The inlay to Pulp’s Different Class memorably told listeners not to read the lyrics while listening to the album. For Joanna Newsom’s third record, each song’s lyric is so long, beautifully phrased – “Even the ghosts huddled up for warmth,” she whispers on Autumn – and dense with detail that it’s difficult to keep up without study aids. Suffice to say, not many records in 2010 will contain phrases like “faultlessly etiolated”. The music, as anyone who devoured 2006′s Ys will expect, is equally open to exposition. Ryan Francesconi’s arrangements may be subtle – Newsom’s harp remains central almost throughout – but they perfectly complement the looking-glass mystique of compositions like Good Intentions Paving Company and Jackrabbits. At two-hours-plus, it’s a record that demands concentration to appreciate its splatterings of beauty. But pour yourself a glass and listen, because they don’t make them like this too often. Grand, long and bold – Newsom makes it sound like the first word she sings here: easy.
Archive for February, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Joanna Newsom: Have One On Me (Album Review)
21% fewer american’s buying music
The number of U.S. music purchasers declined by 24 million between 2007 and 2009, a drop of 21% during a period when consumers were purchasing far fewer CDs but beginning to experiment more with digital music, according to data presented by market research firm NPD Group at Digital Media Wire’s Digital Music Forum East conference in New York this week. The market lost 33 million CD buyers between 2007-2009; the number of Americans purchasing digital song downloads also dropped, from 35.2 million in 2008 to 34.6 million in 2009.
NPD analyst Russ Crupnick attributed the digital falloff to consumers experimenting with downloads and then losing interest.
Meanwhile, the amount consumers are spending on digital song downloads rose from an average of $33 per year to $50 per year.
NPD also found that free Internet radio services like Pandora lead to a 41% increase in paid downloads, while free, on-demand services like Spotify actually led to a 13% drop in paid downloads.
“For some people, more listening just means more listening and tends to lead to less purchasing,” Crupnick remarked.
NPD also found a precipitous drop in the number of songs being shared on peer-to-peer networks, which was attributed to growing competition from legal services; fear of spyware; and music shared via other means, like swapping hard drives.
Check out Broken Bells’ on WNYC’s “Soundcheck” program
Forget the super group. The super-duo Broken Bells unites The Shins frontman James Mercer with producer Danger Mouse of Gnarls Barkley and The Grey Album fame. The two join us to give us a sneak peek at their upcoming self-titled debut.
Jack White’s Third Man Records Reveals Jon Wayne Reissue, SXSW Details
Earlier this month, Jack White leaked the news that his next Third Man Records pop-up shop would be, um, popping up in Austin, Texas for SXSW. The where/when/how/etc. were still unknown, however, until today. Third Man Records has announced that their “most ambitious temporary store” to date will set up shop at Austin’s Frank Restaurant and Grocery on 407 Colorado St from March 17 – 20, 12-8pm.
As with Third Man’s previous stints in Los Angeles, London, and New York City, there will be a slew of items available for purchase exclusively at this one-time event. One item, in particular, caught my eye: a reissue of 1980s band Jon Wayne’s out-of-print cult classic album Texas Funeral, which will debut Third Man’s forthcoming reissue series.
Other notable exclusive merch includes 150 handmade wooden boxes “containing the complete Texas Sized Vinyl set of 45s,” a Third Man Branding Station (“you bring it down, we’ll brand it with the Third Man logo”), and more.
Jaga Jazzist: One Armed Bandit (Album Review)
In the wrong hands, jazz-fusion and prog can be dangerous musical fodder, but when undertaken by Norwegian alt-musos Jaga Jazzist, the results can be spectacular. While 2005’s ‘What We Must’ explored post-rocky Sigur Rós territory with mixed results, ‘One-Armed Bandit’ sees them back to the electronic wonk-jazz that they do so well.
Big layers of instruments dual with and complement each other via weird time signatures, and inspired, complex riffs that sound like they’re scoring a car chase from a cult Seventies film, mixed with bursts of electronic futurism – perhaps best displayed on the album’s title track – a manic, brilliant piece of instrumental songwriting that shows Jaga Jazzist to be at the top of their game.
Eno launches Brighton Festival
Brain Eno is plotting a month long residency in Brighton after launching the 44th festival in the city.
Bringing a distinct flavour of experimentalism to the table and what he describes as the “greatest night of his life” when he curates an Afrobeat night, he says the role is far from what some people describe as ‘work’:
“It’s not that demanding, it’s like a gift. It’s like somebody saying to you, would you like to have a long party, where you have all your favourite bands playing.”
The festival kicks off with Eno’s visual feast of 77 Million Paintings which has been unveiled world-wide over the last few years, to critical acclaim and during the 242 performances at the festival, 9 other events bear his individual stamp.
“There are some things that I have dreamed of seeing that I have never been able to catch before like a whole evening of Afrobeat music. I’ve loved Afrobeat for 40 years, and now I have the people who started it actually, playing it here,” he said.
He does, of course, refer to Tony Allen the legendary Nigerian drummer, who started the whole movement in the late ’60s.
Allen will perform with his band, Africa 70, and also be joined by Seun Kuti, the youngest son of Fela and the rest of his father’s band, who Eno told 6 Music he inherited as a family heirloom.
“Here son, have a band,” impressions Brian with a wry smile, before singing the praises of the pair, leaving us in no doubt what will be the festival highlight for him.
“I’ve seen Tony Allen play a few times and I’ve seen Seun Kuti with his band and they are the most amazing musical events you will ever experience. They are unlike anything else.”
“There is so much I want to see in this festival that I didn’t have anything to do with!”
The date for that night is 14 May, the night before Eno’s birthday, which he says will be like a personal present to him.
Acapella is another one of his passions that comes to the fore on this year’s line-up, with one whole night dedicated to it.
Eno has curated the bands playing and The Persuasions, Naturally 7 and Reggie Watts will all team up for what Eno describes as one night of magic.
“Acappella is a little bit like magic, you can see the guy only has two things in his hand, and suddenly there’s a third one there,” he explained. “How does that work? It’s magic. There is nothing other than the human voice, yet the music that emerges is so astonishingly moving.”
Underworld’s Karl Hyde is a key collaborator for one of the events which Eno has lined up called, ‘This is Pure Scenius!’ Previously seen once at The Sydney Opera House, seven individuals, headed up by Eno will hook up on stage to experiment with spoken word and music for a six hour extravaganza, that he says may see them call in the tea making facilities on stage.
“It’s difficult to tell you anything much about it in terms of predicting what will happen ‘cos it could go in a lot of different directions, but it will be a very long concert, the audience will change but we won’t. It’s a new approach to improvisation I think.”
Aside from the bottom numbing music marathon, Eno will provide a lecture on ‘Reasons for Optimism’, an illustrated talk, a night dedicated to celebrating the Apollo Moon landing and a night looking at books with Anna Calvi.
The former Roxy Music man says he plans to stay in the city for the duration of the month of May and is hoping to bag himself an Access All Areas Pass: “It better mean that. There is so much I want to see in this festival that I didn’t have anything to do with!”
The festival kicks off on 1 May, with tickets going on sale from 1 March.
Thom Yorke Names ???? Atoms For Peace, Unveils Tour Dates
Thom Yorke has finally replaced those pesky question mark placeholders for his new solo outing with producer Nigel Godrich, percussionist Mauro Refosco, bassist Flea, and drummer Joey Waronker. Now dubbed Atoms for Peace (a named which “seemed bleedin’ obvious”), the quintet will finally venture outside of Los Angeles this April. In addition to their previously reported slot at Coachella in Indio, CA, Yorke and friends will play 8 more dates in 5 U.S. cities (New York, Boston, Chicago, Oakland, and Santa Barbara).
If you live near one of these cities, trust me, you don’t want to miss this. For Yorke’s Dead Air announcement, tour dates, and ticket info, go here.
Massive Attack Announce North American Tour
On the heels of their KCRW performance yesterday, trip hop dynamic duo, Massive Attack, have announced their first North American tour since 2006. Kicking off May 7th, the pair will hit up four stops with 2 peformances each, before wrapping up at this year’s Sasquatch Festival. Their latest record, Heligoland, debuted at #46 on the Billboard 200, marking the highest U.S. chart position of their legendary career.
Massive Attack Tour Dates:
7 Toronto, ONT – Sound Academy
9 Toronto, ONT – Sound Academy
11 New York, NY – Terminal 5
12 New York, NY – Terminal 5
18 Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern Theater
19 Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern Theater
25 San Francisco, CA = Warfield Theater
27 San Franciscos, CA = Warfield Theater
30 George, WA – Sasquatch Festival
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wilco Up for ‘Honorary Citizen’ Distinction
Jeff Tweedy wants to be honored by the city of Madison, Wis. Last Saturday, the Wilco frontman made his feelings known during a performance at the locale’s Overture Center.
“Last night, the mayor of Duluth made us an honorary Duluth band,” Tweedy told the audience, after receiving the distinction from that Minnesota community. “And we’ve only played there twice. How many times have we played Madison? A lot. No key to the city, no certificate, nothing.”
Now it looks as if the Wilco frontman just may get his wish. The city has since hustled to try and make it happen. Not to be outdone by Duluth, Madison’s Alder Satya Rhodes-Conway and Mayor Dave Cieslewicz promptly penned the “Wilco honorary-citizen proposition” and introduced it at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
According to local paper the Cap Times, the proposal, which cites Wilco’s 13 visits to Madison since 1995, will be brought back for a vote on March 2.
LCD Soundsystem finish new album
Ever since he jumped on the Twitter bandwagon late last year, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy has been micro-blogging about working on the band’s forthcoming record, and his tone’s been getting persistently more exasperated. (Last week: “is so desperate to socialize with another human being not in a studio that he might go to the deli and buy a sandwich he doesn’t want.”) But this morning, Murphy chimed in with some very encouraging news, both for us and for himself: “mixing last song right now to send to the amazing bob weston to master. meaning, record DONE. i hope people like it.” Jyeah!
On the official LCD site, Murphy was even more plainspoken: “looks like we added another paris gig. oh, and something else. the fucking record is done.”
Depending on how fast Weston works, we might even get the album in time for that projected March release date, though I wouldn’t bet money on that. A second behind-the-scenes video chronicling the making of the record was recently posted on the LCD website. We’ve embedded it below.
Meanwhile, Murphy’s got a busy few months coming up. Alongside the album, he’s also been at work on the score to the forthcoming Noah Baumbach movie Greenberg. And come April, Murphy will hit the road on a tour that’ll take him to both sites of the Atlantic. Stops will include Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, and our Pitchfork Music Festival. Dates below.
04-16 Indio, CA – Coachella
04-20 Dublin, Ireland – Tripod *
04-21 Dublin, Ireland – Tripod *
04-23 London, England – Brixton Academy *
04-24 London, England – Brixton Academy *
04-26 Birmingham, England – Academy *
04-27 Leeds, England – Academy *
04-28 Glasgow, Scotland – Barrowlands *
04-29 Glasgow, Scotland – Barrowlands *
05-01 Manchester, England – Academy
05-02 Bristol, England – Academy *
05-04 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso *
05-05 Brussels, Belgium – Ancienne Belgique *
05-06 Berlin, Germany – WMF *
05-08 Paris, France – Bataclan *
05-09 Paris, France – Bataclan *
05-30 George, WA – Sasquatch Festival
06-11 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Festival
07-17 Chicago, IL – Pitchfork Music Festival
09-12 Isle of Wight, England – Bestival
* with YACHT
M.I.A. Album Out in June?
Last night, M.I.A. rifled off three quick posts on her Twitter: “BANNED FROM LEAVING THE U.S, FAMILY BANNED FROM COMING TO U.S TO SEE ME, BABY, RECORDING LP, SIGNING THE DOPEST ACTS THATS HITTIN 2010,” “I THINK IM READY,” and “JUNE 2010.”
Which seems to suggest the U.S. government still believes she’s some sort of threat and that her much anticipated third album is coming out in June. Either that, or she just really likes the month of June and wants to tell people about it. (She also posted a link to photos from a Jeremy Scott fashion show, saying “IRANIAN PRINCESS SADE IS SPREADING.”)
M.I.A. worked with producers Diplo, Rusko, Switch, Blaqstarr, and Sleigh Bells’ Derek Miller on the LP. (Could the currently label-less Rising duo Sleigh Bells be one of said “DOPEST ACTS”?) Last week, Rusko Tweeted that the album is finished. And she posted a version of new song “Space Odyssey” on her Twitter last month. More info as we get it.
NYC Assistant Convicted In Ex-Ramones Manager Killing
The personal assistant of punk-rock pioneer and celebrity real estate broker Linda Stein has been convicted of bludgeoning her boss to death with a piece of exercise equipment.
Jurors spent less than a day reaching a second-degree murder verdict in the Manhattan trial against Natavia Lowery, the personal assistant to Linda Stein, who managed the Ramones before becoming a real estate agent with celebrity clients including Madonna and Sting. Lowery showed no reaction when the verdict was read Feb. 23.
Prosecutors said Lowery stole more than $30,000 from Stein, then clubbed her to death to try and hide the theft.
Lowery’s lawyers had acknowledged she stole from Stein and at least one previous employer, but they denied she killed Stein. The 28-year-old woman’s attorney said in closing arguments Monday that police plied Lowery into a false confession after 12 hours of questioning.
Prosecutors had presented evidence showing Lowery had a troubled history, which included arrests on charges of stealing a roommate’s identity and being fired for embezzling from a church while working there. The allegations hadn’t been reported to authorities or had been dropped, prosecutors say. Stein apparently didn’t know about any of the incidents.
Lowery had worked for about three months for Stein before the 62-year-old woman was bludgeoned to death in her Fifth Avenue apartment on Oct. 30, 2007. Blood was spattered in her living room and her skull was fractured as she was hit about two dozen times.
Lowery initially denied any knowledge of the killing, then blamed it on a masked stranger who told her not to report it, and finally gave her videotaped account of beating Stein to death with a piece of exercise equipment after the broker badgered her about the pace of her work and blew marijuana smoke in her face.
Authorities later determined there was no marijuana in Stein’s body when she died, and she suffered far more than the roughly six blows Lowery described.
Surveillance videotape showed Lowery leaving Stein’s building soon after the estimated time of the killing.
Muse Speak Out Against Warner Withdrawal From Streaming Services
In the wake of Warner Music announcing they will stop licensing their artists’ tracks to free streaming services such as Spotify, Muse, one of Warners biggest-selling acts, have come out against the idea.
Muse bassist Chris Wolstenhome expressed his disappointment at the prospect of Warner’s plans going ahead.
“It’s like taking your song off the radio isn’t it?” he said. “You’re instantly taking your song away from a group of potential listeners.”
Wolstenhome also emphasised that such initiatives as these are not being instigated by the bands themselves.
“The corporations are setting the rules on these things because they’re clutching at straws,” he said. “I do sometimes feel that this whole restriction that’s been set on how your music can get out there these days doesn’t ever really come from the bands. It’s coming from the corporations behind everything.
“As far as bands are concerned you just want people to hear your music whichever way they can.”
Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman last week said that free streaming services are “clearly not net positive for the industry” and “is not the kind of approach to business we will be supporting in the future.”
Other artists who will be unavailable on Spotify, Last.fm, Grooveshark and the like include R.E.M., the Flaming Lips and Madonna.
CocoRosie Unveil New Label, 4th Album Details
Sub Pop announced today that they will release the 4th album by sisters Bianca “Coco” and Sierra “Rosie” Casady, aka CocoRosie on May 11th. The album, Grey Oceans, was written and recorded with “amazing and diverse musicians” that the duo discovered while traveling to Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Berlin, and New York in 2008.
Bianca Casady described their plans for the follow-up to 2007’s The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn to Quebec’s Le Soleil last fall:
We want to return to a more stripped-down, acoustic sound the time of [our first LP] La Maison de Mon Rêve. This is not a is not a setback, just a less stringent way of making music.
Check out the Grey Oceans tracklist below:
1 ) Trinity’s Crying
2 ) Smokey Taboo
3 ) Hopscotch
4 ) Undertaker
5 ) Grey Oceans
6 ) R.I.P. Burn Face
7 ) The Moon Asked the Crow
8 ) Lemonade
9 ) Gallows
10 ) Fairy Paradise
11 ) Here I Come
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
‘The Runaways’ Trailer (Video)
The Runaways, which opens on March 19th, starring Twilight’s Kristen Stewart alongside Dakota Fanning. Highly musically charged, The Runaways describes the groundbreaking all girls 1970s rock band, originally comprised of the legendary Joan Jett, and Cherie Currie.
Hold Steady Announce New Album Details
The Hold Steady, Brooklyn’s finest purveyors of booze-n-sweat-fueled rock, are set to return this spring with their fifth album, ‘Heaven Is Whenever.’ Due May 4, the record is a reportedly a departure from the band’s prior records, in that the keyboards and piano are delegated to the background this time. The group is down to just a four-piece after the recently-announced departure of Franz Nicolay.
“I see it as being less anthemic and more complex,” singer Craig Finn said in a released statement. “The lyrics speak a lot about struggle and reward. It’s about embracing suffering and understanding its place in a joyful life. I think that some of the characters from old records are there, but I don’t name them by name. I think it continues to examine the highs and lows that we’ve looked at on previous records.”
Compared to previous recording sessions, it’s also said that ‘Heaven Is Whenever’ benefits from more spread-out sessions, with the band even making a makeshift studio in the back of their tour bus where they could test things out right as the mood was striking them.
‘Heaven Is Whenever’ stands at just 10 tracks, and sounds like it will have a variety of inspirations. Guitarist Tad Kubler said that he’s recently been influenced by Calexico as well as film composers such as Jon Brion and jazz trumpeter Terrence Blanchard. “I feel like the most interesting sounding records are made by using what you know and knowing how to use what you have,” Kubler said in the release. “It’s not just about capturing a performance. I like to hear the character of the recording come through in the songs themselves.”
With all this change this time around, we’re still holding on to the notion that rocking out is still an option. If May seems to far off, Finn and Kubler’s prior band Lifter Puller recently reissued their entire catalog, so there’s no shortage of material out there at the moment.
The Hold Steady kick off a spring tour on April 2 in Ardsley, New York. Here is the track list for ‘Heaven Is Whenever.’
1. ‘The Sweet Part of the City’
2. ‘Soft in the Center’
3. ‘The Weekenders’
4. ‘The Smidge’
5. ‘Rock Problems’
6. ‘We Can Get Together’
7. ‘Hurricane J’
8. ‘Barely Breathing’
9. ‘Our Whole Lives’
10. ‘A Slight Discomfort’
STEVE LILLYWHITE’S PLEADING IDOL PITCH: NOT A JOKE…
Reaction to the video seems to be divided, with some thinking it was maybe a joke…
It’s not a joke. It’s born out of the reality of the world at the moment, out of the fact that I know what I’m doing and that I can help really refresh the brand. I feel I can do it and that I’m qualified, which is why I’m serious about it.
Why make a video campaign rather than contacting Simon Fuller or someone at 19 directly with a formal pitch?
We did that as well. The video was cut and sent to 19, then somebody put it up on YouTube.
Steve Lillywhite is a famed Music Producer, You can find more information on him HERE
Johnny Marr Gets Stolen Guitar Back After 10 Years
Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr has been reunited with a guitar stolen 10 years ago after a gig in September 2000.
The 1964 cherry red Gibson SG — worth at least £30,000 — was found in a fan’s north London home after he admitted stealing it from the Scala in Kings Cross after a concert by Johnny Marr and the Healers in 2000.
Stephen White, 38, says that he is “disgusted” with himself for taking the guitar and not returning it. Highbury magistrates court heard last week that it had been a “spur of the moment decision” after White found himself backstage following the gig. The court heard how he had noticed the guitar unattended and then fled out of a fire exit.
The theft came to light following a tip off from a guitar shop in Denmark Street (popularly known as Tin Pan Alley) in London’s West End where White had taken it to be repaired.
White, who had no previous convictions and was on anti-depressants at the time of the theft, was sentenced to 200 days community service.
Marr, currently on tour with his current band the Cribs in New Zealand has been contacted about the guitar and according to police sources bears no malice towards White.
Police Constable Christopher Swain, of Camden’s Beat Crimes Unit, said: “We tracked down Mr Marr through his management company and he was absolutely chuffed.”
The vintage cherry red Gibson isn’t the only SG in Marr’s collection he also owns a blonde version that was custom made for him. Other famous SG owners are Eric Clapton, James Hetfield, Keith Richards and Angus Young.
Floria Sigismondi Directs New Dead Weather Video
Jack White has been dabbling in music video directing a bit lately, but at least one forthcoming single from Third Man Records has been shot by an old pro. Floria Sigismondi, director of a slew of famous music videos (including the White Stripes’ “Blue Orchid,” where then-mustachioed Jack White met his future wife, Karen Elson), as well as the new Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning-starring rock biopic The Runaways, has shot a video for the Dead Weather’s new song “Die By The Drop,” Video Static reports.
Admittedly, I was expecting that the first video from White, Alison Mosshart, Dean Fertita, and “Little” Jack Lawrence would be for the song “Blue Blood Blues,” which White recently claimed would be the first single off their next LP (due out in April). Perhaps Sigismondi’s video will be to the second single or maybe they’ve changed the release plans, but one thing is for certain: Jack White has lots of surprises on the way.
No word yet on when we’ll get to hear/watch “Die By The Drop”
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Of Montreal European Tour: Family Nouveau Trailer
English professor Spenser Simrill isn’t your typical academic: he got to hang out with hipster messiahs Of Montreal on their 2009 European tour, capturing both their bizarre stage antics and their equally bizarre backstage confessionals and pushup competitions. Seriously.
World Premiere: Chicago International Movies and Music Festival: March 5, Heaven Gallery 8 PM.
For tickets, please visit: HERE
Hot Chip: One Life Stand (Album Review)
Four albums into a career that appeared to begin as an art-school goof, Hot Chip look more likely than any of their peers to ascend one day to the intellectual electro-pop heights of Pet Shop Boys or Scritti Politti. As with those acts, personality is a big part of Hot Chip’s appeal (especially to rock critics); frontmen Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard are both sweet record nerds who would have been some other kind of nerds had records not come along.
Yet equally appealing is the band’s generous view of dance music as an open-ended form, one with enough room for slow songs and piano ballads and earnest lyrics about monogamy and domesticity and playing Xbox with your brother. Hot Chip make the disco sound like a bedroom and (even more impressive) vice versa.
Fuller than usual of slow songs and piano ballads, One Life Stand is their mellowest, most thoughtful effort so far — which means it carries the risk of also being their most boring. (Contrast is one of their secret weapons, though it didn’t seem like such a big deal until now.) But keep listening: slow to reveal, its charm is just as slow to fade.
Techno Pioneers 808 State Reuniting…
The original lineup of 808 State is set to reunite, according to co-founder Gerald Simpson. More than 20 years after the group’s debut, Simpson and Graham Massey reportedly plan to return to their acid-house roots for a tour and even new recordings.
Simpson, better known as jungle legend A Guy Called Gerald, reportedly revealed his plans in an interview at London’s Red Bull Music Academy. According to Exclaim, he and Massey had a “serious discussion” about reuniting the original 808 State and will make an official announcement “in the months to come”.
Simpson, Massey and Martin Price founded 808 State in 1988, but Simpson quit the group after their first album, Newbuild. While 808 State eventually embraced the melodic dance music of 90s contemporaries such as Orbital, Simpson had a huge solo hit with the acid-house single Voodoo Ray. Price left in 1992, and 808 State’s revised lineup of Massey, Andrew Barker and Darren Partington released four more albums, most recently 2003’s Outpost Transmission.
Iggy Pop planning to follow ‘Raw Power’ shows with new material
Iggy Pop has said that he is planning to record new material with The Stooges following their forthcoming ‘Raw Power’ live dates and album reissue.
The singer also said that he’s toying with the idea of recording older songs that were never officially released by the band, but have popped up on bootlegs over the years.
Pop told Billboard that guitarist James Williamson, who recently re-joined The Stooges and played on ‘Raw Power’ (released in 1973 and being reissued this year) “is already on me like a greased cat. He’s sending me riffs, so I did some vocals to a couple of them and it’s starting to sound like something”.
He also explained that some new material the band would work on was started while Ron Asheton, the guitarist who passed away last year, was still part of the set-up.
Speaking of resurrecting songs originally written in the 1970s but never officially released, he added: “Ultimately I’d like to get into the studio with the group and maybe have a couple old songs, a couple new songs and then a little time to just jam and see what happens.”
The band are set to play ‘Raw Power’ over what Pop called a “three-year cycle” starting this year, including a show at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, which takes place in Minehead on May 7-9.
EMI confirms Abbey Road ‘will not be sold’
EMI has shelved plans to sell London’s Abbey Road studios.
The record company has released a statement saying the iconic studios, where The Beatles recorded much of their output (immortalising it on their 1969 album ‘Abbey Road’), should stay under its ownership.
The firm added it had rejected an offer for the historic building last year and was working with “third parties” about funding a “revitalisation project”.
The move comes after fears that the studio would be sold to raise money for EMI in a bid to help clear the company’s debts.
The reports led to a Facebook campaign to try to save it, the National Trust looking into buying the property and even composer Andrew Lloyd Webber expressing an interest in owning the studio.
EMI said in a statement: “In response to recent press speculation, EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalisation of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties.
“Abbey Road studios had, for a number of years, been losing money and we have developed plans to revitalise the studios. These plans would involve a substantial injection of new capital.”
The company said it also welcomed reports that English Heritage was accelerating plans to list the site, and said it had been holding discussions over the regeneration plans since November, reports BBC News.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The XX Cancel European Dates
Critically acclaimed trio the XX have been forced to cancel the remainder of their European tour following the death of singer-guitarist Romy Madley Croft’s father.
The affected dates will be re-scheduled for later this year and at time of writing, the band’s tour dates in the UK, US and Japan remain unaffected.
The band, who broke through with their self-titled debut in 2009, have cancelled the following dates:
Rome Brancaleone, Rome, Italy (Feb. 23)
Magazzini Generali, Milan, Italy (Feb. 24)
Tonhalle, Munich, Germany (Feb. 25)
E Werk, Cologne, Germany (Feb. 27)
The XX, whose sound skillfully straddles an indie sensibility with dance beats, topped off 2009 with a numbernine placing in Rolling Stone’s Albums of 2009 while securing a number six slot in NME’s Future 50 list. They were also named Band of the Week by Spinner before the release of their debut album.
Originally a four-piece, the band was forced to downsize after keyboardist Baria Qureshi left band citing exhaustion caused by a punishing work schedule.
THURSTON MOORE AND KIM GORDON TO RECORD WITH YOKO…
kim and i will be recording a trio LP w/ yoko this year, with blindfolds
Thurston, Kim and Yoko prep for BAM, 2/15/10:
Andrew Lloyd Webber “Very Interested” in Abbey Road
We kicked off this week with what turned out to be the week’s biggest music news story: “EMI Puts Abbey Road Studios Up For Sale.” Why would even the most cash-strapped corporation (in this case, EMI) even consider hawking the most famous studio of all time? Well, our prediction that “surely one of its past inhabitants has the dough to preserve it” has now come true…
Famous English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who recorded the majority of his most notable musicals at Abbey Road, is “very interested” in cutting a deal with EMI, according to BBC News. “Andrew has probably brought more musicians to record there than anyone else,” his rep said, “because it has the capacity to record large orchestral productions.” Tell us something Elliott Smith didn’t know.
Paul McCartney, perhaps the most notable past Abbey Road patron, simply stated earlier in the week that “it would be lovely for someone to get a thing together to save it.” In other words, someone other than him.
Will Webber make the winning bid? You never know, as “several celebrities” have also “expressed concern” over the iconic Westminster facility.
Interpol, Lenny Kravitz to Open for U2 This Summer
U2 announced support acts for this summer’s North American 360° stadium tour on their official site moments ago, and though a few of their future openers are somewhat obvious picks (Lenny Kravitz, The Fray), one name jumped out at me: Interpol.
We knew that Paul Banks, Carlos D, and company have been prepping that 4th Interpol album for release early this year, but this is a somewhat surprising choice by U2 nonetheless. (Perhaps both bands will go orchestral for the gigs.)
Interpol will open for U2 at 6 dates on the 360° tour in Minneapolis, East Lansing, Toronto, Chicago, Miami and Philadelphia, while The Fray and Kravitz will open at 3 shows each.
Friday, February 19, 2010
The Fall announce new album and tour dates
The Fall, the long-running band led by cantankerous British postpunk legend Mark E. Smith and featuring whoever Smith hasn’t fired yet, have found themselves a new home at Domino. On May 4 in the U.S. and April 26 in the rest of the universe, the label will release the kajillionth Fall album, Your Future Is Our Clutter.
Smith and his troops recorded the album last year in various northern English studios. Around the time it comes out, the band will tour the UK and Ireland. Maybe you’ll get to see another onstage fistfight! We’ve got the album’s tracklist and the band’s dates below.
Your Future Is Our Clutter:
01 O.F.Y.C. Showcase
02 Bury Pts. 1 + 3
03 Mexico Wax Solvent
04 Cowboy George
05 Hot Cake
06 Y.F.O.C. / Slippy Floor
08 Funnel of Love
09 Weather Report 2
04-24 Edinburgh, Scotland – Studio 24
04-29 Dublin, Ireland – Tripod
05-02 Keele, England – Keele University Ballroom
05-04 Nottingham, England – Rock City
05-07 London, England – Shepherds Bush Empire
05-08 Aldershot, England – Palace
05-09 Brighton, England – Concorde 2
05-16 Minehead, England – ATP
05-21 Wakefield, England – Balne Lane Working Mens Club
Vampire Weekend, ‘Giving Up the Gun’ (Music Video)
Elliott Smith’s debut album set for reissue
Elliott Smith’s debut solo album ‘Roman Candle’ is set to be reissued.
Remastered by Larry Crane, the late singer-songwriter’s 1994 LP will be released by Domino on April 5.
“The intention that I had was to make the album more listenable,” Crane said about the remastering. “I felt that a lot of the guitar ‘squeaks’ were jarring and very loud, and that many of the hard consonants and ‘S’ sounds were jarring and scratchy sounding. I felt by reducing these noises that the music would become more inviting and the sound would serve the songs better.”
The tracklisting for ‘Roman Candle’ is as follows:
‘No Name #1′
‘No Name #2′
‘No Name #3′
‘Drive All Over Town’
‘No Name #4′
‘Kiwi Maddog 20/20′
Sex Pistol John Lydon Would ‘Love’ to Work With Pink Floyd
Being known as the man who infamously sported an “I Hate Pink Floyd” t-shirt down the Kings Road in London’s Chelsea in the mid-1970s, Sex Pistols frontman and PIL founder member John Lydon has revealed that he’d like to follow in the footsteps of the Flaming Lips and re-record Pink Floyd’s 1973 classic album, ‘Dark Side Of The Moon.’
Speaking to the Stool Pigeon, the punk godfather claimed that he’d even been invited to a studio with the prog veterans.
“Two years ago when they [Pink Floyd] came to LA, they asked me would I come on and do a bit of ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ with them and the idea thrilled me no end,” he said.
“Well no, it would have been very, very neat but it stunk a little in my head of ‘What am I doing here? I just don’t want to do it, but I wanted to do it, but just not when 20,000 people were there.’”
He continued: “I came so close to doing it, it felt like I was trying to set myself up as some kind of pretentious person. I’m very wary of the jam session end of things.”
Yet despite his reservations, Lydon admitted that working with Pink Floyd is still something that he wants to do.
“Privately. I’d love to go into the studio and do something with the album with them.”
The Black Belles: What Can I Do? (Music Video)
Directed by Jack White III
Cobain Biopic Moving Ahead
The rookie director of the Oscar-nominated drama “The Messenger” is in negotiations to rework the screenplay for Universal Pictures’ untitled Kurt Cobain project.
Oren Moverman is also set to direct the film about the late frontman of grunge group Nirvana. Screenwriter David Benioff (“Brothers”) first took on the project in 2007.
Material on Cobain’s life, music and 1994 suicide will come at least partially from Charles R. Cross’ 2001 biography, “Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain.” Universal originally purchased the life rights of both Cobain and his widow, Courtney Love, who had already optioned the film rights to the Cross book.
In 2005, writer-director Gus Van Sant made the fictional rock-and-roll drama “Last Days,” which echoed Cobain’s drug-addicted final trajectory. Benioff did first-hand research with Cobain’s old friends in Aberdeen and Seattle to inform the drafts of his Universal script.
Moverman and his “Messenger” co-writer Alessandro Camon scored Oscar nominations for their original screenplay. Woody Harrelson also earned a nomination for his supporting role as a soldier who delivers the news of comrades’ deaths to their families.
Moverman has also co-written the scripts for “Married Life,” “Jesus’ Son” and “I’m Not There.”
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra: Kollaps Tradixionales (Album Review)
With Godspeed You! Black Emperor seemingly no more, or at least missing presumed lost, Silver Mt Zion are now the main outlet for former GYBE main man Efrim Menuck.
Kollaps Tradixionales is the band’s sixth album, and the first under this variation of their name. It’s also the first recorded outing of this particular line up, with the band having had something of a re-staffing over the last year or two.
Regardless of the personnel tweaking, this is still obviously a SMZ record, and unmistakably so. Kollaps Tradixionales might be a slight step in a different direction, but with Efrim Menuck at the heart of it things were never going to be wildly different. But new drummer David Payant has added a more steely resolve when needed, and despite Efrim being the sole guitarist currently, Kollaps… contains some of the heaviest guitar moments from the band so far.
There Is A Light opens the album in typically epic fashion. Clocking in at around 15 minutes, it is not so much a song as a musical journey. A plaintive guitar rings out, drenched in reverb before long it’s joined by some emotional vocals from Efrim. Elements of blues and folk provide the backdrop for a story about a boy who lost his thunder.
As the song begins to grow, piling on strings, sturdy bass figures and increasing distortion, the emotional punch hits harder and heavier. The song cycles through changes frequently, though not rapidly. As it evolves it explores the blues, delights in orchestral waltzes, flirts with the pure heart of colliery brass bands, and indulges in rock pomposity. Stunning doesn’t adequately describe the heights hit here.
I Built Myself a Metal Bird is an aggressive piece of work. It goes straight for the jugular with a sheen of abrasive guitar and driving drums, and may or may not be a nod to Sonic Youth’s Tunic (Song For Karen). It’s as close as SMZ get to a conventional rock song, but with violins circling Efrim’s vocal refrain of “Dance You Motherfuckers” like razor beaked vultures, it soars to an entirely different level of intensity.
The three-part centrepiece from which the album derives its name initially explores bleak territory, courtesy of an unrelenting funereal dirge – Kollapz Tradixtional (Thee Olde Dirty Flag) and a pretty lament in the shape of Collapse Tradixional (For Darling). It concludes with the shrill guitars of Bury 3 Dynamos being overwhelmed by a thundering surge of drums and bass. It hums with a grandeur that practically commands a salute. Although the vocals initially take the form of a hymn or a prayer, it’s not long before the fists start shaking and a musical revolt erupts.
The glorious ‘Piphany Rambler closes the album in a similar epic manner in which it began. While not as immediate as There Is A Light, it is easily its equal in terms of orchestration and beauty. The combinations of strings, vocal harmonies and roaring guitars aim for something approaching the spiritual and achieve it with awe inspiring audacity. It’s up there with the finest SMZ compostions.
Kollaps Tradixionales is an outstanding album that competes with anything the band has done previously under its various monikers. It’s early in the year to be predicting albums of 2010, but this will surely be up there.
Primal Scream to play ‘Screamadelica’ live in its entirety
Primal Scream have announced they are set to play their seminal 1991 album in its entirety in November.
The band, who have never played the album live before, will perform it at the London Olympia on November 27.
‘Screamadelica’, considered a dance/rock classic, was produced by Andrew Weatherall and features ‘Moving On Up’, ‘Loaded’ and the ten-minute long ‘Come Together’.
Tickets go on sale on February 26.
Hear Robert Smith’s Alice in Wonderland Song
On March 2, Buena Vista Records will release Almost Alice, the soundtrack album to Tim Burton’s big new Alice in Wonderland 3D extravaganza. For the soundtrack, the Cure’s Robert Smith swings through to cover “Very Good Advice”, a song from Disney’s 1951 Alice cartoon. Smith’s cover of the song, it turns out, sounds exactly the way you’d expect latter-day Robert Smith’s version of this particular song to sound.
Yoko Ono Honored by Eric Clapton, Sonic Youth and More in New York
Due to a malfunctioning microphone, Yoko Ono stood momentarily mute Tuesday night at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music, mouthing inaudible cackles while her son, Sean Lennon, sloshed with Eric Clapton through a mean and muddy version of the Beatles’ ‘Yer Blues.’
Without hesitation, a stagehand rushed from the wings and handed Ono a working microphone, allowing her feral shrieks to compete with Slowhand’s expert riffing.
On any other night, that stagehand might have risked boos and lobbed bottles. Not on Tuesday, however, as an incongruous bunch of musicians joined forces for ‘We Are Plastic Ono Band,’ a loving tribute to Ono and her various artistic achievements.
The performance featured everyone from Sonic Youth principals Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore — whose dual-guitar take on ‘Mulberry’ evoked the World War II air-raid drill Ono said inspired the song — to Bette Midler, who vamped it up on a flirty, jazzy ‘Yes, I’m Your Angel.’
Paul Simon and son Harper sang a pair of duets, including a tender ‘Hold On,’ from 1970′s ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ album, while alt-rock mainstay Gene Ween joined Sean Lennon — the evening’s musical director — for a spot-on ‘Oh Yoko,’ another highlight from John’s solo catalog.
The drag-queen torch singer and performance artist Justin Bond got hammy on ‘What a Bastard the World Is,’ switching back and forth between his male and female voice, acting out a scoundrel’s attempts to win back his woman. Scissor Sisters singers Jake Shears and Ana Matronic, meanwhile, presided over a funky ‘The Sun Is Down,’ sashaying like Wham in the ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ video.
The show was split into two acts, the first of which centered more on Ono, who turns 77 tomorrow, than special guests. The artist — “singer” isn’t quite the word — offered up plenty of her patented oscillating high-pitched mating-call vocals, transforming the placid likes of ‘Rising’ into nightmarish lullabies.
As a short film that prefaced the concert emphasized, such fearlessness has long defined Ono’s art. Whether painting or protesting, cutting disco-funk records or making movies of mosquitoes walking across her naked body, she’s always pushed audiences to put aside comfort and view the world from novel angles.
While some critics — particularly those operating under the misconception she broke up the Beatles — are dubious of Ono’s talent, the musicians on hand for ‘We Are Plastic Ono Band’ have long since swilled the Kool-Aid.
The entire cast took the stage for an encore rendition of ‘Give Peace a Chance,’ a slapdash version whose new Ono-penned lyrics were inspired by the morning’s newspaper headlines. The number had barely been rehearsed — at a run-through the night before, the ensemble played in a different key — and Ono must have known there was a chance the whole thing would fall apart.
Naturally, she did it anyway.
Jimi Hendrix ‘Rock Band’ Game in the Works
The estate of Jimi Hendrix confirmed over the weekend that it will lend the iconic guitarist’s name and likeness to an upcoming edition of ‘Rock Band.’ Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, the late guitarist’s stepsister Janie revealed that a Hendrix-branded edition of the game would hit the market sometime in 2010.
According to the report, the estate’s recent licensing deal with Sony calls for the company “to make his music ‘available through every type of media’ — including a new edition of ‘Rock Band’ that Janie Hendrix says should appear before the end of this year.” Meanwhile, Billboard reports that officials behind ‘Rock Band,’ which include developer Harmonix and publisher MTV Games, have yet to comment on the project.
The Times report predominantly focused on the release of the new Hendrix disc, ‘Valleys of Neptune,’ which is due next month and includes recordings that the classic rock legend made in early 1969. A special edition iPod Touch featuring Jimi’s image is also purportedly on the way.
Janie Hendrix, who heads Experience Hendrix LLC, also told the Times that she is continuing to work with recording engineer Eddie Kramer and Hendrix historian John McDermott in exploring her stepbrother’s archives and suggests there is a decade’s worth of material worthy of release. Her aim is to “restore her guitar hero stepbrother’s recording legacy.”
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Jim O’Rourke Produces Burt Bacharach Tribute Album
After days spent digging through a dozen sites, mostly written in Japanese, I’m thrilled to report that Jim O’Rourke has produced All Kinds of People ~Love Burt Bacharach~, a tribute album featuring 11 cover songs of the legendary songwriter’s most famous work by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, O’Rourke himself, former Bacharach collaborator Donna Taylor, and 7 other artists.
O’Rourke—who previously released a faithful cover of Bacharach’s “Something Big” on Eureka—not only produced and sang on the album, but he also played guitar, banjo, keyboards, bass, harpsichord, and other instruments. Who’s the drummer? Oh, that would be Wilco’s Glenn Kotche on the skins.
The album is due out on April 7th via Japanese label AWDR and will be performed live in Tokyo and Osaka on 4/15 and 4/18, respectively, by O’Rourke, Kotche (just ahead of two Wilco gigs in Japan), other artists from the album, and “special guests.” Ready for the track/set list?
All Kinds of People ~Love Burt Bacharach~
Close To You (Haruomi Hosono)
Always Something There To Remind Me (Thurston Moore)
Anonymous Phone Call (Jim O’Rourke)
After The Fox (Akira Sakata, Masaya Nakahara)
You’ll Never Get To Heaven (Aoyama Youiti)
Do You Know The Way To San Jose (Kahimi Karie)
Don’t Make Me Over (Kosaka Tadashi, Jim O’Rourke)
Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘On My Head (Koike Mitsuko)
Say A Little Prayer For Me (Yoshimi)
Planes Boats And Trains (Jim O’Rourke)
Walk On By (Donna Taylor)
Social Distortion’s New Album to Sound Like ‘Dead Boys Meets Black Crowes’
Nearly six years after releasing its last album, 2004′s ‘Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ Southern California punk institution Social Distortion is “deep into” recording a follow-up, frontman Mike Ness said.
“We’ve just tracked 12 songs this week, and we’re going to probably track another five in the next couple of days,” Ness says, calling from a payphone on the day before Valentine’s Day. According to Ness, the record will be a full-band, full-volume affair, not the stripped-down acoustic album he was rumored to have been making.
“We’d always intended to do a regular album first,” he says. “The acoustic thing is just a future project, which I think will be significant and equally important. But as far as the priority goes, it’s more important now to get a studio record out that is a regular record.”
The album will be Social Distortion’s seventh in a career that has spanned more than 30 years. Joining Ness for the sessions are guitarist Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham and bassist Brent Harding, members since 2000 and 2004, respectively, as well as newly instated drummer Adam “Atom” Willard. So far, the quartet has only laid down instrumental tracks, and it remains for Ness to sit down and put pen to paper.
“I have a lot of writing [to do], as far as lyrics go,” Ness says. “But we’re really happy with the direction that this record is taking, the sound of it. We’re recording it really old-school. We went back to tape, old compressors and old microphones, just really trying to fight modern technology as much as possible.”
He says the self-produced, still-untitled album, which he hopes to release before the end of the year, will feature the classic Social Distortion sound — a combination of punk, rockabilly and country, presumably.
“It’s funny — the record reminds me very much of [1992's] ‘Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell,’ but also I’m bringing elements of early New York ’70s punk, influences that maybe haven’t come out as prominently in my writing in the past,” Ness says. “It’s a little more Johnny Thunders. Some of the early first wave of punk was very blues-based rock ‘n’ roll, but it had this urban snottiness to it.”
“So, the record, to me, is almost like the Dead Boys meets the Black Crowes or something,” Ness adds.
Peaches stopped from performing Jesus Christ Superstar
Peaches’ “stripped-down” performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar has been “crucified before opening night”, the electro-rapper declared yesterday. The concert, which was to take place at Berlin’s Hebbel theatre, was cancelled after German rights-holders allegedly refused to license the songs.
“To perform Jesus Christ Superstar as a one-woman-song is a crazy enterprise,” Peaches admitted in her initial press release. Citing her teenage affection for the musical, the singer announced plans to sing the entire show, “from entering Jerusalem until the crucifixion”, in performances from 25-27 March. Accompanied by pianist Chilly Gonzales, “Peaches will sing all roles including: Jesus, Maria Magdalena, the disciples and the pharisees,” organisers said.
Unfortunately, Sir Andrew’s German colleagues were not enthusiastic. In a flurry of posts to Twitter, Peaches revealed that the musical’s rights-holders had refused to grant her permission to use the material. “[They] claim that this project is of no interest to them due to its unconventional form,” she wrote. “It’s a shame that the authorities feel threatened by this fresh approach. I know a lot of people who really love the music and would appreciate this stripped-down solo performance. I have so much respect for the music and lyrics from the original score and this was my way of honouring that.”
Earlier, Peaches framed the Jesus Christ Superstar production in the same terms as her previous concert performances, many of which were provocative or sexually explicit. “I’m a performer,” she said, “my concerts are extravagant and play with exaggerations. This project allows me to do without all this. I want to confront this task totally exposed, because it is a possibility. It’s a question of stamina.” There’s still time for rights-holders to turn the other cheek.
EMI Puts Abbey Road Studios Up For Sale
It certainly isn’t news that EMI, one of the so-called “Big Four” major record labels (owned by private equity firm Terra Firma) is in dire need of cash, but are they really going to such lengths as to sell the most famous recording studio of all time? According to Financial Times, they are…
The Beatles recorded almost their entire oeuvre at the Westminster, London townhouse/music landmark, of course, and damn if that’s not worth a pretty penny: According to “[F]ive people familiar with the situation,” EMI have “been courting bidders for the property,” as the sale “could raise tens of millions of pounds.”
EMI, which is rumored to be in merger talks with Warner Music Group, is “worth more than the building,” said a media lawyer consulted by FT, “anybody who wants the studios will want the brand.”
A story like this could incite what we’ll call “easy outrage,” but if a price is being put on a priceless place like Abbey Road by its very owners since 1929, Godspeed, I say. Surely one of its past inhabitants (Paul McCartney?) has the dough to preserve it. Did we mention that Radiohead, Elliott Smith, and Pink Floyd also crafted masterpieces there?
“This belongs in a museum!” – Young Indiana Jones
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
R.I.P. Devo’s Red Energy Dome Hats
Devo’s plastic red hats, which they call Energy Domes, are no more.
Due to “safety concerns,” Devo decided to stop wearing the red Energy Domes, which iconic pieces of post-punk and music history.
“We’d been getting some reports back that red might not be the safest colour for an Energy Dome,” singer Mark Mothersbaugh told Billboard.com in announcing the untimely demise of the red domes.
“People have been pulled over for impersonating peace officers when they put them on the rear deck of their car. It looked like they were putting patrol lights on their car. So we’d had reports that people were getting stopped for no good reason.”
The red Energy Domes will be laid to rest on Feb. 22 in Vancouver, when Devo perform at one of the 2010 Winter Olympics’ Victory Ceremonies. That’s when they’ll also debut their brand new blue Energy Domes, Mothersbaugh says.
“Blue just seemed to be a safer colour, allow[s] people to focus and be more peaceful,” he told the website.
Devo have worn the red Energy Dome hats since early in their career and also wear them on tour. They haven’t always been red, though — the band donned green Energy Domes while performing “Whip It” on live TV in 1981. The band also sell multicoloured Energy Domes through their website.
Devo sued McDonald’s for copyright infringement over a Happy Meal figure sporting an Energy Dome-esque hat and yellow jumpsuit in 2008.
Devo are preparing to release Fresh, their first album since 1990′s Smooth Noodle Maps, in April.
Devo will also play this year’s Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. on April 17.
Franz Ferdinand begin writing ‘different’ fourth album
Franz Ferdinand have started writing new material for their fourth album, frontman Alex Kapranos has confirmed.
The Scottish singer/guitarist told BBC 6music that he and guitarist Nick McCarthy had been working on new songs at McCarthy’s house for the follow-up to last year’s ‘Tonight… Franz Ferdinand’ effort.
“I’ve been round at Nick’s and we’ve been writing some things, and trying to do things in a different way again,” he explained. “You’ll hear it before too long.”
Kapranos added that he was a touch wary about revealing too much about the writing sessions this early on, however.
“Before the last record I talked far too much about it,” he said, “as we had the ideas and I made a vow that I wasn’t going to say anything about what we are actually doing until we’ve done it, and then wait about another three weeks.”
Franz Ferdinand are set to tour Australia from the end of this month, followed by some South American live dates.
Jose Gonzalez Preps New Junip Album, Premieres Documentary
Swedish singer-songwriter José González may have broken through around the world as a solo artist with his stunning cover of the Knife’s “Heartbeats,” but the nylon string guitarist also put out an EP with a band a bit before the solo hype set in. González, drummer Elias Araya, and keys player Tobias Winterkorn, aka Junip, released their 5-song debut, Black Refuge, way back in 2005, but the trio reconvened late last year for an album that “will be out sometime [this] year,” according to González’s official site. Details are scant for now on said new Junip album, but in the meantime…
The Extraordinary Ordinary Life of José González, directors Fredrik Egerstrand and Mikel Cee Karlssons’ new documentary about González premiered at the Göteborg International Film Festival late last month. And though North America probably won’t see a theatrical release for this film, here’s hoping a DVD is on the way.
An excerpt from Variety’s Alissa Simon from her brief review:
Shot over a three-year period (although the chronology is never specified), the pic shows Gonzalez on tour in Japan, Singapore, Spain, the U.S. and U.K., and in his rehearsal studio, trying to compose songs for his second album, “In Our Nature” — and pondering life’s persistent questions, such as how the mind works. From time to time, cheery, childlike animation illustrates Gonzalez’s voiceover narration. Best animated sequence depicts the meeting of Gonzalez’s parents during Argentina’s “dirty war” years, their flight to Sweden and his birth.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Watch the Strokes record their new album
A few days ago, Strokes drummer Fab Moretti told the BBC that his band had finished recording the basic tracks for their upcoming fourth album, tentatively due in September. And now we have video proof that the New York City quintet have indeed been working on the record, thanks to an official behind-the-scenes video recently uploaded to YouTube.
Though singer Julian Casablancas is conspicuously absent from the nine-minute clip, the band’s other four members are featured playing Scrabble, teasing each other, making joke songs, and generally having what looks like a pretty solid amount of fun.
Some facts gleaned from the video: Albert Hammond, Jr. cut his hair, the band are working on a new song called “Taken for a Fool”, and they recorded in Manhattan’s Avatar Studios with producer Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, Shins, My Morning Jacket). The video is embedded below.
In other Strokes news, Casablancas told the NME that the band’s two announced summer festival appearances– at England’s Isle of Wight Fest and Scotland’s Rock Ness– are the only shows they’ll play this summer. But Casablancas is heading out on the road with his own band in the coming months to support his recent solo album, Phrazes for the Young.
Trans Am – What Day Is It Tonight? (Album Review)
Gonzo Krautrock math-disco veterans Trans Am’s shows have regularly exceeded their discography for pure spasmoid rock party thrills, not least when regularly setting cymbals ablaze, making a live album a fairly sage step for the US threesome. That the record spans their 15-year lifespan puts the kybosh on continuity a touch; see announcing your last song in the middle of an album. However, that’s generally overridden by sheer dumb fun within cuts like synth-drenched supermarket ode ‘Tesco V Sainsbury’s’. Throw in an accompanying DVD adding visual stimulus and ‘What Day Is It Tonight?’ accomplishes pretty much everything a live document should.
JIM JARMUSCH CURATING ATP NY…
Jim Jarmusch confirmed as guest curator for ATP New York 2010 – Sonic Youth, Breeders, Explosions In The Sky to perform on the Saturday!
All Tomorrow’s Parties will return to Kutsher’s Country Club, Monticello for the third ATP New York festival over Labor Day weekend, running from Friday 3rd September – Sunday 5th September. We are very excited to announce that legendary film-maker Jim Jarmusch, well known for his fantastic collaborations and documentaries with musicians will be the guest curator on Sunday 5th.
Born in Akron, Ohio, Jim Jarmusch lives and works in New York. His films include Permanent Vacation (1980), Stranger than Paradise (1984), Down by Law (1986), Mystery Train (1989), Night on Earth (1991), Dead Man (1995), Year of the Horse (1997), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), Broken Flowers (2005) and The Limits of Control (2009).
As previously announced, Friday 3rd September features these performances as part of our Don’t Look Back day:
IGGY & THE STOOGES performing Raw Power
SLEEP performing Holy Mountain
MUDHONEY performing Superfuzz Bigmuff + Early Singles
THE SCIENTISTS performing Blood Red River (first ever U.S. Show)
+ more to be confirmed!
Friday will also feature a Comedy Stage, details of which are to be announced soon.
NEWLY CONFIRMED – ATP celebrate 10 years with a birthday party on Sat 4th September and are happy to announce a day of past ATP curators, ATP Recordings artists and friends, with the first announcements being:
EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY
+ more to be confirmed!
NEWLY CONFIRMED – Jim Jarmusch will curate Sunday 5th September and his first choices are:
THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
THE BLACK ANGELS
+ more to be confirmed!
All three days will also feature DJs and Cinema presented by Criterion.
We can also confirm that this year the bars, food vendors and Djs will continue until 6pm on Monday 6th September so that all guests can enjoy a more relaxing start to their post-ATP week!
Festival Tickets are priced at $250 + booking fee for the weekend. Friday day tickets are priced at $110 + booking fee. Saturday day tickets are priced at $120 + booking fee. Sunday day tickets will be available in March. Total capacity for this intimate festival is limited to less than 3000 people!
Weekend Bus travel is available between Brooklyn or Manhattan and the festival. Day Bus travel is available between Manhattan and the festival.
Accommodation at Kutshers is on sale now with only 6 person rooms still available. Alternatively rooms for groups of 3 or 4 are available at the nearby Raleigh hotel (we operate a free shuttle bus between the hotel and festival site all weekend). Rooms are priced at $150 + room tax per person, full information available at atpfestival.com.
Weekend and Day Tickets, Accommodation and Bus Travel from Manhattan and Brooklyn are available now from www.atpfestival.com
Tickets are also available in person from Other Music in New York City.
Dead Weather April Tour Support Announced: The Ettes
Last time the Dead Weather dropped by the Bay Area for a performance at the monstrous Outside Lands festival in SF’s Golden Gate Park, we didn’t think the outdoor venue was a very good fit for our favorite sun-deprived rockers, but, thankfully, they’re coming back to town.
As you may have heard, Jack White, Alison Mosshart and company are not only prepping their next record for an April release, but they’ve plotted out a string of U.S. tour dates for T.S. Eliot’s “cruellest month” as well, including a few much better-fitting venues (in our case: the Fillmore). Not to mention their opening act for the spring jaunt should also make a great fit: the Ettes, a Nashville-by-way-of-Los Angeles based trio that looks and sounds like they were plucked from Jack White’s Third Man Records roster (if they aren’t secretly on it already).
Frontwoman Coco Hames, bassist/filmmaker Jem Cohen, and drummer Poni Silver’s brand of what Blurt calls “sultry, raw, half-Ramones, half-girl-groups sound” should mesh quite well with their future leather-clad tour mates, I say. Give ‘em a listen here.
For tour dates and ticket info, head thataway.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Iggy and the Stooges to Release Massive Raw Power Reissue Box Set
Previously unreleased Iggy and the Stooges tracks: They still exist! The punk rock forefathers’ catalog has been mined incessantly in the past 40 years or so, but a new reissue of watershed 1973 album Raw Power will unearth a few more tracks that still haven’t seen commercial release, if you can believe it.
On April 13, Columbia/Legacy will release Raw Power: Legacy Edition. Two weeks later, on April 27, they’ll follow it up with the even more deluxe Deluxe Edition.
The Legacy Edition will include a remastered version of the original album, featuring David Bowie’s original mix, on its first disc. The second disc, titled Georgia Peaches, includes a complete recording of a heavily bootlegged Atlanta live show from 1973– with two previously unreleased bonus tracks to boot: the studio outtake “Doojiman” and a studio rehearsal performance of “Head On”. It’ll also include a 24-page booklet with essays about the band and introductions from surviving members.
All that stuff will also show up in the Deluxe Edition. Both discs will share space with a third disc, Rarities, Outtakes, & Alternates From the Raw Power Era, which will include eight tracks from different sources (five of them previously unreleased). The fourth disc is a 30-minute documentary DVD called The Making of Raw Power.
And yeah, there’s more. You’ll also get a reproduction of a rare Japanese picture sleeve 7″ single of “Raw Power” and “Search and Destroy”, five 5×7 photo prints, and a 7″ softcover booklet with an essay by Henry Rollins and testimonials from prominent folks like Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Tom Morello, and others. Before the April 27 release date, the box will be available exclusively through the Stooges’ website. Stooges nerds, start saving your money.
We’ve got the tracklists for all three CDs included in the Deluxe Edition below. (The Stooges will play Raw Power in its entirety at ATP New York this fall, by the way.)
Raw Power (Deluxe Edition):
CD1 (Raw Power):
01 Search and Destroy
02 Gimme Danger
03 Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell
05 Raw Power
06 I Need Somebody
07 Shake Appeal
08 Death Trip
CD2 (Georgia Peaches):
01 Introduction *
02 Raw Power *
03 Head On *
04 Gimme Danger *
05 Search and Destroy *
06 I Need Somebody *
07 Heavy Liquid *
08 Cock in My Pocket *
09 Open Up and Bleed *
10 Doojiman (outtake) *
11 Head On (CBS Studio rehearsal performance) *
CD3 (Rarities, Outtakes, & Alternates From the Raw Power Era):
01 I’m Hungry (outtake) *
02 I Got a Right (outtake) *
03 I’m Sick of You (outtake)
04 Hey, Peter (out take) *
05 Shake Appeal (alternate mix version) *
06 Death Trip (alternate mix version) *
07 Gimme Danger (alternate mix from the 1996 Iggy “violent” remixes)
08 Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell (alternate mix from the 1996 Iggy “violent” remixes)
* previously unreleased
Them Crooked Vultures – Caligulove (Webisode Video)
Warner Music group to stop streaming free music
Warner Music has announced plans to stop licensing its artists’ content on free music software such as Spotify, Pandora and Last.FM.
The move means that acts including the likes of Muse, REM and The Flaming Lips may not be available on new streaming services.
The label’s chief executive, Edgar Bronfman Jr, said that the kind of services offered by streaming sites were “clearly not positive” for the music industry, reports BBC News.
“Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry and as far as Warner Music is concerned will not be licensed,” Bronfman explained of the decision. “The ‘get all your music you want for free, and then maybe with a few bells and whistles we can move you to a premium price strategy’, is not the kind of approach to business that we will be supporting in the future.”
However, a spokesperson for Warner Music confirmed that, at present, the new plans are only likely to affect future deals, reports The Guardian. This means that streaming applications such as Spotify that already host Warner Music artists will be able to continue doing so.
Bronfman added that he wants to work on getting more people to take out subscriptions with applications unique to Warner Music, where a set fee would be paid in return for content. He reasoned that the amount of potential subscribers for that would “dwarf” the number of people who currently buy music from sites such as iTunes.
Thom Yorke announces Green Party benefit gig
Thom Yorke has announced he will play a Green Party benefit gig later this month.
Taking place at Cambridge’s Corn Exchange on February 25, the Radiohead frontman is performing in support of Tony Juniper, who as well as campaigning to become a member of parliament, also accompanied Yorke as he crashed the UN Climate Change Conference in December.
“Now normally I wouldn’t get involved in politics like this,” Yorke wrote on Radiohead’s Dead Air Space blog. “But let’s face it, it ain’t Labour or the Tories is it?!?”
Tickets for the show go on sale tomorrow (February 11) at 12pm (GMT), via Waste.uk.com.
Meanwhile, according to reports, Radiohead recently decamped to Hollywood to record their next album.
Rival Schools and Beastie Boys Hook Up
In one of the more bizarre – but still certifiably awesome – link-ups in recent years, guitarist Walter Schreifels has revealed one of the songs on the new Rival Schools album is being mixed by Adam Horowitz, better known as Ad-Rock from the mighty Beastie Boys.
“Sam [RS drummer Siegler] plays basketball with Adam and he said, ‘Hey, will you mix a song?’ and Adam said yes. It could go on the album, it depends how good the mix is,” said Schreifels.
“It might just be interesting because Ad-Rock did it, or it could be brilliant! I think he’s a talent, but I haven’t heard it. It’s cool that he’s doing it – he sent me an email saying he had an idea for it. It’s called ‘69 Guns’ and we’re thinking of it as a single. I have no idea what a single is these days but it’s got a good beat and, y’know, it could be played at a rock disco.”
The as-yet untitled album will be released in summer. Schreifels releases his first solo album ‘An Open Letter To The Scene’ via Big Scary Monsters on April 06.
Massive Attack – Heligoland (Album Review)
Despite Daddy G’s return to the fold, Massive Attack are still mired in the gloom that surrounded the ‘100th Window’ album yet seem re-invigorated by a renewed soulfulness and sense of purpose. Assisted by guest singers Martina Topley-Bird, Guy Garvey and Hope Sandoval, ‘Heligoland’ fairly bristles with sustained menace and thankfully some decent tunes, from the beautiful ghostly ‘Psyche’ to the haunted skank of ‘Splitting The Atom’, while Damon Albarn’s plaintive vocal on ‘Saturday Comes Slow’ is his best work for aeons. By the time the closing brass-driven sequences of the 3D-fronted ‘Almost Air’ ebb away, Massive Attack feel like a living, breathing vital force once again.
Massive Attack / Splitting the Atom Dir: Edouard Salier
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Walkmen Sign to Fat Possum Records
Permanently rumpled New York indie greats the Walkmen have found themselves a new home. The band has signed to Fat Possum. And right now, they’re in the studio working on the follow-up to their great 2008 album You & Me. Chris Zane, who engineered You & Me, is once again serving as engineer and mixer, and the band is producing the album themselves.
Even though they’re hard at work in the lab, the Walkmen have a few live shows coming up. On March 3, they’ll play the opening of the Armory Show art fair in New York City, which also serves as a benefit for the Museum of Modern Art and P.S. 1. On March 17, they’ll truck down to Austin to play NPR’s SXSW Showcase at Stubb’s with Spoon and other bands to be announced. And on April 1, they’ll play new songs at Brooklyn’s Bell House (via pfmedia)
The Strokes aiming for ‘September’ album release
The Strokes’ Fab Moretti has said that the band are hoping to release their new album this September.
The New York band recently started sessions for their fourth album in their home city, with the drummer explaining that the group have made good progress, laying down the basic structure of the songs in the studio.
“We’ve been recording a bunch – basic tracks are done,” he told BBC Newsbeat. “Now we’re just running around like kids in a candy shop.”
Moretti added that he wanted the album out “hopefully around September”.
Speaking of the album sessions, he said that they were “pretty much a free for all – whoever has the best idea [contributes]… coming back in and writing music was kind of like riding a bicycle”.
The Strokes had previously revealed that they are working with producer Joe Chiccarelli on the album.
Hot Rats Evolve From Fun Distraction to ‘Creative Experience’
As recently reported, Supergrass offshoot the Hot Rats have been making stateside rounds, currently promoting their debut record ‘Turn Ons.’ The title isn’t necessarily referencing the bedroom, either. The duo, comprised of Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey, pays homage to their favorite artists of yesteryear, such as David Bowie, the Sex Pistols and Elvis Costello.
Coombes said that the idea for the Hot Rats came after Supergrass bassist Mick Quinn broke his back. He and Goffey started messing around as a duo, but they were messing around in front of the right person. “Nigel [Godrich] saw us play as a two-piece and he said ‘Come down to the studio and record some songs. We’ll have a bit of fun,’” Coombes says. “We went in and started recording music. The first song we did was ‘Can’t Stand It’ by Lou Reed, so we started to get on this covers thing.”
From there, they settled on the name the Hot Rats, but not because they were doing covers and thought the Frank Zappa record sounded cool, as has been reported. “It’s not really taken from that. I’ve had this ‘hot rat’ thing for years. It’s hard to explain, but it’s been a pseudonym or something,” Coombes says. “I’ve always used the term. It goes back a long, long way. I always liked the way it sounded. It wasn’t so much a real Zappa nod or anything.”
Coombes says that ‘Turn Ons’ was carefully thought out, meaning that he scoured the Internet to see who out there had done an album like what they were brewing. “There are bands that will do one artist, like a [Serge] Gainsbourg covers album,” he says. “In general, I don’t know if they’re that fashionable. I think the mainstream thing, the ‘X-Factor’ thing is to do covers anyway, but I see those as soulless rehashing of a song that’s four or five years old, which is entirely different thing. ”
“I thought it shrouded any sense of self-importance,” he continues. “We were definitely having a creative experience, a lot more than bashing out a covers record because we’re bored. It was actually quite the opposite.”
For any doubt on that creative experience, check out ‘Turn Ons,’ which is out now on Fat Possum Records.
And Then There Were Three: Is Warners Buying EMI?
Warner Music Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Edgar Bronfman Jr. said regulatory hurdles shouldn’t prevent his company, the world’s third-largest record label, from purchasing rival EMI Group Ltd.
“From a regulatory standpoint further consolidation in the recorded music industry is possible,” Bronfman said today on a conference call. He cited the European Union’s approval of the merger between Sony Corp.’s music unit and BMG, and wouldn’t comment on whether Warner plans to bid for London-based EMI.
A Warner-EMI combination would “create meaningful value for both companies,” Rich Greenfield, an analyst at Pali Capital LLC in New York, said in December. “We’ll just have to see how the future plays,” Bronfman said. “I hope EMI is able to resolve its difficulties in a way that benefits the industry.”
A merger of Warner and EMI would challenge the current market share of Universal and Sony. Based on 2009 Nielsen SoundScan sales figures for the USA, Universal had 30.2% of the market, Sony 28.58%, Warner 22.8% and EMI 9.92%. Warner and EMI combined would have created a market share of 32.72% in 2009 marking the Warner / EMI combo the biggest of what would then be the Top 3.
EMI may come up with the money needed to keep the Citibank wolves away from the door but an alternative merger would make good business sense. A lot of the government regulations have already been dealt with leading up to the previous marriage. The recent Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger sets a precedent for an even bigger merger being possible.
By the end of 2010, we may just see the music industry with just three major labels.
Mr. Bronfman met Guy Hands, Terra Firma’s founder, soon after the EMI deal closed, it emerged last week. However, Mr Hands’ lawsuit against Citigroup is seen as an attempt to prevent Citigroup from forcing a Warner deal.
“They are marching towards a transaction of some sorts,” said Richard Greenfield of Pali Research. Warner had been “hoarding cash” over recent quarters and could find “hundreds of millions of dollars” in savings from such a deal, he added.
The viability of such a bid would rest on how much debt Citigroup tries to allocate to EMI Music in a sale, industry observers said.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Air Force Reserve Rips Off White Stripes in Super Bowl Ad?
Jack White, Third Man Records, and company have taken to their official site to call out the U.S. Air Force Reserve for allegedly re-recording the White Stripes’ breakthrough single “Fell in Love with a Girl” for their recent Super Bowl commercial. Here’s what they posted (via Some Kind of Awesome):
We believe our song was re-recorded and used without permission of the White Stripes, our publishers, label or management.
The White Stripes take strong insult and objection to the Air Force Reserve’s presenting this advertisement with the implication that we licensed one of our songs to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support.
We have not licensed our song to the Air Force Reserve and we plan to take strong action to stop the ad containing this music.
Well, it didn’t take long for the Air Force Reserve to hear that the White Stripes had called them out with a posting on the Third Man Records homepage Monday afternoon. Not only have they abruptly pulled the Super Bowl commercial from television and their website less than a day after Jack White and company claimed it plagiarized their hit song “Fell in Love with a Girl,” but now the tune’s composer, producer, and the Air Force Reserve have all issued statements, denying the allegations.
“It’s my responsibility,” songwriter Kem Kraft told Entertainment Weekly. “I’m the one who composed the music. And I had no idea it was like that [song].” Later, he added, “I went to the website and I go, ‘Yeah, that kinda sounds close.’ [But] I don’t even listen to those guys.”
Kraft says that he would like to apologize to Jack White and tell him he “had no intention whatsoever of copying,” adding that he would pay back his compensation ($2,000) for the song in an effort to make amends.
Meanwhile, the Air Force Reserve Command issued a press release (via Pitchfork), insisting that they had no knowledge of the similarities between the music in their ad and the White Stripes’ song.
And finally, Fast Forward Productions (the company which the Air Force seems to be laying blame on) sent out representative Mike Lee for their own denial: “I’ve heard of the White Stripes but I’m not a listener of theirs,” he said (via Antiquiet). “I had no idea there was similarity until after the fact.”
MGMT Unveil Congratulations Track List, Release Date
After months of rumors, speculation, and at least one red carpet interview, MGMT have finally confirmed the official track list and release date for their second album, Congratulations. According to Andrew Vanwyngarden, the new album will “shock people,” as he and bandmate Ben Goldwasser “dropped any sort of irony that was on the first record.”
All this news comes from tonight’s article posted by Spin magazine, in which Vanwyngarden also revealed that though influences include Lady Gaga and the “worldwide economic crisis,” the album’s biggest theme is—I kid you not—surfing:
When you’re surfing, there’s a specific break you’re paddling to. And when the waves are really good you say, “it’s working.” The song kind of has a surf-y vibe. It’s like surfing on ecstasy!
Oh my, imagine all the “surfing on ecstasy” you could buy with a 6-figure deal! Release date? April 13, via Columbia Records. Tracklist? Here:
1) “It’s Working”
2) “Song for Dan Treacy”
3) “Someone’s Missing”
4) “Flash Delirium”
5) “I Found a Whistle”
6) “Siberian Breaks”
7) “Brian Eno”
8) “Lady Dada’s Nightmare”
DAVID YOW DOCUMENTARY SHORT ‘I’D RATHER BE ANYWHERE ELSE’ (Video)
In January 2010, Swiss noise band Ventura invited ex-Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow to Switzerland, to lend his voice for a few songs and to perform at the 10th edition of the Lausanne’s Burning Festival. During a whole week, we stuck to his boots trying to gather some untold elements from the man’s life.
It is true that The Jesus Lizard has made quite some noise in the last few months. The Touch’n’Go records standard-bearer reunited last May for a 41 gig-tour, which got them a fair load of media coverage, even though Yow confesses they “didn’t have anything to sell”. But did you know that Yow had read parts for the last Coen brothers movie “A Serious Man”? … That he and comrade Steve Albini, both fascinated by cuisine, had once planned to air their own cooking program on local TV? … And that since his first band, Scratch Acid, to his last project, Qui, David Yow has mostly been looking for acceptance from his dad, a former fighter pilot
Keith Richards and Ron Wood Reportedly Helping Each Other Stay Sober
After 40-plus years on the sauce, Rolling Stones guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood have both decided to give up the hooch. If that’s not enough, the recently estranged bandmates have reportedly mended fences and come together to help one another with their mutual recoveries.
“Keith and Ronnie hadn’t had much to do with one another but now they’re back in touch,” friends of the rockers tell U.K. newspaper the Express. “They’ve both given up alcohol recently so they can obviously relate to each other’s situation. They’ve been giving one another plenty of moral support.”
Following decades of alcohol abuse, the cigarette-dangling, whiskey clutching Richards, 66, was urged by physicians to stop imbibing for health reasons.
Meanwhile, Wood — who saw his marriage fall apart in 2008 after he started a debauchery-filled affair with young Russian waitress Ekaterina Ivanova — is purportedly being guided through sobriety by new girlfriend Ana Araujo. Last month, Wood entered rehab for the eighth time after reports circulated at the end of 2009 that the guitarist might be fired from the Stones if he didn’t seek treatment.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Academy of Contemporary Music Launches Spring Semester With Master Class By The Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd
On Feb 10 The Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma will present a master class with Flaming Lips multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd. Open only to enrolled students, the class will consist of an interview and audience Q&A with Drozd who will discuss musicianship as well as aspects of life as a professional musician. “I wish this [school] would have been around when I was a 17- or 18-year-old kid,” Drozd told NPR.
Hear that interview with Drozd and the school’s CEO and Lips manager Scott Booker on NPR’s Weekend Edition here:
In its inaugural semester last fall, the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM@UCO) began providing a solid foundation in music and the music business – with an emphasis on rock – for students aspiring to careers in the industry. Highlights of the fall semester included a master class by The Who’s Roger Daltrey and a mini-concert by rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson backed by ACM students.
Phoenix Working On Music For Sofia Coppola’s New Film
Having taken a decade and four albums to receive recognition on the global stage, Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars has revealed that the wait has been well worth it. In addition to the nod from the Grammys, the French soft rockers are working on their first movie soundtrack.
“It felt like a weird planet to be on. It felt like deliverance and it was really nice,” Mars told BBC Radio 1 after the band picked up the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album for ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.’
He continued, “It’s closer to a Cirque du Soleil trip than anything else. It’s very unique. When you win, what is crazy is you have people who you admire come and almost welcome you to the club. It was very weird. Neil Young came and said ‘Welcome.’”
And now Hollywood is about to welcome the band with open arms too as Phoenix compose their first movie soundtrack for Mars’ wife, ‘Lost in Translation’ director Sofia Coppola, and her new film, ‘Sometime.’
“It’s very minimal,” said Mars of the new work. “It’s almost like sound design. It wasn’t like writing songs, it was more about trying to make a sound that fits with a Ferrari and the city of Los Angeles’ theme. It was more of an engineer work than a composer.” (Spinner)
Buzzcocks Reissue First Three Albums
The Buzzcocks’ first three albums — ‘Another Music in a Different Kitchen,’ ‘Love Bites,’ and ‘A Different Kind of Tension’ — will be rereleased in double-CD format on Feb. 9. Luckily for their fans, the discs will come loaded with rare studio tracks and live concert recordings.
“Essentially the record company wanted to put them out, but they put them out with all sorts of artifacts that got left in the can. It encompasses three great albums that changed the world,” guitarist and co-singer Steve Diggle tells Spinner with typical Mancunian braggadocio. “The first one came out at the same time as the Sex Pistols’ ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ and the Clash’s first album,” he says of 1978′s ‘Another Music in a Different Kitchen.’ “It was a time that’s a mark in history.”
The Manchester quartet’s massive retrospective indeed looks back on an important time in both rock and social history. “When those punk records came out, people had to change their consciousness about how they thought about music,” Diggle says. “It suddenly changed people’s attitudes and how they looked at the world. Everyone was questioning and more spatially aware of themselves.” Diggle laughs at his lofty proclamations, but he’s always seen the bigger picture of art informing life and vice versa.
On top of the social impact, the Buzzcock’s wiry pop toned punk influenced new genres like power pop and even emo, which shares similar soaring riffs and emotional lyrics. The Buzzcocks, however, had little to go on when they first started in a miserable 1970s strike-torn England. “The landscape was barren and we wanted to make music to make people feel alive,” Diggle says. “As James Joyce tells us, it’s important to feel alive. We wanted that excitement back in our veins. People weren’t just being entertained. We dealt with the human condition and we use a hell of a lot of emotions. It’s a very powerful and immediate music, adrenalin-fueled in a sense. Put poetic words on top of that and it makes for a wild mix.”
Litespeed Champion: Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You (Album Review)
This second full-length effort from the former Test Icicles man is a grandiose affair. Almost a year in the making, the results here should catapult Devonte Hynes into the mainstream without hesitation. All strings and staccato guitar, lead single ‘Marlene’ is an indie-pop masterpiece, while ‘Faculty Of Fears’ wouldn’t sound out of place on Silverchair’s last album, entirely built up of soaring orchestral segments and catchy vocal hooks. There’s no filler here, even the short instrumental numbers deserve their place as they break up the album into chapters. A surprisingly good follow-up, ‘Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You’ is essential listening.
Pavement, Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem for Pitchfork Festival
Pavement, Modest Mouse and LCD Soundsystem are set to headline the fifth annual festival from US alternative music website Pitchfork.
The event takes place in Chicago’s Union Park on July 16-18 and will also feature sets from St Vincent, Raekwon, Cass McCombs, Lightning Bolt, Here We Go Magic and Sleigh Bells.
More bands for the event will be announced soon. For more information see Pitchforkmusicfestival.com.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Them Crooked Vultures: Live on SNL (Video)
Them Crooked Vultures performed “Mind Eraser, No Chaser” and “New Fang” on Saturday Night Live on 2/6. Dave Grohl also appeared in a sketch. Check it out below:
“Mind Eraser, No Chaser”
“Dave Grohl in Skit”
The Soft Pack play 10 shows in one day (Video)
Johnny Depp Directing Doc About Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards
A rep for Johnny Depp has confirmed that the actor will direct a documentary on Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, Variety reports. News of Depp working on a doc about the guitar god first surfaced in an interview with Russia’s Politika, where Depp said his editor is in the process of going through miles of archival footage. “I’m very touched that Keith agreed to show up in front of my cameras,” Depp said.
Depp has long credited Richards for inspiring his portrayal of Capt. Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and Richards made a surprise cameo as Sparrow’s pirate father in At World’s End. Richards and Depp appeared together on the cover of Rolling Stone before the film’s release, and the pair displayed an almost father-son relationship. “I was almost afraid to meet him for a long time, because there is always a fear that your heroes are going to be shitheads,” Depp joked to RS.
According to Variety, in addition to the documentary, Richards’ autobiography is due in fall 2010.
LCD Soundsystem Soundtrack Details
The new Noah Baumbach film is called Greenberg and it features a score by LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy. The soundtrack boasts 11 Murphy solo pieces and one new LCD Soundsystem song, along with tunes by Nite Jewel, Albert Hammond, Galaxie 500, the Sonics, and Duran Duran.
Talking about the soundtrack to Drowned in Sound recently, Murphy said it “sounds NOTHING like LCD, really. it’s made to fit the movie, not be ‘my record’.” Segue: LCD Soundsystem’s new album is due out later in the Spring.
The Greenberg soundtrack is out in the UK March 22 on DFA/Parlophone. The Greenberg movie is out in select U.S. cities March 26.
A list of songs on the soundtrack awaits:
01 James Murphy: “People”
02 Nite Jewel: “Suburbia”
03 James Murphy: “Sleepy Baby”
04 James Murphy: “Thumbs”
05 Albert Hammond: “It Never Rains in Southern California”
06 James Murphy: “Plenty of Time”
07 James Murphy: “Photographs”
08 James Murphy: “Gente”
09 Galaxie 500: “Strange”
10 LCD Soundsystem: “Oh You (Christmas Blues)”
11 James Murphy: “Birthday Song”
12 James Murphy: “Dear You”
13 The Sonics: “Shot Down”
14 Duran Duran: “The Chauffeur”
15 James Murphy: “If You Need a Friend”
16 James Murphy : “Please Don’t Follow Me”
17 James Murphy: “Photographs (Piano)”
Leonard Cohen Tour Postponed 6 Months Due to Back Injury
He may be 75 years old, but if the worst result of playing 191 tour dates after a 15-year live hiatus is a minor onstage collapse in Spain and a recoverable back injury, requiring “the same 4 to 6-month regimen of physical therapy as athletes do with similar injuries,” then Leonard Cohen is young for his age, I say.
Only days after accepting a Grammy for lifetime achievement in Los Angeles, CA, living legend Leonard Cohen has been forced to postpone 9 European tour dates due to said injury in his lower back.
“Doctors have confirmed that Mr. Cohen is otherwise in terrific shape, thanks to years of exercise and careful diet, and simply needs appropriate time to recover,” said his manager, Robert Kory, in a statement sent to the press.
Cohen’s spring shows have been moved to the fall, but who knows, perhaps he’ll be working on that rumored new album a bit in the meantime. Either way, get well, Mr. Cohen!
Today in Jack White News: Dolly Parton, Live Surprise & More
I’m as guilty as the next White Stripes/Dead Weather/Raconteurs fiend for posting every time our fearless leader sneezes, but even I can’t keep up with the Third Man man at this rate, man. Two big Jack White headlines today alone are making their way through the newsbeast, not to mention a third from earlier in the week.
First off, if you’re a Pro Tools-wielding friend of any living legend within walking distance of White’s Nashville abode, you better watch out because the man we’ll endearingly refer to as the Luddite Lothario is looking to lure more famous prospects to his all-analog studio. First there was Loretta Lynn, of course, then Wanda Jackson, and now White has set his sights on country music legend Dolly Parton.
“Well, I have been approached [by] … Jack White,” Parton told Spinner. “I’ve thought about doing it with [Jack]. He seems to be a fan but who knows. You never know what I might do.” Wow, playing hard to get with Jack White? I love it. Be sure to give Van Lear Rose another listen, though, and something tells me it’ll be an easy decision.
Also, did you hear about the new Third Man Records live series? Well, you have now, but we also now know more about the first release: Last night, Third Man Records artists Dex Romweber Duo played a live show at their Nashville headquarters, which was recorded to 8 track analog reel to reel tape for an upcoming vinyl LP release.
And here’s the kicker: White performed at the show too, prefacing his take on one of the duo’s tunes with, “Thank you for coming to my house.”
Yeah, yeah: Enter “the house that Jack built” joke here.
The Kingblind Android mobile app is now available.
Kingblind.com is pleased to announce that we have finished development of our new Android app. This app is available now through the Android Market and is 100% free. Our app will track all the latest post from Kingblind as well as our current tweets. (just click categories to switch between our main content and our twitter feed.) Now our little iPhone app has another friend online.
To download the Android app just login to the Market on your Android phone and search for kingblind, the Install is just a touch away. Enjoy, and send us your feedback.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Spoon: Written in Reverse (Music Video)
The Strokes return to studio
The Strokes are back! Kind of! Or on their way to being back, anyway!
The early-decade New York rock kings are already set to headline two festivals this summer– England’s Isle of Wight and Scotland’s RockNess. And now Spin points out an update on the band’s website. According to the Strokes themselves, they’ve returned to the studio, where they’re working on the long-awaited follow-up to 2006′s First Impressions of Earth.
The band is working with producer Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, Shins, My Morning Jacket) and mixer Gus Oberg. They also promise to post “video vignettes” from the sessions on their website.
Zooey Deschanel To Star In HBO Pilot Based On Pamela Des Barres ‘I’m With The Band: Confessions Of A Groupie’
Zooey Deschanel has signed on to star and executive produce a HBO half-hour pilot adaptation of Pamela Des Barres’ famous memoirs, “I’m With The Band: Confessions OF A Groupie.”
The story centers on Des Barres’ experiences in the 1960′s juggling the excitement of rolling with famous musicians and actors like Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page and Don Johnson as well as the heartbreak and emptiness of being substituted for the next pretty young thing. It’s a well-worn book in rock circles and a pretty decent read. So a weekly HBO “Almost Famous” type thing? Could be.
Deschanel’s manager Sarah Jackson will also produce along with “Curb Your Enthusiasm” executive producer, Tim Gibbons. No time frame is given on production or screening but it’ll probably be vying for a spot on the fall schedule.
Interestingly, it’ll see Deschanel follow a path taken by fellow actor/indie-musician Jason Schwartzmann, who stars in HBO’s detective-comedy “Bored To Death,” as well as big name directors Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann who are helming pilots for “Boardwalk Empire” and “Luck” respectively.
The Soft Pack: S/T (Album Review)
Lets get something out of the way. Yes, the Soft Pack was the band formerly known as the Muslims. It’s the exact same band. And no matter what you feel about the name change, its here to stay and has nothing to do with their San Diego beach-brand of easy garage punk. So get over it!
Besides, the name change seems to all make sense now. No way could they have released this album under their previous moniker. Their debut release was full of pissy, stripped-down rock ‘n’ roll that landed them somewhere between the Dead Boys, the Modern Lovers, and Chuck Berry with a surfboard. Layered with a thick helping of dry sarcasm and a who-the-fuck-cares attitude of kids growing up in a beach-side town, their debut was raw, catchy, and undeniable soundtrack music for summer days and road trips. Releasing it under the name “The Muslims” worked in that it hinted at the LP’s derisive posturing and purposeful lack of reverence to something so topically (and ridiculously) volatile. This is rock, man. Who cares if it’s PC, right?
On their second full-length from Kemado, though, the boys have grown up a bit and exposed a little more of their sensitivity. The rock isn’t gone, but just eased up a bit and accompanied by some of that Southern California sound more deliberately. This becomes immediately apparent on “Answer to Yourself”, where the crunching and steady building beat is garnished with a small guitar riff straight from Dick Dale’s garage. The previous track, “Down on Loving”, includes the heavy strums of an acoustic guitar behind the high-end major chords and some sweet backing vocals. Even the first line of the song hints at the region they originate from: “I see the sun in the sky and it looks so good.” Don’t be fooled, though. It’s not all summer fun. The upbeat sound of the track is darkly balanced by singer Mark Lamkin’s simple but perfectly cynical lyricism. By the one-minute mark a screeching guitar solos erupts like a stuttering Hot Rod over all the happiness, and we realize that the Soft Pack is messing with us. This isn’t smiles and sun, but congested, smog-filled insanity. It’s both the Southern California of yesteryear and being stuck in traffic at 5 PM on the freeway. This is a bleached-out madness.
The first half of the album mostly chugs along at this same paced, upbeat intensity, and picks up where their debut LP left off with a smidgen more polish. However, their sound begins to delve into uncharted territory for the four-piece with “Pull Out”—a track that cheekish-ly supports the secession of California. The driving guitar line is ripped right out of the surf-rock playbook, while Lamkin’s vocals sound precariously close to Rick Froberg from now-defunct San Diego rock band Hot Snakes, who also have a satirical ode to their home state (See: “Let It Come”). Followed by “More or Less”, a straight jangle-pop number, and the sinister-sounding tale of lost surfers in “Tides of Time”, it becomes fully apparent that the Soft Pack is less interested in following the well-worn path of garage rock revivalism. Instead, they maintain their ‘77-punk influences and mix it with a bit of sunshine and saltwater near flawlessly.
Lazily, you can lump them up with Wavves, the Smith-Westerns, Jay Reatard, or even the Strokes, along with a whole slew of other rock-bands keeping it lo-fi and simple. That would be unfair, though. These guys don’t have the same affinity for their distortion pedal as Nathan Williams, and they probably don’t have hair-stylists like Casablancas and co. If anything, the Soft Pack is filling in for the hole that the Hot Snakes left when they broke up. Even then, that would be ignoring their obvious ties to the locales from early ‘60s beach pop to Agent Orange or even the surf-y fuck-off O.C. party band the Ziggins.
Most importantly though, the Soft Pack never sound cliché, but excitingly new, even if their influences can be clearly identified. Somewhere in a dense, urban LES neighborhood in NYC, art-kids are baffled by these guys’ sound and passing around this album on their iPod in abstract painting class. They don’t get it, though. Take a trip to San Diego, dude. These guys aren’t art-kids or fashionable rock revivalists—they’re just being themselves. Lucky for us.
Tim Goldsworthy parts with DFA?
British producer Tim Goldsworthy has reportedly left DFA Records and returned to the United Kingdom.
Goldsworthy ran DFA with James Murphy and Jonathan Galkin since 2002, and was especially involved in producing early records by The Rapture and The Juan MacLean. At this point, the parties involved tell conflicting stories about Goldsworthy’s departure.
Reached for comment by e-mail, Galkin told Resident Advisor: “Tim Goldsworthy moved away to somewhere in the United Kingdom, without informing anyone here at DFA. We have had no word from him since he left the United States. So we moved on with our lives and our business. Simple as that. He most definitely took a piece of us when he left, but we wish him the best with whatever he gets up to next.”
Meanwhile, Goldsworthy downplays the significance of his sudden move. “I haven’t left,” he says, explaining that his physical departure did not mean he was finished with the label. “If that was the case then, well, Murphy’s never there, cause he’s always touring or in the studio, so that would mean he left, I don’t know, nine years ago or something?” Goldsworthy, who is still one of DFA’s partial owners, says he relocated mostly because the bulk of his work is in the UK, and because he considers it a better place to raise his family. He points out that he has done very little work with DFA in the past two years, though he would be willing to do more production or remix work for the label “if something good came along and I got offered it.” As of late, Goldsworthy has done remixes for Goldfrapp, Massive Attack and DJ Hell’s collaboration with Bryan Ferry.
Video: Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan & Co in the Studio + New Haiti Benefit Info
As promised, we’re following up with more deets on that epic Haiti charity single put together by Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, renaissance man Nick Cave and actor/musician Johnny Depp. If you recall, MacGowan, Cave, Depp and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie were reported to have teamed up to cover Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s “I Put a Spell on You.”
But that’s not news, that’s olds (to paraphrase Ricky Gervais). The new bit is that the already-epic team was joined by Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Mick Jones of The Clash, and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders—and the session was covered by the UK’s Channel 4 (video below). Notably absent from the television segment was Depp.
The whole project was “old school, pulled together in a matter of days,” according to MacGowan’s partner, writer Victoria Clarke. And true to their old school roots, the group’s totes not threatened by certain other celebrity singles to be released to benefit relief efforts in Haiti. Matlock lists them off: “Well, I’d take Quincy Jones. I’m not quite sure about Lionel Richie, and I’m very not that concerned about the Simon Cowell one, musically. But if he’s doing that, that’s cool.”
And this sort of a project is right up Hynde’s alley, anyway: “I’d do any charity that I was asked to do. Cause it’s just singing, I mean, it’s a no-brainer…. It’s when you’re asked for personal effects to give to auctions that it seems a bit creepy, because that’s your gear.”
No new information on the release date—the song’s still slated for late February, so put it on your calendar. Proceeds from the track will go to Concern Worldwide, an Irish charity with a 16-year presence in Haiti.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Flaming Lips to cover Dark Side of the Moon at Bonnaroo
After playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety at their 2010 New Year’s Eve gig in Oklahoma City, the Flaming Lips are set to reprise the feat at this year’s Bonnaroo, according to an interview with Wayne Coyne at Spinner. The singer revealed that they would play a regular Lips set followed by the Dark Side set in the small hours of the first night of the festival, which goes down June 10-13in Manchester, Tennessee.
“We did it at the New Year’s Eve show just knowing everybody’s gonna be taking acid, staying awake until five in the morning,” Coyne said. “I don’t think it’ll be that much of a stretch to think Friday night at 2:30 in the morning at Bonnaroo would be that much different than being in Oklahoma City on New Year’s Eve.” Sounds about right.
Jay Reatard Cause of Death Revealed
The Memphis Commercial Appeal report that quotes Shelby County Medical Examiner Karen E. Chancellor as saying Jay Reatard died last month from “cocaine toxicity, and that alcohol was a contributing factor in his death.” So sad… Jay, you will be missed. He was 29 years old.
The Worst Rock’n'Roll Management Decisions In History
AS WE GET OLDER dreams of stardom inevitably slip away – who wants to be stomping round a stage at an age when a nice snooze holds more appeal than a line of cocaine? But what about management? How hard can that be? Surely you can just look at the fictional likes of Spinal Tap’s Ian Faith and Flight Of The Conchords’ Murray Hewitt and do the exact opposite and thus guarantee success. But in fact, things can go very wrong indeed, as these case studies show.
1. Brian Epstein
The 1963 Beatles/Seltaeb merchandising fiasco is well documented. In short, Beatle business “supremo” Brian Epstein, or more accurately his lawyer David Jacobs, sold the band’s image rights to posh bloke Nicky Byrne, an acquaintance from the Chelsea party scene. To Byrne’s surprise Jacobs accepted a mere ten per cent of any fees for his client, accepting his first speculative offer. Not believing his luck, Byrne flew to the USA, sold licences to eager manufacturers and lived the high life, running up a cool $100,000 in personal expenses. With the Wall Street Journal estimating that 1964 could see Beatles-branded goods turning over a hundred million dollars – forget T-shirts and badges, wig factories were working round the clock – Epstein rapidly renegotiated terms, then he was countersued. The whole industry ground to a halt just as the multi-millions were there for the taking, as worried investors like JC Penneys and Woolworths cancelled huge contracts. By the time matters were satisfactorily solved, the moment for exploitation had passed, and the band had grown moustaches. But no-one wanted Beatles faux-face-fuzz by 1967.
Consequences: No-one else got the money, so it all became a bit notional. But everyone since has kept tight control on their merch rights.
Moral: Don’t dole out lucrative contracts to men you meet at parties, even Chelsea parties. (This also applies to matters of national security.)
2. Rob Gretton
One of the obvious benefits of pop stardom is never queueing or paying to get into a nightclub. Hell, these days entire ‘careers’, admittedly of the Paris Hilton micro-talent ilk, involve the exchange of cash for one’s presence. But New Order, and their manager, ex-club DJ Rob Gretton flipped the norm on its head and effectively subsidised Manchester’s Haçienda club for the Mancunian public for years. Eventually the club took off, becoming popular enough to attract criminals and drug dealers and notoriety and frequent closures by local authorities, but at a huge cost. As management pretty much consists of keeping the talent alive and not losing all their money, the late Gretton didn’t score too well – Ian Curtis killed himself under his charge, and New Order’s biggest-selling single came in a sleeve that cost so much it was sold at a loss. But he’s still remembered, which is the most a manager can hope for.
Consequences: In his dotage, Joy Div/New Order bassist Peter Hook has to DJ and write entertaining books of anecdotes in an attempt to recoup the lost gazillions.
Moral: Manchester might be Britain’s second cultural centre after London, but all the serious financial business takes place elsewhere – London, Leeds, Edinburgh, even Halifax.
3. Doc McGhee
He doesn’t like to publicise his background – hell, even ascertaining his old medical school is problematic – but Doc McGhee famously crossed the line between shady and criminal when he was convicted in 1988 of smuggling 40,000 pounds of marijuana into the United States. Instead of receiving a long jail term, the manager of Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe and Skid Row was ordered to host a charity event to promote anti-drug awareness. And so in August 1989 the Russian public was sentenced to a concert featuring such famous clean livers as Ozzy Osbourne and the Crüe (whose Tommy Lee thumped McGhee in a dispute over the running order). So far, so cunning, but also playing were eternal German plodders The Scorpions who were thus inspired to write the flatulent Wind Of Change, which now accompanies every single shot of mulleted East Germans on every documentary on the fall of communism ever. McGhee, a believer in what he calls ‘full contact management’ (ie. hitting the artiste), currently manages Kiss and that bloke out of Hootie & The Blowfish.
Consequences: Post-Soviet Russia started with stadium rock – did they ever have a chance?
Moral: Even the best intentions have unpredictable consequences, possibly involving whistling.
4. Larry Parnes
Mr Parnes, Shillings and Pence was Britain’s leading starmaker in the late-’50s, giving exotic new names to hopeful rock’n'rollers like Marty Wilde (né Reg Smith), Vince Eager (né Roy Taylor) and Joe Brown (né Joe Brown). By the late-’60s, though, he had moved into traditional theatricals. But when he and the legendarily abrasive Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne and latterly seen as the other elderly male stumbling around the kitchen on The Osbournes, fell out over plans to co-produce a Broadway hit in London the late Arden, never a man to waste a grudge, devised an unusually imaginative revenge. At the time no-one could comprehend why the rich and successful promoter and manager Don Arden had released a scarily straight version of Sunrise, Sunset from musical Fiddler on the Roof. But, as he later revealed in his not entirely reliable autobiography Mr Big, the billboard campaign was restricted to one London site, a hoarding opposite Parnes’s bedroom window, where a giant image of scary old Don stayed up for a fortnight, greeting his victim each morning.
Consequences: None really. It might not even be true – the late Arden never let facts get in the way of a good story.
Moral: Do unto others, yadda yadda.
5. Bernie Rhodes
Starmakers And Svengalis, Johnny Rogan’s exhaustive history of British pop managers, divvied them up into categories: sensible accountants and lawyers, who generally ensured everyone ended up wealthier than before yet rarely made history; wild and imaginative enthusiasts as rock’n'roll as the talent; and the impossibly loyal, ready to lay down their life, or at least remortgage their home, for their charges. These days Bernie Rhodes is best known as the subject of the sardonic ‘Bernie Rhodes knows, don’t hargue!’ cry at the start of The Specials’ Gangsters. But as manager of The Clash he was rarely sensible and certainly not ready to lay down his life for them. But the Clash core of Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, all from fractured family backgrounds, were easily seduced by his fantastical, fanatical belief in rock’s unlimited potential, even recalling him after ditching the conventionally profitable Peter Jenner/Andrew King team that replaced him. Yet Bernie overstepped the mark when Jones was squeezed out of his own band in an internal coup worthy of Soviet politics and he took over his co-writing role on the band’s valedictory and much reviled Cut The Crap. Like the USSR, Bernie has been left behind by history.
Consequences: Westway To The World, Don Letts’s excellent documentary history of the band, doesn’t even mention their last record.
Moral: The talent is the talent, and the management is the management.
What about family? Surely a father will defend his children’s interests? Not necessarily. Murry Wilson’s stewardship of the Beach Boys was basically an attempt to reinforce his control by belittling them at every opportunity, something his sons, rather more mature than dad, generally ignored. At one point they simply gave him a mixing console unconnected to anything else for him to play with in the studio while Brian carried on directing a couple of orchestras. But selling off their entire publishing catalogue for less than a million bucks in 1969 wasn’t too smart – Brian, long fragile, supposed
ly claimed it was akin to losing his children. Even those dads who aren’t acting out some freaky psychodrama via their kids can miss the point. I was once told of the time Paul Weller’s late father John, ex-boxer and bricklayer, arrived to renegotiate a recording contract. Bullishly demanding a large advance for his boy Paul, the collected execs checked that they’d heard right then instantly agreed to the figure, which was fully half of what they were expecting to pay.
Consequences: Some financial – although an advance is a loan and big ones can be more a curse than a blessing.
Moral: You can’t always rely on dad. As Macca said of Brian Epstein, “He always used to go to his dad for advice, but his dad knew how to run a furniture store in Liverpool…”
7. Doing It Yourself
As a rule, successful musicians aren’t beset by self-doubt; if they fancy their chances at acting or writing children’s books or winning Celebrity Big Brother, no-one is going to say ‘yeah, right’. And if anyone should, then someone else can always be found to tell them they can, nay, must. So why shouldn’t they have a go at representing themselves? The Beatles’ example is cautionary: after Epstein’s death in 1967, they tried getting by with just a little help from their friends, but their business affairs went even more spectacularly awry. Even less astute was John Fogerty, who for all his genius at recreating early rock, made some spectacular mistakes, such as signing a contract weighted entirely in the record company’s favour, and rejecting the chance to feature on the Woodstock movie and album – who now knows that Creedence Clearwater Revival headlined the biggest and grubbiest of all hippie gatherings? Was he bitter? Yep. I own a CCR biography with a detailed index- under ‘Fogerty, John’, the longest entry covers ‘bitterness and anger’, ahead of ‘songwriting’, ‘interviews’ and even ‘legal suits’. Clearly artists need management, or who else can they blame when it all goes tits-up?
Consequences: Years of misery, except for the lawyers.
Moral: The talent is the talent, and the management is the management. Let’s say that again.
Black Grapes Reform for One-Off in Britain…
Anybody remember the Shaun Ryder-fronted late-period Madchester outfit Black Grape? They were, for one album at least, the band the Happy Mondays could have been. And they’re back, for one night only, this Easter.
Formed after the Mondays collapsed into a long, dark, maudlin Tuesday of the soul, Black Grape managed to shuffle out one unexpectedly great album, 1995’s It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah. Featuring a cover image of Carlos the Jackal, It’s Great…. saw the rump of the Mondays pull it together for just long enough in the studio to emerge with a dozen decent tunes and a surprisingly strong chart showing, reaching platinum status in the UK and spawning a number one hit, the Catholic church-baiting “Reverend Black Grape”. But the group’s trajectory was short and explosive: 1997’s sophomore release Stupid Stupid Stupid stiffed in the charts, and Ryder fired his bandmates shortly afterwards.
Speaking about the reunion, which will coincide with the release of a Shaun Ryder greatest hits album, Ryder said: “It’s great, it’s interesting, it’s part two. I’ve had a break and now I’m back to do it. [fellow Black Grape member] Danny Saber and I have a great working relationship and the time is right.”
Rapper Kermit is confirmed to appear in the reformed band alongside Ryder and Saber.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Phoenix’s Thomas Has Mixed Emotions Over Grammy Win
While Phoenix’s 2009 album, ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ has sparked buzz around the French export, the band never realized they would actually go home with the Grammy for Best Alternative Album on Sunday night.
“It sounds like a joke,” Phoenix singer Thomas Mars told Pitchfork soon after doing their victory dance. The band got to sit near Slash and Alice Cooper, and Neil Young approached them to congratulate them on their win. However, Mars still felt like the honor was slightly bittersweet.
“It’s weird because it’s very nice, but you feel some sadness to it, too,” Mars said. “It’s hard to enjoy the moment. It felt like we’re already on the other side of something, so the four of us are all trying to protect each other. I don’t know if that’s a French thing. I think Serge Gainsbourg always said he was writing sad songs when he was happy and writing happy songs when he was sad, so there was always this feeling that you’re anticipating the next thing.”
Although Mars was hoping to see more indie bands like Dirty Projectors or MGMT perform on Grammy night, Pink’s acrobatic performance was his favorite. “People were scared she would fall,” he said. “Someone behind me said, like, ‘Artists can do that?!’”
And if you’re wondering where Mars will be displaying his new golden gramophone, it looks like he’ll have to shift a few of girlfriend director Sofia Coppola’s accolades to make space for his award. “It has to go on a shelf somewhere — my girlfriend has so many awards and now I have one to put on the shelf, too,” Mars said.
Spike Jonze Recruits Flea, Nick Zinner and Aska Matsumiya for New Song
Filmmaker Spike Jonze has tapped Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner to help out on the soundtrack for his new short film, ‘I’m Here’. The musicians appear on the song, ‘There Are Many of Us,’ which was written and sung by Aska Matsumiya of the Sads.
The song, released Monday as an iTunes download, highlights the 30-minute Jonze short, which just made the rounds at Sundance. Subtitled ‘A Love Story in an Absolut World,’ the film was commissioned by Absolut Vodka and is about two L.A.-based robots who fall for each other, will see an online release next month.
Jonze fans and curiosity seekers alike can check out the ‘I’m Here’ trailer. In related news, L.A. Weekly reports that Matsumiya will release a solo EP under the moniker ASKA via Manimal Vinyl sometime this spring.
British Editor Implores Morrissey to Write Autobiography
When Morrissey announced in late 2008 that he was planning to write his autobiography, fans all over the globe were excited at the news, especially Lee Brackstone. The Faber editorial director recently wrote an open letter on the U.K. independent publishing house’s blog to the former Smiths singer in the hopes he would have the memoir published there.
“It would be the fulfillment of my most pressing and persistent publishing dream to see that ‘ff’ sewn into the spine of your life,” Brackstone wrote. “Just any other publisher won’t do. You deserve Faber and the love we can give you. History demands it; destiny commands it.”
And it looks like Morrissey has expressed interest in working with Faber on the project. “A year ago a few publishers here offered big money [for Morrissey's book], there’s been correspondence all over the place and I’m pretty sure he’s well away with it,” Brackstone told the Guardian.
Morrissey revealed to BBC Radio 2 that he wanted to set the record straight and correct any misconceptions about him and his life by writing an autobiography in October, 2008. Since then, Morrissey hasn’t signed with a publishing company as of yet and any projected release date is still unknown.
Aaron Neville Records Updated New Orleans Saints Fight Song
Even before the Chicago Bears recorded their now-famous ‘Super Bowl Shuffle,’ the New Orleans Saints had an anthem of their own. Of course, the 1983 Saints, who went 8-8 on the season, didn’t fare as well as the 1985 Super Bowl champion Bears, so ‘Who Dat?’ never made it out of the huddle. But now that the 2009 Saints are headed for the biggest NFL game, the club has an updated anthem — and native son Aaron Neville is singing the Saints’ praises once again.
Using the same arrangement, Carlo Nuccio — of ‘Who Dat?’ fame — has produced ‘Glory Bound,’ hoping this year’s Saints will defeat the glory against the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday.
The original anthem was created during the 1983 season to promote enthusiasm for a team that had gone a combined 63-159 up to that point. So Nuccio, along with brothers Sal and Steve Monistere, combined ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ with a chant yelled by Saints fans: “Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”
Neville, a native of New Orleans, sang the ‘Saints Go Marching In’ part while several Saints players recorded the chant.
“I had been with the Saints since the late ’60s when they used to come see me and my brothers,” Neville recently told the Times-Picayune. “It was a special treat for me, being in with some of the Saints doing the ‘Who dat?’ cheer.”
For the updated anthem, Neville still sings ‘When the Saints Go Marching In,’ but bayou transplant Theresa Andersson adds a gospel touch to added, Super Bowl-appropriate lyrics. Proceeds from the downloads will benefit a health insurance program for New Orleans musicians.
Of course, the Colts also have an updated anthem of their own: Indianapolis band Mudkids, who recorded ‘Rock N’ Roll (Go Blue)’ during the Colts’ championship season in 2006, have recorded ‘DO IT AGAIN!! (Colts ’10).’
Johnny Depp is Directing a Keith Richards Documentary
Between Jack White’s recording new music for the Rolling Stones guitarist and today’s news that Johnny Depp is directing an upcoming documentary on the man, I’d say Keith Richards’ legacy is in pretty good hands. In an interview with Politika (via/translated by the Playlist), Depp dropped the latter bit that he’s finally ready to follow up his last middling directing effort, 1997’s The Brave. Here’s the translation of Depp’s comments, which were originally published in Serbian:
Now that I’m wiser, and that enough time has passed, I can experience directing again. Already next week I’ll start working on a Keith Richards documentary. While I’m in Drvengrad, my editor is already working on kilometers of archive footage and footage of his concerts. I’m very touched that Keith agreed to show up in front of my cameras.
Not a huge surprise that these guys have teamed up, as they’ve been friends for years, and Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is basically a Keith Richards impression (complete with wardrobe).
Anyway, let’s hope this doc has subtitles.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Jack White: Third Man Pop-Up Shop Coming to SXSW, Dead Weather LP2 in April
It may be relatively quiet on the Third Man front for now (save for that teaser trailer, of course), but fear not, whenever Jack White and company hole up at their Nashville headquarters for a couple weeks, records will be made and new tunes will be on the way. In fact, White has filmed 6 music videos in the past week alone! At least that’s what he just told Australian radio station Triple J in a telephone interview from his Nashville home, among other exciting details…
“[The Dead Weather are] finishing recording the last couple of songs and then I’m going to start mixing in the next two weeks, so yeah it should be out in April,” White said, adding later that he is singing the lead vocal on the band’s first single, “Blue Blood Blues,” from the upcoming follow-up to last year’s Horehound.
So what does the new record sound like so far? “[T]he album is bluesier and heavier than we ever thought we could be,” White revealed.
But that’s not all, people. White also dropped a bit of news that is sure to excite all those lucky enough to be attending next month’s SXSW Fest in Austin, TX: a “Third Man Records and Novelties” pop-up shop will be coming to town for the music/film festival, following successful one-offs in New York City, London, and Los Angeles.
It’s a great little interview, and I left some interesting deets out, so be sure to have a listen here for more updates from the man in red, white, black, and (nowadays) yellow.
Noel Gallagher, Arctic Monkeys, The Who for Teenage Cancer Trust
Noel Gallagher is to play his first solo shows since disbanding Oasis, performing twice at this year’s Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) shows, which take place in February and through March.
The guitarist, who has previously supported the charity, performing with Oasis as well as appearing solo, will this year headline the Royal Albert Hall, on Mar. 25 and 26
The annual TCT shows co-organised by the Who’s Roger Daltrey — the charity’s patron — will also see concerts by Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode and Foo Fighters/Led Zeppelin rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures.
Daltrey has also revealed that the Who’s headline show on Mar. 30, will be the group’s only UK live show in 2010.
A reformed Suede, minus Bernard Butler, have also been persuaded to perform for the charity which raises essential funds to build specialist teenage cancer units within the NHS. Suede will play on Mar. 24.
Tickets for all TCT shows go on sale Friday Feb. 5.
The full line-up for the 2010 Teenage Cancer Trust gigs is:
Depeche Mode (Feb. 17)
Them Crooked Vultures (Mar. 22)
Jimmy Carr, Noel Fielding and Rhod Gilbert (Mar. 23)
Suede (Mar. 24)
Noel Gallagher (Mar. 25, 26)
Arctic Monkeys (Mar. 27)
JLS (Mar. 28)
The Specials (Mar. 29)
The Who (Mar. 30)
The National Finish 5th Album
Remind us never to go around to the National’s house for the holidays. The Brooklyn, N.Y., indie heroes are currently putting the finishing touches to the follow-up to their critically-acclaimed 2007 effort ‘Boxer’ and all is not harmonious in the studio as they hash out the final details of mix and arrangement selection. “A week after the record’s done, we [will] all laugh about the mean and horrible things we’ve said to each other,” frontman Matt Berninger has told Pitchfork. “It’s like a family at Christmas: Sometimes you say the worst things possible to each other, but you know you’ll come back next Christmas.”
Still, at least the bandmates have experience at this kind of intra-group squabbling in the run-up to new album D-Day. Berninger said, “When we were making ‘Boxer,’ it got so tense between all of us that we worried whether we could even continue being friends and being a band toward the end. It was just so stressful on everybody. This time around, it’s still as tense, but we’re not worried. We realize that this is just what happens to us when we’re near the end of making a record.”
The singer has also revealed that the National’s as-yet-untitled fifth set will see a return to the band’s bombastic roots following their relatively restrained fourth effort, and that the disc will feature a reprise of Sufjan Stevens’ guest singer slot on ‘Boxer’, albeit this time in the form of “some weird little backing vocal melodies — no words.”
The National will hit the road in late April for a brief North American and European in support of the new collection, which is due to hit stores in May.
Animal Collective: Campfire Songs (Album Review)
The eight LPs Animal Collective released in the past decade display a wider, wilder range of styles than most mainstream acts endeavor to explore. While the band’s hype magnet (magnate?) status has become excessive in recent years, the music remains amorphous and exciting as it expands in new directions. It is possible, however, to discern a design within these broad parameters. Folk, rock, noise and dance influences (among others) seem to rotate throughout the discography, and a comprehensive listen reveals interconnected phases.
2009 LP Merriweather Post Pavilion was a shiny, sample-heavy work that seemed to flow from Panda Bear’s Person Pitch approach. 2007 album Strawberry Jam offered an even more harsh, manic variation of the psychedelic guitar pop that appeared on Feels in 2005. Furthermore, the acoustic and electronic roots for all of these works can be heard (albeit in sometimes overwhelmingly rough form) on the band’s debut full-length, Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished (2000).
Looking beyond the stylistic big tent, what gives credibility to Animal Collective’s musical identity in a larger cultural context is the band’s ability to bridge seemingly dissimilar audiences from hippies to the hip. Nothing testifies to this more succinctly than the band obtaining the first ever officially-licensed sample of a Grateful Dead song (“Unbroken Chain”) for Fall Be Kind track “What Would I Want? Sky”. Yet the presently reissued album Campfire Songs is an even greater window into Animal Collective’s placid side. Originally released in 2003, Campfire Songs could be considered the brief, quiet moment preceding the Here Comes the Indian freak-out and the triumphant, tribal Sung Tongs, which ignited the trajectory that lead the band to mid- and late-decade ubiquity.
As its title suggests, Campfire Songs is a five-song singalong recorded to MiniDisc, outdoors, and in a single take. A listener might embrace or pass on the album based on that description alone. But it is important to keep in mind that other recordings, from bands as diverse as Raccoo-oo-oon, Liars, and the Beach Boys, have all used similar techniques to very different ends. Animal Collective’s version of sitting on the porch and strumming the day away is actually quite cohesive and pleasant.
Although the production techniques used on Campfire Songs might seem limiting, the five songs offer enough variety to make the album compelling throughout. A major strength of the material is the way it combines both raw and delicate elements of composition. For example, “Queen in My Pictures” opens the album vaguely, with insistent guitar strums and wordless singing. But halfway through the song (minute five), both coalesce into one solid form. The song subtly but effectively shape-shifts precisely between “But now it seems her acid visions have come and changed / that face” and “she says I’m hallucinating”. The strumming intensifies during the third section of the song, which replaces the lyrics with a variation of the chanting that appears on later Animal Collective songs such as “Leaf House”.
“Doggy” continues the brisk concluding tempo of “Queen in My Pictures”, but the lyrics stand at odds with the song’s buoyant elements. The titular dog is now dead and still, and the song acknowledges this whilst remembering happier times. Much more lyrically specific than A Silver Mt. Zion’s similarly dead-dog inspired He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corners of our Rooms, “Doggy” occasionally slows down to a mournful chorus before moving on with the upbeat melody and chanting/barking.
“Two Corvettes” could pass for the work of a subdued Beachwood Sparks, while “Moo Rah Rah Rain” weaves in and out of the natural sounds that permeate the field recording. The “noise” of the song might try some listeners’ patience, but there is a kind of comfort to the music and lyrics as they appear over the wind and rain like waves. The final track, nature ode “De Soto De Son” probably provides the most hummable material here. Although there is a rather formless breakdown at the center, the verse/chorus sections that frame the song would appeal to those with a taste for more traditional folk music.
Most lo-fi recordings are by definition not luxurious enough to necessitate headphones, and Campfire Songs could be appreciated as background music. But the interplay of guitar, voice, and ambient/nature sounds is best appreciated on headphones rather than remote speakers. In several ways, Campfire Songs is an album that invites the listener to sit as close as possible and to join the circle. The album gets more uniquely intimate with each listen.
Broken Social Scene Return With New Album
Broken Social Scene are set to release their fourth album on May 4 via longtime label Arts & Crafts. Its the band’s first LP since 2005′s self-titled effort (which seems like it came out 15 years ago, am I right?) and will feature contributions (but not lengthy ones, since the band proper is down to six members) from all the people that have spun out of the BSS orbit to their own careers since, like Feist, Amy Millan, Emily Haines, Jason Collett and others. The album was produced by John McEntire, who is a member of Tortoise and Sea and Cake..
Monday, February 1, 2010
Gorillaz: Stylo (Stream) Feat: Bobby Womack & Mos Def (NEW SINGLE)
Magnetic Fields: Realism (Album Review)
Ever since 69 Love Songs was released, it’s been no difficult task to catch Stephen Merritt overextending himself. Conceptually dense while vibrantly singular, each album since the 1999 lauded classic has carried with it its own specific semblance of quirky indulgences. Following such an ambitious project is a delicate undertaking in the first place. When you take into account 69 Love Songs particularly far reaching shadow, it’s not hard to understand The Magnetic Fields and their seeming need for artistic reinvention. It comes as no surprise then that their latest effort (the totally non-ironically titled Realism) finds its own subtly jarring ways to both impress and confound.
Completing the “no-synth” trilogy started in 2004 with i, and continued in 2008 with the excellent Distortion, Realism is Merritt’s unabashed stab at folk. Serving as both a stark counterpart to its predecessor, as well as an unexpectedly refreshing take on The Magnetic Fields’ familiar methods, Realism is a folk-pop album that has no idea how to separate its genuine intentions from its guilty pleasures. Such as it is, a disparate sort of concoction is created; one that only Stephen Merritt can be responsible for, and one that is endlessly fascinating.
Blending his usual deadpan delivery with a crisply cheeky brand of (in)sincerity, Merritt finds the stripped down singer/songwriter hat a weirdly perfect fit on Realism. Album opener You Must Be Out of Your Mind remarks, “you want what you turned off turned on” in a winningly confessional track that continues the usual Magnetic Fields themes of loneliness and lack of connection; but adds to it the vivid imagery of sarcastic fuck-all. Later, the sparse instrumentation on the almost angelic I Don’t Know What To Say only elevates the track’s central mantra to a point of lucid, regrettable honesty until it abruptly trails off into nothingness.
The ridiculously anthemic We Are Having a Hootenanny is as infectiously dumb as it is addicting. Communal and classic, it speaks perfectly to the atmosphere Merritt aims to create on Realism from its start. Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree continues in this fashion, albeit flashing a bit more of the trademark smarminess of which we’ve all grown accustomed. However, The Dada Polka (which is the only track on the album to employ the use of the electric guitar), probably makes the best argument for the LP. The way it fuses its own ideas of what a folk song could be and what a pop song should be, makes for one of the more enjoyable two minutes and twenty five second stretches you will likely spend with a song this year, and (in that sense) almost perfectly encapsulates Realism on the whole.
While it is admittedly commonplace and boring at this point to continuously compare The Magnetic Fields’ releases to 69 Love Songs, each new LP is (at the very least) an interesting testament to Merritt’s artistic cunning. Realism strikes a compelling balance between cringing honesty and organic chemistry that comes through in its crystalline composition as well as its more rugged manifestations. Complete reinvention isn’t necessarily reached, but isn’t quite the ultimate goal either. As with any Magnetic Fields album, Realism seeks to expand upon the band’s storied existence, adding yet another layer to its already thick skin.
My Morning Jacket to Tour w/Preservation Hall Jazz Band
We were just talking about Jim James’ recent work with NOLA’s own Preservation Hall Jazz Band when, lo and behold, an email has arrived announcing that James’ band My Morning Jacket are heading out on tour with the legendary group.
The MMJ/PHJB tour will kick off on 4/20 in Birmingham, Alabama before trekking through the Southeastern U.S. (including a date at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, of course) and concluding in Columbus, Ohio.
Tour dates for the spring jaunt are listed below, but you may also want to check out the teaser site for the Preservation benefit album that James contributed to, as it includes lots of streaming music, including James’ Yim Yames’ take on “Lousiana Fairytale” (he also recorded a version of “St. James Infirmary”) thataway.
My Morning Jacket & Preservation Hall Jazz Band Spring Tour Dates:
04/20: Birmingham, AL @ Alabama Theater
04/21: Nashville, TN @ Municipal Auditorium
04/23: Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park
04/24: New Orleans, LA @ Jazzfest
04/27: St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheater
04/28: Charleston, SC @ Family Circle
04/30: Raleigh, NC @ Koka Booth
05/01: Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
05/02: Columbus, OH @ LC Outdoor Pavilion
Tom Waits, ‘In Bruges’ Director Plot Stage Musical
First the good news: Tom Waits has teamed up with director Robert Wilson for a fourth stage musical project, following previous efforts The Black Rider, Alice in Wonderland, and Woyzeck.
And now the great news: In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh has also joined the pair for the forthcoming musical, which is slated to premiere in Paris next year, reports Shauna Lee Lange (via /Film).
Pretty exciting, no? Sure, many of us won’t be flying to France to witness the live show, but songs from his previous three musicals all eventually got the official release treatment, so it’s safe to presume the same will be true this time around (though let’s hope it doesn’t take a decade as it did with Alice).