Starbucks, Concord Music Group Form New Label; Thin Layer Of Dust Settles Over America

Hello, gentle readers. My name is Squeo, and I'll be lecturing you tonight on a subject most exhilarating -- yes, truly exhilarating. I do hope you are comfortably seated in your favorite chair -- a chair, perhaps, both plush and stylish, much like those terribly agreeable pieces they might sell at one's local Target. Nothing too flashy, but with just enough pep and pizzazz to let folks know you're no bump on a log. Heck, before we get into the meat of this story, maybe you'd like to pop a CD or two into your home stereo system. Oh, I know -- those 100 CD changers are more trouble than they're worth! Ah, there you go, the trifecta: Norah Jones, Seal, and that $30 lounge mix that came in the fuzzy slipcase (what will they think of next?). Now let's set that stereo to a reasonable volume, stretch our legs and dig in to today's news.

Starbucks and Concord Music Group have gotten together to form a new label called Hear Music. Hope that name goes down as easy for you as it does for me... for what else is there to do with music, when you really think about it, but hear? I don't know about you, but this almost makes me want to run out to a store and purchase a set of affordable, matching kitchenware, purely out of glee. The plates and glasses will undoubtedly make use of a simple but effective pattern of rainbow-colored concentric circles or polka dots, and my spring luncheons will be all the more delightful for it!

Though Starbucks has made use of the Hear Music brand since 1999, this is the first time they'll be producing brand new material. The label's first album is expected to be released by the end of this year, and yes, the rumor mills are churning! The New York Post has reported that Sir Paul McCartney will be signing a deal, but my hope is that Kenny G's long-awaited Disney Classics collection has finally found a proper home. Such a collaboration would be as beautiful as a fading sunset, a cherubic infant, a dozen roses, a glorious sunrise, a fresh pot of coffee, a sparkling diamond ring, a tender filet mignon, a slim volume of poetry, an amusing salt-and-pepper shaker set, a wise grandpa, a tender kiss, a rousing game of football, a long-lasting friendship, a heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates, a teddy bear holding a felt heart, a relaxing round of horseshoes, a just-waxed motorcycle, a sticky popsicle, a crackling campfire, a playful puppy, and a worn pair of jeans, all wrapped into one. Have a pleasant evening.

NPR and Internet Radio Protest Royalty Fee Hike, Robert Seigel Prepares Sale of Bulgarian Pinstripe Suits Which Allegedly “Fell Off the Back of a Truck”

On March 16, NPR became the first of, well, probably every internet radio station in the U.S. to vocally oppose new royalty regulations laid down by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) earlier this month. The opposition comes in light of the fact that CRB's new rules would force them, in the words of NPR rep Andi Sporkin, "to pay an internet royalty fee that is vastly more expensive than what we pay for over-the-air use of music."

For the average listener, that would mean a huge cut in the actual amount of music-hearing that takes place: musical experiencing, jamming, rocking out, moving and/or grooving, gettin' down -- less of anything that could potentially be construed as "listening" in general. Not to music, anyway, since the royalties would, beginning this year, gradually increase from $.0008 per play (the 2006 rate) to $.0019 in 2010, more than doubling in a relatively short time-frame. These "performance royalties," given for use of musical master tapes, run the risk of ballooning to over 100% of total station revenue, a figure that does not include "composers' royalties," which stations must also pay to the songwriters themselves. Any sort of profit or capacity for station owners and operators to support themselves via their broadcasts would cease. The new system would replace the former system, in which royalties were paid as a percentage of gross revenues, and the one currently used for satellite radio stations.

In light of the new regulations, the only way many public stations would be able to stay in the business of playing music would be to resort to violent, black-market thuggery. Imagine Ira Glass being forced to rig a boxing match so that Terri Gross could illicitly bet on it in advance. Or what about Click and Clack, who would have to use their vast automotive knowledge to set up a chop shop. Even Diane Rehm might have to go into business running moonshine across international boundaries to make ends meet. Okay, things might not get that bad, especially for major broadcasters on traditional airwaves. But skyrocketing royalties would be hugely detrimental to public stations, especially for those of us who look to non-corporate stations for news, music, or cultural programming.

I think the argument against rate hikes can be best summed up by Sporkin, who said, "Public radio's agreements on royalties with all such organizations, including the RIAA, have always taken into account our public service mission and non-profit status. These new rates, at least 20 times more than what stations have paid in the past, treat us as if we were commercial radio -- although by its nature, public radio cannot increase revenue from more listeners or more content, the factors that set this new rate." Yes, that part about costing 20 times what stations have previously paid is pretty bad. But seriously: not even the RIAA thinks this is a good idea? That alone looks like fairly damning evidence. If you're interested in getting involved with this issue, you can directly contact any internet radio stations you listen to, or visit this website, an activism page set up by Live 365, another internet music provider who will be affected by the proposed regulations.

Björk Adds North American Dates to Tour

The Hottest Ticket in Töwn: The Björk on Tour

by Jeremy Rushton

The Björk, the amazing three-piece from Denver, CO, have recently added U.S dates to their tour. Pat Cathey, lead guitarist, told TMT that "while we plan to add more dates sometime in the future, we thought we'd announce these dates now since there's such high demand."

Yes, indeed, The Björk may be the hottest living band on the globe, as the hype for their debut full-length release, Volta, the follow-up to their 2005 EP Breaking Smiles All the Way Down to a Frown (Pt I and II), is at an unprecedented high. With angular guitar lines, head-nodding beats, and scratchy vocals, it's no wonder that people are calling them the next Zwan.

"We can't believe it ourselves, really," said Cathey. "We're just so grateful! I can feel the electricity in the air!"

Volta is set for release on May 8 via Atlantic and One Little Indian. Oh, and good news for those of you who were wondering: their live staple, "Judge Me By My Fingers, Not My Pillars," is confirmed as the first track on the album.

Starbucks, Concord Music Group Form New Label; Thin Layer Of Dust Settles Over America

Hello, gentle readers. My name is Squeo, and I'll be lecturing you tonight on a subject most exhilarating -- yes, truly exhilarating. I do hope you are comfortably seated in your favorite chair -- a chair, perhaps, both plush and stylish, much like those terribly agreeable pieces they might sell at one's local Target. Nothing too flashy, but with just enough pep and pizzazz to let folks know you're no bump on a log. Heck, before we get into the meat of this story, maybe you'd like to pop a CD or two into your home stereo system. Oh, I know -- those 100 CD changers are more trouble than they're worth! Ah, there you go, the trifecta: Norah Jones, Seal, and that $30 lounge mix that came in the fuzzy slipcase (what will they think of next?). Now let's set that stereo to a reasonable volume, stretch our legs and dig in to today's news.

Starbucks and Concord Music Group have gotten together to form a new label called Hear Music. Hope that name goes down as easy for you as it does for me... for what else is there to do with music, when you really think about it, but hear? I don't know about you, but this almost makes me want to run out to a store and purchase a set of affordable, matching kitchenware, purely out of glee. The plates and glasses will undoubtedly make use of a simple but effective pattern of rainbow-colored concentric circles or polka dots, and my spring luncheons will be all the more delightful for it!

Though Starbucks has made use of the Hear Music brand since 1999, this is the first time they'll be producing brand new material. The label's first album is expected to be released by the end of this year, and yes, the rumor mills are churning! The New York Post has reported that Sir Paul McCartney will be signing a deal, but my hope is that Kenny G's long-awaited Disney Classics collection has finally found a proper home. Such a collaboration would be as beautiful as a fading sunset, a cherubic infant, a dozen roses, a glorious sunrise, a fresh pot of coffee, a sparkling diamond ring, a tender filet mignon, a slim volume of poetry, an amusing salt-and-pepper shaker set, a wise grandpa, a tender kiss, a rousing game of football, a long-lasting friendship, a heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates, a teddy bear holding a felt heart, a relaxing round of horseshoes, a just-waxed motorcycle, a sticky popsicle, a crackling campfire, a playful puppy, and a worn pair of jeans, all wrapped into one. Have a pleasant evening.

They are political and confrontational. They face a cast of petty criminals, world-be world-conquering bad guys, and just plain insane characters every day. They battle environmental villains and animal rights violators. They are easily riled and prone to violence when the situation calls for it. They use every trick in the book to see their mission accomplished. They stand apart from society at large and go about their crime fighting business with a strong moral code. They are flamboyant and guzzle pizza like most do oxygen. They inhabit the sewers and slash and beat down evildoers with bô, katanas, nunchaku, and sai. That's right, this month sees the fantastic latest mutation of TMT's third favorite anthropomorphic superheroes (right behind Hieronymous "Hip" Flask and ThunderCats); The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (cue cascading fireworks! wikkid explosions! overly loud generic "action sequence" music! many exclamation marks! etc.!)!

In other news, Antibalas, who carry all the qualities mentioned above and many more, are also back. Although their violent streaks are limited to gleeful auricular punishment and they don't have to live secluded in NYC's notoriously rank sewers, they will be spotlight-contending with those four little green freaks when they play all over most of the continental U.S. during the next month-and-a-half. (Many apologies to the states that they are not playing. It's not because they couldn't schedule more shows to accommodate your state; it is because Antibalas don't like you. They told me so just the other day.) After slaying America, they will venture eastward and fight the good fight overseas. The Brooklyn afrobeat/jazz/latin/kick-ass cosmopolitan collective is touring in support of their John McEntire-produced fourth album Security, which was released at the beginning of March on Anti- (appropriately enough).

All that is needed now is a totally awesome cereal tie-in so you can eat up your favorite antibalastas in marshmallow form:
03.21.07 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
03.22.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
03.28.07 - New Haven, CT - Toad's Place
03.29.07 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
03.30.07 - Portland, ME - Space
03.31.07 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Underground
04.04.07 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
04.05.07 - Charlottesville, VA - Starr Hill
04.06.07 - Virginia Beach, VA - Jewish Mother
04.07.07 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
04.08.07 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
04.10.07 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre
04.11.07 - Atlanta, GA - The Variety Arts
04.12.07 - Knoxville, TN - Sundown in the City
04.12.07 - Knoxville, TN - World Grotto
04.13.07 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
04.14.07 - Louisville, KY - Headliners
04.15.07 - Bloomington, IN - The Blue Bird
04.17.07 - Urbana, IL - Canopy Club
04.18.07 - St. Louis, MO - Blueberry Hill
04.19.07 - Columbia, MO - Blue Note
04.20.07 - Lincoln, NE - Knickerbockers
04.21.07 - Lawrence, KS - Grenada Theatre
04.22.07 - Omaha, NE - Waiting Room
04.23.07 - Iowa City, IA - The Picador
04.24.07 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
04.25.07 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
04.26.07 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater
04.27.07 - Chicago, IL - Park West
04.28.07 - Ann Arbor, MI - Blind Pig
04.29.07 - Newport, KY - Southgate House
05.01.07 - Columbus, OH - Wexner Center
05.02.07 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
05.03.07 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Museum
05.04.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts
05.19.07 - Brussels, Belgium - Ancienne Belgique
06.01.07 - London, England - Jazz Café
06.02.07 - London, England - Jazz Café
06.05.07 - Gateshead, England - The Sage
06.06.07 - Swansea, England - Sin City
06.07.07 - Manchester, England - The Mint Lounge
06.08.07 - Leeds, England - HiFi Club
06.13.07 - Dublin, Rep. of Ireland - Crawdaddy
06.15.07 - Brighton, England - Komedia
06.16.07 - Exeter, England - Festival

Fancy Premature News Alert! Slint Complete Contemplate Recording New Music!

Recently, the folks down at Touch & Go Records posted a message on their website regarding the status of Slint and whether or not they intend to record a new album. Seems all these recent reunion shows are insufficient for new Slint fans. Remember the days when the reunion of an influential band, who broke up before you knew about them, was a big, historic event? Like The Stooges years back, Pixies, or maybe even The Police? Well, it seems nowadays just doing a few reunion shows or even a full-length world tour ain't good enough. New fans want new music, too!

Due to their upcoming summer shows, the boys in the legendary group Slint have been encountering the following question: "When are you guys recording a new album?" In response to this, the Touch & Go people were kind enough to post as cryptic a message as possible on their website: "Here's the deal. Slint has been preparing for shows this summer. They want to play music together and have decided to work on new material. Once they find a rehearsal space (in Louisville, KY), they can begin this process. Please do not start rumors about an impending Slint recording. Anything new will take a while. With a little luck, Touch & Go will have something to release in the next few years."

With this in mind, let us be the first to announce that the new Slint album will be released in 2011 and will be entitled, Oh, If Only I Had Not've Drank That Last German Ale, I Would Have Not Made This Record In Louisville. The 3-track album is set to one-up Joanna Newsom at her own game by collaborating with Van Dyke Parks on a polka-themed country romp through the trials and tribulations of uranium miners. The first single will be a 22-minute opus entitled "Pecans Make My Crotch Itchy," featuring guest performer Ted Leo's first yodeling solo.

Analysts predict that the album will debut at number 1 in 15 countries. Stay tuned for more details in 2010.

In the meantime, why not catch Slint performing live?