It’s no secret.
Wilco’s scragglefaced, gravelvoiced, drug-defying, member-firing, secret-cutting (eh? eh? maybe!) frontman Jeff Tweedy might seem like a cool guy when he’s throwing up in toilets, cracking-wise on stage during solo performances, and squaring-off against the dreaded (no seriously, dude’s got dreadlocks) Jay Bennet in 2002’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, but come on, people! We all knew deep down that under the rough-and-tumble, ‘band vs. the world’ exterior, Tweedy and co. are nothing more than... well, a bunch of cantankerous older men trying to pay the bills and secretly worrying about the size of their prostates. Now, granted, they might be a bunch of supremely talented dear-ol’ dads who hold down some pretty extraordinary jobs in one of the most storied and well-respected rock bands working in the genre today, but still... the sweaters and relaxed-fit jeans don’t lie. Young, idealistic upstarts they ain’t.
So, it should come as no surprise to any of us that Wilco have decided to more fully-embrace the EZ Indie-Yuppie lifestyle they’ve helped perpetuate for so many years now by licensing several of their songs for use in a new television ad campaign for Volkswagen (personally, I can’t think of a more Wilconian automobile company, can you?). Wilco have licensed half of the songs on Sky Blue Sky, their newest studio album from Nonesuch, to the hipster-friendly V-Dub company for use in a series of six new television ads sporting the oh-so Tweedy-esque tagline “When you get into a Volkswagen, it gets into you.”
Heady, isn’t it? I guess the slogans “Jesus, don’t cry; you can rely on your Jetta” and “I am a German Petroleum-distillate drinker” didn’t do so well in marketing.
Ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (Bogu-sky? Blue sky? Coincidence?!) is responsible for the ads, each of which features a different song from the album and, well, presumably some city folks doing city things. The first commercial, which features the track “The Thanks I Get” is currently airing, and all six of these V-Wilco songs are currently available for streaming via the company’s german-engineered webpage.
Already catching heat from angry single-parent fans for their participation in the campaign, Wilco decided to fight tepidity with tepidity and recently issued a statement on their website stating that they “feel okay about VW’s. Several of us even drive them.” The Beetle-buying band also stated that they “see this as another way to get the music out there” in a world where commercial radio play is “getting more difficult for many bands.” So back off, mom and dad! You think that the rent for that Wilco loft comes cheap?!?!? Shoot!
Oh, but good news! Despite all the Euros their pullin’ in now, Wilco are keepin’ it real and hitting the road this summer... just like a POOR rock band would! Fancy that! Will they roll-up in a Volkswagen hippie van? Only time will tell...
Muzzle of Dates:
A few days ago, I was walking back from Taco Bell to my job when a bum on a rusty green bench stopped me to panhandle for some change. I was weary, as I recognized that the rotten-toothed, Yanni-mulleted man was the same homeless drifter who people were gossiping about recently. Next to the man slouched a repressive slack-jawed yokel, who I was told was his brother from California. "We're sleeping out of a bag!" he exclaimed. I automatically processed the bullshit, and the absurdity of the story had my hand swimming for my handgun through the pocket of my trendy man-purse.
"You seem like a nice guy," said the mullet man.
"Oh, I'm not a nice guy," I quipped back like a badass out of hell.
We both knew where this was going, and out of my realization of never actually owning a handgun, I just scooped up some scrap nickels and dimes for the offering. The man said thanks and then looked at my bag of Taco Bell.
"That Taco Bell smells mighty good," said the vagrant of hairstyles.
"Uh, yeah. I'm going to go now." I started to walk off, but he grabbed my leg.
"Where do you think you're goin' boy?" the slack-jaw mumbled, nearly inaudible.
The man looked at me with coked-up, Whitney Houston-like eyes and muttered strangely, "Iggy Pop!"
FREEZEFRAME!! (This is a new segment in Emceegreg articles where we inadvertently pause from a personal story to go to the actual news story.)
Iggy Pop needs to be the next Secretary of Defense. Hell, he should at least run with Obama or do something. Nobody would give him shit, and the presidential debates would be redefined and shirtless. Seriously, you don't need a platform when you are fucking Iggy Pop. I guess this may all be a dream, but it could be possible in the future. For now, we'll just have to settle with Pop voicing Donald Rumsfeld, ex-Secretary of Defense, as an infant in the new Muppet Babies-esque animated series Lil' Bush, premiering June 13 on Comedy Central. Is this going to be a good show? It doesn't really matter as long as Comedy Central isn't playing any Blue Collar Comedy crap for two seconds; plus, the show already has other confirmed musical guests doing voices, including Frank Black, Jeff Tweedy and Dave Grohl.
Fresh off the reunited Stooges fame and the release of The Weirdness, not to mention the even weirder weirdness of Elijah Wood portraying Pop in an upcoming film, there's really no glass ceiling to hold down the rocker. We already know that Pop is no stranger to kick-ass television, as he played Nona's dad, James Rebhorn, on The Adventures of Pete & Pete. And in case you think it's a stretch for Pop to voice Rumfeld, let us not forget just how alike the two really are. While attending Princeton University, Rumsfeld played running back for the Lightweight Football team, and it's very possible that during this time, Pop saw Rumsfeld's first football game while growing up in Michigan.
UNFREEZEFRAME!! (See how I have left you hanging and made it easier for you to read a fairly large block of text?)
Did he just say "Iggy Pop"?? I repeated what I thought he was saying -- "Iggy Pop, Iggy Pop, Iggy Pop..." -- with a blank expression. What the hell was he talking about?
Suddenly, the mullet man handed me what appeared to be an empty, white styrofoam cup. "Icky cup," he said more clearly.
"Icky cup" Oh, I see now. Wait, what does icky cup mean?? I peered over into the cup as the man loosened his grip on my sexy leg. Inside the cup, there appeared to be a white, creamy substance, made fresh from the back alley only 20-minutes prior. I rushed back to my work with my Taco Bell. In an otherwise uneventful day, I was nearly manhandled and panhandled by two complete strangers.
Deerhoof are hitting the international circuit; that’s pretty dope. However, I cannot think of anything funny to say about this momentous event. (I guess there’s some joke hidden in there about Satomi Matsuzaki’s lyrics making as much sense to Swedish listeners as they do to those of us that speak English...) Instead, here is some basic information about Deerhoof translated between the local languages of all the stops on the tour via BabelFish:
In 1994, the group was formed lob Fisk and グレッグ Saunier. The group was discovered with gaan-gaat at the celebration festival of Yo Yo by the founder of the star of the stone of death (ed. Kill Rock Stars looks AWESOME when translated many times... they should consider a name switch). After releasing one that dies, depending on the flow of Satomi Matsuzaki vocalist, Tokyo moved exactly in San Francisco this time of unity of the star of the stone (ed. Again... Kill Rock Stars looks incredible) was connected to 7. That did not have, formation of type music simultaneously. The group until those supports applauded the disk of the chance for zeitgeist (ed. There was no word even remotely related to zeitgeist in the original) of the friend (ed. TMT review here), presently releases the complete album length of 9 volumes. Presently it navigates in acquisition of Japan by England and Europe (ed. Good for the queen). But it does not end soon at the place within Baltic countries. That how translates the part, Im wonder so
06.23.07 - Cardiff, Wales, UK - The Point
06.24.07 - Liverpool, UK - Barfly
06.25.07 - Glasgow, Scotland, UK - ABC2
06.26.07 - Sunderland, UK - Independent
06.27.07 - Leeds, UK - The Irish Centre
06.28.07 - Nottingham, UK - The Polish Centre
06.30.07 - Belfort, France - Eurockennes Festival
07.02.07 - Malmo, Sweden - Debaser
07.03.07 - Oslo, Norway - Cafe Mono
07.04.07 - Egersund, Norway - Vise Festival
07.05.07 - Kristiansand, Norway - Quart Festival
07.06.07 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Berg 211
07.07.07 (ed. That rules) - Stockholm, Sweden - Fritzs Corner at Debaser
07.10.07 - Helsinki, Finland - Redrum
07.28.07 - Niigata, Japan - Fuji Rock Festival
07.29.07 - Niigata, Japan - Fuji Rock Festival
07.31.07 - Yamagata, Japan - TBA
Nobody runs away anymore. Kids are simple, but there's something particularly adult about children these days. I was walking with a friend to a hobby shop, and on the way, we saw three kids playing Cops & Robbers. A nice scene. Fingers as guns, it's a wonder we use them for anything else. Very nostalgic, very Americana. Then they turned their guns on us. This was high noon, shootout, Old West! What could we do? Give up, give out, give in?
I shot back. Nobody says ‘bang’ anymore; it has to be deeper, more "sh" sounds. More real. If it's not deeper, it's sharper, but you can't say ‘pop.’ That's the old-time version of today's Grand Theft Auto pistol. It's a fine line, so I went with a deep ‘dzuzsh,’ which seemed to carry across the traffic rather well. Real action-movie-like. I hit one of the boys, and it was looking promising for me, but then I realized my friend wasn't shooting. He was just walking alongside. We were under fire and he was taking it in stride! This wasn't the hero, focused and determined, storming in with explosions on either side; this was total disengagement.
He thought he was impervious. He thought if he didn't shoot back, he'd be safe. I was going down -- first my leg to slow me, then my shoulder just in case adrenaline hit and I crawled away. They were relentless as they went in for the kill. I was given my due and hit in the chest, rolling into the bushes, but my friend went right on down the street.
He kept going, until they really hit him. They called him ‘boring.’ Imagine that? Boring at 21? How do you recover? There was no other way to say it. The old-time version would've worked just as well, deep "sh" sounds and pop sounds alike. This was timeless. The whole time, I felt like Grizzly Bear (for the animal, see Grizzly bear) was hovering. Not that their music is boring, no way, but it felt present more for its tone, its atmosphere that feels, to me anyway, timeless. There's an ease, a playful seriousness, a blanket of comfort that kids seem like they should have, but don't.
Kids have a great way of blurting out the truth, they see an injustice -- in this case, a young person not playing -- and they call it like they see it. My friend, shocked, horrified, made a feeble attempt at fighting back, but it was too late. He was boring. There was no other way around it. So what did he do? He ran. He ran away. Twenty-one and running away. Kids don't run away anymore. Boring or not, there was something inherently childish about that. I thought maybe he was more childlike than the three boys. And there was Grizzly Bear. It seemed fitting, this adult childhood. And that's encouraging, isn't it? At least for those of us who aren't kids? For them, for those boys that were shooting at us, for those pre-adults, who knows. Maybe they can listen to Grizzly Bear.
They're touring, with Feist. No literal handguns needed. Bang, bang:
Believe it or not, demigod Ian MacKaye (the man behind Minor Threat and Fugazi, for those of you whose soul was repossessed by the Man long ago) plays in a highly underrated band. Maybe it's some sort of requirement when you exist as one of the last untouchable elders of independent music to have a project that is largely ignored by anyone without a Dischord tattoo, but it is still a damn shame. A duo for the ages, Amy Farina is Chris O'Donnell to MacKaye's George Clooney (but way more DIY), and the two of them make beautifully lo-fi indie-rock songs that skewer the things Mr. MacKaye's been sticking it to for decades.
Now, laughing in the face of modern touring, The Evens are doing it their own way. For two weeks only (because honestly, who hasn't toured a whole summer nowadays), the pair will Do It Themselves all around the Northeast and Canada. Since the release of their sophomore album, Get Evens, last year the band have been busy fashioning instruments out of human hair and cat litter, and finally the songs can be played without buying in. The band will walk date-to-date wearing nothing but recycled plastic, and upon arriving in each city, paving the roads with vegan cheese as they go, they will erect a venue from beachwood and organic dental floss. Renowned for a maximum $5 ticket price, this time MacKaye will actually pay the fans to watch the show, but only in his own currency consisting of vacant hermit crab shells.
A sight to be seen:
Cobain Bio Film Soundtrack To Feature R.E.M., Ben Gibbard, Iggy Pop; Cobain Rolls Over In Grave For The 200th Time
Why is it that we insist on going on and on and on about dead famous people? Isn't it bad enough that individuals like Cobain felt like they lived miserable existences and that they didn't want to live anymore? While news of a new autobiographical Kurt Cobain film called About A Son isn't quite as disheartening as, say, the treasure-seeking Nirvana "best of" or Journals, the privacy-raping, posthumous collection of diary entries, it still leaves much to be desired.
In any case, the soundtrack for said film is mostly a compilation of previously released material from such Cobain favorites as Bad Brains, Iggy Pop, R.E.M. and Leadbelly, but will also feature some new music from Steve Fisk and Ben Gibbard (who Cobain was heard talking about from within his grave. Apparently, Transatlanticism is his favorite Death Cab record). The soundtrack to the film, aptly named after the movie itself, About A Son, is set to be released by Barsuk on another day of death that we all keep talking about: September 11.
Wait a minute; did Cobain knock down the towers?
In more tasteful commentary, Gibbard's contribution to the film is a cover of another Cobain (and Gliddon) favorite: Calvin Johnson's Beat Happening. The song choices are also very tasteful, so much so that you almost wonder if a Tiny Mix Tape Robot compiled it. What's on it, you ask? Well, I thought you'd never ask!
Ten Years Later, Foo Fighters Change Their Minds, Decide They DO Want to Be Your Monkey Wrench After All
Remember 1997? I sure do. It was the year when we realized that the ’90s were on the outs, and good ol’ Alternative Rock music, the at-once greatest and most wishy-washy gift the ’90s ever gave us, was in a confusing state of flux.
It finally set in that, despite the claims of my older brother’s pot-smoking musician friends, Kurt Cobain probably wasn’t murdered after all; Fred Durst hadn’t yet reared his chump-ass, redcapped head to usher in the egregious rap-metal era that ruled the last two years of the millenium; and EZ Alternative acts like Tonic, The Wallflowers, and The Verve Pipe seemed to be ushering in a brand of... well, downright watered-down, light-beer wussiness.
I don’t know about you, but I wore a constant frown on my face for the first half of that year. A lot of the girls that I knew were pretty heavily into Jewel, which baffled my prepubescent brain, and my little 13-year-old, hairless ass couldn’t have been more pissed-off at a musical nation that seemed to be thriving on such blatant atrocities as Lilith Fair (you remember Lilith Fair, don’t you?), Meredith Brooks’ Alanis-copping girl-power anthem, and, oh yeah, don’t forget fucking Matchbox 20!
Where was the DUDE rock, man??? What the fuck happened? I was too young to be seeking out music that the radio didn’t provide for me, and I was at an absolute loss. I needed something to latch onto, something to thrash around to in my bedroom. But it seemed like the musical world had turned its back on seething pre-teen males for good.
All hope was lost.
And then, seemingly out of nowhere . . .
The cathartic screaming... the kick-ass riffage... the balls-to-the-wall drumming... the mindless yet vaguely angry subject matter. Dave Grohl had brought it ALL to the fucking party! Kurt WHO?????
That first single off the monumental The Colour and the Shape absolutely blew my young mind. I camped out in front of my stereo for hours with a cassette tape poised and ready to record the song off the radio. I made my dad (yeah, this is lame) RUSH to Best Buy after work that May when the album finally dropped to pick up a copy for me on the very first day it came out.
And the hit parade ensued: “Hey, Johnny Park!” had old girl from Veruca Salt on vocals, so I loved it. “My Hero” was “totally about Kurt, man,” so I loved it. “Everlong” was the first song I’d ever heard that made 16ths on the hi-hats actually sound badass, so I loved it. “February Stars” was emo before emo ever even hit the suburban malls, so I loved it. The album as a whole one-upped Grohl’s self-titled debut considerably, and I was hooked.
Now in 2007, Dave Grohl may have become a tired and painful-to-watch imitation of himself, but hey... I’m not about to let the fact that he’s gotten old and fallen off the wagon taint some of his best and most idealistic work. And apparently, I’m not the only one.
While most of us wait with comfortably and decidedly un-baited breath for the newest Dad-rock schtick-fest from the current line-up of Grohl, Hawkins, and company, that landmark album of albums The Colour and the Shape is getting its just desserts for being the pre-teen boy-rock album of the year that we all know it was by receiving a deluxe makeover and 10-year anniversary reissue via Legacy/RCA.
The album will feature the same ol’ 14 tracks of testosterone-packed jams that you knew and loved, plus a handful of potentially tough-to-track-down cover songs and B-sides, including Killing Joke's "Requiem," Gary Numan's "Down in the Park," (off of The X-Files Soundtrack, which I fucking OWNED, natch!), and Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street," as well as B-sides "Drive Me Wild," "Dear Lover," and "The Colour and the Shape." The only difference is that now you can listen to “Monkey Wrench” and be pissed at your boss or your wife instead of your 7th grade teacher or your mom! Isn’t life sweet?
Representative of a young band in its prime, The Colour and the Shape featured the work of not only a maturing Grohl, but also the former Nirvana/Germs Guitarist Pat Smear and the unholy Sunny Day Real Estate rhythm section of bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith. (Sure, good ol’ Davie might have... uh, “tweaked” most of Goldsmith’s drum tracks, thereby booting him back to Jeremy Enigk-ruled Godville. But hey, nobody’s perfect, right?)
Anyway, the deluxe, 10th anniversary (yes, take a second to consider how old that makes you) The Colour and the Shape will be hitting “Pop/Rock/Alternative” shelves at giant, impersonal record stores everywhere July 10, just in time to soundtrack all of our midsummer barbeques and ’90s-themed beach trips. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to give my dear old dad a call to see if he can pick it up for me after work...
Fall In/Fall Out:
Get ready for a whole new round of “Dude, I know for a FACT; all of these songs are TOTALLY about KURT!”
I can’t wait.
Dead Meadow Tour UK; If They Had a Nickel For Every Time the Word “Psychedelic” Appeared in Print, They Could Tour Mars
I had this whole big thing ready about how Dead Meadow transcend any casual “dudes sound like they’re on drugs, man”-type dismissal. I mean, they carry traits of the “Blue Cheer smoking up then hitting on Neil Young’s girlfriend in space” sound, but I’ve always seen them as above it somehow. Their Matador Records biography, however, claims the boys “set out to fuse their love of early '70s hard rock and '60s psychedelia with their love of writers J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft,” and you know what? I’ve given it some thought: If Dead Meadow want their music to evoke Jimmy Page slowly riding Shub-Niggurath into Helm’s Deep, awesome. Sure beats a band that evokes a 16-year-old in pointy shoes checking his MySpace.
It’s working out for them, with a reissue of their second studio album Howls From the Hills available now, a fifth studio album entitled Old Growth forthcoming on Matador, and an upcoming tour of the UK (homeland of both Page and Tolkien), where they will hopefully continue to wage war on bands who bring to mind the image of a guy telling another guy he’s going to save up for a Vespa.
The Black Goat of the Woods With a Thousand Tourdates:
For the reader on the go, an easily digestible list of cool things about Spiralfrog:
- It permits you to download useful 128 kbps MP3s by artists such as Eminem and Elton John.
- Thanks to our trusty friend DRM, the files expire in 30 days.
- It is named Spiralfrog.
- It is supported entirely by forcing you to watch ads from a “who’s who” of advertisers.
- Chairman and founder Joe Mohen was considerate enough to have his five-year-old daughter name his company.
- It is debuting in America by the end of the summer.
- The beta only works in Internet Explorer, and IE7’s default security settings prevent users from logging in.
- If Mohen earnestly believes that people who subscribe to his service (which is named Spiralfrog) will watch 90 seconds of ads to download one song that will expire in one month, his optimism is endearing and beautiful.
- It operates in a legal grey area where the MP3s are considered promotional copies, which may be a ploy to skirt royalty payments.
- Upon learning of Spiralfrog’s impending existence, Steve Jobs started to laugh for a moment, but the noise was muffled when he began to smoke two cigars at once, both lit with separate hundred-dollar bills. He then put his feet up on his desk and took the rest of the day off.
In 1996, it was decreed by the space overlords that Weezer, who at the time just released the fab-tastic album Pinkerton, must henceforth smell of offal and chocolates, forgo irony, and their records have to suck. The easiest solution, it turned out, was to excise bassist Matt Sharp, forcing him to focus on his own band, The Rentals, who went on to great success -- though I do believe the space overlords let Weezer still sell some records, but just barely.
So, The Rentals made some albums. Long story short: afterward, they went for a ride with the space overlords that actually turned into a big ordeal, as it caused this whole global warming phenomenon. But that’s all water under the proverbial space bridge to the moon; I’m just glad they’re back, recording a new album and playing Saturdays in July at LA’s Spaceland, where it’s sunny all the time and only drugs addicts and the unemployed are ever sad.
New material, titled The Last Little Life EP, is scheduled for release August 14, with a new full-length promised late 2007 or early 2008. And thanks to their intergalactic efforts, we can all enjoy their return in some sun. The band also promises to turn all of our Chevy Corsicas into convertibles. Rising sea levels? It’s just more beach, baby.
Tracklisting for The Last Little Life EP:
* with Goldenboy
# with Copeland & Goldenboy