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."

Sic Alps Do Double Time: Tour with Magik Markers and Then Tour with Sonic Youth

Sic Alps have been a pretty busy band these last couple years, releasing a double-LP comp on Drag City, a 7-inch on Slumberland, an LP on Siltbreeze, and 7-inches on Woodsist and Important. The prolificacy doesn't end with the physical releases, as they've been touring the U.S. and Europe constantly. So is it in any way doubtful that they are doing two tours in the next two months? No way!! West Coast only though, so yeah, too bad for us Midwesterners, East Coasters, and Southerners (and the rest of the world). Even worse for all of us non-West Coasters is the fact that they'll be hitting the road with none other than the Magik Markers and Sonic Youth.

Starting on December 9, the Alps and the Markers will destroy San Jose and then work their way north until they get to Olympia, WA on December 19. Then, in the year 2010, a.k.a. next year, they will hit the road with Sonic Youth, starting on January 4 in Tucson, AZ and ending things off in San Francisco on January 10. In fact, San Fran and LA will be getting a double dose of Sic Alps since they will be hitting them up on both tours, adding insult to injury.

Sic Alps and Magik Markers tour:
12.09.09 - San Jose, CA - The Blank Club
12.10.09 - Santa Cruz, CA - The Crepe Place
12.11.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Smell *
12.12.09 - Oakland, CA - The Continental Club $
12.13.09 - San Francisco, CA - The Hemlock
12.15.09 - Sacramento, CA - The Hub
12.16.09 - Portland, OR - Eagles Lounge ^
12.17.09 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey
12.18.09 - Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theatre ~
12.19.09 - Olympia, WA - Northern

* Foot Village

$ Gowns

^ Eat Skull

~ Shearing Pinx

Sic Alps and Sonic Youth:
01.04.10 - Tucson, AZ - The Rialto Theatre
01.05.10 - Phoenix, AZ - The Marquee Theatre
01.07.10 - San Diego, CA - The House of Blues
01.08.10 - Pomona, CA - The Fox Theatre
01.09.10 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
01.10.10 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore

Jay-Z Looks Ahead to the Future, Announces Second Leg of BP3 Tour for 2010

Not one to sit idly by and start his new year off lounging on a beach somewhere with his boo, Jay-Z has already announced a tour for early 2010. This announcement should come as no surprise, since Jay-Z isn’t capable of sitting still for more than a few minutes (who else celebrates their self-imposed “retirement” by, uh, going back into the studio and releasing more albums?). Jay-Z will be promoting his new album, The Blueprint 3 (TMT Review), out now on Atlantic Records, and his recently released video game, DJ Hero: Renegade Edition. Presale tickets will be made available to Citi card members starting November 10 at 10 AM local time through Citi’s Private Pass Program. Hurry, go get a Citi card!

Touring State of Mind:

02.22.10 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
02.23.10 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
02.25.10 - New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Arena
02.27.10 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
02.28.10 - Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Coliseum Complex
03.03.10 - Washington, DC - Verizon Center
03.07.10 - Norfolk, VA - Scope Arena
03.11.10 - Boston, MA - TD Garden
03.16.10 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mellon Arena
03.19.10 - St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center
03.20.10 - Indianapolis, IN - Conseco Fieldhouse
03.22.10 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
03.24.10 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion
03.26.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center

All dates w/ Young Jeezy

Ex-Grandaddy Jason Lytle Gives Away Free Christmas Online Album, Reveals LP2 Details, Maintains His “Hi-Tech Backwater Hermit Chic” Nicely

Ex-Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle probably has some time on his hands ever since he decided to move into the mountains and recast himself as some sort of precocious, thin-skinned, sad-sack, indie-rock version of Ted Nugent. From his decidedly-isolated home in rural Montana, Lytle has already graced us with a decidedly homespun solo debut for Anti- earlier this year, Yours Truly, The Commuter (TMT Review). Now, he’s apparently decided to leave the mics on while he sips of the ‘Nog and doodles around on the old upright piano to entertain his pets or whatever and then give the results away online as an “improv” Christmas album. Hmm... touché, Jason. I’m sort of intrigued. The resulting freestyle album, which is comprised of seven improvisational pieces (that means “songs,” for all you Motor City Madman fans who googled this article by accident) for solo acoustic piano and aptly-if-not-sort-of-piteously titled Merry X-Mas 2009, is available to download from his website as we speak. "It just so happens that playing my piano at home is one of my favorite things to do (in terms of music),” Lytle explained on his site, “so it was nice to be able to capture some of these moments of me playing aimlessly and relaxed.” So, there you have it. No robots, no synths, no static, no Neil Young warble. Just one man... in a room... betraying his apparent fanboy love for melodic demigods like Schubert, Chopin, and Satie.

And while he was at it, The Nuge Jr. also dropped the casual bomb that he is currently working on his second full-length solo record. "I am currently at work on a new album," he explained. "And although I'm quite sure none of the songs will end up on the radio I'm guaranteeing that this will be the weirdest, most wonderful mayhem I have made yet." Right on, Uncle Ted. Right on.

Merry X-Mas 2009 tracklisting:

1. Last Conversation in Waltz Time
2. Wild Animals Slowly Approaching the Lovely Country Funeral
3. Out Cold on Indian Ambien
4. Meeshell
5. Good Chord Song for LP Two
6. Bird Feeder Soap Opera Plot
7. SepDecember Song