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Peter of PB&J Preps Solo Set; Magnetic Fields Unveil ‘Distortion’

Plus Natalie Portman compiles iTunes mixtape and news on casting for the Kurt Cobain biopic.

It appears John Eriksson, the habitually absent producer and orchestra rockin’ drummer of Swede sensations Peter Bjorn and John, has ignited a trend: Frontman Peter Morénnow appears to be straying from the pack, plotting a solo performanceand album. “Peter does have a solo album in the works, but he is stillworking on it and it has no title or release date yet,” a bandspokesperson confirmed.

To show off those songs and more, thewhistlin’ rocker will perform solo Nov. 19 at New York City’s Joe’sPub, which mentions the forthcoming solo set in a web site post:”Peter writes a lot of songs — too many to fit in the prospect of justone band with three songwriters, so in his spare time he has recorded asolo album that bears some kinship with Paul Simon, Tim Hardin, BrianEno, John Cale, Caetano Veloso, Robyn Hitchcock, the Go-Betweens andmaybe the Shins’ acoustic ballads.”

Fans planning to attendthe show can expect a little something extra: “Peter will mostly playby his lonesome, but may invite guests or have some special treats uphis sleeve.” It appears Morén is stretching his legs before releasing this eclectic set.

Magnetic Fields Unveil ‘Distortion’

Fans of New York-based stalwarts Magnetic Fields rejoice! The synth-pop purveyors will return in 2008. “The Magnetic Fields are happy to announce that their new album, titled Distortion, will be released on Nonesuch Records on January 15, 2008,” read a post on frontman Stephin Merritt’s web site.”The band will perform a small number of U.S. tour dates in Februaryand March. Specific details regarding venues and ticket pre-sales willbe announced shortly.” Though further facts have yet-to-be revealed, Distortion is the quartet’s ninth record to date and first album since 2004’s i. [Via Pitchfork]

Natalie Portman Compiles Beirut, Shins, Banhart for iTunes Mixtape

Actress Natalie Portman has compiled a 16-track mixtape featuring tunes from the Shins, Devendra Banhart, and “favorite new band” Beirut, among others, EW.com reports. Proceeds from the collection, titled Big Change: Songs for FINCA,will benefit FINCA International, a charity organization that providesfinancial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs, forwhich Portman acts as a Ambassador of Hope.

Furthermore,Beirut, who contributed the exclusive track, “My Night with theProstitute From Marseille,” actually tried to recruit Queen Amidala forbacking vocals. “I wanted to so badly, but it didn’t work out,” Portmantold EW.com. “I hope they extend the offer again.” Banhart, M. Ward,and Rogue Wave also contribute exclusive tunes for the collection, asdo the Shins, with PB&J bassist Bjorn Yttling’s remix of”Australia.” The compilation hits iTunes tomorrow (Oct. 30).

Big Change: Songs for FINCA tracklisting:

1. “Be Good” – Tokyo Police Club
2. “My Night With the Prostitute From Marseille” [exclusive] – Beirut
3. “Plaid Lined Jacket” – Tom Brosseau
4. “Tudo Bem Malandro” – Curumin
5. “Australia (Bjorn Yttling Mix)” [exclusive] – The Shins
6. “Ain’t No Reason” – Brett Dennen
7. “Turnaroundturnmeon” – Sean Hayes
8. “Oh Yes, Another Mother” – Thee More Shallows
9. “The Beast” – Angus & Julia Stone
10. “Paddy’s Gone” – Antony & the Johnsons
11. “Idle Ties” – Vetiver
12. “Broken” – Norah Jones
13. “There’s Always Something Happening” [exclusive] – Devendra Banhart
14. “What Is a Soul?” [exclusive] – M. Ward
15. “Forgiveness Figg (Bethany Hotel Blues)” – Wooden Wand
16. “How We Landed” [exclusive] – Rogue Wave

James McAvoy to Play Kurt Cobain in Biopic?

Since the recent confirmation of a forthcoming Kurt Cobain biopic — based on Heavier than Heaven,Charles Cross’ biography on late Nirvana frontman — fans havespeculated on a an apt actor to tackle the lead role, citing candidatesfrom Michael Pitt, who acted as a Cobain-esque character in Gus VanSant’s arty Last Days, to Brit Ewan McGregor. But now, Hollywood is brewing with reports placing Scottish actor James McAvoy as the man to play Cobain. According to reports, McAvoy, who starred in The Last King Of Scotland, is currently in talks for the role and “is hot property in Hollywood right now,” a source told U.K. paper The Daily Express, and “would be perfect for the role of Kurt, who was a complex and unpredictable character.” [Via Yahoo UK]

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