Be Your Own Pet's Jemina Pearl (pictured above) sort of resembles Blondie. Which is to say, she fits very snuggly in a certain mold bastardized by cookie-cutter mall punks like Avril Lavigne and imitated by others, including pop-punk sensations like Paramore's Hayley Williams. In other words, she has the potential to bring in big dollars. So, for the domestic release of their sophomore album, Get Awkward (TMT Review), Universal made sure that the spunkiest songs of the bunch -- "Blow Yr Mind," "Becky," and "Black Hole" -- were left off of the record.
After sounding messy and defiant -- shouting "I'm an independent motherfucker and I'm here to take your virginity!" -- on their eponymous 2006 debut for Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label, the kids in BYOP have crafted a catchy, accessible, and slightly reined-in effort on their follow-up, Get Awkward. So, when Universal Records -- believing it may have a hit on its hands -- made an agreement with Ecstatic Peace! to release the record in the United States, it wasn't going to let a little bit of teen angst and artistic license hinder their cash flow or ability to create a controversy. God forbid the record not be sold in Wal-Marts everywhere.
When Pearl sings "Let's go and kill someone" on "Black Hole" to describe the boredom faced in a wasteland of a town, her punky shouts are the sound of plummeting profits to the Suits in charge. Just imagine the horror on Minivan Mom's face when her adolescent daughter -- enamored with Pearl's pretty golden locks and wicked sense of style -- pops in the disc and "Becky" blares: "Now I'm going to juvey for teenage homicide!" The local news would have a field day.
So, it was a close one, but Universal Records and its parent company Universal Music Group saved the innocence of our youth, just like they did when they brought us Eminem. Remember when he told Kim, "Bleed, bitch, bleed!" on The Marshall Mathers LP on UMG subsidiary Interscope? Ah, I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.
Despite this slump in the economy, the TMT offices are alive and well, and any rumor to the contrary is heresy. Now, has our water been turned off? Yes. Have we cut a few corners by canceling our internet and jerry-rigging a giant antenna to snatch the neighbors' Wi-Fi signals? Yes. But these are wise managerial strategies to be employed in any financial case.
Also unwavering is TMT's commitment to high workplace morale and productivity. Inside, we've all crowded into the same corner, where the only unsecure wireless signal is strongest, setting our laptops up on empty paper boxes and toner crates. Mr P sits across from me in one of the two -- count ‘em two -- luxurious office beanbags that we picked up on citywide trash day. "You ever heard that uh..." P says, browsing stuffonmycat.com, "...that, uh -- OH MY GOD! LOOK AT THIS STUFF ON THIS CAT!" but few lookup from their dutiful YouTubing. Next to me, an unpaid intern tensely attempts to delete "amateur XXX" from the cached history of his Google searches, as a pale kid near the wall sits feverishly formatting tourdates, as he is commanded to do day in and day out.
"Hey, tourdate kid -- you got those UK Twilight Sad dates for me yet?"
Like a well-oiled machine:
Okay, Wilco tour news story: I don't like you, and you don't like me. But let's just do this thing, so I can go get some food finally and YOU can inform the dear readers about Jeff Tweedy and co.'s spring jaunt across the U.S., Canada, and Australia in support of the very spring-like Sky Blue Sky (TMT Review).
What's that? You're telling me that they've already stared the tour? Oh man, let's step on it here...
What's that?? You say that we have to also talk about how Wilco are rumored to be headlining this year's Lollapalooza along with the “self-released-record-club” that is Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails?
Fine, fine. I guess we can stick that in there somewhere. Let's move, move, move!
What's that??? You say that Jeff Tweedy is looking pretty fat these days?!?
Now that's just plain mean...
Dates, cities, state abbreviations, and venues:
Pre-sale, anyone? You know those Missoula Montana tickets are gonna go like hotcakes!!
Mmmmm... speaking of hotcakes...
When you invent your own genre, it's difficult to transcend said genre, as it is defined by whatever music you play. These Are Powers are the only "ghost punk" band I've ever heard of (except for that band of ghosts from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets who all play the saw). And yet, they still manage to expand into the lesser-known subgenres of "cough punk" and "squeal punk" on their new EP, Taro Tarot, out April 1 on HOSS. These genres are so obscure that they don't even have Wikipedia pages, because they have not yet received enough press to meet Wikipedia's notability standards. Well guess what? I am the media. And I just made them notable.
These Are Powers have recently finished playing four ghostly/coughy/squealy punk shows for hip businesspeople at SXSW looking for that "new sound." With any luck, they'll get picked up by a major label, who will laud them as "the future of alternative rock" or maybe even "the next Jet." This week, they finish off their U.S. tour with scattered dates scheduled for later (including a release party at New York's Knitting Factory), occasionally accompanied by Skeletons, Extra Life, Sightings, and maybe some other bands that sound like they might consist entirely of ghosts.
I feel like I should let you know that I considered making a joke about The Ramones being a ghost punk band, because some of them are dead. But then I decided the joke would be in poor taste. But then I decided that I value honesty. So, now you know that I thought of a joke in poor taste. Alas, it is not my discretion that is faulty, but my thought process. I should stop before I dig myself any deeper, because I might get buried alive and come back to haunt obscure bands. Or I could come back and start a ghost punk band. YES! FULL CIRCLE, BITCHES!
Taro Tarot tracklisting:
For the first time in 30 years, the FCC has decided to examine what's naughty and what's nice -- in other words, revisiting the standards for what constitutes an "indecent" broadcast. Sparked by Bono's ill-fated F-bomb on the 2003 Golden Globe Awards and Janet Jackson's, um, flash in the pan during the Super Bowl, the FCC cracked down in 2004 and slapped NBC and Fox respectively with hefty fines, promising to do the same to all other offenders in the future. This includes any accidental airings of curses or other no-nos, which means Courtney Love should probably never be on TV again. "No bueno," said the networks, and after suing to block the new process, a New York judge ruled that the institution of such fines should be hung up until a further decision was reached.
The FCC, however, is determined to shield our virgin ears and eyes, bringing the case to the Supreme Court. Chairman Kevin Martin is stoked: "The Commission, Congress and, most importantly, parents understand that protecting our children is our greatest responsibility. I continue to believe we have an obligation then to enforce laws restricting indecent language on television and radio when children are in the audience." TV networks already use a 5-second delay for live broadcasts, and most radio stations use a similar such animal to avoid the airing of potty words, but that's not good enough for the FCC, who have decided that, from now on, everyone needs to ask Zandar and anticipate these sorts of things. Yes, they've got that kind of faith.
I applaud the FCC's noble crusade to clean up these filthy, nasty airwaves! Imagine a world without indecency... Hey, wait. Why is VH1 just showing a test pattern? I want my wholesome girls-in-bikinis-climbing-all-over-washed-up-rock-stars programming back! Sure, there's innuendo and sexism galore, but all bad words are bleeped out... and that's a real family show right there.
Not Sure If Anyone Has Reported This Yet, But The Raconteurs Are Releasing Their New LP Next Tuesday
In the spirit of the quick turn-around between the completion and actual release of the new Raconteurs album, here is a short news story (because we, as a race -- the human race -- don't have time to wait for a finished record, and we don't have time for long news stories):
The LP is called Counselors of the Lonely (Third Man/XL/Warner), and it comes out March 25 on CD, LP, and digital formats, like the single 320kb MP3 posted on the band's website. They're also going on a short Western U.S. (with a little dip into Canada) tour, including a two-day stint at Stubb's BBQ, which I am sure is more prestigious than it sounds.
For my final act, I will now paint you a word picture using the list of all the words that were capitalized in Brendan, Jack, Patrick, and Jack's press release: EVERYWHERE, EVERY FORMAT AT ONCE, EXACT SAME TIME, THEN, FOR YOU, IMMEDIATELY, NOT, REACTION.
Consolers of the Lonely tracklist:
What do fresh green grass, tiny adorable baby lambs, and swirling, droning guitars all have in common? Why, they're harbingers of spring, of course! And if you're getting tired of those pastel-colored marshmallow chickens and rabbits that make your teeth hurt, then this April/May holds the perfect solution to the sweetness and light that have been plaguing the season. That's right, just in time to complement the budding roses of spring comes a Dead Meadow tour. The psychedelic sludge rock band, beloved by stoner metal fans and hipsters alike, is hitting the road for an extensive tour of the United States, as well as a brief but titillating dip into Canada.
The list of dates is long, so I'll let the itinerary just speak for itself.
* Indian Velcro Lewis
A week ago, an Australian woman Karen Lee Cooper pleaded guilty to stabbing her boyfriend to death. She claims that her motive was that he didn't like her listening to Bruce Springsteen's music.
The Australian Associated Press reports that the Supreme Court of Bisbane sentenced Cooper to eight comfy years in prison. Trying to get out of the sentence could lead Cooper to be "Wanted: dead or alive," some might say.
According to the Courier Mail newspaper, Cooper told police "I couldn't even play Bruce Springsteen on my stereo. Can you believe that? Can you believe that?"
When being bossed around by her boyfriend, Kevin Watson, she probably felt like shout-singing, "Shot through the heart, and you're to blame." Now, living with what she has done, she will most likely be "Livin' on prayer."
Bruce Stringsteen is an American, singer-songwriter, known for his Top 40 hits, "It's My Life" and "Have a Nice Day."
Phew, good thing I didn't screw up this article by making light of a tragic situation. Please, just do not date anyone that has opposite taste in music.