The Fall To Release New Album And Two Books; TMT Scores Exclusive Fake Excerpt

Mark E. Smith's prolificacy through the years has been simply bananas, no? (And I'm not just talking about PEEL Sessions!!!) With all the excitement and controversy still bubbling from their most recent tour, The Fall have decided to release a new album in early 2007, entitled Reformation. No tracklist or details about the content yet, but it's rumored that Ben Folds will play piano on none of the tracks.

Also planned are two Fall-related books; the first is the autobiographical Renegade: The Gospel According To Mark E. Smith, which may have actual spittle-and-beer stains on select pages, while the second is Perverted By Language: Fiction Inspired By The Fall, which is a collection of fiction inspired by The Fall. Though the latter book won't be out until June 28, TMT has acquired a fake advance copy and is pleased to offer a short excerpt:

The Man Whose Head Expanded

It was a dark and stormy night. E. G. Cunningham pulled into his driveway at 9:30 PM, much like any other night. He removed his keys from the ignition and dropped them into his suit pocket, much like any other night. In fact, everything that happened to Mr. Cunningham on that dark and stormy night was precisely the same as any other night of his life. Precisely the same, that is, except for one sinister difference. On that particular dark and stormy night, E. G. Cunningham had a horrible secret of the most jaw-dropping magnitude.

Cunningham exited his vehicle and opened the front door to greet his beautiful wife, but something suddenly gave him pause. E. G. Cunningham could not get through the front door. Luckily, his wife was not only beautiful but pragmatic, and in minutes a solution was reached: Cunningham would enter through the side window. Dinner was already set on the table as he stepped into the dining room, and his wife trembled as she ladled fresh soup into his bowl. Before the spoon was even brought to his lips, Cunningham's cranium had suddenly expanded to the size of a baby rhinoceros.

"Why... why is this happening to me?" he wailed. "What have I done to deserve such treatment?"

"You sad, sad man," his wife whispered into his ear, an ear now the size of an adult rhinoceros. "Did you really believe I'd never find out about your child pornography ring?"

"No... no, I can explain, honey!" he shrieked. "Honey no... put that safety pin down... you can't do this to me. You can't do this to E.G. Cunningham!" And with that, he became the man whose head... exploded. All over the walls. His funeral was a simple affair attended by few, and in weeks his wife was married to Mark E. Smith, who meats her.

Clear Channel: SOLD

MySpace, a site owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has decided to disallow copyrighted music from being uploaded to its member pages. Reported in The Globe and Mail, MySpace will use "audio fingerprinting" to filter copyrighted material. The site will check uploaded songs against Gracenote's database. From the article: "'MySpace is staunchly committed to protecting artists' rights, whether those artists are on major labels or are independent acts,' said Chris DeWolfe, MySpace chief executive and co-founder."

I was going to spend much of my TMT space elaborating on the story, but I started reading some of the comments posted after the article. Not that you have to travel far, or at all, to find someone who is frustrated with copyrights and music rights, but the debate on The Globe and Mail is especially telling.

goofy fathead wrote: "im not going to use myspace then. i pay 40 bucks a month to my cable company, that should entitle me to download what i want, when i want, and share what i want as well."

Rick Czarnota wrote: "You are entitled to nothing more than being able to access the website. Why do you... seem to think you should have access to a product for free?"

Mark H. wrote: "Every good thing sells out. I am not in any way infringing on the rights of the people who 'own' the content (It's not property, I can't write a letter to data, or transport it without media, or grab it out of the air). Hell, it's free freakin' advertising. Posting is not stealing. It's just attaching a different url to a datastream."

We are saturated by intellectual property these days, with iPods, Walkmens, video iPods, home studios, DV cameras, and home-editing suites. Companies are doing A LOT to get us the media we want. They have to do it under the letter of the law, and really, why should they do it any other way? Mark H's comment that MySpace has sold out just means that they are large enough to show up on the radar of law enforcers. Google removed copyrighted material from YouTube because that site, like MySpace, is a distributor of content. Saying, "it's just attaching a different url to a datastream" is, like most arguments against copyright, circumventing the obvious: "owned" media displayed without consent. It sucks, but it's the cost of doing business. And it is a business.

Perhaps we should be discussing what constitutes intellectual property or copyrightable material and how one might go about "owning" it. Go to an AMC-owned movie theater and see that they've made "Silence is Golden" a registered trademark. What about the aggressive campaigns to patent animals, plants, and even human DNA? And did you know Time Warner owns the song "Happy Birthday to You"? How are these any less objetionable than filtering out copyrighted music? How are they more? These topics are important, and it is more important that we all take a step back and count where we stand on privatization, copyrights, and intellectual property. Argue against MySpace and Google, but do it because that is what you believe, not because you want to save a few bucks. Let's debate in earnest. I know where I stand. Do you know where you stand?

Clear Channel: SOLD

Great news loyal TMT readers! Your Clear Channel stock has already risen 5% since this morning, after the lovable and huggable Clear Channel announced an agreement to be acquired by a private investor group for $18.7 billion (approx. $26.7 billion plus an assumed $8 billion debt). The Clear Channel board of shareholders unanimously approved the merger agreement, and a special advisory committee of disinterested directors unanimously deemed the transaction to be fair, which means shareholders like you will receive $36.70 per share! Not bad for doing nothing at all.

So why is Clear Channel doing this? Let's see what it had to say in its SEC (Security and Exchange Commission) regulatory filing:

"The Board believes that these decisions are in the best interest of our shareholders. As you know, our Company outperforms the competition in every business in which we operate, but the public market has not appropriately valued our performance. The consortium has agreed to pay $37.60 per share to acquire the company, which is 25 percent greater than our average closing share price of $29.99 during the 30 trading days ended October 24, 2006, the day before the company first acknowledged that it was evaluating strategic alternatives."
Clear Channel can still solicit competing bids from third parties (like us or Stylus) through December 7 and negotiate until January 5. Otherwise, the more than 1,100 radio stations and all those billboard and bus-stop ads will be acquired by Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. and Bain Capital Partners, LLC.

Current Clear Channel management, including the infamous Mays family, will continue to work for the company. And don't forget about their spin-off company Live Nation!

The $18.7 billion deal was in cash, so if you saw a couple suited douchebags shaking hands in front of a truck full of discreet suitcases, you totally missed your chance to congratulate them on a job well done and thank them for all those radio stations and advertisements.

Shapes and Sizes Are Movin’ On Up… To the East-Side (of Canada)

It may be hard to believe, but there was a time when the mere mention of "Montréal" immediately prompted wistful thoughts of this [Shapes and Sizes look to be the latest act to receive the golden touch of luck that residency in Montréal brings].

Wait, I know what you're thinking: "Hey dicklick! Shapes and Sizes are from Vancouver, not Montréal!" Well, the Victoria-born and Vancouver-based group are now Montréal-bound, as the band have decided to pack up their gear and try their luck in "la belle province." Whether a change in home camp will result in success on the scale of century-long hockey glory or 1.5 month-long indie rock message-board talk is anyone's guess, but the quartet is having a plum year nevertheless.

Before setting up permanent headquarters, the band will head out on vacation, albeit a working one. Like so many Canadian "snowbirds," Shapes and Sizes will spend the cold month of December in the mostly agreeable U.S., touring in continued support of their summer smash debut album on Asthmatic Kitty, Shapes and Sizes. There should be plenty of new songs to hear as well, because they recently recorded their second album (tentatively due in the spring of 2007).

Before the sophomore effort hits both concrete and virtual stores, Asthmatic Kitty will be releasing a new single by the band, with a twist. The label will be launching its "Unusual Animals Series" on January 23 with the release of the first in a series of split 7-inch singles. As the title suggests, the goal is to pair seemingly unsimilar acts and perhaps highlight the more "experimental" side of the record co. Volume 1 has "Jinker/That Fat Hand" by, you guessed it, Shapes and Sizes paired with The Weird Weeds' "Hold in the Light." Future singles include Half-Handed Cloud splitting sides with Ariel Pink and a Castanets/Dirty Projectors disc. Each will be sleeved in designs by kinky illustrator and animator Jared Chapman. If you are allergic to vinyl or don't own a turntable, the songs in this series will be available for streaming on the Asthmatic Kitty website. The following shows will not, so you'll have to get out of your bedrooms and away from your computers to see 'em.

12.01.05 - Missoula, MT - The Loft
12.02.06 - Billings, MT - Venture Theatre
12.04.06 - Fargo, ND - Aquarium
12.05.06 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
12.06.06 - Madison, WI - Café Montmarte
12.07.06 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen
12.08.06 - Urbana, IL - Courtyard Café *
12.09.06 - Columbus, OH - Andyman's Treehouse
12.10.06 - Covington, KY - Southgate House
12.11.06 - Muncie, IN - Village Green Records #
12.12.06 - Bloomington, IN - TBA
12.14.06 - Austin, TX - Emo's $
12.15.06 - Dallas, TX - The Roadhouse
12.16.06 - Odessa, TX - The Cavern
12.17.06 - Phoenix, AZ - Modified Arts %
12.19.06 - San Diego, CA - Che Café ^
12.20.06 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland
12.21.06 - San Francisco, CA - Botton of the Hill

* w/Headlights
# w/Arrah and The Ferns, This Story
$ w/The Weird Weeds
% w/Dressy Bessy
^ w/Bunky, Rafter and Friends

Live Nation Finishes Buying Out House of Blues; Still In Negotiations with White House, Greenhouse Effect, Satan

Michael Rapino, CEO of the charming cash succubus that is Live Nation, has a heartwarming message for all music lovers: "We are excited about continuing to build the great House of Blues brand throughout the world. It will provide Live Nation with a great mid-size music business to compliment our music venue portfolio." Set your fears aside, people. The world's largest promoter and venue operator is getting bigger... and they're excited about it! Yes, the $350 million acquisition of the House of Blues franchise is finally finishing up after recently being cleared by the Department of Justice. Rapino plans on keeping the HOB brand name intact out of respect for the franchise's legacy, and in no way to dampen the public awareness that Live Nation controls every building in your hometown, including your own grandmother's garage. Next time you decide to visit, remember to bring enough lemonade for her and each member of Mudhoney.

Currently, there are only a small number of Blues Houses in select American cities, but Rapino's future plans are to aggressively force the Blues into every nook and cranny of the world. Live Nation's aim is to open its arms wide enough to encompass a rainbow monopoly over both stadium-size venues and alcohol-caked alleyways. Questions about antitrust issues come to mind, but these concerns are failing to make Rapino tremble: "We think there are still lots of opportunities for bands and the consumers to see bands in venues everywhere." Well. If his dizzyingly nuanced way with words is any indication of this merger's future, we all have a lot to look forward to next time we go to a show. Like, for example, guitar solos sponsored by Applebee's.

The Constantines Trek To Live Show Dates To Play A Rock Tour Jaunt

All these bands — well, at least The Killers and The Hold Steady — lately — well, more like the last 20 years, but whatever — seem to — these asides aren't bothering you, are they? — be becoming more musically enamored and influenced with the Garden State's most famous gift to the world (if you said The Shins or Braff, you are sad), Bruce Springsteen. But, it is easy to forget that The Constantines have a couple years on all these Brucey-come-latelys. In this fast-paced, rat-race world, where a day seems like a year, a year probably seems like at least a couple years, maybe even three, it may seem like longer, but it was about one year ago that those Canadian-uniters of punk, rock and Bruce put out their latest LP, Tournament of Hearts, on Sub Pop rock city.

Now you can relive those heady days by attending a show during a short tour by those scruffy and loveable brothers in arms, who formed the band back in Guelph, Ontario in 1999. Why so much talk of Canada? Surely not because it has been hyped-to-death as a country with an astonishing amount of amazing bands. Incidentally, Canada, I think Sweden is nipping at your heels, so watch your back and cover your ass. Canada, while it is old news in the independent rock world, is important to all this talk of The Constantines, mostly because their upcoming shows are almost all taking place in Canuck country. So grab your passport, prepare to be hassled by overzealous border security, and (legally) get super drunk — you crazy 19-year-old — while checking out the boys who have brought the Boss back into relevance (something he can't seem to do himself). Fellow Springsteen acolytes The Hold Steady, as well as the band with possibly the most ironic band name ever, The Tragically Hip, and the general good band The Creeping Nobodies will be playing alongside The Constantines during what essentially amounts to three different jaunts:

11.21.06 - Philadelphia, PA - The North Bar *
11.22.06 - Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw *
11.29.06 - Waterloo, ON - Starlight Social Club #
11.30.06 - London, ON - Call the Office #
12.01.06 - Toronto, ON - Lees Palace #
12.02.06 - Toronto, ON - Lees Palace (matinee - CARE Canada benefit) @
12.02.06 - Hamilton, ON - The Underground (evening show) #
12.08.06 - Sudbury, ON - Townehouse Tavern ^
12.09.06 - Brantford, ON - Ford Plant ^
01.29.07 - Peterborough, ON - Peterborough Memorial Centre $
01.31.07 - Oshawa, ON - General Motors Centre $
02.02.07 - Ottawa, ON - Scotiabank Place $

* w/ The Hold Steady
# w/ Lullabye Arkestra
@ w/ Jason Collet
^ w/ The Creeping Nobodies
$ w/ The Tragically Hip

  

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