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It’s been FOREVER since we heard any activity from Nashville’s art-core pop-gasm quintet De Novo Dahl, and for good reason. They were simply burned out from all the stressful touring and getting dropped from their unlikely label, Roadrunner. The loss of label support was no fault of theirs, however. From my understanding it was due to changes in personnel at the label, and the person who supported them/signed them was no longer there. No matter what happened then, I’m glad to see that Joel has kept the project alive and is bringing DND out of hibernation to release a new album in 2010 on Theory 8. Three new tracks have surfaced on their new Bandcamp page, and I suggest you go grab them now. The material is much more laid-back than anything they’ve done to date, and that’s not a bad thing. It will only cost you an email address.

In other new music news, Spoon has an album due out this coming January. It includes the track “Got Nuffin” which appeared on an EP earlier this year. Let’s hope they can keep with their record of churning out quality music album-after-album. (Via You Ain’t No Picasso)

I’ll leave you with this video gem from my good friends at Lake Fever Productions. This is the previously unreleased extra from the Lake Fever Session that The Features did a month or so ago, and features a gaggle of random fans and musicians from other Nashville bands. This is the classic Features show-closer and it will never, ever get old. Watch below and also visit Lake Fever Sessions to see the rest of the Features’ session.

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The Nashville Scene/Cream is sponsoring all the 8 off 8th Mondays during July, and each week the 8 bands will all perform covers from a specific decade- the 60’s through the 90’s. Tonight is 60’s night and the bands are:

Matt Friction and the Cheap Shots
Roman Candle
Eureka Gold
The Clutters
Kindergarten Circus
Ole Mossy Face
Jacob Jones
Millionaire Magicians

Tigers Con Queso will be on the lineup for 90’s night on July 27th. More info at Nashville Cream. I’ll be there tonight taking pics, so come on out. It’ll be fun.

Hipster Runoff posted the new single Got Nuffin from Spoon today. It’s a good song, so go grab it.

I’ve got a lot of science to dump on you today, so here we go…

Astronomers have been a little puzzled by our Sun recently because it’s been unusually quiet. We reached solar minimum, the lowest part of the 11-year cycle of sunspot activity, in 2008. Normally we’d be seeing some sunspots appearing, marking the beginning of the next cycle, but for some reason the Sun has been strangely quiet this year, and no one really understands why. This weekend marked the first real appearance of sunspots for the new cycle, breaking the stretch of puzzling silence. Space.com has more.

I’ve always loved the large-scale, long-term predictions and statements that Dr. Stephen Hawking is known for. One of his latest predictions/statements is truly fascinating. He proposes that we take a much broader view of the term “evolution” and include not only genetic information (internal), but also external information. Because we now have the ability to communicate external information we are now in a different stage of evolution. Just like so many of his broad ideas, this one really makes you think almost on a totally different level. Read more at the Daily Galaxy article.

Even though communication with NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander ceased last fall, scientists are still evaluating the data collected while it was in operation. The scientists used a specialized instrument on the lander to detect water ice clouds and even snow falling to the martian ground. Yes, I said snow. On Mars. How effin’ cool is that? Learn more about this phenomenon by reading the Universe Today article.

Also from Universe Today- a more substantiated version of the blurb I posted a couple weeks ago regarding the possible back-up to NASA’s new Constellation program. A video clip from the presentation made to an external review committee by shuttle program manager John Shannon has been posted on YouTube. Apparently NASA is taking this proposal pretty seriously and everyone there is waiting on the final word by an executive session as to whether they’ll keep charging ahead with the current plans for the Ares rockets or try this new plan to retrofit the existing external fuel tank/solid rocket booster system to work with the new Orion Crew Vehicle. Watch the video below. As Universe Today points out, this system would be MUCH cheaper and faster to implement. Honestly, I think there’s a decent possibility that they’ll end up going for this and scrapping the Ares rockets. Only time will tell. Full article here.

Photo by Steve Cross

Photo by Steve Cross

First of all, I can’t even explain how awesome the Those Darlins album release show was saturday night. They TORE IT UP! Go look at the tons of pics I took, and read the great review over at Nashville Cream. NOW. Then go check out the new Lake Fever Session featuring Hung Up On Me, Snaggletooth Mama, and DUI or Die.

Something else that blew my mind: reading that MGMT will be opening for Paul McCartney for two dates at Fenway Park in Boston. One year ago if you had told me MGMT would be opening for Paul McCartney I’d have laughed in your face. What a difference a year makes… (Via Brooklyn Vegan)

Spoon have been in the studio again, and already have new material coming out in form of an EP called Got Nuffin. Stereogum posted a link to Amazon this morning where you could stream it, but for some reason Amazon has since taken that down. No matter, it’s always good to hear new Spoon material. They have the uncanny ability to just keep on making good music, and they don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

For your daily eye-gasm, take a look at the Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog. I’ve linked to this blog several times before, as well as posted photos from the International Space Station, but I challenge you to ever tire of such beautiful imagery, because you can’t. Today’s post includes the image I posted last week of the Russian volcano, along with 34 others. Feast your eyes.

The Spirit and Opportunity twin rovers that have been operating on Mars for a mind-blowing 5 years now are starting to show their age. Spirit has been stuck in some sandy dirt for a couple of weeks and engineers are having quite a time trying to get her free. They’ve even created a website called “Free Spirit” to chronicle the progress being made. Basically, they have to take different types of dirt from earth and blend them together to simulate the martian soil as closely as possible, then build a dummy replica of the rover and try to position it exactly how the real rover is positioned in the dirt. No one at NASA ever dreamed that these 2 rovers would last this long (the original mission plan was for only a few months!) so it’s not a huge loss if they can’t get her free. At least Opportunity is still in good shape.

One of the best known indepedent record labels is Merge Records, based in Chapel Hill, NC. This summer they’ll be celebrating 20 years of existence with XX Merge Festival, which will be held July 22-26 in Chapel Hill. The lineup includes quite a few heavy-hitters from their past and present, including Superchunk, Spoon, Conor Oberst, M. Ward, Destroyer, and Polvo, just to name a few. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to go, as I’ve never been to Mergefest or Chapel Hill, but it’s right before the Southern Girls Rock n Roll Camp, for which I’ll likely be volunteering this year. Via Paste Magazine.

The A.V. Club has a great list of 25 albums that are best when listened to from start to finish. There are some very obvious choices in there- Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka, The Who’s Quadrophenia, but there are a few surprises as well. An interesting post, thought I’d personally put The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s on my list.

In some slightly entertaining but really gross Nashville-related news: Apparently someone emptied the septic tank of one of Keith Urban’s tour buses outside the main entrance of NYC’s Webster Hall last week. Urban’s publicist claims it wasn’t an “official” Urban bus. Yea right. That’s one stinky April Fool’s joke, and not funny at all.

Finally, a tshirt designed for dudes with hairy chests! Thank you, Ironic Sans!

Image via Ironic Sans

Image via Ironic Sans

So there it is. Enjoy it. The look on his face right after it is priceless. Overall, though, he rocked the house like only he could. In my opinion, one of the better superbowl halftime shows in recent history. GIF image via You Ain’t No Picasso.

The RIAA and Universal Music Group are at it again, claiming that if you’re a music reviewer and you haven’t kept track of every single promo CD you’ve ever recieved, then you’re a pirate. They won’t win the court battle, because if they do then, technically any book publisher could stick a label on their books saying “not for library lending.” When are these assholes gonna learn?

In case you haven’t heard, Flight of the Conchords are playing at the Ryman April 10th.

A new Spoon track has surfaced on Stereogum… and I have to admit it’s kinda strange. Now, I’m far from being a Spoon fanatic, so someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first Spoon track to involve an electronic beat. Their new album hits shelves Feb. 17th.

Old 1940’s photographs superimposed on new ones taken in exactly the same location in Russia. The text is all in Russian, but you needn’t read it. The images say it all.

Speaking of Russia, apparently they want to build their own space station. I also had no idea that the current Internation Space Station was scheduled to retire in 2015. It just seems to me that too much money has been spent on the ISS to retire it only 5-6 years after its completion.

Finally, I want to say a few things about science and religion. While I consider myself a person of faith, I don’t follow any one organized religion specifically, and I don’t beleive that we should ever look to religious texts to explain our environment and how it works. The only reliable method of explaining our environment (and by environment I mean everything from our planet to the entire universe) is SCIENCE. My favorite writer from the Daily Galaxy, Luke McKinney, posted a very well worded blurb about evolutionary theory and its unknowns. Let me say this- science and religion are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they are completely different methods of thought. Science has even supported some of the stories in the Bible, but as Mr. McKinney so eloquently says, “Religious texts can be incredibly positive works, prescribing social support and good rules for a good life if used properly, but declaring one to be a definite depiction of reality is like calling Chicken Soup for the Soul a quantum mechanics textbook.”

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