Yellow Swans Disbanding After Tour, Finishing Final Studio Album

Sadly, after roughly seven years of touring and recording, Pete Swanson and Gabriel Mindel Saloman have decided to end Yellow Swans. "There are no specific reasons why we've come to this point," says Pete Swanson. "But both Gabriel and I have decided that it's in our best interest to move on from the project." Thankfully, Yellow Swans are finishing up a final studio album (expected for release in 2009) and have a "handful" of under-the-radar releases coming up. And if you're geographically lucky (I am!), you can still catch them on the remaining tourdates -- I've seen them live many times, and they are amazing performers. But after June, say goodbye to Yellow Swans.

As one of the more well-known noise groups, it comes as bit of a surprise the two have ended things now, especially given the widespread acclaim of At All Ends (TMT Review), which was released last year on Load. What's not surprising is that Pete and Gabriel will continue to work on other projects. In fact, Pete has just started a new label called Freedom To Spend, and the first release is Light Ships by Bulbs. So, don't fret. Yellow Swans will be over soon, but Pete and Gabriel will still be around.

You'll see me at one of these remaining Yellow Swans dates:

* Sissy Spacek

Damien Jurado Tours with Jeremy Enigk, Finishes New LP

Way back, like, waaaaaaayyyyy fucking back in July 2007, Secretly Canadian reported that Damien Jurado entered the Avast! Studio in Seattle to record a follow-up to 2006's And Now That I'm In Your Shadow with producer Casey Foubert (Pedro the Lion, Richard Swift). Times were certainly different back then, but I'm sure glad we live in the here and now, as Jurado's new album is now complete and set for release sometime in September on Secretly Canadian -- terrific! Full details are being guarded like a wrestler's nuts in a tournament, but we'll keep you updated.

In other news, Jurado has a bunch of dates set (where I bet he'll play new tunes!) with the one, the only Jeremy Enigk (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft). Enigk's latest album is the live release The Missing Link, which was released on 567 Records last year. His last studio album was World Waits, released way back, like, waaaaaayyyyyyy fucking back in October of 2006.

Damien Jurado and Jeremy Enigk tourdates:

Damien Jurado and David Bazan tourdate:
04.10.08 Wenham, MA - Gordon College

Vintage Beat Happening Guitar Stolen from Karl Blau!

Having just released AM on Whistler Records to acclaim (TMT Review), you'd think Karl Blau would be walking on clouds. Well, he might be anyway, but I'd be pissing on those clouds if some idiot stole my vintage Silvertone guitar! That's right, some jerk from New Jersey stole Karl Blau's guitar off a Greyhound bus -- classy. But this ain't just any ol' guitar. This is the same guitar Bret Lunsford used in Beat Happening!

Here's a picture of Karl with the guitar:

New Jersey/East Coast readers: keep your eyes peeled. There are many identifying characteristics on this mighty axe, so it shouldn't be hard to spot hanging in a pawn shop window or strapped around some dude trying to play the intro to "Today" by The Smashing Pumpkins (tab below). Contact us if you have any leads, and we can put you in contact with Mr. Blau. Trust me, you don't want to see him without that guitar.

In more (dance) positive news, Karl recently finished recording/mastering his next album, Nature's Got Away, at Dub Narcotic. The album features the band Lake backing him and is set for release on K Records sometime either this year or early next. Meanwhile, pickup AM and get you some KELP!

Intro tab for "Today" by The Smashing Pumpkins:

---11----13----11----15p11----- play this cutesy little riff

------11----11----11-------11--- 4x solo, then 8x with band

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Photo: [Derek Vincent]

SoundExchange Audits Last.fm, Raises Questions About the Value of Music

Leave it to those bigwigs at the Copyright Royalty Board and SoundExchange to get all existential on our asses about the true value of that new Mariah Carey jam. The Daily Swarm is reporting (via Digital Media Wire) that SoundExchange has honed in on Last.fm, the internet radio/social networking website, alleging that the site may not be in compliance with royalty requirements for the songs it uses. An audit will assess the "only a couple of thousand dollars a year" that Last.fm paid under the Small Webcasters Settlement Act, despite selling out to CBS for more than $200 million shortly thereafter. It is this Small Webcasters act that has kept much of internet radio functioning due to pressures from the Copyright Royalty Board. If Last.fm is indeed found to be ducking charges, the real loser will be the truly "small" webcasters for whom the act is designed to protect.

However, more questions sit at the center of the debate, as examined in detail by DC attorney David Oxenford. In plain English, Oxenford argues that the copyright holders (record companies) assume that the success of sites like Last.fm are based solely on the music they provide, and they should be compensated as such. What they fail to realize, he notes, is that, if this were true, internet radio would be thriving and anyone could do it. Really, it is the "community aspects" of sites like Last.fm or iMeem that serve as the main draw. When these success stories are eventually bought out for unreal amounts of money (in an effort to expand the service), the record companies will eventually be paid their share if the successes continue.

And so the question remains: is there an "intrinsic value" to music or should it be judged only as a tool that leads to "revenue"? It all might seem like a load of industry mumbo-jumbo, but as a fan and a listener, it is quite terrifying that when these court precedents about who owns what and how much it is "worth" finally come down, they will dictate how and when we hear music.

Foot Village’s “Friendship Nation” Tour Will Fudge You Up (It Will Also Fuck You Up)

What's the deal with Foot Village? Well, according to their MySpace:

Our national language is drumming.

Our national pass-time is screaming.

Founded in the barren ruins of Hades, after the millenialist event evaporated the seas, Foot Village is both redemption and punishment for mankind. It is a nation unlike any other and only by visiting there can you really know.

Indeed, these crazy motherfuckers make noise without electric instruments (the gall!), and guess what? They're going on tour! Their latest album, the drum-heavily awesome Friendship Nation, was released on TOME back in March. It has nude cover art, too. Society is crumbling y'all, and you can help it crumble faster by participating in the insanity at one of these dates:

* Thanks Taylor

P.S. Bring drumsticks and/or drumkeys to any of the shows, and you'll receive a free, tour-only CD-R called Before They Were Foot Village, which I'm sure you can guess what that's all about.

EMI Hires Google Exec to Head Up Digital Music on April Fool’s Day, Realize It Might Actually Be a Good Idea

Former Google Chief of Information Officer Douglas Merrill is trading Google's dress code (jeans, "witty saying" t-shirt, Converse) for EMI's (sup, Bill Blass?) and starting a new gig as head of EMI's digital music. In the past, EMI has been less associated with change and progress and more associated with releasing singles without telling its artists (TMT News), blaming profit nosedives on the nearest parking meter, and axing employees left and right.

But don't worry. It all makes perfect sense!

After a few pints at the Irish pub down the block (you know, the kind that doesn't have Guinness but allows people to blast Flogging Molly at all hours of the day), the boys from the office thought of a total screamer! The news of Merrill's hiring dropped on April 1, which many serious businesses with Real Suits forget is April Fool's Day. Of course, no one believed those cut-ups at EMI, and the whole office had quite a chuckle over the funny joke they had played on the rest of the industry. Hiring one of those hippies over at Google? The very idea! But Merrill stopped by to join the hilarity and slipped something into the CEO's tea, and whaddaya know? Dude got himself a job. For real.

Thanks to hallucinogenic drugs, it will be soooooo much easier to get the latest on EMI's new digital releases. Finally, I can effortlessly buy albums from Yellowcard and 30 Seconds to Mars on the internet.

But: Will Merrill help save the music industry?

Times New Viking Deported… Or Touring UK (Definitely One of The Two Though)

Maybe it's because of all of the recent "Go Green" hype, or maybe it's because of the swell in homeland hope and pride that accompanies an upcoming presidential election, but whatever the reason, one thing is clear: America is ready to clean up its act!

And we're starting with those Columbus, OH speaker-wreckers Times New Viking. Over the past several years, these sludgy noise-poppers have been dumping their noise-polluted records, most recently their Matador Records debut Rip It Off (TMT Review), and no one has had the courage to stand up to their skuzzy onslaughts.

But now, at long last, a new day is dawning. No longer will the United States look the other way about Times New Viking's catchy brand of noise pollution. That's why we're packing them up, cramming them onto a cargo ship, and depositing them (safely) on the other side of the Atlantic. And do you know what else? We're even packing up their dirty, dirty records and shipping them overseas too! That's right, as part of its community service, Matador is spearing-up all of the Rip It Off copies it can find along the side of the highway and shipping them over to the UK on April 28 (where, presumably, they can be recycled into lightweight furniture for Thom Yorke's solar-powered summer house).

Now if only we could pass a bill to clean up all those Dirty Projectors, we'd be in business.

Good riddance to rad rubbish:

* Thanks Hari!
# Thanks Kevin!

Rock ‘N’ Roll Is The New York Dolls: New York Dolls for Live At The Fillmore East (Thanks Again Morrissey)

This is rock ‘n’ roll: Skinny boys who smoke smack and confidently flip their long hair back like conceited prom queens. It's beer cans crumbled like pieces of paper. It’s sneaking out of your parents' second-story window to go to a show, the show, probably the most important show of your life. (And if it’s not, then fuck it, at least you got drunk and/or laid).

Rock ‘n’ roll is a band like The New York Dolls, who played their very first show on Christmas Eve 1971 at a homeless shelter, who listened to The Rolling Stones, MC5, and The Stooges in the same way Kiss, Blondie, and The Smiths listened to them. Without The New York Dolls, rock record buffs would be missing essential building blocks in their collection: Too Much Too Soon, Seven Day Weekend, and New York Dolls are albums as important as Whiskey Sours and unfiltered cigarettes to every new generation of smut.

The New York Dolls' first break came when Rod Stewart invited them to fill the opening slot in London, but their second break is all because of Morrissey. In 2004, Morrissey organized his heroes to reunite for the Meltdown Festival, which gave way to both an album and DVD on Morrissey’s Attack label. So thank Morrissey for giving us a second chance to catch all the glory.

Which leads me up to the new news: On June 17, The New York Dolls are releasing Live At The Fillmore East, a new live album recorded last December, via Sony BMG. It's supposedly cleaner than any live document released before, but it still sounds like how we prefer them: raw.

Live At The Fillmore East tracklist

NY District Court Supports RIAA In Case Regarding Kazaa; Vague, Hulking Menace of Copyright Law Gradually Lumbering This Way, We Might Want to Move In a Few Years

On March 31, a federal District Court in New York provided “specific language” for labels to use when suing someone who didn’t necessarily share files per se, but merely placed them in a context in which they’re allowed to be shared.

Basically: A lady got sued in August 2005 for having 600 MP3s in her Kazaa shared folder. The woman, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, filed briefs saying, “Wait, guys, you don’t have any proof that these files were shared, just that they were in a shared folder.”

Copyright law regulates “publication,” which has a fancy legal definition wherein you distribute something by selling it or giving it away or lending it or whatever. The labels were accusing the woman of making a work available for “distribution,” which is a situation copyright law that hadn’t really been tackled yet.

Now I’m beginning to understand why this has taken so long.

The District Court spent over two-and-a-half years doing something, then issued a statement at the end of last month agreeing with the labels and alleging that, from a digital copyright law standpoint, “publication” and “distribution” are synonymous. An 11-year-old could have probably told you that the two words mean pretty much the same thing, of course, but from a legal standpoint, this provides a tiny little hole through which the RIAA can continue its string of large-figure lawsuits against just about everybody.

According to the new ruling, it’s kosher to sue for "offer(ing) to distribute copies or phonorecords (MP3s) to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution." Having files in a shared folder can be considered a tacit kind of offering, so here we are. People don’t use Kazaa anymore, but I could see this eventually affecting FTPs or, really, just about any method of transferring files from one computer to another. Of course, as long as legal proceedings move at about one-millionth the pace of file-sharing technology, piracy will probably reign. Woo.

It’s A Cruel, Cruel Summer: Sunn O))) Dude’s New Project Coming Out on Southern Lord

I used to have this friend who was obsessed with the Southern Lord label. He would talk non-stop about bands on Southern Lord that I had never heard of. He would bring me to shows by other Southern Lord bands I had never heard of, which he promised would be "awesome" and "incredible." Oftentimes, he was right, but holy shit was this stuff degrading my self-esteem, because we both worked at a record store together. And like most record store employees, I did not want to admit that there could be record labels and entire genres of bands that I knew almost nothing about.

So, this one goes out to you, friend, who introduced me to Sunn O))). Here's a story for you, all the people like you, and all the people like me who hate to claim ignorance about a good thing. In this case, that "good thing" is ASCEND, a new project out on Southern Lord. It features Greg Anderson of Goatsnake, Engine Kid, and Sunn O))) along with Gentry Densley of Iceburn and Eagle Twin. The new album hits stores May 27, 2008 and promises to bring its share of the ominous, heavy jams needed for a killer summer. It features guest performances from pals like Soundgarden's Kim Thayil, Steve Moore of Earth and Sunn O))), and Andy Patterson. But that's not all -- there will also be Wurlitzer organs on this thing! It doesn't get much more rock ‘n’ roll than organs, am I right?