Steve Reich changes controversial album cover; artists still tiptoeing around 9/11 sentimentality

Steve Reich changes controversial album cover; artists still tiptoeing around 9/11 sentimentality

Remember September 11? No? Well, a lot happened that day, such as the release of Slayer’s God Hates Us All and an unprecedented act of terrorism on the World Trade Center. Many Americans responded with a great deal of misdirected anger, and thus the music industry came under (almost) as much fire as Islam (I may be exaggerating). For example, the album cover for Dream Theater’s Live Scenes from New York, featuring a burning New York skyline, was pressured to be changed. Political hip-hop group The Coup’s Party Music, which depicted group members in front of the towers detonating an explosion, delayed its initial release date due to the uncanny similarity to the true event that took place just days prior. On a side note, MTV also started playing music videos again for a few days, like U2’s “One,” and the whole thing was just a mess.

Ten years later, patriots are still preoccupied with sniffing out musical controversies, those both accidental and intentional. Recently, everyone’s favorite Mogwai derivatives Explosions in the Sky stirred up some star-spangled angst in Boise, Idaho with a concert marquee stating “Explosions in the Sky […] September 11th.” And now even American minimalist pioneer Steve Reich is receiving criticism for the cover art of his upcoming release of WTC 9/11 on Nonesuch, featuring Reich’s 15-minute composition for string quartet and tape in honor of the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The album cover (pictured above) was the object of intense debate for several weeks, and in an official statement, Reich finally succumbed to critical pressure, explaining, “I want to thank Nonesuch for backing up my original decision about the cover and for backing up my decision now to change it so we can put the focus back where it belongs, on the music.”

Unlike the previous offenders, Reich’s album art had no intentions of controversy nor political statement. Having lived only four blocks away from the tragedy in 2001, the composer has stated, “For us, 9/11 was not a media event.” Such can explain the concept of this tribute and its gloomy cover art: sincerely affected. Plus, it’s not like many Tea Party members would have been so disappointed that they’d sell all their copies of Drumming to pawn shops and vow to only support true patriots like John Adams and Phillip Glass. But alas.

WTC 9/11 will be released via Nonesuch on September 20. Cover art TBA.

• Steve Reich:
• Nonesuch:

Lil Wayne to digitally dunk Tha Carter IV on your head this Sunday after his performance on the VMAs

Lil Wayne will be performing at the MTV Video Music Awards next Sunday, August 28, but it’s only after his performance, when the clock strikes midnight, that the real magic happens. No, his whip won’t turn back into a pumpkin, but his new album Tha Carter IV will be released exclusively on iTunes and other online outlets. The August 29 release date means that the physical album will be out in stores later the same day.

The much-anticipated follow-up to 2008’s Tha Carter III (TMT Review) will feature collaborations with Drake, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, T-Pain, and John Legend, and Weezy hopes that the hype generated by his live performance that night will help jump-start sales. “I am extremely excited to be the first artist to utilize such an amazing idea,” Lil Wayne said in a statement. “I hope that I can open the door for others.”

Though he is the first artist to release an album so soon after a televised performance, Lil Wayne is not the first to experiment with online sales. Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne (TMT Review), which reached #1 on the Billboard charts last week, was released exclusively on iTunes several days before it was stocked on shelves, primarily to avoid the album leaking. Lil Wayne’s variation on this sales tactic could prove a direct indicator of whether or not fans like his new material, and at the same time will finally reveal to the world who the hell is still watching the VMAs.

• Lil Wayne:
• Young Money:

Talkdemonic releasing new album Ruins, still don’t need any other band members

Don’t let the superficially simplistic sound of their previous two albums fool you; the Portland-based duo Talkdemonic have presumably been spending the last three years pondering ideas and gearing up (literally, gathering their numerous instruments) for Ruins, which, despite the curious absence of Tatsuya Yoshida, promises to be a noticeable departure in sound.

Whereas Beat Romantic (TMT Review) and Eyes at Half Mast (TMT Review) both demonstrated a relatively straightforward amalgam of alternating drums, banjo, guitar, viola, piano, and miscellaneous electronics, Kevin O’Connor remarked in an interview with Willamette Week that he “…wanted to make a concerted effort to really change things up. This time around, that started to happen. There’s a lot more synths. A lot less of the folk aspect in the music. It’s abrasive at times. Intense.” Talkdemonic… abrasive and intense? Consider my curiosity piqued.

The change in style might have something to do with the fact that this is their first album as amicable signatories to Isaac Brock’s Glacial Pace Recordings. Likewise, they recently toured with Modest Mouse, and as Willamette Week reports, Brock even took on some of the mixing duties on their upcoming record, which comes out October 4. Certainly, as O’Connor seems apt to recognize, a change was all but necessary given the (at times) indistinguishable musical similarities of their last two LPs. “We’re really happy with it,” says O’Connor. “We really don’t know if people are going to like it or not but that’s really exciting too.”

Ruins tracklisting:

01. Slumber Verses
02. Ruins
03. Revival
04. Midcentury Motion
05. City Sleep
06. Violet
07. Summer Glass
08. Cascading
09. Time Draws On
10. Midnight Pass
11. Chimera
12. Palace Walk


08.28.11 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
08.29.11 - Denver, CO - Moe’s
08.31.11 - Tucson, AZ - Club Congress *
09.01.11 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah *
09.02.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo Plex *
09.03.11 - San Francisco, CA - Slim’s *
09.04.11 - Sacramento, CA - Town House Lounge *
09.07.11 - Boise, ID - Neurolux *
09.08.11 - Portland, OR - Branx (Musicfest NW show) *
09.09.11 - Victoria, BC - Club 9one9 *
09.10.11 - Seattle, WA - Neumo’s *

* Handsome Furs and Sunns

• Talkdemonic:
• Glacial Pace:

Smashing Pumpkins announce fall tour because fall is pumpkin-smashing season

Ever wonder why we even bother to report Smashing Pumpkins-related news? Well, basically it’s because we’d take a good punchline over a good story any day of the week. And there’s almost none better than Billy Corgan. Let’s face it, to the contributors and general readership of a site such as ours, the man’s exploits are a comedy of errors. But sometimes, I have to admit that talking about our friend The Corgmeister gets more straight-up infuriating than amusing. Especially at the beginning of a long work week. So if it’s okay with you, I thought I’d just take this opportunity to try out my George Carlin impression for this story? It probably still needs some fine-tuning, but tell me how I do (and if you’re a little kid, maybe don’t read it). Okay, so here we go. Picture me wearing black clothes with a ponytail or whatever:

Okay, first of all, fuck Billy Corgan for even making me have to type the words “teargarden” and “kaleidyscope”. Seriously, what the fuck is that shit? Come on, you know that you’re feeling me on this. Let’s look at you, reader. Yes YOU. The guy reading this right now. Why are you sitting here feeling all broke and stuck and dead-endy, reading this jagjob website instead of looking for a real jagjob so you can pay all your jagbills while this son of a bitch gets paid to flit around the US this fall for another sad little tour with his latest mangled incarnation of the Smashing Pumpkins project? Complete insanity.

Second of all, they’re touring with this ongoing Teargarden album thing. (You know, the one that only ekes out a little music every once in a while because it’s not really a functional band but has the audacity to claim that they’re doing it that way on purpose as some sort of concept?? That one.) And there’s even news of a potential “album-within-an-album” called Oceania coming out this September as part of the Kaleidyscope series. Album-within-an-album? Let me tell you, reader: the only thing kaleidoscopic about this whole pissfuck of a project is the horseshit they’re spraying everywhere!

But so anyway, here they come this fall, right? They’re trodding all this bullshit behind them, like a dog dragging his ass across your nice white Berber carpet — you know, on account of how good all this texture feels on his ass — from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, basically wiping their shit-stained asses with the whole damn country. Oh, I tell ya, it’s all just one big shit show, reader, and you and I are the toilet paper!

…So, what do you think? Yeah, you’re right. I probably need to work on it some more. Oh well. Thanks for indulging me; at least I feel a little better now. Check below for the tourdates, and I guess tell your friends and coworkers that DO actually like Smashing Pumpkins that tickets will be available beginning Friday, August 19.


10.05.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern
10.07.11 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theatre
10.08.11 - Las Vegas, NV - Cosmopolitan
10.10.11 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
10.13.11 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre
10.14.11 - Chicago, IL - TBA
10.15.11 - Detroit, MI - The Fillmore
10.17.11 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
10.18.11 - New York, NY - Terminal 5
10.19.11 - Providence, RI - Lupo’s
10.21.11 - Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
10.22.11 - Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theatre

• Smashing Pumpkins:

Wavves announce Life Sux EP, accidentally order an XL pizza made of skateboards

I’m sure your parents gave you the talk at age 14 about how drugs make you lazy and unmotivated. Nathan Williams’ parents probably gave him the same speech, which didn’t stop one of today’s most publicized stoners from getting simultaneously high and popular under the name — you know it — Wavves. After recording two albums à la Crystal Castles (that is, obnoxiously self-titled), and the pompously-entitled King of the Beach (TMT Review), Wavves have announced a new EP, this time called Life Sux, to be released on Williams’ own label, Ghost Ramp.

Does life suck for Nathan Williams? He presumably still smokes a lot of weed, which I’m told mellows people out and is a way of allaying depression. He’s also still with Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino (who sings on one track of the EP), and is a cat owner, which apparently can prolong your life and lower stress levels. Things just don’t add up in that department, but the EP is supposed to be less self-revelatory and more “the tale of two loathsome characters locked down in Bummertown.” I think it’s fair to assume that the two do not include Williams and co. Even Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham gets in on the action, and who wants to jump on a sinking ship?

In the interest of those who may be currently under the influence, I’ll repeat the relevant information in case you forgot. Wavves’ EP Life Sux is out September 20 on Ghost Ramp, marking the first release from Nathan Williams’ label. Got it? Now go raid the fridge. Or better yet, record a full-length album before the end of the year — because that’s what Wavves are doing.

Life Sux tracklisting:

A1. Burg
A2. I Wanna Be Dave Grohl
A3. Nodding Off (feat. Best Coast)
B1. Poor Lenore
B2. Destroy (feat. Fucked Up)
B3. In the Sand (live) **

** vinyl and iTunes bonus track

• Wavves:
• Ghost Ramp:

Flaming Lips and Death Cab for Cutie announce joint EP, become Flaming Death Cab

During a recent interview with Spinner, Death Cab for Cutie were interrupted by Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne who, after announcing collaborations with Black Moth Super Rainbow and Nick Cave, quickly propositioned the Cuties about a joint EP between Death Cab and the Lips. Ben Gibbard quickly agreed and, while no release date (or any other pertinent information) is available yet, Flaming Death Cab will soon become a reality.

The EP, which I would title Yoshimi Battles the Plans, will most likely be three to four songs, just like recent Flaming Lips collaborations with Lightning Bolt, Neon Indian, and Prefuse 73. If you’re curious how the whole thing came together, then you should know a little secret of the music business: big-time music festivals (like Osheaga in Montreal, where Death Cab and the Flamers recently played and where the co-project took its first steps) aren’t really put together for the benefit of fans but rather as a place for musicians to mingle and form side-projects; in other words, while you’re tripping on MDMA and listening to music through the haze of foot-traffic and drunken quarrels, all of your favorite artists are forming secret bands. Now that’s a fact, jack.

• Death Cab for Cutie:
• Flaming Lips: