If You Want to Impress Your Girlfriend, Get Her This P.J. Harvey Release

P.J. Harvey has released a B-sides compilation album called The Peel Sessions. These are recordings from broadcaster John Peel's BBC radio show dating from 1991 to 2004. The album serves as a tribute to the late legendary John Peel, who some people might compare to Rodney Bingenheimer, except more English and less flamboyant. John Peel introduced many underground bands such as The Smiths, The Fall, and New Order into the mainstream. He also served as navigator to the now-deceased pirate radio station, Radio London. John Peel made quite an impact on PJ Harvey's life as a friend and mentor; "Throughout my time of knowing him we kept in touch and sent postcards. Whenever I demo'd a new record I'd send it to him. I always wanted to know his opinion on things because I think he had really great taste." The Peel Sessions was recently released on the second-year anniversary of his death, October 25. He died in Cuzco, Peru alongside his wife. What a way to go.

In other news, P.J. Harvey has begun working with Flood and John Parish to create her new album a la manage a troi; no, that's not what it's called, but it would be interesting. The album will be more piano-based, and hopefully P.J. Harvey will roll around on top of it pulling her hair out. Release date for this album is not available.

The full tracklisting is for The Peel Sessions:

Peel 29.10.91

1. Oh My Lover
2. Victory
3. Sheela-Na-Gig
4. Water
Peel 2.3.93
5. Naked Cousin
6. Wang Dang Doodle
Peel 5.9.96
7. Losing Ground
8. Snake
9. That Was My Veil
Peel 10.11.00
10. This Wicked Tongue
11. Beautiful Feeling
John Peel Tribute 16.12.04
12. You Come Through

eMusic Gives You Less! (But Still More Than iTunes); Artists Still Screwed, of Course

It seems that all good things must either pass or worsen over time. eMusic, one of the world's better digital music retailers, has announced that they are reducing the amount of downloads you get with your monthly subscription.

Starting next month (just in time for Christmas!), eMusic will be offering MP3 downloads to their new subscribers at $0.33 or less per track, depending on which subscription the user chooses. Prior to the price increase, the same tracks would have cost $0.25 or less. The Basic package used to offer 40 tracks, and is being cut to 30, while the Plus and Premium packages are both being cut by 15 tracks per month.

Current eMusic subscribers, as well as those who sign up in the next few weeks, will continue paying the old rate.

Now, call me a picky consumer if you'd like, or even an anal accountant, but a 32% price increase seems a bit much. It's not like we're talking about copper commodities; these are less-than CD-quality digital files, with no inherit value other than sheer convenience and/or affordability (after all, you can't beat buying a copy of Yanqui U.X.O. for $1.00, can you?).

That said, with all the other greedy, DRM-happy music services such as iTunes, eMusic is still one of the best services out there for finding new independent talent. Let's face it, there are many people in this world who don't own an iPod and prefer to be able to open their files with several different programs (i.e. Foobar2000, Quintessential, Songbird.) So while a 32% price increase seems steep, the service is still worthwhile.

The New Motherfucking (literally) Flesh Push You Down the Razorblade Slide

Let me begin by explaining this simple equation. A new PSA from the Above the Influence campaign directly implies that you probably only like Indie Rock because you are high on marijuana.

This really has me thinking. Are most of us too high to understand the rewarding nature of being on a major label? Is Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back" really the only song we should be paying attention to right now? And can I enjoy any music without knowing I should either being smoking pot or bending over backward?

As the Pernice Brothers start touring in support of their newest release, Live a Little, they may want to rethink their whole Indie Rock thing. Seriously, they're just supporting mindless stoners who could be entertained just as easily by watching Half Baked:The Musical. Somehow this does support terrorism, and by writing this I feel grotesquely filthy. I need to take shower right now. BRB!

All right I'm back. I didn't even get dressed. I am that devoted to finishing this. I wish every reader knew how much acne is visible on my nude lower half, despite my morbid obesity. Just imagine John Goodman morphing into Oprah Winfrey morphing into Rosie O'Donnell having a gigantic baby with Ron Jeremy with a resemblance of Gary Busey in the face and genitals. I am that gigantic Busey baby covered in pus.

So if you want to hear Joe Pernice's perfectly polished vocals accompanied by the beautiful arrangements of his fellow bandmates, you will have to pick up a joint and light up. No, this isn't the sort of message I wanted to be giving you, but Above the Influence believes you must be high in order to like this sort of thing.

Face it, you were high when you first picked up Overcome by Happiness back in 1998. You were beyond toasted when you saw The Pernice Brothers on The Gilmore Girls, and the reasons why you were watching that show to begin with go beyond drug usage.

You better catch them live or I'm not you're friend anymore. (Tourdates)

11.04.06 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
11.05.06 - Dayton, OH - Canal Street Tavern
11.06.06 - Covington, KY - Madhatter
11.07.06 - Detroit, MI - Lager House*
11.08.06 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Intersection*
11.09.06 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's*
11.10.06 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon*
11.11.06 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St Entry*
11.12.06 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews*
11.16.06 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern*
11.17.06 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge*
11.18.06 - Eugene, OR - Sam Bond's Garage*
11.20.06 - Sacramento, CA - Old Ironsides*
11.21.06 - San Francisco, CA - Café du Nord*
11.22.06 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland*
11.24.06 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah*
11.25.06 - Phoenix, AZ - Modified*
11.26.06 - Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad*
11.28.06 - Austin, TX - Cactus Café*
11.29.06 - Denton, TX - Haileys*
11.30.06 - Baton Rouge, LA - Chelsea's Café*
12.01.06 - Oxford, MS - Proud Larry's*
12.02.06 - Birmingham, AL - Bottle Tree*
12.03.06 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl*
12.05.06 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506*
12.06.06 - Washington, DC - Black Cat*
12.07.06 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas*
12.08.06 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge*
12.09.06 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse*
12.10.06 - Boston, MA - TT the Bears*

* w/ Elvis Perkins

I hate intellectualizing music. It gets boring. Sure, just saying "that shit is SO tight" is pretty fucking lame too, but who wants to hear about how the length of silence juxtaposed with segments of a dissonant melody truly brought out the ambivalently subconscious qualities in a piece? Save that shit for classical music. (Also, I am naïve.) How does this tie-in to anything? Because once you hear the sounds emerging from the trio that is The New Flesh, you won't give a shit about their musical talent and the complex song structures and whatnot. You'll more likely be crying blood all over the floor and make people hate you. You fuck! Stop crying blood. Then someone will probably come up to you and pull a gun that's melted to their hand out of the vagina that's grown into their stomach because they watched some fucked up snuff TV show. You know what I'm talking about.

Fuck your friends over: Instead of giving them those shrooms you bought so you could all "trip balls" and have a "good time," go to a show and find out how painful melody can actually be. Also, try vomiting on the band members and see what happens. It's what they want.

P.S. Any date without a venue may or may not happen. Godspeed.

ALL HAIL THE NEW FLESH!:

11.03.06 – Washington DC – 611 Florida Ave. NW
11.04.06 – Charleston, NC – Andrew's House
11.05.06 – Birmingham, AL – Cave 9
11.06.06 – Baton Rouge, LA – A House
11.07.06 – Houston, TX – Supper Happy Fun Land
11.08.06 – Denton, TX – House of Tinnitus
11.09.06 – Driving Day - TBA
11.10.06 – Pasadena, CA – The Playhouse 7
11.11.06 – Los Angeles, CA – Neon Hates You Festival at The Smell
11.12.06 – Los Angeles, CA – Il Corral
11.13.06 – Val Verde, CA – Ren's House (30549 San Martinez Rd.)
11.15.06 – Davis, CA – UC Davis Campus
11.16.06 – Santa Cruz, CA - TBA
11.17.06 – Oakland, CA – The Bakery
11.18.06 – San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside
11.19.06 – Eugene, OR - TBA
11.20.06 – Portland, OR – The Foodhole
11.21.06 – Seattle, WA – Camp Nowhere House
11.22.06 – Boise, ID - TBA
11.23.06 – Denver, CO - TBA
11.24.06 – Kansas City, KC – El Torreon
11.25.06 – St. Louis, MO – Jeremy's House
11.26.06 – Lexington, KY – A House
11.27.06 – Murfreesboro, TN – Alex's House
11.28.06 – Cincinnati, OH – Sudsy Malone's
11.29.06 – Columbus, OH – Skylab Gallery
12.01.06 – Cleveland, OH - TBA
12.02.06 – Lansing, MI - TBA
12.04.06 – Madison, WI – The Corral Room
12.05.06 – Milwaukee, WI or Minneapolis, MN
12.06.06 – Chicago, IL – 1133 Fulton Avenue
12.07.06 – Fort Wayne, IN - TBA
12.08.06 – Pittsburgh, PA - TBA
12.09.06 – Philadelphia, PA - TBA
12.10.06 – Baltimore, MD – Talking Head Club MT6 Records Festival

Bob Dylan’s Childhood Back Pages (Not) Sold for Thousands of Dollars

Now, I'm all for healthy adulation here and there, when deserved, but Ric Kangas has surely taken this one a little too far. Up for sale: a tape of him and Bob Dylan, then schoolyard buddies back in the Midwest, playing four songs of their own composition. Three feature Dylan's voice, while Kangas sings the other, backed by Dylan's astringent guitar accompaniment.

This tape was floor auctioned on October 6-7, while online bidding finished a day earlier. It was expected to fetch at least $50,000 at conservative estimates, though many experts suggested it would be nearer the $100K mark. Seems a little bit over the odds for a taped recording of a living man, even if it is Dylan. Still, what do I know? I'm still high from sliding down the tubes at the Tate Modern.

However, in a spectacular twist, the tape apparently didn't sell. According to the Heritage Auction Galleries website, the emporium responsible for this irresponsible raping of Dylan's still-forming legacy, the item "did not sell at auction because it did not receive bids equal to or greater than the reserve (minimum bid) amount set by the consignor." In other words, it didn't fetch as much as everyone expected!

I don't know what the next step is in this whole sordid affair, but I'll keep you posted.

Universal Music Group Still Taking the Odd Hit Of Payola Now and Then

Five months ago, Universal shelled out $12 million to New York charities after being slapped firmly on the ass with accusations of payola. The settlement also introduced a rule that prohibits any label execs from purchasing radio ads containing more than 60 seconds of a song, since independent tracking services could potentially count this as actual airplay, rather than as a dirty, dirty, fat-cat trick. However, if Universal really wants to try it out, all it has to do is give written notice.

And so, as if possessed by a spirit of good will and fairness, some labels distributed by Universal have recently taken up the practice of, well, purchasing radio ads containing more than 60 seconds of a song. Blackground Records used this method last week to boost JoJo's "Too Little, Too Late" to the no. 2 slot on the U.S. pop charts. In the previous week, Roadrunner Records, another label associated with Universal, bought ads that launched Nickelback's "Far Away" up to no. 1. Written notice of these purchases was provided, but it was on a bathroom wall at Universal's corporate headquarters, and was written in shit. Another sign that something was awry in the charts was the fact that no one, in any country, has ever heard either of these songs.

The "ball" is now in New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer's "court." Will Spitzer make a "slam dunk" and tighten up the settlement? Will he "call a foul" on Universal's shady practices? Will he continue efforts to "Shaq"-kle corporate criminals? Will he "chase a player around the court with a bucket of water and then toss it into the crowd, revealing that the bucket was actually filled with confetti"?

Check back in the coming weeks for any further developments on Nickelback.