Rough Trade Escapes Capture by Universal Music Group; Our Lives as Consumers Continue Unfettered, Terrorists Officially Lose

Have you ever passed by beggars on the street corner and wondered if they’re really just eccentric billionaires who spend the first few hours of their days making multi-million dollar wheelings and dealings before spending their leisure perpetrating jokes of conscience on us unsuspecting, middle-class sidewalk-trudgers??

Well, if you have, then first of all, you’re a cynical, cold-hearted prick. I mean, come on, man! These people are fucking destitute!

Second of all, you’d actually be on to something, because earlier this week, the hallowed Rough Trade record label (home to The Smiths, Destroyer, Super Furry Animals, The Long Blondes, etc.) was purchased by the independent record group Beggars Group for £800,000, which figures to be roughly $1,400,000. And you thought that they all just bought drugs with that pocket change!

The iconic record label was owned by UK record group Sanctuary Group, who, in a pretty darn Old Testament Biblical move, apparently had the good sense to wrap the legendary label in a warm blanket, put it in a basket, and float it on down the metaphorical Nile to the promise of a better life before the struggling music group itself is purchased by power-hungry Universal Music for £104.3 million in the coming days.

The Beggars group, already the proud poppa of such iconic indie labels as Beggars Banquet, Matador, XL, and 4AD, seemed happy to take in Sanctuary’s 49% ownership of their erstwhile baby for the aforementioned £800,000, despite the not-so-cute £3 million loss that the label had racked up. Now that’s love.

Rough Trade owner Geoff Tarvis, who founded the label in 1978, has touted the transition as entirely positive and hopes that the label can now reach “a worldwide level of stability and expertise.” And odds are good that Mr. Tarvis will indeed be saying sooth, as Rough Trade will soon benefit from the Beggars Group’s hefty distribution power, which makes, in addition to making me personally mad as hell that I spent all of that money on that Albert Hammond Jr. import (TMT Review), is sure to make all of the label’s releases easier to find in the U.S. And isn’t our ease of record browsing what’s REALLY important in all of this?!

So, the next time you see a beggar on the street, stop, shake his or her filthy hand, and tell him or her “thankyou” for doing his or her part to help further indie-rock by making that Jarvis Cocker 12-inch a tad bit easier to find. But don’t you DARE give that rich-ass one red cent of your pocket change!

Parts and Labor Part with Drummer After Four Years

After four years, drummer Christopher R. Weingarten has left Parts and Labor to further pursue his blossoming writing career and full-time position as editor-in-chief at Paper Thin Walls (purchased by Getty Images in May for $850,000), the popular music website. Meanwhile, Weingarten is currently completing a book about Public Enemy's It Takes A nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.

His reasons for leaving reportedly stem from the recent explosion of interest in Paper Thin Walls, as well as the band leaving him stretching his efforts too thin. The rest of the band says that the split wasn't unanticipated, there's no bad blood, and they're way psyched to read Weingarten's book once released.

Now that a third of the Parts need to be replaced, the remainder are laboring to fill the full-time position. What does it call for? According to the band, they're looking for a "brilliant and sexy solar-powered drum machine with a clean driving record" Interested? Drop them a line.

Aesop Rock Tourdates; Consider This News Relay As To-The-Point As Diner Food and Sweet Graff

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Hip-hop’s earthworm with the mostest Aesop Rock is hitting the road in support of None Shall Pass, for release August 28.

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None Shall Pass Tracklist:

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For Aes of Def Jux, we pray - Dear God, Bless Ian Matthias Bavitz and his wife, Allyson Baker on this tour. Let Ian’s fly earthworm (…demeanor)…eat Allyson’s…dirt, consummating their sweet love to make little earthworms, which Aes will drop rhymes to in the womb, and, once out, challenge to freestyle living room rap battles while Allyson leaves behind any of her own musical aspirations to cook, clean, and read Danielle Steele novels. Amen.

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This was actually written.

The Mendoza Line Call It Quits, Literally, and Depart with 30 Year Low in August; A Writer Reflects on the Loss and His Own Personal Relationship with a Woman Who Didn’t Purchase Him Dunkaroos When She Had the Chance

In unfortunate news, like their songwriting heroes Richard and Linda Thompson, The Mendoza Line bandmates Tim Bracy and Shannon McArdle have ended their musical collaboration. The double-disc 30 Year Low and The Final Remarks of the Legendary Malcontent will be released on August 21 as a somber farewell to fans and an end of a magnificent venture. 30 Year Low is a mini-album of sorts that tackles the hurt feelings of the distraught couple. The Final Remarks of the Legendary Malcontent is made up of live tracks, radio programs, rehearsals, demos, and covers inspired by Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and The Replacements.

While listening to the beautifully haunting album, I began to reflect on my own personal life. Recently, while my fiancée was visiting family in Canada for two weeks, she came across an item that meant much to me. She informed me that she passed up the chance to purchase the hard-to-find-cookies-dipped-in-chocolate snack, Dunkaroos. I was overwhelmed by sadness as the taste of Dunkaroos lingered on my tongue from various childhood experiences. When I ate Dunkaroos, it was like my taste buds lost their virginity and experienced a little taste of heaven.

With my hurt feelings trapped inside, I listened carefully to the jaunty Dylan-esque vocals of Bracy as he sings against scraping guitar on "I Lost My Taste," and I realized the importance of relationships. I shouldn't chastise my fiancée for making such a huge mistake, but maybe it's my fault for being obsessed with Dunkaroos. Even with McArdle's duet with Okkervil River's Will Sheff on the track "Aspect of an Old Maid," I heard the voice of a woman at the edge of 30 who has truly experienced heartbreak. I understand the timelessness of the message that settles alongside 30 Year Low. Life is short, my friends. We must enjoy our loved ones and the good music that is out there while we can. So, I formally apologize to my future wife for the torment that I placed on her and myself over the misery of missing an edible delight to the extreme. And may Bracy and McArdle have the best of luck with their future projects and experiences in their lives.

But damn, I really wish I had some Dunkaroos right now.

LOUD.COM and WU-TANG OFFER CHANCE TO OPEN FOR THE WU IN HAWAII, SOME PEOPLE WAIT A LIFETIME FOR A MOMENT LIKE THIS (Some people search forever for that one special kiss, I can’t believe its happening to me, Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this)

HIP-HOP is the GOOD FIGHT, ladies and gents. Get yo’ head in da’ game – show off yo’ rhyme-dropping for a chance to open for Wu-Tang in Oahu, Hawaii this September. Who knows. You could be the next rose to grow from concrete.

Better lace those kicks a little faster, son; the contest closes August 20.

THE DEAL: From a pool of ten finalists, The RZA himself will choose da’ internet hip-hop contest king.

Or queen.

Seriously. That means you, Kelly Clarkson.

Careers CAN turn around; I mean, just look at Kirstie Alley. Everyone thought she was over with after Cheers and that movie with the Olsen twins and Steve Guttenberg. But look at her now. Just look at her now. Self-marketing, Kelly Baby.

Grills, maybe?

Whatever happened to predictability? The milk man, the paperboy, evening TV? (Clear Channel Revises Agreement So Indie Musicians Aren’t Forced to Sign Over Digital Performance Royalties)

When the world ends, when it crumbles and the last musicians are standing on a cliff, damned to hell, a scrappy lawyer will trot onto god's playing field to save them. It will be difficult, a high-wire act over flame. These poor souls, these artists, they will go through trials and tribulations. Eventually, hopefully, our hero lawyer, who never got to be President but was the biggest man, will save them -- when the world ends. Until then, they're stuck in the middle of a singed rope.

These poor souls! How did it come to this? How did these musical artists end up in such a fix? In 50 years, if our giant of a lawyer can help, if the way business is done changes, apologists will say it was bad luck. Bad luck is a quick, blanket statement that covers all the legal turmoil and copyright battles and creative rights wars that small, independent artists struggled with. Our poor artists would sew the seeds of creativity and receive only blight and famine. Stores of music, locked away with no means of broadcast! What but bad luck would drive these men and women to throw their hands up and be done with the whole business?

It's enough to make one sell their rights to the devil. The devil, looking down on his hot rock, sensed a very shrewd business opportunity. Our artists, though as down-and-out as any Dust Bowl farmer -- good people that they are -- were unwilling to sell. Not wanting to miss out on a deal of an eternity, the devil sent his top salesman, Clear Channel.

Clear Channel sidled up to our artists as they tended the fields of the few outlets of broadcast that were still available. The artists dropped their hoes when they heard Big Radio's case: "Sign over your digital performance royalties to us, and we'll play your music!"

One musician loudly objected, "But you're supposed to play our music anyway, on account of your settlement with the FCC for your payola scandal!"

The devil's salesman smirked and boasted, "4,200 hours worth, for free. Alls' you gotta do is sign over your rights, and it's yours! If you want airplay, sign, sign, sign!"

Another interjected, "But this is America!"

The smirk only grew as the salesman exclaimed, "Exactly!"

He had them, he really had them. The artists talked amongst themselves, wondering what they did to deserve such horrid treatment. Bad luck, perhaps. Greed from Big Radio, more likely. Some signed. And yes, life did get a bit better. Others didn't, and all were outraged. Then, shining from above, our giant stomped onto the scene.

A modern-day Daniel Webster, the collective force of the FCC and the Future of Music Coalition, looked Clear Channel in its eyes. This was something the devil's salesman wasn't used to. Perhaps the artists' luck was about to change. Perhaps. Clear Channel stepped back, shuddering, giving way out of surprise. The devil has a keen business sense, and knows that much of a good deal comes from good timing. Today wasn't the right day, tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow.

As for now, everybody is friendly. Clear Channel has revised the agreement: "In the instance when Clear Channel makes the decision to use the content for terrestrial broadcasting and, as a result, for simultaneous transmission through online streaming ... Clear Channel shall be subject to and pay for all applicable current and future statutory royalties as well as public performance royalties." Friends. Tomorrow, the devil's salesman will wait in the tall grass.

How does it end? Unfortunately, we come into this tale in medias res, and only time will tell what will happen. Artists are hoping to extend their public performance rights to include over-the-air broadcasts, but the future looks grim. Bad luck. So much bad luck, hanging over fire, today and tomorrow, stuck between the devil and our Daniel Webster.