The crowd is gathered in heightened anticipation. For some, this forthcoming spectacle will be their first time witnessing the carnage. Many are dressed in gear typical of a crowd going to such a show or are carrying barriers to the forthcoming barrage: raincoats, umbrellas, plastic sheeting as far as the eye can see. For those in the first three rows, you will get messy. Finally, Dawn McCarthy rides out on an oversized Big Wheel, dressed in her trademark striped shirt, rainbow suspenders, and sporting her ridiculous bald pate paired with a back mane of thinning dark curls. After a preamble of weak political jokes and dated social commentary she pulls out her "Sledge-o-Matic" and proceeds to smash everyday objects like toothpaste, computer keyboards, cartons of milk, and Big Macs. It is all fine and dandy, except the audience wants the big guns, the show-stopper, the portal to a euphoric state of being. The mob wants watermelons! Grabbing the large green citruses from behind a office table set up on the stage, McCarthy slams the big sledgehammer down on the fruit until the braying public can't take anymore and are soaked with tears of laughter, recently-freed urine (of laughter), and the green rind, pink flesh, and the black seeds of comedy.
Okay, Dawn McCarthy, the constant guiding light behind Faun Fables shares little with lame prop comic Gallagher, but there is an important visual, visceral element to her live shows. Faun Fables performances are just that: "performances" instead of mere "gigs," and they are pretty special too. We didn’t explicitly ask for it, but Faun Fables is/are back for a healthy dose of touring AND a new four-song EP, A Table Forgotten, out July 22 on Drag City, and that is your daily cause for hysteric celebration. Yes, yes, more, more more!!!
06.13.08 - Hollywood, CA - Knitting Factory
06.14.08 - Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
06.15.08 - Phoenix, AZ - Modified Arts
06.16.08 - Farmington, NM - Gator’s
06.18.08 - Oklahoma City, OK - The Conservatory
06.19.08 - Fort Worth, TX - Lola’s
06.20.08 - Austin, TX - Mohawk
06.21.08 - Houston, TX - The Mink (Backroom)
06.22.08 - San Antonio, TX - Rock Bottom Bar
06.24.08 - Kansas City, MO - The Record Bar
06.25.08 - Denver, CO - Bender’s Tavern
06.26.08 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
07.18.08 - Sacramento, CA - Bricka Bracka
A Table Forgotten EP:
1. With Words and Cake
3. A Table Forgotten
4. Winter Sleep
Will Sheff to Reveal Part II of Concept Project Saga Thing, Kids to Overuse This Subsequent Release As a Back to School Conversation Piece and Probably Annoy Me, Me Bored With My Look and Wondering If I Should Start Wearing Penny Loafers Next Season, Oh, Yeah, Okkervil River to Tour
In an effort to give college indie kids something to banter about this September in all their back-to-school self-importance, Will Sheff (TMT Interview) has announced he will continue that concept thing he had going with the previously released, Pitchfork-hailed!!! The Stage Names.
The Stand Ins will be released September 9 on Jagjaguwar, reported to include a sequel to “Savannah Smiles” and rep Sheff doing the duet thing with now former bandmate Jonathan Meiburg on “Lost Coastlines.”
The Stand Ins:
1. The Stand Ins, One
2. Lost Coastlines
3. Singer Songwriter
4. Starry Stairs
5. Blue Tulip
6. The Stand Ins, Two
7. Pop Lie
8. On Tour With Zykos
9. Calling and Not Calling My Ex
10. The Stand Ins, Three
11. Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed on the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel, 1979
Penny loafers, Stream of consciousness, Will Sheff (and Rod Stewart) are GOLDEN GODZ:
Is everyone excited about the National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cup finals? No? Me neither. But, speaking of things that are more beloved in Canadian than America, Sloan are coming out with a new LP. The 17-year-old Toronto-via-Halifax group have more than a couple hits in their homeland, but are all but ignored outside the safe confines of the Great White North. Think of them as the Canadian Weezer, just more evenly talented (all four members contribute GOOD songs, none of this "Thought I Knew"-type garbage) and better adjusted in the coconut than R. Cuomo (TMT Review).
The multi-instrumentalist lads of Sloan (Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson, Andrew Scott) are releasing that new LP, Parallel Play (Yep Roc), June 10 on CD, vinyl, and digital download, their first since that 30-track, everlasting gobstopper of an album, Never Hear The End Of It. The new record's a simpler affair, with each member contributing three tracks, while he who occupies the drum stool the most, Andrew Scott, added one more to his total, rounding out a 13-track record that is a sonic extension of NHTEOI. Think of it as that album's younger, slimmer brother.
When it comes to Sloan, the LP is just half the prize. Live masters on the level of Robert Pollard (but sober), a Sloan show is an arena show on a club level, replete with sing-alongs and chanting, a raucous good time for sure. The boys are embarking on an East Coast tour (with a few homeland dates at the end) beginning June 14 in support of PP. You should do anything, including stepping over your own mother, to get tickets -- you will thank me later.
Parallel Play tracklist:
Back in 2004, when the record industry was already having a few "issues," Sony and BMG decided to merge and become even more top-heavy in an effort to boost profits in an era when technology and nimble business models have proved to be the most successful.
Hang on. Something's not quite clicking there.
Bertelsmann CEO Hartmut Ostrowski, whose company heads up the "BMG" in "Sony BMG," hit the nail right on the head: "The good thing is, more people are listening to music than ever before. The bad thing is, it is not easy to monetize it."
People on the proverbial "inside" say that Bertelsmann has upped its talks with Sony about selling its half of the joint partnership and returning to more ho-hum investments like offset printing. Don't look now, but the two-headed monster could become significantly less threatening in a very short time, though it will still wear ugly three-piece suits and insist we listen to the new Evanescence album.
If there's one thing that UK [ost-rock devotees Mogwai are good at, it's doing the same thing... over and over again... for an extended period of time... at varying dynamic levels.
As such, the boys of Mogwai announced last week that they will, you know, continue to do the same thing that they always do (and the same thing that most bands always do, by Jove) and -- wait for it, wait for it -- release some new instrumental post-rock material and then tour on it!!! Ahhhhhhhhh!
And the dynamic level this time around? Well, it takes the form of a new EP, titled Batcat, which is slated for release September 8 in the UK via the band's Rock Action label as a CD, 12-inch, and digital download. Same deal across the pond on September 9 via Matador. The EP's title track is taken from the forthcoming album, The Hawk Is Howling, which will see release September 22, while B-sides include two exclusive songs: the hopefully Nick Cage-inspired "Devil Rides" (featuring a guest vocal from Roky Erickson of 13th Floor Elevators) and the hopefully not-awful "Stupid Prick Gets Chased By The Police And Loses His Slut Girlfriend."
"So what's this shit gonna sound like?" you ask? Brace yourselves here: probably just like Mogwai.
And if all of this news isn't exciting enough for you Mogwai fans (and, incidentally enough, for you non-Mogwai fans too), guess what else the band is doing this summer and fall? I'll give you a hint: it involves a TOUR-van, TOUR-dates, and a TOUR-manager. Hmmmm...
Batcat EP tracklist:
2. Stupid Prick Gets Chased By The Police And Loses His Slut Girlfriend
3. Devil Rides
Clang. Thud. Screech. Perhaps you would imagine a written interpretation of Einstürzende Neubauten's music to be characterized largely by onomatopoeia and repeated usage of that little stick man symbol that's on all of their merchandise. Perhaps you have better things to do and have never really thought about this. In any case, you would be wrong. Because, in reference to the latter statement, they are awesome and you should care. And in reference to the former statement, if you are in the business of reading music-related press releases and had just read the one for the latest Neubauten release, JEWELS, you would suddenly be very keyed in to the fact that EVERYTHING about Blixa Bargeld and company is totally, completely indecipherable.
From what I can glean, the German industrial music pioneers have a new album, entitled JEWELS, which will be released in the United States sometime this summer on the band's Potomak label. According to the press release, the band came up with the album's brief, concept-driven songs by drawing cards related to past Neubauten experiments in a game the band called DAVE, which was "like Tarot without rules." The JEWELS album was envisioned around the same time as 2007's Alles wieder offen. The only other thing I can tell you about their latest offering is that the press release is pretty much the promotional media equivalent of James Joyce's Ulysses. Ouch.
JEWELS tracklisting (with song lengths!):
Offend Maggie tracklisting:
* KCRW's World Festival
@ Xiu Xiu, Tenniscoats, Shugo Tokumaru
$ The Roots, Gnarls Barkley, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings
Here’s TMT’s irreverent recap of recent Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) activity:
1. RIAA Ordered to Pay Fees of Accused Pirate
Not long ago we could have reported that the saga between the RIAA and Tanya Andersen and Tanya Andersen and the RIAA was continuing with no end or excitement in sight, but now we have word that this sorry mess may indeed be coming to a long-overdue close. A recommendation for the RIAA to pay Anderson's lawyer fees and Bill of Cost was approved last October, but in mid-May a U.S. Magistrate Judge recommended the sum to be paid be $107,834. It is not exactly a stiff penalty to the fat cat labels, but the finding is important for future decisions between the RIAA and those accused of illegally downloading its music.
While many accused have settled their file-sharing cases out-of-court, Andersen decided to stand up to legal threats by the RIAA and its questionable bullying collection tactics by countersuing the association under conspiracy laws. While the RIAA claims it is merely trying to take vigorous but appropriate measures in an attempt to curb music piracy (which supposedly costs the U.S. record industry $3.7 billion annually), Andersen's lawyer, Lionel Hutz, I mean Lory R. Lybeck, says that there are flaws in RIAA's identification of suspects through their IP addresses and that the cases against those accused are not about money lost but rather "it's about an extortion campaign" (BusinessWeek, May 5, 2008).
We believe that Andersen has been unfairly targeted by the RIAA, but then again, you never know: the same article in BusinessWeek mentions that Andersen lives with her Maltese-terrier mix, "Tazz." Surely everyone knows that Maltese-terriers are the sneakiest and stealthiest breed of dog. There's a reason canine circles refer to them as "the illegal file-sharing pirates" of the dog world. And yes, there are canine circles.
2. RIAA Drops Suit Against AllofMP3
The RIAA is trumpeting its victory against AllofMP3, despite dropping its rather large lawsuit against the Russian-based company. Papers were filed in a Manhattan federal court on May 20 voluntarily withdrawing the suit which was originally sought by the RIAA, Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA, and EMI Group Plc.
Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the trade group, says "The site is now defunct and out of business, the result of a successful anti-piracy initiative." According to John Crossman, who represented AllofMP3’s owner MediaServicesLLC said of the dismissal, "The RIAA, et al] never correctly commenced the proceeding in the first place" before adding, "Maybe [dropping the lawsuit] was a rare triumph of good sense." He then placed his index finger delicately to his lips and looked slyly at the camera like [Mr. Roper used to do in Three's Company. Regardless of legal technicalities and producing proof, I'm not sure the RIAA would have won the damages it was seeking in the case originally filed in December 2006: $150,000 for each of the 11 million songs illegally downloaded from AllofMp3 from June to October 2006!. A bit steep, but when it caught wind that the site was not forwarding any profits to artists and was providing songs for much, much less than every other retail music website, it had to put its foot down.
What it either doesn’t realize or is conveniently neglecting is that the folks who created AllofMP3 have a new site up called Mp3Sparks, which is based on the very same business practices that the RIAA frowned upon when the site was known as AllofMP3.
AllofMP3 had approximately 5.5 million subscribers who paid an average of 10-20Â¢per song, bringing in $30 million annually to the site. The 411 on the mysterious Mp3Sparks is unknown (hey, if the RIAA doesn't know about them, how is TMT supposed to?). I'm sure it's all an oversight by the RIAA, who are probably devising a plan to terminate the site's operation as you read this. Whether it will be successful in quashing other illegal music sites in Russia, where this kind of activity is more popular than potato vodka, will remain to be seen. "Cpaciba!"
3. RIAA Doing Other Stuff
- According to TMT’s freelance snitches (our most reliable avenues for news), we have found out that RIAA officials are increasingly taking part in such shady activities as desecrating war heroes graves, milking seniors out of their pensions with social security scams over the telephone, and charging around schoolyards kicking kids in their stomachs right after they have eaten lunch. A spokesman for the RIAA denies the claims, saying "The RIAA has done nothing wrong..." or something like that. Yeah, yeah, we know! You never do anything wrong, do you?
- Danity Kane’s Welcome to the Dollhouse album has hit the "Gold" certification for sales... ALL LEGAL!
In order to help out Anderson, I decided to give him a little test quiz based on the Harry Potter books. Maybe now he’ll feel more at home out on the road with the Potter brothers.
1. How many goal posts are there on a Quidditch post?
2. What birthday does Harry celebrate in the first book?
3. How many points is the Golden Snitch worth?
Answer Key: c, b, d
Tori Amos has officially ended her stint with Epic Records after seven years. (madonna.) She was signed with Atlantic Records from 1992 to 2001, but apparently turned into some kinda masochist and signed another contract with Epic, which bites the dust this week. (radiohead.) "As with many of her contemporaries, Tori is devising new and exciting ways of getting her music to the masses without the boundaries and limitations of the major music companies," tells her manager John Witherspoon to Billboard. (nine inch nails.)
Amos has a new album hitting the shelves, virtual and otherwise in 2009, and she is also writing a musical for the British National Theater called The Light Princess. (paul mccartney.) Her album catalog will also be immortalized in a new graphic novel called Comic Book Tattoo. (the love symbol. I mean, prince.)
(these parenthetical artists get to be in lowercase because they jumped ship back when it was just starting to get embarrassing to stick with your major label, and everyone knows people who write in lowercase are way hip. Tori's gotta earn them stripes. next time, Tori. maybe next news story.)