Reading articles about new layoffs each week has sadly become too common the past couple months. This week, two more music-related casualties were announced, beginning with the rumored layoffs at Epic Records of Brett Greenberg (Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas promotion regional) and Jen Dalton (Denver regional). Greenberg was previously employed by Epic in the Sony Music Marketing division from 1990-2001, and Dalton had worked there for three-and-a-half years. Seriously, Epic, if you want to lay someone off, start with this girl right here. Or, instead, concentrate on fixing your slow-moving flash website that froze my computer for two minutes.
Additionally, CBS Interactive (a.k.a. the big boss that bought Last.fm last year for $280 million) is also laying off employees from a few of its companies, starting with Last.fm. Apparently, the number of Last.fm layoffs is less than 20, so hopefully it won’t be too catastrophic.
So, yeah…This is hard for me to say…Okay, here it goes: Cut Copy, Deerhoof, and of Montreal Remixed Maroon 5 on their new album…Uh huh, yeah, I understand. I’ll wait here while you pack up your stuff and start hating those bands.
It’s okay, Indie States of Internet America. We’ll get through this. Catch your breath, have a drink of water, just try to calm down a bit. And please, keep reminding yourself: They did it for the paycheck. It’s just for a paycheck.
At least let’s hope that’s why this pack of usually sensible artists, the jumpers of Cut Copy, the newscasters of Deerhoof, and the mostly naked of Montreal, decided to remix a few of Maroon 5’s songs for the band’s new album, Call and Response: The Remix Album. Along with these three sacred hipster cows, Brit-spitter Mark Ronson and Roots drummer ?uestlove also provide remixes, and the album boasts producing credits from big names like Just Blaze, Pharrell, and Swizz Beatz.
Should curiosity get the best of you, the album is streamable on M5’s MySpace. It’s not too bad actually. Heh, I guess I overreacted a bit. Maroon 5 isn’t trying to usurp hipsters’ cherished sense of removal from mainstream society. They just wanted talented people to reinterpret their work, and kudos to them for their good taste in collaborators! And hell, of Montreal rewrote one of their own songs specifically for an Outback Steakhouse commercial, and they haven’t stopped glamming about like a school of glittery starfish, so there’s no reason to think any of these bands will start to suck either. Let’s admit Maroon 5 into the indie community, people. I’m sure they have nothing but the best—
WAIT A DAMN MINUTE.
Compare Maroon 5's remix album cover next to The Rapture's Echoes artwork:
AHH! They’ve gone too far this time! Nobody consumes The Rapture and gets away with it! These Maroon 5 bastards won’t stop until they destroy everything we hold dear, but I sure as hell ain’t gonna lay down while Adam Levine stomps his mainstream boots all over my hipsterhood! So prepare for battle, friends! Gather your smuggest scowls, your most ironic t-shirts, your hardcover copies of Ulysses that you’re never, ever going to read, and let’s go to WAR! We meet on the Fields of Mars at dawn. Good luck.
Mario Speedwagon’s Under The Radar News Roundup: Big Ears Festival, Crazy Bitch Stabs Her Guitarist, Arcade Fire Release “Film,” Langerado Lineup Is Ballz, Waxploitation Release Darfur Benefit Compilation
- Big Ears Festival. Not the greatest fest name; however, the lineup includes Fennesz, Michael Gira, Philip Glass, Anthony and the Johnsons, and Matmos, with more to be announced. The festival will take place February 6-8, 2009, in, get this, KNOXVILLE. Yeah, Tennessee in the house... Thank God something cool is finally happening by me. Ya’ll bitches can buy tickets at the Big Ears Festival official site.
- I have no idea who this band is, but it’s totally awesome: Apparently, the front woman of Italian band Soul Cry knifed the band’s 16 year-old guitarist for fucking up during rehearsal. Cristina Balzano, aged 19, is being charged with attempted murder. Damn, Gina.
- The Arcade Fire are releasing a film, pretentious-speak for a fuckin’ live DVD. Miroir Noir, which is frog for “Black Mirror,” will be digitally released on December 15, 2008 on the official “film” website, while DVD formats will be available sometime in 2009.
- The Langerado Music Festival lineup reads like the “$5.99 and Under” bin at a local record store. Shit like Snoop Dogg, Thievery Corporation, Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, a bunch of shit I’ve never heard of, and then a bunch of hip stuff (The Virgin’s, ya’ll!). This ‘nilla festival is going down March 6-8, 2008 in Miami at the Bicentennial Park. You can buy your $120+ ticket at the official website.
- Waxploitation will release Causes 2, a compilation featuring LCD Soundsystem, Devendra Banhart, My Morning Jacket, Gnarls Barkley, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, and a bunch of others. Causes 2 will be released in March 2009, and all the proceeds go to benefit Darfur.
Well, kids, that’s all I got for this week. Later, ya’ll.
No Fun Fest 2009 Fails to Live Up to “Un-Fun” Moniker Once Again; Merzbow, Sonic Youth, Bastard Noise, and More!
After the recent season finale of the smash MTV reality show Paris Hilton's My New BFF, my nights have been unexpectedly empty and devoid of excitement. What other source has tantalizing glimpses into a world much more fun, much more thrilling than my daily workaday existence? Life had seemed hopelessly dull and whack.
With the unveiling of the No Fun Fest 2009 lineup, finally there is something to look forward to once more. Hold the commercials, cue the noise. Looks like Merzbow is once again coming back to the U.S. for a set! Also making appearances will be TMT favorites like Emeralds (TMT Review), Black Pus (TMT Review), Pedestrian Deposit (TMT Review), Chris Corsano (TMT Review), Skullflower (TMT Review), Blank Dogs (TMT Review), and C. Spencer Yeh (TMT Review) playing with Trevor Tremaine (TMT Review) and Rafael Toral (TMT Review).
And while Sonic Youth members are always dispersed throughout the fest in various collaborations, this time they're playing their own set! Also expect Bastard Noise, Axolotl, Bardo Bond, the always uncompromising CON-DOM, and much, much more.
It all goes down May 15-17 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Alas, I hear Hilton is more of a Coachella girl
05.15.09-05.17.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
Conrad Schnitzler's Con-Cert
Xeno and Oaklander
Rafael Toral with C. Spencer Yeh and Trevor Tremaine
Marcus Schmickler/ Peter Rehberg
Sons of God
I Smell Winter….and It’s Very Similar to Dirty Diapers Mixed with Pickle Brine; Bon Iver Back With EP and Tourdates
Tiny Mix Tapes is not Wal-Mart. Granted, there are few things we enjoy more than strutting into town to bankrupt long-standing, independently-run, family businesses, but that's where the similarities end. When it comes to over-promoting the holiday season, we take a different approach to things. Christmas doesn't need pimping until the end of November at the very latest, not the minute after Halloween, and January winter fun doesn't begin until icy cool troubadour Justin Vernon releases new songs. The fun will come, but winter is already here. If you want further proof just look at the new Bon Iver EP cover!
Now that you have retrieved your monitor from outside, repaired your window, and completed the required anger management classes program that that image prompted taking, you can smile, knowing that Bon Iver will indeed be releasing Blood Bank, a new 12-inch/CDEP featuring four new tracks, on Jagjaguwar January 20. Blood Bank will be available for purchase on the current U.S. and upcoming Australian tours, with the vinyl offering a bonus digital download voucher. That's news that can warm the coldest mood
Blood on these tracks:
1. Blood Bank
2. Beach Baby
Vernon and touring co. will continue on their small tour tonight in Brooklyn after recent dates oversees, a couple of NYC Town Hall shows, and a Late Show performance. Vernon has also designed a t-shirt for the artist-enlisted charity initiative Yellow Bird Project. All proceeds of the Bon Iver model will benefit Toronto's Interval House. Letterman, t-shirt artiste, time philanthropist... my, how things have changed since Vernon's days spent as a cabin-dwelling shut-in!
12.12.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg %
12.14.08 - Boston, MA - The Wilbur Theatre %
12.15.08 - Philadelphia, PA - The Trocadero %
12.17.08 - Louisville, KY - Headliners %
12.18.08 - Chicago, IL - The Vic Theatre %
12.19.08 - Madison, WI - The Barrymore Theatre %
12.22.08 - Eau Claire, WI - State Theatre
01.15.09 - Perth, Australia - Fly By Night
01.17.09 - Brisbane, Australia - The Tivoli
01.18.09 - Melbourne, Australia - The Hi-Fi
01.19.09 - Melbourne, Australia - Forum Theatre
01.20.09 - Sydney, Australia - The Famous Spiegeltent
01.21.09 - Angel Place, Australia - City Recital Hall
01.22.09 - Sydney, Australia - The Famous Spiegeltent
01.23.09 - Sydney, Australia - The Famous Spiegeltent
01.24.09 - Angel Place, Australia - City Recital Hall
% The Tallest Man of Earth
Seymour Stein, VP at Warner Music Group and founder of Sire Records, offered this tiny nugget of a quote for all of us to read and laugh at, as quoted in The Globe and Mail (via Coolfer):
We blew it. The first major music labels were all phonograph manufacturers, but by the time the Beatles came along, most companies were no longer involved in the hardware. Had we remained in control of the hardware, we wouldn't be hurting as much as we are now. And the iPod would be ours.
Yes, you sure "blew it," record companies. What's keeping you in the red isn't the horrible music product that you promote or your contradictory approach to the digital world or that you call digital-oriented consumers "pirates"or, as Coolfer suggests, your apparent lack of interest in entering the cash cow world of merchandise, ticketing, e-commerce, management, or touring. No, it's because you don’t control the production and sale of, uh, hardware, like the iPod...
Can you believe executives like these are calling the shots? They really need to stop worrying about what decisions they COULD have made and worry about what great decisions they SHOULD be making now. Like putting out my record.
Here's Belle and Sebastian's take:
Antony and The Johnsons -- not to be confused with Anthony Johnston, my freshman roommate -- have confirmed a 15-date tour of the U.S. Just so happens that my bud Anthony Johnston is also a big fan of Anthony and The Johnsons, so this'll be PERFECT. The group's new album, The Crying Light, hits stores January 20 via Secretly Canadian, which gives me and Anthony just enough time to memorize all the words before the tour.
Here's what Antony had to say about the new album:
My new album "The Crying Light" is dedicated to the great dancer Kazuo Ohno. In performance I watched him cast a circle of light upon the stage, and step into that circle, and reveal the dreams and reveries of his heart. He seemed to dance in the eye of something mysterious and creative; with every gesture he embodied the child and the feminine divine. He's kind of like my art parent.
And here's what Anthony Johnston had to say:
Why is it only drug dealers and software developers call their clients users? Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra? Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery? If God dropped acid, would he see people? If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too? If you ate pasta and antipasta, would you still be hungry?
Hahaha! Can't you see why I'm friends with him? Fucking hilarious.
Tourdates (European tourdates coming soon!):
Dan Deacon Finds Cure For Touring Loneliness, Unveils 15-Piece Live Band TONIGHT; Street Date For Bromst Confirmed
When last writing about Mr. Deacon (TMT Review), I submitted my pleas for more information about his forthcoming album, Bromst. Well, it looks like Dan has answered my prayers (or so I would like to believe this was just for me) by announcing that his follow-up to Spiderman of the Rings will be coming our way (relatively) soon -- March 24, 2009, to be exact, courtesy of Carpark Records.
Deacon will also be mixing up his famous live show with the addition of a huge-ass band. Featuring a hodgepodge of Baltimore all-stars, the ensemble will be making its debut tonight at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple to help promote Bromst and will later tour in 2009 charged with the same task. The show promises a few solo Deacon songs, sets from Dirty Projectors and So Percussion, and, of course, surprises!
Dan Deacon Live Ensemble Talent Detail:
Eric Beach (So Percussion)
Denny Bowen (Double Dagger, Smarthgrowth)
Jeremy Hyman (Ponytail, Ultimate Reality)
Kevin O'Meara (Videohippos, Ultimate Reality)
Rich O'Meara (ko'mm)
Josh Quillen (So Percussion)
Adam Sliwinski (So Percussion)
Jason Treuting (So Percussion)
- Synthesizers, Keyboards and Electronics:
Benny Boeldt (Adventure)
William Cashion (Future Islands)
Chester Gwazda (Nuclear Power Pants)
Gerrit Welmers (Future Islands)
Matt Papiach (Ecstatic Sunshine/White Williams)
Ken Seeno (Ponytail)
...And Dan Deacon Tourdates:
# Dirty Projectors, So Percussion
* Girl Talk
+ Baltimore Round Robin Show
According to my buds at Pitchfork, Animal Collective are set to release their forthcoming album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, EARLY. And by early, I mean they've set a different release date for the vinyl release. While the CD and digital releases are still still scheduled for January 20 (January 12 in the UK), the vinyl + digital download come January 6, the first Tuesday of 2009.
According to people close to the band, "You don't want to miss this album. Even if you were planning to commit suicide." So, if you were planning to commit suicide on New Year's Eve, you should perhaps consider rescheduling it for January 7. Go ahead and blow your brains at that time.
Meanwhile, AC have recently scheduled more listening parties. Here they be:
Stars to Tour Without Coldplay, Talk About How They Miss Opening for Coldplay And How Awesome Coldplay Are
It was October 20. Ottawa, Ontario. It was a dark, windy night. And a little chilly. The kind of weather best suited for a nice cashmere sweater and a scarf, perhaps a late-afternoon hot chocolate. Not a star was in sight, unless of course you count music act Stars at the Scotiabank Place arena.
Having released the Sad Robots EP back in September, Stars were clearly excited to be performing live again. This show would mark their first of a 12-date tour of their home country Canada.
But, as excited as they were to perform, Stars were in fact more excited to be sharing the stage with the Best Band in the World, Coldplay. The show was a one-off before both bands would say their goodbyes and head on their respective Canadian tours, so Stars knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Eager to watch Coldplay perform, Stars quickly ran through their set, playing most of their songs at least 25% faster than normal. Coldplay's fans cheered loudly, but it was clear to everyone -- including Stars -- that the Real Deal was about to perform and that any warm-up act is but a slight breath of fleeting hot air.
After their set, Stars quickly found a comfortable spot from which to watch Coldplay's set.
At 8:30 PM, Coldplay finally hit the stage. Like Gods. One minute into their opening song "Yellow," the members of Stars fell to their knees and started weeping. "This is the best thing that's ever happened to me!" yelled vocalist Torquil Campbell, in between weeps. "Yeah I know. I will never forget this moment for as long as I live," replied keyboardist Chris Seligman, hands pointed toward the ceiling, as if reaching for the heavens. Judging by how things were going so far, it wouldn't have surprised anyone if he did find himself in heaven by the end of the night.
Two hours later, Coldplay finished their third encore and were preparing their goodbyes. The audience, exhausted from crying throughout the set due to the ineffable beauty of Coldplay's music, started cheering so loudly, in such a deafening manner, that Coldplay began to cry too. The members of Stars looked at each other in excited approval. They knew too that this was The Moment, the kind of experience that would forever shape their lives.
When everyone thought things couldn't get any better, Coldplay did what everyone knew had to happen: they launched into "Yellow" again. The crowd went nuts; Coldplay looked as energetic as ever; and each member of Stars closed their eyes and sang along: "Look at the stars/ Look how they shine for you!" The night felt like it could last forever.
It's a shame these dates are without Coldplay: