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Archive for January, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Kurt Cobain ‘wrote song for ‘The Ren & Stimpy Show”

Kurt Cobain once tried to get one of his songs featured in cult ’90s cartoon The Ren & Stimpy Show – according to one of the voice actors who starred in it.

Billy West, who provided the voice of the feline simpleton character Stimpy, has claimed that the Nirvana frontman showed up at the Los Angeles offices of Spümcø, the animation company behind the show.

“One day, this scraggly kid came in and said he wanted to write a song for Ren & Stimpy,” he said on podcast Nerdist, “and it was Kurt Cobain.”

West’s account hasn’t been verified by anyone who knew the late singer/guitarist, but whether it was indeed him or not who showed up, the “scraggly kid”‘s song was rejected by the show’s chiefs.

“They [TV bosses] said, ‘Yeah, that’s great,'” West explained, “and they threw it in the wastebasket”.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Interpol and SNL’s Fred Armisen Team for Videos

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Fred Armisen used to play drums in Trenchmouth, and he’s still deep in the indie universe, doing the TV show “Portlandia” with Carrie Brownstein, hanging with Joanna Newsom, and occasionally showing up on And now the Matablog has posted a video widget of Interpol playing live at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg in September, with Armisen introducing the songs. Check it out below.

Husker Du Drummer Grant Hart Recovering After House Fire

Former Husker Du drummer and current solo artist Grant Hart is recovering Friday morning after a fire ravaged his home and destroyed some of his gear.

The fire started Thursday afternoon in Hart’s home in south St. Paul, Minn., according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, but not before it tore through two rooms and claimed an unknown amount of Hart’s musical equipment, including his favorite guitar.

Hart checked into a local hospital following the fire but was released in a few hours. Luckily, Hart’s two cats also survived the blaze.

On Friday, Hart returned to his home to begin assessing the damage, the newspaper reported. There’s no word yet on the cause of the fire. First Avenue and the Turf Club, two local venues that Hart and Husker Du have storied histories with, have both offered to host benefit shows for the songwriter.

Hart just finished a brief tour last week in support of the reissue of his debut post-Husker Du project, ‘The Last Days of Pompeii,’ a sprawling rock opera recorded in 1991 with his group Nova Mob.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sleigh Bells – Rill Rill (Music Video)

The video for Sleigh Bells’ Treats standout “Rill Rill”, directed by Jon Watts, just debuted on MTV, and it’s suitably cool and creepy. Blood pours from telephones, switchblades are used as accessories for yearbook photos, and Derek Miller gets pushed out of a moving car. Fun for the whole family! Watch it below.

Sleigh BellsNew MusicMore Music Videos

(via pitchfork)

Exclusive: Wilco forms own label, aligns with Silver Lake’s Anti- Records

Chicago’s rock ‘n’ roll shape-shifters Wilco have formed their own label, dBpm Records, whose releases will be distributed and marketed by eclectic Silver Lake independent Anti- Records. A full announcement is expected soon.

“This is an idea we’ve discussed for years,” Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy said via his publicist. “We really like doing things ourselves, so having our own label feels pretty natural to me. And, to be working with Anti- — a label that was started by a punk rock guy to sell his own records — seems like a perfect fit for us.”

Wilco became free agents after its 2009 Nonesuch release, “Wilco (The Album),” and the move marks not only a shift to the independent world for the band, but also quite possibly Anti-‘s biggest coup since inking Tom Waits, whose 1999 album, “Mule Variations,” was the label’s first release. Anti- is an offshoot of Epitaph Records, the punk label founded by Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz.

A timetable has not yet been given for a new album. An Anti- spokeswoman could not be reached for comment early Wednesday afternoon. Wilco spokeswoman Deb Bernardini said the band is currently recording its follow-up to “Wilco (The Album)” in Chicago.

The Wilco camp already has a connection with Anti-. Wilco architect Tweedy produced the most recent album from Chicago soul legend Mavis Staples, “You Are Not Alone,” which was released last year on the label. At the time, Pop & Hiss spoke with Tweedy and asked the singer about the possibility of signing with Anti-, an adventurous imprint that’s home to rock legends (Roky Erickson), rock weirdos (Waits), rock elegance (Neko Case) and rock mercenaries (Grinderman).

“I think they’re pretty smart,” Tweedy said at the time. “I think they’re music lovers. I really respond to it. It’s very similar to the way I am. It’s a lot more like the way the world exists now than when I was growing up. There are less lines drawn in the sand between genres. Punk rock was a line in the sand for a lot of kids when I was growing up.”

Tweedy had hinted that the band would soon be going the indie route. In the summer of 2010, Tweedy told Billboard that it “seems unlikely that we will be under the umbrella of a major label.” Indeed, Wilco is already one of the more self-sufficient working rock bands. The band staged its first-ever festival, Solid Sound, in North Adams, Mass., last year, and will be bringing Solid Sound back to the area for Round 2 in June.

“As we reached the end of our last deal, it felt like it was time for a change, and the one thing we were certain we did NOT want to do was to sign another traditional recording agreement,” said manager Tony Margherita via a written statement. “Our discussions with Anti-, coming on the back of a great experience working with them on the Mavis Staples record, led us to thinking we might be able to come up with something quite different from the norm that could potentially be better for us and, frankly, a lot more interesting.”

Margherita will oversee the label, based in Easthampton, Mass. The label will release “all future Wilco recordings and more,” according to the statement. As for what the “more” entails, details have not yet been unveiled.

Wilco tours endlessly, owns its own studio in Chicago — the famed Loft is a drive-by tourist stop for rock geeks — and is known to fund its own recordings. As for Anti-, the label is a subsidiary of Epitaph, and the imprints are no stranger to working big albums, having recently issued new sets from Weezer and this week’s top 10 debut from Social Distortion.

Wilco has somewhat of a Los Angeles connection, as guitar slinger Nels Cline makes his home in the West, and Best Coast’s Bobb Bruno, in his bunny guise, has been known to make an occasional appearance at a Wilco gig.

Wilco released three albums for Reprise Records, beginning with 1995’s country rocker “A.M.” and ending with the electronic-infused folk-pop of “Summerteeth” in 1999. The band was released from the Warner label after recording “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” a split documented in Greg Kot’s book “Learning How to Die” and Sam Jones’ documentary “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”

The album saw an eventual release on Nonesuch, another Warner-owned label, in 2002, and Nonesuch ultimately released four studio albums from the band, as well as various live projects. With the move to Anti-, Wilco doesn’t entirely escape the Warner Music Group system, as releases from Anti- are ultimately distributed via the major’s Alternative Distribution Alliance.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trent Reznor nominated for Oscar with ‘The Social Network’ score

Trent Reznor and co-composer Atticus Ross have been nominated in the best original score category at this year’s Oscars.

The pair’s score for Facebook drama The Social Network is up against scores for How to Train Your Dragon, Inception, The King’s Speech and 127 Hours.

The duo are the favourites for the award, having won the best original score honour at the Golden Globes ceremony earlier this month.

They pair are writing the score for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, due out at the end of this year. The adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel sees the pair team up with The Social Network director David Fincher again.


All Tomorrow’s Parties presents: I’ll Be Your Mirror

curated by ATP Friday September 30 and curated by Portishead Saturday October 1st and Sunday October 2, 2011

Asbury Park, N.J.

With very special guest to three day pass holders, Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel)

ATP, who are curating on the Friday are also very excited to be able to present Jeff Mangum who on the Friday night will perform his first large public show of Neutral Milk Hotel songs in over a decade. After releasing what is now one of the most loved albums of the 1990s (In The Aeroplane Over The Sea), the group disbanded before many of those who now love their albums had a chance to see the songs performed live, so this will no doubt be a very special occasion. Please note, as Jeff has chosen to play in the stunning, but smaller Paramount theatre only people who buy 3 day festival passes get access to this show on Friday night.

Also playing on the Friday are Chavez, Shellac, Cults and The Album Leaf, with a headliner and some comedians to be confirmed. The rest of the line-ups for the Saturday and Sunday will be announced in the near future…

Friday day passes do not include Jeff Mangum’s show as explained above. Jeff Mangum will play a separate solo headline show on the Monday night, tickets for which are $35…

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Decemberists – The King Is Dead (Album Review)

Woody Allen used to joke that he “was at two with nature” but decamping to Pendarvis Farm in Portland to record in a barn seems to have worked wonders for the Decemberists. The group’s sixth album, The King Is Dead, is a delight. Lead singer and songwriter Colin Meloy is steeped in British folk history (he admits to having ‘pored over’ the incomparable Dick Gaughan) but the band have turned to Americana for the inspiration for their new album, admitting previous efforts were a “little overwrought”. Meloy made a smart movein teaming up with the superb Gillian Welch, who provides duet and backing vocals on seven of the 10 tracks. Meloy said: “Gillian’s voice has enough character to stand out against my famous donkey bray.” They are particularly effective together on Dear Avery and Rise To Me with some delicate harmonies.
Peter Buck also guest stars on guitars and mandolin on three songs – sounding very REM-like on This Is Where We Fight – and the whole album sounds as though it was recorded by people enjoying themselves. January Hymn is a moving song about loss of love: How I lived a childhood in snow, And all my teens in tow, Stuffed in a strata of clothes. but the bucolic feel of the album is never cloying and January Hymn is balanced by the hopeful June Hymn. The Decemberists blend rock and folk well (there’s even a nod to the famous Raggle Taggle Gypsy Man in a riff on Rox In The Box) and the songwriting crafts pastoral and emotional imaginery into tight-knit, attractive songs. This album is an unexpected treat.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Aloe Blacc- I need a dollar (Live on Conan)

(requires flash)

Eight Track Museum Opening in Dallas

Even with the past few years bringing about recent revivals for vinyl records and tape cassettes, eight-track cartridges have not had the fortunate experience of coming back as quickly. But regardless of where they stand today, “formatician” Bucks Burnett seems determined to give the obsolete format its proper place in history through launching The Eight Track Museum in Dallas, Texas. The museum, which opens on Feb. 16 to the general public, will also feature other audio formats in an attempt to preserve antiquated media.

Apparently, the Eight Track Museum opening is a big enough deal to attract Former Talking Heads members Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz—both of whom have recently released their Tom Tom Club album Genius of Live on eight-track. “We feel inspired and astonished that in our thirtieth year, Tom Tom Club’s Genius of Live will be available through a technology platform that is clearly on the rebound from obscurity to its rightful place as the transcendent format of the 21st century” the couple commented.

The Eight Track Museum’s first exhibition will be called “Conceived In Cars / Birth Of The Eight Track 1965” and will provide an in-depth look at the mobility that 8 tracks provided music listeners in the format’s early years. The exhibit will feature cartridges from all the Beatles albums released as 8-tracks, along with various artwork and rarities pertaining to the format.

Animal Collective Announces European, California Tour Dates

Following Panda Bear’s album finally getting a release date, Animal Collective has announced a string of European tour dates. These dates come alongside the band’s addition of several acts to their own All Tomorrows Parties festival, including the likes of Big Boi and Terry Riley.

In addition to these dates, AC will be performing a number of shows in California before they stop off at this year’s Coachella festival.

California dates:

11 – Arcata, Calif. – Kate Buchanan Room
12 – Redway, Calif. – Mateel Community Center
13 – San Francisco, Calif. – Great American Music Hall
14 – Big Sur, Calif. – Henry Miller Memorial Library
16 – Indio, Calif. – Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival

European dates:

13 – 15 – Minehead, UK @ All Tomorrows Parties
16 – Eastbourne, UK @ Winter Gardens
17 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso
18 – Brussels, Belgium @ Les Nuit
19 – Cologne, Germany @ Electron
20 – Berlin, Germany @ Melt Wee
21 – Warsaw, Poland @ Stodola
22 – Krakow, Poland @ TBA
23 – Vienna, Austria @ Arena Vienna
24 – Zagreb, Croatia @ Pogon Jedinstvo

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wanda Jackson and Jack White Shake It Up on ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ (video)

Rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson joined forces with Jack White, the producer of her latest album Modern Times, on Late Show with David Letterman last night for a raucous rendition of the groovy rocker “Shakin’ All Over.” (flash required)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

British Sea Power: Valhalla Dancehall (Album Review)

When British Sea Power wrote “Who’s in Control?”, the rousing overture to Valhalla Dancehall, the Cumbrian heroes’ fourth album proper, the current Winter of Discontent and the accompanying outbreak of civil disobedience were still distant prospects, but – like The Specials’ “Ghost Town” – it catches the mood of the nation with eerie prescience.

“Did you not know, were you not told?/ Everything around you is being sold…” begins singer Yan, before dreaming “Sometimes I wish protesting was sexy on a Saturday night”. Looks like he’s got his wish. It’s a song which heralds the band’s most direct and least cryptic release to date, and which sees them tackling idiocy and brutality head-on.

“We are Sound” – possibly a pun on the Mancunian use of the title’s final word as an adjective of approval, possibly not – attempts to engage with someone who “can barely string two words together”, while “Georgie Ray” envisions, with a shudder, a time when “the language gets perfected to a solitary grunt”.

Not that British Sea Power are watching the cultural decline as passive spectators: on “Observe the Skies”, they issue the defiant, you-and-whose-army vow “We’ll stand against them still/ Them and all their bruiser mates…”

And they’re not haughty, highbrow, pleasure-shunning snobs either: on “Luna”, whose first words run “Are you going to the disco, hey?/ Are you hoping that you’ll all get laid?/ When there are interstellar clouds on the Sussex Downs…” they sound torn between star-watching and carousing, between the aesthetic and the carnal, while “Living is so Easy”, which transplants the romance of Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls” to the topic of the north/south divide, raises the toast “Here’s to all the dirty girls/ They’re taking on all of the world/ Accessorised up to the hilt…”

As you’d expect from British Sea Power, it’s all set in a silver sea of the kind of sublime, subtly inventive guitar rock which raises the hackles, spreads goose pimples, elevates you out of yourself. That can mean the demure “Baby” or the deranged “Thin Black Sail” or, somewhere in between, the billowing, somewhat shoegazey “Once More Now”, upon which Hamilton’s last words, at the end of a deathlessly pretty coda, are a spoken “Fuck ’em”.

As well as being a hilarious moment, it’s highly significant, highlighting just how strongly this band are going against the prevailing grain. British Sea Power are bravely bringing beauty into an increasingly ugly world, whether that world wants it or not. They ought to be given a medal. For valour. For Valhalla!

Tom Waits To Release Limited Edition Poetry

American singer-songwriter Tom Waits will make a limited edition copy of his poetry available online from next month.

Waits, who released the two-disc album Glitter and Doom Live last year, will make a first edition chapbook of his poem ‘Seeds On Hard Ground’ available for purchase via his website on February 22. There will be only 1,000 copies available in the US and Europe.

All the proceeds will be donated to homeless services in Waits’ local region. For more information and to pre-order the chapbook, click here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Strokes Reveal More Album Details

An article in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone features some new information about the Strokes’ forthcoming album, now with a confirmed release date of March 22 via RCA. The album is tentatively titled Angles, and the first single from the ten-song LP will most likely be “Undercover of Darkness”.

Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. tells Rolling Stone that the album title represents “what the record sounds like. It comes from five different people,” meaning that all of the members of the band contributed to the songwriting process. Other song titles mentioned include “Life Is Simple”, “Taken for a Fool”, “Call Me Back”, “Radio Minor Madness”, and “Machu Picchu”, which Rolling Stone describes as “a rough wall of jangle over a hip-hop grind, as if the Strokes are cutting a Jay-Z track via the Rolling Stones’ Aftermath.”

The majority of the album was recorded at Hammond’s studio in upstate New York, following scrapped sessions with producer Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, the Shins). “Life Is Simple” is the sole surviving song from the Chiccarelli sessions.

The band has plans to tour later this year, but Hammond emphasizes to Rolling Stone that “we want to come back strong but slowly, so we can grow live and also make new music. We want to release albums quicker.”