RIP: Maurice Jarre, Composer of Doctor Zhivago Score

From The Guardian:

The French composer Maurice Jarre, whose work on the films of David Lean won him three Oscars, has died in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. He was 84.

Jarre won his first Academy Award in 1963 for his grand, sweeping score for Lean's Lawrence of Arabia. He repeated the feat in 1966 with his lush, Russian-balalaika-infused score for Doctor Zhivago and took the gong for the third time in 1985 for A Passage to India. Of his relationship with Lean, Jarre once said, "I owe him everything ... He gave me the best pictures, the opportunity to receive three Oscars for four films – not so bad! – and he gave me his friendship. He was a gentleman. When I lost him, I lost not only a great director, but a great friend."

- Wikipedia entry
- IMDB entry

Patronizing headlines aside, we should be grateful for folk like Antony and The Johnsons for always throwing a much-needed jolt of wild interest into our mundane music news day. Thanks to Mr. Hegarty and his “wow factor” way of doing things, I haven’t had to pull out my old standby today: “So-and-so to play same shit-hole that every artist plays when they come through whatever town you might be living kinda nearby, yeah.” With Antony, there are certain expectations to his recording and touring announcements, and the same can be said about this one. The Antony and The Johnsons camp have revealed some high-concept 2009 plans, starting with initial details of his summer orchestra-assisted European tour.

The shows will feature 36-52 member orchestras conducted by Rob Moose playing arrangements by Antony and Nico Muhly. For the Manchester shows, Antony will unveil his commissioned “stage environment for The Crying Light (TMT Review) inspired by Bauhaus stage lighting design and considering the dreams of crystals inside mountains.” This probably does not mean you will see the tantalizing combo of Christmas lights plus a stenciled “Antony” on black construction paper pasted over the venue logo at the back of the stage -- but you never know. More concerts should be announced shortly.

Never one to remain static of mind and activity, Antony has other grand schemes for the near future. First up, will be the 7-inch and CD release of stellar single “Epilepsy is Dancing” on April 7 by Secretly Canadian. Be sure to find the accompanying video, which was directed by the Wachowski Brothers (V for Vendetta, The Matrix) and features a film-spliced Antony in a ghost-white villain mask and black fright wig dodging pogs emblazoned with Luis Buñuel’s visage. Okay, maybe not. See for yourself.

Additionally, lucky Coachella-goers will be able to see Antony play a special concert at the festival Sunday (April 19) on the Indio, CA grounds. Hegarty has tapped Matthew Herbert to play minimal electronic renditions of The Crying Light’s songs, which sounds like reason enough to venture to out California in a few weeks time.

And finally, for this news story, gallery owner and designer Agnes B has asked Antony to exhibit at “Six Eyes,” beginning April 11 at the Gallery du Jour in Paris. Other participants include William Basinski and James Elaine, Barbara Cummard, Peter Hujar, Alice O’Mally, and Kiki Smith.

Here is the full list of shows Antony will be playing over the next few months, including the symphony summer shows and many others European dates before them, which are, of course, already long sold out.

His river never will run dry:
03.31.09 - Prato, Italy - Teatro Politeama Pratese
04.01.09 - Milan, Italy - Sala Verdi Conservatorio
04.04.09 - Zurich, Switzerland - Kongresshaus
04.06.09 - Strasbourg, France - La Laiterie
04.09.09 - Paris, France - Le Grand Rex
04.13.09 - Brussels, Belgium - Bozar
04.15.09 - Barcelona, Spain - Palau de la Musica
04.19.09 - Indio Valley, CA - Coachella Festival, Coachella Polo Fields
04.24.09 - Berlin, Germany - Admiralspalast
04.26.09 - Munich, Germany - Circus Krone
04.27.09 - Frankfurt, Germany - Alte Oper
04.29.09 - Warsaw, Poland - National Theatre
05.01.09 - Krems, Austria - Donaufestival, Main Hall
05.03.09 - Eindhoven, Netherlands - MC FritsPhilips
05.05.09 - San Sebastian, Spain - Kursaal Auditorium
05.07.09 - Murcia, Spain - Auditorio de Murcia
05.11.09 - Madrid, Spain - Palacio de Congresos
05.14.09 - Lisbon, Portugal - Coliseum
05.16.09 - Braga, Portugal - Teatro Circo
05.18.09 - Porto, Portugal - Coliseum
05.21.09 - Brighton, England - Brighton Festival, Brighton Dome Concert Hall
05.22.09 - Birmingham, England - Symphony Hall
05.24.09 - Bristol, England - Colston Hall
05.27.09 - London, England - Hammersmith Apollo
05.29.09 - Gateshead, England - The Sage
05.31.09 - Dublin, Rep. of Ireland - Vicar St

06.01.09 - Belfast, Northern Ireland - Waterfront
06.04.09 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Playhouse
06.21.09 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Holland Festival, Royal Theatre Carré #
06.22.09 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Holland Festival, Royal Theatre Carré #
07.03.09 - Manchester, England - The Opera House $
07.04.09 - Manchester, England - The Opera House $
07.21.09 - Lyon, France - Les Nuits de Fourviere %
07.28.09 - Rome, Italy - Cavea, Il Parco della Musica ^
08.09.09 - Oslo, Norway - Oslo Jazz Festival, Opera House open air venue *
08.14.09 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Way Out West Festival +

# Metropole Orchestra

$ Manchester Camerata (Manchester International Festival)

% Opera de Lyon Orchestra

^ Rome Sinfonietta

* Oslo Opera House Orchestra

+ Gothenburg Symphonic Orchestra

RIAA Tries to Force ISPs to Do Naughty Things; ISPs Respond Hesitantly

Just after we published our Year-End Fest last December, including a fine piece of work on copyright by Yours Truly, the RIAA decided to be Santa last year: The organization announced that it would cease new lawsuits against suspected file-sharing pirates (though they would continue current ongoing lawsuits). And there was much cautious rejoicing.

Alas, the organization needed a new tactic to maintain an ardent stand against piracy and to keep the Big 4's shareholders content to a certain degree. And announce one it did: have internet service providers (ISPs) warn users and implement sanctions against them if discovered pirating material. This process, called the "graduated response" program, would include blocking and terminating (i.e. banning) access to users after repeated warnings. A reasonable plan when you think about it. [Glares from the TMT staff] What? The RIAA goes back into the background, nobody is sued for ridiculous amounts of money, everybody wins. Right? [Groans]

Actually, this was all reported at the same announcement. We were going to report on this when we came back from our holiday break, but then the Thnikkaman came by and... well, I'd like to see you stay on task when you're starin' down the barrel of a loaded Thnikkaman. Anyway, the reason why we are reporting on this now is that there have been developments on this front. You see, the problem with the new strategy was that it required cooperation from America's ISPs. At the time of the announcement, neither the RIAA nor any major ISPs commented on who was involved. As it stood, the ISPs had reason to fear the new announcement: Coming off a year of massive flak concerning bandwidth-throttling and net neutrality, the last thing the ISPs needed was to have the burden of blame concerning anti-piracy shifted to them at such a time.

Now, as of the past two days, the picture is clearer: During the Leadership Digital Music Summit in Nashville this week, three of the largest ISPs in the nation, DSL provider AT&T (Ars Technica) and cable providers Comcast and Cox (CNet), have made statements saying they are cooperating with the RIAA on this system. Sounds like a good idea to switch, right?

Not exactly. According to reports, of the three, only Cox has fully implemented the graduated response program. Comcast has implemented the program through letter-sending, but press statements have indicated that they have no interest in terminating service. Finally, AT&T is only doing limited geographical trials at this time and, furthermore, is refusing to sanction users. The problem with the latter point is that it renders the whole program moot, null, and void. AT&T argues that the psychological effect of just sending emails or warnings to users does its intended effect. But there's the problem: All bark, no bite.

On the other hand, one major ISP stands out from the rest in all this: DSL/Fiber provider Verizon, as also reported by Ars Technica, has been the only major ISP so far to proclaim that they will not cooperate with the RIAA. While amazing, this is not unusual: Verizon was also one of the few ISPs to announce in the wake of the Comcast bandwidth-throttling scandal that they will never throttle their bandwidth under any circumstance.

So, and users, heed this advice if you haven't already: If you use cable, you might want to switch. If you use DSL, keep your head low. If you use Verizon, well, then, you're just awesome.

Mario Speedwagon’s Under The Radar News Roundup: Akron/Family Tour Europe With Wilco, Meat Puppets Tour, El Dorado Desert Rock Fest, Northside Festival In Brooklyn

Okay, so I’m back from SXSW. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t see either Wavves or The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart on principle, since they were playing 50 times each. I ended up seeing both bands only once. In fact, my coworker saw The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart while standing next to Vivian Girls. Fucking ridiculous. If Vampire Weekend had been there, it would have been like that episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer where the Anointed One tries to resurrect The Master, but can only do so by assembling those who were present when he died and draining their blood over his body. I’m going to say The Master would be... I don’t know... The world pre-blogging? Sufjan before he was cool? Indie rock 10 years ago? Pitchfork when it was brown-fork? I don’t know; I’m open to suggestions. Oh, and big ups to Ryan Catbird: FTW. Anyway, on to the news.

- Akron/Family are going to kick it with Wilco this spring and go on tour in Europe. They have a few select dates on their own in the U.S. in early May before heading to Brussels to start their tour with Wilco. The tour is about a month long, and if you happen to be from Europe or plan on being in Europe around this time and you give a shit, you can find the dates at the Dead Oceans site.

- The Meat Puppets are heading on tour this summer. A real tour, not one of those tours that are announced and get people excited and then they check it out and it’s like four dates in Los Angeles and one in New York. Meat Puppets are kicking things off mid-May in Los Angeles and finishing things off at the end of June in Austin. They’re even coming to the South, which is why I call it a “real tour,” because bands skip us all the time. They also have a new record coming out May 12 called Sewn Together. Check out the dates on their MySpace.

- El Dorado Desert Rock Fest. I don’t know what the fuck this is.

- Okay, so L Magazine announced their plans for the first Northside Festival, which is being advertised as a “sort of non-industry, SXSW-like festival” in Brooklyn. Okay, first problem: the “industry” will infiltrate eventually, hippies. Where there are bands, there will be writers, managers, label people, etc. In fact, there already are label people, since there are label showcases from Ernest Jennings and Frenchkiss and a few from blogs. You think the people who run those labels and sites are going to be like, “Alright, you guys are playing the showcase, but you kids have fun, I’m going to kick it at home with some Battlestar and a medium pepperoni.” Yeah, no. Also, I really wanted to mention this one comment someone posted on Brooklyn Vegan in response to the news about Northside Fest: “This has the potential to be really awesome. Hope Grizzly Bear plays.” HAHAHAHAHA.

BTW, Buffy was a total bitch in that episode. She was a total snatch to Cordelia and Willow and she tried to make Angel jealous by dancing like a skank with Xander. Xander fucking sucked.


Merge Releases Details on Covers Record

What better way to celebrate an anniversary than to reinterpret the past through song. Merge Records, which began 20 years ago, will be releasing THE COVERS! on April 7 in a very limited edition of 7,500, with profits going to charities chosen by the curators of Merge's super-huge subscription series Score!

THE COVERS! will include 20 tracks from some of today's biggest names and will cover past and present Merge artists. Highlights include the cleanest-sounding Times New Viking cover of The Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #1," the premiere of Calvin Johnson's new band The Hive Dweller's on their oddball cover of Superchunk's "My Noise," and The Mountain Goats' stripped down cover of East River Pipe's "Drug Life."

To celebrate their 20th anniversary Merge will also be hosting XX MERGE (TMT News), "five days of live music from Merge artists past and present taking place in the label's native North Carolina July 22-26." Lineup and ticket info should be announced shortly.

THE COVERS! tracklist:

1. Quasi – Beautiful Things (3Ds)
2. Les Savy Fav – Precision Auto (Superchunk)
3. The Shins – Plenty Is Never Enough (Tenement Halls)
4. St. Vincent and The National – Sleep All Summer (Crooked Fingers)
5. Broken Social Scene – Complications (The Clean)
6. Ryan Adams – Like a Fool (Superchunk)
7. Bright Eyes – Papa Was a Rodeo (The Magnetic Fields)
8. Lavender Diamond – New Ways of Living (Destroyer)
9. The Apples in Stereo – King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 3 (Neutral Milk Hotel)
10. Laura Cantrell – Cowboy on the Moon (Lambchop)
11. Bill Callahan – Santa Maria (Versus)
12. Barbara Manning – Through With People (Portastatic)
13. The Mountain Goats – Drug Life (East River Pipe)
14. The New Pornographers – Don’t Destroy This Night (The Rock*A*Teens)
15. Tracey Thorn & Jens Lekman – Yeah! Oh, Yeah! (The Magnetic Fields)
16. The Hive Dwellers – My Noise (Superchunk)
17. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – The Numbered Head (Robert Pollard)
18. Okkervil River – All You Little Suckers (East River Pipe)
19. Death Cab for Cutie – Kicked In (Superchunk)
20. Times New Viking – Neighborhood #1 (Arcade Fire)

Phil Spector’s Retrial Jury Retires to Make a Landmark Decision for Gun-Toting Whackjob Record Producers the World Over

On February 3, 2003, police arrested music legend Phil Spector on suspicion of the murder of club hostess and actress Lana Clarkson. Now, obviously everybody in this bloody shithole of a civilization knows the story here (crazy Phil says suicide, rest of the universe says murder), but I felt it necessary to post the date of the arrest itself. Take a close look at that date again. That’s right, people, this Phil Spector shit has been going on since before the goddamn invasion of motherfucking Iraq.

So yeah, it’s about time this nonsense ended. After a deadlocked jury (10 yea, 2 nay) led to Spector’s 2007 mistrial, the jury in his current retrial has gone out to decide whether or not the fucking composer of “Be My Baby” committed murder. Spector faces 15 years-to-life in prison if convicted of the second-degree murder charge but could potentially get off with a four-year sentence should the jury instead convict him of involuntary manslaughter, a possible charge that was not available to the previous trial’s jury.

As this media circus’ big-top steadily swelled over the years, tales of Spector’s nuttiness grew from music geek campfire lore to household knowledge to apparently the basis of the California district attorney’s prosecution. Over the course of the trial, five female acquaintances of Spector have taken the stand and all claimed in the past Spector had threatened them with a gun when they attempted to leave his home without his approval. Despite Spector’s once adorably eccentric penchant for making criminal threats, he actually stands a fighting chance to beat the second-degree murder charge: In the trial’s closing arguments, his attorney cited 14 pieces of forensic evidence that he said proved Spector’s innocence, including the fact that there was no trace of Spector’s DNA on the gun used to kill Clarkson.

So, it appears that while the defense has been referencing actual evidence about the specific incident in question, the prosecution has been harping on about Spector’s undeniably crazy past and just saying “Eh? Ehhhhh?” Oh well, who gives a shit at this point. Innocent or guilty, somebody just put that looney tune away some place where he can’t get near me or my family.

RIP: Dan Seals of England Dan and John Ford Coley

From Dan Seals official website:

Dan Seals passed away March 25, 2009 following a valiant struggle with mantle cell lymphoma. He leaves behind thousands of fans, countless friends and a loving family. He enjoyed a musical career which spanned four decades and included hit records both as a member of pop duo England Dan and John Ford Coley, and as a solo country artist. In 1986 he won Country Music Association Awards for “Bop” and "Meet Me in Montana." He will forever be remembered for his gentle smile, easy going demeanor, his enduring faith and endless generosity.

- Dan Seals official website
- Dan Seals Wikipedia entry
- Dan Seals fan site

Tony Conrad and Keiji Haino have been around for years exploring almost opposite ideas of time and space. Conrad chooses to function in a world of minimalism for long durations, while Haino works more within a word of maximalism with lots of space. Although they seem to support opposing aesthetics, they are equally great at improvising. Both have played in various improvisational groups with the likes of Peter Brötzmann, Jim O'Rourke, Masami Akita (Merzbow), and John Zorn.

For a few U.S. dates in late April, Haino and Conrad will be combining forces, which they've done previously at Instal 2006 and in Tokyo last September. Conrad will also be spending a few days at the Art Institute of San Francisco conducting a lecture, performing music, and screening videos.

Tony Conrad:
04.03.09 - San Franciso Art Institute, San Francisco - SF Cinematheque presentation - lecture
04.04.09 - San Franciso Art Institute, San Franciso - Activating in the Medium Festival - musical performance
04.05.09 - San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco - SF Cinematheque presentation - film showing

Tony Conrad and Keiji Haino:
04.25.09 - New York, NY - The Studio @ Webster Hall
04.26.09 - Philadelphia, PA - International House
04.28.09 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle +

+ David Daniel/Doug McCombs, Bloodyminded

Björk and Dirty Projectors Join Together for One-Off Benefit Show in NY!

According to Stereogum, Björk and Dirty Projectors are collaborating for a one-off benefit show May 8 at New York's Housing Works Bookstore & Café. No, they're not just playing separate shows and calling it a gig -- instead, Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth has composed a five-vocal suite, which will see Björk performing alongside Dave and other fellow DP members, Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian, and Haley Dekle. The rest of the set will be comprised of other DP songs, "using only voices and one acoustic guitar," which I'm guessing will be similar to a portion of DP's recent Minneapolis performance (TMT Review) -- except with the itty bitty, minor detail that BJORK WILL BE THERE TOO.

The show is a benefit for Housing Works, a non-profit that, according to its website, "is committed to ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness. We believe that all people have the right to a rich and empowering life. Since 1990, we have provided the highest quality services for homeless men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS in New York City and beyond."

Tickets for the show "officially" go on sale April 1 at Housing Works' website, but Stereogum says they are in fact available NOW, and the venue only fits 300! Prices are steep (start at $100 and go up to $400), but hey -- it's for a good cause, and this is sure to be a singular experience. Stay tuned to Stereogum for further updates on the show.

Meanwhile, Bitte Orca, Dirty Projectors' follow-up to Rise Above, will be released June 9 via Domino. It'll blow up. Trust me.

Dirty Projectors tourdates:
05.03.09 - New York, NY - Radio City Music Hall - Dark Was The Night
05.08.09 - New York, NY - Housing Works*
05.22.09 - Oakland, CA - Fox Oakland Theatre @
05.23.09 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theatre @
05.25.09 - Vancouver, BC - Malkin Bowl @
05.27.09 - Edmonton, Alberta - Edmonton Events Center @
05.28.09 - Calgary, Alberta - Macewan Hall @
05.29.09 - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Louis' Pub @
05.30.09 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - Burton Cummings Theater @
06.02.09 - Toronto, Ontario - Sound Academy @
06.03.09 - Montreal, Quebec - Metropolis @
06.04.09 - Boston, MA - House of Blues @
06.05.09 - New York, NY - Central Park Summer Stage @
06.06.09 - Baltimore, MD - Metro Gallery @
06.08.09 - Washington DC - 9:30 Club @
06.10.09 - Richmond, VA - The National @
06.11.09 - Charlotte, North Carolina - Amos' Southend @

* Björk

@ TV on the Radio

Sunset Rubdown Become Dragonslayers on New LP, Set European Tour In Hopes Of Finding Arthurian Dragons To Slay

So, Sunset Rubdown is a pretty solid band, eh? Well, in addition to rocking pretty hard in general, the group can now add "mythical beast killers" to their list of achievements, as they set to release their new album Dragonslayer June 23 in North America or June 22 in Europe. The album will be their second full-length for Jagjaguwar (third full-length as a band), and it features all the members circa Random Spirit Lover (TMT Review) along with new member Mark Nicol on bass and occasionally drums. Unfortunately, the titles of the eight tracks are short and unpretentious, which is not what one might expect from this crew

In order to get people properly prepped for the album, Sunset Rubdown will be releasing a 7-inch picture disc on Agoo Records called Sunset Rubdown Introducing Moonface in early April. It features two songs, "Coming to the Dawn" and "Insane Love is Awakening."

Sunset Rubdown is touring Europe before Dragonslayer's release, and let me tell you, they are a treat live. I once saw them play for an audience of roughly 40 at Duke University, and though I may be pro-Tar Heels, making me rabidly anti-Blue Devils, for that moment in time I found a soft spot in my heart for all the Dukies of the world. So, this April (into May), if you are in Europe, get your money ready and buy a ticket to see these guys live. If they disappoint you, send me an email and I will make you some cookies for the time wasted -- but they won’t, so just go.

Dragonslayer Tracklisting:

1. Silver Moons
2. Idiot Heart
3. Apollo and the Buffalo and Anna Anna Anna Oh!
4. Black Swan
5. Paper Lace
6. You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)
7. Nightingale / December Song
8. Dragon's Lair

Sunset Rubdown Tourdates:
04.18.09 - Paris, FR - La Maronquinerie
04.20.09 - Haarlem, NL - Patronaat
04.21.09 - Wetzlar, DE - KuZ
04.22.09 - Stuttgart, DE - Manufaktur
04.23.09 - Prague, CZ - 007
04.24.09 - Krems, AT - Danube Festival
04.25.09 - Moscow, RU - Avant Festival
04.27.09 - Zagreb, HR - Teatar & TD
04.29.09 - Krakow, PL - Manggha
04.30.09 - Warsaw, PL - Hydrozagadka
05.02.09 - Aarhus, DK - Pop Revo Festival