Madonna Signs Progressive Deal With Live Nation, Is Still Nowhere NEAR as Cool as Radiohead

So, it’s no secret at this point (and truthfully, it’s debatable as to whether or not it ever actually was) that Radiohead is the most amazing band in the WORLD. Their musical choices over the past decade have been impeccably trend-setting, and, love or hate the actual MUSIC, there’s still no debating that Thom Yorke and Co. are the clear front-runners in the race to be the most culturally significant, ahead of the curve, paradigm-shifting recording artists to ever dabble in the man-eating cesspool that is the Music Industry.

Yup, everyone else might as well just pack it in, I say. Ask anyone, even Mr P, and they’ll tell you that Radiohead have hands-down done more than just about anyone lately when it comes to turning the Recording Industry on its ear and...


Wait just a minute, folks! It looks like a dark horse is coming up from behind! A dark horse wearing hot pink tights, that is...

That’s right! Madonna, of all people, seems to have struck the second blow in this whole “Major Label Recording Artists Lashing Out Against the Music Industry” battle that seems to be a brewin’ these days. Last week, the Material Girl seemed a whole lot less acquisitive and a whole lot more business savvy when she confirmed her split from her posh former home of Warner Brothers and her new widely-rumored deal with concert promoter Live Nation.

“Concert Promoter??” you say? “She “signed” with a Concert Promoter??

Yup. And while the extent of the benefits of this strange partnership have yet to be explored, it looks as though Live Nation will be handling her future album releases, tours, DVDs, slutty '80s clothing lines, adorable children books, piss-poor Hollywood movies, and anything else that the old cougar can concoct for the Madonna brand. This kick-ass deal will not only leave Prince pissed-off that he didn’t think of this first, but it will also parcel out $120 million to the glam girl over ten years, including an $18 million signing bonus and three album advances of about $17 million each that she can spend on as many cone-shaped bras and shit as she wants to. Some of the deal will even include stock in Live Nation (even Thom Yorke didn’t think of that one). The global partnership with the company will ultimately find Madonna becoming the founding artist in Live Nation's new “Artist Nation” division, which will be headed by former Rolling Stones tour producer Michael Cohl. You know, Michael Cohl! Duh!

"The paradigm in the music business has shifted, and as an artist and a business woman, I have to move with that shift," Madonna cutely understated. "For the first time in my career, the way that my music can reach my fans is unlimited. I've never wanted to think in a limited way, and with this new partnership, the possibilities are endless. Who knows how my albums will be distributed in the future? That's what's exciting about this deal - everything is possible. Live Nation has offered me a true partnership, and after 25 years in the business, I feel that I deserve that." Okay, false alarm; looks like she is still a material girl after all. Pheww!

"Madonna is a true icon and maverick as an artist and in business," stated Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino. I am thrilled that Madonna, who is also now a shareholder in our company, has joined with us to create a new business model for our industry. Bringing all the varied elements of Madonna's stunning music career into the Artist Nation and Live Nation family, moves her future and the future of our company into a unique and extraordinary place... Our partnership is a defining moment in music history.” Ummm, dude, have you even heard of In Rainbows???

Rapino also positioned the concert industry as replacing the record labels as the focus of the music industry. "We believe that the internet is the live concert promoters best friend, although it might have crippled the record label business," Rapino said. "The live business [is] connected to the fan, directly, which enables us to sell singles and downloads and everything the consumer wants.”

The rabid Rapino was also quick to play the cool-guy card of dissing Ye Olde Ineffectual Record Labels. “The concert is now moving to the center of the circle for the artist. The artist is now looking for the live show and everything that can be done around the live show." He added "We believe that the Madonna fan who is buying a $200 concert ticket is in our database, and we have a direct relationship with them. We think we can sell them a 99-cent download, or a $14 dollar T-shirt. The ticket is now the center of the transaction." Um, is this a bad time for me to mention that I spent $0.00 on In Rainbows? (What!? I said it! 160kbps my ass!)

Either way, the Record Industry may be on its deathbed, but it still has one final bowel-full of shit to evacuate before it kicks it. The 49-year-old singer/actress still owes Warner one final studio album and a greatest hits package under her current contract. But Madonna, unlike the best band in the world Radiohead, seems relatively at ease with that. "My time with Warner Bros. Records has been great," she said. "I appreciate their hard work and value the many relationships I have developed over the years with the label in the U.S. and around the world. I have an album coming out with them next year and I'm excited about it. We still have work to do together."

Hmmm. As Thom Yorke might say, “This one’s optimistic.”

Ticketmaster Wins An Injunction Junction What’s Your Function

Let’s just say: someone (dunno who) really wanted to see The Police on Halloween at Madison Square Garden: the ticket itself would only cost $254.50. But then you’d have to deal with Ticketmaster -- scourge of the ticket-buyer, monopolistic baron of the live music seas, emperor of your Police-loving wallet, so on and so forth. Well, get ready to dish out for the $14.95 convenience charge. Plus a shake more for mailing the tickets and possibly even a venue charge (consult The Oracle). All that extra money? That doesn’t sound very convenient, now does it? Maybe Pearl Jam was on to something.

Okay, a $254 dollar concert was maybe a bad example, but even this hypothetical situation only works if your event’s tickets are still available. Sell-out da Garden?? I know -- unlikely. If not for the assholes who hack through Ticketmaster’s online security like Livingston through the Dark Heart of Africa (for example, that squiggly gibberish word behind the checkered lines), then proceed to buy up Wisconsin-sized loads of tickets for your upcoming highly-in-demand event.

Well, luckily, Ticketmaster took those suckers to court. Kinda. Not the actual suckers, but the suckers who enable the suckers. The sucker-enablers who make programs that are allegedly used to break through Ticketmaster’s security features in all kinds of terms-violating ways.

Thus, Ticketmaster recently won a court injunction to halt the alleged sucker-enabling actions of one RMG Technologies, putting the brakes on any Ticketmaster-related chicanery until a full trial.

RMG Technologies’ website advertises “custom software services, catering to your specific needs in order to raise productivity for your environment,” especially useful if “your environment” includes websites like Stubhub and Craigslist, dark alleys near large stadiums, a penchant for scores of Hanna Montana tickets, and general douchebaggery.

With regard to the suit and upcoming trial, Ticketmaster CEO Sean Moriarty said something along the lines of, “This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man...” before tightening up his bathrobe, lighting a spliff in his Gran Torino, and driving to the store for some milk.

Wizardzz Tour: AWESOME

Catch the Don Caballero Fall Tour; Witness the Band Break Up Live On Stage and Then Have a Reunion During the Encore!

October 31 is Halloween, a time when corpses crawl out from under their graves to play some killer math rock in Nashville, TN. Killer math rock, indeed! My friend once died on a Ferris wheel while listening to Slint on her iPod during a severe thunderstorm. So, since '90s math rock gurus Don Caballero will be beginning their tour on Halloween, I have came up with costumes for the whole band.

- Damon Che - The obvious choice here would be for Che to dress up as an octopus since he earned the nickname "octopus" for his drumming and having intercourse like an sexy cephalopod. This is a little too cutesy for me. I suggest that Che sticks with the octopus but also wears a mask of Ian Williams to express the real horror that is a broken friendship. Hell, Che may even go as far as to wear a bloody Battles t-shirt with a fake knife sticking out of the side.

- Jeff Ellsworth - If I know anything about this world, it's that replacement guitarists are infatuated with cheeseburgers. So, Ellsworth would probably be head-over-heels for a cheeseburger costume. But I must place strong caution on this one: When I was a kid, I dressed as a cheeseburger for Halloween, thinking it would be funny to tell people I was Mark McGwire (The "Big Mac" -- get it? Ah, whatever. It made sense back then). Anyway, while trick-or-treating a mentally handicap boy who resembled the spawn of "McGruff the Crime Dog" and Don Rickles came outside of his house and bit me near my groin. Ellsworth, please do not let this happen to you!

- Gene Doyle - People named Gene only care about two things: getting paid and getting laid. I automatically assume Doyle has costumed as a stereotypical pimp for many years, so this year, let's mix it up. I have two words for Doyle: Croatian. Prostitute.

- Jason Jouver - Why don't we just use Jouver to pay a nice tribute to math rock vets Bitch Magnet? When I think of Bitch Magnet, the first thing that comes to mind is one of those horseshoe-shaped magnets. So, have some groupie sew you up a fancy "magnet-looking" costume, and then simply walk around berating people. Say things like, "What the fuck are you looking at? I'm a magnet, so what?" And the family favorite, "Have you been drinking with your friends all night, you sack of shit? You are pissing off my atomic structure. Maybe I'll just go spend the night and get freaky with your buddy cobalt." Now, that my friends is one Bitch Magnet.

Let us not forget the fans! So, for the two thirty-somethings attending the show (just kidding -- we all still love Don Cab, right?), I suggest dressing up as Frank Zappa. One guy can be the head and top part, and the other guy can be Zappa's ass (no, not Ahmet).

I hope everyone out there has a fun time seeing The Damon Che Experience on their fall tour, but let me remind you that math rock will most likely devour your worthless soul, leaving your guts to be spewed in a bucket full of Shellac merchandise. Merry Christmas, my fellow TMT readers, and a Happy Kwanza to you Petya Romanov!

* Enablers

Prefuse 73 to Tour with School of Seven Bells, Blank Blue

Scott Herren hits the road soon, presumably in support of Preparations (TMT Review). The tour was originally supposed to be with Voice of the Seven Woods, but, according to his website: "I have just this morning got a call informing me that we are no longer going on the US tour with Prefuse 73. Many apologies to all our friends in the States but this very much out of our control." Hm.

All shows are now with School of Seven Bells and Blank Blue, as I’ve already indicated in the above un-ironic headline.

No gimmicks, baby.

# Zac Efron

$ Vanessa Hudgens

! Naked pictures

Punk Icon Lance Hahn of J Church Passes Away at Age 40

“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.” This quote, accredited to the mysterious A Sachs, could not be truer and more appropriate when talking about someone like Lance Hahn of J Church, who passed away Sunday at the way too young age of 40 due to complications associated with kidney disease.

Throughout his life, Hahn wore many hats: punk chronicler and freelance writer, record and video retail rat, Honey Bear Records kingpin, member of Cringer from 1984 to 1991, and since 1992, the lynchpin of J Church. But for all that Hahn had on his plate at any given time, his biggest role in life seemed to be “nice guy,” judging by the outpouring of kindness shown to him during setbacks in his life and from the reactions of friends and admirers upon news of his death.

With Hahn’s medical bills escalating this summer, a group of forward-thinking labels (No Idea, Cat Food Money, Vinehell, Jerk Off, and Tic Tac Totally) banded together to issue the J Church/Cringer tribute album Let’s Do It For Lance! to help him out financially. When Hahn and partner Liberty Lidz’ apartment and $40,000 worth of possessions were destroyed by a fire in 2002, benefit shows were quickly put on in Austin, New York, San Francisco, Japan, and England. He added, talking to the Austin American-Statesman in December that year, “There was something in Luxembourg also. I keep getting these checks in the mail from these shows. At first, I felt a little awkward about accepting cash, but people wanted to help.” The punk community has a stellar record of always helping friends in need, but Hahn’s status has sparked eager calls to arms whenever immediate action was needed.

A transplant from Hawaii (Lidz says, “He claimed to be the first person in Hawaii with a Mohawk.”), Hahn was a longtime fixture in San Francisco’s punk scene, where he cranked out (almost) innumerable releases with J Church, ran the Honey Bear label, and contributed regularly to Maximum Rock'n'Roll. At the beginning of this decade, Hahn and Lidz relocated to Austin where Lidz was attending graduate school. He continued to put out J Church albums (the band was then peppered with local Austin players), worked at a record store, managed a video store, and continued to write his book on the history of anarcho punk, which was nearing completion at the time of his passing.

No death is inconsequential, but there is something truly sad when the music community loses a vital mover and shaker. In a world where fashion unfortunately always eclipses passion, Hahn’s dedication to genuineness, in his life and music, will be sorely missed.

The Saga of Wu-Tang and Ghostface Killah Ends Here; Wu-Tang Album Release Date Pushed Back

I don't know about you guys, but Squeo and I have been bummed all weekend. We reported last week the good news of RZA winning a chess tournament for charity, but also the bad news of Wu-Tang canceling their tour (TMT News). Whether confirmed or not, we couldn't help but feel the cancellation might have had something to do with Ghostface being pissed about how the release date of Wu-Tang's new album, 8 Diagrams, was moved to December 4, the same release date of Ghostface's forthcoming solo album, Big Dough Rehab.

Well, after countless hours of the best sex of our lives, followed by a serious discussion about Wu-Tang's market saturation, and finally a picnic in Grant Park, where we talked about the sex we had earlier, Squeo and I decided to push back the release date of Wu-Tang's 8 Diagrams to December 11 and leave Ghostface's Big Dough Rehab release date for December 4. And guess what? RZA thought our idea was fantastic. So, RZA's happy, Ghostface's happy, and consumers are happy. Now Squeo and I just have to have a serious discussion about getting those Wu-Tang shows back.

Don't worry. Squeo and I know exactly what to do first.

Thurston Moore Teases Fans With Mini-Tour

Step 1: Announce upcoming solo album several months before its release and unleash incredible excitement and anticipation among fans.

Step 2: Release album to great reviews and critical acclaim.

Step 3: Go on a five date mini-tour... No, wait, what?!

Oh, Thurston, why must you do this to us? You know, your faithful fans who have loved you from the beginning? (Well, not entirely, seeing as I wasn’t exactly born until four years after Sonic Youth formed.) Of all people, Thurston, you should know very well that a full U.S. tour should directly follow the release of one’s album (in your case, last month’s excellent solo effort, Trees Outside The Academy.)

But, no! Instead you throw five measly West Coast dates in our faces and expect us to like it?! Well, I’ll tell you what, Mr. Moore... aww, don’t give me that sadface, no, seriously, I was only joking! Yes, you know I still love you. What’s that, you’ll pay for my plane ticket to see one of your shows? Oh, you’re too much!

All delusional conversations aside, any Thurston Moore news is good news, am I right? Check him out at the following dates:

Xiu Xiu, Islands, Boards of Canada, and Why? Make New 12-Inch Singles, Confusing Syntax

Why?, the Californian indielectronica flip-hop pioneers, are set to release a set of two four-track singles. A 12-inch will be released in Europe and the U.S. November 18 and 19, respectively. Each version is on track to be released with different tracks from the other, each featuring remixes and cover versions of released and unreleased Why? tracks, in addition to the track on the single cover, “The Hollows.” Ahem. The European version of the single was recently released through Tomlab and will feature “Good Friday,” as remixed by Boards of Canada, while the U.S. single release will be found on Anticon of which Why?’s Yoni Wolf is a founding member.

Why? Why?’s double single? Well, the trio will release an 11-song LP on March 11 in the U.S., entitled Alopecia (European release date and LP title explanation yet to be released). The LP will include “The Hollows,” as well as the un-remixed versions of “Good Friday” and “By Torpedo or Crohn’s.”

Prepare for the new release by listening to old, released songs on the Why? MySpace page.

The Hollows (European Version) tracklisting:

A1. The Hollows

A2. Good Friday (Boards of Canada remix)

B1. Yoyo Bye Bye (covered by Dump)

B2. Broken Crow (covered by Islands)

The Hollows (US Version) tracklisting:

A1. The Hollows

A2. By Torpedo or Crohn's (Dntel remix)

B1. Yoyo Bye Bye (covered by Xiu Xiu)

B2. Pre-teen Apocalyptic Film Acting [Medley] (covered by Half-Handed Cloud)

Comcast Is Controlling Your Life, And You Didn’t Even Know It!

It's not like those times you find yourself watching Anthony Bourdain on the travel channel and think "oh, just one more episode," and then suddenly it's two days later. It's more like those times you're trying to share that sweet new Kanye track and you can't. Yeah.

Comcast, the second largest internet company in the country, has been caught totally blocking certain web traffics. Like, well, high-speed subscribers sharing files. What does that spell? Data discrimination, dude. Which totally runs up against ideas of net neutrality. Dude.

The discreet blocking is one of the most gnarly examples of data discrimination by a U.S. internet provider to date, even involving company computers pretending to be users. AND if these tactics were used by all U.S. internet providers, it would totally kill file-sharing networks. Like that.

Comcast's file-sharing blocks are part of a pretty lame way of controlling bandwidth, and it comes in the form of blocking uploads, not downloads. But if nobody is uploading anything, then there's nothing to download, right? Right.

So heres the process:

- go to upload something

- another "user" (a.k.a. Comcast company computer) sends a message to stop communications

- upload stops.

- ta-da!

This could be seen as simply "traffic shaping," which is common, but what Comcast is doing involves overt trickery, only effects one type of traffic (file-sharing), and actually stops uploads, instead of just slowing them down. It's also completely random, so it could in fact be stopping legal OR illegal files. My assessment? Bullshit!