I hear Petra Haden is going to cover The Who Sell Out in its entirety. Your guess as to the impetus for this is as good as mine.

A press release for the project states that the idea originated with Mike Watt, a friend of Haden's. Watt apparently gave her an eight track tape with seven empty tracks (one filled with the original Who album), encouraging her to fill up the remaining seven with a variety of vocal tracks that would ultimately lead to a completely a cappella rendition of the album (including the album's skits in the form of radio commercials). I've been under the impression for some time that Watt is seriously pushing senility, and news of this project doesn't exactly squelch the notion.

"The final result is not only a technical tour de force that also invite a fuller appreciation of The Who's own achievement bringing all the elements of chorale music, vaudevillian schmaltz and Renaissance chamber ensemble playing powerfully to the fore." [snicker -ed.] Thank you Howlin' Weulf Media. Aside from the stupid sentiment, is there something wrong with the grammar in that sentence?

Petra Haden is a reasonably accomplished violin player (at least within a pop context), so I'm confused as to the a cappella angle. And I liked That Dog, so I'm not just prone to thinking she's an idiot (or pretentious or whatever). I also see her current project, The Haden Triplets, in the paper occasionally, but I don't know what it's about.

Bar None Records, February 22.


everyday I read the book

Because I work from home, and my mail goes into the office of the magazine I work for, there's often significant lag time between the arrival of a piece of music and me dragging myself down to pick it up. In the interim, excited publicists will invariably remind me that there is something awaiting my consideration.

Here's a rather characteristic example (below) of the type of email I get daily, this one from a particularly voracious publicist named Peter Bottomley who runs Skyscraper Media in Boulder. The poor guy has a history of representing way too much crap way too aggressively, and I've always sympathized with him because he's never had much to work with. I've felt considerably fortunate of late, as he has taken on both GSL and Gern Blandsten, two labels that I think are putting out a lot of great music. At least far more quality stuff than this dude was pushing before.

"By now you've hopefully listened to...the WATCHERS "The Dunes Phase" CDEP (out Feb 22 on Gern Blandsten). I just wanted to check in and see what you thought of [this] release."

"Chicago's WATCHERS are back with five short, sharp shots of groove-fueled power and inspiration. "The Dunes Phase" EP finds the band perfecting and expanding upon their unique brand of tightly wound avant-rock and infectious dance-funk [what funk isn't "dance funk" (a mere typo removed from "dance-punk")?]. Throwing down snatches of Ethiopiques, early XTC, Can, Pop Group, ACR, no wave, soul, dub, ZE Records and '60s Dutch psychedelia with an endless sense of experimentation, Watchers chart a nimble course through the secret history of pop music, infusing each moment with a sense of urgency, tension and release."

Could he possibly have hit more indie-friendly trendy buzzwords/bands? What does No Wave even mean anymore when everyone from The Rapture to !!! is associated with the term? What would a cross between Ethiopiques (a vast catalogue of music involving hundreds of different musicians over the course of how many years?) and A Certain Ratio (a bit of variety there, too, wouldn't you say?), with a little soul and dub thrown in for good measure, sound like when it also sounds like XTC? And I'm not the biggest music fan in the world, so grant me the allowance of underexposure, but what the fuck constitutes "'60s Dutch psychedelia?"

Shall we even bother skewering "chart a nimble course through the secret history of pop music?" Needless to say, this record had better be good (could they ever measure up).

But this is totally normal. This was like one-of-four today.


merely another reason the business of hip-hop sucks

I don't know how common this is, because I don't get a lot of big-label hip-hop review copies, but I've received two advances recently that are each frustratingly, annoyingly marred by a soundbite that comes in every 30 seconds stating that the disc in question "is for promotional use only," right over the top of each and every track on the album. I understand the concern for discouraging piracy, which (I'm totally guessing, based upon having only heard this practice on hip-hop discs) is more common with hip-hop than with other genres of pop music, but it didn't leave me any more interested in taking the music seriously as the subject of review. Lame. I gave the De la Soul album a decent review in a reasonably visible press spot, so I'm tempted to write Sanctuary, the group's current label, and ask them for an album I can listen to. Sound reasonable?



just to test.

what makes promocopy work

1. I like the record but I don't like the way it's promoted

5. Vice sends me the one-sheet

2. I read editorial content that just looks like promotional copy to me

0. Some publicist questions my anonymity

3. MIA and Diplo put out a CD-R called Piracy Funds Terrorism

4. I stop talking about myself (and only refer to posts that never happened)

7. The press release includes stupid quotes from Filter

6. Jessica Hopper's writing embarrasses me into productivity

8. I'm unemployed

9. Somebody I know asks me to post something about her/him