Big Dipper to shake off the rust and release their first new LP in two decades

Big Dipper to shake off the rust and release their first new LP in two decades

It’s been over 20 years, but Big Dipper is back. The seminal jangle pop band’s first album of all-new material since 1990’s Slam is due out November 27. Recorded at vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Gary Waleik’s home studio, the 12-track album, titled Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet, will be released on Almost Ready Records and will feature cover art from none other than rock legend Robert Pollard.

Big Dipper haven’t been completely dormant since their 1992 break-up; the band reunited in 2008 for a series of shows to commemorate the release of the three-disc Merge Records retrospective Supercluster. Renewed interest in the band from the reunion gigs inspired Waleik — along with guitarist/vocalist Bill Goffrier, drummer/vocalist Jeff Oliphant, and late-era Big Dipper bass player Tom Brewitt — to return to the studio for the first time in a very long while.

For anyone scratching their head, Big Dipper formed way back in 1985, consisting of Goffrier, Oliphant, and Waleik, along with Waleik’s Volcano Sun ex-pat Steve Michener. Waleik and Goffrier began writing songs and it was only a matter of time before their debut — the EP Boo-Boo — was released on Homestead in 1987. Later that year, their full-length follow up Heavens was released to critical acclaim. After touring North America consistently, Europe twice, and releasing Craps in 1988, the band moved up to the majors by signing to Epic Records. On Epic, they released Slam. Michener left the band shortly thereafter and that was basically it until the 2008 reunion.

The band hasn’t announced tourdates or an official tracklist yet but that is sure to come before Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet makes its way into your hands.

• Big Dipper:
• Almost Ready:

Myspace defeats Apple in a battle of the orange music icons (a trademarking story)

Oh, the wonderful world of patent/trademark debates. Consider it the professional equivalent of fashion trends in high school. Mimic, resemble, echo, and approximate, but never, ever, copy detail for detail, lest you become known, rightly or wrongly, as some desperate loser who pays far too much attention to the clothes that the popular kids are wearing. The benefit of the doubt usually goes to popular kids in these scenarios, which stands in surprising contrast to a recent (and actual) court ruling involving the still-animate Myspace, and the captain of the football team, Apple Inc.

The ruling centered around Apple’s attempt to trademark its orange music icon, featured on iOS devices. Judges from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the request on the basis that it apparently bears too close a resemblance to a logo first used by the (now defunct) music service iLike, which Myspace acquired in 2009. Myspace still owns the rights to that particular logo. Check out a side-by-side comparison of the two graphics above. See!? They’re both, um, shades of orange. And stuff.

In the official court documents rejecting Apple’s request, an emphasis is placed on the potential for confusion:

In comparing the marks, we are mindful that the test is not whether the marks can be distinguished when subjected to a side-by-side comparison, but rather whether the marks are sufficiently similar in terms of their overall commercial impression so that confusion as to the source of the goods and services under the respective marks is likely to result.

If they say so. Of course, it’s also worth pointing out that Apple was recently awarded more than $1 billion in damages in a patent lawsuit against Samsung, regarding the design of their respective smartphones. So this whole logo decision is sort of ironic — especially considering it’s, you know, Myspace on the winning end.

• Apple:
• Myspace:

Artist-friendly Myspace II coming soon to make you re-think the way Google Plus made you re-imagine Facebook as a Myspace reboot!

Man, I was just thinking about how there’s not really enough social media sharing buttons at the bottom of every stupid piece-of-shit thing I read or listen to on the internet! Thank you, Myspace! How did you know that exactly what the world needs right now is a slightly-different-here-and-there-but-mostly-similar-so-as-to-remain-familiar-enough-to-not-seem-intimidating social media platform? Oh, what’s that? Because Justin Timberlake told you?? Oh, duh. Now it all makes sense. End of news story! See you tomorrow, readers!

Aaaaactually, what the heck: as long as we’re all here, let’s trudge through the nuts and bolts of this, shall we? Like, how “new” is this design? Did Justin Timberlake make it himself in his college dorm room? Did Steve Wozniak help? What sorts of cutting edge arts and entertainment technologies will be implemented to lure bands and fans away from Facebooks, Soundclouds, Bandcamps, and Lemonpartys? Is everything 3D? 4G? 5x? (Oh, you probably don’t know what that one is yet…) Well, according to Fact, the new Myspace was built “entirely from scratch.” So I guess I’ll just assume that to mean that new co-owners (Specific Media and Timberlake) must have built their own hardware, created some sort of radical new graphical user interface, wrote software to run on that interface and hardware, and then used all that to make another Myspace? Wow, sounds ambitious. And plausible! What else? Oh yeah, a new message posted on their website goes like this:

We’re hard at work building the new Myspace, entirely from scratch. But we’re staying true to our roots in one important way—empowering people to express themselves however they want. So whether you’re a musician, photographer, filmmaker, designer or just a dedicated fan, we’d love for you to be a part of our brand new community.

Dude, I’m totally allthose things! I gotta sign up for it before all the poseurs do! Out of my way!

• Myspace:
• Another Myspace:
• Specific Media:
• Justin Timberlake:

Mouse on Mars seek intern for transferring audio/visual archive to HD for upcoming box set, plus donut runs and back rubs

Ahh the romance and glamour of the life of the intern. Fetching donuts! Pretending to laugh at your uncle’s outdated Monica Lewinsky jokes! Collating! It’s enough to make any promising young college coed rush right out the hallowed halls of Financial Burden U and throw themselves at the feet of Finkelstein & Harmon Paper Products Inc. or Rod’s Long Haul Trucking and beg for the opportunity to order more coffee filters. So, imagine the unicorn-laden, comet-spangled holy grail of internships that working for Mouse on Mars must be!

“What?” You scoff. “That’s just a dream,” you say. “Mouse on Mars? Need an intern? Why before that happens Ann Romney’s dressage horse will lie down with a mere mule!” But you’re wrong, oh wrong indeed, boy-o. Because Mouse on Mars are, in fact, looking for Berlin-based interns to transfer the band’s extensive sound and video archives to HD. But before you book your ticket to Berlin, what do these two guys want you to do? (And, if you already live in Berlin, let’s just say, um… before you send Jan and Andi the most expensive cookie bouquet in the cookie bouquet catalog, what do these two guys want you to do?) Well, they’re preparing to release two decades-worth of Mouse on Mars jams in a fancy anniversary box set, and they need help finding stuff on all kinds of pre-MP3 formats like TAPES! And then they want you to help them transfer this stuff onto HD, modern technology! And they’ll pay you by the hour, in money and back rubs! (Just kidding about the back rubs, don’t sue me.) The lucky intern(s) will also get a shout-out on said box set. Imagine, your name enshrined in box set fame forever, like one of those sad little ants encased in amber. But in a happy, awesome way.

“How do I sign up?” You’re saying. Well, it’s simple. All you gotta do is shoot the guys a friendly, non-psychotic application via the Mouse on Mars Facebook page.

• Mouse on Mars:

Mind Over Mirrors releases new album via French label Hands in the Dark

Like a lonely wizard in a decaying tower spinning a requiem for a forgotten world, Mind Over Mirrors’ music casts a spell. New York-based dream-spinner Jaime Fennelly creates pulsating, distorted melodies on that churchiest of instruments, the harmonium (basically a keyboard-lookin’ contraption that sounds like an accordion), and then bends and messes around with the tones it emits. The result is something akin to a Target Lifescapes CD scored by a consumptive 19th century Parisian invalid who has just gotten really, really into Game of Thrones. Or that aforementioned wizard. See? This isn’t lazy journalism. Mind Over Mirrors just brings soOoOoOooo many evocative images to life.

And now French label Hands in the Dark Records is releasing Mind Over Mirrors’ new one, Check Your Swing. Limited to 300 copies on classic black vinyl, the album drops November 13, with preorders available October 16 via the label’s website, where you can also get an earful of the track “Breaking a Jam.” Check Your Swing is Fennelly’s third full-length under the Mind Over Mirrors moniker. He has previously been involved with Peeesseye and Acid Birds. Track info for Catch Your Swing is not yet available, but hey — a good wizard never reveals the ingredients in his magic potions.

• Mind Over Mirrors:
• Hands in the Dark:

Amon Tobin explores life outside the cube, preps new Two Fingers album Stunt Rhythms

If you’ve been keeping up with Amon Tobin’s activities over the past year-and-a-half or so, you’d know that he’s essentially taken up residence inside a mammoth cube structure, otherwise known as the centerpiece of his spectacular and groundbreaking ISAM Live performance. It takes a keen eye to notice it, but if you look closely, either during the performance itself, or at images online, you’ll see not only a toilet, but also a bed covered with, apparently, Spiderman bedsheets, in one of the cubes towards the back. I’ve always known that Mr. Tobin was dedicated to his work, but I think he might be taking things a bit far here…

I’m only kidding, of course. Amon Tobin is indeed dedicated to his work, but fortunately for his psychological well-being, he continues to embrace activities in the non-cube world. His hip-hop-tinged Two Fingers project began in 2009, and on October 8, the release of Stunt Rhythms via the Ninja Tune imprint Big Dada, will mark the project’s revival — well, mostly.

Whereas Two Fingers began as a collaboration between Tobin and British producer Joe “Doubleclick” Chapman, Stunt Rhythms is wholly the result of the former’s work. A press release describes the album as Amon Tobin’s “love letter to hip-hop,” with (as you might expect) powerful beats and heavy bass.

Also keeping with expectations, the release comes with some truly exceptional packaging options — first, there’s a limited edition “heavyweight, triple yellow vinyl” available only on the ISAM Live 2.0 tour, currently underway. Then there’s the “main run” of the 3LP release, available now, which comes in a beautiful baby blue. Both vinyl editions are held in a “triptych dye cut sleeve,” which doesn’t really mean anything to me, but it sounds fancy. October 8 marks the date of the 2CD release, which you can pre-order here.

Finally, the track “Fools Rhythm” is cited as the “model” for the album. Go here to listen to it. No bling required.

Stunt Rhythms tracklisting:

1.1. Stripe Rhythm
1.2. Snap
1.3. Defender Rhythm
1.4. Fools Rhythm
1.5. Magoo
1.6. Sweden
1.7. Lock86
1.8. 101 South
1.9. Razorback
1.10. Elmer Rhythm
1.11. Little Brat
1.12. Crunch Rhythm
1.13. Deep Jinx
2.1. Stude (feat. Peedi Crack and Chinko da Great)
2.2. Smurf (Instrumental)
2.3. Problem (feat. Lady Pharroh)
2.4. Crunch (feat. Peedi Crack and Chinko Da Great)
2.5. Form One
2.6. Rock Scissors
2.7. Smurf (feat. Brefontaine)
2.8. Stude (Instrumental)

• Amon Tobin:
• Big Dada: