Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dave Grohl: Alive and Well

From the "you can't believe everything you read on the internet" (especially here!) file, Dave Grohl wants everyone to know he's not dead. Apparently, those zany internet kids had Dave pushing up daisies a bit prematurely.

The rumors gained enough steam to even cause a few friends to leave condolence messages for his wife. Says Dave:

"I got a phone message from a friend saying 'Er, I guess...
Jordyn.... this is maybe... for you. I'm so sorry to hear what happened.' I heard this message and went, 'What the f**k?' They were leaving a message on my cell phone saying, 'I'm sorry Dave died.' "That was weird, but I guess I've finally graduated to that status of being an internet rumour. It weirded me out a bit, but it's stupid. I'm like a cockroach, don't worry, I'll be around for a long time."

If you're still not convinced Dave is alive, check out the Foo Fighters on tour this summer and decide for yourself.

Tapes 'N Tapes Kick Off Tour

Tapes 'N Tapes are set to head out around the country with their friends the Cold War Kids. Friends, lets be clear, this is THE indie rock show of the summer. Both of these bands will be huge in the coming year if anyone is awake at the major and middie labels. Catch these guys in small venues where you can actually walk up and talk to them while you still can.

Ted Nugent: American Hero?

Ted "She's so sweet when she yanks on my meat" Nugent, like many folks these days, is quick to tell you how patriotic he is. This is quite normal in an era where actions no longer speak louder than words. But, Ted says he's not all talk and was right there on the front lines in the war on terror.

That's right, apparently Ted was in the hot zone in both Afghanistan and Iraq and ready to fight. Of course, I believe that was actually a USO tour, but hey he was still there. Unlike Vietnam. Back in those days, Ted was reportedly called to actually serve. But, somehow he didn't.

However, Ted says he's made up for that time in his life: "I wish I'd understood how important America's fight against our enemies was. But did I go to Fallujah two years ago? Damn right I did. And was I in Afghanistan, manning a 50-calibre machine gun in a Chinook - ready to rock? Yes. Was I there for years? No. A couple of weeks. But I am not a coward."

Glad you cleared that up Ted.

Nicks With Petty; Bowie Appears With Gilmour

In teaming up with Trey Anastasio, The Allman Brothers and Pearl Jam for their summer tour, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers have amassed some serious firepower to help commemorate their 30 years in the music business. As if that wasn't enough, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame will come along for the ride for the first eight shows of the tour, which will definitely include a stop at Madison Square Garden and possibly an appearance during Petty's headlining spot at the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, TN. While it doesn't appear that Nicks will perform a set of her own, it's likely safe to bet that Nicks, Petty & The Heartbreakers will reprise their 1981 hit "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" off of Nicks' Bella Donna album. Less of a certainty, but definitely a possibility, they could recreate "Needles And Pins," their collaboration from Petty's 1986 live album Pack Up The Plantation.

America can look forward to a Nicks/Petty (and possibly Anastasio) combination but London's Royal Albert Hall saw an unlikely combination of their own when David Bowie joined David Gilmour on stage for his encore this past weekend. The Thin White Duke joined Gilmour for a rendition of the Floyd classic "Arnold Layne" and then joined in on Floyd's signature piece, "Comfortably Numb." As if Bowie's appearance wasn't enough, David Crosby, Stephen Stills & Graham Nash joined The One Who May Be Pink for "On A Island," the title track from Gilmour's current album as well as sticking around for their own "Find The Cost Of Freedom."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wolfmother: The Band That Remembers Laughter

By: David Schultz

After a memorable stint with The Yardbirds, Jimmy Page formed a new version of the group in order to play a harder-edged, electrified form of the blues. The band Page formed to accomplish this goal failed miserably in bringing that vision to life. However, in veering from their original mission, Led Zeppelin became a cornerstone in the temple of rock and roll, creating a bluesy-psychedelic hybrid that ultimately begat heavy metal and inspired numerous others to follow in their footsteps.

In their hometown of Sydney, Australia, Wolfmother grew up worshipping at this altar and on their self-titled debut album, they show that they have taken their devotion quite seriously. With pseudo-hippie lyrics drenched with medieval imagery, guitarist and lead singer Andrew Stockdale, bassist and keyboard player Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett, have created a monument to Seventies era rock that sizzles in its deliciously retro juices.

Even before their self-titled Wolfmother's release, an insane amount of buzz surrounded the trio, including a selection as one of Rolling Stone's Bands To Watch. With their highly anticipated debut, which incorporates ¾ of their earlier EP Dimension, Wolfmother's acclaim has not lessened. The album contains a multitude of groovy guitar riffs that echo the mighty Seventies, blues soaked, monster guitar style. All that seems to be missing is a hirsute hippie projecting gelatin globules on the band with an overhead projector or a video making excessive use of extreme close-ups to make the picture complete.

The Australian power trio's debut contains enough clichéd images and trappings that you will wonder if the band has sat through one too many showings of The Song Remains The Same. In a voice that derives from the Robert Plant/Ozzy Osbourne school of rock, Stockdale sings about colossal landscapes, paper temples in the desert, rainbows tinted with gold, unicorns, finding the mind's eye and telling you everything he knows about being free. While Wolfmother made sure to include the fantasy imagery inherent in any song entitled "White Unicorn," they omitted their Tolkienesque-titled "Tales From The Forest Of Gnomes" from the U.S. edition of the album. Musically, they insert a flute solo into "Witchcraft" and Doors-worthy chimes haunt the background of "White Unicorn." The clichés that imbue Wolfmother do nothing to lessen its visceral impact as this Aussie trio brings some of the freshest sounding "classic" rock anyone has delivered in years.

Not everything about Wolfmother is swords and sorcerers. The already ubiquitous "Love Train," containing wonderful "Moby Dick" style interplay between Ross and Heskett, grooves with a swagger worthy of the day-glo silhouette treatment Apple has given it in its latest iPOD ad. They also deliver another nifty bit of cock-rock with "Woman." Wolfmother's love of Seventies era power rock overlaps with Jack White's fascination with the same period and "Colossal" aims for the same type of lofty, bombastic heights reached by some of The White Stripes heavier "Ball And Biscuit" style material. Stockdale's high-pitched scream comes closest to White's unique vocal style on "Apple Tree" and with Heskett ratcheting back on his drumming, the track could easily be mistaken for a White Stripes tune.

Wolfmother borrows from the past in the same proportion and with the same success as Lenny Kravitz. However, not all of Wolfmother's derivations remain interpretive. In singing of the "purple haze in the sky," it's impossible not to reflect upon the same colored fog that once afflicted Jimi Hendrix' brain. Similarly, when Stockdale wants to tell the story about "The Joker And The Thief," it feels as if we've met these two fellows before in a different song.

Wolfmother succeeds in putting the power back into the "power trio." In handling both keyboard and bass duties, Chris Ross manages to economically embody both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake. Inserting organ fills with the proficiency of Rick Wakeman, Ross gives a rich, epochal, if not regal, scope to songs like "Mind's Eye," turning Wolfmother's sound into a prog-rock feast. When combined with Stockdale's Zeppelin inspired vocals and guitar and Heskett's wild drumming, a brilliant bluesy, psychedelic orgy results.

Wolfmother's mix of progressive rock and early-era heavy metal rock will resonate strongly amongst those with classic rock/hard rock leanings. Hair metal bands and industrial acts that have traveled this path before have met with mixed results. Some have found enduring success, while others have become sheepishly enjoyed guilty pleasures. In creating a wonderfully explosive mélange of retro-rock, Wolfmother seems headed to the former category rather than the disappointing latter. With Wolfmother, the Australian trio has set the baseline by which all their future endeavors will be measured. Regardless of whether they exceed the high bar they've set or remain content to regenerate a proven formula, they seem ready to rock arenas for quite some time.

Pete Townsend vs White Stripes

Pete Townsend says he can outplay the White Stripes all by himself. Ok, so we have absolutely zero context for this statement...but what the hey, we'll talk about it anyway.

Pete is obviously a rock legend. The White Stripes are quite good in their own right, but compared to The Who they are mere upstarts. Typically its the upstarts who take on the venerable rockers to get a little extra attention. But, once in awhile a cantankerous elder statesman of rock will hit out at some of the new kids. Pete took his swipe at the White Stripes.

Pete claimed, "I could probably outdo The White Stripes with a guitar and a f**king drum machine." He further aptly noted, "Whether I would ever be as much fun, or as gorgeous, is another story."

I'm not sure about the first part of his statement, but I certainly agree with Pete that Meg White playing the drums is much more fun to watch than anything Pete does with his guitar these days.

Bono duets with Wyclef for Charity

Wyclef Jean throws a big charity ball every year to raise money for his "Yele Haiti" foundation. This year's bash raised over one million dollars and saw a suprise appearance from Bono.

Bono jumped onstage unanounced to perform "Redemption Song" with Wyclef. The two first performed the Marley song together back in 1999 for a webcast concert for NetAid.

It was apparently Bono's second gig of the day, as he reportedly sang on Bono Formula One boss Flavio Briatore's yacht earlier that day and arrived at Wyclef's ball with Jay-Z.

Jay-Z was a very large presence at the Philadelphia Live 8 show and given his respected position in the rap community, and business prowess, my guess is that Bono was angling to get the rapper even deeper involved in the various Africa initiatives.

New Orleans Still A Mess Nine Months After Katrina

by Sean R. Grogan (Photo Credit: Cesar Kuriyama)

Close your eyes for a moment.

Imagine you're in a place where houses sit on top of cars. Where there is nothing but devastation. Every neighborhood, every street, every home – destroyed. Imagine a place without electricity, where signs warn against drinking the water. Where an abandoned tricycle collects dust in front of a home that has been torn off its foundation. This is the heart and soul of Jazz country. This is New Orleans in May 2006 (below taken just two Thursdays ago in the Ninth Ward), nine months after back-to-back hurricanes tore through the Gulf Coast and left a path of destruction in their wake.



Much of New Orleans is still in shambles. Last week, I traveled there with 17 close friends and worked to help try to restore the lives of those who were most affected by the storms. We wanted to be on the front lines, instead of sending money from the confines of our cozy apartments. As we flew from New York to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, we could see, even from the air, that there was still much to do. Blue tarps sprawled for miles in every direction on homes that waited for roof repairs. On the drive to our hotel we passed row upon row of homes split by the force of wind and water. That wasn't the worst of it.

Our first evening was spent on a tour of some of the most heavily affected areas of the city – those closest to where the levy breached. In some neighborhoods, the breaks were so sudden it looked like a massive shotgun blew off the entire back half of homes. But, words cannot describe the complete and utter devastation of the Ninth Ward. In this stricken area, countless homes were stacked atop cars or squatted atop multiple cars. Others were torn in two, their innards of precious family memories splayed like the guts of eviscerated fish.

And yet, amidst all this devastation, there was hope. Immediately following the storm, street medics entered the Ninth Ward and set up an outpost. What grew from their initial efforts was the Common Ground Health Clinic (www.commonground.org) a group that do their best to provide fresh food, water, and Internet access to those most affected. All around, people have opened their hearts and homes to help friends, neighbors, and strangers.



We were not in New Orleans to rebuild, but rather to demolish so homes that would later (hopefully) be rebuilt. In the three days we toiled, we demolished two homes. We stripped their interiors to the studs. Everything inside went because everything was covered in mold. Recently, the city passed a law stating that homes must be gutted by Katrina's anniversary or they will be claimed by the city. We gutted homes owned by elderly couples who were unable to do the work themselves or afford to hire professionals. Though we worked long and hard, every time someone discovered a Tickle Me Elmo buried inside a wall or an American flag trapped in the ceiling, we would stop, heartbroken and speechless.

While there, we were visited by political candidates who thanked us for our help. The city was overflowing with gratitude. And music. After a hard day's work and a hot shower, we hit Bourbon Street en masse. From each bar and club rose the sounds that have made New Orleans famous. Jazz bands of all types and talents took to the stage to play for the city they love. There is still so much left to do and it will be years, possibly decades, before New Orleans returns to its pre-Katrina state.

Go to New Orleans. Volunteer, even if only for a day. It may feel like a drop in the bucket, but the gratitude of those you help will make you want to do more. We're already talking about going back and if we do, you'll know.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hey Baby, Hey Baby, Hey

Gwen Stefani has finally popped and gave birth to a baby boy. She and hubby Gavin named the tike "Kingston James McGregor Rossdale."

Wait a minute...celebrities aren't allowed to give their kids normal names! What the heck are we supposed to write about if there's no "Apple," "Moon Unit" or similar moniker to make fun of with a witty turn of phrase?

Maybe we'll turn our attention to mommy getting back into game shape, see left, so she can continue to tantalize us with her talk of wishing she was a man and "bed[ding] as many women as possible."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Bill Berry To Rejoin R.E.M. At Georgia Music Hall Of Fame Ceremony

R.E.M., Gregg Allman, Jermaine Dupri and Dallas Austin will be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 16th in Atlanta at the World Congress Center.

Of note, Bill Berry, who left the band in 1997 for health reasons, will rejoin Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe for a short set to celebrate their induction. Past inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame include such notables as Ray Charles, James Brown, Otis Redding, Gram Parsons and the B-52s.

Desmond Dekker 1941-2006

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir,
So that every mouth can be fed.
Poor me, the Israelite.

Shirt them a-tear up, trousers are gone.
I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde.
Poor me, the Israelite.

After a storm there must be a calm.
They catch me in the farm. You sound the alarm.

Poor me, the Israelite.

Condi Joins the Soul Patrol

There's no question that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice would win her home state of Alabama if she decides to run for President in 2008. However, Condi took another step toward locking up the Crimson state by professing her love of Taylor Hicks' sound and her memberhip in the Soul Patrol. Woooo!

The Conservative Top Ten

In their latest issue, the party animals at The National Review have listed the "top 50 conservative rock songs of all time." Imagine, for years we've thought it was about sex, drugs and rock and roll when all along we've missed the hidden messages about conservatism, abstinence and good old-fashioned Confederate values. It should come as no surprise that "Won't Get Fooled Again," The Review's #1 pick because of its pronouncement to "swear off naive idealism once and for all," would contain the line: "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss." Who knew The Who would someday craft George Bush's foreign policy?

The Conservative Top 10:

1. Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who
2. Taxman - The Beatles
3. Sympathy For The Devil - The Rolling Stones
4. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
5. Wouldn't It Be Nice - The Beach Boys ("pro abstinence and pro-marriage")
6. Gloria - U2
7. Revolution - The Beatles
8. Bodies - The Sex Pistols ("a searing anti-abortion anthem")
9. Don't Tread On Me - Metallica
10. 20th Century Man - The Kinks

While all lists have their own intrinsic entertainment value, this one gets an added boost from the logic behind each suggestion. Interesting to note that conservative poster boy and radio host Ted Nugent's "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" is conspicuously absent from the list.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

KT Tunstall Wins Big at Novellas

KT Tunstall took home the prestigious "Song of the Year" Award at the 2006 Novella Awards for her hit "Suddenly I See." The Scottish singer has also recently received a boost among American Idol fans, who might not follow actual singer-songwriters, with the decently done rendition of her hit "Black Horse And The Cherry Tree" peformed a few times by Idol finalist Katherine McPhee.

James "You're Beautiful" Blount also scored big, taking home two Novellas. Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett scored the Songwriters of the Year award for their Gorillaz work.

Nick Cave adds screenwriter to resume

Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds obviously have left their mark on music history. Now the Australian rocker, who has also penned a few books, is expanding his work to film.

Cave wrote the screen play for The Proposition, a film set in the late 1800s Australian outback. The plot has lead character Charlie Burns mulling the offer of a tough choice between either killing his murderous older brother or seeing his younger brother hang in the gallows for his own crimes. Cave personally recruited Australian actor Guy Pearce (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, L.A. Confidential and Memento) for the lead role.

Nick also made news recently by dissing the Red Hot Chili Peppers' latest release, Stadium Arcadium - even moving a saddened Flea, a Cave admirer, to blog about it on their site.

IMDB says Nick finished the script in about three weeks. Quite impressive. Well, lets see it first before we give him too much credit.

Stone Roses still pals

Ian Brown and John Squire lived on the same street as kids and grew up together listening to the Clash, Sex Pistols and other punk rock sounds of the day. The duo, of course, eventually recorded some of the best "modern rock" with their band the Stone Roses.

Like in many rock-and-roll "marriages," time and outside pressures eventually split the pair in a bitter, well-publicized feud. But, the two old mates still have some contact, just not anything verbal.

According to the Daily Mail:

"He actually sent me a backing track a few weeks ago," says Brown, "but that's the only contact I've had with him since 1996 - apart from a packet of Maltesers he sent me with a note telling me that he still loved me and that he hoped everything was cool. We always used to buy each other a box of Maltesers at Christmas..."

How nice. Backing track? Now, seeing those guys getting together for new music would be very sweet.

Def Leppard: Yeah!

by Sean Grogan



Pour some sugar...

They've cut their hair, botoxed their wrinkles and tuned their guitars. That's right, your favorite hair metal legends are back with a new album of original covers. After years of releasing records that fell mainly on deaf ears, Def Leppard made another stab at a comeback by releasing an album that features no original tracks...but...it works!

We've all heard our favorite bands cover a song that influenced them but Yeah! is more than just that. It is a selection of Leppard's favorite tunes from the 60s and 70s of their youth and it picks up where classic Def Leppard left off many years, and perms, ago. With covers of songs like David Essex's 1974 classic "Rock On" Def Leppard prove you don't need to write your own songs to drop an album that tears the doors off the hinges and makes you headbang till your gray hair falls out. "Hell Raiser" is another knockout track that blazes with raging guitar riffs and the signature sound of ferocious Joe Elliot. For a change up, David Bowie's "Drive-In Saturday" slows the pace with a ballad perfect for any lovesick schoolboy.

The disc also includes "20th Century Boy" (Windows/Real), which was originally done by T.Rex in 1973, and "Hanging On The Telephone" (Windows/Real) - originally recorded by The Nerves in 1977, and Blondie in 1978.

In an age of overnight sensations it seems natural that formerly popular bands would try to jump on the bandwagon. But on Yeah!, Def Leppard take it to the next level. Whether you're a longtime Leppard fan or an aficionado of British Glam Rock, you'll be entertained.

Taylor Hicks Wins American Idol

Our long national nightmare is over. The world's longest karaoke contest came to an appropriate end as two lounge singers duked it out for instant fame as Taylor Hicks and his "soul patrol" outgunned - the American Idol finalist most likely to be invited to the Playboy Mansion - Katherine McPhee.

Unfortunately, like most karaoke singers, they weren't boozing it up so there really is no excuse for how bad these two are. I do admit it is interesting to see little kids dying their hair gray to look like this "old guy" and McPhee is obviously easy on the eyes. But, the music, oh the music, was just awful.

There was at least one memorable musical highlight last night when Prince popped up with a pair of lovely sidekicks to show the kids how it's done. The Purple One's appearance was basically a commercial for his tunes, but it worked as he always puts on a great performance. Of course, I still remember the old days when Prince "hate[d] the show and has never even watched it." But, that was way back in April and, hey, people change their mind, right?

The new low of "talent" for these finalists must have been the reason Fox pulled out all that celebrity firepower like Live, Mary J. Blige and others to prop up the performances. Ok, Chris Daughtry can sing and "rock out," but so far it seems only in a Nickelback sort of way and, well, we know they don't really rock either.

Also, providing some entertainment was when the show's producers seemed as if they might have been playing a little matchmaker when they presented Clay Aiken clone Michael Standecki with a "Golden Idol" and let the kid belt out a tune with a William Hung like performance. The kid looked like he was about to pee his pants when Clay himself joined him onstage for "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" - which could be some sort of code song warning parents about certain rumored predilections.

The show also further promoted the "gay agenda" (its sarcasm & satire people!) by having some cowpoke contestants who had been eliminated early in the season do a spoof short called "BrokeNote Mountain." The singing rough riders even got to perform a live song bringing us back full circle to the show's true karaoke nature.

The great thing is that music fans can now focus in on the summer concert season with some great bands working hard and paying actual dues out on the road like Snow Patrol, Drive By Truckers, American Minor, Wolfmother and many more who are actually worthy of our attention.

Enjoy the summer because next thing you know it'll be winter and commercials for the next American Idol installment will start popping up. And, of course, like this year I'll indulge in at least a little taste of this sugar pop porn.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Doherty's former bandmate bonding with Moss

While Pete Doherty is busy trying to get his life turned around, one of his old buddy's has been busy with Kate Moss. Notice we didn't say "gettin' busy" - we don't want to insuate any nakedness without so much as a video clip.

Dirty Pretty Things singer Carl Barat shared the stage with Doherty in the Libertines. Barat was reported to be behind the move to get Pete out of the band due to his dysfunctional behavior. Moss, of course, had a different bond with Doherty.

However, since being in a band is often described as being in a relationship it'd seem Moss and Barat have much to bond over themselves. Barat disbanded the Libertines after what seemed to be his musical soulmate couldn't hold up his end of partnership. So, maybe all this time they're spending together is perfectly innocent and they are just helping each other with their respective bouts with Post-Pete Syndrome?

Licorice Recreates Some Old Magic At Coda

By: David Schultz

On a weekend where Licorice's keyboardist, Chad Dinzes, became swept up in one of the many late May graduation ceremonies taking place across the country, the remaining three members of Licorice, guitarist David Lott, bassist Matt Epstein and drummer Josh Bloom, amply made do at their Saturday evening show at New York City's Coda. Hearkening back to a time before Dinzes joined the band, Licorice went "Old Skool," taking the stage as a trio, solicited the help of an old and long-time friend and played a show designed to delight their long time fans. While Licorice can always be counted on to provide entertaining improvisational jams, with everyone constantly moving the music forward, this night showed that they can also play within the conventional structure of the power trio. On their opener "Name" and the following instrumental number, Epstein and Bloom provided an additional kick to their always stellar rhythm section, giving the songs a nice weighty pacing. On "What's Your Status In London," a song customarily punctuated by Dinzes' sharp keyboard work, Lott showed extraordinarily dexterous skill in remarkably transforming the song's keyboard intro into a startling guitar solo.

After their opening trio of originals, the band brought on newly engaged, 5th of July singer Sabriena Stone, reforming one of Licorice's original lineups. As the band went through a number of genres, Stone showed off a wonderful range and ability to adapt to styles as diverse as reggae, blues, pop and even some late-era, howling-Sting Police. With only her voice to match the finely-tuned musicians of Licorice, she ably held her own.

Taking advantage of the gifted vocalist Stone, Licorice pretty much abandoned their traditional catalog of instrumental heavy jams, offering instead a number of eclectic covers. Over the course of their set, Licorice and Stone touched on The Police's "Synchronicity II," T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday" and a wonderful medley of Eric Clapton's "Get Ready" and The Pointer Sisters' "How Long," Playing straight covers seemed to constrain Licorice, their creativity unable to flourish when offering another's songs. In contrast, when they interpret, rather than cover, they create something memorable. Madonna's "La Isla Bonita" has long been a number covered instrumentally; with Stone adding her powerful voice, Licorice offered a version that was part cover/part hip transformation as Lott incorporated Santana's signature riffs from "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" over Epstein and Bloom's deliciously tribal beat. Lott also offered another attention-grabbing bluesy solo during their cover of "Stormy Monday." While their run through "Mystery Train" was enjoyable, their ventures into reggae fell into the same disappointing realm as most non-reggae bands' foray into the genre.

Near the close of the set, originals moved back to the forefront of the set; a fantastic duet between Stone and Lott on Licorice's "Freeze" being followed by a set-closing rendition of the witty "Say It (Your Mom Is A Vegetarian)," their inventive reworking of Blink 182's "All The Small Things." For the encore, Lott and Stone, who often play together as The Seven Eleven Project, offered a nice rendition of a Lott original while Epstein and Bloom subtly made their way towards the bathroom. The rhythm section did return in time for an evening closing romp through Men At Work's "Down Under."

Licorice and Stone's true effect on the audience came as their set proceeded apace. At the commencement of the show, the majority of the crowd dispersed themselves around Coda's perimeter, which includes some relatively comfortable seats. Drawing everyone into their circle, Licorice and Stone had practically everyone on their feet by the end of their set, decamped at the front of stage and calling for encores.

Cate Blanchett to play Bob Dylan

What? Yes, Cate Blanchett is one of several actors who will play Bob Dylan in the movie I'm Not There. Blanchett will take on the role as one of seven actors portraying a different aspect of the Dylan's life and work. Apparently someone thinks Dylan was a woman at some point?

Christian Bale, Colin Farrell and Richard Gere are also listed in the pre-production credits. The film was written by Oren Moverman and will be directed by Todd Hanes, who also directed The Karen Carpenter Story, and is set to begin production this summer in Romania.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Willie Nelson's Marijuana Measuring Stick

How does Willie Nelson know if he's got a good song? If he can remember it after getting baked. Says Willie:

"I figured if it wasn't worth remembering it probably wasn't a very good song, so that would be the test, to see if I remembered it (after smoking a joint and) got back to a guitar or a piano."

The only thing most people remember after getting high is the number to Domino's. So, Willie's test seems to work for him even though he says he's sure he's forgotten a few over the years (that would have been a great defense to those IRS allegations). Somewhere AfroMan is chuckling - of course, he's probably always chuckling.

Skynryd cancels three shows, Willis Joins Allmans for Summer Tour

Southern legends Lynyrd Skynyrd had to cancel three shows after lead singer Johnny Van Zant required emergency surgery to remove his appendix. After toughing out a couple shows, Van Zant finally saw a doctor and had the surgery last Thursday in Palo Alto, CA. Skynyrd shows in Mountain View, CA, 29 Palms, CA and Henderson, NV had to be cancelled during Van Zant's recovery. Make-up dates have yet to be announced.

In other southern rock news, Bruce Willis will hit the stage to join the Allman Brothers Band on tour this summer. Also, joining the Allmans will be the amazing Robert Randolph, the always great Ben Harper and the resurgent Peter Frampton.

Arctic Monkeys Bassist To Miss Summer Tour

Citing exhaustion, Andy Nicholson, bassist for the Arctic Monkeys, will take the summer off, missing the summer leg of the band's tour. In a statement posted on their web site, the band announced, "owing to fatigue following an intensive period of touring, Andy Nicholson shall be taking a rest and will not be accompanying Arctic Monkeys on their forthcoming tour of North America." Hopefully, Nicholson's exhaustion is not the Lindsay Lohan type of "exhaustion" that seems to befall her every four to six months

Replacing the 19-year-old Nicholson will be Nick O'Malley, lately of another Sheffield band the Dodgems.

George Clinton To Play The Exotic Erotic Ball and Expo

After titillating San Francisco audiences for more than 25 years, The Exotic Erotic Ball and Expo will be coming to New York City's Pier 94. The internationally acclaimed Celebration of Flesh, Fetish and Freedom will take place on June 17 with funk legend George Clinton headlining. In addition to the Parliament/Funkadelic leader, the First Ever New York Expo will feature Motley Crue's Tommy Lee, King Norris, featuring the Howard Stern Show's Fred Norris and 80s producer and one-hit wonder Thomas Dolby ("She Blinded Me With Science"). As you might expect at a function supporting the exotic and erotic, adult actresses Tera Patrick, Carmen Luvana and Violet Blue will also attend.

Bill Deasy: A Warm Voice From A Steel Town

By: David Schultz

Bill Deasy has never hurt for an audience within his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. In the mid 90s, he flirted with the possibility of nationwide success when Atlantic Records signed his immensely popular local band, The Gathering Field. Unable to work through the disappointment of being relatively ignored by the label after the release of Lost In America, the band split. As Deasy described the situation to Earvolution, he felt he went back to square one, beginning his career anew as a singer-songwriter. With Chasing Down A Spark, his third album, Deasy's continuing the slow process of rebuilding a following outside the Steel City as a solo act.

Last week, Deasy covered all bases of his musical career during his one hour set at Piano's, one of the plentiful music halls enmeshed within New York City's Lower East Side. Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, the shaggy-maned singer charmed the crowd with songs from Spark, Gathering Field favorites "Bound To Be" and "Lost In America" and even worked in a couple new tunes.

Although soft-spoken on stage, Deasy's hardly shy. In between songs, Deasy engaged in a Storytellers-type dialogue, offering some background to the songs, putting them in context or simply taking requests. Prior to "Levi," his wonderfully poetic song about finding yourself on the streets of New York City, Deasy related a Repo Man like anecdote about seeing Willem Dafoe on the streets of New York. Seemingly confident that it wasn't really a Lou Reed sighting, Deasy noted that only in New York can you be thinking about Willem Dafoe, turn around and see him nearly get squashed by a car.

In his brief chat with Earvolution after his set, Deasy expressed his pleasure at the crowds that greeted him on his recent West coast swing. Given the early hour of his Thursday evening show, Deasy couldn't have been disappointed with the enthusiastic turnout for his New York stop. Deasy returns to his native Midwest this week for shows with Greg Joseph in Cleveland, OH (Grog Shop: 5/23), Akron, OH (The Lime Spider: 5/25), Greensburg, PA (Community Days: 5/26). He'll then play around the greater Pittsburgh area, cementing his reputation amongst the hometown fans.

Deasy's popularity is spreading as it doesn't take long to become engaged by his evocative, expressive lyrics and emotive voice. Perhaps feeling that the crowd needed added encouragement, Deasy asked the crowd to imagine they were teenagers at a U2 concert in Dublin, Ireland to foster interest in a sing-along to Spark's rousing, yet reflective, opener "Until I Get It Right." Such imagery wasn't necessary: while transcendent Irish bands are nice, everyone seemed perfectly happy being with Bill Deasy in New York.

Monday, May 22, 2006

New Pearl Jam Video: Life Wasted

Pearl Jam took pride for years in not making any videos for their records after their debut album. They've reversed course and put together a pretty cool clip for "Life Wasted" off their new record. The video is available for free downloading on Google Video until May 24th when it goes on sale.

Not only is this Pearl Jam's first video in eight years, but it is the first time that the band has licensed work under one of Creative Commons' free, flexible copyright licenses.

"Once again, Pearl Jam is taking the lead, watching others in the rear view mirror," says Lawrence Lessig, CEO of Creative Commons. "Pearl Jam's decision to offer its new video to the public under a Creative Commons license proves that the band's reputation for fan-friendliness is well deserved. It's an inspiration to those of us who are passionate about building a pool of creative work that can be freely and legally shared by the world."

Arctic Monkeys inspire short film

When I first heard of the film Scummy Man, I thought for sure it was a Charlie Sheen biopic. Turns out, it's a short film written and directed by Paul Fraser (Dead Man's Shoes) inspired by the Arctic Monkeys' song "When The Sun Goes Down."

The short was shot on 16mm by award winning Director of Photography Danny Cohen (My Wrongs, Dead Mans Shoes, This Is England, Creep) and has two parts with a total running time of approximately thirty minutes.

According to sources close to the band (i.e. their PR people), "Scummy Man tells the story of the people who lurk in the dark shadows, those who slip between the cracks of the surface in the city at night - the underclass. It's a world where girls roam the streets, out of sight and out of mind of the moral majority. All things being about perception, this underworld can be seen in a different light depending on how each person comes to experience it."

The DVD release also includes the video for "When The Sun Goes Down," which you can check out here: Quicktime, Real Player or Windows Media.

Axl Rose gets butt kicked by fashion designer

You couldn't make up stuff this funny. Tommy Hilfiger, not known for his macho ways, put some beat down on Axl Rose at Rosario Dawson's bithday bash in NYC this weekend.

Apparently, Axl pissed off the fashion designer, when he moved Hilfiger's girlfriend's drink to claim a seat in the VIP area. Hilfiger's annoyance quickly went to rage and he reportedly rained down several blows and landed a few on Axl's corn-rowed head.

Club Owner Neil Ashman must think its still 1987 as he sucked up to the "rocker" by gushing:

"Axl was a gentleman and had the good sense not to retaliate, as he would have done some serious damage to Hilfiger." Yeah Neil, that's the ticket.

The Raconteurs: Tellers Of Good Stories

By: Rinjo Njori

When Jack White and Brendan Benson announced they were forming The Raconteurs with Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler (The Greenhornes' rhythm section) there were rumblings through the "underground" that not only did this make sense, but that fans of both The White Stripes and Brendan Benson's power pop would by default create the elusive "supergroup."

Benson, a pop song writer and producer, has been releasing albums since the mid-90s. White, the reluctant avant-garage godfather, had just released Get Behind Me Satan and produced Loretta Lynn's comeback album, Van Lear Rose. While seemingly sudden, the truth is the band had been evolving for some time, with friends coming together to write some music void of expectations. In a perfect world, the two would bring everything great about their respective bodies of work and create something greater, perhaps a spectacular rock record that would incorporate blues, country, rock and power pop. Sadly Broken Boy Soldiers makes you think this might be a one shot deal. There's nothing spectacular or great, just pretty good music with Benson and White rarely taking any chances.

The ten songs on Broken Boy Soldiers cover just over thirty three minutes. "Steady As She Goes," the first single, is a good song and lays the groundwork for the rest of the album. White and Benson trade verse and chorus and display their aptitude for writing lyrics. As usual, White inundates the song with all sorts of "effects." Fortunately, he has left the marimba at home and the "effects" are limited to guitar pedals, solos, and Benson's work on the keyboards. "Hands," "Together," and "Yellow Sun" are textbook Benson tunes; purely crafted pop songs with shades of the 60s and 70s singer-songwriters. While Benson handles the majority of the vocals on these songs, it's White's singing on the chorus that brings them to life. "Store Bought Bones" and the creepy and magical "Broken Boy Soldier" are the two most adventurous songs. The middle-eastern flavor of "Broken Boy Soldier" matches up with the hauntingly repetitive chorus, "the boy never gets older," and showcases what kind of great songs The Raconteurs are capable of writing. Lawrence and Keeler are obviously along for the ride and have the least at stake. They provided the rhythm section behind White on Van Lear Rose and prove again to be more than able behind White and Benson as they run through the songs along a range of styles.

Where it mostly goes wrong for The Raconteurs is on the last two tracks. The Benson tune "Call It a Day" sounds like a half finished Weezer song. And, not even Weezer's best stuff - think green album, not the blue album. "Blue Veins" is nothing that White hasn't done before with The White Stripes. He sounds more like Robert Plant than he does in the White Stripes and the blues-jazz music just doesn't translate. Benson also fails to offer much on the songs where he sings the chorus over White's lead.

In the whole, Broken Boy Soldiers is a good album. When "Steady As She Goes" and "Store Bought Bones" were initially posted to their official website [one of the goofiest sites the Earvolution E-I-C has seen] they were met with indifference and most hoped that Broken Boy Soldiers would have even better songs. On "Together," Benson sings, "you want everything to be just like/the stories that you read but never write/you got to learn to live and live to learn." Perhaps that's the expectation that White and Benson set for themselves when they concocted The Raconteurs in Benson's attic. An expectation that isn't quite met.

Label drops Pete Doherty & Babyshambles

Well, we knew this was coming...label execs at Rough Trade Records have simply had enough of Pete Doherty's unstable and unpredictable behavior. The label has dropped his Babyshambles band.

Doherty is only 27 and now faces a critical point if he wants to continue a recording career. He'll have to stay clean and prove to someone that he's worthy of their efforts. The lesson here for the kids is that you've got to have your act together, both on and off the stage, if you expect someone to invest their time and money in your career.

Of course, Doherty may not be interested in cleaning up. It's quite possible he'll continue to play live, release independent songs and binge himself to death to avoid the hard work of recovery and rebirth. Let's hope that's not the case.

Holocaust Museum Honors Geldof

Just about a week after being one of the targets of Damon Albarn's rant about do-gooders, Sir Bob Geldof received yet another legitimate accolade for his humanitarian work.

The Holocaust Museum in Houston, Texas presented Geldof with their Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award for his work on poverty and related issues. Geldof explained that he didn't plan on a second career in this field, but since it has happened his plans are to continue on:

"This is not what I anticipated," he said of his second career. "I thought I'd do what I could do, and that would let me off the hook. But it didn't. Something was unleashed, and I just had to ride that wave to its logical conclusion. We haven't reached the conclusion yet."

Indeed, the work for everyone has just begun in this area. Sub-Saharan Africa, the part of the continent south of the Sahara Desert, is a prime example of a place in need of the work Geldof and others have spurred. According to DATA, seventy percent of its people live on less than $2 a day, 200 million go hungry every day. This year at least a million Africans, most of them young children, will die of malaria and two million will die of AIDS.

Some will continue to say there's nothing we can do or its "not my problem." That's the easy way out. It takes courage to stand up and say we can make change and even more courage to do something about it. Geldof has certainly done that.

Jon Bon Jovi won't "slag off Bush"

Despite extensively campaigning and playing at fundraisers for Al Gore in the 2000 election cycle, including co-headlining a fantastic show that year at Radio City Music Hall with Cheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffet, CSN and others, Jon Bon Jovi says he won't criticize Bush while he's in office.

Jon makes it clear he doesn't agree with President Bush on much, but says it is simply to "obvious" to take on the President at this time. He explained:

"But I've never gone on stage - before the elections or since - and slagged off Bush. Not because I agree with him in any way, out of respect for the office of President. It's too obvious to bash Bush. Everybody knows what I think about his policies."

Maybe Jon is afraid of getting Dixie Chick-ed? Or, perhaps Jon simply thinks the President's historically low approval ratings and the scandals flowing from the administration speak for themselves?

Friday, May 19, 2006

XM Radio Fires Back at RIAA

It looks like XM Radio (XMSR) will not just roll over in response to the RIAA's lawsuit over their Inno Device. Last night the company sent off this letter to subscribers:

Everything we've done at XM since our first minute on the air is about giving you more choices. We provide more channels and music programming than any other network. We play all the music you want to hear including the artists you want to hear but can't find on traditional FM radio. And we offer the best radios with the features you want for your cars, homes, and all places in between.

We've developed new radios -- the Inno, Helix and NeXus -- that take innovation to the next level in a totally legal way. Like TiVo, these devices give you the ability to enjoy the sports, talk and music programming whenever you want. And because they are portable, you can enjoy XM wherever you want.

The music industry wants to stop your ability to choose when and where you can listen. Their lawyers have filed a meritless lawsuit to try and stop you from enjoying these radios.

They don't get it. These devices are clearly legal. Consumers have enjoyed the right to tape off the air for their personal use for decades, from reel-to-reel and the cassette to the VCR and TiVo.

Our new radios complement download services, they don't replace them. If you want a copy of a song to transfer to other players or burn onto CDs, we make it easy for you to buy them through XM + Napster.

Satellite radio subscribers like you are law-abiding music consumers; a portion of your subscriber fee pays royalties directly to artists. Instead of going after pirates who don't pay a cent, the record labels are attacking the radios used for the enjoyment of music by consumers like you. It's misguided and wrong.

We will vigorously defend these radios and your right to enjoy them in court and before Congress, and we expect to win.


Cue the Rocky music...looks like the RIAA may find its not so easy to sue someone who's not a middle-aged houswife whose grandkids may or may not have downloaded songs on her computer.

Idol's William Hung crowned Artichoke King..no, seriously.

William Hung was not about to let the Chris Daughtry controversy or the upcoming American Idol grand finale showdown between Katherine McPhee and Taylor Hicks get all the headlines this week.

Hung is now the proud owner of the Artichoke King crown, which is given out every year in Castroville, California - the "artichoke capitol of the world." ABC reports that William will ride in the annual parade and delight the crowd with his very special renditions of the Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA" and the Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart."

There's no doubt about it, William still bangs. Maybe while he's in Cali, he should swing over to Eddie's place to see if that Van Halen gig is still open?

Poptart news...weekend edition...Britney lonely?

There's no question one or more of these young starlets will be making new headlines this weekend with some sort of "incident" somewhere, so before the new news breaks we've got the current scoop on the trashtastic lives of our favorite popinistas...

First up, Britney Spears has been quite visible since announcing her second pregnancy. But, most of the shots of Brit have been without hubby K-Fed. It could be that Mr. Federline is busy working on his rap album. And, from what we've heard, it needs a lot of work so he could be MIA for some time! But, reports even have poor Brit spending Mother' Day alone in LA. That just ain't right! Things could be really be heating up over at DivorceKevin.com. Of course, most of the sympathy in this thing goes to little Sean Preston who seems to now escape death on a near daily basis. Someone get that kid some body armor!

Spice Girls Victoria Beckham and Gerri Halliwell are apparently still close mates. Reports have Lady Beckham designing a posh jewel-encrusted watch for Geri's new baby girl. Becks' babe reportedly has been working on the watch for at least a few months now and it could be worth up to £25,000! That's some serious baby bling. Britain's Daily Star reported that: "It's specially designed for a small child - gold, with a pink face studded with tiny pink diamonds." Other reports have George "asleep at the wheel" Michael, setting up a 500,000 pound trust fund for the little one. George is the ever practical gift giver. How boring! Couldn't he have found some overpriced baby diamond studded bootys instead?

As is custom, we've got to find something about Paris to talk about. The video of Ms. Hilton's pal Brandon Davis saying some naughty things about Lindsay Lohan is all over the net. But, according to TMZ.com the potty mouthed Paris hanger-on's attacks didn't stop our intrepid "firecrotch" from showing up at Maxim's Hot 100 party. When it comes to these two catty kittens, two things come to mind: celebrity boxing and a not too far off "Surreal Life" stint in about 15 years.

Pink is doing her part to keep up with the stupid girls. In between web cam sessions, she's managed to fire off a letter to the Queen of England to get her to alter a few hundred years of history. Pink thinks the fur hats the Beefeaters sport while standing guard outside Buckingham Palace send the wrong message to today's youth. She quipped: "Sorry to be a royal pain, but my feelings reflect the sentiment of a new generation that respects animals." I'm sure the Queen is contemplating an appropriately punny response.

Chili Peppers are Red Hot

When I first heard that the Chili Peppers new record was going to be a double disc, one of my first thoughts is that the guys - who've now been around 20 years or so - are looking toward their place in rock history on this one. There's no question they are one of the biggest "modern" rock bands of all-time, but the Peppers seem to quietly angling for their place in that little museum in Cleveland.

Now they can add a #1 record to their resume. The Peppers have topped the US charts for the first time with "Stadium Arcadium" - which sold more than 440,000 copies to claim the top spot. The record has also climbed to #1 in Britain, Canada, Germany and France.

Not bad for some guys who at one time could only afford to wear socks on stage.

Pete Doherty to woo back Kate Moss?

The former Libertine has his eye on reclaiming his booty. Of course, another pirate is already on the scene. Kate has reportedly been spending time with comedian Russell Brand. But, Pete is undeterred.

The word on the street is that Doherty's first step to regaining control over his life and back into Kate's heart is to have an anti-heroin implant inserted into his stomach. The procedure to install the naltrexone device is reportedly next set for next week.

On a serious note, it'd be great to see this guy get back on track and actually make headlines for his music again. But, he's tried this implant before and it didn't seem to work. If it doesn't, maybe he can paint Kate a picture to express his love? Or, he can always try inviting her back into his band? I hear chicks dig that.

Exile From Truth Street

Over the past two weeks Keith Richards may or may not have fallen out of a palm tree. Over those same two weeks: Keith Richards may or may not have had brian surgery; opted against brain surgery or may not have ever needed brain surgery in the first place. During that same two weeks, The Rolling Stones cancelled some shows.

However, rather than enlighten their fans on the current status of the band or provide updates on Keith Richards' present medical condition, The Rolling Stones newsletter opted to inform their fans the startling revelation...that Rolling Stones World Cup merchandise is currently on sale. Nice.

Now, I know it's only rock and roll, but who can like this type of merchandising?

Izzy, Bach and Kid Rock But No Slash

Unlike most thing Guns N Roses, Axl Rose's four New York shows failed to disappoint those looking for some proper GnR nostalgia. While Friday's opening night show started a bit later than expected, the sold-out crowd that waited exceptionally long to be let into the show got their money's worth as Axl and the world's most anticipated cover band ripped through most of Appetite For Destruction, "November Rain" as well as some new tunes from the probably never-to-be-released Chinese Democracy.

The six night, four show stand at Hammerstein Ballroom did not lack for guests. Sebastian Bach of Skid Row joined Axl for "My Michelle" on Friday and Sunday night and the finale saw Izzy Stradlin rejoin Axl for "Think About You," "Patience" and "Night Train." Kid Rock also made an appearance on Wednesday night's show, joining in on vocals on "Night Train."

Barring unannounced performances, the Hammerstein shows mark the only currently scheduled U.S. appearances of Axl Rose's reconstructed and reinvented Guns N Roses. They head overseas for a series of festival shows and opening slots for The Rolling Stones.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Now I ain't sayin' she a gold digger, but she ain't messin' wit no broke...

By now we've all heard a bazillion reports on the breakup of Paul McCarntey and Heather Mills (hat tip to Keith Olbermann's team for playing "When I'm 64" with their coverage on Countdown!). And, we've heard a bazillion times on how it's the media's fault and that Heather could rake in a nice chunk of change in the divorce settlement since Sir Paul didn't have the young model/activist sign a pre-nup.

Now, Heather is out to to set the record straight that she's not a gold-digger. Even Paul himself denies the gold-digger accusations. Writing on his website he says:

"It's been suggested that she married me for the money and there is not an ounce of truth in this. She is a very generous person who spends most of her time trying to help others in greater need than herself."

She does indeed do a lot of charity work, so we'll take Paul's word for it. Meanwhile, this will likely be the tabloid focus for awhile (or at least until Angelina Jolie has her baby!) Snoooze...wake me when Paul picks up another young hottie.

Meanwhile, don't let Heather be the only one to walk away with a piece of the Beatle pie. You can enter to win the complete Beatles' cataglog, digitally remastered on CD, right here on Earvolution!

Panic! At the Disco Parts Ways With Bassist

One of the current "it" bands, Panic! At the Disco announced that bassist Brent Wilson is leaving the band. The band posted this statement on their site:

"There really isn't a good way to say this, and it was a decision that was very tough to make, but feels like it will be the right decision for everyone. We regret to inform you that Brent is no longer a part of Panic at the Disco, and although this choice does feel very healthy, he is a great friend of ours and he will definitely be missed. We all wish him well and the best of luck in everything he wants to do in the future. The last few years will be something we will never forget, all the places we've been that we never thought we'd go and things we've seen that we thought we'd never see when we started this band."

Panic says their friend "Jon" will fill in for now. The lineup change comes just before their first major summer tour, which is set to kickoff June 6th in Tuscon, Arizona. A large number of dates are already sold out.

String Cheese Incident Announce Summer Tour

Last summer, String Cheese Incident anchored The Big Summer Classic, a month-long tour featuring Keller Williams, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Umphrey's McGee, the Yonder Mountain String Band, New Monsoon and Xavier Rudd, that brought back the spirit of the touring festivals of the sixties. For their innovative efforts, SCI (and the others) were rewarded with a 2006 Jammy for Tour of the Year. While it appears that String Cheese will not revive the Classic this summer, their touring plans for the year are ambitious nonetheless.

The bluegrass influenced jam band, who serve as an inspirational model of self-sufficiency for indie bands, will hit the road on June 24 with Bob Weir & Ratdog for an intriguing double bill. The two groups will remain together for 14 shows over three weeks, playing a weekends worth of shows at Red Rocks in Colorado over the July 4th weekend as well as a pair of shows at New York City's Radio City Music Hall (July 13, 14).

The Cheese will then head to Minnesota where they will team up with old friend Keller Williams to reform The Keller Williams Incident at the 10,000 Lakes Festival in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. From there, the band will head north to Anchorage, Alaska for a pair of shows en route to Japan for the Fuji Rock Festival, where they will be on the bill with the Benevento Russo Duo.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Razorlight's Johnny Borrell slams Arctic Monkeys

I love that all these modern rock fueds are popping up these days. Of course, with most of these we won't see any actual fisticuffs or caps poppin' off. But, nonetheless some of these are entertaining. The latest to enter the faux fight fray (say that 3 times fast) is Razorlight's Johnny Borrell.

Speaking with NME magazine Borrell made it clear that the Monkeys, in his opinion, are not better than his band. When asked if they were, Borrell reportedly stated:

"What? Of course I fucking don't. I wouldn't say they're better than the Yeah Yeah Yeahs either. Or The Strokes, or even like The Libertines were for those five minutes when they were brilliant."

Yeah, the Libertines. Remember them? Either way you can judge for yourself who is better. There are plenty of Razorlight videos here and the Arctic Monkeys have a few here. Now, if we can just get these lads in the same room, maybe we'd see some real action!

Lock Up Your Ladies, It's Landon Pigg

By: Sean R. Grogan

In a small back room of Piano's, an unsuspecting bar in Manhattan's trendy Lower East Side, young, hipsters gather to hear about a band that is starting to get a lot of buzz. The crowd, mostly young women, mingles and every so often and glances around the room and at the stage as they hope to spy the band they have waited patiently to see. The growing anticipation reverberates through the room until the increasing din is met by the lowering of the lights.

They're here to see Landon Pigg, an up and coming new singer, and his band, straight out of Nashville. And from the looks of it we're the minority, as there are only 4-5 guys in the place. As the band makes its way to the stage, all eyes are on them. Watching these women is like observing sharks as they circle a wounded fish. Any moment it feels like the crowd is going to tackle these classic hipster boys that are donned in tight jeans and ironic haircuts. After the band warms up, out comes Landon Pigg, the band's singer/songwriter and the man who all the ladies are here to see. This tragically hip twenty-something looks like a modern day version of the Monkees' Davy Jones as he takes the mike with his scarf tied around his neck, his long hair brushing his face, and his hips swaying side to side.

The sound that emanates from Pigg's throat is not what you would expect. As the band begins rocking out, the singer belts out a ballad capable of stealing almost any girl's heart. "Can't Let Go" is a catchy tune made of a simple chorus and refrain. It's also highly effective, as proven by the sea of heads that bop to the beat and the eyes that never wander very far from the stage. Each and every song gets the same reaction. Whether it's a whispery ballad or a more rock conscious tune, high heels tap and ponytails bounce. The band eats it up. During the set, Pigg interjects his feelings on the "really gross" smelling hands and even smellier microphones - the result of beer-swigging singers who unleash their alcohol-laden breath on the mics each night. By the band's fifth song, the singer sets up a scenario from a previous show. He tells the crowd that two weeks ago he threw his scarf out into the audience and the dedicated the song to the eager young woman who caught it. Shouts come from the audience, "Do it again." He replies, saying he'd only do it again if the audience screamed for it, and they do. Pigg unwinds the scarf from his neck and launches it from the stage. After a young woman in the front row catches it, he begins to sing the breathy, soft, love song, "To You," his eyes never leaving the woman.

Throughout the show, Pigg shows he's not only a pretty face and a soft lingering voice as he switches from acoustic to electric guitar and he even dances his fingers across the onstage keyboard. Though the burgeoning band still needs some refining, your girlfriend is almost sure to love the record. But a word of warning - don't take her to the show because she might not come home with you.

RIAA sues XM for infringement

The RIAA lately has focused its lawsuit strategy on consumers. But, the lobby and trade group for the major record labels has now filed suit against XM Radio. At issue is XM's "Inno" device.

Launched in January of this year, the device is a satellite radio and an MP3 player that allows up to 50 hours of recording and storage. XM boasts that if your favorite song is on you can "Hear it. Click it. Save it. (TM)" The major record labels think this allows for illegal copying of music. And, they want big bucks for the alleged infringement.

The RIAA is seeking $150,000 for every song copied by XM listeners. This begs the question of whether this device tracks which songs consumers record? If not, the RIAA will have to undertake a massive discovery effort by sending third party subpoenas to XM subscribers to learn how many songs they actually recorded since purchasing the roughly $400 Inno. That would be a tremendous undertaking and would raise some interesting consumer privacy issues.

XM says it already pays the labels a fee to broadcast the songs to the devices. But, that fee is chicken feed in the RIAA's eyes. If successful, the RIAA could potentially recover a large multi-million dollar judgment for the big labels.

Interestingly, Hillary Rosen, who helped usher in the RIAA's litigation strategy when she ran the group is now a consultant with XM. Besides likely shelling out big bucks for a heavy hitter like Rosen, XM is expending resources battling a series of legal problems including a federal investigation into their marketing practices and a recent class action suit from some of their shareholders.

Central Park Announces Summerstage Schedule

The City Parks Foundation announced the 2006 Summerstage schedule of shows which will commence June 16 at the Rumsey Playfield. The free shows will include performances by Feist and Jason Collett (June 25), Antibalas Beat Orchestra (July 1), Seu Jorge and Jose Gonzalez (July 2), Amadou & Mariam (July 16) and a fantastic double-bill of Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians and Sonya Kitchell.

Over the summer months, Summerstage will have paid admission shows. Although the prices may be steep for an outdoor, all-weather show, they make the free weekend afternoon shows possible. This year's shows include: moe. (June 13), Bonnie Raitt (June 28), Umphrey's McGee and Galactic (July 20), Fiona Apple and Damien Rice (July 26), The New Pornographers with Calexico and The Frames (August 3) and Ben Harper and Damian Marley Jr. (September 5 & 6) and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (September 28).

Dave Navarro knows he's not gay because of same-sex encounters

You would think that having Carmen Electra to "experiment" with would be enough. But, not for former Jane's Addiction and now The Panic Channel guitarist Dave Navarro. Dave says he's experimented sexually with other men and that the guy-on-guy sex has convinced himself that he is not gay.

Says Navarro:

"I've come to realise through my experimentation over the years that I'm not gay, nor am I bisexual," Navarro told gay publication dot News magazine.

The former Red Hot Chili Pepper, who famously locked lips with lead singer Anthony Kiedis in one of their music videos, added: "I've never been aroused by a man, but I've been in situations where I could potentially be aroused."

So, did he not get aroused during his experiments? Maybe he stopped short when in the immortal words of George Costanza "it moved." Don't think one of these boys didn't tape some of this action. This will all come out on film somewhere and we'll see if Dave was just chubbin' or full on grubbin'...

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!