Licensing Issues Shut Down Pandora Outside US
“I’m in France for the summer and have been listening to Pandora at work. I tried logging on tonight and was greeted with a surprising message: ‘We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the US. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative. … The pace of global licensing is hard to predict, but we have the ultimate goal of being able to offer our service everywhere.’ I’m not sure what the deal is or what licensing requirements suddenly changed, but Pandora in France is no more…” (via Slashdot)
Archive for June, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Licensing Issues Shut Down Pandora Outside US
Pirate Bay Sold To Swedish Company for $8M… Wants To Go Legit… What Does This Mean For the Site?…
Global Gaming Factory X AB, which operates internet cafes and provides software, said on Tuesday that it had agreed to buy Pirate Bay for 60 million Swedish crowns ($7.7 million).
Global Gaming said it believed the website was a viable business with its plans for a new, legal business model.
“We would like to introduce (business) models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site,” the company said in a statement.
Digital Music News:
The acquisition is expected to close in August, though Global Gaming is stepping into a messy pile of legal problems. But Global is planning to introduce a more copyright-friendly model, usually a death-sentence for free-riding users. “The Pirate Bay is a site that is among the top 100 most visited internet sites in the world,” said Hans Pandeya, CEO of GGF. “However, in order to live on, the Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary.”
Sounds more or less what the VCs who backed the original Napster were hoping for: buy the music industry’s most hated, most successful enemy, then shop around to the industry and see if they’ll give it a license and help it go legit. Ten years ago, the industry figured it would get a better deal by suing Napster into oblivion (they even tried to sue for the assets of the pension funds that backed the VCs that backed Napster!) and then buy it at firesale prices and run it themselves (except they ended up running it into obscurity by larding it with a bunch of junk that reflected wishful thinking about what the market would bear; meanwhile, competing rogue services took off and filled and expanded the niche Napster had occupied).
So here’s the question: will Big Content learn from the Great Stupidity of 1999, or are they so emboldened by their domination of the legislative and judicial arms of the world’s governments that they’ll once again kill the most successful rogue operation and leave yet another niche for yet another group of even-less-cooperative rogues to fill?
Pirate Bay blog:
If the new owners will screw around with the site, nobody will keep using it. That’s the biggest insurance one can have that the site will be run in the way that we all want to. And – you can now not only share files but shares with people. Everybody can indeed be the owner of The Pirate Bay now. That’s awesome and will take the heat of us.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse:: Dark Night of the Soul (Album Review)
Dark Night of the Soul is a collaboration between Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse, with David Lynch adding musical contributions as well as a complementary 100-page book of original photography. It features appearances, vocally and otherwise, from the Flaming Lips, Jason Lytle (formerly of Grandaddy), Suzanne Vega, Iggy Pop, Black Francis, Vic Chesnutt, James Mercer of the Shins, Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals, and Julian Casablancas of the Strokes.
That’s the good news. The bad news? It isn’t available in stores or online due to a copyright beef on the part of EMI. As a nose-thumbing stopgap, the trio is releasing Lynch’s book of photography (meant to provide a visual narrative for the music) with a blank CD-R and the message, “For legal reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.”
The album is streaming at NPR.org here, and is available for download on various file-sharing web sites. While buying the blank CD-R may seem silly, it includes a full-color book of Lynch’s haunting accompanying photography—thus the $50 price tag.
The copyright issues that have blocked the album’s release have gotten it a fair amount of press, but Dark Night of the Soul deserves the attention based on the merit of the music alone. The all-star cast, which rivals that which appears on this year’s much ballyhooed (and spookily similarly titled) Dark Was the Night compilation, turns in nearly universally stellar performances. But the real star here is Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous. His first full-length since 2006’s Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (which also featured contributions from Danger Mouse), Dark Night of the Soul is easily the most cohesive and consistent product of his heretofore only occasionally brilliant career.
Much has been written about Linkous’s 1996 overdose on Valium, anti-depressants, and alcohol (and the several-minute “death” that followed when his heart stopped) while on tour with Radiohead. There’s no need to recount the sordid details here. But it’s impossible to separate Linkous’s artistic output from his troubled past when it so often deals in such dark subject matter. That’s what makes David Lynch such an interesting foil for Linkous. While Lynch has spent his career creating a freakishly dark world, Linkous has spent much of his living in one.
Not to be forgotten in the equation is Danger Mouse, who also has a history of imbuing his projects with a weird, sometimes sinister atmosphere—most famously in Gnarls Barkley, but also with the Gorillaz, MF Doom, and others. On Dark Night of the Soul, he does far more than just supplement the soundtrack with his signature trippy laptop wizardry. He has a preternatural ability to play to the strengths of the contributors, who, it must be said, bring far more to the table than their voices. It’s clear most, if not all, were involved in the songwriting process, and many of these songs could easily be mistaken for works by other bands. Jason Lytle’s two contributions—“Jaykub” and the show-stealing “Every Time I’m with You”—sound like cuts from a lost Grandaddy album. Likewise, album-opener “Revenge”, featuring the Flaming Lips, hearkens back to their Soft Bulletin days. “Little Girl”, featuring a intoxicating turn by a self-deprecating Julian Casablancas, echoes a more electronic-sounding Strokes, all the way down to the noodly guitar solo.
It’s tempting to credit the greatness of Dark Night of the Soul (and it is unequivocally great; a shoe-in candidate for best album of the year) to the excellence of its contributors. But longtime Sparklehorse fans will hear Linkous’s fingerprints all over it. Tonally and thematically, its a tall glass of the same emotional cocktail of world-weary depression and wide-eyed wonder that Linkous has been serving up since he recorded the song that best sums up his ethos, “It’s a Sad and Beautiful World”, for his 1995 debut, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot.
What sets Dark Night of the Soul apart from prior Sparklehorse albums—aside from the superlative collaborators and contributors—is its narrative ambition. It’s not exactly a concept album; it’s too impressionistic, and doesn’t follow a traditional narrative arc. But its goal is obviously to lead the listener on a moody, existential journey. From meditative monologues about romantic angst (the Wayne Coyne-sung “Revenge”), to fuzzed out rave-ups about self-loathing and misanthropy (the Iggy Pop-crooned “Pain”), the songs all either describe, confront, bemoan, or reflect on the deep spiritual crisis the album title suggests.
But it’s not all necessarily depressing. Linkous’s biggest strength is his uncanny way of viewing even the bleakest circumstances with a whimsical detachment, and, in fleeting moments, to transform them into something joyful. This is exhibited late in the album on two consecutive female-sung tracks: “Daddy’s Gone”, featuring Nina Persson, and “The Man Who Played God”, featuring Suzanne Vega, both of which strongly resemble Linkous’s finest earlier work. They’re effervescent little pop gems strummed out on crunchy guitars that beguile the listener with their radio-ready melodies.
But the pop pleasantries don’t last for long. Linkous and Danger Mouse close out the affair with two mercilessly dark tracks featuring a ghoulish-sounding Vic Chesnutt and an eerily distorted David Lynch, respectively. The album’s coda is also its title track, a funereal dirge on which Chesnutt sings in a despondent howl—a reminder of the inevitable encounter with mortality that awaits us all, and the primal despair that’ll accompany the moment.
Few contemporary pop albums have spoken to the human condition so eloquently, and given the listener so much pleasure in the process, than Dark Night of the Soul. It’s no exaggeration to say Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse have crafted a near-masterpiece. Its only real blemish is the plodding, misguided “Angel’s Harp”, on which Black Francis’s talents are sadly wasted. But Linkous would be be the first to concede that nothing’s perfect—and if it was, it wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Michael Jackson’s First Moonwalk, Billie Jean
AEG Facing $85 Million Refund For Michael Jackson Shows
The O2 Arena in London, operated by AEG, has informed Michael Jackson fans that details of how to obtain refunds will be revealed “in due course.”
Billboard understands AEG Live will hold a meeting at 9am L.A. time to discuss the situation regarding the 50 dates. As reported yesterday, the promoter and its ticketing partners will have the cost and logistical challenge of refunding more than $85 million on 750,000 ticket sales.
“At this moment our thoughts are with Michael’s children, family and friends. We will announce ticketing details in due course,” said a statement on the O2 Arena Web site.
It also published the following UCLA Medical Center statement, which revealed that attempts were made to resuscitate Jackson for more than an hour.
“The legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson, passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2009, at 2:26 p.m. It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, the cause of his death is uncertain until results of the autopsy are known,” said the statement.
“His personal physician, who was with him at the time, attempted to resuscitate Jackson, as did paramedics who transported him to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Upon arriving at the hospital at approximately 1:14 p.m., a team of doctors, including emergency physicians and cardiologists, attempted to resuscitate him for a period of more than one hour but were unsuccessful.”
Ticketmaster’s customer service line played a recorded message advising customers to “await communication” from the company regarding refunds.
It continued: “We understand this is an upsetting time for all Michael Jackson fans and we want to thank you for your patience in this matter.”
Seatwave, the official secondary ticketing partner for the O2 residency, assured fans they would get a full refund.
“We are all saddened by the news of Michael Jackson’s death,” said CEO and founder Joe Cohen in a statement. “All customers who purchased tickets for his O2 shows from Seatwave are covered by our TicketCover guarantee and will get a full refund. Full information on how to do this is on our Web site at www.seatwave.com. We advise customers to use the Web site rather than our phone lines to obtain this information.”
However, fans who bought tickets from unofficial sources, such as from sellers on auction sites or agencies, may lose their money.
Michael Jackson’s Lawyer Blames “Abuse of Medications” For Death
After the mourning comes the inquisition. According to reports, doctors tried to resuscitate Michael Jackson for over an hour yesterday (June 25). Jackson was taken to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he died at 2:26pm (PST) after suffering what is believed to be a cardiac arrest.
The center has issued the following statement:
“His personal physician, who was with him at the time, attempted to resuscitate Jackson, as did paramedics who transported him to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Upon arriving at the hospital at approximately 1:14 pm, a team of doctors, including emergency physicians and cardiologists, attempted to resuscitate him for a period of more than one hour but were unsuccessful. Jackson’s family requests that the media respect their privacy during this tragic period of time.”
Meanwhile, Jackson’s lawyer, Brian Oxman, believes the singer may have been abusing his medication. In an interview with CNN, Oxman said: “I do not know the extent of the medications he was taking but the reports that we have been receiving in the family is that it was extensive. This was something that I feared and warned about.”
Oxman believes some of the people surrounding Jackson should take responsibility for their actions. “The people who have surrounded him have been enabling him,” he said. “We warned people that this was what was going to happen, then it happens. Where there is smoked there is fire, this was a case of abuse of medications, unless there was something else involved.”
Michael Jackson’s autopsy is due to be conducted later today (June 26).
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wilco: “You Never Know” (Live on Conan) (Video)
Patterson Hood: Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs) (Album Review)
Patterson Hood, the leader of the Drive-By Truckers, recorded his first solo album in 2001 as a series of rough four-track demos, and when Killers and Stars finally received an official release in 2004, it sounded like a set of songs too eccentric and too personal to fit in with the Truckers’ hard-driving approach, even though the quality of the material was certainly consistent with what he’d created with the group. In many respects, Hood’s second solo set, 2009′s Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs), is also dominated by songs a little too odd and close to the vest to make it onto a DBT album, but if Killers and Stars sounded heartfelt but tentative, Murdering Oscar is confident and full-bodied, and not just because most of these songs include a full band rather than just Hood and his guitar. With each album, the Drive-By Truckers have shown a willingness to reach for deeper themes, and Murdering Oscar consistently cuts closer to the bone than Killers and Stars; the post-9/11 malaise of “Pride of the Yankees,” the wasted but honest romantic plea of “Back of a Bible,” and the title tune’s tale of a morally elastic hitman are all trickier, more complex, and more satisfying than anything on Hood’s solo debut, and even the relatively lightweight numbers like “Walking Around Sense” (addressed to the daughter of a seriously dysfunctional rock star) and “Foolish Young Bastard” show an impressive amount of weight and muscle. Hood may not have a silky-smooth voice, but he’s learned to work wonders with the smoky texture of his instrument, and Hood has rarely been in better form as a singer than he is on this album, conjuring a beautifully rough-hewn blue-eyed soul. And with a band featuring DBT drummer Brad Morgan, Scott Danbom and Will Johnson from Centro-Matic, and Patterson’s father, David Hood (longtime bassist with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section), and sympathetic production assistance from David Barbe, Murdering Oscar has a sound that’s not entirely removed from the Drive-By Truckers, but possesses a personality and feel that sets it apart and well suits this set of dark but compassionate character studies. Presumably it’s not enough for Patterson Hood that he fronts one of the best rock bands in America — Murdering Oscar shows him stepping into an equally impressive solo career, but when the songs he’s set aside for himself are this good, you can’t blame the man for wanting to share.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Sunny Day Real Estate Classic Lineup Reunites For Tour
Pioneering Seattle rock band Sunny Day Real Estate will return to the road with its four original members this fall and will reissue its first two Sub Pop albums on Sept. 15. These will be the band’s first shows of any kind since November 2000, and the first with its classic lineup since 1998.
Dates begin Sept. 17 in Vancouver and run through Oct. 16 in Seattle. The reissues of 1994′s “Diary” and the following year’s untitled follow-up (commonly known as “LP2″ or “The Pink Album”) will include as-yet-unspecified bonus tracks and new liner notes.
Sunny Day Real Estate’s bracing blend of emotionally resonant hardcore struck an immediate chord with listeners on “Diary,” which was produced by Brad Wood. A second full-length record with Wood arrived in 1995, but internal tensions, including frontman Jeremy Enigk’s conversion to Christianity, had already broken up the group by the time the disc was released.
A three-year hiatus followed, during which time Enigk released a heavily orchestrated, pop-leaning solo album, “Return of the Frog Queen,” while drummer William Goldsmith and guitarist Nate Mendel joined Foo Fighters. But in 1998, the band suddenly regrouped — minus Mendel, who remained with Foo Fighters and was replaced in SDRE by a succession of bassists — to record the acclaimed album “How It Feels to Be Something On.”
That set was supported with several tours, as well as the 1999 concert document “Live.” But Sunny Day imploded again following the release of the 2000 album “The Rising Tide,” although Enigk, Mendel and Goldsmith regrouped shortly thereafter minus SDRE guitarist Dan Hoerner in a similar sounding new band, the Fire Theft. That group released a lone self-titled album in 2003 on Rykodisc.
Enigk has since released two solo albums and an EP, the latest of which, “OK Bear,” came out May 12 on his own Lewis Hollow label and features a return to a heavier, Sunny Day-ish rock sound.
The band reconvened in March for rehearsals, and decided to give a full tour a go. The set lists will largely stick to material from the first two albums that were written and recorded by the original lineup.
“Some songs make me cringe, and some still blow me away,” Enigk told Billboard in 2003 about the legacy of Sunny Day Real Estate. “Some songs that made me cringe once, blow me away now. I think it’s best to realize that these albums were documenting a certain time in our lives — where we were then, emotionally, spiritually. Ultimately, I feel we wrote some pretty timeless music, and that’s just fine with me.
Here are Sunny Day Real Estate’s tour dates:
Sept. 17: Vancouver (Commodore Ballroom)
Sept. 18: Portland, Ore. (Crystal Ballroom)
Sept. 20: Salt Lake City (Murray Theatre)
Sept. 21: Denver (Ogden Theatre)
Sept. 23: Minneapolis (First Avenue)
Sept. 24: Chicago (Metro)
Sept. 25: Detroit (St. Andrews Hall)
Sept. 27: New York (Terminal 5)
Sept. 28: Boston (House of Blues)
Sept. 30: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
Oct. 1: Philadelphia (Trocadero)
Oct. 3: Atlanta (CW Center Stage)
Oct. 5: Dallas (Granada Theatre)
Oct. 6: Houston (Warehouse Live)
Oct. 7: Austin (La Zona Rosa)
Oct. 9: Tempe, Ariz. (Marquee)
Oct. 10: Anaheim, Calif. (House of Blues)
Oct. 11: Los Angeles (Fonda Theatre)
Oct. 13: San Francisco (Fillmore)
Oct. 15: Spokane, Wash. (Knitting Factory)
Oct. 16: Seattle (Paramount Theatre)
Beastie Boys’ ‘Hot Sauce’ Due Sept. 15
The Beastie Boys have confirmed that their eighth studio album, ” Hot Sauce Committee Part 1,” will be released Sept. 15 by Capitol. The set will include 17 tracks, including “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” featuring Santigold and “Too Many Rappers” featuring Nas, which the artists performed together at the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tenn. on June 12. The album will be available in multiple configurations, including a 5.1 surround mix.
The first Beastie Boys headline date confirmed to follow the album’s release, Sept. 24 at Hollywood Bowl, has sold out. Further dates will be announced as they are confirmed.
Meanwhile, the band has a busy summer ahead on the U.S. festival circuit, with headlining slots at events including Lollapalooza, All Points West, Outside Lands, and Austin City Limits. Prior to the Lollapalooza appearance, the Beastie Boys will perform at Chicago’s Congress Theater on August 6.
The Beasties have also announced they will release a remastered and expanded version of 1998 album “Hello Nasty,” available as a 2-CD/vinyl box set beginning with an August 17 pre-order/digital release. The set will be in stores August 25.
A deluxe edition of 1994’s “Ill Communication” will be available for pre-order on July 6, with physical release on July 14.
Here is the “Hot Sauce Committee Part 1″ track list:
1. Tadlock’s Glasses
2. B-Boys In The Cut
3. Make Some Noise
4. Nonstop Disco Powerpack
6. Too Many Rappers (featuring NAS)
7. Say It
8. The Bill Harper Collection
9. Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win (featuring Santigold)
10. Long Burn The Fire
11. Bundt Cake
12. Funky Donkey
13. Lee Majors Come Again
14. Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament
15. Pop Your Balloon
16. Crazy Ass Shit
17. Here’s A Little Something For Ya
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Jay Bennett Autopsy: An Accident
Musician Jay Bennett’s death last month was caused by an apparent accidental overdose of a common prescription pain-relief medication.
Bennett was found dead last month in bed at his home. Duane Northrup, the Champaign County Coroner, said that tests show the 45-year-old musician died from an overdose of Fentanyl, a drug commonly found in patches and prescribed to treat chronic pain.
Bennett for years suffered from pain caused by a stage dive back when he was with the band Titanic Love Affair. He had recently learned that hip-replacement surgery would relieve his pain, and was preparing for surgery.
Spinal Tap: Back from the Dead (Album Review)
These mock-rockers spent spring on tour, revisiting Spinal Tap’s pair of real-world albums and other material. The nostalgia continues on Back From the Dead with reworked versions of tunes from the Rob Reiner flick that started it all; six so-so new tracks reveal why the throwback vibe was probably a good idea. More amusing is the commentary on a bonus DVD, where David St. Hubbins unpacks the concept of animal husbandry vis-à-vis ”Sex Farm.
Flaming Lips Offer ‘Embryonic’ Sneak Peek
Fans who use the Internet to purchase concert tickets to the Flaming Lips’ forthcoming U.S. summer tour will receive a sneak peek of the alternative-psychedelic band’s new double-album, “Embryonic,” scheduled for release later this year on Warner Bros.
The Flaming Lips will perform at a handful of music festivals in Europe, the United States and Japan through mid-August before beginning a brief stateside amphitheater trek. The 10-date stint begins with an appearance at the Del Mar Summer Concert Series near San Diego, and wraps Aug. 30 at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston.
Concertgoers who buy Flaming Lips tickets online will receive a digital EP with new songs “Convinced of the Hex,” “The Impulse” and “Silver Trembling Hands.” Those ticket-buyers will also be given three digital B-side tracks that the band members will handpick from its vault of rare material. Additionally, fans will be sent a digital download bootleg of the concert they attended.
Following the online ticket purchase, concertgoers will receive a unique code that leads them back to the Flaming Lips’ Web site, where fans can download the music. One code will be sent for each ticket purchased. Since music is involved, concert tickets purchased online will cost about $4 more than buying at them at the box office, according to band representatives.
The ticket promotion does not apply to the band’s appearance at the Del Mar Summer Concert Series, according to a news release. Tickets for select shows have already gone on sale.
The Flaming Lips are also schedule to appear at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago on July 19, where the band will perform select songs from its extensive catalog voted on by fans who are attending the festival.
In May, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne said about the concept of writing a double-album. “Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that we should do a double album,” he said. “Just this idea that you can kind of weave a couple of themes into there and you can sort of sprawl a little bit. Our past couple of records we’ve always had this little dilemma, like how many songs do you put on? How many instruments do you put on? What’s the focus?
“And some of my favorite records – thinking Beatles ‘White Album,’ Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ and even some of the longer things that the Clash have done – part of the reason I like them is that they’re not focused. They’re kind of like a free-for-all and go everywhere. It’s not necessarily because we’re prolific, I think we always stay in a sort of
perpetual panic of like we never have more songs than we need and we always wonder if any of them are any good to begin with. I do think we probably work best in a panic, so maybe it’s best that I planned it this way.”
“Embryonic” follows the Flaming Lips’ 2006 effort “At War with the Mystics,” which has sold 216,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. A specific release date for the new album has not yet been announced.
Monday, June 22, 2009
KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW + BLACK LIPS RELEASE SELF-TITLED ALBUM ON SEPTEMBER 22nd
When the Black Lips had to flee India after almost getting arrested (long story) and getting their passports confiscated (longer story), they fled to Berlin to hole up with their old pal and label-mate King Khan. Mark Sultan (aka BBQ, one half of King Khan & BBQ Show) also happened to be there, and it happened to be freezing in Berlin that week so no one really wanted to leave the house. So what do a bunch of garage-rock all-stars (and international refugees) do in the middle of winter in cramped conditions? They give birth to an album and band of the same name, The Almighty Defenders. The guys went to Moon Studios and recorded these tracks, brimming with soul, earnest shouts, cries and hand-claps over post-modern gospel-rock anthems.
This album is being released on LP and digitally on Vice Records on September 22nd
Art Brut: “Summer Job” (Live on KEXP) (Video)
British Sea Power: Man of Aran OST (Album Review)
British Sea Power’s third, Mercury-nominated album Do You Like Rock Music? undoubtedly gave the Brighton quintet a higher profile, though concerned a few long term fans in its stylistic move towards the stadium, even if the lyrics themselves still dealt with familiar band topics such as the environment.
Man Of Aran, to some extent, reminds us that the ‘Rock’ in that album’s title was more about an island than a style of music. For this is a soundtrack to a 1934 black and white film, recently performed live by the band at the National Film Theatre as part of Ether 09. The film itself is available here on an accompanying DVD, which is important – as without the images the music itself is at times inconsequential.
That said, as far as setting a mood goes it is extremely effective, and often poignant. Spearing The Sunfish is a stark evocation of an animal’s pain, and is all the more remarkable in the way it starts, through the voice of a single, distorted guitar. The rolling drums that follow come from the depths of the earth itself, as if the planet itself is gathered in protest.
It’s an illustration of the potential power of wordless music, as the band manipulate the textures available to them. They create a sort of weather system as they describe the island of Aran in its rugged beauty. The listener feels the spray of salt water on the face, the wind in their hair, and watches gulls circling overhead as the clouds race by behind.
The portrait is ushered in beautifully with the softly undulating piano arpeggios of the title track, while the personality of the island itself, and its inhabitants, is explored through the stuttering waltz of The Currach. Come Wander With Me, the only track to feature a fully fledged vocal, is restrained but moving in its folk-inflected melody.
In some ways Man Of Aran is everything ‘Rock Music’ wasn’t, save that album’s instrumental The Great Skua, which has been practically lifted on to closing track No Man Is An Archipelago. Throughout the band show commendable restraint, even in the faster numbers such as The South Sound. It means that when they do fully cut loose, as they do in response to the pain of the sunfish, the effect is all the more powerful.
Yet while this is good mood music, like a lot of soundtrack material it requires the element inspiring it – the visuals. Happily with those supplied on the accompanying DVD the work is complete, though it is difficult to view this as a British Sea Power album proper; Man Of Aran is, rather, an enjoyable diversion into different waters.
- Ben Hogwood
Friday, June 19, 2009
The Dead Weather – “Hang You From The Heavens” on Live on Conan 6/18 (Video)
Punk pioneers New York Dolls get it right this time
In January, the New York Dolls arrived in Hawaii to record their new album, “‘Cause I Sez So” (Atco), with producer Todd Rundgren. The producer, who has a setup on the island of Kauai, assured the band that the weather would be beautiful.
“It rained every day,” said guitarist and singer David Johansen in Atlanta’s Center Stage theater Friday, where the band was scheduled to play later that day.
“It rained just enough to disrupt our recording plans,” added guitarist Steve Conte. “Todd has this house with one wall open to the elements, and I said, ‘What happens when it rains, Todd?’ and he said, ‘It never rains here.’ Well, the next day, all our gear got soaked, so we had to move to another house.”
That kind of timing is a familiar subject to the Dolls, which formed amid the grit and grind of early ’70s New York but broke up before they could take advantage of the success of followers such as the Ramones, Blondie, the Sex Pistols and Talking Heads.
The band “created punk rock before there was a term for it,” writes Allmusic.com’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine.
The original band, made up of Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain, Johnny Thunders, Arthur Kane and Jerry Nolan, were known for ferocious live performances that blended elements of the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, glam and girl groups — down to the occasional wearing of drag.
“We came out of the era of stadium rock … when rock ‘n’ roll was put together by the industry,” Sylvain recalled. “We take like a Little Rascals approach to show business — ‘We’re bored! What are we gonna do? Well, let’s start a show!’ And that’s basically how the Dolls came about.”
Sylvain, with Johansen one of the two survivors of the old Dolls (Thunders and Nolan died in the early ’90s, and Kane died of leukemia in 2004), is philosophical about the band’s inability to break through. “It’s what happened to us,” he said, adding, “once we did break up, unlike other bands, we were actually successful individually.”
Cold to ‘Hot Hot Hot’
It’s been on commercials for car dealers, featured in movies and makes regular appearances at wedding receptions.
But David Johansen has mixed feelings about his big hit as nightclub singer Buster Poindexter, “Hot Hot Hot.”
It’s not so much the song, he says, but the reaction it inspires.
“Some guy will come up to me, and say, ‘You Poindexter’? And I’ll say, ‘Well, I used to be,’ ” he said.
“And he’ll say, ‘You had that record “Hot Hot Hot”?’ I’ll say, ‘Yeah.’ “
“He’ll say, ‘They played that song at my sister’s wedding, and that bum she married ran off with a chorus girl.’ And I’ll say, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute! I wasn’t even there!’ “
Indeed, the musicians worked regularly through the ensuing decades, notably Johansen, who became perhaps better known for his good-time nightclub singer character Buster Poindexter and the hit “Hot Hot Hot.”
The band came back together at the request of Dolls fan Morrissey, who was overseeing a festival in London, England. “He asked us to do a night for him. And we decided that that would be a lot of fun,” said Johansen. “We actually came into this thing just to do one show. It wasn’t like we said, ‘We’re going to have some kind of re-uuuunion thing,’ ” he adds, mockingly slurring “reunion.”
But one thing led to another, and before long the Dolls were a working band again. In 2006 they released “One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This.” “‘Cause I Sez So” came out in May.
It’s a familiar mix of hard rock — the bitter lashing of the title cut, the ecstatic grunge of “Exorcism of Despair” — with Johansen playfulness (“Nobody Got No Bizness”), classic pop (“Lonely So Long”) and even a reggae remake of the first album’s “Trash.”
Johansen — who regularly hosts “David Johansen’s Mansion of Fun,” a Sirius radio show reveling in his broad musical tastes — is proud of the band’s agility.
“When we get together to play, it’s not like we’re punching a clock and doing a recreation of yesterday,” he said. “We go on every day with a fresh attitude and just start playing. The music can go everywhere.”
“We don’t really think about [being pigeonholed],” added Sylvain. “We just kind of fly by the seat of our pants. It’s for everybody else to see it whatever which way they do. … Call it punk, call it whatever you want, but it’s rock ‘n’ roll to us.”
The new album came together in about a month — half as long as the first album, also produced by Rundgren, back in 1973.
“We’re mad professional now,” said Johansen.
Johansen, Sylvain and the rest of the band — Conte, bassist Sam Yaffa and drummer Brian Delaney — interact as much like a comedy act as a rock band, with frequent pauses for deadpan jokes. It’s a vibe that’s apparent on ” ‘Cause I Sez So,” which has earned a number of positive reviews.
“The unlikely resurrection of the New York Dolls is solidified by this second recent album, an output that now matches in quantity and mirrors in quality their epic early-’70s sprint,” wrote Billboard’s Wayne Robins.
The group is touring the United States and Canada throughout June before leaving for Europe in mid-July. The audiences, Sylvain said, have been appreciative — and broader than in their downtown New York past.
“We’ve had some great audiences. And of all ages, actually,” he said.
Johansen interrupted. “When the kids come, we give them a balloon.”
Sylvain smiled. “And earplugs,” he said
Beck: “Sunday Morning” (Velvet Underground Cover) (Music Video)
Os Mutantes to release first album for 35 years
Brazilian band Os Mutantes are to release their first album in 35 years.
‘Haih’, the belated follow-up to 1974′s ‘Tudo Foi Feito Pelo Sol’, will be out on September 7.
The band, who reformed in 2006, will release ‘Haih’ on the independent label ANTI- record label.
Of the new album, frontman and founding member of the band, Sergio Dias Baptista has said in a statement: “Living the conception and birth of this album was the most intense experience, for it was as if time has ceased to exist, and I was bouncing from life to life, decades through decades, revisiting myself as a 16 year-old boy playing guitar and feeling so free and indestructible.”
Os Mutantes’ 1968 single ‘A Minha Menina’ was famously covered by The Bees on their 2002 debut album ‘Sunshine Hit Me’.
Air Brings Out the ‘Love’
French electronic-pop act Air will return October 6 with the release of their fifth studio album entitled “Love 2.” The twelve song set is the first album to utilize the duo’s new Paris-based recording facility, Atlas Studio. In the past, Air has worked with producers such as Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Paul McCartney) and Tony Hoffer (Beck, Supergrass), but “Love 2″ marks the first time the group wrote, recorded and produced everything on the album.
In gearing up for “Love 2″, two singles will precede the release. On July 7, opening track “Do The Joy” will be hit digital retailers, followed by “Sing Sang Sung” on August 25.
Air’s 1998 debut, “Moon Safari,” set the stage for the budding “downtempo” electronic music style, and has sold 364,000 according to Nielson SoundScan. Air’s first four albums have a combined for a total of 733,000 sales. They also wrote the score for the 2000 film “The Virgin Suicides,” which has sold 158,000. Over the years, they’ve ventured away from the lush orchestration of “Moon Safari” and explored melding those sounds with dark, synth pop.
But on “Love 2,” fans can look forward to a wide mix of sounds and arrangements that have sprung up in Air’s work over the years. They explore more jazzy grooves during “Love” and “Tropical Disease,” while creating a warmth and sensuality during the instrumentals “Be A Bee” and “Eat My Beat.” But the colder electronic approaches that the group first displayed on “10,000HZ Legend” surface with the robotic vocals of “Missing The Light Of The Day” and on the swirling psychedelia of “Night Hunter.”
And it wouldn’t be an Air album with out some straight-forward takes on French pop: “Heaven’s Light,” “Sing Sang Sung” and “You Can Tell It To Everybody” continue the duo’s work in this tradition.
Air is planning on touring Europe and North America, beginning in early 2010. They will kick things off with a hometown show at the Casino de Paris.
Here is the track list for “Love 2″:
“Do The Joy”
“So Light Is Her Footfall”
“Be A Bee”
“Missing The Light Of The Day”
” Heaven’s Light”
“Sing Sang Sung”
“Eat My Beat”
“You Can Tell It To Everybody”
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Blur reveal plans for new material
Blur have spoken about the possibility of writing new material – and have revealed that they have already been jamming original music with each other since reuniting.
The four-piece, who will be closing Glastonbury with a headline set on June 28, haven’t written together the sessions for 2003′s ‘Think Tank’, when Graham Coxon, who left the band during the recording, only contributed to one song – ‘Battery In Your Leg’.
However, bassist Alex James has told BBC 6music that the band have been experimenting with fresh ideas in recent rehearsal sessions.
“Damon [Albarn, frontman] will be jangling along with some chords and I’ll start banging along and you’ll [Coxon] join,” he said. “Our musical cup overflow-eth at the moment. It’s all good.”
Coxon added that the band weren’t attempting to play any complete new songs yet, despite the jam sessions.
“I think it’s giving it time and doing justice to it really,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to just sling stuff together to play this summer [at gigs including shows in Manchester and London's Hyde Park]. It wouldn’t be right.
“We really don’t want to put ourselves under any pressure. I think we want to have fun with these gigs and then we’ll think about that really.”
Blur played a surprise instore gig in London on Monday (June 15) after making their live comeback in Colchester on Saturday (June 13).
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The Dead Weather to make US television debut
Jack White’s new band will appear on the ‘Tonight Show’ this week
The Dead Weather – Jack White’s side-project with Alison Mosshart of The Kills – will make their US television debut this week.
The band, which also features Dean Fertita of Queens Of The Stone Age and Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs, are set to perform their new single, ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’, on ‘The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien’ this Thursday (June 18).
The programme will air on NBC at 11:35 EST/PST.
Meanwhile, The Dead Weather are set to play their first gig in Los Angeles at the Roxy Theatre tonight (June 17).
Street Sweeper Social Club: S/T (Album Review)
Not since Public Enemy teamed with Anthrax nearly 20 years ago has hip-hop been this heavy.
It’s Street Sweeper Social Club, pairing guitarist Tom Morello with rapper Boots Riley on a self-titled collection of striking, strident songs that take aim at the status quo with devastating riffs and searing lyrics.
Their collaboration is a good fit: Morello’s guitar anchored ’90s agitprop band Rage Against the Machine, and Riley is the lyrical force behind militant left-wing hip-hop duo the Coup.
Together, they’re storming the ramparts of American culture and calling for change somewhat more radical than anything President Obama advocated when he was running for president.
Riley scoffs at politicians (“puppets,” he sneers on opener “Fight! Smash! Win!”), dismisses popular entertainment as a cynical distraction from more pressing issues and nurtures a conspiracy-minded suspicion that the rich and powerful got that way by exploiting the undereducated, poverty-stricken masses. To remedy the situation, he advocates revolution in none-too-subtle terms.
“I pledge/To get their foot off my neck,” he promises on “The Oath,” one of several songs calling for the forceful (and not necessarily peaceful) removal of the ruling and/or moneyed classes.
That’s nothing new for the MC who once rapped about “5 million ways to kill a CEO.” What’s different here is Morello, who swaps the Coup’s smooth Oakland-style funk grooves for monstrous hard-rock guitar riffs that land with the force of the bombs Riley wants to throw.
Morello’s guitar growls menacingly through “Fight! Smash! Win,” ducks and weaves through the verses on “The Squeeze” and squeals like heavy machinery in serious need of lubricant to open “Megablast.” What starts as a greasy, low guitar line on the last song, “Nobody Moves Til We Say Go,” erupts into a riff that rumbles through your guts like strong chili, only this kind of visceral turbulence just leaves you hungry for more.
Bob Bogle Of Rock Band The Ventures Dies At 75
Bob Bogle, lead guitarist and co-founder of the rock band The Ventures, known for 1960s instrumental hits like “Walk, Don’t Run,” has died at age 75.
Don Wilson, the band’s other co-founder, tells The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., that Bogle became ill over the weekend and died Sunday.
The band sold millions of albums and heavily influenced other rock guitarists. It was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Among its other hits were “Perfidia” and the theme from “Hawaii Five-O.”
The band got its start in 1958 in Tacoma. Bogle played lead and bass and Wilson played rhythm guitar. They were soon joined by Nokie Edwards, another guitarist, and drummer Howie Johnson, later replaced by Mel Taylor.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The Vinyl Ceiling: Is Manufacturing Capacity Too Small?
Vinyl is booming, and estimates peg year-end sales at nearly three million in the United States alone. In total, year-over-year gains could easily cross one million.
But what happens after that? According to one veteran executive with expertise in the format, future growth will be challenged by limited manufacturing capacity. “All plants are producing as fast as they can, and are still behind on fulfilling orders,” the executive shared.
So why not ramp capacities upward, and meet the blossoming demand? Turns out that crossing the chasm is more complicated than it appears. The reason is that manufacturers are hesitant to pour capital into something that could end up being a fad. Retailers may also shy away from paying for new racks, or reconfiguring floorspace. “No one knows if this rally will sustain, so no one wants to invest money in new equipment to ramp up production capacity to meet increasing demand,” the source continued. “Therefore, we’re probably stuck where we are for the foreseeable future as far as market share.”
Nine Inch Nails say goodbye to USA
Fans surely knew the day was coming, but Trent Reznor offered a reminder early this morning in Manchester, Tenn., telling the crowd at the three-day Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival that his performance with Nine Inch Nails would be the band’s last in America.
“It just dawned on me that this is our last show ever in the United States,” Reznor is quoted by the Associated Press. “Don’t be sad. I’ll keep going. But I think I’m going to lose my … mind if I keep doing this, and I have to stop.”
Reznor noted earlier this year that Nine Inch Nails would “disappear for a while” in a posting on the band’s website, but sounded a little more finite in his declaration from the Bonnaroo stage. Of course, Reznor’s statements have been vague enough to not completely shut the door, leaving open the possibility for more studio work under the Nine Inch Nails banner. Additionally, retirements in rock ‘n’ roll tend to be short-lived, and this year’s Bonnaroo saw the return of Phish, which broke up in 2004.
The band’s vitality isn’t remotely diminished, Nine Inch Nails would be going out on a “creative hot streak.” With 2007′s “Year Zero,” and last year’s “The Slip,” Reznor’s ambitions, and aggressiveness, haven’t shown any signs of waning. Reznor brings the Nine Inch Nails goodbye tour to Europe later this month.
Franz Ferdinand – ‘Blood’ (Album Review)
If you were merely whelmed by FF’s anaemic third, then this album of dub versions could be the infusion you’re looking for. Dan Carey was the ideal choice for remixing duties, having worked with old-school dub heroes Mad Professor and Lee Perry as well as younger sorts Hot Chip. ‘Blood’’s success is simple: it sidesteps the usual trap of bolting on giant, boozy breakbeats or acid synth basslines so obvious they can be seen from geostationary orbit. Instead Bob Hardy’s aqueous bass wobble gets the room it deserves and is amped up with weed-infused echo and liquid acid Vocoders, meaning this selection is more suited to home ‘contemplation’ or that last mad hour of dancing before you stumble blinking into the light for the 6.30am bus home.
Cheap Trick To Do ‘Sgt. Pepper’ In Vegas Run
Cheap Trick wants you to want to hear the Beatles.
Las Vegas Hilton officials say the 80s rock group best known for “I Want You to Want Me” will band with an orchestra to perform the one of the Beatles’ most popular albums during a special run in Las Vegas.
Hotel spokesman Ira Sternberg says Geoff Emerick, the producer of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” will be on hand for nine shows performed live — start to finish — in September at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater.
The Hilton shows, “Sgt. Pepper Live” featuring Cheap Trick, are being produced by Bill Edwards Presents Inc.
Sternberg says tickets to the Sept. 13-15, 17-19 and 21-23 shows will start at $65.
Sonic Youth- “Sacred Trickster” (Music Video)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Bonnaroo 2009 A Huge Success, Attendance ‘Up Dramatically’
Phish wrapped Bonnaroo 2009 last night ( with a sit-in from Bruce Springsteen), drawing the curtain on what producers feel was their most successful event ever on many levels.
Aside from thunderstorms on Thursday that brought mud on Friday, and sometimes oppressive heat, the event came off well in terms of operations and financials. “We’ve got a great team out here and I feel like we’re as prepared as any team possibly could be for whatever comes our way,” says Ashley Capps, president of A.C. Entertainment, co-producers of Bonnaroo with Superfly Presents.
Talent-wise, Bonnaroo remained typically diverse, with a brace of headlining sets by reunited (and ‘roo influence) Phish sandwiching an exuberant Saturday performance by Bruce Springsteen & the Street Band. In between were acts including Wilco, Elvis Costello, the Decemberists, Band Of Horses, Cage The Elephant, Mars Volta, Nine Inch Nails, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Merle Haggard, Gov’t Mule, Snoop Dogg, Animal Collective, Booker T and the DBTs, and a late addition of Jimmy Buffett. “To me this year’s the best Bonnaroo ever,” Capps said. “I say that every year and I mean it every year.”
Adds Superfly partner Jonathan Mayers, “Each year we try to raise the bar in every facet of the festival. You have to keep evolving, you don’t want to stay static or you go backwards. Every year you want to look back and say ‘wow this was better than the last year.’”
With some 125 acts on the bill, Capps says booking Bonnaroo is a “messy process” that can be years in the making. “We’re already talking about 2010 and 2011,” he says. “So many things take so long to come to fruition. The conversations with the Springsteen camp go back two to three years.”
The Bonnaroo talent budget is a moving target, but was pretty much the same as last year when Metallica and Pearl Jam headlined. “Certainly an agent’s job is to drive the best deal they can, we realize that, and our job is to pay what we believe is fair,” says Capps. “We have considerable expenses, this is a challenging event to produce. It’s not just about the talent, it’s about providing the experience, the safety, and all of those factors are hugely expensive.”
Capps says sales were “up dramatically” this year. “I haven’t seen the final counts, but we were at 75,000 at least [Thursday] morning, up from about 70,000 [last year].”
But the metric for Bonnaroo success is not just gauged on box office. “It’s not ‘what’s the ticket count?’ it’s about looking back each year and taking a step back and thinking about how the brand could be bigger than just the physical event,” says Mayers. “Bonaroo stands for more than just the physical event. It’s about a rite of passage, it’s about curating the event, it’s about the journey down here it’s about creating a 365-day platform. We take a step back and look at where we’re going to be in five years, the constant evolution of the brand.”
More than 10% of this year’s tickets were sold on layaway. “You have to be in touch with your audience, understand your audience, the good the band, the ugly,” Mayers says. “This is a difficult economic climate and we have to think about that. You’re building loyalty with that audience.”
Sonic Youth Get Signature Fender Guitars
Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo have spent decades taking apart, restringing, and generally mangling their collection of guitars in service of the Sonic Youth sound. And from looking over the ridiculously extensive gear guide on Sonic Youth’s website, Moore and Ranaldo’s favorite toy is the Fender Jazzmaster. So it makes sense that both Moore and Ranaldo would get their own signature Jazzmaster guitars sooner or later.
The band announced on their Twitter last night that their signature Jazzmasters would be out on July 1 and that these guitars would “reflect decades of roadtested customization knowledge”. Moore’s guitar is green, Ranaldo’s is blue, and both of them have a ton of customized features, all lovingly cataloged on the Fender website. Each guitar will come with a 24-page color zine designed by Ranaldo that the Fender website calls “the definitive insider’s guide to all things Jazzmaster in the world of Sonic Youth.”
VIEW THE GUITARS
Cat Power’s Chan Marshall Directing Vodka Commercial
Chan Marshall bka Cat Power is directing a 42-second commercial sponsored by New Zealand vodka company named 42 below. It’s all part of “OneDreamRush,” a 42-part series of 42-second short films/commercials based on dreams once had by each carefully selected director. This will either be incredibly boring or totally twisted. Stay tuned.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Animal Collective- “Summertime Clothes” (Music Video)
Deerhunter: Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP (Album Review)
With Microcastle, Weird Era, and this EP — not to mention all the music the band released on its blog at that time — Deerhunter hit its creative stride and didn’t waste one moment. While Rainwater Cassette Exchange isn’t drastically different from what came before it, it’s at the same impressive level of quality. If anything, the four pop nuggets that begin the EP might be an even more potent distillation of the band’s weirdness, catchiness, and beauty, from the title track’s surf exotica to the push-pull of “Famous Last Words”‘ fuzzy guitars and cryptic lyrics. “Disappearing Ink” charges in on a forceful rhythm, but Bradford Cox’s vocals and the chorus (“disappearing ink”/but the words still sting”) aren’t so sure, a trick Deerhunter also used brilliantly on Microcastle’s “Nothing Ever Happened.” “Game of Diamonds” is a standout, melding tablas, piano, Everly Brothers harmonies, and a caressing melody into Eastern-tinged dream-chamber-pop that’s unique even for a band as committed to mixing sounds and moods as Deerhunter is. The band burns through Rainwater Cassette Exchange’s first few tracks almost impatiently, making “Circulation”‘s stretch from psych-punk to a sound collage reminiscent of the end of “I Am the Walrus” all the more satisfying. At five songs and 15 minutes long, Rainwater Cassette Exchange is a quick tour of what Deerhunter can do and how well they do it, and more proof the band’s inspiration is at its peak.
Good enough for Sigur Rós is good enough for us!
Just got a little note from the guys in Sigur rós, They are recommending this great band from London Uk called Fanfarlo.. Which kind of sound like the English Arcade Fire to me. Check it out.. It’s only a buck and it’s a terrific album..
Here is the note:
Our great friends in London called Fanfarlo are making their amazing debut album, ‘Reservoir’, available for $1 (USD) until Independence Day (July 4), along with 4 exclusive bonus tracks. It’s got Sigurrós and her cousin Disa on the front cover in a pic by Jónsi’s other sis Lilja (true), and we urge you all to go and get it straight away.
They made the record in Connecticut with a guy called Peter Katis and, as the more vigilant of you may have noticed, Jónsi liked it so much that he has started work on his own solo record with the same dude.
Get it here: www.fanfarlo.com
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sonic Youth Remains Eternally Ferocious
Switching labels and playing its 1988 masterpiece “Daydream Nation” in its entirety two years ago got Sonic Youth “excited” about making its just-released new album, “The Eternal,” according to guitarist Lee Ranaldo.
Ranaldo said that while the decidedly non-nostalgic group “had to be dragged kicking and screaming” into the “Daydream Nation” idea for shows celebrating the 2007 deluxe edition reissue of the album, the endeavor had a profound effect on he and his bandmates.
“In the end we all enjoyed the process,” Ranaldo says, “and more than that we were really kind of astonished by the ferocity of the material we were writing back then. It was really balls to the wall, from start to finish. The energy level we discovered by replaying that record made quite a substantial contribution to (‘The Eternal’). We wanted to up the pace a little bit in terms of excitement, to be a little wilder musically than maybe the last couple (of albums) have been.”
Sonic Youth’s departure from the major label world after 16 years at Geffen Records to return to the indie ranks with Matador also put a bit of juice into the band for “The Eternal,” Ranaldo acknowledges. “We were just excited about moving to a new label and a new situation,” he notes. “Our contract with Geffen was up; they wanted to do more, but…the last couple records we felt a bit of diminishing returns from what Geffen was willing to do to work those records and felt less and less involved with anybody at the company.
“We figured maybe it was a good time to try something different, and Matador…is a situation where everyone at the company is super-psyched to be working with us and every much more tapped into where we stand historically and what the band means in a larger sense. We’re very happy to be there.”
Sonic Youth — with touring bassist Mark Ibold joining the sessions — recorded “The Eternal” at the band’s Echo Canyon West studio in Hoboken, N.J., and in Northampton, Mass., where Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon reside. The group hits the road to promote the album on June 27 in Chicago. The group will tour North America during the summer, finishing at the Austin City Limits festival on Oct. 4, and plans to return to Europe in the fall.
The band celebrated the release of “The Eternal” with a nearly 40-minute live performance for an intimate group of fans and media at the Apple Store Soho in New York City. The concert was recorded for a future iTunes Store exclusive release.
Meanwhile, “Sensational Fix,” an art exhibition built around visual works by the group members and friends, has opened in Sweden, and its curator is currently looking for museums to display it in London, New York and somewhere on the U.S. West Coast.
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League Delivers ‘Trouble’
Following another successful collaboration with Rick Ross on the Miami rapper’s latest album, “Deeper Than Rap,” production trio the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League is working on several new projects.
Headlng the League’s to-do list is a new track by Atlantic rapper Maino. Titled “Here Comes Trouble,” the track has been tapped as the theme song for the independent film “Brooklyn’s Finest.” Directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) and due in late 2009, the suspense thriller stars Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere and Wesley Snipes. The story centers on three unconnected Brooklyn, NY police officers (two of them undercover) who end up at the same deadly location in the Brooklyn projects. According to the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League’s co-manager Chuck Greene, the song will also be a single for Maino and included on his upcoming album.
Back in the studio again with Young Jeezy, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League (Just Undeniably Some of the Illest Composers Ever) are working with several other artists on upcoming albums. Among them: Mary J. Blige, Plies, Drake and The Game. Recent collaborations include Lil Wayne, Fabolous, OJ Da Juiceman, Busta Rhymes and the aforementioned Ross, who scored a top 10 R&B/hip-hop hit with the League-produced track “Magnificent.” The trio’s earlier productions include the 2008 2 Pistols hit “She Got It’ (featuring T-Pain and Tay Dizm).
Comprised of members Rook, Colione and Kenny “Barto” Bartolomei, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League has been together since 2004, making live instrumentation a key component of its production style. Colione notes the group collectively plays 13 instruments including the saxophone, electric and bass guitar, drums, flute, piano and trumpet.
“We go for real artistry,” says Colione. “A lot of people lose that just sitting behind a computer. We want to bring real music back.”
With artists like Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears on its wish list, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League is staying busy in the meantime developing three artists under its own banner. They are Haitian rapper/singer Supa Show plus rappers Slim E from Orlando and Prime from Tampa.
Sonic Youth: “Sacred Trickster” (Live on Letterman)(Video)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Mastodon:: Oblivion (Music Video)
Sonic Youth: The Eternal (Album Review)
After nearly 20 years, America’s foremost indie-rock band is back on an independent record label.
Dissatisfied with how Geffen had handled its past few albums, Sonic Youth left the label after its 2006 release “Rather Ripped” and chose New York indie Matador to release its 16th album, “The Eternal.” As it happens, it’s Sonic Youth’s most compelling album in years.
The band has always had a penchant for musical experimentation that sometimes veers into outright noise, but “The Eternal” follows the path of its best work by balancing the musicians’ avant-garde tendencies with accessibility on songs that are taut, inventive and sometimes downright exhilarating.
Although it comes 21 years after “Daydream Nation,” the band’s touchstone record, “The Eternal” feels like a natural successor — the result, perhaps, of Sonic Youth’s reviving the 1988 album for a series of live performances in 2007 and then hitting the studio with producer John Agnello (whose résumé includes records by Dinosaur Jr, the Hold Steady and the Kills).
Lee Ranaldo’s guitar crackles with restless energy as it gallops across the opening song, “Sacred Trickster,” and he and guitarist Thurston Moore undermine the mellow chiming notes that open “Antenna” with controlled bursts of noise. The noise grows into sonic squalls on “What We Know,” threatening at times to overwhelm the brawny riff that drives the song and creating a thrilling tension.
Moore, a Bethel Connecticut native who now lives in Northampton, Mass., sings most of the songs, switching off at times with wife and band mate Kim Gordon and Ranaldo. Gordon sings with fierce abandon on “Calming the Snake” and trades lyrics in a call-and-response with Moore on the polemical “Anti-Orgasm.”
There’s no guessing what might happen next, which makes “The Eternal” an exciting record, full of twists and turns and dissonant digressions. It’s rock ‘n’ roll the way it’s meant to be: tuneful, raw and in your face.
Don’t call it a backlash, Wavves meltdown in big fest gig
Andrzej Lukowski posted an interesting essay on the Wavves debacle over at Drowned in Sound yesterday. In case you’re not aware, Nathan Williams, the only permanent member of the much-hyped group Wavves, basically fucked up his set at the mega-huge Primavera Sound Festival in Spain last Thursday, playing improvised slop, mocking the audience, and finally getting into a fight with his drummer before being cut off.
Williams later blamed his behavior on the cocktail of recreational drugs he’d taken before hitting the stage. Then Ryan Schreiber from Pitchfork–big Wavves boosters there–wrote an irate blog post and the news made it to pretty much every indie-leaning blog out in the universe.
Lukowski makes a good point: “Obscure musician plays poor show. Fairly humdrum drugs involved. Woo.” If it weren’t for people like Schreiber hyping Wavves up in the first place, his fuckup wouldn’t be newsworthy–in fact he probably wouldn’t be playing a huge festival in Spain in the first place. It’s not like Wavves moves Soulja Boy units or anything. As I understand it you can sum up this part of Lukowski’s argument thusly: ))((
What I don’t agree with is his claim that this is an example of the “build ‘em up to tear ‘em down” mentality. I agree that such a mentality exists, and that outlets like Pitchfork can get pretty backlash happy. It’s pretty much the natural result of combining the cliched “I’m already over it” indie-rock stance with the high turnover rate of the Internet and the increasing TMZ-ification of indie-rock coverage. (Not that a lot of classic indie fanzines didn’t get by on scandal mongering. Hardcore zines were even worse.)
But this isn’t a backlash like Pitchfork’s takedown of the Black Kids, which was apparently motivated by some sort of weird guilt. This actually has a connection to something the artist has done, rather than arising solely from the internal workings of the music media. It’s more of a situation centered around an asshole who seems to be treating his 15 minutes with the same reckless entitlement a rich 16-year-old feels toward his Range Rover.
If you want people to keep liking your band, don’t consistently phone in shows. (Wavves’ recent set at the Bottle was a letdown, and I’ve heard about many more.) Don’t take 12 different kinds of drugs before you play, at least not if you can’t hold your shit. It’s one thing not to care about your own hype, and I think that’s probably healthy. It’s another thing entirely not to care about your audience.
Williams makes some really good music, and though the people who built up the buzz about him were certainly guilty of trend jumping, his songs generated some genuine goodwill. And now that’s gone. Unless he does something to earn it back soon, Williams will be too.
Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony axed from ‘Guitar Hero: Van Halen’
Former Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony will not appear in the new ‘Guitar Hero: Van Halen’ videogame, it was announced today (June 9).
Singer David Lee Roth will be the only vocalist to appear in the game, an Activision spokesman told Rolling Stone. Also, current bassist Wolfgang Van Halen — the son of guitarist Eddie Van Halen — will take founding bassist Anthony’s place in the game.
A trailer for the videogame premiered at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles last week, and according to E3 reports, only songs originally sung by Roth will appear in the game, including ‘Jump’, ‘Hot For Teacher’ and ‘Panama’.
The band members will reportedly start out sporting early ’80s fashions with big hair and spandex trousers, and will evolve to become the more modernised versions of themselves.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Ozzy Sues Over ‘Black Sabbath’ Name
Even as the third incarnation of Black Sabbath – now doing business as Heaven & Hell – prepares to tour to promote its new album, “The Devil You Know,” a battle is raging over who should own the Sabbath name.
Frontman Ozzy Osbourne, who left the band in 1979 and returned in 1997 for periodic touring and a live album, is suing guitarist Tony Iommi, accusing him of falsely assuming ownership of the Sabbath name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The suit contends that Osbourne’s “signature vocals” were responsible for the band’s “extraordinary success,” noting its decline in popularity after he left the first time. Osbourne is demanding a 50 percent share of the name for himself as well as a split of monies earned while he was not in the band.
Iommi has not yet responded to the suit, but prior to that he acknowledged that a desire to avoid “legal issues” was behind adopting the name Heaven & Hell for the currently active lineup that includes himself, original bassist Terry “Geezer” Butler, singer Ronnie James Dio (who replaced Osbourne in 1979) and drummer Vinnie Appice. And whole he acknowledged that having another name for a band that had recorded as Black Sabbath “does get confusing,” he maintained that it portrays the current group’s repertoire more accurately.
“I think if we went under the Black Sabbath label it would cause problems along the line,” Iommi said. “People would expect us to be playing ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Paranoid’ and other stuff from (the Osbourne era), and that wasn’t the idea with this lineup. The idea was to play all the stuff we’ve done with Ronnie, and that’s why we’re using the different name.”
Heaven & Hell, which reunited in 2007, is currently on tour in Europe and begins a 15-show North American swing on Aug. 7 in Vancouver.
Osbourne has also reached out to Iommi in a public statement released by his publicist, which reads:
“Since 1997 when Geezer, Bill (Ward, the group’s original drummer) and myself rejoined the band, Black Sabbath has returned to its former glory as we headlined sold-out arenas and amphitheatres playing to upwards of 50,000 people at each show around the world. We worked collectively to restore credibility and bring dignity back to the name ‘Black Sabbath,’ which lead to the band being inducted into the UK and US Rock & Roll Hall of Fames in 2005 and 2006, respectively…Tony, I am so sorry it’s had to get to this point by me having to take this action against you. I don’t have the right to speak for Geezer and Bill, but I feel that morally and ethically the trademark should be owned by the four of us equally. I hope that by me taking this first step that it will ultimately end up that way. We’ve all worked too hard and long in our careers to allow you to sell merchandise that features all our faces, old Black Sabbath album covers and band logos, and then you tell us that you own the copyright. We’re all in our 60s now. The Black Sabbath legacy should live on long after we have all gone. Please do the right thing.”
The Specials Extended Reunion, Plan Second U.K. Tour
Ska legends The Specials, whose heyday 30 years ago coincided with a grimly familiar backdrop of economic hardship and unemployment, are to embark on a 13-date reunion tour of Britain.
The band says on its website it will start in November, after a string of successful shows to mark the anniversary earlier this year.
The Daily Telegraph has praised the late 1970s 2-Tone Specials as “one of the greatest live bands this country has ever produced.”
The group, from Coventry, is best remembered for late 1970s classics “Rat Race,” “A Message To You Rudy,” “Gangsters” and the 1981 UK chart-topping single “Ghost Town” released at the height of Thatcherism.
Their first London show in early May began with “Do The Dog” and encored with 1980′s number one single “Too Much Too Young,” “Skinhead Moonstomp” and perennial closer “Enjoy Yourself,” according to the NME.COM.
Now minus founding member and song writer Jerry Dammers, The Specials will appear at the Glastonbury Festival this month, kick off the winter tour at Cardiff Arena on November 1 and finish at London’s Hammersmith Apollo where they will play two shows on November 24 and 25.
Tickets go on sale on Friday June 12
Sunn O)))- Monoliths & Dimensions (Album Review)
Sunn 0)))’s Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley began their career as an Earth cover band, and explored the extremes of the low-tuned electric’s guitar’s drone capability at maximum volume on The Grimmrobe Demos. Later albums, such as 2005′s Black One, showed the duo expanding its sonic extremes, engaging a deep love of black metal by adding shrieking, growling vocals by Wrest, as well as additional instruments (like drums) by Oren Ambarchi. Altar, their collaboration with Japanese rockers Boris, provided them with a wider textural and ambient canvas to explore. Their vinyl-only release Dømkirke, recorded in a 100-year-old cathedral in Norway, utilized the building itself as an instrument, where its nooks and crannies echoed back microtones of the band’s own high-powered drones on tape. That said, nothing could have prepared listeners for the wide-ranging adventure that is Monoliths and Dimensions. This 53-minute set contains four tracks. O’Malley and Anderson utilize more guests and collaborators than ever before, including vocalist Attila Csihar, who gives his greatest performance since Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas; Ambarchi; Earth’s Dylan Carlson; trombonists such as jazzman Julian Priester and the Deep Listening Band’s Stuart Dempster; trumpeter Cuong Vu; multi-instrumentalist Steve Moore; male and female choirs; other reed and wind players; and violist Eyvind Kang as an arranger. While Sunn 0))) sound exactly like themselves, they seem to approach the music of composers such as Arvo Pärt and John Cage; they utilize the former’s tintinnabuli (three bells) theory as well as engage the latter’s notion of silence as a process.
If all this sounds pretentious, think again about who we’re talking about: the kings of wearing black hooded robes to perform. The set begins with “Aghartha,” full of power drone low-tuned guitars, as one might expect. Slow and plodding for five and a half minutes, it pummels on until Csihar enters in a lower than low yet barely audible voice speaking a long poem about the creation of a new Earth. Priester later enters playing a conch shell, two acoustic double bassists come in on the low end, Ambarchi plays a second electric guitar and effects, a piano sparingly adds both chord and single-note lines, and other horns and reeds flit about the background even as the piece remains unchanging in its focus. “Big Church” is the biggest shock. Commencing with an a cappella female choir, it’s soon intruded upon by four electric guitars; Csihar eventually enters in throat-singing overtone mode, as does a synth, and the tension becomes unbearable before the tune stops in dead silence. Then, bells, an organ, Kang’s viola, and trombone all find their way through the immense space provided by the slow droning yet extremely heavy riffs. Feedback screams in and then the bells enter again before power riffs crush them out. A “man choir” participates on “Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia),” with percussion, a huge Moog Voyager, electric tamboura, and horns amid the droning guitar mayhem slowly penetrating the listener’s skull like a giant worm. By the time the set ends with “Alice,” featuring a trio of trombones, woodwinds, reeds, ambient sounds, enormous guitars, and oscillators, the effect is complete. Monoliths and Dimensions succeeds because it is the sound of a new music formed from the ashen forge of drone, rock, and black metal. In its seemingly impenetrable, slow, spacious, heavy sonic darkness, this is the new way forward for not only Sunn 0))), but for extreme rock music and possibly even what’s left of the avant-garde. Brilliant.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Grizzly Bear: “Service Bell”/”Two Weeks” (Live ft. Feist) (Video)
Sonic Youth– “Antenna” and “Sacred Trickster” (Live on A>D>D) (Video)
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Elvis Costello Celebrates ‘Sugarcane’ With Intimate Show
Elvis Costello celebrated the release of his “Sacred, Profane & Sugarcane” album with an intimate solo acoustic show yesterday (June 2) in Manhattan’s financial district.
Costello performed a nearly hour-long set for a small group of fans and radio station contest winners at Jim Brady’s, a wood-paneled Irish pub near Wall Street. He focused almost entirely on songs from his freshly-released album, a collection of Americana-style folk songs that was produced by T. Bone Burnett. Accompanied only by his own acoustic guitar, Costello ran through more than half of the new record’s songs, including the melancholy “She Handed Me A Mirror,” “Complicated Shadows,” the location-appropriate “Down Among the Wines and Spirits,” and the tongue-in-cheek sing-a-long “Sulpher to Sugarcane.”
Costello also performed two new, as-yet-unreleased songs – “Condemned Man” and the uptempo show-closer that’s tentatively titled “Five Small Words.”
Costello was introduced by the fresh-from-rehab Matt Pinfield, former host of MTV’s “120 Minutes” and current morning drive DJ on New York radio station WRXP. Pinfield also conducted a wide-ranging live interview with Costello, who talked about such divergent topics as the album’s musicians, collaborating with Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash, working with the Royal Danish Opera, the life of Hans Christian Anderson and his interview style on his own “Spectacle” television show.
Costello played solo for this show, but next week kicks a brief tour with the Sugarcanes, a band featuring many of the musicians who played on the new album. Costello is playing solo acoustic at the Bonnaroo festival, does several Japanese gigs with his regular band the Imposters, and then picks back up with the Sugarcanes for more dates at the end of the summer.
Jane’s Addiction Joins Trent Reznor’s Transplant Charity Push
Reznor has been selling special VIP packages to nine inch nails’ NIN/JA tour with Jane’s Addiction to raise the funds for Eric De La Cruz, the 27-year-old brother of former CNN reporter Veronica De La Cruz, who alerted Reznor of his plight. De La Cruz, who will die without the transplant, has been unable to secure a heart because he’s on Medicaid, which will not pay for the transplant search and procedure. Reznor has raised nearly $860,000 by selling three tiers of VIP packages for the tour: $300 for a soundcheck and meet-and-great; $1,000 to also hang out with the band before the show, have a backstage dinner and watch the concert from the side of the stage; and $1,200 for an additional two tickets.
The promotion was so successful that Reznor had to stop selling the packages — “We had no idea this would generate THIS MUCH interest and simply can’t accommodate any more people,” he Twittered — and has been selling autographed copies of nin’s “Still” and Tony Hawk skateboards to raise additional money.
Jane’s cast its lot starting with Wednesday night’s concert in Boston. For a $1,000 donation, the group is allowing up to 10 fans per show to watch the quartet’s nightly pre-show dressing room jam and then watch the concert from the side of the stage and receive an autographed item. “The guys saw what a meaningful cause it was and said, ‘OK, we’d like to help. What can we do?’ ” Jane’s manager, Peter Katsis of Prospect Park said. “This is a promotion they’ve done before but never sold.
“We worked with Trent’s team to figure out a price that might make sense for such a VIP experience. We got a great response as soon as we put it up, so the guys are just excited they found a way to help, and that their fans are responding.”
Katsis says the warm-up period serves as “a private little concert for 10 people. They play for a good while, just loosen up and have fun and play covers songs, Jane’s songs. It’s about as intimate as it gets.”
Fans can purchase the VIP package through the group’s web site, janesaddiction.com, which will link them to the page Reznor maintains for the program. Katsis says the packages will be offered for the remainder of the NIN/JA tour, which wraps June 12 in Charlotte, N.C.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
‘Queen of the Blues’ Koko Taylor dead at 80
Koko Taylor, Chicago’s long-reigning Queen of the Blues, died Wednesday afternoon at age 80, the result of complications from surgery on May 19 to correct a gastrointestinal bleed.
Alligator Records, Ms. Taylor’s Chicago-based label since the early 1970s, reported her death Wedneday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where label founder Bruce Iglauer had been monitoring her condition.
Ms. Taylor had most recently performed May 7 at the Blues Music Awards ceremony in Memphis, Tenn., where she received her 29th Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handys), more than any other artist.
More details to come …
Wilco, Modest Mouse to Release New Singles for Vinyl Saturday
Green Day, Scarlett Johannsson vinyl also out June 20 Wilco, Modest Mouse to Release New Singles for Vinyl Saturday
The worst thing about Record Store Day wasn’t the long lines or the fact that most stores ran out of the really good exclusive shit by lunch time. It was the sinking feeling about the possibility that we wouldn’t all get excited to buy records together for a whole ‘nother year.
Well, it turns out that sinking feeling was totally wrong! The folks behind Record Store Day aren’t going to wait another 365 to hit us with another tsunami of unreleased wax. Record stores need all the help they can get these days, and bands still have unheard material laying around. And so June 20 will mark the first Vinyl Saturday, a new event from the Record Store Day people.
Like Record Store Day, Vinyl Saturday will involve a whole lot of bands releasing exclusive material to independent record stores. This time around, Wilco and Modest Mouse are on board.
Paul McCartney To Play First-Ever Shows at New Mets Stadium
Nearly 44 years after the Beatles performed the first concert held at New York’s historic Shea Stadium, Paul McCartney is set to christen the new home of the New York Mets – the Citi Field stadium in Queens, New York – with concerts on July 17 and July 18, it was announced today.
The two-night stand at Citi Field will mark McCartney’s first U.S. shows since his headline-grabbing, 2.5 hour set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in May. Back in the summer of 1965, The Beatles famously broke in the Mets’ original home of Shea Stadium with a concert attended by over 55,000 fans, and in July of 2008, Sir Paul made a surprise appearance at Billy Joel’s “Last Play at Shea” concert, the final show at the stadium before its closing in September.
“I am really excited about playing Citi Field,” said McCartney in a statement. “The Beatles were the first to play at Shea Stadium and along with Billy Joel, I was the last to sing at the old Shea. So to be the first to play this stadium is incredible. I am really looking forward to a buzzing show.”
Tickets for McCartney’s two-night stand, which is set to take place rain or shine, will be available June 15 at 10:00 a.m. ET at 507tixx.com and 718-507-TIXX.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Sonic Youth: ‘Sacred Trickster’ (Free and Legal MP3 Download) (Tour Dates too!)
Enjoy the new single from the upcoming Sonic Youth Album “The Eternal” out next week on their new label Matador Records. (June 8 Europe, June 9 North America)
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Sonic Youth Tour Dates
Sat-Jun-27 Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
Sun-Jun-28 Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
Mon-Jun-29 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
Tue-Jun-30 Toronto, ONT Massey Hall
Thu-Jul-02 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
Fri-Jul-03 New York, NY United Palace
Mon-Jul-06 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
Tue-Jul-07 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
Wed-Jul-08 Richmond, VA The National
Fri-Jul-10 Knoxville, TN Bijou Theatre
Sat-Jul-11 Nashville, TN War Memorial
Sun-Jul-12 Birmingham, AL Sloss Furnace
Mon-Jul-13 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
Wed-Jul-15 Dallas, TX House of Blues
Thu-Jul-16 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
Fri-Jul-17 St. Louis, MO Live on the Levee (FREE)
Sat-Jul-18 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre
Mon-Jul-20 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall
Tue-Jul-21 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
Thu-Jul-23 Bois! e, ID Knitting Factory
Sat-Jul-25 Seattle, WA Capitol Hill Block Party
Tue-Jul-28 Portland, OR Roseland Theatre
Thu-Jul-30 Salt Lake City, UT Twilight Concert Series (FREE)
Fri-Jul-31 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
Sun-Aug-02 Oakland, CA Fox Theatre
Sun-Oct-04 Austin, TX Austin City Limits
Entrance Supports 6/27, 6/29-7/3, 7/7-7/13
White/Light Support 6/28
Endless Boogie Support 7/6
Awesome Color Support 7/15-7/24, 7/28-8/2
Pearl Jam Confirms Target Tie-Up
Pearl Jam was indeed recording a Target commercial under the direction of Cameron Crowe last week at Seattle’s Showbox theater. But there’s more to the story than an exclusive retail relationship.
While it has been known that Pearl Jam are no longer under contract after 18 years of recording for Sony-affiliated labels, there has been only speculation about who would release their next album and how. Kelly Curtis, who has managed Pearl Jam since day one, conducted a wide-ranging interview on Sunday night, confirming that the band’s next release – rumored to be called “Backspacer” and currently scheduled for an early fall release – would come without a U.S. label, but a consortium of partners, including Target as the “big box” retail partner.
“We’ll have a lot of partners,” said Curtis, who confirmed that deals were also finished or in the works with an online retailer, a mobile partner, a gaming company and with a network or possibly networks of indie retail stores. “Target ended up allowing us to have other partners. We’ll be able to take care of all levels of the Pearl Jam fan…We wish we could tell the whole story right now, but all the deals aren’t done. Target was cool enough to realize that little independent record stores are not their competition.” Curtis was also quick to note that the album would be for sale via Pearl Jam’s fan club, Ten Club.
News of the Target commercial taping first broke last week on antiquiet.com, which is also hosting a bootleg recording from the Target taping of a song that Curtis confirmed was called “The Fixer.” While a first single hasn’t been definitively chosen from the new album yet, the song is in the running. An official first single will likely be released in July.
Curtis said that the Target commercial was only one reason for the Showbox session; with singer Eddie Vedder on tour supporting his solo work for the next month, “we had a narrow window to get some footage,” says Curtis. “We shot three or four songs that night.” Curtis said that some of the footage may be used for a project that Cameron Crowe is working on in connection to the band’s 20th anniversary.
Pearl Jam will play at least one new song tonight on the debut of “The Tonight Show” with Conan O’Brien. “That was booked months ago,” said Curtis. “We didn’t even know if the album was going to be finished when we booked it. It isn’t like we’re releasing a single after the show or anything.” And while blogs are rampant with speculation that the band will play “The Fixer,” Curtis said the band was still kicking around “two or three songs, all of them new” to perform.
Curtis also confirmed that the band would tour to support this latest album, and that internationally, the album would be released via Universal Music Group.
“I make decisions around the band’s business that are consistent with their overall philosophy,” said Curtis, “which is to sell music in a way that’s accessible and affordable to their fans, on every distribution platform that their fans access music, and in a way that takes care of the little guys.
“Everyone’s making assumptions because Target is a big corporation,” said Curtis. “Its important to remember we just got out of this 18 year relationship with Sony, and I’m pretty sure they are a bigger corporation than Target. We have the freedom to pick our partners and more control when we’ve ever had before. We’re excited to choose who we’re in business with.”
Curtis says it was important to him and to the band to redefine the notion of an “exclusive” retail partnership. “I appreciate the efforts of bands like AC/DC and Radiohead,” says the manager, alluding to two of the bands that have self-released albums recently. “But I wanted our plan to be multi-dimensional to address old and modern ways of fans accessing music. It will allow all of our fans to have the same access.”
“This is an ongoing experiment,” said Curtis. “Every time we do something it’s new for us, and were not trying to tackle the whole world at once. All we’ve been searching for forever is independence and control over our own stuff. The way of releasing records is changing every day. This is the best way we could do it ourselves in America. Right or wrong, we’ll figure that out and make it better the next time.”
The final word on Eminem/Bruno: It was staged, writes head writer
Reader comments are still pouring in regarding Sacha Baron Cohen’s in-your-face crash-landing on Eminem at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night, with a debate still raging as to whether or not Eminem was in on the joke. “Mr. Show With Bob and David” writing vet Scott Aukerman has thankfully cleared up the issue — and stole a bit of thunder from MTV in the process.
He writes on his Tumblr:
Yes, the Bruno/Eminem incident was staged. That’s all anyone wants to talk about, so let’s get it out of the way. They rehearsed it at dress and yes, it went as far as it did on the live show then. Okay, you can stop reading this blog now!
But you shouldn’t, as Aukerman provides a nice behind-the-scenes account of working with Andy Samberg and Akiva Shaffer, who tapped Aukerman to be their head writer for the MTV Movie Awards. He details an opening that was scrapped at the last minute, as well as the challenge of bringing Samberg’s sketch-heavy comedy stylings to the MTV Movie Awards.
Feel free to pass doubt on trusting social-networking sites on the Web, but Pop & Hiss is tipping our hat to Cohen, Eminen and the entire writing team for offering a much-discussed bit, and moving on.
– Todd Martens
Pearl Jam: “Get Some” (Live on the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien) (Video)
Monday, June 1, 2009
Live music on T.V. this week:
Monday, June 1:
NBC: Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien: Pearl Jam
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Tori Amos
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: The Roots (house band)
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: No Doubt (rerun)
Tuesday, June 2:
NBC: Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien: Green Day
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Paul Simon, the Roots (house band)
Wednesday, June 3:
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Steve Earle
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Lissy Trullie
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: The Roots (house band)
Thursday, June 4:
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Doves, the Roots (house band)
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Elvis Costello
Friday, June 5:
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: The Roots (house band)
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Asher Roth (rerun)
Saturday, June 6:
NBC: Saturday Night Live: TV on the Radio (rerun)
PBS: Austin City Limits: Bloc Party, Ghostland Observatory (rerun)
Cave Singers:: Beach House (Free and Legal MP3)
Here is the new single from Seattle band The Cave Singers entitled
‘Welcome Joy’(out August 18th on Matador Records) and the premiere MP3 from the album, which is for the song “Beach House” They’ll be touring in the fall with Lightning Dust, so stay tuned for info on dates
CLICK TO LISTEN
Advertising Goes Punk In U.K.
Never mind the bullocks, indeed — Johnny Rotten and some stampeding cows have started a rush toward punk advertising in the United Kingdom.
The Sex Pistols frontman, now known as John Lydon, stars in popular U.K. TV commercials for the butter brand Country Life. Dressed in country-gent tweeds, the one-time scourge of polite society is seen watching traditional English folk dancers, running from cows and declaring, “It’s not about Great Britain — it’s about great butter!” with the gusto he once reserved for sneering “I am an anti-Christ/I am an anarchist.”
On other British channels, punk forefather Iggy Pop stars in ads for the online car insurance brand Swiftcover in which the shirtless Stooges frontman declares: “You think I’m selling car insurance? I’m not — I’m selling time!”
But he is selling car insurance — and lots of it. Swiftcover says its first-quarter sales soared 31 percent over the same period last year, thanks to the ad. And Lydon has heated up butter sales — Country Life parent company Dairy Crest credited that ad, which debuted on U.K. television October 1, 2008, with driving an 85 percent increase in sales by volume of its “spreadable” brands in fourth-quarter 2008.
“Punk doesn’t mean what it meant 30 years ago,” says Snowy Everitt, director of the London-based marketing agency Espionage, which specializes in putting brands and music together. “For most people in 2009, punk isn’t about music, it’s about attitude. Butter isn’t fun, edgy, sexy or cool — but, in times of economic crisis, advertisers need cut-through, and anything that gets you talked about is worth a punt.”
Swiftcover marketing director Tina Shortle agrees, crediting Pop with helping the campaign — which has a rate-card value of 25 million pounds ($38 million) — “stand out in a cluttered market.”
“We weren’t too worried if the target audience didn’t recognize Iggy as a celebrity,” she says. “We just wanted someone renowned for having fun and enjoying life.” Both campaigns also have attracted considerable media attention: Shortle says online searches for Swiftcover and Pop have increased 30 percent since the campaign started January 4, and Dairy Crest marketing director Paul Fraser says Country Life’s “spontaneous awareness” rating more than doubled.
Fraser says the brand chose Lydon for his “British rogue” appeal, and the second phase of the campaign, which began May 15, stresses Country Life’s use of British ingredients. “John’s independent views are a huge part of his consumer appeal,” he says. “And this has obviously struck a chord with our consumers.”
Punk music-licensing deals are also on the rise, and in the fall an ad for the upmarket British supermarket Waitrose used the Stranglers hit “Golden Brown.” Although it’s one of the band’s gentler tracks, it’s a hymn to drug use — a fact that Stranglers bassist and “Golden Brown” co-writer JJ Burnel feels may have escaped Waitrose.
“When our manager told us, I thought it was very funny,” he says with a laugh. “My first reaction was: ‘Are they advertising Christmas heroin or something?’ I’d have thought everyone had guessed by now (what the song’s about), but maybe not.” Waitrose did not return calls for comment.
Martin Costello, a consultant to Universal Music Publishing Group, which now owns the Stranglers’ publisher Complete Music Publishing, says the supermarket paid a “five-figure” sum for the song, and that demand for punk tracks on ads has been rising for the past six or seven years.
“It’s because you now have creative heads at agencies that grew up with it,” he says. Another Complete Music act, the Only Ones, enjoyed a career revival after the mobile company Vodafone ran an ad that used “Another Girl, Another Planet.”
Burnel says the Waitrose deal didn’t do much for the Stranglers, other than provide a payday. “I don’t think it sold an extra download or tickets for shows,” he says. “It was just a business decision made on our behalf and in our interests — I don’t think it has any association with the Stranglers other than they used a recording made by us 30 years ago.”
Lydon’s and Pop’s links with the products they’re pushing, however, are more explicit. The Swiftcover ads attracted criticism from musicians — and, ultimately, censure from Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority — when it was discovered that the company didn’t insure musicians. (It has since reversed that policy.) “It hasn’t damaged the campaign,” Shortle says. “It’s given us greater prominence.”
So will other old punks climb on the bandwagon? Will the Buzzcocks advertise baked beans or Sham 69 turn up flogging fish fingers?
“I wouldn’t be surprised if more brands looking to get cut-through go for rebellious figures,” Everitt says. “If it works, why not try it?”
Bruno (Sasha Borat Cohen) Lands right on Eminem’s face at 2009 MTV Movie Awards
Flamboyant Austrian fashion reporter Brüno literally flies in to give away the Golden Popcorn for the best leading man, but misses the stage and lands on Eminem’s lap, before announcing the winner while suspended above the audience.