Beggars Group, 4AD, And Too Pure Together at Last (Well, More So Than Ever Before)

Imagine going to your favorite restaurant for a delicious salad made-to-order by a world famous chef. Imagine the succulent lettuce, the crispy croutons, and the subtly flavorful dressing. Now imagine that the chef is 4AD imprint Beggars Banquet, the lettuce is 4AD, the croutons are imprint Too Pure, and the dressing is people's jobs.

Never fear! Although this simile may be awkward and forced, and Billboard recently reported that the two awesome imprints won't be seeing any action "in the near future," the artists and albums previously assigned to Too Pure and Beggars will not be without a home. Instead, 4AD will house the imprint staffers and artists alike, starting with the release of Stereolab's Chemical Chords album, due August 19. And wonderfully named 4AD A&R dude Ed Horrox will get a little help IMPRINT-STYLE from Too Pure's Jason White, Beggars' Roger Trust, and Ms. Jane Abernethy.

Damon Albarn To Release Album Featuring 130ish Musicians, Apparently Monkeys Also

Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz, various British supergroups) has announced plans to release his first solo album in nearly five years. To call it a “solo” album would perhaps be a misnomer, however, as there will be somewhere in the range of 80-130 musicians participating, a move sure to upset Polyphonic Spree members everywhere. After close analysis, the math remains unclear to me. Albarn told BBC 6Music: “This one's got about 80 or 90 musicians on it – something in that region” but also mentioned “It's got a 100-piece Chinese choir on one of the tunes, so that plus the orchestra probably goes to about 120 or 130 people." Whatever.

Albarn has not released a title for the album but has announced it will feature “a monkey or two... at least” and that the lyrics will be entirely in Mandarin. If this sounds familiar to you, maybe it's because you've been following his work with Jamie Hewlett and Chen Shi-Zheng, Monkey: Journey to the West, an adaptation of a Chinese opera. First staged in 2007, the opera will makes its U.S. debut May 22, with 17 more shows May 23 - June 8 for the 2008 Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

It's unclear whether or not Albarn's new album is related to the opera, but he did tell BBC 6Music that "It's not an opera [though]; it's a proper record." Confusing. In any case, what is Damon Albarn’s deal with lower primates?

When asked about his extreme prolificness -- that is, working on solo material on top of at least three other major bands at any given time -- Albarn stated: “It's nice that things kind of stick around a while, so it gives the impression that there are lots of things, but I do one thing at a time generally.” He added, “I have only two arms, two legs,” officially laying all doubts to rest.

Albarn’s new album is due for release this July.

Ticketmaster Scalping Radiohead Tickets?

In case you didn't know, Ticketmaster recently acquired ticket scalping site TicketsNow for $256 million, and a lot of people thought it was a bad idea because terrible corporate greed escapades like the intentional scalping of tickets could take place. Well, it would appear that this fear has come true with Radiohead tickets, and as of last week, Ticket News (via At Ease) claims to have a source who is close to the incident.

The particular incident occurred when potential buyers of Radiohead tickets on Ticketmaster were told that tickets were sold out and that they can be redirected to TicketsNow to purchase the tickets at scalped prices. According to Ticket News' anonymous source, a TicketsNow suit assisted Ticketmaster in selling over a million dollars in Radiohead tickets on TicketsNow, and through scalping the tickets, it allowed TicketsNow to gross more than $250,000 from their ruse.

Currently, the National Association of Ticket Brokers wants answers from both Ticketmaster and TicketsNow, but for now no further information is available on the ploy to acquire as much cash as they can on Radiohead tickets. If these companies are left unchecked, you may see a lot more scalping scams in the near future.

It’s a really great time to be an American. Not only are we [the
freest motherfuckers in the entire world->], our winter is officially over, and citizens everywhere are preparing for another awesome summer. Hot sand and cold sno-cones, slow jams and fast cars, skinny jeans and fat joints, white people and black metal -- 2008 is going to be epic. (My condolences to the southern hemisphere right now, who are just gearing up for winter. Even the birds are flying north.)

Yet, for reasons I cannot/choose not to wrap my mind around, the curators of Splendour in the Grass have chosen to plan their music festival in Australia’s Byron Bay. They’ve even managed to sucker a few dozen artists into playing, such as Sigur Rós, Band of Horses, Vampire Weekend, Wolfmother, Cold War Kids, and Devo. Why go out for hamburgers when you’ve got steak at home, Mark Mothersbaugh? Regardless, the camping and music festival will take place August 2-3 at Belongil Fields in Australia’s easternmost city. Tickets go on sale May 22. Perhaps the organizers didn’t think America would accept them? It's completely normal to be nervous, but with that lineup, I’m sure we could work something out. Get back to me.

To see a complete list of artists and thumbnails of all participating artists
staring into a camera,
visit SITG's official site.

Mysterious Dubstep Producer Burial Set to Contribute Mystery to the DJ-Kicks Compilation Series

Remember that terrible VH1 show that attempted to help total losers pick up beautiful women with low self-esteem? Remember how the main dude with the funny hat was named Mystery? And you know how every article written about Burial always talks about how the identity of the South London dude behind the music is such a mystery? I was going to try and draw a connection between these two examples of "mystery," but frankly I couldn't come up with anything, because, well, there is no connection. But I needed some sort of lead, and my computer battery is about to die, so WHATEVER, there is no way I am deleting the previous sentences and starting all over again.

Perhaps you are a fan of Burial, the "mystery-shrouded," "elusive," and "anonymous" dubstep producer? Perhaps you hate VH1's The Pick Up Artist and everything related to the show? Well, if you answered yes to either of these two statements, then you are in luck. Because this article is in some way related to the musician, not the creep. See, Mr. Burial is the latest artist to add his name to !K7's DJ-Kicks series of compilations. Rumor has it that the producer will be doing some fancy work on his chosen gems and mixing them with material exclusive to the disc, set for release June 23 in the UK and July 8 in the United States.

Artist Bonnie Billy (Formerly Known As Prince) Preps Fourth LP Release For May; Jeffrey Lewis Asks If It’s Worth Being an Indie Rock Star

The following contains excerpts from Jeffrey Lewis's "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror":

Hi, my name is Jeffrey Lewis, and I was supposed to go chill out at the TMT offices with Hanky Panky today, but I ended up going to Major Matt's to remaster my old album. And on the L train in the morning, I was pretty sure I saw Will Oldham. He was wearing the same big sunglasses he had on stage at the Bowery Ballroom, and since I was feeling in need of answers, I just went right up and asked him. I said, "Will Bonnie Prince, Palace or whatever, what do you think about it? Is it worth being an artist or an indie rock star, or are you better off without it?" Cause, I mean, maybe the world would be better if we were all just uncreative drones. No dead childhood dreams to haunt us, a decent job, a decent home. And if we have some extra time, we could do real things to promote peace. Become scientists or history teachers or un-corrupt police at least.

"Come on Will, you gotta tell me!" I grabbed and shook him by the arm. The L train was leaving Bedford when 10,000 white twenty-somethings crowed on. He opened his mouth to speak, but it was lost in the rumbling of the wheels. We were thrown together in a corner and I yelled "Tell me, man, for real! You're living comfortably, I assume, even if you're not quite a household name. You've reached a pretty high level of success and critical acclaim."

The L train got to First Avenue, and a bunch of people piled out. I was starring into his sunglasses, and I was really freaking out. I was, like, "Steamboat Willie Bonnie Prince of all this shit, you're like the king of a certain genre, but even you must want to quit, like if you hear a record by Bob Dylan or Neil Young or whatever, you must start thinking ‘People like me, but I won't be that good ever.’ And I'm sure the thing is, probably Dylan himself too stayed up some nights wishing he was as good as Ginsberg or Camus. And he was like ‘Dude, I'm such a faker, I'm just a clown who entertains and these fools who pay for my crap, they just have pathetic puny brains.’ And Camus probably wished he was Milton too or whatever, you know what I'm saying?! So Will, will you be straight with me now that it's just us two on this train? Cause I was gonna spend some time and money today to remaster some dumb old album, and I saw you here on the L train and I was like ‘Hey, is that Will Oldham?’"

And then he said to me, "Jeff Lewis, continue your good deeds." And he told me of God and music and his upcoming CD release. I sat there staring at my reflection in his big fuck-all sunglasses and thought how Lie Down In The Light will surely rock the masses. Joined by the likes of brother Paul Oldham, Emmett Kelley of the Cairo Gang, Shahzad Izmaily, and Ashley Webber, Bonnie's new album is due May 19 in the UK and just one day later in the states via Drag City. Then we arrived at Sixth, and he said he had to make a transfer. He took the V Line onto Queens (which sucks), but I was satisfied with his answer.

Lie Down In The Light tracklist:

Is That Your Dangling Modifier, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me? Talibam! Set to Tour, Release Many Things

Having released both their first studio album Ordination of the Globe Trotting Conscripts and their first "official" LP The Excusable Earthling (TMT Review) last year, Talibam! are following up with many releases this year. So many, in fact, that I now have to bust out the bullet points:

- split 7-inch with But God Created Woman on Holidays Records
- 10-inch on Wallace Records
- split 12-inch on Thor's Rubber Hammer
- limited-edition, 40-minute cassette on Stop Scratching tapes
- CD featuring a collaboration with The Peeesseye
- limited-edition cassette on Scumbag Tapes

Talibam! will also at some point head back into the studio to record their second studio album this year, but not before their upcoming tour, which includes their first Scandinavian stint and a headlining slot at the Summer Breeze WHPK 88.5 Festival. I haven't seen them live yet, but they're already in my top five favorite live acts.

# Binges

^ The Peeesseye

* Mount Eerie, No Kids

$ Summer Breeze WHPK 88.5 Stage with Sic Alps, Bird Names, etc.

RIAA Reports 23% of Revenue from Digital Music, Vinyl Sales Up

You knew this already. CD sales are going down, while digital music and vinyl sales are going up. Just last week, the RIAA released a PDF file that includes the total 2007 shipment statistics, which not only confirms these specific trends, but includes other interesting ones.

First, here's the physical chart:

You'll notice that vinyl LP and EP shipments went up 36.6% compared to last year. Fetishists want their fidelity, and since a lot of vinyl now come with free digital downloads, it makes complete sense. Meanwhile, SACDs (Super Audio CD) lowered a total of 73% compared to 2006, showing how the bells and whistles added onto the CD format -- which itself lowered 17.5% compared to last year -- have done nothing but confuse consumers.

Interestingly, vinyl singles went down 58.5%, while CD singles went up 51.5%. Perhaps it's due to the trend of some DJs converting to digital turntables coupled with the bargain bin recycling mentality of 12-inch buyers? Actually, with such an unfocused market, there could be many reasons for this (marketing, availability, etc.). But there's no doubt that the emphasis of the so-called vinyl resurgence is on full-length albums.

Now, here's the digital chart:

It's clear that everything on this chart indicates a rise in digital music, except of course on the subscription end (which has still yet to see real mainstream acceptance/marketing). The percentage changes aren't as pronounced as it was from 2005-2006, but with digital music already accounting for 23% of RIAA's total revenue, it'll be interesting to see what happens next year. Contrary to the physical chart, digital music is still ruled by single tracks, not albums.

Since these statistics are only for RIAA music, it'd be especially worthwhile to see figures for independent music. I'm guessing the rise in vinyl and digital would be equally, if not more, dramatic.

Glastonbury Lineup Leak Blamed on Printer, Full Lineup Revealed Today

Here's another reason why the NME is funnier than The Onion. Yesterday, the NME revealed the lineup for Glastonbury Festival 2008 and claimed the story as a "world exclusive." However, not only did the "exclusive" contain factual errors, but it also only reported three stages (out of eight). Turns out, the NME somehow obtained a leaked version of an incomplete lineup, which fest organizer Emily Eavis blamed on... a printer? Weird. BUT BOY DID NME'S HITS GO UP.

Well, I'm proud to report our "world un-exclusive": Glastonbury has officially announced the full lineup for this year's festivities. Supporting headliners Jay Z, Kings of Leon (ugh), and The Verve will be hundreds of artists, like Spiritualized, Leonard Cohen, The National, Jimmy Cliff, John Cale, Battles, Kool Keith, My Morning Jacket, Manu Chao, and more, spread across eight different stages. And I'm going to see every single one of them.

Glastonbury 2008 will be held June 27-29. Check out the full lineup here (no, Radiohead aren't on there), and don't forget to read about the biodegradable tent pegs! Can't have enough biodegradable tent pegs.

Fiery Furnaces Get to Tour While I Am Forced to Make a Living Reporting Their Tourdates, That’s Democracy for You!

You know, here at the TMT offices, we have things "pretty good" by office-work standards (well, maybe not by Google's office-work standards or anything, but still). I mean, heck, most people would love to have a laid-back gig like this. We get to write and bullshit about bands and music all day; Mr P got us a Jack La Lanne juicer this past Christmas (or as we call it "The Mimosa Machine"); we've got that sweet Back to the Future pinball machine in the lounge; we don't really have to roll in until like 11:00 AM (the tourdate kid just kinda punches us all in at 9 so the books look legit); aaaaaand we get TONS of free promos (the next two Radiohead albums are gonna be awesome, by the way, but the three after that are a bit of a retread).

All in all, I dare say that we've got it made.

But despite all of the glitz and glamor, there's still a part of me that longs for... I don't know, MORE. Like, sometimes, right in the middle of the daily TMT Uno game, I'll catch myself daydreaming: Man, if only I could be in an indie rock band of my own! Take the Brooklyn-via-Chicago avant-rock duo the Fiery Furnaces. They are going on tour next month in support of last fall's Widow City (TMT Review), and I bet being on the road is frickin' awesome! Especially for those crazy, prog-fusion a-holes! If only I were a touring member of their band... then I'd be happy. Then I'd be fullfilled. Then I'd MAKE the news instead of just cleverly reporting it! Sigggghhhhh, that'll be the day...

...But then, someone invariably shouts-out "Uno!" and it's back to lousy, old reality again.

Oh well... Mimosa, anyone??
05.02.08 - Minneapolis, MN - Whole Music Club
05.17.08 - Bennington, VT - Bennington College
05.28.08 - Sacramento, CA - Harlow's Night Club *
05.29.08 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall *
05.30.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland *
05.31.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland *
06.01.08 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern *
06.02.08 - Pomona, CA - The Glass House *
06.03.08 - Tucson, AZ - Plush Room *
06.05.08 - Aspen, CO - Belly Up Aspen *
06.06.08 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre *
06.07.08 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater *
06.09.08 - Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room *
06.10.08 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews *
06.11.08 - Kansas City, MO - The Record Bar *
06.12.08 - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant **
06.27.08 - Pemberton, BC - Pemberton Music Festival

* Grand Ole Party

** The Raconteurs