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Lots of chatter at one L.A.-based, high-profile indie where an A&R staff member was recently fired due to an altercation with a fellow employee in marketing.
WHEELS & DEALS HOLIDAY SPECIAL
It’s the Same Crap as Always—There's Just Twice as Much of It This Time
By Rodel “Elfin” Delfin

RICE & BEANS—THE INDIE REPORT: Before you start downing the eggnog to work yourself into a holiday drunken stupor, we’ve decided to do something a little different with our year-end report. Since we’ve been covering the growing relationship between indie acts/labels and the majors over the past year, we felt the need to give the indie voice their own space. As an adjunct to Wheels, expect to see our Rice & Beans report on a frequent basis in 2006. It’s like ordering the combo with your burrito at El Compadre on Sunset (the HITS cesspool is in Hollywood now; no more Casa Vega for us). But this week, my indie reporting colleagues (Pedro, Pablo y Juanita) and yours truly are just dishing the indie stuff—so no Wheels burrito for you until the start of next year. But before you go into weasel withdrawal, here are a couple of tidbits to keep you barfing chunks into the new year… Virgin kingpin Jason Flom and A&R player David Wolter bring Leftwing Records dude Steven Melrose to the label’s A&R team as a consultant. Barrister Steve Sessa mediated the deal... Expect the highly pursued, Randy Nichols-repped Starting Line to have a new label home in the new year. Inside sources share that the deal is done… Meanwhile, lots of buzz building on indie band From First to Last. We hear this one is starting to get nutty. We’ll keep you posted… AND NOW FOR THE FIRST BITE: The Steve Reddy-run Equal Vision Records has reportedly renewed their distribution arrangement with RED; however, said deal no longer includes an upstream component to the Sony majors. EVR was reportedly unhappy with their upstream situation and would only renew with RED without it. Meanwhile, Sony brass were apparently not happy with EVR opting out of their uplift arrangement, since they only acquired one act from the indie’s roster during their upstream term together… Lots of chatter at one L.A.-based, high-profile indie where an A&R staff member was recently fired due to an altercation with a fellow employee in marketing. The terminated staffer was reportedly escorted out of the building after he trashed the office of the other while in a fit of rage. Boy, we haven’t heard of this much anger since David Adelson walked into his office to find it completely filled with packing peanuts. Ah, those were the good ol’ days at this trade rag… Speaking of upstream, several majors are apparently talking with Fearless Records about an uplift arrangement. Fearless is home to Gatsbys American Dream, Rock Kill’s Kid and Plain White T’s, among others. Is the Bunny leading the charge on this front? And is the interest being spurred by the buzz on PWT’s?… Rich Egan and company at Vagrant Records are launching an integrated online store where customers can purchase digital downloads and artist-related merchandise with a single credit card. They are also launching a mobile phone fan club in the coming year. Meanwhile, expect a new Dashboard Confessional album in spring ’06, as well as some new signings in the new year… Punk stalwart SideOneDummy celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Look for a four-night celebration at L.A.’s Key Club in March featuring the label roster. The show will be filmed for a DVD documentary and retrospective. In addition, SideOne will be issuing vinyl releases by veterans MXPX and the Steve Albini-produced gypsy punkers Gogol Bordello. The label will also release full-lengths by the Casualties and the Briggs, along with Warped ’06 and Atticus 4 compilations, plus a retrospective DVD from Flogging Molly… Kid Millionaire/superstar DJ Steve Aoki and his Dimmak label have signed the London-based, ’80s synthpop-obsessed White Rose Movement. Expect their first album on Dimmak in the new year. By the way, did you see the L.A Times two-page feature on Aoki a few weeks ago in the paper’s Weekend section? The dude is blowing up... The Sal Villanueva-produced full-length from Folly will be released in January on Triple Crown Records. Lima, OH-based, emo rockers Hit the Lights are putting the final touches on their debut album, set for release next year. In January, Triple Crown will release The Triple Crown Video Files: Volume 1, which will feature videos from Brand New, Northstar and Death Threat and exclusive live videos from Kevin Devine, Folly, Receiving End of Sirens and more… Lastly, the Saddle Creek-signed Two Gallants will release their next album in the new year after flirting with numerous interests from majors stateside and across the pond earlier this year. And expect a ’06 release by Cursive on the Omaha label as well… And that’s all folks. We’ll see ya in the ’06… HOLIDAY BUZZIN’: Surfing Puerto Escondido and desert chillin’ in Palm Springs… Hit me up: [email protected]

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