Pack all your sorrows in a box: Death Cab for Cutie to release box set of albums

Pack all your sorrows in a box: Death Cab for Cutie to release box set of albums

Hey all you sad-ass people who are starting to get nostalgic for those grand old days of the late 90s and early 2000s! Do you remember when you used to watch shows at those precious few venues that allowed under-21-year-old bands to play, not drink, and then go home and listen to emo music as you pined away for the cute girl who plays bass in your friend’s band? Well, now you can relive every depressing minute of Death Cab for Cutie’s musical catalog from that period and remember exactly how it felt when you would spend most of your time desperately in love with girls that you never built up the courage to talk to.

Artist in Residence has announced that they will be re-educating the world on DCFC’s early work by reissuing You Can Play These Songs with Chords (first time ever on vinyl!), Something About Airplanes, We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes, the Forbidden Love EP (first time ever on vinyl!), The Photo Album, The Stability EP (first time ever on vinyl!), and Transatlanticism as one indie-powered, sorrow-packed, limited-to-1,500-copies, remastered, cloth-bound vinyl box set so that you can spend your weekend reminiscing about your glory days.

To make the whole thing that much more bittersweet, not only is the set pretty limited, but it’s also hand-numbered and signed by the entire band. However, if you start spending too much time living in the past and thinking about all your old crushes, then your wife is gonna get a little mad.

• Death Cab for Cutie:
• Artist in Residence:

Cannibal Ox promise you a new album and shows, pinky swear to show they’re serious

With little competition out there, we can definitively declare 2001 as the most Cannibal Ox year ever. They put out their sole full-length, The Cold Vein (#17 on our decade list), they played shows, and they existed as an active musical group. Even that last item has been arguable for most years following 2001. In recent memory, the most Cannibal Ox action we’ve gotten has been in the form of a variety of solo albums from both Vast Aire and Vordul Mega. It certainly seemed like Cannibal Ox had broken up.

But that’s not how Cannibal Ox sees it. As Brooklyn Vegan reports, Vast Aire says that the group never broke up. Oh yeah? Prove it, Vast Aire! Well, actually, he plans on proving it by getting together with Vordul Mega and putting out a new Cannibal Ox album in 2013. That is a very good way to prove that you are a functioning group! However, it’s worth noting that the group planned a second album for release back in 2006 and, clearly, that never happened. Here’s hoping this one will.

In more concrete proof that Cannibal Ox live, the duo will be doing a show at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory on December 9. Tickets for that show are currently on sale. The group is also planning more dates for 2013, including a string of West Coast dates. If you happen to attend one of these shows, please try to reach out and touch the hand of Vast Aire. This will prove that he is not a ghost or a hologram or a being made out of fog.

• Vast Aire:

Kompakt continues its annual electronic lullaby, announces Pop Ambient 2013

Annual label compilations are somewhat of a risky undertaking. On the one hand, if the compilations are consistently good (as Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series was from about 2001 until 2007), then all you’re doing is showcasing talent and marketing your label in a beneficial way. Alternatively, if the compilations are consistently bad, then you’re doing the complete opposite: highlighting how horrible your label is, and revealing just how deluded you are by continuing to release horrible compilations.

Fortunately for Kompakt, the latter editions of Pop Ambient haven’t been horrible — I’m not going that far — but were instead relatively uninspired, presenting a contrast with earlier editions. Has Pop Ambient settled into a comfortable niche characterized by pleasant-sounding, though not altogether memorable, ambient music?

Although it won’t be released until January 21, the tracklist for Pop Ambient 2013 offers some reasons to be enthusiastic. Argentine keyboardist Leandro Fresco renews a relationship with Kompakt that began with the release of Amor Internacional in 2002, and Michael Mayer, co-founder of the label, makes his first appearance ever on the series through a Wolfgang Voigt mix of “Sully,” the opening track from Mayer’s 2012 album Mantasy. Followers of the Pop Ambient series will also appreciate contributions from Wolfgang Voigt himself, dub techno artist Mikkel Metal, and Marsen Jules, who must be doing some serious favors to earn a spot on four of the last six editions.

I’m actually kind of excited for this. Don’t let us (me) down, Kompakt.

Pop Ambient 2013 tracklisting:

01. Leandro Fresco, “Cuando El Sol Grita La Manaña”
02. Michael Mayer, “Sully (Wolfgang Voigt Mix)”
03. Jens-Uwe Beyer, “Deutz Air 2”
04. Triola, “Jean Vigo”
05. Marsen Jules, “Point of No Return”
06. Mikkel Metal, “Recombination”
07. Anton Kubikov, “Ambianopolis”
08. Wolfgang Voigt, “Rückverzauberung 7”
09. Leandro Fresco, “El Cruce Imposible”
10. Terrapin, “Cirrus Minor”

• Kompakt:

Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland start their own imprint, look to Warner Music Group for inspiration

With Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland, there’s an inherent risk of unexplained, spontaneous disavowal, but as music journalists, what are we supposed to do, not report the news?! To reference a relevant simile, they seem wholly unconcerned with whether or not they’re playing us like a fiddle. Only that’s not a fiddle, it’s a drum machine. Only that’s not them working the drum machine, it’s a clerk from the local convenience mart. The drum machine has since instantly transformed into one of those contraptions on which hot dogs rotate. The mixer is now a Slurpee machine. Oh, I guess I just… okay. Hm.

Regardless, The Wire received word that Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland have started their own label — an imprint called World Music Group. A statement accompanying the announcement reads as follows: “Most future recording/works will be issued or licensed through this channel.” And that’s it. Now we wait.

(In other news, listen to Blunt’s recent “Watch The Throne” collaboration with James Ferraro here, and take note of the fact that the Hippos In Tanks reissue of Blunt’s mixtape The Narcissist II will be released not too long from now, on November 26.)

• Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland:

Arise ye freaks! Arthur magazine rises from its resting place!

The once and future king of counterculture rags is back, after a faked death last March. Viva Arthur! Yesterday The Wire reported that the longhair lovers at Jay Babcock’s cult mag have roused themselves from their lengthy slumber and will be returning with a bigger, bolder, adjectives-ier look! The good people at Arthur have teamed up with Portland’s Floating World Comics to produce a black-and-white AND color broadsheet with ads on the back cover only, available for the low, low, low price of $5. So, yeah, it’s not free anymore.

The Beatles may have said “Can’t Buy Me Love,” but that was before Arthur existed. For what else is love, if it’s not the names of beloved, returning contributors like Byron Coley, Thurston Moore, “radical ecologist Nance Klehm,” “trickster activists Center for Tactical Magic,” Defend Brooklyn’s socio-political wizard Dave Reeves, and a holy “host of new, fresh-faced troublemakers”? (Quotes direct from the Arthur’s mouth.) Yasmin Khan is the art director on this here ship of fools. Arthur returns to this veil of sorrows December 22. Pre-orders are available from the magazine’s website.


Spotify worth $3 billion without actually making any money

Because the Wall Street Journal has one of those annoying paywalls in place, Stereogum and FACT have stepped in to let us know that Spotify is being valued at a mindboggling $3 billion. Yes, dollars, and that’s up from an estimated $1 billion dollar valuation last year. With these astronomical overestimates, Spotify is making the rounds with its hat out, looking to collect more than $100 million from a variety of investors, including the nice, reliable guys at Goldman Sachs. Don’t ever say Wall Street bankers don’t know what they’re doing, folks.

Why is it so surprising that a company that gives away product for free in most instances is valued so highly (other than the whole giving things away for free thing)? Well, it seems that in the last two years Spotify has spent any revenue it earned from converting free listeners to paid subscribers on sales (advertising and royalties), and then they spent an enormous amount of non-existent capital on top of that to actually pay their employees and cover overhead costs.

While the service is incredibly popular in Europe and the US, with a huge share of the streaming music market, it’s not great at getting people to pay, and advertising is apparently not footing the bill (most likely because spots traded for royalty payments owed, instead of paid for outright). Essentially, the money they’re raising from investors is being used to keep the company afloat. No real return on investment is being realized here, so if you’re lucky enough to have ‘investment income,’ make sure to ask your banker if your money is going to a service that has no real likelihood of ever making any money to pay you back. Spotify is awesome and is a great way for people to explore and experiment with music, but like much about the music industry these days, the business model is not sustainable.

• Spotify: