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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: Arlo solo, Erasure's electronic outing
Friday, July 13, 2007
Folk legend Arlo Guthrie continues his never ending quest on the concert trail, keeping the spirit of his family alive, plus his own signature selections (from "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" through "City of New Orleans") Though his recent travels have been backed by a full band (including the now historic 2005 benefit Amtrak run for Hurricane Katrina relief), the current season finds the troubadour unplugging all alone. His latest live CD In Times Like These (Rising Son Records) is the subject of this summer's cheekily titled Solo Reunion Tour- Together at Last, which kicked off at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma last night and continues at the same event tonight and Saturday. Following the festivities, Arlo takes to theatres and clubs through November.
Despite surprising fans with a surprisingly solid acoustic record and tour, dance floor regulars Erasure return to its pulsating patterns. The group's latest CD Light At the End of the World (Mute) recently spawned the single "I Could Fall In Love With You," which just topped the Billboard Dance Music Singles charts after being previewed on the True Colors Tour (also featuring Cyndi Lauper, Blondie's Debbie Harry, The Dresden Dolls amongst many others). The electronic outing unloads this weekend at San Juan, Puerto Rico's Roberto Clemente Stadium on Friday and Amphitheatre de Altos Chavon in La Romana, Dominican Republic on Saturday before returning to the continental United States to round out the month.
Those preferring to stay put and pop in a DVD can turn to the new Frank Zappa archive release Classic Albums: Apostrophe (') / Over-Nite Sensation (Eagle Vision). The extensive collection carefully traces the recording process of these 1973 and 1974 landmarks, critical assessments and each album's impact on the music industry. Plus the project is fully authorized and sanctioned by the late great's estate, including plenty of commentary from famous family members, such as sons Dweezil and Ahmet, daughter Moon and widow Gail.
Madina Lake with Linkin Park, Setzer in studio
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Chicago's alternative rockers Madina Lake continue building buzz following its label debut From Them, Through Us, To You (Roadrunner). The band is currently on the road with Papa Roach and just signed on to Linkin Park's enormous Projekt Revolution Tour. As previously reported, the diverse bill also includes My Chemical Romance, Mindless Self Indulgence, Taking Back Sunday, Placebo and HIM, amongst many others. Following that expansive summer outing, the group heads to Europe this fall for headlining dates alongside Envy on the Coast, Halifax and My American Heart. Outside of the road, the band was picked up by MTV2 where its second single "Here I Stand" was an "Unleashed Video of the Day" during July, along with a recent acoustic live performance for the AOL-affiliated "Sessions: Under Cover."
He may be ducking outside for some spot dates with the Stray Cats, but Brian Setzer won't be quitting a day job with his eponymous Orchestra anytime soon. The rockabilly ruler is currently in the studio wrapping up a specialtyproject slated to transform famous classical pieces into instrumental rock n' roll contexts. It's a tactic he first tried on the Grammy nominated "The Nutcracker Suite" and occasionally pulls off in concert, though this September release on Surfdog Records marks his first full-length foray in this unconventional direction.
The 2004 self-titled debut for Dollar Store often earned the critical comparison to "greasy roots rock," though the group's follow-up Money Music (Bloodshot) is being self-described as "extra greasy." The August 14 release is geared to meet somewhere in the middle of The Replacements and The Waco Brothers and features members of the latter underground heroes, along with Joe Camirillo from Hushdrops.
New Twista tunes, Avril's camp lashes back
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
He may have had a slow start, but once Twista linked up with Kanye West, his career lit up like a lightening rod. The Chicago based rapper/underground hip-hop hero hopes to keep the momentum rolling with Adrenaline Rush 2007 (Atlantic), slated for release September 18 and featuring "Give It Up" (a collaboration with Pharrell Williams) as the first single. But prior to the album launch, fans can track the status of the album, along with insight as to how each song was created on the newly established "Story Behind The Cut" series at www.247HH.com.
Despite the recent announcement of a lawsuit from old school rock n' rollers The Rubinoos to Avril Lavigne over apparent similarities between her hit "Girlfriend" and the band's "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," the popster's camp comes back with an attack of its own. Lavigne's manager Terry McBride (and C.E.O. Nettwerk Music Group) continues to add fuel to the media firestorm with the following statement: "I have read the following quote from Tommy Dunbar of The Rubinoos. While it's true that we filed suit some time ago, we hesitated to go public to save Avril and her handlers any embarrassment," [songwriter] Tommy Dunbar said. "We learned over the July 4th holiday that her management and spin doctors have apparently decided to preempt things with their revelation of the lawsuit. This is simply a lie. I challenge them to provide one iota of proof to back up this claim. We did not say a word about the suit out of respect for the dialog that was ongoing. The numerous phone calls from the media seeking comment on the suit started on July 4th. We were blind sided and simply responded."
McBride also goes on to cite this particular group's other claims of plagiarism, including some much more elite artists than even his own internationally recognized client: "We also find it ironic that in the suit they named Apple as a defendant, what a great way of getting it out there to the media. On the topic of Apple, it seems like The Rubinoos have an issue with the Beatles among other great bands. This quote is directly from The Rubinoos' MySpace page "Bands that have ripped us blind: The Rasberries, The Beach Boys, The Beatles. As we have clearly stated, upon the expert opinion of one of the country's foremost musicologists, there is no basis for this claim."
Street Date: Interpol, Spoon in stores
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
As previously indicated on these very pages, Interpol has indeed graduated to major label status, though that doesn't necessarily mean its third disc is any less desirable. Today's Our Love To Admire (Capitol) has already previewed to a handful of select club and festival audiences, resonating with the band's familiarly brooding dance beats and post punk spirit. Fellow indie rockers Spoon continue its reversal from major label life to the slightly less commercial confines of Merge for Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, which lands in stores as a standard edition, plus packages with a limited edition bonus disc. In either instance, the band sticks to stripped down guitar jangles with occasional piano accompaniment, while sometimes throwing bands for a welcome loop, such as the horn section during the lead single "The Underdog."
The Crowded House reunion has already been in full swing with a warm up tour, most notably, an appearance at Coachella. However, a new CD puts the reconvening into proper perspective, keying into the band's infectious alt-pop leanings loaded with heavenly harmonies. It's latest Time on Earth (Ato Records/Red) comes oddly on the heels of a recent audio/visual set of the band's farewell concert a decade earlier, though this current disc (which also benefits from guest co-writer Johnny Marr) thankfully indicates no second send off is in the forecast anytime soon.
It remains to be seen how the public at large will react to the brand name of Smashing Pumpkins releasing a new record, though it's likely to run the gamut of eternal appreciators to disdainful skeptics. In any case, Zeitgeist (Martha's Music/Reprise) is now in stores pitting figurehead Billy Corgan with his longtime Pumpkins/Zwan drummer Jimmy Chamberlin alongside faceless newcomers Ginger Reyes (bass) and Jeff Schroeder (guitar). Seven years after the band's farewell show at Chicago's Metro, the group seems to already be pushing the borders of nostalgia, though the first single "Tarantula" is currently fairing well on the alternative rock charts.
Avril's legal issues, Bangles are back
Monday, July 9, 2007
One common criticism throughout various CD reviews of Avril Lavigne is that the mall punker lacks originality. And while not being the sharpest crayon in the box is certainly no crime, the popster may have crossed the line according to recent lawsuit. Her hit single "Girlfriend" is the subject of major scrutiny these days thanks to a filing from songwriters Tommy Dunbar and James Gangwer, who claim she aped The Rubinoos' 1979 single "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." While this isn't the first time the comparison's been made (a Billboard article linked the two tunes a long time ago) it comes with the most potentially serious consequences, which will be determined following the first round of court on August 28.
Despite The Go-Go's being credited as one of the 1980s' leading all girl rock groups, The Bangles weren't all that far behind, thanks especially to the quirky staple "Walk Like An Egyptian." But the ladies are committed to proving they were more than merely one hit wonders by hitting the road this summer in support of a new DVD (that also features key singles like "Maniac Monday" and "Eternal Flame"). "Return To Bangleonia" (Shout! Factory) hits stores August 14, chronicling a 2000 show from the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip.
Chumbawamba is often dismissed as a novelty act because of its ridiculously overplayed (and generally considered obnoxious) international smash "Tubthumper." Yet the tune was a true fluke hit considering the Leeds-bred band was full of political activists who created quite a bit of behind the scenes controversy with seemingly liberal statements. Keyboard player Danbert Nobacon may have abandoned the band (who believe it or not is still in existence), but he holds tightly to previous ideals on The Library Book of the World (Bloodshot Records). The fellow August 14 release features special guests Jon Langford and Alan Doughty, while addressing anarchist and environmental causes.
July 2 - 6
June 25 - 29
June 18 - 22
June 11 - 15
June 4 - 8
May 28 - June 1
May 21 - 25
May 14 - 18
May 7 - 12
Apr. 30 - May 4
Apr. 23 - 27
Apr. 16 - 20
Apr. 9 - 13
Apr. 2 - 8
Mar. 26 - 30
Mar. 19 - 23
Mar. 12 - 16
Mar. 5 - 9
Feb. 26 - Mar. 2
Feb. 19 - 23
Feb. 12 - 16
Feb. 5 - 9
Jan. 30 - Feb. 2