Monday, February 28, 2005

Rusted Root gears up for March tour

Multi-platinum fusion, jam band Rusted Root is touring together for the first time in a few years. The band recently released a greatest hits "live" recording featuring new songs "Jack Kerouac," "Ecstatic Drums," and a cover of Neil Young’s "Powderfinger." All totaled, the 2-cd set features 22 songs that span the group's more than 12-year career, ranging from such early faves-turned live staples as "Cruel Sun," "Ecstasy," "Martyr," "Cat Turned Blue," and the hit single "Send Me On My Way" to "Blue Diamonds" and the title track from the band's last studio effort, 2002's "Welcome To My Party." All of which are likely to land on set lists for at least some of the tour dates.

Rusted Root plays the follwing cities:

03/08 - Clifton Park, NY - Northern Lights
03/09 - Towson, MD - Recher Theatre
03/11 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
03/12 - New York City, NY - Irving Plaza
03/13 - New York City, NY - Irving Plaza
03/14 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
03/16 - Chicago, IL - House of Blues
03/17 - Chicago, IL - House of Blues
03/18 - Detroit, MI - Majestic Theatre
03/19 - Milwaukee, WI - The Rave @ Eagles
03/21 - Indianapolis - Vogue Theatre
03/22 - Cleveland, OH - House of Blues
03/24 - Allentown, PA - Crocodile Rock
03/25 - Poughkeepsie, NY - The Chance
03/26 - Bethel, ME - Sunday River
03/27 - Killington, VT - Pickle Barrell
03/29 - Wantaugh, NY - Mulcahy's
03/30 - Boston, MA - Avalon
03/31 - Hartford, CT - Webster Theatre
04/01 - Buffalo, NY - Infinity
04/02 - Johnson City, NY - Magic City

Jamie Foxx's Best Actor win for Ray was years in the making

The Motion Picture academy rewarded Jamie Foxx's brilliant portrayal of the legendary Ray Charles with an Oscar for Best Actor. A fitting ending to a story that started long ago. Its been nearly 15 years since Taylor Hackford first conceived his project for a Charles biography. Major studios repeatedly rejected Hackford's idea over the years. Eventually, Philip Anschutz, a millionaire theatre owner outside the major studio corporate structure, agreed to finance the piece.

Free from studio funding, Hackford was also free from many of the structural limitations big budget projects face. Taylor took this freedom to select the cast as he wanted and chose Foxx for the lead role. Foxx threw himself into the role and nailed it. Some reports even say that Foxx had his eyes sealed shut for up several hours a gain perspective on being blind. Foxx deserves the Oscar and Taylor Hackford deserves credit for perseverance and foresight. And, of course, Ray Charles deserves recognition for creating music worthy of such a great film.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Jazz Artists Cover Pavement

This spring, Brown Brothers Recordings will release a collection Pavement songs performed by jazz artists Cyrus Chestnut on keyboards, James Carter on saxophones and sousaphone, Reginald Veal on bass and Ali Jackson on percussion. According to Jazz Times, the album was recorded by Steven “Val” Mandel and was mixed by Ryan Hadlock (Hadlock also mixed Stephen Malkmus' 2003 Pig Lib).

Track list:

Stereo
My First Mine
Cut Your Hair
Summer Babe
Blue Hawaiian Here
Platform Blues
Trigger Cut

5-4=Unity, Folk Jam, and an original Jackson piece, Bikini Bottom Bounce will be offered for sale online.

Check out a stream of Trigger Cut here.

New Order Plan North American Tour

New Order will tour North America in support of their upcoming album Waiting for the Sirens to Call, to be released April 12. The band apparently feels guilty for neglecting North American fans with little tour support for their 2001 release, Get Ready. Peter Hook told Billboard,

"We felt very guilty for not coming to America last time. We only did Moby's [Area: One tour], which was before the album came out. That left us feeling quite annoyed with ourselves, because we realized how important our support in America has been to us. We wanted to make sure this time that the first thing we do is come over here. We're doing Coachella and then we'll do some dates in Chicago and New York."

Read more here.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Kristin Hersh to cover The Pixies - Wave of Mutilation

Indie Rock goddess, Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses, 50 Foot Wave) will cover The Pixies "Wave of Mutilation" for an upcoming tribute record "High School Reunin" - a tribute to 80's films to be released by American Laundromat Records.

High School Reunion will feature prominent singer/songwriters, and bands covering songs that have appeared in popular 80's films such as; Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Pretty in Pink, Say Anything, Valley Girl, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Repo Man and others. The disc is scheduled for a fall release.

"Wave of Mutilation" appeared in the Christian Slater cult film "Pump Up The Volume." "We wanted someone who could take this song and make it their own. Kristin was the first and only person we considered covering it." says ALR founder and president, Joe Spadaro.

Kristin Hersh is best known for Throwing Muses, one of the great college bands from the 1980s. Throwing Muses was formed in 1983 by Kristin and her half-sister Tanya Donelly with friends from high school. In 1986, the group's debut album was put out by the prestigious British label 4AD. Throwing Muses was the first American band to be released on that label, The Pixies would soon follow. In 1992, Donelly left to play with the Breeders and later formed "Belly."

Kristin continued on with the Muses releasing critically acclaimed records full of intensity and smart songwriting, while also putting out solo records and touring extensively. Throwing Muses officially broke up in 1997, but Kristin's solo career continued to blossom and evolve. In 2003, looking to reunite with her electric guitar and a band, Kristin formed 50 Foot Wave with former Throwing Muses bassist Bernard Georges, and drummer Rob Ahlers. They released their first record in 2004 and toured extensively to support it, ending the year opening the Pixies midnight show at The Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Wilco's Two DC Shows to be Webcast

Wilco's sold out performances at the 9:30 club in Washington, DC tonight and tomorrow will be webcast. Tonight's show will be available via Quicktime Player on the Wilco site. Tomorrow night's show will be available on NPR.org. Chicago band Detholz (pronounced Death Holes) will open both nights. We hear that Tweedy has been yelling at fans for talking during recent shows; so, if you're a fan with a voice that carries you might consider giving up your tickets and listening at home, lest you be embarrassed by the Tweedster.

Misfits Reunite on Danzig Tour

Aversion reports that Glenn Danzig and Doyle Von Frankenstein will play 30-minute sets at three Danzig shows next week.

The shows are:
Feb. 28 - Roxy Theatre, Boston
March 1 - Spirit Performance Center, New York
March 2 - Electric Factory, Philadelphia

The Jayhawks Throw in the Towel

When Gary Louris and Mark Olson announced their current mini-tour many Jayhawks fans hoped it was a prelude to Olson's return to the band. Sadly, it appears that the tour is one last hoorah for the singing partners. Louris said recently, "I don't think we're going to do anything else. We felt like we've done
that enough. Everybody just wants to do something else. We haven't completely
closed the door, but it's pretty damn close ... I'd say it's dead."

We can't be entirely sure that we'll never hear from The Jayhawks again. Louris does leave the door cracked a little and Jayhawks manager Russell Carter told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "It's true they're moving on to other things, but my personal feeling is that the Jayhawks are just too strong an entity to ever go away permanently."

The Minneapolis Star Tribune story is much better than the AP story floating around, so if you're interested in a more comprehensive look at the band's demise look here. There's an annoying registration process, but it's free.


Remaining dates on the Louris/Olson tour include:

Feb 24 2005 South Burlington, VT, Higher Ground
Feb 25 2005 Somerville, MA, Somerville Theater
Feb 26 2005 Albany, NY, Swyer Theater/The Egg
Feb 27 2005 Northampton, MA, Iron Horse
Feb 28 2005 Philadelphia, PA, World Cafe Live
Mar 2 2005 New York, NY, Bowery Ballroom
Mar 5 2005 Annapolis, MD, Rams Head Tavern
Mar 7 2005 Alexandria, VA, Birchmere
Mar 8 2005 Carrboro, NC, Carrboro Arts Center
Mar 9 2005 Atlanta, GA, Variety Playhouse
Mar 10 2005 Nashville, TN, Belcourt Theater
Mar 11 2005 Lexington, KY, The Dame
Mar 12 2005 Chicago, IL, Park West

Monday, February 21, 2005

Oxfam Offers Webcast of Tsunami Benefit Featuring Massive Attack, Portishead, and Robert Plant and The Coral

If you weren't lucky enough to catch Massive Attack, Portishead, and Robert Plant and The Coral at Oxfam's Tsunami Crisis in Asia benefit concert in Bristol, you may access a webcast of the event by following this link. A donation of 4.50 (British Pounds) or roughly 8.50 (US Dollars) entitles you to watch the webcast as much as you wish from 2:00 pm tomorrow through March 21. All proceeds go to Oxfam.

Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005)

I read the news today, oh boy. No one could express the way he lived his 67 years better than he...

"We'd be fools not to ride this strange torpedo to the end."
- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

"Being shot out of a cannon is always better than being squeezed through a tube."
- Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear

Read about his life here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Napster's Copy Protection Cracked

If you have nothing to do for the next 14 days you could, in theory, burn up to 252 80-minute CDs of music from Napster for free. Napster To Go offers unlimited downloads to a portable device for $15 a month. That seems like a good deal, but the catch is this: if you stop paying the monthly fee you lose access to your entire music collection. Also, if you want to burn any of your Napster music to CD you have to pay an additional 99 cents per track. So here's were the computer geeks with too much time on their hands come in -- they have figured out a fairly simple way to circumvent Napster's copy protection. Marv On Record offers a step-by-step how to here. Since Napster currently has a 14-day free trial period you could, theoretically, have a go at stealing tons of music from the company who made its name by facilitating internet piracy and only pay for the cost of CDRs.*

*Earvolution in no way endorses or condones such behavior.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Janis Joplin to be Subject of Reality Show and Movie

The Janis Joplin estate recently announced major plans to cash in on the late singer's celebrity. First, there will be an American Idol style reality show named, "Search for the Pearl." The show will attempt to find a replacement for one of the most unique voices and personalities in Rock and Roll. The contestant bold enough to assume the title of the new Pearl will headline a tour with Joplin's old bands, Big Brother & The Holding Company, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band. I know what you're thinking because I'm thinking it too...nothing good can come of this. Oh, but wait, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, the Joplin estate kicks the deceased crooner's memory around some more with plans for a Penelope Spheeris directed biopic starring of all people, Pink.






Artists to Watch

This periodic 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.


The Valley
I whole-heartedly embraced the recent resurgence of new wave/brit-pop because it was a such sweet, nostalgic reminder of the melodic, danceable sound that marked my geeky tween 80's years. It was fun, it was smart and most importantly it was a refreshing change from that rap-rock mess they tried to package as "alternative. " But I fear the end of my synthesizer-induced euphoria is near. I really miss being rocked. That realization smacked me pretty hard while listening to the The Valley's self-titled EP released by The Swingline. The great thing is that with this band, I can have my melody and rock out too. Comparisons are often trite, but this Seattle area band is so representative of that late 80's/early 90's Seattle sound that you can't deny the obvious influence of their geography. They have big fuzzy Mudhoney-like guitars and the catchy Pixies-inspired melodies of the more highly consumed grunge bands. This trio restored my faith in rock and kept me grinning through all eight songs on their EP. Check a couple of their mp3's, including a live performance at KEXP, here.

(photo by Ryan Schierling at www.aural-fixation.com)

Artists to Watch Update: Two former Artists to Watch are competing for a chance to play at South by Southwest. Justin Jones is competing tonight at the Austin Grill in Silver Spring, MD at 8:30. Monopoli will compete Saturday the 19th at Continental Modern Pool Lounge in Arlington, VA. If you are in the DC area, be sure to stop by and give them your support. More information about the contests can be found here. What we wrote about Justin Jones last year can be found here and Monopoli here.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Harry Potter Producer David Heyman Remarks on 'Goblet of Fire' Cameos by Radiohead and Pulp Members

Looks like our favorite warlocks are getting into character. Though, I thought the spelling was "Wyrd Sisters?" From At Ease:

David Heyman, producer of the Harry Potter movies recently spoke with the Melbourne Sun about Jarvis Cocker, Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway and their parts as The Weird Sisters in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and had this to say: "In the film you’ll see The Weird Sisters play regular instruments that are a little bit strange, like bagpipes with really long pipes and guitars with three necks.” Mr. Heyman also comments that he was “quietly confident” that Daniel, Emma and Rupert “would be back again and maybe beyond.”

Cocker and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway will be seen as part of a wizard rock band called The Weird Sisters, which plays at a Yule Ball held in the Hogwarts Great Hall, which is transformed into a shimmering silver wonderland with a stage made of ice.

Ray Charles dominates Grammys; U2, Green Day, Los Lonely Boys among winners

Sentimental favorite, the late great Ray Charles won an incredible eight grammys for his "genius Loves Company," including one for best pop vocal collaboration with Norah Jones. Alicia Keys, U2, Usher and Kanye West were among the multiple winners, but the night belonged to Ray. Ray was a genius long before his passing, he won four grammys at the 1960 awards.

John Mayer's "Daughters" won the sought after "Song of the Year" award, which recognizes songwriting ability, not just performance like so many of the other awards. Maroon 5 beat out Kanye West, Gretchen Wilson, Los Lonely Boys and Joss Stone for best new artist, even though we know many of these nominees have been plugging away in the business for years.

Several nominees, including Bono, Norah Jones, Velvet Revolver and Alicia Keys performed a terrific rendition of the Beatles' tune "Across the Universe." The live recording is available at iTunes.com and proceeds go to benefit Tsunami Relief.

The rest of this year's Grammy Winners include:

Album of the Year: "Genius Loves Company," Ray Charles.

Record of the Year: "Here We Go Again," Ray Charles and Norah Jones.

Song of the Year: "Daughters," John Mayer.

Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Vertigo," U2.

Rap Album: "The College Dropout," Kanye West.

R&B Album: "The Diary of Alicia Keys," Alicia Keys.

Best New Artist: Maroon 5.

Rock Album: "American Idiot," Green Day.

Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Heaven," Los Lonely Boys.

Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Call My Name," Prince.

Engineered Album, Classical: "Higdon: City Scape; Concerto for Orchestra," Jack Renner, engineer (Robert Spano).

Producer of the Year, Classical: David Frost.

Classical Album: "Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls," Lorin Maazel, conductor; John Adams and Lawrence Rock, producers.

Orchestral Performance: "Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls," Lorin Maazel, conductor; John Adams and Lawrence Rock, producers.

Opera Recording: "Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro," Rene Jacobs, conductor; Patrizia Ciofi, Veronique Gens, Simon Keenlyside, Angelika Kirchschlager and Lorenzo Regazzo; Martin Sauer, producer (Various Artists; Concerto Koln).

Choral Performance: "Berlioz: Requiem," Robert Spano, conductor; Norman Mackenzie, choir director (Frank Lopardo, tenor; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra).

Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra): "Previn: Violin Concerto `Anne-Sophie'/Bernstein: Serenade," Andre Previn, conductor; Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin (Boston Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra).

Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra): "Aire Latino (Morel, Villa-Lobos, Ponce, etc.)," David Russell, guitar.

Chamber Music Performance: "Prokofiev (Arr. Pletnev): Cinderella -- Suite for Two Pianos/Ravel: Ma Mere L'Oye," Martha Argerich, piano and Mikhail Pletnev, piano.

Small Ensemble Performance (with or without conductor): "Carlos Chavez -- Complete Chamber Music, Vol. 2," Jeff von der Schmidt, conductor; Southwest Chamber Music.

Classical Vocal Performance: "Ives: Songs (The Things Our Fathers Loved; the Housatonic at Stockbridge, etc.)," Susan Graham, mezzo soprano.

Classical Contemporary Composition: "Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls," John Adams (Lorin Maazel; Brooklyn Youth Chorus and New York Choral Artists; New York Philharmonic).

Classical Crossover Album: "LAGQ's Guitar Heroes," Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.

Traditional Folk Album: "Beautiful Dreamer -- The Songs of Stephen Foster," Various Artists.

Contemporary Folk Album: "The Revolution Starts ... Now," Steve Earle.

Native American Music Album: "Cedar Dream Songs," Bill Miller.

Hawaiian Music Album: "Slack Key Guitar Volume 2," Various Artists.

Reggae Album: "True Love," Toots and The Maytals.

Traditional World Music Album: "Raise Your Spirit Higher," Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Contemporary World Music Album: "Egypt," Youssou N'Dour.

Polka Album: "Let's Kiss: 25th Anniversary Album," Brave Combo.

Musical Album for Children: "cELLAbration! A Tribute to Ella Jenkins," Various Artists.

Spoken Word Album for Children: "The Train They Call The City of New Orleans," Tom Chapin.

Spoken Word Album: "My Life," Bill Clinton.

Comedy Album: "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents ... America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction," Jon Stewart and the Cast of "The Daily Show."

Musical Show Album: "Wicked."

Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Garden State," Various Artists.

Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," Howard Shore, composer.

Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Into the West," Annie Lennox, Howard Shore and Fran Walsh, songwriters, track from "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."

Instrumental Composition: "Merengue," Paquito D'Rivera, composer (Yo-Yo Ma), from "Obrigado Brazil -- Live in Concert."

Instrumental Arrangement: "Past Present and Future," Slide Hampton, arranger (The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra), from "The Way -- Music of Slide Hampton."

Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): "Over the Rainbow," Victor Vanacore, arranger (Ray Charles & Johnny Mathis), from "Genius Loves Company."

Recording Package: "A Ghost Is Born," Peter Buchanan-Smith and Dan Nadel, art directors (Wilco).

Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: "Once in a Lifetime," Stefan Sagmeister, art director (Talking Heads).

Album Notes: "The Complete Columbia Recordings of Woody Herman and His Orchestra and Woodchoppers (1945-1947)," Loren Schoenberg, album notes writer (Woody Herman and His Orchestra).

Historical Album: "Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm and Blues, 1945-1970," Daniel Cooper and Michael Gray, compilation producers.

Best Engineered Album, non-classical: "Genius Loves Company."

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: John Shanks.

Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: Jacques Lu Cont.

Best Surround Sound Album: "Genius Loves Company."

Latin Pop Album: "Amar Sin Mentiras," Marc Anthony.

Latin Rock/Alternative Album: Ozomatli.

Traditional Tropical Latin Album: "Ahora Si!" Israel Lopez "Cachao."

Salsa/Merengue Album: "Across 110th Street," Spanish Harlem Orchestra featuring Ruben Blades.

Mexican/Mexican-American Album: "Intimamente," Intocable.

Tejano Album: "Polkas, Gritos y Acordeones," David Lee Garza, Joel Guzman and Sunny Sauceda.

Short Form Music Video: "Vertigo," U2.

Long Form Music Video: "Concert for George," Various Artists.

Gospel Performance: "Heaven Help Us All," Ray Charles and Gladys Knight.

Rock Gospel Album: "Wire," Third Day.

Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album: "All Things New," Steven Curtis Chapman.

Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album: "Worship and Faith," Randy Travis.

Traditional Soul Gospel Album: "There Will Be a Light," Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Contemporary Soul Gospel Album: "Nothing Without You," Smokie Norful.

Gospel Choir or Chorus Album: "Live ... This is Your House," The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

Traditional Blues Album: "Blues to the Bone," Etta James.

Contemporary Blues Album: "Keep It Simple," Keb' Mo'.

New Age Album: "Returning," Will Ackerman.

Contemporary Jazz Album: "Unspeakable," Bill Frisell.

Jazz Vocal Album: "R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)," Nancy Wilson.

Jazz Instrumental Solo: "Speak Like a Child," Herbie Hancock.

Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: "Illuminations," McCoy Tyner with Gary Bartz, Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride and Lewis Nash.

Large Jazz Ensemble Album: "Concert in the Garden," Maria Schneider Orchestra.

Latin Jazz Album: "Land of the Sun," Charlie Haden.

Female Country Vocal Performance: "Redneck Woman," Gretchen Wilson.

Male Country Vocal Performance: "Live Like You Were Dying," Tim McGraw.

Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Top of the World," Dixie Chicks.

Country Collaboration With Vocals: "Portland Oregon," Loretta Lynn and Jack White.

Country Instrumental Performance: "Earl's Breakdown," Nitty Gritty Dirt Band featuring Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Vassar Clements and Jerry Douglas.

Country Song: "Live Like You Were Dying," Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman (Tim McGraw).

Bluegrass Album: "Brand New Strings," Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.

Female R&B Vocal Performance: "If I Ain't Got You," Alicia Keys.

R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals: "My Boo," Usher and Alicia Keys.

Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: "Musicology," Prince.

Urban/Alternative Performance: "Cross My Mind," Jill Scott.

R&B Song: "You Don't Know My Name," Alicia Keys, Harold Lilly and Kanye West (Alicia Keys).

Contemporary R&B Album: "Confessions," Usher.

Rap Solo Performance: "99 Problems," Jay-Z.

Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: "Let's Get It Started," The Black Eyed Peas.

Rap/Sung Collaboration: "Yeah!" Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris.

Rap Song: "Jesus Walks," C. Smith and Kanye West (Kanye West).

Female Pop Vocal Performance: "Sunrise," Norah Jones.

Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Daughters," John Mayer.

Pop Collaboration With Vocals: "Here We Go Again," Ray Charles and Norah Jones.

Pop Instrumental Performance: "11th Commandment," Ben Harper.

Pop Instrumental Album: "Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar," Various Artists.

Pop Vocal Album: "Genius Loves Company," Ray Charles and Various Artists.

Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "Stardust ... The Great American Songbook Volume III," Rod Stewart.

Dance Recording: "Toxic," Britney Spears.

Electronic/Dance Album: "Kish Kash," Basement Jaxx.

Alternative Music Album: "A Ghost Is Born," Wilco.

Solo Rock Vocal Performance: "Code of Silence," Bruce Springsteen.

Hard Rock Performance: "Slither," Velvet Revolver.

Metal Performance: "Whiplash," Motorhead.

Rock Instrumental Performance: "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow," Brian Wilson.

Rock Song: "Vertigo," Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge and Larry Mullen (U2).

Friday, February 11, 2005

Jeff Tweedy Snubs Grammy Awards

Wilco will miss Sunday's Grammy Awards festivities due to a scheduled appearance at the Alabama Theater in Birmingham, Alabama. Though the band's latest release A Ghost is Born was nominated for a Grammy in the Alternative Music Album category, frontman Jeff Tweedy has little respect for the awards. In an interview with the Birmingham News, Tweedy said:

"I can't say that having Grammy nominations means an enormous amount to us," he says. "I don't see it as being a validation of anything. To be really blunt, I don't have a lot of respect for the artists that have won Grammys. "On the other hand," he continues, "it's very exciting to be nominated for a Grammy because it makes your parents happy."

Point taken, the Grammys can be a little pop-centric. Though it begs the question -- if Wilco wins a Grammy for A Ghost is Born, will Tweedy lose respect for himself? Oh, and is he really saying he doesn't respect the likes of Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Lucinda Williams, the Rolling Stones and Tom Waits?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

2005 Plug Awards Celebrate Indie Music

Last night at Webster Hall in New York, scores of hipsters gathered to honor indie music's most happening artists, radio stations, websites, and music retailers at the Plug Awards. In case you didn't know, Plug is "a collection of music lovers, writers, DJs, webmasters, artists, filmmakers, managers, indie retailers, and most importantly fans, who gather together each year to celebrate the artists who live and flourish in the margins." Each year voting is open to anyone with access to Plug's website. So as opposed to the Grammys, where fat cat industry execs vote in those annoying artists your parents and annoying kid sister listen to, these awards are less likely to make you cringe. Last night's events included live performances by: Saul Williams, RJD2, Aesop Rock, Sufjan Stevens, Ted Leo + The Pharmacists, and Dillinger Escape Plan. From an incredible list of nominees, thousands of voters worldwide selected the following winners:

Album of the Year: TV On The Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes (Touch And Go)

Artist Of The Year: Interpol

New Artist Of The Year: Arcade Fire

Male Artist Of The Year: Tom Waits

Female Artist Of The Year: Jean Grae

Hip-Hop Album Of The Year: Madvillain - Madvillany (Stones Throw)

Punk Album Of The Year: Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First (Epitaph)

Metal Album Of The Year: Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine (Relapse)

Electronic/Dance Album Of The Year: Mouse On Mars - Radical Connector (Thrill Jockey)

Americana Album Of The Year: Iron And Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days (Sub Pop)

Indie Rock Album Of The Year: Interpol - Antics (Matador)

DJ Album Of The Year: RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke (Definitive Jux)

Avant Album Of The Year: Liars - They Were Wrong, So We Drowned (Mute)

Record Label Of The Year: Definitive Jux

Live Act Of The Year: Death Cab For Cutie

Record Producer of the Year: Danger Mouse

Album Art/Packaging of the Year: Arcade Fire - Funeral (Merge)

Music Website Of The Year: pitchforkmedia.com

Magazine Of The Year: The Wire

Specialty Show Of The Year (Commercial Radio): KDLD, Los Angeles, "Dead Air"

College/Non-Comm Radio Station Of The Year: KEXP, Seattle, WA

Internet Radio Station of the Year: WOXY.com

Record Store of the Year: Amoeba Music, Hollywood, CA

Best Music DVD of the Year: Rock Against Bush, Vol 2

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

See You in the Pit Offers MP3s of South by Southwest Artists

See you in the Pit is offering MP3s of artists playing in the 2005 South by Southwest Festival. So far they have tracks for Husky Rescue, We are Scientists, The Meat Purveyors, and one of the cool new bands I told you about last year, Bloc Party. Hurry up and get 'em -- the site claims to have no affiliation with "SXSW, any record label/bands/musicians, iTunes, Amazon, any secret government agencies, or your parents," which probably means the RIAA will sue them into oblivion.

Friday, February 04, 2005

New York's Legendary Hit Factory Studio to Close

The Hit Factory, one of Rock and Roll's most legendary studios, is the latest victim of the volatile evolution of the music industry. In the wake of innovations in digital recording and major label consolidation, the industry is struggling to adapt to a new economic model. In doing so it is letting go of much of its past. The Hit Factory was known for catering to the needs of each artist including flying equipment across the Atlantic on a day's notice, ripping up a carpet if a singer didn't like the color, and putting 40 bales of hay in a studio to make a country singer feel comfortable. Excesses such as these are no longer possible with the seemingly endless shrinking of recording budgets.

The owners of the Hit Factory are closing down the large studio on West 54th and moving their operations to a smaller location in Miami. During its 37 year run, the studio was graced by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and David Bowie. In 1980, John Lennon spent his final hours there and was killed while walking home from the studio. In 2000, rapper 50 Cent was stabbed outside of the studio. Audio professionals blame the closing of large studios such as the Hit Factory on the rise of inexpensive digital recording, which allows high quality recording in any location by amateur recordists.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

MP3.com founder to launch new digital music service

Michael Robertson, who founded MP3.com, which came under legal fire from the RIAA, is launching a new digital music service called "MP3Tunes."

The service will primarily help fans access independent labels or unsigned artists. MP3tunes reportedly has rights to nearly 200,000 songs. However, Robertson has not announced any major label licenses at this time. In this writer's opinion, MP3.com was a better service before it started offering major label recordings. My advice to Michael is to stick to the independents and avoid the legal hassles that come when dealing with the big guys.

Courtney Love's Most Downloaded Song Not Her Own

The most downloaded song on iTunes for the artist known as Courtney Love is, "Don't Mix the Colors" from the Kill Rock Stars compilation. It's a great song, but then this queen of grunge pictured to the left had nothing to do with it. Courtney love (the band), featuring Olympia, WA based Lois Maffeo and drummer Pat Maley, wrote and recorded the song during their brief existence as a band (1990-91). What makes this story the funniest you've heard all week is that Dave Navarro included the track in his celebrity playlist on iTunes, with the comment, "[n]ice to hear Courtney doing something different in this acoustic artsy jam." Clearly Dave "Genius" Navarro, along with oodles of iTunes customers, has mistaken the band for the troubled widow of Kurt Cobain. Uh huh, that cackle you hear in the distance is Lois Maffeo and Pat Maley laughing all the way to the bank. Too bad for Courtney that she can't claim any of the royalties, as it looks like she could really use the money -- the house she bought for Cobain's family may soon be foreclosed.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

New Stephen Malkmus Album Slated for May Release

Matador Records has set a May 24 release date for the upcoming album from Stephen Malkmus, Face The Truth. FTT will be his third post-Pavement release and his first "bona fide solo album." That's right -- Face the Truth will be Jickless. Matador heralds FTT as Malkums at "the height of his creative powers" with his "wittiest moments to date...along with many of his most heartfelt." Unfortunately Malkmus will not support the album with a lengthy tour (cut him some slack; he's going to be a Daddy soon). He will, however, kick off some planned "selected US dates" by headlining the Matador South by Southwest event, which will also feature Pretty Girls Make Graves, Laura Cantrell, and Dead Meadow (March 18, The Parish).

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails to Headline Coachella 2005

Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails will headline the sixth annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California. This year's Brit-pop heavy festival offers the opportunity to see a number of reuniting bands, including: Gang of Four, Bauhaus and The Cocteau Twins. The complete line-up is as follows:

Saturday, April 30: Coldplay, Bauhaus, Weezer, Cocteau Twins, The Chemical Brothers, Wilco, Keane, Snow Patrol, Rilo Kiley, Cafe Tacuba, Doves, Sage Francis, Armin Van Buuren, The Ravonettes, Bloc Party, Mercury Rev, Fantomas, Hernan Cattaneo, Zap Mama, DJ Peretz (a.k.a. Perry Farrell), The Secret Machines, Jamie Cullum, M83, Ambluance LTD, Four Tet, MF Doom, Josh Wink, Amp Fiddler, Tiga, The Kills, Donavon Frankenreiter, Spoon, Boom Bip, Katie Melua, DJ Marky, Immortal Technique, Jean Grae, Razorlight, Swayzak, Radio 4, Buck 65, Eisley, The Sexy Magazines, and k-os

Sunday, May 1: Nine Inch Nails, New Order, Bright Eyes, Gang of Four, Prodigy, Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli), The Faint, Roni Size, The Arcade Fire, Roots Manuva, DJ Krush, Thrice, Junkie XL, M.I.A., British Sea Power, The Dresden Dolls, Miss Kittin, The Fiery Furnaces, Aesop Rock, The Perceptionists, Jem, Autolux, Sixtoo, Tegan and Sara, Stereophonics, The Bravery, Matthew Dear, Diplo, Subtle, Beans, Shout Out Louds, The Futureheads, Sloan, Kasabian, The Blood Brothers, Matmos, Wolf Eyes, Gram Rabbit, Smokestacks, and Zion-I

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!