YouTube launches streaming music service called Music Key, strikes deal with indie labels

Google’s favorite adopted son YouTube has finally struck a deal with indie record labels! I’m not sure if this is a great day for music fans, but at least the hundreds of indies are getting theirs, so it’s probably a good day for the industry. Represented by an organization called Merlin (ooh, magic), the “other” labels have been in a protracted negotiation with YouTube over proper compensation for licensing their catalogs. Finally, the two parties reached an unspecified deal, and the labels’ music will now be included in YouTube’s forthcoming service Music Key.

So how is this different from the free website? Well, it’s a paid platform that gives you access to the entire Google Play and YouTube library, both offline and ad-free, for $9.99 a month. Then there’s an app that allows you to download music and videos to your phone, similar to Spotify but all within YouTube’s ecosystem. On the free end of things, the website has also added a Music tab, which currently allows for endless playlists à la Pandora. The Music Key announcement finally capitalizes on the estimated 2.28 billion hours that people listen to music via YouTube, but it also immediately makes the website a target. Right now, there are countless unofficial uploads on the site; those labels who didn’t sign a licensing deal are getting pissed, and some are threatening to take all of their artists’ music down. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming months. Music Key starts an invite-only beta on November 17 in the US, UK, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Spain, and Portugal.

• YouTube Music Key:

CD Baby offers a succulent pacifier: 1-cent shipping for Cyber Monday and beyond

Oregonians just love boasting about their lack of extraneous fees, don’t they? First they all but force me to travel hundreds of miles to the state in order to satisfy my desire for tax-free rubber bands, and now the Portland-based CD Baby — an unintentional term of endearment for the musicians they’ve treated so well, “baby” — is offering an astounding deal to holiday consumers looking to catch a financial break in their admirably sustained purchase of CDs (contrary to vinyl or digital downloads). Online purchases sure are convenient, but it’d be great not to be blindsided by dickish shipping costs after my brain’s already grown accustomed to the subtotal.

One motherfucking cent! That’s how much the distributor of both music and royalties is charging for shipping on all CDs ordered between Cyber Monday (December 1) and Wednesday, December 3. Nationally or internationally. One CD or CD Baby’s entire goddamn warehouse; the shipping costs will be one cent per order.

It’s a pretty sweet deal, and CD Baby promises that the reduction in shipping costs will “not affect how much artists make from CD sales or the pricing they have set.” Instead, assuming there’s an increase in sales during the indicated period, artists will make a bit more cash, and the company in question will get to clear out some of their inventory of a dying medium. Does anybody lose in this scenario?

• CD Baby:

Love is love, Tony’s back: new Ghostface Killah album due out in December

Ghostface Killah, prolific soldier of the clan of Wu, has a new joint in the works. Word has just come in that the mystery man known as Tony Starks will be dropping his 11th (!) studio album on December 9 through Salvation/Tommy Boy. 36 Seasons follows up 2013’s 12 Reasons to Die. It is one of many Ghostface projects we have to look forward to over the winter months, including the new Wu-Tang Clan disc on December 2 and a full-length collaboration with jazz band BADBADNOTGOOD on January 17.

According to the press release, 36 Seasons finds Ghostface in full-on concept album mode, performing in character as a “Staten Island vigilante inspired by a quest for personal retribution and bent on saving his community from the grips of crooked authority and urban decay.” Starks is joined by plenty of friends on his latest ride, including Pharoahe Monch, Kool G Rap, The Revelations, AZ, and others. The deluxe edition of the album also comes bundled with a 24-page graphic novel, which you can pre-order here.

Check out some previews below:

36 Seasons tracklisting:

01. The Battlefield (feat. Kool G Rap, AZ, Tre Williams)
02. Love Don’t Live Here No More (feat. Kandace Springs)
03. Here I Go Again (feat. AZ, Rell)
04. Loyalty (feat. Kool G Rap, Nems)
05. It’s a Thin Line Between Love and Hate (feat. The Revelations)
06. The Dog’s of War (feat. Shawn Wigs, Kool G Rap)
07. Emergency Procedure (feat. Pharoahe Monch)
08. Double Cross (feat. AZ)
09. Bamboo’s Lament (feat. Kandace Springs)
10. Pieces of the Puzzle (feat. AZ)
11. Homicide (feat. Nems, Shawn Wigs)
12. Blood in the Streets (feat. AZ)
13. Call My Name
14. I Love You For All Seasons (feat. The Revelations)

• Ghostface Killah:
• Tommy Boy:

Zola Jesus announces winter tour, provides live video to silence the skeptics

Of all the conspiracy theories, few are more aggravating and less sensible than those of the Zola truther movement. “Zola Jesus has never, ever played a live show,” they say. Despite the hundreds of shows Zola Jesus has played over the past half-decade or so as a national touring artist. Despite there being nothing to gain from her faking her live performance history. “Look, you can see the strings,” the skeptics cry.

Zola Jesus is going on a lengthy North American tour this coming January. Okay, before the peanut gallery revs up their e-mail client to send me a series of 20-minute YouTube videos “proving” that these dates are part of a ongoing scheme, pause a minute. Here is a video of a live rendition of her new single “Go (Blank Sea)” performed at New York City’s Webster Hall. It was directed by Mark Zemel, shot by Zemel and Nathan Lynch, and edited by Jorge Duran:

Can we please put these accusations to bed now?

Earlier this year, Zola Jesus put out Taiga through Mute. Even more recently, she put out the Go (Blank Sea) EP, also through Mute, featuring the titular single and two remixes by Diplo and Skin Town. All these things are real. Please don’t leave a flaming bag of dog turd with “ZOLA LIED” scrawled across it on my doorstep.

Zola Jesus dates:

11.18.14 - London, UK - KOKO
01.08.15 - Seattle, WA - Neptune
01.09.15 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
01.10.15 - Vancouver, BC - VENUE
01.12.15 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
01.13.15 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
01.14.15 - Lawrence, KS - The Granada Theater
01.15.15 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
01.16.15 - Chicago, IL - Tomorrow Never Knows Festival (Atheneum)
01.17.15 - St. Louis, MO - The Ready Room
01.19.15 - Ferndale, MI - The Loving Touch
01.20.15 - Columbus, OH - Skully’s
01.22.15 - Toronto, ON - The Drake
01.23.15 - Montreal, QC - Phi Centre
01.24.15 - Providence, RI - Fete Ballroom
01.27.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
01.28.15 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
01.29.15 - Washington, DC - Black Cat
01.30.15 - Durham, NC - Motorco Music Hall
01.31.15 - Atlanta, GA - Terminal West
02.02.15 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s
02.03.15 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk
02.04.15 - Dallas, TX - The Loft
02.06.15 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom

• Zola Jesus:
• Mute:

Palmistry drops album-length Ascensión mix for free

Late last week, the producer/performer known as Palmistry dropped a fully formed release on an unsuspecting audience, and the internet is all the better for it. Ascensión is one of the largest bodies of music originating solely from the London-based producer (real name: Benjy Keating) so far. His previous works include production for Triad God and Dracula Lewis as well as a handful of solo singles, EPs, and mixtapes.

Ascensión was recorded over the entirety of 2014. It comes bearing the description of an “independent self release” that focuses on “synthesis over sampling, lilting conversations and expressions of language responding instinctively” to Keating’s social world. Stream the whole thing below via Palmistry’s SoundCloud or download straight from the source.

Ascensión tracklisting:

01. DROPdrip
02. Steal a x ft Jassy Grez
03. Sugar Plum Plum
04. Shut It D
05. Neoprene
06. Ascension
07. Pree
08. Wind Water
09. Dropped Call

• Palmistry:

Twin Shadow signs to Warner Bros. for third LP, no one accuses him of selling out

Remember that wonderful time when you would be shocked by your favorite band signing a deal with a major label? Blasphemy, one would say! How could they?

Last time that happened for me, it was Modest Mouse, and I stopped caring in five minutes. Now it’s 2014, and my alienation from the music industry has only deepened. So it really comes as no surprise to me that one George Lewis, Jr., a musician that performs as Twin Shadow, has inked a deal with a major major, Warner Bros. Records.

According to the press release, Lewis has found a “group of like minded people” at WBR, whose help he needed to “pull off the vision for this next album.” Said album should be out in spring of 2015. It follows up 2012’s Confess (on 4AD) and the single “To the Top,” which was released earlier this year. Twin Shadow will also restart their Eclipse tour, which was canceled due to Lewis’s creative impulses. Those dates are below.

Revisit “Five Seconds,” from Confess:

Eclipse tour dates:

03.12.15 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
03.16.15 - El Paso, TX - Tricky Falls
03.17.15 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
03.18.15 - SXSW
03.19.15 - SXSW
03.20.15 - SXSW
03.21.15 - SXSW
03.23.15 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s
03.24.15 - New Orleans, LA - Republic New Orleans
03.26.15 - Jacksonville Beach, FL - Freebird Live
03.27.15 - Atlanta, GA - Terminal West
03.28.15 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
03.30.15 - Washington DC - Black Cat
04.01.15 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
04.03.15 - Boston, MA - Paradise
04.04.15 - Montreal, QC - Café Campus
04.06.15 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre
04.08.15 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
04.09.15 - Columbus, OH - A&R Music Bar
04.10.15 - Chicago, IL - Metro
04.11.15 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall Ballroom
04.13.15 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
04.14.15 - Madison, WI - Majestic Theatre
04.15.15 - St. Louis, MO - The Ready Room
04.16.15 - Lawrence, KS - The Granada Theatre
04.17.15 - Denver, CO - The Bluebird Theater
04.19.15 - Aspen, CO - Belly Up Aspen
04.21.15 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
04.23.15 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
04.24.15 - Vancouver, BC - Imperial
04.25.15 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
04.27.15 - Reno, NV - The Knitting Factory
04.29.15 - San Francisco, CA - Regency Ballroom
04.30.15 - Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda Theatre

• Twin Shadow:
• Warner Bros.:

Afrikan Sciences plans PAN debut Circuitous, out December 8

When Bill Kouligas’ PAN label isn’t busy releasing some of my very favorite records of 2014, they’re busy putting out records that I’m currently kicking myself for not yet having spent enough time with. When they’re not doing either of those things, I suspect everyone that works at the label just turns into a ghost and floats around in the wiring of modular synths, which I can imagine gets pretty old pretty fast, which is why the label is so prolific. Unpopular opinion alert: Casper and Daniel Johnston lied to you, being a ghost does not sound fun.

Toward the end of not being ghosts, PAN has recently announced yet another full-length for the tail end of 2014, this one from Eric Douglas Porter’s Afrikan Sciences project entitled Circuitous. It’s Porter’s PAN debut after nearly a decade of work with California’s Deepblak. Afrikan Sciences’ work runs as fast as it can all skittery and polyrhythmic through the living rooms of “Afrofuturism, science fiction, transcendental free jazz, and future hip hop.” The album’s title track (embedded below), for example, is built on the back of a funky but slightly twisted breakbeat, and is held together by an under-the-table and constantly shifting melodicism. The full-length is out December 8; pre-order it as either CD or double LP right here.

Circuitous tracklist:

01. Two in the Chamber
02. Reddin Off
03. Transient Authority
04. Evolved in Twists
05. Circuitous
06. Kae
07. Feel
08. Swash
09. The Image
10. Group Home Reality
11. Alibi II
12. DBC
13. I’m Asking You KB
14. Tell Me Who Like That (Bedside Manner)

• Afrikan Sciences:
• PAN:

Rustie to soar on wings like eagles throughout January 2015 US tour; for now he’s got a new video to share

Sharpen your glass swords and coo to your lover in your green language while seriously considering perpetrating some jagz on the smack, doing a little of bad science, and then bursting like the sun into a jittering stream of title-reference confetti, because Rustie is going on a tour of the United States in January 2015.


Did you forget that Rustie just polished off a European tour on the back of the recently released Green Language LP? Well I bet you remember now, what with those links I just dropped, eh? And, just in case you’re already starting to forget, I’ve got a brand-new video for the track “Lost” featuring Redhino off Green Language. Think of the video like memory glue. It will glue your memory together. Your memory is a birdhouse in this analogy.

Check out the dates below because I’ve clearly run out of things to say about this particular bit of news.


01.03.15 - Miami, FL - Holy Ship!!
01.08.15 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
01.09.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
01.10.15 - Detroit, MI - The Magic Stick
01.11.15 - Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair
01.14.15 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
01.15.15 - Portland, OR - Holocene
01.16.15 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre

• Rustie:
• Warp:

Mount Eerie provides details on new album Sauna, due out February 3

Back in August, info started drifting in about a new Mount Eerie full-length called Sauna. It came in crop circles, encoded in our breakfast cereal, and written on a small piece of paper dropped by a raven at our doorsteps. We knew then that Sauana was planned as a double album, a follow-up of sorts to last year’s beautiful robot excursion Pre-Human Ideas, and that it would contain 12 songs, some short and some long (as albums often do). We knew as well that it was about “vikings and zen and real life,” and that Elverum recorded it over a 15-month period in his church studio and was planning to self-release it through P.W. Elverum & Sun.

Even so, at that time, both because to live is to be confounded and because the Phil moves in mysterious ways, what we knew was thoroughly outweighed by what we did not know. And though now we have Sauna’s tracklist, a release date of February 3, a pre-order link, a teaser video embedded below, and information on the gatefold luxury packaging that includes a “jumbo poster” and a download code, the universe is still somehow a dark mystery, cut through only by the hot, steamy air coming off Elverum’s recently completed private spa. Oh strange new world, with such massage treatments in it!

Sauna tracklist:

01. Sauna
02. Turmoil
03. Dragon
04. Emptiness
05. (something)
06. Boat
07. Planets
08. Pumpkin
09. Spring
10. Books
11. This
12. Youth

• Mount Eerie:

Please, please, please give him what he wants; James Franco to release Smiths-inspired album and film

Thought you liked The Smiths? Forget it. James Franco likes them more, and his band, Daddy, announced an album and film, called Let Me Get What I Want, all about The Smiths. Well, it’s more-so inspired by Franco’s “Poems Inspired by Smiths’ Songs” from his book Directing Herbert White: Poems. Let’s face it — this is just a drop in the cum bucket of may-or-may-not-happen Franco announcements, like the adaptation of The Disaster Artist, but he’s exceedingly prolific and The Smiths’ bassist Andy Rourke is already on board to play on every song.

We live in a time where commentary on Kim Kardashian showing her butt again is news (because we can’t hold our tongue), and, yes, eventually James Franco will run out of Faulkner books to adapt. So what’s news? Seth Rogen cast as Morrissey? Tommy Wiseau plays drums on the album? Rowan Atkinson and Franco develop a new real-time dynamic weather system for a Gex reboot for PS4? Ultimately, this counts as much as music news as Eminem offending people, so let’s just let the dude do what makes him happy. We’ll judge or ignore the final product as postmodern counter-pastiche and move on to the next forgettable moment in our lives.

• Daddy: