April 10, 2003

Don’t think for a minute we wouldn’t prefer to keep the news aspect of these updates heavily in quotes. It could be petty bickering with email correspondents or fake song titles from albums in progress–as long as we’re keeping you uninformed in the guise of doing the exact opposite, we’re satisfied. But sometimes that’s just impossible. Now is one of those times. What a week-plus it’s been.

First off, both Summer Sun and A Grown-Ass Man have been released, and we’re thrilled to announce that everybody who’s heard them LOVES them. Really–we never expected such unanimity, and we’re truly humbled by your appreciation.

We launched Summer Sun the only way (in retrospect) possible: with a beach-themed record-release party at NYC’s Other Music while the city streets were covered with inches of slushy gook too unpleasant to even term snow. Matador staffers handed out free beer (but only to those with two pieces of photo id). We took turns dj’ing, under the protective cover of brave Other Music employees while they shielded our heads and records from flying promotional beach balls. Georgia played "Teenage Riot" by Portuguese Joe. James played "Girl/Boy" by Aphex Twin. Ira played Richie Van’s cover of "Joy to the World." Then we went home.

A weekend earlier, by overwhelming demand, New York’s beloved noisemakers Salmon Skin reunited for a farewell performance at the brand new Sin-é, to wish drummer Dan Brown a safe relocation to Los Angeles. Founding members Jeff Cashvan and Steve Thornton were resplendent in wedding dress and electric suit respectively. Auxiliary guitarist Georgia Hubley was inaudible, causing particular disappointment to the gearheads in the audience (i.e. all of us) who were dying to find out how her guitar for the evening’s built-in effects worked. In a stunning development, the group actually managed to complete their set without being forcibly ejected from the stage or banned from future appearances, perhaps a first for the combo (Mr. Cashvan’s firecracker outburst apparently was deemed too little, too late). They will be missed.

The following evening, Hubley was back in the Ludlow groove, this time with her Yo La Tengo bandmates in tow. We made an appearance at Tinkle, the criminally underpublicized weekly comedy show hosted by Todd Barry, Jon Benjamin and David Cross. After a huge build-up that promised the premiere of a theme song we had written expressly for Tinkle, we came on stage and played "Tequila," to the comic consternation of our hosts. We left the stage, proverbial tails between our literal legs, only to return at the end of the night with a triumphant offering of "Batman (Tinkle)." Obviously, you had to be there. And if you’ve ever tried to get into Tinkle before, you know that that was impossible.

Are we really saving the best for last? Yes. Just hours ago, we convened at a Brooklyn recording studio to record the songs "Hedwig’s Lament" and "Exquisite Corpse" for a Hedwig and the Angry Inch tribute record that will come out later this year on Off, and benefit the Harvey Milk School. Sitting in with the group, on lead vocals, was none other than Yoko Ono. We were there and we still don’t believe it. In between takes, Yoko regaled us with anecdotes about Elephant’s Memory and David Peel. (Did you know that Peel actually loathed marijuana? True story.)

Next stop: Columbus, Ohio.

And we’re on our way.