All posts tagged: Business

Caught on Tape: The Day I Didn’t Disappear in Front of George Harrison

It was a day of unmatched California beauty; a startling and fiery sun perched high above in a crystal blue sky and blazed down promise. It was an essential day, a meteorological marvel meant to be stored away for future reference. “Dude,” a friend would ask the following week, “do you remember how amazing it was last Tuesday?” And of course you do. Even if the day itself was all you’d been given, that would have been gift enough. But the weather was merely an underscoring for the occasion, a gilded and golden opportunity to spend an hour with George Harrison. You’ll forget how to breathe before you forget this. Simply saying the words out loud (actually you’re reduced to mumbling them sotto voce because you’re afraid that anything above a whisper might reduce the reality to mirage) – “I am hanging with a Beatle” – is enough to render you stupid. Then you start considering the notion that maybe Harrison himself ordered up the perfect day as an interview-ambience backdrop. We all knew that …

Mix Six: “Songs for the Downwardly Mobile”

DOWNLOAD THE FULL MIX HERE You know that sinking feeling you get when you hear your boss say: “Hey, can I see you in my office?” Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t, then you’re one of the fortunate few who hasn’t been laid off, downsized, made redundant, or just lost a job. I was laid off last June as part of the first wave of this recession, and at the time, I thought: “Well, I’ll find something in the next two or three months.”  Three months turned into four, four into seven, and even though I was doing all the things one is supposed to do when looking for work, I had exactly one interview for an editorial job, and then … nothing but polite letters of rejection. Of course, as I was trying to change my microeconomic situation, the global macroeconomic terrain shifted and what little air was left inside the bubble leaked out in an SBD way, causing many jobs to wither up and die in its cloud …

SXSW ’09: Off to Austin

As I write this, I’m sitting at the gate at Newark Liberty Airport, waiting for my flight to Austin. The ungodly hour is 6:20 a.m. As you read this, hopefully I’m jetting over America, on my way to SXSW. This is my first visit to SXSW, but I’ve worked hard on my schedule to provide the best possible coverage of this massive event. The festivities begin officially tomorrow, but I’ll be out and about today and tonight, getting the lay of the land. So check back here each day to see what I’ve been up to. I hope to be able to include photos, and perhaps even some video. You can also follow my adventures on Twitter @popdose. See you in Austin. Ken

My Citi Was Gone

I have a lot of thoughts about the quasi-nationalization of Citigroup, because I am a Citibank shareholder. Some of those shares were acquired in the traditional capitalist manner; my husband placed an order through his online brokerage account. (We thought we were so smart, buying shares at $5 and change!) Some of the Citi exposure came through socialist means: I’m a U.S. citizen, so Timothy Geithner doubled down on my stake. What happened? Subprime mortgages and global financial collapse aside, Citigroup may have become too big to manage. It is definitely too big for another bank to take over; Chase was willing to take over Washington Mutual accounts, but it could not handle the account volume of Citi, too. Citibank has long pushed the financial supermarket idea. By offering banking, brokerage, and insurance services under one umbrella, Citi hoped to make it easy for customers to deal with them. It also hoped to squeeze more profits out of each person who walked through the door. But it was always a tough sell. Savvy investors don’t …

How Bad Can It Be?: Mishka

So I’m eating pork rinds naked at my computer, idly wiping my greasy hands on my thighs while the dog slouches in a corner licking her chops, and I come across an e-mail invitation to a CD release party to celebrate the launch of Matthew McConaughey’s new record label. I’ll pause for a moment to let the full horror of that image sink in: Matthew McConaughey has his own record label. Matthew McConaughey, that handsome devil whose film career gives new meaning to the word “underperform.” Looking back over his résumé, I’m surprised to note how many good movies he’s made (at least one of them—John Sayles’ Lone Star—genuinely great). The thing is, I completely forgot he was in any of them. What comes to mind, thinking about the guy, is a string of financial or artistic debacles (Amistad, The Newton Boys, Sahara); his terrible performance (and wardrobe) in Contact; the dead-eyed sleepwalking through interchangeable rom-coms. When Failure to Launch opened, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was a documentary about McConaughey’s career …

Touch And Go Records: Certainly The Second Part

In sudden and shocking fashion, it was announced today that Touch And Go Records, the venerable Chicago label, would be closing down its distribution wing and, at least for the moment, will no longer be releasing new music. Touch And Go Distribution, formerly Southern Distribution, moved labels like Merge, Drag City, Thrill Jockey, as well as their own Touch And Go imprint and subsidiary Quarterstick Records. Among the Touch And Go label roster, bands like Slint, The Jesus Lizard, Calexico, Brainiac, The Dirty Three, Urge Overkill found their audiences during their association, with some staying on even when big label money called. The blame falls, of course, on the bad economy and the ever-dominant digital market making physical product less and less financially viable. While a return to releasing new music may yet happen (in fact a couple of releases are still slated to come out) it is all dependent on a market recovery, something that most analysts are not counting on. Essentially, this could well be the end of one of independent music’s cornerstone …

Lost in the ’80s: The Wild Swans

This has been a week of happy endings for me, and I’m not referring to a trip to the massage parlor (this time). Y’see, twenty-odd years ago, I bought one of those awesome Sire Records compilations Just Say Yes, which featured a veritable who’s who of new wave/alternative rock in the late ’80s.  Amongst the Depeche Mode and Erasure remixes sat a song by The Wild Swans, a combo from Liverpool that had been kicking around in various forms since the dawn of the decade.  The Wild Swans were a little New Order, a little Echo & The Bunnymen (in fact, Bunny drummer Pete de Freitas produced their debut single), and a dash of every other jangle-rock band of the moment – Sire had a habit of signing a lot of bands that sort of blended together.  Isn’t that right Ocean Blue? In fact, vocalist/keyboardist Paul Simpson doesn’t have much good to say about his experience on Sire – from a 2004 interview: “Being on a major was just one compromise after another. To be …

The Popdose Guide to Peter Himmelman, Part Two

When last we left Peter Himmelman, he was leaving (or being pushed out of) the major-label world, and heading for indier pastures. Far from signaling an end to his career — or even a real slowdown in his hectic release schedule — this move seemed instead to provoke a flood of new Himmelman music. The five albums we’ll cover in Part Two of our Himmelman Guide may not seem like a whole lot, but they’re really just the tip of the iceberg. For reasons of space and time, we won’t be covering two children’s albums (My Fabulous Plum and My Lemonade Stand), four odds & sods collections (From the Himmelvaults, volumes 1-4), or any of the Emmy-nominated incidental music he’s written for television. Not to mention any of the other cool stuff to be found at his official site. Clearly, the man has been gifted with an impressive work ethic. But how does the work itself hold up? Let’s go find out. Stage Diving (1996)purchase this album Himmelman dealt with his new free-agent status the …