Mixed Media

Hurry Up and Wait for New Radiohead

| Thu Aug. 16, 2007 12:12 PM EDT

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Everybody's favorite happy-go-lucky UK boy band has delayed the release of their seventh album until 2008, reports NME. Radiohead have not released an album since 2003's Hail to the Thief. The band have been working on new material (including a recent stint in the studio in New York), but apparently forgot they left their label EMI after Thief and, gee, it's kind of hard to release an album without a label. Actually, no, they didn't forget, they just stopped caring:

Radiohead's management dismissed speculation over recent months that Warner Music was poised to secure the band's signature. "The band [is] not looking for a record company in any way, shape or form," the representative says. "They are out of a contract, but they're not actively looking for another one. They're getting on with doing what they do."

Which is, I guess, make music nobody can hear, except in tiny little clips on a confusing website that has a tendency to lock up your computer. (Seriously.) Please, guys, we know you're annoyed with the Industry. We're all annoyed with the Industry. But that's all the more reason to speed your cathartic tunes to us! Malaise! Besides, the world might end before 2008!! Isn't that what Kid A is about?!

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Wide World of Blogs

| Wed Aug. 15, 2007 5:26 PM EDT

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  • The Daily Swarm has scans of Mixmag's pics from the inside of Daft Punk's pyramid, plus descriptions of the actual equipment, all much better than the last ones I posted. Nerd alert.

  • Brooklyn Vegan's got the scoop on the new Midtown Manhattan music venue, Terminal 5. Hell's Kitchen is so hot right now.
  • Idolator continues its countdown of the 100 Greatest R&B Songs of All Time: 80-61 now posted.
  • Yellow Stereo has some new Imperial Teen tunes. Hooray Imperial Teen!
  • Popbytes has the trailer for the new Michel Gondry film Be Kind Rewind starring Jack Black and Mos Def as video store clerks who have to re-enact all the movies after the tapes get erased.
  • New Super Awesome Music-Oriented Show for Kids

    | Wed Aug. 15, 2007 4:51 PM EDT

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    When you think about it, "Sesame Street" was pretty hip, with its parade of guest stars and wacky Yip Yip puppets, but ever since they brought Snuffie out of the closet it seems like it's gone downhill. Nowadays, the musically-discerning parent doesn't have a lot of options for cool children's programming. Enter "Yo Gabba Gabba!" which will make its debut on Nickelodeon August 20th. The first show features performances from indie-rockers The Shins and rapper Biz Markie. The show's creator is in fact M.C. Bat Commander of the Aquabats (a.k.a. Christian Jacobs) who became interested in kids' TV after becoming a parent himself. Future shows are slated to include guests like Shiny Toy Guns, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Supernova, and Rahzel. Mostly, though, I just love the crazy striped green unibrow monster.

    The Times has a nice feature on the show, and Rock Sellout has some videos and mp3s, including a link to the Shins performance, and this track, "Party In My Tummy," which may be my new favorite song.

    NY Times: People Take Cell Phones to Concerts

    | Wed Aug. 15, 2007 11:41 AM EDT

    mojo-photo-cell.JPGYesterday's Times explores the phenomenon of cell phones being taken to concerts, or, um, just having a cell phone and then later going to a concert, I'm not exactly sure. According to the article, people can record videos of performers falling down, or pay money to enter contests. For instance, audiences at recent Gwen Stefani concerts were apparently quite eager to spend 99 cents to give their phone number to the record company in exhange for the possibility of better seats, and Korn fans could vote on the last song of the show--for $1.99. Hooray?

    The article's attention to moneymaking contests ignores the two ways cell phone proliferation has affected my concert-going experience: first, at Coachella, you can sign up (for free!) to receive text message updates on band set times or delays, which can actually prove invaluable; and second, madly texting "whr r u?!?!" 2000 times until knocking heads with the person I'm looking for, both of us staring down at our pretty glowing screens.

    Wholesome Teens Turned Sex Symbols

    | Tue Aug. 14, 2007 7:30 PM EDT

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    So…who graces the cover of Rolling Stone this week? None other than baby-faced Zac Efron. In the photo, not only is the 19-year-old Disney star taking off his shirt, but it could also be argued that he's bashfully rubbing his man boob. The picture surely brings squeals of delight to millions of teeny-boppers, and just as equally brings nothing but a big shudder to the rest of us. Efron's most famous roles are as a singing and dancing high school hunk in High School Musical and the movie version of Hairspray. The roles are innocent but the press he's getting is anything but.

    And if that doesn't bother you, how about an almost-nude shot of our favorite wizard boy? *Shudders.

    But really aren't we just treating young male celebrities the way we've always treated female celebrities—with birthday countdowns, suggestive magazine covers, and sexy interview questions? Is this objectification or just a really great break for these young chaps? Either way, we can be sure Daniel Radcliffe doesn't mind.

    —Anna Weggel

    M.I.A. Streaming All of Kala Online

    | Tue Aug. 14, 2007 6:55 PM EDT

    mojo-photo-mia2.JPGNow you can finally hear what I've been blabbering about this whole time. Check out M.I.A.'s MySpace page where all 12 tracks from her about-to-be-released sophomore album Kala are available for your streaming pleasure. Hey look: Robert Christgau says "Kala strikes deep," 4.5 out of 5 stars. You don't want to mess with Christgau. Anyway, you can spend money on Kala next Tuesday. Predictions for where it'll chart? Considering Arular never made it past #190 on the Billboard album charts, I'll say Kala will debut at... #39.

    Update, 8/16: I've read the Christgau review a couple times now and I'd just like to point out how brilliant it is. Please check it out. He uncovers a few insights that are absolutely true and totally fascinating: 1) the fact that the full-album collaboration with Timbaland didn't come to pass is probably due not only to the visa troubles but also to M.I.A. realizing that she didn't want to become Nelly Furtado; 2) the album, therefore, is less accessible, an uncompromising, jagged "art record," and 3) it recalls nothing so much as The Clash, whose aggression, multicultural influences, political expression, and DIY aesthetic combined with great songwriting skills to create a couple masterpieces. That could all be describing M.I.A., and when you think about it, this is totally the record the Clash would be making if they were making records today. Look at Big Audio Dynamite! Dude is 65 years old figuring out this s***. I bow down.

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    Don't Refuse Music News on Tuesday

    | Tue Aug. 14, 2007 3:10 PM EDT

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  • John Lennon's solo material now available on iTunes. Sixteen of the former Beatle's solo albums and videos for EMI are up on the digital storefront, joining Paul and Ringo's solo output. What could it all mean? (Billboard)

  • A trustee of James Brown's estate returned a "questionable" payment of $350,000 from the Brown trust that was made three days after the soul legend passed away. Also, 14 potential children are still waiting for DNA tests to prove their heritage. And, nobody paid for Brown's funeral. (E! Online)
  • Turning now to news about people who are alive, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams enjoyed sampling Thom Yorke so much that now they're hoping to record a whole album under the name CRS, or Child Rebel Soldiers, which Idolator points out "sounds like a skit that was cut from the M.I.A. album." (Billboard)
  • Todd Haynes' amazing-looking Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There (that uses six different actors to play Bob) also features everyone cool in the world ever on the soundtrack. Steven Malkmus, Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, Karen O, Mark Lanegan, Cat Power, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Daft Punk? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, non. (Stereogum, USA Today)
  • Top Ten Stuff 'n' Things - 8/13/07

    | Mon Aug. 13, 2007 11:07 PM EDT

    This week, lilting Europop seems to be the theme, sort of. Northern climes represented include the lovely Sweden and the dashing Denmark! But there's other stuff here too: mopey indie rock, ribald hip-hop, and zoomy techno. Come to think of it you can probably just read last week's.

    mojo-photo-guzman.JPG10. Isabel Guzman – "When You Were My Friend"
    (listen on her MySpace page)
    The first of two Swedish women with snazzy hairdos on the Top Ten this week, Guzman is the up-and-comer, and her voice has a deep, almost guttural quality; mostly, though, this song is about the flawless dance-pop production. Like the best of Madonna, it manages to grab all the latest, coolest effects from electronic music and put them to good use.

    mojo-cover-brunettes.JPG9. The Brunettes – "Small Town Crew" (from Structure & Cosmetics on Sub Pop) (mp3 via the Sub Pop site)
    This New Zealand duo have been described as "twee," but it seems to apply only in the best possible sense: delicate, sparkling acoustic pop, with the barest waftings of melancholy. But then the lyrics take a darker twist ("if only I could have you here/I'd love to smack you around the room") and the instrumentation fills out, giving the song a cinematic feel.

    mojo-cover-juniorsenior.JPG8. Junior Senior – "Can I Get Get Get" (from Hey Hey My My Yo Yo, out 8/14 on EMI)
    (mp3 via You Ain't No Picasso)
    While the exuberance of 2003's "Don't Stop" may have settled down a bit, the infectious Jackson 5-style grooves are still in effect. The rhymes are a little silly… and I just had the realization that Junior Senior might be the Flight of the Conchords of Denmark, which actually makes me like them a little more.

    mojo-cover-newyoungponyclub.JPG7. New Young Pony Club – "The Get Go" (from Fantastic Playroom on Modular)
    (grab an mp3 at Cause=Time)
    I have to admit, I wrote this London combo off after getting sick of their omnipresent first single, "Ice Cream" (seen any Intel commercials lately?) but it turns out they have a lot more to offer, and a much deeper understanding of post-punk possibilities. This song features a Joy Division-reminscent bassline, but a more mellow, straightforward dance beat—unlike fellow Brits Klaxons or Bloc Party, NYPC aren't afraid to groove.

    mojo-photo-50cent.jpg6. 50 Cent w/ Justin Timberlake – "AYO Technology" (from Curtis, out 9/11 on Interscope) (buy it at iTunes)
    So much trouble! First there's all the delays with the album release date, and 50's, um, anger management issues . This single was originally so explicit that the label refused to release it, and it's still pretty, um, ribald, but whatever: Timbaland outdoes himself on production once again. While a syrupy-slow beat counts time, what sounds like an old Nintendo jacked up on too much juice goes mental with blippy hyperspeed arpeggios. Have I asked for Timbo to get a MacArthur genius grant yet? Well, I assume he doesn't need it.

    Baghdad Beautifies Its Blast Walls

    | Mon Aug. 13, 2007 9:38 PM EDT
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    Dozens of Iraqi artists have been painting murals along miles of concrete blast walls throughout Baghdad. The artwork is an attempt to beautify 12-foot high structures designed to protect buildings from truck bombs and insurgent attacks. The walls have also been the source of intense debate because they divide the city into Sunni and Shiite areas.

    Parts of the walls are now adorned with artistic renderings of kings, queens, warriors, ancient writings, and other references to ancient Mesopotamian civilization.

    Financed by the American military, Iraq's Ministry of Works and Social Affairs, and aid organizations, artists are making about $15 a day for their work. They named themselves "Jamaat al-Jidaar," which means "The Wall Group."

    Avenues for creative expression are difficult to come by for Iraqi artists. Some have resorted to painting renditions of wedding and baby photos of American troops, or have simply fled the country. For the artists still there, the blast walls are a chance at steady income and the opportunity to create art on structures that, once demolished, will be cause for celebration.

    New Jose Gonzalez Video Inspired By Jim Woodring

    | Mon Aug. 13, 2007 6:18 PM EDT

    I posted a link to a new Jose González track last Monday at the top of my Top Ten, and now a video is making the internet rounds for another new song, "Down the Line."

    The video, directed by Andreas Nillson, is apparently part of this "sins" theme González has described as providing fodder for the upcoming album, In Our Nature, and Nillson's video makes the connection sort of explicit. In it, a pig-man creation does a lot of (mostly) humdrum things; I guess we're all pigs, is the point? The porcine fellow was, it turns out, inspired by Manhog, a far more compelling comic creation of Seattle artist Jim Woodring.

    mojo-photo-manhog.JPGWoodring's work hurts my head, but I can't look away. While Manhog's unlucky adventures in his surreal world are noteworthy, he's not even the most affecting aspect of these stories, of which the word "comics" seems unworthy. Souls become visible, toaster-shaped pets save your life, and the universe is a terrifying, beautiful riot of life and color, all seen through the innocent eyes of Frank, a Sylvester-like cat seemingly brought in from some other comic strip. The wordless panels are often funny, but more often deeply disturbing, so I hesitate to recommend them without a caveat—maybe have a close friend nearby the first time you open one of his books?

    Check out Woodring's blog here, and don't say I didn't warn you.