SanDisk Reveals More Details of Outlandishly Doomed slotMusic Plan, That Rich Texas Oil Tycoon Guy from The Simpsons Could Be Behind it All (Or Maybe T. Boone Pickens)

The plot thickens: Just like the luridly slanting storyline of our current GOP candidates’ journey, uh, “southward,” SanDisk’s seemingly off-the-rails plan just keeps getting more and more tragically ludicrous with each passing day. Let’s resume the tangled tale, shall we?

When last we left our euphemistically-picaresque heroes at SanDisk (TMT News), they were preparing the release of their new slotMusic initiative, which, as you no doubt recall from subsequent water-cooler conversations, aims to “put the 20th century hassle back in 21st century consumerism” by distributing digital albums on ultra-tiny, ultra-losable microSD memory cards in lieu of CDs or, you know, umm, those digital download things.

Among the myriad of preparations at SanDisk, which presumably included the cleaning, polishing, loading, and aiming of pistols at freshly bullseyed feet, were the announcements that albums in the new forwardly-backwards-looking format will be available beginning this week at a price of $15 a pop (i.e. MORE EXPENSIVE THAN DOWNLOADS) and that, yes, SanDisk will indeed be going ahead and offending both our planet’s stammering economy AND your consummate materialistic sensibilities with the release of a new, hopelessly uni-taking music player that is, you guessed it, designed specifically for the bass-ackwards format and nothing else. The Sansa slotMusic Player (dimensions = 2.75” x 1.4375” x 1.4375”) will retail $20, has no internal memory, and will not have the ability to synch with a computer to download songs. Nope. It simply lets users plug in their slotMusic card or other microSD memory card (if they haven’t lost it, that is) and play whatever Jimmy Buffet nonsense is on it.

To make matters even more ridiculous, this needy little device will also beg you to pay attention to a number of boldly presumptuous accessories, not the least of which is the “artist-branded” model, in which artists are apparently supposed to feel compelled to create their own signature slotMusic Player that comes pre-loaded with their latest album contained on an included 1 GB slotMusic card. Though they will be able to play any ol’ miniSD card that your infant, toddler, dog, cat, parakeet, ferret, couch cushion, car seat, lawnmower, washing machine, or vacuum cleaner hasn’t yet consumed, the artist-branded models have the added bonus of retailing for $35 instead of $20 and come custom designed with the artist's teeny name and tiny image. Oh, and because X-mas is just around the corner, there’s also a “Sansa Card Wallet” for carrying the many, many slotMusic cards that you’re going to buy and an armband for holding the player so that your hands are free to, like, blog about how much you like this new physical format or whatever.

No word yet as to exactly how much longer SanDisk and their marketers are going to keep on playing this game of chicken with the world, but for now, damned if they don’t seem to be heading straight for us with full poker face as they further announce that all four majors are on board with this debacle, and slotMusic titles will be sold in both Wal-Mart and Best Buy stores. And they aren’t messing around with their initial batch of SD-ified artists, either, which boasts nothing but chart-toppers, including: ABBA, Chris Brown, Coldplay, Daughtry, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy buffet, Katy Perry, Keane, Kelly Clarkson, Kiss, Leona Lewis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, MIA, Nelly, New Kids On The Block, Ne-Yo, Nickelback, Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Rise Against, Robin Thicke, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Usher and Weezer. So there you have it, I guess! This is either a serious economic venture to someone somewhere, folks! Either that or a clever distraction from the Grand Old Party. Speaking of which, did you hear that 9/11 was an inside job?!?

Paw Tracks Sign Dent May & his Magnificent Ukulele. Joins Ukulele Ranks with Sir Paul McCartney and Umm… Tiny Tim

Paw Tracks, home of some of indie favorites such as Panda Bear (TMT Review) and Excepter (TMT Review), have added a new member to their loveable oddball family: Dent May. May with his undeniably strong vocal presence, ukulele in tow, and quirky songwriting to boot will come out swinging February 3, 2009 with the release of his debut album, The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele. Working with producer Rusty Santos (who recently released World I See as The Present - TMT Review), May recorded this album in his home, a double-wide trailer in Taylor, Mississippi.

While this may be his first major release, May is no newcomer to music. From singing in church choirs to writing synthy power-pop in high school, music has always been with Dent May. Also a founding member of the Cats Purring arts collective, May plays in country-rock band Cowboy Maloney's Electric City. Since 2007, May has been playing under Dent May & his Magnificent Ukulele, which he credits inspiration from the likes of Serge Gainsbourg and Lee Hazlewood, and has even started recording dance music under the moniker Dent Sweat.

Dent May will play several shows to help promote this new release, including a Paw Tracks/Carpark CMJ Showcase. For those of you who won’t be able to see these shows, check out this video from Dent May performing the track “Oh, Paris!” from the new album.

Dent May & his Magnificent Ukulele tourdates:
10.18.08 - Athens, GA - Farm255
10.20.08 - Greenville, NC - Spider Skull
10.22.08 - New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge / Carpark & Paw Tracks CMJ Showcase

The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele tracklist:

Johnny Cash Remixed, Featuring Snoop Dogg (Of Course), Gets CD Release and DVD Expansion; Another Cash Comp Coming Soon, Too

Not to be outdone by Elvis remixes and the internet mash-up culture, Compadre Records has given the album Johnny Cash Remixed a January 27 in-store and online release date. (A small number of independent records stores have already stocked the vinyl deluxe edition of the album last month.)

Produced by the Man in Black's son John Carter Cash, Snoop Dogg, and Mathew Knowles (father/manager of Beyoncé Knowles), the album features remixes of classics from the original Sun Records-licensed master recordings. On par with the dance and hip-hop that dominates the album, Snoop Dogg does his own interpretation of Cash's classic "I Walk the Line," with help from his new production crew QDT (featuring Teddy Riley and DJ Quik). Elsewhere, Mocean Worker, made famous by the remix of Elvis Presley's "Burnin' Love," takes on "Hey Porter," while Dirty Pop king Kennedy does "Sugartime." Other remixes by Pete Rock ("Folsom Prison Blues") and "Sopranos" theme song creators Alabama 3 also grace the album.

Enclosed with the disc is a short DVD documentary chronicling the making of the remixes in numerous home studios and Cash's own Cash Recording Cabin in Tennessee.

If one was so inclined, they could listen to this album with the forthcoming tribute album All Aboard: A Tribute to Johnny Cash, expected October 21 via Anchorless Records. This tribute, in stark contrast to the former, features covers courtesy of The Bouncing Souls, MxPx, The Flatliners, and The Dresden Dolls. It's up to you to listen and decide which compilation will honor the legend's legacy and which will cause more metaphorical grave rollovers.

Johnny Cash Remixed Tracklisting (deluxe vinyl edition):

Rock The Bells 2008 Goes Across Seas with Nas, Mos Def, De La Soul

Starting off as a California hip-hop festival in 2004, Rock The Bells has since grown into one of the most widely respected concert series. With acts like Wu-Tang Clan and Mos Def, it has easily become one of the best hip-hop shows to date.

The tour just wrapped up U.S. dates this past summer, but fans who missed it can travel across the Atlantic to hit up the dates in Europe, which kicks off on Halloween in the Czech Republic. Although there are no big reunions this year (like 2004's A Tribe Called Quest reunion), you can still catch Nas, Mos Def, De la Soul, The Pharcyde, EPMD, Supernatural, Scratch, and others, as they keep the Rock the Bells torch a flamin'.

RIP: Frankie Venom, Lead Singer of Teenage Head

From the Winnipeg Sun (via Matador):

The Glasgow, Scotland-born Kerr, 51, was the lead singer of the Hamilton-based band which formed at Westdale High School back in 1975.

Guitarist Gord Lewis announced the death in a press release yesterday afternoon which was later posted on the band's official website

Teenage Head released its first independent single in 1978 and released its legendary self-titled debut the following year. The group, who performed in Hamilton in early August and were slated to play at this year's Grey Cup festivities in Montreal, is perhaps best known for the song Let's Shake which appeared on its Frantic City release.

- Teenage Head official website
- Teenage Head MySpace
- Teenage Head Wikipedia entry
- Teenage Head videos

Corgan and Company Release Documentary, But I’d Rather Have Another Book of Poetry

Okay, I got a joke. What does Billy Corgan and Charlie from Flowers for Algernon have in common? They both went from brilliant to phenomenally stupid in a short period of time.

Tracing the trajectory of Billy Corgan would be like trying to find Bin Laden -- all over the place. Here you have a man who went from sporting groovy polyester shirts, rockin' out balls to the wall, and writing masterpieces like Siamese Dream, to coming back from outer space with a shiny head, ghoulish veneer, black tunic, and moon boots; his ability to write music unfortunately decimated upon entering the chrono-synclastic infundibulum. Then, dude breaks up his band, buddies up with Dave Pajo, decides he hates Dave Pajo, sues whoever comes into the cross hairs, blogs his entire life with with Jim Jones-worthy quotes ("I am happy to be a warrior of light and universal logic if I am fighting for the good in us"), and more recently toured with a band called Smashing Pumpkins that is not actually Smashing Pumpkins, which included residency shows that took place very far from their home base of Chicago, despite Billy's full page "omg I love you Chicago" letter he purchased in the Sun Times. Someone should seriously shoot a documentary about Corgan and title it "Lolocaust."

Alas, that's not in the works. However, you can catch a new documentary called If All Goes Wrong. Go on and insert your own punch line on the name. If All Goes Wrong chronicles the aforementioned San Francisco and Asheville residency shows that took place in the summer of 2007, as well as fun-for-the-whole-family backstage antics with Pete Townsend, who is evidently one of three people actually stoked on Zeitgeist. The 105-minute limited release doc arrives on the big screen for one day, November 6, in 40 cities across the U.S. You can locate the closest screening to you at the film's official site. All show times are 8 PM local time.

Can't make it on that date? No worries, as the 2-disc DVD subsequently drops the following week on November 11. In the meantime, instead of seeing what Iha and D'arcy are up to and how much money they want, like he should be doing, Billy and the boys will be celebrating the group's 20th anniversary with this fall's extensive tour (TMT News). For your consideration, I've taken the time to include the black hole sun white thunder horse voodoo glow skulls shoop-da-woop set lists of each concert

10.26.08 - Mountain View, CA - Shoreline Amphitheatre (Bridge School Benefit)
11.01.08 - Cleveland, OH - Palace Theatre
11.03.08 - Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall ("Black Sunshine")
11.04.08 - Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall ("White Crosses")
11.06.08 - New York, NY - United Palace Theatre ("Black Sunshine")
11.07.08 - New York, NY - United Palace Theatre ("White Crosses")
11.08.08 - Atlantic City, NJ - Borgata
11.11.08 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall ("Black Sunshine")
11.12.08 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall ("White Crosses")
11.14.08 - Boston, MA - Wang Center ("Black Sunshine")
11.15.08 - Boston, MA - Wang Center ("White Crosses")
11.16.08 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
11.18.08 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre ("Black Sunshine")
11.19.08 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre ("White Crosses")
11.21.08 - Chicago, IL - Auditorium Theatre ("Black Sunshine")
11.22.08 - Chicago, IL - Auditorium Theatre ("White Crosses")
11.26.08 - St. Louis, MO - Fox Theatre
11.30.08 - San Diego, CA - RIMAC Arena
12.02.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Gibson Amphitheatre ("Black Sunshine")
12.03.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Gibson Amphitheatre ("White Crosses")

RIP: William J. Claxton, Famous Jazz Photographer

From The Washington Post:

As the premier chronicler of West Coast jazz, photographer William Claxton took his subjects out of the shadows and into the light.

Instead of posing musicians such as Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins in dark, seedy-looking clubs, wreathed in cigarette smoke, he photographed them on golden beaches, riding on carousels, strolling in the Mojave Desert, emerging from the ocean cradling a trumpet.

Mr. Claxton, who worked in a style he called "jazz for the eyes," died Oct. 11 in Los Angeles of complications from congestive heart failure. He was 80.

- William Claxton official website
- William Claxton Wikipedia entry
- The Associated Press article: "Music photographer William Claxton dies at 80"

Radiohead Get Even Richer; Details of In Rainbows Sales Revealed

The whole “self-release new album on the internet for whatever price the customer chooses experiment-thingy” appears to have actually worked. (As if you expected Radiohead to fail at something...) At this point, it seems like everybody and their mothers know what happened with the most recent Radiohead album, but in case you’ve been in a coma, it goes like this:

A year ago, Radiohead rolled up their sleeves, slicked back their hair, looked The Man in the face and spit hard. By deciding to self-release their album In Rainbows (TMT Review), they demonstrated just how out-of-touch the traditional distribution model was. It was a great success, of course. Everything was wonderful, the music world was changed forever, yadda yadda yadda.

The caveat? The results of the experiment were never released... until now, that is!

According to, Warner Chappell (Radiohead's publishing company) is set to make an official announcement soon that will "reveal details of their view of the Radiohead licensing experiment at the ‘You Are in Control’ conference in Iceland." In the meantime, the website has published some stats already, claiming that “three million album purchases including the box sets, CDs, and all downloads including iTunes and pay-what-you-like downloads.” This includes 100,000 purchases of the $80 box set version of the album, which is a lot of copies to even the most cynical of us. In fact, according to the site, "Radiohead had made more money before In Rainbows was physically released than they made in total on Hail To the Thief."

On the less positive side, it seems that quite a few people still torrented the album even though it was available for "free." But did Radiohead even care about the sales? Apparently so:

Dyball points to the fact that the band and their management never announced a timeline for the pay-what-you-like experiment and were watching the average price daily with a view to potentially withdrawing it any moment should it drop too low. Dyball points out that the average price went down after the download moved from uberfans to less committed fans, as expected.

Here are some other stats, straight from the source:

- After being made available for free for 3 months the album was no.1 in the UK and in the US
- 1st Radiohead album on iTunes – no.1 album selling 30,000 units in the US in the first week
- The physical CD has sold 1.75 million to date and is still top 200 UK & US
- They sold 100k boxsets via W.A.S.T.E.
- Nearing 17 million plays on
- 1.2 million fans will see the tour
- The digital income from the experiment made a material difference to WCM’s UK digital revenue this year

The band still isn’t telling how much it made per download, so we really don’t know how rich Radiohead are. Still, I think they’ve probably made enough at this point for Thom to finally just buy himself some sanity.

Daniel Johnston Is Going On Tour, But You Won’t Get To See Him Because You Don’t Live In Europe, Unless Of Course You’re Reading From Europe or Intend to Go to Europe Soon

Mountain Dew-obsessed, schizophrenic, religious fanatic pop star Daniel Johnston is hitting the road later this month (and making people feel uncomfortable*) all over Europe in support of his... collectible vinyl frogs? Just in case you can’t make it to Amsterdam or Denmark, Daniel is also the main attraction at the primitive art festival Good Folk Fest, taking place November 21-23 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Meanwhile, Johnston's next "major" release, in collaboration with "major" producers and artists, is due in early 2009.


# John Dear Mowing Club

*Yeah, yeah, he’s a great songwriter, but you can’t say that he doesn’t make you a little uneasy.

Do You Wanna Make Twee at the BBC? Do You Wanna Be, Do You Really Wanna Be a Comp? Belle and Sebastian Collection Coming Soon

Damn, it’s a violent world out there! With mixed martial arts taking over from backgammon as the extreme fighting game of choice among young, intellectual sociopaths and back-window decal truck accessories depicting Calvin pissing on anything and everything his stream can hit (Dodge logo, "dispatchers," a missionary Hobbes), it seems there is no time or consideration given to those wanting nothing more than to sit idly in a window nook while staring wistfully through a rain-soaked pane reading L'Etranger and listening to a soundtrack of Bryter Layter and Forever Changes.

Thankfully, Glaswegian softies Belle and Sebastian have filled a much-needed void for the bedsit dreamers in all of us over the past dozen years, so it gives us much pleasure to hear that our heroes have a new double-disc collection coming out November 18 on Matador. Entitled The BBC Sessions, the compilation will take tracks recorded for the broadcasting behemoth between 1996-2001 on one disc, and a live recording of a December 2001 Belfast show, plumped up with a number of crowd-favorite covers, on the other. I’m sure that concert was better than the non-existent, no-show the group pulled on me a few years ago. Now talk about inciting violence!

All this is bittersweet news, of course. Recent word of the band's hiatus has saddened the masses, prompting many to come to the uncomfortable conclusion that this new compilation may be the last release from Belle and Sebastian. For the sake of our brittle hearts, let’s hope it is just a retuning of the engine instead of a complete dismantling.

The BBC Sessions tracklisting:

Disc One - Radio Sessions:
1 The State I Am In (Mark Radcliffe Session; 07.96)
2 Like Dylan in the Movies (Mark Radcliffe Session; 07.96)
3 Judy and the Dream of Horses (Mark Radcliffe Session; 07.96)
4 The Stars of Track and Field (Mark Radcliffe Session; 07.96)
5 I Could Be Dreaming (abbreviated version; Mark Radcliffe session; 12.96)
6 Seymour Stein (Evening Session; 07.97)
7 Lazy Line Painter Jane (Evening Session; 07.97)
8 Sleep the Clock Around (Evening Session; 07.97)
9 Slow Graffiti (Evening Session; 07.97)
10 Wrong Love (later recorded as "The Wrong Girl;" Evening Session; 07.97)
11 Shoot the Sexual Athlete (John Peel session; 05.01)
12 The Magic of a Kind Word (John Peel session; 05.01)
13 Nothing in the Silence (John Peel session; 05.01)
14 (My Girl's Got) Miraculous Technique (John Peel session; 05.01)

Disc Two - Live in Belfast (12.21.01):
1 Here Comes the Sun
2 There's Too Much Love
3 The Magic of a Kind Word
4 Me and the Major
5 Wandering Alone
6 The Model
7 I'm Waiting for the Man
8 The Boy With the Arab Strap
9 The Wrong Girl
10 Dirty Dream #2
11 The Boys Are Back in Town
12 Legal Man