If You Don’t Read the Entirety of This News Story, You Might Come Away Thinking There’s No Point to It; But There Is, and It Is This: Joel Gion’s Band is NOT the product of ‘Me,’ But of ‘We’ … (Wow, That Looks Even Lamer in a Headline)

As a heavily decorated -- meaning I've earned three TMT merit badges: the Gratuitous Profanity badge, the Bulbous Boner badge, and the You're a Giant Vag badge -- staffer here at Tiny Mix Tapes, it's my job to ponder a litany of subjects on a daily basis. This duty finds me endlessly digging deeper into the structures of music than anyone should rightfully dare. Like an avid surfer who just stumbled upon a cache of fecal fetish pics, I find myself often feeling that, though I've gained more knowledge through my excursions, I've lost more than my share of innocence. Luckily, with Leveer -- who once wrote “I consider myself a connoisseur of snuff films” during an IM conversation I had with him, causing me to write ‘LOM-F'nL!' in reply -- on staff I don't have to worry too much; at least Faces of Death still seems scary to me.

But, like visions of a Mr. T felch-job (goddamn), I find myself thinking about BALLS a lot. Bouncy, round, floppy, slightly smelly balls. For one, I think modern women have forgotten about the importance of balls in their quest to take command of the cock. Nextly, I've been thinking about Balls in the figurative sense, as in, Ballsy, as in, what's a ballsy move, musically speaking, and what isn't? And remember, we're not talking ‘admirable,' ‘lovable,' or ‘awesome,' so spare me the indignant e-mails. But I digress: In an effort to waste valuable TMT screen space (bet you love that, don't you advertisers?) and purge my inner demons, I've compiled a list of artists/people that are Ballsy and folks that are NOT ballsy:

Ballsy: Phil Spector – This guy has Balls that MUST be ready to burst at any moment. Damn, where do I start? I guess I'll have to go with one of his biggest head-scratchers: The guy fashioned a song called “He Hit Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss)” and actually tried to push it as a single for girl-group The Crystals. Yes, you read that correctly. Idiotic? Yes. Mysogynistic? You bet. Deplorable? OH FUCK YES. Ballsy? Hells yeah. He might have equated to a short, balding, trigger-happy, over-the-hill bitch as the '70s wore on, but perhaps his regression was merely a symptom of post-Ballsy syndrome.

NOT ballsy: Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal) – So, let me get this straight: You sell your song to Outback Steakhouse and not only let them use it in a commercial, but let them rework the lyrics to fit their goal of selling steaks along with a hearty portion of sizzle. What's weirder, you act thrilled at the prospect of “hear[ing] their take on one of our songs as a jingle.” But HOLD ON -- this actually isn't that crazy. Nowadays it's commonplace; even classic Dylan folk tunes are being co-opted by insurance companies. What renders Barnes, to me, ball-less is the fact that a fan holding up a sign that read ‘Outback Steakhouse' was kicked out of an Of Montreal show. Basically, rather than address the subject of ‘selling out' head-on, Barnes decided to get rid of what he saw as the source of his woe. Isn't that... a form of fascism? Look, I'm a reasonable guy; I'm not trying to conjure memories of Kent State here, but what's wrong with holding up a sign? A semi-ambiguous sign, no less? And why did everyone seem to say, ‘Good for you, Kev!' when they heard news of the kick-out? Barnes later told a music site that the situation made him “sad.” But if he's ashamed of selling his song to Outback Steakhouse, why doesn't he just say so? If he can't handle the burden of being faced with his decision, why doesn't he admit it? Wouldn't it have been more reasonable to simply ask the sign-holder to remove it instead of kicking a paying customer out of a show? Of course, now people are telling me that the guy didn't get kicked out, which may or may not be true (and certain sites have deleted information on the subject), but the sign was definitely taken away and likely burned like a Beatles album. So, in the end, people are coming down on this individual for holding up a sign that said ‘Outback Steakhouse,' which is pretty open to interpretation. Or maybe not. In any event, what's wrong with holding up a sign? It's not like the sign said ‘Of Montreal suck cock because they sold their song to a commercial like everyone else' or ‘Barnes can eat my tube steak' ... what's the deal? Regardless, Barnes seems to be doing fine, balls or no, so don't feel sorry for him. Feel sorry for me, I work at a daily newspaper! Besides, Barnes is defying the number-one rule of indie-rock etiquette: Stand By Your Steak.

Ballsy: R Kelly – As many of you know, Kelly allegedly peed on an underage girl, on camera. NO, that does not take balls. Naming his next single “Heaven I Need a Hug”? Nope, no balls. Bestowing the title of The Chocolate Factory on his next full-length album? Houston, we have balls.

NOT ballsy: Any Judge Letting R Kelly Off the Hook – How is this guy still free? Numerous videotapes, an annulled marriage to a then 15-year-old Aaliyah, allegations from ex-girlfriends and protégés? Raisin-sized, at best, your honor.

Ballsy: John Fogerty – This guy (who is admittedly sort of a 'ho' for other reasons) responded to his brother Tom's departure from Creedence Clearwater Revival by allowing -- some claim demanding -- his bandmates to contribute songs to CCR's last album, Mardi Gras. Stu Cook and Doug Clifford thus were responsible for not only writing and singing 1/3 of the album each, but also producing their entries, which by some reports Fogarty refused to sing. And guess what? The album tanked, forever discouraging petty drummers and bass players from aspiring beyond their abilities. Balls much?

NOT ballsy: Mike Love – The music world's nastiest red-headed stepchild, Mike Love's disapproval was listed, by Brian Wilson, as the number-one reason the SMiLE sessions were never released in their original format. Why did Love despise the sessions so? He is said to have been afraid that The Beach Boys would lose their audience if they abandoned their formula (which doesn't make ANY fucking sense because “Good Vibrations,” a wild divergence, had just become their biggest hit). Worst of all, he now denies that he had any problems with SMiLE, only that he didn't dig the lyrics too much. Location? No-Ballsville. Population? M. Love.

Ballsy: Anton Newcombe – Say what you will, this guy has Balls. He may be two LPs short of a record shop, but he's gotten the job done for years due to his extreme musical drive alone. That and his canyon-filling balls anyway.

NOT ballsy: Anton's Brian Jonestown Massacre bandmates in Dig! – Newcombe probably fucked these guys over a lot, but everything he dished out he got back and more... witness his cohorts constantly talking behind his back on camera, flubbing their parts in concert and generally acting just as childish. They're probably saner, but the balls in the family go to Newcombe.

[awkward transition in 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... BAM-BIP-BOOP]

Heyyy! Speaking of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, it looks like Joel Gion, EASILY the most likable tambourine-shaker of all-time, is putting out a new album with his band, The Dilettantes. BUT WAIT: Lest you think The Dilettantes are a BJM-esque unit centered around one beastly man, Gion insists that the writing process for the 'ttantes is purely democratic; like America! And Mardi Gras-era Creedence! Dubbed 101 Tambourines -- man, that just makes me smile, seriously -- the record shall be released August 12. Sadly, the publicity sheet ruined all chances The Dilettantes have of Balls-dom by claiming the record's “solution to success is ‘we,' ” proving that all artists should proof-read their one-sheets. Man, that's some cheesy, after-school-special shit.

Yet Another Biblical Prophecy Fulfilled; The Locust Will Tour Mexico and Europe

1 And the LORD said unto Moses, I heareth that thine children's hearts of Europa and Mesoamerica hath been mighty saddened by vile sappy indie rock. To which, Moses enquireth, Like The Hold Steady, my LORD?

2 And the LORD said unto Moses, yes, like The Hold Steady, although the new Arcade Fire sucketh pretty bad too:

3 And the LORD said further unto Moses, behold, thy children of Europa and Mesoamerica need weepeth no more, for beginning on the date of June the twenty second two thousand and seven, I your LORD will bring a plague of The Locust into thy coasts. And, verily, The Locust shall shreddeth thine ears; so that thy shall cover them with thy hands and, afterwards, thine ears shalt pisseth pure blood:

4 And they shall fill thy temples of musics at least fifteen to thirty percent full. And they shall createth a cackly spaz racket, with all electronic squiggles and stuff, which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have heareth, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day.

5 And Moses said, We will go; our young and our slightly older than young, our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD at all temples that holdeth The Locust.

6 And the LORD said unto Moses, Do not bother taking thy flocks and herds, for they will thinketh this shite to not be rad:

7 And, verily, on many days from June the twenty second onwards, Moses stretched forth his rod over the lands of Mesoamerica and Europa, and the LORD brought a great westerly wind upon those lands all those days; and when it was evening in various parts of the aforementioned plains, the east wind brought The Locust. And, indeedeth, the children of Europa and Mesoamerica did fully rejoice.

8 And verily, the LORD said unto Moses, for the express purposes of this plague, Mesoamerica doth fully include Los Angeles.

Rampant teabagging to honour the memory of Jerry Falwell will take place at the following locations:

This is an Example of a Simile: North by Northeast Is Like South by Southwest (Only in Toronto, Instead of Austin); So in Some Regards, They’re Antonyms

I've never been to South by Southwest, but it seems like a drunken bacchanalia from the reviews I've read and pictures I've seen. It also seems like a lot of people can't get into the shows that they want to see, and the shows rarely start on time. I've also heard that Austin can get pretty hot, but maybe that's just in the summer. It also seems like there's a slurry of shit bands. But hell, what do I know? I've never been there.

So it's with some hesitation that I inform you of Toronto, Canada's 13th annual North by Northeast Music and Film Festival and Conference. You wouldn't find Boris playing the Mountain Dew stage or Jandek playing a church, but you might have a chance to see Dinosaur Jr if you are among the 100 lucky enough to have a delegate badge and/or wristband.

But I'm missing the point, really. The conference, lasting from June 7-10, is a gathering of music industry insiders, music fans, and over 450 bands spread across 30 Toronto venues. NXNE also showcases a film festival, playing, among other things, the documentary Kurt Cobain: About a Son.

And while there'll certainly be a fair number of shit bands (read, mediocre), NXNE does a better job at focusing on bands looking for their big break, not already broken (see Boris playing the SXSW Mountain Dew stage), so it serves a far greater philanthropic purpose.

Playing in addition to festival headliners Dinosaur Jr are Awesome Color, Uncut, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Icarus Line, and potential up-and-comers Sleeping in the Aviary. All 400+ bands are potential up-and-comers, truth be told, and the full band list can be viewed here.

If you live in the Toronto area or plan on being in the area, I'd recommend this opportunity to check out some bands. I'm sure just as much fun can be had in Toronto during NXNE as can be had in Austin during SXSW, but as I said earlier, I wouldn't know.

Lauryn Hill Comes Out of the Closet to Play Two West Coast Shows

On a dark winter day in the summer near the dumpster-divers and sewer rats of West Philly, I stumbled upon a gritty, old homeless man who claimed to be the ill-faded Wyclef Jean (I mean, ill-faded in the most generous way).

Emceegreg: Why, Wyclef... Is that you?

Wyclef Jean: Hell yeah. It's me son. Wanna buy a beat, boy?

Emceegreg: Uh, no. What the hell are you doing? Is that a turd that you're eating?

Wyclef Jean: Hell no, that ain't no turd. That's a steak, son [Clearly a turd]. Hey, aren't you that famous news reporter, Emceegreg? You're like the best Tiny Mix Tapes writer ever.

Emceegreg: I agree. Grant's okay, I guess. Seriously, what are you doing?

Wyclef Jean: I'm a refugee. And I'm on my way to Cali to see my girl Lauryn Hill play a couple special shows.

Emceegreg: Lauryn Hill? Who is that? I vaguely remember. Didn't Devendra Banhart cover that song she had?

Wyclef Jean: Dawg, she was in the Fugees! With me! Remember us? We were huge.

Emceegreg: Oh, now I sort of remember. Didn't Eminem diss her in a song about how she said she didn't like white people?

Wyclef Jean: No, she loves white people. In fact, I heard she's working with Mr. Bright Eyes himself, Conor Oberst, on her long-awaited upcoming album, Khulami Phase. Wait, you listened to Eminem?

Emceegreg: Uh, hey are you homeless now or something?

Wyclef Jean: Man, shit. I'm undercover. I'm looking for some fresh talent to record a new album, possibly cover another Bee Gees song, my son.

Then Pras walked by the two of us in a white sequin suit that read "Ghetto Superstar" and threw a handful of change at Wyclef. Wyclef screamed for him to come back. I walked back to my TMT limo, curling my handlebar mustache deviously. I was in deep thought, pondering how annoying Wyclef was in that damn Shakira song, wondering how Pras remained wealthy, and realizing that I had just banked a 5-star story for a 2-star publication. Score!

Lauryn Hill dates:
06.27.07 - Oakland, CA - Paramount Theater
06.29.07 - Palo, CA - Palomar Starlight

I am sure that everyone can think of at least one band that has a few top-flight songs, but they wouldn't classify any of that group's LPs as being front-to-back great. Maxïmo Park seem to be that kind of group. More than a handful of songs on the band's 2005 debut, A Certain Trigger (Warp), hit the mark, and their latest release, Our Earthly Pleasures (TMT Review), has almost as many great tunes. Hell, even Maxïmo Park's odds-and sods collection from 2006, Missing Songs (also Warp), has a couple gems.

When a band like this strikes out on a tour that will be hitting your city, your daydreams start to take over your mind. You think to yourself, "What if the band could somehow sync up with your thoughts, realize which of their songs you love, and only play those songs?" In other words, if they played your dream setlist, then it would most assuredly be an awesome show. On the flipside, if they choose to play many of the tracks you have deemed as filler from their discography, it will be boresville. I guess those are the risks associated with attending a show put on by the likes of Maxïmo Park. Peruse those dates below for MP's upcoming summer North American tour (with a couple extra European dates thrown in) and figure out whether or not you have the mettle to handle either outcome.

Tourdates:

VH1 Does TMT Huge Favor, Makes “Rock Honors” Largely Comical On Its Own

Dear Budweiser Dudes:

I totally l-o-v-e your f-ing hillarious "Real Men of Genius" ad campaign. I am su-uch a huge fan of Budweiser and of drinking beer in general... seriously, you don't even know!

Anyway, I have this idea for a new commercial for you guys. I just think it would go over like Gangbusters! Uh... do people still say "Gangbusters?" Whatevs, anyway... here's the script. Let me know what you think:

REAL MEN OF GENIUS

Announcer: Budweiser presents: Real Men of Genius.

Male Singer: Reeeeeeeeeeal men of geeeeeeeeeeeeeenius!!!

Announcer: This week we solute you, Mr. VH1 Rock Honors 2007 Planning Guy.

Male Singer: Mr. VH1RockHonors2007Plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaningguy!!!

Announcer: In a world where most Organizations try to make their award shows relevant and meaningful... you couldn't care less, and neither could we.

Male Singer: Give meeeeeeee the VMA's!

Announcer: Most people would try to make sure that their line-up of talent was the best that money could buy, but not you, Mr. VH1 Rock Honors 2007 Planning Guy. You're too busy pumping that cash straight
down Flavor Flav's nose.

Girl Backup Singers: Oooh, sniff, sniff!

Announcer: Your honorees include the pointless likes of Genesis, Heart, ZZ Top, and the always-charming Ozzy Ozbourne... all of whom will be presided-over by television's least interesting of ugly rich kids: "Jackass" Star Bam Margera.

Male Singer: Wait, isn't thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat an MTV show??!?!?!

Announcer: And just in case this tepid list of Who-Cares-Who's-Who celebrities isn't enough to rope in your ambiguous demographic, you've also brought in the big guns: Nickelback... Gretchen Wilson... Keane... and your crowning achievement... the legendarily god-awful Alice In Chains... that's right, I said Alice In Chains.

Girl Backup Singers: You can't stop the Rooooooooster!!!

Announcer: But don't worry, Mr. VH1 Rock Honors 2007 Planning Guy, because your absurd list of hosts will pick up the slack. Who needs credibility when you've got such laughable presenters as Robin Williams, Billy Bob Thornton, Cameron Diaz, and even the biggest douche bag on television... Criss Angel?

Male Singer (impersonating Jonathan Davis): Miiiiiiiiiiind Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak!!!!

Announcer: So what are you waiting for? Crack open an ice-cold Bud Light, oh Impresario of the Illegitimate! Because come May 12, when this train wreck is taped at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center and May 24, when this quote-unquote "special" airs on VH1, you'll be able to sit back and say to yourself: "So what if I lost my job at VH1? At least I'm not Layne Staley."

Male Singer: Mr. VH1 RockHonors2007PlaaaaaaaaaaaaaaningGuy!!!!

Announcer: Bud Light Beer: Anheuser-Busch Inc. St. Louis, Missouri.

Well? What do you guys think? Let me know.

Okay?

Okay.

I'll be here.

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