What the Heck Fest Going Down: Everybody in the Pacific Northwest Gettin’ Tipsy, Ghostride the Pacific Northwest, Make it Rain on the Pacific Northwest, Etc.

So there are some dudes, right? And they’re doing this thing from July 19 to July 22. This’ll be the sixth time they do it. They do it in Anacortes, Washington. It’s some pretty interesting stuff, but I’m warning you in advance: You might miss a few television shows and/or internet memes if you check it out. So what’s your incentive?

Like 40 indie pop bands, stupid! Cripes! It’s called What the Heck Fest! Calvin Johnson is playing! Mount Eerie! YACHT! Adrian Orange! Mecca Normal! The Blow! Laura Veirs! Little Wings! A whole mess of other artists! Full passes for the entire fest can be purchased from the fest’s site for a mere $50 apiece. The $50 also will net you a full meal at the “dinner” show, which the site refers to as the “thematic center of the entire event.”

If the price seems like a lot, the site even has a neat, little manifesto deal that, in between parts that are kind of confusing, spouts wisdom such as “production values increase as the artist’s respect for the audience’s imagination decreases.” On top of being musically and thematically consistent, What the Heck Fest is probably the most articulate music and arts festival of the entire summer. If you choose to take your shoes off, make some cutoffs and attend, the hilarious cat pictures will probably still be on the ‘web’ when you get back.

Duck, Duck, Goose / Has This Headline Been Used? / Gang Gang Dance Tour / Don’t Be a Loser!

Scene: A bunch of white-belt, indie-rock-oriented kids sitting cross-legged (formerly, ‘Indian-style’) in a large circle.

Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Goose! (slapping the head of Brian DeGraw)

(Brian chases me around the circle; I dive down into Brian's former seat. Brian is now the goose.)

Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Duck... Goose! (gently tapping the head of Tim DeWitt)

(Tim jumps up and chases Brian around the circle. Brian barely makes it into Tim's former seat. Tim is now the goose.)

(This process repeats itself until all members of Gang Gang Dance have been the goose. As a collective geese, Gang Gang Dance tour the collective United States, playing sympathetic venues in support of their new CD-and-DVD combo scheduled for release May 22 (today!) and titled Retina Riddim.

All dates on the tour have Ocrilim (which is Mick Barr of Orthrelm, Crom-Tech, Quix*o*tic, Octis, that collab with Zach Hill, etc.) opening, except the Los Angeles show with Ariel Pink and Architecture In Helsinki opening instead:

* Ariel Pink

# Ariel Pink and Architecture In Helsinki

The Mullins Prophecy: Major Labels Release Prompts Wicked Heavy White Stripes Make-Out Sesh; or, Absurdly Appropriate Lie to Promote Icky Thump For Release June 19

I told her I ain't so sure about this place,

It's hard to play a gig in this town, and keep a straight face,

And it seems like everybody’s got a plan,

It's kinda like Nashville with a tan

-Shawn Mullins, “Lullaby”

Most likely, you’re too painfully hip for a reference to the aforementioned ‘boy meets girl who is rich, but seeks to challenge her emotionally and thinks she is prettier when she smiles’ music to ring true. Allow me to enlighten you, oh hip ones.

I’m discussing a sub-genre of top-40 hits, typically but not exclusively based on the struggle of 25- to 30-year-old men working to save affluent, non-smiling women with poor home lives from the confines of the upper class. Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” was the prototype of said genre. A more recent example is Shawn Mullins’ “Lullaby”; i.e., that song that repeats “Everything’s gonna be alright. Rock-a-bye.”

It seems like everyone’s got a plan, it’s kinda like Nashville with a tan, sings this mysterious Mullins.

And, he’s making me nervous for Meg and Jack White, given that Icky Thump, The White Stripes’ sixth album, scheduled for release June 19, was apparently recorded at Blackbird Studio. You guessed it -- Blackbird Studio is in Nashville. Additionally, this is the first modern studio the Stripes have ever recorded in. Changes in Nashville.

Shit, Stripes.

On “Lullaby,” Mullins’ vague damning of Nashville should be unsettling for the Stripes and Icky Thump for two reasons:

(1) Nashville is referenced in this ever-unremarkable “Lullaby,” potentially cursing any future musical association to the city (damn you, Mullins).

(2) What if Mullins is right about Nashville? What if it's a no-good city of ulterior motives, a place where it is impossible to play a gig and keep a straight face, a place similar to an unnamed, tanner counterpart? This reality could be something even beloved Jack and Meg can't... sibling their way out of.

Perhaps most appropriate, though, is the third option, which would be a shameless, appeal to both the Mullins-induced curse (option 1) and Mullins' own prophecy (option 2):

(3) Jack and Meg making out to "Lullaby" in the saucy-hot, Nashville air after watching a similarly saucy-hot Nashville sunrise and jamming out to... saucy-hot... jams. Like their first title track ever, "Icky Thump."

Or "Uptown Girl."

Seriously.

The maybe, maybe-not siblings’ stint with a major label, Icky Thump, will be released June 19 on Warner.

Tracklisting:

1. Icky Thump
2. You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You're Told)
3. 300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues
4. Conquest
5. Bone Broke
6. Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn
7. St. Andrew (This Battle Is in the Air)
8. Little Cream Soda
9. Rag and Bone
10. I'm Slowly Turning Into You
11. A Martyr for My Love for You
12. Catch Hell Blues
13. Effect and Cause

The Gossip Just Want to Have Fun at the First Annual True Colors Tour

In an attempt to promote equal rights and opportunity, as well as raise awareness 'bout the issues facing the queer community, Cyndi Lauper has founded True Colors Concerts, LLC, after her 1986 album True Colors. The company's first endeavor, the first annual True Colors Tour, begins June 8 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in celebration of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

Margaret Cho will be hosting the performances, wherein The Gossip will take the stage with the likes of Erasure, The Dresden Dolls, Debbie Harry, The Misshapes, and Cyndi Lauper. There are a slew of special guests as well that will be appearing in select cities, including Rufus Wainwright, Rosie O'Donnell, Indigo Girls, The Cliks, Jeffree Star, Cazwell, and Amanda Lepore.

One dollar from each ticket sold will be donated to the Human Rights Campaign.

After the True Colors Tour, The Gossip will continue the remainder of their tour overseas. YAY!

^ True Colors Tour w/ Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, The Dresden Dolls, Debbie Harry, and The Misshapes; hosted by Margaret Cho

* Rufus Wainwright

# Rosie O'Donnell

$ The Cliks

% Cazwell, Amanda Lepore

Have… A Good Time… All The Time; Spinal Tap Reforms For Live Earth (You Know, like Live Aid and Live 8… Those Other Concerts That Saved The World…)

When we last left our coifed-haired heroes in Spinal Tap, dismal reviews were piling on (the review for "Shark Sandwich" was merely a two-word review which simply read "Shit Sandwich"), often hitting that nerve square between insult and truth. I even doubted my allegiance. After all, what day did the Lord create Spinal Tap, and couldn't he have rested on that day, too?

But like a phoenix risen from the ashes, Spinal Tap have reunited and will perform at Live Earth London on 07/07/07. Yeah, that's right. God's number. Coincidence? I think not. With Spinal Tap, we're very lucky we have two visionaries, David and Nigel. They're like poets, like Shelley and Byron. They're two distinct types of visionaries -- like fire and ice, basically. And there's no end to this kind of genius. Plus, I don't really think that the end can be assessed itself as being the end, because what does the end feel like? It's like saying when you try to extrapolate the end of the universe, you say, if the universe is indeed infinite, then what does that mean? How far is all the way, and then if it stops, what's stopping it, and what's behind what's stopping it? So, what's the end, you know, is my question to you.

Announced via the Tribeca Film Festival and viewable here, it was the tireless willpower of Marty DeBergi that brought the band back from the depths of rock purgatory (rightfully reserved for bands like Audioslave). Rumor has it the band has been working on a Mozart and Bach-inspired (Mach) musical trilogy four or five hours in length, in D minor (widely accepted as the saddest of all keys), titled "Lick My Love Pump." Designed to defeat global warming once and for all, Live Earth will stage concerts from New Jersey to Shanghai on one fateful day in July. Expect a new tune ("Warmer Than Hell") and a possible appearance from British funnyman Ricky Gervais. Thankfully, with Spinal Tap in tow, the score now reads "Live Earth: 1, Global Warming: 0". But we'll need all the star-power we can get. I mean, it's like, how much more black could this crisis be? And the answer is none. None more black.

Witch vs. Pirate IX: The Battle for Your Kids; Majors to Concentrate on Selling Ad Space

You thought you had them beat, didn't you? All those years of pirating songs, albums, entire discographies. They were dumb record execs that had no idea what was going on. You were so guerilla, weren't you? You had them beat from the get-go. Whatever monkeywrench they'd throw your way would be dealt with. They'd never figure out what a file called eezerw.mp3 was; you were so smart. The thing is, you -- and of course I mean we -- have created your own demise.

Although at times it may seem like it, record execs aren't idiots. The older generation never had a chance when they were battling music pirates on the field of technology. So now, those Warwick MBAs who couldn't figure out how to work BitTorrent are bringing the fight back home.

It's old-fashioned advertising like grandma used to make, but there's a catch... using new technologies. This is by no means a completely novel idea, but it may actually represent a business structure that has the potential to boost the profit margins of record companies, although to a relatively small percentage. Steve Yanovsky, part-time used car salesman/part-time Atlantic Records executive, predicts that, "down the road a bit I think we'll begin to see brands subsidizing music in a much fuller sense." Way to be decisive Steve.

(And rumor has it, they're working with a witch! I was able to procure an interview with Yanovsky's neighbor Gladys Kravitz, who warned of strange happenings going on over there at the Stevens... er.... Yanovsky household. Apparently, led by Universal Music Group's Executive VP David Ellner and a shadowy character known as Endora, a coven of music industry execs are revamping their business models. Music is -- poof -- disappearing as the industries main point of return, and -- poof -- hawking cheap merchandise on the backs of their stars is appearing in its place. How'd they do that?)

"We're inventing a new business model with advertisers," says Warner Music's Senior VP of Global Something-Something Dan Patterson. "We are optimistic about the opportunity advertising presents; that's why we are we are investing in our ability to serve marketers with our asset."

Essentially, the music industry is recognizing that it cannot harvest music downloads in a profitable way sufficient to its shareholders demands, so it's partnering with all of your favorite products to offset projected losses -- it's creating community. Using file-sharing networks, streaming video sites, artist sites, and anywhere else it can find ad space, the industry expects to pummel you with ads telling you what to download before you even download anything, as well as what you should be wearing/drinking/smelling like while doing it. The business model shift reflects the music industry's goal of getting to know your kids a little better and playing a more active role in their lives.

Here's the question: would you rather consciously pay record labels for exuberantly priced recordings, or stream the new Lil Mamma track album off the Jive Records website and be inundated with five banner ads for lip gloss in the process? Either way, it's your fault.