EMI and Universal announce layoffs. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starting to suspect that the music industry is maybe in a little trouble.

EMI and Universal announce layoffs. I don't know about you guys, but I'm starting to suspect that the music industry is maybe in a little trouble. http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/1210/news-12-10-universal-emi-layoffs.jpg

As Jerry Lee Lewis would probably put it if he worked for Tiny Mix Tapes as a shiftless and unpaid news intern in late 2012 but was still simultaneously a 1950s entertainer-par-excellence: “there’s a whole lot of layoffs goin’ on!” LOL, doesn’t that sound like a great song? I wonder where I can download it for free on the internet!

But seriously though: Lewis had better keep his crappy newswriting dayjob, because Billboard recently announced that Universal Music Group is currently hard at work consolidating its music distribution companies and its Nashville country music labels. After Universal’s merger with EMI got approved last month by a joint committee of Satan, John D. Rockefeller’s ghost, and that smog-villain guy from the movie Ferngully, Billboard’s sources said that nearly 60 employees were shrewdly unit-shifted to unemploymentville, including nearly 50 from EMI distribution and almost 10 from EMI’s Nashville office (a few Universal Music employees were jettisoned at the time as well). Even bigger wigs like EMI senior VP of sales John Nicholas and EMI East Coast field sales chief Joan Kane were re-shuffled by UMG into a senior catalog guy and Capitol Records label liaison, respectively, which confusingly combines the stress of being fired with the elation of being hired and probably resulted in some pretty interesting bowel movements. Meanwhile, EMI’s head of distribution and best bocce ball player Dominic Pandiscia has migrated to head of sales for Capitol Records, where he will reportedly have on his staff Blue Note’s Saul Shapiro and Astralwerks/Capitol’s David Miller. I know — I was worried about those guys too!

Unfortunately, those who escaped the firing squad for now aren’t even totally in the clear yet. Some members of the EMI distributions staff were told they would only have their jobs “for another 30 to 120 days,” according to sources in both the EMI and UMG sources. Obviously, those staff members will work as hard as they can for the company in the meantime.

“Following our acquisition of EMI Recorded Music, UMG will be expanding key creative areas as part of our ongoing integration,” read a Jack Donaghy-esque statement from UMG. “While this restructuring will unfortunately result in some redundancies, it is essential to UMG becoming an even more agile and efficient company, not just for this year or the next, but for years to come. Our goal is to maximize the resources available for reinvestment in our labels so they can do what they do best: develop and promote artists, increase the output of new music and expand opportunities for digital innovation.” I think that was Ebeneezer Scrooge’s goal, too, wasn’t it?

• EMI: http://www.emimusic.com
• Universal Music Group: http://www.universalmusic.com

[Photo: Joy Kennelly]

RIP: Hans Werner Henze, German avant-garde composer

From The Boston Globe:

German composer Hans Werner Henze, whose prolific and wide-ranging work included a wealth of operas and 10 symphonies, died Saturday, his publisher said. He was 86.

Henze died in the eastern German city of Dresden, longstanding publisher Schott Music said in a statement, calling him ‘‘one of the most important and influential composers of our time.’’ It didn’t disclose the cause of death.

Henze’s work over the decades straddled musical genres. He composed stage works, symphonies, concertos, chamber works and a requiem, and once said that ‘‘many things wander from the concert hall to the stage and vice versa.’’

• Hans Werner Henze: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Werner_Henze

Loren Connors & Suzanne Langille take you to art school on new LP interpreting the paintings of M P Landis

Remember in grade school when you’d go to a museum for a day, and then you’d have to write a poem about a painting, or a song about a mosaic, or whatever? Well, now underground legends Loren Connors and Suzanne Langille are taking a field trip and releasing an LP based on the paintings of Brooklyn outsider artist M P Landis for Northern Spy Records. Connors has released over 50 albums at this point, and has work archived in the Blues Archive at the University of Mississippi. Langille, his life partner, is a vocalist who has appeared on a number of Connors’ best albums through the years — more on that here — and her own debut album (with Neel Mugari) Wild & Foolish Heart was finally released in 2010.

This newest project, called I Wish I Didn’t Dream, came about through Connor’s association with writer and WFMU DJ Kurt Gottschalk, who was writing text and choosing paintings for a book on Landis. Connors and Gottschalk were like, “Hey, what if this book had a soundtrack?” And magic happened! An album concept was born! (Also check out our Cerberus write-up of the accompanying 7-inch.)

The birth of said album occurred in Jason LaFarge’s Seizure’s Palace studio, where Swans recorded My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky and Brian Eno’s Ambient 4: On Land was engineered and mixed. Connors and Langille watched slides of Landis paintings flash on the wall and then improvised until this, their first album as a duo in 14 years, sprung to life.

To celebrate, Northern Spy is throwing a party at Brooklyn’s 285 Kent on November 13, with sets by the Lee Ranaldo/Alan Licht/Ryan Sawyer trio, the Tom Carter/Pat Murano duo, projections by Martha Colburn, and of course, Loren Connors and Suzanne Langille.

I Wish I Didn’t Dream tracklisting:

01. My Skin Is a Membrane
02. La Belle Dame sans Merci
03. Come with Me
04. Come On, Come On
05. Shenandoah
06. Just Find Your Shoes
07. I Wish I Didn’t Dream
08. I Don’t Know
09. Gotta Work
10. Still Bound
11. It Will Only Continue
12. Cease to Do Evil
13. Keep Breathing

• Loren Connors: http://www.fvrec.com/lorenconnors
• Suzanne Langille: http://family-vineyard.com/artists/suzannelangille.php
• M P Landis: http://www.mplandis.com
• Northern Spy: http://northern-spy.com

Daniel Higgs and Arrington de Dionyso go on West Coast tour out in the real world, while you read about it on the internet

Here we are, on the internet. The information super highway. The world wide web. The yelling sphere. Oh, you don’t ever call it the yelling sphere? I suppose you wouldn’t. Only I call it that. See, the internet is a place where you can digitally yell as much as you want and nobody will stop you. The sphere is just a pleasing shape. Please start calling it “The Yelling Sphere” as soon as you possibly can.

We can do a lot on the internet, but we can’t see Arrington de Dionyso (Old Time Relijun, Malaikat dan Singa) and Daniel Higgs (Lungfish) play live on the internet. I suppose you could watch them on YouTube, but, come on, don’t be an idiot. Please. Being an idiot isn’t cool. Instead of being an idiot, go see them on one of their many tourdates together on the West Coast. They’ll be sharing the stage with folks like Sun Araw, Deep Magic, Scout Niblett, and Calvin Johnson. All your favorites! Wait, I forgot. We’re on the internet. Your favorites are all probably people on Doctor Who.

Arrington de Dionyso + Daniel Higgs dates:

10.29.12 - Bolinas, CA - Bolinas Community Center
10.30.12 - San Francisco, CA - Mutiny Radio Gallery
10.31.12 - Oakland, CA - The Church *
11.01.12 - San Luis Obispo, CA - Crossroads 1545
11.02.12 - Los Angeles, CA - HM 157 $
11.03.12 - Los Angeles, CA - The Smell %
11.04.12 - San Diego, CA - The Pong House
11.05.12 - Irvine, CA - UC Irvine
11.06.12 - Los Angeles, CA - Dilettante ^
11.07.12 - Davis, CA - 1604 Pole Line Road House &
11.08.12 - Portland, OR - Cherry Sprout Grocery Store #
11.09.12 - Seattle, WA - Cairo @
11.10.12 - Seattle, WA - Hollow Earth Radio !
11.11.12 - Port Townsend, WA - Boiler Room
11.12.12 - Olympia, WA - Secret Location +

* Pod Blotz, DJ Forest Juziuk
$ Sun Araw, Deep Magic, Professor Cantaloupe
% Lucky Dragons, Spires That in the Sunset Rise
^ Foot Village, Featherbeard, Anna Oxygen, White Magic
& Biosexual
# Marisa Anderson
@ Calvin Johnson
! Paul Hoskin
+ Scout Niblett

• Arrington de Dionyso: http://arringtondedionyso.tumblr.com
• Daniel Higgs: http://www.thrilljockey.com/thrill/Daniel-Higgs

Arcade Fire toiling away at new album for late 2013 release; massive pipe organ to take lead vocals

Woe is the Arcade Fire superfan! The past two years since the release of the band’s critically-acclaimed The Suburbs have been a barren, winter wasteland with but a few singles and tracks from The Hunger Games soundtrack to tide them over in lieu of a new studio album. But wipe your brows, my downtrodden friends, and thirst no more, for the wait is… ALMOST over, kinda.

For, in an interview with Ottawa radio station CKCU on Thursday, drummer Jeremy Gara revealed that the band is toiling deep within the depths of a subterranean studio to bring you your precious new studio album. They’ve got like, starving hobbits down there making guitars out of gold and shit, just so you people get your new album, and just so it rules. But just as in all stories of magic and hobbits, there’s a catch: the album won’t be ready until late 2013.

As Gara explains, the band works at their own pace, without pressure from crazy managers and bloodthirsty record execs. (Also the roof collapsed on their old studio, so they had to move to a new space.) Gara says, “We took a couple months off and we’ve been writing songs. Now we’re in the studio pretty much full time just doing what we do. And we kind of shut the door. We haven’t really gone out and done anything in over a year now. We haven’t done photos or interviews or anything. We’re just working on music and growing beards and living at home a lot and going out to dinner together.”

• Arcade Fire: http://www.arcadefire.com

Morrissey puts US tour on hold

Morrissey is putting his entire tour on hold. He is returning to England to care for his mother, who has recently been hospitalized. This is straight from True to You, the longtime Morrissey fanzine/website that is apparently your best source for up-to-the-minute Morrissey related news.

This announcement comes mere days after he announced that four shows would be postponed. Refunds for tickets have not been announced, as the famously dour crooner plans on rescheduling the tour in the near future.

Here’s a list of the cancelled tourdates, just in case you forgot if you bought tickets:

10.29.12 - Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theatre
10.30.12 - Clear Lake, IA - Surf Ballroom
11.01.12 - Lincoln, NE - Rococo Theater
11.03.12 - Denver, CO - Ellie Caulkins Opera House
11.04.12 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kingsbury Hall at University of Utah
11.08.12 - Seattle, WA - Moore Theater
11.10.12 - Bellingham, WA - Mount Baker Theater
11.11.12 - Portland, OR - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
11.14.12 - Davis, CA - Robert Mondavi Center at UC Davis
11.16.12 - San Francisco, CA - Davies Symphony Hall
11.17.12 - Reno, NV - John Ascuaga’s Nugget, Rose Ballroom
11.21.12 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theater
11.23.12 - Las Vegas, NV - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas at the Chelsea Ballroom
11.24.12 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center
11.27.12 - El Paso, TX - Tricky Falls
11.28.12 - Wichita Falls, TX - Kay Yeager Coliseum
11.30.12 - Pharr, TX - Pharr Events Center
12.01.12 - Beamount, TX - Jefferson Theater
12.03.12 - Atlanta, GA - Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center
12.05.12 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
12.07.12 - North Bethesda, MD - The Music Center at Strathmore
12.08.12 - Atlantic City, NJ - House of Blues at Showboat Atlantic City

• Morrissey: http://www.itsmorrisseysworld.com