Monday News Roundup

  • The week begins with the sad passing of 68-year-old Alphonso “Fonce” Mizell, member of The Corporation (a group of writer-producers who created many early hits for the Jackson 5, among others) and cofounder of Sky High Productions (with his brother Larry). When Motown moved to Los Angeles, the Mizell brothers teamed up with trumpet player Donald Byrd to release the album Black Byrd, the first in a series of records that defined fusion jazz and laid the groundwork for acid jazz and neo soul. Mizell was the uncle to KEXP DJ Larry Mizell, Jr., host of the much-loved Street Sounds show. R.I.P., Fonce Mizell — your influence and your passion will not be forgotten.
  • In less somber news, The Smiths‘ indomitable frontman Morrissey was attacked by a dog, sustaining injuries to his hand and arm. X-rays at a hospital in Malmo, Sweden revealed a fractured index finger. The injury will not affect upcoming shows, including his performance at the London Palladium that reportedly sold out in five minutes. No word yet on the fate of the dog, or whether Morrissey will henceforth chance his stance concerning meat as murder.

  • July 19th will see the release of three-disc compilation Live From Nowhere Near You, a benefit for homeless youth. A featured guest on the playlists of vagabond youth, the Elliott Smith estate has agreed to contribute one of the late singer-songwriter’s songs to the collection – but most interesting is the fact that the track in question, “The Real Estate,” has never before been released. Pitchfork has a stream of one version of the track, as it will be mixed differently on the album. Head over here to check it out, and read a letter from compilation curator Kevin Moyer detailing the origin of the song.
  • Also dropping July 19th are the eagerly-awaited reissues of punk legends The Ramones‘ first four albums: Ramones (1976), Leave Home (1977), Rocket to Russia (1977), and Road to Ruin (1978), all on 180-gram vinyl. Special limited edition sets include bonus 7-inches on blue vinyl (limited to 500 copies). Slicing Up Eyeballs has the full scoop, including tracklists.
  • Speaking of album sales, the figures are in from the first half of 2011, and much to everyone’s surprise, album sales are up for the first time since 2004. Billboard reports that compared to the first half of 2010, 2011 saw a one percent (2 million albums) rise in sales, arriving to around 155 million. That’s not all! General music sales have risen 8.5 percent since last year; digital track sales have risen 11 percent from 2010; digital album sales rose 19 percent; and vinyl shot up 41 percent for vinyl. Top-movers include, unsurprisingly, Adele‘s 21 ( the year’s number one album, at 2.5 million sold) and Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way (thanks to the Amazon 99-cent fire sale). Vinyl heavyweights include Fleet FoxesHelplessness Blues and The BeatlesAbbey Road, both of whom have moved 20,000 units. Keep it up, people!
  • We’ll close out today with the welcome news that KEXP favorites The Head and the Heart will embark on their first-ever headlining tour in September, rounding out their massive 2011 by trotting across North America, accompanied by Thao with the Get Down Stay Down. The run-up to the band’s headlining dates include appearances at Austin City Limits, FYF Fest, The Dave Matthews Band Caravan, and of course, this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party. Here’s hoping they don’t wear themselves out!
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