My good friend and her husband had a baby recently. Since I don't have a baby of my own (let alone a girlfriend), it's hard to talk to her about anything. All she does is jabber about her baby. Not like I don't understand though. I'm sure I'll do the same when I have a baby.
That said, Mates of State, the cute couple who had a baby not too long ago, have just announced the birth (wink!) of a new album, Re-Arrange Us. Slated for release on May 20 via Barsuk Records (motto: "We released stuff by Death Cab for Cutie!"), the new album breaks from the past by replacing their famous organ sound with piano/synth and emphasizing lead vocals rather than harmonies. In other words, Mates of State have gone avant-garde! Tell everyone!
Of course, I haven't heard the album, and I got that info from their publicist. So, assuming we're not being lied to, I think we should be good to go. But wouldn't it be funny if the new album DOES retain the organ sound? And if Mates of State actually went out of their way to ensure that there are ONLY harmonies on the new album? Hell, what if Kori Gardener and Jason Hammel never really had a baby? What if their 2000 debut, My Solo Project, was never really Mates of State at all? And the Mates of State that we always conceived as Kori and Jason were really two black R&B artists? Would you still like them? Are you really that racist?
C'mon, it's fucking 2008, bigot. Grow up.
Check out Mates of States' official website for more on their domestic ways. And expect a tour later this year by these two black R&B artists.
[Photo: Terri Loewenthal]
In A Misguided Attempt to Improve Public Image, Amtrak Chooses An Albatross As the Inagural Riders of the New “Tour Train” Service
Have you ever been on an Amtrak train? If you have, it’s unlikely that you enjoyed the ride (After all, who the fuck likes awful food and noisy small children?). And if you haven’t taken a ride on one, well, don’t ever make an effort to change that. Of course, Amtrak is pretty dissatisfied with the public’s low opinion of its services. In one of its less well-thought-out moves, it decided recently to improve its popularity with the young ‘uns by offering a service to bands who don’t want to tour by bus: they can rent out a car in an Amtrak train for their tour! It offers an interesting possibility: where else would you find Evanescence, Vampire Weekend, and your little brother’s band all in the same place?
Of course, this plan is still in its beta phase. To test out the service’s usability, Amtrak decided to give one lucky band the chance to use a Tour Train for free. That lucky band turned out to be Pennsylvania’s own noise babies An Albatross, who are pushing the train to its limits by taking the tour to off-the-beaten track places like Chattanooga, Tennessee (though considering the town’s name, I guess it’s an apt stop). Anyway, free soggy hot dogs and coloring books for everyone who comes to one of the shows...
All aboard the tour train!
03.06.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Death By Audio
03.07.08 - Richmond, VA - The Camel *^
03.08.08 - Raleigh, NC – Slim’s Downtown *
03.09.08 - Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern *
03.10.08 - Athens, GA - Caledonia Lounge *
03.11.08 - Chattanooga, TN – JJ’s Bohemia *
03.12.08 - Huntsville, AL - Flying Monkey Arts *
03.13.08 - Houston, TX - The Mink Backroom *
03.15.08 - Austin, TX - Spiro's Eyeball Records SXSW Showcase !
03.16.08 - Austin, TX - Beerland Daytime Panache Party @
03.16.08 - Denton, TX. Rubbergloves *
03.17.08 - Oklahoma City, OK - Conservatory
03.18.08 - St. Louis, MO - 2 Cents Plain *#
03.19.08 - Oakland, CA - Uptown Night Club *$
03.20.08 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen *
03.21.08 - Detroit, MI - Scrummage University %
03.22.08 - Wilkes Barre, PA - Cafe Metropolis *
03.23.08 - Annandale-on-Hudson, NY - Bard College *
04.05.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Music City Hall of Williamsburg &
05.01.08 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa +
05.02.08 - Hamilton, ON - The Casbah +
05.03.08 - Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dee's (Over the Top Festival Panache Showcase) +
* The Apes
^ Amoeba Men
! MC Astronautilus, Kiss Kiss, Pompeii, Baumer, Search/Rescue, Tiger Lou, The Casting Out
@ Finally Punk, Best Fwends, When Dinos Ruled the Earth, Mika Miko, The Mae Shi, The Show Is the Rainbow, Cpc Gangbangs, Monotonix
# Genghis Tron, Coliseum
$ Vampire Hands
% Mass Shivers, the Beatitude
& Peelander Z, Fun Machine, The Soundscapes
+ Big A little a
Have you ever wondered if the city you live in is cool? Well, wonder no more, because MSTRKRFT, the vowel-hating Torontonian electro-dance duo have put together their top 19 cities to live/party/dance in North America for February and March. To coincide with this massively important announcement (not a new LP, which is said to be coming sometime this year), the band plans to visit each location at least once, sometimes twice (LA) and sometimes thrice (Miami) on an upcoming tour beginning tomorrow (Tuesday). If names like "studio B," "The Church," and "Vision" don't ring a bell, then you are just out of touch. Stop watching reruns of Frasier (Christ, when did that show go off the air, 2004? What is wrong with you?) and get out there. These aren't your stuffy old Bowery Ballrooms, Magic Sticks, or Hi-Dives. These are places of distinction, with more overpriced drinks and shiny, skintight clothes than you can shake an ass at. But you will try -- o' lord will you ever try.
Government Declares National Shortage of Ryan Adams Songs, Declares State of Emergency, Calls for Whiskeytown Reissue
Subject: WHISKEYTOWN REISSUE YAAAAAY!!1
Date: February 13, 2009 11:23:43 PM EST
Hey, man, it's me again and I have to be honest...
I miss you, Ryan, like the deserts miss the rain. After three records in 2005 (thanks sooo much for that double album, btw), I was riding high and 2006 is a dark period that I don't like to talk about, but then last year you only shared Easy Tiger, an EP and 7,652 online joke raps. We're halfway through February 2008, and I've yet to hear a note from you, Mr. Adams. This is not acceptable, and forgive me for saying so, but can you cut it out with the Grateful Dead shit already? I've had it up to here. Anyway, jk lol -- I guess it has been long enough now that I can start back at the beginning of your career, then pretend you're going freshly solo again and be excited again when you peak with Heartbreaker. Thank St. Winona, though, for Universal Music -- my R.A. methadone clinic -- for taking it way back, all the way to Whiskeytown. You were so young back then! Still sad and not yet sober, but youthful! Can you believe it's been over a decade? Me neither. At least your boyish good looks haven't escaped you.
Anyway, Ryan, like I was saying... the record label is doing one of those useless reissue things with your oft-overlooked early masterpiece from 1997, Stangers Almanac, but they're adding like five live studio tracks! You probably don't even remember doing them, am I right?! But not only that, they're also tacking on a bonus disc of unreleased songs, some by Whiskeytown and some covers, but I'm sure I probably have them already from Napster or something. I mean, 1997? Come on! I'll buy it regardless, though. Anything for you, Ry-Ry. Okay, gotta go now -- Mom's calling for dinner, but I'll write again soon. And don't worry about writing back; I know you've been really busy and sad from your breakup with Jessica Joffe, but when you left your apartment on Tuesday night around 9:45, your spirits looked high! K, well, yeah, like I said, thanks for taking the time to read my e-mails, and I hope they make you smile :) :) :)
Your #1 Fan,
Strangers Almanac: Deluxe Edition, March 4:
* bonus tracks
1. Indian Gown
2. 16 Days (acoustic version)
3. Somebody Remembers the Rose (acoustic version)
4. Avenues (acoustic version)
5. Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight (acoustic version)
6. Houses on the Hill (early version)
7. My Heart Is Broken
8. I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash cover) (acoustic version)
9. Kiss & Make-Up
10. Barn's on Fire
11. Dancing With the Women at the Bar (early version)
12. Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover)
14. Wither, I'm a Flower (previously released)
15. Luxury Liner (Gram Parsons cover)
16. Theme for a Trucker
17. Streets of Sirens (previously released)
18. Turn Around (alternate version)
19. 10 Seconds
20. Ticket Time (early version)
21. The Rain Won't Help You When It's Over (True Believers cover) (early version)
Earth To Release New Album Next Week, Listeners To Make Frowny Faces, Sir Richard Bishop to Tag-Along on Tour
About me: Professionally minded, intensely talented journalist. Fan of early 20th century literature, Webster's dictionary and thesaurus, existential philosophical works, and occasionally The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. I enjoy sunning myself, eating pancakes on Sunday, criticizing other people, and am "incurably optimistic" about a great deal of things.
About Earth: Drone metal Southern Lords from Seattle releasing what may be their 19th album, though there's no truly official count. Have enjoyed being douche-bags since the early ‘90s. Front man Dylan Carlson hung out with Kurt Cobain until he purchased the gun for Cobain to kill himself with, effectively ending that relationship. Many typify Earth's music as minimalist and repetitive, but I like to call it Grunge-Smut. Do with that what you will.
Having established these facts, Earth and I are at odds, and I probably won't be listening to their latest creation The Bee Made Honey in the Lion's Skull, out February 26 on Southern Lord, featuring three tracks by guitarist Bill Frisell (formerly of Ginger Baker and Elvis Costello fame).
Don't get me wrong, I've had my wild times. I've been to Denny's at 2 AM for a "Moons over my hammy"; I've even snuck into the Best Western swimming pool after dark, but I've never been crazy enough to put on an Earth album and call it awesome. Who knows, maybe this will be the one. Psyche! Never!
The Bee Made Honey in the Lion's Skull tracklist:
TVT Records, the nation's largest independent record label, will reportedly file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy this week after a disturbing slew of ugly lawsuits, shady business moves, and general artist over-fucking. "This is not the end of TVT," company head Steve Gottlieb absurdly insists to Billboard.com.
You might recognize the TVT name because of all of the Nine Inch Nails and Lil Jon records you own.
Well, anyway, TVT has been embroiled in some... uh, less than classy legal battles, including a suit against Island Def Jam over a Ja Rule album in 2003 and a more recent skirmish with Miami label Slip-n-Slide over rights to a Pitbull album, which TVT eventually lost and was ordered to pay compensatory damages of almost $2.3 million and punitive damages of over $6.8 million in 2007.
And here in jolly old 2008, my man Pitbull recently lashed out at TVT in an interview with Los Angeles radio station KPWR, claiming it didn't properly promote his newest album, The Boatlift. "I'm out here working like a slave, doing things that other artists don't even know how to do,” the rabid rapper barked. “A label's there to further and promote your career, but it feels like they just keep holding me back.” He’s now asking his fans not to buy the album in protest.
Still, you’ve got to hand it to Gottlieb. He really seems hell-bent on, uh, not looking stupid. "We have been an agent of change," he deliriously insists, "most notably fighting for respect for independents when most major media and trade outlets minimized their role and fighting for industry change in the digital arena, whether in our breaking ranks and settling with Napster in 2001, or in numerous other initiatives. I am optimistic that the company's independent spirit, history of innovation and willingness to pioneer new music and new business models are more valuable in this marketplace than ever before and that we will emerge from this reorganization a stronger more vibrant entity."
Amen, Steve. Right after that bankruptcy!
Oh, by the way, back before all of the questionable business decisions and vindictive hip-hop artists, the imploding label apparently got its oh-so-credible start in 1985 with, get this, Television's Greatest Hits, an album featuring, yes, theme songs from hit TV shows.
Hmmm... speaking of bad decisions and hit TV show themes, try this one out, Steve.
Thanks for playing!
Hi: The following message came in while I was out getting a sandwich. -Steve from the Night Shift
::::Start Transmission ::::: 02.19.2008 :::: 04.48.06.GMT :::::: Arecibo Observatory :::::::::::::::
010010100110000101101 00101101100011010000110111101110101011 100110110010100100000011 1001001101111011000110110101100100000 011010010 1110011001000 000111001001100101011 000010110110001101100 0111100100100000011 00001011000 10011011110111010101 110100001000000110001001101111011 0111001100101011 100100111001100101110
Hi! How’s it going? I’m not sure how long this message will take to get to you, as we decided to vacation in another galaxy for a while. A few light years away probably won’t make a difference, right? The binary stars of Sirius are nice for sunning, and the kids are having a blast, but it’s all in all rather blasé here. You know the type – all old Interstellar Currency with their robot noses stuck so far up their waste expulsion cavities that... well, there I go again. Let’s just say I’d rather be in Memphis. DID I MENTION ELVIS IS HERE?
I thought that would get your attention.
In between the daiquiris and the sandwiches, he’s been keeping watch over his back catalog. In fact, he’s stumbling over here now -- okay, now he’s dictating to me. He says that he’s noticed that some of his songs, like “Jailhouse Rock,” for example, will be coming out of copyright in the European Union in the year 2008. He says that all his songs should DEFINITELY BE ALLOWED TO LAPSE INTO PUBLIC DOMAIN AS PLANNED. If organizations like the European Commission or that smelly Roger Daltrey, who he never liked anyway, try to put pressure on EU countries to extend copyrights from the current 50 years to something crazy like 95 years, Elvis has told me to tell you that I WILL DESTROY THEM WITH SPACE BEAMS. I’m, uh, not really sure I can do that, but I will, uh, certainly try. He’s mumbling something about getting “All Shook Up” about some real Earth hot dogs. Now he’s rolling around on the sidealk making lewd gestures at the passing hotel guests.
Okay, he also wants you to pass this message along to ‘TinyMixTapes.’ I don’t know what the hell a ‘TinyMixTape’ is, but that’s what Elvis is telling me. He says he loves everything about them, but he’s pretty loaded up right now and not making much sense. If they never get it, I’ll just tell him it got lost in the Asteroid belt or something. Okay, talk to you soon.
–B Ring Bobby
The Solar System
::::End Transmission ::::: 02.19.2008 :::: 04.55.32.GMT :::::: Arecibo Observatory ::::::::::::::::
Give Me Some Truth, Yoko: Infamous Ono Denies Suing ‘Lennon’, Schedules Appearance on Montel Williams to Work it Out
In an attempt to win back some instant karma, Yoko Ono has issued a statement denying claims that she is suing a young musician, Lennon Murphy, for using the name of her late husband. Oh Yoko! Just another day in the life, I guess -- batting down claims that try to make her look like a frigid woman. According to Ono, in a statement released by her record label Parlophone, Murphy submitted a trademark application attempting to gain "exclusive right" to the name Lennon for music performance, even after representatives for the Ono camp tried to block the request. Can you imagine? You'd have to be crippled inside to think you could own the name Lennon if you didn't write "Strawberry Fields Forever." The statement concludes:
"Yoko did not sue Lennon Murphy, but sought to stop her from getting the exclusive right to the name Lennon for performance purposes. For that, Yoko's attorneys, simply notified the Trademark office that Yoko did not believe it was fair that Ms. Murphy be granted the exclusive right to the ‘Lennon’ trademark in relation to musical and entertainment services."
Further comments from Ono prove she is trying to give peace a chance: "I am really hurt if people thought that I told a young artist to not use her own name in her performances and had sought to sue her. I did no such thing. I hope this allegation will be cleared," she said. Still, in an open letter Murphy continued to paint herself as the working class hero, stating "I'm not sure what confusion I could be causing since I don't have the $50,000 to hire a lawyer and fight this. If people were confusing me with John Lennon and accidentally buying my records I should have more than enough money to live my life and hire a lawyer?"
I don't know about you, but I'm so tired of Beatles-related lawsuits. How do you sleep, world?
TMT readers, hi! Completists, hello! Porn addicts, what's shakin'? No matter who you are, no matter what kind of lifestyle you lead, boy have I got news for YOU: The oft-rumored "metal" Mount Eerie EP is finally seeing release! On May 27, P.W. Elverum & Sun will be releasing Black Wooden Ceiling Opening. Recored in late 2006 with Jason Anderson (that one dude at the K Records show) and Kjetil Jenssen (drummer of The Spectacle), the white vinyl 10-inch features six Mount Eerie songs reinterpreted in a slightly-louder-than-past-Mount Eerie/Microphones-recordings way. It's not really metal and not necessarily hardcore, but it is, has been, and always will be Phil Elverum.
The Black Wooden Ceiling Opening EP comes with a 21"x21" poster (double-sided!), printed on recycled stock. A bonus 10-track "live bootleg" CD comes included with the release.
In arguably more exciting news, Phil is set to release all those wonderful songs he wrote in Norway back in 2002/2003. Titled DAWN, the release will also include Phil's winter journal from Norway. "This will be a book of very intense journal writing from time spent in a cabin in northern Norway. It comes with a CD of all the songs written there, played once and for all on just guitar and singing. Something like 17 songs. 136 pages. Some drawings. Some pictures. This will be published later in 2008 by Buenaventura Press." Most of the songs have appeared in some form or another, but a bulk of them can be found on 11 Old Songs and Live in Copenhagen. You can find lyrics carved in my flesh.
I saw your future in my jeep:
Whiskey! Women! Tales of heartache and boozing, rollicking guitars and country twang. What could this mean? Why that The Mekons are on tour, of course! The legendary Leeds country punks are on the road again, setting hearts afire and playing damn fine rock ‘n’ roll music. And they're coming to a town near you! Well, if you live in the United Kingdom, Spain, or what many people consider to be the Barcelona of America -- the Midwest.
The band celebrated their 30th anniversary last year with the release of their 26th studio album, Natural (TMT Review) on Quarterstick Records. In addition to this exciting news, my friend tells me that original Mekon Jon Langford has a really cool scarf with skulls on it that you might enjoy seeing him wear. So get out your dancing shoes and Western shirt, because it's going to be one hell of a tour. And if I don't get this story finished soon, I am going to be late to dinner. Oops!