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The Curmudgeon – March 2005 Edition

Although has been a zany winter season with weird weather, there is a reason to be optimistic. That is because there are mass quantities of new releases out there and even more touring by young bands on the make. If you want to hear new sounds support Indie radio and especially Internet radio. These are both great ways around the drek of commercial radio.

Having said that…

It is the Easter season and musical resurrection abounds…

Kate Bush, who has not made an album for like a thousand years, has nearly completed work on her new album, which should come out in the latter part of this year. And features string arrangements from composer Michael Kamen.

Portishead have nearly completed their first album of new material in almost eight years. The band came out of seclusion last month and joined Massive Attack, The Coral and Robert Plant for an Oxfam Tsunami Relief show.

It seems like bands are reforming all over the place over the coming months…

The Happy Mondays and The Farm recently reformed for a short UK tour.

[ad#longpost]The biggest reclamation project so far seems to be this year’s Coachella Festival, which features reunions from Gang of Four, Bauhaus, and the Cocteau Twins.

The Cocteau Twins reunion is particularly surprising in lieu of the fact that they really were sick of each other at the end. But I guess they are right when they say that money talks.

As for Gang Of Four (who reunited a few months ago for a UK tour), they probably are the best timed of the reunions. With so many bands right now copying their sound, why shouldn’t they cash in?

A reunited Bauhaus makes sense as well because their reunion tour a few years back made them a lot of cash.

These reunions fit snugly amongst sets by New Order, Nine Inch Nails, British Sea Power, Four Tet, Coldplay, MF Doom, M83, Spoon, The Kills, Radio 4, Razorlight, Jean Grae, The Chemical Brothers, Bloc Party, Wilco (who had to cancel in 2004), Keane, Secret Machines and Snow Patrol.

Anthony Wilson, has re-launched his long dormant Factory Records for a fourth time. The new label, F4, still based in Manchester has just released Realise & Witness from Raw-T.

Is there any film soundtrack around now that is not using The Shins or Iron & Wine?

Denizens of our cities face grave peril as Ashlee Simpson comes to town after town.

Yr Atal Genheadlaeth is the debut album from Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys, who despite going solo is still in the band as they record new material for a late 2005 release. The Super Furry Animals recently released a compilation of their work spanning from 1996-2004 entitled, Songbook: The Singles Vol.1.

Flaming Lips: At War With the Mystics

The world has been waiting to see what crazy and outlandish thing The Flaming Lips will be up to next. After working on their film and playing a zillion festivals the band is finishing up At War With The Mystics, which could be out by the end of the summer.

Bloc Party is supporting the domestic release of Silent Alarm with a short American tour in the next few months. The tour includes high profile gigs at both South By Southwest and The Coachella Festival. This band is going to be huge!

At this time I would like to say something good about the Constantine film. But I can’t.

Part of me is sad to see the Star Trek franchise come to an end, or at least a long slumber but a larger part of me thinks that Enterprise never really got off the ground. It wasn’t really doing anything new and that theme music was just atrocious. But I think its cancellation serves notice that SF fans will not just be force fed crap TV any longer. Hence, if a Star Trek series is canceled in a forest does anyone hear it? No, because they weren’t watching either.

Echo & The Bunnymen never stop. After a quasi “farewell” tour two years ago the band has reconvened in a Liverpool studio with Hugh Jones (who produced Heaven Up Here) behind the boards. The band also plans to mount another large tour this May.

Employment, the debut CD from the highly touted Kaiser Chiefs will be released later this spring.

Spoon have signed to Matador records.

Don’t call it a comeback…Billy Idol, yes him, is releasing Devil’s Playground, his first new album in like 2000 years in late March. The album will be supported by a massive world tour.

Guero, the new album by Beck has some heavy hitters remixing it. That’s because a bonus version of the CD is coming out that features mixes by Octet, Boards of Canada, and Dizzee Rascal.

I must say that Son of the Mask may be the dumbest idea I have ever heard of.

Whoever gave Paris Hilton a pet dog that is thicker than she is should have his/her head examined.

“Christiansands” by Tricky has been spruced up for the soundtrack to 24.

Nick Cave has just released a three CD box set of b-sides and rarities.

Ustinov, the new album from Elbow, will be released in late May.

The White Stripes are hard at work on their new album, due later this winter.

The Pixies, Modest Mouse and the Arcade Fire are just a few of the bands booked for Sasquatch 2005, an outdoor music festival in George, Washington each memorial Day weekend.

No matter how the US legal system rules, Courtney Love should be jailed for crimes against humanity.

Oh that wacky Michael Jackson…You know you are in deep trouble when they subpoena Corey Feldman and Maury Povitch to testify in your defense.

Roger Daltrey has been made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth. Prince Charles celebrated the event by going out and marrying the ugliest woman he could find. Daltrey is hard at work on Who2, the new studio album for The Who.

The Boredoms will be mounting a super brief American tour this May.

Les Georges Leningrad are great and they are on tour through late March. The highly touted Montreal act is known for their arty, kitschy and conceptual stage presentations.

Finally, I think that there should be a special convention version of The Apprentice for con attendees of various conventions. Think of the possibilities. No wishy washy third tier guests with loads of free time and a crap new book, no guys who stood next to Leonard Nimoy in an episode of Star Trek, no guys who were in a half frame of Star Wars. Instead we could have guests who people want to see. The potential is limitless. We, the downtrodden fans could get to fire all the idiots who book stupid guests that no one cares about like Lorenzo Lamas. Think about it, all of our wildest dreams could come true because common sense would prevail, at least until the final budgets came in.

Next time, the great thaw of winter gives way to spring releases and big, scary tours.