Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Nickelback is the Donald Trump of the Music Business

Is there any other band less popular and less cool than Nickelback? What if I told you that this sign is proof of the apocalypse?

I think everyone would believe me if I said it was true.

Monday, January 23, 2017


The reunion bug has been caught by Elastica:

Elastica could be set to reform after the band were recently pictured at Abbey Road Studios.

The studio’s mastering engineer Sean Magee also tweeted that he had “cut a record for Elastica,” adding that the group “hadn’t seen each other for 20yrs. It’s great to be there when moments like that happen.”

A number of pictures from the studio have also emerged with the Britpop band without singer Justinne Frischmann.

I've seen some chatter about how Justine is back with the band, but I don't know if this will amount to a full-on reunion with a new album and all of that. It would be great, and while I wish drummer Justin Welch was able to continue with Lush (which, sadly, ended prematurely), I do think this would be a great thing for music.

All that's left are a Sleeper reunion and for someone in Geneva to answer their phone.

UPDATE: Justine is not interested. Fair enough.



Slowdive Goes on Tour This Summer

This is good news:

Slowdive have announced new tour dates for 2017.
The shoegaze band released their last album ‘Pygmalion’ in 1995, splitting the same year. They reunited in 2014 for a series of hometown London shows and a Primavera festival slot before embarking on a world tour. In 2015, they marked the 25th anniversary of their debut EP by releasing a live recording of their song ‘Avalyn’.
Earlier this month, the group released their first new song in 22 years, ‘Star Roving’, now unveiling North American tour dates with support from Japanese Breakfast.
During May, the band will play dates in St Paul, Chicago, Toronto, Washington DC and Brooklyn, before playing London’s Field Day festival on June 3.
See their full tour schedule beneath.
St Paul, Palace Theater (May 2)
Chicago, Vic Theater (May 3)
Toronto, Danforth Music Hall (May 5)
Washington DC, 9:30 Club (May 7)
Brooklyn, Brooklyn Steel (May 8)
London, Field Day 2017 (June 3)
Last August, drummer Simon Scott confirmed that the band had finished recording a comeback record but said he was unsure when it will be released. In May, vocalist and guitarist Rachel Goswell told Stereogum that the band have “a lot of songs” and that a new album is “being recorded right now as we speak”.

How do you not play Austin, Texas? Oh well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Give Macca His Songs Back

They're Paul's songs, so give them back already:

Paul McCartney is suing Sony/ATV Music Publishing over the ownership of several Beatles songs.
TMZ reports that the songs include ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘All You Need Is Love’. They were famously purchased by Michael Jackson when he outbid McCartney $41.5m for The Beatles’ ATV Music catalogue in 1985. The Jackson estate sold its stake in the collection to Sony/ATV for $750 million last year.
According to McCartney, he will legally reacquire the songs in 2018, but Sony had not confirmed whether they will surrender the songs without dispute.
In a statement to Pitchfork, a spokesperson for Paul McCartney said: “Paul McCartney has today filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York against Sony/ATV to confirm his ownership in his US reversionary copyrights, which are granted to him by US copyright law, in the songs he wrote with John Lennon and recorded with The Beatles. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and bears the case no. 17cv363.”

Enough is enough. Let Paul have his songs, let the estate of John Lennon have his songs, let George's songs go to his family, and let Ringo have what belongs to him and let's be done with this. Sony/ATV should have all of these copyrights stripped away so that the artists can own their own music again. The fact that McCartney hasn't had a say in the ownership of his own music is a terrible, terrible stain on the corporate side of the music business. The record companies have squeezed every dime out of the Beatles that they could.

It's been fifty years--that's enough exploitation of the artist. There should be a twenty-five year limit to this sort of thing--once that threshold is crossed, everything the artist created becomes their fucking property.

Let it go.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Obamacare Saves Lives

Gail Greenwood is the bassist for Belly, and while they were touring this past summer, she kept secret the fact that she was undergoing chemotherapy for endometrial cancer.

Here's another connection between music and politics that people may not be aware of:

Though I prefer to keep health issues private, with the impending
threat of repeal of the ACA (Affordable Care Act, or ‘Obamacare’), I
feel I cannot remain silent. Thanks to the ACA, many independent
artists, musicians, freelancers and small business owners, such as my
partner, Chil, and myself, and millions of low-income Americans have
access to health insurance and medical care. Chil and I have been with
the program since its inception, buying our health insurance through
Rhode Island’s excellent exchange. This is not my first ride at the
cancer rodeo, and without the provisions of the ACA (such as
prohibiting the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and
outlawing yearly and lifetime caps) I would’ve had a very difficult
time getting the treatment I needed. I can literally say that
Obamacare has saved my life twice (so far….)!

The basic tenets of Obamacare are easy to grasp--insurers cannot discriminate against you if you have a pre-existing condition, they can't tell you that you've "run out" of benefits, and if you're lesbian/gay/straight/bi-curious or whatever, they can't deny you and the person you love the benefits of life-saving health care.

Why anyone would vote against that is beyond comprehension. Do you think it had something to do with the fact that Republicans have lied about it since day one and our overweight sexist media failed to call them on their lies?

Here's hoping Gail comes through this with flying colors and keeps rocking that bass. Pass this inspiring story on to everyone who know who about to be affected by the repeal of Obamacare and the destruction that will follow.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rick Wakeman Plays Space Oddity

This is excellent and sublime at the same time:

Billy Corgan Defends Donald Trump, Hilarity Ensues

Billy Corgan casts doubts on the whole Russian pee hookers angle to the news, and that's fine. Billy is never going to say anything reasonable as long as he knows he can rile people up and get a reaction. I get that. But the problem with Corgan's logic is that everyone knows Trump isn't worth what he says he's worth--he's a serial liar. He lies about everything.

When you have an individual who lies about his association with the Russians, and when he goes insane at the very idea that someone knows what he did when he travelled there, you arrive at a point where it isn't necessary to wonder about the particulars. Trump is on tape denying that he told A. J. Benza about Russian prostitutes, so what are we to think? Trump used to tell Benza all kinds of things. He is known to brag about sexually assaulting women and that he has been promiscuous

As for the idea that billionaires don't hire hookers, well. Corgan needs to get out more.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Amazing Courage of Jennifer Holliday

Jennifer Holliday just made a lot of the right kind of people very happy:

Jennifer Holliday has canceled her appearance at Donald Trump’s inauguration event next week, calling her decision to perform a “lapse of judgement.”

In an open letter, provided exclusively to TheWrap, the “Dreamgirls” star apologized to the LGBT community, saying she was “uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.”

The Tony and Grammy winner came under fire from some of her fans on Friday after it was announced that she was set to perform at a concert as part of Trump’s inauguration festivities.

Really, anyone interested in a career in the arts would have to be a fool to play for Donald Trump's incoming regime. Or Toby Keith.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Julian Cope Drunken Songs

Head Heritage is the coolest record label in the whole wide world, and Julian Cope has a new album. This is a clear indication that 2017 is not going to be that bad (I hope, I wish, I pray).

Please support an actual artist making actual music in the common era. 

Hair Metal Returns From the Dead

Hair metal has returned with a vengeance. Not too long ago, these bands were on a different touring track--through much smaller venues and with a lot less fanfare. This is your typical casino tour--can't wait to see if they end up playing Grand Casino Hinckley.  

They're actually going to play arenas and sell them out? Really? I'm sorry, but I don't see how the economics of this are going to work out, I really don't.

In the age of the Trump Regime, substance-free music has returned from the 1980s. To me, Def Leppard are much less offensive than Poison, but this is still not a show I would attend for any amount of money. If it was free, I'd give it to the guy down the road. This was never my thing.

Do people even remember Tesla? They'll show up thinking it's an electric car demonstration.

Star Roving

Slowdive have a new album coming out this year, and if it sounds like this, it will be massive. What a great track.

This new song is available for purchase on Bandcamp.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Wolf Alice Makes the Cut

This is a big deal for Wolf Alice:

The soundtrack tracklisting for the upcoming ‘T2: Trainspotting 2‘ soundtrack has supposedly been leaked online.

After the initial trailer was released, the clip revealed that Wolf Alice’s track ‘Silk’ would be featured on the soundtrack. Now, the full list of songs seems to have been shared after apparently ‘leaking’ on Amazon.

If true, the classic ‘Lust For Life’ by Iggy Pop from the original soundtrack has been given a violent reboot courtesy of The Prodigy, while Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’ has been reimagined also. That respect for the old-school also comes by including the likes of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Blondie, Queen, Run DMC and The Clash. As well as the previously revealed Wolf Alice, Fat White Family also bring a kick of modern indie to the fore – while Mercury winners and Glasgow natives Young Fathers have penned new track ‘Only God Knows’ among the three songs they’ve contributed.

The prestige that goes along with being featured on this soundtrack cannot be underestimated. Was there anything bigger than the original Trainspotting soundtrack?

For a band like Wolf Alice, and for all of the newer bands being featured, this is the kind of thing that can help expose a lot of people to their music. We're in a vastly different era from the mid-1990s and the ways of being heard have shifted. It's great that Wolf Alice has a label behind them and some publicity, but opportunities like this can help them even more. It's not as simple as saying, "here's our YouTube video." 

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Tour of the Summer

Audiences around the world are going to get a chance to hear U2's The Joshua Tree in full this summer, and they're taking Noel Gallagher out with them. I don't know if I'd want to follow Don't Look Back in Anger with anything less than a killer group of songs, so this tour should work nicely. The audience that hears these shows is going to be exposed to something new and old; I can't imagine U2 would avoid playing a handful of newer songs from the last five or ten years. Oh, and anything from All That You Can't Leave Behind would work alongside the Joshua Tree set; both are of the same mind.

The American dates are lined up in major football stadiums, so I don't know what the sound is going to be like. It will be massive nonetheless. Predictably, Liam is not pleased. Next summer would have been a great time for an Oasis tour, but Noel's got other plans.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Boycott Coachella and Stand Up to Hate

The owner of the Coachella music festival is a troll and a purveyor of hate:

Two days ago, Coachella revealed its 2017 lineup and lots of festival-goers were excited about headlining acts Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, and none other than BeyoncĂ©. Today, however, word got around that the CEO of the company who owns Coachelle, Phil Anschutz has donated to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that “advocates for your right to freely live out your faith.” It sounds nice, but as The Mary Sue puts it, “that means they’re a group of anti-abortion, anti-same sex marriage advocates, who fight in the name of preserving ‘religious freedom.'” He’s also given to the National Christian Foundation, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as an extremist group. Additionally, Anschutz is reportedly a climate-change denier.

The punk rock thing to do would be to show up, preach against the hate from the stage, and donate the proceeds to a charity that takes care of the people who are victims of that hate. But that wouldn't really solve the problem because the most devastating correction that can be used against pro-hate individuals is to hurt them in the marketplace. Reject Coachella, and you are helping to stop lining the pockets of this terrible man.

There are certain acts who are never going to be political, but I can't believe Radiohead and Beyonce aren't going to respond to this call to avoid playing Coachella. All of the other artists with integrity need to have a gut check on this one.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Joshua Tree Turns 30

U2 are going to go on tour and, presumably, play a classic album in its entirety:

U2 have revealed that they will be touring their landmark album ‘The Joshua Tree’ this year to mark the LP’s 30th anniversary.

The four-piece shared a recent video on Facebook over the festive period in which they confirmed plans to tour the 1987 record.

They also revealed that their new album ‘Songs Of Experience’ will be released later this year. You can watch the video below.

“Next year [2017] is going to be a big year for the U2 group. We have ‘Songs Of Experience’ coming, and to honour 30 years of ‘The Joshua Tree’, we have some very, very special shows coming,” Bono added.

Now, that's all well and good. The Joshua Tree turned them into global superstars and broke them fully and completely in the United States. They were already on their way, but this is the album that put serious distance between the band and everyone they were competing against. 

If they do this, then there's no question--they have to do the same for Achtung Baby, which has held up quite a bit better and should really be considered their finest work.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bob Mould See a Little Light

This is my quick review of Bob Mould's See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody. I'm late to the party--this book was published in 2011 while I was living overseas. I discovered it over the weekend and read it about as quickly as I could.

Kick ass book. If you care about independent music, it's a must-read.

Finally, someone with a sense of wonder appraises the independent music scene of the 1980s and can explain how it all worked (cheaply, and through word of mouth, and by wringing every dollar out of every club owner, and living from hand to mouth). Mould doesn't just hold forth on himself or what he did with his band. He looks at the scene and explains how they survived long drives, not getting paid, and being screwed over for mechanical royalties. 

He mixes the business with the personal, and never lets himself off the hook. If you followed the demise of Husker Du, he explains what happened. He tells his side (and you have to go find Grant Hart's side of it, if you can) and he leaves it up to you. I've always wondered what it was that broke up the band, and you can find the answers here. Maybe it will inspire you to find other answers, but, really, all you need to know is, the thing had run its course. And Mould takes you through several times in his life when things came down to a final break and a final decision. As an artist, he has lived ten lives in all of these different cities and he's constantly striving to make something work and to make sense of what's going on. If he's not the most important musician of his generation, who is?

God, what a book about integrity can do for your soul. I read this and it was harrowing. It was heartbreaking. It had all of the makings of a depressing book. What it leaves you with is an uplifting spirit. Mould chases his demons, explains them, arranges them, and leaves it up to you to judge him. He is done judging himself. He's done living with compromises and with the whole notion of hiding who he is. He's out there making wonderful music. Fuck everything else.