- In the grand tradition of indie label anniversaries, North Carolina’s Merge will be celebrating 20 years of existence with their own 5-day festival. XXMerge (we can’t wait for the 30th Anniversary edition) already promises 25 performers, including label bedrock Superchunk, along with indie favorites Spoon, Arcade Fire, Destroyer, Conor Oberst, and M. Ward. It’s a bit daunting when you realize each of those acts have actually released albums via Merge. More acts are promised, so expect plenty of announcements concerning XXMerge to fill up blogs and clog your music spam filter.
- Here’s something that may only make me and the Shake the Shack/No Depression crowd ecstatic: Minneapolis’ alt-country heroes The Jayhawks are reuniting! Billboard reports the group will play two festivals this summer — May 30th at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival and July 10th at Minneapolis’ Basilica Block Party. Gary Louris tells the trade mag that the reunification is just “a part time thing” hoping the band will play the summer festival circuit more often next year while aiming for a show at Bonnaroo.
- Finally, new details have emerged about Stellastarr*‘s follow-up to their 2005 album Harmonies For the Haunted. The as of yet untitled album is completed, and NME has the tracklist and more details. Look for it in July.
- The In Sound From Way Out may seem like your typical MP3-based blog, but if you survey carefully you’ll notice the artists being discussed all belong on EMI Australia. It’s only taken 7 years, but a major label has finally realized the power of the MP3 blog. According to Wired, this may be the first official major-label backed blog. Now let’s see how long it takes majors and the RIAA to realize they’re among dinosaurs in how they market and distribute music.
- Further proof that the physical musical format is suffering: No new platinum albums in 2009’s First Quarter. CD sales were down 20% this time last year while digital sales were up 23%.
- Perhaps this next bit is an elaborate and thought out April Fool’s joke. Guitar legend Rhys Chatham has begun an Astrological Advice for Musicians column for the barebones blog, Visitation Rites.
- Japanese experimentalists Ghost are preparing for their first American tour in nearly 4 years. Seattle’s newly re-opened The Crocodile, will host the band on May 1st (with support from Six Organs of Admittance. Magik Markers and Baby Dee will also open shows for the visiting psych rockers.
- Internet traffic in Sweden fell 33% due to the country’s new law allowing copyright holders to receive requests ISPs to find known downloaders. BBC reports that Sweden estimates nearly 8% of its citizens use some form of peer-to-peer software, leaving many of them to abandon their internet connections for fear of being exposed. Sweden’s Vice-Chairman of the Swedish Pirate Party believes the drop is only temporary.
- This past weekend, French band Phoenix, whose highly anticipated album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (May 26) has KEXP DJs chomping at the bit, debuted new material on Saturday Night Live. Here’s “1901” from the show:
- As for the talk show circuit this week, it’s mostly repeats, though be sure to set your DVR for M. Ward’s appearance tonight on the Late Late Show. Here are the other highlights:
Monday, April 6
David Letterman: Razorlight (R 3/10/09)
Late Late Show: M. Ward
Jimmy Fallon: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (R 3/4/09)
Last Call: Little Boots (R 3/4/09)
Tuesday, April 7
David Letterman: Cursive (R 3/13/09)
Jay Leno: Prince (R 3/27/09)
Wednesday, April 8
David Letterman: Bell X1 (R 3/17/09)
Jay Leno: Prince (R 3/25/09)
Jimmy Fallon: The Virgins (R 3/11/09)
Last Call: N.A.S.A. (R 3/6/09)
Jimmy Kimmel: MSTRKRFT (R 3/18/09)
Friday, April 10
David Letterman: U2 (R 3/5/09)
Jay Leno: PJ Harvey & John Parish (R 3/24/09)
Last Call: Patton Oswalt, M83 (R 3/11/09)