RIP: William J. Claxton, Famous Jazz Photographer

From The Washington Post:

As the premier chronicler of West Coast jazz, photographer William Claxton took his subjects out of the shadows and into the light.

Instead of posing musicians such as Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins in dark, seedy-looking clubs, wreathed in cigarette smoke, he photographed them on golden beaches, riding on carousels, strolling in the Mojave Desert, emerging from the ocean cradling a trumpet.

Mr. Claxton, who worked in a style he called "jazz for the eyes," died Oct. 11 in Los Angeles of complications from congestive heart failure. He was 80.

- William Claxton official website
- William Claxton Wikipedia entry
- The Associated Press article: "Music photographer William Claxton dies at 80"

Radiohead Get Even Richer; Details of In Rainbows Sales Revealed

The whole “self-release new album on the internet for whatever price the customer chooses experiment-thingy” appears to have actually worked. (As if you expected Radiohead to fail at something...) At this point, it seems like everybody and their mothers know what happened with the most recent Radiohead album, but in case you’ve been in a coma, it goes like this:

A year ago, Radiohead rolled up their sleeves, slicked back their hair, looked The Man in the face and spit hard. By deciding to self-release their album In Rainbows (TMT Review), they demonstrated just how out-of-touch the traditional distribution model was. It was a great success, of course. Everything was wonderful, the music world was changed forever, yadda yadda yadda.

The caveat? The results of the experiment were never released... until now, that is!

According to musically.com, Warner Chappell (Radiohead's publishing company) is set to make an official announcement soon that will "reveal details of their view of the Radiohead licensing experiment at the ‘You Are in Control’ conference in Iceland." In the meantime, the website has published some stats already, claiming that “three million album purchases including the box sets, CDs, and all downloads including iTunes and pay-what-you-like downloads.” This includes 100,000 purchases of the $80 box set version of the album, which is a lot of copies to even the most cynical of us. In fact, according to the site, "Radiohead had made more money before In Rainbows was physically released than they made in total on Hail To the Thief."

On the less positive side, it seems that quite a few people still torrented the album even though it was available for "free." But did Radiohead even care about the sales? Apparently so:

Dyball points to the fact that the band and their management never announced a timeline for the pay-what-you-like experiment and were watching the average price daily with a view to potentially withdrawing it any moment should it drop too low. Dyball points out that the average price went down after the download moved from uberfans to less committed fans, as expected.

Here are some other stats, straight from the source:

- After being made available for free for 3 months the album was no.1 in the UK and in the US
- 1st Radiohead album on iTunes – no.1 album selling 30,000 units in the US in the first week
- The physical CD has sold 1.75 million to date and is still top 200 UK & US
- They sold 100k boxsets via W.A.S.T.E.
- Nearing 17 million plays on last.fm
- 1.2 million fans will see the tour
- The digital income from the experiment made a material difference to WCM’s UK digital revenue this year

The band still isn’t telling how much it made per download, so we really don’t know how rich Radiohead are. Still, I think they’ve probably made enough at this point for Thom to finally just buy himself some sanity.

Daniel Johnston Is Going On Tour, But You Won’t Get To See Him Because You Don’t Live In Europe, Unless Of Course You’re Reading From Europe or Intend to Go to Europe Soon

Mountain Dew-obsessed, schizophrenic, religious fanatic pop star Daniel Johnston is hitting the road later this month (and making people feel uncomfortable*) all over Europe in support of his... collectible vinyl frogs? Just in case you can’t make it to Amsterdam or Denmark, Daniel is also the main attraction at the primitive art festival Good Folk Fest, taking place November 21-23 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Meanwhile, Johnston's next "major" release, in collaboration with "major" producers and artists, is due in early 2009.

Tourdates:

# John Dear Mowing Club

*Yeah, yeah, he’s a great songwriter, but you can’t say that he doesn’t make you a little uneasy.

Do You Wanna Make Twee at the BBC? Do You Wanna Be, Do You Really Wanna Be a Comp? Belle and Sebastian Collection Coming Soon

Damn, it’s a violent world out there! With mixed martial arts taking over from backgammon as the extreme fighting game of choice among young, intellectual sociopaths and back-window decal truck accessories depicting Calvin pissing on anything and everything his stream can hit (Dodge logo, "dispatchers," a missionary Hobbes), it seems there is no time or consideration given to those wanting nothing more than to sit idly in a window nook while staring wistfully through a rain-soaked pane reading L'Etranger and listening to a soundtrack of Bryter Layter and Forever Changes.

Thankfully, Glaswegian softies Belle and Sebastian have filled a much-needed void for the bedsit dreamers in all of us over the past dozen years, so it gives us much pleasure to hear that our heroes have a new double-disc collection coming out November 18 on Matador. Entitled The BBC Sessions, the compilation will take tracks recorded for the broadcasting behemoth between 1996-2001 on one disc, and a live recording of a December 2001 Belfast show, plumped up with a number of crowd-favorite covers, on the other. I’m sure that concert was better than the non-existent, no-show the group pulled on me a few years ago. Now talk about inciting violence!

All this is bittersweet news, of course. Recent word of the band's hiatus has saddened the masses, prompting many to come to the uncomfortable conclusion that this new compilation may be the last release from Belle and Sebastian. For the sake of our brittle hearts, let’s hope it is just a retuning of the engine instead of a complete dismantling.

The BBC Sessions tracklisting:

Disc One - Radio Sessions:
1 The State I Am In (Mark Radcliffe Session; 07.96)
2 Like Dylan in the Movies (Mark Radcliffe Session; 07.96)
3 Judy and the Dream of Horses (Mark Radcliffe Session; 07.96)
4 The Stars of Track and Field (Mark Radcliffe Session; 07.96)
5 I Could Be Dreaming (abbreviated version; Mark Radcliffe session; 12.96)
6 Seymour Stein (Evening Session; 07.97)
7 Lazy Line Painter Jane (Evening Session; 07.97)
8 Sleep the Clock Around (Evening Session; 07.97)
9 Slow Graffiti (Evening Session; 07.97)
10 Wrong Love (later recorded as "The Wrong Girl;" Evening Session; 07.97)
11 Shoot the Sexual Athlete (John Peel session; 05.01)
12 The Magic of a Kind Word (John Peel session; 05.01)
13 Nothing in the Silence (John Peel session; 05.01)
14 (My Girl's Got) Miraculous Technique (John Peel session; 05.01)

Disc Two - Live in Belfast (12.21.01):
1 Here Comes the Sun
2 There's Too Much Love
3 The Magic of a Kind Word
4 Me and the Major
5 Wandering Alone
6 The Model
7 I'm Waiting for the Man
8 The Boy With the Arab Strap
9 The Wrong Girl
10 Dirty Dream #2
11 The Boys Are Back in Town
12 Legal Man

RIP: Amos Heilicher, Owner of Soma Records, Founder of Musicland Chain, Independent Distributor

From The Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune:

He was considered one of the most powerful people in the music industry, landing on an Esquire magazine list in 1970 with Mick Jagger, Paul Simon and Motown founder Berry Gordy. Amos Heilicher could take a local record such as the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird," the Castaways' "Liar, Liar" or Dave Dudley's "Six Days on the Road" and make it a national hit.

Heilicher, the godfather of the Minnesota record business, died Sunday of pneumonia at University of Minnesota Hospitals Fairview. He was 90.

"He was working on Wednesday, and that evening he went to the hospital," said his son, Ira Heilicher, a Minneapolis businessman. "His life was to make deals and work and be productive."

Heilicher was powerful because he was involved in so many facets of the music business: an indie record label (Soma, or Amos spelled backwards), distribution of major-label recordings to retail shops, "rackjobbing" (running record departments for dime stores and department stores) and retail (the Musicland and Discount Records chains). At their peak, Heilicher's companies accounted for about 10 percent of all recordings sold in the United States.

- Soma Records Wikipedia entry
- Musicland Wikipedia entry
- Billboard article: "Musicland Founder Heilicher Dies"

Oh, Great: President Bush Signs Strong Anti-Piracy Act Into Law

After nearly a year of being soundly criticized by various industry groups and copyright law concerns, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008, or PRO-IP Act, has been passed into law. The act, among other things, allows for the creation of a "copyright czar" and permits the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct civil lawsuits on behalf of private copyright holders.

The most troubling part of the PRO-IP Act — to me, at least — is that it extends the concept of forfeiture to IP piracy. Usually used in cases of large-scale drug-dealing, Publicknowledge.org's Art Brodsky sums up forfeiture as it relates to IP thusly: “Let’s suppose that there’s one computer in the house, and one person uses it for downloads and one for homework. The whole computer goes.”

There's a whole tangled mess of lobbying and special interest that I'm sure will reveal itself as this law becomes more widely practiced, but for now we're left with one salient point made by the White House on the day of the bill's signing: "Terrorist networks use counterfeit sales to finance their operations."

The King Khan & BBQ Show To Go On Massive Tour, Hope You’re Hungry… For ROCK‘N’ROLL!!!

If it's not one thing, it's another (or two) for King Khan. He put out a compilation on Vice (The Supreme Genius Of) with his other band, The Shrines, and recorded a band or two, all while going on tour after tour. BBQ, a.k.a. Mark Sultan, is no slouch either, playing countless shows in support of his excellent LP from last year, The Sultanic Verses (In The Red)

Nonetheless, these too seemingly never-tiring musicians have not put out a new record together since 2006's What's For Dinner (though, 2007 saw the reissue of the band's first, self-titled LP from 2004). Unfortunately, 2008 won't yield a new LP from the duo, but there is solace for fans, coming in the forms of a new 7-inch and a huge tour. The single is "Animal Party" b/w "God of Raisins" (Fat Possum). You can buy it on the duo's tour of pretty much every major American city, plus the Canadian cities that even the most brainless American can identify as being in Canada. These shows will also feature a bevy of first-rate openers, including Women, Vivian Girls, Jacuzzi Boys, and a few less gender-specific groups. Don't miss it.

Tourdates:

Beastie Boys Announce Voter Awareness Shows; Also Claim McCain Fathered Terrorist Babies in Top-Secret Ménage à Quatre with Chemical Ali, Carlos the Jackal, and the ghost of Timothy McVeigh [Wow, thanks GOP! Fabricating Conspiracy IS fun!]

Perennial good time candidates Beastie Boys have announced shows as part of their "Swing State Voter Awareness Tour." Can't pronounce "vote?" Vote! Do you regularly abuse the elderly? Vote! Are you using 12 aliases to claim government benefits and are in hiding from child support collectors? America needs your vote(s)! Vote, vote vote! Before that, these shows should entertain your mind as you ponder how you want the next four years and the future of the United States to look. Given the forum, Obama terrorist-cahoots claims will be at a minimum, Republican scorn at a maximum.

All yuks aside, Beastie Boys rear their charged heads whenever they see the need to drop some political science, and around election time, they are as noisy as a herd of hiphopopotamuses. This time around is no different. The band issued this soundbite regarding the shows:

We are going to do a few shows in hopes that we can remind people to vote. This election is too important, too much is at stake to stay at home. We hope that you can come out, have a nice night, dance, sing, get your freak on, and then wake up the next morning and get everyone that you possible can to get out and vote.

A vote for Beastie Boys is a vote for democracy... and a chance to see all your favorite big-ticket artists in one (sure) shot. The dates feature heavy-hitting support from Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Ben Harper, Santogold, Tenacious D, and Crosby & Nash (I'll assume the Canadian turncoat, Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-Monster Raving Loony Party supporter Neil Young was not available?). Representatives from Rock the Vote will be on hand to make sure that, come November 4, your vote will be soundly rocked

10.27.08 - Charlotte, NC - Amos' Southend $
10.28.08 - Richmond, VA - Richmond Coliseum $$
10.29.08 - Youngstown, OH - Chevrolet Centre $$$
10.30.08 - Dayton, OH - Hara Arena $$$$
11.01.08 - St. Paul, MN - Roy Wilkins Auditorium $$$$$
11.02.08 - Milwaukee, WI - U.S. Cellular Arena $$$$$$

$ w/ Sheryl Crow, Santogold

$$ w/ Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Santogold

$$$ w/ Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Norah Jones

$$$$ w/ Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper

$$$$$ w/ Ben Harper, Tenacious D

$$$$$$ w/ Ben Harper, Crosby & Nash, Tenacious D

SHRIMP SCAMPI: Mike Relm Talks About His FAME, Then Stops Talking Altogether

Read the full coverage of Treasure Island Music Festival 2008 here, where you can also find more videos.

RIP: Jim Yunker, Drummer and Artist, Younger Brother of Michael Yonkers

According to Destijl Records:

Jim Yunker, younger brother of Michael Yonkers and the drummer of "Microminature Love", died yesterday morning [October 12, 2008].

Aside from music, Jim was interested in and created art. One of his major works was a sculpture called "Matrix Village" and was displayed for long periods on both the east and west bank campuses of the University of Minnesota. He was also worked with wood and has produced countless beautiful toys, and custom display cases for various local stores. He held a variety of straight jobs, and the one that meant the most to him was teaching science to ESL students in the Saint Paul School System. His amazing connection to the students, and the extremely high quality of the work they produced attracted the attention and support of 3M. His program, and his spirit, were downsized and left behind, within the last few years.

His solid drumming for the Grenadiers Drum and Bugle Corp in the 60s helped create the style that he used in Michael And The Mumbles and the Michael Yonkers Band.

He was 60 years old when he passed on October 12th 2008, after year
long bout with leukemia.

- Microminature Love @ Destijl
- Microminature Love @ Sub Pop
- Michael Yonkers official website
- Michael Yonkers MySpace

  

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