Maria Taylor Announces Tourdates, Soccer Moms Everywhere Rejoice

It’s a Thursday night. You’re exhausted from driving the kids to and from soccer practice in your Lexus SUV; all you want to do is curl up on your couch and watch the newest episode of Grey’s Anatomy (That McDreamy is something else, mmhmm.) You turn on the TV but... shit! It looks like the cable is out again! Fucking Comcast high-definition. You look around for something else to occupy your time with. The kids are in bed (thank god), your lawyer husband is “working late” at his office, and there’s only your new laptop to keep you company. The glow of the screen is inviting, soothing your lack-of-Grey’s migraine as you peruse your email.

Your eyes settle on a particular email, so you click it open. Your face lights up as you read the list of tourdates belonging to Maria Taylor, the very Maria Taylor that used to play in Azure Ray (a CD you swiped from your daughter) and who now has a solo career that is the soundtrack to your SUV-driving soccer mom suburban angst. And she’s playing the Knitting Factory in New York City! You mostly frequent the Upper East Side, but you may have to make a trip with your girlfriends down to Tribeca just for this. Sighing, you look around at the scattered toys on the floor and dirty dishes piled up in the sink. You could definitely use a night out.

Girls night out:

* Johnathan Rice

& Taylor Hollingsworth

^ Nik Freitas

It's Anacortes, WA where, historically-speaking, kids have always been riddled with Adderoll and stoked on citywide rummage sale days, but it wasn't until 2001 when they decided to celebrate their heritage of independence and mediocrity.

July 18-20 marks the seventh year running of What The Heck Fest, held concurrent with Shipwreck Day, the aforementioned citywide sale. As a ticketed event*, WTHF gives an air of officiality (not a word) to what would otherwise be any other day in the life of a politically dogmatic and rurally located Pacific NW music fan, which means fun for the whole family!

Slated events (actual and invented) include: swimming in the lake, trying to get your friend's older brother to buy you beer, drinking that beer in the basement of someone who looks vaguely familiar, feeling socially awkward and uncomfortable in a community center as you wait for Karl Blau to start his set, wearing the pants you got at Shipwreck Day without washing them, listening to original poetry and snidely remarking that it's "so Leaves of Grass," watching movies, wondering if the theatre and dinner show has a vegan option, playing with Kimya Dawson's baby, and living dangerously.

I'm actually really excited about all of this.

Confirmed performers with more to be announced:

Al Larsen, Alyse Emdur, Angelo Spencer, Bryce Panic, Calvin Johnson, D+, Karl Blau, Khaela Maricich/The Blow, Kimya Dawson, Katy Davidson, Lucky Dragons, Mount Eerie, Mirah, Nate Ashley, Ô Paon, Rich Jensen, The Gift Machine, The Graves, The Owl & the Pussycat & the Moore Brothers, Your Heart Breaks.

*$50 for a three day pass and no other way around it, on sale now.

Metallica. After releasing two or three of the greatest metal albums ever, taking on Napster, battling digital providers, jumping the shark by recording an album with a symphony, whoring themselves out to Guitar Hero III, attending rehab and group therapy, winning more Grammys than Lionel Ritchie, releasing a movie of attending rehab and group therapy, emotionally crippling their first guitarist Dave Mustaine by kicking him out of the band 20-odd years ago thus making him spend the time that has passed a bitter, resentful man who takes every opportunity the press affords him to deride the band and their success that he somehow thinks should be his (cut the fucking cord, man!), everybody's favorite Bay Area thrash merchants will be playing a show tomorrow near San Francisco to commemorate Record Store Day! Pull out those Victrolas and dust off your 78 RPM phonographs! Metallica will do a signing session and play an in-store at Rasputin Music in Mountain View, near San Francisco on Saturday. In an unbelievable coincidence, Metallica’s first two albums, Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning have been reissued on vinyl this week. Wow, what a crazy coincidence!

Record Store Day, now the fourth most important holiday in the U.S. -- behind National Cream-Filled Donut Day, Talk Like a Pirate's Parrot's Secretary's Letter Carrier Day, and Easter -- is indeed tomorrow, April 19. Record Store Day will celebrate a disappearing breed of retail store and, in turn, a time when people used to go outside to physically steal albums instead of simply doing it online. And we blame the obesity "epidemic" on bad eating habits, a lack of exercise and the lure of unbelievably awesome video games! Here is a list of participating stores, many of whom will be doing special promotions with labels, giving away stuff, and holding in-store shows as part of the celebration. Björk, Merge Records, Barsuk, etc. -- there's a lot of stuff going on. But when Record Store Day is over, all of these shops will be shuttered and closed for business, paving the way for online-only digital shopping utopia... aaaahhhhaahahhhhhahahhhaaaahhh (evil chief technology executive officer laugh)!

The news of Record Store Day was allegedly originally announced on Mt. Sinai where Moses, in a faded Skynyrd “Gimme Back My Bullets” tour shirt, addressed the crowd: “On this day, all of these stores will simultaneously link and act as one with the purpose of celebrating the culture and unique place that they occupy both in their local communities and nationally.” One bystander who walked all of the way from the impromptu press conference was expecting some sort of revelatory commandment declaration but admitted he would go to Scooter's Ye Olde Record Shoppe in a show of support for the day and finally pick up Lou Reed's Transformer and take a chance on a Biddu album that first caught his eye a couple of months ago while crate digging for some techno 12-inches.

The stars have come out to show support of the day to celebrate record stores (most of whom probably haven’t paid for an album, much less entered a record store in years... but let us not dwell on that):

- Among the scads of celebrity quotes on the Record Store Day site is one from Paul McCartney, who said, “There’s nothing as glamorous to me as a record store. When I recently played Ameoba in LA, I realized what fantastic memories such a collection of music brings back when you see it all in one place. That is why I’m more than happy to support Record Store Day and I hope that that these kinds of stores will be there for us all for many years to come.” He then said, “Cheers.” Then he added, “Pip pip, Cheerios, Wheaties, Rice Krispies, Cocoa Puffs, Fruity Pebbles” before stomping away muttering something about “getting away with it if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!”

- Damian Rice offers this lucid piece of insight: “Dusty violin maker shop small corner record store water holes for dreamers don’t stop breathe more.” I couldn't agree more.

- KT Tunstall nails the spirit of the day with this: “Independent records stores are like a casino where you put down your money and you always win. How amazing to discover gems you didn’t know about, to meet someone more passionate than you are, and to feel at home in a place you may never have been to before. I’m convinced they will never lose their place - Long may they rule.”

- Shelby Lynne takes a more practical approach: “You can’t roll a joint on an iPod -- buy vinyl!”

- And if I haven't copied enough quotes for you yet, the last word has to go to Ian Gillan (Deep Purple): “Buy real records in real shops, or I’ll come round your house and scream at your mother.”

Shouldn’t that be reason enough to do your part and support this treasured day? Your mom's ears will thank you and she really doesn't deserve that abuse, no matter how shitty her Spam and Ramen noodle casserole was last week

Chicago’s Heroes On the Road: Wilco Expands Tour

Straying away, but not that far away from 2002’s Yankee Foxtrot Hotel and 2004’s A Ghost Is Born, Wilco has teamed up with Nels Cline -- one of Rolling Stone’s top 20 New Guitar Gods -- for their latest album, Sky Blue Sky (TMT Review), which was released last year. In support, Wilco has been hitting the road hard and are continuing to ride highways until they run out of highways to ride, adding the ever popular Lollapolooza that will have them playing alongside the likes of Thom Yorke and Nine Inch Nails.

And you know what? Tweedy lives in my neighborhood. Actually that’s just a rumor, but I’m pretty sure, like 85% sure, he lives in my neighborhood. And if that’s true, he probably lives in my neighborhood for the same reasons I do: it’s quiet and away from all the skinny hipster kids, but not so far that, when we both want to pretend we are skinny hipster kids, we can slip into our Levi’s and take the train on down to hipster park.

But I do know this for a fact: Tweedy babysat this one boy I knew from a class I took downtown Chicago one summer, ages ago. And I know this for a fact, too: Tweedy is a cool and sweet guy.

The boys are out expanding that yellow brick road, so they never ever have to leave the Land of Oz:

Akron/Family Love Pot, Hate Hitler, Tour

You know something? I know a lot of idiot stoners who are usually psyched (uh, such as they can be) whenever April 20 comes around. And this year, with the "high holiday" actually falling on the same day as the actual High Holiday (a.k.a. Passover), well... goodnight, right? Puns and innuendo are rampant. Or at least, they WOULD be, except that "rampant" just isn't really a lazy enough word to describe anything about these particular folks, save perhaps for the fervor with which they tend to seek-out and destroy their foliage of choice.

Also, no one I know is Jewish either, so...

But of all the cockamamie plans and schemes to commemorate 4/20 that I've been privy to recently, I have to say that none of them even come close to the ambitious plans set forth by New York freak-folk plant-lovers Akron/Family.

They're not skipping community college photography class and having some friends over to their mom and step dads' basements. They're not clearing their schedule to watch Alice in Wonderland together. They're not even organizing a Sublime listening-party (well, maybe they are at some point, I guess)!

Nope, Akron/Family is surprising us all by doing something completely astounding, utterly crazy, and irrevocably mind-blowing: They're going to WORK.

That's right, the communal quartet is outdoing every hippie in the ambition department by going for the gusto and launching a whole series of spring and summer tourdates on 4/20. Over the course of their odyssey, they'll hit both coasts, a few Midwest dates, a UK festival, and even Spain, all while their fanbase doesn't leave the garage!

Just imagine: while you and all of your dirty, hippie friends are working hard at doing nothing in a collective nod to international laziness, some of the dirtiest hippies of all will be working hard at hauling cases and consulting roadmaps! While you are eating brownies, they'll be popping No-Doz! While you are burning leaves and talking about Mother Earth, they'll be burning gasoline and strangling her senseless!

Whoa, can you believe it? I mean, what does all of this MEAN to your belief system, man? I mean, if a clan of oft-bearded, tree-hugging, chant-loving troubadours is getting their shit together like this and punching the clock on this sacred holiday, then maybe that means that you... should... maybe... think about...

...naw. Fuck it.

$ Vetiver

Liquid Liquid Get Shiny New Retrospective from Domino Records

Seminal New York quartet Liquid Liquid formed in 1980, put out a few releases on the ultra-cool 99 Records, and then disbanded in 1983. But not before they made a totally lasting impact on the music landscape of today -- mostly through the Melle Mel song "White Lines (Don't Do It)," which uses the bassline from a Liquid Liquid song to make one of the funkiest jams to ever dissuade impressionable youth from doing cocaine. And now the no-wave/mutant disco band is getting the old reissue treatment! In a Botox-free surgical procedure, Domino Records has found a way to reinvigorate three classic EPs from the band, as well as the requisite unreleased tracks and live recordings that will make people who already own the original stuff shell out the $$$ for the CD version. They're calling the retrospective Slip In And Out of Phenomenon -- I call it a GUARANTEED DANCE PARTY.

Tracklisting galore!

Sea Wolf to Tour North America Van-Surfing With His Friend “Styles” – Oh Shit, Sorry, That’s Teen Wolf

It may seem counterintuitive for someone named Sea Wolf to be traveling throughout the good ol' U.S. of A. and parts above and in between (read: Canada and Missouri) in a chartered bus when he could be traversing over water crouched on all fours, scavenging for morsels off raw leg-bones while marking his territory along the way. But we would be the last to tell pack leader Alex Brown Church what to do. With the Dangerbird-issued gem Leaves in the River behind him, Church and his collected abetters will continue to promote the guts out of it onstage with a long string of dates beginning mid-May.

This tour is the first headliner for Sea Wolf, who has/have previously played with Nada Surf and Silversun Pickups, but it is all part of an elaborate scheme for world domination: first opening slots, then a headline tour, then acquiring a speed dial list of celebrity heroes like Kim Kardashian and the “Half” from Two and a Half Men. I love it when a plan comes together

05.17.08 - Tucson, AZ - Plush #
05.19.08 - Salt Lake City, UT - In the Venue #
05.20.08 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater #
05.22.08 - St. Louis, MO - The Bluebird #
05.23.08 - Nashville, TN - Exit In #
05.24.08 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 #
05.25.08 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel #
05.27.08 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge #
05.28.08 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge #
05.29.08 - Philadelphia, PA - North Star #
05.30.08 - Boston, MA - Paradise #
05.31.08 - Quebec City, Quebec - Le Cercle #
06.01.08 - Montreal, Quebec - Le Divan Orange #
06.03.08 - Toronto, Ontario - El Mocambo #
06.04.08 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theater #
06.05.08 - Chicago, IL - Schubas #
06.06.08 - Minneaplois, MN - 7th Street Entry #
06.07.08 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - Parkway Theatre #
06.09.08 - Calgary, Alberta - The Republik #
06.10.08 - Edmonton, Alberta - Velvet Underground #
06.12.08 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Media Club #
06.13.08 - Victoria, British Columbia - Lucky Bar #
06.14.08 - Seattle, WA - High Dive #
06.15.08 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge #
06.17.08 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent #
06.19.08 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echoplex #
06.20.08 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah #

# The Jealous Girlfriends

Still here? Well, we would be remiss to not mention that Sea Wolf has contributed the exclusive “Song of the Magpie” to an Augusten Burroughs audio book. A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father will be available April 29 and features Burroughs' reading alongside songs by Sea Wolf, Patti Smith (with daughter Jesse), Ingrid Michaelson, and Tegan (sans Sara).

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