Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s Lies Exposed, Sort Of Tours Too

Howdy, padner. I’m gonna spin you a little yarn about ol’ Ramblin’ Jack – one from back in the day when he wasn’t so ramblin’. We return briefly to the Age of Giant Reptiles, or, as I like to refer to it, 1993:

A little old movie called Mr. Baseball hits theaters to mixed critical reviews. A risqué biopic that gets at the true nature of Ramblin’ Jack, the real Jack Elliot. None of that fluffy, Time Magazine, cowboy bullshit. The sordid tale begins, as Wikipedia so eloquently states, when “[Elliot] an aging American baseball player [is] put on the trading block by The New York Yankees in favor of a younger player (former Chicago White Sox legend, Frank Thomas), and there's only one taker: the Nagoya Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.”

Needless to say, Jack didn’t much like Japan. As you can image, the movie documents how “the arrogant Elliot clashes with the Japanese culture and soon alienates his new teammates.” Truth is, Jack’s been dealing with aliens all his life. Ever since they picked him up as a small boy in Brooklyn and performed all those experiments on him, he’s been a little... well, let’s just say Jack’s been jumpy. Speaking of which, let me tell you about th... whoa... give me a second... there it goes again. Alright time to take summore of my medicine. I’ll catch you fine folks on your way back.

Tourdates:
11.09.07 - Midway, UT - Herber City’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair
11.10.07 - Midway, UT - Herber City’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair $
11.10.07 - Midway, UT - Herber City’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair $
11.10.07 - Midway, UT - Herber City’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair $
12.01.07 - Berkeley, CA - The Freight

$ Multiple performances (12 PM, 1 PM, and 6PM) as part of the CPGBF

Still Mourning the Pig’s Pink Palace? AT&T and Napster Team Up To Cheer Up

Years ago, I remember reading a remark that aptly summed up the futility of a conceptual war -- specifically, the War on Drugs. It read, "The War on Drugs -- you know, the one where you can't do drugs anymore." With the success rate obviously through the roof, the War on Terror followed suit, nabbing those pesky bad guys and restoring the world's freedom. Not wanting to be outdone, the internet now has its own goose chase. I don't know if you've heard (TMT News 1 2), but apparently there are illegal implications with the torrent protocol.

So, since the now-famous OiNK raid, knowing you -- the poor music fan -- have no other options, the kind folks over at Napster (who now run by the book, of course), in association with AT&T, want to lend a hand. Not only do they want to open musical doors, offering you the latest from Matchbox 20 with exclusives from their greatest hits album Exile On Mainstream (TMT Review), but now you can also access the entire Napster catalog of 5 million tracks directly from your mobile phone. I know, I know -- your prayers have been answered.

And they're practically giving these things away. Individual songs will run you only $2 each, or you can treat yourself to a five-pack of songs for only $7.50. That's a $2.50 discount! But that's not all. Call in the next five minutes and you'll receive the mobile video service, MobiVJ, which will offer users eight music video channels for only $7 a month. (You won't believe how great Rob Thomas looks on a 1.5 inch screen.) Finally, AT&T also announced the specifics of their VIP Access application that offers artist biographies, new music samples, and news alerts for the pocket-change price of $3 a month. It's like they think you're some sort of charity case the way they're throwing around these criminally cheap offers.

Unfortunately, both Sprint and Verizon Wireless have offered nearly identical, similarly useless full-song mobile downloads for close to two years now, leaving AT&T just slightly behind the curve. You know, sort of like listening to Matchbox 20 in 2007.

A Letter to Bradford Cox Regarding His Upcoming Solo Album

Dear Mr. Cox,

It has come to our attention that on the 23 of October, 2007, you were seen in the parking lot of our store chasing several female octogenarians, flailing your limbs in a manner that made them uncomfortable. We ask that you not allow this incident to occur again.

We are aware, of course, that the women in question had made purchases that you felt you had a greater need for. You claimed that, pending a tour mentioned briefly on your MySpace to support your solo project Atlas Sound's new record, you require more dresses to wear for performances. We understand your needs and are well-equipped to serve them; however, we request that you find your own frocks and no longer demand those previously purchased by our other customers.

There is plenty of time for wardrobe additions between now and February 19, the release date of Atlas Sound's new record, Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel. We hope to see you in our store soon under better circumstances.

Cordially,

Northeast Plaza Goodwill Store

Atlanta, Georgia

Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel tracklisting:

Calvin Johnson’s Crazy California Crapscapade

If, like me, the bulk of your knowledge about California consists of Escape from L.A. quotes, those ‘Welcome to California’ ads, and a vivid mental image of cartoon ‘49ers dancing around a pick axe, there’ll be no better time to check out The Golden State than on Calvin Johnson’s upcoming tour. Earlier this year, the K Records founder released the fantastic LP Calvin Johnson & The Sons of the Soil (TMT Review), featuring, among others, the spectacular track "Booty Run." You may want to check that out first.

And if you like to smoke mad weed, much like the man currently sitting next to me in the park, I hear California’s a great place for that. While waiting for Calvo to stop by your town, go rent/buy the 1977 weightlifting documentary Pumping Iron, which closes on an especially poignant note – the victorious now-Governor of California wearing an ‘Arnold is Numero Uno’ shirt and smoking a phatty. Apparently wildfires aren’t the only thing that’s been blazing in California. God bless America.

Tourdates:

Paste Magazine Pulls a Radiohead (And a Saul Williams, Jane Siberry, etc.), Lets You Pay What You Want – But How Much Is It Worth?

If you haven't already read all about it, you've probably seen the banner ads on your favorite IndieClick-ing blog. But here at TMT -- the most trusted name in news -- we're here to assure you that Paste Magazine's "pay what you want" experiment is indeed legit. Paste is joining the likes of Jane Siberry, Saul Williams, and most notably, Radiohead, all of whom have offered their fans a chance to decide just how much their product/service/format is worth. Regrettably, according to a recent report, the tribe has spoken with regards to Radiohead's In Rainbows (TMT Review), with 62% of downloaders paying a grand total of $0.00. Ouch.

But Paste, the Miss Cleos that they are, could foresee this problem and instead are offering an 11-issue, one-year subscription for a minimum of $1, with the option of going up to the original $19.95 price and beyond (if you've got a fat wad burning a hole in your pocket). And not only do you get the rag, but each issue comes complete with a promotional sampler CD featuring handfuls of artists guaranteed to make you look fly when you unleash a little bit of name-dropping. But with only days remaining on this not-so-groundbreaking, still kind of sweet deal, I'm here to play consumer advocate, walking you through the October issue of Paste and offering some estimates of its worth. As I flip the pages, I'll note the highlights and the lowlights, assigning a value to each:

-- $1.00 - Iron & Wine cover; just the sight of Sam Beam makes me sleepy.

+ $0.25 - Neko Case ad; she's looking foxy by the pool.

--$0.50 - Photo of Beirut's Zach Condon; too pale - a zombie Elijah Wood, even.

-- $0.50 - Lyle Lovett article; seriously.

+ $1.00 - The Paste Sampler 36; features Beirut, Nellie McKay, and Marissa Nadler!

+ $0.15 - Arrested Development sidebar; that Michael Cera's so hot right now.

-- $0.75 - Blurb on former President Jimmy Carter's book tour; Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

+ $2.00 - A tribute to Antonioni & Bergman; R.I.P.

You get the idea. Ignoring a four-star review of the new Foo Fighters album, that brings the issue's worth to around $0.65. But I know what you're thinking. Who am I to decide how much anything is worth? And that, my friends, is the beauty of these promotions: If it sounds like a steal to you, pick up your subscription here. Power to the people.

New NPR Music Site Could Keep You Busy

This week, National Public Radio launched a new site, called NPR Music. I haven't relied on NPR for music since I was scraping the bottom of a hitter box and fumbling to get a tape in my boom box before "The Grateful Dead Hour" started. Since ditching the station, and radio in general, for other forms of musical discovery, I have come to appreciate NPR for news, features, and quirky audio documentaries. Going into NPR Music, I figured that, even though my local NPR station did not impress me musically, the organization as a whole just might have it together in genres other than jazz and classical.

I tend to tire of websites quickly, so I decided to put NPR Music on the clock and see how long NPR's new music site could keep me in one place.

8:07 PM - Welcome to NPR: Music Home. It's not that stuffy in here. No one's playing croquet anyway.
8:10 PM - I clicked on a featured studio session of Animal Collective from member station KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle. The intro stated: "Listening to the Animal Collective CD made me a little nervous about an in-studio session." Included was a link to listen to an interview with the band and watch the studio session, or so I thought. Hmm... Bose In-Ear headphones mandatory commercial. Those look expensive. I thought this was going to be a video of them in the studio and had a joke all queued up about how they keep Monster Cable in business. It's only audio, which is probably for the best. At least you didn't have to read that horrible Monster Cable joke. I listened to three minutes of "Fireworks."
8:18 PM - NPR Music: Discover Songs - Guest DJ Jens Lekman has three of his own songs on his six-song playlist. A bit vain? Listened to his pick of "Kim Ki O" by Dogru. He also chose a tune by The Tough Alliance, a band that I've been enjoying lately.
8:23 PM - Checked out All Songs Considered featuring David Byrne, Beirut, and Dirty Projectors. Listened to "The Sound of Business" off David Byrne's 1985 reissue, Knee Plays. Byrne is in "Seen and Not Seen"-weird-storytelling mode backed by a brass band.
8:28 PM - Listened "St. Apollonia" from the new Beirut album. I still haven't gotten around to checking this out. Sounded like a Latvian wedding reception, which I guess is the point. Kind of interesting.
8:32 PM - This could be a quality time-waster. The NPR 100 is a list of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. I thought it was just going to be the songs, but clicking on the title of each lets you listen to a short documentary on the artist and the work's creation. I started with an eight-minute Fats Domino tutorial. I had no idea he was a recluse. NPR picked "Ain't That a Shame." The list isn't very contemporary. It looks like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is the youngest inclusion by far, but there are still some great bite-sized history lessons here. No Bowie?
8:45 PM - I'll be back to that NPR 100. Let's see what else we got. 2007 SXSW sessions. Listened to a hunk of Okkervil River's 30-minute performance. You can download a few of these sessions as MP3s, which is nice.
8:52 PM - Fujiya & Miyagi's SXSW set sounds good. These clips load really quick on NPR's own player, which keeps a playlist of everything you've listened to for quick reference. The NPR 100 mini documentaries play on RealPlayer.
8:57 PM - In the "Urban" section, I listened to a story on a proposed Dallas ordinance against sagging. "The No. 1 mission is very simple: pulling up your pants. That's all we want," said Deputy Mayor Dwaine Caraway. That's good stuff. Just like at Sam Goody, at NPR, urban means black, not rap. The section included stories about Prince and Chaka Khan. I was looking for something about the new Wu-Tang album.
9:05 PM - Back to Discover Songs. There are quite a few "best albums of 2006" lists, staff picks of the week, and video sessions. I checked out some lists. That Lily Allen song is pretty catchy. I didn't say good, but I may have listened to it twice. She was on a list for best debut albums of 2006. I think I have to get that Black Angels album. They were on the same list.
9:14 PM - Every story includes audio clips, most often full songs. You could get lost in here. Now, even if your local NPR station only carries "This American Life" and "Car Talk," you can still tap into the station's vast musical knowledge and lit-major sensibility.
9:18 PM - Notice, as I just did, that I steered clear of the site's vast "world" and classical sections. That's not my job.
9:21 PM - After realizing that, I thought I'd better take a quick peek. I'll finish typing this up while listening to a Toots and the Maytals concert, which is in the "world" section. They open up with Otis Redding's "Pain in My Heart."

This is a great site.