Beck’s new album is just a book of sheet music, NOT an adorable puppy tied with a bow

Beck’s new album is just a book of sheet music, NOT an adorable puppy tied with a bow http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-12-08-beck.jpg

When you’re an internationally-acclaimed indie rock songwriter like Beck, you can do whatever the F you want. You can voice a character in the Rugrats movie. You can build a waterslide into a giant vat of Diet Pepsi. You can breed standard poodles paired to create an ultradog that looks exactly like Kim Kardashian in dog form) You can release an album that’s no album at all — it’s a book — and you can tell people, “come on, man, don’t be a square, that’s my new album maaaaaaan.” You can do whatever you want because you’re Beck and even my mom knows who you are and is moved to tears in 30 seconds or less of hearing the opening track from Sea Change.

Now, Beck could do all the things listed above, if he wanted to. But Beck’s not that kinda guy; he doesn’t want to abuse the power the Gods of Indie Rock have given him. So he’s only done, say, half of the magical things on that list. (I’ll let you guess which ones.) And now he really is releasing that long-awaited new album as a book — well, a song reader, rather. What’s a song reader, you say? What are you, born after 1930? A song reader is — according to a press release — “an almost-forgotten form — twenty songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music, never before released or recorded.” So naturally Beck Hansen’s Song Reader, released in conjunction with (who else?) McSweeney’s is the rootin’ tootin’est song reader this side of World War I, complete with full color era-evocative illustrations, ukulele notations (when “necessary”), and a fancy hardcover carrying case. The song reader features 20 new Beck songs, plus illustrations from artists Marcel Dzama (who also arted on Beck’s Guero), Josh Cochran, Jessica Hische, Leanne Shapton, and the always intriguing “many more.” There’s also an introduction by Jody Rosen (Slate, New York Times) and a foreword by Mr. Hansen himself. Beck Hansen’s Song Reader drops, in its 108 color illustrated paged glory, sometime in December.

• Beck: http://www.beck.com
• McSweeney’s: http://www.mcsweeneys.net

Pussy Riot trial concludes; members make closing statements

Russian punk band and political activist group Pussy Riot have been enduring a painfully fascist trial over their protest of Russian President Vladmir Putin, a now-infamous performance in Moscow’s main cathedral with the Pussy gals singing a prayer to Mary for the removal of Putin. Charged with “hooliganism” motivated by “religious hatred,” the activists were facing a maximum sentence of seven years for such shenanigans, though the prosecution was pushing for three years, describing their use of naughty words in church as “an abuse of God.” If that’s the case, Russia, then watch out, I’m a goddamned terrorist.

The trial as of yesterday has officially ended, and much to the surprise of Pussy Riot and their lawyers, the verdict has been delayed for another week. The band’s lawyers had been expecting a quick conviction for the full three-year sentence, but the judge’s delay in sentencing has offered a gleam of hope.

“To take a quick decision under such pressure is very dangerous for the authorities, so they’ve taken a time out,” lawyer Nikolai Polozov said. “No matter what the verdict is, we have won.”

Band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who has described the charges as “political order for repression,” commented on the impending verdict, saying, “Even though we are behind bars, we are freer than those people.”

Media sources are attributing this potentially lighter sentence to the amount of media coverage and celebrity support of Pussy Riot. China has expressed their solidarity as well.

• Free Pussy Riot: http://www.freepussyriot.org

Cat Power pounces on North American audiences this fall

Meeeow! Calling all fans of pussy control, because Cat Power has just announced that she’ll be hitting the road this fall in support of her upcoming ninth LP, Sun. To be released September 4 on longtime label Matador, the record has two singles out so far: the previously announced “Ruin,” and the just-out ”Cherokee,” which boasts a bonus remix by Nicolas Jaar. As noted in the last piece to be published on TMT about Ms. Marshall, they both sound very Cat Power-y.

Once known for being an erratic mess on stage, much like a skittish feline, Chan Marshall has grown much more comfortable performing live in the last eight years or so, strutting across the stage like a prize-winning purebred. If her breathy vocals and polished production are your kind of thing, make sure and snag a ticket, as they’re likely to go fast. Most go on sale starting August 10.

Tourdates:

10.11.12 - Miami, FL - Grand Central
10.13.12 - Mexico City, Mexico - Corona Capital Music Festival
10.19.12 - Montreal, QC - Metropolis
10.20.12 - Toronto, ON - Kool Haus
10.22.12 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
10.23.12 - New York, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom
10.24.12 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
10.25.12 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
10.27.12 - Detroit, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre
10.28.12 - Chicago, IL - Riviera
11.02.12 - Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre
11.03.12 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo
11.04.12 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
11.06.12 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
11.08.12 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium

• Cat Power: http://catpowermusic.com
• Matador: http://www.matadorrecords.com

[Photo: Austin Conroy]

Jim O’Rourke announces Old News No. 8, the eighth oldest in the Old News series

As a young man beginning to dip his toes into the world of experimental music, I noticed that the name Jim O’Rourke came up very frequently. He was associated with Wilco and Sonic Youth and, even among those major names, he was spoken of with a certain reverence. Who was this supposed genius? I needed to know. So I assumed there was an easy entry-point to the world of O’Rourke, a single album on which he built his reputation. Then I found this website and lost my damn mind.

Jim O’Rourke puts out a ton of material, that’s what I’m saying. Even that aforementioned website has stopped keeping track! O’Rourke has been particularly prolific this year, having released a new Fenn O’Berg album, a new record with Keiji Haino and Oren Ambarchi, a new entry in his Old News series, and probably some other releases that aren’t coming off the top of my head. On October 1, the list of O’Rourke releases will get one entry longer, as he puts out Old News No. 8 through Editions Mego. True to its name, Old News No. 8 boasts some very old material, dating back to 1991 and 1992. These songs were remastered in 2012 at the Steamroom in Tokyo, so the record is like a collision between the past and the future. Just like that Futurama episode where Fry becomes his own grandpa.

Old News No. 8 tracklist:

01. Mere Pt. 1
02. Mere Pt. 2
03. Mere Pt. 3
04. Merely

• Jim O’Rourke: http://www.dragcity.com/artists/jim-orourke
• Old News: http://editionsmego.com/releases/old-news
• Editions Mego: http://editionsmego.com

Zomby apparently at work on new album for 4AD, easily solidifying his reputation as “most productive zombie ever”

Oh, man. You know what I just love?? When music news isn’t really hard news, but instead consists of a few scraps of vague stuff about something that an artist might maybe do somewhere down the line in the hazy, potentiality-filled quantum-mechanical future! So you better believe that I was beyond-psyched when good ol’ FACT Magazine told me almost nothing-at-all about how Zomby seems to be working on a little something or other in New York right now.

Fans may remember last year’s Dedication LP (TMT Review) and follow-up Nothing EP (TMT Review) and all the annoying details like “track titles” and “cover art” and what not that came with those releases. Well, I’m happy to say that none of that hideous and inelegant ephemera will be cluttering up this news bulletin! See, according to 4AD label boss Simon Halliday, Zomby is currently… out there… doing something with music… kinda. “Zomby’s in New York, and he’s chill. He’s happy,” Halliday said. “He’s getting some music together and it’s sounding great – really summery and smooth, kinda like that feeling Aphex would get to sometimes, that sort of Richard D. James album where it was really melodic.” What else? Well, that’s the beauty part. Kinda nothing. “He sends stuff over, and there’s some great tracks in there, it makes me happy too.” See, isn’t that just delightful? Zomby out there being all happy? Making 4AD happy? What else do you want?

And don’t you dare sully this beautiful moment by asking when this new music might be coming out, reader, because damn it, Zomby “doesn’t speed records out for the sake of it,” Halliday continues. “He takes his own time, he’s very thoughtful – but I think if he can do a couple more good albums, he’ll prove to be one of the great producers.” It’ll trickle out when it’s good and ready, and some other news reporter can format all those hideous details. So, then, TO RECAP: Halliday thinks Zomby 1) is not as good as Richard D. James, 2) is probably not depressed, and 3) probably has one or two more records in him before he fucking craps out. And that’s it. Take it or leave it.

• Zomby: http://www.myspace.com/zombyproductions
• 4AD: http://www.4ad.com

John Fahey’s Revenant label starting up production again; expect a bitter turf war with Dust-to-Digital

After five years of deep sleep, reflection, and alternative facial soaps, the curatorial spirits behind John Fahey’s post-Takoma label, Revenant Records, are cleansed and ready to send recordings screaming from the grave and into Grammy-nominating ears once again. Revenant has been responsible for some of the most raw and beautiful folk/blues reissues/compilations around since forming in 1996, and they’ve also managed to tie in some contemporary records by No-Neck Blues Band, Jim O’Rourke, and Sir Richard Bishop, along with the 9-disc Albert Ayler Holy Ghost box set — which gets an award from me right now for Best Packaging. Shit, there’s even a Bassholes CD out there. Glad to have you back Revenant!!

There will be “a more complete slate of forthcoming releases in a month or so,” says they, but for now we know they’re well into at least one project: a two-volume chronicle of Paramount — “an early American record label operating in Wisconsin that from 1922-32 produced a catalog comprising arguably the greatest cavalcade of artists ever housed under one roof.” Which means that, yes, Jelly Roll Morton, Son House, William Moore, Ma Rainey, Bo Weavil Jackson, Charley Patton, Blind Blake, Skip James, Blind Willie Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, and Blind Lemon Jefferson all recorded for Paramount. Along with the unearthed music itself, Revenant will be spritzing record-collector catnip all over the place: “handcrafted packaging with inlaid materials, large format hardcover books, 200g vinyl records plus digital downloads of all materials, a complete narrative history of the label, and a visual centerpiece featuring many of the striking original line-drawn ads.” Oh Dust, don’t hurt ‘em…

• Revenant: http://www.revenantrecords.com

  

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