Slightly dismayed by negative reactions to their last college campus-focused anti-piracy campaign (though notably unashamed), the RIAA has decided to shift its message from warm legal reminders to passive-aggressive, sugar-coated death threats. While last time they swooped down on campuses with fun and colorful DVDs to throw away, this time they've created an ominous website where individuals facing lawsuits over file-sharing can skip past pesky arguments and send money to them directly, almost like PayPal if PayPal sustained itself solely on the sound of weeping and gnashing of teeth. If these individuals choose to settle their suits through the RIAA's website within 20 days of being marked for slaughter, they can pay "at a discounted rate." Wow! I almost feel like getting sued myself, just so I can benefit from their generous savings.
RIAA President Cary Sherman said, "Because we know that some audiences -- particularly campus music downloaders -- can sometimes be impervious to even the most compelling educational messages or legal alternatives, these new efforts aim to help students recognize that the consequences for illegal downloading are more real than ever before." And he means real! You know how he was talking about copyright laws before, and it really sounded like he wasn't joking? He had that poker-face and was looking you directly in the eye and even sort of trembled like his own children had been affected, and you couldn't help but believe him? Remember that? Well forget it!! It's even realer than that! That was like 50% real, 50% imaginary, but now it's totally palpable, like maybe only 5% of it is still bullshit!
Along with the website, the RIAA also sent out 400 pre-litigation letters to 13 universities on Wednesday, so if you go to Arizona State University, Marshall University, North Carolina State University, North Dakota State University, Northern Illinois University, Ohio University, Syracuse University, the University of Massachusetts -- Amherst, the University of Nebraska -- Lincoln, the University of South Florida, the University of Southern California, the University of Tennessee -- Knoxville, or the University of Texas -- Austin, please remain seated and re-check your e-mails. If you go to all these universities, leave a note for Mom and just run out the front door, following the North star.
Mitch Bainwol, RIAA CEO, said, "We understand that no deterrence or education program will 'solve' piracy. Our job is to provide sufficient oxygen for the legal marketplace to show its true promise." Those around Bainwol at the time had no idea what he meant in his second sentence, but wrote it down and reported it anyway because they appreciate sentences that end with a "true promise."
When master sound collagist Cornelius releases an album, it carries a shock similar to this douche getting his 7-day sobriety chip from AA. It has been a bit difficult for us to accept the lack of constant new material from Cornelius since he walked into our world and turned our lives upside down, but we have learned to accept it. After double-checking our daily activity logs (we have Cornelius on the same sort of monitoring system as Jim Carrey's character in The Truman Show, but we use it only for news stories when we're low), we noticed a blip one day and can now happily confirm a new album is on the way. See for yourself.
Cornelius' "Daily Doings" Logbook (such and such a date during some year):
12:31 - Wake up early.
12:34 - Think about going to the washroom. Decide to empty waste basket and use as urine receptacle instead.
12:37 - Pick up guitar and "noodle."
13:05 - Stare out window.
13:14 - Start cleaning sock drawer. Find half a cookie. Take bite.
14:20 - Finish sorting sock drawer.
14:36 - Sleep.
14:55 - "Noodle".
15:09 - Rest.
15:29 - Sleep.
16:06 - Wake up, take time to relax and ponder life's little mysteries, like, why does lemon juice stop an apple from turning brown and whether or not fat people are allowed to go skinny-dipping.
16:10 - Doze.
16:15 - Wake up, turn over in bed, flip through magazine. Namechecked in article in comparison to Kevin Shields' My Bloody Valentine production output.
16:20 - Get out of bed, walking downstairs to studio, write and record 12 songs for album, a few b-sides for upcoming singles, complete some remixes, jot down album cover idea and send it away to get designed, schedule Japanese dates, mutter under breath "There. That'll shut 'em up."
17:03 - Walk upstairs.
17:06 - Take catnap at half-way point on staircase.
17:17 - Continue walking upstairs, enter bedroom, and drop onto bed.
17:19 - Sleep
23:50 - Wake up famished. Decide against going all of the way downstairs and eat rest of cookie found earlier in sock drawer.
23:56 - Sleep until tomorrow afternoon.
No, no, no -- we all know that Cornelius, or Keigo Oyamada to his ma and pa, is always a lot busier than the "first album in five years" tagline above would indicate (as is Kevin Shields, despite constant claims to the contrary... and why do you all want a new MBV album anyway? Can't you just cherish your copies of Isn't Anything and Loveless and let the man live his life as Sophia Coppola's soundtrack muse?). Cornelius, the man everyone crushed on a few years ago, returns April 24 with a new album called Sensuous which is his first for new label Everloving. "Sleep Warm" is a Dean Martin cover, The Kings of Convenience guest on "Omstart," and Araki Yuko plays on "Fit Song." The video for "Fit Song" is also included. See? Good things do come to those who wait... and wait... and wait.
The Dismemberment Plan Reunites for One Show! I Know, I Know, But Quit Your Complaining; It’s For a Good Cause
On Saturday April 28, a positive, worthwhile event will take place in Washington D.C., and you can bet your ass people will be fighting for tickets to this particular show. The D.C.'s finest The Dismemberment Plan are reassembling to play a concert fundraiser at the Black Cat in DC that will benefit Callum Robbins, the one-year-old son of local musicians J. Robbins and Janet Morgan. Callum is suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and the local music community has come to help raise money for the family's insurance and medical bills.
The Dismemberment Plan, who dismembered (oh, man, am I a witty writer or what?) back in 2003, is the beloved band made up of Travis Morrison, Jason Caddell, Steve Cummings, Joe Easley (Statehood), and Eric Axelson (Maritime). Though unique and of-their-own, the band was often compared to the sounds of Fugazi and Jawbox. If you're not familiar with The DP, I highly recommend getting acquainted with their catalog. I think it's awesome that they are doing this benefit show. There is no word if this will spark more shows in the future, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
So the humanitarian thing to do would be to go to the show and pay the measly $15 for admission. You would even be super badass if you donated more money to the Callum Robbins Family Fund. And this time, please be a little more generous. Donate more money than you usually tip your hooker. Yeah, I'm on to you, ubiquitous TMT reader and your hooker-buying ways. No, I'm just kidding. But I know you've been cheap lately when it comes to hookers. So suck it in and enjoy the opening acts Beauty Pill and Owls & Crows. Don't act so "indie" like you usually do by standing in your little bubble with your arms crossed. If you do, Morrison from the DP will probably yell at you for being a bad person, which you are if you don't loosen up buddy.
This could be the night of many changes for us all. And you might feel warmer inside than Jake Gyllenhaal has ever felt in his cold heart. So I'm counting on you, sexy TMT readers, to forget that whole hooker crack I made earlier and to try to make it to this show. If you can't make it, then you should at least consider making a donation to help baby Cal on the DeSoto Records site. You could also check out Cal's Blog. Yeah, babies have blogs now. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and gooey inside? Take that Gyllenhaal!
Another One For The “About Bloody Time” Section Of Your Record Collection; Voxtrot Set To Release Debut Album
Five years, three EPs, and two 7-inch singles ago, a little band called Voxtrot began. Little did the unsuspecting world know that they were going to have to wait for five years, three EPs, and two 7-inch singles before they got a full-length album out of the critics' darlings. Joining the ranks of many major label artists who take their sweet time to cut records (others: U2, Sean Lennon, Portishead), The Austin, TX quintet announced in December that they were working on an album, and it seems that the "fruit of their labors" is coming to "fruition" on May 22, when the band release their debut album on Playlouderecordings.
And if that wasn't fruity enough for you, the record was cut by Victor Van Vugt, who has also worked with such greats as Depeche Mode and Beth Orton (though many TMTers let out a collective sigh when they realized that Victor Van Vugt is not actually Viktor Vaughn). According to Ramesh Srivastava's blog, the album also features appearance(s) by the Tosca quartet. According to the press release, it is apparently "louder and harder" than previous offerings, which is another way of saying that the songs are going to both be louder, and harder as well.
Do you hear what I hear? Several thousand blogs ringing out... Yep. it's time for that inevitable deluge of enthusiastic blog entries! Hey, bloggers, make sure you check out their upcoming live shows this summer (including an appearance at Toronto's ridiculously named venue, Sneaky Dees!):
Recently, Deep Purple frontdude Ian Gillan asked fans not to buy the re-released live album NEC 1993, calling it "an unfortunate reminder of one of their worst ever concerts... It was one of the lowest points of my life -- all of our lives, actually." An artist telling fans NOT to buy an album?? Apparently, our favorite -- or at least my favorite -- major label can-o-worms Sony BMG was responsible for re-releasing the album without even discussing it with Deep Purple.
"Sony BMG is not in the business of releasing albums without the knowledge of the artists," said a spokesperson for Sony BMG. "It is in our interests to work with artists, so they can promote their records and continue to work with us."
Haha, cute. It is in this spirit that I announce the news that, according to Reuters, the European Commision is set to formally announce today that it intends to launch a 4-month probe into the Sony and Bertelsmann merger. You know the story: Sony and Bertelsmann merge in 2004, Impala gets mad and influences the Court of First Instance in 2006 to annul the merger, TMT covers it all with penetrating, in-depth coverage, and now we're left with a penetrating, in-depth probe.
The probe allows the Commission to demand classified data and hold hearings, ultimately so it can decide whether to demand changes to the company, block the deal altogether, or let them mother fuckers be. Earlier, however, Sony and Bertelsmann appealed the Court of First Instance, so even if the Commission blocks the merger, their appeal would most likely happen soon afterward, which could eventually lead to a legal quagmire.
The Commission still has officially 90 working days to make a final decision on this investigation. The second-phase probe will launch officially if concerns over competition can't be relieved within the first month of the first-phase of investigations. Confusing, but we'll keep you updated.
For the record, Sony BMG has recalled the Deep Purple album. Hopefully now it can convince Jamiroquai's Jay Kay not to concentrate on his personal life, or the future of Sony BMG will look really fucked.
Loners are a complicated bunch. For example, Charles Schulz, beloved animator of "Peanuts," was a melancholic, worrisome man who suffered from minor bouts of depression and agoraphobia. He was intimidated to travel and was beset by panic attacks. As a young boy, he skipped two grades in elementary school, thus, was alienated from the other kids and forever rendered the smallest and youngest in class. He remembered disappointments bitterly, always worked without assistants, and was made anxious by the growing success of his comic strip. In typical morose, introvert-speak, Schulz once described his life's work thusly: "All the loves in the strip are unrequited; all the baseball games are lost; all the test scores are D-minuses; the Great Pumpkin never comes; and the football is always pulled away."
Not all loners have crippling demons stomping all over their psyche. Some believe they are better off without anyone validating their own existence. Some simply find solace in one's own company for other reasons. The characteristics that make me a loner stem from my obsession with satiating my feelings and experiences of self-love and self-pleasure. As you can well imagine, it makes it difficult to find the time to interact socially. Anyway, that's enough about my quirks. I'm off to the doctors to get some ribs removed so I can suck my own cock'n'balls. I don't need anyone but me and my (Pea)nuts -- just like Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard on his upcoming solo tour:
I think you're going to like this bit of news! I've got a little bit to tell you about! Get your bits off this hot news bit! Here's a lit-le skit about this tight fit-ing bit! Bits!
Whew! That's a lot of bits. So many, in fact, you might want to download it on your BitTorrent client. Up until this news broke, BitTorrent technology was generally used for sharing pirated media like movies, music, video games, and pretty much anything that can be digitized and downloaded. The download process is wonderful, allowing large streams of data to be obtained from a network of users, tapping into the ether where the bits are doing their bit thing.
Obviously not all of these bits of torrent are used for pirated material, but just enough of them are for a bad reputation and occasional legal action to occur. So, our BitFriend, BitTorrent has begun its foray into lawful media downloading. Its service, The BitTorrent Entertainment Network that, as Billboard.biz reports, "follows a year of negotiations with the entertainment industry – in all 35 providers -- including MTV Networks, 20th Century Fox and labels like Koch Entertainment and distributors IODA."
A bit of a big step for BitTorrent, as it sheds its open source code for a proprietary one to run their new service. You can rent movies for $4 and own television shows and music videos for $2, while user content is as free as it ever was. Many torrenters will feel angry about this change, as their operating costs will skyrocket anywhere from 200% to 400% That's enough to give anyone a bit of a BitHeadache!
Have no fear though, because when you sign up, you automatically get a free subscription to the new MittTorrent! That's right, all the Mitt Romney mitt-formation you can get your mitts on. Want to hear the Massachus-mitts governor and 2008 Presidential candidate stump about who he is and why? MittTorrent is only a mitt (click) away. Have your cred-mitt card ready, because don't we all want a bit of Mitt?
Howdy to all the TMT Children on and of the Earth,
The White Stripes have completed recording and mixing their sixth album, titled Icky Thump. It's the first album to include a title track -- isn't that awesome? Blah blah blah, "kicks" and "metaphors," blah blah blah, estate of Billy Eckstine.
Icky Thump was recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville. As posted on the official White Stripes website: "And word around the sewing circle is that many of your favorite White Stripe type songs may not be your favorite (pronounced favaright) White Stripe type songs for long."
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You might have heard that the stock market, the Dow specifically, took a pretty ruthless beating from itself yesterday. Homeboy dropped, like, 500 points. I hear on the news that I might be affected by that in some way, but thinking about it analytically would really kill my "Charles In Charge marathon" buzz I've been cultivating as of late. So instead of actually looking at any raw data, listening to any other opinions, or even clicking on the online news headline which I'm now looking at, I'm going to explain why I believe that the announcement by the Magik Markers of a March U.S. tour not only affected, but directly caused yesterday's substantial losses.
First, I would like to invoke the idea of "chaos theory." Having seen Babel, 21 Grams, and Amores Perros, I don't think it would be immodest to call myself an expert on the subject. It might even be an understatement. In a nutshell, chaos theory is the idea that anything has the potential to influence anything else. For example, after reading Kobak's review of Lambsbread's Stereo Mars, you decide to go and pick up the album from a record store. While there, you meet someone and fall deeply in love. The two of you have a child together, who grows up to unite the globe, at long last, under an everlasting world peace. In a very indirect way, your reading of TMT brought about world peace. Therefore, it wouldn't be far off to say that by not reading the site every single day, you are actually causing global injustice. I might have taken a few liberties with the details, but you get the idea.
By the same token, the announcement of a Magik Markers tour earlier this month must have come as quite a shock to club owners, who have since been scrambling to prepare their venues for the aural onslaught that the Markers are sure to bring with them. Could this, in turn, have led the club owners to take out additional insurance policies, expecting their stages to be rocked to pure rubble? Did this pique their interest in the world of actual investing and cause many of them to rent the Charlie Sheen movie Wall Street to brush up on how the game is played? Did news of all the extra Wall Street rentals get out, making insiders on the real Wall Street overly cautious, anticipating a market takeover, leading to the crash we saw yesterday? Also, the RIAA was probably involved, but I'm not sure exactly how. Regardless, in this case I believe the facts speak for themselves. You could draw your own conclusions, but don't that sound like an awful lot of work?
In other news, word of the Police's decision to reunite was the cause of Fidel Castro's return to good health:
* Kenny and the Flesh, Black Helicopter