MySpace: “You Can’t Trust Anyone These Days”; Faces Possible Antitrust Action From Indie Labels Over New Online Music Store
News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s collective of youth-oriented media outlets (such as the small, secular-based cable access Fox News Channel and the GLBT magazine The Weekly Standard), has plans for an online music store. The nondescript store named MySpace Music hasn’t launched yet, but it promises to open up the company’s liberal portfolio of holdings like The Wall Street Journal and The Times to a more conservative audience.
According to The Register, MySpace Music will offer downloads, concert tickets, ringtones, and more, all packaged in what “MySpace insiders want to become the ‘internet's MTV.’” MTV is well known for its reactionary commentary and its fiscally conservative news on the global financial markets. It is a bold move and, in this writer’s opinion, quite refreshing to see the socially conscious and independent-focused grassroots News Corp reach out and co-opt the conservative culture to rebrand and repackage it with demographic-specific ads.
News Corp’s subversive new store is set to give right-wingers the content they want, while distancing the liberal name of the company as it makes money. Let’s just hope the emerging community (read: joint venture) of the world’s biggest media owner and the world’s three biggest major record labels (no EMI just yet*) can foster something unfettered by those big corporate giants out to screw the little guy.
But, that’s exactly what is happening.
Apparently, MySpace Music is coming under scrutiny for blocking independent labels from uploading music to the store. While News Corp is just trying to get upstarts like Sony BMG and Warner Music Group in stores (truthfully, Murdoch doesn’t care about money; he just wants the music to be heard), the collective is facing possible antitrust violations. There’s an issue of territorial rights and the way songs are uploaded, “but the broader concern is that MySpace Music is a party to which the independents haven't been invited -- an arrangement which strengthens the major labels' dwindling control over music distribution in a digital era.”
MySpace Music is a real spitfire, and it isn’t going down without a fight. A spokesperson had this to say in response to the antitrust talk:
We are not aware of any antitrust complaint or inquiry pending against either MySpace or MySpace Music. MySpace Music welcomes indie artists and is not blocking content from them or other labels. Our goal is to provide the indie community with powerful tools and monetization channels to enable them to access revenue streams previously unavailable.
Crisis averted, for now. Support News Corp’s grassroots effort and donate whatever you can at newscorp.com.
*MySpace Music debuted unexpectedly Wednesday night after EMI signed on.
I've read in a number of places that awesome San Francisco noise/sludge/punk outfit Flipper held a coveted place in Kurt Cobain's record collection, alongside The Vaselines, The Melvins, and The Raincoats. So it was an obvious pick for the Flipper dudes (TMT News) to pick up former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic for low-end duty, especially considering he's not doing much these days besides fixing democracy with his books, hangin' tough with dude from Sublime, growing a Will Oldham beard, and being unusually tall. Evidently, these past times are more important to Mr. N.
Novoselic announced this week that he's leaving the band due to "responsibilities at home." As such, the tour, originally scheduled to kick off November 8 at Austin, TX's Fun Fun Fun Fest, is canceled. No make-up dates or contigency plans have been announced.
Despite such unfortunate news, Flipper fans do have something to look forward to, as the band announced that they are re-releasing Generic Flipper, Gone Fishin', Public Flipper Limited, and Sex Bomb Baby on all formats (including digital). Look for those sometime before the year's end.
As exciting as this is, we're still tryin' to see some Flipper over here. Call up Moby... or Eric Avery from Jane's Addiction, or somethin' -- see what they have penciled in their day planners. You know they're probably not doing a whole lot right now.
Smashing Pumpkins 20th Anniversary Tourdates Confirmed; Hardcore Zwan Fans Don’t Exist, Just Thought I’d Underscore That
"For years now, I have walked around with a secret, a secret I chose to keep. But now I want you to be among the first to know that I have made plans to renew and revive the Smashing Pumpkins. I want my band back, and my songs, and my dreams."
It was just over three years ago when Billy Corgan took out full-page ads in a couple Chicago newspapers with that silly statement. What was most surprising wasn't that he wanted "his" band to reunite, it was that Corgan, a person who I considered intelligent, exhibited absolutely no tact, no common sense, no cool.
One album (Zeitgeist), one EP (American Gothic), and one song ("Superchrist") for a Guitar Center compilation later, The Smashing Pumpkins are still celebrating themselves with their newly confirmed 20th anniversary tour (minus James Iha and D'arcy). For five weeks, the band will play a bunch of new and old tracks, with several two-night dates in the bigger cities (first night is "Black Sunshine," second is "White Crosses" -- can't make this shit up). Pumpkins promise no overlap for those consecutive shows.
Meanwhile, The Smashing Pumpkins will play Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit October 26, a live DVD (If All Goes Wrong) comes out November 11, and a new song, "G.L.O.W.," will make its debut exclusively on Guitar Hero: World Tour.
Whatever happened to the "Gish tour" anyway?
Broken Social Scene Plan Tour, Sell Out Tourdates, Plan More Tourdates, Make a New Website; Feist Still Rumored to be on Sesame Street Singing “1234”
After wandering the world in 2008 to back Brendan Canning’s solo album, Something For All Of Us, Broken Social Scene have decided to extend their fall tour with some shiny new U.S. and Canada dates. The October dates have already sold out, but new dates have been added for November. The ever-morphing band will incarnate as an eight-piece for these shows, featuring Brendan Canning, Kevin Drew, Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin, Sam Goldberg, Leon Kingstone, Apostle of Hustle’s Andrew Whiteman, and Land of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell. Powell’s Land of Talk will be opening all of the U.S. dates
In other Broken Social Scene news, the band has launched a new website, which has some pretty cool art with a lot of paper planes. This new site will house a blog, which will see updates from the band while on tour. For those of you who want to buy a ticket, another website worth checking out is the Arts&Crafts online store – Gallery AC, which will be running a pre-sale for November dates until September 26 at 5 PM EST.
Broken Social Scene tourdates:
Man Man Tour Begins in Athens and Ends in Richmond, Prospect of Having Sex with Groupies Remains Strong Throughout
Man Man, the meanest men in rock, are set to embark on a tour they're calling “You Are My Manifest Destiny,” still supportin' and sportin' their ANTI- Records debut, Rabbit Hands (TMT Review). Sure, the album may have only gotten a 3.5/5 from Tiny Mix Tapes, but it got a whopping 5/5 stars on Amazon!
Don't agree with the score? Then maybe you haven't read the reviews. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
- "I can safely say that Rabbit Habits is Man Man's best effort. In fact, by comparison this album makes their previous efforts seem slightly lacking."
- "This album is absolutely terrific."
- "That being said, this release is a bit more accessible than Six Demon Bag."
- "Personal favorites include: Top Drawer, Poor Jackie, Easy Eats, Harpoon Fever..."
- "Pirate music to shake your booty."
- "A truly unique and challenging group."
The band's tour will eventually match up with Tim Fite's touring schedule, so be sure to lookout for him on a majority of these dates. And if you get a chance to talk to him at any of the shows, tell him Mango said "Slay the clown!" He'll know what that means.
Man Man “You Are My Manifest Destiny” tour:
Truth is, no other band generates as much excitement for the Gregorian Calendar as Boredoms.
As you may recall, Boredoms (or V∞redoms...) revamped their original 77 drummers event (on 7/7/07) with this year's 88 BoaDrum (TMT Review), with performances in New York and Los Angeles. Rumors about some sort of DVD for both performances have lingered for quite some time, especially since they were holding screenings earlier this year (TMT News). Luckily, all that waitin' with bated breath has paid off, as the documentary DVD for the original 77 Boadrum event in Brooklyn has arrived. And guess what? It's conveniently called 77 Boadrum, and it conveniently costs a shit-ton of money!
No worries though. Our do-and-don't friends at Vice have the entire movie streaming here. Or you can watch it here and say "whuddup" to my friend Tom. However, if you're a Boredoms completist, or if you have a George Lucas-esque Dolby 12.1 (or whatever) entertainment center and want to experience the event as only better living through technology can provide, you can purchase the DVD here for just shy of $70 USD (there are currently no plans for a U.S. release).
Is the 88 BoaDrum documentary soon to follow? Will they have another go for 9/9/09? Will they expand it further and hit every major city throughout the globe next year? Will they have more than 10 drummers for 10/10/10? Stayed tuned -- same TMT time, same TMT channel!
We last left career retrospective-era Bob Dylan in Martin Scorcese’s sublime No Direction Home, where mobs of British naysayers assailed our American treasure with every manner of hiss and boo because they refused to believe Dylan knew how to use objects that employed electrical current. At the documentary’s end, Dylan is a man betrayed, furious that his once adoring public turned on him with just one look at his Fender Stratocaster and Garth Hudson’s mighty beard parked behind a Hammond organ. But despite the film’s somber conclusion in 1966, all you Dylanmaniacs watching at home knew the world would eventually screw their heads on straight and embrace the new Bob, and in the years that followed, Dylan continued to reinvent himself, all while glutting the American songbook with new standards.
That is, until 1979 when Bob found Jesus and decided to tell everyone about it over the course of two-and-a-half terrible albums (the first side of 1979’s Slow Train Coming is pretty good). This still divisive, hyper-evangelical era serves as the subject for the latest Dylan documentary, Inside Bob Dylan’s Jesus Years: Busy Being Born…Again!. Directed by enormous Dylan-dweeb Joel Gilbert and released by his distribution company/tribute band Highway 61 Entertainment, the straight-to-DVD doc boasts interviews with Dylan’s Bible class teacher Pastor Bill Dwyer (I assume he’s not the same dude who hosted Battlebots), the late, great producer Jerry Wexler (TMT News), plus two members of Dylan’s backing band and a few assorted journalists. Though Dylan himself was not interviewed for the film, he appears in footage shot from 1979 to 1983 where he explains his religious beliefs in his music, including a never-before-seen 1981 interview.
I doubt this documentary, slated for an October 28 release, will convince the non-believers that “Bob Dylan's ‘Jesus Years’ are today regarded as among the best of his career,” as the DVD case so boldly claims (Who the hell said that? Rick Santorum?). Still, as long as Gilbert can reign in his Dylanophilia at least a little bit and focus on the facts, Inside Bob Dylan’s Jesus Years should provide some much-needed explanation about this impossibly awful section of Bob Dylan’s career. Seriously, listen to Saved! and try to count how many times your eyes roll. I bet you’ll lose count by track three.
When I started writing this story, I knew several things about Jarboe, the eerily ethereal female vocalist for legendarily abrasive New York band Swans and well-regarded, cult solo performer. These things were mostly personal, and not really interesting probably either to you (the reader) or to my handful of friends who have been subjected (even worse!) in person to said facts. The Jarboe-related knowledge I had was (a) the more disturbing the economic and political news gets on television, the more I wanna wear my Swans t-shirt to work, and (b) that I totally missed seeing Jarboe at SXSW and accidentally spent the entirety of her set watching some frat-boy cover band and being really confused. But now, thanks to the world's most informative press release, I have learned things that are actually interesting, things that I will now pass on to you in my possibly inaugural Top Lucky Number 7 Fun Facts about Jarboe:
1. Her parents were in the FBI.
2. She previously sang in a lounge act.
3. She has performed in cathedrals, museums, and public schools (presumably not with the lounge act).
4. Apart from her work with Swans and its side-project World of Skin, she has performed with Blixa Bargeld, Jim Thirwell, Alan Sparhawk, Steve Severin, Neurosis, David J, Bill Laswell, Lustmord, Pansonic, and Jesu, among many, many awesome others.
5. Her upbringing included experiences with religious snake-handling rituals in the Deep South.
6. She has collaborated with visual artists like Richard Kern and Beth B, and more!
7. She voiced a cartoon, The Venture Brothers.
But the real news is this: before the year is through, expect to see the lady's latest full-length on The End Records. Entitled Mahakali, the album features performances from Julia Kent (Rasputina), Philip Anselmo (Pantera, Down), Vinny Signorelli (Swans, Unsane), and Attila Czihar (Mayhem). Also on the docket for the upcoming months are the release of a "collective audio documentary" called The Sweet Meat Love And Holy Cult and Jarboe's work for the game The Path, created by Auriea Harvey. And, finally, expect a lengthy tour schedule to promote Mahakali early next year. Let the countdown to 2009 begin!
SanDisk Releases Music on SD Card, Intended For Those Who Still Don’t “Understand” the Information Super Highway – Also, For Idiots
SanDisk, the world's second-best company at selling portable audio players, has just announced a new music format -- music on SD Cards -- intended to compete with Compact Discs. For the younger crowd, the Compact Disc was created in the mid-’80s to facilitate the technological leap from analog to digital recordings. Compact Discs (or CDs, as they were known) were sold in plastic receptacles called jewel cases, which also contained artwork, liner notes, and occasional bonus content (such as videos). As technology plodded along, the CD was rendered obsolete by digital distribution services such as Napster, Morpheus, AudioGalaxy, and OiNK.
It warrants a fair amount of suspicion why SanDisk would choose the third quarter of 2008 to release "slotMusic," a music format whose direct competitor has already begun their liquidation sale -- but stranger things have been successful (fuck you, Gwar). There are rumors circulating that SanDisk's fearless leader lost a bet to his infant daughter over the exact time of poopy, but there also exists the slim possibility that SanDisk actually believes there is a market for a new physical format in a landscape that has increasingly shown waning interest in physical media as a whole. Like, you know, cuz it's on a tiny SD Card instead of a big CD, and shit.
Regardless of baseless speculation, SanDisk will go ahead with slotMusic in the upcoming months, hoping to covet the lucrative granny-owning-blackberries demographic with an initial run of 30 hot new albums from Akon, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Rihanna, Robin Thicke, Weezer, Usher, Leona Lewis, and other major label-owned musicians. All the music sold in the slotMusic format, which has a 1GB capacity, will be 320 kbps DRM-free MP3s and will also include album artwork, liner notes, and occasional bonus content (such as videos). The cost is estimated between $7 and $15 and will be sold in major retail locations, such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart. They will probably be found next to the CDs.
Awwww, holy fuck buttons. Martin Bulloch, Mogwai's rhythmic force, was rushed to the hospital shortly after the group's ATP performance this
past weekend due to complications from a recent pacemaker surgery. Bulloch recently had a new pacemaker put in, and, of course, the rest of the guys decided to auction off the old one on eBay (it has since been removed from eBay). Unfortunately, the new pacemaker isn't working as planned and was alluded to as the catalyst for Martin's trip to the hospital.
The official statement from Martin, via Mogwai's site:
I was taken into hospital last night almost immediately after the show at ATP. I've been having some problems with my pacemaker for the duration of the tour and it unfortunately culminated in me being sent to the emergency room. The doctors there initially thought i would have to have corrective surgery at a larger hospital nearer NYC but i have been given the all clear to travel home on the understanding that
i go straight to my cardiologist on arrival back in Scotland.
Consequently, Mogwai have decided to pack it up and return to Scotland, with all North American dates canceled (their European tour starting October 21 is still up in the air). Considering Martin and the rest of the band's warm and jolly nature, I hate to hear news like this, and we at Tiny Mix Tapes wish Martin a speedy recovery.
To tide you over, check out our interview with Stuart Braithwaite here, and be on the lookout for The Hawk is Howling (TMT Review), which drops tomorrow. The album will provide the scalp-scalding tide-me-over until Mogwai return to fuck up a town near you.