Reports are streaming in from multiple sources that claim Linda Stein, former manager of The Ramones, has been found dead in her Fifth Avenue apartment in New York. The city's medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, as Stein was found with multiple contusions to the head and neck. Police are claiming no visible signs of forced entry or break-in, and some of her closest friends are baffled.
Elton John reported to The New York Times that he is "absolutely shocked and upset," while friend (and co-manager) Danny Fields said, "I don't have a lot of friends in their 60s who are hit on the head in their chic apartments. It makes no sense."
Stein is credited with bringing The Ramones to the UK for their breakthrough show, which paved the way for other seminal punk bands such as The Clash and The Sex Pistols. Following her stint with punk artists, she garnered fame as the "Realtor to the Stars," working as a real estate broker for Madonna, Sting, Billy Joel, Angelina Jolie, Steven Spielberg, Bruce Willis, and Michael Douglas. She was 62.
There's a fantastic Betty Boop cartoon from 1932 called "Minnie the Moocher." It features Cab Calloway singing one of his most memorable songs, "Hi-Dee-Ho." I know, Betty Boop is gross, and I almost can't stand to look at her. There's something about this particular episode, though, something unsettling and oddly unnerving about it; Max Fleischer's cartoon stays with me. This, along with "Betty Boop in Snow White" from 1933, which also features another uniquely smooth yet raucously enjoyable song from Cab Calloway, are perfect shorts to watch for Halloween. In the 1933 cartoon, Calloway sings "The St. James Infirmary Blues," and it is really something to see. Both are fantastic, but "Minnie the Moocher" has a solemness, a darkness that undercuts the whole thing; this isn't your normal cartoon.
In a lot of ways, both are music videos. The plot is almost pointless, or if not pointless, certainly unimportant. The beginning shows an obligatory set up, and when you get through the Betty Boop scenes, you're rewarded with fantastic music and nonsensical and oddly creepy images. Yet even in these more "realistic" parts (a talking gramophone, what!?), Betty Boop is abused, she contemplates killing herself in song, and she writes the saddest, sweetest, most ominous letter I've ever seen in animation:
Dear Ma & Pa-
I'm leaving Home because
you're not so Sweet to me. I
won't ever be Home again.
Poor Betty Boop. "Home Sweet Home" is a nice touch, really, and she's off to meet Bimbo. They run off and it gets dark and they get scared. Ironically, they pick the darkest, largest tree to hide in, and that's when this seven-minute short earns its keep.
If I have my history right, this is an early example of rotoscoping, a technique of drawing or painting over a live action filmed image. So the dancing ghost is Cab Calloway's own patented shuffle, and in some ways, that makes it even more terrifying. The song is performed call-and-response, and when the skeletons at the bar call back, I think I could listen to them all day. The skeletons die -- skeletons die! Their ghosts come back and look up from the bottom of a well like souls lamenting, heaving up the better part of a death rattle.
The response team shifts to ghosts in a jail cell. They walk through the bars, uncomfortably close to the frame, and walk back, but they still need a ghost guard to let them out. And he does, but he leads them to electric chairs and fries them. Ghosts. Who knew Betty Boop was so startlingly creepy? Over all of that, though, is the friendly animation, the sheen of a cartoon for kids, and that is really where the horror is. It's mostly absurd, but with echoing human voices bouncing through this cave, knowing that Betty Boop is still on Earth, with Hi-Dee-Ho swirling around; this is a thrill to see.
My point is: You can watch it. Online. Halloween is over, sure, but that hasn't stopped me. The quality isn't great, but you can find it on BitTorrent and get a great version with better sound. As P2Ps die down, torrents are the future, but that hasn't stopped our court system from being several steps behind everything. They are only now deciding how Kazaa and Grokster will filter out copyrighted content. According to the Wired blog:
On Wednesday, Judge Wilson issued an Order to a court-appointed expert to determine the best combination of the following methods for filtering unauthorized works out of peer-to-peer systems: artist/title information, file hashing, and acoustic fingerprinting. If the expert has better ideas, he's welcome to include those too -- whatever combination works best on the Morpheus network. The arrived-upon method could become a legal precedent applied to other user-driven sites and networks.
In the meantime, torrents are everywhere. Software, music, movies, and whatever else is being digitized. You just need to know where to look, because eventually the courts will be several steps behind these, and you just might not have moved to the next delivery method of awesome Betty Boop cartoons from the 1930s. Watch it!
From WTMT News:
Nirvana Song “Breed” Finally Licensed, Kurt Cobain Rolls Over in His Grave, Dave Grohl Writes a Lame Song About It, Krist Novoselic Does… Nothing
Well, well, well. It’s finally happened. You might want to avert your eyes, purists and Kurt-worshipers. The shaggy, legendary man that you loved for giving the underdog the benefit of the doubt within the heretofore (and here-ever after, some might say) insidiously clueless and utterly tasteless music industry has finally completed his post-death transformation, rising from his singer/songwriter ashes to becoming a pawn of the Man (and much more quickly than Jimmy Page, too).
So if you’re a Kurt-Freak (i.e., do you call him by his first name all the time?), prepare to be slightly humiliated and/or mortified, as Nirvana's "Breed" will officially be the first (oh, but probably not their last) song from their catalog to be used in advertising. And I bet you’ll never even GUESS who’s indirectly responsible!
That’s right: earlier this year, everyone’s favorite widower Courtney Love, who owned the vast majority of the rights to Nirvana's back catalog, up and sold 25% of it to the Primary Wave Music Publishing company for a reported $50 million. Word is she needed... groceries.
Now the fiendishly good-fortuned organization, reportedly one of the most aggressive groups acquiring music publishing rights for licensing (TMT News), and also apparently one of the most tactless, have done-saw fit to sell use of the track "Breed" for an Austrian Telecom ad (hey, Kurt was nothing if not a masterful communicator, right?), the videogame Major League Baseball 2K7 (and we all know how much Cobain advocated professional sports), and of course the upcoming film Shoot ‘Em Up (hmm, I wonder if there’s any shotgun suicides in that movie).
So there you have it. I guess you just can’t beat big business, no matter how many hideous sweaters and Daniel Johnston t-shirts you wore in life. Oh, and in case you were wondering; finance-related website portfolio.com reports that Publishing companies can earn between $10,000 and $300,000 for a song's use in a film and between $5,000 and $40,000 for use on television.
That’s a lot of groceries.
Somehow, every time RTX gets within a 50-mile radius of where I am, I'm busy. It's like the cosmos conspiring against me. I mean, how awesome is Jennifer Herrema? She's one of those ladies who seems to do whatever she wants and doesn't come across like a fucking idiot in interviews (TMT Interview). I bet her vocal ripperage is totally awesome live. Hopefully I won't have to go and visit my 90-year-old grandma this time (no diss, 90-year-old grandma).
Attention campers: are you ready for another glorious day? Well put
your beret on and set up that easel, boys and girls, because this
morning at the Arts & Crafts station you'll be making some
masterpieces! Last year's group made some of the most downright
beautiful things we've ever seen, and I'm sure you're all little
Picassos deep down too! Unfortunately, due to lack of funding (maybe
your parents didn't buy enough brownies at the bake sale?), we won't be
able to provide the glitter or rainbow-colored construction paper. We
also won't have the planks of wood, nor will we have any feathers or
Actually you'll all have to be extra, extra creative this year,
because the only items we were able to get our hands on were [A Hawk
and A Hacksaw->http://www.myspace.com/ahawkandahacksaw]! Only one of each, so we'll all have to put our minds
together and build something truly special! Ohhh, I can hear you
campers already, saying "What could we possibly make with A Hawk and a
Hacksaw?" Why, we counselors could list a million things! For example:
- Saw hawk in half!
- Saw hawk in quarters!
- Squeeze hawk until it shrieks, bounce sound off hacksaw!
- Appear on BBC 2's Culture Show and perform a live set!
- Pluck hawk feathers, glue onto hacksaw, hold up to mouth like a mustache!
- Glue hacksaw onto hawk's forehead, call it a unicorn (but know that
you're telling a fib)!
- Tour the UK and Ireland during December!
Just remember, kids, to be careful, whatever you all decide to
construct while we go skinny-dipping in the lake.
Being one of the biggest bands in the world has its benefits, doesn’t it?
Billboard reported yesterday that Radiohead has signed a deal with British independent label, XL Recordings, to release the physical copy of their new album, In Rainbows (TMT Review). If you remember correctly, XL released Thom Yorke’s solo album, The Eraser, last year.
A release date for the "standard" physical version has not yet been revealed, but it's been rumored that it may be released on December 3, to coincide with the release of the “discbox” version of In Rainbows, available only at Radiohead.com.
Q: So what exactly does this mean for the music industry if one of the largest rock bands in the world can jump from a major label to an independent, garnering more respect from their fans and still maintaining the same level of success?
A: They’re fucked. And rightfully so.
“You Want Fame, Clipd Beaks? Well, Fame Costs. And Right Here Is Where You Start Paying… In Debut Albums and Tours.”
If the world was fair, fame would come to electochaotic quartet Clipd Beaks with the subtle breakneck speed of a category 5 hurricane. But the world is not fair; it is a festering stinkhole, full of sycophants and suckers, so fame will most likely approach the young California-based/Minnesota-bred band with the intensity of a hobo spitting out the piece of lard that floats on the top of his can o’ beans. Or tabaccy. Hobos love d’eir tabaccy! Velocity aside, fame WILL come to the boys in Clipd Beaks, some of whom have been playing together since they were baby birds. The first fruits of the last few years of hard work is due November 6, when Lovepump United release the band’s "official" debut album, Hoarse Lords.
Hoarse Lords has catalog # LPU15, which is odd considering this is Lovepump’s 14th release by my calculations. Hmm, there’s something fishy going on here. Oh wait, I forgot about the release by this band that the label put out but then deleted quickly (the world just wasn’t ready). Vinyl copies of Hoarse Lords are allegedly coming courtesy of NITCo. (Nail in the Coffin Records).
4. High on Charms
5. Hoarse Lords
6. We Will Bomb You (We Will)
7. Woo Melodies
8. Black Glass
9. Let It Win
This would be the perfect spot to say that Clipd Beaks are going on tour, but it wouldn’t be entirely true; they are already on tour. The traveling hootenanny started Sunday in Los Angeles (where else?) and continues tonight in San Francisco (where else?). Go forth and multi-fly..
10.31.07 - San Francisco, CA - The Hemlock Tavern
11.01.07 - Oakland, CA - 21 Grand
11.02.07 - Portland, OR - Ground Kontrol
11.03.07 - Seattle, WA - Comet Tavern
11.04.07 - Missoula, MT - The Palace
11.06.07 - Fargo, ND - The Aquarium
11.08.07 - Minneapolis, MN - The Triple Rock
11.09.07 - East Moline, IL - Mixtapes
11.10.07 - Chicago, IL - Ronny’s Bar
11.11.07 - Lafayette, IN - Knickerbockers
11.12.07 - Cincinnati, OH - Gypsy Hut
11.13.07 - Columbus, OH - Café Bourbon St
11.14.07 - Oberlin, OH - Oberlin College
11.15.07 - Toronto, Ontario - Sneaky Dee’s
11.16.07 - Montréal, Quebec - Zoobizarre
11.17.07 - Quebec City, Quebec - Le Bal du Lezard
11.18.07 - Allston, MA - O’Brien’s Pub
11.19.07 - Annandale-on-Hudson, NY - Bard College
11.20.07 - Burlington, VT - Club Metronome
11.21.07 - Providence, RI - AS220
11.23.07 - New York, NY - The Cake Shop
11.24.07 - Brooklyn, NY - The Silent Barn (Todd P party)
11.25.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Queen Sheba II
11.26.07 - Baltimore, MD - The Talking Head
11.27.07 - Purchase, NY - SUNY Purchase
11.28.07 - Washington, DC - TBA
11.29.07 - Columbia, SC - The New Brookland Tavern
11.30.07 - Atlanta, GA - Lenny’s
12.01.07 - Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree
12.02.07 - Hot Springs, AR - The Exchange
12.04.07 - Houston, TX - The Proletariat
12.05.07 - San Antonio, TX - The Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar
12.06.07 - Dallas, TX - TBA (Parade of Flesh)
12.07.07 - Austin, TX - Emo’s
12.08.07 - Oklahoma City, OK - The Conservatory
12.09.07 - Albuquerque, NM - The Curio
12.10.07 - Phoenix, AZ - Modified Arts
Method Man Sets Up Camp in Canada; Remember Canada? Hey, Scout Leader Kyle, the drinking age is only 18 in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec! You, me, road trip!
Remember high school? Remember spring break? All the cool kids were setting up condos and hotels in Florida, and we (the ones wearing oversized Smashing Pumpkins shirts) were stuck at home where it would inevitably rain for seven days straight. While the jocks were fashioning four-story beer bongs and catching Chlamydia, we were thinking about Canada and purchasing beer legally. There was some town that started with a 'w' -- Windemere or some shit -- that always rose to the top of conversation like the head of a good beer. All it took was six hours of driving and we could gamble, drink, rent prostitutes, and get free health care. It never happened.
One summer we went so far as to write out an actual itinerary. It was written in pencil, smeared from passing it around at the lunch table, and it probably overstressed the importance of purchasing beer. Nonetheless, for the last two years of high school, Canada was seen as our Eden, a much more tangible Red Light district.
What does this have to do with current music news? Well, if you've read any of my other stories, you'll realize I haven't the slightest idea what I'm doing writing for this first-tier publication. But now, as I empty my eighth bottle of Labatt Blue and smoke my decriminalized Canadian weed, I realize I was supposed to tell my brothers up north that the good lord Method (Mefud) Man will be making a few stops in your area come November. Why he's skipping over his home country is no mystery, for I'm sure he, like I, remembers the days when Canada was like that uncle who sneaks you beers at family reunions, while America is that aunt who threatens to tell your parents about your bloodshot eyes. Wait, what's the point again? That America isn't the land of opportunity? That ain't patriotic. I don't even know anymore.
1. They’ve toured with Minus The Bear, a Suicide Squeeze band.
2. They’ve toured with fellow Chicagoans, Chin Up Chin Up, another Suicide Squeeze band.
3. They’re recording their follow-up to 2006’s Enter with producer, Matt Bayles (Minus The Bear).
4. Suicide Squeeze convinced the long-haired Russian Circles that they would fit in well against the grunge history of Seattle.
5. No, just kidding, I think.
Look for Russian Circles’ new album, Station, to be released in the spring or summer of next year. But, in the meantime, get your sprawling, instrumental fix on at the remaining Circles tour dates for 2007: