Thursday News Threads

photo by Gregory A. Perez

photo by Gregory A. Perez

  • Arcade Fire, certainly one of the bands in contention for Best Album of the Decade on many critics’ lists, plan to kick off the new decade with a new album, reportedly due for release in May. The as yet untitled album will be supported by a new tour as well.

  • Grammy nominations were revealed last night. Not many surprises on the list, nor many artists you’re likely to hear on KEXP (Lady Gaga, BeyoncĂ©), except crossover wonders Kings of Leon, who were nominated for Record of the Year with Use Somebody. Best New Artists nominees include MGMT, Silversun Pickups and The Ting Tings, and for Best Alternative Music Album: Death Cab for Cutie, David Byrne & Brian Eno, Phoenix, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Check out the full list here.
  • French band Phoenix, one of the Grammy nominees, were captured in their own capitol city of Paris for another fantastic Take-Away series by La Blogotheque. Among the scenic locales, including Trocadero Square and the Eiffel Tower, the band took over an open top tour bus for this combo of ” Lisztomania” and “One Time Too Many”:

  • Another Grammy nom, Stevie Wonder (hardly his first — he’s won 25 of them!), is also to be honored as United Nations Messenger of Peace to focus on helping people with disabilities.
  • Julian Lennon is back and for a good cause. After a dozen years without an album of new material, Lennon is returning with his sixth album, Everything Changes. The impetus? The death of Lucy Vodden, his childhood friend whose portrait he drew as a child that inspired the Beatles’ classic “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” Lennon reconnected with Vodden in later years, and just this past September she died of complications from Lupus. Lennon was at the time working on a song called “Lucy” with James Scott Cook, an artist on his new production company, theRevolution. The news altered the direction of that song, and now proceeds of the song are donated in part to charities that support Lupus research.
  • Ever wonder if the Grammy nominations might one day include only “Best Song” categories? I mean, does anyone buy a full BeyoncĂ© album anymore? A recent study discusses the effects of unbundling digital music and possible ways for labels to continue to make money even as the trend to cherry pick songs increases.
  • Record producer and Del-Fi label owner Bob Keane, best known for signing Richie Valens, died this past weekend at age 87. Keane went on to aid the careers of a variety of rock greats including Barry White, Sam Cooke, and Frank Zappa. More here.
  • Already looking ahead to 2010 for best new album? Perhaps Shearwater will be on your list (we know it will be on Cheryl Waters’!). The Golden Archipelago, the third album in a triptych conceived by singer-songwriter Jonathan Meiburg, comes out on February 23rd. Matador has made an MP3 of the album available for you to download now, and you can download at higher quality with artword from the Matablog.

Shearwater – Castaways (MP3)

  • And leave it to a 14-year old to find a good use for social networking: on a new Facebook group, John Mellencamp‘s son Speck claims “i made a deal with my dad that if i get a 1,000,000 to join this group he will quit smoking.” The elder Mellencamp has unsuccessfully tried to quit since his 1994 heart attack. Join now, with over 100,000 others to this date, and help Speck hang on to his dad — if not for him, how about for “Hurts So Good,” “Jack and Diane,” “Small Town,” “Pink Houses,” and about a hundred others?
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