In the final days of the year 2007, a young girl named Alexis Menjivar penned an essay beginning with the fateful line "My daddy died this year in Iraq." The essay was soon selected as the winner of a contest sponsored by Club Libby Lu, a store that specializes in pink fabric and makeovers for babies. Six-year-old Alexis was awarded four tickets to a sold-out Hannah Montana concert, round-trip airfare, and a makeover.
In case you didn’t read the headline, it turns out the essay was fake. Actually, the essay was real, made up of real essay molecules. But its story, in which a man named Sgt. Jonathon Menjivar died in a roadside bombing on April 17, was not true. The Department of Defense (whichever division thereof is in charge of fact-checking Hannah Montana contest essays) has no record of any such man dying on the aforementioned date. Club Libby Lu, presumably having hired Harriet the spy, got to the bottom of this mystery immediately, and quickly stripped the girl of her prize and happiest memory to date.
The girl’s mother, Priscilla Ceballos, soon explained that she had prompted her daughter to fictionalize her father’s death, defending her actions by saying, “It was just an essay. We do essays all the time. You know, my daughter does essays at school all the time. I never lied and said that the essay was a true story.” Some would question the validity of this defense, but it certainly explains Alexis’ recent essay on penguins for science class (“The chinstrap penguin died this year in Iraq.”).
This story has been covered by the Associated Press, BBC, and countless local news outlets across America, but every story neglects to mention three key issues: The first is whether or not Alexis Menjivar’s essay actually violated the terms of the contest (was there a rule stating that the essay had to be true?). The second is whether or not Alexis Menjivar has a father named Sgt. Jonathon Menjivar, and if he is in Iraq, or if he perhaps even died on a different day. The third is that “Hannah Montana” herself is actually a character in a television program, whose exploits are entirely fabricated and whose father ought to be dead.
So to recap: growing up without a father in your life due to a grossly unjust war is not enough of a reason to get tickets to a concert for a fictional pop star and a free blonde wig.
Hannah Montana tourdates:
Hannah Montana takes February off in protest of Black History Month.
So, Mr P, editor-in-chief of Tiny Mix Tapes (don't click if you want your job), only allows certain Radiohead stories to be published. Why? Well, he's editor-in-chief, that's why. As much as I begged and pleaded to write a story about Radiohead's announcement of the North American cities they expect to play, well, Mr P just wouldn't have it. "Who do they think they are, Chumbawamba?" asked Mr P. "Fuck ‘em."
But boy did I have some news for my editor this morning! According to a post on Dead Air Space by guitarist Jonny Greenwood, Radiohead are scheduled to play some In Rainbows (TMT Review) material tonight at London's Rough Trade East shop on Brick Lane. The real news might be that Radiohead are twisted enough to make their London fans stand out in the cold, waiting for the Rough Trade doors to open, but at least they're webcasting this shit.
Here's the webcast link. And here's Jonny's full post:
So, we've got a small gig tonight.
It's in London at the Rough Trade East shop on Brick Lane, and we're planning to play a short set of in rainbows material. It's very limited free entry, first come first served. Also, as it might be a little uncomfortable for anyone queuing early, they're planning a numbering system so people at the front of any queue can get snacks and toilet breaks in the store. Good bagels round there. But dress warm...doors won't open until 7, and we'll play at about 8.
For those who can't get in - and it's pretty small in there - we'll have some screens and speakers outside, if we're allowed. I think we are. And we'll also webcast it. I'll put the link up here, as well as any other info, later today.
Hope you can make it - should be....interesting. Us being us, we're taking far too many instruments.....
[Remember what you're doing April 8, motherfucker.]
What are you up to April 8? Oh yeah? Well, cancel your plans, dingleberry: Colin Meloy, the SUPERSTAR frontman of The Decemberists, is set to release Colin Meloy Sings Live! on Kill Rock Stars. AWWWW YEAH!! The set is a document of his 2006 solo U.S. tour, and, really, what could be better than spending your April 8 listening to the album? ...Oh yeah? What, you getting smarting with me? Shut the fuck up, right now. You're going to buy this fucking CD, and you're going to listen to it. Fuck the music actually; this shit's got stage banter, bitch. STAGE BANTER. You don't hear any stage banter on Portishead's live disc do you?
I will fucking cut you.
Colin Meloy Sings Live! tracklisting:
* "indicates talk between songs"
Whoa! Philip Glass Documentary Will Be Released. Fill Up My Ass with Some of That Buttery Popcorn And Get Ready for One Wild, Sexy Ride
Let's open this article with a poorly executed and possibly familiar joke:
Here at TMT we do not grasp irony or its many manifestations, but we do, however, poorly report ironic news. This week's ironic news includes a film about Philip Glass (TMT Review), an American classical composer whose name is akin to minimalism -- or as Glass prefers to call it, "Music with repetitive structures." Maybe now you get the dumb knock-knock joke.
He has composed scores for a variety of films, including The Hours, Kundun, Notes on a Scandal, and my favorite Candyman. But now the tables have turned, as Koch Lorber Films has obtained the rights for the U.S. theatrical and home video release of Scott Hick's documentary, Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts. The film includes interviews with Errol Morris, Chuck Close, Christopher Hampton, and Martin Scorsese in an in-depth look at Glass' life and work.
Glass premiered September 2007 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and will premiere in April at New York's IFC Center to go along with the revival of Glass' Satyagraha at the Metropolitan Opera House. A DVD release date for the U.S. should be announced soon.
After this film, can we expect more documentaries on minimalists? Like, Terry Riley?
Terry Riley? Terry Riley? Terry Riley? Terry Riley? Terry Riley? Steve Reich? Terry Riley? Terry Riley?
I doubt it. Doubt it. Doubt it.
There was a time when metal ruled the world. Not “new metal” or “proto metal,” but good ol’ pants-stuffing, blow-dried mulleted metal. This is 100% true because I was there. Heavy Metal Parking Lot might seem like a laughable farce to most now, but back in the days when we were battling for your two-pronged right to party and wearing zebra-striped spandex in public, those scenes were not only NOT ridiculous to us studs in the amplified trenches, but they were nothing more than everyday commonalities at shows and school and malls, at bush parties and backs of pickups. I wish I was joking, but it is a fact that 15-20 late-‘70s model Camaros crowded my high school parking lot every single day from grades 9 through 12. Hot damn those were the days!
Nowadays, "metal" usually involves some horse’s ass rapping over sampled beats, with bass, guitar, and drum accompaniment. Since when did it become acceptable to ignore skinny ponces with long crimped hair melting your face with blisteringly crazy solos? You doubters will see, you’ll all see, and I’ll be laughing my leathers off when Accepts' “Balls to the Wall” soundtracks a pivotal exam room sex scene on Grey's Anatomy. Yeah, uh-huh.
Okay, metal has been a tough sell for about 20 years but there are always exceptions to popular rule. Iron Maiden is still soldiering on, riding their dilapidated metal warhorse for almost 30 years now. And what’s more, they show no signs of slowing up. Metal heads, especially forerunners of big hair metal, get smeared at every opportunity, but Maiden are Maiden -- they still sell out everywhere they play, still sell millions of albums (between 70-100 million!), and hence, they have rightfully been awarded by their longtime label EMI with an extended, integrated recording, touring, merchandise, and sponsorship deal. The new contract of the beast is for everywhere, except in the United States where Sanctuary handles the band’s business.
Take it away, longtime Maiden manager Rod Smallwood:
We’ve had three tremendous decades working with EMI and have many friends there. Through many ‘regimes’ EMI have always given us their full support and our relationship with their companies worldwide has always been excellent. For a band with a global following like Maiden, who rely on fan word of mouth, touring and marketing/sales expertise as they receive little or no radio or TV support, it is key that the 100% support and implementation of our visual marketing campaigns internationally is both effective and enthusiastic and EMI and their worldwide affiliates have always fulfilled this. So with this new type of deal in place, it makes absolute sense for us to continue and extend our relationship in what is effectively a new period for the music industry.
Business journalists will be disappointed that financial details were not divulged, but you would be bang on in assuming it is worth a pretty penny considering EMI and the band have been together 28 years now (right about the time I inherited my first studded wristband from some shit-bum outside my neighborhood donut shop), and the band is one of the more consistent jewels in the company’s crown. For die-hard fans, news that the recently announced “Somewhere Back in Time 2008 World Tour” will have a setlist celebrating the band’s 1980s heyday and will feature an Egyptian-inspired stage design à la Powerslave will help to soothe the savage beast that has been screaming “Maiden has sucked since 1986!” since 1986.
“Somewhere Back in Time” but probably nowhere near you:
02.01.08 - Mumbai, India - Bandra Kurla Complex
02.04.08 - Perth, Australia - Burswood Dome
02.06.08 - Melbourne, Australia - Rod Laver Arena
02.07.08 - Melbourne, Australia - Rod Laver Arena
02.09.08 - Sydney, Australia - Acer Arena
02.10.08 - Sydney, Australia - Acer Arena
02.12.08 - Brisbane, Australia - Entertainment Centre
02.15.08 - Yokohama, Japan - Pacifico Yokohama
02.16.08 - Tokyo, Japan - Messe
02.19.08 - Los Angeles, CA - The Forum
02.21.08 - Guadalajara, Mexico - Auditoria Telmex
02.22.08 - Monterrey, Mexico - Monterrey Arena
02.24.08 - Mexico City, Mexico - Foro Sol Stadium
02.26.08 - San Jose, Costa Rica - Saprisa Stadium
02.28.08 - Bogotá, Columbia - Simon Bolivar Park
03.02.08 - Sao Paulo, Brazil - Palmeiras Stadium
03.04.08 - Curitiba, Brazil - Pedreira Paulo Leminski
03.05.08 - Porto Alegre, Brazil - Gigantinho
03.07.08 - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Ferrofcarril Oeste Stadium
03.09.08 - Santiago, Chile - Pista Atletica
03.12.08 - San Juan, Puerto Rico - San Juan Coliseo
03.14.08 - New Jersey, NJ - Izod Center
03.16.08 - Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre
06.27.08 - Bologna, Italy - Arena Parco Nord (Gods Of Metal Festival)
06.29.08 - Dessel, Belgium - De Boeretand (Graspop Metal Meeting)
07.01.08 - Paris, France - Ominisport De Bercy Arena
07.02.08 - Paris, France - Ominisport De Bercy Arena
07.05.08 - London, UK - Twickenham Rugby Stadium
07.09.08 - Lisbon, Portugal - Parque do Tejo (Super Bock Super Rock Festival)
07.16.08 - Stockholm, Sweden - Stockholm Stadium
07.18.08 - Helsinki, Finland - Helsinki Olympic Stadium
07.19.08 - Tampere, Finland - Ratina Stadion
07.22.08 - Trondheim, Norway - Lerkendalstadium
07.24.08 - Oslo, Norway - Valle Hovin
07.26.08 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Ullevi Stadium
07.27.08 - Horsens, Denmark - Horsens Gods Bane Pladsen
07.31.08 - Wacken, Germany - Wachen Open Air Festival
08.02.08 - Athens, Greece - Terra Vibe Park
08.04.08 - Bucharest, Romania - Cotroceni Football Stadium
08.07.08 - Warsaw, Poland - Gwardia Stadium
08.08.08 - Prague, Czech Republic - Slavia Football Stadium
08.10.08 - Split, Croatia - Split City Stadium
08.14.08 - Basel, Switzerland - St Jakobshalle
In other news, Iron Maiden has a customized 757 named "Ed Force One":
Nick Diam... err... Thornburn and crew seem to finally be gearing up for their highly anticipated tour, which may or may not complement their highly anticipated sophomore album. You know, that one we reported over a year ago (TMT News)? Rumor has it that a release date will be decided upon after the tour using a highly complicated mathematical model based on the highly successful BCS system, which itself was based on the popular board game "Mouse Trap." I can't divulge the details of Islands' system, but it may a good idea to bring ivory bookmarks and frankincense lollipops to the show if you want a 2008 release.
After softly whispering the dates into the rotary telephone, Nick says "I swear to Jesus, if another venue puts (ex-Unicorns) on the marquee I'm going to have to choke a bitch":
- Captain’s Log, Stardate 3496.1:
I am a bit frustrated and perplexed by the recent behavior of my normally slow, but fully functioning computing device. It is almost as if my Dell laptop has a human mind of its own, with its own rational, if smutty, thought processes. It is bizarre. No matter what complex search options I perform, I end up receiving dirty links to pornographic movies. There is much that one can associate to the phrase “Black Mountain,” but I have traversed these oft-complicated research waters before with great success. I have to pull in the reins on my PC’s increasingly independent act.
- Captain’s Log, Stardate 3496.5:
The Anal Girls of Tobacco Road 2: Vagina Slimes? What the? My mind is beginning to crack at the constant barrage of blue movies, and it is suggesting a fist-to-face rendezvous with that chump from the Dell commercials a few years back. Someone has to pay, and “dude,” you still really piss me off. Due to this unexpected visual attack, I am forced to leave my station and retreat into the kitchen dock to prepare a soothing chai tea to ease my frazzling psyche. I return to my terminal and take a deep breath. I rub my stinging eyes, then open them and gaze upon an ad and some stills from The Legend of Tea Bagger Vance on my screen.
- Captain’s Log, Stardate 3497.2:
I brush aside (slightly to the left) this interruption and soldier on in my quest for the missing Black Mountain info that you crave, nay, that you need. Even though we dealt with part of this story here, there is more to add. TMT is all about providing the goods, and your news captain is nothing if not insanely driven to complete his job. He possesses the “skookum tumtum,” “a strong, brave heart” as the Chinookan would say.
- Captain’s Log, Stardate 3498.9:
All is not lost. I have managed to get piecemeal crumbs of data. Drug addicts, sorry, drug counselors (f#%king computer!) by day, defenders of chugging mud-rock by night, Black Mountain have remained relatively quiet over the past while. It is hard to believe it has been almost three years since their debut self-titled album pummeled with the dark side Force of millions and millions of midi-chlorians (I’m getting my “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” mixed up here... with hilarious results!). Although the whole has been less than active, its individual players have been anything but idle. With the side-projects Pink Mountaintops, Blood Meridian, Lightning Dust, Sinoia Caves, etc. always churning out material when the big band is on vacation, the five members of the Black Mountain Army just don’t know the meaning of “down time.” But the time is ripe for their collective return. With a just-announced tour in support of latest album, In the Future (available January 22 on Jagjaguwar), 2008 is going to be a killer year for the Vancouver quintet (again).
- Captain’s Log, Stardate 3499.1
Yo Quiero Taco Smell? Enough is enough! I am no prude by any stretch (I do enjoy my Porky’s and Meatballs tapes on the ol’ betamax), but this is interfering with my task at hand. Just as I attempt to take strong measures by sending a distress signal or reaching for the power cord, a strange feeling travels from the LCD screen to my throat and strikes me silent. Mute, dumbstruck, and scared stiff (but still able to type this log for some reason), I sit motionless (except for my hands) as my once-trusty Dell commandeers the space, flashing image upon image of the filthiest things ever. Scenes that would make a college football team, or Tara Reid, blush. I am beyond concerned. I am also feeling weak and cold.
- Captain’s Log, Stardate…unknown:
Nadelle is dead. Dell is in charge now, and he wants infinite lap dances. Dell is horrrrrr-nnnyyyyyy! Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Milkmaids! Backdoor Lambada! May the Foreskin Be With You! YES YES YES!!!
+ Howlin’ Rain, Yeasayer, MGMT
# Howlin’ Rain
$ Blood on the Wall
% Bon Iver
When I was 19, I probably would've considered my biggest achievements to be (a) accidentally causing the evacuation of a 1,000+ capacity dorm building after putting a Pop-Tart in the microwave for too long and (b) figuring out that dumping alcohol into a coffee mug made it possible to drink in the common areas of my dorm without getting caught. Fortunately for the music world, there are young people with more motivation, better skills, and higher priorities than the young Liz. My current favorite example would be Southend, UK four-piece These New Puritans.
These New Puritans have definitely listened to their share of records by Gang of Four and The Fall, and while their music sits comfortably alongside the output of these seminal artists, it never sounds trapped in the past or derivative. Their tense rhythms and intelligent lyrics have given These New Puritans a reputation as an exciting and inventive live act in the UK music scene and beyond. The band has released one limited-edition EP entitled Now Pluvial and wrote the epic "Navigate, Navigate" for the Fall 2007 catwalk preview of Hedi Slimane's Dior Homme collection in Paris. After signing to Domino Records, These New Puritans recorded their forthcoming full-length Beat Pyramid with Gareth Jones, whose previous credits include sessions with Wire, Einsturzende Neubauten, and Liars.
With Beat Pyramid's stateside release planned for March 18, 2008, the band already has a South By Southwest date planned, as well as extensive touring in the UK and Europe.
Beat Pyramid tracklisting:
** British Sea Power
U-God wants his money. $170K, to be exact. Apparently, RZA neglected to pay U-God his $40K advance for 8 Diagrams (TMT Review) ("money means nothing to us!") or the $50K owed to him for the Rock The Bells tour, amongst a variety of other fees. While one might be inclined to not give a shit due to his being a "lower-tier" member of the Wu, it brings to light the still-unhealthy relationship RZA and GZA have with the rest of the group -- after lawsuits from Ghostface and Rakewon, who have been treated by The RZA to much more successful solo careers in comparison to Masta Killa, Inspecta Deck, and U-God (who claims it took him seven years to convince RZA to produce a single track for his 1999 solo album, Golden Arms Redemption), it's not hard to be overcome with nostalgia for those family vibes that made 36 Chambers and Wu-Tang Forever such strong releases. It's an unfortunate scene, after all the supposedly resolved beefs between Mr. Lamont Hawkins and the higher profile members of Wu-Tang that went down in 2004. But by this point, Wu-Tang fans have become more or less accustomed to the ridiculous and unfortunate drama sparked so often between its members, taking it in stride as just another facet of the Wu's most epic story (and, of course, a brilliant tactic to stay in the headlines, despite a steady stream of comparatively sub par material).
Meanwhile, The Universal God of Law keeps on keeping on, putting together yet another solo album without the support of his group, entitled Spitta, due out later this year. Spitta follows a series of solo albums made after Uey's conclusion that RZA was an unnecessary hindrance to his solo career; he's instead put together his own posse known as The Hillside Scramblers, who released their debut album in 2004, which U-God followed with 2005's still RZA-less Mr. Xcitement.
Terra Firma, the private equity firm that bought EMI for $6.26 billion last year, has officially confirmed that it will cut up to 2,000 EMI jobs worldwide (roughly 1/3 of its staff), all in the Recorded Music division. The company will now save up to $392.2 million a year, a move that essentially makes its investment one hell of a payoff. Shifting away from just selling CDs to focusing on A&R, digital music, and corporate sponsorships, the new EMI is now in the "hands" of Guy Hands, who is most notably rich from his experience in the train and aircraft businesses. Yup. No worries though; I'm sure he listened to the radio at those jobs.
The next six months or so will see a lot of restructuring at EMI as it "respond[s] to the needs of artists and consumers," while current artists like Robbie Williams and Coldplay are withholding their forthcoming albums in a "revolt" against the company, fearing Mr. Hands is behaving more like a plantation owner than a savvy business man. Beyond that, it's hard to say whether Terra Firma invested in EMI to make a quick buck (it's happened a million times before) or whether these changes truly reflect something positive. Of course, job cuts are inevitable for the four major groups, especially when having more employees is now more of a liability than anything, but it'll be interesting what kind of follow-through EMI has up its sleeves.
Here's the full press release:
EMI Group announces fundamental restructuring of Recorded Music Division to respond to the needs of artists and consumers
London, 15 January 2007 -- EMI Group is today announcing a series of wide-ranging initiatives within its Recorded Music division to enable the group to become the world’s most innovative, artist friendly and consumer-focused music company.
In a series of presentations to staff, artists and managers, Guy Hands, EMI Group’s chairman, is unveiling a fundamental reshaping of the business to reflect the rapidly-changing nature of the music industry. The changes include:
- Repositioning EMI’s labels to ensure they will be completely focussed on A&R and maximising the potential of all their artists
- Developing a new partnership with artists, based on transparency and trust, and helping all artists monetise the value of their work by opening new income streams such as enhanced digital services and corporate sponsorship arrangements
- Bringing together all the group’s key support activities including sales, marketing manufacturing and distribution into a single division with a unified global leadership
- The elimination of significant duplications within the group to simplify processes and reduce waste
The changes, which will be implemented over the next six months, will enable the group to invest more in its A&R operations both to identify and sign promising new artists and to maximise the potential of its existing roster.
The restructuring is being carried out following an intense three-month consultation review of the business by Terra Firma since it acquired the business last year and many of the measures being implemented have come at the suggestion of staff, artists or their managers.
The restructuring will also enable the group to capture significant efficiencies and cost reductions which are expect to reduce costs by up to Â£200 million per year. The restructuring is also expected to lead to a worldwide headcount reduction within the group of between 1,500 and 2,000.
Guy Hands commented: “We have spent a long time looking intensely at EMI and the problems faced by its Recorded Music division which, like the rest of the music industry, has been struggling to respond to the challenges posed by a digital environment
“We believe we have devised a new revolutionary structure for the group that will improve every area of the business. In short it will make EMI’s music more valuable for the company and its artists alike. The changes we are announcing today will ensure that this iconic company will be creating wonderful music in a way that is profitable and sustainable.”