Obama Nominates Pro-Net Neutrality Dude as FCC Chief, HUZZAH!

President Obama has nominated lawyer/techie Julius Genachowski as FCC Chief this past Tuesday, March 3rd. Genachowski was a fellow Harvard Law classmate, and perhaps former beer pong partner, of President Obama and served as Obama’s lead tech advisor during the campaign.

Genachowski's nomination has made supporters of net neutrality quite pleased, and there are high hopes for telecoms to get the smack down laid upon them as to what they can and cannot do. Thus, those big wigs at Comcast (TMT News) may be a little grumpy, as it would seem that the nomination of Genachowski might hinder their dream of a world where peers are throttled to dial-up speeds on their transfers.

Gigi Sohn, president of net neutrality organization Public Knowledge, seems pretty stoked about the nomination. "As the architect of President-elect Obama’s Technology and Innovation Plan, it is clear that he understands the importance of open networks and a regulatory environment that promotes innovation and competition to a robust democracy and a health economy."

Of course, senior ranks in the much more powerful Justice Department are being filled by pro-copyright lawyers, so things are sorta up in the air -- but once the Senate confirms Genachowski, the sun might start to shine at least a little brighter on the internet.

I Need a Fix Cuz I’m Going Down… Oh, The Beatles: Rock Band?? That’ll Do Nicely.

Okay nerds, you win: The music of the Beatles will arrive as a painfully nostalgic, interactive video game for the first time on September 9, 2009, when The Beatles: Rock Band hits stores all over North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The game, which will be available for Xbox, PlayStation 3, and Wii, “takes players on a journey through the legacy and evolution of the band’s legendary career.” Or, at least, it does according to the hippy-dippy press release distractedly issued by the title’s cash-high creators, Apple Corps, Harmonix, and MTV Games. Somewhat oddly, no playlist has been announced, nor has any word about specific venues and avatars (whatever those are, right?). There will, however be a limited number of instruments issued that are modeled after guitars, basses, and drums used by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and... uh, who was that fourth guy? Regular Rock Band peripherals will be compatible, too. Once again, to that I say: whatever those are.

But wait, there’s more! Three separate offerings will be released on the dawn of this new British Invasion: the straight-up software for The Beatles: Rock Band; assuredly cheesed-out standalone guitars; and a limited-edition premium bundle that will presumably include the game and, presumably, some array of instruments and garish memorabilia. Additionally, if you are the kind of lonely, ’60s-culture-adopting, kinda-chubby-because-you-haven’t-quite-blossomed-yet-but-you-will-and-once-you-do-you-won’t-care-about-this-hippie-stuff-anymore-because-you-won’t-need-that-kind-of-instant-cool-crutch type of high school kid who is into pre-ordering now, the game’s makers claim that there’s some mysterious exclusive content reserved for those who reserve the game in advance through major retailers over the next few months. The game’s official Website is active and, unlike the real Beatles organization, promises updates.

And speaking of those darned Beatles, McCartney, Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison are all backing the game, which is being overseen by Love co-producer Giles “Under-achiever and Proud of it” Martin.

Rumors that Beatles music would finally be transformed into its ultimate incarnation of digitized nostalgic-kitsch first fired up in June 2008, after insiders speculated that the appearance of the Fab Four’s music in American Idol, the [worst] film [in recent history besides Lady In the Water] Across the Universe, and the Cirque du Soleil Love production indicated Apple Corps might be willing to loosen their famously tight grip on the band’s catalog. In October 2008, the game’s makers made it official, announcing, “This game will take you on a journey from the Beatles first album Please Please Me until the last album at Abbey Road.” Well, hot damn. The only difference? The Beatles really knew how to play those guitars. But no, it’s cool. This is cool. You’re gonna be famous some day if you buy this thing. Really.

As previously reported (TMT News), David Bryne is yet again extending his transcontinental reign of electro-gospel all over Europe’s concert halls this spring. He will be playing a variety of material, including songs from his newest album Everything that Happens will Happen Today (TMT Review), the nearly 30-year-old collaboration with Brian Eno on three Talking Heads albums, and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Eno won't join Byrne, as he's too busy producing, twittering, and protesting

03.09.09 - Düsseldorf, Germany - Tonhalle
03.10.09 - Antwerp, Belgium - Koningin Elisabethzaal (QEH)
03.12.09 - Hamburg, Germany CCH2 - Congress Centrum
03.14.09 - Frankfurt, Germany Alte Oper
03.16.09 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Falkoner Theatre
03.17.09 - Stockholm, Sweden - Cirkus
03.19.09 - Oslo, Norway - Sentrum Scene
03.20.09 - Malmo, Sweden - Concert House
03.22.09 - Hannover, Germany - Theater am Aegi
03.23.09 - Berlin, Germany - Tempodrom
03.24.09 - Utrecht, Netherlands - MC Vredenburg
03.25.09 - Paris, France - L'Olympia
03.27.09 - Bristol, England - Colston Hall
03.29.09 - Birmingham, England - Symphony Hall Birmingham
03.30.09 - Manchester, England - Bridgewater Hall
03.31.09 - Glasgow, Scotland - Royal Concert Hall
04.01.09 - Gateshead, England - The Sage
04.03.09 - Liverpool, England - Philharmonic Hall
04.04.09 - Sheffield, England - City Hall
04.06.09 - Dublin, Eire - National Concert Hall
04.07.09 - Belfast, N. Ireland - Belfast Waterfront
04.09.09 - Oxford, England - New Theatre Oxford
04.11.09 - Nottingham, England - Royal Centre
04.12.09 - London, England - Royal Festival Hall
04.13.09 - London, England - Royal Festival Hall
04.14.09 - Brighton, England - Brighton Dome
04.16.09 - Stuttgart, Germany - Hegelsaal
04.17.09 - Zürich, Switzerland - Volkshaus Zürich
04.19.09 - Senigallia, Italy - La Fenice
04.20.09 - Verona, Italy - Teatro Filarmonico
04.21.09 - Milan, Italy - Auditorium Dal Verme
04.22.09 - Modena, Italy - Teatro Comunale
04.24.09 - Barcelona, Spain - Palau de la Müsica Catalana
04.26.09 - Oviedo, Spain - Auditorio Príncipe Felipe
04.27.09 - Madrid, Spain - Teatro Lope de Vega
04.28.09 - Lisbon, Portugal - Coliseo

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept it: To Hightail Your Caboose to Iowa City’s Mission Creek Festival to See The Mountain Goats, GZA, No Age, and Beach House. This Faceless Headline Writer Will Self-Destruct in Five Seconds.

April Fool’s Day: a time for merry pranksters to wreak havoc on unsuspecting targets using such simpleton tricks like placing plastic wrap under a toilet seat or black paint on a telephone’s earpiece and proving that the main requirement to executing a flawless April Fool’s joke is having hands. Hell, even we pulled a fast one a couple of years ago, much to the delight of all who read it then angrily wrote about it on their blahgs like a bunch of suckhole babies when it was revealed a prank. Yes, good fun can be had on April 1, but the day can be a cruel mistress -- one minute you could be laughing uncontrollably at a friend chewing on dirt flavored gum, the next it could be you who is the April Fool, lying naked in a pool of asbestos fiber with your buttocks duct-taped together.

Why not avoid this possibility and load up your IROC-Z with cases of Rockstar, change your road music (I suggest “Easy Lover” by Phil Collins and Phillip Bailey... that CD, even when dangling from your rearview mirror as an ornament, just eats up the open road!) and head to a little place people refer to as “the nation’s neckfold” on April 1 for a music festival! Years from now, when you are warming your hands over a flaming oil drum beside your cardboard shantytown under a concrete overpass, you don’t want to admit that you passed on the opportunity to see The Mountain Goats, Beach House, No Age, and The Wu-Tang Clan’s resident Genius, GZA, all of whom will be playing the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City!

Yes, Iowa City (never once referred to as “the nation’s neckfold”) knows how good it’s got it, and from April 1-4 it will host and boast during a celebration of its cultural prowess with an impressive lineup of musical and literary acts. I pity the fool who dismisses this latest confirmed Mission Creek music lineup, which unlike clock radio speakers, is anything but weak:

GZA/Genius (performing Liquid Swords), The Mountain Goats, Beach House, No Age, John Vanderslice, Fruit Bats, Headlights, Bowerbirds, The Tallest Man on Earth, Simon Joyner, Diplomats of Solid Sound, El Paso Hot Button, These United States, Caleb Engstrom, Porno Galactica, Fulton Lights, Golden Birds, Anavan, Cartright, Pieta Brown, The Hood Internet, The Western Front, Escape the Floodwater Jug Band, Roommate, The Brown Note, Birth Rites, Mannix!, School of Flyentology, Joe Pug, Ill Ease, The Pack A.D., David Zollo and The Body Electric, The Gglitch, Shame Train, Dead Larry, and Petit Mal.

Writers are just like musicians, except without music or personalities. Hey, I’m talking about myself only here! My deficiencies aside, nothing should not dissuade you from catching some REAL lit heroes at Mission Creek, who are all wonderful and charismatic and talented: Edmund White, Charlie D’Ambrosio, Steven Kuusisto, Andrew Milward, Mark Leidner, Steve Hanson, and folks representing Forklift: Ohio, whose publication subtitle is “A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety.” See? I told you there are going to be good times had by all!

The Boy Least Likely To Release New Album, Tour UK

English indie pop duo The Boy Least Likely To released their latest album, The Law of the Playground this week on iTunes, with physical versions expected in the UK March 9 and in U.S. April 14. If you act quickly and pre-order the album from the Rough Trade Shop, you’ll receive a bonus disc, in which the band joins the illustrious tradition of Limp Bizkit and cover George Michael’s “Faith.” And hell, they’ll also throw in a collection of B-sides and rarities.

The band launches a Tour of The Playground across the UK this month in support of their album.

03.16.09 - Leeds, UK - The Cockpit
03.17.09 -Manchester, UK - Night and Day Cafe
03.18.09 - Glasgow, UK - King Tuts
03.19.09 - Newcastle, UK - The Cluny
03.20.09 - Nottingham, UK - The Bodega Social Club
03.23.09 - Brighton, UK - Audio
03.24.09 - Bristol, UK - Louisiana
03.25.09 - Southampton, UK - The Joiners
03.26.09 - London, UK - Cargo

The Law of the Playground tracklisting:

1. Saddle Up
2. Balloon on a Broken String
3. When Life Gives Me Lemons I Make Lemonade
4. I Box Up All the Butterflies
5. The Boy With Two Hearts
6. Stringing Up Conkers
7. The Boy Least Likely To Is a Machine
8. Whiskers
9. Every Goliath Has Its David
10. The Nature of the Boy Least Likely To
11. I Keep Myself to Myself
12. The Worm Forgives the Plough
13. A Fairytale Ending

Here’s a question for you: why did the Chinese government ban Oasis’ dates in Shanghai and Beijing in April?

A. Because Noel Gallagher played at a “Free Tibet” concert in the United States in 1997.

B. The Chinese President, Hu Jintao, thinks Noel is a douche.

C. The Chinese promoter ran out of money.

D. At a high-level meeting of the Chinese Communist Party, it was decided that they couldn’t possibly allow a band to play in their country, whose most recent album only received a 4.9 from Pitchfork.

If you answered A and/or C, then you are correct (although B would be perfectly understandable and D merely proof of Pitchfork’s diabolical plan for global domination over, err, music critique).

The reasons for the cancellation of Oasis’ gigs are mysterious to say the least. At first, it appeared the Chinese government was pissed off at Noel’s appearance at a “Free Tibet” event on Randall’s Island in New York in 1997. This led to an equally pissed off Oasis, who argued in a statement that “the licensing and immigration process for the two shows had been fully and successfully complied with well before the shows went on sale.”

The next day, however, a promoter from Beijing All Culture Communication Co Ltd telephoned Reuters to say the gigs were cancelled because of the “tough economic situation.” This was backed up by the Chinese Foreign Ministry -- although spokesman Qin Gang said the government was still investigating.

Nevertheless, it seems quite clear the Chinese government is up to its old tricks again. Oasis claim their promoter is Ticketmaster China and “the shows had each already sold in excess of 3,500 tickets and were on course to sell out.” Which doesn’t correspond with the Beijing All Culture Communication Co Ltd promoter’s version of events (apparently, this event company usually “promotes more ballet and traditional Chinese concerts than rock concerts”…).

Despite the Chinese spin and fairly pathetic attempts to save face, I can’t help but think the government has done its citizens a massive favor here. Oasis haven’t been good in over 10 years; the last thing the Chinese need are a bunch of obnoxious, loud-mouthed Brits playing crappy music on their home soil. Now we just need Obama to follow this excellent example and ban Coldplay’s U.S. tour in July!
03.18.09 - Nagoya, Japan - Nihon Gaishi Hall
03.20.09 - Tokyo, Japan - Makuhari Messe Hall 8
03.22.09 - Sapporo, Japan - Makomanai Ice Arena
03.24.09 - Osaka, Japan - Intex Osaka
03.25.09 - Osaka, Japan - Intex Osaka
03.28.09 - Tokyo, Japan - Makhuari Messe Hall 9
03.29.09 - Tokyo, Japan - Makuhari Messe Hall 9
04.01.09 - Seoul, South Korea - Olympic Gym 1

04.03.09 - Beijing, China - Beijing Capital Arena
04.05.09 - Shanghai, China - Shanghai Grand Stage

04.07.09 - Hong Kong, China - AsiaWorld Arena
04.10.09 - Johannesburg, South Africa - Newmarket Racecourse
04.13.09 - Cape Town, South Africa - Cape Town Ostrich Farm
06.04.09 - Manchester, England - Heaton Park
06.06.09 - Manchester, England - Heaton Park
06.07.09 - Manchester, England - Heaton Park
06.10.09 - Sunderland, England - Stadium of Light
06.12.09 - Cardiff, Wales - Millennium Stadium
06.17.09 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Murrayfield
06.20.09 - Slane, Ireland - Slane Castle
07.02.09 - Werchter, Belgium - Rock Werchter Festival
07.03.09 - Roskilde, Denmark - Roskilde Festival
07.09.09 - London, England - Wembley Stadium
07.11.09 - London, England - Wembley Stadium
07.12.09 - London, England - Wembley Stadium
07.14.09 - Cornwall, England - Eden Project
07.16.09 - Castellón, Spain - Benicàssim Festival
07.19.09 - Gräfenhainichen, Germany - Melt Festival
08.22.09 - Staffordshire, England - V Festival
08.23.09 - Chelmsford, England - V Festival

Grizzly Bear Announce New LP Date and Tour, No Longer Mysterious

Grizzly Bear were still a bit of an enigma when Yellow House (TMT Review) was released. And then I saw Edward Droste's Twitter. It was enthralling to get album updates -- a children's choir! mastering! title announcing! -- until I saw a photo of guitarist Daniel Rossen sitting at a kitchen table like a normal person. This reminded me that artists are also people, and the mystery quickly vanished.

The new album, titled a not-so-pronounceable Veckatimest, was named after a Massachusetts "pretty speck of island" that was occupied by the band during the recording process. Chris Taylor produced, and guests include Nico Muhly and Victoria LeGrand of Beach House fame. Warp Records will drop it May 26.

Artistic distance = restored.

Veckatimest tracklist:

1. Southern Point
2. Two Weeks
3. All We Ask
4. Fine for Now
5. Cheerleader
6. Dory
7. Ready, Able
8. About Face
9. Hold Still
10. While You Wait for the Others
11. I Live With You
12. Foreground

And the tourdates:
05.24.09 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theatre
05.25.09 - George, WA - Sasquatch Festival
05.26.09 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore
05.28.09 - New York City, NY - Town Hall
05.29.09 - New York City - Town Hall
06.01.09 - Washington DC - 930 Club
06.02.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero
06.03.09 - Boston, MA - Berkley Performance Center
06.04.09 - Montreal, QUE - Le National
06.05.09 - Toronto ON - Phoenix
06.07.09 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
06.08.09 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre
06.09.09 - Bloomington, IN - Buskirk-Chumley
06.11.09 - Carrboro, NC - Cats Cradle
06.12.09 - Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo
06.13.09 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle *
06.15.09 - Dallas, TX - Grenada
06.16.09 - Austin, TX - The Parish
06.19.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern
06.21.09 - San Francisco, CA - Fillmore

* TV On The Radio

Shellac Tour – Whatever You Think That “Means” to You, Albini Wants You to Know That You’re WRONG

According to the Touch and Go website, “there is no specific coordination between Shellac's record releases and touring schedules.” The somewhat churlish “band bio” section for the famed Chicago noise-rock trio goes on to explain that “you can expect the band to tour at its usual sporadic and relaxed pace.” Man, when it comes to Steve Albini, Bob Weston, and Todd Trainer, “touch and go” is right.

But regardless, apparently the stars are all aligned or whatever, because the band is back in all of its glorious full-force-nonchalance for a -- you guessed it -- “sporadic” and “relaxed” bout of U.S. and European Spring tourdates. Man, Shellac, if only I could pull this kind of assumptive noncomitance with the girls I meet!

Oh, and guess what? Yeah, they’re not supporting a new release! Or are they? No, they’re not... right?? Hmm. Either way, I’d better not think about it for too much longer, because that might make me a “corporate rock whore” or something. It’s bad enough that this whole article is fucking DIGITAL.

Shellac Spring dates:
05.13.09 - Groningen, Netherlands - Vera
05.14.09 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
05.16.09 - Minehead, United Kingdom - Butlins Holiday Center (ATP Festival)
05.17.09 - Minehead, United Kingdom - Butlins Holiday Center (ATP Festival)
05.29.09 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival
06.11.09 - Seattle, WA - Vera Project
06.13.09 - Portland, OR - Berbati's Pan
06.14.09 - Portland, OR - Berbati's Pan
06.15.09 - Eugene, OR - W.O.W Hall
06.17.09 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
06.18.09 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
06.20.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex
06.21.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Echoplex
06.25.09 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater

Look Out for High Speed Dove Droppings on April 7

Listen up, hipster trash. I don't want to hear it. Doves is a great band that carefully construct soaring melodies, lush arrangements, and make Panopticon-sized moody Britpop listenable again. Their 2000 album Lost Souls still slays me and keeps me cozy between Spiritualized releases. Shit, Doves is so much better than that Lykke Ting Tings crap you all have been listening to. So do something with that sneer of yours and see what the group is offering for once.

The NME, who generally relish in hyperbole (but I'll listen anyway), are calling Kingdom of Rust, Doves' latest, "their most sonically adventurous, intimate, cerebral, propulsive album to date." Sounds good to me. Kingdom of Rust drops April 7 courtesy of Astralwerks.

The first single, "Jetstream," certainly showcases a more rhythmically-focused, halfway-to-motorik, almost dance-oriented approach than what you've heard from Doves in the past. But it's no club banger -- headphone technology is certainly recommended.

Speaking of jet streams, I learned the other day that the jet stream's wind speeds in the troposphere average around 300 MPH. Ain't that some shit? See, you can't say you never learned anything from TMT.

Kingdom of Rust tracklisting:

1. Jetstream
2. Kingdom of Rust
3. The Outsiders
4. Winter Hill
5. 10.03
6. The Greatest Denier
7. Birds Flew Backwards
8. Spellbound
9. Compulsion
10. House of Mirrors
11. Lifelines

05.14.09 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
05.15.09 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
05.16.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
05.18.09 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
05.19.09 - Eugene, OR - McDonald Theatre
05.21.09 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
05.22.09 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
05.23.09 - George, WA - Sasquatch! Festival
05.26.09 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre
05.28.09 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theatre
05.29.09 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
05.30.09 - Detroit, MI - Majestic Theatre
06.01.09 - Toronto, ON - Kool Haus
06.02.09 - Montreal, QC - Le National
06.04.09 - New York, NY - Terminal 5
06.05.09 - Philadelphia, PA - The Trocadero
06.06.09 - Washington, DC - 9.30 Club
06.07.09 - Boston, MA - House of Blues

Universal Music Holds D- Online Auction for A+ Cause!

Okay, to avoid any misunderstandings, let’s not joke around here for a minute: The TJ Martell Foundation, a group of music industry executives, artists, and supporters dedicated to finding a cure for leukemia, cancer, and AIDS, has teamed up with Universal Music to help raise money in the form of an online eBay auction. This, of course is an outstanding and magnificently worthy cause, and as such, Universal has seen fit to donate a sizable cache of music memorabilia.

Okay, now that we all understand each other... Check out this ludicrous list of gross and/or absurd items topping the bill for this auction!

- Autographed Jon Bon Jovi Fender Stratocaster Guitar
- Autographed Maroon 5 Fender Squire Stratocaster Guitar
- Stratocaster Guitar Signed by 3 Doors Down
- Autographed Nickelback Fender Stratocaster Guitar
- Kelly Clarkson autographed My December CD
- Kings of Leon autographed Youth & Young Manhood CD
- And many more!

Woof. Poor Maroon 5 had to autograph a Squire Strat?? And for god's sakes, couldn’t K-Claw have signed her good record?! (You know, Breakaway?)

Anyway, there is a whole slew of items available at the actual auction site, and donations are always excepted through the foundation’s website, so please check everything out for yourself. Also, banners for the auction are available here. So, you know, the least you could do is throw one of those up there, even if you aren’t in the market for any Nickelback gear.