, Vivian Girls, Shepard Fairey, Themselves, Gaslight Anthem, The Knux, Mexican Institute of Sound, The Night Marchers, Marshall Barnes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Loney Dear: Dear John (Album Review)

Emil Svanängen, that’s Loney Dear to you, hit the scene a few of years back when twee, Scandinavian indie folk was all the rage.

The love for the xylophone and cutsie chorus has died down a little, mainly due to all the artists jumping on the ‘let’s do something completely different’ bandwagon. And so Loney Dear joins them and releases Dear John, a hybrid of folkiness, electro and melodies that wouldn’t be out of place on the west end stage.

It’s strange – the production is something completely different to what us folkies are used to, but it’s still charming in a very Loney Dear way. He has his catchy melodies, his la-la-la chorus and still retains a certain sweetness and innocence that was almost his trademark in the early days.

But this album is full of strange little synths and ’80s wonders, like the Knight Rider-esque strings in opening track Airport Surroundings, which are as synthetic as supernoodles and the underlying beat of Everything To You, sounding uncannily like the Atonement soundtrack – clickety click – creating a pace like running from zombies.

Things calm a bit in I Was Only Going Out, a pretty number with soothing, love sick lyrics and percussion featuring a vague African influence; its whistled finale returning the sound of Sweden missing until now.

There are definite up moments in Dear John, but the odd mix of Svanängen’s meandering melodies and melancholic vocals mixed with the bizarre samples and synths makes for a concoction that will either be adored or thrown out of a window in disgust.

Some moments, like Harsh Words, uses a song that seems to have been penned for an 1988 Eurovision entry, building to a cringy climax that’s not unpleasant, but a little embarrassing, and don’t even get me stated on the awful ravey screeches behind Under A Silent Sea, like some kind of Helter Skelter remix (who can forget those mid-’90s days!).

But then there’s the simplicity of I get Lost and Svanängen’s sweet voice clear as a sunny winter’s day; its a woody lone violin bringing with it a foresty atmosphere – ambient and sweet, although a little bit Lord Of The Rings soundtrack by the end.

Summers has an essence of Saturday Waits, but doesn’t reach its peak of catchiness and again, the strange, dated electro accompaniment is difficult to see through. It’s almost as if The Never Ending Story has returned with a quirkier Limahl and a trendier following.

Distant brings back some beauty, but fails to live up to expectation, even with its gothic horror choir and again choosing to end with an overused and clichéd climactic finish. However, it is the start of the best bit of the album, the pretty, yet scarily titled Harm and Violent before ending with title track Dear John, probably the best of the lot, even with its horrid toy drum rolls. The one eyed Dear John may be king here, but he’s still weird, creepy and best left alone.
(Review by – Gemma Hampson)

Modest Mouse to tour sans-Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr is not going to be joining Modest Mouse when the band goes on their recently announced tour this spring, opting instead to work with the Cribs on their new album. Former Grandaddy guitarist Jim Fairchild will fill in for Marr, who presumably hasn’t quit Modest Mouse, but has other commitments

Here are Modest Mouse’s tour dates:

02.22 Oakland, CA: Fox Theater
02.23 Visalia, CA: Fox Theatre
02.24 Hollywood, CA: Hollywood Palladium
02.25 Tempe, AZ: Marquee
02.26 Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque Convention Center
02.28 Boulder, CO: Balch Fieldhouse
03.02 Kansas City, MO: Uptown Theater
03.03 Oklahoma City, OK: Diamond Ballroom
03.04 Austin, TX: Stubb’s
03.05 Oxford, MS: Lyric Oxford
03.07 Atlanta, GA: Tabernacle
03.08 Miami, FL: Langerado Festival

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Diamond David Lee Roth Asteroids..

Yeah, You heard me right.. SOOO Great!

McCartney Books ‘Colbert Report’ Appearance

Paul McCartney will appear on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” today (Jan. 28), his only scheduled U.S. late-night appearance in support of “Electric Arguments,” the 2008 album he recorded as the Fireman with producer/musician Youth.

“Colbert” is making a name for itself in the music landscape. “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!” a holiday special featuring Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello, drew 2.3 million viewers; recent guests on the talk show also have included Neil Young, Tony Bennett, Rush and R.E.M.

McCartney has been rumored as one of the headliners for the upcoming Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., the lineup for which could be announced before the end of the day.

As reported yesterday, he will also perform next weekend on the Grammys with Dave Grohl on drums and at an April 4 benefit for the David Lynch Foundation at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

Coachella on installments: Fest to offer layaway tickets

Concert promoters are ready to tighten their aim at the public’s thinning wallets. Amid a struggling economy and a concert festival market that saw attendance dips in 2008, Coachella promoter Goldenvoice will offer fans the option to purchase tickets under a layaway plan for the upcoming April fest, according to a report in Monday’s USA Today by Edna Gundersen. Fans will now have the option to pay smaller chunks in multiple stages.

A three-day pass to Coachella will carry the budget-unfriendly price of $269, and USA Today notes that fans will have two alternatives beyond paying the money upfront or raking in more credit card debt. It’s not a first for Goldenvoice, as last year’s Stagecoach fest offered fans a layaway option.

Goldenvoice founder Paul Tollett says the layaway program was a success for the country event. He’s quoted in the article as saying that 24% of ticket-buyers picked layaway.

When it comes to Coachella, of which USA Today notes a full line-up will be announced this week, fans will have the option of paying half the ticket cost on the on-sale date, followed by the rest on April 1. Or attendees can “pay 10% followed by equal installments on March 1 and April 1 without interest or additional fees.”

USA Today notes layaway will not be available for $99 single-day tickets. Coachella is set for April 17-19.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ROBERT POLLARD: The Crawling Distance (Album Review)

Blessed are fans of Robert Pollard. For more than 20 years, first as leader of Guided by Voices — a rotating cast of musicians he alone presided over — and later as a solo artist, Pollard has released music with stunning frequency.

Most of this work has been of uniform quality — a dank, dense brand of psychedelic power-pop that, while beloved by hard-core followers, often makes for frustrating listening.

“The Crawling Distance,” Pollard’s umpteenth disc since officially going solo in 2004, offers more of what listeners have come to expect. Recalling accessible GBV albums such as “Under the Bushes, Under the Stars,” the 10-song collection is at once hummable and impenetrable — a pleasant half-hour that leaves almost no impression.

If Pollard’s overall sound has become predictable, his individual songs have not. All feature strange twists and turns, and just as easily as he can rock a Neanderthal beat and guitar riff, as on “Cave Zone,” he can manage a song like “Imaginary Queen Ann,” wherein the aching chord progression heightens feelings only hinted at in the lyrics.

Pollard ends the album with a spoken-word bit, thanking fans for their support and urging them, “Please, come again.” As anyone hooked on this stuff can attest, that won’t be a problem: There’s nowhere else to go.

Springsteen North American Tour Starts In April

As expected, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band will tour North America this spring in support of their new album, “Working on a Dream,” out today (Jan. 27) on Columbia. The trek begins April in San Jose, Calif.

North American dates are set through May 23 in East Rutherford, N.J. A European tour then begins a week later at Holland’s Pink Pop festival and concludes June 10 in Bergen, Norway.

That timing would line up with a long-rumored Springsteen appearance at the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tenn., that weekend. After a break, the European leg resumes July 2 in Munich.

Springsteen’s 2007-2008 tour in support of the album “Magic” was the most successful of his career, grossing about $232 million worldwide, according to Billboard Boxscore.

The tour unofficially begins this Sunday (Feb. 1) when Springsteen and company will headline the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show in Tampa, Fla.

Here are Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s tour dates:

April 1: San Jose, Calif. (HP Pavilion at San Jose)
April 3: Glendale, Calif. ( Center)
April 5: Austin, Texas (Frank Erwin Center)
April 7: Tulsa, Okla. (BOK Center)
April 8: Houston, Texas (Toyota Center)
April 10: Denver (Pepsi Arena)
April 15: Los Angeles (LA Memorial Sports Arena)
April 21-22: Boston (TD Banknorth Garden)
April 24: Hartford, Conn. (XL Center)
April 26: Atlanta (Philips Arena)
April 28-29: Philadelphia (Wachovia Spectrum)
May 2: Greensboro, N.C. (Greensboro Coliseum)
May 4: Hempstead, N.Y. (Nassau Veterans Mem. Col.)
May 5: Charlottesville, Va. (John Paul Jones Arena)
May 7: Toronto (Air Canada Centre)
May 8: University Park, Pa. (Bryce Jordan Center)
May 11: St. Paul, Minn. (Xcel Energy Center)
May 12: Chicago (United Center)
May 14: Albany, N.Y. (Times Union Center)
May 15: Hershey, Pa. (Hersheypark Stadium)
May 18: Washington, D.C. (Verizon Center)
May 19: Pittsburgh (Mellon Arena)
May 21, 23: E. Rutherford, N.J. (Izod Center)
May 30: Landgraaf, Holland (Pink Pop Festival)
June 2: Tampere, Finland (Ratinan Stadion)
June 4-5, 7: Stockholm, Sweden (Stockholm Stadium)
June 9-10: Bergen, Norway (Koengen)
July 2: Munich, Germany (Olympiastadion)
July 3: Frankfurt, Germany (Commerzbank Arena)
July 5: Vienna (Ernst Happel Stadion)
July 8: Herning, Denmark (Herning MCH)
July 11: Dublin (RDS)
July 16: Carhaix, France (Festival des Vielles Charrues)
July 19: Rome, Italy (Stadio Olimpico)
July 21: Turino, Italy (Olimpico di Torino)
July 23: Udine, Italy (Stadio Friuli)
July 26: Bilbao, Spain (San Mames Stadium)
July 28: Benidorm, Spain (Estadio Municipal de Foietes)
July 30: Sevilla, Spain (La Cartuja Olympic Stadium)
Aug. 1: Valladolid, Spain (Estadio Jose Zorrilla)
Aug. 2: Santiago, Spain (Monte Del Gozo)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mick Harvey Leaves the Bad Seeds

Mick Harvey, one of the founder members of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, announces he is leaving:

“For a variety of personal and professional reasons I have chosen to discontinue my ongoing involvement with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. After 25 years I feel I am leaving the band as it experiences one of its many peaks; in very healthy condition, and with fantastic prospects for the future. I’m confident Nick will continue to be a creative force and that this is the right time to pass on my artistic and managerial role to what has become a tremendous group of people who can support him in his endeavours both musically and organizationally. It was a fantastic experience to finish my touring days in the band with the recent shows in Australia and the unique events that took place in conjunction with All Tomorrow’s Parties, especially Mt. Buller, which was one of the many highlights of my involvement with the band throughout the years. I shall continue working on the Bad Seeds back catalogue re-issues project over the coming year and look forward to the new opportunities I shall be able to accommodate as a result of my changed circumstances.”

The Strokes: ‘We’ve started writing our fourth album’

The Strokes’ frontman Julian Casablancas and bassist Nick Valensi have started writing new material for their band’s forthcoming new album, which they are set to start work on next month.

Drummer Fabrizio Moretti, speaking after a gig with his side-project Little Joy, told BBC 6music that although the band members had not finalised plans for their fourth LP’s recording, the songwriting process had begun.

“Julian has started writing and Nick has got some material as well,” he said. “We’re the kind of band that it’s not finished until everyone’s in one room and everyone’s got their parts perfectly. We’re a very mechanical band.”

we had previously revealed that the band would reconvene in February for album sessions. “I don’t think it’s a reunion,” Moretti said, “we’re constantly in each other’s lives.”

The band’s last album was ‘First Impressions Of Earth’, released in January 2006.

Death Cab For Cutie Readies Spring Tour

Death Cab For Cutie will begin a spring tour April 7 at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pa. Cold War Kids will support in April, with Matt Costa taking over for dates in May. Ra Ra Riot will open all shows.

Exclusive fan club pre-sales begin Wednesday (Jan. 28), with all other shows going on sale this weekend.

The spring tour follows a February headlining run through Australia and Japan. The band will then return to the U.S. for a performance at Miami’s annual Langerado Music Festival on March 7.

Death Cab is touring in support of “Narrow Stairs,” which at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. Latest single “Cath” peaked at No. 10 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart in November.

Here are Death Cab For Cutie’s tour dates:

March 7: Miami (Langerado Festival)
April 7: Upper Darby, Pa. (Tower Theatre)
April 8: Washington, D.C. (DAR Constitution Hall)
April 9: Davidson, N.C. (John Belk Arena)
April 10: Louisville, Ky. (Louisville Palace)
April 11: Memphis (Orpheum Theatre)
April 12: Tulsa, Okla. (Brady Theater)
April 13: Omaha, Neb. (Holland Theatre)
April 15: St. Paul, Minn. (Roy Wilkins Auditorium)
April 17: Chicago (Aragon Ballroom)
April 18: East Lansing, Mich. (Breslin Events Center)
April 19: Waukesha, Wis. (Van Male Fieldhouse)
April 24: Spokane, Wash. (McCarthey Athletic Center)
April 25: Boise, Idaho (Morrison Center)
April 27: Sacramento, Calif. (Memorial Auditorium)
April 29: San Diego (RIMAC Arena)
May 1: Austin, Texas (Austin Music Hall)
May 2: New Orleans (Contemporary Arts Center)
May 4: Nashville (Ryman Auditorium)
May 5: Birmingham, Ala. (BJCC Concert Hall)
May 6: Atlanta (Fox Theatre)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Microsoft reports $100M decline in Zune revenue

Microsoft’s newly-announced layoffs and declining profits aren’t the only bad news in Redmond — according to the company’s quarterly statements, Zune platform revenue decreased $100 million, or 54% compared to the same quarter last year, due to falling device sales. Mega-ouch. Not all is doom and gloom for the Entertainment and Devices Division, which continues to be profitable with a $151m haul: Xbox 360 and PC platform revenue increased six percent to $135 million. Meanwhile, Apple saw a three percent increase in iPod sales over the same period, so we’re anxious to see what Microsoft has planned for reviving the social.
(via engadget)

Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains: S/T (Album Review)

For my money, Sebastien Grainger has one of the best voices in contemporary rock, hands down. Shrill, desperate and macho all at the same time, it was sorely missed after DFA1979’s disheartening split a few years ago. While it’s been a seemingly non-stop MSTRKRFT (Jesse Keeler’s electro duo) party since, Grainger obviously needed time to figure out where his head was at musically and to find the right players to back him.

He’s done both on this debut, which exhibits a kind of polarity between wanting to blow out amps with powerful melodic hooks and exposing a personal side he’d previously guarded. When these two dimensions come together, as on the stunningly awesome American Names or Who Do We Care For?, it all but erases the anguished waiting for him to finally come back around.
(Review by: Jason Keiler)

‘The Faces will not tour in 2009’

A spokesperson for Rod Stewart has refuted rumours that the newly-reformed Faces are set to tour this year.

Yesterday (January 22) it was reported that Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea had joined the band on bass duties, while guitarist Ronnie Wood had previously said the band were finalising tour dates.

However, a spokesperson for frontman Stewart told Billboard that “there are no plans for a Faces reunion tour this year”.

A spokesperson for Flea said that the bassist “knows nothing” about a possible tour. Keyboardist Ian McLagan, meanwhile, is already booked for a solo US tour this Spring.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

‘Slumdog, ‘WALL-E’ Lead Oscar Music Nominees

“Slumdog Millionaire” and “Wall-E” are atop the field of music-related Oscar nominees, with both films nominated for best original score. The “Slumdog” score was penned by A.R. Rahman, while Thomas Newman wrote the score for “WALL-E.”

The two films are the only contenders in the best original song category, with “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (performed by Peter Gabriel) up against the “Slumdog” songs “Jai Ho” (performed by Gulzar) and “O Saya” (performed by M.I.A.). ( Read Billboard’s Q&A with A.R. Rahman here)

The other best original score nominees are Alexandre Desplat for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” James Newton Howard for “Defiance” and Danny Elfman for “Milk.”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” leads the nominations with 13. That’s one short of the all-time Oscar nomination, 14, which is held by “All About Eve” and “Titanic.”

Besides “Button,” the other nominees for best picture are “Frost/Nixon,” “Milk,” “The Reader,” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The 81st Academy Awards ceremony will air live on ABC on Feb. 22 from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, and will be hosted by Hugh Jackman.