Edited by Michael Goldberg

  Nick Cave Album, Tour

New owners for The Wire

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' next album is titled No More Shall We Part and will be released April 10. It's been four years since Cave and company's last album of new material, The Boatman's Call. Produced by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Tony Cohen at Abbey Road Studios last fall, the new album's 12 songs include the title track, "As I Sat Sadly by Her Side,' "God Is in the House," "Gates to the Garden" and "Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow." Anna and Kate McGarrigle guest on several songs. On first listen, No More Shall We Part comes across as a powerful, emotionally rich work. Cave will play a handful of U. S. dates in March. He's at Chicago's Park West March 22 and 23, L.A.'s Wiltern March 25, San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts March 26 and 27, Denver's Paramount Theater March 28 and Seattle's Paramount Theater March 29. ... The February issue of our favorite music magazine, The Wire, contains an editorial entitled "Declaration of Independence," signed by the new owners of the magazine, who also happen to be the six current full-time staff members. "Ownership of The Wire by the people who actually work to produce the thing month in, month out represents the best possible news for both the magazine and its readers," they write." ...We remain committed to a global perspective on the music of our time; our content is never driven by PR or the bottom line; and we refuse to underestimate the intelligence of our readers." The Wire consistently covers important, though often not popular, artists. [Monday, Feb. 26, 2001]

Early Spoon Album Release

Strong debut from Miss Ludella Black

The new Spoon album, Girls Can Tell isn't officially due until March. Guess what? It's already in record stores. From the dope cover art (a record spinning) on the outside to the glorious power-pop on the inside, you are advised to seek this album out. Like right now. ... Fans of both '60s "girl group" rock and punk will appreciate Miss Ludella Black's She's Out There on the Damages Goods label, which mixes covers of songs first sung by the Troggs, the Shangri-Las, Brenda Lee and Irma Thomas with originals by Black's guitarist, Micky Hampshire. [Friday, Feb. 23, 2001]

No Surprises At The Grammys

Steely Dan, U2 win; Eminem a letdown

At least it's amusing that Steely Dan's Two Against Nature and their song "Cousin Dupree" won Grammys — the lyrics to their most recent songs include some not-exactly-ready-for-prime time material. The late William Burroughs is having a good laugh somewhere. Predictably, though, the most recent album from Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, while interesting, never reaches the same level as their '70s masterpieces, which included Katy Lied and The Royal Scam. Now that the Dan are making albums again and know that there is an audience for their new music, will they dig in and return with something exceptional? One can only hope. ... For U2 to grab a bunch of Grammys in 2001 seems a bit redundant. "Beautiful Day" is a decent enough song, but even Bono seemed slightly embarrassed that it won "Song of the Year." But then, that's business as usual for the Grammys. ... That much-hyped Eminem and Elton performance was no big deal, kinda boring really. ... There were a few worthwhile moments during the three-hour spectacle: Their performance of "Say My Name" proved Destiny's Child a talent worthy of more attention, but what's going on with Macy Gray? She didn't appear to be all there. That made for some great theater, but one can't help worrying about her. Moby was all there, though. Assisted by Jill Scott and Blue Man Group, he turned in a fascinating performance of "Natural Blues." [Thursday, Feb. 22, 2001]

Online Music From The Apples In Stereo

Björk Album, Acetone tour

The Apples in Stereo have released an online-only live album, Live in Chicago. The MP3 album, which includes a cover of the Beach Boys' "Heroes & Villains," is available exclusively at the EMusic site. Also at Emusic is a free MP3 download from The Donnas, a cover of Alice Cooper's "School's Out (for Summer)". ... The title of Björk's next album, due May 22, will be Vespertine, not Domestika, according to SonicNet. Songs on the album include "Harm of Will," "Cocoon," "Hidden Place" and "It's Not Up to You." The album mixes pop music with classical elements, or "orchestrated things," as Björk put it to a New York Times reporter. The album includes contributions from the San Francisco-based electronic duo Matmos. Björk plans some shows with an orchestra and choir in the spring. ... Acetone, who recently released the excellent York Blvd., are set for a brief six-city West Coast tour in March with the North Mississippi Allstars. They play Richards on Richards in Vancouver, B.C., on March 6; the Showbox in Seattle March 7; Berbatis Pan in Portland, OR, March 8; Wild Duck Music Hall in Eugene, OR, March 9, Slim's in San Francisco March 10–11; and wrap up in L.A. at the Roxy on March 12. [Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2001]

Tram Cover Buckley

SonicNet gets a facelift; debut album from Mount Florida

Tram's second album is called Frequently Asked Questions. It includes a beautiful version of Tim Buckley's "Once I Was," produced by John Parish, who plays slide guitar on it. Tram are part of the ambient folk-rock movement that includes Low, Songs: Ohia and Mark Kozelek. ... That new Yahoo!/portal-style home page over at SonicNet is a major improvement. Cool selection of recent reviews too. Now if they could just kill that lame "Me Music. It's Mine." tagline. ... Sound manipulator M. P. Lancaster and the DJ known as Twitch record as the Glasgow-based Mount Florida. Their debut, Arrived Phoenix, is a sonic journey that finds them utilizing field recordings, live musicians and other sound sources to winsome ends. [Monday, Feb. 19, 2001]

Black Box Recorder Album To Get U. S. Release

Worthy albums from Ladytron, Sigur Ros

Black Box Recorder's brilliant second album The Facts of Life, one of our favorite albums of 2000, will finally see a U.S. release by Jetset Records on March 20th. We've been known to describe the Black Box Recorder sound as "ethereal mood music, at times slightly sinister." ... Ladytron's 604, a 16-track electro-pop extravaganza, is just out on Emperor Norton Records, and quite excellent. Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo provide the often-deadpan vocals and some of the electronics; Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu provide the rest of the sounds. Some of the songs are about relationships gone askew, or just gone dead. ... And if you haven't already gotten the word about the moody Icelandic combo Sigur Ros' Agaetis Byrjun, we can tell you that it's worth the import price. [Friday, Feb. 16, 2001]

Gnutella: Bad News For The Music Biz

And Napigator could extend Napster's life

The best article about Napster I've seen thus far ran in the New York Times on Wed., Feb. 14 in the Living Arts section. Jon Pareles laid out, quite eloquently, why a defeat for Napster is a defeat for the music business. Pareles thinks that when Napster users move on to an application such as Gnutella (which runs on a decentralized network of computers), they'll like what they find, and there's no company for the Recording Industry Association of America to sue. He notes that by using a version of Gnutella called "BearShare – GNUTELLA" you can access not only music but video clips and photographs. "When I typed 'Britney' into Napster," writes Pareles, "I gained access to all sorts of recordings: Britney Spears's hits, parodies of her songs, homemade collages and audio snippets like the temper tantrum she broadcast through an open microphone at the Rock in Rio festival. But BearShare, unlike Napster, doesn't just list MP3 files. BearShare also gives access to official video clips and photographs, news outtakes and pornographically doctored pinups, one certified as 'best fake on the Internet.' As it drives users from Napster, which has only traded music, to broader, more ungovernable file-swapping software, the recording business may wish it had quit fighting while it was behind." Over at called, a site with info about file sharing programs, I found this posting about a program called Napigator: "SO NAPIGATOR WILL MAKE NAPSTER WORK FOREVER? Well, maybe not forever, but Napigator WILL make Napster work for a long time after Napster is shut down. As long as there are networks such as 'Opennap' and 'MyNap' being hosted on computers, and by small companies around the world, Napigator will make sure that you can connect to them with Napster. We all know that the court process is VERY slow, so by the time they shut down ONE network, another one will no doubt rise in its place!" Very interesting. [Thursday, Feb. 15, 2001]

Spoon Road Trip

Power-pop group to tour prior to release of Girls Can Tell

The new Spoon album, Girls Can Tell, is the perfect mix of rock and pop. The album includes the amazing "Everything Hits At Once," which in better days would be all over the radio. Some of the other tracks: "Believing Is Art," "Anything You Want," "Take the Fifth," "Chicago At Night" and the lovely "Me and the Bean." The album arrives in March, but meanwhile the group is taking it to the streets.

Spoon Tour

Feb. 17; Atlanta, GA; Echo Lounge
Feb. 19; Jacksonville, FL; Jack Rabbits
Feb. 20; St. Petersburg, FL; State Theater
Feb. 21; Orlando, FL; Sapphire
Feb. 22; Tallahassee, FL; Club Down Under
Feb. 23; Athens, GA; 40 Watt Club
Feb. 24; Carrboro, NC; Cat's Cradle
Feb. 27; Austin, TX; Mercury
Mar. 2; Los Angeles, CA; Spaceland
Mar. 3; San Francisco, CA; Great American Music Hall
Mar. 5; Portland, OR; Meow Meow
Mar. 6; Seattle, WA; Crocodile
Mar. 7; Boise, ID; Neurolux
Mar. 9; Denver, CO; 15th St. Tavern
Mar. 10; Lawrence, KS; The Bottleneck

[Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2001]

Trippin' To The Acetone Sound

Low-keyed rock trio's fourth album a winner

No surprise that the sometimes spacey, sometimes ragged, sometimes countrified L. A.-based guitar trio Acetone are signed to Neil Young and his manager's Vapor Records label. Their fourth album, York Blvd., may have been released last year, but you probably missed it. The sometimes-languid rhythms, occasional tonal coloration of a steel guitar and slacker vocals are surprisingly compelling. Sometimes York Blvd. is reminiscent of Wilco's debut, which is, perhaps, a way of saying that there's a bit of early Neil Young and Crazy Horse in these tracks. We're enchanted by "19," but the album's highlight is probably "Stray." But then you might prefer another of the album's 10 mesmerizing tracks. [Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2001]

Bad News For Napster

Service must stop copyright infringement by users

Napster must stop its users from sharing copyrighted song files, the 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday, Feb. 12. However, the company can keep operating until a lower court revises the injunction it issued last fall. For music fans, the days of logging on to Napster, typing in, say, "Beatles" or "Limp Bizkit," and getting instant access to those artists' songs at no cost will end faster than you can say Shawn Fanning. Napster claims 50 million people have been using its service in recent weeks. A lot of music fans are mad as hell and not gonna take it. Freenet anyone? [Monday, Feb. 12, 2001]

Re-formed Soft Boys Tour, Album

Jurassic 5 do the West Coast

A re-formed version of the Soft Boys, including founding members Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberley Rew, will play shows in a handful of cities in March and April. The tour will coincide with the March 17 release of a new version of the English psychedelic-pop group's 1980 album, Underwater Moonlight. The new version will include nine of what Matador calls "bonus tracks" plus a second CD of "rehearsal recordings." The touring band will also include Morris Windsor and Matthew Seligman, current members of Hitchcock's band, Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians. Confirmed shows include one at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern on March 28, San Francisco's Fillmore on April 7 and L.A.'s Knitting Factory April 9. ... Jurassic 5, the excellent MC/DJ crew whose Quality Control was a 2000 hip-hop highlight, will be headlining a handful of West Coast club shows this month. The five-member crew plays Santa Cruz's Palookaville Feb. 20, Humboldt State's Arcata Feb. 21, San Francisco's Maritime Hall Feb. 22, Santa Barbara's Club 634 Feb. 24 and San Diego's 4th & B'way Feb. 25. [Monday, Feb. 12, 2001]

Bright Eyes On Tour

IUMA funding pulled, Napster ruling on the way

Bright Eyes have hit the road: they play Chicago's Empty Bottle with Son, Ambulance on Friday, Feb. 9, then head to the 400 Bar in Minneapolis for shows (also with Son, Ambulance) Saturday, Feb. 10 and Sunday, Feb. 11. All the tour dates, including a Noise Pop show in San Francisco with Mark Eitzel and Azure Ray, can be found at the Saddle Creek records site. The collaborative CD, Oh Holy Fools: The Music of Son, Ambulance and Bright Eyes is out now. ... Cursive are rapping up a new EP which should be available by the summer. Their last album, Domestica, was quite amazing. ... We were sorry to hear that the Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA) has lost its EMusic funding, and has had to stop accepting new artists. IUMA, founded in 1993, was the first music Web site, and from day one featured free downloadable tracks by unknown artists. EMusic spokesperson Steve Curry told the Los Angeles Times, "It's pretty clear that sites for unsigned artists, where the ultimate goal is to get them signed ... [don't make] a whole lot of sense anymore in this economic climate." IUMA has been looking for new funding. ... The Napster ruling will come down Monday, February 12, and be made public at 11 A.M. (Pacific Time), according to a note on the Web site of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. [Friday, Feb. 9, 2001]

Blonde Redhead, Aislers Set Join Noise Pop Lineup

Grandaddy forced to cancel appearance

Joining an already ambitious lineup for the ninth Noise Pop fest are Blonde Redhead, the Aislers Set, the Orange Peels, Action Slacks, Damien Jurado, Vue and Preston School of Industry (with ex-Pavement singer/songwriter Scott "Spiral Stairs" Kannberg). Artists previously announced include Fastbacks, Minus 5, White Stripes, Girls Against Boys, Spoon, Mark Eitzel, Superchunk, Young Fresh Fellows, 764-Hero, Zen Guerrilla, Beulah, Oranger and the Bell Rays. Grandaddy, originally scheduled to perform, have had to cancel "due to recuperation time needed for a recurring knee problem suffered by lead singer Jason Lytle," according to a Noise Pop press release. You'll find the schedule of who's playing where and when at the Noise Pop site. [Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2001]

The End Of The Afghan Whigs

Dulli to pursue solo career

The Afghan Whigs have called it quits, according to their label, Columbia Records. Leader Greg Dulli is already working on a second solo album, the follow-up to last year's superb Twilight As Played By the Twilight Singers. The Whigs were together for 14 years, recording six albums, including their critically acclaimed masterpiece, Gentlemen, as well as 1965 and Black Love. The problem, according to a label press release, was "geographical distance" between the bandmembers. Dulli was in L.A., bassist John Curley and drummer Michael Horrigan were in Cincinnati and guitarist Rick McCollum was in Minneapolis. In a statement released to the media, the group said of its years together, "It was a blast." [Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2001]

J. J. Cale Live Album

More on the Red House Painters

J. J. Cale Live, J. J. Cale's first new album since 1996's Guitar Man, will be released on Virgin's Back Porch label in May. The live recordings are from Cale's last tour, which also took place in '96. There's a solo performance of "After Midnight," with Cale's band backing him on "Old Man," "Money Talks," "Riverboat Song," "13 Days," "Magnolia," "Cocaine" and others. ... Recording for the upcoming Red House Painters' album, Old Ramon, began in the fall of '97 and concluded just before the summer of '98. At the time the group was signed to a subsidiary of Island Records. With the merger of Island owner Polygram and Universal, the Red House Painters were one of many that lost their contract. The album, which Sub Pop is releasing on April 17, finds the Red House Painters in top form. Among many highlights is band leader Kozelek's gentle but intense ballad, "Cruiser." And then there's "River," an 11-plus minute epic inspired by Neil Young's "Down By the River" that you'll wish never ended. [Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2001]

Amy Ray's Punk Side

Björk plans to keep focus on music

Indigo Girl Amy Ray's solo album Stag features collaborations with some cool punk bands, the Butchies and the Rock*A*Teens, along with a track recorded with Joan Jett, the Breeders' Josephine Wiggs and Luscious Jackson's Kate Schellenbach. The album is out March 6 on Ray's own Daemon label. "The songs on Stag deal frankly with my confrontations with the oppressive elements of the music industry, my frustrations with imposed standards of gender all around us, and the shortcomings I see in myself," writes Ray in a statement sent out to the media with advance copies of the album. "... The music that I kept coming back to was the music that came out unlabored and spontaneous and organically rebellious. The heart of this record is in that rebellion and in a certain spirit of recovery I have found in the South, and in that southern punk ethic — subversiveness with a smile." ... Björk's next album will be her last to mix pop music with classical elements, or "orchestrated things," as she put it to a New York Times reporter. She also says that once was enough, in terms of her movie-star turn. "It is important to place the heart in the right place," she said, indicating that her focus is now back on music. "One of the things I felt, although I loved working on the film [Lars von Trier's "Dancer in the Dark"], was that in a way I was wasting time. I was born to do music. This time, in this movie, I was innocent, and it was fine. But you cannot be innocent the second time around." [Monday, Feb. 5, 2001]

'Guitarry' Sound For New Order

Tom Waits, PJ Harvey help out Sparklehorse

New Order's next album is "a lot more guitarry" than previous releases, drummer Stephen Morris told England's New Musical Express. The as-yet-untitled album, which they expect to release in the fall, will be the group's first in eight years; their last collection of new material was 1993's Republic. Morris said they've given the Chemical Brothers a track to work on. "We've sent them a track and they're doing what they do.... It's virtually finished but let's see what they do." He said one new song is titled "60mph" and another is called "Crystal." ... Sparklehorse's third album, tentatively titled King of Nails, will feature appearances by Tom Waits, PJ Harvey and the Cardigans' Nina Persson, according to Harvey sings and plays piano on "Eye Pennies." Producing the album is David Fridmann, who has worked with Flaming Lips and Mogwai. [Friday, Feb. 2, 2001]

More AC/DC Covers From Mark Kozelek

The Gossip, The Need to play Yo Yo A Go Go

Mark Kozelek continues his AC/DC fixation with a new album on Badman Records, What's Next to the Moon. The new release features beautifully played acoustic interpretations of 10 AC/DC songs, including "Up to My Neck in You," "Bad Boy Boogie," "Walk All Over You," "I Want Blood" and "Rock 'N' Roll Singer." This is the follow-up to Kozelek's EP, Rock 'N' Roll Singer, which featured different versions of three songs that appear on the new album. Of course you know, since we previously reported it, that Kozelek has re-formed the Red House Painters, and that their new album, Old Ramon, will be out on Sub Pop April 17. ... Artists currently set to play the fourth Yo Yo A Go Go fest in Olympia, Wash. July 17–21 include The Gossip, The Need, Mountain Goats, Mirah, Rebecca Pearcy, CO CO, Evaporators, The Cannanes & Stewart, and Space Ballerinas. More to come. [Thursday, Feb. 1, 2001]

January 2001

Fourth Yo Yo A Go Go Fest A Go!

Arab Strap return with The Red Thread

The fourth Yo Yo A Go Go music festival takes place at the Capitol Theater at the center of the musical universe — uh, we mean Olympia, Wash. — July 17–21. The festival will coincide with Lakefair, an annual carnival on the shores of Olympia's Capitol Lake; according to the folks at Yo Yo Records it's "the world's coolest gathering of punks, beatniks, riot grrls, and misfits of all stripes." Such artists as Beck, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Sleater-Kinney, the Halo Benders, Jad Fair and Elliott Smith have played previous fests ... The fourth Arab Strap album, The Red Thread, will see the light of day Feb. 27. With Aidan Moffat singing in a Scottish accent thicker than the San Francisco fog, and his longtime buddy Malcolm Middleton on guitar, Arab Strap make dark, moody and oddly beautiful music. You'll have a time deciphering the lyrics, which are apparently about romantic disillusionment, sex and obsession, among other things. Songs on The Red Thread include "Amor Veneris," "Love Detective," "Haunt Me" and "Turbulence." [Wednesday, January 31, 2001]

Pernice Brothers Complete Album

Action Slacks release CD, prepare to tour

Joe Pernice is mixing the next Pernice Brothers album, an as-yet-untitled collection of his heartbreaking, country-tinged pop songs that should see release by early summer. The album will be the first on Pernice's new label, Ashmont Records, which he's formed with his manager, Joyce Linehan. Recorded in Pernice's new home studio, it was produced by Pernice and producer/engineer/musician Thom Monahan, who also co-produced Pernice's solo album of last year, the superb Big Tobacco. 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. Pernice will play a handful of solo shows in Ireland and London in February; no U. S. dates have been scheduled yet. ... "I don't want to work for anyone" is the opening line of Action Slacks' excellent third album, The Scene's Out of Sight, and it's a sentiment I'm sure most of us can relate to. "There's no time there's no time for fun" continues singer/songwriter Tim Scanlin. Scanlin used to work in my editorial department at SonicNet, so when he sings, "I swear some nights it feels like I could fall right down," I know, personally, just what a burnout the job could be. The new album, produced by J. Robbins (formerly of Jawbox, currently of Burning Airlines) is a rocking power-pop affair. Action Slacks are on the Noise Pop bill with Superchuck and Spoon for a March 3 show at Bimbo's in San Francisco. They'll be touring with Girls Against Boys soon. [Tuesday, January 30, 2001]

Kristin Hersh Solo Album On The Way

Singer/songwriter offers monthly downloads to subscribers

Kristin Hersh's fifth solo album, Sunny Border Blue, will be released by 4AD/Beggars Group on March 6th. The album was produced by Throwing Muses co-founder Hersh, who wrote all the songs save one (Cat Stevens' "Trouble"), played all the instruments (except the drums on "Trouble"), and produced the album in a converted horse stable not far from her home in Rhode Island. The songs are pure Kristin Hersh — sometimes the music is intimate and folksy but the lyrics tough ("How many times can you get fucked/ In how many different ways?" she sings in "William's Cut"), and sometimes the music rocks and the lyrics are even tougher ("I swallowed some bad voodoo/ Caught it in the gut" she sings in "Silica"). Hersh is one of the first artists to institute an online subscription service. Subscribers to her site,, get a new previously-unreleased song each month for a $15 annual fee. Hersh's husband/manager says 3000 fans have subscribed to date. [Monday, January 29, 2001]

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