Wilco & Billy Bragg’s Mermaid Avenue to be released as box set for Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday

Wilco & Billy Bragg's Mermaid Avenue to be released as box set for Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-11-09-wilco-woody-guthrie.jpg

If he were still alive, Woody Guthrie — the dust bowl balladeer whose guitar killed fascists — would be turning 100 next year. Guthrie’s music has influenced everyone from Bob Dylan to Joe Strummer, and his musical legacy has penetrated the heart of American life (we all had This Land Is Your Land drilled into us in elementary school… and good luck getting that out of your head now). So, to celebrate the seminal folk singer’s would-be birthday, numerous concerts and albums are planned for 2012.

For example: Nonesuch Records announced that they will be reissuing Wilco & Billy Bragg’s Mermaid Avenue, which set original compositions to lost Guthrie lyrics. Originally released as two separate recordings in 1998 and 2000, the deluxe box set will include both albums, plus a bonus disc with unreleased outtakes and Man in the Sand — the 1999 documentary chronicling the process of making the album.

Other planned Guthrie albums include New Multitudes, which, like Mermaid Avenue, sets Guthrie’s previously unpublished lyrics to new music (this time from Jim James and Jay Farrar), and Note of Hope, an all-star tribute album featuring Lou Reed, Pete Seeger, Tom Morello, and Jackson Browne.

For a full listing of Guthrie-related releases & events go to the Woody 100 website. With books, films, exhibits, concerts, and records coming out next year, Guthrie’s birthday looks like it’s going to be epic, with celebrations from California to the New York island.

• Wilco: http://wilcoworld.net
• Billy Bragg: http://www.billybragg.co.uk
• Woody Guthrie: http://www.woodyguthrie.org
• Nonesuch: http://www.nonesuch.com

[Drawing: Craig Baxter]

Jack White disses Detroit once again, produces Mozart-themed track for Insane Clown Posse in Nashville

John Anthony Gillis never liked Detroit much.

Long ago, this uptight quiet Catholic boy settled into living in his hometown of Detroit with his bartender girlfriend Megan White while working as a furniture upholsterer. He never liked being made fun of, particularly the fact that Megan and he looked more like siblings than lovers. As though there were something wrong with that. Perhaps to annoy these friends, they eventually got married. Acknowledging the similarities, or perhaps to further rile his friends up, Mr. Gillis even took on Megan’s surname. They even started a cute little band together, taking apart all the elements that made the Michigan garage rock scene of the late 1990s (a interesting scene sadly eclipsed in buzz by the Providence and Athens scenes at the time) what it was: stripped-down, yet compellingly raw. Mr. Gillis lied about his influences, pointing at greats like Son House and Blind Willie, even though the early evidence indicated something closer to The Dirtbombs and Rocket 455 than any real blues rock (though the latter was there).

Something happened along the way, however. Everyone in Detroit knew there was some relationship between John and Megan, but the scene cared little for it, this being Detroit after all. But, as with most young relationships, it did not end well: they divorced in 2000. They stayed close, however, and Mr. Gillis kept his married name, because Jack White sounded much cooler than John Gillis, especially when his band’s name was The White Stripes. However, when they released an album that may very well have been shaped by that divorce, White Blood Cells, people started paying attention to them, and strangers started asking questions about them, about his name. Rather than accept the fact that he was a bit of a weirdo, he lied again by saying that they were siblings. He didn’t really care that he made things more complicated than they should, because all he cared about was getting out of Detroit, and The White Stripes was his ticket. Eventually, his lies were called out, but rather than acknowledging them like a responsible person and moving on, the boy took offense and raged, fearing that he would lose his chance at leaving what he thought to be a shitty town.

Those lies spread as Mr. White shunned the very scene that gave birth to his band, and when others like The Von Bondies’ Jason Stollsteimer called him out on it, the boy attacked them, literally and verbally. He must have felt glad that it happened, for it gave him the excuse he needed to cut ties with the city, eventually causing Detroit’s music scene to be another victim of the Great White Collapse that decimated the American underground. Now he claims Nashville as his real home, something similar to North Carolinian maverick Ryan Adams but without all the weirdness associated with him (despite the fact that Mr. Adams is nowhere near as weird as he is). He lied again about the reasons for the eventual break-up of The White Stripes, putting up a smokescreen to his hatred of Detroit: with ex-wife Meg’s marriage to MC5 scion Jackson Smith, he realized that his “sister” did not hate Detroit like he did.

But Mr. White could not just leave Detroit alone, for he knew it would come back to haunt him. So the boy decided to kick out a jam or two up there, hoping it would leave him alone. To continue spiting Detroit, he wrote a jokey country ditty based on an infamous canon from the Sarah Silverman of classical music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, called “Leck mich im Arsch.” He then had Nashville band JEFF the Brotherhood play the piece. Then he sent it to the one Detroit act that he knew, very clearly, would rile everyone up, to provide vocals. And we’re not talking about Eminem here. We’re talking about Insane Clown Posse. He didn’t do it because he likes ICP that much.

Jack White did it because he hates Detroit.

• Insane Clown Posse: http://www.insaneclownposse.com
• Third Man: http://thirdmanrecords.com

Crooked Fingers tour the US; Eric Bachmann’s beard slotted to open every show

As I look upon the encroaching fields of kudzu, I’m reminded of only one thing: Eric Bachmann’s beard. Try as you might, you cannot stop Bachmann’s beard from spreading across America. As the reunited Archers of Loaf have been touring consistently, those looking to relive the glory days of the 1990s have witnessed the glorious beard in action. But what of those who find favor with Bachmann’s more recent project, Crooked Fingers? Fear not: Crooked Fingers are going on tour as well. Bachmann’s beard shall prove more necessary than ever, as Crooked Fingers plan to tour the US through the frosty autumn months. You know what goes well with a good beard in the winter? I’ll tell you. A nice scarf.

Shortly before the Crooked Fingers tour truly kicks off, Bachmann will release Breaks in the Armor, his sixth album under the name, through Merge. If past Crooked Fingers albums are any indication, this one will be melancholic and lovely. Much like a good beard. Surely, you are familiar with a good beard’s tangle of melancholy.

Crooked Fingers dates:

09.07.11 - Portland, OR - Music Fest NW
10.15.11 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
10.27.11 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
10.28.11 - Knoxville, TN - Pilot Light
10.29.11 - Charlotte, NC - The Evening Muse
11.01.11 - Washingtond, DC - IOTA
11.02.11 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
11.03.11 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell’s
11.04.11 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
11.06.11 - Boston, MA - TT the Bear’s
11.07.11 - Montreal, QC - Casa Del Popolo
11.08.11 - Toronto, ON - Drake
11.09.11 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
11.11.11 - Chicago, IL - Schuba’s
11.12.11 - Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club
11.13.11 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock Social Club
11.14.11 - Omaha, NE - Waiting Room
11.15.11 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
11.23.11 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
11.25.11 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
11.26.11 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
12.01.11 - Austin, TX - Mohawk
12.02.11 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s Downstairs

• Crooked Fingers: http://www.crookedfingers.com
• Merge: http://www.mergerecords.com

Sony warehouse fire being investigated as possible organized robbery

As if the original story weren’t painful enough, it is now surfacing that the blaze that destroyed the Sony/PIAS DADC distribution center during last month’s London riots may not have been a merely random result of violence in the city, but rather an organized attack.

According to The Telegraph, emerging evidence shows that a professional gang may have specifically targeted the warehouse and used looting and burning as a way to cover up their work. Sources say that thieves employed special cutting equipment and spent two hours taking apart a high-security fence before breaking into the building — which contained the complete inventory of PIAS, the largest distributor of independent labels in the UK. An already overwhelmed security force could not fend off the robbers, and witnesses have reported seeing crowds of young people raiding the building and carrying off stock. The fire reportedly began after the looters had left the scene, and inventory previously assumed burned may have been stolen and could reach the black market.

Several arrests have been made, but Metropolitan Police are not commenting on the investigation.

Check out our previous news story for ways to help out the nearly 200 labels (which include Matador, Ninja Tune, and Thrill Jockey) affected by the fire.

Smith Westerns tour their asses off this fall. Wait, shouldn’t they be in school!?!?

I like to imagine those 17-year-old-looking dudes in Smith Westerns as a modern-day pack of Ferris Buellers, cockily touring around North America this fall and evading their L7-weenie of a principal as they charm the continent with their boyish charms, 1980s confidence, and leopard print man-vests. Or maybe they’re more like The Beatles circa Hard Day’s Night, ruffling the entertainment establishment with their shaggy appearances and endearing themselves to millions for lovably treating their tag-along grandfathers like shit. Ah, to be young and in charge. Suck it, grandpa!

But the cold, hard reality is that, for all of their success with this year’s Dye It Blonde (TMT Review), the dudes in Smith Westerns are still paying their dues and playing second banana to dated old codgers like TV on the Radio, Arctic Monkeys, and — worst of all — that curmudgeonly old Panda Bear (shudder…). Okay, so maybe there’s only one date with Panda on the books… but still, those dudes in Arctic Monkeys are total stuffed-shirts, and starting next week in L.A., those kids in Smith Westerns are going to have to deal with lead singer Alex Turner’s stubborn, London-bred contempt for long hair and youth culture for the next month and a half. Man, I hear that dude can be such an uptight a-hole! He’s all like, “I travel on this train regularly! Twice a week!” And Smith Westerns are all like, “dude, what train???”


09.03.11 - Los Angeles, CA - FYF Fest
09.13.11 - Norman, OK - Opolis %
09.14.11 - Dallas, TX - Club Dada
09.16.11 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
09.16.11 - Austin, TX - The Parish (ACL After Party) +
09.21.11 - Las Vegas, NV - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
09.22.11 - Las Vegas, NV - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
09.23.11 - Las Vegas, NV - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas @*
09.24.11 - San Diego, CA - SDSU Open Air Theatre @*
09.25.11 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl @*#$
09.28.11 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Orpheum Theatre *
09.29.11 - Calgary, Alberta - MacEwan Hall Ballroom *
09.30.11 - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - The Odeon *
10.01.11 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - Burton Cummings Theatre *
10.03.11 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room *
10.04.11 - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant *
10.05.11 - Nashville, TN - War Memorial Auditorium *
10.07.11 - Orlando, FL - Hard Rock Live *
10.08.11 - Sunrise, FL - Langerado Festival
10.09.11 - Tampa, FL - The Ritz *
10.11.11 - Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle *
10.12.11 - Raleigh, NC - Disco Rodeo *
10.14.11 - Atlantic City, NJ - House of Blues @ Showboat Atlantic City *
10.15.11 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live *
10.16.11 - Columbus, OH - The LC Pavilion *
10.18.11 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE *

* Arctic Monkeys
@ TV on the Radio
# Panda Bear
$ Warpaint
% Evangelicals
+ Cults

• Smith Westerns: http://www.myspace.com/smithwesterns
• Fat Possum: http://www.fatpossum.com

Tom Jones cries while praying every night of three-month tour, cancels final date due to extreme dehydration

Iconic singer and sideburn aficionado Sir Thomas John Woodward, known to the public as Tom Jones, was admitted to a Monaco hospital late Saturday, forcing him to miss the final date of his recent “Praise and Blame” tour. Jones, now 71, appears to be in the midst of a phase of repentance, indicated at the very least by the track choices on his 2010 record of the same name (Praise and Blame, not “Tom Jones”). Will the wounded knight be forced to repent for missing his repentance, throwing him into a never-ending repentance cycle? Sources close to Jones say “definitely”.

Jones denied early reports by sneaky members of the British press that he had suffered some form of heart episode, instead attributing his Princess Grace Hospital visit to dehydration. “There are no heart problems,” he declared, in a statement on his official website. “Only a fool breaks his own heart…” he elaborated, decades earlier.

• Tom Jones: http://www.tomjones.com