Media Roundup: It’s Like A Musical Blanket–With Sleeves!

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Ex-Clash drummer Topper Headon has generously offered his customized Mini Cooper to be raffled off to raise money for the Strummerville charity.  The organisation was established after the death of the band’s frontman, Joe Strummer, and serves to give aid to young musicians.

Topper Headon

Topper Headon

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Media Roundup: What Will Spring Bring?

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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After making a stop in Madison to play a fantastic show at the High Noon Saloon, An Horse made their way to NYC to play “Camp Out” for David Letterman.   If you haven’t done so already, check out our interview with the band here.

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Paul and Ringo will lead an alarmingly amazing lineup of musicians who will perform at the upcoming “Change Begins Within” benefit for the David Lynch Foundation.  The foundation “raises funds to teach one million at-risk children to meditate — giving them life-long tools to overcome stress and violence and promote peace and success in their lives.”

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The Roots are settling into their new role as house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.  Check out a video interview complete with rehearsal footage of the band here.

The Roots

The Roots

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Britpop legend Jarvis Cocker has a new album called Further Complications due out in May.  Let’s hope he’ll make time for an American tour after he completes his European dates!

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If you read the endlessly entertaining memoir Petal Pusher from Madison-native, rocker and author Laurie Lindeen (which you definitely should have), then you’ll be interested to know that her former band, Zuzu’s Petals, has a new retrospective album available from Rhino.

Zuzu's Petals

Zuzu's Petals

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Thanks to NPR, Dan Deacon fans can stream his new album, Bromst, in its entirety.  What do you think of the new tunes?  If you didn’t already know, Deacon will be in Madison on May 4th with Future Islands and Teeth Mountain.  Get your tickets here!

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Check out P.O.S.‘s new video for “Optimist.”

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It’s time to compare notes.  NME recently compiled a list of the “20 Greatest Goth Tracks.” What do you think of their selection?  What would you have included?
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Madison’s own Stu Levitan recently spoke with folk icon Joan Baez in an interview for 92.1 The Mic.  Click here to listen!  (Listed under March 8, 2009 Hour 2).  If you still don’t have tickets to Joan’s show at the Barrymore, get ’em here!

Joan Baez

Joan Baez

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If you’re thinking about picking up tickets to catch No Doubt on their upcoming tour, here’s a little extra motivation:  fans who opt to purchase premium tickets online will be able to download the band’s entire catalogue, plus exclusive content.
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Lots of exciting news from the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club camp!  A new album, DVD and tour are all in the band’s game plan for 2009.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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While you’re waiting for the indie folk trio that is Good Old War to play Madison on April 6th, check out this interview with the band from Blare magazine.  Need tickets to the show?  Head over here.
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Hardly a week goes by without some news from Oasis.  This week there are no brawls or international incidents to report on–just some free music on its way this spring!

Oasis

Oasis

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This year’s festival season is starting to take shape.  Pitchfork announced the first batch of confirmed acts for their July showcase, plus a brand new feature where ticket holders have the opportunity to pick the bands’ setlists.

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Jack White and The KillsAlison Mosshart are so strangers to being members of fantastic musical duos, so it only seems natural that they would join forces to create a brand new band called The Dead Weather. Along with The Raconteurs‘ “other Jack” (Lawrence) and Queens of the Stone Age‘s Dean Fertita, White and Mosshart plan to release the band’s debut album in June. Get the full scoop here, and check out a video of their first single.

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Congratulations are in order for Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore, who recently wed in a private ceremony in Georgia.

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A new Jeff Buckley CD/DVD package to mark the 15th anniversary of his debut album’s release will be available on June 2.  The set features live performances and rare TV clips. Find out more about what the package will include.

Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley

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Dahni Harrison talked to Billboard about the upcoming release of his band’s first album, as well as the new version of Rock Band featuring that one group his dad was in.  You may have heard of them…

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Check out a preview of The Hold Steady‘s new DVD, A Positive Rage.  When it’s realeased on April 7th, there’ll undoubtedly be more than a few Madison fans scanning the screen to catch a glimpse of themselves getting blown away by the band’s amazing show at The Majestic last year.

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A new solo Iggy Pop album is due out in May.  Read what the godfather of punk had to say about finding his inspiration as well as the furture of the Stooges after the passing of Ron Asheton.

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop

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Musings from Pitchfork ’08

As I sit still recovering from a last-minute adventure to Pitchfork Music Festival 2008 in Chicago’s Union Park, I can’t help but marvel at the vast quantity of engaging musicians, porta-potties and American Apparel ensembles that I had experienced over the course of the weekend. Speaking specifically to the musical component, my hat goes off to the festival organizers for arranging a lineup of artists that was well spaced out, diverse, and most importantly for a currently jobless college graduate, an incredible bargain. Below are some scattered thoughts on the festival:

I arrived late on Saturday, after getting a later start than expected when a certain blogger was still a bit hazy following a late previous night stomping around at the Indie Queer Pride Discotech. This meant missing Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar and A Hawk and a Hacksaw, both of whom reportedly delivered very pleasing sets. My day, instead, began by seeing what all of the hype with provocatively-titled duo F*** Buttons was about. As it turned out, it was mostly about booming feedback mixed other sporadic noises — not exactly my scene. After watching a few songs, I headed over instead to observe the brave souls who had already begun charging through the many muddy pits that remained on the grounds throughout the weekend following light rain Saturday morning.

The best (muddiest) seat in the house Saturday night.

The best (muddiest) seat in the house Saturday night.

Incidentally, I was equally “whelmed” later in the festival by two other blog darlings that I’d been very much looking forward to — Vampire Weekend and HEALTH. VW’s set consisted of crisp replicas of their impeccable debut album delivered with perfect posture worthy of Sunday morning at church with the family. Combined with the heat of the blinding Saturday afternoon sun and the expected overcrowding, the set was a definite miss. HEALTH perhaps suffered from the opposite problem and reminded me of an overly stimulated puppy. That said, the large crowd assembled at the new-and-improved third, side stage seemed to jive well with their sound.

Saturday’s highlight, as it turned out, was a tie between the foul-Cockney-accent-mouthed British rapper Dizzee Rascal and the incredibly trippy end-of-the-night set from Animal Collective, followed closely behind by a disco-rific set from !!! (Chk Chk Chk), which thankfully woke the crowd up after being lulled to sleep by the faux-Transylvannian weekenders . Animal Collective’s light show was particularly impressive, perfectly complementing the act’s pulsating haunts, much to the amusement of the many, many festival-goers adding various illegal substances into mix for their set.. It was a sublime end to the night, coming just before being shaken back to reality by the cattle call to the train stop just outside the festival.

Fixie Fest '08.

Union Park's other large event of the weekend: FixieFest '08.

Sunday, I arrived on the grounds feeling rejuvenated and not-hungover, ready for more gratuitous samples of Fuze fruit drink — orange melon was my flavor of choice, by weekend’s end. Moments after stepping past the many fixed-gear bikes and the surprisingly attentive bag-checkers at the gate, I was greeted with a series of four gong hits — Japan’s Boris had begun their show, which was surprisingly pleasant for this non-metal head. Next, I ran over to the B stage to catch High Places, an entertaining calypso-sugary duo that put together a very nice set, before avoiding HEALTH’s dying-raccoon-screeches by grabbing a piece of deep-dish Chicago pizza from one of the plethora of surprisingly delectable food vendors and collecting more free buttons, stickers and coupons than I knew what to do with.

M. Ward playing early on Sunday.  He'll be back in town with Zooey Deschanel in September at the Barrymore.

M. Ward playing early on Sunday. He'll be back in town with Zooey Deschanel Friday, Aug. 8, at the Barrymore.

Ready for more music, I hid under a polka-dotted umbrella-turned-parasol while catching the end of the Dodos‘ set and claiming a prime spot for M. Ward. The Dodos’ sound was infinitely better in this setting than a few weeks prior at the MU Terrace, and their set was fantastic, only outshone by the artful mastery of music displayed by M. Ward in the set that followed.  His performance managed to give me, and likely many others in the audience, chills on the balmy summer afternoon — a feat that requires true musicianship.

Bon Iver rocking the "B" stage on Sunday at Pitchfork Music Festival 2008 in Union Park, Chicago.

Bon Iver rocking the "B" stage on Sunday at P4K.

The series of fantastic back-to-back sets continued as I headed over to the B stage to set up camp for the triple threat that I’d been most looking forward to: Ghostface Killah & Raekwon-Bon Iver-Cut Copy. Ghostface and company delivered peace, love and hip hop in a set that provided a fresh take on old school — the crowd ate it up. Bon Iver was equally satisfying, balancing his well-known falsetto with his clear curiosity of noise rock, and recruiting the audience as his own backing chorus, just as he had done back in April during his last Madison appearance at Orpheum Stage Door. A surprising bonus of the set was an impassioned Creedance Clearwater Revival cover, which helped sweeten the blow of the severe collective dehydration and claustrophobia of the large crowd gathered for the set.

The night ended with a bit of a downer, as it took festival organizers nearly a half hour past Cut Copy’s scheduled start time of 8:25 to announce that the band was caught at the airport and was delayed — it was all said and done, we unfortunately missed the abridged, reportedly amazing, set from the Australian wunderkids. Instead, we were treated to an ad hoc ensemble of the most intoxicated Chicago band members available at the time — the singer from Deerhunter, drummer from the Ponys, and a few of their compadres. Following a lilting, improvised song titled “Jelly Roll,” it was time to catch the last bits of Spoon‘s set from the very back of the large assembled crowd. Spoon’s sound fits perfectly into a festival setting, and they did not disappoint.

As many warnings as I had heading into Pitchfork of its being unorganized and amateurish, I was repeatedly impressed by what the organizers had done catering to such a large crowd in a confined space. My only real disappointment was not being able to see all of the bands that I’d wanted to due to the packed schedule requiring that difficult decisions be made — namely missing out on the Hold Steady (who went straight from P4K to rock the Majestic stage earlier this week), Jarvis Cocker and Spiritualized. Indeed, it seems the festival has overcome its growing pains and solidified a position as one of Chicago’s greatest music festivals, one that I am looking forward to attending for many years to come.

— Joe Erbentraut, True Endeavors Communications and Public Relations Intern