Scarlett Johansson: “Falling Down” (Tom Waits cover) (Music Video)
Archive for April, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Swervedriver Coachella 2008 Last Train to Satansville
Roger Waters’ flying pig found
INDIO, California (AP) — When things go bad for a huge inflatable pig, don’t expect it to be pretty.
The pig, cut loose during Coachella, was found in pieces a few miles away.
A helium-filled swine, released into the night sky during Roger Waters’ headlining set Sunday at the Coachella music festival in the Southern California desert, has been found in pieces.
Two couples found tattered halves of the pig in their yards, a few miles from the festival grounds.
Concert organizers had offered a $10,000 reward for the pig’s return. On Tuesday, pieces of the plastic carcass were examined.
“That’s definitely our pig,” producer Bill Fold said.
Susan Stoltz found a plastic heap in her driveway Monday, but said she didn’t know what it was until she read about the missing pig in the Desert Sun newspaper.
“My kids are going to think I’m so cool,” she said.
Another resident of the same neighborhood, Judy Rimmer, said she found a piece of the pig draped over a front-yard plant.
The two couples will split the cash reward, Fold said.
As tall as a two-story house and as wide as two school buses, the pig was led from lines held on the ground Sunday as Waters played a version of Pink Floyd’s “Pigs” from the 1977 anti-capitalist album “Animals.”
Then it just floated away.
“It wasn’t really supposed to happen that way. I don’t have the details,” festival spokeswoman Marcee Rondan said.
The pig displayed the words “Don’t be led to the slaughter” and a cartoon of Uncle Sam holding two bloody cleavers. The other side read “Fear builds walls” and the underside read “Obama” with a checked ballot box for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
The Ting Tings recruited for Apple iPod ad
The Ting Tings track ‘Shut Up And Let Me Go’ is featured on new Apple iPod and iTunes TV advert.
The track is taken from their debut album ‘We Started Nothing’, which is out on May 19 (and available to download from May 18).
The clip is already being aired in the US and set to spread over 22 countries over the coming weeks. They follow in the footsteps of bands like The Vines and Jet, plus legends including Bob Dylan, U2 and Paul McCartney, who have all supplied music for the iconic ads. You can watch The Ting Tings’s iPod ad below.
Meanwhile the band are set to release their new single ‘That’s Not My Name’ on May 12.
Winehouse’s ‘Bond’ Theme ‘Speculation’
Amy Winehouse might well be working on the theme song to the next installment of the James Bond series, but her record company is downplaying the move.
Winehouse has been in the studio working with Mark Ronson, producer of her hit sophomore album “Back To Black,” an Island Records spokesman confirms.
“She has been doing some work in the studio, but [the Bond theme] is speculation, basically.”
Ronson told BBC 6Music that the pair had been working on a track for the upcoming Bond film “Quantum Of Solace.” He told the digital station that there was no official guarantee that the fruits of their recording efforts would be included in the action movie, which is due for a theatrical release in November.
“It would be lovely,” adds the Island spokesman, “but there’s nothing to confirm at this stage.”
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Elbow- The Seldom Seen Kid (Album Review)
If 2005’s ‘Leaders Of The Free World’ was Elbow’s on-tour love letter to Manchester, this is the sound of them returning and re-evaluating their relationship with the city. Mancunians have a curiously tempestuous relationship with their hometown that renders them both partisan and pessimistic and it’s an emotional conflict that Guy Garvey wrestled with during the conception of this fourth Elbow record. It was a tumultuous two years that saw the band marooned without a record contract and dealing with the death of their friend Bryan Glancy, a local singer-songwriter and the ‘seldom seen kid’ of the album’s title.
“I’ve been working on a cocktail called grounds for divorce”, asserts Garvey of his hometown on the brilliant Zeppelin-ish lead single ‘Grounds For Divorce’ – and it’s this sense of emotional upheaval that permeates the entire album. A semi-comic duet with Richard Hawley (‘The Fix’) aside, it’s their darkest record in years – ‘Some Riot’, for example, is a return to the claustrophobia of 2001 debut ‘Asleep In The Back’ – but also one with euphoric peaks at every turn. Lush epics such as ‘Starlings’ and ‘Mirrorball’ dominate the landscape and none more so than ‘One Day Like This’ – a seven-minute gospel-tinged masterpiece built for a chorus of thousands at Glastonbury this summer.
‘The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver’ is the jaw-dropping centrepiece, however: a majestic orchestral lollop that details the pitfalls of success and which sounds like a dinosaur learning to ice-skate. Like almost everything here it’s an awe-inspiring labour of love that both soothes and swells the soul.In spite of the turmoil of its conception, ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ is a stunning record, a career-best from a band whose consistency has seldom been matched by any British indie band this decade.
John Lennon lyrics to go up for sale
John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics for the hit song ‘Give Peace a Chance’ will go under the hammer at auction in July and are expected to fetch £200-£300,000 ($400-$600,000).
Christie’s said that the lyrics were being sold by comedy writer and presenter Gail Renard, who was 16 when Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous ‘bed-in’ at a hotel in Montreal in 1969.
According to Christie’s, Renard and a friend sneaked into the Queen Elizabeth Hotel where the recently married Lennon and Ono were holding a protest for peace, and became friendly with the couple.
Lennon gave Renard some mementos, including the lyrics, telling her: “One day they will be worth something.”
Lennon also helped launch Renard’s early career as a writer by calling the editor of ‘The Beatles Monthly’ magazine in London and instructing him to publish her piece about the bed-in.
During the ‘bed-in’ for peace in Montreal, which followed a similar stunt in Amsterdam, Lennon and Ono opened their doors to the world’s media.
The highlight of the event came when Lennon led the recording of one of the world’s most recognisable anthems, ‘Give Peace a Chance’.
The lyrics are being sold as part of Christie’s Rock and Pop Memorabilia sale on July 10, reports Reuters.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Prince performs “Creep” at Coachella Festival
Animal Collective- “Comfy in Nautica / House” (Coachella Festival)
Paul Weller’s 22 Dreams to be released in the U.S. on June 24
Paul Weller hadn’t recorded anything for three years, but it’s not like he took time off to nap. While he was out of the studio, he played concert series in New York City and Los Angeles, earned Lifetime Achievement honors at the 2006 Brit Awards and reissued a deluxe edition of his timeless record, 1995’s Wild Wood.
And that’s all fine and good. Great, even. But this summer, there’s another Weller-related cause for excitement. His new album, 22 Dreams, will hit stores June 24 on Yep Roc . And it’s been a year in the making.
22 Dreams will feature 21 (not 22?) new songs, a full 70 minutes of music featuring collaborations with the likes of Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon. It’s Weller’s ninth solo album and should be pretty eclectic, displaying his affinities for rock, funk, soul, classical, spoken word, electronica “and beyond.”
The album was recorded at Weller’s Black Barn Studios in Surrey, and the first single, “Echoes Round the Sun,” was co-written with Gallagher.
That being said, be sure to keep your eyes on the news: no dates have been released yet, but the Modfather will tour the U.S. later this year.
R.E.M., NIN, STP Set For Voodoo Music Experience
Modern rock titans R.E.M., Nine Inch Nails and Stone Temple Pilots will headline the 10th Voodoo Music Experience, Billbord.com can reveal. The event will be held Oct. 24-26 at New Orleans’ City Park; tickets begin going on sale Friday (May 2).
Also on the bill are the Neville Brothers, making their first appearance at Voodoo Music Experience. Additional local acts set to appear include the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irving Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the New Orleans Bingo! Show.
Last year’s Voodoo Music Experience featured performances by Rage Against The Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Wilco, Tiesto, Kings Of Leon, Ben Harper, Fall Out Boy, Common, Sinead O’Connor, Galactic and the Black Crowes.
In related news, the Neville Brothers recently signed a distribution deal with Vagrant Records and are looking to rerelease their album “Walking Through the Shadow of Life” on their own. (EMI originally released it in 2004.) In March, they recorded a 10-song album, “Return to New Orleans,” that will be released digitally this spring. They’re also planning a tour with fellow New Orleanian Dr. John.
Dylan, Stooges, Chuck Berry Join Virgin Fest Bill
Bob Dylan, Iggy & the Stooges, Paramore, Chuck Berry (backed by the Silver Beats), the Black Keys and Wilco will join previously announced headliners Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails and Stone Temple Pilots for the third annual Virgin Mobile Festival at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Aug. 9-10.
In addition to two main stages, there will be a dedicated dance tent featuring electronic music, including a Moby DJ set.
Main stage acts on Aug. 9 are, in alphabetical order, Bloc Party, Cat Power, Chuck Berry and the Silver Beats, Citizen Cope, Duffy, Foo Fighters, Gogol Bordello, Jack Johnson, KT Tunstall, Lupe Fiasco, the Offspring, Paramore, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, the Swell Season and Wilco.
On Aug. 10, the main stage acts will include the Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bob Dylan, the Go! Team, Iggy & the Stooges, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots, She & Him, the reunited Shudder To Think, Taking Back Sunday and Andrew Bird’s Bowl Of Fire.
Dance tent acts include Underworld, Moby, DJ Dan & Donald Glaude, Erol Alkan, Ferry Corsten, Soulwax, Steve Lawler, Armin van Buuren, Chromeo, Deadmau5, Pendulum and Richie Hawtin.
“People have anxiously awaited our lineup, and now everyone can see that our goal is the whoa! factor,” says Virgin Mobile Festival concert producer and I.M.P. chairman Seth Hurwitz.
Beginning May 3, tickets will be available through Ticketmaster. Two-day tickets are $175 for general admission and $450 for VIP. Single-day tickets are $97.50 for general admission and $250 for VIP. A charity contribution of $1.50 will be applied to each day’s ticket.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Arcade Fire and Superchunk playing Obama Early Vote Rallies in Greensboro, NC and Carrboro, NC on May 1 & 2
Obama Campaign Announces “Change Rocks” One-Stop Early Voting Concerts
Senator Barack Obama’s campaign today announced two concerts to headline the campaign’s One-Stop Early Voting drive. Featuring Arcade Fire and Superchunk, the “Change Rocks” concerts in Carrboro and Greensboro will highlight the campaign’s effort to encourage One-Stop Early Voting at college campuses and other locations across the state.
Tickets can be picked up in Forsythe, Guilford, Randolph, Alamance, Orange, Durham, and Wake Counties during early voting hours starting Thursday April 24. A list of locations is below.
“This is a defining moment for this country,” said Win Butler of Arcade Fire. “We want to encourage people to get up, get out, and go vote.”
“People are incredibly excited about this election and this primary,” said Mac McCaughan of Superchunk. “Our music is a unique way to get people involved and participating.”
Arcade Fire is a high-profile independent band in North America. Their first album, Funeral, and the single “Cold Wind” were nominated for Grammys in the best Alternative Rock Album and Best Song Written for Television, Film, or Other Media categories respectively. Their second album, Neon Bible, also was nominated for the Best Alternative Rock Album Grammy. The group recently came off a worldwide tour.
The band Superchunk was formed in 1989 in Chapel Hill. As one of the most popular independent bands in the country, they have played at concerts and festivals around the world. They have released more than eight albums, written a film score, and headlined benefit concerts.
The Obama campaign is making a statewide push to encourage voters to take advantage of the state’s first-ever One Stop Early Voting process, which allows voters who are not registered or who have never voted before to register and vote at the same place, on the same day, all at once. Last week, the campaign announced 1-888-NC EARLY, a hotline that easily gives voters information on their early voting locations. This weekend, voters across North Carolina held more than 100 canvasses to take Senator Obama’s message to voters and encourage them to vote early.
Early Vote Concerts with Arcade Fire and Superchunk
THURSDAY, MAY 1
Greensboro Coliseum Complex Pavilion Parking Lot
(Rain site: Pavilion)
1921 W Lee Street
Gates open: 1:00 pm
For more information, call 336-332-0028 or visit www.nc.barackobama.com
Tickets are required. Tickets are free, but only one ticket may be picked up person. Space is limited and admission is on a first come, first serve basis. The show is for all ages.
FRIDAY, MAY 2
Carrboro Town Commons
301 W. Main Street
Gates open: 1:00 pm
For more information, call 919-929-3460 or visit www.nc.barackobama.com
* Parking is very limited, so walking, biking, taking public transit or car-pooling to the show are encouraged.
Tickets are required. Tickets are free, but only one ticket may be picked up person. Space is limited and admission is on a first come, first serve basis. The show is for all ages.
Ticket Pick-up Information:
Tickets can be picked up in Forsythe, Guilford, Randolph, Almanace, Orange, Durham, and Wake Counties at the following locations during early voting hours starting Thursday April 24:
For May 1 show Greensboro:
Obama for America Office
8 West 3rd Street
Winston-Salem, NC 28401
M-F 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Northside of Pavilion Parking Lot
1921 W. Lee Street
Greensboro, NC 27403
Hours: M-F: 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Obama table outside Shaw Building
158 Worth Street
Asheboro, NC 27203
Hours: M-F: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Obama table outside Board of Elections office
505 E. Green Drive
High Point, NC 27260
Hours: M-F: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Obama table outside Courthouse
301 W. Market Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Hours: M-F: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
For May 2 show in Carrboro:
Obama table outside UNC-Chapel Hill Planetarium
250 E. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Hours: M-F: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Balloons and Tunes
208 W. Main Street
Carrboro, NC 27510
Hours: M-F: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday April 26th 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Morning Times Café
10 E. Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Hours: M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m
Saturday April 26th: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Obama table outside of the Old Durham Ball Park
Corporation and Morris
Hours: M-Sat: 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m
***Additional ticketing locations will be announced on nc.barackobama.com***
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Lennon Heirs Sue ‘Expelled’ Filmmakers Over ‘Imagine’
John Lennon’s sons and widow, Yoko Ono, are suing the filmmakers of “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” for using the song “Imagine” in the documentary without permission.
Ono, her son Sean Ono Lennon, and Julian Lennon, John Lennon’s son from his first marriage, along with privately held publisher EMI Blackwood Music Inc, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeking to bar the filmmakers and their distributors from continuing to use “Imagine” in the movie.
The suit is against the film’s producers and distributors, Premise Media Corporation, C&S Production LP and Rocky Mountain Pictures. The plaintiffs are also seeking unspecified damages.
The documentary, which features Ben Stein, an actor, comedian and former speechwriter for President Richard Nixon, looks at alleged discrimination against scientists and teachers who support so-called intelligent design as an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The producers cited the fair use doctrine, which allows the use of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary and criticism.
“We are disappointed therefore that Yoko Ono and others have decided to challenge our free speech right to comment on the song ‘Imagine’ in our documentary film,” they said in a statement.
Superchunk Rocks For Obama, Pens New Tunes
Superchunk will join its Merge Records labelmate the Arcade Fire to perform at “early vote rallies” next week in North Carolina for presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama. The shows will be held May 1 at the Greensboro Coliseum parking lot and May 2 at the Carrboro Town Commons.
Tickets can be picked up at a number of locations beginning tomorrow (April 24). For full details, visit MergeRecords.com.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been particularly excited about a presidential candidate,” Superchunk frontman/Merge co-owner Mac McCaughan said “While I’ve always voted for Democrats, none of them have ever seemed too different from any other politician.”
For McCaughan, that has changed with Obama. “Hillary’s main argument seems to be that she knows how to ‘play the game’ in Washington and that’s not interesting to me,” he says. “Obama seems capable of changing the game.”
The shows aim to encourage voters to take advantage of North Carolina’s “One Stop Early Voting” process, which allows non-registered voters to register and vote on the same day, at the same location.
Superchunk has played a handful of shows for each of the past few years but hasn’t released a new studio album since 2001′s “Here’s To Shutting Up.” Asked if the band has any interest in making new music, McCaughan answers in the affirmative.
“We do,” he says. “In fact, we have about half a new album’s worth of songs. We just have to find time for all of us to write the rest of the songs and record them!”
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Grizzly Bear- “While You Wait for the Others” (Live on Conan)
My Bloody Valentine To Curate New York Festival
The reunited My Bloody Valentine will headline and curate a new upstate New York branch of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival on Sept. 19-21. According to the Daily Swarm, MBV will also perform in six to eight additional U.S. cities.
The ATP event will be held at Kutshers Country Club in Monticello, N.Y., about 100 miles away from Manhattan. The stellar lineup will feature four acts performing classic albums in their entirety: Built To Spill (“Perfect From Now On”), Tortoise (“Millions Now Living Will Never Die”), the Meat Puppets (“Meat Puppets II”) and Thurston Moore (“Psychic Hearts”).
Also confirmed to appear are Shellac, Mogwai, Polvo, F*ck Buttons, Autolux, the Drones, Low, Wooden Shjips, Edan and Thee Silver Mount Zion Orchestra. Tickets go on sale Friday (April 25) via ATPFestival.com.
We can reveal that My Bloody Valentine has personally reached out to some of the artists to join the bill, including Irish singer/songwriter Gemma Hayes. MBV frontman Kevin Shields guests on Hayes’ upcoming album, “The Hollow of Morning,” due May 2 in Ireland and May 5 in England.
All Tomorrow’s Parties has become an institution in England since the early part of the decade, with events curated at holiday camps in Camber Sands and Minehead by revered underground acts like Tortoise, Autechre, Slint and Moore, among others.
The brand made its first foray into the U.S. market in 2003 with a Matt Groening-curated show in Los Angeles. But after Modest Mouse’s 2004-curated festival in Long Beach, ATP stayed away from the States until last summer, when it hosted “Don’t Look Back” events with Public Enemy and Sonic Youth at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. Those shows feature bands performing one of their best-known albums in full.
My Bloody Valentine has not played live in the United States since July 1992. The group, which stunned fans by announcing it was reforming last year, will return to the stage June 20 at London’s Roundhouse, as part of a series of gigs promoted by ATP.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Conor Oberst Inks With Merge For Solo Album
Bright Eyes principal Conor Oberst has signed with Merge Records for his first solo album in 12 years. The self-titled set is due Aug. 5 and was recorded in January and February in Tepoztlan, Mexico.
Oberst is backed on the project by the Mystic Valley Band, the members of whom have not been named. Longtime collaborator Andy LeMaster assisted with the recording, which Oberst produced.
The album is Oberst’s first solo release since 1996′s “Soundtrack to My Movies,” issued on cassette when he was a teenager. It’s also his first not to be released domestically on Saddle Creek, the Omaha, Neb., label with which he’s been associated since he began recording in the early ’90s.
Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band have four live dates on tap this summer: the U.K.’s Reading and Leeds Festivals (Aug. 22, 24), Ireland’s Electric Picnic (Aug. 31) and the Austin City Limits festival (Sept. 27).
Here is the track list for “Conor Oberst”:
“Leaders in the Temple (Ruben’s Song)”
“I Don’t Want To Die (In the Hospital)”
“Eagle on a Pole”
R.E.M.- Accelerate (Album Review)
There comes a point in any established band’s career when looking backwards seems to be the only possible way to move forwards. When they entered the studio last year to make their 14th album with producer ‘Jacknife’ Lee, REM were effectively a busted flush. They had lost their way around the turn of the millennium, a fact made inescapable by the abundance of lacklustre songs littering their last two albums. Anyone who heard ‘Wanderlust’, which sounded like a tribute to the Wonder Stuff, could only marvel at how far they had fallen.
There comes a point in any established band’s career when looking backwards seems to be the only possible way to move forwards. When they entered the studio last year to make their 14th album with producer ‘Jacknife’ Lee, REM were effectively a busted flush. They had lost their way around the turn of the millennium, a fact made inescapable by the abundance of lacklustre songs littering their last two albums. Anyone who heard ‘Wanderlust’, which sounded like a tribute to the Wonder Stuff, could only marvel at how far they had fallen.
Accelerate, then, is the album REM had to make if they were to retain any sense of purpose. It’s blissfully short and sharp – 11 songs in less than 35 minutes – and cannot help but re-ignite memories of a time when they were the torchbearers for American alternative music in its mid-Eighties prime.
Beginning with the ‘Just a Touch’-like fervour of ‘Living Well is the Best Revenge’, it’s full of little nods and winks of affirmation to the long-suffering fan, intent on marrying Reckoning’s liquid guitar pop to the more mature crunch of Life’s Rich Pageant. From the ringing riff that pops up halfway through ‘Hollow Man’ to Michael Stipe once again feeling ‘gravity’s pull’, throughout REM explicitly acknowledge the bittersweet reality of their predicament: after 25 years of record-making, returning to somewhere close to where they started is now all people really require of them.
They duly oblige. Ditching the mid-paced piano-led confections of recent times, they instead bring back to the fore Peter Buck’s primitive guitar lines and Mike Mills’s endlessly inventive bass playing and high, keening harmonies. Any danger of dutiful self-parody, however, is blown away by the conviction of the performances and the strength of the songs. Crucially, a reinvigorated Stipe has relocated both his sense of mischief and his ability to write a melody that doesn’t evaporate as soon as it hits the air. ‘Man-Sized Wreath’ is big, bold and brilliant, while ‘Supernatural Superserious’ is their finest single in a decade, a crunching, sing-along hymn of teenage empathy. Best of all is ‘Horse to Water’, a galloping Proustian rush straight into the heart of 1984, which rather improbably features Stipe caught in the crossfire of a ‘Friday night fuck-or-fight pub crawl.’
This youthful swagger reaches its zenith on ‘I’m Gonna DJ’, a consciously dumb-ass V-sign to mortality, but Accelerate isn’t all about mapping out some foot-to-the-pedal second adolescence. ‘Mr Richards’ is a lovely slice of druggy, droney late Sixties pop, while both ‘Houston’ – two exceedingly dark minutes of muttered paranoia – and the minor-key ballad ‘Until The Day I Die’ recall the battered acoustic beauty of Automatic For the People. Only ‘Sing for the Submarine’ makes any claim to epic status, slowly shifting up through the gears as it twists and turns into a beautifully realised lament for something that’s ‘destroyed then built again,’ but even then there are no ostentatious production flourishes.
Accelerate isn’t that kind of record. Instead, it’s mostly fast and unfussy, convincing and committed. For those of us certain that the fire had gone out completely following the insipid Around the Sun, it provides a stirring, joyous rebuke. The inescapable side effect, of course, is that in the process of reminding us what a great band they can still be, REM also remind us what a truly phenomenal band they once were. This far down the line, that’s probably the best anyone can expect.
The Ruby Suns: Sea Lion (Album Review)
The Ruby Suns are fronted by one Ryan McPhun, who was born and raised in Ventura, California, but landed in New Zealand and spent some time along the way in Africa and a variety of other locales. While he was traveling, he carted along his trusty dictaphone, and recorded a variety of sounds as he went, many of which end up as a part of his musical recordings. Sea Lion is the newest effort from the group, and it’s easily the most rough and odd sounding release that I’ve heard on Sub Pop Records in some time. It’s also easily one of the most charming.
It’s poppy, with little bits of everything from psychedelic, world, and flat-out collage music creeping in. A good portion of songs are guitar driven, but everything from steel-string ukulele to djembe drums to random kitchen-sink percussion make their way into the mix as well, and the ten song, forty-minute release is a charmer that has things in common with everyone from 60s pop groups to the Animal Collective. After opening with a song that’s a bit overly-long, Sea Lion really kicks off as “Oh, Mojave” bursts forth with ragged energy that mixes a stomping kick and cracking snares with bouncy acoustic guitar strumming and sing-along vocals fun. “Tane Mahuta” (sung entirely in Maori) is even more buoyant, with more group vocals, lazy horn breakdowns mixed with lap steel, and a general island vibe that’s hard to beat.
In places, The Ruby Suns remind me a bit of The Circulatory System, who released one killer album before somewhat disappearing. Songs burst forth from all corners with lush instrumentation and the recording quality of the album itself is a bit on the rough side. “Ole Rinka” is all chimes and sparkling sun refracting off the surface of the water, as a quiet opening section gives way to a glorious psych-pop flourish. The unfortunately-titled “Kenya Dig It?” veers through three distinct sections, and a shimmery sing-along ending blooms out of a noisy, feedback laced bridge that somehow still manages to work.
At times, their collage-pop doesn’t quite work as well, and along with the album opening, the album closer of “Morning Sun” is probably one of the weaker songs on the release, as it sounds more like several bedroom jams (including a rather blah synth pop section) thrown together than a thought-out piece. Layered, and a bit rough-around-the-edges, Sean Lion is also a heck of a lot of fun, and marks The Ruby Suns as a young group to keep an eye on.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Replacements Leaving Door Open For Reunion
With the first phase of a long-awaited reissue campaign beginning this week, the Replacements are back in the spotlight 17 years removed from their breakup. Even more notable: principal members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson aren’t ruling out the possibility of a reunion.
Stinson said the group has received lucrative offers to perform at Coachella and other major festivals, and that he and Westerberg were close to accepting this year. The group would have been rounded out by session drummer Josh Freese (replacing original drummer Chris Mars, who has retired from music to focus on painting), and an unnamed lead guitarist (replacing Stinson’s late half-brother Bob, who died in 1995).
“We actually talked about it again this year, and I think there was a consensus that, you know, maybe it wasn’t the right time (to reunite), or maybe it is the right time,” Stinson says. “Paul and I were kind of in cahoots talking to them [and] talking to (his manager) Darren (Hill). There were some things thrown out, and there were other festivals that wanted it too, if we were going to do it.
“At the last minute, it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do, so we didn’t do it. But I think Paul and I have something to offer each other still. I think that’s pretty obvious when we get together.”
“I’m very hesitant about dragging the name out there and what damage we could do to the legend,” Westerberg offers. “Whatever we did, someone would want something else. If I went up there straight, they’d want us wasted. If we were f–ked up, they’d want us to be this or that.
“But, I don’t know,” he continues. “The records hold the key to the whole thing. So if I was ever going to play, I’d like to play once the whole shooting match is out, because I don’t think I could physically get up there and bellow these 18 songs (from) that first record. That’s just sheer youth there. I can’t find that in a bottle or a pill. I’m just too creaky for that.
The group’s first four albums arrive in remastered, expanded form tomorrow (April 22) via Rhino. Reissues of the band’s four major-label successors for Sire will follow later this year.
Guns N’ Roses ‘Negotiating’ To Release New Album
With a new management team in place, Guns N’ Roses is “in negotiations” for the release of its decade-in-the-making album “Chinese Democracy,” according to a post on the band’s Web site.
The message did not elaborate on what the discussions concern, or offer an approximate release date for “Chinese Democracy,” which was last on Interscope’s release schedule in March 2007.
In other GNR news, guitarist Robin Finck has left the Axl Rose-led band to return to Nine Inch Nails, and will tour with the latter act this summer.
“Robin’s plans caught everyone in Guns, as well as our fans, a bit off-guard,” the band says. “Neither we nor management, etc., know any more in this regard and we prefer not to speculate or offer opinions at this time.”
“When we begin to put tour plans together, we’ll see where things are,” the post continues. “Until then, Robin’s touring with NIN and we’re working with management on our game plans.”
Friday, April 18, 2008
Palestinians slam Morrissey for Israel concert plans.
This 20-year ritual feels like a long déjà vu; every summer, an announcement goes out that Morrissey, former lead singer of The Smiths and key new wave musician, is coming to Israel, and every year the Israeli audience is once again disappointed by the last-minute cancellation.
Perhaps this ritual will end this year. After long negotiations between the musician’s managers and producer Shuki Weiss, a single performance has been booked for July 29 in Tel-Aviv. The venue has yet to be determined, but the producers swear: This time it’s for real.
In an exclusive interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, Morrissey said he had never been to Israel and was very excited. He has been trying to make it here for so many years now, he noted, but his last two albums have been so successful, his tours in the US and Europe left him no time to come to Israel. As soon as he found an opening in his schedule, he jumped at the opportunity.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel: Open Letter to Morrissey:
Today, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed your video message to the Israeli public, confirming your performance in Tel Aviv on July 29, 2008 . You end your message with the words “God bless Israel, stay nice!” This message and your planned Israel gig are indicators of either a serious lack of understanding of what Israel is or a conscious bias towards Israel, despite its colonial and apartheid reality. Celebrating Israel, as you plan to do, at a time when it is persistently committing war crimes and other grave breaches of international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in Gaza, is an act of complicity in maintaining Israel’s illegal occupation and regime of racial dscrimination against the people of Palestine.
It is ironic that your persistent affection for outsiders and misfits has often driven you to write in their voices. Someone hated, rejected and violently attacked by a racist, nationalistic society has her point of view expressed in these lyrics, which you wrote:
We’re old news
Say BBC scum
One child shot, but so what?
Laid my son
In a box, three feet long
And I still don’t know why
A short walk home becomes a run
And I’m scared
In my own country
Singing in Tel Aviv despite the fact that more than 800 Palestinian children have been killed—many in a willful manner—by the Israeli occupation army and settlers in the past 7 years alone would effectively tell us, in our faces: “One Palestinian child shot, but so what?”
This year, Israel celebrates the 60th anniversary of its establishment over the ruins of another country, Palestine. With the creation of this state sixty years ago, three quarters of a million Palestinians were dispossessed and uprooted from their homes and lands, condemned to a life of exile and destitution.
Israel at 60 is a state that is still denying Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights, simply because they are “non-Jews.” It is still illegally occupying Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. In the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), Israel is continuing the construction of its colonies and massive Wall in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of July 2004. It is still persistently and grossly breaching international law and infringing fundamental human rights with impunity afforded to it through munificent US and European economic, diplomatic and political support. It is still treating its own Palestinian citizens with institutionalized discrimination.
In 2006, virtually all leading Palestinian artists and cultural figures have called for an international cultural boycott of Israel . To date, many leading international cultural figures, including Ken Loach and John Berger, and some artists’ unions, like the Irish Aosdana, have heeded the Palestinian Call and shunned Israel, just as they boycotted apartheid South Africa.
On December 3, 2007, you said “I abhor racism and oppression or cruelty of any kind and will not let this pass without being absolutely clear and emphatic with regard to what my position is. Racism is beyond common sense and I believe it has no place in our society.”
It is “absolutely clear” that your performance in Israel would betray a regrettable double standard, if not a categorical negation of those noble ideals.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Avery Rejoins Jane’s Addiction For NME Awards
Eric Avery will rejoin his former bandmates in Jane’s Addiction for the first time since 1991 at the U.S. NME Awards, to be held April 23 at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre.
At the event, Jane’s Addiction will be presented with the Godlike Genius Award and play three songs with its original lineup of Avery, frontman Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins.
Avery was replaced by Flea when the band reunited in 1997, and later by Martyn LeNoble and Chris Chaney as Jane’s continued to tour and record a new studio album, 2003′s “Strays.”
“I’ve chosen to reject the prospects of reuniting in the past for personal and philosophical reasons. I have always considered reunions to be a way to make a quick buck, and it sells short my own experience of it the first time around,” Avery said in a statement. “The reason I started to even consider this is because it’s honoring the past instead of trying to recreate it.”
Avery recently released his first solo album, “Help Wanted,” via Dangerbird Records.
Swervedriver Added To Coachella, Expands Tour
Swervedriver will kick off its reunion tour with a newly confirmed booking on the final day of this month’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. The U.K. rock group will then begin a North American run May 26 in Seattle.
“We’ve actually only had the one get-together at this point in a cheap studio in North London but it sounded surprisingly tight and together — and also more punk rock and unhinged than ever before somehow,” frontman Adam Franklind said.
“We’ll be getting together some more this month and then will get a little more intensive before the tour just to make sure we have as many songs and sounds down as we want,” he continues.
Beforehand, Franklin has new music to offer in the form of the self-titled debut EP from Magnetic Morning, his band with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino. “There are tunes where it’s Sam’s main melody and then I’ve introduced a chord sequence around that melody,” he says. “So it’s like sonic tag — I chuck it back at him and he does production things over my arrangement, [then] chucks it back to me again for a vocal melody.”
The group, which has only played live once so far, is hoping to tour in the fall.
Here are Swervedriver’s tour dates:
April 27: Indio, Calif. (Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival)
May 26: Seattle (Neumo’s)
May 27: Portland, Ore. (Wonder Ballroom)
May 29: San Francisco (Fillmore)
May 30: San Diego (Casbah)
May 31: Los Angeles (Fonda Theatre)
June 3: Austin, Texas (Emo’s)
June 5: Atlanta (Masquerade)
June 6: Carrboro, N.C. (Cat’s Cradle)
June 7: Philadelphia (TLA)
June 8: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
June 10: Boston (Paradise)
June 11: New York (Bowery Ballroom)
June 12: Brooklyn, N.Y. (Music Hall of Williamsburg)
June 13: Toronto (Lee’s Palace)
June 14: Chicago (Metro)
Death Cab Goes To Extremes For Epic New Video
It sounds like an extreme adventure challenge: hit 10 cities in three weeks to film with no permits, or spend a day filming a band in a sub-zero freezer. But those situations were just par for the course for the two men behind Death Cab For Cutie’s new video, the epic, almost-nine-minute-long “I Will Possess Your Heart.”
The album version of the video premiered on April 11 on MTV.com and VH1.com. The shorter, single-length version premiered the following day on MTV2, and the video was immediately added to MTV, MTV2, VH1, and Fuse in its first week.
Aaron Stewart-Ahn, who wrote the treatment for the video, was tasked with hitting London, Paris, Frankfurt, Carthage and Tunis in Tunisia, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia, Tokyo and Hokkaido in Japan, and New York to film the female subject of the video over the course of three weeks. The final version of the clip shows the young woman, who has not been identified, in near-constant motion as she travels from city to city, riding trains and wandering around markets.
“I wanted to touch on the themes of solo travel and running away,” says Stuart-Ahn, who has previously directed other Death Cab videos, as well as clips for the Decemberists. “I don’t think people really get how dark the song is, and I wanted it to be very subtle.”
When it came time to shoot the band, Stuart-Ahn called Shawn Kim, a cinematographer/videographer who has directed videos for Hot Hot Heat, among others. Kim said his part of the video was actually easier than Stuart-Ahn’s, because, “I got to step outside and warm up, while he was stuck on the road for weeks.”
Kim filmed the band in the freezer because they expressed an interest in being in an adverse environment and having the ability to see their breath while performing. “We had to keep rotating the band members in and out, because they would get sick otherwise. We even had a medic on set,” he says.
When it came time to do the edits, Stuart-Ahn was the one making the cuts. “I knew we would be doing two versions of the video from the outset, so I was prepared,” he says.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Lupe Fiasco – Paris, Tokyo (Video)
The Breeders – Mountain Battles (Album Review)
Barely a week after Black Francis has graced us with a new solo single, another moonlighting Pixie is back with their own material: this time, Kim Deal with her first non-Pixies album since 2002′s Title TK.
Opening tracks Overglazed and Bang On are surprisingly rocky (or as rocky as 4AD ever gets), with strong drums on the appropriately named second track, before Night Of Joy slips into more expected territory with hazy vocal whispers over a delicate, dreamy, peyote-soaked lament.
From here on in, there are moments when you can’t help but wonder whether, in fact, 4AD has actually existed at all for the last 15 years, or rather if, instead, the computers have just been set to automatic and programmed with instructions to turn out a regular diet of ethereal, fragile songs by slow, breathy female vocalists.
This familiarity and comfort is what the record label is all about, and Kim Deal is one of its elder statesmen, a woman more rock’n'roll than rock’n'roll itself who can nonetheless turn out works of such fragile beauty. And in the hands of the god of quiet-loud-quiet himself, Steve Albini.
As we hit the halfway mark, German Studies ups the ante, with Star Club-raw guitars (if the Star Club had been filled with girls and filtered through the 4AD production desk on the way out), while the Latin-tinged Spark heads back to the delicate side of the tracks, interspersed with Pixies paranoia. It’s as close to the mother band’s album as she gets here, a song that threatens to explode at any moment but sinks instead into an echo of Venus In Furs.
Istanbul filters in Arabian drums and a feeling of floating away into the hot desert night, while Walk It Off comes back to the present, a garage rock stomp that brings the album back up to date, as does It’s The Love. Reglalame Esta Noche on the other hand conjures up visions of Spanish dancing girls while gently reminding you that nothing by Black or Deal ever seems complete without at least one track in their favourite second language.
Here No More lays down some old country roots and No Way returns to spacey blues riffs dripping in atmosphere before the album ends on its title track, the wonderfully doom-laden Mountain Battles.
In all, it’s been as versatile as Deal is talented, showcasing her myriad skills and drawing us into the many styles and genres she explores. With material as good as this, we can bear to do without Pixies for a while yet.
- Jenni Cole
Foos, Plant/Krauss, Beck To Rock Austin City Limits
Foo Fighters, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Beck, Manu Chao, John Fogerty, David Byrne, the Raconteurs and the Mars Volta are among the top acts booked for this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival, set for the city’s Zilker Park from Sept. 26-28.
The seventh ACL Fest, produced by Austin-based promoter/producer C3 Presents, will feature more than 125 acts over three days. Also on the bill are Gnarls Barkley, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, N.E.R.D., Tegan & Sara, Iron & Wine, G. Love & Special Sauce, Neko Case, Band Of Horses, the Swell Season, Silversun Pickups, Gogol Bordello, Gillian Welch, the Black Keys, Against Me!, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Hot Chip, Spiritualized, Drive-By Truckers, Vampire Weekend and Duffy.
The ACL lineup boasts several acts with a Texas connection, among them Erykah Badu, Robert Earl Keen, Patty Griffin, Eli Young Band, Kevin Fowler, Flyleaf, Roky Erickson, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears and White Denim.
Three-day passes are available for $170, including fees and a print-at-home option, at ACLfestival.com until sellout or show time. Sponsors are AT&T, AMD, Dell, Austin Ventures, WaMu, BMI, H-E-B, Heineken, Blackstone Winery and Sweet Leaf Tea.
The ACL festival was the fourth-ranked festival in the world in 2007, based on its gross of $11.3 million and attendance of 225,000 from three sold-out days.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Man Man:: Rabbit Habbits (Album Review)
Philadelphia’s Man Man might get more credit for its considerable talents if the band didn’t seem so hellbent on distracting people from them. There’s the matching white athletic gear and war paint on stage, the pseudonyms (Sergei Sogay) and magnetic-poetry-of-the-damned song titles (“Easy Eats or Dirty Doctor Galapagos”), the Civil War-era facial hair. And there’s the aesthetic free-for-all of the music, in which the band uses its instrumental prowess to mash together everything from doo-wop to noise rock to cabaret jazz, like a hyperactive kid trying to squeeze five different colors of Play-Doh through his parents’ high-end pasta maker. All of which is plenty entertaining, but you get the feeling that singer Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner) and his hirsute comrades are afraid that if they let up on the noise too long, someone might realize that the songs beneath it are really, really good. On “Rabbit Habbits,” the band’s third album, Man Man is clearly having trouble keeping up the ruse. The exhumed-vaudevillian theatrics are still here, but by now they’re starting to sound almost natural and when the perpetually heartbroken Honus Honus laments, “I can’t breathe underwater like I used to before I met you,” you get the idea.
Tapes ‘N Tapes: Walk It Off (Album Review)
Walk It Off is, the insiders whisper, “a grower”. It may appear to be a darkly impenetrable wall of echoey indie-rock clatter, they say, but it isn’t. However, repeated plays of the punishingly over-crowded Demon Apple’s thick, clanging riffs and down-the-wrong-end-of-a-foghorn vocal, or Blunt, where three minutes pass before the band realise there’s a tune missing, will make you wonder whether “a grower” is overly generous and “a living, breathing nightmare” would be more truthful. But eventually they reel you in: the sublime Time of Songs shakes like Pavement and shivers like Pixies, Le Ruse and Headshock both relocate ancient – and elegantly expansive – Echo & the Bunnymen moves to a tin shack somewhere in the American rust-belt. This record will not make you fall for T ‘N T, but it might make you give them one more chance.
Morrissey to release David Bowie cover
Morrissey has recorded a cover of David Bowie’s 1973 hit ‘Drive-In Saturday’ and is set to release it next month.
The song will be a b-side for the singer’s forthcoming single, ‘All You Need Is Me’, scheduled for release on May 19.
Across its formats the single will feature two new b-sides, ‘My Dearest Love’ and ‘Children In Pieces’, as well as the Bowie cover.
Morrissey is currently working on a new studio album, set to be released in autumn.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (Album Review)
Recently, Nick Cave embarked on a round of interviews to promote his 14th studio album with the Bad Seeds. In one particularly entertaining profile, Cave revealed that he was petitioning to have a large statue of himself, clad in a loincloth and seated astride a rearing stallion, installed on a roundabout in his home town of Warracknabeal, in southern Australia. He then turned his attentions to his 1997 album The Boatman’s Call, his beautiful, anguished eulogy for a failed relationship with fellow singer-songwriter Polly Harvey. He considered its merits in terms rather more redolent of his countryman Sir Les Patterson than you might expect from a man once commissioned to give a lecture on the art of the love song at the Vienna poetry festival. “I’d got dumped by some bird and here I was making some great statement,” he reflected ruefully, “about some f*cking sheila.”
THE SWORD: Gods of the Earth (Album Review)
In the great debate over what constitutes hipster metal, the Sword, along with Early Man, and probably soon enough Dead Child, are a lightning rod for controversy. Either the musicians are sincere in their heaviness, or they’re nothing but hipster leeches trying to scavenge some cool from metal. It’s a funny argument, given that the Sword’s brand of stoner metal isn’t exactly cool.
But what really seems to get lost in all this discussion about intents and purposes is the music itself. Luckily, the Sword has avoided the dreaded sophomore slump and delivered a CD that builds on its debut with heavier riffs and a better sense of dynamics. J.D. Cronise’s vocals are still the same — reedy and menacing, on songs populated with guttural riffs and lyrical imagery drawn from Norse mythology — but that’s part of the charm.
From the opening salvo of “The Sundering” to the final one-two punch of “The Black River” and “The White Sea,” they have delivered another masterly work of metal, one that should silence critics for now.
— Thomas Pizzola
AC/DC Recording With Brendan O’Brien
AC/DC is recording its first studio album in eight years with producer Brendan O’Brien. No release date has yet been announced for the Columbia project.
The news came via a Web post from Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti, who said his own band’s album is being delayed due to O’Brien engineer Billy Bowers’ work with AC/DC. Bowers is producing the Supersuckers’ as-yet-untitled disc.
“[Bowers] wants to make some last-minute tweaks and, well, he can’t right now,” Spaghetti wrote. “He’s been detained by a little Australian band called, uh, AC/DC.”
AC/DC is expected to tour in support of the album, with dates to be announced.
Gnarls Barkley Gets Soulful At ‘SNL’ Warm-Up
“It’s kind of like our overpaid dress rehearsal,” Cee-Lo said last night (Apr. 10) at the intimate Highline Ballroom in Manhattan, a gig planned as a warm-up for Gnarls Barkley’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” tomorrow.
The hour-long show, which found Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse flanked by a five-piece backing band, was Gnarls Barkley’s first to feature material from its new sophomore album, “The Odd Couple.”
The band members took the stage dressed like vintage James Brown in turquoise tuxedos, while Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse opted for all white. Cee-Lo even had on a Brown-style pompadour wig, which he adjusted throughout the night.
Initially, the mix in the room left the vocals a bit muddy, but the sound evened out by the third song, a cover of the Violent Femmes’ “Gone Daddy Gone.” And in contrast to past gigs, there was no string section to accompany older material such as “Boogie Monster” and “Crazy,” which Cee-Lo said was “the song that made me rich and famous.”
The stronger soul influences on material from “The Odd Couple” shone through on “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul,” which found Cee-Lo reaching for the heavens like a preacher. Other highlights included a quick, punchy version of the single “Run” and the throwback pop of “Blind Mary.”
Gnarls Barkley will appear next at the Roots’ Family Picnic on June 7 in Philadelphia and at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 27.
In other news, the group is giving away a free MP3 download of “The Odd Couple,” played backwards and housed in one continuous audio track, from the newly launched Web site Fronttobackbacktofront.com. The site appeared without explanation earlier this week.
Here is Gnarls Barkley’s set list:
“Gone Daddy Gone”
“Who’s Gonna Save My Soul”
“Just a Thought”
“A Little Better”
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Hip-hop meets ballet in Big Boi’s ‘big’ debut
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — As half of the famed hip-hop duo OutKast, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton is known for his bass-booming, chart-topping smash hits. His recording studio in Atlanta is lined with plush velvet, stocked with Courvoisier and has a swing hanging from the ceiling — a place to settle in and do his work.
As a choreographer for the Atlanta Ballet and a dancer for years, Lauri Stallings’ world revolves around pirouettes, cou-de-pieds and battement tendus. The stage at Atlanta’s Fox Theater is her work home.
His only experience with ballet was seeing the “Nutcracker” as a child. Her experience with hip-hop: “None at all.”
But the curtain will be rising Thursday in Atlanta — a hip-hop mecca that is home to Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris, Young Jeezy and Lil Jon — for the first of six performances of a collaboration between Big Boi and the Atlanta Ballet: a work called “big.” Video See Big Boi talk about the unconventional show »
On paper, Big Boi and Stallings couldn’t be more different.
But it is their two styles, from seemingly opposite ends of the artistic spectrum, that both say make the show so innovative. As bass boomed through the ornate, faux-Egyptian halls of the Fox Theater as a ballet dancer was hoisted in the air, the point couldn’t be any clearer. Photo See photos of dancers preparing for their “big” debut »
“It’s definitely one of the funkiest hybrids I’ve ever seen,” Big Boi said.
Big Boi’s contemporary style may seem inherently different from the traditional and classical sounds that normally echo through an Atlanta Ballet performance. But, Stallings said, as a choreographer it’s not a stretch to equate one of hip-hop’s biggest names with some of the most venerated composers who are usually the backdrop for traditional ballets.
“For me [Big Boi's music] sounds like Shostakovich, Stravinsky a little … just today’s Stravinsky,” Stallings said.
“Big” came about almost matter-of-factly. In an interview at his studio, Big Boi — whose unprepossessing size belies his energy — said the Atlanta Ballet’s artistic director, John McFall, approached him at a fundraising event and proposed a collaboration. Big Boi said he had a split-second of uncertainty about a ballet project, but was intrigued by the prospect and quickly immersed himself in the work.
Stallings said the show is a dream marriage of artistic aesthetics that has been a long time coming — and in this duality of differences, anything goes.
Audience members will be pulled on stage. Dancers will weave their way through the audience. Big Boi and a live band will perform some of his greatest hip-hop collaborations.
But the greatest collaborating may be the pairing created by Stallings and Big Boi when Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” is intertwined with “Morris Brown,” a cut from OutKast’s “Idlewild” soundtrack.
Those contrasts — “physical but sublime, beautiful but ugly, loud but soft,” in Stallings’ words — are exactly the feelings this fusion ballet is intended to evoke, both artists said. Video Watch Stallings explain the fusion of hip-hop and ballet »
“Its very moving, sophisticated, elegant but at the same time it will tear your back off,” Big Boi said.
Collaborations between ballet companies and pop artists are uncommon but not unheard of. The Joffrey Ballet performed a multimedia work with a rock score, “Astarte,” in 1967, an event so novel it made the cover of Time magazine. In recent years, ballets to the tunes of Prince, Elvis Costello and other artists have begun to pop up.
The Joffrey opened the door for the ballet to use new techniques to reach those who may never have attended a ballet otherwise, said Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, a professor of ballet and musical theatre at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
“Although it may seem off the traditional path, it’s certainly in the realm of ballet collaborations,” she said. “I think it’s always a wonderful moment when someone first experiences classical ballet within the context of their life … and ['big'] seems like the ideal one to do that.”
For some of the dancers of the Atlanta Ballet, the show is a chance to perform alongside one of their idols and deviate from their rigidly classical performances.
“A lot of the ballets in the past have been very structured and very classical,” dancer Courtney Necessary said. “I have a hard time even calling this a ballet — it’s mostly about movement and being very organic, and finding the beat in music and sometimes going against the beat. The stuff we are doing is nothing like what you would think of as classical ballet.”
Big Boi hopes to hype the crowd by debuting his newest single, “Sir Lucious Leftfoot Saves the Day,” as the last song of the night.
Stallings and Big Boi hope the show, which has received growing buzz in the ballet and hip-hop communities, will help bring together a hip-hop crowd that may not have ever chosen to go to a ballet and a classical crowd that might never have heard songs like “Bombs Over Baghdad.”
“You [hope] to open up people’s minds to different avenues that they might not think they can or cannot take,” Big Boi said. “Really the combinations are endless … when you have creative minds and art forms coming together.”
The joining of those forms is a risk Big Boi and Stallings hope will pay off and perhaps unleash a new wave of productions.
“We get to [take] a fresh look of the possibilities of tomorrow,” Stallings said. “You should leave with your senses so wide open that we’re hoping that you experience your life a little different after it.”
If “big” is successful, the show could tour, Big Boi said.
But at the least, he said, he expects the audience to enjoy the work’s energetic spirit.
“If you come in there with your tie on, you might have your bow tie leaning to one side when you leave,” Big Boi said, “because you’re definitely going to move.”
Guns N’ Roses finish ‘Chinese Democracy’ album
Guns N Roses have reportedly finished work on ‘Chinese Democracy’, the album that Axl Rose has been working on for the past 14 years.
Therockradio.com reports that Geffen Records, the band’s record label, have confirmed they have received a finished copy of the album, and are currently haggling over money and rights issues with Rose.
The album is reported to have cost in excess of $13million (£6.5million) to produce.
As previously reported, it is rumoured that a Guns N’ Roses reality TV show is set to be broadcast to coincide with the release of the album.
Prince To Headline Second Night Of Coachella
Prince will make a rare U.S. festival appearance at Coachella later this month. Organizers confirmed today that the artist will headline the Saturday (April 26) lineup, joining previously announced headliners Jack Johnson (April 25) and Roger Waters (April 27).
The addition is reminiscent of 2006, when Madonna joined the Coachella bill just a few weeks before the show. But she performed just five songs in the dance tent, whereas Prince will play a full show on the main stage.
This year’s Coachella will also feature performances by Kraftwerk, Portishead, the Verve, Aphex Twin, My Morning Jacket, Spiritualized, the Breeders and Serj Tankian, among many others.
“In this year of a lot of festivals, we think we’ve dug pretty deep,” Coachella booker Paul Tollett said. “We’re in our ninth year, and this is a really great addition to the whole story. It’s exciting to add another artist into the mix that hasn’t played festivals.”
Prince, who has been a rumored Coachella headliner for several years, has just one other date on his upcoming schedule: a June 16 show at Dublin’s Croke Park.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Festival details emerge
According to a reputable source very close to the festival, who was plied with booze until he let the cat out of the bag, plans for Sub Pop’s 20th Anniversary Festival are in full swing. The dates are set, the location has been chosen and bands are being booked. We’ll tell you all we know below. First, though, it’s important to note that the festival is just one (large) step in Sub Pop’s celebratory waltz.
Hundreds of freeloading music fans and industry folk packed Hattie’s Hat on Tuesday night to kick-off the record label’s year-long celebration with free drinks, shop-talk, chocolate eclaires and a possible Gary Busse citing (word has it that photos were taken … we’re still waiting). VH1 honored Sub Pop the day before (on the label’s actual 20th Anniversay) by posting 20 years worth of Sub Pop music videos. On the label’s side, there is word that the much-loved Singles Club will make a return appearance. And then there of course will be more of the high quality releases the label has been giving the world for 15 (nonconsecutive) years.
But the festival will be the manifestation of the celebration. And here, in bullet points, are the details we squeezed from our source (their accuracy is questionable, as there were free drinks):
* The festival will officially take place July 12 & 13 at the 640-acre Marymoor Park in Redmond, with performances going both day and night
* Bands performing will cover the history of the label’s roster, including two reunion performances. One will be the much-ballyhooed return of Green River. The second, according to this recent news story from the Denver Post, will be the Fluid, Sub Pop’s first non-local signing from way back in 1985.
* There will likely be a Sub Pop comedy night at a yet-to-be-named venue separate from the music festivities.
* There could possibly also be some shows at clubs around Seattle leading up to the festivities, though details on this were very vague.
(via sound seattle)
Hot Chip- “Ready For the Floor” on Conan (Video)
Floral Beatles tribute decapitated
Ringo Starr has been beheaded – or at least a floral version of The Beatles drummer has.
A topiary tribute to the Fab Four in their home city of Liverpool has been attacked by vandals, who chopped off the drummer’s head but left his three bandmates intact.
The plant was unveiled at the city’s Parkways Transport Exchange last month and took 18 months to cultivate, according to BBC News.
There is speculation that the attack on Starr was a reaction by Liverpool residents to his comments after the opening of the European Capital Of Culture events, in which he claimed he missed nothing about the city.
The horticultural sculpture was designed by Italian artist Franco Covill.
Beck, STP, Lucinda Set For Bumbershoot Festival
Beck, Stone Temple Pilots, Lucinda Williams and Neko Case are among the first acts confirmed for the 2008 Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival. The event will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Seattle’s City Center.
Also set to perform during the 38th annual event are Ingrid Michaelson, Jakob Dylan, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, !!!, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Saul Williams, M. Ward, the Walkmen, Blitzen Trapper, John Vanderslice, Dan Deacon, Tim Finn, Bedouin Soundclash and Final Fantasy.
Among the many non-musical offerings at Bumbershoot will be “Wonderboy,” a collaboration between San Francisco-based choreographer Joe Goode and New York-based puppeteer Basil Twist, plus appearances by authors William Gibson, Dan Clowes and Adrian Tomine.
Performers for the three-stage comedy program have yet to be announced. Bumbershoot three-day passes are on sale now via Bumbershoot.org. Single-day tickets begin going on sale July 15.
Last year’s Bumbershoot marked the first partnership between organizers One Reel and AEG Live to bolster talent buying and sponsorship resources. The event featured performances by Wu-Tang Clan, the Shins, Panic At The Disco, Lupe Fiasco, John Legend, Joss Stone and Kings Of Leon.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Pete Doherty jailed for 14 weeks
Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty has been jailed for 14 weeks for failing to turn up to probation hearings on time and drug use.
Doherty attended West London Magistrates Court today (April 8), where Judge Davinder Lachar handed the singer/guitarist the sentence.
A spokesperson for the court said that Doherty had been jailed for “breach of time keeping, non-compliance of his order and using different drugs”.
Doherty had been given a suspended jail sentence for possession of drugs and driving illegally in October last year. His supervision order required him to make regular visits to court for progress reports, as well as take part in a drug rehabilitation programme. He was threatened with up to four months in jail if he broke the law during this period.
A spokesperson for Doherty said that he was looking into grounds for appeal.
The 14-week sentence would not only cover the singer’s solo show at the Royal Albert Hall in London (April 26), but the Glastonbury (June 27-29) festival, which he is due to play.
His label, Parlophone, explained the solo show will be postponed but it “is due to be rescheduled and all tickets will be valid for the new date once it has been announced. Peter was very much looking forward to the show and would like to offer his sincerest apologies to all his fans and all those concerned”.
Radiohead, Rage, NIN, Kanye Set For Lollapalooza
After being leaked by a Chicago newspaper on Friday, the lineup for the 2008 Lollapalooza festival is now official. Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West and Wilco lead the bill for the event, to be held Aug. 1-3 at Chicago’s Grant Park.
Lollapalooza, which is produced by Austin, Texas-based C3 Presents, grossed $9.8 million last year and sold out at 167,330 over the three days, according to Billboard Boxscore. It was the fifth-highest-grossing festival in the world in 2007, and C3 partner Charles Attal says ticket sales are outpacing last year.
Also on this year’s bill are the Raconteurs, Love And Rockets, Gnarls Barkley, Bloc Party, the Black Keys, Broken Social Scene, Battles, Mark Ronson, Cat Power, Lupe Fiasco, G. Love & Special Sauce, Brazilian Girls, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Dierks Bentley, the National, Girl Talk, the Gutter Twins and dozens more.
Advance three-day passes are now on sale at $190 for a limited time, then will be available at $205, with no service fees and a print-at-home option.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Feist Dominates Juno Awards With Five Wins
Feist, the eclectic singer who rose to fame through exposure from an iTunes commercial, led the field with five Juno awards, including three last night (April 6) during a televised event in Calgary, Alberta.
Taking single of the year for “1 2 3 4,” album of the year and pop album of the year for “The Reminder,” Feist took the accolades in stride, joking that her family, who attended the event, were rarely in the same room, let alone one involving a red carpet.
The awards were vindication for the singer, raised in Calgary but now residing in Toronto and Paris, who was shut out at the Grammys after receiving four nominations earlier this year. She also won Junos for artist of the year and songwriter of the year at a Saturday gala.
In total, seven awards were handed out during the televised program last night, which included performances by Avril Lavigne, Hedley and legendary crooner Anne Murray.
R.E.M. Earns Eighth U.K. No. 1 Album
“Accelerate” (Warner Bros.) took R.E.M. back to the top of the U.K. album chart yesterday, debuting at No. 1 to become its eighth British bestseller. London-born R&B singer Estelle, now based in New York, scored a third week at the singles chart summit with “American Boy” (Homeschool/Atlantic) and added a No. 6 entry for the album “Shine.”
R.E.M.’s success comes despite the relative failure of “Supernatural Superserious,” the first single from the album, which peaked at No. 54 on digital sales last month and could only re-enter the published top 75 chart at No. 63 this week following its physical release. “Accelerate” takes the band’s span of No. 1 U.K. albums to 17 years, a run that began when “Out of Time” had a week at the peak in March 1991.
Duffy’s “Rockferry” (A&M/Universal) thus fell to No. 2 after four weeks atop the album chart, Leona Lewis’ “Spirit” (Syco Music/Sony BMG) edged up 4-3 and Nickelback’s “All the Right Reasons” (Roadrunner) jumped 6-4. Panic At The Disco’s “Pretty Odd” (Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen) fell sharply from its No. 2 debut to No. 11, but U.K. girl pop outfit Girls Aloud’s “Tangled Up” (Fascination/Polydor/Universal) climbed 28-12.
Scouting For Girls’ self-titled Epic album improved 20-13 and Newton Faulkner’s “Hand Built By Robots” (Ugly Truth/Sony BMG) raced 26-14. Gnarls Barkley’s “The Odd Couple” (Warner Bros.) debuted at No. 19, but the single “Run” fell from its No. 32 peak to No.39.
As Estelle continued at the top of the singles chart and “Low” (Atlantic) by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain held at No. 2, the big mover was the Kooks’ “Always Where I Need To Be” (Virgin/EMI). The first single from the English band’s second album, “Konk,” due April 14, raced 71-3. Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body” (Def Jam/Universal) debuted at No. 6 to become her 23rd U.K. top 10 single.
On Billboard’s pan-European charts, “Back to Black” (Universal Island) is in a 13th aggregate and sixth consecutive week at No. 1 on European Top 100 Albums for Amy Winehouse, while Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” (Syco Music/Sony BMG) is enjoying a fourth week atop Eurochart Hot 100 Singles, and second consecutively.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Melvins Ready New Album, ‘Big’ DVD
The Melvins are always up to something. But 2008 is shaping up to be one of the band’s busiest years, with a flurry of activity on the horizon. First up will be the July 8 release of new studio album, “Nude with Boots,” followed closely by the first DVD from the Fantomas-Melvins Big Band, “Live from London 2006,” both via Ipecac.
Joining Melvins long-timers Buzz Osborne (vocals/guitar) and Dale Crover (drums) once more are Jared Warren (vocals/guitar) and Coady Willis (drums) from the group Big Business.
“This album we recorded after having done a lot of touring with those guys,” Osborne said. “And the other album we recorded, ‘(A) Senile Animal,’ we recorded with them before we played any shows. So it was a different vibe off the bat. We also knew exactly what we hated about each other, which was really good,” he adds with a laugh.
Osborne compares “Nude with Boots” musically to the group’s last release, but says, “This is definitely a weirder record.” He also said he already has some favorite tracks, including opener “The Kicking Machine,” “Billy Fish” (which he says the band played live “a bunch” before recording it) and the lengthy “Dog Island.”
Osborne also points out that most of the tracks from “Nude with Boots” will be performed live this year, when the four-man Melvins lineup hits the road in July for a U.S. tour, followed by a trip to Europe.
In addition to featuring a live performance, the Fantomas-Melvins Big Band’s “Live from London 2006″ DVD includes an intriguing commentary track.
“At the last minute, Greg Werckman [who runs Ipecac with Mike Patton] came up with this idea of doing a commentary on the whole thing,” Osborne says. “Mike Patton and Greg are friends with Danny DeVito, and he agreed to come down. So it’s me, Greg, Robby Frazier from William Morris, Dale and Danny all talking. Mostly, it has nothing to do with the DVD itself. We got to ask him any question you can possibly think of — what it was like to work with Andy Kaufman, who [he says] was the biggest a**hole he ever worked with. He told us really great stories — all of which are on there.”
While there are no plans for another Fantomas album, there are a pair of Melvins’ collectable releases forthcoming, including a yet-to-be-titled limited edition box set of everything the Melvins have released via Ipecac, which will include a CD that will “probably be a compilation of a bunch of things that haven’t really seen the light of day,” according to Osborne. The set will be handmade, letter-pressed, and released in an edition of 500.
Also to be released this year is a quadruple-gatefold etched vinyl edition of “(A) Senile Animal.” Finally, plans are in the works to mark the Melvins’ 25th anniversary in 2009.
“We’re going to try and do some stuff with our very first drummer [Mike Dillard],” Osborne says. I don’t know what — we’re still trying to figure out what we’ll do. He’s going to come down here, and we’re going to do some things with Crover playing bass, and him playing drums. Maybe we can get him out touring, but he’s more of a family man than a ‘rock and roll touring musician.’ I don’t know how many shows we’ll be able to do with him, but I’m really looking forward to that.”
Sex Pistols Shows Captured For DVD, TV
The first-ever full-length in-concert Sex Pistols title to be authorized by the band is due to appear this summer.
“The Sex Pistols: There’ll Always Be an England” features the pioneering punk outfit’s original lineup of Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock performing at November 2007 reunion shows at London’s Brixton Academy.
FremantleMedia Enterprises, the U.K.-based commercial arm of TV production company FremantleMedia — producer of “American Idol” — is seeking international deals for the title at this week’s MIPTV confab (April 7-11) in Cannes, France. The project reunites the band with director Julien Temple, who first filmed the Pistols in 1976.
The new title captures the band during its five-night (Nov. 8-10/12/14) run at the 4,920-capacity venue, marking the 30th anniversary of its debut album “Never Mind the Bollocks” (Virgin).
FremantleMedia Enterprises’ London-based senior VP of home entertainment & archive sales Pete Kalhan says the company contacted the band immediately when the shows were announced, securing the deal over other labels and distributors because “the band was taken aback with our genuine affection for music and impressed with some of the other stuff we do.”
The DVD, recorded in HD/5.1 surround sound, will appear in the United Kingdom in June, to coincide with European festival dates.
“All key international territories will have the DVD released by August,” says Kalhan. “It’ll be through our own label in the U.K. and a couple of other territories; elsewhere, we sub-license.” U.S. release details are not yet finalized, but it’s expected to hit racks in August or September.
International marketing plans are at an early stage, but will be led by cinema screenings in selected cities. Kalhan is hopeful Temple and/or the band will participate in a Q&A session at the London launch.
The licensing deal with the Pistols is “very simple,” Kalhan adds. “We pay an up-front amount, incorporating production costs, then they deliver us what we want for TV and DVD. If that amount recoups, they get a royalty. We have all visual rights — DVD, TV, download-to-own-worldwide.” The band retains audio rights.
In addition to the main concert footage, the DVD package will include an 80-minute Temple-directed feature called “The Knowledge,” showing each band member revisiting his old London hunting grounds.
FremantleMedia Enterprises’ other forthcoming music projects include a second series of its “Live at Abbey Road” TV production — including performances by Mary J. Blige, Stereophonics, Sheryl Crow and the Hoosiers — and a new 13-part TV series, “Spectacle,” hosted by Elvis Costello.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
MySpace and Record Companies Create Music Site
SAN FRANCISCO — In the latest effort by the ailing music industry to bolster its declining prospects, three of the four major music companies have struck a deal with MySpace to start a music Web site.
As part of the deal, MySpace will spin out its popular MySpace Music service as an independent joint venture in partnership with Universal Music, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group. EMI, the fourth major label, is not a part of the deal at this time, but people involved in the negotiations said it would probably join soon. The music companies will own minority stakes in the venture and will make their entire music catalogs available.
Chris DeWolfe, chief executive of MySpace, a division of News Corporation, described the new service, which will be introduced later this year, as a one-stop source for all music, in all its various digital incarnations.
Visitors to the site will be able to listen to free streaming music, paid for with advertising, and share customized playlists with their friends. They will also be able to download tracks to play on their mobile devices, putting the new site in competition with similar services like Apple, Amazon and eMusic.
A subscription-based music component, where users pay a monthly amount for unlimited access to downloadable tracks, is also being considered, Mr. DeWolfe said.
“This is really a mega-music experience that is transformative in a lot of ways,” he said. “It’s the first service that offers a full catalog of music to be streamed for free, with full community features, to be shared with all of your friends.”
Additional products like tickets, T-shirts, ring tones and other music merchandise will also be available. “It’s the full 360-degree revenue stream,” Mr. DeWolfe said.
Exact terms of the deal and details about the new site, like prices for downloaded music tracks, were not disclosed. But MySpace did say the site would offer songs free of digital rights management software or D.R.M., which is used to prevent illicit copying but can create technical hurdles for buyers. The songs would be playable on any portable music device, including Apple’s iPod.
The new venture will be run by an executive team that will report to a board s made up of representatives from MySpace and the major music companies.
An analyst at Pali Capital, Rich Greenfield, said MySpace was offering a big opportunity to the music companies.
“They have a huge community that wants to talk, share and learn about music,” he said. “Nobody else has that. There is music discovery happening on MySpace that is far deeper and broader than what’s going on on iTunes.”
But first MySpace will have to prove that it can actually sell music. Though the company earns $70 million a month in advertising for the News Corporation, according to estimates by Pali Capital, it has never successfully sold products on a wide scale. A download service for independent music, began in 2006 with Snocap, a music start-up, was considered a disappointment.
For the music industry, the deal is partly born of desperation. In the face of widespread, escalating online piracy, music sales dropped to $11.5 billion in 2006 from a peak in 1999 of nearly $15 billion.
That has forced the industry into a new age of experimentation. Last year, all four major record labels backed Amazon’s nascent MP3 music store, partly in an effort to counterbalance Apple’s strength in the market for music downloads. The music companies say Apple now has too much control over the distribution and pricing of digital music.
The industry is seeking revenue that does not come directly from its customers — like the ad-supported element of the MySpace service. Along those same lines, music executives have recently raised more draconian ideas, like surcharges on the sales of iPods and Internet access to compensate for rampant file sharing. The moves have been met with widespread resistance.
Universal Music sued MySpace for copyright infringement in 2006. MySpace would not say whether that suit had been dropped before Thursday’s announcement.
Good news for Apple, bad news for music labels
That observation is proving axiomatic yet again as news emerges that Apple’s iTunes has now leap-frogged Wal-Mart to become the No 1 music retailer in the United States, which is the No 1 music market in the world. According to Ars Technica, Apple has 19 per cent of the music retail market compared to Wal-Mart’s 15 per cent. A year ago, iTunes surpassed Amazon for the first time. Now, Amazon is in fourth, Ars says, citing statistics from industry sales tracker NPD Group.
While the report suggests download sales are still surging (at least for Apple), it does point to yet again worrisome news for the labels. NPD Group had been tracking the precipitous decline in physical music sales for some time. In February, it estimated that “one million consumers dropped out of the CD buyer market in 2007, a flight led by younger consumers. In fact, 48 percent of US teens did not purchase a single CD in 2007, compared to 38 percent in 2006.”
So, while everything looks rosy for the sale of iPods and tracks on iTunes, few music execs have reason to smile. These latest figures no doubt will propel talks by the major labels to push ahead with plans to introduce all-you-can-eat monthly fees to broadband users who want access to their catalogues. If a universal fee is introduced, it might just be called the next “iTunes killer.”
R.E.M.- “Supernatural Superserious” Live on Colbert Report
Jay-Z close to $150 million Live Nation deal
LOS ANGELES – Jay-Z is on the verge of a deal with concert promoter Live Nation worth about $150 million that rivals the biggest music contracts ever, the New York Times reported on its Web site on Wednesday.
Jay-Z was said to be planning to leave his longtime record label, Def Jam, for a package with Live Nation, which includes financing his own entertainment venture as well as recordings and tours over the next decade.
The deal, which sources told the newspaper should be finalized this week, comes after Live Nation earlier this week announced a 12-year agreement to handle the merchandising, digital and branding rights and touring of Irish group U2.
Live Nation, which unveiled a $120 million deal with Madonna five months ago, has been expanding its business model to develop more far-reaching and deeper relationships with artists beyond just handling their touring as CD sales plunge.
No one at Live Nation was immediately available to comment on the Jay-Z report.
Like many other performers, Jay-Z — whose real name is Shawn Carter — has seen his record sales fall but he has also pursued other business ventures such as a clothing line, Rocawear, which he sold last year for $204 million, and a chain of 40/40 nightclubs.
This has kept him at the top of Forbes magazine’s annual list of “Hip-Hop Cash Kings” with estimated earnings of $34 million in 2006.
The New York Times said the deal with Live Nation would involve the concert promoter funding a start-up of a venture called Roc Nation that would be an umbrella for the rapper’s outside projects which are expected to include his own label, music publishing, and talent consulting and managing.
The venture would split profits with Jay-Z.
Jay-Z, 38, last year stepped down as president of Def Jam Records, a unit of French media concern Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, saying he wanted to “take on new challenges.”
As well as being one of the world’s best known rappers who regularly tops the lists of richest hip hop moguls, he is also known for his romance with R&B singer Beyonce Knowles.
People magazine reported this week that the couple had taken out a wedding license in Scarsdale Village, New York, that is valid for 60 days. But representatives for the couple have declined to comment on latest rumors of an impending marriage.
The Black Keys- Attack and Release (Album Review)
After demonstrating over four albums a talent for playing raw garage blues, the Black Keys faced a tricky situation with their fifth release: how to freshen the band’s sound without losing the essence of what makes the Akron, Ohio, duo so electrifying.
The answer lay with Brian Burton, known as Danger Mouse, the producer who blended the Beatles with Jay-Z on his pirate release “The Grey Album” and then became half of the future-soul duo Gnarls Barkley.
Collaborating with Danger Mouse was an inspired choice for Black Keys singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. “Attack & Release” is a stunning extension of the pair’s sound, injecting an element of nuance into the bare-bones guitar-drums framework that remains the core of the band.
Instead of late-night blues-noir, Auerbach and Carney explore a parched summer afternoon feel on the hazy opener, “All You Ever Wanted,” an acoustic-based number that erupts into a wash of electric guitar, bass and swirling organ. The old blues-stomp flavor remains on “I Got Mine” and “Lies,” but the Keys turn up the hard-rock raunch with the pummeling riff on “Strange Times” and ride a hard-edged soul groove on “Oceans & Streams.”
Organ and bass are big enough changes, but they’re not the only ones. “Attack & Release” is also the first Black Keys record to feature guest performers, including Danger Mouse plinking out a woozy piano line on “Psychotic Girl,” Marc Ribot playing guitar solos on a pair of tunes, Carla Monday and Jessica Lea Mayfield singing harmony vocals and Carney’s uncle, Ralph Carney, adding jaw harp, flute and clarinet to a handful of songs.
With its varied sound and newly expansive songwriting, “Attack & Release” is a bold but entirely fitting way for the Black Keys to prove they know more than one way to make a statement.
Stones ‘Shine’ At London Film Premiere
From out of the gloom on a drizzly London night, the spotlight fell squarely on the Rolling Stones as Martin Scorsese’s concert film “Shine a Light” got the red carpet treatment in the capital.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood were all present for the European premiere of their movie last night (April 2), which was screened at London’s Leicester Square Odeon and beamed by satellite to an estimated 100-plus cinemas nationwide, according to the theater chain.
In thanking Scorsese, who “directed the picture in a really wonderful way,” Jagger described the Oscar-winning director as “a very interesting and good guy to work with. In this movie, there are no deaths. There is no violence,” Jagger joked to the audience in his introductory speech, “but there is a very tragic ending, so get your hankies out.”
The “rockumentary” had raised the curtain to the Berlin Film Festival in February to enormous fanfare, and got a similar reception on what has been described as the biggest cinematic launch of its kind in Britain.
Celebrities were scattered throughout the venue, including members of Oasis, Klaxons and the Horrors. Liam Gallagher’s favorite Rolling Stone, the audience learned from an interview conducted on the red carpet, was the late Brian Jones.
The Twentieth Century Fox title gets its U.K. general cinema release from April 11, following the April 7 street date of the accompanying 22-track double live CD, which will be released internationally by Universal Music/Polydor. A single-disc version is also available in the U.S.
“Shine a Light” was recorded Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, 2006, at New York’s Beacon Theatre, with guests appearances from Buddy Guy, Jack White and Christina Aguilera. The film is intercut with some delicious, sometimes hilarious, archival footage.
Elvis Costello/Elton John collaborate in Canada-U.K. music show airing on TV
TORONTO — Renowned British musicians Elvis Costello and Elton John are collaborating for a new show airing on CTV that was conceived and developed in Canada.
“Spectacle: Elvis Costello With …” will be hosted by its namesake and is executive-produced by Elton John’s company, Rocket Pictures. The series aims to raise money and awareness about AIDS in Africa.
The 13-part series, a Canada-U.K. co-production, will feature performances and in-depth discussions between Costello and some of the world’s most influential artists and personalities.
“I’m not interested in extracting some dark secret,” Costello said in a news release Wednesday.
“I’d rather hear about a bright secret, a deep love or a curiosity that might be otherwise obscured by fame. This is a wonderful opportunity to talk in complete thoughts about music, movies, art or even vaudeville, then frame it with unique and illustrative performances.”
Elton John described Costello as “the foremost expert on popular music.”
“I thought it would be sensational to use his knowledge and intelligence to explore the artistry of musicians and other fascinating people involved in making great music, as well as true music aficionados.”
The series, which will likely debut in the fall on CTV, will also be broadcast on the Sundance Channel in the U.S. and Channel 4 in the U.K.
The series is co-produced by Toronto’s Reinvention Entertainment, SpyBox Pictures and Prospero Pictures, along with the London-based Rocket Pictures.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Neu!/Kraftwerk Drummer Klaus Dinger, R.I.P.
A founding father of krautrock has passed away. Klaus Dinger, who played drums for Kraftwerk and went on to co-found Neu!, died March 21, although the news of his death was not made public until today. A report from Neu! label Grönland cites the cause of death as heart failure. Dinger was 61, and would have turned 62 on March 24.
Dinger trademarked the steady, propulsive drumming style that came to define the motorik sound associated with krautrock. He drummed on Kraftwerk’s 1970 self-titled debut before leaving the band, along with guitarist Michael Rother, to start Neu! Neu! released three seminal albums during the 70s, and had a noted influence on everyone from David Bowie to Sonic Youth to Stereolab.
After Neu! dissolved, Dinger achieved commercial success with La Düsseldorf, and in the 90s he formed a composite group of sorts called La! Neu?
René Renner, head of Grönland Records, called Dinger “an uncompromising musician, a challenging personality, [an] inspirational human being, and one of the most influential drummers” in a statement released today.
Renner also invoked a telling Brian Eno quote: “There were three great beats in the 70′s. Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat, James Brown’s funk, and Klaus Dinger’s Neu! beat.”
Rother eulogized Dinger on his website, writing, “Together with many friends of his music I will remember Klaus for his creativity as an artist and I will think about him with gratitude for his wonderful contributions to our project Neu!.”
Radiohead play ‘OK Computer’ highlights at tiny gig
Radiohead played a second intimate gig in London, this time for Radio 2, tonight (April 2), drawing mainly from their albums ‘In Rainbows’ and ‘OK Computer’.
In front of just 300 competition winners in the BBC Radio Theatre of Broadcasting House, the Oxford band began the set with a raw version of ‘Bodysnatchers’ around 9pm.
They followed up with two slower tracks from 2007′s ‘In Rainbows’, including new single ‘Nude’, before performing the opening track to ‘OK Computer’, ‘Airbag’.
Thom Yorke and co also performed ‘The Tourist’ and ‘Lucky’ from the 1997 album widely seen as their magnum opus.
Fairly quiet throughout the set, Yorke commented, “it’s been a very long day”, before the group played ‘House Of Cards’, which drew the biggest cheer of the night.
The group ended with ‘Everything In Its Right Place’, after a false start where Yorke, playing electric piano, seemed to rush the intro, before saying: “Start that again!”
As previously reported, Radiohead played a similarly small gig for 6Music this afternoon, during which they sung the praises of their ‘Kid A’ album including ‘Morning Bell’, and ‘Optimistic’ in the set.
This evening Radiohead played:
‘All I Need’
‘House Of Cards’
‘Everything In Its Right Place’
The set is now available to listen to again on bbc.co.uk/radio2.
Weezer Sets Date For, Names New Album
Weezer’s sixth studio album will be yet another self-titled affair, and will arrive June 17 via Geffen, according to their publicist.
“The album is meaty, crunchy and melodic like a good Weezer album should be,” frontman Rivers Cuomo writes on the band’s Web site.
Cuomo previously described the new songs, which were co-produced by Rick Rubin, as “dark and deep and beautiful,” and “definitely more sophisticated and adventurous. You’ll hear very long songs … and non-traditional structures.”
This is Weezer’s third self-titled album, following their 1994 debut and their 2001 comeback album.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
The Raconteurs: Consolers of the Lonely (Album Review)
This follow-up to 2006′s Broken Boy Soldiers was rush-released to avoid reviewers’ “preconceptions”, and a pointed cover of Terry Reid’s Rich Kid Blues seems to sum up Jack White’s grumbling at any notion that the Raconteurs might be just a rock star’s plaything. The similarity of the album’s blues barrage to the White Stripes may be another tender nerve. Gradually, however, any deja vu is all but blown away by the dizzying dynamic changes, rapid-fire drum breaks and, contrarily, the textured horn sections and understated richness of the songs. The Raconteurs establish a firm, emotionally charged identity of their own when White finally takes a back seat to Brendan Benson. Benson’s You Don’t Understand Me is a tour de force, with lovely Elton John-esque piano flourishes, while Many Shades of Black – lamenting a stale relationship over an anthemic chorus – is the standout of a flawed but ragged glory.
Radiohead Strips ‘Nude’ For Remix Project
Radiohead is utilizing the Internet for another initiative built around its chart-topping album, “In Rainbows.”
The U.K. rock act has teamed with iTunes and GarageBand for an interactive project which allows fans to rework “Nude,” released yesterday (March 31) as the second single from “In Rainbows.”
Wannabe remixers can buy five separate tracks from the recording — bass, voice, guitar, strings/effects and drums — from iTunes Plus. On purchasing all five elements, the customer will be sent an access code to complete the task via the GarageBand or Logic music production software.
Finished mixes can be uploaded to Radioheadremix.com, where the public has until May 1 to listen and vote for their favorite. Bedroom remixers can also create a widget for their personal Web profile that will tally votes toward the competition.
Meanwhile, the band will play a special gig today for BBC Radio 2 at Broadcasting House in central London.
Death Cab for Cutie Tour Dates
Death Cab’s new single “I Will Possess Your Heart” is out now. Full album out May 13th. All dates are listed below:
Death Cab For Cutie – 2008 Tour Dates
Apr 18 – Admiral Theatre – SOLD OUT Bremerton, Washington
Apr 19 – McDonald Theatre – SOLD OUT Eugene, Oregon
Apr 21 – Humboldt State University – Van Duzer Theatre – SOLD OUT Arcata, California
Apr 22 – UC Davis – Freeborn Hall – SOLD OUT Davis, California
Apr 23 – The Fillmore – SOLD OUT San Francisco, California
Apr 24 – The Joint / Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas, Nevada
Apr 26 – Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival Indio, California
May 9 – Providence Piers Providence, Rhode Island
May 10 – WFNX Show – Bank of America Pavilion Boston, Massachusetts
May 24 – Les Schwab Amphitheater Bend, Oregon
May 25 – Sasquatch Music Festival @ The Gorge Quincy, Washington
May 26 – Thanksgiving Point Lehi, Utah
May 28 – Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, Colorado
Jun 2 – Orpheum Theatre Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jun 3 – Millenium Park Pritzker Pavilion Chicago, Illinois
Jun 6 – Jacques Cartier Pier Montreal, Quebec
Jun 7 – Toronto Olympic Island Toronto, Ontario
Jun 9 – Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, Maryland
Jun 10 – McCarren Park Pool Brooklyn, New York
Jun 12 – Mann Center for Performing Arts Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 13 – Plain Dealer Pavilion Cleveland, Ohio
Jun 14 – The Lawn at White River State Indianapolis, Indiana
Jun 15 – Bonnaroo Manchester, Tennessee
Jun 17 – Nokia Theatre Grand Prairie, Texas
Jun 19 – Mesa Amphitheatre Mesa, Arizona
Jun 21 – Greek Theatre Berkeley Berkeley, California
Jul 27 – Pemberton Festival Pemberton, BC
Aug 9 – Summer Sonic Festival Tokyo
Aug 10 – Summer Sonic Festival Osaka