One Man Builds Entire Tour; Ian MacKaye’s The Evens Hit The (Self-Paved) Road

Believe it or not, demigod Ian MacKaye (the man behind Minor Threat and Fugazi, for those of you whose soul was repossessed by the Man long ago) plays in a highly underrated band. Maybe it's some sort of requirement when you exist as one of the last untouchable elders of independent music to have a project that is largely ignored by anyone without a Dischord tattoo, but it is still a damn shame. A duo for the ages, Amy Farina is Chris O'Donnell to MacKaye's George Clooney (but way more DIY), and the two of them make beautifully lo-fi indie-rock songs that skewer the things Mr. MacKaye's been sticking it to for decades.

Now, laughing in the face of modern touring, The Evens are doing it their own way. For two weeks only (because honestly, who hasn't toured a whole summer nowadays), the pair will Do It Themselves all around the Northeast and Canada. Since the release of their sophomore album, Get Evens, last year the band have been busy fashioning instruments out of human hair and cat litter, and finally the songs can be played without buying in. The band will walk date-to-date wearing nothing but recycled plastic, and upon arriving in each city, paving the roads with vegan cheese as they go, they will erect a venue from beachwood and organic dental floss. Renowned for a maximum $5 ticket price, this time MacKaye will actually pay the fans to watch the show, but only in his own currency consisting of vacant hermit crab shells.

A sight to be seen:

Dead Meadow Tour UK; If They Had a Nickel For Every Time the Word “Psychedelic” Appeared in Print, They Could Tour Mars

I had this whole big thing ready about how Dead Meadow transcend any casual “dudes sound like they’re on drugs, man”-type dismissal. I mean, they carry traits of the “Blue Cheer smoking up then hitting on Neil Young’s girlfriend in space” sound, but I’ve always seen them as above it somehow. Their Matador Records biography, however, claims the boys “set out to fuse their love of early '70s hard rock and '60s psychedelia with their love of writers J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft,” and you know what? I’ve given it some thought: If Dead Meadow want their music to evoke Jimmy Page slowly riding Shub-Niggurath into Helm’s Deep, awesome. Sure beats a band that evokes a 16-year-old in pointy shoes checking his MySpace.

It’s working out for them, with a reissue of their second studio album Howls From the Hills available now, a fifth studio album entitled Old Growth forthcoming on Matador, and an upcoming tour of the UK (homeland of both Page and Tolkien), where they will hopefully continue to wage war on bands who bring to mind the image of a guy telling another guy he’s going to save up for a Vespa.

The Black Goat of the Woods With a Thousand Tourdates:

Ad-Supported Music Service Set to Launch By End Of Summer; Is Actually Named “Spiralfrog”

For the reader on the go, an easily digestible list of cool things about Spiralfrog:

- It permits you to download useful 128 kbps MP3s by artists such as Eminem and Elton John.

- Thanks to our trusty friend DRM, the files expire in 30 days.

- It is named Spiralfrog.

- It is supported entirely by forcing you to watch ads from a “who’s who” of advertisers.

- Chairman and founder Joe Mohen was considerate enough to have his five-year-old daughter name his company.

- It is debuting in America by the end of the summer.

- The beta only works in Internet Explorer, and IE7’s default security settings prevent users from logging in.

- If Mohen earnestly believes that people who subscribe to his service (which is named Spiralfrog) will watch 90 seconds of ads to download one song that will expire in one month, his optimism is endearing and beautiful.

- It operates in a legal grey area where the MP3s are considered promotional copies, which may be a ploy to skirt royalty payments.

- Upon learning of Spiralfrog’s impending existence, Steve Jobs started to laugh for a moment, but the noise was muffled when he began to smoke two cigars at once, both lit with separate hundred-dollar bills. He then put his feet up on his desk and took the rest of the day off.

Rentals Re-Return; Late Fees Accrue, Lost Fee Waived, Summer All The Time

In 1996, it was decreed by the space overlords that Weezer, who at the time just released the fab-tastic album Pinkerton, must henceforth smell of offal and chocolates, forgo irony, and their records have to suck. The easiest solution, it turned out, was to excise bassist Matt Sharp, forcing him to focus on his own band, The Rentals, who went on to great success -- though I do believe the space overlords let Weezer still sell some records, but just barely.

So, The Rentals made some albums. Long story short: afterward, they went for a ride with the space overlords that actually turned into a big ordeal, as it caused this whole global warming phenomenon. But that’s all water under the proverbial space bridge to the moon; I’m just glad they’re back, recording a new album and playing Saturdays in July at LA’s Spaceland, where it’s sunny all the time and only drugs addicts and the unemployed are ever sad.

New material, titled The Last Little Life EP, is scheduled for release August 14, with a new full-length promised late 2007 or early 2008. And thanks to their intergalactic efforts, we can all enjoy their return in some sun. The band also promises to turn all of our Chevy Corsicas into convertibles. Rising sea levels? It’s just more beach, baby.

Tracklisting for The Last Little Life EP:

* with Goldenboy

# with Copeland & Goldenboy

Birkenstock Luncheon: The Shortest Semi-Fictional Account of Ani DiFranco You’ll Ever Read; DiFranco to Release Canon This September

CHAPTER ONE: “RIGHTEOUS” PEOPLE

There are two types of people in this world:

(1) People that say “righteous” and do so without even a hint of bombast; and

(2) The ivory tower elite who (rightfully so) point scrutinizing fingers at that previously mentioned group while they bask in their lack of affect and dead phraseology.

While you were busy rolling your eyes at my empty attempts to engage you, reader, I went ahead and signed you up with Group 2.

CHAPTER TWO: THE LUNCHEON

So, suppose Group 1, you, me and the rest of Group 2 are at a luncheon type gathering. Origins of this luncheon are vague, beyond what is initially deduced: Group 2 obviously sent out invites to the RIGHTEOUS! Group 1, in order to achieve the roundabout gratification that comes from overhearing them (who all, not so coincidentally, wear Birkenstocks), drop the “RIGHTEOUS”-bomb amid “chill” conversations about the Phish farewell tour.

And in walks Ani DiFranco. Since as a member of Group 2 I'm not wearing Birkenstocks, I’m unsure whether she’s an extended guest of a Group 1-er (possible) or perhaps the musical act of said luncheon type gathering.

So, Ms. DiFranco, or, Queen, Mother, Founder of... Righteous Babe Records, has something to say at this luncheon. Something, er, righteous?

CHAPTER THREE: ANI’S ANNOUNCEMENT

While simultaneously protesting, fingerpicking, freeing women from shaving their armpits and signing artists to her label, she announces at this luncheon-type gathering that September 11 will mark the release of Canon, a 35-track retrospective (apparently) of re-recorded material, including a re-vamped “Napoleon,” “Shameless,” “Your Next Bold Move,” “Both Hands” and “Overlap.” Tracks from her most recent release, Reprieve (2006), will also be included.

CHAPTER FOUR: ALL YOU ACTUALLY NEEDED TO READ, PART I

The track listing for DiFranco’s two-disc Canon is:

Negative Press for The Mooney Suzuki Still Better Than No Press for The Mooney Suzuki; Tour, New Album, and Apologies All Around

The first and only time I saw The Mooney Suzuki was in 2003 for the Nokia/CMJ/MTV2-sponsored Advance Warning Tour. The Raveonettes were the headliner with White Light Motorcade, Longwave, and The Mooney Suzuki opening. I remember the evening vividly because my soon-to-be roommate Paul and I assisted in booking the event on our university campus.

But we did the event one better. We also volunteered to help staff the event. Generally, that would consist of ensuring the venue space didn't exceed capacity, but for reasons beyond Paul and I, we found ourselves as roadies for a day, doing cigarette runs and loading in gear for The Mooney Suzuki. The Raveonettes, Longwave, and White Light Motorcade weren't as demanding, and/or had others to do such work, and/or were capable, and/or content in doing the work themselves.

Paul and I obliged perhaps because we were foolish college sophomores or perhaps because we felt star-struck. Probably a bit of both.

I fancied myself as a burgeoning music journalist and viewed our exploitation/volunteerism as an opportunity. Shit, after loading the band's gear onto the third floor and fetching the bastards a pack of Camel Lights, the least they could do was agree to a brief interview — I had the questions already written; I stayed up late the night before researching what little press I could dig up.

Much to their credit, they did oblige to a brief interview, but they gave snide remarks for the few questions I could get in. Who was I, after all, to be asking THE MOONEY SUZUKI questions such as their favorite albums or their favorite movies? And perhaps to my detriment, I didn't take very good interview notes. The only thing I remember is Debbie Does Dallas being their favorite tour bus movie. They were huge assholes otherwise.

The show was free, but come to think of it, the barrage of Nokia, CMJ, and MTV2 advertisements was taxing on the brain. Nothing's free, I guess -- except the labor of Paul and I. Despite not selling any tickets, The Mooney Suzuki certainly had the attitude of The Rolling Stones. And their set sucked just as much.

Our attitudes were in the right place, though, and we watched their show from the back of the room, standing on chairs, pumping our fists sarcastically, sipping on our first beers in public as under-agers.

From the start -- as the third band to play that evening -- we were wishing we had more concert-going experience under our respective white and black belts. A few years more experience would have dictated we arrive only in time to see The Raveonettes. Nonetheless, we appreciated the advance warning: all of these bands were dismissible, nothing but a few cash cows beating the dead horse that was The Strokes' debut album.

Fast forward a few years, add a major-label deal with Columbia, tack on a crap album with a Santana rip-off cover, and you're pretty much up-to-date. And I'm left thinking, has it really been four years?

And I have every reason to believe that The Mooney Suzuki are still huge assholes. But is that all I can leverage against a few opportunistic, cool-at-the-moment, denim-clad, circle jerking, Coors-advertising cocksuckers? Am I only playing into their coy media ploy?

Probably. Their new album on Elixia titled Have Mercy is scheduled for a June 19 release. They're also going to tour behind that album. Apologies to The Photo Atlas and The Dark Romantics who will open. But I rescind my apology, for apparently ‘The’ bands still exist aplenty.

The Mooney Suzuki's name, by the way (as I've had plenty time to do my research this time), is an amalgamation of the two Can vocalists Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki. The Mooney Suzuki sum to less than what fits into Damo's paper bag; is it a dose of vitamin-C?

Paul and I aren't really friends anymore:

* The Photo Atlas opening

# The Dark Romantics opening

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