• Coldplay Sets Tentative Tour Plans

    Now that baby Apple is more than a year old, Chris Martin and company are ready to leave the UK to tour to support of their new album, X&Y. According to Billboard.com, Coldplay plans to kick off their American tour August 8th at the Tweeter Center. Rilo Kiley and Franz Ferdinand are rumored to be on the list of opening acts. Before the actual tour kicks off, Coldplay is playing a number of North American club dates this spring, including shows in Toronto, Chicago, and a taping of VH1's "Storytellers" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 16th. X&Y hits stores June 7th.

  • Return to Guyville

    For those of you embittered by Liz Phair's foray into mainstream pop with her latest self-titled release, there is a glimmer of hope. According to Billboard.com, Phair is prepping a new album with a tentative September 27th release date. Phair-philes will be able to see Miss Liz before the fall: she's in the line-up for this summer's Lollapalooza weekend in Chicago, and is planning an acoustic tour for August. Perhaps this time around, Liz will get through an album without a reference to semen. One can only dream.

  • Benzos

    New York five-piece Benzos probably own a half dozen copies of Radiohead's Kid A between them. From the sound of their debut LP, Morning Stanzas , one can picture the band huddled around a hookah, listening to "Idioteque" and having a generative musical experience. The propulsive layers of synthesizer-based electronics, complex guitar work, and esoteric lyrics such as, "We are glass souls...we are glass houses," scream marijuana-induced paranoia and Thom Yorke worship. That being said, Benzos are no mere Brit-band knock-offs. Morning Stanzas boasts a number of truly touching and accomplished tracks. "Amiable" is a soaring, melodic gem, while the theme of glass and an accompanying emptiness ("You're Forever an Hourglass," "Glass Souls," etc.) crop up repeatedly.

  • The Mountain Goats

    John Darnielle, the man behind the Mountain Goats, might just be the only person on the planet who can make the act of drooling sound almost dreamy. "Spittle bubbling on your lips," Darnielle bleats in his signature nasally tenor, "fine white foam." Darielle took the Mountain Goats name in 1991 while working in a California state hospital, and has produced over ten full-length records since 1995. Darnielle is an incredibly prolific songwriter, releasing over ten full-length records since 1995. The Goats' latest album, The Sunset Tree, is the most personal and polished to date. Back in the '90s, Darnielle was famous for his low budget cassette recordings and intricate song cycles.

  • Tom Waits is T.O.'d at G.M.

    Tom Waits is claiming that his distinctive whiskey-and-cigarettes rasp has been appropriated for a less-then-beneficent cause: he is suing General Motors' European division for using a Waits sound-alike to hawk its Opel car line in Scandinavia. According to yahoo.com, Waits commented, "Commercials are an unnatural use of my work...It's like having a cow's udder sewn to the side of my face. Painful and humiliating." Waits has been down this legal road before. Back in the early '90s, he sued Frito-Lay for ostensibly copying his voice for a Doritos spot. The critical favorite was victorious in that round--Frito-Lay awarded Waits 2.5 million in damages. But ad execs, take heed: Tom Waits recently donated several tracks to a group called War Child Music to raise money for children in post-conflict nations.

  • Lou Reed: Advanced?

    By: Jason Hartley The career of an avant-garde or alternative musician follows an arc: In the beginning, he cultivates a small but dedicated following with innovative music that is celebrated by critics. Then he gets older, his fan base dwindles, and he suddenly finds himself irrelevant because he has "lost it." Everyone knows this. Everyone, that is, but the adherents of the Advanced Theory. They believe that there are certain musicians who were so good, that it is impossible that they could ever be bad. They reason that if an artist is fifteen years ahead of his time in 1965, he will be fifteen years ahead of his time in 2005, so of course fans and critics will be baffled by their current work. These "Advanced" musicians are always one step beyond our comprehension.

  • Sleater-Kinney Fresh from The Woods

    This June Sleater-Kinney will be touring to support their seventh album, The Woods, the band's Sub Pop debut (out May 24th). Former Helium frontwoman Mary Timony will be opening for the west coast dates, while Dead Meadow is opening on the east. The band has also launched a new website complete with a band blog.

  • Built To Spill's Ancient Melodies of the Present

    It's been four years since Built to Spill released their last album, Ancient Melodies of the Future. Since then Doug Martsch and co have been touring consistently, and are now gearing up for a new album this fall. To support this nascent recording, Built to Spill is going on a nationwide tour kicking off May 4th in Minneapolis. The boys from Boise will play their final tour date at the Austin City Limits Festival on July 24th.

  • Lollapalooza announces two-day festival in Chicago, July 23-24

    Lollapalooza returns with two-day event with over 60 artists performing on five stages in the heart of downtown Chicago. Headliners are the Pixies, Weezer, Widespread Panic, the Killers, Dinosaur Jr. and Liz Phair, and tickets are $85 for a two-day pass. At a press conference this morning, Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell said that "he'd felt like he had lost a limb" after the cancellation of the 2004 Lollapalooza tour but was excited about the possibility of bringing the festival to Chicago which always "had a heart for the arts." Farrell also said he was excited to build the "Kidsapalooza" area, and the Blue Man Group would be performing there. Check www.lollapalooza.com for a full band listing and updates. Also on the bill: Cake Dashboard Confessional Billy Idol The Arcade Fire G.

  • The Cloud Room

    Puns notwithstanding, there is something euphoric about the Cloud Room. The songs off their self-titled debut album boast synth-pop hooks that should appeal to even the most bass-addicted listener. Even their name is derived from a different kind of euphoria: The band is named for a speakeasy that used to sit atop the Chrysler building in the '20s and '30s. Lead Singer J. of the Cloud Room sounds like a happier Paul Banks of Interpol fame. The comparisons to '80s British post-punkers like Joy Division and New Order are easy to make, but the Cloud Room is also clearly influenced by the dance-rock NYC scene in which they flourished. J., along with Jon Petro on bass, Benjamin Nugent on electric piano and Jason Pharr on drums, rock the party on this precocious debut (released on Gigantic Records this past Tuesday). Catch them in and around their hometown in the months to come.

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