Amid breakup rumors, a six-year vacation from recording new material (aside from the exclusive track for Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, to be released June 5), and increasingly rare live shows, Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan has taken time out of his busy schedule of sparsely releasing Portastatic material, getting filthy rich by releasing Arcade Fire records, and resting on his laurels to play a single show with his original band. Perhaps this will lead to Superchunk’s first national tour in four years, but I’m probably asking too much.
I’m sorry, Mac. That was kind of a cheap shot. I can’t think of any way to write this story that doesn’t consist of me repeatedly telling you I think you’re great. You can play with Superchunk whenever you want, especially if it’s for a good cause. Sean Silver, one of your biggest fans, has cancer and asked you to play his Eff Cancer Benefit on June 20th at the Metro in Chicago, and you -- along with the Mountain Goats and a “special guest” -- said yes.
I tried to open this article at your expense, but damn it, between this and “Detroit Has A Skyline,” you’re the closest thing to a hero we’ve got. As a penance, I offer this Clerihew:
McCaughan is in Superchunk
I’m a total hack, a drunk
The following statement is untrue:
I can tell him what to do
This news story is all about tapes and tapes (but not Tapes ‘n Tapes). “Underground Cassette Culture” exhibition in NYC on until May 26!
It goes without saying (but we'll say it anyway) that without the tapes, Tiny Mix Tapes would be just Tiny Mix. Sure, it's short and sassy like a new summer 'do, but it's not complete without the "Tapes." Regardless, it also goes without saying that it would be goddamn irresponsible of us at Tiny Mix Tapes to not report an exhibition featuring tapes and "cassette culture" in general. It would be blasphemy. It would be sacrilege. It would be something, that's for freakin' sure!
Leave it to Printed Matter, Inc. and Heavy Tapes to go completely against the grain -- and just when we were all working so hard to maintain the grain -- and present an exhibition called "Leaderless: Underground Cassette Culture Now," running now until May 26 in Printed Matter's 195 Tenth Ave, NYC space. Hmm, mid-May? NYC? Yessirsandmadams, the whole shebang is on at the same time that No Fun Fest is on at The Hook (May 17-20). "Leaderless" will feature guest curators Chris Freeman (founder of cassette distro Fusetron), Dominick Fernow (Prurient, Hospital Productions), and the ubiquitous Thurston Moore (apparently a musician of some renown) and is situated in the non-profit organization's back room, subsequently turning it into a den of tapehead culture, with cassettes blaring from ghetto blasters and many specimens available for purchase.
Considering that a top-of-the-range iPod can hold the same number of albums as 1,500 cassettes, it's not too surprising that tapes don't figure prominently in recent news columns. Introduced in 1963, the cassette actually sorta rivaled vinyl in sales for awhile and hit its peak in the late 1980s, when cassingles were the shit. Now companies are refusing to replenish stocks of blank cassettes and tape players are going the way of Cooperalls (anyone, anyone?). But, as any packrat, collector, or serial killer knows, sometimes you just have to keep that concrete reminder of a happier or at least memorable time in your possession.
Records might be cool and sexy, but many people will admit that one single cassette says more about someone than a large stack of black vinyl ever could. Tapes kicking around old cars for so long they have a legal deed on the thing, creative or stupid hand-made j-cards labored over for ages, making mixes for friends and hopeful future partners, knowing every single stretched bit of tape on an over-played classic, buying cassettes at thrift stores just to see what nonsense was on them (usually bad radio mixes or voiced nonsense)... cassettes conjure up memories. There used to be fewer things as sad in life as a favorite tape finally giving up the ghost or breaking or getting lost. In fact, it is apparently believed by tapeheads all over that when this happens, an angel gets its wings by rolling its '79 Camaro into a ditch. I can't confirm this, but I have to believe in something! Cassettes are still important because cassettes equal culture and culture never dies.
[Case in point: my girlfriend still has a tape of herself singing a French song to her father when she was an infant. At the opposite end of the cute-important spectrum, I had a cassette kicking around for ages that featured me and a friend reading excerpts, in scary "metal" voices no less, from a Hit Parader interview with W.A.S.P.'s Blackie Lawless, while I crashed a cymbal overtop of my friend playing his guitar through his digital delay and flange pedals (jeesh, I really wish I wasn't such an open book all of the time because that is so embarrassing... see what I go through to entertain you?!). That tape, thankfully, is long lost.]
Labels participating in the "Leaderless: Underground Cassette Culture Now" exhibition include 23 Productions (WI), AA (MI), American Tapes (MI), Animal Disguise (MI), Bone Tooth Horn, Callow God (CA), Cherried Out Merch (OR), Chondritic Sound (MI), Drone Disco (OH), Ecstatic Peace (MA), Fag Tapes (MI), Fuckit Tapes (NY), Gods of Tundra (MI), Hanson Records (MI), Heavy Tapes (NY), Hospital Productions (NY), Iatrogenesis (OR), Ides (IL), Friendship Bracelet (MA), Loveless Tapes (NJ), Middle James CO (ON/CA), Monorail Trespassing (CA), Nihilist Productions (IL), Not Not Fun (CA), Psychform (WA), RRRecords (MA), Rundownsun (BC), Since 1972 (NY), Spite (NY), Stammer Tapes (NY), Swampland Noise (CA), Throne Heap (NY), Tone Filth (MN), Trash Ritual (NY), Troniks (CA), and many more.
Explosions in the Sky have communicated in a brief statement on their website that they have been forced to cancel all of their European summer dates due to a family member falling seriously ill. This includes an imminent date at All Tomorrow's Parties in Minehead, which I was totally going to go to. Damn, man.
TMT's thoughts are with the band and their family and hope for a speedy recovery.
If you live in any of the following towns, get ready to stamp your foot and go "Oh, for Fu":
Fresh off an opening slot on tour with everyone's favorite rap/rock/bro/jock/alt/funk/metal band Incubus, The Strokes' rhythm guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. is going on a solo tour! Yes, that band. Mmhmm, The Strokes -- our former "Saviors of Rock 'n' Roll." I know, I know... that never quite panned out. Of course, they're all still alive! How could you ask such a thing? No, he's not the one who dated Drew Barrymore; that's the drummer. Albert Hammond, Jr. is the thin, unkempt, scruffy looking one. No, not the tired-looking one; that's the singer. You know Hammond, Jr... the one with the skinny suits! Yeah, I guess you're right. Hmmm, more distinguishing... well, he's the one with the hair -- a little messy, a little styled... come on! There's only five of them! Okay, okay, you're right. It has been a few years since this band was relevant, which is exactly why I prepared this insightful, informative, and educational quiz:
Different Folks Make Up The Strokes! Shall we get started?
1. Which Stroke attended an elite school in both New York City and Switzerland?
a) Julian Casablancas, lead singer
b) Albert Hammond, Jr., guitarist
c) Both 'a' and 'b'
d) NME circa 2001 called and it wants its quiz back.
2. Which band member indulges in thrift store garb?
a) Fabrizio Moretti, drummer
b) Albert Hammond, Jr., guitarist
c) Both 'a' and 'b'
d) Ah, so that's how they all look so cool.
3. Which Stroke measures in at over six feet tall?
a) Nick Valensi, guitarist
b) Nikolai Fraiture, bassist
c) Both 'a' and 'b'
d) You mean they're tall AND handsome?!
Ah, fuck it. Who am I kidding? They're all the same. Catch one of them on tour this summer.
But they got Diff'rent Strokes. It takes Diff'rent Strokes to move the world:
Peep the style and the way the cops sweat Dirty Projectors. The number one question is can the Feds get them. They've got vendettas in dice games against ass-betters and those who pump wheels and drive Jettas. Take that with ya. They've got mob ties like Sinatra. Peruvians tried to do them in (they ain't paid them yet). Tryin to push 700s (they ain't made them yet). Rolex and bracelets is frostbit. Rings, too, people round the way call them Igloo Stick. Who? Motherfuckers.
I don't know how much more blunt things could get, but if you didn't catch that, Dirty Projectors, the Brooklyn-based brainchild of eclectic indie composer/deranged racket-causing mastermind David Longstreth, are bringing their tortured pop music to the masses. After recently sharing the stage with such acclaimed acts as Grizzly Bear, Hella (a quintet now, WTF!?), Battles, and Deerhunter, Projectors will participate in the David Bowie-curated High Line Fesitval in New York City (with Deerhoof) to be followed by a summer jaunt through Europe, including a couple festival dates. In late April, the band will again set their roots in the city they call home with a performance at New York City's Whitney Museum.
Currently supported by the cooing harmonies of Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian, The Dirty-Dirties are at their finest and represent a shining beacon of everything that's right in independent music. With an ever-evolving sound blending dizzying guitar lines, commanding percussion, and vocals that alternate between gooey-sweet melody, haunting lows, and shrieking highs, the band is sure to impress. You can hear their recent session at the Daytrotter Studio here for a taste of the dazzling eccentricities this band has to offer. Longstreth's yelps and hollers are almost as frightening as his pleasantly bizarre lyrics, casting him as one of the most welcomed spokesmen of the fucked up and pissed off since Jaime Stewart of Xiu Xiu first started scaring the shit out of us with songs about crushing depression and a deformed penis.
If you're not in NYC or Europe, try this:
Remember last year when you were so pumped about seeing Sonic Youth play your hometown? Remember when they took the stage and didn't play a single song written before the war on terrorism began? Remember how disappointed you were? You just wanted to hear "Teen Age Riot" one more fucking time to get out all that adolescent angst that didn't get dispelled during your teenage years. Well listen, you're 35 now and the time has come. The question now is will you be there? Because Thurston, Kim, Lee, and Steve will be jet-setting across the world in collaboration with All Tomorrow's Parties' Don't Look Back series, playing Daydream Nation from start to finish at most stops along the way. The tour will be an extensive North American/European escapade to promote the June 12 release of a deluxe version of the 1988 classic.
Geffen will be releasing the double CD, and SY will self-release a quadruple LP on their Goofin' Records label. Disc one will feature the originally released version of Daydream plus a home demo of Eric's Trip, while the second CD will feature live recordings from the Daydream Nation tour and four cover songs: Within You, Without You – The Beatles, Computer Age – Neil Young, Electricity – Captain Beefheart, and Touch me, I'm Sick – Mudhoney.
There's no excuse for missing this one. They're playing everywhere:
06.02.07 - Primavera Festival - Barcelona, Spain*
06.15.07 - Greenfield Festival - Interlaken, Switzerland
06.16.07 - Schlachthof - Wiesbaden, Germany
06.18.07 - Manezh Kadetskogo Korpusa - St. Petersburg, Russia
06.19.07 - B1 Club - Moscow, Russia
06.23.07 - Southside Festival - Neuhausen, Germany
06.24.07 - Hurricane Festival - Scheessel, Germany
06.26.07 - E Werk - Koln, Germany
06.27.07 - Columbia Halle - Berlin, Germany*
06.29.07 - Open'er FestivalGdynia, Poland
07.01.07 - Furia Sound Festival - Cergy Pontoise, France
07.03.07 - La Palio - Istres, France
07.05.07 - Spaziale - Torino, Italy*
07.06.07 - Piazza Castello - Ferrara, Italy*
07.07.07 - Romano di Ostia Antica Roma, Italy*
07.13.07 - Pitchfork Music Festival Chicago, IL*
07.19.07 - Berkely Community Theater - Berkeley CA*
07.20.07 - Greek Theatre - Los Angeles, CA*
07.28.07 - McCarren Park Pool - Brooklyn, NY*
08.15.07 - Paredes de Coura Festival - Near Porto, Portugal
08.22.07 - ABC1 - Glasgow, Scotland*
08.26.07 - Openair at ARENA - Vienna, Austria
08.29.07 - La Vilette Jazz Festival - Paris, France with Mats Gustafson, Michel Doneda, and Jean-Marc Monterra
08.30.07 - Roundhouse London, England*
08.31.07 - Roundhouse London, England*
09.01.07 - Roundhouse London, England*
09.02.07 - Electric Picnic - County Laois, Ireland
* Playing Daydream Nation
eMarketer is reporting that the music industry's revenues are continuing to rise at a healthy and steady pace. What? I thought the RIAA said that everyone was punishing the artists by illegally downloading music and that the industry was losing millions of dollars. Wrong.
You see, where CD sales and music services fail, tours, music licensing, and Sub Pop songs on Grey's Anatomy more than make up for the lost revenue. Hell, eMarketer is even reporting that hoodie, t-shirt, and P.Diddy thong sales more than make up for the CD sales as well.
Let's crunch some numbers shall we?. According to eMarketer, the music industry is growing at an average annual rate of 2.8% a year. Essentially that means in 2006 the industry made $23.1 billion, and in 2011, the industry will make around $26.5 billion. How 'bout that?
This writer rejoices that the music industry is doing so well but is throughly confused as to why the RIAA has to suck so fucking bad. It's frightening to think that the RIAA and their ass coalition of record labels will go so far as to try and lie, spin the truth about CD sales, and scare people with their outlandish threats.
So, there you have it; it took a research company to figure out the RIAA is wrong and that the music industry has huge growth potential. Now if I can just hire a research company to check out this growth on my ass.
It seems like every week there is news about equipment being stolen from a band that typically doesn't deserve it. I know you're thinking, what band deserves such travesty? That band is Hinder. Hinder is that band. Feel free to steal any of their "musical" equipment and give it to a real band in need. You know, sort of like a Robin Hood of our time. Of course, I really don't condone this sort of behavior. You gain nothing in the end, except possibly a record deal where you perform at sold-out cola stadiums under some pretentious alternative title, like Hinder. It's not worth it.
I almost spit up my Taco Bell breakfast at my computer screen this morning when I read the news that Starlight Mints recently had their gear stolen. First, my sympathy went out to the eclectic band, and then I saw the bigger picture of how this has been a constant issue. The Norman, Oklahoma group reported on their MySpace with the following bulletin:
Please help us keep an eye out for the following gear that was stolen out of our trailer which was parked at our hotel in St Paul on May 3rd.
Gibson ES-135 in standard hardcase shell Serial # 92582329
Fender USA Jazz Bass in flight case
Fender USA Stratocaster in standard hardcase shell
Martin Electric Acoustic in standard hardcase shell
Yamaha/Akai Stage 88 Piano in flight case
Gemeinhardt Flute Serial # 125574
If you have any information that could help them, please leave a message on their MySpace. The band has been touring since their release of Drowaton on Barksuk last year. It is possible that there's no quick or easy answer to stopping fools (or terrorists, as I like to call them) from thieving, but we can always try to help these bands out the best that we can. Don't invite your klepto friend, Steve, to the next show you go to. Instead, buy him some tickets to go see Hinder.
As if Google didn't have enough problems already -- I specifically refer to its rumoured difficulties in finding a suitable builder to construct houses fashioned entirely from SOLID GOLD for its ten top executives -- its prime bitchlet YouTube is facing another raft of lawsuits. Yes, yet more courageous warriors are willing to bravely join the noble legions willing to stand up and be counted when the sacred tenets of copyright and obscene profits are impinged upon.
In addition to the fabled legend of the Viacom suit, the English Football Premier League and Bourne Co. (a gargantuan music publishing concern of whom I have NO prior knowledge and no interest whatsoever) have launched a joint class-action suit against poor old GooTube for copyright infringement. Added to this, Robert Tur’s craggy lawsuit, concerning his beloved films of the LA riots being roughly manhandled by YouTube, is now being “supported” by his very newest BFFs at Universal and Viacom, yet another example of multinational corporations standing up for the common man (another example being when they bring back the McRib).
Google has now formally responded to the aforementioned suit from brave Viacom, which is claiming no less than one billion smackeroos for infringement -– although, personally, methinks Viacom is just pissed that Google didn’t knock on its door offering it a topless hand-shandy the same way it did with all the major labels last year. Google’s statement basically claims that Viacom consists of a bunch of mean-ass fucks (“Viacom's complaint threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information, news, entertainment, and political and artistic expression because that is what we’re all about and why can’t we all just love and kiss and play speak and spell together blah blah blah blah blah”) and, anyway, can’t do nothing 'cuz Google has the metaphorical BOMB in it hands in the form of the deified DMCA Title II. It reckons the DMCA protects itself due to the fact that it offers a safe harbor to websites, if they agree to remove infringing material following a formal notice.
But Google cares so much about its buddies in the multinational country club, it doesn’t end there! It's still promising the evil-quashing ‘Claim Your Content’ filter thingy is on it’s way. Soon. Honest. Viacom, impudent scamp that it is, has essentially said that the filter won’t work (so little faith in technology!) and will be too much work for its house dicks to check up on.
So, onward the glorious struggle rumbles. Difficult to say how things will pan out in the end; the most likely outcome is that YouTube will come to some sort of out-of-court settlement with the litigants along the lines of the deals they previously brokered with the majors and once again be compelled to don their freshly laundered terry-toweling wank sock to provide executive relief to all concerned. Those corporate blue balls are a real killer.
Alert the Hazmat Teams, alert the mayors, alert FEMA (hah), alert your grandma, and alert Homeland Security, because 20 cities across the U.S. and one in Canada will receive Menomena via a misleading tour van. The infection will spread between May 11 and July 22, leaving poor old Troutdale, OR in the wake of its destructive path. I called my local disease control office about Menomena, and here are some tips I received from them:
- If gig posters start showing up for a band named Menomena, take charge and inform the proper authorities.
- If you hear hipsters on the streets talking about Menomena's new album, which came out this year on Barsuk Records, stop them, pretend to be a tourist, and snap pictures of them. Send them to Homeland Security and they will be able to take proper action against the deviants.
- If you see white earphones on someone who looks like one of the hipsters above, stop them and ask them if you can look at the screen on their iPod. If anywhere it says "Menomena," then you should immediately confiscate their MP3 gadget and deliver it to the nearest law-enforcement office. Recommend the person from whom you to took the iPod to get themselves to a hospital as soon as possible. Do not listen to the music. We repeat; do not listen to the music.
- Do not follow a crowd of people into a booby-trapped Menomena concert. You may hear faint noises from outside of the venue that will speak to your ears with eclectic pop rock with electronic flavoring, but do not enter. What you are hearing is designed by the disease to draw you in so it may claim your brain. After the show, you may also see people walking out with t-shirts that say 'Menomena'; do not fall for this; these people are zombies now.
After giving me these helpful tips and forcing me to consent verbally that I wouldn't attend a Menomena concert, they decided to share with me the dates of a so-called "tour":