sub-grey matter

Courtesy of Oliver Wang, here's that Beatles/Beastie Boys mash-up you've been waiting for.

what a long strange trip it's been

I've never been a huge Fugazi fan, and honestly haven't really paid that much attention to the band's career, but I just realized that the folks behind the wall of character have been selling live recordings for several months.

(You did recognize that Grateful Dead reference in the title of this post, right? Just checking.)

But the comparison between Fugazi and the Grateful Dead pretty much ends at there being copious live documentation available to fans. Because Fugazi is actually selling live recordings rather than just allowing shows to be recorded for free, like the Grateful Dead did. All of a sudden, those $5 shows seem a little more expensive, right?


super no subject

I think this M.I.A. hijack has been making the rounds for a while, but I'm slow. I originally thought the track was taking the piss out of an increasingly feverish hype surrounding M.I.A., but I now just think it's really good.

Special thanks to Sasha Frere Jones for pointing me toward this one.

I don't know what this has to do with music publicity, but there you are.


fannypack in the house (and they won't leave)

Please don't ask why I'm on the Colette mailing list, because I'm just here to inform you that Colette vous souhaite de bonnes fetes et vous annonce l'arrivee toute fraiche do nouveaux produits exclusifs.

Don't worry, there's nothing important there beside "produits exclusifs." I'm trying to keep this music related, so here's the wheat (sans le chaff), only at Colette, the coolest fashion boutique in the world:

1. A compilation by somebody called Kitsune, with exclusive tracks by a bunch of people I've never heard of with rad names like Hot Chip Simian Mobile Disco and Chikinki. And, of course, Fannypack. If you think promocopy's design is fresh, check out Kitsune's awesome website here.

2. An iPod case (les housse pour iPod!) by some company called Yoshida that apparently makes totally awesome bags. Several designs to choose from, all from today's hottest international designers. [I bet if I worked in fashion that wouldn't be so funny]

Don't ever say you didn't hear it here first. If none of this means anything to you--Jesus, you just don't get it.


promises of fame

I'm invariably surprised to recall that Sire Records is still around (that's www.warnerbrosrecords.biz/sire ). Of course, gone are those paradigmatic eras of the Ramones and Talking Heads, The Smiths and The Replacements. But the new breed is here, and these youngsters have been studying the paradigm tirelessly. I'm talking Hot Hot Heat and Futureheads, folks. Sire even has a band called The Fags.

Wha? Homo say 'What?'

Because I honestly liked that last Hot Hot Heat record, and I find Futurheads infectious and wonderfully fun on stage (if absurdly--albeit appropriately, at present--derivative in sound), I'll focus on The Fags. But only briefly. I assume there's some sort of clever-esque post-homophobia hand being played here and any criticism of the band's name will be casually met with something along the lines of, "That's so gay." I hunted around the band's website for some "dude, we're totally being ironic" info, but with no FAG FAQ readily available and the fan forum requiring user identification, I realized that it's not really so important and I'm probably just being "too PC" or something.

But just to say, Mandy Moore is also on Sire. And her fans are totally of a type, if you know what I mean.

Idiots. I'm talking about Mandy Moore fans being idiots.

squeaky wheel

[Like anyone's paying attention]

Sorry, no new Slint news. But ATP/UK2005 has released to the public a lineup, which includes Neil Hamburger. Which is rad. I'm going to stop bad-mouthing Slint for reuniting, for one day, because they chose Neil Hamburger to be on this bill. I've never even thought about how English people respond to this guy.

I recently saw Neil Hamburger perform between sets at a Pinback show. The crowd, mostly made up of Alternative Rock listeners, didn't take to him very well. It hadn't occurred to me until that point how much money Pinback is going to make for Touch and Go. Sort of off-topic. But sort of not.

Anyway, bunch of other bands on that ATP/UK2005/#1/Inc bill. It's admirably low-key while I'm not trashing Slint. Sort of begs the question as to who cares what bands are on the bill when it sold out before the lineup was released. I guess the medium is the message after all.


this ain't no mudd club

From a totally unconfirmed source: When in Los Angeles (as long as it's tonight), look cool and influence people on Vice's and/or X-Large's dime (and your own $5) at the basement of The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd. Peanut Butter Wolf on ones/twos. Some other people. That's tonight, 12/17, 9pm-2am. Entrance to basement is on Glendale. Secret password is "We are...Lucky Bitches." Have fun! Tell 'em Donny Miller sent you before he does it himself.


devendra banhart nominated for most misspelled name

Because people who create art outside the political landscape of popular acceptance need popular acceptance too, The PLUG Independent Music Awards (???) finds Devendra Banhart nominated in four categories this year.

(Dizzee Rascall was nominated for five awards, but whatever. Until his publicist writes me we're talking about DB.)

Cast your votes and be heard. Devendra is totally listening.

hello to our press contacts

"On your desk this week: Ian McGlynn's Tomorrow's Taken.

..an emerging singer/songwriter staking some claim in the future; but with an eye and ear alertly focused on music's rich past. With the help of producer Shane Tutmarc (of Seattle's Dolour), he's fashioned his songwriting into utterly unique and forward-looking works of art... nostalgic AM radio pop, or a synth-happy Beatles.

Recommended If You Like: Paul McCartney, Keane, Tom Waits, Badly Drawn Boy

Because Tom Waits conveniently fits right next to Wings in my record collection, this blog writes itself. You know, music does have a rich past, and I'm thinking Beethoven might have been a more significant reference to drop than Badly Drawn boy. But that's just me.

Just for good measure: "Utterly unique and forward-looking works of art...nostalgic AM radio."

If interested in what any of this could possibly mean to an intelligent individual, please contact the publicist Dave at Nice Promotion (dave@nicepromo.com) and tell him he's being watched and mocked.

best band in [london]

Pitchfork gave the last Bloc Party CD, "Helicopter" a fine and positive review today. Just because Bloc Party is fucking rad, I imagine. I once heard Steve Aoki say to a room full of people that Bloc Party was the best band in the world, which uh... But they are rad anyway. See the video for "Helicopter" here, where it has been up for a while. Just reminding you.

And if you make it to that Wichita video page, you might as well check out that Cribs video, too. Sort of the English Strokes to my ears, but pretty catchy, and I think "You Were Always the One" is one of the better tracks on the band's debut.

Incidentally, Ikey Owens once told me that Bloc Party sucks, even if the band has a black singer. So there you are.

Bloc Party just finished touring with Interpol, so we'll see what happens.

And while on Wichita, Bloc Party's UK label, watch out for Wichita US this next year.


more slint

What was I thinking?

Being billed as a "one-time tour" at this point, here are all the current live dates, newest dates in italics, older dates not:

Thursday, March 10--San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
March 11, 2005--San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
March 12, 2005--Seattle, WA The Showbox
Friday, March 18--New York, NY Irving Plaza
Saturday, March 19--New York, NY Irving Plaza
Sunday, March 20--Boston, MA The Roxy
March 25, 2005--Chicago, IL Metro
March 26, 2005--Chicago, IL Park West

Funny if they don't play Louisville, huh? Nice.

I contacted Miranda Lange, the publicist at Touch and Go, about forthcoming dates and the possiblity of any new material. I'm being ignored. And still no lineup info on the ATP site, although this thing is in a little over two months.

best band in NY

I complain about that guy Peter Bottomley from Skyscaper Media, but here's what, as he notes in a press release, Rolling Stone has said about this band called The Holy Ghost that's in his stable: "If The Holy Ghost keeps this pace up, they may just become New York City's best band. Maybe they already are." (If you think I'm saying he's on the right track because Rolling Stone makes claims as ridiculous as he does, you're on the wrong track.)

The Holy Ghost apparently has three LPs. Potential best band in New York. Do you have any idea who this band is?

I occasionally complain about how trendy New York indie rock is, but I'm curious to see Holy Ghost in the ring with Les Savy Fav, Liars, TV On the Radio--even The Rapture or The Strokes. And that's just rock bands. MF Doom? RZA? Antibalas? DFA?

Or how about this: in a city as large and as diverse as New York, is there much sense in talking about the single best band?

Anyway, I haven't heard this record yet. If I hear it and it's half as good as !!!, I'll take a picture of myself eating crow and post it right here alongside an apology letter to Peter Bottomley.

I'm here to describe to you how stupid unveiled promotional copy can be, but you are going to have to put down the pseudo-editorial promotional devices like Rolling Stone for yourself. Because this shit is out of touch with the truth.

tom waits nominated for grandma

I'm just cutting and pasting off a press release here, but Tom Waits has copped his [I haven't verified how many] 6th Grammy nomination [I cut out some shit about him having a distinguished and prolific career here--just fyi], this time in the "Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance" category for the song "Metropolitan Glide," from this year's Real Gone, which, gosh, came out a month before Grammy nominations.

Sayeth the publicist: "(The single was released in time for this year's eligibility; the album was released after the cut off date and will be admissible next year.)" Much less dodgy than I thought.

Waits has previously won Grammy Awards for "Best Contemporary Folk Album" for Mule Variations in 2000, and "Best Alternative Album" for Bone Machine in 1993. He has better albums, blah blah blah, but it's nice to see such a vital, progressive, continually-evolving artist getting recognized. Seriously. Just distinguishing the art from the commerce, here.

If you think I'm laying it on thick, check out the other nominees.

ring in the new crap

Certified-gold recording artists Good Charlotte will join hosts Regis Philbin (in place of recent stroke victim Dick Clark) and Ashlee Simpson to perform, alongside such talent as Billy Idol, among others, on ABC's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" special. How appropriate.

Was there some discussion as to whether or not Good Charlotte consituted punk rock in any way? Because I thought there was.

And I'm also still curious as to why Bono says "uno, dos, tres, catorce" to kick off that iPod commercial. (Or was it a rock song?) Nobody that I ask seems to know, and the general response doesn't seem to get beyond, "He's a fucking idiot." Which I guess sort of works for me.


freaks come out at night

I forgot about that Coachwhips album, which is out in Feb. It's all right. Super furious and loud, but kind of hyper-garage by numbers. It's sort of like listening to an amphetamine-fueled Headcoats without the (battered) soulful delivery. Every vocal is sent through the four-decade-old-and-burnt-PA filter, the R&B is scorching and sloppy, the drums stomp. The songs aren't that memorable, but I imagine this band is pretty exciting live. They're from SF, and the thought of seeing them at the Purple Onion is kind of tantalizing.

[deleted] is having its 10-Year Anniversary party tonight at the Delancey. JD Samson from Le Tigre is playing. Then Rye Coalition, Brazilian Girls and two dudes from the Rapture. Headlined by BP Fallon, who I'm not even going to pretend I know anything about, but, from the looks of it, kind of reminds me why music in NY is a bloated plastic corpse (untitled) worth more capital than you have to spend on art. Invitation-only tonight. And I'd give mine, but it's non-transferable. Sorry.


sunday night rock

I brag/complain about how much publicity shit I get, but the weekends can be dead slow. Kill Rock Stars is usually the last to send anything all week, and an email often arrives about 8:00 on Friday night. I just got one on Sunday night, which I guess just means that some other poor jerk is working.

I don't even know who's doing the press over there now, as I seem to get random KRS stuff from different publicists. Tobi Vail used to handle it, and it was pretty amazing corresponding with the bass player for Bikini Kill. Not to get all cross-eyed and engaged with male gaze or anything.

So, anyhow, new Decemberists record in March, kids. Mark yr calendars (which I'm sure you already have).

New Stereo Total in stores Jan 25.

Re-release of the first Mae Shi EP, I'm assuming on 5RC.

That's just the stuff I'm into, but plenty more is always going on up there, so check it out yourself.

no, wait, still talking about Slint reforming

Here's the "official Slint reunion news," courtesy of Touch and Go. I guess if you're really into Slint you would have a) already checked the Touch and Go site and b) been as annoyed as I was at the lack of real info on Slint.

Of course, there is info on ATP and a link (oh, what the fuck) that shows no lineup information as of 12/12. Quite helpful.


new ed harcourt album due feb. 8

Think I've listened to this yet?

Fuck No!

Do you think he got teased as a kid? "Oi, Hard Court!" I mean, Wimbledon and all. Dude's English, what?

Astralwerks calls it an "opus," and says a bunch of other stuff, front and back of a page. I'll let you know.

new ben lee record due feb. 22

Think I've listened to this yet?

Fuck N--well, OK, I actually listened to about half of it. I have this Ben Lee 10" issued by Dim Mak, and it's a split with Pony Up (who, if I recall is pretty bad), and I haven't listened to it yet and it's just been sitting on the bookshelf for a couple months. So, whatever, I have no idea who Ben Lee is and how bad can you be if you do a split-10" on Dim Mak?

I don't know about that record, but this new LP sucks. Out Feb 22 on New West Records from LA (who, incidentally, marks its catalogue numbers "NWA," eg, this album is NWA3008). Does this look like it should be anywhere near the acronym NWA, especially in Los Angeles?

(!) LCD Soundsystem arrives at my door

Just got the LCD Soundsystem LP in the mail today, and I'm in a bit of a subjective state (ie, this shit is Fucking Rad!), so I suspect I should post thoughts in a week or so. I had yet to hear "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House," which is particularly inspired (and is track 1) so this is pretty exciting stuff.

A note on the packaging, though, which is a really nice cardboard sleeve with two disc inserts in inner sleeves, the latter of which appears to be all reused stuff that has appeared on records and later on the DFA comps (the exception being "Tired"?? I can't remember). EMI buying DFA, or licensing releases or whatever, wasn't as big an issue as I thought it might be, which says a lot about the state of independent music today. Although DFA has always been in awe of having huge amounts of money to make music, so I guess we'll just see what happens and I won't worry about it.

James Murphy is, vocally, really going into Mark E. Smith territory. Some straight rock songs on this record. I think it's time to assess Six Finger Satellite.


still talking about Slint reforming

Qualifications aside, remember when it was a bad idea to reform a band after more than a decade off? Mission of Burma, Television, Buzzcocks, Wire (on occasion), et al--I hear it can work. But honestly, I don't think The Who reforming is any worse than Slint reforming. It's just that, at the end of its first lifespan (a telling indication of what's to come for a reunion) The Who was a lot worse than was Slint when the latter broke up. Agreed, completely. Maybe that means Slint shouldn't have broken up.

I guess it kind of makes sense these days, as post-punk is really turning into an old man's/woman's game, but I think it's still kind of detrimental to the spirit. I mean, it's not like Slint is going to blow The Mae Shi (a band so young it probably isn't even aware that it's greatly influenced by Slint) off the stage on a bill. Anyway, here's the publicist's info circa now:
The impossibly influential and somewhat mysterious Louisville, KY rock band, Slint, has reformed for a brief series of very special appearances in 2005. The October confirmation of their intent to headline and curate the All Tomorrow's Parties [sorry fans, but please see this for the publicity stunt that it is: exposure generates interest] festival event in Camber Sands, UK in February caused the quickest sell-out in ATP history. All 3,000 tickets for the weekend-long event were snapped up in less than a month without a single additional festival performer being announced.

Slint will present approximately fifteen additional headline shows in the US, UK, and Europe. All will occur in the month of March beginning with March 1 at the Kentish Town Forum in London. That show, put on sale quietly two weeks ago, has already sold out. A second show at the same venue will go on sale this week.

Today, the following peformances [sic] are announced:

March 11, 2005 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
March 12, 2005 Seattle, WA The Showbox
March 25, 2005 Chicago, IL Metro
March 26, 2005 Chicago, IL Park West

The Seattle and both Chicago shows go on sale this Saturday, December 11. The San Francisco show goes on sale this Sunday, December 11.
Just for the record, I love and admire Slint and would put them on the Top 5 American Post-Punk list in terms of influence. Whatever.

And don't forget, "kids," that Gang of Four is getting back together (again?), which is open for discussion, as that band was obviously always way more than just a pop band. I guess an ideological angle makes it all right. I want to see the Gang of Four/Moving Units/Mahjongg bill. Dancepunktastic!


K is good people

Amber Bua, the publicist at K Records sent me a christmas card last year. A lot of PR people I work with sent out mass mailings, but she was the only one that sent a real card with a hand-written note. I think that's kind of indicative of what K is about.

I'm waiting to see if I get anything this year. I gave K way more attention last year than I did this year, for no real reason. I guess I did like Mirah's Black Mountain Music Project record, which came out last year, better than C'mon Miracle, which came out this year. I may have said something about it in print. Maybe that had something to do with it. But only subconsciously, of course.


middle class well being

"Lydia [Lunch] will be in NYC December 13-15 and then in Los Angeles from December 16 through mid January and is available for in person interviews during these times."

I don't make as much as this lawyer that I know, but he never gets the chance to meet people that he admires as much as I admire Lydia Lunch. I don't even know if he admires anyone, really.

I mean, she can be a bit of a wanker. But still.


ultimate kylie double cd to be released in us feb. 1

"Ultimate Kylie is the only comprehensive collection of greatest hits from Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue, one of the world's top selling female artists.," etc.

I get press releases every day from publicists promoting records (occasionally literal vinyl LPs) that will never get within a time zone of popular acceptance. These folks are looking for press from me because I write for publications that will run reviews of albums based on the artistic merit of the music regardless of profitability potential. I understand this sort of exchange.

But I'm a little confused about what difference a Kylie Minogue review will make for record sales, whether that review is in the sort of 50,000-circ publications I write for or the several-hundreds-of-thousands-circ rags that fans of the world's top selling artists read. Hasn't MTV proved to be a better vehicle for those types of artists to reach an audience? Not to underestimate anyone's intellectual curiosity for insightful, critical commentary on Kylie Minogue's art, but I kind of doubt that she sells any significant number of units because people are reading positive reviews in Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone? Let alone the type of magazines I write for.

Why would this publicist even care what I think? Really.

Are promo copies of this record worth so little that they can be wasted (in the grand scheme of this record's promotional life) on me? Is the time that it takes to find my address, print a label and stuff an envelope so worthless? (Yes, "worthless," because I'll go on record as saying that I cannot imagine giving a Kylie Minogue album a good review in this lifetime, and not a whole lot of what I've ever written about music suggests otherwise.)

I think Capitol Records (that's EMI) may have a little too much money to burn. Not that I mind having some of it thrown at me--I mean, Jesus, we're talking Kylie here--but just saying.


exhibit b

I have no idea where these people are educated. 97% of record label one sheets and press releases invariably incorporate overwrought hyperbole, blunt overestimation of unparalleled individuality, exaggerated sense of importance, unfair (although quite favorable) comparisons to other music, and seemingly always an overbearing warning that you've been waiting your journalistic life for this. They treat you like an idiot.

Electroclash! [Remeber that?] Don't Miss the Revolution!

Enter Sam Hunt, who runs VelociRecords, a young record label in Chicago. I first met him (although I've never spoken to him face to face) while writing music reviews for DustedMagazine.com, where he is an editor. I would later go on to interact with him when dealing with Thrill Jockey Records, where he until recently worked as a publicist. Foremost a music lover with a broad musical knowledge and an ability to handle and understand (at least) indie music of all kinds, this guy writes like he not only knows what he's talking about but also that you would be insulted if he tried to tell you that the band he's pushing is going to change your life forever.

For example, Hunt's one-sheet on Dan Friel, who's record he put out in mid-2004 is everything an indie rock promotional note should be. The statement offers a sober and economical summary of Friel's history, creative collaborations, influences and (reasonable) stylistic contemporaries, only straying toward excess in his suggestion that Friel's album "def[ies] classification and convention" (although it's pretty fucking weird indeed) and that his work with Parts & Labor has "received tremendous attention from critics and radio stations across North America" (which, considering the obscure capital with which that group trades, is not unreasonable in context). Admirable.

I'm frustrated and saddened that this kind of honesty and integrity is so rare in even indie (you know, the kind with character) rock. I'm even more frustrated that publicists cram so much absurd shit down the throats of so many writers and editors who unfortunately eat it and publish it. (Yes, both of those links lead to the same piece of copy. Rad how that works, eh?)

People like Sam Hunt can totally make music seem like a civilized industry.


Fannypack and shit

I'm trying to make these short. Blog posts are supposed to be short because we have short attention spans these days, right?

So, speaking of short attention spans, the three wee lasses with grown up attitude and classic hip-hop schlock-sense--they who rocked Brooklyn and lower Manhattan (in the minds of Vice readers, at least) last year--called Fannypack have a new album of obnoxious material slated for March 22 (mark your calendars. or don't).

So rad how the press pack features the following stats front and center:

50 Best Albums of 2003 - Rolling Stone
Top 5 Hip-Hop Singles of 2003 - Rolling Stone
20 Best Singles of 2003 - Blender
50 Greatest CDs of 2003 - Blender

So, like, what happens if you think Rolling Stone and Blender have absolutely no credibility and [deleted] (Fannypack's PR) are in their pocket's anyway? ho hum. Publicity business as usual.

But the record: It's actually pretty fun. It's kind of like a young, ironic, Salt N Pepa. Third wave feminism/women-getting-theirs-and-not-really-concerned-with-politics stuff. Hooks are good, attitude is saucy, lots of dozens tossed around. (Sample lyric: (boyfriend's crib)/That's where I woke up this morning/'Cuase he said that you boring/I don't like him anyway, he was snoring/You can have his ass back while I'm out touring) They talk like they can fight, but I don't really believe it. Watch out for two hot tracks, "Seven One Eight" and "Feet and Hands."

See You Next Tuesday out March 22 on Tommy Boy.


new Prekop

Got the new Sam Prekop record. Kind of boring. Kind of really Sea and Cake. I interviewed Archer Prewitt last year and--I don't know why this had never occurred to me--he said he liked doing solo albums because the Sea and Cake was essentially Prekop's band. And, well, this one just sounds to me like everything else that band does. (Although, am I wrong in remembering a distinct latin-jazz tone on Prekop's first solo record?) But honestly, although I kept buying their records (I get them all for free now, thanks to that fucking awesome label Thrill Jockey, which you should totally financially support, even though I don't), I haven't really been into anything since Nassau. Except for that first song on One Bedroom, which I think is amazing--the band's smooth, cool sound, a bit more uptempo than usual, sophisticatedly integrating electronics--just great. Of course they end the album with that crap version of "Sound + Vision" (why even bother covering Bowie in his most skillful period, especially with something so straight-ahead?).

Don't get me wrong. The guy writes comforting, accessible, unchallenging songs. I kind of wish he was more popular, for his sake. He's just in a well worn groove and I don't think he's going anywhere.

Anyway, it's called Who's Your Professor (THRILL146), out sometime this spring.