Prompted By Michael Gira’s “Use ‘em or Lose ‘em” Sick Day Policy Down at The Office, Akron/Family Plan Family Vacation

Boss Michael Gira down at Young God Records is a real stickler.

Apparently, if you don't use your vacation days, sick days, personal days, hang-over days, and fuck-it's-cold-I'm-not-coming-in-today days before the end of the fiscal year, old man Gira has this crazy policy that you lose them!

Since the fiscal year ends soon (look, just go with it), trusted assistant to Mr. Gira and noted family man Mr. Akron has no choice but to take a highly inconveniently-timed, albeit very well-deserved vacation right in the middle of his most hectic work season. Bummer.

Mrs. Akron, stay-at-home mother of two, thinks her husband could use some time off. And frankly, she's been searching for an opportunity to tell him so. See, things have gotten rather hectic lately, and she wants the whole Akron/Family to... well, reconnect. And what better way to do that than for the four of them to get out there and see the whole country!

"It'll be like a tour of sorts, honey," she assures her despondent husband. "A tour for the whole Akron/Family (TMT Review)! We can even make stops at those, uh, whatdoyoucall'em... ‘South by Southeast’ and ‘Cochella’ music festival thingys along the way. I even wrote out an itinerary already! What do you say, hun?"

"It's South by Southwest, honey," Mr. Akron retorts wearily. Still, even he can hear the faint overtones of fatigue in his voice, and after letting out a long sigh, he turns to the bedroom wall where his eyes fix upon a recent photo of the Akron/Family taken at the nearby K-Mart. How happy they all look, all energetically smiling and full of the love that comes from just standing close.

Mr. Akron turns around once again to face Mrs. Akron, new fire once again flickering in his tired eyes. "All right, honey, let's see that itinerary."

Akron/Family Vacation 2008:
03.02.08 - Allston, MA - Harper's Ferry
03.04.08 - Middletown, CT - Wesleyan College
03.05.08 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's
03.06.08 - New York, NY -NYU Kimmel Center-Eisner&Lubin Auditorium
03.07.08 - Pittsburg, PA - The Andy Warhol Museum
03.08.08 - Princeton, NJ - Terrace club at Princeton University
03.09.08 - Vienna, VA - Jammin Java
03.15.08 - Austin, TX - Emo's Inside Room (SXSW festival)
04.26.08 - Indio, CA - Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
04.29.08 - Santa Cruz, Ca - Crepe Place
04.30.08 - San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
05.01.08 - Visalia, CA - The Cellar Door
06.21.08 - Philadelphia, PA - Popped Festival on Drexel University Campus
07.24.08 - New York, NY - River to River Festival at Castle Clinton

[Photo: MK12]

The Replacements Get Reissued; The Friz, Scout Leader Kyle, and I Leave Pennsylvania and End Up at a Writer’s Community Meeting at Ball State in Indiana

Last you guys heard, the tired trio of TMTers were holed up at a family truck stop in Pennsylvania. Luckily, we were just an exit away from I-70. I told my boys that, if we left right away, we could make it to Indiana before dinner and quite possibly make it to Ball State University in time for the writer's community meeting. Scout had walked to the diner because his license was taken away after driving to a Jens Lekman concert after a few too many vodkas and tonics. I rode my bike because I thought The Friz wanted to keep this trip "green." So, the only car was a fuel-efficient VW owned by the one and only Friz.

I take off the wheels from my bike and situate everything in the trunk of the car. Scout calls "shotgun" but didn't call blitz, so I rush and tagged the door before he did. I thought bio-diesel was kind of pussy, but it turns out The Friz makes good use of his newly tuned VW, and we make it to the Indiana-Ohio border in 35 minutes. I swear. We then hop onto I-465 North and then I-69 North to Muncie, Indiana. Scout of course makes no fewer than 27 jokes about riding on a highway called I-69.

Friz parked outside the Robert Bell building, and we ran up to the second story and found our seats for the small writer's community meeting. A few kids read some really shitty poems about relationships or whatever other shitty topics college students choose. (Side note: The Friz, Scout, and I only write really profound poetry). Finally, some kid, some boner of a kid with those intellectual glasses that were cool during the "blue" album from Weezer, reads lyrics from The Replacements. He finishes and says if you've never heard The Replacements, you can't consider yourself a human. Kewl dude! Whatever.

Friz laughs and looks at Scout and me. I know what he's thinking: this kid is trying to talk about rock ‘n’ roll, but little does boner-boy know that he is sitting in front of three of the greatest rawk journalists of all time.

Timidly, Scout raises his hand and says, "Hey dude, I bet you didn't know The Replacements' first three albums and an EP will be reissued April 22 thanks to Rhino"

Boner-boy pushes up his glasses and stutters, but no one pays attention. The Friz takes Scout's momentum and runs, "Yeah, Scout, their debut album -- 1981's Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash - will be released with bonus demos and outtake versions of several songs."

Boner-boy tries to regain footing, "Well, um, what about their 1984 release, Let it Be? Some would say that is their most seminal record."

My turn, "Don't say seminal, you dildo. And yes, Let it Be along with Hootenanny and their EP Stink will all be released this spring. All, of course, will feature bonus material and whatnot."

"Ooooh. Owned!" shouts Scout. The trio high-fives, and then Scout, who now has quite clearly become an alcoholic, pulls out three PBR tall boys and we get to crackin'.

Surprise, Surprise… Amplive Gets To Release His Radiohead Remix Project After All

You have to wonder what the hell was going through Amplive's mind when he decided to release a collection of hip-hop reinterpretations of Radiohead's In Rainbows without even contacting them. Blogs all over the world started salivating all over themselves after the Oakland-based producer offered a free download of his Rainydayz Remixes mini-album in exchange for a forwarded purchase confirmation from Radiohead's W.A.S.T.E. store. Drool quickly turned to spit when they learned that Radiohead were pulling the plug on the project. How dare they! Don't they know that Del The Funky Homosapien laid down some rhymes on it!

Turns out that the two artists (or, more likely, their respective management teams) have established an agreement which will give Amplive permission to release his In Rainbows remixes for free to everyone. Guess Radiohead do approve of Del's rhymes and Amplive's beats after all! Oh happy day!

The album is available by clicking on this long string of words, dots and slashes:

http://www.onesevensevensix.com/amplive/index.html

All sarcasm and futile attempts at wit aside, the disc is actually quite good, and also features collaborations with members of Jurassic 5 and Zion I. As they would say on Yo Gabba Gabba -- "Try it! You'll like it! Try it! You'll Like It!"

An Asthmatic Kitty DVD Featuring Sufjan Stevens, Castanets, and Others Means It’s Always Six O’Clock and Tea-Time!

“'All right,' said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.”

Lewis Carroll's famous passage about the sly existentialist Cheshire Cat is well known; his one about the Asthmatic Kitty is less so (apparently it was due to appear in the aborted Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland sequel Alice: Back 2 Wunderland, Yo!):

“‘Achoo,’ said the Kitty, and this time it slowly exited the room chronically convulsing and coughing up colloid and some uncooked macaroni, a Hershey's Kiss wrapper, and a string of used dental floss that he had scavenged out of the kitchen garbage earlier in the day while his master was cooking up grilled cheese. It dragged its inflamed bronchial airway and arse out the door first, like it was getting ready to keel over and croak. Its departure was marred by a long stop for rest and water, some spasming, and a couple of puffs on its broncho-dilating inhaler. Finally, it disappeared from the room; upon leaving, it tried to muster up the effort to smile, but all that resulted was a rank and rancid kitty fart that was anything but cute and coy and that remained waaaaaay too long for anyone’s liking.”

Ah yes, pity the storied Asthmatic Kitty of yore, but do not for one minute turn a sympathetic eye toward the superb label that shares its peculiar moniker. Asthmatic Kitty -- home of Shapes and Sizes, Castanets, Half-handed Cloud, and “someone named Sufjan” -- would never put on such a degrading display. The imprint spins class, as evidenced from its super strong vinyl and CD releases -- and now its DVDs. The first-ever Asthmatic Kitty DVD is called Encyclopedia Asthmatica, Volume 1, and as you would expect, it is cobbled together with the care and love that is synonymous with the close-knit group of musical friends.

The visual compendium has box art and stop-animation menus designed by do-no-wrong fine/video artists Zack and Gala Bent, a performance by the think/dance collective to the music of Half-handed Cloud, stop-gap music arrangements by the truly talented Rafter (Roberts), and videos and live performances featuring appearances by a good amount of the AK roster of bands, artists, friends, hangers-on, and most certainly a YouTube video contest winner thrown in for good measure too.

The DVD is set for release March 4 but is available for a limited, slightly cheaper pre-order price through Secretly Canadian here.

Aaaccchhhoooooommmeeeooowww:

1. Bunky - “Hippopotamus (live, SXSW 2005)”
2. Bunky - “Baba”
3. Bunky - “Space Alien”
4. Castanets - “A Song Is Not the Song of the World”
5. Castanets - “Smallest Bones”
6. Castanets - “Good Friend, Yr Hunger (live, SXSW 2007)”
7. Half-Handed Cloud - “You Wouldn’t Embarrass Me Would You?”
8. Half-Handed Cloud - “Tongues Possess the Earth Instead”
9. Half-Handed Cloud - think/dance collective performance
10. Liz Janes - “Jesus Is a Dying Bed Maker”
11. Liz Janes - “All the Pretty Horses”
12. My Brightest Diamond - “Freak Out!”
13. My Brightest Diamond - Live at Northsix
14. My Brightest Diamond - “Dragonfly”
15. My Brightest Diamond - “Gone Away”
16. My Brightest Diamond - “Magic Rabbit”
17. Rafter - “Adventurers”
18. Rafter - “ZZZPenchant”
19. Rafter - “Gentlemen”
20. Rafter - “Hope”
21. Rafter - “Monsters”
22. Rafter - “Encouragement”
23. Shapes and Sizes - “Teller/Seller”
24. Shapes and Sizes - “Jinker/That Fat Hand”
25. Shapes and Sizes - “Can’t Stop that (Sinking) Feeling”
26. Sufjan Stevens - “Jacksonville (live, Calvin college 2007)”
27. Sufjan Stevens - “Palm Sunday Tornado Hits Crystal Lake”
28. Sufjan Stevens - “The Undivided Self (for Eddie & Popo)”
29. Sufjan Stevens - “The Vivian Girls Are Visited in the Night by Saint Dargarius and His Squadron of Benevolent Butterflies”
30. Sufjan Stevens - “Put the Lights on the Tree”
31. The Curtains - “Go Lucky”
32. The Curtains - “Spinning Top”

Radiohead, Ever the Masters at Carrot-Dangling, Confirm North American Venues for May; August Dates Forthcoming

The coolest thing about Radiohead is how they announce their tourdates. First, they announce the European leg. Second, they announce just the cities they will play in North America. And now, they're only announcing May's North American venues, with the August venues still unannounced! Damn, they are so forward-thinking!

Expect artists like NIN, Blur, and the newly reformed Stone Temple Pilots (hey, they have a song called "Creep" too) to follow suit, but before then, you should get your Radiohead tickets. The pre-sale happens this Thursday, Valentine's Day. No pre-sale time has been announced -- nor are they expected to (again, so forward-thinking!) -- but we do know the tickets will go on sale here.

According to At Ease: "It has now been confirmed that the shows in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver will all take place in August 2008. Dates and venues for these cities will be announced later on."

Thom just re-posted the "Videotape" video here. And I'm posting the newly refreshed tourdates here:

Warner Music to Buy Now-Defunct Death Row Records, the Latter of Which Are Regretting That Name Choice

Remember when we were scared of the major record labels forming one huge conglomerate and sucking the life out of every profitable recording artist? These days, it's more like a melting blob, eating little people as it flails around the city, trying to survive. (I watch a lot of bad horror movies.)

For example: Warner Music has announced its intent to purchase the remaining assets of Death Row Records, which went under once the CEO spent a little too much time in the clink. Death Row filed for bankruptcy after Marion "Suge" Knight's excessive absences, and Warner swooped in on the upcoming auction with an initial bid to the tune of $25 billion. Want a 2Pac-alicious back catalogue for your very own? Beat that bid by a million or more on April 11, and you're all set. Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre can also be your very own for this nice price... come on, you know you want to. Besides, all Warner Music is gonna do is milk the shit out of these new assets until too many people start protesting the 2Pac Beanie Babies in Wal-Mart. You laugh now...

The Friz’s 50th TMT News Story Celebration Special Featuring Special Guest Jose Gonzalez Tour Info

For my 50th TMT News Story Anniversary, we initially had a whole party planned – cake, noise-makers, those pointy paper hats with garrote wire elastic chinstraps. That was until the TMT Central Planning Committee voted down the “ungreen” idea. Sending 50+ paper invitations by mail would have been kind of expensive, and plus no one had time to go to Party City for supplies. It was tentatively decided to put all events on hold, at least until the whole Tijuana fiasco blew over. Plus Mr P said that if Jose Gonzalez could figure out a way to make his upcoming North American tour bodaciously green, then why not us.

But Scout Leader Kyle (whose TMT legacy was celebrated a few weeks prior), Petya Romanov (whose legacy includes, but isn’t limited to, the various strands of the herpes virus currently circulating the office (TMT News), and I decided to go for it anyway.

Using inconceivably complex Google-like metrics to triangulate the closest rendezvous point, we met in Claysville, Pennsylvania at Allum's Family Restaurant off I-70. We managed to scrape up enough money from the TMT Petty Cash box for a decorative cake and some thruway trinket party favors.

Ordering round after round of dribbly black coffee in the coal-mining bosom of rural Appalachia, the meal could have been described as peaceful, even serene, by most standards. I picked at the remnants of my fried egg and cheese as we discussed Dreamcast, tourdate formatting, and titty bars.

“I mean, not to get too technical, but isn’t this really your 53rd story?” said Petya nervously eying his bike locked outside.

“Yeah, but this whole ‘green’ thing turned out to be such a hassle,” I responded. “It took a week to get my VW converted to bio-diesel. And stopping at the Cracker Barrel in Wilkes-Barre to fill up on fryer grease was such a hassle.”

“I don’t mind eating off biodegradable plates, but having to wipe with that brown paper bag TP? I’m not so sure,” chimed in Scout.

“I think this whole ‘green’ thing is all just a marketing ploy. I don’t buy it,” said Petya.

Silence rolled over the group in tacit agreement, already thinking of ways to make the next batch of tour news interesting and/or self indulgent.

Gail, who’d been dutifully replenishing the coffee all afternoon, came back to deliver the check.

“Why is this cake in the shape of a boner?”

$ Mountain Stage TV Taping
@ Mia Doi Todd

The Release Date for The New Boris Album Smile Is As Sound As A Bell

Boris have always been as strong as an ox, and being a metal band from Japan makes them as sweet as sake. The new album, Smile, is as tight as a drum and will be released like a snug bug in a rug April 29. Hopefully it's not dry as a bone.

The band is also releasing a limited 7-inch single February 26, and it'll include "Statement" from the album and a B-side called "Floorshaker," which if their past music is any indication will hopefully sound as bold as brass.

Make a Wish. Was It for Richard Villalobos to Make a Rare North American Appearance? Because It Has Come True! Oh, It Was for McDonald’s to Issue a Limited-Edition “Mac Tonight” Bobblehead? You Douchebag!

Ten things you don’t see often:
10. Halley’s Comet.
9. Nicole Ritchie and her boyfriend Karl Malden.
8. A romantic comedy that can be considered romantic or a comedy.
7. Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam.
6. Mr P shirtless (sigh...someday).
5. Iroc-Z limousines.
4. Life on mars.
3. Animal contact lenses. Or as I like to call them: "Animal-eyez!"
2. Boners in sweatpants.

1. Ricardo Villalobos in North America.

Talking to XLR8R’s Tony Ware in September 2007, the Chilean-born, Berlin-based, hugely-entertaining DJ Ricardo Villalobos said: “My whole life changed because of American politics, so it’s my way of protesting, of saying something against what is happening in Chile in 1973 or whatever is happening at the moment, is not to go to America. But I would like to have the feeling to go as someone invited for something important, something with joy, not something strange trying to invade. I really would like to come."

This personal boycott has resulted in Villalobos being an extremely rare sight to North American shores during the past decade. That will change for one night in March when Villalobos ("Townwolves" or “Housewolves,” if we were to translate his name hyper-literally and totally unnecessarily) comes across the Atlantic for a show. He will not be playing the United States, where his political snub remains in effect. Nor will he be playing Mexico, where he should be dead against that country’s policy of police-patrolling the beaches and stopping me from getting my bone on during a vacation there in 1997. Villalobos will be playing North America, though, in Montréal, Canada (“the Mexico of the North”) March 1, as part of the fifth annual “Nuit Electronik” at Metropolis. The Mutek and Piknic Electronik co-sponsored all-nighter will feature Villalobos spinning a headlining set as well as playing with fellow Chilean-born, Berlin-based DJ Dandy Jack (Martin Schopf) as “Ric y Martin” (geddit?).

Villalobos did say he would lift his embargo and would like to play the U.S. if he gets an appropriate and viable offer. So don't just sit there and slump further into your chasm of depression (read: your ratty futon) -- make him an offer! If you don't, you will simply have to make your way to “la belle province” to see the living legend of minimalist techno. If all else fails, feel free to celebrate the birthdays of the super hot Mark-Paul Gosselaar and the super cute Mary Lou Lord on March 1 anyway.

“Housewolves” with Dandy Jack, Ric Y Martin, DJ Poontz, Vincent Lemieux, Che Vi Che, and Bliss:
03.01.08 - Montréal, Quebec - Metropolis

MTV President Christina Norman Calls It Quits, Plans to Develop Reality Show Actually Based on Reality

Attention world! President Christina Norman has decided to quit her job at MTV (the worst thing to happen to music since "Freebird," with the possible exception of Woodstock ‘99). Honestly, nobody should care about this. MTV should have ceased being culturally relevant sometime in the late 1990s, yet has somehow maintained a firm grip on the United States youth. MTV has always managed to corrupt children, but some could argue that they were influencing a more expressive, artistic audience. Good luck convincing anybody that Celebreality (a concoction of Norman) has any redeeming inspirational or educational qualities.

Actually, I've already given Norman too much credit. MTV had long been heading to irrelevance before she took charge in 2005, eventually bringing us classics such as The Hills and A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila. I don't think she can be blamed for the continual downfall of the once great musical icon. Nobody can. MTV has become a cognizant being, perpetuating its own desires through human pawns that keep the public from becoming suspicious. While this theory is disputed by several scientists and gynecologists, several sophisticated computer models have been developed to predict MTVs future trajectory. While still confidential, the results are rumored to point to an elderly Roseanne Barr undergoing liposuction.

I performed a Turing test on a television set tuned to MTV, and while I was convinced for a short time that I was indeed speaking to a 12-year-old girl, the final results were inconclusive.

  

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