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By Andy Argyrakis
White Stripes Weekend Report: Stripes cancel entire tour, Wall To Wall guitars
Friday, September 14, 2007
The weekend is traditionally a time to visit Ticketmaster (either online or at a retail outlet) to take advantage of concert on-sale dates. Though White Stripes fans will have to take a trip to the ticket outlet, it won't be to catch its Icky Thump tour as originally planned, but rather to return the highly coveted tickets due to a complete cancellation. The group announced the nixing of its fall dates due to health problems, particularly Meg White's battle with acute anxiety, making travel especially difficult at this time. The band simply released the short but sincere statement: "We hate to let people down and are very sorry." Patrons can return tickets for full refunds at the point of purchase.

Though previously reported on these pages just a few days ago, Kaiser Chiefs and White Rabbits double concert pairing was just taken off the books as well. Though the Chiefs honored yesterday's Austin City Limits Music Festival appearance and will also show in Mexico City September 16 and New York City September 29, the band pulled out of all remaining North American dates. The group hopes to "concentrate on new material" John McLaughlinsand according to a statement: "This needs to happen before our European & U.K. shows at the end of the year so we can play a few of our new songs live. We're keen to explore new ground, beyond the sound of our first two records, so we're headed back into the studio to begin that process." (Refunds are also available at the point of purchase).

Thankfully those actually wanting to catch some live music can turn to the Wall to Wall Guitar Festival in Urbana, Illinois this Friday and Saturday at the University of Illinois' Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The event takes cues from Eric Clapton's recent Chicago-based Crossroads Guitar Festival, featuring several alumni, including Buddy Guy, Los Lobos, Sonny Landreth and John McLaughlin. The roster also features a lengthy list of fellow blues, jazz, folk and classic rockers with a complete listing of the line-up and ticket information at www.walltowallguitar.com.
Herbie Hancock The Thrills' take three, Hancock channels Mitchell
Thursday, September 13, 2007
In just four short years, Irish rockers The Thrills recorded three albums, including its latest Teenager (Capitol), slated for October 23 release. The project features a reunion with first album producer Tony Hoffer (Beck, Air, Smashing Pumpkins) centering on an intimate collection of rock n' soul, plus an underlying theme of lost innocence. "We were definitely striving for a new standard," says front man Conor Deasy. "It is a record about adolescence, but it's also a record about leaving it behind." Adds guitarist/bassist Padraic McMahon: "It's not nostalgic or unduly sentimental. It's looking back and realizing how you've moved on." Outside of opening for Morrissey before even recording its debut album, The Thrills have thus far sold over a million albums to date and are hoping to keep the momentum going with a current series of UK festival dates.

Pianist Herbie Hancock may most readily fall under the jazz genre, though he's also showcased classical stylings on a number of occasions. Yet he throws fans of all associations for a loop on his upcoming CD River: The Joni Letters (Verve), releasing SeptemberThe Thrills 25. Expect a unique reworking of the folk hero's classic catalogue, including an interpretation of "Court & Spark" with Norah Jones. Other guests include Leonard Cohen, Tina Turner, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza and Mitchell herself.

Brooding rockers I Am Ghost is currently in the midst of a three month tour alongside Strung Out. The California-based band recently released Lovers' Requiem (Epitaph) under the production direction of Michael "Elvis" Baskette (Iggy Pop, Chevelle). In the studio and on stage, expect gothic-tipped tones loaded with surging strings, menacing guitars and punk flourishes, tied together under the group's self-penned subgenre "epicore."
White Rabbits White Rabbits join Kaiser Chiefs, Morrissey musical
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Say Hey Records act White Rabbits continues ascending in indie rock circles with its three part harmonies and remarkably unconventional "honky tonk calypso" rhythms. After sharing bills with Peter Bjorn & John, The Walkmen and Richard Swift, the group embarked upon a solo headlining run, though a highly coveted opening act slot with Kaiser Chiefs kicks off September 18 in Dallas. The trek continues the remainder of this month, followed by a stint with Tokyo Police Club, launching October 18 in Seattle.

No one can deny Morrissey's theatrical stage presence and dramatic song interpretations, but who would've thought The Smiths' singer would have musical credits in common with Billy Joel, ABBA and the Four Seasons? Though more likely to tint in the direction of Queen's epic "We Will Rock You" production, the cult hero is indeed having a stage script and score carved out by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (who wrote the films "Night At The Museum"Morrissey and "Balls Of Fury"). So far no opening date is set, but according to NME.com, its working title is "I've Changed My Plea to Guilty."

The Superdrag reunion tour continues to pick up steam with additional dates being added by the day. Outside of routing, the band plans to self-release the double disc collection 4-Track Rock !!! 1992-1995 + Complete "Bender" Sessions, which will only be available at shows. As previously reported, the jaunt begins September 27 in Cincinnati with a performance at MidPoint Music Festival (where lead singer John Davis is also booked as keynote speaker) and is currently slated to wrap November 8 in Washington DC.
Hot Hot Heat Street Date: Another dose of Hot Hot Heat, Deluxe Pink Floyd
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Purveyors of the newest wave of new wave Hot Hot Heat turns in its third major label release today via Happiness LTD (Sire). The project continues in the group's tradition of swirling keyboards, choppy vocals and club appeal, complete with production from Butch Walker (of Marvelous 3 fame) and mixer Tim Palmer (The Cure, David Bowie). "It's seedy and dark, but pretty," says front man Steve Bays. "We put a lot of emphasis on surprise this time around. There are lots of twists and turns and unpredictable arrangements and instrumentation choices- yet somehow it maintains an overall timelessness."

Speaking of timelessness, Pink Floyd continues to amass a new following with each generation that passes. This year marks the fortieth anniversary of its debut disc The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (Capitol), which earns a limited edition deluxe reissuing. Pink FloydThe commemorative project is bound in a cloth book featuring a dozen page reproduction of Syd Barrett's notebook, along with a disc of bonus tracks from those sessions. In addition to those essential extras, the original two disc project was also digitally remastered for this package.

Today also marks the battle of the bling as Kanye West faces 50 Cent in a street date battle rap. West drops Graduation (Roc-A-Fella), which has soaring up the iTunes pre-sales charts for weeks and boasts an impressive collaboration list including members of Coldplay and Daft Punk. While 50 Cent hasn't had as much pre-release buzz, the famed hip-hop hero teams with Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Robin Thicke on Curtis (Aftermath). May the best bullet proof vest wearing diamond bearer win!
Blind Melon Blind Melon is back, Zeppelin's semi-reunion
Monday, September 10, 2007
The speculation has raged on since the day drummer John Bonham died, but it appears like a semi Led Zeppelin reunion is finally on track. Front man Robert Plant recently told NME.com that he's been in talks with guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones for a one off gig in London sometime this fall. Though Page and Plant have teamed on several occasions (including a live CD/DVD and studio album), the pair hasn't appeared with Jones since 1985's historic Live Aid performance (featuring Phil Collins on drums). However, with Collins back in Genesis, Zeppelin is vying for John's son Jason (also a current member of Foreigner) to fill the lofty role behind the skins.

The 1995 death of singer Shannon Hoon isn't stopping Blind Melon from starting up again for the very first time since its tragic demise.Blind Melon Surviving members recruited newcomer Travis Warren for a ten city sampling of America starting October 7 in Providence, Rhode Island. The band promises all the hits and other oldies, plus new songs from a forthcoming studio CD.

The release date for Coheed and Cambria's next CD No World For Tomorrow (Columbia) is set for October 23 with a tour kicking off Monday, October 29 in Toronto. The outing marks the band's first since headlining this year's Vans Warped Tour and is also slated to feature Clutch and The Fall of Troy. Just prior to the outing, the band will stage a benefit for the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association at Manhattan's High Line Ballroom during CMJ Music Festival on Friday, October 19.

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