Dear Portfolio: No matter what Sarah “Ultragrrrl” Lewitinn tells you, “eschew[ing] the popular computer program Serato Scratch Live to manage [your] playlists and instead [using] CD players connected to a mixer” has jack shit to do with “greater discipline” being forced upon you. Not to begrudge anyone who can actually get away with charging $250 an hour to play “Come on Eileen” and “Billie Jean,” of course; I used to do something similar when I was seven years old by putting sticks in paper containers and attempting to sell the result as “firewood.” [Portfolio]
Posts tagged "Ultragrrrl"
In addition to the rumors of layoffs at Sony BMG, another major label has started to shed personnel, with Island Def Jam letting people go on Friday; among the rumored departures are executive vice president of promotion Greg Thompson and A & R honchos Paul Pontius and Rob Stevenson. Island Def Jam has also severed its ties with Stolen Transmission, the “incubator” label that was run by Sarah “Ultragrrrl” Lewitinn, who addressed the situation in an upbeat post on AbsolutePunk.net:
Thanks everyone for all your kind words and support (save for the person above who still doesnt know the difference between there, their, and they’re). It really means a lot to me to hear you all say such nice things about the artists on Stolen Transmission.
Stolen Transmission started IN MY BEDROOM as an indie label putting out hand made cds of bands that me and Rob believed in. We werent funded back then, and we were really happy. We did everything because of how much we loved music. Now that I’ve had my experience with Island/Def Jam, I know how to actually run a label, and I helped set up 9 amazing releases from Permanent ME, the Oohlas, Monty Are I, Bright Light Fever, the Horrors, Schoolyard Heroes, PlayRadioPlay!, Innerpartysystem, and the Photo Atlas. I’m so fucking proud that my label went from me and a bunch of interns sitting in my bedroom smoking and watching degrassi and eating guac i had just made to me sitting in meetings once a week with JayZ and now it’ll just go back to being run from my apartment again. We plan on continuing with Stolen Transmission and are really excited to be returning to our indie roots.
I’m also glad to say that the Stolen Transmission party is coincedently starting in a new venue tonight! That means no more Angels & Kings, and now we’re going to the Hanger Bar (3rd street btw B and C), which is also more aligned with the vibe the party hand when the label was run out of my bedroom. This is all very very exciting for me.
Anyway, thanks for all your love and support. Stolen Transmission is not over, we’re just super duper indie again and now Absolutepunk can stop using the island def jam logo like we asked them to two years ago :P.
Now, we’ve certainly given Ultra her fair share of guff in this space before. But given the increasingly dire situation in the business, I have to say hats off to her for at least showing a little spunk in the face of what looks to be even rougher times for her chosen line of work (and from what I hear, those Fuse talking head gigs don’t exactly pay well, either). Anyway, I have a sinking feeling that we’ll probably have more layoff-related posts as the clock ticks toward holiday-party time–gotta save on those catering bills, after all!–so stay tuned.
Apparently the heat emanating from the Giants Stadium parking lot during this weekend’s emo-filled Bamboozle festival really got to label employee/self-styled tastemaker/Angels & Kings DJ Sarah “Ultragrrrl” Lewitinn, as she penned a lengthy blog post about the “death of emo” last night. It’s long, it doesn’t make much sense (aside from the bit where she big-ups her own label’s bands), and it ends with her pleading with people to listen to Bob Marley, Neil Diamond, or “something other than what you’re listening to,” but that’s why it may be one of the best blog posts we’ve read all week. Some highlights after the jump.
even the people in the bands that are considered emo hate emo, and i dont blame them. just like nu-metal and fred durst, this shit is ready for its grave.
but fuck all the shitty bands i saw over the weekend. oh my god, i wanna kill myself after this weekend. no wonder music sales are so low, so many young kids are buying shitty music or just showing up to shows because it’s the cool thing to do… they’re not even listening to this shit. i’m so glad that so many of my bands were playing this festival so that i could see some good bands.
HAVE ANY OF YOU HEARD OF A BAND CALLED THE PIXIES?!?!?1
music did not start in 2002. do you know that? knowing your musical history doesnt start with knowing what the first glassjaw record was.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE LISTEN TO THE SMITHS. listen to joy division. listen to the clash. LISTEN TO THE BEATLES!!!!! listen to bob marley. listen to neil diamond. listen to the beach boys. LISTEN TO SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT YOU’RE LISTENING TO.
Actual drunken plea or attempt to regain credibility in what’s clearly a declining market? We can’t tell, either, but that’s probably the point.
Eye Hate People [sarah's so boring ever since she stopped drinking.]
As this week’s Village Voice cover story proves, it’s hard to find a NYC writer who doesn’t have some sort of connection with Ultragrrrl–even if it’s just through random nightlife socializing. And since we’d love to read an Ultra piece that takes an outsiders’ stance, we asked several high-profile scribes about whether they have enough distance to remain truly objective. Their responses after the click-through.
GAY TALESE: Afraid not. During one of my many Writer’s Life funks, she was kind enough to take me to MisShapes, where I got to meet one of Duffs–Hilary? Angelica?–up close in the DJ booth. Plus, she’s so nice!
MAUREEN DOWD: Sorry. To me, she represents the freedom and self-reflection of mid-Iraqi war twentysomething feminism, and her ability to succeed at a male-dominated music magazine by having pancakes with Brandon Flowers is empowering. Plus, she’s so nice!
ADRIAN NICOLE LEBLANC: Depends. I would need 2-3 years of fly-on-the-wall stuff with the Oohlas before even considering it.
NORMAN MAILER: Just what the fuck is an ultra squirrel?
Tomorrow’s Village Voice has a lengthy defense of Sarah “Ultragrrrl” Lewitinn, the “top banana” of Island Records subsidiary Stolen Transmission and girl-about-town who, depending on who you ask, is either a brilliant predictor of musical talent or the beneficiary of some dumb luck whose real skill lies in promoting her brand. (To those people, she says, “I don’t need to have talent. I got this far without it.”) After the click-through, we break down the piece’s major points.
· She’s a kosher vegetarian, but she isn’t afraid to eat fried food at T.G.I. Friday’s now and then.
· Her eyeliner is always smeared, and it’s not an affectation.
· The reporter, Tricia Romano, repeatedly quotes from Idolator’s comments section, but never approached either of the site’s editors for a quote. Nor does she mention that we plugged the Oohlas.
· She’s not a trust-fund baby, but she did start interning at ABC News at 16.
· She doesn’t understand why she was ever given an editorial job, either. (“I never was a rock critic. I was a rock fan that had a pen,” she tells Romano.)
· If you mention Stolen Transmission’s soft sales totals, the word “incubator” will be thrown back at you faster than you can say “Louis XIV.”
· Her nickname is “Buckets” because of an unidentified incident involving a DJ night and a lot of alcohol.
· She thinks she’s psychic. (Tell that to Stellastarr*.)
· She didn’t get any money from My Chemical Romance. But they’re super guys!
· Marc Spitz, who profiled Lewitinn for Vanity Fair, is still a fan. (A quote: “She’s the most gifted, natural, organic listening machine that probably ever existed. She’s just scary good at what she does. I’m sort of in awe of her.”)
· One of her brothers maintains her Wikipedia entry for her.
· She’s working on a movie script based loosely upon her life.
· She doesn’t care what mean anonymous people write about her on the Internet, because they’re just jealous, anyway.
In Defense of Ultragrrrl [Village Voice]
P.S. Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosure, we should also point out that the story notes that Ultra is currenty writing a book about karaoke, as is one of your Idolators.
If An Ultragrrrl Comment Falls On The Web, And Nobody’s There To Hear It, Does It Still Make An Annoying Sound?
Whoa, Idolator is a regular Nathaniel Hornblower… Keep up the good work!
At first we thought, “Zing!” But then, after reading it again, we thought “Zing?” We’re confused as to what she’s actually saying in this comment: we get the pop-cultural reference, but that would mean…what? That we pseudonymously direct Beastie Boys videos? That can’t be what she’s getting at.
The good news about Ultragrrrl’s latest piece of rapturous press-praise: It’s in way-late-to-the-game Vanity Fair, meaning that the backlash can be only a few weeks away. The bad news: Considering that the glowingly sycophantastic piece is credited to Ultra’s long-time friend Marc Spitz, VF no longer believes it’s a conflict of interest to allow IM best-buddies to write about one another. In one of the weakest disclosures ever, Spitz notes that he and Ultra (we can’t believe we’re calling her that) are merely former Spin magazine “co-workers,” conveniently leaving out the fact that they’re actually late-night party pals who sometimes DJ together. That probably explains why the item contains not even the slightest trace of skepticism–and why no one at the magazine bothered to ground the rather lofty claim that Interpol or My Chemical Romance would never have made it without Ultra’s help. Yay, bestest friends working together! Yay, bad journalism!
On a slightly unrelated note, VF apparently has a new section called “Bling,” meaning they are nearly caught up with circa-2000 popular culture. Look for next month’s exciting new back-of-the-book column, “Audi.”
Grrrl’s Got Rhythm [Vanity Fair]