Lee Hazlewood Dead at 78

Songwriter, producer, performer, and outsider genius Lee Hazlewood died on Saturday at the age of 78. He had been battling renal cancer for over a year.

Although his echoing late-‘50s production work for Duane Eddy and others attracted the attention of Phil Spector (and became a major influence on Spector's Wall of Sound production style), Lee was probably most famous for writing Nancy Sinatra’s "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'." Legendarily, he instructed Sinatra to sing the song “like a 16-year-old girl who fucks truck drivers.” Given these circumstances, the song inevitably became an international megahit, and Hazlewood went on to write and produce much of Sinatra’s hugely successful '60s output, including their incredible 1968 duet album, Nancy and Lee. Ever the visionary, he also signed Gram Parsons’ International Submarine Band to his own LHI label in 1967.

Additionally, and no less notably, Hazlewood continued to furrow his singularly idiosyncratic solo career. His nicotine-stained baritone will undoubtedly remain one of the most perfect instruments of the pop canon, although his echoing, dark, and droll brand of countrified pop was not marked for any kind of commercial success. Indeed, most of his albums remained out-of-print and largely forgotten for years until Steve Shelley’s Smells Like imprint re-released many of them, to great success, in the late-‘90s. Notable highlights included gems such as Cowboy In Sweden (released after he had moved to Sweden in 1970), Poet, Fool or Bum, and his 1999 comeback album Farmisht, Flatulence, Origami, ARF!!! & Me. His self-proclaimed final album was last year’s Cake or Death.

Hazlewood is survived by his third wife, Jeanne, and three children.

Lee Hazlewood Dead at 78

Songwriter, producer, performer, and outsider genius Lee Hazlewood died on Saturday at the age of 78. He had been battling renal cancer for over a year.

Although his echoing late-‘50s production work for Duane Eddy and others attracted the attention of Phil Spector (and became a major influence on Spector's Wall of Sound production style), Lee was probably most famous for writing Nancy Sinatra’s "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'." Legendarily, he instructed Sinatra to sing the song “like a 16-year-old girl who fucks truck drivers.” Given these circumstances, the song inevitably became an international megahit, and Hazlewood went on to write and produce much of Sinatra’s hugely successful '60s output, including their incredible 1968 duet album, Nancy and Lee. Ever the visionary, he also signed Gram Parsons’ International Submarine Band to his own LHI label in 1967.

Additionally, and no less notably, Hazlewood continued to furrow his singularly idiosyncratic solo career. His nicotine-stained baritone will undoubtedly remain one of the most perfect instruments of the pop canon, although his echoing, dark, and droll brand of countrified pop was not marked for any kind of commercial success. Indeed, most of his albums remained out-of-print and largely forgotten for years until Steve Shelley’s Smells Like imprint re-released many of them, to great success, in the late-‘90s. Notable highlights included gems such as Cowboy In Sweden (released after he had moved to Sweden in 1970), Poet, Fool or Bum, and his 1999 comeback album Farmisht, Flatulence, Origami, ARF!!! & Me. His self-proclaimed final album was last year’s Cake or Death.

Hazlewood is survived by his third wife, Jeanne, and three children.

Metal Machine Music Live Performance To Be Released on CD/DVD; Entire Death Metal Community Veers Into Collective Apoplexy

“Recommended cuts: None” – Billboard

“Sounds like the tubular groaning of a galactic refrigerator” – Rolling Stone

“An experience…both brutal and numbing” – allmusic.com

No, these hipsters aren’t talking about Ryan Adams’ latest nuggets of sun-dried shit, although they may as well be. They’re referring, of course, to Metal Machine Music, Lou Reed’s 1975 towering noise epic/contractual obligation -- your own opinion essentially depending on whether you are a “winner” or a “loser.” Either way, you could never really imagine Sweet Lou ever playing anything off the record live, especially considering that he himself claims never to have listened to it all the way through (although I’m sure he’s listened to Mistrial on more than one squalid occasion). This is because he is a “loser.”

That was until the hot and heady days of 2002. Inspired toward hitherto uncharted heights of creativity -- no doubt after hearing Hot Hot Heat for the first time -- German saxophonist Ulrich Krieger managed to transcribe the whole four sides of Reed’s career-ender, even though he had to use ‘special notation’ on some bits. Loser Lou described the results as “unbelievable,” and he agreed to play guitar in a live performance of the album with the German chamber music ensemble Zeitkratzer, at the Berlin Opera House, no less. (The Apollo Grill in Easthampton was unavailable that weekend.)

Why am I wittering on about this now? Well, five years on, the CD/DVD set of the performance is being released September 4 in the U.S. via Asphodel. In addition to providing the performance in its entirety, the DVD will also contain a 30-minute cheeky chat with Lou Reed himself. Wowsers!

But before all you ambrosial little noiseniks start auctioning off your Wolf Eyes lathe-cuts on eBay in order to afford the purchase of this undoubtedly expensive little package, I should leave you with a few choice words of warning from G. Naugle, “a music fan,” broadcasting from that bastion of critical profundity, Amazon.com. I quote:

“Horible![sic] Avoid this album at all costs! And just for the record for the so called "fan" who gave this a better rating than Death's albums, THIS ALBUM IS NOT DEATH METAL, NEVER WAS NEVER WILL BE! UTTERLY CRAP!”

Think on.

Worms Eating MP3s

No, "Worms Eating MP3s" isn't the name of a new indie-pop band from Sweden. This story is about a new computer virus that will totally delete all of your MP3s. Its name is "Deletemusic," and it travels through USB flash drives into your music library and -- yep, you guessed it -- deletes all the MP3s. All of ‘em.

Symantec, a.k.a. the jackasses who actually charge for anti-virus software, has classified the worm's risk factor as "very low." The company claims its databases are updated, so users of the the Norton AntiVirus programs should be safe. But you know what? Symantec and Norton AntiVirus can suck it -- if you're a Windows user, you have free solutions like ClamWin Antivirus. Give it a try. Your wallet will thank you, and you'll thank yourself for not having to deal with the annoying "YOUR COMPUTER IS AT RISK!!!" warnings.

However, I digress.

No one's yet taken credit for this cruel little prank, but some speculate that even the RIAA could be behind it. But at this point, it might very well have been some rogue middle-school hacker who got really bored after watching Dragon Ball Z one Wednesday afternoon and decided to create a worm to delete the music off of his sister's laptop because he was tired of hearing the Ying Yang Twins on repeat, and then his sister went to go smoke some dope at her friend's house and shared some John Mayer via her pink USB drive key chain and then, just like a venereal disease, it spread, deleted music (hey, VD can do amazing things), and spread some more. Yeah, I bet that's what happened.

Peace, Love, Gap (And Tour); Common To Rap His Corporate Sins Away

I can't possibly be the only one still unsettled by Common's Gap commercial. Joining the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Madge, Common served as a star and rapped a verse for the retail giant in a holiday commercial late last year. Dude rocked the hat and hoodie with style and even spit while walking on a giant peace sign. But I still don't think Gap is what's hot on the streets.

Eight months have gone by and Common's still reppin' for the khaki/yuppie retail giant, mostly in his role with the (Red) campaign, Bono's line of products to raise money for The Global Fund and help those affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. A great cause, without a doubt, but cynical as it may be, I miss Common Sense. I mean, we're all inspi(red) by the cause, but the fact is Com's latest album Finding Forever is less than inc(red)ible, and his "positive," "socially-conscious" hip-hop just feels ti(red).

But the stage (and not the 30 second spot) is where Common really shines. Always a dynamic performer, this man is truly heart and soul -- someone who stands strong behind what he says while saying something worth standing behind. What can I say, I'm a forgiver. A rare breed in today's pop music world, let's give Common a fair shot at redeeming himself on an upcoming tour. And here's to hoping Finding Forever is a grower.

Tour:
08.09.07 - Chicago, IL - International House (University of Chicago)
08.10.07 - Chicago, IL - Best Buy (1000 W. North Ave.) *
08.14.07 - Washington, DC - Borders (18th & L St. NW) *
09.05.07 - San Francisco, CA - Mezzanine
09.07.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theatre
09.08.07 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
09.09.07 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
09.13.07 - Denver, CO - The Fillmore Auditorium
09.15.07 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
09.16.07 - Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa
09.20.07 - Chicago, IL - Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island $
09.24.07 - Toronto, Ontario - Kool Haus
10.07.07 - New York, NY - Nokia Theatre

* autograph signing

$ Joss Stone

Hey Guys, Please Pay Attention.. Yeah, Over Here… C’mon, Look At Me… Oh, Humanity – Does Anyone Care About Marissa Nadler Yet?!

She is verging on becoming a critics' darling, sure, but for some reason Marissa Nadler has yet to receive the attention and fanfare warranted by her serenely beautiful new album Songs III: Bird on the Water (TMT Review). Maybe it's the year of brash, distorted fey-disco (I'm looking at you, Justice), but for quiet folk, it's apathy abound. Her fragile and haunting collection of folk numbers has garnered a fair amount of rave reviews, but the indie-goddess status of, say, Joanna Newsom still eludes our fair heroine. A shriller pitch and more Old English she may be lacking, but for the love of god -- what must Marissa Nadler do to be accepted into your cold, elitist hearts?

Thankfully, she is giving it her all, and in a last-ditch effort for acceptance by each and every one of you, Nadler will be putting it all on the line for her new set of shows, the first full tour associated with her U.S. label Kemado Records. Beginning with a set of four free in-store performances, Nadler will bring her shock ‘n’ awe campaign to the masses with a captivating spectacle of pyrotechnics, backup dancers, choreographed numbers, and surprise guests. That's right, she's pulling out all the stops, because if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Acoustic guitar not doing it for you guys? Watch Nadler shred on her new double-necked Flying V. One-woman show not exciting enough? Wait until she takes the stage in her shiny new robot mask. And the big finale? Watch Nadler light herself on fire as she is suspended in mid-air, flying over the audience like a recently fallen archangel. And you thought Madonna put on a show.

In-stores: