RIP: Jay Bennett, Former Wilco Member

From Jim DeRogatis at the Chicago Sun-Times:

Jay Bennett, a rock musician with deep ties to Chicago best known as a former member of Wilco, died early Sunday morning in downstate Urbana, where he had been running a recording studio, according to a spokesman for his family.

The singer and multi-instrumentalist was 45 years old.

"Early this morning, Jay died in his sleep and an autopsy is being performed," said Edward Burch, a friend and musician who collaborated with Bennett on the 2005 album "The Palace at 4 a.m." "The family is in mourning and is unavailable for comment at this time."

From Wikipedia:

In May 2009, Bennett sued Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy for breach of contract stemming from his work for Wilco. The suit came less than two weeks after Bennett publicly revealed that he needed hip replacement surgery which he could not afford due to lack of health insurance.

- Jay Bennett MySpace
- Jay Bennett Wikipedia entry

Eyedea & Abilities to Release First New Album in Five Years That Reveals New Ideas and Abilities

[ed.- You're fired for that headline.]

So, Eyedea & Abilities are amazing right? The group is comprised of one of the best MCs ever and an amazingly talented DJ who's extremely entertaining to watch. My personal favorites of the Rhymesayers collective, these two dudes have so much credibility that they simply laugh at people who forget that they're one of the best hip-hop duos around. In their faces!

The thing is… they haven’t really done that much in a couple years. And, to be honest, the “rock” band that Eyedea had for awhile… they kinda sucked. But Eyedea has won like a BILLION rap battles, and DJ Abilities did all the turntable work for El-P’s phenomenal album Fantastic Damage (old-school TMT Review), so I always give them the benefit of the doubt based solely on what they're capable of, even if not everything they do is "awesome."

But who gives a shit about everything I said, because they're back with a new album! By the Throat is scheduled for release July 21 on Rhymesayers, and I bet it will totally blow away their last album, 2004’s breakout release E&A (TMT Review). The press release describes the new songs as “ranging] from intensely personal topics to the more esoteric [quantum mechanics],” which, yeah, that sounds kind of old-hat for [E&A, but they do stuff like that so well!

In support of the new album Eyedea & Abilities are scheduled to appear this Sunday at Rhymesayers' Soundset ’09, as previously reported. The band also expects to headline a tour in the fall, including dates at this year's Rock the Bells.

Here are some dates, all properly formatted and such:
06.27.09 - Chicago, IL - First Midwest Bank Amphitheater
06.28.09 - Detroit, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre
07.05.09 - Toronto, ON - Molson Amphitheater
07.12.09 - Washington, DC - Merriweather Post Pavilion
07.18.09 - Boston, MA - Comcast Center
07.19.09 - New York, NY - Jones Beach Amphitheater
08.01.09 - Vancouver, BC - Deer Lake Park
08.06.09 - Denver, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheater
08.08.09 - Los Angeles, CA - San Manuel Amphitheater
08.09.09 - San Francisco, CA - Shoreline Amphitheater

This Is the Way Plan B Magazine Ends, Not with a Bang but a Twitter

After five years of publication, UK indie music rag Plan B will print its last issue on June 1 according to this Porky Pig-style farewell tweet.

Launched by rogue journalist Everett True in 2004, Plan B set out to provide an incisive, content-driven alternative to the mainstream UK hype mills. In its short history, Plan B succeeded in dodging the slings and arrows of tacky tabloidification with loose and fun news coverage and spectacularly entertaining and thoughtful reviews. There’s no word yet if Plan B will retain an online presence, but since that’s been my only exposure to the magazine (and I must say I’ve quite enjoyed it), let’s hope it sticks around on the digital plane in some form or fashion.

Earlier today, I bought a Colt 45 forty ouncer, and tonight I’ll be pouring out a triple-sip or so of that sucker on the curb for you, Plan B. See you at the crossroads.

Student Kills Self After Teacher Refuses to Praise Marilyn Manson

Okay, read this.

Seriously, is there anything that I can write that will make this story less fucked up?

Not really. I didn’t think that Mr. Manson was still cool enough to illicit suicide and/or murder, and did the kid honestly have a “love” for “knowledge of Hitler facts”?? Yuck.

Microsoft Zune Pass Uses Apple’s iPod to Sell Zune Music Subscriptions; Makes iPods Look Cool, Reminds You You’re Poor

Call me crazy, but usually when people pay money for something, they like to own it. The good people at Microsoft, however, beg (kinda literally) to differ, as they clearly demonstrate in their recent “sharp guy who talks to you the camera in a conversational way” commercial (which is also being advertised right here on TMT):

Bypassing the fact that you only get to actually keep and own 10 of the songs that you download with your Zune subscription, the ad proceeds to claim that it costs $30,000 to fill the largest iPod with 99¢ songs from iTunes. Never mind the fact that, even at iTunes’ 99¢ per track, the “average” music fan probably doesn’t add more than 15 tracks a month to their collection. And double-never mind the fact that, at the same 10 songs per month rate, it’d take you (hang on, let me get my iPhone to calculate this) 250 years to buy this much music on iTunes. So hopefully you’ll still be into that new Ruben Studdard in 2259 A.D.

Even the market leader in music subscription services, Rhapsody, has managed to amass a mere 800,000 willing to pay the same $14.95 a month for its service. The young folks seem to prefer to own their music, and, you know, NOT get lectured by elderly Aryan “Financial Planners” about saving money on downloads that they typically yank off of LimeWire anyway. But even if the guy in the suit is a tool and the background music is inane and the math is fuzzy and skewed, Microsoft has one thing going for it: those Zunes that they show in the commercial sure are cool-looking... oh wait.

Voulez-vous écouter Jay-Z avec moi? Ce soir? Hov Bids Adieu to Def Jam, Plans Series of Intimate Soirees

Pop open the champagne, draw the bath, and scatter those rose petals. Because it’s time for what fine news sources everywhere are billing as “intimate performances” with Jay-Z. He’s a hardworkin’ man, Jay-Z, and he’s just broken up with someone/thing very special in his life. No, not Beyoncé. It’s Def Jam. Def Jam who will have to go home alone tonight. Def Jam who will have to look through those dusty old photographs, sigh, and run to the corner store later this evening and pick up an economy-sized tub of the grossest Ben & Jerry’s flavor imaginable. Fortunately, Hov had only nice words for Def Jam’s Doug Morris and L.A. Reid, explaining how the negotiations to end his contract included a coin toss. “Doug won the toss, but we both won in the end," he said. "I thank him for allowing me to be a completely independent artist. Not every artist can say they own or are given the opportunity to own all of their music." Ahhh!

Jay-Z owed the label one final album, but instead bought out his contract for $5 million. He has been working on The Blueprint 3 with Kanye West since last year, and -- you know -- right now Hov just needs to take a moment to slip into something more comfortable and connect with the fans before finishing up this latest album. But wait! What’s this? It’s not just Hov who will be performing — it’s also his full backing band and saucy R&B opener Ciara on the following dates! Better make more of those chocolate-covered strawberries that are so creepy/delicious.

The “exclusive,” “intimate” performances kick off with a couple nights at The Palms Casino in Las Vegas, with more dates in the works. So why not kick back, relax, and let Live Nation give you a massage and some Jay-Z tickets?
07.03.09 - Las Vegas, NV - The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort
07.04.09 - Las Vegas, NV - The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort
07.07.09 - Chicago, IL - Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island
07.10.09 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
07.12.09 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre