RIP: Donna Summer

RIP: Donna Summer

From TMZ:

Donna Summer — the Queen of Disco — died this morning after a battle with cancer … TMZ has learned.

We’re told Summer was in Florida at the time of her death. She was 63 years old.

Sources close to Summer tell us … the singer was trying to keep the extent of her illness under wraps. We spoke to someone who was with Summer a couple of weeks ago … who says she didn’t seem too bad.

In fact, we’re told she was focused on trying to finish up an album she had been working on.

Summer was a 5-time Grammy winner who shot to superstardom in the ’70s with iconic hits like “Last Dance,” “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls.”

• Donna Summer:

John Maus collects rarities and previously unreleased material for A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material

John Maus released We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves (TMT Review) to world-spanning acclaim last year (making #7 on our own year-end list), but did you know that this was not his debut album? Of course, no shit it wasn’t! Love Is Real came out four years before that, and Songs (TMT Review) was even earlier. But did you know that John Maus was making music long before the release of Songs? Of course, no shit he did! He’s been associated with Ariel Pink since the late 90s. Well good, I’m glad you know so much about John Maus. I’ll just get right to the point in that case. Bully.

Ribbon Music will be releasing A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material on July 17 in North America and July 16 everywhere else. Most of the tracks are from the Demos 2011 collection, briefly available on Maus Space, but five songs can be traced to compilations (most recently the Record Store Day Smugglers Way flexi disc), and two haven’t been heard by nearly anyone on Earth. Okay, right, he emailed them to you personally a decade ago. Well now others can be so lucky. Listen to “Mental Breakdown” from 2004:

The collection will be available in an edition of five billion CDs, but for LPs there will only be a one-time pressing of 3,000 copies (plus 500 web-exclusive LPs on translucent pink vinyl). All the tracks are remixed/remastered to the satisfaction of John Maus, and the cover art (pictured above) is a 2004 piece by Wolfgang Tillmans that makes me think of the bubble-gummy back cover of RTX’s Transmaniacon. But anyway. I see you’re tiring of me.

A “smattering” of live shows surrounding A Collection’s release date are planned, taking Mister Maus from New York to Seattle, Oslo to Gothenburg. Check the dates out below the tracklist, and then do me a favor and FUCK YOU!! *throws water balloon and runs off*

A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material tracklisting:

01. North Star (2008)
02. The Law (2003)
03. Castles in the Grave (2010)
04. Angel of the Night (2010)
05. Mental Breakdown (2004)
06. Bennington (2007)
07. Big Dumb Man (2003)
08. No Title (Molly) (2008)
09. Lost (2003)
10. All Aboard (2007)
11. This is The Beat (2005)
12. My Hatred is Magnificent (2008)
13. The Fear (2003)
14. Fish With Broken Dreams (1999)
15. Rock the Bone (2008)
16. I Don’t Eat Human Beings (2008)


06.15.12 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace (NXNE)
07.12.12 - New York, NY - Pier 84 (River Rocks Series) *
07.20-22.12 - Seattle, WA - Capitol Hill Block Party
08.09.12 - Oslo, Norway - Oya Festival
08.10.12 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Way Out West Festival

* Dan Deacon

• John Maus:
• Ribbon:

The Books prep box set the size of multiple Dostoevsky novels; Nick Zammuto documents the duo’s history with new blog

Good news on top of bad news, everyone! We’ve already reported on the slightly mysterious (though not entirely surprising) disbandment of abstract folk duo The Books this past January. At the time, Nick Zammuto calmly alluded to “a box set with the four [Books] records” as one noteworthy aspect of their musical death knell, but now that a few months have passed, the reality is looking even more worthwhile. As Zammuto himself relays, The Books are releasing an “enormous” box set of all their albums, plus a “huge” amount of bonus material, both audio and visual, by the “end of the summer.” Okay, so that isn’t much of an elaboration on what he previously said, but I can only assume that his focus on the physical size of the box set means that we can at least expect something doorway-sized. Utilize your tape measures to ensure proper delivery, folks.

Zammuto regretfully informs us of his inability to reveal any details regarding the box set, but more than making up for it in terms of sheer Books-related information is his brand new blog, dedicated to documenting how each and every track was made, from the “recording process” to the “strange trajectory of the project.” He continues, “I’ve been threatening to do this for a while and now the time has come… I need to do it now or risk forgetting it all if I wait any longer. I apologize in advance for blog entries that sprawl and ramble.” The first entry (already posted) is a detailed, first-person account of the year or two before The Books was even an idea, and of Zammuto’s inner grappling with his interest in both art and chemistry. I’ll let him do the storytelling. Something tells me he has an affinity for it.

Zammuto (the band) dates:

06.17.12 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live *
06.18.12 - Mobile, AL - Soul Kitchen *
06.19.12 - Tampa, FL - The Ritz Ybor *
06.20.12 - Miami, FL - Grand Central*
06.21.12 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre *
06.22.12 - Charlottesville, VA - Jefferson Theater *
06.23.12 - Baltimore, MD - The Ottobar
06.25.12 - Morgantown, WV - 123 Pleasant Street *
06.26.12 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre *
06.27.12 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium *
06.29.12 - Hudson, NY - Club Helsinki

* Explosions in the Sky

• The Books:
• Nick Zammuto blog:
• Zammuto:

RIP: Chuck Brown, the “godfather of go-go”

From the Washington Post:

Chuck Brown, the gravelly voiced bandleader who capitalized on funk’s percussive pulse to create go-go, the genre of music that has soundtracked life in black Washington for more than three decades, died May 16 at the Johns Hopkins University hospital in Baltimore. He was 75.

The death was confirmed by his manager Tom Goldfogle. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Mr. Brown had been hospitalized for pneumonia.

Known as the “Godfather of Go-Go,” the performer, singer, guitarist and songwriter developed his commanding brand of funk in the mid-1970s to compete with the dominance of disco.

Like a DJ blending records, Mr. Brown used nonstop percussion to stitch songs together and keep the crowd on the dance floor, resulting in marathon performances that went deep into the night. Mr. Brown said the style got its name because “the music just goes and goes.”

In addition to being go-go’s principal architect, Mr. Brown remained the genre’s most charismatic figure. On stage, his spirited call-and-response routines became a hallmark of the music, reinforcing a sense of community that allowed the scene to thrive. As go-go became a point of pride for black Washingtonians, Mr. Brown became one of the city’s most recognizable figures.

“No single type of music has been more identified with Washington than go-go, and no one has loomed so large within it as Chuck Brown,” former Washington Post pop music critic Richard Harrington wrote in 2001.

• Chuck Brown:

Swans’ live album is out in non-limited edition so blast it like crazy. Get Michael Gira’s handmade book too, if you can find it.

What were you doing when we first told you about We Rose from Your Bed with the Sun in Our Head (TMT Review), Swans’ two-disc live album? Whipping up a batch of oatmeal cookies? Rollerskating? Googling pictures of cats wearing pirate hats? What did you do when you got to the part about the album selling out before you could snag a copy? Burn your cookies? Fall off your skates? Forget to feed your real cat?

How would you feel if I said that you could order a copy of that very album right now if you wanted? That it’s currently available via the Young God website and maybe at that dingy little record store around the corner? That Michael Gira says “it would behoove you to listen to the music at a generous volume level?” Stoked? Jazzed? Over the moon?

Aaaannnndddd how about if I rained all over your little CD parade and said that you missed out on ordering a handmade copy Michael Gira’s book, Eight Stories, which would have included a CD of readings by Michael Gira himself? You could read Nine Stories and pretend it’s almost sort of the same?

At least you’ve got The Seer to look forward to…?

We Rose from Your Bed with the Sun in Our Head tracklist:

Disc 1:
01. intro/no words no thoughts
02. jim
03. beautiful child
04. the apostate
05. yr property
06. sex god sex

Disc 2:
01. the seer (intro)/ i crawled
02. eden prison
03. 93 ave. b blues / little mouth

• Swans:
• Young God:

Frenchkiss Records forms supergroup with ATP/R, White Iris, and Underwater Peoples, goes on tour with Arts & Crafts Records

A few months ago, in some office somewhere in the middle of Brooklyn, Syd Butler was trying to figure out how to grow. He had a pretty decent office, running his label Frenchkiss Records with some debonair, and had a few employees under his wing, doing everything but band publicity (that was outsourced to some pigeon that hits windows in Manhattan). But he had no idea what to do from there. He sat down and had a brainstorming session with his subordinates, subordinating them to think of something.

“Think, my lovelies, think!” Syd admonished. “We’ve been at this for three hours.”

“No we haven’t,” said Grace. “It’s been three minutes.”

“Feels like three hours,” said Syd. “Paul, you got something?”

“Uh, IPO?” Paul clearly didn’t know why he was here, he just sorted mail.

“We’re an upstart label, not a startup!” Syd glared with some viciousness. “Phil?”

“Invest in creating the greatest record in the history of great records?” Phil had some understanding of the business, but he preferred to not care.

“Eh, last time that happened, Creation Records got devoured by Sony. Good start, though.” Syd turned to Grace. “You’re the most business-minded of the bunch. Any ideas?”

“Partner with a larger label?” Grace said. “Sub Pop did that with WMG, and they came out okay. They got a couple #1s now.”

“Sub Pop was desperate, lady,” Syd responded. “I… err, we shouldn’t have to lose control when we’re on our A-game. Anyone else?”

“How about forming a supergroup?” Craig Finn said as he waltzed in, looking through the mail, eyes brightening at the coupon book.


“A supergroup. Get a few other labels together, form a larger ‘superlabel’ that shares all the business aspects, including distribution, that a regular label does. Like Rough Trade, only with more kicks.”

“Good idea, Craig,” said Syd, “…But what are you doing here?”

“…Status report on the next record?”

“You still haven’t found a place to live yet, have you?”

“Noooo, but…”

Groans aside, Craig’s idea took shape. However, Syd twisted it a little: instead of being a typical superlabel, the newly-formed Frenchkiss Label Group (FKLG) would be a sort of a label farm, allowing smaller labels to gain the resources that a superlabel can have in order to develop into a sustainable and larger business. After getting a variety of rejections from Matador (too big), In The Red (not in the mood), and GAYNGS (not actually a label), they settled on a starting lineup of nine, including JAXART, Pendu Sound, Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records, and Cavity Search Records. The big ones, though, are White Iris (home to FIDLAR and Eric Copeland) and ATP/R (home to Deerhoof, Jackie-O Motherfucker, and Fuck Buttons). To celebrate, FKLG released a compilation record of all the bands now under Syd’s all-encompassing groovy wings, and they had a party at the office.

“This is great, man,” Syd said. “And thanks for the booze, Paul. What should we do now?”

“I think we should get our artists to collaborate with some of the artists on these labels,” said Grace said.

Before Syd could respond, a loud vacuum-like sound silenced the crowd, and a man walked out from behind the FKR blue pillar. “Don’t ask me to collaborate with anyone,” said Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit, before disappearing from behind the pillar. He reappeared 10 seconds later in equally loud fashion. “Unless it’s with Alex Hung of Fuck Buttons. Then, maybe.” He disappeared again.

“We have pneumatic tubes?” asked Phil.

“We do now,” said Syd, cackling.

If This FKLG Compilation Record Were A Supergroup, It’d Require Three Stages:

01. Guards - Do It Again (Extended Version) [White Iris]
02. Slow Animal - Bliss Brain [JAXART]
03. Two Wounded Birds - If Only We Remain [Holiday Friends]
04. Pete Krebs and the Gossamer Wings - Kid Domino [Cavity Search]
05. FIDLAR - Oh [White Iris]
06. So Many Wizards - Lose Your Mind [JAXART]
07. The Memories - Softly [Underwater Peoples]
08. Eric Copeland - Louie, Louie, Louie [Underwater Peoples]
09. aTelecine - 4 AM [Pendu]
10. Fuck Buttons - Olympians [ATP Recordings]
11. Chelsea Wolfe - Tracks (Tall Bodies) [Pendu]
12. La Big Vic - LYNY [Underwater Peoples]
13. YVETTE - Cold Sweat [God Mode]
14. Anywhere - Anywhere [ATP Recordings]
15. Tall Firs - Crooked Smiles [ATP Recordings]
16. Fletcher C. Johnson - Messin’ Up My Mind [White Iris]
17. Starred - Call From Paris [Pendu]
18. Travelogue - Cathedral [Holiday Friends]
19. Matty Fasano - Unkind [God Mode]
20. Mr. Dream - Scarred For Life [God Mode]
21. Von Haze - His Love Is Fine [Pendu]
22. Steffaloo - The Red Runs Free [JAXART]
23. Gentlemen of Leisure - Boy Toy [Cavity Search]
24. Snow Bud and the Flower People - Bong Hit [Cavity Search]

• Frenchkiss Label Group: