Universal Announces Plan to Replace the Word “Band” with “Brand”; Big Brother Calls the Move “Doubleplusgood”; Et Tu, Of Montreal?

I was watching TV the other night when I noticed one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It wasn't Famine or War. Hell, I see those guys every day, so that's not even news. No, it was a little-known harbinger of the judgment about the befall us — a guy called "bastardized version of an Of Montreal song in an Outback Steakhouse commercial." Come on, don't pretend you don't watch TV. You saw it, too, and, like me, you wondered whether someone had slipped some acid into your Diet Coke. Well, instead of flipping my Electric Kool-Aid shit, I just Googled "Of Montreal" and "Outback Steakhouse" — terms that, combined, should probably never yield any results. Stereogum confirmed that I wasn't tripping but couldn't explain why the designs on my wallpaper were moving. So fine, yeah, whatever; Kevin Barnes thought it was funny. Of Montreal can do no wrong. I'm trying to forget that I ever saw it.

It's getting pretty difficult to put it out of my mind, though, now that I've realized what the horseman was warning us about. Apparently, our pals at Universal, a.k.a. the world's biggest music company, feel like they're not getting enough mileage out of the term "selling out." Universal will team up with advertising company WPP to form a music and marketing behemoth they're calling "BrandAmp." I guess they figured that the cool thing that all the kids are doing is combining two words without a space in between them. You know... MySpace; YouTube. This shit can't fail. As currently conceived, the project would allow advertisers direct access to Universal's back catalog, with plans in the works to involve other artists and record labels in the future. It makes one wonder whether any of Universal's artists are going to make some noise about this. Certainly anyone signed to the world's fattest-ass record company is no MDC, but this is a pretty huge violation. I mean, please, someone defend my right not to hear PJ Harvey hawking for Wet Seal and Jurassic 5 convincing me to eat at the Olive Garden!

Well, at least we can find some solace in the words of Lucian Grainge, head of Universal's international division. "This new venture makes sense on many levels," he said. "It brings together two creative communities which are driven by innovation and imagination." Ohhh, that's right. Universal and some advertising company are "creative communities." They're practically artists' communes! And all they're doing is getting together to do a little dance, make a little love, and get down tonight. Sheesh, and here I was thinking that this was just some crass corporate bullshit. Thanks, Lucian. I feel a lot better now.

Fall Tour For Unnamed Gay Matmos Fan

This autumn, get ready for the tour that some critics have been calling:

"A true classic not to be missed!"

"One of the most rewarding tours of the year!"

"A nail-biting thriller that doesn't let go until the final note!"

Set in the year 2033 after an ecological cataclysm has devastated the land and left water as the most rare and precious resource, Matmos' October Tour stars a talented and diverse group of musicians, including: Drew Daniel as the ruthless head of the Department of Water, Martin Schmidt as a half-man/half-kangaroo mutant that lacks a moral compass, and Lori Petty in the title role as "Tank Girl." Watch as the smart, sexy, and outspoken members of Matmos share their irreverent humor and flaunt their renegade spirit to the delight of audiences nationwide.

Catch the fever today!!!

10.05.06 - Chicago, IL - Cassidy Theater #
10.06.06 - Columbus, OH - Wexner Center #
10.07.06 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Museum #
10.08.06 - Toronto, ON - Music Gallery #
10.09.06 - Toronto, ON - Music Gallery #
10.10.06 - Montreal, QC - Le National #
10.11.06 - Philadelphia, PA - International House #
10.12.06 - Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts # %
10.13.06 - New York, NY - Thalia Theater at Symphony Space #
10.14.06 - New York, NY - Thalia Theater at Symphony Space #
10.17.06 - Los Angeles, CA - Jensen Rec Center ^
10.18.06 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall ^
10.20.06 - Portland, OR - Holocene ^
10.21.06 - Seattle, WA - Triple Door ^

# w/ So Percussion
% w/ Keith Fullerton Whitman
^ w/ Walter Kitundu

Shugo Tokumaru to Take Concept of “European Tour” to NEXT LEVEL

Everyone's favorite European history buff will be returning this fall with a European tour. How perfect, right? Shugo Tokumaru will retrace Napoleon Bonaparte's exact steps across the continent, complete with bloody military defeat at Waterloo and exile on the isle of Elba when the tour is over. Furthermore, Shugo will be wearing 19th-century French military uniforms for every show, crossing treacherous terrain from gig to gig on a white horse. To top it all off, he is having reconstructive surgery to shorten himself to 5'2", the rumored height of the French king. Best of luck Shugo, and stay the hell away from Russia!

THIS JUST IN: The surgery, I'm afraid, has gone terribly, terribly wrong. Instead of Napoleon Bonaparte, the surgeon made him look exactly like... oh, Jesus Christ.... Napoleon Dynamite. No worries, this could be fun. Haha, hey Shugo, I caught you a delicious bass... oh, too soon? That was insensitive, and I apologize.

Well, whichever Napoleon he looks like, I'm sure his expansive pop — especially the stuff he plays from his last album, L.S.T. — will still be top notch:

10.19.06 - Tarragona, Spain - Scumm
10.20.06 - Castellon, Spain - Teatre Conino Gurillo
10.21.06 - Barcelona, Spain - Niu
10.24.06 - Evreux, France - L'abordage
10.25.06 - St. Brieuc, France - La Passerelle
10.26.06 - Boulognes Billancourt, France - Festival BBMiX
10.27.06 - Dijon, France - Festival Novosonic
10.28.06 - Nantes, France - Le Lieu Unique
10.29.06 - Bordeaux, France - L'INCA
11.01.06 - Malmo, Sweden - Inkonst
11.02.06 - Stockholm, Sweden - Debaser
11.03.06 - Gothenborg, Sweden - Pustervik
11.04.06 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Rust
11.07.06 - Paris, France - Studio de l'hermitage

Predictable News Title from Us? Never! Chin Up Chin Up… Tour Album Tour Album (Thanks for the lame idea, bitch-ass internet hacks!)

Art-rockPost-rockArt-rockPost-rockArt-rockArt-Art-rockPost-Poster-Artist-rock!!! You love it, and we've got it! Or you think you love it. And we might have it. More often than not, bands described in these seemingly endorsing terms seem to be as common and dry as snot on a urinal wall. (Sorry for the visual ladies, but it's true.) As with any insensitive media construct, you always have to sort the wheat from the shafting. Those already hit by the charms of Chicago's Chin Up Chin Up don't need anyone to tell them that there's something special about the band, that they have overcome and paid tribute to great loss in grand style and have made and will make many musics that divorce them from the huge blobs of barf in post-art-rock-whatevs wonderland.

Those who haven't had the pleasure yet soon will, as CUCU will release a new album and embark on a tour to spread their general loveliness and twitchy energy nationwide. When the greenhorns finally hear the sound, involuntary hands will reach upwards to gently stroke their weird beards, and with Tourette's-like yelps will confirm that "Yes! Yes, this is quite good!" About the band name and predilection for strange-sounding album titles? Well, they're not completely messed or disturbing, but certainly fit between a new girlfriend requesting "Do the Bartman" at a bar and my mom calling me to announce, "Guess what son? I'm pregnant!" on the perplex-o-scale.

Like the band's We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers, the new album has a whippit-indebted title too. This Harness Can't Ride Anything was recorded by hometown producer/village bicycle Brian Deck at his Engine Studios and will be out October 10 on Suicide Squeeze. Village bicycle? Why, because everyone rides him? As a producer? What? I dunno what the hell I'm talking about. Regardless, here's the tour which includes lots of shows with Oxford Collapse, Cursive, and The Thermals and none with Farty McGillicuddy and the Tittie-twister Sisters:

10.06.06 - Pittsburgh, PA - Brillobox
10.07.06 - Brooklyn, NY - Grasslands *
10.08.06 - New Haven, CT - Bar Night Club *
10.09.06 - New Britain, CT - Semesters *
10.10.06 - Buffalo, NY - Mohawk Place *
10.11.06 - Cleveland, OH - The Spot at Case Western *
10.12.06 - Urbana, IL - Courtyard Cafe *
10.13.06 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle +
10.14.06 - Omaha, NE - O'Leavers
10.15.06 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre #
10.16.06 - Colorado Springs, CO - The Black Sheep
10.17.06 - Salt Lake City, UT - In the Venue #
10.18.06 - Boise, ID - The Venue #
10.19.06 - Walla Walla, WA - Whitman College Coffeehouse
10.20.06 - Seattle, WA - Neumos #
10.21.06 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theatre #
10.23.06 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore #
10.24.06 - Los Angeles, CA - Safari Sams
10.26.06 - Denton, TX - Rubbergloves *
10.27.06 - Austin, TX - Emos Lounge *
10.28.06 - Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon *
10.29.06 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl $
10.30.06 - Mt. Pleasant, SC - The Village Tavern *
10.31.06 - Wilmington, NC - The Soapbox Laundrolounge *
11.01.06 - Washington, DC - Black Cat *
11.03.06 - New York, NY - Knitting Factory ^
11.05.06 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's %
11.06.06 - Covington, KY - Madhatters
12.02.06 - Notre Dame, IN - Legends of Notre Dame

* w/ Oxford Collapse
+ w/ Oxford Collapse and Make Believe
# w/ Cursive and The Thermals
$ w/ The Album Leaf and Oxford Collapse
^ CMJ Music Marathon Extravaganza To the Max! Woohoo!
% w/ Irving

This keyboard can't type anything, except these songs:

1. This Harness Can't Ride Anything
2. Water Planes in Snow
3. We've Got to Keep Running
4. Islands Sink
5. Mansioned
6. I Need a Friend With a Boat
7. Blankets Like Beaver
8. Landlocked Lifeguards
9. Stolen Mountains
10. Trophies for Hire

Wooden Wand, Don’t Hurt ‘Em (There, I Told You I Could Write the Most Irrational Title for a Wooden Wand News Story Ever)

Sometimes speculation is all we have. For example, we know little about the man known as Wooden Wand. We do know that he releases just about everything he puts on tape under a bunch of shifting stage names with a load of helping henchmen and women. We can listen to his songs that head trip a variety of philosophical and political persuasions and straddle traditional and non-so-traditional sounds. But the rest of the story is lost in obscurely pieced-together background bios full of strange road stories and faux-mysticism. What do we really know about the prolific and reflective Wooden Wand? Does he put his pants on just like the rest of us? Does he believe in pants? Does he strictly wear low-rise jodhpurs or chaps? We need our hard facts!

Now, I normally wouldn't merely reprint press release info, but parts of a recent WW fac-sheet outlining "10 Misconceptions and Things You Didn't Know About Wooden Wand" bare repeating (and it fleshes out my bone-thin news story, right eds?). Among the revelations are the facts that he prefers Tennessee to New York, Steely Dan to Pink Floyd, and tequila to bourbon (at least at this point in his life). There are also the following:

07. He is an avid gun enthusiast, and and is a life member of both the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America.*
04. His extended family includes late actor Vincent Gardenia, Chicago Cubs general manager (and former Met) Ed Lynch, "Desperate Housewives"' Andrea Bowen, and Type-O Negative's Peter Steele.**
01. Scott Ian of Anthrax once lectured a 12-year-old Wand that he was "too young to be smoking joints." He was right (They totally got high together anyway).***

* Stop...you had us at "avid gun enthusiast."

** Oh yeah, yet another case of a relative to Tinseltown, television and Triple-A baseball royalty trying his hand at music (sorry Cubs fans, I couldn't resist... let's go Dodgers, clap, clap, clap-clap-clap...war-ning track po-wer, clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!!!).

*** The same thing happened to me, but it was "generic guitarist" from Canadian 8Ts metal band Exciter, and it was huffing solvent (we totally got brain damaged together anyway, but just a little).

Figuring out what makes our boy Wooden Wand tick is tougher than a 20x20x20 Rubik's Cube. Listening is only a little less taxing, but it's a whole lot more fun. One can only imagine what a live Wooden Wand show would be like; I won't have the pleasure because the bastard isn't playing anywhere near me! So unless I finally book that long-overdue fantasy trip to Eugene, Oregon, I will have to rely on word of mouth reports which will probably muddy the Wooden Wand myth even more. The tour includes some shows with Skygreen Leopards, many with Wand's wife (the "Voice" of The Vanishing Voice, Satya Sai), and a number with recent collaborators the Sky High Band (featuring members of both Skygreen Leopards and The Vanishing Voice, and Davenport). Now is the time to sing ye, from the wilds, from the hillsides, and from your heart because the tour has already started! And if I had sent this story in last week like I was supposed to, you could have gone to those first few dates crossed off below.

10.01.06 - New York, NY - Glassland Gallery *
10.02.06 - Cleveland, OH - The Church *
10.03.06 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle *

10.04.06 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews *
10.05.06 - Denver, CO - Hi-Dive *
10.06.06 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Broken Record *
10.12.06 - Oakland, CA - 21Grand
10.13.06 - Sacramento, CA - Fools Foundation #$
10.14.06 - Davis, CA - Delta of Venus #$
10.15.06 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern #$
10.16.06 - Eugene, OR - Cozmic Pizza #$
10.17.06 - Portland, OR - Someday Lounge #$
10.18.06 - Olympia, WA - 1320 5th Ave SW (early show)
10.18.06 - Seattle, WA - Gallery 1412 #$
10.19.06 - Nevada City, NV - National Hotel
10.20.06 - Big Sur, CA - Fernwood Lodge #$
10.21.06 - Los Angeles, CA - Palace Theatre %
10.22.06 - Phoenix, AZ - Modified Arts ^
10.23.06 - Albuquerque, NM - Atomic Cantina
10.25.06 - Austin, TX - Red's Scoot Inn ^
10.26.06 - Houston, TX - The Proletariat ^
10.27.06 - New Orleans, LA - Eldon's Place
10.28.06 - Nashville, TN - Ruby Green
10.29.06 - Knoxville, TN - The Pilot Light ^
10.30.06 - Chapel Hill, NC - Night Light ^
10.31.06 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel ^
11.01.06 - Baltimore, MD - Golden West ^
11.02.06 - Philadelphia, PA - TriTone ^
11.03.06 - New York, NY - Mo Pitkins (CMJ Fanatic Promotion Acoustic Afternoon)
11.04.06 - Brooklyn, NY - Uncle Paulie's (Free Agency Showcase)
11.08.06 - New York, NY - Knitting Factory *
11.09.06 - Purchase, NY - Purchase College *
11.10.06 - Harrisonburg, VA - James Madision University *
11.11.06 - Roanoke, VA - Static house
12.10.06 - Somerset, England - ATP The Nightmare Before Christmas

* w/ Satya Sai
# West Coast Revue (featuring members of Sky High Band, the Vanishing Voice, and Skygreen Leopards
$ w/ Skygreen Leopards
% solo show at Arthur Nights
^ w/ Sky High Band

RIAA Forced To Drink Coke With LimeWire, Told To Like It

LimeWire, the popular peer-to-peer network, recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against the massively unpopular RIAA. Did that just raise your eyebrows? No? Well, read the text from LimeWire's counterclaim:

goal was simple: to destroy any online music distribution service they did not own or control, or force such services to do business with them on exclusive and/or other anticompetitive terms so as to limit and ultimately control the distribution and pricing of digital music, all to the detriment of consumers. (Counterclaim, paragraph 26, page 18)... This case is but one part of a much larger modern conspiracy to destroy all innovation that content owners cannot control and that disrupts their historical business models.(Counterclaim, paragraph 28, page 18)
The case is Arista v. LimeWire, by the way, and this is a countersuit to the ongoing copyright infringement and blah blah blah. LimeWire, whether you agree with what they do or not, makes an argument against the RIAA that is too accurate to deny. Go LimeWire, stick it to suits! But wait, why do they bother? Why are they going to the trouble of filing an antitrust lawsuit over the RIAA, the Dr. Claw of the music world? Do they feel an honest and civic duty to stand up for the rights of consumers and keep the labels in check? Hmm... let it fester.

The RIAA alleges that LimeWire is profiting from illegal downloading. Would that be motive for trying to keep the shop open? Did LimeWire's head honchos kill their wives in order to cash in on the life insurance? I don't know. If its motives are less than wholesome, I'm going to stick with the devil I know. LimeWire is doing us all a favor by elucidating an argument that needs to be discussed. Technology is angering the curmudgeon that is the RIAA because it does "disrupt their historical business models."

Oh xenophobic RIAA, you're adorable, like an old grandfather yelling racial slurs because that's how it always was. Times have changed, and while you embrace the money of the iPod and the MP3, you better accept the consequences that come with it. Maybe the RIAA will make a good point, but wait, no, I think their lawsuits against old women and the deceased speak for themselves.

  

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