Edited by Michael Goldberg
Free The West Memphis Three, Part Two
Second benefit album being readied for summer 2002
A second Free the West Memphis Three benefit album will arrive during the summer of 2002, if all goes as planned, according to Aces & Eights label co-founder Danny Bland. Bland wouldn't say what artists would contribute to the follow-up, Free the West Memphis Three, Volume Two, but added, "It'll have big artists, though, and it will be primarily hard rock." Co-produced by Supersuckers leader Eddie Spaghetti, last year's compilation included Pearl Jam, Steve Earle, Tom Waits, Supersuckers, Rocket From the Crypt, Kelly Deal and L7. The West Memphis Three Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley are three young men currently imprisoned for the murder of three second-graders in the woods of West Memphis, Tenn. Spaghetti is one of many who believe the young men were wrongfully convicted, and is a longtime supporter of the efforts to free them. The young men are currently appealing their conviction; Spaghetti often visits them in prison, Supersuckers' guitarist Ron Heathman said in an interview last May. Jenny Tatone [Tuesday, April 3, 2001]
New Music From Pigeonhed
Steve Fisk to produce new Heather Duby album
The third album from Pigeonhed, the funky electronic collaboration between Seattle-based producer/composer Steve Fisk and singer/songwriter Shawn Smith, is due this summer on the band's own label, Grace Records, according to Fisk. A prerelease EP featuring three songs from the new album "Rollercoaster," "Mirror Mirror" and "We're Coming Together" is currently available at Pigeonhed.com. "We're mixing [the upcoming album] right now," Fisk said. "I don't have the distance to tell you much about how it differs from previous releases... It's another home-studio record." Heather Duby, whom Fisk produces, will also be releasing an album this summer, following up her excellent 1999 debut Post to Wire. Jenny Tatone [Monday, April 2, 2001]
Make Up's Svenonius Is David Candy
Punk Planet book features Q&As with punk legends
Yes, that is Ian Svenonius, mastermind behind the awesome rock + soul + punk combo the Make Up (and before that, Nation of Ulysses), using the pseudonym "David Candy" on his upcoming side project, Playpower. The seven-song CD, due June 12 on Jetset, was produced by Jeremy Butler (Death by Chocolate) somewhere in England. Jetset says the David Candy sound is "early-Stonesish pop." The songs: "Play Power David Candy Theme," "Incomprehensibly Yours," "Listen to the Music," "Redfuchsiatamborine&gravel," "Bad Bad Boy," "Diary of a Genius" and "Lullaby from Rosemary's Baby." ... The first collection of interviews from Punk Planet has been published by Akashic Books. We Owe You Nothing contains Q&As with Kathleen Hanna, Thurston Moore, Frank Kozik, Ian MacKaye, Jello Biafra, Black Flag, Steve Albini, Sleater-Kinney, Negativland and others. [Thursday, March 29, 2001]
Reunited Television To Play Noise Pop Chicago
Lineup will include Guided By Voices, Goldfrapp, Yo La Tengo
A performance by the reunited mid-'70s New York punk quartet Television will highlight the second annual Noise Pop Chicago music festival. Also appearing: Guided By Voices, the Preston School of Industry (former Pavement member Scott "Spiral Stairs" Kannberg's new band), Pizzicato Five's Yasuharu Konishi, Autechre, Creeper Lagoon, Neko Case, Yo La Tengo, Eleventh Day Dream, Calexico's Joey Burns, Cibo Matto, Goldfrapp, Wagon Christ, Cursive, Damon & Naomi (performing with Kurihara of Ghost), the Bell Rays, Anti-Pop Consortium and more. Like the Noise Pop fest in San Francisco, the Chicago shows will take place at numerous venues around town, including Metro, Empty Bottle, Smart Bar, Park West, Schuba's, Double Door and Centrum. NPC2001 will begin Wednesday, May 9, and conclude Sunday, May 13. Check out the Noise Pop site for more info. [Tuesday, March 27, 2001]
New Ladybug Transistor Album
Brilliant debut from fromer Crackerbush/Jr. High leader
The Ladybug Transistor's highly anticipated fourth studio album, Argyle Heir, will be released on Merge Records (also current home to Spoon) on May 22. The six-member, Brooklyn-based orchestral-pop group sound like the result of a ménage-à-trois involving Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks and Neural Milk Hotel. The 14-song album was co-produced by TLT founder Gary Olson and longtime associate Bill Wells at Olson's Brooklyn studio, Marlborough Farms. Among the songs on Argyle Heir are "Fjords of Winter," "Fires on the Ocean," "Icicles (Going North), "Nico Norte" and "The Reclusive Hero." ... Former Crackerbush/Jr. High leader Sean Croghan's From Burnt Orange To Midnight Blue, the debut from In Music We Trust, is an exquisite work that brings to mind but doesn't sound like the debuts from Elvis Costello and Beth Orton. "Cupid's Credit Card" is an English-punk-meets-new-wave rocker, while "Otis Tolstoy" is blue-eyed soul that can make you cry. The album features former Freewheelers leader Luther Russell guesting on organ and The Minders' Martyn Leaper and Rebecca Cole contributing vocals, drums and keyboards to several tracks... Inside.com reports that MTV is having trouble maintaining its bulbous advertising revenue now that the entertainment corps can't hawk R-rated films to the under-16 set. "Already the cable network, in the midst of preparing for the advertising upfronts later this spring, has started to lose millions of dollars' worth of ads and promotions for recent R-rated movies, including spots for the gory hit 'Hannibal' and a proposed special on the new Brad Pitt-Julia Roberts movie 'The Mexican.'" We're sure they'll think of something. [Tuesday, March 27, 2001]
Lost Modest Mouse Album
Sad, Sappy Sucker finally to see release
The "lost" Modest Mouse album, Sad, Sappy Sucker, will contain 24 songs the 15 that made up the original, previously unreleased album, and another nine bonus tracks. What began as a solo project recorded on a four-track by group founder Isaac Brock became the beginnings of Modest Mouse, according to K Records. Twelve of the songs were recorded by label founder Calvin Johnson at his Dub Narcotic Studio in November 1994; the others are from the same time period. "Due to unforeseen delays, Sad Sappy Sucker was shelved in favor of This Is A Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About(Up Records, 1996)," according to K Records. The album is due in April; those who order it off the K Records site will get it (and a free T-shirt) about two weeks before it's in stores. A free MP3 of one of the album's songs, "Worms vs. Birds," is available at the K Records site. [Friday, March 23, 2001]
Arap Strap's U.S. Tour
Group to tour to promote The Red Thread
Glasgow's Arap Strap hits the states for a 17-date U.S. tour beginning April 3 at Maxwell's in Hoboken, N.J., and wrapping up April 24 at L.A.'s Knitting Factory. The Scottish duo's excellent fourth album, The Red Thread, was released on Matador in late February.
Arap Strap Tour
April 3; Maxwell's; Hoboken, N.J.
April 4; Bowery Ballroom; New York, N.Y.
April 5; Black Cat; Washington, D.C.
April 6; Cat's Cradle; Carrboro, N.C.
April 7; 40 Watt Club; Athens, Ga.
April 9; Fletcher's; Baltimore, Md.
April 10; The Khyber; Philadelphia, Pa.
April 11; Middle East; Cambridge, Mass.
April 12; Casa Del Popolo; Montreal, Quebec
April 13; Lee's Place; Toronto, Ontario
April 14; Shelter; Detroit, Mich.
April 16; Empty Bottle; Chicago, Ill.
April 17; 400 Bar; Minneapolis, Minn.
April 20; Graceland; Seattle, Wash.
April 2223; Bottom of the Hill; San Francisco, Calif.
April 24; Knitting Factory; Los Angeles, Calif.
[Thursday, March 22, 2001]
Mark Lanegan's 'Field Songs' On The Way
Ex-Screaming Trees singer returns with new album, solo tour
Mark Lanegan's fifth solo album, Field Songs, will be released by Sub Pop on May 8th. The collection of 12 intense, minor-key folk-style ballads includes one, "Kimiko's Dream House," that Lanegan co-wrote with ex-Gun Club leader Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Collaborating with Lanegan on the making of the album were Mike Johnson (of Dinosaur Jr. fame) and Ben Shepherd (ex-Soundgarden). Some of the other songs on the album: "One Way Street," "No Easy Action," "Pill Hill Serenade," ""Resurrection Song," "Low," "She Done Too Much" and "Fix." [Monday, Mar. 19, 2001]
New Music From David Byrne
Ex-Talking Head leader moves self and Luaka Bop label To Virgin
Look Into the Eyeball, David Byrne's first new album in over three years, will be released May 8 on Luaka Bob/Virgin. The album features 12 new Byrne compositions, including "The Accident," "Like Humans Do" and "Neighborhood," which Virgin's PR department describes as "Philly soul-inspired," and which features input from Gamble-Huff writer/arranger Thom Bell. Byrne also sings (in Spanish) a song called "Desconocido Soy." This will be the singer's first album released through Virgin. "I had been wondering if there might be a way to include the warm, lyrical, beautiful, emotional sounds and associations of strings and orchestral parts with groove music and beats for the body," Byrne said in a statement. "I want to move people to dance and cry at the same time." [Friday, Mar. 16, 2001]
Wilco For Summer?
'Heavy Metal Drummer' will 'likely' make the grade
The tentative title for the next Wilco album is "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel," according to a source close to the band. The bandmembers have been producing themselves, recording at their loft studio in Chicago. Many songs have been recorded, but the track listing has not yet been solidified. The group's last album, Summer Teeth, was released two years ago. According to our source, "Heavy Metal Drummer," a song bandleader Jeff Tweedy has been performing, will "likely be on the album." The album could be out by mid-July, or "early August at the latest." Don't expect the new one to sound like Summer Teeth, though. "The idea on this record is maybe have a lot more holes of landscape for people to get inside," Tweedy told Spin. "We all get really bored with things quickly. What we made then is almost the opposite of what we think sounds good now." ... Sparks will surely fly on Thursday, March 15, when Henry Rollins appears on the Howard Stern Show from 8:309:30 AM. [Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2001]
C Average, Sarah Dougher Go Yo Yo A Go Go
Bonus tracks for Black Box Recorder CD
Twenty-three artists have signed on thus far to appear at this year's Yo Yo A Go Go music festival. C Average, Sarah Dougher, the Microphones, Gene Defcon and Internal/External are just some of the artists joining such previously announced performers as The Need, The Gossip, Mountain Goats, Mirah and Space Ballerinas. The Yo Yo fest takes place at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, Wash. from July 1721. Other new additions: Serum Greys, Tracy and the Plastics, The Thrones, the Lords of Lightspeed, Tennessee Twin, Barcelona DC and Dead Moon. ... Two additional songs, "Start As You Mean to Go On" and "Brutality" will appear on the U.S. version of Black Box Recorder's second album, The Facts of Life, which will finally see U.S. release March 20th by Jetset Records. ... Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the excellent debut album by the group of the same name, will be released in the U.S. on April 3. ... As far as photographers go, 84-year-old Louis Faurer, who died on March 2 in Manhattan, wasn't exactly a household name. Those who knew of him, knew him for his street photography, although he did fashion work for such magazines as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. For the catalog of a 1981 exhibit of his work at the University of Maryland he wrote (as quoted the other day in the New York Times): "My eyes search for people who are grateful for life, people who forgive and whose doubts have been removed, who understand the truth, whose enduring spirit is bathed by such piercing white light as to provide their present and future with hope." [[Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2001]
Tom Verlaine, John Doe Do Kristofferson
Tribute will also feature Mark Kozelek, Edith Frost, Jon Langford
Legendary guitarist and Television bandleader Tom Verlaine has recorded a version of "The Hawk" for the Kris Kristofferson tribute album Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down, which will launch Nick Tangborn's new San Francisco-based label, Filthy Records, this summer. Verlaine's contribution is "spare and atmospheric, with [his] trademark guitar sound and soft, brooding vocals," says Tangborn. Other artists contributing include former X co-leader, solo artist and film star John Doe ("Me and Bobby McGee"), The Mekons' Jon Langford ("Help Me Make It Through the Night"), Hannah Marcus and Mark Kozelek ("Lights of Magdala"), Kelly Hogan with Edith Frost, Nora O'Connor and Andrew Bird ("Why Me") and Chuck Prophet ("Loving Her Was Easier"). Why a Kristofferson tribute? Explains Tangborn: "One, he's one of the most influential country singer/songwriters of all time, seeing how he really introduced more adult themes into the clean-shaven world of country. And his songwriting talents are totally under-appreciated outside of record hounds and trad country aficionados these days. Two, I wanted to hear how all of these artists would interpret these songs; Chuck Prophet, for instance, was a no-brainer to do 'Loving Her Was Easier.' Hell, he even sounds like Kristofferson occasionally same deep growl but I knew he'd put his own stamp on the tune.... Three, I'm a huge fan." [Monday, Mar. 12, 2001]
R.E.M. MP3 Preview: 'Imitation Of Life'
Excerpt from upcoming single on REMHQ site
R.E.M. have placed an MP3 excerpt (about 50 seconds) from their upcoming single, "Imitation of Life," on their REMHQ site. "Imitation of Life" is one of the tracks on their forthcoming album, Reveal, due out in May. The new song is classic R.E.M., with jangly guitar, a propulsive rhythm, surging organ and a beautiful Stipe vocal. Reveal track listing: "The Lifting," "I've Been High," "All the Way to Reno (You're Gonna Be A Star)," "She Just Wants to Be," "Disappear," "Saturn Return," "Beat A Drum," "Imitation of Life," "Summer Turns to High," "Chorus and the Ring," "I'll Take the Rain," "Beachball." [Friday, Mar. 9, 2001]
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Debut Due
John Oswald's 69 Plunderphonics 96 box set on the way
Datastream: Keep an eye out for the debut album from the San Francisco-based Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (B.R.M.C.), due for release later this year. The self-titled album is a glorious, sometimes noisy mix of Brit-pop and Brit-punk influences, new and old. While "Awake" could be some long-lost early Pink Floyd psychedelia, "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'N' Roll (punk song)" rages along like an amped-up Jesus and Mary Chain track. "I fell in love with a sweet sensation," goes the chorus. "I gave my heart to a simple chord/ I gave my soul to a new religion/ Whatever happened to you?/ What ever happened to our rock 'n' roll?" ... On March 21 John Oswald will unleash 69 plunderphonics 96, a two-CD retrospective box set. A 44-page hardcover book that comes with the set includes a 30,000 word interview with Oswald, in which he explains the "process and the cultural and historical context" of the material. The 60-song set is drawn from a 25-year period (hence the title); Oswald has spent the past two years working on it at his "sonic research facility." [Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2001]
Napster Feels The Pain
Judge issues new injunction against file-swapping service
Napster's days of providing unlimited access to major label-controlled music are over. Federal District Court Judge Marilyn Patel issued an injunction late Monday night (March 5) against Napster, requiring the company to block copyrighted files once the copyright holders provide Napster with specific, detailed information about the songs. The record companies holding the copyrights will not only be able to block already-released songs, but can provide Napster with song info prior to release to prevent music fans utilizing the service from sharing the songs. Already, other file-sharing sites have begun spamming music lovers with info about their services. Dharmata Public Relations sent out a mass email Tuesday that began, "With the law coming down on Napster where is everyone looking to go? ipingpong is the place to conduct their digital music transactions legally, within the ipingpong environment." [Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2001]
R.E.M. Shoot Video
Garth Jennings directs clip for "Imitation of Life."
R.E.M. have been shooting a video for "Imitation of Life," a song from their upcoming album, Reveal, which will be released in May, according to the band's REMHQ site. Garth Jennings (Blur, Supergrass, Pulp, Fatboy Slim, Badly Drawn Boy, The Eels) is directing. "Let's just say it is a cross between a dance party, a Rube Goldberg contraption, a sprint, and a giant colorful jigsaw puzzle with a heavy math component," writes R.E.M. manager Bertis Downs in an REMHQ "dispatch." Other tracks set for the album: "The Lifting," "I've Been High," "She Just Wants to Be," "Saturn Return," "Disappear," "Chorus and the Ring," and "Fascinating." [Friday, Mar. 2, 2001]
Jane's Addiction Reform (Again)
Pioneering 'alternative' band to headline Coachella Fest
Jane's Addiction will regroup this year to headline the one-day Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, April 28, 2001 at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, CA (south of L.A.). The reformed Jane's Addiction will once again feature Flea on the bass guitar. Also performing: Weezer; Fatboy Slim; The Roots; Roni Size Reprazent; Gangstarr; Ozomatli; Mos Def; Kruder & Dorfmeister; Iggy Pop; Tricky; St. Germain; Dandy Warhols; Photek; Blonde Redhead; Jason Bentley; Del Tha Funky Homosapien; Souls of Mischief; Aceyalone; Smith & Mighty; Dieselboy; DJ sets by the Chemical Brothers and Richard D. James (AKA Aphex Twin); and loads more. For info head over to the Coachella site. [Thursday, Mar. 1, 2001]
Pernice Brothers Album Has A Title
No more cover songs from Kozelek at least for now
The next Pernice Brothers album will be called The World Won't End. It's due June 5 on Ashmont Records, the new label owned by Joe Pernice and his manager, Joyce Linehan. Recorded at Pernice's home studio, the 11-song album was produced by Pernice and producer/engineer/musician Thom Monahan. Monahan also co-produced Big Tobacco, last year's superb solo album by Pernice. Many of the musicians who performed on previous Pernice albums 1998's Overcome by Happiness, 2000's Chappaquiddick Skyline and Big Tobacco are on the new one, according to Linehan. ... Don't expect another album of Red House Painters leader Mark Kozelek singing other artists' songs. The singer/songwriter said that after producing the John Denver tribute album and doing two solo CDs of covers, he's gotten that out of his system. Kozelek said he hopes the Red House Painters will record another album once they finish touring behind their upcoming album, Old Ramon. [Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2001]
'Concept Album' Features GBV, Malkmus, Grandaddy
Chris Slusarenko's epic also includes R. Meltzer-penned liner notes
Don't ask how he managed to pull it off, but Chris Slusarenko's "concept album," Colonel Jeffrey Pumpernickel, to be released on Slusarenko's own Off Records, features new material written and recorded for the album by get this Guided By Voices, Stephen Malkmus, Quasi, Mary Timony, Howie Gelb, Minus 5 and Grandaddy. Not to mention the Black Heart Procession, two members of the Make Up going by the name Weird War, Lou Barlow, Russell Pollard going by Sentridoh and more. Plus liner notes by the legendary (and now former) rock crit Richard Meltzer, who describes the album as "...a whale of an object a veritable shitload (pardon my French) of sonic oo-poo-pa-doo w/ lyrics..." If you like some of the above-named artists, you'll probably love Colonel Jeffrey Pumpernickel, due March 20. We did ask Slusarenko, via email, how he managed to pull it off, and he responded: "It was just an idea I had been sitting on for a couple years. I kind of assumed someone else would beat me to it. So on a whim I made up some vague chapters for this character, Colonel Jeffrey Pumpernickel, and showed it to a few friends (Joe Sacco, Sam Coomes and Charlie Campbell) and I was really surprised at how enthusiastic their response was. It just gave me the confidence to start cold-calling the other artists and musicians that became involved. I'm still in awe that I convinced them to collaborate on the project. I think a lot of the artists were relieved to be working on a project unlike anything they had done before. It wasn't a typical compilation or tribute album where they could just throw me whatever tracks couldn't even make b-sides. They had to look at the whole story and work in a more abstract manner since none of them got to hear the others' music until it was done. I was a bit worried that it might be overly laborious for some but the consensus was that it was a blast to work on." And there you have it. [Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2001]