Akron/Family Taking Pledges of Support for a 5k Race This Saturday!

It's one thing if you're known for your psych-folk influences, but you become a crossover jack-of-all-trades once you take on a sport. On a break from recording a new album, the members of Akron/Family will be taking pledges for the 1st Annual Vision Builders 5k Race on May 12 held at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, MI. They will be "Running, Returning" in order to raise money for Vision Builders, a non-profit organization that helps to bring health care and education to children in various parts of the Himalayas.

In order to pledge for the long-haired, short-shorts-wearing musicians, you can simply visit this link. Once you are there, select 'Register Now', then 'Donate or Sponsor a Participant.' In the 'Select Your Fundraiser' option, choose 'Akron/Family(39019)'. Then you will have done some good for once.

If Akron/Family's running experience is anything like my high school cross country experience, then they will be in the locker room showers playing soap soccer in no time.

Just As Indie Labels Were Set To Climax, They Pull Out Of eMusic

I'm guessing that I'm not the only music writer in the world to be unsurprised that some indie labels are planning on removing their catalogs from online retailer eMusic. For those who are unaware of eMusic's service, the company offers a subscription download service of DRM-free MP3 files. Given the rates that eMusic offers (its cheapest package gives you 30 tracks a month for a mere $9.99 -- that's 0.33 per track, for the non-accountants in the room), it's no wonder that there is a bit of discomfort in the air.

Now that there are services such as iTunes, who are beginning to offer the same caliber of DRM-free MP3 files for a much more substantial $1.29 per track, why would an indie label have any interest in offering their precious catalogs to a service that divvies out much smaller royalties? According to a recent Billboard report, some labels receive as low as 12 cents per track from eMusic, while that same song would receive over 60 cents from an iTunes purchase (that's a 400% difference, according to unofficial TMT accountant "Joe").

But while the obvious conclusion to draw about this recent news would be strictly related to the financial aspects, there is more to the picture than you may realize. Some label representatives are concerned that eMusic is attempting to lure in indie labels to expand their subscriber base in order to make their company more appealing as a business acquisition (though eMusic CEO David Pakman claimed that this was not the case last month).

Pakman also claimed at the same press conference that the average eMusic customer only uses 20 of their allotted 30 tracks per month -- that's 66% of $9.99, which means that these dumb average white men are actually driving up the cost-per-song to 49 cents themselves.

Victory Records made a bit of press when they pulled their catalog from eMusic's site in early April. According to the same Billboard report, there are at least six different labels who are considering withdrawal from the site, be it leaving only their back-catalogs available or removing their label's entire catalog altogether. Unfortunately, as is the case with many of these ridiculous reports, the names of these labels is a mystery to the general public.

So for now, I'm sure there will continue to be a couple thousand people a day buying Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven double album on eMusic for $1.32. After all, we're not music fans, we're fucking garage sale bargain junkies! Let the proverbial legal download garage sale continue, folks. Now onto that $0.33 Bang On A Can album...

Royalties? What royalties?

Every summer, millions of people get their pathos on when they take a weekend to care about a sponsored cause while they run for an extended period of time. Marathons that don't involve scooting around wearing "meat shorts" and a numbered bib stapled to your chest are less common. Back in the days of the flapper, people got their jollies by pole-sitting for days on end, but short of David Blaine, no one seems to be playing the super-fun "Let's sit still for days on a platform or pole!" game anymore. Dance marathons still happen, but they are scarce compared to the "fabulous fifties," when every Potsie, Ralph Malph or Leather Tuscadero dragged their ass to Arnold's to watch Fonzie help little Joanie C. win the respect of her pre-teen peers and perhaps a coveted cupie doll or $5 prize by remaining on the floor the longest.

Okay, there is your history lesson from Gramps Nadelle. The Bang on a Can Marathon sounds like a much more enjoyable way to spend 26 hours. Taking place from 8 P.M., Saturday, June 2 to 10 P.M. on Sunday, June 3 at the World Financial Center Winter Garden in New York, the Marathon features composers, performers and filmmakers from all over, and it is all free! The Bang on a Can organization was formed in 1987 by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe in a concerted effort to present and garner attention for "contemporary" music in the very best sense of the word. Did we mention that the Marathon is free?! Below are lists of those participating this year, including bigger names of Eno, Moore, Reich, and the just-added La Tengo. The only question remaining to ponder is how the festival managed to get Yo La Tengo to play? I mean, they NEVER play live!

Composers: John Luther Adams, Louis Andriessen, Christopher Adler, Derek Bermel, Don Byron, Mary Ellen Childs, Mark Dancigers, Franco Donatoni, Brian Eno, John Fitz Rogers, Michael Gordon, Judd Greenstein, John King, Phil Kline, David Lang, Alvin Lucier, Missy Mazzoli, Thurston Moore, Steve Reich, James Tenney, Matt Tierney, J.G. Thirlwell, Galina Ustvolskaya, Edgar Varese, Lois V. Vierk, Julia Wolfe, Marcelo Zarvos, Evan Ziporan.

Performers: Bang on a Can All-Stars, Iva Bittova, Robert Black, The Books, Clogs, Dälek, David Cossin, Eighth Blackbird, Ethel, Dominic Frasca, Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, Michael Harrison, The Hartt Bass Band, The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Vijay Iyer, Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Manorexia, Mashrig, The Meehan/Perkins Duo, Juana Molina, Patti Monson, NOW Ensemble, Odd Appetite, Milind Raikar, Real Quiet, red fish blue fish, Steven Schick, Mark Stewart, Mike Svoboda, TACTUS, The Talujon Percussion Group, The World Saxophone Quartet, Yo La Tengo, Young People's Chorus of New York City.

Filmmakers: Bill Morrison, Matt Mullican.

The Faint Provide Soundtrack to TMT Roadtrip, Tour

As you may have gathered from Judy Ain't No Punk's recent review of the Dismemberment Plan reunion, there was indeed TMT representation at the Saturday night set at the Black Cat. What you don't know is that I was there too, but instead of being a responsible and respectful journalist/concert reviewer, I was three pints to the wind and blissfully, exuberantly crushed in a crowd of kids at Travis Morrison's feet.

What you also may not know is that my iPod car adapter recently died a spiteful death, perhaps in protest to Public Enemy's "Can't Do Nuttin' For Ya Man" being played on a loop a few too many times. Either way, Judy and I were reduced to mix CDs, and since we both neglected to create "TMT Does DC or Bust!" mixes, we listened to a range of scratched mixes circa 1998-2002. One mix of Judy's kicked off with The Faint. Two songs later, we again listened to The Faint. The disc proceeded to end with The Faint. "Um, I guess I really liked them," Judy said.

What's also important to note is that Judy liked The Faint in high school. I was slow on the uptake and danced with skinny hipster boys in tight pants to "Glass Danse" during my sophomore year of college. Moral of the story: if you attend this upcoming tour, you're probably not as, uh, cool as either of us are now. But hey, it's okay. We (er, maybe just I) got really excited/nervous to blast "Fuck Tha Police" in Brooklyn. Bad. Ass.

"Call Call" is a pretty excellent song, regardless:
05.21.07 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater
05.22.07 - Chicago, IL - Metro
05.23.07 - Toronto, ON - Opera House
05.24.07 - Buffalo, NY - Town Ballroom
05.26.07 - Boston, MA - Avalon
05.27.07 - New York, NY - Motherfucker @ Webster
05.28.07 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
05.30.07 - Norfolk, VA - Norva
05.31.07 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
06.01.07 - Knoxville, TN - Blue Cat's
06.02.07 - Columbia, MO - Blue Note
06.03.07 - Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
06.04.07 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre
06.05.07 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre
06.06.07 - Salt Lake City, UT - In the Venue
06.07.07 - Las Vegas, NV - House Of Blues
06.08.07 - San Diego, CA - SOMA
06.09.07 - Mountain View, CA - Live 105 BFD 2007 @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
06.11.07 - Boise, ID - Big Easy
06.14.07 - Omaha, NE - Sokol Auditorium

Judge: “Next on the docket… Will Oldham, Devendra Banhart, Superchunk, Jim O’Rourke, and the rest of you here are up on the charges of having questionable consciences and listening habits. How do you plead?” All: “Guilt by Association, yer honor!”

Ah, guilty pleasures. We all have them. Mine, you ask? Well, it is a bit of a secret, but I'll tell you, because you are my trusted virtual friends who would never ostracize me and who will certainly never e-mail me and tell me yours in return (hint, hint). Most nights I tend to cook up a quick Thai fusion dish for dinner then settle down with a good read (a Candace Bushnell or maybe a Helen Fielding), slip into the tub, pour in some lavender bubble bath, light a sandalwood candle, crank the Yanni to at least 6 and just soak, baby, soak!

Pffft! I "write" for Tiny Mix Tapes! Firstly, I can't read. Secondly, I wouldn't recognize Yanni if I ran him over repeatedly with my car. And thirdly, the only fragrances I smell after a long day cruising the highway ditches and downtown garbage bins for bottles and cans are Molson and dirty ashtray. Just a small spritz under your arms and behind your ears and you've got an irresistible mélange that screams "sophisticated and savvy!" Girls, before you say the words "Hmmm, I have got to get me some of that stanky sexy beast!" I have to tell you that I am fully committed to TMT. I'm sorry, but she is my mistress and I will never stray.

Guilty pleasures, musically speaking, are what we should be talking about here. In the UK, the whole thing is much more of a phenomenon, with the music industry's leading lights moonlighting as guest DJs at clubs and hosting radio shows, showcasing their slightly embarrassing but secretly loved songs of yesteryear. It is only natural that someone would ask artists to reinterpret a guilty pleasure of their own and collect them for a compilation. The coaxed-out confessions of some of our fave artists have been recorded and will be available for all the world to hear and snicker at on August 7 when Guilt by Association is released on Engine Room Recordings.

Normally, Devendra Banhart is up for anything, so it is not surprising that he appears on this compilation, covering the Gallagher brothers' "Don't Look Back in Anger." Luna takes on cheerleader-turned-medicated "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul's finest moment, "Straight Up" (other will say "Cold Hearted" is THE Abdul song to cover, but I'm agreeing with Dean Wareham and co. on this one), Jim O'Rourke releasing his inner Spice Girl (Old Spice?) with "Viva Forever," and thankfully both Fall Out Boy and System Of A Down are represented with covers here, because without the attention, they just might disappear forever, and that would be a damn shame! Banhart's Oasis cover, Petra Haden's a cappella version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," and Will Oldham's interpretation of Mariah Carey's "Can't Take That Away" are available for your listening pleasure at this MySpace link and on the Engine Room Recordings website, which is handy for burgeoning videographers because you could win a chance to create a video for one of those songs. Click here for details and deadlines.

Of course one person's guilty pleasure is another person's reason for living. So ironic or not, don't be pretending that Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise" is just another hilarious song you decided to cover for a laugh, Geoff Farina! Money is not funny! Money is money! And speaking of money, or words that are similar to money, no one wanted to attempt Mony Mony? Now that is funny.

1. Petra Haden - "Don't Stop Believing" (Journey)
2. Devendra Banhart - Don't Look Back in Anger" (Oasis)
3. Mark Mulcahy - "From This Moment On" (Shania Twain)
4. Luna - "Straight Up" (Paula Abdul)
5. The Concretes - "Back For Good"
6. Jim O'Rourke - "Viva Forever" (Spice Girls)
7. Goat - "Sugar We're Going Down" (Fall Out Boy)
8. Will Oldham - Can't Take That Away" (Mariah Carey)
9. Woody Jackson Orchestra featuring Money Mark - "Love's Theme" (Love Unlimited Orchestra)
10. Porter Block - "Breaking Free" (High School Musical)
11. The Mooney Suzuki - "Just Like Jesse James (Cher)
12. Geoff Farina - "Two Tickets to Paradise" (Eddie Money)
13. Casey Shea - "Chop Suey" (System of a Down)
14. Superchunk - "Say My Name" (Destiny's Child)
15. Mike Watt - "Burning For You" (Blue Oyster Cult)

Trojan Is 40; Celebrates with a Steaming Cup of Corporate Joe

If you asked any random guy on the street what the word Trojan meant to them, it’s a sad fact that, more likely than not, the first thing that would alight in his enfeebled mind would be an image of him amateurishly jamming something onto his unspeakable parts prior to engaging in, as Johnny Rotten put it, “2 minutes and fifty-two seconds of squelching noises.”

However, there are those select few -- amongst whose numbers I am sure I can count you, dear reader -- to which the word has an infinitely more dignified and noble musical correlation, which of course would be what would leap into our pristine and beautiful minds: Trojan Records! Only, like, just about the most ace record label that ever existed and probably ever will!

Set up by Chris Blackwell in the late ‘60s, the label existed to spread the formerly hidden sounds of Jamaica out to the enlightened masses (and to plenty of skinheads as well). Lee Perry, Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley, U-Roy, and Prince Far I are just a few of the geniuses of the form that have appeared at one time or another on the label. And without these dudes, there’d probably be no hip-hop , no drum and bass, no dubstep, no grime, and consequently, no fun to be had at all, anywhere, ever.

Taking that into account, it’s only fair that we at least pay cursory attention to the fact that this year is Trojan’s 40th birthday. And they want us to celebrate with them, not through the traditional method of getting wasted, shouting at people and pissing in the corner of their basement, but through the entirely more urbane medium of buying compilation CDs they’ve recently put out or are releasing in the near future.

Radiohead nerdlings will already be aware of Jonny Greenwood Is the Controller (TMT Review), which was released a few months back. They’re looking to further arouse the student stoner market with the upcoming release of Furry Selection, Luxury Cuts Of Trojan Chosen By A Super Furry Animal, the Animal in question being bassist Guto Pryce. The Orb are also doing a double mix CD later in the summer, which’ll include new Mad Professor material.

You’ll even be able to pick up a special compilation from a certain monoculture-craving coffee chain in August. There are no release dates available for any of these albums, but maybe for the coffee compilation you’d like to ask your barista precisely when the record is out. I’m sure they’d be happy to help.

More interestingly, the undisputed maniac Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry himself is pulling together a compilation culled from the like sixty-thousand billion tracks he’s been involved with. Personally, I hope he includes "Check Him Out" by The Bleechers, an early Upsetter B-side which (as well as being a rad tune) was also a blatant advertisement for Scratch’s recently opened record shop in Kingston -- going as far as including detailed directions -- “If you want to know the spot/ Just take a walk down Orange Street/ Turn Charles Street/ Then look for the Upsetter shop/ Where music’s sweet”. Such shameless selp promotion, but at least we can be grateful the directions weren’t to his local Starbucks.