— Indie rock veterans +/- are back after a five year hiatus, their new record, Jumping the Tracks, slated for release tomorrow on Teenbeat Records. As with any project undertaken by a musician with the last name “Baluyut,” it should be anticipated eagerly. Check out their interview with Consequence of Sound.
— Speaking of the Baluyuts, Versus (pictured above) will be playing a Chickfactor-curated show at Brooklyn’s The Bell House on March 21st. If last June’s rare appearance on the same stage is any indication, it will again feature feedback, friends of the band, and deep cuts. Read: it will be an amazing set from one of the best bands you’ve probably never heard of.
— You know Robert Pollard as the prolific songwriter and face of Guided By Voices, but did you also know he threw a no-hitter as a collegiate pitcher? And 11 others between the ages of 10 and 20? ESPN has the story, as well as the one about the time during a Lollapalooza tour when GBV beat the Beastie Boys and Billy Corgan in a basketball game while Kim and Kelley Deal watched and Steve Drozd and peddled around the court on a bicycle.
— Every scene has its idiosyncracies, and fashion is invariably one of them. To wit, the rave scene, which has seen “radical self-expression” change in pack-form (ironic, no?) as the scenes themselves have morphed considerably over the years. And, its influence has migrated outwards as the EDM scene has itself become a mainstream scene, pushing into the more traditional rock festival scene and bringing a different sort of body-obsessed crowd to what was formerly a music-obsessed crowd (as seen at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and other major music festivals). The Native American headdresses have thankfully started to ebb away, but, enough with the stuffed animal heads, ok?
— Yes, U2 does have another record coming out soon. But this certainly isn’t connected to that, right? While you await the impending arrival of their 13th studio album, the band wants to give you free music in order to spur donations from Bank of America to (RED), which works in the fight against AIDS. So, act like a global humanitarian and download “Invisible” on iTunes, availing yourself of new, free music from a band that has sold more than 150 million records in the process. It’s the least you can do.
— CBC previews some of the great new music coming out of The True North Strong and Free this month.
— Pitchfork reminds us that we don’t need to be afraid of the 4% +/- of the population — many of them musicians — that have a condition called Synesthesia that combines one’s sensory perception of colors and sounds. In addition to Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, other artists with this condition include Pharrell Williams, Billy Joel, and Stevie Wonder.
— Green Day‘s Dookie is now officially 20-years old. While it may have been their breakout album, it wasn’t their first; the band formed in 1987. Which is to say: Billy Joe Armstrong, Tré Cool, and the other guy…Mike (Dirnt)…they aren’t young. But they were when these videos (“Basket Case” / “Longview”) were made!
— Happy birthday to Sonic Youth‘s Lee Ranaldo, who has been tearing up stages lately with Lee Ranaldo and the Dust, which has also featured SY’s Steve Shelley on drums. The axman is 58, and still attacks the stage like a twenty-something.
— The Cure have announced a new album on the heels of selling out a pair of benefit shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Apparently, 4:14 Scream was recorded five years ago, at the same time as their last record, 4:13 Dream.
— Gibson has come up with a new way of sticking it to The Man, marketing its Government Series II Les Paul guitar, made from wood seized by the U.S. Government and then eventually returned after the trade dispute was resolved. Because who doesn’t want to rock out with a “Government Tan” guitar?