Five months ago, Universal shelled out $12 million to New York charities after being slapped firmly on the ass with accusations of payola. The settlement also introduced a rule that prohibits any label execs from purchasing radio ads containing more than 60 seconds of a song, since independent tracking services could potentially count this as actual airplay, rather than as a dirty, dirty, fat-cat trick. However, if Universal really wants to try it out, all it has to do is give written notice.
And so, as if possessed by a spirit of good will and fairness, some labels distributed by Universal have recently taken up the practice of, well, purchasing radio ads containing more than 60 seconds of a song. Blackground Records used this method last week to boost JoJo's "Too Little, Too Late" to the no. 2 slot on the U.S. pop charts. In the previous week, Roadrunner Records, another label associated with Universal, bought ads that launched Nickelback's "Far Away" up to no. 1. Written notice of these purchases was provided, but it was on a bathroom wall at Universal's corporate headquarters, and was written in shit. Another sign that something was awry in the charts was the fact that no one, in any country, has ever heard either of these songs.
The "ball" is now in New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer's "court." Will Spitzer make a "slam dunk" and tighten up the settlement? Will he "call a foul" on Universal's shady practices? Will he continue efforts to "Shaq"-kle corporate criminals? Will he "chase a player around the court with a bucket of water and then toss it into the crowd, revealing that the bucket was actually filled with confetti"?
Check back in the coming weeks for any further developments on Nickelback.
Lou Barlow is all grows up! He's grows up and he's grows up and he's grows up! (Note: if you didn't find that amusing, please re-acquaint yourself with a certain filmic masterpiece by the name of Swingers. Thanks.) But listen, really. He's got a wife & kids and a nice little place in Massachusetts, and you know who the heck comes by to talk new songs and a NEW TOUR!? Ohh, it's beautiful: Murph and J Mascis. Whether or not they also come bearing fruit baskets is unconfirmed at the time of press.
All you sniffling indie kids dreaming of injecting "Oh yeah, last week at that Dinosaur Jr. concert... " into everyday conversation? Prayers answered. It's a tease of a tour, but it's been 15 long years since Dinosaur Jr. threw a bunch of tantrums and broke up. I don't know about you, but this feels like Christmas.
Pssst. Pavement. Take a hint and live up to your "active" status on the Matador roster:
11.27.2006 - Portland, ME - The Big Easy
11.28.2006 - Portland, ME - The Big Easy
11.29.2006 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
11.30.2006 - Northampton, MA - Pearl Street
12.01.2006 - New York, NY - Rebel
12.02.2006 - New York, NY - Rebel
In this month's Rolling Stone, The Dec.ists have a multi-page article. The Hold Steady have a big, glossy photo. Joanna Newsom's harpistry is praised.
In a time when the line between "indie rockers" and "mainstream tit suckers" is increasingly indistinct, Danielson continues to carry his quirky cross up to the treacherous Golgatha of popularity/cultural awareness. He is willing to sacrifice coherency for the salvation of art, knowing that if we strike him down, he will only become more possible than we can possibly imagine. One can only pray that even after the Stone is rolled away and all the Ships have been sunk, the robe-garbed specter of their unabashed freakiness will help us to know when to turn off the instrument panel and rock out.
Mixed Metaphors Are The New Black:
11.22.06 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - VPRO 3 voor 12 radiosession
11.23.06 - Brussels, Belgium - AB-Box w/ Woven Hand
11.24.06 - Antwerpe, Belgium - Trix w/ Long Winters
11.25.06 - Liege, Belgium - L'Escalier
11.26.06 - Lille, France - La Malterie
11.27.06 - Brighton, England - Komedia
11.28.06 - Bristol, England - Thekla
11.29.06 - Manchester, England - Klondyke Club
11.30.06 - Glasgow, Scotland - King Tuts $
12.01.06 - Hull, United Kingdom - The Adelphi Club $
12.02.06 - Nottingham, England - The Social $
12.03.06 - London, England - The Luminaire $
12.04.06 - Rouen, France - L'Emporium $
12.05.06 - Paris, France - La Maroquinerie $
12.06.06 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso $
12.07.06 - Utrecht, Netherlands - Theater Kikker $
12.08.06 - Darmstadt, Germany - Oetinger Villa $
12.09.06 - St. Gallen, Switzerland - Palace $
12.10.06 - Dudingen, Switzerland - Bad Bonn $
12.11.06 - Lyon, France - Grrrnd Zero $
12.12.06 - Barcelona, Spain - La 2 $
12.13.06 - Bilbao, Spain - Azkena $
12.14.06 - Bordeaux, France - Son'art $
12.15.06 - Den Haag, Netherlands - State X New Forms w/ Sonic Youth
$ w/ Jeffrey Lewis
The Good (band members), The Bad (the band name), and The Queen (an unrelated fading symbol of British aristocratic power)
So Damon Albarn's at it again. He doesn't seem to realize that he's best when surrounded by the people who know him best – including Graham Coxon. Instead of reuniting with the apparently still active (in the volcanic sense) Blur, however, he's decided that even the semi-anonymity of Gorillaz is not allowing him to fully realize his creative ambitions, and he's united some creamily good musicians who are willing to indulge in his delusions of grandeur.
And it's quite a team he's got together: Tony Allen, renowned drummer from Africa 70 and Fela Kuti; Simon Tong, underrated guitarist from The Verve (and, for this newswriter's money, the best thing about them); and Paul Simonon from The Effin’ Clash. Clearly Damon has been in the pub, playing that game where you build fictional supergroups, except he actually has the panache and draw to make it happen in reality. Not that I'm jealous or anything.
Anyway, despite the obvious potential in the group, the gig that the band performed at Camden Roundhouse as part of the BBC's Electric Proms line-up, featuring their entire album in order, showed that Damon is still the undisputed frontman of this little collective. At one point, he made the band restart a song twice, demonstrating a continued desire to prove the band's relevance and ability.
Whatever one might think of Albarn, this is certainly an interesting venture, and one that might well turn out roses. It's always good to see someone unwilling to rest on laurels, whether pixelated or merely blurred.
When we last left our valiant hero, Allofmp3.com was doing pretty well for itself. Eating hamburgers, selling music, smacking bitches, pimping it, etc. And the rest of us were rejoicing by downloading music for hella-cheap and smacking additional bitches. Yeah life sure was swell for everyone involved. Except possibly the bitches.
But now the bitches are getting a little uppity. Seems that selling music at prices that don't suck the lifeblood out of consumers just isn’t fair. The World Trade Organization hasn't let Russia into their club partly because of Allofmp3 (Groucho refused to join). That rejection was followed by some more bad news: Visa stopped honoring purchases made on the site. Then the one-two punch: Mastercard jumped on Visa's bandwagon and a Danish (mmmm...) court ordered an internet service provider to stop allowing access to Allofmp3.com.
But, never one to back down, Allof Oyl is now offering free music downloads. The tracks were meant to only be allowed to play in the Allofmp3 player, but it looks like some little hooligan has delivered a little Halloween present for us all with a way to get rid of all the restrictions on the free downloads. So now, instead of having a chance to make some money from an online music store, the record industry is left to contend with a website offering the best in free downloads. Smooth move, Exlax.
You know the drill, right? You're an intelligent dude/dudette on a busy schedule and you have little time to hem or haw. You see those tourdates laid out down there. Who's stopping you from skipping this paltry text and plunging right into the thick of it? Go on, scan for your city. Scratch that date down in your planner. Walk away. Don't bother yourself thinking about the consequences. After all, I don't have emotions. I'm merely a robot, and my purpose on this Earth is to serve you.
Sure, I was going to say a couple words about Sean Lennon's new album, Friendly Fire, but you probably aren't interested. And that's a-okay. You came here for the tourdates, the raw info, the bare bones, and that's what you'll get. It's how things work around here at TMT — soullessly. It shows character. Since you've probably stopped reading this text entirely, I'll just say I'm glad you now have some extra time to fast-forward through movies, read the last page of mystery novels, have sex with no foreplay, and eat sandwiches without bothering to put the meat on the bread. That's the kind of person you are: in-and-out. I respect that, and I respect you.
I'll be over here if you need anything else. Anything at all.
11.18.06 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
11.19.06 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
11.21.06 - Vancouver, BC - Richards on Richard
11.22.06 - Seattle, WA - Neumo's Crystal Reading Room
12.11.06 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
12.12.06 - Chicago, IL - Park West
12.13.06 - Toronto, ON - Opera House
12.15.06 - Philadelphia, PA - Theater of Living Arts
12.16.06 - Boston, MA - Paradise
12.17.06 - Alexandria, VA - Birchmere
12.18.06 - State College, PA - State Theatre
12.22.06 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Tavern
12.23.06 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
Dear Betty and Veronica,Ah the eternal question... Betty or Veronica? Does it even matter? Even the hot blonde-next-door and the bitchy, wannabe j.a.p. brunette are in mind-cahoots about the time and money worth spending on Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally (Beach House), and Nik Brinkman and Bevan Smith (Over the Atlantic). Both acts recently released debut albums on Carpark Records: Beach House with its self-titled disc on October 3 and Over the Atlantic with Junica on September 19.
My whole school is infested with boys, but most of them are not my type. I do like one boy but the problem is that he already has two girlfriends. What can I do to get him to drop those girls and take notice of me? What should I do? I am sooo confused.
Hi new pen pal! Don't be all down in the dumps about boys 'cause they're so dreamy! Take my Archiekins, for example. Whenever he is spending too much time mooning over that incorrigible Veronica Lodge or when he stands me up for a date to hang around with his football chums, I just go that extra mile and bake him a cake or do his homework for Miss Grundy's class. There are loads of things you could do to turn his head! Oh... maybe you should buy him a ticket to see Over the Atlantic and Beach House at one of the shows I have printed out below. And you can make it an imaginary triple-double-date because both bands are duos! What fun! I wish Archie and I could go with you. We could tour around Riverdale in jalopies and go for malts at Pop's Soda Shoppe and live the white uptight life! It's still the bestest! Go for it girlfriend!
Oh Confused! Relax dahling. The female of the species is deadlier than the male, so it should be you calling the shots and breaking hearts. I mean, look how what I do to that red-headed freak Archie Andrews. I've got the kid so wound up all of the time you can spy the wet patch on his Toughskins' crotch every time the dork is within 50 yards of me! A girl's not a girl if she can't lead some poor sap around by the nose. I could buy and sell his family over and over, but I choose to let him bankrupt his bank balance and dignity to make me happy. What's with that tic-tac-toe design shaved into his hair anyways? That kinda shit might have worked in the forties but this is 2006! Whatever... this is an advice column for you middle-class peasants, so I guess I have to give some advice. Two great bands, Over the Atlantic and Beach House, are playing the cities listed below soon. Make this chump buy you a ticket to one of them. I would also make it clear that you only travel in stretch limos and that it's the only way he has a chance at getting any that night. C'mon, you don't want to give us cock-blockers and stuck-up teases a bad name! Do it or I can make it very difficult for you to get into even the most un-ivy league school. You hear?
10.31.06 - Baltimore, MD - H and H Building, Floristree Space
11.01.06 - New York, NY - Cake Shop (Paw Tracks/Carpark CMJ showcase)
11.02.06 - Cambridge, MA - The Lily Pad
11.03.06 - Montréal, Quebec - Zoo Bizarre
11.04.06 - Toronto, Ontario - Tranzac
11.05.06 - Pittsburgh, PA - Garfield Artworks
11.06.06 - Chicago, IL - Gunther Murphy's
11.07.06 - Minneapolis, MN - Big V's
11.08.06 - Fargo, ND - Aquarium
11.09.06 - Missoula, MT - Crazy Daisy
11.10.06 - Seattle, WA - Conor Byrne
11.11.06 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Pat's Pub *
11.12.06 - Portland, OR - Towne Lounge
11.14.06 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern
11.16.06 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo #
11.18.06 - Dallas, TX - Amsterdam Bar
11.19.06 - Austin, TX - Emo's
11.20.06 - Houston, TX - The Proletariat
11.21.06 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
11.22.06 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn $
11.24.06 - Chapel Hill, NC - Nightlight
11.25.06 - Washington, DC - The Red and the Black
11.26.06 - New York, NY - Tonic %
* w/ Montag
# w/ Ariel Pink
$ w/ The Evangelicals
% w/ Avey Tare (Animal Collective) & Kria Brekken (Müm)
Is it just me or are there a lot of EPs being released this year? I know I have touched on the before, but goddam it really seems true. Although, it may just be my perception, not reality (or wait, isn't perception reality?). Like when you thought that flashing the middle finger, a.k.a. flippin' the bird, a.k.a. lifting a skinny digit like an antenna to Heaven, must have been invented the year you first saw it, like it was some new fad.
Add The Ladybug Transistor to the (possibly imagined) 2006 EP heap. While I may also have stated this before (about some other band), the LT seem like they were the underdogs of that group of '60s-loving wackos in the Elephant 6 Recording Co. They never seemed to get much respect, but unlike Rodney Dangerfield, they aren't dead yet. Here Comes the Rain is the EP in question, recorded for the Green UFOs label, based out of the European country of Spain. Now, don't worry, young non-Spanish Internetter, you won't have to resort to downloading this EP illegally to hear the four covers it contains. It has been available as a free download since yesterday, from places like the Merge (LT's American home) site, eMusic, and iTunes. That's right, this is one of those hi-tek "digital" releases.
The Merge site claims the EP is "chock full of special guests," and I am inclined to agree, with the likes of Jens Lekman, Keli Sutherland (Architecture in Helsinki), Paul Niehaus (Calexico, Lambchop), and many more contributing to cover songs by John Cale, Kevin Ayers, Grin, and Trader Home. For our international readers, you can check out the band on a 2-week tour beginning November 14. Before that, people from the Land of Cool (Brooklyn, NY) see the band as part of the Merge CMJ party at Sound Fix Records.
11.04.06 - Brooklyn NY - Sound Fix Records(Merge CMJ Party) #
11.14.06 - Stockholm, Sweden - Svenska Musik Klubben
11.15.06 - Bergen, Norway - Kvarteret
11.17.06 - Trondheim, Norway - Samfundet
11.18.06 - Tallin, Estonia - Kuku
11.21.06 - Huelva, Spain - University
11.22.06 - Linares, Spain - El Pequeno Saltamontes
11.23.06 - Sevilla, Spain - Sala Chicote
11.24.06 - Granada, Spain - Sugar Pop
11.25.06 - Lerida, Spain - Cafe del Teatre (In-Somni Festival)
11.26.06 - Tarragona, Spain - Zero
11.28.06 - Madrid, Spain (TV show taping)
11.29.06 - Madrid, Spain - Sala Nasti
11.30.06 - Murcia, Spain - 12& Medio
12.01.06 - Valencia, Spain - Sala El Loco
12.02.06 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Club Festival *
# w/ Portastatic, White Whale, David Bazan
* w/ Jeff Tweedy, Cat Power, Teenage Fanclub
iTunes users, the days of tyranny are over, and your emancipator is named DVD Jon! Really! I don't necessarily understand the particulars of this great event — it has something to do with Apple Computers cock-blocking the masses and just generally being bad sharers — but I'll do my best to correctly paraphrase some articles written by people who do.
Whether you knew it or not, all of the music you have been downloading from the iTunes store is compatible with only one model of portable MP3 player: the massively ubiquitous iPod, which is also an Apple product. This is thanks to a witchy little program, or maybe a "bug" or something, called FairPlay. So in essence, if you wanted to carry your legally downloaded iTunes music away from your computer — and 88% of online digital music purchases are through iTunes — you would need an iPod. This is the type of arrangement that was just itching for a bypass of the fuck-the-man kind.
DVD Jon, properly known as Jon Lech Johansen, is a 22-year-old Norwegian national who first made waves among computer nerds when he reverse-engineered something about DVDs so he could play them on his Linux system. He was 15 when he did that. The Scandinavian computer whisperer is confident that his FairPlay bypass is legal and is exploring ways to make it commercially available. Eventually, the workaround could be licensed to companies that manufacture digital music players so they can take advantage of iTunes.
So I'm sitting here trying to think of a way to lead into this story, but it's impossible to concentrate on what I'm writing. Normally, it wouldn't be such a big deal, but tonight, I am at my parents' house, and I am sitting across the room from them as they watch the racially segregated new season of Survivor. And one of the contestants on the show is resting, leaning back casually in the shade, with an enormous erection. Oh God, and the narrator just said he was "cocky" about something, and I'm pretty sure that comment is to be interpreted on multiple levels. He's not even being discreet about it; it's just there, completely perpendicular to the rest of his body.
This is really upsetting to me, because I have been waiting for Joanna Newsom to tour for a pretty long time. I wanted to write some sort of article that reflected how I felt about her music, which is to say, an article that was absolutely gorgeous and original and clever. Maybe something that was written on an antique typewriter, in the middle of a meadow, at dawn. A robin would come and sit on my desk and tweet simple melodies to the beat of my fingers hitting the keys. The words would just come to me, as if in a vision, and when I was finished, I could rise from my seat knowing I had left the world a better place. Instead, all I can think about is this dude's boner and the apathetic reaction it received from the rest of the caucasian tribe. Seriously though, to me it was really obvious, flagrantly just... there, shamelessly and for no apparent reason.
I keep getting sidetracked. Joanna, if you're reading this, I want you to know that I'm sorry. You deserve better, and I did all I could to make an article worthy of having your name included in it. Instead, I combined Survivor and erections, and for that I offer my sincerest apologies. But for God's sake, it was just there, practically taking up half the screen, in broad daylight no less.
It was just there:
11.04.06 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot
11.05.06 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
11.06.06 - Omaha, NE - Scottish Rite Masonic Center
11.07.06 - St. Louis, MO - Blueberry Hill
11.08.06 - Chicago, IL - Logan Square Auditorium
11.09.06 - Colombus, OH - Little Brothers
11.10.06 - Cleveland, OH - Beechland Ballroom
11.11.06 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Museum
11.13.06 - New York, NY - Webster Hall +
11.14.06 - Boston, MA - Somerville Theatre +
11.15.06 - New Haven, CT - Toad's Place +
11.16.06 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church +
11.17.06 - Washington, DC - Black Cat +
11.18.06 - Greensboro, NC - Gail Brower Huggins Theater
11.19.06 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
11.20.06 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
11.21.06 - Knoxville, TN - Blue Cats
11.22.06 - Asheville, NC - Diana Wortham Theatre
11.24.06 - Louisville, KY - Headliners
11.25.06 - Birmingham, AL - Bottle Tree
11.29.06 - Malibu, CA - Malibu Performing Arts Center
11.30.06 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theater
12.03.06 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
12.04.06 - Seattle, WA - Showbox
12.05.06 - Vancouver, BC - St. Andrew's-Wesley Church
12.11.06 - Norman, OK - Meecham Theater, University of Oklahoma
+ w/ P.G. Six
Ys comes out on Drag City on November 14.