Category: News Weblog

Torture garden

From the Tzadik new release page:

Archival Series

Naked City: The Complete Studio Recordings

Probably Zorn’s most popular and most controversial musical project, the music of Naked City has been debated, analyzed, adored and reviled by fans, critics and academics alike, but nothing can replace the experience of hearing it in all its frightening glory. Most people know this music from the single domestic release on Nonesuch, but the major portion of their studio recordings were issued from 1989 – 1993 on the hard to find Japanese labels Avant and Toy’s Factory. This long awaited set pulls together all of their recorded output – seven studio albums ( including five released only in Japan ) – on 5 CDs in beautiful new packaging, with a special 100 page scrapbook of Naked City ephemera, including photos, posters, designs, scores, musical sketches, written tributes by members of the Naked City family and pages from Zorn’s original notebooks showing the development of the music that drove so many people out of their minds. Zorn’s music at its most brutal and uncompromising best.

I covet.

Close to the edit

So Death Cab for Cutie signs to Atlantic. I’m all for career advancement, but the cynic in me can imagine all sorts of ways a major label can mess this up.

Between Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse, the Postal Service, the Shins and all other manner of SXSW buzz darlings, it feels like the late ’80s all over again, with bands from all over the creative map on the brink of something … not so much big as signficiant.

Back then, I hoped major label backing would bring the cool stuff front and center. Instead, the early ’90s brought nothing but a bunch of grunge clones. The atmosphere now seems ripe with the same kind of promise, but I’m keeping a healthy skepticism.

In unrelated news, Sleater-Kinney jumps from Yep Roc to Sub Pop, but that’s not as cool as the idea of Dave Fridmann producing the band’s next album. Sleater-Kinney is now separated from Number Girl by one degree.

I just want to hear a good beat

You know … I really ought to be paying attention to the presidential debates.

But VH-1’s week-long documentary on hip-hop, And You Don’t Stop (sucky Flash site — unusable as hell), has totally grabbed my attention.

And I’ll be the first to admit I’m no fan of hip-hop. But the makers of the documentary do such a thorough job explaining the history and context behind hip-hop culture, it’s riveting.

I’ve always believed that a person who doesn’t like a form of music just doesn’t know what to listen for. Take classical music — it requires work to puzzle out something like sonata form, but once you learn it, it’s easier to listen to a Franz Josef Hadyn symphony for the first time.

And You Don’t Stop is a great crash course on how to understand hip-hop. I just may have to find some Public Enemy, and I may not be so quick to be dismissive of Dr. Dre. I’ll put up with Eminem, but I still think he’s an asshat.

Ice-T compared hip-hop to country music, and it made sense. Speaking of which, the BBC documentary, Lost Highway (which aired on CMT), is also rather fascinating. Since it was made by Britons, the tone of the documentary is much more reserved and objective than most CMT productions, which are nothing but country music pep rallies anyway. (Yay, Kenny Chesney!) I hope CMT will air it again.

Hooray for Hollywood

Yesterday (Oct. 5), William Shatner and Minnie Driver both released albums. Next week (Oct. 11), Juliette Lewis showcases her band on its debut EP. And on Nov. 23, Robert Downey Jr. releases his debut album for Sony Classical. Yup. He’s labelmates with Yo-Yo Ma.

I could put some snarky remark right here, but Ice-T has been on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for so long, I sometimes forget he raised the ire of the police with “Cop Killer” back in the early ’90s.

Crossovers aren’t necessarily bad things. But they can be amusing.

Whatever happened to Johnny Depp’s band P anyway? And is Keanu Reeves still performing with Dogstar?

Labels killed the Internet star

From The Independent via

But figures from the US show that Apple Computer, the dominant legal download business in Europe and the US, retains just 4 cents from each 99-cent (55p) track sale while “mechanical copyright” holders – generally the record labels, who own copyright in the song’s recording – take 62 cents or more. Music publishers take the rest – about 8 cents.

With the sites, the copyright owners have doubled their share of royalties, even though the marginal cost of manufacturing has fallen to almost zero.

Man, do the major labels make it so easy to hate them.

In tangential news, is going to concentrate on independent artists (New York Times registration required). When you can’t beat ’em, specialize.

Account clean-up scheduled for November

Starting Nov. 16, I will be performing some database maintenance on user accounts.

Any account that hasn’t shown any activity for at least six months will be deleted. Thereafter, I will conduct monthly maintenance checks for inactive accounts and deleting any that show no activity for six months.

To keep your account online, add files to or delete files from your Audiobin. You don’t need to play them or download them — just show some activity.

A lot of Audiobin Basic accounts grandfathered into the new system will be expiring on Nov. 16, so I will change those account settings to Audiobin Streaming at the same time.

If you wish to maintain your Audiobin Basic access, please take the time to renew you account with a donation.

I’ll post a few more reminders when it gets closer to November.

Songs about Windows

In a push to get warm bodies into theater seats, opera houses and musical theatre companies are pursuing some … interesting trends.

Opera composers have begun tackling such subjects as Mumar Khadaffi and Bill Gates. Musical producers, on the other hand, are threading songs by ABBA, Billy Joel, Elton John and Queen into productions. Up next — a staging of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

Modern operas have tackled such subject as President Richard Nixon’s visit to China (Nixon in China by John Adams) and Albert Einstein (Einstien on the Beach by Phillip Glass), so it’s not exactly unprecedented.

But re-purposing pop songs into a theater production? That just smacks of royalty pimping to me.

Whatever works …

P.S. I still want to see that musical about W. Axl Rose.