House Dems Ask FCC Follow-Up Questions After Media Ownership Hearing In Nashville, Demand Their Druthers
So the FCC has started to feel the pressure, but according to those rascally Democrats, it's time for them to feel the burn. Fresh from a Monday public hearing on media ownership rules down in Nashville, TN, Chairman Martin and his tightest bros have decided to commission "ten economic studies pertaining to the effects of media ownership, and... well, you know, stuff like that." House Dems are pleased that the studies are being conducted but are concerned with the way Martin trailed off at the end of his sentence and gazed longingly at an ice cream truck passing by the window. Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and six others have sent a letter full of question marks to Martin, demanding further details about the studies.
"Were those conducting the studies given further instruction in addition to the assignment of their respective topics?" the letter barks. "If so, what were the instructions given to each participant?" "How much money is being spent on each study?" "What internal and external resources will be made available for those conducting the studies?" And those are only the juicy bits! The sentiment of all these questions can be summed up as follows: "Are you actually going to do what you said, you dirty little rat?"
Congress ain't the only ones wary of the FCC; Monday's hearing in Nashville drew hundreds of concerned members of the public, including a slew of country music stars. Porter Wagoner sauntered up to Chairman Martin at one point, real smooth-like, and mentioned that "the days of an artist receiving regional airplay or breaking as a new act on radio are gone, and you are now considering making the situation even worse by letting some broadcast dynasties become even bigger broadcasting dynasties." John Rich of Big & Rich also declared that the lack of country stations in cities like New York and Los Angeles is patently "anti-American," to which those sitting around him agreed by hocking into a spittoon.
This hearing was the second in a proposed series of six, though Martin may only be responding to questions with lewd gestures by the fourth.
Do I have to spell it out for you? It means The Stooges just finished recording that reunion album they've been talking about for so long. Iggy Pop, the Asheton brahs, and some replacement dude named Mike Watt are calling their new LP The Weirdness (Virgin). You've probably already guessed that Steve Albini produced it.
Obviously, all the kids are wondering how it's gonna sound. Speaking to Billboard, The Ig offered the following somewhat worrisome quote:
"At times, [the songs have] a lot of going for the fences," he continues. "But there's a great deal of structure and attention to detail. We were very prepared, and we always have been any time we stepped into a studio. Even the song 'L.A. Blues,' the last cut on 'Fun House,' was pretty much exactly what you would have heard if you'd seen us live the week before we recorded it."
Um, call me crazy, but isn't that the best thing about Fun House? Isn't that the very element that makes Raw Power live up to its name? I know Iggy's been clean for years now, and I'm nothing but happy for him — I mean, shit, the guy's a national treasure — but wasn't half the thrill of The Stooges the knowledge that performances were accompanied by gratis gore, courtesy of a broken cocktail glass? I reserve my judgment until I hear the album, though — and for the record, I really hope it's good.
In lieu of any real information about the track names that were recently revealed, let me give you my professional hypotheses on what the songs are about:
"Trollin' " — Little known fact: Iggy spends much of his now ample spare time on internet message boards. I don't think it comes as any surprise that he's kind of a bully.
"ATM" — This is Iggy's pet name for David Bowie. And yes, it's a love song.
"You Can't Have Friends" — And we can't have nice things.
"My Idea of Fun" — Is obviously performing shirtless.
"The Weirdness" — Refers to the fact that this album has actually been made.
"Greedy Awful People" — The arch nemesis of "Shiny Happy People."
In honor of Enon’s upcoming U.S. tour, TMT is proud to announce our first official “TMT Mega-Giveaway” in several years. TMT M-Gs used to be fairly common, but since our last Mega-Giveaway concert didn’t go so well, we were forced to cut back.
Well, readers, it’s been too long. It’s once again that time. I’m sure you all remember how these work, but let me refresh your memory:
Step 1: Go to one of the Enon shows listed below.
Step 2: Drink heavily, both prior to and during the show.
That’s it! Only two steps! After that, send photographic evidence of yourself successfully completing the aforementioned steps to TMT headquarters, and you could be eligible to win one of several prizes -- the grand prize being a year’s subscription to TMT, absolutely free of charge. Don’t miss out on this, the deal Rupert Murdoch once called “the Reaganomics of music website giveaways!”
TMT eagerly awaits your entries:
We here at TMT love to print all the news that's unfit to print — from the latest No Fun Fest tidbits to asinine rock musicians doing ridiculous things. So it should come as no surprise to any of you that we here at TMT wanted to fill you in on the latest moronic cover song to grace the music world. Namely, Chris Cornell of Audioslave's decision to cover Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."
"The song is quite dark and I knew I could make it in to my own, like Johnny Cash did it with Soundgarden's 'Rusty Cage' and Nine Inch Nails' 'Hurt'," says Cornell, 42 (note the clever self-reference by mentioning his former [and better] band, Soundgarden). So Cornell will be releasing this musical outlandishness on his upcoming sophomoric solo LP, set for release in March 2007.
Now, color me a skeptic, but does this not seem like a not-so-clever way of stirring up a little bit of publicity for an already forgotten Audioslave LP that was released back in September? Really, what is the point of letting us know in December of 2006 that you are going to be releasing a cover of Michael Jackson in four months. Could it be that the Christmas consumer needed to remember that Audioslave did, in fact, release a third album, called Revelations, which everyone promptly forgot about? (This, of course, is our reminder.)
In any case, keep your ears peeled for S. Kobak, Hatchet, and Mr P's cover of "More, More, More" by The Andrea True Connection. Should be almost as ridiculous as Cornell's rendition of "Billie Jean."
According to Mos Def's official webby, "the rumors are not false." Mos Def's forthcoming album, Tru3 Magic, is set for release January 9, 2007... probably. The release date has been moved a couple times now, and a post on Mos Def's website still has conflicting dates (1) (2), but we're pretty sure... at least fairly certain... well, I mean, it's probably going to come out January 9, but we don't know for sure. Dude, WTF. Seriously, why do we have to fucking tell you RIGHT NOW?!? Can't it wait?!? Calm the fuck down, asshole.
Asshole! Anyhoo, Tru3 Magic features "Dollar Day (Surprise Surprise)" (formerly titled "Katrina Clap" and originally released in September 2005), a scathing critique of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, which was, according to Kanye West (look ma, he's a rapper too), racist. Mos Def was even arrested because of the song when he performed it on the streets the day of the 2006 MTV VMAs. Okay, okay, he was arrested for playing without a permit, but that's still pretty cool.
Since Image Award and Teen Choice Award nominations just aren't enough -- they just aren't -- the Grammys has nominated Mos Def's "Undeniable" for Best Rap Solo Performance, up against T.I., Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, and Lupe Fiasco. I don't know about you, but I find it kind of odd that he's nominated for such a dry track. His acting is where it's at. I mean, did anyone else catch his riveting portrayal of himself in that one GMC Denali sport utility vehicle commercial? Shit blows Common's Gap commercial completely out of the water.
Clinic Tours; Contrary to Popular Belief, There Is Apparently No Dancing, Drinking, or Screwing for Students at Central St. Martin’s College
Well, wee did bop and bop in mono
Wee did bop and bop down low
Got to get it and get it ohhhh
Got it? Do you get it? Get it down low
Ticky ticky to marmalade
Ticky ticky to marmalade
Oh, I ticky ticky to marmalade
Sit here, uh
Come a-come a-come
Sit here, uh
Come a-come a-come come
Well, western boys and highs and lows
Western boys, their highs are lows
Ticky ticky to marmalade
Ticky ticky to marmalade
Oh, I ticky ticky to marmalade
Sit here, uh
Come a-come a-come
Sit here, uh
Come a-come a-come come
Well, western bloc, bloc commander...
What is this shit? The sounds someone makes while having a seizure? Nope. The ramblings of a schizophrenic? Not even. Give up? It's the sound of me singing along to Clinic's "The Second Line" (Internal Wrangler). Are those the actual lyrics? Well, probably not. But it's such a damn catchy song that I kind of have to sing along, incomprehensible though it is.
I wonder if anyone knows the lyrics to this song. Apparently the internets have no idea: every single "I give you lyrics and then put pop-ups and spyware on your computer" site has a different rendition posted. My favorite has to be the one that interprets the song's first lyrics as "weed and bach." Weed and Bach? For reals? Can I come to that party?
Anyway, apparently people hate weed and Bach, and those people are college students. No really, it's true. Those crazy kids at London's Central St. Martin's College have forced the school to cancel Clinic's on-campus performance, scheduled for December 14, because they're afraid it will interfere with exam preparation. Whoa. And this is an art school -- it's not like it's Carnegie Mellon or something -- an art school whose website features some hipster kids with buckets on their heads, no less. I mean, I tried to think of a nice turn of phrase, but I've got to say it: what weenies. What total effing dweebs. Whatever happened to the likes of that good time gal who Jarvis Cocker once told us "studied sculpture at St. Martin's College"? I guess they don't want to "watch [their] lives slide out of view," so to speak. I guess they don't feel like pretending they "never went to school."
Good thing they're touring North America, where people actually appreciate them and where art school kids actually live up to their slacker stereotypes, next year.
And if I were those Clinic guys, I would totally write a blog entry about being uninvited to St. Martin's, completely centered around a pun involving the title of the band's latest release, Visitations (Domino).
Weed and Bach and Common People and Western Bloc and Cocker Tour:
1 Origami Tacet - “Remembrance” (video edit)
2 Immune - “The Gleams Remained After the Blast”
3 Rachel Goldstar - “Christmas Day”
4 Siberia - “Hibernation (Coda)”
5 Living in Photographs - “Barabbas”
6 Small Life Form - “Bells & Envelopes”
7 Electric Bird Noise - “Christmas with Reilly”
8 The Zanzibar Snails - “In the Land of Nod”
9 Plumerai - “Crucifixed”
10 Remora - “O Come, O come, Emmanuel”
11 Sailor Winters - “What Child Is This?”
12 Shiny Around the Edges - “The Christmas Song”
13 Peter Aldrich - “Finger Pick Prince of Peace”
14 Wrong Brothers - “Slay Bells”
15 Bokor - “Secrets”
16 230 Divisadero - “Storm in December”
17 Moral Crayfish - “He Was Disturbed, and All of Jerusalem With Him”
18 South West Airline - “Sweet Sweet”
19 Recorded Home - “No Sound Around”
20 Remora - “What Can I Give Him?”
21 Duane Pitre/Pilotram - “Piano Improvisation for Mr. Cage”
22 Mars Field - “Jesus Christ”
23 Goddack vs JM - “A Winter Rhythm in You” (featuring Sue Zen)
24 Blessed Child Opera - “Broken Breeze”
25 My Ambient Nature Girl - “Handel’s Messiah Part 4”
26 The Wades - “The Snow”
27 The Torch Marauder featuring Matt Westlake - “At Blitzen’s Funeral”
28 The Upsidedown Stars - “Hark, the Herald Angel Sings”
No, we haven’t suffered a stroke. What the above list shows is the track number, artist name, and song title, respectively, of the brand spankin’ new Silber Sounds of Christmas compilation from Silber Records. The physical 2xCD-R version is available to order now, but in the true spirit of giving, the whole shebang is downloadable here for FREE! Bless you, sweet baby Silber Jebus!
Most keeners will remember Silber as the label that issued the solo album of guitar workouts by Alan Sparhawk (Low) earlier this year, named, curiously enough, Solo Guitar, but to keener-ers, the North Carolina record company has been a formidable provider of minimal, neo-classical, noisepop, drone, etc. since the mid-1990s. Although most of the acts on this third yuletide volume eat up Christmas spirit and spit it out like Gramps does with the errant stems in Mom's homemade cranberry sauce, it is obvious they all carry the essential elements of the holy season inside their artistic hearts. Silber Sounds includes renditions of x-mas classics like Rachel Goldstar’s “Christmas Day” and Shiny Around the Edges' “The Christmas Song,” seasonal tribute gifts such as “Piano Improvisation for John Cage” by Duane Pitre/Pilotram, the political incorrectness (but only if you take it out of its biblical context) of Moral Crayfish's “He Was Disturbed, and All of Jerusalem With Him,” and possibly an ode to everybody's favorite gifts, pre-op tranny hookers, in South West Airline’s “Sweet Sweet.” Drop in paeans to tinsel- and tonsil-hockey and you will almost be able to hear the sleighbells on the roof!
Shocker: RIAA Petitions Judges to LOWER Artist Royalties (But.. But Isn’t the RIAA Suing Music Fans Because of Lost Artist Royalties?)
[Stops typing, looks over shoulder in slight surprise, swivels chair to face camera] Oh, hello. My name is Mango Starr, and I'm a news writer for Tiny Mix Tapes, an online music magazine. [Camera slowly zooms in] I would like to share with you some exciting information about the RIAA that will surely help you gain perspective on -- what some scientists and other credible sources say -- the "evil" practices of the MP3 world.
You see, the RIAA is a trade group that "represents the U.S. recording industry." Despite its emphasis on shareholders stock photos of attractive white business men, smiling and shaking hands], the RIAA truly does care about its artists [vibrant concert footage of Puff Daddy, Radiohead, and Shania Twain] and finds it sad when anti-RIAA coalitions like [Candian Music Creators Coaltion are erected by its own artists, with members ranging from The New Pornographers to Sum 41 [photo of ugly dude from Sum 41 drinking beer, random black guy dressed in "gangster" clothing].
Despite these unappreciative artists, the RIAA is still figuring out ways to make artists and music fans like you happy about the infiltration of the digital music world. Before the RIAA can make everyone happy though, it has to show people like you why it is so important to understand the lies ominous music] of places like the [Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who are encouraging, perhaps even brainwashing people into signing its petition ("Take a Stand Against the Madness: Stop the RIAA!"). The EFF has over 80,000 signatures so far, and will deliver the petition to the Senate and House Commerce and Judiciary Committees once it reaches 100,000 signatures. The RIAA encourages you NOT to sign this petition because it is full of lies.
Inspirational music] Instead, the [RIAA has its own petition in mind. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the RIAA is "petitioning the panel of federal government Copyright Royalty Judges to lower the rates paid to publishers and songwriters for use of lyrics and melodies in applications like cell phone ring tones and other digital recordings."
[Clip of RIAA executive VP and General Counsel Steven Marks] "Mechanical royalties currently are out of whack with historical and international rates. We hope the judges will restore the proper balance by reducing the rate and moving to a more flexible percentage rate structure so that record companies can continue to create the sound recordings that drive revenues for music publishers."
[Back to Mango Starr, now near office water cooler with "I Love Music" coffee mug] Yes, these are indeed exciting times for the RIAA. But you may be asking yourself, "But why is the RIAA wanting to lower artist royalties when it's also suing music pirates in the name of these very same artists?" Look, I am not here to raise questions. Do something that you enjoy; watch TV, go to Disneyworld, listen to music. The RIAA wants to ensure you get the music you want, period. The RIAA also wants what’s best for the artists, period. So, have faith in the RIAA, because the RIAA has faith in you.
I'm Mango Starr. Thanks for spending time with me. And just remember: without the RIAA, music would probably not exist.
Let’s start off with a question: “Which Merge Records artist released one of the great indie-pop albums of 2006?” Seems simple enough, but the question is actually a bit tricky. You see, there are two answers to the question, because both Camera Obscura and The Essex Green released LPs on Merge that had fans of accomplished, adorable, and hook-filled pop seeing little cartoon hearts all year long.
Let's see how it all works:
Camera Obscura's contribution to 2006, Let’s Get Out Of This Country, had the distinction of being the best CO album ever, as well as the best Concretes album of the year (sadly, in the race for best Concretes album of ’06, the actual Concretes came in 2nd). Meanwhile, The Essex Green put out another gem, Cannibal Sea, this year, which demonstrated that the band might only now be reaching the peak of its powers.
See! Anyway, put all that aside, as we must look to the future. Camera Obscura are starting a musical performance journey (you say tour) across the States, beginning January 17 in Atlanta. And guess what? The other aforementioned band The Essex Green are opening a great number of these shows (Carrboro to Chicago). Meanwhile, the West Coast portion of the trip, from Seattle to Los Angeles, has the Merge bossman’s band, Mac Superchunk’s own Portastatic, on the bill. They are promoting two 2006 LPs (that’s nothing to sneeze at), Be Still Please and the Who Loves The Sun soundtrack, as well as the digital-only Sour Shores EP. These sunny tunesmiths might just make your winter a little warmer.