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!
Okay, I'll be honest. I can't stand Art Brut and their T-Mobile music. But I know a lot of you can stand them, which deep down kinda bugs me. So, since I'm probably a peg lower than you in spirits, I thought I'd bring you down with me by putting a little venom in your afternoon. According to Art Brut's website (and Juju's reader tip -- thanks!), EMI/Mute has released "Pump Up the Volume" (from It's a Bit Complicated) as a single. Cool, right? WRONG. The single was released WITHOUT INFORMING THE FUCKING BAND!!
Attention, the Internet!! It seems Art Brut have accidentally released a single. Yes, the rumours are true. But how could this happen, you may ask? Why were we not informed? Why was it not available in my local record shack, thrust pride of place along side the latest View recording? Well, my friends, pick up any thread of incompetence and it will usually lead you to a record company. That's right, it seems EMI have decided to release Pump Up the Volume without informing either the band or myself, making any kind of wide scale promotion rather difficult. Adding to this curious new marketing stratagem of discouraging sales, EMI have chosen to make the song available via download only. So no luck in the record shacks either.
Disgusting. Read the rest of the post here.
WITHOUT INFORMING THE FUCKING BAND:
InterTube Pirates Find Hidden Treasure In RIAA Training Video, Immediately Duplicate It A Bazillion Times
Here's how I imagine it:
When the RIAA discovers the first circulated MP3s on the internet in 2002, the board room is so silent you could hear Johnny in the mail room drop his morning deuce. Thick with Cuban cigar smoke, full of old stenchy white men, one of the brass in the room shatters the silence by shouting "What in the SAM HILL is the internet?" The 43-year-old temp who broke the news slowly mumbles, "Something to do with computers -- I'm not really sure." "Why in the fuck haven't we just bought it yet?" "Well sir, it's not exactly something we can buy, but we might be able to embark on a slow and painful litigation process wherein we destroy our customer base and ensure our increasing irrelevancy with each passing second." "Sounds like a deal. We should create an under-financed training video starring a former state trooper with a bad haircut and next-to-no technical background to train investigative experts. Also, start the video by slamming a gavel down. Let the future of the world know that we mean business via clichéd imagery."
Chuckles and fake stories aside, that last bit of nonsense is actually true. The RIAA did create a training video intended for RIAA investigators wishing to become court experts. And it actually does start with a gavel slamming down and stars a former state trooper with Farva's haircut. The best part, though, is it got leaked, onto the internet, via torrents. Torrents, the scourge of the RIAA because it's a protocol, not a piece of software owned by a company, cannot be controlled. So suing the shit out of its creator, Bram Cohen, gets you nowhere. Attempting to shut down one node on a torrent network is an act of hydra beheading. Some pissed off Russian geek in his basement will think to himself "Fuck you too" and put up another 30 nodes overnight on servers across the globe. So, seeing something as ridiculous as a training video intended to teach butt bags how to catch "pirates" is absolutely hysterical.
Clips of this video will make the rounds on every imaginable YouTube-like site for years, letting everyone know exactly how to avoid whatever weak-ass methods these old stodgy bastards were attempting to use in apprehending your bootleggin' busynass. The video, made in conjunction with the National District Attorneys Association, is called In Trial and includes techniques on "how to identify illegal sound recordings and how illegal music is sold." There are surveillance videos included that show how street bootleg vendors work... which is odd, considering it's a video intended to teach people how to catch internet pirates. That's like making a video on how to catch bank robbers by showing surveillance footage of a purse snatcher.
I think a slow clap is in order here.
We've been waiting patiently for months, and now it has finally come: The official press release for Death Cab for Cutie's forthcoming album and tour! I always imagined I'd have a lot to say about the unveiling, but I think I'll just let the press release do the talking. Enjoy!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 21, 2008
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE SET DATE FOR “NARROW STAIRS”;
IN STORES AND ONLINE MAY 13th;
SEATTLE BAND’S FIRST NEW MUSIC IN NEARLY THREE YEARS
TO BE HERALDED BY THE SINGLE, “I WILL POSSESS YOUR HEART”;
TOUR DATES AND FESTIVAL APPEARANCES AT COACHELLA AND BONNAROO CONFIRMED
Atlantic recording group Death Cab for Cutie has unveiled initial details of their hugely anticipated new album. “NARROW STAIRS” – which follows 2005’s Grammy Award-nominated label debut, “PLANS” – will arrive in stores and at all online retailers on May 13th. Produced by the band’s own Chris Walla, “NARROW STAIRS” will be preceded by the single, “I Will Possess Your Heart.” (See full track listing below). “I hope this album is a bit of a surprise for those out there that think they have us all figured out. We can’t wait to share these songs with the world,” states Death Cab bassist Nick Harmer.
Death Cab will herald the album’s release with their first live shows in more than eighteen months. They’ll kick things off April 18th in their home state of WA at the Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, followed by a series of festival appearances, including Coachella 2008 in Indio, California on Saturday, April 26th and the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 15th in Manchester, TN. See below for full listing of tour dates.
For news, tour dates, and other exclusives, please visit http://www.deathcabforcutie.com, http://www.myspace.com/deathcabforcutie, or http://www.atlanticrecords.com/deathcabforcutie.
Death Cab for Cutie is: Ben Gibbard: guitars, keyboards, vocals * Chris Walla: guitars, keyboards * Nick Harmer: bass * Jason McGerr: drums
# # #
For more information, please contact:
Death Cab for Cutie Tour Dates
Jim Jones, Pere Ubu guitarist and Cleveland music legend, died February 18, 2008. Deteriorating health had forced Jones to leave the band in 1996, and although he had been ill for some time, the cause of death has not yet been released. Jones was an enthusiastic music fan and supporter whose influence greatly impacted the Cleveland scene and beyond.
Jones was born in Cleveland in 1950. His music career started as a member of the Mayfield High School concert and marching bands. After a brief stint at community college, Jones started working at a shop called Record Rendezvous. In 1984, he opened his own store, Platter-Puss Records, which he sold after joining Pere Ubu. Throughout his life, he played with bands like The Mirrors (later The Styrenes), Foreign Bodies, Easter Monkeys, and The Wooden Birds. Before his death he had played and recorded with KNG NXN, Noble Rot, and SpeakerCranker. He also worked as a studio producer for many local bands and composed electronic pieces for area dance and theater troupes.
Announcer: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Spoon’s spring victory lap U.S. tour announcement, in what promises to be another big success for the popular Austin, TX indie rock quartet. Bob, if you pan the camera over to the track, you’ll see the members of Spoon lining up for the race. Now, the question remains, which one of them is going to get to the finish line to announce the tour first?
[A gunshot sounds.]
Announcer: And they’re off! Rounding the corner, we see Spoon drummer Jim Eno, followed by singer/guitarist Britt Daniel, keyboardist/guitarist Eric Harvey, and bassist Rob Pope taking up the rear. Eno jumps his first hurdle, now his second. Daniel sprints to catch up to him as Harvey falls in stride with Pope. But wait — now it looks like Daniel and Eno are neck and neck as they approach the finish line. Daniel’s cheeks are red and he’s breathing heavy as he tries to pass Eno, but it looks like — wait... wait... and Eno’s got this one in the bag, folks!
[Jim Eno, exhausted and breathless, pumps his fists triumphantly and steps up the podium.]
Eno: Since I won the victory lap U.S. tour race, I suppose it’s only fair that I get to announce our upcoming April tourdates. So here they are:
Oh, and Eno should've mentioned these dates, too:
02.23.08 - Lisbon, Portugal - Aula Magna
02.25.08 - London, England - Scala
Eno: But, Britt, that’s not fair...
Daniel: Oh come on, Jim. When people think Spoon, we all know a picture of my beautiful mug pops into their heads anyway. I may not have won this race fair and square, but you know I’m going to come out on top regardless.
Announcer: Uhh, well that’s all the time we have today! Join us next week for our steel cage death match featuring the editors of Tiny Mix Tapes versus all the bands they’ve snubbed. Word has it that The Rapture are bringing brass knuckles.