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Archive for October, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Music legends rock the Hall of Fame

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Rock ‘n’ roll royalty held court on Thursday night as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Sting and other music legends staged a marathon show to celebrate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary. The six-hour concert at Madison Square Garden included over 50 songs and also featured performances by Crosby, Stills and Nash, blues great B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and others. Actor Tom Hanks introduced rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, who kicked off the show with his classic “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” “This is the music of our generation, this is the music that we grew up with, this is the soundtrack of our lives,” Hanks said to reporters before the show. Some of the biggest acts played several of their hits before bringing out featured guests who sang their own well-known songs. Crosby, Stills and Nash began their set with “Woodstock” and “Marrakech Express” before inviting Taylor, Browne and Bonnie Raitt to the stage. Paul Simon, who performed selections from his solo catalog before introducing and performing with his former partner Art Garfunkel, gave the spotlight to early rock heartthrob Dion DiMucci and his hit “The Wanderer.” The audience enthusiastically greeted some of the best-known songs, but emotional high points were registered during tributes to deceased Hall of Fame members. David Crosby and Graham Nash harmonized with Simon on “Here Comes the Sun,” written by former Beatle George Harrison. Stevie Wonder, who brought out singer John Legend to perform Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me,” was so overcome with emotion while singing the late Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” that he was unable to sing one of the verses and briefly laid his head down on his keyboard.
Springsteen and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty shared vocals on Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman,” and “The Boss” followed with “London Calling,” in tribute to The Clash. The show’s energy level peaked during Springsteen’s set.
He brought out Sam Moore, half of the soul/rhythm and blues duo Sam and Dave, to perform “Hold On, I’m Comin'” and “Soul Man.” The only unannounced performer of the night was Billy Joel, who performed three of his songs as well as Springsteen’s signature rock anthem “Born To Run.” A second concert celebrating the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary is set for Friday night with scheduled performances by U2, Aretha Franklin, Metallica, Annie Lennox, Lou Reed, Ozzy Osbourne and others. U.S. cable television network HBO will air a four-hour special containing highlights from both nights on November 29.

The Dead Weather to record second album in December

The Dead Weather appeared live on NME Radio yesterday (Oct 29) and – Jack White revealed that the band have “15 or 20” songs ready to record for their second album.

White said that the band will be getting together in December to record the follow-up to this year’s debut ‘Horehound’, and that the band would “maybe finish the record if we can”. Watch the video interview now by clicking on the right.

“We’d love to have the second record out within a year of the first one,” said White.

Flying in from Paris that morning, the four-piece band joined Iain Baker in the NME studio and When asked if there were going to be any surprises for the London crowd for their O2 Academy Brixton show in the capital that night, to laughter from his bandmates White deadpanned: “We’re just gonna hold everyone hostage and threaten them to be energetic, chain them up and fire blanks, machine gun blanks across their heads. We won’t tell them they’re blanks.”

He then jokingly told bandmate Alison Mosshart not to stop him from saying things, adding: “This shit doesn’t happen in The White Stripes, I’ll tell you that much.”

White then talked about the Third Man Records pop-up store, which is open today and tomorrow in Shoreditch Church in London, which White said will bring “what we have happening in Nashville to London”.

The shop will be selling limited-edition vinyl which is only available at the store, with only 100 records of each design on sale. “We’ve been blowing our minds back in Nashville for the last couple of weeks designing it,” said White of the records.

The London Third Man Records pop-up store follows similar events in an “abandoned porno theatre” in Los Angeles as well as New York.

The band also revealed details of their free show at the Shoreditch Church tomorrow (October 31), starting at 8pm.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Google Music Fires Shot Over iTunes’ Bow…

London Times:

Google’s announcement will be seen as a direct challenge to Apple’s iTunes, the download store that has become the world’s leading digital music retailer….Although iTunes currently offers over 11 million songs, it requires the installation of free software and the opening of an account to function. If Google is successful in marrying its normal ease of search to music retailing, it could take a slice out of Apple’s business.

New York Times:

Google users who put the name of a song into the search engine will get, as the top result, information about the musician and an opportunity to stream the song from one of two services, Lala and MySpace Music. People who click on that link will, in most cases, get a pop-up window that allows them to play the full song once, for free, along with a link to buy the song….Entering an album name or band name into Google yields similar free listening opportunities.

The service could significantly change how people look for music online. Music searches on Google, heretofore, have typically generated links to Wikipedia, random ad-filled lyrics sites and, in some cases, YouTube videos. But it usually took a few hops across the Web to actually sample a song. Not anymore. (It will be interesting to see, in this new environment, whether the music labels are truly comfortable with allowing all these free streams on Google.)

Los Angeles Times:

One of the more enticing new features is the ability to find a song for free streaming based on a lyrical query alone. MySpace and will provide the music, and search results will include album art and a special Google-branded player….The player will come with a “buy” button. The user will purchase the music from the online retailer providing the stream. Thanks to Google licensing Gracenotes lyrics, Billboard also reports that a search for lyrics will now direct users to an authorized database, allowing users to stream or buy a track.

Spike Jonze & Friends Drop Free Mixtape, Feat. Arcade Fire, Jens Lekman, & More

Arcade Fire’s partially re-recorded version of “Wake Up” pulled on all of our heartstrings recently in the Where The Wild Things Are trailer, but the song isn’t actually in the film, you see, nor is it on Karen O and the Kids’ official soundtrack.

No worries, though, director Spike Jonze feels your pain: The trailer version of “Wake Up” and 19 other jams are available for free download as Sound Advice 23: We Love You So, a mixtape curated by Jonze and his blog contributors (Dallas Clayton, Graham Kolbeins, Molly Young, and Matt Rubin).

Click here or head on over to The World’s Best Ever to download the hour-long mixtape from Jonze & company, which features the following killer tracklist:

01 Lust For Life – Girls
02 Wake Up (WTWTA trailer version) – Arcade Fire
03 I Want a Dog – Pet Shop Boys
04 Hey There Stranger – Pamela Blue
05 The Wimp – Capybara
06 Animal Crackers (in Cellophane Boxes) – Gene Pitney
07 Yekermo Sew – Mulatu Astatke
08 Water To Wine – Saintseneca
09 Tong Poo – Yellow Magic Orchestra
10 Rumpus – Karen O and The Kids
11 Overnight Religion – Kurt Vile
12 Green Bean (Binki Shapiro) – Green Bean
13 No Time, No Hope – Times New Viking
14 Ode to an African Violet – Mort Garson
15 Como Pudiste Hacerme Esto A Mi – Alaska y Dinarama
16 Overmuch – The Long Lost
17 Turkey Sandwich – Mika Miko
18 Poet, Fool or Bum – Lee Hazlewood
19 Hultsfred ‘98 – Jens Lekman
20 Seigneur Apprends Moi – Hermas Zopoula
(via twentyfourbit)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

AC/DC Warn Fans About Italian Concerts, McCartney Sings Frank Loesser, more

AC/DC have told their fans in Italy to not buy tickets for shows in that country because, well, they aren’t scheduled to play there. An Italian newspaper recently claimed that they were set to play Olympia Stadium in Turin next June 8 and 9 and the news spread across the web. The band’s Italian promoter, Barley Arts, quickly issued a statement before the underside of the ticket scalping industry could get into high gear.

Paul McCartney played Broadway Monday night as part of a salute to the late composer Frank Loesser. McCartney has owned Loesser’s catalog for some time and put on the show with Jo Sullivan, the late composer’s widow.

A long list of Broadway stars sang songs from Loesser’s shows, including How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Guys & Dolls and The Most Happy Fella. Also taking the stage was Art Garfunkel, performing Two Sleepy People, and McCartney himself singing On a Slow Boat to China.

Health Report:

Morrissey has announced he will play his Royal Albert Hall show tonight (Tuesday) in London after canceling last night’s performance. The singer had collapsed on stage Saturday night and was hospitalized for a short time with breathing problems.

On the other hand, Elton John is still too ill to perform at London’s Wembley arena. His promoters hope to reschedule for sometime in December.

Finally, Rod Stewart canceled his Tuesday appearance on ABC’s The View after catching a viral infection from his 3-year-old son Alastair. He recorded an apology for the show, saying “Viewers and ladies, I woke up this morning to do a vocal warm up and there was no voice. It’s just one of those things. It’s a viral thing that’s going around at the moment.”

The Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman has given up smoking after 55 years after being advised by his doctors warned him about the health effects (really? Now is the first time?). Wyman said “They told me: ‘If you carry on, you are going to get emphysema.’ So I thought: ‘Sod it! I’m going to stop.'”

Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon are set to host next Monday night’s WWE Raw broadcast.

Rod Stewart, Robert Plant Stoke Reunion Rumors

Whenever news gets slow, it seems Faces, Led Zeppelin, and many more classic rock band reunion rumors start taking over the internet. These days, however, the artists themselves aren’t doing much to quell the gossip—If anything, they’re fueling it.

“[Faces had] a reunion… in London without me because I’m promoting this album, and they’re got Paul Rodgers to sing — who is the lead singer of Bad Company, and Free, and of course with Queen,” Rod Stewart told CNN in response to Faces reunion rumors. “Hopefully, I’ll get me old job back. It’s on the cards. I’ll do it eventually.”

And if that wasn’t blatant enough, drummer Kenney Jones concurred after a recent Faces minus Stewart gig that “it’s just down to getting the schedules right for all of us to do it at the same time,” he said, “because everyone’s doing different things at different times.”

Zeppelin reunion talk is much more speculative, but a small quote from Robert Plant has done anything but dash the hopes of fans hoping to see Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Plant reform for a one-off at next year’s Glastonbury Festival. “I’ve just been talking to Michael [Eavis],” Plant told BBC 6. “There’s [a] place for me there, but I have no idea who with.”

Plant could have ruled out the iconic rock band’s potential for a headlining set at the festival’s 40th anniversary, but instead we might get a vague quote from Page shortly, perhaps a non-denial from Jones (now of Them Crooked Vultures), and the reunion rumor mill will grind away nicely for a bit. Meanwhile, at least we’ve got that Creed reunion to help bide our time. 🙂

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Morrissey Cancels Gig Tonight

The rest of his tour is still on, though.

The bad news: Following his onstage collapse at a show in Swindon, England on Saturday, Morrissey was forced to cancel his planned gig in Bournemouth, England tonight “on medical advice,” according to his site.

The good news: Moz’s spokesperson says the singer is doing much better and will resume his current tour tomorrow night at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Morrissey’s world tour is set to run through December. Check here for dates.

Tom Waits Recording w/ NOLA´s Preservation Hall Jazz Band

“Why wouldn’t Preservation Hall do a project with Tom Waits?” mused Ben Jaffe, musical director and son of Preservation Hall founders Allan and Sandra Jaffe, in a 2006 piece on the post-Katrina New Orleans music scene in the NY Times.

U2’s the Edge had just performed “Vertigo” with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at a benefit to replace instruments destroyed by the hurricane, including those of five Preservation Hall members who had lost their homes. The famous French Quarter music club was one of the first to reopen after the tragedy, but they needed (and still do) more star power to stay financially afloat.

Well, Jaffe and company got at least one of their wishes: Tom Waits is in New Orleans right now, recording a benefit track for and with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Also, according to a news bulletin on Waits’ official site, he will be recording a song for an upcoming 2nd volume to Anti’s sea chanty series while in town. The first installment, Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys, included contributions from Nick Cave, Bono, Bryan Ferry w/ Antony, Lou Reed and more, so a planned follow-up is great news in and of itself.

Though I’ll admit I wish Marc Ribot played guitar on every Waits recording, one listen to Preservation Hall’s “St. James Infirmary” and I’d say he’s got a perfect new backing band, complete with tuba.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures– New Fang (New Single)



Morrissey is discharged from hospital

Morrissey has been discharged from hospital after collapsing on stage in Swindon last night (October 24) with breathing difficulties.

The former Smiths frontman fell to the ground as he was performing opening song ‘This Charming Man’ at the Oasis Leisure Centre before two of his band members carried him offstage.

“Good evening… probably,” he said before opening the show with what would be his only song.

Onlookers said he appeared to be “straining” to perform, “wincing” as he did so, and when the song came to the end he sagged to his knees and slumped to the stage.

He was then taken to Great Western Hospital, at around 9pm where he was kept in overnight.

A Great Western Hospital spokeswoman said he was kept in overnight as a “precautionary measure” but was “much improved” and had been discharged, reports BBC News.

A statement posted on his website also read today: “Morrissey is in stable condition after his collapse in Swindon Saturday night. Thanks go out to all his well wishers, more information will be posted as soon as it is available.”
(via: NME)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sufjan Stevens: The BQE (Album Review)

The whimsical career path that the increasingly enigmatic singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens has embarked upon takes another unconventional twist with the release of his mixed-media tribute to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a move that will turn heads and raise suspicion in equal measure. Commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music in late 2007, the project began as a series of live performances complete with a 36-strong orchestra, a throng of female hula dancers, and Super 8 footage that Stevens filmed and directed himself. Despite this well-received string of sold-out performances, it has taken almost two years for an official CD release of these coveted orchestrations. The BQE, then, is another feather in the capricious cap of this endlessly exciting talent, a singer-songwriter who shows very little interest in singing or writing “songs” these days.

As Stevens’s most elaborate endeavor to date, BQE should be admired for its sheer ambition alone. Pretentious song titles aside (“Interlude I: Dream Sequence in Subi Circumnavigation” and “Movement III: Linear Tableau with Intersecting Surprise” are surely his most ghastly tongue-twisters to date), Stevens seems remarkably comfortable in this environment, crafting each track with an air of confidence and grandeur. Following two preliminary flourishes, “Movement I: In the Countenance of Kings” plays as a faultless pointer to the album’s lush scope and elegance. The track’s hollow, melancholic piano melody meanders along a subdued overture before tremolo bass work rouses urgency from the string and brass sections. The clamor intensifies and wanes back and forth, gathering steam for a climatic fanfare that never arrives. The piece instead saunters en route for “Movement II: Sleeping Invader” with its charmingly sullen ivory hook, a splendid twist to the tale.

The album moves sinuously through its series of movements and interludes, executed with understated grace for the most part, but this rule is shrewdly breached whenever Stevens sees fit. “Movement III: Linear Tableau with Intersecting Surprise,” for instance, is a swelling woodwind arrangement that inflates and expands relentlessly, gradually mingling with the orchestra’s string, brass, and percussion sections before exploding into an electronic tour de force with “Movement IV: Traffic Shock.” Here, the orchestra’s piccolo and alto flute duel with an electronic symphony akin to Enjoy Your Rabbit, a flurry of cacophonous screeches and deep thuds. Even when stretching his chops in these new environments, Stevens retains a flair for daring and innovative musicianship.

Some will find it unfortunate that traces of Stevens’s indie-folk roots are scarce; the bubbly piano melody of “Interlude III: Invisible Accidents” toys with his erstwhile sound, arriving as a welcome change to the album’s byzantine nature, but this is merely a pit stop. The most ostentatious arrangements are reserved for the home stretch and “Movement VII (Finale): The Emperor of Centrifuge,” banishing his beguiling melodies altogether in favor of the album’s most grandiose compositions. It’s no coincidence BQE begins to lose momentum here, caught in a traffic jam of overblown sonatas that unfortunately highlight the pretentious side of Stevens’s highly wrought venture.

If one can ignore this overexcited curtain call, though, BQE can be deemed a hugely successful gamble for Stevens. His ideas are realized with the confidence of a seasoned composer, comfortable with implementing all corners of the orchestra to wondrous effect. From here, there’s no telling where his fanciful and bizarre career path may take him, though calls to backtrack a few steps to his Illinois mindset will plague this immensely gifted singer-songwriter wherever he decides to go.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures Announce Debut Album at Long Last

Ever since the triple-headed stomp-rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures whirled into existence, we’ve been keeping up with just about every little scrap of whomp-ass they’ve released into the world.

Finally, on November 17, Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, and John Paul Jones will leave the shadows and come into the light. That’s when their self-titled debut album will finally hit North American shelves, via DGC/Interscope. (It’s out November 16 in the UK on Columbia.)

We’ve got the tracklist below, but all you really need to know is that Dave Grohl is back behind the drums and that there’s a song called “Mind Eraser, No Chaser”:

Them Crooked Vultures:

01 No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
02 Mind Eraser, No Chaser
03 New Fang
04 Dead End Friends
05 Elephants
06 Scumbag Blues
07 Bandoliers
08 Reptiles
09 Interlude With Ludes
10 Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up
11 Caligulove
12 Gunman
13 Spinning in Daffodils

Weezer: “(If You Are Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To (Video)

The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn Co-Writing Fargo Rock City Movie

Bringing Chuck Klosterman’s memoir to the big screen

As much as any writer in America, Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn is equipped to tackle provincial fandom of hair metal. He’s an expert at combining screamingly triumphant guitar solos and bleary Minnesota hardcore show reminisces in the same song. So it’s pretty awesome news that Finn, along with “Late Show With David Letterman” writer Tom Ruprecht, will adapt Fargo Rock City, rock writer Chuck Klosterman’s memoir about being a teenage metal fan in North Dakota, for the screen, as The Hollywood Reporter’s Risky Business blog reports. (Via Idolator.)

According to Risky Business, Finn and Ruprecht acquired the rights to Klosterman’s book, and Finn, Ruprecht, and Klosterman will all produce the film adaptation together. The blog reports, “The 1980s-set screenplay will revolve around a group of high school seniors facing graduation as they try to find success with women and generally break out of their geeky cocoons.”
So: Dazed and Confused but with Aquanet? That sounds promising!

Finn says, “Seventeen or 18 is the perfect age for characters in a movie like this, because it’s at that age that you have drivers licenses and a certain amount of independence, but you’re still young enough that you can totally make terrible decisions. And you’re still young enough that you can have a two-hour argument over whether Mötley Crüe would beat Guns N’ Roses in a fight.” (Mötley Crüe would totally beat Guns N’ Roses in a fight, at least before Matt Sorum joined GNR.)

Ruprecht and Finn are still working on the script’s first draft. Risky Business reports that they’ll seek studio and third-party financing.