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I’m not quite sure whether to breathe a sigh of relief, or still be worried about the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger. I haven’t really had a chance to fully think the outcome through yet. But the news is: the merger is on, but with special provisions mandated by the government to prevent a full-on monopoly on the entire live music business. Basically, AEG Live will get to use Ticketmaster’s software, and Ticketmaster’s Paciolan ticketing and software services unit will be sold to a division of Comcast or another possible buyer. I guess the biggest worry here was that the merger would go on unchecked and that did NOT happen, so I guess we can all sigh a breath of relief… for the time being. More details at Business Insider.

There’s a pretty cool fundraiser/benefit show happening in Murfreesboro this Thursday 1/28/2010 for YEAH. (If you’re unfamiliar with YEAH, which stands for Youth Education through Arts & Humanities, please click on the flier to visit their website and learn more about their AWESOME program.) The show lineup is Shoot The Mountain, Hammertorch, and How I Became the Bomb, and there will also be Yazoo and New Belgium beers! (The beer part is a big deal because normally this space is alcohol-free because it’s an all-ages venue/hangout.) It’s obviously an 18+ event, and your attendance will help out one of the best local causes I can think of.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of local electronic/8-bit wizard Matt Pusti. We went to MTSU together and he was mostly responsible for my introduction to electronic music in general. Before that, I thought drum machines were evil and anything not made by a “real” instrument was terrible. I recently mentioned his newer, more experimental endeavor DAAS and was quite glad to see him getting back to producing that genre of electronic music. (His material before Makeup & Vanity Set sounded much more like the DAAS material.) His Makeup & Vanity Set project has been somewhat idle for a couple years, but that has just changed with the release of his new Jambox EP on Bandcamp. GO GET IT NOW FOR NOTHING MORE THAN YOUR EMAIL. This is apparently just a taste of the goodness to come on his next full-length, due out later this year. I will probably do an interview with him as my first “official” interview on here… one of more to come.

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Jack White’s label Third Man Records has just opened its new office in downtown Nashville, Stereogum and Nashville Cream reports. Included in the new space is a custom designed recording studio. Damn… I’d love to see that. Apparently the opening party featured a performance from yet another JW supergroup side-project called The Dead Weather. This new band features Jack on drums, Raconteur Jack Lawrence on bass, Stonage Queen Dean Fertita on guitar, and the Kills’ Allison Mosshart on vocals. Not only is the space an office and studio, but it will (does?) house a record store and photo studio. Is the photo studio hiring? If so I’m first in line.

Blogging is Serious Business reports on the new Friday night series kicking off May 8th, and lasting all summer, called Noise to Nashville. It’s being put on by Ultimo & Disco and Beatport. “A fusion of indie, pop, electronica and nu disco, Noise will bring artists by the likes of A-Trak, Cut Copy, Chromeo, The Presets, Crookers, Diplo, Little Boots and the best local and regional residents.” Wow. If you had come up to me 5 years ago and said that such large national electronic artists/DJs would be hitting Nashville on a weekly basis in 2009, I’d have laughed in your face. It’s really amazing how far Leon Jackson, Justin Kase, Principal & Coach, Jensen Sportag, and the many others involved in our electronic scene have taken it.

In other music news, BrooklynVegan and Bob Lefsetz chime in on the Ticketmaster/Live Nation fiasco. I’ve said all I can say about it… but I thought you might find both of these posts interesting.

David Friedman of Ironic Sans has a good idea for progressive food packaging. I may just do a little of my own progressive packaging next time I go to the grocery store…

Space Shuttle Discovery had its launch scrubbed yesterday due to a hydrogen leak in one of the fuel lines. Apparently this has nothing to do with the valve issues that caused the earlier delays. They have a tentative launch set for March 15th, this Sunday.

Olympus Mons is the largest volcano on Mars (though no longer active), and is also the largest volcanic feature we’ve ever discovered in our entire solar system. It’s so big that you wouldn’t even know you were on a mountain if you were standing on it- it would just look like a vast gently sloping plain, as far as your eye could see. Well, not only is it the most badass volcano ever… it’s also the latest location to exhibit the possibility for life on Mars. According to this Universe Today article, a couple of scientists from Rice University have found evidence that liquid water may be trapped in clay deep underneath the giant moutain, and is the only explanation for its assymetry. The only life that could survive there would be heat-loving microbes called thermophiles, much like the algae that lives in the thermal pools at Yellowstone.

NASA is seriously considering sending a fleet of robots to the moon to do some preparatory construction on what will eventually be a manned moon base. There are some who think going back to the moon is pointless, and that we should just shoot straight for Mars, but I tend to agree with the government that we should take our expansion into the solar system one step at a time. Yes we’ve been to the moon, but we haven’t built a base there, and I think we need to build a base somewhere close before we try to build a base on Mars.

Speaking of robots, The Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” has a series of awesome robot photographs. My favorite is the very last one, which shows NASA’s next Mars mission, the Mars Science Laboratory. The cool thing about it is that there’s a woman in the photo, giving you perspective on the actual size of the thing, which is much bigger than anything we’ve sent to Mars before.

Now for some music-related news…

Wired.com reports that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are running into some problems with their proposed merger (thank god). In a recent hearing they were unsuccessful in convincing Sen. Herb Khol (D-Wisconsin) of the legality of the merger. One of their biggest arguments for the merger is that it will result in lower ticket prices. I’m no economic expert by any means, but even I know that the only thing that really keeps prices low is competition.

Check out this Rolling Stone blog post with a clip from Michael Jackson’s “comeback announcement” yesterday. I wonder just how many shows he can make it through… I’m betting not as many as he promised.

Lastly, if you’re in Murfreesboro this weekend, be sure to check out the YEAH benefit show at the Vine, featuring JEFF the Brotherhood and And The Relatives, and then head over to the Grind for a FREE show featuring the Tits, my band Tigers Con Queso, and Mean Tambourines. Have a great weekend!

Dont Jump!

Don't Jump!

While I’ve seen several images/web posts about this type of perspective-based street art before, this one is the biggest scale I’ve seen thus far. Edgar Muller lives and works in Germany, and even with several helpers, his projects take several days to complete. This one is called “Ice Age.” This type of art is all based on viewing from one very specific vantage point, creating an amazing 3D optical illusion. I’ve never seen one of these in real life before, but I’d like to. You’d think an artist this talented/successful would be able to afford a decent website design though…. ugh.

One of the few “new” bands that I’m really digging lately is the Morning Benders. They recently did a Daytrotter Session and the results are pretty cool. They did a spaced-out version of one of my favs Doctor, Doctor. If you’re into them, go grab the mp3’s for sure.

Remember when I posted about the new supergroup Tinted Windows comprised of James Iha, Taylor Hansen, Bun E. Carlos, and Adam Schlesinger? Well, they have an album coming out April 21st, and Billboard has the track “Kind of a Girl” posted for streaming. It’s pretty much exactly what you would expect from that lineup. But it sounds very generic and well… just listen for yourself. They’re also playing a showcase at SXSW this year.

Though it’s been in the news for several weeks now, I’ve not posting anything regarding the possible merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which would result in virtual monopoly in the concert promotion and ticket business. I decided to change that today. Brooklynvegan posted a story about a hearing held yesterday on Capitol Hill regarding the merger. Thankfully it seems as though authorities are going to put this merger under a microscope. I don’t know that much about antitrust laws, but I can’t see how this merger would not be in violation of them. I mean, Ticketmaster is already enormous, and so is Live Nation in the promotion world… if this happens, concert go-ers are screwed because this one company will have the power to price-gouge all they want.

Now for some science-
Sky and Telescope posted a great guide to viewing newly discovered Comet Lulin. This week is the best for viewing, and even in light-polluted areas such as here in Nashville, you should be able to see it with a good pair of binoculars. You have to know exactly where to look, though. Check out the article for the deets and a good diagram. Via Universe Today.

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