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:

Have you heard of Frightened Rabbit? They are a Glasgow trio and are amazing. They are finally, finally, finally coming to the U.S., right around the FatCat re-release of their 2006 debut, Sing the Greys (originally limited to 1,000). Go see them. That is all. Serious.

* Pinback

& Müm, Tom Brosseau

Diamanda Galas Schools You In The Art Of How Not To Take Part In The Tradition of Figuring Out How Far You Can Take No Talent

Obsessive love is something we'll all experience at one time or another. But it isn’t all roses and butterfly kisses, kids -- sometimes things get a little crazy. You can be certain that all the emotional bases will be covered as Diamanda presents “Imitation of Life” on the 6th and 12th of August at the Highline Ballroom in NYC. This, one of two song cycles being debuted at the venue, is focused on “the transformation of classic jazz standards and French ballads.” Expression has never been an issue for Diamanda, thankfully, because how much safe twaddle can we all really take when it comes to the expression of love in a vocal performance? I want to know that someone else has experienced the maddening rage, the sense of loss, the moments of pure captivation; it can’t all be standing forlorn at a window or having a long walk on the beach, can it?

Diamanda will also debut the song cycle, “Chansons Malheureuses and Amanedhes” on August 19. Original compositions will be punctuated by the interpretation of texts by Nerval, Cesaire, Hrant, Kazantzithis, Supervielle and Freilinger, in the “vocal tradition of the Amanedhes (improvised lamentations from Asia Minor and the Middle East).” This traditional expression will undoubtedly be presented alongside her own dialogue of extreme technique. The extensive array of voices that she gives power to are always at their most primal and inspiring when witnessed live. Subsequently, her performances are generally described as "challenging," but really, no one ever said that confrontation was easy, honey.

If you can handle it, kids:

[Photo: Paula Court]

Sympathy For the Record Industry For Sale, Opportunity to Own Iowa Beef Experience Back Catalogue (And Other Stuff!) Finally Yours

In a blog post dated July 20, garage/punk mainstay label Sympathy For the Record Industry was put on the auction block, with “accidental CEO” Long Gone John setting the starting price at “$625,000.00 or $700,000.00 if [he doesn’t] like you.”

In addition to releasing material by artists such as Billy, Spacemen 3, Suicide and the Oblivians, the label is partially responsible for jumpstarting the pre-major label careers of bands your sister has heard of, such as The White Stripes, Turbonegro, and The Donnas (then known as the Electrocutes).

However: $600,000+.

Here is a slightly abridged list of things you, person who Long Gone John likes and owner of $600,000+, could buy instead of this record label:

- 1,125 Ohana TK-300G Solid Koa Tenor Ukuleles. This might not seem like a lot, but the TK-300G is apparently a total top of the line ukulele. As ukuleleworld2.com claims, “it don't get no better than this.”

- Almost a ton and a half of Skittles, wholesale.

- 116 1-carat platinum four prong diamond engagement rings.

- 857 St. Bernard puppies, 1,500 Dachshund puppies, 2,666 Siamese cats, or 80,000,000 four-week-old (approx. half-inch long) crickets.

All figures are accurate and generally rounded down. The only figure that came out even was the Dachshund puppies.

In all honestly, it is sad to see Sympathy For the Record Industry go through such hard times, and one can only hope that its purchaser keeps its spirit alive in some form or another. If you are reading this and you have $600,000+, please think twice before purchasing those 8,511 pairs of Nikon Action 8x40 binoculars you’ve had your eyes on.

Wilco Tours, Jeff Tweedy Says No No No to Anti-Semitism, Amy Winehouse Is Drunk, Misunderstands Him As Saying Yes Yes Yes, Winehouse Cancels Rehab to Bitch-Slap Tweedy, Gets Too Sweaty, Forced to Take Off Her Wig

While channel-surfing, Amy Winehouse recently paused in bemused discontent at a Volkswagen commercial set to the background of the first track from Wilco’s most recent release, Sky Blue Sky (TMT Review). Looking for an excuse to keep away from rehab and make a public spectacle, Winehouse decided to do what any celeb would do: make a poorly executed scene over her mild annoyance, along the way convincing herself that the scene served a purpose beyond her own uneducated boredom. Convictions would come later. First, Winehouse had a Tweedy to fight.

“Volkswagens were like the fucking cars of the Nazis!,” said a (superficially) impassioned Winehouse, slurring her words while washing down mouthfuls of potato chips with gulps from a mug of room-temperature Ketel One.

Amy Winehouse (superficially) took this recent commercial as symptomatic of a partnership between said German motorist and our favorite Chicago-based rock-'n'-roll-means-never-having-to-wash-your-hair hoodlums, Wilco. Winehouse planned to kick ass against Tweedy & co. for allying themselves with Volkswagen, which she dubbed the official car company of Nazi Germany while drunk and picking Lays potato chip crumbs out of her beehive.

So, rather than going to rehab, as she originally planned to, eh, maybe get around to, Winehouse (superficially) decided that rock 'n' roll wasn’t only good for dancin,’ drinkin,’ and baby-makin.’ She took a stand: rock and roll brings about awareness, saves lives, and bitch-slaps anti-Semites!

She planned to tour in support of putting both Wilco and Volkswagen out of business, with supporting acts performed by Hilary Duff, Peter Gabriel, and Bono. But she was too drunk to function and fell asleep. Wilco will perform instead. Get your tickets before Amy Winehouse stores them in her beehive forever-ever.

WILCO TOURDATES: