Jack White Joins Last Shadow Puppets Onstage and Amy Winehouse Punches Out at Glastonbury 2008

This just in from my friend at Abeano Music–Jack White stepped out to play a few bars during The Last Shadow Puppets’ set at Glastonbury. What did he guest on? A cover of Billy Fury’s “Wondrous Place.”

Video:

Notice how Jack just casual (and quietly) slumps off stage…like he was never there at all.

Writes NME.com, “Miles Kane explained they had simply bumped into White backstage: “We just asked him and he said yes.”

Picys over at NME.com

More over at Youtube, Abeano Music, NME.com

Although Jack playing is quite exciting, it’s not nearly as exciting as this video of Amy Winehouse punching someone in the middle of her Glasto set. Appropriately enough, it was during “Rehab.” Hysterical…especially b/c the guy who got punched was not hurt:

The Modern Age Wins a 2008 Shockwave NME Award

As of tonight I have a lot in common with the Arctic Monkeys, Kate Nash, the Klaxons, and Facebook. We are all 2008 Shockwave NME Award WINNERS! Muwahahah.

YOUR VOTING was the key in helping this lil’ ol’ blog win a 2008 Shockwave NME Award for Best Music Blog.

I would like to thank YOU, the people who have faithfully visited this labor of love since 2001. Thanks for putting up with all my stupid posts about the White Stripes (who could forget the “Jack White in a bathing suit” post or “Meg White’s Disco Boobs” entry?), Ryan Adams (he loves puppies, remember?), and everyone else who created music pre-2003. Thanks again guys, couldn’t have done it without you.

If and when I receive my golden middle finger statue I will surely post photos.

Independent Record Labels Pool Their Resources for Online Distribution

According to the Associated Press, “independent record labels behind artists like The White Stripes (on British label The Beggars Group), Deep Purple and Arctic Monkeys announced a global deal Saturday to pool access to their catalogs, seeking to grab a bigger share of online music sales from the major record companies.”

The companies have signed up to Merlin, a nonprofit licensing agency that will now be responsible for making deals with distribution sites like Napster and Apple Music Store. The deal, linking indie and trade groups from over a dozen countries will allow digital distributors to strike ONE deal with Merlin that will open access to selling the digital music of all its members instead of making individual deals with hundreds, if not thousands, of independent labels.

This will potentially flip favor over to the indies in terms of taking their share of total music revenues in the industry. Even though around 80 percent of new releases each year are indie, it only results in 30 percent of industry revenues. Most independents have maintained a tight control over their digital distribution until now–perhaps due to the fact that when they go to deal with online stores like Napster and iTunes, they are asked to comply with receiving smaller royalties than artists represented by one of the four major labels: Universal/Vivendi, Warners, Sony BMG and EMI.

And according to an interview with Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills and AIM rep Alison Wenham with the Register:

Mills told us that the move to a one-stop licensing agency for indies began 18 months ago, but had been accelerated when Universal Music cut deals with YouTube and MySpace as 2006 drew to a close.

Alison Wenham of the UK-based Association for Independent Music (AIM) confirmed that indies would demand the removal of content from sites such as YouTube if they didn’t cut Merlin a similar deal to the one negotiated by Universal Music, the world’s biggest label.

This potentially revolutionizing agreement, making indies the digital “Fifth major”, was announced on Saturday at Midem, a music industry gathering in Cannes, France.

The Modern Age’s Top 10 Albums of 2006

Ok, so here it goes. I’ve put on my armor. I’m ready for your biggest and best pot shots…

The point of this list is to single out the albums *I* enjoyed the most this year–this is not a list of what is cool in any way possible. It’s not an indication of what was the most popular or critically acclaimed. It may not even be my own definitive list of 2006–I don’t get to listen to every album out there, so who knows, there might be an album or two I’m missing. That’s what Top album and single lists are for right? Remember and discovering things… But just consider yourself lucky Fall Out Boy or Panic! at the Disco didn’t come out with an album this year…but just you wait for 2007…

10: First Impressions of Earth, The Strokes
It’s kind of obligatory for me to include a Strokes album on my Top 10 list every time they have a new record, isn’t it? The hometown boys thankfully redeemed themselves from their sophomoric stumble, Room on Fire, with this album full of “songs that sounds like Strokes songs…but not the annoying ones.”

Mainly produced by Grammy-winning producer David Kahne (after Strokes’ long-time collaborator Gordon Raphael removed himself from the project) this record tones down the band’s trademark low-fi, grungy sound in favor of a more refined, clean presentation–meaning the band no longer sounds like they have recorded with cheesecloth over all the microphones. The upside of the new production value is it causes the listener to pay more attention to the lyrics of singer Julian Casablancas, producing a more intimate and direct connection with the front man, but on the down side it makes the rest of the band feel like they are a removed, sterile session band dispassionately plinking and plopping down their notes. (Maybe guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. was just bummed Julian kept shooting down his songs.)

Wins on the album include the blistering “Heart in a Cage” which features guitar licks so slick they sound like they’re oozing out of your speakers and melting into your ears, and the upbeat pop number, “You Only Live Once”, is about…uh…well, does anyone ever really know what Strokes songs are about?

RELATED CONCERT REVIEW: The Strokes at Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC. March 3, 2006

9: Show Your Bones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Where Fever to Tell was a hot sticky mess, Show Your Bones is a nice cool summer breeze–slightly warm, but refreshingly crisp. Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase prove that they definitely have lasting power in the rock world with their beautiful album full of tragically twisted love songs (think “Maps” x10). Best tracks included the effervescent-sounding song about giving up on a damaged love affair, “Cheated Hearts”, and down and dirty interplanetary rock tune, “Phenomena”, an ode to a mind-blowing somebody.

RELATED CONCERT REVIEW: Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Maxwell’s, NJ. Feb 23, 2006

8: Through the Windowpane, Guillemots
I’m not sure what prompted me to go down to see Guillemots at the Bowery Ballroom on May 9th despite some impending death cold. I’d never heard one of their songs, and I’m not entirely sure how I heard about them in the first place. But all I know is that once I got a listen to the eccentric, ecelctic music of the multi-national quartet (members hail from England, Scotland, Canada, and Brazil), I instantly fell in love.

The song “Trains to Brazil”, sounds as though it was written and recorded by a roving band of incredibly enthusiastic tramps and scalawags as they travel by rail down the coast of some unknown land. “Quirky” doesn’t even begin to describe their sound, as they typically fill their songs with weird tweets and squeaks–all the while writing some of the most lovely melodies this side of the Beach Boys. A daring, richly layered album, Through the Windowpane gives you a glimpse into the up side of absolute musical madness.

RELATED CONCERT REVIEW: Guillemots at Bowery Ballroom, NYC. May 9, 2006

7: Spring Awakening, Original Broadway Cast Recording
The music to this album, written by pop star Duncan Sheik, with lyrics by Steven Satar, is beautifully touching, ungimmicky, and a joy to listen to–in or out of the context of its Broadway musical origin. I’ve found myself listening to this album non-stop since I’ve gotten it. Although appreciation for the music is heightened after seeing a live staged performance of the production, songs like the seductive “Touch Me” and explosive “Don’t Do Sadness” sound more like indie rock songs than they do “show tunes”. The songs’ main function is to conveyed emotion, not to show off the 8-octave range of the singer, therefore they ring truer and “straighter” than your typical Broadway fare.

RELATED SHOW REVIEW: “Spring Awakening” at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, NYC. November 27, 2006

DOWNLOAD: Interview and “Don’t Do Sadness” by Duncan Sheik (Live at Upstairs at the Square)

6: Rabbit Fur Coat, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
Jenny Lewis has the voice of an angel, and when bolstered by the smooth harmonies of the Watson Twins, her folk-country debut solo album simply soars. The melodies are simple and elegant, songs like “Rise Up with Fists” envelope listeners like your favorite comfy blanket–when you crawl up in them you instantly feel comforted and at home. Although Lewis does not have the most powerful or impressive singing voice and range in pop music, her delivery sounds honest and sincere–refreshingly removed of the hackneyed modern day crutch of self-mockery and irony. It’s a truly down-home record, and exactly the opposite you would expect from a girl who grew up as a child actress in LA, but Jenny Lewis dares to defy convention…and most importantly, dares to give us a little peek into her soul.

RELATED CONCERT REVIEW: Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins (with Johnathan Rice, Connor Oberst, Jimmy James) at Angel Orensanz Foundation, NYC. February 5, 2006

5: Broken Boy Soldiers, The Raconteurs aka The Saboteurs (AUS)
Homeboy Jack White of the White Stripes, and superbuddy Brendan Benson team up with pals (and Greenhornes members) Patrick Keeler and Little Jack Lawrence to produce an album of psychedelic 70s rock sounds and folky jams. In my personal opinion, the best songs are comprised of the “Jack White Show” songs–the slighly bluesy “Blue Veins” and the song that makes me want to blow my brains out because it’s so brilliant “Broken Boy Soldier”. With it’s use of hypnotic wailing guitar, jittery drum clangs, and Jack’s “crazy-man voice” it’s the perfect storm of ridiculously good music–a song that will haunt you in your dreams and provide the soundtrack to your most terrifying nightmares.

“Call It a Day”, a song about the painful end of a relationship, is probably one of the most heartbreaking songs of 2006–the “Dry Your Eyes” of this year. Sad, happy, angry, and lovelorn–this record has it all and shows that these four refuse to be refined to one genre of music or attitude.

RELATED CONCERT REVIEW:
The Raconteurs’ first US performance, Irving Plaza, NYC. April 7, 2006

DOWNLOAD: Interview and “Store Bought Bones” by The Raconteurs on Zane Lowe, BBC Radio 1

4: The Black Parade, My Chemical Romance
Who would have every guessed that My Chemical Romance was going to come out with an album that played like one big homage to Queen, resulting in one of the most surprising and satisfying albums of the year. My Chem manages to gracefully do a very tricky thing–stay loyal to their emo-loving fan base (the highly entertaining tongue-in-cheek anthem for teenage angst, “Teenagers”) while expanding their sound to entice an even bigger audience.

The songs are punky, but at the same time have a grandiosity that many of their peers would quiver at the thought of attempting. Gerard Way and co. went out on a limb with wacky guest singers (Liza Minnelli on “Mama” anyone???) and some crush-worthy ballads (“I Don’t Love You”) and win big time. The Black Parade is an incredible snapshot of a talented and versatile band with the completely attainable goal of becoming one of the biggest bands in the world… just wait and see.

RELATED CONCERT REVIEW: My Chemical Romance at Knitting Factory, NYC. August 31, 2006

3: FutureSex/ LoveSounds, Justin Timberlake
Just when you thought you’d gotten through all the crap, I whip out a double whammy, slapping you with the uberpop album of the year. Justin Timberlake DID bring “sexyback”, even though he admits that sexy didn’t really go anywhere, with his juiced up second album, where every track is a hit. It’s a non-stop booty bumper, with your favorite track changing every day. From the reverberating bass beats of “Summer Love/ The Mood Prelude” to the soul-flavored “Damn Girl”, to Mario-esque slow jams like “Until the End of Time”, to the instant panty dropper, “My Love” (featuring rising r&b star T.I.), there’s something for everyone on this record. It’s a crowd pleaser with innovated beats supplied by video cameo star of 2006, Timbaland. Cameron must be so proud.

2: Inside In/ Inside Out, The Kooks
From the moment I heard “Eddie’s Gun”, I was enthralled with The Kooks. Their catchy hooks and almost palpable nervous energy emanating from almost every measure. It’s simply just an infectious record of rock pop that doesn’t quite sound like anything else out there.

RELATED CONCERT REVIEW: The Kooks @ North Six, Brooklyn, NY. October 28, 2006

1: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, Arctic Monkeys
Way back in early 2006, Arctic Monkeys was all the rage. Although they were unfortunately overexposed, and therefore a victim of backlash, a listen at their much awaited debut proved that you couldn’t deny the fact that the Monkeys had the musical chops worth the praise. Musically, the Monkeys might sound similar to many of their British peers, with vigorous guitar strumming (sometimes painfully tinny and out of tune) and spirited drumming, but who else but Alex Turner could come up brilliantly poetic lines like, “remember cuddles in the kitchen” (“Mardy Bum”) or the overtly working-class observations such as “Well oh they might wear classic Reeboks/ Or knackered Converse/ Or tracky bottoms tucked in socks/ But all of that’s what the point is not/ The point’s that there ain’t no romance around there” as described in the opening lines of “A Certain Romance”.

I think you’d be hard pressed to find an album with more unique and specific point of view of the world than the Monkeys’ first album–and to top it all off, they’re not even old enough to drink. It is for these reasons that I have to crown Whatever People Say I Am… as being the number one album of 2006.

RELATED CONCERT REVIEW: The Arctic Monkeys, Webster Hall, NYC. March 25, 2006

And honorable mentions to…

Yours to Keep, Albert Hammond Jr.
Duper Sessions, Sondre Lerche
Dying to Say This to You, The Sounds
B’Day, Beyonce
Loose, Nelly Furtado
s/t, Ben Kweller

Don’t agree with my choices? Too bad, it’s my web site. Maybe some of these other top albums lists will fit your fancy:

Brooklyn Vegan’s Top 40 (In no particular order)

2006 Gummy Awards
New York Times’ Kelefa Sanneh
SPIN’s Top 40
Pitchfork Top 50
Rolling Stone
Best of NY Music: Gothamist
The 2006 Music Bloggregate on Heart on a Stick
Product Shops Top 58
Whatevs.org’s Top Singles
Music Snobbery’s Top 10
Kelly’s Top 10
The Guardian Arts Blog Top 50

Monkey Business: Andy OUT Nick IN

To all bassists: consider yourself warned. From ArcticMonkeys.com:

19.06.06
Andy Nicholson

We are sad to tell everyone that Andy is no longer with the band.

Nick O’Malley, who stood in for Andy while he was absent from the recent tour of North America, shall carry on playing bass for the remaining shows this summer.

We have been mates with Andy for a long time and have been through some amazing things together that no one can take away. We all wish Andy the very best.

Alex, Jamie and Matt.

Hmmm…wonder what happened. Should Andy and former Panic! at the Disco member Bret Wilson start a support group for ousted bassists?

The kids on ONTD are excited about the hotness upgrade.

Another Bassist (Temporarily) Bites the Dust

You heard it here first, Arctic Monkeys SO want to be Panic! at the Disco. Ok, they can’t commit to actually parting ways with their bassist, Andy Nicholson, aka-the one on the left who is always wearing a jacket and a polo shirt, but he is too “fatigued” to join the band on their North American tour. Poor little lamb. Nick O’Malley shall be standing in for Andy on the tour which begins in Vancouver on May 27th.

Reading Festival: It’s Like Someone Sucked Out My Brain and Put Together the Lineup

Have you seen the lineup for this year’s Carling Weekend: Reading Festival? I nearly cried when I took a look:

Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, Belle & Sebastian, Fall Out Boy, The Subways, Panic! at the Disco, Muse, Arctic Monkeys, The Streets, Dirty Pretty Things, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Futureheads, The Cribs, Wolfmother, Placebo, My Chemical Romance, Maximo Park, The Rakes, The Kooks, and many more.

With a lineup like that I’ve got half a mind to attend…but I’ve never been to a festival before and I want to know more about what they are like. I think we’ve all seen those bonker photos of tents floating away in the rain, and mudcovered teenagers who look like they haven’t slept in a few days.

But for those of you who have actual first-hand experience, do you have any tips or stories to share? Did you camp? Where did you travel from? Was it just great fun, or was it just a big fat mess? Would you recommend attending, or skipping it in favor or something less…massive.

Or are you actually planning to be at this year’s festival? I’d love to read your comments.

The Kids at ONTD Will Be Psyched to Here “Peengate” Said On Air

Yup, I said it…I used the term “Peengate” while talking about Fall Out Boy on Jo Whiley‘s show Tuesday morning. You can listen to the broadcast over at the Radio 1 site. Click on “Tuesday” and you should hear me talking about dodgeball, bling rings, Arctic Monkeys, and “Peengate” an hour and 40 minutes into the broadcast.

Also, anyone interested in the site I mentioned when talking about costume jewlery, head over to The Carrot Box.

For more info on dodgeball in NYC, head over to ZogSports.

LISTEN: Me talking about Pete Wentz’s “Little Pete” Photos on Jo Whiley

45 Minutes of the Girl Next to Me Screaming “Love Machine” In My Ear at the Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys at Webster Hall in NYC. The set was short and sweet. The crowd was shouting out songs the entire set–most notably the people holding up the sign that said “Love Machine” (cover of Girls Aloud that they did on Jo Whiley’s Live Lounge) and the girl next to me screaming out “Love Machine, bastards!” through the entire set. And yes, there was a few moments when sections of the crowd starting singing football chants, but surprisingly no beers were being hurled into the air like they were during The Rakes.

Arctic Monkeys continue to keep their distance from the crowd, but singer Alex Turner did give NYC some love by saying he loves New York…”I wouldn’t lie to you” he said. And Webster Hall continues to serve beer to underage rockers.

There were plenty of clapboards spread around the stage–apparently we were being recorded for something…that had nothing to do with the KCRW signs that were plastered all over the venue. Apparently it was for Remote Productions Inc., who have shot shows like “My Sweet 16” and “Made”, does that mean MTV was involved? It was only as I was leaving that I saw the “you are being recorded” sign. Ooops.

Some of the songs they played (in no particular order): I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor/ A Certain Romance/ Mardy Bum/ Dancing Shoes/ When the Sun Goes Down/ Fake Tales of San Francisco

I was shocked to see the Monkeys actually making a vague attempt to connect with the crowd when they threw sweaty towels and used guitar picks into the audience at the end of the set. And I thought it was cool that they didn’t do an encore (unlike you, The Strokes).

arctic monkeys at webster hall

arctic monkeys at webster hall

arctic monkeys at webster hall

arctic monkeys at webster hall

arctic monkeys at webster hall

For more of my Arctic Monkeys photos, check out Flickr.

I should also mention here that the Spinto Band opened up. I got really dizzy trying to recreate the totally insane head banging motion that seems to be a requirement for all band members to do for at least 15 minutes during the show. It was like they were all being jerked around by the invisible hand of God pulling on their puppet strings. Seriously, how do they do that without getting sick?

Musically they were “eh”–pop pop pop with a keyboard. Am I the only one who thought that a band called the “Spinto Band” should be wearing suits and skinny ties? I love that they have to tell us in their name that they’re a band. It’s helpful because I almost got them confused with Spinto Garbagemen. Actually, I was kinda glad they were just a bunch of kids playing pop music, because suits and skinny ties is so 2004. From now on, no more bands who dress up like rejects from an Interpol audition.

Oh, and what was up with there being six band members, half of which play the same instrument? You know that at least one person up there doesn’t really do anything in the band. Gosh, and they looked SO YOUNG, and they all needed haircuts. Um…did I just instantly turn into a grandma?

Oh, and I could swear I saw Constantine from American Idol when I came out of Webster Hall. He was walking down the street, I have no idea if he was at the show. He’s a giant.

RELATED LINKS: More show reviews over at The Music Slut and Brooklyn Vegan.