VHS Or Beta’s Upcoming Tour Provokes Intense Thought

The world has already decided the fate of the second half of VHS Or Beta's name, and neither medium is widely used anymore. Hmm. Interesting. While we're in such a pondering mood, let's consider some of life's other important choices that could alternately serve as names for a VHS Or Beta tribute band:

- HDDVD or Blu-Ray
- Vinyl or Cassette
- TI-89 or 91 (I am doing my calculus homework right now)

Of course, we could all wish for a simpler time when things were more like:

- TV or No TV
- William Howard Taft or William Jennings Bryan
- Plague or Syphilis

Or we can talk about fate again:

VHS Or Beta's frontman Craig Pfunder: "As far as the industry, people are buying less and less records. I feel like the trends that happen are short-lived and quick... I try not to think about that or I'll spiral into depression. You go out there and you do the work and you tour and you try to convince people that what you're doing is worthy and real, and they'll judge for themselves."

Or how about the tourdates in support of the Astralwerks-released Bring on the Comets? Okay!

Radiohead Webcast, Box Set, Etc., Etc.

Since we're contractually obligated to "hype Radiohead up" -- yes, we have that much sway, and yes we're making loads of money off it -- here is some brand new exciting awesome incredible amazing fantastic information about Radiohead:

- According to Adam Buxton on BBC 6Music, Radiohead are doing another webcast from Oxford this Friday. This will be Radiohead's first in five years.

- It's Jonny Greenwood's 36th birthday today.

- EMI/Parlophone is capitalizing on the Radiohead hype by re-releasing the group's first six full-length albums, as well as the live mini-album I Might Be Wrong (why the FUCK would they include this over, say, the Drill or My Iron Lung EPs??) as a box set. $70 will get you downloadable MP3s (320 Kbps); $80 will get you the CD version; and $160 will get you WAV files on a 4GB USB drive shaped as the Kid A bear. WHAT, NO VINYL??

The set will be available December 10. Which means: Parlophone is using Radiohead's first six albums and a mini-album to fight head to head with the "discbox" version of In Rainbows (TMT Review)!!! Parlophone Radiohead vs. Independent Radiohead. God, this is so fucking exciting awesome incredible amazing fantastic exciting awesome incredible amazing fantastic exciting awesome incredible amazing fantastic exciting awesome incredible amazing fantastic exciting awesome incredible amazing fantastic.

Donovan Teams Up with Director David Lynch to Impose Transcendental Meditation Upon The World at Large Via “Invincible Donovan University”

"Dude...pause the movie for a second, I'm getting another beer. This Inland Empire (TMT Review) shit doesn't make any fucking sense."

"It's not supposed to, man; it's just a collection of images Lynch assembled to explore a theme and suggest a mood, to talk to your subconscious mind rather than your waking consciousness. He's super into that stuff, check out this book he wrote on dreams and meditation. Wait, where's the remote?"

"Man, fuck that. This is giving me a headache. If I wanted a bad dream, I'd go to sleep thinking about my ex-girlfriend."

"Look, Lynch isn't about giving you bad dreams; he's trying to show you how to deal with the ideas and impulses that cause them while you're still awake, so you can work it out and move on, you know?"

"Is that screwdriver still sticking out of that lady's stomach? Is that fucking Beck playing??"

"Yeah, okay, so he's not great integrating popular music into his movies. Just be glad it's not Donovan playing; I guess they're hanging out a bunch and opening this school on Transcendental Meditation..."

"Trans-what?" *burp*

"It's this vague school of thought founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi back in the ‘60s, the idea being that specific meditations can reduce stress and increase one's general state of well-being by hooking your brain up to the Unified Field or the Collective Unconscious or whatever the hell you want to call it -- they used to ‘levitate’ on TV a bunch back in the ‘70s and made some headlines. It's this huge trademarked money-making machine now, but it's nice to see the idea of meditation becoming mainstream. I kind of agree with Lynch and Donovan; I think if there was mandatory meditation and yoga in schools and in the workplace we'd be on our way to solving a bunch of society's problems..."

"Oh fuck off. Even if this shit works, it's not like anyone's going to take it seriously if these two Mellow Yellow crackpots are in charge".

"Yeah, I guess. Whatever. Here, pass the binger."

EMI Canada Introduces Recycled Music in Recycled Packaging

EMI Music Canada is going green with its new "Platinum" series of releases featuring digipaks made of 100% recycled material. The releases repackage hits by EMI, Capitol, and Virgin greats such as The Band, Miles Davis, Blondie, Fats Domino, Al Green, and MC Hammer.

If EMI really wanted to show its commitment to the environment, maybe executives should have put a bit more thought into releasing an MC Hammer retrospective at all. Record store bargain bins are already straining to hold all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze soundtracks, Now That's What I Call Music compilations, and Train albums as it is. And experts speculate that an MC Hammer greatest hits release could stress sales racks to the breaking point, spilling countless copies of Jennifer Love Hewitt records and endangering record store employees, shoppers, and goths who just hang out there all day.

"This could not come at a worse time," said Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Ken Lorraine*. "We've been tracking the capacity of record store bargain bins for decades. Throughout history, they have swelled and emptied on a predictable cycle. But, in the past 10 years, they have become increasingly full. This pre-holiday MC Hammer release, coupled with a massive sell back of the new Mandy Moore album, could be too much."

With MC Hammer Greatest Hits still taking up space despite 10 years on the shelves, Lorraine said now is not the time for another Hammer album, no matter what it's packaged in.

Though many people already own compilations by other "Platinum" artists, Lorraine does not consider re-releasing hits packages by Chet Baker or Nat King Cole to be as detrimental to bargain bins as the MC Hammer collection.

"Typically, people either own a Kenny Rogers collection and would not purchase this new release, or they would realize they need a Kenny Rogers collection that includes his Sheena Easton duet, 'We've Got Tonight,'" Lorraine said. "In the latter case, the album would remain a part of that buyer's record collection for years and stay out of the bargain bins we're trying to protect."

An MC Hammer album, on the other hand, may be purchased for "U Can't Touch This" or "2 Legit 2 Quit" alone, Lorraine said. He added that once listeners got to Hammer's second-tier hits, like "Have You Seen Her," the album would be a likely candidate for a sell-back to the record store.

"Only time will tell if the world's used bins will survive this," Lorraine said. "But one thing's for sure, it's not going to help."

* Ken Lorraine is not employed by the EPA, nor does he exist.

Gold Standard Labs Shuts Down; Bummer

God help the musically curious, Epitonic-browsing 17-year-old in all of us. Mostly me, probably. In case you haven’t read it on every other blog on the planet (sorry for the delay, P), Gold Standard Labs, perhaps better known as GSL, the record label that helped introduce the world to the likes of The Locust, The Rapture, !!!, The Mars Volta, and Gogogo Airheart, has closed its metaphorical doors.

A press release cited “onsets of factors” and “an industry in flux,” but as a completely benign longtime fan, I can’t help but wonder how a label with such artists as the above under its belt, as well as part-ownership by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta, managed to go under. It's probable the reasons aren’t entirely financial, and the label’s proprietors simply decided that the scene the label chronicled had been overdocumented, turned inside-out, and eventually run its course.

Whatever it was, thanks for the memories, GSL. During my salad days, I right-click/save as’ed every single MP3 you had on your website, and while I didn’t like all of it and some of it has since aged poorly, I now annoy my roommates with the likes of Blues Control, enjoy every minute of it, and it’s all your fault. May your sons have the jawlines of kings and the names of brands of whiskey.

John Vanderslice Tours in Support of Emerald City, Visits the Motherland

And so begins round two of the Vanderslice Tour for Emerald City (TMT Review), not counting a small jaunt last spring to drum up a little buzz in the smaller clubs of Ah-murica. If you haven't given the new album a spin yet, I suggest you do the next best thing and listen right here, where you can stream the whole (s)hebang and check out live videos from the last tour.

Lucky ducks with tickets (purchased with euros and pounds, of course) to any and all of these dates will no doubt be treated to musical sweets in the vein of a "Keep the Dream Alive" (Time Travel Is Lonely) sing-along in the center of the venue floor, and if the previous tour’s backing band is hopping across the pond with him, attendees are in for a treat. My prediction for best show of the tour would be none other than November 18, when the Slice gets down with his Dutch self in Rotterdam, Holland, a country he’s already likened to “elements of paradise.”

So get on that mildly frightening discount airline and go! It’s worth it! Don't believe me?

These dates don't lie: