Akron/Family form harmonious new record label, Family Tree Records

Akron/Family form harmonious new record label, Family Tree Records http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-11-10-family-tree.png

Those familiar with the Akron/Family album Love Is Simple (TMT Review) may recognize the following lyrics: “I’ve got some friends that you should meet/ All good men, all good women… are their names/ But don’t go see them if you are shy/ ‘Cause they are always in embrace beyond proprietttyyyyy.” Whether the song “I’ve Got Some Friends” is about anything specific at all is pretty ambiguous, but one can be reasonably certain that the above lyrics are not only an accurate representation of the values that the relentlessly eccentric experimental folk group hold dear, but also serve as the basis for the founding and operation of their brand new record label, Family Tree Records. Although the label has already been semi-established since the co-release of <bmbz> (a reconstruction from seven artists of Akron/Family’s latest album) earlier this year, things have become officially official with the announcement that, in 2012, they will issue Sunkissed by the Denver band Bad Weather California.

According to a press release, Family Tree Records is said to be influenced by similar artist-run labels, like Takoma Records (started by John Fahey), Elephant 6, and Young God (the label through which Akron/Family first gained notoriety). The idea is to create a musical environment “driven by a sense of independent thinking, ideas, and values,” and tethered by an ever-growing and evolving group of friends, artists, and collaborators. So, in a sense, it’s like forgoing the random college roommate assignment and instead opting to reside with a close pal with whom you actually have something in common. And we all know that having a friend as a roommate never ends horribly, with endless lawsuits and a mutual destruction of personal property. No, no, in all seriousness, the members of Akron/Family seem way more peaceable.

• Akron/Family: http://akronfamily.com
• Family Tree: http://www.familytreerecs.com

Indie label licensing agency Merlin makes deal with YouTube; cash money to appear out of thin air

When I’m not weeping for humanity courtesy of the comments posted there, the majority of my time on YouTube is spent perusing various music uploads to share with those who are unfamiliar. As much as the sound quality of some of these uploads makes me want to vomit out of my ear holes, they’re at least useful for a quick and dirty introduction to an artist’s work. Now, in an agreement between YouTube and independent label licensing agency Merlin — representing labels such as Merge, Warp, Sub Pop, Domino, and Beggars Group (which owns or distributes 4AD, Rough Trade, Matador, and XL) — will be able to receive royalties whenever official music videos or user-generated videos featuring their music are played on the site.

Additionally, speaking with Billboard, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas points out how the deal (the exact terms of which have yet to be revealed) will also allow labels to create their own channels and “build a premium monetization model.” My brain takes a hiatus whenever I hear or read financial jargon mixed with music-related subjects, but I’m going to assume that building a “premium monetization model” essentially means that, to a degree, labels can work out their own structure for earning money via the site.

Billboard also highlights the relevant statistic that the market share of Merlin member labels currently stands at 10%, roughly one-third of all independently-owned “repertoire,” as they put it. So depending on which labels choose to participate, and what the exact terms of the deal are, this could be a pretty decent boon for the pockets of those who help to release the albums that we all (well, at least those who read TMT) know and love. Now if we can only figure out a way to pay users who upload videos of their cute little cats doing hilarious things. They need to be rewarded too.

• Merlin: http://www.merlinnetwork.org

Oneohtrix Point Never announces European tour; Daniel Lopatin buckles each synthesizer into a separate seat before takeoff

Oneohtrix Point Never’s got the indie world by their balls, and he won’t hesitate in giving ‘em all nutty twisters if they start to downplay his next move. “Replica isn’t as easy a sell as Ford & Lopatin? Nevermind that, hold the hype ship steady.” “Rest easy, men, reports are coming in that the album has rhythmic stuff going on. We’re in the clear.” “Fuck, regroup! Just got word that the title track is using untreated piano… do we call his bluff or is now the time to break the emergency ‘invoke Gastr del Sol’ glass?”

And so the saga continues as Replica’s November 8 release date draws closer; who knows if either side will come out alive. All that’s certain for now is Mr. Lopatin following up his performance at Moogfest this Sunday with a number of European tourdates in November and December, according to FACT. We all wish him luck on his tour but also beg him not to introduce any sounds into his set that might be difficult for a music writer to instantly process and excrete.


11.20.11 - Madrid, Spain - Red Bull Music Academy
11.22.11 - Bristol, UK - Cube Cinema
11.23.11 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
11.24.11 - London, UK - St. Giles Church #
11.25.11 - Moscow, Russia - Aktoviy Zal
11.26.11 - St. Petersburg, Russia - Electro-Mechanica Festival
11.27.11 - Berlin, Germany - Festsaal Kreuzberg
11.28.11 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen
11.30.11 - Milan, Italy - Bitte Club
12.01.11 - Lisbon, Portugal - ZDB
12.02.11 - Guimarães, Portugal - CCVF
12.03.11 - Madeira Island, Portugal - Madeiradig Festival

# Helm, Babe Rainbow

Meanwhile, Boiler Room posted “Nassau” from Replica. Check it out here:

• Oneohtrix Point Never: http://pointnever.com
• Software: http://softwarelabel.net

Dust-to-Digital releases 4-CD collection of ultra-rare African 78s for your gramophone listening pleasure

The mystical leprechauns over at Atlanta’s Dust-to Digital have followed the world music rainbow to yet another pot of undiscovered tune-gold. This time, the wise record geeks who brought you such drool-worthy compilations as I Belong to This Band: 85 Years of Sacred Harp Recordings, Melodii Tuvi: Throat Songs and Folk Tunes from Tuva, and the just-released John Fahey collection are taking you on a time-traveling journey to all parts of Africa, where the discerning collector will come face to face with the 100 tracks of Opika Pende: Africa at 78 RPM. Over the course of four CDs and a 112-page book, fans will travel with LA-based compiler/writer/researcher/collector Jonathan Ward across the entire continent and several decades.

Opika Pende (which means, variously, “be strong,” “stand firm,” and “resist” in the Lingala language of Central Africa) starts off in Egypt and ends in South Africa. The collection includes traditional music and popular jams, all of it never before available on CD. For, as you can guess from the name of the collection, 78s were the preferred method of music listening in most of Africa till the mid-60s, when most of the population still used hand-cranked gramophones. Opika includes songs from 1909 all the way to the mid-60s and, and it’s available now from the Dust-to-Digital website, where you can also see the full tracklist (with language/country specified when possible).

• Dust-to-Digital: http://dust-digital.com

[Photo: The Wire]

Pete Swanson releasing a solo LP on Type Records. Squint really hard and it’s a new Yellow Swans album.

Remember 90s Nickelodeon? I still can’t believe some of those dumb kids on Legends of the Hidden Temple couldn’t put together the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. Remember how for years you had to scour the sketchiest corners of the internet to find episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Remember recently when 90s Nickelodeon (sort of) came back? I don’t actually know what channel it comes on now, because I don’t have cable, but I’m fairly certain the lineup includes Clarissa Explains It All and Doug.

So, speaking of cool things ending, then returning in a slightly different fashion, remember when Yellow Swans disbanded back in 2008? Then remember in 2010 when Pete Swanson, one half of the noise duo, released a solo LP titled Feelings in America on Root Strata (TMT Review)? And remember how earlier this year, Swanson released another LP called I Don’t Rock At All on Three Lobed Recordings as well as a 7-inch on Emerald Cocoon?

Well, come November, Swanson will release yet another new album, Man With Potential, via Type Records. He recently explained the LP’s sound to Altered Zones:

The album is mainly comprised of fairly fractured electronic sounds, tape loops of voices, and field recordings, with occasional melodic themes and kick drums emerging to ground the pieces in some more accessible sonic territory. At the time of this recording, I was fixated on out-of-sync looping patterns and creating very dense work by layering very brief sounds.

Not exactly Yellow Swans, but definitely Yellow Swans-esque. Over at The Wire, you can stream four recent Pete Swanson songs, including one from Man With Potential.

• Pete Swanson: http://www.discogs.com/artist/Pete+Swanson
• Type: http://typerecords.com

The Flaming Lips unveil website to stream their 24-hour Halloween song (Note to self: take off work on November 1)

Given the rapid and uncontrollable mutation of The Flaming Lips’ “batshit gene” in the past two years or so, it was hardly a stretch to imagine that The Flaming Lips would eventually get nuts enough to attempt the ultimate cosmic apogee of weed/skulls evolution: the 24-hour-long song. But what not even Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ian Malcolm could have predicted that, in the process, they would also become super-intelligent enough to make a specific website for it. And not just because he’s not a real person (though, yeah, mostly because of that). But according to Prefix, life once again found a way.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Flaming Lips 24 Hour Song Dot Com. And right now, the only thing that’s on there is a picture of one of those USB gummie skulls (apparently titled “7 Skies H3”?) and a countdown clock to 12 AM CST on Halloween, at which point the stream of the massive party track will begin. As of the time of this writing, you’ve got a little over three days and 11 hours to charge up all of your web-enabled devices, buy a boatload of coffee, and empty your mind of all the extraneous bullshit like work and family and spatial reasoning and motor skills that could interfere with your being accosted for an entire day by what I can only assume is the sound of Stephen Drozd feeding a bale of hay to a hungry baby grand piano on which Michael Ivins is simultaneously playing J.S. Bach’s entire catalog to accompany Wayne Coyne as he speech-sings the entirety of Ulysses through his megaphone to a hungry crowd of disgruntled seniors in a nursing home cafeteria. Or heck, maybe it’s just “U Smile 800% Slower, 8000% slower.” Either way, see you guys in hell in a couple days!

• 24 Hour Song: http://flaminglipstwentyfourhoursong.com
• The Flaming Lips: http://www.flaminglips.com