I’ve lived in St. Louis, MO for 23 silly years, and if there’s one thing I know about this town, it’s not a lot of famous people come here voluntarily. Sure, we have our meager share of born and bred celebs (Costas and Goodman, shout out from the 314!), but they don’t live in St. Louis as much as they do in Olympics coverage and Roseanne reruns. All of our famous people only got to where they are because they left this city for some place better, whether it was the coasts or somewhere as painfully close as Chicago. St. Louis is basically a big city version of all those small towns in East Asshole Montana or South Central Wyoming or whatever, where people like Gloria Steinem or Peewee Herman pined for the day when they would leave and make their fortune in New York or LA or fucking Portland. For years, the only high internationally acknowledged venture we had in St. Louis was Anheuser-Busch, and now that’s left, too. Heavy sigh.
So why in the hell would Eddie Argos, frontman of British snob-punk band Art Brut, pick up a gig as a comics columnist for PLAYBACK:stl, a little read website from a rarely regarded city? Could it be that Argos understands the true spirit of St. Louis, our defeated but still sort of plucky attitude towards life, our humble but still sort of remarkable music scene, perhaps our marvelous riverside binge-drinking destinations, unrivaled in their filthiness? Did any of these things play a hand in enticing Argos to our fair city’s website?
No, they certainly did not. “I started writing this column because I was promised free comics,” says Argos in his second column. Fair enough, rock star, but I’m still chalking this up as a victory for STL. Updating twice weekly from across the Atlantic, Argos’ comics topics range from reviews of mainstreamers like Captain America (wait, I thought he was dead???) to independents like Too Cool To Be Forgotten. If you enjoy Argos’ ramblings about his little brother and his shitty weekend in Art Brut and really like comics, then you’ll get a kick out of his column. And hey, if you’re into totally free and badass zoos, maybe you should check out St. Louis. We’ve got a hippo hideaway and a warthog wallow and everything!
We never saw it coming. It is always the quiet ones. And et cetera. Who would have ever guessed that behind the quiet, enterprising façade there would be a conniving home-wrecker in Suicide Squeeze, a label otherwise known for its purity and sweetness? Word on the street has it that the Seattle-based imprint has tapped two new bands to fill its roster but how they got them may be frowned upon in certain circles. In fact, we’re not even sure Angelina Jolie would stoop to this level of domestic disruption. We know this happens all the time, but we can’t ignore the fact that whenever it does happen, it’s the kids who suffer. Tsk, tsk is all we have to say.
Whatever, it’s 2008, not 1955, and breaking up is just another part of everyday life, like getting dressed or slashing your boss' tires. From two broken homes come two new bands ready to start afresh without any past painful limbs pulling the creative body back. Fresh starts are always welcome in TinyMixTapesLand, so it gives us much pleasure to report that Suicide Squeeze has signed Past Lives (ex-Blood Brothers) and Cotton Jones (ex-Page France) to their growing concern and new releases by both clans are due just around the corner (November) and right around the bend (January), respectively!
Cotton Jones is the nom de plume of Michael Nau, former leader of the admirably wistful Page France. His first album on the label will be Paranoid Cocoon, due at the beginning of 2009. Nau has already released a couple EPs-with-art-books on Quite Scientific as “The Cotton Jones Basket Ride,” but whether or not he and professional partner Whitney McGraw will be using the “Basket Ride” appendage in the future is anyone’s guess. We hope so; we like baskets. And rides.
09.05.08 - Frostburg, MD - Duncan’s #
09.26.08 - Baltimore, MD - Talking Head $
09.28.08 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge %
$ Throw Me the Statue
% David Vandervelde and Throw Me the Statue
Meanwhile, Past Lives, comprising former Blood Brothers Jordan Blilie, Morgan Henderson, and Mark Gajadar (the remaining two-fifths of Blood Brothers + J Clark of Pretty Girls Make Graves have begun playing as Jaguar Love). Past Lives’ first release on the hard-hearted label will be a debut five-song EP, entitled Strange Symmetry, which will be available for mass consumption November 4, although you can get the digital version now.
Let there be song titles:
1. Beyond Gone
2. Strange Symmetry
3. Skull Lender
4. Reverse the Curse
5. Chrome Life
Got remaining live dates if you want it:
09.04.08 - San Francisco, CA - The Hemlock Tavern ^
09.06.08 - Portland, OR - Satyricon *
09.07.08 - Seattle, WA - Neumo’s +
^ Clipd Beaks, Leyna Noel, and The Finer Things
* Fucked Up, Crystal Antlers, Sex Vid, and Street Plants
+ Dead Science
Rough week for Rage Against the Machine. Not only did they cause quite a stir on Tuesday by attempting to hop on stage for an impromptu gig nearby the Republican National Convention (TMT News), but their show last night at Minneapolis' Target Center eventually culminated in 102 arrests.
According to several reports, a crowd of roughly 200 (of 13,000+) left the Target Center and began marching down the streets of downtown Minneapolis after the show (which saw RATM wearing Guantanamo Bay detainee suits). More than 100 officers, most equipped with riot gear, greeted them outside. Witnesses say police used pepper spray on the crowd, while the Pioneer Press reported that "a group of officers in a six-wheeled all-terrain vehicle fired two rounds from what appeared to be either a beanbag or pellet gun."
Eventually the march thinned, and although there was reportedly no violence or damage, the police arrested 102 people, 30 for blocking traffic. This count adds to more than 320 people who have been arrested in Minneapolis and St. Paul since Saturday (many in pre-emptive raids).
Meanwhile, at the Republican National Convention, Rudy Giuliani spewed venom before Sarah Palin's "hi, this is me" speech, which also heavily criticized the Democrats. In response, Joe Biden claimed it was all style, no substance, while Barack Obama is expected to increase his diatribes in retaliation. There's nothing like showbiz!
Music Tapes’ Julian Koster Organizes Elephant 6 March Across America with The Holiday Surprise Tour; America Surprised, Pleased
The Holiday Surprise Tour, a spectacular series of shows organized by The Music Tapes frontman Julian Koster, is set to take place throughout October, featuring various members of the Elephant Six Collective. The shows will act as a salute to select members of the Athens-based, loosely-defined, tight-knit collective. Artists slated to be memorialized include Olivia Tremor Control, Circulatory System, The Music Tapes, Elf Power, The Gerbils, Scott Spillane, Nana Grizol, Nesey Gallons, and tons more. And it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that at least a handful of other Elephant Sixers will show up. Maybe even that one guy.
Koster described the whole extravaganza as “a big orchestra, variety show, silly happy thing,” according to Pitchfork. Want to go? You better want to. Here are the dates:
But wait, don’t go yet! I still need to tell you two more things! First, Koster will be releasing another album, The Singing Saw at Christmastime, October 7 via Merge, this time under his own name, not his Music Tapes moniker. Second, Orange Twin will be releasing a CD/DVD version of the decade-in-the-making short film Major Organ and the Adding Machine in the fall of 2009 (based on the crazy Koster/Mangum-related album from 2001). As an added bonus, the movie is also set to take its initial round of bows at The Holiday Surprise shows.
Wow! Music and movies! You better go to this show; the cool kids are all going to be there anyway, and you’re cool, right? Right.
I’m hoping that, by the end of the year, I will have accomplished a “complete set, mint” of all the news Spencer Krug feels fit to be in. In my personal quest to cover all Krug-related reports throughout the interweb and world as a whole, I have a couple brand new items for you! First off, Wolf Parade recently announced a quick little Euro-Trip throughout November and early December. Hopefully when they get back to North America, they’ll feel withdrawal from hamburgers and play throughout the States so I can see them live... so I can feel whole again. Here are the dates!
My second bit of news is a tad more on the personal side. While shopping at a “local” drug store, I observed Krug buying toothpaste and aspirin. I also scored a righteous interview:
Kid Midnight: Hey Spencer, can I call you Spencer? Wow! I love all your music! What’s going on?
Spencer Krug: Stay away from me, I got the court order.
Kid Midnight: But... I... I love you...
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Seekers of free/unrestricted digital music, Nostalgic People, Rich People, lend me your ears!
I come to bury the current Napster, not to praise him;
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones,
So let it be with Napster... The noble Julbucket
Hath told you Napster was ambitious
For Julbucket is an honorable man;
So are they all; all honourable men)
Come I to speak in Napster’s funeral...
In 1999, He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
He hath brought many record labels home to court
Whose lawsuits did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Napster seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Napster hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Julbucket says he was ambitious;
And Julbucket is an honorable man.
Help Julbucket buy Napster.
I Would Go Out Tonight, But I Haven’t Got a Management Company Anymore: Morrissey and ie:music no longer BFF
Life is a process of giving and giving up, of growing and growing apart. As we get older, relationships change, and what may have seemed like the perfect partnership yesterday might seem, in some indiscernible way, to have gone irretrievably in the wrong direction tomorrow. Many of us learn these truths from teenage serial dramas such as Gossip Girl or Judy Blume novels. Others of us -- namely Tim Clark and David Enthoven of artist management firm ie: music -- learn when prized roster addition Morrissey departs from your company after only three months.
Yes, it's been a tough year for Morrissey. So if you see him, give him a hug and my cell phone number, so that we can meet up in a dimly-lit 15th-century pub and direct cutting but affectionate witticisms at one another into the wee morning hours. Because, as you may or may not know, Morrissey has not been having the best of luck lately. His most recent completed work, Years of Refusal, was slated for a fall release on Universal music, but was later pushed back to February 2, 2009 for "unspecified reasons." At this date, no North American label has agreed to release the project . To make matters worse, Warner Bros. -- Moz's former label -- announced this year the DVD release of Live at the Hollywood Bowl, which the former Smiths frontman decried to Billboard as being planned "without any consultation to me whatsoever, and in breach of their terms as laid out by themselves in an agreement made for the film between Warner and my ex-manager." And since, as they say, bad things come in threes, this story wouldn't be complete without a mention of how Years of Refusal producer Jerry Finn passed away last week.
Wow! What a cheery story this has been! My offer stands, Morrissey. You pick the place, I'll pick the absinthe, or red wine, or whatever it is I happen to imagine you drinking at the moment. And to any Minneapolis/St. Paul radio stations who happen to be reading this story, please play "This Handsome Devil" today while I am at work; it has been stuck in my head for a little over two weeks.
Mount Eerie Adds 61-Date Tour to Single Date in Idaho, Considers Combining Single Date and Tour into One Giant Mega-Sized Tour
When not doodling or making music, Phil Elverum (a.k.a. Mount Eerie) is apparently booking tourdates. Beginning today, Elverum will head out on a gigantic tour that'll take him everywhere from the beautiful beaches of Idaho to the caves of Norway. As previously reported, Elverum will be touring with WHY? for part of the tour and later with Julie Doiron (picked to appeal to Hilary fans?), who will also perform with Dick Morello as Calm Down, It’s Monday for most of the dates. The Music Tapes, who inspired me to get all verbose a few weeks ago (TMT Review), will play a stripped-down show with him September 15 in Athens.
Capitalist that he is, Elverum is selling some of his new, COMMODIFIED tunes on the tour too, including his mini-album with Doiron and Fred Squire Lost Wisdom (in stores October 7) and Dawn (November 4). Don't like to go out? Spoiled, anti-social misanthrope like me? Thankfully, P.W. Elverum & Sun expects to implement a download store in the near future "where you can buy digital albums with extreme direct-ness, and featuring some rarities." It's kinda, like, shattering the glass ceiling into 18 million pieces or something. So inspiring. Things are changing. New politics. Hope, change, mavericks, blah blah blah.
Drawing by Phil Elverum, as part of [Fancy People Adventures for Arthur Magazine]
The RIAA knows no Santa Claus. Instead, they look to the G8 summit for their holiday wishes, and should they get their way, it'll be like a stocking fulla coal for the rest of us. The RIAA has been jonesing for a little something called the Anti-Piracy Trade Agreement Wishlist (ACTA) for awhile now. Let's take a look at the juiciest pretty pleases, shall we?
Require internet service providers and other intermediaries to employ readily available measures to inhibit infringement in instances where both legitimate and illegitimate uses were facilitated by their services, including filtering out infringing materials…
This means that your ISP, whether it be Time Warner or Comcast or any other provider, would be able to compare the files you download to a fingerprint database of sorts that identifies "infringed" material. So, not only would the RIAA slap you with a lawsuit, but you'd also get into some shit with your internet service. Kind of like a SWAT team breaking down the door before the cops come in and haul you out.
Establish, adequately fund and provide training for a computer crimes investigatory unit.
That's right. The internet police. Specially trained cops whose purpose is to weed out pirates on the internet. Better make sure Madonna doesn't lose a single album sale before we worry about the country's ballooning crime rate, right? Totally. Not to mention that the RIAA has been incredibly vague about what this crime unit would actually do, and we all know that, in this sort of situation, carte blanche is never a good idea.
…in the absence of proof to the contrary, an Internet service provider shall be considered as knowing that the content it stores is infringing or illegal, and thus subject to liability for copyright infringement…
Here's the kicker: Even if ISPs help the RIAA take down their customers who download illegally, they themselves can STILL get screwed for not identifying the offenders quickly enough! I'm not quite sure what incentive the RIAA is willing to offer these ISPs other than "do it or we'll punch you in the face." We're reverted to schoolyard bully tactics. Awesome.
I could keep going, but quite frankly, the list speaks quite well for itself. Oh, and hey, RIAA? Just met your buddy over here. Yeah, he appears to be green and has a heart that's about two sizes too small...
Fascism at Its Finest: Rage Against the Machine Performance Blocked by State Police in St. Paul; RATM Performs “Bulls on Parade” Through Megaphone
As you might know, the 2008 Republican National Convention is being hosted in St. Paul, MN. In addition to the $160 million or so boost that comes with this decidedly hyper-capitalist venture, $50 million is spent on "increased security." In such a volatile political climate, this nearly blank check for added security manifests in a whole lot of arrests, tear gas, and essentially an occupation by state police. But where there's power, there's dissent, and it is in this spirit that protesters and rallies reach their symbolic, ritualistic significance.
Enter Rage Against the Machine. As we recently reported, Rage Against the Machine is scheduled to play the Target Center tonight in Minneapolis, MN to coincide with the RNC. But in a surprise move, Rage announced yesterday that they were going to make a special guest appearance at the free concert Ripple Effect on the state capitol lawn, which included performances by Dead Prez, Anti-Flag, and Michael Franti. But things didn't go as planned. According to Above The Fold, a Minneapolis-based blog:
But when it came time for the band to perform, the Minnesota State Police formed a barricade around the band and would not let them on stage. After 20 minutes of crowd chanting that included "Let Them Play," "Music is not a Crime," "We'll be good, we promise," and a riveting rendition of the national anthem the band came into the crowd and performed an acapella performance of two songs.
Check out Above the Fold's amazing footage:
According to an eyewitness report, the permit for the concert was set to last until 7 PM, and the last band (Anti-Flag) had finished their set at 6:15 - 6:30 PM. So why were they not allowed to play? Apparently, RATM were not named on the permit. So, if Cloud Cult had been the surprise guest, they'd barricade them too? Whatever. Despite chants from the crowd (including a rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner"), the plug was officially pulled on the concert, and Rage led a march that eventually joined with the Poor People's March through the St. Paul streets.