Put on Your Happy Hats: Arab Strap to Release Swan Song Compilation Alongside Releases by L Pierre and Malcolm Middleton

With only two options currently available for consumers interested in satellite radio, the possibility of a merger between XM and Sirius is leaving many hardworking radio lovers quivering in their unlaced booties. Although FCC Chairman Kevin Martin (my BOY!) ensured reporters at a recent press conference that current FCC regulations would prohibit said merging, loopholes may exist. The Wall Street Journal has mentioned that XM and Sirius could try to convince the FCC that they're not only competing against each other, but also against normal radio stations, internet radio, and podcasts. An alternate method of coercion could be sending an unrated version of Beerfest to Martin's home address.

The prospect of a satellite radio duopoly turning into a monopoly has sent a group of law students from George Washington University into an epileptic fit. After regaining consciousness, these students formed the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio, or C3SR. I'm torn between steering this acronym toward a joke about Julius Caesar or Star Wars, so instead I'll merely mention that the name is just one 'C' away from being a seriously explosive coalition. Phew.

The initial goal of C3SR is to increase awareness of the pitfalls of the potential merger. Chris Reale, one of its founding members, said, "When I subscribed to XM back in 2005, I had a choice. Now it looks like some of my favorite channels may disappear and/or the subscriptions fees will go up if this merger happens." The secondary goal of C3SR is to provide every American with a free motorized leather chair, though Reale admits that this will have to be dealt with in due time.

You Can’t Pay the Rent With an MV&EE North American Tour

Matt Valentine and Erika Elder (along with mystical miscreants The Bummer Road) will soon find themselves embarking on a nationwide tour in support of their latest LP, entitled Green Blues, which sees official release Tuesday on Ecstatic Peace. As for the tour... There will be music during this tour, yes, but as any true fan knows, you don't go to an MV&EE show just for the jams. As is his custom, Valentine will invite audience members to spend the rest of the evening inside his great beard upon conclusion of the formal show. Ecstatic Peace is keeping hush-hush on the details, but we can surmise from past visits to the beard that there will be nothing less than:

- Free Pizza
- A carousel
- An Olympic-sized swimming pool
- An Internet cafe
- Street performers
- A 24-Screen movie megaplex
- A manmade rock-climbing Wall
- A "theme" wedding chapel
- A Three-story arcade
- A Sushi bar
- Lazer tag
- A Zoo

Some of my fondest memories have been spent inside that magical mass of hair, and I hope you'll stick around after the shows to experience it for yourself.

Little known fact: the MV&EE album title Mother of Thousands is actually a reference to Matt's beard, it being a microcosm of lush plant and animal life:

President Bush Allows The Octopus Project to Tour This February in Order to Compensate Sending 20,000 Additional Troops to Iraq

Yes, I have caught on to what is going on around me. Gas prices have been riding a sexy escalator beneath the terrible two-dollars-a-gallon and a bag of chips, and American Idol is back on the pooper -- so why wouldn't Americans be happy?

This just doesn't add up for me. Sorry Charlie! You can't expect me to just act like all is well in freaking la la land, because the shit has hit the fan harder than James Brown hit the crack pipe. Oh, so The Octopus Project are going on a small tour in February? Well, that doesn't make everything better, but it is a start!

Did you notice what I just did? It's called a transition, and it was off the ch... ch... ch... chains. I'll admit that I'm in cahoots with The Octopus Project. Their collaboration with Pittsburgh's Black Moth Super Rainbow, appropriately titled The House Of Apples & Eyeballs, was mos def one of the top unacknowledged albums of 2006. You can be the judge of that by streaming the album yourself. The Octupuses or Octupi (both are acceptable and incredibly stupid) will gyrate into a hip Seattle studio to record with producer Ryan Hadlock (The Gossip, The Black Heart Procession, Stephen Malkmus, Blonde Redhead) as soon as you're done gawking at them.

Dance your cares away with these tourdates:

Who Needs Opie & Anthony When You Can Have Belle & Sebastian? FCC Mulls “Indie Play” Proposal

The FCC... you know, that body that's supposed to regulate radio & television? Well, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the FCC is considering a proposal that would require airtime on the radio for independently produced music. This rumored requirement would be part of a settlement in the payola scandal that has tarnished the radio industry's reputation of late.

"There are two components," a source told the Reporter. "There's an education component for people in the industry, where it is spelled out that you can do this and not do that, and there is a code of conduct. Then there is the airtime component."

"WTF?! NOT SO FAST," says Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. He urges the FCC to not allow an industry which has already been shown to have violated payola rules to police themselves.

FMQB.com outlined an open letter that the Senator wrote to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. It contained the following recommendations:

- ensure future compliance with the law and reassure consumers they will have access to small, independent and local labels and artists via the public airwaves
- require radio stations to allow meaningful access to the airwaves for independent labels and local artists
- a weekly airtime commitment for indie labels and artists
- regulations that would prevent radio companies from meeting their obligation only in certain cites, formats, or during low-listener time-slots
- full disclosure of any and all payola-related reports and documents, possibly as part of a company's quarterly or annual fiscal reports
- allow Senator Feingold to host his own show, where women will ride the sybian and he can play hour blocks of Cowboy Junkies

The Pirate Bay says “Arrrrrr Mateys… We Be Buying Islands To Keep Those Scurvy Knaves Away!”

Yes, it's true. Those rascally pirates of Swedish website [?The Pirate Bay] are looking to protect their precious illegal activities by purchasing their very own island. Again, this is a true story, not some crazy TMT commentary on boners (though I'm sure there could be a lot said about boners in such a piece).

The site, which had previously relocated to the Netherlands to keep their pirate boat afloat, is currently attempting to raise money to purchase a 'micronation' called The Principality of Sealand. More than simply a catchy name, this island would apparently shelter them, as it is outside of the jurisdiction of any other country. Anyone who has donated to the landlubber-fighting cause would be granted citizenship to this mighty nation (ahem, man-made structure). Unfortunately for the mighty pirates and their noble cause, the micronation is not recognized by many true-blue nations as being a legitimate sovereign entity. That said, good luck, Pirate Bay! May this not take the wind from your mighty sails!

Ratatat Sets It And Forgets It, Tours

Get your credit cards ready, because the two-man banana-rama Ratatat are launching their unparalleled, perpendicular whirlwind tour starting January 27, sweeping Europe by storm with what promises to be the experience of a lifetime at an affordable price. And, if you act now, we'll throw in a show in London, a show in Germany, and a show in Sweden.

What is that? Will the Ratatat tour bend or even break?

Fear not, the Ratatat tour sports exciting new technology that was originally designed for NASA. The sound was engineered in a clean room by actual German scientists, bringing you the finest, crispest tones this side of the Danube. The outer shell was subjected to a barrage of stress tests and impact analyses in a recent major university double-blind study, so you can trust Ratatat. And if that doesn't convince you, just watch. I can drop it on the floor and step on it. Folks, that German engineering really holds, and that's saying something!

Surely you must be thinking that an amazing deal such as this would cost upwards of $10,000. But Ratatat, swirling electric guitar whizzes and licensed chiropractors, has issued its personal guarantee that YOU can own a piece of this tour for the low, low price of: A plane ticket to Europe.

But that's not all! If you call within the next 10 minutes, Ratatat will give you the show in London, the show in Germany, the show in Sweden, AND a certificate of authenticity with YOUR name on it, AND we'll even give you a show in Turkey as our gift to you. All this can be yours in three easy installments of: A plane ticket to Europe. All you have to do is call now; Ratatat is standing by.

Sorry, no CODs: