Being a blog buzz band is so hard these days, from the pressure to constantly perform and deliver an amazing set, to the bloggers hanging on your every action, to the obsessive fans illegally sharing your music on message boards. Yeah, life is certainly rough when you’re an up-and-coming artist.
Thankfully, Vernon has got a good head on his shoulders, because his buzz doesn’t seem to be dying down any time soon. And if Vernon needs any tips on how to deal with the hype, he can surely ask touring mate, Elvis Perkins, who has received his own fair share of critical acclaim over the past year.
For Emma, Forever Touring:
& Elvis Perkins
Gil Mantera’s Party Dream to Ironically Miss Out On All Holiday Parties, Tour in Support of Live DVD
I'm going to be honest. I've always kind of hated the State of Ohio. Maybe it's just that I haven't given it a chance, but I've had really bad travel experiences there. I've gotten lost; I've had rough nights crammed in a dorm room there; I've had car trouble there -- you name it. Besides, who do they think they are having like five major cities, anyway? Texas??? I don't think so. Either way, everything about the place is kind of tainted for me. Even the music.
But luckily for Youngstown, Ohio-based, cheesy-electro-pop duo Gil Mantera's Party Dream, I have a good story. And it has NOTHING to do whatsoever with the State of Ohio...
Dateline 2006: It was a cold January evening in Champaign, IL. My then-band had booked a show at the Cowboy Monkey, a relatively unassuming but notable rock club on the good ol' Urbana/Champaign circuit. We were eager to give it our best shot, even though it was a Tuesday night. Feeling relatively good because we'd been gigging around that town for awhile, I remember feeling fairly confident that we'd get the place comfortably full and maintain our reputation in town. And besides, we weren't even the headliners that night. Instead, it was a curious band from Ohio that called itself Gil Mantera's Party Dream. Surely they would lend a hand filling the joint. I mean, that's just how it works, right?
Wrong. No one came.
We wrapped our doomed little set and settled in for drinks and cigarettes at one of the tall bar tables, wondering who the fuck this Gil Mantera character was and grumbling that he hadn't packed in the patrons that his headlining spot promised, when two of the drunken ne’er-do-wells who had been sitting at the bar all night rose, donned cowboy hats and panchos, and took to the stage, announcing themselves as Gil Mantera and Ultimate Donny and explaining that this was the first night of a lengthy tour and that, upon realizing that no one was really coming out to their inauspicious tour kick-off for their newest record called Bloodsongs on the Audio Eagle label, they had decided to just get drunk and play some of their favorite songs instead.
And with those remarks (as well as a few choice others), hilarity ensued as those two rubes from Youngstown, Ohio proceeded to stumble about the stage, bicker non-stop with one another between songs about which one of them was really the "talented one," serenade us all with goofy new electro-pop cuts like "Elmo's Wish," strip to their underwear, cover halves of Billy Joel songs, demand more drinks from the bar into the mics, and argue with various members of the audience (i.e., us) about their favorite Van Damme movies. (We thought that Bloodsport was the clear-cut #1. Gil Mantera's Party Dream disagreed.) It ended up being one of the coolest, most memorable shows I've ever been to, despite the fact that I ended up seeing much more near-nudity than I'd bargained for.
There. Now, if that ringing endorsement doesn't make you want to run to your nearest DVD emporium on February 5, 2008 to purchase a copy of the forthcoming comedy-of-errors-documenting live DVD, Gil Mantera's Party Dream: Live Video Archive (Volume 1), which apparently contains most-assuredly outlandish and hilarious footage of two shows (a 2004 set at Chicago's Fireside Bowl and a 2006 show at Chicago's Empty Bottle), then I don't know what will.
Oh, and, uh, just in case you were hoping to see them in person instead, there's a whole mess of live dates coming up this holiday season too. They'll even have copies of the DVD on tour, which will also be on sale for a limited time at their online store. Yeah, some of the tourdates are in Ohio, but it's okay, you can go anyway. But if you DO see those guys, tell them Bloodsport rules.
Dates on which you CAN'T schedule the office x-mas party:
Not long after releasing this year's Year Zero album, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails decided to release a remix album on November 20. However, this isn't a traditional remix album, as it contains all of the multi-track master recording files on a DVD so that fans can remix any of the songs on their computers using Ableton Live or Garage Band. That's right, Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D (in all its leetspeak glory) is a remix album that encourages fans to upload their remixes to the internet. Reznor writes in the news section of nin.com that he felt obligated to create an official hub where fans could upload and share their creations with him and other fans, so he created remix.nin.com. So why is it currently shut down? According to Reznor, Universal shut down the site due to legal issues involving the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Universal's current legal battle with YouTube and MySpace. The legal battle involves users uploading content owned by Universal and the inability of YouTube and MySpace to screen all of the user-uploaded content.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act lays down the law about how internet copyright infringement should be handled, but we won't get into any of the details. But I will explain the DMCA's safe harbor provisions using Mr P and I as an example.
First, assume that YouTube has nothing against porn, and let's say that Mr P and I make a porno that we upload to YouTube. In this video, we're humping and groaning to "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi. (My favorite part is when Mr P shouts, "How did you know I've always wanted to bone to this song!") Due to the overwhelming response to P's large pixelated cock, the video blows the fuck up, and Mr P and I are self-made internet porn stars. End of story right? Wrong. A Universal pervert stumbles upon our video one night while the wife is asleep. He notices we're laying each other to Bon Jovi's rawk and zips up his jeans, runs to the phone, and calls one of his higher-ups. With Bon Jovi being a Universal artist, YouTube receives a DMCA take-down notice and YouTube is forced to remove the video.
In this case, no one gets sued. However, it's virtually impossible for YouTube to take down every video that is flagged as copyright infringement. The safe harbor basically only applies if you take down every video that infringes on copyright. YouTube is obviously failing to meet these expectations and is being sued by Universal, which ties this all back to why Universal decided to take down the official Nine Inch Nails remix site. If fans were to mash-up and/or include samples from artists that aren't Universal, then Universal would come across as hypocritical, as they are currently in a legal battle to stop this sort of thing from happening already.
No word yet if the official remix site will ever be up and running again, but since the internet is still a free medium, net-savvy fans have already created their own remix site at ninremixes.com.
I love you, internet.
According to Billboard, My Bloody Valentine plan to self-release their long-awaited follow-up to Loveless as a digital download. This is pretty interesting because NO BAND TO MY KNOWLEDGE HAS EVER DONE THIS BEFORE.
"At the moment, all I can say is that Kevin is getting the band back together and they will go into the studio next month to work on the new record," says their manager Vinita Joshi. "The plan is that they will release the album themselves via the Internet, but there will also probably be a vinyl release."
Joshi also noted that the band will unlikely do the pay-what-you-want model. Not sure what he's referring to, but all I know is that NO BAND AT LEAST IN RECENT MEMORY HAS EVER DONE THIS BEE-FOUR.
Meanwhile, the Loveless lineup of Kevin Shields, Bilinda Butcher, Debbie Googe, and Colm O'Ciosoig will be touring the UK in 2008. Expect more dates as soon as I book them. Yeah, I book shows. What? Wanna fight about it?
Has there ever been a celebration of the great failure that is Moby, such as the TMT first and last annual MobyRama? Probably not, but as innovators with a slow news day, we're willing to take a chance on a more in-depth-than-usual look at the 46-year-old, nasally hipster who is rarely more than the butt of our jokes -- like this one:
Q: How many Mobys does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Trick question. Moby and his whole discography sucks.
Alright, alright, so we've heard that one before, but I bet you weren't aware of the following fun facts about Moby:
- Herman Melville was his great-great-great-great uncle, thus his nickname from birth as Moby.
- Moby plans to grace God with his presence, having agreed to pay $207,000 to become the first pop star to travel into space on the VSS Enterprise spaceship in 2010.
- At the time of its release, Moby held the record for fastest song ever -- "Thousand" reached 1015 BMP and appeared on Rare: The Collected B-Sides 1989-1993.
Unfortunately, presenting these facts to my associates seems to have had little to no effect on their impression of Moby, as a few rounds of free-word association still garnered a list with the recurring adjectives of bald headed man-child, vegan, techno, lame, and Gwen Stephani...
Dear readers, give him a chance. Moby is more than all this, and in an effort to illuminate it, I've turned to numerology. With the knowledge that Moby was born on September 11, 1965, I took the liberty of converting those digits into a sum that corresponds to the Life Path number of 5. This is, of course, a number associated with a highly progressive mindset and with those who look to improve upon the world around them. They are adventurous, compassionate, and freedom-loving individuals, and if there's one thing Moby's music has proven to embody release after release, it's freedom. I'm not making this shit up.
If I was truly interested, I would research the significance of 15 -- the number of tracks to appear on his sixth album Last Night, to be released March 10, 2008. Reported to be fraught with danceable tunes, Last Night will feature guest appearances by Sugar Hill Gang's MC Grandmaster Caz, Sylvia from Kodu, MC Aynlzi, and the 419 Crew. As stated by Moby in a somewhat elementary manner on his exhaustively updated personal blog, "My favorite guest is the rapper on 'I love to move in here.' His name is Grandmaster Caz, and he was one of the writers of 'Rappers Delight.' He's been rapping since 1975, and I'm really happy to have him on the record."
Had me, lost me, cue-ball!
After four universally acclaimed albums, well-documented lineup changes, and a rehab stint, the sky cleared for Wilco. But for many critics and fans, a wide open Sky Blue Sky (TMT Review) is not such a good thing.
We were used to grinding synth drones lapping at Jeff Tweedy's folksy strummers. We were accustomed to country pop ditties disintegrating into vicious feedback squalls. And we loved the little ticks and clicks and loops and bloops that seasoned every track on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. That's why Sky Blue Sky's clipped, clean guitar workouts came as such a shock to the system. "We want weird Wilco" was somewhere in the subtext of each Sky Blue Sky review. Critics were worried they had been duped all these years by a little studio trickery and a wayward country band. If Sky Blue Sky is the sound of Wilco finding their way, it seems like most listeners are hoping they'll get lost again before the next album.
Now that I got you all pumped up, here are some Australian dates for 2008:
Think that you, classical music lover, can ‘Handel’ DRM-free downloads? Or will you ‘Beethoven’ until you ‘Tchaikovsky’ all over the place?
Either way, Universal Music wants to know. That’s why it’s sticking a trepidatious toe into the recently made bathwater of DRM-free MP3s by offering its refined, quite serious catalog of jazz and classical music free of digital rights management for a trial period at classicsandjazz.co.uk. Of course, you still have to pay money for the songs, but at least now you can do what you want with them. Progress. Labels under the UMC&J umbrella include Rounder, Verve, Impulse, Decca, Deutsche Grammophone, Philips, and Emacy. Eat dinner without the creeping fear that your background music is confined by rigid copyright protection. Entertain guest with your vast catalog of ‘jazz appropriate to talk over.’ Transfer your new songs to a portable device, travel back in time, and cause any number of classical music riots.
Maybe, as Universal is hoping, you’ll even be ‘Bach’ for more. Gosh, classical music is fun.
BALTIMORE, MD -- This intrepid reporter sat down to discuss details of Ponytail's forthcoming album with hometown heroes Dustin Wong and Jeremy Hyman. The band is in the studio right now, and the as yet unnamed full-length follow up to this year's excellent Kamehameha will be released this spring. They tell me it will contain eight tracks, but they're not sure what they'll be calling them yet.
Wong and Hyman want everyone to know that they're recording with beloved producer J. Robbins. While the former Jawbox frontman is known for producing more mainstream indie bands, it seems that he's equally adept at capturing the noise-punk adrenaline rush that is Ponytail. "He adjusted so amazingly fast to Molly's vocals," said Hyman, referring to the mind-blowingly intense voice of singer Molly Siegel. Robbins "focuses on performance," said Wong. "He's a realist and he likes to explore."
In other Dustin Wong news, the multitalented guitar maven also announced that he'll be leaving his other incredible band, Ecstatic Sunshine, in a few months. He likens his decision to depart from the trio (soon duo) to the reason why someone might leave a job or transfer schools. "More than leaving," he said, "I'm graduating." He adds that the band will continue without him, and though he won't be touring with Ecstatic Sunshine anymore, he's open to recording some tracks with them in the future. "Ecstatic Sunshine is more like a collective thing now," explained Hyman, who has drummed for the band in the past.
Update: Ecstatic Sunshine will continue as a trio of Matt Papich, Kieran Gillen, and, after Dustin leaves, David Zimmerman on electronics. According to Matt, the new lineup will tour the U.S. next spring, in support of WAY, a forthcoming album on Cardboard.
This Thanksgiving, Jonathan Richman Traces His Hand to Make a Picture of a Turkey, Embarks on Mini-Tour
Life can really drag you down sometimes. Whether we feel downtrodden by the poverty and distress we encounter on the street, the anguish of reading about Britney Spears’ spiral out of control, or those MySpace comments you’re really excited to read until you find out they’re just another “OMG guyz I just got a Macy’s giftcard LOL!” hacking attempt, there is no denying that these are trying times in which we live. But before we start to wallow in bitterness and despair, let’s take a moment to reflect on the good things in life. As 2007 draws to an end, I’d like to invite you to join me in looking back on the past year and giving thanks for the many blessings we have received.
- In January, Nancy Pelosi became the first female speaker of the US House of Representatives. Between this and the Spice Girls reunion, 2007 is totally the year of girl power!!!
- In March, the crown prince and princess of Brunei His Royal Highness
Al-Muhtadee Billah and his wife, Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Sarah
welcomed into this world a son, Prince Abdul Muntaqim. Ahhhh!
- In October, Lindsay Lohan completed a lengthy stint in rehab, thereby
saving her career and giving us hope for more gems like Herby: Fully
Loaded and I Know Who Killed Me.
- In November, President Bush pardoned the lives of some delicious turkeys so that they could live to waddle confusedly through a Thanksgiving Day parade.
If that wasn’t enough already, I have more good news about 2007! Jonathan Richman, vocalist for The Modern Lovers and prolific solo artist dude, is playing a series of shows for some very lucky Californians in only a matter of days!
Surrender to Jonathan... at these live dates:
HEALTH Head Out On the Road, Barely Leave Home State of California, But They Still Have Roads There – I Checked
Relatively fresh off a long national tour and their stint as a band that impressed a lot of people at CMJ, HEALTH appear to be taking a short, well-earned break.
They played a few shows around California this past weekend, but come the New Year, it looks like they’ll be setting the West Coast ablaze with nothing but passion, a van, several guitars and drums, and a hell of a lot of effects pedals. Probably other things, too.
Eventually, I’m told, the band plans to tour the rest of the states with The Crystal Castles, but for now, you’ll have to take a long, tedious trek to Canada, the Golden State, or whatever Washington and Oregon’s state nicknames are.
I don’t have much else to say about this. They’re a band. They’re touring. Some of the shows are with Dan Deacon, and some are with White Williams. I like the band name “Robin Williams on Fire,” and I hope that that’s what they sound like.
! Robin Williams on Fire
# White Williams
$ Dan Deacon