Q: How Many Copies Of Wilco’s ‘Sky Blue Sky’ Can You Fit Into A VW?

A: Depends. Do you mean the double vinyl version, the standard CD or the CD/DVD configuration?

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With Wilco's decision to license new music to Volkswagen, there's been a bit of knee-jerktastic reaction on the worldwidewebby thing, and in the midst of such hysteria, Jeff Tweedy's brother-in-law Danny Miller writes, "from the outcries I’ve seen on several sites, you’d think Wilco had licensed “She’s a Jar” to sell Kraft mayonnaise, “Nothing’s Ever Gonna Stand In My Way” to hawk Viagra, or “I’m the Man Who Loves You” to promote the North American Man-Boy Love Association."

Not that there'd be anything wrong with that. Earlier in his post, Miller tackles VW's historical roots.

I was waiting to see how long it would take the increasingly hysterical fans on the Wilco site to mention Volkswagen’s checkered past. It happened on page 11 of the thread and then flared up big time. Yes, Volkswagen was a large German company that obviously had ties to the Third Reich during World War II. It’s not a history that they hide nor is it one that they stress (to do so would be marketing suicide). Of course there is no connection today between the Volkswagen Company of America (the sponsors of the current spots) and National Socialism but I’ll leave it at that—I have no interest in becoming an apologist for the past moral failings of Volkswagen or any other company. On the other hand, if I was meting out judgment, I might hurl even more at the American companies that got into bed with the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s such as the Ford Motor Company which was headed by the vile anti-Semite Henry Ford. I’d also ponder the cowardice of the Jewish movie moguls in Hollywood who were so worried about offending the lucrative German market after Hitler first took power that they would make it a point to always show Germans in a good light and to avoid making films with Jewish themes. And how about the questionable wartime activities of the Coca-Cola company as it exploited its successful German market even during the war?

Excellent points all around, sir.   Everyone is entitled to make his or her own decision about which companies they support (hey, like ours!) and what is or isn't morally defensible. And while I personally have no quarrel with Wilco being paid by Volkswagen (just so long as they got paid a bundle — helps the rest of us trying to establish market value), I would encourage everyone reading this to boycott the Ford Motor Company.  True, the Henry Ford Era was a long time ago, but the company continues it's association with a contemporary figure almost as virulent  — Toby Keith. 

Blackie : Fuck Like A (Heart)Beast

On the 3rd of May, much like every other day, I thank gawd for Blabbermouth.net.



W.A.S.P.
frontman frontman Blackie Lawless  (above, left) has shot down as false reports that the group cut short its April 28, 2007 gig in Karlskrona, Sweden after he complained of pain in his chest. Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported in yesterday's edition (Wednesday, May 2) that W.A.S.P. played a shortened set in Karlskrona, Sweden so that Lawless could be rushed to a local hospital for observation.

However, according to a posting on W.A.S.P.'s official web site, Blackie "is perfectly fine and this is just a sick rumor."

In a statement released exclusively to BLABBERMOUTH.NET, Blackie said, "Once again someone is trying to kill me off before my time! Whatever happened to the idea of reporters checking their sources before writing their stories? God willing I am going to be around a long time!!"

I think we can all agree that a terrible tragedy has been averted.  I'm very confident that Sir Lawless' finest work is still ahead of him. 

Kurt Vonnegut: So It Goes

Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “Cat’s Cradle” and “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died last night in Manhattan. He was 84.

–From the NY Times Obituary 

He'd been mostly retired since publishing "Timequake" in the mid-90s, but still, what a bummer.  I'll just say that Mr. Vonnegut probably had a larger effect on my own developing personality in high school than just about anything else, hometown, parents, and Silkworm included.  Plus he looked like a big muppet.

People tend to steer readers toward "Cat's Cradle" and "Slaughterhouse-Five," but for me "Breakfast of Champions," the essay collection "Wampeters Foma & Granfalloons," and the aforementioned "Timequake" were where it's at.

Salut Mr. Vonnegut, I'm sorry you had to die while George W. Bush was president. 

 

Like A Modern “Three Amigos”. Except There Are Four Of Them. And The Movie Doesn’t Take Place In Mexico.

Friday's release of "Wild Hogs" was undoubtedly the comedy event of the year, and Utter Wonder didn't even need to see the film to know the picture's all-star quartet would prove irresistable.

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I'll be really interested to see how Martin Lawrence does in the movie. He's black. He's also hilarious. I bet he'll be getting them in trouble because they'll be driving around places where there aren't a lot of black people and the racist locals will try to give them a hard time but good old Martin Lawrence won't be having any of that thank you very much and in the end we'll all learn a little something about ourselves and how black people are full of inner strength!

William H. Macy will be fun to watch, too. He's usually not in movies like this. He tends to do more arty movies, like where he plays a lonely salesman or a lonely salesman who is retarded. From what I can tell in the previews he doesn't play either a lonely salesman or a lonely salesman who is retarted in "Wild Hogs". It will be quite a stretch for William H., but I have all the faith in the world in him. He's not retarded in real life!

As for Travolta and Allen, well, what more is there to say? You just know they are gonna bring it! Those guys are pros! I don't mean they're prostitutes–I mean they're professionals. But if either of them played a prostitute in a movie they'd totally nail it. That's how good they are! And if either have took a prostitute in real life, I bet they'd treat her or him right and leave them a good tip. That's what kind of high-quality gentleman they are.

Pavement Fan Of The Month : Ms. Loretta Scars

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What's better than a Grammy, what could a be a more heart wrenching tribute than a Lifetime Achievement Award? Better than having the Key to the City? A Holiday named after you? A full page Obituary in the New York Times. Forget about a tattoo with your favorite band's logo on your arm. How about changing your name to to a song from one your favorite bands!  I'm not talking about just your first name, hell there's plenty of GLORIA's or SARA's or Maybelline's out there, but how about BOTH first and last names? Now, sure there's gotta be a Captain Jack somewhere down in the Florida Keys, But that's not what we're talking about! While we haven't had a chance to enjoy your "slow love" tributes to the band on the Sliver Screen we trust they are as charming as you seem to be.Cheers Loretta,  for being Pavement's Fan of the Month.

Akira The Don’s Interscope Experience

From last Thursday's Guardian, Akira The Don, describing his short, abortive tenure as an Interscope recording artist.

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I was signed to the home of Eminem, 50 Cent, Bryan Adams and the late Tupac Shakur two years ago, after an A&R man heard my demo whilst getting his hair cut in a New York salon. His noisy barkings on that musky summer night lead to me being flown out to LA to eat ice cream on Dr Iovine's balcony, where I was told I had "changed music", and was offered the production and guest rapping services of Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and The Neptunes if I'd sell them my hot white ass there and then.

Hilariously enough, just three weeks prior I had written an article for Tank magazine stating that major label record deals were an evil con, essentially super-dodgy bank loans with a grotesque surplus of advisers, and an entirely exploitative annual percentage rate.

But I thought, "why the hell not?" and ignored my own advice anyway. How many weird little Welsh-raised Brummies ever shared a record label with Will Smith? Still, many people at the time thought this was all very queer, and doomed, as I had a tendency to write rousing lines like, "it only takes one bullet to kill the president". The most radical record Interscope ever sanctioned was Eminem's, "hey y'all let's vote" dirge, Mosh.

Contrary to his promise, Jimmy never did hook me up with Dre, or Snoop, or any Neptunes that I can recall, but we made a brilliant record anyway.The earlier, uberpop songs they heard, like Oh! (What A Glorious Thing), were met by the label with great joy. But when they heard my Live8, legalised genocide and loony Christian right-dissing Thanks For All The Aids, things went a bit Simon Bates. And then, one musky summer night, I got the call: "Interscope aren't going to release this record." While "the world's most controversial record label" were happy enough to sell exploitative images of women and black folk to the West's cash-sloppy teenagers, they evidently weren't ready to promote the message that Bob Geldof's post-Live 8 "mission accomplished" claims were bullcrap.

A Quick Note About Someone You Might Care About

Chances are, some portion of the persons reading this message are friends or fans of J. Robbins. Perhaps from his days playing with Goverment Issue, Jawbox, Burning Airlines and (most recently) Channels, or maybe you know him from his production work for Jets To Brazil, Pilot To Gunnar or Jawbreaker, amongst others. 

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, J. and his partner Janet Morgan have an 11 month old son, Callum, who's been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Medical expenses are likely to be stratospheric, and as such, J and Janet's colleagues at DeSoto Records are accepting donations on their behalf.  DeSoto's got more details.

 

McGee’s War On Q

While certain US fake independent rawwwk execs waste their time with perfectly legitimate gratuitious swipes at Paste Magazine, Alan McGee's got much bigger fish to fry, as evidenced by the following entry to the Guardian Unlimited Arts Blog.

Q magazine is out of date, a true retirement home for music writers that never made it. It's the absolute lap dog of the major record companies – a music magazine for accountants and estate agents. Q is corporate. Gormless. Gutless. Always six months behind everything and full of lists, lists, lists. Well here's how others see Q magazine: a Q top 20 I'm sure they would be proud of.

1. Chris Martin and Robbie Williams
2. Anybody in U2
3. Annie Lennox
4. Anybody in Radiohead – or failing that, Coldplay again
5. Anybody in Keane
6. Anybody in a band who went to Oxford or Cambridge when any of us lot did
7. Pink Floyd (post-Syd era only)
8. Midge Ure
9. James Blunt
10. Damien Rice
11. Corinne Bailey Rae
12. Tasmin Archer
13. Dire Straits
14. The Police (both the Met and the mob Sting was in)
15. Every copycat Coldplay band we've shoved for EMI in recent years
16. INXS
17. Simple Minds
18. An Emotional Fish (the comeback)
19. Spice Girls
20. Dave Stewart

Fucking-a.  I was all set to drop the (Emotional) Fish-meet-Barrel comment, but McGee deserves some special prize for pulling Midge Ure's name out of a hat. There's a grumpy reply below Alan's screed, "You seemed to have missed Oasis off the list, they seem to have a place on the cover regardless of what they've done in a strict rotation policy along with U2, Coldplay and Radiohead," but c'mon, give the man credit where due.   Shitting on Midge Ure in late 2006 is beyond awesome.

Girls Aloud get political

Girls Aloud interview for The New Statesman 

link via Popjustice 

My beloved Girls Aloud get their Noam Chomsky on:

Nadine: "You know that basically Labour is the working class and the Conservatives are the really, kind of, upper class, and then everything else is . . . I have no idea."

Foolhardy Nadine later has an awesome rant about footballer's wives, momentarily forgetting that her bandmate Cheryl is one. 

Their Greatest Hits album, out now, is disappointingly low on Billy Bragg covers.  

John Moore’s Bid For Immortality

Though there's nothing new about putting a fatwa on the leader of the free world — heck, The Bard Of Hookset New Hampshire was urging his followers to "Assassinate The President" ages ago —- it isn't often we see such desires expresed in the pages of an established broadsheet. Or failing that, their website. John Moore of Black Box Recorder / Idler / Jesus & Mary Chain fame recently had his Wokingham birthplace marked as a historical site by some of his more irrational acolytes, and he cannot help but consider the possibilities.  From The Guardian :

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I would be prepared to wager that even Jodie Foster must have felt a slight tingle of satisfaction when her deranged fan took pot shots at the Gipper on her behalf. Obviously she couldn't say so at the time, and will perhaps have to remain forever schtumm…but it sure beats chocolates as a way of saying "I love you."

I suppose that using a national newspaper to solicit crime is against editorial policy, but should anybody out there feel like having a pop at George W Bush… as an early combined birthday and Christmas present for me, it would not go unappreciated. Just keep my name out of it please, and bear in mind that you would not be able to claim derangement and insanity as a defence against this particular individual.

What’s In A Name?

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Throughly putting other desperate attempts at wacky band names to shame, Rockblogger extraordinaire Jim Hoffman of Vinyl Mine has a bunch of spam-inspired selections to choose from.   One of 'em, Bulge, has most certainly been used before — a Pete Frame family tree would reveal connections to GG Allin, Boston's Psycho and 7-time Grammy Award winners Cancerous Growth (above).  That's the thing about real life — it's still capable of being more fucked up than spam.  

Brooker’s Latest Unnovation

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Already in a foul mood after having his teeth whitened (just read the whole article, I can't cut and paste everything), TV Go Home / Screen Wipe's Charlie Brooker flexes his knowledge-sharing muscles in today's Guardian.

Presenting an exciting first in interactive technology! The Ignopedia is the world's first* paper-and-ink encyclopaedia. Unlike Wikipedia, which is created by hundreds of users, the Ignopedia is written entirely by a single sub-par human with little or no awareness of the facts – building week by week, entry by entry, into a uniquely unreliable resource. *apart from all the other ones

Whee Whee Telly Windmill, 3pm, BBC1

Desperate 24-hour experimental broadcast aimed at brightening the national mood, consisting of face-on footage of a brightly coloured novelty paper windmill accompanied by captions urging the viewer to blow each time it starts revolving, thus enabling a depressed and alienated populace to momentarily amuse themselves by imagining this charming toy from an altogether more carefree age is spinning on their behalf.

Music by Lemon Jelly

Producer Limp Substitute

Subtitles … 888

Goblin
A goblin (pronounced "goblin", or, if you're a cartoon Frenchman, "goh-bleeene ") is a mythical green-skinned, pointy-eared creature that hangs around dungeons attacking people with swords. Appearing in the easier stages of computer games, they are rarely elevated to "end of level boss" status, which goes to that fire-breathing dragon which flashes red when you hit his weak spot, and, just when you think you've killed him, he sort of spins into the air and, if you don't jump at just the right moment, the shockwave takes half your health off and I've been stuck on it for five hours and I'm sick of it; I mean, I've already got one job I hate, I don't need another, especially one that pays in those stupid little virtual coins that bounce around when you split open one of the treasure chests, guarded by goblins, green-skinned pointy-eared creatures that DON'T EXIST, which is why I suggest you concern yourself with something worthwhile, like Iraq, or tooth-whitening, you trivial bastards. You sicken me

Happy Roald Dahl Day!

From the AP :

Britain celebrated its first Roald Dahl Day on Wednesday to mark the 90th birthday of the much-loved author of children’s classics “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda” and “James and the Giant Peach.”

Children and parents across Britain participated with parties and book-readings this week to celebrate the writer, who died in 1990.

A special train ferried fans from London to Great Missenden, 35 miles west of the city, where Dahl lived for more than 30 years.

Guides from the Roald Dahl Museum conducted tours of the town, stopping to read passages from stories and pointed out landmarks that inspired scenes from Dahl’s books, including the library where Matilda reads and Sophie’s orphanage from the “BFG,” the Big Friendly Giant.

Dahl is survived by sons Jeff and Bobby.

In a completely unrelated story, U.S. authorites have cancelled “Ann Marlowe Day” and are investigating links to the author’s works and outbreaks of projectile vomiting.

I’ll call you Ambassador Intern, but you’re still not getting paid

A few choice points from the New York Times’ July 30th article, “Interns, the Founts of Youth,” by Maureen Tkacik.

“At one time there was no way to better broadcast one’s failure to thrive as an adult than to hang around high school kids. It meant that the world beyond senior prom had shut its doors, forcing a return to a place in which your value was determined solely by your ability to drive a car and procure beer. But now, according to young professionals working in fields in which fluency in the dialects and habits of teenagers is paramount, hanging out with high schoolers is cool, and sometimes even professionally advantageous.

Often these teenagers are known as “the intern.” They are working for little or nothing at clothing labels, guerrilla marketing firms and one-person event-planning operations, making coffee, opening mail and tagging along with their employers in environments they deem interesting. While they get college-résumé-boosting work experience, not to mention entree into clubs and parties, their employers get around-the-clock muses and ambassadors to youth culture.”

Interns, are you getting this shit down for your CV? It’s priceless.

Describe your work experience: My work mostly entailed being an around-the-clock muse and ambassador to youth culture. I also made coffee.

With a job description like that you better hope American Idol has a staff opening, because you’re overqualified for anything less than svengali.

And if time-consuming artistic and diplomatic work isn’t enough, the Times’ interviewees also believe interns will supplant the greatest technological innovation of our time:

“‘I don’t need to look at the Internet anymore, I just look these kids straight in the eyes and they tell me everything I need to know,’ said Ms. Luardo, a former buyer for Urban Outfitters who is now a musician, part-time sales representative and freelance marketer.”

Of course, having interns isn’t all sparkling non-alcoholic cider and fish sticks. There are complex ethical problems to navigate:

“But hanging out with high schoolers has its own complications: Do you buy beer for them? Make them drive? Is it O.K. to be attracted to the intern? Ms. Luardo sets boundaries up front: she won’t buy them beer or hand over her keys, but they “mostly just want to go to all-ages shows” and other events her older friends are too tired to attend. And though age and gender differences may conjure up unsavory images of sexual dalliances, the people involved in these arrangements say the relationships don’t typically cross over into romantic territory.

One exception is 16-year-old Cory Kennedy, who since last fall has been working as an unpaid intern for the Los Angeles party photographer Mark Hunter, 21. Since her job began, she has become both his girlfriend and something of an Internet phenomenon thanks to Mr. Hunter’s Web site, www.thecobrasnake.com, which is dominated by pictures of her with her signature unbrushed hair and improbable outfits.”

Classy.
Get the whole story here

Arthur Layeth The Smack Down

The new issue of Arthur is pluggity plug plugged once already in the latest edition of the Matador news update. And at the risk of being an outta control shill for these people (a condition I’ll no doubt snap out of if they ever do another Polyphonic Spree cover – wtf!), for the second time in 24 hours, I encourage you to grab their latest edition. If the exhaustive cover story on Brightblack Morning Light wasn’t enticement, enough, Jay Babcock’s interview with Godsmack vocalist/head doofus Sully Erna is an all-time classic.

I’ll not give much more away (especially since it’s been online for two months, sheesh) but suffice to say Babcock finds something or other questionable about Godsmack allowing their ferociously awful music to be used in military recruitment campaigns. Though there’s nothing surprising about these lunkheads taking money to lead their hapless fans off to slaughter (or conversely, getting paid while their fans are doing the killing), Babcock tries to give Erna the opportunity to explain himself. I just wish they had the whole thing on video.