But you know, whatever. Haters gonna hate; The Bravery're doing just fine. "The Spectator" will be on their forthcoming record, Stir The Blood, but it's also going to be released tomorrow on the Vampire Diaries soundtrack. Insert your own punchline about copycat vampires...all this negativity is really killing my buzz.
The Bravery - The Spectator (mp3)
I'm not sure I've ever been inclined to do this before, but I'm doing it now. I'm just going to copy and paste the entirety of a press release I just received via email. I don't know that any editorializing I do is going to make this content any more salient. If this doesn't matter to you as written, I'm not sure anything I have to say about it is going to make any difference.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2009
WEEZER INTRODUCES THEIR VERY OWN SNUGGIE, AVAILABLE TODAY
FANS GET A COPY OF NEW ALBUM RADITUDE AS BONUS GIFT
WITH PURCHASE OF A WEEZER SNUGGIE
"THE BLANKET WITH SLEEVES" IS A NATIONAL SENSATION,
WITH MILLIONS SOLD AND STILL GOING STRONG
Alternative rock band Weezer and Allstar Products Group, marketer and distributor of the Snuggie, America's favorite "blanket with sleeves," have joined forces to create the official Weezer Snuggie. It will be launched today and will bear the band's trademark "Weezer" logo. This latest addition to the Snuggie collection will allow fans of the band to stay warm while keeping their hands free to rock out. And rock out they will; fans who purchase a Weezer Snuggie blanket will also receive a copy of the band's brand-new album, Raditude, as a bonus gift.
The Weezer Snuggie will be available for $29.99 for purchase online. It arrives around the same day as the band's latest album, Raditude. This new offering sees the band trying a brand-new approach, choosing to collaborate with a wide variety of musicians, songwriters and producers. The result of this collaborative effort is a collection of songs that amplifies Weezer's musical trademarks- deep-digging pop hooks and raucous rock riffs- while at the same time breaking new ground for the band. Raditude features appearances by Lil' Wayne, Jermaine Dupri and even a host of traditional Indian musicians.
From the subtly ironic but club-worthy "Can't Stop Partying," to the gleefully lascivious classic arena-rocker "The Girl Got Hot," to the sleek electro groove of "I'm Your Daddy," to the slow-building, anthemic "Love is the Answer" and the clanking, Motown-flavored "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To," Raditude, like Weezer, is full of thrilling surprises. As lead singer Rivers Cuomo says, "It sounds like a roomful of people having a great time."
The Snuggie blanket was featured at New York Fall Fashion Week in September, where models graced the catwalk in some of the latest Snuggie designs, such Snuggie Wild Side in zebra and leopard print, Snuggie Soft Rose for breast cancer awareness and limited edition Snuggadelic Snuggie in funky tie-dye print.
The Snuggie blanket is more than a fun idea, impulse buy or kitschy TV ad; it is a truly innovative and ultimately functional product. It's made of lightweight, soft fleece that keeps people of all ages warm indoors and out, with large, roomy sleeves allowing for free movement. It answers a basic need shared by many - staying warm and comfortable while having hands free to do what you please - channel surf, snack, read a book... or crank up the volume on your favorite Weezer song.
About Allstar Products Group
Allstar Products Group, LLC is a leading direct response and consumer products company making quality products available to U.S. and international consumers through direct response television as well as internet, direct mail and retail channels. Snuggie™ is a trademark of ASM.
[images from weezersnuggie.com. really.]
Things have changed a bit for Drew since the release of Dream, Dream, Fail, Repeat. Most notably, there's a band involved now. So while Drew's hazy, dreamlike songwriting hasn't skipped a beat and the overall sound remains catchy, bedroom-jangly, and wonderfully loose, there are plenty of moments on Heavy Head to serve as a reminder of this progression. Female backing vocals, for example. Those are new, and nice.
Truthfully though, the thing I love most about this record is the same thing that I've always loved most about Drew's music: the vulnerability that's sometimes on full display, but usually bubbling just below the surface, masked by some of the cheeriest, sounds-like-it-was-fun-to-record* production I've ever heard. Or, maybe to put it another way, it's the way the music makes vulnerability feel OK to the listener. And sure, there are plenty of songwriters who specialize in that kind of thing, and some of them also have female backing vocals. I just like the way Drew does it, ok? I like it a lot.
An example. "Paper Pockets" (video here) is the perhaps best song on the record, and it ends triumphantly with a promise: "I will never turn my back on you." It's hard for me to explain why I like the sing-song repetition of that line so much. It's not profound, but it reveals an awareness that the fear that a loved one might turn away is universal, and that it feels good to be promised otherwise. All the better if it's shouted earnestly over and over again with a driving drumbeat driving a four piece band underneath. Maybe I'm just projecting now, but it's a great song regardless. Seriously. Click that link up there and listen to it. Now.
Like that? Then go listen to "Sleepy Don't Cry" at myspace.com/drewandthemedicinalpen. Like that too? I thought so. Listen to a bunch more stuff. You'll probably like that too.
And even once you've listened to everything, even once you've bought the record, there's still more to consume. As good as the music is on its own, full appreciation of Drew & The Medicinal Pen should include a perusal of Drew's non-musical pursuits. He's got tons of videos and photos floating around. A good place to start, you ask? Try his Dream Logs.
Gosh, I wish I could just get you into my car. To play you the record, you see. I really think you'll like it.
* I'm assured that the production of this record involved copious amounts of blood, sweat, and tears. But it still sounds like it was fun to make.
This video is a collection of clips from Drew & The Medicinal Pen's recent tour around the midwest, set to "Paper Pockets," which will be the band's coming-soon-and-you-must-buy-it record, Heavy Head.
A bunch more songs are currently playing on MySpace. From the sounds of it, Drew and co. managed to follow up one great record with another set of catchy, quirky, dreamy and fun songs to make you frustrated that more people haven't heard them. More on that once it's out, though. For now, enjoy the video.
Amie Street announced today the addition of the Sony Music catalog to their site -- and the special status songs in that catalog will have. While all other songs currently on Amie Street start free, and can get as expensive as $.98 as more and more people purchase them, Sony songs will be fixed at either $.69, $.99, or $1.29 (more expensive than anything else on the site can ever possibly get). Here's an excerpt from the letter posted on their site:
The songs in the Sony catalog will be priced at $.69, $.99 and $1.29, not dynamically like the rest of the music on Amie Street. All the music you download on Amie Street, including Sony’s, is still iPod compatible DRM-free MP3s, meaning you can play it on any device and transfer it among multiple computers.eMusic added a bunch of Sony Music stuff too (songs over 2 years old, only), and was forced to drastically alter its pricing plans to do so. The reaction from eMusic's longtime customers to the changing of their plans was so strong(ly negative) that eMusic wisely sent out this email giving away 50 free songs for the trouble.
We know this is a big change, and we’re confident that it will make Amie Street a better place for you to discover, download, and share new music. We spent hundreds of hours asking members of the Amie Street community whether this kind of catalog belonged on the site, and for most of you the answer was a definite Yes.
So, you add a lot of compelling, exciting music to your site. Springsteen, Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, etc. But in the process, you cannibalize that which made you different from (and many of your customers would say better than) iTunes, or the Amazon store. You haven't become the same as them, only more similar.
In the case of Amie Street, you haven't actually even changed anything about the pricing of music that was already available on your site, but you've still added a degree of complexity that will perplex and frustrate customers going forward. You've surrendered...something. Principle, maybe? I don't know. Amie Street recently stopped allowing multiple downloads of purchased songs...was that a precursor to this deal? Because that's kind of a pain in the ass.
Honestly, I'm curious to see how this works out, both for the retailers and for Sony Music. It's change at least, and it shows some developing openness (and admission that the old ways aren't quite working) on Sony's part. But to me, it feels like one step up and two steps back, and then maybe another step up.
Seriously though, I love this band, and I've been excited for their new album since they put out ther last one. You Can't Take It With You is slated for release August 18th, and judging from the video above, it was hell and a half in the making. Judging from "Circles" (mp3), it might have been worth it.
In order to be one of the 2000 or so with GA tickets to gain access to the center circle (stage diagram here), we had to line up at 11 am. Actually I guess people who came after us got in there too, so we didn't have to, but we did. And we sat and stood and got rained on and sunburned in the queue with fans from Dublin and all over the world for about 6.5 hours before we were able to actually advance into the stadium and stake claim on our positions. After that it would be about 5 more hours of only standing as Bell X1 (fun fact: Bell X1 contains everyone who was left in Juniper after Damien Rice left the band to go solo), The Script, and eventually U2 took the stage.
I'll leave the setlist commentary to the die-hards, and just go on record as saying that the show was...pretty awesome. It was pretty apparent to me that the band was still working out how it wanted to interact with the moving monstrosity of a stage they're touring with (often the moving bridges that connected the stage to the outer ring would move into position before a song, only to have the band remain firmly fixed on the main stage), but they still nailed it for most of the night, and of course found plenty of time for dogoodery: marching out an army of Amnesty International volunteers in Aung San Suu Kyi masks, and putting Archbishop Desmond Tutu up on the giant screen with a message for the audience.
Final thought: I've known since the last time I visited Dublin how strongly much of the city identifies with U2 and its music (the bus from the airport uses "Beautiful Day" in its intro video, the bar atop the Guinness Store House plays a basically all-U2 mix, and you've got a 90% chance of hearing at least one U2 song if you stay in any pub in Temple Bar for more than a few minutes), but I guess it seems less crazy to me now that I've seen that affection reciprocated. In a sense, the whole concert was a giant love-fest between a band and its hometown. It was amazing in many respects, but I keep coming back to that one as the big takeaway.
Anyway, here are some of the images I brought back with me. There are a bunch more in a Picasa gallery, if you're interested.
For those lucky enough to have been inside, the show was anything but the experimental run through a bunch of new material that at least this intrepid blogger expected. There were, in fact, only 3 new songs performed from the forthcoming Daisy, which is slated for a September 22 release. I only got the name to one of them: "Bone Dry."
What follows is the rest of the setlist, from what I can remember. Students of psychology are sure to be familiar of the effects of primacy and recency on memory, especially for remembering things in order. Add a few beers to that, and this is what you get:
1. Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
2. Sic Transit Gloria, Glory Fades
3. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
4. The Shower Scene
...and then the best I can recall from the rest of the show minus the 3 new songs mentioned above, in no particular order:
- Jaws Theme Swimming
- Mix Tape
- Jude Law and a Semester Abroad
- Seventy Times 7
- Sowing Season
- Jesus Christ
- Flying at Tree Level (Version 1.0) (note: this was awesome)
- You Won't Know
...and then the epic 1-2 punch finale:
19. Play Crack the Sky
20. Soco Amaretto Lime
So...wow, right? Add in there 3 new songs, 2 of which I thought were rad and one more I thought could be rad, and we're talking a fan's wet dream.
A few more things I've been thinking about since:
I love when bands just use all their set time on their set, and don't bother with the pageantry of an encore. If ever there was a time that a crowd would have screamed themselves hoarse for a real encore, this was it, but still the band took the road less traveled, and I thought that was cool.
Last time I saw Brand New, Jesse pretty clearly didn't even want to play Jude Law. It's nice to see the band (at least last night) playing that which they know their fans wanted. Like I said above, I had actually been excited for a whole bunch of new songs, but this was clearly a setlist designed to be a crowd pleaser, and please it did.
I think the crowd sorta botched the singalong during Soco Amaretto Lime a bit. That was still just as good a way to end a show as it was in 2001 though.
EDIT: there's a setlist posted here. The song I thought was called "Bone Dry" might actually be called "Bought a Bride"? I dunno, maybe. What am I, a reliable source for facts and information?
Also in the package was a note, asking very politely that I not give away for free that which I paid for months ago, and alerting me that each cd has been individually watermarked to track uploads. I don't know if that's true or not, but my Google search for an image of the cover revealed that it doesn't seem to have deterred a fair number of people from sharing away anyway. Sad, really.
Anyway, this has been an interesting journey for me, because it's the first time that I've participated in something like this and felt, pretty much all the way through, that the band bit off just slightly more than it could chew. Here's a recap of what was originally promised (from Myspace) with markups to reflect my experience:
By going to idlewildmusic.com you will get details on how to pre-order and what you will receive. [The order process was...sketchy? A secure purchase is a secure purchase, I guess, but make it look like something I can trust.]So here's the thing: the record is really good. A joy to listen to. And while it's too fresh still for me to rank it in the Idlewild pantheon, I'm already confident that when the dust settles I'll still like it much more than at least Make Another World, and I'll take great pride in recommending it to people, and maybe once in a while showing a friend my name in on the enclosed poster.
These include a limited edition CD album (
with free download version[Never happened.]) in exclusive packaging & including at leastone bonus track. This will be shipped within weeks of completion & before any standard release.
You can get your name to appear in the CD booklet with the album
and on a roll-call on the web site. [No roll call yet, not that this was a huge selling point.]
Access to download 15 free tracks from live recordings at the King Tuts "album by album" shows [Except the shows for Warnings/Promises and Make Another World. This process was riddled with bugs and caused a bit of a tempest in the WordPress teapot.] In December '08 & access to a members only section of the web site [Users needed to remember completely nonsensical passwords generated by WordPress (mine was ur2EsFuz32s@) that weren't changeable.] with album progress updates, exclusive photo and video content from the recording and preproduction process with diaries/blogs by individual band members
and lots more.
Signing up will also automatically enter you into draws for special prizes.
I like it so much, really, that I feel a bit shitty even pointing out the bumps in the road along the preorder process, because it's not like the band itself hasn't acknowledged them, and been pretty up front about most of them. Still, a little more preparation in this era of bands shrugging label support and handling distro themselves would have gone a long way. Here's to hoping Idlewild tries something like this again for the next record, and that it works a little better.
**Update** I spent some time talking to my friend Andy about this on his podcast last night, which is now posted here.
In the days of knights and maidens, it wasn't an uncommon thing for a nobleman to glorify himself by commissioning a minstrel to write a song. I think. So while some may call Max Bemis's latest idea innovative, and more will call it downright batshit, I'm choosing to nod approvingly at the notion of kicking it really old school.
Read more about how for $150 and for a limited time only, Max will write a song for you and only you, your highness. Just like in medieval times, only with more overt references to masturbation.
The trick, of course, is to play tons of Nickelback, but make people think you’re playing Radiohead a lot more than you really are. So you “image” yourself with Radiohead by finding excuses to say their name without playing their music. Contests and specialty features are a great way to do this. I was the king of this kind of smoke and mirrors. During my time at BRU, the playlist was all Green Day, Linkin Park and the Chili Peppers, but the contests were all about Deathcab for Cutie, Modest Mouse and the Dropkick Murphys. Few people fake indie cred as well as I do.
And this never bothered me, because I knew that the only reason people would ever be able to hear the cool indie bands was because I played mass-appeal bands like Nickelback. Nickelback records pay the bills. And while the true music lovers may hate the band, they fail to realize that without Nickelback, their favorite bands would never get any airplay at all.
So, I got all fired up and started to leave a comment. And it just kinda went for a while. So, I figured, since I haven't posted on my own blo
In spite of myself, I agree with a lot of what you're saying here. Especially the bit about the Nickelbacks of the world indirectly making life easier for the indie band du jour. I don't think Radiohead a very good example because I'd argue they're propelled by a loyal mainstream fanbase that they accumulated long before Kid A, and that if Sr. Kroeger ever wrote a song as crunchy, gritty, or mainstream-sensible as "Creep," a lot of his detractors would just shut the fuck up and find something else to gripe about. But still, a rising tide lifts all boats and all that. I'm with you.
But I have to be picayune for a moment and take issue with what I know isn't your main point: I wouldn't be so quick to pat myself on the back for faking indie cred on the radio. That's only good enough when there's absolutely no alternative, and it breeds resentment more than loyalty. Anyone who cares about indie cred can see right through the smoke and mirrors, and will gladly "make the switch" (remember that shit?) if something more authentic comes along.
These days, I don't know a single person who really cares about indie cred that turns the radio on and listens to anything other than news, sports, or public radio. "Faking" it has chased all but the Luddites (and there aren't many indie-craving Luddites around) away from terrestrial music radio broadcast, to either their iPods, or the plethora of narrowcast options available to them via the Internet that cater more directly to their tastes.
Now, As you said, that's a pretty small fraction of the population, and I do know plenty of people who still listen to the radio. They like Nickelback. They like American Idol, too. But they don't like fake indie cred either, albeit for different reasons. To them, it's just an inconvenience. They reach for the dial when a band they don't know comes on and it doesn't sound like a hit in the first 5 seconds.
I guess what I'm surprised to find myself arguing is that faking indie cred has already cost radio one small subset of listeners, and is chafing at another, larger one. Maybe, from the radio station's perspective, it's time to cut the act, stop trying to be everything to everyone, and just play exactly what brings the ratings.
Did I really just write that?
(As posted at MySpace)[I found the animated .gif at Kissing Suzy Kolber, who say they found it at Texas Gal's twitter feed, so I guess maybe that's where it came from. KSK, by the way, had the best post-SuperBowl Springsteen post that I saw. Read that here.]
A Letter to Our Fans:
We know there was much confusion regarding Ticketmaster and TicketsNow during last Monday's on-sale dates. We were as confused as you were, as we were given no advance notice of the major changes in the Ticketmaster-TicketsNow world. (Bear in mind that we are not clients of any ticketing company, and that all those arrangements are between venues and ticketing companies.)
Last Monday, we were informed that Ticketmaster was redirecting your log-in requests for tickets at face value, to their secondary site TicketsNow, which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value. They did this even when other seats remained available at face value. We condemn this practice.
We perceive this as a pure conflict of interest. Ticketmaster is there to ensure that we have a good, fair sale of our tickets at their face value plus normal ticketing charges. TicketsNow is supposed to be a secondary site where people who already have tickets may exchange, trade, and, unfortunately, speculate with them. We have asked this redirection from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow cease and desist immediately and Ticketmaster has agreed to do so in the future and has removed its unwanted material from their and our site.
We know the many cynical arguments some make in favor of the Ticketmaster system: There are rumors that some artists or managers participate in Ticketmaster charges--we do not. There are rumors that some artists or managers are receiving a percentage of the amount above face value at secondary outlets like TicketsNow--we do not. Some artists or managers may not perceive there to be a conflict between having the distributor of their tickets in effect "scalping" those same tickets through a secondary company like TicketsNow--we do.
While many of you have sent notes to us and your local promoters, you may also send accurate informational letters to Albert Lopez of Ticketmaster [Albert.Lopez@ticketmaster.com] and he will try to address your questions.
A final point for now: the one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing. Several newspapers are reporting on this story right now. If you, like us, oppose that idea, you should make it known to your representatives.
The abuse of our fans and our trust by Ticketmaster has made us as furious as it has made many of you. We will continue to do our utmost now and in the future to make sure that these practices are permanently curtailed on our tours.
Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team
For what it's worth, I was one of the judges at the WBRU Rock Hunt these guys won, and they are the realest of real deals. And I said as much way back in April of 2007. Booyah.
Kanye: 282763458264, Mike:
Straight To Hell has always been my
Download: Matt Singer - The Poet (mp3)A few months ago, I wrote a review of Matt Singer's latest EP, The Drought. Then I heard about a residency he had at The Living Room during December, so I went to check out a show. He played a bunch of stuff from The Drought, a few songs I hadn't heard before, and even found time in his set for an audience participation dreidel tournament. The way every rock show should go, really. I'm a total jackass for never getting around to writing about it (blame Left 4 Dead), because I was going to call the post "From the dreidel to the grave," which would have been a big hit, I think.
Also check out: myspace.com/mattsingermusic
Anyway, a week or so later, Matt emailed me a quick note about the first review, and I asked if he'd like to do an interview. He very graciously consented.
Mike McClenathan: When you meet strangers at parties and they ask what you do, how do you describe it?
Matt Singer: Ferocious sensitive 90’s folk rock?
Actually, I always feel like I’m answering that question for the first time, so if you’ve got any good ideas, please let me know.
MM: You write songs on a pretty wide range of subjects. George Bush, American Idol rejects, The Catholic church, amazing dongs. What really gets you fired up to write? Or, perhaps a better question: is there anything you won't write about?
MS: I can never really predict what is going to grab me. About five years back, it’s clear that church scandals, the Iraq war and the statewide bans on gay marriage were on my mind, but looking back on that time, I realize that those songs were just as much (if not more) about personal stuff… romance, loyalty, my own craziness… The same stuff still seems to be happening in my writing… I just finished a few songs that touch on the lives of refugees and the challenges faced by immigrants, but they’re still totally personal somehow, even though I’m a relatively spoiled suburban kid.
Nowadays, it seems that for every new book I read, a song comes out of it. I’ve been reading a lot of different stuff… Dave Eggers, Alison Bechdel, Cormack McCarthy… so my songs are pretty varied. Then again, with me, they always have been.
As for dongs and sex on restroom sinks, that’s all just an over-active imagination. And wishful thinking.
And no, there is nothing I won’t write about. Except pate. Don’t care for it.
MM: You've been at this a while now. What would 2008, fresh-off-a-Living-Room-residency Matt Singer say to 2003 Matt Singer if he could?
MS: Avoid cruelty, floss daily, and take occasional deep breaths. But not too deep. Oh, and do some recording on your own, Matt… It’s great that you’ve got ridiculously talented friends who do you favors, but buy a freaking pre-amp and a decent microphone, and make it happen, for God’s sake.
MM: How much does it burn you that myspace.com/mattsinger is some other dude that plays music, who claims to sound like "ten thousand farts through paper towel tubes, all in unison"?
MS: Yeah, there are actually quite a few Matt Singers involved in the arts, including a guy from North Carolina who harassed me once for not promptly responding to an email about how cool it is that we have the same name. I like to think that I shoulder this heavy burden with grace, although I’ve been typing the hyphen in my own website for years now (matt-singer.com), and it still makes me a little queasy. Hyphens suck.
MM: Aside from the other Matt Singer, who do you listen to?
MS: Mostly, the folks from the same music scene as me… Lowry, The Blood Sugars, Pearl and the Beard are a few.
MM: During your residency at the Living Room, you were collecting different charitable donations (canned food, toys, warm clothes) each night. What are your favorite charities?
MS: The New York Immigration Coalition and Generation Q do great work. Not sure if they qualify as charities, but they are fabulous organizations.
MM: Where and when can we catch you next?
MS: Union Hall (Brooklyn), Fri. January 2nd
The Dahlak (Washington, DC), Sat. January 10th
Rockwood Music Hall (NY), Mon. January 26th