TMT likes bands that try to make a positive impact, if not to your ears, then to your surroundings. Calexico are a prime example. Soon, they'll embark on a short tour presented in association with Music for America, a non-profit organization that engages young people to get involved with politics through music communities, informing concert-goers about human rights issues on the border and registering voters.
The first stop is a hometown gig in Tucson, AZ, at the Rialto Theatre, which marks the continuation of Calexico's yearly benefit concert bash. Calexico will be donating a portion of the proceeds to KXCI-FM, a local community-sponsored radio station, and to Humane Borders, an organization that, according to a press release, "offers humanitarian assistance to those in need through more than 70 emergency water stations on and near the U.S.- Mexican border, ultimately trying to quell the hundreds of deaths every year in the Arizona desert due to dehydration." A representative from Humane Borders will make appearances at all of Calexico's headlining Southwestern shows to answer questions and/or provide insight into HB's cause.
Vocalist Joey Burns explains, "The issue is a complex one, and now with President Bush signing the bill that would build a massive wall between the two countries, the problems will undoubtedly become more severe and horrifying." I guess we haven't learned a thing from the Berlin wall.
Calexico's latest release, Garden Ruin, is lyrically more politically conscious than their previous albums. Burns recently stated, "In the past, there were songs that brought up social political issues like 'Service and Repair', 'Sanchez', 'Sunken Waltz' and 'Across The Wire,' but never has an album been so concentrated on these themes as this album. I would say we are confronting these times of political extremism on songs like 'All Systems Red' and 'Deep Down'."
"I think we are trying to do what we can in the music and lyrics to help people relate to the sense of frustration that's so prevalent," drummer John Convertino agrees. "I don't think we have ever had such 'political' thoughts going through our brains in the process of making a record as we have had with this one. There are monsters lurking all over it, even in the pretty bits."
Special online pre-sale for the Southwest shows may be bought here. Each ticket purchased here comes with a free MP3 download of an unreleased acoustic version of "Deep Down." So, if you're into that acoustic shit, bring toilet paper. The band is also hosting a contest to win free tickets, a copy of World Drifts In (Live at the Barbican) DVD, and a vintage Calexico tour poster without having to sell your soul. All you have to do is promote their shows and be as charming as humanly possible. For more information on the contest click here. No not there, here!
It feels good to hear about bands making an effort to change political injustices. Kick out the jams, Calexico:
United Kingdom’s Copyright Law has Midlife Crisis, Regains Composure, Seems Surprisingly Lucid at 50 Years
Every once in awhile, there's a news story that reminds us why we all love the United States — and we ALL love the U.S.A, especially me! United States of Amazing, am I right about that? Am I right about that being the United States of Amazing? Sure I am. Where else can you get U.S. flags? And where else can your copyrights last longer than 50 years? That's right; right here in the red, white, and blue.
Copyrights, as always, are a hotly contested issue. In the U.S., copyright owners get the rights to works for their life plus 70 years. The majority of commercial music, film, and literature is 'work for hire,' meaning that a label, studio, or publisher owns the copyright (making them the owner of the material). Here, the term is 95 years, and it can be renewed when the term is up. That's the U.S., so when my free-style rap about pieces and walking gets released on Sony, I can die happy knowing that it will never enter the money-grubbing public domain. Here's an excerpt:
"So I flip through the pages and what should I find?You won't get that kind of protection in the United Kingdom, no sir. Worse, you won't get royalties! And isn't that what it's all about? The BBC is reporting that a recent push for British copyright law to parallel the U.S.' probably isn't going to happen. 50 years is the term for work for hire, and it is coming at a critical time for artists like Sir Cliff Richard and The Beatles. Richard's earliest recordings will lose their copyright in 2008, and The Beatles will be out of theirs just a few years after that, in roughly 2012.
Holy shit, pieces before my eyes!
I need pieces
I'm walking, step one, step two
I'm walking down the street and damn, I see you
Cause I got to find these pieces in my mind
Walking down the street, one at a time
One foot forward and then the next one
It's taking me places because its lots of fun
If you don't really walk, then you gotta run
Fuck, walking. Walking!
So I'm walking again, yup, stepping down the street
Everybody sees me but I don't want to compete
With the running
That's why I choose to walk
An independent review, conducted for Chancellor Gordon Brown by Andrew Gowers, a former editor of the Financial Times, is recommending the copyright terms stay at 50 years. The British Phonographic Industry is up in arms over the possible move, and rightly so. To them, losing copyrights means losing money, and doing that on groups as profitable as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones isn't exactly fair.
"This outcome would mean the report had 'missed a great opportunity' to support the music industry," the chairman of the British Phonographic Industry claimed. I guess England will have to wait for my free-style rap. As you plainly can see above, it's their loss.
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be in the mind of a criminal? Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could control time? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be God?! Well, I'm pretty sure The Cell takes care of the first question, Click is a pretty good option to answer number two, and Bruce Almighty is as close as you'll probably get to number three. Movies can basically answer any of your deepest, darkest desires, and that's why we go to watch them – to feel better about ourselves by finding out other people think in the same fucked-up ways. But without music, how could movies even attempt to portray their profound messages to the mindless public? Before the advent of organized sound, how could anything be portrayed anywhere?! I know, these are truly horrifying thoughts, and someone should make a movie out of them before I start to question my sanity. But ideas matter, and if someone isn't thinking all the time, no one will be able to come up with new ways to postpone the death of music (i.e. the onset of the apocalypse/Mel Gibson's Apocalypto), and that's where journalism steps in.
Anyway, these two crazy motherfuckers, Tim and Sam, decided to name themselves after a famous jazz musician and play some music, naturally. But then they started thinking: what type of music should they play, how, and most importantly, why? These thoughts inevitably led them to the nearest AMC movie theater, where they paid $10 dollars each to see American Hardcore. Leaving the theater, they went home and read some reviews on the internet and joined some heated discussions on IMDB, when they finally understood why they were so indecisive about where to proceed musically – because Henry Rollins is a fucking sellout.
This revelation led to the births of thousands of bands and the deaths of a million others, but ultimately aided in Tim and Sam's decision to smash their instruments and make music underwater while swimming with sharks in the warm waters of the Red Sea. Deemed "freesludge" by this drugged-out dude I know (how else can you come up with new words?), the music of Eloe Omoe definitely takes its cues from the man-eating sea beasts they used to frolic with in their youthful days. They've decided to gather their sounds and lead the way on the "Dentition is Destiny Tour" while taking their newest full length Marauders with them, which won't be out officially until late December on Animal Disguise Recordings. Please, if you have a heart, let Eloe Omoe rip it from your chest to feed their hungry friends below.
Sam is a girl. Bet you didn't know that. Cool, huh?:
TGINAS75 (Thank God It’s Not Another Sweet 75 Record) — Krist Novoselic to Play Music with Flipper on Tour
Wasn't that Sweet 75 record a tremendous gem? Or am I the only one who remembers its existence? Then there's that Eyes Adrift group that Novoselic was involved in with a Meat Puppet and that Bud dude from Sublime. It was a little better. But now, Novoselic is finally contributing his magical lanky-armed bass playing abilities to something truly worthwhile again
— namely, a Flipper reunion tour.
Turns out the San Friscan punk legends (whom Nirvana were tremendous fans of) are doing a short series of dates in the Northwest, starting in (of course) Seattle on December 1.
Earth Find Way To Release Album Without Going To All The Bother Of Writing Some New Songs; Aw, I’m Just Joshing With Ya, Dylan, It’s All Love, Baby
Let's say you're one of those poseur fucks that's, like, totes into Sunn O))), proper hardcore, like you've seen them four times now, ever since you heard them back in May, and it's all about the concept, isn't it? Like, they're redefining music by exploring its limits, and, like, that's something you totally dig when you stood at the back of the gig with your messenger bag on and your fingers in your ears and a really, really, like, serious expression on your face, while the rest of us are getting down. And then your bud is all like "You know they started as an Earth cover band?" and you're like "Yeah, yeah, sure" and inside you're thinking who the fuck are Earth?, and then you start sweating and mention something about deconstructivism and pretend you see someone at the bar and go buy a can of Red Stripe and drink it on your own.
Well, your salvation is here. Earth are currently putting the finishing touches on their next album, tentatively titled Hibernaculam (Tentatively? What, did Dylan Carlson come out and say "Uh, I guess it's, um, called Hibernaculam? If that's cool?" Jeez, don't you wish artists were a bit less wussy about naming albums? If I ever release one, I'm going be like "this is Shit Titties, bitches! HELL YEAH!"). Hibernaculam promises to be a bit of a crib-sheet in a way – it's going to be classic tracks re-done in the cleaner, spaghetti-western-gone-wrong style of their last album, Hex, along with A Plague Of Angels, previously only available as a 2006 tour-only EP.
So, you should probably pick it up if you want to add a touch of class to your posing the next time Sunn O))) come through. Or if you like Earth, I guess. Me, I don't need this shit. I'm a music journalist. Gonzo style. In fact, I was actually hanging over at Dylan Carson's pad when he was working on the first Earth album. "What do you think?" he said. "It's alright, I guess," I said. "Pretty good. But I think it needs some of this." And I just pass over this big wrap of H, like it's no big thing. Next thing I know, he's come out with this evil fucking noise, and I'm all like "Yeah, that's more like it." True story.
Hibernaculam is going to be a special hybrid CD/DVD. One side is, like, music and stuff, but the other side holds a documentary. But not just any documentary. It's a documentary about Earth! Which is pretty lucky, I guess. It's going to be be released on (ah-duhhh) Southern Lord early next year. I guess it's time for a tracklist:
1. Ouroboros Is Broken
2. Coda Maestoso In F (Flat) Minor
3. Miami Morning Coming Down
4. A Plague of Angels (2006 mix)
-Earth Documentary with interviews and live footage (filmed by Seldon Hunt)
Message boards are buzzing with the news that Bis has reunited! Okay, just one message board, actually, and it's the one for the Bis folks' newer but now defunct band, Data Panik. Since I'm a pretty well-informed lady and I had never heard of this "Data Panik" business, it seems like a good idea for them to quit pretending they're a new band and go back to being Bis. The band will play two shows in early April, including one in London to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the band's 1997 album New Transistor
By the way, you might want to check out these forums if you're into Scottish indie rock gossip. My perusal led to the recovery of this gem from frontwoman Manda Rin:
"there's just so much crappiness from people in Glasgow that it's put me off playing here. I know I should think of the fans and not these scenester idiots thought, so maybe a tiny nice 'n' sleazys type gig, or King Tuts if we're being ambitious. Oh I dunno! Thanks for all these comments which have made me very happy!"
Uh, is someone stalking Ms. Rin through the mean streets of Glasgow? Is that someone wearing a Mogwai t-shirt and a maniacal snarl? Is he morally opposed to indie pop or women or just album covers that depict the band members as cartoon characters? Is he some homophobic asshat who thinks that Bis is a band of rabid omnisexuals who must be stopped? The world demands to know.
In a related story, my boyfriend can recommence fearing for his life as I wander around our apartment humming along to "Kill Your Boyfriend."
Kill Your Tourdates:
04.06.07 - Glasgow, Scotland - King Tut's
04.07.07 - London, England - TBD
Boy, I could use some Dunkaroos right about now. I used to eat those things at lunch every freakin' day. The best part is when I'd finish the cookies and there's that big dollop of chocolate left over. Am I right? Dang... I'd miss my next class to savor a dollop like that. All this is by way of saying that I'm going to the store right now and seeing if they still make Dunkaroos. I ask you, who's with me? Who??
Oh, you want some stale info on the new Air album first? Well, first of all, it's got 12 tracks. That's two more songs than their last one, which is kind of exciting, right? Can we go now? Also, J. B. Dunckel used some Asian classical instruments on a bunch of the tracks, like the dude COME ON, I can tell you about this in the car, I just want the 'Roos! I can't even think! The chocolate is so gritty, and thick! Okay, okay, almost done. He uses the, umm, the Koto. And the shamisen. Nigel Godrich, Radiohead dude, he produced it; Jarvis Cocker and the guy from The Divine Comedy, they sing on it; they'll be going on tour and stuff...
So let's go go go! Hmm? Oh, right, album title. God, see what these Dunkaroos are doing to me? What kind of news story is this? It's called Pocket Symphony, and it comes out on March 6, and I'm honestly leaving without you if you don't get in the car in five seconds.
Silver Jews Cancel Tourdates, David Berman Sez: “Oh wait, ‘touring’ means you have to ‘play ALL the shows we sold tickets to’!?”
Okay, so David Berman's been described as a "reluctant performer," but sweet Jesus Christ (Yeah, I said it. In an article about Silver Jews, no less)!!! Bursting back on the scene with the twisted, fabulous, and jangly chaos of 2005's Tanglewood Numbers and then APPEARING IN PUBLIC, The Silver Jews filled a gaping hole in the hearts of all who wondered when the heck Berman would get over his stage fright.
But woe to those who missed them at the Some Other Magazine Festival this summer and during their subsequent tour. (Hi, nice to meet you.) All we suckers got this Hanukkah from the Silver Jews was a nice little e-mail:
The tickets you purchased for Silver Jews at Webster Hall on Saturday, December 30 will be automatically refunded since the event has been cancelled.Uh, you're welcome.
The cancelled event was:
Bishops at Large
Thank you for choosing TicketWeb.
Berman's admittedly more poetic version of that letter can be found here.
Sometimes New York and Massachusetts Silver Jews fans get depressed.
12.30.06 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
12.31.06 - Northampton, MA - Pearl Street
Akron/Family Tour Barefoot Through a Forest of Glass to Teach You the True Meaning of Abstinence and Self-Respect
I was once romantically involved with the Akron/Family's self-titled release more than a year ago. I spent a tryst or three with the brilliance I was yearning for in a modern psych-folk quartet. My friend was able to lure the folkies out to play a show in nowhere, Indiana by giving into their demands of extraneous amounts of money and sex.
I was overly excited to see these guys play live, but everything that could go wrong went wrong. First of all, I discovered to my disappointment that they were in fact not a family, but just a group of normal guys who like nachos and beer. Secondly, during their performance, I dropped acid for the first time.
Since there was acid all over the floor, everyone had to vacate to the nearest exit and wait until the spill had been properly cleaned. I'm usually clumsy, but this time I ruined the whole out-of-body experience that only Akron/Family could have provided me with.
In light of their new record Meek Warrior [TMT Review], the kindred spirits of Akron/Family will go on a small tour and float cosmically from city to city. Hopefully, there is a 12-year-old girl like me out there who will be able to catch one of these live shows and become enlightened. I have faith in you Akron/Family to heal this nation. Please don't let me down this time like I let you down last time.
Here is where they will be tripping to:
12.07.06 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
12.08.06 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo*
12.09.06 - Visalia, CA - Howie & sons Pizza & Beer Parlor
12.10.06 - San Francisco, CA - 12 Galaxies
12.13.06 - Victoria, BC - Lucky Bar
12.14.06 - Vancouver, BC - Richards on Richards
12.15.06 - Seattle, WA - Neumo's Crystal Ball Reading Room
12.16.06 - Portland, OR - Holocene*
* with Lisa Germano
Here are some places they won't be touring to EVER:
Akron, New York
For most people, Mastodon's sound conjures up images of flaming antlers and blood-soaked, prognosticating trees. When I hear Mastodon, I think of Scottie Pippen and Toni Kukoc lining up for three-pointers. There's admittedly little basketball imagery in Mastodon's lyrics, but every time I've listened to Blood Mountain, I've just so happened to be playing NBA Jam: Tournament Edition on Super Nintendo at the same time. Each pounding guitar line forms a vivid image of swirling, flaming dunks from half-court care of Mookie Blaylock. Each piecing metal freakout brings me back to the time Dennis Rodman stole the ball at the last second and brought the game into overtime with an amazing underhand toss.
All I'm saying is, Mastodon is versatile music. Sure, I had some tracks off Leviathan on my "goat sacrifice, etc." playlist, but there was a time I was afraid to transfer them over to "jock jams." Gather your friends, your enemies, and your dwindling hoop skills, because Mastodon is coming to town next year.
Metal can be for anyone and everyone... even B.J. Armstrong:
01.26.07 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Culture Room
01.27.07 - Lake Buena Vista, FL - House of Blues
01.28.07 - St. Petersburg, FL - Jannus Landing
01.30.07 - Tallahassee, FL - Beta Bar
02.01.07 - Knoxville, TN - Blue Cats
02.03.07 - Sauget, IL - Pop's
02.05.07 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
02.07.07 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Orbit Room
02.09.07 - Pittsburg, PA - Rex Theater
02.10.07 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom
02.11.07 - Providence, RI - Lupo's
02.13.07 - Allentown, PA - Crocodile Rock
02.14.07 - Rochester, NY - Water Street Music Hall
02.15.07 - Clifon Park, NY - Northern Lights
02.16.07 - New Haven, CT - Toad's Place
02.17.07 - Washington, DC - 9.30 Club
all dates with Converge and Priestess