Madlib To Read Stephen King’s The Dead Zone In Order To Reach The Other Side of Los Angeles.

Used to be, you had to rely on the post-spring break, lunchroom ramblings of some trust-fund shit who was regularly flown around the world by his parents to "enrich his life" for the low-down on what Beijing or Athens was really like. Then came Time Out, THE hipper alternative to city listings magazines and travel guides. They didn't give all of the mystery away but at least gave you enough info to destroy any possible idea of our globetrotter classmate getting his balls felt up by some supermodel in Prague while you spent the summer "landscaping" (read: dealing pot). Now, the only thing missing from experiencing the real nuts and bolts of any given city seems to be a guided A/V tour by one of its residents.

Not any more. Deaf Dumb & Blind Communications and Time Out have devised an ingenious series of CDs/DVDs that give the eager traveller in all of us a different look at prospective destinations around the globe. The first three volumes in this series came out in October and painted life in New York, London, and Paris by Fischerspooner, Damain Lazarus, and Black Strobe respectively. The fifth installment, The Other Side of Los Angeles will be issued on May 8 and is a CD mix by Oxnard, CA's own Madlib and a DVD presented by Stones Throw Records' head honcho Peanut Butter Wolf. This will most likely be one of many Madlib-affiliated releases this year, but it will be certainly be one of the more personal. His pix 'n' mix is as follows:

The city for the sixth volume in The Other Side of... set has not been decided yet, but I have compiled my The Other Side of Ottawa (it's in Canada and it's not Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver) for consideration. It is, in my humble opinion, a mix that dumps large all over the others in this series. Thankfully for eveyone but me, this one is only an extended EP.

1. The Happy Hooker Trio - "Gimme a Smoke" (recorded live at the corner of McArthur Ave. & Montreal Rd., 4:40 a.m., Dec. 28, 2006)
2. D*v*d N*d*l*e & the Neighbors Cat - "Theme from Donair and Doritos Breath"
3. The White, Uptight Singers - "It’s Tax Time!"
4. 'Gerry' (identity concealed by court order), the Abusive Hockey Dad - "I Really DO Love

My Son, Now Get That F**king Camera Out of My Face"
5. Strip-Mall Punx - "The Government Sucks...So We're Told (A.K.A. "Sucks, This Government)"

Unbelievably, I haven't had any offers from Deaf Dumb & Blind or Time Out. Yet.

Califone? That’s a Tape Player, Right?

There has to be a really good reason for me to come out of the TMT Cave. Gah, my eyes! It's really bright out here in the light! It's going to be even brighter in Malibu when Califone shows up there in May. California is a bright-ass place. Will you be there when Califone is there? Will you take pictures and grin like a fool? That's what I like to do when I see Califone.

Speaking of Califone, have you seen what's happened around here since I went on hiatus? There's been nary a mention of Califone lately. Nary a mention! Can you believe it? There isn't even a review of their latest album, Roots and Crowns, which came out last fall. Last fall! I can't stop repeating myself and can you hear that high pitch in my voice?! Damn, you best get yourself a copy of that record and play it until Califone comes near your town cuz it's a damn good record, yo! It's all folky and electronicky and staticky. You know that line about shattering when you hit the water? Beautiful.

The TMT Cave is calling to me again; I'd better go before it gets pissed off. You get out in the light and see some shows, alright?

Like, OMGZ~!!! YouTube is totally being a bitch right now!

I'm totally, like, freaking out at how catty YouTube is being to indie labels right now. Like, if Beggars Group was named Warner Bros. or Sony, they'd totally get what they want from YouTube. But YouTube is all like" Whatevah!" and the indies are like "You didn' jus say dat? Tell me jus didn' say dat?"

In case you're not hip to the Laguna Beach lingo, allow the Wolf Blitzer (or if you prefer, Anderson Cooper) in me to give it to you straight: YouTube, after being goobled up by the Trapper Keeper also known as Google, struck deals with major labels to continue to host content. YouTube was happy to heave money at Warner Bros., Sony, and the Universal Music Group like Joe Neikro throwing underhanded to Barry Bonds at batting practice. However, when it comes to handling indie labels and their needs, YouTube prefers to give them the ol' Dice-K gyroball.

As I'm sure many of you know, many indie labels have joined together to form Merlin -- which was formed for just such events -- and though the newly minted licensing super agency has managed to reach deals with other services such as SpiralFrog, Merlin does not yet have the full power to force YouTube's hand by immediately pulling content. Simon Wheeler of Beggars Group, however, isn't afraid to press the issue: "If we have to take legal measures to protect our rights we will do so."

What lies next is a wait and see. The indies don't like being treated like second-class citizens, while YouTube is apparently exhausted from dropping off money bags to major label doorsteps. Hopefully in the end we get a giant finale where the spoiled rich kids and the stoner skateboarders end up hugging as a montage of season highs and lows sets the stage for a pop song and the credits.

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.