The wait is FINALLY over! Yes, yet another glorious day of innovation has come to pass in the scintillatingly exciting world of online music sales. Last week, Apple’s iTunes shop began offering higher quality files unencumbered by nasty DRM nonsense -- as we reported a little while back. Of course, the files are nearly a third more expensive than the regular, low-quality shit you can get from iTunes, and out of all your favorite caring, cuddly major labels, only EMI (at least for now)is making its catalog available in the new format. But still, great news, eh?
Not really. Apparently, the whole business of Joe Schmoe from Idaho actually getting his calloused hands on high-quality versions of the entire Norah Jones catalog and other gems from the EMI vaults is sort of fiddly and crap. First of all, you have to update your iTunes to the latest version, then opt-in to the iTunes Plus service from a separate area of the site that’s not particularly easy to find -- it’s not set as the default in the iTunes store. Switching back to normal iTunes means further grubbing about with Apple’s (beautifully presented) digital entrails.
Furthermore, and more importantly, the DRM-free banner that Apple and EMI have pinned above their king-sized conjugal bed is looking a little tatty tonight. An interesting little tidbit I just found out is that every track that’s downloaded from iTunes has your full name and e-mail address embedded in the file. And the new DRM-free stuff does as well. Sort of puts you off sharing that precious $1.29 worth of file with your chums, eh? And what about all the information that’s kept on your iTunes account, like your credit card number and where you fucking LIVE? If your file ends up on some torrent site and a brave RIAA freedom fighter picks up your e-mail address and name from an iTunes file -- is he then in a position to grab all that other info prior to chasing your ass down the street?
Oh well, whatever. It’s not as if anyone who does upload a torrent to the web gets the files from iTunes anyway. Fact remains that the attempts of the record industry to curtail file-sharing have all been pretty much a total bust for the last five years, and you can be certain that this latest attempt to scare you into compliance is bound to fail miserably too. And for that, I guess we can all continue quietly rejoicing.
Casiotone Not Just For The Painfully Alone Anymore; See Their Tour With Friends and Family, If You Dare
A surprising number of people seem to be attending Casiotone For The Painfully Alone shows with significant others, friends, and family. Rumor has it some of these people have been observed smiling and even dancing at shows. This may seem like a moot point, but if you're planning on going to any CFTPA shows, there are a few things you should know.
Security at the recent Over the Top Festival performance in Toronto were reportedly seen turning away anyone with a mere grin on their face at the door; they even had one couple, who were spotted embracing, forcefully removed from the premises. Now I'm all for vigilantism, but there reaches a point where you may be overstepping your boundaries.
Representatives from Tomlab records furiously deny any such goings on; however, eye-witness accounts suggest Casiotone's Owen Ashworthy was seen confronting security at the venue once he heard what was happening, explaining "It's only a fucking name; don't be a douchebag."
In addition to the latest stream of 7-inches on Tomlab, Oedipus Recordings is now taking pre-orders for the soon to be released split 7-inch with Foot Foot. And continuing on the seemingly endless string of releases, there are plans to release another 7-inch for a song with David Horvitz, the man behind the Xiu Xiu photobook.
You can see Casiotone for the Painfully Alone on these dates at these places:
Modest Mouse Head Out Empty-Headed for ‘Long Drive,’ Back Tour Bus into Cop Car, Kill Cop, “Float On” Not So Cool Anymore, Is It?
Laaaaaaaaaaaadies and Gentlemen of all shapes, siiiiiiiiiiizes!
Boys and girls of all aaaaaaages!!
Gather 'round, one and all!
Introducing the uncanny... the hideous... the ghastly... the supernatural... the utterly unfathomable... the...
(Pssssssst! Hey, cue the drum roll and freakily fun-housey, bad acid-trip, circus music, will ya? I'm tryin' to make a sales-pitch here. My kids gotta eat, ya know... sheeez!)
Anyway, were was I?... ahhhem... oh yeah:
... The utterly unfathomable... the absolutely abominable... Isaaaaaaaaaaaaac Brock!!!!
Yes, yes, yes! Step right up, ladies and gentlemen!
Step RIGHT this way!
Come one, come all to witness this wanton wonder of the world, this ludicrous loose canon, this pheeeeeeeeenomenal freak-baby fresh out of the wild in our one-of-a-kind, never duplicated, repeatedly redundant "Modest Mouse Summer Tour and Freakshow!"
That's right! Do NOT miss you chance to see famed frontman Isaac Brock angrily caged on a stage near you!
He'll roar! he'll snarl! He'll MOST LIKELY self-mutilate! And He's COMING TO A STAGE NEAR YOU THIS SUMMER.
Witness as he drunkenly spews existentialisms at you in a lisp so disagreeable you'll with you were in church!
Cower in terror as he bates you and your fellow ticket-holders into letting him borrow a knife for a few moments!
Puke in disgust as he cuts the FUCK out of his chest for no apparent reason whatsoever!
Ladies and gentlemen of the world, DO NOT MISS your chance to see this knife-jabbing wonder of the world degenerate in front of thousands and inflict baffling and bloody wounds upon himself... and possibly others!
Note: As producer of the 2007 Modest Mouse Summer Tour and Freakshow, TMT Big-Top Productions is NOT responsible for and will be legally held harmless concerning the following:
- show cancellations due to drug-induced stupors
- show cancellations due to the untimely death of Issac Brock
- fans getting "contact highs" off of Isaac Brock's druggy sweat
- fans getting stabbed, accidentally or intentionally, by Issac Brock
- fans somehow contracting HIV
Welcome to the Big Show:
*** Not Confirmed
YR SHOPTEXT ACCOUNT IS PROVIDED “AS-IS!”; Knitting Factory Jumps on Boat, ShopText Still Scared of Terrorists
On May 30 Knitting Factory Entertainment joined the likes of CosmoGirl! Magazine n Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift (who?) in introducing a SMS txt messaging ticketing system that will enable customers 2 purchase tickets 4 shows using their mobile handsets. Provided by ShopText, a mobile commerce n promotions company, u can b assured that when u sign up 4 an account, ShopText spams the hell out of yr cell phone n u pay for all of it.
ShopText's claim to fame? "Our software platform transforms any advertisement in2 a point of sale opportunity."
Still skeptical? Here r just a few reasons to run out n get a ShopText account RITE NOW, courtesy of ShopText's own Terms and Conditions*:
01. By signing for a ShopText account, u must be 18 years of age n able 2 enter "legally binding contracts."
02. U may not sign up 4 ShopText if u a suspected terrorist or suspected of trading or transporting illegal drugs
03. "ShopText cannot guarantee the security of n e data transmitted ovr n e wireless network, n thus, all information transmission is done at yr own risk." This doesn't stop at the security of yr information -- the TOS go on 2 say that ShopText is not liable 4 n e errors due 2 inaccurate or incomplete information! So don't get upset when u get Say Hi 2 Yr Mom tickets instead of Ozma tickets
04. "Yr ShopText Account may also be suspended or unavailable because of disruption in telecommunication services, power outages, natural disasters, terrorism or similar occurrences which result in a disruption in services."
05. "ShopText makes no warranty that your use of ShopText will be error-free, uninterrupted, timely or that you will be satisfied with the products or services your purchase using your ShopText Account."
06. O, n u MUST, MUST, MUST provide a credit card # N credit card security code located on the back of yr card 2 register 4 a ShopText account.
*All Terms n Conditions r subject 2 change w/o notification, n by agreeing 2 these terms u agree 2 all subsequent terms n term modifications. lol ttyl
UNKLE Make Sure They Have Some Dang Good War Stories, Enlist a Massive Attack By Queens of The Stone Age
Tracks from the exceptional 1998 UNKLE effort Psyence Fiction still rear their apocalyptic heads on everything from game trailers (check out "Lonely Soul" being used to hawk 2007's Assassin's Creed) to, uh, most mix CDs of mine ("Nursery Rhyme (Breather)" is a repeat offender). DJ Shadow has since jumped ship, but producers-cum-vocalists James Lavelle and Richard File have just thrown down the title of a new UNKLE undertaking: War Stories.
Unfortunately, DJ Shadow seemed to attract a much more stellar guest roster, or maybe it was just a little cooler to be anti-establishment in '98, but this album's lineup has me hurtin'. Radiohead's Thom Yorke traded in for Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme? Mike D vs. 3D (Massive Attack)? Gack.
Due July 24, War Stories was recorded by way of live studio tracking, rather than the customary turntables-and-a-microphone deal of the past, and we finally hear from James Lavelle in a vocal sense on the track "Hold My Hand." Session musicians include Twiggy Ramirez (Jeordie White, whom I passed in the mall once), Nada Surf's Matthew Caws (who will not play "Popular" live; I speak from experience), and the Eagles of Death Metal's David Catching, who performs multiple guitar duties on a handful of tracks.
Disclaimer: I graduated from college this week and am therefore beginning to feel "old." This may or may not have resulted in a temporary hatred for anything not distinctly smacking of the 1990s and consequently dating me even further.
Before we begin this story, I want you to know something. I used to be a Last.fm addict. It's a really slick social music networking website and has a bunch of great features. Millions of people use it and love it, and its intentions have always seemed to be pure -- simply helping people find and discover new music. It was all good.
See, the purpose of Last.fm is to track your listening habits and compare them with other users to provide recommendations. It does this by using a program called AudioScrobbler, which attaches itself to iTunes and tracks the songs you listen to. Completely harmless. So, what does gentle-giant CBS have to do with Last.fm?
Well, like the headline says, CBS has bought Last.fm for 250 million washingtons. The acquisition was confirmed May 30, 2007 on Last.Fm's blog. The homeboy responsible for posting the news seems ridiculously optimistic and promises Last.fm will keep doing the right things. Of course, one would only assume that this is the case. The acquisition is certainly a step in the right direction for CBS because of advertising and marketing potential, but let's not focus on how Last.fm has "sold out" and is sleeping with "the man." Okay?
Deerhunter's Bradford Cox wears a dress on stage. If you use the Internets and enjoy independent music, you've seen the pictures. And yes, his bandmate has been photographed giving Cox a "bro-job" on stage. Scandalous maybe for the Voxtrot set, but certainly not for the G.G. Allin set (no feces has been reported as of yet). In terms of shock factor, I'd rank him somewhere above Don Imus but below Iggy Pop in his prime. What's more, the man is also 6'4" and abnormally lanky, a symptom of Marfan syndrome from which he suffers (see also: Joey Ramone). Cox's skeletal frame barely holds up his floral print getup, as his crackling howl pierces the distorted static noise riled up by Cox's bandmates. But don't let the debutante demeanor fool you. This man is stone cold.
When I saw Deerhunter, the show took place on the hill of a quaint northeastern college campus, while girls tanned and shirtless bros drank cheap beer and high-fived a lot. A man on stage in a green dress does not mix well with Natty Light. When technical difficulties plagued the group's drummer, Cox strutted his stuff and attempted to strike up conversation with the crowd to shouts of "Faggot!" But like a seasoned veteran of drunken hecklers, nary missing a beat, Cox responded with a scathing verbal assault, along the lines of "You want to see how much of a faggot I am? You think I'm a faggot? Well you're right. And I'll show you how much of one I really am. Come on stage and I'll fuck you so hard that my cum will be your snot for a week." As this particular mongrel walked away with his tail between his legs, another man thought it might be a good idea to take questions for the crowd, as one audience member inanely asked "Did you come from Auschwitz?" as a meatheaded, inappropriate crack on Cox's physical appearance. To which the man with the mic replied with a query: "Would any Jews in the audience like to take this man on stage and disembowel him as we all watch? Because I want to see what's inside this person. I can assure you it's not pretty." PWN3D.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself 'cause shit-talking Deerhunter is bad for your health:
It’s all seven. Can’t you see? It’s so obvious:
Peanut Butter Wolf = 16 letters; 1 + 6 = 7
Seven Different Music Genres = 25 letters 2 + 5 = 7
Huge Boners For All = 16 letters; 1 + 6 = 7
It’s almost as if Peanut Butter Wolf is trying to uncover an evil numerological curse. Last year, on 06.06.06, he spun a live set consisting of death metal, industrial, and other music that might reasonably be expected to bring about the rapture and released it for free on his podcast. Titled The 666 Mix, it consists of six “books”; it is 66 minutes long; and if you play the MP3 backwards, you can just make out the sound of Béla Lugosi saying “Hip-hop is undead.”
Now PB Wolf is playing seven live sets of seven different genres on seven different days in seven clubs throughout L.A. He will play only vinyl, not repeating any records. Just to cover all his bases, he is also releasing The 777 Mix online on 07.07.07. He may not trigger the apocalypse this year, but it’s only a matter of years before the DJ/alchemist figures out which number to repeat three times to make someone go crazy or to end the world.
Stones Throw Records, the label that PB Wolf founded in '96, brings PB Wolf himself on a very far-reaching European tour. Some labelmates will follow on these dates, 14 shows in 14 cities.
Oh no, the number 14, twice. Fourteen is two times seven. Oh God, it’s happening. I’m not crazy. You have to believe me. If you circle every seventh word in the previous paragraph, you get...
"PB" "Wolf" "Tour" "Dates":
# Peanut Butter Wolf only
Drag City did not win Best Label of the Year Award at this past year's Plug Awards, the independent music award show similar to the Grammys or to the Billboard Awards, but independent, so with a much better list of nominees, winners, and performers. Sub Pop won, and good for them, but what I'm taking issue with is the fact that Drag City didn't even garner a nomination.
Let's see. What did Drag City do in 2006? Well, they released Ys by Joanna Newsom, The Letting Go by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, The Black Swan by Bert Jansch, II by Espers, The Sun Awakens by Six Organs of Admittance, Dat Rosa Mel Apibus by White Magic, and Introduction by The Red Krayola, not to mention The World's Funnyman DVD by Neil Hamburger. There was more, but you get the idea: a slew of quality releases, most of which saw the light of day on vinyl. That's the sort of thing one expects from Drag City. So, no nomination from the Plug Awards? Bad form. Tisk, tisk.
But maybe there's something to it. What many labels have done (or are in the process of doing) is "go digital," making songs, albums, etc. downloadable for a fee, so the technophile elite amongst us — those with laptops and cell phones, instead of CD and record players — can listen to, correction, hear music as well.
Drag City, it seems, has recently alluded to the possibility of going digital, turning the smooth, round, accurate sine waves of an analog source into rough, spiky, one-and-zero approximations. According to a news posting on their website, "Drag City has got her opposable toe in the water for sure — and variety still being the spice of life as it was back in the stone age (of the 60s), she'll continue to offer alternative formats as they come along. First it was 8-tracks, then came cassettes, then the CD revolution... now it's mp3s. Whatever it is you want, we'll see what we can do — though reel-to-reel format might be a problem."
So, there you have it; my technophile neighbor will be hearing the new Meg Baird album Dear Companion on her cell phone earpiece in no time. How comforting.
It was a blustery February night when I first encountered Blitzen Trapper. I’d been navigating a log raft down the Columbia River for over a month, not-so-hot on the trail of the Pacific Northwest’s most hirsute resident, Bigfoot. Last seen crossing state lines with armfuls of booze, speculation around the basin suggested that he was close, but, low on supplies, my raft was near ruin.
The party was a mess: Bryan was sick with dysentery, other Bryan succumbed to diphtheria just a week ago (strangely he requested his tombstone read ‘peperony and chease’), and noisemakers and tin-foil tiaras littered the floor of the craft. Myself? Well, the squirrel fur on my ushanka had nearly frozen to the curls in my heavily waxed moustache -- in short, I figured it was time to find some rest.
I anchored the vessel in a kindly looking hamlet, where the glow from the gas lamplights shone on falling salt shaker snow enveloping the browns and blacks of the steeply pitched roofs in a halo of light. We had apparently taken a wrong turn somewhere because the blizzard-charred peak of Mt. Hood loomed heavy over the village.
“Is this place on the map?” asked Bryan, breath visible in the night air.
The vacant, narrow streets wound around the wooden houses as we spotted an inn, door obscured by snow, along the incline. Once inside, the short, round innkeeper led us past a raucous beer hall, music flowing up the stairway, to a room upstairs.
Downstairs, the rafters of the beer hall rang with anthems of Oregonian frontiersmanship. And in a dark corner of the ale house, nursing a goblet Scotchguard, was Blitzen Trapper -– mammoth marauder of the unseen Oregon forest, said to have scaled Mt. Hood on the back of a grizzly (and later befriend that grizzly, convincing him to become partners in a joint business venture before skipping town with the cash advance and critically damaging said grizzly’s credit rating). I sat down across from the flannel-clad beardsman, as the fellows at the bar launched into another song.
“The El Dorado of Northwest,” he mumbled. “We tried to telegram the news out... but in those days the lines could only take so many dots and dashes... only thing we got was more snow... and rain... and a volcanic eruption.”
“Is that why everything here’s so dusty?” I asked, dusting some ash off my cup. “Say, have you heard any news about Bigfoot?”
“Huh? Oh, hello. Are you interested in joining the Wild Mountain Nation?” said Blitzen, ignoring my question. “I have some reasonably priced CDs coming in around June 12 . Top-of-the-line, three easy payments.”
“Is that some kind of album you’re self-releasing?”
“Yes, and if you find yourself in Portland on July 5, we’ll be throwing a belated CD release party for it. I also have some reasonably priced watches.”
“Oh yeah? Sounds like fun. I have a raft, and we’re... [Blitzen Trapper falls asleep] ...hello? ...WHERE’S MY BEAR MONEY?”
[Blitzen Trapper jumps awake]
“What? Oh, it’s you. Stream music from the new record online, but beware -- there be album outtakes. You know we’re actually already on tour,” continued the newly cogent Mr. Trapper. “We’ve been busy playing shows while you’ve been putting off this news story.”
“Oh, right. Sorry.”
Join me as I ditch the raft a take a dogsled across the taiga of Oregon to see Blitzen Trapper duel the grizzly at dusk:
*The Hold Steady