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.

The B-52’s are BAAAAAAACCCCCCKKKKK!

Just pop enough to feel clean and danceable, just weird enough to not be cloying, and just camped up enough to sound like the house band for Pee-Wees Playhouse, The B-52's are the ultimate weirdo party band -- and they are fully back. Not that they ever really left, but now they are releasing their first album in 16 years.
16 years?!?

Yeah dude, 16 years.

It’s called Funplex, and it’s hitting the streets via Astralwerks on February 26, 2008. Produced by Steve Osbourne (he's worked with New Order), the album has been described by guitarist Kevin Strickland as "Loud, sexy rock & roll with the beat pumped up to hot pink."

Tracklist!

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get A Stateside Release of Inside The Smiths

When you think of The Smiths, you think Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke, right? You think of the groundbreaking drums and bubbly bass that made The Smiths a household name in the ‘80s and a looming influence on everything indie since then, right? The snotty romanticism of the lyrics and the signature jangle of the guitar lines are pretty much an afterthought in any conversation about The Smiths.

That's right... it's opposite day!

Of course, if one were to know even a tidbit about The Smiths, it would be concerning Morrissey or that guy from Modest Mouse. That's why a DVD documentary from the point of view of the band's B-team (Joyce and Rourke) is not enough to make America's twee set spend $35 for an import of Inside the Smiths, which has already been released in the UK. It could, however, drum up enough interest to make said set plunk down $16.95 when it's released stateside January 22.

If it suits your fancy, you can take a look at a trailer for Inside The Smiths at here.

Without Mozz and Marr (or any Smiths' music due to legal issues), we're left with Joyce and Rourke guiding us through the band's history, tales of Rourke's heroin addiction and subsequent dismissal, and outsiders like Peter Hook and The Kaiser Chiefs (?) discussing the scope of the The Smiths' influence.

It may turn out to be quite interesting, or (and judging by the Amazon.co.uk customer reviews) it may wind-up like listening to a Garfunkel album.

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...