In The News: Jim James, Sunny Day Real Estate, Joe Pernice, Devendra Banhart And Free MP3s

jimjames545bSpiral Stairs (birth name: Scott Kannberg) makes his solo debut October 20 with The Real Feel (Matador). You may—or, rather, should—know Stairs from his work with indie legends Pavement and the overlooked Preston School Of Industry. Download “Maltese Terrier” … In other pseudonym news, Jim James (pictured) of My Morning Jacket, for reasons maybe only he can explain, is releasing an EP of George Harrison covers under the moniker Yim Yames. The EP can be purchased and downloaded from starting July 7. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary; if you buy the EP in old-fashioned CD or limited-edition vinyl form, you’ll receive a T-shirt from the organization. Download “Behind That Locked Door”Volcano Choir, featuring Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, releases its debut, Unmap (Jagjaguwar), on September 22. Vernon began writing songs with the other members of the band (Jon Mueller, Chris Rosenau, Jim Schoenecker, Daniel Spack and Thomas Wincek) prior to starting Bon Iver … Singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen continues his renaissance with the September 29 release of My Sad And Famous Songs: Leonard Cohen Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (Columbia/Legacy). The set includes the complete concert on CD and DVD, with the DVD adding new interviews with eyewitnesses including Kris Kristofferson, Judy Collins and Joan Baez … Another day, another dollar, another reunion-tour cash grab. Next up? Sunny Day Real Estate. The jaunt, including all four original members, starts September 17 in support of the September 15 Sub Pop reissues of the band’s debut, Diary, and its self-titled follow-up. As per, they both feature rare bonus tracks … Reckoning Songs From The Olympia, a four-tune live EP from R.E.M., will be available at iTunes and other online outlets starting July 7. As implied by the title, the tracks—“Harborcoat,” “Letter Never Sent,” “Second Guessing” and “Pretty Persuasion”—are from Reckoning, the band’s masterful second album; the performances are from 2007 shows at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. The R.E.M. Live At The Olympia LP is due in the fall … It Feels So Good When I Stop (Novel Soundtrack), a companion to Joe Pernice’s debut novel of the same named (minus the Novel Soundtrack part, duh), is out August 4 on Ashmont Records. (The book will be published two days later by Riverhead Books.) “Though the book is not explicitly about music, there are quite a few cover and fictional songs mentioned,” says Pernice. “So I thought it would be a cool idea for me to record some of those songs and release them as a soundtrack album to the novel.” Shows featuring Pernice reading excerpts and playing music will take place in August and September … While we often wonder about the benefits of downloading music from the web vs. buying the physical product, the advantages of online become apparent with Factory Records: Communications 1978-1992 (Rhino), a digital-only, 63-track history of the legendary British label. Featuring songs from Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays, the collection is currently available exclusively at iTunes and can be found at other online outlets on July 7. A free stream of two tunes each from the three aforementioned acts is available here … Freak-folk freak Devendra Banhart has completed work (probably without a shirt, we’re guessing) on his sixth full-length. The LP will be released in the fall on an as-yet-unamed label … If there’s anything that bugs us more than a Rob Thomas solo record, it’s a Rob Thomas solo record that has an all-lowercase title. cradlesong (Atlantic) is due June 30, along with a Live At Red Rocks DVD. While we really have nothing against Thomas (except for his lame performance of “Baba O’Reilly” at the Who’s Kennedy Center tribute, which really falls on whoever thought that was a good idea), we’re reminded of a classic 2004 Robert Pollard rant, “Why Willie Nelson Can Blow Me”: “He said the guy in Matchbox Twenty, that pussy, restored Willie Nelson’s faith in songwriting. Fuck Willie Nelson!