Check out Amazon's vinyl section here. I'm sure you saw the front page and cringed, or maybe you did a search and were disappointed. Either way, their shitty selection's not the point. Instead, Amazon's new vinyl push is yet another sign that vinyl is penetrating the mainstream again. Even corporate "indie"-style stores like Urban Outfitters sell turntables to hipsters. Shitty USB fuckin' devices with plastic platters, but turntables nonetheless.
But enough about the resurgence of popularity in collecting vinyl; let's talk about what to put on that turntable.
Suicide Squeeze, a Seattle label whose first release was a 7-inch and who has braggin' rights to say it has worked with Modest Mouse, Elliott Smith, and Minus the Bear, has just announced a new 7-inch series. The first artist is HEALTH, followed by Coathangers, School of Seven Bells, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and Dave Bazan (Pedro the Lion) sprinkled throughout the year. The Squeeze says it will be announcing more releases shortly.
Let's just hope you play them on a turntable that doesn't look like this.
7-inch release schedule:
- 02.19.08 - HEALTH “Perfect Skin” b/w “Perfect Skin Curses! Remix”
- 03.18.08 - The Coathangers “Shake Shake” b/w “Dreamboat”
- 04.08.08 - School of Seven Bells “Silent Grips” b/w “Used To” (Wire cover)
- 05.06.08 - Black Moth Super Rainbow Zodiac Girl” b/w TBA
- 11.04.08 - Dave Bazan - Songs TBA
Nebraska pop kids Tilly & the Wall seem like fun-loving, carefree people. They’ve got glockenspiels. They’ve got a designated tap dancer for their shows. They’re all great friends. But they write songs that, under the guise of sweet lovesick ditties, are actually a goldmine of practical help for everyday life. So, if this tour doesn’t pan out, they might have alluring futures in the home improvement or customer support industries:
- Problem #1: The ecstasy’s wearing off and you’re fucking BEAT.
Solution from “Nights of the Living Dead”: Pass out on your neighbor’s lawn.
- Problem #2: They didn’t have the first season of The Wire in at Blockbuster.
Solution from “Brave Day”: Predict and plan your funeral.
- Problem #3: Best friend drowning in the ocean.
Solution from “Reckless”: Get drunk and don’t worry about it.
All non-festival dates with Capgun Coup:
The dudes from The Pirate Bay go harder than anyone else in the game -- that much is undeniable. Still, they are not bulletproof. Piercing their near-invincibility (innate with being Swedish) is a new lawsuit at the hands of public prosecutors charging the torrent directory Dream Team with preparing and participating in copyright infringement. Like some sort of juiced-up Team America behemoth, the Pirate-hating coalition -- I guess you could call them ninjas -- consists of labels and studios, including Warner, MGM, Sony BMG, Columbia Pictures, and 20th Century Fox.
The defendants, then, are Pirate Bay operators Carl Lundstrom, Peter Sunde, Frederik Neij, and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg (not to be confused with Peter, Björn, or John). The charges reference only four computer games, nine movies, and 20 music files, but in this Red Scare/witch hunt hybrid, even "promoting other people's infringements of copyright laws" is potentially criminal. The Swedish prosecution team is demanding payment of 1.2 million Kronor, which I assume is a currency somewhere between Monopoly money and gold bricks, and if found guilty, the men could face up to two years in jail. Think prison in Sweden would be a cakewalk? Little known fact: HBO's Oz was based there.
Responding to all haters and potential lawsuits, the boys strike back on their site stating, "Only torrent files are saved at the server. That means no copyrighted and/or illegal material are stored by us. It is therefore not possible to hold the people behind The Pirate Bay responsible for the material that is being spread using the tracker. Any complaints from copyright and/or lobby organizations will be ridiculed and published at the site."
Apparently, 9,424,845 peers can, in fact, be wrong. John Kennedy, Chairman and CEO of the IFPI, said the Pirate Bay "managed to make Sweden, normally the most law abiding of EU countries, look like a piracy haven with intellectual property laws on a par with Russia," and went on to call the site "the international engine of illegal file-sharing." Argh, matey. We'll see who gets the booty.
Warning: The following is entirely fabricated, except for the parts about Grand Archives going on tour, John Stamos, and the ‘secret death knife.’
Last time we left The Indie and the Beautiful, Marty Crandall of The Shins was accused of domestic assault, the unpredictable (and foreign) Björk made her 37th attack on a reporter, and Vampire Weekend played "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" in a scene at the Peach Pit. This week, we follow Mat Brooke, former guitarist and vocalist of Carissa's Weird and former guitarist for Band of Horses.
While cruisin' the strip with club kids Brian Austin Green, Screech, and James St. James, Brooke and his new band Grand Archives have a run-in with Ben Bridwell, lead singer and guitarist of Band of Horses, at Club White People. Even though he once said he was cool with Mat leaving "his" band, Ben suddenly pushes Mat into an ice cream truck.
He calls Matt a "no good for nothin', sellin' out pussy." Mat's Grand Archives crew tries to break up the fight, but instead they have to rush Brian Austin Green to a hospital after he took too much ecstasy.
"Duder, I'm not going to fight you," says Mat as he suddenly punches Ben in the grease stain where his groin used to be.
[After a few other side stories, including Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jens Lekman's relationship on the rocks, we come back to the showdown outside of Club White People.]
John Stamos climbs out of a limo to break up the fight, just like in every other episode. Stamos says that it's not how many records you sell or how many floozies you sleep with (he says this shit every time), but what counts is how well we play music from our hearts. As Stamos starts to play his version of The Beach Boys' "Forever," Mat shouts at Screech to throw him the ‘secret death knife.’ "Screech, throw me the secret death knife!"
Mat catches the knife midair, and then in one singular motion he stabs Ben in the heart. "You're a ghost now, old friend," says Mat as he tosses the bloody knife back to Screech.
"Stamos, put a Forkcast in him, because this mutha is done."
Tonight's episode featured music from Grand Archives. You can buy their self-titled album February 19, released by Sub Pop, and you can see them
on tour at the following dates:
Next week on The Indie and the Beautiful:
- Is Cat Power pregnant with Wolf Parade's Babies?
- Will Times New Roman defuse the Baker Street bomb on time?
- Will Aesop Rock ask Devendra Banhart to marry him?
- Does anyone really give a shit?
One part of that headline is true, anyway. Minnesota Public Radio's program Weekend America must have some kinda magic fingers, because who else can ask Mountain Goats to write a Super Tuesday song for them? I wish I had that kind of power. Salutes to the MGs for remaining non-partisan, though John Darnielle's distaste for hypocrisy and deals with the Devil may rule out a couple of candidates. The song is entitled "Down to the Ark," and you can listen to it here.
"Down to the Ark" by The Mountain Goats
The candidates met up in North Dakota
And they donned their black robes there in the chapel hall
They said a brief invocation to their cloven-hoofed prince
And they signed their names in blood on the vestry wall
In Christ you know there's neither high nor low
And the void will claim all creatures small or bright
Seal up the borders or let everybody in
In the order of the serpent, there'll be neither left nor right
And we pull down our blindfolds
And we reach out for the lever in the dark
Get a sticker for our shirts as we head into the sun
Proudly bearing the mark
Headed down to the ark
The applicants went down to Oklahoma
And they hired an accent coach to teach them the western twang
And several post-born babies learned the hard way:
Vampires only kiss you if they've sharpened up their fangs
And as Minnesota fell, so went Missouri
We met at VFWs in the snow
And we voted down the tax codes, and we voted down the war
So many names to choose from, just one way to go.
NASA Sends The Beatles’ “Across the Universe” Across the Galaxy, Leaves Actual Space Exploration to the Russians
Well, America, this is what we are paying federal taxes for, huh?
Today, NASA (that's America's National Aeronautics and Space Association, for all you commie spies taking notes) will officially demonstrate to the entire universe that it is little more than a pack of aging hippies when it spends valuable time and highly-paid resources broadcasting The Beatles' song ''Across the Universe'' across the galaxy to Polaris, the North Star.
Apparently desperate to immortalize themselves as the greatest generation just one more time, NASA logged onto their roommate's computer while he was at “some pledge thing” and uploaded an MP3 of the four-minute song (possibly from Kazaa?). NASA will transmit it digitally tonight at 6 PM from its giant antenna in Madrid, Spain -- FCC be damned, man! But if you wanted to hear it on Polaris, you would need an XM subscription or something, and who wants to pay for that every month?
In case you were wondering, this first-ever beaming of a radio song by the space agency directly into deep space commemorates a variety of boring occasions, including the 40th anniversary of the song, the 45th anniversary of NASA's Deep Space Network (which communicates with its distant probes, don't'cha know) and the 50th anniversary of Old Man NASA.
But just in case your dad thinks he will actually live to see the day when we and a bunch of deep space aliens all come together over John Lennon and shit, you can dash his hippie hopes with some good ol' pro-establishment physics. See, even though the song will be turning off its mind, relaxing, and floating downstream at the speed of light, it will still take 431 years traveling a long and winding road to reach its final destination. That's because Polaris is 2.5 quadrillion miles away (yes, apparently that IS a real number).
The idea came from Martin "The Martian" Lewis, a Los Angeles-based Beatles historian whose nickname I just invented, who then got permission from McCartney, Yoko Ono, and the two companies that own the rights to The Beatles' music. One of those companies, Apple, was happy to approve the idea because it's ''always looking for new markets,'' Lewis said. Lewis and Apple all then proceeded to place jester hats on their heads and take LSD together.
As usual, Paul McCartney just so happened to be on hand to deliver his usual cheeky pull-quotes and pretend like he had anything to do with Lennon's inner-peace anthem: ''Send my love to the aliens,'' McCartney told NASA through a Beatles historian. ''All the best, Paul.''
Coincidentally enough, the song's "launching" comes a day before the release of the DVD of the Julie Taymor movie, Across the Universe, named after the Beatles hit, which, like NASA's half-baked plan, was also a huge waste of time and resources.
There. I said it.
Ask Travis Morrison a question!
The FCC Does a Bunch of Drugs, Gets Confused, Gets Upset at Comcast for Hindering BitTorrent Traffic
Since Bush's final State of the Union address was kind of a "just kidding!" in comparison to these last four years, it does make a little more sense that the FCC would also be instructed to make a last-ditch effort to save face. But this shit is just a barrel of monkeys: The FCC, as you may recall, recently threw the American public a few zingers like snooping in your phone conversations, e-mails, etc. Their latest bag of tricks contains an investigation to determine whether or not internet/cable provider Comcast is knowingly slowing downloads and uploads conducted through BitTorrent file-sharing software. The Associated Press has already dug up the facts and are voting yes (yeah, I went there) on the question of whether or not Comcast is throwing a wrench in there, but the internet provider is still maintaining a unified front of "nuh uh."
I don't know if I really need to further explain why this situation is kinda Twilight Zone, but since I'm writing and you're presumably reading, let's lay out the facts. What do people use BitTorrent for? The sharing of large files, of course. And what is a large file usually comprised of? Music, movies, TV shows, porn... all of which is presumably copyrighted material. So why is the FCC looking to protect the rights of Internet subscribers using this service? Aside from the remote possibility that chairman Kevin Martin has declared war on all major record labels who refuse to strong-arm their artists into writing songs dedicated to the Coolest Government Agency Ever, I'm at a loss.
I know your lease is almost up, dudes, but we're not that stupid. I do applaud your efforts, though. You can go wash those peace signs off your cheeks now; I know your old college buddies are making fun of you.
Hey, it's me, a newswriter. Got something steaming fresh to tell you about, and let me tell you, well, about it, um. It's about music. By definition, this is music news: and here it comes. News item news
item, you have been chosen -- for recognition. You will be placed on the ‘net, and you will be silently absorbed. Bye bye, little news item. I did my best.
Got a good one ready for today. Gonna take that tourdate, that collection of tourdates, going to first get it all formatted, let's see here...
and that's that; let's get on to the good stuff. The stuff a news story requires. Info. Information about dates, these perfectly formatted dates. The band that goes with these dates is of course The Twilight Sad, and in a couple seconds, I will produce a laugh riot by taking the word "twilight" and combining it with "sad" in a way that's just downright hilarious. The story will pretty much write itself once I think of the perfect premise that I'm just inches away from announcing in my head and then into your home.
Yes, the story is going to be a good one. It's going to have laughs. It's going to have info. Just tons of info. It's going to gain some respect for TMT. Like we're really "gettin' it down now." That's what all the blogs'll say. The blogosphere. It's going to just take you down, probably one swoop, with just the title alone. So there's laughs coming, there's information, there's music behind it all, and I guess I'd just like you to sit back and enjoy yourself while I deliver the news report of a lifetime. Take it away: