Music Writers Get Pink Slipped! Mr P Told Me To Tell Mango Starr, Nobodaddy, and Annapocalypse: You’re Fired. Finish Your News Stories And Pack It Up.
In this day and age, a Music Writer still can’t catch a fuckin’ break. The Daily Swarm (via Media Mob) is reporting that there have been layoffs at Entertainment Weekly, Time, People, and a bunch of other publications. These cuts are being issued by Time Inc., but I’ve been hearing the sad-sobs from just-out-of-college, living-on-the-verge-of-poverty-in-Brooklyn staffers from other publications as well. Apparently, the staffers getting the boot are given no warning or options and are being terminated on a “case-by-case basis.”
They also are reporting that Juke, founded by former dudes from Blender, Village Voice, and Nothing Feels Good, has been shutdown. That shit didn’t even launch yet. Apparently CBS Interactive is screwing things up. Craig Marks, formerly of Blender, was hired as the music editor for CNET. Well, CNET was bought by CBS Interactive for a buttload of money in May, and the two combined forces during the summer. Not only did they put the breaks on Juke, but they also then laid off Marks and others involved. What a bunch of Ds. Glad I’m making the big bucks at TMT!
Paul McCartney Plans to Release Unheard 14-minute Beatles Song, Maybe Get Married Another Time, Whatever’s Clever
Quite obviously in an effort to double his chances at making TMT’s Year-End List (his third LP collaborating with Orb/Killing Joke’s Youth as The Fireman also drops this week), the deliciously hammy Sir Paul McCartney has recently confirmed the existence of the legendary ‘lost’ Beatles freestyle/psych/noise track, “Carnival of Light” in an interview with BBC Radio 4. Cleverly side-stepping the abundant lameness of the song’s title, McCartney went on to explain that the 14-minute jam was recorded by the band in 1967 (during vocal sessions for “Penny Lane,” in fact) for an electronic music festival and was never officially released after its lone public debut. According to BBC News, McCartney pushed for the song to be included as part of those good ol’ The Beatles' 'Anthology' releases in the mid-’90s, but it was, you know, vehemently vetoed by the rest of the band on the grounds that it was, you know, way too embarrassing to the band’s legacy.
But damnit, you just can’t keep a scorned Beatle down, as McCartney is now once again alluding to its impending release. “The time has come for its moment,” said McCartney, summoning his best J.R.R. Tolkien rhetoric. And while he didn’t provide a timeframe for the song’s release or whether it would be included on a compilation or exist as a standalone song, the BBC has noted that "all he [McCartney] needs now is the blessing of Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and George Harrison's widow, Olivia."
As for the tune itself, it’s been described by George Martin as a good ol’ fashioned "jumble of shrieks and psychedelic effects" that "features the sound of gargled water and strangled shouts from [John] Lennon which vie with church organs and distorted guitar" (move over, Fuck Buttons). "I like it because it's The Beatles free, going off piste,” McCartney said of the illustrious jam. “I said all I want you to do is just wander around all the stuff, bang it, shout, play it, it doesn't need to make any sense. Hit a drum then wander on to the piano, hit a few notes, just wander around. So that's what we did and then put a bit of an echo on it. It's very free."
Okay, so I’m just going to go ahead and say it: that sounds fucking terrible.
Hey metro-children, you might not be aware of this, but Circuit City is still around. No shit, seriously. We have one in Athens. I kind of forgot about it until I accidentally found it after failing to find Gossip Girl on DVD at Target, Best Buy, and the mall (everywhere was sold out of it, so shut the fuck up and don’t make fun of me). It was a wasteland -- completely empty -- and I wondered, “I wonder if anyone even shops here?” Apparently not! Last week, Circuit City Stores Inc., “the nation’s second-biggest electronics retailer,” filed for bankruptcy protection. Under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy code, it means that credit-bitches can’t bug the shit out of them until they come up with a reorganization plan. I suggest using my plan, which is to fill up your mailbox so they can’t leave you voicemail.
The company plans to cut 700 or more jobs and close 20% of their stores (which amounts to about 155 stores in 28 or so states). Oh, and layoff thousands of workers, amounting to over 7,000 people getting FUCKED. Circuit City had only one profitable quarter in the past year, thanks to being pile-drived by Best Buy Co. “and others.” Who are the “and others?” An intern where I work mentioned some place called “Fry’s.” I don’t know what that is.
Circuit City stock shares have also been trading for under a buck, but, like, that’s not saying much since the stock market is total balls. Anyway, check your local Circuit City; I bet they are having some pimp sales.
For the past two Decembers, The Wu-Tang Clan’s high-pitched utility man Ghostface Killah has released new records, starting with the immaculate Fishscale (TMT Review) in 2006 and 2007’s dope-to-the-bone The Big Doe Rehab (TMT Review). HOLD UP, wait a damn minute here! We only gave Fishscale three blue orbs? Damn, Gumshoe, you are cold blooded! Once my hangover wears off and I strap on some reading pants, I’ma gonna peruse this thousand-word treatise on why Fishscale apparently ain’t the masterpiece it really is. But thanks for giving me a goal for the day, Gumshoe! I wasn’t even planning to put on any pants!
Apologies for the digression. Anyway, Ghostface’s predilection for December drops has been as dependable as a Ford truck, and with his new record GhostDeni the Great set for release] December 16, Ghost just got upgraded to Chevy. Though technically a compilation of classic tracks from the past few years, GhostDeni contains a couple of new songs, like “Ghostface Christmas” and “Slept on Tony.” Along with the new tracks, GhostDeni features a smattering of remixes, including new versions of "Be Easy" featuring Ice Cube and "Kilo" with Raekwon and Pusha T. The new record will be available as either a single CD or along with a DVD documentary about Ghost’s Hip Hop Live tour.
Why do birds suddenly appear whenever digital download/vinyl bundle packages are near? Insound reports actual good news in the record industry, opportunity to buy totebags!
In what must surely be a herald to the approaching golden age of American life and stuff -- projected by Nostradamus and a large portion of liberal pundits to occur sometime between November 4, 2008 and January 20, 2009 -- there is actually good news coming from the usual total downersville known as the record industry. And it comes in the form of one of the most love stories of our time: that of MP3 album downloads and vinyl sales, together and better than ever.
Over the past year, vinyl LP sales have been on the rise, and online retailer Insound in particular has benefited. Insound co-founder Matt Wishnow recently told Billboard, "The percentage increase over the last 12-18 months in vinyl sales has been dramatic -- close to 100%. Our gross margins and pricing model for vinyl are the exact same as that for CDs. However, there is one major difference and that is the elasticity of that margin. We don't discount vinyl often because consumers believe that vinyl is worth the suggested price."
It's nice to see a music retailer doing well, and of course it's awesome to see sales figures helping out the careers of our friends Fleet Foxes and Iron & Wine. But wait, there's more! Everybody likes hearing good news, but when this good news benefits you yourself, then it's AWESOME NEWS! And that's what's up next: awesome news. See, when Insound started offering simultaneous MP3 download/vinyl purchase bundles, not too many indie labels were down. But now, online shoppers can expect to find almost 500 titles available from the likes of Sub Pop and Matador, which are providing loads of titles from the two aforementioned bands, as well as The Shins, Mogwai, Wolf Parade, Band of Horses, Flight of the Conchords, and The Postal Service.
It gets better: in 2009, you'll be able to get MP3 downloads with more than just vinyl. Yes! You'll be able to get digital download bundles alongside such exciting and possibly earth-friendly physical products such as tote bags! t-shirts! super dreamy band posters! and more, all within roughly $20.
These packages are possible through what Billboard calls more "lenient royalty deals." According to Wishnow, many of Insound's indie label partners work with artists who "control their own publishing or who have progressive publishers." This allows the online retailer to pay mechanical royalties only once for the download/physical bundles, and helps you, the Flight of the Conchords obsessive, to purchase every single imaginable tie-in and format of music -- all for one low, low price.
Yes, it's true! _Jeremy Enigk_'s tour begins _today_! Hitting up cities like _Pocatello_ and _Lawrence_, this tour should be _paradigm-shifting_. But despite how _paradigm-shifting_ it'll be, it's expected to be _titillating _ too, because _he might play songs from his forthcoming album OK Bear_.
_Jeremy Enigk's_ latest album is _ The Missing Link_, which was released or is set to be released _last year_ via _567 Records_. The funny part? Well, did you know that _this tour will feature Enigk on acoustic guitar, with Kaanan Tupper helping out_?? HAHA!
Anyway, here are the tourdates for _Jeremy Enigk_, which again, starts _today_ and hits up cities like _Pocatello_ and _Lawrence_. Just don't be surprised if _this tour will feature Enigk on acoustic guitar, with Kaanan Tupper helping out_, like I said in the second paragraph!
(This preview has been approved for all audiences.)
In 2005, Antony and the Johnsons released I Am A Bird Now (TMT Review), one of the most crushing epics to come out of the new millennium.
And now, in 2009, Antony and the Johnsons are bringing you their full-length follow-up, The Crying Light.
Following the Mercury Prize-winning Bird, Antony is set to please audiences once again. Critics agree: Antony and the Johnsons have something special going here. The Los Angeles Times reports, “Before the rapt audiences eyes (and within our delighted ears), Antony had become an unnamed creature in a freshly born world”; while the UK Guardian muses, “This latest reinvention means his own legend is assured.”
Antony and his beloved Johnsons are expected to dive deeper than ever before, exploring relationships with the natural world, featuring arrangements by avant-classical composer Nico Muhly. Listeners will laugh, cry, and be moved (presumably) to songs like “Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground,” bringing us a world of winking leaves where the sun “dances crystals in my eyes.” Share in Antony’s joy in “Kiss My Name.” And be shocked and awed by the album centerpiece “Another World,” where Antony will lead audiences into the despair of a vanishing landscape.
Hear the album that has critics rejoicing:
“Antony has moved on to a transformed sound still more beautiful. Joining him in the shadows was breathtaking.” – Evening Standard
“This isn't a heart breaking; it's a heart waking...” - The Oregonian
Coming to ears near you, January 20, 2009.
A Secretly Canadian production.
1. Marnie Stern is hot.
2. Marnie Stern is really good at guitar.
3. Marnie Stern can play a double-necked guitar.
4. Marnie Stern will make out with you.
Yes. That’s right. Marnie Stern is going to kiss you. All you have to do is hit up Los Angeles’ El Ray Theatre tomorrow night. In addition to melting your face with her playing, Stern will kiss you on the cheek for $3, kiss you on the lips for $10, or give it to you Full-On Tongue Style™ for one hundred smackers. Good deal!
Stern's kissing booth is also occurring at tonight’s show at San Francisco's Bimbo’s 365 Club, but it’s probably too late if you’re reading this. In fact, as I write this, Marnie Stern is probably French-kissing somebody who isn’t you.
What an awesome PR move... I’m now going to list her tourdates. Marnie, you’re so smart!
Mario Speedwagon’s Under The Radar News Roundup: Wierd Records, Mark Kozelek, Napster, TorrentValley.com, and Thrill Jockey
This week we have anniversary parties, websites shutin’ it down, old dudes releasing solo records, Thrill Jockey signing another band who met in art school, and more!
- Wierd Records in New York is turning five years old. To celebrate, it's having an anniversary shindig at the Music Hall of Williamsburg November 21, 2008, featuring Blacklist, Xeno & Oaklander (I kind of wish it was Xenu, like that Scientologist bullshit,) and Led Er Est. Doors are at 8:30, jams start at 9:30, and it's $10.
- So, I totally forgot Napster existed, let alone that people still use it (same as Friendster... really?) Anyway, Miram Hall Patel -- the chick who ruled that peer-to-peer music sharing services “knowingly encorage[ed] and assist[ed]” the swapping of copyrighted music, therefore “destroying” the music industry -- decided we need to reform the policies of copyright licensing, royalties, and other shit by forming some music-industry-cheese-dick administration comprised of people with “competing interest” to set up new rules. Napster, really?
- TorrentValley.com has been “raided and shut down,” as reported by TorrentFreak. Oh well.
- Thrill Jockey continues to tear it up by signing Mountains. Mountains is a duo from Brooklyn-by-way-of-Chicago Art School and has been compared to “Brian Eno and Fennesz” (cool!) The group is preparing its third LP for a Thrill Jockey release of February 17, 2009.
Alright, I’m out, bitches.
Coming To A Grocery Store Near You: Barack Obama’s Martian Origins Exposed; What Your Man Really Wants In Bed; and… Bob Dylan In Conveniently-Sized Gift Card Form?
Think about this: when did In Rainbows come out? You wanna say “It was like six months ago,” right? Because all anyone still talks about is how the distribution method was supposedly fucking genius, right? Or maybe you never got sucked into the cesspool of exalting Thom Yorke for remembering that the internet exists, and you knew right after I asked that the album came out in 2007. Either way, we can all agree that everyone needs to get over the fact that technology affords us a shit-ton of ways to get music.
Apparently, however, Sony BMG isn’t on board with us. It basically goes like this: one day, one of those gift cards at a Safeway checkout stand got really fucked up and, feeling overconfident, managed to pick up a sexy iPod with inexplicably low self-esteem. Nine months later, she called him and said he was going to be a daddy. Their child’s name: Platinum MusicPass. Cute, huh? Unfortunately neither of them could afford a kid and decided to sell it to Sony BMG, which cloned it and is now distributing lots of Sony MusicPasses all over the Southeastern U.S. in Winn-Dixie supermarkets. $12.99 gets you a pass for a full-album download of high-quality MP3s (but are they FLAC rips?) plus bonus material in some instances. Highlights include Korn, Avril Lavigne, the previously mentioned Mr. Zimmerman, and a selection of decades-themed compilations.
Great job, Sony-BMG, you’re definitely not adding an unnecessary intermediary step between MP3 and consumer. And I’m pretty sure people are going to care about this one more than they did about Radiohead!