Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Bunnymen & The Femmes

This is the show I want to go see:

For the second straight summer, Echo & The Bunnymen and Violent Femmes will team up for a U.S. co-headlining tour, a trek that so far spans 11 dates in Texas and parts of the south, and which will see the two bands alternating which closes the show each night.

The tour opens July 12 in San Antonio, Texas, and wraps up July 25 in Washington, D.C., hitting, in total, four cities in Texas, two in Florida and Virginia, as well as Tennessee and Georgia.

Echo & The Bunnymen and Violent Femmes tour dates:

July 12: Tobin Center, San Antonio, TX %
July 13: ACL Live Moody, Austin, TX #
July 14: Revention Music Center, Houston, TX %
July 15: The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory, Irving, TX #
July 17: Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN %
July 18: State Bank Amphitheater, Atlanta, GA #
July 20: House of Blues, Lake Buena Vista, FL %
July 21: Saint Augustine Amphitheatre, St. Augustine, FL #
July 23: The National, Richmond, VA %
July 24: Norva, Norfolk, VA #
July 25: The Anthem, Washington, D.C.%

Monday, April 23, 2018

What Did Richard Ashcroft Get For His Soul?

Never in my life did I think Richard Ashcroft would open for the Rolling Stones or have anything to do with them:

Liam's good pal Richard Ashcroft (of Verve fame) will get things started in Manchester and Edinburgh and further support on the tour will come from the likes of Elbow, The Specials and The Vaccines.

The man who stole his greatest song was named Allen Klein, and he was the man who ripped off everyone because he knew how to do it. He ripped off the Beatles and he ripped off anyone foolish enough to get between him and an easy buck.

Klein and the man he mugged on the way to stealing Bitter Sweet Symphony are both dead, so maybe that's why Ashcroft has decided to take a lucrative solo gig and pretend like it's all water under the bridge.

For those who don't know, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are credited for, and have made millions from, a song they had nothing to do with:

When Jazz Summers, the manager of the British group the Verve, called in early 1997 to say the band wanted to get publishing clearance for a sample, Iris handled the situation. She told Summers that someone from the record company had already phoned and tried to low-ball ABKCO with an offer of 15 percent. “I’ve told him to f--- off, Jazz,” she said. “We don’t like people stealing our music. I’ve spoken to Allen. We’re not going to agree to this.”

Indeed, Klein was ultraprotective. ABKCO was happy to support writers who wanted to collaborate with other artists, but he saw sampling as a dilution of a work’s viability and didn’t want to encourage people to use samples and then negotiate retroactively.

That was precisely what the Verve’s musicians were trying to do. In this case, the sample, used in a song entitled “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” was taken from an instrumental version of the Rolling Stones song “The Last Time” that had appeared on an album by the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra. The Verve had cleared the rights to sample the recording from Decca Records, but they hadn’t thought about getting permission for the underlying composition until after the fact. The irony was that the segment lifted from the Oldham recording didn’t sound a bit like the original Stones song, and the arranger who’d written the riff, David Whitaker, wasn’t even listed as a composer. As it stood, the credits for “Bitter Sweet Symphony” were shared between Verve vocalist Richard Ashcroft and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. But the record couldn’t be released without the permission of Jagger and Richards’s publisher, ABKCO Music.

At a loss, Summers let his record company take a whack at it. Ken Berry, the head of EMI Records, came to New York and called on Klein. He played Klein the completed Verve album, Urban Hymns, which EMI’s Virgin label was betting would be a big hit. And “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was its obvious lead single. So Allen could appreciate how imperative it was that he grant a license.

“There’s no sampling of our music,” he said. “We just don’t believe in it.”

“Oh, f---,” said the head of EMI Records.

Klein let a day or two pass before calling Berry. He realized EMI and the band were in a bind, he said, and he was willing to make an exception to his rule and grant a license — if Ashcroft sold ABKCO his rights as lyricist and the company became the sole publisher of “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” The bargain was made; Richard Ashcroft was paid a thousand dollars.

The deal was as unsparing as any in Klein’s career; he held all the cards, played them, and raked in the pot. When music photographer Mick Rock happened to call Klein that day to see how he was, it was obvious to him that Allen was enjoying himself. “I was very bad today,” he said.

Klein was human scum, and he exploited artists and stole their money as easily as he breathed in the morning air. I have no idea why Ashcroft would do this. Money makes people do horrible things, I guess.

Van Morrison Knows Things

When someone as venerable and as irascible as Van Morrison says something that you agree with, of course you have to produce a short, opportunistic blog post about it that no one will read:

"The media makes things up," the star told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"I've been talking about fake news from day one," he continued. "But back then, when you said, 'this is made up,' they'd just dump on you more. So I had to put it in songs eventually."

The Northern Irish singer, who is responsible for some of the most extraordinary music of the last century, said he had grown wary of the press in his early days, as part of R&B group Them.

"We had to do a lot of interviews when we started. You do that when you're a kid, but later on you realise it's pointless," he said.

"It's funny, the whole star-celebrity media... It's like the song, 'You build me up to knock me down' [by] Hank Williams.

I agree with almost his every word, but, on principle, I can't abide a Van Morrison post that doesn't include pointing out that this man actually likes to smile and play music people want to hear, so to hell with any criticisms, sir. And if you call him dyspeptic, I'll have to ban you for five minutes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon

Echo & the Bunnymen are releasing a new album this fall, and it looks like the perfect introduction to their classics (and two new songs). They're re-working old songs with an orchestra, always the right move for a band with timeless string of hits.

The Bunnymen are still revered by those in the best of popular culture. In the past year alone, the highly acclaimed and culturally phenomenal Netflix series 'Stranger Things' has used the song 'Nocturnal Me' whilst the equally comparable '13 Reasons Why' has used 'The Killing Moon', a song also used on another Netflix show, 'Dead of Summer'.

1. Bring On The Dancing Horses
2. The Somnambulist
3. Nothing Lasts Forever
4. Lips Like Sugar
5. Rescue
6. Rust
7. Angels & Devils
8. Bedbugs & Ballyhoo
9. Zimbo
10. Stars Are Stars
11. Seven Seas
12. Ocean Rain
13. The Cutter
14. How Far?
15. The Killing Moon

The thing I like about this project is that the song choices are so strong. Including their greatest non-album track Angels & Devils is innovative and brilliant.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

HD Vinyl

They're going to start pressing records onto a ceramic plate? Really?

The first-ever ‘HD vinyl’ could be hitting your turntable in 2019, with an Austrian startup receiving $4.8m of funding to develop the product.

A patent filing in 2016 described how records could be made with a superior quality to standard vinyl. It said that the LPs would boast higher audio fidelity, higher volume and longer playing times.

Now, founder and CEO of Rebeat Innovation, G√ľnter Loibl, has told Pitchfork that the new format could hit record stores as early as 2019.

How does it work? According to the official HD vinyl site, the process converts audio digitally to a 3D conversion. Once optimized, the 3D topographic map will be engraved onto a ceramic plate.

Now, I'm sure they've tested the hell out of this, but, what I really want to know is, why do I have to buy all of my music all over again?

And, you're going to press thin ceramic plates and sell them to people?

I followed the link and read the website. As with anything, it comes down to--how many can you produce and can you convince people to move on from an existing format? I have no idea if they can do it, but I suspect that the first time one of these discs shatters from normal use, people are going to be pissed. I have just enough audio album Blu-ray Discs around to keep me in a foul mood.

This is exactly the sort of thing record companies love. They can make people pay for the same old music all over again and then they can pocket the profits and stiff the older artists they're not paying streaming royalties to. It's evil-genius level brilliant, and they get to sell you a product with better artwork.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Lindsey Buckingham Has Been Thrown Out of Fleetwood Mac

Even though I don't care, and never will, this seems to be a really big deal:

Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham are cutting ties.

A representative for the band confirmed to CNN on Monday that Buckingham and the band have parted ways and that he will not be going on tour with them in the fall.

"Lindsey Buckingham will not be performing with the band on this tour," a statement read. "The band wishes Lindsey all the best."

The representative would not provide any further details as to what led to his departure. A source close to the band told CNN that the split was "over musical differences regarding the tour." A representative for Buckingham referred questions to the band.

    Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, the same year as the band's longtime lead singer, Stevie Nicks. Buckingham, who has since served as the lead guitarist for the band, wrote some of the band's most well-known songs including "Go Your Own Way," which was the lead single off the band's highly successful 1977 album, Rumours.

    Bless your heart, CNN, but there's a little more to the story than that. What I want to know is, who is having sex with whom these days and did that factor into the decision to throw Lindsey out of the band?

    These are some supremely weird and kinky people, but it could also be about drugs. I never believe rock stars when they talk about how they've solved their chemical addiction problems. This is Fleetwood Goddamned Mac. How freaky have they been getting? It's 2018, and people have been known to maintain their perversions well into old age. I don't doubt for a moment that this band is still a traveling orgy of senseless acts of deviance and indulgence. Nowadays, you bring on people who can service the elderly in about as many ways as you can imagine. They have slings and swings for all of that stuff now. I would imagine they have professional medical people on retainer to revive or resuscitate band members on a regular basis. Someone's walking around with an array of specially-loaded EpiPens, and if they aren't, well, they need to. 

    Granted, it's more likely about money or how many shows they were going to play. Maybe Lindsey got tired of playing the hits. Who knows?