How To Disappear Completely*

Pitchfork: Radiohead Erase Internet Presence:

Radiohead’s internet presence is disappearing. As Reddit users noted, their website slowly decreased in opacity until it went entirely blank. It appears that tweets and Facebook posts from their accounts have been steadily disappearing. Update (5/1, 2:00 p.m. ET): There are no longer any tweets or Facebook posts on the band’s accounts. Their profile pictures and cover photos have gone completely blank, as well. This comes one day after fans of the band received mysterious flyers with the words “Sing a song of sixpence that goes/Burn the Witch/We know where you live.” It’s unclear what it is, but something seems to be happening. Update (5/1, 2:28 p.m. ET): Now, it appears Thom Yorke has deleted his tweets. Update (5/1, 3:18 p.m. ET): Their Google+ page has now gone blank. Update (5/2, 6:40 p.m. ET): Jonny Greenwood has now made his Twitter images white.

Love it. It must feel great to clean the slate.

Oh, Radiohead coordinated this internet disappearance with their new video.

*If you didn’t know, the this post title is a track from Radiohead’s Kid A


Kanye West’s ‘Life of Pablo’ already pirated 500,000 times:

Kanye West’s new album ‘The Life of Pablo’ may have been released as exclusive to Jay-Z’s streaming music service Tidal, but it didn’t stay that way for long.

The BBC reports today that West’s new album has over 500,000 pirated copies in circulation and is at the top of the download charts on The Pirate Bay.

Ooh, that stings.

I don’t subscribe to Tidal, and I probably never will, but somehow a copy of The Life of Pablo magically appeared on my computer so I’ve been listening to it and it’s solid.

It sure would be helpful if his album was on iTunes or Amazon so I could pay for it.

intolerance is prejudice, don’t let fear win

I just saw Ty Segall and the Muggers Monday night at The Filmore here in San Francisco. Great show.

And Ty’s new album, Emotional Mugger is also great.

Here’s a piece from Pitchfork’s review:

When Segall rolled out the album by mailing VHS copies to writers, he shared a clinical definition of “emotional mugging,” explaining, “The over-communication relayed in cell based technology and content driven media further detaches passengers of our modern society from deep emotional understanding.” Put more simply: The Internet makes everything and anything immediately available, and that’s probably fucking up how people interact and have their desires addressed. It’s a relevant subject without question—one he addresses on the album with varying degrees of success. Maybe its diciest moments can be chalked up to the album’s inherent feeling of uneasiness, but Emotional Mugger still feels transitional—either the moment before he tucks in and gets way weirder or another stepping stone before he switches gears all over again.

Ty is weird and awesome and gritty.

Who You Gonna Call?

RZA is tempted to steal back the $2 million Wu-Tang album:

Pretty much everyone was sad to learn this week that the only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s new album was sold to Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old pharmaceutical executive who made millions by raising the price of a life-saving anti-parasitic drug by 4,000 percent. Bloomberg broke the news that Shkreli had bought Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for around $2 million, and RZA wasn’t very happy about it, telling the outlet that no one in the Clan was aware of Shkreli’s reputation before closing the deal and noting that a “significant portion” of the proceeds were donated to charity.

But the internet had a glimmer of hope that the tragedy could be reversed, after Twitter user Rob Wesley posted what seemed like a hilarious clause in the contract. “The buying party also agrees that, at any time during the stipulated 88 year period, the seller may legally plan and attempt to execute one (1) heist or caper to steal back Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, which, if successful, would return all ownership rights to the seller,” the alleged clause reads. “Said heist or caper can only be undertaken by currently active members of the Wu-Tang Clan and/or actor Bill Murray, with no legal repercussions.”

Bobby Digital, call Bill.

Hateful Vinyl

Jack White’s Nashville-based label Third Man Records will release the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s blizzard-shrouded western The Hateful Eight on vinyl. The four-side, 28-song soundtrack includes new work from Italian composer Ennio Morricone, despite a spat in 2013 during which Morricone said he never wanted to work with Tarantino again. Tarantino has used Morricone’s music in several of his past films, but this is the first time Morricone has written compositions specifically for Tarantino.

Jack White’s record label will release the Hateful Eight soundtrack on vinyl

Of course he’s releasing it on vinyl.

Steve Albini

Over at Pitchfork, Jazz Monroe on an email Steve Albini wrote that was turned into a billboard:

Diagonal label boss Oscar Powell also releases music as Powell via XL. His latest single, “Insomniac”, (coming soon on XL), features a vocal sample from Steve Albini that dates to his time fronting Big Black. Ahead of its release, Powell emailed Albini to get sample clearance and explain how much Big Black’s music meant to him. However, as the Quietus reports, Albini gave more than his approval—he also included a long rant on how much he hates dance music.

If you don’t know who Steve Albini is, here’s a bit:

As of 2008, Albini is most active as a record producer; however, he dislikes the term and prefers to receive no credit on album sleeves or notes. When credited, he prefers the term “recording engineer.”

Albini estimated that he has engineered the recording of 1,500 albums, mostly by obscure musicians, in 2004. More prominent artists that Albini has worked with include: Foxy Shazam, Nirvana, Pixies, The Breeders, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, The Jesus Lizard, Don Caballero, PJ Harvey, The Wedding Present, Joanna Newsom, Superchunk, Low, Dirty Three, Jawbreaker, Neurosis, Cloud Nothings, Bush, Chevelle, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Helmet, Fred Schneider, The Stooges, Owls, Manic Street Preachers, Jarvis Cocker, The Cribs, The Fleshtones, Nina Nastasia, The Frames, The Membranes, Cheap Trick, Motorpsycho, Slint, mclusky, Labradford, Veruca Salt, Zao, and The Auteurs.

The dude is no joke.

The Man Who Broke the Music Business

Over at the The New Yorker, Stephen Witt tells the story of the The Man Who Broke the Music Business, Bennie Lydell Glover. It was published late last month and I finally got around to reading it. It’s fascinating.

On how Glover smuggled CDs of out the factory he worked at in Kings Mountain, North Carolina:

At the end of each shift, employees put the overstock disks into scrap bins. These scrap bins were later taken to a plastics grinder, where the disks were destroyed. Over the years, Glover had dumped hundreds of perfectly good disks into the bins, and he knew that the grinder had no memory and generated no records. If there were twenty-four disks and only twenty-three made it into the grinder’s feed slot, no one in accounting would know.

So, on the way from the conveyor belt to the grinder, an employee could take off his surgical glove while holding a disk. He could wrap the glove around the disk and tie it off. He could then hide the disk, leaving everything else to be destroyed. At the end of his shift, he could return and grab the disk.

That still left the security guards. But here, too, there were options. One involved belt buckles. They were the signature fashion accessories of small-town North Carolina. Many people at the plant wore them—big oval medallions with the Stars and Bars on them. Gilt-leaf plates embroidered with fake diamonds that spelled out the word “BOSS.” Western-themed cowboy buckles with longhorn skulls and gold trim. The buckles always set off the wand, but the guards wouldn’t ask anyone to take them off.

And on the “ethics” of the elite underground file sharing “crews”:

Scene culture drew a distinction between online file-sharing and for-profit bootlegging. The topsites were seen as a morally permissible system of trade. Using them for the physical bootlegging of media, by contrast, was viewed as a serious breach of ethical principles. Worse, it was known to attract the attention of the law. Kali put the word out that anyone suspected of selling material from the topsites would be kicked out of the group. Thus, for most participants membership in RNS was a money-losing proposition. They spent hundreds of dollars a year on compact disks, and thousands on servers and broadband, and got only thrills in return.

It’s a long, but great read.

Snake Oil Sound

Sounds like (see what I did there?) Neil Young’s Pono Player is bullshit:

My test compared Pono files against Apple’s iTunes files, which come in 16-bit/256Kbps AAC format (more on formats below). That’s much better than the radically compressed MP3 files of 1998.

There’s another factor at play here, too: Pono is going to extraordinary lengths to acquire remastered versions of the songs in its catalog. “If we are looking for a popular master and find it has not been sampled at the highest rate, we try to access it and, with the cooperation of labels and artists, maximize the recapture at the highest resolution,” Neil Young wrote to me. “We reach out to the creators, if they are still with us, to include their knowledge in the mastering. Sometimes they will even supervise it. This is a long process, but we are providing the absolute best available and pushing for improvement in resolution for maximizing the labels/creators’ art whenever possible.”

Clearly, if Pono’s testing involved a remastered, high-resolution audio file going head-to-head with an original, crummy MP3 of the same song, you’d hear a difference.

The thing is, that’s not a fair test. The music we buy today from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and similar online stores has much higher quality than low-res MP3 files. Why would you spend $400 on a new player and re-buy all of your music files if the result sounds no better than what’s on your phone already?

Fuck you, Neil.

via Daring Fireball