In his lifetime, Frank Zappa recorded approximately 12 million albums. I have listened to nine of them. Die-hard Zappamaniacs have listened to about 100 of them. I accept that I will never fully understand Zappa due to the sheer breadth of the man’s material. Zappa “experts” do not. Being an expert on Zappa is nigh on impossible; his studio albums alone could serve as the mortar for a new Tower of Babel. (Imagine that if you will: A thousand greasy Zappaites climbing to heaven so God can sign all their copies of Shiek Yerbouti. Yikes!) Yet, I have met far too many rubes who claim they “get” Zappa because they’ve listened to a third of his recorded output and know exactly what he was “trying to say,” despite remaining ignorant to the months worth of unreleased live material and studio recordings that are just sitting in Zappa’s storage unit on the moon or in Captain Beefheart’s fallout shelter.
Well, I’m not sure about any “moon unit” releases just yet (hey-oh!), but the Zappa Family Trust has announced plans to release a series of expanded editions of Zappa’s early albums, starting November 25 with his strictly orchestral solo debut Lumpy Gravy and classic hippy send-up We’re Only In It For the Money. According to Billboard, this initial combo will be titled Lumpy Money, and along with brand new mixes of both albums, it will include a never-before-heard Stravinksy-esque “ballet” recording of Lumpy Gravy. “You're going to be listening to how Frank worked, all the little developments of these pieces as opposed to just an outtake or another performance of that particular piece. You're going to hear how he got there from here," said Frank’s widow Gail Zappa.
Subsequent releases will receive individual treatments as opposed to the twofer presented here. 1968’s Cruising with Ruben and Jets is already slated for the deluxe treatment thanks to extensive plundering through the Sequin Mines vault located underneath the Zappa’s house. Other releases include live recording from the Roxy in Los Angeles and a collection of Edgar Varèse compositions performed by the fu-manchued man himself. So, Zappa freaks, looks you got some more studying to do. Hopefully these new releases don’t throw a wrench in all your doctoral theses about how “Camarillo Brillo” should become the new national anthem. Or maybe you’ll at least snap back into reality and actually have fun listening to a Frank Zappa album instead of behaving like a pompous crybaby when somebody doesn’t say the full title of “Bobby Brown Goes Down.” But probably not.
Just a few hours ago, we posted Ted Leo's new solo dates and reminded you about the ongoing tour with his Pharmacists. Well, turns out the dates with the Pharmacists are now canceled "due to a personal emergency," according to a post from earlier today on his website (thanks to all the readers who wrote in to let us know!). Ted Leo's solo dates, however, are still on.
TMT wishes Ted Leo the best in whatever emergency he's dealing with.
Ted Leo solo shows:
# Against Me!
@ Titus Andronicus
For The Buzzcocks Fan Who Has Everything… Well, Now You Don’t; Fancy Reissues and Entire Album Performances on the Way!
Are you one of those people who gives a resounding "Yes!" to the question "Do you want fries with that?" When you notice the 30-cent difference between the large size soda and the Big Gulp size soda at the gas station, do you put down the large and grab the Big Gulp? Do you ever look at your carefully cultivated collection of albums and think, "Gee, I wish someone would reissue this with tons of bonus features and previously unreleased tracks so that I almost regret buying it all those years ago when it didn't come with several alternate takes of the same song!"? If so, then this is the story for you!
Maybe they can't bring you 32 fluid ounces of Mountain Dew, but the new Buzzcocks reissues from EMI can certainly help with your obsessively completist album collection. The seminal Manchester punk group's first three albums, 1978's Another Music in a Different Kitchen, 1978's Love Bites, and 1979's A Different Kind of Tension, will all be subject to a very special UK re-release set for release today, October 27. That means more demos, more live versions, and more discs! That's right -- these are two-disc reissues, chock-a-block with backing tracks, single versions, and Peel Sessions.
But the good news doesn't end there! Not only can you relive the late 1970s via stereo (if only someone would reissue Quaaludes, am I right??), but you can also hear those first two albums performed live and in their entirety during the January "Another Bites Tour" in the UK. Hell, even guitarist/vocalist Steve Diggle is doing one -- yes, ONE -- show this coming November.
11.28.08 - Harlow, England - The Square
As previously reported (TMT News), the indie rock madman that is Ted Leo has been on the road with his Pharmacists and fellow tourmates Against Me! and Titus Andronicus for the past month or so, and it'll continue until next week. What we didn't tell you (because it's new news) is that Ted Leo, former Chisel (if you haven't heard them, check out Set You Free) singer, has just scheduled a short stint of solo performances in late November and December along the Midwest and East Coast.
If you can't make any dates on the tour (or even if you can) take a listen to the Rapid Response EP released last month by Touch and Go. The album is four songs for $4, and proceeds benefit the Democracy Now organization. But if you can make it to any of these shows... well, you know what to do.
Ted Leo Tour:
I Bet It Would Be a Really Funny Joke to Walk into the Living Room with a Backpack and Hiking Boots on and Tell Your Friends That You’re Going to See ‘Wilderness’ While Making a Really Grand Swooping Gesture with Your Right Arm Like You Mean to Take in All of Nature, Then You Get in Your Car and Drive to One of the Upcoming Wilderness Shows
I'd even wager to bet that it'd be so funny that you should try to meet up with the band after the show and tell them to get a load of the priceless gag you pulled on your buds while they sat around on the couch and played Rock Band. Then thank me when my sweet joke scores you a roadie position with Wilderness. And watch as the joke comes full circle and you really do absorb the beauty of nature while gazing out the window of their big rig -- your new home.
Wilderness are touring in support of their new album (k)no(w)here which Jagjaguwar is releasing November 4, and the tour kicks off November 19 at the Cake Shop in New York. So start practicing for your big stunt, because I can guarantee you, brother; this one is too funny to get through without cracking up. And you just might end up going (so)me(w)here!
* San Serac
% Thanks Brandon!
Method Man and Redman Head Out on Tour, Plan New Album, Frolic in Field While Holding Hands and Smoking Blunts
If last year’s Kanye vs. 50 Cent media slapfight taught us anything, it’s the good ol’ fashioned hip hop feud is dead. Rather than fire rhymes and dope beats, the bullets in this weak-as-an-anesthetized-box-turtle battle were catty remarks about record sales that Rolling Stone perplexingly saw fit to grace with a cover. Did LL Cool J vs. Kool Moe Dee ever make the cover of Rolling Stone? Fuck no! And that shit spawned “Mama Said Knock You Out”!
Well if hip-hop feuds are dead, thank the gods for Method Man and Redman, the pioneers of what should be rap’s latest trend: hip-hop friendship. Method and Red have been straight up pals for years, documenting their antics on wax with 1999’s Blackout!, on the big screen with the American classic How High, and on the small screen with their unfortunately short-lived sitcom Method and Red and even shorter-lived prank show Stung. But through all their many projects both together and solo, the two have stayed true to two unshakeable principles: to get high as hell every day and stay great motherfucking friends. Maybe the rest of the hip-hop community could learn a lesson from these two good buds who enjoy good bud, always together, always friends.
So get out of the house immediately, America, and catch Method and Red on their Still High tour. If you can’t make it to one of the shows, the dudes understand, but they’d appreciate it if you could pick up their latest record, Blackout 2, when it drops in December. Do it for yourself, but mostly, do it for your old friends, Method and Red. They both love you very much.
Cincinnati, Sacramento, and Milwaukee are pissed, and they’re not going to stand for it much longer! It seems that the internet’s favorite band, Vampire Weekend, has gone and scheduled a tour for December that only includes major cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, New York City, Portland, and, uh, New York City. Not cool, dudes; what about that 15-year-old girl in Des Moines who has the lyrics to “Oxford Comma” written all over her algebra notebook? Or those college freshmen from Florida State University that still think it’s cool to throw dance parties to “A-Punk”?
Next time you’re planning a tour, Vampire Weekend, even a short one, think about all those smaller cities that are missing out.
Vampire’s December Weekend:
Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo To Release Alone II November 25th… I SAID: Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo To Release Alone II On November 25th! Hello?? Anybody???
"Alone." At this point, that's kinda the way we'd all like to picture mercurial Weezer frontman and patron saint of latter day, not-entirely-ironic mustache cultivation Rivers Cuomo, isn't it? I mean, seriously, if the guy was locked up in a tiny cell somewhere for the rest of his days, we first of all wouldn't have to hear any more songs about how cool it is to be uncoolly self-aware of how anti-cool it is to be uncoollishly cool-esque or whatever. And second, at least then he'd already be in jail, which would save the high courts of indie rock a lot of time and hassle in convicting him for attempting yet another assassination on his own legacy.
But alas, for the time being at least, Rivers Cuomo "alone" doesn't have anything to do with him being cast out of legitimate arts/entertainment society. Instead, it merely denotes another underwhelming release of slap-dash home recordings, pot brownie-fueled geek jams, and early demos of eventual Weezer "hits" that were, you know, later recorded more capably by the band itself. Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, the second volume of Cuomo's money-mining journey within, is set for release November 25 via the good ol' Geffen label.
In case you forgot due to repeated listens of The Red Album (TMT Review) that pushed all other songs out of your brain, the first volume featured demo versions of hits like "Buddy Holly," a cover of Ice Cube's "The Bomb," and other understandably unreleased tracks, including several that were culled from the band's unreleased... ugh... space opera Songs From the Black Hole. What manner of forgotten corpses will be ruthlessly trod up from Cuomo's moneygreen ego pond by his latest round of self-aggrandizing canon fire? Well, unfortunately there's no further details as of yet. But if it's any consolation, you'll probably find out for yourself this Christmas when your Grandma plucks it off the Best Buy "new releases" rack... in all its slotMusic glory?
Hey, remember when Dr. Pepper promised everyone a free soda if Guns N’ Roses were to release their long-awaited new album, Chinese Democracy, sometime in 2008 (TMT News)? Well, now that the album has a release date of November 23 (TMT News), it looks like Dr. Pepper is delivering on their word. Here's how:
- Step One: On November 23, drive your GNR car over to Best Buy, where the album will be available exclusively, and then come home and visit Dr. Pepper’s website.
- Step Two: Register with the site to receive your coupon for a free 20-oz. Dr. Pepper.
- Step Three: When your coupon arrives, redeem it at your local Dr. Pepper retailer.
- Step Four: Enjoy while listening to Chinese Democracy, of course.
Don’t forget the fine print too: “Coupons will be available for 24 hours, starting at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on Nov. 23, 2008. Allow 4-6 weeks for coupon to arrive. Coupons will expire on Feb. 28, 2009. Limit one coupon per person. Full terms and conditions available at www.drpepper.com.”
It seems that the Baltimore Scene (TMT Article) just grew a little quieter. The Charm City-based band Wzt Hearts (TMT Review) (pronounced “Wet”) will be calling it quits after a pretty solid four-year run. Member Jason Urick commented to Pitchfork:
We are now spread through three states, [and] the challenges of staying active while being physically displaced from one another eventually took [their] toll as we all have been involved with other aspects of our [lives] as well.
But fans of the noisy Hearts fret not! All four members of the band will be perusing other projects, so output from these dudes will continue. Starting with Jason Urick, he is just finishing up an album under hibernating moniker moonstealingproject (say that five times fast), as well as a 12-inch and a 7-inch with Half Japanese's Jason Willett using his own name. Jeff Donaldson will be working the boards for These Are Powers on their jaunt in Europe and will continue work on his 8-bit project NoTendo. Mike Haleta will be recording an album with Voltage Spooks and has been recording music with wife Dawn as backbreakerneckbrace. Shaun Flynn will continue to be a Baltimore figurehead playing in various Charm City groups. Finally, two former bandmates Jeff Donaldson and Mike Haleta will be playing a pair of dates at the Cake Shop in New York.
Jeff Donaldson and Mike Haleta tourdates:
11-28 New York, NY - Cake Shop
12-19 New York, NY - Cake Shop