MTV is one of those organizations that I can't ever make myself commit to loving or hating. I have this problem with many things: the Democratic Party, Target, Steve Albini, hot dogs -- but the problem might be at its worst with MTV. Just when I'm prepared to write them off completely over their spring break coverage, mindless programming, and general music pimping, they come back with voter registration initiatives, anti-hate-crime documentaries, Wonder Showzen, and most recently, MTVU Campus Invasion.
Totally not as bad as it sounds: the idea behind each one is admirable, with the stated goal of the shows being to raise awareness of the problems facing the Darfur region. MTV will be pairing up with the Save Darfur Coalition on the issue, which is considered a legitimate one by pretty much everyone, everywhere. The "campus invasions" (none of which take place on any campus) will occur later this month in Austin, Atlanta, and Philadelphia, each with unique lineups: the lineup for the tragically show-starved students in Austin will include The Shins and The Rapture; the Atlanta show will feature city native Monica, Fabulous, and Rick Ross; while Philadelphians will see Dashboard Confessional, K-os, and Kenna. All shows will be supported by MTV Campus Battle of the Bands Winners.
Parts of each program, as well as artist interviews, will be shown on MTV and their website, and it should be quite interesting to see how their coverage compares to the last charity multi-concert event they covered (2005's Live 8), during which they became notorious for cutting to commercial during recently reunited Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" guitar solo -- MySpace Generation, represent. So to conclude: MTV is doing something positive, involving The Shins and The Rapture. Whether or not this is a strong step in a responsible direction for the channel remains to be seen.
Changin' times, these. Why, just last week ol' Winnie calls me up, flappin' that mouth of his about some "Awesome Color" or what have you. First couple times I just set there, stewin', but finally I can't stand it no longer. I says, "You talkin' about 'Awesome Color'?" Winnie just nods or somethin', who knows for sure, it's a dang phone. So then I says, "Winnie I known you all your life and I ain't never heard you give one spit about no colored, and that's plum fact." Winnie gets real silent 'til I think maybe he hung up, but 'fore I can set her back in the cradle, Winnie starts hollerin' again. "Awesome Color will be spending a large part of the tour with Dinosaur Jr. as well," the old coot slurs. Well I always pride myself on givin' people more'n one chance, so I says, real slow, "Now Winnie, I'm askin' as a friend... you been at the sauce all mornin'? Talkin' 'bout dinosaurs 'n' coloreds?" Well wouldn't you know it but the next thing I hear's a dang dial tone.
Next day I'm sidlin' over to Doc Holstein's place with one heavy burden weighin' on my mind. Now, Doc's been the first one this family calls since forever, no questions asked. The sort of man you bet your last dollar on, and the good Lord knows I done just that one too many times. So he lets me in that house of his, real cozy-like, asked me what's the matter. "What's the matter?" I says. "My best friend's waxin' poetic about some coloreds, that's what's the matter." 'Fore I can explain, Doc lets out a mean chuckle and starts speakin' in tongues, like. Says, "Awesome Color are touring in support of last year's self-titled debut, and Dinosaur Jr. are touring in support of comeback album Beyond, to be released on May 1." The kind of words that might break a weak man. Only thing I think to do is get out, but first I says, "I swear to Christ Doc Holstein, I heard things in my life, but this," and I stomp and stomp on that leg, and that ear, and them glasses too, and then I take a step outside.
Now what was I sayin'? Ah yeah. Things ain't how they used to be, no. Changin' times.
Dates for coloreds:
* Dinosaur Jr
Hey, Look Over There, It’s A Tactical Misdirection – Architecture In Helsinki World Tour 2007!!!!!!!!!
Northcote ne'er-do-wells Architecture in Helsinki are about to take a zigzag lap around the globe, playing shows in more than just a couple countries. Their passports will be stamped many times over this May and June as the band travel from country to country, show to show, and festival to festival. And while AIH have yet to announce a release date or title for their follow-up to 2005's In Case We Die (Bar/None), they have made known their plans for one song thought to be included on that future LP. "Heart It Races" will be released as a single, and not one of those one-version singles, but a single in many forms. Remixes to be exact, discombobulated and reconfigured by YACHT, A-Trak, Hey Willpower!, and more.
The press release for this story mentions that the many incarnations of the track will appear "magically." My mind boggles, thinking of the various varieties of magic that may be involved. Black? White? Street? Ervin Johnson? It might be that magi(k) stuff that Arthur seemed so fond of. I guess I jumped the gun a bit, as it seems that they just meant the single is coming out in different formats for different countries. Well, the first official appearance of the song, a remix concocted by DJ/Rupture, is now available on the band's MySpace. A lot of things (teenage inanity, News Corp, free giftcards, stalker stalking) come to mind when MySpace is mentioned, but magic is not one of them. It seems that the amount of magic involved in this endeavor has nowhere to go but up.
# Gang Gang Dance, Ariel Pink
It's hard to spend any time on Manhattan's Lower East Side without hearing about the ravages of gentrification. In what has become the city's most well-known and bitterly ironic vicious cycle, venues for unorthodox music and art move into cheap neighborhoods where they can afford the rent... only to unwittingly raise the property values and, after a few years, be priced out of these very same neighborhoods by khaki-wearing, SUV-driving yuppies. The past few years have been particularly brutal, with CBGB's closing on Halloween '06 and Sin-e shuttering its space only a few days ago. Now comes word that Tonic will be the next victim. I had considered excerpting the message below, but its refreshing frankness and insightful observations about the politics of policing bear unedited reproduction:
Dear Musicians, Fans and Friends:Obviously, Tonic has been a hugely important place, a small, intimate venue that dared to book adventurous, exciting acts, both new and established. Here's hoping that the owners find a new place (come to Brooklyn, guys!) to carry on the tradition. And come out to support these guys during their stellar farewell shows, featuring the likes of Ikue Mori, Erik Friedlander, White Magic, Yuka Honda, and Sean Lennon. A new "Tonic Presents" series as Abron's Arts Center also looks promising, with an opening show from Jandek April 14.
After more than 9 years as a home for avant-garde, creative, and experimental music, Tonic will reluctantly close its doors on Friday, April 13th, 2007. We simply can no longer afford the rent and all of the other costs associated with doing business on the Lower East Side.
The neighborhood around us has been increasingly consumed by "luxury condominiums", boutique hotels and glass towers, all making the value of our salvaged space worth more then our business could ever realistically support. We have also been repeatedly harassed by the city's Quality of Life Task Force which resulted in the debilitating closing of the ))sub((tonic lounge in January. Coincidentally, this campaign began as our immediate neighbor, the Blue Condominium building - a symbol of the new Lower East Side - prepared to open its doors.
As a business, we take responsibility for mistakes made along the way. If profit had been our chief motivation we could have changed our programming to something more mainstream and financially lucrative. Instead we were more committed to a certain type of music and loyal to the community that supported us. As a result, we've always just survived but never really prospered. It is, however, unfortunate that it is so difficult for small businesses to operate in this city and that a chain store that can afford a high rent is more desirable than a place like Tonic that has a different kind of value.
While this is certainly the end of Tonic at 107 Norfolk Street, we remain committed to what Tonic represents and plan to try again in some form as soon as possible. In the interim, Tonic will make efforts to present new music in existing venues such as the Abron's Arts Center located just a few blocks away.
We invite you to join us as often as you can over our remaining days to help us celebrate Tonic and more importantly the amazing artists, our unwavering staff, and the nurturing community that made Tonic possible. It's because of you that we've stayed open as long as we have. Thank you!
Sincerely, Melissa and John
While I'm at it, I might as well break the news, much as it turns my stomach, that the Knitting Factory may be next.
U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA) recently shimmied into Congress in the middle of a hearing on The Future Of Radio, sporting a torn pair of Diesel jeans and a homemade Bloc Party t-shirt, and took no time cutting off Oldie McDecrepit (R-IL) in the middle of his sentence to say, "I want to tell a little story about a local guy done good." Congressman McDecrepit was taken aback and grabbed his overhead transparency on cassette swapping and murmured, "Now what's all this about, you old poop?"
Doyle swung his right leg up onto a boombox, lit a joint, and blew it in the face of Grandpa J. Victrola (R-FL). He went on. "His name is Gregg Gillis, and by day he's a biomedical engineer in Pittsburgh. At night, he DJs under the name Girl Talk. His latest mashup record Night Ripper ([TMT Review)] made the top of 2006 lists from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and Spin Magazine."
"I'll give you something to spin, sonny," moaned Dopey Hatemusic (R-WA) as he grabbed his cane and threw it a few inches in front of him. Everyone paused to watch it clatter to the floor and rest on Doyle's foot, and minutes later, Hatemusic let out his final death rattle. Doyle started a noise zine in his honor later that day, but for now, he continued. He spoke of a common zip code between he and Gregg Gillis and how that wasn't the only thing they shared. "I hope that everyone involved will take a step back," he crooned, "and ask themselves if mash-ups and mix tapes are really different, or if it's the same as Paul McCartney admitting he nicked a Chuck Berry bass riff and used it on the Beatles hit ‘I Saw Her Standing There.' " Congresswoman Pleasure F. Hater (R-MO) pressed the button on her speaking machine, which let out a puff of smoke and said, "I love Chuck Berry!"
Doyle finished off his speech by declaring the kind of music Girl Talk makes as a "transformative new art that expands the listener's experience," to which all the other congressmen threw their hands up and went back to their lawn chairs to yell at small shadows they think might be children.
Say hi to Mike Doyle at these venues:
* w/ Neutral Milk Hotel
Initially, I made the headline read, "Ladyhawk tour with Tapes 'n Tapes. That's so 2006 you guys!" but that was lame. No, they're not really touring with Derek Jeter. So I made a lie. Yeah, I lie sometimes. And I thought it might get your attention. It's not my job to criticize and mock anyone here at TMT Headquarters in Palm Springs. It's my job to report the news; if that means shoddy reporting involving bands on tour, then so be it.
If enjoying catchy indie rock is your only escape from getting drilled by your washed-up father, who constantly bugs you about playing baseball in order to live his failed dreams through you, then this tour was created for your sorry ass. You can catch these bands in their gooey prime and forget that whole "Oh, they were so last year" jab I made earlier. But let's face it: both bands are currently working on new material for forthcoming albums, so why shouldn't this tour be all about video game baseball?
It is, in fact, the 2K Sports "Hit-n-Run Tour" that will be giving you a chance to enlighten yourself with the company's new game, MLB 2K7. This will give you a chance to realize what has been missing in your life: kicking the dudes from Tapes 'n Tapes' asses as the Detroit Tigers. This is as close as you're ever going to get to living your father's dreams for yourself. And if you've already played the game, then you have probably already noticed Tapes 'n Tapes I-don't-know-the-lyrics-but-I'll-sing-along-anyway hit "Insistor" playing against a screaming stadium of assholes shouting, "Get your peanuts!"
So, that is the tour news. I hope you enjoyed it. I tried my best. I hope we all learned a valuable journalistic lesson today. TMT is not a place to criticize music, but a place to talk about baseball, all the time. For instance, what you should have gotten out of this article is that Ladyhawk and Tapes 'n Tapes are going on tour with a badass video game, and that Derek Jeter is the most overrated player of all time. Talking about a shitty defense and signing out, this was your pal, Emceegreg. Take care.
* Tapes 'n Tapes and Harlem Shakes
Shit. So I was getting ready update you kids on the latest magical journey offered from Sigur Rós when I was informed that a post on their website, dated April 1, was in fact an April Fool’s joke. Obviously, Sigur Rós were feeling the heat. They wanted to do something special since our Tiny Mix Fest was abruptly cancelled. Here’s the deal: in connection with their upcoming release, Odin’s Raven Magic, they asked for fans to submit potential album covers with a Nordic troll and two dwarves. They unveiled the true nature of the post just a couple days ago.
But nevermind all that... in probably all seriousness, Sigur Rós have finished mastering their long-awaited orchestral work Odin’s Raven Magic. Debuted sometime in 2002, the work is based on the 14th century poem of the same name. I imagine most of you have yet to read this poem, so I will now provide the original text along with my complete translation.
01 ODIN'S RAVEN-CHANTAnd this goes on and on and on for about 20 more stanzas, culminating in an extravagantly unnecessary buttle in a puddle for the rank of suprummle buttle puddle Tweetle Beetle. As you can tell, this is terribly inspiring shit Sigur Rós is working with here, so you can only imagine how amazing this album is going to be. The release date is set for June 6 of this year.*
Alföður orkar, álfar skilja, vanir vitu, vísa nornir, elur íviðja, aldir bera, reyja ursar, rá valkyrjur.
Now, when Tweetle Beetles fight, it's called a Tweetle Beetle Battle.
02 &Aelig;tlun æsir illa gátu, ve ur villtu vættar rünum; Ó hræris skyldi
Ur ur geyma, máttk at verja mestum orra.
And when they battle in a puddle, it's a Tweetle Beetle Puddle Battle.
03 Hverfur ví Hugur, himna leitar, grunar guma
grand ef dvelur; ótti er ráins unga draumur, Dáins dulu
AND when Tweetle Beetles battle with paddles in a puddle, they call it a Tweetle Beetle Puddle Paddle Battle.
The tracklist is as follows:
*Note: This may or may not be a total lie, and Sigur Ros may or may not have any intentions on releasing anything called Odin’ Raven Magic.
Melt-Banana, best known for calling global warming the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," are set to release some CO2s on an upcoming tour. The band will begin proudly releasing emissions in Japan, with four dates that they insist will contribute tremendously to greenhouse gases. Then they'll hop on a plane, estimated to release 300,000 tons of CO2 emissions, for an energy-wasting U.S. tour. Driving around in a rented GM Hummer, with commensurate high fuel consumption, Melt-Banana will take their inefficient live show to 17 cities (with many more planned), "bumping hybrid vehicles into oncoming traffic and taking the long, ‘scenic' routes in order to ensure the ice caps melt a little faster."
The tour is in support of Melt-Banana's ninth album, Bambi's Dilemma, an album that scathingly critiques global warming and its supporters. It was recorded in a 100-year-old home, in which they washed all their clothes in hot water, took really long, steaming showers, opened the windows with the old heater constantly running, and replaced every compact fluorescent light bulb with regular, 120-watt bulbs. In order to consume more energy, the band is releasing the album on their own A-Zap Records, which has taken several energy-consuming measures -- leaving electronic devices on, not planting trees around the building, slightly deflating the tires on all A-Zap vehicles, buying products with a lot of packaging -- to ensure that the earth gets a little warmer for everyone. As they best put it, "If you hate winter weather, it is in your best interest to consume more energy."
The band expects to release a combined 12 million tons of CO2s by the end of the year. Bambi's Dilemma is set for release this month.
It is my personal belief that The Sea and Cake are one of the most talented and influential bands of the mid-'90s and beyond. Their use of different styles to form an alternate cohesion has taught dozens of other bands the benefits of experimentation and synthesis. From their very first album, Motorcade of Generosity, the band threw out the rulebooks and made 13 songs of lite FM splendor. The disarming intro, "Comanche," storms into music history with its opening lines: "You need to straighten your posture and suck in your gut / You need to pull back your shoulders and tighten your butt."
From there, the band took off on quite a journey. Little did they know that with their second album, Fashion Nugget, they would be unleashing a hit song that would become the anthem of three or four months in 1996: "The Distance." The Sea and Cake also showed off their quirky sense of humor with an irreverent cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" that sent the public into a slight murmur.
Yes, they have consistently delivered the goods, album after album, but since 2004, it's been nothing but a painful silence. Well people, it's time to gear up for another scorcher paired with a national tour! I couldn't be more excited about their new LP, Everybody, scheduled for release on May 8 via Thrill Jockey.
Hold on hold on, Thrill Jockey? I don't see this info on Wikipedia. There's just something about a B-sides collection and a live album. What's the deal? Ohhhh, The Sea and Cake? Shit... never heard of them.
* The Zincs
$ Loney, Dear
Suits Indicted in Outpatient Facility Scam Including CBS Radio EVP Brian Ongaro; Tries to Blame Bad Business Decisions on Losing Howard Stern to Sirius Satellite
I swear this was one of those stories I thought would be cool to write. Then I realized it was about as cool as "Bazooka Joe Raps." We are normally much more prompt in reporting crooks getting their comeuppance, but it still gives us a lot of pleasure to report that a federal grand jury in Phoenix has handed down a 33-count indictment against nine people, including Dallas-based CBS Radio executive vice president Brian Ongaro. Ongaro snagged about $750,000 for his part in an elaborate scheme that involved getting people to invest in CORF Licensing Services (CLS), which issued licenses to investors establishing outpatient rehabilitation and massage therapy centers. The charges are for conspiracy, mail fraud, and money laundering. Our three faves. Don't executives go to business schools primarily to be well-versed in hiding funds gained illegally? Isn't it safer to just go with anonymously calling the elderly to ask them for their credit card and social security numbers?
I know what you're thinking: "This TMT douche won't be able to explain it as concisely as a FBI Special Agent in Charge could," right? FBISAiC John Lewis outlines the grift for us simpletons!
"The defendants' scheme to defraud was ongoing, and took in 40 million dollars. They solicited new licensees through ads, the internet, seminars, statements, and use of paid referrals, knowingly and intentionally misrepresenting the quality of their company, CLS's services, by understating the costs and risks associated with establishing a CORF, including patient activity, potential income and profit." He mentioned "the internet" in there somewhere. So this is basically like The Net?
Being the professional journalist that I am, I asked CBS affiliate KOCK's morning show host DJ Danny "the Panda" Anderson for a comment. He shook his head and said, "Gahd dammit! When are those high-rollin' galouts gonna wake up and stop their crazy shenanigans? Can't e'ryone just have fun and drink some Busch and look at girls in bikinis for kicks? Wait until my partner "Rollplaying Ron" here's about this one, hyuk, hyuk... "
"Digger" McQuade, one half of the KSTD's "Digger" McQuade & The Amateur Erotic Fanfic Cover Illustrator Morning Drive-Time Bonanza, had this to say: "Well, I don’t know what Freddy Fleaballs [he means FBI Special Agent Lewis] was talking about, but sakes alive man! We still haven't got a 'caller to holler' for tickets to the "Nephews of Blue-Collar Comedians" Boatcruise we're puttin' on down at the lake [Sanderson's Quarry]!"
The only thing left to ask is, "Why is this getting written about in TMT's news section?" Well, it does have a tangential music/radio connection. You also got to read a story with the word "galouts" in it. And it's fun to hear about sleazebags getting their just desserts, isn't it? You know, that actually wasn't so painful to sit through and write. Maybe if I was wrong about this story, I'm wrong about the new-fangled Bazooka Joe comics too?
"I'm Bazooka Joe and I'm
while I'm in or out of school.
My girlfriend Zena thinks
I dig her, too! So glad
"I like to play a trick or joke
and jive some unsuspecting
It's good to laugh,
so be our guest.
Join the Bazooka
Nope. That's still garbage.