Is Emily Haines heading back to high school?
Happy "Eclipse" day! This, of course, is the day that "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" heads to theaters across the nation, cancer gets cured, doves fly and Metric releases its music video for "Eclipse (All Yours)."
I'm a fan of the track, and the clip is kind of pandering. I don't say "but it's pandering" because I don't blame the band for making what it's made.
This appeals squarely to the early teenaged girl crowd, much like Paramore was a perfect fit: it features heavily eyelinered Emily Haines scrawling in her journal high school style, laying around in roots and dirt and stuff, crouching helplessly. The rest of the band strolls along the purported Portland seaside and forests. Visions of Kristen Stewart's Bella, Robert Pattinson's Edward and Taylor Lautner's Jacob flicker on a TV. Drummer Joules Scott Key borrows some skins from Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" photo shoot and then promptly hurdles them down a hill.
It will hopefully propel the band into the greater consciousness as we all sit by and wait for Bella and Edward to just get it on, already.
The "Eclipse" soundtrack came out a few weeks ago and remains in the the Billboard 200 top 10 this week.
One of seven tracks from collaborative 'Mount Wittenberg Orca'
A little more than a year ago, Bjork and the Dirty Projectors came together to collaborated at New York's Housing Works, for charity. The original piece, dubbed "Mount Wittenberg Orca," has since been recorded and, today, released digitally to benefit yet another charity, the National Geographic Society Ocean Initiative.
Why them? Because, DP mastermind David Longstreth wrote the songs "about whales. It was inspired by events on Mt. Wittenberg in California and elaborates on [Longstreth's] obsession with vocal harmony introduced on Dirty Projectors' 2009 album 'Bitte Orca'," according to a release.
It is the vocal-heavy group's first set of original recordings since that set, and Bjork's first new recording since her collaboration with Thom Yorke on "Nattura," another conservation-benefiting project.
I can't say I was present at that tiny bookshop when this original, live project came together; but from what I've heard, and what can be heard below in "All We Are," it truly is a combination effort, not just Bjork with a nice backing band (Nathaniel Baldwin, Amber Coffman, Haley Dekle, Angel Deradoorian, Longstreth and Brian McOmber). It seems like a, erm, natural fit.
As previously reported, Bjork is working on her follow-up solo effort to 2007's "Volta" and is working with frequent arts pal Michel Gondry on a film project. Dirty Projectors covered Bob Dylan for denim.
Here is the tracklist for "Mount Wittneberg Orca," which can be purchased via mountwittenbergorca.com:
Watch the official video for 'Lights,' new songs at Creators Project
Interpol made some media rounds before taking the stage at the Creators Project in New York on Saturday, a scene as dark and stylin' as they are.
HitFix got a few words in with drummer Sam Fogarino and singer Paul Banks, the latter of whom made a costume change from Post-College Chic to All Black Everything between press and their 10 p.m. performance.
On the departure of longtime bassist Carlos D., the pair said that their shortlist for a replacement was exactly one name long: their adoption of former Slint player (and, regrettably, Zwan) and singer-songwriter phenom Dave Pajo was a "happy fit."
"I remember listening to Slint's 'Spiderland' in high school," Banks said. Since the band's self-titled album is already finished, ready for a September drop, Banks said Pajo hasn't had time to creatively bring much to the band's recording life. But live, they said, he brings new energy to a new "era" of Interpol.
The Milk Studios event was a mini-introduction to fresh material of "Interpol," with live tries of tracks like single "Lights," "Success" and "Summer Swell" (below). It was a taste of things to come on the band's tour, kicking off in late July.
"We don't look at [the shows] as an experiment," Fogarino, calling them more like a "warm-up." The pair said they'll be playing a mix of all albums during the extensive stretch that takes them international through December.
New York shows, however, are different from the rest. Not only do performances in the Big Apple get a hometown spin, but it's "tough to impress the crowd. There's a lot less clapping," Fogarino says. The band said it was still going to open for U2 when it makes up its canceled dates in 2011 "as far as we know."
The band just released its official music video for "Lights" last week, also below; the buggy clip was directed Charlie White. Considering the Creators Project was a giant mishmash of technology, video and music, was the band shopping for its next video's director there?
"That wouldn't be a bad idea," Banks said.
"Yo Spike," deadpanned Fogarino, referring to Jonze.
Fogarino, the band's "elder statesmen" -- for the record -- is one of the most naturally stylish men I've ever seen.
Watch: From the front row of Saturday's New York hipster art party
The launch party for the Intel/VICE joint venture Creators Project at New York's Milk Studios on Saturday marked a lot of firsts for me.
This was one of the first free booze parties in New York -- particularly in the Meatpacking District -- where said free booze didn't run out, even past the midnight mark.
This was also the first solid VICE party that wasn't at all, even remotely, a headachey clusterf*ck. The registration process for free entrants was seamless, 3,500 people came and went all 12 hours, the flow of crowd traffic didn't deaden my soul, stuff started on relatively on time and attendance over the three floors of art and music wasn't oversold. It's set this roving international party on the right path by beautiful execution and curation, sweaty and drunk and pretty.
This was the first time I'd seen Sleigh Bells and Die Antwoord live. And this was my first front row M.I.A. experience. (She was announced as a performer only the day before.)
My only complaint is that Interpol -- new lineup and all -- played a gallery space about the size of my bathroom, unmanageable for even an hearing-only gander.
Speaking of bathrooms, that seems to have been the inspiration for the acoustic engineering of M.I.A.'s sound, which amounted to audio soup in between the bigger better-known hits like "Galang" and "Paper Planes." The high ends tinnily bounced off each other in a set of no stops, the bass muddy and the vocals buried.
Maya Arulpragasam arrived excitedly in a camo jacket, hood up over her Bomb Pop colored hair, donning for half the show what could only be described as hot pink marijuana leaf tinted hologram goggles. (I'd love to see under which subsection on eBay they'd reside.) Beneath, it was a V-tee over a metallic bikini top. Having thrown herself as crowd-surf meat several times, she took off the unnecessaries; she is beyond petite, and ga-ga-gorgeous.
But for all the Grammy and festival footage, the media blitz and the hype drumming for her forthcoming July 13 set "/\/\/\Y/\" ("MAYA"), it was a set that started strong and then faded into a volume seven flatline. She shot out of the canon with new "Born Free" -- with its violent video cast behind her, but from there, the lyrics and pump-up banter was indecipherable, as songs bled into one another. She had two freakishly overstimulated male backup dancers (one of which looked like a mix of Guile from "Street Fighter II" and Chucky). She had two hype men, a rapper and colorful brain-drip animations, but still it all felt samey-same over an hour, no matter how hard the front pit pushed and how many times the rap-talk-sing-singer punched the air. It just wasn't her room.
She should have taken the advice of South Africa's Die Antwoord, who played before her and had the right mind to request to "turn up the f*cking volume." Because it worked.
"We're gonna f*ck this f*cking party in the f*cking face!" exclaimed Ninja, front man of the three-person operation. I still think it's a joke that Interscope signed what is, in essence, a joke hip-hop and obscure subgenre band from overseas, whose internet fame will likely go the way of the OK Go: lots of traffic hits, very little in the way of sales. Still, their Zef mix of outdated music samples and styles, mixed with mindless rhymes, the high-pitched voice of straw-mop-headed Yo-Landi Vi$$er and the merciless harddrive of DJ Hi-Tek sounds like hell on paper and was positively bitchin' live.
Sleigh Bells, in something like half an hour, roared through half their record. A friend rightfully said vocalist Alexis Krauss sound much less shrill live; she performed under a curtain of dark brown hair and skulked and pointed a lot. I love their record and I love this band, but I think it'd actually be a plus to have a live drummer to push those low ends and tricky rhythms more than just Derek E. Miller on guitar.
I spent little time with the art and with Spike Jonze's s "I'm Here" videobooth debut, sadly, but I can tell you Muti Randolph's "Cube" took my breath away and The xx's "A Sculpture of the Album" was a good place to check my voicemails.
Creators Project is now visiting various cities worldwide, "to empower and inspire the next generation of innovators to realize their artistic visions through creative use of technology." Dates and locations are here, on the right, and include stops London, Sao Paulo, Seoul and Beijing.
Are C3's radius clauses unfair?
The promoters behind Lollapalooza -- Austin-based C3 Presents and their partners -- are under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for anti-trust allegations.
According to Jim DeRogatis, apparently enough Chicago bars, clubs and venues have complained about the radius clauses that C3 includes in Lolla's artist contracts, which stipulates acts can't play within a set amount of time and a certain mile radius from the fest.
These clauses are fairly common in festival and tour contracts, though some reports are indicating, for Lolla the clause is as harsh as six months before and three months after, and a span as big as 300 miles out (which reaches as far as Detroit, Indianapolis, Madison, etc.). This is to protect the organizers' imperative to sell out the festival by keeping its lineup offerings unique.
Central to the complaint is that such extensive stipulations are bad for local businesses, considering it's applied to headliners down to the baby bands on slate, more than 120 acts. However, C3 has contended in other reports that it waives the clause for artists that ask, or at least pursue some compromise.
Sources from C3 confirmed to Billboard that subpoenas had indeed been issued; mega tour agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment's VP Marc Geiger also confirmed he was among those to be subpoenaed.
There are a few other fun facts at work here.
Three managers each told me that, yes, the clauses are included but, yes, C3 has been lenient in its enforcement and in waiving it altogether.
"In my experience, it basically means 'ask first'," said one, who manages a pair of acts that have and will perform at the festival. "I don't hear a ton of complaining from club owners. The street festivals eat at their business a ton more than Lolla does."
Granted, these were not the managers of Arcade Fire or Soundgarden-sized acts, but even Spoon has apparently gotten a pass, considering they're playing a block party in the Windy City a mere month before their appearance during the festival, which runs Aug. 6-8.
Also, Jim DeRogotis and the Lollapalooza organizers have had a pretty contentious relationship since the previously roving festival put down its roots in Grant Park. The Chi-based crit has been the source of lineup leaks and severe critiques, and obviously C3 wants lineups to be introduced in their own way.
Meanwhile, as DeRogatis points out, the Attorney General is jumping into essentially a 10-year contract made between C3 and the city's reigning politicians.
These don't change the fact that the investigation is under way. There's just a lot more to the issue than meets the eye.
What do you think? Are C3's radius clauses unfair to businesses?
Thoughts on Michael Jackson's reputation, radio, Joe, Janet, album sales and the financially beneficial side of passing
Michael Jackson died last year on this same day, June 25, 2010. It's been a weird year since. We've learned a lot about the pop star as a person and a performer, and a lot of lessons on bad class in the media.
Below, I outline some thoughts I had about what can be taken away from the time since.
- For an artist of his size and caliber, one year is about enough time for ones reputation to lose the negativity and indiscretions of his past
- … Or not.
- Radio knows when to step it up
- Joe Jackson has no shame
This is a lesson we kind of already knew. But the death of father Joe Jackson’s son further muddies the waters between self-promotion and legacy-guarding, mixed in with genuine mourning (of son and lifelong cash cow).
- Drugs are bad, kids
It seems somehow incongruent with Michael Jackson’s character that he had such a deep and seemingly unbounded use of drugs, where in his last 9 hours alive, according to testimony from Conrad Murray, that he was administered four sleep aides, sedatives and anti-anxiety meds, including that last does of anesthetic propofol. MJ used fake names to have prescriptions filled; he had fired doctors before for not filling these. For someone with a healthy-looking dancer’s body, ready for a string of 50-dates, MJ’s heart was failing in part to his drug abuse.
- Usher will not take off his sunglasses while performing, not for anything.
- A new single release after death does not guarantee its adoption on large scale
Everyone got all excited that “This Is It,” the previously unreleased song, was dropping. Then they heard it. It was underwhelming. It peaked at No. 18 on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop tracks, and then disappeared in under a month.
- Janet stands out publicly as the classy one
Everyone with association to Michael Jackson had something to say or do after his death, from his relatives to Paris Hilton. It was hard for any of it not to come off as opportunistic (hey, Joe). Jackson’s brothers completed their reality series “The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty” for A&E, complete with episodes spent mulling their brothers death. La Toya continues to beat the drum that her brother was murdered (and not the homicide of an accidental overdose, but a larger conspiracy) and has been making the rounds on talk shows.
- Michael Jackson was big enough to change the rules
The Billboard 200 rules, that is.
- It won’t be settled for a good long while which of MJ’s hits will remain best-known
Taking from the same carriage, Billboard says “Say Say Say” is the King of Pop’s No. 1 Billboard Hit. A song penned by Paul McCartney, shared with Paul McCartney?
- God forbid, we may get tired of Michael Jackson over the next seven years
That $200 million deal with Sony? 10 recording projects through 2017.
Desert bohemian chic
N.E.R.D.'s "Hot-n-Fun" is advising you to pick up hitchhikers.
The video for the new track from the hip-hop act -- featuring vocalist Nelly Furtado -- may have you seeing visions. Never in the history of the world did any hitchhiker you've ever picked up look that bootylicious (and have all their teeth). And they're all in love with Pharell. That's what you get for going to Burning Man.
The clip is as brainless and "totally obvi" as the song itself: it's called "Hot-n-Fun," so what were you expecting? Let's get right. Look at you. Look at me. Miss you. Hot 'n' fun. That's it. It isn't a bad thing in this case, with a funk clap-beat that makes me regret it wasn't out in time for our 25 Summer Jams list.
It's the first single from forthcoming "Nothing," out Sept. 7.
Update: Did 'Represent' help with the U.S. vs. Algeria GOOOOOOOOOOAL?
When I was at Bonnaroo, waiting to be let into the photo pit to Weezer, Rivers Cuomo gave us photographers a little something extra backstage: for at least 20 min. before the show, the band frontman juggled with a soccer ball before taking the stage.
With the phenomenal show that he put on, I can only assume the activity got him pumped up. And now Weezer is giving a little something to the U.S. FIFA World Cup Team and fans to get them amped.
"Represent" has been making the rounds over the last couple of days, and today, as the Americans face off against Algeria in the big competition, one can only hope the dance-rock track "with attitude" will help.
Cuomo spoke to the U.S. Soccer organization in a video, posted today and embedded below, saying that he originally penned a World Cup anthem during the "embarrassing" 2006 contest, but he felt a lot more confident about the States' chances for 2010.
"America often gets a fair play awards, and I love the way we play," Cuomo said. He's been a soccer fan, essentially, since birth, and admits he likes to play pickup games while on tour, and regularly plays when he's home in L.A.
"Represent" is below as well. What do you think?
UPDATE PRESS TIME: LANDON DONOVAN SCORES! U.S.A. ADVANCES! OMG!
Jenny And Johnny skipping Arizona on tour, on purpose
Jenny Lewis has fronted Rilo Kiley, put out a pair of solo efforts (one with the Watson Twins) and now has taken up with another musical project, Jenny And Johnny, with singer/songwriter and boyfriend Jonathan Rice.
While the two have contributed to each other's musical careers starting in 2006, this album "I'm Having Fun Now" is their first under the simple moniker, with the help of producer Mike Mogis behind them. They've now unveiled the first taste of it with free MP3 download "Scissor Runner," streaming below.
It's reminiscent of Rogue Wave or New Pornographers, with a pop a '90s rock feel and a cute trade-off between vocals. The album's due in August sometime.
The pair have plotted a September tour, and intentionally left Arizona off the list because of its new immigration policy. Like they said, sorry Arizona. They're also pegged for a couple of high-profile opening dates, with Pavement and also with Belle & Sebastian.
Are we really still making Elton John jokes?
One of Eminem’s most striking images from this “Recovery” campaign is of the rapper sitting inside a glass box, set up in the middle of city, in what looks like a living room with a television and couch and all. He’s reading a book, an activity or restoration, yes, recovery, a recommended course of action for any young star(let), too, struggling with fame and panty pictures.