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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: Jimmy's club run, Neko solo
Friday, July 20, 2007
Last time Jimmy Eat World launched a major tour, it was in stadiums supporting Green Day, followed by solo headlining dates in support of 2004's Futures (Interscope). Although the band has been confined to the studio as of late, the alternative meets emo gang is hoping to shake off the concert cobwebs with an intimate run this month. The group is currently in the midst of a dozen date American tour focusing on past hits and previewing new cuts, setting up Friday night at Lawrence, Kansas' Granada Theatre and Saturday at Omaha, Nebraska's club Slowdown. Outside of this limited spread, the band's calendar also includes several festivals, such as Reading and Leeds (respectively hitting the United Kingdom August 24 and 25).
She may be on break from The New Pornographers, but alt-country star Neko Case continues staying busy on the solo route. The singer/songwriter turns in a pair of major festival performances this weekend, including a Friday slot at New York's Central Park SummerStage and Saturday's Green River Festival in Greenfield, Massachusetts (which also includes Buddy Guy and Southern Culture On The Skids). Case also plays a pair of dates at Canada's Calgary Folk Festival on July 27-28 prior to an extensive August run supporting Rufus Wainwright. For those who can't catch her in person, consider picking up the stellar new concert collection Live from Austin, TX (New West Records).
Aside from live gigs, the weekend often brings time for relaxation, so why not crank up the old turntable and throw on some records? It's far from an ancient art form, according to the UK-based data tracker BPI, which shows vinyl sales up by 13% thus far this year. The White Stripes lead the pack as the best selling project this year thanks to the recently released and beautifully packaged Icky Thump (Warner Brothers). But for those unwilling to shell out the big bucks for a brand new pressing, consider scouring the garage sale scene where old school albums can often be found for a matter of cents.
Machine celebration, Yes DVD despite hiatus
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The Midwest-based Machine Records celebrates its fourth anniversary this year following a streak of ambitious alternative releases, including the eclectic likes of SundayRunners, Martha Berner, Hayward Williams, amongst many others. In celebration of building the company from the ground up and finding a national (and even international) fan base in the process, the label is offering fans a special savings on CDs throughout the remainder of July. For $40 at www.machine-inc.com, indie appreciators can swoop up eight releases (six full-lengths and two EPs), encompassing the aforementioned, along with Cabin, The Apparitions, Todd Bowie and Thomas Kovacs.
Despite Yes' ongoing hiatus (as Steve Howe resumes his role in Asia and the others embark on various side projects), the band has a new DVD in stores chronicling its most recent tour. Live at Montreux 2003 (Eagle Vision) covers the band's expansive catalogue loaded with prog rock classics, from the older and obvious "Long Distance Runaround" and "I've Seen All Good People" to the newer and equally noteworthy "Magnification." The project also features a Rick Wakeman solo medley, plus the grand finale of "Roundabout" to round out the two-plus hour release. Though the band has countless concert projects on the market already, message boards have been buzzing that this could be the best Yes film in recent memory.
The band may be best know for backing Bob Marley, but since an untimely demise, The Wailers kept his memory alive on the road. That quest continues with an American tour, kicking off July 28 in Anchorage, Alaska and wrapping up September 15 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The reggae legends recently celebrated over 250 million records in worldwide sales, plus cumulative performances in front of over 24 million people throughout the past four decades.
Download Festival retooled, Superdrag together again?
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The inaugural Download Festival is traveling to a handful of States this summer with the Midwestern version originally slated for East Troy, Wisconsin's Alpine Valley Music Theatre (featuring The Shins as headliners). But promoters Live Nation recently announced a venue switch to Chicago's Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island on September 2, now spearheaded by Snoop Dogg. The diverse bill also includes previously announced acts Band of Horses, Wolf Parade and Honeycut (amongst others), though there's more than merely music on tap. Fans will be invited into meet and greets with select acts, master class workshops, plus Q&A sessions usually reserved exclusively for press.
It may not be the full-fledged trek faithful hoped for, but Superdrag just announced a six show mini reunion tour. The Knoxville-based power pop/alternative rockers will be lead by John Davis (guitar, vocals), along with Don Coffey Jr (drums), Brandon Fisher (guitar) and Tom Pappas (bass), marking the first time the foursome has performed together in eight years. The journey kicks off at Nashville's City Hall on October 5 and winds up at Nightclub 9:30 in Washington DC on November 8 (also hitting Chicago, New York, Boston and the band's hometown).
If it were twenty years ago, the pre-teens who make up Care Bears On Fire would've quite likely been playing with the stuffed animals of the same name. Instead the 12 year olds have adapted the vintage moniker and old school influences including The Ramones, The Donnas and The Buzzcocks. The kids' October 2 debut disc I Stole Your Animal (Daisy Explosion Records) was produced by Joel Hamilton (Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Frank Black) and continues to rack up attention beyond the novelty-tinged name.
Street Date: Editors dial down, Chemical clubbing
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The difficult second album is always a hurdle, but England's Editors are hoping to stay on the same wave as Franz Ferdinand, Interpol and The Killers with An End Has a Start (Fader). Yet the band also seems to have set itself up with an interesting dilemma, softening down its jarring Joy Division-inspired sounds for an even more moody and brooding approach. Sure the lead single "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" resounds with clashing guitars and percussion, but there are also a lot more murkier rhythms and Coldplay-tipped pianos this time through. Similar in pattern to Bloc Party's sophomore departure, the disc mixes up Editors' previous formula, though only time will be able to gauge the degree of acceptance.
The Chemical Brothers continue cutting up electronica over groove drenched instrumentation throughout We Are the Night (Astralwerks). One minute the group is locked in the present, forging ambitious beats and trend setting dialogues, while a split second later finds itself exploring the late 1970s and early 80s a la Kraftwerk's robotic rock. The project marks the proper studio follow-up to 2005's Push the Button (Astralwerks), which followed closer to Prodigy's electro-pop mold.
Other key releases this week include Rooney's Calling the World (Geffen), a power pop disc originally unveiled at CMJ's 2006 festival. Yellowcard turns in the CD/DVD combo pack Paper Walls (Capitol), comprised of all new studio material, plus behind the scenes footage. Folk staple Judy Collins also continues her streak of reworking other artists, but this time she tackles half of the Fab Four. On Judy Collins Sings Lennon & McCartney (Wildflower), the southern crooner covers their Beatles' tracks "When I'm Sixty-Four," "And I Love Her," "Blackbird," along with many other classics.
Mistaken Metallica, Prince's problematic party
Monday, July 16, 2007
It's been a dramatic few weeks in the friendly skies, starting with Clay Aiken's spat with a fellow passenger and now Metallica's James Hetfield being mistaken for a terrorist. During one of the band's recent flights in London, the singer was taken aside and questioned due to his suspicious looks, which include a full beard and long hair. Though guards were completely clueless about the famous front man, he was eventually able to fork over paperwork and prove the look was merely to support his rock star status. And while CD stores in airports from the U.K. "to never never land" generally have outrageous prices, this is one situation where they actually come in handy (for identification confirmation's sake!)
Prince also had his share of uproar as of late and he was simply trying to be a nice guy (and simultaneously churn up the publicity bubble). The Purple One recently gave permission for pre-release copies of his July 24th release Planet Earth (Sony) to be bundled completely free with an issue of Britain's Daily Mail. At face value, it seems like a kind gesture, but given the magazine's 2.3 million circulation, it's outraging retailers all across the globe. Since Prince's status as a core pop artist remains strong, it often means a street date surge at the world's few remaining record stores, but with such a widespread pass out, it's leading clerks to wonder if the formerly unpronounceable symbol has indeed gone crazy.
All the attention given to the Silverchair comeback tour took a disappointing turn over the weekend when singer Daniel Johns was diagnosed with a viral infection and forced to postpone four shows. The leader was seriously stretching it for the cameras during "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Tuesday, July 10 and continued taking turns for the worse as last week progressed. For a complete list of affected shows, plus dates that will continue as planned, log onto www.chairpage.com.
July 9 - 13
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