Hello, Cleveland!

As if he wasn't stretching himself too thin already, Family Guy and American Dad! creator Seth MacFarlane is working on a spin-off of the former called Cleveland, featuring the wacky adventures of Peter Griffin's level-headed African-American friend and neighbor, the irreverently named Cleveland Brown.
We like the Cleveland character, but we were actually hoping for a Quagmire spin-off. Giggity, giggity!

The Great Escape

According to the New Music Express, Blur drummer Dave Rowntree has been selected by the Cities of London and Westminster Constituency Labour Party to run as the Labour candidate for a seat in Parliament, presently held by Conservative party member Mark Field.
Guess it was time for Dave to find a new day job, since his previous one wasn't really taking up too much of his time, huh?


- Buddy Miles (60), drummer/vocalist for Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys; of heart failure on Feb 26th.

- Dave Clark Five vocalist/keyboardist Mike Smith (64) on Feb 28th, a mere 11 days before the DC5 were to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

What We're Listening To

JIMI HENDRIX Axis: Bold as Love (MCA/Universal)
THE MARS VOLTA The Bedlam in Goliath (Universal)
NADA SURF Lucky (Barsuk)
YES Close to the Edge (Atlantic)

What are YOU listening to?


And Now, for a Different Playlist

According Mother Jones, the following—known as The Torture Playlist—is a group of songs routinely played at US "military prisons and on bases to induce sleep deprivation, 'prolong capture shock,' disorient detainees during interrogations—and also drown out screams."
While a few are obvious choices—Deicide, Metallica, Neil Diamond, Barney, the Meow Mix ad—we don't really understand the inclusion of most of the other songs. Different strokes and all that, right? Hmm...

(We Are) The Road Crew

A little bit of trivia for you: a short list of rock stars and in parentheses the band they worked for before they themselves made it big.

Nirvana's Kurt Cobain (The Melvins)
Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson (The Clash)
Oasis leader Noel Gallagher (Inspiral Carpets)
Hawkwind/Motorhead bassist Lemmy Kilmister (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd (Nirvana)


Careful with that axe, Eugene

A small collection of guitars purportedly once owned by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones is being sold on eBay by someone claiming to have gotten them from Jones' former guitar technician. Since the seller has no corroborating evidence and Jones was notorious for falsely claiming which of his guitars he'd used with the Pistols--not to mention the fact that Never Mind The Bollocks predates one of the guitars in question by almost 15 years--we're not quite convinced they may be the real thing. They're pretty cool, regardless, enough to make guitar junkies salivate.

Apple is #2

According to a recent company press release, Apple Computer's iTunes store is the top music retailer in the US, second only to Wal-Mart. However, observers say iTunes faces stiff competition from Amazon.com, with its higher-resolution and lower-priced downloads, which load automatically into iTunes. Despite iTunes' prominence and exclusivity of certain titles and artists, it is said that Amazon counts with more support from the 4 major record companies, who, with their vast catalogs, are sure to become a point of leverage for the online retailer in the very near future.

T4 in '09

Star Trek's got some big-time sci-fi competition next year: Christian Bale will star as John Connor in Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, which opens on May 22nd, 2009, right at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, which in the US is the unofficial start of the summer season.
"T4" is said to be the first in a three-movie arc. Filming starts in New Mexico in May.

Body of War

A 30 song, 2-CD set called Body of War: Songs That Inspired an Iraq War Veteran, with the participation of such heavyweights as Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder and Neil Young will be released March 18th on Sire Records. The album is the soundtrack to the documentary Body of War, about a US soldier paralyzed in Iraq. The film will start a limited run engagement on March 13th.

Oscar® Snubs

Why wasn't Brad Renfro (The Client, Ghost World, Apt Pupil) included in the "In Memoriam" segment of the ceremony? And they forgot Whoopi Goldberg in the Oscar hosts montage?

Regarding Renfro, spokespersons for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences stated "It was really an editing decision because we can’t fit everyone in...there was no specific reason...it is simply not possible to include everyone in that segment." That's a pretty lame excuse. No word on why they dissed Whoopi. (Or fellow Oscars host Steve Martin, for that matter.) The ladies at The View must've had a fit.

Yes, Because She Needs Even More Exposure

All 20 episodes of the 1982 sitcom Square Pegs, featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, will be released for the first time, May 20th, on DVD. Oh, joy...zzzzzzzzzzz...

Somebody's really trying to cash-in on that Sex and the City movie, huh?


From The Vaults: Big Star Live

[Our firstand of this writing, onlytrip to NOLA was to review a Big Star New Year's Eve show for a mainstream music publication that later changed its editorial bent, thereby leaving this piece unpublished. It predates "5" by a few weeks and we're pretty sure it lit the spark that started this whole writing thing for us all those years ago. This is its first appearance on the internet and what better place than here to post it and share with you? Enjoy. - KJ]

The Howlin’ Wolf
New Orleans, LA

Funny how things turn out. While they won’t be giving the teenybopper bands and rap-metal clones a run for their money any time soon, Big Star's presence on the musical landscape is stronger these days than it ever was in their '70s heyday, before eventually breaking up some 20-odd years ago. But what was once practically inconceivable has become a relatively common occurrence: after years of refusing to perform with the band, Alex Chilton has brought the influential underground power pop deity out of retirement and to a town near you. Well, almost.

Performing in Chilton's current hometown on an unseasonably chilly New Orleans night for the first time since 1972, Big Star (Chilton on guitar and vocals; original drummer Jody Stephens; and Posies frontmen Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow on guitar and bass, respectively) took the stage before a packed house of mostly 30-something faithfuls shortly before midnight. They were not disappointed.

Opening with "In The Street"a new version of which is the theme song to Fox's popular sitcom That '70s Showthe band ran through one classic would-be hit after another. Rockers "Back Of A Car" and "When My Baby's Beside Me" as well as the soaring "September Gurls" and a moving version of late founding member Chris Bell's "I Am The Cosmos"sung by Auerwere among the highlights.
A full band version of the gorgeous acoustic ballad "Thirteen" made time stand still. And that wasn't the only surprise of the evening: dapper in a dark suit and tie, the usually mercurial Mr. Chilton warmed up to the adoring audience early, going as far as performing "Auld Lang Syne" at the stroke of midnight and later stopping the show to tell some jokes while graciously acknowledging the fervent applause garnered during this stellar outing. As the house lights went up, The Replacements' "Alex Chilton" came over the PA and filled the room with its reminder to "never travel far / without a little Big Star." For those that a guiding Star brought from as far as Nashville, Athens and even New York, that was a lesson already well learned in advance.

Openers Auer and Stringfellow started off the evening by playing an abbreviated version of the set they have been performing since late summer on their acoustic tour as The Posies.
While the set was brief, the boys were in a decidedly playful and festive moodbringing audience members onstage for sing-a-longs and requesting drinks by way of playing "Tequila"and managed to include such favorites as "Throwaway," "Flavor Of The Month" and "Suddenly Mary", before making way for the night's main attraction.

VH Cancellations Causing Concern

A few postponed dates from the second leg of the Van Halen reunion tour-- Feb. 22 in Charlottesille, VA and Feb. 25 in Duluth, GA--are inviting speculation as to whether simmering internal tension has finally come to a boil or there has been some kind of fallout from the publication of a tell-all autobiography by Eddie Van Halen's former wife--and Wolfgang Van Halen's mom-- actress Valerie Berinelli. Probably, the latter. At least, we hope so. The next scheduled date on the tour is March 3rd in Dallas.

SNL: Ellen Page & Wilco

The star of the popular film Juno and Chicago's favorite alt-roots/space rockers will be the host and musical guest, respectively, of this week's Saturday Night Live. Maybe--as Pitchfork suggested--they'll do a Juno-type sketch with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy as Page's dad "in which she tells her parents a big, big secret that she just can't hold in any longer: She's running away to Hollywood to pursue her dreams of becoming a stripper/screenwriter!" SNL airs at 11:30 PM EST on NBC.


The 2008 Sasquatch! Music Festival, to be held in Quincy, WA on May 24-26, will be headlined by the likes of R.E.M., The Cure, The Flaming Lips (who in addition to their "UFO" schtick will premiere their forever-in-the-making Christmas on Mars film), Death Cab For Cutie, and Modest Mouse. Also on the bill are The New Pornographers, the National, Built To Spill, the Hives, the Breeders, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Battles, Throw Me The Statue and Crudo, a new collaboration between Mike Patton and Dan the Automator. Tickets go on sale March 8th.

Here's the complete lineup:
The Cure
The Flaming Lips
Death Cab For Cutie
Modest Mouse
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Flight of the Conchords
the New Pornographers
the Presidents
the National
Tegan & Sara
Built To Spill
the Hives
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Cold War Kids
the Breeders
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Okkervil River
Dengue Fever
Jamie Lidell
Mates Of State
Rogue Wave
Fleet Foxes
White Rabbits
the Cave Singers
Grand Archives
the Little Ones
Thao Nguyen & the Get Down Stay Down
Dead Confederate
the Heavenly States
David Bazan
Dyme Def
Vince Mira with the Roy Kay Trio
Sera Cahoone
Joshua Morrison
the Blakes
Throw Me The Statue
the Cops
Say Hi
the Shaky Hands
J. Tillman

New Releases

The ladies are out in full force this week; here are some of today's new platters:

New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War (Universal/Motown)
THE CARDIGANS The Best Of [limited edition] (Polydor)
COWBOY JUNKIES Trinity Revisited [bonus DVD] (Zoe) *
GOLDFRAPP Seventh Tree (Mute) *
JANET JACKSON Discipline (Island)

* Linked titles have free, full album streams until March 2nd.


Random Oscar® Thoughts

- The Spanish portion of Javier Bardem’s acceptance speech was "Mamá, this is for you. This is for your grandparents and your parents, Rafael and Matilde. This is for the comedians of Spain who like you have brought dignity and pride to our profession. This is for Spain and this is for all of you." His mom is movie and television actress Pilar Bardem, who accompanied her son to the awards ceremony.

- Host Jon Stewart’s subtle bit about the ridiculousness of watching Lawrence of Arabia on an iPod/iPhone was on the mark. Pretty cool. Meanwhile, the Dame Judy Densch/Halle Berry joke by Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill was quite unfunny and went on too long. A double whammy, indeed.

- Amy Adams is adorable.

- Denzel Washington looked like he had something better to do. Or maybe he was upset that Ms. Ruby Dee didn’t win Best Supporting Actress for American Gangster. Can't say we blame him. Especially since it was Tilda Swinton (really?) who won.

- We called it: No Country for Old Men. Too bad we didn’t bet. (And aren't Joel and Ethan Coen among the most awkward dudes you've ever seen? Tommy Lee Jones tried to congratulate them and they just...didn't...know...what...to..do...)

- When we first heard the name we thought it was a dude, for devils have gender in Spanish, so Diabla would’ve been the correct nomenclature. And when we heard the lady in question had been a stripper, we weren’t surprised. What no one expected was this first time screenwriter to to win an Oscar®. So, Ms. Cody congratulations on winning for Juno. Oh, and please, don’t pull a Hilary Swank and get rid of your long-standing hubby now that you’ve captured Hollywood’s coveted golden statuette. What’s that? Too late? Anyway…

- That song from Once is a cutesy bit of chick-flick pap. Sorry...

SNL Rocks The "Love"

The first episode of post-hiatus Saturday Night Live was hosted by former head writer/cast member Tina Fey this past weekend, and featured a funny parody of VH1's notorious skankfest/dating show Rock of Love with Bret Michaels. (Hey, by the way, is Michaels pulling a Dwight Yoakam and is seriously bald underneath the bandana/cowboy hat combo? Would explain a couple of things...)

Today’s Playlist

Something new for you folks: a variation on our What We're Listening To post with 10-song playlists recommended for your iPod or other portable MP3 player of your choice. They will be either themed or randomly put together--like this one--and posted on a regular basis. (WWLT will also be posted regularly.) Enjoy!

1. DOVETAIL JOINT “Beautiful” 001
2. JUMBO “Uno de Estos Dias” Superficie
3. TONIGHT AT NOON "It's About That Time" MySpace track

4. BATIMCO “Kings Highway” Batimco
5. BEN FOLDS FIVE “Army” The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
6. BLINKER THE STAR “I Am A Fraction” August Everywhere
7. BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE “Love and Mathematics” Feel Good Lost
8. THE CARDIGANS “Losers” First Band on the Moon
9. CHEAP TRICK “Bontosaurus” CD single
10. THE DISMEMBERMENT PLAN "Tonight We Mean It" The Dismemberment Plan is Terrified

Morning Sickness or Why Mainstream American Music Magazines Are Irrelevant (reason # 6,743)

No one on the "5" staff is pregnant but the thought of lame-ass, posers Vampire Weekend on the cover of a major music magazine--even a pathetic one, like Spin--is enough to make us lose our breakfast. Bullshit...
But wait, it gets worse. They aren't even the main offenders (and they're not a music mag either): chucklehead soft, soft porn bible Maxim published a David Peisner review of The Black Crowes' latest album, Wairpaint (Silver Arrow) who, as it turns out hadn't even heard it!
The band called them on it and according to their website, "when approached for an explanation, the magazine described the review as 'an educated guess preview'."
For the record, the "review" is in the same issue--March 2008--which proclaims that the scantily clad, diminutive, raccoon-eyed, Gap-punk priestess on the cover, Avril Lavigne, "rocks". Yeah. Uh-huh. So there you have it...

[Warpaint will be released on March 4th.]

Mike Doughty: 20 Questions

PopMatters makes almost 2 dozen inquiries to the former Soul Coughing frontman. His most recent album Golden Delicious (ATO) is out now.


What We Wanted For Our Birthday...

...or for the 7th anniversary of "5" this month, would've been quite a lovely--albeit expensive--and highly appreciated gift.

New U2 Album in the Works

The Brian Eno/Daniel Lanois-produced, as-of-yet unnamed, follow up to 2004's How To Build an Atomic Bomb is taking shape in a prolific manner: the abundance of recorded material may yield a double album. No release date has been set.

"Juno" Lynn Spears

Nickelodeon tween star--and momma to be--Jamie Lynn Spears was seen catching Juno with her mother at a New York City movie theatre. Looking for ideas, people?

Life Imitates Art (or TV, rather)

Is The West Wing's final season Santos vs Vinick presidential campaign practically identical to an Obama vs McCain presidential run? No, but it's very close, according to this guy.

They Didn't Have the Technology

The Bionic Woman has been cancelled.

What We're Listening To

AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB The Golden Age (Merge)
THE MERRYMAKERS Bubblegun (Virgin)
PRETENDERS self-titled (Sire)
OMAR RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack, Vol.1 (Gold Standard)
DAN WILSON Free Life (Lost Highway)

What are YOU listening to?


Another One Bites the Dust: TVT

TVT Records, former dysfunctional home of Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails and currently hosting the likes of Lil John and The Polyphonic Spree, is the most recent victim of the downturn in music biz fortunes: the New York City-based label has just filed for Chapter 11 bankrupcy. While sources say TVT plans on releasing new albums by its artists, the financial crunch will absolutely put a damper on their activities.

?uestlove Goes Old School

The Roots' drummer in Japan recently, exiting a Tokyo Tower Records store. (We didn't even know they were still open in Japan!) The way it ought to be...

[Thanks to "5"er Harold Martinez for the heads up.]

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (redefined)

[YHF photo courtesy of allmusic.com]

Our favorite Wilco album is the subject of PopMatters' Brandon Kreitler's essay Which Echoes Belong? on the use of the term postmodern in describing music. Quite interesting.

No Depression: No More

And in other Wilco-related news, alt-country/Americana publication No Depression will cease its print edition after the May/June issue, its 75th. The roots magazine got its start in 1995. In its absence there are plans to expand content on the magazine's website.


Seven Mary Three has a new album.


Happy Birthday

The great Sidney Poitier and jazz legend Nancy Wilson (both 71), guitarist J. Geils (62), Steely Dan's Walter Becker (58), former Cheap Trick bassist Jon Brant (54), Sebastian Steinberg, former bassist for Soul Coughing (52), ex-Stone Roses vocalist Ian Brown (45), and supermodel Cindy Crawford (42); all on February 20th.


Funk This!

The Bedlam in Goliath

We’ve read a review or two of The Bedlam in Goliath out there that complain about The Mars Volta’s allegedly recent fixation with elements of funk, which supposedly rubbed off from touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. First of all, the musical kitchen sink that is the Volta’s 21st century schizoid prog-rock has never wanted for groove, and secondly, the Chili Peppers wouldn’t know what to do with the funk these days if it woke them in the middle of the night from their mediocre slumber of the last 15 years or so.

The Bedlam in Goliath
is another relentless, powerhouse of a record by an outfit hungry to explore and with the chops and songwriting ability to further expand on the musical premise that began with their debut De-Loused in the Comatorium. (Kudos to new drummer Thomas Pridgen for his jaw-dropping playing throughout.) Once again, the band offers up a concept album, this time about the might of the occult, which according to reports reared its ugly head with all kinds of mishaps and delays during the making of the record. It was absolutely worth the grief endured by the band, that’s for sure.

Quite simply, The Mars Volta are the most consistently exciting, experimental, and fearless band of this decade making music on a mainstream platform. And this album is further proof of their immense talents and unwavering spirit.

Highlights: “Aberinkula”, “Ilyena”, first single “Wax Simulacra”, “Goliath”, “Ouroboros”, “Conjugal Burns”.

Walk the Line


District Line


Including the tail end of Husker Du’s recorded output and his first two solo albums, Bob Mould has not spent much time on a major label. Yet, District Line would be the kind of disc the big recording conglomerates would’ve killed for a chance to put out 10 years ago. And we mean it as a compliment, for this is an incredibly accessible album with tons of commercial potential that handily delivers in terms of cohesiveness, songwriting and production. It also unites three main currents in Mould’s music: the roaring guitar rock he made his calling card with both the aforementioned Du and the short-lived Sugar (Stupid Now, "Who Needs to Dream", Return to Dust, The Silence Between Us); acoustic-based balladry (Again and Again”, “Old Highs, New Lows”, “Walls in Time”); and his post-Sugar flirtation with elements of electronica (Shelter Me), all in a convincing and effortless manner.

There’s a lot to recommend on District Line but more importantly, it’s great to hear a veteran alt/punk rocker pushing 50 (!) making some of the most vital and faultless music of his long career.

Ringo's All-Starrs Return

The 10th incarnation of Ringo Starr's All Starr-Band will hit the road this summer featuring former Men At Work frontman Colin Hay, Billy Squier, Average White Band's Hamish Stuart, Edgar Winter, Gary Wright and drummer Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, Steve Vai). As in the past, the individual All-Starrs will perform some of their most popular tunes, alongside Ringo favorites "With a Little Help From My Friends", "Yellow Submarine", "Photograph" and "It Don't Come Easy". (Ringo's most recent album, Liverpool 8, was released last month.)

Here are the currently confirmed dates:

June 2008
19 Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls, ON
20 Fallsview Casino, Niagra Falls, ON
21 Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY
22 Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT
24 Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY
25 Bank of America Pavilion, Boston, MA
27 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
28 Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Atlantic City, NJ
29 North Fork Theatre at Westbury, Westbury, NY

August 2008
2 Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA

New Releases

Among today's debuts are:

AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB The Golden Age (Merge)
THE BIG SLEEP Sleep Forever (French Kiss)
RAY DAVIES Working Man's Cafe (New West)
MIKE DOUGHTY Golden Delicious (ATO)
KULA SHAKER Strange Folk (Cooking Vinyl)

* Linked titles have free, full album streams until February 24th.


Happy Birthday

[Molly Ringwald in 1985's The Breakfast Club. Photo courtesy A&M Films.]

The writer/director of the classic coming of age comedies Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, Mr. John Hughes (58); and his muse, the undisputed teen queen of the ‘80s, card carrying member of the "Brat Pack" and star of the latter three films, Ms. Molly Ringwald (40); both on February 18th.

New Orleans Jazz Fest Lineup

Where else would you expect to see Maze feat. Frankie Beverly and The Raconteurs back to back on the same stage? Here's a partial list of those scheduled to appear:

Friday, April 25

Buckwheat Zydeco, Sheryl Crow, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Burning Spear, Ozomatli with Chali 2na, Lizz Wright, Tab Benoit, Anders Osborne, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Terence Simien & Zydeco Experience, Leo Nocentelli’s “Rare Gathering” feat. Bernie Worrell, Doug Wimbish & Will Calhoun, Doyle Bramhall with C.C. Adcock & the Lafayette Marquis, Ellis Marsalis

Saturday, April 26
Dr. John, Billy Joel, Keyshia Cole, O.A.R., The Count Basie Orchestra
feat. Patti Austin, Cowboy Mouth, Cupid, James Cotton, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Trinitee 5:7, Wayne Toups & Zydecajun, Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters, Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, The Imagination Movers, Ponderossa Stomp Revue feat. Tammy Lynn, Archie Bell, Roy Head, and Dennis Binder, Big Jay McNeely, Warren Storm w/ Willie Tee & the Cypress Band, NewBirth Brass Band

Sunday, April 27
Irma Thomas, Tim McGraw, Al Green, Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint, Cassandra Wilson, Delbert McClinton, Del McCoury, Pete Fountain, Byron Cage with Kim Burrell, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, Jeremy Davenport, Rockin’ Dopsie & the Zydeco Twisters, Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue, Hot 8 Brass Band, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles, Roy Young, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, Tim Laughlin, Jo “Cool” Davis, Mamadou Diabate of Mali.

Thursday, May 1
Randy Newman, Widespread Panic, Tower of Power, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Bettye LaVette, Gene “Duke of Earl” Chandler, Deacon John, Donald Harrison, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ruby Wilson, Luther Kent & Trickbag, Porter- Batiste-Stoltz, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Creole Zydeco Farmers, Music Makers’ Relief Foundation’s Blues Review featuring Boo Hanks, Macavine Hayes and Eddie Kirkland, Hot Club of New Orleans, Topsy Chapman’s Tribute to Dinah Washington, John Ellis feat. Jason Marsalis,

Friday, May 2
Art Neville, Stevie Wonder, John Prine, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Richard Thompson, John Butler Trio, John Hammond, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave., Marva Wright & the BMWs, Terence Blanchard & the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Papa Grows Funk, Sunpie’s Tribute to Clifton Chenier, Zigaboo Modeliste, The Jackson Southernaires, The Lee Boys, Bonerama, The Bad Plus

Saturday, May 3
Marcia Ball, Jimmy Buffett, Diana Krall, Steel Pulse, The Roots, Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr. & the Greater St. Stephens Mass Choir, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Henry Butler, Aaron Neville’s Gospel Soul, John Mooney & Bluesiana, the subdudes

Sunday, May 4
The Neville Brothers, Santana, Maze feat. Frankie Beverly, The Raconteurs, Dianne Reeves, Galactic, The Radiators, The Derek Trucks Band, Keb’ Mo’, Rebirth Brass Band, Sonny Landreth, Snooks Eaglin, John P. Kee & the New Life Community Choir, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tribute to Mahalia Jackson feat. Irma Thomas, Marva Wright and Rachelle Richard, Vernel Bagneris: Jelly Roll & Me, Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, DJ Captain Charles, Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet feat. Bela Fleck

CD to Benefit MN Bridge Victims

A three-CD benefit album including previously released and unreleased tracks by Los Lobos, Dick Dale, the Stray Cats, Les Claypool, Lee "Scratch" Perry and George Clinton, guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, cowpunks Jason and the Scorchers, and many more, will hit retail outlets this week. Proceeds from the project--called “Musicians for Minneapolis: 57 Songs for the I-35W Bridge Disaster Relief Effort”--will benefit Minnesota Helps, a disaster fund that aids victims, survivors, rescuers and families affected by the Aug. 2nd, 2007 collapse. The CD will sell for $20.

Also, the Electro-Voice audio company will hold a charity auction to benefit the above, featuring two Les Paul guitars signed by Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wyle, a Dean bass signed by all members of Megadeth, a custom Dick Dale flame guitar, and an Ibanez guitar signed by Steve Vai.


New Portishead Album Tracklisting

The long-awaited third studio album from British trip-hop icons Portishead will be released in CD and vinyl editions on April 28th. The track listing for the simply and accurately titled Third is as follows:
"Nylon Smile"
"The Rip"
"We Carry On"
"Deep Water"
"Machine Gun"
"Magic Doors" 

What We're Listening To

BATIMCO self-titled (Sony Jazz)
ERIC MATTHEWS It's Heavy in Here (SubPop)
ERIC MATTHEWS The Lateness of the Hour (SubPop)
ANDY PARTRIDGE Fuzzy Warbles Vol.1 (Ape)
MIKE STERN Upside Downside (Atlantic Jazz)

What are YOU listening to?


Repent, The End is Near (reason # 849)

We're NOT making this up:

"Fearless Records has announced the track listing for the seventh installment of their 'Punk Goes' series. Punk Goes Crunk will be released on April 4 and will feature Set Your Goals, Hot Rod Circuit, New Found Glory and more covering the likes of Ol' Dirty Bastard, Dr. Dre, Notorious B.I.G. and others. "

Tracklisting for Punk Goes Crunk (original artist in parentheses):

1. Put Yo Hood Up (Lil John) - Set Your Goals
2. Got Your Money (Ol' Dirty Bastard) - Say Anything
3. I Wish (Skee-Lo) - The Secret Handshake
4. Men in Black (Will Smith) - Forever the Sickest Kids
5. California Love (2PAC) - My American Heart
6. I Wanna Love You (Akon) - The Maine
7. Kryptonite (Purple Ribbon All-Stars) - Emanuel
8. The Seed (The Roots) - Person L
9. Still Fly (Big Tymers) -The Devil Wears Prada
10. Umbrella (Rihanna) - All Time Low
11. Notorious Thugs (Notorious BIG) - Scary Kids Scaring Kids
12. Nothin' But A "G" Thang (Dr. Dre) - The Escape Frame
13. Gin and Juice (Snoop Dogg) - Hot Rod Circuit
14. Hey Ya! (OutKast) - Lorene Drive
15. Tennessee (Arrested Development) - New Found Glory

What I Did On My Break (um, strike)

Well, according to The Hollywood Reporter, if you are My Name is Earl creator/executive producer Greg Garcia you worked at a fast food joint for a month during the Writers Guild of America's strike. Yes, you read right: a fast food joint.

Garcia anonymously took up a job at an undisclosed restaurant as a cashier and janitor in an effort to "get back in touch" with his audience. Garcia was so good at his temporary occupation and "they liked me so much they asked me to join their management team." He did come clean with his employer and co-workers at the end of his stint when he turned in his uniform and promised them it was not some stunt or exposé but just something he wanted to do. (That and give a $10, 000 check to a fellow employee he befriended.) "After we spoke, they felt good about the whole thing. And so did I."

Rock the Vote

The US presidential campaign--or the current run to obtain each party's respective nomination--is pretty heated and will surely have a historic outcome, with the presence of a woman and an African-American vying for the nomination, each of whom have a very good chance of becoming the next leader of the country. As pertains to "5" we're curious to know who's supporting who. This is what we found out.

As expected, support for the Democrats among musicians is more prevalent. Sen. Hillary Clinton's got Madonna, 50 Cent, Carly Simon, Tony Bennett, Jon Bon Jovi, Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, Elvis Costello, Melissa Etheridge and Carole King in her corner, while The Arcade Fire, Joanna Newsom, Will Smith, Babyface, Harry Connick Jr., Macy Gray, Stevie Wonder, will.i.am, Ne-Yo, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, and the surviving members of the Grateful Dead support Sen. Barack Obama.
Among the Republicans, Arizona senator John McCain can count on songwriting legend Burt Bacharach and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's got rowdy rocker Ted Nugent--and of course, Chuck Norris'--vote.
Finally, in the surprising-but-not-really category, Krist Novoselic is endorsing Republican hopeful Ron Paul, whose strong libertarian stripe surely caught the attention of the one-time political activist and former Nirvana bassist.

Speak Up, Brooklyn

And speaking of politics...

St. Ann's Warehouse
in Brooklyn will host a concert protesting the Iraq war called
SPEAK UP!: A Benefit Concert for Peace in Iraq & Justice at Home on March 18th, featuring performannces by Lou Reed, David Byrne, Antony, Laurie Anderson, Blonde Redhead, Scissor Sisters, Damien Rice, Moby, Bill T. Jones, and Norah Jones, as well as a variety of speakers not from the world of music and/or entertainment.

Raconteurs in the Studio

[Brendan Benson (l) and Jack White (r) listen to playback in the studio.]

The Raconteurs
--or as the Australians call them, The Saboteurs--are in Nashville's Blackbird Studios working on their sophomore album. No release date has been given but late spring or early summer look tentative. Can't wait.
Meanwhile the next scheduled live dates for the boys are festivals: Indio, CA's Coachella on April 25th, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on May 4th, and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, in Manchester, TN on June 13th.


Revolution Rock

A new DVD titled The Clash Live: Revolution Rock, will be released by Epic/Legacy on April 15th. PBS will show excerpts next month. Produced by longtime Clash associate, filmmaker Don Letts, the film spans the years 1977-1983 and features often talked about live performances from the era, including NYC's Bond's in '81, Shea Stadium in 82, the US Festival in '83, and various noteworthy TV appearances.

"Complete Control" (From "The Essential Clash")
"I Fought the Law" (Jan. 1979, London Lyceum)
"Police & Thieves" (Jan. 1980, Aylesbury Friars)
"What's My Name" (Nov. 1977, Manchester Elizabethan Suite)
"Capitol Radio One" (Nov. 1977, Manchester Elizabethan Suite)
"White Riot" (April 1977, Beaconsfield Studios)
"I'm So Bored With the U.S.A." (Nov. 1978, Manchester Apollo)
"London's Burning" (April 1978 London Victory Park)
"1977" (April 1977, Beaconsfield Studios)
"(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" (July 1978 Glasgow Apollo)
"Tommy Gun" (1978)
"Safe European Home" (July 1978, London Music Machine)
"London Calling" (June 1981, New York Bonds International Casino)
"Clampdown" (Feb. 1980, Lewisham Odeon)
"The Guns of Brixton" (April 1980, "Fridays")
"Train in Vain" (Feb. 1980, Lewisham Odeon)
"This Is Radio Clash" (June 1981, "The Tomorrow Show")
"The Magnificent Seven" (June 1981, "The Tomorrow Show")
"Brand New Cadillac" (Feb. 1982, Tokyo Sun Plaza)
"Should I Stay or Should I Go" (Oct. 1982, New York Shea Stadium)
"Know Your Rights" (May 1983, US Festival)
"Career Opportunities" (Oct. 1982, New York Shea Stadium)

Star Trek Opening Postponed

The big screen prequel adventures of Kirk, Spock and co. have been delayed until May 2009. Paramount Studios considers it a potentially bigger summer blockbuster than a holiday movie. This flick better be good, is all we're sayin'...

About a Girl

[Frances Bean Cobain does Evita. Photo courtesy of Harper's Bazaar.]

Frances Bean Cobain, the 15 year-old—yikes!—daughter of Courtney “the Black Widow” Love and the late Kurt Cobain is interviewed and poses for the cameras in the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar and reveals herself to be a pretty level-headed, normal teenager. The Los Angeles native is smitten with New York City, but also loves musicals, Sex and the City, and Fashion Week, so she’s obviously far from perfect. Heh, heh. But the most interesting thing about Ms. Cobain is her seemingly solid grasp on the fame that shadows her.

"I'm famous by default. I came out of the womb and people wanted to know who I was because of my parents. If you're a big Nirvana fan, a big Hole fan, then I understand why you would want to get to know me, but I'm not my parents. People need to wait until I've done something valid with my life."

Althouh she hasn’t decided what professional path to pursue—photography, journalism and music are in the running—Ms. Cobain wants to possibly intern at Rolling Stone. Courtney,
do you still have that t-shirt her daddy used to wear that said “Corporate Magazines Still Suck”? Dig it out for her, please.

And speaking of Nirvana-related teenagers, remember the baby on the cover of Nevermind?

His name is Spencer Elden and he's 16 years old. Break out the walking canes, people.

Duh! Headline of the Day

from Billboard:
Spice Girls Tour Likely Thier Last

Really? Coulda fooled us...


How to Camouflage Your iPod

Especially if you live in the Third World or just a bad neighborhood anywhere:

[Thanks to "5"er Harold Martinez for this one.]

Radiohead Announce North American Tour

Starting with a May 5th date in West Palm Beach, Radiohead will embark on its first tour of North America in 2 years to promote In Rainbows. Tickets go on sale thru the band’s fanclub tomorrow; everyone else gets a crack at ‘em on Saturday Feb. 16th. Here are the for the first leg of the tourdates:

May 5: West Palm Beach, FL

May 6: Tampa, FL
May 8: Atlanta
May 9: Charlotte, NC
May 11: Bristow, VA
May 14: Maryland Heights, MO
May 17: Houston

May 18: Dallas

The second leg of the tour includes Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara (CA), Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver. No exact dates or venues for these cities have been announced.

A River Runs Through It?

The first three Replacements albums, Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash (1981), Hootenanny (1983) and Let It Be (1984), plus the Stink EP (1982) will be re-released in expanded versions by Rhino on April 22nd. That’s great news but we’re just a bit curious about one thing: if it’s true that in a fit of rage Paul Westerberg and co. dumped the original Twin/Tone Records master tapes for these albums into the Mississippi River, what audio source are they being reissued from? Hmm…

Rhino will also reissue the rest of the band’s catalog—Tim (1985), Pleased to Meet Me (1987), Don’t Tell a Soul (1989), and All Shook Down (1990)—later in the year. A box set is also in the works.

Scarlett Does Tom

Actress Scarlett Johansson’s long-rumored album debut, Anywhere I Lay My Head (Atco/Rhino), will be released on May 20th. With the exception of one original the record is comprised of Tom Waits covers and features Johansson dueting with David Bowie on "Falling Down" and "Fannin' Street". Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio produced.


Writer's Strike Comes to an End

Pending a vote by the Writer's Guild of America's 12,000 members next week, the 3 1/2 month strike is over. The New York Times, like many others out there, have weighed in on who has actually come out on the winning side of this now-over stalemate. But there's one point that's been routinely been made in the last week or so that we'd like to highlight: Jay Leno's Tonight Show, without his writing staff and lacking access to A-list talent in the form of guests--the Screen Actors Guild was honoring the writer's picket lines--still managed to put on a comparable version of his pre-strike show and beat David Letterman's The Late Show to the tune of 1 million viewers per night. This might be factual but truth be told, Leno's show is a gaudy, Hollywood schlockfest that on its best days could never approximate the irreverence and wit that Dave brings to his nightly telecast. Letterman may not be as biting and incisive as he once was, but his show is a classic and he is undoubtedly a late night icon. Leno's the guy who took over for Johnny.

New Releases

ANTIETAM Opus Mixtum (Carrot Top)
BRITISH SEA POWER Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade)
JACK BRUCE / ROBIN TROWER Seven Moons (Evangeline)
GURU The Best of Guru's Jazzmatazz (Virgin)
MICHAEL JACKSON Thriller [25th Anniversary Edition] (Epic)


The 50th Annual Grammy Awards

We missed the telecast. We completely forgot. Seriously.

But we heard that the great Herbie Hancock's album of Joni Mitchell covers, River: The Joni Letters, won Album of the Year. And that it was the first time in 43 years that a jazz album had been awarded this distinction. (Wow, something good actually got a Grammy. Saints be praised, Mary Margaret.)

Oh, and Obama beat Clinton: the senator from Illinois won over both ex-presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter in the Best Spoken Word Album category for the audio version of his book The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream.

Here's a wrap-up by Billboard, and Stereogum has video.

20 Questions

Popmatters chats with iconic singer/songwriter and keeper of the Syd Barrett flame, Mr. Robyn Hitchcock.

EMI Releasing Radiohead 'Greatest Hits' Album

Due to coincide with the kick off of the band's 2008 world tour, Radiohead's former label Parlophone (Capitol Records in the US) will put out a 'greatest hits' collection in April or May. The label--which is part of the EMI group--released a box set of the band's music late last year, allegedly in retaliation for the group not licensing their most recent album, In Rainbows, to the company. Since the expiration of their recording contract Radiohead have relased a box set of their own, as well as standard and deluxe versions of In Rainbows.

The 25 Most Important Films on Race

Time magazine's Richard Corliss draws up a list of 25 films "to honor the artistry, appeal and determination of African Americans on and behind the screen" in commemoration of Black History Month. Cool. It's a great list. Our only qualm is how Corliss sometimes chooses a film not for its quality or impact, but for its casting, which is fine, but then, the name of the list would need to be expanded a bit. Right?

In any event, yes, there are some classics on there as well as a few worth (re)discovering, so at the very least your Netflix queue should be getting a workout.


The Many Shades of Pink

PopMatters' Michael Keefe looks back at 40 years of Pink Floyd, breaking it down by eras (Hipster, Stoner, Boomer and Altogether Floyd), and includes video clips and individual album ratings. Dig in!

SXSW Lineup Announced

The increasingly unwieldy and out of control music conference known as South by Southwest--you know, the one started because the now long gone New Music Seminar had gotten increasingly unwieldy and out of control--has just posted the list of 73,000 acts performing this year. SXSW runs from March 12-16th.

Kim Gordon Must Be Thrilled (Not)

Sonic Youth's seminal Daydream Nation album is the inspiration behind the upcoming teen comedy/romance of the same name, starring Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) and Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down). Purported to be a "coming-of-age story for the 21st century...an intellectual comedy a la Juno and Election", writer Michael Goldbach will be making his directing debut with the film.

No, No, No

Retro songbird Amy Winehouse has been denied a US visa. She was scheduled to appear in person at the Grammys on Sunday but now will perform via satellite. Her album Back to Black is nominated for 6 Grammys.
The US State Dept and the US Emabassy in London have no comment but it is speculated that Winehouse was turned down for a visa due to her very public drug use and/or her boyfriend (husband?) being incarcerated for witness tampering in the UK. Pete Doherty you are really screwed now.
In other Winehouse news, she is rumored to be singing the theme to the next Bond flick. No one is saying anything yet.

Goin' Mobile

Timbaland will record the first album of new music to be available exclusively thru cell phones. The hip-hop uber producer signed a deal with Verizon to produce a song a month throughout this year. "...Every place don't get a CD [but] everybody has a mobile phone. Just producing a mobile album has never been done. I'm the first to ever do it," he told Billboard.
OK. Aside from the novelty aspect--and Verizon aligning themselves with a big-time hitmaker--what's the point? When the gimmick wears off and you're left with a crappy sounding album, then what? Sheesh...


Las Rayas Blancas?

The White Stripes have recorded a version of the Patti Page/Don Rickles favorite "Conquest" in Spanish, titled "Conquista". Credited to Las Rayas Blancas, and mangled, um, sung by Jack White, the single will be released on Feb. 19th. Oh, and in case you were wondering, drummer Meg White does not play better in Spanish.

For Your Streaming Pleasure

"No One's Gonna Love You" from the album Cease to Begin (SubPop)
"Metal Heart" from the album Jukebox (Matador)
"The Invisible Man" from the album Rain (Rykodisc)
"See These Bones" from the album Lucky (Barsuk)
"Supernatural Superserious" (courtesy of Pitchfork) from the upcoming album Accelerate (Warner Bros.)

and a little bonus treat:
THE NOTORIOUS DLR "Hypnotize the Devil" [mash-up]

Beatles to Billy

On July 16th, Billy Joel will be the last artist to perform at Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets. (The team is moving next year to Citi Field right across the street.) Shea, which opened in 1964, first welcomed concert audiences with The Beatles' iconic August 1965 performance, later adding the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Police and Elton John to the list.

Tickets for Joel's concert, billed as "The Last Play at Shea, From the Beatles to Billy", go on sale Feb. 16th.
Sid Bernstein is not scheduled to appear.


Bonnaroo 2008 Lineup

Manchester, Tennessee's annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will be held the weekend of June 12-15 and this year's musical acts are a pretty varied mix featuring Pearl Jam, Metallica, Alison Krauss & Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Kanye West, Death Cab for Cutie, M.I.A., My Morning Jacket, Broken Social Scene, Sigur Rós, Vampire Weekend, the Raconteurs, Iron and Wine, Mastodon, Battles, Rilo Kiley, Lupe Fiasco, B.B. King, !!!, Ladytron, the Fiery Furnaces, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, José González, Black Kids, Talib Kweli, Drive-By Truckers, Minus the Bear, Tegan and Sara, Ben Folds, Gogol Bordello and more.

Thriller 25

The silver anniversary edition of Michael Jackson's most popular album is already streaming here.

Upper West Side Shit

The knee pads are on in full force for the newest flavor of the month: darlings of the collegiate lit-club circuit, Vampire Weekend. Playing a mix of indie rock and watered-down Afropop that they like to call "Upper West Side Soweto" but that is actually more reminiscent of a bad English Beat tribute band attempting to play Paul Simon's Graceland and coming up mediocre at best, this New York-based quartet first caught the insider buzz in 2006. Since then they've released a full-length, self-titled debut, appeared on David Letterman, and sat back while nerdy music critics take turns fellating them in their blogs, columns, etc. Case in point:

"Frontman Ezra Koenig appears on stage and in photo shoots like an L.L. Bean model ca. 1985, it’s all docksiders and duckboots, crisp polo shirts and crisper Levis 501s, lovingly and traditionally cuffed. His full head of thick, dark hair should appear in a Pantene commercial, and his skin is as clear as a ten-year-old’s. He’s like an indie rock porcelain doll, and certainly none of it is an accident. Their New England Prep-school aesthetic is carefully executed, from their show flyers to their album art, instantly appealing to everyone who complains about the humdrum, regular-Joe look of most indie rock bands. Rolling out of bed and walking onstage looking just like your friend with the bad temp job is, after all, as 1996 as it gets — a sentiment that’s illustrated brilliantly at the end of ‘One (Blake’s Got a New Face)’ when Koenig sings, 'All your collegiate grief has left you dowdy in sweatshirts; absolute horror.'"
- from Mike Conklin's review of the band's album--which he named best of 2007--in L magazine

See what we mean?

Vampire Weekend are basically a bunch of pretentious, preppy, bookish nerds who stumbled upon a nice little gimmick and have run with it. Nothing wrong with that. If you're Talking Heads, that is. These guys don't come even close.

They do like to amp up that silly pretentiousness factor with song titles like "Oxford Comma" (yes, it's about punctuation) and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" (really?), but "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance" had us wishing it was a prophetic ditty about themselves. Alas...

Oh, so lame.


What We’ve Bought Lately

In these days of free downloading and “file sharing” we try to keep the home fires burning and purchase as much music as we can, both on and offline. And while we don’t hit record stores as frequently as we used to—there’s less of them and even less new music we like—we still do the rounds. Here’s the last few we physically walked into a store and purchased (in alphabetical order):

IRON & WINE The Shepherd's Dog (Sub Pop)
THE MARS VOLTA The Bedlam in Goliath (Universal/Island)
RADIOHEAD Hail to the Thief (Parlophone)
SAN FRANCISCO JAZZ COLLECTIVE self-titled (Nonesuch) *

SPOON Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)
CHRIS WALLA Field Manual (Barsuk)

* [This was a Christmas gift from a "Mom and Pop" record store owner for my continued patronage of his establishment. Man... ]

Speaking of The Mars Volta, after recently having the deplorable Bruce "The Return of Bruno" Willis sit in with Paul Shaffer and the band, a palette cleansing was indeed in order: here they are performing "Wax Simulacra" on Letterman. (Dude, that drummer is out of control!)

Welcome to Monterrock

 [BMG US Latin-1999]
D.D. Y Ponle Play [BMG US Latin-2001]
Teleparque [BMG US Latin-2003]
Gran Panorámico [BMG US Latin-2005]
Superficie [NoiseLab-2007]

In the late ‘90s right thru the early years of the current decade, Monterrey, Mexico became a hotbed of music; a veritable rock and roll epicenter, with a host of bands briefly stealing the spotlight from their Mexico City counterparts and attracting international attention. (Hence the "Monterrock" nickname.) Generally more traditional sounding and less experimental than those in the capital—perhaps due to Monterrey’s close proximity to the US and the city’s relatively elevated economic status—this new scene spawned the likes of Plastilina Mosh, Kinky, Volován, Zurdok, and Jumbo, among others. While we love the late Zurdok’s output—especially their widely-lauded second album Hombre Sintetizador (Universal Latino-2000)—the latter are favorites very near and dear to us.

Not sure if they were a modern, melodic pop/rock band (“Fotografía”, “Alienados Para Siempre”) or Local H’s Mexican cousins (just about everything else), Jumbo’s 1999 debut Restaurant is understandably a tentative affair. But the seeds of their musical future were on that album’s “Siento Que”, a powerful anthem of longing and love on its last sighs that would subsequently come to define their sound, and is arguably their single best song. Restaurant got the band plenty of exposure within and beyond the borders of their native country and set the stage for their first true international hit.

The exact opposite of what is commonly known as a sophomore slump, D.D. y Ponle Play is quite a spirited affair. Chock full of soaring choruses, great playing and held together by a finely tuned production approach that gives the proceedings its underlying fluidity, D.D. Y Ponle Play is a rousing rock and roll record from start (“Rockstar”, “Audiorama”, “Después”) to finish (the timeless tracks “Desaparecer” and “Hoy”). Fans of Sloan and Teenage Fanclub will surely find a lot to like in a record that would kick-ass in any language with even the most cursory of listens. (D.D. y Ponle Play actually includes two songs in English: "Happy High" and "Far Out".)

The life expectancy for a Latin American rock band is short, which is why they routinely sign major labels deals for 3 albums, as opposed to the 7 their Anglo counterparts are indebted for. Jumbo’s final release for BMG was Teleparque, a solid but unremarkable set that found the band in transition and sporting a bit more of a harder edge (“Bajo Control”, “Repetición”, “Yeah”) than on Play. The ‘70s mid-tempo groove of “15 Horas” is a highlight.

In 2005 BMG released Gran Panorámico, a best-of culled from the 3 previous albums with the added bonus of two new songs (the late period Beatles homage “Caminando Hacia Atrás” and "Hasta Que el Sol se Apague"), a couple of live tracks (“Superactriz” and a cover of famed Mexican crooner José José’s “Lo Dudo”) and a DVD with 13 video clips.

Now on an indie label but still enamored of the widescreen, hard-edged sound that had become their calling card, Jumbo released in 2007 what may be their best album yet, Superficie, a collection of songs that brings to the fore many of the elements that has characterized their work to date: Beatlesque pomp (“Un Millon de Vueltas”), retro/futuristic ballads (“No Me Hagas Caso”), catchy guitar pop (“Uno de Estos Dias”) crunchy garage rock (“Veo”) and straight up, mid-tempo rock (“Una Isla y el Mar”).

It’s always a wonderful thing to witness a band not only keep their relationship with the muse on solid ground after music biz upheavals, but to maintain intact their predilection and means to obtain that great panoramic sound we’ve come to enjoy.

Salud, caballeros!

New Releases

This week's newbies include:

LENNY KRAVITZ Is it Time for a Love Revolution? (Virgin)
KRONOS QUARTET Terry Riley: The Cusp of Magic (Nonesuch)
BOB MOULD District Line (Anti)
NADA SURF Lucky (Barsuk)
KELLY STOLTZ Circular Sounds (SubPop)

Luis "Terror" Dias

[Photo by Rafael de los Santos]

Imagine Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards rolled into one; add an interest in discovering, learning about and rescuing from oblivion indigenous musics and you may come up with Luis Dias, father of modern rock in the Dominican Republic as well a celebrated songwriter, guitarist, frontman and music historian. Now in his mid 50s Dias, the man nicknamed "El Terror" due to his fiery spirit and anti-mainstream/establishment stance, started making music in his teens and in the mid '80s formed Transporte Urbano, a band whose mission statement was to "subvert traditional Dominican music until it became rock", throwing in palo, gá-gá, merengue, bachata with elements of rock music ranging from rockabilly to metal, and in the process, influencing a generation of musicians including Juan Luis Guerra who was once one of Dias' numerous sidemen.

Unfortunately, only his truly devoted, cult-like followers—present company included—know much about the man. (A rather erratic recorded output hasn't helped. But as a songwriter, however, he's had numerous hits with covers of his songs, most notably among them "Si He De Morir" by Marc Anthony on his debut salsa disc, Otra Nota and the perennial seasonal favorite "Carnaval" aka "Baila en la Calle" by iconic merenguero Fernandito Villalona.) Now, after years of a few lovingly constructed but notably flawed fansites being the only web-based source of information on the man, Dias has a newly designed website that is quite impressive and worth checking out. (The discography has a few gaps—where are Areito No.1 and Merenrock?—but we're sure they'll get it together soon enough. We hope.)

[Thanks to occasional Dias sideman and "5"er Jorge Suberví for the heads up.]


Massive Internal Complications

Last night we watched the decidedly uneven Jim Carroll biopic The Basketball Diaries and were entranced by a haunting bit of shoegazing on the soundtrack called "Strawberry Wine".
Performed by Massive Internal Complications, we set out, to no avail, to gather some info on the group and the song. As it turns out, other than the names of the song's writers--Salvadore Poe (aka Paul DiBartolo) and Adam Flax--there seems to be nothing else out there by these guys.

So, if any of you own The Basketball Diaries soundtrack and could somehow get us a copy of the aforementioned song we'd be very appreciative.