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Archive for April, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

CBGB Doc Screens At Tribeca Film Fest

CBGB always made a powerful first impression, even before the intended country music club in a derelict section of Manhattan became a world renowned rock ‘n’ roll mecca.

It may have been the bathrooms, which, depending on a patron’s point of view, were either disgustingly foul or an artistic, graffiti-covered venue for sex and drugs.

It may have been the people, whether the tattooed punks inside or the vagrants on the sidewalk outside.

But it was always about the music, as a new documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival shows. “Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB,” by director Mandy Stein, revives the passion aroused by the club that closed in 2006 after 33 years due to a rent dispute.

The late Hilly Kristal founded the club in 1973 hoping to showcase country music, calling it CBGB & OMFUG, for “Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers.”

But only fans of punk rock seemed willing to travel to the gritty Bowery district, historically a magnet for vagrants that today is a chic, gentrified neighborhood. The space is now rented by fashion designer John Varvatos, presumably for far more than the $19,000 a month Kristal was paying.

CBGB gave risk-taking young acts a place to play, and many of them went on to stardom. Many see it as the cradle of punk rock in America.

“The first time I walked into CBGB the Ramones were playing as was an early version of Blondie before they were called Blondie. I felt like, ‘Oh, boy, I’ve come to the right place’,” said Chris Frantz, the drummer for the Talking Heads.

“It was clear to me that from the first night that there was something going on there,” Frantz told Reuters. The Talking Heads later played their first gig there, in 1975, opening for the Ramones.

The Police played there in 1978 before rocketing to international fame, and frontman Sting speaks of CBGB in reverent tones.

“I went from JFK (airport) in a taxi straight to CBGB and I thought that was America,” Sting says in the film.

Other acts such as Television and Patti Smith created a buzz that in time would draw fans from around the world.

Stein moved from Los Angeles to New York in 2005 to chronicle a burgeoning rent dispute between CBGB and the landlord, the Bowery Residents’ Committee, a homeless services provider.

The documentary also focuses on the man at the center of it all — Kristal — including his plan to move the club to Las Vegas and his demise from cancer. He died in August 2007.

“I always felt like Hilly was a wonderful, brave and kind of philosophical cat,” Frantz said. “It didn’t really matter if you were a great band. As long as your heart was in the right place Hilly would give you a shot.”

But Kristal’s son, Dana Kristal, said the film failed to give his mother Karen Kristal credit for designing CBGB’s famous awning and T-shirts, the administration of the club and running the hardcore Sunday matinees that became a staple in the 1980s.

Eagles Of Death Metal for North American tour

Eagles Of Death Metal have announced a summer tour of the US which will kick off with a show at the Ink & Iron Tattoo Fest on June 5.

After two shows in the US, the band will head to the UK and Europe for a string of festival shows and will return to North America on July 20 for two shows at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom.

The dates are:

Long Beach, CA Ink & Iron Tattoo Fest (June 5)
Pomona, CA Glasshouse (6)
Vancouver, Canada Commodore Ballroom (July 20, 21)
Edmonton, AB Events Center (23)
Calgary, AB Macewan Ballroom (24)
Saskatoon, SK Odeon Events Center (25)
Winnipeg, MB Garrick Center (26)
London, Canada Cowboys Ranch (29)
Kitcherner, Canada Elements (30)
Ottawa, Canada Capital City Music Hall (31)
Montreal, Canada Parc Jean Drapeau (August 1)
Toronto, Canada Kool Haus (2)
Boston, MA House of Blues (4)
Providence, RI Lupos (5)
New York, NY Webster Hall (6)
Philadelphia, PA Theater of Living Arts (7)
Baltimore, MD Rams Head (8)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Bronx: “Knifeman” (Video)

Death Cab for Cutie: The Open Door EP (Album Review)

Though The Open Door is an extension of Narrow Stairs (the five songs were recorded with the Narrow Stairs set but didn’t make it onto the final album), the EP hums with an electricity all its own. As the title suggests, The Open Door is full of fresh air, wide spaces and rollicking melodies—a welcome change from the tangled Big Sur woods and claustrophobia of Narrow Stairs.
“Little Bribes” throws the doors wide with Chris Walla’s blues-fueled licks that alternatively melt into reverb and dance off in detailed frets. Gibbard’s first line, “The Eiffel Tower built to smaller scale, the freshest oxygen I ever inhaled,” floats atop the scorching riffs. While Narrow Stairs began with descent (“I descended a dusty gravel ridge”), The Open Door begins atop a tower.

But from such a vantage point, there’s no place to go but down. “A Diamond and A Tether,” despite it’s light, airy melody, descends into Gibbard’s own personal brand of paranoia, Thom Yorke-like in its intensity. “Pity, take pity on me, cause I’m not half the man that I should to be” sings Gibbard, introducing the On the Road tension from Narrow Stairs again; the bonds of commitment versus the freedom of a Kerouac-esque lifestyle. On the next track, Gibbard croons, “I always fall in love with an open door…’till I look around at those who are standing right in front of me.” The album fades out with Narrow Stairs’ “Talking Bird” and the tension of home vs. freedom stretched to a snapping point, underscored by a quiet guitar lilt: “It’s all here for you, as long as you don’t fly away…”

The Open Door showcases Death Cab’s trademark anxiety, but pounding beats dial up the intensity from Narrow Stairs, distancing the band from the lo-fi, Neutral Milk Hotel influences of early years and bouncing them toward pop. Gibbard’s famous longing—the feeling Death Cab fans inhale like crack and non-fans place at arm’s length with the nondescript term “emo”—is believable in the light of such a contrast. When fresh air and open space are just outside the window, they’re more attractive than when they’re far above the dense, knotted woods.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sonic Youth Announce Summer U.S. Tour

Sonic Youth have announced a month-long U.S. tour to coincide with the June 9 release of The Eternal, their forthcoming Matador debut. The tour kicks off in Chicago, Ill., on June 28 and runs through August 2 in Oakland, Calif. The band has a few European (and one New York) festival dates to tend to first.

Here is Sonic Youth’s tour itinerary:

04.27 London, England: The Scala
05.16 Brooklyn, NY: No Fun Fest
05.27 Malmo, Sweden: Kulturebolaget
05.28 Hassleholm, Sweden: Siesta Festival
05.30 Barcelona, Spain: Primavera Festival
05.31 Dudingen, Switzerland: Kilbi Festival
06.28 Chicago, IL: Vic Theater
06.29 Royal Oak, MI: Royal Oak Music Theatre
07.02 Philadelphia, PA: Electric Factory
07.03 New York, NY: United Palace Theatre
07.06 Washington, DC: 9:30 Club
07.08 Richmond, VA: The National
07.10 Knoxville, TN: Bijou Theter
07.11 Nashville, TN: War Memorial
07.12 Birmingham, AL: Sloss Furnaces
07.13 Atlanta, GA: Variety Playhouse
07.15 Dallas, TX: House of Blues
07.16 Tulsa, OK: Cain’s
07.18 Kansas City, MO: Uptown Theater
07.20 Milwaukee, WI: Turner Hall
07.21 Minneapolis, MN: First Ave.
07.23 Boise, ID: Knitting Factory
07.25 Seattle, WA: Capitol Hill Block Party
07.28 Portland, OR: Roseland Ballroom
07.30 Salt Lake City, UT: Twilight Music Fest
07.31 Denver, CO: Ogden Theater
08.02 Oakland, CA: Fox Theater

New York Dolls Announce U.S. Tour

Glam rock forefathers the New York Dolls (aka David Johansson, Syl Sylvain, and the four dudes they picked up on the way to the studio because they already owned pink leather pants) have a new album coming out next week (Cause I Sez So due out on May 5), and the band have announced they are hitting the road in the U.S. to support it.

The tour jumps off on May 20 in Solana Beach, Calif., and runs through June 13 in Atlanta, Ga. Black Joe Lewis is set as the opener on the southern leg of the tour.

Here are the dates:
05.20 Solana Beach, CA: Belly Up Tavern
05.21 Los Angeles, CA: Henry Fonda Theater
05.22 Anaheim, CA: House of Blues (OC)
05.24 San Francisco, CA: Grand Ballroom
05.26 Portland, OR: Berbati’s Pan
05.27 Seattle, WA: El Corazon
05.28 Vancouver, British Columbia: Richard’s on Richards
05.31 Denver, CO: Bluebird Theater
06.02 Oklahoma City, OK: Diamond Ballroom *
06.03 Dallas, TX: House of Blues Dallas*
06.04 Houston, TX: House of Blues Houston *
06.05 Austin, TX: Emo’s *
06.07 New Orleans, LA: House of Blues *
06.09 St Petersburg, FL: State Theatre *
06.10 Orlando, FL: House of Blues *
06.13 Atlanta, GA: Center Stage *

Monday, April 27, 2009

King Khan & The Shrines : Land of the Freak (Music Video)
King Khan & The Shrines’ new video for Land of the Freak was directed by Prichard Smith and cut with miles of 8mm Shrines footage filmed from past European tours, and various one-off dates in New York and beyond.

King Khan And The Shrines Tour Dates:

04-29 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
04-30 First Unitarian Church – Philadelphia, PA
05-01 Music Hall of Willamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
05-02 Maxwell’s – Hoboken, NJ
05-03 Santos Partyhouse – NYC
05-07 Paradise – Boston, Mass
05-08 Babylon – Ottawa, ON
05-09 La Sasa Rossa – Montreal, PQ
05-12 Phoenix Theatre – Toronto, ON
05-13 Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
05-14 Wexner Center – Columbus, OH
05-15 Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
05-16 Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN

Flaming Lips Song Gets Oklahoma Honor Despite Controversy

After weeks of controversy and uncertainty, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry is scheduled to sign an executive order tomorrow (April 28) that names the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” as the official rock song of Oklahoma. Flaming Lips main man Wayne Coyne said the entire experience has been at times exciting and disappointing, and in quintessential Lips fashion, always surreal.

“It just seemed to me the whole thing was absurd to begin with and now it even becomes more absurd,” Coyne says. “Now I really feel like it’s something worth fighting for because I don’t want people to just think, ‘Oh, Oklahoma is this backwards state as we suspected.'”

It’s been an interesting experience for the Oklahoma City band. Over the course of a month the act watched as its popular track, from 2002’s “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” won an Internet contest for best Sooner State rock song – over All-American Rejects, Leon Russell and The Call – with the measure passed by the Oklahoma state senate and then rejected by the state house of representatives due to the fact band member Michael Ivins wore a sickle and hammer t-shirt.

“You know, when it happened a couple of months back that seemed surreal it ever happened and then when all of this (controversy) started, I think everybody’s knee-jerk reaction in the beginning was, ‘Ah, we knew it was too good to be true. That’s more of the Oklahoma we thought we were dealing with,'” Coyne says. “But it’s not true, and I think that’s the main reason I wanted to make sure I got to say something about it.

“I don’t think we’re battling against what we feel is like a backwards mentality here. It’s really just a few religious wackos that think they can tell everybody what to do. It’s not even to me Democrats versus Republicans. It’s really just a couple of these small-minded guys who are the most popular guys in their church and their little small towns. In some ways it’s so absurd, it can only make us look good and them look stupid.”

For Coyne, the best part of the entire ordeal revolves around Henry vetoing the house rejection of the contest results, which included over 21,000 votes cast.

“There are a lot of other great things that are happening in Oklahoma,” Coyne says. “And you know for the governor to stand up and veto it and be on our side, it’s such a great story in the end.”

Coyne hints the band has one more wrinkle planned for Tuesday’s ceremony when Henry will sign the executive order at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.

“I think we’ll print up a couple of thousand of these (sickle and hammer) t-shirts and everybody who comes to this thing will be wearing one,” Coyne says. “We’ll see if we can get the governor to wear one too.”

Friday, April 24, 2009

Green Day: “Know Your Enemy” (Video)

Wilco Tour, Album Take Shape

With a still-untitled album slated for June 30 on Nonesuch, Wilco will be hitting the U.S. highways this summer beginning June 12 in Cincinnati. Many dates are going on sale today including the Los Angeles, Red Rocks, and Brooklyn shows. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band will join as the opening act at several East Coast gigs while Grizzly Bear will open in Tucson.

While Wilco is a veteran act in larger markets, this summer sees the Chicago natives tapping into newer, off the beaten path places such as Jacksonville, Oregon; Stateline, Nevada; and Wilmington, Delaware including gigs at several minor league baseball parks.

The group is currently riding high with the number one DVD on the Billboard Music DVD chart. “Ashes of American Flags,” which culls live concert footage from early 2008, was released last weekend in conjunction with Record Store Day. The group signed copies at Knoxville, Tennessee’s Disc Exchange.

With the forthcoming set being one of the most anticipated releases of 2009, the group recently revealed they were collaborating with Feist on the new record () and have since confirmed the final track order.

This weekend they will play the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and is slated for a two week tour of Spain and Portugal, beginning on May 23.

Here’s Wilco’s summer tour dates:

June 12: Cincinatti, Ohio (Arnoff Center)
June 13: Manchester, Tenn. (Bonnaroo)
June 15: Oklahoma City, OK (Bricktown Events)
June 17: El Paso, Tx. (Abraham Chavez)
June 18: Tucson, Ariz. (Centennial Hall)
June 19: Las Vegas (The Joint)
June 20: Ponoma, Calif. (Fox Theatre)
June 22–23: Los Angeles (The Wiltern)
June 27: Berkeley, Calif. (The Greek)
June 28: Stateline, Nev. (Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena)
June 30: Jacksonville, Oreg. (Britt Pavilion)
July 3: Morrison, Col. (Red Rocks)
July 8: Vienna, VA (Wolf Trap)
July 10: Wilmington, Del. (Frawley Stadium)
July 11: Lowell, Mass. (Lelacheur Park)
July 13: Brooklyn, N.Y. (Keyspan Park)
July 17: Portland, ME (Maine State Pier)
July 18: Wappingers Falls, N.Y. (Dutchess Stadium)
July 19: Lewistown, N.Y. (Art Park)
July 23: Detroit Lakes, Minn. (10,000 Lakes Festival)

Here is the final track listing for the new Wilco album:

“Wilco The Song”
“Deeper Down”
“One Wing”
“Bull Black Nova”
“You And I”
“You Never Know”
“Country Disappeared”
“I’ll Fight”
“Sunny Feeling”
(via billboard)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Girl Talk Experimenting With Actual Songs For Next Album

Girl Talk (aka Greg Gillis) is “experimenting with different structures and different ideas” for his next album.

Songs are what Gregg Gillis — aka mash-up master Girl Talk — is honing in on as he considers a new direction for the follow-up to 2008’s lauded “Feed the Animals.”

“I’m experimenting with different structures and different ideas,” Gillis said
during a conference call to advance his performance at this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. “I’m interested in working on individual songs — kind of in the style I’ve been doing, but with actual repetition as opposed to linear structure and stuff like that, some elements with a verse-and-chorus sort of structure as opposed to going through 50 minutes of change-ups the entire time. I want to evolve and keep refining.”

That said, Gillis added that he’s not pushing any sort of timetable for a next album.

“I’m constantly working on material,” he said. “Every day I cut up music. I try not to be concerned with what will be on an album. I just try to come up with small ideas I introduce into the (live) set, and I’ll eventually get to the point where I say, ‘OK, here’s this slightly new sound. I feel like there’s some evolution.’ I’m interested in putting out music, and it’s always nice to give people music.”

Although he’s been courted by other labels in the wake of his “Feed the Animals” success, Gillis said he’s planning to stay with Illegal Art. “I feel like we’re a team, like they’re a member of the band,” he explained. “It would feel insane for me to go anywhere else.” But he’s not sure yet if he’ll repeat the pay-what-you-want program he used for “Feed the Animals,” saying that while it’s a good interim step “it doesn’t work for a long-term solution.”

Gillis said there’s a possibility he’d also consider some live releases from his shows, and after appearing at last weekend’s Coachella Music and Arts Festival he’s starting to plot out what he wants to do a Bonnaroo, which may well include music from other artists on the bill.

“I won’t go out of my way to sample an artist because I’m playing (at the same festival) with them,” noted Gillis, who also performed at the 2007 Bonnaroo festival. “In the case of (Bruce) Springsteen or the Beastie Boys or Al Green, people I’ve sampled before in the past, in that case I would love to include (their music). There’s lots of ideas floating around…I want to be as diverse as possible.”

This year’s Bonnaroo takes place June 11-14.
(via billboard)

Pirate Bay lawyers demand retrial

Lawyers for four men jailed for running The Pirate Bay file-sharing website are calling for a retrial, saying the judge could have had a conflict of interest.

Judge Tomas Norstrom is a member of the Swedish Copyright Association and sits on the board of Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property.

But the judge has told Swedish Radio: “These activities do not constitute a conflict of interest.”

Sweden’s Court of Appeal would rule on a possible retrial, the lawyers said.

Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde were found guilty of breaking copyright law on 17 April 2009 and sentenced to a year in jail.

The four were also ordered to pay $4.5m (£3m) in damages to a number of entertainment companies, including Warner Bros, Sony Music Entertainment.

This is corruption and judicial decay at an unforgiveable level

Peter Althin, who represents The Pirate Bay (TPB) spokesman Peter Sunde, said it was for the appeal courts to decide if there was to be a retrial, as it emerged the judge and lawyers for the entertainment industry were members of the copyright association.

“In the autumn I received information that a lay judge could have similar connections. I sent these to the court and the judge was excluded in order to prevent a conflict of interest. It would have been reasonable to then review this situation as well,” Althin told Sveriges Radio.

Speaking to the BBC, Sven-Erik Alhem – a former senior attorney in Sweden – said the judge had made an error of judgement, but a retrial was unlikely.

“The judge should have told the parties of his other engagements. Had he done that then they could make a decision on whether they wanted him as a judge in their case.

Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde, speaking on his website: ‘We cannot and wouldn’t pay’

“I’m not sure the superior court could say that this was unfair, but had he been open then it wouldn’t have been an issue,” he said.

Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, told the BBC the judge had made an “unforgiveable” decision.

“This is corruption and judicial decay at an unforgiveable level.

“The judge in one of Sweden’s most high profile case ever is also a member of an interest organisation for one side and associates with the prosecution trial lawyers in his free time? That is inexcusable corruption,” said Mr Falkvinge.

The Pirate Bay file-sharing website was set up in 2003 by anti-copyright organisation Piratbyran, but for the past five years it has been run by individuals.

Millions of files are exchanged using the service every day.

No copyright content is hosted on The Pirate Bay’s web servers. The site hosts BitTorrent links to TV, film and music files held on its users’ computers.
(via BBC)

Prince: “Crimson and Clover” (Video)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ian Dury ‘Sex & Drugs’ Biopic On The Way

Naomie Harris, Ray Winstone, Olivia Williams, Toby Jones, Mackenzie Crook and Noel Clarke are ready for some “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.”

The sextet have joined the cast of Mat Whitecross’ Ian Dury biopic, which stars Andy Serkis as the singer-songwriter.

Crippled by polio at age 10 and told he would amount to nothing, Dury went on to become one of the founders of the British punk movement in the 1970s, producing a string of hits including “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.”

Harris has signed to play Dury’s girlfriend, while Winstone will play the singer’s father.

Paul Viragh penned the script, which has attracted backing from Prescience, Aegis, the U.K. Film Council and Lip Sync. Damian Jones is producing.

Worldwide sales are being handled by Odyssey Entertainment, and Entertainment Film Distributors have pre-bought U.K. rights to the film, which began shooting here this week.

John Vanderslice Going ‘Romanian’ For New Album, Label

John Vanderslice will return May 19 with “Romanian Names,” his first record for Secretly Canadian offshoot label Dead Oceans.

Bay Area singer-songwriter John Vanderslice will return May 19 with “Romanian Names,” his first record for Secretly Canadian offshoot label Dead Oceans. The twelve song set was recorded at his home studio and Tiny Telephone, his professional studio in San Francisco. Vanderslice pared the album down from twenty-four songs, with the hopes of releasing the unused ones at a later date.

“I was convinced that if I moved to a different label that I’d make a different record,” Vanderslice said. “I’d been with Barsuk for so long, I had a thing with them. I wanted to rattle the cages a bit. I think it’s only a good thing if you’re pushed out of your comfort zone.”

Indeed, Vanderslice changes things up this time around. Clocking in at 38 minutes, “Romanian Names” comes from an extended period off the road, something that has been a rather foreign concept to Vanderslice throughout this decade. “I don’t think I’ve been at home for that long; at some point I was getting insane,” he recalls. “Many times, I would just get in my car and drive on the highway – which is really ridiculous, but somehow it works for me.”

For Vanderslice, noticeably different are the song structures this time around. He deliberately shortened the length of the songs, yet sped up the tempos. “I wanted to get to the point faster,” he says. “The tempos on this are very fast and spritely – it had to do with me working with different musicians on this record and putting different constraints on my own writing.”

“I started to look at doing drastic key changes within the song as a developmental tool,” he continues. “That was different too, because you start to listen to old Steely Dan records or old Beatles records and you’re kind of amazed at how complicated the stuff is.”

Vanderslice will kick off a nationwide tour on May 17 in Merced, California. He recently released a vinyl only, split EP with The Mountain Goats entitled “Moon Colony Bloodbath.”

Here is the track list for “Romanian Names”:

“Tremble and Tear”
“Fetal Horses”
“C & O Canal”
“Too Much Time”
“Forest Knolls”
“Sunken Union Boat”
“Romanian Names”
“Carina Constellation”
“Summer Stock”
“Hard Times”