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The Curmudgeon

The Kaiser Chiefs

I don’t know about you but my April was pretty boring. Sure there was the advent of baseball season and lots of big time movie and musical releases to listen to. There was even basketball and all this crazy Pope business to keep my ADD going. However, nothing prepared me for the burst of spring that is The Kaiser Chiefs. It’s always good to see a band make fun songs that are lyrically sharp and musically catchy. This Leeds band creates songs that are simultaneously angular and poppy without having it all unravel in a big heap. Yeah they sound like some other bands, but who doesn’t these days. They’ve learned when to reign in the music and tighten the lyrics to create songs with substance and emotion. In a perfect world this is the album that should put them on the map.

I’ve also been listening to Open Season by the always interesting British Sea Power. BSP dress up in WWI outfits and cover their stage with plastic animals and bracken to give their set a more pastoral feel. British Sea Power are also playing a gig this summer in the middle of the North Atlantic. The concert will happen at the Principality of Sealand, a deserted oil rig just outside of British water space.

Besides that there is Feist, a singer who has won several Juno Awards in Canada (which may or may not be a big deal because even Corey Hart won a few of those). Her new album, Let It Die, is melodic and emotional without sounding contrived.

Just because you can make a sequel to XXX, doesn’t mean you should.

Cobra Verde

Clay Aiken is playing the Indiana State Fair this month. Which begs me to ask, shouldn’t they quarantine the entire state?

You may have thought that after dominating last summer’s concert season that The Pixies would take some time off. Well if you thought that, you were wrong. The band has decided to do it once more with feeling by mounting a high profile three week tour of venues they missed out on last summer. Before last year’s mega-reunion singer Frank Black hunkered down in Nashville to record new material. The result is Honeycomb, his first solo effort in quite some time.

Cobra Verde’s latest, Copycat Killers, is a masterful album of covers. When you delve into the record you’ll find unique reinterpretations of songs from the Rolling Stones, Hawkwind and The Fall as well as classic covers of New Order and Donna Summer. Cobra Verde even take their touring mates The Undertones to task by covering “Teenage Kicks.”

I am the bearer of sad news this month because one of Scotland’s best pop bands, The Delgados has called it a day after a decade and five solid albums. Despite the split, the band members will continue to run their label, Chemikal Underground.
A Scottish band that hasn’t quit, Belle & Sebastian are set to release a double album of their various singles and EPs they’ve recorded for Jeepster records, Push Barman To Open Old Wounds.

Love the Cup

Fellow Scots Sons & Daughters came out of nowhere last year to deliver a wonderful debut EP, Love the Cup. They currently are prepping their long awaited debut album, Repulsion Box, with a new single, “Dance Me In.”

Electrelane have once again joined forces with Steve Albini for their crunchy new album Axes. The band, currently on a short US tour, recorded the album over the holidays last year in Chicago.

Albini’s Shellac recently mounted a short four day tour of the Midwest.

The dB’s, one of the 1980s most important and most underappreciated bands, have reunited and recorded an album’s worth of new material for release sometime next year.

Kid Loco has scored the music for Eban & Charley director James Bolton’s new film, Graffiti Artist.

For the last decade, Liverpool’s The La’s have made one song (“There She Goes”) go a very long way. They are trying to recapture that magic again by recording a new album.

Lollapalooza lives again! Sort of. The retooled and scaled down festival has been revived for a two-day festival on July 23-24 in Chicago’s Grant Park.

Son Volt Retrospective

Son Volt returns next month with a new album, Okemah and the Melody of Riot. If you can’t wait until then, Rhino Records has released a comprehensive compilation of the band’s previous work, A Retrospective 1995-2000, which also features five previously unreleased songs. If you have to actually see Jay Farrar in action, check out the just out DVD of Son Volt’s 1997 performance on Austin City Limits.

June also sees the release of V2 Records’ At The Drive In compilation, This Station Is Non-Operational. The collection includes several unreleased songs from ATDI, including covers of songs from the Smiths and Pink Floyd.

The reformed Dinosaur Jr is spending most of July on the road, including a spot at this year’s Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago.

“Jetstream,” the new single from New Order features guest vocals from Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters.

Thom Yorke may help out with guest vocal duties on the upcoming album from Felix Da Housecat.

“Hello Tomorrow,” the new single from Squeak E. Clean features vocals from Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.


Nick Zimmer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has turned up in a new band called Single Frame. Their debut, Body/End/Basement features the annoyingly catchy “People Are Germs.”

It has been awhile since anyone heard a peep out of ex-Ride Vocalist Mark Gardener. Lately he’s been holed up in a New York studio putting the finishing touches on his debut solo album.

Latvia and Lithuania should merge and form Latveria. Oh nevermind…

If you remember the Stereo MC’s and wondered where they buggered off to, fret no more. They have resurfaced once more with a new studio album entitled Paradise.

Depeche Mode is currently in California working on their new album which should be coming up early next year.

Nick Carter was recently arrested for drunk driving. He should have been jailed ages ago for making terrible music with the Backstreet Boys.

It is truly the end for us humans. That’s because Robert Smith has provided lyrical support for Billy Corgan. The duo teamed up to record a version of the Bee-Gees’ “To Love Somebody” for Corgan’s debut, Thefutureembrace.

David Essex is helping out Saint Etienne on their latest Tales from the Turnpike House by singing vocals on the track “Relocate.” In the meantime they’ve released the record’s first single, “Side Streets.” The band will tour in support of the record this spring.

Art Brut

The soon to be huge Art Brut have a finally released their much hyped debut CD Bang Bang Rock & Roll.

It is probably just me, but the Michael Jackson trial seems to be going on way too long.

The Boredoms have signed to Vice Records.

Never forget, Sith rearranged spells “shit.”

Author Nick Hornby will be supporting one of his favorite bands, Marah, next month.

If you’ve haven’t read Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master & The Margarita then you are missing something.

Maybe the next version of the Patriot Act will do something to address the menace that is Hilary Duff.

There should never be another Herbie the Love Bug film. Unless of course they find a way to put Don Knotts in it.

Which is worse, Spielberg remaking War of the Worlds, or Tom Cruise starring in a remake of War of the Worlds?

Jack Dangers is taking a revamped Meat Beat Manifesto on the road for a summer tour.

Alanis thinks, 'I guess I shouldn't tell Rob I have a Greatest Hits coming out this year too, huh?'

It is a true tragedy of celebrity when an artist has to tour to celebrate the anniversary of their only good record. I am talking about Alanis Morisette who is currently mounting an acoustic tour to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Jagged Little Pill. That’s just wrong.

Finally, you, the mighty reader, are going to be bombarded over the next few months by critics and friends to see a bunch of new movies or listen to a bunch of crappy high profile new releases. As a warning to you, stay away! Just hide away and read a book or go somewhere new. But no matter what, don’t believe the hype and discover things for yourself.