Compiled by Ryan

Before I get to an admittedly-weak version of the usual load of links I pile on here on Fridays, I want to apologize for the lack of updates this week.  My internet was down for half of it, and I spent the other half of it recovering (read: retro-actively updating my Twitter) as well as attending to some personal matters.  We’ll have normal updates next week, and a return to form with all new columns from your favorite contributors (the only contributors).

The links:

-Merge Records is turning twenty this year, and they’ve got all sorts of self-congratulatory stuff planned to celebrate.  You can stream the first of said stuff (cool sentence, Ryan), a covers comp, here.

Dan Deacon needs your vegetable oil.

-Bill O’Reilly was complaining this week about having his column dropped by the Chicago Sun-Times, and even went so far as to put the entire paper in his “Hall of Shame.”  On a side note, I think my new goal in life is to get inducted into Bill O’Reilly’s “Hall of Shame.”  Anyway, Sun-Times staffer (and noted film critic) Roger Ebert took Bill to task in a letter he wrote on his website.  All great, great stuff.  For the internet’s sake, let’s hope they keep this going for a while.

The YouTube highlights:

I still can’t believe that this BK commercial is for real:

New Man Man video for “Rabbit Habbits” featuring appearances by Fred Armisen, Martin Starr, and Charlyne Yi:

New music spotlight:

Casiotone for the Painfully AloneVs. Children

I really love Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, the music project of Owen Ashworth.  CFTPA is a little bit electronic, a little bit singer-songwriter, and a hint of emo.  It doesn’t sound like it should work, but hear you me: it does.  I think CFTPA is one of those artists where you can sample about two minutes of their work and come to a pretty fair conclusion as to whether or not you enjoy them.  This song is less than two minutes, so, you know, give it a chance:

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – “Optimist Vs. The Silent Alarm (When the Saints Go Marching In)” from Vs. Children, out now on Almost Tomlab

The Hold SteadyA Positive Rage

With My Morning Jacket already having a kickass live album, I can’t think of a band who needed o put out a live album more than The Hold Steady.  For anyone who’s ever been to a show, you know Craig’s trademark line that, “There is so much joy in what we do up here,” and, on A Positive Rage, it shows.  It’s a nice snapshot of them at the very end of the Boys and Girls in America cycle, and the accompanying DVD is a nice treat for fans.  Here’s the live version of “Ask Her For Adderall,” a song they played live leading up to Stay Positive, but only included as a B-side on that album:

The Hold Steady – “Ask Her For Adderall” from A Positive Rage, out now on Vagrant