Mos Def, K’naan Play Austin City Limits’ First Hip-Hop Show, Thus Destroying Genre Barriers Forever

Hey kids! You want to know some fun facts about Austin City Limits, everybody’s favorite PBS-broadcast live music program? Well, here we go!

• Fun Fact #1 - Every performer on the show has breathed oxygen.
• Fun Fact #2 - Every performer on the show needs food and water on a fairly regular basis to survive.
• Fun Fact #3 - In the show’s 35-year history, there has never been an all-hip-hop show.

Now, facts #1 and #2 will, barring a robot invasion of the music industry, remain intact in the future. However, the days of fact #3 are numbered. On January 16, Austin City Limits will broadcast their first hip-hop show, featuring up-and-coming Somali-Canadian MC K’naan. Also, some guy named Mos Def, who you may have heard of. I believe he was in Be Kind Rewind.

U.S. Court Reinstates Antitrust Lawsuit against Major Labels

A U.S. judge has reinstated an antitrust suit against the major labels based on violations of The Sherman Act. The case was originally dismissed by a lower court judge in October 2008.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York named the defendants as “Bertelsmann AG, EMI Group, Sony Corp, Time Warner Inc, Vivendi SA, and Warner Music Group Corp or various affiliates.” In the original case, the plaintiffs said that these labels had contrived to set “artificial price floors” by entering into “joint ventures and licenses.” They also maintain that the companies agreed a minimum price of 70 cents per song, and this was to be enforced through “restrictive license agreements.”

Judge Robert Katzmann wrote that the case put forward by the plaintiffs was valid enough to point to a possible plot to fix prices. The labels control around 80% of all digital music sales in the U.S. and Judge Katzmann reckoned “some form of agreement among defendants would have been needed to render the enterprises profitable.”

Remind me: why does the RIAA get so angry about illegal downloading again?

Pavement and Broken Social Scene to Co-Headline Toronto Island Concert; Indie Minds Blown Around the World

If the Toronto Island Concert were a person, they’d probably be clad in tight pants, a snug flannel, thick-rimmed glasses, a beard, Nietzsche in their back pocket, and plenty of advice for the best ways to get around NYC’s pesky no-smoking-in-bars ban. But seriously, all rotten stereotypes aside, this is some exciting news. Press releases have been a-flowin’, chock full o’ news about the Toronto Island Concert’s latest lineup. This year, you can expect to see Toronto’s very own alt-popsters, Broken Social Scene (the atom from which all Toronto indie bands divide), PAVEMENT (girlish squeal!!), and the ever-dependable indie rockers Band of Horses.

Pavement, who are newly reunited and coming out with a greatest hits album Quarantine the Past, are including this Toronto date as part of their overarching 2010 tour. Toronto Island Concert is an all-day music event taking place on (you guessed it) Toronto Island. The music-making will commence on June 19, 2010 – and stay tuned for further lineup updates!

The Knife return with new album, new free download, and new ways to be kinda creepy

Ladies and gentlemen, dust off your freaky lookin’ bird masks: The Knife are releasing a new album! The brother and sister duo are putting out a studio recording of their Darwin-themed opera, Tomorrow, in a Year, set for a March 1 release. For a sample of what tunes inspired by “Richard Dawkin’s gene trees” sound like, you can visit the band’s official website for a free download of “Colouring of Pigeons.” Mt. Sims and Planningtorock are also collaborating with the plague doctor imagery/bird mask lovin’ siblings on this album.

CD 1:

1. Intro
2. Epochs
3. Geology
4. Upheaved
5. Minerals
6. Ebb Tide Explorer
7. Variation of Birds
8. Letter to Henslow
9. Schoal Swarm Orchestra

CD 2:

1. Annie’s Box
2. Tumult
3. Colouring of Pigeons
4. Seeds
5. Tomorrow in a Year
6. The Height of Summer

Jeff Mangum, Bill Callahan, Yo La Tengo, Jay Reatard, and Flying Nun Crew Pay Tribute to and Help Chris Knox Recover from Stroke with Covers Record

This past June Chris Knox (Tall Dwarfs, Toy Love, etc) suffered a life-changing stroke at his home in New Zealand. Thankfully since then he has been on the road to recovery. To give him a little boost of energy (and a little cash to help out) some big names of today and yesterday's indie rock scene are paying tribute to the man responsible for influencing and creating the punk/indie New Zealand scene by covering one of their favorite Chris Knox songs. One of the most interesting contibutions to this compilation is a track from Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) who has come out of a long hibernation period to pay tribute to Knox by covering Tall Dwarfs' "Sign the Dotted Line." Among the other contributors are Yo La Tengo, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Lambchop, Mountain Goats, Lou Barlow, Bill Callahan, and Jay Reatard, as well as a bunch of Knox's old New Zealand associates: The Bats, David Kilgour (The Clean), The Chills, and The Verlaines.

The double-disc Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox is available for download from the Merge store] and will be available in real-world stores on February 23. If you pre-order the album now, you'll get a free digital download anyway so you don't have to wait for it. All proceeds will go to help Knox with his recovery. For more information and updates on Chris Knox, check out the Stroke website where you can also preview many of the tracks off the record.

Check out the Mangum cover here, via Stereogum.

Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox tracklisting:

Disc 1:
1. Jay Reatard – Pull Down the Shades
2. The Checks – Rebel
3. The Bleeding Allstars – Ain’t It Nice
4. Peter Gutteridge – Don’t Catch Fire
5. The Chills – Luck or Loveliness
6. David Kilgour – Nothing’s Going to Happen
7. The Crying Wolfs – All My Hollowness to You
8. Stephin Merritt – Beauty
9. Portastatic – Nostalgia’s No Excuse
10. The Mint Chicks – Crush
11. Jay & Sam Clarkson – I’ve Left Memories Behind
12. The Skygreen Leopards – Burning Blue
13. Shayne Carter – The Slide
14. Pumice – Grand Mal
15. Hamish Kilgour – Knoxed Out

Disc 2:
1. Boh Runga – Not Given Lightly
2. Red & Zeke (Feat. Bill Doss and Neil Cleary) – Bodies
3. Jeff Mangum – Sign the Dotted Line
4. Bill Callahan – Lapse
5. Genghis Smith – Growth Spurt
6. Yo La Tengo – Coloured
7. A.C. Newman – Dunno Much About Life But I Know How to Breathe
8. Alec Bathgate – Glide
9. Don McGlashan – Inside Story
10. Sean Donnelly – The Outer Skin
11. Lambchop – What Goes Up
12. The Mountain Goats – Brave
13. The Tokey Tones (and friends) – Round These Walls
14. The Bats – Just Do It
15. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – My Only Friend
16. The Finn Family – It’s Love
17. Jordan Luck – Becoming Something Other
18. The Verlaines – Driftwood
19. Lou Barlow – Song of the Tall Poppy
20. The Nothing – Napping in Lapland
21. Tall Dwarfs – Sunday Son

RIP: Dannie Flesher, Wax Trax! co-founder

From Wax Trax!:

Former co-founder of Wax Trax! Records, Dannie Flesher passed away from complications with pneumonia Sunday evening. Flesher, 57, stepped away from the music industry in 1999 and retired in his home town of Hope, AR in 2005.

Flesher and long time partner Jim Nash, opened the Wax Trax Record store in Denver in 1974. Later relocating to Chicago in 1978, the store quickly became the headquarters for Chicago’s budding underground music scene. After years of releasing bootlegs and rarities, Flesher and Nash took their operation to a new level and the Wax Trax! Record label was born. The label pioneered the industrial music movement and was home to such acts as Front 242, Ministry, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Underworld, Sister Machine Gun, KFMDM, Revolting Cocks and many more influential artists.

In 1992, the label would file bankruptcy and be sold to New York based TVT Records. The two would retain creative control of the label until Nash’s passing in October of 1995. Flesher then continued to [oversee] label operations until the label folded in the late 90’s. Even though the label was no longer in existence, their impact on the music industry will be forever remembered.

• Wax Trax: http://www.waxtraxrecords.com

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