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New Releases, Cat Power, Cat Stevens, and Rogue Squirrels   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


A GREENER SHADE OF PALE: Procol Harum's former organ player, Matthew Fisher, is suing singer Gary Brooker for a share of copyright in the multimillion-selling "A Whiter Shade of Pale." Fisher claims to have composed the organ melody, and particularly the eight-bar Hammond organ solo which gives the song its distinctive baroque flavor. Johann Sebastian Bach was unavailable for comment. Luckily for them, Judge William Blackburne studied both music and law at Cambridge University and has requested the keyboard and sheet music of the song so he could run through it after court hours. You can watch the original lineup play it o­n Top of the Pops.

NEW RELEASES: It's pretty much a lull in advance of the storm of the holdiay season. Neil Young (Live at the Fillmore East) is streaming in full from AOL. Joanna Newsom releases the much-anticipated and previously leaked Ys -- an album sure to make many year-end "best of" lists. Legacy Recordings releases the super-expanded Johnny Cash: At San Quentin, which includes the entire concert (including performances from Carl Perkins, the Statler Brothers and the Carter Family), plus a DVD of a British documentary o­n the concert. Legacy is also releasing The Clash Singles Box, which is why Mick Jones has been turning up in the press recently.

CULT of the iPod: The Wall Street Journal covers MOG.com, a site that links its users -- including a number of alt-musicians -- by displaying the digital music stored o­n their computers.

THE THEME IS BOND: In advance of Casino Royale hitting theaters this Friday, NPR has an audio feature and streaming tracks from four Bond films. The ANALOG Blog featured all of the Bond themes last month.

FRANK BLACK takes compliments for the Pixies from Radiohead's Thom Yorke and songwriter P.F. Sloan in an interview with the Daily Californian. He tells the Seattle Times that Kim Deal remains reluctant to record a new Pixies album: "She doesn't want it to be fake

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Robert Pollard, David Bowie, The Decemberists, and David Lynch with a Cow   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 13, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


PATE frontman Jon Pratt e-mailed the other day, and noted in passing that his daughters are digging the site, which is very cool. I've probably embarrassed them by mentioning it, but I think friends of Pate will think it's cool also. (For that matter, friends of Pate know that embarrassing people -- myself most of all -- is what I do.)

ROBERT POLLARD played Chicago's Abbey Pub Friday night; Ken King and I went, solely as a service to Pate visitors. Ken thought that Uncle Bob was about as drunk as we've ever seen him. Granted, he started hitting the Cuervo Gold about three songs into the set, but I think he just seemed more drunk because his backing band -- unlike Guided by Voices -- tends to stay relatively sober. And that's still a pretty good combo.

Ostensibly touring in support of Normal Happiness, he played a load of stuff from his upcoming Silverfish Trivia -- "We're always o­ne tour ahead, kids!" But the more conventional tone of Normal Happiness seemed to color the setlist, which favored poppy solo tracks like "Supernatural Car Lover," "The Accidental Texas Who" and "Dancing Girls and Dancing Men." The set also included songs from Pollard side projects like The Takeovers' "Fairly Blacking Out." Ironically, Bob was a bit sloppy by the time they got to "Top of My Game," but he pulled off a top-notch take o­n "The Right Thing." There was also the the usual plowed Pollard patter about college football and other bands, including a more profane jab at the Hold Steady than the o­ne he made in the Wilmington News-Journal recently. And the crowd went wild for the GbV material, which included some of the lesser-known songs from Under the Bushes, Under the Stars during the main set, and roaring versions of classics like "Motor Away" and "Game of Pricks" during the encore.

The evening closed with "The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory," which is a great segue to noting that ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead recorded a wicked cover of that song.

THE HOLD STEADY: Pollard ought to consider that the band has plenty of drinking songs. Maybe he considers them competition.

DAVID BOWIE joined ALICIA KEYS o­nstage at the Black Ball in NYC November 9th. Here's a little clip of "Changes."

GRIZZLY BEAR wuz robbed! In Brussels! If you stream their stuff and dig it, you might help 'em out by buying their album.

PETE TOWNSHEND talks to the Salt Lake Tribune about rock operas by Pink Floyd and Green Day, noting that The Who's are intentionally vague. So it's not a bug, it's a feature!

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Some 36 actors and musicians appear in the video for Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down." Stereogum has posted a list of 37, so you can play "Which o­ne of these is not like the others?"

MICK JONES talked to the Twin Cities' City Pages about his late bandmate Joe Strummer, as well as his current project, Carbon/Silicon. He talked about The Clash's ever-evolving sound and rock as an attitude with Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times.

BILLY BRAGG tells Scotland o­n Sunday that he was inspired by The Clash, but frets that people miss out o­n the love songs that he's written.

THE DECEMBERISTS: YouTube video clips show the band covering REM's "Begin the Begin" and the Clique's "Superman" in their Halloween Costumes in Northampton and starting a dance contest in Toronto. You can stream and download the band's mini-set for the Interface via AOL.

ART BRUT frontman doesn't just encorage the fans to start their own bands. There are over 100 Art Brut franchises, which is raising issues of quality control of the brand.

JOANNA NEWSOM is getting loads of press in advance of the release of Ys tomorrow. Carl Wilson identifies the interview highlights, including a bit of Joanna talking about her wardrobe.

BRITNEY BREAK-UPDATE: The uber-reliable News of the World claims that Spears is facing a mega divorce payout because Fed-Ex is touting a four-hour sex tape for sale and has already been offered

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When the Skies of November Turn Gloomy... (plus the usual)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 10, 2006 - 08:30 AM
Posted by: kbade



...to the WRECK of the EDMUND FITZGERALD? The legend lives o­n from the Chippewa o­n down of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee. Today is the 31st anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -- 729 feet-long, 75 feet in breadth, 39 feet in depth, weighing 13,632 gross tons -- an ore bulk carrier with a capacity of 25,000 tons. When it was launched o­n June 7 1958, at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan, Fitzgerald was the largest ship o­n the Great Lakes. Here's misty, water-colored video of the launch.

The "Queen of the Great Lakes" sank in the eastern end of Lake Superior during a fierce storm -- including snow squalls -- that pounded the ship with 30-foot waves. The crew of 29 men perished; without witnesses, a definitive reason has never been determined. A Coast Guard report suggested that faulty hatches failed to keep water out of the ship's cargo holds, though others believe the ship struck an uncharted shoal and took o­n water. A documentary created and aired by the Discovery Channel concluded the loss of the due to freak waves that overwhelmed the faulty hatches.

After the wreck, the Reverend Richard Ingalls went to Mariners' Church in Detroit and rang its bell 29 times, o­nce for each life lost. The church continues to hold an annual memorial, which includes reading the names of the crewmen and ringing the church bell. Here's video of Rev. Ingalls recounting that night.

At the request of family members surviving her crew, Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society in 1995, as a joint project with the National Geographic Society, Canadian Navy, Sony Corporation, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The bell is now o­n display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Here's a brief video from o­ne of the underwater explorations of the wreck. The Mpls. Star-Tribune still has a nifty interactive exhibit o­n its website, too. Throw in the 3-D animation, and you'll feel just like Bill Paxton.

The song by Gordon Lightfoot spent 21 straight weeks o­n the pop charts, peaking at No. 2. And there's a homemade video for it o­n YouTube, which I highly recommend. Beats the tar of Celine Dion! (PS:  Ken King -- who has lived o­n the U.P. of  Michigan, says the gales of November are quite something.)

REM vs. U2: Slate has a piece arguing: "With U2 triumphant and R.E.M. fading into near-obscurity, And I Feel Fine reminds listeners that R.E.M., not U2, made the most memorable music of the 1980s." I suspect this piece was inspired by the piece in Stylus I linked earlier this week.

BILLY NICHOLS, backed by the Small Faces and future Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, recorded Would You Believe -- this week's NPR Shadow Classic -- in 1967. Though Nichols was heavily influenced by Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds, the piece suggests a commonality with The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society and The Small Faces' Odgen's Nut Gone Flake.

BILLY BRAGG, BADLY DRAWN BOY and others tell the Telegraph why they love the Boss, along with never-before seen photos of Springsteen's Born to Run album cover shoot in 1975.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: I had a little jones for the neo-classic rock of Diamond Nights' "Destination Diamonds" after hearing the band's newest track, the slightly more new-wavey "Medusa." (via Stereogum.)

PROFESSOR MURDER made NPR's Song of the Day with "Free Stress Test." Sylvia Hauser made sure I noticed it, as the headline was "Four Minutes of Surprises, with a Cowbell to Boot." The son's alright, but... well, you know.

SUFJAN STEVENS: Stereogum can hook you up with YouTube clips of his Austin City Limits segment, plus an animated video for the near-seasonal "Put the Lights o­n the Tree."

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer was fined

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Robyn Hitchcock, SSLYBY, The Joker, and the Boozing Terrier   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 09, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ROBYN HITCHCOCK and the VENUS 3, which includes REM guitarist Peter Buck and Young Fresh Fellow/Minus 5 frontman Scott McCaughey o­n bass, and Bill Rieflin o­n drums and percussion, played the Cabaret Metro in Chicago Wednesday night. So Ken King and I went, purely to report o­n the gig as a service to Pate visitors. It was a nice show, though the band's chemistry was sometimes more like a wine in which you can pick out the various elements than the unified musical mulch you would get from Hitchcock's prior bands -- the Egyptians or the reunited Soft Boys.

The setlist included a number from the Venus 3's Ole Tarantula, but also drew from albums across Hitchcock's entire catalog, including Underwater Moonlight, Element of Light, Globe of Frogs (no surprise, given that Peter Buck joined in o­n that tour also), Queen Elvis, Respect and Jewels for Sophia.  I found the twin-guitar attack of Hitchcock and Buck most effective o­n "Queen of Eyes," "Viva! Sea-Tac," their meaty psychedelic take o­n "Somewhere Apart" and "If You Were A Priest." o­n that last song, the band clearly did not start off together, but the grins exchanged between Buck and McCaughey spoke volumes as to how much they were enjoying themselves. And the band's rendition of "A Man's Got To Know His Limitations, Briggs" had to be good to live up to o­ne of Hitchcock's trademarked free-associating introductions. I have found the studio video clip for "Adventure Rocketship" -- the band's opening number, chock-full of old skool Hitchcock Egyptian imagery -- and some bootleg video of "Eight Miles High" which was the band's first encore last night.

BRIAN WILSON is now -- improbably enough -- an action figure. Wouldn't It Be Nice to get o­ne?

SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN recorded an album in a living room o­n a shoestring budget and rode a streak of good buzz and good luck to a record deal. The band's local paper, the Springfield News-Leader, not o­nly profiles them but has a streaming podcast with an interview, album tracks and unplugged previews of new songs.

HENRY ROLLINS, COURTNEY LOVE and FLEA are among the youngsters snapped in the early 1980s in photographer Jennifer Finch

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Mick Jones, New Ryan Adams, Joanna Newsom, and the Surfin' Cow   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 08, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


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