Monday, September 21, 2009

News bites: 311, Radiohead, Travis, Pumpkins, Guster, more

Sometimes stuff happens that's not really worthy of its own item. For instance:

* 311 are touring in November and December. Their most recent album Uplifter hit the Top 5 and has thus far spun off two modern rock hits: "Hey You" and "It's alright."

* Thom Yorke of Radiohead is working on a couple of new solo singles, which will more than likely be released on vinyl and digital download.

* Travis, who were very briefly one of the biggest bands in the world (remember when Coldplay were the next Travis?) are doing an acoustic tour across the U.S. from October 8 to November 12. It's being billed as a "chronological acoustical journey." Could be fun.

* That teenage kid who auditioned for the Smashing Pumpkins' drummer chair is apparently now a full-fledged member. Meanwhile, Billy Corgan is doing a solo tour with the Spirits in the Sky, a backing band that includes D'Arcy Wretzky's ex-husband on drums.

* The harmonica dude from Blues Traveler who used to be fat needs another new hip.

* Apparently the theme this year is "10th anniversary tours for albums that came out in '99." Jimmy Eat World and the Get Up Kids both did it. Now Guster is planning to play Lost and Gone Forever in its entirety at various clubs in October.

Monday, September 14, 2009

This week in reunions... Sublime! The Cranberries! No Doubt!

* Scott Weiland tells ArtistDirect that Stone Temple Pilots are working with between 10 and 18 songs for their next record, which could be out around Christmas. Meanwhile, Weiland kicked off his new clothing line with a solo set in LA last week, and STP are doing a handful of dates in October.

* Sublime are reuniting for Cypress Hill's Smokeout Festival in California in October. Not included in the reunion is lead singer / songwriter / guitarist Bradley Nowell, because he's, you know, dead.

* The Cranberries, who never officially broke up but hadn't played any shows or done any recording since 2003, will be touring the U.S. at the end of the year. Expect to hear new songs, old hits, and songs off lead singer Dolores O'Riordan's non-charting solo album (autographed copies still available here for only $9.99!). Generally, when the lead singer announces that the band's getting back together within a month of their solo album coming out, that's a sign the solo album didn't do too well.

* The Toadies reunion continues on. They toured the UK for the first time ever and are about to head back into the studio for a new album, to be released in 2010.

* According to this interview with Tony Kanal, the No Doubt reunion album might be awhile. Apparently, they wrote together but hadn't actually recorded anything before the giant summer tour. And by "wrote together," Kanal means that there are "seedlings" of songs but no actual songs written yet.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

RIP Allen Shellenberger

Lit drummer Allen Shellenberger has died after a battle with brain cancer. The band has posted a tribute video to him:

I was going to post my favorite Lit song, "Zip-Lock," but BMG disabled the youtube embed, so if you want to hear it, you gotta go here.

No word on the future of Lit; main songwriter Jeremy Popoff spends a lot of time in Nashville writing country songs now. The band does have one date scheduled for October in Charlotte, N.C.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Speaking of video games...

The shit has really hit the fan in regards to Kurt Cobain's appearance in the new Guitar Hero 5. Apparently, you can unlock both Cobain and Johnny Cash during the course of the game.

That's not that bad. But once Cobain's unlocked, you can use him as the lead singer on any song in the game, leading to disturbing images like this:

Seeing Cobain fist-pump and booty-shake his way through a Bon Jovi song is just unsettling.
Courtney Love has taken to Twitter and claimed she never gave Activision Games the approval to use Cobain's likeness in such a way. She also makes some rambling, semi-coherent claims about being cheated (get the highlights here), mentioning specifically that somebody's forging power of attorney forms in her name. Activision, on the other hand, claim Love herself signed an agreement to use Cobain's likeness.

Courtney Love has been making accusations of people thieving from the Cobain estate for at least five years, possibly closer to 10. Yet to my knowledge, there have never been any lawsuits filed to recoup money, and no criminal charges have ever been brought. If I'm wrong, let me know in the comments, please, but between this and the accusations against ex-Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson last month, it seems like Courtney may be crying wolf a bit too much.

Meanwhile, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl have released their own statement (through a publicist, which, let's be honest, Courtney Love might think about doing) wherein they state that they gave permission to use two songs in Guitar Hero 5, but the Cobain estate has all rights to Cobain's name and likeness. They also want the Cobain character "re-locked," although I doubt that's even possible at this point with the game already on sale.

If you want some Nirvana news that's not sad, depressing, or creepy, the band's legendary 1992 set at the Reading Festival will be released on CD and DVD in November.

* Anybody else wonder why the Cash family isn't upset about this? Seeing Johnny Cash rap or sing Black-Eyed-Peas songs or whatever is just as weird as this Cobain stuff.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams, who was huge in the UK in the late '90s but never really came over here in a big way, is back with a new song called "Bodies."

I dig it. There's a part in the middle that reminds me of Enigma, or perhaps that Benedictine monks album Chant. (did you know that album went triple-platinum? Seriously?)

P.S. Yes, I'm aware that Noel Gallagher quit Oasis. No, I'm not that interested. Noel quit once before, around 2000, and the band released another album two years later. Noel was talking about the band taking a hiatus after the summer tour anyway. I've got $20 says they patch things up eventually.