Columbia Records Lays Off MORE People; Columbia to TMT: “Don’t Worry, Everything’s Fine. I Wouldn’t Even Even Waste Time Writing About This if I Were You”
This just in, planet Earth: the record industry is not doing too well these days.
Case in point: Columbia has undergone another round of layoffs, according to inside sources. (And I'm sure that those "inside sources" were then promptly laid off.)
On the chopping block this week? Several poor, formerly rich suckers in the publicity, promotion, and marketing departments, including Vice President of Marketing Stephanie Gayle and Head of Video Promotion Gary Fisher. And while it seems kind of embarrassing to have their names put in print like this, at least they're making headlines, right?
But don't worry. They won't be the only unemployable bastards hopelessly posting their doomed resumes on Monster.com come Monday. joining good ol' Gary and Steph in the "oh why oh why did I go to that Junior College for Music Business?!?" camp are publicists Maggie Wang and Tom Muzquiz, who have also been let go, according to those same, pesky inside sources. I know, I know: we all KNEW that Maggie Wang had it coming, but I can't believe my boy T-bone Muzquiz got the ax, can you? But don't worry, Columbia's "online department" emerged unscathed. Because, after all, someone's got to maintain the Slayer and WWE RAW's Greatest Hits links on their website.
Oh boy. Anyway, the recent round of cuts follows last week's departures by piddly little title-holders like "Senior VP of Urban and Rhythmic Promotion" (sounds made up to me too) CeCe McClendon and "Executive VP and Chief Business and Legal Affairs Officer of Sony BMG Music Entertainment" Ron Wilcox. Wait a minute! WilCOX? WANG?? I see what's going on here! Very funny, Columbia; you almost had us going here for a minute!
Oh, and incidentally, if you work for Columbia and you happen to be reading this right now, they told me to tell you that you're fired...
Kentucky, home to most of the world’s bourbon, is also home to loads of DIY experimental musicians. And in the spirit of responsible journalism, I will relate to you the entirety of my own Kentucky experience:
1. Summer of 2003. I’m perusing garage sales in my neighborhood and come across a massive vinyl Kentucky state flag. The woman selling it tells me how she ‘used to be all into Kentucky’ but now finds the Bluegrass state repellent for an unnamed reason. (Bonus: my lawn is covered with Kentucky Bluegrass.) I buy the flag for 10 cents and leave wondering what ‘being all into Kentucky’ entails. Though the flag was absconded with after a long and fruitful stint on my front porch, now, thanks to the miracle of Wikipedia, you too can be ‘all into Kentucky.’ Click Here for Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Kentucky.
2. A Red Roof Inn in Frankfort, KY on the way to Biloxi, MS. After sneaking a car load of people into a room for two, the hotel ultimately gets the upper hand as what looked to be a night of restful sleep turns to an evening of furtive glances out the first-floor window, as menacing silhouettes transact predawn business ‘til sunrise. Also, cigarette burns in the sheets. (Bonus: I buy Elvis’ The Sun Sessions (TMT Review) in New Orleans, which features "Blue Moon of Kentucky." The 26-hour drive home flies by.)
3. Kentucky Tavern -- a fine spirit and tremendous bargain. Recommended.
4. Locale of a blog I’ve heard of but never read (My Old Kentucky Blog), and a blog I used to check up on (You Aint No Picasso).
That said, Three Legged Race and Caboladies, Mountaain labelmates, are leaving the fair state of Kentucky to play, with any luck, for you. Note, Three Legged Race is Robert Beatty of Hair Police/sometimes Burning Star Core/Eyes and Arms of Smoke fame. And while he’s on tour now, Hair Police are, according to their website, “working on booking a tour for March of 2008. More details soon.”
# Clifton Keller, Wes Meek
% Wzt Hearts, Michael Johnsen, Tusk Lord
$ Pengo, Harvest City Black
^ Barkhausen, Video screening by Takeshi Murata
* Flaherty/Moore/Corsano/Nace/Hartford, Emeralds, Sam Goldberg, Krefting/Shaw Duo
( Keith Fullerton Whitman, Ernst Karel, Astronaut
& Emeralds, Sam Goldberg
) Zaimph, Mudboy
@ Wzt Hearts, DJ Dog Dick
! Spiral Joy Band
They Tried To Make Her Tour America, She Said “Yes, Yes, Yes”; Sharon “The Legit Amy Winehouse” Jones Traces U.S. Tour
If you were super bummed when Ms. Wino canceled her tour to purportedly stand by the side of her ass-kicking boyfriend Bake Fielder-Civil as he faces charges of tampering with the testimony of some bloke he pummeled, don't be. Why? Well, firstly because she would have probably sounded like a tabby cat soaked in whiskey, shot full of junk, and being beat with a broomstick. Plus, if you were just out for the train wreck, I hear Vincent Gallo is on tour playing fully improvised sets with the bassist from Hole. Ouch. But more importantly, you can save your hard-earned bucks and be privy to the real deal, as super soul singer Sharon Jones picks up the slack. And in more intimate venues!
After releasing their third LP together, 100 Days, 100 Nights (TMT Review), this year, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings rendered Winehouse all but useless (or was that her junkie escapades?) by proving that we don't quite need neo-soul when the real shit is still around. Backing band The Dap-Kings, who brassed up 100 Days, 100 Nights with flavor as well as made Winehouse's Back to Black the studio-slick treat it is, will be in tow for Jones' jaunt through the cold months. Fortunately for them, the group will likely miss most of the snow season as they travel Florida, California, and Texas, even taking a week to rock the high seas on the sixth edition of the Jam Cruise -- the floating, six-day music festival featuring 29 artists on a cruise from Florida to Cozumel, Mexico -- scheduled to begin January 4.
You can also hear Jones on the upcoming soundtrack for the spankin' new Denzel Washington vehicle Great Debaters. Don't worry though; something about "fish in a barrel" is going to stop me from discussing the film's title any further, but let's just say a synonym for "great" could've made the movie a whole lot funnier. I know, I know, here are the dates:
Sufjan Stevens Brings His State Odes To Japan and Australia For The First Time, And You and I Know That The Japanese and Australians Will Probably Relate More To The Songs Than Us Because They Know More About American History. Admit It.
Americans are narrow-minded sonsabitches. We've been proven scientifically to be the most racist and sexist humans in the history of human civilization. But you know what? We're god damn proud of it! Simply put: we're better than everybody who doesn't hang our red, white, and blue flag -- it's in our DNA. Fuck with us, we'll fuck with you. Don't fuck with us, we'll still fuck with you. We're mighty proud of being assholes and even prouder of havin' lower scores in arithmetic than pretty much the whole world. We play football, not some version where you kick the "ball" with your "foot." It's expensive -- so what? Energy conservation? I conserve gas when I hold in my flatulence so as not to ward away all the women who want my nuts. I want me a god damn Ford four-wheel drive, all-American truck to get that Christmas tree to grandma's house. I have a gas guzzler -- so what? I have the money, so why should I care? Don't bitch at me; how else am I going to get it there?
Oh. I'm supposed to be writin' a story on Sufjan. Oh alright.
Let's get to the meat of this porterhouse of a story. Sufjan is indeed playing in Australia and Japan for the first time next year. He'll be playing six nights in Australia, three of which will be at the State Theater as part of the Sydney Festival. Whoopdeedo! Supposedly it's a "cultural" festival. The only way I'm going to any festivals next year is if there are lots of beef and beer. Shit, the county fair is all the culture I need, and they usually get my uncle Benny to sing and do a magic show for the kids. I bet this Sufjan character can't do no goddamn magic, and he's making more money than my Uncle! Anyway, all three of those Australian dates are sold out, and the other Australian dates are selling fast, so get to it Aussie Sufjan fans!
Ain't much to say about Sufjan playin' in Japan. They'll probably enjoy him because they love that weird, colorful cultured stuff (Yes, all of them! Science people!). His music is a bit too damn colorful for me. Singin' about how Abraham Lincoln was an emancipator? What the hell is an emancipator? I bet it's a Japanese word for president or some shit.
After his li'l trip to Japan, he'll come back home to the states to a city that might as well be foreign: New York City! I wouldn't go there if you paid me! I swear I don't understand those people! The only New Yorker I could ever relate to was ol' Rudi Giuliani for tellin' those damn terrorists where to stick it. Of course, Sufjan will be playin' some type o' Tibet House Benefit with some character named Phillip Glass to "ensure that Tibet's Buddhist spirituality and contributions to the world's arts, sciences, beauty, and wisdom are preserved." I don't know what the hell that means; I just copied and pasted, motherfucker. So don't e-mail me about it!
Enjoy your Sufjan at these dates:
Wait. What kind of damn name is Sufjan anyway? Is he even American? I tell you what; I don't know about this country sometimes. People like this Sufjan singin' about America is exactly the kind of character who's sending this country to hell.
Oh well, you sonsabitches, enjoy your Sufjan at these dates:
Remember when Camel cigs and Rolling Stone jointly contributed to a recent co-optation of "indie rock" (TMT News)? Of course you do, because the whole thing was and is total bullshit. I mean, Rolling Stone's defense was to say the pullout ADVERTISEMENT was an "editorial." Shit, I guess they do have a sense of humor. Too bad no one was laughing, which is why some of our very very favorite independent labels -- Kill Rock Stars, 5RC, Touch and Go, Skin Graft, Lovepump United, Audio Dregs, Lucky Madison, Fryk Beat -- went out of their way to pen an open letter to Rolling Stone.
Here's the letter, in its entirety:
We, the undersigned independent record labels, wish to share our indignation regarding Rolling Stone’s November 15th pull out editorial, which featured the names of our artists in conjunction with an ad for Camel cigarettes. This editorial cartoon gives every impression of being part and parcel of the advertisement wrapped around it.
The use of an artist’s name to promote a brand or product should be done only with the artist’s explicit consent, something that was neither solicited nor obtained from the labels or bands.
When questioned, Rolling Stone has referred to the “Indie Rock Universe” pull out section as an “editorial”, but it hardly seems accidental that this editorial content is wrapped in a giant ad from R.J. Reynolds announcing their support for independent artists and labels. The idea that this was a coincidence in any way seems dubious at best. There are two other pull out sections in this same issue of Rolling Stone. Both are wrapped in advertising, but neither of these ads could be construed as part of the editorial content within.
Many of the bands named, and the labels that represent them, are very unhappy with the implication that they have any involvement with R.J. Reynolds and Camel cigarettes. We ask that Rolling Stone apologize for blurring the line between editorial and advertisement, and in doing so, implying that the bands named support the product being advertised.
Kill Rock Stars, Touch and Go, Skin Graft, Lovepump United, Lucky Madison, 5RC, Audio Dregs, and Fryk Beat.
At the start of a concert this past June (TMT News), Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam was struck by a small thrown object, which has been rumored to have been ‘a piece of a pretzel,’ ‘a ball of paper,’ or possibly ‘nothing worth getting angry about.’ He demanded that the crowd produce the object-thrower, and was soon presented with a gangly 15-year-old boy. Akon called upon the wisdom of King Solomon as he removed his shirt. "You who would throw objects at me," he bellowed, hoisting the offending 15-year-old over his head, "now you shall know what it is like to be thrown." And with that, Akon effortlessly tossed the boy up in the air, into the crowd, directly into my client, Abby Rosa, your honor.
It was at this time that Ms. Rosa became concussed.
Now, Mr, Thiam’s attorney, Mr. Benjamin Brafman here has released a public statement which begins, "Given the information that we have reviewed to date, it does not appear to us that Akon was involved in any criminal conduct whatsoever." I ask you, Mr. Brafman, what kind of Strega Nona justice do you believe in that makes Mr. Thiam’s conduct anything other than criminal?
Your honor, at this time, I would like to bring to the attention of the court the following evidence:
Without further ado, your honor, I’d like to bring up my first witness, Mr. Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam...
Abby Rosa, if you are reading this, please e-mail me. I would like to defend you in court. Imagine me saying all this in a slow southern drawl.
Young God Releases EP by Fire on Fire; Metallica Withdraw Hastily Filed Lawsuit Against Young God’s “Fight Fire With Fire” But Will Continue to Contest the “Master of Puppets” Children’s Show. Hetfield: “There’s no friggin’ way we’re backing down on this one, dude!”
It's been said that everyone in the world has a twin... except Michael Gira. From early ramblings sidewalking around Europe, kibbutzing around Israel, and no-waving around New York, Gira has lived a life full of eye-opening exploits; many good and some, I’m guessing, not so hot. Without going into too many details (that you could find on your own anyway), it is sufficient to say that the man’s “life experience” section on his CV runs a few reams long.
However, as unique an individual as he is and as venturesome as his life has been, Gira’s taste in music has always been predictable. When it comes time to sign acts to his Young God label, his choices range from the sublime to the remarkably sublime. The latest troupe touched by the hand of Gira is Fire on Fire, a five-piece nouveau bluegrass band that have that same Young God feel to them: southern gothic, down-hominess with swelling almost gospel-touched unison singing... you know the drill. Fire on Fire screams realness and authenticity (or they at least fake it marvelously). Their debut 5-song EP is out now, but not available at your reliable music outlets.
We're all for the handsome, handmade sleeves that hold this divine disc (created by Fire on Fire’s multi-talented warbler Colleen Kinsella), and we will not be deterred by the limited number available (1000 copies only), but knowing that the release is only purchasable exclusively at shows and on Young God's website, well, let’s just say that, as sure as sugar is sweet, we'll buy the EP, but damn you, Gira, Sir! This EP demands widespread distribution and should be readily available all our favorite eateries and knocking shops!
Easy peasy EPeasy:
2. Liberty Unknown
3. My Lady Coffin
5. Three or More
I had a dream that there was an awesome Liars and No Age (pictured) mashup. It came true. This might be the most seamless, yet intricate mashup I've ever heard.
Liars' "What Would They Know" with No Age's "Boy Void" (exclusive Firefox version; sorry IE users):
width="400" height="16" >
quality="high" bgcolor="#E6E6E6" name="xspf_player" allowscriptaccess="sameDomain"
align="center" height="16" width="400">
Pay me whatever you feel like, and you can hear the entire thing.
I also had a dream that Liars and No Age were touring together starting January 2008. It came true again. Now hopefully I'll have a dream where "the monster" will awake from its long slumber, if you know what I mean.
Normally, here at TMT, we like to gently poke fun at musicians and lash out angrily at the music industry. Headlines are typically absurd and vaguely hint at what the article will be about. We usually encourage you to buy a large bag of salt to go with what we write.
But we can do serious, too. Like right now. Now I’m serious.
Influential metal outfit Ministry are saying goodbye on a trek to promote their final album, September’s The Last Sucker. The shows will feature a multimedia presentation, including a retrospective video of Ministry’s career.
“C U LaTouR” tourdates:
Ah, hello, Jens here again! You know I woke up the other day and realized that Christmas/Yule is only a couple weeks away, and I still haven’t decided what I want! So, here it is, Mr. or Mrs. Diary, my complete wishlist:
- an IKEA bed frame
- avocados (note to self: try not to cut finger while slicing)
- a frame picture of Morrissey
- a smorgasbord
- a girlfriend
- a tour of Europe starting in February
...Wait, what’s that diary? You’re telling me I already have a tour scheduled for February? Ah, be still my heart! Sure wish I had that girlfriend to share the experience with..... (hint hint, to anyone who might be reading this).
Until next time,
Jens Falls Over Europe:
02.15.08 – Copenhagen, Denmark - Vega
02.16.08 – Berlin, Germany - Lido
02.18.08 – Turin, Italy - El Barrio
02.19.08 – Ravenna, Italy - Teatro Rasi
02.20.08 – Geneva, Switzerland - PTR-Usine
02.21.08 – St. Gallen, Switzerland - Palace
02.23.08 – Munich, Germany - Atomic Café
02.24.08 – Frankfurt, Germany - Mousonturm
02.25.08 – Njimegen, Netherlands - Doornroosje
02.26.08 – Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
02.27.08 – Paris, France - Nouveau Casino
02.28.08 – Brussels, Belgium - AB Club
02.29.08 – Antwerp, Belgium - Trix
03.01.08 – Cologne, Germany - Gebäude 9
03.02.08 – Hamburg, Germany - Molotow
05.09-11.08 – Rye, England - Camber Sand Holiday Centre (ATP vs. Pitchfork)
05.16-18.08 – Minehead, England - Butlin's Holiday Centre (Explosions in the Sky ATP)