OMG! Like Rick Rubin Totally Looks Like That Guy Who Made Me Play Mystery Box in 4th Grade! EWWW!

Rick Rubin is a producer. Rick Rubin is joining Columbia.

Matt Filcher is a child molester. Matt Filcher makes me play mystery box.

It began in 3rd grade but climaxed the spring of my 4th grade year. Everyday, Filcher would pick me up from school, even though he didn’t belong to my family, nor did any of my family members realize he was the one picking me up from school. He had candy, and I said “what the fuck, why not?” I got to sit in the back of his kick-ass van that had a sick side panel airbrushed with a wolf howling at the moon. I would eat all of the candy he gave me, and then we would stop off at his house for a quick game of mystery box. This involved what looked like an old Fila shoebox and a blindfold. Some days, he would make me guess what was in the box using only my hands. I would use what he called “super sleuth lotion” to help me identify the member, and then if I couldn’t guess the package, he made me rub it until it spit hot gel. Other days, I got to use my mouth. On those days, it never took me that long to make the object spit. It took almost two years for my parents to catch on to the game, and when they did, they got so damn mad! My mother cried a lot, and my dad just bitched about wanting to castrate Filcher. Whatever, I got so much free candy those years.

But this had a point. Rick Rubin is not Matt Filcher. There it is. Yeah, and Rubin has now joined Columbia Records and will partner with Columbia Records Group chairman Steve Barnett. And much like the diversity of a game of mystery box, Rubin’s new job will allow him to continue producing artists for Warner Bros.

My dad had this to say about Matt Filcher: “Filcher is an animal that does not deserve a second chance. I feel jail is an unfair punishment for this thing. I would much rather make bird seed out of his face.”

Steve Barnett had this to say about Rick Rubin: "Rick is a fantastic producer, tremendous with artists and has total respect within the industry as an honest man and a creative genius. It is a great opportunity for me to have in Rick a true creative partner."

All I Wanna Do Is Zune-a-Zune-Zune-Zune and a Boom-Boom: Microsoft attacks iPhone, Expands Zune; William Henry Gates III Challenges Steven Paul Jobs to Cage-Match

In what has become an epic battle for the ages, the verbal sparring continues between Microsoft and Apple on the basis of their "flagship devices," the Zune and iPod respectively. Hot-button topics like abortion, the war in Iraq and the best boy band of the 1990s (...N*Sync, duh) pale in comparison to the ever-heated shouting match that erupts in a fiery fit of passion every time the rival MP3 players are pitted against one another. Reminiscent of history's greatest rivalries: Tupac vs. Biggie, Yankees vs. Red Sox, or Sparta vs. Athens, no comparison rings more true than the late 1990s bloodbath that was WCW vs. nWo. Immortalized on Nintendo 64, when these two behemoths faced off, no one was safe. Not since Diamond Dallas Page have we seen the level of intensity employed by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer in his claims that the iPhone has "no chance" of any significant market share. He went on to call Apple's looming James Bond-style secret weapon a "$500 subsidized item." Them be fightin' words.

Despite miniscule sales (in its launch-week, the Zune captured a 9% unit share to the iPod's 63%) and being far less buff, Microsoft furthered their offensive assault as executives made public plans to introduce a new line of Zune media players. Without a projected date, the manager of Microsoft's global marketing team promised video-enabled players with higher storage (like the 60 gig video iPod), a set of more music-focused devices (like the iPod Mini), and a set of USB pendants (like the iPod Shuffle).

In closing, a newly engorged Bill Gates stormed the stage in a one-piece leotard, steroid needles still hanging from his swollen veins and put out a bold proposition for Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Gates was quoted as screaming the following in a flurried union of the most fearless fighters before him:

"Watcha gonna do, Little Steven?! When the 24 inch pythons and Gatesmania destroy you! [takes bite out of iPod] I'm coming for you man. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!"

Balls in your court, Stevie.

A Pillar of Salt (The Thermals to Tour the UK Version)

Sub Pop pop-punk veterans The Thermals are gearing up for a loooooong tour overseas. And they're bringing B-sides. The band recently had a track featured on Bridging the Distance, a Portland, OR covers compilation, on which they cover Led Zeppelin's "Tangerine." (Other artists featured on this compilation include Britt Daniel, The Decemberists, and The Dandy Warhols.) In celebration of the tour, Sub Pop will be reissuing the band's latest LP The Body, The Blood, The Machine in the UK, as well as a 7-inch OR downloadable single of "A Pillar of Salt." Either way, the single comes packed with not one, not two, but THREE! -- count 'em -- three B-sides.

A Pillar of Salt 7-inch tracklisting:

* opening for The Cribs

Yet Another Biblical Prophecy Fulfilled; The Locust Will Tour Mexico and Europe

1 And the LORD said unto Moses, I heareth that thine children's hearts of Europa and Mesoamerica hath been mighty saddened by vile sappy indie rock. To which, Moses enquireth, Like The Hold Steady, my LORD?

2 And the LORD said unto Moses, yes, like The Hold Steady, although the new Arcade Fire sucketh pretty bad too:

3 And the LORD said further unto Moses, behold, thy children of Europa and Mesoamerica need weepeth no more, for beginning on the date of June the twenty second two thousand and seven, I your LORD will bring a plague of The Locust into thy coasts. And, verily, The Locust shall shreddeth thine ears; so that thy shall cover them with thy hands and, afterwards, thine ears shalt pisseth pure blood:

4 And they shall fill thy temples of musics at least fifteen to thirty percent full. And they shall createth a cackly spaz racket, with all electronic squiggles and stuff, which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have heareth, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day.

5 And Moses said, We will go; our young and our slightly older than young, our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD at all temples that holdeth The Locust.

6 And the LORD said unto Moses, Do not bother taking thy flocks and herds, for they will thinketh this shite to not be rad:

7 And, verily, on many days from June the twenty second onwards, Moses stretched forth his rod over the lands of Mesoamerica and Europa, and the LORD brought a great westerly wind upon those lands all those days; and when it was evening in various parts of the aforementioned plains, the east wind brought The Locust. And, indeedeth, the children of Europa and Mesoamerica did fully rejoice.

8 And verily, the LORD said unto Moses, for the express purposes of this plague, Mesoamerica doth fully include Los Angeles.

Rampant teabagging to honour the memory of Jerry Falwell will take place at the following locations:

This is an Example of a Simile: North by Northeast Is Like South by Southwest (Only in Toronto, Instead of Austin); So in Some Regards, They’re Antonyms

I've never been to South by Southwest, but it seems like a drunken bacchanalia from the reviews I've read and pictures I've seen. It also seems like a lot of people can't get into the shows that they want to see, and the shows rarely start on time. I've also heard that Austin can get pretty hot, but maybe that's just in the summer. It also seems like there's a slurry of shit bands. But hell, what do I know? I've never been there.

So it's with some hesitation that I inform you of Toronto, Canada's 13th annual North by Northeast Music and Film Festival and Conference. You wouldn't find Boris playing the Mountain Dew stage or Jandek playing a church, but you might have a chance to see Dinosaur Jr if you are among the 100 lucky enough to have a delegate badge and/or wristband.

But I'm missing the point, really. The conference, lasting from June 7-10, is a gathering of music industry insiders, music fans, and over 450 bands spread across 30 Toronto venues. NXNE also showcases a film festival, playing, among other things, the documentary Kurt Cobain: About a Son.

And while there'll certainly be a fair number of shit bands (read, mediocre), NXNE does a better job at focusing on bands looking for their big break, not already broken (see Boris playing the SXSW Mountain Dew stage), so it serves a far greater philanthropic purpose.

Playing in addition to festival headliners Dinosaur Jr are Awesome Color, Uncut, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Icarus Line, and potential up-and-comers Sleeping in the Aviary. All 400+ bands are potential up-and-comers, truth be told, and the full band list can be viewed here.

If you live in the Toronto area or plan on being in the area, I'd recommend this opportunity to check out some bands. I'm sure just as much fun can be had in Toronto during NXNE as can be had in Austin during SXSW, but as I said earlier, I wouldn't know.

Lauryn Hill Comes Out of the Closet to Play Two West Coast Shows

On a dark winter day in the summer near the dumpster-divers and sewer rats of West Philly, I stumbled upon a gritty, old homeless man who claimed to be the ill-faded Wyclef Jean (I mean, ill-faded in the most generous way).

Emceegreg: Why, Wyclef... Is that you?

Wyclef Jean: Hell yeah. It's me son. Wanna buy a beat, boy?

Emceegreg: Uh, no. What the hell are you doing? Is that a turd that you're eating?

Wyclef Jean: Hell no, that ain't no turd. That's a steak, son [Clearly a turd]. Hey, aren't you that famous news reporter, Emceegreg? You're like the best Tiny Mix Tapes writer ever.

Emceegreg: I agree. Grant's okay, I guess. Seriously, what are you doing?

Wyclef Jean: I'm a refugee. And I'm on my way to Cali to see my girl Lauryn Hill play a couple special shows.

Emceegreg: Lauryn Hill? Who is that? I vaguely remember. Didn't Devendra Banhart cover that song she had?

Wyclef Jean: Dawg, she was in the Fugees! With me! Remember us? We were huge.

Emceegreg: Oh, now I sort of remember. Didn't Eminem diss her in a song about how she said she didn't like white people?

Wyclef Jean: No, she loves white people. In fact, I heard she's working with Mr. Bright Eyes himself, Conor Oberst, on her long-awaited upcoming album, Khulami Phase. Wait, you listened to Eminem?

Emceegreg: Uh, hey are you homeless now or something?

Wyclef Jean: Man, shit. I'm undercover. I'm looking for some fresh talent to record a new album, possibly cover another Bee Gees song, my son.

Then Pras walked by the two of us in a white sequin suit that read "Ghetto Superstar" and threw a handful of change at Wyclef. Wyclef screamed for him to come back. I walked back to my TMT limo, curling my handlebar mustache deviously. I was in deep thought, pondering how annoying Wyclef was in that damn Shakira song, wondering how Pras remained wealthy, and realizing that I had just banked a 5-star story for a 2-star publication. Score!

Lauryn Hill dates:
06.27.07 - Oakland, CA - Paramount Theater
06.29.07 - Palo, CA - Palomar Starlight