Austin, TX produces bands like TMT news writers produce crap opening sentences (well, this one at least). Stark and convoluted, cold and sexy, embryonic and futuristic, incongruous and rational (is that enough?), The Weird Weeds are the latest great band to turn heads as they straddle that tricky conventional/experimental divide. Strange newfound sounds are discovered, even after tons o' listens. I'm guessing I'm wrong, but I swear I heard a sound not unlike that of a tiny bat squealing the last few times I've listened to the band's Weird Feelings album. I should know – I caught one flying around my apartment last month, and while most bats don't give off sounds when they echolocate through the air, they make very distinct and eerie sounds when caught with a stove pot and a Sabbath record cover. I invited the bat back recently to visit and listen to the latest Weird Weeds album to see if he could shed any light onto his vocal behaviors and possible similarities to snippets of Weird Weeds songs. After downing the better half of a 60-pounder of whiskey together, bat got a little strange and I got a little hungry:

Bat: Weird Weeds are from Austin? I spent a week there one night. Boo-doom pissh!

Me: What a poorly done cymbal. Allllllright...? Yeah, Austin.

Bat: I was up for the role of comedy sound voice double for Cadet Jones in the first Police Academy, but I've got flat feet.

Me: What?

Bat: There's too much blood in my alcohol system stream...

Me: You're drunk. This is getting shitty.

Bat: I had amnesia once... maybe twice.

Me: Okay, enough of this nonsense. You've been here long enough.

Bat: How long a minute is depends what side of the bathroom door you're on.

Me (grabbing bat off the couch): Alright...

Bat: ...if #2 pencils are the most popular pencils, why are they still #2...

Recipe for Bat Soup:

- 1 bat (young, preferably)
- A suspicion of grated ginger
- A soupçon of coconut milk
- 1/2 can Guinness, 1/2 can chicken stock
- Chopped scallions
- Dash of secret "Seoul Spice"

We love Weird Weeds at TMTHQ, and we can't wait to see 'em on tour and show them how guests should act after consuming copious quantities of whiskey. The tour starts tonight in (where else) Austin! Look for a split single with Shapes and Sizes to be released this month on Asthmatic Kitty and a November/December tour to be confirmed very shortly. We'll let you know about that in our next Weird Weeds installment.

Go to these or go back to the hinterland, assbats:

09.06.06 - Austin, TX - Emo's
09.07.06 - Baton Rouge, LA - Red Star Bar
09.08.06 - Nashville, TN - Ruby Green #
09.09.06 - Knoxville, TN - The Pilot Light #
09.10.06 - Raleigh, NC - Bickett Gallery
09.11.06 - Baltimore, MD - Floristree Space
09.12.06 - Kutztown, PA - Good Vibes
09.13.06 - Gettyburg, PA - Emmaus
09.14.06 - Brooklyn, NY - Uncle Paulie's
09.15.06 - Manhattan, NY - The Cake Shop $
09.16.06 - Portland, ME - Space Gallery
09.17.06 - Amherst, MA - Hampshire College Dining Commons
09.18.06 - Cambridge, MA - Zeitgeist Gallery
09.19.06 - Rochester, NY - The Bug Jar
09.20.06 - Toronto, Ontario - Cameron House%
09.21.06 - Oberlin, OH - Cat in the Cream
09.22.06 - Chicago, IL - The Note
09.23.06 - Urbana, IL - Pygmalion Music Festival
10.25.06 - Austin, TX - Red's Scoot Inn ^

# w/ Peter and the Wolf
$ w/ The Dirty Projectors
% w/ Eric Chenaux & Alex Lukashevsky
^ w/ Wooden Wand

In America: Asobi Seksu globalize, tour this fall; In Japan: Playful Sex (Blurred Genitalia Galore!)

I can't believe TMT let me become a staff writer. I'm just Jethro at the Alta Vista trailer park out of Louisville, Kentucky. So I will admit that before I wrote this article, I thought Asobi Seksu were some sort of new energy drink that I could mix my Jack Daniels with. My wife shouted, "How the freak can an energy drink go on tour?" Don't worry: I silenced her with a snack of my little friend "Hand-tonio Banderas." That shut her up.

I decided to do a little detective work, and I got on this thing called the internets to look up the cryptic name. I assume you all have heard of this internets thing. It turned out that Asobi Seksu is a musical band, and their name means "Playful Sex." I laughed so hard that I fell ass-backwards off my stack o' bricks. That was the funniest thing I heard until my dog farted.

Well, I smelled that too!

So who doesn't enjoy cute Japanese women and rock music? And if you don't enjoy these things, then you probably hate America with a passion. I'll even go out on a limb and say that you are probably a terrorist. Why can't you just enjoy a cold beer, a slap of the wife, and a refreshing episode of Blue Collar TV? We aren't bigots like we used to be. It's nice to hear some music with gushy, foreign gibberish in it. Take Asobi Seksu, for instance. This New York quartet play eclectic indie pop in the vein of My Bloody Valentine, with vocals in both English and Japanese. See, there's enough proof we can get along with countries!

And hell, they even have a guy name Haji in the band.

It would be anti-American for you not catch this spectacle of assimilation when the diverse kids head out on a gigantic shaft of a fall tour in support of their fruity new effort, Citrus. They're even playing some shows with those fine young fellows Man Man. You can't get anymore American than that!

I'm gonna go get acquainted with Miss Pamela Handerson Lee, if you know what I mean!

Go America!

09.08.06 - New York City, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
09.14.06 - Boston, MA - Tufts University #
09.15.06 - Ithaca, NY - Cornell University
09.16.06 - Buffalo, NY - Soundlab
09.17.06 - Ottawa, ONT - Babylon
09.19.06 - Montreal, QC - Green Room @
09.20.06 - Toronto, ONT - Horseshoe
09.21.06 - Detroit, MI - Lager House
09.22.06 - Chicago, IL - Schubas
09.23.06 - Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club
09.24.06 - Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar
09.26.06 - Calgary, AB - HiFi Club
09.27.06 - Canmore, AB Canmore Hotel
09.28.06 - Vancouver, BC - Media Club
09.29.06 - Anacortes, WA - Department of Safety
09.30.06 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey %
10.01.06 - Portland, OR - Holocene %
10.04.06 - Santa Cruz, CA - The Attic%
10.05.06 - Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar %
10.06.06 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo %
10.07.06 - San Diego, CA - Beauty Bar
10.10.06 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
10.11.06 - Albuquerque, NM - House Show
10.12.06 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
10.15.06 - Indianapolis, IN - Radio, Radio
10.16.06 - Newport, KY - Southgate House
10.18.06 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
10.19.06 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
10.20.06 - Knoxville, TN - Pilot Light
10.21.06 - Durham, NC - Troika Festival
11.11.06 - San Francisco, CA - Riott Festival at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

* with Serena Maneesh
# with Man Man
@ with Dengue Fever
% with Darker My Love

Guys, I’ve Got THE Sweetest Thing To Tell You! Remember However Long Ago, When Those Blogs Were Putting Up Special Christmas-Themed Sufj- What? Who Told You? Damnit. Well, Guess We’re Done Here. See You Tomorrow.

Tracklisting for Noel: Songs for Christmas, Vol. I:

1. Silent Night
2. O Come O Come Emmanuel
3. We're Goin' to the Country!
4. Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming
5. It's Christmas! Let's Be Glad!
6. Holy Holy, etc.
7. Amazing Grace

Hark!: Songs for Christmas, Vol. II:

1. Angels We Have Heard on High
2. Put the Lights on the Tree
3. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
4. I Saw Three Ships
5. Only at Christmas Time
6. Once in Royal David's City
7. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!
8. What Child Is This Anyway?
9. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

Ding! Dong!: Songs for Christmas, Vol. III:

1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
2. Come On! let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!
3. We Three Kings
4. O Holy Night
5. That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!
6. Ding! Dong!
7. All the King's Horns
8. The Friendly Beasts

Joy: Songs for Christmas, Vol. IV:

1. The Little Drummer Boy
2. Away in a Manger
3. Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!
4. The First Noel
5. Did I Make You Cry on Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)
6. The Incarnation
7. Joy to the World

Peace: Songs for Christmas, Vol. V:

1. Once in Royal David's City
2. Get Behind Me, Santa!
3. Jingle Bells
4. Christmas in July
5. Lo! How A Rose E'er Blooming
6. Jupiter Winter
7. Sister Winter
8. O Come O Come Emmanuel
9. Star of Wonder
10. Holy, Holy, Holy
11. The Winter Solstice

Hey, sorry, forgot my hat. I'll be out of your hair in a second. Oh, by the way, you already heard about- Yeah. Exactly. Just checking. G'night:

09.11.06 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium #
09.15.06 - Austin, TX - Paramount Theater #
09.16.06 - Austin, TX - Paramount Theater #
09.19.06 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues #
09.20.06 - Atlanta, GA - Fox Theater #
09.21.06 - Chapel Hill, NC - Memorial Hall #
09.23.06 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Theater #
09.24.06 - St. Louis, MO - Pageant #
09.25.06 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater #
09.26.06 - Chicago, IL - Riviera #
09.28.06 - Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theatre #
09.29.06 - New York, NY - Town Hall #
09.30.06 - New York, NY - Town Hall #
10.01.06 - New York, NY - Town Hall #
10.09.06 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern #
10.10.06 - Berkeley, CA - Zellerbach Hall #
10.11.06 - Berkeley, CA - Zellerbach Hall #
10.13.06 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom #
10.14.06 - Vancouver, British Columbia - St. Andrew's Cathedral #
10.15.06 - Seattle, WA - Paramount #
11.01.06 - Dublin, Ireland - Olympia
11.02.06 - Manchester, England - Academy 2
11.03.06 - London, England - Barbican
11.05.06 - Ghent, Belgium - Voorhuit
11.07.06 - Barcelona, Spain - Casino L'Allanca
11.09.06 - Paris, France - Le Bataclan
11.10.06 - Cologne, Germany - Gloria
11.11.06 - Amsterdam, Holland - Paradiso
11.12.06 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Vega
11.14.06 - Oslo, Norway - Sentrum Scene
11.15.06 - Stockholm, Sweden - Berns
11.16.06 - Reykjavik, Iceland - Frikirkjan Church
11.17.06 - Reykjavik, Iceland - Frikirkjan Church

# w/ My Brightest Diamond

I Heard That You and Your Band Have Sold Your Guitars and Bought Turntables, MSTRKRFT Is A Stupid Name, Tour

Like adding a disco beat to a punk song, MSTRKRFT take a confused Future by the hand and lead it toward the lineup with a sign reading "over-hyped techno." In other news, James Murphy was recognized as a prophet and raptured up to heaven.

This will be happening all over America this fall:

09.08.06 - New York City, NY - Don Hills
09.09.06 - Philadelphia, PA - Click @ Medusa Lounge
09.10.06 - Toronto, ON - Virgin Festival @ Islands Park
09.14.06 - Orlando, FL - The Club @ Firestone
09.15.06 - Austin, TX - Factory People
09.16.06 - Houston, TX - A38
09.22.06 - Seattle, WA - The War Room
10.12.06 - Boston, MA - Bills Bar
10.13.06 - Baltimore, MD - Sonar
10.14.06 - Atlanta, GA - Mjq Concourse
10.20.06 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey
10.21.06 - Portland, OR - Holocene
10.27.06 - Calgary, AB - The Warehouse
10.31.06 - Los Angeles, CA - Safari Sam's *
11.01.06 - San Francisco, CA - Mezzanine *
11.04.06 - Chicago, IL - Smart Bar

* w/ Justice

If there is no one dancing at a show, it's full of music journalists. -Mr. Pants

Universal Offers Entire Catalog For Free, Legal Download; Music Pirates Ask “Where’s The Fun In That?”

The New York Times reported last week that Universal Music Group, the largest of the four major labels, has reached an agreement to allow its entire catalog to be available as free downloads on Spiral Frog. Now what is this Spiral Frog? No, it's not the name of that crappy, shrooming hippy jam band that's playing your college's next battle of the bands. It's the name of a new company that plans to offer free DRM-encrypted downloads that come with some advertisement to support the site. Why they went with that name, no one's quite sure.

So, how about some specifics, numb nuts? I was just getting there. From the looks of things, it seems that the Frog will be premiering in December, only about two-and-a-half months after this frog kicks the bucket. The DRM (digital rights management) will be an extremely limiting factor for music fans, as it will not allow users to put downloaded songs on iPods or Microsoft's Zune player either. Not exactly the smartest move if you want to capture a large audience, since Apple has managed to sell more than 10 million iPods so far this year alone. I suppose you could hijack the audio if you really wanted to or, more likely, just go download the song from a P2P network.

The advertisements could also be a limiting factor for Spiral Frog; necessary for revenue but if too obtrusive, the site will never take off and music fans will keep with their P2P servers. Similarly, if Spiral Frog is at all difficult to navigate, it will unlikely draw people away from the file-sharing networks they have grown to know and love oh-so-dearly (lord knows I do).

Robin Kent, CEO of Spiral Frog, does have some pretty cool ideas to go with his site, too. There will be MySpace-esque pages to accompany downloads that will offer tour info, photos, lyrics, and suggestions for similarly sounding bands. I'm going to guess that these pages will not be as personal and open to editing as MySpace, but it's still nice to have all that information right there. Some kind of wiki aspect would be a good addition to the site (really, who doesn't think this link shouldn't be posted on Three 6 Mafia's page?). All in all, Spiral Frog looks like it will be an interesting experiment and compliment to the iTunes Music Store and other legitimate online music retailers.

NPR Announces Digital Music Service; Shows No Remorse for Singlehandedly Ruining My Sandbox Popularity

I come from an NPR household. Translation: My dad is to Garrison Keillor as People magazine is to Brangelina. As a young squirt, I often complained about A Prairie Home Companion during dinner, as I had important playground tales to report, unlike this boring man who sounded like he had a penchant for talking with peanut butter in his mouth. (Disclaimer: G-Keil and I are best buds now. I think he's the most.)

Soon, I realized I was very different from the other kids. My freakdom even extended to other forms of household media. "What do you MEAN there are more than six TV channels!?" I felt cheated, and to add insult to injury, I didn't see an episode of Saved By the Bell until I was 14.

But obviously, my parents did something right, because my life has reached its pinnacle — Joe's letting me close the store tonight, AND I get to announce a delicious little piece of news a la NPR, AND someone ate enough crazy for breakfast to let me post it on this fine internet establishment known as TMT.

Behold: NPR Music Online! Wanna feast your ears on that live Sleater-Kinney show from the 9:30 Club? Done. Got an inexplicable urge to hear Fiona Apple discuss why she is neither a Fiona nor an Apple? Baby, you got it. And of course, there are opera & orchestral tunes a-plenty, because come on, this is NPR. (Disclaimer #2: I happen to love those philharmonic jams. Stravinsky is a neo-classical rock star, and I'll bean y'all over the head with my cello bow if you disagree.)

Moment of truth: not all tracks will be totally free 'n' easy, but hey, we can dream, right? And if you've really got beef, feel free to create a clever username (e.g. ITotallyHeartTerriGross, MorningEditionIsMyBoyfriend) and practice your free speech privs on their shiny new message board. You may or may not see me there, and my handle may or may not be IraGlassIsMyBoy.

Uh, I mean — just kidding?