Apple to maybe relaunch Beats Music in March… or maybe not… but probably? It’s really still up to Bono.

So, I’m sure you all remember every single thing that happened to you two months ago, right? So there’s probably no real need for me to rehash the sensational piece we wrote at that time about how Apple was rumored to be shutting down “the streaming-music, all-you-can-stand-for-$10-a-month-style subscription service founded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, Beats Music, which it gobbled-up like just one in a stream of unending Pac-Man pellets back in May,” right? (Man, it feels good to be able to quote yourself as a source! I feel like a Ph.D or some shit!) Okay, sweet.

Now then… here’s the THING though… according to a great little post onStereogum that I’d really rather just ignore but can’t, Apple might actually be making good on their promise to bring Beats Music back, and it might happen as early as March of 2015. According to Billboard, some sleekified, glossed-up, snow-white iteration or another of Beats Music will magically appear in an upcoming iOS update, in perfect accord with the late CEO Steve Jobs’ dying wish that the Apple of the future start surprise-forcing all kinds of shit on all of its users whether they like it or not.

Still no real word as to how much Apple will fuck with the business model of the service before they relaunch it (e.g. keeping Beats a pay-service vs. some sort of ad-supported free thing like Spotify). But rest assured, whatever happens, the Beats of the future will be way more… um, elegant? Yeah. And sleek. Elegant and sleek. Ooh, AND 40% thinner. Abra-cadabra!

• Apple: http://www.apple.com
• Beats Music: http://www.beatsmusic.com

Strange Wilds sign to Sub Pop, just in time for the Sub Pop Thanksgiving Feast

As a kid, our Thanksgiving dinners weren’t that great. Tofurkey from a can. Cranberry mash from a box. And a pie that came from a tin just labeled “PIE” and didn’t taste like anything, yet somehow reminded you, the eater, of pie. After our father passed out in front of the traditional viewing of Old Yeller, me and my seven siblings would slip out of the house, solely to gaze longingly at the indulgent Thanksgiving feasts the Sub Pop family had every single year. They really had it all. Fried turkey. Mashed potatoes and homemade gravy. Cornbread and biscuits. They even had five different types of yams. We were always jealous of them, and now we are jealous of Olympia/Seattle-based punks Strange Wilds, who just signed to the label.

The group, formed from members of Negative Press, Outlook, Wreck, and various other Pacific Northwest punk rock outfits, plan to release music for Sub Pop in the coming year. What music particularly? Hey pal, beats me! Probably an album or single or something. Until then, sate yourself with a video for “Slime” below and a stream of their Wet EP on SoundCloud, which they put out earlier this year on Inimical. Now, pass the succotash loaf.

• Strange Wilds: https://www.facebook.com/strangewilds
• Sub Pop: https://www.subpop.com

Shoegaze kingpins Ride are cowboys, on a steel horse they reunite, tour the world

As you may or not recall depending on the extent to which you, like me, were eight years old in 1996 when it came out, Ride disbanded off into the sunset on the occasion of their fourth and final full-length Tarantula. Ever since, aside from appearing together in a documentary on Sonic Youth and reissuing their early releases such as 1990s monumental Nowhere (both in 2001), they’ve not really done much in the arena of Being a Band Called Ride. Until very recently, Andy Bell was actually all about that Being in a Band with Liam Gallagher called Beady Eye life, but of course, with that band’s recent demise, Bell is no longer about that life, not even a little bit, because Ride have reunited!

As such, the band has taken to semi-cryptically announcing their reunion via a big billboard in Barcelona (commemorated on the Creation Records Facebook page), and then less cryptically re-announcing their reunion by way of sharing some world tour dates, including a headlining date at Primavera Sound next spring in Barcelona (for which the only other currently announced act is The Strokes). “We all, us four, will tour the world,” the band must have thought to themselves, grinning all the while at their sly Palace Music reference. Check the dates below.

Dates:

05.22.15 - Glasgow, Scotland - Barrowland Ballroom
05.23.15 - Manchester, UK - Albert Hall
05.24.15 - London, UK - Roundhouse
05.26.15 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
05.27.15 - Paris, France - Olympia
05.29.15 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival
06.02.15 - Toronto, ON - DanForth Music Hall
06.04.15 - New York, NY - Terminal 5
06.07.15 - London, UK - Field Day

• Ride: http://www.rideox4.net
• Creation Records: http://www.creation-records.com

RIP: Jimmy Ruffin, Motown singer

From USA Today:

Jimmy Ruffin, the Motown singer whose hits include What Becomes of the Brokenhearted and Hold on to My Love, died Monday in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 78.

Philicia Ruffin and Jimmy Lee Ruffin Jr., the late singer’s children, confirmed Wednesday that Ruffin had died. There were no details about the cause of death.

Ruffin was the older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, who died in 1991 at age 50.

Jimmy Lee Ruffin was born on May 7, 1936, in Collinsville, Miss. He was signed to Berry Gordy’s Motown Records and had a string of hits in the 1960s, including What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, which was a Top 10 pop hit. He had his second Top 10 hit, Hold on to My Love, in 1980.

• Jimmy Ruffin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Ruffin

Matana Roberts (nickname, “The Skipper”) announces COIN COIN Chapter Three: river run thee

Why haven’t policy-makers and socioeconomic experts thought of this before? Instead of vigorously studying the issue of poverty from an academic standpoint, they should be following the activities of bonafide New Yawk musician Matana Roberts, who has expressed (and seems to be following through with) her desire to rain change down on us like we’re human versions of these arcade machines. A promised 12 chapters in her COIN COIN series has already yielded two stellar albums, and now, though she alluded to the possibility of multiple chapters on a single date, COIN COIN Chapter Three: river run thee will come unaccompanied on February 3 of next year, via Constellation.

Keen on the sonic extremities of Mississippi Moonchile? river run thee will apparently feature plenty of that, plus the presumed saxophone, plus the presumed both sung and spoken vocals that have separated her albums from your average, if enjoyable, LP of avant-garde jazz. Not sure what tales Roberts has in store for us this time, but what’s alluded to by her astronomer friends is at least “first and foremost a vocal work.” A narrative aspect basically goes without saying:

Matana’s currently blogging aboard a houseboat in Brooklyn. Here’s the link.

COIN COIN Chapter Three: river run thee tracklisting:

01. all is written
02. the good book says
03. clothed to the land, worn by the sea
04. dreamer of dreams
05. always say your name
06. nema, nema, nema
07. a single man o’war
08. as years roll by
09. this land is yours
10. come away
11. with me seek
12. j.p.

• Matana Roberts: http://www.matanaroberts.com
• Constellation: http://cstrecords.com

Physical Therapy releases Scraps: Vol. 1; news writer gets boner at the gym

Recently, I went to the gym for the first time in a long time. After telling the world I was at the gym by tweeting, writing a Facebook status, posting an Instagram, and checking in on Foursquare (remember Foursquare?) I started an electronic pump-up mix of Physical Therapy’s new album, Scraps: Vol. 1, available for download from the Berlin-based producer’s website. I built up a sick sweat on the elliptical thanks to tracks like the relentless “Dope for Me (Hard Dub).”

With my Beats by Dru on (Dre knockoffs designed by Dru Hill), I continued listening to Physical Therapy as I used the recumbent exercise bike. The album is a collection of edits and “other scraps” from music created for his own imprint Allergy Season. The music and my workout started to get so intense that the rubbing of my leg against my male part caused what some moms might call a “public erection.” I rushed to the shower to massage AXE body wash all over my evil stick since my best friend Dunny said “rubbing one out” is the only way to deflate a skin balloon. The music finished as soon as I did, and then I went home to write this article.

Scraps: Vol. 1 tracklist:

01. Chillwitthetoms
02. Dope for Me (Hard Dub)
03. Lurve Ya
04. Dance Naked
05. Chase Da Booty
06. Music Heavy Cheez

• Physical Therapy: http://sheneedstherapy.net
• Allergy Season: http://www.allergy-season.net

Marilyn Manson returning to release new album, terrify new generation of naive pre-teens

The first time I ever heard of Marilyn Manson was when I was 11 years old. At a sleepover, a friend of mine asked me, “Eric, if you could kill anyone, who would you kill?” I said I didn’t know, but he said that he’d kill this musician named Marilyn Manson, because Marilyn Manson worshiped Satan and, at his shows, forced the audience to kill puppies before he would play. Obviously, that’s the least true thing that anyone has ever related (well, the puppy part, it’s pretty easy and harmless to worship Satan), but 11-year-old me bought it and was henceforth terrified of Marilyn Manson. Ironically, asking someone who they would kill if they could kill any person is definitely how a teenage Marilyn Manson fan would make small talk.

Anyway, Marilyn Manson has a new album called The Pale Emperor coming out January 20. In order to drum up some business for Mr. Manson, I have concocted the following rumors. Marilyn Manson starts every show by punching a nun in the face. Marilyn Manson was the actor who played Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and has engaged in tremendous amounts of surgery to wipe away all resemblance to that child. Marilyn Manson and Tim Burton kissed once in 1989. Marilyn Manson set his genitals on fire in order to simulate having sex with the devil. Marilyn Manson, the real Marilyn Manson, quit the music business in 1998, retreating to a domestic life as a bank teller in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he lives with his wife and three daughters. The Marilyn Manson that has existed in the public eye after 1998 was a drifter who, through a lengthy series of electroshock therapies, has been convinced that he has always been Marilyn Manson.

The Pale Emperor tracklist:

01. Killing Strangers
02. Deep Six
03. Third Day of a Seven Day Binge
04. The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles
05. Warship My Wreck
06. Slave Only Dreams to Be King
07. The Devil Beneath My Feet
08. Birds of Hell Awaiting
09. Cupid Carries a Gun
10. Odds of Even

• Marilyn Manson: http://www.marilynmanson.com

Screaming Females announce new LP Rose Mountain, celebrate 10th anniversary with modest cake

Happy 10th birthday, Screaming Females. Granted, we’re not quite there yet, but it’s never too early to start celebrating a decade of fine punk rock from New Brunswick’s finest. In fact, I’m reporting live from the Screamales’ 10-year birthday blowout. They made me agree not to photograph the event, but I sneaked this one shot for the superfans out there. Wish y’all could be here! Great news, though, you’ll soon be able to celebrate the life and times of Screaming Females with the group’s sixth album, Rose Mountain, out February 24 through Don Giovanni.

Listen to first single “Ripe” below. EDITORIALIZING COMING AT YOU: it’s awesome. Rose Mountain was produced by Matt Bayles, so hit the road (engineer of Screaming Females’ 2012 album Ugly) Steve Albini! And, um, I guess also hit the road Screaming Females themselves, who self-produced all of their other albums. Notable is the fact that that Bayles was the producer behind albums by Mastodon and The Sword, so Rose Mountain will likely feature a song about fighting a dragon or some sort of weird cyclops. I predict it is track 7, “Hopeless,” due to the difficulty of defeating dragons and other mythical beasts.

Rose Mountain tracklist:

01. Empty Head
02. Ripe
03. Wishing Well
04. Burning Car
05. Broken Neck
06. Rose Mountain
07. Hopeless
08. Triumph
09. It’s Not Fair
10. Criminal Image

• Screaming Females: http://screamingfemales.com
• Don Giovanni: http://dongiovannirecords.com

Bandcamp talks about how this one time… they unveiled a subscription service

Amid all the probably justifiable hubbub about whether the money earned by streaming services like Spotify is actually making its way to the artists, let’s give due respect to one website that I personally see fit to label a regular Jesus of Nazareth of the digital music world. Of course our Lord and Savior needs to earn a little dough (approximately 15%) for himself in order to sustain his humble lifestyle, but otherwise, he’s indiscriminately handing out loaves and happily turning people into jovial winos whenever the opportunity arises. Bandcamp’s such a loving entity. CEO Ethan Diamond is a saint.

And on that note, pertinent to listeners and participants alike, Bandcamp has just announced a new subscription service. It’s sort of like what Drip.fm has been doing, except minus the focus on independent labels, the artists themselves can offer their own subscriptions for a price entirely of their choosing. They also decide what bonuses subscribers get when they sign up, as well as what material (musical or otherwise) will be available to subscribers exclusively, going forward. In short, and in keeping with the spirit of the site, artists wield control.

Likewise, Diamond had the following to say on the theory behind Bandcamp subscriptions: “The whole motivation here is that when you get to a point that you love an artist - when you go from liking them to being a real true fan of theirs - at some point you just want everything they make. You just want to support everything they do.”

Consider it one elegant step short of stalking and passionately stuffing bills in their pockets.

• Bandcamp: http://bandcamp.com

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: https://www.youtube.com/musickey