First Nation have changed their name to Rings. No, seriously! Since Melissa Livaudais left the band, Nina Mehta and Kate Rosko wanted a fresh start with newly added member Abby Portner, the probably super awesome sister of Animal Collective's Dave Portner (Avey Tare). So voilà: name change. Or is it "new band"? Crap, why does indie rock have to be so difficult??
Oh wait, shh... looks like the band is about to speak up!
We changed our name because we are a new kind of band. We thought the name First Nation would produce positive dialog, but it didn't. It's so loaded with identity politics, which is fine, cuz we actually do support other people's ways of self-representing. But, the name never opened up that space for talking about names and identity and social and political structures. It never translated like that... and even if it did, that's not what this new incarnation of our band is. For now, we're like a pop band for teenage girls. and for now, Rings makes sense. It's a name for our circular compositions, the bonds between us, our decision making processes, our mystic beliefs, the circular shapes around us, interlocking, connected, feminine, whole, continuous...
Rings' new album, Black Habit, will be released January 15, 2008 on Animal Collective's Paw Tracks. The album was self-produced with help from Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir, forever known as the ex-müm girl, but in my heart as Kria Brekkan, who released Pullhair Rubeye (TMT Review) earlier this year with Home Depot CEO Avey Tare.
According to the press release, Rings' style now is "a loose tribal pop sound that thrives on vocal harmonies and pulsating drum rhythms." Well, shit, half our review is written already.
Delving ever deeper into his personal crusade to reclaim the lost art of The Cover from terrible bar bands and teenage garage groups at open-mic nights worldwide, Mr. Oldham is once again donning his Bonnie "Prince" Billy moniker for another release consisting (almost) entirely of covers, which will again feature on its sleeve a portrait of Louisville's folk hero #1 and his magnificent beard. Following 2006's collection of excellent original tunes, The Letting Go and hot on the heels of Oldham's inclusion in Kelly's Trapped In The Closet series (not to mention Superwolf's brilliant cover of "Ignition"), the Ask Forgiveness EP is to be released November 19 on Domino and November 20 on Drag City, two labels already very well acquainted with Oldham's music, alternate personalities, and facial hair.
The EP hearkens back to 2005's even more excellent collaboration with Tortoise, The Brave And The Bold, an album that wore its music-nerd credentials on its teeth like a platinum grill (featuring hip covers of The Minutemen, Elton John, Devo, Lungfish, etc.). But in what appears to be a conscious effort to abandon such semi-obscure material -- though he still manages to keep it real for us geeks with some forgotten songwriters from the first half of the 20th century, such as Mickey Newbury and Phil Ochs -- The "Prince" of Palace Music has apparently shed his post-rock roots on Ask Forgiveness and fully embraced popular music, be it rock (Danzig!!!!), vocal pop (R. Kelly, Frank Sinatra), or Björk (Björk). Maybe all this is sparked by his Mariah Carey cover for the Guilt By Association compilation?) Anyway, of the eight tracks, one is an Oldham original, "I'm Loving the Street."
Keeping it gangsta, Kentucky style:
Oh, and R. Kelly is totally awesome, no matter what Filmore says.
Remember when we informed you about an increasing ideological demand to essentially eliminate the word "nigger" in rap music (TMT News)? And remember when we told you last week how Nas was pressured to change the title of his forthcoming album from Nigga to Nigger (TMT News)?
Good, because now you are mentally prepared for this:
Spearheaded by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Fort Greene) and backed by Brown Memorial Baptist Church member Clinton Miller and Abolish the N-Word Project founder Jill Merritt, Universal Music Group must again change the title of Nas' new album or risk losing $84 million. If nothing is done, Jeffries has urged Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to withdraw the New York state pension fund that has been invested in Universal and its parent company, Vivendi.
“[They are] profiting from a racial slur that has been used to dehumanize people of color for centuries,” Jeffries tells Rolling Stone. “It is time for Nas and other hip-hop artists to clean up their act and stop flooding the airwaves with the N-word.”
What does Nas think? "Hopefully, people can open their minds up and lose some of their fear and deal with it," Nas told Rolling Stone. "It's just an album. It's one piece of the many things I do, and this will be one of my favorite pieces."
The New York State Pension Fund has an additional $2.8 billion invested in 16 other entertainment companies. Because this is how the world works. Barf.
I hope you’re just itching in anticipation, huff-huff-hunk-reader. Things been stale with ye olde girlfriend lately?
PROBLEM: Bad Underwear, Comfortable Love
As your life-changing-pre-marriage relationship gets warm in the cold, cold, night, things are getting so comfortable. You two lovebirds don’t need the outside world. You have a fire. A bear rug to cuddle on. Each other.
ADVANTAGE: No expectations.
Steady love is staying in, eating TV-dinners, and watching America’s Next Top Model.
DISADVANTAGE: No fun.
You: “Yup. Mmmhmm. Yea, honey. Seriously. You’re so much prettier than Tyra. Yes, she does have a big butt. Yup. You’re so right. Mmmm. I would never want those girls. Yea. They’re not... curvy... enough. Yup. Models are so... unattractive...”
“Are you going to eat that whole pint of ice cream?”
[Three seconds later]
“...And that pizza”
[Four minutes later]
“Yea, you’re much skinnier than Tyra. Yup. So pretty. So, mmmm... pretty...”
Fight me if you want, hunk-a-hunk-o’-burnin’-love reader. Look me in the eye and tell me your girlfriend didn’t get too comfortable the moment you allowed the two of you to watch Saturday MTV marathons. America's Next Top Model. Bret Michaels.
Remember my apt observation as you note the progression from sultry, to fun, to simple, to down-right I-don’t-give-a-damn underwear.
Mmmm. Worn cotton. That’s nice. I bet Tyra Banks wears worn, beige, cotton panties.
SOLUTION: A Trip to Vicky’s.
Good, overpriced, lingerie to spark up that old flame.
Not only that, reader-baby. Aside from incense, rose petals, and floating candles, YOU NEED SWEET, SWEET MUSIC. Since you’re far too love-itchy to head all the way over to the neighborhood music shack and pick up a Robert Goulet record, VS has your back.
Just so happens that your favorite Brit-pop girl-power mega-group is releasing their reunion album, Spice Girls: Greatest Hits, November 13, (first) at Victoria’s Secret. Additionally, the canned-band-best-gals will appear at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, airing on December 4 on CBS.
The disc is available January 15 through Capitol, for the less... sexy.
TOURING MEANS ALWAYS WEARING MATCHING BRAS AND PANTIES:
As you’ve probably heard from your girlfriend, The Spice Girls are reunion-tourin,’ starting December 2 in Vancouver. Other dates include San Jose, California (December 4), Los Angeles (December 5, 7), and Las Vegas (December 8-9).
If I went back in time to the release of Source Tags and Codes and said “In 2007, Trail of Dead will deliberately walk out on a major label and tour with a cartoon band called Dethklok!,” you probably would have said, “That does not sound completely out of the question to me. This is not particularly far into the past. I am more concerned with your time machine.”
Well, past version of you, it looks like we’re both lucky that my time machine uses information about Trail of Dead as fuel.
The Dethklok live lineup will be drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death), guitarist Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa), bassist Bryan Beller (Dweezil Zappa? Steve Vai?), and Dethklok creator Brendon Small. No one seems sure what format the show will take, but if you’ve read this far, you’re probably already willing to shell out the money to hear Gene Hoglan play drums on Dethklok songs in some form or another.
The tour will hit several large universities in the Midwest and West Coast over the next month or so.
Trail of Dead have also left their home of Interscope records, perhaps thinking (correctly, apparently) that the move will result in a Reznor’n’Radiohead-like publicity boom. They referred to the label as a “prison” in their press release, which leads me to believe that Interscope, like stern but loving parents, grounded the band. The label reportedly went so far as to ban Trail of Dead from watching television, which adds a delicious twist of irony to the tour.
College kids love irony:
On October 23, Charlie Nothing, born Charles Martin Simon, passed away at his Soquel, CA home due to an unspecified cancer. He was 66.
Charles Nothing had two public personas: Charlie The Artist and Charles Martin Simon The Writer. The former features Charlie as a psychedelic saxophonist, perhaps most well known in music circles for his recordings on John Fahey's Takoma label and in the visual art world for his Dingulators™ -- guitar sculptures made from American cars. Meanwhile, Charles Martin Simon The Writer features Charlie as an author of many fiction and non-fiction books. His non-fiction books ranged from topics like health and nutrition to accounts from the psychedelic ‘60s, while his fictional books were all over the map, with one about The Savior who returns in the form of worms to compost the earth. Charlie, however, considered himself a philosopher/clown.
The news of his death is made even sadder, because Charlie Nothing was all set to release an anthology titled 40 Years of the Ding: A Charlie Nothing Anthology on Destijl Records around January 2008. According to Clint Simonson of Destijl, "[Charlie Nothing] was invigorated with the realization that there were new sets of young ears, eagerly interested in what he'd been creating for the past 40+ [years]. It's a sad and cruel twist that [the anthology] will be released in posterus; he so excitedly anticipated its arrival."
40 Years of the Ding: A Charlie Nothing Anthology is mainly comprised of the recordings released on John Fahey's Takoma label, but also features a privately-pressed LP, a few singles, and select tracks from countless privately-released cassettes (including tracks recorded in the Venice County Jail).
Per Henry David Thoreau's advice, Charles Martin Simon had no hobbies. And according to his website: Charlie Nothing "was not born. Did not die. Does not, did not, will not exist. Charlie Nothing is the Artist." A philosopher and a clown indeed.
[Photo: Seth Tisue]
Oh, Jim Ward. Apparently you’ve been ignoring my obsessive phone calls about how what the world really needs right now is an At The Drive-In reunion. You even went as far as to record a solo EP just to spite me! And it’s not even rocking like Sparta sort of are or like At The Drive-In still are -- it’s quiet. No, really, you titled the EP Quiet! Dude... that’s just cruel and kind of uncreative.
And you know what really upsets me the most, Jim? When I called you to ask about this EP nonsense, this was all you had to say about it:
“After coming home from a long tour with my band, Sparta, I wanted to sit in my house and play acoustic guitar quietly. The tour had been loud and chaotic, and I was simply trying to level out. I liked how things were sounding, so I began recording them in my studio."
I mean, god, Jim, I thought we knew each other well enough not to speak in interview-esque formalities anymore? Who am I, Aversion.com!?
Sigh. You should just know that when Quiet hits stores on November 6 from Civil Defense League Records, I will most certainly be listening to At The Drive-In’s discography in protest. Nope, your five-song acoustic EP will get no lovin’ from me!
Answer: Morrissey and ‘The Donald.’
Question: Name two improbably quiffed megalomaniacs who like to say, “You’re fired.”
When he's not boycotting Canada for its seal hunting policies, he's playing about with right-wing and fascist imagery. When he’s not milking former bandmates out of royalties, he’s winning “most ‘Northern’ male” polls. And when he's not being coy and aloof about his sexual orientation or proclaiming celibacy, he apparently punishes others for making off-the-cuff comments about his oblique animalistic leanings.
You have got to hand it to Morrissey; the man pulls more stunts to insure that his name remains in the public eye than Madonna. Instead of fading into the twilight of his career as a fat caricature of himself, he seems hell bent on staying relatively vital. Like all guarded prima donnas, Morrissey likes to keep his friends close and his enemies, er, off his opening stage.
KRISTEENYOUNG, a keyboard-and-drums duo fronted by one Kristeen Young, have been asked to leave Mozza’s current U.S. tour after an onstage incident October 23 at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Apparently, when confronted by the nightly barrage of “Morrissey!” yelps from the audience, Young responded with, “Morrissey gives good head... oops, I mean cunnilingus.” Hmm, not particularly rude by today’s standards, but offensive enough for the boss to take action.
In response, Kristeen posted this one and only note about the dismissal on her band’s MySpace Friday:
My band, KRISTEENYOUNG, have been asked to leave the Morrissey tour. Although I have been advised not to respond or issue a statement, my feelings are that I must. We have been asked to leave because of something I said on stage at The Hammerstein Ballroom, in New York City, this past Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the statement has been perceived as being profane (when, actually, one of the two words in question is a scientific term found in junior high, health class text books, and the other word, I feel most would agree, is lightweight slang) or defamatory. What I said was part of a thread of stage statements I made throughout our set. They were metaphorical and overstated to make an artistic point. The “offending” statement, in particular, was in no way a literal statement, and was very much in keeping with the tone of my writing in general. I reach for beauty and intelligence in my lyrics, but try to retain a bit of the everyday in them. Maybe the statement was a bit TOO everyday. Maybe I misjudged…but I meant no harm. I love Morrissey with all of my heart, soul body, spirit, to the core of my existence and always will. These will be the only words I will ever write or speak on the subject ever again. Please don’t ask for an interview or e-mail me with questions. Thanks to those who understand and who are brave enough to say so.
I don’t know about the “metaphorical” aspect or “artistic point” of Young’s chosen onstage banter that night or how it ties into her writing as a whole (I’ve never heard KRISTEENYOUNG), but I gotta stand by the woman in this fight. Morrissey, in keeping with his usual pattern of hiring either piss-poor opening acts or those who have some sort of direct worship reference point to his own or The Smiths’ music, has taken on Austin trio Girl in a Coma to provide support in place of KRISTEENYOUNG. You will have to decide for yourself which category of “Morrissey opening band” they fall into when you rush off to see them during these remaining U.S. tour dates:
"Stylus will no longer be publishing after October 31." - Stylus
Music and movie criticism won't be the same without Stylus. We'll miss you, Stylus!
I'm sure most of you have been following this, but let me bring you up to speed on the serious stuff goin' down in the file-sharing world.
A large invite-only file-sharing site called OiNK was shut down October 23 by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) (TMT News). The admin of the site, Alan Ellis, was taken into custody, but so far neither he nor any OiNK users, leakers, or donors have been charged. Ellis is now released from custody (TMT News), and speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he said, “I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t believe my website breaks the law. They don’t understand how it works."
Okay, so OiNK as we knew it will probably remain permanently shut down, but TorrentFreak.com is now reporting that the internet's biggest torrent tracker The Pirate Bay is asking all former OiNK users to re-upload their torrents to a new torrent tracker called BOiNK, which will be located at http://boink.cd. It's expected to launch within a week.
Although BOiNK is technically an exclusive Pirate Bay project, it will rely heavily on former OiNK users to to build up its library. And unlike OiNK, BOiNK will be open to the public. According to TorrentFreak, "The most important thing about BOiNK is perhaps the message it sends out to the IFPI and the BPI: It shows that that if you stop one tracker, others will pop up days after. It is a hydra. Call it a slap in the face if you want."
Some people, of course, are skeptical about BOiNK. According to one user: "It wont be OiNK. There will just be hoards of transcoded, non-seeded, mislabled, shit uploaded. This is why OiNK existed, as a reliable source of good quality music, which 'BOiNK' won't be." Another called it "Pirate Bay II."
And speaking of raids, The Pirate Bay also experienced a high-profile raid last year, when the site's Stockholm servers were raided by the Swedish police. The documentary Steal This Film argued the raid was due to the pressure on Sweden by the Hollywood film industry, which used its leverage to threaten economic sanctions by the U.S. government on Sweden through the WTO. But the raid didn't really do anything but make The Pirate Bay even stronger and more popular than ever. Nonetheless, earlier this year, prosecutor Håkan Roswall says he still intends to press charges against The Pirate Bay.