When you think about it, Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan probably would have been pretty geeked about Kevin Barnes and his merry crew in of Montreal if that movie franchise had been set here in the early 21st century instead. After all, throughout all of their travails, lowly Bill and Ted had, more or less, one simple aim: they wanted to ACT like they were in the biggest band on the face of planet earth (and, later, in the solar system??), regardless of whether or not they had the chops to back it up.
And here at the dawn of 2009, who is thownin’ down a more studded-up gauntlet of self-aggrandized artistic supremacy than Kevin Barnes? (Certainly not Kanye, now that he’s been properly humbled and all...) Case in point: Even as I write this, Barnes and his raunchy crew are packing their makeup and dry-cleaning their costumes for a winter tour of, yup, The Entire World. From New Zealand, Australia, the American South, and Hawaii and California, to the U.K., mainland Europe, and Japan; of Montreal will be livin’ that loca kind of vida that’s usually only reserved for the likes of key Stallyns influences like KISS and Aerosmith. And just you try to tell Barnes to his face that his band isn’t “big enough” to make rounds around the globe like that, brother! I bet you a slushie from the Circle K that he air-guitars in your face and then drops a big-ass garbage can on your ass!
Either way, Barnes will be in Brooklyn on Wednesday by way of a “List Christee” DJ set to celebrate the release party for that fancy "Cause We Were Virgins to Your Kisses" 7-inch/DVD single, followed by a Thursday stop at the Late Show With David Letterman. Also, recall that producer Jon Brion's remixes of some key Skeletal Lamping (TMT Review) cuts are due digitally January 6 and January 27 on CD and LP from Polyvinyl. And as for Wyld Stallyns? Well, they’ll probably be in San Dimas for awhile still, trying to build up that crucial hometown fanbase. But between you and me, they’ll never get that triumphant video made until they’ve got Kevin Barnes on lead guitar.
Scattered Remaining U.S. dates:
12.17.08 - Brooklyn, NY - The Bell House (DJ List Christee a.k.a. Kevin Barnes)
12.30.08 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
12.31.08 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
01.03.09 - Nashville, TN - Cannery Ballroom
01.04.09 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
Most-Triumphant World Tour:
Finally the months spent preparing my annual Christmas wishlist, splurging on the special holiday stamps I put on my letters addressed to the North Pole, and generally denying myself of everything fun in order to be "good" have paid off: One of my greatest Christmas wishes has come true! No, the McDonald's commercial -- where the two women reveal that they actually HATE the alleged elitism of coffeeshops and revel in their ignorance of the geography of South America -- is still sadly airing. But perhaps this wish will bring more good to a smaller, more musically-aware amount of people, which I, as a non-McDonalds latte-drinking, Paraguay-aware elitist, would clearly prefer. I am referring, of course, to the upcoming Morrissey album release and tour.
In a debatable improvement on 2004's You are the Quarry album cover, which depicts Morrissey staring ponderously at a gun, his latest, Years of Refusal, features the man toting a baby. The single "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" is set for release February 9, 2009, with the full-length to follow on February 17 via Lost Highway.
Years of Refusal tracklist:
Q: How many Montreal musicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Seven. One to screw in the lightbulb, the rest to form a band, sign to Arts&Crafts, and write an instrumental album about the plight of the light bulb.
...which is kinda sorta what Bell Orchestre did, even going so far as to title their debut album Recording A Tape The Colour Of Light. Dudes, light bulbs are not that interesting. Anyway, I digress. The real story at hand here is that Bell Orchestre are now signed to Arts&Crafts and their follow-up album is due in early 2009. Of course, bands are only allowed to sign to Arts&Crafts if their members are in other super famous indie bands (it’s an official rule, look it up), so when Bell Orchestre inevitably hit the road next year, be on the lookout for Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Perry and Sarah Neufeld.
Serge Gainsbourg Biopic to Begin Filming in January, Will Render Both Music and Pornography Obsolete Upon Its Release
I can’t decide which is the better question: Why has it taken so long to make a biopic about French lothario/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, or why did Gainsbourg never appear on film as a Bond villain? Gainsbourg’s unfathomable ability to seduce the most beautiful women of his day (Jane Birkin, Anna Karina, Brigitte fuckin’ Bardot), industrial strength charm, and penchant for filthy jokes (his only lyrics that don’t read like letters to Penthouse are his songs about poop and farts) would make him a more than worthy adversary for 007. And who knows what direction the movie could have went with an arch-villain who moonlights as a musician. Think Shoot the Piano Player combined with Moonraker! Oh, the wasted possibilities! But enough with my James Bond/ Serge Gainsbourg fan fiction. On to the here and now.
According to Variety, Universal will start shooting on January 19 its first French-language picture Serge Gainsbourg (vie heroique). Heroic life, indeed! The film, written and helmed by graphic novelist Joann Sfar in his directorial debut, will chronicle Gainsbourg from his early years as a persecuted Jew in Nazi-occupied Paris to his shocking and stellar career as a musician, performer, and sexual dynamo, which ended all too soon with his death in 1991. Eric Elmosino will play the man himself with model Laetitia Casta as the oh-so-very-hot Brigitte Bardot (swoon) and Mylene Jampanoi as Serge’s last lover Bambou. Still no word on who will play Whitney Houston, so let’s just hope she uses the embarrassing Gainsbourg gaff as some sort of weird regressive vehicle for her pending comeback.
In conclusion: who is excited? Me. I’m the guy who’s excited.
Reading articles about new layoffs each week has sadly become too common the past couple months. This week, two more music-related casualties were announced, beginning with the rumored layoffs at Epic Records of Brett Greenberg (Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas promotion regional) and Jen Dalton (Denver regional). Greenberg was previously employed by Epic in the Sony Music Marketing division from 1990-2001, and Dalton had worked there for three-and-a-half years. Seriously, Epic, if you want to lay someone off, start with this girl right here. Or, instead, concentrate on fixing your slow-moving flash website that froze my computer for two minutes.
Additionally, CBS Interactive (a.k.a. the big boss that bought Last.fm last year for $280 million) is also laying off employees from a few of its companies, starting with Last.fm. Apparently, the number of Last.fm layoffs is less than 20, so hopefully it won’t be too catastrophic.
So, yeah…This is hard for me to say…Okay, here it goes: Cut Copy, Deerhoof, and of Montreal Remixed Maroon 5 on their new album…Uh huh, yeah, I understand. I’ll wait here while you pack up your stuff and start hating those bands.
It’s okay, Indie States of Internet America. We’ll get through this. Catch your breath, have a drink of water, just try to calm down a bit. And please, keep reminding yourself: They did it for the paycheck. It’s just for a paycheck.
At least let’s hope that’s why this pack of usually sensible artists, the jumpers of Cut Copy, the newscasters of Deerhoof, and the mostly naked of Montreal, decided to remix a few of Maroon 5’s songs for the band’s new album, Call and Response: The Remix Album. Along with these three sacred hipster cows, Brit-spitter Mark Ronson and Roots drummer ?uestlove also provide remixes, and the album boasts producing credits from big names like Just Blaze, Pharrell, and Swizz Beatz.
Should curiosity get the best of you, the album is streamable on M5’s MySpace. It’s not too bad actually. Heh, I guess I overreacted a bit. Maroon 5 isn’t trying to usurp hipsters’ cherished sense of removal from mainstream society. They just wanted talented people to reinterpret their work, and kudos to them for their good taste in collaborators! And hell, of Montreal rewrote one of their own songs specifically for an Outback Steakhouse commercial, and they haven’t stopped glamming about like a school of glittery starfish, so there’s no reason to think any of these bands will start to suck either. Let’s admit Maroon 5 into the indie community, people. I’m sure they have nothing but the best—
WAIT A DAMN MINUTE.
Compare Maroon 5's remix album cover next to The Rapture's Echoes artwork:
AHH! They’ve gone too far this time! Nobody consumes The Rapture and gets away with it! These Maroon 5 bastards won’t stop until they destroy everything we hold dear, but I sure as hell ain’t gonna lay down while Adam Levine stomps his mainstream boots all over my hipsterhood! So prepare for battle, friends! Gather your smuggest scowls, your most ironic t-shirts, your hardcover copies of Ulysses that you’re never, ever going to read, and let’s go to WAR! We meet on the Fields of Mars at dawn. Good luck.
Mario Speedwagon’s Under The Radar News Roundup: Big Ears Festival, Crazy Bitch Stabs Her Guitarist, Arcade Fire Release “Film,” Langerado Lineup Is Ballz, Waxploitation Release Darfur Benefit Compilation
- Big Ears Festival. Not the greatest fest name; however, the lineup includes Fennesz, Michael Gira, Philip Glass, Anthony and the Johnsons, and Matmos, with more to be announced. The festival will take place February 6-8, 2009, in, get this, KNOXVILLE. Yeah, Tennessee in the house... Thank God something cool is finally happening by me. Ya’ll bitches can buy tickets at the Big Ears Festival official site.
- I have no idea who this band is, but it’s totally awesome: Apparently, the front woman of Italian band Soul Cry knifed the band’s 16 year-old guitarist for fucking up during rehearsal. Cristina Balzano, aged 19, is being charged with attempted murder. Damn, Gina.
- The Arcade Fire are releasing a film, pretentious-speak for a fuckin’ live DVD. Miroir Noir, which is frog for “Black Mirror,” will be digitally released on December 15, 2008 on the official “film” website, while DVD formats will be available sometime in 2009.
- The Langerado Music Festival lineup reads like the “$5.99 and Under” bin at a local record store. Shit like Snoop Dogg, Thievery Corporation, Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, a bunch of shit I’ve never heard of, and then a bunch of hip stuff (The Virgin’s, ya’ll!). This ‘nilla festival is going down March 6-8, 2008 in Miami at the Bicentennial Park. You can buy your $120+ ticket at the official website.
- Waxploitation will release Causes 2, a compilation featuring LCD Soundsystem, Devendra Banhart, My Morning Jacket, Gnarls Barkley, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, and a bunch of others. Causes 2 will be released in March 2009, and all the proceeds go to benefit Darfur.
Well, kids, that’s all I got for this week. Later, ya’ll.
No Fun Fest 2009 Fails to Live Up to “Un-Fun” Moniker Once Again; Merzbow, Sonic Youth, Bastard Noise, and More!
After the recent season finale of the smash MTV reality show Paris Hilton's My New BFF, my nights have been unexpectedly empty and devoid of excitement. What other source has tantalizing glimpses into a world much more fun, much more thrilling than my daily workaday existence? Life had seemed hopelessly dull and whack.
With the unveiling of the No Fun Fest 2009 lineup, finally there is something to look forward to once more. Hold the commercials, cue the noise. Looks like Merzbow is once again coming back to the U.S. for a set! Also making appearances will be TMT favorites like Emeralds (TMT Review), Black Pus (TMT Review), Pedestrian Deposit (TMT Review), Chris Corsano (TMT Review), Skullflower (TMT Review), Blank Dogs (TMT Review), and C. Spencer Yeh (TMT Review) playing with Trevor Tremaine (TMT Review) and Rafael Toral (TMT Review).
And while Sonic Youth members are always dispersed throughout the fest in various collaborations, this time they're playing their own set! Also expect Bastard Noise, Axolotl, Bardo Bond, the always uncompromising CON-DOM, and much, much more.
It all goes down May 15-17 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Alas, I hear Hilton is more of a Coachella girl
05.15.09-05.17.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
Conrad Schnitzler's Con-Cert
Xeno and Oaklander
Rafael Toral with C. Spencer Yeh and Trevor Tremaine
Marcus Schmickler/ Peter Rehberg
Sons of God
I Smell Winter….and It’s Very Similar to Dirty Diapers Mixed with Pickle Brine; Bon Iver Back With EP and Tourdates
Tiny Mix Tapes is not Wal-Mart. Granted, there are few things we enjoy more than strutting into town to bankrupt long-standing, independently-run, family businesses, but that's where the similarities end. When it comes to over-promoting the holiday season, we take a different approach to things. Christmas doesn't need pimping until the end of November at the very latest, not the minute after Halloween, and January winter fun doesn't begin until icy cool troubadour Justin Vernon releases new songs. The fun will come, but winter is already here. If you want further proof just look at the new Bon Iver EP cover!
Now that you have retrieved your monitor from outside, repaired your window, and completed the required anger management classes program that that image prompted taking, you can smile, knowing that Bon Iver will indeed be releasing Blood Bank, a new 12-inch/CDEP featuring four new tracks, on Jagjaguwar January 20. Blood Bank will be available for purchase on the current U.S. and upcoming Australian tours, with the vinyl offering a bonus digital download voucher. That's news that can warm the coldest mood
Blood on these tracks:
1. Blood Bank
2. Beach Baby
Vernon and touring co. will continue on their small tour tonight in Brooklyn after recent dates oversees, a couple of NYC Town Hall shows, and a Late Show performance. Vernon has also designed a t-shirt for the artist-enlisted charity initiative Yellow Bird Project. All proceeds of the Bon Iver model will benefit Toronto's Interval House. Letterman, t-shirt artiste, time philanthropist... my, how things have changed since Vernon's days spent as a cabin-dwelling shut-in!
12.12.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg %
12.14.08 - Boston, MA - The Wilbur Theatre %
12.15.08 - Philadelphia, PA - The Trocadero %
12.17.08 - Louisville, KY - Headliners %
12.18.08 - Chicago, IL - The Vic Theatre %
12.19.08 - Madison, WI - The Barrymore Theatre %
12.22.08 - Eau Claire, WI - State Theatre
01.15.09 - Perth, Australia - Fly By Night
01.17.09 - Brisbane, Australia - The Tivoli
01.18.09 - Melbourne, Australia - The Hi-Fi
01.19.09 - Melbourne, Australia - Forum Theatre
01.20.09 - Sydney, Australia - The Famous Spiegeltent
01.21.09 - Angel Place, Australia - City Recital Hall
01.22.09 - Sydney, Australia - The Famous Spiegeltent
01.23.09 - Sydney, Australia - The Famous Spiegeltent
01.24.09 - Angel Place, Australia - City Recital Hall
% The Tallest Man of Earth
Seymour Stein, VP at Warner Music Group and founder of Sire Records, offered this tiny nugget of a quote for all of us to read and laugh at, as quoted in The Globe and Mail (via Coolfer):
We blew it. The first major music labels were all phonograph manufacturers, but by the time the Beatles came along, most companies were no longer involved in the hardware. Had we remained in control of the hardware, we wouldn't be hurting as much as we are now. And the iPod would be ours.
Yes, you sure "blew it," record companies. What's keeping you in the red isn't the horrible music product that you promote or your contradictory approach to the digital world or that you call digital-oriented consumers "pirates"or, as Coolfer suggests, your apparent lack of interest in entering the cash cow world of merchandise, ticketing, e-commerce, management, or touring. No, it's because you don’t control the production and sale of, uh, hardware, like the iPod...
Can you believe executives like these are calling the shots? They really need to stop worrying about what decisions they COULD have made and worry about what great decisions they SHOULD be making now. Like putting out my record.
Here's Belle and Sebastian's take: