A bit of confusion struck the indie rock blogosphere last week after Pitchfork announced that The Shins, one of the standard bearers for indie rock in the aughts, had left Sub Pop, one of the biggest and most revered indie rock labels in the country. The band was said to be working on new music with no set release date. The day after making the announcement, Pitchfork clarified the news the next day, reporting that Sub Pop has said that The Shins' contract with the label has merely expired, and the band is on writing hiatus and has no definitive future plans.
Well, if you're scratching your head, recall that Shins manager Ian
Montone told Billboard last year that the band was planning to release its next album through singer James Mercer's Aural Apothecary label. Sub Pop has left open the possibility that the band will keep some sort of partnership with the label.
It's all so confusing. But I suppose that if you're desperate to know just what the band is doing, just ask the boys yourself on their just-announced tour!
05.02.09 - Bellingham, WA - Red Square on Campus
05.04-05.09 - Seattle, WA - Showbox
05.06-07.09 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
05.09.09 - Oakland, CA - The Fox
05.10.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium
05.11.09 - San Diego, CA - Soma
05.13.09 - Richmond, VA - The National
05.14.09 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
05.15.09 - Baltimore, MD - Ram's Head Live
05.16.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
05.17.09 - Wellmont, NJ - Wellmont Theater
05.18.09 - New York, NY - Terminal 5
As we previously reported, the RIAA is none too happy with one Joel Tenenbaum, who is facing a $1-million lawsuit for downloading seven songs on the filesharing service Kazaa. Tenenbaum, in turn, has launched an admirable defense with the help of attorney Charles Nesson and a Harvard Law School litigation team, along with a website that keeps the world up to date: JoelFightsBack.
Late last week, Mediapost announced that Tenenbaum will also have the support of none other than Radiohead's manager, Brian Message -- that's right, the manager of a recorded musical group: the very population whom the RIAA posits are helpless, hapless victims of rampant downloaders like Tenenbaum. Nesson plans to use Message's testimony to both support the theory that non-commercial filesharing actually encourages growth in the music industry and illustrate the success of Radiohead's non-traditional “pay what you want” album release of In Rainbows (TMT Review).
Of course, the RIAA plan to caterwaul about how filesharing is crippling business, and while it's true that record sales have dropped ($15 billion to $10 billion since the dawn of Napster 10 years ago), Radiohead's record sales markedly increased with the release of In Rainbows. Message's testimony will support the theory that “the music business is going to be saved by readjusting and developing these exciting new business models that are consistent with a digital environment.” In other words, Message will directly represent a musical group that has harnessed the technology of filesharing and used it for profit, thus supporting the defense that filesharing is not simply a tool of destruction within the music industry, and that Tenenbaum's actions fall within the “fair use” category.
What's especially troubling about this case, besides the egregious sum of money demanded over the digital equivalent of a $14 CD, is that the RIAA doesn't even bother to sue filesharers anymore (or is it?). Instead, they've taken to working with Internet service providers to identify and shut down individual users who utilize their internet connections for filesharing, a practice many ISPs feel yucky about. Perhaps the information Message brings to the trial will shed some light on the benefits of filesharing, rather than the small amount of damage caused by one person.
From the LA Times:
Bud Shank, the alto saxophonist who was a key figure in the West Coast jazz scene of the 1950s, has died. He was 82.
Shank died Thursday night at his home in Tucson of pulmonary failure, friends said.
A versatile musician with an adventurous nature, Shank also played flute and -- during a productive period of studio work -- had pivotal solos on the popular 1960s pop tunes "California Dreamin' " by the Mamas and the Papas and "Windy" by the Association. He had an early interest in music without borders, playing and recording with Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida several years before the Bossa Nova craze. In 1962, he recorded an album with Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar.
For many, however, he is best known for his work in Los Angeles with Stan Kenton starting in the late 1940s, followed by his association with Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars at the fabled Lighthouse Cafe jazz club in Hermosa Beach.
EMI Australia has announced its latest attempt to decide for millions of consumers what’s “cool” in the music world with their totally original idea for "the first major label blog" in the world. Fantastic guys, you want a medal? The In Sound From Way Out (great name, by the way) features EMI artists across the globe as well as the typical features you’d expect from a music blog. However, the Aussies have come up with one unique element: an artist and repertoire (A&R) Dropbox where those connoisseurs of music, the general public, can recommend the latest acts to the dudes at EMI. This, of course, means you can expect legions of Kelly Clarkson, All-American Reject, and Lily Allen fans proposing... yep more artists like Kelly Clarkson, The All-American Rejects, and Lily Allen!
The team pictured below are representatives for EMI. But let’s be honest here: even if you were a rabid Justin Timberlake fan, would you trust these jokers to recommend you good music?
Mario Speedwagon’s Under The Radar News Roundup: Man Man Tour With Cursive And Gogol Bordello, Merge Fest Initial Details Announced, Mastodon Set To Tour, All Points West Festival Tickets On Sale Now
It’s been raining here for about a week now. The sun finally came out today (it’s weird), but otherwise, I feel like how you should feel after it’s been gloomy and wet for 6 days. I don’t know how you people up in the Pacific Northwest do it. That being said, this shit is going to be boring. I’m spent.
- Man Man are heading out with Cursive this spring and playing a few dates with Gogol Bordello. Their tour runs from mid-April to early-June. You can check out all the dates on Man Man’s MySpace page. I’d also like to mention as a side note that Cursive’s album title for their new jam, Mama, I’m Swollen (TMT Review), makes me feel gross.
- Merge Records has announced the initial lineup of their 20th anniversary festival, XX Merge. Bands set to play, so far include Superchunk, Spoon, Conor Oberst, Spent, M. Ward, The Rosebuds, Destroyer, Guv’ner, Polvo, Pipe, and The Broken West. Many more bands are yet to be announced, both “expected and unexpected.” Whatever that means. The festival runs July 22-26 at the Cat’s Cradle (Sunday will be at Memorial Hall) and takes place in Carrboro, NC. Tickets go on sale April 8 at 10 AM and are $150 for 5-day passes (individual passes will also be on sale). I’m pumped.
- Atlanta teddy bears Mastodon are heading out on tour next week in support of their new album, Crack The Skye, out on Reprise Records. Their tour kicks off Friday, April 10 in Birmingham. You can check out all the dates at Mastodon’s official website.
- The second annual All Points West Music & Arts Festival will be returning to the Jerz for the weekend of July 31 - August 2. This year's lineup includes The Beastie Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, MSTRKRFT, My Bloody Valentine, Tool (okay), Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Echo & The Bunnymen, and a buttload of other bands. Tickets go on sale TODAY and are $199 for a 3-day pass (single-day passes are $89). You can buy tickets at TicketBastard.com and find out more information on bands and whatever the “arts” part of the festival is at the official site. (On a side note: I wonder how long it will be before I start posting about festival cancellations?)
One man. Six tracks. This mid-April, there's only one label with the power to reissue this out-of-print album with a bonus disc. Experience...
Jim O'Rourke in I'm Happy and I'm Singing and a 1, 2, 3, 4.
Setting: the past. The years 1997-1999. Jim O'Rourke, solo artist and member of groups like Sonic Youth, Loose Fur, and Gastr del Sol, has just completed recording I'm Happy and I'm Singing on his laptop. The music was hot, and the babes were even hotter, and the cities where the album was recorded -- New York, Osaka, Tokyo, Toronto, and Malmö -- didn't even know what hit 'em. Fastforward to 2009. The album has been out of print for five years. The fans are restless. The music community has only one hope: that of a Editions Mego records reissue.
Starring Vin Diesel and Tara Reid, no other album reissue will have you THIS on the edge of your seat. Coming this mid-April, don't miss the reissue that Roger Ebert declared "a non-stop summer blockbuster of minimalism" and Leonard Maltin called "the best new artwork I've ever seen on a reissue."
I'm Happy and I'm Singing and a 1, 2, 3, 4 reissue tracklisting:
1. I'm Happy
2. And I'm Singing
3. And a 1, 2, 3, 4
1. Let's Take it Again from the Top
2. Getting the Vapors
3. He Who Laughs
(FYI: Jim O'Rourke is also a comedian.)
Details Revealed for Jim Jarmusch Collaboration with Boris, Sunn O))), and Earth; Spoiler: No New Tracks :(
Pie and ice cream. Squatters and abandoned warehouses. Coffee and cream. Some things just go together.
Now you can add Jim Jarmusch and Southern Lord to that list. Jarmusch, the visionary filmmaker behind such works as Down By Law, Dead Man, Ghost Dog, Broken Flowers, and Coffee and Cigarettes, has a new flick in the works, and as previously reported (TMT News), the soundtrack leans heavily towards Southern Lord Recordings signees.
Entitled The Limits of Control, the film centers around a "mysterious loner" in modern Spain -- so, you know, it includes at least one scene of a shady business deal going down as the fiery spirit of flamenco dancers accentuates the underlying passion of, oh whatever. There will be flamenco, that's all I'm saying. (There always is in these pictures.) Yes, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton are in it, but no, RZA and Tom Waits are not. But that's okay, really, because this soundtrack is gonna knock your socks off. Or, you know, something a little doomier.
Slated for release on Lakeshore Records, the following current Southern Lords artists and tracks will be included:
Boris - " " aka "Smile" (from the Japanese version of Smile, on Disk Union Records)
Boris - "Feedbacker I & IV" (from Feedbacker, on Disk Union Records)
Boris -"Fuzzy Reactor" (from Rainbow, on Disk Union Records)
Boris -"Farewell" (from Pink, on Southern Lord)
Sunn O)))/Boris - "N.L.T." (from Altar, on Southern Lord)
Sunn O)))/Boris - "Blood Swamp" (from Altar, on Southern Lord)
Earth - "Omens and Portents 1: The Driver" (from The Bees Made Honey In The Lions' Skull, on Southern Lord)
The Limits of Control hits theatres June 3, 2009. The soundtrack is scheduled for an April 28, 2009 release.
Beck to Reissue 1994 K Records Release One Foot in the Grave in a Last-Ditch Effort to Pull One Foot of His Career Out of It
Remember the ’90s, when gas was $1.09, cell phones were for emergencies, and Beck was BECK? Well, Beck remembers too, and he’s apparently aching to remind us all that he wasn’t always an aging caricature who had to try incredibly hard to make it seem like he, you know, wasn’t trying hard. Back in the ’90s? He just straight-up WASN’T trying hard, and when you listen back to those early amateur moments, it’s clear that he was an expert at it.
Thus, the sadly overwrought Beck of 2009 plans to capitalize big-time on his devil-may-care debut with the reissue of his 1994 slacker-folk album One Foot in the Grave on April 14th, with reportedly 16 additional songs tacked onto the original tracklist. Although this out-of-print beauty (which was recorded before — but released after — Beck’s breakthrough major label debut Mellow Gold) was originally released on K Records, it looks as though Interscope Records will handle the reissue.
The news of the reissue first appeared in Japanese paper Daily Yomiuri, which interviewed Beck before his Japanese tour this month. “Well, it’s been out of print for a few years, so it’s something we’ve been planning, but I knew that we had these extra tracks. I’ve actually been working on this for the past two or three years,” Beck tried hard to not try hard to tell the paper. “[On] the original tapes there were an extra maybe 30 songs that weren’t on the record and I picked the best… and added them on there, so it’s got about a little over a dozen extra tracks that no one’s heard before.” So there you have it: the best of the worst of the slacker’s expertly unhappy-proletarian junk folk... wait, what?
Anyway, in addition to the original One Foot, the three-song It’s All In Your Mind EP (that’s the original, not the Sea Change version, son) is also reportedly included, as is a batch of unreleased songs that have appeared only on bootlegs and/or songs that have only previously existed in Beck-lore but never heard (”Teenage Wastebucket,” “Piss On the Door”). So this whole is pretty exciting/confusing/meaningful/sad/awesome/ineffectual/essential, basically, depending on your point of view. Hey, kind of like how Beck himself is at this point!
In an age when corporate treasure holds are ever diminishing, music executives may now join their banking brethren in bereaving the loss of another piece of self-indulgent booty: the platinum record. Since no albums released in 2009’s first three months got even close to the one million mark, the RIAA won’t be doling out a single platinum record so far this year. In fact, only 39 releases sold more than 25,000 units in their opening week. Ouch.
The lack of platinum releases stands as a pale reflection of the sorry state of CD sales in general, which have dropped 20.3% from this time last year. While dwindling CD sales are nothing new by this point, labels now have to deal with store closings by credit-crunch ravaged retailers like Circuit City (RIP), Virgin Megatore, and Borders. Coupled with the ever increasing digital market (both legal and ehhh not so legal), I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that music industry may be in a bit of trouble. And as long as I’m making wacky theories, I don’t think newspapers are doing that great, either.
Ever since my virgin ears heard "All That She Wants" by Ace of Base playing eloquently on Casey Kasem's "Long Distance Dedication," I knew that Swedish music was on the rise and that ABBA, I mean Europe, had found their successors. Oh, how naïve I was.
More than a decade later, after a tirade of meaningless music fads and that one song by The Cardigans that was on the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack, Sweden's own Jens Lekman has taken center stage to win back the hearts of people who thought the Swedes went sour. Lekman has showed us that sounding similar to Kermit the frog is something sexual and intriguing, and after two delightful wingdings of recorded material, he will tour the unappreciated West Coast of the United States.
There's no word yet on whether this small tour will be with a full band or not, but you can bet your knickers it'll be appropriately intimate and Swedish. Opening for Lekman will be comedian Tig Notaro (Last Comic Standing 4, Sarah Silverman Show). Sounds tastier than ketchup on spaghetti!
05.26.09 - San Diego, CA - The Loft
05.27.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
05.28.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
05.29.09 - Santa Barbara, CA - Velvet Jones
05.30.09 - San Luis Obispo, CA - SLO Art Center
06.01.09 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom Of the Hill
06.02.09 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom Of the Hill
06.03.09 - Eugene, OR - WOW Hall
06.04.09 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile
06.05.09 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile
06.06.09 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
06.07.09 - Vancouver, WA - Richards on Richards