MTV Invests $500 Million in Videogames To Further Inundate and Divert You

MTV has long ago made it clear that it's not in the business of music, it's in the business of culture. Accordingly, MTV is making a two-year, $500 million investment in one of the most profitable cultures around: videogame culture. In the past, MTV has manufactured and sold culture so successfully that investing in videogames seems like a logical step, but according to Reuters, the move is vewed as a risk, as most traditional media companies have failed to penetrate the $30 billion global videogame market (that's a lot of Marios!).

In addition to its strategy of emphasizing accessibility, "casual games" (like those found on AddictingGames.com), and omnipresence through TV, cellphones, and the internet, MTV will be banking on its forthcoming game "Rock Band" to put food on the plate, get a new pair of shoes, bring home the bacon, put the kids through college, etc. The game, which received the coveted "Best of Show" award, allows up to four cocky assholes (of any race, gender, or ethnicity) to play guitar, drums, or sing real-time to new and old rock songs with instrument-based peripherals. In addition to the tracklist below, gamers will be able to download additional tracks and even full albums (including Who's Next by The Who) online, made available every subsequent week after the game is released.

"Rock Band" will be released in North America November 20 on Xbox 360 and PlayStations 2 and 3 (a Wii version is "absolutely" a possibility, though no official announcement has yet been made). The price is still unknown, but rumors place it as high as $200.

Anyway, the real story is that MTV's not just a music channel anymore. But I guess you already knew that.

Featured songs on "Rock Band":

Dan Deacon Continues To Be Impressive And Newsworthy

Dan Deacon’s been all over the news like a teen idol on a post-rehab coke bender. But is he satisfied? No, he’s not satisfied. He’s the farthest thing from satisfied. If satisfied was Earth, he’d be the Andromeda Galaxy of satisfied. Which is probably why he’s putting out a DVD. Listen.

One day, Dan Deacon and Jimmy Joe Roche created a video-music performance piece that premiered in 2006 as part of Wham City’s Whartscape. This winter (brrr), they’re putting it on DVD for Carpark Records. It’s called Ultimate Reality. Now, initially you might confuse that with Ultimate Realty. Don’t. They are different.

Ultimate Reality is comprised of an electronic music composition, two live drummers, and alluringly seductive clips of Arnold Schwarzenegger in films from the ‘80s, psychedelic style. No word on whether or not the drummers come with your purchase.

Check it out for yourself with these clips. Clips: (1) (2)

And, of course, Deacon is still circling the globe:

The National Tours; Opts Not To Include Opening Bands and Replaces Them With Presidential Debates

With the 2008 Presidential Election on the horizon, politicians have been experimenting with new ways to attract attention. One example is the hip usage of YouTube and the Obama Girl video, which might as well have been paid for by the Obama Campaign Committee. In light of these hip advances by the political machine, particular Republican presidential candidates such as "America's Mayor" Rudy Giuliani and "America's Mormon" Mitt Romney have decided to temporarily team up with Democratic presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama and give "opening act" debates during The National's tour this fall. Apparently, "indie culture" and "indie music" in general is extremely hip, and the demographic that participates in "indie culture" is one that the politicians want to successfully connect with to get these young folks out to vote in 2008. Using my excellent Tiny Mix Tapes press cred, I was able to get Mitt Romney, Hilary Clinton, and Matt Berninger (vocals for The National) to deliver a patented political one-liner about their upcoming "tour."

"I think The National is the perfect band to choose for our debates. Think about it, "The National" is the most appropriate band name for my political agenda. It'll definitely be a success." --Mitt Romney

"I wasn't sure about the tour at first, because I listened to 2005's Alligator and I heard some bad words. Thankfully, I got their label to slap "Parental Advisory" stickers on the album -- now I'm on board." --Hilary Clinton

"We should have never switched labels to Beggar's Banquet. They're not even based in the United States. Fucking British humor" --Matt Berninger

It should be really exciting to see what these politicians have in store this fall; hopefully they discuss meaningful issues and convince me that I should vote in 2008. Oh, and if you're not going for the debates, you can check out The National afterward in these wonderful cities:

* Hilary Clinton & Barack Obama

# Mitt Romney & Rudy Giuliani

(Note: The Chemical Brothers' soundtrack to Fight Club is expected to play throughout the 25-minute opening act/debates.)

Jason Collett Tours, Is Really, Honestly, Seriously, Making Worthwhile Commitments to Culture Without Broken Social Scene, Is Really, Honestly, Seriously Wearing His Heart On His Sleeve, One Fitted Blazer At a Time

E! ENTERTAINMENT NEWS SEGMENT:

Announcer girl with cheap extensions who attempts to shake it like La-Lohan but fails miserably: OH WOW; THIS JUST IN! Jason Collett fans can rest easy: our ex Scenester Jas Baby is hitting the road to tour. That’s right, ladies. Your ticket means seeing JC. In person!

Kinda-too-tan guy announcer counterpart: OMFGOMFGOMFG LIKE I TOTALLY LUV JC OMFG!

Announcer girl with cheap extensions who attempts to shake it like La-Lohan but fails miserably: Woah! There’s only so much of Jas to go around. And if he’s in, GASP, a fitted blazer, there’ll be plenty of lustin’ ladies and jealous gents. So, cool them hotpants, girls! Don’t get too excited, now, but it’s rumored he may even reunite with past group members, who will all dress as marionettes and fly down from platforms, crooning tracks from the hit album No Strings Attached.

TMT reader, baby, sweetheart: ...??...!!...?!?

Kinda-too-tan guy announcer counterpart: Want Jas to notice you? JC GET WIT’ ME, sponsored in part by Pantene Pro-V and Pontiac, wants ya’ll to show your love by making a CLASSIC cardboard sign of affection. Like, the ones you use to get attention from onstage. What are you waiting for? Visit the Pontiac or Pantene Pro-V websites to enter your affectionate poster for the chance to win a makeover, Pontiac G6 convertible, and AUTOGRAPHED blazer from Jas Baby himself.

Announcer girl with cheap extensions who attempts to shake it like La-Lohan but fails miserably: Get on making those signs, ladies! Or it’ll be soooooo hey-hey-bye-bye-bye!

JC, if you were homework I’d do you, if you were a booger I’d pick you:

AT&T Caught Censoring Even More Groups, More Attention Needed

Forget shitty cell phone service, corporate giant AT&T has recently been under fire for an entirely different consistency problem -- their Orwellian practice of political censorship. As TMT and every other internet outlet has reported, during AT&T's webcast of Pearl Jam's set live from Lollapalooza, fans noticed Vedder's most inflammatory, anti-Bush lines mysteriously missing from the live stream. And if there's one thing we've all learned from early '90s alt.rock, it's don't mess with these fans; we've all seen a Rage Against the Machine mosh-pit.

Following an apology from AT&T, citing a "mistake" at the hands of an outside party, more information has surfaced. While the release sent to the recorded bands does not mention the right to censor, a crew member has indeed confirmed that he was told to remove speech if things became "too political," prompting further investigation by angry fans of groups including the John Butler Trio and The Flaming Lips. Eventually, AT&T copped to editing artists in the past "in a handful of cases." Other artists who are rumored to have been quieted include Tom Petty, Nightwatchmen, Lily Allen, and Lupe Fiaso, among others.

Is anyone really surprised? Of course not. But does that mean this is okay? Hell-fucking-no. The practice itself, which showcases fascist tendencies, is ridiculous enough, but AT&T's upfront dishonesty when initially presented with the facts is even more disconcerting. Now that these practices are out in the open, one can only hope that bands will think twice before committing to webcasts in AT&T's Blue Room or affiliated practices. After all, as Wired so vehemently points out, in the absence of net neutrality, where will the filtering end?

Two Dudes in the Park Talk about The Twilight Sad and No Age Touring

Dude 1: I just heard about this band The Twilight Sad from Tiny Mix Tapes. They’re on FatCat.

Dude 1: Oh yeah? Did they run a news story?

Dude 1: Nah, I clicked on one of their banner ads. You heard ‘em?

Dude 2: Nope. They good?

Dude 1: Yeah. Hey, I bet you haven’t heard No Age either. They’re on FatCat too.

Dude 2: No, man. I was heretofore unaware of FatCat’s stellar stable of artists.

Dude 1: Ain’t you got eyes? Those ads, it’s all flashy and blinkin’ and on and off -- you just gotta click it.

Dude 2: I use Adblock, Dude 1. You know that.

Dude 1: Shhhh. Not kosher, man. We’re on TinyMixTapes right now.

Dude 2: What? How?

Dude 1: You see that guy over there with a pen and pad?

Dude 2: Whoa, he must have gone to journalism school; no one can transcribe that fast. Is he wearing a fedora?

Dude 1: Hey! Hey! You, come back here! Shit, he’s gone.

Dude 2: Damn, I just wanted tell him to let bands know that if they format tourdates in TMT's house style, it’d make everyone’s life a whole lot easier.

Dude 1: Until next time, mysterious little TMT dude.

No Age tourdates:

* Revenge Of Shinobi

# Frightened Rabbit

TMT Writer Refuses to Take High Road, Eschews Obvious “Shopping” Metaphors to Explain Earlimart’s Fall Tour, Is Damn Excited About Having Used The Word “Eschews”

Okay, kids. Class is just about in session again, so I figure that the only responsible thing that we can do here at TMT is help you ease back into that rusty ol' learning process by steering away from the glamorous, festival-filled, dance-partying sex-romp that was "Summer '07" by making our music news a little more mentally stimulating (read: obtuse). How's about we gear up with a few cognitive exercises? (Look, just deal with it, okay? I know it's only day 1, but this IS fair game for the midterm).

First up: Let's bone up on our checklist of plaintive, rusted-out, psych-tinged chamberfolk that evokes (among numerous other things) the broad, breathable spaces, big, open sky of the American West and the inevitable, paradoxical complexities of human longing that leave our proto-typical, loner hero rasping and breathless from endlessly trudging around in said dusty void in a frantic but ultimately-doomed search for human contact.

- Elliott Smith? Deceased.

- Lee Hazlewood? Deceased.

- Grandaddy? Defunct.

- Earlimart? De... hey, wait a second!

That's right, class! Let that be a lesson to always do your research. Despite their dower dispositions (and contrary to most scholars' accepted theory), Earlimart haven't yet imploded on themselves and are actually still alive and kicking! And front-man/"loner-hero statistic defier" Aaron Espinosa and his band of melancholy marauders will be buckling-down this fall themselves when they kickoff a lengthy North American tour tonight in support of their (let's see, one, two, three, four) fourth studio album Mentor Tormentor, which was released -- anyone? Anyone??? ... Okay, it was released today, folks, on Majordomo Records. You're going to have to learn to memorize these things, people! Sheeesh.

Oh, and speaking of dull, repetitive list memorization; there will be a pop quiz on the following tourdates on FRIDAY, people (never mind that you can't go to any of these shows because you're in school now). Yes, yes, it'll be a "matching" quiz...

In what is beginning to look like an overzealous bout of experimental filmmaking, director Todd Haynes has not only enlisted six thespians to play the role of Robert Zimmerman (including Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, and Cate Blanchett -- yes, the woman), but he has also gathered a (sometimes) impressive list of musical contributors set to reinterpret Dylan numbers ranging from classics to demos (and occasionally both). Dylan himself, who has had no part in the process, has apparently given the filmmakers the a-okay, in essence telling them "Go ahead, knock yourself out."

And boy did they ever. Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo produced the film's house band, The Million Dollar Bashers, who backed artists including Eddie Vedder, Stephen Malkmus, Tom Verlaine, and Karen O on their respective takes. Calexico filled a similar "session band" role in versions fronted by Jim James, Willie Nelson, and Iron & Wine. A veritable who's who of indie rock stardom of the moment, Sufjan Stevens, Yo La Tengo, and Antony & The Johnsons, will also contribute. Music supervisor Randall Poster was quoted in USA Today saying, "We went with a lot of outsiders and outlaws. That's the connection they share with Dylan." Consequently, Mr. Outlaw himself, Jack Johnson, takes a stab at "Mama You've Been On My Mind."

Elsewhere, Charlotte Gainsbourg will be sure to sex up "Just Like A Woman" with some breathy coos, Cat Power will slow down and make smoky "Stuck Inside Of Mobile With Memphis Blues Again," and Craig Finn of The Hold Steady will nasally sing-speak "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window." With such a list of willing and eager musicians, there won't be enough time to play each in the film, which is why the film's creators hope to release an expansive two-disc compilation, the tracklist of which has yet to be decided. Find out for yourself which ones score the action when I'm Not There is released in November. Be there, if only to see David Cross as Allen Ginsberg.

A full list of contributions:

"All Along The Watchtower" - Eddie Vedder & The Million Dollar Bashers

"As I Went Out One Morning" - Mira Billotte

"Ballad Of A Thin Man" - Stephen Malkmus & The Million Dollar Bashers

"Billy" - Los Lobos

"Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window" - The Hold Steady

"Can't Leave Her Behind" - Stephen Malkmus & Lee Ranaldo

"Cold Irons Bound" - Tom Verlaine & The Million Dollar Bashers

"Dark Eyes" - Iron & Wine & Calexico

"Fourth Time Around" - Yo La Tengo

"Goin' To Acapulco" - Jim James & Calexico

"Highway 61 Revisited" - Karen O & The Million Dollar Bashers

"I Wanna Be Your Lover" - Yo La Tengo

"I'm Not There" - Bob Dylan

"I'm Not There" - Sonic Youth

"Just Like A Woman" - Charlotte Gainsbourg & Calexico

"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" - Ramblin' Jack Elliot

"Knockin' On Heaven's Door" - Antony & The Johnsons

"The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll" - Mason Jennings

"Maggie's Farm" - Stephen Malkmus & The Million Dollar Bashers

"Mama You've Been On My Mind" - Jack Johnson

"The Man In The Long Black Coat" - Mark Lanegan

"Moonshiner" - Bob Forrest

"One More Cup Of Coffee" - Roger McGuinn & Calexico

"Pressing On" - John Doe

"Ring Them Bells" - Sufjan Stevens

"Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)" - Willie Nelson & Calexico

"Simple Twist Of Fate" - Jeff Tweedy

"Stuck Inside Of Mobile With Memphis Blues Again" - Cat Power

"The Times They Are A Changin'" - Mason Jennings

"Tombstone Blues" - Richie Havens

"When The Ship Comes In" - Marcus Carl Franklin

"Wicked Messenger" - The Black Keys

"You Ain't Goin 'Nowhere" - Glen Hansard & Markta Irglov

Universal Deeply Involved in Cut-Out Horror; Involves Beasts Being Roasted Alive in Front of Benighted Infants, Or Something Like That

We’ve all seen them in our friendly local second-hand CD store. Among the multiple copies of The Cranberries’ extremely difficult second album and Cracker’s entire bedeviled output, there's more than a few CDs featuring a little hole punched out of the barcode, with maybe even a kind message from the record company threatening a swift garrotting to anyone stupid enough to even attempt selling the CD. Well, these little babies are promo CDs, handed out to the great and good (and TMT reviewers), in order to help create some kind of pathetic buzz around the release of the promoted album.

You might have known that already. However, what you might not have known is what happens to all the little holes that have been punched out of the barcodes. I have it on good authority that the major labels hand off a couple months’ worth of holes to some go-getting flunky. This turd is then sent in to infiltrate an inner-city child care facility, whereupon s/he proceeds to ingratiate himself with the underprivileged kids, perhaps by playing a few Raffi or Wiggles CDs and dressing up as a Tellytubby on Fridays.

The children have a new friend. The children are happy. Not for long.

On the morning that the order comes down from head office, when the other caregivers are off on their morning crack break, the kids’ trusted buddy exploits his opportunity. He cranks up the Raffi to ear-melting volume. The kids start screaming. In all the confusion, the flunky takes his opportunity to superglue the punch-outs over the innocent irises of the babies and toddlers, blinding the poor mites for all eternity. The corporate guerilla runs back to the welcoming arms of his beloved company, awaiting promotion. The returning caregivers' comedowns, however, are particularly harsh that morning.

When pressed on exactly why they were involved in such heinous acts, a major label executive blandly stated to my source that, “It’s a lot more difficult for those potential file-sharers -- who you call “toddlers” -- to share files in the future if they can’t see their computers. I think you’ll find that Congress is in full agreement with us. Blindies find it pretty difficult to vote, too.”

I should add at this point that, out of the literally hundreds of insiders I have ferreting about within the industry, this particular source is not always the most reliable. A far more trustworthy informer on the subject of promo CDs and their nefarious uses has given me another story, which is almost equally unbelievable. Universal Records is in the process of suing Troy Augusto, an eBay seller who trades under the name of roastbeastmusic for selling promo CDs. The company got eBay to suspend all his listings, claiming Troy was engaging in "copyright infringement" because promo CDs have a stamp declaring they can’t be resold since they are the property of the company.

Thing is, as Troy states in his eBay listings, the Copyright Laws of the United States of Kiss My Ass 17 USC 109(a)] states that, "the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made... is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of possession of that copy or phonorecord." It’s called the “first sale” principle, according to the [Electronic Frontier Foundation, who (along with eBay) are supporting Troy in his countersuit against Universal. "Universal is mistaken if it thinks that it can trump these rights simply by putting a label on a CD," said Fred von Lohmann, a senior EFF attorney.

You really have to wonder what the fuck Universal are doing here; it’s not as if promo CDs aren’t available at just about every shitty used CD store on the planet, as well as being sold left, right, and center on eBay. Hell, there's not even enough of them in circulation to make any sort of dent in the overall sales of an album. Whatever. To be honest, I’m more concerned about the blind kids.

Andrew Bird Only One On The Block With A Tour; Jealous Neighbors Smash His Mailbox

News is god. Ubiquitous and all-knowing, this collective entity, the news is coming and it won't stop. Things are happening; things are moving fast, and if we don't keep our ability to quickly process information in check, we'll surely fall, lost, into the past. Sometimes, when it's windy out and the news is whistling through the cracks in my windows and pushing everything, everything off my desk, I'd like to give in and let myself fall. The walls will buckle, crinkling like a sinking submarine from the pressure of the information pushing from outside.

I imagine it would happen with a sepia tone, like the whole event was taking place on parchment. A Renaissance period artist scrawls it in the sand or on tree bark, depicting my body falling through the gap between the floor and wall when it tears. Timeless, yes, but a cautionary tale this time for those not willing to follow the news. "See! This is what can happen. Don't give in!"

The artist's parchment is delivered to the King. Three frames of me in a how-to format: giving up and giving out, then letting the information burrow in, letting it push the picture frames off the walls to come in through the nail holes, and finally one of me tumbling through that gap in the room as it breaks apart. The King will be astonished and worried. He's a good king and good kings do good things, and this king realizes something important. So he issues his royal decree on the matter.

More news. But here, this news, in this time, this news has gall. It is nailed to a post in the town's square. It stands up, it is looked at, and it cannot be avoided. It is not an onslaught of nameless stories but one story that says WAIT. And his royal messengers deliver this brash statement to all the satellite cities, one at a time, slowly but delicately, meticulously.

And as I come back and the walls erect around me, as I wait, Andrew Bird is playing. Touring with the messenger, or better, ushering the change himself. So much music, so much, sometimes listening to his albums and listening to him live seems like a dark calm that cuts through that onslaught. Andrew Bird is touring through the satellite cities one at a time, letting us take the time, playing music while we wait, or delivering the message himself

09.01.07 - Vancouver, BC - Richard's On Richards
09.02.07 - Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot 2007 (Mural Stage)
09.08.07 - Chicago, IL - 11th Annual Hideout Block Party
09.10.07 - Knoxville, TN - The Bijou Theater
09.11.07 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
09.12.07 - Durham, NC - The Carolina Theatre
09.13.07 - Atlanta, GA - The Variety Playhouse
09.15.07 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
09.17.07 - Lawrence, KS - The Granada
09.18.07 - Louisville, KY - WL Lyons Brown Theatre
09.19.07 - Bloomington, IN - Buskirk Chumley Theater
09.20.07 - Madison, WI - Wisconsin Union Theater
09.21.07 - Urbana, IL - 2007 Pygmalion Music Festival at Tryon Festival Theatre, Krannert Center
09.22.07 - Iowa City, IA - The Englert Theatre
09.24.07 - Buffalo, NY - Asbury Hall at The Church
09.25.07 - Toronto, ONT - The Opera House
09.26.07 - Montreal, QEC - La Tulipe
09.28.07 - South Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
09.29.07 - Baltimore, MD - Sonar
09.30.07 - Richmond, VA - Toad's Place Richmond
10.01.07 - State College, PA - State Theatre
10.02.07 - Pittsburgh, PA - Carnegie Music Hall