September 13, 2009
MUSICIANS ON MUSIC
Musicians On Music is a weekly feature in which we feature exactly that: musicians, both local and national, writing about music, the industry, other people’s music, or whatever they feel like writing. This week we feature Helen Buyniski, who toured the summer festivals with the Mickey Western Band and Lady Circus’s The Rusted Gun Saloon. Here, as the festival season ends, she details what that was like.
How do you prepare for a week spent under the stars, surrounded by Phish fans, mud, and eco-friendly bio-degradable plastic cups? You don’t. You buy a tent at the last minute and ignore reality until you’re under the fluorescent interrogation lights of a 24-hour WalMart in a Tennessee surburb at 4 a.m., five minutes away from the festival gates. You glance at the camping supplies piled miles high in the aisles, hike for what feels like hours to the bathroom in the back of the store. You come out and realize that despite your loathing of the great outdoors, you will be spending the next week sleeping in a tent.
In June, the Mickey Western Band and Lady Circus were invited to bring our show,“The Rusted Gun Saloon,” to the eighth-annual Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The Mickey Western Band supplied our dark gypsy-folk rock as the soundtrack to the Circus’ performance: a play of aerial acts, stilt- and fire-dances, beds of nails, displays of public drunkenness, and, of course, murder. Perfect for Bonnaroo, a festival characterized by its “peaceful vibe,” recurring appearances by jam band members, and general inescapable hippie associations.
The Mickey Western Band opened Thursday afternoon on the Solar Stage, an environmentally-friendly venue situated inside “Planet Roo.” Roo was the festival’s uber-green eco-enclave, anchored by a massive papier-mache hand grasping a wire globe and emerging from the earth like the avenging zombie limb of a PMS-ing Mother Nature. In keeping with the “green” theme, I wore a clump of silk roses in my hair, but following a sudden cloudburst two songs into our set, these and everything else on stage were soaked. I was able to shelter most of my equipment from the rain and avoid frying myself and my amp, but a wet-stringed violin sounds like cats being tortured and I couldn’t wait to stop playing. The rain confused Mickey so much he played one song twice, but the circus ladies in the audience kept the spectators dancing and watching even as the dance floor turned to mud. Several rounds of applause later, I ran offstage to try to dry off my violin with a number of other wet things. Success!
More on Musicians On Music | Helen Buyniski at Bonnaroo
September 12, 2009
One Saturday night about six months ago, I was standing outside Academy Records in Williamsburg. It was one of those rare Saturday nights in New York, one where everyone you know decides to go out of town and, just as you get all set to go party, you find yourself in the middle of the perfect stay-at-home-and-catch-up-on-Grisham night. Not one to sit at home on a Saturday night, I found myself hanging around N. 6th Street, trying vainly to stir up a ruckus.
While smoking a cigarette on the street, I happened to overhear a snippet of conversation that set my teeth on edge. Two girls in their early twenties, obviously from money and most likely on vacation from some exclusive private college, walked past Academy. One girl said to the other, “So…do they still make records? And do people still buy…music?” The surprise and disdain in her voice were such that she might as well have been saying, “Remember when people thought the Earth was flat?”
My heart sank at the tone in her voice, because she’d illuminated the problem without even knowing there was one. The mainstream music industry, comically flawed since its inception, has been a creative wasteland for years. While I would posit that the old model for promoting and distributing mainstream music has been showing stress fractures since the fake “vinyl shortage” of the early 70s – in which albums by fringe bands like the Modern Lovers were shelved, the excuse being there wasn’t enough vinyl to meet production demands – it is my astute opinion that the old standard of modern pop music breathed its death rattle in 2003. Sometime after the White Stripes’ Elephant and before Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief (and, in fairness, the industry’s corpse may have kept flopping until Good News For People Who Love Bad News came out in April ’04) the rock-music-as-big-moneymaker model jumped the shark. The last wave of new, compelling rock music (aka the garage rock movement of ’01 – ’03) had failed to ignite: The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and their ilk had all somehow managed to follow up stunning debuts with tepid sophomore efforts. The lifers – bands with no real hits but respectable catalog sales and devoted followers – began jumping ship from their respective labels (either by necessity or design), many realizing the benefits of working with a small organization, many more marginalized by the continued consolidation of the big label infrastructure.
More on #1: A Prologue
So It’s Actually Coming Out: Wu-Tang Member Raekwon To Play Two Nights At Manhattan’s Santos Party House To Celebrate The Long Anticipated Release of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II [Brooklyn Vegan]
Watch A Ridiculously Shoddy Video of “Michael Jackson” Allegedly Still Alive, Entering The Coroner’s Office…Tupac, Biggie, John Hughes, Andy Kaufman, and Jesus All Sighted on the Premises As Well [Idolator]
The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” Scribe Ellie Greenwich Passes Away At 68 [Pitchfork]
The Who’s Pete Townshend Announces A New Rock Opera Floss, Along With A New Who Album To Be Released Sometime In 2010 – Floss Is About A Bar Musician, Who The Who Couldn’t Have Possibly Related To In Like 20 Years [NME]
Noisy Brooklynites Gang Gang Dance’s Drummer Jesse Lee Attacked By Security At Belgium’s Pukkelpop Festival [Brooklyn Vegan]
Former Hüsker Dü Drummer Grant Heart Readies His First Solo Album In A Decade (Sidenote: Hell Yeah!); Hot Wax Released October 6 [Prefix]
UK Extravaganza, The Reading And Leeds Festival, Announces They Will Have Zero Tolerance Toward Crowd Surfing (Read: Fun) [Prefix]
compiled by Max Sebela
July 17, 2009
According to a recent interview given to the Philippines-based Inquirer, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has announced that “NIN as a touring live band or live band that’s on the road all the time is stopping.” Reznor explains his intention is to pursue other musical collaborations and keep NIN active sans touring. Reznor says, “the only way to get a paycheck is to play live,” so one can estimate he’s financially comfortable for now.
Over the last couple years, Reznor has relied heavily on information technology to promote and sell NIN. On NIN’s Myspace page you can find avenues to purchase hi-res photos of this lady-killer or follow him on Facebook. And of course, there was the NIN iPhone app fiasco. Apple rejected NIN’s app because of objectionable content on NIN’s “The Downward Spiral” album, although Reznor harshly criticized Apple’s reasoning on a NIN forum.
Regardless, a break in NIN’s touring only means that Reznor will reunite with Exotic Birds, a Cleveland electro band that he was in during the 80s. In this video of a 1985 interview on Cleveland TV, Reznor, looking like a cross between Screech and Jason Schwartzman, explains concepts of electronic music to us. Young Reznor’s voice cracks and his hair looks something like a jerri curl. If all goes well, Exotic Birds will playing “Rhythm of Machinery,” at Bar Matchless before we see the end of 2009.
by Thomas Wilk
Nas Writing New Album; Claims Hip-Hop Has Responsibility To “Keep Shit Crunchy” [Billboard]
Jay Reatard Thinks Pains of Being Pure at Heart is Boring and Therefore Hates Entirety of Brooklyn [Brooklyn Vegan]
Bring a Can of Squirt and See Girl Talk For Free (Wait, They Still Make Squirt?) [Pitchfork]
Nine Inch Nails’ Final Tour Announced – Four Confirmed New York Dates in August [Brooklyn Vegan]
Most Banal News Story of the Day: Panic at the Disco Re-Rename Themselves Panic! At the Disco [Idolator]
Scottland’s The Swell Season Record Announce New Album The Strict Joy [Spin]
Shellac(!), Crystal Castles(!), and Sufjan Stevens (!!!!) Added to All Tomorrow’s Parties New York [Brooklyn Vegan]
Leonard Cohen Feels “Hallelujah” Has Been Covered Too Many Times; Meanwhile, Some Highschooler Covers “Hallelujah” For Girlfriend [NME]Leon
Dinosaur Jr.’s Farm Recalled For Rocking Too Hard; Causing Deafness [Pitchfork]
Jay-Z Possibly To Release Book of Lyrical Explanations [Prefix]
Madonna Performs With Sunn O)); Picture is Unbelievably Awesome [Tripwire]
compiled by Max Sebela
Tom Waits Chats with Beck About Building Fires Out of Chopsticks [Pitchfork]
Dum Dum Girls Play Woodsist Fest, Immediately Sign to Sub Pop [BrooklynVegan]
Nine Inch Nails Announce Final Shows; Reznor Really Means It This Time [NME]
Black Keys’ Drummer Plays Bass in New Band Called Drummer — Follow That? [Stereogum]
The Dead Weather Album is Streaming Free for a Few More Hours, Before Jack White Takes it Down [SPIN]
Ryan Gosling Ups Indie Cred as Band Dead Man’s Bones Signs to ANTI- [The Tripwire]
compiled by Sean Hallarman
Judge Grants Juror Glastonbury Leave [NME]
Yeasayer to Tour North America, Hit New York on 8/13 [Prefix]
Timbaland to Score, Zac Efron to Star in Cowell’s Rendition of Saturday Night Fever [NME]
Bicycle Film Festival Kicks Off w/ FREE Show Featuring Jon Spencer Blues Explosion & The Teenagers [Brooklyn Vegan]
Hip-Hop Artists Sick of “Old Ass Jay-Z Hating” on Auto-Tune [Prefix]
Built to Spill to Release New LP in October [Pitchfork]
Paul McCartney Waiting for a Phone Call from MGMT [NME]
Radiohead Selling Second In Rainbows CD [Pitchfork]
“Zack Morris” Performs “Zack Attack” Backed by The Roots [Videogum]
More Big Acts Cutting Ticket Prices [NME]
Stop Laughing At, Start Feeling Bad About Michaels’s Faceplant [The Tripwire]
compiled by Elana Jacobs & Erin Sheehy
Virgin Megastore Closing Brings Us St. Vincent [Brooklyn Vegan]
Nine Inch Nails App Rejected by Apple, But Reznor’s Getting Married! [Prefix]
Tupac Twin or the Real Thing? [The Tripwire]
Fiery Furnaces Back in the Fray [Brooklyn Vegan]
Another Sweet 90s Revival [Prefix]
Coldplay, Get Your Copyrighting Straight [The Tripwire]
New Music Preview: The Cool Kids “Popcorn” MP3 [Prefix]
R.E.M. Reissue [Pitchfork]
Dark Was the Night Does It Right [Stereogum]
Britney Fans Getting All “Crazy” On Her [NME]
compiled by Elana Jacobs