Ah, another year, another list of “safe” musicians deemed worthy enough to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Seriously, just once, I would like to see an induction list with bands that aren’t always entirely mainstream. Need some examples for next year, Hall of Fame voters? No problem: The Smiths, Can, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Television, New Order, The Zombies, The Minutemen, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, Tom Waits, Kraftwerk, The MC5, The Stooges, Roxy Music, Donovan, Nick Drake, etc., etc., etc.
All right, I’m getting ahead of myself, and you’re probably starting to wonder who the inductees were for the 2008 class, right? The not-so-surprising list is as follows: Madonna, Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp, Dave Clark Five, and The Ventures. Little Walter is also being honored for his work as a sideman, and Gamble & Huff are being honored for their production work.
The whole shebang goes down March 10 at the induction ceremony in New York City at the Waldorf Hotel.
Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band Releasing New LP in March; I’m Trying to Be More Proactive As Well Ever Since Nat Towsen Called Me Out on My Reflexive Laziness
On March 25, 2008, Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La band (henceforth “Akon”) is releasing a new album. Entitled 13 Blues for 13 Moons, it has seen Akon “grow louder, looser, full of spittle and tears.” Akon has perfected these new tracks, which bear titles such as “BlindBlindBlind” and “1,000,000 Died to Make This Sound,” with “crackling guitar crescendos setting the pace for dive-bombing swirls of strings.”
Akon lead singer Efrim Menuck’s voice “rasps and wails words of worry, hope and fury throughout.”
Constellation Records is releasing 13 Blues on compact disc and 180-gram double LP. Both formats will be printed on 100% recycled fine paper, presumably because Akon have kept their ears so close to the ground and recognize their fanbase’s concern with the environment.
Silver Mount Zion and Akon couldn’t be more different, stylistically or otherwise! And here I am, just pretending they share a name. Juxtaposition. I choose to apologize to Efrim and SMZ, because I respect them and enjoy their outputs immensely. I also choose to apologize to Akon, so he doesn’t cold throw me anywhere unpleasant or painful.
While the Detroit area may be better known for musical phenomenons such as Motown, garage (a four-letter word to locals) rock, and white rapping, there also exists a small but formidable clan of pop (a four-letter word to most) maestros working to create hit singles for another world (a world not controlled by greedy record companies who employ producers and writers like scientists on a mission to make pop music and money from talentless, pretty-face types). People like Saturday Looks Good To Me's Fred Thomas, the bands of the Suburban Sprawl label, and Casimer Pascal from Pas/Cal have devoted much time, effort, and talent in the Detroit area to creating sonic harmony and musical beauty.
Pas/Cal in particular have been a shinning light ever since they broke onto the scene with 2003 EP The Handbag Memoirs (Le Grand Magistery). Now, five years later (and with two more EPs under their belt), the band has completed a new full-length record, to be released February 2008 on Le Grand Magistery. The 12-song LP, I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura, was mostly recorded in Casimer's garage studio over the course of three years.
He spoke about the LP via-email, saying that the record's theme is "shaped in large part by the mash-up of a Roman Catholic education and trashy pop culture (Luke & Laura were an infamous soap opera couple in the 80s)." The title, I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura, is part of a more general theme based on a song Casimer is currently working on, but one that won't be included on the release. The songs on the album may look occasionally to the past (with a few songs recalling and appearing on the aforementioned EPs) as well as the future, with Pascal stating that "I think there are things on the new LP that people who own the three EPs (Handbag Memoirs, Oh Honey We're Ridiculous, and Dear Sir) will find a bit hard to swallow at first. There have been many hints at the more adventurous side of my song writing & arrangements on previous releases, but with the full-length, I kind of got carried away with elaborate song structures and lots of words."
Further shades of The Fiery Furnaces appear when he goes on to say that "I constantly strive to write the perfect 2 and half minute pop song... sometimes it just happens two or three times within the same track!" The three "Suite Cherry" songs find the group splintered, but also features expanded duties for some members, with "Suite Cherry: Cherry Needs a Name" being sung by guitarist Gene Corduroy and his wife, and former guitarist Trevor Naud singing lead on "Suite Cherry: Cherry Tree." Even Casimer's children make an appearance, as they are pictured with him on the album's cover.
More info about the album and touring is expected in the next few weeks.
I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura tracklist:
Up Next In One of Our Era’s Most Important Legal Issues: RIAA Hires Unlicensed Law Company and Is Thereby Forced to Settle Their Case Against An Elderly Woman Who Never Shared Music and Who Also Recently Had Her Home Destroyed By a Hurricane
Let me be among the first to wish a merry Christmas to Rhonda Crain, a grandmother who was displaced by Hurricane Rita in 2005 and has been under legal attack by the RIAA for roughly three years.
The RIAA dropped their monetary claims against her recently, not because of her housing situation or the fact that she adamantly denied ever participating in any illegal file-sharing. No, the RIAA dropped their claims because MediaSentry, the multimedia copyright law company hired by the RIAA to fleece Ms. Crain, is not a licensed investigator in Crain’s home state of Texas. Whoops!
Crain has filed a counterclaim, presumably stating “b-but you guys ruined my life for a pretty long time.” The RIAA is (understandably, I guess) trying to keep it from getting too far. In the meantime, the labels have asked that the judge issue a demand that Crain not engage in copyright infringement anymore and delete all of the files that she cannot account for to begin with.
I will end this story with a quote from Crain who, I will remind you, had her home destroyed by a hurricane in September 2005:
"For the last three years [I have] been living a nightmare, thanks to Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal, and Sony/BMG's RIAA," (Emphasis added)
Waxploitation Announces Auction to Go with Benefit Comp for Darfur (Which Is in Africa – A Continent, Not A Country)
Have you noticed that TMT can be pretty political? That's because we're not just esoteric music aficionados -- we're also hard-hitting, investigatory journalists with an obligation to report on the music industry at large. It is in this spirit that we yet again report news coming from Waxploitation.
Waxploitation, the longtime artist management company known most notably for working with the prodigious Danger Mouse and his numerous incarnations, has reached out and united a variety of artists for a compilation whose proceeds will be split between three nonprofits working in Darfur: Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam America. As reported earlier (TMT News), Causes 1: Darfur is, as has been made explicitly clear by the number "1," the first of an anticipated many in the Causes series, created to benefit the victims of what has been called "one of the worst crisis in the world today," a "massive violation of human rights," and "a humanitarian tragedy," but what everyone knows to be a straight up, capital g, Genocide.
The new news? Waxploitation recently announced that even more money will be raised from the soon-to-occur, fourth annual Waxploitation rock star's stuff auction through MissionFish.org. Items to be launched through the normal individual's price ceiling include guitars and covet-worthy merchandise signed by acts such as Avril Lavigne, Norah Jones, The Flaming Lips, The Deftones, Common, Gnarls Barkley, Kanye West, Gorillaz, Coldplay, Wilco, TV on the Radio, The Decemberists, Bloc Party, Macy Gray, Nickelback (as good as donations to charitable causes are, I strongly discourage involving yourself in a bidding war over anything signed by Nickleback, ever), and Thievery Corporation.
Now, show some support!
EEEEEEEW, rancid B-sides for sale?!?
Who the HECK in their right mind would want to buy a bunch of rancid B-sides? That's just gross; that's just unsanitary; that's just...
Wait... what's that, Mr P?
OOOOOH, I get it: Rancid B-sides!
Who the HECK in their right mind would want to buy a bunch of Rancid B-sides?!?
Okay, okay. But seriously. B Sides and C Sides:
Uh, let's see.
What else... what ELSE...
Oh, December 18.
I guess that's it.
Merry Christmas, unemployable Mohawk Guy.
In between her work on a forthcoming album and the recent Bloodshot Records reissues of Furnace Room Lullaby, Blacklisted, and the super special totally amazing new bonus version of 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, it has been a busy year for Neko Case*. And things don't look to be slowing down. In a move that will thrill alt-country fans, New Englanders, and the lovelorn man who stood next to me and repeatedly shouted "I love you, Neko! Oh yeeeeeah!!" the last time she played my hometown, Neko Case has announced a string of concert dates in the eastern part of these fine United States. Case just put the finishing touches on some new tracks, and she and her band will be testing them out on unsuspecting (until now!) New England audiences this winter. Case will be joined in her systematic track-testing endeavors by Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers, who will be providing both musical and scientific support. Better fire up those Bunsen burners, Eastern seaboard, and don't forget your safety goggles -- the winter months just got a little hotter!
* Well, sort of. I mean, those reissues were kind of already written, but you know what I mean.
I don't know if you've heard of Flywheel -- I haven't, considering I'm on the other side of the country -- but it's a non-profit arts collective/venue in Easthampton, MA. Playing host to everyone from Ted Leo and Deerhoof to Magik Markers and Fat Worm of Error (as well as many other totally amazing weirdo and non-weirdo bands), the collective is associated with the totally gnarly label Ecstatic Peace, who are of course home to a slew of Thurston-approved artists. Anyway, Flywheel is currently gearing up to move into a bigger, nicer venue, where it can more readily reach its full potential. So, what do they need from you?
Go here to learn more about how to help out some like-minded, art-damaged nerds.
Want to here it straight from the dudes? Check it:
As many of you know, Flywheel, in Easthampton, MA is a non-profit multi-use art space that has hosted some of the country's most innovative and unsung performers. Artists such as Ted Leo, Fugazi, Deerhoof, Lightning Bolt, Sonic Youth not to mention dozens of Ecstatic Peace artists, have played Flywheel along the way. Flywheel has also hosted film screenings, cabaret, spoken word, art openings, children's programs and even a traveling circus over it's storied nine year history.
Earlier this year Flywheel was given the opportunity to move into a beautiful new space twice the size of it's previous one. The new centralized location will significantly raise the public profile of Flywheel and allow them to finally live up to their original vision of serving a wider portion of the community. The increased size of the new performance hall will also allow Flywheel to book shows and put on performances that were impossible in the old space.
They've been busy raising the funds necessary to renovate and maintain this new space and would like to reopen in early 2008. Ecstatic Peace has made a commitment to help Flywheel and we hope you'll also consider doing what you can.
How You Can Help
1) Make a donation via PayPal to support Flywheel's general expenses.
2) You can also donate by mail. Make checks payable to Flywheel and mail to:
43 Main Street
Easthampton, MA 01027
3) Sign up to be a monthly supporter via your credit or debit card. Simply email email@example.com for details.
4) If you live near Easthampton, you might also consider volunteering for Flywheel.
For more information about Flywheel, go to their website:
That's it for now. On behalf of Ecstatic Peace and Flywheel, thanks for the help and support.
Thom Yorke Lets His LOLcat Blog, To Release A Remix by Burial Today And More This Week, 12-Inches Later
4 sum reason raadiohead frunTman tHom york really enjoyz beIn cryptik nd typng liek a child or a Stoopid talkin kat. But p3r thIS announcment, he will b bearing giftz toodaye nd this weeek for uS all TOO enjoy and siP eggnog or sIng "Dekk the halls" to, incluDing REmIXES by BURIAL, MODESELEKTOR, AND MORE.
YayAyaYayAyayA~!!~1`!! chekk it out:
please excuse this addiTion to YouR pile of email.
ThIs is not stricTly junk.
is a quick notE to Let YoU know thAT there will be shorttlY be a bunch of rmxs
of some of the songs from the ERAser album made available to download from boomkat.com.
on the 17th of Dec a BURIAL rmx of anditrainedallNight
a ModeSeleKtOR rmx of skipdivideD
& a VAriouS rmx of aNaLYse
on the 18th of Dec a FoURtet rmx of AtoMS for PEace
& two Christian Vogel rmxs of 'Black sWAn'
on the 19th of Dec the SuRGEon rmx of the CLock
a rmx of HarrOWdown HiLL by THE buG
& a rmx of Cymbal RUsh by The FIEld
that's it. apoloGIes for the disturbanCE. check themm out if you get amoment.
i Hope yours is a pEaceful CHRistmas.
It has also been reported that XL Recordings will issue three vinyls of remixes (including the above) from Yorke's solo album The Eraser in the UK. The first 12-inch is due January 21 and includes "And It Rained All Night (Burial Remix)," "Skip Divided (Modeselektor Remix)," and "Analyse (Various Remix)"; the second is due January 28, featuring “Atoms for Peace (Four Tet Remix)," "Black Swan (Christian Vogel Remix 1)," and "Black Swan (Christian Vogel Remix 2)"; and since we've gone this far, the final 12-inch is due February 4 and includes "Harrowdown Hill (The Bug Remix)," "The Clock (Surgeon Remix)," and "Cymbal Rush (The Field Remix)."
And for those wondering, Thom's secret message through CAPS amounts to: TYRTITELYUATIYERA BURIALNMSKORDVASNLYDFVRA MSPECVBWADSRGECL HOWHLLTHEGCRUTFIEGICEHCHR
Maybe you watched a lot of Ghostwriter or played a lot of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? growing up and can crack this code, but I'm fucking stumped. All I can make out is something about "trying to tell you I... Burial score divas... MySpace... how the hell... chair." First person to send me the content of the message gets my love and affection.
Nothing says holiday cheer like a severed, snarling deer head, which is why The New Pornographers chose such an image to grace the cover of their new Christmas EP, The Spirit of Giving, available now on iTunes.
The three-song EP kicks off with the Dan Bejar-helmed Challengers track, "The Spirit of Giving." In typical Bejar fashion, the lyrics are cryptic and only hint at any Christmasyness. And besides the title, the only overtly seasonal line is "Overcome with the holiday spirit/ Mark says the herald angels won't hear it."
Next up is the unreleased "Joseph, Who Understood," which opens with the great line, "Rumors are flyin' all over Galilee these days/ And Mary I'm tryin' to be cool." An A.C. Newman and Neko Case duet, the second song tells the story of the Immaculate Conception from Joseph's point of view. As the story goes, Joseph does turn out to be cool about the whole thing, but The New Pornographers have him telling his mysteriously pregnant bride, "You're asking me to believe too many things."
The final track is actually two cover songs, "Arms of Mary" by Iain Sutherland of The Sutherland Brothers and "Looking At A Baby" by The Collectors. As "Arms of Mary" gives way to "Looking At A Baby," the Pornos crank it up into one of their soaring closings à la "The Bleeding Heart Show." But without Case echoing A.C.'s lines during the climax, it's not nearly as powerful.
All in all, The Spirit of Giving is far from a Christmas miracle, but it's better than a lump of coal.
And there you go, readers. A review embedded in a news story.