TMT Writer Refuses to Take High Road, Eschews Obvious “Shopping” Metaphors to Explain Earlimart’s Fall Tour, Is Damn Excited About Having Used The Word “Eschews”

Okay, kids. Class is just about in session again, so I figure that the only responsible thing that we can do here at TMT is help you ease back into that rusty ol' learning process by steering away from the glamorous, festival-filled, dance-partying sex-romp that was "Summer '07" by making our music news a little more mentally stimulating (read: obtuse). How's about we gear up with a few cognitive exercises? (Look, just deal with it, okay? I know it's only day 1, but this IS fair game for the midterm).

First up: Let's bone up on our checklist of plaintive, rusted-out, psych-tinged chamberfolk that evokes (among numerous other things) the broad, breathable spaces, big, open sky of the American West and the inevitable, paradoxical complexities of human longing that leave our proto-typical, loner hero rasping and breathless from endlessly trudging around in said dusty void in a frantic but ultimately-doomed search for human contact.

- Elliott Smith? Deceased.

- Lee Hazlewood? Deceased.

- Grandaddy? Defunct.

- Earlimart? De... hey, wait a second!

That's right, class! Let that be a lesson to always do your research. Despite their dower dispositions (and contrary to most scholars' accepted theory), Earlimart haven't yet imploded on themselves and are actually still alive and kicking! And front-man/"loner-hero statistic defier" Aaron Espinosa and his band of melancholy marauders will be buckling-down this fall themselves when they kickoff a lengthy North American tour tonight in support of their (let's see, one, two, three, four) fourth studio album Mentor Tormentor, which was released -- anyone? Anyone??? ... Okay, it was released today, folks, on Majordomo Records. You're going to have to learn to memorize these things, people! Sheeesh.

Oh, and speaking of dull, repetitive list memorization; there will be a pop quiz on the following tourdates on FRIDAY, people (never mind that you can't go to any of these shows because you're in school now). Yes, yes, it'll be a "matching" quiz...

In what is beginning to look like an overzealous bout of experimental filmmaking, director Todd Haynes has not only enlisted six thespians to play the role of Robert Zimmerman (including Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, and Cate Blanchett -- yes, the woman), but he has also gathered a (sometimes) impressive list of musical contributors set to reinterpret Dylan numbers ranging from classics to demos (and occasionally both). Dylan himself, who has had no part in the process, has apparently given the filmmakers the a-okay, in essence telling them "Go ahead, knock yourself out."

And boy did they ever. Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo produced the film's house band, The Million Dollar Bashers, who backed artists including Eddie Vedder, Stephen Malkmus, Tom Verlaine, and Karen O on their respective takes. Calexico filled a similar "session band" role in versions fronted by Jim James, Willie Nelson, and Iron & Wine. A veritable who's who of indie rock stardom of the moment, Sufjan Stevens, Yo La Tengo, and Antony & The Johnsons, will also contribute. Music supervisor Randall Poster was quoted in USA Today saying, "We went with a lot of outsiders and outlaws. That's the connection they share with Dylan." Consequently, Mr. Outlaw himself, Jack Johnson, takes a stab at "Mama You've Been On My Mind."

Elsewhere, Charlotte Gainsbourg will be sure to sex up "Just Like A Woman" with some breathy coos, Cat Power will slow down and make smoky "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With Memphis Blues Again," and Craig Finn of The Hold Steady will nasally sing-speak "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window." With such a list of willing and eager musicians, there won't be enough time to play each in the film, which is why the film's creators hope to release an expansive two-disc compilation, the tracklist of which has yet to be decided. Find out for yourself which ones score the action when I'm Not There is released in November. Be there, if only to see David Cross as Allen Ginsberg.

A full list of contributions:

"All Along The Watchtower" - Eddie Vedder & The Million Dollar Bashers

"As I Went Out One Morning" - Mira Billotte

"Ballad Of A Thin Man" - Stephen Malkmus & The Million Dollar Bashers

"Billy" - Los Lobos

"Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window" - The Hold Steady

"Can't Leave Her Behind" - Stephen Malkmus & Lee Ranaldo

"Cold Irons Bound" - Tom Verlaine & The Million Dollar Bashers

"Dark Eyes" - Iron & Wine & Calexico

"Fourth Time Around" - Yo La Tengo

"Goin' To Acapulco" - Jim James & Calexico

"Highway 61 Revisited" - Karen O & The Million Dollar Bashers

"I Wanna Be Your Lover" - Yo La Tengo

"I'm Not There" - Bob Dylan

"I'm Not There" - Sonic Youth

"Just Like A Woman" - Charlotte Gainsbourg & Calexico

"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" - Ramblin' Jack Elliot

"Knockin' On Heaven's Door" - Antony & The Johnsons

"The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll" - Mason Jennings

"Maggie's Farm" - Stephen Malkmus & The Million Dollar Bashers

"Mama You've Been On My Mind" - Jack Johnson

"The Man In The Long Black Coat" - Mark Lanegan

"Moonshiner" - Bob Forrest

"One More Cup Of Coffee" - Roger McGuinn & Calexico

"Pressing On" - John Doe

"Ring Them Bells" - Sufjan Stevens

"Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)" - Willie Nelson & Calexico

"Simple Twist Of Fate" - Jeff Tweedy

"Stuck Inside Of Mobile With Memphis Blues Again" - Cat Power

"The Times They Are A Changin'" - Mason Jennings

"Tombstone Blues" - Richie Havens

"When The Ship Comes In" - Marcus Carl Franklin

"Wicked Messenger" - The Black Keys

"You Ain't Goin 'Nowhere" - Glen Hansard & Markta Irglov

Universal Deeply Involved in Cut-Out Horror; Involves Beasts Being Roasted Alive in Front of Benighted Infants, Or Something Like That

We’ve all seen them in our friendly local second-hand CD store. Among the multiple copies of The Cranberries’ extremely difficult second album and Cracker’s entire bedeviled output, there's more than a few CDs featuring a little hole punched out of the barcode, with maybe even a kind message from the record company threatening a swift garrotting to anyone stupid enough to even attempt selling the CD. Well, these little babies are promo CDs, handed out to the great and good (and TMT reviewers), in order to help create some kind of pathetic buzz around the release of the promoted album.

You might have known that already. However, what you might not have known is what happens to all the little holes that have been punched out of the barcodes. I have it on good authority that the major labels hand off a couple months’ worth of holes to some go-getting flunky. This turd is then sent in to infiltrate an inner-city child care facility, whereupon s/he proceeds to ingratiate himself with the underprivileged kids, perhaps by playing a few Raffi or Wiggles CDs and dressing up as a Tellytubby on Fridays.

The children have a new friend. The children are happy. Not for long.

On the morning that the order comes down from head office, when the other caregivers are off on their morning crack break, the kids’ trusted buddy exploits his opportunity. He cranks up the Raffi to ear-melting volume. The kids start screaming. In all the confusion, the flunky takes his opportunity to superglue the punch-outs over the innocent irises of the babies and toddlers, blinding the poor mites for all eternity. The corporate guerilla runs back to the welcoming arms of his beloved company, awaiting promotion. The returning caregivers' comedowns, however, are particularly harsh that morning.

When pressed on exactly why they were involved in such heinous acts, a major label executive blandly stated to my source that, “It’s a lot more difficult for those potential file-sharers -- who you call “toddlers” -- to share files in the future if they can’t see their computers. I think you’ll find that Congress is in full agreement with us. Blindies find it pretty difficult to vote, too.”

I should add at this point that, out of the literally hundreds of insiders I have ferreting about within the industry, this particular source is not always the most reliable. A far more trustworthy informer on the subject of promo CDs and their nefarious uses has given me another story, which is almost equally unbelievable. Universal Records is in the process of suing Troy Augusto, an eBay seller who trades under the name of roastbeastmusic for selling promo CDs. The company got eBay to suspend all his listings, claiming Troy was engaging in "copyright infringement" because promo CDs have a stamp declaring they can’t be resold since they are the property of the company.

Thing is, as Troy states in his eBay listings, the Copyright Laws of the United States of Kiss My Ass 17 USC 109(a)] states that, "the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made... is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of possession of that copy or phonorecord." It’s called the “first sale” principle, according to the [Electronic Frontier Foundation, who (along with eBay) are supporting Troy in his countersuit against Universal. "Universal is mistaken if it thinks that it can trump these rights simply by putting a label on a CD," said Fred von Lohmann, a senior EFF attorney.

You really have to wonder what the fuck Universal are doing here; it’s not as if promo CDs aren’t available at just about every shitty used CD store on the planet, as well as being sold left, right, and center on eBay. Hell, there's not even enough of them in circulation to make any sort of dent in the overall sales of an album. Whatever. To be honest, I’m more concerned about the blind kids.

Andrew Bird Only One On The Block With A Tour; Jealous Neighbors Smash His Mailbox

News is god. Ubiquitous and all-knowing, this collective entity, the news is coming and it won't stop. Things are happening; things are moving fast, and if we don't keep our ability to quickly process information in check, we'll surely fall, lost, into the past. Sometimes, when it's windy out and the news is whistling through the cracks in my windows and pushing everything, everything off my desk, I'd like to give in and let myself fall. The walls will buckle, crinkling like a sinking submarine from the pressure of the information pushing from outside.

I imagine it would happen with a sepia tone, like the whole event was taking place on parchment. A Renaissance period artist scrawls it in the sand or on tree bark, depicting my body falling through the gap between the floor and wall when it tears. Timeless, yes, but a cautionary tale this time for those not willing to follow the news. "See! This is what can happen. Don't give in!"

The artist's parchment is delivered to the King. Three frames of me in a how-to format: giving up and giving out, then letting the information burrow in, letting it push the picture frames off the walls to come in through the nail holes, and finally one of me tumbling through that gap in the room as it breaks apart. The King will be astonished and worried. He's a good king and good kings do good things, and this king realizes something important. So he issues his royal decree on the matter.

More news. But here, this news, in this time, this news has gall. It is nailed to a post in the town's square. It stands up, it is looked at, and it cannot be avoided. It is not an onslaught of nameless stories but one story that says WAIT. And his royal messengers deliver this brash statement to all the satellite cities, one at a time, slowly but delicately, meticulously.

And as I come back and the walls erect around me, as I wait, Andrew Bird is playing. Touring with the messenger, or better, ushering the change himself. So much music, so much, sometimes listening to his albums and listening to him live seems like a dark calm that cuts through that onslaught. Andrew Bird is touring through the satellite cities one at a time, letting us take the time, playing music while we wait, or delivering the message himself

09.01.07 - Vancouver, BC - Richard's On Richards
09.02.07 - Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot 2007 (Mural Stage)
09.08.07 - Chicago, IL - 11th Annual Hideout Block Party
09.10.07 - Knoxville, TN - The Bijou Theater
09.11.07 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
09.12.07 - Durham, NC - The Carolina Theatre
09.13.07 - Atlanta, GA - The Variety Playhouse
09.15.07 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
09.17.07 - Lawrence, KS - The Granada
09.18.07 - Louisville, KY - WL Lyons Brown Theatre
09.19.07 - Bloomington, IN - Buskirk Chumley Theater
09.20.07 - Madison, WI - Wisconsin Union Theater
09.21.07 - Urbana, IL - 2007 Pygmalion Music Festival at Tryon Festival Theatre, Krannert Center
09.22.07 - Iowa City, IA - The Englert Theatre
09.24.07 - Buffalo, NY - Asbury Hall at The Church
09.25.07 - Toronto, ONT - The Opera House
09.26.07 - Montreal, QEC - La Tulipe
09.28.07 - South Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
09.29.07 - Baltimore, MD - Sonar
09.30.07 - Richmond, VA - Toad's Place Richmond
10.01.07 - State College, PA - State Theatre
10.02.07 - Pittsburgh, PA - Carnegie Music Hall

SXSW Creates The World’s Largest Digital Video Disc! Ever! For The First Time! New! Free Viagra/Soma/Ephedrine! Click HERE! NO CONTRACT!

SXSW began in 1987, presented before a famished crowd of roughly 700 people. Today (Friday, August 17, 2007), ten years later, SXSW features 30,000 bands on over 1,500 stages* and is attended by approximately over 10,000 people. To celebrate such a monumental transition, the folks from SXSW are releasing a DVD.

Yep, a DVD. Sounds typical right? I'm sure you've exhausted your Coachella DVD, your Monterey Pop DVD, and maybe you're still holding out for Pitchfork to release a DVD of their festival. Hold up, though: this SXSW one is different. Aside from releasing the usual regular-sized DVDs, the SXSW gang has teamed up with the people from Initech to create the world's largest DVD.* "We're pretty excited about this breakthrough," said Sara, a representative from SXSW. "We've already established ourselves as being one of the more ambitious festivals, but this move really puts us up there."

The dimensions of the disc have not yet been released, but message boards across the web made predictions running anywhere from 5 ft. to an unimaginable 30 yards. "I don't want to give anything away yet, but let's just say if it were a pizza, you'd need a few bypass surgeries to get through," Sara said with a chortle. "There is no previous world record, so there wasn't really a push to make it that big, but we're freaking SXSW here, and we ain't going to pussyfoot around now."

The content of the super-sized disc has not been released either, but rumor has it there is a duet featuring Al Gore and Chief Wiggum. "We have some special features for sure on this disc," explained Sara. "But, unfortunately, the last half of the disc is pretty much just Billy Mays infomercials and Highlander films.*

No word on whether or not progress has been made on a player that is compatible with the disc.

Meanwhile, the regular-sized discs -- the ones available to you and me -- will feature 18 performances by artists like Peter, Bjorn and John, The Polyphonic Spree, The Bravery, and more. There will also be backstage footage along with super-sick interviews! Yeah, bro! This version is set for release August 21, but you can always wait for the super-sized disc, too!

* A majority of the facts concerning the world record-breaking disc and the festival in general may be false.

Many, Many Bands Play Fest 6; I Absolutely Always Get Rodan And Radon Confused, Even Though I Like Them Both A Lot

Nothing can stop the ceaseless passage of time. Everything dies. It will soon be autumn. That means No Idea Records is once again helping you enjoy the limited amount of heartbeats you've been allotted by throwing an enormous three-day long festival! Boasting "180+ bands," Fest, as it happens to be known, will play host to just about everybody October 26-28.

There's no way anyone could possibly care about all the bands on the bill, so let's stick with what counts: Naked Raygun and Seaweed (remember them?) are playing. Municipal Waste (remember wacky thrash?) is playing. And The Marked Men, The Ergs, The Modern Machines, and Ringers round out a list of great bands I more or less picked at random.

I could go on at length about how cool this is, about how a legitimately independent label is putting on a show with almost 200 goddamned bands with minimal corporate assistance, and how maybe in this internet age this is finally becoming a viable model for commercial and artistic distribution, but whatever, man. Everything dies.

Max Roach Dead at 83

"Art is a powerful weapon that society, or the powers that be, use to control or direct the way people think. Culture is used to perpetuate the status quo of a society. Even though I'm involved in music for the sake of entertainment, I always hope to offer some kind of enlightenment." - Max Roach

Max Roach, one of the most significant drummers of jazz and certainly one of my favorites, thought of jazz as a "democratic musical form" that comes from a "communal experience." Helping to 'un-define' the role of drummers as a mere "subservient figure," Roach opened music listeners to the idea that sound can be a force for social change. Shattering jazz hierarchies and exploring the subtle timbres and textural play that drumming afforded, Roach's brilliant career found him playing with everyone from Charles Mingus and Clifford Brown to free-jazzers Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton.

Blacklisted for a period in the '60s by club owners and record companies for his overt politics (heard on albums like We Insist!, It's Time, and Speak, Brother, Speak!), Max Roach was obviously never one to shy away from merging art and politics. His conception of music went beyond simply notes and rhythms -- it became a vehicle for his thoughts, his ideas. “My point is that we much decolonize our minds and re-name and re-define ourselves... In all respects, culturally, politically, socially, we must re-define ourselves and our lives, in our own terms.”

Of course, most of Roach's contributions to jazz were not overtly political, but with jazz becoming more and more a museum artifact and background music for White House banquets, I like to think that his overall contribution to jazz was more "enlightenment" than "entertainment."

TMT Makes Negativland A Shiny New Press Release Using Words From The Lengthy (Kinda Boring) Original; Everyone Learns An Important Lesson

Negativland, also known as the real brain of John Legend, announces a shit-stirring DVD release -- Our Favorite Things -- and a reissue of its brutally sticky 1983 Christian masterpiece, A Big 10-8 Place. ((subliminal)) It isn't just parody and satire -- it’s a consumer Gospel (complete with The 180 Gs’ doo-doo). The collective also intends to target “ten-thousand-million-billion” anti-corporate activists with gross advertising.

“Please, more unforgettable package...” - Wired

“Charming only to the hard European ((targets)) in of the trunk of their car.” – The New York Times

“Affecting like your high school science teacher’s Twisted Boy Cage... only lots more.” – RollingStone

Fans will be going Adbusters for sure.

Fiery Furnaces Across U.S. Deemed “Unsafe” by Officials

The U.S. Government has announced this week that it will be cracking down on what can only be described as a "volatile furnace epidemic" that seems to be sweeping the country.

Throughout the past several years, news of "fiery furnaces" have been reported on and off again, seemingly every couple of months, in many of America's most prominently publicly-trafficked businesses. The main offender? Rock clubs. Clubs all across the country have reported playing host, wittingly or otherwise, to at least two or more fiery furnaces at one time or another since at least 2002.

"I was positively shocked when learned that these dangerously fiery furnaces have been reported in public buildings for practically five years now," says one federal lawmaker. "I can't believe that a problem like this has taken this long to come to our attention. We’re usually very much on-top of these matters."

Officials say these caustically inclined containers may be keeping these buildings warm and seats packed in the cool fall months, but the safety risks are far too great.

While initial speculation suggested the obvious work of Terrorist Groups, more recent reports have indicated that the main supplier of these faulty, fiery furnaces is a local company from Brooklyn, New York called "Friedberger and Friedberger," a brother/sister corporation headed by owners/operators Mathew and Eleanor Friedberger. When contacted by this news organization, both Friedbergers refused to comment, stating only that they were eagerly looking forward to "packing their bags and hitting the road this fall"; a very suspicious response, indeed, according to local police.

Although largely shipped and distributed by a company called Rough Trade until this year, recent tracking records also indicate that the duplicitous duo has teamed up with Chicago-based underground distributor called "Thrill Jockey" for the release of a new, perhaps even hotter and more dangerous furnace product called the Widow City model, which is scheduled to be on the market in October 2007. Police and officials are urging the public, and rock club patrons in particular, to be on the lookout for these these faulty furnaces and to steer clear of these offending businesses at all costs.

In the mean time, Furnace Inspections of the following U.S. Businesses have already been scheduled on the following dates:

New Pornographers Tour, Those Attending With The Hopes Of Seeing Something Lewd & Lascivious May Leave Disappointed

Whether you hear it as more mature, stripped-down, and confident or you think it's too slow, Fleetwood Mac-ian, and an overall letdown, the latest LP from The New Pornographers, Challengers (Matador), is yet another attention-grabber from the band. Those without an opinion can form one and support their local records store (if big box bitches haven't eaten them all) next Tuesday, when the record (on CD & vinyl) will be available in stores. Lovers of good power pop or purchasers of this will definitely want to check out the NPs on the Late Show With David Letterman, August 20. If perhaps you somehow got the album free, you can still support the band by seeing them at one of their seven zillion (edit: 39) North American tourdates on the "New Pornographers Challengers 2007 Tour."

The tour itself actually has two separate legs. The first starts on September 13, in Victoria, British Columbia (yes, Canada) and goes for two weeks, wrapping up September 28 in Vancouver, British Columbia (yes, they leave Canada at some point). Matador mates Lavender Diamond will be warming up the crowd at all these shows, save for the first one. Fancy, Immaculate Machine (both NP side projects) and/or The Awkward Stage will also be present during portions of this leg. After a two-week respite, the band strikes up the, uh, band, again October 11 for the second leg of NPC2007T. The full-time opener for this portion is Emma Pollock, formerly of The Delgados, who is set to release her first solo LP, Watch The Fireworks, on 4AD September 11 in the U.S. Others involved in this second leg are the mighty (popular) Spoon, Immaculate Machine, and Benjy Ferree.

Tourdates:

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