Julian Lennon – Perhaps the Most Critically Acclaimed Musician of All-Time – Sells Stake of His Dad’s Music to Publishing Firm
Julian Lennon, who sucks at writing music, has sold a "significant" stake of his share of his father John Lennon's songs for The Beatles to U.S. publishing company, Primary Wave. Julian, who couldn't write a song if his life depended on it, said, "I felt it was the appropriate time to take on a partner for both my interest in my father's legendary music and for my future music endeavors."
Although Primary Wave will receive payments from CDs, live performances, and radio airtime, it does not own any of the music, which means it can't do shit with them except collect payments. But it can market Julian Lennon's music if it wanted to. And, for some fucked reason, it wants to. Julian "I-Have-No-Good-Sense-of-Musical-Style" Lennon is releasing some new "music" later this year.
Is that Santorum in your mouth or are you just happy that bands like Dinosaur Jr., The Rapture, and Man Man are playing Urban Outfitters in-store concerts?
Perhaps finally feeling the pangs of guilt for charging big bucks to every Tom, Dick, or Moishe for "Jesus Is My Homeboy" t-shirts, young 'n' sexy clothing and novelty chain Urban Outfitters has announced it will put on free in-store appearances by today's hot hot hottest acts at some of the company's locations around the U.S. The Free Yr Radio promotional tour has been put together in conjunction with Toyota and its car of choice for the indie set, the Yaris. Most importantly and not sarcastically (seriously), the shows will raise funds and much-needed attention for a bunch of non-commercial community radio stations.
The idea for the "Free Yr Radio" tour came about after the positive response Toyota and Urban Outfitters received from their co-sponsored SXSW gig which featured The Rapture and The Pipettes. At each of the upcoming in-stores, a Toyota Yaris will be given away to one lucky radio lover along with extra funds to pay for car specifications suggested by the band playing that particular show. Cassette deck modification courtesy of Tapes 'n Tapes? A hitching post suggested by The Ponys? Tire chains from The Long Winters? A detachable walker frame per Dinosaur Jr.? Sorry, that's not nice.
Why would Urban Outfitters jump in to help out the fragile state of non-commercial radio? Because it cares. It cared when it decided to sell something as racist as "Ghettopoly" in its stores (despite heavy protest). It cared when it retailed and copied items from independent clothing firms like Crown Farmer and Johnny Cupcakes without permission (allegedly). It cares by continuing to charge ridiculous prices for sweatshop-fabricated, offensive t-shirts (popular opinion, not fact). And it especially cared when its twat of a President named Richard Hayne chose to support the campaign of that twat of a homophobic Republican Senator named Rick Santorum to the tune of $10,000-$13,000 (depending on who you ask).
Whatever. It is (hopefully) ALL for supporting community radio, which is indeed a good cause. I'm not here to preach or take sides on the forever-blurred line between a company's public image and its business practices (or did I just take a rather strong one-sided opinion in the paragraph above?). This is only about cynical marketing and choosing to support your companies wisely if you want it to be. Me, I'm a walking contradiction: I abhor hate-criminals as much, if not more, than most, but I would probably go see a freebie Dinosaur Jr. or Man Man show if it was co-hosted by the local "White Is Right" and "Gay Bashers Against Drunk Driving" chapters.
All of the up-to-date info is listed below. The Westlake Urban Outfitters show is apparently on, but details are not yet set.
Woo-hoo! When I feel heavy metal! Woo-hoo! When you free yr radio!
04.15.07 - Chicago, IL, 1521 N. Milwaukee Ave. (benefit for WLUL) - Klaxons
04.24.07 - Lawrence, KS, 1013 Massachusetts St. (benefit for KJHK) - The Ponys
04.28.07 - Houston, TX, 2501 University Ave. (benefit for KTRU) - Voxtrot
05.01.07 - Seattle, WA, 401 Broadway East (benefit for KEXP) - The Long Winters
05.09.07 - Durham, NC, 8030 Renaissance Pkwy. (benefit for WKNC) - Annuals
05.19.07 - Boulder, CO, 934 Pearl St. (benefit for KGNU) - Man Man
05.21.07 - Philadelphia, PA, 1627 Walnut ST. (benefit for Y-ROCK on XPN) - The
05.25.07 - Santa Cruz, CA, 1401 Pacific Ave. (benefit for KZSC) - Rogue Wave
06.05.07 - Minneapolis, MN, 3006 Hennepin Ave. (benefit for The Current) - Tapes 'n'
06.11.07 - Cambridge, MA, 11 J.F. Kennedy St. (benefit for WERS) - Dinosaur Jr.
TBA - Westlake, OH, 33 Main St. (benefit for WEWC) - TBA
When the chart-topping country music band BLOODYMINDED ran afoul of audiences back in 2003 after Mark Solotroff made anti-Bush and anti-war comments, the incident should have been nothing more than a blip on the pop-culture radar -- an Entertainment Tonight sort of news story that was worthy of a Charlie Draheim mention and little more. But instead it turned into -- for whatever reason -- the launching pad for a national debate about freedom of speech in post-9/11 America, as well as yet another indicator of how divided Americans have become in recent years on matters of politics, religion, culture, and yes, even... pop music. The end.
Terminal Phase Luna Tour 2007 (BLOODYMINDED, Charlie Draheim, Climax Denial, and Silvum) + No Future Fest:
04.16.07 - Chicago, IL - Elastic Arts Foundation
04.17.07 - Columbus, OH - Cafe Bourbon Street with Envenomist
04.18.07 - Lexington, KY - The Frowny Bear
04.19.07 - Atlanta, GA - Eyedrum
04.21.07 - Chapel Hill, NC - Nightlight (No Future Fest)
04.22.07 - Baltimore, MD - The Bank
04.23.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Circle of Hope with Air Conditioning, Leslie Keffer, Macronympha
04.24.07 - Cleveland, OH - Embassy
It is the second week of April and most Canadian males' minds have turned to one thing and one thing only: hockey playoffs. The stereotype of the beer-guzzling, hockey-worshiping, loudmouth drunk Canuck is so appropriate and true, especially at this "crucial" part of the year. I witnessed at least eight tables of eight guys readying their playoff pools at the tavern every day last week during my daily three-pint lunch breaks. For those that don't follow the sport, or won't admit to liking it because they have to portray that played-out "I like music and art so I hate sports and jocks" routine (psst, the days of clinging to your high school mindset is over), it is a particularly difficult time of the year, because it is the beginning of a period where partners get the chance to see a whole new suck-hole side to their worse halves.
It would be hypocritical of me to pretend I'm any different from the retread brethren that I would ordinarily loathe to share air with or sit next to on the bus at this time of the year. I secretly love playoff hockey and all that it brings. Expert opinions and stats about the great game spew from the most unlikely of mouths (thanks for the percentage of face-offs won and the corresponding series win ratio, Sheila from the Accounting Dept.!), conversations dissecting minute gameplay ("picking pucks out of mid-air is a science; protecting the puck along the dasher boards is an artform... get it right!"), and grand nonsense statement making ("if so-and-so don't pull out this game 2 win, I'm literally going to set his whole place on fire and then piss it out!") are standard EVERYDAY in any Canadian city that has a pro team lucky enough to have made it into the "second season." As is the chance you will see someone come close to kicking in a flat screen bar TV after a rough loss. Aye, aye, these are truly golden days.
This year, there is something different in the air. I'm still excited to meet up with friends and watch a game, but the fire is subdued and smoldering, not passionate and fiery. Something is beckoning me to spend more time alone, at home, in my bedroom working on more creative pursuits and listening to far-out psych-folk masterpieces (preferably sung in foreign tongue). I keep having visions of distant Nordic lands and have spent an inordinate amount of time reading works by Aleksis Kivi, Mika Waltari, and Väinö Linna. This spring marks the return of Islaja, and that is surely more important than any sporting past-time!
Islaja is Merja Kokkonen and Ulual Yyy is her third solo outing for Fonal. It contains nine tracks of cottage industry-created, multi-tracked, outsider loveliness that the Finnish folkie furnishes. I am not sure what the songs below mean, but I love to rock the umlauts! It is a pity that most of the Scandinavian and German players lose 'em from their names before they hit the National Hockey League.
1. Kutsukaa sydäntä
2. Sydänten ahmija
3. Pete P
4. Laulu jo menneestä
5. Pysähtyneet planeetat
9. Suru ei
I have to say, they may make great music, but Feist, Peaches, Millan and the rest of the Canadian Ladies Indie Rock Team are a bunch of sappy-headed hosers
***After C. Schell's Two-Week TMT Suspension***
Hey everybody, sorry, I was just trying to be funny. I apologize. How can I make it up to you? I know, how about with some news? Feist, that Canadian renaissance woman who was a guitarist for By Divine Right, a conspirator of Kings of Convenience & Peaches, and a Broken Social Scene-ster, has just announced some dates for a late-spring Canadian tour. This Canadian tour will be a tour of Canada, and Canada only. Please don't ask me where Canada is, because then I am going to insult you "humorously," which no one will find funny and I will again be suspended. Just check out a map, if you would. The trek across Canada begins May 15 in Victoria, British Colombia and wraps up in Quebec City two weeks later.
May is a big month for Feist, as May 1 finds her releasing her third proper solo album, The Reminder, on Cherry Peel/Interscope in the U.S. and Arts & Crafts in Canada. It promises to be a mellow, balled-filled affair -- the kind of album that you will think is great, until your parents hear it on NPR and ask you if you know anything about this "Feast" woman, who they think is just super. Then you will disavow it as "Mom & Dad" rock. You can deny it all you want, but you know I am right.
The Reminder tracklist:
Sage Francis (Raper) - From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Sage Francis (born 1988) is a raper from Providence, which is in Rhode Island. He picked his stage name by combining his favourite herb, his favourite country and his favourite third-person singular verb.
Born in 1967, Sage "Paul" Francis quickly made his name as a slam poet, which is like rapping but more pretentious
SAGE FRANCIS SUXXXXX!!!!!!!!!!!
shutup, he rox shutup
Signed to Epitaph, he's released loads of records.
- Sage once attempted to recreate the famous egg-eating scene from Cool Hand Luke. He ate six eggs before remembering that he was lactose intolerant.
- SAGE FRANCIS IS A FAAAAAG
Sick of Waiting... (1999)
Still Sick... Urine Trouble (2000)
Sicker Still (2002)
For The Love Of God, Look At How Sick I Am (2003)
Actually, I'm Not Feeling So Sick Today (2004)
A Healthy Distrust (2005)
Oh, Oh, It's Back, I'm Feeling Sick Again (2006)
Human The Death Dance (2007)
For my Mom... and my sister,
Some things are never funny. Incest, for example, is never funny. It was not funny last week when someone told a related off-color joke to me, and it was not funny in the Cosby Show re-run I saw the other night when tele-teen siblings Theo and Denise were in bed together and they were bumping uglies and the shaking was just so darned rowdy and rude that it knocked the family portrait (sans Rudy) off the nightstand. If my memory is correct (and I do believe it is), I think Theo then started jumping on the bed while spraying cream-colored pellets all over the room and all over his sister's reclined body while yelling random battle cries from Braveheart. Denise, after a briefly putting of an air of incredulity and admonishment, grabbed Theo by his whirly-bird and swung him around like the neighborhood bully does with a cat's tail. Afterward, Denise's blouse is a tad disheveled, Theo's fade a shade askew, and the kids walk downstairs hand-in-hand for Sunday roast. Cut to commercial.
The Cosby concept of family closeness portrayed in that rarely-seen episode is EXACTLY the underlying raison d'etre for the latest release from Silber Records. Well, kinda. Sorta. Not really. Before you call the cops on me and the Raleigh, NC-based "drone love honesty sound" label, when I speak of Silber being incestuous, I am talking about its bands covering one another on a new downloadable compilation available here called Silber on Silber! And come to think of it, when I read back what I wrote about that Cosby episode and its overly-familiar tone, it may really have been a hallucination or dream brought upon by sleeping next to open solvent jars and paint cans for the past two-and-a-half weeks. I like to do that to kickstart the creative juices from time to time.
Regardless of my predilection for over-the-top news story intros, Silber are indeed at it again, and they are doing it in the best possible taste. The concept of bands who share the same label covering each others' songs is an old and chivalrous notion. Giving the resulting tracks away for FREE is not. Yet again, the good people at the awe-inspiring label are making the cream of its roster available to anyone to download. A quick glance at the following songs tells me that Remora is a favorite among the Silber siblings, but we love each and every one of them in their own way!
1. John Costello - "Wires" (Vlor)
2. Dan Greunke - "Volcana" (Remora)
3. Marc Gartman - "Aura Lee" (Aarktica)
4. CJ Boyd - "Sagrado Corazon de Jesu (second attempt)" (Alan Sparhawk)
5. North Sea Navigator/Rose Kemp - "Edward" (Black Happy Day)
6. Promute - "3rd Day" (Clang Quartet)
7. Electric Bird Noise - "Six Ligetilys for Elena" (Peter Aldrich/Tara
8. Dr. Reggae Heart & the Smiths of Steel - "Plastic Heart" (Plumerai)
9. The Torch Marauder's Grappling Hook - "The One I've Been Waiting For" (Remora)
10. Remora - "Sores" (Rollerball)
11. Vlor - "Slipsky" (Remora)
12. fornever - "A Presence in the Woods" (Lycia)
13. Annelies Monseré - "To the Sun" (Remora)
14. Jessica Bailiff - "You're Landlocked My Love" (Aarktica)
1. The Infant Cycle - "New Machine - Ceiling Mix" (Vlor)
2. The Wades - "The One I've Been Waiting For" (Remora)
3. Plumerai - "Kill My Way Out of Here" (Remora)
4. Moral Crayfish - "Girls Hugging Trees" (Rollerball)
5. Recorded Home - "Song for Elena" (Aarktica)
6. Rivulets - "I Told Jesus Christ How Much I Love Her" (Remora)
7. Shaun Sandor - "Guilt Jersey" (Vlor)
8. The Upsidedown Stars - "The Separation of Church & Hate" (Clang Quartet)
9. Arbus - "Monster's Kiss" (Remora)
10. Peter Aldrich - "Nine Hours Later" (Lycia)
11. Origami Kalima - "Fanteguten" (Origami Arktika)
12. Verhören - "Angel Stalk (Anaaron)" (Remora)
13. Lauri des Marais - "Nostalgia" (Aarktica)
14. Miss Massive Snowflake - "The One I've Been Waiting For" (Remora)
15. Small Life Form - "Three Suns Rising Over My Black Lung" (constructed from samples from "Three Suns on the Rise" & "Black Lung" by Jamie Barnes)
The former home of Johnny Cash and wife June Carter Cash can be thought of as a musical Holy Land, if you will. The guestbook boasts names like Bob Dylan alongside various U.S. presidents (some more impressive than others) -- next-door-neighbor Roy Orbison most likely borrowed a cup of sugar every now and then. Described as "sanctuary and a fortress," Cash's estate witnessed much of his songwriting and may have acquired expensive taste in the process.
Imagine its concern when it found out it would soon be sheltering Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. The thing was still in mourning, for Chrissakes. After a lot of soul-searching, the house probably realized that falsetto harmonies and lukewarm comeback tours were a fate worse than death, so it took its own life.
Neighbor Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge Boys commented, “Maybe it’s the good Lord’s way to make sure that it was only Johnny’s house.” I feel that.
Another DRM Update: Apple and EMI Join Forces to Bring a Software Licensing Model to the Music Industry, and the Industry Reacts
Growing up with 8-bit video games and Saturday morning cartoons as main sources of entertainment generally leads to a short attention span -- and a lack of patience. This new generation raised on the virtues of "right now dammit" are even worse. To combat this increased lack of patience, a "hot" story was put onto the back burner last week to soak in the sweet flavours of the inevitable information fallout. In short, I've been busy.
Last week, EMI announced that it would soon be offering its entire catalogue in a DRM-free format. You read that correctly. The entire catalogue, even Dirty Vegas and Everclear, will be sampled at a rate of 256 kilobytes per second, and will be completely unencumbered. Those a little fuzzy on this whole digital music thang may be content with that much information, but EMI has more to offer.
The music will be sold on iTunes (Stevey J was at the announcement shindig -- shown in the above picture) and will be provided in the AAC format. Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) is a standardized format that is similar to MP3, but claims to offer better sound quality at a lower compression rate (laymen: more bang for your buck). Purists cry fowl, as the accepted standard for digital music is MP3, but Apple has its reasons. MP3 is a licensing nightmare, with many different companies claiming the rights to the encoding (ripping), decoding (playback), and file structure (shit you don't care about). On the other hand, since AAC is a proper standardized format, there are no royalties to pay and roughly 60% of the devices capable of playing digital music today support AAC, so it's not a bad business choice.
Now, normally iTunes music is released at 128 kbit/sec, so the jump to 256 pleased SOME audio enthusiasts. The rest bickered and whined that the music is still in a lossy, compressed format and therefore unacceptable. These are the people who own nice/expensive audio equipment and have a properly tuned ear that can pick out tiny discrepancies between the original recording and the lossy version. Quickly: lossy means that the original music has parts of it stripped away that cannot be "heard" by a human ear, and the remainder of the music is squeezed into a tiny format that gets turned back into music at a later time by a decoder such as your iPod. The jump in quality is essentially worthless because one group of people won't notice the difference, and the other would claim the difference is not good enough. These purists want uncompressed, lossless files such as the FLAC format, which will probably show up later in another "upgrade." Which of course will cost more, but will probably only upgrade the tracks to 360 kbit/sec, with another upgrade planned to FLAC for the second quarter of 2008.
The catch to this good news is the price increase from .99 to 1.29 for DRM-free music. It's not a huge jump for small-scale purchases, but with EMI offering to upgrade your entire catalogue of their music at 30 cents a track, it could get pricey. The increase is a victory for the label, but sets a terrifying precedence for the consumer, as the price for a single song has risen 30 cents and there is absolutely no way to justify it. Without DRM, there are reduced software development and licensing costs to Apple and EMI, the encoding process requires fewer CPU cycles to downgrade a CD-quality recording to 256 kbit/sec, and fewer cycles to NOT add DRM at the end, which is a huge bonus for Apple.
Some would argue the increase in file size, which is small to begin with, would amount to a greater amount of bandwidth consumed, and while true, does not justify a 30-cent increase (bandwidth is cheap these days). It could also be argued that since EMI is removing the DRM, they're protecting their investment with a higher price, but with the money they're saving on software development, licensing, and customer lawsuits pertaining to DRM restrictions, they would of already come out on top without the increase. In short, the price increase is absolutely unnecessary.
So while the removal of DRM is the first step in creating a viable business model for the 21st century, it still puts the business ahead of the consumer. The major labels can tweak their business model all they want, but the up-and-coming generation was raised on the freedom provided by the internet, and half-baked schemes like this one just ain't gonna fly in their eyes. But with WMG's shock at EMI's decision (especially during a high-profile takeover) and Microsoft's knee-jerk announcement of its intent to also release DRM-free music, the formerly out-of-step EMI has added tremendous pressure to the rest of the industry to play catch up.
Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, a statement rarely applicable to the TMT news column. Yet, nowhere is the phrase more appropriate than when describing the bizarre life and times of psych patriarch Roky Erickson, whose experiences could literally and figuratively be described as mind-blowing. First coming to prominence in the early 1960s as founding member of The 13th Floor Elevators, who are often credited as the first psychedelic rock group, the group continued breaking new ground, playing, and recording throughout the decade. Eventually, his vocal support for marijuana and LSD proved to backfire on him, causing much police attention and ultimately leading to his arrest for a single joint. While on trial, he plead insanity rather than face a 10-year prison sentence, which also proved to backfire -- the plea got him sent to a mental hospital, and his several busted escape attempts from it got him sent to the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
There, he was subjected to electroshock therapy and heavy doses of Thorazine. After being released, he spent the next few decades undertaking new musical projects, claiming to be an extraterrestrial, and living under the eye of his heavily religious mother (among other things). It was only after legal custody of Roky was awarded to his younger brother in 2001 that he began recovering, regaining control of his life to the point where he is now able to make music again, even playing several shows and festivals in the past and near future.
A documentary about Erickson's life, entitled You're Gonna Miss Me (via Palm Pictures), is due for a theater release on June 8 and a DVD release July 10. Note to movie producers: I think I can speak for all aspiring musicians dabbling in recreational drug use from Texas who have religious parents when I say the recent documentaries about Erickson and Daniel Johnson have not exactly been the most encouraging. Just one movie about someone not suffering from schizophrenia by their late 40s would be a serious breath of fresh air. It's difficult to complain though, because at least judging by the trailer on the film's website, this movie is going to be a much-needed retrospective on the important achievements and far-out events in the life of one of the most influential musicians of the 1960s.
But seriously, electroshock therapy?