In 2016 Toronto noise-rock behemoths METZ teamed up with Boston post-punk legends Mission of Burma on a split single for Record Store Day. METZ contributed a cover of “Good, Not Great,” a track from Mission of Burma’s 2006 album The Obliterati, while Mission of Burma covered METZ’s 2012 anthem, “Get Off,” from their self-titled debut. The split 7” was limited to 4,000 copies worldwide. Now for the first time ever these songs are available digitally; for Bandcamp Friday starting today, December 2nd, and in all other DSPs on December 20th.
METZ celebrate ten years of their massively acclaimed self-titled debut this year and will embark on a “10 Years Anniversary Tour” where they’ll be playing the album in full. Dates begin on December 7th in Phoenix with stops in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Portland, St. Paul, and Chicago. Please find a full list of dates below. Tickets for all shows are on sale now.
To further celebrate the 10th anniversary of METZ, in October Sub Pop released a deluxe edition of the album on all streaming services. This updated, thirteen-track album features the original ten songs along with new versions of “Wet Blanket,” “Wasted,” and “Get Off” from a 2013 BBC Radio 1 session at Maida Vale Studios with host Huw Stephens.
10 Years Anniversary Tour Wed. Dec. 07 - Phoenix, AZ- Valley Bar + Thu. Dec. 08 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom + Fri. Dec. 09 - Oakland, CA - The New Parish + Sun. Dec. 11 - Seattle, WA - Neumos + Mon. Dec. 12 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge * Thu. Dec. 15 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club * Fri. Dec. 16 - Chicago, IL - Metro *
Bret McKenzie has delivered a live performance of “Dave’s Place,” a highlight from Songs Without Jokes, his full-length debut, out now Sub Pop. The performance was captured on September 2022 at the Auckland Town Hall in Auckland, New Zealand.
Bret and his eight-piece band, an all-star lineup of Wellington musicians, wowed audiences across the globe with a hilarious and boundless live show in support of the album. Each night, fans were treated to a selection of material from the new album, as well as his previous musical adventures with The Muppets, The Simpsons, The Black Seeds, his comedy, and more.
Bret recently visited CBS Saturday Morning for performances of “Dave’s Place,” and additional Songs Without Jokes highlights “A Little Tune” and “If You Wanna Go.”
Songs Without Jokes features the aforementioned “Dave’s Place,” along with “If You Wanna Go,” “Tomorrow Today,” and “A Little Tune,” was produced by Mickey Petralia and McKenzie, mixed by Darrell Thorpe, with songs recorded at East West Studios and United Recordings, and mastered by Dave Ives at 101 Mastering in Los Angeles. Songs Without Jokes is available everywhere from Sub Pop.
What people are saying about Songs Without Jokes:
“Baroque-pop delight. Evocative of Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman at their most extroverted. McKenzie’s songs provide great warmth (8/10).” Uncut
“Its tracks carry notes of Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman, its contributors include some of Los Angeles’ most-revered session musicians, and while there is unquestionably great wit at play, there is also sincerity and real tenderness.” - The Guardian
“Surely he must see at least the fun in earnestly singing lyrics like “Look around, the planet is bleeding / A child is crying, the parents are weeping / The air is filthy, they don’t recommend breathing” atop the orchestral pop stylings of Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman, right? The songs grapple with today’s problems, but they’re every bit as charming, silly and heartfelt as one would expect from the motherflippin’ Rhymenoceros.” - Exclaim
“Unlike a lot of modern records, there is nothing bedroom-bound about this production, and you can feel the felicity of its live fanfare in a way that can rig up lighting rigs on its own. With this in mind, Songs Without Jokes is a titillating tour de force that we can’t wait to catch on the road.” [Album of the Week] - Far Out Magazine
“Although this is far from a comedy album, McKenzie’s wry sense of humour is still all over songs like ‘If You Wanna Go’ (“if you wanna go, baby, you should go,” shrugs the deadpan lyric), the sardonic ‘That’s LA’ (“drive down Sunset and the tears roll down my face”) and his breakup song with the US, America Goodbye. Musically, the album is drenched in an aviators-tinted nostalgia, ‘This World’ channelling Randy Newman and first single ‘A Little Tune’ a convincing and fun Harry Nilsson pastiche.” - The
Today, Friday, December 2nd, John Waters is releasing “It’s In The Book” b/w ”Proud New Father,” his new audio-only release, available on a 7” single pressed on gold vinyl and at all DSPs worldwide through Sub Pop. This single features Waters covering a stand-up routine recorded and made famous by midwestern-US comedian/actor/musician Johnny Standley in 1952.
“It’s In The Book” is Waters’ attempt to portray, in Waters’ words, Standley’s “persnickety, droll, intellectually superior comic monologue,” a part song, part exhortation on the subject of Little Bo-Peep in the manner of a revivalist preacher. The original version of “It’s In the Book” was a huge, surprise hit upon its release in 1952, rising to #1 on the Billboard chart and selling over 1 million copies.
Its follow-up, the nursery rhyme gone-wrong, comedy routine, “Proud New Father” (released the following year in 1953), would not fare as well– perhaps due to its gory details. Waters recounts, “It may be the first sick joke I heard as a child.”
As in the original versions, the two Standley homages include gratuitous laugh tracks. Produced by Grammy-winner, Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, The Good Ones [Rwanda], poet Raymond Antrobus, Zomba Prison Project), Brennan states, “That recordings of dead people prompt living people to laugh is one of the more surreal aspects of recorded medium. That often identical canned laughter tracks have been used redundantly on countless albums and sitcoms for decades is all the eerier.”
This single follows the release of Waters’ “Prayer to Pasolini,” his tribute to the legendarily controversial Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini, that was recorded by Waters and Brennan at Pasolini’s murder site on the outskirts of Rome. That single was released as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 6 series on Waters’ 75th birthday, April 22nd, 2021.
Waters jokes that he chose to press the new single on gold vinyl so that he can at last be able to claim, “I’ve made a ‘Gold Record’.” The Pope of Trash is currently traveling the US performing his annual A John Waters Christmas comedy tour, which resumes tonight, Friday, December 2nd in Eugene, OR at McDonald Theatre, and ends Thursday, December 22nd in Baltimore, MD at Baltimore SoundStage (a hometown show which sold out months in advance). Tickets for the remaining tour dates are on sale now.
“A John Waters Christmas” Tour Dates Fri. Dec. 02 - Eugene, OR - McDonald Theatre Sat. Dec. 03 - Los Angeles, CA - The Vermont Hollywood Sun. Dec. 04 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern [SOLD OUT] Mon. Dec. 05 - Austin, TX - Paramount Theatre Tue. Dec. 06 - Dallas, TX - Kessler Theater Wed. Dec. 07 - Denver, CO - The Soiled Dove Underground Sat. Dec. 10 - Providence, RI - Columbus Theatre Sun. Dec. 11 - New Orleans, LA - Civic Theatre NOLA Mon. Dec. 12 - Santa Fe, NM - Lensic Performing Arts Center Tue. Dec. 13 - Chicago, IL - Avondale Music Hall Tue. Dec. 14 - St. Louis, MO - Sheldon Arts Center Sat. Dec. 17 - Buffalo, NY - Asbury Hall at Babeville Sun. Dec. 18 - New York, NY - City Winery [SOLD OUT] Mon. Dec. 19 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse Tue. Dec. 20 - Asheville, NC - Diana Wortham Theatre Wed. Dec. 21 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere [SOLD OUT] Thu. Dec. 22 - Baltimore, MD - Baltimore SoundStage [SOLD OUT]
Hot Hot Heat’s Make Up The Breakdown: Deluxe Edition is the newly remastered and expanded version of the group’s breakthrough full-length and will be available again on vinyl, just in time for the 20th Anniversary of its release, on Friday, December 2nd, 2022 from Sub Pop.
Make Up The Breakdown was produced by Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth) at Vancouver, BC’s Mushroom Studios with additional engineering and mixing from former Death Cab for Cutie member Chris Walla at The Hall of Justice in Seattle, and released on October 8th, 2002 as a ten-track album. For this deluxe edition, Make Up The Breakdown has been expanded to twelve tracks and now includes “Apt. 101” and “Move On,” two tracks only previously available with a UK-only single for “Bandages.”
Make Up The Breakdown earned praise from the likes of AllMusic, who called the album “an addictive, densely packed pop gem that ranks among 2002’s best albums,” and Pitchfork agreed, including it at no. 20 on “The 50 Best Albums of 2002.” The official videos for “Bandages” and “Talk to Me, Dance With Me” saw regular airplay on MTV. Meanwhile the singles saw huge support at Alternative Radio, with both songs going to no. 1 at the KROQ in Los Angeles.
More on Make Up The Breakdown… To be lost and naked in the city one time is an embarrassment, a mistake not to be repeated. Lost and naked in the city, again - that is a lifestyle, a conscientious series of decisions that leaves one vulnerable to all the dizzying highs and brutal hangovers that come with being ready to transcend the limitations of a small town or a parochial punk mindset or just years upon years of repressed self-loathing. Or, as Hot Hot Heat singer/keyboardist Steve Bays puts it, “leaving the womb of teenhood and having no idea what to do with all that freedom.” This is what Make Up the Breakdown sounds like because this is what it was like to be in Hot Hot Heat.
This is not a phase of one’s life that can be recreated or even revised; even Bays admits that he had to shelf his fully digitized, “re-envisioned” and technically “better” version of his band’s beloved debut out of respect to its fans. But to hear these songs again and remember is even more powerful with the wisdom of distance, to recognize the little pivots that, unbeknownst at the time, changed everything. If Bays isn’t offered a solo deal after uploading crude solo synth-pop songs to Napster, Hot Hot Heat are only remembered as one of the many promising DIY bands in Victoria, British Columbia that broke up before anyone could take them seriously. If Dante Decaro fails to hold his liquor during one fateful Victoria house party, he never meets Bays; instead, Decaro and Paul Hawley stay up until 1 PM the next day playing Beatles covers and Hot Hot Heat’s classic lineup becomes solidified. If Dustin Hawthorne doesn’t play his bass through a crushingly loud Sunn amp or if they can afford a decent PA, Bays doesn’t develop a high-wire yelp that can cut through the noise. If Sub Pop A&R Tony Kiewel doesn’t hear the band’s name in a coffee shop the day before Bays sends an unsolicited email, Hot Hot Heat are rejected from every indie label that got their demo. If Bays’ mother doesn’t unexpectedly advise him to follow his dreams and sign with Sub Pop, he takes a desk gig as a creative director.
The precariousness of Hot Hot Heat’s existence extended to the creation of Make Up the Breakdown itself. If Bays doesn’t have a pen and a cocktail napkin while riding the ferry to Mushroom Studios, the lyrics to “Get In Or Get Out” never get written. If producer Jack Endino doesn’t insist that they record “Bandages” first, Bays probably changes the hook and writes a second verse that robs their hit single of its unstoppable momentum. If the band brings their beloved Juno-6 synthesizer, they never get a chance to use the creaky Hammond organ responsible for their most recognizable riffs - the ones that earned them countless critical comparisons to the excitable, angsty new wave of The Cure and Elvis Costello and XTC, rather than West Coast art-punks like The Locust or The Rapture and Modest Mouse that they are listening to and partying with.
Hot Hot Heat stayed true to Hawley’s initial conception of the band - “we can make pop music, but we have to screw it up in some way.” Their past incarnations as hardcore, death metal and second-wave emo found subtle ways to emerge throughout an album that aspired to be Victoria’s Help!. In the past, “the goal was to never play a chord progression that had been played before,” and that melodic ingenuity manifests in the whiplash key change on the chorus of “No, Not Now.” As Bays described the Victoria straight-edge hardcore milieu, “if the crowd’s not moving, you’re not a good band.” The same principles inform the arm-flailing rhythms of “Save Us S.O.S.” and “Talk to Me, Dance With Me.”
Over the next two years, Hot Hot Heat went from playing to seven people in Boise to festival crowds of 50,000; being lazily compared to Robert Smith to sharing backstage jokes with Robert Smith about those comparisons; learning multi-track recording on the fly to spending $350,000 in a Los Angeles studio to complete 2005’s Elevator; getting added to BBC Radio 1 and almost immediately banned because the mass delusional hysteria of the Iraq War led grandmas in the UK to believe “Bandages” was endorsing state violence. But to describe Make Up the Breakdown as an “instant classic” is flattering and misleading - nothing was preordained about its success or its resonance, and from the first grinding, giddy notes of “Naked in the City Again,” Make Up the Breakdown is reanimated with the blind, beery exuberance that set them apart from the urban ennui and wasted elegance that would come to define the “New Rock Revolution” of the early 2000s.
Though they shared the same stages and magazine covers as The Strokes and Interpol and the Libertines and the Killers, Hot Hot Heat made for convincing underdogs, the people’s champs - what could born rock stars know about the catastrophic romantic rejection of “Oh Goddamnit” or the crippling small-town angst of “Get In Or Get Out”? Though Victoria was largely marooned and could only absorb the essence of the indie scenes in San Diego, Vancouver and Seattle, it’s a microcosm for the widespread culture clashes playing out in Make Up the Breakdown.
The past 20 years has flattened the narrative of the early 2000s - one day, it was all nu-metal and rap-rock and goatees and the next, skinny boys from New York and the UK in tight jeans playing tighter songs about sex, drugs and druggy sex (or sexy drugs). Make Up the Breakdown told the truth about those caught up in this awkward growth spurt - cross-armed, straight edge kids were now going out to the bars, trying to get laid, unironically enjoying pop and causing all manner of romantic and idealistic conflict. As much as Make Up the Breakdown was slice-of-life scene reportage, Bays intended it as trenchant cultural criticism - “I was getting tired of the in-fighting and small town mentality,” he recalls. “If you don’t like your hometown, leave and I bet you’ll find the same problems wherever you land. You gotta find your peace.” Most likely, you will find it drunk and naked in the city again - again.
Praise for Make Up The Breakdown: “Every step of the album is a joyously bold, emotionally rounded one all of which betrays a cleverly veiled melancholia. From ‘Get In Or Get Out’’s crypto-jazz keys to the cowbell-driven studied cool of ‘Talk To Me, Dance With Me’, it’s a record that shakes all preconceptions from the tree, and should be talked about in hushed tones by self-congratulatory, music aficionados 20 years from now.” ★★★★ ½ - NME
“Crucially, Hot Hot Heat have also learned the art of the three-minute pop song. Make Up the Breakdown zips by in a giddy blur of taut punk-funk grooves and insanely catchy choruses. Highlights such as ‘Bandages’ and ‘Get In or Get Out’ sound like lost classics buried in 1982 and only recently disinterred.” ★★★★ - The Guardian
“The Victoria, Canada, quartet’s debut LP is one long indie/new wave rave-up, all spring-loaded guitars, stabbing organs, and footloose drums…the band bashes into every chorus like they’re smacking a pinata full of blood and chocolate (8/10).” - SPIN
“This frenetic foursome from Victoria, Canada, presides over a colossal jousting match between synths and guitars that is liable to leave its audience breathless…With Steve Bays’ faux-tortured vocals (Robert Smith on antidepressants?) providing the narration, listeners might want to rage, or they might want to disco. Or maybe both.” ★★★ ½ - Los Angeles Times
Hot Hot Heat Make Up The Breakdown: Deluxe Edition
Indie rock titans The Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie have today announced plans for a landmark 20th anniversary co-headline North American tour. The extraordinary live run will see both iconic groups performing their seminal 2003 albums in full – The Postal Service’s RIAA Platinum-certified Give Up and Death Cab for Cutie’s RIAA Gold-certified breakthrough fourth studio LP Transatlanticism – two classics released within a mere eight months of one another that year.
Benjamin Gibbard, the co-founder of both bands, will pull double duty throughout the tour, performing with The Postal Service – comprised of Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello, and Jenny Lewis – as well as with Death Cab for Cutie (alongside Nick Harmer, Dave Depper, Zac Rae, and Jason McGerr).
“I know for a fact I will never have a year again like 2003. The Postal Service record came out, Transatlanticism came out. These two records will be on my tombstone, and I’m totally fine with that. I’ve never had a more creatively inspired year.” – Gibbard
The tour was announced this morning via an exclusive trailer on the band’s socials (watch HERE).
The sure to be highly-anticipated run will kick off September 8, 2023 at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, ME and continue through mid-October, with highlights including shows at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, Berkeley, CA’s Greek Theatre, and Los Angeles, CA’s Hollywood Bowl.
Pre-sales begin Wednesday, December 14 at 10 am (local) and continue through Thursday, December 15 at 10 pm (local). Sign-up for early access to tickets here. For the Hollywood Bowl show, American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Tuesday, December 13 at 10am PT through Thursday, December 15 at 10pm PT.
All remaining tickets will be released to the general public on Friday, December 16 at 10 am (local). For complete details and ticket information, please visit giveuptransatlanticismtour.com.
The upcoming tour will mark the first live performances from The Postal Service in over a decade, following 2013’s hugely successful 10-year anniversary reunion tour for Give Up – an album which still stands today as Sub Pop’s second highest-selling album in the label’s history, second only to Nirvana’s Bleach. The reunion tour was captured for posterity on a live concert film, Everything Will Change, released in 2014 and subsequently on a live audio album released in 2020 to digital streaming platforms.
Also in 2020, the trio joined forces to support HeadCount’s “Make Your Vote Count” campaign via a star-studded video of “Zoom Auditions” for new band members which featured appearances from fans including Anne Hathaway, Kenny G, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Slash, Huey Lewis, Caroline Polachek, Michelle Zauner, Big Freedia, and J Mascis, to name a few.
Meanwhile, 8x GRAMMY® Award-nominees Death Cab for Cutie are currently celebrating the release of their critically acclaimed 10th studio album, Asphalt Meadows. Produced by GRAMMY® Award-winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Wallows), the new LP includes the explosive “Roman Candles” and chart-topping “Here to Forever,” the latter of which reached #1 at Alternative radio in October, after spending a record-setting nine weeks atop the AAA airplay chart this summer. The album received tremendous praise from outlets including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Vulture, SPIN, Stereogum, and Pitchfork, who lauded the record as “a late career masterwork… a restoration of their creative momentum when a mere ‘return to form’ would have sufficed.”
Ahead of the dates with The Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie will continue their Asphalt Meadows world tour in January 2023, traversing North America, Europe, and the UK through June, with support from Momma, Slow Pulp, and Lomelda on select dates. This follows their much-celebrated headline tour this past Fall at venues including Forest Hills (NYC) and The Greek Theatre (LA). For remaining tickets and complete details, please visit www.deathcabforcutie.com.
THE POSTAL SERVICE // DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
8 – Portland, ME – Cross Insurance Arena
9 – Kingston, RI – The Ryan Center
10 – New Haven, CT – Westville Music Bowl
12 – Boston, MA – MGM Music Hall
13 – Boston, MA – MGM Music Hall
14 – Washington, DC – Merriweather Post Pavilion
17 – Detroit, MI – Meadow Brook Amphitheater
20 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
21 – Philadelphia, PA – The Mann Center
24 – Minneapolis, MN – Armory
26 – Denver, CO – Mission Ballroom
27 – Denver, CO – Mission Ballroom
3 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Financial Theatre
4 – Las Vegas, NV – The Chelsea Ballroom at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
7 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
10 – Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre – UC Berkeley
13 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
# # #
Formed in Bellingham, WA in 1997, Death Cab for Cutie immediately entered the ranks of the era’s most definitive bands, thanks in large part to the remarkable power of co-founder, vocalist, guitarist, and lead songwriter Ben Gibbard’s complex, often bittersweet songcraft. The band made their worldwide popular breakthrough with 2003’s RIAA gold certified Transatlanticism, later named by NPR as one of “The Decade’s 50 Most Important Recordings.” Fueled by critical acclaim, an array of high profile soundtrack placements, and such hit singles as “The Sound of Settling” and “Title and Registration,” the album debuted among the upper half of the Billboard 200 – Death Cab for Cutie’s first ever entry on the overall chart. A 10th anniversary edition of Transatlanticism containing previously unheard demos and outtakes arrived in 2013, prompting NPR to write, “For all its ubiquity and imitators, Transatlanticism holds up as an exquisitely produced, largely flawless record in which every song is bound to serve as someone’s favorite.”
2003 also saw Gibbard and Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, Figurine) unite as The Postal Service, a long distance collaboration named for their working method of exchanging tracks via the US Mail. The duo – joined by a number of friends including singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis – proved a phenomenon with the February 2003 release of their one and only studio LP, Give Up, earning worldwide applause and eventual RIAA platinum certification thanks to infectious electro-pop smashes like “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” (a top 3 sensation on Billboard’s “Hot Dance Singles” chart), “We Will Become Silhouettes (which reached the top 3 on the Canadian Singles Chart), and of course, the magical RIAA gold certified “Such Great Heights.” The album’s stature continued to grow in the years following its original release, ultimately spending 19 non-consecutive weeks at #1 on Billboard’s “Top Electronic Albums” chart. In 2013, The Postal Service reunited to mark the 10th anniversary of Give Up with their biggest headline tour ever, along with top-billed performances at such international festivals as Coachella, Primavera Sound, Lollapalooza, and Sasquatch. In addition, a commemorative 10th anniversary edition of Give Up saw the singular collection expanded with 15 bonus tracks, including two brand new songs, “A Tattered Line of String” and “Turn Around.”