DRM-Free iTunes Plus Launched; No Need to Cheer too Loudly

The wait is FINALLY over! Yes, yet another glorious day of innovation has come to pass in the scintillatingly exciting world of online music sales. Last week, Apple’s iTunes shop began offering higher quality files unencumbered by nasty DRM nonsense -- as we reported a little while back. Of course, the files are nearly a third more expensive than the regular, low-quality shit you can get from iTunes, and out of all your favorite caring, cuddly major labels, only EMI (at least for now)is making its catalog available in the new format. But still, great news, eh?

Not really. Apparently, the whole business of Joe Schmoe from Idaho actually getting his calloused hands on high-quality versions of the entire Norah Jones catalog and other gems from the EMI vaults is sort of fiddly and crap. First of all, you have to update your iTunes to the latest version, then opt-in to the iTunes Plus service from a separate area of the site that’s not particularly easy to find -- it’s not set as the default in the iTunes store. Switching back to normal iTunes means further grubbing about with Apple’s (beautifully presented) digital entrails.

Furthermore, and more importantly, the DRM-free banner that Apple and EMI have pinned above their king-sized conjugal bed is looking a little tatty tonight. An interesting little tidbit I just found out is that every track that’s downloaded from iTunes has your full name and e-mail address embedded in the file. And the new DRM-free stuff does as well. Sort of puts you off sharing that precious $1.29 worth of file with your chums, eh? And what about all the information that’s kept on your iTunes account, like your credit card number and where you fucking LIVE? If your file ends up on some torrent site and a brave RIAA freedom fighter picks up your e-mail address and name from an iTunes file -- is he then in a position to grab all that other info prior to chasing your ass down the street?

Oh well, whatever. It’s not as if anyone who does upload a torrent to the web gets the files from iTunes anyway. Fact remains that the attempts of the record industry to curtail file-sharing have all been pretty much a total bust for the last five years, and you can be certain that this latest attempt to scare you into compliance is bound to fail miserably too. And for that, I guess we can all continue quietly rejoicing.

Casiotone Not Just For The Painfully Alone Anymore; See Their Tour With Friends and Family, If You Dare

A surprising number of people seem to be attending Casiotone For The Painfully Alone shows with significant others, friends, and family. Rumor has it some of these people have been observed smiling and even dancing at shows. This may seem like a moot point, but if you're planning on going to any CFTPA shows, there are a few things you should know.

Security at the recent Over the Top Festival performance in Toronto were reportedly seen turning away anyone with a mere grin on their face at the door; they even had one couple, who were spotted embracing, forcefully removed from the premises. Now I'm all for vigilantism, but there reaches a point where you may be overstepping your boundaries.

Representatives from Tomlab records furiously deny any such goings on; however, eye-witness accounts suggest Casiotone's Owen Ashworthy was seen confronting security at the venue once he heard what was happening, explaining "It's only a fucking name; don't be a douchebag."

In addition to the latest stream of 7-inches on Tomlab, Oedipus Recordings is now taking pre-orders for the soon to be released split 7-inch with Foot Foot. And continuing on the seemingly endless string of releases, there are plans to release another 7-inch for a song with David Horvitz, the man behind the Xiu Xiu photobook.

You can see Casiotone for the Painfully Alone on these dates at these places:

Modest Mouse Head Out Empty-Headed for ‘Long Drive,’ Back Tour Bus into Cop Car, Kill Cop, “Float On” Not So Cool Anymore, Is It?

Laaaaaaaaaaaadies and Gentlemen of all shapes, siiiiiiiiiiizes!

Boys and girls of all aaaaaaages!!

Gather 'round, one and all!

Introducing the uncanny... the hideous... the ghastly... the supernatural... the utterly unfathomable... the...

(Pssssssst! Hey, cue the drum roll and freakily fun-housey, bad acid-trip, circus music, will ya? I'm tryin' to make a sales-pitch here. My kids gotta eat, ya know... sheeez!)

Anyway, were was I?... ahhhem... oh yeah:

... The utterly unfathomable... the absolutely abominable... Isaaaaaaaaaaaaac Brock!!!!

(applause)

Yes, yes, yes! Step right up, ladies and gentlemen!

Step RIGHT this way!

Come one, come all to witness this wanton wonder of the world, this ludicrous loose canon, this pheeeeeeeeenomenal freak-baby fresh out of the wild in our one-of-a-kind, never duplicated, repeatedly redundant "Modest Mouse Summer Tour and Freakshow!"

(oooooooooooooh)

That's right! Do NOT miss you chance to see famed frontman Isaac Brock angrily caged on a stage near you!

(ahhhhhhhhhhhhh)

He'll roar! he'll snarl! He'll MOST LIKELY self-mutilate! And He's COMING TO A STAGE NEAR YOU THIS SUMMER.

Witness as he drunkenly spews existentialisms at you in a lisp so disagreeable you'll with you were in church!

Cower in terror as he bates you and your fellow ticket-holders into letting him borrow a knife for a few moments!

Puke in disgust as he cuts the FUCK out of his chest for no apparent reason whatsoever!

Ladies and gentlemen of the world, DO NOT MISS your chance to see this knife-jabbing wonder of the world degenerate in front of thousands and inflict baffling and bloody wounds upon himself... and possibly others!

Note: As producer of the 2007 Modest Mouse Summer Tour and Freakshow, TMT Big-Top Productions is NOT responsible for and will be legally held harmless concerning the following:

- show cancellations due to drug-induced stupors
- show cancellations due to the untimely death of Issac Brock
- fans getting "contact highs" off of Isaac Brock's druggy sweat
- fans getting stabbed, accidentally or intentionally, by Issac Brock
- fans somehow contracting HIV

Welcome to the Big Show:

*** Not Confirmed

YR SHOPTEXT ACCOUNT IS PROVIDED “AS-IS!”; Knitting Factory Jumps on Boat, ShopText Still Scared of Terrorists

On May 30 Knitting Factory Entertainment joined the likes of CosmoGirl! Magazine n Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift (who?) in introducing a SMS txt messaging ticketing system that will enable customers 2 purchase tickets 4 shows using their mobile handsets. Provided by ShopText, a mobile commerce n promotions company, u can b assured that when u sign up 4 an account, ShopText spams the hell out of yr cell phone n u pay for all of it.

ShopText's claim to fame? "Our software platform transforms any advertisement in2 a point of sale opportunity."

Still skeptical? Here r just a few reasons to run out n get a ShopText account RITE NOW, courtesy of ShopText's own Terms and Conditions*:
01. By signing for a ShopText account, u must be 18 years of age n able 2 enter "legally binding contracts."
02. U may not sign up 4 ShopText if u a suspected terrorist or suspected of trading or transporting illegal drugs

03. "ShopText cannot guarantee the security of n e data transmitted ovr n e wireless network, n thus, all information transmission is done at yr own risk." This doesn't stop at the security of yr information -- the TOS go on 2 say that ShopText is not liable 4 n e errors due 2 inaccurate or incomplete information! So don't get upset when u get Say Hi 2 Yr Mom tickets instead of Ozma tickets

04. "Yr ShopText Account may also be suspended or unavailable because of disruption in telecommunication services, power outages, natural disasters, terrorism or similar occurrences which result in a disruption in services."
05. "ShopText makes no warranty that your use of ShopText will be error-free, uninterrupted, timely or that you will be satisfied with the products or services your purchase using your ShopText Account."
06. O, n u MUST, MUST, MUST provide a credit card # N credit card security code located on the back of yr card 2 register 4 a ShopText account.

*All Terms n Conditions r subject 2 change w/o notification, n by agreeing 2 these terms u agree 2 all subsequent terms n term modifications. lol ttyl

UNKLE Make Sure They Have Some Dang Good War Stories, Enlist a Massive Attack By Queens of The Stone Age

Tracks from the exceptional 1998 UNKLE effort Psyence Fiction still rear their apocalyptic heads on everything from game trailers (check out "Lonely Soul" being used to hawk 2007's Assassin's Creed) to, uh, most mix CDs of mine ("Nursery Rhyme (Breather)" is a repeat offender). DJ Shadow has since jumped ship, but producers-cum-vocalists James Lavelle and Richard File have just thrown down the title of a new UNKLE undertaking: War Stories.

Unfortunately, DJ Shadow seemed to attract a much more stellar guest roster, or maybe it was just a little cooler to be anti-establishment in '98, but this album's lineup has me hurtin'. Radiohead's Thom Yorke traded in for Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme? Mike D vs. 3D (Massive Attack)? Gack.

Due July 24, War Stories was recorded by way of live studio tracking, rather than the customary turntables-and-a-microphone deal of the past, and we finally hear from James Lavelle in a vocal sense on the track "Hold My Hand." Session musicians include Twiggy Ramirez (Jeordie White, whom I passed in the mall once), Nada Surf's Matthew Caws (who will not play "Popular" live; I speak from experience), and the Eagles of Death Metal's David Catching, who performs multiple guitar duties on a handful of tracks.

CHARGE! (TRACKLIST!)

Disclaimer: I graduated from college this week and am therefore beginning to feel "old." This may or may not have resulted in a temporary hatred for anything not distinctly smacking of the 1990s and consequently dating me even further.

CBS Acquires Last.FM; CBS Gains Insight Into Your iTunes Playlist and Marketing Nirvana

Before we begin this story, I want you to know something. I used to be a Last.fm addict. It's a really slick social music networking website and has a bunch of great features. Millions of people use it and love it, and its intentions have always seemed to be pure -- simply helping people find and discover new music. It was all good.

See, the purpose of Last.fm is to track your listening habits and compare them with other users to provide recommendations. It does this by using a program called AudioScrobbler, which attaches itself to iTunes and tracks the songs you listen to. Completely harmless. So, what does gentle-giant CBS have to do with Last.fm?

Well, like the headline says, CBS has bought Last.fm for 250 million washingtons. The acquisition was confirmed May 30, 2007 on Last.Fm's blog. The homeboy responsible for posting the news seems ridiculously optimistic and promises Last.fm will keep doing the right things. Of course, one would only assume that this is the case. The acquisition is certainly a step in the right direction for CBS because of advertising and marketing potential, but let's not focus on how Last.fm has "sold out" and is sleeping with "the man." Okay?