Califone? That’s a Tape Player, Right?

There has to be a really good reason for me to come out of the TMT Cave. Gah, my eyes! It's really bright out here in the light! It's going to be even brighter in Malibu when Califone shows up there in May. California is a bright-ass place. Will you be there when Califone is there? Will you take pictures and grin like a fool? That's what I like to do when I see Califone.

Speaking of Califone, have you seen what's happened around here since I went on hiatus? There's been nary a mention of Califone lately. Nary a mention! Can you believe it? There isn't even a review of their latest album, Roots and Crowns, which came out last fall. Last fall! I can't stop repeating myself and can you hear that high pitch in my voice?! Damn, you best get yourself a copy of that record and play it until Califone comes near your town cuz it's a damn good record, yo! It's all folky and electronicky and staticky. You know that line about shattering when you hit the water? Beautiful.

The TMT Cave is calling to me again; I'd better go before it gets pissed off. You get out in the light and see some shows, alright?

Like, OMGZ~!!! YouTube is totally being a bitch right now!

I'm totally, like, freaking out at how catty YouTube is being to indie labels right now. Like, if Beggars Group was named Warner Bros. or Sony, they'd totally get what they want from YouTube. But YouTube is all like" Whatevah!" and the indies are like "You didn' jus say dat? Tell me jus didn' say dat?"

In case you're not hip to the Laguna Beach lingo, allow the Wolf Blitzer (or if you prefer, Anderson Cooper) in me to give it to you straight: YouTube, after being goobled up by the Trapper Keeper also known as Google, struck deals with major labels to continue to host content. YouTube was happy to heave money at Warner Bros., Sony, and the Universal Music Group like Joe Neikro throwing underhanded to Barry Bonds at batting practice. However, when it comes to handling indie labels and their needs, YouTube prefers to give them the ol' Dice-K gyroball.

As I'm sure many of you know, many indie labels have joined together to form Merlin -- which was formed for just such events -- and though the newly minted licensing super agency has managed to reach deals with other services such as SpiralFrog, Merlin does not yet have the full power to force YouTube's hand by immediately pulling content. Simon Wheeler of Beggars Group, however, isn't afraid to press the issue: "If we have to take legal measures to protect our rights we will do so."

What lies next is a wait and see. The indies don't like being treated like second-class citizens, while YouTube is apparently exhausted from dropping off money bags to major label doorsteps. Hopefully in the end we get a giant finale where the spoiled rich kids and the stoner skateboarders end up hugging as a montage of season highs and lows sets the stage for a pop song and the credits.

Diffident, Reserved Rodent Plans Short Tour

It seems unnecessary to have this news item take up too much space, for a couple reasons. Firstly, Modest Mouse are only playing six dates in support of their new album, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. Secondly, three of those dates are already sold out (Missoula and Portland x2). Thirdly, one of the remaining dates takes place in Mexico City, and we at TMT generally discourage international musics and culture. Fourthly, the second-to-last remaining date apparently takes place in "Ramkota," which remarkably both presents itself for a joke and follows through with a joke on its own behalf. Fifthly, the remaining date takes place in Fargo, which cannot be found on modern maps and only exists in woodchipper-fueled, cinematic fever dreams.

Thus, this news item is essentially to remind those of us in the Portland or Missoula areas that, indeed, your tickets are still valid until further notice. Also, you may have left up to $25 in that pair of jeans you just put in the washer. Also, your girlfriend's birthday is coming up next week and she has mentioned lately that she is getting into the fiction of Margaret Atwood. Get some sleep now; tomorrow's going to be a big day with that presentation on dolphin communication in your Speech & Hearing Science class.

We Were Sold Out Before The News Even Posted:

Mount Eerie in the news everybody! Mount Eerie in the news!

There's no inside, and there's no out! Naked person ploughing rice fields! Hello my air! The thunderclouds! I will not contain you! I look just like you tree! Get off the internet! Don't smoke! We swapped molecules! I hold nothing! I want wind to blow! I saw your future in my sleep! Goodbye hope! Whose blood is this? The glow surrounds you! I will be good! Die die die! You'll be in the air! There are two moons! Take me to your dealer! Scattered ashes! Scattered dates! I love it so much!

Indie Group IMPALA Supports a Potential EMI Acquisition by Warner Music Group

Roughly a week from today, a ruling on the fate of the Sony BMG merger will be announced. While the merger initially came into legal question thanks to independent, non-profit trade association Impala, in a weird twist of events, a certain independent, non-profit trade association (I'll give you a hint: it's Impala) has given the fourth-largest music group Warner Music its blessings to acquire EMI, the third-largest music group.

WMG hasn't offered or proposed anything to EMI just yet, but it has made an official "approach," according to both camps. Question: does WMG actually have a shot at regulatory approval when Sony BMG's status is still up in the air? Frankly, yes -- support from Impala is huge. With Impala's anti-merger track record (in addition to the Sony BMG case, Impala is also protesting the Universal/BMG publishing deal), you'd assume the group would adamently disapprove of any more mergers or acquisitions. But the group's actual support of a Warner/EMI romantic consummation could very well result in an acquisition approval.

So why then? What's in it for Impala? According to WMG, "If WMG were to make an offer for EMI within the meaning of the U.K. Takeover Code, WMG has agreed with Impala, subject to the closing of such an offer, to implement certain measures." The statement goes on to say that WMG will be (in its own words):

- providing specified funding for (but taking no equity participation in) the recently announced Merlin initiative, the new global digital rights licensing platform established by the independent music labels to represent the world's independent music sector;

- ensuring the divestiture of certain recorded music assets to reinforce the market power of the independent sector; and

- pursuing various other behavioral commitments which have the aim of benefiting the recorded music market as a whole and, in particular, the independent music sector.

This all sounds pretty good on the surface, but exactly which independent labels are we talking about here? Impala and Merlin obviously do not represent the entire independent sector, so there is plenty of room for potential conflicts regarding access and power politics. And while the statement is far from a detailed contract, some of the wording is so ambiguous that a translation into a formal proposal will probably be highly dubious. Plus, if the acquisition is allowed, what will happen to WMG's and EMI's "indie" distribution companies (ADA and Caroline, respectively) and how might they play a role in shaping the definition of independent music?

As we already reported, EMI is currently busy cutting the shit out of its staff whilst reporting quarterly losses and projecting even more, so what better time than now for Warner to swoop in and take advantage of the PR wreckage? Or perhaps EMI has been trying to attract a buyout offer all along? Who knows. All I know is that WMG's admittedly innovative business negotiations over the last couple years have ensured its relevance in the digital music age, not only in how it can retain major label profits, but also in how it and other major music groups will interact with the increasingly powerful independents.

Top Five Reasons Why A Festival Headlined By Bon Jovi Might Not Totally Suck

Al Gore has played an in interesting role in world affairs in the '00s. You probably first became acquainted with him as the husband of the lady who was adamant about putting "parental advisory" warnings on all the albums of the artists who are now playing the shows he is organizing -- then as Vice President of the United States during America's golden age, the 1990s. Since then, he has won and lost the presidency simultaneously, given hundreds of speeches on climate change, and become a movie star, all (quite literally) without breaking a sweat.

Last week, Gore announced a series of concerts in different countries across the world in order to raise awareness of ?global climate change]. The shows, collectively named Live Earth, will all take place on 07-07-07, with proceeds going to [The Alliance For Climate Protection. Headlining will be such acts as AFI, Akon, Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, Duran Duran, Fall Out Boy, Foo Fighters, John Legend, KoRn, Lenny Kravitz, John Mayer, Pharrell, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dogg, and -- most importantly -- Bon motherfuckin' Jovi. TMT readers, and I mean no offense when i say this, but... well... you have a bad reputation for not being completely down with Bon Jovi. Maybe it's just that you're not as educated as you'd like to be in hair band aesthetics, or perhaps you had a traumatic experience involving Bon as a child -- whatever the case, it's nothing that can't be remedied.

Here are the top five reasons why a Bon Jovi-headlined show will completely rule:

5. It's for a good cause: more Bon Jovi publicity.
4. New songs such as "You give high-emissions sport utility vehicles a bad name," "Livin' on a slowly but surely melting polar ice cap," and "Bed of greenhouse gases" are certain to get the crowd moving.
3. Al Gore doing air guitar with Heather Locklear on a side stage, while Bon Jovi plays main stage.
2. We can all look forward to the Best of Live Earth blu-ray in 15 years which can only be ordered via HD-infomercial.

1. Bon Jovi rules anyway.

Be in London, Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, or undetermined cities in Brazil, Japan, and the U.S. on July 7 for Live Earth.