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.
While the Detroit area may be better known for musical phenomenons such as Motown, garage (a four-letter word to locals) rock, and white rapping, there also exists a small but formidable clan of pop (a four-letter word to most) maestros working to create hit singles for another world (a world not controlled by greedy record companies who employ producers and writers like scientists on a mission to make pop music and money from talentless, pretty-face types). People like Saturday Looks Good To Me's Fred Thomas, the bands of the Suburban Sprawl label, and Casimer Pascal from Pas/Cal have devoted much time, effort, and talent in the Detroit area to creating sonic harmony and musical beauty.
Pas/Cal in particular have been a shinning light ever since they broke onto the scene with 2003 EP The Handbag Memoirs (Le Grand Magistery). Now, five years later (and with two more EPs under their belt), the band has completed a new full-length record, to be released February 2008 on Le Grand Magistery. The 12-song LP, I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura, was mostly recorded in Casimer's garage studio over the course of three years.
He spoke about the LP via-email, saying that the record's theme is "shaped in large part by the mash-up of a Roman Catholic education and trashy pop culture (Luke & Laura were an infamous soap opera couple in the 80s)." The title, I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura, is part of a more general theme based on a song Casimer is currently working on, but one that won't be included on the release. The songs on the album may look occasionally to the past (with a few songs recalling and appearing on the aforementioned EPs) as well as the future, with Pascal stating that "I think there are things on the new LP that people who own the three EPs (Handbag Memoirs, Oh Honey We're Ridiculous, and Dear Sir) will find a bit hard to swallow at first. There have been many hints at the more adventurous side of my song writing & arrangements on previous releases, but with the full-length, I kind of got carried away with elaborate song structures and lots of words."
Further shades of The Fiery Furnaces appear when he goes on to say that "I constantly strive to write the perfect 2 and half minute pop song... sometimes it just happens two or three times within the same track!" The three "Suite Cherry" songs find the group splintered, but also features expanded duties for some members, with "Suite Cherry: Cherry Needs a Name" being sung by guitarist Gene Corduroy and his wife, and former guitarist Trevor Naud singing lead on "Suite Cherry: Cherry Tree." Even Casimer's children make an appearance, as they are pictured with him on the album's cover.
More info about the album and touring is expected in the next few weeks.
I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura tracklist:
Up Next In One of Our Era’s Most Important Legal Issues: RIAA Hires Unlicensed Law Company and Is Thereby Forced to Settle Their Case Against An Elderly Woman Who Never Shared Music and Who Also Recently Had Her Home Destroyed By a Hurricane
Let me be among the first to wish a merry Christmas to Rhonda Crain, a grandmother who was displaced by Hurricane Rita in 2005 and has been under legal attack by the RIAA for roughly three years.
The RIAA dropped their monetary claims against her recently, not because of her housing situation or the fact that she adamantly denied ever participating in any illegal file-sharing. No, the RIAA dropped their claims because MediaSentry, the multimedia copyright law company hired by the RIAA to fleece Ms. Crain, is not a licensed investigator in Crain’s home state of Texas. Whoops!
Crain has filed a counterclaim, presumably stating “b-but you guys ruined my life for a pretty long time.” The RIAA is (understandably, I guess) trying to keep it from getting too far. In the meantime, the labels have asked that the judge issue a demand that Crain not engage in copyright infringement anymore and delete all of the files that she cannot account for to begin with.
I will end this story with a quote from Crain who, I will remind you, had her home destroyed by a hurricane in September 2005:
"For the last three years [I have] been living a nightmare, thanks to Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal, and Sony/BMG's RIAA," (Emphasis added)
Waxploitation Announces Auction to Go with Benefit Comp for Darfur (Which Is in Africa – A Continent, Not A Country)
Have you noticed that TMT can be pretty political? That's because we're not just esoteric music aficionados -- we're also hard-hitting, investigatory journalists with an obligation to report on the music industry at large. It is in this spirit that we yet again report news coming from Waxploitation.
Waxploitation, the longtime artist management company known most notably for working with the prodigious Danger Mouse and his numerous incarnations, has reached out and united a variety of artists for a compilation whose proceeds will be split between three nonprofits working in Darfur: Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam America. As reported earlier (TMT News), Causes 1: Darfur is, as has been made explicitly clear by the number "1," the first of an anticipated many in the Causes series, created to benefit the victims of what has been called "one of the worst crisis in the world today," a "massive violation of human rights," and "a humanitarian tragedy," but what everyone knows to be a straight up, capital g, Genocide.
The new news? Waxploitation recently announced that even more money will be raised from the soon-to-occur, fourth annual Waxploitation rock star's stuff auction through MissionFish.org. Items to be launched through the normal individual's price ceiling include guitars and covet-worthy merchandise signed by acts such as Avril Lavigne, Norah Jones, The Flaming Lips, The Deftones, Common, Gnarls Barkley, Kanye West, Gorillaz, Coldplay, Wilco, TV on the Radio, The Decemberists, Bloc Party, Macy Gray, Nickelback (as good as donations to charitable causes are, I strongly discourage involving yourself in a bidding war over anything signed by Nickleback, ever), and Thievery Corporation.
Now, show some support!
EEEEEEEW, rancid B-sides for sale?!?
Who the HECK in their right mind would want to buy a bunch of rancid B-sides? That's just gross; that's just unsanitary; that's just...
Wait... what's that, Mr P?
OOOOOH, I get it: Rancid B-sides!
Who the HECK in their right mind would want to buy a bunch of Rancid B-sides?!?
Okay, okay. But seriously. B Sides and C Sides:
Uh, let's see.
What else... what ELSE...
Oh, December 18.
I guess that's it.
Merry Christmas, unemployable Mohawk Guy.
In between her work on a forthcoming album and the recent Bloodshot Records reissues of Furnace Room Lullaby, Blacklisted, and the super special totally amazing new bonus version of 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, it has been a busy year for Neko Case*. And things don't look to be slowing down. In a move that will thrill alt-country fans, New Englanders, and the lovelorn man who stood next to me and repeatedly shouted "I love you, Neko! Oh yeeeeeah!!" the last time she played my hometown, Neko Case has announced a string of concert dates in the eastern part of these fine United States. Case just put the finishing touches on some new tracks, and she and her band will be testing them out on unsuspecting (until now!) New England audiences this winter. Case will be joined in her systematic track-testing endeavors by Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers, who will be providing both musical and scientific support. Better fire up those Bunsen burners, Eastern seaboard, and don't forget your safety goggles -- the winter months just got a little hotter!
* Well, sort of. I mean, those reissues were kind of already written, but you know what I mean.