Hey, Don’t Forget About Us! We’re Still Relevant! Honestly! Wait, Where Are You Clicking? MySpace to Implement New Music Service

When the machine gets rusty, you gotta grease them wheels! In the life of every social networking site’s life cycle, there comes a time when the policymakers have to decide when to make changes, and right now the timing is right for MySpace to tweak and adjust their aging model. Just when you thought it was safe to write off the service as well past its virtual shelf date, MySpace is seemingly back from the dead and ready to party, announcing that it will launch a new music service in September. Speaking to Fortune at its “Brainstorm Tech” conference in July, MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe divulged upcoming expansion plans to include free music streaming to members and the opportunity to purchase concert tickets, downloads, ringtones, and t-shirts via its site.

It is hoped that this new music hustle will shake up MySpace and will help grow its user base to compete with the fast-growing Facebook (Aren’t you glad we provided links to Facebook and MySpace? You would have never found them otherwise!). Surprisingly, MySpace still has more users than Facebook, but the plucky upstart is accumulating new members at a much faster rate. When DeWolfe was asked about MySpace’s main competition and the new initiatives it is undertaking, he said, “MySpace is more about self-expression and individuality. One of the reasons why we’re investing so heavily in music is that self-expression and music go together so well.” So, MySpace will be known for music while Facebook will continue to be all about prolonging adolescence and about posting pictures that make you look thinner and better looking than you actually are in real life? Okay, got it.

MySpace will not be the only ones looking to the power of music to expand its financial empire; Activision Blizzard, the makers of Guitar Hero, are working on developing an iTunes-type online store for its gaming consumers. The company has apparently surpassed $1 billion in sales of the mega-popular game and have begun working on how to make a music-purchasing enterprise work efficiently. And then there’s Facebook again, who must certainly be looking into providing similar music applications, given its popularity and ease of use. Imagine if you could download music while you reconnect with that unhealthy and previously legally-restricted obsession you had in high school? Man, what a time to be alive!

Fun Fun Fun Fest Reunites The Dead Milkmen! Also Flipper, Deerhoof, The National, Bad Brains, Kool Keith – Austin Continues Sinister Plan To Have A Good Time, All the Time

As summer fades, thus does the ’08 festival season. Lollapalooza exists only in mediocre, overpriced memory, and the majority of America’s musical youth are packing away their party bongs in mothballs, not to see the light of day until the University Phish Appreciation Society’s Labor Day Bud Bash. For now, the USA slumbers, waiting until next year to shell out increasing amounts of cash to whichever festival is the most convincingly indie and/or least likely to become Woodstock ’99.

But while the suckers are away, the city of Austin will play. On November 8-9, the exuberantly titled Fun Fun Fun Fest will rumble the rubble of downtown Austin’s Waterloo Park. The festival’s lineup is diverse, ranging from punk legends Bad Brains, Flipper, and The Adolescents, to hipster huggables Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Minus the Bear, and Dan Deacon. Along with all those shining faces, an impressive array of hip-hoppers such as Clipse and Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon will share the bill with a cavalcade of comedy acts, including the Altercation Punk Rock Comedy Tour and Tim and Eric.

There’s still a crapload of other acts, including the triumphant, most likely one-time return of The Dead Milkmen, and if that piece of news doesn’t set your heart afluttering into your wallet to shell out the $60 for this two-day festival, I just don’t know what will! Well, maybe if you check out the full lineup, you’ll be happier. I’d post it here, but TMT is trying to watch her figure right now. It’s our new strategy for becoming the next Pitchfork. They may have a TV show , but we’ve got a rockin’ bod. Hollywood, here we come!

Jay Reatard Set Out to Pulsate 50,000 Taints This Fall

Good thing we haven't written about Jay Reatard in a while. It's also a good thing that my sister, Ugly Becky, can now freely go to these shows after her birthing news.

Doctor: I have good news and I have bad news.

Ugly Becky: What's the bad news?

Doctor: Your baby is a ginger.

Ugly Becky: Oh god. Oh my god, no! How could there possibly be any good news?

Doctor: The good news is that your baby is dead.

Tourdates:

* The Black Keys

# Deerhunter and Times New Viking

We'll announce more dates when we feel like it.

16-Year-Old Drops Out Of High School To Pursue Lucrative Career Playing Guitar Hero

Hey, kids! Thinking about going to college after high school? Well if you have two hands, ten fingers, and know how to use a whammy bar effectively, you may not have to. Take the case of North Carolina native, Blake Pebbles, a 16-year-old who talked his parents into letting him drop out of school* to play Guitar Hero full-time.

According to his profile in the News & Observer, Pebbles has already profited from his lucrative career choice, just not with, uh, actual money. No, instead, he’s won gift certificates, gaming equipment, and 52 Chick-fil-A meals. If Pebbles keeps this up, he could earn up to $80,000 a year on the competitive gaming circuit; however the average player typically earns somewhere in the $25,000 ballpark.

Better wipe the waffle fries grease off your fingers, Blake, “Free Bird” isn’t going to play itself.

*Apparently his parents have hired him a private tutor instead.

RIP: Nikola Acin of The Hellboys

From a post by Nikola Acin's friend, George Pratt:

I’m shocked and saddened by the news that my good friend Nikola Acin passed away this last weekend. Nikola was such a great guy, a true, avid enthusiast of art and music. He wrote many wonderful articles on two of his favorite passions, comics and rock’n’roll.

Son of the great filmmaker Jovan Acin (Hey, Babu Riba), Nikola was an energetic soul who dove head first into his enthusiasms. He put himself out there in any way possible so as to be closer to the heart of what he loved.

- The Hellboys official website
- The Hellboys MySpace page
- YouTube video: The Hellboys
- Electric Roulette article: "Nikola Acin (of The Hellboys) RIP"

Howlin Rain To Tour with The Black Crowes; Audience to Be Made Up Exclusively of Those Who Woke Up This Mornin’

AwlMuzikGuyde Howlin Rain biography:

Howlin Rain was born Rudy Remo “Rimmy Ray” Robyns either in Natchez, MS, Natchitoches, LA, or Nevernudenachos, NE in either 1909, 1910, or 1915. Nothing much is known of his early life, so many have speculated that he came out of the womb as a teenage semi-pro guitar and harmonica player who immediately began playing juke joints and dive bars for meals and rent. He was never consistently employed during his early career and supplemented sporadic gig money with piece-meal jobs at local packing plants, slaughterhouses, and teaching backwoods folk the electric slide. He also made a very small mark in films as Buster Keaton’s torso double.

But music was his first love and burning desire. His early recordings were emphatic faith-based ditties like “Hallelujah! It’s Easter!” and “Jesus! Jesus Keeps Beating Me at Checkers!” These recordings sold poorly locally, as he was living in a primarily Jewish part of Chicago at the time of their release. However, Robyns managed to make some money from these early records, by heating them over his stove elements and making groovy ashtrays out of them. The value of an early-period Robyns ashtray was recently estimated at $4,000 on Antiques Roadshow.

For years, people inaccurately attributed Howlin Rain’s stage name to the two acclaimed blues men, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters (né Muddy Rain), but this is hogwash. The unique moniker comes from a real life event, in which a drunken Robyns stood outside the window screaming his undying love to a certain “Miss Missy” before starting to pull out his own teeth with flat-nose pliers to prove that he meant every word. This misguided but romantic gesture led to unrequited spurning and a restraining order for Robyns, but spawned the creation of his stage name and a spate of regional hits inspired by the incident, like “I’m Pullin’ My Teeth Out (For You)” and “Please Don’t Let Me Be Understood” (later to be altered to “…Misunderstood” by popular beat combo The Animals).

With modest success came a change in behavior and attitude for Rain. He changed his name to ♪, predating Prince’s entity change to a stupid unpronounceable symbol by decades. “Note Symbol #2”,” as Robyns was calling himself, started dressing like the Monopoly Man mixed with the Marlboro Man, complete with silly ‘stache and monocle, ten-gallon hat and chaps. Thankfully, this nouveau riche/cowpie transformation was short-lived and “Note” went back to playing as Howlin Rain after some chick told him he looked like a “half-baked Alaska.” He continued to tour around the country and under the radar for years before succumbing to rickets in 1979 after a half-century eating exclusively uncooked Ramen noodles and gin. Howlin Rain died penny-full, leaving the one penny he owned to be divided among dozens of illegitimate kids. Contrary to popular Howlin accounts, he did not have a circus-sized dong, but he was powerfully virile; rumor has it he didn’t even need a receiving uterus to produce children.

...

Want the real story? Then go see the real Howlin Rain play live, as they start their next bunch of shows August 22 at the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco. The Cali-centric combo will be tearing a psych-soaked swath of rock across the continent on their forthcoming tour, with many dates opening for a band that knows a thing or two about the blues: The Black Crowes. There may be some new tunes played and definitely some from both their self-titled debut and their latest disc, Magnificent Fiend (TMT Review). There may some blues played, too. If so, expect it to have a full set of teeth.

Magnificent dates:
08.22.08 - San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival
08.29.08 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Media Club
08.30.08 - Victoria, British Columbia - Rifflandia @ The McPherson Playhouse
08.31.08 - Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival
09.10.08 - Arcata, CA - Van Duzer Theater %
09.13.08 - Las Vegas, NV - The Joint %
09.14.08 - Santa Cruz, CA - Civic Auditorium %
09.16.08 - Mesa, AZ - Ikeda Theatre @ Mesa Arts Center %
09.17.08 - Los Angeles, CA - The Greek Theater %
09.19.08 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara County Bowl %
09.21.08 - Santa Rosa, CA - Wells Fargo Center %
09.25.08 - Redwood City, CA - The Little Fox ^
10.07.08 - Richmond, VA - The National %
10.08.08 - Richmond, VA - The National %
10.11.08 - Albany, NY - The Palace Theater %
10.12.08 - Northampton, MA - Calvin Theater %
10.15.08 - Portland, OPR - Merrill Auditorium %
10.17.08 - Boston, MA - Boston Opera House %
10.18.08 - Buffalo, NY - The Town Ballroom %
10.28.08 - New York, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom %

% The Black Crowes

^ acoustic performance, support to Pegi Young

Juliana Hatfield to Release Her 10th LP and Memoir; Nicole C. Cries Over How Such a Witty, Talented and HOT Musician Always Falls Below the Radar

If Juliana Hatfield and I were to have a conversation, it might go like this:

Me: Hey!!

Juliana: Hi, how's it going? (in the most amazingly cute, girly, child-like voice)

Me: Teehee. Good.

Me (again): You are super awesome. Way more awesome than Liz Phair.

Me (again): I'm just sayin'.

Juliana: Um, thanks.

[Awkward silence]

Okay, in reality, it'd probably be nothing like that -- more like an awkward, "Hi, I'm a big fan. Okay bye." Anyway, I'm not sure why I have this thing with comparing totally awesome artists with so-so artists of similar nature, but I do. I guess it has something to do with feelings of resentment toward certain less-talented artists who garner medium-to-large amounts of success, while other, more talented artists can only muster mere college radio "success" and a fanbase of forty-somethings.

Getting to the point, Miss Hatfield is releasing How to Walk Away, her 10th solo album, August 19 on her own label Ye Olde Records. To commemorate her many decades of awesomeness, Hatfield is also releasing a memoir, When I Grow Up, a promotional companion piece to her new album. She's also doing some touring and various promotional stops, including a Tonight Show appearance August 25, a performance on NPR's "World Café" September 10, and a gig at New York City's Housing Works Bookstore Café on October 23, as part of the CMJ Music Marathon.

Upcoming Hatfield tourdates:

$ Hayden

# CMJ Music Marathon

RIP: Johnny “Dizzy” Moore, Founding Member and Trumpet Player of The Skatalites

----

From The Associated Press:

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Johnny Moore, a trumpeter and founding member of the pioneering Jamaican ska and reggae band the Skatalites, died on Saturday. He was 70.

He died at a friend’s house after being released from the hospital where he had cancer treatment last week, said Herbie Miller, a music promoter.

Mr. Moore helped form the Skatalites in 1964 along with the saxophonists Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso and the trombonist Don Drummond.

- Johnny Moore Wikipedia entry
- The Skatalites official website
- The Skatalites MySpace page
- The Skatalites Wikipedia entry

Pitchfork.tv Programs Set to Premiere on Actual TV, Offer Solution to Vital Problem of How to Waste Time When Not at Work

Are you, like me, a member of the approximately 0.4% of western civilization who does not have internet at home? Has this been negatively affecting your social life? For example, are you having a hard time thinking of how to waste time at home without precious, precious online content? Do you find it difficult to launch into friendly conversations about online Pitchfork.tv programs -- such as "Interview," "Don't Look Down," "Daytripping," and "Juan's Basement" -- that I personally was unaware of until I started writing this story? If so, then fear not! Because Pitchfork and the Independent Film Channel are teaming up to bring you Pitchfork.tv -- tah dah -- on actual TV!

Starting August 24, you can catch all this and much much more as part of "Pitchfork Airwaves on IFC," a partnership between the two independently-minded entities that will bring you a block of programming related to the music website. Expect shorts taken from the programs mentioned in the previous paragraph, interspersed with the IFC's regular goings-on. How many shorts exactly? Ten. That's what it says on the website, so count ’em: ten. And of course, you can still catch this stuff online, if you are one of the many people I know and envy who actually does have the internet, both on IFC.com and on Pitchfork.

Wilco to Release New Album in 2009, Take Snarling Lessons from Neil Young

It appears Jeff Tweedy has grown out of his own records, telling WAMC (NPR affiliate and the recipient of my expertise as an intern), that he "kinda hate[s]" all of Wilco's six prior albums, because "none of them are a statement that I would be comfortable making right now at this point in my life." Obvious solution: new album! Regardless of whether or not the rest of the band shares his sentiment (wanna bet I'd get rich if I had a dollar for how many eyerolls happen in the practice studio?), Wilco are thinking 2009 will be the year for such an album, with a goal to be more performance-oriented and to minimize the mixing. Translation: Jeff Tweedy will lob throwing stars toward the sound board from time to time. Gotta keep those producers in check, you know? The band has dropped a few new tracks during their live shows, including the laid-back "One Wing" and more saucy "Sunny Feeling."

Wilco are wrapping up their summer tour next month. Tweedy's dry wit will be challenged by his future stage buddy, however, when Wilco open for Neil Young in a stretch of North American dates this winter. Hmm. Most of these places appear to be named after banks and other such evil entities. Perhaps there is some good old-fashioned mischief in store for the Man...

Heavy-browed frontmen unite:

* Fleet Foxes

% Neil Young

# Everest