Quantcast

Search Results - "The Long Blondes, Nicole Atkins "

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Hotel Plaster

Nicole Atkins at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA little into her show at The Drake Underground on Saturday evening, Nicole Atkins mentioned that this was her first-ever solo show in Canada, and that performances of this format were usually reserved for more casual one-off performances back home in New Jersey during the holidays. Indeed, though Ms Atkins has been no stranger to Toronto stages since releasing her debut Neptune City back in 2007, she’s always been accompanied by some iteration of her band The (Black) Sea. I’d have to go back to SXSW 2007 to recall the last time I saw her in a stripped-down acoustic format (also the very first time overall), and even then she was backed by a hastily-recruited drummer and second guitarist because The Sea had gotten lost en route.

The call for backing players is a reasonable one as both her records – Neptune City and this year’s Mondo Amore – are pretty produced affairs, but it’s key to remember at her core Atkins is a folk/blues-rooted singer-songwriter and has had more than her share of experience performing with just her guitar, voice and songs. That’s all she brought with her on this evening and it was more than enough. Well, those and some hilarious anecdotes; for serious, the evening could have just been her sitting there – no guitar – and telling stories and it would have been worth the price of admission. But yes, she sang too.

Brassy set opener “Maybe Tonight” set the tone for the night, which is to say it wouldn’t be a quiet, navel-gazey affair. She promised that the set would mostly be country versions of her songs – and indeed, “Cry Cry Cry” was extra honky-tonky-ish – but most songs retained their basic stylistic personalities and there were a fair number of what she called the “sad bastard” songs, but even those were delivered with energy and conviction thanks to her room-filling voice. The set was all over the place as far as where it drew from, covering both albums, the rarely-heard title track of her debut Bleeding Diamonds EP, a new song entitled “Call Me The Witch”, and covers of Leadbelly, Benji Hughes and Cotton Mather (about whom she spilled the beans regarding an upcoming reunion at SXSW). After complimenting the audience on how quiet and attentive they were all night, she invited all to join in on “The Way It Is” and for the show closer and in what’s becoming a bit of a Drake tradition, came offstage to play “Neptune City” in the audience with everyone singing along.

Make no mistake, I loved both the widescreen, ornate presentation of Neptune City and the rawer, rockier Mondo Amore but if for her third record Nicole Atkins decides to peel things back to little more than what we saw on Saturday night, I’ve no doubt it’d be just as sublime.

Hater High was also in attendance and has the whole show recorded and available to download; it all sounds great but the banter prior to “Hotel Plaster” is especially worth hearing. The Free Lance-Star also has an interview.

Photos: Nicole Atkins @ The Drake Underground – December 3, 2011
MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Vultures”
MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Vitamin C”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Vultures”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Maybe Tonight”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “The Way It Is”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Neptune City”

The Quietus talks to Janet Weiss of Wild Flag.

NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert with tUnE-yArDs.

The Quietus interviews both Erika Anderson of EMA and Nika Roza Danilova of Zola Jesus.

Kind of an odd bill, but together The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys get to cross “go on an arena tour of North America” off their to-do lists. They’re at the Air Canada Centre on March 14 – presale goes December 6 at 10AM, public onsale on December 9. The Black Keys’ new album El Camino is out Tuesday.

Video: The Black Keys – “Tighten Up”
Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Suck It And See”

Austin 360 talks to Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.

The second Archers Of Loaf reissue – Vee Vee – has an official release date of February 21, and The AV Club has all the salient info. And they’ve also got Eric Bachmann doing a
One Track Mind performance and interview for “Web In Front”. Meanwhile, Bachmann puts his Crooked Fingers hat on to chat with Creative Loafing and The Phoenix New Times.

MP3: Archers Of Loaf – “Harnessed In Slums”

The first official single from Guided By Voices’ reunion record Let’s Go Eat The Factory is now available to download, all 1:44 of it. It will probably take you longer to read this interview with Bob Pollard at The AV Club than to listen to the song.

MP3: Guided By Voices – “Doughtnut For A Snowman”

Loud & Quiet interviews Ryan Adams, in town at the Winter Garden Theatre on December 10.

Blurt talks to Britta Phillips of Dean & Britta about being the voice of Jem (of Jem & The Holograms) back in the ’80s while Listgeeks chats with both her and Dean Wareham. And over at Captain’s Dead, they’ve got a downloadable recording of the “Plays Galaxie 500” set they did at Primavera in Barcelona back in May.

The Daily Beast talks to Michael Stipe and Mike Mills about the end of R.E.M..

Charles Bradley has released a new MP3 from No Time For Dreaming. He and his Extraordinaires are at Lee’s Palace on February 11.

MP3: Charles Bradley – “Heartaches & Pain”

Wye Oak stops in by Berlin Sessions for a video session. They open up for The National at The Air Canada Centre on Thursday night.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Dum Dum Girls.

Spin points out that Sleigh Bells’ website has been highjacked by a trailer for what is presumed to be their new album. It’s called Reign of Terror and it’ll be out when it’s out.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Mondo Amore

Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea and Cotton Jones at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt was an evening of familiar faces and (slightly) unfamiliar names at The Horseshoe on Saturday night. The familiar being Nicole Atkins, whom despite playing here four times in just eight months, hadn’t been back to visit in over three years and in the interim, changed her backing band entirely and renamed them from The Sea to The Black Sea. Nor were support act Cotton Jones strangers locally, having come through a number of times in their old incarnation of Page France and a few times since.

Of the two, Cotton Jones represented the more dramatic break from their former selves. Whereas Page France were a winsome if overly saccharine indie pop outfit, Cotton Jones was the sound of that band grown up and having traded tea parties for whiskey shots. That was applicable to both frontman Michael Nau’s voice, which used to be a nasally sort of thing but was now well and proper raspy, and the band’s songwriting in general, inflected as it now was with blues, soul and assorted Southern accents. Still, it was good to see that he and fellow Page France holdover Whitney McGraw hadn’t forgotten the melodic lessons learned in that band, and I generally enjoyed Cotton Jones’ set more than I ever did anything Page France did, though I have to say that “Somehow To Keep It Going” isn’t really a grand enough song to merit as extended a reading as it got.

The circumstances and significance of Nicole Atkins’ persona and personnel changes are well reflected in her new record Mondo Amore, what with the big orchestral approach of her debut Neptune City having been shelved in favour of something decidedly leaner and meaner. Accordingly, The Black Sea numbered just three plus Atkins in conventional two-guitar, bass and drums setup and the sound they made was even more stripped down than the album.

Their set included the entirety of Mondo Amore as well as some choice selections from Neptune City and a trio of covers that really spoke to the band’s versatility – not many bands can range from Krautrock (Can), country-pop (Cotton Mather) and funk-soul (Marie Queenie Lyons) and sound perfectly natural at all of them. Props especially go to guitarist Irina Yalkowsky, who had lots of room to move and space to fill and did so without getting flashy, though her solo in I believe “The Tower” earned her an ovation – I don’t know the last time I saw that happen.

But it was still Atkins’ show and though she and her bandmates had been plagued with illness over the course of the tour, you couldn’t tell it. Her voice was as strong as it’d ever been, rough and raucous on rockers like “My Baby Don’t Lie” and “This Is For Love” and richly emotive on the torchier numbers like set opener “Heavy Boots” and closer “The Tower”, and between songs, her spirits were high and banter sharp. If the past few years have been tumultuous ones for Atkins, then judging from the record she got out of it, the confidence and charisma she’s carrying and the shows she’s now delivering, they were worthwhile.

Chart also has a review of the show. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Boston Globe and Washington Post have interviews with Atkins while Baeble Music has a Guest Apartment video session. The Colorado Springs Independent has a feature on Cotton Jones.

Photos: Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea, Cotton Jones @ The Horseshoe – February 26, 2011
MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Vultures”
MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Vitamin C”
MP3: Cotton Jones – “Gotta Cheer Up”
MP3: Cotton Jones – “Glorylight & Christie”
MP3: Cotton Jones – “Somehow To Keep It Going”
MP3: Cotton Jones – “Blood Red Sentimental Blues”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Vultures”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Maybe Tonight”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “The Way It Is”
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Neptune City”

The Wall Street Journal talks to Tom Scharpling, who is directing the new New Jersey-saluting video for Titus Andronicus’ “No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future”. They play The Horseshoe on April 1.

One of the great music magazines of the ’90s is back in online form – Option, for whom my cousin worked for a while and got me a free subscription, introduced me a tonne of bands that I didn’t realize I’d love until many years later but I’d like to think there was some subliminal effect. Hopefully they will again be a forum for great long-form music writing, and this piece on Yo La Tengo certainly makes it seem so. Welcome back!

NPR has a World Cafe session with Sharon Van Etten. She plays The Drake Underground on April 12.

Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack talk to Spinner about their new record Civilian. It’s out next week and they play The El Mocambo on April 9,

Paste, PopMatters, The Calgary Herald and The New Zealand Herald catche up with Lucinda Williams, whose new record Blessed is out today. She is at Massey Hall this week, on March 4 and 5.

Spinner interviews Ume.

DeVotchKa’s latest 100 Lovers is out today; canada.com and Spinner have interviews. They’re at The Mod Club on March 30.

And since Toronto is generally hard-up for festivals of late, anything that offers locals the opportunity to hang out en masse getting heat stroke while soundtracked by live music is worth noting – like the return of the sort-of tradition of The Tragically Hip on Canada Day. This year, they’ll be at Downsview Park and be joined by Weezer, Broken Social Scene, Hey Rosetta! and Buck 65. Tickets are $59.50 plus fees and go on sale Friday. The last time I did The Tragically Hip on Canada Day was Molson Park in Barrie back in 1994… oh god. My memories of that show are now old enough to drive.

MP3: Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”
Video: The Tragically Hip – “My Music At Work”
Video: Weezer – “Keep Fishin'”
Video: Hey Rosetta! – “Yer Spring”
Video: Buck 65 – “Shutterbuggin'”

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

In The Company Of Women

I don’t know who it was that put this bill together – the country-soul Jersey girl and the oh-so English New Wavers – but they either have impeccable taste in music and a commendable disregard for genre pigeonholes… or they just like putting ridiculously good-looking frontwomen on tour together. Either way, they have my thanks.

The Jersey girl in question was one Nicole Atkins, accompanied by her band The Sea. I’d seen her perform at SxSW but not her band – somewhere between Newark and Austin, they got misplaced and she had to perform a truncated set backed by The Parlour Mob as ringers. They did a fine job backing her, I was majorly impressed, but after seeing her on Monday night I understand that I wasn’t seeing a fraction of what she was capable of.

Atkins has an incredible voice – think Loretta Lynn if she sang as much soul, blues and rock as she did country. Rich and heart-rending, powerful without ever oversinging and supremely versatile, Atkins and her band were bale to move from style to style effortlessly and naturally, sounding simultaneously timeless and contemporary. And need I mention that she was completely warm and charming onstage? Or that I was completely bowled over by her show and I went in with pretty high expectations. Simply one of the most astonishing new talents I’ve seen in forever.

I grabbed a copy of her 2006 EP Bleeding Diamonds ($3.98 at Insound – you have no excuse. Get it.) and it’s gorgeous, focusing on the slower, torchier side of her repetoire. But based on the live show and other tracks floating around the internet, her debut full-length Neptune City will incorporate more of the upbeat songs and display more of her Garden State rock influences (I’m talking Springsteen, not Bon Jovi, though Atkins might well dispute that). It’s out July 24 and if she’s touring anywhere near you, go see her. I’m hoping she’ll make it back here (the NxNE listings had her as playing the festival last weekend but apparently they forgot to actually ask her) but in the meantime I’m prepared to head down to Austin for ACL in September to see her. Well her and some others, but definitely her.

But wait, there’s more. She was just the opener and while she set the bar absurdly high, The Long Blondes were up to the task. Though this was their first Canadian show and technically their album Someone To Drive You Home had only been released over here last week, it was obvious from the rabidness of the crowd that most had been living with the record via import since last year and had been waiting for this show for almost as long. I’d only heard some of the singles and wasn’t completely sold but was certainly prepared to buy if the pitch was good. Let’s just say they made an offer I couldn’t refuse.

While they can’t necessarily boast about their musical virtuosity, they kept things simple and effective letting guitarist/chief songwriter Dorian Cox’s words and singer Kate Jackson’s voice and boundless charisma do the rest. Sexy and swaggering in a sheer black pencil skirt, Jackson was a magnetic frontwoman with an arsenal of songs blending pure pop with New Wave stylings with the same sort of inimitably sardonic Englishness that defined their most frequent point of comparison, fellow Sheffield natives Pulp (though to get a little more contemporary, there was more than a little Franz Ferdinand-esque vibe on display). Experienced live (and from maybe four feet from Jackson), the songs which had left me sitting on the fence going in had me dancing just a bit coming out – delivered with such energy and sass, they were irresistable. They kept things short and sweet – not even an hour including onetwo-song encore – but I can’t imagine anyone was disappointed. Either Atkins or the Long Blondes’ sets on their own would have been worth the price of admission. Together, it was one of the best nights of live music you could imagine.

Harp gets to know Atkins a little better, she tells The New York Sun why she hasn’t tried out for American Idol and NPR has got an interview and three-song World Cafe set available to stream. Also check out the Rolling Stone piece from March 2006 that declared her one of “10 Artists To Watch”, one of the magazine’s rare recent instances of getting it exactly right and while we’re going back a bit, there’s an interview with her circa the same period at Village Indian. Pitchfork, meanwhile, solicits a guest list from Blondes drummer Screech Louder and Jackson gives Express an idea of what to expect from their next album.

Photos: The Long Blondes, Nicole Atkins & The Sea @ Lee’s Palace – June 11, 2007
MP3: The Long Blondes – “Once And Never Again”
MP3: Nicole Atkins & The Sea – “The Way It Is”
MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Bleeding Diamonds”
MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Carouselle”
Video: The Long Blondes – “Weekend Without Makeup” (YouTube)
Video: The Long Blondes – “Giddy Stratospheres” (YouTube)
Video: The Long Blondes – “Separated By Motorways” (YouTube)
Video: The Long Blondes – “Once And Never Again” (YouTube)
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Neptune City” (YouTube)
MySpace: The Long Blondes
MySpace: Nicole Atkins

Cleveland Scene examines the Springsteen-ness of The National.

Asbury Park Press, Denver Westworld and The Washington Post talk to Bloc Party.

UK buzz band (yes, another one) The Fratellis are coming to town for a show at the Mod Club on August 7. Tickets are $20 and go on sale Saturday.

JAM and eye chat with Jenn Grant about her debut album Orchestra Of The Moon. She’s at the Horseshoe tomorrow night.

The Joan As Police Woman show scheduled for July 28 at the Horseshoe appears to have been canceled.

Muzzle Of Bees asks five questions of Great Lake Swimmers’ Tony Dekker. I’ve been seeing all the shows that he’s wanted to! Ha ha. Sucker.

The internet is full of lists, many/most of them boring or predictable. So thank goodness for The AV Club and their First Annual Absolute Best Issue.

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Thirty One Today


Photo by Frank Yang

Actually, the title of this post isn’t quite accurate. I turned 33 yesterday. But it was still nice of Aimee Mann to stop by on Friday evening to say hello. Okay, it wasn’t specifically a birthday greeting, but her in-store in the basement of Sonic Boom was still something of an occasion if for no other reason than it’s not often you get a show as intimate as that with an artist of her stature.

I was a big fan in the days of her early solo records – the Roger McGuinn-aided classic pop of Whatever and Bernard Butler-gilded alt.rock of I’m With Stupid were staples of my musical diet through the late ’90s but after her turn of the century triumphs with Magnolia and Bachelor No 2. The follow-up Lost In Space felt tepid and a bit creatively stagnant however, and with a three-year gap between that and The Forgotten Arm my attention had wandered though I was pleased to see that the latter recaptured a bit of the energy that Space was sorely lacking.

Which brings us to her newest effort, @#%&! Smilers, to be released June 3. It was from this record that Mann drew exclusively for this short (half-hour) promo gig with herself on acoustic guitar and accompanied by a bassist and keyboardist. Assuming that the presentation of the recorded versions will differ significantly from this configuration, it was tough to judge the quality of the material based on this performance. Mann has always had an innate pop sense but her recent works have been less immediate and requiring more listens to fully appreciate. But that said, based on first impressions the new stuff sounds quite good and I look forward to hearing the album in whole.

Mann will be back in town for a proper date later this Summer at the Kool Haus on August 28. She also gives Newsweek some background behind the creation of the new record.

Photos: Aimee Mann @ Sonic Boom – May 9, 2008
MP3: Aimee Mann – “Thirty One Today”
Video: Aimee Mann – “Thirty One Today”
MySpace: Aimee Mann

Orgeon Live and The Age interview Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla while American Songwriter talks creative process with both Walla and Ben Gibbard. Narrow Stairs is out tomorrow and they play Olympic Island on June 7.

WOXY has posted the fruits of their Lounge Act labours with Okkervil River, including a new song that will likely make an appearance on their Stage Names companion disc which should be out later this year.

Exclaim! discusses Couples with Long Blonde Kate Jackson. They’re at Lee’s Palace on May 22.

The Nicole Atkins feature in this month’s Spin is now available to read online via their digital issue reader thingie.

Have you been wondering what happened to Ambulance LTD? So has the The Harvard Crimson so they catch up with sole remaining original member Marcus Congleton at a gig and find out how their label going bankrupt has essentially screwed them for the foreseeable future. Brooklyn Rail also checks in with Congleton, gets the same story. Demos of new material are available on their MySpace, and that’s probably the most we’ll be getting out of them anytime soon.

Drowned In Sound talks to Mission Of Burma’s Roger Miller.

A bunch of show announcements to help you plan your Summer. Thanks to Graham for pointing out that Ted Leo will be in town for a show at the Mod Club for the “Converse 100th Anniversary Party” on June 12, an early show with tickets $15 at the door. And then the next day, he’s at Dundas Square for a free 6PM show, this one surely a NXNE event.

Today’s darlings of the internet – No Age – will be at the Horseshoe on July 16 in support of their new album Nouns. MTV and Exclaim have features on the Los Angeles duo.

MP3: No Age – “Neck Escaper”
MP3: No Age – “Eraser”

All done with opening for others, Bon Iver will be headlining at Lee’s Palace on July 22 with the very worthy Bowerbirds, who were recently featured in a Take Away Show, as support.

If that bill’s not to your taste, perhaps the Atlas Sound/El Guincho at the Mod Club the same evening would be more up your alley.

Tilly & The Wall has given up on keeping their new album, due June 17, nameless and will now consent to call it O. They will be in town to promote with a show at the Mod Club on August 2.

MP3: Tilly & The Wall – “Cacaphony”

Stereolab will take their latest Chemical Chords, out August 19, on the road this Fall and be in Toronto at the Phoenix on October 8. Monade, Laetitia Sadier’s side project, will open.

Okay, so as I mentioned many moons ago I’m heading out vacation this week first for a few days in Dublin and then hopping over to London for another while – ten days total. I’ve tried to do some research as to things to do but have been fairly busy and besides a laundry list of the more obvious touristy things, any recommendations in addition to what was rattled off in January? I’m told that getting a copy of Time Out is the place to start? I’ve got no particular agenda – just want to look around, hang out, start a band, become NME flavour of the week and fall out of favour. I figure I can accomplish all that in a week.

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Expelled From Love

Greetings and welcome, if you’re here following the magical breadcrumb trail of video interviews with The Raveonettes wherein they discuss each track from their new album Lust Lust Lust. Already aired (aired?) have been segments at BrooklynVegan, My Old Kentucky Blog and Tripwire and still to come before the week winds down are installments at You Ain’t No Picasso and The Music Slut.

I’m still a relative newcomer to the Danish duo, my first exposure to them coming in the live context last October and as you could tell from that review, I wasn’t especially blown away. Though their aesthetic – equal parts girl group pop and Jesus And Mary Chain noise – is samey by design, being unfamiliar with their work made distinguishing one song from the next difficult, particularly with a two-guitar and drums configuration and volume in the red.

Happily, some time spent with Lust Lust Lust has yielded much more positive results. In a studio setting, their noisier inclinations are kept in check at the mixing board and the white noise – while absolutely still present – is applied more strategically and doesn’t obscure their pop craft and little musical embellishments which, underneath all the squall, is really quite pretty and even delicate. Some songs, like the lead-off “Aly, Walk With Me” flirt with a more sinister tone but it’s when the indulge their musical sweet tooth that they come across the best. Their sonic modus operendi is specific enough that it ensures you either get/like them or you don’t and while I’m not necessarily inclined to seek out their older records – they still don’t strike me as a band you need an encyclopedic catalog from – I’ve settled quite nicely on the “pro” side of the fence.

And so we come to the “exclusive interview” portion of the post – Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner talking a bit about two more tracks from Lust Lust List – “Expelled From Love” and “You Want The Candy”.

The Raveonettes discuss “Expelled From Love”

The Raveonettes discuss “You Want The Candy”

The Ravonettes are touring in support of Lust Lust Lust and stop in at the Opera House in Toronto on March 21. Exclaim! also has a brief interview with the band and Wagner talks Valentine’s Day to San Diego City Beat.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “Dead Sound”
MP3: The Raveonettes – “Aly, Walk With Me”
Video: The Raveonettes – “Dead Sound”
Video: The Raveonettes – “You Want The Candy”
Video: The Raveonettes – “Aly, Walk With Me”

If you actually read through those numerous “who’s going to break out in 2008” lists from the UK press I linked at the start of the year, one name that kept coming up was Foals, out of Oxford. I’m not sure I’m convinced, but they’ve sold enough people to land themselves a North American deal with SubPop ((and unlike many of said label’s recent signings, despite their equine name they sound nothing like Band Of Horses) and a North American tour to support their debut Antidotes when it’s released March 24. The Toronto stop is May 2 at Lee’s Palace.

MP3: Foals – “Balloons”
Video: Foals – “Cassius”
Video: Foals – “Balloons”
Video: Foals – “Hummer”
Video: Foals – “Mathletics”
MySpace: Foals

Drowned In Sound and Gigwise talk to The Long Blondes about Couples, out April 8. They play Lee’s Palace on May 22.

There were some rumours yesterday that the reason Radiohead’s August 15 date in Toronto at the Molson Amphitheatre was released outside the context of a full tour announcement was that it was going to be part of the announcement for this year’s edition of Edgefest, the CFNY-sponsored festival that was responsible for inflicting the likes of Our Lady Peace and The Tea Party on us for far too many years in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Well as Billboard reports, such is not the case – instead, Edgefest will feature a reconstituted Stone Temple Pilots, those elegant bachelors who hope they’re still foxy to you, alongside a puzzling bill that includes Linkin Park, Sam Roberts and The Coast. That to-do goes down July 12 at Downsview Park.

And speaking of The Coast, Exclaim! has the first sample of their new album Expatriate, due out April 1. Sounds great, and almost nothing like The Coast you might remember from their EP.

That Verve show at Ricoh Coliseum I was talking about last week? It’s on. Are there still 10,000 Verve fans willing to shell out $60-$70 a ticket ten years after their heyday? Tickets go on sale March 8 at noon right now ($70 floors, anyway – not seats) – let’s find out. Oh, and I told you so. If you’re tour tracking, after playing Coachella on April 25, Music Snobbery has them in Las Vegas on the 26th and New York City on April 28 and 29.

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan are releasing Sunday At Devil Dirt on May 5, a follow-up to 2005’s Ballad Of The Broken Seas. Presumably this is Lanegan’s way of cleansing himself after getting dirty in The Gutter with Greg Dulli.

British Sea Power’s Yan and Noble keep a tour diary for Drowned In Sound. BSP play Lee’s Palace on May 16 and headline The Hot Freaks’ Friday sched at the Mohawk during SxSW.

Minnesota Public Radio invites Nicole Atkins into their studio for a session. She opens Hot Freaks at the Mohawk at noon on Friday, March 14.

Slate ponders, “whither Jeff Mangum?”

Will Johnson finally appears to be getting his multiple band disorder under control… or at least consolidating them. The next Centro-Matic album will also be the next South San Gabriel record and both will be a double album called Dual Hawks, due out April 8. The set will contain one album credited to Centro-Matic and one to South San Gabriel and both will have the same name. Got that? Thanks, Will, for clearing that all up for us.

And, as inexplicable as it is, call this the third straight day with Manic Street Preachers content. In this case, a feature in the new Exclaim! about the martyrdom of musicians who die young. Yeah, yeah, Richey Edwards isn’t dead. Move on.

Oh yeah, I’m trying out this media player widget thing which you can see beside most MP3 links. Try it out. What do you think?