Last week Gossip Wolf got a peek at famed thespian Michael Cera, he of many indie-nerd and bromance comedies. Cera was officially in town to perform at Lincoln Hall on Friday with Mister Heavenly for Tomorrow Never Knows, but he also took in Thursday's Del Rey show at the Empty Bottle. No fewer than three (drunken) attendees professed to this furry correspondent a deep-seated desire to punch Mr. Cera right in the nose! People, people! Punching Mr. Cera in his face will not magically return the 18 minutes of your life you wasted on that aborted attempt to make it through Scott Pilgrim!
Next week, two of Chicago's youngest working bands, the Pop Tots (who are approximately kindergartners) and Dangerous Rock Stars, head into Engine Music Studios to record their songs "McDonald's" and "Not That Tall," respectively. Both bands are made up of students in the Intonation Music Workshop; the sessions are the first in a yearlong series for IMW students that the studio is sponsoring to help them learn about and experience the recording process. The tracks will be released later this year on a compilation of Intonation student bands.
Local metal godfather Bruce Lamont—of Yakuza, Bloodiest, and Led Zeppelin 2—is making waves outside the Chi and inside the Internet. It's not for his beautiful flowing hair, like you might expect (don't hate, girls!), but rather for the righteous purity of his metalness. Last week, Stereogum debuted Lamont's forthcoming solo album, Feral Songs for the Epic Decline, streaming all seven tracks. It's due January 25 on At a Loss.
Smart Bar announced Monday that it's scored a quarterly DJ residency by New York-based alt-dance label DFA. Nate Seider, Smart Bar talent buyer and the man behind the DFA deal, told Gossip Wolf: "We've always had a great relationship with the DFA guys and have an immense amount of respect for the work they do. There are few other record labels out there that have helped to establish as many indie-dance producers and bands as they have, so it was a no-brainer." The two DFA acts confirmed so far are Justin Miller and Still Going, who kick things off February 11.
Jerry Lewis, David Lynch, and Big'n? Apparently Chicago noisy-rock band Big'n is HUGE in France. Huge enough to release records there, anyway! And play three shows there in April! The quartet is in the midst of recording an EP, Spare the Horses, for French label Africantape at Electrical Audio. These are the first Big'n tracks to slash ears since they cut one side of a split release with Oxes back in 2000, way back when Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez was the most famous kid in America. Now he can legally buy a pack of smokes in Cuba. Do you feel old yet? Have you lost interest in smoking and/or 90s noise music? Well, Africantape doesn't care, and is also releasing Dying Breed, a Big'n B-sides and rarities comp, on February 7.
The confusingly named Walter & Wendell is actually Joey King and Steve Versaw, formerly of boisterous local pop group (and Polyvinyl recording artists) the M's. When the M's broke up in 2009, King and Versaw had a slew of already written songs. In two days, they cut the basic tracks at the Wilco loft, where artists like Andrew Bird and Mavis Staples have also recorded. Apparently it's also a place for talented people who aren't in Wilco to make interesting records. Anyway, when they were done, they invited a few guests to contribute, like Dave Max Crawford (the Sea and Cake, Poi Dog Pondering), Mark Greenberg (Eleventh Dream Day, the Coctails), and Nate Lepine (Cursive, Sister Machine Gun). The resulting album, Adjusted Automatically, is available now from Versaw's label, Movings. You can stream the whole thing for free or purchase it (with a nonalbum bonus track) at themovingslabel.com.
Chicago's no-wave scene just isn't the same without dear ol' lynchpin/drummer/producer Weasel Walter. The city's Difficult Listening Index has declined markedly since he took his violent output elsewhere: first to the Bay Area, then to New York. Last week, Walter cruised through town, giving this Wolf and a coterie of free-jazz heads—as well as the requisite weird older guys in berets with too-long fingernails—a taste of his latest ferocity, improvising with guitarist Mary Halvorson and trumpeter Peter Evans. The scorching trio's tour was in support of Electric Fruit, their long-player out next week on Thirsty Ear. In other Walter news, the iconic 2002 album Infection and Decline, from Walter's jazz/death-metal/punishment outfit the Flying Luttenbachers, just got the deluxe reissue treatment from Finnish label Karkia Mistika. The band's lineup at the time included bassist and former Chicagoan Jonathan Hischke, who has since played with Marnie Stern, Hella, and Broken Bells.