Vivan Girls – Vivian Girls

One review to add before heading off for the holiday tonight. Vivian Girls released their self-titled debut on In the Red a few months ago, and you can read what I have to say about it here. Brooklyn girl-group gets good gab? Check it out.

M83 Touring with… The Killers? Hi.

M83’s Saturdays = Youth has made my top ten list for 2008, no question. Deviating from their electro shoegaze bliss of albums past, their latest is an ode to the 1980s – specifically, the cinema of John Hughes and the work of the once lovely Molly Ringwald. But I gotta say, I find the decision to tour with The Killers extremely questionable, mostly due to “Human” – “Are we human, or are we dancer?” Huh? They better make some new fans for this to be worth it.

In the meantime, you can still submit a video for the single “We Own the Sky” and upload it to Youtube here. If you win, we’ll see you on Pitchfork TV.

1/17/09 – Denver, CO @ Magness Arena
1/19/09 – Minneapolis, MN @ Northrop Auditorium
1/20/09 – Chicago, IL @ UIC Pavilion
1/21/09 – Detroit, MI @ EMU Convocation Center
1/23/09 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
1/25/09 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
1/26/09 – Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena
1/28/09 – Washington, DC @ George Mason University Patriot Center
1/29/09 – Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues
1/30/09 – Atlanta, GA @ Atlanta Civic Center
1/31/09 – Nashville, TN @ Grand Ole Opry House
2/01/09 – Houston, TX @ Verizon Wireless Theater
2/03/09 – Austin, TX @ Frank Erwin Center
2/04/09 – Dallas, TX @ Nokia Theatre

Franz Ferdinand on tour

Franz Ferdinand will release their third album in the new year (Jan. 27th, Domino/Epic), entitled Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. Just listened to the new single, “Ulysses,” and while the shuffling chorus hook is nice, it’s a bit underwhelming. We’ll see what the album sounds like, but it’s gotta be better than their sophomore effort. You can catch them live this December.

12/03/08 – Montreal, QC @ La Tulipe
12/04/08 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
12/06/08 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
12/08/08 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
12/09/08 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
12/11/08 – Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena
12/12/08 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint
12/14/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ Gibson Ampitheatre
12/15/08 – San Diego, CA @ Canes Bar & Grill

The Hives and Cyndi Lauper – Should You Care?

The Hives have collaborated with Cyndi Lauper for the time-tested and sentimental cliche known as a Christmas single. Should you care? Take a listen to “A Christmas Duel” and decide for yourself, because you can download it for free from the Hives’ website this Thanksgiving weekend.

These Are Powers release All Aboard Future in February

These Are Powers, featuring an ex-member of Liars (oh, snap!), will release All Aboard Future on Dead Oceans this February 17. The album should be dance-y and experimental, which should inspire either admiration or spite, depending on your tolerance for such things. An interesting note: the artwork was a collaborative effort from 13 artists invited to participate, from NYC all the way to China. You can get a taste on their MySpace page, and the tracklist is as follows:

1) Easy Answers
2) Life of Birds
3) Double Double Yolk
4) Parallel Shores
5) Light After Sound
6) Adam’s Turtle
7) Glass Blocks
8) Sand Tassels
9) Blue Healer

Don Rimini remixes Young MC

Young MC is back, courtesy of French electro producer and DJ, Don Rimini, who remixed the classic “Bust a Move” for the compilation Delicious Vinyl All-Stars RMXXOLOGY. Catch Rimini on tour – dates are below.

11/20/08 – Milan, Italy @ Rocket
11/21/08 – Budapest, Hungary @ Merlin
11/22/08 – Barcelona, Spain @ Nitsa Club
11/26/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy
11/27/08 – Calgary, AB @ Hi Fi Club
11/28/08 – Edmonton, AB @ New City Suburbs
11/29/08 – Richmond, CA @ The Craneway Pavilion
12/02/08 – Philadelphia, PA @ Snacks
12/03/08 – Boston, MA @ Bill’s Bar
12/04/08 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Moct
12/05/08 – Chicago, IL @ Abbey Pub
12/06/08 – New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
12/11/08 – Paris, France @ Social Club
12/12/08 – Zurich, Switzerland @ Club Q
12/13/08 – Nantes, France @ Astroclub
01/16/09 – Barcelona, Spain @ Razzmatazz
01/17/09 – Madrid, Spain @ Low Club
01/24/09 – Belgium @ Les Transardentes
01/31/09 – Strasbourg, France @ Rafiot
02/14/09 – Bordeaux, France @ 4 Sans

These Arms Are Snakes – Tail Swallower & Dove

Ex Botch and Kill Sadie bros have been pummeling the Pacific NW and beyond for a few years now with their band, These Arms Are Snakes. Their latest, Tail Swallower & Dove (Suicide Squeeze), combines hardcore aggression with metal precision. The end result? A pretty damn good time. Read why here.

Deerhunter – Microcastle

Deerhunter’s new album, Microcastle (Kranky), definitely sits at the top of my soon-to-be-compiled top-ten list of 2008. Find out why here.

Femi Kuti on Tour

He released his first solo album in seven years today, so why not a little North American tour to celebrate? Legendary Afro-pop musician Femi Kuti supports his latest, Day by Bay (Downtown), this January. Hippies and hipsters converge:

1/7/09 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
1/8/09 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
1/9/09 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
1/10/09 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live
1/11/09 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall (New York GlobalFEST)
1/14/09 – Montreal, QC @ Club Soda
1/15/09 – Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
1/16/09 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre
1/17/09 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
1/19/09 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
1/22/09 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
1/23/09 – West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
1/24/09 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues

An Open Letter to the New KCRW MD

When I heard that Nic Harcourt was leaving his post as Music Director of LA’s NPR affiliate, KCRW, I was ecstatic. The popularity of his show has always astounded me. But I guess that’s not really true. The car-commercial-ready music he trafficked in for what feels like forever made perfect sense here. All people ages 30 and above had to do to feel hip and innovative was tune into Morning Becomes Eclectic, Monday through Friday from 9am – noon, and voila: Death Cab for Cutie, Kinky, Beck… The problem isn’t that these are terrible artists making crap music. In fact, many of the bands Harcourt played were of high quality. The problem I had with his show was twofold: A) it wasn’t actually “eclectic,” and B) what was passed off as edgy and “alternative” was really quite mainstream nowadays. Let’s call it what it really is and rechristen his show Morning Becomes Accepted. All anyone in LA searching for something different on the radio has to do is tune into KXLU, only a few frequencies away.

Well, it’s just been announced that DJ Jason Bentley, formerly host of the once-electronic, now-whatever show Metropolis, will take over the reigns as MD and Eclectic host. I am willing to keep an open mind, but I’ll bet that not much changes as far as playlists are concerned. Mr. Bentley, if you’re listening, why not take this opportunity to liven up LA mornings by taking some chances with your song selection, guest artists, and giveaways. You have an opportunity to expose graphic designers stuck in cubicles and middle-aged boutique owners to something truly eclectic.

The Story of the Wu

This documentary, directed by Gerald Barclay, aired last night on BET and will be released next week on DVD. Read my review here.

New Order Reissues

Rhino recently reissued the first five New Order albums with the same care they afforded The Cure and Joy Division’s back catalogues. From the JD-lite Movement to 1989’s electro-pop Technique, these are significant and groundbreaking albums that should be revisited often. Now, you have no excuse not to. Read why here.

Black Kids on tour

Despite the pug review, I’m actually kinda feeling this new Black Kids record. Look who’s playing a couple of oh-so-special shows this December.

12/6/08 – Providence, RI @ Club Hell
12/7/08 – Boston, MA @ Wilbur Theatre (WFNX show)
12/10/08 – Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia (Indie 103 show)
12/11/08 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s (KROX show)

Cut Copy on tour

This is a few months away, but Cut Copy will tour North America this March. I got the early dates here for you to peruse. This is going to be their last tour before they head back to the studio to work on their followup to In Ghost Colours. Matt and Kim will be supporting.

3/6/09 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s BBQ
3/7/09 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
3/9/09 – Pomona, CA @ The Glass House
3/10/09 – Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theater
3/11/09 – Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theater
3/12/09 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
3/13/09 Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
3/15/09 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
3/17/09 – St. Louis, MO @ The Gargoyle
3/18/09 – Chicago, IL @ Vic Theater
3/20/09 – Toronto, ON @ Circa
3/21/09 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
3/22/09 – Boston, MA @ House Of Blues
3/23/09 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
3/24/09 – Carborro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
3/26/09 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade

Annuals on tour

Annuals are hitting the road in January in support of Such Fun (Canvasback Music). Jessica Lea Mayfield and What Laura Says, two bands on Annuals’ label, Terpsikhore, are coming along for the ride.

1/22/09 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
1/23/09 – Cleveland, OH @ The Grog Shop
1/24/09 – Toronto, ON @ El Mocambo
1/27/09 – Boston, MA @ TBA
1/28/09 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
1/31/09 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle