Friday, April 29, 2005

Dutch iPod Tax

According to The Register, there is a proposed tax on MP3 players that could kill the industry there:

A Netherlands proposed tax on MP3 players could devastate sales of hard disk players, and set up international waves over copyright legislation. The tax is being proposed by the Stichting Thuiskopie foundation, and is set to become law in the Netherlands in a few short months unless the European Commission finds a reason to intervene. It is unlikely that will happen, as it has failed to come up with a policy for levy taxation so far.

The idea of all levy based legislation is that some form of copyright collections agency collects tax by imposing a surcharge at the point of sale for any storage devices that could possibly be used to store pirated works. This certainly extends to the iPod which has up to 60 GB of storage, and which can store MP3 files. Because of the fact that the great bulk of iPods are used to store legitimate iTunes files which are Digital Rights Management (DRM) protected, this means that copyright is being purchased twice over for these devices if a levy is also paid.

...In almost every case the organization itself that carries out the collection is lavish and well funded, the proceeds are distributed only to large multinational music publishers, bolstering their revenues unfairly. It is little more than a club of companies that "have a right" to make money. If this legislation comes into play, the surcharge will be as much as €3.28 ($4.3) per gigabyte. This might put €180 ($235) to the price of a top end iPod.
Man, the Netherlands, I thought you were cool. Guess I'll have to start hanging out with Vancouver now.

Done and Done

Over at Jimmy Page's Sweater Vest, there is a link to a great article about remixes of songs done by the original artist for some reason or other. Here's a sample:

Artist: Kiss
What got redone: What hasn't gotten redone?
Why this is wrong: In 1978, Kiss remade 1974's "Strutter" with disco hi-hats, and they haven't looked back since. It has now been five years since they've even trifled with writing new songs, preferring instead to trot out ever-repurposed versions of 30-year-old classics. 1988's Smashes, Thrashes & Hits featured completely rerecorded versions of all their best songs, and a version of "Beth" featuring then-drummer Eric Carr replacing Peter Criss' vocals on the group's highest-charting hit, a song Criss wrote. Last year Kiss re-re-re-infinity-rerecorded most of the same songs with an Australian orchestra. Perhaps in this coming year they will send out robots to tour so they can save money on per diems.

Nashville: Making the Scene

There is an article at Yahoo! about "hard rock" coming from Nashville:

"People are learning that there's more here than just country," said Jerry Work, who plays bass for the metal band Gear Driven and runs a Web site about Nashville's rock scene. "It's all here. You think of it, and it's here."

Kings of Leon are getting the most attention. Composed of brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill and first cousin Matthew, the band landed a record deal with RCA in 2002 and steadily built a following, especially in England, where they're routinely mobbed by fans.

Some in the rock press have dubbed the band "Lynyrd Strokes" because they blend the Southern influences of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers with the garage rock of the Strokes.

...At the other end of the spectrum is Blue Merle, a melodic, moody rock outfit often compared to Coldplay. The group released its debut album "Burning in the Sun" this year on Island Def Jam and will open shows for the Dave Matthews Band and perform at the Bonnaroo music festival this summer.

..."Whenever we talk to radio stations or music people they always bring up the point that the reputation of Nashville is changing," Stapleton said. "They always ask questions or say, 'Hey, I heard there's a really great emerging scene in Nashville - is that true or not? Or they say, 'Hey, I hear there's a lot more than country in Nashville.' I think the reputation is starting to bud nationwide."
I'm not so sure about the whole "scene" business. I think it is more likely that when a band breaks, people go to that town and find the best bands there. It's more of a marketing thing than anything else. I will say that it is better to be in a town like Nashville than New York because it's big enough to support a bunch of bands, but not so big that the bands don't know each other. There's nothing like wanting to crush the band that practices down the street from you to inspire you to be better.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Ray Davies at Isle of Wight

According to, Ray Davies is going to play the Isle of Wight festival. As you may remember, he was shot in 2004 while chasing a mugger in New Orleans. Say "Isle of Wight" but pretend you're saying "Ale of Wait" like someone from Australia. Here are a couple other variations to try: "Aisle of White" and "I Love White."

New Ringo Starr

According to this press release Ringo Starr has a new record coming out:

"'The Long And Winding Road' is more than a song," Ringo Starr sings on the title track of his latest album "Choose Love." And one of the most remarkable things about "Choose Love" is that this far down that long and winding road, Ringo Starr has never sounded more excited and engaged by the music he's making and the message of love that it spreads.

"Choose Love" is full of inspired songs of innocence and experience -- the heartfelt and heartening work of someone who's lived a little and learned a lot. This is rousing, rough and ready rock & roll that lovingly embraces the past, but has its eye very much on our shared future. And it's an album first and foremost about the best choice any of us have -- Love.

"What other choice is there?" Starr asks as he sits at home with Mark Hudson. Hudson is one of his key fellow travelers in the journey of the Roundheads, the loose but tight combo of collaborators -- Hudson, Steve Dudas, Gary Burr and auxiliary Roundhead Jim Cox -- who have worked with Ringo on his recent run of winning albums. For Starr, love is a theme of profound and enduring importance. "From the beginning, the Beatles were saying 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' and 'Love Me Do.' It was all about love and that's still the most powerful message. If you look at the overall picture, the Beatles were about love and what better subject is there really?"

...Though the new album features a few guests, notably Chrissie Hynde on "Don't Hang Up," roots guitarist Robert Randolph on "Fading In, Fading Out" and "Oh My Lord," and Billy Preston on "Oh My Lord," Ringo and the Roundheads are once again at the beating heart of "Choose Love."

... Starr is proud to spread his own good word. "You have to get a lot of experience to get to the point where you can say 'Choose Love' in an honest way," he says. "Life is filled with ups and downs, but in the end it's best filled with love -- that's my conclusion. That it's the best choice any of us have."
There you have it.

Huey Takes the Jammys

There is a review of the Jammys at the New York Times. Here's the part about Sinead O'Connor's performance:

"The most intriguing name on the bill was that of Sinead O'Connor, the brilliant, unpredictable Irish singer and songwriter who is currently preparing to release an album of reggae covers. (She's even dressing the part: she showed up in a Marcus Garvey T-shirt and a red, yellow and green wrist band.) Unfortunately, Ms. O'Connor's performances offered only brief glimpses of what makes her best music so riveting.

She meekly sang along with Mavis Staples, the jam band Umphrey's McGee and the 1980's star Huey Lewis (this 'all-star' business can be tricky) during 'I'll Take You There.' And she reappeared later to join the reggae pioneer Burning Spear for a reggae set that never ignited. After a miscue halfway through, Ms. O'Connor became the night's only performer to utter four particularly un-jam-ish words: 'O.K., let's start again.'"

I don't see why the all-star business is tricky because of Huey Lewis. He is actually a pretty interesting guy, and he did, after all, have a lot of hits. Maybe I'm just oversensitive about it because I saw him when he toured with Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was really amazing. Plus, "Sports" is one of the most Advanced album titles ever. I'm just going to come right out and say it: I like Huey Lewis and the News.

Radio: We Hate Rock'n'Roll

According to the New York Times, radio stations are running away from "new rock" as fast as their corporate-owned feet will carry them:

In the last four months, radio executives have switched the formats of four modern-rock, or alternative, stations in big media markets, including WHFS in Washington-Baltimore area, WPLY in Philadelphia and the year-old KRQI in Seattle. Earlier this month WXRK in New York discarded most newer songs in favor of a playlist laden with rock stars from the 80's and 90's.

..."The format in the last couple of years has gone through an identity crisis," said Kevin Weatherly, program director of KROQ, a closely watched alternative powerhouse in Los Angeles. "You have stations that are too cool, that move too quickly and are only playing the coolest music, which doesn't at the end of the day attract enough of the audience. Or you have the other extreme, dumb rock, red-state rock that the cool kids just flat out aren't into."

...Some analysts fear that, when radio stations switch from alternative rock to programming aimed at older listeners, they may be making a sacrifice. "Radio has ceded the younger demographic to other media," said Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media, a radio consulting company in Southfield, Mich., specializing in rock. "I just don't know how we're going to get back people who didn't get into the radio habit in their teens," he said, adding, "It really becomes problematic down the road."
Radio has been terrible for years, so it's not surprising that people who like good music don't listen to radio. I think the whole concept of formats is a little bit stupid in anything but maybe country and Top 40. Maybe I'm wrong, but people like to shuffle all kinds of music on their iPods, so why wouldn't they want their radio shuffled the same way?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

This Can't Be Santana

According to this report from Yahoo!, Carlos Santana is being sued:

"A former employee of the New Santana Band has accused musician Carlos Santana and his wife of firing him for not being 'closer to God,' according to a wrongful termination lawsuit filed in California. Bruce Kuhlman, 59, said Santana's wife, Deborah, went on a campaign to terminate him after her spiritual guru, 'Dr. Dan,' determined through 'calibration' tests that Kuhlman was too old to become enlightened, the lawsuit, filed on April 13, said.... The lawsuit said Dr. Dan informed Kuhlman during a series of meetings that his 'enlightenment/consciousness level' was low because of his age, and 'that the more enlightened a person was, the closer to God he was and the better employee he was.'"
Hey, that's why I got fired from TCBY!

Advancement Is All Right (If You Like Saxophones)

Here is something amusing from Creem:

"The last in the Virgin reissue series of David Bowie long players are his two live releases from the mid-'70s, David Live which originally came out in 1974 and Stage released in 1978. These new reissues contain remixing, much ProTooling, original track orders and extra songs all eagerly brought to by producer extraordinaire Tony Visconti. Mr. V not only remixed David Live and Stage, he wrote all the liner notes chock full of recollections, explanations, and even a few excuses for what we have been listening to via these eight sides for the last 30 years.

Now Visconti ranks quite high on my all time favorite producer list for too may reasons to go into here… but Tony…what's up with this new David Live mix? I'll tell ya what's up…THE SAXOPHONE!!!! It should be retitled David SANBORN Live. I don't know if its because David Live has been ingrained in my skull since I was 14 years old or it's these crappy headphones but this new mix is sounding kinda funky—but not Young Americans funky if you know what I mean."

I'm pretty sure "kinda funky" equals "Advanced." You almost have to love the saxophone to be Advanced, the more shrill the better.

Captain Caveman

This day in Advancement history (as told by Yahoo!):

In 1981, Ringo Starr and actress Barbara Bach got married. Paul McCartney and George Harrison attended the ceremony.

John Lennon Musical: Please Don't Come to Boston

According to, producers of the John Lennon musical, "Lennon," have canceled scheduled shows in Boston:

"'Starting over may be the wisest approach,' wrote San Jose Mercury News critic Karen D'Souza, ending with a plea: 'Let it be . . . over.' Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle offered a more positive review but said writer/director Don Scardino's 'jukebox musical,' which has nine actors playing Lennon and stitches his songs together in a loosely biographical narrative, 'never fulfills the rich promise that hovers so tantalizingly just beyond its reach.' Pat Craig of the Contra Costa Times declared simply: 'Imagine something awful.'

...The show's creative team has already made some changes and will do more this week, said a New York publicist, Chris Boneau. 'They're going to keep working on how best to tell the story and have it connect with the audience.' "

I think they should turn it into a laser-light show.

Murderer's (Alledged) Row

According to Yahoo!, Canton, Ohio, is naming a street after the O'Jays:

"Councilman Thomas West has proposed renaming a portion of Mahoning Road in tribute to the singing group that got their start in Canton. The council discussed the idea Monday night and could vote next month. One business was concerned that people would think the street was named after Simpson, acquitted of the 1994 murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman. West agreed to change the request to The O'Jays Boulevard instead of O'Jays Boulevard."

The cross streets are Robert Blake Street and Phil Spector Avenue.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Lou Review

You can read my review of the Lou Reed show a couple of weeks ago at

Andre 3000: Practically Perfect in Every Way

According to, Andre Benjamin (3000) is going to star in a musical:

"[Benjamin] has signed on to star in an as-yet-untitled modern-day musical that's being developed by Double Feature Films, the production company behind 'Along Came Polly' and 'Garden State.' According to Variety, Tony-winning 'Avenue Q' wordsmith Jeff Whitty will write the film's script, and Andre has agreed to compose original music for the movie's score. Dre will also be co-producing the project, in which he'll play 'someone with magical powers, who comes into the lives of a family,' reports Variety."

I wonder if he will use an umbrella to fly.

Bill and Bono: BFF

According to Yahoo!, Bono stayed the night with Bill Gates recently:

"Gates, the world's richest man, said he got to know Bono through his work with his philanthropy. Gates said that Irish rocker Bono was staying with him and that the two hung out together after the concert in Seattle. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with an endowment of $28 billion, is the world's biggest charitable organization and aims to improve the health of people in the developing world. 'We're big believers that more needs to be done in developing countries,' Gates said. 'Let me tell you, Bono has had a huge impact.'"

Who says money can't buy you love?

Bono Bugs Paul Martin

According to, Bono is not happy with the prime minister of Canada, Paul Martin, for not keeping his promise to deliver foreign aid:

"The U2 singer said he was 'bewildered' by Paul Martin, claiming he had failed to increase Canada’s aid contributions to the equivalent of 0.7 per-cent of its gross national product, as he had previously promised. 'We were looking for Canada to lead rather than be a laggard,' said Bono in a CBC radio interview. 'This is no time to just turn inward. I know there are problems here at home. But don't lose your focus, Prime Minister, on how history will remember this moment.'"

So please start peeling off those (Canadian) dollar bills and slappin' 'em down: One hundred! Two Hundred! 0.7 of your GNP!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Slint on EBay

I just received this:

Having disbanded at the conclusion of their historic and one-time reunion tour last month, the members of Slint are making select gear they used on the tour available through eBay auction.  Fans of the band can seize this unique opportunity to own their piece of the Slint legacy including guitars played by David Pajo and Brian McMahan.  While none of the items are currently autographed, the band member who used each specific item is willing to sign it upon the request of the winning

Currently available at are:

Brian McMahan's White Fender Telecaster (Item #7318137299)

David Pajo's Black USA Fender Stratocaster (Item #7318190797)

Brian McMahan's Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410 Guitar Amplifier (Item

Custom ATA Tech Workbox (Item #7318182260)
And now, I bid you farewell. I'm off to learn about a new software program, so I might not be back today.

Oh, THAT Lou Reed

There is a site called Poetica, which is affiliateed with the Australian Broadcasting System. On it is some kind of a program about Lou Reed. I can't hear it because it appears to be Mac-unfriendly. But here's a description from the website:

Lou Reed was catapulted to fame as the lead singer and guitarist of The Velvet Underground, frequently described as the most influential rock group of the 1960s. Andy Warhol discovered and produced the band, using them to create a new fusion between the worlds of rock and art. Songs like Heroin created a new rawness in rock music, and without The Velvet Underground, punk music would not have been possible.

After the band’s break up Reed went on to an extraordinary and diverse career as a solo artist, and worked with David Bowie on the legendary album Transformer. This included one of Reed’s most noted compositions - Take a Walk on the Wild Side. This program maps the lyrical highlights of Reed’s career and includes the album co-written and co-produced with John Cale after Warhol’s death. The archetypal New Yorker, Reed claims that his songs are “a shot of the street”.
It's always amusing to read attempts to explain's Lou Reed's significance. I really love reading about superfamous people in the New York Times because they always have to explain who the person is. "Known as the 'King of Rock'n'Roll," Mr. Presley had such hits as 'All Shook Up,' 'That's Alright Mama,' and 'Blue Suede Shoes.' He also appeared in several films..."

Pras (In the Name of Love)

According to, Pras does an interpretation of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For":

"I got Bono's cell number, and I called and asked him," Pras recounts on the San Fernando Valley set of the song's video shoot. "He said, 'Really, my biggest record of all time?' I sent him the idea, he played it for the rest of the band, and they loved it. Bono called me back and said, 'Listen, I've never cleared a record for anyone, but I'm a fan of the Fugees and a fan of you. If this record can help you, go ahead and take it.'"

Somewhere, Negativland is smiling (sarcastically). Oh, and Advanced artists always allow their songs to be covered by hip-hop artists.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ray Davies: Kinda, Gentla?

No, he's just doesn't feel like testifying. Here's the scoop from E!:

Prosecutors in the Big Easy are tired of waiting for Ray Davies. The Kinks frontman says he won't make the transatlantic trip anytime soon to testify against a man alleged to be the getaway driver for a teen who shot Davies during a visit to New Orleans last year. As a result, prosecutors were forced to drop charges against the man, Jerome Barra, and let him go free. "We'll see if we can reinstate the charges once the victim is able to return to New Orleans," District Attorney Eddie Jordan told the New Orleans Times-Picayune this week. "But we do need victims in order to prosecute an armed robbery case."

...According to, the Kinkster's slate includes a festival date Apr. 30 in Belgium. However, his next set of shows does not commence until mid-June, theoretically leaving the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer time to consider a short sojourn back to New Orleans to testify against Barra.

...The dust-up between the rocker and the bandits was ratcheted up when the 60-year-old "You Really Got Me" singer decided to give chase to the unidentified suspect after the youth snatched a purse belonging to Davies' companion while the couple were strolling through the French Quarter.

Once the young man realized Davies was giving chase, he turned and shot the musician in the leg before fleeing the scene, according to New Orleans' finest. Davies had to postpone a series of concert dates last spring as a result of complications stemming from the shooting. The bullet had fractured a bone in Davies' leg. Earlier this year, Davies had an operation in London to remove a titanium rod inserted into his upper leg.
That sounds Kinda Painful.

Setzer Doesn't Stray From Formula

According to, Brian Setzer is busy:

"Stray Cats principal Brian Setzer has set a July 26 release date for his next Surfdog album, 'Rockabilly Riot Vol. One -- A Tribute to Sun Records.' The 23-track set features covers of such tracks as Carl Perkins' 'Blue Suede Shows,' Warren Smith's 'Red Cadillac & a Black Moustache' and Johnny Cash's 'Get Rhythm.'

Setzer is backed on the set by the Nash-Villains, consisting of drummer Bernie Dresel, bassist Mark Winchester and pianist Kevin McKendree. In other news, Setzer is readying another Christmas album, 'Dig That Crazy Christmas,' for an October release via Surfdog. The collection will include new versions of 'Jingle Bell Rock,' 'My Favorite Things' and 'White Christmas,' among others."

Setzer may not be Advanced exactly, but I sure do like him for some reason. I remember think when I first heard the Stray Cats (on HBO's "Video Jukebox") that he had a great voice and that it was too bad his band would never be popular. Shows you what I know, I guess.

California Grass

According to, Loggins and Messina are getting back together:

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina will embark on their first tour as a duo in nearly 30 years with the Loggins & Messina Sittin' in Again Reunion Tour. The outing has about 40 dates on the books, beginning June 24 at the Idaho Center in Boise. The route includes arenas, amphitheaters, casinos and other venues.

In conjunction with the tour, Columbia/Legacy will on May 24 release "The Very Best of Loggins & Messina," featuring such hits as "Your Mama Don't Dance," "Thinking of You" and "My Music." After eight successful albums together between 1972 and 1977, including two live sets, the duo went its separate ways, touring for the last time in 1976. Messina says both he and Loggins had reservations about embarking on a full-blown tour, but found that old wounds had healed.

"One of the sore spots was, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kenny and his incredible voice, and part of the problem was not thinking I could live up to that," Messina tells "And, not to speak for Kenny, but I found out he experienced the same thing with me and my instrumentation."

A benefit show at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, Calif., last year was the catalyst for the tour. "Things just sort of flowed together," recalls Loggins. "I'd been playing a lot of these songs, like 'Danny's Song' and 'House at Pooh Corner' alone for years, and when Jimmy came in, I remembered who we were. Something magic happens when the two of us sing together."

The artists will perform their hits together and solo, and a special "sittin' in" segment will feature special guests in some markets. "If we're in Nashville and Michael McDonald is free, or Rusty Young, or Clint Black, we hope they can get on stage and sit in," says Messina.
Pretty awesome. I'm glad this came up because it gives me an excuse to talk about something: Guys who smoke "grass." Not "pot" or "dope" or "Mary Jane," they smoke grass. Guys who smoke grass usually have beards (like Kenny Loggins) and for some reason I picture them hangin out in Santa Monica. Mike Rutherford of Genesis and Mike and the Mechanics smokes grass. Ironically, Doobie Brother Michael McDonald also smokes grass. Paul McCartney smoked grass during the "Let It Be" era, but he doesn't anymore. Something to think about.

Enough Comedy Jokes

According to Slate, Jeff Foxworthy is the best-selling comedian of all-time. The article talks a little about the history of the comedy album, which has always interested me. There's something about listening to a comedy album by yourself, which is how people listen to comedy albums it seems, that is melancholy and lonely. Your alone in your room, and the comedian is alone on stage, except for some disemebodied audience that laughs and occasionally calls out something that you can't quite understand. It's really quite depressing, but it in a good way. I've always thought the album cover of Steve Martin onstage with the bunny ears captured the mood of comedy albums perfectly. Enough. What am I doing writing at seven in the morning anyway?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

More Leon Russell (Long Post Warning)

The more I read, the more I think Leon Russell is Advanced. Check out a bit of this article from

Leon Russell, estimable keyboardist and "The Master of Space Time." He has spent time onstage or in the recording studio with all of the above, as part of the legendary "Wrecking Crew" consortium of Los Angeles studio musicians. He has had a remarkable solo career, and, as he prepares for a show at the Firehouse in Newburyport next week, is closing in on his 50th year as a performer.

If you have listened to radio in the last 50 years, you've heard the multi-instrumentalist. The leonine, shaggy Russell has played keyboards, guitar, horns and a variety of other instruments on some of the most influential songs and albums in rock, rhythm, soul, blues and pop music. Beyond his supporting role on hundreds of records, Russell has had a solo career that saw him become one of the most popular touring and recording artists of the '70s. With his full-length white hair and beard, Russell remains a striking figure.

He started performing in clubs at the tender age of 14, in his home state of Oklahoma. A quirky Oklahoma law that made that possible. "I'm just thankful that I grew up in a 'dry' state so I was able to, with the absence of liquor laws, begin playing night clubs at the age of 14," he says. Not long after, Russell ended up as part of a Jerry Lee Lewis' road band, touring the states for two years. By 18, Russell decided to become a full-time musician rather than go to college, and settled in Los Angeles. There, his elegant chops swept him into the legendary group of L.A. session musicians collectively known as "The Wrecking Crew." These men and women were the rhythmic and melodic underpinning of literally hundreds of records during the late '50s and early '60s.

Phil Spector's inimitable "Wall of Sound" was built around Wrecking Crew stalwarts like bassist Carol Kaye, jazz guitarist Barney Kessell, guitarists Glen Campbell and Tommy Tedesco, legendary drummer Hal Blaine, sax player Steve Douglas, Mac Rebennack ("Dr John") and Sonny Bono, and backup vocals were provided by myriad artists including Sonny Bono's girlfriend Cherylin Sarkassian (later to be famous as Cher).

n addition to working with the eccentric genius (and current murder suspect) Phil Spector, Leon played on many Beach Boy songs, including "California Girls." He can be heard on The Byrds' first hit, "Turn, Turn, Turn." He played on Jan and Dean's "Surf City;" A job being a job, he can be heard on Massachusetts native Bobby Boris Pickett's "Monster Mash LP."

Russell appears to have been a veritable sponge of the different musical styles and voices swirling around him. At home with thumping gospel, ballads, jazz and blues, rockabilly, country and straight rock 'n' roll, he has emerged as a senior statesman in the music business, a survivor and an amalgam of sounds stretching across the musical spectrum.

Although his voice, which ranges from achingly expressive to quirky and breathless, is his most strikingly apparent musical asset, it is his instrumental prowess that has garnered the most professional admiration. Jack Nietzsche, producer for Spector who went on to work with Neil Young and Randy Newman, is quoted as saying that "Leon was there for the solos and the fancy stuff."

That, and a streak of brilliant songs that have been covered by artists ranging from Joe Cocker to George Benson, The Carpenters to Willie Nelson.
The article goes on for a few more pages. I think a little more aural research might be in order.

Tom Waits in a Suit

According to, Tom Waits is thinking about suing someone:

Adamantly anti-commercial artist Tom Waits is contemplating legal action over an ad campaign for GM's Opel car line running in Europe's Scandinavian region that reportedly boasts music and a vocal resembling his own. The singer/songwriter learned of the ads through fans who contacted his record label, Anti-, a division of Epitaph.

"In answer to the many queries I have received: No, I did not do the Opel car commercial currently running on TV in Scandinavia," Waits says in a statement. "I have a long-standing policy against my voice or music being used in commercials and I have lawyers over there investigating my options."

Waits has previously fought several advertisers who have aped his distinctively graveled voice and avant-garde style for commercial purposes. Among past infringers are car manufacturers Audi (Spain) and Lancia (Italy) and snack manufacturer Frito-Lay for a SalsaRio Doritos radio spot in the United States.

"If I stole an Opel, Lancia or Audi, put my name on it and resold it, I'd go to jail," Waits says. "But over there they ask, you say 'no,' and they hire impersonators. They profit from the association and I lose -- time, money, and credibility. What's that about?
I'm thinking about suing the Really Advanced Theory Blog.

Bob and Willie: Let's Play Two

According to, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan are going to tour baseball stadiums again:

"Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson are coming together for their second co-headlining tour of minor league baseball parks. The 27-date tour, which will also feature opening act the Greencards, kicks off May 25 at the William H. Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. It will conclude July 12 at Midway Stadium in St. Paul, Minn.

Towards the end of the Dylan/Nelson trek, Dylan will make a previously announced appearance at Nelson's 4th of July Picnic event at the Stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas. The pair introduced the minor league concept last summer. This year, Bryan Adams and Def Leppard are also touring minor league ballparks with their 26-date 'Rock 'N Roll Double-Header.'"

As most of you know, admitting that you like sports is Advanced, which is why I love this idea so much. Also, minor-league ballparks have a really great atmosphere. Especially on two-for-one beer night.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Oh, Indy! Thank God You're Here!

Here's something from Slashdot:

"Indy is a free p2p music download system, which is a new way for independent musicians to find their listerners. From Buzzsonic News, 'Indy uses collaborative filtering, a system similar to that used by Amazon to recommend books, etc, to prospective buyers, to learn about your musical preferences in relation to other Indy users.' The author of Indy is also the creator of the Open Source P2P platforms Freenet."

Pretty cool.

Chris Martin: Pencil Me In

According to, we have A-Ha to thank for Coldplay's existence:

"The TAKE ON ME stars are now considered unfashionable in most countries, but Martin has championed the Scandinavian heart-throbs as being amongst the greatest songwriters of all time. And the YELLOW rocker, 28, admits the chiselled teen heroes were a great source of inspiration for Coldplay. He says, 'I found myself in Amsterdam the other day and I put A-Ha's first record on. I just remembered how much I loved it. It's incredible songwriting. Everyone asks what inspired us, what we've been trying to steal from and what we listened to as we were growing up - the first band I ever loved was A-Ha.'"

That song is amazing, especially when the beat switches to half time. By the way, I wonder how much Martin likes being called "yellow rocker."

Sugarhill Gang Is Good for Kids


A leading children’s charity has today issued an urgent plea for donations of vinyl records following a huge surge in demand for the “vintage” discs. Barnardo’s charity stores across the country are running low on the classic vinyl records after being hit by an unprecedented demand from music lovers nationwide. Now the charity has launched a plea for the public to donate their unwanted discs to help replenish stocks and raise much-needed funds. Despite CD sales far outstripping demand for records over the last decade a sudden trend has developed for vintage vinyl and many regions are developing a specific taste for certain musical styles.

...Vinyl trends at Barnardo’s stores indicate regional differences in demand. In Wales there is a huge demand for eighties artists such as Madonna and Prince, while vinyl addicts in the Midlands and South West prefer bands from the seventies such as the Clash and Pink Floyd. In the North West, residents support their home-grown talent and request albums by the Beatles and the Happy Mondays, while the Scots seem to be big Bowie fans.

Charity chiefs have also been able to collate a top ten of the most popular vinyl albums being snapped up across the country. At number 10 is London Calling by the Clash, at nine is Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches by the Happy Mondays, at eight is The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, at seven is Purple Rain by Prince and that is closely followed at six by The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie. Kicking off the top five is True Blue by Madonna, at four is Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang, at three is Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones, at two is Country Life by Roxy Music and scooping the coveted number one spot is Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.
It's a bit surprising that "Rapper's Delight" is number four. But I guess "hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you dont stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie, say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat" is as true today as the day it was written.

Dylan Haggard

There is a review of a Bob Dylan/Merle Haggard in the New York Times:

It's some kind of career milestone when musicians start acting older than they are, rather than younger. Both Bob Dylan, 63, and Merle Haggard, the 68-year-old country patriarch sharing his tour, reached that point long ago, seizing the chance to be avuncular, cranky and committed to traditions they see disappearing.

Wearing matching suits, Mr. Dylan's band looks like a 1940's country act; Mr. Haggard's band, the Strangers, sometimes plays like one. But the wrinkles and antique trappings shouldn't fool anyone: these two songwriters are as sharp and rigorous as ever. They performed Tuesday night at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center here, and they start a five-night stand at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan on Monday night.

...Mr. Dylan played electric piano, using quick chord jabs to spur the music, or stepped to center stage for pointed, melodic harmonica solos. His voice was in a thick, raspy phase, but when he wanted to sound most menacing, he would ease back into a sardonic croon, as he did when God threatened Abraham in "Highway 61 Revisited."

...Mr. Haggard has slyly backdated his music: from the swinging, twanging Bakersfield style of his 1960's and 70's hits to an invented old-time country that embraces fiddle tunes, western swing, yakety saxophone and pop standards along with drinking songs. His band is almost dainty in its well-oiled swing, as it dips into blues or New Orleans jazz, country waltzes or the Nat Cole hit "Unforgettable."
I really love that Bob Dylan plays the electric piano now. I can't think his playing an instrument that would disappoint his fans more. French horn, maybe.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Improv Everywhere: Best Gig Ever

I just heard about this:

Agent Lee approached me a few weeks ago with a wonderfully simple idea. “Best gig ever,” he said. “Pick a struggling rock band and turn their small gig into the best show of their lives.” We had already thrown a birthday party for a stranger; why not throw an awesome concert for an unknown band?

The first step was picking the band. It was critical that the gig would have zero audience. My biggest fear was showing up to do this and finding the band already had a packed house. I started scanning the calendars of the smaller size rock clubs in Manhattan. I looked for the worst timeslots possible, to further ensure there would be little crowd. On the Mercury Lounge site, I found a band that had a Sunday night gig at 10 PM, a pretty horrible slot. The $8 cover wasn’t helping things either.

Burlington, Vermont’s Ghosts of Pasha were on their first tour ever. They had just recorded an ep of 5 songs this summer, and were excited to get out and perform the new songs. They had an NYC gig booked at another club on Friday night, and then their Mercury Lounge gig on Sunday. I figured if they had any friends in town, they would all go to the Friday night show with the $5 cover rather than the Sunday 10 PM show with the $8 cover.

An added plus about Ghosts of Pasha (GOP) is that they actually sounded pretty good. I downloaded their ep from their website, and found myself enjoying the songs. Their influences were certainly up my alley. From the GOP website blog:

October 13 , 2004

the band is sounding very tight and getting pretty energetic.
the new songs are in that vein of pop.

(think elvis costello/wilco/elliot smith/george harrison/elephant 6/
apples in stereo/flaming lips/suede/radiohead)
What a great idea this is. Go here for the rest of the story.

Cook and Collen: Man-Raze Kind of Guys

According to, Phil Collen of Def Leppard and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols have been working on a project called Man-Raze (C&C Music Factory was taken). The group includes Simon Laffy from a previous group of Collen's called Girl. This is what Collen has to say about their sound: "It's a mix.... We go from really hard rock, with obviously big guitars, to dub. I was always into the alternative stuff, a very big fan of the Police. And this is edgy -- a lot more aggressive than Def Leppard." If Cook isn't careful, he might replace Glen Matlock as the most Advanced member of the Sex Pistols.

I Durst Say

According to, Fred Durst has big plans:

Never known for shying away from new approaches to promoting his music, Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst has spent the last week encouraging fans to spread an MP3 of "The Truth," the first single from the group's new album, "The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1)." The seven-track set is due May 3 via Geffen but, apparently at Durst's insistence, the label is forgoing the usual promotional run-up in the weeks before a new album from a major act.

Also housed on Durst's blog is a video of Limp Bizkit performing the song, advertised as "the first time Limp Bizkit has performed together since [guitarist] Wes [Borland] left the band. This is the actual performance caught live on tape." The cut bears more than a passing resemblance to the angry riffing of Rage Against The Machine, with Durst opting for a vocal delivery in the vein of former RATM vocalist Zack de la Rocha.

The Web site features a testimonial from a fan that says he burned the track to 20 CDs and surreptitiously included them in shopping bags at the mobile phone store where he works.

"I love the truth," Durst wrote last week. "That's what it's all about. The definition of what gospel is. The unquestionable truth. No bells and whistles. No sugar coating the truth. For some it could be a bit too much to comprehend. F*** 'em."

...Durst will also appear in an upcoming episode of the NBC mini-series "Revelations," which stars Bill Pullman and Natascha McElhone.

Here is the track list for "The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1)":

"The Propaganda"
"The Truth"
"The Priest"
"The Key"
"The Channel"
"The Story"
"The Surrender"
Fred Durst doesn't qualify for Advancement, but I have to say I'm impressed with his style.

Fiona Apple Update

As you probably know, Fiona Apple recorded an album that her label, Epic, refused to release because there was no single, the music found its way to the Internet, and people like me have written about it. Here's the latest, from Slate:

Epic, meanwhile, has had little to say on the subject. It hasn't responded to the Free Fiona campaign and refuses interview requests. In February, the label issued the elliptical statement: ''It's our understanding that Fiona is still in the midst of recording her next album and we at Epic Records join music lovers everywhere in eagerly anticipating her next release.'' On Epic's behalf, the Recording Industry Association of America has begun cracking down on Web sites offering the songs for download.

Much of the abundant press and blog coverage has attempted to shoehorn this Cinderella story into another glass slipper: that of Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The similarities are striking. Wilco's album was likewise rejected by its label, Reprise/Warner, and the band was dropped. After buying back its masters, Wilco streamed the album online, where it was embraced by fans and critics alike. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was ultimately released, to much acclaim, by the boutique label Nonesuch Records (ironically, another Warner imprint) in 2002.

But Yankee Hotel Foxtrot isn't a useful precedent. For one thing, it was a much bigger cause célèbre than Extraordinary Machine is shaping up to be. Fiona hasn't been dropped by her label, and she hasn't even stated publicly whether she cares if the album is released or not. Wilco's standard for success is also much different than Apple's and Epic's. Despite universal plaudits, endless rehashings of the David-versus-Goliath story, and a feature film about the album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has sold only 517,000 copies to date. That's a big number for Wilco, but for an artist with Apple's track record—1997's Tidal sold 2.7 million copies and 1999's When the Pawn ... sold 917,000—it would be a major disappointment.

Which brings us to the question: Just how well would Extraordinary Machine sell? It's easy to get the impression the public is clamoring for it. On March 18, Wired News ("Fiona Apple Is Cookin' on the Net") reported that "at any one time about 38,000 users in the United States are downloading songs from Extraordinary Machine." This is an astonishing number, and one that has been widely parroted. It would translate to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of downloads a day—a groundswell of interest any label would be foolish to ignore.

If only it were real. Wired News' source for the number was BigChampagne, an online media measurement company that serves as a kind of Billboard chart for the surreptitious world of file sharing. But according to BigChampagne CEO Eric Garland, the figure actually refers to the number of people in the United States who were "sharing" the songs on the major P2P networks at one time—that is, making at least one track from the album available for download—not the number actively uploading or downloading the songs.

This is a far humbler figure, especially when compared with equivalent numbers for successful major-label releases. As of April 7, 3,994,837 people were sharing songs from Hot Fuss by the Killers; 5,179,675 people were sharing songs from Green Day's album American Idiot; and 8,024,713 people were sharing songs from 50 Cent's The Massacre.

Obviously, this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. These other albums have all benefited from lavish promotional campaigns and extensive airplay on MTV and commercial radio. But the degree of the interest in Extraordinary Machine is even modest when compared to last year's big Internet phenomenon, The Grey Album by Danger Mouse (also unreleased and circulated exclusively on the Web). Whereas 278,327 people were sharing material from The Grey Album at its peak in April 2004, Extraordinary Machine topped out at 46,759 in March—less than one-fifth that number.

These numbers aren't comprehensive, but they do give a sense of the relative interest in Apple's album. "Given that Fiona Apple is a veteran who has released two previous albums, I think the online audience looks like her core, not like a popular audience," says Garland, who regularly advises radio stations and record labels about file-sharing trends.

...You can just imagine how it must have sounded to Epic back in 2003. This was when the young, husky-voiced, piano-playing beauty Norah Jones was riding high on five Grammy Award wins and more than 5 million album sales. And, at the same time, Epic's own young, husky-voiced, piano-playing beauty was remaking herself in the image of a midcareer Tom Waits. The decision to shelve the album must have seemed obvious.

Yet, it looks like the scrappy Free Fiona campaign and the skewed coverage of the leak may be swaying minds at Epic. The label's most recent statement, issued earlier this month, read: "Epic is continuing to work with Fiona's management toward the release of this project." This could be a costly mistake: Based on the evidence, there's no reason the label should second-guess itself.
Except that they've antagonized one of their artists, and they've suffered tons of negative publicity. Seems to me they should have just released the thing and hoped for the best. The album is not that much of a departure for her, so I really don't see what the big deal is.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Hey! Ho! Dobro!

Here's something I got from Billboard:

Tommy Ramone -- the sole surviving original member of the Ramones -- has traded in his drumsticks for mandolin, banjo, guitar and dobro, which he plays in the alternative country/punk/bluegrass duo Uncle Monk. "There are a lot of similarities between punk and old-time music," Ramone tells Billboard. "Both are home-brewed music as opposed to schooled, and both have an earthy energy. And anybody can pick up an instrument and start playing." The songs of Uncle Monk (completed by guitarist/bassist Claudia Tienan) include "Urban Renewal," "Home Sweet Reality" and "Need a Life." Varied themes, Ramone says, involve "the struggle to make it in a big city, urban gentrification, interpersonal relationships, spiritual longings and how one goes about satisfying emotional needs." He says he "uses the vocabulary of country and bluegrass combined with the aesthetics of punk and alternative music." Ramone plans to find a label home for Uncle Monk's first album when it is finished in a few months.

Let's hope he does find one.

John Lennon: Cleaning Woman!!!

According to the Belfast Telegraph, John Lennon's cleaning lady has written a book:

Rosaura Lopez Lorenzo, 72, from Spain's north-western Galician port of Pontevedra, cleaned for Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono during the four years the couple lived in New York's Dakota apartment building. While Ms Lopez may technically have been the other woman in Lennon's life, her book is more "confessions of a carpet cleaner" than kiss and tell. Lennon and Ono emerge from the pages as a happily married, domesticated couple.

"He was a very good father and husband, and friendly to everybody. He always treated me kindly." But Yoko was the dominant partner. "She wore the trousers," reckoned Ms Lopez, who observed the couple at close quarters between 1976 and 1980.

...You would go into the kitchen, Ms Lopez recalled, and find John in his kimono and slippers drinking "litres of tea", sometimes humming a new song, guitar at the ready. Then he would spend days without leaving his room, and weeks without singing.

"One winter I had a bad cold, and Lennon's wife said it was because I didn't have a warm enough coat. She gave me her credit card and told me to go and buy a coat, but said it should not be fur, because I was married and husbands don't like fur."

Ms Lopez also vividly remembers Lennon's murderer, Mark Chapman, and recalls speaking to him just 24 hours before he shot the world's best-loved pop star. "He was always there downstairs at the doorway, and that day they let him in. He seemed a nice guy, very normal, who loved John as much as we did ... but, oh, what he did then!"

Only once did Ms Lopez hear Lennon refer to Paul McCartney, when the former Beatles' bass guitarist was stopped by customs for carrying drugs. "John was furious. 'What an idiot! Why didn't he get someone to carry it for him? You're a Beatle for chrissake'," she recalled him saying.
Paul McCartney is gearing up for a tour right now, by the way. I hope he reads this book before he goes out.

Sinead at the Jammys

Sinead O'Connor is going to be performing at the Fifth Annual Jammys with Burning Spear, who is reportedly one of her idols. What are the Jammys? An award show/concert that celebrates improvisational music. (Find out more here.) As you may remember, the retired O'Connor is working on several projects, including an album of reggae covers. Here's what will be on that: Burning Spear's “Marcus Garvey” and “Throw Down Your Arms,” and songs Bob Marley, Buju Banton, Israel Vibration, The Abyssians, Lee Perry, Peter Tosh and others. According to a recent press releases, "The album is being recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, with the legendary reggae rhythm section/production duo Sly & Robbie (aka drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare)," and it will released in the fall. I have the strangest feeling that it will be really good.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Neil Diamond: Man on a Mission

According to, you guessed it,, Neil Diamond is hitting the road:

The outing will come in support of Diamond's upcoming Rick Rubin-produced album, due this summer via Columbia. "We will be adding dates, and there could be multiples in some markets," says Randy Phillips, CEO of U.S. tour promoter AEG Live.

Tickets will go on sale in early May and will be priced "well under $100," according to Phillips. "Neil insists on keeping his ticket prices lower than other artists with a similar demographic, because he would rather play more shows for more people," he says. "His philosophy on pricing is exactly the same as ours. That's how we were able to take Prince out for less than $100 last year."

Diamond's 2005 road work began in March with a sold-out tour of Australia and New Zealand. The Down Under trek has been nothing short of a box-office monster: Fifteen dates have drawn 212,710 people and grossed $14.6 million. The tour continues in the United Kingdom and Ireland before arriving in the States in July.

A workhorse on the road for years (he was the top solo touring artist of the 1990s, grossing $182 million from 461 shows), Diamond's last tour was lengthy even by his standards. "This [tour] was special, in the sense that it really became more than a tour after the 9-11 tragedy," Diamond told Billboard at the time. "I got a sense that people were really in need of not so much entertainment, but to get on with their lives. It started as a tour and ended as a mission."
It's funny, Neil Diamond has been such a large part of my life, yet I have to admit that I don't really understand him that well.

U2 on GMA

According to, U2 will be playing on "Good Morning America":

"Good Morning America" will kick off its summer concert series with U2, which will make its first morning TV appearance on the ABC program. But the Irish rock act won't actually be in New York's Bryant Park, where the show's performances usually take place. Instead, the "GMA" team will travel to a stop on U2's current Vertigo tour. They will interview the band and select three songs to air May 20 and two more to air May 21 on the weekend edition of "GMA."

"U2 is the biggest act in the world; it's completely viable that we'd do something different," producer Mark Bracco says of the decision to air live concert footage rather than have the act perform in person. "For [a band] like U2, they can break some of the rules."

I wonder if David Hartman will play drums with them like Dana Carvey did that time.

Alan Moor and Brian Eno

There is a great conversation between Brian Eno and Alan Moor here. In it, they talk about the point of art, man-eating spiders, elective citizenship, breastfeeding, ripening fruit, the problem with being opposite, the great British export (comedy), talking with David Bowie like Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and more.

Interview With Lou

There is an interview (by a guy named Peter Grant) with Lou Reed at icliverpool. Here are some choice bits:

This 62-year-old American singer-songwriter, who was awarded France's Order of Arts and Letters in 1992 to add to his countless collection of grammys and gold discs, is playing mind games. Lou continues: "Peter Grant - he was Led Zeppelin's manager. And he's dead." I give a sigh of light relief, but there is a deadly silence on the other end of the trans-Atlantic line before a very slow laugh emerges from Lou.

..."What?" he says.. It is just one of many more 'WHATs?' when he can't quite understand why he is asked this or that. That is until he starts to talk about music and art - and then he speaks volumes, especially about his own output, notably his multi-disciplined Raven project. "That is a very, very good album you should go out and get it."

...Lou, who was with The Velvet Underground from 1965 to 1970, once said of himself and his own personal philosophy: "Nobody has ever been able to put their finger on me because I'm not really here. At least not the way they think I am. It's all in their heads." "What I'm into is mindlessness. I just empty myself out. So what people see is just a projection of their own needs. I don't do or say anything."

...I ask him if he will be singing two of his most famous hits when he plays to an audience of 1,500 fans at the Phil - the much-covered Walk On The Wild Side and Perfect Day which was re-recorded for the BBC. I ask because I want to know and I am sure his fans do, too. "So you are one of those journalists who want to ask ask me what will I play?"

..."I am an artist," he says. " I have 37 albums out there. I will be playing songs for Lou Reed. I could play the same song 17 times but it's got to be fun for me too. "I am musician - an artist. I try and play my music. If I don't play it's like a comedian telling a joke to an empty room. I can't do beautiful voices. I can't do Otis Redding, Al Green, B. B King or Carl Perkins. I just do me - doing my songs.. Some of them I've never ever done in public before. I'll be doing Lou Reed's favourites."
I love his quote about "The Raven." Advanced Artists always say that their last album is an amazing and complex work of art, which it is.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

"Matzo and Metal: A Very Classic Passover"

According to, Dee Snider will be on VH1 Classic's "Matzo and Metal: A Very Classic Passover":

"I was picturing something along the lines of a Thanksgiving celebration or Easter dinner," says Snider. The Twisted Sister frontman has Jewish grandparents, but was not raised as a Jew. "I got to the table, and there were bitter herbs and matzoh. No wonder friggin' Elijah won't sit down at the table," he adds, referring to the prophet for whom Jews traditionally leave an empty chair at the Seder table.

Snider joined three Jewish rockers — Mountain's Leslie West, Anthrax's Scott Ian and Sister bandmate JJ French — for the Seder, which airs on VH1 Classic April 24, the second night of Passover. West leads the service, reading from the Haggadah's ritual text. ("Haggadah? What's Haggadah with you?" jokes Snider.) As a metalhead, Snider particularly enjoyed hearing about the 10 plagues: "I got all excited going through the boils . . . I thought we were gonna start smearing lamb's blood around."
That is a baa-aa-aad joke.

Peter Murphy: Goth to Get You Into My Life

According to, we're getting ready to see a lot more of Peter Murphy:

"[He] is readying an international tour in support of his eighth solo album, Unshattered. The jaunt kicks off just days after a Bauhaus reunion concert on April 30th at the Coachella music festival in California.

'It came up as a sort of radical offer,' Murphy says of the reunion gig. 'So I thought, Why not?' This will be the second reunion stint for Murphy, guitarist Daniel Ash, bassist David J and drummer Kevin Haskins, who embarked on a full-fledged Bauhaus international tour in 1998. But Murphy is skeptical of new material coming of this one-off show. 'We're not in touch a lot, really,' he admits, 'but we'll always be friends. We were childhood friends, you know.'

...'Mine hasn't been a designer career," he says. 'First off, Bauhaus doesn't fit in anywhere -- and I think of myself as a wanderer, or maybe a novelist. I go away and do my work in my own downtime and space.' From his childhood, Murphy imagined himself a singer, learning hymns at Catholic school and Irish rebel songs from his father. But, surprisingly, his first obsession (at five years old) was Doris Day. 'I loved her!' he gushes. 'She was this mythical, perfect, wonderful lady who lived in America. I sang along to her record all the time.'

...'Unshattered' is lighter than Murphy's typically moody material -- something Murphy attributes to Gardner Cole, who, oddly enough, produced Eighties hits by Madonna, Tina Turner and Chaka Khan. 'He wouldn't get into the layers that I would have automatically added,' Murphy explains. 'He spent three weeks with the recordings, added live drummers and a couple of guitars and made the vocals really loud. He said he really wanted to let my voice show.'"

I don't know what to make of this gentleman, but I believe he is still Overt because on his solo tour, the backdrop he's using is described as "Dada-esque." Dada was pretty Overt, but describing something done now as "Dada-esque" is unbearably Overt.

Heritage, USA

According to Yahoo!, aging rockers (my bread and butter) are doing well:

"Middle-aged musicians who have neither burned out nor faded away -- yet may be some years past their creative peaks -- are pulling in the real money in today's topsy-turvy music industry. In the young person's game that is popular music, the top of Rolling Stone magazine's 2004 money list is dominated by artists of a certain age like Metallica and Rod Stewart.... To find a group on Rolling Stone's list that has been around for less than 10 years, you have to go down to Linkin Park at No. 9.

Artists dubbed 'heritage acts' like Simple Minds, Iron Maiden and Bryan Adams still enjoy avid fan bases and are making good money and playing big concert dates. Many niche yet lucrative heritage acts are housed at Sanctuary Group, known half-jokingly in the industry a 'haven for aging rockers,' which is the world's biggest independent music label.... Sanctuary grew out of representing heavy metal group Iron Maiden, which is still touring and putting out albums despite falling off the mainstream radar.... 'They've got touring down, their publishing income from songwriting is substantial and merchandise is brilliant -- Led Zeppelin T-shirt sales, for example, are as strong as they ever were.'"
The article doesn't really provide any context to let us know if this is a new trend. I doubt that it is because older people have more money to spend on the things they like, and they like things like them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Kraftwerk Comes Alive

According to, Kraftwerk is releasing a live album, "Minimum Maximum." They're touring, too, as you already know. Hey, it's not werk if you love it.

You'll Dance to Anything

There is something interesting at Slashdot about some MIT students who built a "USB controlled disco dance floor for their dorm lounge. It was built in a week, has 1536 LEDs, 20,000 hand-soldered connections, and is capable of displaying 12-bit color. You can even send the floor an email, though it might not write back." Later, these same students defeated a bunch of athletes in a Battle of the Bands competition.

Sonic Youth Rubs the Times the Right Way

There is a review of a recent Sonic Youth show in the New York Times. Here's a bit of it:

"Has Sonic Youth lost the untethered, nearly sloppy feeling it had in the 1980's, with those billowy passages of improvised overtone noise, guitars in odd tuning and the tribal drums walloping? Has it become sanitized? No. The tightening of the sound has freed Kim Gordon and Mr. Moore in particular. The second half of the show nearly became the Kim Gordon Quintet: she sang song after song with the same coolly chanted recitations that have become more commanding over time. For his part, Mr. Moore began 'Paper Cup' with an old avant-garde idea from the early 50's: the transistor-radio improvisation. (We heard a snippet of a radio review of the movie 'Sin City.') Then he started a solo by caressing his guitar, rubbing it suggestively against his body, holding it in front of his head. Later he was out in the crowd, rubbing the guitar against people in the audience."


Carlos del Junco Defends the Harmonica

Here's the story from the Seattle Times:

Despite its long history — the harmonica was invented in 1821 — del Junco says it gets pegged as a child's toy or, as he puts it, "a fringe folk instrument." In fact, he's used to hearing, "What else do you play?" when he tells people his instrument is the harmonica.

...Originality seems as natural as breathing to this Cuban-born musician, who has been playing the harmonica since age 14. In reviews of recordings, critics have confused his sound with the saxophone or guitar, and that's not surprising. Del Junco learned "over-blowing," extending the range of the traditional 10-hole instrument, from Howard Levy, an American harmonica player. It consists of manipulating the embouchure — the way lips and tongue are applied to the instrument — to alter the pitch and bend notes.

..."People like Bob Dylan and Neil Young have given it a bad name," he quipped. "They wear a special neck brace, honk into it and play simple chord melodies. Jazz and blues have been a much more underground music, so a lot of the public associate the harmonica with that."
As far as causes go, this one is pretty weak. But I guess I should just leave a tender moment alone.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Internet2: Electric Imbroglio

According to Yahoo!, the RIAA and MPAA are going after Internet2:

"Record label and movie studio investigators said on Tuesday they plan to sue more than 400 college students who used a special high-speed network to copy songs and movies. Broadband networks made college campuses hotbeds of illegal copying, but students now use an even faster network known as Internet2, trade groups for the two industries said. Designed for academic research, Internet2's extremely fast speed allows users to download a movie in 5 minutes or a song in less than 20 seconds. Existing cable or DSL broadband networks usually take an hour to download a movie and 2 minutes to download a song."

Seems to me that all the lawsuits will do is raise the visibility of Internet2 (I prefer the original), and the end result will be more people stealing more files much faster.

Ever Get the Feeling You've Been Released on DVD?

According to, "The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle" has made it to DVD:

"['Swindle'] features a number of Sex Pistols' songs, including 'God Save the Queen' and 'Pretty Vacant.' Both tracks were filmed at their final show at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, where singer Johnny Rotten uttered the indicative quote, 'Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?' He left the band the next day. The Swindle was spawned in 1977 by Malcolm McLaren, the Pistols' manager, who decided to make a major motion picture featuring the group. Julien Temple, who at the time was a student at the National Film School, picked up the project after it was dumped by director Russ Meyer, and started shooting in the summer of '78. The script outlines McLaren's 10 guidelines for success including: 'Make it as hard as possible for the media to get to the group.' "

Netflix, here I come.

Leon Russell

After seeing this picture (scroll down), I got to thinking that perhaps Leon Russell is Advanced. I don't think he is, but he is fascinating and has worked with everyone. If you want to learn about him, go here.

Jeff Tweedy: Record Companies Don't Like Internet

According to, Jeff Tweedy knows why the Internet scares record companies:

"[Tweedy] is convinced the music industry is terrified of internet exposure because fans will be deterred from buying many albums after previewing their sub-standard contents. The CAN'T STAND IT singer, who is happy to give his fans the chance to listen to Wilco songs online because they receive little radio airplay, thinks the main reason music bosses are so against internet technology is because many releases are of a poor quality. He says, 'I think what the industry is really most afraid of is the fact that people can hear their product before they buy it, and discover that it's not very good in a lot of cases. That's terrifying to them.'"

There's some validity to this, but you can usually sample music in record stores in those listening booths. I think what the record companies really don't like is that music is so easy to steal on the Internet. Also, bigger artists need record companies a lot less because they can release music on the Internet without a label's help.

Quiet Riot

According to Yahoo!, Mick Fleetwood is involved in a project to help prevent hearing loss at concerts:

The 57-year-old drummer for Fleetwood Mac said his partial hearing loss is why he became involved in Monday's experimental "quiet" rock concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which about 100 people took part, with mixed results. The concert featured the band Eagles of Death Metal, which first played two songs without any amplification. The audience, listening through miniature radio receivers, reacted mostly with smiles to the adjustable sound.

The band then followed with three amplified songs on speakers, as it normally performs. Many in the crowd jumped up, dancing and waving their arms. Fleetwood, a 1998 inductee into the Rock Hall, said many rock musicians now wear ear protection or monitor their music electronically, but he questioned whether quiet concerts would catch on.

"Who's to say? Could you see 18,000 people someday listening to Pink Floyd on head phones? Maybe, with a weird magic wand," he said. "What I'd hope this does is make the point that you can wear ear protection, such as earplugs, at concerts and still enjoy the concert." Ben Schreckengost, 21, a former member of a rock band, said the quiet concert didn't impress him much. "I would think live is better," he said. "I like to sing along. You don't feel the bass and the drum." But Yulia Kokhan, 26, enjoyed the muted tones. "I don't like loud," she said.
I'm with you, Yulia! It would be great if there could be a way to go to a concert without damaging your hearing, but this probably is not the answer. I imagine it would just sound like a live CD, and we all know how wonderful that sounds.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Japan: Rock'n'Roll Is Noise Pollution

According to the AP, "Japanese police arrested a 58-year-old woman for triggering insomnia and headaches in her next door neighbor by blasting rock music at her almost continuously for over two years. Miyoko Kawahara was arrested on suspicion of inflicting injury on the 64-year-old woman by playing loud, fast-paced dance music almost 24 hours a day on a portable stereo she had pointed at her neighbor's house 20 feet away." This falls into the "it's funny if it's not you" category.

Lou Reed: Finally a Live Greatest Hits Collection

According to, Lou Reed is releasing yet another live album: "'Spanish Fly: Live in Spain,' a live, greatest-hits DVD from Lou Reed, will hit stores on May 17. Among the 11 songs, which were filmed in 2004, are 'Walk on the Wild Side' and the Velvet Underground classics 'Sweet Jane' and 'Venus in Furs.'" Well, thank goodness we can at last hear live versions of those songs! As many of you know, releasing tons of overlapping greatest hits/live CDs is very Advanced. And he gets extra credit for the incredibly Advanced album title.

One Small Step for Nirvana

Here's something interesting from

"NIRVANA have been given the approval of US academics by being put in a special archive to be preserved for future generations. The grunge trio’s seminal ‘Nevermind’ joins works by The Beach Boys, Public Enemy and James Brown in the US Library Of Congress’ vault. According to the BBC, the 50 recordings have been deemed 'culturally, historically or aethestically significant.' ...Other material includes The Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’, the Star Wars soundtrack and spoken word recordings of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing...."

Neil Armstrong is by far my favorite spoken-word artist. Much better than Henry Rollings.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Steve and Tweedy: Who Owns Culture?

There is an interesting article in the New York Times about a recent discussion at the New York Public Library about file sharing. It was moderated by Steven Johnson of "Wired" magazine and featured Jeff Tweedy, among others. Here's a sample:

Both Jeff Tweedy, the leader of the fervently followed rock band Wilco, and Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor who has opposed criminalizing file sharing, seemed to agree that just about anybody who owns a modem also owns - or at least has every right to download - culture products. "I don't think anybody should make any money on music," Mr. Tweedy said at one point, only half joking. "Maybe we would pay audiences."

...Mr. Tweedy...became a convert to Internet peer-to-peer sharing of music files in 2001, after his band was dropped from its label on the cusp of a tour. Initially, the news left Wilco at the sum end of the standard rock equation: no record/no tour, no tour/no money, no money/no band. But Mr. Tweedy released "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" for streaming on the band's Web site, and fans responded in droves. Wilco then took on the expenses of its tour as a band.

The resulting concerts were a huge success: Mr. Tweedy remembered watching in wonder as fans sang along with music that did not exist in CD form. Then something really funny happened. Nonesuch Records decided to release the actual plastic artifact in 2002. And where the band's previous album, "Summerteeth," sold 20,000 in its first week according to SoundScan, "Yankee" sold 57,000 copies in its first week and went on to sell more than 500,000. Downloading, at least for Wilco, created rather than diminished the appetite for the corporeal version of the work.
Every once in a while, I think that people running record companies aren't that smart and don't really care that much about music.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Mark Twain Guitar

According to, Mark Twain's guitar is worth a lot:

A guitar belonged to one of the most famous literary figures in American history has been valued at over $15m. The 1835 Martin acoustic...was acquired by renowned guitar collector Hank Risan in the mid-nineties, replete with its original coffin case and an authentic shipping label dated 1866:

"It's one of the best-sounding guitars I've ever played," says Risan. "It still retains its original finish and everything is original to the guitar, except the bridge, which was made in 1850 or 1860. The guitar has a great provenance," Risan worked alongside the Mark Twain Project at Berkeley University Collage to authenticate the guitar, bringing in a forensic team from the Bureau of Engraving. The collector also established the online exhibition "The Private Life of Mark Twain" at the Museum of Modern Instruments (MoMI), which also showcases an unpublished Twain poem titled "Genius."

Twain purchased the rosewood Martin guitar in 1861, the dawn of the Civil War, for ten dollars. [That's the only good investment he ever made. -JH]
That's pretty good, but Edgar Allen Poe's pennywhistle goes for $18 million, and he only paid two cents for it. Also, I wonder how much Hal Holbrook's guitar would be worth. And what about George Segal's banjo?

This Just In: Music Industry Is Sleazy, Radio Stinks

From Reuters:

Warner Music Group Corp. has received another subpoena from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer as part of an industrywide probe of the financial relationship between music companies and radio stations, Warner Music said on Thursday.

... The investigation is examining the time-honored practice of music companies' paying independent promoters hundreds of millions of dollars a year to help secure valuable radio air time for songs.

...It said it cannot predict the outcome of the investigation but that the probe has the potential to result in financial penalties or change the way the music industry promotes records. EMI Group Plc said in October that Spitzer was investigating it as part of an industrywide probe. Sources have said Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment have also received subpoenas.

Warner Music also disclosed in the filing that it intends to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. It did not propose a stock symbol.
How about "EVIL"?

MTV: Making the Broadband

According to something called Web User, MTV is going broadband. Check out the beta version here. Here's the scoop :

"MTV will launch a broadband channel later this month offering a range of TV and exclusive web content. The MTV Overdive site is expected to go live on April 26 and will feature 'six distinct channels of programming,' according to the company. At the moment only four are ready - News, Music, On TV and Movies - with Video Game Culture and Personal Style yet to be added. The channels will include a range of programmes from the TV including news updates four times daily, artist profiles and interviews, fashion news, movie clips and trailers, new music stories and video game news. These will be supplemented with live performances online and specially produced short-form programming plus a video on demand service. MTV Overdrive will be delivered via Windows Media Video and Windows Media DRM, according to the company. MTV will soon release a version of MTV Overdrive optimised for Microsoft Media Center Edition PCs too, although it hasn't confirmed a launch date yet."
This better not be just an excuse to cram another Simpson sister down our throats.

Who Reed

According to, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (not the Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) has a new exhibit celebrating the Who's "Tommy":

"Tommy: The Amazing Journey, which opens today, fills two floors of the Cleveland museum with guitars, handwritten lyrics, poster art and concert footage. 'You'll hear and feel this exhibit,' says its designer, Matthew Smith. 'It will rock and feel like a concert.' Pete Townshend conceived Tommy -- the story of an abused 'deaf, dumb and blind kid' so good at pinball that people come to think he's a prophet -- as a cautionary tale about false idols.... [H]ighlights include correspondence from Townshend -- such as a letter sent to Tommy film director Ken Russell, suggesting that Lou Reed, Tiny Tim and Frank Zappa be cast."

Lou Reed would have been out of place in "Tommy." Mostly because I think the rock opera is a little silly. By the way, the name Tommy is the second most rock'n'roll name behind Johnny (as we've discussed here).

Thursday, April 07, 2005

David Byrne Radio

Go here to listen. Below is his description of it:

A friend who relocated to California from NY said she missed hearing all the odd variety of music that was played around the office here.  “I miss hearing what you all are listening to,” she wrote. This “radio” is my response. It will stream for a few hours and then it will recycle. Maybe it will run longer in the future. The artists played here are respectful of one another and gunplay is forbidden. Click on the player button below — a popup window will appear and the stream will begin. As songs play they will be identified, along with the artist — so if you like something you can see what and who it is. The song list will be updated periodically (how long is that really, in Earth time? Well, it depends on my listening habits.) As it reflects what I’m listening to, some songs will hang around longer while others will get dumped and replaced quickly.

Like many people, I listen to a wide variety of music, and some of it is, ahem, more appropriate at certain times of day than others. We here are not responsible for adverse effects from playing the wrong music at the wrong time. Hope some of this is enjoyable.
Good ol' David Byrne. He's always up to something interesting.

The Billy Idol Diet

According to MSNBC, Billy Idol's body is his instrument:

"[T]o counteract the decades of hard living and maintain his eye-catching six-pack, Idol swears by an unyielding exercise regimen. 'I wanted to re-energize myself and I know this sounds a bit Roger Daltrey but my body is my instrument. I mean in the old days I didn’t give a ... but I wanna be really clear-headed and in the moment now. The real drug is on that stage.'

'Don’t get me wrong,' he quickly adds, 'I still smoke pot, I still drink, I’m just not overdoing it. It’s about pacing myself so that I can push when I want and pull back when I want.'"
That's the way I am with frozen yogurt.

To 'Ster With Love

Here is another installment of the 'Ster Stir. This one deals with the history of the conflict between innovation and copyright laws. It's from the New York Times:

In the early 1900's, the disruptive technology was player pianos. Manufacturers of player piano rolls purchased a single copy of the sheet music of a song, hired someone to record the music and then sold these mechanical reproductions to consumers. The songwriters held that this was copyright infringement, while the piano roll manufacturers pointed out that they had paid the appropriate copyright fees when they purchased the sheet music.

In 1908, the Supreme Court found in favor of the piano roll manufacturers, but practically invited Congress to consider new legislation on the issue. Congress responded with the Copyright Act of 1909, which created a new form of intellectual property, mechanical reproduction rights.

...In the 1908 case, songwriters did not try to ban player piano technology. They clearly recognized that the additional distribution of their songs was potentially advantageous. Their goal was simply to get a fair share of the proceeds from the piano roll sales.

Another directly relevant Supreme Court decision is Sony v. Universal City Studios, a 1984 case involving the use of video recorders in the home. The film studios argued that Sony should be liable for copyright infringement since its video recorders could be used to copy movies and television programs illegally.... The studios lost the Sony case, but it forced them to take the home video market seriously.

Their first instinct was to set a $50 to $60 price for videocassettes. But by choosing a high price, they stimulated the development of the video rental market, giving users inexpensive access to movies. On the other hand, the availability of rentals stimulated the demand for VCR's. As VCR prices declined, more people bought them and the video rental industry flourished, creating a new, rapidly growing outlet for studio productions.

In the late 1980's Disney began to experiment with lower prices for videos, hoping to bypass the rental stores and sell directly to home users. Disney's 1987 video release of "Lady and the Tramp" was priced at $29.95 and sold over 3.2 million copies, making it the best-selling video as of that date. Its record was soon eclipsed by "E.T.," which sold 14 million copies at $19.95 apiece.

...The critical lesson from the history of the VCR is this: If consumers have ways to share content, either via rental markets or via the Internet, you will have to set low prices to induce them to buy. But low prices may well stimulate enough volume to make up for the lost revenue.
Now that's what I call rocket science.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Back to Werk

According to, Kraftwerk is hitting the road:

"Legendary German electronic act Kraftwerk will begin a five-week world tour with a May 30-31 stand at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club. The quartet will also play New York, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, before 11 European dates through July 4 at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Kraftwerk broke a 17-year break between albums with the 2003 release of 'Tour de France Soundtracks' (Astralwerks), which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums chart. And while a series of vintage album reissues have been in the works for some time, a label spokesperson says there is no update on their status, or that of any other new releases, at present."

Kraftwerk is one of those bands that I love theoretically, but I rarely listen to their music.

C-Murder: Miller's Tale

According to Yahoo!, C-Murder is changing his name to C-Miller:

Rapper C-Murder, in jail after a murder conviction in the 2002 killing of a teenager, has changed his stage name because he thinks he's been misunderstood. "I am not a murderer," the rapper, whose real name is Corey Miller, said in a statement released Tuesday.

He will now go by C Miller, said his publicist, Giovanni Melchiorre of New York-based Koch Records. Miller's statement said people had misinterpreted the C-Murder name, which he intended as a reflection of his upbringing in one of New Orleans' most violent housing projects.

"From the beginning, I have been a target because of who I am, my stage name and for my success as an entertainer and the success of my siblings," said Miller, whose brothers Percy and Vyshonn are also rappers. "People hear the name C-Murder and they don't realize that the name simply means that I have seen many murders in my native Calliope projects neighborhood."
Doesn't he realize that now people are going to keep asking him to grind grain into flour?

All You Need Is Lover

According to, not everyone is happy with the John Lennon musical:

"JOHN LENNON's ex-lover MAY PANG has slammed his widow YOKO ONO for erasing her relationship with the late BEATLE from the Broadway, New York musical about his life. Pang was originally Lennon and Ono's personal assistant, and became the IMAGINE singer's girlfriend during his two-year separation from Ono.

...She says, 'I feel I'm getting airbrushed out of the whole Lennon story. 'I saw the synopsis of the musical. There is not one reference to me at all. I'm airbrushed out again.'"

Imagine that.

Off the Subject

Go to the Museum of Hoaxes for a list of the top 100 April Fool's jokes of all time. I don't believe the list itself is a hoax, but you never know.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Gone Fishin'

There won't be any posts today because I have some business to attend to. Have a good day.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Elton John: Bloodsucking Freak

According to Yahoo!, Elton John's vampire musical, "Lestat," is coming soon:

"Elton John's next stage production will have its debut in San Francisco. John and his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin have been working on Lestat, which is a musical version of the Anne Rice vampire novels. Lestat will open at the Curran Theatre in the fall, with a Broadway run in New York City being planned for next year. John's had great success with the stage musicals Aida and the Lion King, both of which he did with Tim Rice, but this is his first Broadway production with Taupin."

Abracapocus! Hocuscadabra!

George Jones: Duets, Part Deux

According to Yahoo!, George Jones has an updated version of an old duets album coming out. Here's the story:

The 1979 duets album "George Jones: My Very Special Guests" has grown nearly three times larger for its May 31 reissue by Columbia/Legacy.

...Beyond such expected duets partners as Tammy Wynette ("It Sure Was Good") and outlaw pals Johnny Paycheck ("Proud Mary"), Willie Nelson ("I Gotta Get Drunk") and Waylon Jennings ("Night Life"), the original Epic album also found Jones breaking from Nashville to record with [Elvis] Costello ("Stranger in the House"), James Taylor ("Bartender's Blues") and members of Dr. Hook ("I Still Hold Her Body (But I Think I've Lost Her Mind)").

...The set also finds Jones working with artists from outside of traditional Nashville, including blues great B.B. King ("Patches") and the late Ray Charles ("We Didn't See a Thing" featuring Chet Atkins).
George Jones is an Advanced Country Musician. My favorite of all his album titles has to be "High-Tech Redneck."

Shine on You Crazy Memoir

According to, Nick Mason is writing a book about his band, Pink Floyd:

While fans will continue to wait and wonder about the group's future activities, they can find solace in a new book about the band penned by Mason himself, Pink Floyd's only continuous member since 1965. Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd (Chronicle Books), due out in May, documents the famous moments in the psychedelic rock legends' forty-year musical odyssey: the rise and descent into madness of former singer Syd Barrett; the making of the blockbuster Dark Side of the Moon album; the mammoth Wall tour; and bassist and chief songwriter Roger Waters' acrimonious departure. It also contains little known stories such as the group's appearance on an American TV show hosted by Pat Boone in 1967; Jimi Hendrix offering the then-struggling band free use of his Electric Lady studios; Floyd's visual designer Storm Thorgerson being grilled by a record executive for putting an image of a cow on Atom Heart Mother ("Do you want to destroy this record company?"); and Pink Floyd's collaboration with a ballet company in the early Seventies.

...Unlike the previous books about the band, Mason's account takes on a more personal and light-hearted approach. "I wanted to tell the story in a slightly different way," he says. "It's hopefully a rather funny book about a serious band." He didn't want to turn the book into a sordid tell-all, and he offers these reasons: "You have to remember the three guys are still my friends, and they've all got families. Most of them are bigger than I am, and they have better lawyers."
I'm guessing the list of reasons is not in order of importance.

Pope Culture

At, there is an article about Bono's relationship with the Pope:

"U2 frontman BONO has praised late POPE JOHN PAUL II as the 'best frontman' the Roman Catholic Church ever had.... In a statement released today (03APR05), Bono said: 'A great show man, a great communicator of ideas even if you didn't agree with all of them, a great friend to the world's poor which is how I got to meet him. 'Without John Paul II its hard to imagine the Drop The Debt campaign succeeding as it did.' The late Pope, a fan of popular culture, once invited BOB DYLAN to perform for him at a church congress in Bologna and joined the EURYTHMICS, ALANIS MORISSETTE and LOU REED at a concert in Rome, Italy...."

Sounds like he was a fan of Advancement, too.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Internet Is an Extraordinary Machine

There is a review of the imprisoned Fiona Apple record at the New York Times. Here's some of it:

Its producer, Mr. Brion, is fond of instruments that huff and plink and wheeze, as he showed in his soundtrack for "I {sheart} Huckabees." Epic may have been discomfited that Ms. Apple's collaboration with him doesn't sound anything like what's on the radio now. As a songwriter, she's the same Fiona Apple who sold millions of copies of her first two albums; she's still sultry and sullen, obsessing in detail over why her romances went wrong and teetering between regret and revenge. Her vocals smolder like torch songs, then boil over with rage and accusations. But this time, the music doesn't always mope with her.

...Had it been released, "Extraordinary Machine" would have been a fine counterbalance to a pop moment full of monolithic, self-righteous sincerity. As it stands, mysteriously leaked and proliferating, the album is an object lesson in how an Internet that's not controlled by copyright holders can set artistic expression free.
In this case, I think that file sharing is completely okay, mostly because it's a good way to stick it to a record company that is acting foolishly.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I Believe

I try to stay positive here, but I hope you'll forgive a little rant: MSNBC has been running a feature called "The Great Disc Debate - A wholly subjective look at the best, and worst, album by an artist or group." I don't know why it is called a debate, considering it is written by one person and no competing opinion is offered, except for the silly "live vote." The latest "debate" is about R.E.M. (see it here), and the writer tells us that "Murmur" is the best album. She also tells us that R.E.M. are not capable of making a "dud," but then goes on to say that everything after "Document" is a dud, but then tells us she is an "indie-rock snob" to let us know that she has to say that. In other words, she's saying, "I don't mean what I'm writing, but I'm writing it anyway because I think that's what I'm supposed to write." This kind of thing drives me nuts. I don't feel it's too much to ask for a critic to write what they think. If you believe everything after "Document" sucks, then say it (a lot of people would agree with you). And if you don't believe that, don't say it. Sheesh.

Neil Diamond and Rick Rubin

According to, Neil Diamond is working on a new project that will be produced by Rick Rubin. This makes so much sense, I think my head might explode.

Dwight Yoakam: Homage Improvement

Dwigth Yoakam news from

For the first time in a recording career that stretches back to the mid-1980s, Dwight Yoakam took the entire production mantle on his shoulders in the studio. The resulting effort, "Blame the Vain," will be released June 14 as his first album for the independent New West label.

"There's a lot of reckless joy on this album," Yoakam says of the 12-track set, on which he is accompanied by guitarist Keith Gattis, keyboardist Skip Edwards, bassist Taras Prodaniuk, drummer Mitch Marine and percussionist Bobbye Hall. "We never left a session that wasnít flat-out fun."

Material on the set ranges from the shuffle of "I Want To Love Again" ("I have to pay tribute to Buck [Owens] and the Bakersfield sound on every album," Yoakam says) to the "psycho-hillbilly squall" of "Intentional Heartache" to the country rock "She'll Remember," the intro of which the artist describes as "an homage to the Moody Blues [and] ELP via Monty Python."
Now we're talking. For some reason, I would imagine Dwight Yoakam could grasp the Advanced Theory in five seconds.

Franz Ferdinand: Sell Me Out

According to, Franz Ferdinand is getting some heat from fans because they've allowed "Take Me Out" to be used in some ads for Playstation. One fan says, "Why the hell are Franz Ferdinand selling out their art to help sell crappy electronics for a massive corporation?" As you may remember, I think the minute you sign with a record company, especially a major label, you've already "sold out your art." So why not get paid for it? On a related note, I think that if someone has never heard "Rio" by Duran Duran, you could convince them that it is Franz Ferdinand. That's not a bad thing, of course, just something to think about. I love the bass playing on that song, by the way. And the way he sings "luck is on my side, I tell you something, I know what you're thinking, I tell you something, I know what you're thinking" (or whatever the line is) is intriguing.