Diane Cluck starting six-month Song-of-the-Week project in March; subscribe now to improve the fidelity

Diane Cluck starting six-month Song-of-the-Week project in March; subscribe now to improve the fidelity http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-12-01-diane-cluck.jpg

Attention man friends, woman friends, dog friends, and plant friends: the tangled troubadour which ye love, Diane Cluck, is back in the song-sharing spirit after a long public silence following the early-00s collections on Important Records and 2005’s lovely and overlooked Countless Times. In the intervening years, new songs were almost certainly still planted and harvested, but likely only reached the microscopic ears of the slowly simmering zucchini in Ms. Cluck’s kitchen. For 2012, Diane has decided to leave the door ajar for half the year and let anyone listen who’ll lend an open ear and a bit of money.

The “Song-of-the-Week” project will proceed as you might imagine — starting in March, Diane will grace subscribers’ inboxes with a brand-new song each week for six full months, resulting in 24 songs released by the end of August! Tentative listeners can sign on for a single month at a low rate ($10) while true beliebers can get all the songs for $50, plus there’ll be the occasional video and a subscriber-only message board to talk about the songs and make requests for the remaining weeks. Please don’t attempt to say this is a bad idea; it’s a great idea, Joe, and your baseless negativity has no place here.

To make the project feasible, Diane is hoping to raise $15,000 by January 30, which will be used for the developing/hosting/engineering/etc. of all these songs (see a detailed rundown here). In the vein of Kickstarter (but more homebrewed and less associated with funding sleepovers), different subscription levels beyond the ordinary are available and sound supremely worth it: $75 gets you two physical CDs with proper mastering, lyrics, and artwork signed by Diane, and still larger donations will be rewarded with hand-drawn illustrations, personalized songs (!), and live shows in your own backyard.

As of yesterday, the Song-of-the-Week project is 45% funded, and I’m going to be really disappointed in our readers if it’s not 89% funded by Wednesday. Cluck’s songs are open and direct in all the right ways, aloof and mysterious in others, and always mesmerizing and personal. Diane says on the project’s page to “tell cats, bats & rats.” Consider the rats informed.

Shows:

01.21.12 - Charlottesville, VA - Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar
02.06.12 - Brooklyn, NY - Storefront BK Gallery
02.12.12 - Toronto, ON - Holy Oak Cafe
02.14.12 - Montreal, QC - Casa del Popolo

• Diane Cluck: http://dianecluck.info
• Song-of-the-Week Project: http://dianecluck.info/song-of-the-week

Xiu Xiu to release new music album Always, not his much-anticipated comedy album, Dancing with the Cars

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 10 years since the release of Xiu Xiu’s first album, Knife Play. Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t it feel like it’s been more around eight years? Strange how time works! Anyway, while it’d make much sense for Jamie Stewart to release his 10th album during the 10th year of Xiu Xiu’s existence, he is going to instead release his 7th album, Always. Not only does this mean that, on March 6, you’ll be hearing a new 12-track Xiu Xiu album (courtesy of Polyvinyl), but it also means that he kinda sorta owes us two more albums.

Whether or not he’ll release two more new albums between now and March 6 is still up in the air (but likely, says my friend Joe who reads The New York Times every single day), but Always is most definitely brought to you by yet another new lineup, which includes Angela Seo, Bettina Escauriza, Marc Riordan, and Devin Hoff. The album will reportedly tackle such topics as sexual objectification, murder, family tragedy, incest, and molestation. Now, I’m all for having a laugh, but sometimes I wish Stewart would take on some serious issues. I can only laugh at incest so many times, you know? Anyway, check out the album’s first single, “Hi,” right here:

Stewart will also be releasing A Neo Tropical Companion, a haiku book, in March via Uitgeverij (you can order through Polyvinyl too), while a world tour is in the works for spring. We’ll keep you updated about the tour and those two albums that my friend Joe assures us will be coming out soon.

Always tracklist:

01. Hi
02. Joey’s Song
03. Beauty Towne
04. Honeysuckle
05. I Luv Abortion
06. The Oldness
07. Chimneys Afire
08. Gul Mudin
09. Born to Suffer
10. Factory Girls
11. Smear the Queen
12. Black Drum Machine

• Xiu Xiu: http://xiuxiu.org
• Polyvinyl: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com

[Photo: Jeremy Lange]

Jim O’Rourke to release Old News #7 and then announce #8 the day after you buy it

The prolific experimenter known to friends and fans alike as Jim O’Rourke, who was partially responsible for one of 2011’s greatest releases And That’s the Story of Jazz… (TMT Review), is gearing up for the next installment of his vinyl series Old News, following last year’s sweet #5 (TMT Review) and sweeter #6 (TMT Review). Each installment of the series provides a vinyl-only glimpse into O’Rourke’s electronic synth archive, and on February 21, the “seventh” installment will be issued as a double LP via Editions Mego, already available for preorder.

This time around, we are gifted with tracks such as “Welcome to the Django,” a two-sided mid-90s excursion of O’Rourke’s first experiments with a Serge modular system, and “Tacere Fas,” the piece originally appearing on the compilation Unentitled on These Records in 1994. There’s also a recent recording from a live performance in Nagoya at Tokuzo from last year. Have at it.

Old News #7 tracklist:

01. Welcome to the Django Part One
02. Welcome to the Django Part Two
03. Natural Bonbon Killers
04. Tacere Fas

• Jim O’Rourke: http://tisue.net/orourke
• Editions Mego: http://editionsmego.com

RIP: Tom Ardolino, drummer for NRBQ

From the Hartford Courant:

Tom Ardolino, the former drummer for cult favorites NRBQ, died Friday night after a long illness. He would have turned 57 Jan. 12.

After corresponding for years with keyboardist Terry Adams, Ardolino, a Springfield resident, joined the band in 1974 when original drummer Tom Staley departed. Ardolino remained behind the kit for the next 30 years, playing on 15 studio albums and countless live shows, until the group went on hiatus in 2004. Although he played at sporadic NRBQ reunion concerts in the intervening years, he wasn’t well enough to resume drum duties when keyboardist Terry Adams reconstituted the band with a new lineup in 2011.

“He was a great drummer and a great guy,” Al Anderson, who played with Ardolino in NRBQ from 1974-1993, said Saturday morning. “He had a totally unique style of drumming that nobody can ever duplicate. That was one of the baddest rhythm sections in the world.”

• NRBQ: http://www.nrbq.com

Sales of vinyl records increase for the sixth straight year; popularity of lensless glasses possibly related

Oh, happy day! Music sales have finally reversed their perpetual downward trend over the past several years, and, in an unprecedented display of humanity, the RIAA has opted to discontinue their tyrannical opposition to gratuitous file-sharing!

If only fate were so kind. As it turns out, overall album sales in the US did, remarkably, show a slight increase in 2011, but the more significant news at the moment pertains the sales of vinyl records, which have grown every year for the past six years and which increased by 25% in 2011, from 2.8 million in 2010 to 3.5 million. Have vinyl record manufacturers felt the urge to contact their doctors yet? Because this commercial erection appears to be lasting way longer than four hours.

What could possibly account for the ongoing resurgence of a medium that was previously shunned for its supposed obsolescence? Ironically, it may have something to do with the physical prominence and relative indispensability of records themselves — in other words, as a way of implicitly counteracting the digitization of music and entertainment in general, people have returned their interest to a format that requires their attention and may be a greater signifier of their passion for music than something as impersonal and easily discarded as MP3s. That’s just one theory though. Given how objectively inferior the sound quality of records are when compared to CDs, I’d like to chalk it up to some form of misplaced elitism, but I’m also quite willing to appreciate the fact that records do have their appeal, even if that appeal is based entirely on the subjective preference of the listener. Don’t hate.

Meanwhile, here is the top 10 best-selling vinyl albums of 2011, all by really white artists:

01. The Beatles - Abbey Road (41,000)
02. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (29,700)
03. Bon Iver - Bon Iver (27,200)
04. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More (26,800)
05. Radiohead - The King of Limbs (20,800)
06. Adele - 21 (16,500)
07. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (16,200)
08. Wilco - The Whole Love (14,900)
09. The Black Keys - Brothers (14,200)
10. The Black Keys - El Camino (13,800)

• Vinyl: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl

Ghostface Killah gets beer named after him, because who doesn’t want to taste Ghostface in their mouth?

Whenever I’m listening to albums by Wu-Tang or Ghostface Killah, I find myself preoccupied. No, it’s not the blunt that I’m trying to roll, nor is it the utter disgrace that music journalists cannot name all 9 members of Wu-Tang. It’s a more personal matter. To really understand them, I think it’d be best if I were able to smell them, to touch them… to taste them. Ghostface Killah, in particular, has always had a special place in my heart. While the doll replica of him serves as a perfect centerpiece for the shrine in my room where I pray to the Wu, I still find I feel a little lost.

Luckily, Twisted Pine Brewing knows my pain. Thus, when they set about to make the spiciest beer ever, they aptly called it Ghost Face Killah. Why? It’s a wheat ale with six different chili peppers: Anaheim, Fresno, jalapeno, serrano, habanero, and bhut jolokia, the ‘ghost’ pepper. Upon its initial release last year, it was only available in Colorado, but this is my year. Starting this month, the beer will be sold in Texas, New Mexico, Florida, Nebraska, Missouri, and Louisiana. I will be crossing many state lines to pick up my own individually bottled 12 ounces to fiery freedom. The chili peppers will have me sweating my ass off, but at least I’ll feel that much closer to my own Ghostface. I just hope I’m not disappointed, because my Asian glow already makes me feel like I’m running a fever every time I get drunk.

• Twisted Pine Brewing: http://www.twistedpinebrewing.com

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