Memo to the terminally uncool: Baltimore is blowing the fuck up. It's the new black. It's the new white. It's the new DC. Most importantly, it's where Dan Deacon comes from, and this dude is poised for world domination.
Picture this: You're at a show in someone's semi-decrepit warehouse/living space so far into Bushwick you're almost in Queens. You're leaning against a broken '80s-era digital camera. There are some crazy noise loops going on. A psychedelic, sci-fi, absurdist reimagining of Arnold Schwarzenegger's campiest films (including Junior, natch) is projected on a screen that's been duct-taped up and keeps falling down. Two drummers are going so insane that one nearly passes out on his drum kit at the end of the 30-minute performance. And Thurston Moore is looking on from the back corner of the room.
No, I'm not recounting Mr P's latest wet dream. Strike that, maybe I am, but if so that would be pretty creepy since it's also what happened when I saw Dan Deacon play at Silent Barn last week! I know it sounds too good to be true, but this video provides the proof that keeps me (somewhat) sane. This new project, a collaboration with filmmaker and Wham City co-conspirator Jimmy Joe Roche, is called Ultimate Reality.
"What's this Wham City of which you speak?" you ask. Shut up, kid. I'm getting there. Wham City is a collective of Baltimoretastic musicians, artists, and other weirdos who used to live together in the eponymous warehouse space. In fact, the musical arm of Wham City, including Video Hippos, Santa Dads, Blood Baby, and Butt Stomach (you think I made this whole thing up and just chose the most random, absurd names I can think of, but I assure you I'm not that creative), is touring across the country RIGHT NOW!!! You can see the whole family at a shitload of dates across the country
03.15.07 - Austin, TX - Monitor Mansion (SXSW) ALL BALTIMORE PARTY!!!
03.15.07 - Austin, TX - Mrs. Breas (SXSW) %
03.16.07 - Austin, TX - Six Lounge (SXSW) Carpark Show Case
03.17. 07 - Las Vegas, NV - Slanted Clam %
03.18.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Pehrspace Space: 325 Glendale %
03.19.07 - San Francisco, CA - Knock Out %
03.20.07 - Oakland, CA - on a Rad Bus (info coming) %
03.21.07 - Santa Cruz, CA - The Blue Lagoon w/ Wildlife, Blood Bab
03.22.07 - Portland, OR - Dantes w/ Blood Baby
03.23.07 - Seattle, WA - 1412 Gallery %
03.24.07 - Missoula, MT - Elks Club w/ Video Hippos
03.26.07 - Denver, CO - Rhinoceropolis %
03.27.07 - Oklahoma City, OK - TBA %
03.30.07 - Richmond, IN - Earlham College w/ Video Hippos
03.31.07 - Chicago, IL - Shape Shoppe %
04.01.07 - Cincinnati, OH - Skull Lab %
04.02.07 - Oberlin, OH - Oberlin College %
04.06.07 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar w/ Girl Talk
04.13.07 - Jacksonville, FL - TSI*
04.14.07 - Orlando, FL -Back Booth*
04.17.07 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues Parish*
04.18.07- Houston, TX - Mink*
04.20.07 - Austin, TX - Emos Lounge*
04.21.07 - Denton, TX - Haileys*
05.03.07 - Brooklyn, NY - Silent Barn
05.04.07 - Providence, RI - The Living Room
05.05.07 - Baltimore, MD - TBA: Spiderman of the Rings Baltimore Release Show!
05.10.07 - Washington, DC - Rock N Roll Hotel
05.11.07 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas
* ADULT., Parts & Labor
% Wham City (includes Santa Dads, Video Hippo, Blood Baby, and Butt Stomach)
Photo: Ray Roy
Everyone’s favorite religious rapper with street cred is touring this spring. Nas, in support of recent album Hip Hop Is Dead, has announced a 23-date trek that includes, along with the standard U.S. cities, a few spots for our brothers up north. Although the feud between the Street’s Disciple and Jay-Z is supposedly over, reports that initial titles for Nas’s recent release were Jay-Z Is Dead and Sean Carter Is a Pussy with No Cred and Would Rather Wear Button-Ups and Tennis Bracelets and Leather Shoes and Has Forgotten Where He Came from and Has No Friends and Can Only Get His Mom to Do a Collaboration keeps people wondering if the feud can ever end. Not to be outdone, however, Jay-Z had reportedly responded with: "This is not beef/ This is rap homie/ I don't have a scratch on me/ You feel Jay soft/ Rip jay off." I know what you’re thinking: "Feuds are soooo 1997." But just remember, he is married to Kelis, and you are not.
Insane Clown Posse Neatly ‘Linked’ to Murder; TMT Writer Ghost-Pens Diary of a Juggalo, Tops NYT Best-Seller List
“Look, I may be a Juggalo, ho, but that don’t make me a muh-fuh’n thugalo, yo. This one’s for my juggalettes, lettin’ ’em know y’all.”
For those of you who don’t READ EVERY PIECE OF INTERNET NEWS EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME, 24 HOURS A DAY EXCLUDING SHABBAS, you might have missed a story about Insane Clown Posse in The Rocky Mountain News. Apparently, Crimes Are Being Committed. By People. That Listen. To Insane Clown Posse. You heard it here first folks, I--... oh wait, The Rocky Mountain News beat us to this salty sack of a news story, that’s right. Hmmmmm [drumming fingers on tabletop]... Well, since it’s been reported in a newspaper, it’s gotta be true, right? I’ll just trust my instincts on this one and print the straight facts (word to ya muzzah): People have committed murders in Detroit, Arkansas, and Florida.
And, since murders were never committed in Arkansas, Detroit, and Florida before Insane Clown Posse came along (particularly not the latter two), the group have been linked to their fair share of crimes as of late. And I can see why! You can pretty much bet they’re inciting kids to perpetrate violent crimes with their albums, currently put out by the fledgling, taken-seriously WWF Diamond Cutter label. Their fans reportedly call themselves ‘Juggalos’ and ‘Juggalettes,’ and do dastardly things like design their MySpace pages with ICP pics (lol!) and, as mentioned, listen to Insane Clown Posse’s music, often while plotting to kill humans. Strangely, the percentage of ICP listeners that actually commit crimes is statistically low. And, now that I think about it, aren’t Insane Clown Posse like a total joke now? When’s the last time anyone over 8 or 9 years old bought an ICP record? Aren’t people listening to more refined, role-model types like 50 Cent and fuckin’ C Murder these days? Are 50 Cent and C Murder arbitrarily linked to murders perpetrated by people who listen to their music? Are things in this country going to get all fucking stupid again, like with that whole Ozzy deal? Everywhere I go I hear a far-right nutcase yodeling....
Officers refuse to say whether the offenders were actually listening to ICP when they committed the crimes in question, but several of the band’s releases were found in roof-flap CD sleeves, travel cases, and even in a rogue Discman. All copies were taken into custody. Well, that probably happened. I mean, they ARE the law, right? They must have found discs, t-shirts, and posters upon searching cars and stuff. What are these kids going to do, deny that they did, in fact, at one time listen to Insane Clown Posse? They’re guilty! GUILTY. GUILLLLLTEEEEEEEE. I say jail them for the murders, EXECUTE them for their listening habits. I think we’ll all agree it’s tough but fair (ICP haven’t been good since Riddle Box anyway).
One man implicated in a murder had an ICP tattoo on his hand. Another kid in Colorado described himself as a Circus-Boy Dingleberry With Man-Boobs and a Toy Hatchet (or something like that) on MySpace. Both were known Insane Clown Posse fans, and both were linked to grizzly killings (but not with a real grizzly; that might actually be, well, not ‘cool,’ but maybe, you know...). A cop also claimed that Colorado-area police “know Insane Clown Posse gangs exist.” Ooh! There are also other pieces of evidence, but they’re just as, like, totally damning as all of the stuff above, and I honestly think I’ve already made and proven my case anyway: Some bands tour. Some bands record. Others? They incite murder. Insane Clown Posse, likely through their importance in the long-term musical stratosphere, are one of those bands.
‘Hendrix Electric Vodka’ Brand Sued By Hendrix Family; Memorial Shotgun In Shape Of Kurt Cobain’s Head Given The OK
No offense to any already-offended readers and/or members of Jimi Hendrix's family, but the main topic on my mind right now is Risk -- not the concept, but the board game. I was soundly defeated in this game of global domination not one hour ago, and the number of friends I now have has dropped from two to one: you, dear reader. What does my trouncing in this game have to do with the late guitar genius? Well, switch around the letters in Risk and you get Kisr, which is similar to Kisser, which is where Jimi Hendrix's family would like to punch the marketing department that thought up 'Hendrix Electric Vodka' and its psychedelic flavor.
Janie Hendrix, Jimi's adopted sister, called the brand "a sick joke" due to Hendrix's alcohol-related death in 1970, though Craig Dieffenbach, the businessman behind the product, is certain the lawsuit will fail because of a 2005 federal court case ruling that the Hendrix family owns the rights to neither his name nor image -- only his music. Dieffenbach also believes the proceedings will be much less hostile if everyone partakes in a few pre-trial shots of Jimi.
The vodka bottles in question are tinted purple and have Hendrix's face and signature on the label, presumably (and this is mere speculation) so that the drinker feels cordially invited to an electric ladyland of inebriation.
Let's see, there's The Police, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Van Halen, Bad Brains, Dinosaur Jr., Lifetime, Genesis (the really lame trio version, not the kinda lame Peter Gabriel version), The Dismemberment Plan, Rage Against the Machine, Crowded House, Sebadoh, The Toadies, Smashing Pumpkins, Slint, The Pogues, Smoking Popes, The Stooges, Lemonheads, Meat Puppets, and, of course, R.E.M. covering John Lennon with Bill Berry behind the kit.
Tell Winona and Janeane that their gas station favs Squeeze can now be added to that list of recently reunited rock acts. So far, the band's songwriters Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are the only members named as taking part in the reunion, which will be the first time they have played together since 1998. They must have been "Tempted" by all the money they would stand to rake in. No? What about: I guess they will be having their "Black Coffee" on tour. Worse, you say? How's this: Another reunion "F or My Heart," this sure will be "Cool For" fans, huh? If someone asked me to go to one of these shows, I would say "Take Me, I'm Yours." Getting me to go would be easier then "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)." Seriously, that is "No Myth." Oops, that last one is Michael Penn. I apologize for all that, I have a tendency to "Babylon & On." Anyway, the dates only include the U.K. right now, as Universal & Warner will be reissuing the band's music in Britain later this year. The possibility of the band taking the show to any other countries has yet to be confirmed.
The Nation Is Cleaning Up Radio with Eight “Rules of Engagement”: Does Elvis Costello Know About This?
Those of you who have not given up on radio entirely will be happy to read one of the music industry's more pleasant surprises of 2007: The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) has united with Entercom, CBS Radio, Citadel, and Clear Channel to create eight voluntary "Rules of Engagement," which in theory will help cut down on scandals of the payola variety, as well as securing more airtime for independent music to be played.
Wait... independent music? As in music "not owned and controlled by a major label, and [whose] market share is not reported by a major label"? According to A2IM's Peter Gordon, as stated in an interview with FMQB, that's exactly what it means. As part of the arrangement, independent music will occupy 8,400 half-hour blocks (a 30% marketshare) to be played between 6 A.M. and midnight. Does this mean you should expect to hear your local top-40 station playing Jandek tunes between traffic and weather updates during your morning commute? Not exactly, though that would be disquietingly awesome. The new regulations will ensure that independent and local artists from all genres, including hip-hop, country, rock, and others, are represented on their respective stations.
Other facets of the agreement include stipulations that "Radio should not be allowed to sell or barter access to its music programmers," that "Radio should not exclude independent promotion companies, as a class, from gaining access to music programmers except for independent promotion companies which are compensated based upon playlist additions," and that "Radio shall not ask for or expect, either directly or indirectly, any quid pro quo to play music." Theoretically, new regulations such as these will create a level playing field on which non-major labels will be able to compete. At this point you might be asking yourself: "Wait, we have to spell this shit out? You mean these haven't been regulations all along?" To which I would say: "Brah, now is not the time." Other rules include disclosure of promotional giveaway recipients by stations and ensuring that stations are properly publicizing procedures for music submissions.
The simple fact that Clear Channel would agree to these rules without a court order instinctively makes this reporter wary of the whole arrangement, yet on the surface, things certainly appear win-win. After all, the arrangement has received enthusiastic support from numerous organizations such as the Future of Music Coalition, The National Academy of Arts & Sciences, and others. To be sure, only time will tell whether or not these new regulations will truly make a significant impact on the musical world; but hey, it's a step in the right direction.
Jonathan Poneman, co-founder of Seattle's Sub Pop, home of... -- oh, you know -- has juuuuuust announced the launch of his lovely shiny new record label, Hardly Art. Despite being distributed by Sub Pop and Warner's ADA and being based in the same building as his old label, Hardly Art is a completely separate and independent entity. So what makes this one so different, Johnny-Boy? Why don't we go check the press release...
"Building on the tradition of many other record labels, Hardly Art will indeed be focused on offering quality records for people to enjoy."
...Uh-huh. Some, uh, inspiring words there, guys. Real good stuff. Records for people to enjoy? I guess I could get into that.
But what would a record label be without records? Being a seasoned professional, Poneman isn't about to fall into that trap and has an album all ready to go, from local cage fighters and artists Arthur and Yu. Their debut, In Camera, is lined up to be released June 19 and promises to be chock full of all the fuzzy poppy druggy Velvet Undergroundy pop that ze kidz are all into nowadays. Should be worth a pop.
Stunningly, In Camera promises to be divided into ten shorter sections, called "songs" or "tracks." Each of these "tracks" has been given its own title. Now, you probably think this is all a little confusing. But helpfully, Arthur and Yu provided a "list" of the "tracks" -- what they are calling a "tracklisting" -- which we are replicating in full below:
Hello. Nunpuncher here. Now, you might not know this about me, but one of my many interests (aside from ten-pin bowling, medium-distance running, and putting crisp packets into the oven so they shrink and make really cool keyrings) is the art of dedicatory literature -- or, as so many call it with barely-concealed scorn, "fan-fiction."
My work has not gone uncelebrated in certain circles -- The Newsom Cycle, in which the harpist is seduced by a beguiling young man with a mysterious past from northern England, was much cherished by those in the community, described as "a soaring epic" by SeXiBoi99 and "without parallel" by xJoannaxLoverx. I am not afraid to court controversy -- alt.spektor.yes.yes.yes was in uproar for weeks after Regina In Love almost paired the singer with Dave Berman, of all people (before she was seduced by a beguiling young man with a mysterious past from northern England).
Without further ado, I would like to present to you a short extract from my latest work, entitled Cat Power Goes Wild In Europe. The full story, weighing in at 253 pages, will be available soon at www.sexycatpowerfantasy.com.
Cat Power Goes Wild In Europe (extract)
Chan Marshall sat in her studio, tired and slightly sweaty from the New York Summer. "Oh, Boy, I'm tired (and slightly sweaty)," she said, flicking her fringe from her slightly sweaty forehead. "Working on the follow-up to The Greatest is much harder work than I thought. I'm stuck!"
Her thoughts drifted back to that summer, that wonderful summer two years ago with that beguiling young man with a mysterious past, who taught her so much about the art of love. She thought of his lips. Without thinking, her fingers moved down her slightly sweaty body to her
[snip - Ed.]
"Ah, that's much better," Chan said. "The memory of the beguiling young man with a mysterious past has inspired me!" She picked up a guitar and wrote a really good song and called it Nunpuncher, because that was the name of the young man (with the mysterious past).
Just then, there was a knock on the door. She answered, and on the other side of it was a mysterious young man. "Delivery for -- Chan?!" he said, his blue-green eyes blazing with the memory of that summer two years ago (because he was Nunpuncher). Chan fell into his arms. "Oh, Nunpuncher!" she said, falling into his arms. "I was just remembering that wonderful summer we shared two years ago, before you went away to cure diseases and fight crime in Africa!" Without thinking, they
[snip - Ed.]
Later on, wrapped in silk sheets, their slightly sweaty bodies engtangled, Nunpuncher asked what plans Chan had.
"I'm touring Europe, with the Dirty Delta Blues Band," she said. "Here are the dates:"
Then they had sex for like ten hours.
According to Billboard, Rhymesayers Entertainment, the Minneapolis-based hip-hop label that's released albums by Atmosphere, MF Doom, Eyedea & Abilities, Soul Position, and many more, has inked a deal with Warner Music Group's Independent Label Group. Ditching distributor Navarre Corp., Rhymesayers will now have its catalog distributed by Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA), WMG's "indie" distributor.
"If we have someone who wants to be on a major label, we can, in fact, do that," said co-founder Brent "Siddiq" Sayers to Billboard. "But if we have someone, like Atmosphere, who does not want to do that, we can keep doing what we're doing and bring in some select [promotional/marketing] services."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the independent label has hooked up with a major for distribution. Nearly all the indie mainstays have major label distribution deals. Other labels that have distribution deals with ADA include Matador, Merge, Secretly Canadian, Touch and Go, Thrill Jockey, Sub Pop, Barsuk, and Domino. Other indie distros include Caroline (EMI), RED (Sony), and Fontana (Universal).
Majors count sales of indie titles through their distribution companies as part of the company's overall sales, which is why some indies argue that majors don't quite own as large a pie of overall music consumption as they make it seem. If you can figure out the logistics of erecting a good, profitable way for indies to get widespread distribution without a major music group's support, you should e-mail me the details so I can get rich off it.
Whenever I go through extended bouts of downheartedness, I simply reach over to the last-minute stocking stuffer my mom bought me last Christmas: an inspirational quote-a-day desktop calendar. But it rarely changes my mood. "I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside." True. I never have a problem keeping my insides a burning cesspool of self-loathing and crippling depression. "There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem." Not true. I am worried I will have to read more of these, so I solve this by tossing this useless calendar in the trash.
Nah, words on a 5'x4' piece of paper accompanied by a poorly drawn cartoon just do not do the trick like music does. For months on end, I shunned the words of people like Twain, Thoreau, and "Author Unknown" in favor of daily doses of uplifting lyrics and music by Misters Alex and Tom White, who go by the cleverer moniker The Electric Soft Parade, to soothe my forever-broken spirit. It did the trick until I wore out my copies of Holes in the Wall and The American Adventure. Last summer's stop-gap EP, The Human Body, was certainly a wonderful surprise -- none other than our own Grant Purdum loved it, so you know it must be good! It quelled my loneliness for a brief period, but left me wanting more.
On April 24, my days of dread will once again slip away because Better Looking Records will release a new Electric Soft Parade album. You can check out Tom White's guide to the album here, but by the title alone, No Need to Be Downhearted, I know the band is once again singing directly to me! Be gone blues!
No Need to Be Downhearted about the lack of a tracklisting, because here is one:
1. No Need to Be Downhearted (Part One)
2. Life in the Backseat
3. Woken by a Kiss
4. If That's the Case, Then I Don't Know
5. Shore Song
8 Cold World
9. Have You Ever Felt Like It's Too Late?
10. Come Back Inside
11. Appropriate Ending
12. No Need to Be Downhearted (Part 2)
The Whites, with Matthew Twaites on bass and ex-Dodgy drummer Mathew Priest on, um, drums, are using their time away from their "other projects" (Tom and Alex are also in The Brakes) to hit the ESP route hard when they play the U.S. and the UK during the next two months. Included below are their FOUR SXSW shows, with times, so you can plan your Austin sight-seeing and sound-hearing trip. AAA's got nothing on us
03.15.07 - Austin, TX - Moonshine (4:45 P.M., Windswept/Hunnypot party)
03.16.07 - Austin, TX - Guero's (4:30 P.M., Congress party)
03.16.07 - Austin, TX - Maggie Mae's (1:00 A.M.*, Better Looking/East-West showcase)
03.17.07 - Austin, TX - Cedar Street Courtyard (9:30 P.M., Filter/Lifebeat showcase)
03.19.07 - San Diego, CA - Casbah #
03.21.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland $
03.28.07 - London, England - Shepherd's Bush Empire %
03.29.07 - London, England - The Fly
04.18.07 - Stoke, England - The Sugarmill
04.19.07 - Newcastle, England - Digital
04.20.05 - Dundee, Scotland - Westport Bar
04.21.07 - Aberdeen, Scotland - Lemon Tree
04.23.07 - Glasgow, Scotland - Oran Mor
04.24.07 - Sheffield, England - The Plug
04.25.07 - Manchester, England - Roadhouse
04.26.07 - Hull, England - The Welly
04.27.07 - Leeds, England - Cockpit
04.28.07 - Bristol, England - Thekla Social
04.29.07 - Southampton, England - Joiners
04.30.07 - London, England - King's College
08.03.07 - Rees-Haldern, Germany - Haldern Pop Festival
* 1:00 A.M.? Shouldn't this be listed as March 17? No? Ok.
# Goldrush and Ryan Ferguson
% Billy Mackenzie tribute/Sound Seekers benefit show with Apollo 440, B.E.F. (British Electric Foundation, Claudia Brücken & Andrew Poppy, Mower, and Subterraneans (featuring Paul Haig and Christine Beveridge)