When I graduated college I embarked on a cross-country road trip, stopping at numerous well-known sites that numerous people from all over the world experience: The Grand Canyon, Graceland, the Hoover Dam, Niagara Falls, Devil's Mountain, Mount Rushmore, etc,... In retrospect, yeah, that was an awesome experience but now my taste buds yearn for something more, something compltely off the wall, some things I've heard of and some that I've never even dreamed of. Take Carhenge for example, located in nowheresville Nebraska, replicating Stonehenge but with cars. The Corn Palace, with a new design every year made entirely out of corn. I want to swim with dolphins in Florida, I want to go potato wrestling in South Dakota, I want to visit the 24-hour Elvis Museum in Portland, Oregon and NOW I HAVE MY GUIDE!!! Lookout, because the next summer when I have a video camera, money saved and can convince Rob Devlin to jump in the car with me and two more unnamed travellers, this will be our book. From the Central Maine Egg Festival to Cow Pasture Golf in Arizona and oodles of weird places and festivals in between, this book provides an amazing beginner's list of some of the most bizarre places and events completely unimaginable. If anything, at least this book provides some interesting factoids about this weird country for the Nordic wanderer or armchair traveller in all of us.


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web broadcasters safe? for now...

This past Tuesday, the Library of Congress rejected a proposal by CARP (the Copyright Arbitration Royal Panel) which proposed a rate for internet-based music broadcasters to adhere to. They didn't however rule out internet music royalty collections alltogether, as a final decision on rates and such is yet to be determined in June. While a number of web broadcasters are crying that these royalties would "shut them down for good," I strongly believe there is justification in charging a fee, as there is in the radio and television mediums. In radio, however, only commercial stations pay royalty fees, while non-commercial, non-profit, and educational institutions are exempt. The mere notion to charge non-profit organizations who do not sell their content is ludicrous, as royalties were originally set up because commercial radio stations essentially "re-sell" the music (their 'content') to advertisers. To put it bluntly, commercial radio stations are basically making money off of other people's songs. It is by this justification of royalty payments that commercial "electronic" or "web" organizations who sell the content should, by all means, pay all applicable fees, and clear distinctions need to be made as to who is providing educational non-profit fair usage. A number of "internet petitions" circulate around about this issue but there's a lot of smoke being blown around by various groups on each side who have strong financial interests in the matter. In the end, be wary of these petitions, always question the motives of each group involved, and voice your opinions to your representative (if you have one) in Congress.
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This past week, the UK-based multimedia corporation EMI announced their purchase of long time independent record label, Mute. While this might initially send shivers down spines of faithful Mute fans or indie label advocates, I feel the need to remind some of us about previous deals between Matador and Atlantic, or even Matador with the EMI-owned Capitol records. Back in the early-mid 1990s, Atlantic thought Matador had something really big with Pavement and Liz Phair, so they decided to go in on a deal with them to put out all of their records. When the Atlantic realized that they sank more money into releases which weren't bringing the bucks into Time Warner, they decided to end the relationship. Shortly thereafter, Capitol did the same thing. While EMI would love to have Moby, does anybody with half a brain think EMI will even want to release albums from Diamanda Galas, Throbbing Gristle or Non? Sure, the aging post-smack fiends Nick Cave and Depeche Mode do okay and all, but if EMI paid millions to have Virgin sever their ties with Mariah Carey, a deal like this won't last. If it does, get ready for Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget and Can records to go back out of print. According to reports, EMI will pay £23 million for Mute, plus up to £19 million of potential performance-related payments, over a period of four years. Couldn't they just have bought the rights to the music industry's biggest whore (anything for money Moby) and saved both the cash and the disgrace which will surely follow 18 months from now?
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101 Reykjavik

The biggest self-centered dirtbags always gain the most sympathy from an aduience when the story is narrative from their point of view. Such is the case of Hlynur, a young man around 30, living with mom in a tiny apartment, looking like an adult version of Max Fischer from 'Rushmore,' who rarely ventures outside the postal code of 101 Reykjavik and has absolutely no ambition to get a job and make something of himself. "We're dead after we die, we're dead before we're born, life is just a break from death," he claims, as the film centers around this young man's life who feels everybody dies every weekend after the parties are over. We often find Hylnur alone, falling asleep in the snow, almost longing for a death which never comes. Hylnur has a number of issues including pent-up aggression towards his family coupled with sexual/attachment issues that keeps him from sleeping next to a girl he's just fucked. All this changes when he seems to fall in love with his mom's new lover, a gorgeous Flamenco dance instructor from Spain. Basically while mom's dealing with the issues of coming out, Hlynur's dealing with issues of having sex with her new "lesbian" girlfriend. Toss in a psycho fling who's completely obsessed with Hlynar to the point of lying about a pregnancy and a bunch of drunken party scenes and you've got a marvelously entertaining comedy with a ton of really great, punchy lines from first time filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur Baltasarsson. My favorite scene has got to be the kids shooting fireworks at the Domino's delivery guy—easily one of the funniest scenes I've seen in a long while! Two years after its release, it's finally making some rounds in North America, best of luck trying to see it.

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I was excited when Frank Tovey's booking agency emailed me asking about suggestions or recommendations for concerts in North America. I had been a fan of Fad Gadget for nearly 20 years and have never even dreamed of seeing him live. The best thing I could think of was to contact people who owe their entire careers to this man. So I dropped emails to the bands (and booking agent of) The Faint, Adult and I am Spoonbender, but sadly got no response.

Tovey could very well possibly be one of the most important pioneers in post-punk electronic synth music. While he may have not sold as many units as label mates Depeche Mode or contemporaries like Human League or OMD who had to change their sound to top charts, he was demonstrating that synth music didn't always have to be happy pop anthems and love songs. Unlike Gary Numan or Kraftwerk, he didn't paranoiacally or idealistically fanticize a future world ruled by robots and computers, which has completely worked to his advantage, giving his songs an amazing timeless feel. While his tunes were undoubtedly catchy, futuristic pop anthems with sinister lyrics, his live performances were raw and vicious, often ending with large amounts of blood loss and paramedic assistance.

In a time where Fischerspooner can sign a ?2M recording deal, Tovey was poised for a strong comeback—he had been recording new material and played a number of shows in the UK and Europe. Unfortunately, the exponentially growing scene of these modern groups may never truly understand how much they really owe to Tovey. There's a nice picture accompanying a short obituary at mute.com as well as some recent live pictures at the French web site, fadgadget.free.fr. He will be missed. -
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Papa M, "Three Songs"

It's always weird writing about friends records. Papa M stayed with meon September 9th last year following the show with Pullman (Bundy K.Brown and Dave Pajo in the same room, it was once thought impossible).It was a Sunday night and I remember staying up and talking with Daveand his band partner for a bit. We may have had breakfast at theinfamous Arlington Diner around the corner the following morning.Monday night was their gig in NYC and they ended up staying overnightin Brooklyn. Tuesday morning, the western world changed forever.

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Purrkur Pillnikk, "Í Augum Úti"

What we have here is a very important and amazingly entertainingartifact of early 1980s Icelandic post-garage rock and roll. It's nosurprise that Purrkur Pillnikk was invited at one point to tour openingup for The Fall, as lead singer Einar Orn Benediktsson (you mightrecognize his name as the -OTHER- singer of the Sugarcubes) fronted atactfully sloppy yet feverishly energetic rock band with bizarrescream/spoken storylike words.

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4369 Hits

Mouse on Mars, "Agit Itter It It"

There are no rules against having fun in the field ofcritically-acclaimed electronica. On Mouse on Mars singles, the duodefinitely let their hair out and try to have as much fun in as littletime possible.
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HNAS, "Im Schatten der Möhre"

The first in a line of long unavailable HNAS LPs is finally availableon CD. Originally released in 1987, this was the fourth album releasedby Christoph Heemann, Dr. P. Li Khan, and Andreas Martin as HirscheNicht Aufs Sofa and is a must have for any current or future fan.
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In Boston, There Is No Other

As last week's issue of "The Brain" went live, the folks at Other Music were moving all the stock from the Boston store back to NY. The unannounced departure of Other Music Boston is about as bittersweet as their shocking arrival, 16 months ago.

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The Notwist, "Neon Golden"

In the four years since their last album, 'Shrink,' the members of this German group have kept active with numerous other projects, including two astonishing albums from Lali Puna; two incredible full-lengthers and a remix disc from Tied and Tickled Trio; plus notable LP, EP and remix releases from Console; and various appearances on others albums. 'Shrink' was probably such a phenomenal pop/post-rock electronic jazzy breakthrough that I may have been expecting something similar. 'Neon Golden' has far exceeded my expectations, however.

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Director Doug Pray has easily made one of the most entertaining documentaries since his own 'American Pimp' and possibly the most entertaining musical documentary ever. 'Scratch' explores the hip-hop world of the DJ and turntablism (sorry, no Otomo Yoshihide or Thomas Brinkmann here), with interviews of legendary superheroes Afrika Bambaataa, DXT (Herbie Hancock's "Rockit"), Jazzy Jay (Soulsonic Force), and GrandWizzard Theodore (who many point to as the inventor of the scratching) as well as some of today's superstars Mix Master Mike, Q-bert, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, and Rob Swift.
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Donnie Darko

Hard to imagine I have been completely blown away by two incredible movies this weekend but it happened. The film is the first motion picture from young writer/filmmaker Richard Kelley and takes place in a rural Virgininan town in the month before the Presidential election of 1988. Donny Darko, the middle child of three is being medicated for emotional issues after burning down some house.
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Nurse With Wound, "The Man With the Woman Face"

Longtime NWW fans are going to be very very very pleased with thisalbum. Shaved down to a mere duo featuring Steven Stapleton and ColinPotter, this is almost a tribute to the more ambient and free-formearly to mid-period Nurse with Wound.
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Limp, "Orion"

The debut Morr Music release from this quartet of Danish wanna-becosmonauts takes the form of a marvelous six-track EP.
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Kammerflimmer Kollektief, "Hysteria"

The latest release from Thomas Weber's Munich-based 'ShimmeringCollective' is somewhat of a crossover between the previous twofull-lenthers recently issued in North America by Temporary Residence.The six-song EP continues with Weber's love of both organic jazz/improvand affinity for electronics, almost split down the middle between thecollective playing and Weber's solo electronic journeys.
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Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, "Pocket Symphonies For the Lonesome Subway Cars"

This has got to be the worst CD I have ever listened to ten times in arow. Strange but true, this disc of juvenile adventures on cheap18-year-old keyboards in late night bedrooms is fucking terrible yetsomewhat addictive.
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"Anthology 2"

Come Organization's second anthology collection may not be as lengthyas the double CD first volume, but it is of equal importance. Thematerial picks up where the last one left off, pulling music from 1981and 1982 including Come's entire album 'I'm Jack,' most of thecompilation, 'Für Ilse Koch,' as well as two pieces from MaurizioBianchi's 'Weltanschauung' LP.
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Christian Kleine, "Valis"

The multi-talented German instrumentalist has followed-up last year's'Beyond Repair' LP with this somewhat dull EP on Morr. Once again,organic bass guitar and guitar riffs are looped alongside somewhatslow-driving 4/4 instrumental electronics.
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"Vertical Forms"

UK-based label Vertical Form have failed on a number of planes withthis compilation. First off, I don't ever want to see another promo CDshow up in my mailbox without a cover, artwork, a tracklisting, ornotes to go along with it. This compilation has received a ton of spinson my players at home, work and inbetween, but up until now I haven'thad a goddamned clue as to who's on it.

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4127 Hits