RIP: Odetta Holmes, Folk Singer, “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement”

From YouTube:

From the LA Times:

Odetta, the classically trained folk, blues and gospel singer who used her powerfully rich and dusky voice to champion African American music and civil rights issues for more than half a century starting in the folk revival of the 1950s, has died. She was 77.

She was admitted to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City for a checkup in mid-November but went into kidney failure. She died there Tuesday of heart disease, her manager, Doug Yeager, told the Associated Press.

With a repertoire that included 19th century slave songs and spirituals as well as the topical ballads of such 20th century folk icons as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Odetta became one of the most beloved figures in folk music.

She was said to have influenced the emergence of artists as varied as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin and Tracy Chapman.

- Odetta Wikipedia entry
- MC Records

Franz Ferdinand, Perhaps the Most Innovative Band of All-Time, Start Their North American Tour Today

Avant-garde noise act Franz Ferdinand are back with their cutting-edge music -- that is, if you can call it "music." Innovative, radical, revolutionary, experimental, spearheading, trailblazing, trendsetting -- these are just some of the words that immediately spring to mind when I think of the group's forward-thinking sounds. When all is said and done, Franz Ferdinand is a singularity in the music universe.

Don't have a way to play their non-categorizable "music" at home? You's in luck: Franz Ferdinand are touring North America starting today and, by the end of the year, will find themselves on the festival circuit before ending with a couple UK shows in January 2009. Expect to see lead Ferdinand-er Alex Kapranos consume narcotics, self-mutilate, verbally abuse the audience, expose himself, and leap off the stage. Their shows are so exciting.

Kid Midnight Emerges From 5 Years of Cryogenic Freezing: “I Can’t Believe That I Live In A World Where Digital Sales Are Higher Than Physical CD Sales!”

Duh.

Atlantic Records made history recently when it became the first major label record to announce that its digital sales were 1% higher than revenue accrued from physical CD sales! For all you mathphobics out there, this means that digital sales earned a whopping 51% of total revenue.

For those of you who have been living in some dark cave, their parents’ basement, or decided to chill out and spend a couple years frozen solid (like me), “MP3s,” as they call them, have steadily been on the rise as the prime format for music storage. Whether it be through legal or illegal means, anyone with half a brain knows that a growing segment of the population, including tech-savvy hipsters and SUV-driving hockey moms alike, have been buying up “MP3 players,” collecting “ringtones,” and “downloading” their music from online sources like “Rhapsody” or, say, “iTunes.”

Warner Music Group announced that their digital revenues rose by 39%, topping out at 639 million doll hairs in the previous fiscal year. Julie Greenwald, president of Atlantic Records, had this to say: “I think we’ve figured [music] out.”

So, what next? Will physical CD sales continue to decline? Does this signal the end of the album? Will the next Ironman movie be as good as the first? Will CDs become a thing of the past, joining vinyl records as a niche market? Will record stores die out only to be replaced by online download stations and boutique clothing shops? Who knows!

Only time will tell where mankind goes from here. Onward and Upwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard!!

Caribou to Donate Majority of His $20k Polaris Prize Money

For someone who's named himself after majestic deer and a lush foresty Canadian province -- not to mention a sample and title songs that deal with nature -- it's no surprise that Dan Snaith would want to save the earth. And since he's also a part-time teacher, Snaith seems like the kind of guy who likes to give rather than receive.

Appropriately, Snaith, a.k.a. Caribou, announced last week that he will donate a majority of his $20,000 Polaris Prize money he won for 2007's Andorra (TMT Review), keeping only a small portion to fund his forthcoming album. The money will be given to environmental non-profit Ecojustice and the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

"I have always thought of Canada as an environmentally progressive place... however, recently the Canadian government has acted as a global obstacle to climate action. In a study this year Canada ranked 29th out of 30 industrialized nations for tackling climate change," Snaith said, remarking on his choice of giving to Ecojustice. Meanwhile, The Stephen Lewis Foundation is a project-based charity helping communities affected by the AIDS epidemic throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

Heck of a guy, that Snaith. Hopefully the money given to Ecojustice will be invested in getting real legislative efforts to come to fruition, not in another Live Earth (Sorry, Al).

Deerhunter’s European Vacation

Deerhunter have had a hell of a year: blog drama, album leakin', shit-talkin', secret record schemin', playa hatin', dealin' with the obligatory clause that states every Goddamn article about Deerhunter has to mention something about Bradford Cox's physical appearance, et al. Nonetheless, the band has emerged victorious with the mighty Microcastle / Weird Era Cont. (TMT Review), poised to be at the top of a lot of year-end lists this year (including my own).

Just wrapping up a recent fall tour for the yanks, Deerhunter will
spend Q1 of next year studying abroad. They will also release a
single for "Never Stops," certainly the poppiest of Microcastle, in
March. Otherwise, not a whole lot going on, so just keep looking at the amazing photo above before you go.

# Times New Viking, Nite Jewel

% Leah Hutchison

Neko Case to Release Middle Cyclone Next March with A Little Help From Her Freunde (New Pornographers, Calexico, Giant Sand, M. Ward)

What do you have planned for next March? Are you going to be there as the U.S. begins its first round of negotiations with the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership countries on a possible free trade agreement? Anticipating the second World Baseball Classic? Can't wait until NASA's Kepler Mission is launched? Perhaps the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai or the 60th FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne?

Nope, none of the above. You're beyond politics and sports, because you're one of the lucky few who are so attuned to your feelings that ART is what moves you. Well, art connoisseur, expert of taste, master of your feelings, you're in luck: Neko Case is set to release her first album since 2006's Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. Titled Middle Cyclone, the 15-track album features Case's core band (guitarist Paul Rigby, bassist Tom V. Ray, backing vocalist Kelly Hogan, multi-instrumentalist Jon Rauhouse, drummer Barry Mirochnick) with guests aplenty, including members from The New Pornographers, Los Lobos, Calexico, Giant Sand, The Sadies, and others, like M. Ward and shit.

Middle Cyclone is set for release March 3 on ANTI- Records. Tracklist:

Just Another Diamond Documentary: Vashti Bunyan Flick Debuts at London Film Festival

We know it exists. We know people have seen it. But where can we non-London or Copenhagen residents see it? And when? The new CC-Films Vashti Bunyan (TMT Interview) documentary is something like a velociraptor in that way. We know they existed once, but when will they come back?

Let's take a look at the facts. Filmmaker Kieran Evans recently collaborated with St. Etienne on their film love letter to London, Finisterre, and now Vashti Bunyan: From Here To Before has been making its way around the fall film festival circuit -- well, at least in the previously mentioned Copenhagen, where it was screened earlier this month, and London, where the film debuted at The Times 52nd London International Film Festival. Described as "a lyrical, modern day road movie," the documentary chronicles Bunyan's first big London show, 30 or so years after she recorded the undeservedly long-forgotten Just Another Diamond Day, and features interviews with big-name music execs like Joe Boyd, Andrew Loog Oldham, and Robert Kirby. The documentary also retraces the horse and buggy journey!!! Bunyan took across Great Britain to join a commune in Scotland (during which she recorded her debut LP with Joe Boyd) and appearances by Adem Ilhan, Max Richter, and, of course, Devendra Banhart.

Alas, no upcoming screenings have been announced, and no DVD news is pending, but if we've learned anything from Jurassic Park I-III, it's that if people want something bad enough -- be it a bloodthirsty, fast-running tiny lizard monster or a documentary about a critically-acclaimed English folk artist -- it won't be too long before it shows up in a theater near you.

The Strokes Announce Plans to Start Tracking Again in February, Or As Soon As It’s Warm Enough for Leather and Snake Skin Outerwear

The Strokes (Wait, who? Is that that band from Sweden who wears red and black?) have been so busy with their individual side-projects lately that the members of NYC’s one-time rock ‘n’ roll saviors (oh yeah, those guys) have probably almost forgotten what it’s like to sit hunched over their instruments in a live room worrying about their image and secretly hating one another. Fortunately for us, they’ll be experiencing that personal hell for our benefit soon enough, as the band has announced that they’ll be heading back into the studio this coming February.

In a recent interview with Spin, Strokes bassist and, umm, Nickel Eye frontman Nikolai Fraiture elaborated on his hopes that the band will find a new sound naturally when they finally reconvene in the studio. "The dynamic will be different and it will seep through," Fraiture said. "Maybe that'll be our producer, maybe it will be different songwriting; it's a little too early to tell. But I think the only way to go forward is to change.” TMT Translation? “I better get to write some of these new Strokes songs, or ELSE...”

Fraiture also revealed that the band had tried to come together for a new album for some time, only to have their personal lives (read: side projects, pregnant girlfriends, etc.) get in the way. "Everyone in the band is eager to get back... we've been trying for the last two years, on and off. But people need to do what they need to do. That's how all of the side-projects came about — wanting to continue to play music."

Oh, and speaking of those now comically-numerous side-projects, Fraiture’s aforementioned Nickel Eye project is scheduled to release its debut, Time of the Assassins, January 27. Though, between you and me, I think that the band would have more yuppie appeal if it were called “Dr. Fraiture Crane,” don’t you?

Ten Kens Are Touring Europe. Oh Joy! What an Opportunity to Write a Zany, Predictable News Story About the Origin of Their Name!

Puddle of Mudd, Rascal Flatts, Ratt, and The Bacon Brothers. All amazing band names, for sure, but trying to figure out how those very same band names came to be is utterly impossible. The same used to be said about Ten Kens until it was made known that the moniker was derived quite literally from a four-pronged, shared admiration for ten people named Ken, as impossible as that sounds. While this tale of teleKennethis is now the stuff of Canadian musical folklore, the identities of the actual ten adored Kens was never known... until now!

1. Ken Masters, character in Street Fighter

While all fans of Street Fighter, Ten Kens are even more fans of Masters’ attire, favoring to take the stage wearing the fiery red gi of Ken over Ryu’s understated vanilla gi and red headband combo. Singer Dan Workman also likes the Bret Michaels-esque mane of Ken as opposed to Ryu's chopped "Zoolander" look.

2. Ken Dryden, former Montréal Canadiens goalie, present Liberal Party of Canada stooge

Although the four band members hail from Toronto, they bleed blue, white, and red as far as hockey is concerned. They also happen to like the way Dryden, the politician, holds his caucus.

3 Ken Wahl, actor

TV’s “Wiseguy”... enough said!

4. Ken Jennings, 74-time "Jeopardy!" champion

A favorite among Ten Kens (though drummer Ryan Roantree, in a previous life, was the world's leading "Tic Tac Dough" historian).

5. Ken Kesey, counter-culture author

Because they are too young to be beatniks and too old to be hippies.

6. Ken, Barbie’s effeminate half

True confession: guitarist Dean Tzenos dressed up as Ken for Halloween in 2004, which is not that long ago, when you think about it. And for the record, he actually made his greatest candy haul that year wearing a costume of short blond bouffant, pastel v-necked sweater, and pressed trousers with visual trouser snake.

7. Ken Burns, documentary maker

Fact: Ten Kens can’t get enough of that sexy documentarian!

8. Ken Caminiti, former professional baseball player

The band admired the late slugger's hitting and steroid/cocaine intake prowess. (Ouch... too soon?)

9. Ken Follet, thriller novelist

Follet has written books centred around World War II espionage. Ten Kens are Nazi sympathizers. No brainer!

10. Ken River in India

"Best tributary ever!" claimed bassist Lee Stringle, before grabbing my living room lamp and my shoe and running out the door shouting "Free the Fairyland Two!"

Alright... so Ten Kens have nothing to do with ten Kens and everything to do with creating mighty psych rock shitstorms. Live, Ten Kens are even more devastating, displaying the power of ten of any Ken you would care to name. The Toronto quartet will look to build upon the positive atmos surrounding their recently-released self-titled debut album with a small tour of Scotland, Wales, and England, the latter being the home to its record label, FatCat. Ten Kens' British tour continues tonight with a headlining show in Edinburgh and will include a number of gigs opening for A Place to Bury Strangers. Ken you dig it?
12.01.08 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Cabaret Voltaire
12.02.08 - York, England - The Duchess
12.04.08 - Manchester, England - The Roadhouse %
12.05.08 - Leeds, England - The Cockpit %
12.06.08 - Cardiff, Wales - Clwb Ifor Beach %
12.08.08 - London, England - ICA %
12.09.08 - London, England - Blow Up Metro
12.10.08 - London, England - Club Fandango ^

% A Place to Bury Strangers

^ Stricken City

As The Saying Goes, “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade, And Also Check Out Pontiak on Tour If You Feel Like It.” That’s a Weird Saying, Come to Think of It.

- Pontiac is a brand of automobiles, produced by General Motors that has been sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico since 1926. Pontiac is marketed as General Motors' "athletic" brand and specializes in mainstream performance vehicles.

- Pontiac or Obwandiyag (c. 1720 – April 20, 1769), was an Ottawa leader who became famous for his role in Pontiac's Rebellion (1763–1766), an American Indian struggle against the British military occupation of the Great Lakes region following the British victory in the French and Indian War.

- Pontiac is the title of Lyle Lovett's second album, released in 1987.

- Pontiak is made up of three brothers from the Blue Ridge farm country of Virginia, Van (guitar, lead vocals), Lain (drums, vocals) and Jennings Carney (bass, organ, vocals). Their music is swaggering guitar rock that straddles the line between a power trio and something far more expansive in sound and scope. Their broad song structures allow ample room for three-part vocals, drums, organ and stellar slide and lead guitar to stretch and captivate.

- Mamma Mia! is a 2008 stage-to-film adaptation of the 1999 West End musical of the same name, based on the songs of successful pop group ABBA, with additional music also composed by ABBA member Benny Andersson. The film did very well at the box office and is the most successful Hollywood film musical of all time. It also sucks ass.

@ Golden Animals

& Rebel Drone

  

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