! = recommended
* = all-ages
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Perez Hilton’s leap into the music business is, in nearly every way imaginable, a complete failure. He was given his own imprint at Warner Brothers and thus far, his only signing was a French pop star named Sliimy, who was already on a European imprint of Warner – this meant that the former Mario Lavandeira turned catty gossip blogger has basically been used to give an American promotional boost to an artist already part of the label, not his own discovery. It’s looking more and more like a tax write-off than anything else. When Hilton got into a spat that turned modestly violent with Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am at a Canadian music awards show, he got little sympathy from any existing artists. In fact, quite the contrary, the most critical people were known musicians. Despite those setbacks (did I mention Black Book magazine pointed out that nearly every musician Hilton supported on his site was already written about favorably on the in the indispensible British music site PopJustice?), Hilton jumped in feet-first to promote his first musical tour.
WHY? is releasing their fourth album Eskimo Snow on September 20th -- with a batch of creatively-overloaded tracks, just as they "roll up" a joint (ha!) with Themselves, a little national love to our Northern neighbors, "Canada" (right click here).
Here's the information on the collaboration: Both groups go back to seminal language and noise UG lords cLOUDDEAD, and has all members of both groups on the track, with vocals from son of book editor and rabbi Yoni Wolf (the main vision of WHY?) and Doseone from Themselves. The latter is dropping CrownsDown after making impressions with its mix tape shenanigans earlier this year.
Thomas Pynchon, the celebrated and notoriously reclusive 72-year old author of such books as Mason & Dixon and Inherent Vice (which was just published last week), was, along with The New Yorker, the victim of a hoax by a quasi-popular indie rock band in the mid-1990s called Lotion.
The New Yorker published a "Talk of the Town" piece in 1996 called "Godzilla Meets Indie Rockers" about the band and author forming an unusual friendship that began when they met at one of the band's shows in Cincinnati. He was described as "the older guy, who was wearing a Godzilla shirt and ill-fitting pants" and adding:
He introduced himself as Tom. Jim Ferguson was reading "Slow Learner", Pynchon's collection of short stories. He'd left his copy backstage in a New York rock club, where Pynchon had been invited to watch the show. Pynchon saw it and asked, "Who's reading my book?" "I said, 'No, that's my book,'" Jim recalls. "It didn't register until I got onstage."
The case against Black Eyed Peas is a rather compelling one: one of their biggest hits was "My Humps" (a monstrosity, even to my pop-loving standards); they had another single called "Let's Get Retarded"; Fergie might be the most-loathesome pop starlet today (I have a much easier time defending Katy Perry [she's not that bad] and Lady Gaga [actually, she's pretty awesome]); Will.I.Am's Pepsi commercial where he annoints himself as this generation's Dylan, literally, is probably the most arrogant 60 seconds I've ever watched; they've sold so many songs to commercials that it has crossed over to shameless whoring and this list could go on and on.
Purchasing a plane ticket to spend two nights with the Wrens at Schubas may very well have been the best decision I've made in the last several years. The shows were mind-bogglingly wonderful, the band was both seamless and deconstructed, the sound was just right, and the energy was -- well, indescribable. Prop all this adjective up against the backdrop of a venue on everyone's short list, add in abundant sunshine and an excellent subway system, stir, and you've got yourself a very imaginary roadtrip.
One of the most enjoyable films I saw at SIFF this year was the Marc Webb directed/Scott Neustadter penned (500) Days of Summer – which packed in enough pop culture references to make me feel really nostalgic. Of course this carries over to the soundtrack, something that I’m HIGHLY anticipating (out July 14th on Sire Records).
But I digress: I mentioned before that Zooey Deschanel’s band She & Him would have an exclusive track covering The Smiths “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” and lucky for us, Stereogum is featuring it! Click here to read the article, listen to the track - and see a cute video of Zooey & co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt gabbing about karaoke tunes.
Complete soundtrack listing:
More shocking to me is that they (well, she/he) have (has) already replaced them!