RIP: Steve Foley, Replacements drummer

From an article in The Star Tribune:

He was only in the band for its final year (1990-91), but the Replacements' replacement drummer Steve Foley told biographer Jim Walsh, "It will always be a treasure in my mind."

"Some days I walk down the street and go, ‘God, I was in that [expletive] band?’ Unbelievable. It is."

Foley, 49, died over the weekend of an apparent accidental drug overdose, said his sister, Colleen Foley. He was found at home in Minneapolis by some co-workers Monday when he did not show up for his job as a car salesman.

- The Replacements Wikipedia entry
- Star Tribune article: "Steve Foley played with the Replacements"
- YouTube video: "MTV reports on the Replacements' last tour"

Björk has called out journalists (and singled out Pitchfork) for spreading misinformation about credits for her albums. According to a post on her website, the Icelandic singer had been reading in various press sources, including the English-language newspaper The Reykjavik Grapevine, that composer and producer Valgeir Sigurðsson had written the entirety of her 2001 album Vespertine. Björk not only discredited this rumor by offering the Vespertine credits, but turned her correction into a slammin' attack on rockism in music reporting.

After an initial explanation that Sigurðsson's role was strictly as a programmer and engineer for two-thirds of the album, Björk launched into an enumeration of ideas about what may have caused the confusion. The four reasons that Björk suggested might have prompted the error included the fact that the "pop critics of this world have not totally yet worked out the difference between engineering, programming, writing, and producing electronic music." Unlike a rock recording session with a strict division between those playing instruments on one hand and engineers and producers on the other, "visually this appears very similar: a man/woman sitting in front of a computer."

Björk also discusses the role of sexism in the misreporting, comparing her situation to that of M.I.A., who confronted Pitchfork in an interview last year over similar issues of sexist reporting regarding Diplo's role in her music. Pitchfork, in the wake of Björk's reference to the M.I.A. issue, have denied that they ever credited Diplo with M.I.A.'s albums.

Björk's other two (far less incendiary) points include that critics have probably not read the album credits very thoroughly for albums that they may be reviewing or reporting on. She also notes that the misconception has had such a long life because neither her nor Sigurðsson ever publicly denied it. Björk also dispelled rumors that contemporary classical wunderkind Nico Muhly has written arrangements for her. Once more, all together now: "This is not true. Journalists: please read the creditlist before you write your articles." Done and done, Ms. Guðmundsdóttir.

Guy Who Leaked New Guns N’ Roses Songs Arrested By FBI, Totally Worth It; New LP Rumored for Rainy November 25

As reported earlier (TMT News), Kevin Cogill, a.k.a. "Skweri," leaked nine songs from Guns N' Roses ' long-awaited new album/Dr. Pepper promotional vehicle/braid-dreadlock awareness doctrine Chinese Democracy on his blog back in June. And yesterday, August 27, more than two months later, Cogill The Leaker was arrested by FBI agents and accused of violating federal copyright law.

Cogill's been cooperating, apparently, but he still faces the possibility of three years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines. In addition to these criminal penalties, Cogill might get slapped with a civil suit filed by the "copyright holders" (Axl, his management, and his label).

I can only assume that the opportunistic glints in the eyes of Axl Rose and his people are eerily similar to that of Cogill when he came across the GNR MP3s for the first time. If only Cogill had taken the advice Axl himself dispensed in the band's 1987 hit Welcome to the Jungle:

And you're a very sexy girl

That's very hard to please

You can taste the bright lights

But you won't get them for free

Meanwhile, rumor has it that Chinese Democracy will be released as a retail exclusive, either through Wal-Mart or Best Buy. Rumor also has it that it'll come out November 25 to coincide with the rain expected around that time

Animal Collective Expand European Tour, Me to Watch Eurotrip This Fall

Brothers and sisters of the Old World beware: this fall, while we Americans are at home wasting gasoline and watching terrible Comedy movies we’ve already seen, those handsome-but-dubious devils in Animal Collective will be sweeping across Europe and the Middle East, spreading their noise-jam gospel across two continents in a matter of weeks, kind of like the Black Plague back in the day.

But instead of, you know, buboes and pustules, Avey, Panda, and the boys will thankfully be infecting the masses with something a little less disgusting and a little less crotch-based: the sheer catchiness of their exuberant, nature-praising anthems. Okay, so maybe it’ll still be somewhat crotch-based. Either way, a pandemic is still a pandemic, so I wouldn’t go around French-kissing any shabby-looking musicians “claiming” to be Geologist if I were you.

Migration Patterns:

Nick Cave, Burt Bacharach, Irma Thomas And More Head-Up Best Pop Montreal Lineup of All-Time

I'm going to start off this story with a bold statement: Pop Montreal is the best festival I have heard about all year. The city is beautiful, historic, and happenin', with a thriving music scene and enough Francophile splendor to make me wish I could afford to attend grad school again, this time in Canada. And the festival lineup and the activities surrounding it? Well, let's just say I am already trying to think of a good way to bring up taking time off of work at my new job. Of course, since I'm being bold with my statements, I might as well be honest and admit that I wrote this story in hopes that in some way, somehow, it would convince a higher Pop Montreal power that they should extend a li'l financial assistance in the form of a press pass my way. Yes! This is a great idea, men and women of Pop Montreal! Just you wait and see!

And now without any further ado/self-promotion, let's discuss the incredible rating of this lineup. It's very high, due in no small measure to the selection of artists like Nick Cave, Burt Bacharach, Irma Thomas, Wire, Silver Apples, and The Persuasions. And there's more. In fact, there's -- ok, deep breath -- Dan Deacon, Hot Chip, Beach House, Black Kids, Dark Meat, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Crystal Castles, Vetiver, Cori Bishop (a.k.a. Elyse Weinberg), The Veils, Socalled, Evangelicals, Julie Doiron, United Steel Workers of Montreal, The Dodos, Cex, Liam Finn, Jason Collett, Wintersleep, Headlights, Playdoe, Dabaaz, Kim, Eric Bélanger, Great Lake Swimmers, St Catherines, Thomas Function, Chad Van Gaalen, Wedding Present, Dominique Grange & Jacques Tardi, Katie Moore, Jana Hunter, Woodhands, Sam Shalabi, Gatineau, Chocolat, Teeth Mountain, Teki Latex, D'Urbervilles, Michie Mee and T. Raumschmiere.

But like any good festival worth its salt, Pop Montreal is not just about booking my personal favorite bands. There's more! There are also Kids Pop, where artists and young'ns can explore the cultural richness of Montreal's arts scene through workshops, demonstrations, and shows. Another exciting portion of the festival is Puces Pop, a sort of hats-off to creating stuff independently. You'll find a craft market, workshops on arts and crafts, a fashion show, and a short seminar on business skills for those of us who are self-employed or who want to be. All this, plus a gear swap and record show! The list goes on with the addition of Art Pop, a celebration of the visual arts that promises vandalism, activism, and -- what I'm really excited about -- cute kitties. There's also the symposium section of Pop Montreal called Talk Music to Me!, with artist-driven talks, interviews, workshops, and more. And Film Pop has Vincent Moon presenting his thoughts on All Tomorrow's Parties, workshops on writing music for films, and -- yes, you guessed it -- more. Last but surely not least, you can catch original commissioned pieces from composers like Socalled, performed live in porn theatre Cinéma L'Amour.

At last now, I will stop drooling over your amazingly sexy festival, Pop Montreal organizers, and let readers know the low-down on attending. Ticket prices are in Candian dollars and are as follows:

Early Bird tickets until August 31st : $175+tx

After August 31st : $225+tx

After September 30th : $275+tx

Pop Pass : $70+tx

You can also get tickets for individual shows. Visit Pop Montreal for more.

Goodbye 21st Century Geffen: Sonic Youth Leave Longtime Major Label for “Indie” Label

"For the first time in eighteen years, Sonic Youth are a full-fledged indie-rock band again," starts a recent article in Rolling Stone. Yes, friends, lovers, delegates, transvestites, people who watch Jon and Kate Plus 8: since the release of Rather Ripped in 2006 fulfilled the group's contract with Geffen -- the major label they've been signed to since 1990's Goo -- Sonic Youth are now apparently heading back to the world of indie (the picture above shows what Sonic Youth look like as an indie band).

So, which label have they decided on? "There’s one label we are certainly going to go with at this point," Thurston Moore told Rolling Stone. "But I don’t think I’m allowed to disclose that right now. I don’t want to risk having a shit storm." He later goes on to say that the "last four or five records we did were just so compromised by that [major label] situation. But that’s the way it goes."

Sonic Youth are currently writing new tunes for their next INDIE album, with the hopes of releasing the new INDIE album next spring. And now that they're back in the INDIE world, you can call them an "indie" without me rolling my eyes. Lucky you!

Catch Sonic Youth at the final McCarren Park Pool show August 30, and then spot Moore at the MBV All Tomorrow's Parties fest at Kutsher’s Country Club in Monticello, NY, where he will perform Psychic Hearts in its entirety.

RIAA File-Sharing Lawsuit Victim Exhibits No Signs of Stockholm Syndrome, Turns to Free Culture Activism

When I first read this story about Brown University student Zack McCune, I was surprised to find that college and university students are still being randomly selected by the RIAA to receive hefty lawsuits. Nonetheless, McCune was one of those unlucky students, but rather than delving back into obscurity after the RIAA contacted him, he went on to do the unthinkable: he made good of the situation!

Instead of throwing a tantrum or quietly paying the fine, McCune questioned the relevance of today's copyright laws in part of a This American Life-esque series of podcasts documenting his ordeal, which can be found here. The short films were produced during his internship at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, part of the Harvard Law School that encourages debate on copyright reform and the ways in which laws can be changed to accommodate the digital age. McCune is now the leader of a Free Culture chapter at Brown.

Indeed, McCune came up against an obstacle that threatened the way he lives his day-to-day life, but rather than rejecting the RIAA as an institution, he began to work towards a creative, yet practical solution to the problem. He did not, in fact, continue to throw himself against a brick wall and refuse to change, getting arrested and fined even more in the process. Does this sound familiar? Adapting to a changing or adverse environment with new strategies? Record industry, meet the internet (again), and all of the fine people behind it. If you can't beat 'em...

Murs Makes a Run at Obama, Plans 36-City Fall Tour

West Coast-based rapper Murs has announced a 36-city tour in support of the upcoming release of his latest LP, Murs For President, set to drop September 30 on Warner Bros. Clearly, the politically conscience artist and presidential hopeful has been busy on the campaign trail and in the studio, as the new album will be Murs’ second release of 2008. The first was the artist’s collaboration project with acclaimed producer 9th Wonder, Sweet Lord, which was released in mid-July. And if the new album is anything like Sweet Lord, Murs may have a shot against Barack Obama and John McCain in November. You heard it here first.

Murs For President Fall tourdates:

Score! Merge to Release Subscription-Only Box Set

One score and minus one year ago, Merge Records formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance. A lot has changed since then. The label has since relocated to Durham, North Carolina, actually charts on Billboard now, has a new beautiful logo (pictured), and word has it that the label was really founded by Win's butler and retailer Montgomery Ward.

Despite the fuzzy history, Merge is in the celebrating mood, and starting September 8, you can pre-order a special subscription-only box set, titled SCORE! Merge Records: The First 20 Years. How many the label makes depends on how many pre-orders are made from then until January 2009 (which will also mark when the first volumes get shipped out), and that will of course depend on how much money you have left from your stimulus checks, where you're at on your home foreclosure, the price of gas at the pump, and how much the cost of rice will be at the time.

But if you're privileged like me, just pre-order, sit back, and wait for exclusive goodies to plop down on your four-season porch throughout 2009. This includes 14 custom-curated Merge compilations with original artwork, as well as "additional exclusive content." Curators for the first several volumes include Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Phil Morrison (dir. Junebug), and The Upright Citizens Brigade. And according to Merge, "Curators for future volumes will include Amy Poehler, David Byrne, author Jonathan Lethem, artist Marcel Dzama, Momofuku chef David Chang and many more to be announced."

The cool part? The whole shebang will benefit charities picked by the curators. Wonder what Amy Poehler will pick!

The Mountain Goats Adopts Pay-What-You-Want Model for New EP, Ignores Fans Who Don’t Own a Computer or Vinyl Doohickey, Might Be a KKK Member for All We Know

According to an announcement on the official Mountain Goats website, Mr. John Darnielle is borrowing Radiohead's pay-what-you-want model for an upcoming 4-track EP of new songs. Recorded in Scott Solter's studio in North Carolina, the EP will be available in various formats (MP3, AAC, possibly AIFF -- hopefully cassette-ripped Real Audio files) roughly a month from now. Quoth Darnielle:

The downloads will be open to everybody, with no hoops to jump through, though there will also be several options available for those who want to pay me for my work, since part of the point of the exercise is to see whether that's a viable route for smaller-potatoes-than-Radiohead dudes like me.

The EP will also be available physically as a double-7-inch limited to 666 lucky fans who catch him on tour. Yes, that's right: Darnielle is selling his double-7-incher on his upcoming tour. I'm really interested in seeing fans try to down that bad boy at the following dates:

# Kaki King

[Art: The Friz]