8/30/2007

A Stranglehold, Indeed

Ted Nugent is at it again. He's been getting a lot of flack lately for his death threats and other crude onstage remarks made against senators and presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as his suing of concert venues that have refused to book him for alleged racist remarks he's recently made.

The above doesn't really concern "5" per se. The former is a matter for the Secret Service to investigate. (Alleged death threats against public officials at that level--in this case, one of them being a former First Lady, as well--are their responsibility, if we're not mistaken.) As for the latter, whether or not Nugent may or may not be a racist is a subject we'll gladly discuss in a different forum.
But what bothers us is that this foul-mouthed loon who inspires like-minded individuals to follow and defend him, gets all this undeserved press coverage, considering that in his actual field of expertise and talent he is considered a has-been who's not made a relevant contribution to music in 30 years. So, we ask the media: Please people, review his lame-ass records but don't give him an undeserved platform when it comes to public discourse. Stick to his music and he'll wither away. His career already has, let's keep it that way.
A Poet and a Prophet, Not a Prostitute

The Marley family is suing the Universal Music Group and Verizon Wireless over a supposed exclusive arrangement that allows these companies to market the work of the late reggae icon in the form of ringtones of such classics as "Buffalo Solider," "Redemption Song" and "One Love." The family is stating this agreement was signed without their consent and that it furthermore exceeds the scope of its deal with Universal.
Now, forgive us for being cynical, but with the Marley family's history of pimping out Bob's legacy at the drop of a hat we're gonna assume that it's not a question of preserving his legacy but one of getting more money for it. Hopefully, we're wrong about this one, but bet against us at your own peril.
Are We The Only Ones That Think That...

...someone who used to be in Nirvana shouldn't need to cover some flavor of the month band to regain indie cred and relevance? Yeah, his band's last couple of albums have been weak but still...
Looney Tunes Destroyed In Fire

The venerable Long Island, NY record store was decimated by a fire last night. Arson has been ruled out. The West Babylon-based, family-run independent has been in business for 35 years and has "hosted a number of high profile in-store appearances, such as Ice T and Ozzy Osbourne," according to Billboard. The owners have pledged to rebuild and reopen Looney Tunes as soon as possible. Rock on!

8/29/2007

RIP

CBGB founder Hilly Kristal. He was 75.


"He was my boss from 1986 to '90. He was a tough guy to work for, but that's what he was: a tough guy. If it wasn't for him there would be no Prong. There probably wouldn't be The Ramones, Suicide, NY Hardcore and countess other influential music styles and artists. Thanks Hilly, you won't be forgotten." - Tommy Victor, Prong vocalist/guitarist and former CBGB soundman, via MySpace.

The legendary Handsome Dick Manitoba of The Dictators has posted his thoughts on Kristal's passing on the band's website.
New Development in SoundExchange vs Web Casters

Pitchfork's got the details on the new royalty payment offer made by SoundExchange to internet broadcasters whose revenues do not exceed 1.25 million per year.
Guerra Leads Latin Grammy Nominations

Dominican singer/songwriter and modern tropical music icon Juan Luis Guerra tops this year's list of Latin Grammy nominations with five. The award ceremony will take place in Las Vegas on Nov. 8th.
We'd Prefer Not To

With the press in a tizzy over the new fall TV schedule here in the US, the lads at Maxim have taken a different route and listed their own "Ten Fall Shows We Won't Watch". Sounds like fun to us.
How Low Can You Go?

Not content with mug shots, paparazzos are now eyeing actual jail cell pics as the next frontier in the documentation of bullshit, celebrity star-fucking. The L.A. Sherriff's dept may have other ideas, though.

8/28/2007

New Releases

Among this week's notable newbies are...

FRANK BLACK Bluefinger (Cooking Vinyl)
BEN HARPER AND THE INNOCENT CRIMINALS Lifeline (EMI)
RAEKWON Icewater (Babygrande)
ANOUSHKA SHANKAR Breathing Under Water (Manhattan)
WORLD PARTY Best in Show (Liberation)

Reissues include:

JOE BATAAN Subway Joe (Fania/Universal)
JORGE BEN Forca Bruta (Dusty Groove)
LA CLAVE self-titled (Dusty Groove)
THE GAP BAND Drop The Bomb (Sheridan Square)
RINGO STARR Photograph: The Very Best of (Capitol)

Scott Baio Will Be 46 and Married...

...yet that won't stop VH1 from bestowing upon us another season of this reality show.
You know, being on TV really must be that big a deal. Otherwise, how could an average-looking, ringer for a pizza guy, land some of the hottest Hollywood starlets of the last 20 years?! At least Warren Beatty had style and talent to match his looks. And when he finally settled down, he married an also talented, classy lady. Jeez...
WTF?!

Lou Reed is working with the Killers on a new song, "Tranquilize".

Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Baby

Marc Anthony's soundtrack album to the Hector Lavoe biopic El Cantante (Sony BMG) is Billboard's #1 Latin Album for the fourth week in a row. Meanwhile, the Lavoe compilations El Cantante: The Originals and A Man and His Music (both Fania/Universal) are at #9 and #18, respectively. In a just world...

8/27/2007

My Bloody Valentine Contemplate Coachella
No followup to Loveless in sight, but a festival appearance and maybe even a tour are allegedly in the works.

Cure Cancel North American Dates (for now)
No time to tour and finish double album, allege Robert Smith and co. New album and supporting tour rescheduled for Spring '08.
What We're Listening To

JOHN COLTRANE My Favorite Things (Atlantic)
CROSBY STILLS & NASH self-titled (Atlantic)
KING'S X Dogman (Atlantic)
JACO PASTORIUS self-titled (Columbia)
JOE ZAWINUL Brown Street (ESC/Birdland)

What are YOU listening to?

8/24/2007

From The Root To The Fruit

What’s that old saying? “You can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been,” right? And what applies to life in general surely applies to music in particular, as well.

We once read somewhere that while jazz giant John Coltrane is often considered immensely influential, it is quite difficult to find tangible examples of this influence—the great David S. Ware not withstanding—because ‘Trane was such a unique saxophonist. Therefore, his influence is more of spirit than actual playing, according to this assertion. The following examples are unlike this. In fact, they point to a direct relationship between the work of latter-day interpreters and what music influenced them.

In other words, you know that new, cool, fresh-sounding band you like? Chances are, there’s an earlier, lesser-known—and sometimes, better—version of them out there. Here are 5 instances of this phenomenon:

THE WHITE STRIPES are perhaps the most popular rock group to come out of this decade. But in the late ‘80s the two-man team of guitarist Dexter Romweber and drummer Crow, together known as FLAT DUO JETS, were already mashing a variety of musical styles with an old school, garage-like sensibility. A good starting point is their 1990 self-titled album [Sky/Dog Gone], even though it’s not their most representative one, due to the boys adding a bass player on this occasion. Regardless, it rocks pure and simple and is yet another reminder of why Jack White should’ve never settled for a mediocre drummer—at best—such as Meg White.


Among QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE’s frequent collaborators is MASTERS OF REALITY vocalist/guitarist Chris Goss who also produced QOTSA frontman Josh Homme’s previous band, Kyuss, among many others. One listen to the Masters’ bluesy/stoner/updated classic rock sophomore album, Sunrise on the Sufferbus [Chrysalis-1992]—with no less than the legendary Ginger Baker on drums—and you can clearly deduce why Homme keeps working with Goss on a regular basis. And why he owes him big time.


Kurt Cobain loved his hometown heroes THE MELVINS so much,
he even roadied for them early on, in addition to soaking up their influence. And when NIRVANA was catapulted into the stratosphere, Cobain was instrumental in landing the San Francisco-by-way-of-Aberdeen, WA trio a major label record deal. Kurt partially produced and played on Houdini [Atlantic-1993], arguably the best of their major label trifecta. Sadly, Kurt may be gone but the Melvins soldier on and have even paid tribute to their old friend with a straightforward "Smells Like Teen Spirit", ably sung by none other than '70s teen idol Leif Garrett (!) on their 2000 covers album The Crybaby [Ipecac].


Bizarrely, many seem to think—including rock critics who should know better—that FRANZ FERDINAND’s sound (as well as that of The Dead 60s, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, The Futureheads, etc etc etc) appeared fully formed out of nowhere, when in fact, they owe a very big chunk of their musical identity to none other than WIRE.

Their first two albums, the landmark 1977 debut Pink Flag, and 1978’s post-punk blueprint Chairs Missing [both Harvest/EMI] are rarely, if ever, discussed in terms of their influence on this newest generation of British rockers. But the truth is, their presence is as strong as The Jam, The Clash, or even—dare we say it—early XTC in the work of these UK upstarts. (And if they tell you they don't know/love U2's "Two Hearts Beat As One" from the War album
[Island-1980], they're flat out lying.)


On 1999’s The Soft Bulletin [Warner Bros], THE FLAMING LIPS took their acid-fried psychedelia down a notch, pushed forward their simmering Beach Boys influence and with the assistance of producer David Fridmann gave it a widescreen, modern sheen. Cool. However, even a cursory listen to A Wizard, A True Star [Bearsville-1973] makes it quite evident that TODD RUNDGREN had come across this same formula in the early '70s. When people talk about latter-day Flaming Lips, influences such as Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Yes, and the aforementioned Beach Boys, are always paid, um, lip service. They must not be aware of Rundgren's fourth solo album with its heavy synths, big distorted drums, airy melodies, and insular wit. Not for long, hopefully.
Upcoming NYC Events

The Annual Charlie Parker Festival

Mario Rivera Memorial

What We're Listening To

DAVID GARZA Overdub (Atlantic)
TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS Living With The Living (Touch and Go)
PAUL McCARTNEY Memory Almost Full (HearMusic)
MY BLOODY VALENTINE Loveless (Sire)
DAVE NAVARRO Trust No One (Capitol)

What are YOU listening to?

8/23/2007

Banner vs Reverend Al: We Need a Resolution

Check out this insightful Op-Ed piece by "5"er "The Wolf".
Do MP3 Files Count?

Pop Candy has Nedd Raggett's entry for My Bloody Valentine's classic album Loveless from the new DID collection, Marooned: The Next Generation of Desert Island Discs (Da Capo), edited by Phil Freeman. Greil Marcus wrote the introduction.

8/21/2007

Daryl Hall

The tall, blonde half of the most successful duo in pop history talks to Pitchfork about his 40 years in the music business and what's currently going on with him and the little guy.
New Releases

Today's include:

IMPERIAL TEEN The Hair The TV The Baby & The Band (Merge)
MENDOZA LINE 30 Year Low (Glurp)
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS Challengers (Matador)
NUMBERS Now You Are This (Kill Rock Stars)
RILO KILEY Under the Blacklight (Warner Bros)

8/20/2007

I Want My Music Television (and Video Hits One)

It occurred to us a few days ago, that those born after 1981, i.e. the MTV-era, probably don’t know what the cable channel’s acronym—and that of its sister channel VH1—actually stands for. Objectively speaking, if you viewed their programming for any 2 hour stretch not knowing the name of the network you were watching it’s highly unlikely the words “Music Television” would be one of your first dozen guesses. (Both MTV and VH1 do air music videos around the 3:00 AM-10:00 AM hours.) This is not just a matter of moving from music-related programming in favor of high-rating reality shows and the like. No, this goes a bit deeper: it looks as if MTV has made a conscious effort to distance itself from its own history and groundbreaking origins.

While a big fuss was made about the cable channel’s celebration of its 20th anniversary, five years later on August 1st, 2006, MTV itself only mentioned its own milestone once, and that was during their afternoon hit parade-type show, TRL. (Currently, Total Request Live is their only music-dedicated daytime programming.) They actually spent the day hyping up the current edition of The Real World. Maybe it’s a case of trading one pioneering move for another. After all, The Real World is the mother of all reality shows, spawning countless imitators and even one of the most beloved sitcoms in TV history: Friends. Sign of the times, right?

Despite the lengthy run of the Emmy award-winning Behind The Music, other similar shows such as Legends, and Bands Reunited, VH1 has followed in the reality show footsteps of its older sister, frequently rivaling MTV with its legion of celebrity-fueled shows (Flavor of Love, its biggest rated show ever; Breaking Bonaduce; Hogan Knows Best, etc.) It does make a feeble attempt at music programming with Movies That Rock—if we come across Grease one more time we’re coming down to 1515 Broadway with a paddle and rocking some butts Sister Mary Callahan-style—but not even in the same zip code as hardly enough.

Which is why we were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon and ultimately watch the broadcast premiere of The United States vs. John Lennon on VH1 this past Saturday night. And with no commercial interruption, even. Our cynical side tells us that it’s quite possible this happened because their target demo was out and about—it aired at 9 PM EST—and maybe they could get Mom and Dad to watch and order VH1 Classic from their cable provider. (In their respective video clip days, VH1 had a more ‘mature’ playlist than MTV.) But what the airing of this interesting documentary did for us—aside from teaching us further about the story itself: John Lennon’s 5-year battle against the US government to remain in New York and the surrounding circumstances—was remind us of a time when both MTV and VH1 mattered, and when music really mattered despite video allegedly killing the radio star. (For what it's worth, there’s a lot more of the latter than the former these days, by the way.) We may never see those days again. Here’s hoping we lose that bet.
Happy Birthday

The one and only Robert Anthony Plant (59), August 20th.

8/17/2007

This Is Planet Earth

PRINCE Planet Earth (Columbia)
Like the two albums preceding it, Planet Earth is more concerned with refining and slightly updating Prince’s sound rather than tackling modern rock/r&b. Perhaps, deep down, there is still some of that forward thinking artist left in him; the one that challenged old boundaries and created new ones. But these days he seems less intent on breaking new ground and more focused on giving us the best Prince album he can. Nothing wrong with that, especially when you can come up with this strong an album, this late in your career. What makes it even more remarkable is how Planet Earth touches upon many of Prince’s trademark stylistic turns without coming across as a museum piece. In fact, some have labelled the album, a sort of “Cliff Notes” to his sound/career. Well, here’s ours:

Released 3 weeks after his 50th birthday, 23 years after Purple Rain made him a superstar, and following 2006’s 3121, the diminutive one’s 26th studio album, Planet Earth, is a 10-track, no-filler platter and third in a series of comeback albums. It rocks. Period.

Highlights:
“Guitar”, “Mr. Goodnight”, “Lion of Judah”

8/16/2007

RIP

Legendary jazz drummer Max Roach. He was 83.
Dirty Old Men

Showtime’s new breakout series is a 'dramedy' called Californication, starring David Duchovny as Hank Moody, a middle-aged Hollywood Lothario who medicates his possibly career-ending writer’s block with sex and drugs, amidst the wreckage of his relationship with the mother of his devoted teenage daughter. Moody's lone novel, God Hates Us All, was turned into an allegedly lame, but quite successful big screen romcom called A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, much to the deep chagrin of our 'hero', who fancies himself a "one hit-wonder" too busy skirt-chasing and espousing rivers of sarcasm to sit down and confront the muse. Previews for the show were enticing and the first episode easily lived up to our expectations. Duchovny does a great job playing Moody, who despite the potential for one-dimensional characterization has been written with many layers and facets in mind. But what really surprised and shocked us was finding out that one of Duchovny’s onscreen lovers, the very yummy Madeline Zima, was once…the youngest child on The Nanny! Noooo! (Not to mention the little daughter in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.) Man, do we feel old. And dirty. (She’s 22 now, by the way.) In any event, Californication follows the award-winning Weeds on Monday nights and looks to be a welcome addition to the Showtime lineup. You could do much worse.
Litigious Femmes

Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie is suing vocalist/guitarist Gordon Gano for lack of credit on various band compositions and alleged financial discrepancies in the band’s accounting. The suit also claims the Femmes’ reputation was irrevocably ruined by Gano granting fast food chain Wendy’s use of the band’s signature tune, “Blister In the Sun”, in an ad campaign. Details here.
One Bad Apple Does Ruin The Bunch

For the first time in 25 years, The Osmonds—complete with Donny and Marie—are reuniting.

8/15/2007

And the Winner Is... (Um, Not Yet)

Yes, even though about 2/3 of 2007 are behind us now, it's still too early to make predictions. And not fair to anyone whose work is around the corner waiting for us to enjoy, or dismiss, even. However, here are 2 that we feel quite strongly about at this point in the game:

BEST ROCK ALBUM:
SPOON Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)
Hard to describe: mellow Sonic Youth crossed with vintage Motown? The Kinks interpreted by Wire? Whatever, it's great.

WORST COVER SONG:
"Psycho Killer" by Velvet Revolver
Qu'est que c'est? indeed.
Speaking of Covers...

With Dani Harrison--son of George--on acoustic and Chili Pepper John Frusciante on lead guitar, The Wu-Tang Clan are covering "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on their upcoming album, 8 Diagrams. Yes, you read correctly. Pitchfork has details.
Nels Cline

The avant jazz guitarist has also done time with rock acts, namely Geraldine Fibbers, Mike Watt, and now Wilco. PopMatters' Will Layman takes a look at the body of work by the six-stringer, whose physical body is currently suffering from chicken pox. Ouch!
Johnny Was

HBO has cancelled John from Cincinnati.
What We're Listening To

KLARK KENT self-titled (A&M)
LOU REED New York (Sire)
SMASHING PUMPKINS Zeitgeist (Reprise)
VAN HALEN [all of the DLR-era albums] (Warner Bros.)
SUZANNE VEGA Beauty and Crime (Blue Note)

What are YOU listening to?

8/14/2007

Yes, it's on again! The mighty VH has formally announced dates for their reunion tour, confirming rumors that had been swirling around them for weeks. At an Aug. 13th press conference in Los Angeles, the band (l-r: Wolfgang Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen) announced the dates, featuring "Diamond Dave" on vocals for the first time in 22 years. Damn straight! Here are the dates:

09/27 - Charlotte, NC
09/29 - Greensboro, NC
10/01 - Philadelphia, PA
10/07 - Toronto, ON
10/10 - Cleveland, OH
10/14 - Indianapolis, IN
10/16 - Chicago, IL
10/18 - Chicago, IL
10/22 - Auburn Hills, MI
10/24 - Minneapolis, MN
10/26 - Kansas City, MO
10/28 - St. Louis, MO
10/30 - Boston, MA
11/03 - East Rutherford, NJ
11/13 - New York, NY
11/20 - Los Angeles, CA
11/23 - Glendale, AZ
11/25 - San Diego, CA
11/27 - Sacramento, CA
11/29 - San Jose, CA
12/01 - Portland, OR
12/03 - Seattle, WA
12/05 - Vancouver, BC
12/09 - Edmonton, Alberta
12/11 - Calgary, Alberta

Let's see if they can hold it together...

[Van Halen photo courtesy of Stereogum.]

What We’ve Been Reading

STEVEN A. GRASSE
The Evil Empire: 101 Ways That England Ruined The World
[Quirk]


KARL SHAW
5 People Who Died During Sex and 100 Other Terribly Tasteless Lists
[Broadway]


In search of some light and funny reading—and to playfully pick on Anglophile guests visiting us—we recently picked up The Evil Empire expecting to find a humorous, witty, tongue-in-cheek dressing down of Britannia. ‘Twas not to be.

Inspired by Brits constantly labeling US President George W. Bush as
an idiot and Americans as dolts for voting him into office to his face when visiting their country, Philadelphia-based ad-man Grasse,
a self-proclaimed patriot, took it upon himself to write this humorless diatribe in response. The result is often a right-wing, “ugly American” manifesto that does nothing but underline the stereotypes we are burdened with and, ultimately, fails by showing the lack of humor the author charges the British with. (Pot, kettle. Indeed.)

Sure there is truth in many of the 101 transgressions the author points out—allegedly, the book’s underlying premise is to cynically take the heat off the US and its offenses 'round the globe—but let’s just say that if we need to brush up on the history, influence and misdeeds of the British Empire, a tome by the writer/director of
The Bikini Bandits is not going to be within our first one thousand choices. C’mon! And what is The Evil Empire doing in the humor section of the book store? Shouldn’t it be kept wherever they stock Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Coulter? Trust us, there’s nothing even remotely funny about The Evil Empire.

On the other hand, British author Karl Shaw’s is a fun, if sometimes a bit uncomfortable read. Hey, the title pretty much sums it up. And how could we not review a book we share our blog's name with? (No, not "tasteless", wiseass.) If you enjoy this sort of thing—we know we do—then 5 People Who Died During Sex should do right by you at the beach or by the pool. Especially if you want to keep to yourself.
New Releases

This week's include:

TERENCE BLANCHARD A Tale of God's Will [A Requiem for Katrina] (Angel)
EISLEY Combinations (Warner Bros.)
THELMA HOUSTON Woman’s Touch (Shout Factory)
DAVE MATTHEWS/TIM REYNOLDS Live at Radio City Music Hall (RCA)
THE RENTALS The Last Little Life EP (BPA)

Reissues:

RAY BARRETO Essential Ray Barretto: A Man, His Music (Fania/Universal)
STEWART COPELAND Anthology (Koch)
ESG A South Bronx Story, Vol.2 (Soul Jazz)
LOS HERMANOS ROSARIO Bomba (Kubaney/Universal)
VARIOUS ARTISTS Get Ready, Here Come the ‘70s (Shout Factory)


Also, John Lennon's solo catalog has been added to iTunes. George Harrison's is rumored to be next. Stay tuned.

8/13/2007

The Bitch Is Right

In a post entitled Why Does Sir Elton Want to Kill the Net?, on the PopMatters blog Crazed by the Music, Jason Gross commented on Elton John's recent attack on the cyberworld. Gross generally agrees with rock's queen mother but takes him to task for John's assertion that the quality of music out there has fallen dramatically.

"I don’t agree with him about there only being a handful of good albums out each year. I think that’s a symbol of age and being a fogey, where you endlessly repeat 'I remember how good things were back in my day...!'”

We'd been wondering about that exact same thing until we started coming across more and more teenagers and young adults who listen almost exclusively to the likes of ‘70s classic rock, Delta blues and old-school R&B. So, when 20 year olds and 60 year olds are groovin’ to the latter’s tunes you know the current musical landscape more than sucks. Hey, hats off to the kids! Many of them were smart enough not to get caught up in mediocre, hipster crap like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, Kings of Leon, etc. I'm sure many of us wish we’d been that smart.
Use Your Delusion: Dude, Are You Serious?

"Axl is so jealous of our band..."
- Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum, in Rolling Stone #1032
A Farewell to Kings

Wednesday night, on the eve of the 30th anniversay of Elvis Presley's death, CNN's resident zombie, Larry King, will host some sort of tribute on his show. Not being fans of Elvis and--ever since he gave a forum to non-entities like Paris Hilton--refusing to watch King's blabfest, we've made no effort to find out what it's gonna be like. But you might want to check it out, so... Maybe King will take the opportunity to quit and spare us, once and for all, from his pseudo senility and daily nonsense. Hey, one can dream, eh?
RIP

British TV/radio personality and music impresario Tony Wilson--immortalized on screen by Steve Coogan in 24 Hour Party People--on Friday, Aug. 10th. He was 57. Billboard has an obit. So does Pitchfork.


TV icon/game show king Merv Griffin on Sunday, Aug. 12th. He was 82. Entertainment Weekly has an obit.

8/10/2007

His Left Foot? (open letter to Harp magazine)

So, like practically every rock music magazine in the Western world, the White Stripes made your latest cover, too. These are not saints of our devotion, but fine, whatever. What we must take issue with is the nauseating hero-worship that writer Mike Edison bestows upon Meg White [Harp, July/August 2007], culminating with a comparison of her drumming skills to John Lee Hooker’s left foot (!!!). This reads as a fawning love letter charged with the shameless and pathetic intent of hoping to get her to sleep with him. That, or Harp has hired the White Stripes’ publicist.

Whether or not Jack White is an overrated musician—which he, in fact, is—or who else is or isn’t a virtuoso has no bearing on the stunning mediocrity that is Ms. White’s drumming. Period.
Regardless, the fact that this sorry excuse for music journalism made it to your pages has the editor(s) of your otherwise fine magazine flirting with dereliction of duty. Please. You guys are much better than that.
Cure/Scorcese Hibernate; Biggie Hits The Big Screen

According to Billboard, the release of both The Cure's new album and Martin Scorcese's Rolling Stones flick have been pushed back to Spring 2008. Yawn.
Don't get us wrong: we love The Cure and a good chunk of the Stones' tunes, but they've both gotten a bit stale. However, suckers that we are, we'll be in line to buy Robert Smith's latest whine-fest the day it comes out, so...

And speaking of movies, Fox Searchlight will be holding open auditions to cast the part of Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. in their biopic, Notorious. Hmm...

Los Cantantes (well...)

"5" er Harold Martinez had this to say re: La Mujer del Cantante: "I'm just perplexed Hector [Lavoe] is giving mouth to mouth to Marc [Anthony]'s career. It's sad and strange and it makes me sick."

Well, break out your barf bag Mr. M: Guess who's going out on the road together?

"The power couple of Latin music, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony," as The Orange County Register calls them, have booked a 14-date tour starting Sept. 29 in Atlantic City, NJ, and wrapping up on Nov. 2 in Miami. This is going to be Jello's first actual tour, btw. She'll be promoting her Spanish-language album, Como Ama una Mujer, which hubby produced. Normally, we'd post the tour dates but this time we're not feeling it. Whatever.
What We're Listening To

EDIE BRICKELL & NEW BOHEMIANS Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars (Geffen)
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE Traffic and Weather (Virgin)
HECTOR LAVOE La Voz (Fania/Universal)
SPOON Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)
YES Tales From Topographic Oceans (Atlantic)

What are YOU listening to?

8/09/2007

WWMS? (What Would Miles Say?)

After neglecting large chunks of his seminal output for years--quite a few of the classics were, in fact, out of print when he died in 1991--Sony continues their massive reissuing of the Miles Davis vaults with a box set documenting the On The Corner sessions.
Creatively titled, The Complete On The Corner Sessions (of course), the six-disc box set will be released on Sept. 18th in time for the 35th anniversary of the original album.

Crtically dismissed, and at the time, Davis' worst-selling album, many found On The Corner's brand of funk and experimentation to be a slap in the face to Davis' followers of the previous quarter century. (It has been said this was his attempt at reconnecting with a young black audience that had abandoned jazz for rock and funk.) But with the passage of time the album's reputation has since been rehabilitated and On The Corner is now rightfully considered a seminal influence on hip-hop, drum and bass, and electronica. Pretty cool, huh?
AT&T Censors Pearl Jam Lollapalooza Performance

Anti-Bush lyrics sung to the tune of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" by Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder during the band's "Daughter" at Lollapalooza this past weekend, were cut from AT&T's cybercast of the concert, according to Billboard magazine.

In a public statement, the telecommunications giant blamed the gaffe on "a mistake by a Webcast vendor...contrary to our policy." The company went on to admit that they do have safeguards for excessive profanity but that it "does not censor performances" and apologized for the incident.

Pearl Jam and AT&T have promised to make available the complete, unedited version of "Daughter" from the show in question online, possibly on the band's official website.
Monkee Business

PopMatters celebrates The Monkees' Summer of Love--that's 1967, for some of you kiddies--with an essay on their two albums of the time: Headquarters, which marked their first full-fledged studio adventure as a quartet--with help from producer Chip Douglas--and its followup, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
Three's A Book

If groupie "queen" Pamela Des Barres has been shamelessly and repeatedly hawking her memoirs for decades, who can blame someone who was much more than a groupie--a muse, in fact--for taking her turn in the rock and roll cash-in sweepstakes/merry-go-round?

Patti Boyd, former wife of George Harrison, love interest of Harrison's best friend/frequent collaborator Eric Clapton, and the inspiration for such classics as "Something", "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight", has written a book about her life as the center of rock's most famous love triangle. London's Daily Mail has a two-part excerpt from Boyd's book, Wonderful Today.

8/08/2007

New Releases

Among those released this week we have:

PETER CASE Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John (Yep Roc)
JON FADDIS Good and Plenty (Buddah)
ROBBEN FORD Truth (Concord)
PUBLIC ENEMY How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul??? (Slam Jamz)
ZAP MAMA Supermoon Heads Up
What We're Listening To

EL TEN ELEVEN self-titled (Bar None)
LET'S ACTIVE Cypress (IRS)
LA RUTA Adios, Ruperto... (220 Records)
CHRIS SQUIRE Fish Out of Water (Atlantic)
VAN HALEN II (Warner Bros)

What are YOU listening to?

8/06/2007

La Mujer del Cantante

Imagine if, say, Marvin Gaye was known almost exclusively to R&B fans alone and Halle Berry decided to wield her Hollywood clout to make a Gaye biopic based on the experiences of his wife Anna Gordy. That analogy should give you a pretty good idea of what El Cantante, nominally the story of salsa legend Hector Lavoe, is all about. What it doesn't tell you is what made Lavoe a towering figure or how he got there. And, regrettably, neither does the movie.

Directed by Leon Ichaso (Crossover Dreams, Piñero) and produced by Jennifer Lopez's Nuyorican Productions, this starring vehicle for Lopez and her real-life husband, salsa star Marc Anthony, is possibly the most expensive Lifetime movie ever made. Yes, thankfully, the musical performances are on-point but they can't redeem this cliché-fest from the hole it digs itself in. Of course, the choice to base the movie on the perspective of the subject's wife is a legitimate one. It's obviously the story that those involved in this project wanted to tell.

Whether this was a genuine commercial and/or artistic consideration or a simple question of vanity on Lopez's part so that she could play a character with more prominence in the film is of relative importance. (Lopez had previously tried to produce and star in a biopic about another Latin music icon, La Lupe, but it never got off the ground.) What smacks of hubris, ignorance or just plain cluelessness is that Lopez would consider this film, under those circumstances, a definitive take on Lavoe. "I don't know what movie they want to see, because this is the truth," she told the press at El Cantante's Hollywood premiere. Really? Wow.

Needless to say, we wanted more from El Cantante. Lavoe's biopic could've been a step towards educating those in the dark about salsa's importance and commercial prominence in its heyday. Especially when we regularly come across such inaccuracies as Billy Joel's 1990 concert at Yankee Stadium being touted as the first musical event ever held there. (Actually, The Isley Brothers put together a show at the Stadium in 1969!) As a matter of record, monster salsa collective the Fania All Stars--a group showcasing the Fania label's numerous talents--played various sold out shows at the Yankee home park during the '70s and even released live albums commemorating this as further proof. (1975's Live at Yankee Stadium was included in the list of recordings preserved in the United States National Recording Registry.) Admittedly, this is perhaps placing too much responsibility on a sole film, but Lavoe--and salsa fans--didn't deserve this half-baked, made for TV mediocrity, either.

As expected, reviews have generally been negative and contemporaries of Lavoe who worked on the movie in one capacity or another--among them fellow salsa legend Willie Colon, and vocalist Ismael Miranda, who does a decent job on screen as Lavoe's father--have come out swinging with their scathing assessment of the finished product. Not a good mix. So, in the meantime, if you want to know what made the man great, skip the flick and start by picking up Fania Records' recently released 2 CD retrospective, La Voz. Otherwise, well, better luck next time. To all of us.
Whitey Wins Again

So it looks like Don Imus has done what Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson et al have been unable to do: get rappers to reconsider their use of the "n" word in their rhymes. Well, not quite.

According to the Associated Press, "platinum-seller Chamillionaire recently announced that his new album, Ultimate Victory, would be cuss- and N-word free." He goes on to state that it was not the Imus debacle but in fact seeing his white fans sing along to the epithet at his shows that brought about the change of heart. “I was like, 'You know what? I’m not going to say the N-word on this [next album] because when I go back on the road, and I start performing, I don’t want them to be saying it, like me teaching them.'” Fellow rapper Talib Kweli praised Chamillionaire’s decision, calling it “a wise one, a smart one and a creative one, and I commend him on it. He’s the type of artist who is talented enough to pull that off, and he’s making a point. Industry executives ... are so used to the formula that they don’t know what to do, and I think they’re scared.”
No word as of yet from the respective Jackson or Sharpton camps. This should be interesting.
Cooperstown Calling

We generally don't do sports here, but for baseball fans it was "Milestone Weekend":
Saturday afternoon, Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez hit his 500 career home rum in front of the hometown crowd, and later that evening controversial Giants outfielder Barry Bonds tied the all-time home run record held by Hammerin' Hank Aaron when he hit no. 755. Sunday night, veteran Mets pitcher Tom Glavine recorded his 300th career win when his team beat the Cubs. Pretty cool, huh?
Lee Hazelwood, RIP

Pitchfork's got an obit.
What We're Listening To

STEWART COPELAND The Rhythmatist (A&M)
HELMET Size Matters (Interscope)
LET'S ACTIVE Big Plans for Everybody (Capitol)
PAUL McCARTNEY Memory Almost Full (Hear Music)
RADIOHEAD The Bends (Parlophone)

What are YOU listening to?

8/03/2007

Esta Navidad...en Madrid?

While they may be on the same side of the keyboard, legendary Cuban pianists Bebo and Chucho Valdés differ on their political views, specifically those concerning their homeland. But the father and son have recently recorded an album in Spain and this New York Times article not only talks about the collaboration but also, how Spain has become a non-politicized cultural oasis for Cuban artists of all stripes who don’t feel comfortable dealing with the Havana/Miami divide.

Hotter Than July: Stevie Wonder on the Road

For the first time in over a decade Stevie Wonder will hit the road. In a few weeks, "A Wonder Summer's Night", will kick off with the first of its 13-city dates on Aug. 23 in San Diego and conclude in Boston on Sept. 20th. Wonder’s most recent album, A Time to Love, was released in 2005 and is a few thousand copies shy of gold certification (500,000 copies sold).

Here are the "A Wonder Summer's Night" dates:

Aug. 23 San Diego, CA
Aug. 25 Lake Tahoe, CA
Aug. 26 Concord, CA
Aug. 28 Santa Barbara, CA
Aug. 30 Portland, OR
Aug. 31 Woodinville, WA
Sept. 4 Saratoga, CA
Sept. 5 Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 10 Chicago, IL
Sept. 12 Detroit, MI
Sept. 14 Atlanta, GA
Sept. 16 Baltimore, MD
Sept. 20 Boston, MA
Get Your Zz-Zz’s Out?

Über producer/engineer Bob Clearmountain is currently in the studio mixing recent live Rolling Stones tracks for an upcoming release. Will it be as lame as their other 6 live albums? Stay tuned.
Lost In Translation, Indeed

On top of her recent collaborations with The Jesus and Mary Chain at Coachella and Justin Timberlake, actress Scarlett Johansson has set her musical sights on recording not one, but two albums: a tribute to Tom Waits, and her own official debut.
According to Steve Nails, Dockside Studio owner—where the latter album was recorded—the music comes across as "like a theater, big screen. Lots of heavy bass tones in it. Without a bass guitar, we used all kind of different instruments to create these sounds. It was a great experiment. Very avant garde. She sounds like Marilyn Monroe." Produced by David Sitek of TV on the Radio and featuring members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, no release date has been set for the record.

Open Letter to Chris Cornell

Dear Chris Cornell,

Please knock off all this fruitcake shit, stop trying to be Sting, and just get Soundgarden back together already. Everybody else is getting their shitty 90’s bands back together, you might as well jump on board and get one of the good ones movin’ again too. NO ONE wants to see you embarrass yourself anymore with this solo horseshit. What people want is: you with ridiculously long hair again, shirtless, rockin’ those weird bracelets you had, maybe also throwing on some cut off jeans and beat up Docs, and getting back to singing about dark shit like snakes and serpents while Ben Shepherd bangs his bass on the ground behind you, Kim [Thayil] solos people’s faces off in drop D, and Matt Cameron beats the shit outta the skins. (Keep the drummer gloves at the Pearl Jam practice space though, Chief. No room for that dorkus shit in the 'Garden camp). I mean come on… you’ve got a dude who played with Jewel in your “band” now!


So, anyways Chris, just chillax on this solo hogwash, call up the boys, and maybe check out a little thing called BEER… you were a hell of a lot cooler when you drank that shit.

Love,
Buddyhead


[According to Wikipedia, "Buddyhead is a music 'webzine' and independent record label...notorious for their Lester Bangs-style of outspoken criticism of popular culture and the music-industry. Their infamous gossip column has resulted in them being sued...by numerous celebrities and record labels ranging from Courtney Love to Drive-Thru Records. Scandals and antics they are responsible for include them breaking into Fred Durst’s office at Interscope Records, stealing his baseball cap, and then auctioning it off and donating the money to a rape victim charity." Our kinda peeps. For the most part. Um, guys, you know Cornell can't hit the high notes anymore, right? Right? You can read more of the Buddyhead rants and raves here. -KJ]

And while we're on the subject of Soundgarden, "5" contributor Jeff Kent reports that "Cornell told The Pulse of Radio [formerly Launch Radio Networks] that he'd like to see the band issue a rarities collection. 'I've sort of left that in Kim's world, because Kim had always talked about wanting to be in charge of doing, like, a box set or a B-sides album,' he said. 'That was something that he had mentioned years ago, and I'm sure at some point he will want to do it, and that's I guess when it'll get done. I don't know how much actual unreleased stuff is out there, but there's definitely some Soundgarden rarities stuff that the average fan has not heard and it would be nice to put out.'"

8/02/2007

A 'Head' of Its Time

PopMatters’ Bill Gibron takes a look back at the Monkees’ cult classic Head and sheds a bit more light on this oft-misunderstood film, which may be, arguably, the Monkees’ finest moment. Nice plus: a clip of the beautiful, Mickey Dolenz-sung “As We Go Along” (written by the one and only Carole King and featuring Neil Young on electric guitar), which could’ve been a great promo video for the movie had MTV not been a dozen or so years in the future. If you've never seen Head or have only caught the not-completely-up-to-snuff-edited-for-TV version fear not: we’re guessing there will be a deluxe DVD edition next year to mark its 40th anniversary. In the meantime check out the soundtrack for the aforementioned “As We Go Along” and the excellent “Porpoise Song [Theme from Head]” one of the best psychedelic tracks from the era and another Carole King composition.
Herbie Loves Joni

Legendary keyboardist Herbie Hancock will release a tribute to Joni Mitchell on Sept 25th. River: The Joni Letters, will be out on Verve and features appearances by Tina Turner, Leonard Cohen, Norah Jones, and Corinne Bailey Rae on vocals, with Joni herself singing on a new version of "The Tea Leaf Prophecy". Among the musicians playing on the album are Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, and Vinnie Colaiuta. Hancock and Mitchell had worked together once before on Mingus, Joni’s 1979 tribute to her jazz idol.

Joni’s own new album, Shine—on the Starbucks-owned Hear Music imprint—will see the light of day on Sept 25th as well.
Punk Rock Confidential

“5” contributor Jeff Kent has come across former Victory Records VP Ramsey Dean’s account of the label’s despicable, illegal practices against artists and employees alike, fueled by the unwarranted ruthlessness, egomania and paranoia of its boss and owner Tony Brummel. A lengthy and worthy, if nauseating, read that underlines and confirms yet again that lack of principles and underhanded, loathsome behavior is not exclusive to the major labels and is in fact, more commonplace every day among indies.
Lollapalooza

The ‘90s summer concert landmark celebrates its 3rd outing in Chicago with 3 days of music and more in the windy city’s Grant Park, starting on Friday August 3rd. Headliners—and returning participants—Pearl Jam will be joined by Ben Harper, Muse, The Stooges, Interpol, Satellite Party, Spoon, Café Tacuba, TV on the Radio, and many more. Three Day Passes are $195 and individual Single Day Tickets are $80. There is NO SERVICE FEE. Right on, Perry!
Kill The Internet

Elton John tells british tabloid The Sun the internet “is destroying good music”. And yes, he does make some interesting points…

8/01/2007

Vernon Reid

Musicians’ Friend is probably the best known online music retailer out there. But what we didn’t know is that amidst the instruments, amps and accessories is editorial content of interest to musicians and non-players alike. “5” contributor Jeff Kent recommends this interview with Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid in which he talks about his seminal band and his lengthy resume outside of it.
Foo Me Once...

The reappraisal—or just plain cashing in—of the Foo Fighters’ catalog has begun with the expanded, 10th anniversary edition of the band’s sophomore release The Colour and the Shape which includes 6 bonus tracks. Among these are the covers of “Requiem” (Killing Joke) and “Down In the Park” (Gary Numan), previously available as b-sides; and the raucous, unreleased title track. Like the guys at Pitchfork we prefer the self-titled debut to this one, but, oh well...their review of the expanded Colour and the Shape is here.
Digitize Me

Apple Inc. and Eminem are at it again: reps for the Detroit rapper are suing the iTunes people for allowing illegal downloads of their client's music. The two had tangoed before: an out-of-court settlement was reached on a suit that had been previously filed against Apple for using Eminem’s "Lose Yourself" in a TV spot for the iTunes music store. Neither of the parties involved had any official comment regarding the current legal action.

In other related news, AC/DC has decided to sell its music digitally via Verizon and not iTunes. The exclusive full-albums-only deal will be offered through the PC version of Verizon’s VCast Music service for $12 an album. The band’s entire back catalog will be available until March 2008.