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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jack White’s Third Man Records Launches Publishing Arm, Third Man Books

Jack White’s Third Man Records has launched a publishing arm, fittingly (if somewhat unimaginatively) titled Third Man Books. Its first release, “Language Lessons: Volume 1,” will be commercially available Aug. 5.

The installment comes in several forms: a 321-page hardbound book featuring contemporary prose by the likes of fiction writer Dale Ray Phillips, National Book Award finalist C.D. Wright and Pulitzer Prize finalist Adrian Matejka, as well as poetry by Frank Stanford, Brian Barker and more. There’s also two vinyl LPs of jazz, psychedelia and blues from artists including finger-picking guitarist William Tyler and scrawling noiseniks Destruction Unit. “Language Lessons” comes with frameable art by Big Boys guitarist Tim Kerr and folk artist Butch Anthony.

“Third Man Books, like ‘Language Lessons,’ will be fearless, imaginative, and eclectic,” reads the site’s press release. “We hope to be a welcome addition to what is already a very compelling and thrilling independent American literary landscape.” The tome is available for pre-sale through the Third Man store.

In the beginning of this year, one of Third Man’s other comparably ambitious releases, “The Rise & Fall of Paramount Artists, Volume One (1917-1932),” was the target of a copyright dispute, which alleged that the label never obtained the necessary license to sell 800 of the package’s tracks. At press time, the case had not yet been settled.

Not one to be deterred by such a setback, in April, White broke the record (so to speak) for making the world’s fastest studio-to-store record, a limited-edition 7-inch of the title track to his most recent solo effort, “Lazaretto.” In June, the LP debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and set a vinyl sales record by moving 138,000 copies the first week of release.


With the immense out-of-nowhere success of Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city, the world is wondering how rap’s new king would follow up the effort. Fear not, for Kendrick doesn’t slack off. In a new interview with Complex, the TDE artist revealed that he has around 30 to 40 songs recorded for his new album. And among them, there’ll be a few joints featuring production from Dr. Dre:

Expectations are high. After good kid, good simply won’t be good enough. Unlike GKMC, which Kendrick planned years in advance, there’s no cover art in mind for the follow-up. As for a title, Kendrick says he’s “flirting with ideas.” He’s been working primarily with TDE’s in-house producers, Tae Beast and Sounwave of Digi+Phonics, but has also gotten in the studio with Dr. Dre. He’s still just “getting his ideas down,” but so far Kendrick’s recorded 30 to 40 new songs for the album (he recorded 60 to 70 songs for GKMC). He says he’ll be ready for a fourth quarter release.

Hooray – we’re so ready!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Over 700 indie labels have joined forces to support a new initiative that would make the process of digital revenue and accounting much more transparent. Among the labels backing the new program are Domino, Sub Pop, Ninja Tune, the Beggars Group, which represents 4AD, Rough Trade, and Matador, and Secretly Canadian. Via Billboard Biz:

Included within the ‘Fair Digital Deals Declaration’ are five key points that signatories agree to abide by. They are:

1. Ensure that artists’ share of download and streaming revenues is clearly explained in recording agreements and royalty statements in reasonable summary form.
2. Account to artists a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation from digital services that stem from the monetization of recordings but are not attributed to specific recordings or performances.
3. Encourage better standards of information from digital services on the usage and monetization of music.
4. Support artists who choose to oppose, including publicly, unauthorized uses of their music.
5. Support the collective position of the global independent record company sector.

In addition, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) offered up a ten-point Global Independent Manifesto:

“We oppose further consolidation in the recorded music, publishing and radio sectors since this is bad for independent music companies, their artists and fans,” the ten point pledge additionally states.

“Why wouldn’t we treat artists fairly? It seems so obvious that we shouldn’t have to say it, but let’s say it, loud and proud,” commented Martin Mills, Group Chairman of the Beggars Group, in a statement to launch the declaration.

The campaign launches today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

David Bowie Says New Music Coming “Soon”

Last Saturday, a charity event celebrating David Bowie’s music was held in London. Bowie himself sent a few signed items to be auctioned off, along with a message hinting at the forthcoming release of new music, as Bowie fansite David Bowie News reports (via Gigwise):

This city is even better than the one you were in last year, so remember to dance, dance, dance. And then sit down for a minute, knit something, then get up and run all over the place. Do it. Love on ya. More music soon. David

Bowie’s most recent album, 2013′s The Next Day, came after a decade of inactivity. That means he’s got nine years left to beat his current pace!

Watch the video for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


There’s a fair amount of chills going on here. Via The Guardian:

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s impressionistic take on the character of “Nick Cave” uses elements of documentary and drama to bring us a day in the life of the Bad Seeds frontman. Their film, which won directing and editing awards at the Sundance film festival, features appearances from Kylie Minogue, Ray Winstone and Cave’s bandmate Warren Ellis.

The film will see its UK release on September 19th. Watch below:


Bright Eyes guy Conor Oberst has been cleared of all charges after being accused of rape by Joanie Faircloth in the comments section on xoJane. Read the official statement, including an apology from Faircloth, below via Spin:

North Carolina resident Joan Elizabeth Harris aka Joanie Faircloth has issued a public apology to Conor Oberst recanting her on-line accusations of being sexually assaulted by the musician. After seven months of attempts to reach Ms. Faircloth to request that she rescind the false accusations she made against Mr. Oberst in the comments section of the xoJane website in December 2013, and repeated elsewhere over the following months, Ms. Faircloth contacted Mr. Oberst’s lawyers and today issued a notarized statement. Her statement reads in full:

‘The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100% false. I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son’s illness. I publicly retract my statements about Conor Oberst, and sincerely apologize to him, his family, and his fans for writing such awful things about him. I realize that my actions were wrong and could undermine the claims of actual sexual assault victims and for that I also apologize. I’m truly sorry for all the pain that I caused.’

In February Mr. Oberst filed a libel complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York asserting that the only relationship between the two parties was one of artist and fan; Ms. Faircloth had no physical contact with Mr. Oberst at the Durham, NC show she claimed was the location of the alleged sexual assault.”

Now word yet on whether Oberst will drop the libel suit he has filed against Faircloth.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tommy Ramone, the last original Ramone, dies aged 62

Tommy Ramone, the last remaining original member of the New York punk band Ramones, has died of cancer at the age of 62 at his home in NYC.

The manager-turned-drummer, and then producer of the band, was a Hungarian immigrant, born Erdélyi Tamás in Budapest, who came to the US in 1957.

Heavily influenced by 60s girl groups and the New York Dolls, Ramones formed in 1974, and were the first band from the underground punk scene in New York to make an album. Ramones, legend has it, was recorded in six days and cost $6,400 to make. It saw the first outing of their signature “1-2-3-4″ introduction yelled out at the start of each song.

Tommy Ramone played on the band’s first three albums, co-producing two of them, before leaving in 1978, ostensibly because he was exhausted by the constant touring but later admitting that he had quit in reaction to being “physically threatened by Johnny, treated with contempt by Dee Dee, and all but ignored by Joey”.

He was replaced by Marky, who was fired for alcoholism in 1983, to be replaced by Richie – both men are still alive.

Tommy kept his links with the Ramones, co-producing further albums, before starting an acoustic band called Uncle Monk with his partner Claudia Tienan, playing bluegrass music. It left him “baffled”, he said, that the original Ramones all fell out in later years. “We were like brothers,” he said.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


In 2012, Beck returned for a hiatus with the sheet music-only album Song Reader – quite a an ambitious endeavor, but it’s safe to say we wanted a little bit of audible music to go with it. Well, Beck is finally releasing a musical version of the album and he’s being joined by some of today’s greatest talent. Check out this freakin’ tracklist, via The Future Heart:

1. Moses Sumney – Title of this Song
2. Fun – Please Leave A Light On When You Go
3. Tweedy – The Wolf is on the Hill
4. Norah Jones – Just Noise
5. Lord Huron – Last Night You Were A Dream
6. Bob Forrest – Saint Dude
7. Jack White – I’m Down
8. Beck – Heaven’s Ladder
9. Juanes – Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard
10. Laura Marling – Sorry
11. Jarvis Cocker – Eyes That Say “I Love You”
12. David Johansen – Rough On Rats
13. Jason Isbell – Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings
14. The Last Polka – Marc Ribot
15. Eleanor Friedberger – Old Shanghai
16. Sparks – Why Did You Make Me Care?
17. Swamp Dogg – America, Here’s My Boy
18. Jack Black – We All Wear Cloaks
19. Loudon Wainwright III – Do We? We Do
20. Gabriel Kahane with Ymusic – Mutilation Rag

Jack Black and Jack White on the same album? Historical, but we’re eyeing Sparks and Swamp Dogg as the potential VIP’s of this effort. Watch Jarvis Cocker and Beck perform “Why Did You Make Me Care?” below:

Interpol Share “All The Rage Back Home” Video

Interpol have shared the video “All The Rage Back Home”, which is the lead track from the forthcoming El Pintor. It was co-directed by singer Paul Banks and Sophia Peer. Watch it below.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Death From Above 1979 Detail New Album, Announce North American and European Tour

Last month word finally broke regarding a new album by Death From Above 1979, the duo’s first record since 2004′s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine. It’s called The Physical World, out September 9 in the U.S. on Last Gang/Warner Bros. and produced by Dave Sardy (Oasis, Nine Inch Nails, LCD Soundsystem). Now some more details have emerged, along with a fall tour schedule. See the tracklist below.

Watch the video for “Blood On Our Hands” after the tracklist and tour dates.

The Physical World:

01 Cheap Talk
02 Right On, Frankenstein!
03 Virgins
04 Always On
05 Crystal Ball
06 White Is Red
07 Trainwreck 1979
08 Nothin’ Left
09 Government Trash
10 Gemini
11 The Physical World

Death From Above 1979:

09-06-07 Toronto, Ontario – Riot Fest Toronto
10-07 Koln, Germany – Luxor
10-08 Paris, France – Badaboum
10-09 Brussels, Belgium – Botanique
10-11 Amsterdam, Holland – Melkweg
10-12 Hamburg, Germany – Hafenklang
10-13 Berlin, Germany – Cassiopeia
10-15 Vienna, Austria – Flex
10-16 Munich, Germany – Orangehouse
10-18 Zurich, Switzerland – Mascotte
10-20 London, England – Electric Ballroom
10-21 Manchester, England – Gorilla
10-22 Glasgow, Scotland – The Garage
11-01 New Orleans, LA – Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
11-03 Atlanta, GA – Buckhead Theatre
11-04 Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
11-06 Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
11-07 Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun
11-08 Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
11-10 Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theatre
11-12 San Diego, CA – House of Blues
11-13 Santa Ana, CA – Observatory
11-15 Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl
11-17 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
11-18 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
11-19 Seattle, WA – Neumos
11-21 Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue
11-22 Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
11-24 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
11-25 Chicago, IL – Rivera Theatre
11-26 Detroit, MI – Crofoot
11-28 New York, NY – Terminal 5
11-29 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
12-01 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
12-02 Boston, MA – House of Blues

Monday, July 7, 2014


Finding someone with the swagger of Jimi Hendrix is basically impossible, but if you had to, André Benjamin from Outkast is a pretty solid choice. Here’s the first look at the rapper giving it a go as the iconic artist in Jimi: All Is by My Side. Look for it in theaters on September 26.

Antemasque: S/T (Album Review)

The messy disbandment of The Mars Volta in 2012 built a wall between the group’s founders. While guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez continued his Bosnian Rainbows project, vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala set his sights on a new group called Zavalaz. But despite the perceived animosity the members had with each other’s decisions, the two guys couldn’t hate each other forever. Even though it had only been a couple years since The Mars Volta’s end, the duo tore down the wall and formed a new band together called Antemasque, with former Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch handling the kit. Antemasque wasn’t just surprising for showing Rodriguez-Lopez’s and Bixler-Zavala’s fast mending; it also displayed a sound that hadn’t been heard before from the duo. The members were notorious for challenging convention and throwing everyone for a loop. Oddly enough, the #1 convention Antemasque and their self-titled debut challenge is The Mars Volta itself.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala has gone through a rather large number of vocal transformations through his musical career. The tenor screams of At the Drive-in contrasted the rocketing falsetto of The Mars Volta. This time around, Bixler-Zavala strikes a balance, with a slightly stronger grip on The Bedlam in Goliath era Mars Volta. His singing sounds raspier and more abrasive than what he performed on the final Mars Volta recording Noctourniquet, which benefits the songwriting considerably. Opener “4AM” is a perfect balance between Bixler-Zavala’s cleaner croons and his rougher snarls; in shift, “50,000 Kilowatts” follows the former pattern and the snickering “In the Lurch” (formerly “Hanging in the Lurch) follows the latter. Though he jumps around the spectrum a lot, Bixler-Zavala doesn’t reach too far, staying within a tight, controlled range.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has always been an abstract guitarist. From At the Drive-in and well into The Mars Volta, his guitar playing has bordered on completely improvisational. As The Mars Volta continued, the abrasive, over-the-top soloing was tamed down, and on Antemasque, he’s all but abandoned that level of loose-as-hell intricacy. This is not the Omar we grew to know…and that’s not bad. Rodriguez-Lopez’s guitars split the difference between Led Zeppelin extravagance and more traditional melodic rock riffs. He almost never goes into full “wankery” mode on his axe, but still provides virtuosity. “In the Lurch” has a Red Hot Chili Peppers-style funk to it early on before breaking into jangly punk in the chorus. “People Forget” has a nice solo, one that draws more from classic rock than the speedball prog that Rodriguez-Lopez brought in The Mars Volta. “Drown All Your Witches” slows things down a bit, letting Bixler-Zavala croon and wave more, a strong companion to Omar’s softer guitars.

The songwriting is undeniably tamer on Antemasque; the album never goes into the kind of fever dream prog that the guys became famous for. Only one song on the album breaks four minutes in length and some songs, like the lifting “50,000 Kilowatts”, actually reach pop levels of accessibility. Saying the word “pop” to describe anything these guys have released is awkward to say for sure, but despite their connotation with impenetrable avant-garde prog-punk, Antemasque sound bizarrely comfortable with this sound. That being said, there are some songs that still hit close to their home. “Providence” sounds like the better parts of Noctourniquet, with jangly guitars and Bixler-Zavala belting out a snarling yell before quelling down to eerie echoes, but the song has a slightly more erratic rhythm that draws inspiration from the steadier parts of Frances the Mute. “I Got No Remorse” and “In the Lurch” are more punk-inspired, with drummer Dave Elitch railgunning his snares with bottomless adrenaline. And while some songs like “Momento Mori” don’t possess nearly as much creativity as others on the album, Antemasque is actually an album with more appeal than many might have expected. It’s so unsettling how a band with such an experimental background can make something as accessible as this. Even more so, they can actually make it sound good.

Antemasque is about as far away from The Mars Volta as you can get. With such great, catchy, accessible tracks like “Drown All Your Witches” and “50,000 Kilowatts”, you’d think these guys were making this kind of music all their lives instead of 32-minute-long prog marathons. But at the same time, Bixler-Zavala’s voice and Rodriguez-Lopez’s guitars still manage to sound like themselves. They tame down the intricacy, while still developing a sound just obtuse enough to keep from alienating the long-time followers. The classic rock inspiration is clear as day, usurping the throne from the massively experimental art punk. Antemasque is unsettlingly accessible, especially coming from these veterans of spacey prog, but it’s so well-written and so well-performed that it really doesn’t matter. As the official reunion of two of the most bizarre musicians in their class, Antemasque challenges all precognition. It’s the perfect way to go against the grain of something already so far against-the-grain.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Scott Walker and Sunn O))) Are Collaborating on an Album

Experimental singer-songwriter Scott Walker and drone metal duo Sunn O))) have joined forces for a new album that’s reportedly due out within the next few months.

The news came this morning when 4AD tweeted out a link to a website hosting the image above. The label has since confirmed the collaboration, “They’re working together and there is a record coming later in the year.”

Sunn O))) released a collaborative album with Ulver called Terrestrials this past February. Meanwhile, Walker’s last full-length was 2012′s Bisch Bosh.

Below, listen to Sunn O)))’s “Let There Be Light” and Scott Walker’s “Epizootics!”.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Shellac Announce New Album Dude Incredible

Shellac have announced Dude Incredible, their first album since 2007′s Excellent Italian Greyhound. It’s out September 16 on Touch and Go, and was recorded over the last few years at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio in Chicago. The press release notes, “There is no comma in Dude Incredible; like Sir Duke or King Friday , for example.”

The press release also notes that the band won’t be doing any deliberate touring behind this one. “The band will continue to play shows or tour at the same sporadic and relaxed pace as always,” it says. “There is no correlation between shows and record releases .”

Dude Incredible:
01 Dude Incredible
02 Compliant
03 You Came in Me
04 Riding Bikes
05 All the Surveyors
06 The People’s Microphone
07 Gary
08 Mayor/Surveyor
09 Surveyor

Google Acquires Songza

Billboard reports that Google has reached a deal to acquire the music streaming site Songza, an agreement that, as previously reported by New York Post, has been in the works since at least the beginning of June. Around that time, it was rumored Google had offered Songza $15 million in the deal, although the financial terms of the agreement have not yet been disclosed. Billboard reports that Google has plans to incorporate Songza’s human-curated playlists into the search company’s Google Play Music All Access subscription service (Google’s service currently also has playlists, largely created by algorithms). Songza also may be integrated into Google and YouTube’s forthcoming, controversial streaming service.

“Over the coming months, we’ll explore ways to bring what you love about Songza to Google Play Music,” Google said in a statement. “We’ll also look for opportunities to bring their great work to the music experience on YouTube and other Google products.”