Unplugging: Is Sonic Youth breaking up?

Posted by Lilly Angelle, MXDWN

This week, musicians whose work span back more that 25 years are in the news, and we are glad their harmonious drudgery is still alive and kicking... for now at least.

Rumor has it that noise-rock band Sonic Youth may be calling it quits after 30 years of rocking. Although there has not been an official statement as of yet, Matador Records, the band’s label, has been dropping hints ever since the October announcement that group members Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore were filing for divorce after almost 30 years of marriage.

Matador announced that the group would play South America, but "plans beyond that tour are uncertain." Their November 14th performance in San Paulo, Brazil may go down in the books as being their final show together, sadly.

Adding to the rumor mill of Sonic Youth’s possible break up is guitarist Lee Ranaldo’s upcoming release of his solo album Between the Times & the Tides. Set to be released in March via Matador Records, Ranaldo’s latest solo work will feature a slew of guest performers, such as Jim O’Rourke, Sonic Youth affiliates Steve Shelley and Bob Bert, Nes Cline and Irwin Menkin, among others. Ranaldo recently debuted his solo work as the opening act for the group Wild Flag at The Bellhouse in Brooklyn. Ranaldo will perform at Gasslands Gallery on December 16th, joined by Alan Lict, Steve Shelley and Irwin Menkin.

With the recent release of 2012 tour dates in support of King of Limbs, the members of Radiohead are making music news headlines. Radiohead plans to release their live studio broadcast of King of Limbs on DVD and Bluray. Originally aired on television, the live broadcast is dubbed From the Basement, and features the entire King of Limbs album, as well as a few bonus tracks and unreleased songs.

From the Basement will be released digitally on December 19th through iTunes. The physical release is expected to hit stores in late January, and will come with a 32-page photo booklet.

Punk rock band FEAR is in the holiday spirit, with their upcoming release of their 4th Christmas album, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 7”, featuring the B-side, "Another Christmas Beer." The album will be a digital and vinyl exclusive Black Friday release.

FEAR always has a busy season ahead, as they’ll make an appearance at the upcoming SXSW Music Festival, and have announced a tour schedule. In addition to live performances, FEAR will release a re-recording of their 1982 release, The Record. Fittingly titled The Rerecord, the return to their debut album will be released via End Records in early 2012.

Chuck D, front man of the legendary rap group Public Enemy, is seeking justice against the group’s label, Universal Music Group. He has filed a class action lawsuit against the label over conflict regarding royalties.

According to Chuck D, Universal Music Group has not met contractual obligations regarding digital song downloads and ringtones, in terms of fair royalty dispersal. The suit claims the label owes its artists a hefty amount of royalty compensation.

Chuck D does not stand alone in his claim against the label, as singer Rick James has also filed a suit against Universal regarding licensing profits. Artists whose songs have been downloaded digitally allegedly have not received their full percentage of net receipt amounts. Chuck D claims that Universal treats digital downloads and ringtones as physical sales, reducing royalties to compensate for tangible packaging and materials. Obviously, reducing royalties for digital and ringtone sales is in no way valid.

Unplugging in Brief:

Sonic Youth’s Sao Paulo Performance May Be Group’s Last
Sonic Youth’s record label has been dropping hints of Sonic Youth’s possible breakup, which comes recently after the separation of band members Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. 

Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo to Release Solo Album – Feeding the Sonic Youth breakup rumors is guitarist Lee Ranaldo’s upcoming solo release, and his recent debut as an opener for Wild Flag.

Radiohead to Release From the Basement Live Studio Performance on DVD – As Radiohead gears up for their 2012 tour, they plan to release a digital and physical television performance of King of Limbs, including some bonus material.

FEAR To Play SXSW 2012 and Announce Black Friday Release of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 7″ - Punk rockers FEAR are very busy, what with their upcoming tour and SXSW performance, and their Black Friday exclusive holiday vinyl release.

Chuck D Files Class Action Lawsuit Over Digital Royalties – Public Enemy front man is going after the group’s label, Universal Music Group, for their alleged withholding of partial digital royalties from musicians on behalf of their tangible packaging deductions.

Lily Angelle, MXDWN