emusic dies, going to africa

Sadly, the glory that was Emusic is coming to an end. No more unlimited downloading, and the prices are going up. I guess it had to happen. Do your downloading now (or at least by Nov. 8).
In 45 minutes, I leave for Dulles and hop on a British Airways jet to London. I’ll be in the U.K. for 12 hours (anyone with suggestions on how best to spend 12 hours in London are welcome), then it’s another 11-hour flight to Lusaka, Zambia.
Everyone who’s reading this should shift their Josh-alloted attention away from crabwalk.com for the next six weeks and to zambiastories.com, where I’ll be posting as often as I can about my journey and my observations. When you hear from me next I’ll be in Africa (and dead tired).

zim media crackdown

Not long ago, I was hoping to make my way into Zimbabwe to do some reporting. Now, I’m pretty sure that would be a less-than-good idea, since the Zim government seems keen on shutting down all independent media.
After shutting down The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, Junior Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Media and Information Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso say they have turned their guns at The Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent.
Ranting and raving at the official launch of New Ziana, a multi-media State organisation charged with publishing pro-Zanu PF information, an agitated Moyo made it clear that after the closure of the two Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) titles, he was now after The Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent, two newspapers he called “running dogs of imperialism.”
A highly charged Moyo said the type of “trash” published by the newspapers, both owned by the same company, would not be published anywhere overseas…
“If we were serious people, who do not want to apologise for who we are … really we would shut these papers down because they are trash, they injure our national interest,” ranted Moyo, who incidentally only gained national prominence in the 1980s and 1990s by writing his anti-Mugabe and anti-Zanu PF tirades in the private media.
Moyo also pronounced the “death” of Studio 7, a Voice of America (VOA) news broadcasting station that beams to Zimbabwe.
“Studio 7 will die. It faces death. They think we are sleeping, we want to see where they are going with Studio 7, ” said Moyo.

I think I’ll stay in nice, peaceful Zambia.

joe pernice on the smiths

Joe Pernice, leader of the Pernice Brothers and former copy editor for Cosmo Girl, has written a new novella about the classic Smiths album Meat is Murder. (Well, actually about a dorky Boston teenager who loves the album to pieces.) Here’s an excerpt:
“Why don’t you listen to something else…like jazz? That Smith Family is so depressing,” offered my mother, simply doing her best to help, and I blamed her for it. “No wonder you don’t feel like getting up,” she added, leaving a basket of folded laundry inside my room without coming in. “Their poor mother and father.” I rolled over on the bed so that if she had anything else to say, it would be to my back. Even as I was acting like a hateful little shit, I knew I loved her, but I could not stop myself from excluding her from my life in a hurtful way. It’s endearing now, the way she thought The Smiths were a real dysfunctional family. But then I was embarrassed both for her and for myself.
“They’re not related. It’s just a band name, like The Dead Kennedys,” I snapped (though at that time the Dead Kennedys were a band I knew by name alone), and closed the door hard in her face with my foot. “Besides, it makes me feel good.”
She stood outside for a few seconds, then she sighed. I could hear her footsteps moving down the hardwood hallway until I jacked up the volume knob on the tape player. Once again, thankfully, I was alone. I took a pen and some paper from my bag and started to write Allison yet another note I would never send. I flipped the tape from front to back as I imagined her on her bed, listening to a girlfriend on the phone, with her feet against the wall.

It’s part of the 33 1/3 series, “a new series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the last 40 years.”

trisarahtops debut

I am happy to announce the birth of a new blog, hosted on one of my other servers: Trisarahtops, the site of Miss Sarah Collins, Austinite, education activist, and owner of cats (one slightly injured, by the looks of this morning’s post). One read and you’ll be hooked.

clem snide review

Saw Clem Snide and Califone at The Black Cat last night. Califone’s got a nice rustic, rhythmic thing going on, at times sounding like African drum music with a sitar. They’ve got two drummers; when I think two drummers, I always think of Allman Brothers-style rawk authority, but Califone’s more delicate than that.
Clem Snide was in fine form. Lead singer Eef Barzelay seemed a little tipsy at show’s start, but sobered up toward the end. (I’ve never seen them live before, so I can’t say if that’s just Eef’s schtick.) The band seems to have acknowledged what crabwalk readers learned some time ago: that their last album sucked. They only played two tracks from it all night (“All Green” and “Action”). In contrast, if memory serves, they played six tracks off The Ghost of Fashion (co-winner with Spoon of the coveted 2001 crabwalk.com Album of the Year award), three from Your Favorite Music, and a couple from You Were a Diamond — all far superior discs. (They even played my friend Kim’s favorite song, “Long Lost Twin.”)
Thankfully the new, unreleased songs they played were strong, including one about Enrique Iglesias’ mole (“That’s the kind of song you write when you read Us Weekly,” Eef said). The cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” was strong, too. It was kind of fun watching all the dedicated indie-kids sing along, obviously knowing every word.
Trivia alert! Eef is evidently a nickname based on his real name, Ifar.