RIP: Jim Yunker, Drummer and Artist, Younger Brother of Michael Yonkers

According to Destijl Records:

Jim Yunker, younger brother of Michael Yonkers and the drummer of "Microminature Love", died yesterday morning [October 12, 2008].

Aside from music, Jim was interested in and created art. One of his major works was a sculpture called "Matrix Village" and was displayed for long periods on both the east and west bank campuses of the University of Minnesota. He was also worked with wood and has produced countless beautiful toys, and custom display cases for various local stores. He held a variety of straight jobs, and the one that meant the most to him was teaching science to ESL students in the Saint Paul School System. His amazing connection to the students, and the extremely high quality of the work they produced attracted the attention and support of 3M. His program, and his spirit, were downsized and left behind, within the last few years.

His solid drumming for the Grenadiers Drum and Bugle Corp in the 60s helped create the style that he used in Michael And The Mumbles and the Michael Yonkers Band.

He was 60 years old when he passed on October 12th 2008, after year
long bout with leukemia.

- Microminature Love @ Destijl
- Microminature Love @ Sub Pop
- Michael Yonkers official website
- Michael Yonkers MySpace

EMI Licenses Lyrics for Clothing, Buys Nuclear Plants, Prepares Sun-Blocking Machine

Music industry types have always been notoriously stupid, by and large. But luckily for them, they’ve always found themselves one rung higher on the ladder of evolutionary common sense than one particularly sordid group of cranially-crippled bottom feeders: consumers with disposable income. Yes, it’s sad but true; it’s zombies like these who have allowed such past pointless capitalistic mutations as the salad spinner, the robot vacuum, and Nickelback to somehow cram themselves into an already bloated marketplace and thrive there, surviving only on a diet of poor self-esteem and allocated Denny’s tips.

So it should come as no surprise that the struggling music publishers at EMI music have burned the mid-afternoon oil and come up with a new and devious way to extract another few pennies out of the value of the ol’ music/lyrics music copyright: turning lyric sheets into fashion statements. Sadly, EMI Music Publishing is merely the latest to embrace the growing trend of, well, squeezing blood from proverbial turnips, having inked a deal with the British grocery store Sainsbury's "Tu Clothing" line that will involve printing various juicy lyrics from some of the publishing house's 1.3 million-song catalog on the latest fashions for men, women, and, uggh, children. This time around, songs such as “My Girl,” “ABC,” “(Theme From) The Monkees,” “Wild Thing,” and “Dancing in the Street” are set to be featured. Man, I can’t wait to pick up those “When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May” legwarmers and “you make everything groovy” boxer shorts for Christmas presents this year.

Jonathan Channon, executive vice president for EMI, couldn't resist a bit of assholistc punnery during his statment: "Classic songs are part of the fabric of everybody's lives, and we’re delighted that people will now be able to wear their favorite songs through this deal." I mean, yeah, I’d be delighted too if I could get paid a second time for something I already own, wouldn’t you? Just think of all of the time that’d afford you to, say, think-up hammy media one-liners. In defense against naysaying pundits like me, EMI Publishing's lyrics division was quick to point out that previous initiatives have already seen its lyrics licensed for board games, posters, and greeting cards -- part of an apparent push by publishers in general to find new ways to avoid having to look for “real” work these days. After all, what other skills could they possibly have?

From Out of the Ashes Rises, a Femi Phoenix: After a Seven-Year Absence Femi Kuti Returns with a New Album November 18

It goes without saying that a monsoon of bullshit has rained hard upon the world since we last heard from Femi Kuti. 2001’s rallying cry Fight to Win came out a month after September 11, and with his latest studio record Day by Day slated for November 18, Femi’s coming hot on the heels of yet another colossal American crisis. But Femi, like his legendary father Fela before him, has never given America much face time on his records. Hell, in the grand scheme of his music, even his home continent of Africa gets relegated to a supporting role. Fema’s focus lies primarily on a confrontational funk of unrestrained global optimism that possesses everything from his horn section to his vocals. Not revolution for one nation, but revolution everywhere: That’s the Femi Kuti way, and that’s exactly what the world could use right about now.

But what in the devil has Femi been doing for the last seven years? Well, first of all, he finally learned how to play the piano “properly.” (What improper piano styles he may have been performing earlier, alas, the press release does not say.) He also switched from sax to trumpet as his principal instrument, a change that Femi says affected the composition of Day by Day significantly. But perhaps Femi’s strangest activity during his sabbatical was his work within the seedy underworld of brutal Russian mobsters and mass hooker murders when he lent his voice to Grand Theft Auto IV as the DJ for IF 99, Liberty City’s home for the funk. How crazy is that?! Femi, TMT forgives you for not putting out an album for seven years. You had the best radio station in that game.

So, come November 18, get ready for some stone-cold intercontinental grooves from the Godson-turned-Godfather of Afrobeat and his mammoth 17-person band Positive Force. If you’ve lost your house by then, at least try to hang on to a stereo, because this baby’s gonna be the jam.

Freenoise Fest Says “No” to CMJ

New York-based label Freenoise is celebrating 10 years of its WFMU-ready online catalog with the appropriately titled Freenoise Fest. Taking place October 24 at Williamsburg's Death by Audio, the fest harbors motivations more nefarious than you might think.

You see, Freenoise Fest goes down the same weekend as the colo$$al CMJ Music Marathon. As such, Freenoise Fest says "NO" to CMJ, asking patrons to "experience authentic underground music."

The lineup reads like the greatest band names you've never came up with:

Cock E.S.P.

The White Mice

Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck

Laundryroom Squelchers

Suffering Bastard

Tusco Terror

Sauce Party

Sanguine Piss

Radio Shock

Future Blondes

U Can Unlearn Guitar


Don't know Cock E.S.P. too well? Missed the White Mice LPs that came out on Load? What about the fuzziness of Laundryroom Squelchers? No prob, Bob, because Freenoise offers archives of many of these acts here. Try before you buy!

Although the following does not necessarily represent the views of Tiny Mix Tapes, I will say I understand the reasons why an Anti-CMJ festival would manifest, similar to other opposite-and-equal reaction festivals like Austin's Fuck By Fuck You. I had a crumby time when I went to CMJ in 2005. It's hard to see a lot of music you want to see, both due to the difficulty in traversing about NYC as well as the many CMJ badge cut-offs at most clubs and venues. More tellingly, I saw a Clear Channel booth in the exhibit hall, the most obvious point of reference for all that is not quite right in the world of so-called independent music.

Actually, it's entirely possible to see more music at Freenoise than the entire CMJ Music Marathon combined -- and for a whole lot less money (albeit with less free ASCAP frisbees and stuff). So, keep October 24 open, and just so you know, I'll still totally accept a CMJ press badge if anyone wants to send me one.

El Guincho Set to Cut a Swathe of Neon, Unwarranted Animal Collective Comparisons During Upcoming U.S. Tour

Pablo Diaz-Reixa, the man behind Spanish language dance-party-rock outfit El Guincho, is finally coming to the good old U.S. of A! After a handful of cancelled dates earlier this summer, North American fans will soon be able to see the man live and in person. They'll also be able to purchase the debut album Alegranza! from our friends over at Young Turks/XL Recordings on October 21. If you've heard the joie de vivre-inducing first single, "Palmitos Park," you know this is good news. But if not -- here are a few fascinating "facts" related to an artist about whom I could find virtually nothing actually fact-based during a brief Google search.

1. El Guincho told Drowned in Sound that his initial idea was to create something along the lines of a "space age-exotica kind of record" in the vein of Martin Denny. Apparently, in the space age, sophisticated-looking cocktail lounge ladies will be replaced with parrots with spider eyeballs. If you Google Image this, you will understand. While you're at it, Google Image "monkey waiter," too. You won't regret it!
2. El Guincho uses a lot of neon -- in publicity photos, the aforementioned album cover with spider-eyed parrot, and, not to stretch the description too much here, also in the kinda technicolor-esque production of the tracks. But don't stop reading when I say "neon" -- this is no nu-rave reject trying to fit into skinnier turquoise jeans than the Klaxons. Alegranza! is a timeless party record, in, um, the way space-age exotica is, um, timeless.
3. El Guincho is the name of a town on Tenerife, one of the islands composing Spain's Canary Islands. Yes, this is the last fact I found on the internet that can even be considered related to this story. At least it's the factiest!!!

Shearwater Announce Migration Flight Paths In U.S. and Europe

I’m sorry, but the bird jokes just write themselves when it comes to Shearwater, everyone’s favorite avian enthusiasts. This fall, you can join the winged collective (sorry) as they fly (sorry) across the U.S. and Europe on their annual migratory flight paths (sorry), otherwise known to you non-bird folk as “touring.” Try and control yourselves from yelling out bird calls (sorry) while Shearwater is on stage though; I hear it really ruffles the feathers (sorry) of lead sparrow (sorry) Jonathan Meiburg.

Bluebirds, and Sparrows, and Cardinals, Oh My:

RIP: Alton Ellis, “The Godfather of Rocksteady”

From a report by the BBC:

Reggae star Alton Ellis, known as "the Godfather of rocksteady", has died at the age of 70.

The Jamaican-born singer, who moved to Britain in the 1970s, achieved fame with a number of hits, including "I'm Still in Love" and "I'm Just a Guy."

He was a leading pioneer of the more laid-back "rocksteady" sound, which came out of Jamaica in the 1960s.

Ellis was still performing until August this year, when he collapsed after a concert in central London.

- Alton Ellis MySpace
- Alton Ellis Wikipedia entry
- YouTube video: "Alton Ellis - I'm Still in Love
- Trojan Records

Jeff Mangum Performs Three Songs at New York’s E6 Holiday Surprise Gig

Last week, we wrote a li'l report about Jeff Mangum possibly joining the E6 Holiday Surprise Tour for a couple shows (TMT News). Well, the possibility turned into reality earlier than expected at last night's Knitting Factory gig in New York, as Jeff Mangum unexpectedly hopped on stage and performed three songs -- "The Arrow Flies Close" by Elf Power and both "The Opera House" and "I Have Been Floated" by Olivia Tremor Control.

Not sure if I should be surprised or not, but there are already a couple YouTube videos documenting the show:

- "The Arrow Flies Close" by Elf Power:

- "The Opera House" by Olivia Tremor Control (watch as Mangum and Scott Spillane engage in some friendly shoving!):

Here's a late-night e-mail from TMT writer/editor Judy Berman (who was exhausted, sore-footed, and who "had a drink or two") detailing what happened:

Thought you'd want to know that I was at the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour tonight at the Knitting Factory... and Jeff Mangum was there. He came on stage and sang on part of Olivia Tremor Control's "I Have Been Floated" and Elf Power's "The Arrow Flies Close," as well as the entirety of Olivia Tremor Control's "The Opera House" with the whole E6 crew at the end of the night. It seemed like he was making a truly heroic effort just to get out there -- he looked anxious, uncertain, and gleeful at the same time. During "The Opera House," he was roughhousing with Scott Spillane. I think he was loosening up. Spillane and Julian Koster even played "The Fool" from Aeroplane (which is, of course, instrumental) and dedicated it to "a friend." What was really unnerving was that both of them were staring offstage as they were playing it, as though they thought it was possible Mangum would be inspired to come on and do some NMH songs. He didn't, but for a second it seemed possible. Also, some douchebag was screaming "Two-Headed Boy" and "King of Carrot Flowers"-- probably the quickest way to dash any chance of those songs actually being performed. I wasn't disappointed, though. I'm grateful that Mangum is trying so hard to come back, and I wouldn't want him to push himself to do something he isn't ready to do.

Anyway, it was an awesome night. Besides the Jeff Mangum parts, they screened the Major Organ movie, which was fantastic, Koster was a gracious and exuberant host, and it was mostly just a treat to see people who enjoyed making music together so much. There is a lot of love in the E6 universe, and it was nice to spend a night submerged in it.

The pressure on Mangum must be tremendous. It's cool to show our excitement and exhibit friendly encouragement, but hopefully we can refrain from getting too carried away and demanding he perform the entirety of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.

Remaining dates:

Jolie Holland Kicks Off Fall Tour, Still Probably Gets Pissed When Mistaken for Neko Case

Wistful Americana torch singer and former Be Good Tanya, Jolie Holland takes to the road next week in support of her latest, electrified effort, The
Living and the Dead
(via ANTI-), which features cameos from M Ward and Marc Ribot. It's too bad that so many venues have gone smoke-free, as smoke-filled rooms accent perfectly the intimately dark, roots-tinged western folk that radiates through most of her catalog.

If you haven't seen her before, Holland jumps through multiple genre hoops on stage, combining musky vocal jazz with sparse remnants of blues, gospel, and, of course, folk, serving as equal parts Nina Nastasia, Tom Waits, and Andrew Bird. More than anything else, she's an excellent orator and narrator in the fabled troubadour style. Oh look at that, she's even playing the Troubadour, lol, etc.

Mates of State Combat Failing Economy By Touring Non-Stop

In these hard economic times, parents have to do anything in their power to make sure they can provide for their children. Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, better known to you and I as Mates of State, are doing just that — except, unlike normal parents who are working longer hours or cutting expenses, the parental unit of Mates of State is heading out on a newly confirmed tour for the rest of the fall, including a show at the Barking Tuna Festival in Kalamazoo, MI. But who can blame them? How else are little Magnolia and June Elizabeth (aww cute children names, guys!) going to be able to afford Hannah Montana concerts?

Tourin’ hard for the money:

& Santogold, Low vs Diamond

% Santogold, The Ting Tings, Low vs Diamond

** Barking Tuna Festival: School of Seven Bells, Daestro, and more (Thanks Brendan!)