Hope Die Before I Get (Too) Old

ABC News’ piece on older women in rock and roll (Cher, Bette, Tina, Madonna Still Strutting Their Stuff) extols the virtues of mature female rockers fighting the good fight, despite the direct of criticism of former Jefferson Airplane /Jefferson Starship / Starship frontwoman Grace Slick, who firmly believes rockers and rappers of a certain age, regardless of gender “look stupid and should retire”.

Not only do we agree that performers should conduct themselves in an age-appropriate manner—we’re looking at you Iggy and Mick; and please don’t dare wear a mini-skirt Debbie—but Joan Jett is the only true rocker mentioned in the article. (Not familiar with Chrissie Hynde, are we, ABC News? Oh, and we’d make an exception for Tina if she weren’t playing the casino circuit.) The rest are more the spiritual antecedents of Celine Dion than any true rock and roller.

"Rock 'n' roll is for young kids," Andrea Cagan, who co-wrote Slick's 1999 memoir, Somebody to Love, told ABCNEWS.com. "Grace knows these stars make hundreds of millions of dollars, but it's incredibly embarrassing to see older people flapping their cellulite around stage."


Prince Blocks “Creep”; Radiohead Say ‘Unblock’

A clip of Prince performing his rendition of the early Radiohead hit “Creep” at Coachella this year has been blocked for viewing by YouTube as per the Purple One’s request, citing copyright issues. The song was performed during Prince’s set at the popular California festival on April 26th. Radiohead have asked Prince to rescind his request for the block; he has yet to respond. Stay tuned.

Interwiew with Mark Eitzel

The perennially dour American Music Club frontman talks to PopMatters about the band, his disdain for touring and more. Their new album, The Golden Age (Merge), is great, by the way.

Darko Sequel in the Works

The great thespian known as Elizabeth Berkeley, she of Showgirls and Saved by the Bell fame, will star in the upcoming Donnie Darko sequel, S. Darko, as the titular heroine, Samantha. Says Whitney Matheson, of USA Today’s pop culture blog Pop Candy, “OK, this is officially gonna suck.” Really? Ha!

Bonnaroo Release Festival Schedule

The 2008 edition of the esteemed Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will take place June 12-15, in Manchester, TN, with some approximately 160 artists performing over the 4-day weekend. Being so diverse, the festival also books its share of crap: Fiery Furnaces, Vampire Weekend, Tegan and Sara, etc but, fear not, the likes of Mastodon, Iron & Wine, Sigur Ros, Drive by Truckers, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Superdrag, etc should more than balance things out. Check out the schedule here.


Dream Brother

We generally avoid hype like the plague. And when it came to the late
Jeff Buckley we did not make an exception. But one day in 1994, shortly after the release of his full-length debut, Grace, we found ourselves listening to the monthly CD sampler in the now-defunct and sorely missed Musician magazine. There we came across "So Real", an album track from Grace that both captured and epitomized the fearless power, majesty, and yes, grace of the man's music. We were mesmerized, to say the least. Literally running out to purchase the CD, for the next few months the album never left our CD player, leading us to soak up and enjoy every note. We eventually got to experience Buckley live and shortly thereafter had the pleasure of briefly making his acquaintance. Choice memories, indeed.

In late May of 1997, we received a phone call from an old friend who asked if we'd heard the news of Buckley's disappearance in the waters of the mighty Mississippi. Shocked and caught off guard by the news, we proceeded to inquire into the incident by calling a mutual friend, the esteemed Gary Lucas, noted guitar virtuoso and co-writer of "Mojo Pin" and the title track from Buckley's debut album. It didn't look good. On the evening of May 29th, Buckley had decided to go for a swim, fully clothed, while he awaited the arrival of his bandmates from New York that night, who were flying in to Memphis--where Buckley had been living and working on new songs--to record material for his sophomore album. (The unfinished tracks were released a year later as Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk.) He'd gone under; his body was found on June 4th.

Needless to say, we'll always cherish Buckley's music and the heady times and memories associated with it. The latter, in more ways than one, as it turns out: On September 11th, 2001, a line from the aforementioned "So Real" that we always felt was quite prophetic (...and I couldn't awaken from the nightmare / that sucked me in / and pulled me under...) became all too poignant that day, and made us wonder what Buckley would've put into song on his spiritual hometown's dark day. God bless you, man. Wherever you are.

"So Real" (acoustic)

"Mojo Pin" (live)


David Fridmann: Rock and Roll Saviour (?!)

Producer David Fridmann—who has worked with a myriad of artists including The Flaming Lips, Weezer, and Café Tacuba—might be turning into the dragon slayer (or geico, rather): after producing the respective sophomore releases for hollow indie buzz bands Crap Your Pants, um, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Tapes ‘n Tapes, both albums have been met with extensive negative reviews and the bands' stature among the hipsterati has diminished considerably. However, if Schoolhouse Rock taught us anyting, it's that 3 is a magic number. So, how ‘bout it Mr. Fridmann: would you like to produce Vampire Weekend's second album?

Speaking of which…

Sacre Bleu!

Since this particular show is exactly one month before Bastille Day, it would be nice if we can perhaps celebrate it early and re-enact it on stage with the headliners playing the part of the defeated. No? Oh, well. In any event, we’ll probably be there with a rested arm, a bag of putrid tomatoes, and all the necessary disdain and disgust to keep us going.

Et Tu, Phish?

Only four years after they formally broke up—for the second time—Generation X’s own Grateful Dead, the beloved jam quartet known as Phish, might be reuniting, if hints dropped by vocalist/guitarist Trey Anastasio are any indication.

"When Phish broke up, I made some comment about how I'm not gonna go around playing 'You Enjoy Myself'' for the rest of my life…at this point in time I would give my left nut to play that song five times in a row every day until I die,” Anastasio told Rolling Stone.

Earlier this month the band reconvened onstage at the Jammies, to receive a Lifetime Achievement award.

You’re Kidding, Right?

This summer, the city of Milwaukee—in which the the ‘70s hit TV show Happy Days was set—will erect a bronze statue of Arthur Fonzarelli aka The Fonz, a lead character from the beloved sitcom. Actor/director Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie, will be on hand for the ceremony.

Lit Drummer Battles Brain Tumor

Allen Shellenberger, drummer for California hard rockers Lit, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The Orange County Register reported last week that the 38 year-old has the same kind of rare, malignant tumor as Sen. Edward Kennedy. Shellenberger, who is undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, is said to be in good spirits.

What We’re Listening To

NICK DRAKE Bryter Layter (Island)
FIREHOSE Flyin’ the Flannel (Sony)
LOVE AND ROCKETS self-titled (Beggars Banquet)
DAVID SYLVIAN Gone to Earth (Virgin)

What are YOU listening to?


This Week's Playlist: What's Your Poison?

Here's a dozen tracks all about the pursuit of happiness (or maybe not). Enjoy!

1. AC/DC "Have a Drink on Me"
2. BLACK SABBBATH "Snowblind"
3. J.J. CALE "Cocaine"
4. GUNS 'N' ROSES "Mr. Brownstone"
5. HOWLIN' MAGGIE "Alcohol"
6. BILLY JOEL "Captain Jack"
7. PAUL McCARTNEY "Let Me Roll It"
8. BLAKE MORGAN "Saccharine"
9. OASIS "Cigarettes and Alcohol"
10. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE "Feel Good Hit of the Summer"
12. MUDDY WATERS "Champagne and Reefer"

Starbucks Sticks to Coffee; Ditches Music Label

Refocusing its sales efforts towards the product that made them a retail giant and a lifestyle brand, Starbucks has passed on the reigns of its record label Hear Music, to the Concord Music Group. The label had released albums by Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, among others. No word as to whether the artists will continue with Hear Music, which was formed in 1990 and acquired by Starbucks in 1999, but was only formally and actively part of the coffee retailer's business plan since last year.

New Releases

Making their debuts this week are:

BUDDY GUY Breaking Out (Koch)
JOHN HIATT Same Old Man (New West)
KILLING JOKE Love Like Blood (Caroline)
SPIRITUALIZED Songs in A & E (Fontana)
WU-TANG CLAN Return of the Swarm 5 (Koch)

Quote of the Day

I'd rather burn my pubes with a blowtorch."

- Comedian and late night talk show host Craig Ferguson when asked if he'd be going to see Sex and the City: The Movie.

Happy Birthday

[Paul Weller photo by Ray Yates]

The Modfather, Mr.
Paul Weller, (50) on May 25th; The Band's vocalist/drummer Levon Helm (68), retro rocker Lenny Kravitz (44); both on May 26th.

Slick Rick Pardoned

New York governor David Patterson has issued a pardon for beloved old school rapper Slick Rick for his 1991 "attempted murder and weapon convictions, in order to allow Walters to seek relief from deportation from the federal immigration courts," according to an official press release from the governor's office. Born in the UK in 1965, Ricky Walters has lived in the US for some 30-odd years but remained a British citizen and thus faced possible deportation due to the aforementioned run-ins with the law.

"Mr. Walters has fully served the sentence imposed upon him for his convictions, had an exemplary disciplinary record while in prison and on parole, and has been living without incident in the community for more than 10 years," said Governor Paterson.

Slick Rick's biggest hits include "Children's Story" and "La Di Da Di".


- Legendary director and occasional actor Sydney Pollack died of cancer, in Los Angeles, on May 26th. Among the Academy Award winner's best known films are Tootsie, Out of Africa, The Firm, The Way We Were, and Three Days of the Condor. His acting credits include The Player, Eyes Wide Shut, and Michael Clayton, as well as appearances on TV shows such as The Sopranos, Frasier, Mad About You, and a recurring role on Will & Grace. Pollack was 73.

- Comedian Dick Martin, who alongside partner Dan Rowan, created the hit '60s variety show that launched the careers of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, died on March 24th of respiratory complications in Santa Monica, CA. He was 86.


Smashing Pumpkins To Celebrate 20th Anniversary

In September The Smashing Pumpkins will perform shows in Los Angeles, New York, and of course, their Chicago hometown, in celebration of the band's 20th anniversary. Head Pumpkin Billy Corgan promises special guests at each show.
Um, Billy? Are James Iha and D'Arcy at least on the guest list?

A new Pumpkins album is scheduled for early 2009.

Genesis Reunion DVD a Wal-Mart Exclusivity

The 2007 reunion tour by Genesis will be commemorated on When In Rome, a 3 DVD set released by Rhino in June and available at retail giant Wal-Mart only. The set includes a 2-hour documentary of the tour and the band's entire July 14 performance in Rome, as well as numerous extras.

According to frontman Phil Collins, the band has no concrete future plans but a reunion with former lead vocalist
Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett for a one-off performance of their seminal The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album, is a distinct possibility.

Demme To Direct Marley Biopic; Scorsese Bows Out

Due to scheduling conflicts Martin Scorsese is no longer to direct the upcoming Bob Marley biopic with Jonathan Demme taking over in his stead. The film is due for a Feb. 6, 2010 release, which is the 65th anniversary of Marley's birth. The reggae icon's first-born, Ziggy Marley, is one of the executive producers.

Boy Band Svengali Gets 25 Years in Jail

Lou Pearlman, the Florida businessman who gave us such esteemed artistic paragons as N*Sync and The Backstreet Boys has been sentenced to 25 years by a federal judge for swindling investors out of some $300 million. (In March he pleaded guilty to presenting a false claim in bankruptcy court, as well as two counts of conspiracy and a single count of money laundering.)

It seems Pearlman—who is a cousin of Art Garfunkel—for decades ripped off banks and senior citizens, many of the latter friends and relatives who invested in his business ventures. But "Big Poppa", as his boy band charges once lovingly referred to him before falling out with him over financial matters, may have a month of his sentenced reduced for every $1 million he returns to investors. However, defense attorney Fletcher Peacock has stated "there's no pot of gold out there."


Death Cab for Cutie - "Long Division"

A peek at the Seattle quartet performing "Long Division" from the new album Narrow Stairs, live in their studio during recent tour rehearsals. (Courtesy of Stereogum, where the band has taken up residency for the day as guest bloggers.) Enjoy!

New Releases

Today's albums du jour include:

SCARLETT JOHANSSON Anywhere I Lay My Head (Rhino)
KING's X XV (Inside/Out)
PAT METHENY Day Trip Live (Nonesuch)
MUDHONEY Superfuzz Bigmuff [deluxe edition] (Sub Pop)
MUDHONEY The Lucky Ones (Sub Pop)

NaS Album No Longer Titled 'N***er'

NaS has stated he has been pressured to change the controversial title of his upcoming album, while failing to cite the source(s). "The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it," according to the outspoken rapper. The July 1st Def Jam release will not be self-titled, as had been rumored. Stay tuned.

New Oasis Album Due in September; Zak Quits

The Brothers Gallagher and co. will release their as-of-yet-untitled seventh studio album in September, according to New Music Express. The album is said to be their last with Zak Starkey--drummer for the reunited Who as well as son of the most famous drummer in the world--who has allegedly left the band due to a falling out with Noel Gallagher. No official announcement has been made. Former Robbie Williams sticksman Chris Sharrock is rumored to be behind the kit when the band tours the US in August.

EMI Under Financial Pressure to Perform

In order to make good on the terms of the $5 billion dollar loan its new owners took out to buy music conglomerate EMI (home of Capitol Records), the company must post revenues of some $350 million by September of this year, according to the British press.
That new Coldplay record better sell some units, then.

Hey guys: wouldn't this be a great time for Capitol to release that long-awaited remastering of The Beatles' catalog? Or are you waiting for Paul to pass away. For real, this time.

What We're Listening To

AMERICA Greatest Hits (Warner Bros)
Real Emotional Trash (Matador)
THE MENDOZA LINE 30 Year Low (Glurp)
R.E.M. Accelerate (Warner Bros)
SUN KIL MOON April (Caldo Verde)

What are YOU listening to?


This Week's Playlist: Matthew Sweet

[Matthew Sweet courtesy of allmusic.com]

Here are a dozen gems from the bard of modern day power pop. Enjoy!

1. “I’ve Been Waiting” from Girlfriend (1991)
2. “Girlfriend” from Girlfriend (1991)
3. “Someone to Pull the Trigger” from Altered Beast (1993)
4. “Ultrasuede” from Son of Altered Beast EP (1994)
5. “Sick of Myself” from 100% Fun (1995)
6. “Get Older” from 100% Fun (1995)
7. “Behind the Smile” from Blue Sky on Mars (1997)
8. “All Over My Head” from Blue Sky on Mars (1997)
9. “If Time Permits” from In Reverse (1999)
10. “The Big Cats of Shambala” from Living Things (2004)
11. “The Ocean In-Between” from Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu (2004)
12. “I Love You” from Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu (2004)

Camper Van Beethoven Turns 25

Beloved indie rock institution Camper Van Beethoven will celebrate its quarter of a century anniversary with the release of a greatest hits album—including 5 newly recorded tracks from their major label days—and a handful of California dates including their annual Campout Music Festival, September 11-13. Also featured on that bill are Camper David Lowery's other group Cracker, alongside Built To Spill, Quasi and more.

The greatest hits collection, Popular Songs, appears June 24 on Cooking Vinyl.


This Is The New Thing

[Album cover courtesy of allmusic.com]

Narrow Stairs

The brightness of the spotlight can be such a double-edged sword. One minute you’re the steadily climbing critical and popular darling that everyone else has finally noticed, only to be swiftly and immediately taken to task in the next. For Seattle’s Death Cab for Cutie that moment came after the release of Plans, their major label debut and follow-up to their fourth and best album to date, 2003’s Transatlanticism. With fans clamoring for more of the same, the band offered up a more introspective than usual collection of songs that did little in the way of enhancing their artistic profile. (On the other hand, the album went platinum and select songs were all over the soundtracks of the hit TV teen dramas.) Many cried foul and ascribed the nature of the record to major label pressure/coercion/suggestion. Can’t say we blame ’em: after all, the deep-rooted melancholy of Plans was a bit much at times. DCFC have always mined this particular terrain, of course, but Plans seemed one long bummer, catchy single “Crooked Teeth”, not withstanding.

The glum vibe is still present—especially in the slightly weak middle of the album—on Narrow Stairs, but the band has wisely ceded much of that previously occupied real estate to a bit more in the way of atmospherics, and more importantly, to some welcome bona-fide rockers. In the end, Narrow Stairs is a flawed album, but an improvement over the minor slip of Plans, and another reason to look forward to more of DCFC’s particular brand of major label-indie rock in the future.

Highlights: first single, the eight-minute plus “I Will Possess Your Heart”; “No Sunlight”, “Cath…”, “Grapevine Fires”, “Long Division”.

Dave Grohl’s Open Letter to his Open Letter to Metallica

Hey Everybody,

Just wanted to write a quick note to clear up this whole ‘Open letter to Metallica’ fiasco...For the record, I never 'wrote' anything to Metallica. I was asked by a journalist, at the end of a long interview (about the Foo Fighters) to give a quick message to Metallica in the studio. So, I rattled that quote off the top of my head. No biggie, right? Somehow it became my ‘open letter’ to the band, and now it's been picked up by everyone from
Blabbermouth to Rolling Stone (as if anyone really cares!). Now, it's true that I've been a loyal fan of this band for 25 years, and I can't wait to hear the new shit, but an ‘open letter’ to the band?!!?? Nah. Not my style. I'd rather just text 'em...

[posted May 12, 2008 on FooFighters.com]

Celebrity Karaoke: Scarlett Does Tom (live)

When word got out that actress Scarlett Johansson’s recording debut was to consist of an album of Tom Waits covers, scores of you asked yourselves, “Can she pull it off? Is there any studio trickery involved? Is she just Ashlee Simpson with cred and better taste and collaborators?” The answer is, um, no: she’s a short, curvy Nico. And we were never impressed by Nico, so…

Let’s just say if she weren’t Scarlett Johansson: Hip Hollywood’s Favorite Young Starlet, we wouldn’t be discussing this, since the album never would’ve never even happened. Anyway, check out Johansson performing live in the studio
here and decide for yourselves.

Indie Rock Loves Baseball?

Sure, Yo La Tengo’s name literally translates to an outfielder’s cry of “I’ve got it” in Spanish, The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn has been known to sport a Minnesota Twins jersey on stage, and Joe Pernice of the Pernice Brothers is an avowed Boston Red Sox fan (bleech), but we hadn’t seen much of an allegiance otherwise. Actually, probably the complete opposite.

Which is why the news of Young Fresh FellowsScott McCaughey, REM’s Peter Buck and The Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn teaming up with some of their indie rock brethren for The Baseball Project, and recording a baseball lore-imbued, debut album titled Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails was quite a surprise. Said to be an irreverent but loving tribute to the sport and its iconic tales and idols, the album’s song titles include “Ted Fucking Williams”, “Gratitude (For Curt Flood)”, “Satchel Paige Said”, and of course, “Sometimes I Dream of Willie Mays”.

Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails is due out July 8 via Yep Roc.

Q&A: Bruce Dickinson

Fencer, pilot, radio disc jockey, one-time roadie for The Clash, and of course, lead vocalist for metal legends Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson speaks to Billboard magazine about Maiden and his far from dull life. Plus: Dickinson picks his 5 favorite Maiden songs.


99 Problems and Noel is One: Oasis vs Jay-Z

As usual, Oasis leader Noel Gallagher is not one to mince words: the Mancunian songwriter/guitarist has recently made his displeasure quite known regarding rapper Jay-Z’s headlining of the UK’s legendary Glastonbury Festival later this summer.

Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curve ball in on a Sunday night, you go: ‘Kylie Minogue?’ I’m not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.”

For his part, Jay-Z is relishing the controversy and has stated, “We don’t play guitars, Noel, but hip-hop has put in its work like any other form of music. This headline show is just a natural progression. Rap music is still evolving. From Afrika Bambaataa DJ-ing in the Bronx and Run DMC going platinum, to Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince winning the first rap Grammy, I’m just next in the line. We have to respect each other’s genre of music and move forward.”

Not sure the inclusion of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince helped your argument there, homes. But otherwise, we’re not touching this one.

The Glastonbury Festival, which is the largest music festival in the world, will be held on the weekend of June 27-29 at Worthy Farm, in Pilton, southwestern England. The Raconteurs, Crowded House, The Verve, Kings of Leon and John Mayer are among those scheduled to appear.

The Real World Takes the “L” Train

According to the NY Daily News, the flagship of the MTV reality series franchise, The Real World, will once again take place in New York next season. This time, it’ll be in Brooklyn’s notorious uber-hipster destination: Williamsburg. In true soap opera fashion, The Real World: Brooklyn, which will mark the show’s 21st season, will be broadcast in hour-long episodes.

We can’t even begin to tell you how lame this is—indeed, on so many levels—so instead, once again, we’ll leave you with Armor for Sleep’s hipster-skewering anthem called—what else?— “Williamsburg”. Enjoy!

Weezer Change Album Release Date

Instead of the previously established June 24th, Weezer's upcoming 'Red Album' has been pushed up to a June 3rd release date. Why? Who knows? But if the album turns out to be lame, that's three more weeks you would've had to wait for it. And if it rocks, well, you lucked out, now, didn't you?

One-off Ozzfest featuring Ozzy, Metallica, Dimebag Tribute

This year’s Ozzfest will be a lone date: August 9th at Dallas’ Pizza Hut Park. (Somebody's gotta put a stop to this brand-naming-of-stadiums shit. Seriously.) Among those on the bill with the festival’s namesake, Mr. Osbourne, will be Metallica, Jonathan Davis of Korn, System of a Down's Serj Tankian, Sevendust, Cavalera Conspiracy, and an all-star tribute to the late Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. Second and third stage acts include Kingdom of Sorrow, Soilent Green, The Sword, and Rigor Mortis.

What Are You Watching?

TV's top 10 in prime time last week according to the Neilsen ratings were (previous week's ranking in parentheses):

1. (2) American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 22.87 million viewers.
2. (1) American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 21.76 million viewers.
3. (8) Dancing with the Stars (Tuesday) ABC, 18.38 million viewers.
4. (4) Dancing with the Stars (Monday), ABC, 18.1 million viewers.
5. (9) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 18.07 million viewers.
6. (11) Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 16.03 million viewers.
7. (6) Desperate Housewives, ABC, 15.43 million viewers.
8. (18) Without a Trace, CBS, 14.67 million viewers.
9. (15) CSI: Miami, CBS, 14.11 million viewers.
10. (14) NCIS, CBS, 14.04 million viewers.

What We're Listening To

We’ve kinda been on a bit of a classic rock tip…

PETER FRAMPTON Frampton Comes Alive (A&M)
LED ZEPPELIN How The West Was Won (Atlantic)
PAUL McCARTNEY Back in the US [live] (Capitol)
PAUL WELLER self-titled (Go!/Polydor)

What are YOU listening to?


Artist Robert Rauchenberg on May 12th in Tampa, Florida. He was 82.


New Releases

Today's debuts include:

THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE Bravery Repetition and Noise (Red Eye)
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Narrow Stairs (Atlantic)
DUFFY Rockferry (Island)
FILTER Anthems for the Damned (Pulse/Fontana)
OLD ‘97s Blame it on Gravity (New West)

Oh, and also today in your favorite bookstore,
WILLIAM SHATNER Up Till Now: The Autobiography (Thomas Dunne Books)

Mission: Metallica

The legendary metal quartet is giving fans a sneek peak of their work on the band’s upcoming September release, as well as a bunch of other exclusive behind-the-scenes activities. Sign up here.
Metallica, who will hit the road tommorow with a show at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre, will be touring for most of the summer.


Ned’s Automatic Dustbin is reuniting. We must enact legislation to curb this rash of reunions before someone gets really hurt.

Cure Single of the Month

As we reported previously, today is the release of The Cure’s single, “The Only One”, the first of four from the band’s upcoming album. And we have it:

The next single is due a month from today on June 13th, while the album’s release date is Sepetember 13th.


This Week’s Playlist: Some of Our Hip Hop Faves

Some are classics, a few were big hits, one are two are obscure, and there are album tracks thrown in there as well, but they’re all great. Enjoy!

1. ATMOSPHERE “The Keys to Life vs 15 Minutes of Fame”
2. BEASTIE BOYS “So What’cha Want?”
3. BLACKALICIOUS “Make You Feel That Way”
4. BRAND NEW HEAVIES feat GRAND PUBA “Who Makes The Loot?”
5. LL COOL J “Mama Said Knock You Out”
6. NaS “Memory Lane”
7. THE PHARCYDE “Otha Fish”
8. PREFUSE 73 feat. SAM PREKOP “Last Night”
9. PUBLIC ENEMY “She Watch Channel Zero?!
10. SCARFACE “On My Block”
11. DJ SHADOW “Changeling/Transmission”
12. A TRIBE CALLED QUEST “Bonita Applebum”

The Greatest Movies Based on TV Shows

As those who have seen the film versions of Charlie's Angels, The Dukes of Hazzard, Bewitched, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. can attest to, coming up with a handful of decent counterparts to these would likely involve left over fingers during the counting process. Not so, say the folks at nerve.com, who have compiled a list of 12 that are far from a dirty dozen. Do you agree?

Pharcyde and Tribe to 'Rock the Bells'

Two of our favorite hip-hop acts ever, the recently reunited So. Cal. favorites The Pharcyde and New York's own A Tribe Called Quest, are both on the bill for this summer's Rock the Bells tour, alongside heavyweigts NaS and Mos Def. Also featured are De La Soul, Rakim, Ghostface & Raekwon, Method Man & Redman, and Dead Prez.

Here are the dates:

7/19 Chicago, IL
7/20 Toronto, Ontario
7/26 Boston, MA
7/27 Washington, DC
8/02 Miami, FL
8/03 New York, NY
8/09 Devore, CA
8/16 San Francisco, CA
8/23 Denver, CO
8/30 Vancouver, British Columbia

From the Vaults: 20 from the '80s

[originally posted May 20th, 2002]

When the prattle about an '80s revival was frequently making the rounds among the pseudo hipster youth, our good friend and frequent "5" collaborator Greg Casseus took to stating the following: "Children, we were there; it wasn't all that". Truer words were never spoken.
In light of this we have compiled a list of albums that made the era of spandex, Max Headroom and wine coolers a bit more bearable.
Some of them are probably benchmarks of your respective collections, while others you may have forgotten or for whatever reason never got to experience in the first place. A few are essential musical artifacts of the time and others just personal favorites, but they all are very special to us.

20 FROM THE '80s (in alphabetical order by artist):

1- AC/DC Back In Black [Atlantic-1980]
Where Black Sabbath meets Chuck Berry and producer Mutt Lange earns his stripes. When it came time for them to do their own 'Black' album, you know Metallica and producer Bob Rock paid very close attention to this one.

2- MIGUEL BOSE XXX [WEA Latina-1987]
Spain's pop monarch is an intensely charismatic and talented figure with forays into the worlds of art and film. Unlike the man himself, this album's production hasn't aged very well but the songs have maintained the airy, elegant richness they've always had.

3- STEWART COPELAND The Rhythmatist [A&M-1985]
Unlike his Police-like work under the Klark Kent moniker, the sophisticated pop of Animal Logic or his excursions into opera, this a worldbeat record. And what a record it is: a joyous, earthy collection of songs that reflect and underline Copeland's love for the music of Africa and the Middle East. And percussion of course. By the way, we almost went with Copeland's soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 film Rumble Fish.

4- THE CHURCH Starfish [Arista-1987]
Ah, the days when alternative rock was truly a whole other alternate musical universe and albums like this were special little jewels on the periphery of the lowest common denominator sludge. Still is, as a matter of fact.

5- THE CURE Disintegration [Elektra-1989]
"Pictures of You", "Closedown", "Fascination Street", "Untitled"...undoubtedly The Cure's greatest album-length achievement...

6- PETER GABRIEL self-titled [Mercury-1980]
Quite possibly his very best and one of the most pop friendly art rock records ever made. Newly remastered in 2002.

7- 440 Soplando [Audiolab-1984]
(re-released as: JUAN LUIS GUERRA & 440 El Original 440 [WEA Latina-1990])
Dominican jazz guitarist Juan Luis Guerra's dream of a tropical Manhattan Transfer came true on his debut album. The 1990 release is the CD version. Currently out of print.

8- GUNS 'N' ROSES Appetite For Destruction [Geffen-1987]
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Just as hard rock was divided between the cheesy hair bands (Winger, Warrant, Poison, etc) and the ultra-heavy Metallica-Slayer-Megadeth contingent, along comes GnR with punk attitude, Aerosmith-like swagger and a truckload of killer tunes. Even the filler on this one rocks.

9- MINISTRY The Land of Rape and Honey [Sire-1988]
Loud, uncompromising, relentless and intensely powerful. Everything an industrial record should be. Right, Trent?

10- THE POLICE Zenyatta Mondatta [A&M-1980]
Together with Regatta de Blanc (1979) this is the quintessential 'Police sound' that many have imitated but never equaled.

11- THE PRETENDERS self-titled [Sire-1980]
Way before Chrissie Hynde went Air Supply on us—and transferred her aggression to animal rights activism—she and her original co-horts were indeed a pretty rockin' outfit. This is proof.

12- PUBLIC ENEMY It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back [Def Jam-1987]
The only rap album from which we can recite whole chunks of rhymes effortlessly. PE does not get much respect from the newer citizens of the hip-hop nation, unfortunately.

13- LOU REED New York [Sire-1989]
A harsh but accurate musical snapshot of the New York of the late '80s by the man who has chronicled his hometown in song like no one ever has—or probably will.

14- MIKE STERN Upside Downside [Atlantic-1986]
Mr. "Chops of Doom" gained worldwide solo recognition with this one. Jazz fluidity, rock sensibility and great tunes from the one-time Miles Davis guitarist. Contains legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius' last studio performance.

15- DAVID SYLVIAN Gone To Earth [Virgin-1986]
Engagingly beautiful and mesmerizing ethereal pop. And like good jazz, meant to be heard at night. Extra points for being a killer soundtrack for sex.

16- 'TIL TUESDAY Voices Carry [Epic-1985]
Yeah, it is kinda cheesy and the production is terribly dated but there are in fact some very cool tunes on this baby. Aimee Mann on bass and vocals.

17- TIN MACHINE self-titled [EMI-1989]
Predating by two whole years the guitar-based explosion that roared out of Seattle—and probably the last time he was ahead of the musical curve—Bowie and co. let loose on this lithe, loose and loud batch of garage-blues tunes like nobody's business.

18- U2 The Unforgettable Fire [Island-1985]
The maiden voyage of the U2-Eno-Lanois triumvirate took the band to a place where they could a give a more sympathetic musical landscape to their burgeoning worldview.

19- SUZANNE VEGA Solitude Standing [A&M-1987]
One of the most beautiful collection of songs—not to mention voices—we've ever heard. Salud, Ms. Vega.

20- XTC Oranges & Lemons [Geffen-1989]
If the critically praised Skylarking (1987) is their Sgt. Pepper's then this is their 'White Album': a sprawling collection of songs that range from the silly to the sublime. And everything in between.


Pot Meet Kettle

In an open letter to Metallica, via the Blabbermouth website, lead Foo Fighter and drummer to the stars Dave Grohl exhorts the legendary metal quartet to hold back on releasing their next album until it is "kick-ass". Grohl apparently likes dishing out advice he himself doesn't adhere to, judging by the last couple of Foo Fighters albums. Anyway...

"Hey, it's Dave! Remember me? Yeah, I'm the guy that's been listening to your band faithfully since 1983. I bought your first album Kill 'Em All from a mail order catalogue called Under The Rainbow, I think. Actually I can't remember. It was 1983 for Christsakes! But that album changed my life and I've been listening to your albums ever since (even St Anger!). I can't wait to hear the new shit, and no matter what you guys do I'll always be first one at the shop waiting to hear it. I'm sure you'll come out and blow everybody's fuckin' minds, because you're fuckin' METALLICA! Good luck. And don't release it until it's kick-ass.

Yours, Dave Grohl.

P.S. Are you finished recording the drums yet?'"

Metallica will release the new album in the fall.

Coldplay North American Tour Dates

Here are the British quartet's dates in support of their upcoming album Viva la Vida or Death and all His Friends, out on June 17th:

6/16 London, England - Brixton Academy
6/23 New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
6/29 Philadelphia, PA - Wachovia Center
7/02 Washington, DC - Verizon Center
7/03 Hartford, CT - XL Center
7/05 Detroit, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills
7/06 Cleveland, OH - Quicken Loans Arena
7/08 St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center
7/09 Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
7/10 Oklahoma City, OK - Ford Center
7/12 Phoenix, AZ - Jobbing.com Arena
7/19 Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Garden Arena
7/21 Sacramento, CA - ARCO Arena
7/24 San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion
7/27 Pemberton, British Columbia - Pemberton Festival
7/29 Edmonton, Alberta - Rexall Place
7/30 Calgary, Alberta - Pengrowth Saddledome
8/01 Winnipeg, Manitoba - MTS Centre
8/03 Omaha, NE - Qwest Center
8/04 Chicago, IL - United Center
8/09 Osaka, Japan - Maishima (Summer Sonic Festival)
8/10 Tokyo, Japan - Marine Stadium (Summer Sonic Festival)
10/20 Montreal, Quebec - Bell Centre
10/21 Ottawa, Ontario - Scotiabank Place
10/26 East Rutherford, NJ - Izod Center
10/29 Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre
10/30 Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre
11/03 Boston, MA - TD Banknorth Garden
11/11 Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
11/18 Houston, TX - Toyota Center
11/19 Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
11/21 Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
11/22 Salt Lake City, UT - Energy Solutions Arena


That lame-ass '70s and '80s ridicule fest The Gong Show is coming back. Hosted by comedian Dave Attell, the new incarnation will air on--where else?--Comedy Central. (Nah, bring back Win Ben Stein's Money, instead.) Hey, if an over-cooked karaoke contest like American Idol could be on the air...

Judge OK's B.I.G. Family Wrongful Death Suit


A judge has reinstated a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the family of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G., reversing an earlier decision to dismiss the case.U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper threw out the lawsuit March 21 after determining the family missed a state deadline for bringing a claim against the city and two former police officers. The lawsuit was originally filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, then moved to federal court.The family appealed, and the judge reversed her decision after finding federal claims in the case can proceed, according to court papers obtained Thursday.Cooper gave the family 20 days to file a new lawsuit and drop the state claims.B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was gunned down March 9, 1997, while leaving a party at a Los Angeles museum. The 24-year-old performer's killing remains unsolved.

Two wrongful death lawsuits were filed against the city on behalf of the rapper's widow, mother and two children.The first lawsuit, filed in 2002, alleges wrongful death and civil rights violations. It ended in a mistrial in 2005. The case remains active, with the judge allowing the family to amend the lawsuit because of newly discovered evidence.Cooper's recent ruling involved the secondary lawsuit, which contends that rogue police officers conspired to kill Wallace and that the Police Department covered up their involvement.

The 25 Best 'Best Of' Albums

According to Yahoo Music's Rob O'Connor, these 25 comps are the best of the bunch out there. Pretty predictable and mostly classic rock, but it might give you some ideas for Christmas, birthday presents or for that someone whose good graces you want to be in while spending less than $20.


Dandy Warhols Do Their Own Thing

On May 19th, fans of the Dandy Warhols will be able to download the band’s latest album via their website as part of a newly offered subscription service which includes various extras such as unreleased b-sides and more.
The Dandy Warhols recorded 4 albums for Capitol Records before the label recently dropped them. Their last album on the label, Odditorium, sold less than 40,000 copies.

Blue House Painter

Mark Kozelek, the man behind Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters speaks to PopMatters about his decade-and-a-half career in the not-so-bright spotlight, as well as the origins and inspiration for his latest album, the very personal and heartfelt Sun Kil Moon release, April.

Anybody up for Vol. 2?

[The Brand New Heavies' Heavy Rhyme Experience: Vol. 1 cover art courtesy of allmusic.com]

Maybe the rise of The Roots has made the idea of a sequel to this album unnecessary, but it would definitely be a cool idea to revisit, right? Can you imagine what Atmosphere or Gift of Gab would sound like on this? Damn…

They’re at it Again

Pitchfork has given the new Brian Jonestown Massacre album, My Bloody Underground, a 2.6 rating out of a possible (?) 10. Oh, the hipsters! How they turn on you! Ha! Read the review here.

Quote of the Day

"I reckon the M.P.A.A. should use the advent of Speed Racer to revive an old ratings symbol: a big Roman X, meaning ‘of no conceivable interest to anyone over the age of ten.’"

- from David Denby’s review of the $120 million budget Speed Racer movie in the May 12, 2008 issue of The New Yorker magazine

What We're Listening To

DRAKE BELL It’s Only Time (Universal)
THE BREEDERS Mountain Battles (4 AD)
JANE’S ADDICTION Ritual de lo Habitual (Warner Bros)
THE RACONTEURS Consolers of the Lonely (Warner Bros/Thitd Man)
CHRIS WALLA Field Manual (Barsuk)

What Are YOU Listening To?


Turn Out the Lights, Roxanne

[L-R: Andy Summers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sting, and Stewart Copeland. Photo: nyc.gov]

The Police announced yesterday, May 6th, that they will play their last show ever in New York City as a benefit for local public television stations Thirteen/WNET and WLIW New York. The British/American trio, which first performed here in 1978, is also donating $1 million to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's MillionTreesNYC initiative to plant trees all over New York City.

The date and venue of the final Police concert have yet to be named but some are already speculating it may take place in Central Park in August. As it so happens, the last show of the tour is a local date: August 5th at Jones Beach.

Begin the Begin (again?)

[Warner Bros-2008]

We've always kinda liked R.E.M. but have never been fans per se, so we're way more able to be objective about them than most. In the decade since original drummer Bill Berry left and the remaining members decided to soldier on, many have decried the lackluster quality of their recorded output in that time. (Up, Reveal, and Around the Sun, for those keeping score.) Fair enough, but we didn't even think much of the two that preceded them, either. (Monster, and New Adventures in Hi-Fi, for the record. No pun intended.) We figured their time was almost up.

Then, along comes Accelerate, which we happen to like. Simply stated, it sounds fresh and they seem invigorated by it. However, as some have taken to lately, we dunno if comparing it to Monster, just because they're both less jangly and rock harder--for R.E.M., anyway--does the new one any favors. (Monster is one of very few albums we've ever returned to the record store and demanded our money back. The Red Hot Chili Peppers' One Hot Minute also bears that sad distinction.) Interestingly, despite all the talk about the band's waning fanbase, what has been dwindling over the years is R.E.M.'s record sales but not their concert draw. And at this point, who else but the faithful are out there catching those shows? Well, they're in luck: they're gonna love singing along to this one.

The aforementioned trilogy of albums from the last ten years have been cited as reasons for the band to have taken a break until they had a good one in their midst. Perhaps, but as musicians we think established artists need to continually put their work out there, as long as they believe in it. Let the chips fall where they may. If per chance it doesn't really pan out, you can always get back to work and resume where you left off. Artists need to be creating as steadily as possible. Simple as that. And maybe, creatively speaking, that's what the last decade has been for R.E.M. Bottom line: as much as we may not be thrilled to listen to another lukewarm release by anybody, we certainly don't advocate waiting for inspiration to strike and hoping it gives you your (next) masterpiece. That's just dangerous. What if that phenomenal work you waited to put out there turns out to be not that great AND is poorly received by the public? What does that do to an artist's confidence?

All the great artists with longevity have a span of classics and a span of duds in their discographies. Hopefully Accelerate marks, if not another spurt of the former, then at least the beginning of a run of decent records from a band that still might have a couple of good ones left in 'em.

Highlights: "Living Well is the Best Revenge", "Supernatural Superserious", "Mr. Richards", "Horse to Water", "I'm Gonna DJ", the title track.

My Bloody Valentine Tour Dates

The kings and queens of shoegazing have announced the dates for their first tour in more than 15 years. Bring earplugs, kids:

6/23, 24 London, England
6/28, 29 Manchester, England
7/2, 3 Glasgow, Scotland
7/03-06 Roskilde, Denmark - Roskilde Festival
7/09 Paris, France - Zenith
7/17-20 Benicàssim, Spain - Festival Internacional de Benicàssim
7/25 Naeba, Japan - Fuji Rock Festival
8/08 Oslo, Norway - Øya Festival
9/05 Isle of Wight, England - Bestival
9/19-21 Monticello, NY - Kutshers Country Club (ATP New York)
09/22, 23 New York, NY - Roseland
09/25 Toronto, Ontario - Ricoh
09/27 Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom
09/30 San Francisco, CA - The Concourse
10/1, 2 Los Angeles, CA - Santa Monica Civic

Superhero Wonderland

Iron Man opens this Friday, May 9th, but already a sequel is being seriously talked about. But wait--there's more: Thor and Captain America are rumored to be individually making it to the big screen in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Hmm...maybe Entourage was onto something.

Oh, and The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton opens June 13th.

Mixtape Confessions: When They're 65

"What will some of today's most well-known hip-hop artists be doing in 2035? Maybe they won't be running the music world, but they'll probably be doing something beyond applying Fixodent to their grills."

Forgive PopMatters' Ben Rubinstein for being a tad optimistic, at the very least. Here he plays hip-hop Nostradamus and attempts to forsee what the future holds in store for a dozen or so artists of the genre.


New Releases

This week's include:

BARENAKED LADIES Snacktime! (Nettwerk/Desperation)
BRIAN BLADE FELLOWSHIP Seasons of Changes (Verve)
THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS Age of the Understatement (Domino)

Hex on the City

With the opening of the Sex and the City movie on the horizon, we thought we'd share our thoughts with you.

Yes, we like and enjoy the fact that our native NYC has become safer and cleaner in the last decade plus. But one thing we miss about the NYC that we knew prior to the last 15 years is how neighborhoods were never status symbols. Generally speaking, unless you lived on Park Ave, Beekman Place, or suburbia, on the one hand; East New York or the South Bronx on the other; your neighborhood was maybe a little safer or a little sketchier than ours. No big deal. It's just how it was.

One of the reasons why even traditional working class neighborhoods have gotten expensive here is out of town folk being sold on the whole “NYC is super expensive” mantra. They come, get price-gouged, accept it as the norm and on they go on the vicious circle merry-go-round. Right or wrong, for the most part, native NYers have too much of a sense of history about their city to fall for the fetish or the fee. (“I’m not paying $1600 for a one bedroom in Park Slope. That block used to be a dump when I was a kid.”) Sex and the City’s crime is how it has glorified, and to many, validated the worst aspects of that phenomenon: the blatant, albeit kindler, gentler materialism, highlighted by the ravenous and highly impractical pursuit of $3000 shoes and other ridiculously priced accoutrements; the proliferation of soulless establishments who shamelessly proffer a wide variety of $14 flavored martinis; and most importantly the non-apologetic evaluation of dating partners based solely on their financial worth and/or connections. (A few years ago the show’s creator Candace Bushnell offered up a pseudo mea culpa in stating that maybe women were scrutinizing their potential partner’s professional resume much more than the personal resume. "Pot, I’d like you to meet Kettle.")

Of course, this being NYC, none of it is a new thing. But Jeffrey Hyman never thought he’d ever belong or even be let in at Le Cirque or Studio 54—at least not until he became Joey Ramone—now every Tracy, Dee and Harriett off the bus at the Port Authority thinks they can be the next Carrie Bradshaw. And why not? “If some Ruth Buzzi-lookalike-in-a-tank-top, of maybe average intelligence can do it, then why not me?” they probably tell themselves. Carrie Bradshaw—and by extension, Sarah Jessica Parker, who like her co-star Kim Catrall, are under the impression they really are Carrie and Samantha, blurring the lines between the character and the person playing her in a way we'd not seen before. At least not by any actor/actress who was respected for their craft—is basically Donald Trump in designer pumps. Not a pretty sight neither figuratively nor literally. That, in a nutshell, is the show’s legacy.

The Sex and the City movie opens in theatres on May 30th.


This Week's Playlist: Wave Goodbye

This playlist is a bit grim: songs by and or about death or dead people. Welcome to Monday morning: Enjoy!

1. THE BEATLES “Julia” (Apple)
2. JEFF BUCKLEY “The Sky is a Landfill” (Epic)
3. CHRIS CORNELL “Wave Goodbye” (A&M)
4. NICK DRAKE “Pink Moon” (Island)
5. EELS “Suicide Life” (Vagrant)
6. THE MARS VOLTA “The Widow” (Interscope)
7. HENRY MENA “Jacques Cousteau” (One Seventeen)
8. PINK FLOYD “Wish You Were Here” (Columbia)
9. ELLIOTT SMITH “Happiness” (Dreamworks)
10. TEMPLE OF THE DOG “Say Hello to Heaven” (A&M)

Cinco de Miles

[May 5th, 1959 was the release date for Miles Davis' seminal album Kind of Blue. We've scoured the "5" vaults and are reposting our review here for all of you that may have missed it the first time. And, no, smart ass, we didn't write it in '59. -KJ]

MILES DAVIS Kind Of Blue (Sony-1959)
A landmark record which we happen to love more and more with the steady passage of time, what can we say about Kind Of Blue that hasn’t been already said a million times and rightfully so? Absolutely nothing. But we’ll say it anyway: A work of pure genius that is cerebral yet accessible; largely improvised but played in a very cohesive manner by a stellar lineup of jazz greats in their prime; loved by neophytes and jazz scholars alike. Kind Of Blue is arguably—actually, the dissenters number as many as the dodo bird—the greatest of all jazz albums. Adding to its stature is the fact that half a century after its original release it sells at a rate of 5,000 copies a week, making it the biggest selling jazz album of all time. (No, Virginia: Kenny G is not fuckin’ jazz!!)

So, to summarize, what is it about this almost 50 year-old album that still captures our hearts after uncounted repeated listenings?

Is it that:
a) as musicians we can appreciate the artistry of Miles and the cast of heavyweights on it (including John Coltrane and Bill Evans)?

b) as music fans it speaks to us so profoundly?

c) its presence brings an added reflective quality to any situation: from conversation to romance to bliss?

d) perhaps, all of the above?

Answer: d), silly.

NIN Gives it Away

Thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years--this one's on me."

And with that, Trent Reznor has jumped way ahead of the July release date for the new Nine Inch Nails album, The Slip, and made it available for free download on the band's website.
Starting today, May 5th, users submitting their e-mail address to the site, will be sent a link to download The Slip in various digital formats plus a PDF file with lyric and artwork.

Nine Inch Nails will be hitting the road this summer and have been offering fans the option to reserve premium seats before any exlusive pre-sales start, when they sign up for tickets via nin.com.


Boston will be releasing a new album and touring with former Stryper frontman Michael Sweet. Brad Delp, who sang lead on all the classic Boston tracks from the ‘70s, committed suicide last year.

Lucky 13?

The Cure’s 13th studio album will see the light of day on September 13th. Meanwhile, to promote the as-of-yet-untitled record, the band will release a CD and digital single on the 13th of May, June, July and August, respectively.
The Cure’s North American tour kicks off May 9th in Washington DC. Hmmm….any chance “The 13th” from their 1996 album Wild Mood Swings makes it to the set list?