That great big world we call rock ‘n’ roll

Those damn file-sharers! Who will they piss off next? Apparently, Sleater-Kinney is the latest act to lash out against fans who jump the gun on new music. Their latest LP, The Woods, which is due out May 24 on Sub Pop, has been making the rounds on all the main peer-to-peer networks.

When I heard about the band’s so-called "e-scolding" to pirates, I at first felt disappointment that a band I liked (well, at least liked more than Metallica or Madonna or any of the other folks that have publicly spoken out against downloading) had started to get touchy about profits. And I always thought SK was pretty "edgy" too.

Maybe being edgy these days means being super square, caring a lot about money and such, since the status quo in indie rock is pretty much to talk big about not being into money. And weren’t they okay with bootlegging? Surprisingly enough, though, the whole thing was related to the art of releasing an album, which is dying fast already.

"Our latest record is something that we have worked on for a long time," the band’s statement read. "The writing took nearly two years in an effort to challenge and push ourselves. And the recording/mixing itself took six weeks. So much of this new record is a response to the deadening and watering down of music. We wanted to make something that felt wild and alive and that made us excited to wake up in the mornings. There is art work and lyrics and images that we want to share. Ideally, we want to present this record in the way we envision it; as a complete entity, flowing and tangible and within the context that we have created for it."

And it is true that downloading an album before its release date gives you lower quality and less cohesive art. On the other hand, though, most of the albums I’ve downloaded ahead of time have just made me more excited to actually buy it. I’m also too lazy to download a bunch of stuff and hate having to wait for it all to finish.

Anyway, maybe old SK has a point this time, instead of just being a bunch of self-righteous anti-technology loudmouths like Metallica. So, next time, before you click the download button (or whatever you have) think about the art. Shouldn’t artists be in control of their own art at least until they enter it into the public sphere?

Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital this week with a critical case of the flu. Apparently, the famous mutant was on his way to court for jury selection when he experienced stuffy nose, headache, watery eyes, upset stomach and all the other symptoms the rest of us have been suffering from for the last three months.

Except we don’t have a nice comfy limo speed us to the emergency room. Or rights to the Beatles’ catalogue. But I guess it’s a trade off, since we aren’t about to get busted for being pederasts.

Luckily though, Jackson is reported as being in "stable" condition, and is resting up well in the hospital, whereas I have to get up at seven a.m. and go to my boring-ass color theory class, all the while suffering from the same symptoms.

And the only medicine I get is nicotine! That rich wanker, I hope he’s jailed for a thousand years. Rushed to the hospital with "flu-like" symptoms! What a joke that is.

Elliott Smith fans: Get ready! For what, you say? Well, let me drop a little good news on ya. A whole baker’s dozen (well, not actually, but quite a few) of tribute albums are on their way, as well as yet another remembrance concert, which will feature a "Smith-themed slide show" and a "psychedelic light show."

Now, remembering Smith is definitely a worthy endeavor. But come on, guys. Slide show? Light show? It’s not a fucking Pink Floyd retrospective full of stinking hippie potheads. That Elliott was a hard-drinkin’, hard-fightin’ kind of guy and he sure as shit wouldn’t have wanted to sit through a bunch of tame-ass pictures of himself and flashing lights. He would have wanted the booze flowing, the punches throwing and slow-dancing with the White Lady!

But I suppose most of the Man’s fans are a bunch of wussies, and a big party where they can all sit and cry together, and compare Elliott to Bright Eyes is probably right up their alley. Look, guys. Elliott had a very sensitive, kind and gentle side, and could express it like no one else in the history of pop music. (Suck on that, Nick Drake.) And it’s good to be sensitive. Understand and be in touch with your emotions. But you have to balance that out with some toughness.

This world is a pretty harsh place, and if you’re soft all the time you’ll be ground up in the giant metaphorical cogs of life. Elliott was so keenly aware of this fact that he spent most of his days high or creating art that allowed him to express his soft, snail-like underbelly of feelings. Although he was quite a tough, he eventually succumbed to the cogs like so many other geniuses. And that’s the lesson, you damn emos. Quit being so sensitive all the time. And anyway, I can tell you’re just faking it to get those cute, bookish girls to like you.