All the RIAA Wants for Christmas is Your Privacy

The RIAA knows no Santa Claus. Instead, they look to the G8 summit for their holiday wishes, and should they get their way, it'll be like a stocking fulla coal for the rest of us. The RIAA has been jonesing for a little something called the Anti-Piracy Trade Agreement Wishlist (ACTA) for awhile now. Let's take a look at the juiciest pretty pleases, shall we?

Require internet service providers and other intermediaries to employ readily available measures to inhibit infringement in instances where both legitimate and illegitimate uses were facilitated by their services, including filtering out infringing materials…

This means that your ISP, whether it be Time Warner or Comcast or any other provider, would be able to compare the files you download to a fingerprint database of sorts that identifies "infringed" material. So, not only would the RIAA slap you with a lawsuit, but you'd also get into some shit with your internet service. Kind of like a SWAT team breaking down the door before the cops come in and haul you out.

Establish, adequately fund and provide training for a computer crimes investigatory unit.

That's right. The internet police. Specially trained cops whose purpose is to weed out pirates on the internet. Better make sure Madonna doesn't lose a single album sale before we worry about the country's ballooning crime rate, right? Totally. Not to mention that the RIAA has been incredibly vague about what this crime unit would actually do, and we all know that, in this sort of situation, carte blanche is never a good idea.

…in the absence of proof to the contrary, an Internet service provider shall be considered as knowing that the content it stores is infringing or illegal, and thus subject to liability for copyright infringement…

Here's the kicker: Even if ISPs help the RIAA take down their customers who download illegally, they themselves can STILL get screwed for not identifying the offenders quickly enough! I'm not quite sure what incentive the RIAA is willing to offer these ISPs other than "do it or we'll punch you in the face." We're reverted to schoolyard bully tactics. Awesome.

I could keep going, but quite frankly, the list speaks quite well for itself. Oh, and hey, RIAA? Just met your buddy over here. Yeah, he appears to be green and has a heart that's about two sizes too small...

Fascism at Its Finest: Rage Against the Machine Performance Blocked by State Police in St. Paul; RATM Performs “Bulls on Parade” Through Megaphone

As you might know, the 2008 Republican National Convention is being hosted in St. Paul, MN. In addition to the $160 million or so boost that comes with this decidedly hyper-capitalist venture, $50 million is spent on "increased security." In such a volatile political climate, this nearly blank check for added security manifests in a whole lot of arrests, tear gas, and essentially an occupation by state police. But where there's power, there's dissent, and it is in this spirit that protesters and rallies reach their symbolic, ritualistic significance.

Enter Rage Against the Machine. As we recently reported, Rage Against the Machine is scheduled to play the Target Center tonight in Minneapolis, MN to coincide with the RNC. But in a surprise move, Rage announced yesterday that they were going to make a special guest appearance at the free concert Ripple Effect on the state capitol lawn, which included performances by Dead Prez, Anti-Flag, and Michael Franti. But things didn't go as planned. According to Above The Fold, a Minneapolis-based blog:

But when it came time for the band to perform, the Minnesota State Police formed a barricade around the band and would not let them on stage. After 20 minutes of crowd chanting that included "Let Them Play," "Music is not a Crime," "We'll be good, we promise," and a riveting rendition of the national anthem the band came into the crowd and performed an acapella performance of two songs.

Check out Above the Fold's amazing footage:

According to an eyewitness report, the permit for the concert was set to last until 7 PM, and the last band (Anti-Flag) had finished their set at 6:15 - 6:30 PM. So why were they not allowed to play? Apparently, RATM were not named on the permit. So, if Cloud Cult had been the surprise guest, they'd barricade them too? Whatever. Despite chants from the crowd (including a rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner"), the plug was officially pulled on the concert, and Rage led a march that eventually joined with the Poor People's March through the St. Paul streets.

Suddenly It’s A…… Future of the Left Tour!

Everyone’s favorite band that isn’t Mclusky but kinda still wish that they were Mclusky, i.e. Future of the Left, will be embarking on an October tour of the U.S. to the delight and chagrin of hecklers and, uh, moms everywhere?

To quote inimitable words that continue to ring so painfully true in the hearts and blogs of stifled and misunderstood teens worldwide, “Parents just don’t understand.” Just ask Future of the Left message boarder gapu:

Not a minute, ago my mum was complaining about the noise. once again!!!

I was playing Small Bones Small Bodies, and she asked me: "what's that noise?". like this isn't even music... I told her this is the best so-called "noise", since over a year….i can't imagine better parents than mine... but i don't really like it when they call the stuff i like as "silly antics" or something like that.

Man, when will parents ever get it? This so-called “noise” is the expression of our universal yet uniquely distinct search for self-discovery-- and the desire to rock-out. But you know who does sympathize with your frustration and crumpled pride? Future of the Left do. That’s why the Cardiff-based trio, comprised of Mclusky alumni Andy Falkous and Jack Egglestone and Jarcrew’s Kelson Mathias, kick of their tour with Ted Leo & the Pharmacists and Against Me! September 30 at the Workplay Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama. “Silly antics.” Sheesh.

Tourdates:

* Dedicated to you, gapu.

Beck and His Father, David Campbell, Are Obviously Playing a Sold-Out Show at the Hollywood Bowl on My Father’s Birthday On Purpose

Gee, that was pretty nice of them. Though I won't be sending any thank-you notes until some gold-engraved invitations show up at my pa's place, you hear?

In case you didn't know, Beck's pater, David Campbell, is kind of a big deal. In the course of his career, composer-arranger Campbell has racked up credits on more than 400 gold and platinum albums, including performances on sessions with Marvin Gaye and Carole King and arrangements for Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. Campbell will now direct the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Strings as Beck performs a sold-out show in Los Angeles September 20. While he's done many of the string arrangements on his son's albums, this is the first time they'll take the stage together.

What finally made them decide to share the stage? Was it that bonding experience over a bottle of cognac? Campbell's tearful admission that he wishes he'd come up with the hook for "Sexx Laws"? The world may never know... but I'm going to go on the record and say that this is probably all happening in honor of my dear ol' dad's 64th birthday. If you think of a better reason, call me.

Chinese Democracy Leaker Hatches Devious Pyramid Scheme

So far: Axl Rose and his record company are suing the pants off this Kevin Cogill guy because Cogill leaked songs off the upcoming Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy.

In a new blog post, Cogill is both asking for donations towards his legal defense fund and posting a cool picture of Public Enemy:

Hi everyone. As you are all undoubtedly aware, I was arrested at gunpoint last Wednesday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and I am now facing a federal criminal charge by the United States Government of copyright infringement, after allegedly hosting a stream of 9 Guns N’ Roses songs, for a brief period of time in June.

[...]

I am trying to take full responsibility for my predicament. I consider the burden of legal fees ultimately mine to bear; I have independently raised the funds required to retain my attorney. However, it has definitely been by far the biggest expense I have ever faced in my entire life, and my resources are very limited while formidable costs shall continue to pile up. It’s beyond daunting, being a single independent citizen facing a full-force prosecution by the most powerful government in the world.

I am aware that the re-emergence of Guns N' Roses is intended to hail some recapturing of the bombastic zeitgeist of the late 1980s, but this trickle-down Reagnomics nonsense is taking it a bit too far.

As far as I know, I'm the first person to call it: This is nothing but a viral marketing ploy for Chinese Democracy. If it's not, though, we should all learn from Cogill and use any leaks that come our way to fatten up our ratios on torrent websites instead of as a publicity stunt for our crummy music blogs.

RIP: Jerry Reed, Country Star, Actor

From an article by the Associated Press:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jerry Reed, a singer who became a good ol' boy actor in car chase movies like "Smokey and the Bandit," has died of complications from emphysema at 71.

His longtime booking agent, Carrie Moore-Reed, no relation to the star, said Reed died early Monday.

"He's one of the greatest entertainers in the world. That's the way I feel about him," Moore-Reed said.

Reed was a gifted guitarist who later became a songwriter, singer and actor.

As a singer in the 1970s and early 1980s, he had a string of hits that included "Amos Moses," "When You're Hot, You're Hot," "East Bound and Down" and "The Bird."

- Jerry Reed Wikipedia entry
- Jerry Reed IMDB entry
- R2K Records
- Associated Press article: "Singer-actor Jerry Reed dies at the age of 71"
- YouTube video: Jerry Reed - Lightning Rod 1977

Bob Dylan Endorses Hohner Harmonica Line; Steven Tyler Reminds You That He’s Already Done That

So how many endorsement deals must a man sign-on for, before you can call him a shill?

Better not ask Bob Dylan, who, in an uncharacteristic eschewing of his longstanding Freewheelin’ Policy, decided to settle down with a nice, church-going instrument manufacturer named Hohner USA to create his own line of harmonicas (at least, that’s the way she tells it!).

“Hohner is extremely proud to celebrate the artistry of Bob Dylan, one of America’s musical treasures,” says Hohner president Clayman Edwards. “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Bob Dylan fans, and we hope that those who are able to own these items will treasure them as a reflection of his musical genius.” Edwards also hopes that Hohnor is able to make some money, probably, but... you know, he didn’t print that part.

Anyway, this limited “Bob Dylan Signature Series” of harmonicas -- available individually or in sets of seven -- will feature a machine stamp of Dylan's signature and a Dylan-designed logo, thus out-classing by far any mouth-harp you have ever locked lips with to date. But before you go throwing away all of your old Alvin and the Chipmunks harmonicas, keep in mind that Hohner will only manufacture 25 sets of seven Marine Band harmonicas (in the natural keys of C, G, D, F, A, B, and E) that Dylan himself has apparently pre-tested, plus an additional 100 individual Marine Band harmonicas (in C). Both of these limited run items will bear Dylan's actual signature and will be available exclusively via Sam Ash Music beginning October 29.

Meanwhile, bobo-master Stephen Tyler presumably remains unimpressed by this whole situation... not to mention this guy.

Bob Dylan Dates:
09.04.08 - Temecula, CA - Pechanga Resort and Casino
09.06.08 - San Diego, CA - Concerts on the Green @ Qualcomm Park
09.07.08 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl

Comcast To Limit Customers’ Data Bandwidth; I’m Feeling All Tiery-Eyed

Comcast has announced that it will enforce a bandwidth cap on how much data customers can transfer in a month. Now, before everyone freaks out, according to this site, 250GB is about equivalent to 50,000,000 emails or 124 full-length films.

I know there are some obsessive folks out there, but really, I’d like to challenge you all to try to send 50,000,000 emails to me in one month. That means you’re gonna have to send me 1,666,666 emails a day. Which means you’re gonna have to send me 64,444 emails per hour. Which means you’re going to have to send me 1,157 emails a minute. Which means you’re going to have to send me almost 20 emails per second. So get on it! I am so going to be the most popular person ever after this.

But seriously, the thing to worry about is perhaps not the fact that Comcast is restricting the bandwidth of purportedly just 1% of their customer base; it’s more the fact that this could be the start of a slippery slope in which the major ISPs slowly roll out a new, tiered broadband service. I weep for the future.

Elaborate Prank or Leaked Review? Mogwai vs. Pitchfork

The latest chapter in the saga of the internet's leaky faucet and Thunderdome of publicity stunts features a rather unusual, rather awesome story from Mogwai.

Our favorite stalwart purveyors of doom are not deterred by several tracks of the triumphantly-titled The Hawk is Howling racing through the blogosphere, but rather a ‘leaked,’ unfavorable Pitchfork review. The band posted on their official site: "Dear dear me, it seems that there has been a second unfortunate Mogwai related leak this week. This was forwarded to us by an anonymous source, it is the unedited Pitchfork.com review of The Hawk Is Howling."

However, akin to Mogwai's technicolor shroud of mystery, it seems entirely probable that Mogwai wrote the review themselves, insofar as most of the writing is not in the typical dissertation-esque format. For example, the supposed Pitchfork writer dives into album epilogue "The Precipice" by lamenting how "guitars curlicue around the pounding of mannish tom-toms like the garland of graying pubic hair around your uncle's boner… [they] offer you a lollipop and the promise of videogames, the ghost of Slint dulling your senses into a glassy-eyed hypnosis, until you realize that Mogwai are fucking you, fucking you, fucking you." In "Thank You Space Expert," Mogwai "absently strike their guitars, glockenspiels and who-diddly-dang-bangles."

Moreover, sarcastic jabs alluding to common criticisms of Pitchfork reviews are spread throughout ("I should note here that I will simply use the term ‘music’ in this review... no time for useless genre struggles"). The most compelling evidence, however, is that none of the credited authors in this particular review are listed on Pitchfork's staff masthead.

If it is real, Pitchfork should up their QA standards. However, since Mogwai has often demonstrated their sense of humor throughout their discography, I'll put my money on saying that this is a pretty hilarious prank from our favorite cheeky Scots. It appears as Pitchfork might be on the same shitlist as Blur, especially considering the hate brought in its review of Mr. Beast.

Look for the new "Pitchfork is Shite" shirts at the merch booth as they kick tires, light fires, et al. across North America with Fuck Buttons:

Matt and Kim Announce Tourdates, Dress Up As Barack and Michelle Obama For Halloween

Last week, a lot of us were watching Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech. But unlike you, I was hanging out with Matt and Kim at the same time. All three of us were pretty drunk (Matt makes some mean screwdrivers), which led me to convincing both of them to dress up as Barack and Michelle Obama for the first show of their tour on Halloween. I know it sounds pretty cliché, but just imagine “Barack” and “Michelle” doing all of this. Now that’s patriotism.

Change we can believe in: