Napster Goes DRM Free, Metallica Sucks

Dude, remember back in 2002 or so when you got your first computer and your older brother had to have "the talk" with you? Sure, it was awkward and uncomfortable, but it seemed damn worth it at the time. After all, you didn't want to end up just knocking back a few T1 connections, hooking up with some random MP3s you met on the internet, and catching a DRM! "Take it from me," he said. "I had a little downloading fun, got slapped with a DRM, and now I can never feel comfortable sharing music again." A gruesome lesson.

But hey, now it's 2008, kids, and the pandemonium over catching DRM is finally on the wain, as the concept of free-love finally returns to digital downloads (which, uh, are still not "free," really). And the latest company to finally tune-in and get clean? Napster.

Yes, much to the chagrin of Lars Ulrich (we assume), the squeaky-clean Napster is letting it all hang out, sexily stripping DRM from all paid downloads on its digital music service in favor of hot, carnal, unprotected MP3s, just like they told us they would way back in January! As of last week, all 6 million (as compared with the less-manly 2 million over at AmazonMP3; sorry ladies) songs in the Napster catalog are now available for purchase without the buzz-killing threat of contracting DRM.

These new, uninhibited MP3 files will be of higher quality than the DRM carriers (256 kbps compared to 192 kbps) but will still cost a tantalizing 99¢. Plus, unlike other digital retailers who are also "getting DRM-free" -- such as Wal-Mart -- Napster actually hasn't lost any cool-points at school, as all four major labels as well as all of its existing indie label and aggregator partners are supporting its decision, conservative kids be damned! Perhaps most importantly, Sony BMG has come out in support of Napster's decision by replicating the same "agency" model it started using with the AmazonMP3 store. In addition, Napster is also winning some big time "social responsibility" points by reaching out to all Windows Media DRM victims with special support groups that allow those MP3s to stand up and be heard (unlike the now-defunct MSN Music service, which cruelly turned its back on victims of DRM)!

But despite its new sense of liberation, Napster wants the world to know that it's still all about the long-term relationships at heart. "We're really focused on subscription and driving subscribers as our business model," says Napster COO Christopher Allen. "It's a way for us, through MP3s, to get some exposure to our subscription service," he continues. "They may be initially attracted to the MP3s... and I think it will result in more subscribers over time." The company is hoping that by committing to Napster though a variety of internet-connected devices -- such as mobile phones, home stereos, and eventually car radios -- a beautiful, enduring relationship will eventually start to take shape in which a monthly subscription to access all the music they want from any device is more attractive to their customers than a quick, one-night download.

But hey, before you go out there and pick up any old MP3 off the street thinking that it can't happen to you, remember that the DRM-free movement has not yet made it to the Napster Mobile service, which is the default mobile music service for several wireless operators worldwide, including AT&T Mobility (which also counts eMusic as a digital music provider). As of now, music purchased via Napster mobile will still be encoded in the Windows Media DRM. Allen says this will change "soon," as Napster and its liberated partners test a new system that would send a DRM-free version to users' computers, as well as a second copy to their phones without that nasty, "Windows" DRM. But until then, you know, watch where you stick your phones, huh?

Fort Reno Reopens “Immediately and Definitely”

Remember a couple weeks ago when we told you that the National Park Service found high levels of arsenic at Fort Reno, home to the Fort Reno Summer Concert Series? That Fort Reno was closed "immediately and indefinitely"? That the future of the concert series was up in the air? And that all this news came at an especially bad time because Fort Reno had just announced a campaign asking for donations? (TMT News)

Well, false alarm.

According to Dischord Records:

DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and environmental officials announced Wednesday afternoon that the closure of Fort Reno park was due to a "false positive" reading for arsenic and that the park would re-open immediately. We assume this means that the Summer Concert Series will begin as scheduled in mid June.

You can, of course, still donate to Fort Reno.

Revision3 Releases The Hounds That Shoot Bees on MediaDefender; RIAA, MPAA May Lose Their Partner In Crime

Quick, I gotta bring you whippersnaps up to speed on this issue with a quick glossary of germs... terms? Yeah I mean terms, cuz I know this ain't no tech site, most of you readers are just music lovers, which is awesome, so I don't expect you know all this shiaaat.

So, a DoS attack stands for Denial of Service, and if you toss an extra ‘d’ on the front (DDoS), it becomes a Distributed Denial of Service, which is a form of hackery. In regular peep speak, it'd be like trying to trying to start a conversation with a dude, who just says ‘what's up’ again and again. And you're the type of peoples who finishes a conversation to completion. Except this dude isn't alone; he brought along like 20,000 of his friends, who just keep saying ‘what's up’ without finishing the conversation. You're trying to keep on top of all of this, but you eventually buckle over and die.

This shit happens on a regular basis on the interwebs, and it's illegal. So, over the Memorial Day weekend, was victim to such an attack. Revision3 is an original content internet video site. Think Comedy Central, not YouTube. Their employees spent the long weekend figuring out the details, and it turns out that the DDoS attack was brought on by a company called MediaDefender.

Backstory! MediaDefender is employed by various media groups (RIAA, MPAA) to infiltrate popular P2P and torrent sites and flood them with corrupted content, in an attempt to make a site's value go down or just to collect information on who's doing the downloading. They target sites that track copyrighted information, in hopes of pushing people back to more lucrative forms of media acquiary (*snicker*). MediaDefender is rumored to be the company behind Oink's demise, so it's cool to hate them.

Only problem is, revision3 is legit. They do host a BitTorent tracker, but only to serve up their own (legal) content. When the CEO of revision3 contacted MediaDefender about this incident, they actually bowned up to it. MediaDefender said they were injecting fake torrents into the site through a security hole, which revision3 closed last week. Apparently MediaDefender is set up to hammer the shit out of a server if such a hole is closed, which would explain the DDoS attack. MediaDefender claims they were only sending one connection attempt every three hours, but Revision3's server logs were showing 8,000 packets a second. That's 8,000 dudes saying ‘what's up’ per second trying to initiate a conversation. That's ridiculous.

So, want to read the awesome part? Revision3 has involved the FBI. MediaDefenders actions are illegal in various ways, and the PirateBay sued the companies making use of MediaDefender's services for exactly the same thing last year. When the big media companies are continually pointing the finger at consumers for fraudulent activity, it's just desserts when they get called out for being hypocritical assholes. Delicious.

We'll keep the details coming as they emerge.

Oneida Keep It Cool with Hot Summer Tour

It's hot outside. Too hot for soup. Too hot for pants. Too hot to be sitting in a coffee shop where the staff is playing bad trustafarian hippie reggae and I am struggling to write a story about Oneida on my day off from my crappy, soul-sucking job. But you know what else is hot? Experimental, art-punk kinda jams from the 11-years-young Brooklyn powerhouse known as Oneida. And that is what I'm here to tell you about. Not how my legs are sticking to the coffee shop chair. Not about the ultratan, swaggering middle-aged dude in cut-off jean shorts and no shirt, who's currently obstructing my view through the coffee shop window. No, this is about Oneida.

Oneida has a slew of summertime dates on the way, and you can be there to experience the magic. They haven't put out a full-length since 2006's Happy New Year (TMT Review), but they've got a little something something on the way for you this August, coming out on Jagjaguwar. In the meantime, the band will be takin' it to the streets in cities across America, with a quick detour into Quebec. The New York shows promise to be extra special, as the band will be performing all their songs from the 2005 album The Wedding backed by a string quintet and with the assistance of a lightshow. A lightshow! Nothing says summer like a lightshow.

* Carla Bouzulich's Evangelista

** Dirty Faces

This week, stores are finally selling copies of the Black Wooden Ceiling Opening EP (TMT Review), a 10-inch+CD bootleg of Mount Eerie as a "hard core" band. But that's just the tip of the teat. For the rest of the year and into next, Mountain Eerie, a.k.a. Phil Elverum, has a bunch of releases set for release, including three full-length albums. How do you sort through the mess? Well, you could visit P.W. Elverum & Sun and get detailed info about each release straight from Phil, OR you can check out the bullet-point lists below from an online magazine best known for misapprehending, misconceiving, misconstruing, misreading, misjudging, and misinterpreting. We know you'll make the right choice.


Forthcoming albums:

- Dawn - CD + book (a journal from Phil's time in Norway), with a double LP version too -- 17 songs on acoustic guitar
- Lost Wisdom, an album with Julie Doiron and Fred due September 2008
- Wind's Poem - a "colossal sounding new album" for Spring 2009


Forthcoming EPs, DVDs, etc.:

- "Through the Trees"/"Prisoner of Desire" single - a split single with No Kids on Caff/Lick
- Black Wooden EP - different from Black Wooden Ceiling Opening, to be released as part of Southern Records' Latitudes series
- Fog Movies - live DVD from What The Heck Fest 2007 (grab it on tour!)
- Song Islands Vol. 2 - a compilation of Mount Eerie singles (in the future)
- Water Activated Alpine-Themed Packing Tape #2


Mount Eerie just wrapped up a tour with No Kids this past weekend and an appearance at Primavera Sound yesterday, but he's starting up another tour tomorrow with Geneviève Castrée (also known as Ô Paon and WOELV). But first, a spot on Polish Radio 3! Awww yeah!

$ Eric's Trip

! Typhoon and Kickball

@ Geneviève Castrée

Drawing by Phil Elverum, as part of [Fancy People Adventures for Arthur Magazine]

Pumice Floats on Water, Tours U.S., Releases New Album

The last time I touched a piece of pumice was the fourth grade. We were holding a science fair in the gym, and my exhibit consisted solely of a pumice chunk floating blithely in an orange plastic drinking glass filled with water. Its entrancing buoyancy and rugged texture failed to impress the judges, but boy oh boy was I smitten. The rock ended up vanishing (I suspect the sticky-fingered Joshua), and so began my love affair with the the igneous rock called pumice. Since then, it's been a daily ritual to scan Wikipedia and Google News for signs of my beloved, before listening to Merriam-Webster's pronounce her sensuous adjectival form ‘pumiceous’ over and over and over...

This summer, the musical Pumice, lo-fi pop wiz Stefan Neville, is floating over to the USA toting forthcoming album Quo, out June 24 on Soft Abuse. Neville hails from New Zealand, a country best known stateside for providing the scenic backdrop for all those helicopter shots in LotR and exporting quirky acoustic-comedy duo FotC. For proof of Neville's Zealander cred, see his great MySpace blog about Scotland, rugby, and microwaved steak.


* King Darves, Car Commercials

$ Enos Slaughter, Folk Spectre, Zaimph

% free in-store, 6 PM sharp

How terrifyingly appropriate! This year's Night Before Christmas celebration -- which, by the way, is presented proudly by All Tomorrow's Parties -- is being curated by Mike Patton and The Melvins. Taking place at Minehead Butlins Holiday Resort on December 5-7, the three-day fest will feature Melvins-curated artists like Isis, Neil Hamburger, Dälek, Big Business, and of course themselves, as well as Mike Patton-curated artists, such as Fantômas, The Locust, and Zu. Patton's Fantômas is scheduled to play their 2001 album, The Director's Cut, in its entirety!

LESS ABOUT PATTON, AND MORE ABOUT THE VENUE. According to ATP: "Butlins Minehead looks out across a superb sandy beach. The new site not only has a supermarket, newsagent and cash points, it also has Burger King, Pizza Hut, Finnigan's fish and chips, Sun and Moon, Skyline Cafe and Yacht Club Dining room. Onsite facilities include a cinema, Splash Water World - a sub-tropical environment that has a huge wave pool, a swimming pool, 3 flumes and also a flume based raft ride -- Ten-pin bowling and amusement arcade. Sports include Archery, Football, Basketball, Darts, Petanque, Fencing, Kwik Cricket, Netball, Rounders, Table Tennis, Outdoor Bowls and Crazy Golf (some of these subject to availability but most usually operate during the weekend)."

Who needs music when you have pentaque and kwik cricket!

The schedule for Nightmare Before Christmas 2008 is obviously in its early stages, but we at TMT have full confidence that this nightmare will be one to remember. AHHH!!! NO!!! YES!!! Mwahahahahah!! Blood dripping out of decapitated human head, etc.

Jello Biafra Turns 50, Plans Awesome Birthday Shows, Has New Band, Still Hangs Out With The Melvins, Pretty Much Forces Two Generations of Cynical Punks to Grudgingly Admit He’s Still Cool

Jello Biafra, former lead vocalist of R&B mainstays The Dead Kennedys, is turning 50 soon. So is my father. However, announcements of Jello’s birthday celebrations have seemingly put my longstanding suspicious that the two men were one and the same to rest.

I am reasonably sure that my father will spend his birthday eating at a steak-based restaurant within ten miles of his home and, maybe, eventually getting drunk with me and one or two of his friends. Jello, on the other hand, has arranged a weekend of concerts at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, showcasing both a new, unnamed band and his work with longtime collaborators The Melvins. Both nights will feature the “Jelvins,” the new band and The Melvins playing Mangled Demos from 1983 in its entirety.

Reunited skate-rock legends Drunk Injuns/Los Olvidados (listed separately on the press release, even though they’re the same band?) round out the first date, while relative newcomers Triclops! and Akimbo finish up the second.

The concerts will be held June 16-17. Tickets can be purchased at the GAMH website, and more information can be found at Alternative Tentacles. Advanced tickets to my father’s birthday aren’t available at this time, but if you show up early, you should be able to get in.

The Mae Shi Are Definitely Touring The U.S. in July

Tonight, The Mae Shi will wrap up its European tour in Berlin, Germany. Tomorrow, who knows? Maybe travel back to the U.S.? Maybe listen to their fourth album, HLLLYH, on vinyl? Maybe clean the bathroom? Maybe do some landscaping? Maybe play online pictionary? Maybe stretch before running? Maybe come up with an excuse to not go to Saturday's party? Maybe kick a dog in the face? Maybe choose a salad this time? Maybe figure out the lyrics to "Who Could Win a Rabbit"? Maybe consider switching locations? Maybe give a friend a ride to the airport? Maybe look for fragrance-free hand lotion? Maybe imagine what it'd be like to live in a yellow house? Maybe try a nylon guitar? Maybe grab some organic coffee? Maybe go biking around the lake? Maybe masturbate before hitting the bars? Maybe make a music video? Maybe find a new hobby? Maybe watch a Godard movie? Maybe RSVP to Jon's wedding? Maybe try creating a board game from scratch? Maybe go to Best Buy to return that media box? Maybe relax more? Maybe join a knitting club? Maybe listen to the new Weezer? Maybe read Pitchfork? Maybe switch to paper-less bills?

Who knows. All I know is that in July, the band will embark on yet another U.S. tour.

Do You Like The Sonic Youth You’ve Heard, But Find Yourself Thurston For Moore? Quench That At Your Local Starbucks June 10

Get it?

Anyway, you didn’t misread that -- Sonic Youth’s music will soon be sold in Starbucks. Total legends and creators of the now-ironic “The Sprawl,” Sonic Youth have teamed up with the coffee monolith’s entertainment division to create Hits are For Squares, a compilation of tracks from throughout their career, along with the recently recorded “Slow Revolution” as a bonus. And it has a cover:

It’s difficult to overstate Sonic Youth’s importance to the history of independent music, but album collaborator Eddie Vedder made an attempt: "From my experience nothing gets you going like putting on ‘Teenage Riot’ at full volume... 0 to 60, standing still... Play it twice and you will have cleaned the house and shoveled the walk. In a car you'll find yourself doing 95 and getting pulled over before the first chorus." Also cheaper than snorting a 30 mg Adderall every morning.

But I digress. Once the initial shock has been absorbed, it doesn’t seem like the end of the world. Equal or worse transactions take place every day without a fuss, and Coco’s college ain’t payin’ for itself. Those of you in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia or Washington, D.C. can buy the album in stores; otherwise, check The Starbucks Entertainment Website.

P.S. The entire tracklist was chosen by celebrities, but when Barack Obama, Holden Caulfield, and the movie Garden State were unavailable, the group was forced to look elsewhere for input. Check it:



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