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Archive for March, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
She and Him: Volume Two (Album Review)
For almost a decade now, the droll, doll-faced actress Zooey Deschanel has served as Hollywood’s unofficial ambassador of Alt Whimsy — a hipsterette pinup flitting breezily between the worlds of indie quirk and showbiz gloss. After years of dabbling with singing on the big screen (see: Elf, Yes Man) she finally went all-in with She & Him, a shamelessly retro, grammatically iffy pairing with lauded folk troubadour M. Ward. Their first release, 2008’s Volume One, found instant success with the NPR-tote-bag set and cemented Deschanel’s bilateral cutie-pie status. (Her subsequent marriage to Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard didn’t hurt.)
Volume Two, unsurprisingly, trucks in much the same sunny, strummy nostalgia as its predecessor. The pair don’t so much create new material as conflate their favorite bits from a lovingly curated pile of dusty vinyl. “Thieves” and “Me and You” have the dreamy AM-radio appeal of records whose cardboard sleeves featured girls with knowing eyes and back-combed bouffants. “Don’t Look Back” brims with sweet piano plonk and Spector-ish harmonies, while ”Lingering Still” and ”Gonna Get Along Without You Now” sway between lullaby twang and Brill Building jangle. Though Ward is a master instrumentalist, Deschanel’s vocal affects and childlike rhymes sometimes veer into twee overload; she can seem too in love with her own adorability. But by a cappella closer ”If You Can’t Sleep,” it’s hard to begrudge this Volume’s magpie charms.
Generation gap or no, the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St. is a stone classic. And the 1972 record is set to get the reissue treatment on May 17 in the UK and May 18 in the U.S. via Universal. The revisit comes with 10 recently uncovered, never-before-heard Exile-era sessions tracks and alternate versions of “Soul Survivor” and “Loving Cup”. Naturally, there will also be a super-deluxe version with a 64-page book, the album on double-vinyl, four postcards (why not), and a DVD with excerpts from various Stones films.
Related: “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” will celebrate the reissue by hosting covers of Exile tracks from different bands throughout the week of May 17.
EMI’s Potentially Life-Saving Licensing Talks Not Going Great…
EMI Group Ltd is struggling to reach a deal to license its catalogue of recordings, with Sony Corp (6758.T) on the verge of pulling out of discussions with the British music company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
EMI, which is owned by private-equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd, has been seeking a deal in which one of its rivals would license and distribute its music in the United States in exchange for an upfront payment of up to $150 million, the newspaper said.
But Warner Music Corp has not been in talks with EMI and Vivendi SA (VIV.PA) broke off talks last week, the newspaper said.
Johnny Marr Mulls Modest Mouse Guest Spot at Reading and Leeds 2010
Introduced as ‘Johnny Jarman’ when he played with the Cribs at the Reading and Leeds festivals in 2008, Johnny Marr is mulling over the possibility of playing not only with them, but also with Modest Mouse on the same day.
Modest Mouse — which Marr was a member of — are playing the festival along with the Cribs at Reading on Saturday Aug. 28, and Leeds on Friday, Aug. 27 on the main stage at this year’s event.
With the line-up for Reading and Leeds 2010 announced on Monday, March 29, former Smiths guitarist and Morrissey sparring partner Marr asked NME, “I didn’t know Modest Mouse were on — are they on just before us?”
The guitarist recorded a US Billboard number one album with Modest Mouse ‘We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank’ in 2006 — Marr’s first ever US top spot placing — and toured with them prior to joining the Jarmans in Wakefield indie band the Cribs.
Asked if he would make a live guest appearance with Modest Mouse, before the Cribs own slot, Marr said, “You never know. What would be a good idea is that if I grew a beard like a good Musketeer, then while the other band in between us are playing just go and have a shave.”
Marr also explained that both bands are friends anyway, saying, “We were all together when the Cribs played in Portland about six weeks ago, that was really nice. Everybody’s just so easy being around each other — it’s sickeningly healthy, really.”
Reading and Leeds festival 2010 headliners announced yesterday on Spinner are Guns N’Roses, Blink-182 and Arcade Fire. Two bands set to reform for the August Bank Holiday weekend event, August 27-29, are Queens of the Stone Age and the Libertines.
Gorillaz to release ‘Superfast Jellyfish’ with video game
Gorillaz are releasing a digital bundle of their song ‘Superfast Jellyfish’ which includes a computer game yesterday (March 29).
The digital bundle for the song, taken from recent album ‘Plastic Beach’, will include the game, ‘Escape To Plastic Beach’. Fans can compare high scores on a global table. See Gorillaz.com for more information.
‘Superfast Jellyfish’ features guest vocals from De La Soul and Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys. Listen to it at the band’s YouTube page, Youtube.com/gorillaz.
The Who’s Roger Daltrey: ‘I’d love to make a Keith Moon biopic’
The Who’s Roger Daltrey says he still wants to release a film about the band’s original drummer Keith Moon.
Although plans for a film about Moon, who died in 1978, have long been rumoured, Daltrey says he’s still looking for a suitable writer to do the story justice.
“The Keith Moon film depends on someone sitting me down long enough with a writer to get it right. If I sat down for six weeks with a good writer, I could get it done,” he told the Daily Star. “I’ve got it all in pictures in my head. I know what the film should look like, the way the narrative should be structured.”
Daltrey added that he has rejected previous scripts – including one rumoured to have been written for Mike Myers to play the part of Moon.
“Every time I’ve left a writer to it before now, they say, ‘OK, I see what you mean, I know what you want’, and then they go off on a complete tangent from what we’ve agreed because they don’t know what it feels like to be in a band.”
He continued: “That is one of the big problems with Keith’s life – it needs to be written by someone who was there. It needs more time than I’ve been able to give it. But I’d love to have the time to do it justice with the right writer.”
Daltrey is set to perform with The Who today (March 30) as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust gigs, which he also curates.
Warner Begins Recruiting Student Narcs to Monitor Peer-to-Peer…
Warner Bros Entertainment UK is recruiting tech-savvy students to help the company with their anti-piracy efforts. During the 12 month internship the students will have to maintain accounts at private BitTorrent sites, develop link-scanning bots, make trap purchases and perform various other anti-piracy tasks.
The people who work at the anti-piracy divisions of Warner Bros. and other large media companies have to be experts in file-sharing technology. It is therefore no surprise that Warner Bros. is actively recruiting students for a job as Anti-Piracy Intern, as most students have grown up sharing files.
Warner Bros Entertainment UK is currently offering an internship to “IT literate” students with knowledge of file-sharing networks to assist in the company’s ongoing anti-piracy efforts. The internship deals with both digital and physical piracy and among other things the applicant will have to make trap purchases and maintain accounts at private file-sharing sites.
The intern will further have to scour the Internet for illegally posted Warner Bros. and NBC Universal content and gather intelligence on the sites that offer these pirated goods. One of the more boring tasks listed in the job description is the sending of takedown requests and infringement notices to sites and users.
The full job description taken from the vacancy (pdf) at The University of Manchester reads as follows:
During the 12 month internship, duties will include: monitoring local Internet forums and IRC for pirated WB and NBCU content and in order to gather information on pirate sites, pirate groups and other pirate activities; finding new and maintaining existing accounts on private sites; scanning for links to hosted pirated WB and NBCU content and using tools to issue takedown requests; maintaining and developing bots for Internet link scanning system (training provided); preparing sending of infringement notices and logging feedback; performing trap purchases of pirated product and logging results; inputting pirate hard goods data and other intelligence into the forensics database; selecting local keywords and submitting local filenames for monitoring and countermeasure campaigns and periodically producing research documents on piracy related technological developments. Various training will be provided.
The lucky student who gets the job will receive a £17,500 salary for the 12 month internship that starts July 2010. Applicants are required to study a degree in a computing related discipline and programming experience with Java or JSP and PHP, Perl or Python is seen as a bonus.
We encourage all eligible TorrentFreak readers to apply for this exciting internship and provide us with regular updates on Warner Bros’ anti-piracy efforts. You have to be quick though, the vacancy closes on March 31.
Despite the buzz of excitement, it appears that Swedish hardcore punk band Refused are not planning to join the ranks of reformed bands.
The band split in 1998 shortly after the release of the The Shape Of Punk To Come: A Chimerical Bombination In 12 Bursts which was named by Kerrang! as one of the “50 Most Important Albums Of All Time”.
The ‘news’ of a reformation began with a new message on the band’s official website which simply reads “Refused, coming soon…”, but following the logic of a good internet rumour it soon turned into a full blown reformation.
BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe spread the word’ by excitedly tweeting – “This. Is. HUGE!!!!!, Refused have reformed.”
Punknews.org were also quick to fuel the flames and hopes of fans by citing “an anonymous source” who claimed that the band would soon be playing “some to-be-confirmed European summer festivals.”
However it appears that the brief yet tantalising message simply refers to the upcoming reissue of 1998’s The Shape Of Punk To Come due out in May, rather than a tour or any new recordings from the band.
A clearly frustrated Lowe has acknowledged his mistake on Twitter – “Ugh!!! Major f%^^in burn!! Cheeky marketing RT. apparently it’s just Epitaph re-releasing TSOPTC. “Refused Are Coming”!!!??… I’m sorry but that is playing on peoples hopes. Oh well, apologies for the false alarm.”
Louis Armstrong Biopic Starring Forest Whitaker Moving Forward
Twenty-two years after his Cannes award-winning turn as Charlie Parker in the Clint Eastwood-directed biopic Bird, Forest Whitaker is gearing up to play another jazz great: Louis Armstrong. Just as Don Cheadle is plotting to direct and star in an upcoming Miles Davis biopic, Whitaker will perform double duty as the star and director of the film, currently-titled What A Wonderful Life, which is tentatively set to begin filming in the spring of next year.
“It covers his whole life but more from a myth point of view – it’s told as two different myths of the same person,” Whitaker told Empire. “I didn’t know anything about Louis Armstrong’s life until I started working on the piece. I just knew some of his songs – mostly his pop songs [because] in a way he became a pop star.”
There’s no word yet on who will be taking on music supervising duties, but Whitaker was the executive producer on his three previous directorial efforts, so perhaps he’ll work closely in that department once again. If not, I nominate the jazz biopic go-to man, Herbie Hancock, for the job.
Jeff Mangum Announces Rare Performance at Chris Knox Benefit
Yo La Tengo, members of TV on the Radio and Magnetic Fields lined up as well
On May 6, downtown Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge will host a benefit show for New Zealand punk originator Chris Knox, who suffered a series of strokes last year.
The big news: Reclusive Neutral Milk Hotel leader Jeff Mangum will make an extremely rare appearance at the show, playing a “very short acoustic set.” According to the show’s publicist, Mangum “is doing the show specifically to help raise money for his close friend and it’s not the start of a comeback.” Still, Jeff Mangum! Live! This doesn’t happen every day. Or every year. Or ever, really.
Other acts playing the benefit include Yo La Tengo, TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone, Portastatic, Claudia Gonson of the Magnetic Fields, Sharon Van Etten, and Knox’s fellow New Zealanders Robert Scott and David Kilgour of the Clean (who will each do solo sets). Most of the performers also contributed to the recent Knox covers disc Stroke.
Portions of the show will be recorded to be broadcast on WFMU and New Zealand radio stations at a later date. Tickets will go on sale on Kickstarter.com on Tuesday, March 30.
Mr. Hansen writes songs for the movie’s fictional garage band
Earlier this week, the trailer for the new comic book adaptation flick Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World debuted online and sent dorks worldwide into spasms of ecstasy. One more reason to get geeked up about the movie and its trailer: Amidst all the dialogue and booming sound effects, apparently you’ll hear slivers of a couple of new Beck songs, the Playlist reports. According to the Playlist, Beck wrote the songs for Sex Bob-Omb, the titular character’s fictional band.
The L.A. Times reports that the Universal movie, which opens August 13, also features a new song from Metric, and Radiohead/Beck producer Nigel Godrich serves as music supervisor.
The Swedish hardcore punk band, who originally formed in 1991 before splitting in 1998, look set to make a comeback after they posted a message on their official site officialrefused.com saying: ‘Refused, coming soon…”.
Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe also painted further evidence of a possible reformation when he expressed his delight on his Twitter page earlier today (March 27) adding: “This. Is. HUGE!!!!!, Refused have reformed.”
The band released five EPs and three albums – ‘This Just Might Be The Truth’ (1994), ‘Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent’ (1996), and ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come: A Chimerical Bombination In 12 Bursts’ (1998) – during their seven year career.
MAJOR LAYOFFS AT SONY AS COLUMBIA AND EPIC MERGE STAFF..
Sony Music Entertainment continues to trim staff with sources suggesting that about 20 people were let go from the Sony Music Label Group, which consists of Columbia, Epic and a shared services department, sources say. The layoffs come on the heels of cutbacks at other divisions within the Company.
The Daily Swarm received three separate tips regarding rumored layoffs at Sony/BMG and after some fact-checking they, sadly, appear to be true. Just last year Sony/BMG began leasing the CAA building in Beverly Hills at no small sticker price, and Sony’s film arm suffered major layoffs in February of this year.
Tip: Columbia Records laid off 40–50 people this afternoon
Tip: Heard there we’re sizable layoffs over at Sony today as they merged Epic and Columbia staffs.
April 16 Indio CA Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
April 20 Dublin Tripod * SOLD OUT
April 21 Dublin Tripod * SOLD OUT
April 23 London Brixton Academy * SOLD OUT
April 24 London Brixton Academy *SOLD OUT
April 26 Birmingham Academy
April 27 Leeds Academy * SOLD OUT
April 28 Glasgow Barrowlands
April 29 Glasgow Barrowlands * SOLD OUT
May 1 Manchester Academy * SOLD OUT
May 2 Bristol Academy * SOLD OUT
May 4 Amsterdam Paradiso * SOLD OUT
May 5 Brussels Ancienne Belgique * SOLD OUT
May 6 Berlin WMF
May 7 Luxembourg Den Atelier
May 8 Paris Bataclan * SOLD OUT
May 9 Paris Bataclan
May 20 New York Terminal 5
May 21 New York Terminal 5
May 30 George WA Sasquatch Festival
June 11 Manchester TN Bonnaroo Festival
June 17 La Coruna Sonar
June 18 Barcelona Sonar
June 19 Neuhausen ob Eck Southside Festival
June 20 Scheesel Hurricane Festival
June 22 Zagreb T Mobile Inmusic Festival
June 24 Ferrara Bands Apart Festival
June 25 St. Gallen Open Air festival
July 1 Roskilde Roskilde Festival
July 3 London Wireless Festival
July 8 Novi Sad Exit Festival
July 10 Lisbon Alive Festival
July 17 Chicago IL Pitchfork Music Festival
July 15 Mariaville Camp Bisco
July 16 Mariaville Camp Bisco
August 12 Oslo Oya Festival
August 13 Gotenberg Way Out West Festival
September 12 Isle of Wight Bestival