Secret Machines to Go Public, Public Machines to Self-Release 3rd LP Through World’s Fair Label Group
An excerpt from my recent gchat with TMT Editor-in-Chief Mr P:
Nobodadz83: I just don't really have a whole lot of leads for TMT news stories this week, man. I don't know what it is. Slow week or something I guess.
Nobodadz83: Nothing really seems, you know, "newsworthy" around here.
PoonMan69: Really? What about that Secret Machines business that just went down?
Nobodadz83: What ‘Secret Machines Business’?
PoonMan69: Well, they officially announced the other day that they were going to be breaking with their major label and working with the World's Fair Label Group instead to self-release their newest full-length sometime this fall.
Nobodadz83: Huh... really? Hey wait, what's the World's Fair Label Group? Sounds like just another record label to me! That's not news!
PoonMan69: Dude, chill. I know. But World's Fair Label Group is technically a "full-service, worldwide record label administration company," not a record label.
Nobodadz83: blahhhh... go on...
PoonMan69: They've actually been in operation since 2004, and their thing is providing complete administration services to independent
labels... and directly to artists for self-releases. They're based in New York and Oklahoma and have a team of 11 full-time staff providing
press, radio promotions, online marketing, video promotions, sales,
manufacturing, design, and finance services. They've actually done stuff like this before with Midlike, Dandy Whahols, British Sea Power, 1990's... umm...
Nobodadz83: Wow, P, that's a lot of extraneous information you've got there.
PoonMan69: Hey, that's my job, bro.
PoonMan69: But what do you say? Do you want to write about that?
Nobodadz83: What's the "story" there? That vague Secret Machines "self-release" part?
PoonMan69: Yeah. That definitely counts as "news."
Nobodadz83: Wait a minute, P. Is it going to be FREE?
PoonMan69: Umm, no, I don't think so...
Nobodadz83: Is there a WEBSITE where fans can download it from?!
Nobodadz83: Will we be able to at least PAY WHAT WE WANT for it or download a FREE COMPANION EP though their website or get a free concert ticket with the CD or something?!?!
PoonMan69: Uh... probably not??
Nobodadz83: Ha!! That's what i thought, P...
PoonMan69: Sooooo... not interested, then, I take it?
Nobodadz83: Yeah, I’ll pass...
* Stone Temple Pilots
^ Coheed and Cambria and Russian Circles
EMI's latest stroke of genius has been to sue Hi5, a social networking site. Ever heard of it? Me neither. That's because the website is virtually unknown in Europe and North America, where the market is dominated by other little sites called Facebook and MySpace. Hi5 is most popular in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, and members can upload homemade videos to the site to share with other users. EMI is alleging that the site is engaging in copyright infringement by hosting videos containing music from the label's artists. Um. Hey. Hey, EMI. There's this site that kind of only does this video sharing thing... you might want to check it out... it's called um, YouTu-- oh, never mind.
There's also the matter of Radiohead: The Best Of, with which I personally take umbrage because ending a phrase with a preposition just ain't right. Oh yeah, and there's also the awkward matter of Radiohead declining to renew their contract with EMI and signing with XL (for the physical release). "Awkward" doesn't really seem to be in EMI's company manual, in that it seems to be totally fine with shadily releasing albums and singles despite artists' wishes.
Thom Yorke added his own scathing commentary, saying:
The packaging is awful. There are three really bad photos. They're not going to make any money from it because they'll spend so much on TV advertising. Another thing is that greatest hits don't sell in America. I don't understand why they're doing it. And you know what it's done? It's ensured that we are never, ever, ever re-signing to EMI while there's a Guy Hands involvement. Who knows what could happen in the future. We could say, ‘EMI is great, we miss it and we could go back there.’ But this has ensured we'll never re-sign while he's involved
For Thom Yorke to even suggest the possibility of returning to EMI seems unbelievably generous in the first place, but guess what? Any chance for the label to soon regain one of its most profitable artists was fucked up good and proper with a release of Radiohead's "greatest hits." Another goose egg for EMI. Oh, look... I have a copy of the company manual after all: "Consistency is key."
Illegal Art Plans To Release All Albums Through Girl Talk’s “Tip Jar” Model; Thom Yorke Thinks They’re All A Bunch Of Copycats
By now, I’m sure everyone with a computer is aware of the “tip jar” model that Gregg Gillis (a.k.a. Girl Talk) instituted with the download of his new album, Feed The Animals (TMT Review, TMT News). This week, however, the Los Angeles Times reported that Girl Talk’s record label Illegal Art aims to make all of its future releases available via the tip-jar model. Specifically, this means that each of Illegal Art’s 12 bands will be using the “pay what you want” model by the end of the month, including past records that have been previously released on CD.
According to Illegal Art owner Philo T. Farnsworth, Steinski will be the first among this batch to utilize the model. “With older material, we have nothing to lose,” Farnsworth said. While that may be true, it will certainly be interesting to see how some of Illegal Art’s relatively unknown bands fare with this new system.
Bardo Pond, Les Savy Fav, Others Added to ATP New York Lineup; Absurd Ticket Price Decimally More Worth It
As part of a new effort to make buyers happier about spending a gajillion dollars on a three-day pass, the organizers of All Tomorrow’s Parties New York have added nine new artists to the September festival’s lineup. These new acquisitions mean tickets are more cost-effective and will perhaps make patrons feel less like yuppie douchebags.
Bardo Pond, slated to play 1997’s Lapsed in its entirety, will join in on the Wellsian spectacle of Friday night’s Don’t Look Back show, while ATP has added Les Savy Fav, Alexander Tucker, and Apse to the Saturday lineup. Last but not least, curators My Bloody Valentine have handpicked Bob Mould, Sonic Boom, Le Volume, Courbe, Gemma Hayes, and Wounded Knees to play alongside the previously confirmed artists and, duh, MBV themselves.
The new lineup raises the band count from 22 to 31, and reduces price-per-performance from $10.23 to $7.26. This perceived discount could inspire festivalgoers to splurge on hotel accommodations for an extra $450. Or maybe it’ll just make those of us who plan on sleeping in cars feel slightly more justified for overdrawing from our bankcards.
- Day 1 (Friday, September 19 – Don’t Look Back): Thurston Moore performing Psychic Hearts, Tortoise performing Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Meat Puppets performing Meat Puppets II, Built to Spill performing Perfect From Now On, Bardo Pond performing Lapsed
- Day 2 (Saturday, September 20 – Chosen by ATP): Fuck Buttons, Low, Growing, Edan with guest Dagha, Shellac, Thee Silver Mount Zion Orchestra, The Drones, Polvo, Wooden Shjips, Harmonia, Om, Autolux, Apse, Alexander Tucker, Les Savy Fav
- Day 3 (Sunday, September 21 – Chosen by My Bloody Valentine): My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., Lilys, Yo La Tengo, Mercury Rev, Mogwai, Le Volume Courbe, Bob Mould, Sonic Boom, Gemma Hayes, The Wounded Knee
Argentinean singer, songwriter, and sound-manipulator Juana Molina will release her fifth album, Un Dia, October 7. The album, her fourth on Domino Records, promises more of the untaggable, folky electronics which have characterized her musical output since her 2003 sophomore record Segundo.
Molina describes the record as more rhythmically adventurous than her earlier output, noting that "some people didn't feel there was any kind of rhythm at all" to her previous releases. "All that was insinuated in the past is now more tangible, hearable," she continues.
Molina, raised in Buenos Aires and partially in Parisian exile by an actress mother and a tango singer father, had been an Argentinean sitcom star until she jettisoned her acting career to release her 1996 debut Rara. Her musical career has garnered her success outside of her native country, with her 2006 album Son (TMT Review) landing on a handful of best-of-06 lists, including #5 on TMT's Favorite Albums of 2006.
Juana Molina is currently supporting Feist on the remainder of her summer tour
07.11.08 - Ravinia Festival - Highland Park, IL*
07.12.08 - Memorial Park Festival - Omaha, NE*
07.13.08 - Starlight Theatre - Kansas City, MO*
08.14.08 - Santa Monica Pier Santa Monica, CA*
On October 28, 2008, I predict that Deerhunter will release Microcastle, their long-awaited follow-up to 2006's Cryptograms (TMT Review), on October 28, 2008. The album, to be released October 28, 2008, will be released on Kranky in the U.S., October 28, 2008, and on 4AD everywhere else. According to the last couple sentences, the album is expected to be released on October 28, 2008.
Recorded in Brooklyn with Nicolas Verhes, Microcastle will feature Deerhunter as a four-piece, consisting of Lockett Pundt (who sings lead vocals on two tracks), Joshua Fauver, Moses Archuleta, and some dude named Bradford Cox. One of the tracks, "Saved by Old Times," features "a vocal collage by Cole Alexander of the Black Lips," according to the press release.
Deerhunter are about to go on an arena tour with Nine Inch Nails, but before that, Cox will be touring as the mighty Atlas Sound on select dates. Meanwhile, Microcastle is slated for release October 28, 2008.
Sarge! Ant Peppers Only, Arts Club Band – “Mondegreen” Officially Added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Like the Razzies and all those “World’s Best Sports Bloopers” tapes floating around, a new contest has emerged to help us pick the cream of the crop of our favorite mistakes and misinterpretations. A wonderful challenge presented to us, musical aficionados, to submit, list, and celebrate all those times when we fans just can’t get past the unique, “one of its kind” warbling of our favorite pop stars. The impetus for this contest is part of the celebration of my favorite time of year: NEW WORDS DAY! A wonderful time when words we already use and understand are officially added to the dictionary.
Merriam-Webster has decided to include the word “mondegreen” to its illustrious “Field Guide to North American Words” as one of its newest nouns. Mondegreen? What is this new word Mr. Midnight? Well, first coined in 1954 by author Sylvia Wright, it is described as “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung.” For example: Elton John’s hit tune “Tiny Dancer” is often sung and transformed into a mondegreen when the lyrics “Hold me closer tiny dancer” are misheard and misconstrued as “Hold me closer Tony Danza.” Funny right? Of course it is. We all love factoids and sidebars in articles, and pointing out mistakes is something that we all do quite well.
Interested in letting the world know your favorite mondegreen? Head over to Merriam-Webster's contest page and submit one! My favorite mondegreen is a whole song. I saw a lady on an American Idol contest who interpreted the Mariah Carey sung version of “Without You” which includes the line “I can’t live” into “Ken Lee.” She sings the entirety of the song in homophonic gibberish because of her lack of knowledge in the English language. FUNNY!
What are you doing this fall? Starting a new semester? Moving to Florida? Getting married? Buying your first house? Taking a dump? Well, cancel your plans RIGHT NOW. Seriously, do it. Go ahead. I'll tell you why in a second, but it's very important that you cancel your plans first... Yep, pick up that phone... dial... good, good... Okay, are your plans canceled now? Now, don't just say they're canceled -- are they really canceled? Great, because boy have I got news for you!
WHY? have just announced another U.S. tour! Still supporting their critically acclaimed anticon. release, Alopecia (TMT Review), WHY? are actually still on the road in Europe, supporting, supporting, supporting. Come late August, however, WHY? will be done with all this European ridiculousness (at least until October) and will be back in the U.S., playing dates with Tussle, Tobacco, and Tount Terie.
See? Now, aren't you glad you canceled your plans? Ha, and you were all, like, "No, tell me first, I can always cancel later or plan around the tour." You're pathetic.
* Mount Eerie
[Photo: Jacob Hand]
Live in Portland, the Northeast, or Europe and want to catch Panther? Good news: They're supporting 14 Kt God (TMT Review), released back in February via Kill Rock Stars, on a mini-tour of the East Coast before heading across the pond for some European dates.
Dates with Girl Talk and a pool party with Aesop Rock highlight the schedule, but you might as well check them out if they're in your area. I know I would.
Portland, Portland, Portland:
In August, Capitol/EMI will be releasing eight "classic titles" on high-quality vinyl in the U.S. Titled "From The Capitol Vaults," the albums set for release include four titles from Radiohead, two from Coldplay, and one each from A Perfect Circle and Steve Miller Band, all out-of-print in the U.S. The albums will be released on 180-gram audiophile vinyl (aside from Amnesiac and Kid A, which will be released on 140-gram 10-inches), with original artwork and packaging.
Now, I'm no marketing expert, but I do know a good campaign involves a solid foundation. Capitol/EMI's strategy seems painfully transparent to me. First of all, by only releasing eight "classic titles," Capitol is sending a cautious signal to the consumers. Sure, Capitol releases new titles on vinyl in the U.S. (the new Coldplay, for example), but they're always very limited. Similarly, this limited-edition campaign doesn't speak to any long-term investment in the format. Chances are that fans have already bought these "classic" albums on CD, which means these vinyl releases are aimed primarily at commodity fetishists, further underscoring EMI's increasing emphasis on its back catalog, not its current artists. The campaign seems more like Best Buy's sales experiment (TMT Review), but at least Best Buy is being explicit about its aims.
"U.S. vinyl sales have increased by more than 80% in the past year alone, and the format is still on the rise," says the press release. Right. Meanwhile, indie labels have been fairly adequately catering to vinyl fans all along.
"From The Capitol Vaults":
- A Perfect Circle - Mer de Noms (2 LPs, gatefold jacket, satin stock, diecut white sleeves)
- Coldplay - Parachutes (1 LP, printed sleeve)
- Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head (1 LP, printed sleeve)
- Radiohead - OK Computer (2 LPs, gatefold jacket, color labels, printed sleeves)
- Radiohead - Kid A (2 10” 140-gram LPs, gatefold jacket, printed sleeves, color labels)
- Radiohead - Hail To The Thief (2 LPs, gatefold jacket, printed sleeves)
- Radiohead - Amnesiac (2 10” 140-gram LPs, gatefold jacket, printed sleeves, color labels)
- Steve Miller Band - Greatest Hits 1974-78 (1 LP, printed sleeve, color label)