San Francisco’s All-Ages Venues Face Government Shutdown

Going to shows at San Francisco’s all-ages venues was pretty much the only thing that got me through high school. Woe to someone else with a similar disposition starting high school this year... they might not make it out with their sanity intact. Nearly every all-ages San Francisco venue -- including The Fillmore, Great American Music Hall, and several other establishments -- are on the brink of being forced to close at the hands of California’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). The situation is complicated, and the ABC refuses to clarify their position, but there are a couple of things we know so far (if you don’t like reading, the contents of the next two paragraphs are summarized in this video from NBC Bay Area News).

The ABC has hounded these venues for several years about a variety of issues surrounding the requirements of maintaining an all-ages operating license. The venues say the ABC has sent in undercover agents to rack up citations and has invented regulations on the spot as evidence that the venues are creating an environment inappropriate for minors. Both the venues and their lawyers say these citations are outside the scope of law and unrelated to both safety and alcohol. The only thing keeping the venues open is the tens of thousands of dollars they have collectively poured into a legal battle against the ABC’s efforts. But with the economic downturn, these costs have become too great for the fight to continue much longer.

“Well,” you ask, “it would suck for underage fans, but can’t these places become 21+ only?” The problem is that changing the license type costs money that many of the venues simply don’t have anymore because of the legal fees. So, unless they can negotiate new license terms, many of these venues will shut their doors. Not only will there be very few places for under-21 patrons to see live music, but bands who play at venues with a capacity between 75 and 400 will have limited options in the city. San Francisco would lose revenue and potentially its relevance on the tour circuit, not to mention historical landmarks that have contributed to the city’s history for decades.

Luckily this demise is not guaranteed. The venues have dedicated legal representation, and California state senator Mark Leno has sworn to fight to keep them open. And thankfully, the venues are still putting on shows. So if you’re a Bay Area resident who loves live music, swing by an all-ages venue and see a show, buy a drink, or donate to the legal fund. Write to the city’s Board of Supervisors about why you want these venues kept open. For the sake of everyone’s 16-year-old self: help keep live music alive in San Francisco.

RIP: Michael Jackson

From the LA Times:

Pop star Michael Jackson was pronounced dead today after paramedics found him in a coma at his Bel-Air mansion, city and law enforcement sources told The Times.

Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Steve Ruda told The Times that paramedics responded to a 911 call from the home. When they arrived, Jackson was not breathing.

The paramedics performed CPR and took Jackson to UCLA Medical Center, Ruda said. Hundreds of reporters gathered at the hospital awaiting word on his condition. The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said family members rushed to Jackson’s bedside, where he was in a deep coma.

- Michael Jackson official website
- Michael Jackson Wikipedia entry

ATP Celebrates 10th Anniversary; If My Mom Had It Her Way, There’d Be a Cosmic Bowling Party and a Jonas Brothers Birthday Cake

This year, the All Tomorrow's Parties festival is turning 10, so they’ve decided to celebrate with not only the Nightmare Before Christmas event curated by My Bloody Valentine on December 4-6, but also with a special “Ten Years of ATP” event, taking place December 11-13. No fair! For my tenth birthday, all I got was a bowling party, a new boombox, and a Silverchair CD. I guess my parents don’t have the same clout as ATP. Or maybe Daniel Johnson was busy that weekend.

Either way, the Ten Years of ATP fest will be way cooler than my tenth birthday party, with an initial lineup that includes previous ATP favorites: Explosions in the Sky, Dirty Three, Shellac, Tortoise, Melvins, Mudhoney, The For Carnation, Papa M, Deerhoof, Fuck Buttons, The Drones, Sleepy Sun, and Bardo Pond. The festival will take place at Butlins Resort in Minehead, England. Tickets are £160 per person for "room only" accommodation and £170 per person for self-catering, which, according to Google, equals about $262.59 and $279 in U.S. dollars, respectively. Not sure what all of this ticket business means? ATP has included a handy calendar on their website that gives you the lowdown on when to buy tickets:

- June 19: Tickets go on sale to people who have already bought tickets to The Nightmare Before Christmas. Limited number of £20 discount tickets and full-price tickets available.
- June 22: Tickets go on general sale. Limited number of £10 discount tickets and full-price tickets available.
- September 30: Second installment due for those buying tickets using the installment scheme
- December 4-6: ATP: The Nightmare Before Christmas, curated by My Bloody Valentine
- December 7-10: Week-in-between accommodation available
- December 11-13: Ten Years of ATP Festival

For more information on early bird ticket specials, check out the Ten Years of ATP press release.

RIP: Sky Saxon, founding member of The Seeds

From Austin360:

Sky Saxon, founder of the brilliant ’60s garage band the Seeds, died Thursday morning at St. David’s Hospital.

The newly minted Austinite, born Richard Marsh, was hospitalized Monday with what doctors suspected was an infection of the internal organs, but cause of death has not yet been released.

Saxon fell ill last Thursday, but performed at Saturday at Antone’s with recent Austin collaborators Shapes Have Fangs.

- Official Sky Sunlight Saxon The Seeds website
- The Seeds Wikipedia entry
- The Seeds fansite

Spiral Stairs of Pavement Announces Solo Album; Panders to The Rulebook for Musicians

- Musician Rule #547: If you have a cool nickname, you need to release a solo album to show it off. This is precisely what Pavement co-founder Spiral Stairs (a.k.a. Scott Kannberg) has decided to do. Although he has released albums under the name Preston School of Industry, Kannberg is striking out on his own this time around with his first solo album, The Real Feel, due October 20 from Matador.

- Musician Rule #723: You must recruit your famous musician buddies to help out on your debut solo album. In Kannberg’s case, he enlisted some old friends from Preston School of Industry, members of The Posies (Jon Auer mixed the album), guitarist Ian Moore, and Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew.

- Musician Rule #288: Package the vinyl edition of your debut with goodies and make sure you tour to support it. The Real Feel vinyl will feature a different tracklisting and a limited-edition 7-inch. Kannberg is also planning a North American tour this fall.

- Musician Rule #45: Preview a song to drum up attention for your debut. You can listen to a track from The Real Feel entitled “Maltese Terrier” right here.

- Musician Rule #72: Ridiculous album artwork always helps. No seriously, it does.

Devendra Banhart, that one dude, has finished his sixth full-length release. Recorded in a house in Bolinas, CA, the album features Banhart alongside Noah Georgeson (guitar, vocals), Luckey Remington (bass, vocals), and Rodrigo Amarante (guitar, vocals) -- all of them weighing in on the song arrangements. The album is currently untitled, which is why I've decided to call it Wake Up, Friend: I'm Airing Out the Wild Side (For You).

The album is expected sometime in the fall, but since he left the awesome Young God after 2004's Niño Rojo and has since departed with XL Recordings after two releases (Cripple Crow and Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon), "that one dude" is now label-less. We'll keep you updated on a firm release date and label. As for the title? We'll just go with mine.

Big Star Box Set to Be Released; Most People to Still Not Notice

Eternal cult favorites Big Star are attempting to make one last splash for widespread listener appeal by giving you everything they ever recorded (except for the official albums!) in one nice, neat little package. The band announced plans to release a four-disc box set containing a motherload of record store employee-approved demos, live material, alternate takes, and other rarities.

The band have been cult favorites almost from the get-go, persevering through listener apathy, horrible distribution, and multiple personnel changes. However, despite the challenges, Big Star have cemented a place in history as a “Great Band That No One Listens To,” inspiring a wealth of musicians throughout the years to aspire to the same thing. Indeed, the sad truth is that, when the collection, Keep an Eye on the Sky, drops on September 15 via Rhino, it will most likely go unnoticed by the majority of music listeners. Though clearly a damn shame, most Big Star fans have come to grips with the fact that their questions of “Have you ever listened to Big Star?” are generally answered with a confused look and a “...huh? who?”

The box set will consist of 98 tracks spanning the years 1968-'75 and will include songs from pre-Big Star bands Rock City and Icewater, as well as solo work from band founders Alex Chilton and Chris Bell. Also included in the deal will be plenty of unreleased work from the sessions for all three Big Star albums. “Just when you're thinking everything has been released, apparently it hasn't," Big Star drummer Jody Stephens told Billboard, brilliantly.

The fourth disc of the set serves as an audio document of the band playing live in January 1973; it contains a collection of tracks from three nights when Big Star opened for soul legends Archie Bell and the Drells. Stephens recalls the experience: “Not exactly our crowd. After our performances, you can hear one person clap. Not a lot of energy coming back from the audience. The good thing about that particular recording is that there were mics set up in the room. It wasn't a board feed, where those can be kind of dry."

So, what’s the lesson here? Should you spend your time with a band that most people don’t even know about? Yes. To make a long story short, I recommend checking out the box set or, perhaps more appropriately, checking out Big Star. Break the cycle and help yourself. Discover “Rock’s Lost Band.” You won’t regret it.

Best Thing to Come Out of Seattle Since Flannel: Coconut Coolouts Tour the States

Ready to party your behinds off? Ready to see a grown man in a dirty banana costume play some killer licks while one of two stand-up drummers sings songs about Pizza and Party Jail? Ready to have some friggin' fun? No standing around and crying to melancholia at a Coconut Coolouts show, no way. Just pure, bona-fide, shaking your booty good times. These guys blow my mind out of my head. Seeing them is so much fun, in fact, that strangers who I saw once at their show still yell at me when they pass on the street, just to ask if I know when and where they are coming back. No shit. But don't trust me. Trust the 'Nuts:

"Hey Boy, wanna laugh so hard the dust shoots out both nostrils? Wanna carve the bowls of hell on a cheese pizza? Can't skate? Guess you can van surf with Styles then, unless the vikes are too strong. Hidin' from the pigs in Dike Dale's Ponytail fingerpaintin' anarchy signs on your big brother's Elvis Costello record (the good one). The present sucks but no more than the future's gonna, so stuff everybody in that PARTY TIME MACHINE while flippin' the bird to the flux capacitor and setting the controls for LAST NIGHT. What!? We're outta whip cream cannisters? Then pass out some stand-up drums or just pass out, but you're gonna get some fully detailed Converse sharpied on yer feets and curlie pirate moustaches to match. (It matches). If you don't know who the COCONUT COOLOUTS are get an Orbitz ticket up to Seattle and watch them flush the other bands down the toilet of the FUNhouse, if only to realize what a miserable time you've been having show in and show out. Kinda like when that one babysitter (that only got to babysit once) let you stay up till your parents climbed up the driveway to mull over all the Whoppers (not the burger) and Suicides (Pepsi/Sprite/Dr. Pepper/Orange) and hot dogs ampin' up your brain while trippin' out on how awesome the F-word was in the Breakfast Club."

These guys are nuts. Crazyawesomefuntimesalwayshighfive nuts. I'd even go so far as to bet you $15 million dollars that you will have fun if you go see them on this tour. Fif-teen-million-bucks.

07.09.09 - Seattle, WA - The Funhouse
07.10.09 - Portland, OR - Slabtown
07.11.09 - Davis/Sacramento, CA - TBA
07.12.09 - Oakland, CA - The Cereal Factory (afternoon)
07.12.09 - San Francisco, CA - The Hemlock
07.13.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Smell
07.14.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Monitor House
07.15.09 - Las Cruces, NM - Bacon House
07.16.09 - Austin, TX - Red 7
07.17.09 - New Orleans, LA - TBA
07.18.09 - Orlando, FL - Will’s Pub (FLA IS DYING DANCE PARTY)
07.19.09 - Orlando, FL - Rich’s Backyard BBQ and SHOTGUN PARTY!!!
07.20.09 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
07.21.09 - Raleigh/Chapel Hill/Durham, NC - TBA
07.22.09 - Baltimore, MA or Washington, DC - TBA
07.23.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
07.24.09 - Brooklyn, NY - TBA
07.25.09 - New York, NY - TBA
07.26.09 - Pittsburgh, PA - Gooski’s
07.27.09 - Detroit, MI - TBA
07.28.09 - Chicago, IL - Cobra... PIZZAFEST '09
07.29.09 - Milwaukee, WI - TBA
07.30.09 - Minneapolis, MI - TBA
12.31.10 - The Grand Canyon, USA

Kinski Tours Japan with Acid Mothers Temple Out of Lust, Not Love

At the end of June, Kinski will trek out to Japan for a two-week tour, and who better for them to tour with than Japan's own psych troop Acid Mothers Temple? They will be starting things off June 27 in Tokyo and will come full circle to finish it off on July 11, again in Tokyo, with a very special performance by Acid Mothers Kaidan, the name given to a collaboration between Acid Mothers Temple and legendary Japanese noise group Hijokaidan. I would give my right testicle to see that one! Well, no, probably not. Anyway, check out these dates:
06.27.09 - Tokyo, Japan - Club Goodman *
06.29.09 - Kyoto , Japan - Takutaku +
06.30.09 - Kobe, Japan - Helluva Lounge +
07.01.09 - Yamaguchi, Japan - Indoyu ^
07.03.09 - Fukuoka, Japan - Decatant Deluxe *
07.04.09 - Oita, Japan - At Hall *
07.05.09 - Kochi, Japan - Chaotic Noise *
07.07.09 - Okayama, Japan - Pepper Land *
07.09.09 - Osaka, Japan - Sunsui *
07.10.09 - Osaka, Japan - Sunsui *
07.11.09 - Tokyo, Japan - Club Goodman #

* Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.

+ Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Cosmic Blues Band

^ Acid Mothers Temple w/ guest Ichiraku Yoshimitsu

# Acid Mothers Kaidan (Acid Mothers Temple & Hijokaidan)

Oxford Collapses! By Which I Mean, Oxford Collapse Disband; University of Oxford is Just Brilliant, Thanks.

And just like that, another hardworking indie rock band slowly goes the way of the buffalo. This is nothing new: touring is hard and often-unrewarding work, relationships get strained, you get older, the house beer (PBR cans) start tasting increasingly less delicious, making some actual money becomes sort of important, and poof, you’re issuing a statement via your independent record label Sub Pop’s website in no time. This time around, the victims happen to be Brooklyn trio Oxford Collapse.

After releasing two albums on Kanine (Some Wilderness in 2004 and A Good Ground in 2005), the boys from Brooklyn released their first album on Sub Pop, Remember The Night Parties, in 2006 and followed it up in 2008 with Bits. The erstwhile band has announced that it will meet up to kick shit old-school at two farewell shows on July 17 and 18 in Hoboken and New York City, respectively. The details of those final shows and band’s official statement follow below. And as break-up letters go, this one’s pretty good. If you see any of these guys at the shows, you might want to give them a heads up that TMT is always looking for interns. We probably pay just about as well as the road does.

Official band statement:

After eight years, 450 shows, and four albums, we’ve decided that we’ve reached the end of the line. To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, “what a long, strange, eye-opening, stomach-bursting, heart-breaking, bittersweet, educational, enlightening, mind-numbing, ‘why-are-we-doing-this-shit?’ / ‘who-gets-to-do-this-shit?,’ absurd, amazing trip it’s been.” To paraphrase another sage poet, “you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.”

Thanks go out to a million friends—all the awesome, talented people who helped us make records and put them out, everyone who put together tours for us, our families (who are still wondering when we will get real jobs), all the other wonderful and terrible bands we’ve loved touring, playing, hanging and eating with over the years. And of course a heartfelt thanks to everyone who ever came to see us play, bought something we were selling, said something nice, or let us sleep on their diarrhea-encrusted floors. (Except you, Branson, Missouri!)

To have one final go of it, the three of us are meeting up for a pair of shows in and around the city we called home in our time. Come out and party with us! Seriously, do not miss!!! Friday July 17th we are very psyched to be playing with old and dear friends Frightened Rabbit at Maxwell’s, and Saturday July 18th, for our last show ever, we’ll share the stage with best buds CaUSE Co-MOTION!, under-age phenoms The Beets, and our beloved Rape Excape, freshly reformed from the rubble of Princeton ‘04; plus a bunch of special guests! If you missed the original Last Waltz in ‘76, now’s your chance!

07.17.09 – Hoboken, NJ – Maxwell’s (SOLD OUT)
07.18.09 – New York, NY – Under the Tracks