Sony bums people out by allegedly price-gouging Whitney Houston’s greatest hits album after her death, which sucks to hear because Sony was my hero

Sony bums people out by allegedly price-gouging Whitney Houston's greatest hits album after her death, which sucks to hear because Sony was my hero

I know this is a contentious position to hold right now, but I think major labels might be… kinda shitty??? See, pretty much immediately following the death of singer Whitney Houston, the price of Ultimate Collection, her (you guessed it) ultimate collection of greatest hits, kinda-sorta-maybe, um, went up. Like significantly. Like from £4.99 to £7.99 (sayeth The Guardian), or roughly $8 to $12.

Yikes. Okay, so then, Whitney’s fans did what all civic-minded people do in 2012 and (you guessed it again!) complained on the internet. And on Sunday afternoon, the adults that run Sony responded, presumably by texting their nine-year-old children from the golf course and asking them to issue a statement because their parents were too drunk. The idea that these kids cooked up is that the price set on Ultimate Collection before Houston’s death was actually cheaper than it was s’possda be this whole time and that they were just finally (coincidentally) fixing it now. Yeesh. They also suggested that maybe when the record ascended iTunes’ sales chart in the hours following Houston’s death, the evil, fascist, artificially intelligent mainframe computer that runs iTunes raised the price itself automatically because of its popularity.

Yeah… uh, but then after that, I guess the parents came home, because Sony just admitted they raised the price. And then, after that, the price went back down to where it was because of spooky action at a distance. The end. OR IS IT???

• Sony:
• Whitney Houston:

Montag offers up monthly single series on Carpark Records, but he’s STILL not my real dad

Canadian ambient artist Montag hasn’t put out any music under his own name in four years. He says he’s been working on other projects. Nice try, bozo, but I know the truth! You’ve been dating my mom! Hell, you even married my mom! Now you’re my step-dad! But you’re not my real dad. I don’t want to toss the ball and I don’t want to listen to your new singles series, Phases.

Sigh. Fine, mom. I’ll be nice to Montag (even if he’s totally not my real dad). Hey everybody, my step-dad has a singles series called Phases coming out through Carpark Records. On the last Tuesday of every month, he’ll put out a new single. The first of these is already out and it’s called “New Design.” That single’s B-side is a cover of new wave outfit The Spoons’ “Nova Heart.” If you’re interested in buying it and finding out more about Phases, check out Montag’s website for the series. While you’re at it, why not watch the “New Design” video? Because he’s not my dad, that’s why not!

• Montag:
• Carpark:

[Photo: Jeremie Battaglia]

Sun Kil Moon to release new LP Among the Leaves this spring (even though the title is misleading and evokes fall)

I picture Mark Kozelek (a.k.a. Sun Kil Moon) riding a bicycle along a narrow road that curves around a rocky hill and overlooks the ocean, because that’s how I picture Northern California, which inspired much of Sun Kil Moon’s upcoming LP, Among the Leaves. The album’s 17 tracks, which Kozelek played almost exclusively on a nylon string guitar, reveal a candid sense of humor and continue his distinctively melancholy mood. It’s alt-folk that’ll be perfect for your coastal bike rides or walks through the woods or whatever else you might do for nature-y fun in Northern California. Among the Leaves will see a May 29 release via Caldo Verde Records — just in time for summer activities.

Among the Leaves tracklist:

01. I Know It’s Pathetic But That Was the Greatest Night of My Life
02. Sunshine in Chicago
03. The Moderately Talented Yet Attractive Young Woman vs. The Exceptionally Talented Yet Not So Attractive Middle Aged Man
04. That Bird Has a Broken Wing
05. Elaine
06. The Winery
07. Young Love
08. Song for Richard Collopy
09. Among the Leaves
10. Red Poison
11. Track Number 8
12. Not Much Rhymes With Everything’s Awesome at All Times
13. King Fish
14. Lonely Mountain
15. UK Blues
16. UK Blues 2
17. Black Kite

• Sun Kil Moon:
• Caldo Verde:

Explosions in the Sky tour, again proving themselves as a band capable of playing music

It takes a lot for any band to prove themselves to me, the writer of this amazing news article. The criterion has always been that the band must surpass my ability to make immature jokes about them. Luckily, Austin, Texas band Explosions in the Sky have decided to go on tour this spring just as I have become an outpatient at a treatment facility for people who are addicted to making immature jokes. Here’s a few examples of why I can no longer make jokes about the group:

• Ejaculation-related jokes “explosions in my eye, exploding on my thigh, etc.” – all trite and useless now.

• Jokes about Friday Night Lights – old, repetitive, and stale.

• Poking fun at post-rock – my great-grandma makes post-rock jokes all the time now, so it’s obviously not cool anymore.

• Jokes about guys being so “emotional” with their instruments – it’s okay to cry. And it’s time to stop being a jerk!

So congratulations, Explosions in the Sky! You can go on tour in support of your 2011 album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (TMT Review) without anyone joshing you. Soak it in, guys!


04.05.12 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
04.06.12 - Grand Junction, CO - Mesa Theater & Club
04.07.12 - Salt Lake City, UT - In The Venue
04.08.12 - Missoula, MT - Wilma Theater
04.11.12 - Eugene, OR - McDonald Theater
04.12.12 - Reno, NV - Knitting Factory
04.13.12 - Indio, CA - Coachella
04.16.12 - San Francisco, CA - Palace of Fine Arts Theater
04.20.12 - Indio, CA - Coachella
04.22.12 - Flagstaff, AZ - Orpheum Theater
04.24.12 - San Antonio, TX - Backstage Live
05.25.12 - George, WA - Sasquatch Music Festival

• Explosions in the Sky:
• Temporary Residence Limited:

Jon Porras (1/2 of Barn Owl) to release Black Mesa on April 17 from within a smeary smoke cloud in the woods

Jon Porras’ dark minimalism unearths intersections between ambient and Americana. According to Thrill Jockey, his forthcoming LP Black Mesa “follows an outlaw wanderer who ventures deep into the desert only to discover the Black Mesa, a bridge between worlds.” For a minute or two, I’m going to imagine that you (yes, you) are that outlaw:

You are wandering through tall grass, following a path cut by a snake and listening to the sound of distant static. You approach a burned barn, and you notice a face floating in a high window. You squint, but the face disappears. Color drains from the land around you until only shades of gray remain. The tall grass dries and shrivels, and a heavy breeze carries the shreds away. You watch the barn for signs of life. The barn bursts into thousands of tiny pieces. The distant static has faded, but now you hear rumbling thunder and the drone of subterranean rock n’ roll. Do you know where you are?

Black Mesa tracklist:

01. Into Midnight
02. Blue Crescent Vision
03. Candlelight Mirage
04. Desert Flight
05. Embers at Dusk
06. Into the Black Mesa
07. Beyond the Veil

• Jon Porras:
• Thrill Jockey:

RIP: Whitney Houston


Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.

Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

News of Houston’s death came on the eve of music’s biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony. Houston’s longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.

At her peak, Houston the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.

Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.”

She had the he perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.

She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.

• Whitney Houston: