Wal-Mart: “Always Low Prices, Occasionally Sketchy DRM Practices”; Wal-Mart to Stop Supporting Its DRM Music, Encourages Burning CD-Rs

The music market took an extra large hit this week on Wal-Street, when the value of DRM songs from Wal-Mart began to plummet at a rate not matched since the great Wax Recording Crash when vinyl came along. After it was recently uncovered by economic experts that Wal-mart, who began offering DRM MP3s in August 2007, had been irresponsibly offering customers cheap DRM music that it could not support after the company switched to DRM-free music this past February, music consumers fell into a panic and many analysts began to paint a doomsday picture of the future of digital music.

With little time to spare before the impending crash, frazzled Wal-Mart publicists addressed the panic-stricken nation on the internet, highlighting, in a nutshell, the details of a highly controversial DRM music bailout plan:

As the final stage of our transition to a full DRM-free MP3 download store, Walmart will be shutting down our digital rights management system that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site. If you have purchased protected WMA music files from our site prior to Feb 2008, we strongly recommend that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer. This change does not impact songs or albums purchased after Feb 2008, as those are DRM-free.

While naysayers of the DRM bailout argue fiercely about "what bullshit" it is to have to burn physical copies of all of their DRM digital music after it has already been bought and paid-for, proponents of Wal-mart's daring and unconventional bailout procedure counter with an insistence that sacrifices must be made if our global music economy hopes to recover from the crippling international stigma of DRM.

"DRM-free digital music is the future of digital downloads," said one particularly attractive proponent who later accompanied this reporter to dinner. "I know that burning CDs to back up all of your old music from Wal-mart is a sacrifice for many, but think about the alternative: without compliance, this music will be lost forever, and the face of digital stores will be permanently and irrevocably damaged on the world stage." My, what pretty words! Isn’t she great!?

Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival Offers Fun, A Good Cause, and a Way to Avoid Old High School Friends Slowly Trickling into Town Pre-Thanksgiving

It seems like there are more and more reasons to make a Chicago roadtrip this fall -- whether you're motivated by a fanatical obsession with late-’80s TGIF offering Perfect Strangers or because you live somewhere that isn't BUT SHOULD BE on the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds autumn tour. And now there's another great entertainment option unique to the Chicago area, with the added bonus of being for a good cause. This would be the indie one-day Chicago Bluegrass and Blues festival, occurring for the very first time this November 22.

Local stalwarts Alligator Records and Bloodshot Records will be repping their shared hood and contributing label stand-outs to the event, held at the Congress Theater. Founder and organizer Mike Raspatello promises a varied line-up, ranging from Waco Brothers side-project Dollar Store to the David Grisman Quintet to the Avett Brothers. A portion of proceeds from the $31 ticket price will go to the Saving Tiny Heart Society, a volunteer-ran organization founded to raise awareness and support research about congenital heart defects. Apart from the positive vibes, there's also a chance to perform alongside the 16 listed performers through the Last Banjo Standing Contest, an online voting-based contest that is not limited to blues or bluegrass genre-based music.

This is a good cause, and a good line-up, so I'm not gonna make the requisite Urkel joke that happens whenever I write a story related to Chicago -- or well, anything. Below you can find the artists involved, minus the TGIF line-up jokes -- for now.

The Avett Brothers, The David Grisman Quintet, Ha Ha Tonka, Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, Majors Junction, Billy Childers, Dollar Store, Blackdog, Blue Mother Tupelo, How Far to Austin, Mike Mangione, Cobalt & the Hired Guns, The Lindsay O'Brien Band, Jessica Lee, and Blue Room Hero

11.22.08 - Chicago, IL - Congress Theater

Deer Tick Tour, Educate Fans on Tick Bite Prevention

The following is a public service announcement from Providence, Rhode Island’s Deer Tick:

“Attention fans! By now most of you are aware of the ongoing tick problem in this country. We in Deer Tick have decided to spread awareness and educate others about tick bite prevention during our upcoming fall tour. Until the tour starts, however, please read our top three tips below on how to avoid tick bites:

1. Play our debut album, War Elephant, at a deafening volume. It’s a proven fact that ticks hate loud music (and deaf people).
2. Avoid tick-infested places by staying inside on your computer and buying tickets for our shows.
3. If you absolutely must go outside (and you will have to, because you bought tickets to our show), be vigilant and do a daily tick check. Also, wrap yourself in saran wrap and/or tin foil at all times. If any area of your body inadvertently becomes exposed, come back inside and listen to more Deer Tick.

Be safe, everyone! See you in October!

Love,

Deer Tick.”

Only you can prevent tick bites:

According to pianist Ian Pace from the academic mailing list Music-Since-1900:

I just heard last night the very sad news that Horatiu Radulescu has died. He had been seriously ill for several months. A fantastic composer of passionate, hallucinatory music, and of vital importance in the history of spectral music. May he rest in piece.

From Wikipedia:

Radulescu was born in Bucharest, where he studied the violin privately with Nina Alexandrescu, a pupil of Enescu, and later studied composition at the Bucharest Academy of Music (MA 1969), where his teachers included Niculescu, Olah and Stroe, some of the leading figures of the newly emerging avant garde (Toop 2001). Upon graduation Radulescu left Romania for the west, and settled in Paris. One of the first works to be completed there (though the concept had come to him in Romania) was Credo for nine cellos, the first work to employ his spectral techniques. This technique "comprises variable distribution of the spectral energy, synthesis of the global sound sources, micro- and macro-form as sound-process, four simultaneous layers of perception and of speed, and spectral scordaturae, i.e. rows of unequal intervals corresponding to harmonic scales".[1] In the early 1970s he attended classes given by Cage, Ligeti, Stockhausen, and Xenakis at the Darmstadt Summer Courses, and by Ferrari and Kagel in Cologne; later, from 1979 to 1981, he studied computer-assisted composition and psycho-acoustics at IRCAM.

- Horaţiu Rădulescu Wikipedia entry
- Horaţiu Rădulescu interview
- Article from Rue89 (in French): "Horatiu Radulescu, le plus inouï des compositeurs, est mort"
- YouTube video: "Das Andere (part 1/3) (1984) Horatiu Radulescu (b. 1942)"

Crystal Antlers Tour, Traditional Antlers Stay Mounted in The Cabins

Long Beach, CA boys Crystal Antlers will be hitting the road soon to show off the exciting sounds from their 2008 EP, an EP so replete with exciting sounds, in fact, that it's seeing a re-release from Touch and Go next month. Judging by their music, these up-and-comers will likely have enough intensity to keep hipsters pumping their fists in venues across the nation for years to come, and it certainly helps that they're finally signed to an established label (TMT News).

If you would like a preview of what Crystal Antlers might throw at you live, head to the band’s MySpace (now in Pepto-Bismol pink), where you can watch videos featuring the often underutilized skill of drum-stick spinning.

Get ready, these guys are going to “bring the noise” and the feedback!

Muxtape Reborn as a Launching Pad for Shitty and Not-So-Shitty Bands; RIAA Happy It Still “Has It”

Yep, Muxtape has been REBORN. But it's not going to be the same ol' Muxtape we grew up with for, what, six months? INSTEAD, because founder Justin Ouellette's hosting account on Amazon was unexpectedly shutdown after he failed to remove a huge list of songs from the Muxtape database in ONE DAY (an unreal task, fuckers) and also because he couldn't afford the $2-3 million to make a case against the RIAA (bailout in order?), the site will be promoted as a launching pad for aspiring bands, which will enable them to have profile pages with downloads, photos, tour updates, etc, as well as a fancy schmancy embeddable widget-like thingy.

People aren't always good with change. According to Ouellette from his extensive post (which is worth reading):

I realize this is a somewhat radical shift in functionality, but Muxtape’s core goals haven’t changed. I still want to challenge the way we experience music online, and I still want to work to enable what I think is the most interesting aspect of interconnected music: discovering new stuff.

I guess everyone will have to settle for the non-downloadable mix tapes at this here website. I know, so bullshit!

Every step I take incites a symphony of cackles from the lunatics seated in the pews. Where do I sit? Should I sit? Why am I even here?

I last saw my girlfriend two hours ago. She was talking to a black-haired boy wearing spats and violet cape. Who was he? Does he work here? Of course he doesn’t. It’s a musty old European church. No one works here but fake monks and tour guides. Still, someone had to have seen him. I mean, her. Who am I looking for, again?

This was supposed to be my vacation. Our vacation. Europe and all the trimmings, plus a stop by Norway just to see if it actually existed outside of my scrapbooks of the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics and Age of Empires II. Turns out it is really there, and so is my present hangout Bergen Cathedral, Grand Central Station of the Damned.

I decide to ask somebody in the congregation. My eyes turn first to a skinny Finn disguised as a mailman. Maybe he actually is a mailman. I don’t know what to believe at this point. I’ve been watching Sunn 0))) debase music for the better part of five hours now. At this point, my brain isn’t much more than soggy oatmeal strained through a grimy rag of cheesecloth.

“Where is Lindsay, your… eminence?” Stupid Michael! Six years of Nordic language studies and you still don’t know the proper epithet for a Scandinavian mail carrier. I pray he doesn’t notice.

He doesn’t. He only smiles as his mailbag grows a gaping fanged maw and recites a hell-born couplet: “The woman rests in valleys bare, breath begone but purity spared.”

I wake up hours later in a hotel. Not the hotel, the one Lindsay and I checked into yesterday. This one’s much better. Clean toilets, three-star view. I could get used to this. I roll to the left side of the bed, but Lindsay isn’t there. I only see two LPs called Dømkirke, both with ivory-etched covers and the degenerates from Sunn 0))) on the back in full Free Masons-meets-Addams Family garb. One record is standard black vinyl while the other is marble gray.

There’s a Post-It on the gray one:

Hey man, sorry about last night. We just wanted to get you hyped for the new live LP we were recording at that spooky-ass cathedral, but things got a little out of hand. Here are two copies of the record as a sort of we’re-sorry-we-kidnapped-your-girlfriend type of thing. They’re only available on vinyl, but at least you have two colors to choose from! If you wanna tell your friends about the record, send ‘em over here and we’ll hook ‘em up for the low price of $17.77 per record. Again, sorry about the kidnapping. No hard feelings?

<3<3<3 Sunn 0)))

I reread the note a few more times, then crumble it up and toss it in an empty ashtray. Jeez, those Sunn 0))) bastards really know how to jerk my chain. I chuckle, shake my head, and wonder where I should go to scout for another girlfriend. But one thing’s for sure -- I ain’t going to anymore Norwegian churches.
10th Anniversary Grimmrobe Demos shows (TMT News):
10.10.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Safari Sam’s #
10.12.08 - Portland, OR - Berbatis’ Pan
10.15.08 - New York, NY - Knitting Factory $
10.16.08 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church

# John Weise

$ Thou, Tony Conrad

Uganda Sued for “Pirating” its Own National Anthem by Composer; Everything’s Fine Everywhere Else in Africa, Though

Okay, law students, gift taker-backers, and devotees of Ebenezer Scrooge, here’s one to ponder during your morning commute/prissy pseudo-jog/unholy shit: So, the Ugandan government has apparently been sued by the composer of its national anthem “Oh Uganda, Land of Beauty.” Now, this might seem a little weird until you understand that this man, Prof. George Wilberforce Kakoma, is 83 years old and, well, prooobably just a bit bonkers. But bonkers or not, the law is the law, and the mad professor (of what, copyright law??) seeks compensation for the continuous infringement of his work on national festivities, for which he received, umm, you know, no royalties.

In case you’re not hip, Uganda is a former British colony in east Africa that didn’t officially become an independent nation until 1962. Since it had no official national anthem, a committee was appointed to select one, and Kakoma’s song was eventually selected for the supposed “honor.” At the time, Kakoma received a few dollars for his contribution, but he was never technically commissioned by his government.

But now, 45 years later, the aging Kokoma has decided to issue a retro-active Bah Humbug to his homeland. According to his lawyers, the songsmith is entitled to be compensated based on section 4 and 9 of the Copyright Act of 1964 -- honor, dignity, and altruism be damned! The case will appear before court in two weeks, during which time the future of the Ugandan anthem will be decided. It is uncertain if Kakoma will also go after the BBC, since they have been hosting a version of the song on their website for some time. Look out, iTunes.

Kakoma, currently residing in the U.S. for medical treatment, has not yet commented on the lawsuit, but his lawyers said that they won't call for a temporary injunction on playing the song on national events. Medical treatment, eh? I wonder how much that costs...

Jeffrey Lewis Tours, Pens Follow-up To Fan-Favorite Song, “Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror”

When anti-folk singer/songwriter and comic book artist Jeffrey Lewis comes to your city this fall, expect to hear the brand new sequel to the song “Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror,” a track from 2005’s City & Eastern Songs. According to various inside sources here at TMT, Lewis’ new song is tentatively titled “Greenpoint Tim Harrington Grandeur.” However, it is also rumored that he could be expanding his songwriting repertoire to include references that don’t only make sense to those that have lived in the tri-state area.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for that one though.

Jeffrey Lewis will be touring in continued support of 12 Crass Songs (TMT Review), released earlier this year on Rough Trade.

Not Brooklyn:

* Presidents of the United States

The Flaming Lips Set Release Date for Christmas on Mars DVD, Reveal Soundtrack Details; Also Sarah Palin $700 Billion Bailout Dancing With the Stars Drudge Report Pornography

Greetings, loyal TMT readers, and salutations to you as well, Google searchers, who I nefariously hoodwinked onto this website with the second half of my headline! Being the honest and objective journalist that I normally am, I do not take much pleasure in deceiving the public into reading a story they likely care little about. But this is no ordinary story, my friends. Nope, this is the big one, a delicious hunk of newsy nutrition that deserves to sit on the same shelf as any monumental Congressional money-giving party. That’s right, friends, The Flaming Lips’ sci-fi opus Christmas on Mars has a SOLID release date!

After years of dreaming and scheming and filming and teasing and baking, those luscious Lips have stuck to their promise (TMT News) and announced that the DVD version of Christmas on Mars will be jettisoned to earth by mothership Warner Brothers November 11, just in time for Christmas. Or Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or Boxing Day for that matter. According to Billboard, the DVD includes bonus interviews with the band, outtakes, behind the scenes footage, and optional Russian subtitles. As a dude who studied Russian for four painful years in high school, I can tell you that reading that language is no piece of Козёл, which unfortunately means “goat.” Sorry, it was the only word I could remember besides “thank you” and “crayon.” That language is insane.

Besides the Cyrillic subtitling shenanigans, the movie’s soundtrack is also available in a separate bundle with the DVD. If the movie’s trailer hasn’t sold you already, chances are song titles like "In Excelsior Vaginalistic" or "The Gleaming Armament Of Marching Genitalia" should conjure enough unsettling mental images to convince you to send your hard-earned clams to Wayne Coyne (TMT Interview) and company for what is sure to be, if nothing else, the most daring cinematic exploration of red planet yuletide since 1964’s Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Christmas on Mars soundtrack tracklisting:

1. Once Beyond Hopelessness
2. The Distance Between Mars And The Earth -- Part One
3. The Horrors Of Isolation: The Celestial Dissolve, Triumphant Hallucination, Light Being Absorbed
4. In Excelsior Vaginalistic
5. Your Spaceship Comes From Within
6. Suicide And Extraordinary Mistakes
7. The Distance Between Mars And The Earth -- Part Two
8. The Secret Of Immortality: This Strange Feeling, This Impossible World
9. The Gleaming Armament Of Marching Genitalia
10. The Distress Signals Of Celestial Objects
11. Space Bible With Volume Lumps
12. Once Beyond Hopelessness

  

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