He’s Making A List and Checking It Twice; Low Begins Tour After Receiving Coal For Christmas

Ho, ho, ho! Yes, that's right, boys and girls, Santa was in a nasty mood this year and was caught giving out coal to all the artists signed to any independent music label beginning with the letter "S". While the folks over at Secretly Canadian were happy with their newfound energy-creating resource, the poor souls over at Sub Pop weren't so lucky. Word on the street is that Low were so distraught they wrote a slow song about it. Oh, that Santa! Turning the world on its head, I tell you!

The mighty trio, currently consisting of Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker, and new bassist Matt Livingston, have decided to turn their Christmas Crisis into a Christmas Opportunity. The group, set to release their new LP, Drums and Guns, in March, are heading out on a little romp around the globe.

The dates include a short stint at this year's Dirty Three-curated All Tomorrow's Parties in Somerset, UK, which, for those of you keeping track, will be happening at the same time as Coachella 2007 in Indio, CA.

Low Tourdates Here (sorry readers, I was running out of time)

Here's a list of all the artists you will not be seeing at Coachella 2007, because you will be happily attending ATP 2007 instead:

Nick Cave / Grinderman / The Dirty Three / Low / Papa M / The Drones / Faun Fables / Brokeback / Tara Jane O'Neil / Magnolia Electric Company / A Silver Mt. Zion / Devastations / Felix Lajko / Bill Callahan (Smog) / Josh Pearson / Mick Harvey / Shannon Wright / Conway Savage / Cat Power / Spiritualized / Mum Smokes / Small Knives / Joanna Newsom / Yann Tiersen / White Magic / Psarandonis / Ian Wadley / Art of Fighting / Afrirampo / Youpi Youpi Yeah / Alan Vega (Suicide) / Roscoe Mitchell

By the way, Santa Claus gave me a gigantic pile of coal for telling you that. Sorry, St. Nick.

Akron/Family Change Name To Akron@Family To Cultivate New, Forward-Looking, Connected Image; Tour

Akron/Family are touring. They're touring! Touring! Touring!

Oh, yeah! Yeah! Touring! TOOOUUUUUUUUURRRRRRIIIIING! In support of their new album (album album album!!!) Meek Warrior (TMT Review)! Oh yeah! TOOOOOUUUUUUUURRRRIIING!

Ah-whoooaaaaaah, Akron/Family are touring! YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAH! Touring. Touring.

Touring. Touring! Touring! Touring! TOURING!

They're gonna play on the following daaaaaaay-hey-hey-heytes:

Photo: Deborah Samantha

Mos Def to Release Two Versions of Tru3 Magic, One with Altered Tracklist!!

Congratulations, U.S. government! You've managed to show that you've got bigger control issues than freaking Russia. Jesus Chri— I mean, Unspecified Denomination's Hailed Figure (one of my New Year's resolutions is to be more Politically Correct).

So Russia's trying to play nice and join the WTO, and the U.S. government's all (in a Bill Lumberg voice), "Hey Russia... what's happening. We need to talk about this website you've got... yeah, it's AllofMp3.com?... yeah, about that. We're going to have to ask you to go ahead and uh... get rid of it... yeah."

Although AllofMp3 is totally legit in the motherland paying royalties to Russia's music licensing company, ROMS, its copyright laws are a tad lax compared to ours. I know, can you believe it? Anyway, this all went down in November after the sweethearts over at Visa gave AllofMP3 the "fuck all y'all" and stopped processing their credit card transactions. And it gets juicier

Enter the RIAA, a name we all know and love. Somehow they managed to take a break from suing soccer moms and wallowing in a sea of denial about the changing structure of the music industry long enough to get in on the AllofMp3 action by introducing a nice little lawsuit. Check these fightin' words: According to the lawsuit, AllofMp3's "pretense of legitimacy makes its enterprise potentially even more damaging than the shadowy pirate operations that cater only to those users willing to engage in intentional copyright infringement." SLICE!

The website's chances don't look so hot, what with losing tons of money to credit card transactions and other economic pressures — but hey, they've got some fangirls and boys right here on this new-fangled doohickey they call a "blog." It contains an "official" statement from AllofMp3, which reminds us that they are located in Russia and also reminds us that Russia is in fact, not located in New York, and therefore not subject to U.S. copyright laws. Choice comments include: "Fuck the american Comercialfreaks. shoot down and break necks" from "c-ra," which, weirdly enough, appears to be the only username commenting on the blog.

So, what now, AllofMp3? "Stick it to the man," as your supporter(s?) so cleverly suggest? Your website is still pretty bangin'. That 20% off sale looks pretty sexy. How about this... give me your digs and we'll keep everyone updated on your "status," okay? 'Cause this could get interesting, kna'mean?

Mos Def to Release Two Versions of Tru3 Magic, One with Altered Tracklist!!

Remember, when we told you about the conflicting dates for the release of Mos Def's new album Tru3 Magic last month? We reported (hesitantly) that it was coming out January 9. Well, according to MTV, turns out Geffen freaked and instead released it on Friday, December 29, just about the worst possible time you could release an album.

Geffen decided to prematurely release Tru3 Magic after the album leaked online in early December. Additionally, according to MTV, "sources close to Mos Def said the rapper also wanted to move forward with Tru3, which is his last contractual obligation to Geffen under his current deal, according to a label rep." As soon as they both realized how little time there was to market the album, Mos and Geffen decided to push the release date back -- but it was too late. The CDs were already shipped to stores, and even though they officially "recalled" the album, it's up to the stores whether or not to send the albums back.

The solution? Release two albums! The over 11,000 copies of Tru3 Magic that sold (and all the ones sitting in stores) are now touted as a limited-edition "pre-release." A second, re-released version, which will contain FULL artwork (not this) and a slightly altered tracklist, will be released in the springtime.

So, go download Tru3 Magic now, and as soon as they release the tracklist info for the second version, alter your MP3s and you'll already have the re-released version. Shit, maybe they'll release a third version!

In Retrospect, Summer Hymns Did the Right Thing by Pardoning Nixon

Ladies and gentlemen:

We, as Summer Hymns, have come to a decision which we felt we should tell you and all of our fellow American citizens, as soon as we were certain in our own minds and in our own conscience that it is the right thing to do.

Our conscience tells us clearly and certainly that we cannot prolong the bad dreams that continue to reopen a chapter that is closed. Our conscience tells us that only we, as Summer Hymns, have the constitutional power to firmly shut and seal this book. Our conscience tells us it is our duty not merely to proclaim domestic tranquility, but to use every means that we have to insure it. We do believe that the buck stops here, that we cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell us what is right. We do believe right makes might, and that if we are wrong, 10 angels swearing we were right would make no difference. We do believe, with all our hearts and minds and spirits, that we, not as Summer Hymns but as humble servants of God, will receive justice without mercy if we fail to show mercy.

Therefore, we, Summer Hymns, music group of the United States, pursuant to the touring power conferred upon us by Article IIX, Section 42, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, low-cost, and absolute tour unto the United States of America, with fellow Athens group Folklore (fronted by Elf Power's Jimmy Hughes), which will occur during the period from January 23, 2007 through February 10, 2007.

Summer Hymns, January 9, 2007:

Commission Says Black Employees Discriminated Against by Sony BMG, Society

In late 2006, Sony BMG dismantled its Sony Urban Music label. Artists Wyclef Jean, Three 6 Mafia, and Beyoncé were then shifted to subsidiary Columbia. In case you didn't notice, these artists are all black, which just so happens to be the same skin color of all the employees who were laid off from a Manhattan sales office, according to a story in the New York Post.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that a Sony BMG office "overwhelmingly" targeted black employees during the merger restructuring of 2004. The office consisted of seven black workers, eight white, and one Asian (gong would sound here if I were racist). After the restructuring, however, six employees were laid off -- and they were all black.

Predictably, the EEOC ruling provides ex-employees a good opportunity to sue. But of course! Now claiming she "was the victim of race discrimination," ex-employee Tamieka Blair initially accepted the layoff, until the ex-employees called each other and "realized it was all the black people." (That's like getting laid off from a job, but only getting pissed after finding out it was due to your skin color -- oh wait, that's exactly what this is! Funny.)

Thanks to an insider, who looks kinda Native American, TMT was lucky enough to obtain a copy of the Manhattan office's restructuring plan:

Of course, Sony BMG claims its layoff decisions were based on job performance, while the EEOC said Sony BMG "no documented procedure for determining who the best players were" and "lacked performance standards." Either way, I can't stop laughing!

In more PR disaster news, Sony BMG recently announced rootkit settlements with 41 states and the District of Columbia to the tune of $5.75 million and erected a new, fancy website that allows customers to file claims. Meanwhile, the EU is still re-examining the Sony BMG merger and is expected to make a decision on its fate soonish.

That break was too long wasn't it?