Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lou Reed Gets Married, Plays Music, Likes Tai Chi

From Contact Music:
Veteran rocker LOU REED has reportedly married his longtime partner LAURIE ANDERSON in a secret ceremony in Colorado earlier this month (12Apr08). The couple, who have lived together since 1995, was recently spotted celebrating in New York with drinks and dessert at the East Village, New York townhouse of photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Sanders made the Grammy-winning documentary Lou Reed: Rock And Roll Heart about the musician in 1999.
Guests at the gathering included filmmaker Julian Schnabel and Law + Order: Special Victims Unit star Richard Belzer, reports New York gossip column PageSix.
And he's playing shows too (Washington Post):

Lou Reed called his most famous live album "Rock n Roll Animal," but the title was kind of a joke even then, in 1974. The unofficial poet laureate of New York City is one of the least-pandering rockers ever, and his complete absorption in the music gives him a paradoxical charm: Like all icons of existential cool, he seems truly not to care whether you like him or not.

Take Tuesday night's powerful but maddeningly brief show at the 9:30 club. The majority of the mere dozen songs performed were mid-'80s-and-later album cuts, with only "Sweet Jane" (disposed of early in the set) and "Perfect Day" among Reed's "hits." He might have rolled his eyes introducing the Velvet Underground curio "I'm Sticking With You" ("This was in 'Juno,' that's why we're doing it") but you just never know with this guy.

Finally, if you're planning to interview Lou Reed, here's some advice (Style Weekly):
“Talk to Lou about playing music, manipulating sound [guitar feedback], the power of focusing your energy. He’s really into tai chi — that Chinese, slow motion exercise stuff,” he writes. “I got lucky when I talked with him, he didn’t get pissed off once in the entire eight-or-so minutes. Even invited me backstage, which was later withdrawn by his management, the bastards. Good luck!”

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Daily Collegian Gets It

Nice little article about Lou Reed in the Daily Collegian:
Lou Reed is sort of an art snob. He was trained by poet Delmore Schwartz, whom most of us have never heard of, and he writes soundtracks to films about obscure Nelson Algren novels that never come to fruition. He records Top 20 hits, grows disenfranchised and releases double albums of distortion. He puts out brilliant rock operas, stylized renditions of the works of Poe and, more recently, meditation music inspired by the Hudson River. Lou Reed isn't appealing to your tastes, and that's what makes him appealing.
Couldn't have said it better myself. There's other good stuff here, so read the article. Don't worry, it's short, and while little will be new to you, it is the rare article about Reed where the writer seems to actually understand the subject.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Peter Gabriel Recommendation Engine, Bill Cosby Does Hip-Hop, Neil Diamond to Tour, and Other Things

Busy day yesterday.

Digital Music News:
Peter Gabriel is now unwrapping a beta version of a multimedia filtering and discovery engine. The destination, called The Filter (, is currently in private beta, though a small group of journalists are being briefed on the concept. Music is a critical component of the offering, though Gabriel is pushing a vision that includes multiple forms of media.

USA Today:
Bill Cosby's path has taken him from pudding pops to hip hop. The 70-year-old has recorded a hip-hop CD set for release next month. Cosby Narratives Vol. 1: State of Emergency blends the comedian's concepts and stories with a hip-hop, pop and jazz soundtrack.

"I do not rap on any of these things," Cosby told The Associated Press Monday. "I wouldn't know how to fix my mouth to say some of the words." What Cosby does know, though, is that the hip-hop music he hears is profane and degrading. His album is "the opposite of what I think is the profanity for no particular reason, the misogyny for no particular reason. It really looks at the frustration and the anger that a young man may have," he said.

Neil Diamond, who is releasing a new album next month and embarking on a new tour this summer, says both projects mark the best — and hardest work — of his career.

This is the most technically challenging show that I've ever done," Diamond told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday. Diamond said: "This record represents a giant step in my evolution as a writer and a recording artist ... you will see I've gone deeper. It was more painful to write this — maybe the most difficult album I've ever written, and maybe my best."

Live Daily:
Veteran singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen will launch his first tour in 15 years next month with a round of dates in the Canadian performer's native country.The recently inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will kick off the run May 11 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, with multiple nights in many locations during the May/June outing, including a five-night engagement (4/12-13, 15-17) in Halifax, Nova Scotia....

Cohen will be backed on the trek by a full band that includes bassist Roscoe Beck, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Neil Larsen, guitarists Bob Metzger and Javier Mas, stringed instrumentalist Christine Wu, drummer Rafael Gayol and multi-instrumentalist Dino Soldo.

A live album featuring Willie Nelson and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, titled Two Men With the Blues, will be released on June 10 by Blue Note Records, a jazz label. Mickey Raphael, Nelson's longtime harmonica player, also appears on the album, along with Marsalis' band. Nelson and Marsalis recorded their concert at Lincoln Center in New York City in January 2007.

I'm told that the Neil Diamond record actually is amazing, by the way. And Leonard Cohen's band is classic Advancement. Finally, my son has been sick the last few nights, and I began to wonder why do I all of the sudden turn into the woman who played Steve Martin's mom in the jerk when trying to soothe him by singing?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Eminem to Perform for Nelson Mandela

According to dlisted, it's true:
When you think of Nelson Mandela, you automatically think of Eminem. Em will take the stage at Mandela's 90th...count 'em....90th Birthday party. WTF! Come to think of it, I can see Mandela dropping it like it's hot to "Lose Yourself." The Sun reports that Em has been confirmed to make his comeback at Mandela's party. I hope it's fat Eminem that takes the stage.

An inside source said, "We’re amazed to have Eminem on board. We wanted some of the greatest artists from recent times and Eminem was on the list."

Let me guess, Vanilla Ice wasn't available because he's in jail.

I'm also hoping Mandela and Eminem do a duet to "Ebony and Ivory."
I have one question: did a 1980s robot write those jokes?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dave Stewart's Rock Fabulous Orchestra

From a press release:
One of the most prolific artists in the past two decades, Dave Stewart, will embark on a full-scale North American tour this August. Billed as Dave Stewart and His 30-Piece Rock Fabulous Orchestra the show will include songs from Stewart's vast catalog of classic hits performed in one-of-a-kind arrangements. In addition to smash-hits from Eurythmics such as "Sweet Dreams" and "Here Comes the Rain Again," the songbook includes timeless tracks penned by Stewart including Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More," No Doubt's "Underneath It All," Mick Jagger's Golden Globe-winning "Old Habits Die Hard" and Celine Dion's recent chart-topper "Taking Chances," only to name a few.

"This isn't so much a look back but a new beginning," said Stewart. "When stuff has been put away for a while and you dust it off, you often see something you've never seen before. And before you know it, you're on the road with a 30-piece orchestra!" I have a great band as well as an orchestra and some amazing female voices to sing with me.

In August, Stewart's company Weapons of Mass Entertainment and Surfdog Records will be releasing an album consisting of new fresh rejuvenated versions of his most celebrated material with the full orchestra. The aptly titled "Dave Stewart Songbook, Vol. 1" will be accompanied by a hard-cover, glossy book of the same title. The book will include a chapter dedicated to each song with the story behind the music and stunning photos of his collaborators during the recording sessions, most of which were taken by Stewart himself.

Beyond his music legacy, Stewart and his company Weapons of Mass Entertainment have been at the forefront of innovation linking creative ideas to a host of projects in film, television, books theatre and new media. Stewart was recently hired as a consultant for Nokia, the world's largest cellphone company, where he was given the unique title of "Change Agent," charged with ensuring the artists' point of view is represented in the "new world" and creating new content business paradigms for the entertainment industry. A recent Washington Post article hailed Stewart's innovation in this arena, calling him "a man who vows to drop a 'neutron bomb' on the current entertainment distribution model."

Stewart is described by Bob Dylan as "a fearless innovator" and he has built up a repertoire of remarkable songs that have been performed by some of the most influential musicians of our time. In 1999, Dave Stewart along with his Eurythmics partner, Annie Lennox, were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brit Awards after having sold over 75 million albums.
Is Dave Stewart Advanced? All I know is that is stock is rising.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Nick Cave Still Independent

Nick Cave recently received some kind of honor at something called the Plug Independent Music Awards. Here's what he had to say about it (Village Voice):
"To be honest, I wondered what the fuck we were doing there," Cave, 50, says the next day at his midtown hotel. "I don't want to be ungrateful, but I've never been concerned with independent music being more 'worthy' than mainstream music, whatever kind of inverted snobbery that is." Dressed in his signature slim black suit, Cave explains, between spoonfuls of chicken soup, that he accepted the Impact Award for his career arc at the urging of Anti-Records. In the run-up to the release of the Bad Seeds' 14th album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, his label figured it couldn't hurt to remind a select group of American music appreciators that Cave is a veteran of alternative sounds.
A lot of complexity here. He's showing his independence by rejecting the importance of independent music at an indendpendent music awards ceremony that his record company encouraged him to attend to remind people that he's been independent for a long time.

Whatever, I would love to see him in concert.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bob Dylan Wins Pulitzer

From AP:
Thanks to Bob Dylan, rock 'n' roll has finally broken through the Pulitzer wall.

Dylan, the most acclaimed and influential songwriter of the past half century, who more than anyone brought rock from the streets to the lecture hall, received an honorary Pulitzer Prize on Monday, cited for his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."

It was the first time Pulitzer judges, who have long favored classical music, and, more recently, jazz, awarded an art form once dismissed as barbaric, even subversive.


Dylan's victory doesn't mean that the Pulitzers have forgotten classical composers. The competitive prize for music was given to David Lang's "The Little Match Girl Passion," which opened last fall at Carnegie Hall, where Dylan has also performed.

"Bob Dylan is the most frequently played artist in my household so the idea that I am honored at the same time as Bob Dylan, that is humbling," Lang told the AP.

Long after most of his contemporaries either died, left the business or held on by the ties of nostalgia, Dylan continues to tour almost continuously and release highly regarded CDs, most recently "Modern Times." Fans, critics and academics have obsessed over his lyrics — even digging through his garbage for clues — since the mid-1960s, when such protest anthems as "Blowin' in the Wind" made Dylan a poet and prophet for a rebellious generation.

His songs include countless biblical references and he has claimed Chekhov, Walt Whitman and Jack Kerouac as influences. His memoir, "Chronicles, Volume One," received a National Book Critics Circle nomination in 2005 and is widely acknowledged as the rare celebrity book that can be treated as literature.

According to publisher Simon & Schuster, Dylan is working on a second volume of memoirs. No release date has been set.

Remember about 20 years ago when Dylan was washed up?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Critic Rips Ripped Reznor's Riffs

Not really "rips," but the critic is definitely struggling with Trent Reznor's latest attempt to be considered Advanced. Here's the story (
There's a fine line between genius and madness.Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor has usually walked on the genius side of that line during his career as an industrial noise-maker, thanks to albums like "The Downward Spiral," and "The Fragile." "Ghosts I-IV," may make some wonder whether he's walked off the deep end.
Some of it is minimalistic and ambient, not far from the trips Brian Eno staged decades ago on albums like "Music For Airports," while plenty of other moments find Reznor and his current assemblage of collaborators shifting moods and textures into that dark industrial territory that offers noise, distortion, banging percussion, chaos and churning aggression.

Starting with the hushed piano tones of "1," and the searching-for-an-airport feel of the artfully atmospheric "2," Reznor takes the listener on a harried excursion. Some of it is just plain bizarre, like the crushing "4," and some of it is coolness exemplified like the sparse blend of piano and percussion on "9." Sometimes NIN totally lock into an actual groove, such as the throbbing, buzzing noise-fest of "14."

That's the great Adrian Belew playing guitar in the latter track. He contributes to several selections on the recording, which is also augmented by guest musicians Alessandro Cortini and Brian Viglione.
Closing, as it opened, with delicate piano, "Ghosts I-IV," has moments of madness, mayhem and beauty, but there's also a sense of self-indulgence running through a double CD set that easily - very easily - could have been trimmed in half and come out stronger.

I don't know if Reznor really is Advanced (I never really got into NIN), but he certainly is being criticized as if he were. Regardless, he is extremely buff, and no critic can take that away from him.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Heeeeeeere's Elvis

From the Hollywood Reporter:
British rocker Elvis Costello will host a talk show for Sundance Channel, beginning later this year, the cable channel said Wednesday.

"Spectacle: Elvis Costello With . . .," which will be executive produced by Elton John, will also air on CTV in Canada and Channel 4 in the U.K.

The series will feature everything from intimate one-on-ones with legendary performers and notable newcomers to thematic panel discussions, with a variety of performance elements, Sundance said.
This is a fine idea, but I wonder who came up with the idea. I can't imagine Elvis Costello lying in bed one night and saying, "You know, Elton, I think I'd like to do a talk show." But that's Advancement for you.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Quick Tour

Very little going on in the Advanced World the last few days, which is lucky because I was busy picking spaghetti from my spaghetti trees. R.E.M. is getting a lot of positive reviews for their new album, though not everyone is happy with it. The Rolling Stones concert movie debuts Friday, I think, at IMAX theaters. Bjork's in 3D. Rush is planning a new album. 311 and Snoop Dogg are touring together (I'm down with that). Radiohead is letting people remix their single, which might amuse Todd Rundgren, who did that years ago. So in honor of that, let's watch him sing "Hello, It's Me" from YouTube, a lazy blogger's best friend: