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)
- Yeh is also collaborating with New Humans as part of an exhibit called "Disassociate."
- Anyway, the tour will consist of Burning Star Core in its solo incarnation, along with Carlos Giffoni and Prurient.
- Interesting and captivating? That's for you to find out.
- And another tour is called "CMN Free Noise," which will feature Evan Parker, John Wiese, Tim Barnes, Yellow Swans, Metalux, John Edwards, and Culver.
- Yeah man, Keith Fullerton Whitman!
- Dude, fuck you and your McRib.
- Zaimph is the solo project of Marcia Bassett of Double Leopards, Hototogisu, GHQ, and more.
- And you can bet it'll be fun!
- Let us pause for a moment of science.
- The first is called "Paradise Lost Forever."
- Eagles of Hair Metal consists of Alan Licht, Mike Berstein, Greg Kelley (nmperign), Keith Fullerton Whitman, and Tamio Shiraishi.
- Here are the tourdates:
- Besides, it's not my fault that the wire was down there!
- They have labels too, of course: No Fun Productions and Hospital Productions, respectively.
- For example: an actual tourist will never be as "real" a tourist as the local resident who dresses the part.
- Burning Star Core is a project, not a pseudonym.
- C. Spencer Yeh is going on tour in various configurations: as C.S. Yeh Duo and Burning Star Core, which also ranges from solo to other configurations.
- Haha, can you believe that?! How absurdly cheesy.
- But let's be clear here.
- I vote he change the name to "Burnin' Star-Core."
- He's even booked a couple of joint tours with some heavyweights working in so-called "noise."
- But yeah, I hope [?Jean Baudrillard] rests in peace. What a thinker.
- Of course, Yeh will also be at No Fun Fest this year, collaborating with Zaimph.
- There are no dates scheduled in the U.S. for this particular tour, though. Which sucks!
03.09.07 - Brooklyn, NY - Glasslands Gallery @
03.10.07 - Manhattan, NY - Elizabeth Dee Gallery %
03.16.07 - Austin, TX - Spiro's (SXSW No Quarter/Holy Mountain showcase)
03.17.07 - Austin, TX - Spiro's (SXSW No Quarter/Holy Mountain showcase)
03.23.07 - New York, NY - Tonic with Eagles of Hair Metal, Thurston Moore #
03.24.07 - Baltimore, MD - The Bank with Spore #
03.25.07 - Boston, MA - PA's Lounge with Heathen Shame, KFW #
03.26.07 - Purchase, NY - SUNY Purchase with Lunch w Beardo #
03.27.07 - Montreal, QUE - Casa Del Popolo with Hototogisu, Dreamcatcher, etc #
03.29.07 - Toronto, ONT - TBA with Gastric Female Reflex, Knurl #
03.31.07 - Chicago, IL - The Flowershop with Bloodyminded #
04.01.07 - Columbus, OH - Skylab with Lambsbread, Leslie Keffer #
04.19.07 - Cincinnati, OH - Skull Lab as CSY with Z'EV,
04.28.07 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Bongo Club &
04.29.07 - Glasgow, Scotland - Triptych Festival, CCA &
04.30.07 - Cardiff, Wales - The Point &
05.01.07 - Gateshead, England - The Stage &
05.02.07 - Leeds, England - The Wardrobe &
05.03.07 - Bristol, England - The Wardrobe &
05.05.07 - London, England - ULU &
05.11.07 - Cologne, Germany - Kulturbunker Muelheim EV
05.12.07 - Karlsruhe, Germany - ZKM Karlsruhe
05.17.07 - New York, NY - Tonic - BxC+Zaimph collaboration at No Fun Fest 2007
# Paradise Lost Forever tour: BxC (solo) + Carlos Giffoni + Prurient
& CMN Free Noise tour: Evan Parker, John Wiese, Tim Barnes, Yellow Swans, Metalux, John Edwards, and Culver
@ Okkyung Lee + C.S.Yeh Duo, Black Quarter (Maya Miller of Double Leopards/Religious Knives), Nate Wooley, Violent Raid (MV Carbon)
% New Humans + CSY as part of New Humans' "Disassociate" exhibit
Upcoming or Recently Released Music Worth Mentioning
C. S. Yeh Solo Violin 1-10 LP on Tone Filth
Burning Star Core Blood Lightning 2007" CD on No Fun Productions
Burning Star Core Operator Dead... Post Abandoned CD on No Quarter
Aaron Dilloway + C.S. Yeh The Squid on Hanson
Physical Culture LP reissue on Chondritic Sound
Burning Star Core Inside The Shadow CD on Hospital Productions
Now here's something you don't hear of everyday -- artists receiving an actual increase in royalty revenues. The Copyright Royalty Board announced it will be increasing royalties paid to musicians and labels for material played by internet broadcasters via online radio stations. Currently, the royalty for a song play is 0.08 of a cent per play (yep, we're talking about heaps of money earned). The increase could potentially see this rate double in less than three years.
Perhaps this is good news for the artists, but this could be an outlandish tax to impose on internet radio stations, particularly those whose revenue is not based on advertising, such as various NPR stations or independents such as SomaFM or Radio Paradise. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, KCRW GM Ruth Seymour claimed that this could end up putting their station in a position where they would owe more than $350,000 for this year and last year's royalties.
Now, couldn't we just make everything fair for everybody and take all of the moneys raised by the various RIAA lawsuits and aid the stations to play the music, the artists to cut the records, and maybe even give some money to children who will die in Africa from preventable diseases? Wait, nevermind; I must have been drinking. I need a new BMW; let's just leave it the way it is and let those pesky little internet radio stations die, let the artists stay nice and skinny because they don't have money to buy food, and go out on the town for a nice evening of dinner and dancing.
Animal Collective Finish Recording New Record, Yay! Black Dice and Ariel Pink Do Stuff, Too, Yay! But First: Solo Projects, Yay!
Did you know "blues" guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan had a prophetic dream about his death, only 20 hours before he died in a helicopter crash? Truly inspiring. So inspiring, in fact, that I closed my eyes last night hoping that I'd dream about one of my limbs getting maimed by a helicopter blade. Instead, I got these bullshit premonitions:
Premonition 1: During the week of March 20, everyone will be talking about Person Pitch, Panda Bear's latest solo release. It'll get high ratings. The din will be funnelled through a lot of reverb and will most likely sound cavernous. Brian Wilson might even take a listen.
Premonition 2: On April 24, Avey Tare and Kria Brekkan will release Pullhair Rubeye to a similar brouhaha, only this time everything will be backwards. People will get upset that their complaints are incomprehensible. David Lynch will be blamed.
Premonition 3: Sometime later this year (according to my premonition, not to industry sources), Animal Collective will release their follow-up to 2005's Feels. They recently finished recording the album, and it is slated to come out on Domino/Paw Tracks. The response will be loud and eclectic, and so will the U.S. shows and European festivals this summer.
Premonition 4: AC's Paw Tracks will be releasing a limited-edition Black Dice 12-inch that will feature a couple tracks from a full-length scheduled for later this year (not sure which label, but not DFA). The feedback will be "intellectualized" and "sorta dancy, sorta not."
Premonition 5: Ariel Pink will record a new album and release a DVD later this year. Critics and fans will sound like they're talking through answering machine speakers.
I woke up early this morning and realized that I've been blasting and laughing so long that even my momma thinks that my mind has gone. But I ain't never crossed a man that didn't deserve it. Me be treated like a punk you know that's unheard of. You know what I mean?
Yo La Tengo Tour, Casiotone Don’t, But… Well, They Do, But… Listen, We’re Talking About Yo La Tengo Right Now, Okay? Okay.
Right, you hear that thing a while back? About Owen Ashworth -- Casiotone For The Painfully Alone dude -- and how his flat burned down? And how he was okay, and so was his girlfriend, and his cat went missing for a few days, but it's back, so that's all fine, and a few bits of equipment got busted up, but for God's sake he probably picks up his keyboards at the Early Learning Center for a buck apiece?
Yeah, that whole thing pissed me off.
I mean, girlfriend? What the fuck? Doesn't that kinda go against the whole "Painfully Alone" shtick? If I was going to pin myself with a name like that, I'd make sure that I was pretty, y'know, alone. Do you think I picked Nunpuncher in a moment of idle fancy? No. I make sure that every single day, I hunt down a nun, and with a heavy heart, punch her, hard, in the face. It ain't pretty, but you've got to suffer for your art, you know? Or, at least, nuns do. Pretty much the same thing.
Seriously. Owen. Dude. We hung out one time. I bought your T-shirt. I thought we were bros. Dawgs. Tight. I told you stuff, you told me stuff. There can't be this kind of deception, y'know? I just? I just don't know what to think anymore.
Also, I just noticed Judy already covered the Casiotone tour (TMT News), like, a month ago. Er, fuck. No, it's cool, I think I've got it. I can turn this around.
So, uh, hey! How about that Yo La Tengo tour? I mean, no one knows what that name even means! Probably not even foreign people with all their words that we don't know! They've got to be pretty safe.
Ah, forget it:
A man who was beaten by employees of a store he was trying to rob is now suing.
Police say Sam Beam (also known as Iron & Wine) entered the department store FoxSX-FareYoos in Pittsburgh, PA last July, brandished a semi-automatic pistol, and demanded cash.
That's when employees John Watts and Terry Biels beat him with a pipe and held Beam at bay with his own gun.
Beam escaped when they retreated into the store to call 911, but he was arrested a week later. He pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 18 years in prison as a repeat violent felon.
Now Beam is suing the department store and the two employees who beat him, claiming they committed assault and battery and intentionally inflicted emotional distress so as to delay the release of his new album, The Shepherd's Dog to be released on Sub Pop.
"Somebody like Merzbow, or even Cock E.S.P. (I realize it's an exercise in absurdity) are at the point where they should simply be a concept, or a theory. To turn it into a business is a joke." - Assume Power Focus (Hydra interview)
"These longtime Minneapolis noise merchants dress up in ridiculous costumes, make sounds that will automatically loosen your stool and throw household appliances at each other." - Go-Go Magazine (Denver)
"I have never bothered to follow this band, and this hasn't convinced me that I missed out on anything." - Worm Gear
"Semen-encrusted fun for the whole family." - Torso
"My chair never knew what hit it." - Autoreverse
"A bunch of crap and a waste of time." - Quacky & Pigley's Big Huge Club
"Is this guerrilla performance art? Am I on a hidden-camera TV show? Am I just stupid for not 'getting it'? Are you fucking kidding me? These are all normal reactions and seemingly a part of the grand concept that the E.S.P.-ers have been pimping for a decade." - Cincinnati CityBeat
"Horridly obnoxious sounding." - Flipside
"Funny enough the first couple times, but tends to get boring rather quickly." - Sinkhole
"Minneapolis' Cock E.S.P.might be called underground or performance art, but is more likely a joke." - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
"As Cock E.S.P. has eloquently proved throughout their career, it's hard to take anything too seriously when it includes someone in a donkey mask humping an amplifier." - Columbus Alive
"Almost dumb enough to be Falco." - CMJ
"I can't wait for the fucking tour." - TMT
03.10.07 - Minneapolis, MN - The Church $# with Knife World, Dianoga
03.11.07 - Chicago, IL - The Village $# with Panicsville
03.12.07 - Cleveland, OH - Embassy - Tusco Terror with Skin Graft
03.13.07 - Columbus, OH - Skylab - $# with Noumena
03.14.07 - Pittsburgh, PA - Smiling Moose $ with Plastered Bastards
03.15.07 - Rochester, NY - AV Room - 8 Public Market (2nd Floor) $# with Nuuj
03.16.07 - Brooklyn, NY - Paris London with $#Rubbed Raw
03.17.07 - Boston, MA - School of the Museum of Fine Arts $#!
# Mr. Natural
! Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck Suffering Bastard