One part of that headline is true, anyway. Minnesota Public Radio's program Weekend America must have some kinda magic fingers, because who else can ask Mountain Goats to write a Super Tuesday song for them? I wish I had that kind of power. Salutes to the MGs for remaining non-partisan, though John Darnielle's distaste for hypocrisy and deals with the Devil may rule out a couple of candidates. The song is entitled "Down to the Ark," and you can listen to it here.
"Down to the Ark" by The Mountain Goats
The candidates met up in North Dakota
And they donned their black robes there in the chapel hall
They said a brief invocation to their cloven-hoofed prince
And they signed their names in blood on the vestry wall
In Christ you know there's neither high nor low
And the void will claim all creatures small or bright
Seal up the borders or let everybody in
In the order of the serpent, there'll be neither left nor right
And we pull down our blindfolds
And we reach out for the lever in the dark
Get a sticker for our shirts as we head into the sun
Proudly bearing the mark
Headed down to the ark
The applicants went down to Oklahoma
And they hired an accent coach to teach them the western twang
And several post-born babies learned the hard way:
Vampires only kiss you if they've sharpened up their fangs
And as Minnesota fell, so went Missouri
We met at VFWs in the snow
And we voted down the tax codes, and we voted down the war
So many names to choose from, just one way to go.
NASA Sends The Beatles’ “Across the Universe” Across the Galaxy, Leaves Actual Space Exploration to the Russians
Well, America, this is what we are paying federal taxes for, huh?
Today, NASA (that's America's National Aeronautics and Space Association, for all you commie spies taking notes) will officially demonstrate to the entire universe that it is little more than a pack of aging hippies when it spends valuable time and highly-paid resources broadcasting The Beatles' song ''Across the Universe'' across the galaxy to Polaris, the North Star.
Apparently desperate to immortalize themselves as the greatest generation just one more time, NASA logged onto their roommate's computer while he was at “some pledge thing” and uploaded an MP3 of the four-minute song (possibly from Kazaa?). NASA will transmit it digitally tonight at 6 PM from its giant antenna in Madrid, Spain -- FCC be damned, man! But if you wanted to hear it on Polaris, you would need an XM subscription or something, and who wants to pay for that every month?
In case you were wondering, this first-ever beaming of a radio song by the space agency directly into deep space commemorates a variety of boring occasions, including the 40th anniversary of the song, the 45th anniversary of NASA's Deep Space Network (which communicates with its distant probes, don't'cha know) and the 50th anniversary of Old Man NASA.
But just in case your dad thinks he will actually live to see the day when we and a bunch of deep space aliens all come together over John Lennon and shit, you can dash his hippie hopes with some good ol' pro-establishment physics. See, even though the song will be turning off its mind, relaxing, and floating downstream at the speed of light, it will still take 431 years traveling a long and winding road to reach its final destination. That's because Polaris is 2.5 quadrillion miles away (yes, apparently that IS a real number).
The idea came from Martin "The Martian" Lewis, a Los Angeles-based Beatles historian whose nickname I just invented, who then got permission from McCartney, Yoko Ono, and the two companies that own the rights to The Beatles' music. One of those companies, Apple, was happy to approve the idea because it's ''always looking for new markets,'' Lewis said. Lewis and Apple all then proceeded to place jester hats on their heads and take LSD together.
As usual, Paul McCartney just so happened to be on hand to deliver his usual cheeky pull-quotes and pretend like he had anything to do with Lennon's inner-peace anthem: ''Send my love to the aliens,'' McCartney told NASA through a Beatles historian. ''All the best, Paul.''
Coincidentally enough, the song's "launching" comes a day before the release of the DVD of the Julie Taymor movie, Across the Universe, named after the Beatles hit, which, like NASA's half-baked plan, was also a huge waste of time and resources.
There. I said it.
Ask Travis Morrison a question!
The FCC Does a Bunch of Drugs, Gets Confused, Gets Upset at Comcast for Hindering BitTorrent Traffic
Since Bush's final State of the Union address was kind of a "just kidding!" in comparison to these last four years, it does make a little more sense that the FCC would also be instructed to make a last-ditch effort to save face. But this shit is just a barrel of monkeys: The FCC, as you may recall, recently threw the American public a few zingers like snooping in your phone conversations, e-mails, etc. Their latest bag of tricks contains an investigation to determine whether or not internet/cable provider Comcast is knowingly slowing downloads and uploads conducted through BitTorrent file-sharing software. The Associated Press has already dug up the facts and are voting yes (yeah, I went there) on the question of whether or not Comcast is throwing a wrench in there, but the internet provider is still maintaining a unified front of "nuh uh."
I don't know if I really need to further explain why this situation is kinda Twilight Zone, but since I'm writing and you're presumably reading, let's lay out the facts. What do people use BitTorrent for? The sharing of large files, of course. And what is a large file usually comprised of? Music, movies, TV shows, porn... all of which is presumably copyrighted material. So why is the FCC looking to protect the rights of Internet subscribers using this service? Aside from the remote possibility that chairman Kevin Martin has declared war on all major record labels who refuse to strong-arm their artists into writing songs dedicated to the Coolest Government Agency Ever, I'm at a loss.
I know your lease is almost up, dudes, but we're not that stupid. I do applaud your efforts, though. You can go wash those peace signs off your cheeks now; I know your old college buddies are making fun of you.
Hey, it's me, a newswriter. Got something steaming fresh to tell you about, and let me tell you, well, about it, um. It's about music. By definition, this is music news: and here it comes. News item news
item, you have been chosen -- for recognition. You will be placed on the ‘net, and you will be silently absorbed. Bye bye, little news item. I did my best.
Got a good one ready for today. Gonna take that tourdate, that collection of tourdates, going to first get it all formatted, let's see here...
and that's that; let's get on to the good stuff. The stuff a news story requires. Info. Information about dates, these perfectly formatted dates. The band that goes with these dates is of course The Twilight Sad, and in a couple seconds, I will produce a laugh riot by taking the word "twilight" and combining it with "sad" in a way that's just downright hilarious. The story will pretty much write itself once I think of the perfect premise that I'm just inches away from announcing in my head and then into your home.
Yes, the story is going to be a good one. It's going to have laughs. It's going to have info. Just tons of info. It's going to gain some respect for TMT. Like we're really "gettin' it down now." That's what all the blogs'll say. The blogosphere. It's going to just take you down, probably one swoop, with just the title alone. So there's laughs coming, there's information, there's music behind it all, and I guess I'd just like you to sit back and enjoy yourself while I deliver the news report of a lifetime. Take it away:
Blonde Redhead is a New York indie-rock trio consisting of Kazu Makino (female) and Italian twins Simone and Amedeo Pace (males). With a sound often compared to that of Deerhoof and Sonic Youth, Blonde Redhead has been developing an ethereal style of their own since 1993, working with the likes of Guy Picciotto (Fugazi) and Alan Moulder (mixer of the illustrious Smashing Pumpkins, U2, and NIN). But more importantly, they're a bitchin' drink!
Blonde Redhead Martini:
- 3/4 oz Vanilla Stoli
- 1/4 oz Chambord
- 1 1/2 oz dry champagne
- 1 1/2 oz 7-up
- Splash of lemon juice
Fill martini shaker with ice, add Vanilla Stoli and Chambord; shake. Pour into a sugar-rimmed martini glass, top off with Champagne, 7-Up, and a splash of lemon juice. Garnish with wedge of pink grapefruit. Get trashed on sugar-booze.
Oh to be in Copenhagen:
Chicago trio Dianogah have always been distinct in that, instead of the usual bass/drums/guitar lineup, they're anchored by bassists Jason Harvey and Jay Ryan and drummer Kip McCabe. Hard to believe it's been five long years since they released the stellar Millions of Brazilians (Southern), but thankfully the wait is over, as they've recently announced a comeback of sorts with a new album.
Harvey confirmed last week that the upcoming, as-yet untitled LP consists of 12 new songs and "features guest appearances by Andrew Bird, Mark Greenberg, Stephanie Morris, and Billy Smith." Although the LP is slated for a May release, Harvey insists an exact release date is still up-in-the-air.
The band has two upcoming dates, one next weekend in Milwaukee and a record release party at Chicago's famed Hideout May 31 that will include Bird, Greenberg, Morris, and Smith all playing their respective parts.
Millions Of Tourdates:
02.09.08 - Milwaukee, WI Cactus Club*
05.31.08 - Chicago, IL The Hideout#
* Qualms, Poison Arrows
# Head of Skulls
It's not all songs about anti-consumerism and torturing someone in your basement for Michael Gira anymore! Oh no! After the demise of his abrasive and often disturbing New York rock group Swans, Mr. Gira chose to eschew the heavy rock sound with which his name had become synonymous and focus on crafting more quietly menacing albums both on his own and with his art-folk project The Angels of Light.
Michael Gira currently resides in the Catskill Mountains, where he is much less frightening but busier than ever before. In between writing books I wouldn't want my mom to read, discovering Devendra Banhart, and founding Young God Records, Gira has also managed to book a solo European tour this February. After fleeing the frigid climes of northern New York state, Michael Gira will bring his darkly beautiful brand of Americana to Italy and the Iberian peninsula. Surely there's time for a side trip to Andorra, Mr. Gira?
[Photo: Peter Kondyrev]