The Hafler Trio should need no introduction. A forerunner of the oh-so-hip hauntology movement (though never by "their" admission, of course), Andrew McKenzie and his associates/collaborators -- recently including Pan Sonic, Autechre, Fovea Hex, Jónsi Birgisson, David Tibet, Blixa Barageld, and less recently Chris Watson (formerly of Cabaret Voltaire, currently a resident BBC sound recordist putting out fantastic field recordings on Touch Music) -- have been steadfastly exploring and redefining what's possible with sound as early as 1979, since The Hafler Trio's beginnings as part of the post-Throbbing Gristle industrial fallout in Britain (including but not limited to Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound, and Psychic TV -- the last of which very briefly included McKenzie within it's ranks). So, after over two decades of elaborately packaged and endlessly fascinating releases, you ought to have a few of them. But perhaps you've been wondering about that "Simply Superior" logo found on many Important Records releases? A message sent to David Tibet to be posted on durtro.com can perhaps shed some light on the matter:

http://www.simplysuperior.org is an attempt, by the Hafler Trio and its esteemed associates, to address the situation with which the marketplace confronts those engaged in the creative act and to equitably deal with interactions there, thus providing an alternative way of approaching the problems and benefits such opportunities offer. Rather than complain about how changing circumstances affect creativity, it is an attempt to create a place where such endeavours can be seen in a new light, and take root in a new soil. Finally, it is also an attempt to repay the debt of being allowed to exist in this fragile system for many years.

For those of you accustomed to Andrew's peculiar manner of communicating ideas, that ought to be enough; for the rest of you adventurous consumers increasingly jaded by commercial music but a bit bewildered with McKenzie's prose, a summary: With the beginning of the new year, The Hafler Trio have opened an online store of epic proportion, addressing the ideological and monetary divides between so-called "high class" art/gallery art and Sound Art with a most intriguing item for sale. At Simply Superior, in addition to being stimulated visually and aurally, you'll find that an edition-of-one, personally crafted Hafler Trio release is available for any rabid fan willing to shell out nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine euros. Lord knows if I'll ever be able to afford one, but it's certainly exciting and probably worth saving up for. In the meantime, the shop also features less expensive items from the h3o back catalog available for considerably more affordable prices, with the assurance that an increasingly varied selection of products will be available as time goes on.

I’m going to live in Nashville and make a career out of writing bad stories and not getting paid all year. With lines like that, you’d think David Berman of Silver Jews would return my calls, right? Yeah, I know.

I was up late last night thinking to myself, "Dude, you really ought to be more dedicated to Tiny Mix Tapes. I mean, how many stories have you done this month? Yeah, exactly." I hoped I hadn't died in the eyes of Mr P. I'm still here, below the chandelier. So, I searched the forum for a good news story to write, and what do I find? News about the JOOS! That's right, my all-time most favorite band Silver Jews have finished up their new album.

I popped a couple Adderalls (poor man's coke) and proceeded to spend the night crafting a story Mr. Berman could be proud of. I thought about the time I contacted his booking agent and tried so desperately to get DCB to come do a reading at our school. I remembered their first-ever tour in 2006 and, more importantly, how they played a 21+ venue when I was underage. Then I remembered the first time I heard a leaked version of the then much-anticipated Tanglewood Numbers and how my friend and I chatted on AIM for three hours using only lines from Joo songs.

After all that reflecting, I finally put my fingers to work. Or I tried to put my fingers to work. I quickly realized that I had become paralyzed with fear. This was the first time in months I had a chance to write a story about a band I truly cared about, and I couldn't move. My armpits became sweaty and my throat ran dry. I had visions of David and Cassie laughing at my inability to say something True. I realized I would never be hospitalized for approaching perfection, nor can I dance real good -- uh huh huh.

I went back to the medicine cabinet and took some Lyrica to curb my anxiety, remembering that even ponies get depressed. The medicine paired with that thought helped me a little bit. I realized that, as long as I was honest, Berman would be proud of me. So, by four this morning, I had drunk 50,000 beers. And they just washed against me like the sea into a pier.

"Jesus," I said after the last bottle. "I only have four or so months to get ready for their newest release!" That's right, Drag City darlings Silver Jews plan to release their sixth album (if you don't count The Arizona Record or Dime Map of the Reef), Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, sometime in April. The ten-song set was recorded where else but Lexington, VA and Nashville, TN. After years of a rotating cast of players, the Joos will feature Berman's touring band (this includes his wife, Cassie, on bass), who will be playing ATP festivals in England and Spain. But Berman hopes to keep the live gigs going. "I'd like to do more. Our excellent booking agent, Derek Becker at Satellite, is working on it now," Berman said. (I totally talked to Derek Becker last spring!)

So moral of the story: get me a leak of this album pronto, and I will lick your balls/non-balls to no end.

Finally, Berman will be waxing hot at the Corcoran Gallery of Art on February 28 in Washington D.C. The subject is an exhibition by recently deceased visual artist Jeremy Blake, of whom he was once a subject.

Tracklist:

I've got this really good idea I want to tell you guys about, but you have to understand (and I admit this) that it sounds stupid at first, so just let me flesh out the concept for a bit and I know you'll come around and possibly even decide to put money toward the project.

So, Dead Meadow is a band, a group of entertainers; Tim Meadows is a comic actor, also an entertainer. Now I'm not saying this is definitely what's happening, but what if, on this upcoming February tour, maybe even because of my suggestion, these similarly entertainment-focused entertainers teamed up for a multimedia presentation that generated both fist-pumping aggression and internal-organ-alphabetizing belly laughs? The only thing that can complement success, after all, is more success, and with both entertainment entities currently operating at the top of their respective games, why not combine said "games" and exponentiate the success, à la rollerblade basketball or the XFL?

Sounds silly, right? Well of course it sounds silly when I haven't told you yet that Tim Meadows' backing band would include such SNL luminaries as Chris Kattan, Kenan Thompson, and Rob Schneider! Now hang on, you're saying to your monitor, whuuuuuh? Yep, the music would be in the hands of the comedians, while the non-stop jokefest would be provided by the gents in Dead Meadow! The only musical instruments allowed on the stage during their set would be the drums, primarily used to emphasize punch-lines. Given the band's impressive discography, the laughter wouldn't cease until every one of their albums had been good-naturedly (yet viciously) lambasted! Say, what can you use to keep a Shivering King and Others warm? I don't know, but it'd probably take more than a couple Feathers! Say, does anyone have the tracklisting for their new album, Old Growth, out on Matador, February 5? Of course, it's riiight here: for me to poop on!

As for the Tim Meadows-led musical supergroup, they would mainly play parodies of old standards (as if the production needed any more laughs), including "Y.M.C.HAMMER" (a send-up of rap music), "How Much Is That Bloggie in the Window?" (a send-up of Web 2.0), and "Like A Rolling Joint" (a send-up of joints).

Make it happen, guys:
01.16.08 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom (for $25, get a ticket and a copy of Old Growth at the show!)
02.05.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex
02.06.08 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah
02.07.08 - Tucson, AZ - Solar Culture Gallery
02.10.08 - Austin, TX - Emo's Jr

02.12.08 - Norman, OK - The Opolis
02.13.08 - Houston, TX - The Mink
02.15.08 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jack's
02.16.08 - Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
02.17.08 - Orlando, FL - The Social
02.18.08 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
02.19.08 - Athens, GA - Tasty World
02.21.08 - Asheville, NC - The Grey Eagle
02.22.08 - Knoxville, TN - The Pilot Light
02.23.08 - Wilmington, NC - The Soapbox Laundrolounge
02.27.08 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's

Beach House and Papercuts Tour: A Match Made in Heaven

It's a story as old as time. We see it repeated over and over again -- in our own lives, on the silver screen, and in the paperback romance your lonely aunt Pam is reading. But this time it doesn't involve either Meg Ryan or Tom Hanks, so you know it's bound to be good!

Imagine: One band meets another band -- they talk a little at first, they ask their friends about one another, they daydream about the possibilities. On the surface, they seem to have a lot of things in common: lo-fi sound, dreamy qualities, and prominent organ melodies. There certainly seems to be a spark of chemistry! One band is looking for a drummer. But will the other band have the right drummer for them?

In the case of Beach House and Papercuts, yes. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, the duo behind Baltimore-based Beach House (TMT Interview), are setting forth on a lengthy U.S. tour this spring, and they've asked Papercuts' Jason Quever to join them on drums and in life (at least for the duration of this magical, musical excursion.) Papercuts are touring in support of recent album Can't Go Back (TMT Review) on Gnomonsong Records, and Quever and friends will accompany Beach House on all dates. Beach House will be promoting their upcoming release on Carpark Records, Devotion, due on February 26.

Insound Acquired by Warner’s ADA

Late last week, Billboard reported that Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA) has acquired online retailer Insound.com. The move was made by ADA to expand its digital sales by using Insound as a "back-end" for its own clients to create their own online stores. Insound will continue to operate under co-founder Matt Wishnow, according to reports, but the longterm stakes and implications are at this point left to speculation.

Originally created in the early ‘90s by Warner Music Group and Sub Pop, ADA distributes music for independent labels such as Merge, Barsuk, and Secretly Canadian, as well as for some major-owned labels like Atlantic and Nonesuch. ADA also famously distributes music for the label-less Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It is considered in the industry as an "indie" distribution company, but since it is owned by major music group WMG -- much in the same way as EMI's Caroline Distribution, Sony BMG's RED, and Universal's Fontana -- the hazy, theoretical divide between independent and major is most evidently revealed here.

White Williams Live. Yes! Something to Jot Down in My New 2008 “Day-Runner”!

I was procrastinating the other day during one of my normally strict bi-hourly spank sessions when I clicked upon an interview with the late, great film director Robert Altman. When the maverick was interviewed by Geoff Andrew in January 2001 for the British Film Institute, the conversation turned to a period of Altman's life spent as a dog tattooist.

G.A.: “Is it true that in the forties you used to tattoo dogs?”

R.A.: “Absolutely.”

G.A.: “Can you explain?”

R.A.: “Well, in the forties, I tattooed dogs.”

Alright. Well, after explaining his entry into a canine identification initiative, Altman elaborated:

R.A.: “So, I became the tattooist. We would take the dog, and inside the groin, by the right-hind leg, we would shave and put on the antiseptic fluid and then with the tattooing machine I would do letters, and I got pretty good at it, and we'd put the number of that dog that was registered. We thought we were off to be millionaires. It turned out that I just got a few dog bites."

White Williams isn't the first person you think of when talking Altman, but the two have more in common than you might think. Both bring to mind an incomparable independent spirit. Or was it that they both represent the "pendant" in independent? Oh man, I had some thing in mind for this, I swear! Okay, okay, maybe I just wanted to ease myself into 2008 by writing something simple (read: re-printing someone else’s amusing biographical anecdote/interview). Regardless, Williams will be sashaying his idiosyncratic self all over the U.S. and parts of Canada soon. Williams' latest release is the well-traveled Smoke, out wherever Tigerbeat6 is stocked.

Wait, I know what I was trying to say all along -- one minute you could be seeing yourself as the next Richie Rich, the next you're getting bit by a growling bitch! Nah, that's not it...

White Williams = the dog's bollocks

01.12.08 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Upstairs %
01.13.08 - New Haven, CT - BAR Nightclub %
01.14.08 - Providence, RI - The Living Room %
01.15.08 - Montréal, Quebec - Sala Rossa %
01.16.08 - Toronto, Ontario - Horseshoe Tavern %
01.17.08 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick +
01.18.08 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop +
01.19.08 - Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern
01.20.08 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock Club %
01.23.07 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Media Club ^
01.24.08 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey ^
01.25.08 - Portland, OR - Holocene ^
01.26.08 - San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord *
01.27.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo
01.29.08 - San Diego, CA - Casbah ^
01.31.08 - Austin, TX - Emos Jr. #
02.01.08 - Denton, TX - Hailey's #
02.02.08 - Houston, TX - Walters on Washington #
02.04.08 - Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder (FSU) #
02.05.08 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn (MJQ Concourse) #
02.07.08 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 $
02.08.08 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar $
02.09.08 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas $

% Ecstatic Sunshine

+ Ecstatic Sunshine & Ghostman and Sandman

^ HEALTH

* Eats Tapes

# Rings (First Nation)

$ Ecstatic Sunshine & Rings (First Nation)

The Shins’ Keyboardist Arrested for Allegedly Assaulting America’s Next Top Model Girlfriend

The Shins' keyboardist Martin Crandall was arrested last Friday for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, America's Next Top Model contestant Elyse Sewell, in a Sacramento, CA hotel. Sewell was also arrested, after Crandall urged the police to "press charges of domestic violence" on her due to a bite mark on his arm. Sewell has since been released, claiming the bite marks were inflicted due to self-defense. Crandall has been charged with domestic assault, a felony, and remains on $25,000 bail.

Most of the information was leaked due to a LiveJournal post by Sewell. Yesterday, however, Sewell took down the post heeding the advice of "commenters" and said "Livejournal readers, I thank you. This blog is something I do for fun, but yesterday your comments really did help me through a shitty situation. I was so grateful for the love."

Here's Sewell's original post:

1.) On the drive home (home?) from Albuquerque to Portland, my ex-boyfriend got shitfaced and roughed me up in a Sacramento hotel. I escaped from the room through a blitzkrieg of violence and talked to hotel security, who called the fuzz.
2.) Because he had a bite mark, inflicted in self-defense, on his arm, Marty told the police to PRESS CHARGES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST ME.
3.) I spent the night in jail. Dig the hilarous monetary contents of my wallet as described by the pig who booked me:


4.) Jailors. America's Next Top Model fans, all. As the warden took pics of my bloody knuckles for evidence (!!!! evidence!), he quipped, "So there goes that hand modeling job, huh? What's Tyra going to say about this?" And here is how I was summoned from the holding cell for a strip-search, complete with a thorough plumbing of the boodissy: "Hey, Supermodel! Git over here!"
4.) A bail bondsman (!!! I have a bail bondsman!) got me out of the hoosegow this morning and took me to a hotel room where I now await my court date. Martin Lesley Crandall is still incarcerated. You can follow his saga by searching for his name on sacsheriff.com (click on "inmate information").

So I'm stuck in Sac-town, alone and lonely, for 4-5 days until court. Court! OMFG.

On the flip side, I'm single and um, ready to mingle. Blind date, anyone?

ETA: Breakfast in jail is served at 4:00am. Meat-stuffed croissant. And, you should already know what a "kite" is if you've been studying your 50 Cent lyrics. But "toilet talk"? That was a new one for me. Apparently, if you bail all the water out of the toilet, you can use the pipes to talk to inmates on different floors. And, girl, you can tell who do it 'cause they got like a big rash or whatever on they face from puttin' it down in the toilet and shit. Damn.

Crandall's court date is tomorrow, January 8.

Team Robespierre Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!

I was on Team Robespierre's MySpace and saw this:

Then I saw this:

And finally ended on this:

So, I'm like I got to go to one of these:

And I'm like, what a great start to the new year.

I used to work for a record store called Cheapo. It was a fun job. After a year or so, I was one of the lucky few to get transferred to the vinyl department in the basement. The manager down there, Tony, was and is one of the coolest, funniest, friendliest persons I've ever met. At night, I had the pleasure of working by myself, pumping discordant tunes while a combination of older, mentally ‘unstable’ patrons and young idealistic DJs would peruse through our vast collection of vinyl.

Aside from the pay, the only shitty thing about the job was the owner, Al. He was an egotistical jerk and, worst of all, couldn't give a shit about his employees. After about a year-and-a-half, I had the pleasure to discuss with Al face-to-face about my thoughts on the company. He predictably undermined all my suggestions for improvements, which I guess was okay. I could only half-care about a company that hardly cared for me at all.

But then we got on the topic of DRM. Even though no major music group had taken the DRM-free plunge at the time, all signs were pointing toward a DRM-free world. Al, being the naïve businessman that he is, argued with me about the future of digital music as inextricable from DRM. His points were valid from a business standpoint, but they were far from practical. Since most people at Cheapo seemed to fear him for whatever reason, it felt really good to debate on this topic, even though it lasted less than 10 minutes.

That said, it is with exceedingly great pleasure for me to announce that Sony BMG has officially become the last major music group to drop DRM. And according to Hypebot (adding onto a story by Business Week), Sony BMG isn't half-assing this whole thing -- the group intends to make its entire catalog DRM-free. The decision was apparently made last month, and the reformatting of the MP3s could be completed within month.

Of course, a shift to DRM-free MP3s is a business move like any other. With all the negative press DRM has received, the majors are simply trying to create more flexible paradigms in which to sell MP3s in the future. Going ahead without digital restrictions will enable the groups to more fluidly penetrate social networking possibilities, Amazon, and any future businesses/networks that will surely arise. And it will also of course help them fight Apple's clear dominance in the digital music market (estimates are around 75-85%).

Besides, even though the idea of DRM was born out of P2P concerns, the restriction was always more annoying for "legal" purchasers of major label MP3s, not the "illegal" downloaders. Will these consumers have to repurchase their collections in order to get DRM-free MP3s? Will these DRM-free files be watermarked? The majors better suck up to their consumers, as they and the RIAA have been building houses on sand for quite some time now.

After my face-to-face with Al, he asked if I wanted to leave early or help him sort through vinyl. I decided to leave, of course, catching someone stealing a book on the way out the door, and then hopping in my car and listening to King Geedorah on the drive home.

High 5! More Dead Than Alive! Beck to Rock the Odelay Reissue Like a Man from the Catskills

Things that may or may not be included in the “Deluxe Edition” of Beck’s Odelay out January 29 on Geffen:

The original classic album.

A mustache comb.

Two compact discs.

One of those wind-up plastic toy nuns that shoots sparks from her mouth. Nunzilla? This thing.

Two unreleased tracks produced by the Dust Brothers from the original Odelay sessions, “Inferno” and “Gold Chains.”

Your dignity, returned after losing it at the Xmas office party in the supplies closet with “Steve, from accounting.”

International-only B-Sides “Clock,” “Electric Music and the Summer People,” “Lemonade,” “SA-5,” “Feather In Your Cap,” “Erase the Sun,” “000.000,” “Brother,” “Trouble All My Days,” and “Strange Invitation.”

A signed promo pic of actress Greta Scacchi. Whatever happened to her anyway?

“Deadweight,” from the film A Life Less Ordinary.

A Crystal Light single-serving packet (pink lemonade flava).

“Richard’s Hairpiece” and “American Wasteland” (remixes of “Devil’s Haircut” by Aphex Twin and Mickey P., respectively).

A Crystal Waters “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless}” cassingle (that’s the one that goes “la-da-dee, la-da-da”).

A cover of Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman” recorded at the original Sun Studios.

A “2008 Already Sucks” button.

“Burro,” a Spanish version of “Jackass” recorded with a mariachi band.

A pair of socks. Argyle socks (favorites of dapper TMT scribe Chris Gaerig!).

The U.N.K.L.E. remix of “Where It’s At.”

A dried pickle. Gherkin, not dill.

“Thunder Peel,” co-produced by Mario Caldato Jr.

Fake pool of puke.

A jewel case. Or a soft pack cover. Or a jewel cased boxed in a cardboard sleeve. Or something wrapped in cellophane. With a stupid inventory sticker on the top of it. Whatever the outer package, be prepared to spend two beers, two Advils, and two hours opening the thing.

Postum.

That is all.

  

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