3/31/2008

This Week's Playlist: Keeping Up with the Joneses

A self-referential playlist, we dedicate this one to G. R. Jones, loyal and long-time "5" reader who's been with us from the very beginning. Enjoy!

1. DAVID BOWIE "Scary Monsters" Scary Monsters
2. COUNTING CROWS "Mr. Jones" August and Everything After
3. BOB DYLAN "Ballad of a Thin Man" Highway 61 Revisited
4. GEORGE JONES "Bartender's Blues" 16 Biggest Hits
5. MIKE JONES "Mr. Jones" The American Dream
6. STEVE JONES "Give it Up" Mercy
7. TOM JONES "It's Not Unusual" Along Came Jones
8. THE MONKEES "Daydream Believer" The Birds The Bees and The Monkees
9. BILLY PAUL "Me and Mrs. Jones" 360 Degrees of Billy Paul
10. TALKING HEADS "Mr. Jones" Naked

No Garbage Here


[Cover art courtesy of allmusic.com]

STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS
Real Emotional Trash

(Matador-2008)

On Slow Century, the DVD filmed during the tour in support of Pavement's final album, 1999's Terror Twilight, we're told there's a scene in which lead singer Stephen Malkmus compares being in a band to the pair of handcuffs dangling from a mic stand. While that may have been intended as a reference to the constraints of that format, what he has done since then seems to indicate that it was being in that particular situation, and not in a band per se, that Malkmus felt was confining.

Starting with his self-titled solo album in 2001, the singer/guitarist has kept quite busy, releasing four albums imbued with his trademark wit and singular wryness as well as a marked sense of six-string freedom with a lot more in common, with say, The Grateful Dead, or more to the point, Lou Reed or Television, than traditional indie rock. (That these albums resemble closely the aforementioned Terror Twilight, which Malkmus appears to have written single-handedly, has made the case for some to consider it his unofficial solo album.) His latest, Real Emotional Trash, with his band The Jicks, is indebted to elements of both classic and prog-rock--five tracks exceed the six-minute mark, with one of them clocking in at just over ten minutes--but offers up enough of his stream-of-consciousness lyrics and stock-in-trade tunes to make it palatable to both fans of his former band and newcomers alike.

Highlights: the anthemic "Out of Reaches", "Elmo Delmo", and the title track.

Exile in Guyville Redux


[Exile in Guyville cover art courtesy of allmusic.com]

Yes, Virginia: another Generation-X musical touchstone gets reissued with the deluxe treatment. This time it's Liz Phair's 1993 indie rock classic, Exile in Guyville, on the occasion of its fifteenth anniversary. The reissue includes 4 bonus tracks from the album's original recording sessions plus a documentary DVD on the making of Guyville featuring John Cusack, Steve Albini, producer Brad Wood, and Matador Records founders Gerard Cosloy and Chris Lombardi, among others.

Phair who was once signed to and originally released the album on Matador, is now on Dave Matthews' ATO imprint--along with Radiohead--who is releasing the expanded Guyville on June 24th and has signed Phair for an upcoming album.

The 10 Most Prophetic Sci-Fi Movies Ever

In honor of 2001: A Space Oddessy author Arthur C. Clarke's recent passing, the debunk-happy folks at Popular Mechanics have put together this list. Do you agree?

O No!

"Yoko Ono has to stop saying, 'It’s what John would have wanted.' Really? He would have wanted his songs interpreted by Russian gymnasts at the Mirage Casino? He would have wanted a John Lennon action figure? You know what? I think I know what John Lennon would have wanted: A divorce and Lucy Liu."

- the host of
HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, March, 28th, 2008.

U2 Follow Madonna to Live Nation

Proving that they seriously consider themselves the Irish Rolling Stones, late 40-somethings U2 have signed a 12-year deal with concert promoter Live Nation Inc. that covers all aspects of their career except recording rights and management. According to Billboard, this includes "merchandise and licensing rights, sponsorship and strategic alliances, digital rights, fan club/Web sites and other marketing and creative services". How much this deal is worth is not publicly known at this time.

Madonna recently signed a 10-year agreement with Live Nation for $120 million which also includes a 3-album deal. Her entire catalog up to this point has been on Sire/Warner Bros.

3/30/2008

When Will It End?!

The Brady Bunch.
Charlie's Angels.
Starsky and Hutch
The Dukes of Hazzard

[sigh]

The A-Team movie joins this, um, esteemed list of TV shows brought to the big screen in June of 2009. Director John Singleton is promising an over-the-top action flick, befitting the original series and is said to be hell-bent on casting Woody Harrelson as "Howling Mad" Murdoch, while actor/rapper Ice Cube is quite keen on playing B. A. Baracus. Mohawk and all. 

Col. "Hannibal" Smith and Templeton "Face" Peck have yet to be cast. How 'bout George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey, respectively?

3/29/2008

Poison Drummer Arrested on Rape Warrant

from Associated Press:

"Poison drummer Rikki Rockett was arrested on a rape warrant and his case was turned over to the district attorney's office for possible grand jury consideration, officials said Friday. Rockett, 46, was arrested Monday at or near Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles police said. He was booked and released, and was awaiting an extradition decision by Mississippi prosecutors.
A woman in Mississippi filed a complaint that she was raped on Sept. 23, 2007, at the Silver Star Casino, Neshoba County sheriff's investigator Ralph Sciple said. 'The subject, Rikki Rockett, forcibly had sex with an adult in one of the hotel rooms,' according to a complaint.

Rockett, whose real name is Richard Ream, was booked into the Los Angeles County jail under his stage name and released early Tuesday, according to jail inmate information on the county sheriff's Web site. Sciple said there was no immediate attempt to bring Rockett back to Mississippi and a decision on extradition would await action by the district attorney
."

Pitchfork Adds To Music Fest Lineup

As we mentioned here, the 2008 edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival will include some 40+ bands on July 18th-20th in Chicago. Recently confirmed and added to the bill are Jarvis Cocker, the original Dinosaur Jr, Ghostface and Raekwon from Wu-Tang, plus The Apples in Stereo, among others. But the main attraction, in our opinion, is the first day which features an All Tomorrow's Parties-curated "Don't Look Back", with Public Enemy performing their seminal It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, in its entirety, and Mission of Burma doing the same with their Vs. album.

Mudhoney 2008 Tour Dates

Mark Arm and the boys are hitting the road starting next month. Here are the dates:

04/19 - Portland, OR
05/20 - Seattle, WA
05/30 - Chicago, IL
05/31 - Louisville, KY
06/01 - Newport, KY
06/02 - Pontiac, MI
06/03 - Colubmus, OH
06/04 - Buffalo, NY
06/05 - Northampton, MA
06/06 - Cambridge, MA
06/07 - New York, NY
06/08 - West Chester, PA
06/09 - Washington, D.C.
06/10 - Carrboro, NC
06/11 - Atlanta, GA
06/12 - Gainesville, FL
06/13 - Miami, FL
06/14 - Orlando, FL
06/15 - Pensacola, FL
06/16 - New Orleans, LA
07/31 - London, England
08/02 - Trondheim, Norway

3/28/2008

This Week's Playlist: Waterworks

This one is self-explanatory. Enjoy!

1. CAFE TACUBA "El Rio" Yo Soy
2. THE CURE "The Same Deep Water as You" Disintegration
3. NICK DRAKE "River Man" Five Leaves Left
4. JUAN CARLOS FORMELL "Agua Bendita" Cemeteries and Desire
5. PETER GABRIEL "Here Comes the Flood" [self-titled album]
6. GIGOLO AUNTS "Pacific Ocean Blues" Pacific Ocean Blues
7. RICHARD HAWLEY "The Ocean" Coles Corner
8. LED ZEPPELIN "The Rain Song" Houses of the Holy
9. ROGER MANNING "Wish it Would Rain" The Land of Pure Imagination
10. XTC "Ballet for a Rainy Day" Skylarking

What Comes Around Goes Around


[Mighty High at Southpaw, BKNY. Photo by Theo Wargo]

MIGHTY HIGH / FEDERALE / SALOONATICS
3/27/08 - Southpaw, Brooklyn, NY

Good old ‘70s hard rock, of the kind championed by the likes of Aerosmith back in the day, hasn’t curried much favor with the mainstream rock audience since Guns ‘n’ Roses reminded us 20 years ago what the fuss over Toys in the Attic and Rocks was all about. Even the stoner rock scene with its re-fried Black Sabbath riffs has enjoyed a lot more press and acclaim. But all across the country, pockets of local scenes are flying the riff flag high and rockin’ like it’s 1975, Grand Funk Railroad are all the rage, and the ‘80s never happened.

Influenced equally by hard rock, Motor City mayhem and punk of the SST variety, with lyrics that clearly would’ve made them poster children for Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No!” anti-drug campaign, Mighty High celebrated the release of their debut CD, In Drug City, headlining a no-nonsense bill with a blistering set of meat-and-potatoes rock and roll, and putting on some well-received arena-sized rock star moves for the assembled crowd. Yes, a tree grows in Brooklyn but of a very different kind for these guys.

Two of Mighty High’s Brooklyn brethren rounded out the bill: Federale, with a bluesy, twin-guitar fireworks approach that shows off how tight the band really is; and Saloonatics, a ballsy, high-octane outfit whose raw energy and old-school punk-influenced assault gives new meaning to the term power trio. All in all, it was an evening of true believers giving it all in the most direct of ways possible: loud, hard, fast. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday night, huh?

Latest Splash

The new Breeders album, Mountain Battles, is streaming here. Click on the video...

Allman Bros Shows Postponed

Due to Gregg Allman's treatments for hepatitis C, The Allman Brothers Band will have to reschedule their April dates as well as their annual run of shows in New York's Beacon Theatre, scheduled for May, according to drummer Butch Trucks.

It's A Shame About Evan

Pitchfork raves about The Lemonheads' deluxe edition of It's A Shame About Ray, which Rhino released earlier this week. PopMatters also weighs in on the expanded version of the popular '90s and Gen-X touchstone.

The band is currently in the studio recording the follow-up to their self-titled 2006 comeback album and preparing for a possible May release.

3/27/2008

It's Vedder In Seattle

As a preview for his first ever solo tour, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder played two shows this week in the band's hometown of Seattle. Less than 150 fans paid $5 each night, expecting to see a screening of Into The Wild, for which he wrote and performed the soundtrack. What they got instead was a solo set consisting of a few covers, a handful of Pearl Jam tunes, and tracks from the aforementioned Into The Wild. Vedder hits the road on April 2nd.

Here are the dates:

April 2: Vancouver
April 5: Santa Cruz, CA
April 7: Berkeley, CA
April 10: Santa Barbara, CA
April 12-13: Los Angeles, CA
April 15: San Diego, CA

Foos Rush In

Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist Geddy Lee joined Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins onstage for a performance of the Canadian legends' seminal instrumental track "YYZ", during a Foo's show in Toronto this past weekend. Not bad, Taylor. Not bad at all. Wow, Pitchfork is really gonna hate the Foos now. Ha! 

Here's some fan-filmed footage courtesy of Blabbermouth:

East Coast/West Coast Hoax

It turns out the L.A. Times got some really bad info for a recent expose alleging Sean "Puffy/P. Diddy" Combs' involvement--which he has categorically denied--in the shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur in a New York recording studio in 1994. Yikes! The paper is launching a full internal investigation.

Did You Know...

...alt-rock princess and one-time celebrity virgin, Juliana Hatfield did the pay-what-you-want thing way before Radiohead? We didn't. The more you know...
Ms. Hatfield's next album, How to Walk Away will be released on her own label, Ye Olde Records, on June 10th.

What We're Listening To

GONZALEZ The Industry of Human Happiness (La Viuda Negra)
KLARK KENT self-titled (A&M)
PLUSH More You Becomes You (Drag City)
REFUSED The Shape of Punk to Come (Epitaph)
MATTHEW SWEET Blue Sky on Mars (Zoo)

What are YOU listening to?

3/26/2008

GnR Reunion or Did We Just See a Winged Pig?

Guns 'n' Roses reunion rumors are abuzz amidst talk of an imminent breakup of Velvet Revolver—the band that currently includes original Gunners Slash and Duff McKagan, as well as latter-day drummer Matt Sorum—all over the music press. Velvet Revolver vocalist Scott Weiland—who will be reuniting with his former bandmates in Stone Temple Pilots for a tour this summer—has exchanged pointed barbs with Sorum in the media after the former recently declared from the stage the band's current tour to be their last.

And as for that GnR reunion...actually, we're speculating it might happen to promote the release of Chinese Democracy. "When is that", you ask? Well, if we actually knew, then the mystery of the six winning Powerball numbers would be old news to us, now wouldn't it?
As it turns out, the album's delayed release is not Axl's fault [gasp] this time: word is, the band has delivered the record to Geffen Records, who in this dreadful climate for CD sales are carefully pondering how to go about recouping their monumental investment, which some sources place as high as $13 million. Others have suggested Geffen may just cut their losses and refuse to release the album, but this appears to be unlikely. Stay tuned.

Record Store Day

On April 19th, hundreds of record retailers and artists all across the country will celebrate "Record Store Day", a show of support for mom and pop shops everywhere, with all kinds of special appearances and performances scheduled. Among them, Metallica will do a meet and greet at San Francisco's Rasputin Music to commemorate the 180 gram vinyl release of their classic albums Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning. And special merchandise will also be on sale: Stephen Malkmus will release a 10" single version of "Cold Son", from his recent Real Emotional Trash album. We know that somewhere, ?uestlove is doing something for the cause that day, as well.

A list of participating stores nationwide can be found here.

New Releases

Twice as many on our weekly list of notable debuts:

THE B-52s Funplex (Astralwerks)
COUNTING CROWS Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings (Geffen)
ROBERT CRAY Live at the BBC (Mercury)
GNARLS BARKLEY The Odd Couple (Warner Bros)
LA INDIA CANELA Merengue Tipico from the Dominican Republic (Smithsonian/Folkways)
THE LEMONHEADS It's a Shame About Ray [Collector's Edition] [CD/DVD] (Rhino)
BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO Live (Nonesuch)
PENNYWISE Reason to Believe (MySpace)
THE RACONTEURS Consolers Of The Lonely (Third Man/Warner Bros)
SCRITTI POLITTI Provision (Warner Bros)

W

Oliver Stone is making W, a biopic of current US president George W. Bush. Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Banks have already been been cast as Bush and wis wife Laura. Stone co-wrote the screenplay with Stanley Weiser; they also collaborated on 1987's Wall Street. Filming starts in Shreveport, LA, late next month.
Brolin plays another civil servant in Gus Van Sant's upcoming Milk: Dan White, the San Franciso supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk, California's first openly gay elected official, and San Francisco mayor George Moscone in 1978.

Glorious, Indeed

Many thanks to the guys at Glorious Noise for making ours the website's official review of The Raconteurs' latest album, Consolers of the Lonely. We are long time readers and fans of GloNo and are honored by the distinction. And yes, rock and roll can change your life.

3/25/2008

No Consolation Prize Here



THE RACONTEURS
Consolers of the Lonely

[Warner Bros/Third Man-2008]


These guys are old school. Yeah, how to boil water and all that. But who puts a lead off title track on their album anymore? And a worthy one, too? This one prominently features the lead vocals of Brendan Benson in what seems like a deliberate attempt to once again assert the “we’re a band” concept and not the commonly held “Jack White and co.” perception. Wait—seems? Nah, Jack White chances nothing.

In any event, once revved up, Consolers of the Lonely rocks a bit harder than Broken Boy Soldiers (“Salute Your Solution”, “Hold Up”, “Five on the Five”, "Attention"; the title track) and has a more in-your-face mix than their debut. The band even dabbles in retro R&B balladry—“Many Shades of Black”, complete with the requisite horn section, in this case the legendary Memphis Horns—and pseudo-White Stripes territory on the bluesy, slide guitar-flavored “Top Yourself”, but there’s nothing here to win you over if you weren’t sucked in the first time around. Conversely, if you felt Broken Boy Soldiers answered the question, “What would the White Stripes sound like with a rhythm section carried by a real drummer?” then this record is for you. (It's also closer to the sound of The White Stripes than the previous Raconteurs album, for what it's worth.)

Even though we are only a third of the way in, arguably the most anticipated rock record of 2008 is here and it’s pretty good. Which in this era of increasingly diminishing returns is about par for the course. However, don't let that put a damper on your enjoyment of Consolers of the Lonely one bit. This ain’t no sophomore slump, not by a long shot.

The Revolution is Brought to You by...

PopMatters' Ben Rubinstein talks about using TV commercials as a valid source for discovering new music and bolstering your playlists.
'Daddy wasn't that what record stores were for?'
'Nevermind, just go on and play with your PSP, son.'

Pumpkins Sue Virgin Records Over Pepsi / Amazon Deal

Alleging illegal use of the band's name and reputation, The Smashing Pumpkins are suing their former label, Virgin Records, over a "Pepsi Stuff" promotion involving Amazon.com and Pepsi Co. The suit seeks payment of any profit made by Virgin in said promotion and an injunction against any future usage of the band's name and/or music. The Pumpkins--who have stated they would "never grant such authority to Virgin, or any other entity"--released their music via Virgin for 17 years. Their most recent release, Zeitgeist, was on the Reprise label.

Long Duk Dong: Last of the Hollywood Stereotypes?

NPR's got an interesting piece on the quite funny, albeit racially insensitive Sixteen Candles character played by actor Gedde Watanabe. Also, Mr. Watanabe talks about playing the role then and what it means to him now.

Goodbye, Jezebel

Not even Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose could save it: After airing two episodes, Fox has removed The Return of Jezebel James from its Friday night schedule due to low ratings. ('Til Death will join it in limbo.) We saw the pilot and a good chunk of the second episode--we tried to watch the whole thing but, uuugh--and are not one bit surprised. Jezebel James--a creation of Amy Sherman-Palladino, the main force behind The Gilmore Girls--will be replaced with Bones reruns.

3/24/2008

5 Album Covers We Love

These come to mind, in chronological order (all images courtesy of AllMusic.com):



ORNETTE COLEMAN
This Is Our Music

[Atlantic-1960]


The classic Blue Note covers of the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s have been endlessly paid tribute by a myriad of artists mesmerized by the style and classy look of the legendary jazz label’s releases. (A new generation also took notice with the release of Graham Marsh’s coffetable book Blue Note: The Album Cover Art in the early ‘90s.) But the guys at Atlantic Records’ art department were no slouches either. This simple, direct and defiant cover—which features an integrated band, in the still heavily-segregated ‘60s—mirrors the album’s title and clearly establishes there will be no fooling around once the needle hit the grooves.




PINK FLOYD
Wish You Were Here

[Columbia-1975]


The now legendary design firm known as Hipgnosis has created many an iconic album cover over the years, but we’ve always been mesmerized by this very ‘70s, yet timeless picture of two men shaking hands in some back lot while one of them is clearly on fire. Perhaps it symbolizes the band making a deal with the Devil of commercial glories—this album is the followup to the mega smash Dark Side of The Moon [Harvest-1973]—and formally severing its ties to founding member Syd Barrett, upon whom 80% or so of the lyrical content of the album is based. Or maybe it’s just pretty cool.





SUPERTRAMP
Breakfast in America

[A&M-1979]


Was the band’s desire to finally conquer the US what inspired the cover of this 1979 blockbuster? Is the jolly, cherubic diner waitress standing in for the Statue of Liberty, with a Manhattan skyline made of eating utensils in the background, and seen through the eyes of an airplane passenger (an outsider?) meant to be a comment on the ruthlessness of America (chews you up, spits you out); crass commercialism; or perhaps that shiny, technicolor image British rockers have always ascribed to it? Whatever the reason, it’s still a clever bit of imagery and always a big hit with us.





THE WATERBOYS
This Is The Sea

[Chrysalis-1985]


A simple, understated, but very artistic black and white close up of head Waterboy Mike Scott, with a very traditional and sober white font. Excellent.





PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED
Album

[Elektra-1986]

(aka Cassette or Compact Disc, depending on the format)

The generic supermarket product approach pays off big time for former Sex Pistol John Lydon and co. Interestingly, there are no album credits to be found on the record itself. (This may have been due to the departure and dismissal of the previous incarnation of the band, leading many to consider this to be Lydon's first actual solo album.) Regardless, once fans heard this Bill Laswell production—featuring the likes of Ginger Baker, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Steve Vai—they not only discovered PiL’s finest album but heard how far from generic the music on this release actually was.

RIP

- Longtime Beatles friend and business associate Neil Aspinall, who managed both Apple Corps Ltd and the band's post-break up business affairs for almost forty years, died in New York's Sloan-Kettering Hospital. The announcement was made by surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, and the band's Apple Corps Ltd. The exact date of death is not publicly known. Aspinall was 66.

- Legendary Cuban bassist and bandleader Israel "Cachao" Lopez, died in Miami on Saturday after complications from kidney failure. He was 89.

- Jason Rae, the husband of Grammy-nominated British singer Corinne Bailey Rae, was found dead in an apartment in Leeds, of an apparent drug overdose. A saxophonist for funk band The Haggis Horns, Rae was 31 years old.

3/21/2008

This Week's Playlist: Wherever You Are

Here's another 10-song playlist recommended for your iPod or other portable MP3 player of your choice. This themed entry is of songs with places in their respective titles. Enjoy!

1. ARNOLD "Windsor Park" Hillside
2. COLDPLAY "Amsterdam" A Rush of Blood to the Head
3. FLAT DUO JETS "Madagascar" Flat Duo Jets
4. ROBERT FRIPP "Chicago" Exposure
5. HOLE "Malibu" Celebrity Skin
6. BEN KWELLER "Commerce, TX" Sha Sha
7. JESSE MALIN "Brooklyn" The Fine Art of Self-Destruction
8. THE POSIES "Ontario" Amazing Disgrace
9. POWER TOOLS "Howard Beach Memories" Strange Meeting
10. STONE TEMPLE PILOTS "Atlanta" No. 4

Still Crazy...

We recently suggested here that perhaps vinyl-only album releases could be a method to combat piracy. And that in light of the format's 22% rise in sales from the previous year (close to 800,000 units sold in 2007; just above 600,000 in 2006, according to Billboard) it would be interesting to see how it would pan out. Well, now we have ourselves a guinea pig.

After stating in the Dec. 2007 issue of Mojo magazine, that he was "not of a mind to record anymore" and calling it pointless at this juncture, on April 22nd, Elvis Costello's newest album, Momofuku will be released exclusively on vinyl. (Enclosed will be a special code for downloading the album.) Like Radiohead's pay-what-you-want experiment with their album In Rainbows late last year, this is an established artist taking on a fresh, new approach--did you ever think releasing music on vinyl exclusively would ever be considered an innovative endeavor in your lifetime?--that's not recommended for just anyone. But the thing of it is, it also happens to be an historic move: the first official new studio album release by an established artist not to be made available on CD in possibly 20 years.

How will it do sales-wise? And who will be buying it? Well, Costello will be doing his bit to promote it: he's the opening act on The Police's North American tour this summer, which kicks off May 10th, in Chicago. (What year is this?)

Momofuku is Costello's first album with his backing band The Imposters, since their debut together, The Delivery Man, in 2004. Both albums are on the Lost Highway label.

Smells Like Greed Spirit

As part of their 100th anniversary celebration, Converse will release a limited edition Kurt Cobain Chuck Taylor sneaker. Courtney, you bitch. How could you?

Wilco North American Dates

Jeff Tweedy and co. have announced a dozen upcoming dates in the US, plus one in Canada--at the Burton Cummings Theatre, no less--in support of their most recent album Sky Blue Sky. Here they are:

4/30 - Rochester, MN
5/1 - Fargo, ND
5/2 - Winnipeg, Manitoba
5/4 - Bozeman, MT
5/5 - Missoula, MT
5/7 - Grand Junction, CO
5/8 - Colorado Springs, CO
5/9 - Albuquerque, NM
5/11 - Austin, TX
5/12 - Austin, TX
5/15 - St. Louis, MO
5/16 - St. Louis, MO
8/07 - Charleston, SC

The Indie Rock 25: Proceed with Caution

That well-known bastion of all things cutting edge, Entertainment Weekly, has compiled on their website The Indie Rock 25, a list of the two dozen plus albums of the sub-genre they consider to be essential. We don't know if we'd trust the opinion of a magazine that praises the perennially-flat singing of Interpol's Paul Banks--or casually dismisses the blatant Joy Division aping of their debut album--but they do OK, and after all, this is Entertainment-fucking-Weekly we're talking about, anyway. There's not much in the way of surprises--Bee Thousand, Daydream Nation, Doolittle, Let it Be, Loveless, etc etc etc--but there's some interesting pictures accompanying each blurb, including a 20-something year old picture of Dinosaur Jr's original lineup, which makes a case for Lou Barlow being indie rock's Dorian Gray.

3/20/2008

Smashing Pumpkins Ponder Next Move


[Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlain onstage in San Francisco, 2007. Photo: Daniel Haier]

Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlain will be heading back into the studio in May to work on new Smashing Pumpkins material but an album might not be in the works, according to Chamberlain, in an interview with Spinner.com

"I don't think we will make records again," the drummer explains, pointing out that the band's contractual commitment to Reprise Records is finished. "I look at it like the old business model is dead and the music business doesn't know how to move forward. We want to keep things vital and keep things viable and get our music across while remaining relevant. Music has in many ways just become an advertisement for your tour."

"I think what we'll do is start releasing songs," Chamberlin continues. "The record or CD format places too many limitations on your piece of art. People just don't buy records anymore. Anyone under the age of 24 just buys songs. It's just in our best interest to release blocks of songs. And I think what we'll do--not to let the cat out of the bag too much--is to create the framework where we can release a number of songs and maybe create a title. We can gather three or four songs, but it will all flow up to a larger body of work. But to call it record in the traditional sense would be anachronistic."

Originally posted yesterday, March 19th, the complete interview has since been removed from the Spinner website, which is quite telling, but not surprising considering the bombshell Mr. C is dropping here.

The latest (final?) Smashing Pumpkins album, Zeitgeist, has been certified gold (500,000 units sold) and is out now.

Don't Say No: Yes Celebrate 40th Anniversary w/Tour and Live Album


[Classic Yes logo by Roger Dean.]

Yes, the most popular and enduring of the big, prog-rock four--which includes Emerson Lake & Palmer, Genesis, and King Crimson--will embark on a 26-date North American tour to commemorate their 40th anniversary. A live album may be released to coincide with the occasion.
The current lineup of vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White and keyboardist Oliver Wakeman--son of former Yes keyboardist, Rick Wakeman--will embark on the "Close to the Edge and Back" jaunt--named after Yes' seminal 1972 album--starting July 12 at Canada's Quebec City Festival, and wrapping it up Aug. 22 at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. These dates will be the band's first in 5 years.

QOTSA Love Canada; Dis the Rest of Us

The new Canadian limited edition of Queens of the Stone Age's most recent album, last year's Era Vulgaris, will include a remix of the title track, a live acoustic version of the album's "Make It Wit Chu", plus covers of Brian Eno's "Needle in the Camel's Eye", Billy Idol's "White Wedding", and Elliott Smith's "Christian Brothers". A second disc contains nine songs recorded live in Amsterdam. Release date is April 15th. There are no plans for a similar American version.

SXSW Recap

The good folks at PopMatters tell us how it all went down in Austin for this year's edition of the South by Southwest Festival, plus plenty of pics as well.

iPod: The Next Generation (subscription ready?)

Apple Computers is reportedly looking into the subscription model to sell music on iTunes, a model which Apple head Steve Jobs clearly opposed as recently as last year. The plan is to add a surcharge to the price of the next generation of iPods and iPhones, giving users unlimited access to Apple's iTunes Music Store. This would be a one-time charge somewhere between $20 (Apple's figure) and $80 (what the labels allegedly want).
Nice. So, someone who, say, buys a new iPod next year gets free reign of the iTunes store for a nominal fee. OK, but what about those of us who've shelled out way more than $80 purchasing music from iTunes in these last 5 years? What do we get for our troubles? Hook it up, Steve.

What We're Listening To

BAD BRAINS I Against I (SST)
THE CARDIGANS First Band on the Moon (Mercury)
COLDPLAY Parachutes (Parlophone)
CROWDED HOUSE Time on Earth (Parlophone)
THE MIGHTY SPARROW "Sell de Pussy" (BLS)

What are YOU listening to?

3/18/2008

Raconteurs Rushing Album Launch

In a press release issued yesterday, The Raconteurs stated their sophomore album, Consolers of the Lonely, will be released on CD, vinyl and digital download simultaneously on March 25th. No advance copies will be available for the press.
"The purpose: to get the album to the fans as soon as possible and as we promised. We wanted to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one has an upper hand on anyone else regarding it's availability, reception or perception. The Raconteurs would rather this release not be defined by its first week sales, pre-release promotion or by someone defining it FOR YOU before you get to hear it," the release went on to say.
But what really caught our attention, aside from the great news of the album's release was the following tidbit: "...in Japan, fans will be able to download the record via their mobile phones, as that is how a majority of recorded music is consumed there." Wow.
Consolers of the Lonely is a Third Man/Warner Bros release.

Macca Coughs Up $50 Million Settlement

Heather Mills, Paul McCartney's ex-wife and mother of his young daughter Beatrice, has been awarded a $48.6 million divorce settlement. Mills was seeking approximately $250 million, which presiding judge Hugh Bennett deemed "exhorbitant." (The McCartney camp was willing to offer something in the vicinity of $30 million.) She will get a lump sum of $33 million plus assets she currently holds which are worth $13.6 million. 4-year old Beatrice, in addition to school and nanny expenses will receive a $70K yearly allowance. Considering there was no pre-nuptial agreement and Macca is worth some $800 million, our favorite Liverpudlian got off easy. There's a lesson here, aspiring rock stars: rent don't buy. Ha!

Spin Outs Michael Stipe; America also Discovered

So, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe--who had been in the "glass closet" for decades now--has openly declared himself gay in the pages of Spin magazine, which is touting it as an exclusive or at least a big deal. Who's next, guys: Rob Halford? Morrissey? Will you inform us that [shock, gasp] Courtney Love has a drug problem? Axl Rose and Billy Corgan are megalomaniacs? Jeez...

New B-52s Album

Trashed in the the April issue of noted British music mag Mojo, the first studio album in more than 15 years from veteran Georgia party rockers, Funplex, is streaming here. What do you think?

RIP

Former Abba drummer Ola Brunkert in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. He was 62.

New Releases

Making their way out there today are:

CYRO BAPTISTA Banquet of the Spirits (Tzadik)
DESTROYER Trouble in Dreams (Merge)

THE FEELIES Crazy Rhythms [reissue] (A&M)
THE KILLS Midnight Boom (Domino)
SHE & HIM Volume One (Merge)

3/17/2008

Quote of the Day


Technology is taking us backward. It is making it easier to make things worse. If no one knows any better or doesn’t care, it’s gonna stay on a really, really low level, and people who like good sound are gonna be thought of as some kind of strange zoo animal. [But] if you...just want to make facsimiles of songs...no problem.”

- Lou Reed at SXSW on MP3 sound quality.

East Coast/West Coast

The L.A. Times is running a lengthy piece that states new info supports the claim of rapper Tupac Shakur that the 1994 attempt on his life in NYC was orchestrated by friends of Sean 'P Diddy' Combs. Diddy denies any allegations that he had anything to do with the hit.
This incident has long been considered the spark that ignited the violent "East Coast/West Coast" feud that also claimed the life of fellow rapper Notorious B.I.G. from New York. (Shakur, a New York native, was California-based.)

Music Biz Seeks Piracy Surcharge for ISPs

In an effort to recover lost revenues due to piracy and/or illegal file sharing, the music industry is looking to establish a $5 per month surcharge that internet service providers would collect from their users. The concept is a not a novel one: France started collecting fees in 1851 as a way to compensate composers for unauthorized performances of their work in public places. The US adopted the practice in 1914, which now applies to radio airplay, webcasts and live performances.
The ISP surcharge would be used to compensate songwriters, performers, publishers and music labels.

Curt Smith Goes Solo

Curt Smith, the singing/bass-playing half of Tears for Fears has a new album due in May. Halfway Pleased, to be released on his own Kook imprint, is Smith's first release under his own name--his '90s solo project was called Mayfield--and also his first since the last TFF album, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending in 2004.

As for for future TFF endeavors, Smith told Billboard, "We've left it open. The thing is, neither of us wants to plan that far ahead. We're probably sick of the sight of each other after four and a half years of recording and touring. But we didn't say like we did in 1990, 'I don’t want to work with you again.' We're still decompressing."

Sheryl Crow Joins Fleetwod Mac (sorta)

Yeah, it's true. But does anyone really care?

3/14/2008

Quote of the Day (possibly of the year)


"I think her song is absolutely terrible. If people are interested in signing her, then they shouldn't be in the music business. It'd be a shame to exploit her talent based on the unacceptable reality that she was involved in. Most importantly, it destroyed multiple families. I don't think the scandal will help her at all. In fact, I think the public is a bit smarter than we think they are. Even though she's had over a million hits on her MySpace, I think people are just going there to see her pictures and laugh at her attempt to pursue a music career."

- Chris Anokute, Capitol Records Senior A&R Director, on the prospects of a music career for Ashley Alexandra Dupré, the call girl who consorted with now former NY governor Eliot Spitzer.

Pitchfork Music Festival ‘08

The online gatekeepers of all that is cool and indie rock—or at least they think they are—have announced a partial list of the artists performing at their music festival this year, and sadly but predictably it includes Vampire Weekend. Ugh. No Jack Johnson, though. (Not yet, anyway.)

Here are the dozen confirmed acts:

Animal Collective

Spiritualized
!!!
M. Ward
Boris
Vampire Weekend
Dizzee Rascal
No Age
Atlas Sound
Fleet Foxes
Extra Golden
El Guincho

Blender's 20 Biggest Record Company Screw-Ups of All Time

Some of these are actually pretty bad: #s14 and 15, in particular. (No.14 is especially despicable.) We've been harping incessantly about no.19 for ages now, and the top 3 on the list--no.3 is a head-scratcher and no.2 is just plain mind-boggling, especially 45 years later--are unbelievable. Check them all out here.

[Thanks to "5"er Erika Karl for the heads up. -KJ]

What We're Listening To

AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB Mercury (Reprise)
JANE'S ADDICTION Nothing's Shocking (Warner Bros)
KING CRIMSON In the Court of the Crimson King [30th anniversary reissue] (E.G.)
PLUSH More You Becomes You (Drag City)
YES The Yes Album (Atlantic)

What are YOU listening to?

3/12/2008

The Future of Rock and Roll®


[Photo illustration: John Kuczala. Courtesy of Advertising Age.]

We'll spare you our soapbox diatribe about music artists selling out but we couldn't read the following comment in Charles Moran's "
Indie Act Seeks Backup Brand: In Today's World, 'Selling Out' Is the Only Way to Cash In" on Advertising Age's website, and let it pass:

"They make music essentially as a promotional tool to make sure you want to dress like them and smell like them." - Technology and market analyst James McQuivey, author of The End of the Music Industry as We Know It

Granted, Mr. McQuivey was referring to the likes of Beyonce and Fergie, for whom music is seemingly more and more equivalent to the prize in the Cracker Jack box of clothing and fragrance deals held by those of their ilk, not indie rockers. But who's to say this sort of product placement, branding, corporate tie-ins, or whatever the fuck these pencil-pushing assholes call it, is not far behind for denizens of the Matador or Sub Pop labels. After all, it's not just managers, business managers, lawyers, accountants, and publicists anymore: these days, artists are also hiring so-called branding consultants to help them navigate the shark-infested waters of commerical endorsements and music for ad placement. How sad.

But the bottom line is, the kids don't give a flying fuck. Most of the time, anyway. And The Who thought they'd sold out!

First Gilligan, then Mary Ann

Actress Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the beloved '60s sitcom Gilligan's Island, was recently sentenced to five days in jail, fined $410.50 and placed on 6 months unsupervised probation for alleged marijuana possesion. The 69 year old Wells was pulled over by police in Idaho, after they observed her erratic and seemingly disoriented driving. She then failed a sobriety test, in addition to half-smoked joints and two small cases used to store marijuana being found in her car by the arresting officer. Wells is the founder of the Idaho Film and Television Institute and organizer of the region's annual family movie festival called the Spud Fest.

Stoner Rock Alert: Retribution Gospel Choir

Two thirds of Low--guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk and bassist Steve Garrington--along with drummer/vocalist Eric Pollard, have joined forces as Retribution Gospel Choir, a promising stoner rock trio whose self-titled debut album was produced by none other than Mark Kozelek and will be out next week. Check out "Somebody's Someone" from the album plus a brief chat Stereogum had with Sparhawk, here.

Return to the Present

Fusionheads rejoice: performing live for the first time in 25 years, legendary jazz group Return to Forever will embark on a 50-date tour of the US and Europe, beginning with 2 nights in Austin, TX on May 29th. Keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Al Di Meola and drummer Lenny White will be promoting an anthology of their work on this jaunt, which concludes Aug 7th in New York City. The possibility of recording new material has not been ruled out and the tour will be filmed for future DVD release.

Here are the dates:

May 29-30: Austin, Texas (Paramount Theatre)
May 31: Houston (Verizon Wireless Center)
June 3: Denver (Paramount Theatre)
June 4: Salt Lake City (Kingsbury Hall)
June 6: Portland, Ore. (Schnitzer Concert Hall)
June 7: Medford, Ore. (Britt Music Festival)
June 8: Seattle (The Paramount)
June 9: Vancouver (the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts)
June 11-12: San Francisco (The Grand At the Regency Center)
June 13: Los Angeles (Gibson Amphitheatre)
June 14: Phoenix (Dodge Theatre)
June 17: St. Louis (Fox Theatre)
June 18: Omaha, Neb. (Holland Performing Arts Center)
June 19: Minneapolis (Orpheum Theatre)
June 20: Chicago (Chicago Theatre)
June 21: Detroit (Freedom Hill Amphitheatre)
June 22: Indianapolis (Murat Theatre)
June 24: Cleveland (The Plain Dealer Pavilion)
June 25: Toronto (Sony Centre)
June 26: Ottawa, Canada (Ottawa Jazz Festival)
June 27: Montreal (Pelletier Hall/Place Des Arts)
June 28: Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Freihofer's Jazz Festival)
July 2: Vilnius, Lithuania (Utenos Arena)
July 4: Warsaw, Poland (Congress Hall)
July 5: Budapest, Hungary (Budapest Arena)
July 6: Belgrade, Serbia (Belgrade Arena)
July 8: Paris (Olympia Hall)
July 10: Madrid, Spain (Via Jazz Festival)
July 11: Girona, Spain (Cap Roig Festival)
July 12: Lorca, Spain (TBA)
July 13: Valencia, Spain (TBA)
July 16: Neuhardenberg, Germany (TBA)
July 18: Montreux, Switzerland (Montreux Jazz Festival)
July 19: Essen, Germany (Grugahalle)
July 21: London (Indig02)
July 23: Nice, France (Nice Jazz Festival)
July 25: San Sebastian, Spain (TBA)
July 30: Miami (The Fillmore Miami Beach)
July 31: Clearwater, Fla. (Ruth Eckerd Hall)
Aug. 1: Orlando, Fla. (House of Blues)
Aug. 2: Atlanta (Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre)
Aug. 4: Baltimore (Merriweather Post Pavilion)
Aug. 5: Philadelphia (Mann Center for the Performing Arts)
Aug. 6: Boston (Bank of America Pavilion)
Aug. 7: New York (United Palace)

Paula Abdul Readies New Album

American Idol judge Paula Abdul is working on her first album in 13 years. Inspired by her participation on the track "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" from fellow Idol judge Randy Jackson's new album, Abdul decided to get back in the game. The untitled collection of songs is due for release by the end of the year. No word as to whether MC Skat Cat will be involved.

3/11/2008

Oops, We Did It Again

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was last night and was being shown live on VH1 Classic. We forgot to watch. Seriously. We'll probably catch it at some point but by then we will have all cared even less, right?

Van Halen Tour Postponed For A Month

Due to an unspecified medical condition, Eddie Van Halen will undergo a series of tests, which will postpone 17 Van Halen concert dates until April 19th. Tickets for said shows will be honored at a latter date. No more details are available at this time.

The Greatest Film Intros

According to The Screengrab blog these 12 films fit the bill. Video included.

Today is 3/11...

...do you know where that band is? On the road and playing in New Orleans to commemorate "their" day, that's where. Now, does anyone care? That's the real question.

60*

Actor/comedian/director Billy Crystal has been signed by his beloved New York Yankees for one day and will don no. 60 on Thursday's exhibition game against the Pittsburg Pirates in Tampa, Florida. Crystal--who is a lifelong fan of the team and directed the Emmy-nominated film 61* about the Mickey Mantle-Roger Maris home run race that took place during the 1961 season--will turn 60 the following day. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has yet to decide what position Crystal will play. 

New Releases

Making their debut today are:

KELIS The Hits (Jive)
MESHUGGAH Obzen (Nuclear Blast)
MIKE PATTON A Perfect Place (Ipecac)
PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA These Are the Good Times, People (Fugitive)
SNOOP DOGG Ego Trippin' (Geffen)

3/10/2008

Shellac to Tour South America and Europe

Only Kate Bush and XTC tour less than Shellac so it's interesting to learn they will abandoning their usual disappearing act and do a week-long tour of South America later this month with European dates to follow in May and June. Here they are:

03/25 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
03/26 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
03/27 - Santiago, Chile
03/28 - Porto Alegre, Brazil
03/29 - Sao Paulo, Brazil
04/01 - Bauru, Brazil

04/02 - Sorocaba, Brazil
05/02 - Berlin, Germany
05/03 - Dresden, Germany
05/04 - Wroclaw, Poland
05/05 - Prague, Czech Republic

05/06 - Wels, Austria
05/07 - Vienna, Austria
05/08 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
05/09 - Zagreb, Croatia

05/13 - Skopje, Macedonia
05/16 - Istanbul, Turkey
06/07 - Paris, France

Kurt Cobain: Identity Theft Victim?

Yes, it seems not even the identity of the most famous rock musician of the last 20 years is immune from crooks to scam on. According to the widow Love, in the last 5 years thieves have been buying cars, writing bad checks, collected almost 200 credit cards and even bought a mansion in New Jersey (!) under the Cobain name. Why Courtney chose to inform the authorities about this just last week, when she acknowledges she's known about the scams since 2003, is not clear.

Beatles On iTunes? Not Yet, says Apple

Despite rumors in the UK press over the weekend that The Beatles' catalog would be available thru iTunes in the next few months, both sides--The Beatles' Apple Corps and Apple Computer, respectively--have both answered inquiries on the subject with resounding a 'no comment'. Hmm...
Speculation about the imminent appearance of the Fabs' music on Apple's online retail store has been growing since both parties settled a long-standing trademark dispute in February of last year. Personally, we'd like to see the entire catalog remastered and remixed before it appears anywhere, in any shape or form, but that'll probably happen after people have purchased digital downloads by the truckload.

Belushi vs. Hartman

The voting for best all-time Saturday Night Live cast member comes to a close tomorrow, March 11th, with John Belushi and Phil Hartman as the last ones standing. Click here to vote and to see the list/photo gallery of the 32 finalists.

20 Questions: Steve Wynn

PopMatters speaks to the Dream Syndicate founder and all-around critical darling about a bunch of mostly inconsequential, yet interesting, stuff. Wynn's new album, Crossing Dragon Bridge, is due April 22nd.

3/07/2008

Lollapalooza 2008

Once again, the beloved '90s travelling rock and roll circus, shuns its roaming past and pitches its musical tent in Chicago's Grant Park, Aug 1-3. Not yet confirmed is whether Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails will respectively headline 2 of the 3 nights. (Jack Johnson is also in the running. Yikes!) More info here.