Praise Allah and Pass the Ammo! Magik Markers Set Album Release Date and Tracklisting

Chemical Ali will go down in history as one of the most brutal pieces of shit in history. But because he is in the news, and because we are news reporters of some sort, it would be unprofessional not to mention these four little-known facts about the man:

1. Chemical Ali actually got his nickname when he was the only person to not lose his cookies while on peyote with The Doors in the desert. Coincidently, he was the inspiration for the “Mr. Mojo Risin’” nickname after Jim Morrison awoke during the night to see the wild Iraqi dry-humping a cactus.
2. He was seen cheering the Hell’s Angels’ murder of Meredith Hunter at the free Stones concert at Altamont Motor Speedway, CA near the end of 1969 and freaked out the notoriously tough gang when he was overheard offering to get rid of the evidence by eating the poor victim’s body for a gram of hash.
3. “Shimmy A” once had creative musical hopes and dreams like we all do. For instance, he used to envision recording with Phil Spector, using the producer’s patented wall-of-sound technique to record a hi-energy house workout album. He got the idea after taking E while raping and pillaging his way across Europe during his gap year (clarification: this wish to hook up with Spector may have more to do with his orgiastic urge of getting guns pointed at his head).
4. Chemical Ali has always been an evil bastard consumed with plans of killing off the Kurd and Shi'ite peoples in Iraq but he has been responsible for other hate crimes as well. He has been responsible for the mass decline of Latin curricula in schools over the last 30 years, and he also helped kill off skiffle and be-bop. In a rare interview published by Tiger Beat, Ali claimed his hatred for the sickening TV show 7th Heaven. “You’re next 7th Heaven!”, he shouted. The next year, it was canceled.

The fact that he may be hanged before Magik Markers release their new album BOSS on September 25 through Ecstatic Peace may finally have him uncharacteristically rattled. Not even Ali could deny the greatness of this band, could he? Well, he might be the only one actually... dude hates everything and has a fucking tin ear to boot.

The sound of one hand hitting another is called clapping. The sound of two hands hitting out at anything in their way is called Pete Nolan. The sound of choreographed step-kicking is called Stomp the Yard. The sound of someone shit-kicking your grey matter is called Elisa Ambrogio. The sound of children singing “Do-Re-Mi” is The Sound of Music. The sound of children blowing up bullfrogs by making them inhale cigarettes is the sound of Magik Markers.

Boss BOSS tracklisting:

1. Axis Mundi
2. Body Rot
3. Last of the Lemach Line
4. Empty Bottles
5. Taste
6. Four/The Ballad of Harry Angstrom
7. Pat Garrett
8. Bad Dream/Hartford’s Beat Suite
9. Circle

Ween Release Friends EP, Plan LP, Wash Balls ‘Til Smooth Like Silk

In an unprecedentedly trashy business move, Interscope Geffen A&M (Time Warner BMG Nabisco CIA) announced this week that it will team up with Drinks Americas Holdings to produce a line of drinks branded with the name of a hot new Interscope artist. Together, the two unfortunately-named companies will develop concepts and marketing approaches -- though based on my suggestions in the headline, they could really cut their work in half by hiring me.

Drinks Americas Holdings already has a long and storied history in the field of novelty beverages: Donald Trump Super Premium Vodka and Willie Nelson's Old Whiskey River Bourbon didn't just appear in your pantry from nowhere, you see. According to the company (which is always a good place to go for any cold, hard facts), the liquified essence of Trump will have sold 100,000 cases by the end of its first year.

The lucky Interscope artists have not yet been revealed, but a number of possibilities have been hinted at and given the "wink wink" when asked about. Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent (try, try again!), Busta Rhymes, G-Unit, Daddy Yankee, Sheryl Crow, Enrique Iglesias, Chris Cornell, and Gwen Stefani are all viable possibilities, and it is a testament to both companies that they've chosen a list of artists that could have been developed (and would have made more sense) nearly five years ago. The fate of Sheryl Crow's "Strong Enough" Rum seems very uncertain and shaky. Nearly as shaky as the person who downs a whole bottle of it by themself and tears into a double-time rendition of "If It Makes You Happy."

J. Patrick Kenny, CEO of Drinks Americas, said, "There is a large opportunity here for both companies to generate substantial incremental revenue and profits and create valuable assets." Golly, that sounds delicious! Just make sure these drinks bear no similarities to the Powerpuff Girls-themed bottle of "Belly Washers" I tried once and later heaved back out into the sink. Pay a little bit closer attention to the ingredients this time... please?

Ween Release Friends EP, Plan LP, Wash Balls ‘Til Smooth Like Silk

At a certain point in a band’s career, if they stick it out long enough, if they deal with the bullshit critics and the fickle kids, they’ll get a free license to be mediocre, lazy, or just plain suck every once and a while. It’s like being a good-band emeritus, a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card. Like Buddy Cianci -- we know you never stopped caring about Providence, so what’s a little assault between friends. For example, let’s consider all those albums in-between SMiLE (’66) and SMiLE (’04) taken care of. Idlewho? I’m already over it. And all those bad ’80s albums by legendary rockers. I know you couldn’t resist when the engineer said all the cool cats made their drums sound like that, so we’ll let it slide.

Then there’s these guys. Ween can afford to be bad. Why? Let’s look at the evidence.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

That said, I’ve got no opinion one way or the other on their new Friends EP. I’m just saying they’ve earned a little slack. Ween say this fall they’ll release a full-length album on a “real” label, which will be a distilled version of the “well over 50 or 60 songs” they recently laid out at their 24-track, 2-inch tape-equipped farmhouse. This one’s on Chocodog:

Guitar Center Inc. Goes Private, Tools of Musical Rebellion Now to be Sold Exclusively by The Man, Bob Dylan Outraged, Jakob Dylan a Hack

Know how you HATE going into Guitar Center because you can’t pick up a goddamned thing without the ponytailed, tatted-up floor-rep who’s “only doing this as a day-job while his band looks for a new drummer so they can finish their demo in their other guitarist’s friend’s dad’s home-studio and send it to their bassist’s dad’s cousin’s boss because he works in A&R?” locking onto you like a fuckin’ heat-seeker (a rather carbuncular heat-seeker, mind you) and trying like Rocky Balboa to stick you with the biggest, most expensive sale that he possibly can??

Welp, Private Equity Firm Bain Capital Partners LLC must have made one scraggly salesman into the happiest Metallica fan since The Black Album when it waltzed into the mammoth maze of Marshal Amps and announced, amid the din of choppy, awkward “Brainstew” and “Come as You Are” riffs, that they’d take... EVERYTHING!

Yes, much to the surprise of... well... I don’t know who... business nerds who actually keep track of this kind of shit, I guess... anyway, much to the surprise of SOMEONE SOMEWHERE, the private firm purchased the entire musical instrument empire, known professionally as Guitar Center Inc., for roughly $1.9 billion plus assumed debt earlier last week (that debt presumably refers to all of those financed Flying V’s, China Cymbals, and Line 6 Amplifiers that haven’t been paid off yet). The total value of the transaction, expected to close in the fourth quarter, is approximately $2.1 billion, which the company will promptly put on its dad and step-mom’s MasterCard as soon as they provide Guitar Center with a phone number and zip code.

Under the terms of this deal (don’t worry; they have deals EVERY weekend), Guitar Center stockholders will receive $63 in cash per share, marking a 26% premium over its closing price this past Tuesday. Guitar Center shares were up 18.8% or $9.44 at $59.50 on the NASDAQ after hitting a high of $60.35 earlier in the session...

...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

HUH? WHA? Uh... oh yeah, and according to Billboard.com, as of March 31, the company had 30.17 million diluted shares outstanding, as reported in its first-quarter earnings report. In May, there was some talk ‘round the financial schoolyard that Guitar Center was exploring a possible sale. Once they realized they couldn’t sell to themselves because of the shitty deal they’d probably get on the trade-in, they hired an investment bank to explore strategic alternatives.

Credit Suisse Analyst Gary Balter said the company "seems like the perfect LBO." (Shhh! No dude, I don’t know what that means either. Just act cool...) "They have a dominant retail position in a high service business yet significantly under-earn other high service oriented retail segments," Balter wrote in a research note following Guitar Center's announcement.

Balter also added he would not be surprised if the company's Music & Arts division, specializing in band instruments for teachers, band directors, and students, is sold after the current deal is closed. But then again, one wonders if a man whose job is “Credit Suisse Analyst” is ever really surprised by anything.

But enough talk, kids. What does this all mean for YOU, the Guitar Center Consumer/St. Anger Enthusiast? Well, don’t worry, you’ll still hear all of those sweet radio ads, and you’ll still be able to get hustled into purchasing all of the kick-dick gear you need to get that gig opening for Finger 11. Sure, the music store might be privately owned by “The Man” now, but Rock ‘n’ Roll can NEVER DIE.

Hey, Hey. My, my.

Okkervil River to Release New LP, To Come To Your Town; Night To Fall To the Ground

Texas' best sextet Okkervil River are back and going on tour this September in support of their fourth full-length release, The Stage Names, due August 7 on Jagjaguwar. The album was recorded in Austin with co-producer Brian Beattie, mixed by Jim Eno of Spoon at his studio Public Hi-Fi, and will be the first we've heard of Okkervil River since 2005's Black Sheep Boy.

The band will be turning 10 next year, and you're all invited to their birthday party. <3

The Stage Names tracklisting:

1. Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe
2. Unless It's Kicks
3. A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene
4. Savannah Smiles
5. Plus Ones
6. A Girl in Port
7. You Can't Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man
8. Title Track
9. John Allyn Smith Sails

Tour!:
07.14.07 - Concord, NH - Capitol Center for the Arts *
09.03.07 - Casbah, San Diego, CA
09.04.07 - Troubadour, Los Angeles, LA
09.05.07 - Independent, San Francisco, CA
09.08.07 - Berbati's Pan (MusicFest NW), Portland, OR
09.09.07 - Richard's on Richards, Vancouver, British Columbia
09.10.07 - Neumos, Seattle, WA
09.13.07 - Marquee Theater, Denver, CO
09.14.07 - Waiting Room, Omaha, NE
09.15.07 - Picador, Iowa City, IA
09.18.07 - Logan Square Auditorium, Chicago, IL
09.19.07 - The Canopy Club (Pygmalion Festival), Urbana, IL
09.24.07 - Higher Ground, Burlington, VT
09.25.07 - Middle East, Boston, MA
09.26.07 - Iron Horse, Northampton, MA
09.28.07 - Webster Hall, New York, NY
09.29.07 - Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA
09.30.07 - Rock and Roll Hotel, Washington, DC
10.02.07 - Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
10.03.07 - 40 Watt, Athens, GA
10.06.07 - Walter's on Washington, Houston, TX

* Lando + Ron Noyes

All other dates with Damien Jurado

Pet Shop Boyz Party Like Rockstars On Their New DVD

English electro-pop duo Pet Shop Boys have finally crossed over into Stateside success and have charted at number 2 on the Hot 100 chart, riding the wave of their smash hit "Party Like a Rockstar." After 25 years of international acclaim but almost universal snubbing in the red, white, and blue spotlight, the seminal disco-dance group have struck gold with their raucous chorus and deadpan lyrics, "Party like a rockstar! (t-t-t-totally dude!)," accompanying somewhat of a musical paradigm shift. "Me and my band, man, on the yacht with Marilyn Manson. Gettin' a tan man," sings Neil Tennant in a cadence we've yet to hear on any of the band's nearly 30 albums.

...Wait, what? "Party Like A Rockstar" is the Shop Boyz?! Goddamn it!! Does a "z" really create a loophole in copyright law?

Anyway...

So, turns out U.S. audiences still don't give a shit, but the aged synth masters are still releasing a new DVD through Rhino entitled Pet Shop Boys: Cubism In Concert. I'm not quite sure what that means, but the disc takes concert footage from a November 14, 2006 show, live from Mexico City's Auditorio Nacional. If only for "West End Girls," the DVD is a must-have for all PSB completists, even if the band didn't get to open last week's BET Awards Live from the red carpet like their moniker-misappropriating counterparts. The DVD also contains commentary, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage. Don't they all?

"Trippin' with the Osbournes / I seen the show with Travis Barker":

Pet Shop Boys: Cubism In Concert: