Senate Judiciary Subcommitee Bodyslams Potential Ticketmaster-Live Nation Merger with Harsh Words and the Ghost of Bruce Springsteen

Last Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Anti-Trust sat at a hearing over the potential merger between Ticketmaster -- largest ticket seller in the world/notorious dong huffers -- and Live Nation -- the largest event promoter in the world, ’05 Clear Channel spinoff, general lackey to the devils of bland music. This, only a month or so since Live Nation started selling tickets on its own, thus creating the first bit of legitimate competition Ticketmaster has seen since either the dawn of time, the fall Rome, or the Grunge era, depending on your sources. The resulting merger could potentially open the gates of hell, and we could enter into a whole new era of over-pricing, convenience fee soliciting, Springsteen-hating madness like the kind we have never seen before.

Then again, some people don't think so. Eddie Van Halen, in a letter to the subcommittee, said that this deal will "help bring our fans closer to the band." I'm sorry, Eddie, but wha? He did go on to say, "It's going to ensure that... I have a future in music," which is a far more legitimate argument for him to be making, one most likely behind a lot of these big-name supporters like Shakira, Journey, Seal, Madonna, The Jonas Bros, and Bono.

But not The Boss. No. Bruce Springsteen, you stood like a great glowing spirit behind that subcommittee hearing, playing some mean licks, singing some songs about the working man, and watching the administration call Ticketmaster a behemoth as their CEO Irving Azoff and Live Nation chief executive Micheal Rapino squirmed in their seats. It made you want to bosscock all over C-Span one, two, and three, didn't it Boss? Didn't it? Some of my favorite quotes from the night:

- "What does Live nation's decision to merge with its competitor, rather than fight it out on the open market, tell us about any company's ability to compete with Ticketmaster? If LiveNation can't compete, after all, who can?" --Sen Herb Kohl, D-WI.
- "Bruce Springsteen says Ticketmaster abused his fans and I agree with The Boss" --Sen. Charles Schumer D-NY
- "Vertical integration on steroids." --Jerry Mickelson, JAM Productions.
- "The one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be for Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system..." --The Boss (attending in spirit) as read by Jerry Mickelson.
- "You can't blame Live Nation at this point anymore than you can blame a shark for eating people." --Seth Hurwitz, IMP productions & 9:30 Club co-owner.

So, good news: the law's on our side. Bad news: the Senate doesn't really have the jurisdiction to stop the merger. That's the Justice Department, and they're not saying a word yet. Maybe if we ask nicely we can get Little Steven to lean on them a bit.

Marnie Stern Announces Spring Tour, But Will She Bring Her Guitar or the Kissing Booth?

Q: Who has ten fingers, six strings, and one whammy bar?

A: Marnie Stern and her guitar, of course!

Marnie will be bringing her guitar (surprise!) on tour this spring, as she plays venues like the Kung Fu Necktie, Lounge on Elm Street, Bottom of the Hill, and The Echo. Wait, are we sure these are actually venues or are they horror movies? I’m not sure I’d feel safe stepping into a place called the Kung Fu Necktie. But, then again, if Marnie brings her puppies along for the tour, I’ll follow her anywhere.
03.05.09 - New York, NY – New York University
03.10.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie
03.11.09 - Washington, D.C. - DC9
03.12.09 - Baltimore, MD - Sonar
03.13.09 - Charlotte, SC - Snug Harbor
03.14.09 - Atlanta, GA - 529
03.17.09 - Dallas, TX - Lounge on Elm Street
03.18.09 - Austin, TX - SXSW Kill Rock Stars Showcase
03.21.09 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
03.24.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
03.25.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
03.26.09 - Visalia, CA - The Cellar Door
03.27.09 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom Of The Hill
05.08.09 - Minehead, London, UK - All Tomorrow’s Parties
07.02.09 - Denmark - Roskilde Festival

Anticipation Surrounding Modest Mouse’s New EP Goes into Overdrive

What would we be at TMT if we didn’t report on the latest gossip and hearsay in the music scene?

Last year, Isaac Brock told the crowd at North Myrtle Beach, SC that Modest Mouse’s next EP would be named Nobody's Next And You're First. Just recently a few days ago, after their Visalia, CA show, a fan managed to corner Eric Judy where he mentioned that the new release had been recorded for some time and they were hoping to get it out in the next six months. The delay has been due to the band experiencing "‘kinks’ or something and they might add another song," according to this fan website (thanks for the tip Tom Bortkof!).

However, the fan admitted in a message board post that he was “so deaf after the concert” and struggled to hear what Judy was saying because of his “soft” voice. Consequently, it may well be that Mr. Judy was merely articulating his love of caramel-coated pancakes topped with thick whipped cream. And why wouldn’t he, considering February 24 (the day after the Visalia show) was ‘Shrove Tuesday,’ an annual pre-Lent event in Ireland, the UK, Canada, and Australia -- the day is commemorated by stuffing your face full of pancakes. This surely wouldn’t have escaped the attention of the learned and culturally-aware Eric Judy.

The rumoured tracklisting (or maybe it’s been confused with Judy’s favourite pancake mixture) is as follows:

1. The Whale Song
2. Satellite Skin
3. Autumn Beds
4. I've Got It All (Most)
5. King Rat
6. 3 other tracks (One of which may be "Tie The Lake Down" and another that has a rumored title of "History")

Tourdates:
02.26.09 - Albuquerque, NM Albuquerque Convention Center
02.28.09 - Boulder, CO Balch Fieldhouse
03.02.09 - Kansas City, MO Uptown Theater
03.03.09 - Oklahoma City, OK Diamond Ballroom
03.04.09 - Austin, TX Stubb's
03.05.09 - Oxford, MS The Lyric Oxford
03.07.09 - Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
03.08.09 - Miami, FL Langerado Festival
03.09.09 - Lake Buena Vista, FL - House of Blues
03.10.09 - Myrtle Beach, SC - House of Blues
03.11.09 - Raleigh, NC - Disco Rodeo
03.12.09 - Baltimore, MD - Ram's Head
03.13.09 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
03.14.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
03.15.09 - New York, NY - Terminal 5

RIP: Randy Bewley, Pylon guitarist

From OnlineAthens:

Pylon guitarist Randy Bewley died this afternoon after suffering a heart attack while driving in an Athens neighborhood Monday.

Bewley was driving on Barber Street on Monday evening, and his van drifted off the road and tipped over, bandmate Vanessa Hay said in an e-mail to supporters.

- Pylon MySpace
- Randy Bewley Wikipedia entry

Ticketmaster Agrees to Stop Linking to Subsidiary TicketsNow

I asked some folks to play a round of free association with the word "Ticketmaster." Their responses:

- "Convenience fees."
- "Death."
- "A raging, bloody-mouthed, bursting-veined, 10-story-tall capitalist pig raging through New York City destroying the youth of America and sucking their pockets and souls dry."

Their words, not mine.

After the hubbub surrounding Bruce Springsteen's shows, Ticketmaster reached a national settlement with the New Jersey Attorney General (via The Daily Swarm), in which the company has agreed to stop linking customers to its subsidiary, TicketsNow. If you haven't heard, customers that tried purchasing tickets were redirected to TicketsNow, a company that was charging fans inflated scalper prices while tickets were still available at face value.

More than 2,200 Boss fans complained -- a few million short of the grumbles the site receives daily -- resulting in a 2,000-ticket lottery that will award entrance at the original face value.

People who don't win will be given a $100 gift certificate and a chance to purchase Springsteen tickets next time he rolls into the Garden State. And get this: The ticket site has to pay New Jerz $350,000 to cover the investigation price tag.

Meanwhile, Ticketmaster will continue to raise blood pressure (TMT News) if it successfully merges with Live Nation.

HEALTH to tour //NOISE//DISCO//FASHION; You to get sick //SNEEZE//VOMIT//SHIT YOURSELF

HEALTH, those manic noise addicts who first introduced you to Los Angeles tofu-dog-mecca The Smell, are setting out on a late-winter tour whistling across Dixie. They want none of your dreary northern state's frigid Arctic climate. Instead, they're going to enjoy the sunny skies and warm breezes of real America, touring for real Americans. Who could blame them?

If only we could all be so lucky to live in a cultural and subtropical oasis like Lubbock, Texas. Well, we can't. But I've got good news...

For those of us who have to suffer through the snowy months HEALTHless with runny noses, headaches, fevers, sore throats, and diarrhea, I've got the cure: here's an old Québécois sugar shack recipe to rid you of that pesky winter cold:

In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil

Add:

- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- ½ lemon (rine and all)
- 5 tbsp of maple syrup
- 7 tps cayenne pepper

Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

Reduce heat

Simmer until mixture reduces to approximately 1 cup

Strain

Salt to taste

Drink and enjoy!

Tourdates:
02.26.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo w/ Abe Vigoda, Captain Ahab
03.07.09 - St. Augustine, FL. Harvest of Hope Festival @
03.17.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Trunk Space %
03.18.09 - El Paso, TX - Black Market !
03.21.09 - Austin, TX - Mohawk (Panache Booking/Lovepump SXSW Showcase)
03.23.09 - Tallahassee, FL - Club Down Under #
03.24.09 - Knoxville, TN - The Catalyst # ^
03.25.09 - Greensboro, NC - Greene Street Club #
03.26.09 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl # *
03.27.09 - Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon #
03.28.09 - Houston, TX - Free Press Block Party #
03.30.09 - Lubbock, TX - Bash Riprocks #
03.31.09 - Santa Fe, NM - Warehouse21 #
04.01.09 - Tucson, AZ - Solar Culture #

# Pictureplane

@ Girl Talk, Against Me, Monotonix, Mae Shi

% Pictureplane, Clipd Beaks, Mika Miko, WAVVES, Abe Vigoda

! Mika Miko, Clipd Beaks, Pictureplane

^ WAVVES, Vampire Hands

* Judi Chicago, Dj Craig Preston

European dates start April 10. Check the dates here.

Walkmen to Tour with Kings of Leon

According to their website, The Walkmen are writing new songs, which is just fine with me: last year’s You & Me (TMT Review) solidly rocked. In fact, to prove just how fine this is, listen to The Walkmen perform on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic here or check out their video for "Four Provinces."

Meanwhile, The Walkmen are going on a cross-country tour with the Kings of Leon, with dates starting in April. In May, the Walkmen will be playing the Sasquatch Music Festival.

U.S. tourdates with Kings of Leon:
04.18.09 - Boston, MA - Agannis Arena
04.19.09 - Boston, MA - Agannis Arena
04.20.09 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa*
04.21.09 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
04.22.09 - Pittsburgh, PA - Palumbo
04.24.09 - Fairfax, VA - Patriot Center
04.25.09 - Philadelphia - Spectrum
04.27.09 - Norfolk, Va - Constant Convocation Center
04.28.09 - Raleigh, NC - Koka Booth Ampitheatre
04.30.09 - Charlotte, NC - Bojangles Coliseum
05.04.09 - St, Augustine, FL - St Augustine Ampitheater
05.05.09 - Orlando, FL - UCF Arena
05.07.09 - Miami, FL - Bank United Center
05.08.09 - Tampa, FL - Sundome
05.08.09 - Charleston, SC - North Charleston Coliseum
05.12.09 - Cincinnati, OH - National City Pavillion
05.13.09 - Cleveland, OH - Tower City
05.19.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Mesa Ampitheatre
05.21.09 - San Francisco, CA - Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

* solo headline

No Kids Like Parenthetical Girls, Parenthetcal Girls Like No Kids; Both Blush and Go On Tour

March Madness is almost upon us. Meaning, every crappy, local, "hipper than thou" band will be headed down to Austin, TX for the annual SXSW Music and Media Conference. This is every unsigned hometown "indie" band's so-called chance for super stardom. "Hey, look Mom, we're playing South By Southwest; we finally made it. We might get signed!" Likewise, thousands of people are going to pack their vans and head south in hopes of catching the "next big thing" (or maybe a chance to rub shoulders with Moby). Well, I'm not. I'm staying home -- away from all the madness, away from the young high school kids with their Radiohead t-shirts and their shaggy hair, away from more bad bands than you can shake a stick at. Don't get me wrong -- there will be many great bands to see among the array of bad ones, and in fact I'd like to provide some details on a handful of them.

Parenthetical Girls and No Kids will set out on a tour, with dates that will sandwich their SXSW appearances. They will be joining fellow Tomlab artist Casiotone For the Painfully Alone for the SXSW Tomlab/K/ Asmatic Kitty showcase, which will also include performances by Tara Jane O'Neil and Jeremy Jay.

Seriously though, Keep Austin Weird!
03.12.09 - Seattle, Washington - Sunset Tavern
03.13.09 - Portland, Oregon - Backspace
03.14.09 - Boise, Idaho - Neurolux
03.15.09 - Salt Lake City, Utah - Kilby Court
03.16.09 - Denver, Colorado - Hi Dive
03.18.09 - Austin, Texas - SXSW*
03.19.09 - Austin, Texas - SXSW
03.20.09 - Austin, Texas - SXSW
03.21.09 - Austin, Texas - SXSW
03.22.09 - Austin, Texas - SXSW
03.23.09 - Phoenix, Arizona - Stinkweeds
03.24.09 - San Diego, California - Bar Pink
03.25.09 - Los Angeles, California - Spaceland
03.27.09 - San Francisco, California - Cafe Du Nord

* Tomlab/K/Asmatic Kitty Showcase: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Jeremy Jay, Tara Jane O'Neil

Conor Oberst To Release Outer South In May, Tests Naming Conventions After His Eponymous Album, And Tours With The Mystic Valley Band

Ever since Conor Oberst went out on that album-naming limb and dubbed his 2008 solo album Conor Oberst (TMT Review), he's been traveling and playing and singing his little heart out with The Mystic Valley Band (Taylor Hollingsworth, Nik Freitas, Macey Taylor, Nathaniel Walcott and Jason Boesel). This same, fabulous quintet of talented musicians is again lending a hand to Conor's upcoming album, more adventurously named Outer South. It'll be coming to us May 5 through Merge Records.

Taking a break from the Bright Eyes moniker, Conor gave us sing-songy goodness on the topics of time, heartache, life, and death on his eponymous album. We can only hope Outer South will be more of the lyrical adeptness that we've become accustomed to.

While patiently waiting for the album release, you can view a performance of "Nikorette," one of 16 tracks being released on Outer South, here. Meanwhile, those of you living on the Left Side can catch Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band in the flesh.

Check it out:
04.09.09 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
04.10.09 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
04.11.09 - Aspen, CO - Belly Up
04.12.09 - El Paso, TX - Barnett Harley Davidson #
04.13.09 - Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theatre
04.14.09 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre
04.15.09 - Pomona, CA - Glass House
04.17.09 - Indio, CA - Coachella Music & Arts Festival
06.18.09 - Telluride, CO Telluride - Bluegrass Festival

# Hands of Love & Hope Benefit

Warner Bros. Pushes Limits of Hyperbolic Use of the Phrase “Musical Revolution” with Compilation Featuring The Flaming Lips, Mastodon, and… Adam Sandler

Back in December, viewers of CBS' Late Show with David Letterman let out a terse but piercing cry as perennial man-child Adam Sandler performed a pedestrian cover of Neil Young's winding guitar epic "Like a Hurricane." It was a chilling performance, if not so much for its mere terribleness then for the spooky revelation that Adam Sandler's annoying baby voice actually sounds a lot like Neil Young.

Well, those of you who saw the performance and still didn't develop a tremor in your remote-flipping hand will be thrilled to know that Warner Bros. is releasing Sandler's cover alongside 11 more contemporary covers of classic WB-owned songs. Covered: A Revolution in Sound, which will be released exclusively on Amazon.com March 10 and in stores everywhere on March 24, begs fan to consider questions such as "What could a band so bereft of melody as Taking Back Sunday possibly do with a Tom Petty song?" and "Is there any way I could dislike The Used more than hearing their what-is-sure-to-be-awful cover of The Talking Heads' ‘Burning Down the House’?" Oh, and, "Are the Flaming Lips really so bored that they need to take part in this?"

Okay, sure, there's a few eye-catching tracks on the list: it'd be near-impossible for Against Me! to screw up The Replacements' classic "Here Comes a Regular"; Mastodon are pretty solid for a ZZ Top cover; and The Black Keys get class points for covering a non-Trout Mask Replica Captain Beefheart tune (though minus points for the fact that it's the only other Beefheart tune most people know because it's on the Big Lebowski soundtrack). But let's be honest: in a year's time, it's a safe bet that, like all covers compilations, the only place Covered will be making any sort of "revolutions" is in the dollar bin.

And now, Adam Sandler's Dec. 15, 2008 performance of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" on the CBS Late Show:

Covered: A Revolution in Sound tracklist:

1. Mastodon: "Just Got Paid" (by ZZ Top)
2. The Black Keys: "Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles" (by Captain Beefheart)
3. Michelle Branch: "A Case Of You" (by Joni Mitchell)
4. Against Me!: "Here Comes A Regular" (by The Replacements)
5. Missy Higgins: "More Than This" (by Roxy Music)
6. James Otto: "Into The Mystic" (by Van Morrison)
7. Adam Sandler: "Like A Hurricane" (by Neil Young)
8. Taking Back Sunday: "You Wreck Me" (by Tom Petty)
9. The Used: "Burning Down The House" (by Talking Heads)
10. Disturbed: "Midlife Crisis" (by Faith No More)
11. Avenged Sevenfold: "Paranoid" (by Black Sabbath)
12. The Flaming Lips With Stardeath And White Dwarfs: "Borderline" (by Madonna)