It seems like Japan is the only place where the CD still reigns supreme, at least compared to the dire market for the aging platform in the rest of the world. According to a new report from The New York Times, CDs still make up about 85% of album sales in the country, compared to just 57.2% in the U.S. market. The article speculates that the reason why Japan is still so attached to CDs is a business culture that “still views the digital business with suspicion” mixed with a market that values collectibles, which is why greatest hits compilations still do so well in the Japanese market. The CD market is also lucrative for record companies in the country because of retailer restrictions that limit the price of new CDs to more than $20.
Guided By Voices already broke up once, and very ceremoniously so, with a lengthy 2004 farewell tour culminating in a New Year’s Eve blowout in Chicago. The Ohio indie-rock legends reunited their classic mid-’90s lineup in 2010 for a run of shows that turned out to be semi-endless, and in January 2012 they released the comeback album Let’s Go Eat The Factory, which turned out to be the first of six LPs in just over two years. Now GBV’s second run has come to a close with far less fanfare than the first time around. As The Music Charger points out, the band recently canceled its remaining 2014 tour dates and posted this message on its official website:
When he was playing Boston’s Fenway Park last night, Jack White went into a pretty funny tirade against Rolling Stone, and he also made a quick crack about the Foo Fighters having three guitarists onstage “playing the same parts.” Today, the Foo Fighters made their official response on Twitter:
Football season is pretty awkward this year. There’s a widespread unease about watching our modern gladiators destroy each other when so many of them have been accused of battering women and children lately — that is, if the whole concussion thing didn’t already have you feeling vaguely queasy about otherwise amazing moments like this. A seemingly endless parade of NFL players have faced allegations of domestic violence in recent weeks, a shit list including Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, and Jonathan Dwyer. And those are just this year’s examples! That particular sport has become so inextricable from that particular crime that it’s now almost impossible to enjoy the one without the other lingering in the back of your mind. In other words, watching NFL football has become a lot like listening to a Chris Brown record.
Here’s a weird way for a kickass garage rock song to come into existence: A major fashion brand commissions it for a Paris runway show. That’s the story behind “Had Ten Dollaz,” the new single from the young Californian trio Cherry Glazerr. Saint Laurent commissioned the song for a fall runway show, but the track doesn’t play like the sort of thing that exists for models to strut to. It’s a chunky, growling guitar stomper, and it’s a good reason to start paying attention to this band, if you aren’t already. Listen below.
Hey, Aphex Twin isn’t the only one releasing a new album after 13 years! Industrial-metal legends Godflesh are finally crafting a follow-up to 2001′s Hymns after roughly a decade of being broken up while Justin K. Broadrick moved forward to focus on other projects, including Jesu. This new album, A World Lit Only By Fire, is shaping up to be an exciting return, however. We’ve already heard “New Dark Ages” and now we’ve got “Imperator.” The song opens with pummeling bass and drums, and it could have easily just stayed there and been great. But around the halfway point, it gradually builds an eerie atmosphere without sacrificing any of the original aggression. It’s a monster of a song and you should listen below.
Next month, Johnny Marr will release his second solo LP, Playland, the follow-up to last year’s The Messenger. (I always thought of the 2003 release Boomslang, by Johnny Marr + The Healers, to be his solo debut, but I guess not. They were every bit Zak Starkey’s band, too!) We already heard Playland’s first single, “Easy Money,” which was a pretty excellent electronic-pop song, and today, we hear another, “The Trap,” which sounds … nothing like “Easy Money.” It kinda reminds me of the mellow psychedelic rock stuff that Ride were doing on their 1994 LP Carnival Of Light. It’s not gonna make anyone forget about the Smiths, but it’s a good song! BBC Radio 6 premiered it, and if you go here and scroll ahead to 53:09, you can hear it now.
Here’s how fucking weird 2014 is: Aphex Twin returned from a decade-long exile with a new album, and the thing sounds comforting. If you’re old enough, you probably remember hearing a new Aphex track for the first time and having the old “Wh-wh-what the fuck is happening here?!?” reaction. He made music that sounded impossible, music that seemed like it wasn’t supposed to exist. The first time I heard “Bucephalus Bouncing Ball” on headphones, I felt like my brain was breaking; something like that didn’t seem like it could be real. Even when Aphex would make pretty music in the past, it would feel like a disruption, a hard left turn from whatever came before. Selected Ambient Works Vol. II is one of the all-time best albums to fall asleep to, but it once seemed unbelievably strange that a rave producer (which is what Richard D. James once was) could make these extended ambient tones that would ripple and sustain and still somehow engage for 10 minutes at a time. “Avril 14th” is a shatteringly beautiful piece of music, but its spare piano plinks make for a stark contrast from the sputtering, gibbering, head-ripping drill-’n'-bass that made up much of 2001′s Drukqs, Aphex’s last proper album. (I have a vivid memory of listening to Drukqs on headphones next to a construction site, not always being able to tell which sounds were Aphex and which were actual jackhammers.) And now Aphex Twin has made a warm, welcoming, genuinely lovely album that still sounds like Aphex Twin, and in its way, that feels like the hardest left-turn of all.