Well, I'll be a son of a bitch! Wal-Mart is at it again! Rattling the cages like Batman!!! And ladies and gentlemen, they're out to single-handedly save the doomed CD!
Billboard recently published a report about Wal-Mart's push for lower CD prices in all of their stores, as well as a new, tiered pricing plan that would price "hits" (like Travis Trit Records or something) $12 and different levels of an artist's catalog at $9 (like Take of Your Pants and Jacket), $7 (like Enema of the State), and $5 (like Dude Ranch).
A proposed promotional program would put the top 10 or 15 titles (like The Jonas Brothers) at $10... a.k.a. one cent higher than the typical download price, you know, minus the extra several dollars in taxes. Hmmm...
But despite the obvious (right??) fact that these CDs would still be more expensive and less convenient than digital downloads, Wal-Mart, again, just like Batman, just won't give up the good fight! In fact, they've been harping on this lower-priced CDs thing for quite some time now. If we all recall, Rolling Stone had an article about Wal-Mart's push for $10 CDs way back in 2004. The situation was described as tense... and this was three-and-a-half years ago.
But what good will the decision to finally lower CD prices do now? Well, maybe this convoluted series of buzz-words will explain things for us:
"When you look at sales declines with physical product," a Wal-Mart sales manager says, "and you have a category declining like it is, you have to make decisions about what the future looks like. If you have a business that is declining and you want to turn it around, it really takes looking at it from all angles." See??? ALL ANGLES, people! Think outside the box for once! Fling wide the doors of perception and lose the watch! Wal-Mart has, and they ain't never seen the sky so clear!
...ah, good stuff, good stuff. This story's going straight to the top of the queue, I can feel it. I deserve a beer... Oh, yeah, but like I was saying, CDs are fucked.
Things To Pack For Xiu Xiu's Tour:
- Depressing documentaries from Netflix queue
- Copy of The Virgin Suicides novel
Things To Do Before Xiu Xiu Tour:
- Refill prozac prescription
- Put psychiatrist on speed dial
Xiu Xiu's Upcoming Itinerary:
# Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Do you like fairy tales? Have you heard the one in which a Tiny Mix peasant sits on a news story until the subject's album and tour is already released and started respectively? Nah, that one is boring. Let's stick not to peasant tales but pleasant tales. Have you heard of the one in which the heroine -- a princess/angel/goddess of music magic, possessed with a voice that is like tuberose to the nose and that could delight the gnarliest ogre's heart upon note one -- releases her seventh musical druid egg to a hail of public adoration and ceremony? Not familiar with that one? Well, did you hear that Mia Doi Todd released her seventh album, GEA this week in North America through City Zen Records (March 14 overseas on Kindred Spirits) to a hail of public adoration and ceremony? Both stories are the same, but I added some respectful flowery legend dust to the first one. Luckily, Todd's delightful angel visits are more frequent than those flittery femmes from fable. Whether popping up as guest to save lesser albums by mere mortals or gracing us with a full-length of her own every year or two, she is beloved by humans and hill people alike. Here be GEA's tracks:
1. River of Life/The Yes Song
2. Night of a Thousand Kisses
3. Big Bad Wolf & Black Widow Spider
4. Sleepless Nights
5. Esperar Es Caro
7. Can I Borrow You?
8. Wolf Reprise
9. In the End
10. Old World New World
Keen TMT eyeballers will remember that we ran a groundbreaking, pioneering news story about José "Goin' Green!" Gonzalez' latest tour earlier in February. This one. Read it. It’s funny. It has this whole thing going on where The Friz and a couple of TMT dolts do something. And talk and stuff. The three hold a pointy paper pizza party or something like that. Um, alright I only skimmed it quickly while searching for the words "frolicking Golden Girls" (I didn’t ask you to explain your eccentricities, so don’t ask me!). I do know that the story footnoted the fact that M.D.T. (as she is known to no one) will be opening many of those Gonzalez dates. These remaining ones, actually:
02.29.08 - Miami, FL - Airtime Theater
03.01.08 - Orlando, FL - The Social
03.02.08 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
03.03.08 - Chapel Hill, NC - Great Hall, UNC
03.04.08 - Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
03.05.08 - Washington, DC - Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
03.07.08 - Tarrytown, NY - The Tarrytown Music Hall
03.08.08 - Philadelphia, PA - World Café
03.09.08 - Morgantown, WV - WVU Creative Arts Center
03.11.08 - New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
03.12.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Masonic Temple
03.13.08 - Boston, MA - Paradise
03.14.08 - Montréal, Quebec - Musée Juste Pour Rire
03.15.08 - Toronto, Ontario - Phoenix
03.17.08 - Chicago, IL - Lakeshore Theater
03.18.08 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre
03.19.08 - St. Louis, MO - Graham Chapel, Washington University
03.20.08 - Omaha, ME - Sokol Underground
03.21.08 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre
03.22.08 - Salt Lake City, UT - Union Ballroom, University of Utah
03.24.08 - San Diego, CA - San Diego Women’s Club
03.25.08 - Los Angleles, CA - Wiltern
03.27.08 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore Auditorium
03.28.08 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
03.29.08 - Seattle, WA - The Triple Door
03.30.08 - Seattle, WA - The Triple Door
03.31.08 - Vancouver, British Columbia - St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church
In a move sure to delight car companies looking for new artist collaborations to spice up their Toyota Camry commercials, Harp
Magazine revealed that awesome producer dude Danger Mouse will be working his production magic on the forthcoming Beck album. Rumors have been confirmed by the Mouse's management, so if the excitement resulting from those recent Beck reissues is just too much, you might wanna sit down. Envision the possibilities: Beck joining Gnarls Barkley to not only crank out the hits, create the summer's most danceable crossover hit, or just create some damn good music to score a stylish and safe drive along Santa Monica Boulevard. I feel myself wanting to buy things already!
But that's not all Danger Mouse has in store for this year; he also has projects in the work with Martina Topley-Bird, MF Doom, the Black Keys, and the late, great Ike Turner. Move over, Will Smith's "Summertime" -- we may have a new "hottest jam ever" on our hands!
Well, this news seemed to have come out of nowhere. Germanic trio The Notwist have just announce that they have a new album coming out in June. The 11- track LP, The Devil, You + Me, will be released by Domino, the label that put out the band's last effort, 2002's Neon Golden (TMT Review). It should also be noted that the 20+ members of the jazz-art weirdo known as Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra will be in the house, er, on the album.
Unless you are incredibly aware of the doings and happenings of The Notwisters, I'm sure you're thinking, "What the hell took so long? I am the consumer, and you are the musician, so make some damn music already, so I can consume it and, if I have time, talk a bunch of shit about it in a few blog comment boxes." (Btw, you're a dick.) But do the names 13 & God, Lali Puna, Ms. John Soda, Console, and Tied And Tickled Trio ring a bell? These are all side projects by the various members of the band, which have occupied their time since promoting NG. In other words, they have been busy, so shut up and circle the whole month of June in red marker on your calendar. Then, in a month or so, when the record has a specific release date, make a bunch of arrows from the circle inward toward the exact day of the album's release. Then sit and wait.
The Devil, You + Me tracklist:
I'll spare you the details of my hellacious week, but suffice to say, I'm in a bad mood and pretty tired, so I'm not going to use any exclamation points in this news article. Don't take it as a lack of enthusiasm for Sonic Youth -- I'm a big fan. Yay, Sonic Youth.
So, it's March, spring cleaning time, which is exactly what Sonic Youth was doing when they discovered the master tapes to the 1987 Master-Dik EP they never got around to releasing on CD.
Thurston Moore: Shit... you wanna run out and put this on a CD?
Some other member of Sonic Youth: Yeah, boss.
And there you have it. Eight tracks, including a cover of The Ramones' "Beat on The Brat" and a probably-hard-to-endure sound collage of "psycho-distorto-soundscapes recorded by the band while on tour and at Wharton's Palace of Confusion," available now at the Sonic Youth gift shop.
Master-Dik EP tracklist:
2. Beat on the Brat
3. Under the Influence of The Jesus and Mary Chain/Ticket To Ride/Master-Dik(version)/Introducing the Stars
4. Ringo/He's On Fire/Florida Oil Drums/Westminster Chimes
5. Chinese Jam
6. Vibrato/Guitar Lick/Funky Fresh
7. Our Backyard
But wait, there's more -- like the seventh installment of Sonic Youth's experimental goulash, which touts itself as a self-released, vinyl-only edition, among several other abstruse adjectives and compound modifiers. SYR 7 consists of two pieces, Side A's "J'accuse Ted Hughes" and Side B's "Agnes B Musique," merging as a total of 40 minutes of experimentation that I honestly don't have the patience for when I'm moody and tired. Available April 22; get ‘em while they're hot.
SYR 7 tracklist:
1. J'accuse Ted Hughes
2. Agnes B Musique
It’s a tough world out there for those elder statesmen of indie rock. You’re trying to put out new albums and stay relevant -- Real Emotional Trash (TMT Review) in Stephen Malkmus’ case -- and meanwhile, you have an entire new generation of bands yipping at your tired heels. Bands that are young enough to be your kids!
Well, Malkmus is not about to let Vampire Los Weekend Campesinos get him down. Oh no, he’s going to show those kids that he and his merry band of Jicks are worth their salt by adding a few European dates to his already lengthy Spring tour.
Take that, youngsters:
# John Vanderslice
^ The Joggers
Hide your ones and zeroes, folks, ‘cause the the criminal organization of musicians known as Sigur Rós will be releasing their potentially deadly Heima virus on YouTube tomorrow (Friday). Word has it that Sigur Rós will take over all 12 video slots on YouTube's front page, plastering them with ten videos from the "Minn Heima" YouTube/Sigur Rós competition, a "special message" from the band (possibly of the terrorist variety), and Heima in full, their viral documentary most likely about amateur pornography and Icelandic carpentry.
You can read the terrorist propaganda on their site here.
Half Japanese are playing five shows at SXSW this year, with one of its early lineups of Jad Fair, David Fair, Mark Jickling, Rick Dreyfuss, John Dreyfuss, and John Moremen. A couple of the shows will exhibit art by both Jad and David (worth checking out because Jad's art is AWESOME, and I'm sure David's is too), while the WFMU Showcase will feature Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan on saxophone.
Meanwhile, you can checkout free Jad Fair albums at his MySpace, and you might as well start changing your SXSW plans to fit in all five Half Japanese shows. I'll be sure to tell you to do other things in future TMT news stories.
We Are Those Who Ache With Amorous Love, as long as you have a badge:
* Jad Fair art exhibition
# Jad Fair and David Fair art exhibition
So, I came into the TMT offices today, and guess what? Same old shit. Mr P's in his office with a couple TMT fans, Gumshoe is yelling at a newbie for incorrectly using a semicolon, and NicoleMC99 is complaining to Squeo about the ass-chafing, eco-friendly toilet paper. Nobodaddy called in sick, and P Funk hasn't even showed up for the past two days! Don't get me wrong; I love TMT. But I'm getting so sick of it here.
Which is why I'm thinking of applying to Pitchfork. In addition to its foray into branding (TMT News), Pitchfork actually has its shit together. I'm sure you've heard of Pitchfork.tv by now, Pitchfork's "online music video channel" that debuts April 7. It'll feature full-length concerts, feature films, and more! I mean, why can't TMT do anything interesting? Seriously. Mr P's all "I don't want to post MP3s and videos because it's too promotional, blah blah blah." What a d-bag. I hear where he's coming from, but what about trying to expose new acts to readers? Is it really so bad to promote bands you believe in? Criticism is dead, Mr P! The lines have blurred a long time ago!
It really comes down to this: Jim DeRogatis (critic for Chicago Sun-Times and co-host of Sound Opinions) interviewed Pitchfork editor-in-chief Ryan Shreiber for his blog -- when asked if he knew who Mr P was, he responded: "Mr P? Isn't that a pizza shop on 46th?" Anyway, it's worth checking out the interview. He asks Shreibtown some tough questions:
- Now, what band is going to deny you the right to videotape them and show that content for free on Pitchfork.tv if it’s worried about not getting a good review on the Web site? What band is going to say no to playing the festival, even if it has a better offer somewhere else, and what band is going to reject letting you include them on a videogame soundtrack?
- I don’t know if I believe in the notion of selling out, but I do believe in the notion of credibility, and you guys have been very credible critics up to now. But when you get into the business of lining up bands for the soundtrack of a baseball video game, I’m going to start to wonder if I can trust that 9.4 rating anymore.
- What about the video game soundtrack? Doesn’t that kind of tarnish what you say Pitchfork is doing?
Meanwhile, check out Pitchfork.tv in April, and, really, stop reading "pizza shop" Tiny Mix Tapes. I've had one foot out the door for quite some time now. Oh shit, Mr P's coming. Gotta publish this quick!