A Tour, A Single, A Video, A Sale


You Gum-Chewing Speed Walkers,

Our new single, I DON’T BITE, is out this week in the UK, and it is vaulting up the charts like a monkey with Indiana Jones’s hat running up a ladder to get away from that bastard Indiana Jones. Part of what has people so excited – besides the fact that I DON’T BITE, when played backward on a record player, is “Hotel California” – are the b-sides. We got Dev Hynes, a.k.a. Lightspeed Champion, to cover “Rules Don’t Stop”; and we got Aaron Pfenning, a.k.a. Rewards, to cover “Nice Guys.” So you get covers of the first two singles off of BARBARA, made by two of today’s most exciting young music artists. These guys paint with sound – you gotta admit, it’s exciting!

You can download all three of these admittedly exciting tunes here.

If none of the songs we’re talking about are familiar to you, then you probably don’t own our new album, BARBARA. For the first time in your life, you’re in luck: We’re offering a special download price of Four Pounds & Something Pence (!!!) to anybody with a downloader/computer. That’s cheaper than before! If you’re interested, take a look at this button:

UK Push-button

Euro Push-button

If you live somewhere other than the UK or Europe – and these days, many do – don’t let the lack of a dedicated button get you down. Because of your comparatively weak currency, BARBARA is already cheaper than Four Pounds & Something Pence in your country! Go enjoy your own natural sale price right now: Natural State of Sales.

Now, earlier we talked about “painting with sound” and how that’s a pretty exciting thing. Well if you did indeed think that painting with sound seemed exciting, wait until you see what we were able to do simply by crooning images. Last year, using an arcane method called “crooning images,” we created a video series called STEVE WANTS HIS MONEY. It aired on MTV in the UK, but it was difficult to watch online, and has never been released in any form outside of Europe. It’s a modern day tragedy – people all over the world with limited access to health care, clean water, and STEVE WANTS HIS MONEY. Well, no longer. Today, Episode 1 becomes available on our YouTube page. And each Wednesday for the next two months we’ll release another episode. The quality will be extra-high, the performances will grab your heart like the evil cultist in “Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom” grabbed hearts, and the jokes will have you chuckling to yourself even later on, in the shower, when you look down at your naked body – a time of day when you’re usually openly depressed. Seriously, if you thought the joke earlier in this paragraph about health care and clean water was in poor taste, you’re going to love the rich, delicious taste of SWH$.

Finally, and maybe most importantly of all, we just started another two months of touring. We’re hitting the eastern side of North America, swooping all the way down to Florida and Texas; we’re dropping in to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Amsterdam, Belgium, & Scandinavia; and we’re canvassing the UK and Ireland. Why? Because Keith left his lucky toothpaste somewhere, and we can’t remember where. So we’re on the hunt. If you see his toothpaste – he can’t remember if it was Colgate or Crest, but he thinks it was one of those – please let us know *immediately* so that we can cancel the rest of this tour. Until we find that toothpaste, though, we’ll be bringing our exciting live show to your favorite or second-favorite local club, and we’ll be bringing great support acts including Rewards, Gold Heart Assembly, Twin Tigers, & others. We spent some time in September dusting off some old gems, so you can also look forward to hearing a few oldies that haven’t been around in a while. Gawk at the dates here.

Vermont Maple BBQ

Rinker’s Mobil, Exit 4 off I-89
Randolph, VT

3/5 stars

Two out of three of us had a delicious lunch today in the parking lot of a filling station along a small road that bisects a rolling green field somewhere south of Burlington. The tree line lay twenty yards in one direction and a quarter mile in the other; it was a warm green October afternoon and the ravens were cussing the insects, demanding that they sit still, and the acrid smell of smoked meat wafted from Vermont BBQ’s stand like an invitation written in reddish brown all over the front of your shirt. Keith, our vegetarian, slumbered through the whole thing on the van’s back bench, which is a little longer than the other benches. About a foot longer; but that foot counts.

Vegetarians should absolutely slumber in the van when their party stops at Vermont BBQ, for there’s little at Vermont BBQ to interest the carniphobe. The slaw is tasty enough, and the four soda varieties represent the best of the international soda consortiums’ blends, and there’s a cheese quesadilla on the menu, but it isn’t an accident that the small mobile premises of Vermont BBQ are dominated by a no-nonsense coal-black pit barbecue roughly the size and shape of a grown beef cow.

After some initial quibbling over whether this was the right time of day for lunch and whether appetites should be saved for the infamous smoked meats of Montreal, Chris and Danny decided to roll the dice-shaped pig bones. Chris ordered the pulled pork sandwich, and said he’d take his slaw on the sandwich when the proprietor offered that option. Danny, sensing the opportunity to lay chips down on a winning bet, asked for the same thing.

The proprietor was chummy and talkative. She guessed that we were a band and told us about the time Levon Helm’s band came by. It was a good story, but it’s hers to tell -you’ll have to visit VT BBQ to hear it.

As she talked we watched her scoop drippy pulled pork out of a warming pan and build intimidating piles on our griddle-toasted buns (not our asses! the sandwich rolls that VT BBQ uses). She served us the sandwiches in paper trays with our slaw in dixie cups on the side. What happened to slaw “on the sandwich,” we don’t know. Likely she offered up that possibility simply to hear our responses, never actually intending to follow through. The ways that a person will go about trying to entertain herself when her job corrals her in a filling station parking lot all day are a mystery to us, and will, god willing, always remain so.

But the sandwich, it was really good. Danny fucking loved his, and Chris thought that if he was the kind of guy to fucking love almost everything that allowed itself to be eaten, he’d have felt the same. Instead he quietly thrilled at the fine luck of stumbling onto a delicious hot sandwich when all you were expecting was a 99¢ bag of mealy nuts and a Vitamin Water (the official lunch of Failure). We told the proprietor we’d come back next time we were in the area; she suggested we check her website for updated location info in case planned retail development displaces her. Apparently a Pizza Hut is in the works, which will make at least the ravens happy since it will mean lots more insects. On the downside, it’ll also mean roving hordes of rats, who will surely devour any raven eggs they come across. And of course, the local human population will suffer obesity and miscellaneous plague. We hope, for their sake, that Vermont BBQ doesn’t move far.