Pitchfork Festival Lineup Finalized, Exclusive Interview with Ryan Schreiber

I could hardly believe it when I entered the coffee shop -- 3:00 P.M., right on time. Back in the corner with a blue hat (as promised) was the one, the only Ryan Schreiber, editor-in-chief of online magazine Pitchfork, reading Vice Magazine and sipping on a tall, dark roast, possibly fair-trade coffee. I took a moment to catch my breath and then staggered clumsily between coffee tables filled with attractive, hip-looking people. I felt so out of place there -- me being perhaps the least attractive of everyone (when did people learn how to dress so cool anyway?) -- but the moment I sat down and introduced myself to Schreiber -- "Hi, I'm Mango Starr, writer/reporter for Tiny Mix Tapes" -- I immediately felt at ease. Kind, gentle, and a little odd, Schreiber was amazing. Here's the interview:

Thanks for agreeing to do this interview, man. I know you're insanely busy.

No problem, Mango. And really, I'm not that busy.

Oh?

Yep.

So... um...

So, how's the weather?

Weren't you just outside?

Oh yeah, sweet weather, yeah?

Really sweet. I love it.

Nice.

Oh, Mr P says "hi" and that he "misses you."

Oh yeah? Cool, how's he doing? I kinda remember meeting him a long time ago.

He seems to remember it vividly. He brings it up all the time, like he's fucking obsessed!

Hmmm, I've only talked to him a few times. He seemed nice.

Weird. He says he talked to you like every night.

He's not white, is he?

Hah, fuck no.

Ahhhhhhh, okay, I remember now. He's a... well, you know.

Hahaha, yeah... He's a nice enough guy though, despite you know...

Haha! INDEED! So, what is it that you wanted to talk about? My hair? Hahahaha!

Hahahah!

Hahahah!

No, no. I wanted to talk about ATP... so, um... Ryan... hey, what are you doing?

[At this point, Ryan is starting to climb up onto the table.]

Sorry Mango, hold on a sec. [Yelling to the coffee shop, pumping his fists above his head] HEY EVERYBODY!! I'm Ryan Schreiber!! How's the weather, motherfuckers!?!? [Wild applause and cheers from the coffee shop] Hey did y'all motherfuckers know about the Pitchfork Music Fest?? [Laughter, because of course they do!] Well, we've just made the final confirmations for the lineup! [More cheers] I'll be posting flyers all around town. But, of course, you can always check out a little site that I call... hmmm, I forgot its name... so, I'm going to need your help, motherfuckers!!! What's the site called everybody!?!? [Schreiber puts right hand to ear; crowd yells at once: "PITCHFORK MEDIA DOT COM!!!!!!!!] HAHAHA! FUCK YES! See you guys there!!! [Thunderous applause as Schreiber plops back into his chair]

Wow, that was amazing, Ryan. You really know how to -- Ryan?

[Schreiber, wide-eyed and giggling hysterically, starts furiously carving the words "Interpol" into the table with a pocket knife]

Hey, um, should you be doing that?

Look, ask your questions, dude. I don't got all day. Gotta fest and shit to do, y'know.

Oh, ok. Alright then. Um, so I wanted to ask you about ATP. So, um --

Wait, stop right there. Actions speak louder than words, am I right? [Winks] Here's what I think about ATP...

[Schreiber signals to me to look under the table, grinning mischievously. Fearing the worst, I slowly peeked my head under the table. And there it was... oh my god. It was absolutely breathtaking... and it was hard: yes, folks, it was a signed copy of Thesaurus Musicarium: The Pitchfork Year in Music 2003.]

Needless to say, I had to have it, right then and there. Schreiber sure liked that. Boy did he like that. At least... I think he did. Shit, I hope he did! My jaw still hurts!

Festival lineup:

Day 1 (Friday, July 13 -- in conjunction with ATP):

Sonic Youth perform Daydream Nation

GZA/Genius performs Liquid Swords

Slint perform Spiderland

Day 2 (Saturday, July 14):

Yoko Ono / Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues (with members of Dirty Three, the Delta 72, and Blues Explosion) / Clipse / Mastodon / Iron and Wine / Battles / Grizzly Bear / Voxtrot / Califone / The Twilight Sad / Girl Talk / Dan Deacon / Oxford Collapse / Professor Murder / Fujiya & Miyagi / Beach House / William Parker Quartet / Ken Vandermark's Powerhouse Sound

Day 3 (Sunday, July 15):

De La Soul / The New Pornographers / Of Montreal / Stephen Malkmus / Jamie Lidell / The Sea and Cake / Junior Boys / Menomena / The Ponys / Deerhunter / Klaxons / The Field / Cadence Weapon / The Cool Kids / Craig Taborn's Junk Magic / Nomo / Brightblack Morning Light / Fred Lonberg-Holm's Lightbox Orchestra

CHEAP AS HELL, TOO.

Going Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga for Spoon; New Album, Extra Goodies, Reissues, and More!

Okay, so I just pre-ordered Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the new Spoon album scheduled for release by Merge Records July 10 in the US of A. And if you quickly head over to Merge's website, you'll have a chance to receive an autographed Britt Daniel 7-inch with two tracks that aren't on the new album, just as long as you're among the first 200 people to pre-order Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. YES!

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (named for the sounds in the album's second track, "The Ghost of You Lingers") was recorded all throughout 2006 by Spoon in Austin, Texas at drummer Jim Eno's studio with Mike McCarthy. The album will come packed with a limited-edition, 22-minute bonus EP.

Spoon have some upcoming shows and a tour in the works, but in the meantime, they are playing many-a-secret show, which you can only find out about by singing up for their mailing list here.

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga tracklisting:

Saatchi & Saatchi Pt 1: Fool me once, get played by Annie Nightingale. Fool me twice, get played by Judge Jules. Fool me three times, get banned by the BBC

Rarely a day passes without each and every one of us receiving the mandatory spam e-mail like “Bill Gates is giving away his money... it worked for me... I got $5000!” or “Sick child needs your help” or “Nigerian millionaire will pay you back 10x your loan!” into our already overcrowded inboxes. Even the most respectable newspapers occasionally flash a “Man gets kidney removed after passing out in snow!” or “Alien autopsy... real?” headline occasionally. From the Shroud of Turin, the Voynich Manuscript, the Cerne Abbas Giant and “Paul is dead,” Milli Vanilli and crop circles, hoaxes and scams are simply part of our everyday wack-off-in-the-shower-and-go-to-work lives. Unless it is someone getting shirked or swindled out of their old-age pension (hilarious, but sad) or something about Scott Stapp getting arrested (say it ain’t so!), we just shrug our shoulders and get on with our everyday wack-off-in-the-washroom-while-everyone-else-is-in-a-meeting/in-class/in-church lives.

For the most part, if there’s egg to be splattered on someone else’s face (but NOT a wrinkled old person’s or former Creed singer’s, heaven forbid!) most of us are pretty okay with it. Like, if someone was to pull the wool over some BBC executives' and DJs' sheep-like eyes, it would be a hoot. It has happened, and it is kinda funny.

Radio1 DJs Annie Nightingale and Judge Jules both gave “Style, Attract, Play” by Shocka (featuring Honeyshot) a spin, thinking they were servin’ up the latest piping-hot shit cold. The ditty also played on XFM and Kiss in the U.K. That isn’t anything in itself -- BBC and Kiss and XFM play a lot of bad dance-oriented, global girlie-group, electro crap -- but Honeyshot, the band, is a creation of Gum, a subdivision of advertising giants Saatchi & Saatchi, and “Style, Attract, Play,” the song, is nothing more than an ingenious ad pitch for hair gel brand Shockwaves.

NME reports that a press rep for Shockwaves at first denied all knowledge of the song but later said “there may be a link” between the two, after the track had been pulled by BBC. He then twisted his ‘stache between his thumb and forefinger and declared, “Got you again, you fooooools” (he drew out the “oo” in “fools” to emphasize a dramatic, evil effect) before grabbing his top hat and jumping out the window onto a train that happened to be passing at that very instant.

BBC claims that “Style, Attract, Play” was pushed at them via the usual process. However, no one mentioned it was a promotional song, despite the fact that Honeyshot and the marketing concept surrounding them had already been reported on a few times in the press, the fact that it is by someone called ‘Shocka,’ and the fact that the label bears the name Gum Records. A nameless, faceless spokesman for BBC1 (maybe the idiot that that didn’t clue in at first and playlisted the song, maybe just someone covering for an idiot at the BBC who green-lighted the song for rotation, your choice) said, “The track was presented to Radio 1 in the usual way, via a legitimate promotions company and we were not aware that it was a promotional tool for a hair product. As this is created by an advertising agency with the sole purpose of selling the product, and we do not play adverts, it is not something we would play again.” If only the same could be said about “Crazy Frog” and the dozens of novelty songs that get to number 1 in the U.K. every year. Isn’t every song played on the radio an ad placed by cutthroat music marketers to entice listeners to buy or download a full album anyway?

In a passionate addressing of the situation, Peter Robinson argues that it was important that the song “failed”; however, getting played on Radio 1, XFM, and Kiss, plus getting a ridiculous amount of attention from a world-press heavyweight like The Guardian and evenheavierweights Tiny Mix Tapes could hardly be considered a “failure,” could it? As Robinson himself claims in this article, “one must never underestimate the absurd desperation of companies attempting to Connect With The Kids,” sounding very much like a man who works for an absurd, desperate industry that is forever attempting to Connect With The Kids.

NME also reports that last year Andrew Wilkie, managing director of Gum (the company that created the fictional Honeyshot), offered this prescient nugget into the mind of modern advertising agencies: “It could be as simple as sponsorship of a tour through to clothing that could be worn, drinks, cosmetics -- all that stuff is possible.” Indeed it is, indeed it is.

Heavy research (read: 5½ pints and 3 bottle tokes) reveals that this kind of thing has been happening for a lot longer than one would have thought. Our diggers didn’t come up with the exact details of the arrangement, but there has to be some sort of thread between Jose Eber, “Achey Breaky Heart,” and the ensuing “Cyrus virus” and line-dancing combo that took hold of North America in 1992. Well, there is no other reason I can come up with to explain the ridiculous “Tennessee waterfall” atop both of those two douchebags’ heads, can you?

Saatchi & Saatchi Pt 2: “Dr. Martens Sort of Exploits Images of Iconic Rockers, Estates Fight Back, People Get Fired.” - Kurt Cobain

Last week, the ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi were doing the work that has made them famous and realized that, apparently, people had completely forgotten what subculture is commonly associated with: Dr. Martens boots. Some guy named Andrew Petch did some serious outside-the-box thinking and had the boys down in design whip up a few ads featuring Kurt Cobain, Joey Ramone, Joe Strummer, and Sid Vicious hanging out in heaven, still wearing the boots that two of the four were seen wearing occasionally.

Petch, whose childhood next-door neighbor owned Nevermind, he thinks, spouted: "We wanted to communicate that Dr Martens boots are 'made to last' and we discovered that these idolized musicians wore them. Showing them still wearing their Docs in heaven dramatized the boots' durability perfectly. And, as images, they feel very iconic."

The ensuing circus in summary:

Blogs: (Distribute things, complain about them.)

Courtney Love: This ad campaign is exploiting my former husband’s likeness! Crap! Plus he never even wore those things.

Joe B.: I should get around to writing that Doc Martens story soon.

Saatchi & Saatchi (Pushes glasses up onto nose, points to a book): But the ad campaign was only licensed to run in a U.K. magazine, where you don’t have to get people’s permission to profit from their dead relatives.

Dr. Marten: The only possible PR move at this point is to fire you guys.

Saatchi & Saatchi: Dude

Joey Ramone’s Brother: I don’t really approve these ads either. Plus I’m pretty sure Joey never even wore those things. Courtney Love was right. Weird.

Saatchi & Saatchi: But dud-- Aw. The ads were “edgy,” not “offensive,” by the way. (Remains extremely profitable)

Dr. Martens, Courtney Love, The Estates of Johnny Rotten, Joe Strummer, and Joey Ramone: (Remain extremely profitable).

Mr P: There, two Saatchi & Saatchi stories. Okay, guys, time to buy ad space.

Joe B.: (Distributes things, complains about them.)

Bump up the Terror Alert, New Mexican Disaster Squad is Hitting the Homeland

In a brash move, the Department of Homeland Security has decided to go ahead with their plans on digitally releasing a five-song EP, titled Peace with Nothing. Instead of using a kewl play on their own name, for instance H-Land Scurdzy, they have chosen to work under the moniker or New Mexican Disaster Squad. The outfit is a standard four piece (two guitars, bass, and drums) with very North American names. Due to security reasons, they have never played a public show and, in the vein of Steely Dan, rely on CD sales to keep their career afloat.

The EP will be available though the internet only, starting June 5. As of today, however, you can go on over to Jade Tree and stream it for free. Peace with Nothing will be available through iTunes, eMusic, Yahoo! Music, and loads of other digital music services.

Though contact has with the band has been limited ever since the national threat level has been raised from mauve to red, NMDS was nice enough to let me speak with the head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff.

Petya: Mike, if I may, what’s the story on this new EP your boys are putting out?

Mike: Cast through shades of indignant but energetic punk, Peace With Nothing serves as a culmination of the band's allegiance to a simpler time in hardcore, while still maintaining a refreshed sense of insanity, urgency, and the band's crucial heritage as a vehicle for change in punk.

Petya: Not to call you out or anything, but didn’t you just lift that straight from the Jade Tree website?

Mike: You wanna go to Guantanamo, bitch? No, but all jokes aside, the record has a lot of political themes. The boys work a lot with irony, making fun of the President and whatnot. But you know, it’s all ironic because G-Dub is doing one helluva job right now.

Petya: He is?

Mike: What the fuck? Are you some tree-humping pinko? Watch the news, kid. He has completely revitalized what was once a barren wasteland in Iraq.

Petya: Really? Because that’s not what most news sources are saying.

Mike: Anyway, back to the music.

Petya: Yes, let’s.

Mike: The CD is genius because it will work under the guise that they hate the government, but all the complaints they mention are actually positive things the government has done. So by the end of the CD, the kids will be like, “NMDS is full of shit. America rocks!”

Pete: You guys are quite the moralists.

Mike: Thank you.

EMI Defies Fate as Predicted on Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Yanqui U.X.O., Bought Out By Terra Firma for $4.7 Billion; Sorry Warner Music Group

In my future fantasy world, I'm the professor of an advanced ethnomusicology course. After spending a considerable amount of the semester wading though The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and Frank Zappa, we finally get to the part in the course where I'm something of an expert: post-rock — a genre typified by sometimes large music ensembles and often vocal-less, extended-length pieces, with instrumentation typified more so by European classical than by American rock 'n' roll.

I spend more time explaining how Tortoise evoke a sense of place — in this case, Chicago — with their mix of jazz and vocal-less, well, umm, post-rock. Either way, an entire class period is consumed with the playing of, first, "Djed" from Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die and second, "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls," from Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Yanqui U.X.O. With the latter, I discuss how GY!BE evoke strong anti-government and protest sentiments with their crescendo-laden jams and field-recorded samples, not to mention their album artwork.

And so, just prior to playing the entire 20 minutes-plus "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls," I show the class the back cover album art from Yanqui U.X.O, showcasing the major record labels' ties — through monetary contributions — to the military industrial complex (click the image above to see more, or buy the album).

In 2002, things were a bit different, the state of the music industry slightly less bleak. The majors consisted of Vivendi-Universal, Sony, BMG (currently one entity known as Sony BMG), AOL-Time Warner (now, just Warner Music Group), and EMI.

GY!BE, subversive as they were/are, chose to add EMI to the long list of AOL-Time Warner labels. They have since apologized for their oversight, stating that at the time they printed the album, Warner was in the process of acquiring EMI. And to Godspeed's credit, Warner was indeed in the process of acquiring EMI. Some might have predicted a Sony and BMG merger, but what we have all really been waiting for half a decade is for this damn EMI and Warner Music Group merger. Well, I don't think that's going to happen.

Announced Monday, private equity group Terra Firma purchased EMI for $4.7 billion. Apparently this equity group did something Warner Music Group didn't do, which is: "Terra Firma's offer is the most attractive proposal received and delivers cash now, without regulatory uncertainty and with the minimum of operational risk to the company," says EMI Chairman John Gildersleeve.

Terra Firma's CEO said the following of the purchase: " Terra Firma's objective is to build on EMI's current position as one of the world's leading music companies and accelerate the development of its digital and online strategy to fully exploit this long-term growth opportunity."

Did you catch the joke about "long-term growth opportunity?" Well, anyway, none of that trust-busting bullshit; the deal is legit, just gotta show up with the cash. Meanwhile, The Financial Times reports that Warner is already in talks with Terra Firma and other private equity groups about acquiring the recorded music division of EMI once the sale is complete (and rumor has it they are still considering raising their bid), and another equity firm, One Equity Partners, is also expected to make a bid. EMI's gotta be blushing by now.