A couple years back, any one of these bits alone probably would have made for its own post. But the country's "best music scene" stays in the national spotlight an awful lot these days, so here are some of the week's most noteworthy, nationally oriented music-news bits:
* Back in the winter and early spring, when I was working on my cover story about The Black Keys moving to Nashville, drummer Patrick Carney asked politely that I not leak any inside info I might come across while being granted a tour of frontman Dan Auerbach's Nashville-based studio Easy Eye Sound System. Auerbach and Carney remained relatively aloof regarding what projects they had in the works, but I had a sneaking suspicion that Blakroc, their hip-hop collaboration with Damon Dash, was gearing up for another release. I wasn't wrong. As you'll see above, the Keys laid down some tracks with Talib Kweli, U God, Wiz Khalifa, a very menacing-looking Sean Price and many more, and another Blakroc release is "coming soon." All of the shots in the video appear to be from a studio other than Easy Eye — as far as I could make out from between the billowing, opaque clouds of ganja smoke, anyhow. Also, the Keys have totally wrapped up their next LP, and it's reportedly "way more driving [than Brothers] and the tempos are really fast."
* I've heard indie-rock outfit Manchester Orchestra referred to as "the Kings of Leon of Atlanta" on an occasion or two. And since KOL loves The Features, why shouldn't M.O. love them too? Well, frontman Andy Hull at least does. Drummer-friendly blog Kick Snare Hat ran a list of Hull's Top 5 drummers of all time, and Features basher Rollum Haas was Hull's No. 2. He beat out John Bonham, for shit's sake! "Now, if you ever get the chance to watch this motherfucker play the drums," says Hull, "do yourself a favor and do it. He’s the most interesting and fun player I’ve ever seen." I'm with you on this one, Hull. Haas — who has also played with outfits including Lylas, The Privates and Tristen — is in my Top 2 Favorite Local Drummers, alongside Scott Martin (Cortney Tidwell, Hobbledeions). The man is a beast.
* Remember when Gold told you about how that Sony/PIAS distribution center fire during the London riots destroyed 1,000 copies of JEFF the Brotherhood's We Are the Champions, along with millions of other CDs? Well, it turns out that roughly 3 million units were destroyed — a conservative number compared to the originally projected estimate of 25 million — and The Telegraph reports that the fire was likely part of a "professional heist." Here's a snippet of the report:
Sources in the security industry disclosed that intruders first arrived wielding specialist cutting equipment and spent up to two hours dismantling a high security fence before breaking in.
It is claimed that they then summoned a fleet of vans and drove inside the premises, which are set back from the main focus of rioting in the area, before beginning to load up stock.
According to one source, security guards on site were effectively overwhelmed and unable to fend off the intruders, knowing that police were already stretched as anarchy gripped the capital.
After loading up with stolen goods, the robbers are then said to have invited other gangs in to continue the looting in an attempt to cover their tracks.
That's some Ocean's 11 shit right there. Talk about music piracy. The intrigue!
* A lot of Third Man Records fans are still reeling over the news that their messiah, Mr. John Anthony "Jack White" Gillis, recently recorded a single here in Nashville with the universally derided Insane Clown Posse. (If you don't believe me, have a look at the vitriol unleashed by TMR fans on this Facebook post.) Anyway, ICP's Violent J spoke with Billboard about the collab, and it sounds like he was basically as shocked as anyone that he got a call from White:
"He explained to us the song was basically called 'Lick My Ass,' and we went, 'Ah, figures. 'Lick My Ass' featuring ICP,' " the Detroit rap duo's Violent J tells Billboard.com. "We like to think there's more of a method to our madness. We don't just do songs with a dumb name. But once (White) explained to us how (Mozart) had a sense of humor and everything, and we saw how excited (White) was about it, that got us fired up, and we really got into it."
"The most respected musician in the world and one of the most hated musicians in the world. We didn't expect that call, brother."
Violent J — Christian name Joseph Bruce — also told Billboard that White's "exact quote was, 'We could've done a song with Megadeth and it wouldn't be as talked-about as us working with you guys.' That's crazy awesome." So there you have it. White knows that the only time to truly start worrying isn't when people are doubting you — it's when people aren't talking about you at all.
* And finally, South by Southwest is gearing up for next year's festivities, and today is the last day you can vote for or against certain panels SXSW is tentatively planning on hosting. One of the potential panels is called "College Radio's Crisis: Activism or Apathy," and one of the speakers there would/will/could be Sharon Scott of Nashville's WRVU Friends and Family. Another potential panel is called "Futurism vs. Reality in Digital Music," and that one would/will/could feature Nashvillian, former Coolfer dude and current Billboard reporter Glenn Peoples. Go over there and get your thumbs-up on if you want to see Nashville represented in the Conversation 2.0.