Drew & The Medicinal Pen - Hole in my Sail video

Back in March, Drew threw a record release party for the Dream, Dream, Fail, Repeat (which I can't recommend highly enough). Turns out there were a few cameras on hand.

So now, set to the EP's opening song "Hole in my Sail," you can see what you (and I, unfortunately) missed: a pretty awesome time.

You can pick up Drew & The Medicinal Pen's EP, preview a few songs, and watch more videos at Drew's MySpace. You can also buy the Dream, Dream, Fail, Repeat at iTunes.


Day of Silence: final list of participants

Kurt Hanson's RAIN (Radio and Internet Newsletter) today has a final listing of all the webcasters that participated in Monday's Day of Silence. You'll have to scroll down a bit to find it, but it's worth a look, simply because there are so many participants, and many of those will start dropping, pitiful and fly-like, on July 15th if the CRB's decision is allowed to stand.


Nobody is the boss of Prince

princeUK record store owners are pissed off at the news (actually it might still be a rumor) that Prince will be giving away his new record for free in the British Daily Mail as a "covermount." This is in addition to his plans to include free copies of Planet Earth with tickets to his upcoming 21-show London residency. The spin on this is that the people at Prince's label (Sony BMG's UK arm) aren't any more psyched about this than the British record retailers. The Guardian has the story, but if you're not a registered member, Idolator has a good summary.

Two points I think are important. The first is a question: Why the hell is Prince still working with a major label? I would argue (and I am) that he could move the same number of records on an indie, and they'd probably give him a lot less grief. Hell, a guy like Prince has the resources to do it all himself, and it seems like he kinda wants to anyway.

Second: The ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association) is all bark and no bite here. Prince doesn't need to sell another CD as long as he lives, and he's clearly not losing any sleep over chart positions. It's no secret to anyone that the live business is where the money's at these days, and Prince's live revenues in particular are through the roof (see here, here).

Regardless of whether or not the ERA thinks Prince owes them anything, he doesn't seem to think he does. They need him a lot more than he needs them, and crying about it isn't going to make it any better.


Video games are kicking ass. Music not so much.

Consulting group PricewaterhouseCoopers is predicting that the video game industry is poised to overtake the music industry as soon as this year with regards to overall consumer spending.

Contributing to the success of the video game industry (which is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 9.1%) is gigantic in-game advertising growth.

Contributing to the continued floundering of the music industry: stories like this one.



Why Last.fm played music today

Really interesting debate on today's Internet radio Day of Silence happening over at the Last.fm blog. Last.fm, as one of the biggest and most widely known web streamers, has long been conspicuously absent from the gaggle of protesters. Blogger Felix Miller goes a long way in his post to explain the London company's position, and is surprisingly patient and polite in the comments to those who (at times aggressively) disagree.

Lengthy quote below, but I really recommend you check out the entire post.

We do not want to punish our listeners for our problems, period.

If a commercial challenge comes up, we have to deal with it. We have always done that, as many people who have been using Last.fm for a while can attest to. And we’ve had our fair share of challenges. (Like the server growth problems we’ve been battling recently. Mischa was overheard grumbling that “we’ve probably put in two days of silence!” over the last couple weeks; a heartfelt thanks our users for their patience.)

Since Last.fm started we’ve engaged in negotiations with the music industry, leading to our recently reaching an agreement with several major record labels for the use of music on our service. As a legal and responsible provider of music, we’re continuing discussions with record labels and music publishers. At the same time, we’re negotiating with royalty collection societies to make sure we can get rates that make sense to us.

The only solution to this dilemma is commercial; make a commercial argument and see it through. What benefit does music have if no one is playing it anymore? There are various opinions about the promotional benefits of playing music on the radio, but having your music heard by more people instead of less can’t be wrong, no?

What I am saying is: it’s in no one’s interest to let online radio die. But people want to make money from their music. And we want to pay artists for the music we play. It’s only fair.

We think – and this is the opinion of the whole Last.fm office, who you can meet on our lovely team page – that turning off the radio is just plain wrong. This has been a no-brainer from day one for us: the users rule, and we serve them. If only one person wants to listen tomorrow, we should serve them. I for one want to listen every day.

Online radio won’t die in a hurry, but it will be hard work. And we don’t deal in silence.

It's hard to argue with the logic here, if logic is the way you like to argue. Last.fm is a big company, now owned by a much bigger company, and as such they have no choice but to abide by the rules. Royalties in every other country they stream to have been a reality for some time, and they have the clout to be able to negotiate more favorable rates than the CRB-imposed ones with most of the major copyright holders. And it's an admirable thing these days to grind though a tough situation with nothing but elbow grease, rather than cry about it as the Last.fm'ers seem to suggest everyone else is doing.

Still, it would have been nice to see the big guy stand alongside the little guys today.

Because unfair rules are not good rules, and none of SoundExchange's press releases have convinced me that these rules are anything but a moneygrab.

Because it shouldn't be incumbent on a fledgling industry that hasn't even figured out its business model yet to prop up a matured industry that's lost its way.

Because the judges that comprise the CRB have made it abundantly clear that they don't understand the technology they're ruling about.

Because if the day of silence works Last.fm will benefit handsomely from the reprieve.

Because because because...

The Format giving away Dog Problems for free!

In honor of the one year anniversary of their masterpiece (and my favorite album of 2006) Dog Problems, The Format are giving the record away as a free download from theformat.com. The record will be available from June 25th to July 16th.

Interested parties need only to enter their email in this form to sign up for the band's email list, and a free, DRM-less digital copy of Dog Problems will be made available for download.

Truly, absolutely, and completely, there is no good reason in the world for you not to do this. Dog Problems was and is a triumph, and even if you already own it, you should sign up simply to encourage an independent band to continue to do such cool things for their fans, and their future fans.


Spencer Elden: you have seen his thingy.

spencer elden nevermind my harbls let me show you them
One time when I was a kid I went to a birthday party for my friend Jesse and his dad came into the room with a baby picture of the him naked in the bath for all his friends to laugh at. Jesse threw a fit, ran out of the room in tears, and we all stood around awkwardly while his dad chuckled to himself.

I would imagine the same thing never happened to Spencer Elden, the name behind music's most iconic naked baby image. All Spencer's friends have been inundated with his naked babyness since they themselves were babies. Spencer is 17 years old now, it seems. His parents were paid about $200 to allow him to be dunked in a pool and photographed for the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind.

[Spencer Elden @ Wikipedia]


Mucca Pazza: Astounding Circus Punk Marching Band

And that tagline (lifted straight from mucca-pazza.org) pretty much says it all. Mucca Pazza is a sizable group of around 30 Chicago musicians (and cheerleaders, it would seem) that throw the kind of parties nerds have wet dreams about, but that anyone with a pulse should be able to enjoy. From their MySpace page:
Mucca Pazza -
File under: Punk Circus Marching Band
Or: Nerd-Core (Nerd Corps?)

See slide trombones, marching drums, accordions and other romantic icons wielded by musicians with the purpose of making music, instigating spontaneous dancing, loss of bladder control, and horn honking. You may find it sexy if you like uniforms or anything dork-ass.
They're going on a short tour later this summer culminating in a show at NYC's Highline Ballroom August 9th. Hopefully they'll make good on their promise of lost bladder control.

Internet radio goes silent tomorrow...for the day.


Save Net Radio's National Day of Silence, after having been postponed from its original date because of some perceived legislative progress, will happen tomorrow. Your favorite web radio station (if it's participating*) will either shut off access to its stream completely, broadcast ocean sounds or static, or broadcast silence interspersed with PSA's.
"The arbitrary and drastic rate increases set by the Copyright Royalty Board on March 2nd threaten the very livelihood of thousands of webcasters and their millions of listeners throughout the country," said Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the SaveNetRadio Coalition. "The campaign to save Internet radio - a genuine grassroots movement comprised of hundreds of thousands of webcasters, artists and independent labels, and Net radio listeners - has quickly brought this issue to the national forefront and the halls of Congress, but there is still more to be done before the approaching deadline of July 15th. On Tuesday, thousands of webcasters will call on their millions of listeners to join the fight to save Internet radio and contact their Congressional representatives to ask for their support of the Internet Radio Equality Act." (Day of Silence (pdf))
5 years ago on May 1, 2002, Internet Broadcasters staged another Day of Silence when faced with an eerily similar ruling from the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel. That protest led (either directly or indirectly) to a last-minute reprieve from the Librarian of Congress and the passage of the Small Webcaster Settlement Act for 1998-2005.

[RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter]

* Notable non-participants include Last.fm, and a whole bunch of terrestrial stations that simulcast to the web, including Clear Channel owned stations. Cox owned terrestrial stations are participating. For a more complete (but still not complete) list of participating stations, click here.


Stop the madness: exclusive tracks

smashing pumpkins flagStore specific exclusive bonus tracks, like the ones awarded to Best Buy, Target, and iTunes for the latest Smashing Pumpkins record Zeitgeist*, are an insult to consumers and another in a long line of blunders by the panicked record industry.

The motivation here, I suppose, is to make the retailer happy by encouraging customers to get Zeitgeist at Best Buy, and not at Circuit City. In return, Best Buy floats an endcap your way. Maybe even puts a few copies in the checkout line.

But the result is that your customers, the Smashing Pumpkins fans that have longed for years for new material from Billy & co., the ones who have had $20 earmarked for this record for months, the ones who want to own every piece of memorabilia they can, feel ripped off. They want to own, legitimately, every single track. But they sure as hell don't want to buy the record three times to get them.

I'm pretty sure Billy had nothing to do with this decision. And whether or not he's saying so publicly, I really want to believe he's just as pissed as we are. Remember, this is the guy who released what was then believed to be the final Pumpkins album ever online for free as a parting silverfuck you to the recording business.

I don't think the labels really expect people to buy this record three times. I think the error in judgment being made here is an underestimation of how important it is for fans to have everything their favorite band puts out. The people working at these labels are music fans too (at least some of them), but they haven't had to pay for a record in a long time. They're consumers but not customers. And somewhere along the way, they forget what it's like to have to reconcile your wallet with your devotion. And they wonder why people steal music. The only store you can get the TITLE TRACK at is Target.

Your customers, not your retail channels, should always be your number one priority. Long after Best Buy and Target stop stocking music altogether (and they will, sooner rather than later), your customers will still be spending money to consume your product. But not if you keep trying to squeeze blood from their stones.

Go to Pitchfork for the tracklisting(s).

* Bloc Party's A Weekend In The City is another (actually much worse with 12 tracks) offender.


IFPI board member talks tough

UK academic and music industry thinker Andrew Dubber recently posted a fascinating email exchange on his New Music Strategies blog that's really a fascinating read if you've got the time.

Long story short: an IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the RIAA is a member) board member took issue with Dubber's link to this post at Download Squad, and emailed to complain about it:


Looking at your site I do think allowing indiscriminate criticism of the RIAA is inappropriate for a Government funded institution.

Dubber failed to see the problem with the link and offered blog space for a rebuttal, and eventually it comes down to the IFPI board member threatening a formal complaint to Dubber's university (the aforementioned Government funded institution, which Dubber's blog is not directly affiliated with). The argument, amazingly, is that because of careless posts by the likes of Download Squad, individual representatives of the RIAA member organizations have been subjected to generalized nastiness from the hoi polloi.

A few things I took away from reading the exchange:
  • Even when they get nasty, British people are sickeningly polite.
  • Paul does his industry no favors, essentially reinforcing everyone who's ever said the RIAA are bullies.
  • Man, that gray hair really is sneaking up on me!

New Found Glory up to old tricks

new found glory
New Found Glory is currently in the studio recording the sequel to their 273,000 copy selling EP from the year 2000, From The Screen To Your Stereo, an album of film score covers best represented by their pretty rad cover of "My Heart Will Go On" (admit it, you liked it too).

Titled From The Screen To Your Stereo Part 2, it's slated for release this September, just in time to cash in on your wistful ruminations about the days that movies were good after trudging through a lineup of disappointing summer blockbusters.
Out September 18th, From The Screen To Your Stereo Part 2 includes covers of "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None The Richer from She’s All That, "Stay" by Lisa Loeb from Reality Bites, and "Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls from City Of Angels. The disc features vocals from special guest musicians with more to be announced, including Lisa Loeb, Adam Lazarra from Taking Back Sunday, Will Pugh from Cartel and Sherri DuPree from Eisley. NEW FOUND GLORY recently visited Pugh on the set of Cartel’s upcoming reality show on MTV "Band In A Bubble" to record vocals.
If you don't care to hear what NFG has to add to "Stay" with Lisa Loeb's implicit blessing, then I just don't know what to say to you anymore.


Engage in music snobbery, free of charge

2007 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler
eMusic and Pitchfork have teamed up to provide a free sampler to the teeming masses in promotion of the 2007 Pitchfork Music Festival, July 13-15 in Chicago's Union Park.

I have a personal distaste for anyone who's able to stretch what should be a 150 word album review into 2000 words, but free music is free music, and some of it is quite good. Here's the sampler tracklist. Might as well grab them all since they're free, but I've bolded my favorites:
  1. Dan Deacon - The Crystal Cat
  2. Professor Murder - Free Stress Test
  3. Voxtrot - Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives
  4. Craig Taborn - Junk Magic
  5. Cadence Weapon - Sharks
  6. Deerhunter - Heatherwood
  7. Menomena - Wet and Rusting
  8. William Parker - Purple
  9. Beach House - Apple Orchard
  10. The Twilight Sad - And She Would Darken the Memory of Youth
  11. Grizzly Bear - Deep Sea Diver
  12. The Ponys - Let's Kill Ourselves
  13. Nomo - Nu Tones
  14. Sonic Youth - Kill Yr Idols
  15. Lightbox Orchestra - #18 (Roby's)
  16. Of Montreal - Suffer For Fashion


The other green at Bonnaroo

MSN has a great article on Bonnaroo's continuing efforts to make their festival as green as possible. This year, one stage was powered completly by the sun, all non-music stages were powered by ethanol generators, all goods sold by festival vendors were completely recyclable or compostable, and organizers zoomed around on zero emission electrical golf carts. A bunch of carbon credits were purchased to offset the festival's footprint even further, and the folks at Clif Bar chipped in to help environmentally conscious festival attendees to buy renewable energy credits to offset the impact of getting to and from the Tennessee farm. Next year, they plan to push the envelope even further.

Of course, Bonnaroo isn't the only large concert event striving for environmental friendliness these days. Something about Al Gore... But how cool would it be if environmentally friendly venues became so fashionable that it became expedient for the big guys (Live Nation, etc.) to adopt similar policies? Pretty cool, I think.

I wasn't there, but I hear The Hold Steady kicked ass.

Site news: A note to old PulverRadio subscribers.

Any day now, the PulverRadio feed that has been redirecting to this site will officially die. If you're not interested in being subcribed to this blog but have just been too lazy to remove it from your feed reader, your problem will soon be solved.

However, if you have been enjoying this multi-sensory experience and would like for it to continue indefinitely, you're going to need to take action now and resubscribe to the official we also ran | music blog feed. If you don't, you'll stop seeing updates very soon, and one guy I know that stopped reading lost his job, developed terrible acne, and walks with a limp now. Just saying.


People search for Lily Allen like crazy

lily allen drinks from a bag like a proper lady shouldAn anecdotal curiosity that I'd like to share:

PulverRadio, as you may know if you're one of my transplanted readers, is no more. But nobody's unplugged the web server yet, so although there's a farewell message in place of the home page, for the time being you can still find all the content that was ever there if you know where to look. Google, as you might have guessed, knows exactly where to look.

Out of curiosity today, I took a look at the site stats since we shut down the streams. Unsurprisingly, they're not as high as they once were. What caught my eye, though, was how many people continue to land on the blog pages that have pictures of, or even mention of, Lily Allen. As a search term, Lily Allen outweighs the next most popular term (Kill Hannah, wtf?) by an order of magnitude.

Personally, I think Lily is good, not great. I've often marveled at the amount of blog bandwidth dedicated to the "news" whenever she posts to her myspace page, but perhaps it's all because I'm not the first to have noticed how many people are searching for her. I never once wrote about Amy Winehouse on the old blog (what?), but I'm willing to bet she's similarly traffic-friendly.

Not a jab at anyone who writes about these ladies. Just interesting, is all.


Against Me! - White People for Peace video

I'm not really sure what Against Me! is trying to get at with this song and this video. Something about cheerleaders I think. And who doesn't like cheerleaders?!

New Wave comes out in July.


Reports are coming in from every which way that Sony's Connect music store is soon to be no more. Hamstrung by unwieldy software, proprietary formats, and infighting between Connect and other Sony divisions, Connect was probably doomed from the get-go in its bid to topple (or even distract) iTunes. Engadget reports that interestingly, the eBook business will stay alive in some form to support the relatively successful Sony Reader. Resources (including human resources) are being shifted into the PlayStation group. About 20 employees have been given notice that they will be let go.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, mp3 blogs. It tolls for thee.

There's an interesting flame war debate brewing over at Stereogum about the posting of un-downloadable streams instead of mp3s, if all that a song's "people" will allow is a stream. The gummers want to know: would their readers rather have a stream that they can't download, or nothing at all? Predictably, there are some "teh RIAA sux" comments scattered about in there, but I was pleasantly surprised to see so much reasoned dialog taking place. "Dan" said it best (with the perfect tinge of combativeness and condescension) when he said:
If you said no to streams, you are, plain and simple, not an intelligent person.

Also, if you treated the question as "Streams Vs. MP3s," you're potentially not an intelligent person. Of course it's nicer to have something you can "take" with you.

You're here because you like music. If you won't listen to new music because of some childish irrational preference, don't, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be posted. It just means you're spoiled and entirely too picky about the way you listen to something for free.
Idolator is concurrently tackling a similar issue:
From now on, we will not host "leaked" pre-release tracks that have not been sanctioned for posting by record labels. However, because a leak is newsworthy, we'll continue to link to sites that carry them when we come across them in our websurfing, and we'll maintain our "Leak Of The Day" feature, albeit in a new format.
When tracks from the new White Stripes record leaked, I was amazed to see how quickly the blogs Hype Machine was linking back to were being shut down -- Not "track removed at label's request"-ed. Shut down. Cool new music blog community Mog allows users to upload songs they blog about for streaming (and embedding anywhere!) via flash player, simultaneously covering their ass and making users question whether it's worth the effort to create a new zShare account. Is it too soon to claim that the pendulum is beginning its slow, deliberate swing back towards piracy-as-unfashionable?

Don't get me wrong. Piracy is never going away. Never ever ever. And until the purveyors of the content get their heads on straight, it will remain fairly rampant. But I think we're seeing the beginning of the end for those who unabashedly wave the flag of piracy as a badge of honor. Blogs are a big enough deal now to have to play by the rules. And that's okay.


The RIAA prepares to do battle with terrestrial radio

Anyone in the radio business claiming to be surprised at this latest development is simply lying for incredulous effect, but the RIAA is now officially setting its sights on terrestrial radio, emboldened by the still-reverberating CRB decision to hike rates for Internet radio stations earlier this year.

The image I have in my head right now is one boney, mangy hyena turning on his boney, mangy companion. A to-the-death battle that neither party wants, but one can see no alternative to.

Record labels these days are trying desperately to dip into a number of remotely music-related revenue streams that have historically been beyond their reach, as physical music retail continues to dry up and shows no sign of ever returning. Live revenue, Internet radio revenue, endorsement and merchandising revenue, don't forget Zune revenue, and now...terrestrial radio revenue.

Terrestrial radio has always forked over some change to the performance rights groups (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) so that the copyright holder of the song gets paid, but the radio lobby has always successfully argued that the promotional value they provide to the label by broadcasting their records outweighs their dept to the copyright holder of the recording (yes, songs have more than one copyright attached to them). The RIAA, obviously, would like that to change, and they're recruiting some big (greedy) stars to help them sell the point.

It's honestly hard to root for either side here. Neither has had the music consumer's interests in mind for a very long time. I guess if I have to choose I'll root for radio, simply because they're not the agressor and there are still a few good radio stations left.

If Skeletor and Cobra Commander got in a fight, you would definitely want to watch, but you'd know that when it was over, the winner would just become a thorn in your side again.


Pete Wentz: "He started it!"

Pete Wentz tells the decent-looking-now-that-it's-html-again mtv.com that his latest throwdown was in self defense:
"The truth is on the way out the door I had to pass directly next to the guy and I knew it, so I kept my head down and walked out. As I did, the guy reached out and grabbed me and said something I couldn't really hear — it was a glorious use of the English language, though," he continued. "As he grabbed me, I punched him. Yell all you want at me, say whatever, but in a situation like that I will defend myself. After that, of course, it got chaotic, [but] we have several independent witnesses that gave statements saying he grabbed me first ...
Of course when Pete says "it got chaotic" what he probably means is "I got the F out, and our security guys took care of him." A nameless concert-goer tells mtv:
"They did their last song, walked off the stage and headed toward a side door to go out onto the sidewalk. But that's when the scuffle happened," the concertgoer told MTV News. "The crowd surged back, then snapped forward. From my vantage point, I could see Fall Out Boy security was pounding on the guy. The guy was down on floor, shirt ripped, bleeding from ear and nose. There was a lot of blood."
What ever happened to security just breaking up fights, and not always finishing them? Twist the guy's arm or something and drag him away. There's just a lot of blood in that picture, is all.

Ash done making albums, not done making records.

Irish band Ash have been hit makers (not so much in America, but definitely in their corner of the globe) for a long time. Since 1995, in fact, they've had 17 top 40 hits in the UK. So it's not insignificant that today the band announced that Twilight of the Innocents will be their last album.

From here on out, Ash is in the singles business. From ash-official.com:
London, June 12th 2007 – International rock band Ash, have announced bold new plans to cease releasing future albums in the traditional way.

On the eve of what will become their final album, ‘Twilight Of The Innocents’, the band have taken the decision to only release singles in the future.

Known for consistently writing hit singles since the early 90’s (17 top 40 hits, an Ivor Novello award and five Top 10 albums), the band feel it is time to make a stand in the future digital arena by only releasing singles. Periodically, the band will release compilation cd’s featuring the aforementioned singles.

Famously known for their pro-active stance on the internet (the band were the first to cultivate a huge loyal following using their online message board, were the first to use the internet via a fledgling nme.com, to get fans to vote for which tour towns they should play and had the first ever number one single in the download charts), the band feel it is now time to fully embrace the digital future of the music industry.

Owning their own recording studio means that the band will be able to write, record and release their music almost instantly, their fans will then benefit from not having to wait the usual ‘years’ between albums.

At a time when the music industry is in flux and with record sales at an all-time low, marketing music in the traditional sense is becoming increasingly less financially viable. The band hope that by harnessing the power of the internet and by being more creative in the way their singles are marketed, the record company can maximise sales, increase profits and enhance their already impressive 13 year career.

Tim Wheeler from the band:

"The way people listen to music has changed, with the advent of the download the emphasis has reverted to single tracks. It hasn't helped that most people have forgotten how to make a decent album. I'm constantly disappointed with records I buy.
I believe our new album is the pinnacle of everything we've done thus far, and I'm proud that this will be remembered as our last album. The future lies elsewhere and we can have a lot of fun by changing things up. It's like the Wild West at the moment, a time to take chances and try out new ideas.

When you're tied to the album format, you find yourself waiting six months between finishing a record and releasing it. By leaving this behind we can enter a new phase of spontaneity and creativity. We have our own studio in New York, we can record a track and release it the next day if we feel like it, give it to people while it's fresh. We're the first band to do this , but I very much doubt we'll be the last.

We've been one of the best singles bands of the last two decades and we're still younger than a lot of bands on the current scene. I’m excited to push this claim further by dedicating ourselves wholly to the art of the single for the digital age."
Some clarification is in order (still from ash-official.com):
But to avoid confusion, this does not signal the end of physical releases. Things are just gonna be different and we're gonna have a lot of fun with formats and you the fans will get more content a lot quicker... it also does not state anywhere that we're going independant.
I don't know if Ash was really the first to do all those things and they're certainly not the first band to be rethinking the way music is released. But this is a good move for them. Ash has never been a band prone to concept albums; their records have always been collections of songs that stand alone, some songs better than others.

As long as kids in high school are still experimenting with drugs and listening to Pink Floyd records, there will always be bands that aspire to make statements that require an album's length to make. But for bands like Ash that simply write catchy songs, releasing them without the fluff makes a whole lot of sense.


Cartel: All-American Redux?

Cartel emerged yesterday from their bubble in NYC and unleashed "Lose It" upon the world. Have a listen to it (it's the song that starts streaming when www.cartelrocks.com loads) and decide for yourself whether or not the Atlanta band can claim victory.

It sounds to me like a hit, which I think is at least half of all Will Pugh ever wanted. I won't be surprised if this stays rotation on Z100 all summer long. I'm even prepared to admit that I've been playing it over and over for the last 15 minutes.

As for being recognized as something (anything!) other than "another dickless band with mediocre songs," in the eyes of the world, the question remains: Will anybody who wrote this stunt off (rightly so) as a cheap publicity grab even bother to listen to it? Is the song good enough to overcome Cartel's damaged credibility?

Also: I thought it was just them and a manager in the bubble. Where the hell did the female vocals come from? Anyone?


Is there anything more emo than a bloodstain?

I'm being led to believe that the bloodstain pictured over at Chicagoist is the result of Pete Wentz's latest public tantrum. It's unclear from the account whose blood we're really looking at here, but does it matter?
From what we could see, Pete decided to have a “word” with a heckler who teased him about his relationship with Ashlee Simpson on his way out, and the shit (and a well-aimed beer bottle) then promptly hit the ‘fan.’ It wasn’t immediately clear what Wentz down, but we caught a glimpse of Pete on the floor with the other dude on top of him
Really great punnage from Chicagoist's writing staff, no?


ZOX is taking the summer off from touring (mostly)

zoxTireless touring machines ZOX are taking a rare break from the road this summer to work on their new record. Although their most recent record, The Wait, was released on Side One Dummy Records, it was a re-release, and had been originally produced for Armo Records prior to the Side One Dummy deal.

I haven't confirmed this (what am I, a journalist?) but I have to assume that being on a bigger label means having a bigger production budget. Can "one of the hardest working bands in America" top an amazing record like The Wait with the extra funds? The same kind of funds that pay for sweet music videos?

If you'd like to catch ZOX live this summer, you'd do best to be in one of these three places:
08/05: River Dog Music Festival, Chester, CT
08/11: Garden Grove Festival, Webster, MA
08/26: Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

zox live in europe

We Are Scientists played the same video games I did

rush'n attackAlthough they were listed on the bill as "Beat Up Old Fellas," We Are Scientists stepped out on stage at The Mercury Lounge over the weekend to try out some new songs. Songs they introduced with titles like "Altered Beast" and "Russian Attack" (which I suspect might actually be spelled "Rush'n Attack"). "Bad Dudes" apparently didn't make the set list.

They'll be heading to Los Angeles next week to begin work on their next release.

[Cool pictures on Flickr]

Ed. Note: I have always thought trying out new material with a fake band name is totally boss.


Roddy Woomble - My Secret Is My Silence will see US release

I've been listening to it forever because I'm a drooling fanboy, but I just read on Stereogum that Roddy Woomble's amazing solo record My Secret Is My Silence will be released in the US in July. Head over there to download the title track, which should give you chills if blood courses through your veins. Especially if any of it is Scottish blood.

Roddy's day job, FYI, is to front Idlewild, arguably the best band in the known history of the universe. He keeps a painfully RSS/Archive-less diary on their site. It's basically the only site left in the world that I regularly check for updates, without the help of my Google Reader. Here's what he had to say yesterday about mice:
I've lived in many different rental flats in various cities over the years, and in each one I've always, sooner or later, discovered mice. Hiding behind the cooker or Fridge, behind wardrobes, or in the case of a flat Allan and I shared in Edinburgh in the late 90's, wandering around carefree in broad daylight, hanging out in-front of the stereo, generally having a good time at our expense.

Now that I own an abode, whenever I see a mouse (for if you live in any building over a hundred years old, they’re living in the walls whether you like it our not – and can always find a way into a warm house), it feels more and more like an uninvited guest than it used to. When I rented, I accepted that I shared the rent (non-financially speaking) with some mice, but now as a 'homeowner' I'm not as immune to all the psychological pitfalls as I thought I'd be. For better or for worse, I see the home as 'belonging to me/us', which is a strange confession. The property ladder. Give me a real ladder any day.

'a man can have everything he desires in his own home yet have nothing outside the door'. I think wild child beat poet hipster Gregory Corso was right on when he wrote this line down in his notepad.

Anyway, we've killed a few in the very old fashioned Grandpa Broon style non humane traps. I'm not proud about it, but despite their cute little faces, they're bullet-quick vermin with persistence. It's a myth that they like cheese though. Don't know who made that one up.


RATM site is about a concert, not a record

A commenter last night made me feel a bit why-didn't-I-think-of-that-ish in pointing out that by setting your computer calendar ahead, you can reveal the secret behind ratm82407.com, which is not actually an album as I previously supposed, but is in fact a concert announcement for a show to happen at Live Nation's venue in East Troy, Wisconsin.

Honestly, I'm a bit relieved. It's not that I don't think a new RATM record would be good. It's just that website countdowns are so 5 years ago, and I'd like to think that if Rage was going to do some clever web shit to promote a new record, it would be, well, clever.

UPDATE: Those sly foxes at Live Nation have fixed the countdown code so that you can't just set your calendar forward anymore.



So I guess we're meant to assume that a new Rage Against The Machine record is going to come out on August 24th. Their last real record (the one with all the cover songs doesn't count) was The Battle of Los Angeles and while it wasn't stellar, it wasn't bad.

Of course nobody will know for sure until the album leaks sometime in July, but I'm going to go ahead right now and guarantee that this will be better than anything Audioslave ever did. You have to know Zach's been spending a lot of time over the past few years scribbling into notebooks, and there's certainly been plenty of news to inspire his particular expository style.

Sign up for email updates and listen to the opening riff from "Bulls On Parade" looping forever at ratm82407.com.


More on Lala

The New York Times is picking up on the Lala.com on demand streaming story, revealing a little more about the dynamics of the deal with respect to licensing. Unsurprisingly, it's shaping up pretty much how I figured it would. In other words, the labels (just Warner at this point) get paid no matter what, and it's incumbent on Lala to pull a gigantic rabbit out of a Lego man's hat (my bolding):
For Warner, the deal with Lala.com has limited risk, because the label will make money from streaming royalties. But its priority is increasing sales of music, which have declined further this year. “The evidence we’ve seen is that a lot of people want to own music,” said Alex Zubillaga, Warner’s executive vice president for digital strategy and business development. “And their mandate is to sell music.”

Mr. Zubillaga added that Lala.com was giving Warner Music a good deal of flexibility in determining how to price and bundle music. Apple, the dominant player in the market with its iTunes music store, does not give music labels those options, much to their chagrin. Unlike iTunes, Lala.com will concentrate on selling albums, which it will offer for a variety of prices based on the behavior of individual consumers.
Another interesting note is that this service is not, as I previously thought, simply going to drive Lala's aftermarket CD trades. This is meant to drive direct-to-iPod downloads, without the use of iTunes software, and direct CD sales. Lala wants a piece of the retail pie (again, my bolding):
Lala.com, which is now a site where music fans can trade used CDs for a fee, is hoping to make money by selling music, both in CD format and as digital files that it will send to iPods without using Apple’s iTunes software.
Of course it's too early to predict how all of this will play out, but that's never stopped me before. Mr. Nguyen and Lala are going to take a bath on this. Even if they see initial success selling discs and files (doubtful), drowning labels like Warner will get greedy. Lala will be charged more and more for the streaming rights, and the unfixed prices will rise until sales flatten.

Ben Kweller will play his records in Brooklyn

Thanks to BrooklynVegan for the heads-up that Ben Kweller has announced a 3 night stand at South Paw in Brooklyn, during which he will play his three full length records, start to finish.

I've had rocky relationships with On My Way and the eponymous one, but Sha Sha remains one of my very favorite records from the past 10 years or so, ever since I saw Ben and Brendan Benson* play the now-gone Met Cafe in Providence. Something tells me that's going to be the one that sets the aftermarket ticket sites ablaze.
Ben Kweller @ Southpaw, Brooklyn, NY, 2007
Jul 30 - Sha Sha
Jul 31 - On My Way
Aug 01 - Ben Kweller
Presale/regular sale links at BV.

* Mr. Benson's Lapalco, coincidentally, is also one of my very favorites.


Much has been said about Paul McCartney's decision to release Memory Almost Full through Starbucks' Hear Music label, but in making a DRM-free download of the record available legally through eMusic, the newcomer coffee people prove that they have a better grip on content delivery and customer preference than the major labels who have been in this business a long time.

(Memory Almost Full eMusic)
(but first you need to be a member or sign up for a free trial)

Arcade Fire stole the internet

arcade fire we can has baskatballz basketballChris H., the purported victim of a heinous crime at the hands of one Win Butler seems to have sparked an Internet Fire (see what I did there) with his blog. Start here, then check out Win's brother Will Butler's response here. There's plenty of meat in the comment sections.

If you're keeping score, here's a snapshot of the bandwagon thusfar:
Ok so honestly, I thought there would be more when I set out to write this. Four isn't that many. I guess the Internet still rests in the diabolical clutches of the lolcats.


Jack White lashes out indiscriminately

There was a bit of a dust-up while I was away for the past few days (for my real job) between Jack White and Q101 Chicago's DJ Electra. If this is the first you're hearing about it, here's the deal:

Electra got her hands on Icky Thump and played it on the air. The whole thing, with a break in between each song. Someone recorded it (they had plenty of warning to fire up their pirating machines because it was heavily front-sold) and put it on the Internet. Jack got on the horn, and ripped Electra a new one. Electra wrote a bit of a sob story about it, and now it's all over the web. Read her version of the story at Stereogum.

Honestly Jack, I know you're upset, but you're taking it out on the wrong person. Someone (probably her PD) had to give Electra that record to play, and not only that, but someone probably had to tell her to play the whole thing. A DJ in 2007 doesn't get to take up an hour of valuable programming with a stunt like that without express permission at best and in all likelihood, direct marching orders. Electra, in taking responsibility in her story, is merely propping up the myth that she plays what she wants because that's what people at radio stations want to believe people still think. She played it because someone told her to.

What's more Jack, someone gave the record to that radio station. If you're looking for your Judas, you need look no further than your own record label. That CD didn't materialize for Electra and co. out of thin air.

I just hope she wasn't the only one to get an angry phone call, is all.