Calvin Johnson (America’s sweetheart) gathers up Hive Dwellers pals, makes sure no inch of Washington state remains un-toured upon

Calvin Johnson (America's sweetheart) gathers up Hive Dwellers pals, makes sure no inch of Washington state remains un-toured upon

Calvin Johnson, the man behind Beat Happening and K Records, is America’s #1 great guy. And before you go around thinking this is my opinion, it’s not my opinion. This is solid fact, as solid as anything has ever been. When America thinks Calvin Johnson, they think a well-dressed man saving kittens from trees and throwing backyard BBQs where everyone’s invited.

What America wants to know is, what’s with The Hive Dwellers? America hears Calvin Johnson, already established to be the #1 great guy, talking about these Hive Dwellers that he’s been hanging out with and everybody gets a bit uneasy. Like, we all love Calvin so much, but we also hate nearly everything that dwells in a hive. Nothing good has ever come from a hive! But, you know, we’ve gotta trust Calvin on this one. The Hive Dwellers are his new band and, you know what, I bet they’re great.

But I’m not a betting man. When it comes down to it, I’ll place my money on my eyes and not on the chips on the poker wheel. (I… don’t really… know a lot about… gambling….) We can all decide for ourselves how these Hive Dwellers truly fare when they go on tour later this month. And by ‘all,’ I mean exclusively those in Washington state. Because that’s as far as this tour is going. Johnson also has some solo dates (a godsend for those who just can’t get over this whole hive thing) planned for the coming months. Those dates break free from the confines of Washington and spread all the way to… Portland, Oregon.

The Hive Dwellers dates:

05.20.11 - Kennewick, WA - Kennewick Coffee
05.21.11 - Yakima, WA - North Town Coffeehouse
05.22.11 - Seattle, WA - The Bread Factory
05.23.11 - Olympia, WA - Northern
05.28.11 - Seattle, WA - Northwest Folklife Festival
06.30.11 - Olympia, WA - Northern

Calvin Johnson solo dates:

05.11.11 - Seattle, WA - Funny Button
06.22.11 - Portland, OR - Cherry Sprout Produce

• The Hive Dwellers:

Warner Music Group bought by Russian billionaire for $3.3 billion at the insistence of his Paramore-loving granddaughter

After waving its fanny in the air for a number of months, Warner Music Group has finally found a mate in Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, who purchased the entire firm today for $3.3 billion — in cash! The Financial Times had estimated that WMG was getting bids between $1.4 and $2 billion, but that was before Blavatnik busted open the boardroom doors and gave CEO Edgar Bronfman five minutes in the Access Industries money machine. As the firm was bought in full, WMG will now become a private company with no shares listed on the NYSE.

Bronfman, wiping away tears of joy with unsold Built to Spill picture discs, had this to say about their new owners in a companywide memo: “Access is deeply committed to helping us achieve our fullest potential in the years to come. They value our rich history and understand that success relies on a relentless commitment to artist development and A&R. They know that our people are the best in the business. And they recognize the excellence in—” got it, buddy. Bronfman’s enthusiasm likely stems from the fact that he’ll probably get to keep his position in the company; Blavatnik has had a long positive relationship with the CEO, serving on Warner’s board in the past and regularly complimenting Bronfman on his neatly kept beard.

As for Blavatnik, this is one of the more risky investments he’s made, having built his fortune on oil and aluminum giants, neither of which have to worry about how they’re going to market another Goo Goo Dolls album. But if there’s anybody who can twist the public’s arm and get them to buy a lousy CD, it’s probably the guy who organized a hostile takeover of a tractor factory in post-Soviet Russia. Blavatnik is also rumored to be planning a similar purchase of EMI in the coming months (currently owned by Citigroup), which makes sense since EMI and Warner have been trying to merge for years, and also because the guy’s got oodles of green to spare, even after dropping billions today. Hmmm….

Dear Mr. Blavatnik,

As an employee of Tiny Mix Tapes LLC, I keep my finger on the pulse of current and future WMG clients on a daily basis. My news articles on WMG artists reach a wide swathe of young professionals all over the world, thanks to the social networking solutions I employ, combined with my ‘can-do’ attitude. Given the opportunity, I would stop at nothing to achieve excellence and develop winning strategies for today’s hottest WMG artists and entertainers. I’ve read about your hostile takeover of a tractor factory, and I found that your ability to seize an opportunity mirrors my own strengths and ambitions. I hope to hear from you soon regarding this exciting and fruitful partnership.

Warm regards,

• Warner Music Group:

Robert Pollard is the Third Revelation, he is the Lord of the Birdcage — or at least he’s coming out with Lord of the Birdcage in June

Lately we’ve been highlighting Thee Oh Sees for their assiduous work ethic and a resulting output that’s so consistent you could time trains to it. It seems like every time John Dwyer sneezes, an album comes out (to say nothing of the quality of the records — we’re big fans here). The original king of pop prolificacy, however, is Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard, and true to form, Bob’s announced another solo album, out June 7 from his own GBV label. There’s still time for Dwyer to learn from the master, after all.

For those expecting more of the same, Lord of the Birdcage isn’t really your standard Pollard record, or an extension of Space City Kicks, Pollard’s latest from this past January. The dozen tracks were first written as poems, and then converted into ballads and waltzes. If that seems a little too Lord Byron to you, don’t worry; Bob’s still playing “Tractor Rape Chain” with Guided By Voices at festivals throughout the summer. And hey, if you don’t like it, there’s plenty of other albums to fall back on.

Lord of the Birdcage tracklisting:

01. Smashed Middle Finger
02. Aspersion
03. Dunce Codex
04. Garden Smarm
05. You Can’t Challenge Forward Progress
06. In A Circle
07. You Sold Me Quickly
08. The Focus (Burning)
09. Ribbon Of Fat
10. Silence Before Violence
11. Holy Fire
12. Ash Ript Telecopter

• Robert Pollard:
• Guided By Voices:

EMI attempts to simplify its bankruptcy process, accidentally simplifies its licensing process instead

Attention, everyone. EMI wants YOUR money. In fact, they want it SO BADLY that they’re prepared to even go the extra mile and make it a little bit easier for you to give it to them. As Digital Music News reports, EMI’s publishing group has decided to “consolidate digital rights on a substantive portion of its catalog, particularly digital performance rights as currently handled by ASCAP.” Basically, what this means is that, for some 200,000+ songs in the EMI-April Music catalog, you don’t need to call up ASCAP and compliment it on its weight loss and great haircut in order to secure performance rights after you’ve already chatted up EMI for the synch rights and mechanical rights to a piece of EMI-published music. Even more basically put, now you only have to suck one dick instead of two. (Again, note that this is for digital performance rights only; non-digital outlets, e.g., when your loser friend’s band covers “Creep” in that college-town bar, will still be handled by ASCAP.)

“By bringing these rights back together our aim is to reduce the burden of licensing, to create greater efficiency and importantly to reduce the barriers to the development of innovative new services,” EMI Music Publishing Chairman & CEO Roger Faxon relayed. “That absolutely has to be in the interest of everybody involved in the process — songwriters, licensees and consumers alike.” It’s interesting to note, however, that this ‘make everyone happy’ plan to generate new licensing income for the lumbering music giant only narrowly defeated the runner-up plan of holding a gun to Paul McCartney’s head and demanding that everyone just stop using the internet for things.

• EMI-April Music Publishing:

Six Organs of Admittance tours abroad, making the backpacking American feel at home

You did it! You graduated college and saved up enough of your parents’ money to go backpacking in Europe. Unfortunately, your best friend can’t go, saying Jimmy John’s won’t make him a manager if he leaves for a month. Your girlfriend also can’t go since she’s only a senior in high school, and anyway, she doesn’t think you should be together anymore. So, you’re on your own!

You recall reading the well-written TMT review for Six Organs of Admittance’s latest album on Drag City, Asleep on the Floodplain. After listening to the album, it may have changed your life, and the lush guitar landscapes made you feel alive and independent.

And so, before the start of your trip abroad, you notice Ben Chasny’s Six Organs of Admittance will be performing in Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Hey. you’ll be in the Netherlands! You romanticize an ethereal experience of the familiar overcoming the unknown.

Once you make it to the show, though, some tall brunette spills a beer on you. After the set, you walk up to Chasny and tell him you’re from America and that you loved the show. He says, “Cool, man,” and then walks away. This will be the last noteworthy moment of your life.


05.19.11 - Milano, Italy - Bitte
05.20.11 - Bologna, Italy - Covo Club
05.21.11 - Napoli, Italy - Palazzo
05.22.11 - Catania, Italy - Zo Culture
05.23.11 - Torino, Italy - Blah Blah
05.24.11 - Rome, Italy - Init Club
05.27.11 - Tilburg, Netherlands - Incubate
05.28.11 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
05.29.11 - Groningen, Netherlands - Vera Groningen
05.31.11 - Penryn, UK - Miss Peapods
06.04.11 - London, UK - Cecil Sharp House
06.05.11 - Istanbul, Turkey - Tamirane
06.07.11 - Manchester, UK - The Deaf Institute
0608.11 - Glasgow, UK - Captains Rest
06.09.11 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
06.10.11 - Coventry, UK - Taylor John’s House
06.11.11 - Brighton, UK - Komedia
06.12.11 - Kortrijk, Belgium - De Kreun

• Six Organs of Admittance:
• Drag City:

Kurt Vile and Thurston Moore tour together in July (also play plenty of shows by themselves)

Kurt Vile has been doing pretty well for himself. He just finished touring with J Mascis in what was perhaps the greatest joining of long-hairs since the 80s, and Smoke Ring From My Halo (TMT Review), quite frankly, exploded immediately after its release in March (don’t let the rating deter you; this stuff is hot). In a way, Kurt’s progression is a little like the development of The Office: Mascis finishes the tour, Steve Carrell leaves; the only way to top Steve is bringing in Will Farrell, and so next up on the marquee with Kurt is none other than Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore. By the time they begin the tour circuit, Thurston’s newest solo album, Demolished Thoughts, will be out from Matador (official date: May 24), showcasing Moore’s sensitive singer/songwriter side — if the free Mp3 download of “Benediction” is any indication. Let’s see if sparks fly!

At this rate, what’s Kurt Vile going to do next? Bring Kurt Cobain back from the dead, say, for a free show?

Kurt Vile and Thurston Moore (together):

07.18.11 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater
07.21.11 - Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theater
07.23.11 - Portland, OR - Alladin Theater
07.26.11 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
07.28.11 - West Hollywood, CA - Troubadour
07.29.11 - West Hollywood, CA - Troubadour
07.30.11 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah

Thurston Moore (alone):

05.20.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
06.25.11 - North Adams, MA - Solid Sound Festival
06.26.11 - North Adams, MA - Solid Sound Festival
07.15.11 - Chicago, IL - Pitchfork Music Festival
07.16.11 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon

Kurt Vile (alone):

05.08.11 - Koln, Germany - King Georg
05.09.11 - Munich, Germany - Feierwerk
05.10.11 - Vienna, Austria - Chelsea Club
05.11.11 - Berlin, Germany - Festaal Kreuzberg
05.12.11 - Copenhagen, Denmark -Vega
05.13.11 - Aarhus, Denmark - Voxhaul
05.14.11 - Minehead, UK - ATP Nightmare Before Xmas
05.15.11 - Utrecht, Netherlands - Tivoli
05.16.11 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Bitterzoet
05.17.11 - Brussels, Belgium -Les Nuits de Botanique
05.18.11 - Gent, Belgium - Charlatan
05.19.11 - London, UK - Corsica Studios
05.20.11 - Liverpool, UK - Sound City (Kazimier)
05.21.11 - Glasgow, UK - Stagg & Dagger Festival
05.22.11 - Brighton, UK - The Hope
05.23.11 - Paris, France- La Maroquinerie
05.24.11 - Evreux, France - L’Abordage
05.25.11 - Bordeaux, France - Place Saint Michel
05.26.11 - Rennes, France - Top of the Folk (L’antipode)
05.28.11 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival
05.29.11 - Istanbul, Turkey - Ghetto
06.11.11 - New York City, NY - Bowery Ballroom
06.12.11 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
06.29.11 - Groningen, Netherlands - Vera
06.30.11 - Hamburg, Germany - Ubel & Gefahrlich
07.01.11 - Roskilde, Denmark - Roskilde Festival
07.03.11 - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Metropolis Festival
07.11.11 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
07.12.11 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
07.13.11 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace
07.14.11 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
07.15.11 - Bloomington, IN - Russian Recording
07.17.11 - Chicago, IL - Pitchfork Music Festival

• Kurt Vile:
• Thurston Moore:
• Matador:


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