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The Curmudgeon

May brings not only flowers but the first batch of spring pop culture. It starts slowly, some new films, some tight releases and then before you know it you have a big giant summer season on your hands.

The Cocteau Twins are not reuniting after all. The band recently scrapped its reunion appearance at this year’s Coachella Festival as well as their planned subsequent reunion tour planned for later in the autumn. I guess they do really hate each other after all.

Tom Waits Reader

A collection of writings, interviews and general musings from Tom Waits has been compiled for a new anthology, Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader.

Fannypack has recruited several MCs, including dancehall icon Mr. Vegas, for their new record, See You Next Tuesday.

That walking freak Courtney Love is contributing a cover of Judy Garland’s “Love, Love, Love” to the soundtrack of Adam & Steve.

This month sees a batch of expanded reissues from The Cure. Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography have been cleaned up and expanded with a second disc of live tracks, rarities and demo recordings.

On a sad note, the remnants of NYC’s vital punk movement are taking another big hit as the legendary CBGB’s appears to be on life support until at least August. Rising rent, landlord tussles and Soho’s gentrification are all conspiring against the landmark’s survival. This is just plain wrong. Soon that street named after Joey Ramone will lead to an office building and a store that only sells vintage tweed jackets. It really sucks that “civic progress” always entails closing down places where the average Joe hangs out, drinks or sees shows. I am sure that New York needs more loft space, but CBGB’s is a cultural icon of infinite significance.

Man Made - Teenage Fanclub

The long overdue return of Teenage Fanclub is coming stateside this June when Merge Records releases their new album on June 2nd. Their latest record, Man Made,is produced by John McEntire of Tortoise.

Dead Can Dance has resurfaced for a Spring European tour.

Morrissey is releasing his cover of Patti Smith’s “Redondo Beach” as a single.

After twenty-two years Megadeth have called it a day.

Keep an eye out for Nine Black Alps. They have just released a new single, “Shot Down,” and are prepping their debut album for release this summer.

Maybe the regime change at the FCC means that really crappy commercial radio stations will be sold off or forced to play records people actually want to hear. Probably not, but it’s good to want things. However, there should be a massive fine for anyone who plays Alter Bridge, Sum 41 or Staind.

B.B. King

In honor of his 80th birthday, BB King is releasing an album of duets this September. Sting, Van Morrison and Bono, whom King worked with way back in 1989, are amongst the artists featured on the album.

Maybe it’s just me but people are too busy focusing on U2’s induction into the R&R Hall of Fame that they are overlooking the brilliance of the O’ Jays, Pretenders, Percy Sledge and Buddy Guy.

Patti Smith has been named curator for this year’s prestigious Meltdown Festival.

Bob Mould has remixed Length of Love by Interpol. The track will appear on the Remix EP for their next single “C’Mere.”

That born again guy from Korn isn’t fooling anyone. He’s still an idiot.

The hype machine hasn’t even really been turned on yet, but Bloc Party is already reaping the benefits of their success. The critically hot UK band has already begun recording new songs for their sophomore album, which could come out before the year’s end. Plus, tickets for their current US tour are being gobbled up quickly.

Gods & Monsters - I Am Kloot

Another band at work on new material is the Manchester three piece I Am Kloot have released their third LP.

It is not very cool that our nation’s fair metropolises are hosting sold out concerts by Vanilla Ice and the Backstreet Boys (I thought we got rid of them?). It’s stupid stuff like this that makes you roll your eyes and hide.

The Dandy Warhols have come down with their fifth album, Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, which is scheduled for a late summer 2005 release. If you can’t hold out until then, the Dandys will next be seen in 9 Songs, the new film from director Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, Wonderland).

Brent Anderson and Bernard Butler had a really nasty parting of ways when they both were in Suede. That’s why it is surprising to see the duo at it again, working under the moniker of The Tears. The duo is currently touring Britain and recording their new album, Here Come the Tears.

I am shedding no tears whatsoever on the hiatus/split or long slumber of Blink 182. After all they did ride that one-trick pony for an awfully long time. Now if we could just get Goldfinger to go away.

Demon Days - Gorillaz

Demon Days is the aptly titled new release from the Gorillaz. It should be a head trip because Damon Albarn and Danger Mouse have recruited Ike Turner, De La Soul, Shaun Ryder, MF Doom and Dennis Hopper for guest vocalist duties.

Laura Cantrell has signed to Matador records and is currently at work on her new record that features members of Calexico as her backing band.

Lots of bands reform as a last gasp for success or simply to just cash in. Fortunately for every crap reunion that comes along a there are a few good ones that rise to the surface. Such is the case with Dinosaur Jr., who has reformed with their original lineup for the first time in over fifteen years. The band is following up the reissue of their back catalog with appearances at the Download, Lollapalooza and the Fuji Music Festival.

Why hasn’t Tears For Fears realized that it is really over?

Bassist Mark McClelland has been booted from Snow Patrol.

Could the Final Four bring a scarier group of tourists to St. Louis?

Photographers Jay Blakesberg & J. Michelle Martin-Coyne recently released a photo book about The Flaming Lips called Waking Up With A Placebo Headwound. The book is a compendium of photographs if the band, in its many stages, from 1987-2004.

Hide the kids and lock the doors. New Age megastar George Winston is coming to the Sheldon here in St. Louis next month. He really is terrible and people should spend their money elsewhere. Although if you suffer from sleep deprivation this may just do the trick.

It is truly a sign that the world has gone mad when Rob Thomas (ex-Matchbox 20) has a successful solo career. I can’t believe people are buying the shoddy goods of marginal musicianship that he’s peddling.

Imitation is the fondest form of flattery. Case in point how interesting it is that there are so many bands out there these days (from The Rapture to Louis XIV to The Killers) that sound like in both large and small parts like The Fall.

In closing, embrace the spring for its sunshine, baseball and new great music, but be cognizant of the large caches of crap music hiding on the airwaves, in the malls and in the record stores of our land. Remember popular doesn’t always mean good. With that in mind, sally forth and delve deep by exploring new sounds and supporting local music as often as possible.

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