Dead Meadow In Southern California

Washington DC’s…rather, one of the Planet’s great live bands returns to the left coast :

August 19, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

August 20, Fuck Yeah Fest, Echo Park, CA (also appearing, The Ponys, Icarus Line, Gris Gris and a ton more)

If you’re not the traveling sort, you can enjoy the Rhino podcast performance/interview with Dead Meadow’s Jason Simon and Stephen McCarthy here.

DM bassist Steve Kille has a new project, Rumpville, described as “children’s books for adults”.  That sounds way more appealing than a Dan Zanes CD, but if you’re a child and you’d like to disagree, please feel free to write in (with your parents’ permission, of course).

Injecting Ethical Debate Into Discussion Of Bands Who Aren’t Very Good

example a, from Greg Kot’s Lollapalooza coverage in the Chicago Tribune :

1:12 p.m.: Subways singer Billy Lunn leads his U.K. trio in a set that is high on energy, low on innovation with three-chord anthems that make Oasis sound like progressive-rock. Lunn complains about the state of U.S. commercial radio and blames it all on payola. He should know. His Warner Brothers record label just paid $10 million in fines as a result of a payola investigation by New York State Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer.

example b, Her Jazz’ Maria on Phoenix, French Kicks and the A-Sides performing at a Camel cigarettes sponsored event.

I’m not going to mention the health issues surrounding smoking at all. Nope, not one peep from me. However, I will politely point out that Camel’s parent company, Reynolds American Inc., has donated 87% of its political contributions to the Republican party. Conservativecocainesexjams all night long! Enlist with the party train soldiers! Get rad in Iraq! And with all the smoking going down tomorrow night, no one will notice how truly crappy Phoenix or the French Kicks are. As Philabuster pointed out, the French Kicks couldn’t even fill the North Star last time around. What sort of dumbass in Camel’s marketing thinks they can pack a 1,000-person venue? And how many years has it been since they’ve written anything remotely worthwhile?

When Press Junkets Go Horribly Wrong

(not Anne Heche)

The Boston Globe’s Suzanne Ryan
had the distinct pleasure of attendending a TV critics’ summer conference in Los Angeles recently, a occasion presumably designed so the various networks could showcase their offerings for the upcoming fall season. W.C. Fields’ admonishment, “never work with children and animals,” apparently never reached Anne Heche, but were Fields alive today, “never work with Anne Heche” could well be useful advice for the American Broadcasting Company.

ABC is launching a new drama starring Anne Heche, a New York relationship coach who finds herself stranded in Alaska. In the pilot episode, she is freaked out when she discovers a raccoon in her hotel’s closet.

During a press conference, reporters wanted to know all about the raccoon, whose name is Elvis.

Is that a real raccoon or an animatronic? (Real)

Did you fly him into Vancouver to shoot? (No, a local hire)

Is he a recurring character? (Yes)

In the pilot, Elvis had a STUNT DOUBLE that ran down the stairs for him? (Yes, a DOG NAMED BOOMER DONNED A RACCOON SUIT for a staircase scene since raccoons don’t run, they lope).

Since raccoons are noctural, did you wake Elvis up to shoot? (Yes and Anne pet him to make him feel better)

Later, a Touchstone Television publicist told me with all seriousness that he and his co-workers had tried to anticipate every question we reporters might have tossed out but no one even thought about Elvis.

“We should have brought him here,” he said sadly.

Insufferable Sap Prepares Latest Assault On The Public

Despite formidable competion (subject a, subject b) at Chicago’s luxurious Hidden Cove Sunday evening, I really think my rendition of Mac Davis’ “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me” was the sort of reimagining of a popular favorite that even Chan Marshall would’ve had a hard time matching.

That said, I’m quite ready to retire from the karaoke game, now faced with the unspeakable horror of Clay Aitken covering John Waite. (from Billboard.com)

Season two “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken tackles a host of enduring power ballads on his third album, “A Thousand Different Ways.” Due Sept. 19 via RCA, the set features 10 covers and four new songs penned by the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child, Andreas Carlsson, Jeremy Bose and Aldo Nova.


Seriously. Hasn’t this cretin brought enough pain to the planet…without reminding us of the existence of Aldo Nova? Was Art Alexakis busy?

A while back, in another, little read forum, I proposed that certain Americans be granted lifetime Get Out Of Jail cards, as thanks for their cultural contributions. James Brown goes on a PCP rampage? Big fucking deal, he’s the Godfather Of Soul. Chuck Berry put a hidden camera in your toilet? Who cares, he’s earned the right.

Conversely, even if Clay Aitken runs into a burning WTC II in ten years’ time to rescue children, cripples and kitties, even if Clay Aitken discovers a cure for the Big Disease With The Little Name, even if Clay Aitken personally finds all the missing votes from Florida and Ohio….there are some things you cannot live down.

Making us think of Aldo Nova is one of them.

‘Fewer Moving Parts’, Yet No Mention Of Assassinating Erik Lindgren

“Am I Christian ?/ Are you a Jew?

Did you kill my Lord / Must I forgive you?”

Believe it or not, those lines aren’t from the Mel Gibson arrest report (sorry) but are instead culled from “Selling Advertising”, one of the more provocative songs from David Bazan’s ‘Fewer Moving Parts’ EP How much of “Selling Advertising” is a glimspe in the mirror and what portion is aimed at Pitchfork, I can only guess.

Though not terribly removed from the aching, unflinching subject matter that populated PTL’s best work, ‘Fewer Moving Parts’ takes the unusual tact of placing stripped down, demo-ish versions of the same songs alongside fully fleshed out, relatively pro-rock renditions of the same compositions. Good luck getting any of them out of your head.

“Fewer Broken Pieces” might be the best, most succinct explanation to date (in song form, at least) for a popular band’s breakup.

There’s a quiet intensity to the best of Bazan’s work, and I think this CD might be just that. I’ve sloppily alluded to pre-Ambien REM or American Music Club circa ‘California’ when describing Bazan’s stuff in the past, and aside from offering my personal apologies for the killing of Christ (I promise never to do it again), I’d also like to say I’m sorry for damning David with what I thought was considerable praise. Sans artifice, exposing more on one EP than Ugly George did during his entire Manhattan Cable career, Bazan is a staggering, not nearly so-easy-to-define talent.

Real Estate, Pt. I

Until the day Chez Danzig goes on the market, you might wanna consider the above property : a Woodland Hills, CA abode that hosted the recording of Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band’s ‘Trout Mask Replica’.

Opportunity Knocks! Coca Cola House Original Girard cabin on 3 separate buildable lots, Charming cottage with wood floors and magical views f rom every window. Private and secluded nestled among the trees, own your own hide out. Separate lot features mostly finished 2 story office/ studio, $849,000.00

(link swiped from Postive Ape Index via Boing Boing.net)

Mojo Critic Nails It..

…and now I need to get my head bandaged after falling off my chair. If writers are going to insist on actually listening to the CD’s we send them rather than merely paraphrasing the press release (or looking to see what someone else said) we might have to re-think our plans to blow up 625 Broadway for the insurance loot.

Calling Yo La Tengo’s forthcoming ‘I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass’, “a return to the giddy, sticky-fingered eclecticism of 1997’s ‘I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One’, Mojo’s Steve Chick calls the album,

A wonderful, intimate love letter to pop (and its many subterranean offshoots), bookended by two hefty space-rock jams, the album ricochets from atmospheric piano vignette to gonzo garage fuzz to murky new wave disco to xylophone-scored waltz , the riot of styles bound together by warmth and wit, halcyon vocals and harmolodic guitar explosions. (4 stars)

So what if he misspelled the name of the album’s final song? We’ve done worse. And we’ll do so again!

“Pass The Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind” (mp3)

Billy Bragg And Tom, Friends Reunited

From the New York Times’ Robert Levine, July 31, 2006

In May, Billy Bragg removed his songs from the MySpace.com Web site, complaining that the terms and conditions that MySpace set forth gave the social networking site far too much control over music that people uploaded to it. In media interviews and on his MySpace blog, he said that the MySpace terms of service made it seem as though any content posted on the site, including music, automatically became the site’s property.

Although MySpace had not claimed ownership of his music or any other content, Mr. Bragg said the site’s legal agreement — which included the phrase “a nonexclusive, fully paid and royalty-free worldwide license” — gave him cause for concern, as did the fact that the formerly independent site was now owned by a big company (the News Corporation, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch).

Mr. Bragg said that he himself had kept most of the copyrights to his recordings, licensing them out to the various record companies that have released his albums over the years. “My concern,” he said in a telephone interview, “is the generation of people who are coming to the industry, literally, from their bedrooms.”

About a month later, without referencing Mr. Bragg’s concerns, MySpace.com clarified its terms of service, which now explain who retains what rights. A sample line: “The license you grant to MySpace.com is nonexclusive (meaning you are free to license your content to anyone else in addition to MySpace.com).”

Mr. Bragg, who said he never had any direct communication with executives from MySpace, has put some of his music back on the site.

Yo La Tengo Vs. Sea Of Humanity

Jennifer O’Connor has far better photos of Yo La Tengo at the Pitchfork Fest (Union Park, Chicago) but if I can’t pull rank every now and then, where’s the fun in this job?

Even by the usual zero-attention span standards, the claim by one local jackass that Yo La Tengo were “so quiet ’til the last song I did not know they were playing” is kinda off the charts. Never again is the word “quiet” likely to be employed when describing songs like “Pass The Hatchet” or “Watch Out For Me Ronnie”, though I can’t deny even the loudest of bands come off as somewhat muted for someone whose head is up their ass.

Special recognition for the weekend goes out to the straw hat-wearing, backpack-wielding, hygiene averse dude (and when I say “dude”, I really mean “fuckface”) who put his paws upon me while trying to prevent entry backstage. You’d think this city would’ve learned a valuable lesson from the Democratic National Convention of 1968, but alas, how quickly they forget.
That said, the psychic blow delivered from spotting SS Decontrol’s Springa onstage during Mission Of Burma’s set is not one I’ll soon recover from. Time constraints (if not straw hat-wearing, backpack-wielding assholes) prevented an encore of “How Much Art (Can You Take)?”, but there’s always Coachella next year, right?

Chicago – Lovely City Of Boat-Missers

And the cruise they skipped (most of ’em, anyway) was the voyage of the S.S. Jennifer O’Connor, previewing selections from her forthcoming ‘Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars’ CD/LP at the Beat Kitchen. Were the town’s tastemakers and face chasers still overwhelmed from the Silver Jews and Futureheads sets in Union Park? Dwyane Wade’s All-Star Jam at the United Center? Or perhaps it was the mere fact that said gig wasn’t listed in the paper or on the venue’s website?

Regardless of the circumstances, Ms. O’Connor’s tuneful meditations on love, loss and other everyday topics were delivered with equal measures of humor and intensity. We’ve worked with a litany of talented lady-human singer/songsters at Matador Records & Filmworks in the past (Chan M., Liz P., Mary Timony, Barbara Manning, Thalia Zedek, Jean Smith, Sue Garner to name just a few) and I’m not just hyping-you-to-death when I say that Jennifer’s achingly beautiful songs are the equal of any of the above.

OK, I am hyping-you-to-death. But I’m telling the truth, too, and you don’t have to take my word for it. ‘Over The Mountains’ is out August 22.

“Today” (mp3)
“Exeter, Rhode Island” (mp3)

upcoming dates :

August 8 – Philadelphia, PA – The Khyber
August 16 – Raleigh, NC – North Carolina Museum Of Art (with Jeff Tweedy)
August 24 – NYC, NY – Joe’s Pub
August 26 – Brooklyn, NY – North Six
September 23 – Boston, MA – Great Scott (with Choo Choo LaRouge)

Hanging On The Telephone

From MobHappy.com

Geriatric rockers The Rolling Stones have hopped on board the mobile music train — sort of. Through a service called Listen Live Now!, fans will be able to listen live to their concert today in Paris via their mobile phones. And when I say via their mobile phones, I don’t mean some sort of streaming audiocast — they call in and get a feed from the mixing board piped across a standard phone connection to their handset. Sounds brilliant. But it gets better.

Users will be charged $1.99 for 7 minutes, and there doesn’t appear to be a way to simply buy the whole thing at once — so users who actually want to shell out the $40 or so to hear the whole thing will have to do it $1.99 and 7 minutes at a time. The Stones’ manager says the move will help deter bootlegging — seriously — and that “It’s passive income, and they’re helping fans enjoy the experience without affecting ticket sales.”

Once again, much like our terrific ideas for the “Brain Candy” ad campaign (ripped off by Paramount’s initiative for “World Trade Center”), Matador has been fucked over by The Man. Our own mobile phone-cast is ready to roll at this weekend’s Pitchfork Festival in Chicago, and we’ve been usurpred by the Rolling Stones.

(be patient — I might be getting a beer)

Anyhow, if you send me $20 via paypal (gcosloy@earthlink.net) along with your phone number, I’ll be quite willing to ring you back during Mission Of Burma or Yo La Tengo’s sets on Sunday. I can’t guarantee this scheme will work — for one thing, I might be on a more important telephone call at the time. But it is your chance to take part in portable music history, and a great way to show the Rolling Stones that we’re sick to death of being pushed around.

The Return Of Chavez

Well, not really.  But we are putting out a CD + DVD set, ‘Better Days Will Haunt You’ on October 10. There’s only one unreleased track, but if you sing over the top of the rest of ’em, it will almost be like a whole new Chavez discography.

If you’re just too cool for that kind of thing, well, I pity you.

Disc One

01 Repeat the Ending
02 Hack the Sides Away
03 Nailed to the Blank Spot
04 Break up Your Band
05 Laugh Track
06 The Ghost by the Sea
07 Pentagram Ring
08 Peeled out Too Late
09 The Flaming Gong
10 Wakeman’s Air
11 Relaxed Fit
12 The Nerve
13 You Faded
14 Little 12 Toes

Disc Two

01 Top Pocket Man
02 The Guard Attacks
03 Unreal Is Here
04 New Room
05 Tight Around the Jaws
06 Lions
07 Our Boys Will Shine Tonight
08 Memorize This Face
09 Cold Joys
10 Flight ’96
11 Ever Overpysched
12 You Must Be Stopped
13 Theme From ‘For Russ’
14 White Jeans

DVD

01 Break up Your Band
02 Unreal Is Here
03 Boys Making Music . . . Music Making Men (documentary)

Mann’s Ruin : ‘Vice Is Nice (If You Ignore Colin Farrell)

I was begining to feel a little guilty about the totally gratuitious jibes aimed at thespian/cretin Colin Farrell in the latest edition of the Matador News Update. I mean, for one thing, we should be totally grateful that the producers of “Miami Vice” have chosen to showcase one of our fledgling artists (in this case, Mogwai) on a major label soundtrack album (one that features the former vocalist of the Vatican Commandos, too!). But no, I had to fuck things up for everyone by focusing on something completely besides the point — How Much Colin Farrell Sucks.

Well, I’m not the only one. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott, while hailing Michael Mann’s “Miami Vice” as “an action picture for people who dig experimental art films, and vice versa,” also choose to single out one of the film’s stars for special praise. Colin Farrell isn’t one of them.

Mr. Farrell, however, is a movie star only in the sense that Richard Gephardt is president of the United States. He’s always looked good on paper, and he’s picked up some endorsements along the way — from Oliver Stone, Joel Schumacher and Terrence Malick, among others — but somehow it has never quite happened. Here he squints and twitches to suggest emotion and slackens his lower lip to suggest lust, concern or deep contemplation, but despite his good looks he lacks that mysterious quality we call presence.

Mr. Mann’s script has its share of silly, overwrought lines, but they only really sound that way in Mr. Farrell’s mouth. (Did he really say, “I’m a fiend for mojitos”? ¡Dios mío!) When he’s not on screen, you don’t miss him, and when he is, you find yourself, before long, looking at someone or something else. Gong Li. A boat. A lightning bolt illuminating the humid summer sky.

A-List Circle Jerk To Pay Homage To The Man Who Brings You “The War At Home”

From the LA Times’ Sallie Hoffmeister.

When 250 News Corp. executives gather this weekend for a management retreat at a posh California seaside resort, they’ll skip the typical team-building exercises that such confabs are known for. Why role-play when you can pick the brains of actual world leaders and rock stars?

Speakers at the Pebble Beach event will include such political powers as British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former President Clinton and Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres. Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton will opine on remaking complex organizations, former Vice President Al Gore will riff on climate change, and U2’s Bono will deliver a keynote address titled “The Power of One.”

The singer is likely to focus on his poverty- and AIDS-related crusade, called One. But Bono could just as easily be referring to his host, Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp.

A five-page agenda obtained by The Times reveals what management experts and company insiders say is a testament to Murdoch’s unusual global vision and a product of his ownership of newspapers in Australia, New York and Britain, broadcast properties and cable channels such as Fox News and satellite TV services that reach every corner of the world.

“Murdoch has created a global media market by successfully operating in very different regulatory and political environments,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The retreat’s lineup of speakers, she said, “may tell you how he has learned about the broad base of business environments he operates in.”

News Corp. declined to discuss details of the program. According to the agenda, Murdoch will make some opening remarks Sunday evening before turning over the podium to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in turn will introduce Blair.

For Paramount Pictures, Marketing 9/11 Is No Joke

Turning the greatest domestic tragedy of our time into cold hard cash is no walk in the park. Just ask Dick Cheney! But seriously folks, yesterday’s New York Times told the tale of Paramount Pictures employing WWE-hating morality maven L. Brent Bozell and Creative Response Concepts — the same folks who worked as paid advisers to Swift Boat Veterans For Truth — in their marketing of Oliver Stone’s forthcoming “World Trade Center”.

Rob Moore, president of worldwide marketing, distribution and home entertainment for Paramount, said he would have hired the firm regardless of who had directed the movie, because of its strong elements of Christian faith and its depiction of men sacrificing themselves for one another: “the definition of patriotism,” he said.

That’s not actually a definition of patriotism, but perhaps Moore meant to say “unselfishness”. In any event, Thursday’s Los Angeles Times outlined Paramount’s plans to promote the group to a slightly different demographic.

“Every generation has a defining moment,” says the voice-over of a 30-second TV spot aimed at the under-25 crowd that began airing this week. The melodic “Fix You” by rock group Coldplay plays as the screen goes black and three words appear in stark white letters: “This Was Ours.”

Though that must be one heck of a commercial, it sounds suspiciously like an idea I proposed to Paramount’s marketing department several years ago when we were making plans for the “Brain Candy” soundtrack. Of course, Coldplay didn’t exist at that point, but that’s part of what made the concept so daring for that day and age.