Wal-Mart “Exclusive” Album Releases Being Sold at Record Stores, Industry Explodes

Wal-Mart has brought stability to the volatile and hostile American suburb. Where would America be without $3 gallon jars of pickles and $5 packs of toilet paper that will engulf a neighbor's trees AND house? How about $4 lead frying pans for threatening children, $2 10 packs of pantyhose for robbing banks, or $12 copies of The Eagles Long Road Out of Eden?

America would be in Russia, that's where. Well, actually I guess Russia would be in America. That's right, if it weren't for Wal-Mart's everyday low prices, the U.S. Government could never have afforded the mass quantities of enriched uranium America needed to win the war. After ending the Cold War, Wal-Mart turned to fighting another war; the war on market dispersal. And, just when Wal-Mart was nearing total market consolidation, something happens. Long Road Out of Eden, which The Eagles promised to sell only at Wal-Mart (TMT News) has been appearing for sale in record stores.

How is Wal-Mart supposed to run a monopoly on album sales when other stores sell it?! Not only have record stores undermined the meaning of the word "exclusive," they've also undermined the very everyday low prices that make Wal-Mart such a vital part of American culture. Virgin Records (ironically, somewhat of a big box retailer itself) in New York has Long Road for sale for $18.99, a significant markup of Wal-Mart's $11.88 price.

In other news, Long Road was recently the top-selling album in America, despite being (for the most part) sold exclusively in Wal-Mart stores. It surpassed Britney Spears' new album, which sold 14 copies at a girl scout jamboree on Tuesday. The SoundScan sales figures reportedly accounted for the double sales that resulted when record stores resold the Wal-Mart CDs.

Friends Of John: Tokyo Police Club and Vampire Weekend To Play a Benefit Concert For Ra Ra Riot’s Late Drummer

When Ra Ra Riot's John Pike was found dead only 24 hours after being reported missing, the entire music community's thoughts went out to his family and friends. Now, in his memory, Pike's bandmates have teamed up with two of his favorite bands for an unbelievably charitable cause. Titled "Friends of John," Tokyo Police Club and Vampire Weekend are scheduled to headline a benefit concert December 15 at Boston's Middle East.

Organized by Syracuse's Ra Ra Riot, all of the proceeds from the event will go to a memorial fund in Pike's name, which aims to lend musical instruments to underprivileged children. According to CMJ, the band's violinist Rebecca Zeller noted, "Because we are musicians and because John loved music, we thought a benefit concert would be the most appropriate way to raise [that] money."

If you cannot attend the show but wish to show your support, donations are accepted by mail (c/o Citizens Bank, 37 Enon Street, Beverly, MA 01915) or through PayPal at johnryanpikememorialfund@gmail.com. Meanwhile, tickets for the event can be purchased here.

"The show this year will mainly focus on getting money to help the family get the library started, and hopefully in the years to follow, we will be able to do more and more with the money raised," said Ra Ra Riot's manager, Josh Roth.

The Magnetic Fields Tour; Spread Way More than 69 Love Songs Across America

The last time Stephin Merritt and co. hit the road, it was 2004, and critics and fans alike were murmuring “i. i? i?!” in an attempt to find deeper meaning in the title of that year’s Magnetic Fields album, which was of course, named i. The title of each track began with an “i” word or the pronoun “I.” What WILL they think of next? 2008 brings us the answer in the form of a new record entitled Distortion, and you know what that means!

Tour (readers’ input as to what Chicago did to get so lucky are welcome):
02.11.07 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
02.12.07 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
02.14.07 - Somerville, MA - Somerville Theater
02.15.07 - Somerville, MA - Somerville Theater
02.22.07 - New York, NY - Town Hall Theatre
02.23.07 - New York, NY - Town Hall Theatre
02.28.07 - San Francisco, CA - The Herbst Theatre
02.29.07 - San Francisco, CA - The Herbst Theatre
03.02.07 - Los Angeles, CA - The Henry Fonda Theatre
03.03.07 - Los Angeles, CA - The Henry Fonda Theatre
03.06.07 - Seattle, WA - Town Hall
03.07.07 - Seattle, WA - Town Hall
03.14.07 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music $
03.15.07 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music $
03.16.07 - Chicago, IL - Old Town School of Folk Music #

$ two shows, 6:30 PM and 10:00 PM

# two shows, 6:30 PM and 9:30 PM

Secret Machines Set Record for Least Newsworthy Story Ever, Prepare New Album… I Guess

I don't know about any of you, but New York spaceout psychsmiths Secret Machines aren't fooling me with any of their "cool band name shit."

These boys may play like a pack of ‘roided-up alien kill bots set to "freakout" at their live shows, but from the looks of things, they ain't got no "secrets," clandestine or otherwise.

Seriously. There's nothing up their sleeves whatsoever.

"What about the news of recently departed (uh, from the band, not from the earth) bandmate and/or sibling Benjamin Curtis," you say??

Nope. That's old news at this point. Dude was only holding ‘em back anyway, if you ask me.

"But did you know that they recently did a four-week residency at The Annex in Manhattan, where they debuted a bunch of epic new songs like ‘The Fire is Waiting,’ ‘Atomic Hell,’ and the more free-form epic ‘Have I Run Out,’ which bass/keys/vocalist Brandon Curtis describes as a ‘long section of instrumental music,’'' you persist??

Yeah. I knew that too. And besides, they did that residency like two months ago. Hardly worth reporting, man. Sorry...

"Well, okay, okay," you continue. "But there must at LEAST be some big news about their forthcoming third album for Warner Bros, the follow-up to 2006's Ten Silver Drops that they're currently working on completing, right? Maybe something about Brandon Mason handling the production duties? Some juicy studio details? A tracklist? Some cover art? A drop date??"

Man, I WISH. Well, actually, Brandon Mason IS producing, but i don't even know who that dude IS (probably not this guy, huh? ). And other than that, no, no, no, and NO.

No tracklists.

No release dates.

No nothing.

They're not even playing any goddamn shows until next year! What the hell is THAT?!?

Get with it, Secret Machines. If you guys scare up some details about your next LP, feel free to e-mail me. In the mean time, I'm going to go watch Food Network...

Fiery Furnaces to Tour U.S., You to No Longer Need Coats, Mittens, Blankets, or Those Warming Inserts for Snow Boots or Gloves

Warming up never felt so warmed-up, ladies and gents.

Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger are hitting the road this holiday to spread the gospel o’ Widow City (TMT Review), their recent debut LP on Thrill Jockey.

And according to a recent press release, your favorite bacon ‘bergers are shifting their style a bit. Known for rearranging their work as medleys in live performances, this string of dates marks a significant cherry-pop for FF. As in, they’re going to play songs normally. Apparently.

Maybe. Don’t hold them to it.

For... posterity:

Del The Funky Homosapien Goes Nerdcore!

Hip-hop is dead. Nas said so. So where does that leave the vets still cranking out good tunes? It's tempting to overfetishize early ‘90s boom bap and turn Enter The 36 Chambers into a religion, keeping hip-hop alive in the same way Elvis impersonators imitate his behavior and insist he was really abducted by aliens and is living fat and happy in outer space, an approach that's worked wonders for the likes of Jedi Mind Tricks, Army Of The Pharohs, The Demigodz, etc. Others, like the Def Jux crew (who had a fabulous diss war with JMT n' Co. a few years back), leave it all behind in a mess of incomprehensible abstractions about martians and comic books, along with a sense of production reaching more toward industrial music and The Mary Anne Hobbes show.

It's not much of a surprise, then, seeing Del team up with Def Jux. Last century's Deltron 3030 laid Del's sci-fi nerd roots bare over Dan The Automator's Big Money Sound, and Hieroglyphics has always indulged in fantasies involving extraterrestrials. So, let's get excited already -- more self-consciously intellectual babbling over broken synths and found sounds! Awesome!

Seriously, though, this is an exciting development for the "independent as fuck" crowd, whether you think Celph Titled is the second coming of Christ or Aseop Rock is a mouthpiece for the Godhead. Del's produced the entirety of his new LP, The 11th Hour, on his own, so we won't have to worry about El-Producto getting his grubby little hands all over his sound. Who knows, maybe Del can bring a little of that early ‘90s sound he had on I Wish My brother George Was Here and No Need For Alarm to Def Jux's relatively stagnant "experimentation." You can do some detective work on your own and see Del perform his new material live with that Devin The Dude guy, or alternatively pick up Del's new DVD, also titled The 11th Hour, shot during the early stages of production for Del's first solo work in eight years. Let's just hope we can figure out what the hell Del's going on about once the album's released on February 26, 2008.

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