Signing Round Up: Ariel Pink Unites with 4AD, Art Museums Joins with Woodsist, Freelance Whales Ties with Frenchkiss/Mom+Pop, Sally Seltmann Marries Arts & Crafts… and All Four Book Jadakiss for Their Wedding Ceremonies? Awk-waaaard…

The economy is tough and December ain't the best of months to put a smile on a miser's wintery face. But if anything can turn those hangdog faces right-side up is a Christmastime shopping spree! Some of our favorite labels have bucked the trend of holiday scrooging and have been splashing out the green by signing acts to their respective rosters lately. Here be cheer:

- First up is Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti who have jumped from Paw Tracks to stylish and venerable U.K. legend 4AD. Pink and company are working on new material for a springtime release but until then you will have to whet your appetities with back catalogue nibbles. Likewise, North American dates will be announced closer to when new stuff hits the stores/web but if you want to experience the lo-fi greatness in person, the ensemble will play over the next few days in France, Belgium, Germany, and England

12.11.09 - Aalst, Belgium - Network
12.12.09 - Cologne, Germany - King Georg
12.13.09 - London, England - Lexington

- The San Francisco duo of Josh Alper and Glenn Donaldson make music as The Art Museums and have recently inked a deal with hot property Woodsist. The debut album will be called Rough Frame but as far as a release date is concerned, we have nothing more than the ominous portent of "TBA, 2010" to report. We do have the song titles, yip yip!

Rough Frame:

Side A:

1. We Can't Handle It
2. Sculpture Gardens
3. So Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore
4. Paris Cafés
5. When Amber Melts

Side B:

1. Oh Modern Girls
2. Rough Frame
3. Sing a Song of Stacie
4. 30 Seconds

- The eclectic Queens quintet Freelance Whales have signed on the dotted line with Frenchkiss and Mom+Pop to issue their debut album in the spring too. Le savy NY label will join forces with Mom+Pop to release Freelance Whales' Weathervanes "in the spring" and we couldn't be happier for this three-way union! The band is on tour now with Fanfarlo

12.11.09 - Arlington, VA - Iota Cafe #
12.12.09 - Pittsburgh, PA - Brillobox #
12.14.09 - Detroit, MI - Majestic Cafe #
12.17.09 - Cambridge, MA - TT the Bears #
12.18.09 - New York, NY - Webster Hall #
01.13.10 - Cleveland, OH - The Spot, Case Western Reserve University
01.14.10 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's Tavern $
01.15.10 - Bloomington, IN - The Bishop

# Fanfarlo

$ Surfer Blood

- Now we suspect that Sarah Seltmann was already under contract to Arts & Crafts when details of her upcoming album were announced given the fact that the label has already put out her two albums (The Last Beautiful Day and Somewhere, Anywhere) and one EP (er, EP) that she produced under the moniker New Buffalo. But for the integrity and theme of this news story we will include her among the other new signees. The Australian songbird always makes lovely and interesting music but is probably best known as the co-writer of the popular Feist track "1234." Whether you adored that song or wanted to take a gatling gun to your TV every time it played in a Nano ad, the prospect of Seltmann releasing an album's worth of tunes is exciting news. Now, if her husband would get around to recording his band's loooong-awaited sophomore album, then we could sleep easier at night. Seltmann's Heart That's Pounding will come, yes, in the spring of 2010. The lovely first single "Harmony to My Heartbeat" is available free o' charge until December 15 here.

Mario Speedwagon’s New Year's Eve Round Up: It’s 2010 Y’all

Hey, party people. I know I’ve been off the radar for a while (I’ve been stupid-busy,) but I come back to you with a round up of shit to do this New Year’s Eve, if you haven’t made plans already. Where are you going to party?

In New York, Fischerspooner will be playing Irving Plaza. Patti Smith’s annual multi-night run at Bowery Ballroom is sold out already, but who knows, maybe someone has an extra ticket. The Felice Brothers are at Southpaw, Roky Erikson is at Maxwell’s, and Titus Andronicus is at Mercury Lounge. Oh yeah, and Mariah Carey is at Madison Square Garden. In Philadelphia, you got Lotus and MSTRKRFT at the Electric Factory. J Roddy Walston and the Business will play the Ottobar in Baltimore. In Washington DC, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings will play the 930 Club and TMT-er Mike McHugh’s favorite, Third Eye Blind, will play Grand Hyatt Washington.

In Athens, Georgia, Atlas Sound and guests will play at the 40 Watt Club and Washed Out is at the Chase Street Warehouse with DJs Kevin Barnes and Dottie Alexander from of Montreal. In Atlanta, Black Lips are at the Earl, Band of Horses do two nights at the Tabernacle, and Gentleman Jesse And His Men play 529. In Chapel Hill, The Love Language will play the Local 506. The Avett Brothers will play the Asheville Civic Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

Los Angeles has Chromeo at Club Nokia and Dengue Fever at The Mint. San Diego has Delta Spirit at Birch North Park Theatre. Seattle has Minus The Bear at the Showbox At The Market.

In Chicago, The Black Keys and Kurt Vile will play at The Riviera and The Jesus Lizard is playing The Metro. Also in Chicago, Jens Lekman is doing three nights at the Empty Bottle, Girl Talk is doing a show at The Congress Theater (sold out), and Crystal Castles are at Logan Square Auditorium (whatever). The Flaming Lips are performing Dark Side of the Moon at Oklahoma City’s Cox Center. Miami has Lady Gaga at the James L. Knight Center and Phish doing four nights (really? four?) at the American Airlines Arena. Spoon and Jay Reatard will play the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee.

…And that’s all I got. I know there are more out there, so feel free to hit me up. I’d like to collect more. As for links of where to buy tickets for these parties and shows, it’s almost 2010; you chumps should know how to use Google. Happy Holidays!

Portishead Releases “Chase the Tear” Single as Benefit for Human Rights

"Chase the Tear" -- a new Portishead
single, features their usual dark-electronica sound, perhaps sounding a
little more like Geoff Barrow's Beak> project than Portishead's
latest album, Third (TMT Review). Released December 10, the track is available in digital format here from 7digital. It's not free, but at 99 cents -- with all earnings going to Amnesty in support of the UN's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," it's not a bad deal either, at least if you support human rights.
"Chase the Tear"'s release coincides with the 61st anniversary of the
adoption of the document expressing basic human rights on a global (rather than national) level.

Not sure if you want to fork over a buck? Well, you can view the black-and-white music video here.

TMT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Thom Yorke Announces Official Blip Festival 2009 Lineup

On Monday, the TMT offices received a routine call from Thom Yorke (perhaps better known by his stage name, "RadioHead"). Normally, our receptionist forwards Mr. Yorke's calls to a voicemail box that no one ever checks (around the breakroom, we jokingly call it "The Black Hole"!) and goes back to sorting CD-Rs. At the particular moment of Yorke's call, however, Candace had happened to leave her desk to bring Mr P his mid-morning mille-feuille and pomegranate cordial, and the call was automatically re-routed to the desk of ace writer Nat Towsen. Eyes glued to a spectral analysis of a web-exclusive Leonard Cohen cover by Beck and The Record Club, Towsen unwittingly answered the errant communique. After suffering an audibly teary plea from Mr. Yorke, Towsen found a soft spot in his usually granite-hard exterior, and agreed to conduct an interview in person the following morning. This is that interview.

NT: Thank you for sitting down with me, Mr. Head. Can I call you Radio?

TY: You can call me Thom, which is my name.

NT: Noted. How are the kids, Thom?

TY: The cost of education, simply from a sociological perspec--

NT: Let's get to the point. You said you had a big announcement. You wanted the story done right. You came to TMT. Let's have at it, clammy.

TY: Fine. I want to announce that... the 2009 Blip Festival, which is December 17-19 at Brooklyn, NY's The Bell House, has confirmed its lineup.

NT: Wait, Blip Fest? Really? Chiptune? 8-bit synths and video art? You're into that stuff?

TY: Oh yeah. I try to keep abreast of all the fringe music scenes. I listen to Sunn O))) and The Bug. I once let Rudolf Eb.er spit in my eyes. I even used a modified NES on one of the Radiohead albums.

NT: Really? Which one?

TY: Whatever.

NT: Which album?

TY: The point is, Blip Festival is going to be exhilarating, even transcendent at times. Just like last year.

NT: You were there last year?

TY: No, but you were.

NT: I was! And it was exhilarating, even transcendent at times! I was amazed by the variety of performances and musical styles united by a single element that is both physical and aesthetic!

TY: That's the ticket! This year's fest includes U.S. favorites Bit Shifter and Nullsleep, as well as Japan's The Hunters, France's Eat Rabbit, and so many more musicians! Plus, visuals from a host of talented folks, including VBlank, The C-Men, and No Carrier. You can check out the full lineup here!

NT: You just spoke a hyperlink. How did you just do that?

TY: I told you, I keep ahead of the curve. Earlier in this interview, I pronounced "Sunn O)))" and you didn't even flinch.

NT: I was still shocked by the fact that you'd set up an exclusive interview just to announce a festival that you actually have nothing to do with.

TY: You know, if you mistype "festival", you can write "festical", which is just like "testical". Testicle.

NT: GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

TY: This interview is over.

NT: Really?

TY: No.

NT: Good, because I--

TY: Okay, now it's over.

Blip Festical 2009 Lineup (Music Act -- Visualist):

Thursday, December 17:

Silent Requiem -- Jean Y. Kim

failotron -- Paris

Leeni -- VBLANK

minusbaby -- Enso

Chromix -- C-Men

Je Deviens DJ en Trois Jours -- NO CARRIER

Albino Ghost Monkey -- outpt

Eat Rabbit -- Rosa Menkman

Friday, December 18:

Disasterpeace -- Enso

Starscream -- Jean Y. Kim

Fighter X -- outpt

little-scale -- Rosa Menkman

I, Cactus -- VBLANK

Nullsleep -- Rosa Menkman/Paris

Rainbowdragoneyes -- C-Men

Patric C -- NO CARRIER

Saturday, December 19:

The J. Arthur Keenes Band -- Rosa Menkman / Enso

tRash cAn maN -- Jean Y. Kim / Paris

Bubblyfish -- NO CARRIER / outpt

The Hunters

glomag -- C-Men / VBLANK

Bit Shifter -- outpt / Enso

David Sugar -- NO CARRIER / VBLANK

Psilodump -- Paris / C-Men

18th Annual Noise Pop Festival Set to Snap, Crackle, and Pop in San Francisco; Dates and Lineup Teasers Announced

"Noise Pop has been described as one of California's most important music festivals,” says festival co-founder Kevin Arnold, “and is a perfect opportunity to experience San Francisco's world renowned music scene, and the 18th year will be no exception.” In a move surely done to confirm Mr. Arnold’s predictions, the suits behind the Noise Pop Festival have begun to release dates, locations, and performers for the annual festival celebrating independent music, art, and film. The entire shebang is set to run February 23 through March 1, 2010 at venues throughout the San Francisco, CA metro area.

Artists already confirmed to play include The Magnetic Fields, Mark Kozelek, Rogue Wave, Atlas Sound, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Four Tet, John Vanderslice, We Were Promised Jet Packs, Wallpaper, Zee Avi, The Limousines, & Foreign Born. Further announcements regarding shows, musicians, films, artists, and more will be forthcoming.

The festival will also play host to the Industry Noise conference where open discussions, panels, speakers, interpretive dances, and individual mentoring focusing on the topics of independent music, technology, artistic and musical business ventures, and the changing industry will take place on February 27 at the Swedish American Hall in San Fran.

Updates, and further information on the Industry Noise mini-conference, are available at their website.

Record Labels May Owe Up to $6 Billion Due to Infringing Copyright

Lily-livered liberals who spend too much time on the internet are blowing their load over alleged copyright infringement by record labels. Not many people have heard of that backwater known as Canada (they have music there too apparently) but due to a quirk in Canadian law, members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association could face damages of up to $6 billion.

The legal change took place in the 1980s and allows record labels “to use songs as long as they pinky swore they would get authorization and pay the artist for it eventually.” These were often for compilation albums and the like. However, the labels never bothered to get permission and have now run up a list of 300,000 songs where they should have paid royalties. The lawsuit is “asking for both statutory and punitive damages for the labels' behaviour... meaning that the labels could be asked to pay up to $20,000 per infringement.”

Big deal! When you think of all the quality artists like Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, and Justin Timberlake that the labels have promoted over the years they should be given a break. The artists can handle the loss in revenue at any rate. They’re still raking the cash in. Who gives a fuck about what happens in Canada anyway?