Thursday, December 30, 2004

Linkin Park and fellow Musicians Aid Tsunami Victims

Linkin Park kicked off an effort to raise badly needed funds for the Southeast Asian area hit by the devastating tsunami that at last count has claimed nearly 125,000 lives. Health experts expect that number to rise not only from the thousands of remaining missing, but also from disease and other after effects of the disaster.

Linkin Park donated $100,000 themselves and helped establish "Music for Relief" - a group that is working directly with the Red Cross. Music For Relief has set up a website to facilite donations at www.musicforrelief.org. Donations can also be made directly to the Red Cross.

Linkin Park's Brad Delson says of the band's efforts, "We are fortunate to be in a position to help, but this needs to be a broader effort -- both by our fans and by other musicians. If one of our fans can donate $10, then that's going to help." Delson adds, "We are also going to appeal to our musical peers by asking them to donate as well. The bottom line is the more we can do, and the quicker we can do it, the more lives we can save."

Earlier this year, Linkin Park performed to sold-out stadium crowds in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. The shows were heralded as the largest rock concerts in those countries in the past 10 years. Delson says of the experience, "The outpouring of emotion from our fans there was overwhelming -- it really affected us."

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Courtney Love Tries to Salvage Career: Reenlists Billy Corgan, Channels Johnny Cash and Elliott Smith

The year of the monkey has been no good for Courtney Love. In 2004 Love has been in and out of rehab, court and her mind; lost and regained custody of Frances Bean; and released an abysmal solo effort, America's Sweetheart. But we haven't heard the last from her yet, as her resolution for 2005 is to reinvigorate her career. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Love lays out plans to record an album with some of rock's heaviest hitters. She wants to use the producer who makes everyone's greatest album, Rick Rubin as well as half of Jane's Addiction -- Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins. Give her some credit for recognizing her limitations, as she is reenlisting Billy Corgan to write the songs for the new album. Love says she wants her songs to be narrative like Elliott Smith's and also mentions wanting to record in a prison. Hmm, Johnny Cash? Maybe she should try being herself? Oh yeah, nevermind.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Pixies will release DVDs of reunion tour in 2005

The reunited Pixies announced that they will release two concert DVDs from this year's tour. In an interview with Billboard, the Pixies' manager said that the two DVDs feature footage from the band’s 2004 reunion tour, with one disc being a concert DVD and the other a documentary of the tour.

Even with the reunion tour and upcoming DVDs, the Pixies will continue with their solo work. Billboard also reports that Frank Black plans to release two solo cds both of which were recorded in Nashville with studio musicians, including Levon Helm of The Band. And, Kim Deal and the Breeders will reportedly release new music as well.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Widespread Panic returns to the road

Jam band Widespread Panic announced that they are returning to the road after taking a nearly two year break from touring. The Georgia band, founded in 1985, will celebrate its 20th anniversay on the road with a 30+ live dates.

The announcement is music to the ears of Widespread Panic fans and jam band fans generally who were facing 2005 without a major tour given the recent retirement of Phish.

The tour kicks off in Atlanta at the Fox Theater in March and winds its way through the country, including stops in DC, NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, and Dallas. The final listed stop is Asheville, North Carolina for May 7th, but don't be surprised if more dates are added.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Band Aid 20 at #1 in UK

According to mega record chain HMV Records' music charts, Band Aid 20's "Do they know its Christmas?" rides into Christmas week at the number one spot on the UK music charts. The song, featuring U2's Bono, Paul McCartney, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Dido, Joss Stone and Robbie Williams is a remake of the 1984 hit that raised money for impoverished areas of Africa and inspired the Live Aid concerts.


The remake has come under some criticism despite the big names involved. Responding to the critics, Chris Martin recently urged fans to buy the record anyway even if they didn't like it. Apparently fans are responding. The single has sold over 600,000 copies to date.

U2 teams with Pavarotti on new single

The next single released from U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" - will feature a Bono/Pavarotti performance on the B-side. The performance is a Jacknife Lee remix of "Ave Maria" sung by Bono with Luciano Pavarotti - the original of which was performed at the "Pavarotti & Friends" concert in Italy in 2003. The B-Side of the single also includes a remix of mega-hit "Vertigo" and a Jacknife Lee remix of "Fast Cars." Fast Cars is an album track available only on the UK and Japan versions of Atomic Bomb.

The single will be available on 2 CD formats and a DVD single. The DVD carries a video of an exclusive live performance of "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" from the band's Dublin studio, and a Trent Reznor remix of "Vertigo."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Chapel Hill's WXYC Offering Free Download of Anniversary Compilation

WXYC, the student run station of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has released their 10th Anniversary Webcasting Compilation on their website in a free, downloadable mp3 format. The compilation commemorates the moment in 1994 when WXYC became the first radio station on the planet to webcast their signal. It contains 24 tracks from local artists such as Jett Rink, The Moaners, Shark Quest, and Hotel Motel.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bloc Party Signs with Vice

No, that picture on the left is not a juvie hall line-up. Believe it or not, this group of fresh-faced lads are Bloc Party, the next big thing in the current UK new-wave revival. This band of youngsters from London kicked off their UK career with Dim Mak Records just three months ago with the release of their self-titled EP. (Though they have also released singles and EPs this year on Wichita Recordings and V2). The instant buzz surrounding the EP and the single "Banquet" in particular sparked a frenzied bidding war between several labels for the rights to the band's music outside of the UK. According to Billboard, they have decided to sign with Vice Records (Atlantic), also home to The Stills and The Streets. Bloc Party will reportedly release their US debut album in March, but don't wait that long -- check out three of their songs here and the video for "Banquet" here. Their music isn't incredibly deep or complex, but even the biggest indie snobs won't be able to sit still or maintain a scowl while listening. Kele Okereke (vocals, guitar) has an incredible falsetto and a sound reminiscent of Robert Smith -- although more like Smith would sound after choking down a handful of Zoloft.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Artists to Watch

This weekly Earvolution feature highlights up and coming artists we think you should get to know. We are always on the lookout for emerging talent, so if you have any recommendations, or if you would like to submit your own music for review, contact us at hilltownmedia@gmail.com.

Built Like Alaska

Hailing from Oakdale, California, Built Like Alaska will probably always be compared to Grandaddy. In fact, they are close friends with the fellow California indie-rockers and their latest album, Autumnland, was released earlier this year through a collaboration of Grandaddy's Sweat of the Alps and Future Farmer Recordings. The comparison isn't completely unfounded, but their sound is unique. If you really need a reference, think of what might happen if you dropped off Grandaddy, Portastatic and the Dismemberment Plan in the middle of nowhere for a couple of months. But references are for lazy people, check them out for yourself here because they write great songs.


His & Her Vanities

His & Her Vanities are an unsigned, artsy indie-punk four piece from Madison, Wisconsin. Unlike the dime-a-dozen retro 80's post-punk bands who litter our local venues, His & Her Vanities ground all of that lo-fi experimental noise with solid instrumentation and a danceable groove. The band's creative force is the husband and wife team of Ricky and Terrin Reimer, whose his & her voices meld together into captivating harmonies which hook you in a way that won't leave you feeling dirty. Check out their music here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Walkmen Hope to Stuff Your Stockings



The Walkmen will spread some holiday cheer tomorrow with the release of their 7-inch vinyl Christmas Party single, featuring " The Christmas Party," "Egg Nog" and "Fly into the Mystery." The single is available for pre-order here and you may preview the song "Egg Nog" here.




Monday, December 13, 2004

Bono Spoofed by Colin Farrell

If you missed Colin Farrell's spoof of Bono on Saturday Night Live this weekend, be sure to check it out here. The beginning is slow, but the performance at the end is definitely worth sticking it out.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Radiohead's The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of all Time (DVD)


by Heather Huff
A while back someone told Radiohead they could have their own television station. In anticipation, the band solicited short films from fans via their website and set about creating their own material while recording Hail to the Thief. The material never made it to television, but was broadcast via the internet on radiohead.tv and was just released on the band's third DVD, The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of all Time.

The 24 short films on the 110-minute DVD illustrate Radiohead's music with dark, bold strokes through primitive animation, claymation, and manipulation of inanimate objects. Their themes parallel the music of Radiohead: Kafka-esque living, melancholy, and chaos (there's even a warning that the excessive blinking and flashing throughout the DVD may induce epileptic seizures). Though, if at all possible, the films may be darker than Radiohead's music -- they are certainly scarier. There are fang-brandishing monkeys, crows with glowing eyes who are murdered en masse, possessed baby-dolls singing about "freak juice," and levitating humans who spin around in the Karate Kid stance. It may sound like a big mess, but each film is surprisingly accomplished for amateurs and fits well with the soundtrack.

The Radiohead footage gives a glimpse of the band in the studio, though much more of Thom Yorke than anyone else. There is an intimate clip of Yorke with an acoustic guitar singing Morning M'Lord, also known as Good Morning Mr. Magpie, a song whose status as unreleased defies explanation. Also included is an alternate version of There, There, with Yorke on guitar and Jonny Greenwood on bass. I had always believed the big drums were what made the song a standout on their latest album, but apparently I was wrong; this version is every bit as good as the one on HTTT. Greenwood's bass line is just as powerful as the three-man drum section on the album version, though perhaps wielded with more finesse. Other musical bonuses include: Yorke alone on the piano singing A Punch Up at a Wedding, Yorke again alone on piano singing Fog to a small crowd, and an amphitheater performance of National Anthem -- though you won't see the band at all, you'll be looking at close up of some poor girl's face the whole time.

Radiohead also adds a bits of nonsense throughout. A scary looking figure calling himself Chieftan Mews introduces each episode and closes the DVD with a recitation of No Surprises. My guess is that this chieftan is a doctored photograph with Ed O'Brien's moving mouth superimposed, but who knows? It's all nonsensical. Yorke gives a couple of interviews with the voice of a drugged monster, while O'Brien answers most of his interview questions with a loud squawk. There's also a clip of O'Brien dressed as Santa Claus and reading a Christmas story. You'll probably question their sanity, but it's refreshing to see this veteran band goofing off and not taking themselves too seriously.

What's with that name? According to Thom, it is the name of a photomontage created by German artist James Heartfield, who changed his name from Helmut Herzfelde to protest German Nationalism. Heartfield manipulated photographs to make artistic statements, most notably against Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. It's a big jump to say that in selecting this name Radiohead paints themselves as Heartfield and certain leaders of today as Nazis, but then you wouldn't be too surprised, would you? Regardless, you can count on the DVD delivering the band's trademark not-so-subtle political statements.

The overall experience of the DVD is overwhelming, scary and downright trippy. Diehard Radiohead fans will love it, while casual listeners will probably lose their patience. Stick with it though because like Radiohead's music it is a cohesive, well-constructed package and something you'll understand more with each experience. The short films are inspired and the Radiohead footage alone justifies purchase, even if it is hard to get your hands on. You can only buy the DVD through Radiohead's archaic website, which means those of you outside the UK will pay a hefty fee for shipping and those of you in the US will get killed on the exchange rate. The damage for shipment to the US is around $30. You can watch the trailer and order the DVD here.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Krist Novoselic Sold in Auction!

Nirvana bassist turned aspiring politician, Krist Novoselic, sold himself on Ebay yesterday to the highest bidder. For $7,300 the winner and a friend will enjoy a trip piloted by Novoselic from any west coast airport to a restaurant in the city of his choice for lunch. The chunk of change will go to People For the American Way: "a non-profit non-partisan political organization committed to promoting political awareness, civic participation and providing legislators with the support they need to counter the agenda of the extreme right and protect against encroachments upon our freedoms and civil rights."

Novoselic isn't alone, several other musicians and celebrities donated memorabilia for the organization to auction. You can still bid on handwritten lyrics to the Dead Kennedys classic, "California Uber Alles," signed by Jello Biafra, a limited edition Pixies poster signed by the band, a guitar signed and smashed by Trent Reznor, and much more listed here.

Friday, December 03, 2004

What to Watch on TV this Weekend

Saturday

Henry Rollins will debut his new show on the Independent Film Channel, Henry's Film Corner, Saturday at midnight. IFC's snappy subtitle for the show is "where subculture meets pop culture." Rollins will invite celebrity guests to debate political and social implications of films reviewed. In the first episode, Rollins talks with his mailman, Raoul, about the similarities between the Tom Cruise epic The Last Samurai and Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai.

Don't worry about missing Saturday Night Live if you want to catch the Rollins show, it's just a repeat of the Ashlee Simpson trainwreck. Though, if you haven't seen it yet, you should flip back and forth to catch the hoe-down action.

Sunday

On 60 Minutes at 7:00 on CBS, Ed Bradley will interview Bob Dylan. While Dylan has been in the public eye and even in Victoria's Secret commercials, he has not given an interview in 19 years.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!