Best Buy Snags Napster for $121 Million, Lehman Bros. Upset It Didn’t Switch Industries Overnight

Monday, September 15 was a bit of a free-for-all in the land of the big boy businesses, but the weirdest bit of news is this: someone actually paid for Napster, and even weirder, Napster came with 700,000 subscribers. 700,000 people still actually use Napster, though I would be curious to find out how many of those people still think 56k is cutting edge. I suppose there's gotta be a population somewhere that's stuck in the Dark Ages of the internet. Anyway, the lucky bidder -- at $121 million -- was Best Buy, which has ruffled industry feathers as of late with its venture into the world of musical instruments (TMT News), vinyl (TMT News), and local music (TMT News).

$121 million is roughly double Napster's estimated stock market value, so Best Buy must have a pretty good master plan as to how it'll make a nearly-dead digital music service work. However, it's keeping on current CEO Chris Gorog along with most of the other HUs, the same folks whose investors threatened to take over the company if Napster didn't stop hemorrhaging. Best Buy hopes to use Napster's current resources and staff to expand its digital presence in all forms of media, but it has a unique set of variables to deal with first. Napster currently sells DRM-free individual MP3s, but users who want to access a $13/month subscription catalog get DRMed. Also, Napster currently offers free and on-demand MP3s through, which probably won't make the cut. Hmm. Out of those 700,000 subscribers, I'm 100% positive that 99.9% of them will be cheesed off unless Best Buy can find a good solution for it all. The plot thickens... I know I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

RIP: Richard Wright of Pink Floyd

From an article by The Associated Press:

Richard Wright, a founding member of the rock group Pink Floyd, died Monday. He was 65.

Pink Floyd's spokesman Doug Wright, who is not related to the artist, said Wright died after a battle with cancer at his home in Britain. He says the band member's family did not want to give more details about his death.

- Richard Wright online memorial
- Richard Wright Wikipedia entry
- Pink Floyd official website (UK)
- Pink Floyd official website (US)
- David Gilmour official website

Dungen Storms the U.S. with Flute Solos in Tow

If you're like me, you're probably bumming hard on the fact that you never got to see Jethro Tull in their prime. Well, never fear, as Gustav Ejstes plays a psychotically mean flute, looks like he just dropped by to say hi on his way to 1974, and is bringing his band Dungen to our shores this fall.

Dungen, probably the most technically proficient psychedelic rock group currently functioning, will storm the U.S. with brain-melting visuals, a slew of new material, and courtroom evidence that you actually can jam out without ever having to resort to the dreaded "white blues" (I'm looking at you, half of Bonnaroo). No word yet on opening acts, but I had the privilege of seeing cock-rock champs Cheeseburger open for them in 2005. Hopefully this year's tour will be up to those standards.

This fall's tour is in support of their forthcoming Kemado Records release, 4, expected September 30. The new joint is, um, actually not their fourth record. Technically, it's their sixth, which is too bad considering the aforementioned "forthcoming" would've been a killer, monumentally creative pun. Well, Ian Anderson would've chortled on one leg, anyway.

Band from Brooklyn Plans Fall Tour! This Time It’s Yeasayer!

For many people, this band was the sound of summer. For others, the sound of Urban Outfitters. And for still more people, they were simply the band that released that album with the kinda nu-ravey, kinda creepy cover where the person's head is all a bunch of wires or cables or something, and the chest is made out of blonde gleaming hair. Hair! They are, as I'm sure you were able to tell instantly from that intro, Brooklyn's Yeasayer. Now that we've gotten through the whole intro thing and are rapidly coming to the mid-section and dramatic conclusion of this story -- because let's face it, there's not much of one! -- you'd be right to assume that Yeasayer are preparing to embark on a fall tour.

That's right! They are! They are going to so many places too -- maybe they are going somewhere near you? Why not take a look at the following dates, slip into a cozy Urban Outfitters novelty tee, and get ready to contemplate the meaning of that album cover! It's a person with cables for brain! Cables! What could that even MEAN?


SHRIMP SCAMPI: Fuck Buttons (2-Minute Interview)

Read the full coverage of MusicfestNW here, where you can also find more videos.

All The Saints Sign To Touch And Go; British Pop Group All Saints Sue For Custody Of Their Name

When I first read about Touch and Go signing Atlanta-by-way-of-Alabama trio, All The Saints, I did a double-take, as a hazy mental image of the British all-female pop group All Saints immediately popped into my head. I think my sister bought a CD single of theirs from Sam Goody sometime in the late ’90s... but I digress.

All The Saints’ debut album, Fire On Corridor X, will be released on Touch and Go digitally September 9 and on vinyl November 4. The CD version is currently available from Killer Pimp Records. And in case you’re wondering what this new trio sounds like, their press release claims that the debut album “May be steeped in a heavy psych/drone tradition, but under the din lay songs that contradict the cacophony.” I can get on board with that.

Check out their upcoming mini-tour with former Killer Pimp labelmates:

& A Place To Bury Strangers

Danielson and Cryptacize Embark on U.S. Tour

Who knows why certain musicians decide to team-up together for collaborations or for tours. Maybe it’s a deep and intangible musical kinship, or maybe it’s merely an advantageous pairing birthed in the minds of record execs. But it’s probably just the shared love of cute
costumes! I’m sure that this is the ultimate motivation behind the upcoming Cryptacize and Danielson tour. The costumed cohorts kick off their U.S. tour on Halloween, and rumor is that certain Cryptacize members will be pulling double duty as Danielson family band members.

The Natural Good Time Family Band Solution known as Danielson will be touring in support of the upcoming anthology Trying Hartz, a two-disc compilation gathering a decade’s worth of previous material, live jams, unreleased tracks, and track commentary from the trunk of the Tree of Knowledge himself, Daniel Smith.

Trying Hartz tracklist:

Weasel Walter, Peter Evans, And 30 of Their Closest Friends Hit the Road in Support of Two Jazztacular New Releases!

There are many timeless combinations that are so culturally ingrained, so perfectly complementary that we modern-world citizens automatically imagine them as inextricable: macaroni ‘n’ cheese, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Minneapolis and St. Paul. And, now, you can add to that list No Wave aficionado Weasel Walter -- he of The Flying Luttenbachers, XBXRX, Lake of Dracula, To Live and Shave in L.A. (and tons and tons of other bands) fame -- and, well, the many gifted and talented musicians accompanying him on his upcoming fall tour. Mr. Walter and crew will be tearing up the East Coast (plus Chicago!) in what one can only assume will be an explosion of avant-garde jazz awesomeness. All this to-do is in support of two new releases: one, the combined effort of the Peter Evans and Weasel Walter group entitled Oculus Ex Abyssum; the other, a live CD-R by the Evans/Fei/Smith/Walter outfit. Both are available from ugEXPLODE Records. There's a lot to list here, so let's get to it.

* Weasel Walter (drums), Jeb Bishop (trombone), Mike Forbes (tenor saxophone), Andrew Scott Young (contrabass)

** Weasel Walter (drums), Forbes Graham (trumpet), Greg Kelley (trumpet), Paul Flaherty (saxophones). Also appearing: Ba Na Nas, White Mice and Big Disappointments.

*** Guests TBA. Also appearing: Zs A.O.

**** Weasel Walter (drums), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Peter Evans (trumpet)

***** Weasel Walter (drums), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Lisle Ellis (contrabass), Nate Wooley (trumpet)

****** Weasel Walter (drums), Marc Edwards (drums), Peter Evans (trumpet), Darius Jones (alto saxophone), Paul Flaherty (saxophones), Tom Blancarte (contrabass). Also appearing: Weasel Walter/Peter Evans Duo and Jeff Gretz Ensemble.

Photo: [Digital_Freak]

Danish garage-noir duo The Raveonettes apparently don’t get out much. But, given the success of this year's critically adored album Lust Lust Lust (TMT Review), we could probably give the uber-cool pair a bit of a break and humor them, huh? Just this once. Okay, here goes...

The Raveonettes rocked the music world this week with the announcement of completely never-been-done-before plans to release... get this: digital-only EPs on Vice. Since this has certainly never ever been done by a rock band before, and most certainly not in a similar fashion by rock bands as big and famous as, say, Nine Inch Nails or Radiohead, the press and fans alike have been understandably and decisively described by many analysts as “agog.”

“What an age we live in!” said one clichéd character when fake-interviewed about all of this futuristic madness. “This new format of releasing music digitally to the public, sometimes at no cost, is most likely going to catch on; and future generations are sure to cite none other than The Raveonettes as the proverbial Godparents, once the initial bouts of gob-smacked confusion wear off and fans are able to come to grips with the exciting possibilities of the digital age.”

The edgy duo plans to release these four space-record EPs over the course of the next few months. And now that they find themselves completely unfettered by the constraints of what most of us would refer to as “analog time,” the group is breaking yet another mold that certainly has not been broken before by anyone famous or British by announcing that their first EP (a collection of three Lust Lust Lust remixes courtesy of hypnotic Japanese electro producer 80KIDZ, Alec Empire-conspirator Nic Endo, and Danish DJ superstar Trentemøller, respectively) will be available for free... RIGHT NOW! Click here if you think you can handle the future of music distribution, man.

Remix EP tracklist (uh, I mean... “file-list”):

1. Dead Sound (80KIDZ remix)
2. Aly, Walk With Me (Nic Endo remix)
3. Lust (Trentemøller Remix)

Another Day, Another Reunion Show Story: ESG Returns to the Stage Tomorrow!

After calling it quits and playing their most recent "final show" nearly a year ago (in that "I'm Jay-Z, and I'm quitting music forever... until I stop quitting music forever and release a new album a couple years later"), seminal South Bronx mutant disco act ESG have already announced a reunion! No one necessarily knows for how long they will be reunited, how many shows they will play, or if they will be asked to join the growing ranks of bands reuniting at festivals I cannot afford to attend this year. What is known is that their first show as the reunited, living, and breathing embodiment of sweet disco/post-punk/funk is happening tomorrow, September 13, and that they expect to record a new album and announce more shows sometime in the future.

After some legal trouble last year, it's good to know that more people will now have the chance to see ESG in their latest incarnation. This new version of the band features the original sisters Renee, Marie, and Valerie Scroggins, Renee's daughter Nicole Nicholas, guitarist David Miles, and bassist Leroy Glover -- with loads and loads of stone cold jams, of course

09.13.08 - New York, NY - Santos Party House