Edited by Michael Goldberg
London Suede Sessions
Beck producer Tony Hoffer (Midnight Vultures) is behind the board as the London Suede begin recording their fifth studio album somewhere "in the English countryside," according to a Columbia Records spokesperson. "We all loved what he did on Midnight Vultures, we were playing it all the time on the bus on the last tour, so he seemed an ideal choice," London Suede leader Brett Anderson told the Suede Information Service. "It turned out that he was a big fan.... He'd been to see us a few times when we played in the States, so we tried out a few things with him when we were demoing at Rockfield, got on really well with him, and it all just fell into place." The group's Web site (www.suede.net) has been retooled; it now includes a live feed via a webcam located in the studio where the group is recording. Michael Goldberg [Friday, June 1, 2001]
New Freestylers' Album
The Freestylers' second album, Pressure Point, will see release on Mammoth Records this September. The album, which follows 1999's We Rock Hard, features singers Navigator and Tenor Fly (who both contributed to We Rock Hard) as well as some fresh voices: Valerie M and Petra Jean Phillipson. The album includes "Broadcast Channel," "Weekend Song," "Told You So," "Now Is the Time," "London Sound," "Bad Boy Love," "Bass Oddessey," "Calling," "Phenomenon One," "Blowin' Ya Brains," "Get Down Massive," and "Rumors of War." Michael Goldberg [Thursday, May 31, 2001]
Neu! Albums Re-Released
Astralwerks has just released the three pivotal albums, long out of print, by the groundbreaking and highly influential German avant-garde rock band Neu! The debut album, Neu! (now known as Neu! #1) is absolutely brilliant you need this album. It includes the song "Negativland," which is where a band that we know and love got its name. Also re-released: Neu! #2 (which includes "Seeland," which became the name of Negativland's record company) and Neu! '75. See for yourself why Sonic Youth, Eno, Bowie and Radiohead worship this band. "Neu!: aural visionary minimalist icons in a wilderness of psychedelia and beyond inspired us with their heroic beats and flat-out grooves..." is how Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo puts it. . Michael Goldberg [Thursday, May 31, 2001]
Bardo Pond's Dilate
It's been out a while but you probably missed it: Bardo Pond's Dilate on Matador is one of those stoner psychedelic trips you can take in the comfort of your own home (or rental abode) and get off without any other stimulants.The album, out since late April, includes such choice tracks as "Two Planes," "Favorite Uncle," "Swig," and "Aphasia." Michael Goldberg [Thursday, May 31, 2001]
New 12-Inch Singles From Beatless, Interfearance, Kirk Degiorgio
On June 6, San Francisco-based Ubiquity Records will release three vinyl singles worth your time, by Beatless, Interfearance and Kirk Degiorgio. The three records two 12-inch singles and one 10-inch confirm the label's continued movement away from its Acid Jazz origins and toward more flexible, undefined categories. Beatless, the partnership of West London producer Alex Attias (Mustang, Catalyst) and Talking Loud A&R man Paul Martin, are the least genre-bound of the three their 12-inch "The Truth" is an amalgam of house, funk, gospel, UK garage and minimalist soul. Following the group's contributions to Ubiquity's "New Latinaires" series, the single is a teaser for an album due in October.
Interfearance's first recording for Ubiquity (they were previously on London) includes "Dinheiro" and "Salvasaran." It's lush, organic house in the vein of Joe Claussell's tropical stormers, driven by rippling acoustic guitars, stand-up bass and dense, polyrhythmic layers of Afro-Latin percussion.
Kirk Degiorgio's arrival at the Bay Area imprint coincides with his contractual release from UK label Island Blue, where his As One project has been held up in legal limbo for several years. His first single for Ubiquity, a 10-inch featuring "Another Revolution" and "Undefeated," finds him continuing to develop his vision of electric jazz; heavily influenced by Herbie Hancock, Degiorgio crafts psychedelic post-techno swirling with Moogs, breakbeats and modal jazz. Philip Sherburne [Wednesday, May 30, 2001]
Prince Offers New And Rare Tracks Via Online Club
In forums all over the Internet, Prince fans have been discussing His Royal Badness' latest foray into cutting out the middleman the NPG Music Club. For $7.77 per month (or a yearly $100 premium membership), you get access to a Web site (http://www.npgmusicclub.com), which offers new and previously unreleased songs and videos. "Premium" members get a couple extra tunes, a remix CD of Prince's last album, pre-sale access to concerts and first admittance to his legendary after-shows. At Prince's latest stop in Oakland, Calif., NPGMC members got to watch a sound check and then participated in a Q&A session.
So is a NPGMC membership worth the money? The first incarnation of the club made use of an exclusive player that was difficult to download and use. These days Prince is offering songs and video clips in MP3 and QuickTime formats, respectively, which is fine as long as you've got a fast connection to the Internet thus far there is no concession to those who would like to join but have no Internet access.
The songs offered are a mixed bag. I could have done without live versions of "We March," "Vikki Waiting" and "Letitgo" clogging up my hard drive. Prince does add a little spin to these weak tunes pumping up the bass here, extending a keyboard solo there but it isn't enough to redeem the source material. Some NPGMC members complained at this month's fare: slamming funk tracks by longtime Prince collaborators Rosie Gaines and the Fonky Baldheads, along with "Props N Pounds," a new Prince tune that incorporates popping-bass, praise-the-Lord lyrics, a Purple Rain-era drum machine track and a long sample of Kurt Loder drooling over Prince's genius.
On the other hand and it's a big other hand the devoted are very glad to get their hands on some wonderful performances Prince has let loose via the NPGMC. The eerily erotic "When Eye Lay My Hands On U" and a soaring gospel-flavored duet with soul singer Angie Stone entitled "U Make My Sun Shine" easily rank among his best work. Fans who have stuck with his spotty "slave"-period stuff will recognize the funky "Peace" and the quasi-rap "Funky Design" as good for the era, but not representative of Prince's musical genius. Archivists and completists have been happy to hear unreleased Revolution-era jams such as "Splash," and vintage live versions of "Christopher Tracy's Parade" and "Girls and Boys." Meanwhile, the greasy funk of "The Work Pt. 1" and "Daisy Chain" is a good sign of reason to celebrate when his next album, The Rainbow Children, is released.
Overall, I think the material available through the NPGMC has been worth the price of admission. In days of yore like, up until a month ago this is the kind of material Prince geeks would've scoured Napster to get their hands on, and Prince wouldn't have seen a dime for his hard work. What Prince has done is level the playing field: his followers are getting the rarities and close access they crave, while he makes a little more money than he would've otherwise. The industry may scoff at Prince's sales these days (which is funny when you consider he can still drag his band anywhere in the world and sell out arenas), but it's Prince who's having the last laugh. He knows his audience and is giving them what they want which is a lot more than you can say for the industry of late. Randy Reiss [Tuesday, May 29, 2001]
T-Model Ford, CeDell Davis, Paul Jones Juke Joint Tour
Fat Possum Records' 23-date Juke Joint Caravan, featuring bluesmen T-Model Ford, Paul Jones and CeDell Davis, kicks off in St. Louis at Blueberry Hill on June 6 and wraps up in Atlanta at the Cotton Club on June 28. T-Model Ford delivers some of the toughest blues (reminds me of Howlin' Wolf) you're ever likely to experience live. CeDell Davis, who plays slide guitar and sings, hasn't toured in 20 years. These gentlemen, along with singer/guitarist Jones, are some of the last living old-school blues artists, and you'd do well to catch them in a club while you still can. All three are featured on a new, inexpensive 13-song sampler from Fat Possum, Not the Same Old Blues Crap II, due out June 19. The CD will also include unreleased songs by R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Asie Payton. Check out all the tour dates at the Fat Possum site. Michael Goldberg [Wednesday, May 23, 2001]
Free Sigur Rós Download Plus Kammerflimmer Kollektief
If you haven't dug into Sigur Rós' amazing Ágætis Byrjun yet, you can legally check out one track for free. The Icelandic combo have made "Svefn-G-Englar" available on the Napster site. "Napster has helped to change the way we access music," the group said in a statement. "It's brought a freedom based on sharing that exists outside the grasp of those concerned purely with financial gain." ... Seek out the Kammerflimmer Kollektief's Mäander, an album that mixes electronics, rock and, at times, haunting violin into a moody, contagious sound. Like the beautiful yet disturbing cover art, this music will take you to somewhere unknown. Michael Goldberg [Tuesday, May 22, 2001]
Plaid's Double Figure For Summer Plus Squarepusher
Plaid's third album is titled Double Figure and will be released on the Warp label May 29. The 19 track album is often subversively etherial ("Light Rain") but gets a bit, shall we say, busy ("Ooh Be Do") and even a bit Wagnerian ("Squance") at times. Plaid - Andy Turner and Ed Hanley - have been working together for over a decade. The duo have launched a new micrositeSquarepusher single, "My Red Hot Car," also on Warp. One of the folks at Other Music has called the title track "the most infectious, inventive dance single of the year"; it features the memorable vocal hook "I wanna fuck you with my red hot car." You can download an MP3 of the song for free off the Warp Records site if you sign up for their info email. The single also inclues: "Hardcore Obelisk," "I Wish You Obelisk" and a hidden track. [Friday, May 18, 2001]
Quango Compilation To Include 'West London' Tracks
Cosmic Funk,a compilation of recordings by several architects of the "West London" sound, will be released for the first time in the U.S. on June 5, marking the return of the Quango label. Known in the mid-'90s as a meeting place for world music and dance beats, Quango returns from several years' hiatus. Cosmic Funk is notable for its inclusion of the emerging genre known variously as broken beat, future jazz or the West London sound. Now a sub-label of Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures, in the 1990s the Island imprint was one of the first domestic labels to release material from downtempo dons Kruder and Dorfmeister, Asian Underground innovator Talvin Singh and ambient junglist Alex Reece.
Compiled by Los Angeles DJ Bruno Guez, Cosmic Funk features eight tracks of off-beat house and funk from producers like Migs & Jelly, Funky Lowlives and East Village Headz. Most remarkable, though, is the appearance of Neon Phusion, Kaidi Tatham, SK Radicals and New Sector Movements, all members of a loose collective of West London-based musicians merging the sounds of deep house, breakbeat funk, Detroit techno, Roy Ayers' soul-jazz and Herbie Hancock's electric fusion. Aside from Planet E's compilation The Good Good (licensed from Dego McFarlane's label 2000Black), none of these artists' work has been released in the U.S. until now; they've recorded only for UK artist-run independents such as Main Squeeze, People and Laws of Motion.
Three more compilations to be released in June and July Mystic Groove, Brazilified, and Space Jazz will round out Quango's aesthetic, featuring a number of artists only now attaining visibility before U.S. audiences dZihan and Kamien, Nitin Sawney, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Modaji, Solid Doctor, and Love TKO alongside more established performers like Jazzanova and Trüby Trio. Philip Sherburne [Thursday, May 17, 2001]
unwound's West Coast Tour
unwound, the experimental punk-rock trio from Olympia, Wash., will play a short string of West Coast shows beginning in late June in support of their recent album Leaves Turn Inside You, a two-CD set of beautifully droning, powerfully mesmerizing rock songs. "What they are sonically is a combination of all their obvious influences," explained Steve Fisk, who produced Challenge for A Civilized Society and co-produced New Plastic Ideas. Over the years unwound have created a sound all their own, Fisk said dissonant, distorted, feedback-heavy, a sound their loyal following has come to know and love them for. Fisk, who worked on two of the songs on the new album, said of unwound: "They're progressive rock without being stupid.They have very angular riffs and themes. Justin's [singer/guitarist Justin Trosper] guitar is really shrill and aggressive and nasty [he] has a strong presence." unwound have been a part of the Northwest independent-music scene since forming in 1991. Even when the Northwest was flooded by major-label execs signing Seattle "grunge" bands in the early '90s, the group turned down offers and stayed with Kill Rock Stars, whose first release was an unwound record. They have remained committed to that label, and have no interest in dealing with the corporate music business, Fisk said.
unwound tour dates
June 29; Portland, Ore.; Crystal Ballroom, with The Ex
June 30; Seattle, Wash.; Grassland, with The Ex
July 67; San Francisco, Calif.; Great American Music Hall, with Rainer Maria and Juno
July 8; Los Angeles, Calif.; El Rey Theater, with Rainer Maria and Juno
July 9; San Diego, Calif.; Casaba
Jenny Tatone [Wednesday, May 16, 2001]
Sigur Rós Album Out In U. S.
With their U.S. tour complete (everyone who saw a show flipped, even Metallica's Lars Ulrich), Sigur Rós, whose breakthrough album, Ágaetis Byrjun, comes out today in the U.S., have returned to Iceland to continue work on their next album, according to the NME. Michael Goldberg [Tuesday, May 15, 2001]
New Belle And Sebastian Single, Soundtrack
Belle and Sebastian will have a new single, "Jonathan David," out on Matador June 12. The group is composing songs for the Todd Solondz film "Storytelling," with an October release planned for the soundtrack, or so says Matador. Michael Goldberg [Tuesday, May 15, 2001]
Prof. Felten To Talk About RIAA Threat
Remember Professor Edward Felten of Princeton University? He's the dude who, along with some other researchers, cracked the SDMI code. He was threatened by the RIAA, who didn't want him to present a paper at the Fourth International Information Hiding Workshop last month (April 2001) on how to get around copy-protection technology being created by the Secure Digital Music Initiative (S.D.M.I.). He's giving a lecture, "Reading Between the Lines: Lessons from the SDMI Challenge and its Aftermath," on Thursday, May 17 in the Math Department (building 380) at Stanford University. Felten will discuss "the status of anti-copying technology" and "how the music industry is trying to prevent copying," provide "an overview of the technical analysis" that was in his paper, discuss "how and why the authors were threatened" and more. For directions, head here and click on "Building 380 Mathematics" in the list of Academic and Administrative Buildings. For parking info, check this out. Michael Goldberg [Tuesday, May 15, 2001]
Mark Eitzel Returns With The Invisible Man
U. S. tour to begin in late June
Acclaimed San Francisco singer/songwriter/guitarist Mark Eitzel will release his fourth solo album, The Invisible Man, on Matador Records on May 22. It's been over three years since Eitzel's last album, Caught in A Trap and I Can't Back Out, 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby. For the new album, Eitzel produced most of the tracks and created most of the music himself as well. "I worked on The Invisible Man for over two years, writing over 40 songs, and recording with a bunch of different people, but mostly by myself," Eitzel says on the Matador Web site. "I wrote all of the songs on an acoustic guitar, but finished most with a sampler and Pro-Tools on a Mac G-4 computer (affectionately nicknamed 'The Dumb Ass') in the front room of my house in San Francisco. Most of the time I had on headphones and the neighbors never complained." The songs: "The Boy With the Hammer in A Paper Bag," "Can You See," "Christian Science Reading Room," "Sleep," "To the Sea," "Shine," "Steve I Always Knew," "Bitterness," "Without You," "The Global Sweep of Human History," "Seeing Eye Dog" and "Proclaim Your Joy." Eitzel, frontman for American Music Club from the mid-'80s through the mid-'90s, will begin a U.S. tour June 22 at the Knitting Factory in L.A. The band Eitzel will perform with will include drums, a second guitar and "some electronics," according to Matador.
Mark Eitzel tour dates:
June 22; Los Angeles, Calif.; Knitting Factory
June 23; Tempe, Ariz.,; Nita's Hideaway
June 25; Tucson, Ariz.; Solar Culture
June 27; Dallas, Texas; Gypsy Tea Room
June 28; Austin, Texas; The Mercury
June 30; New Orleans, La.; El Matador
July 2; Orlando, Fla.; Sapphire
July 3; Miami, Fla.; TBA
July 5; Athens, Ga.; 40 Watt Club
July 6; Atlanta, Ga.; Echo Lounge
July 7; Carrboro, N.C.; The Arts Center
July 9; Philadelphia, Pa.; North Star Bar
July 10; Hoboken, N.J.; Maxwell's
July 11; Cambridge, Mass.; House of Blues
July 13; New York, N.Y.; Village Underground
July 14; Washington, D.C.; Black Cat
July 16; Columbus, Ohio; Little Brother's
July 17; Detroit, Mich.; Magic Bag
July 18; Chicago, Ill.; Double Door
July 20; Milwaukee, Wis.; Shank Hall
July 21; Minneapolis, Minn.; 400 Star
July 24; Seattle, Wash.; Crocodile Café
July 25; Portland, Ore.; Aladdin Theater
July 30; San Francisco, Calif; Great American Music Hall
Michael Goldberg [Monday, May 14, 2001]
Air's Downbeat 10,000 Hz Legends
Duo say album is 'like a drug trip'
The French duo Air known for their beautifully ambient soundscapes and surreal aural collages will release their next full-length album May 29. 10,000 Hz Legends is more akin to last year's The Virgin Suicides, their critically acclaimed soundtrack to Sofia Coppola's debut film, than to their previous album, the upbeat Moon Safari. "It's like a Pink Floyd record, but with humor," Air's Nicolas Godin told Billboard. "It's definitely like a drug trip, which scares me and Jean [Jean-Benoit Dunckel] because we're not drug addicts." Beck sings on "The Vagabond" and reads poetry on "Don't Be Light." Other contributors include former Red Kross drummer Brian Reitzell and Sugar and Yumiko of Buffalo Daughter. The album is being released jointly through Astralwerks and Air's own recently established label, Record Makers. Air's U.S. tour begins June 14 in Dallas. They will be joined by Jason Falkner on bass and backing vocals; James Rotundi on keyboards and Brian Reitzell on drums. Opening for Air will be Sébastien Tellier (pronounced tell-yay), a 25-year-old Parisian musician whose album L'Incroyable Verite is on Record Makers. For tour dates, check out the Air site. Jenny Tatone [Friday, May 11, 2001]
Epitaph's Gurewitz Rejoins Bad Religion
New album expected before year's end
Original Bad Religion guitarist/songwriter Brett Gurewitz, owner of Epitaph Records, has rejoined the band. "Having Brett rejoin the band and being back home on Epitaph are personally more significant to me than almost anything we have ever achieved as a band," Bad Religion vocalist Greg Graffin said in a statement released by the label. "This is what we have done together since we were teenagers, sketching the Epitaph logo on scratchpads in my mom's living room after rehearsal, singing harmonies together in a VW bus on our California punk-club tours, writing songs on napkins in Denny's after shows." The band plans to record a new album this summer for release before the end of the year. "I haven't been this excited about writing in six years; this is like a big family reunion," Gurewitz said in the statement. Gurewitz originally founded Epitaph to release Bad Religion's debut album, How Could Hell Be Any Worse. [Friday, May 11, 2001]
Wellwater Conspiracy's The Scroll and Its Combinations
R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe Tells Q band briefly broke up
The Wellwater Conspiracy, a Seattle two-piece consisting of current Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron and Monster Magnet founder John McBain, will release their third album in late May, according to TVT Records spokesperson Robin Becker. The album, titled The Scroll and Its Combinations, is "very psychedelic," according to Becker. The band says its name comes from an urban legend about a hippie in the mid-'70s who threatened to put LSD in Minnesota's drinking water. Jenny Tatone ... R.E.M. broke up during the making of Up in 1998 and figured that would be their last album, but then the trio "fucking sat down and talked" and worked things out, Michael Stipe says in a Q magazine interview. "I completely shut down during the making of that record," Stipe says. "I had the mother of all writer's blocks, just because the band was falling apart. At one point, I had to get used to the idea that we had completely split up. I was working on what I thought would be our last will and testament. When you see relationships that are that important to you fold and collapse, and you can't find a solution to it... I'm really not overstating anything here. It was awful. I still hear that when I listen to the record, but it's also very beautiful." Making R.E.M.'s new album, Reveal, was a completely different and very positive experience, Peter Buck told InsiderOne. "I think we were all feeling really strongly that we had to make a great record," Buck said. Michael Goldberg... Orange County's guitar-driven, psyche-rockers Nebula, whose latest album Charged was just released by Sub Pop, will begin a U.S. tour May 22 in Denver. They will tour the Southeast and East Coast, then head to Europe for some shows before a string of West Coast appearances in Seattle, San Francisco and L. A. in late June. JT [Friday, May 4, 2001]
Quasi Album Wrapped
Mekons recording, kids rock 'n' roll book, Pennywise "F**k Authority"
The upcoming Quasi album, Sword of God, will be released in August on Touch and Go. It was recorded in Portland at the Fluke Room and the Devil's Workshop. ... The Mekons have been recording their next album in Chicago, and plan to wrap the album up in September, with an anticipated Spring 2002 release, also on Touch and Go. ... "Shake, Rattle & Roll" (Houghton Mifflin Company) is a beautiful rock 'n' roll picture book for kids. It features paintings by Laura Levine of Elvis, Chuck Berry, Wanda Jackson, Little Richard, Buddy Holly and others who birthed the music. Rolling Stone Press editor Holly George-Warren provides short, clear bios to go with the images. Levine's paintings are being exhibited this month at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. ... The upcoming Pennywise album Land of the Free? will be released by Epitaph on June 19. The album includes such songs as ""F**k Authority," "The World," "Enemy" "My God," "Set Me Free," "Twist of Fate" and "Whose Side Are You On?" The "politically charged" album (as Epitaph puts it) was produced by Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, L7). Commenting on "F**k Authority," singer Jim Lindberg says, "This is our agenda set to a 4/4 beat. If your local police force is racist and corrupt and doesn't respect your rights as a free citizen, does this authority deserve your respect?" [Wednesday, May 2, 2001]
Iggy Pop Returns With Beat 'Em Up
Upcoming album includes "It's All Shit" and "L.O.S.T."
Iggy Pop's next album, titled Beat 'Em Up, will be released in July. The singer produced the album, which follows Avenue B, his 1999 release. The album will include "Mask," "L.O.S.T.," "Howl," "Football," "Talking Snake," "Jerk," "Death Is Certain,' "Go for the Throat," "Weasels," "It's All Shit" "Drink New Blood," "Ugliness" and the title track. [Tuesday, May 1, 2001]
Social Distortion Album Pushed Back
Next album won't see release 'til year's end
The next album from Social Distortion, originally scheduled for a fall release, won't be out until the end of the year, according to Sarah Barba, a Time Bomb Recordings spokeswoman. "Mike [Ness] is currently writing new material," Barba said. "The band will likely go into studio this summer, with plans to release a new album by the year's end." Ness has described the sound of the group's eighth album as having "a real '70s feel and a real 2000 feel." She added that it would "be a departure from our others without losing our signature style." The album, to be produced by longtime SD producer James Saez, will be the group's first without guitarist Dennis Danell, who died in February as the result of a brain aneurysm. Social Distortion will tour following the album's release, according to Barba. Jenny Tatone [Tuesday, May 1, 2001]
Jane's Addiction Guitarist Dave Navarro's Trust No One
Solo album to include cover of Velvet Underground song
Jane's Addiction and ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro will release his first solo album, Trust No One, on June 19. The album, which Navarro has been working on for several years, will be released by Capitol Records. Navarro says the album is about "the soul search of relationships, life and love, trust and fear." Chili Pepper's drummer Chad Smith guests on a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Venus In Furs." In July, "Don't Try This At Home," a book of photos of celebrities and friends taken by Navarro in a drugstore photo-booth he installed some years ago in his L. A. home, with text by the New York Times pop music critic Neil Strauss, will be published. [Wednesday, April 25, 2001]
Autechre Fans Targeted By Napster Hoax
Pranksters reveal songs are really by other tech artists
InsiderOne contributing editor Philip Sherburne reports: It seemed too good to be true. For about a month tracks off Confield, Sheffield, UK duo Autechre's highly anticipated album, have been available for download via Napster. One problem: none of the songs is actually by Autechre, a group best known for its groundbreaking brand of post-Techno. Pranksters, including a member of the Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) mailing list who asked to be identified as Sonance, now admit to perpetrating a hoax on Autechre fans. Sonance said he passed off recordings by Leila, Susumu Yokota, Monolake and Autechre sound-alike Arovane as the work of Autechre.
"I thought I'd chosen pretty obvious stuff that most [Autechre] fans would already own, but apparently not," said Sonance, referring to the many Napster users who contacted him about the tracks' authenticity. "Whenever someone downloaded one of the 'fake' tracks from me, I'd tell them it was fake. Some of them refused to believe me, even when I told them what it was. Still, one guy was impressed enough with the Arovane track he went out and ordered [Arovane's] Atol Scrap and Tides the next day."
Tracks from Confield began circulating on the file-sharing service weeks ago, even though the album isn't due out until May. However, as discussion of the album began to heat up on Internet newsgroups, it came to light that many of the tracks were fakes.
There were numerous clues: to begin with, many similarly titled tracks turned out to be entirely different from one another. Some sounded like no more than a minute or two of static nothing like Autechre's intricate beatscapes. Other songs, bearing names like "Parheric Triange" and "Sim Gishel," were quickly identified as the work of other well-known electronic musicians including Pole, Hrvatski and Christian Vogel. One track was credited as a remix by Bola, who, like Autechre, records for Warp Records. However, a Warp spokesperson said there is no such remix. In the most amusing manifestation of the scam, an alleged hidden track, listed as "Whord," would be familiar to sci-fi fans as the theme from "Dr. Who."
In addition to Sonance, other IDM list-members claimed to have authored Confield fakes themselves, but none responded to requests for interviews.
Bogus tracks on Napster are nothing new, of course; a notorious knock on Eminem was alleged to be the work of Christina Aguilera, while the narrow sphere of experimental electronic music has seen pranksters pass off "remixes" of Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin.
As more and more popular CDs have appeared on Napster and other file-sharing services before their release dates Radiohead's Amnesia is already in circulation labels are cutting back their promotional servicing to the media. Kris Gillespie, who runs Warp's New York office, said the company was taking precautions to prevent Confield leaks. "The lockdown on digital copies circulating has been extremely curtailed intentionally," Gillespie said, adding that the U.S. press mailing has been limited to 50 vinyl test pressings, in lieu of sending out advance CDs.
In fact, the "lockdown" likely contributed to the fakes' proliferation. And get this: Warp considered just such a "guerrilla marketing" campaign for Confield. "The idea of putting up decoy tracks on Napster and letting them proliferate, like a virus, was suggested but killed," said Gillespie. "Ironically, some young IDM-lister decided to do just that on his own about a month ago. All of the original Confield Napster postings I came across were of other artists. How's the saying go? Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ? Take your pick, I guess." [Tuesday, April 24, 2001]
Matmos To Play MUTEK 2001
Kompakt, Traum showcases planned for electronic music fest
North America has typically lagged behind Europe when it comes to electronic music festivals; while the Continent has Midem, Popkomm and Sonar, we're stuck with the South Beach schmooze-fest of Winter Music Conference. But last year's launch of Montreal's MUTEK festival gave North America a new platform for experimental electronic music. Far from the glam overload of WMC, MUTEK highlighted minimalist and "microsound" corners of the genre, presenting performers such as Thomas Brinkmann, Vladislav Delay and Pole, and featuring label showcases for 12K, Raster-Noton and Context.
MUTEK 2001, presented by Montreal new media organization Ex-Centris, will build on the foundation laid last year with a similar program of experimental sound and post-techno music. Minimal techno remains at the heart of the program, with performances from Matthew Herbert, Kitty-Yo's Rechenzentrum, and Perlon artists Dimbiman and Ric y Martin (Ricardo Villalobos with Atom Heart collaborator Dandy Jack).
Cologne's notoriously secretive Kompakt, latest in a long line of obscure dub-techno projects from Wolfgang Voigt (a.k.a. Mike Ink), will present four of its artists Dettinger, Closer Musik, Jonas Bering and Tobias Thomas in a rare North American appearance. Kompakt cousin Traum (the label is run by Kompakt staff member Riley Reinhold) is planning an international showcase featuring France's Philippe Cam, British-German expat Process, and possibly Argentina's Gustavo Lamas. In one of the only holdovers from last year, über-minimalist Thomas Brinkmann is tentatively slated to perform as well.
In addition to dub-techno and microhouse grooves, however, MUTEK will also present a variety of sounds falling into no particular category. Topping off the list is San Francisco's Matmos, fresh from a long stint in Björk's New York studio. They are currently touring in support of their new album A Chance to Cut Is A Chance to Cure (Matador), which adds to Herbert's purist musique concrete methods an aspect of "extreme sampling," drawing from sound sources as diverse as liposuction, laser eye surgery, and human skulls. Matmos, in a recent Coil cover, have suggested a link between contemporary avant-garde electronica and earlier decades' industrial music; Mikael Stävostrand, an ex-industrialist gone glitch, brings that perspective to MUTEK, along with the Mego-affiliated Goem, a trio comprising Frans de Waard, Roel Meekop and Peter Duimelink.
Canadian talent is still being finalized, but is expected to include Tomas Jirku, Akufen, Tim Hecker (Jetone), Mitchell Akiyama, Martin Thetreault and I8U. Taking place over five nights from May 30 to June 3, MUTEK will offer three performances nightly, at 5 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight. More information is available at www.mutek.ca. Philip Sherburne [Monday, April 23, 2001]
Social Distortion Prepare To Record
L. A. punk combo to record first album since death of guitarist Dennis Danell
Legendary Southern California punk-rockers Social Distortion are currently writing material in preparation for recording their eighth album. This will be their first CD without guitarist Dennis Danell, who died in February as the result of a brain aneurysm. The album, to be released by Time Bomb Recordings this fall [note: the release date has been pushed back to the end of the year], will be produced by longtime SD producer James Saez (who also produced both of SD singer Mike Ness' solo albums), according to a Time Bomb spokesperson; Saez will also contribute guitar and percussion. "I want every record to be different from the last one, but I want to keep with the continuity of our sound," said Ness in a statement on the Time Bomb site (www.timebombrecordings.com). "So this record will be a departure from our others without losing our signature style. It has a real '70s feel and a real 2000 feel. It's definitely a balance of the two." Jenny Tatone [Friday, April 20, 2001]
69Plunderphonics96 Heisted By Negativland
John Oswald says Negativland have decided to 'liberate' his album
Avant-garde audio-video assemblage artist John Oswald announced Monday, April 16, that he will not be releasing his two-CD career overview, 69Plunderphonics96 on his own Fony record label, because he has "been unable to secure certain key licensing deals." The album incorporates samples from recordings by artists ranging from Michael Jackson to the Doors. In a statement issued Monday, Oswald said, "Rather than put out an emasculated version of the set, we've decided not to publish it at all." He revealed, however, that the underground collective known as Negativland, who he describes as "my associates," have "decided to liberate (or steal, depending on your point of view) the complete package" and will release it on their Seeland label. At www.negativland.com, the group confirms that they have "borrowed" the album and artwork. "Oswald has been restricted from releasing this music so SEELAND has stepped in and 'borrowed' this package and made it available to you. Profits will be invested in the future of plunderphonics." The album will sell for one-third of the planned $100-per-set price. "Since the new release plans do not entail licensing fees, the suggested retail list price will, according to Negativland, plummet to one-third of our originally projected list price the new retail list is $33.33 USD," said Oswald. [Wednesday, April 18, 2001]
Sonic Youth, Sigur Ros, Terry Riley Set For Sonar 2001
Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, Nicole Willis to play Barcelona techno fest
In a sign that the wall between rock and electronic music continues to erode, Sonic Youth and Sigur Ros grace the top of the bill for Sonar 2001, Barcelona's annual festival of electronic and experimental music. Now in its ninth year, Sonar takes place from June 14 to June 16, boasting nearly 72 hours of live performances and DJ sets from relative superstars and resolutely experimental artists alike. Along with the two out-rock icons, this year's installment will present live performances from Minimalist pioneer Terry Riley, Chicago Improv guitarist Kevin Drumm, tech-house duo Circulation, deep housers Glissando Bros., avant-soul diva Nicole Willis, Two Lone Swordsmen's Andrew Weatherall, Los Angeles audio activists Ultra Red, and others. House and techno bigwigs Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Masters at Work, Frankie Knuckles and Laurent Garnier headline the festival's DJ component, supported by more leftfield sets from Ninja Tune artist Amon Tobin and Sonar Kollektiv's Dixon.
Sonar's program, spread across three days and nights, encompasses a number of venues. The daytime portion, set in the compound of Barcelona's Center for Contemporary Culture (CCCB), features several stages, a multimedia gallery and trade fair, along with the Sonarlab, reserved for label showcases from Thrill Jockey, Fals.ch, Runegrammofon, Blast First and others, selected and spun by the imprints' respective proprietors. Many performances from daytime and nighttime alike are grouped together by label: Russell Haswell, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin and Plaid will join together for the Warp stage; Fussible, Panóptica, Bostich and Terrestre will represent the Tijuana techno scene as Colectivo Nortec; and German sister imprints Force Inc. and Mille Plateaux will showcase their brand of post-techno with performances from SND, Kid606, Vladislav Delay, Curd Duca, G Man, Jasper, Luomo and Twerk.
Sonar's nighttime venue which includes four stages as well as that staple of the European festival circuit, a bumper-cars course moves this year from its seaside location in the Olympic pavilion to an as-yet-unannounced site which will provide raving room for tens of thousands of participants. Sonar has grown from an audience of 6,000 in its first year to over 53,000 last year; if it continues to grow at comparable rates, 2001 will see that number break the 60,000 mark. More information is available at www.sonar.es Philip Sherburne
Notes: The debut album from Texan Shea Seger, The May Street Project, is an enticing Southern-soul-meets-UK-trip-hop affair that sees release June 5. There's a bit of Alanis and Macy and Beth Orton here, but all in all, 20-year-old Seger has a sound of her own, and it's a good one. ... It's rare that a work of art gets recognized in its time, but that is exactly what happened yesterday, when Berkeley author Michael Chabon was awarded this year's Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his brilliant third novel, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay." If you haven't read it, there's no time like now. [Tuesday, April 17, 2001]
Low & Dirty Three Collaboration
Rare tracks coming from Colexico
More music from Low is on the way. Actually, both Low and Dirty Three contribute to Touch and Go's In the Fishtank Vol. 7. The six-song CD arrives May 22 and includes a nine-plus-minute version of Neil Young's "Down by the River," along with "I Hear... Goodnight," "Invitation Day," "When I Called Upon Your Seed," "Cody" and "Lordy." ... A collection of rarities, B-sides, remixes and unreleased material by Colexico will also surface May 22 on Touch and Go. Even My Sure Things Fall Through includes an instrumental mix of "Sonic Wind," two versions of "Crystal Frontier" (one acoustic), a Two Loneswordsmen remix of "Untitled III, " "Hard Hat," "Chanel No. 5," "Banderilla" and "Crooked Road and the Briar." Plus three videos on the CD: "Crystal Frontier,' "Ballad of Cable Hogue" and "The Black Light." ... Spoon continue their marathon touring, opening many shows for Guided by Voices. They're in Toronto April 25 and 26, Syracuse April 27, Boston May 1, Washington, D.C. May 5 and Columbus May 8. For the complete itinerary, check out the Spoon site: www.spoontheband.com. Spoon will also do two nights in, of all places, Las Vegas, playing the Boulder Station Casino. Now that would be a show to see! [Monday, April 16, 2001]
Joey Ramone Dead At 49
The Ramones sparked the punk revolution of the '70s, '80s and '90s
Joey Ramone, singer and songwriter in the legendary punk rock quartet the Ramones, died of lymphatic cancer on Sunday afternoon, April 15 in a New York hospital. The Ramones are responsible for inspiring thousands of punk bands to form, including the Clash and the Sex Pistols, and numbered among their fans Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Hyman, was 49. [Sunday, April 15, 2001]
Sleater-Kinney To Open For Patti Smith
New Lucinda Williams album due in June
In what will be one of their rare live appearances this year, Sleater-Kinney will open for Patti Smith at a Seattle show this August as part of "Summer Nights at the Pier." This will be the first time S-K and Smith share a stage. A new S-K album isn't likely until late 2002, according to the band. ... Lucinda Williams' next album will be titled Essence and released on Universal Music Group's new Lost Highway label on June 12, according to a report in the April issue of Ice magazine. The 11-song follow-up to Williams' acclaimed 1998 album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, was co-produced by Williams and guitarist Charlie Sexton. Some of the songs: "Lonely Girls," "Steal Your Love," "I Envy the Wind" and "Bus to Baton Rouge." ... Latest issue of The Wire includes, in addition to a fascinating interview with John Cale, a 13-song Matador Records compilation disc. The disc features Solex's version of "The Cutter"; "Demons Sing Love Songs," a track off Unwound's upcoming album, Leaves Turn Inside You; Bardo Pond's "Syn. Dept."; and an excellent song, "Marsh Blues," by the Wisdom of Harry. [Thursday, April 12, 2001]
The Mary Janes' Flame
Joe Henry hits a jazzy blue note
Flame, the second album from alterna-country band the Mary Janes, has been out for about a month, but chances are you missed it. It just took me a while to give it a chance, let it play a few times. The Mary Janes are singer/songwriter/guitarist Janas Hoyt and viola/violin player Kathy Kolata; on the album additional musicians fill out the sound. Hoyt writes songs you feel, like "Telescope" and "Junie Moon"; her version of Tom Petty's "Free Girl Now" is really good, and also seems to sum her up. ... A new and, for some, highly anticipated Joe Henry album, Scar, comes our way via Mammoth Records on May 15. When I've paid attention to him in the past, Henry seemed more a singer/songwriter on the folk-rock side of town; he's delivered a pop-jazz album this time, with some wonderful piano solos, a mood that's sometimes reminiscent of early Randy Newman ("Cold Enough to Cross"), and an appearance by Ornette Coleman on a song called "Richard Pryor Addresses A Tearful Nation." [Tuesday, April 10, 2001]
Murder City Devils For Halloween
Release delayed by keyboardist's injury
Seattle punk-rockers the Murder City Devils (known for their evil organ sound and lead singer Spencer Moody's howling vocals), will release their fourth full-length in October, just in time for Halloween. The as-yet-untitled album was originally scheduled for a June release, but was pushed back to accommodate keyboardist Leslie Hardy, who has carpal tunnel syndrome and plans to have hand surgery, according to MCD guitarist Nate Manny. "We don't set out to be evil," Manny said. "We don't try to make goals or set rules on what a song can or can't sound like. But by the time the six of us are done with a song, it ends up turning out that way." Jenny Tatone ... Pennywise's seventh album, Land Of The Free, will be released June 19. To name the album, the group asked for suggestions from fans, then chose from the thousands that were registered at their pennywisdomcom site. [Monday, April 9, 2001]
U.S. Tour For Chicks On Speed
Coincides with arrival of The Re-Releases...
Hot on the heels of the U.S. launch of The Re-Releases of the Un-Releases on K Records, Chicks on Speed begin their first North American tour Monday, April 9 at TT the Bear's in Cambridge, Mass. The 15-show tour will also hit New York's Knitting Factory on April 19, Pittsburgh's Warhol Museum on April 13, and San Francisco's Great American Music Hall on April 19, concluding at Seattle's Crocodile on April 25. The performance art-style trio New Yorker Melissa Logan, Sydney's Alex Murray-Leslie and Munich's Kiki Morse met while attending the Munich School of Art in southern Germany, where they formed Chicks On Speed in the late '90s. Their debut album, Chicks on Speed Will Save Us All!!! was released last year in Europe.
Chicks On Speed tour dates
April 9; Cambridge, Mass.; TT the Bear's
April 10; New York, N.Y.; Knitting Factory
April 11; New York, N.Y.; NYU
April 12; New York, N.Y.; Knitting Factory
April 13; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Warhol Museum
April 14; Toronto, Ontario; El Mocambo
April 16; Cleveland, Ohio; Beachland
April 17; Chicago, Ill.; Empty Bottle
April 18; Minneapolis, Minn.; 7th St. Entry
April 19; San Francisco, Calif.; Great American Music Hall
April 2122; Los Angeles, Calif.; Knitting Factory
April 23; Portland, Ore.; Crystal Ballroom
April 24; Olympia, Wash.; Thelka
April 25; Seattle, Wash; Crocodile
[Friday, April 6, 2001]
Ladyfest Midwest To Include Le Tigre, The Need
Four-day fest to feature female bands, plus workshops
The torch (and tradition) from last year's Ladyfest will be carried out East this fall. Ladyfest Midwest will take place in Chicago Aug. 1619 at the Historic Congress Theatre. Confirmed artists thus far include Amy Ray, The Butchies, Le Tigre, Tami Hart, The Need, Bratmobile, Slumber Party, The Hissyfits, Tracy and the Plastics, Blectum from Blechdom, Danielle Howle, DJ MINX, DJ Jenuine, Femme Fatale's Lauren Flax, Rainbow Sugar, Shannon Wright, and Tegan & Sara. The four-day festival showcasing the work of women artists is expected to benefit from the culture, art and increased diversity of a big-city setting. "In Chicago we can pull from so many different areas," said festival promoter Tammy Cresswell. "[Ladyfest attendees] will be exposed to new things they didn't know existed before. Chicago is very culturally and ethnically diverse. We want to take that and encompass it on a broader level.... And we definitely want men to be involved." Like the Olympia festival, Ladyfest Midwest will include workshops ranging from guitar maintenance and motorcycle mechanics to self-defense, kickboxing and mammograms. Tickets will go on sale through buyolympia.com on April 20. Cresswell estimates they will sell for between $60 and $65. Jenny Tatone [Thursday, April 5, 2001]
Ex-Black Flag Drummer Producing Zeke
New 'ferocious' album expected this summer
The high-speed punk-rockers Zeke, known for lead singer Blind Marky's shrieking (and for guitar work that sounds like Motörhead on crack), will be releasing a new album, Death Alley, this summer through Aces & Eights, according to the label's co-owner Danny Bland. "It's ferocious. I've heard a lot of people say it's the best thing they ever did," Bland said of the album, which is being produced by former Black Flag drummer Bill Stevenson (also known for his work with Descendants and All). "With the new bass player [Jeff Matz, a.k.a. "The Kid"], it's a step above anything they've ever done before," continued Bland. "Let's just say they're wearing heavy metal on their sleeve." Jenny Tatone [Thursday, April 5, 2001]
U.S. Release For Sigur Rós' Agaetis Byrjun
Band to kick off first North American tour at Coachella fest
The Icelandic band Sigur Rós' acclaimed second album, Agaetis Byrjun will finally see U.S. release in late April. First released in Iceland in 1999, the album will be the debut release from the new PIAS AMERICA label in association with MCA Records; a favorite of Radiohead fans, it has received praise in publications ranging from Spin to the New York Times. The group will begin a six-date U.S. tour their first on April 28 at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. They'll also play Los Angeles' John Anson Ford Theatre on May 1;, San Francisco's The Fillmore on May 2; Toronto's Palais Royale, May 4; Chicago's Park West, May 6; and New York's Angel Orensanz Center, May 8. [Wednesday, April 4, 2001]