Xiu Xiu, Fucked Up, and 186 Independents File Class Action Lawsuit Against RJ Reynolds and Wenner Media
Looks like Canadian anarcha-core band Fucked Up are taking it, not to the streets, but to the courts. It's the people vs. the man, and this time "the people" are 186 of your favorite bands. Joined by Xiu Xiu, which the complaint describes as "often thematically dark, marked by non-narrative, evocative lyrics delivered in small fragments," the two groups have motioned for action, seconded that action, and filed a class action lawsuit against RJ Reynolds and Wenner Media on behalf of all 186 bands name-checked in the four-page Camel "Indie Rock Universe" spread featured in Rolling Stone's November issue.
The suit, filed in Alameda County on December 17 and which reads like it was written by a devoted-reader-of-Pitchfork attorney, alleges the unauthorized use of artist names, unauthorized use of artist names for commercial advantage (right of publicity), and unfair business practices. The lawsuit, the first calling for accountability by Rolling Stone for its part in the ad, requests that the magazine issue an admission that the artist names were used without consent in a spread equal to the size of the original advertisement in question, along with punitive financial damages. The equation conceptualizing damages at $750 per issue, per band, could amount damages at nearly $200 BILLION. Zing!
The bands cited in the ad -- in what Rolling Stone is defending as a "special editorial fold out" -- were surprised to find their songs streaming through Camel's thefarmrocks.com without authorization from both the artists and their labels, inciting the Kill Rock Stars letter of complaint sent to RJR on December 13 (TMT News). As an interim solution to the accusations, Camel has suspended the website and disabled the tracks, but the damage has been done.
Reprehensibly, Rolling Stone claimed the spread had nothing to do with Farm Rocks' (committed to "supporting and promoting independent record labels") nine-page ad campaign appearing on either side of it, which is not only shameless bullshit, but an insult to readers' intelligence. As section 17 of the Fucked Up lawsuit states, "It is obvious to any reasonable person viewing the actual offending foldout... that it is the star attraction of a carefully designed and executed marketing and advertising pitch for Camel cigarettes. Indeed, that is the only possible impression that can be left on the mind of any sentient twenty-first century being with eyesight." And as such sentient beings, we can conclude that Reynolds and Stone are trying to play us for fools, attempting to reduce the indie community to a mindlessly consuming and unquestioning target audience, which Fucked Up and Xiu Xiu have asserted we certainly are not.
We could go even further, interpreting the legal action as a refusal to allow major corporations to appropriate independent culture simply for product endorsement. This is calling bullshit on wolves in sheep's (or in this case indie kids') clothing, who were trying to gain credibility with their next generation of smokers, as section 16 reads "The intendment of the entire multi-page advertising pitch generally, and the foldout in particular, is in its essence an effort at ingratiation, insinuation into target readership favor, and association in readers' minds of Camel members of the target audience, which defendants planned, predicted or hoped would be generated by the use of the ersatz taxonomy of 'indie rock.'"
So, Jann Werner, come on down! You're 2007's embarrassment to us all! And Xiu Xiu, Fucked Up -- our heroes.
The "Indie Rock Universe" spread, name-checking the following bands in the November 15 "fold out":
!!!, 1990s, A Place to Bury Strangers, Against Me!, AIDS Wolf, Andrew Bird, Animal Collective, Antony and the Johnsons, Arcade Fire, Architecture in Helsinki, Arctic Monkeys, Art Brut, Babyshambles, Band of Horses, Bat For Lashes, Beirut, Belle and Sebastian, Biffy Clyro, Bjork, Black Dice, Black Mountain, Bloc Party, Blonde Redhead, Boards of Canada, Bonde de Role, Boredoms, Boris, Bright Eyes, Brightblack Morning Light, Bucks and Gallants, Built to Spill, Cat Power, Celebration, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Coco Rosie, Comets on Fire, CSS, Daft Punk, David Pajo, Dean and Britta, Death Cab for Cutie, Deerhoof, Devendra Banhart, DeVotchka, Diplo, Dirty Pretty Things, Dirty Projectors, DJ Mehdi, Dr. Dog, Dungen, Ellen Allien and Apparat, Emily Jane White, Emma Pollack, Erase Errata, Explosions in the Sky, Fall Out Boy, Feist, Fields, Franz Ferdinand, Frog Eyes, Fucked Up, Fugazi, Ghostland Observatory, Girl Talk, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Gogol Bordello, Grizzly Bear, Guided by Voices, Guitar Wolf, Gym Class heroes, Handsome Furs, High on Fire, Home Blitz, Hot Chip, Husker Du, World/Inferno Friendship Society, Interpol, Iron and Wine, Jans Lekman, Japanther, Jesu, Joanna Newsom, Jose Gonzalez, Joy Division, Junior Boys, Justice, Kaiser Chiefs, Klaxons, Last Days of May, Laura Veirs, Lavender Diamond, LCD Soundsystem, Le Tigre, Les Savvy Fav, Liars, Lightning Bolt, Little Claw, Low, M. Ward, M.I.A., Mates of State, Matmos, Minus the Bear, Modest Mouse, Mogwai, Mountain Goats, Mum, My Chemical Romance, My Morning Jacket, Neutral Milk Hotel, New Pornographers, New Young Pony Club, Nirvana, Oakley Hall, Octopus Project, Of Montreal, Panda Bear, Panic! at the Disco, Parts and Labor, Pavement, Peter and the Wolves, Pissed Jeans, Pixies, PJ Harvey, Plain White T's, Prinzhorn Dance School, Psapp, Radiohead, Ratatat, Ryan Adams, Scout Niblett, Sea Wolf, Shitdisco, Sigur Ros, Simian Mobile Disco, Sleater-Kinney, Sonic Youth, Sons and Daughters, Spoon, St. Vincent, Stephen Malkmus, Sufjan Stevens, Ted Leo, The Cribs, The Cure, The Decemberists, The Fiery Furnaces, The Fratellis, The Futureheads, The Go! Team, The Gossip, The Hold Steady, The Killers, The Magik Markers, The National, The Nightwatchmen, The Ponys, The Rapture, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Rogers Sisters, The Shins, The Silver Mt. Zion, The Smiths, The Stills, The Strokes, The Thermals, The Thrills, The USA Is a Monster, The World, TV on the Radio, Tyvek, Vampire Weekend, We Are Wolves, White Denim, White Magic, White Stripes, Wilco, Will Oldham, Wolf Eyes, Wolf Parade, Wolfmother, Xiu Xiu, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Yo La Tengo
Boredoms Announce U.S. Tour Without Monday Dates. Chuck and Heroes Air Monday Nights. You Figure It Out.
Fresh off last month's release of CD/DVD Live at Sunflancisco on Commmons (TMT News), Boredoms have announced a pretty fucking fleshed-out U.S. tour. Okay, so they're not hitting any smaller cities, but cut them some slack -- it's not easy to get eYe's hair looking so radiant, you know.
As we already reported, Yunnan Colorfree, Yoshimi's soundtrack to the documentary of the same name, was released last November. So, purchase that too before you buy tickets. An informed listener is a cool listener, to paraphrase Heidegger.
$ "in the round"
Wyclef Jean Performs at RIAA Party, RIAA Probably Settled, Ladies Go Wild for Garth Brooks in Tight Wranglers
Dear Reader and Garth Brooks,
AFTER THE FACT NEWS, BABY: So, apparently, Wyclef Jean headlined a wicked-heavy-totally-ultra exclusive RIAA party in Washington in December.
The WAY TOTALLY AWESOME EVENT was also hosted by the Motion Picture Association of America, Sound Exchange, plus other hard-roccccckin’* DC-ites. I can just picture the scene now: hip, hip, hip...
And though WJ probably had the crowd hippy-shaking hard, there’s someone boasting more chops who could have crooned all the girls crazy.
THE [UNNECESSARY] POINT: As some of you may or may not know: Wyclef is NOT the top-selling RIAA solo artist.
Garth Brooks is. ([Chris Gaines=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Gaines], though, is not.)
Mmmmm. Garth Brooks. Wrangler jeans. Stetson hat. I do believe, reader baby, that I have the vapors.
And so should you.
Using this article as an entry point to explore my enigmatic fixation with Garth’s manliness and potentially spark your interest in the bold American hero in tight Wrangler jeans,
The Jicks (with Stephen Malkmus) have a new album. You knew that already. It's called Real Emotional Trash and is due March 4 on Matador Records. You also knew that Stephen Malkmus was the frontcutie of Pavement and an original member of Silver Jews. BUT, did you know that Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks are friends with Radiohead???
Now that I've got your attention, you should check out new track "Baltimore" (MP3). It's classic Malkmus. And if you listen closely, you might just hear lyrical references to Judy's "What's Up, Baltimore?" article (TMT Article), which in fact is a reference to What's Up Matador. I smell me some conspiracy!
The Jicks are bringing ex-Pavement frontcutie, ex-Silver Jews member, current friend of Radiohead Stephen Malkmus on a tour of the United States this spring. They'll be hitting -- hey... [waves hand in front of your face] are you paying attention, bumpkin?? Hey... HEY!! Remember the "Paranoid Android" video? Okay, good... good. Now keep your eyes opened. Hello? Ah fuck it, you lazy bastard, here are the tourdates, with more expected in April. If you miss any of this, not my fucking fault. Man, you try to write a news story...
Tourdates, with random Radiohead song titles interspersed:
Geffen Announces Happy Round of Holiday Layoffs, Former Employees More Disgruntled Than Clark Griswald
In the hilarious holiday classic National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, lovable loser, Chicago Bears fan, and over-burdened family man Clark Griswald is understandably upset when he learns that his Christmas bonus, upon which he was so unwisely depending to give his family a truly merry Christmas, is being withheld due to budget cutbacks at work.
In the pilot episode of now-iconic (and now-terrible) "cartoon for adults" The Simpsons, sort-of-lovable loser, donut fan, and under-qualified family man Homer Simpson is understandably upset when he learns that his Christmas bonus, upon which he was so unwisely depending to give his family a truly merry Christmas, is being withheld due to budget cutbacks at work.
Hilarity ensues... AND the family gets a kick-dick dog.
In the heart-breakingly real world of the "everything is super" Record Industry, approximately 15 expendable losers, money fans, and hopefully NOT family men (and women) -- including veteran publicists Jim Merlis and Jycorri Robinson -- were understandably upset when they learned last week that their Christmas bonuses, upon which they have been so unwisely depending to give their families a truly merry Christmas, were being withheld due to the fact that they had just been FIRED from Geffen/Interscope Records in the latest round of "sky is falling" industry layoffs, which included Island Def Jam and Sony BMG earlier this month.
Aaaaaand hilarity ensu... oh wait...
Oh well, thank goodness I still have a job.
...Oh, but P.S. Geffen maintains that, contrary to rumors, they will NOT be closing and that everything is great and that music is awesome. They also want to remind you all that they discovered Wang Chung. Happy Holidays, everyone!!
High On Fire Enjoy Going on Such Long Tours That I Now Have Carpal Tunnel From Typing Out All The Dates
High On Fire are set to bring pestilence, scourge, and loads and loads of long-haired dudes in black to a venue near you this winter! Former Sleep guitarist Matt Pike and crew are embarking on an American tour so packed that I am not really looking forward to typing out all the dates. But I will! Because I love you! Now go get me a sandwich.
Just kidding! I'm not really into emotional blackmail. But seriously, get me a sandwich. I've had a hard day of being unemployed, and all I want to do is kick up my feet and talk about heavy metal, so here we go. High On Fire is taking the loudness on the road for a five-week tour so smoking hot it will burn the frost right off the ground. They're touring in support of Death Is This Communion, the band's latest release on Relapse Records. No, I don't want mustard! I hate mustard! Thanks, that's better. Say, you wouldn't mind typing up a few things for me, would you?
Q Magazine named The Pogues one of the top 50 bands to see before you die in 2001. You will outlive Shane McGowan. So, really, The Pogues are one of the top 50 bands to see before he dies. His teeth were rotting out of his head when he was 20 and are completely gone now. His liver has filtered an ocean of alcohol. I've never seen him without a cigarette in his hand. He sounds like he starts every day by gargling cinder blocks. He's always a half step away from falling over. And he's written some of the best Irish songs, and some of the best songs, ever.
Perhaps the ugliest man in music (he makes Tom Petty look like Matt Damon), McGowan left the band in 1991. But since reuniting with The Pogues in 2001, the group has garnered critical praise for its live sets. They are apparently at the top of their game, and this March, the Irish group will have a chance to prove it with a handful of dates on the East Coast, as well as a two-night stand at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago.
Catch them while you can, because a celebrity death pool list is not complete without McGowan.
Ah, another year, another list of “safe” musicians deemed worthy enough to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Seriously, just once, I would like to see an induction list with bands that aren’t always entirely mainstream. Need some examples for next year, Hall of Fame voters? No problem: The Smiths, Can, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Television, New Order, The Zombies, The Minutemen, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, Tom Waits, Kraftwerk, The MC5, The Stooges, Roxy Music, Donovan, Nick Drake, etc., etc., etc.
All right, I’m getting ahead of myself, and you’re probably starting to wonder who the inductees were for the 2008 class, right? The not-so-surprising list is as follows: Madonna, Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp, Dave Clark Five, and The Ventures. Little Walter is also being honored for his work as a sideman, and Gamble & Huff are being honored for their production work.
The whole shebang goes down March 10 at the induction ceremony in New York City at the Waldorf Hotel.
Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band Releasing New LP in March; I’m Trying to Be More Proactive As Well Ever Since Nat Towsen Called Me Out on My Reflexive Laziness
On March 25, 2008, Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La band (henceforth “Akon”) is releasing a new album. Entitled 13 Blues for 13 Moons, it has seen Akon “grow louder, looser, full of spittle and tears.” Akon has perfected these new tracks, which bear titles such as “BlindBlindBlind” and “1,000,000 Died to Make This Sound,” with “crackling guitar crescendos setting the pace for dive-bombing swirls of strings.”
Akon lead singer Efrim Menuck’s voice “rasps and wails words of worry, hope and fury throughout.”
Constellation Records is releasing 13 Blues on compact disc and 180-gram double LP. Both formats will be printed on 100% recycled fine paper, presumably because Akon have kept their ears so close to the ground and recognize their fanbase’s concern with the environment.
Silver Mount Zion and Akon couldn’t be more different, stylistically or otherwise! And here I am, just pretending they share a name. Juxtaposition. I choose to apologize to Efrim and SMZ, because I respect them and enjoy their outputs immensely. I also choose to apologize to Akon, so he doesn’t cold throw me anywhere unpleasant or painful.