Anthems have always struck me as a funny little subset of music. It isn’t just the national anthems, but school fight songs, the songs that crowds sing at matches during the recently completed World Cup, anything on any of the various Jock Jams compilations, and those vaguely man-hating songs drunken college girls sing. If there is a category of songs that are more about the audience than the singer, out there miles ahead of campfire songs and other sing-a-longs is the group described above.
How many people know exactly when to yell “hey” when listening to “Rock and Roll, Part 2” by Gary Glitter? Hundreds of millions, right? How many people know Gary Glitter’s second most well known song? Do you? (To save you the trouble, I looked it up. It was “I Didn’t Know I Loved You ‘Til I Saw You Rock and Roll” which reached #35 on the Billboard chart in 1972.) Does the average “hey” yeller know or care that the pedophile they are singing along with has recently found himself in a bit of international legal trouble?
Gentlemen, have you ever found yourself firmly on the outside when the DJ spun “You Oughta Know,” “I Will Survive” or some other chic rock anthem? Do more Canadians know all of the words to “the Star Spangled Banner” than Americas know the second line to “O, Canada?” (“Our home and native land.” You can thank me for all of this later.)
It’s because the audience has co-opted the song and the artist, never mind your individual reaction to it, no longer matters. There is such a consensus that the “Star Spangled Banner” is about being American and that “Rock and Roll, Part 2” is about competitiveness and testosterone and that “Mony, Mony” requires a “get laid, get f*cked” in the chorus, that you are not allowed to enjoy these songs as a tale of battle, a glam jam or a teen love song despite the fact that that’s what they are, or were.
So call it the Anthem rule within the Between the Notes law. Music is the silence between the notes, but sometimes the meaning of that silence has been codified by the masses or an act of congress. Please enjoy your own inspiration in the privacy of your home.
.:Reading is Fundamental:.
Ssquared (S^2 to friends) tackles the end of the album era
Why I won’t tell you what my favorite song is
How to make radio better, or why Gloomchen needs to move to Boston (really, the radio is not too bad here)
Must read of the week: Mike Eagle shares 164 wedding pictures (just one for the lazy readers), gives you a hall pass for not liking the pantheon artists, gives us two examples, and asks the really big question
White Mathan had to endure Tupac while shopping at the local indie record store (looks like Black Mathan got a couple things, too)
Read this and then return to thinking football is an American sport played with a pointy ball
Extra special points to anyone not named Matt who knew I came to IP via Moodspins. While you’re waiting on the ‘Spins redesign, here’s a bit of history for you.
.:Beyond the Notes:.
Johnny Cash has the number one album in America. Thank you.
Syd Barrett died. If this is the first you heard of it, I will personally send you news updates every three days, care of the rock you live under. Start the biopic countdown at 2 years, 4 months and 14 days.
Rolling Stone is reporting that Weezer is done for. I’d say one album too late, but my wife likes that album and she’s got good taste so I’ll just say, “such a shame.” Also, I’m going to make a bad joke three paragraphs down that will get me in enough trouble with the missus.
Pitchfork’s giving away free tunes on a regular basis starting last Monday. If you like indie music or just piling up a heap of free tracks without fear of the RIAA, consider this your all you can eat buffet.
The last time I was in Seattle, Beck was pimping Odelay and Cake was still on Fashion Nugget but that town put on a great show and the festival is right downtown. If you can make travel plans, this is worth the hike. Hold on, A Tribe Called Quest is performing!?! See you there!
PS: Anyone want to go to the hospital with my wife for the delivery of our child on September 4th? Kidding, Honey!
Bumbershoot Full Lineup Revealed
(Pitchfork) – Labor Day weekend: the beaches close, but the fun (and the water?) still flows…if you’re at the Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival in Seattle. The event, which will take place from September 2-4 at the Seattle Center, has just revealed its massive lineup in full.
The list includes Kanye West, Spoon, the New Pornographers, A Tribe Called Quest, Blondie, Atmosphere, the Gossip, Feist, Of Montreal, Metric, Mates of State, Jamie Lidell, Deerhoof, Lady Sovereign, the Blood Brothers, NOMO, Jose Gonzalez, Vashti Bunyan, Badly Drawn Boy, CocoRosie, and more.
Saturday, September 2:
The Gossip, Blondie, Jamie Lidell, Deerhoof, Lady Sovereign, the Blood Brothers, NOMO, Badly Drawn Boy, Hawthrone Heights, Yellowcard, AFI, the Thermals, the Can’t See, Po’okela Street Band, Dub Championz, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Erase Errata, the Epoxies, Korby Lenker, the Swains, Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands, Laura Veirs, Alejandro Escovedo, Shooter Jennings, Derby, Slender Means, Halou, Rogue Wave, Of Montreal, Rik Wright, p:ano, the Living Jarboe, PK & What Army?, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, the Lonely Forest, the Lonely H, the Purrs, Daylight Basement, Sirens Sister, Cloud Cult
Sunday, September 3:
Kanye West, Spoon, the New Pornographers, Mates of State, Zero 7, Jose Gonzalez, Vashti Bunyan, Blue Scholars, Dengue Fever, Jeremy Enigk, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Rishi Rich Project, Common Market, Gokh-Bi System, Tor Dietrichson with Mambo Cadillac, As I Lay Dying, mewithoutYou, 3 Inches of Blood, the Fall of Troy, Great Big Sea, Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson, Matt Costa, Sonya Kitchell, Electric Shades of Blue, West Valley Highway, Crystal Skulls, the Like, Mon Frere, Jim Knapp Orchestra, Kelley Johnson Quartet, Floyd Standifer, John Bishop Group, Deadbeat, Lusine, SynthClub, Thee Emergency, New Fangs, Velella Velella, Romance
Monday, September 4:
A Tribe Called Quest, Feist, Atmosphere, Steve Miller Band, Metric, CocoRosie, the Veronicas, Nouvelle Vague, Sparta, Copeland, the BellRays, the Subdudes, Particle, the Village Green, the English Beat, Yerba Buena, Breakestra, Cancer Rising, Olympic Sound Collective, the Briefs, Speaker Speaker, Bettye LaVette, Sera Cahoone, Brett Dennen, Randy Oxford Band, Rocky Votolato, Mountain Con, Bitter:sweet, Jacqui Naylor, the Transmissionary Six, Johanna Kunin, Kane Hodder, the Hollowpoints, Go Like Hell, the Invisible Eyes, Izabelle, the Saturday Knights, Macklemore, Abyssinian Creole
In addition to the tunes, Bumbershoot features two comedy stages, including performances by Aziz Ansari, “Best Week Ever”‘s Paul Scheer, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”/”Arrested Development”/”Upright Citizens Brigade” funnyman Rob Huebel, and a guest panel that will, according to the fest’s official website, take an “uproarious look at chapters 6 through 12 of R. Kelly’s un-ironic hip-hopera Trapped in the Closet.”
On the arts end, the Seattle International Film Festival will curate Bumbershoot’s 1 Reel Film Festival. There will also be dance, theater, an “Indie Market”, a literary program, a poster sale, and a roller derby. No kidding.
Hold on, bring back that towel, I’m not done drooling yet.
Sufjan Stevens, David Byrne, Jon Stewart Rock For Literacy
(stereogum) – Revenge Of The Book Eaters Beacon Theater, NYC 8/23
. Sufjan Stevens
. David Byrne
. Jon Stewart
. John Roderick
. Dave Eggers
. Sarah Vowell
. John Hodgman
+ Special Guests
It’s the first in a six concert series to raise money for children’s literacy programs in 826 writing centers.
Pray for an all-star Duran Duran cover. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at noon. You’re not invited Stephen Erlewine.
Here are the other events:
8/24 826Chicago Benefit
Ben Gibbard, Dave Eggers, ZZ Packer, John Roderick. Hosted by Ira Glass
8/26 826LA Benefit
Jenny Lewis, Aimee Mann, Dave Eggers, Mark Kozelek, Sarah Vowell, The Mountain Goats, John Roderick. Hosted by Andy Richter.
8/28 826Valenica Benefit
Aimee Mann, Jonathon Richman, Dave Eggers, Sarah Vowell. Hosted by Patton Oswsalt.
9/1/06 826Seattle Benefit
Stephen Merritt, Daniel Handler, Dave Eggers, Sarah Vowell. Hosted by John Hodgman, Jonathon Coulton
9/7/06 826Michigan Benefit
Dave Eggers, Davy Rothbart, The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
How killer is the Los Angeles line-up? Sorry Ann Arbor.
OK, the good news train has left the station.
CBGB Sets New Closing Date, Move to Vegas
(Pitchfork) – Hilly Kristal is making an amendment to his Bowery club’s 16+ entry rule: 32-. After 32 years of providing a live arena for some of the country’s best (and worst) musicians, CBGB has cemented the date on which it will close its doors for good.
Although October 31 was originally revealed to be the club’s closing date, September 30 will mark the end for New York City’s famous punk rock venue– or sort of, anyway. After efforts failed to locate an affordable venue space in CBGB’s hometown of New York City, Kristal has made the questionable decision to take it to Vegas.
“[The Vegas CBGB] won’t be the same size or the same shape, but I am going to have all the things that matter there,” Kristal said in a recent interview with MTV.com. “I am taking the bars with me, I am taking the stage – I’m taking the urinal that Joey [Ramone] pissed in with me. I’m going to take a lot of things – anything that makes this place CBGB.”
Thus saving countless bands from the need to do their own Vegas stint.
Raincoats, Notwist, Electrelane Members are TURTLEs
(Pitchfork) – Many artists take on many projects at once (A kazoo band! With body paint hugs! And dinosaur street art!) but few follow everything through. Michael H. Shamberg is one of the few, and he’s damn good at it.
There’s his work with a couple little bands called Joy Divison and New Order and his collaborations with conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner. If these examples don’t jazz you, try this next one: now, Shamberg is turning into a turtle.
TURTLE is the name of his newest project, an “anarchic salon” inspired by such nonconformist deities as Juan Munoz and Abbie Hoffman. Since June 27 and through August 5, over 150 artists will present “readings, rantings, artworks, texts, performances, and screenings” at several venues (a.k.a. “turtles”) throughout London. Musical participants include Gavin Bryars (John Cage, Tom Waits), Markus Acher (Lali Puna, the Notwist), and Pitchfork staffer Mia Lily Clarke (Electrelane).
Ana de Silva, a founding member of seminal British postpunk band the Raincoats, performed at 43 South Molton Street. (Fellow former Raincoat Gina Birch is also participating in TURTLE.) Remember the liner notes to Insecteside, when Kurdt rambled passionately about this goddess he met on a London streetcorner? Yeah. That was de Silva.
To be honest I didn’t care until I got to the part about the Raincoats. Check out the Raincoats if you haven’t already. They completely rocked.
Microsoft’s Rival to the iPod
(SPIN) – Is Microsoft’s new MP3 player full of enough hi-tech goodies to woo Apple die-hards away from their beloved iPods?
Is this the new Microsoft media player? Engadget.com thinks so.
Tech blog Engadget has unveiled a picture of what Microsoft’s forthcoming and highly-anticipated MP3 player might look like, and it’s already earning buzz as the digital music device to unseat the iPod. The name for the gadget has been reported as either “Argo” or “The Zune,” and its highlights are said to include a screen display bigger than that of the iPod video and built-in WiFi capabilities that will allow users to not only download music directly to the device, but also engage in social networks akin to participating in the Xbox Live community. To persuade those in Apple’s camp to trade in their trusty iPods, Microsoft will also make their device compatible with music bought in iTunes’ music stores. Insiders speculate the MP3 player will hit streets sometime in November.
So Microsoft is empire to Apple’s rebel alliance. I also root for the Yankees. It must be worth a look even for the diehards.
It’s a Rick James Documentary, Bitch!
(SPIN) – The late music legend’s daughter will co-produce a behind-the-scenes documentary about the hard-partying funk soul brother.
Dave Chappelle, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, and others are among the wish list of participants in an upcoming documentary on the late Rick James. Set to be completed in October 2006, and making its premiere at Sundance 2007, I’m Rick James is being co-produced by James’ daughter, Ty, and will include some high-tech features: Thanks to “CGI elements…Rick tells his own life story,” a spokesperson for HiddenDoor Documedia, the creators of the film, told SPIN.com.
While a handful of figures from James’ life have signed on, the producers are still working on snagging some of the names on their wish list, including Chappelle, Rhymes, and Snoop.
An accompanying soundtrack is also in the works, and will feature “some classic Rick, some unreleased tracks, and some contemporary artists remixing Rick,” the film’s producers say.
Anyone else feel the drug/sex-addled musician bio-pic lag shrinking? Who’s next, Usher?
Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie Goes Solo
(SPIN) – On a new track from her forthcoming solo record, ab-tastic vixen channels…Lady Sovereign and U.K. grime?
Six years after she joined the Black Eyed Peas, the band that made her a star (as opposed to Wild Orchid, the girl-power pop act that went nowhere), Fergie is attempting a solo career. The toned-and-tough 31-year-old (aka Stacy Ann Ferguson) will release her solo debut, The Duchess, on September 19. To tempt fans before the album’s release, Fergie is streaming her first single, the Lady Sovereign-esque, grime-influenced “London Bridge,” in which the singer-cum-rapper spits lines like “I’m Fergie and me love you longtime,” and, “How come every time you come around my London, London Bridge wanna go down.” Must these people invent new terminology in every song?
Anyhow, Peas fans needn’t worry: According to the singer’s updated bio, Fergie considers her foray into solo stardom a “side project and will still record and tour with the band.”
Because it isn’t sexploitation if you write the songs, or if people have no clue what you’re talking about.
Danger! The Rapture Mouse about in the studio
(Drowned in Sound) – The Rapture’s forthcoming follow-up to 2003’s Echoes will emerge signed, sealed and delivered by chart-topping producer Danger Mouse.
The punk-funkers (ergh… sorry) have been recording with the cartoon-monikered half of current number ones Gnarls Barkley in Los Angeles. Drummer Vito Roccoforte (c’mon, that’s gotta be the best name for a drummer, ever) told Rolling Stone that the demos thus far are a little brighter than previous offerings.
“The early demos we’ve played for people, they’ve said it’s a little more ‘like sunshine’. You know, a little brighter. Because of the headspace we were in.”
The band reportedly have around thirty songs in various stages of completion. Guitarist Luke Jenner said of working with Danger Mouse:
“(Working with) Danger Mouse is definitely the most far-out thing we’ve done. This is the closest to a collaboration we’ve done – and it’s definitely not a traditional approach. He just treats us like samples. Instead of me going in and playing a guitar part – he’ll take a little loop of it and use it to sound like something’s exploding. It doesn’t even sound like a guitar after he’s done with it sometimes. That’s new for us.”
Who would have thought that one of the most interesting music makers of the decade would be a cartoon mouse?
Aziz Ansari Interviews Jeff Mangum
(Product Shop NYC) – Product Shop NYC’s latest Sirius Blog Radio broadcast was insane! In the studio were Jason PSNYC, 3xWes, and very special guest Aziz Ansari. As if being joined by one of New York’s funniest men wasn’t fabulous enough, Aziz somehow wrangled an exclusive phone interview with Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum!!!
In this most surreal interview, Aziz questioned Jeff on, among other things, his feelings on mentoring current “it” band Beirut, his future musical ventures, and his take on the pitchfork induced scandal where someone posted under his name in an the Elephant 6 Forum.
A big thanks to Aziz for joining us in the studio, getting us an exclusive interview with Jeff Mangum, and selecting half of this weeks playlist, which included Coltrane, Cass McCombs, Alan Finger, Ariel Pink, The Greenhornes, and others.
You can listen to the entire interview here:
DOWNLOAD: Aziz Ansari Interviews Jeff Mangum (right click – save as)
A weird guy, but certainly interesting and in the news lately.
Journey Vocalist Won’t Stop Deceivin’
(Rolling Stone) – In 1998, when Journey hired Steve Augeri to replace vocalist Steve Perry, they gave the former Gap employee a simple instruction: Sing exactly like Perry, which he managed to do with extraordinary precision. About a year ago, fans started to notice that, at every show, Augeri’s vocals were identical down to the smallest detail from. One Journey fanatic documented this apparent lip-syncing in thoroughly dork-tastic detail, complete with audio clips. When a couple radio DJ’s picked up the story, Augeri seemingly sang live, with disastrously croaky, off-key results. Last week, Journey put out a press release claiming Augeri was suffering from an “acute throat infection” and would be replaced by former Yngwie Malmsteen sideman Jeff Scott Soto. For those keeping track, Soto will be Journey’s fourth frontman.
Looks like he was mimicking Perry a little too faithfully. His lips and the lyrics were going separate ways. I can’t think of any way to make a pun on “Any Way You Want It” or “Open Arms” but man that story is great. Who’s crying now?
Snoop’s long in the works album due in October
(Billboard) – Snoop Dogg has set October 17 as the release date for his next solo album, “Blue Carpet Treatment.” Stevie Wonder, the Game, R. Kelly, Brandy and Daz & Kurupt are among the potential guest artists.
Lead single “Vato” featuring B. Real of Cypress Hill and production by the Neptunes addresses the conflict between African-Americans and Latinos in certain areas of California. The title is a Spanish slang term meaning “homie.”
Snoop has been recording with longtime friend and collaborator Dr. Dre for the past few months, though it is unknown whether any of those tracks will surface on “Blue Carpet.”
Snoop is in the process of selecting roughly 16 album cuts out of 300 songs he recorded, according to a Doggystyle representative.
“I’ve been working on (the album) for nine months,” the rapper told Billboard last month. “I have so much good material, it’s about (figuring out) what I’m going to use on my record.”
One confirmed track is the Neptunes-produced “So Special” featuring Brandy.
In conjunction with the album, Snoop will release the DVD “The Adventures of the Blue Carpet Treatment” in November. The disc will feature 10 animated videos for songs on the album and for additional tracks. Snoop is in talks to feature the series on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” and plans to leak two or three of the videos on the Internet via iTunes or YouTube.
300 songs? Expect serious bootlegging. And when did Adult Swim become such a taste maker?
Chili Peppers Say U2 Sold Out
(Yahoo! Music) – The Red Hot Chili Peppers have accused U2 and the Black Eyed Peas of being sell-outs, after both groups allowed their songs to be used on TV commercials.
Drummer Chad Smith says the Californian funk-rockers would never allow their music to soundtrack commercials, claiming corporate co-option is “dangerous.”
Smith, speaking before the group’s headlining appearance at this past weekend’s T In The Park festival in Scotland, commented: “I’d feel like a jerk if we did that. But they’re all lining up to do it. I think Black Eyed Peas look like a bunch of idiots. It’s dangerous. The U2 song on the iPod [commercial] when it came out was weird and it was longer and it had more parts.”
He continued: “I think young people, not old guys like myself, think it’s normal now to have Led Zeppelin on jeans commercials. Oh, no! That’s not normal to me.”
I really don’t know where I stand on letting your music run in ads or appearing in the ads yourself, but that’s getting a little high school for a bunch of 40 year olds. Now for some 40 year olds getting high school in a much more righteous way.
Pearl Jam donates green for environment
(AP) – Pearl Jam has promised to donate $100,000 to several groups that focus on climate change, renewable energy and other environmental causes as part of an effort to offset carbon emissions the band churns out on tour.
“Our Carbon Portfolio Strategy is the newest component of our ongoing efforts to advance clean renewable energy and carbon mitigation,” the Seattle-based band said in a statement posted on its Web site Tuesday.
Guitarist Stone Gossard said the group has been tracking its carbon emissions from vehicles used on tour and energy used in concert venues and hotels to estimate the band’s contribution to global warming.
“We can get a really relatively accurate picture of what that looks like over a year, and it’s a considerable amount of carbon,” Gossard told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in a backstage interview at a concert in Los Angeles. “We emitted about 5,000 tons of carbon on our last tour.”
Cascade Land Conservancy and EarthCorps, which work to protect and replenish Puget Sound-area forests, are among nine organizations Pearl Jam picked to receive donations.
One of the donations, to IslandWood, an environmental education center, will provide scholarships for children who can’t afford tuition, spokeswoman Marla Saperstein said.
The largest share of the group’s donations will go to Conservation International, which does work does work in more than 40 countries.
Pearl Jam has aided other green causes in the past, including donating money to preserve a Madagascar rain forest to atone for environmental damage wrought by its last tour.
Meanwhile, the little guys win again in lefty Euro court.
Indies savor victory over majors in Sony BMG case
(Reuters) – Independent music labels, who have seen their market share come under pressure in the last decade as the industry goliaths merged, have struck back. After a lengthy court battle, a European court surprised just about everyone by annulling the European Union’s approval of the 2004 Sony BMG merger, which created the world’s second-biggest music company.
“It’s a landmark victory for the small players in the industry who together amount to the largest constituency,” said Alison Wenham, chief executive of the Association of Independent Music. “I think inevitably it’s going to put severe pressure on any other majors’ attempts to merge in order to increase their market power.”
Independent labels, home to artists like the White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, typically lack the geographical breadth and marketing clout of their larger rivals. Taken together, the 2,500 independent labels have a slightly larger market share than Universal Music, the industry leader.
The EU’s Sony BMG ruling was challenged by Impala, an umbrella group representing independent labels and publishers, and its success has not only called the Sony BMG deal into question but put a likely freeze on merger talks between EMI and Warner Music, the third- and fourth-ranked majors.
“The indies have really punched above their weight,” said Paul Brindley, managing director of the digital music consultancy MusicAlly. “It shows that despite having very scarce resources, the indie labels can have a major impact and make their voices heard.”
It was not the first victory for independent music groups. In 2000, lobbying from Impala and other groups helped torpedo an earlier proposed EMI-Warner Music merger. But until Thursday’s ruling, the industry looked to be heading toward three majors, down from six in 1998.
What will happen next — for Sony BMG, for Warner and EMI, and for the industry — is far from clear.
European Commission has two months to appeal the ruling by the European Court of First Instance, or it can re-examine the Sony-BMG deal based on the court’s instructions and the current market conditions.
Either option would have an uncertain outcome and would take many months. In the meantime EMI and Warner Music are unlikely to pursue a deal in such an unpredictable regulatory environment.
With three of the four majors thrown into chaos — Universal Music is the exception — it was a day for the indies to savor their David-versus-Goliath victory.
“We have proved that, by acting collectively, we can challenge the unchallengeable,” said Impala President Patrick Zelnik.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Mary J. Blige
LL Cool J
Alice In Chains
Exclusive: K-Fed in Secret Talks with, um, Britney’s Label
(Rolling Stone) – Proving that he can weasel his way into just about anything, fourth-rate rapper/first-rate freeloader Kevin Federline met last week with representatives from Jive Records, label home of his baby mama, Britney Spears. Said mama claims she’s taking a few years off from music to tend to her family; no definite word on an impending deal between Jive and a currently label-less Federline, but “it looks like K-Fed is going to keep it all in the family,” a source claimed. That’s the kind of loyalty that has gotten him to where he is today.