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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
& 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).
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.
The three remaining members of Korn -- Jonathan Davis, Reginald Arvizu, and James Shaffer -- have teamed up with Jack Johnson & Dave Matthews' Music Matters' SMART (Sustainable Minded Artists Recording Touring) and Conserv Fuel to surgically replace the ordinary innards of the eight buses and eight cargo trucks to be used for this year's Family Values Tour with guts capable of handling their all-new, top-secret recipe for bio-fuel that they have so cleverly knighted KORNTASTIC! What a mouthful!
They announced this great news on Tuesday, July 31 at a press conference in NYC preceding a free concert in celebration of the release of their eighth studio album. They will be giving away tickets for free to soldiers on leave. Hurry up and join the Army, so you can see Korn free.
Tracklisting (um, you care?):