He Who Controls the Spice Controls the Universe: Microsoft Dune ZRM Cracked

A beginning is a very delicate time. Know, then, that it is the year two thousand seven. The known interblag is ruled by the... Vista Emperor... William the Gates... my... oh hell with it.

Last week, in a totally not unprecedented step in a years-long, time- and money-wasting tug of war, geeks everywhere let out an audible "kekeke" at the news that an elite h4X0r had cracked the DRM of Microsoft's Zune Marketplace -- the weird irony being that the two groups most affected by this news are Slashdot-reading technophiles and Zune Marketplace shoppers, forming a nice little well curve (against an x-axis of snobbery). The crack seems to have been achieved by the same guy who cracked Microsoft's DRM last time, and the time before that, and from whom Microsoft dropped a lawsuit earlier this year, on the basis that they knew nothing about him other than his totally rhombus handle, Viodentia.

Microsoft had developed this particular DRM technology to force its music shoppers to play purchased music on Zunes and Zunes only -- expecting, I suppose, that people would choose a digital music store before they chose a portable device? At any rate, they also began a "PlaysForSure" campaign, essentially offering shiny stickers to any devices that promised to play nice with Microsoft, particularly Vista, their new OS. Can this be construed as hypocrisy, or is it just a vague dicking over?

I don't know, I can't even think straight about it anymore. Honestly, if you had asked me yesterday, I'd have guessed that this happened months ago. Point is, with a little know-how, that Sting album you bought at the Zune Marketplace will play just fine on your iPod, at least until the next laughably brief DRM patch/crack do-si-do.

Les Savy Fav Set To Release New Record; Soft Rock Fans Tremble In Fear, Hide In Tall Bushes

Although the ever-so-lovely-to-listen-to crew of Les Savy Fav have released songs here and there since their previous record, the world has not been graced by a new long player by the quartet since 2001. (So that's why I've felt like there hasn't been anything worthwhile in my life since Radiohead released Amnesiac!) When the NY-based group is not busy pleasing all them blogs out there, they're busy collecting voicemail from eager fans, preparing them for their ultimate demise on their forthcoming disc, entitled Let's Stay Friends.

The album will be released on Frenchkiss Records and hosts an action-packed guestlist that even the most choice non-believer would admire. Featuring collaborations with Emily Haines (Metric), Nick Thorburn (Islands), Enon, Eleanor Friedberger (Fiery Furnaces), and Joe Plummer (Black Heart Procession), the 12-track disc will hit shelves September 18. That's right, folks... a Tuesday! How surprised are you that a new album is coming out on a Tuesday!?

Oh, that's right, you'd like to know what the song titles are. Don't you know that these lists of titles are almost meaningless until you hear the songs? Gosh!

Let's Stay Friends (even when I'm being a jerk):

* bonus track found only on the Chris Gliddon version (limited edition of 1 copy on CD-R)

Most are already aware of M.I.A.'s problems with acquiring a visa back in 2006. In addition to having genetic links to activists considered "Un-American," M.I.A.'s lingo regarding rubber-band bombs, purple haze, diversity and empowerment, Kate Moss mascara ads, boyz, and fast food were deemed completely unacceptable by U.S. leaders. Statements like "Don't sell out to product pushers," "Pull up the poor," "Put away your stupid gun, yo," and "Try something new" are NOT American. How can you be American if you're not a drooling, oblivious consumer? Leaked confidential documents confirm that Homeland Security thought her beats were too evil. We all thought the feds were gon' get her.

But M.I.A. is a fighter and back on the radar: as you all know, the follow-up to 2005's Arular, Kala, will be released on XL Recordings in Japan August 8 and in the UK August 20. Kala hits the United States August 21 via Interscope. Kala is reported to have been recorded in a number of different countries, and the video for the first single, "BirdFlu," is said to have been filmed in Jamaica. Kala is sprinkled with appearances by Afrikan Boy (Hussel), Wilcannia Mob (Mango Pickle Down River), and Timbaland (Come Around).

Kala dirty tracks:

* Björk (Say what! what!)

Kanye Can’t Write, Can’t Flow, And Can’t Rhyme, But Can’t He Also Not Edit Magazines Badly? (Quiz for Kanye: Can You Spot The Grammatical Error In This Headline?)

It looks like Kanye West has finally found a business venture that is as much of a commercial bastardization of hip-hop culture as he is. This fall, the Louis Vuitton pawn will guest edit Complex, a fashion magazine for rap listeners with iPhones. As it is doubtful that Kanye knows what a coordinating conjunction is, he probably won't do much actual editing. He is more likely to disguise poorly written articles by including lengthy quotes from talented, recently dead authors like Kurt Vonnegut (after having them rewritten by popular writers like Dan Brown). Of course, Kanye has already told his critics that they "Can't Tell [Him] Nothin'," which is just as well, as the previous sentence's analogy would probably be lost on him.

Kanye has chosen auto-tuned model Cassie as the fall issue's cover girl. Purely coincidentally, Cassie also appears in the video for Kanye's latest crime against music, "Stronger." The song "features" Daft Punk, in the same way that "Touch The Sky" features Curtis Mayfield. Sure, Daft Punk may "appear" in the video, but how can you prove it's not just Kanye and Cassie wearing Daft Punk masks?

Kanye, or "Ye" as he is known by assholes, is also preparing to release the follow-up to his first two albums, The College Dropout and Late Registration. The August release of the new album, Graduation, is highly anticipated by college radio DJs and sixteen-year-old girls alike. Ye has been pre-approved for a Grammy, which he is expected to accept at the ceremony while actually nailed to a crucifix. One can only imagine the praise that will follow album four, Working In Real Estate, or album five, Gradual Decline Into a Rote And Meaningless Existence In Order To Support Ungrateful Children Until Inevitable Death In A Nondescript Institutional Building.

It's easy to see why Kanye is so popular. Just check out these lyrics from "Stronger":

"Heard they'd do anything for a klondike/ Well I'd do anything for a blonde dyke"

In Kanye's defense, when not busy pretending to be upset with all the press he's receiving, he has often used his fame to illuminate various political issues, ranging from the government's involvement in the AIDS and crack epidemics to homophobia in hip-hop. And after all, he's no worse than Paul Wall, David Banner, Chamillionaire, T.I., Yung Joc, Juelz Santana, Rick Ross, Fabolous, Slim Thug, Lil' Flip, Z-Ro, Pastor Troy, Young Jeezy, Young Money, Chamillionaire, Bow Wow, Afroman, Lil Wayne, Peedi Crakk, Lil Wyte, Young Buck, Jim Jones, cpulfer, Diddy, Bun B, Mike Jones, Rich Boy, Swizz Beatz, Ja Rule, J-Kwon, Chingy, Petey Pablo, Papoose, Unk, Dem Franchise Boys, Clipse, Pretty Ricky, Ying Yang Twins, The Black Eyed Peas, or Three 6 Mafia, and none of those dudes produced "Izzo."

How to Synthesize LSD in Your Bathtub; Galactic Zoo Dossier #7 Hits Streets; Limited Availability; Try Good (Independent) Record Stores!

I was going to preface this story with simple "how-to" instructions for synthesizing LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide) in your own home. As I discovered after a few minutes of cursory research on the internet, which I should have done before I started writing, a complete chemistry lab is necessary, oh, and a basic knowledge in chemistry isn't enough.

But who needs LSD? There are plenty of hallucinogenic psycho-actives out there. So, without further ado:

How to Grow Magic Mushrooms in Your Closet Under the Stairs:

Wait... there are probably certain legal ramifications I might want to consider before I continue, not to mention the amount of time necessary for the 'shrooms to grow (more like fester).

I guess the legal alternative we're left with is, sad to say, Salvia (Salvia divinorum), which, according to Erowid.org, "is a sprawling perennial herb found in the Sierra Mazatec region of Mexico. Its leaves contain the extremely potent Salvinorin A. It has a history of buccal use as a divinatory psychedelic, and has been widely available since the mid-1990s primarily as a smoked herb. Its effects are considered unpleasant by many people."

Allow me reiterate and highlight that last point: Its effects are considered unpleasant by many people.

The one and only time I tried Salvia was after a night of drinking in bars whereupon I ran into two underage drinkers — they seemed nice enough — and offered that I could enjoy a smoke with them back at their apartment. One guy was wearing an Audioslave T-shirt, the other a Che Guevara; I mention this mainly just because I remember it, but you can also see what I'm getting at here.

I didn't know before departing the bar that we were going to be smoking Salvia, and when I arrived and discovered such, it seemed like my effort (and slightly drunken state) necessitated that I at least try it — it was legal after all. To say that the sensations I felt were unpleasant would be an understatement — first my face became numb, then I lost peripheral vision, and then the media barrage around me (the dudes had The Beatles playing on their shit stereo, their computer was streaming really bad hip-hop, and they had their TV on mute) blurred into a mushy ball of sound and light which resembled Rosie O'Donnell more than The Beatles or really bad hip-hop. I wonder now if a typical Salvia den consists of this horrific media barrage.

And then after just a few minutes — good luck divinizing, finding God, in just a few minutes — I was back to normal, albeit with a terrible headache, as if I had collided with the curb or had been cracked across the skull with an aluminum baseball bat. [Belated disclaimer: my experience is meant as a warning more so than an advocation, is it obvious?]

With the legal status of Saliva coming into question — it should be illegal, really — a new alternative is about to hit the market, of which I am a huge advocate.

The Galactic Zoo Dossier Issue #7 hit stores earlier this week and is available through Drag City Records. In addition to a 100+ page comic book/magazine of hand-drawn pages, including features and interviews, it contains 2 CDs of new and old, rare and exclusive jams by Devendra Banhart, The Stooges, Dog of Mystery, Ed Askew, Blossom Toes, and Michael Yonkers, among others.

The psychedelic primer that is The Galactic Zoo Dossier generally runs in limited quantities of about 1,500 copies and is superiorly priced around $17, give or take a few bucks. Considering that this package is entirely legal, in comparison, to the waning legality of a dose of Salvia for about the same street value and with no side effects, I'd highly recommend not ingesting any drugs (legal or otherwise) and just sticking to the music.

SoundExchange Make Attempt to Not Suck, The Attempt Sucks, They Suck: Royalty Fees Capped Only for Anti-Streamripping Stations

I was briefly shaken out of a morbid heatwave torpor last week when the recording industry appeared -- if only for a fleeting, beautiful moment -- to show just a modicum of common decency. I’m referring to SoundExchange’s agreement (under congressional pressure) to temporarily cap the onerous royalty fees they were preparing to impose upon internet radio stations. Those new fees would have theoretically cost some stations no less than a billion dollars a year and, as an obvious consequence, force them to stop broadcasting. The new agreement stipulated that these fees would be capped at a maximum of $50,000 per year, per station.

As you might have guessed, however, there’s a rather big catch in the whole deal that SoundExchange proposed. They’re now saying that the $50,000 ‘cap’ on webcasters’ fees will only be made available to those stations who “work to stop users from engaging in “streamripping” -- turning internet radio performances into a digital music library.” It’s not as if the RIAA mob have even provided any information as to how they actually want the stations to “work to stop” streamripping. Without such divine guidance being available, it would be fair to infer that what they want is for the internet radio industry to basically lock down all of their content with so much DRM that, before long, the shit will be gushing out of your tweeters like a veritable torrent of necessarily emasculated gism. I say this because there’s really no other way of ‘protecting’ the music broadcast on web radio from the claws of stream-ripping software; although it does seem to appear that no one even knows if it would actually be feasible to fully implement DRM in the web radio sphere.

It’ll be interesting to see what transpires from here. SoundExchange’s stance appears to be a blatant attempt at self-aggrandizement -- they want to make sure everyone knows that they still consider themselves to be the fucking daddy when it comes to this issue, despite last week’s beatdown. The difference is that the imposition of web radio fees, when compared to the other agendas the industry has been pursuing of late, is one where the various arms of government have not currently thrown their support fully behind the RIAA line. Added to that, the vagueness of the language used by SoundExchange suggests that even THEY don’t really know what they’re proposing here. Fun all 'round. Except if you listen to internet radio, of course.

As is always the case with this issue, you can read more at SaveNetRadio.

Justice Tours Solely on Acronyms; I Shamelessly Beg for an Interview

I feel this need to bite my flesh and prove reality exists, because the French dance duo, Justice, or Justeece, is touring. And I’m back from an unannounced hiatus. I’m back only because of Justice. I tried to write a story about Collective Soul and how, no matter how hip I think I am now, when I look back on my life, I can't erase the time I sang “Shine” in the backseat of my mother’s Honda Accord. And it was in the very same car that I sat on my way to see the Counting Crows paired with Live. Yes, I was that cool. But Justice has saved me. I am back. I am wearing tapered jeans and v-neck shirts with a long metallic necklace and Ray-Ban wayfarers. I say do the D-A-N-C-E and pretend to be a P.Y.T. And now, I’m calling forth all of you readers to tell my editor I deserve to do an interview with the Waters of Nazareth. I want to go to “The Party” with Uffie. And I want to dance with you at the Metro or Parklife in Australia or Webster Hall in NYC, but most likely the Metro in Chicago. (Oh yeah, please e-mail Mr P or Leah and tell them Petya should get two tickets to the Metro show, so he can get down to business). Much love you P.Y.T.s.

More tours and more whoring myself out. Seriously, I have no shame. This entire article is dedicated to me getting an interview with Justice. I mean there is some information about the Mountain Goats, but I’m just honestly trying to get my editors’ attention.

I have asked around (roughly 4.5 billion people), and they have said there are two things that would make them happy: a Mountain Goats tour and reading an interview with Justice done by Petya Romanov. I know this sounds farcical, or maybe you think I’m just saying this so my editors will cave and try and hook me up with an interview, but seriously. I have testimony:

“Number one favorite act to catch live would have to be The Mountain Goats. And if only Petya had the opportunity to interview Justice, then and only then, would I sleep soundly,” said a U.S. soldier stationed in an Iraqi hospital after friendly fire.

“Most anticipated tour? The Mountain Goats, of course! Most anticipated interview? Petya doing Justice of course!” exclaimed Tony Blair shortly after stepping down as British P.M.

“Yeah I ate goat once! Tastes great over fried rice,” said Harry Caray, just before he picked the sun as his favorite planet.

“Picture the Mountain Goats going on tour with Justice. Now picture the tour being documented by Petya Romanov from TMT. That would be the biggest disaster since Robert Downey Jr. decided it was a good idea to snort three kilos of coke off my grandma’s ass and call it sledding,” said Bono.

You get the point. The Mountain Goats are going on tour, and I still want to land an interview with Justice. So, here is where you, the valued reader, come in. E-mail the interview heads here at the site, Mr P and/or Leveer. Tell them how much it means to you to read an interview with Justice. Tell them that my first interview with Sunset Rubdown was just a rookie mistake, you know, nerves and gas and a hyperactive pituitary gland.

And yeah, The Mountain Goats are going on tour.

* Bowerbirds

TMT’s Top Fictional, Semi-Fictional, & Non-Fictional Riverboat Gamblers of All-Time, Tour

5. Bret Maverick (from the 1994 smash Maverick) – Mel can play some cards. ‘Nuff said.
4. Riverboat Gamblin’ Gator (from Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Summer Vacation) – I don’t know much about this fella except that I made his name up. As I recall, Babs attempts to get even with Buster by unleashing a Hoover-sized dam, chock full of water, upon their unsuspecting city. She neglects to take into account Buster’s exuberant love of water sports, and somehow the two end up floating down the river, Huck Finn style, unearthing the deep racial prejudices of their cartoon, assumedly post-Reconstruction world. I think this gator tries to eat them.
3. Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) - After Hurricane Katrina damaged one of Mississippi’s most lucrative industries -- gambling -- the governor signed legislation allowing casinos, once relegated to offshore digs, the ability to operate up to 800 feet inland. These new casinos, though economically beneficial (unless we want to get into the effects of casino gambling on surrounding communities), could pose a threat to residents looking to rebuild their homes and lives in the diverse, mixed-income neighborhoods of East Biloxi. Reconstruction at a cost? All that makes him the anti-riverboat gambler, I guess.
2. Mark Twain – Such a riverboat gamblin’ fool, he’s got an armada of riverboats (1) (2), even though he’s been dead for 97 years. Them boats ain’t even in the same time-zone. Talk about some supernatural chicanery. Rumor has it that during a secret meeting with known alchemist and voodoo practitioner Nikola Tesla, Twain dared the pomade-covered Serb to chant an incantation over the humorist’s ruffly moustache. To this day, visitors of Twain’s grave in Elmira, NY claim to hear the moustache, overgrown and surly as ever, scraping against the top of his coffin, attempting to escape and ride those aptly-named riverboats once again.

1.

Everyone’s Favorite Non-Metallica Metal-Caricatures Megadeth to Kick Our Asses, Fuck Our Moms, Huff Our Paint Cans, Play Air-Guitar On Our Crucifixes, Re-perm Their Gorgeous Hair, and Tour U.S. This Fall; Dave Mustaine to TMT: “Nice Story, Tell it to Reader’s Digest!”

Hello me, it's me again:

Everyone's favorite Metallica-ousted, drug-addled, Fozzy Bear-voiced paragon of thrash metal douche baggery Dave Mustane is back for another round of PG-rated Armageddon poetry and classical guitar-inspired wank-offs with good ol' spelling bee drop-outs Megadeth.

Fresh off a string of European festival appearances (if "fresh" is a word that could ever really apply here), Dave Mustaine and Co. will hit (read: batter, pulverize, etc.) mostly theaters and clubs for a month-long string... uh, I mean... badass iron chain of headlining dates in support of May's apparently critically-acclaimed and reeeeally classy pun-invoking LP United Abominations (Roadrunner).

Pre-sale tickets are available now through the group's undoubtedly high-traffic fanclub website (which, TRUST ME, is worth checking out for the artwork alone) and will go on sale to the, er, "general buying public" over the next few days... so, you know, we’d all better hustle...

The Countdown to Extinction:

You’re welcome.

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