Sony BMG Regulatory Review Put Through A Boss Delay Pedal

Those of you waiting for the hotly anticipated verdict in the Sony BMG merger reexamination will have to keep waiting: European regulators recently hit the pause button on the shitty Aiwa stereo system that is the Sony BMG merger investigation. Why? Perhaps too busy selling one million ringtones (called a Mastertone) of Waylon Jenning's "Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)," Sony BMG apparently failed to provide requested information on time.

"Please note that the commission sent an Article 11 decision to the parties involved in the Sony BMG merger for failure to provide requested information," said the Commission in an official statement. "This means that the clock has stopped on this case until such time as the information is received."

Inside sources told TMT that the information requested was a response to the following question: "Do you think you guys should still stay merged or should we break you apart?"

The deadline of July 2 will now most likely be delayed, but that doesn't automatically mean you'll experience hair loss. In fact, hair loss is also common among women as they age. But consult your doctor if you experience severe vomiting or diarrhea.

Vladimir Propp was a Russian de-structuralist who worked diligently in the early 1900s to analyze folk tales in order to break them down into distinct units, which he called "narratemes." Through his dissection of reoccurring plot functions, Propp was able to compile a list of 31 of these narrative themes that were present in all fairy/folk tale construction. Among these identifiable and ever-present elements were "A member of a family leaves home (the hero is identified, #1)" or "Victim taken in by deception, unwittingly helping the enemy (#7)" or "Hero is given a new appearance (is made whole, handsome, new garments, etc., #29)." Much of it has merit (print off the list sometime and keep it under your beer can to check out the next time you are watching any adaptation of a folk tale or sci-fi production that begins with the word "Star" and ends in "Trek" or "Wars"). But, however interesting his theory is at face value, Propp did not account for some crucial things that make folk and fairy tales what they are, namely, that these stories rely heavily on the oral storytelling tradition to differentiate them from one another and to best augment mood, character, and tone. Where is the love Propp? Where's the passion?

When breaking down TMT album news stories, it is easy to distinguish certain generic elements too. Chief among these are the mentioning of the band and their members, details of the upcoming album and its tracks, the most recently released album or recorded activity, and perhaps a few scattered tourdates and planned single releases. We could easily come up with a system for reoccurring posted "newsalbumatemes" and follow them to the letter so that we could pump out more and more news without any regard to tone or humor. Many of our blind and bland competitors' news reads exactly like this blueprint already.

But... balls to you V. Propp! We're Tiny Mix Tapes and we ain't gonna take it! We're not gonna take it... anymore! Most of the albums we write about 'round these parts deserve a less clinical announcement than the unbending, unflinching, cold-hearted, dead-bastard, folk tale buzzkiller would have tried if still alive. And albums featuring one of the most important figures on the post-punk-shamble-rock scene paired with an esteemed techno-house-kitchen-sink act deserves nothing less than that warm feeling you get when you have been sufficiently dry-humped through your computer.

Domino Records will release the full-length album by Von Südenfed, which is a brand-name collaboration between Mark E. Smith of The Fall and Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner, aka Mouse on Mars. Tromatic Reflexxions will be out May 21 and will be preceded by its lead-off track, "Fledermaus Can't Get Enough," as a single on May 7. This isn't the first time the Mancunian menace has teamed up with the German duo of Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner. In 2004, MES provided vocals to a 12-inch mix of their synth stomper "Wipe That Sound." Seeds were planted, fruits started blossoming, and less than three years later we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of bouncing baby Von Südenfed!

Did someone say tracklist?

1. Fledermaus Can't Get Enough
2. The Rhinohead
3. Flooded
4. Family Fued
5. Serious Brainskin
6. Speech Contamination/German Fear of Osterreich
7. The Young The Faceless and the Codes
8. Duckrog
9. Chicken Yiamas
10. That Sound Wiped
11. Jback Lois Lane
12. Dearest Friends

Despite celebrating the tuff-life boogie for 50 years now, MES is heading into his second half-century, a man possessed with 10 times the vim and vigor of Blanche from The Golden Girls. First, Reformation! Post-TLC, the latest Fall album, is out in the U.S. TODAY on Narnack Records. We won't bother with a tracklist, but if you are kurious, oranj, you should really go buy the album. It features the original 14 songs on the U.K. album version released in February, but it is an enhanced CD that hosts four additional video clips. The videos included are "Hungry Freaks Daddy," "My Door Is Never," "Scenario," and "Theme From Sparta F.C." and were recorded live in New York City on November 5, 2006.

Second, Sanctuary will be releasing the title track from Reformation! as a single in the U.K. on April 9. Third, Universal is reissuing expanded versions of early 1990s albums Shift-Work, Code: Selfish, and Extricate in May. Fourth, The Fall are playing live in Britain right now. Check their site for details. Finally, the official (maybe partially ghost-written) autobiography of Mark E. Smith Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith (or Renegade: The Gospel According to Mark E. Smith) is due on June 28 through Viking. Now, isn't all that better than the "Here's the cold hard facts, you shitbums" approach?

CD Sales Go Down Faster Than _______ in a ___________

Let's take a trip in the DeLorean all the way back to the summer of 2004. Big things were happening in the world: Olympic games were held in Athens, the U.S. had a presidential election coming up, and Ken Jennings (a personal hero) was kicking ass on Jeopardy! for over 70 episodes. Yet, for the movie industry, things were looking rather glum. Much ado was made about falling ticket sales in movie theaters, and industry execs scrambled to pinpoint the cause. There was a substantial amount of pontification on the part of analysts to find the reason for the slide, and one scapegoat quickly emerged more worthy than all the rest: peer-to-peer networks. Here was a direct cause for the effect, an all-but-proven reason for lag in the system.

Sounds reasonable enough... but, just out of curiosity, let's take a quick look at a few of the movies released that summer: There were the comedies, such as Without a Paddle, The Big Bounce, Envy, Eurotrip, Garfield: the Movie, Chasing Liberty, Around the World in 80 Days, White Chicks, The Girl Next Door, Mr. 3000, Connie and Carla, Welcome to Mooseport, and Jersey Girl; action films such as Torque, Catwoman, The Day After Tomorrow, Walking Tall, Flight of the Phoenix, The Perfect Score, The Chronicles of Riddick, and The Alamo; a host of sequels like Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Barbershop 2, Agent Cody Banks 2, Scooby Doo 2, The Whole Ten Yards, The Princess Diaries 2, Spiderman 2, Exorcist: the Beginning, Superbabies 2, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Seed of Chucky, Ocean's Twelve, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; and of course, Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid. One alternative theory to the reason for the film industry's falling profits, though, never seriously considered by execs themselves, was the... errmm... poor quality of the movies in question. Rather, the prevailing theory seemed to be that the number of tickets sold should always be proportionate to the number of films released in a given time period, regardless of quality or content.

Now let's step back into the DeLorean to three Nickelback Grammy nominations, a Lil Eazy-E album, and a massive payola scandal later -- it appears that not much has changed, only this time the music industry is the industry in question. CD sales have declined by 20%, compared to the same time last year, a loss that couldn't even be nullified by a 54% increase in digital music sales over the same time period. An overall look at music sales taking into account all formats, including formats such as ringtones, still shows a sharp 9% decrease. CD prices have dropped in many markets, likely a response to price drops led by companies such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Russ Crupnick of NPD Group, a firm who recently released a report stating that P2P downloads still outweigh the number of paid downloads in the overall market, was quick to attribute the sales drop to the factors shown in the group's study: "Unfortunately for the music labels, the volume of music files purchased legally is swamped by the sheer volume of files being traded illegally... Five billion files downloaded illegally clearly affect prospects for both CD sales and sales of digital song tracks online."

The legitimacy of such criticism is, of course, based on the assumption that everyone who downloads a track would have likely otherwise bought it in stores or online (and that no consumers both download and buy the album or that P2P actually increases the overall popularity of music consumption), but regardless, it'd be difficult to argue that downloads haven't affected CD sales, at least in some small way. They have, just as public libraries affect overall sales of books, because artistic content has been made more easily available to the public in a way that no one directly or illicitly profits from. Yet when I think back to the unforgettable trip we just took back to the year 2004, I can't help but compare the movies being pushed by the big studios at that time to the albums being pushed today by major studios.

Of all the music downloaders I know, not a single one of them is unwilling to pay market value for an album they really enjoy. But have consumers been given enough reason to do this? A major criticism of the music industry for decades has been their tendency to promote albums through one good single, which when listened to later, after being bought on a CD, turns out to be the only decent song on the album. I don't want to stereotype anyone's musical taste or accuse all major label albums of having one good song a piece, but I do believe the industry is having troubles finding consumers who are jumping at the opportunity to spend the equivalent of three work hours at minimum wage on an album that may or may not have more than one good song; it's not without two generations of prior conditioning.

Whatever the conclusions, questions will linger: Has the drop in sales affected the music? Is the weak first quarter releases a reason for the significant drop? Is the shift to digital music making the CD or full-length album a dying medium? Or a niche medium? Has the growing awareness of how little money the artists receive from CD sales played a role in the drop? Most importantly, why hasn't anyone commissioned my boy Ken Jennings to do a full report on this issue? I'm afraid only time will be able to answer these questions for us, especially that last one. In the meantime, you and I can eagerly await the next quarterly report, while the major labels sit around and merge or whatever it is that they do for entertainment these days.

STNNNG GVE TH FNGR T VWLS, My Cousin gets Sarienistics

When my cousin first told me about STNNNG, I laughed. My usually eloquent relative had seemingly devolved before my eyes to spit out the word "stunning" like a kid with sarienistic syndrome. I asked him if it was necessary to say the band name that quickly, and he just replied with “STNNNG!” like a cheap rip-off of Timmy from South Park. I had a dinner that night with his side of the family and made up my mind to tell my aunt about my discovery. At first, like any parent completely devoted to her only child, she denied any existence of sarienistic disease. So I called on Rich, my cousin, and held a quick interview in front of my aunt to get my point across.

Me: Rich, what is your favorite band these days?


Me: Are you going to see them May fourth?

Rich: TRF CLB!

Me: Are they touring to support an album, Rich?

Rich: FKE FKE!

After that last question, my aunt yelled for us to stop, and I could see her eyes were beginning to water. I took her in my arms and began to sing and gently rock her back and forth. She asked me how this could happen, in addition to millions of other questions that were best left for the doctor. I kissed her on the cheek and then found my way to her lips. We fooled around a bit in the living room while Rich played Guitar Hero. He occasionally yelled out one-syllable nothings, but I think my aunt had finally come to terms with his condition and didn’t let it bother her too much.

Me: Whom do we have to thank for this discovery, Rich?


03.31.07 - Eau Claire, WI - House of Rock w/ Drunk Drivers, Belles of Skin City
04.04.07 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club w/ NOXAGT, Ghostdad, Neglected Receptors
04.14.07 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock Social Club w/ comedian Doug Stanhope
04.20.07 - Lawrence, KS - Replay Lounge w/ You'll Be a Torso
04.21.07 - Norman, OK - The Deli w/ The Purple Cow Story
04.22.07 - Houston, TX - The Mink w/ The Kimonos
04.23.07 - Denton, TX - Secret Headquarters
04.24.07 - San Antonio, TX - Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar
04.25.07 - Austin, TX - Emo's w/ Oh, Beast! and Red X Red M
04.26.07 - Memphis, TN - Gibson Lounge (not confirmed)
04.27.07 - Nashville, TN - Springwater w/ To Live and Shave in L.A., Apollo Up!
04.28.07 - Belleville, IL - Ground Floor w/ The Conformists
04.29.07 - Dubuque, IA - Busted Lift w/ The Blind Shake

Dead Meadow Cancels Remaining Dates of Tour

Dead Meadow: Hey [Mango Starr]. Thanks for the support while Jason has gotten sick recently on this tour making the last few shows a bit of an experiment. He wanted to let you know that he is still here and regrets all of the disappointed fans and hopefully we can make it up to you the next time around. Those of us on the tour have sort of been rolling with this day to day as we try to figure out the situation and when he would be able to rejoin us on the circuit. Unfortunately his return to make the last leg of the West Coast dates is not going to happen and we found this out just before the gig last night in Berbati's Pan in Portland. Due to the audience that showed up we made an attempt to make "something" happen and hopefully it was a little interesting for our fans. Maybe a once in a lifetime show. Consquently we have pulled the plug on the Pacific Northwest gigs and we will be heading back to L.A. to recoup and plan out our next tour after Jason has rested and gotten back to health. Actually there will be an upcoming tour for the support of the new album "Old Growth" and a European tour at the end of summer. Also we will continue to play the last three gigs back to LA but not as Dead Meadow but for fun if you want to come out just for jams and good times. Thanks again.

Mango Starr: No problem, man. Hope Jason gets better. You should check out Matador's website or your own website for the remaining dates of the tour.

Dead Meadow: Huh? What do you mean? Wait a minute -- you're not using our conversation for a TMT news story again are you!?

Mango Starr: Maybe.

Dead Meadow: Ha ha! You are so great -- so fucking awesome. You have my permission to use our conversation.

Mango Starr: I didn't ask.

Dead Meadow: Ha ha! True.

Fennesz Tours A Bunch Of Places You Don’t Live

Oh, boy! Oh, boyohboyohboy. It's that time of year again! Fennesz, the Atomic Austrian, Noise's Nobility, the Fuhrer of Feedback (uh, scratch that one), is on tour again, with Christian Fennesz' Fennocalypse 2007: The Fennal Reckoning (On Ice)! And yes, boys, he's bringing the Fenneszettes!

Those who experienced (or should I say survived!!!) Son Of Fennocalypse 2005 will know exactly what to expect. Holding on to the roof of a flaming monster truck with one hand, busting out massive solos on a Flying V with the other, he'll launch off a ramp (which is also on fire) and land on a custom-built stage covered in pagan iconography and the tour's sponsors' logos (Microsoft, Kinko's>, and his official baked goods sponsor, Dunkin' Donuts). Firing rockets from his gee-tar, he'll immediately launch into one of his huge hits -- most likely "Endless Summer (Of Rock)" or "Rivers Of Sand (On Fire, With Snakes Coming Out Of Them, And Naked Chicks And Stuff)."

Once that's done with, he'll invite his audience to be seated and experience some of his freeform spoken word art, influenced by the work of Bishop Berkeley, interpretations of the Voynich Manuscript and Dunkin' Donuts' new limited-edition Maple Cheddartm breakfast sandwich. At the end of this four-hour performance, a dragon (provided by Weta Workshop; sponsored by Mountain Dew) will rise from the rear of the stage; Fennesz will fight it off with a sword fashioned from the vertebrae of Yamatsuka Eye, Tim Hecker, and Dominik Fernow.

Fennesz will close the set with a medley of covers of showtunes from Grease, Fame, and The Lion King. This has in the past proven to be so awesome that audience members' heads have exploded, so better bring some waterproof clothing! After frenzied screams for an encore, he'll walk back on wearing nothing but a jewel-encrusted loincloth and with a very special guest -- God! After trading licks for a few minutes, Fennesz will bust out a 20-minute guitar solo of such awesome perfection that God will have no choice but to hand over the keys to creation itself. Fennesz will turn him down, declaring himself to be "nothing but a humble noisesmith" and giving God a delicious Dunkin' Donuts Chocolate Coconut Cake Donut and a copy of cendre, his second collaborative album with Ryuichi Sakamoto released this month by Commmons, as a peace offering.

And that's just the first night!

Christian Fenessz' Fennocalypse 2007: The Fennal Reckoning (On Ice), being set in Belgium and Lithuania and everything, is a little, er, out of the way for most of you (apart from you, Gediminas 'akaitien'! Say hiya!), but count yourself lucky. If Lithuania didn't work out, Fennesz was planning on the inky blackness of outer space. He can breathe in space, because he's better than you.