Bob Mould and Merge Records, now making beautiful music together

Bob Mould and Merge Records, now making beautiful music together

Former Hüsker Dü/Sugar frontman, solo artist, and memoirist Bob Mould has left ANTI- and signed with Merge. Together, the label and the man will make beautiful music together, starting this fall when Mould’s new album is scheduled for release. Details about the album are scant, but the mysterious soon-to-be-work-of-art was recorded with bandmates Jason Narducy (Telekinesis, ex-Verbow) and WFMU funny guy/Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster.

When not in the studio, the punk rock legend has been wowing audiences with his take on the whole “Hey superfans, I’m playing A WHOLE DAMN ALBUM” phenomenon. Mould recently performed Sugar’s 1992 debut album Copper Blue in its entirety for audiences at San Francisco’s 20th-annual Noise Pop Festival at the end of February (TMT report), and will be taking the Copper Blue show on the road throughout Europe this summer. For stateside fans, the only currently posted opportunities to get Blue happen at SXSW, where Mould will be cranking out the Sugar hits on March 17. Mould is also slated to perform at Merge Records’ showcase on March 16.

• Bob Mould:
• Merge:

Major labels get hard for at SXSW, the social music site that allows users to take turns DJing, announced at a SXSW panel on the future of the service yesterday (March 13) that they had secured licensing agreements with all four major labels. Co-founders Billy Chasen and Seth Goldstein explained to Billboard, “This feels like an all-time record speed launch - when we launched we really didn’t come at this from the music industry, it was all new to us.” Given the ongoing battles between major labels and other music streaming services such as Grooveshark, it’s pretty commendable that they were able to lock down these deals after being in business for less than a full year.

So why the eagerness by the major labels to get on board with a service that has a fraction of the number of users of Spotify and Pandora? Well, the majors are apparently getting hip to this whole social media gaming trend and see Turntable as a natural extension of the Zynga culture that Facebook has wrought upon us. In addition to just joining a room and queueing up tunes, allows participants to rate other users DJ abilities, granting them style points that can be accrued and redeemed for upgraded avatars.

In the near future, the plan is to expand what users can use their points toward to include more target market-oriented branded material. Not only will you be able to look like a snazzy Pete Fowler-esque character, but maybe you could look like a Lady Gaga cartoon holding a can of Pepsi! Since Turntable plans on continuing to avoid traditional banner ad advertising on its site, they’ll instead focus on these types of interactive and immersive branding experiments in order to produce revenue, meaning the possibilities for corporate synergy are truly mind boggling. Hence the tingly feeling (a.k.a. boners) the major label execs got as they rushed to license their music to


The Shins stream Port of Morrow on iTunes to court the “downloaded-Adele-21-multiple-times” demographic

We’ve all heard “Simple Song” and “It’s Only Life” (if you haven’t, you missed SNL last weekend and/or you have been neglecting the blogosphere), but now you can hear The Shins’ brand new album, Port of Morrow, in its entirety for FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. It’s hard not to love the allure of free music, and I know you agree — otherwise Megaupload never would’ve gotten shut down (thanks a lot, you guys!). Anyway, we know you’re as curious as a cat o’ nine’s tail to hear what the newly assembled Shins are sounding like, or rather, what the force of James Mercer is making sure they sound like.

I can tell you have questions, so I’ll ask them for you: Will it live up to the expectations of the fabulous “Simple Song”? Does Mercer’s balding affect his singing voice? Will Wincing the Night Away become a forgettable mess after we hear this new one? Are The Shins the anti-Bonnaroo answer to The Flaming Lips?

While no one could possibly have all the answers for you, you can at least attempt to address these pressing issues by heading on over to a little online marketplace known as iTunes. You’ll be able to access Port of Morrow for a whole week before the March 20 release date via Columbia/Aural Apothecary. So, now you’ll be able to sleep at night.

• The Shins:
• Columbia:
• Aural Apothecary:

100% Silk to leave you 100% interested in electronic dance music with joint tour, assuming you weren’t already, and provided you fork over some dough

100% Silk isn’t just the fabric composition of your average metrosexual’s leopard-print bed sheets; it’s also the name of a Los Angeles-based label (an offshoot of Not Not Fun) still covered in amniotic fluid, and specializing in “bliss-disco & basement luxury grooves by friends and lovers from all over the world.” It’s possible that you’re already familiar with one of its primary apostles, Ital, who recently debuted Hive Mind (TMT Review) for Planet Mu. Although, just because he’s seemingly hit the big-time (depending on your standards) doesn’t mean he’s decided to forsake his partners in SoCal. On the contrary, Ital, along with three of his smooth-to-the-touch siblings — LA Vampires, Magic Touch, and Maria Minerva — are embarking on a “lengthy” group tour this June, for which they’ll travel throughout Europe and beyond. Obviously, given the fact that sustaining a label still in its youth isn’t cheap, the folks at 100% Silk are requesting that fans donate whatever amount they can, so that the aforementioned artists can experience all of the touristy things that cities around Europe have to offer. I mean, have you seen the view at Le 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant in Paris? It’s completely breathtaking, and a superb ornament to perfectly roasted canard à l’orange.

The truth is actually much more compelling than that. 1oo% Silk is, in fact, accepting donations, but it has nothing to do with touristy activities; a simultaneous goal of the upcoming tour is to produce a film documenting the underground dance scene, of which clubs in Europe are undoubtedly the center of. Here’s how 100% Silk describe their aspirations: “As the 100% Silk tour spans a spectrum of venue types and sizes and scenes, it will offer an intriguing window into the various ramifications of this rebirth of 21st century electronic body music.” More specifically, “the tour documentary will be more of an expressionistic, experiential portrait of a certain slice of the underground dance scene than a straightforward analytical profile. The film will strive to be much like the music: modern, hybridized, joyous, exciting, homegrown, inclusive.” So, basically, it’d be better if people were rolling while they watched it?

Check out the preview below for scenes of people currently having more fun than you, and click here for more information on the proposed documentary.

100% SILK UK/EUROPEAN TOUR teaser from 100% Silk on Vimeo.

• 100% Silk:

RIP: Michael Hossack, Doobie Brothers drummer

From Rolling Stone:

Doobie Brothers drummer Michael Hossack died at his home in Dubois, Wyoming yesterday at the age of 65. He had been battling cancer for some time and succumbed to complications of the disease with his family at his side.

Hossack was a member of the Doobie Brothers between 1971 and 1973, playing on several of the band’s best-known hits, including “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “Listen to the Music” and “China Grove.” Hossack returned to the band when they reunited in 1987 and was a mainstay of the group through the next two decades, performing on most of the group’s tours until he took a health leave in 2010.

The Doobie Brothers released a statement on Hossack in January, saying he was improving slowly. In 2010, Hossack wrote a message to his fans explaining that while “it’s been hard not touring with the band,” he had “incredible support” from his family, friends and the Doobie Brothers.

• Michael Hossack:

Portishead announce European tour dates without announcing any actual new Portishead music

While it may seem like Portishead are slackers, what with their track record of taking their sweet time between records, band leader Geoff Barrow actually keeps himself pretty busy outside of Portishead releases and tours. Recently, Barrow released the Drive soundtrack in Europe on vinyl under his Invada imprint and has been working on a hip-hop project, Quakers, that is set to release their debut album on Stones Throw later this month (March 27).

In light of all that, it’s a nice surprise to hear that the group will be playing a handful of live dates in Spain and Italy this summer. Word on their long-rumored and long-awaited fourth album? FACT reports that Barrow assures them it’s “definitely” being recorded, though it seems like we’ve heard this before to no avail…


06.22.12 - Barcelona, Spain - Poble Espanyol
06.23.12 - Barcelona, Spain - Poble Espanyol
06.25.12 - Vienna, Italy - Theatre Antique de Vienne
06.26.12 - Verona, Italy - Castello Scaligero
06.27.12 - Rome, Italy - Ippodromo delle Capannelle

• Portishead:
• Invada Records:
• Stones Throw Records: