Do you enjoy looking back to the past? Do you enjoy nostalgia*? How about the late 1990s? If you answered yes to any or all of these things, then perhaps you will be excited about One Little Indian's upcoming release of an Alabama 3 retrospective (or A3, as they are called in the U.S., due to the absolute chaos that would ensue if they were confused with the pop country artistes behind "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You"). Entitled Hits & Exit Wounds, the album is expected for a late summer release, and will include tracks from Exile on Coldharbour Lane, Power in the Blood, Outlaw, and La Peste, along with the previously unreleased tracks requisite for any retrospective -- oh, and "Woke Up This Morning," that song from the opening credits of The Sopranos.
Alabama 3's characteristic blend of hell-and-brimstone gospel, blues, and country, along with that old UK dancefloor standby, house music, made fans out of dudes like Stephen King and Irvine Welsh, not to mention tons of sweaty ravers. In support of Hits & Exit Wounds, Alabama 3 will be playing select U.S. cities and more U.K. festivals than you can shake a stick at.
*No, not that old time-y magazine where Florida seniors write in about the good old days of sockhops and nuclear families. Although that magazine is pretty kickin'.
Built To Spill Reveal HUGE Perfect From Now On Tour, New Album in 2009: Beards Included, Old Technology Excluded, I’m Deluded…
... with happiness, that is! You in Reverse was all well and good, but that album is so 2006, and now you're telling my ass to wait until 2009!? WHERE IS THE HUSTLE, MARTSCHY!? You think you're so cool because you're using ProTools instead of analog recording now to make your recording sessions "more collaborative than ever"? That's code for LAZY, brother! Stop plotting to run all over the globe and play that Perfect From Now On garbage to any audience that'll listen... those shows won't be sold out; they're gonna be full of hostages! I don't know what kind of racket you think you're running here, but I can see riiight through you, Doug Martsch, SIR.
Excuse me, someone appears to have thrown a bucket of water over my head. Mr. Martsch tells Billboard that about 15 songs will make the cut for the new album, which has no title as of yet, and a few of the tracks have already made their live debuts ("Nowhere Lullabye," "Done," and "Good Old Boredom"). A few songs dropped from You in Reverse will find a new home on this album as well, and Martsch lets us in on some dirt about a shiny new one called "Planting Seeds": "[It's] a real conventional kind of pop/rock song. It reminds me of a Tom Petty song or something, but it probably doesn't sound anything like that." Isn't he a dear?
Please ignore my previous allegations and feel confident in your choice as to whether or not you should catch Built To Spill on their Perfect From Now On tour -- which will see John McMahon bringing his cello to make sure those Perfect From Now On dates are just perfect -- but you have to tell them Mr P sent you.
Daniel Johnston Gets Backup from Jad Fair, Yo La Tengo, Sparklehorse for European Dates, Adds U.S. D
$ The Capitol Years
# The Hymns
* "An Evening with Daniel Johnston and friends": Daniel will be supported and backed by Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, Scout Niblett, James McNew of Yo La Tengo, Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, and Jad Fair of Half Japanese
While preparing to write this story about the Crystal Castles upcoming tour, I noticed the various pull quotes about the band that were attached to the press release and how amusing they were. Here are some of the best ones:
- "Fuck you motherfuckers!!!" -TMT
- "It's brutal, it's violent...it's a pleasure" - The Guardian UK
- "It's always memorable when Toronto's Crystal Castles deliver their tweaked-out eyeliner-soaked Nintendo-core to gawking crowds" – Spin
It’s clear that the TMT quote is the best one by far (okay, so I may be biased), because it makes absolutely no sense and made me laugh out loud. The Guardian UK are going for a more direct approach, likening the Crystal Castle’s electronica grooves to brutal violence, which still making no sense on some level. Still, Spin manages to go even further off the deep end of music journalism with their ridiculous description of “tweaked-out eyeliner-soaked Nintendo-core.” What does this all mean exactly? Not a whole lot, but you read this far, so you might as well check out the tourdates below:
* Thanks Sam!
The Times They Are A-Changin’… Back To How They Used To Be? Universal Music Group Posts Improved First Quarter Earnings
Not so fast, suits. Although a recent blog post over at the music industry news website Coolfer has taken notice of the improved Universal Music Group's Q1 earnings in 2008, it would be nothing if not premature to say that the nightmare is over for our favorite major labels. Undoubtedly a step in the right direction, the increased profits may have some at the top breathing a little bit easier, but music fans remain well aware that little, if anything has been done to combat the ever increasing schism between corporation and consumer that has plagued the music industry since their heyday in the mid-to-late 1990s. Business buffs can pour over the report themselves, but the highlights outlined on Coolfer are as follows:
- Digital sales have increased 33% year over year
- Fiscal 2007 saw a 51% increase in digital sales (totaling 14% of total revenue)
- A 54% increase was seen in digital sales from Q1 of 2007
- Revenue increased 0.6% with operating profit rising 94.7%
So, while showing signs of life, the numbers remain far from ideal. In fact, many are pointing toward UMG's recent business acquisitions, not increased sales, as the reason for higher, somewhat flashy top line numbers. Snappy statistics may be pleasing to the ear and the bank account of a few, but what's clear is that the growth of digital sales is nowhere near great enough to account for the rapid decline in actual CD sales. We hear chatter of new business models aimed to simultaneously help artists and labels, and innovative solutions for piracy that will finally usher us all into the digital era together (and without lawsuits), but walking into our local music retailer, we're still too often met with increasingly outdated, lackluster product and a system of marketing with the same bloated price tag. Improvements? Maybe next quarter.
The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming AGAIN: UK Post-Punk Band These New Puritans to Invade U.S.
There comes a time in every young person's life when he/she must set aside his/her schoolwork, take up his/her angular guitar jams, and take to the road in order to promote his/her new post-punk album on Domino Records. Okay, so obviously "every young person" might be a stretch, but if you were, say, one of the gifted members of UK four-piece These New Puritans, you would understand. Jack Barnett, George Barnett, Sophie Sleigh-Johnson, and Thomas Hein are about to take on the mighty U.S. market with an upcoming summer tour in support of their recently-released full-length Beat Pyramid (TMT Review).
If you're one of those people who hears about 21st century post-punk bands and thinks "glossy production, The O.C. soundtrack, matching dress suits -- ICK," then listen up. These New Puritans make complex, forward-thinking, intense rock ‘n’ roll music that doesn't seem stuck in the past or too intent on making it into an iPod commercial. In short, they keep it real, and real loud. Check them out on tour and regret your misspent youth.
Best known for accidentally breaking Screech's mom's Elvis statue and throwing a party to raise funds to replace it, Sigur Rós are set to release their fifth album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust -- translation: "With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly" -- June 23 in Europe on not-doing-so-great EMI and June 24 in North America via XL. The album, co-produced by Flood (Smashing Pumpkins, Nick Cave, NIN), is being released "just one month after completion," according to a press release. It continues:
The album glows with the perfect imperfection of live takes, the sounds of fingers playing guitar strings, cracked notes, and a stark, upfront presence not found in previous Sigur Rós recordings, moving away from the reverb-induced guitar sounds of old to something altogether more fragile and affecting. It also contains some of the most joyous music the band has ever recorded.
Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust also features the return of string quartet Amiina, the first appearance of the Mellotron, a five-piece brass section, Jón Thor Birgisson singing his first song in English, and a track featuring 90 musicians, including the London Sinfonietta and the London Oratory Boy’s Choir. A deluxe version, comprised of a book, film, "Making Of...," and more, will see release later in the year.
Pre-orders for the album and book begin June 2, with a full stream of the album starting June 9. You can catch the album's first track, "Gobbledigook," tonight on Radio 1 or when it becomes available as a free download at 7:30 PM GMT. All this can be found at Sigur Rós' website. More information on the Elvis statue here.
As of press time, Sigur Rós have "Online Now!" status at their MySpace.
Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust tracklist:
The witty kids at Harvard Free Culture have prepared a public funeral for DRM (Digital Rights Management) that'll take place at JKF Park, Memorial Drive tomorrow at 6:30 PM in Cambridge, MA. As part of the service, The Harvard Free Culture Group will be burying (wasting) a first-generation Zune and a fourth-generation iPod in a red bucket. Following the burial, a reception will take place to "reminisce of the short life and accomplishments of DRM and to grieve together."
The event is incredibly relevant, as it would seem that DRM is becoming a thing of the past. But it's not horribly timely, as the funeral feels a bit premature since many major media companies still use DRM to protect their products from being illegally copied and distributed. Either way, more information on the DRM funeral can be found here.
Being from the Midwest, I have always been an ampersand/umlaut kind of guy. That is, until I recently discovered the true nature of East coast men. While in a New Jersey rest stop, I was abruptly harassed by a group of truckers, who catcalled to me "Hey, little sexy white boy. Wanna play swords in my truck?" I had never been so insulted. Before calling the cops, I noticed a symbol on their hats -- BOYZZZ.
Once I was back to the normality of Indiana, I decided to write my "Monthly Letter Written in Blood" to a group of musicians called Parenthetical Girls, known as (((GRRRLS))) to hyper-sensitive fans.
I hope you go on tour soon with Au. That'd be cool beans. Hey, before you map out the tour, I'd like to warn you from traveling to the East coast. It consists of a bunch of curly bracket boys there, and they have really huge obelisks.
Your Fan and Monthly Blood Writer,
And what do you know, Parenthetical Girls will be staying on the West Coast, close to their home of Portland, Oregon, for a short tour in support of their contribution to the David Horvitz 7-inch Picture Series. Their song from the series, a cover of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's "Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)," is currently streaming on the Slender Means Society site.
* PWRFL POWER & Au
^ Abe Vigoda
~ Los Campesinos!
Forgotten Chinese Zodiac, Year of The Dance Party, Continues To Reign Supreme As Hot Chip Announce September North American Tour; Tickets On Sale TODAY
At this point, my coffee is cold because I neglected it when I checked my email and then talked to my mom on the phone. Then I sent some texts and waited for answers, but when no one replied, I figured I would start writing this article. Then as soon as Microsoft Word opened, I got a text, so I read it and then replied and then they read it and replied, and now it turns out I'm going to an ’80s dance party in the city where everyone's going to be wearing tube tops and doing lines of coke off bellies in the bathroom.
Now if that doesn't have everything to do with Hot Chip's newly announced September North American tour -- tickets on sale today May 23 -- then I don't know what does. Having released their latest album, Made In The Dark (TMT Review), this past February, Hot Chip are geared up and ready to tour with the material made explicitly with live shows in mind, which means you can expect to dance a lot harder than I will tonight, sequin tub-tops aside.
Full tourdates, including the new North American dates: