Frenchkiss Records forms supergroup with ATP/R, White Iris, and Underwater Peoples, goes on tour with Arts & Crafts Records

Frenchkiss Records forms supergroup with ATP/R, White Iris, and Underwater Peoples, goes on tour with Arts & Crafts Records

A few months ago, in some office somewhere in the middle of Brooklyn, Syd Butler was trying to figure out how to grow. He had a pretty decent office, running his label Frenchkiss Records with some debonair, and had a few employees under his wing, doing everything but band publicity (that was outsourced to some pigeon that hits windows in Manhattan). But he had no idea what to do from there. He sat down and had a brainstorming session with his subordinates, subordinating them to think of something.

“Think, my lovelies, think!” Syd admonished. “We’ve been at this for three hours.”

“No we haven’t,” said Grace. “It’s been three minutes.”

“Feels like three hours,” said Syd. “Paul, you got something?”

“Uh, IPO?” Paul clearly didn’t know why he was here, he just sorted mail.

“We’re an upstart label, not a startup!” Syd glared with some viciousness. “Phil?”

“Invest in creating the greatest record in the history of great records?” Phil had some understanding of the business, but he preferred to not care.

“Eh, last time that happened, Creation Records got devoured by Sony. Good start, though.” Syd turned to Grace. “You’re the most business-minded of the bunch. Any ideas?”

“Partner with a larger label?” Grace said. “Sub Pop did that with WMG, and they came out okay. They got a couple #1s now.”

“Sub Pop was desperate, lady,” Syd responded. “I… err, we shouldn’t have to lose control when we’re on our A-game. Anyone else?”

“How about forming a supergroup?” Craig Finn said as he waltzed in, looking through the mail, eyes brightening at the coupon book.


“A supergroup. Get a few other labels together, form a larger ‘superlabel’ that shares all the business aspects, including distribution, that a regular label does. Like Rough Trade, only with more kicks.”

“Good idea, Craig,” said Syd, “…But what are you doing here?”

“…Status report on the next record?”

“You still haven’t found a place to live yet, have you?”

“Noooo, but…”

Groans aside, Craig’s idea took shape. However, Syd twisted it a little: instead of being a typical superlabel, the newly-formed Frenchkiss Label Group (FKLG) would be a sort of a label farm, allowing smaller labels to gain the resources that a superlabel can have in order to develop into a sustainable and larger business. After getting a variety of rejections from Matador (too big), In The Red (not in the mood), and GAYNGS (not actually a label), they settled on a starting lineup of nine, including JAXART, Pendu Sound, Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records, and Cavity Search Records. The big ones, though, are White Iris (home to FIDLAR and Eric Copeland) and ATP/R (home to Deerhoof, Jackie-O Motherfucker, and Fuck Buttons). To celebrate, FKLG released a compilation record of all the bands now under Syd’s all-encompassing groovy wings, and they had a party at the office.

“This is great, man,” Syd said. “And thanks for the booze, Paul. What should we do now?”

“I think we should get our artists to collaborate with some of the artists on these labels,” said Grace said.

Before Syd could respond, a loud vacuum-like sound silenced the crowd, and a man walked out from behind the FKR blue pillar. “Don’t ask me to collaborate with anyone,” said Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit, before disappearing from behind the pillar. He reappeared 10 seconds later in equally loud fashion. “Unless it’s with Alex Hung of Fuck Buttons. Then, maybe.” He disappeared again.

“We have pneumatic tubes?” asked Phil.

“We do now,” said Syd, cackling.

If This FKLG Compilation Record Were A Supergroup, It’d Require Three Stages:

01. Guards - Do It Again (Extended Version) [White Iris]
02. Slow Animal - Bliss Brain [JAXART]
03. Two Wounded Birds - If Only We Remain [Holiday Friends]
04. Pete Krebs and the Gossamer Wings - Kid Domino [Cavity Search]
05. FIDLAR - Oh [White Iris]
06. So Many Wizards - Lose Your Mind [JAXART]
07. The Memories - Softly [Underwater Peoples]
08. Eric Copeland - Louie, Louie, Louie [Underwater Peoples]
09. aTelecine - 4 AM [Pendu]
10. Fuck Buttons - Olympians [ATP Recordings]
11. Chelsea Wolfe - Tracks (Tall Bodies) [Pendu]
12. La Big Vic - LYNY [Underwater Peoples]
13. YVETTE - Cold Sweat [God Mode]
14. Anywhere - Anywhere [ATP Recordings]
15. Tall Firs - Crooked Smiles [ATP Recordings]
16. Fletcher C. Johnson - Messin’ Up My Mind [White Iris]
17. Starred - Call From Paris [Pendu]
18. Travelogue - Cathedral [Holiday Friends]
19. Matty Fasano - Unkind [God Mode]
20. Mr. Dream - Scarred For Life [God Mode]
21. Von Haze - His Love Is Fine [Pendu]
22. Steffaloo - The Red Runs Free [JAXART]
23. Gentlemen of Leisure - Boy Toy [Cavity Search]
24. Snow Bud and the Flower People - Bong Hit [Cavity Search]

• Frenchkiss Label Group:

MA DOOM (Masta Ace and DOOM) LP finally endowed by its creators with an inalienable release date, and lo, a weary world rejoiceth

Last September, I wrote some typical bullshit about DOOM and Brooklyn MC Masta Ace getting together on a new LP that would come out under the name MA DOOM, with DOOM dropping all the beats and Ace spitting all the verses. Unfortunately, there were no hard details to turn into whacky, class-A, TMT jokes (or even bro-dog Pitchfork jokes) at the time, so I ended the piece by suggesting that some sucker find out the rest of the details whenever possible, write up a hilarious story about it, and slap my name at the top so that I’d get credit for it. Well, it turns out that I’m an idiot, because eight months later… I am that sucker. It’s like M. Night Shyamalan is writing my life as a terrible screenplay somewhere!

Anyway, according to one of my favorites FACT Magazine, the MA DOOM album is finally coming out after months of annoying delays and reverbs. It’s called MA DOOM: Son of Yvonne and is set for release on July 17 on Fat Beats Records (I know that sounds fake, but it’s not). The duo unveiled the first sample of said album a few weeks ago on Soundcloud, a decidedly feminist cut about, you know, women using their sexy tits to seduce, drug, and burgle you. So, you know, I guess we can look forward to more of that. Check out the track below, and keep your beguiling breasts and buttocks the fuck away from me.

• Masta Ace:
• Fat Beats:

Laurel Halo, C. Spencer Yeh, ZS, Amen Dunes, Noveller to play in life-size maze for You Are Here 2012

You hear about a show, buy tickets, go to the venue, and then enact the ritual of modern-day musical performance, where the line between artist and audience is clearly delineated and everything is dictated by schedules. This ritual is more than just a convenient way of catching a performance; it’s a reflection of capitalist ideology, where time itself is a commodity and the resulting expectations of musical performance are reduced to bullet points on a show-goer’s valuation checklist. The You Are Here festival, created by conceptual installation art duo Trouble (Sam Hillmer of ZS and Laura Paris), is an attempt to subvert this ritual. Rather than setting up multiple stages over the span of a weekend, the third-annual You Are Here fest is set up in Brooklyn’s Secret Project Robot Gallery, from Thursday through Saturday each week for four weeks starting July 12.

The kicker? There is no stage. In fact, there is no center, no focal point, no defined Spectacle to fetishize. Instead, musicians are embedded in an actual life-size maze, an installation designed and built by Trouble, with lights, projections, sculpture, sound, and more. According to the fest, “Audience members arrive at ‘You Are Here’ with the intention of catching a particular presentation, but intentions are frustrated and transformed by the labyrinthine construction the festival provides. Artists and audiences alike are invited to question the expectations that arise around performance in the context of community.” Having troubles picturing it? Check out this slick digital simulation of this year’s maze design:

Past artists have included Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth, Thee Oh Sees, Calvin Johnson, and Excepter (click here to view images/videos/etc. of past mazes), and this year’s lineup is just as a-maze-ing, with TMT favorites like C. Spencer Yeh, Laurel Halo, ZS, Dustin Wong, Noveller, Extra Life, Mick Barr, Amen Dunes, and Diamond Terrifier, as well as Miho Hatori’s New Optimism, Ann Liv Young, Win Win, Fuckton, Jack Quartet, Nymph, MV Carbon, Driphouse, Psychic Reality, and many more announced and to be announced.

In addition to the New York event, Trouble are attempting to bring the maze installation to Berlin at the West Germany Gallery and Show Space in Kreuzberg. They’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to make this happen. Check it out and pledge all of the money in your bank account.

For more information on You Are Here, visit the fest’s website.

• You Are Here Festival:
• Trouble:
• Secret Project Robot Gallery:

Northern Spy throws another music fest: Rhys Chatham, Arthur Doyle, Eugene Chadbourne, Magik Markers, 40+ others

In 2011, Northern Spy Records celebrated their first year as a label that is likely better than yours with a small festival in New York. This year, they’re not only celebrating another anniversary, they’re practically flexing their nuts at us with one of the biggest festivals of jazz, improv, noise, and psych in the history of people and things.

This year’s Spy Music Festival has announced their official lineup, which includes 46 bands over the course of 16 days in NYC, sponsored by The Village Voice, Jump Arts, Six Points Brewery (who will be presenting their signature Northern Spy brew), and yours truly, Tiny Mix Tapes. That’s right, we sponsor shit! Got a fuckin’ race car and everything. Northern Spy has provided a 22-track preview mix below, highlighting some of the bands stopping through this summer:

This “music marathon” is running from June 29 through July 15 and features 46 sets of music at seven venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Featured artists include Rhys Chatham, Matthew Shipp, Arthur Doyle, Eugene Chadbourne, P.G. Six, Guardian Alien, Decimus, Magik Markers, Lana Del Ray, and many more. Head to the festival page for all the details.

• Spy Festival:
• Northern Spy:

EMI drains the financial life out of MP3tunes like a bloodthirsty vampire

Even though came out mostly on top back in August when a judge ruled that the services the site provides (personal storage locker for your music, pooling streams of music available for free online) did not directly violate EMI’s copyrights, the drawn-out battle between the major label and the small company has taken its toll and has officially filed for bankruptcy. EMI originally sued the site back in 2007, and after seven years of protracted legal quarrels, MP3tunes is reported to be left with only $7,754 in assets and almost $2.2 million in liabilities. I’m no accountant, but that doesn’t seem like a good position to be in.

While the site looks to be up and running and accepting new users, no official word has been released regarding the actual fate of the service. Founder Michael Robertson has come out to publicly decry the practices of EMI and its major label brethren, though, saying, “This is what they do. The labels engage in multiyear legal battles and put small companies through hell for years.” Given this outcome, it’s hard to argue with that assessment, especially since a federal court has yet to find fault with anything that the site has done directly.

Following the August decision, though, EMI continued to sue MP3tunes over the fact that the site didn’t immediately take down any stored music acquired via available online streams that the label deemed illegal. Even though MP3tunes had nothing to do with the original posting of the supposedly illegal material, and that the material would have disappeared from its users storage lockers if the label would have gotten the actual violator to take it down, MP3tunes is taking the bullet in this whole mess.

• MP3tunes:
• EMI:

Joanna Newsom and Philip Glass join forces to save Neverland, also known as the Henry Miller Memorial Library

One of my first college experiences many years ago was a College Night at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. A few peeps and I decided to chill out in the courtyard, because every damn college student in Boston was trying to check out an exhibit or something. Or drink booze. Then, magically, Joanna Newsom showed up with her harp, and played a set. It was the ideal setting for her: a grassy area filled with flowers and perhaps birds, her sitting on a platform no more than a few inches off the ground, her audience sitting and lounging, the stars out, the moon full. It was so magical that I doubt I could see her play again unless that setting could be matched.

There does exist another such setting, and now Ms. Newsom is working to save it. Working with minimalist institution Philip Glass as part of his Days and Nights Festival, she and Mr. Glass, along with violinist Tim Fain, will perform one night of solo and collaborative performances at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. Now, the Warfield is not a magical place (face it, San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood is kind of sketchtacular, and the venue next door is a strip club where porn stars sometimes dance), but the concert this venue is holding doubles as a fundraiser to save the real magical venue: the Henry Miller Memorial Library.

Located right on the majestic and mystical California Highway 1 in Big Sur, the Henry Miller Memorial Library (HMML) was built initially as a museum and tribute to the great American author, whose ashes were scattered somewhere in the trees. It has, through folkYEAH! and other organizations, been host to many a concert, from Neil Young and Bill Callahan to Dungen and Gang Gang Dance. However, due to federal mandates of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other safety regulations (especially because of its location within a National Park), the HMML must upgrade its facility, something it cannot afford, or face closure. Ticket sales from this event will go directly to funding this upgrade, assuring future magical concerts can occur at any given time.

• Joanna Newsom:
• Philip Glass: