Merge To Reissue Big Dipper Discography Including Previously Unreleased Album; Tom Scharpling Soars Into The Night Sky On A Jet Of Satisfaction
Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the fertile Boston music scene of the late ‘80s -- like most of the TMT staff, I wasn't born until 15 years later - but one of the most highly-regarded and under-appreciated rawk bands of that time was Big Dipper. Formed in 1985, the band managed to release one EP (Boo-Boo) and two bitchin' (my word is law) LPs (Heavens, Craps) before throwing in the sweat-soaked towel in ‘92. After that year, the Boston area entered a police state and no one dared mention the band for fear of immediate castration.
UNTIL NOW: the kind folks at Merge have announced that they will be remastering and reissuing all of the band's output March 18, 2008 in a 3-disc anthology, including an unreleased album culled from their final recording sessions in the early ‘90s, entitled Very Loud Array -- hopefully a description of the sounds within. The set is called Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology, and as an added feature, it will include nine bonus tracks, one video, and liner notes by "The Best Show on WFMU" host and fellow latter-day Seinfeld hater, Tom Scharpling, who campaigned to reunite the band in 2004 but was cruelly denied.
Speaking of reuniting the band, the original lineup of Big Dipper is currently working out their abs and investing in Rogaine before a planned East Coast reunion tour in April 2008. Precise dates are still being hammered out, but depending on how many drunk guys spill beer on their amps, shorting them out halfway through the shows, there may be a tour of the midwest later in the year.
Yes, no precise dates yet, but until then, may I recommend some other, far more delectable precise dates?
Kate Bush will release her first new material since 2005's Aerial in the
form of a song on a soundtrack. The soundtrack is for the film The Golden
Compass, a film based on a fantasy novel by Philip Pullman.
The track, "Lyra," is named after the title character in the film, Lyra
Belacqua. Written and produced by Bush and also featuring the
University of Oxford's Magdalen College choir, the song will play during the closing credits of the film.
The Golden Compass will play in theaters starting December 7, 2007, while the soundtrack will be released December 11, 2007 via New Line records.
What does the holiday season mean to you? As the snow starts to fall, the days grow shorter and the Salvation Army Santas reappear after their summer hibernation; families come together from all around the world to share in the love and warmth of the holidays. For most people, the whatever-December-holiday-you-celebrate season is a time to enjoy elaborate feasts and a healthy serving of alcoholic holiday cheer.
Seriously, %*@^ those people. Must be nice. Last year my family watched The Coneheads movie and my grandma gave us a rundown of all the people in their town who had died that year. There were lots of awkward silences and no wassail whatsoever. I got towels for a present. Not that I’m complaining or anything; the whole experience just made me realize the importance of inviting at least one super fun, totally interesting person to ensure the success of your festivities. Logically, this person would be Björk.
Just imagine. There’s absolutely no way this could go wrong. Björk is just so vibrant and vivacious, you have to love her! She would bring magical pies full of candy, and when conversation flagged, she would hop up onto the table and perform an innovative and beautiful song that she had written just for the occasion. Wherever she walked, sparkles would fall! It would be the best holiday season ever.
Now, this might not end up happening exactly as outlined in the above scenario, but the magic of Björk is guaranteed to make an impression on lucky concertgoers in Britain and Japan this spring. The lovely Icelandic lady and some musician friends will be touring in support of the single “Declare Independence,” ensuring that the post-holiday months will truly be the most wonderful time of the year.
* Big Day Out Festival
[Photo: Zach Klein]
On Thursday night, thieves broke into the van of Joe Lally and Capillary Action, stealing a shitload of their equipment. The theft occurred sometime between 3 AM and 10 AM "on the corner of Valencia and Clinton Park in San Francisco," according to Capillary Action frontman Jon Pfeffer*.
Here's a list of what was stolen:
- Roland KC350 Amp with bent corner
- Yamaha S03 Keyboard with cracked side
- Alesis QS7 Keyboard
- Sharp VLNZ50U MiniDV Recorder w/ 3" Color LCD Screen (you'll find footage from last night's show in Palo Alto inside)
- Samsonite Brown Suitcase
Please contact Jon (firstname.lastname@example.org, 267-934-6537) if you have any information regarding the theft. And a message to the thief/thieves: c'mon!
Joe Lally's latest solo album There to Here was released in 2006, while his side project Ataxia released its second album AW II earlier this year. Meanwhile, Capillary Action's second "official" release So Embarassing came out on their own Pangaea Recordings.
Joe Lally and Capillary Action have a handful of dates left on the tour, where Capillary Action is both opening each show and serving as Joe Lally's backup band.
Joe Lally + Capillary Action tourdates:
* Jon Pfeffer is a former TMT writer.
What happened? In 2005, when Maritime released their sophomore LP, We, The Vehicles (Flameshovel), they were praised for their sped-up Midwestern-Smiths sound, and rightly so. Since the release of the band's latest LP, Heresy & the Hotel Choir, just a few weeks ago on Flameshovel, the accolades have been slow to appear, calling to mind the response to the band's first, more understated LP from 2004, Glass Floor. So why have Maritime gone back to being more slept-on than your Narcoleptic, pot-smoking roommate's bed?
The new album is, if i may speak frankly, Mr. or Mrs. TMT reader, better than anything the band has ever done. It is absolutely brimming with songs that are just waiting to thrill audiences at home or in a dark and smelly public venue. I dare you to go to one of the group's shows and not be swept up in the fuzzbox guitar-hook frenzy. In fact, they have a tour that started (this is where the article turns a bit hypocritical) YESTERDAY! What the hell are you waiting for? Go to a venue on the list below and camp out until Maritime arrives. Show them some freakin fanaticism for once.
* The One AM Radio
GREETINGS FROM LAS VEGAS--
Thanks for the package. It was very nice, particularly the sweets. I'm in one of the cities that never sleeps, but this one says that what happens here, stays here -- except the mail. Don't worry, I'm not hitched yet! But Elvis says hello! How's Vermont? Be home soon, bye love!
SEE YOU IN SEATTLE--
Vegas was a bore. Hitch-hiked up the coast. Almost lost my virginity on the way, but remembered it was lost in Hollywood. I thought of you. Seattle is colder than you said. Remember? I think I'll keep moving, bye love.
OLYMPIA, OH BOY!--
Washington's nice, real cool. Maybe I'll keep going up, real gold rush. Ran into my cousin Deb, she's living here. Divorced now, her kid's got no direction. Going to California. So easy. He doesn't know what it's like coming from the east. Bye.
VANCOUVER, ITS THE PLACE--
I jumped the border. Can't come home now, laying low. Anyway, found someone new. Your replacement is here; he says hey. He's into music, you'd love it. I read poetry before some concert, me, can you believe it? Follow the music, he says.
Moving around, police after me. Calgary is wet, if you can get that. Your replacement says we're in Calgary because of this band, Los Campesinos. Come up to Ottawa? You, me, dancing. Wish you were here, but don't come to this address.
TAKING IT EASY IN OTTAWA--
Police gave up, Canada's not Dirty Harry enough. Los Campesinos recorded an album with some guy -- Dave Newfeld I think. They're calling it Hold On Now, Youngster... and releasing it through something called Wichita. Maybe I'll go there. My poetry's really taking off.
BEST WISHES FROM WINNEPEG--
Fell in love with Los Campesinos, but they broke my heart. They keep moving. I love you, sort of. I hate Canada, sort of. Your replacement won't sleep with me anymore, which is okay, really. You, me, dancing, that's all I think about. If only I could get back in the US.
Corporate Blob That Is EMI Vows to Suck Up “Smaller-Scale Indie Labels”; Sex Pistols Quote Seems Inappropriate Considering How Bad Their Leno Appearance Was
In what, with proper care and handling, could balloon into a full-on debate about the nature of ‘independent’ music, EMI handlers Terra Firma have, via a NY Post report, indicated that, along with other cost-cutting/profit-enhancing measures, the label plans to allocate between $100 million and $200 million for acquiring ‘smaller-scale indie labels.’
Additionaly, Terra Firma, the private equity firm that now owns EMI (TMT News), is looking to cut $223 million in expenses from the bedraggled EMI, including a $31 million slice from U.S. sales and distribution costs and a shift away from business in ‘non-strategic countries.’ The report also indicates that Terra Firma is banking on digital distribution and online marketing to pick up the money-making slack at a lower cost. Just maybe, perhaps, and with a little luck, the practice of having an A&R bro in a blazer drop bucks to schmooze the next hot young band may find itself gone the way of the dodo. Then again: There's unlimited supply.
Last night, while watching Grey’s Anatomy (shut up, you love it too), I saw an ad for the American Music Awards. Apparently this year, they’re allowing the public to vote on the winners, instead of having them chosen by a bunch of record industry bigwigs and insiders.
Sorry, AMAs, but no matter what scheme you concoct to make people pay attention to your aging award show, you’ll never match the PLUG Awards. Go ahead and keep Jimmy Kimmel as your host; all of us PLUG fans know that Conan is far superior anyway.
Err, getting back on track, the 2008 PLUG nominations are in, and it should come as no surprise to any of you that the top contenders consist of Battles and Of Montreal -- each with seven nominations.
Like voting? Enjoy democracy? Do your part — place your vote in the PLUG Awards here and let your voice be heard. The last day to vote for such categories as Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and a veritable slew of others, is February 8.
The winners will be announced at the PLUG Awards Ceremony and Concert, taking place March 6, 2008 at the new Terminal 5 venue in New York City. Maybe Jimmy Kimmel and AMA performers like Alicia Keys and Maroon 5 will even be there. Or maybe I’m just trying to find a way to connect the end of this news story to the beginning of it. Figure it out for yourself... and vote, damnit!
Band of Horses Reject Wal-Mart’s Advances, Lose Potential Cash Money, or: Ben Bridwell Kills Future Chances of Becoming a Wal-Mart Greeter When He Is Old and Grey
It was (apparently) a mix of negative fan reactions and ye good ol’ fashioned righteousness that brought Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell to kill a deal with Wal-Mart that would have released rights for the track “The Funeral” to the aforementioned Warehouse O’The Man.
Though Band of Horses did previously release some rights for Cease to Begin tracks to Ford (corporate vroom vroom), Bridwell obviously decided that selling artistic output to big, bad Wal-Mart would make TMT writers too smug in their metaphors. In other words, people like me rushing to finish a story and take the easy way out (i.e., poking fun at Bridwell’s almost-deal-with-the-devil as symbolic of modern-day corporate-American-dream-killing1).
Apparently, profiting from Ford is fine by Bridwell, since calling Ford a corporate dream-killer nowadays is far too grossly anachronistic for any history-loving, metaphor-making fan to muster.
Had this been the 1920s, that metaphor could have been more palpable. If you didn’t have a Model T.2
LONG STORY SHORT: your favorite ponies are touring, continuing to tour, and picking up ladies with sweet Model Ts, and touring, and touring: