Taking the “Ex” Outta Exclusive; Dinosaur Jr. Get Original Lineup, New Album, New Tour, and New Sneakers

J. Mascis, the guitarist and vocalist of D Jr., sits down to interview my friend, Pete Lansinger:

So, are you excited about our new album?

I don’t know about it, I’ve never listened to your music.

What about the prospect of seeing us with our original lineup?

Well, I think it’s fantastic. Shalom in the home!

That’s one opinion.

Well it certainly is. [Pete becomes distracted by Miami Ink and yells: Stickin’ it on! And proceeds to play air guitar. Then tells me the girl tattoo artist is annoying.]

Anyway, not that I think this, but someone told me our song in Blind’s Video Days is the most fitting song for a skate video. You dig that?

[Pete ignores my question and removes a pipe from his mouth and blows a huge plume of smoke into my face. He then gets up laughing and leaves. ]

I watch Miami Ink for 15 minutes. A lady has a Cheshire cat covered up with a coy fish. Tommy Lee has coy fish -- fucking symbolism. The female artist (the one Pete says is annoying) goes to a psychic with her husband. They live on separate coasts, and the insanely proficient psychic says the couple will split up within the year. Whatever.

Pete returns with a kid named Matt. Oh fuck, some chick just used the word empowering. Matt, the latest arrival passes out on the floor. Pete informs me he has taken too many mushrooms. I remember those days. Pshaw.

Best Massachusetts band ever: Aerosmith, Pixies, or us, Dinosaur Jr.

I don’t know about the best; my favorite out of those three would be Pixies. Matt, shut up. You’re not involved with this.

So, you think they’re better than us?

So? [Matt tries to argue for something, but he instead keeps saying “dangerous,” over and over again. After two minutes of this, we think he has fallen asleep. This interview proves itself fruitless so I move on to the TMT writer’s girlfriend, Grace Rex.]

Grace, what are you looking for in the new Dinosaur Jr. album?

What am I looking for? What if I don’t know a lot about Dinosaur Jr.? Do you want me to lie? I’m looking for [looks puzzled and furrows her brow] some good lyrics and strong beats. High production value, yeah. [She looks proud of that last quip.]

You are aware this is the first time we’ve all been together since 1988’s Bug?

You are talking about Dinosaur Jr.? No I didn’t know that. I guess that makes this a big deal, huh? So you guys are like one of those old alternative bands aren’t you? Cute. [She proceeds to get out a Kerouac book, and I don’t think this interview is going to get any better.]

We had several titles for the forthcoming album (due out in May!), as most bands do, but decided on Beyond. What do you think of that title?

Beyond? Um, what does that mean? Beyond? [She leaves the room to answer the door and keeps asking, “Beyond? Beyond what? What does that even mean...”]

Interview over.

The Shins’ Wincing the Night Away Finally Reviewed! Tour!

One of the best things about writing news is that you can sneak in little jabs here and there. Like, say, for example, you were supposed to review the latest Shins record for a certain website, and you just didn’t really get around to it. Or maybe you didn’t have much to add to the reviews already posted on those other, stinky sites. Or maybe you were trying to scare up some hot-ass grits; whatever. Now, you didn’t get to review Wincing the Night Away, but you CAN always write a news story about The Shins and inject your opinion every chance you get! Hey, that sounds pretty sweet, don’t it!? Hmmmm, let’s try doing that, starting right...

NOW:

Hey y’all, how the heck are you? Good? Good. Getting down to business, The Shins released a record on Sub Pop this year that did pretty well, hitting the Billboard charts with a giant ‘THWUMP’ and knocking Chumbawamba or whoever out of the no. 1 slot. But did ya know that the album really isn’t that good? I mean, the first track gets you all wet and sticky; as soon as you hear it you’re thinkin’ “DAMN, that’s one hot number!” But then things calm down reallll quick, and you’re left with a pile of mediocre pap and very few stand-outs. What’s most annoying is James Mercer’s voice, which used to be all high and angelic. Now? It’s lower, prolly because he wants to be able to duplicate the songs live (a problem with certain Oh, Inverted World songs). But it doesn’t work as well, and he always does this annoying thing where he links two words together and sings them faster than the others, and he does it every song now!

If, say, I were assigned to review this album (WHICH I WAS) and actually reviewed it (WHICH I DIDN’T), I would have given it a really low score, probably a ‘4,’ maybe even a ‘4.5’ ... oh, btw, did I explain the TMT rating system to you? No? FUCK ME, no wonder you always have that confused — and rather ugly, I might add — look on your face! Man, I feel like a real ass-shark! Here, lemme make things right by explaining our rating system. I think it’ll really clarify things for you! Shit, you probably thought we liked Sung Tongs and hated Lil’ Eazy E’s latest... man, thank god I caught this, we could have become a laughing stock! Anyway, here’s how the Tiny Mix Tapes grading system works:

0 - 1: This album is so goddamned spectacular we sold our rare Magma and La Dusseldorf LPs to get it. We’d step over our own mums to find this on vinyl, and we’d probably include it in a Desert Island Discs round-up, so you’d better come correct!

1 - 2: Not exactly profoundly, resoundingly, ass-poundingly excellent, but still a lot of great tunes to be had. Great artists like Teddy Bears, MC Lars, and their ilk often end up here because we WUV THEM SO MUSH...

2 - 3: Still a pretty tasty record, but if you pawn your limited-edition Charlie’s Angels lunchbox to get it, you now have a dozen eggs on your face. Don’t worry, I meant in the figurative sense...

3 - 4: Now we’re starting to get to the stuff that sucks. You know when you’re playing Bubble Bobble and you thought you got one of those wands that makes all the yummy fruit descend from the top of the screen, but when you pop the last bad guy’s bubble nothing special happens? Yeah, it’s kinda like that...

4 - 5: This is where the lame-duck discs go to die. That piece of shit by Raccoo-oo-oon last year was put to pasture here, as was that awful new Scott Walker album. If you see one of these attached to an album you regularly listen to, have some pride and never show your face ’round here again. Yeah, that’s it...

And there we are! That felt good, lemme tell ya. Since we got that straightened out, I might as well do my duty, which is, surprisingly, not to tell jokes, make a mockery of TMT’s storied grading system, relate stories from my life, or commission wacky cartoons. I’m supposed to be telling you about The Shins’ tour plans, which will find the band traveling near, far, like, medium-far, and maybe, just MAYBE, to a venue near you. Hey, that wasn’t so hard, was it! Mr P’s going to be so happy with me; maybe he’ll even let me out of his dungeon... nah.

If you can pinpoint the moments of biting sarcasm above, I just might agree to fuck Mr P at one of the following tourdates:
03.25.07 - Glasgow, UK - ABC
03.26.07 - Wolverhampton, UK - Wulfrun Hall
03.27.07 - Manchester, UK - Manchester University
03.28.07 - London, UK - The Forum
03.29.07 - London, UK - The Forum
04.01.07 - Paris, FRA - Trabendo
04.03.07 - Cologne, GER - Gebaude 9
04.04.07 - Berlin, GER - Postbanhof Berlin
04.05.07 - Amsterdam, NET - Paradiso
04.06.07 - Brussels - Botanique
04.10.07 - Albuquerque - El Ray Theater
04.11.07 - Phoenix, AZ - Celebrity Theatre
04.12.07 - San Diego, CA - SOMA San Diego
04.14.07 - Universal City, CA - Gibson Amph. At Univ. CityWalk (KRCW)
04.15.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
04.16.07 - San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theatre
04.17.07 - San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theatre
04.22.07 - Austin, TXThe Backyard (MtvU "Campus Invasion Music Festival)

Taking the “Ex” Outta Exclusive; Dinosaur Jr. Get Original Lineup, New Album, New Tour, and New Sneakers

J. Mascis, the guitarist and vocalist of D Jr., sits down to interview my friend, Pete Lansinger:

So, are you excited about our new album?

I don’t know about it, I’ve never listened to your music.

What about the prospect of seeing us with our original lineup?

Well, I think it’s fantastic. Shalom in the home!

That’s one opinion.

Well it certainly is. [Pete becomes distracted by Miami Ink and yells: Stickin’ it on! And proceeds to play air guitar. Then tells me the girl tattoo artist is annoying.]

Anyway, not that I think this, but someone told me our song in Blind’s Video Days is the most fitting song for a skate video. You dig that?

[Pete ignores my question and removes a pipe from his mouth and blows a huge plume of smoke into my face. He then gets up laughing and leaves. ]

I watch Miami Ink for 15 minutes. A lady has a Cheshire cat covered up with a coy fish. Tommy Lee has coy fish -- fucking symbolism. The female artist (the one Pete says is annoying) goes to a psychic with her husband. They live on separate coasts, and the insanely proficient psychic says the couple will split up within the year. Whatever.

Pete returns with a kid named Matt. Oh fuck, some chick just used the word empowering. Matt, the latest arrival passes out on the floor. Pete informs me he has taken too many mushrooms. I remember those days. Pshaw.

Best Massachusetts band ever: Aerosmith, Pixies, or us, Dinosaur Jr.

I don’t know about the best; my favorite out of those three would be Pixies. Matt, shut up. You’re not involved with this.

So, you think they’re better than us?

So? [Matt tries to argue for something, but he instead keeps saying “dangerous,” over and over again. After two minutes of this, we think he has fallen asleep. This interview proves itself fruitless so I move on to the TMT writer’s girlfriend, Grace Rex.]

Grace, what are you looking for in the new Dinosaur Jr. album?

What am I looking for? What if I don’t know a lot about Dinosaur Jr.? Do you want me to lie? I’m looking for [looks puzzled and furrows her brow] some good lyrics and strong beats. High production value, yeah. [She looks proud of that last quip.]

You are aware this is the first time we’ve all been together since 1988’s Bug?

You are talking about Dinosaur Jr.? No I didn’t know that. I guess that makes this a big deal, huh? So you guys are like one of those old alternative bands aren’t you? Cute. [She proceeds to get out a Kerouac book, and I don’t think this interview is going to get any better.]

We had several titles for the forthcoming album (due out in May!), as most bands do, but decided on Beyond. What do you think of that title?

Beyond? Um, what does that mean? Beyond? [She leaves the room to answer the door and keeps asking, “Beyond? Beyond what? What does that even mean...”]

Interview over.

M. Ward Tours, Sort Of Rhymes

M. Ward's most recent album, Post War, came out just last year, and it's rather enjoyable. One only has to visit the Wikipedia entry and read the "Professional reviews" section to see that it was a big hit. Of course, as everyone knows, Wikipedia is not a reliable source. So instead, I'm citing certain unnamed sources with close ties to popular opinion who will vouch for the album's excellence.

No! I won't release the names. I have journalistic integrity. Don't tempt me! Just... just leave it be and stop asking. The important news is that M. Ward is going on tour starting April 13 in Wallingford, Connecticut. Mr. Ward is going full-tilt until May 12 and... damn you scrutinizing reader! I have to protect my sources! I will cite the quote by famous American novelist William Faulkner, "That's for me to know, and for you to find out." Straight from the mouth of a person who knows about stuff.

M. Ward will travel through much of the eastern half of the United States, then finish up with a show in Toronto on May 11 and Montreal on the 12th. He will... oh you are a wily one! Stop badgering me, hounding me about my precious, beloved sources! Please, please don't make me! Don't make me say!

Jail? Oh, well that changes everything. I've got integrity, but jeez, it's just the internet. Yeah, it was Justin Timberlake. He has a pulse on what's happening and he's been bringing back, in addition to sexy, hard-hitting music criticism. And if that doesn't convince you, here's a list of where you can hear M. Ward for yourself, but it should have convinced you.

M. Ward's tour is not a chore nor a bore:
04.13.07 - Wallingford, CT - Chevrolet Theatre
04.14.07 - Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
04.15.07 - Portland, ME - Merrill Auditorium at City Hall
04.17.07 - Providence, RI - Providence Performing Arts Center
04.18.07 - New York City, NY - Theatre at Madison Square Garden
04.20.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theatre
04.21.07 - Atlantic City, NJ - Borgata Casino
04.23.07 - Washington, DC - D.A.R. Constitutional Hall
04.24.07 - Greensboro, NC - N.C. War Memorial Auditorium
04.26.07 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
04.27.07 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
04.28.07 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
04.30.07 - Birmingham, AL - B.J.C.C. Concert Hall
05.01.07 - Indianapolis, IN - Murat Theatre
05.02.07 - St. Louis, MO - Fox Theatre
05.04.07 - Ann Arbor, MI - Michigan Theatre
05.05.07 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre
05.06.07 - Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theatre
05.08.07 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
05.09.07 - Cleveland, OH - The State Theatre at Playhouse Square
05.11.07 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
05.12.07 - Montreal, QC - St.Denis Theatre

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.