Merge Records Auctions Cool Silkscreened Posters to Benefit Oxfam America and a Food Bank; This Is Beautiful and I Suddenly and Inexplicably Feel the Need to Remind You All of the Impending Holiday Season and of My Love For David Kilgour

Merge Records, notable these days for having kept it real, unabated, for the last 18 years, showed no signs of slowing down when they announced yesterday that it would be auctioning off a series of silk-screened posters autographed by Merge artists.

All proceeds from the auctions will be donated to Oxfam America and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Admirable!

Merge’s more or less astonishing roster of artists past and present have come out in droves to support the endeavor, with Merge guaranteeing the appearances of Arcade Fire, Robert Pollard, M. Ward, Oakley Hall, Spoon, The Rosebuds, Superchunk, Portastatic and Destroyer, plus adding a tantalizing “and more.”

The posters are being auctioned off two at a time until Merge “runs out,” so bookmark this page right here, check it once in awhile, and if something comes up that piques your interest, enter the first monetary amount that comes to mind in the prominent, centered white box. New Zealand pop legend David Kilgour and the aforementioned Arcade Fire are first up to bat. I am pretty sure Arcade Fire one has jumped like $20 since I started writing this article, while Kilgour, ever the gentleman, has remained understated and affordable.

Basically, social injustice will be opposed and the hungry fed this holiday season, and indie rock will be partially to blame. High five, McCaughan.

Casey Calvert, Hawthorne Heights Guitarist, Found Dead

Not many people outside the Midwest have heard of Dayton, OH. And making a confused attempt to correct my pronunciation of Daytona doesn't make you seem more intelligent. If you are exceptionally worldly, you might recall the Dayton Peace Accords of 1995. You might even remember that Orville and Wilbur Wright invented the airplane in Dayton. Perhaps, if you're reading this, a single neuron might flicker when I mention that Guided By Voices formed in the 1980s and recorded the low-fi masterpiece Bee Thousand in dusty basements around the city.

But, chances are, if I'm talking to you in the real world, you don't frequent this website, nor have you ever heard of Brainiac or Swearing at Motorists. However, if you're under the age of 30, mentioning the band Hawthorne Heights usually elicits some sort of response along the lines of "OMFG I LEIK LUV THOSE GUYZ THEY R SO HAWT" or "Dude, I didn't know Dayton was emo." Either way, I've managed to establish Dayton, OH as a viable metropolis, and we can move passed the mystery of where I came from.

While I've never been a fan of Hawthorne Heights, I have felt some sort of bizarre Gem City kinship with them. Which is why I'm genuinely saddened to hear that Hawthorne Heights guitarist Casey Calvert was found dead last Saturday afternoon. No cause of death has been given, but the official website insists that "he was not doing anything illegal" at the time.

Hawthorne Heights have canceled the remainder of their 2007 tour to be with Calvert's family.

Update: Peta2 is doing a day of action for animals 12/8 as a memorial tribute to Casey Calvert. You can find more information here.

Ted Leo To Field Questions at Noon Today, Winter Tour

At noon EST today, I urge you all to stop reading TMT and point your browsers to The Washington Post, as the "rocker and activist Ted Leo takes your questions about his career, music, politics and whatever else you want to talk about." This is your chance to ask Ted Leo all those questions you've been wanting to over these last several years, but never had an opportunity to because either you were too lazy or because you're not a journalist. Seeing as I'm a seasoned journalist with balls as big as a barn (two barns, I suppose) and a poon as beautiful as the moon -- yeah, yeah, my balls show off my "strength" and my poon is "to be looked at" -- I thought I'd suggest the following questions:

- What's the full name of your band?
- True or false: Living With the Living is your latest album.
- Who is Ted Leo?
- Where is Ted Leo?
- When is Ted Leo?
- What is Ted Leo?
- Why is Ted Leo?
- What awesome record label are you on... is it Touch and Go?
- Why is your publicist so "darling"?
- Yes or no, do you like politics?
- What do termites eat for breakfast? (answer: "oakmeal")
- Where do books eat dinner? (answer: "at the table of contents")

But seriously, folks, Ted Leo is one respectable kind of dude, and he's about one of the most intelligent musicians out there. In a time when apathy is chic, Ted Leo is a breath of fresh air. If you'd like to participate in the discussion, go here, and then view the entire transcript of the discussion here at 1 PM EST.

Meanwhile, this Friday marks the start of Ted Leo's East Coast tour. Opening for each show will be KRISTEENYOUNG, the band who got fired from Morrissey's tour for banter about "good head" and "cunnilingus" (TMT News). Anyway, that's in the past. But good to know that it doesn't offend Ted Leo. Again, he's an intelligent guy.

Radiohead released a new album called In Rainbows:

Radiohead, or Radiokopf for you German TMT readers, are really something, aren't they? And I don't mean that in a good way. Aside from being unabashedly racist and sexist (Thom: "I don't like non-white and female people, period."), Radiohead have managed to squeeze in their hatred for the poor, too. In an interview with Tumbling Rock magazine, guitarist Jonny Greenwood says that "In Rainbows wasn't a protest against the industry, nor was it about making access easier for our fans -- it was about making access harder for homeless people. The last thing we wanted was for homeless people to listen and not appreciate our brilliancies [sic]. Have you ever heard a homeless guy sing ‘Karma Police’? It's absolutely disgusting."

I hate homeless people, too:
06.??.08 - Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany - Southside Festival
06.??.08 - Scheeßel, Germany - Hurricane Festival

?? = sometime between 20 and 22. Maybe they're doing a whatever-day-you-want sorta thing. So forward-thinking these guys!

Thank You Les Paul, Slash

The first guitar I ever really noticed was a Gibson Les Paul -- sunburst top, dual humbuckers -- strapped to a madman. Slash was trying to burn down a little white chapel with nothing but sustain. You could feel the sadness he felt over the death of his best friend's wife, as he wrestled screaming notes out of that axe. With his long curls whipping in the desert wind and his Les Paul slung low, he made it cry. He made me cry.

Since then, I always look to see what kind of guitar a musician is playing. It's the first thing I do. And the Gibson Les Paul is often it.

No fan of music can downplay the rock ‘n’ roll gifts coaxed from the Gibson Les Paul over the past 50 years. There is, however, doubt surrounding the amount of input Les Paul himself had in shaping Gibson's flagship model, but the man with his name on the headstock was nonetheless honored by President George Bush November 15 with the 2007 National Medal of Arts.

"I congratulate our honorees, because in your work we see the creativity of the American spirit and the values that have made our nation great," the President said during a presentation at the White House.

Paul, 92, was awarded the medal for "his innovation as a musician, his pioneering designs of the electric guitar, and his groundbreaking recording techniques that have influenced the development of American jazz, blues, and pop music, and inspired generations of guitarists," said an aide who announced the winners.

Calling to mind Les Paul is much more difficult than imagining the guitar. Though Les Paul himself has been a recording artist for decades, his legacy will be the Gibson guitar. It will be sold for decades after his death, and future musicians might play their first and last notes on a Les Paul without ever hearing a note recorded by the man himself. But, if past performances are any indication of what a Les Paul guitar can produce, Les Paul himself can be proud that, when he no longer can, his instrument will be pleasing millions.

Global warming be damned; most of us at this point are freezing our asses off and concur that it's a good idea to head south for the winter-like geese. Besides, it's nearly time for the 2008 Sydney Festival! You're not excited only because you don't understand. The scoop: 50+ events* over the course of 3 weeks, held annually every January since 1976. That's like the... well, I can't think of any event of that scope or scale in the States. Epic-proportion props to the Aussies. Look for the following acts half naked on the beach by day and rocking the fest by night (see website for full enumeration and ticket information):

- Andrew Bird - Samsung Mobile Festival Garden Jan 6-8
- Spank Rock - Beck's Festival Bar, Jan 6
- De La Soul - Beck's Festival Bar, Jan 8
- Pink Martini - Riverside Theatres - Jan 8
- Brian Wilson - State Theatre, Jan 9
- Bonde Do Role - Beck's Festival Bar, Jan 10
- Girl Talk - Beck's Festival Bar, Jan 10
- Sufjan Stevens w/ My Brightest Diamond - State Theatre - Jan 12-14
- Tunng - Samsung Mobile Festival Garden, Jan 13-15
- Low - Samsung Mobile Festival Garden, Jan 17-19
- Busdriver - Beck's Festival Bar, Jan 18
- Kimmo Pohjonen - City Recital Hall Angel Place, Jan 18
- Mice Parade - Samsung Mobile Festival - Jan 20-22
- The National w/ Clogs - City Recital Hall Angel Place, Jan 22-23
- Battles - Beck's Festival Bar, Jan 23
- Björk - Sydney Opera House, Jan 23 (SOLD OUT)
- Joanna Newsom with the Sydney Symphony - Sydney Opera House Jan 25-26

The fun begins January 5.

*events in the stimulating forms of music, dance, circus (?!), drama, visual arts, and public lectures.

Young Galaxy Tours And I Wrote This Story For A Very Shallow Reason

Okay, I admit it. I never actually listened to Young Galaxy until after choosing to write this story. I'm glad I did though, because I really dig them, and you can too. Now you're probably wondering why then I chose to write about Canada's pop couple in the first place, right? Well, simply because of the word "galaxy," as in... Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii! I know, I know -- we're a music webzine, but god damn if I didn't want to say that Super Mario Galaxy is an incredible video game. Is it wrong of me to use a Young Galaxy story to let the world know how much I love Super Mario Galaxy? I mean, some might say that Young Galaxy is an incredible band and that the tunes on their self-titled Arts&Crafts release sound "spacey," and you know... Mario gets pretty "spacey" in this game since he's flying through space while shaking his little Italian plumber ass. That's something, right? Besides, if Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless of Young Galaxy don't like Super Mario Galaxy, then they aren't worth your money nor your time anyway. However, I would bet my Wii, a pack of gum, and my Grandma's delicious leftover Thanksgiving stuffing that Young Galaxy loves or would love Super Mario Galaxy, so assuming my woman's intuition is right, you should totally go see them at these dates:

Reid Brothers Kiss And Make Up, Work On New Jesus & Mary Chain Album

William and Jim Reid’s 12 Step Program On How To Put Aside Differences And Reunite Your Amazing Band:

1. Stop drinking.
2. And while you’re at it, lay off the drugs too.
3. Play Coachella and get attention by having a famous actress sing onstage with you.
4. Admit that you have differences, or as William Reid said to Billboard: “We're both aware that we could snap at each other, but we're trying to hold it together. We love this band, and we love each other.” Aw, how touching!
5-12. No, seriously, stop drinking!

All fictional rehab programs aside, Noel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis could certainly learn a thing or two from the brothers Reid. According to Billboard, the Reid bros are currently narrowing down a list of new songs to choose 12 or so for their new record. The untitled album is due for release in late spring/early summer 2008.

JAMC manager, Kevin Oberlin, is also working with Rhino Records to release a four-disc boxed set of demos, alternate takes, and rare acoustic versions, due out in March 2008.

Bruce Springsteen to Tour; Americans Love Glorified Poverty, Cars, and Sex; You to Probably Make Fun of ‘The Boss’ But to Similarly Love Cars and Sex, Me to Tell You to Live Your Life, Find Chicks

Oh hey you, my special ‘n’ fresh li’l bucket of indie love! Being the astute little music worm you are, you’re most likely scratching your head wondering what newsworthy value coverage of Bruce Springsteen has.

So I’ll tell you.

Most likely, you love making fun of sophomoric metaphor (i.e., Wrap your legs ‘round these velvet rims/ And strap your hands across my engines...).

But you probably really, seriously, honestly love cars and sex.

What’s so wrong about Brucey being so obvious, baby?

Get with the times*, gents. Chicks dig The Boss.

By the people, for the people, mmmmmmmm. One nation, under God, with liberty, and crappy ripped jeans for all.

Point is, Bruce Springsteen, once back from an upcoming tour in Europe and the UK, has announced North American tourdates with the E-Street Band come February.

Maybe if you went to these dates you’d reach self-actualization or something.

Cars. Sex. Seriously.


This January and February, Arcade Fire will play Australia/New Zealand's Big Day Out festival along with Rage Against the Machine, Björk, LCD Soundsystem, Dizzee Rascal, Battles, Spoon, and many others. Sounds like a great lineup; too bad it's in Australia. If you're not planning a New Year's trip down under, don't fret; Arcade Fire have also scheduled three headlining dates in February! So you could catch one of those... if you live in Japan.

If you are still reading, g'day and konnichiwa. Enjoy the shows.

If you are still reading and you are not Japanese or Australlian, I feel bad for you. And to make up for your lack of North American Arcade Fire shows, I have put together this very special mix tape culled from songs on their MySpace friends' pages. Enjoy.


Title: "What Arcade Fire's MySpace Friends Are Listening To"

Side A:
01. Big Casino - Jimmy Eat World (from Tom... isn't your picture enough to let people know you're a dork)
02. The Host of Seraphim - Dead Can Dance (from CeLeSTTiaNi)
03. My Final Fantasy - Robert Phoenix UK (from Rob From The UK, who is a 38-year-old DJ)
04. Song Has Been - Deleted By The Artist (from Shaun Park)
05. The Crave - Jelly Roll Morton (from Humble B. Wonderful who tells the world to "cram it, sucko")
06. Starting Line - Ingrid and Andrew (from Poonarific)

Side B:
01. Drivin' Me Wild - Common (from Michelle, who would like to meet Angelina Jolie and Ryan Gosling)
02. I Want to Live - Silver Seas (from Christin, whose mood was hopeful at press time)
03. Remedy - Hot Water Music (from Mr. James T. Norman, Esquire, who believes "Sometimes you have to roll a hard six")
04. An Ending Ascents - Brian Eno (from Daniel, who actually lives in Australia and might be able to tell us how those Arcade Fire shows were)
05. Caravan - Husky Rescue (from han, who has 286 friends)
06. Main Titles - John Ottman (from zenbetty; Superman theme song... well played, zenbetty)


And the dates:

$ Big Day Out festival



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