Major Stars Release New LP on Drag City, Tour. Full Disclosure: I Am Somewhat Sure There Exists a Photograph of One of Them Shoving All Ten of His Fingers Into My Mouth At Once

Major Stars, the band CMJ recently described as “notorious” for some reason, have announced they are releasing their latest album on Drag City. The decision makes them labelmates with such zeitgeist-tapping luminaries as the Nig Heist.

Last night on MythBusters, they figured out that it’s way more efficient to turn your lights off when you leave the room than to leave them on.

Major Stars also has a short tour planned for next month and will be sure to turn the lights off before they leave.

MythBusters engineered their biggest explosion to date in the name of “Busting” ™ -- the myth that the shockwave from an explosion will break a dummy’s 500-foot fall. Something went wrong with the dummy, but they were still pretty sure it wouldn’t work.

Major Stars have never made a mistake like that.

The episode of MythBusters I watched was almost certainly a rerun. Major Stars have never done anything twice.

I couldn’t think of anything to write for this piece, and now it’s edging closer and closer to Chuck-Norris-Joke territory. Just go see Major Stars and buy their new record. Their shows are drunken catastrophes of the highest order and maybe if you leave the house and expand your mind, you’ll learn something for once, etc, etc.

Tourdates:

Your Monday Morning Just Got A Little Suckier: Explosions In The Sky The Decemberists Cancel Their Summer Remaining European Dates

Explosions in the Sky The Decemberists have communicated in a brief statement on their website MySpace that they have been forced to cancel all of their summer European dates due to a family band member falling seriously ill. This includes an imminent date at All Tomorrow's Parties in Minehead, which I was totally going to go to.

"With much regret The Decemberists have cancelled the remainder of our European tour. One of our band members is ill and needs to return immediately home to mend.

"Our deepest apologies to all of our fans whom have purchased tickets to our forthcoming European shows. Unfortunately our calendar doesn't allow us to return to Europe at any point soon so please refund tickets at point of purchase.

"It saddens us to disappoint our fans. We hope everybody understands that it is because of an extreme situation that we had to make such an abrupt change in plans."

Damn, man.

TMT's thoughts are with the band and their family and hope for a speedy recovery.

If you live in any of the following towns, get ready to stamp your foot and go "Oh, for Fu":

* Laura Veirs

Thanks [Nunpuncher for the template.]

Michael Showalter Sells First Comedy Album; We Don’t Have This Money

More important than anything else being reported here today, if you haven't seen The Michael Showalter Showalter, I suggest you watch a few episodes NOW and then return to your beloved TMT. If all talk show hosts were as hard-hitting as Show (to Paul Rudd: "Are you... lonely?) I might stay up on weeknights past 8 P.M. Dude even manages to make Andy Samberg funny.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the single-season run of Comedy Central's Stella (starring Showalter along with compadres David Wain and Michael Ian Black), please exit your browser, jump into a car -- any car -- and demand that the driver take you to the nearest DVDerie so you can examine one of the finest, most ridiculous, actual-belly-laugh-inducing comedy shows of all time. Stella is right up there with Mind of Mencia, The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Bob Saget's stand-up special, Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl, and those "Big Dog" t-shirts they sell in shopping malls.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the Stella crew's previous show, The State, that might be something to check out as well. I was obsessed with this show at age 10 and enlisted my friends in a terrible reenactment of choice scenes. This videotape has since been lit on fire and buried nine feet below the soil, but I trust you will all value the discerning comedic taste of a pre-teen.

Oh, and if you haven't seen Showalter's movie, The Baxter, drop everything and... well, actually come on back. Set yourself down in that comfortable chair and keep reading. You don't need to see that. You don't even need to see the trailer for that.

This is what we call burying the lead: Michael Showalter has now decided to release an album for JDub Records on November 13. Entitled Sandwiches & Cats (...is Patton Oswalt going to sue?), the CD will mix up regular stand-up with sketches and improvised material, both live and in the studio. Janeane Garofalo and Eugene Mirman show up as featured guests, and one can imagine that the tracks will be either nothing short of amazing or better than The Baxter. So much better.

Sandwiches & Cats tracklist:

The iPod Anti-Trust Case Now Comes In Black, Pink, And White

An antitrust lawsuit against Apple mulls in the background, as new, enviously nubile iPods were recently announced. The suit-filers charge that Apple has continued to block files sold by other online music stores (Wal-Mart, Napster, Best Buy, Yahoo, etc., which all use DRM-ed up Windows Media files), despite how allegedly inexpensive licensing the WMA (and other) formats would be. The Apple “crippleware” that restricts WMA files is also charged with doing the “crippleware walk” in defiance of a previous court order. The argument is that buyers of the iPod are forced into buying music from Apple’s iTunes store -- or ripping music from their own CDs. Unfair!

Has Apple insidiously doomed purchasers of the iPod into a life of Apple serfdom? Do people listen to WMA files? How long have I scoured the internet looking for a way to convert my annoyingly bothersome WMAs into MP3s? What about FLAC? Does anyone care about FLAC???? No, not AFLAC, I’m talking about these. (Note: some iPods can play FLAC files, but who really cares about lossless, open-source audio formats.)

IN OTHER NEWS

A somewhat unrelated case pending in the EU challenges Apple’s country-by-country pricing model, which charges EU consumers differing amounts, depending on which country they live in. Pays for play?

IN OTHER OTHER NEWS

Then there’s this lawsuit that slaps Apple with damages for dropping the price of the iPhone so soon after launch, in turn pissing off people who really, really wanted to sell theirs on eBay.

As per usual, bootleggers, pirates, and otherwise unassuming file-sharers are unaffected.

Pitchfork and All Tomorrow’s Parties Team Up For A Festival; To Keep Up Our Much-Publicized Rivalry With Pitchfork, We Decide To Team Up With Only The Best Movies To Host a Festival Too

[Good day, everyone! Just a little disclaimer: if you indeed decide to go to the website featured on the image in this story and you're at work, by all means feel free. Just pack your shit beforehand.]

P4K announced, oh, about an hour ago, that they are helping curate another kick-ass ATP festival in Camber Sands Holiday Park (in Sussex). Of course, it's hard to believe P4k, especially when they promised that Of Montreal/Girl Talk remix that we've never fucking heard. I've been pissed off about that actually. That was promised like four months ago! (It's probably Gregg's fault though, so whatever. Here is a link to the lies.)

Sooooo, basically ATP and Pitchfork are sort of "fighting" each other or something, 'cause Pitchfork is going to pick half the bands for the first weekend (May 9-11) and ATP is going to pick the other half for the following weekend. It's called ATP Vs. Pitchfork. Here is a partial list of the bandz playing:

Shit man, that lineup looks stellar. I bet ATP picked Ween. It'll cost £140 which is around $285 in U.S. currency. Daaaamn.

Well, if you are poor like me and scared to leave the country, then you should definitely consider our festival, which will be coinciding with the ATP Festival. Guess what? It's completely free, and you don't even have to leave your chair. Don't worry this isn't like our April Fool's joke. That was lame, -- we're so over that.

So prepare yourselves for this:

That's right! We're teaming up with the porn gods from Only The Best Movies Dot Com for an awesome porn festival, where TMT will pick half of the best pornos and OTMB will pick the other. We can't give you a "partial" list yet, but I promise we'll have one for you soon. So, hang tight -- we'll drop more information about our awesome porn festival soon. Until then, clip out some coupons for your favorite lotion and check out P4K's own news story on the ATP/P4K festival here

RIAA Looks Deeply Into A Music Fan’s Eyes, Winks, Half-Smiles, and Then Charges Her $220,000 For Sharing 24 Songs

“The law here is clear, as are the consequences for breaking it.” - RIAA

After two days of testimony and four hours of deliberation, the RIAA surprisingly won a pivotal case yesterday when a federal jury in Minnesota found a woman liable for sharing copyrighted MP3s. For a mere 24 songs, Jammie Thomas (after a public whipping) has been ordered to pay a whopping $220,000 to all four down-home, friendly music groups Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, and particularly EMI Group (Capitol, specifically). The payment breaks down to $9,250 in statutory damages per song, which could've been been as low as $750 per song ($18,000 total) or as high as $150,000 ($3.6 million total).

The case, which was the first jury trial in the industry's lawsuits targeting individuals, is pivotal because the judge essentially ruled that the mere act of making MP3s available for download is viewed as infringement. Meaning: the RIAA did not have to prove that any songs were actually transferred. The RIAA centered its accusations around Thomas having a Kazaa user name linked to a web address, as well as replacing her computer's hard drive in order to cover-up evidence.

Since 2003, 30,000+ people have been accused of illegally file-sharing, according to The New York Times, but most of them settle out of court for $4,000 on average. The RIAA claims to lose $4.2 billion per year due to file-sharing, but, as Paul Resnikoff of Digital Music News points out, it also has to do with "increased competition for entertainment dollars, antiquated pricing strategies, and an incredibly hostile stance towards consumers." Nobody ever said capitalizing on digital music was going to be easy, but these pricey lawsuits will be the end of major labels if they can't properly engage with the internet, diversify their revenue, adjust their pricing models, and tap deeper into licensing and distribution. Easier than it sounds, I'm sure.

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