Q is basically the illest turntablist dude ever. It is hard for me to explain this in other ways, but here’s my best shot:
It is rare to have a chance to witness a performance by a musician who can be considered the greatest in their field. Both the master and the greatest innovator, no one has done as much for turntablism as Qbert. Having invented many of the techniques that are in practice today, including the ludicrously difficult hyperdrumming, he continues to push the limits of skratching. He even created the first all-in-one instrument for turntablists, the QFO. Never one to keep his techniques a secret, Qbert created Turntable TV, two DVDs of Do-It-Yourself skratch instructions, and, most recently, the Scratchlopedia Breaktannica in order to let other DJs attempt (and fail) to match his skills. I would stake all of my credibility as a music listener and journalist on this entirely non-ironic statement: DJ Q-bert can be best compared, in terms of skill, experimentation, innovation, and attitude, to one of his greatest influences, Jimi Hendrix. He also happens to be hilarious (seen Wave Twisters?) and, somehow, humble (he claims he won the DMC World Championship three years in a row by “luck”). See? Q is basically the illest dude.
Oh, also, I’m not telling.
DJ Qbert Is Not Just A Good Story, He Is Still Alive, And You Can See His European Tour:
* DJ Qbert is probably aware that South Africa is not part of Europe.
If your band is signed to EMI, there are three things you can do to ensure your discography doesn't meet the fate of an embarrassing greatest hits compilation (aside from avoiding majors altogether):
Perhaps the most popular choice, the majority of artists signed to EMI are dropped after their first album because they suck. Seems like a negative thing at first, but it is actually the easiest way for you to avoid the embarrassment of your bosses releasing a greatest hits comp in the future. Most artists I've talked to love this option. Quick and only slightly painful. "Highly recommended!" says The Stomp, a post-punk band from 2002 who were dropped right after first single, "Terry Cloth," bombed
(2) Stay signed with the label forever.
This is a bit tougher, but it has been effective so far for artists like AC/DC and Metallica, who refuse to release greatest hits compilations. For the most part, EMI is cool with you not releasing a greatest hits compilation, so long as you stick with the label. However, there are no guarantees with this option. And beware EMI's motto: "All bets are off when you die."
(3) Don't self-release your album on the internet and then later sign with an independent.
This is a given, but since they're so Britishly stubborn, Radiohead did the exact opposite of this and are now paying the price. According to At Ease, EMI is set to release a greatest hits compilation to coincide with the Radiohead's upcoming tour. Like the 7CD box set released last year (link intentionally excluded) to coincide/complete with the In Rainbows "discbox" version, EMI is obviously not embarrassed to release a greatest hits compilation (Fake Karma Creeps?), despite Radiohead explicitly saying in the past that they never want to release one.
- Ed O'Brien, speaking to Strombo: “[Laughing] They’re planning to do a Greatest Hits for April, May to coincide with our tour. That’s an interesting one. We won’t be doing any promotion for that, obviously.”
- Phil Selway, speaking to Analogue: “It’s well within their rights to do it. [Sigh] So we’ll have to see.”
Fucking private equities (TMT News). Anyway, expect Radiohead's North American venues to be announced this week.
We writers get a lot of TMTmail. I mean, a LOT. Not from our adoring fans, of course... we've got separate addresses for that. Sorting through all of this email can be rather mind-numbing, and if it's about Amy Fisher's new DJ set, I will probably skip over it. But I swear on my mother's grave that in recent months, about 25% of my Inbox has had subject headers with the word "Eels" in it. "New Eels DVD!" "New Eels DVD + CD!" "New Eels EP!" "New Eels Action Figures!" (Oh wait, that was Peeping Tom). You get the picture. I don't know what they're feeding Eels' publicity firm, but I want some. Something tells me I would find myself no longer needing that trivial resource known as "sleep."
So, while I couldn't tell you exactly when my grandfather's next birthday is (sometime next month), I can DEFINITELY tell you, without a doubt (without a choice, really) Eels will kick off their tour to support a slew of specialty CD + DVD reissues and collections (TMT Review) beginning March 28. Perhaps I will wake up and dance around singing "It's Eels Tour Kickoff Day!" not unlike the plaid-miniskirted Corey in the classic 1995 film, Empire Records, except it won't be quite as exciting as Rex Manning Day. Oh Rexy, you're sooo sexy.
Moderately sexy Eels tourdates:
National Record Store Day Set For April 19; Somewhere The Kids At Empire Records Jump For Joy, And High Fidelity’s Rob Gordon Rolls His Eyes
That’s right, record store snobs, a holiday has been invented just for you and your fellow 7-inch-collecting buddies! On April 19, hundreds of U.S. independent record stores will join together for a promotional event titled National Record Store Day. Members of The Coalition of Independent Music Stores, The Alliance of Independent Media Stores, Newbury Comics, the Value Music Concept stores, and The Music Monitor Network, as well as other independent music stores will participate.
So what exactly happens on National Record Store Day? 7-inch record Frisbee throws? CD elbow-drop contests? Not quite. According to the National Record Store Day website: “Music, video and gaming will all take center stage with each store doing something different to celebrate including sales, in store performances, demonstrations, swap meets or an ‘afternoon at a record store’ promotion, as well as, provide info on new formats and releases. The goal is to showcase everything that makes an indie store unique.”
Phew, that’s a mouthful. In the meantime, you can keep yourself updated on the participating list of stores, or if you’re a record store owner, you can follow that link and sign up to participate in the extravaganza.
Mark your calendars, kids; April 19 is just around the corner.
I love Americana. Especially when it's made by Scottish people! If you, like me, can't get enough of awesome accents and male-female vocal harmonies, then you're in luck -- because Domino Records artists Sons and Daughters have a new album! And they're going on tour! Entitled This Gift (TMT Review), the album was produced by ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, and released stateside at the end of January.
The Glasgow group performed and recorded with Arab Strap before spreading their country wings and flying into their own vein of energetic, darkly beautiful rock. Since their formation in 2001, Sons and Daughters have opened for The Decemberists, Franz Ferdinand, and -- yes, oh yes -- MORRISSEY. They've been busy touring the UK this past fall, and now they're bringing the show to America, where the band will kick things off with a performance at the Domino Records showcase at the South by Southwest festival. So get out your cowboy boots, your sense of black humor, and a bottle of moonshine, because Sons and Daughters are going to show you how alt-country is done.
I love WHY?. Yet, the last time I wrote about them, I felt the need to obfuscate all of the actual information in the article. I shall now make penance for my misdeeds by explaining why you should buy WHY?’s new LP and see them on tour this spring.
You should do these things because WHY? are goddamn good. WHY? makes music that is abstract, yet relatable. WHY? uses humor in a way that is serious and poetry in a way that is funny. They use indie-style hip-hop vocals in their hip-hop-style indie music. You know what genre WHY? really is? Fuck you, that’s what genre. I’m serious. Fuck you. WHY? are so good that they don’t bend their genre; they transcend genre entirely. One time, they invented a genre, but ended up transcending it later in the same song, so they never even had a chance to decide what it was called.
But if semi-aggressive rants from an unknown music writer who is clearly attempting to make up for some imagined debt aren’t enough for you, perhaps you will respond to music. Their new album’s first single, “The Hollows,” can be freely downloaded here. WHY? also recently covered The Cure’s “Close To Me” for some reason. The track, which will not be on the upcoming album, can be downloaded here.
Is that still not enough for you, hypothetic antagonist? Well then, hear me out once more. WHY?’s third LP, Alopecia, is a shuddering progression of clever, self-deprecating jokes and brutally honest poetry of anguish, accompanied by sparse rhythm and emotionally disjointed instrumentation. This time around, they recorded live as a five-man band, barely using samplers at all. Their upcoming spring tour consists of 39 shows, ending curiously on April 19. They will be accompanied on several dates by myriad other genre-defying artists, such as Br. Danielson.
Fine, don’t trust me. Trust their public relations agency. Here are a few highlights from their press release:
- “...Yoni's voice comes in strong, sweetly soured like a curdling milkshake.”
- “Yoni Wolf has returned with the Art of Songcraft tucked under his arm. Inspired as much by MF Doom and Lil' Wayne as J. Newsom and Big Dylan, his words roll out bent and beautiful, not unlike the musical architecture that sends those words skyward.”
- “...the perfect antithesis to the blunt finality of death is nothing more than claiming the lifeblood that is already yours.”
Well, that does it. You are definitely convinced now. Alopecia comes out March 11. Pick it up and go see them on tour. I’m serious.
[Photo: Sarah Cass]
Today has been a voyage of self-discovery. Well, perhaps just plain "discovery" is more the word for it. You see, I have learned many wonderful and revelatory things today including (a) how a caucus works, (b) that dub-influenced, super-fierce all-girl punk band The Slits are touring in March, and (c) that I can totally pick up a decent wireless signal at the laundromat, which is awesome because it allows me to write this story.
And now I'd like to pass on this beautiful gift of knowledge to you. It seems that The Slits are out and about in order to promote 2006's Revenge of the Killer Slits EP, as well as the release of a new EP, Hated, set for release in March on Exo Records. The upcoming U.S. tour will see the two legendary ladies hitting the road with a new crew of fearless femmes. You're gonna want to save up your laundry money for this one!
The Slits in America:
In a not-so-shocking study conducted by HealthDay News, it was found that one in three "hit" songs contains an explicit reference to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. HealthDay researchers compiled their information by analyzing Billboard magazine’s 279 most popular songs of 2005.
Researchers also discovered that of the 93 songs with references to substance use, the behaviors discussed in each song were associated with partying (54%), sex (46%), violence (29 percent%), and/or humor (24%). In the songs, substance use was often a result of peer/social pressure (48%) or sex (30%).
Although it’s pretty depressing to think about your average 10-year-old singing along to lyrics about doing lines of coke or getting laid, it’s just as funny to censor popular songs from 2005 and see what they'd be like without the explicit references.
Take, for instance, 50 Cent’s oh-so-creative 2005 hit, “Candy Shop.” Let’s see how “sweet” his shop is without all the sex references:
“I'll take you to the candy shop
I'll let you lick the...”
...oh wait, the whole song is overtly sexual.
Let’s try this again. Here’s the censored version of Pretty Ricky’s “Grind On Me”:
“Baby grind on me
Relax your mind take your time on me
Let me get deeper shorty ride on me
Now come and sex me till your body gets weak
With slow grindin’…”
Uh, I give up.
Chicago-based quartet SINGER have signed with Chicago-based heavyweight Drag City for their upcoming debut Unhistories, which doesn't quite have a solid release date as of yet besides a murky "forth. 2008" at the label's official site.
SINGER is a true Windy City amalgam boasting four young bucks, quite familiar to those who have kept up with the ever-evolving Chicago scene. They are Todd Rittmann (US Maple), Robert Lowe (90 Day Men, Lichens), and the brothers Vida, Adam, and Ben. The band has played several opening slots thus far and will play a show with Make Believe and De Triomphe February 22 at Chicago's Subterranean. (I bet you didn't think I could possibly throw another Chicago in, but you were wrong, sucka.)
You can listen to three tracks off Unhistories over at the band's MySpace and then wait impatiently for the disc to magically appear later this year.