Sunset Stripped

According to the LA Times, the legendary Sunset Strip location of the one-time music retail giant Tower Records has a date with the wrecking ball after a failed attempt to accord it landmark status and erect a museum. An unlikely combination of both tourist attraction and hip record store, the iconic 8801 W. Sunset Blvd location (see above) was a Tower store for 35 years, until its parent company's demise in 2006.

[Thanks to Jeff Kent.]

What We're Listening To

FINN'S MOTEL Escape Velocity (Scat)
JUMBO Superficie (Noise Lab)
THE MARS VOLTA De-Loused in the Comatorium (Universal/Island)
OWSLEY self-titled (Giant)
MATTHEW SWEET 100% Fun (Zoo)

What are YOU listening to?


Kiko vs Harp

Dismayed by the inaccuracies and misinformation in Harp magazine's Rock en Español, Latin Alternative: Border Radio article (Dec 2007) we made our displeasure known to the editorial board of the otherwise fine publication. It went something like this:

"Let’s put aside the various proofreading gaffes—is it Austin Radio or Austin TV?; is Pacha Massive from the Bronx or Brooklyn?—and just absorb this gem: 'Santana being called rock en Español is ‘grotesque,’ because even though Santana is from Tijuana , his music is absolutely marked by his American identity.' I’ll try to remember that next time I listen to 'Jingo,' 'Evil Ways ,' 'No One To Depend On' or 'Para Los Rumberos.' Sheesh.

Now, if [writer/author] Ernesto Lechner had stated how the RnE tag was inappropriate because Carlos’ music is much more widespread and complex, fine. But, otherwise… (Also, Maná is such an easy target. Why not take on, say, Gustavo Cerati? Yeah, I didn’t think so.) If his book is littered with that kind of nonsense I’m glad I never bought it.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject: I’d rather listen to a talented, straight-up rock band like Mexico’s Jumbo than one of the myriad of clueless bandwagon-jumping acts who pledge allegiance to the “Quiero mis raices, ya!” (“I want my roots, now!”) school of making music—as Desorden Publico frontman Horacio Blanco once derisively referred to it—ignorantly plowing ahead like 4th rate Los Lobos tribute bands. Know it before you play it, kids

Their response?
They owned up to the proofreading/factchecking screwups but chose to take a swipe at us. And a cheap one, at that:

"Meanwhile, enjoy your copy of Ultimate Santana, dude. You know, the one with all those duets with Latin rock artists Rob Thomas, Chad Kroeger and Michelle Branch."

So, let's get this straight: the power, majesty, and more importantly, groundbreaking nature of, say, the first three Santana albums is now irrelevant because of some incredibly lame, ill-concieved, latter-day duets? (We'll own up to the Michelle Branch one being a guilty pleasure of ours.) C'mon guys, you're better than that. Next time you feel like lowering yourselves to this level, count to ten and let the desire to argue like a 6 year-old pass.

Yes, We're Retro but C'mon...

...this is going a bit too far. Right?

mixtape USB memory stick

"Are you dreaming of days when you made mixes for your friends on those old fashion cassette tapes? Then relive them with a retro USB memory stick! Comes in neat cassette tape package. Stores up to one hour of music. 64MB. Surprise assortment of mixtape styles!"

It retails for $22.
[Thanks to Jeff Kent for the heads up.]

Under Cover of (Digital) Darkness

The European Union has ruled that record companies cannot have access to the names and addresses of supected downloaders and file sharers of copyrighted material via telecommunication companies. In other words, your ISP is under no obligation to rat you out, dude. Steal away, then! (An exception can be made for civil cases, however.)


The Life and Crimes of the Music Biz

Last week 40-year industry veteran Simon Napier-Bell--who's best known for managing The Yardbirds, T-Rex, Japan and Wham!--discussed at length his thoughts on the decline of the music business in The Guardian's Observer Music Monthly. Read it here.

Flowin' Like Rivers

Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo talks to Pitchfork about his new demo collection Alone and what the direction of the band's sixth album might be.

Swingin' on the Flippity-Flop: Sub Pop Turns 20

The snotty love child of Seattle-based music geeks Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman, and home of Iron & Wine, Hot Hot Heat, The Shins, The Postal Service and The Helio Sequence--not to mention ground zero for Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney, of course--will leave adolescence behind on April 1st of this year. A series of anniversary shows with past and present roster acts--including a rumored Green River reunion--are in the works.

WGA OKs Grammys

The board of directors for the Writers Guild of America is about to sign an interim agreement that would make the Feb. 10th Grammy Awards ceremony picket-free. A similar dispensation was granted for the Screen Actors Guild and the upcoming NAACP Image awards ceremonies.

The Golden Globes, however, suffered a much different fate as they were reduced to a press conference when the WGA did not agree to a deal. It is also quite likely the same decision will be made regarding the Academy Awards. The Oscars' producers have vowed to have the show, regardless. The Academy Awards show is Feb. 24th. The strike between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has been going on since Nov. 5th of last year. Formal talks between both parties broke down in December.

New Releases

Today's newbies and reissue platters du jour include:

BECK Odelay [deluxe version] (Geffen)
STAN GETZ Captain Marvel (Koch)
THE HELIO SEQUENCE Keep Your Eyes Ahead (Sub Pop)
JOE JACKSON Rain (Rykodisc)
SHELBY LYNNE Just A Litle Lovin' (Lost Highway)
THE MARS VOLTA The Bedlam in Goliath (Universal/Island)
BRANFORD MARSALIS The Steep Anthology (Columbia)
PAT METHENY TRIO Day Trip (Nonesuch)
WILLIE NELSON Moment of Forever (Lost Highway)
CHRIS WALLA Field Manual (Barsuk)


Homer Invents Grunge

Last night's episode of The Simpsons tackled our favorite decade: "That '90s Show" has Homer starting the Nirvana-like Sadgasm and inventing grunge; Marge going to college on Homer's dime and falling for a pretentious uber-PC professor; oh, and of course Kurt Loder appears (see above). Quite funny. Stereogum's got clips and more.

SAG Honors No Country for Old Men, Sopranos, Ruby Dee

The 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards were held in Los Angeles last night, and No Country for Old Men, The Sopranos, Javier Bardem, Daniel Day-Lewis and Ruby Dee were among the winners. Here's more.

Punk Does Not Pay (the real thing, anyway...)

Former Minor Threat drummer and Dischord Records co-founder Jeff Nelson is selling off a truckload of rare posters and flyers, as well as 7'' and 12" records from his personal collection on eBay. Guess that storage bill was getting a bit out of hand.

Step by Step? Please, for the Love of God, Not THAT Step!

New Kids on the Block are planning to reunite and have recently revamped their website. Who's next? Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch?
There are no words...

Neil, WTF?

After a seemingly never-ending wait and numerous postponements, Neil Young has finally decided to release his archival material on Blu-Ray disc and DVD...but not on CD!
The reason being "that technology has caught up to how we want to present it." Aargh! Never a dull moment...

Vineland Festival (aka Coachella East) Postponed

Due to heavy festival traffic in the US Northeast, AEG Live/Goldenvoice, promoters of the Vineland Festival have decided to stage the event in '09. The massive concert event was supposed to be held August 8-10 at New Jersey's Liberty State Park this summer.

Zep Tour Possibly in Late '08

Guitarist Jimmy Page tells Billboard that Led Zeppelin might in fact undertake a world tour later this year, but not until vocalist Robert Plant completes his own global trek with Alison Krauss in September.


STP to Reunite for Summer Shows

[ L-R: Dean DeLeo, Scott Weiland, Eric Kretz, Robert DeLeo.]

"I don't think the world's fucking biding their time waiting for Stone Temple Pilots to reform."
- Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum in Rolling Stone magazine.

Wrong, ass wipe: Scott Weiland will join brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo, as well as drummer Eric Kretz, for a series of summer shows, as Stone Temple Pilots will come together for the first time since their 2002 breakup. No further details are available at this time. We, of course, have one thing to add: Yesss!!!

(Not to give in to conjecture but if this turns out to be the death knell for Velvet Revolver can a GnR reunion with Slash and Duff McKagan be far behind? Just sayin'...)

In the meantime, here's the band performing quite possibly their greatest tune, "Interstate Love Song," live at the Rolling Rock Town Fair 2.0 in 2001:

What We're Listening To

THE CONSTANTINES Shine A Light (Sub Pop)
ROBERT DOWNEY JR. The Futurist (Sony)
RHETT MILLER The Instigator (Elektra)
THE RACONTEURS Broken Boy Soldiers (V2)
RADIOHEAD Hail to the Thief (Parlophone)

What are YOU listening to?


Now, That's Classy

Fox News commentator John Gibson made sure to disparage actor Heath Ledger within hours of the actor's body being found. After opening his radio show that evening with a funeral march and playing the "I wish I knew how to quit you" quote from Brokeback Mountain, Gibson mockingly remarked, "I guess he found a way." He went on to further insult Ledger and his work in a careless and tasteless manner. Here's a clip.

We weren't actually fans of Mr. Ledger and our dislike for Mr. Gibson and his ilk is not for a blog of matters relating to music and/or pop culture, but c'mon, the guy just died, damn it. Can you be a human being for a minute? Jeez.
The Girl from Ipanema
This is Heloisa Pinheiro, the muse that inspired Antonio Carlo Jobim's "The Girl from Ipanema" back in 1962. Now in her early 60s she is still stunningly beautiful. We can just imagine what she was like at age 17 when Vinicius de Moraes--who wrote the song's lyrics--described her as being "like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gentle." Whew. Sorry ladies, we had to give props.

[Photo by Scott Vogel, washingtonpost.com]


Star Trek Teaser Trailer

Like the Batman franchise, the Star Trek saga is being retold from the beginning, more or less, with this new movie. And no, the great William Shatner is not in it--Kirk died in Star Trek: Generations, remember?--but there's a rumor that Matt Damon will play Kirk at some point. Leonard Nimoy, however, will play an older Spock, while Zachary Quinto from the TV show Heroes will play the young Spock. But here's the clincher: former Britney Spears co-star Zoe Saldaña plays Uhura. Really? Who'd she have to b...never mind.

The movie opens Christmas Day.

Happy 15th, Ray

Rhino Records is releasing an expanded and remastered 2 CD/DVD version of the 1992 Gen-X favorite It's A Shame About Ray by The Lemonheads on March 25th. The 2 audio discs will include the original album in its entirety, plus demos and b-sides for a total of 23 tracks. (The DVD is the live/video collection Two Weeks in Australia originally released in 1993.)

In other related news Evan Dando will be entering the studio in the next few days looking to release a new Lemonheads album in May.

Tracklisting for It's A Shame About Ray [expanded+remastered]:
"Rockin Stroll"
"It's A Shame About Ray"
"My Drug Buddy"
"The Turnpike Down"
"Bit Part"
"Alison's Starting To Happen"
"Hannah & Gabi"
"Ceiling Fan In My Spoon"
"Frank Mills"
"Mrs. Robinson"

Bonus Material:
"Shaky Ground"
"It's A Shame About Ray" (demo)
"Rockin Stroll" (demo)
"My Drug Buddy" (demo)
"Hannah & Gabi" (demo)
"Kitchen" (demo)
"Bit Part" (demo)
"Rudderless" (demo)
"Ceiling Fan In My Spoon" (demo)
"Confetti" (demo)

"It's A Shame About Ray" (video)
"Ride With Me" (live)
"Mrs. Robinson" (video)
"Being Around" (video)
"Alison's Starting To Happen" (live)
"Hannah & Gabi" (video)
"Half The Time" (video)
"Rockin Stroll" (video)"Confetti" (video)
"It's About Time" (live)
"My Drug Buddy" (video)
Blind Melon Returns

On April 22nd the newly-revived Blind Melon will release its first studio album since 1995's critically-acclaimed Soup. For My Friends features new lead vocalist Travis Warren alongside original members Rogers Stevens (guitar), Christopher Thorn (guitar), Brad Smith (bass) and Glen Graham (drums). Original frontman Shannon Hoon died of a drug overdose in 1995. Best of luck, guys.

Actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Tuesday. Ledger will appear in this summer's Batman sequel, The Dark Night as The Joker. He was 28.

From The Vault

Wow, has it really been 20 years since witty Canadian power poppers The Pursuit of Happiness blew us away with "I'm An Adult Now" from the Todd Rundgren-produced Love Junk album? Damn.

Oh, and does this song sound familiar to you Nada Surf?

By the way, since iTunes USA doesn't carry these guys, we tried to purchase some TPOH from iTunes Canada and found our American account to be invalid for Canadian purchases. Why?!


Sorry, Johnny

Oscar nominations were announced today and unfortunately the soundtrack to the Daniel Day-Lewis film There Will Be Blood, scored by Radiohead guitarist/sound-and-vibe guru Johnny Greenwood has been deemed ineligible for consideration due to its use of pre-existing music. (46 of the 79 minutes of music include public domain works by Brahms and bits from his own Popcorn Superhet Receiver.)
Coachella 2008 Announced and Confirmed

- No MBV.
- Roger Waters plays DSOTM in its entirety. (Who's gonna sing "Breathe" "Us and Them" and "Money"? Not him, we hope.)
- Jack Johnson headlining?

Rising from the dead:
- Portishead, Kraftwerk, The Breeders, The Verve, Spiritualized, Love and Rockets.

- OK...as usual no one day catches our fancy but bits and pieces of each of the three.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Check out PopMatters' list of 50 overlooked albums from 2007.
New Releases

This week's a good one for both newbies and re-issues and includes:

CAT POWER Jukebox (Matador)
DRIVE BY TRUCKERS Brighter Than Creation's Dark (New West)
THE FEELIES Crazy Rhythms (A&M)
THE FLESHTONES Take a Good Look (Yep Roc)
NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALL-STARS Hernando (Songs of the South)


What We’re Listening To

ROBBEN FORD AND THE BLUE LINE Live in San Francisco (Jazz Door)
AIMEE MANN Bachelor No.2 (Superego)
MICHAEL PENN Resigned (57/Epic)
SUPERDRAG Last Call for Vitriol (Arena Rock)

What are YOU listening to?


Prog-Rock, Punk Fury, Psychedelic Euphoria

The NY Times' Jon Pareles reviews The Mars Volta's show this past Monday night at Terminal 5 in NYC.
Fiery Furnaces Ask You To Name Next Album

Choose among the 8 pre-chosen titles on their website. Sorry, but Another Piece of Crap by Pretentious Duo for Whom the Music Press Continually Wears Knee Pads is not available.
Coachella Heads East (Not Quite)

Rumors of the organizers of the Coachella music festival putting on an event in the NY/NJ area this summer have been confirmed. The promoters, AEG Live/Goldenvoice, will stage a music fest in August at New Jersey's Liberty State Park but not under the Coachella name. They'll be competing with another music fest coming to Jersey as well: Vineland, a Bonnaroo-size event on Aug 8-10, and promoted by a partnership between c3 Presents (Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits) and Britain's Melvin Benn's Festival Republic (Reading, Glastonbury).

And speaking of Coachella, the lineups for this year's April 25-27th shows will be announced in the next week or so.

Actor Brad Renfro, who'd long been struggling with drugs and alcohol, was found dead in his Los Angeles home Tuesday night. Best known for his roles in The Client and Sleepers, Renfro was 25.


New Releases

Today's include:

EELS Meet the Eels: Essential Eels 1996-2006, Vol. 1 [CD/DVD] (Geffen)
EELS Useless Trinkets: B Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased 1996-2007 (Geffen)
LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu (Heads Up)
MAGNETIC FIELDS Distortion (Nonesuch)

RINGO STARR Liverpool 8 (Capitol)
Coachella Heads East

Rumor has it that the venerable music festival will add a New York or New Jersey-based event starting this August. It would not affect this year's festival out in in Indio, CA, in April, however.


The Academy vs "5"

Our choice for 2007 Worst Album of the Year is a Grammy-nominee for 2007 Best Album of the Year: the Foo Fighters' Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. Who's right, boys and girls?

In other "5" news, our recent entry dissing Brooklyn's Williamsburg-based scene and its posers (Play Nice Boys. On Second Thought...) and featuring Armor for Sleep's "Williamsburg" has officially become our most viewed post ever. By far.

So here's the video. Again. [heh, heh]


Actor/director Mario Van Peebles will join Susan Lucci and co. as the newest cast member on the long-running daytime soap All My Children. We’re not making it up.

Man, if he was going to slum it like that, he shoulda made New Jack City II instead.
The Problem With Musicals is...the Music (for starters)

Congratulations to Johnny Depp for his Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. We unfortunately will not be watching this award-winning performance since we detest musicals in any way, shape or form. ("Surrey with the Fringe On Top" from Oklahoma! is a nice tune, though.) We didn't even know Sweeney Todd was a musical, especially since all the straight dudes in the "5" offices were enthusiastically awaiting this Tim Burton-directed film last year.

And speaking of avoiding musicals...we had an idea of what Rent was about despite not having seen the popular Broadway show in its heyday, numerous opportunities and the lure of free tickets notwithstanding. But this past week we came across the movie version while channel surfing and caught a few of the musical numbers from the movie. And there it was...every single bit of hokiness that musicals represent to those of us who hate them: lame songs, ham-fisted lyrics, contrived plots...ugh. There goes a chunk of our lives we won't get back.
Hello, Central Casting? May We Have a Word?

The long rumored Courtney Love-produced Kurt Cobain biopic will star Ryan Gosling as Kurt and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow herself. You read it here first. Well, maybe not, but...
Talk About Reality

With no end in sight to the writers’ strike—not until August, rumor has it—reality TV will become even more ubiquitous than it has been in recent times. (We don't mind and kinda like Snoop Dogg's foray into the reality sweepstakes: Father Hood.) VH1 has at least 3 new shows this season: Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant; Brett Michaels: Rock of Love II; (both in their second seasons and useless for the most part, especially Rock of Love) and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Now, over the weekend we managed to catch the first episode of the latter—the other 2 are an utter waste of time—and walked away from what seems like a cross between The Surreal Life and Intervention feeling uneasy, uncomfortable and even sort of guilty we were in on these people’s pain, mysery and alcohol and/or drug-induced shortcomings. It’s one thing to watch b-list celebrities—which is a generous description considering the cast consists of has-beens, one-hit-wonders, and a few that don’t even rate that high—further make fools of themselves with cheesy choices and non self-respecting lapses in judgement. Another is to witness them battle their all-too-real demons under sometimes harrowing circumstances. This is Breaking Bonaduce times two, people.


EMI Facing Artist Standoff

The EMI Group, which includes the Capitol and Parlophone labels, is facing much criticsm from roster artists such as Coldplay and Robbie Williams, who have expressed deep concern and doubt as to whether the company's new management is up to the task of properly doing the job of promoting their acts. EMI was acquired in September by Terra Firma in a $6.3 billion takeover and has since adopted a slash-and burn approach to their employment rolls, leaving label artists and their management uneasy with the prospect of releasing an album through a label unable to adequately promote and distribute their release. (Paul McCartney and Radiohead both left EMI last year.) EMI had no comment.

Drew Glackman, bassist for The Silos, on January 5th, of an untreated thyroid condition. He was 45.
Hard to Be an Audiophile in an iPod World

Oh, how true.

We've been talking/posting a lot about the subject lately but it's just another painful by-product of the digital music revolution that needs to be discussed as much as possible. (That, and how all of a sudden it's 1958 all over again: the single is the medium and the labels want to own the artists outright and give 'em the 21 century version of a Cadillac, for their troubles.)
You Heard, um, Read It Here First

The next knee pad worthy act for the hype machinists and their sheep is Yah Mos Def, a couple of white, Philly-based rappers who unabashedly and annoyingly revel in being ringers for Paul's Boutique-era Beastie Boys. Just not as good, of course. God help us.

"Comedian" Dane Cook has released a third album, Rough Around the Edges. [sigh]
The Aberzombie + Bitch crowd must be ecstatic.


What We’re Listening To

AUDIOSLAVE self-titled (Epic)
BEATLES Abbey Road (Parlophone)
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Transatlanticsm (Barsuk)
JLS Crudo [live] (828)
XTC Oranges and Lemons (Geffen)

What are YOU listening to?


Quote of the Day

"Recording costs have declined to almost zero. Artists used to need the labels to bankroll their recordings. Most simply didn't have the $15,000 (minimum) necessary to rent a professional studio and pay an engineer and a producer. For many artists — maybe even most — this is no longer the case. Now an album can be made on the same laptop you use to check email."

- David Byrne in Wired magazine.

This is dangerous talk. If you are not an electronica/sample-based or acoustic troubadour, chances are audiences are not going to be interested in your lo-fi/GarageBand musings. Yeah, Bob Pollard and Ariel Pink can get away with it, but if you are not them, good luck.

And for the record, we're not talking about needing some Tears For Fears-level production here. But if your typical gtr/bass/keys/drums combo could get their recorded musical point across with 2 mics in somebody's bedroom, there would be no need for studios
or engineers and/or producers, for that matterwhatsoever.

Generally speaking, NO ONE is interested in demo-quality recordings from unknown/up and coming artists. Period. Let's be honest here. Enough with the disingenuous statements, please.


New Releases

Today's newbies and reissues include:

JOHNNY CASH The Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show (Sony Legacy)
REV. HORTON HEAT Hi-Fi Stereo (Yep Roc)
MARAH Angels of Destruction (Yep Roc)
MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD Let's Go Everywhere (MRI)
VARIOUS ARTISTS The Wire Original Soundtrack: And All the Pieces Matter--Five Years of Music from The Wire (Nonesuch)

The Ozzman Readeth

Actor Michael Douglas has been hired by NBC to be the announcer for The NBC Nightly News with Brian Willimas. (Maybe Catherine Zeta-Jones will get lonely and we may be able to...hey, we can dream, OK!) Meanwhile CNN's Anderson Cooper is holding announcer auditions for his own Anderson Cooper 360. See for yourself.

Nacional Records

Congratulations on a great year to the folks at the L.A.-based Nacional Recordsespecially label VP, "5" er Josh Norek; and our old bud and occasional musical collaborator Nova, from Pacha Massivefor racking up a slew of awards and accolades in 2007. Manu Chao, Aterciopelados and the aforementioned Pacha Massive are part of the label's impressive roster. Keep it up, boys and girls.

PopMatters' Best Dressed of the Year was Rufus Wainwright. Ok. But why they chose him is what gives us pause:

"Rufus Wainwright is one of our generation’s most gifted entertainers, but nothing could have prepared the audience for Wainwright returning to the stage following two full sets, alone and in a white terry bathrobe. He placed a plain wooden chair in the middle of the stage, sat down, and carefully applied eyeliner, blush, and cherry-red lipstick. Finally, he let the robe fall to unveil Judy Garland herself in a Carnegie Hall sequined cocktail dress and stiletto heels. “Garland” proceeded to regale the audience with hit after hit from the classic American songbook. Somewhere over the rainbow, indeed."

Are you fuckin' serious?!
Sales vs Taste

The Orange County Register's music blog Soundcheck says people are still buying CDs in significant numbers. The problem is it's mostly crap that they're buying. Here's more.

Billboard has some funny predictions for this year...


Jamaican Archives Ripped Off

Original recordings by the likes of Peter Tosh and Bob Marley, thousands of vinyl albums, and iconic video performances including Marley's legendary One Love Peace Concert from 1978, have been stolen from the archives of the Jamaican Brodcast Corp. No word yet as to whether there are suspects or even if an investigation is under way. What a disgrace.

Play Nice, Boys (on second thought...)

While they surely won’t be making friends in Brooklyn’s haunts of hipsterdom, New Jersey-based Armor for Sleep have unleashed their disdain for public offender no.1 with new single “Williamsburg” off their most recent album Smile for Them (Sire). A powerful tune reminiscent of late melodic hard rockers Injected, it strikes us as the kind of rockers the Foo Fighters should've been aiming for on Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace… Anyway, here’s a sampling of the lyrics to “Williamsburg”:

Passed out, sleeping at your party/Dream of leaving in the morning /You will all die in Williamsburg/Too hip to even clean your nose out/Your grave is pulling at your pants now/You will all die in Williamsburg...

Brooklyn's a death bed/For clones of the same kid/Stuck in the party/That was lame to begin with...

Needless to say, as non-fans of the fauxhemia and trustafarian-infested landscape that has come to define Broooklyn for the rest of the world during this decade, we share the sentiment. Actually, we think Billyburg got off easy. Ha! But, regardless, the song rocks and that is what matters first and foremost.

Here’s the video (with its Hipster 101 classrooms and ettiquette, all that's missing is the ubiquitous cocaine bump):

Novoselic 'Flips' Out

Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has joined veteran punk rockers Flipper in the studio for their first album in 15 years. The album is currently in the mixing stages but remains untitled. Novoselic toured with the San Francisco old schoolers last month, including a performance at the Thurston Moore-curated All Tomorrow's Parties in England.
After his most recent band Eyes Adrift--with former Meat Puppets frontman Curt Kirkwood and former Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh--disbanded in 2003, Novoselic had stated on his website his intent to retire from music. (There is a rumored solo album in the works, however.) Glad to have you back, sir.
Question of the Day

Why have there been--and to date none are currently lined up--absolutely no NYC-area shows scheduled on the reformed Smashing Pumkins Zeitgeist tour?
Video Hits (N)one

In a surprising move VH1 debuted the video for "Guaranteed" from Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder's first solo album, the soundtrack to Sean Penn's Into the Wild, by airing it every hour on the hour, this morning. Of course this was between the hours of 6 and 10 AM, so don't get any ideas about music programming coming back. Too many reality shows to run. Speaking of which...
Are We The Only Ones That Think That...

...the women on Brett Michaels' Rock of Love 2--which debuts Sunday, Jan 13th at 9 PM on the aforementioned VH1--are even nastier, skankier and resemble full-on, cheap-ass strippers/hookers, this time around? (Not that he had any winners the first time.) Oh, and Michaels needs to take off that eyeliner or risk being confused with any one of them. Just sayin'...


Paul, Ringo and the Widows Ain't Gonna Like It, Boyeee

Now that Jay-Z has left his post as Def Jam label president, the rumors of his partnering with Apple Computers to start a new label—wait, wasn't he hawking laptops for Dell in some TV ad not too long ago?—is sure to raise eyebrows and blood temperatures over at The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd.
After two succesful lawsuits against Apple Computer—settled in 1981 and 1991, respectively—for trademark infringement and violation of an agreement by the computer company to not enter the music business, Apple Corps found themselves on the losing side when their third legal clash with Steve Jobs and co. ended in 2006 with a British court ruling that the iPod and the iTunes Store did not infringe upon Apple Corps trademark, who felt both the device and the store represented a clear violation of their agreement regarding Apple Computer's pledge to not distribute music. And now the Cupertino Cabal is starting a label? Here comes round 4...

Meanwhile, according to AllHipHop.com, Public Enemy's Chuck D is said to have been lobbying hard for the top job over at Def Jam. Which is interesting considering his numerous recent pronouncements about the death of the major label. Maybe he's got some good ideas. At the very least, the label would gain someone the artists respect and could look to for guidance, regardless of what side of the desk Chuck is behind. He better make the label some money, though: Russell Simmons has big bank alimony to pay that high-maintenance ex-wife of his.
Was NaS Right: Is Hip-Hop Dead?

Not yet, but numbers-wise the condition is critical. Sales for the genre are down more than 20%. (The music biz's overall sales are down about 18%.) Kanye West and 50 Cent—who last year duked it out in first week sales—have together moved 3 million copies of their respective recent albums. (50's 2005 release The Massacre sold over 5 million copies on its own.) Then again, if what we see here in NYC is a valid example, it certainly doesn't help that the piracy/bootlegging going on in neighborhoods where the music is most popular is rampant to say the least. And we're not even talking about online "sharing".

Personally, we feel hip-hop is coming out of its own "hair band" era: fans are tiring of the style over substance of most crunk and gangsta rap and are looking/waiting for something new to excite them and inspire them. But what do we know?

The New York Times' Kalefa Sanneh looks into it.
Question of the Day

Why are kids expecting/demanding music to be free but willing to pay $50 for a video game they'll get tired of in a few months and never play again? Seriously.

More Like 73. Maybe.

This summer, Steve Carell will star as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, in the feature length motion picture of the 60's TV spy sitcom Get Smart. Co-starring as his sexy sidekick, Agent 99, is Anne Hathaway. Anne Hathaway? The chick that always looks like she just took off her glasses? Yeah, she's cute, but really?
Word has it that Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Rachel McAdams were both in the running. Love-Hewitt? Nah. Maybe 5 years ago. McAdams on the other hand is absolutely yummy and has the right amount of sexiness that would've made her great for the part. Oh, well...

And yes, we should be questioning the need for making the movie itself instead of the hotness of the co-star, but we're guys, so...apologies to our female readers.

Get Smart opens June 20th.
Best Headline of the Year (so far)

from New York magazine:

"R.E.M. Prepares to Disappoint Us for the Fourth Album in a Row"

They go on to add: "Manager Bertis Downs promises a return to a more early-R.E.M.-era rock vibe, though the music-buying public has yet to promise a return to early-R.E.M.-era interest."

Ouch. Guess they have a subscription to The Onion, huh?


Birds of a Feather

A couple of highly-regarded, long lost movies, I Am Cuba (1964) and Two Lane Blacktop (1971), got the deluxe DVD treatment late last year, after decades in red tape limbo.

Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov's depiction of the overthrowing of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959 was met with plenty of censorship by his native government—despite its slighly propagandistic tone—and subsequently only screened a few times in Cuba and the USSR. A 1990 screening at the Telluride festival and a limited theatrical run in the US in the mid '90s—thanks to the efforts of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola—led to a DVD release in 2000, but this new version (labelled "Ultimate Edition") with its 'making of' and a doc on Kalatozov himself is considered the definitive document on this film.

Monte Hellman's pean to American existensialism—disguised as that quintessential late '60s/early '70s film archetype of choice: the road movie—allegedly has the most unique ending in film history, according to David N. Meyer in his delightful book The 100 Best Films to Rent You've Never Heard Of: Hidden Treasures, Neglected Classics, and Hits From By-Gone Eras (St. Martin's Griffin). Hmm...
Starring singer/songwriter James Taylor—who, to this day, due to his discontent with Hellman's approach to filmmaking, is said to have never seen the movie—and the late Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, this third try at the DVD market—the first two are out of print and fetch upwards of $100 among collectors—includes a bonus disc with a documentary featuring an interview with Kris Kristofferson talking about how his song "Me and Bobby McGee" got to be so closely associated with TLB.
Odelay Redux

Surprised it took them so long: on January 29th, Beck's Gen-X touchstone, Odelay will get the deluxe reissue treatment from Geffen/Universal. The revamped edition will include a whopping 19 tracks not on the original release including a Spanish-language version of "Jackass" called "Burro"; "Deadweight" taken from the Life Less Ordinary soundtrack; and remixes by the likes of Aphex Twin and Mickey P. (each respectively tackling "Devil's Haircut"), as well as UNKLE ("Where It's At").

Odelay - Deluxe Edition tracklisting:

Disc One (original album):
Devil's Haircut

Lord Only Knows
The New Pollution
Where It's At
High 5 (Rock the Catskills)
Hidden Track

Bonus tracks:
Gold Chains

Disc Two:
Where It's At (UNKLE remix)
Richard's Hairpiece (Aphex Twin remix of "Devil's Haircut")
American Wasteland (Mickey P. remix of "Devil's Haircut")
Thunder Peel
Electric Music and the Summer People
Feather in Your Cap
Erase the Sun
Devil Got My Woman
Trouble All My Days
Strange Invitation
25 Best Rock Posters of All Time

Billboard put together this interesting collection of live concert posters. Many of you may already be familiar with them--a good chunk of them are classics from the '60s and are related to the city of San Francisco in some way--but there always worth checking out again, not to mention a few cool ones you probably haven't seen before.


The Joy of Sax (Not!)

The legendary John Coltrane’s music can do no wrong in our book. We say the same of the great Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. And we’re down with saxophone-led genres—or at least ones where the instrument is featured prominently—of many stripes, from old-school ska to merengue. But something of monstrous fromage proportions happens when the beloved horn shacks up with rock and roll. Man, it’s astounding how an OK tune can turn to dreck in an instant under these circumstances.

Sure there are great examples of the contrary out there—the solo in Galaxie 500’s “Blue Thunder” is a a thing of dark beauty; the late, great Morphine, of course, did the sax/bass/drums trio thing like no one in rock and roll before or since—but some of the lamest musical crimes in rock and roll have been perpetrated by adding some sax to the mix. Sorry Bruce, but for the most part, The Big Man should stick to hand-held percussion and singing backup.
What We're Listening To

BECK The Information (DGC)
CROWDED HOUSE Time on Earth (Parlophone)
SAN FCO JAZZ COLLECTIVE self-titled (Nonesuch)
SMASHING PUMPKINS Zeitgeist (Reprise)
TEENAGE FANCLUB Bandwagonesque (DGC)

What are YOU listening to?
We Know, Too

Lyle Lovett pays tribute to Brian Wilson by performing the former Beach Boys leader's greatest love song, "God Only Knows" at the recent 29th Kennedy Center Honors ceremony.


Happy New Year!

Quote of the Day

"The only reason we could even get away with this, the only reason anyone even gives a shit, is the fact that we've gone through the whole mill of the business in the first place. It's not supposed to be a model for anything else. It was simply a response to a situation. We're out of contract. We have our own studio. We have this new server. What the hell else would we do? This was the obvious thing. But it only works for us because of where we are."

- Radiohead's Thom Yorke on their recent In Rainbows album being originally released via the band's website. The CD version officially comes out today.