Today in Music: Getting The White Out

Brother Ali, Kevin Cole, Cheryl Waters, & BK-One
Brother Ali & BK-One with Kevin Cole and Cheryl Waters
photo by Michele Meyers

A great big thanks to Brother Ali, who along with BK-One, gave a stellar in-studio performance yesterday. If you missed it or want to hear it again, you can go back and check out on our Streaming Archive for the next two weeks.

Brother Ali, an albino and devout Muslim, has faced a bit of strife and controversy in his life, and his video for “Uncle Sam Goddamn” has been turned away some corporate tour sponsors, but the Minneapolis rapper’s lastest album, The Undisputed Truth, is one of this year’s highlights. Here’s a track from the album:

Brother Ali – The Truth Is (MP3)

The White Stripes have also been involved in a bit of controversy lately. Chicago radio station Q101 played the entire album Icky Thump well before its release date, causing Jack White to phone in his ire to the station. DJ Electra, the supposed Queen of Snark, spun the album in what she thought was a “was an hour-long lovefest for him and his band” but discovered it to be quite the opposite when White called from Spain, where he was touring, and blamed her for being part of the “messed up” music industry. While Electra maintains, ” I don’t think I did anything wrong, and I don’t think I am helping to ruin the music industry,” the pot has been stirred.

Some blogs, like The Modern Age and Three Imaginary Girls, question the DJ’s decision to share the album, while many fans of the station support her, calling Jack White “arrogant” and “unprofessional.” Electra, who opens her blog by saying that “Q101 became the first station in the world to play the new White Stripes album,” now claims to not “be able to listen to it without feeling like crap for a good long while.”

Other bloggers are feeling a harding sting of label protection. Product Shop NYC was shut down after posting two songs from the new album. After Jason received a cease-and-desist notice, he removed the songs, but the website was still subsequently shut down. Certainly other blogs have received similar notices as the songs are swirling around the blogosphere.

Not even Meg White is getting a fair shake from the media. BlackBook magazine published an interview with the band but reported the “wistful, sylphlike” half of The White Stripes to be 39 rather than 33 years of age.

You could probably argue for hours whether the album’s leak is “free advertising,” as one DJ defender says, or “willful disregard” as at least one critic has said, but the fact is that artists today must somehow deal with pre-release downloads and broadcasts. Regardless of whether they might see leaks as blessings or threats, other bands are working to get their music out:

  • Not surprising after their Letterman appearance, during which they performed a new song, The Jesus and Mary Chain are talking about a new album. According to Uncut (via NME), the brothers Reid didn’t reunite for Coachella just for kicks (or lucre). Says brother Jim in the mag, “The reunion is not necessarily about any nostalgia trip. There will be a new record, otherwise there wouldn’t be any point to reforming.” The album will be the first since 1998’s Munki. Has it really been that long?
  • Another reuned band at Coachella, Happy Mondays, has released a new single entitled “Jelly Bean,” but will fans clamor for it? Idolator and Pitchfork wonder if it’s a worthy addition to the band’s legacy (that’s Shaun Ryder who says “my tits on the floor”). Listen for yourself and decide:
  • Happy Mondays – Jelly Bean (MP3)

  • Fans will be eager for the next Jose Gonzales album to come out. In Our Nature has just been announced for a September release on Mute. Look for the tracklisting on Spin.
  • Now that they’re done touring with Son Volt, Magnolia Electric Co. can focus on their forthcoming 5-disc boxset, The Sojourner, due August 7 from Secretly Canadian.
  • Beth Ditto has let it all out for her much-discussed cover pic, but The Gossip have finally let out their video for “Listen Up,” for which they had earlier solicited Seattle extras. Are you in here?
  • If you’d like to get any news out, send it over to

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    1. RIAA
      Posted June 3, 2007 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Do you think if this q101/white stripes thing was a publicity stunt to get us to talk about it, if THE RIAA comes after me for file sharing (The Music Director admitted in articles he got it from a file sharing site), can I claim as a defense they looked the other way when a major corporation that holds a government license can do it, why can’t an ordinary citizen.

    2. Posted June 3, 2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      It seems unlikely to me that this was a planned publicity stunt, though labels have in the past leaked their own releases to build anticipation. If it was planned, Warners really screwed it up because fans are now polarized on the issue, many calling out Jack White for being “arrogant” and other words that begin with “a”. The Music Director, a so-called “Spike”, claims to have received the files via a filesharing site, but I doubt that, as the only version flying around those sites (and I’ve checked!) has been a poor quality radio rip from the Q101 broadcast. If there was a better quality rip out there, it would have hit those sites by now.

      Despite all of this, I doubt that what Q101 did was illegal. There are different rules for FM broadcasting than for filesharing, which you, so-called “RIAA”, would be doing. Warner would have to punish the station in other ways, like by holding out on future releases and sending their competitors pre-releases earlier. At any radio station, DJs are privy to many new releases well before they’re set for release, but they are supposed to wait until the given “add date” to play them. It’s more of an ethical than a legal issue — it’s called “fair play.” Q101 didn’t observe that.

    3. Spike
      Posted June 28, 2007 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      I love that good old Jim resorted to name calling and calling me a liar.

      As usual, everyone loves to theorize rather than put actual work into investigating a situation.

      I sure do love the internet.

    4. Posted June 28, 2007 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Uh, the only name I called you was “Spike”.

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