Happy Birthday

Gen-X film icon and political activist, John Cusack (43), on June 28th.


Michael Jackson: Our Favorite Tribute

i saw michael jackson when i was about 8 years old, with my dad, jackson 5 live at the richmond coliseum...michael jackson was my first rock star. i had the records, the posters, watched the cartoon, had the 'goin back to indiana' record and tv special memorized. he was this 8-10 year old's james brown.

about 2/3 of the way through the school year, the jackson 5 came to town. my dad took me. can still feel the excitement hangin in the nosebleeds watchin tito storm the stage w/ gtr in hand. was a magical moment when michael came out. 8 year me screaming. bout halfway through the show, a group of black kids approached us. i lost it, yelled to my dad, "these guys go to school with me!" they were flummoxed I was there, me likewise. my dad ended up emptying his wallet buying popcorn & sodas for everyone. we had a fucking blast. and next day at school, i ended up being the white dude who knew the black dudes.

- GodIHateYourBand on growing up a Michael Jackson fan in 1970s Virginia. And the almighty, motherfucking power of music to bridge gaps; racial and otherwise.

Milestones: 'Off the Wall'

[This one was already on our list of albums which celebrate significant milestones this year. We were going to feature it closer to the anniversary of its release but sadly, for obvious reasons, we decided to post it now. -KJ]


Off The Wall


We never really got into the massive-selling Thriller; too overblown, too polished for our taste. (Not even the presence of one of our all-time heroes, Mr. Edward Van Halen on “Beat It”, could ignite much of a spark for the album.) That’s not to say we didn't enjoy one or two album tracks—namely “Human Nature” and “Pretty Young Thing”—but Off The Wall was not only more to our liking, it’s actually the blueprint for Thriller itself.

It seems weird to say this, since these two albums were released only three years apart, but Off The Wall was the product of a different, simpler time: during the infamous “Disco Sucks” shenanigans that polarized many popular music fans; before the rise and questionable dominance of MTV; and before Jackson’s notorious eccentricity had begun to overshadow his talent. Regardless, Off the Wall is a cohesive, visionary album—produced by the great Quincy Jones—made under relatively little pressure. Yes, Jackson was one of the most famous pop stars in the world, both alone and with his brothers, but expectations were nowhere near what they have become since, especially in the post-Thriller world. [nostalgia kicking in...now]

In any event, the results more than speak for themselves: thirty years later—damn!—Off The Wall may have been overshadowed by the monster that was Thriller, but the truth is, artistically speaking, the latter will never eclipse Jackson’s definitive statement as a solo artist. Off the wall, indeed.

Faves: “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough”, “Rock with You”, “Girlfriend”, and the magnificent title track.


RIP: Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett

The legendary "King of Pop", Michael Jackson died on Thursday,
June 25th in Los Angeles, after suffering cardiac arrest.

He was 50 years old.

'70s sex symbol and TV icon Farrah Fawcett also died on Thursday, June 25th, at a Santa Monica, CA hospital after battling cancer for 2 1/2 years.

She was 62 years old.



Seemed like an appropriate time to watch the animated film version of Iranian author/illustrator Marjane Satrapi's acclaimed book.

Rapidshare to Pay German Music Industry $34 M

This is how you do it:

The file-sharing site Rapidshare has been found guilty of violating German copyright law by The Regional Court of Hamburg, and ordered to pay about €24 million ($34 million) to the country’s royalty-collection agency GEMA. More importantly, though, the court put the burden of figuring out whether or not copyrighted material was on Rapidshare’s servers on the people running the service, and not the infringees; the court also said that the site’s current efforts to figure out whether or not content on its servers infringed copyrights were insufficient.

[h/t Idolator]

Celebrity Lack of Self-Awareness Alert!

"But it does suck for those kids, even if their parents chose to pimp them out on TV for $$$$."

- Gossipmonger Perez Hilton states his position on reality TV show Jon and Kate plus 8 to fellow reality TV personality Khloe Kardashian.

Artie Lange vs Joe Buck

We finally caught a rerun of HBO's Joe Buck Live, the initial foray into talk show land by the noted sportscaster, which has attained a certain level of notoriety due to the infamous appearance of Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lang on the show's debut.

For those of you yet to see it, Lange seemed to have forgotten he wasn't on Stern's show, and his crude and unfunny hijacking of a brief segment was more lame than controversial and undoubtedly out of place. How this guy happens to have a career is one of those perennial headscratchers.

As for JBL itself, it's definitely a work in progress and it showed. However, with only 4 shows per calendar year scheduled, it will either never get its bearings or will probably be markedly reworked and hopefully infused with a bit more of life. We'll see...

Sunny Day Real Estate Add Tour Dates

Here they are:

Sept. 17 - Vancouver, BC
Sept. 18 - Portland, OR
Sept. 20 - Salt Lake City, UT
Sept. 21 - Denver, CO
Sept. 23 - Minneapolis, MN
Sept. 24 - Chicago, IL
Sept. 25 - Detroit, MI
Sept. 27 - New York City
Sept. 28 - Boston, MA
Sept. 30 - Washington, D.C.
Oct. 1 - Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 3 - Atlanta, GA
Oct. 6 - Houston, TX
Oct. 7 - Austin, TX
Oct. 9 - Tempe, AZ
Oct. 10 - Anaheim, CA
Oct. 11 - Hollywood, CA
Oct. 13 - San Francisco, CA
Oct. 15 - Spokane, WA
Oct. 16 - Seattle, WA



Beloved broadcaster, Johnny Carson's long-time Tonight Show sidekick, and host of Star Search, Ed McMahon has died in Los Angeles, after battling various health issues.

He was 86 years old.

Facing Extinction?




Here's album number two from the least-likely-to-reunite lineup this side of The Pixies. And?

Well, it's classic '80s Dinosaur Jr. with all the wall-to-wall noisy guitars, lo-fi sound and buried vocals reminiscent of their pre-major label output. Is it in the same league as those beloved alt-rock artifacts? Probably not. At best, a grower perhaps; at worst, a sturdy manifestation of a band revisiting its classic sound on the ocasion of its silver anniversary. Which is to say, not bad. But not terribly exciting, either. The album cover art is in the top three worst of the year, as far as we've seen, right there with those of Brooke Hogan, and Wilco. So, there's that.

Highlights: "Pieces", "Over It", "Friends", "There's No Here"

Sunny Day Real Estate to Reunite

Bookending the present decade with their reunions, and coinciding with the 15th anniversary of their debut album, the original members of seminal emo quartet Sunny Day Real Estate have decided to once again reconvene featuring their original lineup. (Bassist Nate Mendel, who chose not to leave the Foo Fighters to rejoin his former comrades in the late '90s, is said to not only be on board but may have been a main instigator in the quartet's decision to return.)

Rumors of a SDRE reunion were confirmed with the booking of an October 13, 2009 date in San Francisco and one in their hometown of Seattle on Oct. 16th. Future tour dates are expected to follow.

Appropriately, here's one of our faves, "Song About an Angel", originally from their debut album Diary [SubPop-1994], performed live in 1999:

What We're Listening To

THE DOORS Strange Days [Elektra]
CAETANO VELOSO self-titled [EMI-Brazil]
CHRIS WHITLEY Din of Ecstasy [Work/Sony]
XTC Black Sea [Virgin]

What are YOU listening to?

Jon and Kate to Divorce: Anyone Surprised?

Celebrity parents Jon and Kate Gosselin say they plan to divorce. The co-stars of "Jon & Kate Plus 8," who are parents of 5-year-old sextuplets and 8-year-old twins, spoke of their decision to separate during Monday's episode of the TLC reality series.

We watched the show once, for about 5 minutes, over a year ago, and even then, the I-am-so-done-with-this-person body language between the two of them was as pronounced as a giant neon billboard in the desert.


File Sharer Ordered to Pay RIAA $1.92 Million


Jammie Thomas-Rasset was found guilty of willful copyright infringement on Thursday in a Minneapolis federal court and must pay the recording industry $1.92 million.

In a surprise decision, the jury imposed damages against Thomas-Rasset, who was originally accused of sharing more than 1,700 songs, at a whopping $80,000 for each of the 24 songs she was ultimately found guilty of illegally sharing.

In 2007, the Recording Industry Association of America claimed in a lawsuit that Thomas-Rasset pilfered 1,700 songs. The RIAA eventually culled that number down to a representative sample of 24.

Thomas-Rasset lost a previous trial in October 2007 when a jury rendered a $222,000 verdict against the Minnesota native. U.S. District Judge Michael David threw out the decision after acknowledging he erred when giving his jury instructions.

According to Ars Technica reporter Nate Anderson, Thomas-Rasset gasped when the dollar amount was read in court.

For the four largest recording companies, the jury's decision is an affirmation of the legality of the industry's copyright claims.

"We appreciate the jury's service and that they take this issue as seriously as we do," said Cara Duckworth, an RIAA spokeswoman. "We are pleased that the jury agreed with the evidence and found the defendant liable. Since day 1, we have been willing to settle the case and remain willing to do so."

As much as we've been in favor of a clampdown on online piracy in all its permutations, and penalties for those who enable it, this is a hollow victory. Regardless of what the RIAA may believe, the outcome of this case will not act as a deterrent, but instead will be taken by most pirates as a classic won't-happen-to-me scenario akin to being struck by lightning or getting a rare disease. From the outset, the industry needed to pursue this aggressively and proactively with as many perpetrators as possible, and not hope that a few random cases would make effective examples.

The music industry: fucking up as usual.

That should be their motto.

Black Eyed P (perez hilton, that is)

Popped, Gets the Weasel: Celebrity parasite, um, blogger Perez Hilton was allegedly punched by Black Eyed Peas tour manager Polo Molina after Hilton called the Peas' frontman will.i.am a "faggot" at a Toronto nightclub.

We could care less about both parties involved but at least will.i.am is not a scumbag, as far as we know.


Happy Birthday

Sir James Paul McCartney turns 67 today, June 18th.

Here he is performing one of our all-time faves, "Jet", at Glastonbury:

Oh, and cheers to noted movie critic Roger Ebert who also turns 67 today.


"Weird" Al Yankovic - "Craigslist"

The parody king strikes again, pairing The Doors with the popular online network. The end result? Not bad, actually: the music is spot-on, and Al's voice sounds like a cross between Jim Morrison and Metallica's James Hetfield. See/hear for yourself:



Bob Bogle, co-founder and guitarist for surf rock icons The Ventures, who reportedly had been suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, died on June 14th.

The Ventures, whose numerous hits include "Walk--Don't Run", "Perfidia", and the Pulp Fiction track "Surf Rider", were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Bogle was 75 years old.


Milestones: Gods and Monsters

[Lucas on stage, June 11th, 2009 NYC. Photo courtesy GL.]

Our friend the esteemed guitar virtuoso Gary Lucas, is best known for his stint in Captain Beefheart's Magic Band; for co-writing both "Mojo Pin" and the title track from Jeff Buckley's debut album, Grace; and his collaborations with Joan Osbourne, among many others.

But since 1989 he has led his own band, the New York-based Gods and Monsters, to much acclaim. (Former members of G+M include the aforementioned Buckley and Matthew Sweet.) This past week, Gods and Monsters celebrated their 20th anniversary with a show at their hometown's Gramercy Theatre
with special guests Alan Vega (Suicide), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Band), Jon Spencer, Peter Stampfel (Holy Modal Rounders), Dean Bowman, and Mike Edison (Sharkey's Machine), in addition to the latest incarnation of the band itself: Ernie Brooks (ex-Modern Lovers) on bass, Billy Ficca (ex-Television) on drums, Jason Candler (Hungry March Band) on sax, and Joe Hendel (Latest Show on Earth) on keyboards and trombone.

Unfortunately, we weren't there to witness this joyous occasion, but we'd like to congratulate Gary and the members of G+M over the years for reaching this monumental milestone, which as both fans and friends fills us with much pride and joy. Many more years of great music is our wish to you and your partners in this noble endeavor, for in our eyes Gary, you are truly a god and monster of our beloved six-string. Cheers!


Milestones: Dogman



After three promising albums (including Gretchen Goes To Nebraska, which many consider their finest moment); opening slots on tours with the likes of AC/DC and Pearl Jam, not to mention a kick-ass performance at Woodstock ’94; prominent MTV exposure --the video for “It’s Love”--and the backing of a major label, it seemed that the Texas-based hard rockers would finally get their due with Dogman. After all, ├╝ber producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine) was on board for this one and King’s X’s top-notch songwriting and playing were very much in evidence.
Oh, yes: the kick-in-the-stomach whomp of the title track; the monster riffs and spot-on harmonies of “Shoes”; the sadly beautiful “Flies and Blue Skies”; the defiant, funky “Black The Sky”; and the made-for-radio “Fool You”, just to name a few. But it was not to be: Dogman did not “perform” (ie, sell) as well as Atlantic Records had hoped and the band was soon dropped from the label's roster.

While they’ve never again reached the levels of their mid ’90s exposure, King’s X remains active and is the object of affection of one of the most devoted and loyal fan bases out there. If you already own Dogman take it out for a spin and remember why you got it in the first place. And if you’re checking it out for the first time, don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering why the hell you didn’t get around to it before.

Highlights: see above


GnR Ripped-Off Sabbath (maybe)

In light of the recent questionable lawsuit by Ozzy Osbourne against Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi--the band's only constant member--over wanting Iommi to share equal ownership of the Sabbath name with fellow co-founders bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward, we thought it was time for us to jump in with a frivolous accusation (?) of our own. (Not saying your claim is or isn't valid, Ozzy; we just frankly don't care at this point.)

Namely, did Guns 'n' Roses plagiarize the main riff from Sabbath's 1983 track "Zero the Hero" (from the album Born Again) for Appetite for Destruction's "Paradise City"? Sounds mighty close to our weary ears. Check out the above links and hear for yourself.

Or not.

Meanwhile, we are grooving to our favorite post-Ozzy Black Sabbath tune: "Voodoo", with none other than Mr. Dungeons and Dragons himself, Ronnie James Dio, on vocals. From the Mob Rules album (Warner Bros-1981).

Milestones: The Stone Roses

A bonafide indie rock classic, the self-titled 1989 album by Manchester’s Stone Roses is widely regarded as one of the finest all-time debuts. This summer its 20th anniversary will be commemorated with three different editions of a deluxe, remastered reissue including plenty of extras.

Wow, 20 years already...

(speaking of which...) Totally '90s

Remember how old you felt when we told you the baby on the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind was a college-bound teenager? Well, new Smashing Pumpkins drummer Mike Byrne just happens to be 19 years old. Which means he was exactly a year old when his new band's debut album, Gish, was released in 1991. Oh, man...


U2's Bono and the Edge are making their Broadway debut by writing the music to the upcoming 'Spider-Man' musical.

Next Time You Have Jury Duty...

A Murder Trial Has Been Postponed Because One of the Jurors Has a Ticket to Glastonbury.

The prosecution had started their opening speech at Snaresbrook Crown Court in North London, but the judge halted proceedings after he changed of mind about his earlier decision not to release a juror.

The juror had earlier asked to be exempt from the trial, due to last up to three weeks, but Judge David Radford refused to let him go.

Upon changing his mind, Judge Radford said: “If you had elaborated a bit more on what going to Glastonbury entailed, I would have stood you down this morning.

“I think you perhaps presupposed a bit too much knowledge on my part. This is essentially a pre-booked holiday and you have organised to go with friends.

'A new jury will be sworn in on Wednesday morning allowing the trial to begin.'

Tickets for Glastonbury are of course non-refundable and branded with the festival goer's name.

It's reported that the two-day delay could cost the tax payer thousands of pounds.

100 Greatest Jazz Albums

Amazon recently complied their list of jazz classics and it's topped off by Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come. Included in the top 5 are John Coltrane's A Love Supreme and Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, of course. The entire list complete w/audio clips can be found here.

[h/t Noise Addicts]


Lamest Merch Item of the Year

Too hideous to show, the PiL jacket can be seen here. We thought Lydon had some fashion sense. At least enough not to approve this thing.


Happy Birthday

A couple of flesh and blood guitar heroes: the diminutive musical giant known as Prince (51); Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro (42); both on June 7th.


A Tale of Three Conans (and random thoughts)

As we came across reviews for Conan O'Brien's first week as Tonight Show host--generally positive--we noticed Gov. Arnold's 1984 star-making vehicle, Conan the Destroyer was playing on cable this morning. Which got us thinking, what ever happened to that muscular sax player nicknamed "Conan the Musician" who used to play in Tina Turner's band during the '80s?

Led Zeppelin - "Since I've Been Loving You"

Quite possibly the quintessential Led Zeppelin song...from The Song Remains the Same (1973) concert film:

Happy Birthday

Bassist Tony Levin [King Crimson, Peter Gabriel] (61); R&B musician/producer Jimmy Jam (50); guitarist Steve Vai (49); Slayer bassist/vocalist Tom Araya (48); former White Zombie bassist Sean Yseult (43); ex-Libertines guitarist Carl Barat (31); all on June 6th.


Pearl Jam/Crowe Re-Team (not what you think)

Filmmaker Cameron Crowe, who cast 3/5 of Pearl Jam as fictional band Citizen Dick in his Seattle-based movie Singles (1992), is rumored to be shooting a commercial for Target with the band. The department store is said to be the sole "brick-and-mortar" carrier of the band's upcoming album. The Universal Music Group would distribute the album outside the US. Pearl Jam's music had previously been released under the Sony Music umbrella since 1991.

Brooke Hogan: Strippers Everywhere are Blushing

The Hulkster's gotta be really pissed at his little girl
leaving VERY LITTLE to the imagination in this shot:

Waaayy beyond cameltoe, Brooke. Yikes!

[Photo courtesy of The Blemish.]


It's Not Exactly "Senator Novoselic", but...


CATHLAMET, Wash. – Nirvana's former bassist is running for clerk of a rural county to protest Washington state's method of letting candidates name their own party affiliation.

Krist Novoselic is running for clerk of Wahkiakum County in western Washington.

Novoselic is head of his local chapter of the Grange, a civic organization. His election paperwork declares that he's running under the "Grange Party" banner, even though the Grange isn't a political party.

Novoselic tells The Daily Word newspaper that he's protesting the state's system that lets candidates say what party they prefer when running for office. He says that's confusing for voters and lets candidates appropriate the names of private associations.


Best known as the star of the '70s hit TV series Kung-Fu, and his appearance in this decade's Kill Bill movies, veteran actor David Carradine was found dead in his Bangkok hotel room. Despite the cause of death being an apparent suicide by hanging, foul play has not been completely ruled out by the authorities.

Carradine, who was in Thailand to begin working on a film, was 72 years old.

What We're Listening To

MARCO BENEVENTO Invisible Baby (Hyena)
Viva Canada! (Diasongs)
GENESIS Abacab (Atlantic)
[self-titled] (Portrait/CBS)
WILCO A.M. (Reprise)

What are YOU listening to?


Milestones: Roger and Me

[Our series of posts on albums, movies, etc. which celebrate significant anniversaries this year continues with this one. -KJ]

Michael Moore's 1989 documentary has added meaning today, unfortunately.