I was sifting through the pile of news briefs this morning when I landed upon a gem. Lately I have become so uninspired that all my stories have fallen ill with banality. Thanks to Akon, however, today is going to be different.
Here is the setup: Akon, the Senegalese/American hip-hop star, performed at WSPK-FM's KFEST concert June 3 at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, New York. While in the middle of ranting about how cool he is and how weird it was to come from Senegal, etc etc etc blah blah blah, some kid throws some trash onto the stage. Akon stops and asks for the crowd to point out the kid and then has security bring him to the front. Once the boy is near the stage, Akon uses his rippling body to yank the kid up and then hoists him on top of his shoulders and immediately launches the little dude into the crowd.
So yeah, that’s what I’m working with here. But I’m choking. I was given a story that practically had the punch line included, yet I have no idea how to deliver it. We could joke about Akon trying out for the World Wrestling Federation, but that just seems too obvious. Or maybe there is some way to tie it in with his previous controversy of grinding onstage with a 14-year-old girl. Hmm. Hmm, indeed...
Well, here are some more facts while I consider how to make this funny. Authorities have identified the boy who was catapulted, and since he is only 15, his mother would have to press charges. No word on if the family will go through with that yet, but the Akon camp (Akon/Family?) is saying nothing illegal happened.
Okay. After thinking about it, I feel it would be irresponsible to try and make a joke out of this incident. That would be like making fun of Nancy Kerrigan in text form when the video is much funnier. So, without further ado, peep these two videos:  .
Hot Topic To No Longer Smell Like Ass; TMT Newswriter AJ Pacitti Partners With Teen Spirit, Lysol, and Glade Plugins in a Landmark Effort To install Two Million Air Fresheners in Stores Nationwide; To Leave 13-Year-Old Goths With Nothing But Now-Realized Desire To Suck Each Other’s Blood
"People were telling us that the stores were too dark, gothic and intimidating to the average customer," said Hot Topic’s Chief Financial Officer James McGinty in a press conference, as quoted in this CNN article.
McGinty’s announcement marks a noteworthy attempt to soften the black-clouded blow of the “I like cheese”/”I hear voices”/”People like you are the reason people like me are on medication”-tee-shirted masses of Good Charlotte-listening, Napoleon Dynamite-laughing, vacant-staring-from-too-much-video-gaming clientele.
Generalizing aside: after enduring three years of declining sales (post the store’s '90s success), Hot Topic wants to go softer. Seriously. McGinty says HT is responding to changing customer interest, that the style of the store’s regulars is changing, and scaring away seemingly normal people isn’t making money anymore.
Now that’s business sense.
Forget a long-vested commitment to prickly exteriors. Forget ANGRY BOIZ finding love when accidentally touching hands with HOTT REBEL GURLZ while perusing a rack of parachute pants. Forget said ANGRY BOIZ defining said HOTT REBEL GURLZ by the size of their plastic-y messenger bag purses. Forget piercings paid for by allowances. Hell, forget everything the red-bleeding logo letters stand for.
Sure, paint over the black walls, brighten the color scheme, and re-organize the merchandise displays. I’m guessing HT could be (er..?) more marketable then. But in essence, McGinty & co. are making a tragic error: providing an easy platform for complaints from their exclusive market of dissatisfied ANGRY KIDZ. Great. Another thing for said ANGRY BOIZ and HOTT REBEL GURLZ to want to eat my puppy over, besides inner-conflicts over suburbia, growing up, and the boy/girlfriend they met while perusing the parachute pants rack that never understood their conflict over... suburbia and growing up. Mmmm. Things will be nice.
As long as a change is in order though (something that would be worth looking into), Mister McGinty is eliminating Hot Topic’s uninviting smell (a rank balance of incense, cheap fabric, and ass). That ought to round up some customers faster than you can say "Jesus Christ, Marilyn Manson kills puppies! OH MY GOD! I heard he eats puppies! Live! Who the FUCK kills puppies? I know you think it's an urban legend, but he even looks like a fucking puppy killer!"
Alright, so -- air fresheners, McGinty, please?
On that note, ANGRY BOIZ: maybe it isn’t your imposing parachute pants that pushed that aforementioned rack-perusing (HOTT REBEL GURL) honey away. This is the anthem. Throw all your hands up. Seriously. I’ll rub some Teen Spirit under your arms so fast you won’t smell the hygiene hitting you.
Gypsy punk is the new black. Or at least it should be. With all this so-called, new-fangled ‘blog house’ music going around right after ‘screamo’ and ‘dance punk’ went out of fashion, what we need is some diversity. The turnaround on the internet is working in cycles of about 12 minutes now, so we'll be poised for a Next Big Thing in about... 4 minutes if my calculations are correct. Peter, Bjorn and John aren't cool anymore, right? Here on this soapbox, I'd like to nominate the aforementioned genre of ‘gypsy punk’ for a spot in the limelight. Sure, Beirut and DeVotchKa were warming up, but its been a minute, and I just don't think the sub-genre has peaked yet. Plus, Gogol Bordello are legit to the max. Real immigrants!
I know being an immigrant isn't the hottest thing in the Red, White & Blue these days, but don't worry, these guys are not from Mexico. I repeat: Gogol Bordello are immigrants, but are NOT from Mexico -- and they're not even Muslim. That's right, you can stop shielding your children's eyes. Everyone is still safe and so are your jobs! Phew. I know I got you nervous for a little bit there when I brought in the whole immigration thing. Your palms got all sweaty and your heart started beating fast. Don't worry, I empathize; I really do. This is America. And as Toby Keith once said, "We'll put a boot in your ass. It's the American way." Just have to put it out there. We're watching you, Gogol Bordello. Stay lawful.
That said, Gogol Bordello have been holding it down on the Lower East Side since 1999 playing a hybrid of The Clash-style punk music, open to influence (but not like Mick Jones' Clash; that's mostly garbage) and traditional Eastern European music. Lead singer Eugene Hutz is even blossoming as an actor, starring alongside Iggy Pop-to-be Elijah Wood in the big screen adaptation of Everything Is Illuminated (in which music by DeVotchKa and Gogol Bordello can be heard). And while I can't personally vouch for their legality, I can say that I am anticipating their forthcoming full-length, Super Taranta!, due July 10 on Side One Dummy.
Say "No!" to amnesty.
06.08.07 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO
06.09.07 - Belly Up - Aspen, CO
06.16.07 - Bonnarroo Festival - Manchester, TN
06.24.07 - Donauinsel Festival - Vienna
06.25.07 - Sherwood Festival - Padova, Padova
06.26.07 - Villa Ada - Rome, Roma
06.28.07 - Festival - Milano, Milano
06.29.07 - Eurockennes - Belfore
06.30.07 - Roadfest - Zerajanin, Serbia
07.01.07 - Pier Pressure - Goteborg
07.04.07 - Rock For People - Prague
07.06.07 - Ruisrock - Turku
07.07.07 - T In the Park - Perth and Kinross
07.08.07 - Oxegen - Dublin, Dublin
07.12.07 - Festival D'ete d'Youville Square - Quebec City, Quebec
07.13.07 - Ottawa Cisco Systems Bluesfest - Ottawa, Ontario
07.14.07 - Majestic Theatre - Detroit, MI
07.15.07 - Vic Theatre - Chicago, IL
07.17.07 - House of Blues - Cleveland, OH
07.18.07 - 9:30 Club - Washington DC, WA
07.19.07 - Trocadero - Philadelphia, PN
07.20.07 - Irving Plaza - New York, NY
07.21.07 - Iriving Plaza - New York, NY
07.25.07 - Fel Sziget - Tag Mures
07.26.07 - Storsjoyran - Ostersund
07.27.07 - Storas Festival - Trondheim
07.28.07 - Festival Musicas do Mundo - Portugal
07.29.07 - Festival - Paleo
08.09.07 - Oya Festival - Oslo
08.10.07 - Sziget Festival - Budapest
08.11.07 - Heitere - Zofingen
08.12.07 - Festival - Taubertal
08.14.07 - Parades de Couraua - Portugal
08.16.07 - Pukkelpop - Hasselt
08.17.07 - Openair -Gampel
08.18.07 - Beautiful Days - Exeter
08.20.07 - Radio Onda Durto Festival - Brescia, Brescia
08.21.07 - Ariano Folk Fest - Ariano
08.22.07 - Ippodromo - Firenze, Firenze
08.24.07 - Reading Festival - Reading
08.25.07 - Leeds Festival - Leeds
08.27.07 - House of Blues - San Diego, CA
08.28.07 - Henry Fonda Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
08.29.07 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA
08.31.07 - Crystal Ballroom - Portland, OR
09.01.07 - Bumbershoot Festival - Seattle, WA
Jona Bechtolt, one half of duo The Blow, officially announced he has left that group. You remember The Blow; you heard them on indie dance nite at your local bar and have been meaning to check out their stuff ever since. Anyway, Bechtolt will be focusing on his other project, YACHT, the one-man band you haven't heard yet but keep reading about and/or are confusing with Yacht Rock. Just kidding, I know that only the most in-touch kids, the coolest of the cool, read TMT.
This development seemingly throws the future of The Blow, which had consisted of Bechtolt and Khaela Maricich, into strange, yet familiar, waters. Maricich started the group and was its sole member until the addition of Bechtolt on 2005's Poor Aim: Love Songs EP, which was given the "re-release with bonus tracks" treatment this year by K Records. The duo also put out Paper Television (K) in 2006, which garnered KM & JB much attention and acclaim.
The last few months have seen a flurry of YACHT-related activity. In addition to touring (with bands such as LCD Soundsystem and Tussle), his latest record, I Believe You, Your Magic Is Real (TMT Review), was released last month via Marriage Records. The month before saw a YACHT remix album, with remixes of Architecture in Helsinki, Tussle, Mirah, and more, entitled Our Friends In Hell, on States Rights Records.
YACHT's recent rise in profile via music sites and blogs, plus Bechtolt's absence from The Blow's live lineup as of late, made this news less then surprising. It must also be mentioned that YACHT is about to start a whole new batch of tourdates. This time around, the vessel will start off with LCD again, then meet up with Architecture In Helsinki, later heading across the sea with Au Revoir Simone, before coming back to the U.S. for the Monolith Festival at Red Rocks, Colorado. You can keep up with Jona's exploits on his "YACHT on Tour Forever" series by means of sound pictures, words, and sounds.
As Woody Allen might say, "The difference between sex and music is that with music you can do it alone, and no one is going to make fun of you."
06.11.07 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey*
06.12.07 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey*
06.13.07 - Seattle, WA - Neumos #
06.14.07 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Richard's on Richards #
06.15.07 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom #
06.16.07 - San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's 365 Club #
06.18.07 - Pomona, CA - Glass House #
06.19.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre #
07.02.07 - Tokyo, Japan - O-Nest ^
07.03.07 - Yokohama, Japan - Club24 ^
07.04.07 - Nagoya, Japan - KD Japon ^
07.05.07 - Kobe, Japan - Triton Café ^
07.06.07 - Okayama, Japan - TBA ^
07.07.07 - Kyoto, Japan - Urbanguild ^
07.08.07 - Kanazawa, Japan - Socila ^
09.15.07 - Morrison, CO @ Monolith Festival / Red Rocks
The Blow tourdate:
06.08.07 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Museum &
* LCD Soundsystem
# Architecture In Helsinki
^ Au Revoir Simone, Montag
& Electrelane, Tender Forever
With the Boston Red Sox (1982-1992), New York Yankees (1993-1997), and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (admittedly forgettable), Wade Boggs became a legend. From the cornfields of Nebraska, Wade honed his third basemen skills and batting proficiency on his way to becoming a baseball Hall of Famer (inducted in 2005). The band The Boggs play what they like to call "post-folk-garage-punk-folk-punk-blues-and-disco" in the way that Wade Boggs played "post-DiMaggio-proto-Tony Gywnn-nose-to-the-grindstone" baseball. That is to say, extremely well and mad-consistent. Boggs recorded 12 straight All-Star appearances, something The Boggs plan to top (respectfully) with 13 shows to come. A career .328 hitter, Wade had seven consecutive seasons of 200 or more hits, an American League record. The Boggs have a record out now that they like to call Forts, following up 2002's We Are The Boggs We Are (as Wade was quoted as saying after his only World Series victory with the Yankees) and 2003's Stitches (which Wade received after his career ending knee injury). For their current tour, The Boggs have recruited Peter Hale and Leif Huckman of Trick and The Heartstrings, as well as Ellie Everdell and Alex Luther.
Wade Boggs fans unite and takeover:
Some things really don't stand the test of time. For example: a rock erodes and eventually turns to sand. Let's think of Unplugged as a rock, an ugly boring rock that no one cares about, a rock that usually gets pissed on every time a dog decides to claim some homeland. This same rock is the one Dad throws into your neighbor's yard while preparing to mow the grass. It's the same rock you used when you tried making a Rock-O-Pet to give to your elementary crush; he/she cried, bashed you in the face with it, and you received a golden ticket to the hospital for stitches. Even worse, the golden ticket was also your pass to stand on the wall for a week. We know it wasn't your fault; it was the rock's fault.
Like I said before, Unplugged is like that rock.
You may be asking yourself... Why oh why would MTV bring back such a dreadful thing? Well kids; there is this thing called the internet, and the children sure are liking it. Plus, MTV didn't actually think that 50 different reality shows running at the same time would keep shares up, did they? Exactly, now let's check out the less-than-mediocre lineup -- well, opinions are overrated, so just take a peek at the future line-up and see for yourself on June 22:
Bon Jovi, The Police, Kenny Chesney, Mary J. Blige, and John Mayer.
On second thought, MTV would be much better off just broadcasting a time-lapse video of a rock eroding -- as long as they can sprinkle some that good ol' reality TV magic on it.
Haikus of the day by jamie the preetendrrrrrr circa XIIIIIII:
Got ourselves a bass
and his name is Devin Hoff
Remember that guy?
He's played on some tracks
A whole bunch of times before
Now he's in the band
He'll start touring soon
Caralee, me, Ches, Devin
That's us. We're Xiu Xiu.
Also, something else
We have a new split between
Xiu and W. S. Burns
Also, something else
XXL (us and Larsen)
Made a new album
That's the name of the album:
Also, something else
A new Xiu album next year
With lots of guest spots
Two guys from Deerhoof,
Followed by Howard Wiley
And Michael Gira
Also, one more thing
I'm on tour by myself soon
Please come and see me
Sinbad the Sailor
Suits up in bloody dogcow
Fits into my ZORP
Jamie Stewart Solo:
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has released a list of ten “inconvenient truths” about music piracy. Before we get to how hilarious this list is, let’s make sure we’re all up to speed on the IFPI. Representing more than 1400 record companies in 75 countries, the IFPI’s stated goals are to “promote the value of recorded music,” to “safeguard the rights of record producers,” and to “expand the commercial uses of recorded music.” One of the IFPI’s actual activities is to provide the RIAA with statistics (e.g., “Music piracy caused over 300,000 unwanted pregnancies worldwide in the year 2006.”) Their website offers software that removes file-sharing software and copyrighted files from your computer, as well as tips for disabling pesky features in Kazaa, in case you happen to be downloading MP3s five years ago.
The IFPI’s list contains a series of semi-falsehoods, ranging from statements that cannot be proven ("Illegal file-sharers don’t care whether the copyright infringing work they distribute is from a major or independent label") to flat-out lies ("P2P networks are not hotbeds for discovering new music. It is popular music that is illegally file-shared most frequently"). The third "truth" reads, “Organised criminal gangs and even terrorist groups use the sale of counterfeit CDs to raise revenue and launder money.” Since you’ve probably been purchasing marijuana as well, it’s safe to assume that 9-11 is your fault twice. In the interests of fair and balanced journalism, I’ve decided to present...
Ten Inconvenient Truths About Music Buying:
1. A portion of the $15 spent on CDs is not donated to the United Negro College Fund. The IFPI are racists.
2. The “MP3s” sold by the iTunes music store are actually AAC files encoded at 128 kbps, less than half the bitrate of CD-quality audio. In fact, on many popular music-sharing websites, MP3s encoded at rates under 192 kbps aren’t even allowed to be uploaded.
3. In its quest to protect copyrights (and CD sales), the RIAA is not above suing children or maybe dead people for millions of dollars.
4. CDs purchased from Sony have been known to contain actual ghosts.
5. Songs purchased from the iTunes music store, including the sharable DRM-free ones, contain the full name and e-mail address of the buyer embedded within the file (see this TMT article).
6. Ringtones were responsible for the death of Terry Schiavo.
7. In reality, way more music is available through file-sharing networks than through legal digital music stores. While the iTunes music store still does not sell any music by The Beatles, a search of popular BitTorrent sites will return multiple versions of every Beatles album in full quality, as well as hundreds of bootlegs.
8. Retail music is sold in environmentally damaging packaging, which supports terrorism.
9. Albums almost always leak on the internet well before they are released in stores. For example, Beastie Boys’ The Mix-Up (due in stores June 26), Talib Kweli’s Ear Drum (July 24), and Architecture in Helsinki’s Places Like This (August 7) are all available through the internet tubes today
10. Purchasing John Mayer CDs may support John Mayer.
Disclaimer: Tiny Mix Tapes does not in endorse, condone, or encourage music piracy. This article represents only the opinions of Nat Towsen, which is a pseudonym for a man named Brent Monroe who lives in Edgewater, Maine, who was only playing devil's advocate and is very sorry.
It’s no secret.
Wilco’s scragglefaced, gravelvoiced, drug-defying, member-firing, secret-cutting (eh? eh? maybe!) frontman Jeff Tweedy might seem like a cool guy when he’s throwing up in toilets, cracking-wise on stage during solo performances, and squaring-off against the dreaded (no seriously, dude’s got dreadlocks) Jay Bennet in 2002’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, but come on, people! We all knew deep down that under the rough-and-tumble, ‘band vs. the world’ exterior, Tweedy and co. are nothing more than... well, a bunch of cantankerous older men trying to pay the bills and secretly worrying about the size of their prostates. Now, granted, they might be a bunch of supremely talented dear-ol’ dads who hold down some pretty extraordinary jobs in one of the most storied and well-respected rock bands working in the genre today, but still... the sweaters and relaxed-fit jeans don’t lie. Young, idealistic upstarts they ain’t.
So, it should come as no surprise to any of us that Wilco have decided to more fully-embrace the EZ Indie-Yuppie lifestyle they’ve helped perpetuate for so many years now by licensing several of their songs for use in a new television ad campaign for Volkswagen (personally, I can’t think of a more Wilconian automobile company, can you?). Wilco have licensed half of the songs on Sky Blue Sky, their newest studio album from Nonesuch, to the hipster-friendly V-Dub company for use in a series of six new television ads sporting the oh-so Tweedy-esque tagline “When you get into a Volkswagen, it gets into you.”
Heady, isn’t it? I guess the slogans “Jesus, don’t cry; you can rely on your Jetta” and “I am a German Petroleum-distillate drinker” didn’t do so well in marketing.
Ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (Bogu-sky? Blue sky? Coincidence?!) is responsible for the ads, each of which features a different song from the album and, well, presumably some city folks doing city things. The first commercial, which features the track “The Thanks I Get” is currently airing, and all six of these V-Wilco songs are currently available for streaming via the company’s german-engineered webpage.
Already catching heat from angry single-parent fans for their participation in the campaign, Wilco decided to fight tepidity with tepidity and recently issued a statement on their website stating that they “feel okay about VW’s. Several of us even drive them.” The Beetle-buying band also stated that they “see this as another way to get the music out there” in a world where commercial radio play is “getting more difficult for many bands.” So back off, mom and dad! You think that the rent for that Wilco loft comes cheap?!?!? Shoot!
Oh, but good news! Despite all the Euros their pullin’ in now, Wilco are keepin’ it real and hitting the road this summer... just like a POOR rock band would! Fancy that! Will they roll-up in a Volkswagen hippie van? Only time will tell...
Muzzle of Dates: