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Labels Seek Apology From Rolling Stone for Camel Ad
Kill Rock Stars, Touch and Go, Skin Graft, others send angry letter to magazine

Pour bad journalism, shady advertising, and the music you love into the media cauldron, let simmer for a few weeks, and you get that ugly mess we reported about last week. Camelstonegate, let's call it. In summary: In a recent issue, Rolling Stone tucked an editorial section name-checking heaps of indie bands into a big ol' advertorial promoting a Camel cigarettes campaign targeting indie rockers. A huge no-no for a number of reasons.

Nine states have already sued Camel over the fact that the "Indie Rock Universe" section was basically one big cartoon. (Using cartoons to sell cigarettes violates the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1997.) Now, not surprisingly, a bunch of labels representing bands unwittingly lumped into this whole scheme have stepped forward to demand an apology from Rolling Stone.

Today, an open letter to Rolling Stone signed by Kill Rock Stars, Touch and Go, Skin Graft, Lovepump United, Lucky Madison, the defunct 5RC, Audio Dregs, and Fryk Beat, was sent out by Kill Rock Stars' Maggie Vail. It begins, "We, the undersigned independent record labels wish to share our indignation regarding Rolling Stone's November 15th pull out editorial, which featured the names of our artists in conjunction with an ad for Camel cigarettes."

The full text of the letter is available after the jump, but basically, these people are pissed that their artists' names were used without their consent to push product, and rightfully so.

As previously mentioned, Rolling Stone has insisted the ad and editorial content came together by mere coincidence, but KRS and the others are calling the publication's bluff. Ultimately, the labels "ask that Rolling Stone apologize for blurring the line between editorial and advertisement, and in doing so, implying that the bands named support the product being advertised."

Individual artists have also begun expressing their displeasure as well. The Daily Swarm points us to a Toronto Star report that suggests post-hardcore maniacs Fucked Up-- one of the many stars of Rolling Stone's "Indie Rock Universe"-- are planning to pursue legal action. They also weighed in on the issue in humorous fashion on their blog.

Fucked Up's litigious ire, however, appears to be directed toward music service Rhapsody, which allegedly licensed bands' music without their consent to the online version of the Rolling Stone piece.

UPDATE: Rhapsody was not involved in the Camel advertisement at all. The online version of the piece contains no links or references to Camel. [MORE...]


Electrelane Organize Anti-Trafficking Benefit
Alex Paterson from the Orb, Charlotte Hatherley, Adrian Sherwood perform

Kicking around London on a Friday night waiting for the ink to dry on that paycheck? This particular Friday night-- meaning tomorrow, December 14-- you could do a lot worse than to head over to The Fly, where you'll be treated to an evening of fine, fine music of both the live and prerecorded varieties. And it's for a good cause!

The recently disbanded but still chummy Electrelane have organized a benefit show for the Anti-Trafficking Alliance, which works in the UK and abroad to end forced abduction and trafficking into sexual slavery. Alas, Electrelane themselves won't be playing live, but they will be DJing, as will Alex Paterson of the Orb, Anjali, the Early Years, Sinqueso Sisters, and the Broken Hearts. Live, you'll get Charlotte Hatherley, Dot Allison, Adrian Sherwood, It Hugs Back, and Freddie Stevenson rocking and rolling and carrying on.


Donations Sought for Ailing Country Singer Cast King

Two years after issuing his very first album, Saw Mill Man, 81-year-old country singer-songwriter Cast King has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. According to a press release from King's label, Locust Music, it is apparently unlikely he'll live to see 2008.

After spending some time in the hospital, King is currently at home in Alabama with Helen, his wife of 59 years. Due to King's hospital bills and the funeral expenses to come, Helen has amassed quite a bit of debt. To help her out, Locust has made a new song, "Saved", available for download. (It was to be a part of his second record, a gospel album.) They hope that in exchange for the download, people will make donations to a PayPal account, which you can access right on the front page of the label's website. All of the proceeds will go to King's family, and any messages sent along will make their way to him as well.

In addition, a benefit concert will take place December 29 at JJ's Bohemia in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Citico Stringband, the Bohannons, and Matt Downer are scheduled to perform.


Madonna, Leonard Cohen Inducted Into Rock Hall
Plus: John Mellencamp, Dave Clark Five, the Ventures

The results are in and, wowee zowee, some people you've perhaps heard of will soon join the ranks of some other people you've heard of in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Madonna, Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp, Dave Clark Five, and the Ventures make up the 2008 class. According to the Associated Press, Little Walter will also be honored for his work as a sideman, and Gamble & Huff will be honored for their production work.

Smile, clap, and give them a nice, gentle pat on the back as they stroll the red carpet that leads to the March 10 induction ceremony at New York City's Waldorf Hotel.

The folks above were handed the perhaps-dubious distinction by an "international voting body of more than 500 rock experts" that has consistently ignored many of your favorite bands over the years. Better luck next year, Beastie Boys, Donna Summer, Chic, and Afrika Bambaataa! And everybody else who doesn't make music that's super white.


Harry Potter Bands Rock Against Media Consolidation
Or, if you will, "Voldemedia"

Ah, well that explains a lot: Media consolidation-- that unfortunate trend that has humongous corporations snatching up their tiny competition right and left-- is actually all the work of the nefarious, nose-less, all powerful half-blood wizard hellbent on killing Harry Potter!

And we have the legions of Harry Potter fanatics the world over to thank for this alarming discovery. Best of all, these Potter-philes sure as hell aren't going to let Lord Voldemort get away with it. They've launched an all-out war against the perils of "Voldemedia", complete with an informative website and a free mp3 compilation packed with bands indirectly born of the pen of J.K. Rowling.

Our dear friends Harry and the Potters join acts like the Remus Lupins, Roonil Wazlib, and the Whomping Willows on Rocking Out Against Voldemedia, available for free right now on the Harry Potter Alliance-helmed, Stop Big Media-allied campaign's website. You should also swing over to said site to learn what you can do to fight media consolidation. Even if you're just a muggle.

Just a hunch, but maybe this atrocity is the work of Voldemort as well?

And hey! Speaking of Harry and the Potters, those funny dudes have a New Year's Eve gig planned at Boston's Hynes Convention Center. Sure beats another lonely night with Dick Clark. [MORE...]

My Bloody Valentine Headline Benicassim Festival
Also playing: the Rumble Strips, Babyshambles

The 14th annual Festival Internacional de Benicàssim in Benicàssim, Spain has announced the first three names in its 2008 lineup, and the reunited My Bloody Valentine is one of them. (Via AngryApe.) Holy OMG, Batman!

The other two bands in the Benicàssim lineup right now are Babyshambles and the Rumble Strips.

The festival takes place July 17-20, which places it at the end of MBV's currently scheduled reunion shows, but we have a feeling there are quite a few more of these puppies to come. [MORE...]

Sambassadeur Let Migration Free in the States
Shh, don't tell the border guards

Their melding of the delicately wispy and the heavily orchestrated may be strictly Swedish, but Sambassadeur's Migration is headed all over. Already out in the homeland, the disc will migrate to the States January 22 thanks to Labrador/Darla, with a UK release planned for April on Creeping Bent.

The band has also crafted a Sweden-only single for Migration's "Final Say", followed on its CD by "Crooked Spine", laced with vocals from bandmember and infrequent crooner Daniel Permbo. Look for that one come February 6.

As for other domestic concerns, the indie-poppers have a couple of tour dates over the weekend in their native Sweden. However, with their minds set on Migration, tours of both the UK and Spain can be expected in 2008 from these goodwill Sambassadeurs. [MORE...]

Kevin Barnes, Jeff Mangum in Wacky Elephant 6 Movie
Plus: Olivia Tremor Control's Hart, Elf Power's Rieger

Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes as a bumbling constable! Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum in a lobster suit! It's something only those crazies in Athens, Georgia could dream up, and now they've snatched that dream out of the ether and committed it to celluloid.

Major Organ and the Adding Machine, the filmic companion to the mysterious Elephant Six Collective omnibus album of the same name-- long a subject of intrigue among E6 maniacs-- will finally find its way to screens in 2008. And boy does it look bonkers!

The city's own Orange Twin imprint, which released the original album back in 2001, plans to unleash a Major Organ DVD/expanded CD set in spring of next year. The short film should also soon be invading select theaters and various festivals.

Directed by Joey Foreman and Eric Harris, Major Organ counts among its cast members the aforementioned Barnes and Mangum, along with William Cullen Hart (The Olivia Tremor Control, Circulatory System), Julian Koster (OTC, NMH), Andrew Rieger (Elf Power), and the ladies of Dixie Blood Mustache. These folks also contributed to the making of the Major Organ album, but shhhh, you're not supposed to know about that.

Liars, No Age Announce Joint Tour

How's this for an inspired pairing? Earth-scorching noise-punks Liars and squall-pop up-and-comers No Age will link up for a month-long U.S. tour that kicks off in San Francisco come late January.

This, of course, will hardly be the first meetup between the two bands; tonight, as we mentioned yesterday, No Age drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt and Liars guitarist Aaron Hemphill will join the Sissy Spacek 13-Tet at Los Angeles' beloved Smell. But the prospect of dueling distortion rigs and unbridled rock'n'roll enthusiasm is far more than just one night can contain. Hence, a tour.

Liars have no other big plans at the moment, though No Age have plenty to chew on, what with their Sub Pop debut and their set at this May's ATP vs. Pitchfork festival on the horizon. [MORE...]

Justice Release "Phantom" Single
Featuring remixes from Soulwax, Boys Noize

Photo by Natalie Kardos

Releasing singles ain't no thang for Justice. They're a dance act; it's what they do. So the December 17 UK single release of track "Phantom" via Ed Banger/Because is less remarkable for its existence and more remarkable for the fact that the group releasing it can now claim to be "Grammy nominated electronic music duo Justice."

That's right, the two Parisians have been nominated for three Grammy awards: Best Dance Recording and Best Short Form Music Video for "D.A.N.C.E." and Best Electronic/Dance Album for .

Otherwise, it's business as usual for Justice, who'll play a couple handfuls of live dates to close out the year, starting tonight, December 12, in Milan.

Also, the single artwork is pretty great:



Stephen Malkmus Talks Trash
"It's like if you look at eBay rare acid folk psych albums and the guy will describe it, 'I don't see how there's any way this could possibly have sold a single copy when it came out,' and that's a good thing."

A month ago, a post on the website of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks mentioned "how to make a great record the VERY hard way." That great record? Real Emotional Trash, due March 4 on Matador. The VERY hard way? Well, under normal rock'n'roll circumstances, we'd assume that would involve inter-band rifts, overdoses, and other Behind the Music-type stuff. But the way Malkmus-- 41 years old and recently a father for the second time-- tells it, the hangups were appropriately adult. The biggest hurdle, it seems, was finding just the right place to mix the thing.

We recently rang up Malkmus at his Portland, Oregon home, where he was putting the finishing touches on Real Emotional Trash. He told us the tale of the record's birth, which took the band from Montana to Jeff Tweedy's place to Brooklyn, and gave us a preview of its sound. He also explained the meaning of each and every lyric on the album. (Kidding.)

In the process, we discussed Pavement's legacy, Malkmus' work on the I'm Not There soundtrack, and the Portland scene. Also, how too many beer ads at a show suck.

Pitchfork: So what's going on?

Stephen Malkmus
: Not much. Let's see, I did another interview before. But what's going on? Oh, you know, just down in the basement, fucking around.

Pitchfork: With anything in particular?

SM: Trying to secure the cover art for this new album. Like, all the inside stuff. But yeah, just another day here. [laughs] I'm renting some movies. That's about it.

Pitchfork: Sounds pretty good. If you're already dealing in artwork, this record must be pretty close to done at this point.

SM: It's all done except for the artwork. It's coming out in March. And yeah, song order, mastering, that's all done.

Pitchfork: Does it feel good to have it all behind you?

SM: Yeah, that does. At this point, it's taken us quite a while to make up our minds about everything, so it got a little bit fussy at the end but, you know, even if it doesn't matter, you can't help but go there sometimes. About song order or some cymbal being too bright or something. But yeah, it feels good, I guess. At this point, more like a relief.

Pitchfork: You guys made a comment a few weeks back about "making a great record the very hard way." Care to get into that?

SM: Yeah. It's just how we chose to record it. We just went to this wild card place (Snow Ghost Studios) in Montana that we could drive to-- we live in Oregon-- and we didn't know the guy that well, but he had pictures online. It turned out to be a nice place, but it was slightly deceiving how big the room was, so we moved out into this other big room. And then, for the tape machine, the tape was this Dutch tape-- they're not making tape anymore, you know? So we hooked up with this Dutch company and we decided to go with them because it was a little cheaper, and then it was like a bad batch of tape and it started shredding off. But it lasted through the drums, so we did the drums on there and some of the bass and then we had to put it in the computer for the rest, which we didn't plan on doing. But, you know, that's what people do these days.

It was just kind of weird there. The place was brand new so it didn't have any bugs in it, but it was just this clean, clean place that the recording engineer [T.J. Doherty] wasn't really familiar with, so it was a challenge for him. T.J. recorded Wilco's last album and the one before that, and he said we could go to Wilco's place and do the singing, which is a really generous offer; it was mainly Jeff Tweedy's place, but he's a really gracious, nice guy. He's like, "you guys can go in there, you're mature, you won't trash things." So we went there. So that was traveling to another place to sing because it was a free studio.

Then we tried to mix it in Portland, but then this place that was a nice place was sort of too far away to drive every day. And things just kind of went south there. Which had never really happened to me, you know, where the sound's not right, wasn't how I remembered it, it's going weird. So we decided not to do it with T.J. anymore, because he recorded it all, and he was like "this sounds pretty good to me," but he was just getting crazy, I think, from trying to figure out all these weird places that he was. So then we said, "okay, we're going to mix it somewhere else."

So then we had to hunt down someone to mix it with. I asked Nigel Godrich-- sorry, I'm kind of name dropping a bit here-- but I asked Nigel to do it and he was busy. He had finished that In Rainbows album and he was burnt out. And I just went to what I knew, people I knew, and then I was like, "Hey, what about Nick [Vernhes] at [Brooklyn's] Rare Book Room?" He's been in a lot of stuff that Pitchfork would like, like Fiery Furnaces and Animal Collective -- I didn't know he'd done that-- and he has a new label, and he's nice, and he's like "Yeah, I'm free." He had done the Silver Jews' American Water with me and I'm, like, "oh yeah," you know? That was great, finally the point where we could say "okay, we've got something."

We did it in his computer, which I wasn't planning on doing, but at that point it's like you don't care about being all vintage or running things through a machine. You just want to do it great, you know, do it fast and a way that someone else knows. So we did it at his place in New York about a couple of months ago, and that went really well. In the end, everything was great, but it was just this long way around the question. It would've been nice just to go to one place.

Pitchfork: I see what you mean by the "very hard way." [MORE...]


Ike Turner R.I.P.

Ike Turner, rock'n'roll pioneer, r&b legend, and volatile husband to Tina Turner, passed away at his San Marcos, California home today, according to TMZ. Aged 76, he reportedly died in his sleep.

Born Izear Luster Turner, Jr. in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Turner first found fame as leader of the Kings of Rhythm, whose 1951 single "Rocket 88"-- billed to Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats-- is regarded by some as the first true rock'n'roll recording.

Turner's place in popular music history wasn't cemented, however, until he met a young, fiery vocalist by the name of Anna Mae Bullock in 1956. Bullock would eventually take the name Tina Turner, and the pair would enter a relationship, both musical and romantic, as notoriously tumultuous privately as it was electrifying live on stage and on record. Throughout the 1960s and early 70s, Ike and Tina remained at the forefront of rock'n'roll culture, touring with the Rolling Stones, recording with Phil Spector, and churning out hits like "Proud Mary" and "River Deep - Mountain High".

Turner's reputation was, of course, mottled at best. He has been painted as an abusive and domineering husband to Tina, who left him in the mid-1970s. Turner also landed in prison in the early 1990s after various drug charges, and was in fact incarcerated when Ike & Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Yet Turner had, by most accounts, cleaned up his act in subsequent years. He also regained some of his footing musically, winning a Best Traditional Blues Grammy this year for Risin' With the Blues. He was also apparently working with the Black Keys and Danger Mouse on a forthcoming album.
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