April 18, 2010
Yesterday marked the third momentous Record Store Day, and for those scratching your heads trying to remember what a record store even is, it’s one of those long-standing places of business being destroyed by this internet thing (no, not those places). Many people have gotten touchy about the demise of local record stores and for three years running have reserved April 17th to do the unthinkable: going out to buy music they could easily get for free from their computer. Because sometimes to keep something you love, you have to do irrational things like getting married or respecting copyright laws.
Since many musicians grew up in such boutiques and, not to mention, appreciate the idea of people paying for their music, tons of big names help out with the festivities by issuing special vinyl records; this year is no exception, and there is a ton of great wax to collect. A few of the highlights include: a double LP of Pavement’s recent Quarantine the Past compilation that even has a different track listing (now Pavement psychos can argue which is better), a sea foam green vinyl of the Flaming Lips cover of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, a vinyl reissue of Modest Mouse’s The Moon and Antarctica, the Hold Steady’s new LP Heaven is Whenever, a 12” of LCD Soundsystem’s new single “Pow Wow,” and get this, a 7” of Blur’s new single “Fool’s Day.”
All of this is pretty cool stuff, but Blur’s choice to premier “Fool’s Day” as a vinyl on Record Day is a hell of a gesture. This is the first song that the full band (including the brilliant Graham Coxon) has made in seven years, and it happens to not suck. A gritty little minor-chord chugger, it has that Blur charm of being simultaneously melancholy, a bit ragged, and damn catchy. Sure, the melody sounds a bit like the Cutting Crew’s “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight,” but hearing Coxon kick out a sweet riff at the end will make any Blur fan happy. Sadly for us Yanks, the single is only being sold in record stores in the UK, so you will have to stick to the loads of other special records made available yesterday. But if really want to hear ‘Fool’s Day’ you could always find it on, well, the internet. Yeah… that’s a little awkward…. Happy Record Day everybody!
For a list of even more special releases here’s Pitchfork’s list.
by Geoff Anstey
December 11, 2009
Jay Reatard doesn’t seem to be having much luck with people lately. It’s been only two months since his rhythm section defected to Wavves (who’s frontman Nathan Williams is also far from a people person) and last night during a gig in Austin, Jay got attacked by two fans, in a place called Emo’s no less. The drunken pair were perturbed when Reatard, only forty minutes in, announced that the next would be his final song (apparently they weren’t aware that the garage popster is notorious for his short shows) and decided to take matters into their own hands.
When the first one rushed the stage, he gave little trouble to the bouncers, and the band admirably kept playing (though it’s unlikely it was as impressive as this). However, after the first’s initial failure, another fan must have felt for his drunken comrade and blindsided Reatard, actually getting a hit in. Reatard, luckily, wasn’t seriously injured. He retaliated with his mic stand angrily ended the gig, reportedly flicking off the audience as security took the attacker off stage.
Strangely, the two aggressors were apprehended after the show as the rest of the audience was leaving the building, meaning they stuck around to see if the show was actually finished. What was going through their heads, the possibility of Jay returning with a black eye, playing an encore for the guy who tried to punch him in the face and the guy who successfully punched him in the face? That the crowd would go wild, and our heroes would be praised for keeping the punk spirit alive? Surprisingly, no, that’s not what happened. They were promptly arrested.
Also, why did they think that a Jay Reatard show was a good place to throw down? Although Reatard’s pop isn’t pristine or anything, (you can hear some Stooges and The Jam in there), it’s hardly bringing back the days of 77. Some would like to use this incident to attest otherwise, but if this had happened in, say, D.C. during the early 80’s, would anyone have cared? Besides, fighting bands was a stupid byproduct of punk’s aggression to begin with. Everybody knows that if you are drunk and needlessly aggressive at a show, the right thing to do is find an opponent that is equally as drunk and needlessly aggressive as you are, not the band you paid money to see – didn’t anyone learn anything from their moms?
by Geoff Anstey
November 20, 2009
IN THE NEWS
It’s nice to know that sometimes the actions of a fool can spur a response from someone clever. Take for instance, the latest head-fuck from Beck, “Harry Partch,” which is, most likely, a direct response to the inane rantings of Fiery Furnaces’ Matt Friedberger. A few weeks ago, Friedberger started one of the lamest rock feuds by going after Radiohead in a Spinner interview for their song “Harry Patch (in Memory of).” Friedberger, being as ignorant as he is, had misinterpreted the title as Harry Partch (the experimental composer) and lambasted the song as being pretentious even though a) he had never heard the song, and b) it’s about Harry Patch, the last surviving British WWI veteran.
After a million Radiohead fans pointed out the blunder, Friedberger was quick to respond. First with his publicist claiming that Friedberger had thought the interviewer was asking about Harry Partch, not Harry Patch, and then by releasing a statement claiming that he was quite aware that the song was about the last living “Tommy,” and that the whole interview was just harmless “‘riffing,’ or fooling around.” Though it’s possible that Friedberger was just fucking with us, it’s more likely he was being ignorant, especially when opening his release with: “Like most creative musicians, Matt Friedberger is not a fan of Radiohead and most of their chart busters.” He then blamed the media for the misunderstanding, made a Tommy pun, and ended with “Matt would have much preferred to insult Beck but he is too afraid of Scientologists.”
Well, the statement must have reached Beck (presumably via a derelict hippy servant while upon his freak-rock throne) since yesterday the ten minute epic about Harry Partch was released on his website. Described by Beck as a “peregrination across disparate territory to ascertain an unassumed frame of reference,” he either took the project extremely seriously, or has a very wry sense of humor; the quality, however, points to the former. It’s the musical equivalent of Jason Pollock’s throwing shit at a canvas, and with most of the myriad of musical ideas being good ones, it’s surprising digestible – even with the inclusion of Partch’s beloved microtones. Would you play it at your wedding? Not unless you were marrying Yoko Ono or something. But it is some fun, out-there musical shenanigans.
More on Matt Friedberger Vs. People Who Don’t Really Care What He Has To Say
October 30, 2009
IN THE NEWS
Hopefully this won’t blow too many minds, but Google is trying to take over the world. Behind its colorful logo and cutesy design are the minds of megalomaniacs: taking pictures of our homes, tracking our behavior, and finding out our pet’s names. But, hell, at least they are taking over our lives with quality, not with shady imperialist business practices (Windows) or trendy catering marketing campaigns (Apple). By 2014, everyone is going to love their Google Brains © and finally start understanding what Finnegan’s Wake is about. However, right now, few people are going to care about Google’s next attempt at life invasion: Google Music.
The guys at Google are pretty creative people and music is a large part of their lives, so as they sat around trying to figure out Google Sex while listening to Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and the Stooges, it must have occurred to them that there is a large amount of financial potential in controlling how people find music. What they decided to do was make some partnerships with already existing Internet music streamers/retailers (such as iLike, Lala, Pandora, Rhapsody etc.) and made it so that when you search a band, song, or album name you will be greeted immediately with song samples (some of which include entire songs), band sites, and Wikipedia articles – nice!
More on Google Music
October 23, 2009
IN THE NEWS
It’s official: Lil’ Wayne will be joining the long line of incarcerated rappers. The 27 year old super-star pled guilty earlier today to attempted gun possession, from a two year charge made after NYC police raided his tour bus. Attempted gun possession seems to be the alternative and less severe form of criminal gun possession that rich people can plea bargain to. If charged with criminal gun possession, Carter would have been given a minimum of three-and-half-years of imprisonment; charged with attempted gun possession, however, he is looking at up to a year.
Wayne’s bus was raided in 2007 after police smelled marijuana smoke wafting from it. Panicked, Carter threw out a bag with a loaded .40 caliber semi-automatic in it, but seeing the bus was stationary, the bag was soon recovered, and the weapon was later found to have Wayne’s DNA on it. There have been murmurings going around that the raid was a result of the NYPD unfairly profiling Wayne and his crew. But come on, if you were a cop looking for a drug bust, and knew that Lil’ Wayne had just played a gig, would you not take the time to check the air around his tour bus? It’s called easy pickings people, it’s part of every job – like music journalism and Kayne West stories.
More on Carter’s Lil Gun Trouble
October 17, 2009
IN THE NEWS
The music industry has always been a double-edged knife to Weezer. Sure, nowadays The Blue Album and Pinkerton are put on towering pedestals – with almost any critic, musician or guy off the street having their own teary eyed soliloquy on the first time they heard “The Sweater Song” – but when the band first came out they were met with critical scorn. Upon the arrival of Blue, Weezer was bafflingly labeled as posers by many critics (probably with the brilliant logic that they weren’t “grunge” enough). When people finally started to give Blue a chance, it only led to the widespread misconception that the insanely good Pinkerton was a just sophomore dud. For reference, Rolling Stone gave that record three stars when it came out, with readers voting it the second worse album of the year. Pretty harsh, especially when thinking of all the terrible shit that Rolling Stone gave three stars in 1996, such as Hootie and Blowfish’s Fairweather Johnson or the Fugees’ The Score …wait, that album’s a classic…fucking Rolling Stone.
By the time critics were swearing by Weezer’s first two albums, many had mercilessly turned on the band, bashing Maladroit, Make Believe (quite understandably), and even The Green Album. It never seemed fair to Rivers Cuomo: he was labeled an alt-rock legend, but was always a step behind the hip spotlight he so deserved. Now, after years of abuse, it looks like he is taking his revenge against the music industry, and he’s using one hell of a cruel knife: Katy Perry.
October 9, 2009
IN THE NEWS
Hopefully there weren’t too many suicides when Thom Yorke told The Believer this August, “None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again, not straight off…” Radiohead diehards aren’t typically a gleeful bunch, and losing the promise of an LP on the horizon may have raised their already high post-modern dread to a breaking point. And it would have been all the more in vain, since according to Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, the whole story was a load of bull.
Radiohead definitely had us going though. Releasing two singles online – “Harry Patch (In Memory of)” and “These Are My Twisted Words” – and with Thom forming a band with Flea, it didn’t look like the Oxford lads had any sights on an In Rainbows follow-up, but as O’Brien forcefully told NME recently, ‘WE WILL BE MAKING AN ALBUM!” WELL, THAT’S SOME DAMN FINE NEWS! As for the Believer interview, O’Brien simply claims, “We were misquoted.” Which, if that’s truly the case, makes us wonder how big of dicks they have working at the Believer, and subsequently, how great their PR men are – bringing us to some breaking JezebelMusic.com news: Radiohead has died… from, er, bears.
More on Hot Double-Damn! New Radiohead Album Expected Next Year
September 25, 2009
IN THE NEWS
Poor Mark Ronson, he tried, he really did. Of course it’s not entirely fair to make it sound like his race has been run, but still, it must be damn frustrating to help cultivate two acts that were set to change the face of pop, and have both burn out with the dexterity of a match. It wasn’t surprising with Amy Winehouse, seeing part of her appeal was how fucked up she was, and finding out that she didn’t have the resilience or control her songs let on wasn’t much of a shocker. But Lily Allen, the cute, witty girl next door with a third nipple (Warning: kinda, sorta NSFW), why? She was the perfect pop outsider made for the masses – light, catchy, and fun, while not being bland and vapid – but then after a bit of fame, she fell into public drunkenness, breakdowns, and ridiculous celebrity feuds. The spotlight pushed her into a club she originally had no interest in joining, but did she have to start emulating its members? And even start sounding like them with her run of the mill second album, Its Not Me, Its You?
More on Lily Allen: Quitting Music?