vendredi, mars 30, 2007

Rock News 03 2007 encore

Ryan Adams, Paramore, Coldplay, The Pipettes, Tim Finn, Linkin Park, Placebo, Elliott Smith, and Velvet Revolver.

Ryan Adams unveils album tracklisting. 'Easy Tiger' is out June 5

Ryan Adams has revealed the tracks that will make it on to his ninth studio album, set for release in June.

'Easy Tiger' is the follow-up to 2006's '29' , and will feature 13 tracks, which will be titled:

'Goodnight Rose'
'Everybody Knows'
'The Sun Also Sets'
'Halloween Head'
'Off Broadway'
'Two Hearts'
'Tears Of Gold'
'These Girls'
'I Taught Myself How To Grow Old'
'Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.'
'Rip Off'
'Pearls On A String'

Paramore announce new album release date. Record gets a summer release

Paramore have attempted to clear up speculation about the release of their new album, following a series of online rumours.

The band are currently recording the follow up 2005's 'All We Know Is Falling' in New Jersey, and expect to have the new album finished and mastered by the beginning of April.

The album is being produced by David Bendeth who has worked with Hawthorn Heights and Ima Robot.

Although no definitive release date has been announced, several possible days have been rumoured on various websites.

However a spokesperson for the band has told NME.COM that nothing is confirmed yet, although Paramore are considering two possible dates, June 11 or 25 (with a US release the the following day depending on which day is decided upon).

Meanwhile, the band are then expected to hit the road, touring Japan and Australia at the end of March, before returning to the US for April and May dates.

A UK tour for May and June is expected to be announced

Coldplay break silence on new album. Chris Martin promises a song 'everybody has to hear'

Coldplay's Chris Martin has been discussing their new album - and has revealed the band have already worked on a song he wants everybody to hear.

Martin has said the follow up to 2005's 'X&Y' will see the band trying out new things.

The singer explained: "I think for a long time, people felt like we were a band in black and white, and now we feel like because we have this incredible job, now we can do whatever we like and try all kinds of new things."

The frontman said that the band were excited about one currently untitled track in particular, Yahoo News reports.

"In order for us to get excited about a new album, we have to have one song that we feel like everybody had to hear this song before we die, otherwise we'll be terribly depressed," he explained. "So luckily with this new record, we're going to make, we have that one song."

As previously reported, Brian Eno is set to produce the album which will be the first to be recorded in the band's purpose built studio in north London.

Meanwhile, Coldplay have just completed a tour of Latin America, which saw them play Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

The Pipettes sign US deal. Their debut album finally sees a Stateside release

The Pipettes have joined up with Interscope Records/Cherrytree to release their debut album Stateside later this year, a representative from the label confirmed today (February 27).

'We Are The Pipettes' was released in the UK last July and should finally hit American shores this summer.

As previously announced, the Brighton trio will be making their first tour of the US beginning next month, playing a sold-out date at New York's Bowery Ballroom on March 13 opening for Amy Winehouse.

They'll also play several showcases at Austin's South by Southwest Festival March 14-18. The band are expected to announce a Los Angeles date shortly.

Tim Finn discusses new album. 'Imaginary Kingdom' tackles weighty subjects

Tim Finn will release his latest solo effort, 'Imaginary Kingdom', in the US on April 24.

The former member of Split Enz and honourary member of Crowded House was about to embark on a tour of the UK and Europe supporting the new album when he caught up with NME.COM.

"I was touring a lot with my brother Neil, and during the breaks in the tour, new songs just kept coming through. So I had 23 songs I started demoing," Finn explained.

Finn wrote most of the album in his native New Zealand, which he said had a distinct influence on its sound. "Gertrude Stein said, 'People are the way their land and sky is.' I think that's true. Most of my writing was influenced by New Zealand's land, light, air and water.

"I wanted to give people the feeling they get when stepping onto a beach," he said.

Finn said he wrote the song 'Salt To The Sea' for Split Enz and Crowded House former drummer Paul Hester, who took his own life in 2005 after battling with depression.

"'Salt To The Sea'' was very much a song for Paul," Finn said. "He lived in my house when I was away in England and we all miss him terribly.

"Each song has its own story, but it's mostly about the fact that the song is still leading me on. I love the form."

As previously announced, Finn will perform with his brother Neil as part of the newly reunited Crowded House at the Coachella Festival in Indio, California on April 29. He will soon announce the dates of a solo US spring tour.

Linkin Park name new album. 'Minutes To Midnight' is released in May

Linkin Park are set to release their new album 'Minutes To Midnight' on May 14.

The album will be the first new material from the band since 2003's 'Meteora'.

Frontman Chester Bennington declared the LP would change the way people think about the band.

He said: "What people have known Linkin Park as, and how they will know them as when they first hear the album ... that's going to change. The way we've been classified, and how people think they know us, that's all going to die."

Speaking about the concept behind the album he told MTV News: "The title is a reference to the Doomsday Clock, which was created by these scientists at the University of Chicago after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Japan to end World War II.

"Given the idea that mankind now had this ultimate destructive power, they were contemplating what the repercussions of this would be and the idea and the idea that the end of the world could be imminent."

Bennington also had high praise for the new track 'The Little Things You Give Away', saying it was "the pinnacle of what we can achieve as a band...(it will) touch people in a way Linkin Park haven't touched people before... It's a huge explosion of sound, over six minutes long, and it's truly, completely amazing. And I can't wait for people to hear it".

The album is co-produced by band member Mike Shinoda and Rick Rubin.

A release date has yet to be confirmed.

Placebo release album on iTunes. Band's new covers album available in digital form.

Placebo have released an album of covers which is available on iTunes as of today (March 5).

The release, titled simply 'Covers', will coincide with the band's upcoming UK shows, beginning at the Blackpool Empress Ballroom on April 5.

Each of the ten covers that feature on the album have been performed live throughout the band's career, and will now be available in digital form for the first time.

The covers were only previously available on the limited edition bonus CD available with 2003's 'Sleeping With Ghosts' album.

This digital release follows the massive download demand of the band's cover of [a]Kate Bush[a]'s 'Running Up That Hill' after it featured on TV show 'The OC'.

The tracklisting is:

'Running Up That Hill
'Where Is My Mind'
'Bigmouth Strikes Again'
'Johnny and Mary'
'20th Century Boy'
'The Ballad of Melody Nelson'
'I Feel You'
'Daddy Cool'

New Elliott Smith album on the way. The record features a whopping 24 tracks

A double CD to commemorate the music of introspective singer songwriter Elliott Smith will be released on May 8.

The album, which will feature 24 of his songs recorded between 1995 and 1997, will be entitled 'New Moon'.

A large amount of proceeds from sales of New Moon will go to Outside In, a Portland based organisation looking after homeless youths.

Smith was found dead in 2003 of an apparently self-inflicted stab wound to the heart.

The tracklisting for the album is:

Disc 1

'Angel In The Snow'
'High Times'
'New Monkey'
'Looking Over My Shoulder'
'Going Nowhere'
'Riot Coming'
'All Cleaned Out'
'First Timer'
'Go By'
'Miss Misery (early version)'

Disc 2

'Talking To Mary'
'Georgia Georgia'
'Whatever (Folk Song in C)'
'Big Decision'
'New Disaster'
'Seen How Things Are Hard'
'Fear City'
'Pretty Mary K (other version)'
'Almost Over'
'See You Later'
'Half Right'

Velvet Revolver complete second album. Scott Weiland to release solo album too.

Velvet Revolver have announced details of their second album 'Libtertad'.

The follow up to 2004's 'Contraband' was produced by Brendan O'Brien, who worked with frontman Scott Weiland during his stint in Stone Temple Pilots.

Speaking about working with O'Brien, Weiland said: "He has really helped the guys challenge themselves on a musical level. ('Libertad') definitely still rocks, but it's incredibly more musical. There's a lot more textures, and Slash and Duff (McKagan) have really sort of risen the bar. It just goes places that the first album didn't go."

Weiland added the band want to work with The Clash legend Mick Jones too.

He said: "We wanted to work with him with Velvet Revolver, but we didn't get the chance to do it. So I'm thinking about getting a hold of him, working on a track or two."

Weiland is also finishing work on his solo album, which he hopes to released before the end of the year.

He told MTV News: "It kind of goes all over the map like the first one, but a bit more focused because I'm not using drugs anymore. It had a little bit of Latin jazz, some R&B oriented stuff, some stuff with beats. There's some stuff that's really kind of out there. I'm into creating sounds, but it's all about melody, really."

mercredi, mars 28, 2007

Rock News 03 2007 some more

Beastie Boys, Joanne Newson, White Stripes, David Yow of Jesus Lizard,
Social Registry, The Rakes, Dolores O'Riordan, Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
and Panic! At The Disco.

Beasties' Yauch Talks New Album, Bad Brains

It's been three years since the Beastie Boys released To the 5 Boroughs, which is still only half the time between the release of Boroughs and its immediate predecessor, Hello Nasty. The trio is, however, already hard at work on their next album, as Adam Yauch (aka MCA) revealed to Pitchfork in a recent interview.

Yauch says the Beasties are "focusing on playing instruments [and] not really working with drum machines and samples" on the record, which they are in the process of mixing. The album is currently untitled, but they hope to release it this spring.

If that happens, the group will have an album to promote on their upcoming summer festival tour, the first date of which is at the Sasquatch! Festival alongside their friends and old touring buddies Bad Brains. Yauch says there are no plans for the two groups to play together at the festival but adds that Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jenifer "will probably steal a couple of beers from my dressing room."

Yauch spent a lot of time with Jenifer and the rest of Bad Brains' original lineup recently when he produced their forthcoming album, Build a Nation. Yauch calls Nation "more raw sounding than some of the other stuff that they did. It has a pretty full sound, but it's more like the way they sounded live back in the day seeing them at CBGB's, the amps and the PA at full tilt."

Nation also takes a different approach to the band's reggae influences: "With I Against I and after that, they started bringing the reggae influence into the rock style, and this record goes back to the [self-titled] ROIR cassette style where the dub is very separate from the hardcore tracks. There are tracks that are more straight-up hardcore and then tracks that are straight-up dub."

Considering how fast Bad Brains used to play, it would be understandable if they had mellowed in their old age. But Yauch says, "If anything, they play more accurately than ever. They're pretty incredible musicians. It was pretty amazing hearing those guys play together and lay it down. The way that they move together, the drums and bass and guitar, is almost like one complex instrument. I guess they've just been playing together so long that there's a certain flow to the way the band plays that's pretty unique. They have a lot of jazz influences in the way they go through changes. Like, the chord changes that they choose and the rhythms that they do are pretty amazing."

Build a Nation comes out this spring on Megaforce Records.

Posted by Dave Maher

Joanna Newsom Unveils EP Details. Yes, it's still called Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band, unfortunately

The title of Joanna Newsom's new EP isn't Every Word in the Title of These Songs Starts With "C", though it would be about as good as the actual title, Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band.

Plus, it's true, since the EP leads off with new song "Colleen" before segueing into new versions of "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie" and "Cosmia".

Drag City will release the full-band EP on April 24 in the U.S., and Newsom has two weeks of European tour dates next month as well. She has also shown a great deal of consideration to British fans by scheduling a September appearance in London six and a half months in advance.

Posted by Dave Maher

White Stripes Announce Icky New Album Gross!

They're baaaaack! The White Stripes announced on their website late last night that their sixth album, which bears the excellently bizarre title of Icky Thump, will be released "as soon as corporately possible."

It was recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, and includes the songs "Catch Hell Blues", "Little Cream Soda", "Rag and Bone", "You Don't Know What Love Is (Just Do As You're Told)", "I'm Slowly Turning Into You", and "Icky Thump".

As previously reported, the new album will be delivered via the Stripes' new home, Warner Bros. They will support it with appearances at Bonnaroo as well as Germany's Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals in June.

In typical White Stripes fashion, the album details were revealed via a silly, semi-cryptic message.

Posted by Amy Phillips

Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid's David Yow Joins L.A.'s Qui

Whether you've been basking in David Yow's sweat since the 1980s or just caught Scratch Acid reunion fever this past fall, have we got news for you. The ex-Scratch Acid, ex-Jesus Lizard maniac has joined L.A.-based noise rockers Qui. Now a trio with Yow on vocals, Qui have a full-length on the way in 2007.

The as-yet-untitled album features Yow hootin' and hollerin' and follows up 2003's Baby Kisses (Heart of a Champion Records), which Qui guitarist/vocalist Matt Cronk and drummer/vocalist Paul Christensen recorded and released as a duo. Qui also serve up a new 7" via Infrasonic Sound Recordings in the coming weeks.

The newly Yow-endowed Qui hit the roads of the American South and West this March, including appearances at SXSW. Mad praise to reader Philip Crabtree for the tip!

In other news, this guy wishes he were the David Yow.

Posted by Matthew Solarski

Actress Jena Malone Records Social Registry 7" Gang Gang Dance, Growing also contribute to Social Registry singles series

"Actor/actress-turned-musician" there any scarier phrase in the English language? (Yes, and it's "reality-TV-star-turned-musician.") From Keanu "Dogstar" Reeves and Russell "30 Odd Foot of Grunts" Crowe to Jennifer Love "BareNaked" Hewitt and Gina "I toured with Girls Against Boys" Gershon, history is littered with embarrassing accidents involving beautiful people and guitars.

So what makes Jena Malone different? Well, she's not a huge movie star yet, for one thing-- you might remember her from Donnie Darko, Saved, Pride and Prejudice, or, um, Stepmom. And she doesn't have a team of assistants, stylists, marketers, and managers controlling her every move. It's just her, "recording and producing all of my own music with the help of whatever musician is around at the time," as she told Pitchfork in a recent email exchange.

So far, Malone has recorded two demos, Bloodstains for Sailors and A-NEWT; EMOTIONAL NUTRITION. A pair of tracks from each demo can be heard on Malone's MySpace page. They're pretty out-there-- bedroom electronics, spaced-out keyboards, and Malone's spare vocals, falling somewhere in between Scout Niblett and Karen O.

It makes sense that Malone has hooked up with the experimental NYC label the Social Registry, home to such acts as Gang Gang Dance and Blood on the Wall. Malone will release two Bloodstains for Sailors tracks, "Tested Dry" and "Greeneyed Monster", on a Social Registry 7" sometime later this year. The former features Harper Simon on guitar, while the latter features Louis Schwadron on keyboards.

The 7" will be a part of an upcoming singles series run by the label, which will launch this summer. Each month, Social Registry will put out 500 copies of a single, each hand-numbered and in silk-screened jackets. Along with Malone, the series will include singles by Gang Gang Dance, Total Life (Kevin Doria from Growing), Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance, IUD (featuring Lizzie Bougatsos of Gang Gang Dance), Sian Alice Group, Douglas Armour, and TK Webb.

Posted by Amy Phillips

The Rakes Release Ten New Messages, One New Remix EP. Tour UK and Europe from March to May.

The Rakes will release their second album, Ten New Messages, in England via V2 on March 19. First single "We Danced Together" will precede it with a March 12 release. Though they are still deciding on a permanent U.S. label since V2's American arm called it quits, Dim Mak has shown quite a bit of interest, going so far as to release the Rakes' Remixes EP on February 20 in the U.S.

The Rakes will tour the UK and Europe for a couple of months beginning on March 19, the day of Messages' release...

Posted by Dave Maher

Cranberries singer to play first solo show. Dolores O' Riordan announces London date

Former Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan is to play her first ever solo date.

O'Riordan is set to release her solo album 'Are You Listening?' on May 7 proceeded by single 'Ordinary Day' on April 30.

She is set to play London's KOKO on June 15.

"I haven't played London since 2003. This show is exceptionally thrilling for me - not only because it's my first ever solo UK show, but because it's also the first time British audiences will hear my new material live," O'Riordan explained.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at work on new project. It's 'savoury' says frontwoman Karen O.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are hard at work on a new project, according to frontwoman Karen O.

A posting by O on the band's website yesterday (March 7) revealed that the trio have reconvened to work on the project in New York City throughout the rest of this month.

O also revealed that her current favourite albums are 'Nine Times That Same Song' by Love Is All, and 'Cryptograms' by Deerhunter.

She wrote: "We are about to be reunited in NYC for the rest of March, working on a savory project that we hope all of you will dig into eventually, second helpings advised- you'll hear more from us very very soon in regards to this.

"Just wanted to tip y'all off on my favorite new records, 'Nine Time That Same Song' by Love Is All, I know it's said often but I can't remember the last time I've listened to a Record over again and then over again and then again again. Check them out if you're a curious person with 'needs'.

"The other is 'Cryptograms' by Deerhunter, mine ears have heard the glory of Bradford COX, not too badlookin' these guys either. In fact they are good lookin, yeah, go look'em up!"

Panic! At The Disco 'hibernate' for new album. The Las Vegas band get cabin fever for sessions

Panic! At The Disco have gone into self-imposed hibernation for their new album.

The band are currently in a cabin in Neveda working on the follow up to 2006's 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out'.

Guitarist Ryan Ross said: "Guess you could say I've been hibernating for the past few months. I'll be meeting up with everyone at the cabin in a few days to begin working on songs again.

"This record is going to be something very special to me, and I hope it is to all of you as well. I've got a few handfuls of lyrics and a pinch of music started so far, should be interesting to see what happens...we're all very excited to be doing this again, plus it's been a while since I've had some good (American campfire snack) s'mores."

He also said that the song he was working on was "a love story".

They band have yet to decide on a producer for the new album, reports MTV News.

mardi, mars 27, 2007

More Rock News 03 2007

R.E.M.: A 25-year rockin' role

By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY

Radio Free Europe, R.E.M.'s 1981 debut single, heralded the birth of alternative rock and one of its most reputable champions. It also started the 25-year countdown to an inevitable induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band, which formed 27 years ago in Athens, Ga., heads the 2007 class. It includes Van Halen, Patti Smith, The Ronettes and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The ceremony airs live from the Waldorf-Astoria in New York at 8:30 p.m. ET Monday on VH1 Classic.

"We're notoriously bad at looking back," says singer Michael Stipe, 47. "It's nice when other people do it for you."

The night will be especially poignant for two reasons. First, drummer Bill Berry, who had a brain aneurysm in 1995 and quit in 1997 to become a farmer, will rejoin Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills on stage. Second, they'll be inducted alongside a longtime idol.

"This band wouldn't exist without Patti Smith," he says. "To be here the same year is an incredible thrill. She's an immense talent and a rare voice."

The jangle guitar-pop and enigmatic lyrics of R.E.M., a rare breed in the postpunk era, expanded from a college-radio sensation in the early '80s to a chart staple a decade later.

"We grew up in the public very slowly, and we stubbornly refused to do things that might have escalated our rise," Stipe says. Today, that strategy would result in "an immense struggle."

"The industry that was music is no longer," he says. "People are struggling to wrap their heads around the seismic shift that occurred when technology took this great leap."

Youth culture embraced the digital revolution and its myriad music applications, Stipe says, while labels saw it as a threat.

"Peter Buck always mentions the horse buggy whip factory and the feeling around the lunch table the day the automobile was introduced. That's the music industry, which is ripe for an immense recession. People either have their heads in the sand or they're trying to hold on to what still works and apply it to a completely new landscape."

The industry slump has not stifled creativity, says Stipe, waxing rhapsodic over the "incredible energy and unbelievable talent" he witnessed at a recent concert by Arcade Fire and Athens band Producto.

R.E.M.'s talent and energy have yet to flag, judging by persistent critical support, but sales have been less steady. Commercial strength peaked with 1991's Out of Time (4.5 million copies sold to date). Monster, released in 1994, was the last studio disc to reach platinum status, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Sales eroded over subsequent releases: 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi, 994,000; 1998's Up, 664,000; 2001's Reveal, 415,000; and 2004's Around the Sun, 232,000.

Stipe doesn't blame the slip on a dysfunctional industry. Nor does he fault the band.

"Anyone around as long as us goes through peaks and valleys," he says. "Music used to occupy a huge part of people's daily lives, when there were three TV networks and a handful of cable stations, and you didn't have computers and Xbox and good DVDs."

For R.E.M., music remains paramount. The band is crafting a new album, and canonization in a rock museum isn't accelerating retirement plans.

"I've never put much thought into how much longer we might go," Stipe says. "I just hope we know before anyone else when it's time to stop."


Teenage Fanclub And Portastatic On Go-Betweens Tribute Album.

By: Staff

The Go-Betweens will be the subject of a tribute album featuring Teenage Fanclub, Portastatic, Trembling Blue Stars and members of The Church that's scheduled to come out later this year.

Although no official track list has been revealed for Love Goes On! A Tribute To Grant McLennan And The Go-Betweens, Long Beach, California label Rare Victory is putting songs for the compilation on its MySpace page at

The idea for the album was conceived in late November as a way to pay respect to the Australian band following the passing of Go-Betweens member Grant McLennan last May in Brisbane.

"There is no telling, really what to expect with tribute albums," the label wrote in late January. "These past weeks have been euphoric, as we at Rare Victory have seen the months of toil and efforts pay off in concrete terms, the artistry expanding in ways we could only anticipate."

Contributions started with a song from The Orchids, and The Clientele submitted "Orpheus Beach" a short time later. Glenn Bennie offered "Devil's Eye" from his GB3 side project, and Portastatic added "Bye Bye Pride." Other songs to be covered are "Haunted House" and "Apology Accepted." Additional performers on the album include The June Brides' Phil Wilson, The Saints' Ed Kuepper, The Bats and Brookville. Additional contributors are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Go-Betweens formed in 1978 and released their Send Me A Lullaby debut in 1981. The group, best known for their Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express and 16 Lovers Lane albums, originally disbanded in 1989. The group's core of McLennan and Robert Forster reunited in 2000 to release The Friends Of Rachel Worth. The band's last studio album was 2005's Oceans Apart. The Go-Betweens released a live CD/DVD package titled That Striped Sunlight Sound last year.

—Jason MacNeil


Aussie rockers are a howling success.

Hitting the right note … Brendan Picchio, Joel Stein and Juanita Stein from the Howling Bells at yesterday's nomination announcement.

Emily Dunn Entertainment Writer

Just 18 months ago Sydney band Howling Bells were in a London recording studio with Coldplay producer Ken Nelson, putting the finishing touches to their debut self-titled album.

The recording session came after almost nine months of waiting for Nelson to find the time to work with them.

"It was months of blood, sweat and tears. Everything we had went into this album," said lead singer Juanita Stein. "He had no idea that we had waited for so long, of the emotional frustration of it all."

The result not only wowed the British music press but made an impression back in Australia with the band nominated yesterday for the $25,000 Australian Music Prize, alongside musicians such as Augie March, Sarah Blasko and Bob Evans.

The prize, now in its second year, is awarded for the best album of last year and was established by music industry consultant Scott Murphy as an alternative to industry-dominated awards such as the ARIAs.

While the 2005 AMP shortlist included eight bands, this year Murphy decided to stretch it to nine. "We decided that all deserved to be part of the shortlist," Murphy said.

The 2005 AMP winners, the Drones, were also nominated for the 2006 prize yesterday for their second album, Gala Mill.

Gareth Liddiard, lead singer of the Drones, said winning the 2005 award not only helped them pay off debts and buy new gear, but also provided "about $40,000 in publicity".

"Our guitars broke the first gig we played after we won the award. We were still waiting for the cheque to clear," Liddiard said. "Everyone wanted us to throw a huge party but we had to pay the bills."

Glenn Richards from the Melbourne band Augie March, whose song One Crowded Hour came first in the Hottest 100 on radio station Triple J, said the award was important because it was judged by music peers. "When you make an album you want people to listen to it and buy it, everything else is a bonus," he said.

When the winner is announced on March 7, the Howling Bells will be back in Britain for a headlining tour, having finished an Australian tour supporting the Glaswegian band, Snow Patrol. "Because we spent so much time there we have more of a presence," Stein said. "But Australia is always our spiritual home."



Nasty, brutish and surprisingly resilient. The Stooges' second life.

It looks like something out of a fairy tale—the quaint, forest-sequestered cottage on the edge of Miami's colorful Little Haiti neighborhood, with a walkway so long and winding it'd confound Hansel and Gretel. But there's no dainty Disney princess waltzing around inside. You've stumbled upon the current lair of one of rockdom's grumpiest ogres, notorious Stooges leader Iggy Pop. There's no warm and fuzzy welcome mat at his door—in fact, you'd be well advised to get your trespassing ass off his private property. Now. "I don't do a gate, but there's this big hedge, which sets a certain tone—it's a hint," growls Iggy in his unmistakable Big Bad Wolf voice.

Iggy has a fable or two of his own to relate. As he tells it, only two brave souls have ever dared to breach the perimeter, one a yuppie real-estate shill, and the other "this young black man in a poorly fitting white dress shirt and slacks … [He] stopped in front of my drive, and then determinedly walked right up to my door and knocked. And I thought `Wellll… OK,' and said hello. He had a gigantic scar, must've been a knife scar, the length of his throat, so he'd been around. And he was selling magazines, door-to-door, as they used to back in the day.

"And I would never, ever give somebody like that the time of day," continues the artist born James Osterberg, who—at 59—has been around a bit himself. "But ya know what? My heart went out to him. He told me he was just out of prison and he was being rehabbed and he was doing this and could I help him out." In a moment of weakness, Iggy paid cash for a subscription to Art And Architecture, then watched his mailbox for the mag, month after month. "And I started to think `That sonofabitch!' But then it came, ya know? And I said `Yes!' And now I think of that guy every month when I get my Art And Architecture—it kinda restored my faith."

Faith that—judging by The Weirdness, Iggy's fanged, feral new slugfest with the original Stooges (guitarist Ron Asheton and his drumming brother Scott)—has been in unusually short supply.


This iconoclast should be content. In his rakish 38-year career, he presaged the punk movement with stellar Stooges albums like Fun House (1970) and Raw Power (1973); was rescued from heroin addiction by David Bowie, who presided over his two landmark '77 solo sets The Idiot and Lust For Life; and went on to become an in-demand character actor in films like Cry-Baby, Dead Man and the TV series The Adventures Of Pete & Pete. (His next gig? A voiceover as the revolutionary uncle in an animated adaptation of graphic novel Persepolis).

But Iggy still doesn't sound at ease on record. The Steve Albini-produced Weirdness reads like a study in antisocial misanthropy. The album's scruffy, squealing mix—thanks to the low-budget Shure mic Iggy chose over a pricey Neumann—puts his blunt vocals up front and in your face. "I should believe in human nature, but I don't," the singer snaps over stadium-huge drums in "You Can't Have Friends." And the deeper you descend into this ogre's den, the darker it gets. "I'm the kinda guy who don't pick up the phone," Iggy drawls in the stomping "Free & Freaky," which defends his curious habit of "walking all alone in a bathrobe in the park" (i.e., the woodsy expanse behind his cottage. He explains: "It's my own park and I'll do what the hell I want."). Over the handclap percussion and ragged Asheton riff of "Greedy Awful People," he sneers at conservative society and admits, "I can't live among my class." But he reserves his harshest barbs for the deceptively shout-a-long "My Idea Of Fun," which builds verses like "I hate mankind" into the walloping chorus of "My idea of fun / Is killing everyone."

Other Weirdness cuts may be less strident: "ATM" marvels at the royalties its composer continues to receive for such oft-covered classics as "Tonight," "China Girl," "Real Wild Child" and the enduring "Lust For Life"; "The End Of Christianity" celebrates his relationship with Nina, a woman he met at a Miami Beach pizza parlor a few years back. "I'm trying to think—No, I don't have anything positive on there, they're all negative, those lyrics," cackles Iggy, kicking off his boots and curling his wiry, muscular frame into a booth in the café of his Hollywood hotel. The magazine hawker aside, Iggy has judged today's self-centered civilization and found it wanting. "So the songs mean what they say, and nobody, I mean nobody, is nice."


Ron Asheton—who'd been punching the axeman clock in Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival before he was stunned by Iggy's call—sees it the same cynical way. "When I write a piece of music, I always have something in mind, some kinda theme, a certain feeling," he notes in a separate chat. "So I'm always wondering what Iggy's gonna come up with. But with this album, it was always right, always something where I'm going `Yes!' It's my same general feeling—I've been kicked around for ages in this business, and all my friends have four legs; my pet cats that I trust more than anything walking on two."

The Stooges reunion saga began in 2003, when Iggy phoned the Ashetons at the same Michigan number they've had for decades and recruited them for four tracks on Skull Ring, his last solo salvo. It clicked well enough for the lineup—with Mike Watt filling in on bass for the late Dave Alexander—to bow at that year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California and steal the show in the process. With original saxophonist Steve Mackay on board, The Stooges mark II began piecemeal work on The Weirdness, hooking up for five-day writing/demo stints, Iggy recalls, "Once every three or four months for three years. Ron had a little amp as big as a toaster oven, I sang through something about the size of a microwave, Scotty played a toy kit, and I recorded the whole thing on a mini-disc. So when we went in the studio, the songs were all written, arranged, rehearsed and ready to go." Though, with one key exception: the Mackay-punctuated "Passing Cloud," which was improvised on the spot.

"It comes directly from my loving to look at the clouds in Miami," elaborates Iggy, who says he always feels two beautiful reactions when he comes off the road: "One of 'em is—as the plane starts coming down through those big, puffy Miami clouds—I just start grinning, because it's this diffuse and forgiving light, like cotton candy. And I like it. And then when I get near my cottage and see the 'hood, I just relax and smile. Everyone's walking a little slower and dressing a little brighter than in the other parts of the city."

Albini's ball-peen hammer mix captures The Stooges at their retro best, believes Asheton, who nervously shivered all the way to Coachella, only to walk off stage rejuvenated. "That raw and simple sound? That's basically exactly what we are anyway. We're not refined, we don't wanna be overproduced—that's just how we play, and Steve understood that."

As his 60th birthday approaches this April, Iggy confesses he's looking back and cracking a smirk. Two film scripts about his life—as yet unauthorized—are floating around, Penelope Spheeris' Stooge-centered Search And Destroy, and Nick Gomez's The Passenger with Elijah Wood possibly playing the ol' Iguana. Thoughts of legacy, he concludes, "might come more into play now that I finally got this record made, because somehow I felt this was unfinished business. But we got the band up and running again, and sorta like Ahab, I think I managed to get my whale."



Sebadoh: Happily United.

Cassette-lovin' trio reunites to avenge the 'fried shit'of the MySpace generation.

By Hannah Levin

Much like their slyly sarcastic peers in Pavement and Guided by Voices, Sebadoh made an underground name for themselves in the early '90s with their prolific output of genre-surfing, punk-minded material. Typically using minimalist, analog methods of recording, the trio attracted a devoted underground following. Though they initially delivered their work via the small but influential cult label Homestead Records, their work was especially fruitful between 1992 and 1994, while the band was signed to Sub Pop. It was during this period that the trio of Lou Barlow, Eric Gaffney, and Jason Loewenstein recorded what are arguably the two best records of their career, Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock and Bubble and Scrape.

As all too often happens after a band's creative high point, personal conflicts shattered the partnership originally forged by Gaffney and Barlow. Gaffney left in late '93, and though Barlow and Loewenstein went on to achieve more commercial success with the more accessible, pop-oriented sounds of records like Bakesale and Harmacy, it is the early work with Gaffney that retains significance with many fans. Thanks to contact initiated by working on a reissue of their 1991 release, Sebadoh III, they recently decided to re-form the band's original lineup and tour with a focus on that beloved older material. Despite scattered schedules and geographical locales, I managed to squeeze in interview time with all three members.

Seattle Weekly: A great deal of your early sound seemed to be built upon the willful dichotomy of placing Lou's softer side next to Eric's more caustic barrages. Was that a happy accident or a deliberate juxtaposition?

Eric Gaffney: The Freed Man, our first record and our next reissue [out on Domino Records in April], is largely acoustic-based, and shows my early songwriting to be the variety show it is—albeit on the softer side—with quieter songs mixed with electric, noise, and experimental sides. I can't pigeonhole my style or sound, and there was never any thought of presenting ourselves as the quiet one and the loud one.

Lou Barlow: I have always liked the idea of throwing all kinds of material together. "Cohesive" was a code word for "boring" to me. In 1981, the Meat Puppets released a 7-inch that had quiet, country-esque instrumentals next to the most insane thrash punk—and it made perfect sense to me as a 13-year-old. That, along with a love of the Beatles and the multiple songwriters/White Album vibe, was what we drew inspiration from. The point was to first make something that would be interesting to us and start the band as an evolving collective: no leader, no dominating style.

Since you're often held up as poster children for the so-called "lo-fi movement" of the early '90s, I'm wondering how your views on recording and production techniques have evolved over the years. Were inexpensive recording methods more of a default choice because of low budgets or a creative decision to make things sound more bare bones? If you had unlimited funds, do you think you would have made dramatically different records?

Barlow: There was no choice. Not only did we not have money to record in studios, but maintaining an organic sound true to what we wanted to hear (i.e., crickets, cars passing, tape distortion) was virtually impossible in a studio back then. Especially as a 20-year-old punk rocker with no knowledge of advanced technology and no social skills to explain yourself to the older, mostly intolerant rock 'n' rollers that ran studios. Having grown up listening to all mutations of punk and new wave (Sex Pistols to PiL, Swell Maps, Young Marble Giants, hardcore thrash), it was clear that there were no rules other than "be honest." And honesty is easiest when I am someplace I feel reasonably comfortable.

Gaffney: Hmmm. Both, I suppose. We had no money, but we had tape recorders and four-tracks and cassettes. When we could afford studio time, we did that, too. Sure, cassette quality and feel is appealing sometimes; so is reel-to-reel. If we had big money budgets early on, it wouldn't have been what it was. Spending a lot of money in a studio does not equate to a great record. The song, sound, tone, and performance are what counts.

You were so heavily involved with cassette recordings and methods of delivering your art that are now considered wildly primitive by MySpace standards. How do you feel about the impact of digital technology and culture on punk and indie rock?

Jason Loewenstein: I understand why cassettes seem "wildly primitive" in some senses. But I am immediately struck with the idea that MySpace is modern in its networking and distribution capabilities, but the sound of the music has taken profound steps backward in quality. You would have to really intentionally make something go terribly wrong on a cassette multitrack recording to make it sound as bad as the warbly, compressed, pinched, thin-sounding underwater crap sound of a sound file played through the MySpace file compression engine. MySpace is a needle-in-a-haystack kind of way to find new music, and then even if you do find something, it really sounds like fried shit.

Barlow: But the great thing about it is that we have been given the means to express ourselves. Technology is cheaper; the Web is mostly free. It's brought me full circle—I have a Web site that I have built and maintain. I do whatever I want with it, and it feels a whole lot like going down to the copy shop, cutting tape covers, and selling them in a shoebox at the record store in town.

What made you decide to reunite in your original form? What are some songs that fans can look forward to hearing live?

Loewenstein: I think this is just born out of the new communication between Lou and Eric and I that was necessary for us to get these reissued albums together. Any communication at all was enough for us to entertain the idea of getting back together and seeing what happened. We did that, and it feels right and sounds right. We are concentrating heavily on stuff from the earliest Sebadoh up until Eric's departure, though Lou and I are throwing in some stuff from later records. This is going to be a trip!

vendredi, mars 23, 2007

Dean Wareham

Questionnaire: Dean Wareham.

By Cam Lindsay

What are you up to?

The Dean & Britta project. Well that's one. The other thing I'm doing is writing a book, actually. It's a self-serving memoir about what it's like to be in a band. It's coming along, it's been very difficult for someone who usually writes lyrics. That is something you can hide behind, but when writing something like this, people want to know how you feel. It has to be more expansive. You can't hide.

What are your current fixations?

Since I've started writing a book, I've started reading again. Writing forces me to use a part of my brain that I thought was dead. I'm reading more, I'm reading a lot of history books — about the French Revolution, for example. I'm also watching Rome; that's an addictive soap opera.

Why do you live where you do?

I could blame my parents but they didn't make me stay here. They brought me here when I was 14. I was born in New Zealand and grew up in New York. One thing that keeps me from even thinking of moving is my seven-year-old son. I'm divorced, so he lives a few blocks away. So I can't leave. Well, I could — people do leave I suppose, but I don't want to. But, you know, I love New York City. It's a struggle here though. Manhattan isn't artist friendly. It's expensive.

Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:

I recently read this book by Eric Hobsbawm, he's a British Marxist historian, and the book is called Age of Extremes and it was mind-altering. It's the best history of the 20th century. A lot of historians want to tell you about dates and kings and queens, but he explains why things are happening. It's not just about an evil dictator.

What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?

Recently at Radio City Music Hall there was this travelling show called Elvis: The Concert. It was his band from the '70s, the TCB band, and all of the back-up singers, and they play along to these tapes with Elvis staged up on the big screen, from the recordings in Hawaii and Madison Square Garden. It sounds like it would be incredibly cheesy and terrible, but it was amazing! I can actually remember being nine years old and watching Elvis Live in Hawaii, and this concert took me back to that. It didn't seem like it at the time, but Elvis's band in the '70s was one of the greatest rock'n'roll bands in the world — at least as good as David Bowie's band, or Led Zeppelin or the Stones, anyone that was playing at the time. Even though they were probably laughed at.

What have been your career highs and lows?

Lows would be shitty days on tour, like playing in Liège in Belgium when it's freezing cold, a horrible storm and nobody comes to the show, and I'm thinking, "What the fuck am I doing here in Belgium?" We couldn't a gig in Brussels so we were in Liège! Jesus Christ. Brussels is depressing enough… And it's a high sometimes just walking on the stage and getting energy from an audience. Playing at the Bowery Ballroom with Luna was always fun.

What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?

There was one guy in Long Beach that kept screaming at me to "kick out the jams motherfucker!" It doesn't sound mean, but he stood there all night, drunk, giving me the finger saying, "kick out the jams motherfucker!" We were opening for the Screaming Trees back in the early '90s, and he did the same thing to them. But they did kick out the jams. He had a problem. I almost got into a fight with him after the show, I was like, "Shut up you fucking idiot," and he tried to hit me.

What should everyone shut up about?

MySpace. It has its uses I guess, but it annoys me that we have to have a MySpace page as well as a regular website, and deal with messages from two different places.

What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?

I dislike that I can be irritable and grumpy. What do I like about myself? Well, I don't like myself at all (laughs). Let's just leave it at what I don't like about myself.

What advice should you have taken, but did not?

When someone comes along and offers money to sign with some new label, and it's some guy who made a lot of money from the internet, it's often not a good idea to say yes. I did not take that advice, and then wound up with a record company that decided to go bankrupt. There were a couple.

What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?

My band? If you forgot your drumsticks. It happened, and it was the final straw, you see. It was the first drummer in Luna, before Stanley, and he didn't even own a drum kit either. We went to play a gig in Boston and he didn't bring any drumsticks. It just kind of said, "I'm not really a drummer and I don't give a shit." And my bed? Singing a really horrible song in my ear.

What do you think of when you think of Canada?

We get customs officials giving us the hose. We've actually never had the hose, but always joked that we'd get the hose. They say, "Bend over, we're going to stick a hose up there," which has never happened, but they do sometimes make us wait. It's like, Canada is where drugs come from, why would we bring drugs to Canada? No, I really think of sanity. It's always nice crossing over to Toronto, where we're in a country that's really sane.

What is your vital daily ritual?

I have a cup of tea in the afternoon. It's pretty dull, but there it is.

What are your feelings on piracy, internet or otherwise?

My feelings are conflicted on that. I get kind of annoyed when people tell me they're into file sharing, sending out songs from a record two months before its released, and they're like, "What? It's only file sharing." Yeah, but what you're doing is making it impossible for people to recoup their investment and release records. On the other hand, I don't really believe in record companies either. So I'm conflicted.

What was your most memorable day job?

I worked in a hospital for a while, in the pulmonary division. One day I found liquid ketamine, because they used it for experiments on hamsters. So I took it home, but it had that little poison symbol on it. Everyone tells me ketamine is supposed to be amazing but I had to throw it out. I didn't know what I was doing.

How do you spoil yourself?

Taking pills sometimes. That's spoiling yourself, isn't it? Like Advil, sleeping pills, you know.

If I wasn't playing music I would be...

Anthropologist. I took some courses in my senior year of college, and I really enjoyed them. And I thought about becoming an academic, but I didn't. This rock'n'roll thing took off and I've done okay.

What do you fear most?

Sickness. A fatal sickness, something coming to take me 20 years too early.

What makes you want to take it off and get it on?

What did Neil Diamond say? Grandchildren? Whoa, that's wrong! What did he think, they'd take off his toupee? Well, I'm gonna say Neil Diamond makes me want to take it off and get it on. "Sweet Caroline" does.

What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?

We were shooting a Luna video one time when we were on Elektra, which is the only time it seemed we would get treated like rock stars. Like they would send limos for us, put us up in a nice hotel, and say, "Eat and drink whatever you want." Anyways, I stepped into the elevator and the porn star Heather Hunter was in there with two big guys. It was kind of a strange moment. They were scary looking. This was ten years ago. I knew who she was, and this was the pre-internet days.

Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?

Cary Grant, I'd love to meet him. And I'd serve him LSD, because that's what he liked. Apparently he got into acid, and did it 100 times quite late in his life. He's one of those people they never gave an Academy Award to. They fucked up!

What does your mom wish you were doing instead?

I think my mom's quite happy with what I'm doing.

Given the opportunity to choose, how would you like to die?

That's an evil question, isn't it? It's indecent really, because what if it happens to me tomorrow? In my sleep. Wait, taking LSD with Cary Grant, so let's say OD. No, that's terrible too. Don't say that, because then people will think I'm promoting. Let's go with the first one, in my sleep.


With the rise of band reunions over the past few years, it'd be foolish not to ask Dean Wareham if he will ever raise seminal '80s band Galaxie 500 from the dead. So, will he reunite with Damon and Naomi one day? "The only real sensible reason is to make lots of money. But there are no plans right now," he says without any desire in his tone. Fair enough, but does he know that another Galaxie 500 is actually alive and kicking in Montreal? "We're aware of that. They have been sent a letter from a lawyer telling them to stop," Wareham says with a touch of humorous disbelief. "It's incredible to me that they haven't changed their name yet. All you've got to do these days is Google a band name and see that the name is taken." Instead of waiting for some francophone alt-rockers to get a clue though, Wareham and his partner Britta Phillips are trucking on with their Dean & Britta project following the 2005 demise of their band Luna.

On their second full-length, Back Numbers, the pair's lush, space pop has been enhanced by the company of producer extraordinaire Tony Visconti and Spacemen 3 visionary Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember. Though its Wareham's strongest work since Luna's Romantica from 2002, a new Dean & Britta album doesn't feel that different from his previous band. "We're not a rock band, so much," he casually responds. "I am nervous about going back on the road again though. Playing live with Luna was easy, because we'd been together for years and we knew how the songs would sound. We've only done five shows before, and they were terrifying."

mercredi, mars 21, 2007

Crazy Band Names

And you will know them by ... their crazy names bands have adopted -some bizarre, funny, horrible monikers.


What's really in a band's name?

Recognition. Laughs. Scorn. Repulsion. A reaction.

A band just wants notice. And its name can make for a powerful first impression -- good or bad.

"It's tough enough to get signed these days, and some bands do it on one awesome hit song and a mediocre-to-lousy name," says former Live 105 and current KOIT-FM morning DJ Lisa Carr-Daley. "See EMF now selling Kraft 'Crumbelievable' cheese."

EMF, a British dance-pop band best known for the single "Unbelievable," claimed its moniker officially stood for Epsom Mad Funkers, but most assumed it stood for something dirtier.

"I think a good band name is essential for longevity," says Carr-Daley. "A name like Vomit Launch or Sandy Duncan's Eye may get you some attention and a little ink at first, but I guarantee you won't be around in five years, much less 10 or 20."

Yes, it's a big decision for some. To others, it's as simple as picking up a dictionary.

"I don't think it matters too much, unless it's horribly offensive," says Ryan Smith, who does publicity for Slim's. "But then again, I do get a good laugh whenever I see Cattle Decapitation is back on our schedule."

Researching the origins of band names -- and the chronicling of rock music lore can be notoriously unreliable -- yields stories that range from the mysterious (Mars Volta, based in part on a term used by Federico Fellini in a book he wrote on film) to the simple (Kansas, because, you know, they live there). Some pay tribute to songs (the Rolling Stones, after Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone") or musicians (Pink Floyd, after blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council).

Some names just fall together. Guns N' Roses was named after the previous bands of founders Traci Guns (L.A. Guns), and Axl Rose (Hollywood Rose). Motley Crue was set to name itself "Christmas" when they heard a passerby describe them as a ... you guessed it. The Replacements were originally the Impediments, but changed when their drunken, rowdy behavior on stage got them banned from local clubs.

Opening the dictionary was like striking gold for Incubus. Turns out incubus is the name of a mythological demon that seduces women while they sleep to spawn more incubi.

How rock is that?

Some great bands become famous in spite of uninspired names (the Beatles and Beach Boys come to mind). One of the great names, Led Zeppelin, came about, ironically, when Who drummer Keith Moon joked that the group would go over "like a lead zeppelin."

Others border on the macabre. Well-dressed and highly groomed English '80s band Spandau Ballet reportedly used a reference to the spasms of executed Nazi war criminals at Spandau Prison. Then there's provocative choices, like the new disco faves Scissor Sisters, who named themselves after a lesbian sex position. And could any name have offended Middle America more than East Bay punk favorites the Dead Kennedys?

Adam Dolgins' 1998 book "Rock Names From ABBA to ZZ Top," will tell you that Chaka Kahn's old band Rufus simply named itself after the "Ask Rufus" column in the very unfunky magazine Popular Mechanics. The Foo Fighters were named after supposed aliens spied by military pilots during World War II. The Talking Heads were inspired by both television newscasters and circus and carnival acts that had "talking heads." Whatever that means.

Some lucky musicians have even been in more than one of these bands. Bad Religion guitarist Brian Baker may hold the record, for membership in bands with great names, including Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, and the Meatmen. Contrastly, various members of Jefferson Airplane have gone on to be in some of the worst named bands of all time (Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship, Starship).

Enough history and perspective. Let's skip the hors d'oeuvres and get right to the Meat (Puppets) of it all.

The fitting

• Metallica: As if this needs an explanation.

• The Supremes: And they were.

• Manic Street Preachers: Manic socialists who did plenty of preaching.

• Black Sabbath: The kings of doom. No name has better fit a band.

• The Clash: When they ran out of topics with which to clash, they clashed with each other.

• Bad Religion: And you thought that cross with the red line through was just a cute logo.

• Was (Not Was): Don Was couldn't make up his mind.

• Black Flag: You know, we're punks. We're flag-waving anarchists. Then we do movies with Charlie Sheen.

• Queen: Safe to say, not Tim Hardaway's favorite band.

The amusing

• Mr. T Experience: Even when listening to their fine music, I can't get the Mr. T line from "Rocky III" out of my head. "My prediction? Pain ..."

• Eagles of Death Metal: Unlike the other Eagles, they promise no lame comeback tours at $135 a pop.

• Alien Sex Fiend: The name that horrified so many alien parents.

• Limbomaniacs: Obviously they were musically flexible.

• Pop Will Eat Itself: And it has.

• The Flying Burrito Brothers: A name that could've only been born at
midnight on a Saturday in the parking lot of some greasy restaurant.

• Queens of the Stone Age: Named after an insult about them.

• Space Monkey: Peter Tork, astronaut.

• Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash: There are more of us than you know.

• She Wants Revenge: Don't they all?

• The Flaming Lips: Why even speculate?

• The Jesus Lizard: In case there is a hell, let's reserve comment.

Somebody, somewhere, is offended

• The Dead Kennedys: One of the few names that got your attention like a good slap in the face.

• Brian Jonestown Massacre: This would be another one.

• John Cougar Concentration Camp: One more.

• Circle Jerks: Wordplay can be challenging.

• Cannibal Corpse: Wouldn't that mean they'd just been eaten?

• Suicidal Tendencies: Underrated name, underrated band.

• W.A.S.P (We Are Sexual Perverts): Let's assume it's accurate.

• Scissor Sisters: No, it's your job to explain this to your kids.

• Dead Milkmen: Surprisingly, the Milkmen's union never said a word.

• N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude): And they did.

• Butthole Surfers. Don't even think about it. No, really.

• The Sex Pistols: And they never earned an audience with the Queen.

• Jesus and Mary Chain: Almost as rowdy -- and offensive -- as the Sex Pistols.

• Steely Dan: Look it up.

• 10CC: Same here.

• The Slits: No chance.

Just plain bad

• Hot Tuna: Band names should not make one gag.

• Fountains of Wayne: Shut up.

• Jefferson Airplane: It just went downhill from here.

• Jefferson Starship: See?

• Starship: Yes, you sense a pattern.

• Lovin' Spoonful: Even with what the urban legend suggests, it's still bad.

• Limp Bizkit: Please go away.

• Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark: By the time you said it, they were gone.

• Procol Harum: Naming the band after a cat was dumb.

• The Strawberry Alarm Clock: Evidence that drugs aren't always so inspiring.

• Bananarama: Sounds like something cooked up on Sesame Street.

• Stryper: Then they went and dressed like it.

• Spanky and Our Gang: Please.

• Moby Grape: Again, drugs not always so great.

• Chumbawamba: Stupid Wupid.

• Jesus Jones: Played tight end for Notre Dame.

• Jethro Tull: Jethro Bodine would've been better.

• The The: Just too deep for some of us. Or not.

• The Soup Dragons: Drugs in the '80s weren't any better.

• Three Dog Night: One dumb name.

• Timbuk 3: Not so cute.

• The Troggs: Sounds like something you cough up.

• Wang Chung: Wang Dumb.

• Flock of Seagulls: Now if you're talking about bands with great hair ...

• Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Bands should never call themselves "Nitty."

• Styx: You're not allowed to invoke mythology if you're not metal. Or Tori Amos.

• Pablo Cruise: Wasn't this Freddie Mercury's alias when he traveled abroad?

Just plain great

• Smashing Pumpkins: So great on so many levels.

• Led Zeppelin: A mighty band. A mighty name.

• Minor Threat: A sneaky good name.

• Guided by Voices: So many could relate to this band before hearing a note.

• Twisted Sister: One of the few '80s metal bands with a great name.

• ... And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: Extremely weird and scary.

• The Who: One of the first truly great band names.

• Social Distortion: Sounds like a band whose name you want on a T-shirt.

• The Jam: Pretty self-explanatory.

• Dag Nasty: Not very self-explanatory. But it sounds cool.

• Alice in Chains: So much packed into four syllables.

• Mott the Hoople: I don't get it and it's still funny.

• Jimmy Eat World: As children, a band member's brother made fun of his fat brother with a drawing of him eating the entire planet.

• Jane's Addiction: This was so dark and edgy as to be impossible to ignore.

• I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness: I'm going to try this line someday.

• Bikini Kill: Russ Meyer should've been the singer.

• Megadeth: It doesn't get heavier than a military term meaning one million deaths. Made for some great T-shirts.

• Devo: This is what happens when smart college guys name a band.

• Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy: Didn't you call your dad this once, just to confuse him?

• Iron Maiden: The template for all threatening heavy metal merchandise.

• 10,000 Maniacs: Ever been near the end zone of a Raiders game?

• George Thorogood and the Destroyers: You better live up to it onstage.

• The Stooges: Your standard, great self-deprecating rock band name.

• Joy Division: Originally inspired by a name for a Nazi brothel during World War II.

• Cheap Trick: Sneers at you from the album cover.

• Spinal Tap: If this needs explanation, there's a film you need to go rent. Quick.

• UFO: A great basis for album covers and merchandise.

• The Killers: Threatening names just work, whether the band lives up to them or not.

• Soundgarden: Such a big, open-ended name fitting the band perfectly.

• They Might Be Giants: There's a bad baseball joke in here. Yet I refrain.

• Veruca Salt: If you've seen "Willy Wonka," there's no way you don't react.

• The Replacements: A ragged, underdog-ish name for a band with the same glorious qualities.

• The Presidents of the United States of America: It doesn't get much more important than that.

• Barenaked Ladies: Another attention-grabber.

• Mookie Blaylock: Later Pearl Jam, which still had nothing to do with the band, other than they loved NBA basketball players.

• Meat Puppets: Meat is the single greatest word in the English language ... that you can print in a family newspaper.

• Sonic Youth: So evocative, and so accurate -- at least two decades ago.

• De La Soul: Just a cool way of saying it.

• Soul Asylum: Kind of warm and fuzzy, but a good name for this band.

• The Ramones: Legend says they stole Paul McCartney's traveling pseudonym. Using it for the whole band name was genius.

• Death Cab for Cutie: Always a bright idea to work the words "Death" and "Cutie" into the same name.

Tony Hicks is the Times pop culture and music critic.

mardi, mars 20, 2007

Dinosaur Jr

Feedback to the future.

Grunge pioneers Dinosaur Jr have reformed - and they've brought their famous friends. As Matt Dillon directs their new video, the band rock in all the right places, finds Johnny Sharp

Saturday March 17, 2007
The Guardian

It's customary to find that your favourite screen icons are a disappointment in the flesh. Shorter, acne-scarred - they can never quite live up to the gloried Technicolor image. So it's pleasing to see that even at 43, movie star Matt Dillon looks like movie star Matt Dillon. The battered jeans, T-shirt, the hair - it's all present and correct. Yet he's a fish out of water today. His red Porsche is parked outside a large 19th century house in the small college town of Northampton, Massachusetts, where he's in the basement, directing a video for the reformed original lineup of grunge pioneers Dinosaur Jr, fronted by his good friend J Mascis.

"He is so good looking," coos one female observer.

No, she doesn't mean Mascis, but in his own gently extraordinary way, the indie rock veteran cuts an equally charismatic figure. His long hair now grey-white, and his slothular body clad in a pea-green T-shirt and black track suit, he looks like Pauline Fowler from EastEnders in fancy dress as Kevin The Teenager. He's the undoubted star of the show. Drummer Murph is now bald and looks like a mortgage advisor indulging in his weekend hobby. Bass player and indie demi-celeb Lou Barlow appears to have aged approximately three weeks since he was originally in the band.

Matt is highly accommodating at first, allowing the photographer to take shots as the band go through their paces in a cluttered basement, intended as a homage to their teenage rehearsal days. Then we overstep the mark. "Pushy motherfucker!" he spits, and stomps out. It's a fair cop - our man got in the way of a shot and now our hopes of interviewing Matt and J together look doomed. We're banished to the kitchen upstairs, on the proviso we don't disturb the owners of the house. Who those owners are is not clear, but suffice to say they're big music fans. Rows and rows of vinyl are stored, featuring artists from Stockhausen to the Shangri-Las, along with piles of demo tapes by such unheralded talents as Racists and Hairy Snail. Eventually we get Lou, J and Murph around a table and encourage them to wallow in a bit of nostalgia.

"We practised in the living room of my parents' house," recalls Lou. "Which I can't believe we ever had the balls to do. We would open the window and put stacks out there, in the middle of the town. I can't believe we never got arrested ..."

At this point we are distracted by the sudden presence of alternative rock royalty putting some food out for the dog. It turns out this house belongs to Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. Have we stumbled into a house on the US equivalent of Stella Street?

"It's kind of like a family round here," admits Lou. "Even my mum knows Thurston. He runs his label out of the same building she works in. There's a good music scene here, and Kim and Thurston are the centre of it."

"Thurston's always playing," says J. "Almost every week he's playing with different people. And the same 20 people are there watching."

Ooh, you bitch! Perhaps this is the kind of withering comment that got J his reputation as something of a sneering misanthropist.

"J's an interesting guy," Thurston Moore will confide later. "There's a lot going on there. You have to read between the lines. Or between the pauses."

What we do manage to decipher in those silences is a man with a very dry sense of humour but one who maintains a certain professional distance from his bandmates. It's been suggested that Mascis and Barlow's infamous enmity was mainly healed by witnessing the Pixies' lucrative reformation tour in 2004 ...

"Oh hey, we're no Pixies man," says Lou, scowling. "We're better than that!" Well either way, Dinosaur Jr were certainly influential ...

"Yeah ..." says J, "(seven second pause)... to the Pixies ..."

Back on set, we are now graced by the presence of yet another band. The intro of the video features Lightbulb, the band formed by Thurston and Kim's 12-year-old daughter Coco with two of her friends. They're to be "paid" for their appearance with ice cream. Their scene proves to be the last of the day, and everyone retires to the family kitchen for takeaway pizza.

His work over for the day, Matt Dillon has forgiven our previous faux pas, and when he finds we're British, proceeds to quiz us about the "scene" over here. "Are Teenage Fanclub still around?" he asks. "I love those guys. Awesome. And My Bloody Valentine? Awesome." So does he keep in touch with new music? We hear he's a vinyl obsessive.

"Yeah, I listen to a lot of older music. Pre-1960s, jazz, black music, Brazilian music. But Dinosaur Jr are my era. I'm a little out of touch with new stuff."

It seems most actors have their own bands now. Was he ever tempted to pick up the mic himself? "Never! Never!" he grins. "I always remember Joe Strummer once said to me 'I'll stop making movies when Eddie Murphy stops making records'! So I took the hint."

So how did he come to direct the video?

"I saw Dinosaur play in New York, and he said 'we wanna do a video, are you interested in directing?' So I said 'yeah'. I said to him 'what's the song about?' He said 'uuuh ... chicks'. And I said 'OK, so what do you want in the video?' and he says 'Uuuh ... models?' But I think the whole rock video thing is overdone. I wanted to show they still have that raw edge playing as a band."

It turns out Matt and J have been friends ever since Matt, a Dinosaur Jr fan, came to a show in 1990. "We see each other now and then - we've been skiing a couple of times, been to a couple of fashion shows."

Apparently J is also a keen skydiver. Which somehow seems about as likely as seeing Bernard Manning out windsurfing. "J's kinda misunderstood," says Matt. "He's a really great guy. People get a little intimidated 'cos he speaks slow, but that's just the way he is, you know?" And with that, he heads off to rejoin this unlikely meeting of minds. We depart with the peculiar image of Thurston Moore, Matt Dillon and J Mascis sharing a large pepperoni pizza imprinted forever on our consciousness.

Mascis Vs Barlow - the truth

Dinosaur Jr went their separate ways in 1989. Mascis wanted to fire Lou, so he told drummer Patrick "Murph" Murphy to call Lou and tell him the band was splitting up. Lou later read the band had hired a new bass player for a tour of Australia. Lou's side project, Sebadoh, became his main concern. He started writing songs about Mascis and yelling abuse at him in the street.

So, J, which of Lou's songs about you do you like best?

J Mascis: "Uuuh ... (smirks and looks at his feet) ... I couldn't possibly choose just one."

Lou Barlow: "But pretty much every Sebadoh song I wrote got interpreted that way. I did actually move on!"

At one point Lou described J as "a borderline sadist".

JM: "Hmmm," (shrugs, still smirking guiltily).

Do you have any regrets J?

JM: (12 second pause) Yeah ... it could have been handled better, but no one was speaking at that point, so we spent a lot of time going through Murph.

LB: I thought that was so bad the way they kicked me out of the band. But then later on when I had to kick people out of bands I ended up fucking people over in a similar way, even after vowing never to do that.

So are you friends these days or just business partners?

LB: (pause) "I'd consider anyone I worked with to be a friend." J Mascis says nothing.

· Dinosaur Jr's Beyond is out April 30

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

jeudi, mars 15, 2007

Björk and Volta

On Friday,
Björk opened her music box and revealed its latest treasure:

Volta, the Icelandic powerhouse's forthcoming album, due out May 7 on One Little Indian/Atlantic.

The record was produced by Björk herself, and features a globe-trotting all-star cast of contributors, including Timbaland, Antony, Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale, percussionist Chris Corsano, African collective Konono N°1, kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté, Chinese pipa player Min Xiao-Fen, and a ten-piece Icelandic brass section.

Last week in New York City, Pitchfork's Brandon Stosuy sat down with Björk for her first interview about the new album. (Full disclosure: Stosuy is a friend of Matthew Barney, Björk's partner.) During their lengthy chat, Björk opened up about the politics and sonics of Volta, her relationships with her collaborators, and her plans for the future.

In the first part of a series that will continue over the course of the coming weeks, Björk talks about the rhythms of Volta: how they're different from the rhythms of her previous work, and how a trip to tsunami-stricken Indonesia inspired the life-force behind the beats.

Pitchfork: On your last album, Medulla, you focused on the human voice. This album has more of a percussive feel. Were you consciously trying to focus on percussion on this album?

Björk: I guess it was really different from how I usually work. Because at least with Homogenic, Vespertine, and Medulla, if there was a starting point, it was rhythms. I don't know why, maybe because it's the thing that I don't do. With Homogenic, I would start with a programmer, just to do distorted rock beats. And we did, I think, 100 just one bar things. And by the time I had written enough songs, I would just sit down, and then I could just sort of call it, 'okay, for the chorus of this song, like beat 73, and for the verse, number two' or whatever. And for Vespertine, I had just gotten my first laptop, and it was very much about the static universe of the internet, and all the beats clicking and everything whispered. So that would be the starting point. And obviously, Medulla was a vocal album.

But with this one, it was different because I knew more emotionally what I wanted. And because I'd done two or three projects in a row that were quite serious, maybe I just needed to get that out of my system or something. So all I wanted to do for this album was just to have fun and do something that was full-bodied and really up.

I actually did the whole album, and it wasn't until the last two or three months where the only jigsaw that hadn't been solved was the rhythms. We had done a lot of experiments with rhythms but I just threw them all away because it was like every time we did something really clever with drum programming beats, it was just too pretentious for this album, it just didn't stick.

For some reason, for me it was maybe a little bit nostalgic going back to 1992, where you had really simple 808 and 909 really lo-fi drum machines, not doing anything fancy but really basic, almost like rave stuff or trance stuff, and then really, really acoustic drums. So there are a couple of tracks on this album which are actually programs, with many programming hours spent, and you listen to it, and it sounds like kettle drums or something.

Pitchfork: Marching--both the rhythm of feet and the concept of marching itself--seems to play a big part in this record. What's the significance of marching?

Björk: I just wanted to get rhythmic again. Medulla was my way of pulling out of that, refusing to be categorized as 'Oh what rhythm is she going to do next?' Just feeling the pressure of all these young drum programmers or producers or whatever you call them contacting me, like, who was going to be the flavor of the month. It had become this kind of fashion statement, it just wasn't right.

I mean, I do love one-upmanship sometimes, like when you see kids breakdancing and who can do the best tricks. It's common, it's in our nature as animals, like the birds of paradise who've got the best feathers and that sort of stuff. But it's fun when it's impulsive and it's about fun. When it becomes clever, when it becomes more of a left-brain, who can mathematically out-do the other, it's not so fun anymore. And maybe I just sort of pulled out and did a whole vocal album.

But I definitely missed my rhythms. I mean, I love rhythms. I started an all-girl punk band when I was 14 and I was the drummer, not the singer. I'm very, very, very picky when it comes to rhythms. So it was fun to approach it from another angle on this one.

And I'd be lying if I didn't say it was some sort of reaction to the state of the world today. I mean, I went in January over a year ago to Indonesia, to the area where the tsunami hit the worst. Just seeing a village of 300,000 people and 180,000 died, and people were still there digging people out and the smell of corpses and bone. The tsunami kind of scraped houses away, you could still see the floor, and the people I was with found their mom's favorite dress kind of in the mud and it was just like, outrageous.

I mean, the human race, we are a tribe, let's face it, and let's stop all this religious bullshit. I think everybody, or at least a lot of my friends, are just so exhausted with this whole self-importance of religious people. Just drop it. We're all fucking animals, so let's just make some universal tribal beat. We're pagan. Let's just march.