Saturday, May 31, 2008

Butthole Surfers return

The vintage-1980s lineup of the Butthole Surfers will reunite for a series of shows in the US and Europe beginning in June, says Live Daily, minus guitarist Paul Leary, who has prior commitments (Leary has become an in-demand producer and mixer, working with Sublime, the Refreshments, the Meat Puppets, U2, Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, and others).

The band last released any music in the summer of 2002, with an odds-n-sods compilation, Humpty Dumpty LSD. Their last proper album was 2001's Weird Revolution, which was a sort-of replacement for 1998's ultimately-unreleased After the Astronaut (about half of the Astronaut songs ended up on Revolution). You could call Revolution commercially disappointing (it charted at #130, then sank), but come on, "Pepper" was a bit of a fluke, right?

Surfers lead singer Gibby Haynes put out a solo album in 2004.

Butthole Surfers tour dates:
June 24 - Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park, NJ
June 26 - 9:30 Club, Washington DC
June 27 - Electric Factory - Philadelphia
July 15 - Melkweg - Amsterdam
July 17 - Minnemeers - Ghent, Belgium
July 18 - Carling Academy - Bristol, UK
July 19 - Academy 2 - Manchester, UK
July 20 - ABC1 - Glasgow, Scotland
July 22 - Wulfrun Hall - Wolverhampton, UK
July 23 - Rock City - Nottingham, UK
July 24 - Vicar Street - Dublin, Ireland
July 26 - Kentish Town Forum - London, UK
July 28 - The Stone Church - Newmarket, NH
July 29 - Webster Hall - New York, NY (Leary supposedly to play with the band)

Here's 1993's "Who Was in my room last Night?" I believe this is the video that got Beavis and Butthead all hot and bothered.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Everclear on tour

Everclear are on tour this summer, doing mostly the festival / military base route. On Monday they played the US Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. No word on whether the al-Qaeda prisoners are big "You Make Me Feel Like a Whore" fans.

They're not coming near me. But I saw 'em last year; read that report here.

Everclear tour dates:
June 8 - Arlington, VA - 4th Annual Crystal Rocks
June 28 - Mount Clemens, MI - Stars & Stripes Festival
July 6 - Kaneohe Bay, HI - Marine Corps Base
July 9 - Lahaina, HI - Hard Rock Maui
July 18 - Waukesha, WI - Waukesha County Fair
July 26 - Royalton, MN - Halfway Jam
July 27 - Altamont, NY - WZMR Festival Show
August 28 - Marshfield, WI - Central Wisconsin State Fair

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Half of Smashing Pumpkins celebrate anniversary

Blabbermouth reports that the Smashing Pumpkins are going to commemorate their 20th anniversary with some special shows in August and September. Just guessing, but James Iha and D'Arcy probably won't be involved.

In other Pumpkins news, last month they sued their old record label, Virgin Records, reports the Associated Press.

With no current recording contract, the Pumpkins are rumored to be considering a Radiohead / Nine Inch Nails-style move away from traditional CDs, and have hinted that both new and archival material may be made available later this year. Their last album was last year's Zeitgeist, which was... you know... OK.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New Beck album (maybe) coming soon

MTV is reporting that Beck might have an album ready to stealth-drop in stores within a few weeks. Supposedly, Danger Mouse of Gnarls Barkley fame is producing. Filter says the album will be entitled Modern Guilt.

I've honestly lost track of Beck's mellow-crazy cycle; is the next album supposed to be mournful acoustic songs or whacked-out sex-bomb keyboard songs?

Here's 1999's "Sexx Laws," which was a bit of a disappointment, only charting at #21 on the modern rock charts. Watch for the Jack Black cameo:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kids in the Hall on the death of grunge

I'm going to see the acclaimed Canadian sketch comedy group Kids in the Hall tonight (go here for tour dates). It's their first tour since 2002, and is supposedly all-new material in preparation for a new TV show or movie. I remember setting my VCR in junior high to tape CBS at 3 a.m. Sunday nights, which is when KitH aired in my hometown (obviously, it was a huge hit program on the CBC in Canada).

In celebration, thought I'd take this look back at what happens when grunge meets antidepressants:

From Kids in the Hall:Brain Candy, which came and went fairly quickly in the spring of 1996. Matador did the soundtrack, which is heavy on mid-'90s indie-pop (Liz Phair, Pizzicato Five, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo, etc.).

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Weezer video gets down with YouTube

I laughed way harder at this than I had any right to.

From the Cutout Bin: Super Deluxe - Via Satellite

Welcome to From the Cutout Bin, where we dig up old CDs that have been forgotten for whatever reason and can now be found in the dollar (or quarter) bin at your local used CD store (if your community still has a used CD store). This installment features 1997's Via Satellite, the second album from power-poppers Super Deluxe.

An example that this band has been almost completely forgotten? Their Wikipedia page wasn't created until two months ago (and not by me, OK?). And now that is a comedy short-film website (check out the Team Tiger Awesome stuff on there, it's hilarious), few people even realize that Super Deluxe was a band.

There were two streams in the Seattle scene of the '90s: grunge and power-pop. The power-pop scene was led by the Posies (you could probably make a case for lumping the Presidents of the United States of America in there too). Super Deluxe were firmly in the latter camp.

Via Satellite was released in the summer of 1997, when the big hits on modern-rock radio were "Semi-Charmed Life," "Impression that I Get," Sugar Ray's "Fly," and Smash Mouth's "Walkin' on the Sun." The atmosphere was ripe for a power-pop band to make a big splash on the charts.

But this album stiffed, big-time. Unfortunate, because it's good, but there's no stand-out hit single. It seems to be the classic example of a band zigging when they should have zagged; this album is much harder and grunge-like in its sound (especially on songs like "Lost in Your Failures") just as modern-rock radio was taking a turn to softer and more poppy. If they'd stuck with the lighter sound of their 1995 debut (which featured "She Came On")...

It's a grower. "Your Pleasure's Mine" wasn't a great song the first time, but was really good the second time. There are big-time Queen influences in "Alright," and "Half Asleep" is good in that "could have soundtracked the closing credits of a late-'90s teen movie" way. "I Can See" is good, too.

It's too long by 3 or 4 songs, at 14 tracks (see the Connells, an album that came out at the same time with similar problems), the back end is better than the front, which is bad for a new band that needs to prove itself to radio programmers and fickle reviewers, and there's nothing as great as "She Came On," which got almost no airplay itself.

Of note to '90s rock fans: the producer and mixer on this album is Tim Palmer, who did mixing work for Pearl Jam, Catherine Wheel, Concrete Blonde, Stabbing Westward, Reel Big Fish, U2, Live, and the Cure, and producing work for Kajagoogoo, Big Country, Tears for Fears, Goldfinger, and Switchfoot. He produced and mixed Sponge's Wax Ecstatic (which is very underrated), and mixed the last two Better than Ezra albums, Closer and Before the Robots. And he's still quite in demand: he's done recent work for Robert Plant, Hot Hot Heat, and H.I.M. Clearly, the man transcends boundaries, a nice way of saying he doesn't have a particular "sound." The production here is workmanlike, and doesn't get in the way of the hooks.

Here's one of the two (unsuccessful) singles: "Your Pleasure's Mine." Apparently it was featured in an early episode of Dawson's Creek (and Revolution didn't bother making a video for it):

Thursday, May 22, 2008

News bites: Alanis Morrisette, Candlebox, Liz Phair, Extreme

Again, thanks to Tied to the '90s reader Chris for the tips.

* Alanis Morissette, fresh off a long tour opening for Matchbox 20, has a new single, "Underneath." Her album Flavors of Entanglement comes out on June 10, and if you go here, you can get it with five bonus tracks, six lyric art cards, and a big fat Alanis Morrisette autograph. Anyone else think of Alanis everytime How I Met Your Mother does the Robin Sparkles gag about the ex-Canadian teen pop star?

Alanis will also be on the Today Show Friday (May 23), then plays European festivals all summer.

*Candlebox, who reunited for some shows a couple of years ago, have a new album out July 22 called Into the Sun. The first single, "Stand," is now available on iTunes and is not a cover of the 1989 REM hit (if anything, the guitar riff sounds like "You," their second hit). It's their first album of new material since 1998's Happy Pills (a greatest hits came out in 2006).

Here's their last big rock hit, 1998's "It's Alright." I honestly do not remember this song at all, and I was living in Oklahoma City 10 years ago, where there was only an active rock station, and Candlebox came on tour (I specifically remember this because Feeder opened, and we contemplated going. I now realize that Feeder rule, and I should have gone).

* Liz Phair has left Capitol Records after two adult-pop albums, and signed with Dave Matthews' label, ATO. The first release will be a 15th-anniversary edition of her debut, Exile in Guyville, out June 24. She will reportedly perform the album in its entirety at a show in New York the next night. A new studio album will follow in the fall.

I never really liked Exile to Guyville, but the follow-up, Whip-Smart, was pretty good, and I really liked the single "Supernova."

* And finally, Idolator reports that Extreme are back together, with a new album to be released this year. And yes, Extreme had their biggest hit in 1991. The band's last album was 1995, after which lead singer Gary Cherone famously joined Van Halen for an album and lead guitarist Nuno Bettencourt not-so-famously joined Perry Farrell for an album.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Offspring are back!

And they have a new album, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace, out June 17, their first since 2003's Splinter. It was produced by Bob Rock, most famous for his work with Metallica and Motley Crue (though he did produce the more-recent Our Lady Peace material). You can download the first single, "Hammerhead," for free at this link.
The band will be playing lots of festivals this summer, both in Europe and the U.S. Click here for dates.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Leaks: Weezer, Oasis

You've probably heard "Pork and Beans" by now, but Stereogum has four more songs from Weezer's forthcoming Red album, out in late June. The first track is all over the map, but has a Pinkerton flair, the second and third are better than anything off of Maladroit or Make Believe (except maybe "Perfect Situation" and "Keep Fishin'"), and the fourth one is sung by Brian Bell... who knew he had a great voice?

Stereogum has also got three leaked demoes from Oasis, who have been in Los Angeles working on a new album. Internet chatter suggests these may be leftovers from the Don't Believe the Truth sessions; regardless, a new Oasis album is supposedly going to be out in September.
Hey, remember when Oasis was the biggest band in the world? I sure do; had a giant poster on the wall of my dorm room. Then Noel wrote Be Here Now while hopped up on cocaine, and it all fell apart. You can now purchase that album for 12 cents on Amazon.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Top 10 Unheard songs of the '90s: Garrison Starr, "Superhero"

It's time for #2 on our list of the Top 10 Unheard Songs of the 1990s:* Garrison Starr's "Superhero," off of her 1997 debut Eighteen Over Me. The Memphis native was only 22 when this album came out.

I absolutely adore this song; for me, it perfectly captures the feeling of being a kid. I should note I first heard a good chunk of the songs on this list on the great, classic, long-lost 93.7 FM the SPY out of Stillwater, OK, which was half adult-album-alternative, half college-rock, and all awesome. It switched over to adult top 40 in 2001 or 2002, sadly.

Here's a live version from recently. Sadly, it's missing the high harmonies in the chorus on the recorded version that kick the song to that next level:

Garrison Starr has gone on to release five more albums, and has a decent cult following.

*A few people have asked what my criteria for this series is: basically, if the song never charted on the Billboard Modern Rock Top 40, it's eligible. This means, for example, that For Squirrels "Mighty KC" is ineligible, even though I don't think there's a radio station in the country that has played that song since 1996.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What's Ed Roland reading?

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (April 20 issue), the same stuff as my dad: Carl Hiassen, John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jimmy Carter's Living Faith.

Collective Soul are touring casinos and outdoor festivals this summer; their recent single "Hollywood" can be heard on commercials for the CBS show "Shark."

Collective Soul tour dates:
May 10 - KFOG KaBoom!, San Francisco, CA
May 17 - Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio CA
May 18 - Boulder Theatre, Boulder CO
May 23 - Mohegan Sun, Uncasville CT (Ed Roland solo)
June 4 - Ameristar Casino, St. Charles MO
June 6 - Hard Rock Biloxi, Biloxi MS
June 7 - Ameristar Casino, Vicksburg MS
June 28 - Taos Solar Music Festival, Taos NM
July 4 - Red Rocks, Morrison CO
July 11 - Konocti Field Amphitheatre, Kelseyville CA
July 25 - Washington County Fair, West Bend WI
August 2 - Musikfest, Bethlehem PA
August 3 - Toms River Fest, Toms River NJ

The three July dates are listed as Blues Traveler, Live, and Collective Soul... is there a possible package tour announcement coming soon?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Donita Sparks of L7 goes solo

Donita Sparks, formerly of L7, has a new band called The Stellar Moments and a new solo album, which came out in February. Former L7 drummer Dee Plakas plays on the album as well.

This is Sparks' first solo album; L7 haven't released anything since a little-remembered indie album in 1999 and a greatest-hits compilation in 2000. No word on what the other two members of L7 are doing, but Gail Greenwood, who played for Belly, then joined late-period L7, turned up playing bass for Bif Naked in 2005.

Sparks tour dates:
May 23 - Long Beach, CA - Alex's Bar
May 24 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah
June 6 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's
June 7 - New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
June 8 - Cambridge, MA - T.T. The Bear's
June 10 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
June 11 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
June 13 - Chicago, IL - Double Door
June 15 - Pittsburgh, PA - 31st Street Pub
June 16 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar

The June 7 date is with Mudhoney!
L7 played Lollapalooza '94, which I attended, but I remember absolutely nothing about their set. Always liked "Pretend We're Dead," though.

Presented for your viewing pleasure are L7's two modern rock hits, 1992's "Pretend We're Dead":

And 1994's "Andres."

No word yet on whether Sparks is planning on playing L7 songs live, but you would have to assume she'd pull one or two out.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Top 10 Flaming Lips songs

The Lost Ogle, a great Oklahoma City-based blog, counts down the Top 10 Flaming Lips songs of all time.

I love this band, not just because I grew up near where they did (check out the fabulous documentary The Fearless Freaks for more on the Lips' formative years in the OKC). It is to my everlasting regret that I won tickets to a Lips show (Clouds Taste Metallic tour, '95) on the radio, but then couldn't go to the show because there was a large tornado that night between my house and the venue. Sadly, for those of you who have not lived in Oklahoma, this is a fairly common problem in the spring.

I pretty much agree with this list, although I might have included "Bad Days" or "This Here Giraffe." Or anything off Zaireeka, the batshit-crazy 4-cd set that is meant to be played on four separate stereos at the same time.