Rant, Rave, and Run Into the Ground – Shout Factory Releases Five-Disc Collection of Unearthed Hunter S. Thompson Recordings

During his lifetime, Hunter S. Thompson had a whole lotta things to say and a whole lotta drugs to take. He bequeathed to the world a solid stack of vital life lessons, such as how to binge like a pro, on the best manner in which to get one’s ass kicked by bikers, and on the importance of hiring top-notch legal representation that can outdo you (most) every step of the way. His 2005 suicide was nothing short of tragic, but the man’s absurd, well-documented life and published work speaks well enough on its own, far better than any deifying Rolling Stone obituary or John Cusack gushfest could ever hope to. Hunter Thompson has had his say and said it well, and now it is time to lay him to rest.

But what the fuck do I know! This is America! We just don’t let shit die around here, commie! Nope, we package and then repackage the motherfuck out of it until what was once a fond memory becomes a pestilence, a butterfly metamorphosed into a mutant bayou ’skeeter. The latest culprit in this HST shit-cyclone is Shout! Factory’s The Gonzo Tapes, a 5CD collection of Thompson’s personal recordings made between 1965 and 1975. Set for release October 28, the previously unreleased tapes include Thompson’s observations and recollections from his most famous work, such as his tenure with the Hell’s Angels and his fateful trips to Vegas and Saigon.

Observations and recollections, you say? Wow, I’ve never heard those before. Well, except for the times I read his fucking books, watched his fucking documentary, or just opened a goddamn Rolling Stone in the last 35 years. Nope, apparently I ain’t heard nothing yet until I listen to over five hours of a stoned Hunter Thompson laying out half-baked ideas that would eventually germinate into something artistically viable that I already know and enjoy. But whatever, this thing will certainly earn some green. I know exactly the type of journalism school gonzo-wannabes that’ll stash this on their iPod and queue it up every time they write a first-person account of one crackerjack city council meeting.

Kill your idols. Peace.

Mountain Dew Starts Singles-Only Record Label; Meanwhile, Mr. Pibb Is Still Selling Cassettes From The Trunk Of His Chevy Lumina

Mr. Pibb: This shit ain’t fair, man.

Faygo: You’re telling me!

Mr. Pibb: We’ve been in this parking lot for years, selling cassettes from the back of my car to all the local kids, and now here comes big, bad Mountain Dew with his new singles-only download label, Green Label Sound.

Faygo: That motherfucker thinks he’s so tough!

Mr. Pibb: He thinks he’s going to take our business, with his hip-as-shit bands like The Cool Kids and Matt & Kim.

Faygo: Fuck that! Everyone knows Kris Kross cassingles from 1992 are the real deal; not this new stuff.

Mr. Pibb: True dat, Faygo. True dat.

Shrinking Salaries for Major Label Execs; Another Win for the Internet

A report in The New York Post (via The Daily Swarm) claims that the salaries of major record label executives are quickly diminishing. Chief Executive of EMI Music Elio Leoni-Sceti is reportedly paid less than $1 million a year for his work (aw, c'mon!), while Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. has a base pay of $1 million, with the opportunity to make up to $6 million (should be way more!).

"Record companies can't keep their top people anymore," a source told The New York Post.

The article goes on to juxtapose the salaries of major music executives to that of CEOs and executives in other media industries, and the results are... anecdotal. Disney CEO Robert Iger pulled in $20.71 million in 2007, and Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts earned $38.9 million the same year. Suddenly, $1 million doesn’t seem like a whole lot, does it? Apparently being a millionaire is no longer enough. Meanwhile...

Lif-Edan ‘08! Rapper Mr. Lif Teams With All-Star Underground Producers for Politically Charged, Sporadically Released “Album”

In an election year that has seen a surprising slew of mainstream rap tracks about Barack Obama, the oddly ’90s-redolent spectacle of Rage Against the Machine playing shows in protest against both major party political conventions, and bizarre YouTube-fueled phenomenon of musical tributes like "It's Raining McCain," Boston undie rapper Mr. Lif has announced his own decidedly post-In Rainbows twist to the carnival of politicized music.

Lif, with the assistance of prominent indie hip-hop producers like J-Zone and Edan, will release a series of singles in installments every three weeks until Election Day (November 4). The pace of songs will then slow, culminating in an album, entitled I Heard It Today, to be released on Inauguration Day (January 20). The album will include not only the singles released in the preceding months, but also unreleased tracks and album artwork. The tracks will be streamed via AllHipHop.com exclusively upon their release and will then be available for download via all major downloading services the following day.

Mr. Lif has also begun issuing "Presidential Reports" on his MySpace, including "Presidential Report Vol. 1" issued last week. These tracks will be designed to respond to and confront current political situations, such as the emerging military squabble between Russia and Georgia. Presumably future "Presidential Reports" will tackle issues like the war in Iraq, the number of houses John McCain owns, and an analysis of the all-important Obama VP text message from this past weekend. Who knows, maybe Lif will even shout out a third-party candidate?

Nine Inch Nails Finally Use All Those Spikes to Build a Railroad, Tour North America On It This Fall

The GOOD NEWS?

Your absolutely favorite group ever Nine Inch Nails have announced that they will be extending their 2008 Lights In The Sky Tour and bringing their big ol’ industrial-prog-emo-metal-pop-futurewave-tech-punktronc-whateveritis sound to a whole smattering of U.S. and Canadian dates (yes, this means you, Saskatoon!) this fall.

You are so psyched and ready for this. You’ve already heard that returning member Robin Finck and new addition Justin Meldal-Johnsen will join Trent Reznor, Alessandro Cortini, and Josh Freese as they bull-doze their way across the new world. You can practically feel the bass in your stomach, empathized angst in your throat, and newly minted XXL vintage “NIN: Now I’m Nothing” t-shirt weighing heavily on your sweat-drenched torso.

You’ve done all the research. Being a true fan, you know that Finck has served in numerous touring configurations of NIN, from tours supporting The Downward Spiral (1994-1997) to The Fragile (2000-2001). You’re vaguely aware that he recently played for Guns N' Roses, even though that’s more of a thing your step-dad is into, and you remember that Meldal-Johnsen previously performed with Beck (a.k.a., “that pussy, Beck”) for more than a decade and was a founding member of Ima Robot.

So in short, you’re totally psyched. You’re anticipating that the upcoming tour will feature the live debut of material from the recently released Ghosts I-IV (TMT Review) and The Slip alongside other songs that span the entire NIN catalog. And you’re overwhelmed with excitement because you love all of those songs. Reznor sings about what you feel, and lately, you’ve been feeling fucked up about some shit! This tour’s show in your town is going to kick some royal ass. It’s going to make up for all of that bullshit that’s been heaped upon you by your friends, your family, your partners, and “the man,” and you cannot WAIT to go...

THE BAD NEWS:

You’re in high school, the school year just started, and you’re Religion 401 syllabus says that you’ve got a rough draft due the morning after. Fuck. You can’t go.

All Aboard the NIN Continental Express:

New Study Suggests Listening to Music Helps Develop Musical Competence; “Music is Fun” Say Some Scientists

I know that watching MythBusters every week makes science seem "cool," "interesting," and "important," but trust me when I tell you that not everyone in a white coat gets to spend their days testing whacky hypotheses via the demolition of walls and construction of shark robots. Fact is, sometimes these guys just get bored out of their minds and start testing any old arbitrary thing just to earn that paycheck for the week and keep the grants flowing! Take these cats over at the University of Amsterdam. As if the world didn't take Amsterdam non-seriously enough, these researchers have taken the time to carefully prove that, surprise, surprise, the act of listening to music makes you better at playing it yourself. Here we all were thinking that listening to something aural in order to imitate it better was a pretty logical and non-scientific principle. But apparently, it's headline-grabbing science. Thanks for logging in those hours, Amsterdam! Who says you're not a focused bunch?

But to be fair, things do take a turn for the slightly more scientific when you explain them with fancier words. For example, "more and more labs are showing that people have the sensitivity for skills that we thought were only expert skills," explained Henkjan Honing, a researcher behind the study. Sounds intriguing, right? "The UvA-study shows that listeners without formal musical training, but with sufficient exposure to a certain musical idiom... perform similarly in a musical task when compared to formally trained listeners."

The conclusion? Drum roll please... Listening to music helps one understand how it is made! In other words, all those Baby's First Mozart CDs have finally been justified. Uh, but only if you want them to play classical music, apparently, because the study also showed that subjects showed more competence creating music in genres with which they were familiar.

But $5 Walmart Mozart CD or no $5 Walmart Mozart CD, you're not going to want to stop forcing your kid to keep taking piano lessons just yet. After all, you don't need a study to tell you that learning how to do something professionally helps you to do it better... or, wait... maybe you do? Someone had better do a study on that too... if they're not too busy, that is.

New Study Suggests Listening to Music Helps Develop Musical Competence; “Music is Fun” Say Some Scientists

I know that watching MythBusters every week makes science seem "cool," "interesting," and "important," but trust me when I tell you that not everyone in a white coat gets to spend their days testing whacky hypotheses via the demolition of walls and construction of shark robots. Fact is, sometimes these guys just get bored out of their minds and start testing any old arbitrary thing just to earn that paycheck for the week and keep the grants flowing! Take these cats over at the University of Amsterdam. As if the world didn't take Amsterdam non-seriously enough, these researchers have taken the time to carefully prove that, surprise, surprise, the act of listening to music makes you better at playing it yourself. Here we all were thinking that listening to something aural in order to imitate it better was a pretty logical and non-scientific principle. But apparently, it's headline-grabbing science. Thanks for logging in those hours, Amsterdam! Who says you're not a focused bunch?

But to be fair, things do take a turn for the slightly more scientific when you explain them with fancier words. For example, "more and more labs are showing that people have the sensitivity for skills that we thought were only expert skills," explained Henkjan Honing, a researcher behind the study. Sounds intriguing, right? "The UvA-study shows that listeners without formal musical training, but with sufficient exposure to a certain musical idiom... perform similarly in a musical task when compared to formally trained listeners."

The conclusion? Drum roll please... Listening to music helps one understand how it is made! In other words, all those Baby's First Mozart CDs have finally been justified. Uh, but only if you want them to play classical music, apparently, because the study also showed that subjects showed more competence creating music in genres with which they were familiar.

But $5 Walmart Mozart CD or no $5 Walmart Mozart CD, you're not going to want to stop forcing your kid to keep taking piano lessons just yet. After all, you don't need a study to tell you that learning how to do something professionally helps you to do it better... or, wait... maybe you do? Someone had better do a study on that too... if they're not too busy, that is.

Craz-E Cohen’s Warner Music Group Summer Stock-A-Rama Sale, This Monday Only! Don’t miss out!

What do you buy the millionaire record company exec who already has everything this holiday season? Well how about Warner Music Group's American chairman and chief executive Lyor Cohen's former stock shares? With Mr. Cohen selling 23% of his stock in WMG, there are plenty of lovable stock options to choose from! 80,000 cuddly options, to be exact -- each going for $8.45 a share, equaling approximately $6.8 million total.

Cohen, the man behind Green Day and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, renewed his contract earlier this spring and will be earning something in the ballpark of $3 million a year, with potential bonus opportunities up to $5 million, until his contract comes again in 2013. His new contract also gives him 1.5 million mooooore stock options, in addition to the 2.6 million he decided to keep from this Monday's sale. Seemingly confident in WMG's progress, he stated that "this sale reflects nothing more than a normal need for liquid assets for personal expenses, as well as my financial adviser's recommendation that I diversify my portfolio for tax and estate planning." He also added that your credit score doesn't matter, as long as you have a job and $99 down -- THESE STOCKS MUST GO!

Warner shares were at an all-time low this January, but have improved by nearly 80% at this date. Concerns about company welfare seem to be easing up.

Toby Keith a Democrat? You Decide.

Support from the arts is nothing new in presidential campaigns. Many artists have vocalized their support for (or disapproval of) a variety of electoral candidates, such as Rage Against the Machine for Nader, Wilco for Obama, and Lawrence Welk for McCain. Earlier this week, though, Mr. Obama received a tip of the hat from an unlikely source in Nashville: Toby Keith! His last major political statement? “We’ll put a boot in your ass. It’s the American Way.”

As quoted by Ryan Pearson of the AP, in response to a question about patriotism and its role in the current Presidential election, Mr. Red, White, and Blue stated: “There's a big part of America that really believes that there is a war on terrorism, and that we need to finish up.”

Keith went on to elaborate: "So I thought it was beautiful the other day when Obama went to Afghanistan and got educated about Afghanistan and Iraq. He came back and said some really nice things.”

My favorite part of that quote is the “we need to finish up” part. I like the image of people actually thinking we can just roll up our sleeves, put in a couple extra hours, and end this whole terrorism thing with a little American hard work.

Keith ended his statement with the following praise for Obama: “So as far as leadership and patriotism goes, I think it's really important that those things have to take place. And I think he's the best Democratic candidate we've had since Bill Clinton. And that's coming from a Democrat."

Toby Keith a Democrat, whoda thunk it?

Frisco Freakout Lineup Announced – Anybody want some LSD? I just need a place to cook!

In what is sure to be an experience likely to be described as “a slowly melting landscape” or “growing ever more illuminated as we traveled the note-breeze,” San Francisco's Frisco Freakout (SF3), an all-day psychedelic dance party, is on for October 11, 2008. Showcasing some of the best that the super-psych-state of California has to offer in psychedelic rock, the first-annual, one-day festival has announced its lineup and a general bevy of other pertinent information for all those interested in buying the ticket and taking the ride.

The lineup:

The whole shindig is going down at Thee Parkside in San Fran, costs a reasonable amount, and is promised to include “good trips” and “organic eats.” Oh, and hey, it’s all-ages, so make sure to bring your kids and get them started on the path of enlightenment; just keep them away from the brown acid.