RIP: Jay Reatard

From Goner:

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our good friend Jay Reatard. Jay died in his sleep last night. We will pass along information about funeral arrangements when they are made public.

From The Commercial Appeal

Memphis musician Jay Lindsey, better known as Jay Reatard, was found dead in his Midtown home this morning, according to family and friends.

Memphis police have opened a death investigation, spokesman Jennifer Robinson said. Lindsey was found around 3:30 a.m. in his bed, Robinson said.

“Yeah, it’s true,” friend Alicia Trout said. “I don’t know much about it yet, because I haven’t been able to get in touch with the police.”

Added Eric Friedl of Goner Records: “Yeah. He was found at his house. That’s all I know right now.”

• Jay Reatard official website: http://www.jayreatard.com
• Jay Reatard MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jayreatard

RIP: Willie Mitchell

From The New York Times:

Willie Mitchell, who shaped the elegant yet gritty sound of Al Green, Ann Peebles and other stars of soul music as the house producer at Hi Records in the 1960s and ’70s, died Tuesday in Memphis, where he lived. He was 81. The cause was cardiac arrest, his son Lawrence said.

RIP: Lhasa de Sela

From Lhasa de Sela’s official website:

The singer Lhasa de Sela passed away in her Montreal home on the night of January 1st 2010, just before midnight.

She succumbed to breast cancer after a twenty-one month long struggle, which she faced with courage and determination.

Throughout this difficult period, she continued to touch the lives of those around her with her characteristic grace, beauty and humor. The strength of her will carried her once again into the recording studio, where she completed her latest album, followed by successful record launches in Montreal at the Théatre Corona and in Paris at the Théatre des Bouffes du Nord. Two concerts in Iceland in May were to be her last.

She was forced to cancel a long international tour scheduled for autumn 2009. A projected album of the songs of Victor Jara and Violeta Parra would also remain unrealized.

Lhasa de Sela was born on September 27, 1972, in Big Indian, New York.

• Lhasa de Sela: http://lhasadesela.com

RIP: Rowland S. Howard, Birthday Party Guitarist

From Billboard:

Rowland S. Howard, an important figure in Australia’s underground rock scene who played guitar for the Boys Next Door and the Birthday Party, has lost his battle with liver cancer. He passed away this morning (Dec. 30) at the age of 50.

Howard is best remembered for his distinctive distorted guitar sounds and audio feedback, and for the alternative hit “Shivers” which he penned for the Boys Next Door, a Melbourne punk/goth band which he had formed in 1973 with Nick Cave.

RIP: Vic Chesnutt

• Vic Chesnutt: http://vicchesnutt.com/home
• Constellation Records: http://cstrecords.com
• Donations: http://kristinhersh.cashmusic.org/vic

Torrent Provider Mininova Loses Court Battle, Deletes All Copyright Infringing Torrents

The idea of a "legal" torrent website sounds ridiculous. There, I said it. I mean, WHAT would be the point. Forcing a torrent website to go legal is a teeny little stab at the internet and all of its bounty, but let's face it: tackling one downloading service is like a particuarly hellish game of Whack-a-Mole. Or like plucking gray hairs. Or... you get the idea. But yes, you heard it right here: Dutch torrent provider Mininova has removed all of its torrents save for the few that had been uploaded through its content distribution service, making them officially a legal service.

Mininova's drastic decision resulted in their legal battle with Dutch anti-piracy program BREIN, who needless to say, won. Up until this point, Mininova was the web's largest torrent website, but in court BREIN made it more than clear that they wanted Mininova to start filtering their torrents to protect artists' copyrighted material. After the case went to court in June, the judge ruled in BREIN's favor, stating that the owners of Mininova were not themselves guilty of copyright infringement, but that they should remove torrents containing copyrighted material within three months or be fined five million Euros.

But like Wilco's digital strategist Ken Waagner says in Greg Kot's book Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music, "The record industry suing file sharers is like the railroad industry trying to shoot down airplanes." And I think it's time for a resounding chorus of "enough said."

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