“Holiday Road Ohohohohohoh”… Oh No! Pelican Robbed in Rome

If this story wasn’t so sad, I could have run with a very lame Vacation plot crammed full of Clark Griswold’s fish-out-of-water hijinks. But because robbery is never funny, and because touring is never relaxing at the best of times (especially when you are far from home and reliant on limited travel possessions for your job and sanity), this news is just plain devastating and depressing. Last week, Chicago noise addixxx Pelican got four bags of belongings stolen from their rental van in Rome while out sightseeing. (The band is currently touring around Europe with Torche.)

I’m pissed when someone steals one of my popsicles from the freezer at work, so I can’t even imagine how shitty it must feel to lose a bunch of personal and professional items. There are always many worthwhile causes vying for your hard-earned money, but if you happen to be particularly flush with extra pocket change this week, donating a few bucks to Pelican would produce a significant karmic rebound. Here’s the statement from the band:

Our otherwise excellent tour of Europe hit a severe stroke of bad luck this week. Two days ago we had a spare half hour to spend in Rome before heading to the venue, so we decided to go see the Coliseum. We parked nearby and went to take a brief twenty minute walk around the area. When we returned to our van we found that it had been broken into, despite being parked on a major street in broad daylight. Four bags were stolen, the contents including computers, passports, wallets, ipods, our soundguy's microphone collection, and, most devastatingly, a number of personal journals and two portable recording devices containing hours of song ideas that are now lost forever.

The calculated loss of this theft is several thousands of dollars. Unfortunately our band only earns us a very meager living and some of us are already in the hole from years of trying to make a living as musicians. This incident therefore poses a devastating loss and puts us in a very compromised financial position. Although we realize that there is a worldwide financial crisis going on, if there are those of you who have the means and desire to help out our gratitude would run deeper than words could express. We've set up a Paypal account at the address pelicanrobbed@gmail.com. Anything you can offer, even simple condolences, would go a long way. Thanks so much for reading.

Remaining dates:

* Torche

HEALTH to Sweep Across U.S. on Fall Tour; U.S. Acts Out in Defiance and Remains Morbidly Obese

L.A. zoothorn enthusiasts and noise-rockers HEALTH are set to, uh, make some noise all across the U.S. this winter as they liven up the Nine Inch Nails “We Need Young Bands To Open For Us So That We Seem Relevant” Tour, which has already brought the likes of Deerhunter and Crystal Castles to Verizon Wireless Arenas and Bi-Lo Amphitheaters near you. And while the urge to attend a NIN concert in the year 2008 just to see what that demographic looks like is compelling, you may find yourself gravitating towards the other dates on the Health itinerary, including several shows with of Montreal.

HEALTH hit the road October 9 at Hollywood’s Knitting Factory with Genghis Tron, Clipd Beaks, and Yip Yip, and look out for the upcoming Live at the Smell DVD directed by Bob Bellerue and featuring performances by HEALTH, The Mae-Shi, Anavan, and Foot Village — all filmed at the eponymous downtown Los Angeles venue.

# Genghis Tron, Clipd Beaks, Yip Yip

* Nine Inch Nails

$ AIDS Wolf, USA Is A Monster

! Special appearance by DanKing!!

Nick Cave to Release Second Novel, Curate/Headline Inaugural ATP Australia with Bad Seeds; You to Talk Bullshit About Starting Your First Novel, Curate/Headline Dinner with Your Parents on Saturday

Sure, Nick Cave may look like a tweaked-out, undependable drifter these days, but let me be the first to assure you that, despite what that garish mustache would have you believe, he’s actually pretty all-about commitment these days. Take, for instance, his second work of fiction, The Death of Bunny Munro, which he will be “committing” to paper in the coming months.

Cave's previous foray into fiction was, of course, 1989's And the Ass Saw the Angel, which, conveniently enough, is currently available in two special editions via Black Spring Press. In rather typical Cave fashion, this new endeavor traces the fortunes of one man and his son on a road trip around the south coast of England following the suicide of his wife. Sure, it sounds rather bleak, but remember that you’re talking about the man who made even “not getting laid” sound completely badass last year.

The world rights for the book have been acquired by publishers Canongate, who have “committed” to a release date of September 2009 for Cave’s creation. Canongate is planning a multimedia launch for Bunny Munro, which will consist of both an audio book (also narrated by Cave himself, kids!) and an e-book, which will both launch simultaneously. In addition, a signed and numbered limited edition will also be available, as well as a special e-book version combining Cave's narration with an original "soundscape."

"Nick is one of the great forces in contemporary culture -- not just an outstanding musician and singer, but also a superb writer, be it of lyrics, screenplays, music scores or novels," says Canongate publisher/managing director Jamie Byng. "This novel is going to shock and amaze a lot of people." See, I told you he was dedicated... how many books have you written, published, narrated, and soundtracked in the past year? Cuz if it’s any less than one, you already look shitty by comparison!

But wait, he’s not even done yet; heck, he’s barely even broken a sweat! Along with his fellow Bad Seeds, Cave is also “committed” to both headline and curate All Tomorrow’s Parties’ inaugural ATP Australia festival, scheduled to take place January 9-18, 2009 in, you guessed it, Australia. Caves ATP Australia will stage shows all across the island/commonwealth/country/continent and will include such indulgences as he and the Seeds see fit, including (and this is just preliminary, mind you):

Spiritualized, Silver Apples, Michael Gira, Fuck Buttons, Afrirampo, Harmonica, James “Blood” Ulmer, the Saints, former Go-Between Robert Foster, Laughing Clowns, Bridezilla, the Necks, Primitive Calculators, Rowland S. Howard, the Stabs, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

And all of this while you’re struggling to make a simple dinner reservation for your parents this weekend! Maybe you should look into growing one of those mustaches after all.

Back in the Water; Monumental Jam Band Phish Set to Reunite

It’s been talked about for years now. Four years to be exact. However, this week, the prayers of legions of jam fans and ex-Deadheads were answered: Legendary jam pioneers Phish announced plans on their website to play three nights at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA. The shows, scheduled to take place March 6-8, would be the band's first since August 2004, after playing their final string of shows at a farewell festival in Coventry, VT.

But, actually, this is sorta routine for them. The band broke up before in 2000, amidst allegations that their operation had just become too big and complex. However, they quickly reformed in 2002 to the delight of fans and critics alike. But only two years later, the group announced their second breakup.

Nonetheless, I, personally, plan to make March a personal health month, dedicated to Phish and am curious when their third breakup will be.

Throbbing Gristle Member’s New Project Threshold HouseBoys Choir Added to Already Stone-Cold Awesome Brainwaves Festival Lineup; Kranky Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Have you been lacking in your daily dose of music with heavy thuds, endless loops of unnerving screams, and loads and loads of discordant tones? Your clock radio alarm going off to Einsturzende Neubauten just not cutting it anymore? Well, you're in luck, because you can get more experimental, avant-garde, and just plain off-the-beaten path GOOD music at this fall's Brainwaves festival in Boston, MA.

Tickets for the entire weekend of November 21-23 are only $75 a pop and guarantee a couple blissful days of forward-thinking music, not all of which would inspire a Sarah Palin-esque anti-witch ceremony, but if that's your thing, hey there's that aplenty! There's also eerie minimalist songsters like Marissa Nadler and Rivulets and oscillator luminaries like Silver Apples. The proverbial cherry on top of the lineup is the recent unveiling of Throbbing Gristle (and Psychic TV, Coil, annnnnd SoiSong) member Peter Christopherson's Threshold HouseBoys Choir to the roster.

Lo and behold -- a complete listing of all participating artists, who will be rocking Boston's Regent Theatre for one magical weekend (including a special day in honor of the Kranky label's 15th anniversary. Happy birthday guys! Let the driver's permit jokes begin!):

Threshold HouseBoys Choir, Silver Apples, JG Thirlwell's Manorexia, Meat Beat Manifesto, Matmos, Stars of the Lid, Marissa Nadler, Little Annie, Windy Weber (of Windy & Carl) & Thomas Meluch (of Benoit Pioulard), Major Stars, Reformed Faction (Mark and Robin of Zoviet France, Rapoon, Dead Voices On Air), Boduf Songs, Andrew Liles and Jonathan Coleclough, Nmperign feat. Jason Lescalleet, Glenn Jones, To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie, His Name Is Alive, Gary Wilson, Rivulets, Strategy, Nudge, Lichens + DJ Steven Stapleton & a special Greater Than One video presentation.

RIP: Nick Reynolds, Founding Member of Kingston Trio

According to The Kingston Trio's official website:

We have lost one of the finest singers and entertainers the world has ever known. Nick Reynolds passed away Wednesday, Oct. 1st at 10:05 p.m. A dear friend, a wonderful man, father, husband...there will never be another like Nick.

Nick had been in the hospital in the ICU for several weeks, and tonight the family made the decison to take him off life support.

Bob Shane says that from the day he met Nick in college in 1954, they were brothers, and Nick will be with him for the rest of his life.

Our heartfelt feelings go out to all of Nick's family and many friends and fans.

- The Kingston Trio official website
- The Kingston Trio blog
- Nick Reynolds Wikipedia entry
- Nick Reynolds IMDB entry
- Rolling Stone article: "Kingston Trio Founding Member Nick Reynolds Dead at 75"

Studies Show Owning the New Book by Former Joy Division/New Order Manager Rob Gretton Adds Enough Cool Points to Cancel Out Your Massive Collection of Vampire Romance Novels

Whoa, dude! Surf's up! Yes, the Joy Division/New Order nostalgia wave is growing even stronger in force thanks to the revelation that former manager Rob Gretton's band-related notebooks will soon be published in handy paperback format, guaranteed to add that extra touch of "cred" to any bookcase. The book, entitled 1 Top Class Manager, has a UK release date of October 7.

But what exactly can one expect to find in said cred-boosting paperback? Well, you can find diary entries, posters, studio notes, and to-do lists, compiled by Gretton's widow Lesley from over 20 of his original notebooks relating to his time with the bands. Chronicling the period from 1978-1980, 1 Top Class Manager shows the metamorphosis from Joy Division to New Order through documents like a list of possible new band names considered in the wake of Ian Curtis' death. Pick your favorite from the names unveiled in a recent NME article, names such as Arab Legion, Sons of God, Radical Jesuits, and Man Ray.

The book also includes anecdotes like the wacky time Joy Division threw eggs at then tourmates The Buzzcocks and the time when Curtis et al. released LIVE mice during the Buzzcocks' set! As of this date, no info has been released to corroborate reports of a wild slumber party on the same tour where Bernard Sumner and Pete Shelley played light-as-a-feather, stiff-as-a-board, but I'm sure 1 Top Class Manager will have the scoop.

German Court Rules Rapidshare Must Diligently Remove Copyrighted Material

The Hamburg district court ruled Tuesday that the file-hosting giant Rapidshare has insufficiently attempted to prevent piracy on their site. In a ruling that could sound the death knell for Rapidshare, the site must not only continue to remove copyrighted material from the site, but it must also “proactively check content before publishing it" if the material comes from a user who has past infringements.

Unlike the United States, Germany has no “safe harbor” laws that exempt a website from liability when individual users upload copyrighted materials, providing the site administrators remove infringing content once notified. Such provisions have kept YouTube relatively safe from the snares of lawsuits, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for Rapidshare.

In order to curb piracy as much as possible, Rapidshare uses a hash filter to prevent previously removed material from reaching the site and employs six full-time people to scour the site and remove copyrighted material. The German court, however, determined the filter could be too easily circumvented and the anti-piracy staff was not effective in patrolling for infringements. Rapidshare argued if they were required to check every file individually before it was uploaded to the site, there'd be no way for the business to stay afloat. The court replied in its decision, "A business model that doesn't use common methods of prevention cannot claim the protection of the law." Charming.

If you happen to know German, you can read the court’s full decision here. For everybody else, send off those ZIP files of cat pictures to your gramma and pornographic films to your friends while you can, because Rapidshare might not be there forever.

(Via Ars Technica and P2P Blog .)

Sony Corp Officially Acquires Bertelsmann’s Stake in Sony BMG; Sony’s Brand-Extension Department Hosts Company Picnic Celebration

After just four years, Sony BMG is now officially deceased. Sony Corp announced today that is has finally completed the acquisition of Bertelsmann's 50% stake in the Sony BMG venture. Rebranded as Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (SMEI) -- clever name! -- the entirety of its operations are now wholly owned by Sony Corporation of America, a company whose annual sales amounted to $88.7 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008, topping TMT's fiscal earnings by what experts might call "a significant margin."

And the cost of acquiring Bertelsmann's stake? Oh, just $1.2 billion. Chump change. Now all Sony has to do is save itself by focusing its leadership and finally settling into manageable roles. And I'd expect increasing crossover between Sony artists and the Playstation console, because as the saying goes, "Money is great!"

Meanwhile, soak in Sony BMG's beautiful website while it's still up. Boy, I'm really going to miss that brand. It really defined who I am as an individual, etc.

There Is a Band that Never Goes Away; The Smiths Launch Another Greatest Hits Collection

It's one thing to flog a dead horse. It's a whole other matter to scoop up that dead horse's remains, jerky them, then cobble them together repeatedly for a voracious dried meat-eating, music-buying public. Obviously, if the dead horse is beloved British indie-pop band The Smiths, it appears anything is fair play in the repetitious compilation game (and no, don't worry Smiths fans, we would never insinuate that any of you would ever be caught eating horse meat...).

If anyone should be afforded some leeway with flogging its recorded legacy it may as well be The Smiths. In addition to being ridiculously influential, they were a unique brand who tended to treat every record as important, as opposed to putting out singles with throwaway B-sides merely to sell albums. Consequently, many of their greatest songs did not get automatic placement on regularly-released albums. The Smiths also went through unbelievably prolific periods that produced a slew of classic tracks (I seem to recall an old Select Magazine interview with Johnny Marr in which he tells of writing the music for "This Charming Man," "Still Ill," and "Pretty Girls Make Graves" in one night, with Morrissey penning lyrics for all three the next day!). It is worth everyone's time to own at least one Smiths collection and, fully aware of this fact, Rhino will throw its hat into the ring, also knowing full well that Hatful of Hollow, Louder Than Bombs, The World Won't Listen, The Best of The Smiths, Vol. 1, The Best of The Smiths, Vol. 2, Singles, and The Very Best of The Smiths have already been released. The latest rush and a push is called Hang the DJ: The Very Best of The Smiths, and it will be released October 7 in both single- and double-disc versions.

Smiths fanatics will already have everything on these two discs but will undoubtedly pick up the album for the cover art alone. New recruits primed to pray at the feet of Morrissey and Marr will delight in Hang the DJ's indie anthems, including a small smattering of (mostly previously released) curios: the outstanding "Jeane," ("This Charming Man" B-side, later covered by Billy Bragg), "Money Changes Everything" ("Shoplifters of the World Unite" instrumental B-side, later used by Johnny Marr on Bryan Ferry’s "The Right Stuff"), and "I Keep Mine Hidden" ("Girlfriend in a Coma" B-side and the last song The Smiths ever recorded). There are also a number of live tracks, including a cover of "What’s the World" by fellow thoughtful Mancunians James.

These tracklistings aren’t funny anymore:

Disc One:

1. Hand in Glove
2. Reel Around the Fountain
3. This Charming Man
4. What Difference Does it Make
5. Still Ill
6. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
7. William, It Was Really Nothing
8. How Soon Is Now?
9. Shakespeare’s Sister
10. Barbarism Begins at Home
11. That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
12. The Headmaster Ritual
13. The Boy With the Thorn in His Side
14. Bigmouth Strikes Again
15. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
16. Panic
17. Ask
18. You Just Haven’t Earned it Yet Baby
19. Shoplifters of the World Unite
20. Sheila Take a Bow
21. Girlfriend in a Coma
22. I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish
23. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me

Disc Two:

1. Handsome Devil (Live)
2. Jeane
3. This Charming Man (New York vocal)
4. Back to the Old House
5. These Things Take Time
6. Girl Afraid
7. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
8. Oscillate Wildly
9. Stretch Out and Wait
10. Meat Is Murder (Live in Oxford)
11. Asleep
12. Money Changes Everything
13. The Queen Is Dead
14. Vicar in a Tutu
15. Cemetary Gates
16. Half a Person
17. Sweet and Tender Hooligan
18. I Keep Mine Hidden
19. Pretty Girls Make Graves (Troy Tate version)
20. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before
21. What’s the World (Live in Glasgow)