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by Zeth Lundy

10 Feb 2009

Much like the songwriters’ circle episode from a few weeks back, tonight’s episode of Spectacle: Elvis Costello With… (airing Wednesdays at 9pm EST/PST on the Sundance Channel) boasts multiple guests, and as a result, more music than talk. Costello is joined first by M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel, who released their collaborative debut, She & Him, last year. Ward describes his predilection for music that blurs the distinctions of time and place—a “healthy confusion”, as he calls it. Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) follows, and emphasizes Ward’s “timeless atmosphere”, a feeling that she chased after on last year’s Acid Tongue. Though She & Him deliver a solid “Change Is Hard” and Lewis shines with “Pretty Bird” and “Carpetbaggers”, the best performance of the episode’s first half is “Go Away”, the final (and strongest) track from Costello’s Momofuku.

Costello chats and performs with Jakob Dylan for the second half of the show. Dylan, after speaking a bit about resisting the desire to distance himself from his father’s influence, performs some acoustic renditions of Wallflowers and solo songs—a plaintive reading of “One Headlight”, in particular, allows Dylan’s sandpapery voice to expand. A somewhat bumbling performance of the Clash’s “Straight to Hell” follows, before the entire cast reunites for a stomp through “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding”. There are so many musicians on the stage for this final number that it moves a little too close to a Hall of Fame jam for its own good.

Still, none of these performances can touch Costello’s opening run through Steely Dan’s “Show Biz Kids”—as Pete Thomas and his daughter Tennessee provide a double-thunder backbeat, Costello lays down a dirty fuzz-wah guitar solo and impassioned vocal, lifting the song up to a primal pedestal.

by Jason Gross

10 Feb 2009

It looks like Live Nation’s great experiment with independence lasted only a few weeks, when they went from Ticketmater competitor to getting in bed with TM.  Of course, both companies are trying to spin their merger as a boom for all of us music fans, if you wanna believe this CNN article:

The companies said the merger will help improve “access and transparency” by combining artist, promoter and ticketing under one banner. It will also enable more “innovative and dynamic” promotion arrangements, which will create more choice and “a more fan-friendly purchasing experience.”

By joining forces, the companies said they will be able to develop new technologies that will benefit consumers.

The merger will also create opportunities to improve attendance at events, the companies said, which will be a boon for concert venues and support a healthier live entertainment industry.

Yeah, right…  What are those consumer-friendly technologies?  Fan-friendly too?  Boy, they’re pouring it on thick. 

If you’d like the real deal, read Jim DeRogatis’ take on the merger.  This is gonna be a real test of Obama’s Justice Dept and whether or not they let an obvious monopoly take over the ticket biz, kill off their competition and zoom up the prices for consumers.

 

 

 

by Jennifer Kelly

10 Feb 2009

They may not be the most famous male-female roots rock duo in the world, but Dex Romweber and his sister Sara were pounding out stripped down blues and manic rockabilly when Jack and Meg were in middle school. Jack White has, in fact, publicly acknowledged Romweber as “a huge influence” calling “his songwriting, along with his love of classic American music from the south, be it rockabilly, country or R&B… one of the best kept secrets of the rock ‘n’ roll underground”. The two Romwebers—note they are actually brother and sister—have a new album out on Bloodshot on February 10th, called Ruins of Berlin. Three of its tracks are duets with a-list alt.twangers Neko Case, Exene Cervenka and Cat Powers, but the rest is just family, plus Southern Culture on the Skids’ Rick Miller. That’s the team for “Picture of You”, a heel-rocking, old-time strut through Eddie Cochrane territory, and “Lookout” whose bluegrassy licks might just catch fire from all the friction.

Dex Romweber Duo
“Picture of You” [MP3]
     

“Lookout” [MP3]
     

by Robert Celli

10 Feb 2009

Will the myth hold true as merger between giants is announced?

Will the myth hold true as merger between giants is announced?

Woke up this morning to this potentially game changing news in the concert promotion industry. Ticketmaster and Live Nation have announced plans to merge. In a Financial Times.com story appearing this morning, Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation and the proposed CEO of the merged group, said the combination would produce “measurable benefits to consumers”, noting that “current inefficiencies in the system result in higher costs and confusion over access to seats”. 

These two giants in the concert promotion industry could potentially have a stranglehold on venues, artists, and ticket buyers. According to the piece there are still a lot of particulars to work out but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

A recent conversation I had with a source in the concert promotion industry, said advance ticket sales for premium seats at venues are sagging considerably. Perhaps this merger is designed to shore up ticket sales in a bad economy. Will this also mean an increase in 360 deals, a trend started by Live Nation. I’m sure much more will be written about this in the coming months.

by Sarah Zupko

10 Feb 2009

Hot Panda, a new Canadian pop band, releases their debut today on Mint Records. Entitled Volcano… Bloody Volcano, it’s a dose of off-kilter, spastic pop. Case in point, check out “Cold Hands, Chapped Lips”. The boys have four SXSW appearances lined up so far (dates and times below).

Hot Panda
“Cold Hands, Chapped Lips” [MP3] from Volcano… Bloody Volcano [10 February]
     

SXSW APPEARANCES
March 18, 3 pm - Beauty Bar (Breakthru Radio Party)
March 19, 3 pm - Headhunters (Mint/Venus Magazine BBQ)
March 19, 4 pm - Room 710 (Pirate Promotions party)
March 21, 8 pm - Habanna Calle 6 (Mint Records Showcase)

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