Jay-Z’s new album changes the rules of music (in a dumb way that should annoy you)

Jay-Z's new album changes the rules of music (in a dumb way that should annoy you) http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/1307/news-13-07-jay-z.jpg

For those of you who have elected to fritter away your precious days on this planet with two baby carrots jammed in your ears and a replica of Agamemnon’s death mask permanently affixed to your face, allow me to brief you on two pertinent pieces of information: (A) Jay-Z is releasing an album on God’s Own July the 4th and (B) IT IS ALREADY CHANGING THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT.

According to long-established RIAA custom, artists must wait 30 days before their latest record is eligible for sales certification, i.e. gold/platinum/cadmium status. Although this might have been acceptable policy in the pre-www days of oxcarts and hardtack, the RIAA recently altered its requirements to allow digital album sales to become eligible on their release date. Physical album sales will continue to abide by the current certification policy. Administrators of the powerful recording industry lobby changed their ways once a certain erstwhile Brooklyn Nets owner pre-sold 1 million copies of Magna Carta Holy Grail Danse Manatee to Samsung, who are offering the album early to those who download a special fucking app. Just to reiterate: because the RIAA finagled with their rules and Samsung made an app, Jay-Z’s new album has already gone platinum. Technically.

“It is a novel and creative marketing move and it has rightly stimulated a healthy conversation about the sale’s meaning and implications for the modern music business,” says RIAA spokesperson and possible iTunes-denier Liz Kennedy. While the RIAA is pleased as a picnic to be so forward-thinking, the chartmakers at Billboard are having none of this shit: the magazine is standing by its longstanding policy of rejecting bulk sales from official tallies. Meanwhile, be sure to catch Thursday’s emotional award ceremony when the CEO of Samsung presents Jay-Z with a platinum jump drive and an American flag with his face embossed on it.

• Jay-Z: http://lifeandtimes.com
• Samsung: https://www.samsung.com

Cellular Chaos, containing a wild Weasel Walter and a slight risk of irradiation, announces debut LP set for release this month

If Weasel Walter’s involvement in a ridiculous number of sonically challenging projects wasn’t welcomed by the musicians with whom he was working, you could totally throw out a pun about his tendency to weasel (guffaw) his way from band to band, and from collaboration to collaboration. Of course, he’s principally recognized as the founder and eventually sole member of the genre-evading (but certainly experimental!) Flying Luttenbachers, but that flight became permanently grounded in 2007, after 15 years of Walter first aiming to upend prevailing notions about music, and then, ultimately, focusing exclusively on the intricacies of his own compositions. He expounded on all of this in an interview with TMT a heavy seven years ago. Here’s an excerpt that I found particularly enlightening:

Call it maturity or whatever you want. I’m not mellowing out a bit, but I don’t really see any more point in making purely chaotic music for its own sake. I’ve done plenty of it and I don’t know that it proves much other than “look at me! I’ve got a lot of energy! I can make noise for a long time!” I did that… now it’s time to do something else. You know, like, be intense and energetic and dissonant in a deliberate framework, with more detail and accuracy and variation.

You might glean from the entire feature an integrity and personal security on par with Captain America, for lack of a better, less spangly example that I can think of at the moment. And speaking of controlled intensity, Cellular Chaos, the band in which Weasel plays guitar and undoubtedly does more than that, has just announced their debut LP set for release on July 15 — a bookend to the tour that’s currently underway. That’s Admiral Grey yelping enthrallingly on the single that’s just been released, and that’s her falling in an adrenaline-induced heap in the video below. Yes yes. More, please.


07.02.13 - Rochester, NY - Venue TBA
07.03.13 - Toronto, ON - The Shop
07.04.13 - Cleveland, OH - “house next to now that’s class”
07.05.13 - Ann Arbor, MI - Arbor Vitae
07.06.13 - Chicago, IL - The Burlington (Early Show)
07.07.13 - St. Louis, MO - Apop Records
07.08.13 - Lexington, KY - Al’s Bar
07.09.13 - Columbus, OH - Cafe Bourbon St.
07.10.13 - Morgantown, WV - 123 Pleasant St.
07.11.13 - Pittsburg, PA - Howlers
07.12.13 - Allentown, PA - Venue TBA
07.13.13 - Brooklyn, NY - Death By Audio

• Cellular Chaos: http://www.cellularchaos.com
• ugEXPLODE: http://nowave.pair.com/ugexplode

[Photo: Justina Villanueva]

Janelle Monae, the electric lady, releases second single from new album due out in September

Been waiting too long for another full-length intergalactic odyssey from Janelle Monae? Well, the wait to take another ride on her new genre-spanning musical whirligig is almost over. Since her 2010 album The ArchAndroid, Janelle has done a lot of touring, opening for the likes of Of Montreal and Prince, and serving as a guest on a slew of tracks (for Estelle, fun., and Big Boi to name just a few), but until the Erykah Badu-guesting single “Q.U.E.E.N.” that came out back in April, we’d all been without any truly original Monae for a long, long time.

Thankfully, Monae’s new album The Electric Lady will be released September 10 on Atlantic Records, and in anticipation of the album, a second single has been released. Titled “Dance Apocalyptic,” it’s a lot less funky that the riffy “Q.U.E.E.N.,” but that’s not too surprising considering Monae rarely frequents the same sonic galaxy from track to track. Instead, “Apocalyptic” is a jaunty summer jam meant to get you dancing on the tips of your toe, though the lyrics and the outro hint at a darker tone for Janelle’s new concept of The Electric Lady.

Based on this video where Janelle talks about the inspiration for the new album, Monae definitely wants to explore her political and philosophical ponderings through the lens of her increased stardom. With her past success at myth-building and world-creating, this slow roll-out leading up to the new album makes me excited to see what we end up with come fall. Should have something new to dance to if nothing else!

• Janelle Monae: http://www.jmonae.com
• Atlantic: http://atlanticrecords.com

múm unveil new album Smilewound, may or may not be plotting to cut you

Well this is unexpected. Sure, it’s been a year for “comebacks” but never would I have guessed that múm would be among their numbers. The title for this new album, Smilewound, may indicate that they are headed in a new direction, though. Some may be familiar with the Glasgow Smile as romanticized in such films as Ichi the Killer and The Dark Knight. It is possible, though not supported or substantiated in any way by the PR surrounding the album, that Smilewound is a concept album about getting your cheeks cut open.

Why else would Mr. Brian “Sweetdome” invite them to last year’s Punkt Festival in Norway? múm have reinvented themselves as street-tough ruffians who will cut you all over your face, obviously! Ignore the fact that the Punkt Festival has nothing to do with Punk and has far loftier ideas and goals. Listen to your heart. Does it tell you that when September 17 rolls around, Smilewound is going to be the aural equivalent of being knifed in an alley? Because that is unbelievably inaccurate, and goes wholly against anything múm have ever done.

Smilewound tracklisting:

01. Toothwheels
02. Underwater Snow
03. When Girls Collide
04. Slow Down
05. Candlestick
06. One Smile
07. Eternity is the Wait Between Breaths
08. The Colorful Stabwound
09. Sweet Impressions
10. Time to Scream and Shout
11. Whistle (with Kylie) – bonus track

• múm: http://mum.is
• Morr Music: http://www.morrmusic.com

Angel Olsen tours into the late summer and fall, is maybe only like a quarter of the way home at this point

Angel Olsen was reportedly shocked when she found out that most car accidents occur within 25 miles of home, and has been working pretty hard to stay as far away from there ever since. Fortunately for Olsen (and us, the listening public), she’s a musician who has built up enough of a following that she can keep right on touring through the summer and fall as a method of keeping her distance from home, instead of having to move back in with her parents or commit arson like the rest of us.

If I wasn’t both sitting in my living room and aware of the fact that most horrible gambling situations occur within 15 miles of home I’d bet you five bucks that she’s planning on playing a song or two from last year’s really delightful Half Way Home (it was one of TMT’s favorites of the year). I’d also say the odds are pretty good that the songs will be even more mournful and sparse because of the painful irony that those songs come from an album whose title can never again be enacted by the artist. As you can hear and see below in the video for “Sweet Dreams,” this particular statistical revelation seems to have been pretty rough on the artist. As it turns out, you really can’t go home again, especially if you’re either in Angel Olsen’s touring band or don’t have a particularly firm grasp on statistics.


07.19.13 - Chicago, IL - Pitchfork Music Festival
08.16.13 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall *
08.21.13 - Bloomington, IN - The Bishop #
08.22.13 - Louisville, KY - Zanzabar #
08.23.13 - Nashville, TN - The Stone Fox
08.24.13 - Cincinnati, OH - MOTR Pub #
08.29.13 - London, UK - Bush Hall $
08.30.13-09.01.13 - Larmer Trees Garden, UK - End of the Road Festival $
09.05.13 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Music Festival $
09.07.13 - Portland, OR - Musicfest NW $
09.24.13 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Museum %
09.26.13 - Toronto, ON - The Drake Hotel %
09.27.13 - Montreal, QC - Ukranian Federation
09.28.13 - Portland, ME - Space Gallery %
10.01.13 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall %
10.02.13 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s %
10.04.13 - Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts %
10.05.13 - Purchase, NY - The Stood (Purchase College) %
10.06.13 - Washington, DC - DC9 %
10.07.13 - Richmond, VA - Strange Matter %
10.08.13 - Athens, GA - Normaltown Hall %
10.10.13 - Lexington, KY - Cosmic Charlie’s %
10.11.13 - Indianapolis, IN - White Rabbit Cabaret %

* Implodes
# William Tyler
$ solo performance
% Pillars & Tongues

• Angel Olsen: http://angelolsen.com
• Jagjaguwar: http://www.jagjaguwar.com

The Knife reissue their first two albums on vinyl; btw, have you heard that vinyl is making a comeback?

Hey, good news. Now that Swedish electronic duo The Knife are all hip and lauded and whatnot for making music that’s dark and deep and kinda difficult to listen to, they’re using that acclaim as an opportunity to release a bunch of music from their back catalog that is, ironically, considerably less difficult to listen to. So, basically, now you can stop listening to them for free almost anywhere on the globe on Spotify and get back to experiencing these classic records the way they were meant to be heard: once in a while, at home, on vinyl, until it deteriorates! Isn’t that awesome?

As Exclaim! reports, both the group’s self-titled debut and follow-up Deep Cuts are set for their triumphant return to the LP format on August 27 through the Artists Intel label. In case you care to know these sorts of things, the s/t was originally issued as a CD (gross) back in the heady space-odyssey year of 2001 by Rabid Records in Sweden (and later by Mute in North America and Brille in the UK), but was never issued on wax. And Deep Cuts came out in the boring, middle-of-the-road year of 2003 and only saw vinyl-hood on the Brille label, never seeing a subsequent North American release. But yeah, now that you know all that; just forget all that. Cuz now everything’s all vinyl-y and new and you’re totally buying it or else.

Speaking of vinyl being the only thing in the universe that matters, Mute is also issuing the band’s Shaking the Habitual (typical TMT Foucault-quoting anti-review) single “A Tooth for an Eye” as a 12-inch on July 23. So, you know, skip whatever meals you gotta.

• The Knife: http://theknife.net
• Artists Intel: http://artistsintel.com
• Mute: http://mute.com