Universal Music Screws Dozens of Musicians, Doesn’t Stick Around for Breakfast

Man, what's with those ungrateful jazz musicians? It's like you give ‘em one lousy Grammy, and they start making all KINDS of outrageous demands!

"Listen to our records!" "Pay us the money you owe us contractually!" Sheeeesh, get a life, am I right?

Last week, more than a dozen of these finicky recording artists, including the estates of jazz legends Count Basie and Benny Goodman (whoever they are, right?), sued Universal Music, saying they had been "cheated out of more than $6 million in royalties since 1998." I mean, can you believe the arrogance?

Many of these "artists" (and I use the term loosely!) foolishly signed to labels that were later wisely and graciously bought by the sage-like Universal, and they had the gall to sue the world's largest music label for such trivialities as "breach of contract" and "breach of fiduciary duty," according to the lawsuit filed in New York State Court.

Universal, which is owned by the French company Vivendi, denied the allegations in a magnanimous statement while also making sure to stress the ease with which they will crush these ungrateful musical nobodies. "We believe that these claims are baseless, and we are confident that we will prevail in court," the company said.

The lawsuit alleges that Universal, which is required to submit at least biannual reports of sales and earnings for each artist, provided false information throughout the accounting period of May 1999 through February 2007.

According to this paper-thin suit, Universal has "systematically underpaid royalties" since 1998. These money grubbing scoundrels also allege that Universal failed to provide all of the records needed to calculate the losses... but don’t you believe this pack of liars, good people!

"Despite a relationship based on trust and manifold contractual obligations, and despite the fact that defendants realized an overwhelming windfall to both its finances and reputation as a result of this relationship, [Universal has] ‘utterly failed' to meet their obligations," the lawsuit continues. It then goes on to accuse little old Universal of engaging in "pervasive and systematic acts of using false statements" to conceal the complete earnings of the artists.

Other artists included in the lawsuit, (a.k.a. "scam"), either individually or through their estates, were Les Brown, Richard Hayman, Dick Hyman, Woody Herman, Kitty Kallen, Frankie Laine, Tony Martin, John Mills, Jerry Murad, Patti Page, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Sarah Vaughn.

Et tu, Sarah Vaughn?

Stay strong, Universal Music. TMT knows you didn't do it! Viva big business!!!

Whoever coined the advertising wet-dream “often imitated never duplicated” must still be royally profiting from his well-chosen words. In commercial terms, that cornball quip never gets stale, whether it is in reference to the latest Subway sub, the latest software package, or the latest self-glossing celebutante. If we use the term to describe the Primavera Sound Festival, it fits nicely. Where else can you sun your buns, drink stomach-pumping quantities of sangria, and witness acts like Animal Collective, Portishead (playing twice), Dinosaur Jr., Cat Power, Mission of Burma, AND Public Enemy performing It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back? Nowhere but Primavera, being held May 29-31, 2008 at the Parc del Fòrum in Barcelona (I haven’t checked out the lineup for Spain’s other gigantic gathering Benicassim yet, but if I am proven to be fibbing here, I will endure the standard TMT reader’s penance: the weeklong rectal lodging of 12 Keebler “Chips Deluxe” cookies.).

Here is the list of artistas confirmados which includes a number of “fucking” bands (Fuck Buttons, Holy Fuck, Rufus Fucking Wainwright), a bunch of Marys (The Mary Onettes, Mary Weiss, Mary Malkmus & The Jicks), and, representing both the young bucks and aging carcasses, all sorts of domestic and foreign of buffalo, caribou, dinosaur, cat, and vampire species:

808 State, A Place To Bury Strangers, Alan Braxe, Animal Collective, Apparat Band, DJ Assault, Atlas Sound, Autolux, Awesome Color, Bill Callahan, Bishop Allen, Bob Mould Band, Bon Iver, Boris, British Sea Power, Buffalo Tom, Caribou, Cat Power, Clipse, The Cribs, De La Soul, Deerhunter, Digital Mystikz, Dinosaur Jr., Dirty Projectors, Dr. Octagon (Kool Keith + Kutmasta Kurt), Edan & MC Dagha, El Guincho, Ellen Allien, Enon, Eric's Trip, Fanfarlo, The Felice Brothers, Fuck Buttons, DJ Funk, Gentle Music Men, The Go! Team, Grande-Marlaska, Health, Holy Fuck, Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs, It's Not Not, Kavinsky, Kinski, Les Savy Fav, Lightspeed Champion, Madee, Man Man, The Mary Onettes, Mary Weiss, The Marzipan Man, Menomena, Messer Chups, Midnight Juggernauts, Mission Of Burma, Mixmaster Mike, Model 500, MV & EE with The Golden Road, Nick Lowe, No Age, The Notwist, Okkervil River, OM, Para One, Pissed Jeans, Polvo, Port O'Brien, Portishead, Prinzhorn Dance School, Public Enemy, Robert Hood, Rufus Wainwright, The Rumble Strips, Scout Niblett, Sebadoh, Shipping News, Silver Jews, Simian Mobile Disco, Six Organs Of Admittance, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, The Strange Death Of Liberal England, Subterranean Kids, Supermayer, Surkin, The Swell Season, Tachenko, Tarántula, Throbbing Gristle, Tiefschwarz, Times New Viking, Tindersticks, Träd Gräs och Stenar, Vampire Weekend, Vórtice, Voxtrot, White Williams, Why?, Young Marble Giants

Maxim Publishes Negative Review of an Album Without Listening To It

Reviewing new music can be a bit of a task, especially if you have a whole pile of promos to sort through and you just don't give much of a rat's ass about most of them. But let's say there's a release that your publication has deemed relatively important, and by relatively important I mean SO important that a review MUST be included in the next issue, despite the fact that you haven't listened to it yet.

Luckily, if you work at Maxim, that doesn't even matter! The Black Crowes recently released a statement bashing the magazine for negatively reviewing their latest album, Warpaint, even though the writer had only heard the record's single, "Goodbye, Daughters of the Revolution." An e-mail conversation between madder'n'hell Crowes manager Pete Angelus and the Pulitzer-bound publication yielded the following explanation from Maxim's music editor:

Of course, we always prefer to (sic) hearing music, but sometimes there are big albums that we don’t want to ignore that aren’t available to hear, which is what happened with the Crowes. It’s either an educated guess preview or no coverage at all, so in this case we chose the former.

Seriously, they're that good. I might try my hand at this "educated guess" school of reporting. From now on, I'm not even going to attend the concerts I review. Instead, I will write an elaborate account of the stage-diving accident that left one concertgoer with a beer bottle permanently fused to the back of his head, as well as the legendary and inexplicable appearance of Tom Jones during the encore. Doesn't matter what show I'm talking about or if the concert ever happened; our readers have to be kept in the know. Even if we don't know. Right.

Here's the Maxim "review" in full:

The Black Crowes • Warpaint • Silver Arrow

The Black Crowes already sounded like grizzled classic rockers on their 1990 debut. While it certainly was a neat trick for a bunch of twenty-somethings to pull off, it hasn't left Chris Robinson and the gang much room for growth. Now that they're legitimately grizzled, they sound pretty much like they always have: boozy, competent, and in slavish debt to the Stones, the Allmans, and the Faces. --D.P.

Hey Mr P! Let’s write a fantasy news story together! I’ll write it, and you fill in the blanks! Kinky! Here’s the headline: Tickley Feather Signs To Paw Tracks With an LP Slated for April

The Legend of The Tickley Feather

A long, long time ago, when ____the piltdown men____ walked the earth, a young, single mother and musician named Annie Sachs from Virginia was practicing ____her long division____. Her music sounded otherworldly, and her voice sounded like a ____tuba____ after a night of ____tubular bells____. One day, while ____flirting____ with the neighborhood poet, she came up with the name Tickley Feather. This poet inspired her to use Tickley Feather as her musician pseudonym.

Because of the smell of ____The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season______ during her encounter with the poet, she became immediately adept at playing the ____part of a "whore"_______. She and the poet ended up ____not having sex______, and he eventually ____became a priest____. For ages, she lay in her ____dungeon_______ and made music. As predicted in the prophecy, the ____Smashing Pumpkins producer Flood______ came and violently forced her out of her ____all-you-can-eat sushi____; eventually, she and her young ended up in Philadelphia and she ____bowled______ there for five years until Animal Collective coaxed her into coming to ____a different bowling alley_______ to record in their ____bowling______ laboratory.

Animal Collective forced her to eat ____bowling pins_______ everyday for ____2______ years while she composed 20 tracks for her self-titled debut due out April 29 on Paw Tracks.

The following manuscript was found in a ____dumpster_______ located in ____729 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN________. The manuscript has been translated in over ____GREEN DAY RULES!!____ languages, and it's officially been announced by the ____Scout Leader Kyle is a d-bag______ that the manuscript is indeed a tracklisting for her self-titled debut.

Tickley Feather tracklist:

1. "I"ve got magic inside my bones somewhere"
2. Ooooo
3. Buttshot
4. The Python
5. Fancy Walking
6. "There"s this magic spell right inside your bones"
7. Noisey Dingle
8. Nothing 2 B sad about
9. Le Daylight
10. 1978 fast/xylophone/leaking roof
11. Night Chant
12. Keyboards is Drunk
13. Sorry Party
14. Night Train
15. Rain Bucket
16. Tonight is the Nite
17. Lookout What"s Next
18. Convention
19. "The Bone hits it with a drumstick and then your skin has a switch"
20. "I'm Magic"/ Bathtime

Hey Mr P! Let’s write a fantasy news story together! I’ll write it, and you fill in the blanks! Kinky! Here’s the headline: Tickley Feather Signs To Paw Tracks With an LP Slated for April

The Legend of The Tickley Feather

A long, long time ago, when ____the piltdown men____ walked the earth, a young, single mother and musician named Annie Sachs from Virginia was practicing ____her long division____. Her music sounded otherworldly, and her voice sounded like a ____tuba____ after a night of ____tubular bells____. One day, while ____flirting____ with the neighborhood poet, she came up with the name Tickley Feather. This poet inspired her to use Tickley Feather as her musician pseudonym.

Because of the smell of ____The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season______ during her encounter with the poet, she became immediately adept at playing the ____part of a "whore"_______. She and the poet ended up ____not having sex______, and he eventually ____became a priest____. For ages, she lay in her ____dungeon_______ and made music. As predicted in the prophecy, the ____Smashing Pumpkins producer Flood______ came and violently forced her out of her ____all-you-can-eat sushi____; eventually, she and her young ended up in Philadelphia and she ____bowled______ there for five years until Animal Collective coaxed her into coming to ____a different bowling alley_______ to record in their ____bowling______ laboratory.

Animal Collective forced her to eat ____bowling pins_______ everyday for ____2______ years while she composed 20 tracks for her self-titled debut due out April 29 on Paw Tracks.

The following manuscript was found in a ____dumpster_______ located in ____729 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN________. The manuscript has been translated in over ____GREEN DAY RULES!!____ languages, and it's officially been announced by the ____Scout Leader Kyle is a d-bag______ that the manuscript is indeed a tracklisting for her self-titled debut.

Tickley Feather tracklist:

1. "I"ve got magic inside my bones somewhere"
2. Ooooo
3. Buttshot
4. The Python
5. Fancy Walking
6. "There"s this magic spell right inside your bones"
7. Noisey Dingle
8. Nothing 2 B sad about
9. Le Daylight
10. 1978 fast/xylophone/leaking roof
11. Night Chant
12. Keyboards is Drunk
13. Sorry Party
14. Night Train
15. Rain Bucket
16. Tonight is the Nite
17. Lookout What"s Next
18. Convention
19. "The Bone hits it with a drumstick and then your skin has a switch"
20. "I'm Magic"/ Bathtime

The Black Swans’ Change! Manifests Itself in Artist’s Edition Vinyl Form, Tour

Carrying mystique that far outweighs the compact disc and most certainly MP3s, vinyl records will always remain at the very least fetish objects. The heightened prominence of their cover art alone being just one of the rewards, elevating the form beyond simple impulse buy. In the case of music as genuinely affecting as folk-rock group The Black Swans, proper visual representation aids in the realization of a greater understanding of the musical alchemy they are trafficking.

There are occasions, however, when editions have importance even beyond the norm of simply being a greater extension of the music and, by some accounts, a graphic designer's self-indulgence. The Black Swans have presented just such an edition with the vinyl edition of their most recent release Change!.

Lead singer Jerry DeCicca utilized the artistic talents of students of a vocational workshop at ARC Industries North, a division of the Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. He had been inspired by work displayed at Yeah, Me Too, a Columbus, OH coffee shop. Paired with the added suggestion of shop/gallery owner Jovan Karcic, he turned the inspiration into reality when he proposed the idea for the students to paint covers for the vinyl release.

Each of the 50 participating students created a distinct visual work, an uninhibited interpretation of their reactions to the stunning album. Each of the 500 art editions is further accompanied by a booklet, an artist's statement, and information on ARC. ARC sells the students' artwork direct, so the possibility of appreciating and supporting their work extends beyond this beautiful release.

Click here for YouTube clips of the artists working or here for a link to the special edition of Change!.

And if you are in any of the following cities, do yourself the double favor of not only supporting the artists behind the covers by purchasing this special release, but the band itself by attending one of the shows closest to you.

News Corp and Major Labels To Launch a New Download Site

In a never-ending search for a solution to make up for dwindling
record sales, News Corp and major labels are planning on launching a new ad-supported, DRM-free MP3 site, which will see News Corp-owned MySpace partnering with EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group to provide music and content to the site. Currently no other labels are signed up to be on the new MP3 service, but PaidContent says that could change soon.

Boring, right? Leave it to Shaq to spice up a news story:

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type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425"
height="355">

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Are Mates of State Really Two Black R&B Artists? New Album Coming in May

My good friend and her husband had a baby recently. Since I don't have a baby of my own (let alone a girlfriend), it's hard to talk to her about anything. All she does is jabber about her baby. Not like I don't understand though. I'm sure I'll do the same when I have a baby.

That said, Mates of State, the cute couple who had a baby not too long ago, have just announced the birth (wink!) of a new album, Re-Arrange Us. Slated for release on May 20 via Barsuk Records (motto: "We released stuff by Death Cab for Cutie!"), the new album breaks from the past by replacing their famous organ sound with piano/synth and emphasizing lead vocals rather than harmonies. In other words, Mates of State have gone avant-garde! Tell everyone!

Of course, I haven't heard the album, and I got that info from their publicist. So, assuming we're not being lied to, I think we should be good to go. But wouldn't it be funny if the new album DOES retain the organ sound? And if Mates of State actually went out of their way to ensure that there are ONLY harmonies on the new album? Hell, what if Kori Gardener and Jason Hammel never really had a baby? What if their 2000 debut, My Solo Project, was never really Mates of State at all? And the Mates of State that we always conceived as Kori and Jason were really two black R&B artists? Would you still like them? Are you really that racist?

C'mon, it's fucking 2008, bigot. Grow up.

Check out Mates of States' official website for more on their domestic ways. And expect a tour later this year by these two black R&B artists.

[Photo: Terri Loewenthal]

In A Misguided Attempt to Improve Public Image, Amtrak Chooses An Albatross As the Inagural Riders of the New “Tour Train” Service

Have you ever been on an Amtrak train? If you have, it’s unlikely that you enjoyed the ride (After all, who the fuck likes awful food and noisy small children?). And if you haven’t taken a ride on one, well, don’t ever make an effort to change that. Of course, Amtrak is pretty dissatisfied with the public’s low opinion of its services. In one of its less well-thought-out moves, it decided recently to improve its popularity with the young ‘uns by offering a service to bands who don’t want to tour by bus: they can rent out a car in an Amtrak train for their tour! It offers an interesting possibility: where else would you find Evanescence, Vampire Weekend, and your little brother’s band all in the same place?

Of course, this plan is still in its beta phase. To test out the service’s usability, Amtrak decided to give one lucky band the chance to use a Tour Train for free. That lucky band turned out to be Pennsylvania’s own noise babies An Albatross, who are pushing the train to its limits by taking the tour to off-the-beaten track places like Chattanooga, Tennessee (though considering the town’s name, I guess it’s an apt stop). Anyway, free soggy hot dogs and coloring books for everyone who comes to one of the shows...

All aboard the tour train!
03.06.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Death By Audio
03.07.08 - Richmond, VA - The Camel *^
03.08.08 - Raleigh, NC – Slim’s Downtown *
03.09.08 - Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern *
03.10.08 - Athens, GA - Caledonia Lounge *
03.11.08 - Chattanooga, TN – JJ’s Bohemia *
03.12.08 - Huntsville, AL - Flying Monkey Arts *
03.13.08 - Houston, TX - The Mink Backroom *
03.15.08 - Austin, TX - Spiro's Eyeball Records SXSW Showcase !
03.16.08 - Austin, TX - Beerland Daytime Panache Party @
03.16.08 - Denton, TX. Rubbergloves *
03.17.08 - Oklahoma City, OK - Conservatory
03.18.08 - St. Louis, MO - 2 Cents Plain *#
03.19.08 - Oakland, CA - Uptown Night Club *$
03.20.08 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen *
03.21.08 - Detroit, MI - Scrummage University %
03.22.08 - Wilkes Barre, PA - Cafe Metropolis *
03.23.08 - Annandale-on-Hudson, NY - Bard College *
04.05.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Music City Hall of Williamsburg &
05.01.08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa +
05.02.08 - Hamilton, ON - The Casbah +
05.03.08 - Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dee's (Over the Top Festival Panache Showcase) +

* The Apes

^ Amoeba Men

! MC Astronautilus, Kiss Kiss, Pompeii, Baumer, Search/Rescue, Tiger Lou, The Casting Out

@ Finally Punk, Best Fwends, When Dinos Ruled the Earth, Mika Miko, The Mae Shi, The Show Is the Rainbow, Cpc Gangbangs, Monotonix

# Genghis Tron, Coliseum

$ Vampire Hands

% Mass Shivers, the Beatitude

& Peelander Z, Fun Machine, The Soundscapes

+ Big A little a

MSTRKRFT Compile The Top 19 Places To Live/Party/Dance

Have you ever wondered if the city you live in is cool? Well, wonder no more, because MSTRKRFT, the vowel-hating Torontonian electro-dance duo have put together their top 19 cities to live/party/dance in North America for February and March. To coincide with this massively important announcement (not a new LP, which is said to be coming sometime this year), the band plans to visit each location at least once, sometimes twice (LA) and sometimes thrice (Miami) on an upcoming tour beginning tomorrow (Tuesday). If names like "studio B," "The Church," and "Vision" don't ring a bell, then you are just out of touch. Stop watching reruns of Frasier (Christ, when did that show go off the air, 2004? What is wrong with you?) and get out there. These aren't your stuffy old Bowery Ballrooms, Magic Sticks, or Hi-Dives. These are places of distinction, with more overpriced drinks and shiny, skintight clothes than you can shake an ass at. But you will try -- o' lord will you ever try.

Tourdates: