Hey, psssstt.. Over here! Lean in close… don’t tell anyone, but I’ve got a huge secret for you. Just you, though, nobody else. That’s important, because we can’t have this secret getting out… okay, ready? Compact Disc sales are down.

ISN'T THAT NUTS!?

I couldn't believe it either. I mean, I'm an avid CD buyer. Every week I trek down to HMV and sift their goldmine of a selection. Last week, I unearthed a dusty copy of Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy and the new Kelly Clarkson disc. It was only $15, and that new single is pretty swell. However, I've noticed a strange trend at HMV, and at a few other ‘music’ stores; they're selling a lot of movies now. Also a lot of television show sets, posters, bags, headphones, CD players, gift certificates, and banality. Seems to be something wrong with the business model.

I mean, when I wander into the EB Games across the mall hallway, all I can really find is video games. The stores aren't very big, but every inch is filled with a game or a game-related peripheral. Same deal with clothing stores, generally full of clothes. When I wander into Urban Trade and ask for their movie section, I get blank stares. Same with the food courts, hair salons, cell-phone booths, and other retailers.

This brick-and-mortar fall-out is probably because it's 100% easier to buy music online, either digital or physical. I mean, from my chair at home, I type the name of the band I want, then look for the check-out button. Literally 30 seconds and I've made my purchase. Sure, there's no instant satisfaction of getting out to the car and listening on the way home, but there's something about refreshing the ‘track order status’ page every 15 seconds. It's like having a GPS tracking unit on the bottom of Santa's sleigh, and you just hit ‘F5’ to find out where he is. It's invigorating. And I don't have to listen to My Chemical Romance while doing it.

Contrary to CD sales (down 15.6% last month, going up slightly to 14.6% this month), digital purchases are on the up and up, so maybe there's something to this online shopping. The digital sales haven't fully counteracted the downward spiral of the CD, and that's probably because an entire generation of customers have been alienated by retailers. Shitty mall music stores have always catered to the youngest crowd possible, but today's young people don't even know what a CD is. That's old-fart technology. In the process of pushing all the newest pablum, music retailers have relegated good customers (old people) to second class. By placing all ‘their’ music at the back and blasting whatever shite is currently ‘popular,’ you've effectively removed any reason for someone over age 25 to shop at your establishment. Ironically, these alienated customers are the same people that fear technology. My father (who's in his late 40s) recently claimed he will NEVER buy anything online, out of fear of digital theft. His friends/family share similar feelings. He also doesn't go to music stores anymore for the reasons I listed above. He gets me to buy music for him online, or I just download it and burn it (which is legal in this country). Hear that music companies? My father, a music customer for more than 40 years, no longer buys your products. And it's all your fault.

However, harping on the failings of the music industry is like trying to ‘politically correct’ my grandfather. A lot of the ‘old-fashioned’ terminology he uses would land him on TMZ if he were Gibson, but he knows the end isn't that far away, so he doesn't care. I know his end isn't very far away either, so I don't badger him about it (unless we're in public). I know he'll continue in his archaic ways, continually embarrassing himself, and eventually pitter out to nothing. So, I hope you enjoyed your run Compact Disc/Traditional Business Model/Grandad, because you're well past the expiry date.

Too Pure Announces Singles Club; My Birthday Coming Up

A Brief History of the Singles Club:

- Sub Pop had one
- Kill Rock Stars had one
- Several smaller labels currently have 'em
- The Massachusetts/New Hampshire Singles Club is the first result for "singles club" on Google
- Too Pure does one
- First robotic president outlaws distribution and use of all analog media

In a move that warmed the hearts of people the world over who constantly get told they'd like High Fidelity, Too Pure Records announced the beginning of a singles club this October. While artists such as Electrelane, Scout Niblett, and Stereolab have called Too Pure home, the club seems more focused on lesser-known artists the label has deemed worthy of attention. The first handful of artists includes Lone Lady, Vera November (a.k.a. Verity Susman of Electrelane), and It Hugs Back.

Membership costs £30 for British residents, and £35 for international record geeks. The bad news is that it adds up to almost $70 for Americans, but the good news is that you get 12 records, postage paid and the rights to download digital versions of the songs courtesy of Rough Trade Online. Moreover, the records are limited to 500 apiece and will be distributed almost exclusively through the club, with "a very small number distributed to select indies."

Memberships can be purchased via the Too Pure website. And if it's anything like the grilled cheese I purchased for lunch, it will be delicious and have an unplaceable spiciness that will make you want to buy another membership tomorrow or even later today.

Iron & Wine Shaves Beard, Immediately Grows Back In Time For Tour And… The End of the World! Details Below

Late last night, I received a call. No, it wasn’t a “Dear John” from the missus (though that came eventually... look for updates later); instead, a gravelly voice came through the receiver: “Go to YouTube, watch Iron & Wine videos. And wear your 3-D glasses.” I tried to get the caller’s name to no avail, so I gave in and found some videos. The results were shocking.

Luckily, I swiped 3-D specs from my last viewing of Muppet Vision 3-D at Universal Studios. While viewing “Naked As We Came,” directed by Iron & Wine/Sam Beam (not to be confused with Sean Bean), the screen burst into glowing colors; diagrams unfurled before me with dazzling precision... I saw... I saw his plans for the End of the World in the video! Sub Pop scientists explain that they have pinpointed the day of the global-warming apocalypse, just like on the cover of the new Smashing Pumpkins record). The video intimates details of the Iron & Wine Contingency Plan (something about defacing Mount Rushmore like Zod in Superman II, while Beam reigns over South Dakota with an iron beard). It didn’t divulge any specifics, but the closing message promised the answer would be buried somewhere inside the forthcoming Iron & Wine album, The Shepherd’s Dog. Then it was over...

Mysterious 3-D Messages Abound At:

Rilo Kiley to Release Under the Blacklight This August, Five Things Jenny Lewis Did That Are More Valuable than Her Music; Seriously, Jenny, Baby, Sweetheart: There Are Career Opportunities Opening Daily in Real Estate Or As Conor Oberst’s Living Shelf-Doll

Misleading headline:

The remainder of this article DOES NOT provide ANY evidence that Conor Oberst keeps flower-power INDIE!-a-go-go chickys (like Jenny Lewis) on lock-down in His basement to act as concubines-o’-da’-sweet-jams. NO EVIDENCE EXISTS that He sits in that basement, hood-up, playing “First Day of My Life” as many times as He deems fit, while said flower-power INDIE!-a-go-go chickys repeatedly bless themselves on His command to avoid a hefty tongue-lashing, or, another heart-string-pullin’ rendition of “First Day Of My Life.” There is, additionally, NO EVIDENCE that the phrase “flower-power INDIE!-a-go-go chickys” serves as an appropriate catch-all for describing less-fortunate (fictitious) music love slaves of Oberst.

TRUE STORY, though:

Rilo Kiley’s Under the Blacklight is scheduled for release August 21 in the United States. Buy it, reader, else the first time you hear the sweet jams is sure to be on the Grey’s Anatomy-- du jour of the time! GASP!

5 INCENDIARY CAREER MOVES, JENNY:

1. Kicking ass as Hannah Nefler in Troop Beverly Hills
2. Co-starring with Shelley Long in Troop Beverly Hills
3. Appearing on a single episode of Murder She Wrote in 1994
4. (Literally) being in the same room as Angela Lansbury on an episode of Murder She Wrote in 1994
5. (Figuratively) being in the same room as J.B. Fletcher (played by Angela Lansbury) on Murder She Wrote in 1994

Hands down, Angela Lansbury trumps this.

Oh, and Blake “Soper,” nothing beats three episodes on Salute Your Shorts. Puhhhhhleassse.

DON’T NOT QUIT YOUR DAY JOB, UNLESS THE INCENTIVE IS A LUXURY CRUISE WITH ANGELA LANSBURY WHERE YOU BOTH CAN ENJOY FRUIT DRINKS AND BLING SUNGLASSES:

$ Modest Mouse

Doubts arise, I'm sure, as to why Neil Hamburger — a stand-up comedian — gets constant mention in the independent music media.

A small HIStory lesson is in order. Neil Hamburger, Christian name Gregg Turkington, was owner of über-independent music label Amarillo Records in the 90s, with a roster that included Faxed Head, Zip Code Rapists, and The Three Doctors — all containing Turkington as a member. Each of those bands, incidentally, also featured Trey Spruance -- yes, of Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3 fame, but also of the label Web of Mimicry, which later released Chiropractic, Faxed Head's third album.

The music business being what it is (full of decrepit and drug-addled degenerates), Turkington found only moderate success among those with expendable income for all things entertainment. Each band he was in either broke up or slowly faded from existence, an unfortunate byproduct of a glue-sniffing pastime, and shortly thereafter, Neil Hamburger was born, already middle-aged and suffering from lung cancer. A deal with Drag City followed.

Turkington-turned-Hamburger has circulated some interesting rounds lately, including a stint on Fox News' Red Eye. More recently he was a featured guest on Tomgreen.com. But most importantly, he'll be back 'round the Midwest doing his stand-up routine, replete with new material and magician Dr. El Suavo opening some dates. So, what does his stand-up routine have to do with music again? Why don't you pay the $10 and go find out for yourself, you cocksucker!?

* with Dr. El Suavo

# with Daiquiri

Dirty Projectors Announce Fall Tour, “Rewrites” Black Flag’s Damaged From Memory; I Have No Input at All

I think my brain is malfunctioning this week. I've read the one sheet about the new album a few times in a row this week, but it's still not quite sinking in. You see, Dirty Projectors mastermind David Longstreth has "reimagined" Black Flag's Damaged in an attempt to "stage his own theft of the punk rock spirit." According to the press release:

From beginning to end, Dirty Projectors' new offering, Rise Above, is a reimagining of Black's Flag seminal 1981 record Damaged. It is not a covers record. Longstreth attempted to rewrite his favorite adolescent album word for word, from memory.

Am I missing something? Don't get me wrong. I like Dirty Ps. I like them a lot actually, but I just don't quite get it. Explain it to me, readers! Anyway, Rise Above comes out on Dead Oceans September 11. Members of Grizzly Bear were involved in the recording, or something, and uh... Dirty Ps will tour beginning in August...

Sorry, I have lost all interest in this article. My brain must be shutting down again.

Rise Above tracklisting:

Soft Machine Founder and Living Legend Kevin Ayers Returns with a Fanclub of Ladybugs from Helsinki

Many musicians try to make a go in this absurd industry, solely to savor that delicious power that comes with having someone on the payroll whose primary role is to pick the yellow M&Ms out of the rider bowl with their asscheeks or the satisfaction that comes with trying to break your groupie “hour plow” record nightly. Don’t get me wrong, we love hearing about it, but sometimes it makes us feel a whole lot hollow inside. A few folk have an altogether more refreshing slant on making music. Kevin Ayers, for example, seems to have it all figured out. After running ramshot over listeners’ expectations early in his career with a number of groundbreaking critic’s faves (Soft Machine, Wilde’s Flowers), he realized that it is decidedly better to fade away and rust rather than to burn. Ayers has spent the last few decades playing the nomad, jamming and recording with friends and admirers, and famously, never taking himself too seriously.

Celebrated among the unconventionals for his influential work with Daevid Allen and Robert Wyatt in Soft Machine for a right-smart spell, Ayers has more recently been rightfully given his dues by the wicker men and ladies fair of the psychedelic pastoral scene, mostly because his imaginative late-1960s/early-1970s solo albums, which have been revisited through the power of the reissue. As is increasingly the case, the piper has united with some of his rats to record a new album, due on LO-MAX Records September 3. The Unfairground, Ayers’ first album in 15-odd years, was recorded in pieces in New York, Tucson, Glasgow, and London by Gary Olson, Peter Henderson, and Ayers himself, and is chockablock with impressive collaborators. Here is the full supporting cast and songlist for the album:

Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor), Jeff Baron (Ladybug Transistor), Heather McIntosh (Ladybug Transistor, etc.), San Fadyl (Ladybug Transistor), Joe McGinty (keyboard wizard, Baby Steps), Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Francis MacDonald (Teenage Fanclub), Euros Childs (Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci), Bill Wells (UK avant-jazz great), Kellie Sutherland (Architecture in Helsinki), Tara Shackell (Architecture in Helsinki), Isobel Knowles (Architecture in Helsinki), Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Gus Franklin (Architecture in Helsinki), Frank Reader (Trashcan Sinatras), Robbie McIntosh (guitar hero), Candie Payne (Liverpool’s finest songbird), Robert Wyatt (Robert Wyatt), Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine), Graham Henderson (frequent Ayers sidekick), Julian Koster (Neutral Milk Hotel, etc.), Daisy Martey (Noonday Underground, Morcheeba), Bridget St. John (husky-voiced psych-folk legend), Dave McGowan (Isobel Campbell, Teenage Fanclub).

1. Wide Awake
2. Cold Shoulder
3. Walk on Water
4. Friends & Strangers
5. Brainstorm
6. Unfairground
7. Baby Come Home
8. Shine a Light
9. Run Run Run
10. Only Heaven Knows

In The Future, Indie Labels Will Be Sold on Craigslist to Young Girls Who Think Colin Meloy Is Cute

The year is 2007. The month is July. The future is bright. In this futuristic society that only exists in maybes and hyperboles, cars do not fly but baseball players hit homeruns like step-children, and shows are based on elevated reality.

One show, in particular, is Sweet Sixteen. This is shown on the futuristic channel called MTV. The idea behind MTV is to showcase music videos (hence the acronym). However, in this future society, the heads at MTV will rely on reality television. Sweet Sixteen will be a show that showcases whores in training (WITs) and their upcoming 16th birthday party. Since this is the future, the WITs are lavished with DJs, guest appearances by such stars as Lil’ Bow Wow, red carpet entrances, and parents who pretend they love them.

Parents will usually lavish their WITs with futuristic cars that have heated cup holders, flip-down DVD screens, and keg"eradors." However, I’m predicting one day there will come a time when some girl, some super-heavy-duty-extreme WIT will ask for an indie-rock record label. She will have eaten away her soul with episodes of The O.C. and Laguna Beach. She will have come to terms with bands such as Spoon and/or Modest Mouse and decide there is nothing more important to her existence than to own an indie-rock record label, for only then will she get to entertain the hearts of Adam Brody or Stephen Colletti.

Unfortunately, the future is now. And on the ever-so-hip want/buy/sell ad list known as Craigslist, there is an indie record label for sale. The asking price is 10,000 bones, and the label requests serious inquiries only. It promises contacts and existing relationships with national distributors, but it doesn't reveal exactly which label it is. We are assuming you have to contact the seller for that info.

Please take up this offer before some O.C. watching, flare jean-wearing, Hummer-driving WIT takes up the offer and ruins one of the last vestiges of the free world.

Thank you.

Mike Skinner Drops His Creative Trans, The Streets Eat Their Feet and Discreetly Stretch Street Date

In 5.... 4.... 3..........

...Hello again, everybody and welcome back to KTMT, where it's time once again for your KTMT "Traffic On The Tuesdays" Road Report, giving you an up-to-the-minute, real-time look at your drive-time travel day! Traffic this week is brought to you by... uh...byyyy... well, by Tiny Mix Tapes! Tiny Mix Tapes: "With a Name This Lame, We've Got To be Cool."

Now, without further obvious diversion, here's a look at your TMT Traffic Outlook for Tuesday, July 24, 2007! Vroom, vroom, commuters:

> I-19 Inbound is tied up from Rural Route 3 all the way into downtown with an accident blocking two of the three available northbound lanes; all in all, it looks like a 73-minute trip to the junction at 87th Street.

> Right now, it's 25 minutes from the William Henry Harrison Memorial Expressway at Lake Street out to the Riverside Toll Road, and if you're thinking about taking the bridge out to the suburbs, think again, as a stalled Transit Authority bus has brought all traffic to a standstill while workers hurry to clear the area. No word as of yet on exactly when the blockage is expected to be cleared.

> Lastly, the road to British MC Mike Skinner's new record as The Streets seems to be experiencing some massive delays due to a serious roadblock that has apparently halted neuron traffic in the fame-paranoid rapper's main creative throughfare. Preliminary reports from the KTMT Traffic-Copter cite a post on Skinner's MySpace as the source of problem, wherein the particulars of Skinner's skid-out are detailed, as is the statement that this new Streets record, the follow-up to 2006's The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, is now scheduled to be under construction until early 2008.

When we managed to pull Skinner away from his jackhammer for a moment and asked him to comment on all of this unscheduled Streets construction, the reluctant rapper replied "Making an album when you're quite well known is a bit stressful. I've had to accept this week that because my album isn't quite right yet it won't be coming out this year."

While fans of minimalist, storytelling, everyman nu-rap hoping to pick up the latest Streets disc may be miffed to find themselves stuck in traffic for quite a while, it seems to be Skinner himself who is experiencing the brunt of the road rage. "I think I've got the makings of a great record," the addled MC explained, "but I've been working so hard on it my head is spinning at the end of every day, and when I wake up each morning the first thing I feel is panic."

Thankfully, however, Skinner is trying his best not to drive angry while he navigates his way through the bottleneck. "I've decided to try to get some distance from it while we do this Scotland tour, Get Loaded (In The Park) and Ibiza. This also means I'll maintain my tidy pattern of releasing an album in 2002, 2004, 2006 and, now, 2008." No word yet as to exactly when all of the lanes will re-open in 2008, but The Streets are scheduled to play a handful of 'cross-the-pond shows throughout the summer, including the Ibiza Rocks festival August 6, which should at least keep European commuters mildly entertained while they wait out the nasty six-month trip to their nearest record store.

And now, Weather:
07.24.07 - Inverness, Scotland - Ironworks
07.25.07 - Aberdeen, Scotland - Moshulu
07.26.07 - Dundee, Scotland - Fat Sam's
07.27.07 - Edinburgh, Scotland - Liquid Room
07.28.07 - Glasgow, Scotland - ABC
08.04.07 - Odemira, UK - Sudoeste Festival
08.06.07 - Ibiza, Spain - Ibiza Rocks Festival
08.18.07 - Hasselt, UK - Pukkelpop Festival
08.25.07 - Coppersfield-Cardiff, Whales - Cardiff Calling-Coopers
08.26.07 - London, UK - Get Loaded in the Park 2007-Clapham Common

Government Issue Frontman John Stabb Assaulted; Benefits Being Planned

On July 17, John Stabb (of Government Issue) was assaulted a block from his home by five youths to the point of requiring "extensive" facial surgery and an indefinite hospital stay. As a result of mounting medical expenses, limited insurance benefits, and potential wage loss, a benefit campaign has been launched.

In addition to a potential auction, a concert benefit concert is in the planning stages. At press time, bands expressing interest in playing the concert (still in the speculation stages, mind you) include Against Me! and Connecticut hardcore veterans 76% Uncertain. Meanwhile, information on financial donations and updates on the situation can be found at this website.

Read Stabb's own account of the incident and receive updates on the situation here. Here's to a speedy recovery, John. "Rock and Roll Bullshit" is one of my all-time favorite songs.