Musician, mogul, throne-watcher, and Donda CEO Kanye West is finally returning to his roots as a filmmaker. According to the New York Observer, Ye is in the Middle East to shoot a follow-up short to “Runaway,” which, of course, was so good that it cured world hunger. This time, Yeezy has his sights set even higher, according to his reps:
“His reps seemed genuinely enthusiastic about creating a piece which highlights the culture accurately,” our source explained. “There’s a lot of preconceived notions and stereotypes about Emiratis and Qataris, which Westerners often play up. They discussed how Kanye is looking to bridge the cultural divide and break misconceptions.”
Yup, the film will indeed finally create peace between the West and the Middle East, so we have that to look forward to, along with Ye’s eventual Nobel Peace Prize (and subsequently shoving Philip Roth off the stage to demand the Nobel Prize for Literature should go to Haruki Murakami instead). Of course, its always possible that this is just a ruse to cover up the fact that Kanye is finally beginning work on The Jetsons movie, so more on this story as it develops.
After 31 years, R.E.M. are calling it quits. One of the most important bands of the last three decades, R.E.M. are responsible for the success and popularity of modern indie rock. There are obvious musical descendants, like The National, but every band on an independent label owes a little bit to R.E.M. for helping keep indies financially viable. Even after joining Warner Brothers, the band set the gold standard for artistic integrity in the MTV era, creating compelling, thoroughly enjoyable music without a hiccup for nearly 15 years. Though the band weakened a bit with the departure of drummer Bill Berry after 1997’s New Adventures in Hi Fi, the three remaining members went through a renaissance on their last two albums, 2008’s Accelerate and this year’s Collapse Into Now. Undoubtedly, their legacy will be centered into what they did between 1981 and 1995, but what the band leaves behind is a tremendous catalogue of music that very few bands can match.
While countless tributes will be offered up by writers and critics more important and influential than myself, I can’t sit by and fail to comment on a band that has meant more to be than can be put into words. I was born in the mid-80s, and by then, Murmer and Reckoning had already made the band one of the most respected and beloved bands of the decade. Because of this, I quite literally grew up on the band. I very clearly remember the first time I heard them. Driving home one night as a kid, I was in the back, clamoring for my parents to put something on. My dad told me that we were going to listen to something he and my mom wanted to hear, and he put on a mix tape of R.E.M. songs. To call the moment transformative would be a stretch, but even as a kid, I instantly fell in love with the band. I may not have known what the hell “Losing My Religion” meant, but it was an incredibly catchy song that was impossible not to be drawn to.
As I got older and dug into the band’s catalogue, I could hear R.E.M. in many new bands I was discovering. Thom Yorke’s love of Michael Stipe was evident. The Decemberists clearly were fans of Peter Buck. Countless acts aped the tight rhythm section of Mike Mills and Bill Berry. I joined fan club, feverishly downloaded every bootleg and b-side, and finally in November 2004, got a chance to see R.E.M. play in Indianapolis. During the closer, “Man on the Moon,” I bounced up and down, the guy with graying hair next to me watched on amused. “You shoulda seen them in the 80s,” he said.
By ending now, R.E.M. isn’t quitting at their peak, but at a high point, sparing us from seeing them devolve into a soulless touring entity (the Rolling Stones), lose their cool (U2) or begin to crumble internally (Metallica). Instead we’re left with the music and memories of a band that comes along only once in a generation.
It’s become a small tradition here at TUiW to report on every movement Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Mangum makes, but this one undoubtedly takes the cake. On the band’s newly redone website, Mangum announced the release of a massive vinyl box set of NMH material, including a slew of previously unreleased tracks. The box will contain the band’s two classics, On Avery Island and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, as well as the out of print Everything Is EP and 7″ for Aeroplane single “Holland, 1945.” The exciting part is the bonus EP, Ferris Wheel on Fire, that features seven previously unreleased tracks (and “Engine,” a b-side), a single of unreleased versions of Avery Island‘s “You’ve Passed” and “Where You’ll Find Me Now,” and a single with studio and live versions of unreleased track “Little Birds.” Phew. The box is available for pre-order for $88, while MP3s of the unreleased tracks will be available as pay-what-you-want on November 22 at the new NMH website, which has been overrun with traffic all morning. If you get through on the site, you’ll have a chance to listen to “Sister” and “Ferris Wheel on Fire,” as well as a 30-minute radio program curated by Mangum himself. Below, check out the Ferris Wheel on Fire tracklist, as well as Mangum’s tour schedule. Past Me is so jealous of Present Me right now.
Ferris Wheel on Fire:
- Side A -
- Oh Sister
- Ferris Wheel on Fire
- April 8th
- Side B -
- I Will Bury You In Time
- A Baby For Pree/Glow Into You
- My Dream Girl Don’t Exist
Jeff Mangum Tour Dates:
09-07 Northampton, MA – Academy of Music Theatre
09-09 Cambridge, MA – Sanders Theatre at Harvard University
09-10 Boston, MA – Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory
09-26 Baltimore, MD – 2640 Space at St. John’s Church
09-27 Baltimore, MD – 2640 Space at St. John’s Church $
09-30 Asbury Park, NJ – Paramount Theatre (ATP)
10-02 Asbury Park, NJ – Paramount Theatre (ATP)
10-03 Asbury Park, NJ – Paramount Theatre (ATP) $
10-27 Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theater (Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary Benefit)
10-29 New York, NY – Town Hall
11-06 Jersey City, NJ - Loew’s Theatre
11-30 Dublin, Ireland - Whelan’s
12-04 Minehead, England – ATP Curated by Jeff Magnum
12-08-09 London, England – Union Chapel
$ with a Hawk and a Hacksaw
Having spent a good part of 2010 on the road with some band he used to be a part of, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks are ready to prep the release of a new, Beck produced album. Coming out August 23, Mirror Traffic was started about a year ago, but the Pavement reunion tour led to it being delayed for a while. This will be the second Beck produced album coing out this summer, along with fellow indie icon Thurston Moore’s Demolished Thoughts, which dropped today. Mirror Traffic will be the last Jicks album featuring drummer Janet Weiss, who is heading off to work full time with her new band, Wild Flag, with Mary Timony and her Sleater-Kinney bandmate Carrie Brownstein. Matador promises MP3s soon, and we’ll be sure to share. In the meantime, we’ll marvel at the fact that this article mentions Pavement, Beck, Sonic Youth, and Sleater-Kinney.
Since Radiohead’s The King of Limbs dropped in February, there’s been rampant speculation that the short record (only eight tracks) would be followed up with a second of songs recorded at the same time, just as Amnesiac followed Kid A. These rumors were encouraged by the recent news that when Record Store Day rolls around this Saturday, the band would release a single featuring two new songs, “The Butcher” and “Supercollider.” Finally, however, guitarist Ed O’Brien set the record straight for BBC 6 Music saying, ”There are [other] songs that we have started, that we never finished, but there’s not like seven or eight finished songs waiting in the wings to be released now, or in the autumn, or something… When we start a new record, we tend to start afresh. It’s kind of an evolutionary thing– only the fittest survive.” According to O’Brien, the new songs on the Record Store Day single were either left off the record (“The Butcher”) or not finished until after it came out (“Supercollider”). In summary, if you liked KoL but thought it was too short, suck it up. If you hated it and wanted something new, maybe it’s time to play In Rainbows again. Watch a live version of “Supercollider” below.
The Internet has been full of tributes and obituaries for LCD Soundsystem this week, and while we may not have contributed to that here at TUiW, we’ll certainly miss the band in a big way. Jonah and I had the opportunity to see LCD a couple of times each, and we both remarked that when the band played in support of This is Happening last summer, they were on a whole new level, having perfected the live show. Walking away now and with a giant send-off at Madison Square Garden, James Murphy has added a mystic and level of adoration rarely seen in music. While Murphy will continue to make music in other capacities, last night felt like the end of something great. Farewell LCD Soundsystem.
Earlier in the week we shared the surprise news that Radiohead would be releasing a new album, The King of Limbs, tomorrow. The band pulled one last surprise and released it a day early with a video for single “Lotus Flower.” The tracklist features a couple of songs previewed by the band or Thom Yorke over the last few years of touring, including “Lotus Flower,” “Give Up The Ghost,” and “Separator” (previously known as “Mouse Dog Bird”), and the second track, “Morning Mr. Magpie,” was played by the band in on a webcast way back in 2002. If you didn’t pre-order the record, head here to download it. Tracklist and the video below, review to come soon!
The King of Limbs:
02 Morning Mr Magpie
03 Little by Little
05 Lotus Flower
07 Give Up the Ghost
It’s a sad day for White Stripes fans as the band has announced they’re calling it quits after 14 years. It’s been about four years since they’re last record, Icky Thump, and during the extended hiatus, Jack White has had a myriad of other projects, including The Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. Here is the statement from the band’s website:
The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011, their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live. The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health. It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve What is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.
Meg and Jack want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible support they have given throughout the 13 plus years of the White Stripes’ intense and
incredible career. Third Man Records will continue to put out unreleased live and studio recordings from The White Stripes in their Vault Subscription record club, as well as through regular channels.
Both Meg and Jack hope this decision isn’t met with sorrow by their fans but that it is seen as a positive move done out of respect for the art and music that the band has created. It is also done with the utmost respect to those fans who’ve shared in those creations, with their feelings considered greatly.
With that in mind the band have this to say:
“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”
The duo formed in Detroit in 1997 when they were still a married couple, but their break through came in 2001 with their third album White Blood Cells. In the last 10 years, they’ve had a great deal of success, with headlining appearances at major festivals and Grammy wins for each of their last three albums. Here’s a little blast from the past with their first big hit, “Fell in Love With a Girl,” which remains a classic video:
Pitchfork is reporting as much. Over the last couple of years reclusive Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind/all-around musical genius Jeff Mangum has been popping up for appearances here and there (Michael and I saw him do a couple of songs at an Elephant 6 show in Columbus). According to Pitchfork Media, a real tour may be on the way:
[Spokesman Ben] Goldberg sent over a statement today, saying that Mangum is “planning some additional performances to start in the fall of 2011. The goal will be to play more American shows, as well as get over to Europe.”
Mangum is already confirmed to play an ATP festival in New Jersey in October, but it sounds like that could just be the start of something more.