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.

Sun City Girls’ Charles Gocher Passes Away at 54

On Monday, cancer claimed the life of Sun City Girls drummer Charles Gocher. He was 54. Alan and Rick Bishop write:

"With deep regret, we must announce that Charles Gocher passed away yesterday in Seattle due to a long battle with cancer at the age of 54. He is survived by the two of us who adopted him as a brother 25 years ago and his many friends around the world. He will be missed more than most could ever know. Our thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement during the past three, very difficult years. Many of you were not aware that Charles was ill and that’s because he wanted it that way. Details of a memorial in his honor will be announced soon.”

Fueled by Sun City Girls' limited public appearances and Gocher’s missed dates with his side-project The Sea Donkeys, rumors about Gocher’s deteriorating health circulated in the tight-knit Sun City Girls community for the past few years. The band, however, shrouded itself in mystery from the beginning, shunning the press and, often, disguising themselves in hooded robes onstage. Fans respected the band’s privacy and only dwelled on the most important thing on Sun City Girls' message board: the music.

Although Gocher only released one solo album, 1997’s Pint-Sized Spartacus, his musical legacy is undeniable. As one-third of Sun City Girls, Gocher anchored one of the most original music anomalies ever to grace the world’s stages and speakers. Whether playing a straightforward gig (well, as straightforward as Sun City Girls could be) or engaging in strange street theater or performance art, the Girls alternately infuriate and mystify audiences. Gocher’s contribution to the band can be heard explicitly on the title-track from the cassette God is My Solar System. Gocher sounds as if he is attached at the wrist to Alan and Rick Bishop, stopping and starting on a dime as the guitarist and the bassist repeatedly play only one note then commence until they decide to get down. Gocher took center stage on last year’s limited edition For Drummer’s Only (link) and, surprisingly, constructed a stunningly engaging LP with only a little instrumental accompaniment from Alan and Rick.

In addition to providing immensely talented percussion work, Gocher also narrated most of 1997’s fantastic Dante’s Disneyland Inferno double-disc.

No news on the future of Sun City Girls has been reported as of this morning. Tiny Mix Tapes’ deepest condolences go out to Charlie’s family, friends and legion of fans. He will be missed. Visit Sun City Girls' official website for more information on the band.


We have traveled the world umpteen times, and everywhere we go, the kids want rootkit news! You may remember when the second biggest record label/first biggest consumer bully Sony/BMG embedded little rootkit cuties into a bunch of its CDs in the name of copy protection (in total, 52 titles were embedded with the Digital Management Software and 7 million were sold). Although the news was everywhere when it broke at the butt-end of 2005, the story has slowly lost its headline news status. Since the public uproar started, there have been minor settlements along the way in a slew of states, and at the end of January, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a proposed settlement on the charges it brought against the music giant for monitoring users' PCs and exposing them to destructive programs and hack attacks. It was a subdued affair, by all accounts...

FTC: "Next on our docket…a suit against the gentlemen and gentlewomen of Sony Corp? Cannot be! Can I get a summary of this case, Mister Lawyer-guy? I probably should have boned up on the case details before this trial began, but I was too busy spending time boning up my secretary."

The people: "Well, your honor, or commissioner, or whatever we are supposed to call you, I would never attempt to tell you how you should be spending your extra-curricular pursuits, but you would have had to be hiding under a rock not to have heard of this case. In 2005, Security Researcher Mark Russinovich discovered a clandestine "DRM" rootkit program installed in certain Sony CDs...

FTC: "Uh, huh..."

The People: "Not only were consumers not notified of these rootkits' presence on their CDs, but uninstalling them proved nigh on impossible. Once they are installed, the software can hide any file, regardless who put it there. So it basically worked like a "trojan horse" for hackers to jump in and attack the computer of anyone who unwittingly played a certain CD embedded with the software!"

FTC: "Well, the only parts of that I understood was the thing about hiding under a rock or using a Trojan to hide the salami or something? Both of which I excel at, by the way. Anyway, my good friend Sony, what do you have to say to all of that?"

Sony: "We stand by content-protection technology as an important tool to protect out intellectual property rights and those of our artists."

The People: "Sony BMG Global Digital Business president Thomas Hesse even said in a NPR interview, ‘Most people...don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?' What kind of attitude is that? Since this case has begun, Sony has shown outright contempt for the consumer and at this hearing today, they still believe they have done nothing wrong!"

Sony: "We stand by content-protection technology as an important tool to protect out intellectual property rights and those of our artists."

The People: "This was a deliberate and malicious use of technology to infect millions of computers with spyware and rootkits to restrict what consumers could do with the CDs that they purchased in good faith. Sony has never disclosed their unexpected limitations on customer's use of their products. They just happened to get caught!"

Sony: "We stand by content-protection technology as an important tool to protect out intellectual property rights and those of our artists."

The People: "Sony has been completely unethical during this whole sorted mess! They are lucky I'm not pushing for a public flogging followed by a good old-fashioned bout of feces throwing."

Sony: "We stand by content-protection technology as an important tool to protect out intellectual property rights and those of our artists."

FTC: "Alright, I've heard enough. Now, I've deliberated on this matter for quite awhile..."

The People: "No, you haven't!"

FTC: "Quiet please, whoever said that. As I was saying, I have thought about this for awhile, and I'm ready to hand down my sentence. I'll give consumers a chance to exchange their Sony CDs through June 31, 2007 and grant them a $150 reimbursement package to those who can prove damage to their computers ($150 is appropriate, I think. Computers are not expensive to repair, are they?). And Sony, lifelong pal, you've had to pay so many fines already since this started. Four to five million dollars? Outrageous. How's a poor boy supposed to keep themselves warm with cognac and Hummers when they have to settle cases all over the U.S.? Tsk, tsk, a darn shame, I say. Dear friend, you'll have to promise to be careful with collecting your consumer information and will have to stop installing these wonderfully sneaky softwares from now on, ‘k? And let's be clear here... this settlement in no way presumes an admission of guilt on your part. How does that grab you, old chum?

Sony: "We stand by content-protection technology as an important... tools... rights... artist... WE'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG... WE'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG... WE'VE DONE NOthing... (Sony's representative starts inexplicably smoldering, falls on ground, and breaks apart to reveal a mess of wires, processors, ports, and a rootkit, for good measure)."

FTC (smiling): "Oh you..."

The People: "Oh c'mon! I'm representing you here... we're on the same side! Talk about a slap on the wrist. That's not even a slap on the wrist. That's like a flaccid dong on the wrist! No slap! None! Depending on who you believe, they have paid out about $4.5 or $5.75 million only in fines since this began! Sony makes that kind of money every time * breaks wind! Justice sucks, man! Justice sucks!

FTC: "Did you say something, stranger? Well, I'm sure it was hogwash. I don't take sides, especially not against upstanding entities like Sony. Are we done here? I'm off to the club for my three triple-gin lunch." (Nods to shapely commission clerk) "You coming, Sweetie-pie?"