4/28/2009

Douglas and Stone to Make Wall Street part 2

Gekko is good.

Well, more like well enough established in the consciousness of the film-watching public to make a comeback to the big screen. Not to mention a timely character in these times of Bernie Madoff and other white collar financial misdeeds.

Actor Michael Douglas will reprise his role as the infamous '80s corporate raider, Gordon Gekko, in director Oliver Stone's sequel to his Wall Street (1987). "He's a villain...a great, old-fashioned villain," Douglas has said of his character.

No word on whether Martin and/or Charlie Sheen will be on board for part 2.

Dave Grohl / "How Do You Do?"

This gem is from the 1997 flick Touch, for which the head Foo Fighter composed and performed the soundtrack.

"How Do You Do?" is a poppy, rarely heard little number that sounds like an outtake/b-side from the first Foo album. Shoulda been a hit.

Why, Oh, Why?!

Creed are reuniting for a new album and tour. That is all. Say/think what you will.

Rachel [hearts] Metallica

Drummer Lars Ulrich visits Metallica fan Rachel Maddow during her show's recent stint in San Francisco and pays tribute to the metal legends with a fitting introduction.

4/24/2009

When Did the '90s End?

Within the realm of pop culture, and music in particular, decades never begin or end strictly according to the calendar. The ethos of a certain era takes a bit to manifest itself. Which is why there are those who deem the end of "the '60s" around or after 1972; some don't think "the '80s" kicked into gear until 1984.

We were thinking about this while listening to our recent "Song of the Day": Creeper Lagoon's "Wrecking Ball" which we consider to be a quintessential--and excellent--'90s pop/rock song. Except that it's actually from 2001.

So, when did the '90s end?

If you're a fan of college/grunge/alternative rock, probably 1996. For followers of boy bands/Britney/Christina, etc "the '90s" probably haven't ended. Fans of commercial metal--hair farmers and otherwise--would like to forget the whole thing.

What do you think?

Stephen Baldwin: Reality TV "Star"

Nothing says "my acting career is in the toilet" like joining the cast of a reality show. Again.

Well, except when reality "stars" get top billing over someone who actually once had a Hollywood film career. Ouch!

AP/Yahoo:
LOS ANGELES – The reality series "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" lost Rod Blagojevich but boasts TV lovebirds Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt and a Baldwin brother among the contestants.

Never-been-nuthin-nobodies Heidi and Spencer get mentioned by name, but poor Stephen doesn't even get that much. Until, a couple of paragraphs later...

Others who agreed to test their
survival skills in the Costa Rican jungle and vie for bragging rights and money for charity: former pro basketball player John Salley; model and TV host Janice Dickinson; actor Stephen Baldwin and former pro wrestler and model Torrie Wilson.

Oh, Janice Dickinson what a surprise! [groan] And what the hell is John Salley doing in there? Dude, it's one thing is to co-host a sports show with Tom Arnold, but this?

4/22/2009

PETA's Special Request

Dunno how we missed this one:

A few weeks ago People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals requested that British dance music act The Pet Shop Boys change their name to "The Rescue Shelter Boys," and with this "help raise awareness about the cruelty involved in the pet trade and encourage your millions of fans to consider giving a home to an abandoned or unwanted animal from an animal shelter."

The Boys respectfully declined.

We wish we had but, no, we didn't make this up.

Happy Earth Day!

April 22nd is Earth Day. Be good to Mother Earth all year long, but don't forget to spread the word today.

You know who were originally called "Earth"? Black Sabbath!

So, taking advantage of any excuse to simultaneously post some Sabbath and go for a cheesy segue, we bring you the legendary Birmingham quartet's unofficial theme song in all its doomy glory, yet again.

Enjoy!


4/21/2009

Song of the Day

Creeper Lagoon
"Wrecking Ball"
Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday
(Dreamworks-2001)

Coachella a Success Despite Rough Economy

NY Times:
Final attendance figures will not be available until Monday for [Coachella], which ran from Friday through Sunday and featured Paul McCartney, the Cure, Morrissey, Leonard Cohen, the Killers and Franz Ferdinand. But organizers said this year would probably be its third largest.

[The festival], in the scorching but majestically beautiful desert east of Los Angeles, is the year’s first major festival and a bellwether for the all-important summer touring season. Paul Tollett, the president of Goldenvoice, the promoter behind the festival, now in its 10th year, said that despite the economy it was a success.“Anyone that has a business in 2009 is just trying to make sure that you dodge a bullet,” he said. “But this went beyond that. We’re super happy.”

Many fans said they were feeling the economic pinch but had made sacrifices elsewhere in their budgets specifically to attend the festival.

4/20/2009

Rock and Roll Myths

We've only done this once before in our 8 year history, so why not do it again? Here are 5 popular ones (in no particular order):

DAVID LEE ROTH IS GAY
Yeah, Diamond Dave does have a little Liberace in him, but gay? C’mon. The dude has forgotten more women he's slept with than Gene Simmons has bragged about. This is a guy who's rumored to have learned Spanish just so he could bang non-English speaking Latinas. Plus, as Dave himself once told us, "Call me retro, but I'm still hetero!"

THE BLACK EYED PEAS WERE AWESOME BEFORE FERGIE
The ubiquitous lady lumper is so obnoxious to so many that this one has become an oft-repeated mantra. But unlike the Doobie Brothers, who turned really lame after Michael McDonald showed up, there’s no real proof the Peas were a stellar act pre-Fergie. Maybe they sucked less, but that's not saying much, now is it?

KURT COBAIN WAS MURDERED
We think so. Here’s why.

CHARLES MANSON AUDITIONED FOR THE MONKEES
Since he was an aspiring L.A. songwriter who did have music business contacts—Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, producer Terry Melcher—this one seems plausible. Except that when The Monkees were put together in 1966 Manson had at least one more year left to do in jail, where he’d been residing since 1961.

DAVID GILMOUR WAS A MODEL BEFORE JOINING PINK FLOYD
This is one is actually true. Although he was also a musician at the time.

4/19/2009

Milestones: Musician magazine

Although it must be clarified that the love affair began in our pre-teen years, the truth is, we’ve been reading music-oriented publications for some thirty years now. Starting with Mexico’s long-defunct Sonido in the late ‘70s and right up to Harp and Paste in this decade, we’ve been perusing thru the pages of Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, Guitar World, Creem, Circus, Mojo, Q, Uncut, etc etc etc for quite a while now. But there was one whose arrival each month we cherished the most.

Despite its name Musician was a well-written magazine aimed at both the music fan and performer. Since we were both music geeks and aspiring artists, this one fit like hand and glove. Rare was the publication where you could read a satisfying feature on your favorite artist and also find out what kind of gear they used to make their magic. Musician was that kind of magazine.

In its pages we learned about drummer Pat Mastellotto’s adventures playing on XTC’s Oranges and Lemons album and what gadgets The Posies’ home studio was armed with. Of course, every issue came with quite a few album reviews, including a page of succinct appraisals, care of the legendary JD Considine, called "Short Takes", full of many one-sentence-or-less reviews that were often biting, witty, and on-point. Considine's wasn't the only worthy byline: the likes of Lester Bangs, Charles M. Young, and Hollywood's favorite music geek, Cameron Crowe, were among those whose writing appeared in its pages. It was an absolute joy to read, indeed.

After 13 years, Musician ceased publication in 1999, and what's left of the world of music magazines is so much lesser for it.

[Above: Tori Amos on the cover of a '90s issue of Musician.]

What So Funny 'bout Nick Lowe?

Yeah, he produced Elvis Costello, wrote "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "Cruel to be Kind", and is commonly referred to as the "Jesus of Cool" (the title of his best known solo album from 1978; re-tilted Pure Pop for Now People in the US).

But Nick Lowe has never impressed us; and the fact that he gave up on The Pretenders--after producing their first single, a cover of The Kinks' "Stop Your Sobbing"--because he felt they weren't going anywhere, pretty much sealed his fate with us. Just sayin'.

4/18/2009

Hey Hey Hey: It's Record Store Day!

The second annual Record Store Day will be observed in independent retailers all over the US today. (Here in NYC, Mayor Mike Bloomberg has issued an official proclamation to commemorate the occasion.) Lots of limited edition goodies will be on sale and guest appearances are scheduled, as well.

Here's more.

4/16/2009

The Acceleration of the (douche bag) Culture

In light of more and more stories of prima donna behavior from artists who, for the most part, have no real professional achievements to show for and explain their nastiness and/or sense of entitlement, Idolator's Lucas Jensen asks the following:
What happened to people acting like professionals? What happened to indie rock ethics and punk ethos and karma and all that? What happened to being grateful that you have fans lined up to see you? What happened to the "show must go on?" You are Crystal freaking Castles. You don't get to call off shows because of a sound system.

Now, I'm not one for false nostalgia. I've read Get In The Van. I've heard Damon Che and James Brown stories. I know that jerks have always been here and always will. Most of the artists I've dealt with have been total sweethearts, but there is always going to be some jerkwad out there. I heard some crazy Ray Charles stories from a former bassist of his. Membership in Captain Beefheart's Magic Band was like being in a cult. The problem I have is this: those guys or Bob Dylan or Elvis or even Stephin Merritt earned their right to be jerks. (Phil Spector, however, went way beyond those bounds; nobody earns the right to kill somebody.) I don't think that Dan Deacon or Crystal Castles or whoever has the career to back up their "Do you know who I am?" behavior. A band might be a Pitchfork Best New Music designate, but the answer to that question may still be "Huh?"

My theory is this: the incessant Internet chatter has made mini-celebrities of even the smallest bands, and this has emboldened this kind of behavior and created this sort of entitlement. Most musicians have some measure of egotism or narcissism, now matter how self-effacing or humble they may seem. Getting up on stage and playing your silly love songs requires it; you have to believe that what you are doing is worth somebody else's time. This kind of breathless fawning, no matter how small, strokes these egos, and artists start to believe their own hype. More breathless press outlets than ever before lead to more entitled jerks than ever before.

Amen, brother. Read the whole post here.

4/13/2009

Spector Found Guilty of 2nd Degree Murder

Yahoo/PA:

LOS ANGELES – Rock music producer Phil Spector was convicted Monday of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a film actress at his mansion six years ago, a verdict that will send him to prison for at least 18 years barring a successful appeal.

A Superior Court jury returned the verdict after about 30 hours of deliberations. The jury had the option of choosing the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, but did not do so.

The panel also found Spector guilty of using a firearm in committing a crime.

Spector exhibited no reaction to the verdict. His attorney argued that he should remain free on bail pending the May 29 sentencing, but Judge Larry Paul Fidler remanded him to jail immediately.

Second-degree murder carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison. The use-of-a-gun enhancement adds three, four or 10 years in prison, according to the district attorney's office.

Defense attorney Doron Weinberg said he believed the case was swayed by the judge's erroneous rulings, particularly one that allowed five women from Spector's past to testify. He said it would be the basis for appeal and a request for a new trial.

Spector's young wife, Rachelle, sobbed as the decision was announced. It was Spector's second trial. The first jury deadlocked 10-2, favoring conviction in 2007.

The 40-year-old Lana Clarkson, star of the 1985 cult film "Barbarian Queen," died of a gunshot fired in her mouth as she sat in the foyer of Spector's mansion in 2003. She met Spector only hours earlier at her job as a nightclub hostess.

Prosecutors argued Spector had a history of threatening women with guns when they tried to leave his presence. The defense claimed she killed herself.

4/10/2009

Billy Bob Thornton: Can You Say 'High' Boys and Girls?

A lot has been said about The Boxmasters' infamous recent appearance on Canada's CBC. Particularly drummer Thornton's interview responses which were mostly vague, off-topic, and even belligerent. For the record, we think the host, Jian Ghomeshi of the band Moxy Fruvous, should've sensed Thornton's reticence early on and steered clear from him, especially since the rest of the band were quite articulate and cooperative.

Anyway, here's the interview:



UPDATE
: The Boxmasters have cancelled their Canadian tour due to more than one bandmember having flu-like symptoms. Yeah, right.

Surprise, Surprise: Junot Speaks Geek, Fanboy

In part one of his interview with Newsarama Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz talks about the success of his novel, last year's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, comic books, Battlestar Galactica, and more.

Long Hail the Album!

You guys know how we feel about retreating and having singles be once again the driving force behind an artist's musical output. So it is with great pleasure we recommend this interesting essay, "In Defense of the Album", by Scott Perry.

Things are moving pretty fast these days; we all need to slow things down a bit and add CONTEXT to the content before music becomes completely worthless. We need to build that artist's mythology, build a world to replace what's been lost in the absence of album art and liner notes.

Amen.

"by the time we got to..." Prospect Park?

The 40th anniversary of the seminal Woodstock Music and Arts Festival may held as a free one day event in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. According to Michael Lang, a Brooklyn native who was one of the festival's original promoters, the borough and its park are quite the location. “It’s big, it’s convenient. There’s public transportation--and Brooklyn’s cool. There’s no space anywhere in Central Park as large as the the Long Meadow in Prospect Park." The event would cost between $8-$10 million to put on.

Oh, and it would be a genuinely hippie-type affair: the likes of Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, Phish, and Dave Matthews Band are on the organizer's wish list.

4/08/2009

Meanwhile, Illegal Music Downloads are Chopped Liver

Associated Press:
"X-Men Origins: Wolverine," was leaked online a month before its official release. The movie, which focuses on the beginnings of [Hugh] Jackman's clawed Marvel superhero Wolverine, is not scheduled for release in the U.S. until May 1, but a work print of the film began appearing online last week. 20th Century Fox said the FBI and Motion Picture Association of America were investigating and promised to prosecute those responsible.
Guess the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is a red-headed stepchild, huh?

4/07/2009

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!


[Packaging for the remastered Abbey Road album © Apple Corps Ltd, 2009]

Capitol Records has announced the worldwide release of the entire remastered Beatles catalog, for Sept. 9th. Oh, and it's a doozy:

The collection comprises all 12 Beatles albums in stereo, with track listings and artwork as originally released in the UK, and 'Magical Mystery Tour,' which became part of The Beatles' core catalogue when the CDs were first released in 1987. In addition, the collections 'Past Masters Vol. I and II' are now combined as one title, for a total of 14 titles over 16 discs. This will mark the first time that the first four Beatles albums will be available in stereo in their entirety on compact disc. These 14 albums, along with a DVD collection of the documentaries, will also be available for purchase together in a stereo boxed set.

Within each CD's new packaging, booklets include detailed historical notes along with informative recording notes. With the exception of the 'Past Masters' set, newly produced mini-documentaries on the making of each album, directed by Bob Smeaton, are included as QuickTime files on each album. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from The Beatles, offering a unique and very personal insight into the studio atmosphere.

Let's see...A Hard Day's Night, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's, The White Album, Abbey Road, and Past Masters...yup, that's gonna have to be this year's Christmas present to ourselves. (Unless we can get a new girlfriend before then who can lovingly and unselfishly fork out the dough to hook us up. Ha!)

At this point we've got to wonder if by September any "brick-and-mortar" record stores will actually be around to sell them. But if Capitol's engineers actually got around to making the magnificent harmony vocals in "Oh! Darling" more prominent in the mix, we won't care where we have to get the albums from.

[Thanks to GloriousNoise for the heads up.]

4/05/2009

Milestones: RIP

Kurt Cobain (d. 4/05/94)



Layne Stayley (d. 4/05/02)

4/04/2009

Mr. Jones' Independent Spotlight Review

RIK MERCALDI
[self-titled]
(Merton Records-2009)

A gifted guitarist who knows his way around a hook and a melody, Rik Mercaldi takes a break from his trademark rock and roll pursuits to channel his inner singer/songwriter, on this engaging collection of mostly acoustic tunes. Ably and sympathetically produced by fellow guitarist Juano Lippi, the album showcases Mercaldi’s mellower side, at times reminiscent of another NYC-based veteran, the mercurial Ryan Adams. But make no mistake, Mercaldi is his own man and brings his considerable talents to this easygoing outing.

Having enjoyed his past full-band exploits, one can’t help but wonder how a solid rhythm section may have enhanced the implied country/soul leanings of “Something”; the psychedelia hinted at on “Anyone”; and the lovely rock balladry of “Times Square” and “You Waited”. These are minor quibbles, though: the stripped down arrangements—featuring slide guitar, piano, keyboards, and harmonica—let the songs breathe and support them without being obtrusive. In the end, the album delivers when it matters and that’s what really counts. Cheers, sir.

Highlights: “Falling Rain”, “Times Square”, “You Waited”, “Anyone”, “Greedy Fingers”

MLK