Owen Tours, Sponsored by… Someone… Wait Give Me a Sec… Ah, Here It Is

Chicago’s Mike Kinsella has released four proper LPs under the Owen label, LPs that contain the kind of music that companies like Coca-Cola, Disney, McDonald's, Pfizer, Kraft Foods, Marlboro, Johnson & Johnson, Honda, and Mars Inc support wholeheartedly. You see, on top of making delicious snack foods, cigarettes, medicines, toys, shampoos, and one-minute macaroni and cheeses, these companies also shine their flavor-giving light on independent music. It’s no coincidence that every morning when I drink my Chock Full o’Nuts Coffee and eat my Cheerios with Craisins sprinkled on top, I also listen to independent music. Independent music like Owen. Which is why it makes me so glad he’s touring.

# Casey Baker & The Buffalo Sinners, Paper Rival

$ Unwed Sailor, Brooke Waggoner

Daily Shocker: BitTorrent Is Hot Like Fiya!

New data is pouring in and trickling down at professional pirate headquarters, TorrentFreak. The reports are largely positive, but that, of course, is all relative to which side you're on. For big business and "anti-piracy outfits" -- for instance, the infamous RIAA and the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) -- things look bleak. In a breakdown of the Top 25 torrent sites as of March 27, TorrentFreak is noting "explosive growth," with 21 of the piracy-aiding websites moving up in the rankings according to Alexa, the web information company that lists the top 500 sites globally.

The Pirate Bay, no stranger to threats and even litigation (TMT News), has seen an approximately 40% rise in traffic over the past three months. Elsewhere, sites like Torrentz.ws, Torrentvalley.com, and Newtorrents.info have also experienced large jolts in their online popularity. Mininova.org, the most popular torrent site, has jumped ten places to become the 53rd most popular site on the internet as of March 2008.

This is all in the face of a "crackdown" on illegal downloading, with many U.S. universities, for example, being targeted by wide-reaching litigation letters. Is it starfish that regenerate limbs? Hydra-heads? Lizard tales grow back, right? What's that one game -- whack-a-mole? Yeah.

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

Here's the top 10. You can check out the rest of the list here.

Japanese File-Sharers May Soon Lose Internet Access, Linux Distribution Expected to Halt

How does Japan always manage to beat the United States to anything remotely related to technology? Face it, whether it's sweet cellphone credit cards or the heralded replacement to the original Xbox controller, Japan has the USA licked. And now in 2008, Japan rolls out its latest and greatest announcement in the technology field: threats to file-sharers!

Yes, the four major ISP providers in Japan reportedly plan on implementing a system to track illegal file-sharing among its users. They plan to send e-mail warnings to first-time offenders, eventually escalating to account termination if the user continues sharing files. TorrentFreak reports that the number of Japanese file-sharers has increased by 180% in a single year. That's a lot of J-pop floating around in those tubes.

Representatives for the ISPs quickly responded to the reports, claiming that no current plan exists to punish file-sharers; however, the ISP providers and the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers, and Publishers (or JARSAC!!!!!! JARSAC CANNON ACTIVATE BREAOOWOW PPOWP POW!) plan to meet in April to discuss the possibilities.

Next up on Japan's docket: The much-anticipated response to America's Thrillhammer EC01.

Transmodern Festival 2008 Will Piss You Off

Don't like avant performance? Hate installations? Distaste sound? Have an aversion to film? Can't stand mayhem?? Loathe ecstasy?? Wish radical culture never existed??? Boy do I have a fest that'll get your goat, upset your apple-cart, ruffle your feathers, foam, mouth, bee, bonnet, etc.! It's called Transmodern Festival (Live.Art.Action), and it's running April 3-6 in Baltimore.

Tagged as "Baltimore's Best Art Event" by City Paper, the four-day fest features everything you hate ("avant performance, installation, sound, film, mayhem, ecstasy, and radical culture"), with over 50 artists crammed in the Load of Fun studios. Tell Dina Kelberman how much her cute art stinks! (Ooooh!) Throw water balloons at Anna Oxygen and tell her she needs more hydrogen! (Hah, youch!) Let Blevin Blectum (pictured) know her electronic music sounds organic! (Nice one!) Refuse to buy Thach Thao Nguyen's's Vietnamese-style spring rolls, no matter how Vietnamese-styled they are! (Preach on, P!)

In a time when artists have broken from mainstream aesthetics and are making hopeful attempts at unification through localized art fests, we need hate now more than ever. Cost to spread hate at the fifth annual Transmodern Festival: $10 each day; $25 for all four days. Time to show these knuckleheads how we show our deep-rooted horror and sense of repugnance in 2008!

A Woman Is Suing the RIAA for Racketeering and Spying; Are You Ever Surprised When You Read Headlines Like This?

Last month, Tanya Anderson counter-sued the RIAA after it tried to sue her for copyright infringement, but the lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge. However, it's been recently announced that Anderson's lawsuit against the RIAA for racketeering and spying is back in full swing. This time, it's been revived as a class-action lawsuit against the RIAA and its use of MediaSentry (its spy subsidiary) to illegally hack into the private computers of tens of thousands of Americans and wrongfully accuse them of piracy.

The case was originally swatted down by the federal judge because the case was too subjective and didn't have much in the way of evidence. Hopefully the newly modified class-action suit will be enough for it to move up the justice system ladder. Time will tell whether or not the case is truly up to snuff, but if it does start rolling, the RIAA will be forced to explain just how legit MediaSentry probably isn't.

Awesome Color to Release Album for the Ages

In the beginning, so far back in antiquity that no record of it exists, three harvesters stumbled upon a discovery that would change the world. After screwing around with a variety of waters, dry land-grown fruits and grains, and naturally occurring yeast, they produced an intoxicating alcoholic beverage that they called “beer.” While the brew was a crude elixir, it seemed to have done the trick, because the three spent the night fighting, trying to kiss each other's partners, and repeating stories that they swore were “like, super important” at the time. Weaving through the makeshift city streets, one stopped to “drain his camel hump” and noticed the strange-colored urine being released from his zizi. He wasn’t the only one. From behind each shoulder, both friends remarked at the same time, “Awesome Color, Dude!”

Some say it was somewhere in Egypt in Babylonian times, some say it was somewhere in Bushwick, but shortly after this soused event, Alison, Derek, and Michael, as they were known, formed a power trio, naming themselves after that over-the-top statement they shared on that fateful night whilst pissing and watching pissing on the street. They were quickly forced to drop the “Dude” from their name after it was discovered that a group of musical miscreants down the Nile had already played some gigs using “Awesome Color, Dude.” So, they became known simply as Awesome Color. Electric Aborigines, their 2087th album since their Babylonian birth many centuries ago, will be released by their label of the past 3000 years, Ecstatic Peace!.

Electric Aborigines:

1. Eyes of Light
2. Already Down
3. Step Up
4. Come and Dance
5. Taste It
6. Outside Tonight
7. Do It Right
8. Burning
9. The Moon
10. Evil Rose

Over time, Awesome Color, Dude started using junk and saw their public and critical acclaim wane while Awesome Color honed their once-primitive chops into a well-formed, ass-thumping machine. Awesome Color, Dude split up hostilely among rumors of wife-swapping and conversion to Scientology, while Awesome Color managed to avoid the pitfalls that plagued other pre-Jesus rock combos, staying pure ever since. Still spry despite their advanced years, they will announce in due time a full complement of European and North American dates in support of Electric Aborigines, but they will definitely be playing two sunny Spanish festival shows in May and one in cruddy Connecticut on April 26.
04.26.08 - Middleton, CT - Eclectic House, Wesleyan University #
05.30.08 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival
05.31.08 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival

# Myty Conqueror & Crooked Hook

Aimee Mann Preps New Release; P.T. Anderson Tortures Kittens

The following is a retelling of the events of March 21, 2008:

After handing in my article on the release of Aimee Mann's seventh album "@#%&! Smilers, due June 3 on her own SuperEgo Records, to my editor and boss, Mr P, he abruptly slapped me in the face.

...

Mr P: What the hell is this shit? This was supposed to be an article about Aimee Mann. Why the bloody hell (Mr P is British) did you continually mention Paul Thomas Anderson, who has used Mann's music in his films?

Emceegreg: Talking about Aimee Mann and not mentioning P.T.A is like preachin' about Jesus and not mentioning his "sexy soccer legs."

Mr P: But you didn't begin to write anything about Mann or the actual album. You failed to mention the album has a different sound according to Mann, with no electric guitar and a lot of Moog. You also could have told the readers that she will be touring soon, as well as making appearances at the Bonnaroo festival in June, NPR's "All Things Considered," and Ovation's "Live From the Artist's Den."

...

I told Mr P that what he said was all bullshit, and then he clocked me in my right eye with his robotic fist.

The next morning when I arrived at the homeless Vietnam Vet And Injured Kitten Shelter that I volunteer at, I was bombarded with questions of how I got my black eye. I told them I ran into a door. A door named, Mr P.

Universal Music Group Wants Be Your Own Pet to Sell; Makes Record Safer By Removing ‘Violent’ Songs

Be Your Own Pet's Jemina Pearl (pictured above) sort of resembles Blondie. Which is to say, she fits very snuggly in a certain mold bastardized by cookie-cutter mall punks like Avril Lavigne and imitated by others, including pop-punk sensations like Paramore's Hayley Williams. In other words, she has the potential to bring in big dollars. So, for the domestic release of their sophomore album, Get Awkward (TMT Review), Universal made sure that the spunkiest songs of the bunch -- "Blow Yr Mind," "Becky," and "Black Hole" -- were left off of the record.

After sounding messy and defiant -- shouting "I'm an independent motherfucker and I'm here to take your virginity!" -- on their eponymous 2006 debut for Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label, the kids in BYOP have crafted a catchy, accessible, and slightly reined-in effort on their follow-up, Get Awkward. So, when Universal Records -- believing it may have a hit on its hands -- made an agreement with Ecstatic Peace! to release the record in the United States, it wasn't going to let a little bit of teen angst and artistic license hinder their cash flow or ability to create a controversy. God forbid the record not be sold in Wal-Marts everywhere.

When Pearl sings "Let's go and kill someone" on "Black Hole" to describe the boredom faced in a wasteland of a town, her punky shouts are the sound of plummeting profits to the Suits in charge. Just imagine the horror on Minivan Mom's face when her adolescent daughter -- enamored with Pearl's pretty golden locks and wicked sense of style -- pops in the disc and "Becky" blares: "Now I'm going to juvey for teenage homicide!" The local news would have a field day.

So, it was a close one, but Universal Records and its parent company Universal Music Group saved the innocence of our youth, just like they did when they brought us Eminem. Remember when he told Kim, "Bleed, bitch, bleed!" on The Marshall Mathers LP on UMG subsidiary Interscope? Ah, I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

Photo: [Leia Jospe]

  

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