Thursday, February 27, 2020

New Music From Throwing Muses

Some good news for a change:
At the beginning of February, Boston trio Throwing Muses announced their first album in seven years, Sun Racket. Now they’ve shared the lead single “Dark Blue”, as well as the album’s artwork and tracklist.
With song names like “Bywater” and “Maria Laguna”, Sun Racket is thematically linked to the sea. Lead single “Dark Blue” will open the album, and in the first few seconds we’re introduced to a melancholy surf guitar that’s abruptly obliterated in a tidal wave of distortion.

Monday, February 24, 2020

A Celebration of the Life of Neil Peart

Get yourself to St. Catherine's in Ontario if you can:
The family of Neil Peart has authorized an official memorial concert to honor the late Rushdrummer, who passed away last month following a private battle with brain cancer. The event, dubbed “A Night for Neil – The Neil Peart Memorial Celebration”, will take place in the Canadian musician’s hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario.
Peart’s family is working with Rush’s charity organization, Overtime Angels, as well as the city of St. Catharines to coordinate the tribute show with event producer George Roche. The celebration will take place May 16th at the Meridian Centre hockey arena.
I would think that this would give a number of performers a chance to adjust their schedules and appear. Plus, all of this will be for a good cause:

The show will not only benefit Overtime Angels, but also St. Catharines Hospital and Walker Cancer Centre; The Juravinski Hospital & Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Ontario; and The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, Ontario. 
“A Night for Neil” tickets go on sale to the public this Friday (February 28th) via Ticketmaster, with pre-sales beginning as early as Tuesday (February 25th).

Friday, February 14, 2020

Live at Leeds

The Who recorded the Live at Leeds album fifty years ago today:
The rock group played at the packed University of Leeds refectory on 14 February 1970 and recorded the gig. 
The record it spawned, Live at Leeds, is often cited as one of the best live rock albums of all time. 
Ed Anderson, a Who fan who was at the Valentine's Day concert, said: "I remember it vividly. The band threw everything into it."
Mr Anderson, then an economics student at Leeds Polytechnic, was a big fan of the band and first saw them in 1968. 
"Leeds University was then the number one venue for rock music, week after week I saw the top bands and I would be there most Saturdays," he said. 
He remembered queuing up on that Saturday for tickets costing a few shillings in those pre-decimal times.
I remember having the original version, which documented less than half of the actual performance. The Who played Tommy and a host of other tracks, which surfaced when the album was reissued in a deluxe format decades later.

It is still an absolute barn burner of a performance. Whenever I hear Heaven and Hell from that record, I'm reminded of what this shit is supposed to sound like.

Twelve Years to Get the Truth

This is one of the most despicable things a music label has ever done.
A massive fire burned down a Universal Music Group warehouse in Florida back in 2008, but reports about what was inside — 500,000 high-quality master recordings, many of which were for iconic records — didn’t surface until last year. Now, Universal has acknowledged that master recordings to albums by NirvanaSoundgardenSlayerR.E.M.Elton John were either damaged or destroyed in the fire. 
The reason this is news 12 years later is because Universal never told the artists impacted by the fire in the first place, even those who were the legal owners of those masters. Instead, it was The New York Times who broke the story, which prompted artists like Hole, Soundgarden, and Tom Petty’s estate to file lawsuits against Universal. According to Rolling Stone, as part of the legal proceedings, these artists asked for “a complete list of damaged records.” Universal has now responded by confirming (via filed documents) that the master recordings of 19 artists were “either damaged or destroyed” in the fire.
Universal has been lying to these artists for over twelve years. They've failed to curate and protect the original master recordings for their artists. This hangdog effort to deny what really happened is more about avoiding responsibility than it is about being "confused" as to what was lost. It's inexcusable and they should be sued relentlessly.

Other labels should find a way to protect their own libraries. The real tragedy here would be to fail to learn from what happened.

Midnight Oil

There was a time when I thought there wouldn't be any new music from Midnight Oil. They have found their second wind after going out in 2018 and 2019 to play all over the world. This effort has led to the release of two new albums in the next year:
Over the coming weeks you’ll start hearing about some of the specific things we’re doing in 2020, so before all that starts we wanted to tell you directly about the broad brushstrokes.

After coming home from Europe via Birdsville in mid-2019 we started recording new music together for the first time in nearly two decades. Our mate Warne Livesey travelled from Toronto to Sydney to produce these sessions just as he did on Diesel & Dust, Blue Sky Mining and Capricornia. It felt good to be back in the studio, and intriguing to see where it all ended up. 
We had over 20 songs we wanted to record and eight of them shared a strong focus on the issue of indigenous reconciliation, so we invited some of our First Nations friends to collaborate with us in various ways on each of these eight tracks. Our collective work will be released as a mini-album called The Makarrata Project in June/July. Band profits from this release will be donated to charities which elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart ( This mid-year release of The Makarrata Project will be accompanied by a small handful of themed live performances in Australia featuring some of the very special guests who helped create this mini-album.

Then toward the end of the year we’ll release a new Midnight Oil album which is currently at final mixing stage. This completely separate batch of material deals with various lyrical themes including climate chaos, no surprise after the mega fires we’ve just experienced in Australia. We plan to follow the album with lots more Australian and international touring across late 2020 and early 2021.

Over the next 12 months we will also be releasing various singles from both The Makarrata Project mini-album and the new Midnight Oil album. We’re seriously excited about all of these songs and the two separate works on which they will feature. Stay tuned for more detailed announcements about our new music and our touring plans. Thanks in the meantime for your patience … we know it’s been a long wait but good things take time!
 Incredible. Midnight Oil is a must see band.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Control Your Legacy

Every band should have this much control over their own legacy:
Every Radiohead fan knows that beyond their nine officially released studio albums there’s an almost unending treasure trove of goodies out there, from incredible b-sides to brilliant old studio films. If you really wanted to, you could spend your entire life buried in Radiohead rarities.
Whether it’s the band occasionally throwing their fiercely dedicated fanbase a bone by uploading an old live set onto YouTube, or – in a significantly more sinister occurrence, as happened last year – one of these fans threatening to leak an entire hard-drive of ‘OK Computer’-era rarities online and effectively holding the band to ransom, it seems the appetite for the more discarded bits and bobs from the band’s 25-year career will never die. 
But if the band had just been feeding us scraps until now, today they laid out a whole fucking chicken dinner. Behold the Radiohead Public Library.
The fact that most bands cannot put their hands on their own recorded output is a matter for the courts. Once an "album" has been released into the wild, the record company tends to own the whole thing. That extends to whatever they feel like, of course.

I don't think it should extend to an entire catalog of rarities and assorted tracks or experiments. The deals that get signed remove all of the rights from an artist with regards to the control of their legacy and their output. There are numerous bands that have a "library" of their own material, especially those bands that are into experimentation and being prolific. It's great that Radiohead has been able to do this, but it should be the standard for anyone interested in a band to be able to see behind the curtain. Not mandatory, of course, but it should be a normal thing.

Having this level of control is the direct result of careful planning and management. Radiohead never sold their souls for money; they held onto their catalog and are now genuinely in control of their future, whatever they want to make of it.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Peter Koppes Leaves the Church

This is sad news:

14,600 Nights of Space RocknRollthe first 40 years....A band is like a family and over 40 years it is only natural that families will change and that members will come and go. Therefore it is with great sadness that we must announce the departure of Peter Koppes from our ranks to explore his own musical path. Peter has made the hugest contribution to the Church's sound and he will be sorely missed. However the remaining members have decided to carry on with this immense body of work which Peter, as well as Richard Ploog, Jay dee Daugherty and of course Marty Willson-Piper, have been invaluable in creating.
We wish Peter all the success with whatever he pursues from now on. The good news is The Church are delighted to announce Jeffrey Cain will be staying on as a permanent member with Ian Haug and Tim Powles and we are very happy to welcome Melbournian guitar slinger Ashley Naylor into the band.
We are already under way creating a brand new album which so far is turning out to be a beautiful thing. Steve KilbeyCoogee01.02.2020
I don't have anything to add. I was tremendously pleased to see the last tour in April 2019 in Houston, Texas and it was such a well-played show.

There was a real chemistry between everyone on stage and I remember saying at the time, it would be great if Jeffrey Cain were a full member.

Whatever the configuration, the Church is a band that does not fade into the sunset. It is an evolving and changing thing, and it will be worth checking out.

We should all remember that the door for this band is a revolving one. There's nothing that says that past members can't come back and that new members can't come into the mix. To be honest with you, it's not even about who's in the band. It's entirely about the songs. The Say Lou Lou version of Under the Milky Way is exactly what I'm talking about. It's not done by "The Church" but it damned sure is entirely of that body of work.