RIP: Willy Graves, former member of The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower

From a MySpace post by Willy's former bandmate Brandon Welchez (via Punknews.org):

As I'm sure many of you have already heard, our dear friend Willy Graves passed away Sunday, September 14th. During our years together, we felt more like a family or a gang than we did a band. Every high and every low we experienced together. Willy brought so much to our band artistically, aesthetically, and in terms of general morale.

When the going got tough (and believe me, things would get fucking rough), we could always count on Willy to be the eternal optimist. Whether we were getting beat up in Salt Lake City, having our tires slashed in Baltimore, or getting pint glasses heaved at us in Wellington, NZ, we could always count on Willy to crack a joke or act silly to distract us from the lows. Same goes for all the highs we experienced together. All the amazing shows we got to play, amazing places we got to see, and amazing friends we got to meet; Willy lived all these things 100%. I've never seen him happier than when we raising hell in some foreign country.

We discovered so many things together, went through so many things together - it's unbelievable that he is gone so young. He had a lot more love, humor and art to give the world. This is everybody's loss. Please keep him in your hearts and remember him for the son, brother, musician and friend that he was.

- The Plot to Blow Up The Eiffel Tower MySpace page
- The Plot to Blow Up The Eiffel Tower Wikipedia entry

MVD Reissues Devo, Dwarves, Plasmatics, and GG Allin on Vinyl, Because You Could Never Hope To Grasp the Subtle Complexities of Freaks, Faggots, Drunks and Junkies Without the Revelatory Warmth of a Genuine LP

Listen up, all you hep cats and paper shakers, cause I sure got a scoop for you! A little birdie just told me about a boss new kick you can snatch up in all the malted shoppes and gas-go-getters ‘round town. They’re called vinyl record album LPs, and let me tell ya, these babies are definitely the most spread on some toast! All you have to do is hop in your cherriest flip-top, knock those wheels on over to your local music emporium, or maybe Best Buy (TMT News), and pick up a recording by whichever guitar-fister beats those keys just the way you want it!

Personally, I like these new cubes from around Ohio way’s. Ya know, them fruits with the red hats. Those squares who make the tunes about outer space and questions and stuff... Devo! Uh huh, that’s the cats! I hear the MVD Entertainment Group are putting out (wish my girl would do the same thing! Hey hey!) a record of four previously unreleased versions of that old chart-buster they had, "Watch Us Work It." Yep, the same tune those no good wet rags sold to Dell computers and was always on the television set when I was trying to watch Andy Griffith. I know I’ve probably heard that song enough times to give Eisenhower an ulcer, but I just have to know how else they’re gonna perform it, ya know! You think they’ll add a Clavioline solo? Jesus fucking Christ, I hope they do!

Speaking of fucking Jesus Christ, it looks like those palookas at MVD are re-releasing some albums by a big pack of bozos, too. Guy who goes by the name of GG Allin is putting out some record called Freaks, Faggots, Drunks and Junkies, and as long as he ain’t one of the first, second, or fourth things, I bet we’ll get along just fine. I mean, me and my old man get on alright, and unfortunately he’s number three through and through... I’ll be here whenever you want a son, Dad...

Anyway, MVD’s also re-releasin’ Beyond the Valley of 1984 by Wendy O. Williams and The Plasmatics for anyone who actually thinks some broad can actually be a rock and roller. Please! Next you’ll be telling me any dumb doll could be President! Rounding out the lineup of dorks, freaks, and the skirt comes The Dwarves in a limited-edition 10-inch record featuring these greasy punks performing live on KSZU Stanford on the first side and lead singer Blag Dahlia covering AC/DC’s "Big Balls" and the Ramones’ "The KKK Took My Baby Away," along with a few originals on the second side. So go on out and buy this bullcrap with whatever nuggets you got lying around your room. Meanwhile, I’ll be listening to "Watch Us Work It" over and over again until my dad gets home. I hope he never comes home...

Hercules And Love Affair Announce Tourdates; Zeus And The Romantic Rendezvous Place 3rd In The Hoboken Battle Of The Bands

I’m sure most of you have heard of dance-punkers Hercules and Love Affair. But did you know that the core members used to be part of Hoboken, NJ’s finest, Zeus And The Romantic Rendezvous? Yep. Apparently Hercules’ frontman Andrew Butler helped form Zeus and co-wrote some of their early hits. But like all local NJ favorites, creative differences proved to be too much for the Romantic Rendezvous, and Butler split to form Love Affair back in 2004. No worries though, Zeus and Co. were able to carry on and are now performing as an ’80s cover band at T.G.I. Friday’s happy hour.

Hercules minus the Zeus:

& Spin Magazine event with Mos Def and Rogue Wave, benefit for Center
^ Making Time Halloween party

% B-52s and James Murphy

The Faint Is Having a Dance Party Again Soon

I don't understand why this continuously happens to me (and apparently, a lot of other TMTers). My friends rave and rave about a band live, and either I can't make the show or the band doesn't schedule one near my home. Case in point: The Faint. So, The Faint were on tour the entire summer, right? But, of course, I was told about the show after they already played. Then I hear the great news: "Hey, The Faint are going on tour this fall!" So I look up the dates, and just my luck: there is not one date on the East Coast. No New York City, no D.C., no Pittsburgh, nothing.

I give up. Life sucks. It's over. Ugh, whatever. I guess I'll just have to wait until the next tour to hear live versions of their weird-electro-pop tunes from Fasciinatiion.

The Legendary Pink Dots Plan Nationwide Tour and New Album in October; The Unremarkable Pink Dots Eat Cold SpaghettiO’s in the Dark and Wonder Where They Went Wrong

It really bothers me that Britney Spears is pop music’s current craziest individual. Even though she’s little more than white trash with a Bentley, Brit-Brit has had the world transfixed for years with positively zany antics like not wearing underpants, driving poorly, and shaving her head, making it downright sad that the rap sheet of America’s premier loony reads like the reasons why some pimply junior varsity wrestler got grounded for the weekend. But worst of all, with the dawn of her latest VMA-driven comeback, Britney suddenly isn’t crazy anymore! Apparently she was going through a rough patch and now she’s back on track. Jesus Christ, I hate it when I get ripped off by some asshole who was already ripping me off in the first place!

That’s why I love The Legendary Pink Dots. I know that no matter how many years pass, no matter how many albums they release, no matter how many universes they visit and conquer, Edward Ka-Spel and company will never cease to be batcrap insane. Ka-Spel (a.k.a. Prophet Qa-Spel a.k.a. Che Banana a.k.a. D'Archangel) will never fail to spin me a wonderful tale about how some gnome keeps stealing his hat, why tooth enamel prevents most humans from becoming self-actualized, or how the real number of the beast is 834 (that one is actually true). It’s nice not having to worry about The Legendary Dots suddenly becoming sane since I know it’ll never happen, and in a world corrupted by normalcy, it’s nice to have something like that to depend on .

The Britain-born but Dutch-bred Dots’ crusade of crazy will march upon the world with their new album Plutonium Blonde, particularly the bizarreness bereaved USA on their upcoming American tour. The record is slated for October 7, and the tour will follow a little more than a week later. Don’t worry, the whole mess will be an assuredly wacky affair, just what this country deserves.

Pan-European Indie Label Group Attacks EC’s Decision to Allow Sony Corporation Buyout of Sony BMG (Because In Other Parts of the World, People Actually Freak Out When This Shit Happens)

Thanks to the European Commission's decision to let Sony Corporation gobble up Sony BMG, we're one step closer to a multi-headed monster that will be known as Sony Music Entertainment Inc. The EC's 2007 decision to allow the merger means that Sony Corporation of America is now free to acquire the 50% share held by Bertelsmann AG of Germany in Sony BMG. Yikes.

Pan-European indie labels body Impala has gone public with its outrage, and co-president Michel Lambot says: "The commission needs to completely reassess its view of the music market. They have just let the world's largest consumer electronics company merge with the second largest music company without any detailed investigation." Yeah, no shit, but no one else was gonna say it, because... oh right, this kind of thing happens all the time.

The European Commission insists that the merger will not have an effect on local market competition, stating that "the transaction would not lead to any horizontal overlaps in the music recording markets, examined at the creation of Sony BMG, as Sony has no other music recording activities in the EEA [European Economic Area]." That's kind of like saying "Yeah, we kind of let Bigfoot have free reign of the village, but, uh, don't worry, he won't do anything."

Impala led independent sector protests against the merger in 2004 and again in 2007, when it went up for approval a second time. Bertelsmann has declined to comment, except to say that the EC's approval is only one step of many, so, of course, we shouldn't get our panties in a bunch yet. See? Everything's going to be juuust fine.

Growing to Scare Hot Chip Fans This Fall

Plop another nickel in the "Odd Couple" jar. Subterranean guitar architects and drone assault vehicle Growing just dropped a sick joint last week. To celebrate, Growing will take delight this fall in frightening indie rock nerds and people "who just gotta get their sorta dance on" for roughly 45 minutes in eight major North American markets. Through either friendship, luck, providence, elaborate schemes, or otherwise, Growing will be opening for the subdued and shapeshifting British electropop collective Hot Chip on the last leg of their tour.

Growing are known for rumbling the foundations of whatever room they
play in and ripping holes in the sky roughly ten meters above your
head that spew torrents of fluorescent-colored doom. Hot Chip is known
for being... funky. Totally fucked, right? Well, Growing has taken a
more (somewhat) melodic approach on their latest, All the Way (TMT Review), out
right now on Social Registry. So, maybe it's not as strange as it seems. I mean, Deerhunter just
finished a Nine Inch Nails tour, right? Odd couples are the new black.

Ted Leo Mad As Hell at Police, Not Gonna Take It Anymore; Releases EP to Prove It

In response to the violence at the Republican National Convention, Ted Leo has released a brand spankin’ new Extended Play (EP). Spurred on by the conflict he watched on TV, Leo felt compelled to act, stating:

Real people were hurt in St. Paul, and real people have bills to pay, and real people need funding to continue their good works. We (the band and I) were all feeling these events as deeply as we could from our 1200 mile remove, and so as not to feel entirely powerless, and in an attempt to contribute SOMETHING to that continuation of those good works, we wrote a song and recorded it.

Leo and the Pharmacists recorded the EP at Leo’s home studio immediately following the Convention and committed to wax two new songs: “Paranoia: Never Enough” and “Mourning In America,” as well as a couple of covers, “I Got Your Number” (by Cock Sparrer) and “Nobody's Driving” (by Amebix).

Titled Rapid Response, the EP is now available to download for an exclusive two-week period at Touch and Go Records for only 4 doll-hairs! All proceeds will eventually find themselves in the hands of a couple great charities, Food Not Bombs Minneapolis and Democracy Now!, as well as the legal funds for those arrested at the Convention. They give you plenty of other donation options for those inclined to give a little more.

Don’t forget that Ted Leo and the Pharmacists are also going on a big tour with Against Me! starting September 1, with more dates with Titus Andronicus afterward, including an election night show where they will hopefully be able to celebrate Barack Obama’s victory.

Here are the Against Me! dates:

$ Against Me!, Future of the Left

& Titus Andronicus

A Colbert Christmas: Feist, Elvis Costello, and… Toby Keith?!?!

Wow. In the annals of most bizarre-o Christmas specials, this one's got to take the cake -- as well as possibly being a sign of the impending apocalypse. Move over Hall and Oates "Jingle Bell Rock" video, where the guys bop around full of Christmas cheer and camp, exchanging gifts, and excluding undesirable carollers from their winter hideaway. Forget you, Family Matters episode where Urkel learns the true meaning of giving. There's a new offering on the spoof table, and that's Comedy Central funnyman Stephen Colbert's A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All. Debuting November 23, the hour-long show will feature Feist, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Willie Nelson, and -- OMG -- Toby Keith.

Of course, the question on all your minds is probably "Will Colbert be singing?" The answer: a resounding yes. Expect compositions from the duo of David Javerbaum, executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Adam Schlesinger of Ivy and Fountains of Wayne. These future hits will include numbers like:

- "Please Be Patient" by Feist
- "Little Dealer Boy" by Colbert/Willie Nelson
- "There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In" by Colbert/Elvis Costello
- "Hanukkah" by Colbert and the man who doesn't know he's my boyfriend yet, Jon Stewart
- "Nutmeg" by Colbert/John Legend
- "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love And Understanding" by everybody
- "Have I Got a Present for You" by Toby Keith, which presumably is not a country music answer song to Justin Timberlake's Christmas smash of last year, "D*@# in a Box."

The premise of the show involves Stephen Colbert getting snowed in at his upstate New York cabin with a motley crew of vocally-talented guests, America's conscience, and a heroic young horse who teaches everyone how to believe in their dreams*. No word yet as to whether Hall and Oates are sharing the cabin next door.

Only two short days after the Colbert Christmas lights up screens across America, it will be released November 25, with a percentage of the purchase price going to charity Feeding America. The lucky owners of this DVD will benefit from extras, like an advent calendar, alternate endings, and what is described simply as a "book burning Yule log."

*Not actually true, to the best of my knowledge.

Universal Cancels Metallica Interview After Pirate Bay Download Admission, Dubs Perpetrators “Unforgiven”

According to a report published earlier this week, Metallica's label, Universal Music, canceled an interview the band had planned with the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan, after a writer there, Jonn Jeppsson, admitted to reviewing an unofficial copy of the metal militia’s newest flop, Death Magnetic, that he obtained via popular torrent site The Pirate Bay.

But wait, it gets funnier: As if the boys in Metallica don't have a sordid enough relationship with The Download already, it was also revealed that, instead of reviewing the official version of the album-proper, Jeppsson reviewed an unauthorized cut called Death Magnetic: Better, Shorter, Cut, which contains mercifully shorted versions of the original album songs.

Umm, needless to say, Universal Music was not pleased. According to Universal Sweden (yeah, who knew that existed?) spokesman Per Sundin, "the reviewer is referring to a torrent where someone has altered the original songs. The reviewer explains exactly where one should go in order to download the file that is totally infringing copyright. It's not only an illegal file, but an altered file. The reviewer also writes that this is how the album should have sounded." Ziiiiing! Boy, you knew that was coming, right?

"File-sharing of music is illegal. Period. There's nothing to discuss. That fact that Sydsvenskan has a writer that has downloaded this music illegally and then makes mention of an illegal site in his review is totally unacceptable to us," the frantic-tic-tic-tock Sundin continued in an attempt to sound even more out of touch and record label-ish. Hinting that Universal may stop sending promo material for Sydsvenskan to review, he ends: "We live in symbiosis with each other, and we send them our artists' record for free for review. But if they download the albums illegally instead, then there's no point in doing that." Bangarang?

Meanwhile, Death Magnetic entered the UK chart at #1 this week. But hey, you never know! If not for all the illegal downloads and such, it could have debuted at number 0 or something, right?