Now here's something you don't hear of everyday -- artists receiving an actual increase in royalty revenues. The Copyright Royalty Board announced it will be increasing royalties paid to musicians and labels for material played by internet broadcasters via online radio stations. Currently, the royalty for a song play is 0.08 of a cent per play (yep, we're talking about heaps of money earned). The increase could potentially see this rate double in less than three years.
Perhaps this is good news for the artists, but this could be an outlandish tax to impose on internet radio stations, particularly those whose revenue is not based on advertising, such as various NPR stations or independents such as SomaFM or Radio Paradise. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, KCRW GM Ruth Seymour claimed that this could end up putting their station in a position where they would owe more than $350,000 for this year and last year's royalties.
Now, couldn't we just make everything fair for everybody and take all of the moneys raised by the various RIAA lawsuits and aid the stations to play the music, the artists to cut the records, and maybe even give some money to children who will die in Africa from preventable diseases? Wait, nevermind; I must have been drinking. I need a new BMW; let's just leave it the way it is and let those pesky little internet radio stations die, let the artists stay nice and skinny because they don't have money to buy food, and go out on the town for a nice evening of dinner and dancing.
Animal Collective Finish Recording New Record, Yay! Black Dice and Ariel Pink Do Stuff, Too, Yay! But First: Solo Projects, Yay!
Did you know "blues" guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan had a prophetic dream about his death, only 20 hours before he died in a helicopter crash? Truly inspiring. So inspiring, in fact, that I closed my eyes last night hoping that I'd dream about one of my limbs getting maimed by a helicopter blade. Instead, I got these bullshit premonitions:
Premonition 1: During the week of March 20, everyone will be talking about Person Pitch, Panda Bear's latest solo release. It'll get high ratings. The din will be funnelled through a lot of reverb and will most likely sound cavernous. Brian Wilson might even take a listen.
Premonition 2: On April 24, Avey Tare and Kria Brekkan will release Pullhair Rubeye to a similar brouhaha, only this time everything will be backwards. People will get upset that their complaints are incomprehensible. David Lynch will be blamed.
Premonition 3: Sometime later this year (according to my premonition, not to industry sources), Animal Collective will release their follow-up to 2005's Feels. They recently finished recording the album, and it is slated to come out on Domino/Paw Tracks. The response will be loud and eclectic, and so will the U.S. shows and European festivals this summer.
Premonition 4: AC's Paw Tracks will be releasing a limited-edition Black Dice 12-inch that will feature a couple tracks from a full-length scheduled for later this year (not sure which label, but not DFA). The feedback will be "intellectualized" and "sorta dancy, sorta not."
Premonition 5: Ariel Pink will record a new album and release a DVD later this year. Critics and fans will sound like they're talking through answering machine speakers.
I woke up early this morning and realized that I've been blasting and laughing so long that even my momma thinks that my mind has gone. But I ain't never crossed a man that didn't deserve it. Me be treated like a punk you know that's unheard of. You know what I mean?
Yo La Tengo Tour, Casiotone Don’t, But… Well, They Do, But… Listen, We’re Talking About Yo La Tengo Right Now, Okay? Okay.
Right, you hear that thing a while back? About Owen Ashworth -- Casiotone For The Painfully Alone dude -- and how his flat burned down? And how he was okay, and so was his girlfriend, and his cat went missing for a few days, but it's back, so that's all fine, and a few bits of equipment got busted up, but for God's sake he probably picks up his keyboards at the Early Learning Center for a buck apiece?
Yeah, that whole thing pissed me off.
I mean, girlfriend? What the fuck? Doesn't that kinda go against the whole "Painfully Alone" shtick? If I was going to pin myself with a name like that, I'd make sure that I was pretty, y'know, alone. Do you think I picked Nunpuncher in a moment of idle fancy? No. I make sure that every single day, I hunt down a nun, and with a heavy heart, punch her, hard, in the face. It ain't pretty, but you've got to suffer for your art, you know? Or, at least, nuns do. Pretty much the same thing.
Seriously. Owen. Dude. We hung out one time. I bought your T-shirt. I thought we were bros. Dawgs. Tight. I told you stuff, you told me stuff. There can't be this kind of deception, y'know? I just? I just don't know what to think anymore.
Also, I just noticed Judy already covered the Casiotone tour (TMT News), like, a month ago. Er, fuck. No, it's cool, I think I've got it. I can turn this around.
So, uh, hey! How about that Yo La Tengo tour? I mean, no one knows what that name even means! Probably not even foreign people with all their words that we don't know! They've got to be pretty safe.
Ah, forget it:
A man who was beaten by employees of a store he was trying to rob is now suing.
Police say Sam Beam (also known as Iron & Wine) entered the department store FoxSX-FareYoos in Pittsburgh, PA last July, brandished a semi-automatic pistol, and demanded cash.
That's when employees John Watts and Terry Biels beat him with a pipe and held Beam at bay with his own gun.
Beam escaped when they retreated into the store to call 911, but he was arrested a week later. He pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 18 years in prison as a repeat violent felon.
Now Beam is suing the department store and the two employees who beat him, claiming they committed assault and battery and intentionally inflicted emotional distress so as to delay the release of his new album, The Shepherd's Dog to be released on Sub Pop.
"Somebody like Merzbow, or even Cock E.S.P. (I realize it's an exercise in absurdity) are at the point where they should simply be a concept, or a theory. To turn it into a business is a joke." - Assume Power Focus (Hydra interview)
"These longtime Minneapolis noise merchants dress up in ridiculous costumes, make sounds that will automatically loosen your stool and throw household appliances at each other." - Go-Go Magazine (Denver)
"I have never bothered to follow this band, and this hasn't convinced me that I missed out on anything." - Worm Gear
"Semen-encrusted fun for the whole family." - Torso
"My chair never knew what hit it." - Autoreverse
"A bunch of crap and a waste of time." - Quacky & Pigley's Big Huge Club
"Is this guerrilla performance art? Am I on a hidden-camera TV show? Am I just stupid for not 'getting it'? Are you fucking kidding me? These are all normal reactions and seemingly a part of the grand concept that the E.S.P.-ers have been pimping for a decade." - Cincinnati CityBeat
"Horridly obnoxious sounding." - Flipside
"Funny enough the first couple times, but tends to get boring rather quickly." - Sinkhole
"Minneapolis' Cock E.S.P.might be called underground or performance art, but is more likely a joke." - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
"As Cock E.S.P. has eloquently proved throughout their career, it's hard to take anything too seriously when it includes someone in a donkey mask humping an amplifier." - Columbus Alive
"Almost dumb enough to be Falco." - CMJ
"I can't wait for the fucking tour." - TMT
03.10.07 - Minneapolis, MN - The Church $# with Knife World, Dianoga
03.11.07 - Chicago, IL - The Village $# with Panicsville
03.12.07 - Cleveland, OH - Embassy - Tusco Terror with Skin Graft
03.13.07 - Columbus, OH - Skylab - $# with Noumena
03.14.07 - Pittsburgh, PA - Smiling Moose $ with Plastered Bastards
03.15.07 - Rochester, NY - AV Room - 8 Public Market (2nd Floor) $# with Nuuj
03.16.07 - Brooklyn, NY - Paris London with $#Rubbed Raw
03.17.07 - Boston, MA - School of the Museum of Fine Arts $#!
# Mr. Natural
! Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck Suffering Bastard
Art Brut Tour in Support of “Sophomore Effort,” Respectfully Suggest that You Stop Buying Your Albums at the Supermarket
Although my only real-life interaction with Art Brut involved feeling their bass through the ground (I was horizontal and minutes away from being hospitalized; is this story old yet?), I assure you I’ve been trying to make up for it ever since. My old roommates took “Good Weekend” (arguably the best track on Bang Bang Rock and Roll) out of house rotation because they couldn’t handle three healthy doses of British smarminess and power chords a day. Obvious solution: move! And move I did, but in all fairness, Art Brut had very little to do with it. Still, the fact that my new roommates have an elaborate call-and-response routine worked out to “Formed A Band” (Roommate 1: “FORMED A...” Roommate 2: “A WHAT?” Roommate 1: “FORMED A B--” Roommate 2: “A WHAT!?” Roommates 3 & 4: “A BAND! WE FORMED A BAND! LOOK AT US! WE FORMED A BAND!”) is an exceptionally convenient bonus.
Somehow, I don’t feel that said routine would be as well-accepted at one of these dates, but hey, we’re just talking to the kids:
I saw Pit er Pat play with The Fiery Furnaces back in 2005.
That reminds me of a teacher I had who often wore a black baseball cap that had nothing on it except an embroidered "2005" on the left side.
I stood on the right side of the stage when Pit er Pat played, which is really stage left.
My teacher often came out of left field with some of his comments. Whenever things got out of his control, he said we were a "clusterfuck of a class."
'Clusterfuck' is a military term that describes a process where too many people are involved in a situation, all trying to help, but only making things worse.
It was my first time seeing Pit er Pat, and I thought they played rather skillfully back in black-hat-embroidered 2005, and there's only three of them. Not a clusterfuck.
When someone in my class would be the first to do something, he would say that student "popped the class' cherry."
I enjoyed seeing Pit er Pat play, and I think The Fiery Furnaces' Eleanor Friedberger winked at me with her left eye later on that evening. I liked it, but she also seemed to wink at other people, too. I didn't like that.
My teacher often gave us sage advice, telling us to be an individual, original, and not "a bunch of Kool-Aid drinkers."
Nobody in Pit er Pat winked at me, but they were a lot of fun to listen to and watch. I even bought their album.
My teacher often carried a large case to which he fastened a handle made of string and rubber bands. He said it was a good "hand job."
Pit er Pat really impressed me with some great piano playing and some great songs.
If we gave my teacher excuses, or tried to pass one over on him, he would often tell us not to "tickle his balls."
Pit er Pat is going out on tour in Europe next week.
A clusterfuck of dates:
Hey guys! Can't talk long, I really can't bear to be away from my new online hangout, www.p2plawsuits.com, for more than a few seconds at a time. That site is "the greatest"! Wait... is it possible to get sued for using the name of a Cat Power album without written permission and paid royalties? To be on the safe side, let's keep that little misstep between "just the two of us." Shit, it happened again... I'd better just "give up."
As I was saying, I have taken time out of my wildly busy schedule helping the music community to share some good news: Sunset Rubdown and Xiu Xiu are going on tour! Xiu Xiu will presumably be promoting their recently released (on Release the Bats) collaborative 12-inch with Grouper, while Sunset Rubdown will be promoting the simple act of a Sunset Rubdown, because, hell, we can all use one of those every now and again. Bonus: as penance for her typically inappropriate comments regarding John Edwards and the GLBT community at large, Ann Coulter has made a special deal with humanity, in which we begin to forgive her in exchange for her doing a cover of "Fabulous Muscles" at every one of Xiu Xiu's dates. On a side note, Ann Coulter had several advertisers pull all ads from her website due to her comments, officially making TMT a more reliable advertising location.
I luv irony OH:
On the go-oo-ood ship MTV, it’s a swee-ee-eet trip to get unemployment pogey. Where the laid-off play, on the sunny beach of Cleanoutyourdesk ‘n’ getofftheproperty Bay!
In mid-February, it was widely rumored (but not by us) that up to 500 jobs would be lost at the still-so-very-relevant MTV after reports hinted that parent company Viacom was "disappointed" with its offspring's performance of late. We are here to recap the goings-on at our fifth favorite music video conglomerate.
A few weeks ago, MTV president Christina Norman responded to the (remaining) employees concerned with rampant web whispers and the future of MTV as they knew it with a post-layoff statement that contained the usual array of awesome phrases about "losing good people" and finding "new ways to connect with our audience" and needing everybody's "creativity, passion and innovation more than ever as we embark on the next great era for MTV, representing and reflecting young people [just as long as they are blonde, bronzed, and buxom -- writer's note]. It ended up being closer to 250 MTV workers losing their jobs, mostly in the Program Planning & Scheduling, News, MTV Docs, Music Marketing and Program Promotions (Music? Oh yeah, music television), Production Events, and the MTV2 P&D departments. The full spectrum of world channels has been axed as well, namely, MTV Desi (aimed at South Asian American viewers), MTV Chi (Chinese Americans), and MTV K (Korean Americans). You would think that attracting new, atypical MTV viewers at this time might be in their best interest, but what do we know. We don't run MTV, we just skewer it.
On March 1, MTV International Networks confirmed that it will be "restructuring" its international operations, which will result in job losses around the 250 employee mark, roughly 8% of its workforce. So, we are back to approximately 500 total job losses again. The "restructuring" will transfer employees from MTV's Latin American office in Miami and Emerging Markets division in London and will cut jobs in Asia. In a statement issued by MTVNI president Bob Bakish, "These changes will position us well for the next phase of our growth -- increasing our operation margins through more efficient corporate structures." The moves are expected to help "build our multiplatform brand portfolios in priority markets and expand growing revenue areas such as ad sales, digital media and consumer products," he added. He then apparently stood on top of his virtual soapbox and shouted flaming buzz phrases like "REFINE BUSINESS AND ORGANIZATIONAL MODELS" and "INFLECTION POINT" and "KEY GROWTH AREAS" and "SHOOT AHEAD OF THE DUCK." Then, in a even more remarkable turn of events, Bakish allegedly broke down weeping and muttering, "We should have bought YouTube... We should have bought YouTube... We should have bought YouTube...."
What does it all mean? Well, some people have lost their jobs at MTV, and the marketing budget for the not-at-all-scripted teen and slow-adult powerhouse The Hills hasn't been dented. Good. If I can't see a Hills commercial every few minutes, then life just ain't worth living. There is always something more important than a few hundred people losing their jobs. Get over it, losers, but keep tuning in to MTV!
As if an attempt to prove gray hair does not have to hold you back, Adam Yauch, a.k.a. MCA a.k.a. Nathaniel Hörnblowér of Beastie Boys fame, has finally landed the dream producing job of every 1980s boy with no future and a lot of angst. Yauch, after several tries and lots of talk, will be producing the latest Bad Brains record.
The group decided to go for the classic lineup this time, featuring singer H.R., guitarist Dr. Know, bassist Darryl Jenifer, and drummer Earl Hudson. For those of you too young to appreciate the importance of Bad Brains, run as quickly as your tiny little mix tape legs will carry you to the video store and rent American Hardcore. Not only will you see Dr. Know and H.R. waxing off on what the hardcore punk scene used to be like, but you will also be educated on other bands that truly matter.
According to Billboard, the new record is titled Build a Nation and is slated for an early summer release, tentatively floating around the months of late May/early June. Megaforce Records will put out the album, the same Megaforce that helped launch the career of Metallica and keep the career of Mushroomhead blooming. (YES!)
Things finally seem to be coming full circle for the little Beastie. It was rumored the name Beastie Boys was chosen because the B and B were inspired by the B and B of Bad Brains, and Bad Brains helped the Boys get off their feet. The boys first made an attempt to return the favor and mix minds with the Brains way back in the '90s, but after losing a battle to Madonna’s record label, Maverick, they were forced to wait until now.
Bad Brains are looking to return to their fast-paced hardcore roots with this release, abandoning the reggae-tinged releases of late. As for tour dates? Look for a few shows on the East and West Coasts, including an appearance with Beastie Boys at the Sasquatch Festival, held May 26-27 at the Gorge in George, Washington. However, Jenifer has said to not expect a big 30-date summer extravaganza.