Up from the 36 Chambers, The Wu-Tang Clan are planning to hit the road on a coast to coast U.S. tour in support of their most recent album, 2007’s 8 Diagrams (TMT Review). The hip-hop legends from Shaolin, better known as Staten Island, are starting their run in Portland November 29 and won’t be quitting until they get to Atlanta in 2009. The only lingering question now is whether or not all eight members will show up to the shows (though, I'd count these dudes out).
The tour is not only coming in support of their last LP, but also to help back a DVD the group released in early October, Live at Montreux 2007, which features the Tang performing at last year’s Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. On top of all that, the clan has recently approved a documentary set to air on BET on November 13 and subsequently be released on November 18 (TMT News). The documentary, Wu: The Story of The Wu-Tang Clan, will feature interviews and archival footage of each of the Clan’s members. Be sure to catch the group and the DVDs if you're not already completely broke.
Wu-Tang Clan tourdates:
Look at the silhouette of Marnie Stern spinning below. Is she spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise?
If you think Stern is spinning clockwise, then you use your right side of the brain more, which tends to be associated with feelings, imagination, symbols, philosophy/religion, fantasy, and creativity.
If you think Stern is spinning counter-clockwise, then your brain is more attuned to logic, language, reality, practicality, math, and science.
If you like Stern's new album, This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That (TMT Review), then you'll want to catch her and Gang Gang Dance (TMT Review) on their newly expanded tour, where she'll spin for you in person:
$ Gang Gang Dance
Independent labels do not get the same treatment as majors in terms of radio airplay, a new survey finds. The A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) conducted the 18-month survey of 61 indie labels -- the largest in the past decade -- to judge the effectiveness of FCC's Rules of Engagement agreement, which was signed in March 2007 and put into place to curb payola in commercial radio practices.
The study concludes that over 92% of indie labels reported no change in relationships with radio stations, and 41% claim payola still determines commercial radio airplay. Since the signing of the FCC settlement, one in four labels (nine of the thirty-nine that responded to this particular question) indicated they had been asked to at one point supply some form of payola.
The A2IM is quick to dismiss the study as a completely negative finding, indicating the presence of some success stories and the 5.8% of labels that say they have a better relationship with commercial radio stations since the agreement. The organization also considers the success of internet and satellite radio by independent labels and musicians as a positive sign.
Commercial radio stations, meanwhile, can take this survey into account and pay more attention to independent labels. As Rich Bengloff, President of A2IM explains: "Rebranding radio as cool and creating a stronger bond with their local listeners is vital to the health of radio. We invite radio programmers to read this report and open their minds – and playlists – to the opportunities presented by playing more independent music.”
Swedish singer/songwriter Frida Hyvönen will be releasing her new album Silence is Wild next Tuesday, Election Day, via Secretly Canadian. And just how she hopes that her sprawling vocals and enjambed lyrics will be enough to carry the whole album, she also hopes that performing in major East Coast cities will be enough to promote it. Perhaps these are the cities where vocally-driven piano stars are born?
While Hyvönen takes the day off from touring on her U.S. release date -- perhaps to let the political importance of it all sink in -- she hits New York, DC, and Philadelphia in the first half of November. And Chicago, just to shake things up. Chicago loves lady singers, too. Then she's off to Europe through mid-December.
Silence Is Wild tracklist:
In a perfect world, Bon Iver would provide the soundtrack to the film adaptation of the romance novel, Big Spankable Asses. At first thought, you may think the tender music of Bon Iver might clash with the blunt substance of a movie like Big Spankable Asses, and you'd be exactly right. They wouldn't go together at all, IF you let some Hollywood bigwig muck it all up by changing the purity of the story.
Big Spankable Asses is written in the literary tradition of E.M. Forster's An Assage to India and Graham Greene's The Quiet Ass. The story takes place in 1940s New York City, following an ass-loving private detective who is wrapped up in a murder mystery after his partner is killed. He finds himself with a femme fatale, searching for the stuff dreams are made of: Big Spankable Asses. He thinks he's found the mythical items, but they're made of lead. Oops!
The story is delicate and emotional, and it needs someone like Bon Iver to paint a soothing picture over the pain and greed for asses that is our humanity. I'd like to write the adaptation, but I know those Hollywood turkeys would turn it into some sleazy sex romp with guys running around bottomless getting all ass-crazy. I haven't approached Bon Iver with the proposition yet, but I'm confident we can maintain the integrity of the work of all three original authors. I'll try and meet up with Bon Iver at all of these locations:
San Diego scene staple, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Terrin Durfey has passed away after a decade-long bout with cancer, according to a post on the Electrical Audio message board verified by Touch and Go. Durfey spent time in the 90s as the bassist for San Diego indie rockers Boilermaker, and in recent years had played with the likes of the Jade Shader and Pinback.
Durfey intended to join Pinback on their recently wrapped fall tour, but a recurrence of his cancer kept him from the road.
French electronic artists Justice are simultaneously breaking into the world of puns and live DVD releases. In an effort to capture the essence of the band's live experience, director friends Romain Gavras and So-Me taped the band nearly non-stop during its three-week tour of the U.S. in March 2008. A documentary of the edited footage is set to be released December 9 under the name A Cross the Universe (har).
Justice are best known for their bass-slapping, sample-happy tunes, as well as for their eccentric live shows. And A Cross the Universe film makers Gavras and So-Me are no strangers to the duo -- each have directed a video or two for the band. So while the live CD can give folks a taste of the well-known Justice live show, a set of friends' eyes behind the camera will tell a more intimate tale of the duo taking on America with their giant, light-up cross.
The DVD/CD combo will be released on Atlantic Records with screenings set around the band's fall tour. Here's a treat for you:
Confirmed DJ dates:
EMI Reports Over $1 Billion in Losses… Wait, I Think Another Now That’s What I Call Music Just Dropped Yesterday… Make That $0.72 Billion
The results are in, sports fans! Last year, the world watched (and music writers eagerly lampooned) as the illimitable Terra Firma president Guy Hands (your friend and mine) "seized" control of the tanking EMI Music with the goal of whipping the corporation into some kind of financial solvency. Now, the results are in as to just how well EMI fared during its first fiscal year under Hands' thumb. And, well, let’s just say that "terra firma" seems to be a pretty apt description of its ultimate trajectory.
All in all, EMI has reported a loss of Â£757 million, that's $1.2 billion U.S., for the year ending March 31 of this year; not exactly the band aid that the music giant was looking for, I'm sure. In fact, the loss is more than double that of the previous fiscal year, where EMI lost a piddly Â£287 million (or $454.4 million). Revenue also dropped from Â£1.8 billion ($2.85 billion) last year to Â£1.45 billion ($2.3 billion) this year.
But Hands probably isn't biting his nails over this just yet, as the report also included an introduction from former BBC executive and current "right Hands man" Lord Birt (seriously!), who was eager to note that despite "continuing underperformance from EMI Music" and "the absence of rosy assurances about the future," all hope is not lost. Well, Halleluiah. Birt goes on to assert that the report "does not signal any lack of confidence in EMI, but sets out the problems that were faced in the year," adding that EMI's costs were too high and that its system was unable to tell how profitable its individual acts were. You know, no big deal. It'll probably work itself out.
But also, since these figures only run up to March 31 of this year, they do not include any results from many of this year's hit albums, including Coldplay's smash Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends (TMT Review) or Katy Perry's either obnoxious or just plain innocuous single "I Kissed A Girl," both of which could somewhat substantially bolster next year's bottom line (if all recorded music isn't free by then). In point of fact, only three EMI albums surpassed one million in sales during the time frame accounted for by the report, plus two of those always-great NOW compilations. Then there's those pesky one-off restructuring costs of Â£123 million ($195.8 million) relating to those faceless 1,500 staffers who were laid off worldwide, which shouldn't really burden future profit margins -- just the families of all those unemployed people.
If you're up to it, the entire 101-page report can be read online as a PDF file here. Meanwhile, EMI states that another report coming later this year will lay out its future strategy and plans, which I'm pretty sure just means that there'll be no Christmas Bonuses this year. Bummer.
Akron/Family, as a holiday gift to you, have just curated a small (albeit effective) tour, braving some of the coldest parts of the country in winter, in an effort to warm your heart (dawww). The tour is split across the month, presumably so the/Family can spend time with their real/ones, starting out in Chicago and finishing up with a grand New Year's Eve performance at New York's Knitting Factory. No support announced as of yet, so go see about/them here for the updates.
The/collective has also been in the studio this fall working on a follow-up to last year's excellent Love is Simple (TMT Review), so hopefully, they're gonna bring us a first/glimpse at what they've been doing on their Christmas Vacation.
While our wallets are being impacted by the economy right now, personal luxuries are being put on the shelf, like concert tickets. Now the people selling those tickets are getting screwed over too. Last Friday, TicketsNow, which is owned by Ticketmaster, announced that it's laying off 62 customer service reps in its Crystal Lake office, roughly 70% of the call center work force.
Ticketmaster announced earlier this year its plans to layoff around 600 people, roughly 5% of its workforce, aiming to reduce its operating expenses to $35 million. So, look for plenty more layoff announcements.
So, what does this mean to all of us? Basically it is just going to take even longer to get through the phone lines when tickets for JT's next tour go on sale. But don't worry, we'll still get ripped off on service charges.