Espers’ Meg Baird Has a Deep, Dark Rumor

There are plenty of deep, dark rumors that have been circulating throughout this crazy rolly-coaster called "the music business" for ages. One concerns that young mod-turned-old-American-classics-interpreter Rod Stewart, who is known for being "thrifty." It has been noted that Rod the Cod often pays for goods in stores and restaurants by check. It is a pretty good scam for all would-be star hounds and star scrooges: if you are receiving a check from Rod from Nod, you will be more apt to keep the check in a frame rather than cashing it and it saves Rod the Stew the $4.99 at Checkers or Radio Shack for stuff that he obviously cannot afford. Store clerks get their very own piece of celebrity paraphernalia and Rod the iPod keeps his pockets full via big, big savings. It's win-win!

Another industry goodie involves every red-blooded psych 'n' prog lover's heroes Pink Floyd, who, it is persistently alleged, recorded the rotten mega-selling(out) concept album The Wall with one reason in mind: to recoup substantial losses they incurred investing unwisely in... (wait for it)... SKATEBOARDS during the 1970s! The Floyd and skateboards? Yeah, I can definitely see that as a natural fit. Wonder what the christ went wrong?

I am guessing Meg Baird -- erstwhile Espers and Baird Sisters songbird -- has a hidden, secretive side, although practicing cheapskate tricks to save a few bucks or jumping on the latest rolling flatboard bandwagon probably do not figure into it. One secret (that was never really a secret) of hers is now out of the bag, because it has been proudly announced by all at Drag City that they will release her solo album called Dear Companion on May 22. On it, you will hear her playing trad tales and home-spun faery folk and singing of Williams sweet and Ellens fair.

If Meg Baird came into "Nadelle's Appalachian Sing-along and Magi-Medieval Emporium" to buy a cap o'rushes and a woven basket, I'd keep her check.

1. Dear Companion
2. River Song
3. The Cruelty of Barbary Allen
4. Do What You Gotta Do
5. The Waltze of the Tennis Players
6. Riverhouse in Tinicum
7. Maiden in the Moor Lay
8. Sweet William and Fair Ellen
9. All I Ever Wanted
10. Willie O'Winsbury

Espers are a-touring:
04.25.07 - Dublin, Ireland - Crawdaddy
04.26.07 - London, England - Dingwalls #
04.27.07 - Aberdeen, Scotland - The Lemon Tree $
04.28.07 - Glasgow, Scotland - Tramway $
04.29.07 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Liquid Room $
05.19.07 - Nelsonville, OH - Hockhocking Festival

# w/Voice of the Seven Woods & Sharron Kraus

$ Triptych Festival

Belong Teams up with The Album Leaf to Play in a Theater, Hotel, Ballroom, Church, the Middle East, and a Pig; Discrepancy Disrupts American Family Life Everywhere

A conspiracy exists, my friends: the culprits who named the venues that Belong are playing are evil. Belong, a duo of electronic drone transfusers, is heading out on tour in support of their new, as-yet unnamed EP, the follow-up to last year's October Language. That's all well and good, but before you go out to see one of their shows, I will expose the evils of the venue names. This darkness will be explained via a dialogue between a mother and her child.

Let's zoom in on Cambridge, MA. Billy and his girlfriend Suzie are about to tell Billy's mother the evening's agenda. The old, sweet lady speaks first.

"Hi, honey. Whatcha doin' tonight?"

"Well, Mamma, Suzie and I were going to catch a show at the Middle East."

"Middle East? Did you say Middle East? I don't want you goin' there."

"Yeah, Mom. Okay just lay off it, we're seeing Belong and The Album Leaf."

"Oh is that them Taliban codenames? I always knew you weren't American enough for this family!"

"I hate you mother! Come on Suzie, let's blow this hellhole and mellow out to some amazing glitchy electonic music!"

All dates with The Album Leaf:

CEO on CEO Porn: Warner CEO Bronfman Sues Vivideni, Former Simon & Schuster CEO Threatens to Sue Bronfman

Warner Music Group's current CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. (known to his friends like TMT as "Efer") has sued media conglomerate Vivendi SA over his pension, claiming his payments have been cut by almost 65%. Back when he was employed by Vivendi SA, Brofman was the company's largest single shareholder and head of Segram during the late-2000 merger of Canal+, Seagram, and Vivendi. He left Vivendi in 2002. Although Vivendi informed Bronfman last year that a company error earned him 15 years of "additional service," Bronfman has claimed that he signed three contracts through a "Benefit Equalization Plan," which he alleges earns him credit beyond his pension payments.

All very interesting, yeah?

Now reports are surfacing that former Simon & Schuster CEO Dick Snyder is threatening to sue Bronfman. In a $100 million lawsuit, Synder claims that WMG never compensated him for his role in helping negotiate Bronfman's takeover of WMG. The "role" he claims is that he was Bronfman's "personal adviser" who created the WMG deal in the first place but just didn't officially close it. According to a draft of the potential lawsuit acquired by The Post, it says "Given his track record, Bronfman Jr. lacked the capacity and sound business judgment necessary to conceive of or consummate the acquisition of Warner Music Group on his own." However,, several anonymous sources disagree with his assessment. Even our own anonymous source said "I bet he's lying." Compelling!

Bronfman Jr., of course, is now the CEO of Warner Music Group since 2004 and has become quite the figure as WMG and the rest of the major label groups try to acclimate to the volatile digital music industry. So why should you care about a CEO suing for money and an ex-CEO suing for money when you wish you could sue for money yourself? Well, I didn't really want to tell you this... but... you, my friend, are Edgar Bronfman Jr, CEO of Warner Music Group since 2004.

Chris Garneau Dances With The Stars, Tours

"If you need anything, just put a dime in the phone," says my landlady. She's a nice person, a bit eccentric, a bit odd, but a real sweetheart, if for no other reason than she claims the above phrase is "an old Italian expression."

"How old?" I'll ask, but I already know it can't be any older than telephones, and no more recent than when you actually could put a dime in the phone. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not an old Italian expression but a universal phrase.

It's a very democratic phrase. Imagine politicians using it as a slogan. We'd be much more appreciative of our representatives if we could follow my landlady's advice. Plus, anyone in doubt of such a candidate would be prompted to rethink their position with the question my landlady asks after everything: "Am I right or wrong?" You're right, so very right.

I mention all of this because it reminds me of Chris Garneau. His music feels open and sweeping in its own insular nature. It seems like a lesser-known, downtrodden definition for "Democracy" that no one uses, something smaller and independent and all-encompassing in emotion rather than one grand idea. If the National Anthem were changed to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," Garneau's music could wait in its shadow, its animas, its black sheep. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. He's honest, or he seems like it anyway. If I really did need something, I could just put a dime in the phone.

Of course, a phone call costs more than a dime, and he knows that. He knows, and he'll give you the extra 15 cents just because. This is the land of opportunity, and he is going on tour in support of Music for Tourists starting May 13 in North Manchester, Indiana. It sounds like a nice place, am I right or wrong?


U.S. Air Guitar Championship Kicks Off; I Practice Naked and It Becomes Mistaken for an Unmentionable Act by My Mother

Back in high school, I wrote for the school paper. I was given a whole page to create, so I thought up some bullshit stories. After doing some "research," I discovered the serious reality of the U.S. Air Guitar Championship. I got kicked off of the paper not too long after, and I realized that my destiny was to write superfluous stories with halfway believable information. If I didn't move on to college, I most likely would have gone the air guitar route, but not to say none of these people have any integrity.

You might find yourself wondering whether this is real or not, and a select few may even be wondering what air guitar is. If you are, you've been living in a vagina your whole life. Air guitar has been around since Adam and Eve and most importantly helped launch the careers of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in the god-fearing film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Now, treading back on what I just wrote, Alex Winter's career as I speak is most likely along the lines of being a judge or performing at the U.S. Air Guitar Championship... maybe even working at Jack-in-the-Box. (Sorry, I like you, Alex Winter, but I admire Jack-in-the-Box more.)

I would most likely attend the competition in hopes to see Bill S. Preston, Esq. battle an imaginary axe against the dude who played Death in the sequel, but odds are that many of us are wondering if this amusing idea is transferable to a blood-thirsty audience. I guess you'll have to go find out for yourself when the U.S. Air Guitar Championship goes on a 14-city tour to the likes of Chicago, Austin, Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles. The U.S. tournament will end when the winners from each city are flown to NYC to fight for their right to look like a complete jackass. And just when you thought that was enough sexellent* action, the final U.S. winner will advance to Finland for the world championships against 13 other countries.

It's too late to enter, but you can still play crotch guitar along with the others. You might as well show your support and live out your Bill and Ted fantasy with the others. However, to make this story relatable, I am just like you. In high school (or last month), I was caught by my mom playing air guitar naked in her bathroom. She thought I was masturbating, but really I was doing a naked rendition of Def Leppard's "Photograph." If naked air guitar isn't your thing, you can also try and catch the documentary Air Guitar Nation, which opened March 23, at a hipster theater near you. But if naked air guitar is, in fact, your thing, then please remember that an erection is no Gibson. Be safe.

Here are the U.S. dates. Enjoy!

* Sexellent is the new word I use. Get used to it.

According to Eighteen Seconds Before Sunrise, Sigur Rós (the band, not the sports drink) have been busy this year with several projects. Perhaps in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint -- it was Earth Day yesterday, after all -- Sigur Rós announced the release of a new "full-length album of acoustic songs." Reports indicate that the album consists of a hybrid technology involving the replacement of petroleum-based, battery-powered D'Addario strings with wound steel strings (technology made popular by Nirvana on MTV Unplugged). No final release date has been confirmed, but there's a tentative release month of October.

Sigur Rós also plan several other releases for 2007 and early 2008. In addition to a new EP due in August that will feature tracks "Salka," "Lagið í gær," "Rokklagið," a new version of "Von" (which was originally released on the group's first album, Von), and bonus live footage, the group has tentative dates penciled in for three DVDs:

(1) Film/soundtrack Hlemmur will finally see release as a DVD/CD package in July.

(2) A live DVD of last summer's tour in Iceland will be issued around the release of the acoustic full-length LP.

(3) Odin's Raven Magic in concert will be available also as a DVD/CD package sometime early next year.

There's also a 32-page book called In A Frozen Sea, which will "come encased in a 12″ vinyl jacket and be available on its own or as part of a limited edition vinyl package with three of the band’s 12″ lps," scheduled for June 1. You can read more about this release here.

In other Sigur Rós news, the band this past weekend performed two new tracks on Saturday Night Live (with Scarlett Johansson hosting), while former member Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir (under the name Kria Brekkan) will release a new album titled Pullhair Rubeye with Animal Collective's Avey Tare tomorrow. Meanwhile, Sigur Rós the sports drink announced it will only use meat from free-range chickens starting sometime in July.

Photo: Morgunblaðið & Fréttablaðið