The soundtrack to Downtown 81 (a.k.a., New York Beat Movie) was released earlier this week, and it features a ton of bands from the Lower East Side art scene of the late ‘70s/early ‘80s on which the film was based. The film features the late Jean Michel Basquiat basically playing himself as a young artist who is evicted from his apartment and sets off into the streets with a painting, intending to sell it for enough money to reclaim said apartment. Along the way he runs into a motley cast of characters, mostly played by key figures of said art and music scene, at one point featuring Debbie Harry as a bag-lady-turned-fairy-princess.
The soundtrack consists of an über-exciting array of bands, even including Basquiat's own band Gray, which also featured skeezy filmmaker Vincent Gallo. Other bands and people on the soundtrack include Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Liquid Liquid, Tuxedomoon, DNA, Suicide, Chris Stein of Blondie... the list goes on.
I was just about to jump off the roof of this tall building due to the high stress and meaningless nature of my rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, but then I heard Vampire Weekend are touring.
Going to one more show can't hurt, right? And while Vampire Weekend are decidedly not "punk rock," that doesn't mean that the track "A-Punk" off their self-released blue CD-R doesn't, for lack of a better word, kick ass (excuse me, but we can't all go to Columbia). With the sound of kids who used to listen to The Clash before they fell in love with Pavement, Vampire Weekend are well-annunciated, saccharine indie-pop with Ivy League precision, and they hands-down play my all-time favorite song about punctuation (as a writer, I have many). They've also succeeded in rhyming "Louis Vuitton" with "reggaeton" better than most bands I've been hearing lately.
Look for the oh-so-East-Coast's first full-length release by XL Recordings in January 2008.
But for now -- a tour.
# Mount Eerie
$ Grand Ole Party
% Grand Ole Party
! Friends of John (A benefit concert for the John Ryan Pike Memorial Foundation.)
As already reported, EMI/Parlophone is releasing a Radiohead box set consisting of their first six albums and the live mini-album, I Might Be Wrong, just in time to compete with Radiohead's independently released seventh album, In Rainbows (TMT Review). Sure, Radiohead has nothing to do with the box set release, but this isn't just a case of EMI trying to capitalize on the Radiohead brouhaha; it's also a case of ownership. EMI owns the "mechanical rights" (the reproduction of a song on a record) to Radiohead's first six albums. Furthermore, EMI owns the duration of the contract. Obvious, but compelling. And now that Radiohead is off the label and has long since recouped any expenses for it, the company is now predictably flexing its proprietary muscles, functioning as the major label machine that it is. Rude? Yes. Good business sense? Of course, and it certainly highlights a significant difference between major labels and independent labels.
But Radiohead won't have to worry about that sort of shit from now on, so long as they stay independent of this major label machine. For In Rainbows, Radiohead are simply licensing (through Warner Chappell Music Publishing) to other independent labels like XL Recordings and Side One/ATO.
Blah blah blah. Anyway, the new news? XL Recordings recently confirmed the UK release date of the physical (CD/LP) version for December 31, while "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" will be the album's first single, set for a January 14 release date. Now, I know what you're thinking: "But, but, I already bought the album and/or paid 'nothing'... XL is not going to make any money!" You see, my friend, you're totally forgetting about all the casual music buyers, like Ray Romano, who shop at Best Buy, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, etc., as well as the middle-aged, non-tech savvy consumers, like Carrie Bradshaw, who make up a huge portion of the CD-buying market.
Meanwhile, Radiohead's camp deny the legitimacy of any and all figures of In Rainbows' sales derived from independent companies:
In response to purely speculative figures announced in the press regarding the number of downloads and the price paid for the album, the group's representatives would like to remind people that, as the album could only be downloaded from the band's website, it is impossible for outside organisations to have accurate figures on sales.
However, they can confirm that the figures quoted by the company comScore Inc are wholly inaccurate and in no way reflect definitive market intelligence or, indeed, the true success of the project.
Those studies are so annoying.
It's been rumored for quite awhile, but it seems like it's finally come to fruition, according to The Daily Swarm -- My Bloody Valentine have reunited for a new album and a possible tour. In an interview with Soft Focus, MBV frontman Kevin Shields claims that the next record is 75% complete, and that it "sounds like My Bloody Valentine." Isn't it strange when you have to point out that you sound like yourself?
Video site VBS.tv is set to debut a 30-minute interview with the elusive musician on Monday, November 12, where Shields discusses the new record. There are rumblings of a Radiohead-styled independent release for the new record, but this is mere speculation at this point. Some live rumors had been spreading like wildfire throughout the Coachella Festival fan community, who are already anticipating Portishead for the ‘08 version of the beloved musical stomp. The group has not confirmed any live appearances at this point.
So, wipe the dust off that Loveless coaster you have in your living room; it's time to get guitar-drenched!
Electrelane, the band who proved it's just as fun to shower with clothes on as to mud wrestle with your neighbor, have announced an "indefinite hiatus" from their website. What does this all mean? TMT has no idea. Check out their extremely cryptic message:
We have decided that the upcoming gigs will be our last for the foreseeable future. After ten years of much fun and hard work, we have realised that we all need a break and time to do other things. This was a tough decision for us to make, but ultimately a positive one.
A big thank you to everyone who has come to our shows, put on our shows, and bought our records over the years. It means a lot to us. We're really grateful to have had the opportunity to play gigs all over the world and to meet so many lovely people. This last year has been especially enjoyable and we feel happy about moving on with all these good memories to look back on. At the moment we haven't made any band plans for the future, but we're going to have a break and see what happens.
Told you it's cryptic! Now, I can't confirm this, but seems to me like their message is a puzzle, as if they're trying to tell us something really important, but we have to "work" to understand the message. Speaking to my neighbor who I mud-wrestled last week, he thinks that "It must be a message about how they're going to release their fifth album -- I bet they'll do a Radiohead." Hmmm... I guess we'll have to wait and see if anyone can decode it.
In the meantime, expect tons of singles, albums, and tours from the one and only Electrelane!
Prince Threatens His Own Fansites; TMT Risks Lawsuit By Printing Prince’s Name Without Written Consent
Countless years of shady dealings on the part of the music industry have desensitized fans to the point where, when I heard that certain Prince fansites had been sent cease-and-desist letters for hosting Prince images, album covers, lyrics, and "anything linked to Prince's likeness," it almost didn’t even register as one of those “what the fuck” moments. Indeed, the true nature of the fucking became apparent only when I learned that it was Prince himself who initiated the lawsuits.
Though Prince has not yet commented on his decision, pretty much all of his fans have. Prince Fans United, a confederation of fansites under scrutiny, has emerged with a statement strongly opposing Prince’s admittedly excessive demands. I have chosen the most interesting, if not relevant quote from the statement on the site’s front page:
Prince claims that fansites are not allowed to present any artwork with Prince's likeness, to the extreme that he has demanded removal of fan's own photographs of their Prince inspired tattoos and their vehicles displaying Prince inspired license plates.
Giving up “Kiss” wouldn’t be easy for anyone, but if you’re like me and can’t in good conscience support an artist who doesn’t support personalized license plates in their honor, you might consider a visit to Prince Fans United, where you can offer support and gather tools to help spread the word about their cause.
For purely educational reasons and as a critique on the ridiculousness of the cease-and-desist letters, here are examples of what Prince is talking about:
Example of Prince photograph:
Example of Prince album cover:
Example of Prince lyrics to "Free":
Example of Prince "likeness":
Oh, Chicago, let me count the reasons why I’m happy I reside within your boundaries:
And here's another show: the upcoming Thrill Jockey 15th Anniversary celebration December 14 and 15 at the Logan Square Auditorium -- Thrill Jockey, of course, being the seminal Chicago record label with such indie giants as Tortoise and The Sea and Cake and JAMIE PROCTOR. The lineup for the anniversary show is pretty much every indie kid’s fantasy come to life:
ADULT., Fred Anderson Trio, Arbouretum, Brokeback, Califone, Bobby Conn, Angela Desveaux, Eleventh Dream Day, The Fiery Furnaces, Frequency, Pit er Pat, Archer Prewitt, School of Language, The Sea and Cake, Trans Am, Thalia Zedek, The Zincs.
But, oh no, that’s not all Thrill Jockey has up its sleeve for show attendees. Not only can they expect two specially-designed dueling stages and surprise guests, but each attendee will receive a copy of the awesomely titled Super Epic Thrill Jockey Mega Massive Mix by Trey Told ‘Em, a.k.a Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk and Frank Musarra!
Tickets are $50 for the entire two-day extravaganza, available at Ticketweb.
How how awesome awesome is is... okay, that’s going to get old real fast. In regular syntax, everyone’s favorite Philadelphia weirdos, Man Man, have signed to ANTI- Records. And because the quintet is so deliciously quirky, they released the following individual statements about their new record contract:
$ Modest Mouse
+ Love as Laughter
Okay, guys. For those of you who were totally bummed out that you wouldn’t be hearing Guns N' Roses’ version of “Live And Let Die” in the new Fox flick Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem this Christmas, I’ve got some good news for you!
That’s right! Everyone’s favorite producers of banal movies and biased television, The 20th Century Fox Corporation (a property of News Corp.), has recently lifted its hilariously unwarranted ban on the use of Universal Music Group content.
Just in case you’re, like, TOTALLY lame and haven’t been scanning the Digital Music News site on the internet for the past year or so, the bad-ass ban -- which affected various film and television studios -- was implemented by News Corp. president, COO, and all-around bitchy crab-ass Peter Chernin shortly after Universal Music sued MySpace in November 2006. Did I mention that News Corp. owns MySpace?? Oh, what a tangled web!
The move may be part of an effort to smooth relations between the two catty groups, even though Universal’s lawsuit, which alleges that MySpace permitted its users to upload thousands of Universal’s music videos to the site and that MySpace's reformatting of the videos for playback constitutes copyright infringement, still stands.
Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal (who originally broke the story) noted that various producers were expressing frustration over the fact that they couldn’t pump their movies full of Andrew W.K. and Smashmouth songs.
In other words, the hasty ban created more of a headache for Fox than Universal, so they wussed-out. But now that they’ve put this ugliness behind them, Fox can concentrate on what’s REALLY important: making quality films.
The Twilight Sad Do Shows With Beirut; Music Writer Continues Having Nightmares About Twilight Sad’s
Oh my scratched chicken turds; did you read that headline? No, not the Beirut and Twilight Sad thing; I'm talking about the incessant nightmares I've been having! That spooky masked child has been haunting me in my sleep. I keep waking up in cold sweats, dreaming that the pillowfaced child is about to pounce on me like a super villainous, scheming wretch with sinister intentions!
What do you mean you don't care about my dreams? What kind of insensitive reader are you? Don't make me cut myself!
Okay, sure, so there's this tour with this Scottish band called The Twilight Sad, and they're touring with this guy/band called Beirut for a few dates. Perhaps one of the more unique combinations of groups I've heard of this year. It's sort of like an indie U2 with an indie Arcade Fire. What? Arcade Fire is indie? Wait; what's an indie again? Man, everything's just been ass-backwards since OiNK got shut down and Radiohead started giving away low-quality MP3s of their new album.
Why don't I just shut up and just give you the tourdates. Would that be more beneficial?
Beirut with The Twilight Sad:
P.S. If you haven't had a chance to hear their rendition of Radiohead's "Climbing Up The Walls" on Stereogum's OK Computer tribute album, I recommend checking out the lo-fi goodness.