Archive for January, 2011

h1

Heavy Rotation 60

January 30, 2011

Featuring 65 Days of Static, Ringo Deathstarr, Simply Saucer, Titus Andronicus and Groove Armada. Beats, noise and a bit of swamp rock. If you’d like a track removed, please contact me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.

LINKZ:

Death wears a Snuggie.

At some point in the Twilight series they must have fired the editor. Reasoning with Vampires breaks down Stephanie Meyer’s written tics. (And they are legion.)

A duck’s quack does echo. Men do not think of sex every seven seconds. Alcohol does not sex kill brain cells. Wikipedia’s List of Common Misconceptions.

65 Days of Static – Radio Protector.mp3

For something that only runs a little over 2-1/2 minutes it sure sounds epic. From the spare piano in the beginning to the full-on martial beat that carries it to the chiming coda, 65 DaysRadio Protector has all the key ingredients of a final scene soundtrack.

You know the kind: beloved character dies but not before changing lives/beloved character is still miraculously alive and will continue to change lives. The type of track that bleeds into the credits, leaving the audience with a song in their heart and tears in their eyes.

Groove Armada – Look Me in the Eye, Sister.mp3

Groove Armada wants to beat your uncaring, undeserving ass. Hey, you asked for it. If you back something into a corner and put yourself between it and the only exit, it can’t be responsible for what happens.

This song is a righteously pissed vendetta-on-electro-rock-wheels and singer Jess Larabee sounds like she could run you over without hesitation or a second glance in the rearview mirror.

Ringo Deathstarr – Some Kind of Sad.mp3

From one of the best band names in the business (see also: Kathleen Turner Overdrive) comes this speedily cruising deathmobile of a track. The pacing is relentless, the vocals appropriately moody and the hints of feedback are a nicely piercing counterpoint to the brutally effective rhythm section.

It’s the kind of song you want pouring out of the speakers as you haul ass across town to deal with your destiny. Or the devil. Or possibly both at once. Mood music for doomed lovers and impossibly angular budding nihilists.

Simply Saucer – Dance the Mutation.mp3

Simply Saucer sound exactly like as if the Rolling Stones, slowly recovering from a mid-1970s night of debauchery, wandered into the wrong studio and were forced to crank out Cramps tunes.

Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union.mp3

Titus Andronicus take the road less traveled on their latest (The Monitor), delivering a concept album dealing with the Civil War, which may seem anachronistic but the universal themes of war and death still resonate, what with war and death being somewhat of a constant in the world.

This track finds doomed youth searching for a “new New Jersey,” even going so far as to paraphrase the Boss (“Tramps like us/Baby, we were born to die“) in the lyrics and paraphrase Dinosaur Jr’s guitar licks elsewhere in the track (specifically Feel the Pain).

While we may not be trapped currently in a brother-vs-brother conflict on the homefront, we seem to be able to place ourselves in the middle of everyone else’s, putting our young men and women at the business end of a gun all too frequently. The fatalism is also universal:

If I come in on a donkey/Let me go out on a gurney.”

-CLT

h1

The Music Industry is Dying. I’ll Get the Shovels and Champagne.

January 28, 2011


Robert Verbruggen over at National Review Online asks “Can We Save the Music Business?” The first obvious question is “Why?”

[This post is nothing more than a reprint of my overly-long comment left at NRO. I’ve emphasized a few things with BOLD and corrected a couple of grammatical errors, but otherwise it’s intact.]

An “effective” plan?

I don’t know how anybody could willingly believe that the music industry legislating itself back into business with the aid of an all too cooperative government will actually save them for eventual implosion. All this would do is stick them on life-support on the taxpayer’s dime.

Equally stupid is the assumption that a graduated response, especially one that aids one industry (recording) while punishing another (ISPs) would be any less troublesome than straight-out “deputizing ISPs.” If both the government and the entertainment industries are involved, there’s is no way that any internet watchdog can ever be considered “independent,” as is dubiously stated in relation to France’s current anti-piracy program.

Speaking of which, you cite a 53% reduction in infringement (at least according those polled) but fail to provide any numbers showing a correlating rise in music sales. My guess is that there will be little change or at best, a short-lived uptick while everybody figures out how to get back into the free music business. This may come as a shock to the record labels, but it won’t surprise anyone who is aware of the fact that a pirated album does not equal a lost sale.

More troubling is the fact that your internet usage information is now in the hands of both the government and some very self-interested parties, both of whom have shown an ugly willingness to abuse the public’s trust.

Every dollar spent (taxpayer/music industry) on combating piracy is a dollar wasted, one which would have gone to better use pretty much anywhere else. Every time a file sharing service or data hosting site gets shut down, another two pop up. The music industry continues to view online piracy as the equivalent of a guy selling burned discs out of his trunk. They cannot seem to understand that this is millions of individuals acting alone, rather than under the control of some overriding directive.

They also don’t seem to understand that these “pirates” aren’t making any money off these “transactions.” What little they do understand of it causes them to scapegoat hosting services and ISPs. They know this isn’t directly their fault but I think they believe that going after services earning money will allow them to show some return on their lawsuit investments.

The more draconian the action, the further underground file sharing goes. New hosting will pop up to replace RapidShare, MegaUpload, et al. Limewire will be succeeded by others. With every step they fall further behind. Hosts will operate under masked IP addresses and innocuous URLs. And when they finally do decide to sue or kick someone off the internet, the only people they can victimize are those who are that many steps behind themselves. This is why they end up dragging clueless grandmothers and 8-year-olds into court.

Once everything is disguised enough, they’ll start booting people off for false positives. The government and the record labels have already proven they’re far from tech savvy and will start harassing citizens who’ve never considered piracy just because of a spike in usage.

They also fail to understand that kicking people off the internet will do nothing to increase their sales. Do they honestly believe that Joe Q. Pirate is going to trot to the nearest store and make up for his infringement by purchasing several shiny plastic discs? He’s not going to be able to buy digitally after all. And trust me, he’ll find another way to get back online. He may be dumb enough to get caught but he’s still smarter and faster that the ad hoc committee pursuing him.

There’s no equivalent for “free.” Just because someone downloaded Lady Gaga’s latest for free is not an indicator that they would have purchased it if there were no alternatives. Lots of people get stuff they don’t particularly want or need just because it’s free. It’s like going to a garage sale and picking up a half dozen drill bits and some Cussler paperbacks from the “free” box. It doesn’t necessarily follow that Black and Decker lost a sale or that I would have grabbed two Cussler books down at Barnes and Noble otherwise. Maybe I just figured you can’t have too many drill bits and I was tired of reading well-written books.

And as for the “poor artists” the labels are constantly using as penniless strawmen in their arguments? Well, he’s got fewer options and potential customers thanks to their actions. Fewer hosting sites. Fewer people online.

The claim that artists somehow deserve to get paid is just plain stupid. That’s a holdout from the good old days of the music industry, where they’d state that as an excuse to levy fees on blank tapes and CDs. But they’ve never been too keen on actually paying their artists. There are hundreds of stories of bands that got screwed by their labels, whose unrecouped amounts never seem to go down and how clever accounting and label finance opacity has allowed them to hide their gains from the prying eyes of their stable of musicians.

Look at the wonderful things Warner Bros. did to Too Much Joy.

Not only that, but if you’re getting into art to get paid, you’re doing it wrong. If you manage to make a living at it, congratulations. You’re part of the 1%. No guidance counselor ever recommended a student drop out of school and buy a guitar. No parent ever breathed a sigh of relief when their offspring told them they were quitting college to form a band. No one owes an artist a living wage. Art is supported, not purchased. The record labels have a hard time differentiating between “product” and “art,” which explains why most of their output is considered lousy.

I’m not saying music should be free or that piracy is ok as long as it’s from a normally unprofitable field. I’m just saying that demanding upfront that your contribution to the music world immediately start showing positive returns is an annoying combination of false entitlement and ignorance.

This sentence is troubling: “...if we want artists — and, by extension, everyone who works with and for artists — to be paid for their creations…” This is part of the music industry’s problem. While piracy is bad for their business, and by extension, artists, ensuring that everyone else on the overextended food chain gets their cut is unsustainable in this day and age.

The only artists that can feed this extended family at this point in time are the top 5-10% of their roster. Everyone else gets to wait for minute amounts of royalties to make their way down from the top, spending years attempting to get recouped and finally start making money on their own.

At some point you, the artist, get a small slice of whatever's left after taking care of everyone else.

With the distribution options available to artists today (bandcamp, Facebook, Myspace, Beatport, Amazon, iTunes, etc.), I see no reason why any of them need a major label to act on their behalf. Some people (mainly record execs) argue that without their assistance they’ll never get heard. They tend to assume radio airplay is still the only game in town. (And it won’t be for much longer, not with all the fees being extracted by ASCAP, BMI, PRS, etc.)

But those people, the “everyone” that “works with or for” artists are the ones doing most of the complaining. They’re swiftly realizing that they could easily lose their non-essential positions. The artists themselves rarely complain about piracy as most of them realize it will only alienate part of their potential audience. (See also: Metallica.) The few artists that do complain are from the stratospheric layer of fully-recouped and highly successful acts. Bono (and U2’s management) spend a lot of time griping about the unavailability of “ivory backscratcher” money. Bono has even gone so far as to ALMOST recommend we follow China’s lead in privacy violation and institute their internet tracking program. (He stops just short of siding with one of the world leaders in human rights violations in his NY Times editorial. He just kind of throws it out there and, I assume, hopes that our overzealous government will run with the ball.)

Now, like many people on the other side of a long-winded rant, you’re probably asking yourself if I have any solutions to this dilemma rather than just reciting a litany of problems. It’s a good question. I don’t see any. The industry gouged customers, screwed their artists and tried to sue their way back into profitability rather than actually deal with the shift to digital. The only option they have is to deal with what’s left of their market. Short of building a time machine, heading back 15 years and trying again, I really don’t see that they’ve got many options left.

But there’s a larger question that rarely gets asked in these sort of editorials: WHY do we need to save the recording industry? Who, beyond those employed by it, really needs them to continue on in any capacity, much less in a legislated pseudo-return to the money-burning days of the CD?

I honestly don’t think that their collapse would do any lasting damage to the economy or society as a whole. The music industry likes to pretend (and are aided in their delusion by pieces like this) that they are the gatekeepers for ALL OF MUSIC and that without their endless generosity over the years, we would be a cultural black hole.

There are thousands of bands waiting to fill the void should they finally collapse and thousands of indie labels, self-producers and hosting services will to handle the distribution. Who knows? Radio could even re-emerge once freed from acrimonious performance rights groups. The only ones feeling the pain would be the former employees and the upper echelon of bands, who without a label-supplied collection of flunkies, would be forced to do some of the heavy lifting themselves.

The last question is for you, Robert. Why this sudden show of support for over-reaching and potentially dangerous legislation? In fact, why bother to stand up for the music industry at all? I can’t see anything else in your archive that would lead me to the conclusion that you’re a major label apologist. I’ve read other pieces of yours that I’ve enjoyed and agreed with but this one just seems to be horribly misguided at best, and incredibly ill-informed at worst.

I’d recommend checking out Techdirt.com where Mike Masnick has been putting together a solid body of work refuting pretty much every point in this piece and others like it. With a couple of quick topic searches, you can probably gain a better understanding of how the music world will continue to function just fine without the major labels.

-CLT

h1

Salem’s “Black” Magic; or That Razor Works Better When It’s Sharp – Sincerely, Occam

January 27, 2011

About a month back, while reading through the Village Voice’s 20 Worst Songs of 2010 (which you should totally check out — the very thorough dismantling of Train in the #1 spot is a blast), I came across Trapdoor by Salem in the #6 spot.

Now, it’s no secret that I’m a fan of SALEM but my issue with their takedown of this track has nothing to do with their particular critique but with whom they had chosen to link to, Brandon Soderberg over at his blog, No Trivia.

Soderberg’s issue with Salem has to do with Jack Donoghue’s use of pitch-shifting and ebonics (l guess that term will have to do) to make himself “sound black.” More specifically, he feels that Donoghue makes himself sound “black” so that he can get away with misogyny that he would be unable to if he sounded “white.”

“The slowed down vocals do not only have the effect of bringing the vocalist’s voice down to stoned crawl, they make the white performer sound black. This, coupled with lyrics that are content-wise, what my grandmother thinks rap’s about (murder, rape, misogyny, repeat) and the problematic, conscious “hip-hop” pronunciations underneath that vocal effect, makes Salem’s music pretty egregious. This is a group of white kids who’ve screwed their vocals down to “sound black,” and then use that screwing-down of vocals to say things they wouldn’t–and couldn’t–say otherwise. Employing the word “minstrelsy” is controversy-baiting, but it also isn’t that far off.”

Touched on (and dismissed) is Salem’s love for the pitched-down “screwed” sound of Houston rap. (See below.) According to Soderberg, this doesn’t excuse Salem’s “minstrel show” as Donoghue also willfully mispronounces words (“skreets”) when not indulging in full-blown misogyny.

There’s offensiveness on either side of this issue but a lot of it takes some serious digging and extrapolation. Soderberg is additionally perturbed that Donoghue (or John Holland in the NY Times interview) doesn’t just come out and say that he’s  trying to emulate black rappers or even engage in a discussion as to how some people might find this emulation troublesome.

First of all, some context. Check out this video of Salem “performing” at the Fader Fort*:

This “version” of Salem live seems to have its shit together a bit more (although still dangerously low on energy):

Combine that top video with this interview with the NY Times:

“Anyway, the group remains sanguine about its stage future. “I think there’s a lot you can do with having, like, I don’t know, smoke and fog and things,” Mr. Holland said confidently.”

(*Sidebar: As atrocious as the Fader clip is, I think I’d still be tempted to shell out to see them live. No matter which band hits the stage, the spacey trainwreck or the strobelit nightmare, I still think you get your money’s worth.)

Take a good long look in Donoghue’s eyes. If you’re wondering why no one owns up to the arguably troublesome subtext of “sounding black,” those windows to the soul with the “vacant” sign hanging in them would seem to indicate a full disconnect from their immediate surroundings, much less deeper philosophical issues.

Attempting to drag the band into any discussion of underlying themes is like finding a dead zone with your cellphone: you half expect a dialog box to pop up stating “Connection failed.” I don’t see his recalcitrance as intentional but rather as inadvertent. Donoghue seems incapable of subtext and engaging in a discussion about Salem’s “minstrel show” aspects is giving him entirely too much credit.

More disturbing is the fact that when you state that someone is trying to “sound black” simply to get away with bog-standard misogyny, you are also stating that misogyny is ok as long as you’re actually black. This implicit statement is at least as offensive as the original issue.

Now, if it’s misogyny that Soderberg has an issue with, he’s got 90% of rap and 60% of rock to tangle with. If it rubs him the wrong way that Donoghue mangles English without the authenticity of being, you know, black, we’re right back at square one, stating that it’s ok to talk street (or “skreet,” I suppose) as long as you’re the right race.

Ask yourself this: how many white people have you heard spouting off some version of “fo shizzle”? (Too many, I’m sure.) Did each of these mini-minstrel shows get a full blast of your outrage? Or was is just one of those things millions of (white) people do without recrimination thanks to the assumed irony? Is it ok as long as we’re all in on the joke?

I’m not here to defend Salem’s subject matter in this particular track and whether any of us like it or not, it tends to fall into that grey-ish “artistic persona” area where it gets really tough to attach the misogyny to the person saying it, especially when Salem’s members don’t really give a shit what you think. I also tend to give controversial subject matter in artistic endeavors lots of elbow room and have no desire to censor somebody’s work simply because it offends me. I also have no desire to kick out 800 words on how X offended me with their Y. Too much is open to interpretation and if I don’t like it, I don’t have to listen to/read/watch it again.

I’m willing to concede Soderberg’s point that the co-opting of black music that gave birth to rock and roll is not relevant to this discussion. Occasional vocalist and on-stage smoker Heather Marlatt flies this flag briefly in an interview with XLR8R when asked about Salem’s borrowed (via pitch shift) blackness.

“I feel like that’s something a white person would say,” says Marlatt. “In a way to criticize what we’re doing. It’s like, to anyone that thinks that in this era—I don’t know what to tell them. It’s not like we’re Elvis Presley. God. What, are we robbing the music from a different race? Give me a break.”

It’s not a very skillful deflection but then again, the collective members of Salem aren’t really known for their erudite conversation. But her defense doesn’t work. Of course, it doesn’t really need to. This isn’t an attempt to sell black music to white people by attaching a white face to it. This is (supposedly) a co-opting of black music to excuse its transgressive content, a charge that is pretty much going to remain in the eye of the offended beholder.

Problem is: I’m not buyin’ it. I don’t think Donoghue’s pitched-down gangster shit is anything more than a poor attempt to emulate his influences. I don’t think it’s any more racist than the white hip hop fanatic down the block that refers to everyone as “nigga.” It’s an ill-advised affectation that will probably result in his ass getting beaten someday but I don’t think he’s handing out the term with the same intentions as some Klan member or a former Seinfeld star.

As for feeling Salem couldn’t get away with misogynistic fantasies because they’re white? Isn’t this the sort of discussion we should have been having over a decade ago when Eminem first hit the radio? As for “minstrelsy” accusations, I don’t see anything about this that is intended to lampoon or demean the black race.

What Soderberg’s post does read like is a bit of character assassination. This would be fine if that’s how it was presented. (See again VV’s obliteration of Train.) But Soderberg turns his dislike of a band into accusations of racism, which is a bit disingenuous.

If you don’t like Salem there’s plenty to bitch about. Uninspired, repetitive music? Ok, I can see that. Terrible rapping. Agreed. Terrible subject matter. Yeah, but that’s rap for you. Bullshit genre? This too shall pass.

With all those targets available, why does Soderberg feel the need to drag his highly subjective racism claim into the mix and hang his criticism off that framework? It just seems like a long way to go to basically state “I H8 SALEM.” (Even worse, there’s a whole lot of backpedaling on the racism/minstrelsy claims in the comment threads.)

It’s like critiquing Norman Rockwell. While decrying his lack of imagination and overuse of cliche, you grab this painting:

and veer off into speculation on Rockwell’s latent pedophilia. Soderberg is irritated that the members of Salem dodge the racism question in the XLR8R interview, stating something vague about the history of white theft in rock and roll. I guarantee if someone cornered Rockwell about his naked child butt pictures, he probably wouldn’t spend much time entertaining your pedophilia queries. (Although, this might have a lot to do with him having been dead since 1978.)

Soderberg makes it very clear in the comment thread how subjective this attack is when he says, “THIS offends ME.” He should have left it at that. With no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that Donoghue is a racist (intentionally or otherwise), this kind of outrage is a pretty tough sell.

One final question: if Donoghue is truly trying to imitate a black person, what exactly is the harm in that? His pitch-shifted rap doesn’t seem to be demeaning or dismissive. He doesn’t come across as someone who’s interested in playing up a stereotype. If anything, it’s an homage to his Houston-scene influences. Just because it’s badly done and lacking in subtlety does not immediately turn it into a post-death rock Amos and Andy.

As Soderberg states more than once, this is his subjective take. But if that’s all it is, why spend so much time defending that stance? It offends you. So be it. But the other commenters aren’t necessarily wrong, they’re just not finding anything offensive in what’s going on. Obviously the longer the discussion goes on the less likely it is that anyone will change their mind.

But maybe, just maybe, this is exactly what it seems. A white boy doing screwed-vocal rap because he digs screwed-vocal rap. Nothing more. Nothing less.

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation v. 59

January 23, 2011

Featuring Zombie Zombie, Atlas Sound, Robyn Hitchcock, Ceremony and Gr†ll Gr†ll. Contains equal parts shoegaze and witch house. Contact 2timegrime@gmail.com if you would like to have your fine piece of music removed from this post.

LINKAGE:

The latest in sustainable food: human cheese. You read that right. If nothing else, check out the sustainability flowchart in which something magical happens involving a child, a toilet and an El train car.

One of my favorite writers, P.J. O’Rourke, dissects the endless layers of bullshit political coverage that swallowed up the senseless tragedy in Arizona, turning five deaths into a petty partisan hockey fight.

What exactly goes on in these catalog dream homes? (Hint: mind games, pretentiousness and some wickedly funny punchlines.)

Zombie Zombie – Assault on Precinct 13.mp3

If you’ve heard their stunning debut (A Land for Renegades) or seen their killer G.I. Joe meets The Thing video for Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free, their latest project will come as no surprise. Zombie Zombie pay off all their outstanding debts to John Carpenter with a pitch-perfect collection of covers tackling all his most famous themes.

This one’s a stomper. Respectful without being obsequious. Expansive without losing sight of the original. Wave off the nurse. Your blood pressure may be rising but you’ll feel just fine.


Atlas Sound – Quick Canal (feat. Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab).mp3

A dizzying eddy of a track, all exquisitely tangled multi-tracked vocals and electronic rushes balanced atop a loping, percussive chug seeming built from an amplified phonograph needle stuck in a perpetual runout groove.

Sadier’s vocals (and unintelligible vocalizations) redefine both “soaring” and “ethereal,” as does Atlas Sound itself.

Robyn Hitchcock – Luckiness.mp3

This song (off Robyn Hitchcock’s latest, Propellor Time) always hits me right here (indicates heart) and right here (indicates throat). I couldn’t tell you exactly why but it presses all those happy/sad buttons at the same time. I think the ancients called this type of mixed emotion “bittersweet.”

I can’t tell whether this is a song of gratefulness or a song about loving someone so much you set them free.*

Luckiness in luck, lucky as it strikes you
Lucky in your veins
Luckiness in love, lucky ’cause she likes you
Over distant skies, over distant plains
Lucky in your veins

*Perhaps the wizened snot-nosed jangle punks known as the Dead Milkmen said it best with their track If You Love Someone, Set Them on Fire.

Ceremony – Breaking Up.mp3

Once upon a time there was a band called Skywave who delivered a trebly bunch of feedbacking titled Synthstatic. It was destined to be one of those brightly burning candles that burnt half as long, or rather sputtered and went out completely soon after delivering their audacious platter of well-heeled noise.

Agreeing to disagree, the bandmates went their separate ways. One, a certain Oliver Ackerman, took his noisy toys and headed back to his shop, emerging shortly thereafter under two new names: Death By Audio, his effects pedal workshop and A Place to Bury Strangers, his eerie approximation of the banshee-in-a-windtunnel that was the Jesus and Mary Chain of 1985. (You’ve probably heard of them. I’ve mentioned them in passing a time or two.)

The other two, Paul Baker and John Fedowitz, headed off in a slightly different direction, armed with their Wonder Twin powers — form of a bottom-heavy squall of white noise. Ceremony was born, a torrid love child of the Jesus and Mary Chain’s amp-impaling feedback and the roiling bass swagger of Girls Vs. Boys.

Behold. The prodigal phoenix, rising from the ashes armed with brutal melodies spiked in poisoned emotions.

Gr†ll Gr†ll – They All.mp3

Somewhere, out on the wrong side of town, cruises a jet-black SUV. At the wheel: a doom merchant with trouble on his mind and time on his hands. The otherworldly pulse of bass announces his arrival and the child-like treble interjections only serve to highlight how incredibly dark the street becomes as his machine passes through.

-CLT

h1

Your Arbitration Rights Explained

January 21, 2011

As one of many half-assed services we provide, Fancy Plans (in association with Pants to Match) is proud to present a brief guide to arbitration “rights.” This plain-English breakdown of the legal and technical terms used will help you get a “leg up” in your next legal battle with predatory lending agencies, home owner’s associations and the combative legal team currently suing you for violating your Confidentiality Agreement with last night’s drunken Tweeting.

In addition to breaking it down into terms the average layperson can understand, this somewhat brief explanation will also clear up the many reasons that “rights” keeps appearing in quotes. Key explanations and added language will be highlighted in blue text for readability and ease of use when quoting it out of context.

Color-coordinating often helps give the illusion of fairness.

WAIVER OF JURY TRIAL AND ARBITRATION PROVISION

Arbitration is a process in which persons with a dispute: (a) waive their rights to file a lawsuit and proceed in court and to have a jury trial to resolve their disputes (also covers other resolutions, such as barroom brawl, coin toss, H-O-R-S-E, humbled apology, threatening late night phone calls) and (b) agree, instead, to submit their disputes to a neutral (but biased) third person (an “arbitrator”) for a decision. Each party to the dispute has an opportunity to present some evidence to the arbitrator. (In your case, you may present receipts for expensive luxuries, your highly negative public school disciplinary record, all bankruptcies filed, all bankruptcies considered, personal letters of recommendation from acquaintances currently in jail/rehab.) Pre-arbitration discovery may be limited. (In your case, severely fucking limited. Usually this will be constrained to a valid photo I.D. and a valid blank check whose ABA routing number and account information can easily be copied by the other party for unauthorized withdrawals.) Arbitration proceedings are private and less formal than court trials. (Less formal = you being referred to as “this lazy asshole” or “deadbeat” as well as several disparaging remarks referencing your sexual misadventures/penis length.) The arbitrator will issue a final and binding decision resolving the dispute, which may be enforced as a court judgment. (Or more rarely, a court-sanctioned kneecapping.*) A court rarely overturns the arbitrator’s decision.

* Also: dickpunching.

THEREFORE, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE AS FOLLOWS:

1. Acknowledgments. You acknowledge and agree that by entering into this arbitration provision:

A. YOU ARE WAIVING YOUR RIGHT TO HAVE A TRIAL BY JURY TO RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE ALLEGED AGAINST US OR RELATED THIRD PARTIES, INCLUDING HOLDING AND MANAGEMENT COMPANIES, THUG-LIKE ENFORCERS, HIGHLY PAID CHARACTER ASSASSINS AND UMBERTO, THE LANDSCAPER;
B. YOU ARE WAIVING YOUR RIGHT TO HAVE A COURT, OTHER THAN A SMALL CLAIMS TRIBUNAL (COMPOSED OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS) RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE ALLEGED AGAINST US OR RELATED THIRD PARTIES (INCLUDING OUR RELATIVES); and
C. YOU ARE WAIVING YOUR RIGHT TO SERVE AS A REPRESENTATIVE, AS A PRIVATE ATTORNEY GENERAL, OR IN ANY OTHER REPRESENTATIVE CAPACITY (INCLUDING REPRESENTING YOURSELF, WHICH WILL LEAVE YOU SUBJECT TO QUICK AND MERCILESS JUDGMENTS), AND/OR TO PARTICIPATE AS A MEMBER OF A CLASS OF CLAIMANTS, IN ANY LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST US AND/OR RELATED THIRD PARTIES, INCLUDING OUR PYRAMID-SCHEMING BROTHER-IN-LAW, DOUG.

2. Arbitration Fees and Process: Regardless of who demands arbitration, at your request we will advance your portion of the expenses associated with the arbitration, including the filing, administrative, hearing and arbitrator’s fees (“Arbitration Fees”). These fees will be financed at 31.75% per day until arbitration has been sufficiently “dragged out,” at which point these fees will be financed at prime + 257%. The arbitration hearing will be conducted in the county of your residence, or within 30 miles from such county, or in the county in which the transaction under this Agreement occurred, or in such place as shall be ordered by the arbitrator, such as current vacation hotspots, international waters, local dives, wi-fi hotspots or the moon. In conducting the arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator shall not apply any federal or state rules of civil procedure or evidence, but rather an (wait for it…) arbitrary set of rules whose ever-shifting requirements will resemble those of the arbitrator’s favorite drinking game/”house rules” Monopoly. [In the highly improbable event that] the arbitrator renders a decision or award in your favor resolving the dispute, you should probably got out and buy a lottery ticket or bet on some horses or something. At the timely request of any party, the arbitrator shall provide a written explanation for the award including all applicable citations, charts, graphs, line drawings and NSFW Flash animation. The arbitrator’s award may be filed with any court having jurisdiction, most likely one miles away and open inconvenient hours/accessible only by rented boat/mule. In the much more likely event that a decision finds AGAINST you, the arbitrator will sentence you to one of the following:

  • 24 hours in stocks
  • Stoning
  • Caning
  • Immediate bankruptcy (moral AND financial)
  • Lashing
  • Plank-walking
  • Internet vigilante justice
  • Scapegoating
  • Book throwing
  • Bedazzling

All personal information will be forwarded to both 4chan and The Smoking Gun.

-CLT

h1

Proposed Additions to CBSC’s Banned Music List

January 18, 2011

Speeding through Canada's new "Alpert-Free Zone."

As you are probably aware, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council decided to ban the unedited version of Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing thanks to a sole complaint by a Newfoundland woman who was completely outraged by the in-triplicate appearance of the word “faggot” and rushed to defend the entirety of non-straight humanity nearly 26 years after the fact.

You may also recall that some long-winded and profane amateur blogger spewed out around 1,400 words (about 40% of them variations of “fuck”) in response to this bit of news. This same blogger is back with more profanity and words to add fuel to the bonfire of stupidity with a list of tracks that would be better off blacklisted.

Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side
“Colored girls,” Reed? You should know better than that. The last person to use that outdated (and offensive) term was my grandfather, which makes him roughly the same age as you. So, um… as you were. Partial points for the positive portrayal of a transsexual.

Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
Plantation owner rapes slaves. Doesn’t get much worse than that. Willing to ban immediately provided Angie and Wild Horses are included for the heinous crime of being incredibly whiny, a fact compounded by their overuse as a rock radio tempo shifts/call-in dedications.

Billy Idol – Mony Mony
Jimmy Buffett – Margaritaville
Two-part banning. Any song that needs the audience to create and interject the only entertaining parts themselves is wasting valuable airtime that would be better utilized airing heavy-handed PSAs. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will be given a seasonal pass.

They call it a "handlebar" moustache for a reason...

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Reinforces gay stereotypes through campy operatics and bombastic multi-tracking. The moustache doesn’t help. Oh, and apparently they killed a guy. With a gun.

Three Dog Night – Joy to the World
Having just rolled out of the Happy Holiday season, do we really need to be exposed to thinly-veiled Christianity pimping?

Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
Diabetes currently affects nearly 98% of the 75% of the American population with weight problems ranging from “charmingly obese” to “morbidly obese.” A listener might be compelled to literally “pour some sugar” on an unsuspecting diabetic sending them into shock or irreversible coma.

Plus, the drummer is still under investigation for the murder of Mrs. Richard Kimble.

Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks
Causes undue panic, especially in Holland and other easily submerged countries. Let’s not even get into the Dutch tradition of jamming fingers into dikes.

Package deal: must also remove Stairway to Heaven and a track to be named later (probably Whole Lotta Love) as we’re all pretty fucking sick of hearing them.

Pink Floyd – Money
They clearly say “bullshit.” Do we really need another reason? (Ok, here’s one: quite possibly the worst song in Pink Floyd’s catalogue and I’m including the ones that are 15 minutes of dicking around while Syd Barrett looks for his remaining brain cells.) Won’t somebody please think of the children who aren’t even listening to this because they’re off in their rooms masturbating to the Suicide Girls while Lil Wayne’s nasal profanities help them figure how to treat a lady?

Elton John – Crocodile Rock
Bob Seger – Old Time Rock & Roll
Billy Joel – It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me
Pointless nostalgia written by men who were relics by the time they wrote the songs, setting off a recursive wave of pointless nostalgia for a mostly purloined era they were very minimally a part of. Part of a much larger rose-tint job that sanctified so-called “classic rock” as the last “honest” music genre, directly resulting in Eagles’ concert tickets starting at $450. Willfully excludes younger generations in a unctuous display of white, upper-class exclusionism.

Jagger pitches woo.

Rolling Stones – Under My Thumb
Pure, unapologetic misogyny. At least Eminem had the decency to wrap up the four minutes of rape and murder fantasies in Kill You with “Just kidding, ladies. You know I love you.” If only Mick Jagger could have been as sensitive.

AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Advocates murder as a universal solution to the problems of everyday life. Narrator utilizes predatory pricing, negatively affecting mom-and-pop hitmen. Will allow track to remain in airplay on the condition that You Shook Me All Night Long be removed from every jukebox/DJ bag in the world.

Tesla – Signs
Reinforces the dubious theory that long-haired hippies are positive contributors to society and tireless champions of the common man. Much like vampires, the moment you welcome them into your house they become a malevolent and destructively lazy force, moving in to your couch and hoovering down every snack in arm’s reach, all the while talking cocaine big about societal change and critiquing your cereal choices.

Imagine me/Working for you.” Sorry. Can’t do it. And I’ll bet you can’t either.

(Yes, I realize Tesla didn’t write this song but I’ll bet you haven’t heard the original on the radio in over 20 years.)

Aerosmith – Dude Looks Like a Lady
Steven Tyler’s rough approximation of The Crying Game creates an atmosphere of apprehension in men who are 90% sure that the lady they’re getting drunk is actually a lady.

A plea bargain arrangement allows for Dude… to stay in the rotation provided everything released after Permanent Vacation is removed from the playlist, thus freeing listeners’ ears from Aerosmith’s repertoire of single entendres and lazy ballads. Listeners are still welcome to imagine that Liv Tyler will look exactly like Steven Tyler once she ages into the shaky dignity that was Katherine Hepburn’s later years.

Van Halen – Hot for Teacher
Irresponsibly promotes inappropriate sexual relations between students and teachers, disguising the fact that nearly all of these trysts end in tears, litigation and a general increase in the male participant’s  reputation. (Cocksmithing +2)

This will also spare listeners from further diminishing returns from this increasingly one-trick pony (albeit one that has been ridden by three different jockeys).

During the full moon, Bryan Adams slowly transforms into Anthony Michael Hall.

Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
If you can somehow manage to stretch your credulity enough to allow that Adams graduated high school at age 10, you’re still left with the rather shifty bit of sexual innuendo that he apparently layered on after the fact. (That fact being his birth date: November 5, 1959.)

Now, rather than being a blatant easy-to-rhyme fantasy, it’s actually a song about mutual pleasure. Neither kids nor their parents should be further exposed to the childish giggling at the mention of “69” nor the accompanying mental images conjured thereby, whether straight (“Ourobouros”), lesbian (“fur trading”) or gay (“recumbent bicycle built for two”).

Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
Vanal references. And I’m pretty sure the old buggerer says something about “going down on the old man with the transistor radio.”

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation V. 58: The Chemical Connection Edition

January 16, 2011

Featuring The Loops of Fury, the Chemical Brothers, Kasabian, Renegade Soundwave, the Prodigy and Spiritualized. If you’d like a track removed, contact me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.

LINKAGE:

Learn something new everyday. Giles Turnbill did.

“November 6 – 6. When your son asks “What is electricity?” it’s wise to stop and think for a moment—or consult an encyclopedia—before launching into an answer that may grind to an unfortunate and, for the questioner, unsatisfying halt.”

Literal New Yorker Cartoon Captions. Misses about as often as it hits, but this one is a keeper. As is this one.

Something more for RF and SM to fight about: FuckYeahMenswear.

Kasabian – Underdog (Loops of Fury Refix).mp3

The actual second coming of the Stone Roses (unlike the Second Coming of the Stone Roses, which was underwhelming, to say the least), Kasabian whip up some mighty fine swaggering dance rock. Concerned that there was perhaps too much “rock” and not enough “dance” in this mixture, Loops of Fury take over on production and crank this up into a bigger, beatier frenzy, triggering looping vocal samples and house-quaking bass in a very close approximation of the Chemical Brothers, from whom they have borrowed their name.

Chemical Brothers – Loops of Fury.mp3

Released very early on in the ChemBros’ career while they were still d/b/a the Dust Brothers, a name that they had, in turn, borrowed from an American production duo who at that point were most famous for producing the Beastie Boys’ classic second album, Paul’s Boutique.

Flattering tribute or not, the original Dust Brothers told the upstarts, “Thanks and all, but we’d like to keep the name,” perhaps fearing these Brits would surpass them, what with Paul’s Boutique not exactly flying off the shelves.

So Tom and Ed relented, becoming the world famous Chemical Brothers, issuing the wryly titled Exit Planet Dust as their debut. The Dust Brothers went on to produce albums for Beck, Santana and craft the Fight Club soundtrack. Sometimes everybody wins.

The Prodigy – Voodoo People (Chemical Brothers Remix).mp3

While we’re still in the general vicinity, let’s discuss the Chemical Brothers’ godawesome remixing skills. This particular remix takes hold of The Prodigy’s hyperkinetic breakbeats, which had more in common with proto-drum n bass than the Chemical Brothers’ own mixture of hip hop breaks and rock attitude, and morph it into a shitstorm of city-levelling bass and beautifully triggered vocal samples.

Listen to that bass. Turn it up enough and you’re no longer hearing it. At top volume it becomes an omniscient force, a godlike pulse that consumes the air around it.

The Chemical Brothers know bass.

Renegade Soundwave – Thunder.mp3

So does Renegade Soundwave. One of the pioneers of acid house/breakbeats, Renegade Soundwave entered the scene in late 80s along with Meat Beat Manifesto, taking their musical cues from industrial music and post-punk acts like Killing Joke and converting them for the dance floor.

The Chemical Brothers have specifically cited this track as an influence, stating they wanted their bass to sound as badass as this does. As evidenced above, they nailed it.

Spiritualized – I Think I’m in Love (Chemical Brothers Remix).mp3

I’ll leave you with this: proof that the Brothers can also do unimaginably pretty when not targeting your central nervous system with low-level sub-bass carpet bombing.

-CLT