Every step I take incites a symphony of cackles from the lunatics seated in the pews. Where do I sit? Should I sit? Why am I even here?

I last saw my girlfriend two hours ago. She was talking to a black-haired boy wearing spats and violet cape. Who was he? Does he work here? Of course he doesn’t. It’s a musty old European church. No one works here but fake monks and tour guides. Still, someone had to have seen him. I mean, her. Who am I looking for, again?

This was supposed to be my vacation. Our vacation. Europe and all the trimmings, plus a stop by Norway just to see if it actually existed outside of my scrapbooks of the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics and Age of Empires II. Turns out it is really there, and so is my present hangout Bergen Cathedral, Grand Central Station of the Damned.

I decide to ask somebody in the congregation. My eyes turn first to a skinny Finn disguised as a mailman. Maybe he actually is a mailman. I don’t know what to believe at this point. I’ve been watching Sunn 0))) debase music for the better part of five hours now. At this point, my brain isn’t much more than soggy oatmeal strained through a grimy rag of cheesecloth.

“Where is Lindsay, your… eminence?” Stupid Michael! Six years of Nordic language studies and you still don’t know the proper epithet for a Scandinavian mail carrier. I pray he doesn’t notice.

He doesn’t. He only smiles as his mailbag grows a gaping fanged maw and recites a hell-born couplet: “The woman rests in valleys bare, breath begone but purity spared.”

I wake up hours later in a hotel. Not the hotel, the one Lindsay and I checked into yesterday. This one’s much better. Clean toilets, three-star view. I could get used to this. I roll to the left side of the bed, but Lindsay isn’t there. I only see two LPs called Dømkirke, both with ivory-etched covers and the degenerates from Sunn 0))) on the back in full Free Masons-meets-Addams Family garb. One record is standard black vinyl while the other is marble gray.

There’s a Post-It on the gray one:

Hey man, sorry about last night. We just wanted to get you hyped for the new live LP we were recording at that spooky-ass cathedral, but things got a little out of hand. Here are two copies of the record as a sort of we’re-sorry-we-kidnapped-your-girlfriend type of thing. They’re only available on vinyl, but at least you have two colors to choose from! If you wanna tell your friends about the record, send ‘em over here and we’ll hook ‘em up for the low price of $17.77 per record. Again, sorry about the kidnapping. No hard feelings?

<3<3<3 Sunn 0)))

I reread the note a few more times, then crumble it up and toss it in an empty ashtray. Jeez, those Sunn 0))) bastards really know how to jerk my chain. I chuckle, shake my head, and wonder where I should go to scout for another girlfriend. But one thing’s for sure -- I ain’t going to anymore Norwegian churches.
10th Anniversary Grimmrobe Demos shows (TMT News):
10.10.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Safari Sam’s #
10.12.08 - Portland, OR - Berbatis’ Pan
10.15.08 - New York, NY - Knitting Factory $
10.16.08 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church

# John Weise

$ Thou, Tony Conrad

Uganda Sued for “Pirating” its Own National Anthem by Composer; Everything’s Fine Everywhere Else in Africa, Though

Okay, law students, gift taker-backers, and devotees of Ebenezer Scrooge, here’s one to ponder during your morning commute/prissy pseudo-jog/unholy shit: So, the Ugandan government has apparently been sued by the composer of its national anthem “Oh Uganda, Land of Beauty.” Now, this might seem a little weird until you understand that this man, Prof. George Wilberforce Kakoma, is 83 years old and, well, prooobably just a bit bonkers. But bonkers or not, the law is the law, and the mad professor (of what, copyright law??) seeks compensation for the continuous infringement of his work on national festivities, for which he received, umm, you know, no royalties.

In case you’re not hip, Uganda is a former British colony in east Africa that didn’t officially become an independent nation until 1962. Since it had no official national anthem, a committee was appointed to select one, and Kakoma’s song was eventually selected for the supposed “honor.” At the time, Kakoma received a few dollars for his contribution, but he was never technically commissioned by his government.

But now, 45 years later, the aging Kokoma has decided to issue a retro-active Bah Humbug to his homeland. According to his lawyers, the songsmith is entitled to be compensated based on section 4 and 9 of the Copyright Act of 1964 -- honor, dignity, and altruism be damned! The case will appear before court in two weeks, during which time the future of the Ugandan anthem will be decided. It is uncertain if Kakoma will also go after the BBC, since they have been hosting a version of the song on their website for some time. Look out, iTunes.

Kakoma, currently residing in the U.S. for medical treatment, has not yet commented on the lawsuit, but his lawyers said that they won't call for a temporary injunction on playing the song on national events. Medical treatment, eh? I wonder how much that costs...

Jeffrey Lewis Tours, Pens Follow-up To Fan-Favorite Song, “Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror”

When anti-folk singer/songwriter and comic book artist Jeffrey Lewis comes to your city this fall, expect to hear the brand new sequel to the song “Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror,” a track from 2005’s City & Eastern Songs. According to various inside sources here at TMT, Lewis’ new song is tentatively titled “Greenpoint Tim Harrington Grandeur.” However, it is also rumored that he could be expanding his songwriting repertoire to include references that don’t only make sense to those that have lived in the tri-state area.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for that one though.

Jeffrey Lewis will be touring in continued support of 12 Crass Songs (TMT Review), released earlier this year on Rough Trade.

Not Brooklyn:

* Presidents of the United States

The Flaming Lips Set Release Date for Christmas on Mars DVD, Reveal Soundtrack Details; Also Sarah Palin $700 Billion Bailout Dancing With the Stars Drudge Report Pornography

Greetings, loyal TMT readers, and salutations to you as well, Google searchers, who I nefariously hoodwinked onto this website with the second half of my headline! Being the honest and objective journalist that I normally am, I do not take much pleasure in deceiving the public into reading a story they likely care little about. But this is no ordinary story, my friends. Nope, this is the big one, a delicious hunk of newsy nutrition that deserves to sit on the same shelf as any monumental Congressional money-giving party. That’s right, friends, The Flaming Lips’ sci-fi opus Christmas on Mars has a SOLID release date!

After years of dreaming and scheming and filming and teasing and baking, those luscious Lips have stuck to their promise (TMT News) and announced that the DVD version of Christmas on Mars will be jettisoned to earth by mothership Warner Brothers November 11, just in time for Christmas. Or Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or Boxing Day for that matter. According to Billboard, the DVD includes bonus interviews with the band, outtakes, behind the scenes footage, and optional Russian subtitles. As a dude who studied Russian for four painful years in high school, I can tell you that reading that language is no piece of Козёл, which unfortunately means “goat.” Sorry, it was the only word I could remember besides “thank you” and “crayon.” That language is insane.

Besides the Cyrillic subtitling shenanigans, the movie’s soundtrack is also available in a separate bundle with the DVD. If the movie’s trailer hasn’t sold you already, chances are song titles like "In Excelsior Vaginalistic" or "The Gleaming Armament Of Marching Genitalia" should conjure enough unsettling mental images to convince you to send your hard-earned clams to Wayne Coyne (TMT Interview) and company for what is sure to be, if nothing else, the most daring cinematic exploration of red planet yuletide since 1964’s Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Christmas on Mars soundtrack tracklisting:

1. Once Beyond Hopelessness
2. The Distance Between Mars And The Earth -- Part One
3. The Horrors Of Isolation: The Celestial Dissolve, Triumphant Hallucination, Light Being Absorbed
4. In Excelsior Vaginalistic
5. Your Spaceship Comes From Within
6. Suicide And Extraordinary Mistakes
7. The Distance Between Mars And The Earth -- Part Two
8. The Secret Of Immortality: This Strange Feeling, This Impossible World
9. The Gleaming Armament Of Marching Genitalia
10. The Distress Signals Of Celestial Objects
11. Space Bible With Volume Lumps
12. Once Beyond Hopelessness

War Child Charity Announces Benefit Covers Album, Hold Steady to Actually Cover The Boss Instead of Just Ripping Him Off Like Crazy

War Child, an award-winning charity that provides humanitarian assistance to war-affected children in some of the worlds most devastated regions, aren’t screwing around here. Their new benefit album Heroes is grabbing some of the biggest names in all of Baby Boomdom in an effort to open your heart, open your wallet, and, for god sakes, help these damn kids!

But hold on, Gorilla vs. Bear readers, this ain’t just your daddy’s hippie comp. In a twist that has M. Night Shyamalan jealous (a.k.a. “your daddy’s director”), the good people at War Child have asked these music legends (including Sir Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Brian Wilson, and The Clash) to “select one of the classic tracks from their own songwriting canon and nominate an artist from the next generation (i.e. younger artists, not Star Trek) to create a modern reworking of that classic song.” In some circles, this process is known as, umm, “covering,” but hey, come on, they worked really hard on this press release!

"I have been supporting War Child since 1995,” McCartney said (unlike that John Lennon guy, right Paul?). “Their work with children in war zones saves lives and their work with those who take decisions that help them to do something about it saves even more lives... the breadth of talent on this project is amazing; it's great that so many people gave their time, energy and support to this initiative. I urge everyone to support War Child."

Set for release via EMI's Astralwerks label November 25, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this torch-passing, old-via-young album will be contributed to, duh, War Child’s efforts, cleverly mirroring the intrinsic aims of War Child's efforts in war zones across the world -- to place faith in the next generation (again, not Star Trek). "We are enormously proud to be involved with a project that encompasses such musical depth, socio-economic scope and global significance," said Glenn Mendlinger, GM over at Astralwerks. "It is our sincerest hope that this is the first of many new efforts by the music community to raise awareness of the plight of children throughout the world.”

The full track listing will be announced soon, but Heroes already boasts some pretty hefty star-power, including:

- Beck covering Bob Dylan’s "Leopard-skin Pill-box Hat”
- Duffy covering Sir Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die”
- Rufus Wainwright covering a medley of two tracks from Brian Wilson’s SMiLE
- The Kooks covering The Kinks' "Victoria"
- Hot Chip covering Joy Division’s "Transmission"
- The Hold Steady covering Bruce Springsteen’s "Atlantic City"

To read more about War Child’s great cause, children’s rights, and additional ways to get involved, click here and here. And while you’re there, you can ask them where the heck the Bowie cover is!

Zach Hill to Set out on Solo Tour Performing 30+-Minute “Necromancer” – IF HE FEELS LIKE IT

If I know anything about Zach Hill -- the smellier half of Hella -- it's that he marches most decidedly to the beat of a different drummer. (Which is ironic since he's a drummer himself.) Don't believe me? One day when we were doing yardwork, I was, like, "Hey, can you help me carry this mulch?" Zach responds: "No way, man. I'm an individual. I do what I want." I says, "I just need help for one second, then you can go back to what you were doing. We gotta get this shit done by 5 PM, buddy." He says, "Hey, I'll do what I want. I don't work for nobody but myself. I'm not going to sacrifice my individual choice not to help you, just so that we can get done with this shit by 5 PM."

We ended up staying until 7 PM because he was so insistent on following his own path. Sure, I was angry at the time, but I sure do respect him now since he's presumably buds with Mike Patton -- which is why I'm happy to report that Zach Hill is set to embark on his own tour, playing his own music. Boy, he's the same ol' Zach Hill from the mulch fields! Having released Astrological Straits last month on Ipecac, Hill will go against the grain once again and tour in support of one song. And it's not even one of the songs on the album proper! Instead, it's the track "Necromancer," a 30+-minute composition that comprised the entirety of the bonus disc, one that features Hill, Marnie Stern, and Brooklyn-based pianist Marco Benevento going nuts.

Maybe you'll see Zach at these shows. But maybe not. We'll see what he decides:

Bang On A Can Throw An Office Party Featuring… Themselves

If it were my office having a festival, it would consist of a bunch of our fake bands that have not yet been realized — my boss’ rapper name is Hyper Billy (...yes, hyperbole) and one of my co-workers has the idea for a band called the Creedles (Beatles songs in the style of Creed). To be honest, none of my coworkers, or myself, are very musically talented (Although one of them insists on singing loudly quite often... like in my car, while drunk. Alanis Morissette. ‘Nuf said.).

Luckily, the staffers at Bang On A Can got talent and are having a festival featuring their staff’s bands. Bands include “nouveau-bluegrass” band M Shanghai String Band, “avant-skronk” Babe The Blue Ox, the “neo-indie-classicism” sounds of Get Him Eat Him, “baroque-noir” Melomane, and the “boogie-down anarchronism-funk” of Riot of 1866 Brass Band. I don’t know what the fuck any of those genre descriptions mean.

The show is on Thursday, October 2 at recently opened Bell House in Brooklyn. It’s $10 and gets jumpin’ around 8 PM. Here is the schedule:

- Get Him Eat Him, featuring Bang on a Can’s Marketing Manager, Matt Lemay (singer/songwriter/guitarist)
- Babe The Blue Ox, featuring Bang on a Can’s Director of Development, Tim Thomas (guitarist/singer/songwriter)
- M Shanghai String Band, featuring Bang on a Can’s Program Director, Philippa Thompson (violinist/singer/songwriter)
- Melomane, featuring Bang on a Can’s Executive Director, Kenny Savelson (drummer/percussionist/bookie)
- Riot of 1866 Brass Band, featuring Bang on a Can’s Project Manager, Jeremy Thal (French horn)

Punk’s Not Dead – Thanks to New HD Blu-Ray Technology!!! Sex Pistols to Release Live DVD

At last, you can relive, in the comfort of your own home, the historic Sex Pistols kinda reunion of 2007! Imagine, a time before Sarah Palin, a time after Sid Vicious. Although it may seem like a distant and mythical time, you can now experience the wonders of 2007 and the Pistols' November reunion shows at Brixton Academy in London without a time travel machine or a Kubla Khan level of opium usage. How is this mighty wonder possible, you ask? Why, through the magic of Rhino Records, of course!

Within a matter of weeks, and just in time to introduce annoying neighborhood trick-or-treaters to the loud, fast, no-holds-barred world of late-’70s punk rock, There'll Always Be an England will be released October 14 in the U.S. The DVD will feature not only concert footage, but over an hour's worth of bonus material, including a Julien Temple-directed segment titled The Knowledge, which -- buyers beware -- is not a follow-up to this summer's star-studded ode to the 1990s, The Wackness (TMT Review). But even though you won't be able to see more hard-hitting dramedy from the likes of Mary-Kate Olsen and Ben Kingsley, you will be able to see each of the remaining members of the reunited Pistols -- namely Johnny Rotten, Glen Matlock, Paul Cook and Steve Jones -- doing the "this is a bar where I used to kick it, but now it's a Tesco" tour of their past London haunts.

In addition to There'll Always Be an England, Rhino will also be reissuing Never Mind the Bollocks on 180-gram vinyl, also on October 14.

Tracklisting:

Run-D.M.C., Metallica, and The Stooges Nominated for Rock and/or Roll Hall O’ Fame – No, Run-D.M.C. Would Not the First Rap Act to Be Inducted

Hey, reader! Have you been itching to find out what the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class will be? Want to know which artists will next be considered the ‘greatest of the great’? Dying to know when the induction ceremony will be? DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW MUCH I WEIGH.

Well, let’s answer those questions by order of importance. I weigh 175 pounds, soaking wet. Okay, on to the boring stuff: Nine potential inductees were announced by the RnRHoF earlier this week, with the full list as follows: Run-D.M.C., Metallica, The Stooges (who last tried to make it into the RnRHoF two years ago), Jeff Beck, Bobby Womack, War, Wanda Jackson, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and Chic, the latter of which is the only group to reappear from last year's ballot. Now, imagine that lineup as a show -- that would be awesome, no?

After the nominees are announced, the list is then turned over to 500 musicians, industry professionals, and journalists who cast their votes according to personal opinion. (No, I am not one of the journalists included, but thanks for thinking I’m good enough.) The five highest-scoring acts are then announced in January and inducted April 4, 2009, complete with an induction speech by Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen. The ceremony will be held in Cleveland this year, for the first time in more than a decade, and tickets will be made available to the public for the first time. WOW! Can you get me tickets, Mr P? [Editor's note: fuck off.]

Finally, in a bit of sad news for hairspray and bad guitarists the world over, both Stevie Ray Vaughn and Bon Jovi were left off the ballot, their first year of eligibility. To be eligible, an artist must have released their first single or album 25 years prior to nomination. So, just keep on waiting 4 NonBlondes; you’ll get their eventually.

You damn kids have no idea. Back in the day, way back, way WAY back, we used to have phonographs, all thanks to Tom Edison. It was marvelous. Nothing, NOTHING reproduced sound as well as those first-class pieces of tinfoil. It was so warm, so lifelike. But then, some stupid goddamn lickfingers came along and started putting everything on wax cylinders. I remember going to Tower Cylinders and picking up “And Her Golden Hair Was Hanging Down Her Back” by Monroe H. Rosenfeld ft. Felix McGlennon on wax. Honestly, it sounded like shit. And let me tell you, shit smelled worse in those days. Today’s wimps wouldn’t survive for two seconds back in 1894.

Just when I finished re-purchasing and re-organizing all of my favorite Bartók concertos on wax cylinder, it all changed over again with the advent of disc records. Those disc records were absolute hogwash! They sounded brittle, cold, un-lifelike. Still, they hung on for a number of years until some idiots decided to invent a whole caboodle of garbage such as 8-tracks, cassette tapes, and compact discs. Ugh. Total crap. I didn’t think it could get worse, but now we have MP7s or whatever, and I just refuse to participate.

This is all to say that I do not give a rat’s ass that Amazon.com, some sort of Computerized World Net Web portal site, is stocking vinyl discs again. It’s apparently part of some revival of that format, but I won't buy it and I'm not buying into it. Kids these days are so fickle; they have no attention span. By the time anybody realizes this junk is for sale, they’ll be on to the next thing. It’s balderdash. You can go buy that crap, but I’m going to wait until they bring back tinfoil. I don’t care what anyone else tells me on the matter; I won’t be moved.