Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Un Homme et une Femme: "Samba Saravah"

I just wanted to bring a little samba into your lives.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Second Hand Songs

I was just looking up whether Neil Diamond wrote "Both Sides Now" (he didn't) and found a nice little site I hadn't heard of. It's called Second Hand Songs, and it's a "cover song database." Like for instance, did you know that Claudine Longet did a version of "Both Sides Now"? Also, did you know that "Major Tom" was originally written by Peter Schilling? Now that's a Very Little Known Fact! Anyway, it's kind of fun.

Lou Reed to Keynote South by Southwest

According to Billboard, Lou Reed will be the keynote speaker at South by Southwest, and will "discuss his career March 13 as part of the kick-off of the event, which will also feature a screening of the Julian Schnabel film 'Lou Reed's Berlin.'" This will be a rare chance for you to see Reed alongside Daryl Hall and the not-so-rare chance to see him with Thurston Moore and Steve Reich.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Minor Threat Hot Sauce

I missed this story somehow, but I have to mention it (from Pitchfork):
"Made from a rare, mild breed of habanero [pepper] grown specifically for us, Minor Threat...mysteriously privileges the pepper's fruitiness over its notoriously overwhelming heat," reads the product description from Brooklyn-based sauciers (and picklers) Wheelhouse Pickles.

While "fruitiness" and Minor Threat should probably never be uttered in the same sentence, the sauce was indeed inspired by the DC giants, according to a recent Gothamist post (via The Daily Swarm). Wheelhouse chief pickler Jon Orren picked the name because of his affinity for the band, and also because it made sense (a mild pepper is, after all, less threatening than, say, a medium or hot one).

And MacKaye is into it, having asked only that an original label design parodying the famous "Bottled Violence" image be nixed. "I don't have an occasion to eat a lot of hot sauce," he's quoted in the Gothamist story as saying, "but I also thought the Minor Threat stuff was nice."
Somebody might be due for an upgrade in their Advancement status. (Getting into the food industry is Advanced.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

R.E.M. Do Slade' Merry Xmas Everybody

Please enjoy R.E.M.'s version of Merry Xmas Everybody at Surviving the Golden Age (via Stereogum, where they have the amazing Slade video). This is a good moment to remind you that not liking Christmas is Overt.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

David Bowie's Face For Sale

According to Ultimate Guitar Online, that is:
An “original life mask” of David’s Bowie’s face has been put up for sale The mask, which is cast in white from a direct mould of Bowie’s face, was made during the production of the film, ‘The Hunger.’ Bowie starred in the popular 1983 film alongside Catherine Deneuve. The mask was used as a make-up tester for the film and is annotated in pencil to prove its authenticity.
And of course, you can get it at Target.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sly Stone Live

The Village Voice has a review of a recent Sly and some of the Family Stone show:
...after a 45-minute wait, the packed, largely white and middle-aged crowd was greeted by a mohawked Sly himself, sporting a silver-studded jogging suit. After a warm-up, he launched into "Dance to the Music," wherein the younger, multiracial band generated some heat even if they weren't as tight as the ol' Family. Sly sang and played sporadically, preferring to let the group sing while he played the cheerleader role off to the side. Still, when he was on, for "Sing a Simple Song," he was in good voice and got on the good foot occasionally. And while he let the group take over for "Everyday People," he was flashing peace signs and stomping around the stage and into the crowd for "I Want To Take You Higher." After he excused himself for a pee break, he returned for a sultry version of the non-sing-along "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey," adding a spacey keys solo before dismissing the band and bidding adieu.

Show time: 30 minutes.
I'm pretty sure Sly Stone is Advanced. By the way, it won't surprise you to learn that the Voice writer tells us all about his relationship to Stone before he gets on with the review because we all really want to know how the writer was "opened up to black music."The Village Voice is Overt in the worst way. Word on the street is that the second show, the one after the squares had gone home, was "stronger."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Paging Mr. Herman, Mr. P.W. Herman

Not much going on in Advancement the last couple of days, so let's have this instead (from MTV):
[W]e may be on the cusp of the return of Pee-wee in the form of two feature films starring the wide-eyed perennial man-child. "I feel like the time is really ripe right now," [Paul] Reubens said. "A lot of the kids who grew up with the show are young adults. The college kids are middle-aged adults. I feel like I have enough of a built-in audience to make back an investment."

Reubens said he has two Pee-wee scripts ready to go. One is an extension of the famed TV show, "Pee-wee's Playhouse," only this story would take Pee-wee and his friends outside the house for the first time. "We never really went out into what we call puppet land," Reubens recalled of the show. "And this [film] takes place out of the playhouse. I think there are one or two scenes in the playhouse in the beginning. Basically it's all in a fantasy land," he said. "It's like a 'Wizard of Oz,' H.R. Pufnstuf epic adventure story." Reubens added that the story would bring back all of the original characters from the playhouse — live-action and puppets alike.

...Reubens said he had a backup plan nonetheless for the Pee-wee movies should he not be up for the part. "My second option is to have Johnny Depp play Pee-wee," he said. Pie-in-the-sky casting or a realistic plan, Reubens insisted that he's even spoken to Depp about it, saying that the actor told him, "Let me think about it."
Now that would truly Advanced. He could get tips from James Brolin.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lou Reed and Godel

My brother sent me a link to a post from Emanuel Derman's blog called "Lou Reed and Godel," which is appropriate for this blog in more ways than one. Here's a bit of it:
Doug Hofstadter's book about Godel's theorem, "I am a Strange Loop", points out that mathematicians before after Hilbert and Russell and Whitehead thought that in axiomatic systems,

(a) if you could prove it, it must be true, and

(b) everything true could be proved.

Godel threw a monkey wrench into (b).

There's a similar set of assumptions people often make about human beings:

(a) If you can persuade someone of the logic of something, they should experience the same feeling as you about it; and

(b) if people experience some feeling, there must be a logical cause.

I think that I can prove the Advanced Theory, so therefore it must be true. If not, would Bob Dylan make Victoria Secret in the middle of his "artistic renaissance"? Anyway, click the link to find out why telemarketers should listen to more Lou Reed.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Led Zeppelin II: ESPN and NFL

According to Digital News, Led Zeppelin has made a deal with ESPN and the NFL. Let's take a look:
The short-term partnership started splashing this week, and continues until mid-month. Sports fans have already seen Zeppelin songs and video footage threaded throughout various programming from both groups, including live, highlight, and preview segments.

According to Mike Engstrom, vice president of Marketing at Rhino Entertainment, part of the Warner Music Group, the "unprecedented deal" taps into the energy of a simply unrivaled group. "Zeppelin is the greatest rock band in the world, and they've always done things their own way," Engstrom said in an interview Wednesday. Now, that energy is being shared with a heavily male demographic that spans numerous age brackets.

ESPN and the NFL are complementary, and that makes the three-way structure a smart stab. Just recently, Zeppelin was promoted within a nail-biting Monday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens, aired on ESPN. The game was the most-watched program in the history of cable television, according to information shared by the network [So if you were worried that Led Zeppelin isn't getting enough coverage, you can rest easy. -jh]
Can a Super Bowl halftime show be far behind?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Brian Wilson Raps: "Smart Girls"

This is the most Advanced thing I've ever heard. The original Beach Boy tops the original wrapper. Here's the back story, from WFMU:
In 1989 Brian Wilson began recording "Sweet Insanity", an album that was due for release in 1991 but was rejected by Sire. The album was made during one of Wilson's supposedly troubled periods when he was under the influence of psychologist Eugene Landy (who was listed as a co-producer) and included guest performances by both Bob Dylan and Weird Al Yankovic. The album has long been available as a bootleg and four of the songs were subsequently released on later albums.

"Smart Girls" was produced by Matt Dike, the co-founder of Delicious Vinyl who was also part of the production team behind hits by Tone Loc and Young MC. By varying accounts Dike was at one time a member of the Dust Brothers and responsible for a some of the production on The Beastie Boy's "Paul's Boutique" which was recorded in 1989 (roughly the same time as Wilson's album).

You just can't understand how Advanced this is until you hear it. Thanks to Trav for this one!

Bowie Comes Alive

Letting Peter Frampton sing while you do pretend magic tricks is highly Advanced. His look is pretty amazing too.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The King and the Jerk

I saw an interview with Steve Martin this weekend (he's written an autobiography called "Born Standing Up") where he told the story of meeting Elvis in Las Vegas, where he (Martin) had been opening for Ann Margaret. Elvis went up to him and said, "You've got an oblique sense of humor." Then added, "I do to, but no one gets it." As some of you know, I think Elvis was one of the original Advanced Artists, and this only reinforces my belief, as it shows that he was completely aware of what he was doing with his art but we just didn't get it.

The postscript to the story was that he showed Steve Martin the three guns he was carrying.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Tom Petty Playing the Super Bowl

Playing the Super Bowl is always good if you want to be considered Advanced. Is Tom Petty ready to take the plunge into Advancement? We'll see...

If iLike-a You, and You iLIke-a Me

In the somewhat distant past, I put a bunch of music I wrote or contributed to in some way on It's a compilation of things I did in my living room but also some recordings I did in the studio (including Thank You Super and My Three Best Friends). Garageband apparently cut some kind of deal with iLike, so now you can hear my stuff there, too. You’ll find it under Latin Transmitters. Why Latin Transmitters? Read this (you’ll have to scroll down a bit).

The Postman: I Admit It

Not much going on out there, so I'll just take this moment to admit that I enjoyed "The Postman" starring Kevin Costner. But so did Tom Petty, so I'm in pretty good company. I would say this is a guilty pleasure, but I don't believe in them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kanye West Makes a Deal With the Evil

Maybe this has nothing to do with Advancement, but I just don't care (USA Today):
Evel Knievel and Kanye West have worked it out. The 69-year-old iconic motorcycle daredevil said he and West met at his Clearwater condo recently. They settled a federal lawsuit over the use of Knievel's trademarked image in a popular West music video.

Knievel sued West and his record company last year. He took issue with a 2006 music video for the song Touch the Sky, in which the rapper takes on the persona of "Evel Kanyevel" and tries to jump a rocket-powered motorcycle over a canyon.

Knievel failed in his attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon in Idaho in 1974.

West's attorneys argued the video amounted to satire, covered under the First Amendment.

"We settled the lawsuit amicably," Knievel said Tuesday. "I was very satisfied and so was he."

So are we all.

In other legal news, the guy who wrote "Grandma Got Runover By a Reindeer" was sued "for breach of contract Monday by a company that claims he interfered in a $1 million-plus deal to sell musical trucks, bobblehead dolls, snow globes and cookie jars featuring characters from an animated show based on the novelty song."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lou Reed MP3: Safety Zone

Henry alerted me to the MP3 of Lou Reed's new Nanking song, "Saftey Zone." It's at Stereogum, where they just can't help themselves from an Overt comment:
The guitar part's nice, the lyrics kinda lacking ... but dude's heart's in the right place even if his melody (etc.) isn't.
I prefer Henry's comment:
it's amazing how he can do a song about the rape of nanking with a major key syncopated acoustic chordal riff.
Anyway, there's a nice clip of the "average" and "high on life" Lou Reed from 1974 that is very worthwhile. I think he's trying to outdo Bob Dylan.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Bloody Valentine to Release New CD Online

According to NME, that is:
My Bloody Valentine are set to mimic Radiohead by self-releasing their forthcoming brand new album on the internet. However, the shoegazing comeback kings are unlikely to also ape the band's 'In Rainbows' release by enabling fans to pay what they want.

My Bloody Valentine's manager, Vinita Joshi, confirmed the release, saying: "At the moment, all I can say is that Kevin [Shields, singer/guitarist] is getting the band back together and they will go into the studio next month to work on the new record.

"The plan is that they will release the album themselves via the internet, but there will also probably be a vinyl release."
I think that it is now no longer to release music on the Internet. A big part of why I say that is that they are planning to release it on vinyl. There's nothing more Overt than releasing your record on vinyl in 2007. Nevertheless, I love My Blood Valentine, and I'm excited to plan to hear this record.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Brian Wilson Not as Sophisticated as Sting

I came across this review of Brian Wilson's solo record from a few years back. It includes this passage about Wilson's autobiograhpy, which gave me a chuckle:
...on page 361, Wilson still manages to bring the reader up short. He worries that his music compares unfavourably with that of Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon. Worst of all, it does not offer "the sophistication of Sting". That phrase delivers a horrifying jolt. The composer of Good Vibrations and God Only Knows has somehow come to the conclusion that his work is inferior to that of the man who wrote De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da. Forget the stuff about building a sandpit in his living room: this is categorical proof that Brian Wilson is completely mad.
Make that completely Advanced. Also, this writer is completely stupid. It's always bothered me that people somehow miss the point of "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da." I remember a DJ saying once, " Gee, I wonder how long it took him to write that." Of course DJs also cut off the end of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (big enough umbrella), so it's not so surprising that they would look at a song title and figure the songwriter couldn't think up any real words. But for a music writer to do that is...actually not that surprising either now that I think about it. Is there a race of man that understands music less than music writers? Anyway, here's some more amusing stuff about that solo record, "Gettin' In Over My Head":
Wilson subsequently disowned Wouldn't It Be Nice, claiming that it was written by his horrendous former psychiatrist Gene Landy. However, you are reminded of his troubling views on contemporary music by his third solo album, Gettin' In Over My Head. Few artists can match Wilson's level of influence. Famous musicians flocked to the recent live performances of his legendary 1960s albums Pet Sounds and Smile. He could collaborate with any number of groundbreaking young artists who owe him a debt, with potentially fascinating results.Instead, Gettin' In Over My Head opens with Elton John, huffing his way through a song called How Could We Still Be Dancin'? Later on, you are treated to a guitar solo by Eric Clapton and a song co-written with David Foster. If the latter name seems unrecognisable, then his oeuvre is all too familiar: he should be held responsible for Peter Cetera's Glory of Love, St Elmo's Fire by John Parr and many singles by Celine Dion.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Open Source Tolstoy

I'm reading a (somewhat windy) biography of Tolstoy, which has confirmed my suspicious that he was Advanced. There was his religious conversion (Advanced Artists often turn to religion, Bob Dylan being a good example), his claim that he wrote War and Peace for the money, and his preference for making his own boots. He was also an Advanced Irritant. For instance, he said of an experience reading Shakespeare: "I invariably underwent the same feelings; repulsion,
weariness and bewilderment." He also preferred to make boots to books. One last thing: He gave away his later works and wouldn't accept royalties from his writing (however apparently his wife owned the rights to the most valuable works), preferring to make it "common property." Sort of like Prince's CDs. One other last thing: He preferred the ZZ Top version of Advanced hair. He had long hair down the front, not the back. Don't know about the leather, though.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lou Reed's Songs for Nanking

Lou Reed has written some new songs (so where's that album I've been waiting for?). Here's something about them (from the Overtly named antiMusic News):
Lou Reed has been known to be intensely moved by historical and international events and conflicts. Just recently, Reed composed and recorded two brand new songs -- "Gravity" and "Safety Zone" -- both inspired by the soon-to-be released film NANKING--a powerful and relevant documentary that tells the story of the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China, in the early days of World War II. It is an emotional reminder of the heartbreaking toll that war takes on the innocent, and a testament to the courage and conviction of a few individuals determined to act in the face of evil.

The events of the film are told through deeply moving interviews with Chinese survivors, archival footage, and chilling testimonies of Japanese soldiers, interwoven with staged readings of the Westerners' letters and diaries as performed by Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway, Jurgen Prochnow, and Stephen Dorff, among others.

For more go here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Da Mystery of Chessboxin Solved

As I've often said, I don't know enough about hip-hop to make a judgment about whether most rappers qualify for Advanced status, but RZA (and the Wu-Tang Clan in general) has always struck me as a candidate. So with that in mind, let's have a look at this story in Wired, where he tells all about his kung-fu samples:
Kung-fu's influence on hip hop has been around since the '70s, when B-boys busted Bruce Lee moves while break-dancing. But in 1993, gritty rap supergroup the Wu-Tang Clan released Enter the Wu-Tang (36-Chambers), the first chart-topping album to kick up raw rhymes with dialog sampled from underground Hong Kong flicks. The Wu has since sold nearly 6 million albums, all featuring snippets from producer RZA's personal collection of action imports — which boasts more titles in the genre than the Library of Congress. "The people who made these movies didn't know how much one sentence could inspire," says RZA, who also scored Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill saga and other films. In December, the Clan's eight remaining members (RIP, ODB) reunite for their fifth release, The 8 Diagrams. RZA gave WIRED the dope on Wu-Tang's cinematic source material and sounded off on a selection of rare movie clips.
RZA then goes on to tell us about individual samples: what movie they came from, where you can find it in the movie, and why it was used. So if you ever wanted to know what the significance was of the sample from "The Four Assassins" in "Maria," now is your chance. You can also hear the samples and see the actual clips. It's a charticle 2.0, you could say.

As far as Advancement is concerned, the martial arts are very Advanced, as is demystifying your art by explaining where it came from. (Bob Dylan likes to do that, though his explanations then require demystification as well.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Prince Loves, Threatens Fans

Here’s the latest in the Prince v. Fans (NME):
After a series of legal tussles with online fans over the use of his likeness, Prince has commented on the to-do via a song on a new website,

The website's name, as well as the capitalised letters in the title of the new song, 'PFUnk,' seem to be a reference to 'Prince Fans United,' an organisation of webmasters whose sites have received cease-and-desist notices in recent weeks over alleged copyright infringements.

The song's lyrics send a decidedly mixed message: "I love all y'all," sings Prince at one point, "but don't you ever mess with me no more."
Wouldn’t it be great to live inside the mind of an Advanced Artist for just one day?

Lou Reed's Favorite Guitar Solo

PopMatters has a long interview with Lou Reed. It's all about Metal Machine Music. Here's some:

Metal Machine Music is the greatest album ever made. It’s a stunning, epic, multi-layered work that’s retains its shock value 32 years after its initial release. You know what else is stunning? How Lou Reed described it to me when I asked him about it: “It’s just kind of, ya know, a guitar solo.”

Have you ever thought about re-releasing it in Digital Surround so people could get that experience again?
I have no idea where the original quad version is. It was very, very difficult. Years ago, someone wanted to do an installation of Metal Machine Music, and we tried to get the original tape from RCA ... as though they cared. They wouldn’t even let us. It’s complicated, but they wouldn’t let the original tape out of their warehouse, which is interesting ... the fact they even have it ...

Well that’s RCA for ya.
That was the version of Metal Machine that was re-mastered by Bob Ludwig, who did the original.

And also invented the locked groove at the end of the fourth movement.
That was, ya know, actually a Warhol idea ‘cos he had said, “Why does the music have to end?”

“Why can’t it go on forever?”
Yeah, so we raised the groove.

Does MMM stand more as a musical triumph or a philosophical one ... or both?
Well, I mean, I really like it. I really love it. Not just the idea—the actual thing. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t love it.

I’m amazed by the context that it appears out of, sandwiched between the joyous pop albums Sally Can’t Dance and Coney Island Baby. Did you feel like you were “stepping up” or “stepping down” between releases?
It’s like a different color.

Like a different palette almost?
Yeah. It’s just kind of, ya know, a guitar solo.

Any regrets about it?
It’s like one of my songs—I love it.

People tell me all the time that the Advanced Theory can't be possible. But the resurgence of MMM is pretty good evidence that Britt and I were on to something. In fact, in a few years, maybe MMM will be on the Pizza Hut jukebox.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Gawkwer Thinks Lou Reed Is a Jerk

From Gawker:
Last night was the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave gala in... Manhattan. Yeah, no. we know. But I guess there aren't any spaces in Brooklyn that are nice. So instead, it was at 7 World Trade Center on some really high floor. Below, Ground Zero looked like a little deserted Erector Set. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Saarsgard were supposed to be there. But they had some other benefit to attend. John Turturro was supposed to be there too but wasn't. You know who was? Lou Reed. And you want to know something else? Turns out he's not a nice guy! Nikola Tamindzic was our witness.
Lou works out at the Printing House and one time we alternated sets. He does tai chi downstairs and wears tie-dye shirts. So I thought we had a connection. But little monkey man refused to talk to us at the party. He also has had, said a source, a different personal assistant every year so "you know it's got to be a nightmare to work with him." I mean, it wasn't as if we thought Lou Reed would be nice and chatty but he was cold and scary and he hurt our feelings. How could Laurie Anderson put up with that?
I always love when someone's definition of a "nice guy" really means "he realized right away that I'm a fascinating person and spent a long time discussing my insights about him because I'm a great fan but not like other great fans who are annoying and ask him silly questions."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Unsigned Band to Play Super Bowl?

Not exactly playing the Super Bowl, but close enough. NME has the story:
Unsigned bands are being given the chance to air their performance during the Super Bowl -- one of the most watched television events in America. A competition sponsored by Doritos gives new bands the chance to submit their music videos online.

The winner's video will be aired during a commercial break on the Super Bowl XLII broadcast on February 3, 2008. To enter the competition, artists must submit a video of themselves performing their original song along with an audio file by November 25 to
As most of you know, playing the Super Bowl halftime show (by the way, does Prince always put his hand to his ear and smile?) is one of the more Advanced moves you can do. But if anyone is Advanced in this scenario, I'm thinking it might be Doritos. Anyway, I can just imagine the internal battles being waged in bands where three of the guys think they should enter but the Overt singer thinks it would be selling out.

Maybe I'll enter...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Prince Serves Notice to Fans: Advancement Isn't Free

From Yahoo/Reuters:
Fan sites dedicated to Prince say they have been served legal notice to remove all images of the singer, his lyrics and "anything linked to Prince's likeness," and have vowed to fight what they said was censorship.

The move was a shock to his army of followers and came two months after Prince threatened to sue YouTube and other major Internet sites for unauthorized use of his music.

But by targeting fan sites directly, Prince risks a backlash, and the sites have vowed to unite under the banner "Prince Fans United" and take the matter to court if necessary.


The fan sites said Prince, 49, had demanded the removal of fans' photographs of Prince-inspired tattoos and vehicles displaying Prince-inspired license plates.
This is classic Advancement: upsetting your fans and potential lawsuits. I particularly love the fact that he gave away that record for free, and now he won't let people use images of tattoos inspired by him. I can't get behind the license-plate ban, though. That's going too far.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bob Dylan: More Harmonica

One of the great things about having smart readers is that you can use the comments when you have nothing to post about. Like this, from Henry:
saw the four hour tom petty documentary this weekend (i can't believe i ate the whole thing). in one part, the heartbreakers are talking about playing back-up for dylan, and mike campbell says, about the different arrangements and anarchy on stage: "that's one of the things we learned from him, is by breaking all that down, these accidental things would happen that were just magical, that would never happen if you just played your show, stock, from start to finish. and that's what he was reaching for, was those bigger moments, those places where new things happen and spontaneous things happen."

the video under the voice-over is this live clip of them playing "knocking on heavens door" and dylan, in black leather vest and pants, is playing this intro harmonica solo and the band starts to come in and dylan just shoots an arm out behind him and holds it there, flexed, like, "stop, we need a longer harmonica solo here," and they all hold back. felt advanced to me.
Anytime you combine black leather and extended harmonica solos, it's a pretty good bet that there is Advancement involved.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tom Stoppard Makes a Play

Somebody wants to be considered Advanced (NY Times):
Yet anyone who looked hard enough could always see the fragile, hopeful heart beneath the cerebral glitter in Mr. Stoppard’s work during the past 40 years, from “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (1967) to “The Coast of Utopia” (produced on Broadway last year). Now, for theatergoers who find looking hard to be a strain, there is “Rock ’n’ Roll,” which opened last night at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater under the direction of Trevor Nunn.
At the play’s center is Jan (Rufus Sewell), a Czech university student and a man who the Czech-born, English-educated Mr. Stoppard has said is a might-have-been alter ego: the self he might have been had he returned to live in his homeland. A protégé of Max (Brian Cox), a growling lion of a professor at Cambridge, Jan leaves England for Prague when the city is occupied by Soviet tanks in 1967. His motives, he says, are to save 1) his mother and 2) socialism. Still, his greatest love lies in the grooved vinyl of the only possessions he takes with him: a collection of records by groups like the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, the Fugs and especially Pink Floyd.
I don't know enough about Stoppard to judge his Advancement, but I do know that the title of this play is awesome.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ween Likes A Jazzman

So I hear Ween has a new album out with David Sanborn guesting on sax. I don't think I need to add anything here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ultrasonic Rock Opera

Ultrasonic Rock Opera, or URO, could be good (Boston Herarld):
Giving the rock masses what they can’t get elsewhere, the 23-piece URO lineup - including 16 vocalists - has managed to work out a stunning arrangement of the Queen classic [Bohemian Rhapsody] as well as a number of other brilliantly complex tunes, including The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and the whole second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.” Dubbed “A Night at the Rock Opera,” the show begins a run of 10 weekend performances tonight at the Wilbur Theatre.

“We don’t do anything that the band at the corner bar can do,” said URO singer/guitarist/producer Sal Clemente. “We do songs people can’t hear live anywhere else. But it’s still just a giant rock band. If it’s not rock ’n’ roll I don’t want to do it.”
Hell yeah, man!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965,

New Dylan documentary. Let's take a look (Yahoo):
Using outtakes from his 1967 Newport documentary "Festival" (about 70% of the material has not been seen before), [Murray] Lerner constructs a narrative devoid of narration, talking-head anecdotes, analyses or interpretations. The only adornment is onscreen titles announcing the respective year of each section. Eschewing slice-and-dice manipulation and with deceptive simplicity, Lerner and his team of editors orchestrate the material with poetic precision.
Sounds good. And it sounds like the documentary also catches the beginning of the Advancement of Bob Dylan:
Building up to the 1965 festival, when Dylan and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (sans Butterfield) introduced electric rock 'n' roll to the purist gathering, "The Other Side of the Mirror" illustrates the finer points of the culture clash. His hair now long, his face filled out, his work shirt traded in for a black leather jacket, Dylan faces a largely unchanged crowd.
It still amazes me that some people don't believe that Advancement is real.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Donovan: Hurdy Gurdy University

From the Big News Network:
Legendary singer Donovan has declared his plans of opening a university in Scotland that will have meditation as a part of the curriculum. The Scottish singer announced that the Donovan University would provide traditional education programmes but the students would also undergo training for the practice of transcendental meditation, which practitioners believe reduces stress and boosts creativity and learning.

The 'Mellow' singer said he would like to be a part of some teaching at the university, particularly teaching related to music, but his role would mainly be within a steering group for the project, reports the Daily Snack.
This will never happen.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eric Clapton Shreds

He has never sounded better. And you will be amazed at the sax.

(Apologies if you've seen this a million times)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Brian Eno, Scott Walker, and Other Biblical Plagues

This is interesting (Pitchfork):

Last September, British arts organization Artangel commissioned [Scott] Walker, [Rufus] Wainwright, [Brian] Eno, Robert Wyatt, Stephin Merritt, Imogen Heap, Laurie Anderson, and more to each write a song based on an assigned Biblical plague (there are ten) that takes place in the book of Exodus. Check yr history.

A festival was then held in Margate, England, transforming the town into a modern recreation of the Israelites' escape from Egypt. (WTF?) During the event, the "Plague Songs" were performed by local musicians. The entire thing was filmed, and will be broadcast and screened in the UK next year (the former on Channel 4) under the title Exodus.

The Frogs, the Boils, the Darkness, and the Locust were sadly not asked to participate.

Now, 4BC-- er, excuse us-- 4AD will release the original, star-studded recordings (formerly only available on CD at the Margate Exodus), presented in order of the plagues. These exclusive cuts make up Plague Songs, due November 7 in the U.S. and October 2 in the UK.

I wouldn't like to get the plague, but I might like to listen to this record. Anything with Scott Walker involved is okay in my book.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Not much going on this morning, so let's hear a bit about the new Plant/Krauss collaboration (USA Today):
Raising Sand, recorded in Nashville and California with producer T Bone Burnett, taps into shared musical turf. They harmonize on two songs by Byrds co-founder Gene Clark and another pair from the Everly Brothers catalog, but the originals barely hint at the places Plant and Krauss take them. Other songs come from Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt, Doc Watson and Naomi Neville.
I'm all for it, then.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lou Reed: One-Hit Wonder No More

Lou Reed's back on the charts with a little help from the Killers (

At the age of 65, Lou Reed probably doesn't worry much about when or where he will have his next pop hit single. After all, the legendary Velvet Underground vocalist (for which he is in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame) and iconoclastic solo artist has only been to the pop top 40 in the US one time, 34 years ago, for the timeless "Walk On the Wild Side." He has fared somewhat better in the UK reaching the top 10 twice, with "Walk on the Wild Side" and for a remake of "Satellite of Love" just 3 years back. This scattered chart performance only makes his reappearance today that much more surprising.

To help kick off the publicity for their new, eclectic B-sides and rarities collection, Sawdust, the Killers have released the single "Tranquilize" featuring guest vocals from Lou Reed. It roared into the top 20 of the UK pop singles chart this week, and it is well worth your attention. The Killers head into territory that would be very comfortable for Reed and his long-term well as some new fans. If you like the track, be sure and check into Lou Reed's extensive catalog...and don't forget to look for Sawdust in stores November 13, 2007.

I love that last bit about "if you like the track." Especially because some poor soul will look into the catalog and see an album called "Metal Machine Music" and say, "That sounds pretty good. I'll go with that."

There's a link to listen to "Tranquilize" on the About site as well. I'm going to do that right now, in fact. (I'm back: the song is awesome.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bob Dylan's Cadillac Commerical

Bob Dylan shows once again why he is one of the most Advanced musicians of all time (USA Today):
On 2001's Summer Days, Bob Dylan sang, "I'm drivin' in the flats in a Cadillac car," a lyric that comes to life today in the debut of a multiplatform ad campaign for Cadillac. In a 30-second TV spot, the music legend, sporting a cowboy hat and shades, steers a black 2008 Escalade across California's Antelope Valley before stepping out to survey the desert landscape.

He utters one line: "What's life without taking a detour?" The ad also plugs XM satellite radio, a standard feature in the luxury SUV and home to Dylan's weekly Theme Time Radio Hour, which this Wednesday finds the bard spotlighting songs about the iconic auto.

In a long-form online vignette (viewable now at and starting Wednesday at and, Dylan cracks, "You know what's even better than a great road tune? Not having some DJ talking all over it. Unless, of course, that DJ's me." Print and online ads begin in November.

As most of you know, there is no such thing as selling out if you have a record contract, and Bob Dylan (and Lou Reed, of course) have known this for a long time. Dylan gets a bonus because he's plugging his XM radio show (Advanced Artists embrace technology).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sufjan Stevens Is Dead (To Me)

If you want to know what Overtness sounds like, check out this quote from Sufjan Stevens (from stereogum):
"Rock and roll is dead,” he says, voluble again. “Rock and roll is a museum piece. It has no viability anymore. There are great rock bands today—I love the White Stripes, I love the Raconteurs. But it’s a museum piece. You’re watching the History Channel when you go to these clubs. They’re just reenacting an old sentiment. They’re channeling the ghosts of that era—the Who, punk rock, the Sex Pistols, whatever. It’s been done. The rebellion’s over."
This is just so stupid, I don't know where to begin. I should start by pointing out that even his name is Overt (even if it's his given name). Also, this quote is from an interview where he talks about a 38-piece orchestral suite. In other words, rock is dead, but orchestral suites rule! Some other thoughts: The banjo is real weird. And what happened to those 50 states records? Asthmatic Kitty is a dumb name for a record label. Quiet Riot made better music.

I will give him some credit for trying to embrace Christmas, but I think he was just being Overt about that, too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ray Davies Free Download: "Vietnam Cowboy"

Apparently, Ray Davies is a Prince fan:
On Sunday, October 21, British music legend and lead singer of The Kinks, Ray Davies, will release his eagerly anticipated new solo LP ‘Working Man's Café’, free with every copy of The Sunday Times. Written by Ray, who headlines the BBC Electric Proms on October 28, it looks set to be the definitive album of his 40-year career.

In addition to this, Times Online has the stellar album track 'Vietnam Cowboys' available as a free download from October 14.

Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee and mixed at North London’s Konk Studios earlier this year, ‘Working Mans Café’ combines a collection of songs that are wistful, humorous and poignant.

It's Advanced to give you album away for free, I think. Anyway, you can get the download at the Times site. (You have to sign up for the site, but that's not so bad for a free Ray Davies song.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

David Bowie at Target

This is fairly awesome (from CMJ):
David Bowie's personal style has always been as much a part of his persona as his music, which is why it comes as no surprise that a line of clothing inspired by The Thin White Duke will soon debut at the bastion of American style, Target.... A CD, Strangers When We Meet (Virgin/EMI), will be sold for $4.99 alongside the collection and will feature well known tracks from the Bowie catalogue as well as previously unreleased material. The line will be available at most Target stores from October 14 through December 24 and prices run from $14.99-$59.99.
I hope so much that this was his idea.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lou Reed Interview

There is a serious (and sort of old) interview with Lou Reed about Metal Machine Music in Pitchfork. Here's some:
If Metal Machine is anything, it's energy and physicality, and you should be able to physically feel it, and it takes a lot of energy to perform it. So when Ulrick Krieger, who's the guy who transcribed it for Zeitkratzer-- he's an independent musician, he plays with a lot of different bands-- he called and said, "I want to do this, I've always loved the piece and I want to transcribe it." I said it can't be transcribed. It defies transcription. And he said, "Well, you know, I've always loved this thing, I know I can do this, and I know we can play this. Let me transcribe a little bit of it and we'll record five or ten minutes of it and you listen to it and decide whether it's OK or not."


But if you go in, and you scope it, and put your attention here, there, wherever you think the fun is, then it has shape. And that's what he did. He took off from the same starting point I did, but [from there] it depends on how you focus it, because you could parlay it in a lot of different ways. It was obvious that he could really hear it, that he could notate this for real. He was really paying attention to the harmonics. I just didn't even realize that guys into the electronics had gotten that far. I really didn't know. Within the past couple of years, I've been meeting a lot of younger musicians, and they collect a lot of analog pedals, a lot of electro-harmonic stuff. And I'm like, "Why are you doing this? How come you don't have the new versions?" And they say, "Well, the sound is really great on these old analog pedals." But they don't play guitars, they don't play keyboards, they play machines. And they all know. So they say "Oh, on Metal Machine, there's this, this, and this.'' It's pretty astonishing to me.
I don't think I've read an interview with him where he talks so seriously about his music (as opposed to saying things like "that's a dumb question"). It reminds me that at the heart of the Advanced Theory is an appreciation of true genius. Also, Lou Reed really is as great as I think he is.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Selling Out: The Moby Quotient

As official policy, the Advanced Theory Blog believes that there is no such thing as selling out if you've made a record deal (the idea being that making money for a record company is no better than making money for Victoria's Secret). But this is good.

I'm back to posting again. Sorry about the delay, but I've been too busy to do anything but be busy.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Washington City Schmaper

When I was preoccupied with my new job and move to Atlanta, the Washington City Paper's blog Black Plastic Bag decided to take down Advancement. I was defenseless at the time, but luckily Val Kilmer came to my rescue in the comments section. Here's what the writer had to say at the end of a long post about the theory:
At heart it’s a method by which music writers can overthink old artists, expend ridiculous amounts of energy showing off what they think of them, and assign more weight to them then they deserve.
What was interesting to me is the writer read Chuck Klosterman's article about Advancement "about a dozen times." I've seen this a lot. I'll tell somebody about the Advanced Theory and they get really upset about it. Then they keep asking, "Is he Advanced?" and "What about so-and-so." Usually the anger comes from not really understanding the theory. But then they finally catch on and are eventually converted. You'll come around, Black Plastic Bag.

One more thing: He also calls Lou Reed pretentious, but is pretentiousness any less difficult to prove than Advancement?

(Thanks to Matt for pointing out this blog post.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bob Dylan With Jack White Video

I suppose you all know that Jack White sat in with Bob Dylan at some concerts in Nashville. But you may not have seen it, so I'll send you over to Stereogum for that pleasure. Here's what they have to say about it:
...a lot of you wrote us about Jack's recent sit-ins with Bob Dylan down in Nashville last week. Leonard hit us with the setlist from the 9/19 show, noting that Jack joined Bob for the first-ever concert performance of "Meet Me In The Morning," but the clip we excavated comes from the next night when, while still at the Ryman Auditorium, the two paired up on "One More Cup Of Coffee." Interesting to hear the contrast in the present state of their voices -- one gruff and worn, the other crackling, and wailing -- and as always with these live digicam clips, much less interesting to actually watch. But you should click play anyway.
How's that for the hard sell? Anyway, Jack White would love to be considered Advanced, and he might well be on his way. But just because an Advanced artist approves of you doesn't mean you are Advanced, too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Daniel Lanois Is What Is

Daniel Lanois has worked with a lot of Advanced artists (there's some good stuff about him in Bob Dylan's autobiography), so you might be interested in this:
‘Here Is What Is’, which premieres at the Toronto Film Festival this week, is a ‘sonic, filmic, journey’ documenting life in the studio with Daniel Lanois. It covers a year in which Lanois collaborated with musicians as diverse as Willie Nelson and Sinead O’Connor, Aaron Neville and Billy Bob Thornton. And as the year also included a trip to Fez in Morocco, the film features footage of Lanois and Brian Eno working on new material with U2. Danny came up with an exclusive advance clip for U2.Com - including the very first footage of the band recording with Danny and Brian in Morocco.
You can see it here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Tusk" and "Metal Machine Music"

Philco Bros. weighs in on the great "Tusk" question:
I'm not sure the actual song is advanced but the idea of releasing it as a single after the major success of the previoius two LP's is very Metal Machine Music-like.
Excellent point. I'm now thinking that the album might qualify as an Advanced Irritant. In fact, I'm sure of it. And I think that Lindsey Buckingham was probably the driving force behind it. He is, by the way, one of my favorite guitarists with large brown hair (Brian May and Mike Campbell are the others).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Tusk" Advanced?

Anonymous writes: "What about 'Tusk' by Fleetwood Mac as a majorly advanced song?"

Good question. I think it was actually not so Advanced (it was their weirdo response to the success of "Rumours" as I remember), but the video was more Advanced than the song. Not to mention kind of sexy when Stevie Nicks twirls the baton. Why is it that all weirdo girls used to be cheerleaders? Maybe it really is hard to be a pretty girl. Anyway, what is more Advanced was the twenty-minute cover of "Tusk" that Camper Van Beethoven play in their reunion gigs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Perry Farrell, 50 Cent, and ESPN

I'm late to the story, I know, but I had to say something about the Perry Farrell, Kelly Rowland, and 50 Cent collaboration for ESPN's college football promo. Actually, I'll let Farrell do the talking:
"[ESPN] had the idea to bring in someone who can rap and a female who can sing, and then put it together [as a remix]," Farrell told MTV News on Thursday. "Coming from the world of rock and roll — and as a DJ — I felt that a lot of rock and roll was being ignored by DJs," he said. "I wanted to bring rock and roll songs into the nightclubs because DJs are always looking for new material, and hip-hop has predominately been what club music has been about over the last 10 years. So when I heard that ESPN was interested in that and they also wanted to get a rapper, they made a wise choice. Their ears were tuning in to the things that I was hoping for. And when they told me they were thinking about 50 on it? Wow, that could be amazing."

"It's pertinent to football, but it could very much be its own thing," he continued about the track. "The music really suits crossover. I think that it's really good and I'm happy I got to do it and partner in it with 50 and Kelly, and I just look forward to rocking people on Saturday nights for the whole football season."

Perry Farrell is making a very strong case for himself here. He' s embracing sports, rap, and rock all at once (click on the labels below for more).

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

More Metal Machine Music

There's a nice article in the New York Sun about Zeitkratzer's version of Metal Machine Music. Here's a bit:
Generating the largest number of album returns in history, and being pulled from the market entirely only three weeks after its release, "Metal Machine Music" nearly finished Mr. Reed's career (there is now a standard clause in record label contracts stipulating that artists must deliver recordings that reflect the work that the label is signing them for, informally known as the "Metal Machine Music clause").

In 2000, however, a 25th anniversary reissue was released by BMG, and two years later the German experimental music ensemble Zeitkratzer painstakingly transcribed the original recording, and performed it with Mr. Reed as a special guest. A CD/DVD package of the concert has just been issued by Asphodel.

It's a bold move, since the original piece is totally electronic and Zeitkratzer is all acoustic.

...The screeching, high-pitched, high-speed melodic figures from the original "Metal Machine Music" are consigned to violins on Zeitkratzer's version, while the horns (saxophone, trumpet, tuba) hold the drone tones (an accordion does a little of both). Tremelos generated with a Fender Tremelo unit on Mr. Reed's original are reproduced manually by a cellist and a contrabassist frantically bowing their instruments. A percussionist handles the low frequencies, as well as other scratchy sounds from the original electronics (the performance footage on the DVD makes this much clearer than the CD, where the sound is often unrecognizable as being acoustic).
It must be nice to be someone who actually does stuff like this rather than just think about it.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Lou Reed and the Killers

Sorry I was away yesterday, but I was at a Team Building Exercise in Tennessee. No T-shirt to wear during business time, though. Anyway, Lou Reed is embracing the new, as the Advanced always do. Pitchfork has the story:
A couple years back, I recall seeing a very out-of-place-looking Lou Reed at some MTV event or another talking to Gideon Yago, decrying the network's recent resistance to rock music. Yago asked Reed just who he'd like to see replacing endless repeats of "Engaged & Underage" or whatever, and, with nary a blink, Reed replied "Okkervil River."

In that moment-- and with his embraces of Antony and Conor-- Lou showed himself to be both a man who takes his heartwrenching theatrics with at least a spot of nuance and, ad infinitum, the original hipster. So what in the heck is Lou Reed doing on a track with the nuance-free, not-exactly-hip Killers?

Singing, it turns out. According to, Reed recently hit the studio with Flood and Alan Moulder to duet with Brandon Flowers on "Tranquilize", a track from the moustachioed band's forthcoming B-sides, rarities, and now totally incongruous collabos compilation.

Pardon our incredulity. It's not that the Killers aren't awesome in their way, but "their way" is sort of the same thing Lou Reed's spent much of his career standing outside of. Also, don't bands generally wait until they have more than a couple albums before they drop a rarities comp? And wouldn't you think Lou Reed would maybe choose a band a little more road-tested (or with a bit more gravitas) than the Killers for a rare guest appearance? Perhaps Lou, like the rest of us, wishes he wrote "Mr. Brightside", too.
Pitchfork doesn't understand Advancement at all! But Henry does, and thank goodness for it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Super Nic Cage Karate Monkey

JW asks, "When are you going to address this nick cage quote (about ghost rider)":
Q: What was something you really wanted in this character, considering how involved you were in the production?

Nicolas Cage: “It’s a deeply personal character and I was trying to find a new way of presenting how he would keep dark spirits at bay. I didn’t want him being a heavy drinker or a chain smoker. I wanted him eating jellybeans so he wouldn’t invite the devils in. I wanted him listening to Karen Carpenter to help him relax so he wouldn’t allow the devil with satanic Goth rock or something. Or, he’s watching chimpanzees do karate instead of The Exorcist. And, all three of those things I was doing in my own life. I was eating jellybeans out of a martini glass and listening to Karen Carpenter and on the Internet watching chimps do karate. And I thought, ‘Well this is funny, let’s put it in the movie.’ But it’s also true.”
I'd like to address this, but I'm not sure how to, other than to say Val Kilmer better watch his back.