"Conservation is... economically better for everyone else concerned,” says my homeboy Rick Kempler, the 100% biodegradable COO of the Capitol Music Group. Yep, the major labels are going greener than a first-year mechanical engineering student from Billings. Only problem is there are so many ways in which our chums are saving the world, I almost don’t know where to start with the good news!
Maybe I’ll kick off with EMI’s overhauling of its transportation policies. This includes the introduction of hybrid vehicles throughout the entire organization, setting minimum numbers for people per car, and so on. No more chartered ICBMs for you to visit the U.S., Lily Allen! EMI also worked to enviromentalize its Grammy party this year. This, I’m thinking, would probably involve making sure the charlie on offer was like totally organic and pure, yeah? Sweet.
Warner, bless the company, is “exploring” the impact of reducing the carbon footprint of its various office buildings. But these guys at Warner don’t just think the think and talk the talk, they actually prefer to walk the fucking Olympic 50km walk. Warner has already “cut back” on paper-based marketing and has done something which will likely reduce your brain to a little more than a bloody pulp reminiscent of strawberry jam mushed up with mashed banana...
... Prepare yourselves:
Warner Music Group has taken the near-cataclysmic step of phasing out ALL printers in its organization that cannot handle the stress of double-sided copies. I’m not kidding. Every last one of those prehistoric Epsons is motherfucking landfill toast! The revolution appears to have finally arrived. (The next move in the overhaul of the established order is rumored to involve obliterating all printers that can’t handle more than two pages per sheet. Just a rumor, though.) Warner greened up its Grammy party, too. Where was my double-sided invite, huh? The ticker symbol is WMG for those of you who are sane enough to sell up NOW.
But perhaps the most egregious ‘initiative’ being put forward as an example of the industry’s greening is Universal. The company has reduced its waste production fall from nearly 11,000 tonnes in 2004 to nearly 500 this year. WOW! Its carbon dioxide production has dropped by nearly 55 million tonnes in the same period, a reduction of nearly 80%. WOW! And its water consumption has also plummeted. WOW! And HOW? Well, the company has cited a number of “in-house conservation and recycling programs”... ah, and the fact that Universal no longer manufactures any of its own product. Yep, Universal sold the whole manufacturing side of its business off and dumped its shit elsewhere. Probably somewhere unfortunate in the Midwest. I’m guessing that this particular act has had just a little more impact on its environmental figures than encouraging its lackies to recycle their soda cans and produce margin projections on both sides of a piece of paper.
See? It’s not just digipacks.
Have you had your morning coffee today?
If not, you might as well save yourself that awkward trip to the break room past all of those co-workers whose names you still don’t know and just gas yourself up on the sugary fumes of British Six-piece Red Bull junkies The Go! Team (now with more B-50!)
Granted, it’s been a little while since these experts of exclamations have raised our sagging eyelids and graced the indie-rock news piles, following the remarkable success of their generally loved if not somewhat controversial debut long-player Thunder, Lightning, Strike (TMT Review) for Memphis Industries and subsequent re-release on Columbia here in the U.S. (minus most of the cool samples). But after a few scant spring dates in the U.K. and tour-only/live bonus-disc EPs, the jubilant juveniles are back with a new U.S. label and deviant plans to keep us all forever awake with their undoubtedly spastic sophomore LP this fall.
Their dark, aromatic, double-tall, non-fat new album Proof of Youth will be released by the Seattle-based Sub Pup label on September 11 of this year. No tracklist for the LP itself has surfaced as of yet, probably because the band hasn’t thought of enough '80s action movie phrases yet, but we can tell you that two new caffeine-infused singles, "Grip Like A Vice" and "Doing It Right," will be made available via Memphis Industries (still the Team's U.K. label) on July 2 and September 3, respectively, just to get rid of those killer withdrawal headaches we’ve been having. According to the band’s website, “Grip Like a Vice” will also include B-side “Myself,” a cover of Sonic Youth’s “A Bull in the Heather,” and a track remix by Black Affair (Beta Band’s Steve Madson’s new thang). I’m feeling more invigorated already.
"We are thrilled to welcome the Go! Team to Sub Pop," said Sub Pop's A&R rep Susan Busch. "They add yet another sound to our label that is nothing like anything else we have on the roster but at the same time they're a perfect fit. I am sure the release of Proof Of Youth will bring many exciting opportunities for the band as well as the label."
Sounds about right. “Exciting” and exclamation points go hand-in-hand, you know. But while we’re waiting for those perky purveyors of Saturday morning cartoon theme songs for shows that never were, I guess we’re all going to have to bite the bullet and wake up the old fashioned way...
Montreal's The Besnard Lakes may have come late to the Canadian lovefest that the U.S. of Indie has been taking part in for the better part of five years, but they have certainly made their presence known. And the band, led by partners-in-life Jace Lasek & Olga Goreas, achieved this not by forming a large band (six people seems reasonable to me)1 , being served a C&D by James Murphy2, or stealing some guy's basketball3. With an appropriately titled album, Are The Dark Horse (Jagjaguwar), filled with, at times, noir, orchestral, pastoral, and bombastic sounds, the band has garnered them slow but steady love and praise.
The group formed in 2001, releasing their first LP, Volume 1, two years later. Since then, Lasek has produced many notable Canadie (coined by me, I think, right now) bands, including Stars, The Dears, and Wolf Parade. Following the February release of ATDH, the band has been touring around the globe, and they are set to begin another jaunt in a couple weeks. The Lakes are playing the States in mid July, with a preamble starting in the band's homeland Wednesday. The American leg has the band playing shows with Les Savy Fav and Dirty On Purpose, as well as fellow country people Land of Talk and Handsome Furs.
Soon after the tour, the group plans on releasing a 12-inch single for "Casino Nanaimo." While Side A is the title track, Side B holds "Devastation (alternate version)," the original nine-minute, unedited demo version found on TBL's latest LP. Look for the 12-inch on Jagjaguwar September 11, and look for the dates of the tour below.
@ Les Savy Fav + Land of Talk
# Dirty on Purpose
^ Handsome Furs
1 I was thinking Broken Social Scene
3 The Arcade Fire
Peter Bjorn and John (PB & J) To Tour; PB & J Fight PBR with Actual PB & Js, Get Pb (Lead) Poisoning; PBS Says, “Both Go Great with Milk”
Peter is a keen-looking twenty-something on the verge of a big break. Sometimes when he’s lonely, he’ll put ocean sounds on the HiFi, but most of the time, he just concentrates on his sweater collection. He’s got red ones, blue ones, a few argylls, even a sweater printed like dollar bills. When he goes on dates, he sometimes glides his hands over the soft fabric of his sweaters and stares blankly into the distance. A girl he used to know always said it was cute, but these days he’s just worried about getting left with the check. It’s already happened twice, and he’s running out of money -- which he needs to buy more sweaters.
Bjorn suspects that Peter’s sweater collection is getting out of hand. He really wants to have an intervention, to point out that there’s more to being fashionable and young than sweaters, but it’s really just an excuse to try out this great recipe for taco dip he just found. He’s never told anyone this, but during the summer, when the cottonwood trees shed their fluffy white seeds like snow across the lawn, he’ll sit inside with the air conditioning turned way up and try on sweaters from his own collection. He keeps the sweaters hidden inside his upright piano.
John studies chemical engineering at a university and hates how Peter and Bjorn always bicker about sweaters while he’s trying to study. John has vowed never to own a sweater. And not only does he shun sweaters, he doesn’t care about the young folks, old folks, our folks, or anybody talking ‘bout any of those folks’ styles. It’ll be a long tour for John.
Peter Bjorn and John all come from Sweden, and they all clearly love festivals, but leave your sweaters at home, kids (at least until September); it’s summertime:
06.23.07 - Vienna, Austria – Donau Festival
06.29.07 – Stockholm, Sweden – Accelerator Festival
07.01.07 – Istanbul, Turkey – Radar Live
07.05.07 – Kristiansand, Norway – Quart Festival
07.06.07 – Roskilde, Denmark - Roskilde Festival
07.07:07 – Evreux, France – Les Rock Dans Tous Ses Etats
07.21.07 – Valencia, Spain – Benicassim Festival
07.22.07 – Gurten, Switzerland – Gurten Festival
07.27.07 – Berlin, Germany – Berlin Festival
07.29.07 – Niigata, Japan – Fuji Rock
07.31.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater
08.01.07 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
08.02.07 - Salt Lake City, UT - Gallivan Center #
08.03.07 - Chicago, IL - TBA - Lollapalooza aftershow
08.04.07 - Baltimore, MD - Pimlico Race Course - Virgin Festival
08.05.07 - Chicago, IL - Union Park - Lollapalooza
08.16.07 – Saint-Malo, France - La Route du Rock Festival
08.19.07 – Cologne, Germany – c/o Pop Festival
08.24.07 – Leeds, England – Leeds Festival
08.25.07 – Brighton, England – Concorde 2
08.26.07 – Reading, England – Reading Festival
08.26.07 – London, England – Get Loaded in the Park Festival
09.06.07 - New York, NY – Roseland
09.07.07 - Boston, MA - The Roxy
09.08.07 - Montreal, Quebec - Osheaga Festival
09.09.07 - Toronto, Ontario - Virgin Festival
09.11.07 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
09.12.07 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
09.14.07 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits
09.18.07 - San Francisco, CA - The Warfield
09.19.07 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
09.20.07 - Seattle, WA – Showbox
09.21.07 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom
09.24.07 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
# Apostle of Hustle
It’s Good News. Baby, It’s Good News: Rilo Kiley Set Release for Under the Blacklight and I’m Going to Leak the Album in This Article!
Love them or hate them, they will still bend genres like robots under a bridge and melt melodies into euphonious pop ballads. Rilo Kiley will deliver their fourth album, Under the Blacklight, on August 21, bringing us a little more rock than previous efforts. So don't entirely expect more of Jenny Lewis' country twang of Rabbit Fur Coat or Blake Sennett's Elliott Smith-inspired vibrations thought up in The Elected's Sun, Sun, Sun. Since side projects are out of the way, it is time to return to form.
Also being the band's first major label release on Warner, Under the Blacklight was produced by Mike Elizondo and Jason Lader. The album will presumably follow the darker side of Rilo Kiley's Los Angeles life and home, according to a spokesperson. Along with the major label debut, the band may once again be placed in the spotlight, as Sennett (Boy Meets World, Salute Your Shorts) and Lewis (Troop Beverly Hills, Pleasantville) were both previous child actors. But who gives a Joey The Rat's ass anyway about the band's past. New listeners will be much more adapted to Rilo Kiley's sound once they get over the fact they will never find Jenny Lewis in Pleasantville and that Tobey Maguire has always been a bad actor.
As for the album, I'm sure many fans are already sneakily awaiting a giant leak to spread across the internets like gonorrhea throughout Paris Hilton's pristine female prison facility. For those of us who can wait, we can only speculate the title and mysterious tracklisting. Is the title referring to the times my father would raid my room with a blacklight in search of any "male activity" (Yes, just like that dumb, old MTV show Room Raiders)? Is the song "Breakin' Up" about the time Jenny Lewis and I had to call off our fantasized relationship, due to our age difference and uncontrollable lust? Is "Smoke Detector" about a device that prevents fires? And most importantly is "Angel Hung Around" about the now deceased, but always well-"hung," Ronald Reagan (God knows we, TMT Staff, mourn him everyday)?
Sweet-ass buffalo tits! I cannot wait. I'm going to search for the album and download it somewhere.... okay, done... now I must leak the album myself. Here you go TMT readers:
This has gotten out of hand; Blacklight tracklist:
They kick around the bottom of your car until you break them beyond repair and throw them out of your window where they lay until a colorful homeless character or loveable street urchin picks them off the concrete and places them on his or her forehead with a defiant middle finger of rebellion which will be their style trademark until they die. Where was I? Oh, Ray-Bans, those most revered of worldly objects. Without them, most Hollywood movie posters wouldn’t be the same (what would the seductive, sly minx cover halves of their eyes with?). Without them, CSI Miami’s David Caruso wouldn’t have a reliable prop to swipe off his face every time a particularly difficult line of dialogue has him beat. Without them, the owner of the Sunglass Hut chain of mall kiosks (allegedly a Señor Sunny Hutt) and many market stall scammers would take a huge hit in sales and would have to rely on paying the rent with cheap foldable Ferrari mirror shades. Without them, colossal wussies the world over, from Corey Feldman to Freddie Prinze, wouldn’t even dream of attempting to front with a tough-guy stance.
Ray-Ban, makers of the things that hang from the neck-hole of your Ron-Jon surf shirts, have teamed up with MySpace (we are posting a helpful link here because we are well aware that most people have never ever heard of MySpace), the web-based social networking site that isn’t Facebook, to present a battle-of-the-bands contest with entrants competing for the ultimate prize of performing at the Rolling Stone 40th Anniversary party in Las Vegas and at a SXSW Ray-Ban party. The sunglasses king will be offering free downloads from Tokyo Police Club and Mando Diao and personalized web pages as part of this promotion and contest as well.
[Because we always have the inside scoop on these sorts of industry and commercial product tie-in type things, rumors are swirling around the celebrity gossip toilet bowl that Tom Cruise -- the ultimate Ray-Ban icon ("wayfarers" in Risky Business, "aviators" in Top Gun, ‘nuff said!) -- will appear at one emerging artist’s doorstep with holsters full of Mrs. Butterworth’s and Molly McButter to personally feed the lucky so-and-sos an arm-length stack of flapjacks while he reads the Ray-Ban bio, using all of the accents he has perfected as a method actor of the stage and silver screen for more than 20 years now! You’ll get Tom with his “OI’m oireesh” Far and Away brogue reciting the early history of Ray-Ban’s traveling hucksters peddling hand-made sunglasses made from coathangers and wax paper from village to village in the old country (Reseda, CA). The rest of the story will be told using his Jerry Maguire voice, which is actually his regular speaking voice and the one he uses for every role he has ever done, except in the aforementioned garbage Far and Away movie.]
We love promotional contest bullshit here at TMT so we think you should enter this contest and make both the floundering Ray-Ban and MySpace companies happy. The contest was scheduled to start June 15, but I can’t for the life of me find an appropriate info and entry link. Too bad too, because I was primed to ask people to click on "this flash splash trash right hizz-ash!" Regardless, if instant and fleeting pseudo-celebrity is what you crave, you will be able to find the details soon enough. Never pretend. Never be afraid. Never give up. Never Hide. Buy more Ray-Bans! Surf Myspace! Buy more Ray-Bans! Watch MySpace! Buy more Ray-Bans! Love MySpace! Buy more Ray-Bans! Live MySpace! Buy more! More! More! More! Bleeeaaarrrgghhh... drool... puke....
Gravy Train!!!! Dishes Out All The Sweet Stuff: A delicious treat featuring roller disco workouts, Lenny Kravitz references, sex, food, ’90s pop culture, frat parties; I still don’t know how many exclamation points go at the end their name…
Gravy Train's newest release All The Sweet Stuff hits the shelves July 10 courtesy of Cochon Records. The album, the band's third full-length following 2005's Are You Wigglin'? and the ever-popular Hello Doctor from 2003, features cameos by some of Earth's finest: Imperial Teen's Hey Willpower, Junior Senior's Jeppe, and Johnny Makeup of Queer-rap-favorites VIP. The album was produced by Bay Area disco and R&B legends Sugar and Gold, who will accompany The Train for six days on the latter half of their Summer tour.
Listen to new GT tracks at their MySpace page.
All The Sweet Stuff tracklist:
1. All The Sweet Stuff
2. Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Doin' Tonite?
3. Club Situation
4. Solo J/O
6. The Hair Stare
7. Strip 4 Me
8. Just Listen
9. Hey Jody
10. Call Me in French
11. Frat Party
12. A Delicious Treat
Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Wutcha Doin' Tonite? Uhh, gettin' on The Train, DUH!:
# Amanda Blank
@ Quintron & Miss Pussycat
& Sugar and Gold
Kelly Clarkson Hates Money, Loves Self, Inadvertently Becomes Litmus Test for Artist Integrity, Former Spice Girls Stunned at Superior Display of ‘Girl Power,’ Wonder What a ‘Litmus Test’ Is
How much cred does YOUR band have?
Ever wonder how your band or group stacks-up in the grand scheme of that whole "damn-the-man," "too high to die," rock 'n' roll scene? (You know, the one that none of us knew about until Cameron Crowe told us about it??)
Well, keep wonderin', o' ye aspiring students of the School of Rock (you know, the one that none of us knew about until Jack Black told us about it?? Man, I love the movies!), because y'all just got taught a new lesson by one of the most devil-may-care rockers in the business.
Mick Jagger? Keith Richards? Think again.
Iggy Pop??? Not quite.
Tim Armstrong?!?! Okay, who said that one?
Nope. When it comes to indie-cred these days, there is only one name: Kelly "The Real Queen Bitch" Clarkson!
That's right, boys and girls! The American Idol mega-star struck a blow for now-antiquated notions of creative control and artistic integrity in pop music when she recently got all Uma Thurman on Grammy-winning record producer/RCA head-reptile Clive Davis concerning the contents of her new album, My December,, due June 26 on RCA. According to a recent interview with Elle Magazine (yeah, yeah), the cute lil' popstar was anything-but when she roared and rampaged against the 75-year-old Davis' bald-headed beseechery that she accept $10 million dollars in exchange for allowing him to ditch five of the album's songs and replace them with "more radio-friendly" picks of his choosing.
"I've sold more than 15 million records worldwide and still nobody listens to what I have to say because I'm 25 and a woman," K-Claw crabbed. "My resistance upsets a lot of people, because we could make a lot of money. And I'm not hatin' on money. But you know in Funny Girl, when they make Barbara Streisand sing the 'Beautiful Girl' song, and she is singing these lyrics and she knows she's not that person? I'm just not comfortable doing things that don't feel like me."
Meee-yowww, right fellas? Uh... I mean...
The commendably confident Clarkson has also apparently fired her long-time manager, Jeff Kwatinetz of L.A.-based management company The Firm, over the December-related controversy, according to reports earlier this week. "It is true. It just happened. It is a total shock, but she wasn't happy," said a source, adding that Clarkson has not yet decided on a new manager. Another source adds, "They majorly disagreed over the album and the direction and Kelly had enough."
"Had enough," eh? Sounds like Punk Rawk talk to me, ladies and gentlemen. Take that, industry! Yeah!
But not so fast. The ever-stalwart star subsequently released her own softer-sided statement this past Tuesday evening, stating that she has been "so fortunate to be supported by so many talented people in all corners of the music business. Those guys at the Firm did a good job and I really appreciate everything they did."
Say whaaa? Okay, so maybe she's not as Tank Girl as we thought, but still...
So what does all of this torrid controversy mean for the impending release of My December at the end of this month? Will K-Claw's own tunes and true-to-self aesthetic prevail against naysayers like Davis? Or will a community of ruthless critics and disappointed fans soon be flooding magazines and blogs with egregious "Wake Me Up When December Ends" headlines?? Who's to say? But at least the Pop Superstar can be proud to be sitting on top of a record that she actually took creative responsibility for. I heard somewhere that some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this...
In other news, Kelly just cancelled her summer tour due to low ticket sales. Ouch.
In an unlikely move, perhaps inspired by the antics of their undoubted hero Tony Hawk, I’m delighted to report that those voice-manipulating scoundrels Skaters have gone ahead and produced a video game of their own! I’m lucky enough to have a copy, and you square-eyed shitheels have definitely never played NO game like this before.
First of all, you’ve got to kneel down to play. It’s super-important, though, that you face away from the TV when kneeling, to get the full "you are The Skaters and you are playing LIVE in front of 16 people" experience. First step before you play is to attach some included sensor thingies to your head, and instead of using your bog-standard controller, you are given an analog box with a shitload of knobs. You have no idea what the individual knobs do prior to playing, which of course mirrors The Skaters’ own approach to their equipment. Then the fun begins! As you start the game, you stoop forward on your knees and, perfectly rhythmically, bob your head up and down. Then, you start groaning looong and loooouuud into a three-dollar mic (also included with the game), all the while furiously twiddling the aforementioned knobs back and forth. The object of the game, of course, is to produce drones which are as impenetrably murky and twisted as you can manage, whilst maintaining a diligent and forceful regimen of head-nodding. I found doing the two things at once rather difficult, but man, it was so KILLER trying! Naturally, turning around to look at the TV screen at any point will be picked up by the head sensors and results in the immediate end of the game.
The game is being produced by Fag Games, is only available for the Atari Jaguar system, and is limited to a single pressing of 57 hand-numbered and spray-painted copies. As a bonus, if you live in the Ypsilanti area, John Olsen’ll come round and custom spray-paint your game console for you, if your parents will let him in. Unfortunately -- you knew this was coming, diddentcha? -- the game is pretty much sold out right now. But hope remains for you Skaters-lovin’ dudes over in old Europa town. You might be able to pick up a copy on their EUROPEAN TOUR which starts today! Just saunter on up to the merch desk and ask those dudes if they have any copies of the game left.
06.15.07 - London, UK - Whitechapel Art Gallery
06.16.07 - Leeds, UK - Holy Trinity Church (w/Sunroof!)
06.17.07 - Nottingham, UK - Rose Of England
06.18.07 - Sheffield, UK - Red House
06.22.07 - Brussels, Belgium - Bunker
06.23.07 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - OCII
06.24.07 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - VPRO radio show
06.25.07 - Den Haag, Netherlands - Helbaard
06.26.07 - Paris, France - Instants Chavires (w/Taurpis Tula)
06.27.07 - Bordeaux, France - La Centralle
06.28.07 - Bilbao, Spain - Openmem
06.30.07 - Lisbon, Portugal - Galeria Zé dos Bois (w/Taurpis Tula)
07.01.07 - Lisbon, Portugal - Galeria Zé dos Bois
All dates also with Tight Meat Duo and Heather Leigh
Daft Punk Become Human After All, Following Electroma Screenings and a DVD Release on Vice; Short Circuit 2 is Still an Awesome Movie
Plot Outline #1 - Two robots go on a quest to become humans.
Plot Outline #2 - In a dystopic and crime ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with submerged memories haunting him.
Plot Outline #3 - A robot wants to become human as he gains human emotions more and more.
Plot Outline #4 - Robot Johnny Five comes to the city and gets manipulated by criminals who want him for their own purposes.
Plot Outline #5 - A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so he can regain the love of his human mother.
Plot Outlines 1-5 are either the films Robocop, A.I., Bicentinal Man, Short Circuit 2, or the new Daft Punk film Electroma. The answer is:
All of those plots were Short Circuit 2, i.e., the best film ever made. Too bad there hasn't been a funny robot movie in a while. Rush Hour 3 better just be robots, or I am going to kill myself violently in a Starbucks in front of all of my friends and family. Perhaps I should calm down though, seeing as there is at least one robot film to look forward to this summer. Uh, no. Not Transformers. Did you know Michael Bay is already promising up to a 5th Transformers sequel? Yeah, what a douche!
Anyway, you can be relieved with the release of the robot meets indie/art film, Electroma, which features the quest of two robotic forms of Daft Punk to become humans. The 74-minute film was written and directed by the French House duo (Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter) themselves. The screening at last year's Cannes Film Festival caused people to leave during the drawn-out desert/hiking scene, which led critics to unabashedly compare the film to Vincent Gallo's shit-tank of cinematic incompetence, The Brown Bunny. Unless a film is staring Vince Vaughn, it can no longer be praised. Fortunately, there have been better receptions this year at Paris showings, applauding the film for its style and soundtrack.
Although I know you're bummed there is no theatrical re-release of Short Circuit 2 or even a cleverly done Bicentennial Man 2: The Attack of Flubber, you can still get your "robot on" by checking out one of the few American or Canadian screenings this summer or waiting until the DVD is released this fall on Vice in America and on Aztec International Entertainment in Australia.
Screening Dates for Electroma:
06.28.07 - Calgary, Canada - Stride Gallery (Sled Island Festival)
06.29.07 - Los Angeles, CA - New Beverly Cinema
07.28.07 - Miami, FL - Studio A
09.08.07 - Montreal, Canada - Osheaga Festival At Parc Jean-Drapeau
09.09.07 - Montreal, Canada - Osheaga Festival At Parc Jean-Drapeau