Avant Music Fans In Anticipation of the Bent Festival: “Don’t Put Me In Your Box Unless It’s Disassembled And Filled With Frayed Sparking Wires!”
If this year's festival lineups seem a little vanilla for your taste, and the prospect of moshing along to "Guerilla Radio" with an aged Rage Against the Machine doesn't spark your interest, perhaps the fifth annual Bent Festival of circuit bending is more your style. What the hell is circuit bending? Well, straight from the experts, "Circuit Bending is short-circuiting battery-powered sound making devices to create new musical instruments," and this year's festival will take place in Los Angeles (April 17-19), New York City (April 24-27), and Minneapolis (May 1-3). LA performances will take place at Zero-Point and the California Plaza, NYC at The Tank, and Minneapolis at Intermedia Arts (mere blocks from Mr P's house).
All shows start at 7 PM and are completely free, with small fees for those interested in participating in afternoon workshops and zapping some wires of their own. Artists performing who are guaranteed to impress your friends in skill and obscurity include:
Back Story: For the past year, our hero, Martin Dosh, has been held captive by a certain violin-playing, mouth-whistling, guitar-slinging villain, better known as Andrew Bird, or The Birdman, if you will. Against poor Dosh’s will, The Birdman allegedly forced him to tour around the country (And Europe and Australia too! Gasp!) playing drums and keyboard in his backing band. Word has it that the Birdman even resorted to pecking the defenseless Dosh in the face if he even mentioned anything about his own solo career. How dreadful!
Present Day: It appears with the help of some of his anticon. labelmates, Dosh has managed to escape The Birdman’s evil clutches. Yoni Wolf of WHY? (a.k.a The Wolfman) and Adam Drucker of Subtle (a.k.a. Doseone) were seen breaking into The Birdman’s tour bus while he sat perched asleep inside his cage. The Wolfman howled at Dosh, signaling to him that he was safe and it was time to go. Doseone grabbed Dosh’s shakey hand, and the two heroes led him out of the bus and back to anticon.'s Oakland, California hideout.
Conclusion: The Birdman has decreed on message boards across the land that he will seek revenge on Dosh, but for now, it seems that Dosh is safe from the evil beak of The Birdman and able to focus on his fourth solo album, Wolves and Wishes, due out May 13 on anticon.
The tracklisting is as follows:
Tune in next week to see if The Birdman finds out where Dosh is hiding! Will he wreck havoc on the anticon. offices? Will he ruin Dosh’s CD release party? Stay tuned to Tiny Mix Tapes for all the action!
Or a special hip-twist, since you'll have to go to Brooklyn. New Yawk's DIY promoter Todd P is at it again, and as usual, I'm not complaining. The "secret" Atlas Sound show taking place this Friday at a yet-to-be-announced venue in the BK just got a whole lotta hypey, as Deerhunter announced on their blog that it would be them jamming out at said shindig, not Atlas Sound. And just what are they performing, boys and girls? Why, their new album, of course! It's called Microcastle, and only those with tickets will be informed of the show's definite location.
Deerhunter have been laying low since CMJ, so why this return with a vengeance? According to Bradford Cox's post, "It was originally intended to be just an Atlas Sound show, but we have had such a great time recording with each other and rehearsing in the studio that we thought it would be fun to try and pull off an impromptu show with borrowed equipment."
The band has been recording for quite some time at the Rare Book Studios in Brooklyn, so I guess they want to give some of those tunes a test run. Still, playing a new album in its entirety? Before it's even released? Someone just played a nasty joke on the BitTorrent crowd.
Of course, if you don't manage to catch this show, which is a distinct possibility for many of us, Deerhunter can be found elsewhere. Like, way elsewhere. Like, you probably need to get your passport renewed elsewhere. Oops.
For the Jet Set:
04.11.08 - Brooklyn, NY - TBA
05.08.08 - Dublin, Ireland - Whelan's @
05.09.08 - Camber, England - Camber Sands Holiday Centre (ATP vs. Pitchfork)
05.29.08 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound
06.03.08 - Paris, France - Villette Sonique
06.11.08 - Groningen, Netherlands - Vera $
06.12.08 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
06.15.08 - Glasgow, Scotland - Stereo $
06.20.08 - Brighton, England - Barfly $
06.23.08 - Arendal, Norway - Hove Festival
06.24.08 - Stockholm, Sweden - Accelerator Festival
06.25.08 - Calgary, Alberta - Sled Island Festival
$ High Places
Little-Known Post-Punk Band The Lines Gets Reissue Treatment; Aging Goths Around The Nation Celebrate
You look through the shelves of your post-punk music collection. You pull out record after record -- Bauhaus, The Birthday Party, The Cure -- but you just cannot find what you are looking for. You're in a rut. You love these bands, but you're searching for something different. Something more. Something so cultish, so obscure that you will be able to impress the most arrogant record store nerds and closet goth music bloggers. You know you're missing something, but what could it be?
Acute Records has the answer! It's The Lines, a little-known UK group who played alongside bands like those mentioned above, but never really achieved any popular acclaim. Featuring members of prag Vec and Alternative TV, The Lines lasted from 1978 to 1983, never aligning themselves with any movement or scene. They released five singles, one EP, and two LPs, but never made the big $$$.
But now, coming May 27, 2008, you will be able to experience The Lines' mixture of Wire, Mission of Burma, and The Feelies for yourself via the Acute reissue entitled Memory Span. Don't miss out! This could be your best chance to outsnob a record clerk this spring!
According to Digital Music News, Wal-Mart has stripped its online music store of all Sony BMG and WMG artists, while also announcing that it's ditching DRM. Although it will surely be a temporary breakup, Wal-Mart decided to do away with the Sony BMG and WMG catalogs because it couldn't strike a deal with the two majors due to its decision to go DRM-free. (Keep in mind that we're talking about the digital catalog -- Wal-Mart still sells Sony BMG and WMG CDs.)
Wal-Mart currently has lower prices than iTunes at 88-cents a track, but its digital selection has now been significantly diminished. And, of course, Wal-Mart's successes in pricing and catalog are in its physical products, so any decisions regarding its digital music store won't be industry-shaking until it makes actual waves in selling digital music. But ditching DRM is a positive sign at the very least.
^ Bat for Lashes
& Grizzly Bear
Did Jay-Z And BeyoncÃ© Really Tie The Knot Last Friday?! In Other News, Jay-Z To Sign A $150 Million Deal With Some Little Company Called Live Nation
According to the most reputable news source ever, everyone’s favorite couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé got married in New York City last Friday. Apparently the wedding took place at 195 Hudson Street and some of the notable attendees included Beyoncé’s family, the two other forgettable members of Destiny’s Child, Chris Martin, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Now that we got the important news out of the way, let’s discuss Jay-Z big impending deal with Live Nation.
The New York Times reported last week that Jay-Z is all set to leave his longtime record label, Def Jam, and sign with Live Nation to the tune of $150 million. Expected to be finalized this week, the deal includes financing for Jay-Z’s own entertainment venture, as well as rights to his recordings and touring for the next decade. In addition, the deal would give him money for other business opportunities, such as a record label, music publishing, talent consulting, and management services.
But money or no money, the rapper still likens himself to being in the same league as [insert your favorite indie band here]:
“In a way, I want to operate like an indie band," he said. "Play the music on tour instead of relying on radio. Hopefully we'll get some hits out of there and radio will pick it up, but we won't make it with that in mind."
Maybe a Jay-Z and Animal Collective collaboration could be just around the corner? *Fingers crossed.*
Icelandic rockers Sigur Rós are shedding their sweaters for a worldly jaunt of a summer tour, a timely escape from the upcoming wet season in their homeland. As Iceland is a temperate zone with temperatures huddling between 30-60 degrees Fahrenheit, there isn't a whole lot of fun in the sun (which doesn't set for the months of June or July), though it's no winter wonderland either. I think I'll keep running with this national fact thing for a few more paragraphs.
Iceland is the most developed country in the world according to the Human Development Index, with the 13th longest life expectancy at 81.8 years (Andorra ranks 1st with an overall average of 83.5). The largest city is Reykjavík, with a population of 118,000. Two hundred thousand of the nation's 350,000 citizens are contained within Reykjavík and its greater metropolitan area (a drastically high percentage of these individuals maintain personal blogs).
The largest music festival is Icelandic Airwaves, spanning five days starting the third weekend in October. The first Icelandic Airwaves was held in 1999 in a hangar at the Reykjavík Airport. It has since showcased hundreds of international bands before they were widely recognized in their own countries, such as CYHSY, The Rapture, and The Bravery, as well as a plethora of Icelandic bands.
Icelandic music is traditionally religious and choral, which is why Björk (which pronounced correctly rhymes with "jerk"), müm, and Sigur Rós all sound like sad, harmonious whales. Whale watching, consequently, is a rapidly growing sector of the Icelandic tourism industry.
Sigur Rós see the world:
*Sigur Rós Tour The World. This Is Icelandic, A Language Derivative Of Old Norse
Hey there, readers. Come on in, and welcome to this rather willfully postmodern news story about the new Futureheads record. Why don't you get comfortable? There's something I want to talk to you about.
Listen, I'd love to entertain the hell out of you today (you know, like I usually do) with a goofy story about lovable Sunderland punk-poppers The Futureheads and their new, third LP, This is Not The World, which was produced by Youth (Primal Scream, the Verve) and slated to be released via the band's own Nul Records May 27 in North America, in case you were wondering.
But, the thing is, I'm a little upset.
Why? I'll tell you why: press releases. If you've ever worked for a music (or related arts) publication, then you can relate to the stacks and stacks of artist-plugging birdcage liner that show up here at our 31st floor TMT offices every day, all with the intent of convincing us, the jaded music literati, that this or that "hot" band is doing this or that "career-defining" thing and releasing this or that "industry-bucking" product. I mean, pretty much every day, the poor guys (and one weird, tattooed girl) from our mailroom bring up literal sacks of these things (along with our Starbucks orders) for us to wade through. These press releases are all packed with insane amounts of information, and each and every one of them makes you feel like you'd be a complete IDIOT not to report on every excruciating iota of these fly-by-night groups' supposedly "storied" histories.
Take this overstuffed Futureheads press release that Tattoo Girl just handed to me. Like, should I report that this next record is going to be their "finest moment"? That's kind of not in my jurisdiction. Or, is it noteworthy that those dudes "embraced the punk-rock ethic like never before" and "took control of their own destiny" by releasing the thing independently? Or maybe you readers would enjoy hearing about how this new record is "the album they've always intended to make"? I mean, come on! That's what every band says about every record, like, ever! Maybe you could trim things down a little bit here? Maybe we could save a tree or two?
The least their press agent could have done was spare me the literally track-by-track breakdown of the record that follows all of this insane hype. Oh, hey, do you want to know what the Futurehead's publicist thinks of the new Futureheads record??
DUH: He thinks it’s fucking awesome, and you should buy it!
Oh, and the band bio going all the way back to the year 2000 isn't exactly helping me contextualize this new record very much either. Remember when the band met Dennis Hopper on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2005 everyone? Well, apparently we're all supposed to! I'm sorry, Mr. over-stuffed press release -- I'll report that right away! Whatever happened to the simple matter of the title, release date, producer/engineer, and trackli...
Oh, damn it! I almost forgot:
This Is Not The World, huh? Tell that to their press release.
Labels to Radio: (You) “Take My Breath Away.” Radio to Labels: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” (Labels Fighting for Royalties, Radio Charging for Airplay)
In the grand tradition of stocks vs. bonds and “Maverick” vs. “Iceman,” the sketchy, often icy relationship between radio and labels may soon reach a boiling point as labels and their artists are increasingly putting pressure on Congress to change existing laws regarding charging radio broadcasters for playing their music. While songwriters and labels have always benefited from the current legal agreement, the artists themselves (unless they share songwriter credits) do not receive airplay royalties from ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, M.I.A., D.R.I., AC-DC, and NWOBHM*.
David Oxenford, music attorney (and to further drive the Top Gun reference above into your minds, we'll call him “Goose”), claims that changing the existing laws by implementing any of the proposed legislation would negate the present label/radio relationship and would cause radio stations to start charging the labels or musicians for promotional play.
"If you get into the sort of situation where you have a performance royalty, but you also give broadcasters the rights to collect money for featuring music on the air without any sort of announcement that you have to do now to avoid the payola rules, you're going to make the richest artists richer because, for example, if you're a rock station you can't avoid playing U2. So U2 gets richer."
Of course this is utter b.s.; U2 cannot possibly get richer, can they?
“Goose” adds, “For medicine and food, the basics of life, no disclosure is required by law, but music, which everybody loves but isn’t life and death -- requires disclosure of you go to jail, and it’s kind of silly.”
Not everyone loves music, although everyone claims to. And for those who do love music, it IS life and death. I hum a different theme song for each of my unique body emissions, and let's just say when someone like “Left-Eye” Lopes and “Dimebag” Darrell dies, not just a little part of me dies, but a whole honkin’ mid-section!
(Note: I picked these artists because when musicians who die have cute nicknames like “Left-Eye” and “Dimebag,” it is even more important to remember and commemorate their lives.).
Oxenford makes some insightful points, of course. Times are funny right now: radio is floundering, as are labels, so both sides are justifiably trying to squeeze any monies out the other if enforceable. Even the most optimistic of music industry cheerleaders cannot pretend that things will get better for either side in the near future. Just think of that when you are downloading the latest Jordin Sparks or Jonas Brothers. YOU hold the power. Think of the “little” people: record company presidents are filling up their Escalades with regular gas, and I have actually heard of radio broadcasting bigwigs feeding their families with store-bought sushi and domestic beer. For shame! When will this madness end?
Things are just heating up folks so as they say in the gutters, “Watch this space for details.” Until then, please support your labels by going to see terrible campy Broadway music-related extravaganzas like Lennon and All Shook Up and The Times They Are A-Changin,' which are horrible, of course, but feature stellar back catalogs that manage to fill the silk pockets of our music industry heroes (not the artists though... let them remain peasants).
* “New Wave of British Heavy Metal,” of course!