Unplugging: Moogfest and the Flaming Lips

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Back again in 2011 is Moogfest, with organizers recently announcing the festival’s initial lineup. Held in Asheville, NC—Moog’s former home of over 30 years—from October 28-30, the second edition of the already highly anticipated Moogfest will feature appearances from The Flaming Lips, Passion Pit and in a rare US performance, 70s electronic music innovators, Tangerine Dream.

Moogfest honors Bob Moog, inventor of the legendary Moog synthesizer and it’s subsequent sister instruments the Moog Guitar, the Little Phatty and Mooger Foogers, by showcasing musicians that utilize the electronic music visionary’s unique instruments.

Organizers announced just about half of the 60 performers slated to play at this year’s event, with other high profile acts including Umphrey’s McGee, Toro y Moi and Crystal Castles. Venues include the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, the Asheville Civic Center Arena and the Orange Peel Social & Pleasure Club.

Tickets are currently on sale and start at about $150 for a single weekend pass. VIP packages, which include access to exclusive viewing areas, go for around $380.

In tech news that will most likely have an affect on the music world, Apple revealed plans to release the now-heavily publicized iCloud service. Providing users with five gigbytes of free storage, iCloud is essentially a service that allows users to automatically upload songs, photos, video and audio books and access then on any iDevice.

Given the nature of iCloud, which allows users to store data online and access it across Apple’s various platforms, it will serve as a method to synchronize content between any Apple devices you may own.

Five gigs might not sound like much to start with, but it does leave enough room for most people to store the essential apps, documents and other forms of digital content to which they would need access. Interestingly, iTunes-purchased content does not take away from that available storage.

The downside, however, is that uploading music from iTunes to the iCloud will cost you an annual charge of $24.99. Known as iTunes Match, that add-on essentially allows you to sync your music collection with the cloud and stream them from any of your devices. The upside to that downside is that Match will upconvert MP3s that have a bitrate lower than 256 Kbps, which should add a small amount of clarity to your tunes.

In other debut news, long-running Florida-based punk outfit Against Me! recently announced that they will be launching their very own record label. Known as Total Treble Music, news about the band’s newest effort came in the form of an announcement on their website that stated that the label will be “the home of all future Against Me! releases.”

“We’re signing with NO ONE! We’re starting our own label, ‘Total Treble Music’,” wrote frontman Tom Gable in a tweet announcing the label. Distributed via RED/MRI in the US and Canada, Total Treble was apparently created to afford the group the ever-coveted creative control over their music. We’ll see that creative control on June 14, when Against Me! drops their upcoming EP, Russian Spies/Occult Enemies via Total Treble.

In addition to starting Total Treble, Against Me! is currently on tour. Lasting through the end of August, the current list of dates includes stops throughout most parts of the US.

Legendary Philadelphia hip hop outfit The Roots will also release new material as per their recent discussion regarding details about their next album. The title for the upcoming album—their tenth to date—has not yet been announced and is reportedly under tight wraps, but Roots percussionist ?uestlove let it slip in a recent interview with Billboard that sketches of two songs are currently composed and that the new release will serve as the group’s “full-fledged concept album.”

The Roots’ next release will reportedly be influenced largely by twentieth century orchestral chamber music, an aspect that comes from ?uestlove’s recent work at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts this past April. Working with Philly-Paris Lockdown, the drummer performed landmark chamber pieces from composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Erik Satie and Claude Debussy.

The album will reportedly go in the opposite direction of their last release, How I Got Over, which focuses largely on positivity in the face of adversity. Says vocalist Black Thought of the project: “Instead of dark to light, it’s an album that goes from light to dark.”

The album is expected to drop sometime early next year, although Black Thought would like to see it hit store shelves in November of this year.

Returning from a four-year hiatus with a new album in August will be beloved folk jam outfit Beirut. Dropping their newest effort, The Rip Tide, on August 30 via Pompeii Records—which is owned by Beirut member Zach Condon—the group is teasing fans with a stream of a new track entitled “East Harlem.“

Serving as the followup to 2007’s The Flying Club Cup, the album will feature nine new tracks from the band and is their third full-length release. If August 30 is too far away for you to wait to hear some new material, check out the band on their current tour, which kicked of June 8 in Austin, TX. Lasting until mid-September, the tour will include stops throughout the US and Europe.

That’s all for this week folks, we’ll see our way out. It’s time for you and music to spend a little quality alone time together.

Unplugging in Brief:

Moogfest Announces Initial 2011 Lineup – The annual festival, in its second edition this year, will feature performances from The Flaming Lips, Toro y Moi and Umphreys McGee.

Apple Announces iCloud Service – Apple’s new service will provide you five gigs of free storage for photos, music and videos to access across your iDevices.

Against Me! Starts New Label – Flordia punks Against Me! start Total Treble Music to release future albums.

The Roots Sprout Details About Next Album – Philadelphia hip hop outfit The Roots will release an orchesta-influenced album sometime next year.

Beirut Announces First Album in Four Years – Beloved folksters Beirut to release new full-lenth on August 30.