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FYI

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 4, 2021

A rave review for The Weather Station (pictured), a new memoir from Greg Godovitz, and Chris Houston’s partnership with Michael Fonfara. Also in the headlines are Neil Peart, podcasts, Mozart, Neil Young, Morgan Wallen, Marilyn Manson, Sony Music, Kobalt, WMG, Hipgnosis, Clubhouse, Eric Church, Trackd, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Tony Bennett, Dusty Springfield, and Cheap Trick.

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 4, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Neil Young announces release of “lost” album ‘Johnny’s Island’

The album was recorded in Hawaii in 1982. – Rhian Daly NME


The Weather Station’s Ignorance is the year’s first need-to-know album

Ignorance, her new, fifth album, marks Tamara Lindeman’s inaugural foray into composing on keyboard, not guitar, and her first time building arrangements on her own before presenting the songs to a band. With its jazz dynamics and occasional references to uneasy 1980s pop, Ignorance features some of Lindeman’s richest, most sophisticated tracks yet. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Some of 2021’s best music is being made on podcasts

Music podcasts like 155, 2 Much TV and Streams & Variations aren't just talking about music – they're creating it. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Why Rush left Neil Peart to write their lyrics

Rush frontman Geddy Lee recalled how he and guitarist Alex Lifeson decided to leave lyric-writing duties to late drummer Neil Peart soon after he joined the band in 1974. It didn’t take long for the trio to lock into a form of songwriting they all enjoyed, but when Peart arrived there was a requirement to deliver new music quickly. – Martin Kielty,  UCR

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Greg Godovitz, who once bonked me on the head with his bass at a Goddo show, releases new book

When Greg Godovitz released his first memoir, Travels With My Amp, there was no mention of bonking me on the head with his bass. Maybe the incident made the cut on his new book, Up Close and Uncomfortable, which was recently announced today. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Mozart’s ‘deceptive simplicity’ explains why we still celebrate the composer and his music on his 265th birthday

For orchestras there are also practical reasons for performing Mozart. Together with Bach and Beethoven he numbers among the world’s three most popular composers. To put the matter bluntly, he is good for the box office. – William Littler, Toronto Star

Punk iconoclast Chris Houston completes a trilogy that features Michael Fonfara

Few musicians mourned the recent loss of Canadian keyboard master Michael Fonfara more than Hamilton’s Chris Houston. The two were longtime friends and for the past three years had been working on a trilogy of Houston solo albums. The final chapter in that trilogy — a wonderfully bizarre collection of nine Houston originals titled “Psychotic Pandemic Freakout” — was released online last week. – Graham Rockingham, Hamilton Spectator

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China not convinced by Canada's Wu-Tang Clan explanation

A ruckus brought by China over Canadian T-shirts bearing an altered logo of the New York hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan continued Wednesday, with China’s Foreign Ministry saying it didn’t buy Canada’s explanation that the shirts were not an insult linked to the coronavirus. – AP

Oshawa Music Awards expand to celebrate all Durham musicians

Although the Oshawa Music Awards began in Oshawa, the OMAs now look to celebrate all musicians and those associated with the Region. The diverse and varied music community of Durham Region will be centre stage at the Oshawa Music Awards (OMAs), taking place in September 2021. – Will McGurk, Slow City

Over 90,000 participate in NAMM's 'Believe in Music Week' online event

NAMM reports that 93,226 industry leaders, buyers, sellers, music educators, artists, media, and music makers from 187 countries and territories gathered recently to take part in its Believe in Music week online event. The event, which spanned Monday, Jan. 18 to Friday, Jan. 22, saw industry professionals virtually convene in 983 special sessions and events. – Michael Raine, Canadian Music Trade

Toronto is a 16-hour a day symphony of construction noise. And it’s hard for a locked-down musician to compete

Musician Carrie Chesnutt was ready to do a livestream event last week, dressed up in one of her signature colourful outfits with saxophone in hand ready to make music for an audience on Facebook. But then the jack-hammering started. – Brian Bradley, Toronto Star

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International

Sony is paying $430M to buy AWAL and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights

According to a source, Sony Music has agreed to pay Kobalt USD $430 million (“subject to customary working capital and other adjustments”) in order to acquire AWAL and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights (KNR) – from Kobalt Music Group. So long as regulatory conditions are met, the two ex-Kobalt subsidiaries will now jointly form a new division at Sony Music. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Sony Music revenues soared above $4.5bn in 2020, after huge final quarter of the year

Sony's global recorded music operation (Sony Music) saw its annual streaming revenues jump by 19.5%, or nearly half a billion US dollars (+$467m), in calendar 2020. Those streaming revenues hit $2.87bn in the 12 months, as Sony's worldwide recorded music revenues – across all formats, licensing etc. – hit $4.51bn, up 8.1% YoY. After a pandemic-affected wobble in calendar Q2, Sony Music had a much stronger Q3 when its quarterly turnover returned $1.16bn. – MBW

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Warner Music Group Corp. announced its first-quarter financial results for the period ended December 31, 2020.

"Despite the impact of Covid, we generated the highest quarterly revenue in our 17-year history as a standalone company, growing 4% compared to the prior-year period, which was unaffected by Covid," said Steve Cooper, CEO, Warner Music Group. – Globe Newswire

Country radio quickly removing Morgan Wallen from playlists after racial slur

Cumulus Media sent a directive to its 400-plus stations to remove the country star from its playlists. More stations are expected to follow, and DSPs also looked to be removing Wallen from their landing pages — a stunning development for someone who was the most successful recording artist in any genre at the moment. – Chris Willman, Variety

Op-Ed: Morgan Wallen

Wallen was too stupid to know that when you’re a celebrity all eyes are upon you. That’s the price you pay. If you wanted to be a rock star and do rock star things you should have made it before smartphone cameras. Today your bad behavior is documented, and there are always people looking to take you down. – Bob Lefsetz, Celebrity Access

Marilyn Manson dropped by record label after abuse allegations

Loma Vista says it will “cease to further promote his current album, effective immediately” – Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone

Marilyn Manson loses multiple TV gigs, his CAA representation, and his label deal following abuse allegations

 Marilyn Manson continues to face serious consequences following multiple abuse allegations. Actress Evan Rachel Wood blew the lid off of the whole situation on Instagram. After her story, several other women came forward to discuss abuse they suffered at the hands of the singer. Wood says Manson, real name Brian Warner, groomed her from a young age. – Ashley King, DMN

Marilyn Manson calls sexual, physical abuse allegations ‘horrible distortions of reality’

“My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners,” musician writes. “Regardless of how – and why – others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth” – Jason Newman, Rolling Stone

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Clubhouse is set to change the culture: Don’t miss out

More than just a place to hang out and network, Clubhouse is “in the pole position to change the culture like no social platform has since Music.ly and Instagram before that,” writes Nue Agency’s Jesse Kirshbaum.  – Hypebot

Meet the man spending billions on rock music royalty

Merck Mercuriadis of Hipgnosis is buying up songs from artists like Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and Shakira. Here, he talks about his approach. – Alex Webb, Bloomberg

How this jingle king helps musicians find their voice through podcast musicals

As the pandemic shelved live concerts, aspiring artists like Scarlett Burke have been looking for new ways to reach homebound audiences. Enter Audio Up, which aims to capitalize on the demand by helping musicians launch their own scripted podcast musicals — serialized stories in which musicians perform their songs and play themselves. – Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times

Top 10 secret Beatles collaborations

Maybe the Beatles' all-consuming fame was such that they began to crave a certain anonymity. Maybe they were trying to avoid hassles relating to label affiliations. Or maybe they were just being silly. Regardless of the circumstance, as the below list of Top 10 Secret Beatles Collaborations shows, history eventually revealed a series of initially anonymous credits while producing, writing and playing sessions under made-up names. – Nick DeRiso, UCR

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Eric Church never wanted to sing the Super Bowl national anthem. Then came the Capitol riot

Before Jan. 6, Eric Church had little to no interest in singing the national anthem. “Honestly, there’s just more to lose than to gain," he says. Yet last month’s storming of the U.S. Capitol changed Church’s thinking about “risk versus reward,” as he puts it. – Mikael Wood, LA Times

London rap act earns more on Trackd than from a million streams

Nearly a year into the pandemic and the music industry is crumbling away before our very eyes with no tours, events, or gigs. Trackd is the first app to enable Singers, Songwriters, Rappers, Musicians, DJs and more to earn a monthly income from music, while ensuring that almost all of the money fans pay goes directly to the artists. – EIN Presswire

This is what happens when a Buddhist nun joins a heavy metal band

Five men walked onstage one Saturday night in January with electric guitars, and the audience anticipated one thing: ear-piercing riffs. The black-clad members of a heavy metal band matched the color of the central Taiwan Legacy Taichung concert hall’s hulking amplifiers. But one member of the band stood out more than the others. – Ralph Jennings, LA Times

Kris Kristofferson retires from stage and screen

Kris Kristofferson is always good for a few surprises, but future performances on stage or on screen won’t likely be among them. A news release announcing a shift in management for the 84-year-old singer, songwriter, and actor’s estate also revealed that he quietly retired last year. – Stacy Chandler, No Depression

Sundance 2021: Summer of Soul review – thrilling documentary reveals a forgotten festival

Revelatory footage from the 1969 Harlem Cultural festival, crudely known for a while as the Black Woodstock, is brought to life in a spectacular new film. –The Guardian

Tony Bennett's battle with Alzheimer's

For four years, the legendary singer and his family have kept his secret. Now, they're breaking their silence. – John Colapinto, AARP

Revisiting the tender sounds of Dusty Springfield

A new compilation, “Dusty Springfield: The Complete Atlantic Singles 1968-1971,” collects the tracks from the richest period in the singer’s career. – Amanda Petrusich, New Yorker

2020 expanded Critics’ Poll results

JazzTimes’ critics pick their favorite artists, books, documentaries, and more from the year just past. – JazzTimes

Terri Lyne Carrington is the definition of Black Girl Magic

Anointed by jazz legends like Oscar Peterson and Ella, Carrington was destined for greatness. Four decades later, she’s proven she is not only great, but groundbreaking. She’s earning the highest honour bestowed on jazz artists, the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters Award. The three-time Grammy winner is now nminated for best instrumental jazz album – an award she won in 2014. – Mesfin Fekadu, AP

The Velvet Mafia: the gay men who helped shape music in the 60s

The story of rock’n’roll in the 60s has been told countless times by the stars who sang the songs, spun the solos or thrashed the drums. In the UK at the time, that most often meant straight white men, as it did in the US. But the people who shaped the stars were, by a wide margin, gay men. – The Guardian

Charli XCX Remembers SOPHIE: “I Love You and I Will Never Forget You”

“She taught me so much about myself without even realizing.”  – Noah Yoo, Pitchfork

African American Music Association tabs Emmy-winning producer as Executive Director

Beverly Lindsay-Johnson, an Emmy-winning producer/director and entertainment consultant, has been named executive director of the African American Music Association, a D.C.-based nonprofit. Lindsay-Johnson assumed her new post in January. – The Washington Informer

Peter Frampton salutes his boyhood pal David Bowie

The British rock legend has announced a second instrumental album, the apt-titled Frampton Forgets the Words, which will be released on April 23.  One of the tracks on the upcoming disc is a cover of "Loving the Alien", a 1984 song by David Bowie, who Frampton had known since childhood. The two attended art school together in Bromley. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Dolly Parton explains why she rejected Trump’s Medal of Freedom — not once but twice

Dolly Parton and the Presidential Medal of Freedom just can’t seem to connect. First, former President Obama admitted in December that overlooking Parton for the nation’s highest civilian honor was a mistake he would try to remedy via the Biden administration. The country singer, who is famously apolitical, has revealed that she was offered the honor not once but twice by Trump, but couldn’t make it to either ceremony. – Christie D, Los Angeles Times

Cheap Trick replace Live+ on Under The Southern Stars

Cheap Trick will perform in Australia from April as part of Under The Southern Stars replacing Live+. This is the first Australian music festival featuring international acts since Covid kicked in.  Under The Southern Stars also features the previously announced Bush and Stone Temple Pilots flanked with Australian acts Rose Tattoo and Electric Mary. All international acts will spend two weeks in quarantine before the tour. – Noise11

Lil Uzi Vert got a $24m diamond implanted on his forehead

He's apparently been saving up for the pink gem since 2017. –  Eli Enis, Consequence of Sound

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Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Joey Martinez

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Rock

Neil Young's New Album 'FU##IN' UP' Has Live Recordings from Intimate Toronto Venue The Rivoli

FU##IN' UP, the new album by Neil Young & Crazy Horse, features performances of songs from his 1990 album Ragged Glory, recorded live at Toronto's Rivoli, seemingly during a much-rumoured secret show last November. He'll bring his upcoming tour to Toronto's Budweiser Stage in May, 2024.

Canadian icon Neil Young is adding to his immense discography with a new release this spring, a live album titled FU##IN UP'. The album, featuring Young's longtime band Crazy Horse, consists of nine live recordings from 2023 and is set for a limited edition two-LP release this April, in partnership with Record Store Day. According to the album's credits as noticed by Exclaim!, it was recorded at Toronto's Rivoli club, meaning it likely captures Neil Young & Crazy Horse's secret show at the Rivoli last November.

At that show — supposedly a private birthday party for Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss — according to reports that generated a lot of buzz when they appeared online days later, Young performed most of his 1990 album Ragged Glory. FU##IN' UP features primarily songs from Ragged Glory, with new titles taken from lyric fragments. ("Over and Over," shared as a single, is now "Broken Circle.") The album features performances from Crazy Horse members Billy Talbot on bass, Ralph Molina on drums, and Nils Lofgren and Micah Nelson on guitar and piano, and Reiss is credited as a presenter.

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