October 26, 2012

Today's Hotness: Lilys, Popstrangers, Burning Alms

Lilys -- Well Traveled Is Protest

>> Lilys is a Clicky Clicky All-Time Top Five Band, so we get very worked up when the nomadic act, led by chameleonic mastermind Kurt Heasley, gets around to releasing new music. And finally, after almost seven years, we've got some: here comes Lilys' meandering pop masterpiece "Well Traveled Is Protest," one side of a split single being released by Virginia's Speakertree Records Nov. 13. You may recall Speakertree as the outfit that released White Laces' excellent full-length debut Moves this past summer [review here]. "Well Traveled Is Protest" opens with a simple ascending acoustic guitar, not surprising as the most recent Lilys live appearances have just featured Mr. Heasley and an acoustic guitar. The song, however, quickly starts adding layers -- a chunky beat, solemn organ tones, backing vocals, backwards guitar lines, something that sounds like marimba, lyrical imagery that is both concrete and fractal at the same time. It's an arresting pop creation of the highest order, the sort of thing you'd expect Syd Barrett could have created if he had had his head a little more together. Sonically the tune rests comfortably within the canon of the band's mid- and late-period work, somewhere between, say, the completely insane sole major label record The Three-Way and the stoned slackness of Precollections. Here's hoping the single is a harbinger of much more new Lilys music to come, as Heasley's works are all treasures. Pre-orders for "Well Traveled Is Protest" b/w "Comb My Hair," a tune by Brooklyn's Big Troubles, are being taken at Speakertree's blog right here, so click over and buy right after you click play on the embed below of the Lilys tune.

>> We'll say it again: there’s just something about New Zealand and Australian-bred guitar pop that is so well-conceived and realized we suspect some secret magic must be at work. Or, perhaps, it's a unique regional psyche that accounts for the antipodeans' rich heritage of deft, twee hooks and scraggly guitar anthems? Regardless, the highly regarded label label Flying Nun has been doing their illustrious thing for more than three decades now, and one of its previous signees, Popstrangers, are poised to extend the legacy with the Feb. 26, 2013 release of the appropriately titled Antipodes, via Carpark. Based on the preview track "Heaven," Carpark's Todd Hyman (who Clicky Clicky will forever insist on referring to as "former Wendyfix drummer") is about to release a brilliant record. "Heaven" launches with a treble-kicking blast of unidentifiable electric noise, and then dives into chunky power pop palm-muting. Fronter Joel Flyger’s soft, emotion-laden vocals slink in and out of the verses' swing. Then comes a grand slam of a chorus, in which Mr. Flyger compellingly loops the first part of each line. It’s a dreamy, pleasingly disorienting moment, one that recalls American space cadets All Natural Lemon And Lime Flavors and its nasally melodic approach. "Heaven" is a certified psych-pop hit that plays up Popstrangers' Kiwi roots. The trio enjoyed a successful run of appearances at this month's CMJ New Music Seminar in New York, and we look forward to a chance to see them should they make it up to Boston the next time they hit The States. Keep an eye here for pre-order info. "Heaven" is embedded below, clear your schedule because it is all you'll want to listen to for days. -- Edward Charlton

>> Birmingham, England-based indie punk giants Calories are not exactly publicity hounds, despite making a couple of our favorite records of the last five years or so [this one, this one]. Our recollection is the band's last full-length, 2010's excellent Basic Nature, was promoted almost entirely with cryptic tumblr posts. So it should be little surprise that a new side project, apparently comprised of Calories guitarist and vocalist John Biggs and drummer Tom Whitfield, surfaced about two weeks ago with no announcement whatsoever. The project is called Burning Alms, and a Google search tells us little beyond the fact that the name is probably a reference to the 2004 Papa M singles and b-sides compilation Hole Of Burning Alms. Confusing the matter further is the fact that a message posted to a Facebook event page for Burning Alms' only second-ever gig states that "Burning Alms are now now 3/3 of Calories EXCITING!!!" Burning Alms made its live debut a week ago; its second show was Tuesday. The timing of all of this is curious, as Calories just last month came out of hibernation to issue into the inter-ether the barn-burning new track "Summer's Not." So what the hell is going on? Why do we have two bands with the same dudes in them each making awesome music, when we could just have one band containing the same dudes making awesome music. We don't know! But there are two excellent Burning Alms songs available now at Soundcloud, and we are especially taken with the most recent, a ballad titled "Run Straight On The Asphalt." Dig it below.

October 25, 2012

And Then Some Days We Get Awesome Mail 13

Ringo Deathstarr -- Mauve

Well, this is from Tuesday's mail bag truth be told, but we are still quite excited. We purchased this via the band's PledgeMusic campaign so very long ago, and had been enjoying the MP3s of same so much already, that we completely had no idea what this was when the 12 inch-square box arrived. But yes, it is the autographed vinyl of the mighty Ringo Deathstarr's Mauve, certainly one of the best records of 2012. The dust sleeve's seams were split when the record arrived and the plastic outer sleeve a little wrinkled, but the vinyl plays like a dream to our delight and our children's befuddlement. Ringo Deathstarr have been out touring the record since late August, and word came down via Twitter in the last 24 hours or so that the Austin-based shoegaze titans will have to postpone a scheduled European leg. But we expect that is but a temporary set-back. By all accounts the band's headlining set at Deep Heaven Now 6 here in Boston last week was terrific, and we are disappointed not to have seen it. But having this LP is certainly some small consolation, and we plan to blast this on the turntable all weekend long. Our own Edward Charlton reviewed Mauve for us here last month. Haven't heard the record? We've embedded below the psychosexyslowjam "Brightest Star." Purchase the entire thing from Sonic Unyon right here.

October 21, 2012

New Video Hype For Clicky Clicky Music Blog's Community Servings Benefit Show Nov. 7

As we've stated previously, but are reiterating now because HEYCOOOLNEWPROMOVIDEORIGHT?, Clicky Clicky Music Blog is presenting a bill for the ages, four of the best bands *anywhere*, Wednesday, November 7, performing at Great Scott in Boston to raise money for one of the worthiest charities in all of the Commonwealth, Community Servings.

Guillermo Sexo_//_boston, ma
[web site]

Johnny Foreigner_//_birmingham, england
[web site]

Speedy Ortiz_//_northampton, ma
[web site]

Infinity Girl_//_boston, ma
[web site]


DOWNLOAD/SHARE the flyer designed by Lewes Herriot

Community Servings prepares and delivers daily free, nutritious meals to almost 800 chronically ill clients (as well as their caregivers and children) in 17 cities and towns in Massachusetts. If you'll permit us to copy and paste from Servings.org, Community Servings' web site, "meals are prepared with delicious, fresh foods and are packed with the nutrition needed to fight illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and lupus. To meet our clients' needs, we cater to their dietary restrictions, providing for 25 special diets."

Video courtesy of CDH Design.

Soundtrack: "Champagne Girls I Have Known," Johnny Foreigner
from the demos collection Every Day Is A Constant Battle

Video snippets borrowed from with good intentions:


October 18, 2012

Today's Hotness: Sun Airway, Johnny Foreigner, Occurrence

Sun Airway -- Soft Fall

>> Writing to the word count, man... it can result in a sort of thrilling verbal economy, but other times it forces you to leave out crucial stuff. And we feel like the latter was the case in our recent review for The Boston Phoenix of Sun Airway's bewitching electropop long-player Soft Fall. The record is the band's second, but to a certain extent we felt like we were introducing Phoenix readers to the band, so we went with the lede "One of the more remarkable evolutions in the contemporary musical underground may be Jon Barthmus's decade-long peregrination from hardcore punk to the ambitious electro-pop of Sun Airway." Due to the space constraints, we weren't able to back this up with our observation that the quantum evolution in Mr. Barthmus' composing and arranging springs from the period between the two records by The A-Sides, Barthmus' excellent pre-Sun Airway outfit, which existed between the hardcore outfit Go Time and his current lush and kaleidoscopic project. The first A-Sides record, the excellent Hello, Hello -- issued in 2005 -- offered impressive hooks and harmonies wrapped in jaunty mod clothing, but the songs were still lean and crisp. It was on the A-Sides' long-delayed follow-up Silver Storms where Barthmusi began to stretch and twist the boundaries of his songs. The single "Diamonds" contained a protracted crescendo underpinned by simple organ chords, a crescendo that gave way to pulsing horns and layered vocals. The deft and sweet string arrangements on Silver Storms' "Sinking With The Ship," appropriately the final song on the final album released by The A-Sides, is perhaps an even more obvious precursor to the beautiful electropop music of Sun Airway, a point we would have liked to have driven home for Phoenix readers. But alas. We highly recommend Soft Fall; read our entire Phoenix review here. The record's two singles are embedded below.

>> OHMAGERD NEW JOHNNY FOREIGNER TRACK! The Birmingham, England-based noise pop titans -- who will make their Boston debut early next month when they play our benefit show Nov. 7 [details! tickets!] -- leaked yesterday a tune from the band's forthcoming fifth EP, Names. The short set will be released Oct. 27, it contains four tracks, and it is being issued both by long-time UK label Alcopop! and by new American label Swerp, as we wrote here earlier this month. The leaked song is titled "3 Hearts" and it is a crushing rocker with scrappy production. Fronter Alexei Berrow's guitar finger-tapping ushers in a series of hook-strewn parts all vying to be a chorus, to such an extent that determining what is the chorus stops mattering. There's shout-along lyrics, there's a spoken-word break-down, the whole thing is just massive and sophisticated, and is perhaps as big a step forward for the band as the leap in craftsmanship made between Johnny Foreigner's first two singles and the devastating third single, "Our Bipolar Friends" b/w "The House Party Scene Is Killing Us," released way back in 2008. Stream and download "3 Hearts" via the embed below. Johnny Foreigner's biggest U.S. conquest to date commences Oct. 30, and you can review all of the tour dates right here. Massachusetts fans will have two chances to win, as the band plays Boston Nov. 7 and then the Sierra Grille in Northampton on Nov. 8. Awesometown.

>> Cambridge-based electronic music concern Occurrence this week issued its first music since expanding to a duo, the very compelling The Cotton Floppy EP. The set continues the band's recent turn away from psychodrama toward bigger beats and more sophisticated textures. But The Cotton Floppy also touts a new density that can be attributed to the recently conscripted Wayne S. Feldman, whose collection of found cassettes surely sourced a broad swathe of the collection's spoken-word samples. Perhaps also due to Feldman's influence, the music on The Cotton Floppy evokes a fresh sense of play, even fun, that stands in stark contrast to the early, emotionally charged Occurrence records. The EP's title track skates along an almost giddy, slightly flatulent groove, while "We Are Bicycle Death, Jan" patiently arranges crisp rhythm tracks, synth doodles and samples into a pleasant, carefree meandering. But the highlight of the EP is "Philip's Emotional Cards," a tune that blends the cool posture of Cold Cave with the decidedly less contemporary but pleasantly cheery ambient pop style of the now apparently defunct Darla Records act Sweet Trip. We've embedded the entirety of The Cotton Floppy below; we highly recommend you click through to download the whole thing for free.

October 17, 2012

Rock Over Boston At The Movies: Led Zeppelin

In a world where bands of Led Zeppelin's stature are constantly coming up with ways to take more of our money, there's been remarkably little cashing in by the arguable kings of the dinosaur band jungle. Hell, it wasn't until 1999 that they even issued their first best-of, the two-part Early Days and Latter Days collections. That great restraint has helped solidify Zeppelin's monolithic status among their peers - their 8 core studio albums are a tight, consistent, rock-solid body of work (let's spot them In Through The Out Door, okay?) without many peers.

Fans have been historically under-served, however, in good documentation of the band's formidable live act. The Song Remains The Same was all we had for the longest time and, as any longtime fan and collector of illicit recordings could tell you, it was an inadequate representation of their stage power. It has its high points for sure - "No Quarter" and "Since I've Been Loving You" are my personal highlights - but for most of it, the band sounds tired and bloated. Not their best night.

The dam finally broke when they released the revelatory BBC Sessions in 1997, which finally gave us an idea of what they were capable of. But it was 2003's DVD set that was the true mind-blower. The first disc's 1970 set at the Royal Albert Hall presented us with a huge, uncompromising display of youth, power, and enough amphetamine-driven energy to kill 10 Tour de France champions.

So here we are then with what is only their third live collection in their 43 year career. A collection that, though inevitable, still took 5 years to release. Celebration Day captures the band's 2007 reunion performance in tribute of the late Atlantic Records svengali Ahmet Ertegun (which benefited an educational foundation in his name) with the late John Bonham's son Jason on drums. The lottery for the coveted one-night-only full concert set tickets fed anticipation that would be a challenge to meet, especially given the band's spotty reunion history. Horrible-to-disastrous short reunion sets in 1985 (at Live Aid, no less) and 1988 (at Atlantic Records' 40th anniversary event) seemed to put the band off of reunions for good, despite the much more successful Plant and Page collaborations in the 90's.

I was not a successful ticket-lottery winner, and Clicky Clicky HQ was apparently unable to secure press credentials, so we're making do with Celebration Day, a film that blows by the worries and exceeds all anticipations and is worthy of the band's small live catalog. The dynamic is different, for sure. The band may have needed to work harder than ever - there's no coasting on the cocksure invincible attitude of their youth, and you find yourself rooting for them in places - will Plant hit that note? can Page still dazzle? will Jason Bonham deliver? Yes, yes, and yes. It isn't long before you forget that construct, though and realize that, damn, this is simply a great Led Zeppelin concert. The concert is presented here in its entirety, with what we're told is a minimum of sweetening (and a listen to audience recordings and myriad YouTube clips pretty much bears this out), and a stage-eye view of the band. Crowd shots are scene setting - most of the time, we're in the band's space. Seeing their interactions and musical in-jokes and Jimmy Page's foot on the wah-wah pedal and John Paul Jones' foot on his bass pedals when he does double-duty on the keyboards.

The performances are solid-to-incendiary, the middle third in particular. "In My Time Of Dying" warms things up after the band works off their early jitters, the never before performed "For Your Life" really loosens them up, and "Trampled Underfoot" has the band firing on all cylinders. They stumble slightly in "Dazed and Confused" - there seems to be a missed cue (and possibly some editing) in there somewhere, but all is forgiven when Page takes out that bow and you're 15 again.

And no one's having more fun here than Jason Bonham. A solid, heavy-hitter like his dad, Bonham has flashes of that subtle looseness that helped give Zeppelin their swagger. He isn't quite as fluid as his father, but he's in the neighborhood. It's fun to watch the his elder bandmates beam at him throughout with obvious affection.

There are limited theatrical screenings on Wednesday and Thursday of this week (see the embedded doohickey for details) and, as fun as it is to see it on the big screen without the distractions of your living room, choose your theater wisely. The sound system at my screening was at was not up to the task of reproducing rock music - particularly the bass. Whenever John Paul Jones' bass was featured, like the beginning of "Dazed..." and in "Ramble On," it sounded slightly like those shredding videos until the rest of the band came in. I'm dying to see the Blu-Ray and hear the vinyl coming on November 19th and December 11th respectively.

I had been talking with friends lately how unlikely it is that this collection will ever be anyone's go-to listen when they want to hear live Zeppelin. Celebration Day proved me wrong. It's a fine new edition to the catalog.

Now. How about, say, Long Beach '75 next?

-Michael Piantigini

Led Zeppelin: Intertubes | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

October 15, 2012

YouTube Rodeo: Pop Savants Screaming Maldini Chase Down "Summer, Somewhere"

We've been writing about it for weeks, and the day has finally arrived: today "Summer, Somewhere," the triumphant second single from Screaming Maldini's hotly anticipated self-titled debut, is released to the world. Said release was heralded at the weekend by the video embedded atop this item, a wholly arresting and appropriately wide-screened visual for the stirring track. There's a lot to like, from the entrancing performance of Gina Maldini singing the lead to the dynamic cuts and editing that pace the gripping clip. The natural scenery is impossibly amazing, and creates a charged setting -- on a bluff next to a fogged-in canyon -- for the band to jam out the song's chiming final moments. You'll watch it again and again, to ponder the meaning of the ol' switcharoo, to get a closer look at Gina's nifty chronograph earrings, and to feel that hook hit you again and again.

Despite our prior reportage, there are some thing we have not yet told you about the Sheffield, England pop maximalists' single. First, it contains yet another version of the band's amazing early track "The Extrordinary," which long-time fans will recall was one of the earliest tracks circulated by the band way back in 2009, back when we were all young and not exhausted. The Sheffield sextet held a remix contest from which it chose entries to include on the new EP, and the winning creations are splendid. First, Rosie E (the nomme de remix of English comedian Matt Berry, he of "IT Crowd" and something called "Mighty Boosh") returns a punchy and stuttering iteration of the title track. That is backed up by a denser, more chilled remix from Fridge Poetry, the recently commissioned electropop sideline of totally righteous Johnny Foreigner drummer Junior Elvis Washington Laidley; we previously wrote about Fridge Poetry here. A radio edit of "Summer, Somewhere" rounds out the single, the entirety of which you can stream at Bandcamp here and via the embed below.

The full-lengthed Screaming Maldini is slated for release in early 2013 via the band's English and French labels, the inimitable Alcopop! and HipHipHip respectively, both of whom co-released the single this day. "Summer, Somewhere" is available digitally and on very limited edition CD for 2.50 pounds sterling. Tomorrow, which is already today in England, folks (that's how this thing works, don't ya know?) the Sheffield sextet travels down to XFM London to record an acoustic session with John Kennedy, something we hope we'll be hearing more of soon.

October 9, 2012

Today's Hotness: The Hush Now, R.M. Hendrix

The Hush Now -- The Flapper

>> The Hush Now's fidelity to tradition persists, a small but beautiful thing we've come to count on, a little consistency in a crazy world. Like morning frosts and 4PM sunsets, the Boston-based dream-pop quintet returns, here with a third annual Halloween-themed treat in hand, this one titled "The Flapper." The jaunty song reinforces our long-held belief that singer and founder Noel Kelly and his merry men could easily be raking in dough on the side writing pop gems for Disney soundtracks. "The Flapper" rests upon a winking guitar lick and a sturdy beat, both of which provide a platform for Kelly's strong, soulful voice, creepy leads from guitarist Adam Quane and dusty organ from key stroker John Millar Jon Rosen [sorry Jon! -- Ed.]. As entrancing as the tune is, we are curious to know whether there is an extended version somewhere, as we'd certainly like to hear more of the stone groove the quintet digs as the song heads into the fade, where dubby reverb hits the drum kit and synth noodles scurry like creeping insects (this latter part reminds us of a passage from some electric Miles Davis jam we can't put our ears on right now). Previous Halloween numbers from The Hush Now include 2011's "The Legend Of Dudley Town" [playlisted] and 2010's "Please Mephistopheles (Leave Me Alone)" [blogged]. Check out the latest offering via the embed below; you can also download the joint from Bandcamp right here, where you will find most if not all of the band's catalog available for free download. The Hush Now in recent days have been tracking tunes for a new planned full-length, its fourth, at Allston's Mad Oak Studios. Check out the band's Facebook page for photos from the ongoing sessions.

>> Boston-based graphic designer and music DIY-er R.M. Hendrix last month issued the latest in a long strand of releases, the dense, droning psych-pop platter Pink Skin EP. The short set trades in big, effected guitars and driving drum beats, all cleanly captured to tape (or, more likely these days, ones and zeroes) for maximum impact. "Last Days of Black" commences with cool guitar noise loops before a slinky bass enters and clears room for some massive guitar swaths. Just as quickly, Mr. Hendrix's voice comes in, recalling Adam Franklin's effortlessly cool speak-sing in Swervedriver, or even the Brit-affected warbling of Robert Pollard. The real jewel is the final track, "Lipstick and Perfect Hair." A jangling rock structure plays underneath disorienting guitar strums that aim to disrupt the classic college rock vibe that carries the song. The track evokes Lenola's first album (or maybe at times Julie Ocean) in its youthful power-pop innocence, paired perfectly with queasy histrionics. Pink Skin, available on CD and digitally, was conceived by Hendrix earlier this year and eventually mastered by Starflyer 59's Jason Martin. Hendrix, formerly of indie rockers Flannery, has apparently been slyly producing music for nearly as long as his particular strain of the genre has existed -- at least one song at his web site dates back to 1996. Peruse the entire catalog right here. Could R.M. Hendrix be the R. Stevie Moore of shoegaze? The world could certainly use more of those. -- Edward Charlton

October 4, 2012

Today's Hotness: Calories, Hospitality, Fashoda Crisis, Soccer Mom

Calories -- Summer's Not

>> Birmingham, England-based indie punk heroes Calories resurfaced last week with the blistering tune "Summer's Not," a non-album freebie and precursor to the act's planned third full-length. No release date or title for the forthcoming long-player have been revealed as of yet. Interestingly, the band's Facebook page (which lists Calories' interests as "swimming | minimalism") states that Dominique James -- formerly of Sunset Cinema Club and most recently best known as the engineer/producer of a number of Johnny Foreigner recordings -- is now a member of Calories, swelling its personnel to four members for what we believe to be the first time. "Summer's Not" is the first we've heard from Calories since the release of the band's terrific, best-of-2010 release Basic Nature [review], which was issued by Tough Love. The song is no departure from the band's characteristic blend of power, brevity and anthemic melodies. The production eschews gloss in favor of grit and buzzsaw fuzz, feedback flares through the crevices between beats, and chunky bass smacks up against the face of the stereo field. It's a wonderful little number. That "Summer's Not" is not included on the next record would seem a portentous fact: if the band didn't think this song made the cut, how friggin' awesome is this record going to be? We can't wait to hear it. Stream "Summer's Not" below.

>> After spending the majority of 2012 touring behind this year's delightful self-titled full-length, Clicky Clicky faves Hospitality return with a new 7" on Merge, "The Drift" b/w "Monkey," due Oct. 30th. The label has shared the b-side, which we've embedded below, and it's certainly strong enough to have been a lead cut. The tune is a smash, much more like the music from the band's live set we wrote about here last spring than the jazzy acoustics of the band's self-titled debut [review]. Almost certainly energized from their time on the road, Brooklyn-based Hospitality sounds lean and confident, with upfront bass and vocals that are evocative and precise. Fronter Amber Papini's singing twists and questions, while a clean electric guitar stair-steps through the mix, beckoning the listener with fevered New Wave visions. Pitchfork lazily referred to this one as "proggy," and man, is that a shame. To set the record straight, "Monkey" is a tightly coiled bit of brainy pop, unafraid to tread new ground in song structure without sacrificing anything in catchiness or relevance. Like XTC, The Go-Betweens, and this writer's beloved Lilys and The Mabuses, Hospitality are beginning to enter the realm of the chord-geniuses; compositional miscreants too damned smart and playful for their own good, and now apparently the sort of band whose music is tragically confused with that of Genesis or Yes. Prog? Please. Class? You better believe it. Buy the single from Merge right here. -- Edward Charlton

>> On the virtual A-side to its new digital single, "Horatio," notable Southend, UK-based howlers Fashoda Crisis have dialed back (slightly) its characteristic vitriol and raw power to pitch a bizarre tale of demented human/equine co-dependence. It's the same sort of odd, mildly psychedelic narrative that fueled those early, Syd Barrett-penned Floyd singles, although here it is contextualized by a martial stomp. Fashoda Crisis fronter Sim Ralph is easily able to pull it off, as his stentorian declamations are equally as compelling when alternated with spooked whispering and superficially curious ranting ("...education, Education, EDUCATION!"). "Horatio" and its fiery digital flipside "He's Got Gills" feature on the band's planned Jowls Of Justice EP, which will be released on vinyl and as a download by Cognitive Dissonance Records next month; pre-orders will begin shortly, according to the band. In the meantime, stream "Horatio" below. We wrote about "He's Got Gills" here in August.

>> Boston-based noise-rock titans Soccer Mom announced this week the quartet will release a digital single, "Brides" b/w "Canoe," the first new music from the band in more than a year. The tunes will be issued by 100m Records Nov. 6. The band supports shoegazers Young Prism at Great Scott in Boston the prior night, and promised to have CDs of the single available at the show. Both songs have featured in recent live sets from Soccer Mom (indeed, "Canoe" was in the band's set March 30), so fans lucky enough to have seen the band's dominating performances recently will have passing familiarity with them. 100m is already offering pre-orders for "Brides" b/w "Canoe" right here. Get into it. We previously wrote about Soccer Mom's amazing 10" You Are Not Going To Heaven here in July 2011.

October 1, 2012

Johnny Foreigner News Bomb: Names EP Due Oct. 27, New U.S. Label, U.S. Tour Dates Revealed

Johnny Foreigner NAMES EP due Oct. 27 on Swerp and Alcopop!

While neither the tour dates nor the EP were a surprise to social media stalkers, today's vast and detailed announcement of Johnny Foreigner's new release, new U.S. label and North American tour dates was still entirely exciting. The Birmingham, England-based noise-pop titans will release a new digital EP titled Names Oct. 27 via longtime label Alcopop! Records in the U.K. as well as the band's new U.S. label home, Swerp. Chicago-based Swerp, incidentally, is run by the fellow who made the wonderful video for "Harriet, By Proxy," from Johnny Foreigner's *last* EP, Certain Songs Are Cursed. The new, four-song (sort of) collection was recorded last week with usual collaborating engineery-producery dude Dom James; it is the first set of music to include recently ensconced second guitarist Lewes Herriot, who fans have long known as the creator of the now-quartet's visual brand.

Names is available as a digital download packaged in the UK with a badge set and in the U.S. with a hand-colored t-shirt. Each label will have one of the four recorded songs exclusively, meaning each release only actually has three songs, capisce? But fear not, the song not included in the package you buy (assuming you don't buy both, because, you know, money) will be for sale as a one-off digital file as well. Another of the four songs will be available as a free download in the coming days. So then there's the business of the U.S. tour, yeh? It is dubbed Johnny Foreigner vs. The Atlantic, and it kicks off in Wilmington, NC Oct. 30 with veteran act Hammer No More The Fingers, with whom Johnny Foreigner will tour up to Baltimore. The Brummies play Philly with Clicky Clicky faves Hop Along Nov. 4, then proceed up to Boston by way of New York in time for the huge Community Benefits benefit show we're hosting at Great Scott Nov. 7 [Facebook invite]. From here Johnny Foreigner heads west to Chicago on a string of dates with Swerp labelmates Nervous Passenger that winds down Nov. 17. That said, Johnny Foreigner expects to announce certain Canadian dates next week that will enlarge the band's stay in North America an unknown length of time. Plans had been explored for Johnny Foreigner to proceed to the west coast of the U.S., but today's announcement stated that, at least for now, that's a bridge too far. For now, of course, Johnny Foreigner are on the road in the U.K. and you can scope the complete dates for that jaunt right here.

Just catching up on this Johnny Foreigner thing? Well, courtesy of Swerp, below are streams comprising the entirety of the trio's best-album-of-2011 full-length Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything. We recommend starting at the beginning, listening through to the end, and then starting over.