How does one place value on music, and what factors might contribute to our current valuation of music? Supply and demand? Entertainment value? Best Buy? Major labels? Independents? P2P networks? iTunes? Shit, actual material cost?? Who knows, man. Who knows. And who knows what influenced the mind of eBay user alexraraavis a couple weeks ago when the dude bought Shellac's famously rare, ultra-limited The Futurist for a whopping $1,118! DasalottaMcRibs!! Commodity fetishist or good investor? I don't know. What I do know is that if I didn't have to invest the TMT ad money in a new luxury car full of PORN, I would've outbidded Mr. alexraraavis.
Now, let me ask you a serious question: do you like The Stooges? In mid-April, Shellac will be playing a show with The Stooges at Chicago's Congress, which is why I asked if you like The Stooges. You should probably consider going if you like The Stooges, because if you like both Shellac and The Stooges, boy are you in for a treat, because liking both Shellac and The Stooges will truly make it a special night!! (Because you like both of Shellac and The Stooges.) Oh, and rumor has it that earlier in the same week, Touch and Go will finally release Shellac's fourth full-length, Excellent Italian Greyhound, which means you can sing/scream along to every word coming out of Albini's beautiful, slightly chapped lips if you pick it up before the show. (Word on the street is that this rumor is going to stay a rumor, so you're pretty much screwed.)
So, fuck dude, do you like The Stooges or what?
Photo: Calbee Booth
I remember when I first laid hands on A.M., and what a marvelous experience it was. As a teenager, I was *gasp* a member of BMG, or was it Columbia House? Anyway, that's not important. What is important is the hours I would spend not doing homework, choosing to weed through wafer-thin catalog after wafer-thin catalog looking to discover something different, which I suppose is hard since I was after all a member of a generic clearing house. However, one glorious day, the cover of Wilco's A.M. rose above the rest of the CDs, and a new fan was born. Subsequent Wilco releases were always met with much anticipation and eager money-dropping on release days. Oh, what splendid Tuesdays those were.
Imagine my glee (and that of a far greater, more diehard crop of fans who scare me a bit) to find out Wilco is blessing us with Sky Blue Sky, the band's first studio album since A Ghost is Born three years past. And while the band's message board fanatics warred about which songs would make the final cut and which ones were unworthy by citing recent live performances and bootlegs, Wilco pushed ahead, persevered, and have now delivered a bona fide tracklist.
It seems as if that's old news -- as if I'm missing something. Ah, Wilco previewed Sky Blue Sky Saturday night to an eager internet audience streaming the album in its entirety. If you missed your chance to hear the album or just didn't give a damn, you can make up for it if you fly to Australia and Europe with the band as they prepare to unleash the new batch of songs on an unsuspecting foreign audience. That is, after all, what this news bit is about. I'm here to do a little dance, make a little love, stall a bit, and then give you the info in such a rush that I will probably forget to even comple
Sky Blue Sky tracklist:
Well, you can't fault WMG's determination. Late last week, EMI announced that it is yet again rejecting a takeover bid from Warner Music Group. Worth roughly $4.1 billion, the proposal was deemed "inadequte" and could lead to "prolonged regulatory uncertainty and unacceptable operational risk at a critical time for the company," said EMI in a statement.
What started off as a seemingly romantic novel between two star-crossed lovers has slowly revealed itself to be a comedy, as this latest rejection closes another hilarious chapter between WMG and EMI. Here's a preview of what to expect in the coming year:
"EMI remains focused on maximizing the performance of the business, including implementation of the restructuring program [read: layoffs] announced on January 12, 2007."
See, it just keeps getting funnier! C'mon, laugh with me! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! SOB SOB!! BOOHOO!! SOB SOB!! Aww.... what's the matter, sweetie? NOTHING!! Haha, I'm just kidding! HAHA! What!? JERK! I thought you were for serious! Nope! Haha, well, I guess that is kinda funny! HAHA! HAHA! Now put some stank on me!! Mmmm, mmm, smooch smooch, oh yeah, this is nice.. ooooh, mmmm, yes, yes... oh yeah... Whoa, WHAT WAS THAT? Huh? I didn't hear anything... C'mon, come back here... Well, okay, but I thought I heard something... Just kiss me fool... mmmm, mmmm... oh yeah, baby, smooch smooch, oh yeah... WAIT! Shhhhh... What? I heard something again... C'mon, it's nothing! Probably just an antelope. Now, c'mon, you're ruining the mood... No, really, I heard something this time. Oh jeez... now I'm not in the mood. Sorry... but I swear there's something out there. Whatever. No, really, I think there's something out there. Whatever. Well, sorry. You know, maybe I should just take you home. Really? Right now? Yeah... I'm tired anyway, and I should get back. Okay. You still want to hang out tomorrow though? Well, we'll see. I really need to get my apartment cleaned. Oh, well, I could help if you want. Naw, that's okay. I'll try to get it done early. I'll call you though once I get it finished. Okay, cool. Alright, I'll take you home now. Hey. Yeah? Are you mad at me? No. Promise? Yeah, no worries.
I knew a guy at a university who was heavily into "math rock." He also loved Bob Marley. I think he took Humanities or Communication or some other uselessness. He would get stoned and sit for hours on his couch watching TV or checking out something on his Fender Strat electronic specification printout on the wall. His nickname was "Daze" (I swear I couldn't make this shit up if I tried). On the other wall (his place only had two walls), there was a Periodic Table of the Elements. He took some pride in knowing a bit about the atomic numbers and weights on the table and asked you to quiz him on these every now and then. He was basically a knob who, in addition to offering Grade-A pot by the barrel, would spout what he thought were need-to-know facts about our friends on his Periodic poster. This quick learning session would invariably be followed by a scheme to use said element to get high. One of his favorites was about zinc. The brief conversation always went something like this:
Daze: Hey man [of course], did you know zinc isn't generally poisonous, but if you inhale ZnO you can get 'the oxide shakes' or 'zinc chills?'
Daze: Hey man, do you wanna maybe see if I can get my hands on some zinc…
At which point I would normally stand up and politely say, "Thanks for the times. I forgot I have somewhere to be…"
I'm not such a weak-kneed uni student anymore. When I'm jonesin' for zinc shakes, I get the purest form possible: The Zincs. Always go to source, that's what I say. The Zincs will be pushing Black Pompadour, their third album of handsome tunes with dark tongue, through the always reliable middle-man Thrill Jockey on March 20. Keep your windows closed while playing for optimum results, man.
Slightly dismayed by negative reactions to their last college campus-focused anti-piracy campaign (though notably unashamed), the RIAA has decided to shift its message from warm legal reminders to passive-aggressive, sugar-coated death threats. While last time they swooped down on campuses with fun and colorful DVDs to throw away, this time they've created an ominous website where individuals facing lawsuits over file-sharing can skip past pesky arguments and send money to them directly, almost like PayPal if PayPal sustained itself solely on the sound of weeping and gnashing of teeth. If these individuals choose to settle their suits through the RIAA's website within 20 days of being marked for slaughter, they can pay "at a discounted rate." Wow! I almost feel like getting sued myself, just so I can benefit from their generous savings.
RIAA President Cary Sherman said, "Because we know that some audiences -- particularly campus music downloaders -- can sometimes be impervious to even the most compelling educational messages or legal alternatives, these new efforts aim to help students recognize that the consequences for illegal downloading are more real than ever before." And he means real! You know how he was talking about copyright laws before, and it really sounded like he wasn't joking? He had that poker-face and was looking you directly in the eye and even sort of trembled like his own children had been affected, and you couldn't help but believe him? Remember that? Well forget it!! It's even realer than that! That was like 50% real, 50% imaginary, but now it's totally palpable, like maybe only 5% of it is still bullshit!
Along with the website, the RIAA also sent out 400 pre-litigation letters to 13 universities on Wednesday, so if you go to Arizona State University, Marshall University, North Carolina State University, North Dakota State University, Northern Illinois University, Ohio University, Syracuse University, the University of Massachusetts -- Amherst, the University of Nebraska -- Lincoln, the University of South Florida, the University of Southern California, the University of Tennessee -- Knoxville, or the University of Texas -- Austin, please remain seated and re-check your e-mails. If you go to all these universities, leave a note for Mom and just run out the front door, following the North star.
Mitch Bainwol, RIAA CEO, said, "We understand that no deterrence or education program will 'solve' piracy. Our job is to provide sufficient oxygen for the legal marketplace to show its true promise." Those around Bainwol at the time had no idea what he meant in his second sentence, but wrote it down and reported it anyway because they appreciate sentences that end with a "true promise."
When master sound collagist Cornelius releases an album, it carries a shock similar to this douche getting his 7-day sobriety chip from AA. It has been a bit difficult for us to accept the lack of constant new material from Cornelius since he walked into our world and turned our lives upside down, but we have learned to accept it. After double-checking our daily activity logs (we have Cornelius on the same sort of monitoring system as Jim Carrey's character in The Truman Show, but we use it only for news stories when we're low), we noticed a blip one day and can now happily confirm a new album is on the way. See for yourself.
Cornelius' "Daily Doings" Logbook (such and such a date during some year):
12:31 - Wake up early.
12:34 - Think about going to the washroom. Decide to empty waste basket and use as urine receptacle instead.
12:37 - Pick up guitar and "noodle."
13:05 - Stare out window.
13:14 - Start cleaning sock drawer. Find half a cookie. Take bite.
14:20 - Finish sorting sock drawer.
14:36 - Sleep.
14:55 - "Noodle".
15:09 - Rest.
15:29 - Sleep.
16:06 - Wake up, take time to relax and ponder life's little mysteries, like, why does lemon juice stop an apple from turning brown and whether or not fat people are allowed to go skinny-dipping.
16:10 - Doze.
16:15 - Wake up, turn over in bed, flip through magazine. Namechecked in article in comparison to Kevin Shields' My Bloody Valentine production output.
16:20 - Get out of bed, walking downstairs to studio, write and record 12 songs for album, a few b-sides for upcoming singles, complete some remixes, jot down album cover idea and send it away to get designed, schedule Japanese dates, mutter under breath "There. That'll shut 'em up."
17:03 - Walk upstairs.
17:06 - Take catnap at half-way point on staircase.
17:17 - Continue walking upstairs, enter bedroom, and drop onto bed.
17:19 - Sleep
23:50 - Wake up famished. Decide against going all of the way downstairs and eat rest of cookie found earlier in sock drawer.
23:56 - Sleep until tomorrow afternoon.
No, no, no -- we all know that Cornelius, or Keigo Oyamada to his ma and pa, is always a lot busier than the "first album in five years" tagline above would indicate (as is Kevin Shields, despite constant claims to the contrary... and why do you all want a new MBV album anyway? Can't you just cherish your copies of Isn't Anything and Loveless and let the man live his life as Sophia Coppola's soundtrack muse?). Cornelius, the man everyone crushed on a few years ago, returns April 24 with a new album called Sensuous which is his first for new label Everloving. "Sleep Warm" is a Dean Martin cover, The Kings of Convenience guest on "Omstart," and Araki Yuko plays on "Fit Song." The video for "Fit Song" is also included. See? Good things do come to those who wait... and wait... and wait.
The Dismemberment Plan Reunites for One Show! I Know, I Know, But Quit Your Complaining; It’s For a Good Cause
On Saturday April 28, a positive, worthwhile event will take place in Washington D.C., and you can bet your ass people will be fighting for tickets to this particular show. The D.C.'s finest The Dismemberment Plan are reassembling to play a concert fundraiser at the Black Cat in DC that will benefit Callum Robbins, the one-year-old son of local musicians J. Robbins and Janet Morgan. Callum is suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and the local music community has come to help raise money for the family's insurance and medical bills.
The Dismemberment Plan, who dismembered (oh, man, am I a witty writer or what?) back in 2003, is the beloved band made up of Travis Morrison, Jason Caddell, Steve Cummings, Joe Easley (Statehood), and Eric Axelson (Maritime). Though unique and of-their-own, the band was often compared to the sounds of Fugazi and Jawbox. If you're not familiar with The DP, I highly recommend getting acquainted with their catalog. I think it's awesome that they are doing this benefit show. There is no word if this will spark more shows in the future, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
So the humanitarian thing to do would be to go to the show and pay the measly $15 for admission. You would even be super badass if you donated more money to the Callum Robbins Family Fund. And this time, please be a little more generous. Donate more money than you usually tip your hooker. Yeah, I'm on to you, ubiquitous TMT reader and your hooker-buying ways. No, I'm just kidding. But I know you've been cheap lately when it comes to hookers. So suck it in and enjoy the opening acts Beauty Pill and Owls & Crows. Don't act so "indie" like you usually do by standing in your little bubble with your arms crossed. If you do, Morrison from the DP will probably yell at you for being a bad person, which you are if you don't loosen up buddy.
This could be the night of many changes for us all. And you might feel warmer inside than Jake Gyllenhaal has ever felt in his cold heart. So I'm counting on you, sexy TMT readers, to forget that whole hooker crack I made earlier and to try to make it to this show. If you can't make it, then you should at least consider making a donation to help baby Cal on the DeSoto Records site. You could also check out Cal's Blog. Yeah, babies have blogs now. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and gooey inside? Take that Gyllenhaal!
Another One For The “About Bloody Time” Section Of Your Record Collection; Voxtrot Set To Release Debut Album
Five years, three EPs, and two 7-inch singles ago, a little band called Voxtrot began. Little did the unsuspecting world know that they were going to have to wait for five years, three EPs, and two 7-inch singles before they got a full-length album out of the critics' darlings. Joining the ranks of many major label artists who take their sweet time to cut records (others: U2, Sean Lennon, Portishead), The Austin, TX quintet announced in December that they were working on an album, and it seems that the "fruit of their labors" is coming to "fruition" on May 22, when the band release their debut album on Playlouderecordings.
And if that wasn't fruity enough for you, the record was cut by Victor Van Vugt, who has also worked with such greats as Depeche Mode and Beth Orton (though many TMTers let out a collective sigh when they realized that Victor Van Vugt is not actually Viktor Vaughn). According to Ramesh Srivastava's blog, the album also features appearance(s) by the Tosca quartet. According to the press release, it is apparently "louder and harder" than previous offerings, which is another way of saying that the songs are going to both be louder, and harder as well.
Do you hear what I hear? Several thousand blogs ringing out... Yep. it's time for that inevitable deluge of enthusiastic blog entries! Hey, bloggers, make sure you check out their upcoming live shows this summer (including an appearance at Toronto's ridiculously named venue, Sneaky Dees!):
Recently, Deep Purple frontdude Ian Gillan asked fans not to buy the re-released live album NEC 1993, calling it "an unfortunate reminder of one of their worst ever concerts... It was one of the lowest points of my life -- all of our lives, actually." An artist telling fans NOT to buy an album?? Apparently, our favorite -- or at least my favorite -- major label can-o-worms Sony BMG was responsible for re-releasing the album without even discussing it with Deep Purple.
"Sony BMG is not in the business of releasing albums without the knowledge of the artists," said a spokesperson for Sony BMG. "It is in our interests to work with artists, so they can promote their records and continue to work with us."
Haha, cute. It is in this spirit that I announce the news that, according to Reuters, the European Commision is set to formally announce today that it intends to launch a 4-month probe into the Sony and Bertelsmann merger. You know the story: Sony and Bertelsmann merge in 2004, Impala gets mad and influences the Court of First Instance in 2006 to annul the merger, TMT covers it all with penetrating, in-depth coverage, and now we're left with a penetrating, in-depth probe.
The probe allows the Commission to demand classified data and hold hearings, ultimately so it can decide whether to demand changes to the company, block the deal altogether, or let them mother fuckers be. Earlier, however, Sony and Bertelsmann appealed the Court of First Instance, so even if the Commission blocks the merger, their appeal would most likely happen soon afterward, which could eventually lead to a legal quagmire.
The Commission still has officially 90 working days to make a final decision on this investigation. The second-phase probe will launch officially if concerns over competition can't be relieved within the first month of the first-phase of investigations. Confusing, but we'll keep you updated.
For the record, Sony BMG has recalled the Deep Purple album. Hopefully now it can convince Jamiroquai's Jay Kay not to concentrate on his personal life, or the future of Sony BMG will look really fucked.
Loners are a complicated bunch. For example, Charles Schulz, beloved animator of "Peanuts," was a melancholic, worrisome man who suffered from minor bouts of depression and agoraphobia. He was intimidated to travel and was beset by panic attacks. As a young boy, he skipped two grades in elementary school, thus, was alienated from the other kids and forever rendered the smallest and youngest in class. He remembered disappointments bitterly, always worked without assistants, and was made anxious by the growing success of his comic strip. In typical morose, introvert-speak, Schulz once described his life's work thusly: "All the loves in the strip are unrequited; all the baseball games are lost; all the test scores are D-minuses; the Great Pumpkin never comes; and the football is always pulled away."
Not all loners have crippling demons stomping all over their psyche. Some believe they are better off without anyone validating their own existence. Some simply find solace in one's own company for other reasons. The characteristics that make me a loner stem from my obsession with satiating my feelings and experiences of self-love and self-pleasure. As you can well imagine, it makes it difficult to find the time to interact socially. Anyway, that's enough about my quirks. I'm off to the doctors to get some ribs removed so I can suck my own cock'n'balls. I don't need anyone but me and my (Pea)nuts -- just like Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard on his upcoming solo tour: