Thursday, July 23, 2009

Weird video of the day

Ah, the late '90s and the first dot-com boom. Remember classics like N*Sync's "Digital Getdown"? Here's another one in that genre, "www.nevergetoveryou" from the Canadian band Prozzak, from 1999:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

After a quiet spring, second half of the year looks big

We haven't had a lot of news to report so far in 2009, other than the Better than Ezra career resurrection. But a whole slew of albums are set to come out by Christmas by a lot of your favorite artists. Among them:

* Third Eye Blind, Ursa Major - recently pushed back from June 23 to August 18.

* Our Lady Peace, Burn, Burn - out today, with a large Canadian tour and short US tour to follow. I've already got my tickets for the Atlanta date.

* Vertical Horizon, Burning the Days - out August 11.

* Alice in Chains, Black gives way to blue - out September 29, but the first single, "A Looking In View," is available now on iTunes (or listen to it below). First album without Layne Staley.

* Pearl Jam, Backspacer - out September 20. The band premiered a song off it on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien last month.

* Collective Soul, Rabbit - out August 25. First single "Welcome All Again" just hit radio and is available on iTunes as well. Go here if you want to hear a clip of another song off the album, "Staring Down." After two self-released albums, this one's coming out on Roadrunner Records, more famous for metal bands and Nickelback.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cover of the day - Hole do Nirvana

Thinking about Hole as a result of yesterday's post sent me to YouTube, where I found a weird one. You may remember "You Know You're Right," the so-called "last Nirvana single," recorded only a few months before Kurt Cobain's suicide and not released until 2002's greatest hits album.

Well, here's Hole doing the song in 1995 on MTV Unplugged.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

This week in reunions... Blur! Sunny Day Real Estate! Hole?!?

* Blur's reunion concert in Hyde Park, London was quite well-received (click that link for the setlist and some photos). A new, two-disc greatest hits is out now in the UK and gets released at the end of this month in the U.S.

* Sunny Day Real Estate, the Seattle band who strongly influenced emo, then gave the Foo Fighters half of its original line-up, are back together for a fall tour. Get dates and some YouTube clips here.

* Courtney Love, as you may know, has been working on her second solo album for quite some time. Initially, it was supposed to be co-written with ex-4 Non Blonde Linda Perry, who's become a songwriter for hire for Pink, Christina Aguilera, and others. Then it turned into a "return to rock" album, with Billy Corgan stepping in to co-write a bunch of songs. Now, it's apparently going to be a Hole album. Problem is, the other members of Hole are a little confused about what's going on. Guitarist Eric Erlandson told Spin that, based on the break-up contract signed by himself and Love in 2002, there is no Hole without him, and he hasn't been contacted to participate. Bass player Melissa Auf Der Maur says she's been contacted by Michael Beinhorn, the guy who produced Celebrity Skin, but not by Courtney, and she's not sure what her role's going to be (the NME says she'll record backing vocals on the album, then play bass on tour). Drummer Patty Schemel quit the band during the recording of Celebrity Skin, but then played drums on Love's first solo album and was most recently drumming for Juliette Lewis, so she's probably in.

Here's the 1999 line-up of Hole on Letterman, doing their last big modern rock hit, "Awful":

Friday, July 17, 2009

This week in break-ups... Nine Inch Nails, Live, and more

* Nine Inch Nails have announced their "final shows" later this year, though it's not clear if this means they're breaking up. Plus, could Trent Reznor break up with himself?

* In the "staying broken up department," Soundgarden are apparently not getting back together, no matter what the lead singer of Shinedown tells people. They may, however, be working on a b-sides album or a box set, Chris Cornell says.

* Ex-Cranberry Dolores O'Riordan has a new album out August 25, and will be touring in the U.S. this fall. And even though the band got back together for a one-off recently, don't expect a larger reunion. That's probably an OK thing; as good as some of the singles off the first two albums are, the Cranberries had really worn out their welcome by the time they broke up.

* Speaking of wearing out your welcome, Live, who are lucky they have any fans left after the abomination that was 2001's V, are going on a two-year hiatus. Ed Kowalczyk's doing a solo album, and some of the guys are rumored to be doing some sort of side project with the lead singer of Candlebox. While still huge in Belgium and the Netherlands, Live's been dealing with diminished returns in the US for a decade now, and super-fan Chris Daughtry's public support wasn't able to goose their career that much a few years back.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More D'Arcy news

Q101 in Chicago has posted the entire phone call ex-Smashing Pumpkin D'Arcy Wretzky made last week. According to Pitchfork (who bothered to listen to the entire thing), Wretzky now lives on a horse farm in Michigan and tells a delightful story about Marilyn Manson's parents.

You know, between this, Tinted Windows, and Billy Corgan hiring teenagers to play drums for him, I'm not sure a Smashing Pumpkins reunion is all that likely.

Monday, July 13, 2009

News bites: Vertical Horizon's new sound; Dinosaur Jr.'s too loud; the return of D'Arcy Wretzky

* Vertical Horizon's new album, their first since 2003, will be happier and dance-influenced, says frontman Matt Scannell.

* Dinosaur Jr.'s new album is apparently too loud (it's not that you're too damn old). A problem with the manufacturing increased the dBs too much, and you can return it if you so please for a new one and a free ringtone.

* Why is it still called the Smashing Pumpkins if it's just Billy Corgan and a bunch of no-names? Because Billy says the music he's writing still sounds like the Smashing Pumpkins.

* Meanwhile, ex-Pumpkins bassist D'Arcy, who hasn't been heard from in a long time, called a Chicago radio station to rave about the Monkees a couple of days ago.

* The Deftones had a new album about ready to go, but in the wake of bass player Chi Cheng's brain injury, they're shelving it and recording something new.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Our Lady Peace are back

Our Lady Peace, for my money the best Canadian band of the last 20 years, are back with a new album Burn, Burn, out July 21. And in a development that is making 17-year-old Mr. Peepers' head explode, the first single, "All you did was save my life," was co-written by Raine Maida of OLP and Zac Maloy of the Nixons. Watch the video here (sorry kids, no embedding).

The band's doing a big Canadian festival tour this month, and a small US club tour in August (already got my tickets for the Atlanta date). For an interview with Maida, go here; he says the band is consciously trying to get back to its '90s sound, which probably isn't a terrible thing. I liked parts of their last album in '05 (particularly "Angels/Losing/Sleep"), but it wasn't stellar, and their last big hit, "Somewhere Out There," was a little too slick for some folks.

Here's something to discuss in the comments: when all's said and done, who will be remembered as the biggest Canadian band of the '90s, Barenaked Ladies or Our Lady Peace? And no, the Tragically Hip don't count because a) their first album was in '87 and b) nobody south of Ontario knows any of their songs.

** Thanks to reader The Josh Strayhorn Experience for the tip!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This week in reunions... Blur! STP! Phish!

* If, like me, you couldn't find enough change in your couch to get over to England for the Blur reunion, you can watch rehearsal footage from the comfort of your own computer desk.

* Stone Temple Pilots, who are back on the road for a bit this summer, are ready to record a reunion album, due in 2010, with Don Was, of Was(Not Was) fame, producing. Was produced some of the later Rolling Stones albums.

* This guy thinks maybe Phish should have stayed broken up.