Modern Life Ain’t Rubbish: eMusic Surpasses 150 Million Downloads Sold.

We live in cutting edge times. With our flying cars, space vacations, and “downloadable” music, we need to adapt to a completely different set of societal rules and regs than even our parents did. More importantly for this asinine news story, we need to adhere to new practices concerning anniversary gift ideas for companies who have hit certain key numbers of purchased digital downloads.

It used to be so easy. For example, if eMusic, “the world’s leading digital retailer of independent music, second only to iTunes in number of downloads sold” (thank you Billboard), were to turn 15 years old, we would get them something made of crystal if we were traditionalists or a watch if we were modern dandies. Old school gifters don't have designated gift suggestions for “the big 44,” but if eMusic were to reach that magical milestone, it would surely receive some groceries from neoteric celebrants. Groceries? Hmm. Well, nothing says "Happy 44th" like half-eaten Lunchables and some cream soda, that’s for damned sure!

Everyone knows it is impolite, bordering on a hangable offense, to ask a multi-conglomerate corporation how old they are... but we do know that eMusic has surpassed 150 million downloads sold, which means they are due for a present!

The chart below will tell you exactly what gift is apropos for such momentous downloading occasions:
1 hundredth download: troll doll
45 thousandth download: placemat from greasy spoon (preferably with children's puzzle-maze one-third completed and droplets of chocolate milkshake on corner)
112 thousandth download: horse-head bookends
599 thousandth download: the anniversary of fuzzy felt
900 thousandth download: 15 minutes + padded cell + Karen Ann (sorry, I have no idea how my “3 wishes for a genie” list ended up here)
1 millionth download: boobies or weewee immortalized by Cynthia Plaster Caster (a great showpiece for the mantle!)
16 millionth download: bandanas and/or medium-density fibreboard
17 millionth download: a formal dinner followed by a best-out-of-101 Euchre game with Chris Tucker, Gilbert Gottfried, and Rosie O’Donnell (listen, I don’t make the rules, I just report them…)
37 millionth download: anything mylar
71 millionth download: the chance to narrate an episode of A&E's City Confidential
111 millionth download: dust

150 millionth download: solid gold bathtub

The fun ends there. With each successive 150 millionth download sold that a company celebrates, you get another tub. Congratulations eMusic! You’re soakin’ in it!

No Whammy No Whammy No Whammy STOP! Wzt Hearts Release New LP and Begin Tour Today

Wzt Hearts, the new sensation of the century, have released their sophomore album Threads Rope Spell Making Your Bones (TMT Review) today on Carpark Records. Apparently, the album is a conceptual "reimagining" of the 1981 Black Flag classic Damaged, surely a daring move for any group. But Wzt Hearts are quick to point out that it's not a "cover album," but instead a benefit compilation with the subtitle Instant Karma: Save Darfur. The interesting thing about this benefit album, however, is that it plays entirely in reverse. Yep, the whole album plays backwards! But Wzt Hearts went even one step further by separating the musical parts of the songs and releasing them on four separate discs, requiring listeners to essentially play all four CDs simultaneously in order to hear the "full" album.

Threads Rope Spell Making Your Bones -- Instant Karma: Save Darfur is released worldwide today, with three special-edition U.S. versions exclusive to iTunes, Best Buy, and Target -- each version contains different bonus tracks. Jimmy Chamberlin guest drums on two tracks. Chris Walla produced the album. Colin Meloy co-wrote a song. Dan Deacon endorses the album, etc., etc.

Sponge-worthy:

Bad Brains Re-Enter the Spotlight, Tour, Bradley “Brad” Brains Jr. Finally Beginning to Understand the Prank Phone Calls that Drove His Father to Alcoholism and Suicide

Bad Brains were arguably the first and best hardcore band of all time. They fused punk and reggae like none other, inspiring a generation to play faster than their juvenile, coffee-addled brains could have ever imagined. Then they went downhill, and for a long time absolutely nothing happened.

NOW!

Bad Brains are touring. The members are bona fide legends at this point and, on the heels of their acclaimed new album, Build A Nation, seem poised to claim their place in the pantheon.

I don’t care. I love Bad Brains, and I don’t care. I am only wondering one thing: Does this mean they will collaborate with Lil Jon? I know they’re friends. Lil Jon is a fan of Bad Brains. Everyone likes Lil Jon, so Bad Brains are fans of Lil John. I want to hear Dr. Know and co. play “Banned in D.C.” and “Sailin’ On” as much as the next guy, but I would give my right arm and firstborn son to hear H.R. and Lil Jon have a five-minute conversation with one another, let alone collaborate on what I have no qualms calling the most important thing of the 21st century.

I ask: What amount of money will it take to make this happen? What drugs will it take to make this happen? I will give myself up to the cause. I will get the lowest anyone has ever gotten. I will love Jah. I will burn myself at the stake so long as the last thing I hear before I shuffle off this mortal coil is Lil Jon, drunk out of his mind, screaming his lungs out with Bad Brains.

If you would like to join my church and testify, you may do so at one of these upcoming crunk-free (comparatively) Bad Brains performances:

Pygmalion Music Festival to Host 71 Bands, 70 to Suck and Attract Stupid Frat Boys, My Friends’ Band to Melt Face

Attention Urbana Hipsters: The floor-staring, ironic-dancing, “I liked them better when they were called Pavement” event of the season is fast approaching. Starting Wednesday, September 19, the Pygmalion Music Festival will blow the roof off local bars throughout the Champaign-Urbana area, home to the University of Illinois. Brush up on your Pitchfork review scores because you wouldn’t want to hesitate when your significantly less hip friends ask “have you heard of these guys?”

The festival, in its third year, will be headlined by Andrew Bird and Okkervil River while major artists, including David Bazan, The Redwalls, ?uestlove, Headlights, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, and Owen, will be playing over the festival’s four-day span.

Unfortunately, none of these artists matter and, in fact, are only listened to by bigots who hate universal suffrage, the abstract concept of liberty, and those adorable pictures of cats with the grammatically incorrect captions.

- Andrew Bird? Nice whistle, idiot.

- Okkervil River? Named after a story named after a river in a place that was once called LENINGRAD. Nice political statement Will.

- David Bazan? Every song on his new EP have unironic alternate titles; even Fall Out Boy has advanced past this.

- The Redwalls? They’re still a band? (No, seriously, is this blowing anyone else’s mind that these dudes are still making music? I thought after bands were featured on MTV 2’s The Leak they simply ceased to exist…)

- Headlights? Sucked when they were called Stars.

- Casiotone For The Painfully Alone? Dude HATES cupcakes.

Owen? The reason American Football broke up was because Mike Kinsella wanted to pursue a solo career, hoping that one day he could play an indie-rock festival in Champaign-Urbana. Pygmalion broke up American Football.

It gets worse. If you do decide to throw caution to wind and see one of these shows (which effectively indicates that you are against the RIAA, but only because you think its anti-piracy measures are not strong enough), you will likely be surrounded by jeep brahs who will promptly attempt to steal your boyfriend/girlfriend and throw a beer can at you (if you’re a dude) or scream things like “ungh gurl, give me your digits” or “so much honey in here I thought I was in a beehive” so loudly you'll be unable to even hear the music (if you’re a female).

Now, I know what you're thinking: “the baseless claims you’ve indiscriminately hurled have changed my mind, but I’ve already purchased the incredibly reasonable $45 festival pass, which grants me access to all shows at all eight associated venues... where can I sell it?” Don’t. While 70 of the bands may not support the Kyoto Protocol or transparency in government, one band still has your social, economic, and rock ‘n’ roll needs covered. Oceans. This is “The Band That Plays What Leonard Cohen Meant To say.”

But don’t take my word on the fact that OCEANS is the pinnacle of art. Consult the following breakdown and make your own decisions about what you think of Oceans' unique brand of post-rock smeared in a Midwest punk rock ethos.

----

Andrew Bird V. Oceans

- Andrew Bird has a degree in violin performance from Northwestern University with a degree. A degree tailor-made for amusing the aristocracy.

- Oceans is comprised of altruists seeking to make the human experience better for all, with one member in medical school and the others completing degrees in urban planning, education, and political science.

- Andrew Bird worked with the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

- Oceans work alone. Like James Bond.

Okkervil River V. Oceans

- Okkervil River’s Pygmalion time slot is at 12:20 on a Wednesday night.

- Oceans is already in bed preparing to work their hardest the next day.

- Will Sheff produces critical writings on film, literature, and music for a host of respected publications.

- Oceans ain’t no nine-to-five sellouts.

David Bazan V. Oceans

- The Wikipedia entry on Pedro The Lion refers to their genre as “Slowcore.”

- The Wikipedia article on Oceans talks about the likelihood of water on the Galilean moon Europa and has an infrared map of large underwater features.

The Redwalls V. Oceans

- The Redwalls

- No counterpoint necessary.

Headlights V. Oceans

- Headlights' songs include quaint narratives about small town life and love.

- In Oceans, "Epic masterpieces unfold like boyhood adventures as lies are told, battles are fought, and friendships are saved, evoking nostalgia with every strum. With the blink of an eye, Oceans kicks in a math rock swagger that sneers and spits as much as it sanctifies. True to their midwestern punk rock ethos, they play every note with the sincerity and honesty that music was meant to be played, making ever performance one to be remembered."

Owen V. Oceans

- Mike Kinsella, Owen, sits on stage statically and plays complex acoustic pieces.

- Oceans will punch you/one another in the face for not feeling it.

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone V. Oceans

- Owen Ashworth wants to revoke the third amendment in the Bill of Rights.

- Oceans don’t want no troops all up in their business.

----

You can get the (unnecessary) schedule here but really all that matters is that Oceans will be playing at 8 P.M. on Friday, September 21 at the Canopy Club. Festival-long passes are still available, and tickets for all shows will be for sale at the door.

Full disclosure/plagiarism defense: I would like to thank the members of Oceans for supplying all of the material in quotes.

The Stills Refuse Racy Photo Shoot, Leave Vice; Sign With Arts & Crafts

The supple, smooth bodies, more than half-naked and gracing the pages of the New York City-based hipster bible and free magazine Vice, are sinful in their appeal. Countless beauties, often underage, are semi-clad in the latest fashions while their tattered bangs crowd their inviting stares. So when Vice's music division, Vice Records, approached its band The Stills about joining this class of boho model in a topless photo shoot, one would imagine the Canadian band found themselves flattered.

However, in a shocking turn of events, The Stills' conservative side and former body image issues shone through resulting in an uncomfortable situation for all. At a loss about their label's audacity, the band decided to part ways with Vice and seek out a new, more respectful arrangement. Enter Arts & Crafts.

The Canadian powerhouse label, home to Broken Social Scene and nearly all of their spawn, have been on quite a diversifying tear lately signing Wales startups Los Campesinos! and Ontario rockers The Constantines. The wide net cast by the label, allegedly initiated when it was rumored that Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis had beef, did not end in a deal with the pop princess but instead Arts & Crafts has bulked up with the addition of the three still-budding rock acts. The Stills, the latest to join the team in lieu of their indecent exposure are currently cooped up in their native Montreal hoping to complete their third LP and follow up to 2006's Without Feathers. Luckily for the fans, you won't have to wait until the record's planned release in Spring of 2008 to catch the group in action, as they plan to perform scattered shows in the area while also traveling to Florida to open for Spoon (and probably visit Disney World).

Catch 'em clothed:

* Spoon

Marley Family to Sue Verizon and Universal, You Sleep Beside Me, I Am on a Train Leaving You as You Read This

Dear Reader, Baby, Sweetheart,

By the time you'll have read this, I'll be gone.

I left at daybreak.

You see, something happened last night, baby. You were sleeping so soundly, and I didn't want to wake you. Your pretty, indie face on the pillow, smiling to yourself. Sugar plums were, like, dancing in your head. You slept, reader baby, and I stared at the ceiling. Wide awake. Contemplating spending the rest of my life with you. I was going to ask you to marry me. But it didn't feel right.

There's God, and love, and this insane force inside of you. The light attaches to you, always.

Reader baby, know this: you're beautiful, and the thing is, I don't know who I am anymore. Something happened.

This happened:

In a landmark defiance of EVERYTHING, I am of a similar viewpoint as a Marley fan. And not just any fan. The Marley family and I are in agreement. Apparently, the Marley family's Fifty Six Hope Road Music Ltd aims to sue both Verizon Wireless and Universal Music Group based on Verizon's try for use of Marley songs as ringtones.

I am siding with the Marleys.

I must confess, though, that I side with the Marleys out of personal interest. You see, reader baby, I'm still in college, and these ringtones may ruin my life. As in:

1. I don't want to hear "Buffalo Soldier" ringing as my fellow COLLEGE KIDZ! make the nightly booty call;
2. I don't want to hear "Buffalo Soldier" on the street;
3. Or by way of an accidental ring ring ring ring in class;
4. At Planned Parenthood;
5. While buying weed,
6. And 100000000000000000000000 puppies,
7. And 343049039403940349 kittens,
8. Or, really, ever.

...

Yes, I side with the Marleys for the sole purpose of killing off any possibility for me to hear a Bob Marley song, ever. Still, reader baby, I can't live with myself knowing that my support of the Marleys, though grossly unintentional, is still, in essence, some support.

You're just too damn good for me.

Goodbye, reader baby. I will love and miss you. Don't try to contact me.

Really, you're beautiful.

Yours,

AJ

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