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The Curmudgeon #20

Kiss pinball machine

I am amazed that in these horrid economic times people are still spending their hard earned dollars on crap like Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and The All-American Rejects.

To make things worse everything old is new again as both musicians and labels cash in on an array of countless reunions, package tours and reissues.

Nonetheless there are actually exciting new releases, summer tours and breaking new artists to check out.

Kiss is prepping their first album of new studio material in over a decade. They’ll hit the road at the end of the summer and release their new yet to be titled album later this year. Paul Stanley is producing the album.

Grizzly Bear will hook up with Beach House for a tour later this summer. The band recently announced that this fall they would be performing in concert with the London Symphony Orchestra.

It is always dangerous when artists fiddle with the classics. Nonetheless Billy Bragg has done just that. He has taken the choral version of Beethoven‘s Ninth Symphony and reworked the libretto for the Asia America Youth Orchestra. David Benoit will conduct for the premiere in LA this August.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Heads Will Roll (Passion Pit Remix)

Passion Pit has remixed “Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs vocalist Karen O joins MGMT as a guest artist on Embryonic, the epic new double album from The Flaming Lips.

Swedish popstress Sally Shapiro has released a new EP, Love In July, on Paper Bag records.

Bad Lieutenant is releasing their first single, “Sink or Swim,” this September as a small taster for their debut album Never Cry Another Tear. Bad Lietenant features Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Phil Cunningham of New Order with Alex James of Blur on bass. Rambo & Leroy’s Jake Evans is on vocals.

The Moon landings of 1969 were a pretty big deal. With that in mind David Bowie has reissued his single “Space Oddity” forty years on with new mixes as well as originals versions of his classic. Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones recently directed the film, Moon.

Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr) has recorded a solo effort, Goodnight Unknown, for release in October.

[ad#longpost]Trent Reznor is putting Nine Inch Nails to bed with a final series of smaller venue gigs near the end of the summer.

Paul Oakenfold has encapsulated his Las Vegas DJ residency into an album, Perfecto Vegas. The album sees Oakenfold in form with a set of tight, banging electronics. His new studio album, Pop Killer, drops in 2010 and features collaboration with Cee-Lo and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Click here to buy Perfecto Vegas from Amazon.

The Pixies are releasing a very posh box set called Minotaur later this year complete with fancy artwork and remastered versions of their albums. They also are touring Europe and America to support the 20th anniversary of Doolittle. They will play the album in its entirety on tour.

Pixie Kim Deal has reformed The Breeders for a summer tour.

Former Stranglers vocalist Hugh Cornwell is giving away his new record, Hoover Dam, via his website. The album will also be dropping in stores in early September.

Former Pulp guitarist Richard Hawley is set to release his sixth Studio album, Truelove’s Gutter on Mute Records this fall.

Crystal Stilts are releasing “Love Is A Wave” as a 7″ single backed with a new b-side called “Sugarbaby.”

Direct link for the feedreaders.

Everytime you turn around there is another new band from Scotland coming along. The latest are The Broken Records who have made an auspicious debut with Until The Earth Begins To Part on 4AD records. Click here to buy Until the Earth Begins to Part from Amazon.

In This Light And On This Evening, the third album from Editors is slated for a late September release and touring to follow. The band has changed its approach somewhat by including a heavy does of synths for this go-round.

Living Colour is back. They’ve been playing some live shows and recently hunkered down near Prague recording The Chair of Destiny due for a mid-September release. Living Colour will tour the USA in September and October.

The Jonas Brothers are the greatest threat to the western world since Communism.

Now that Panic At The Disco has split will national eyeliner sales plummet?

The Beastie BoysIll Communication is being reissued with extra tacks and goodies. Click here to buy Ill Communication from Amazon.

Also being reissued is The Unforgettable Fire, the last proper U2 album before they went weird.

Not satisfied with the Capitol Records version, The Dandy Warhols have released The Dandy Warhols Are Sound, a reworked and roughed up edition of Welcome To the Monkey House. The band is following the release up with a short US tour. Click here to buy The Dandy Warhols Are Sound from Amazon.

Two records from The Screaming Blue Messiahs, Bikini Red and Gun Shy are back in print as reissues. TSBM were one of the 90s most overlooked bands. The peak of their acclaim was the seminal “I Wanna Be A Flintstone.” An album of BBC Sessions has also been released. Click here to buy Screaming Blue Messiahs stuff from Amazon.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

British Sea Power has released their musical accompaniment to Man of Aran, a 1939 film by Robert Flaherty. BSP has composed a score that is rich in texture and layered with atmospheric depth. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

Love & Rockets are getting their own tribute record. New Tales To Tell: A Tribute to Love & Rockets features covers by The Dandy Warhols, The Flaming Lips, Frank Black, Film School and Ian Moore among others.

Everything Goes Wrong is eagerly awaited sophomore record from Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls. They are on the road in the next few months in support of the record. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

The Zaire ’74 festival was a twelve hour musical extravaganza built around the Ali-Foreman fight in Kinshasa. This celebration of the African roots of music paired popular African artists with American R&B performers like BB King and James Brown. This once in a lifetime concert is the focus of Soul Power (Sony) a new documentary by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte.

Madness marks three decades of music with a new release, The Liberty of Norton Folgate. London serves as the inspiration for the songs. Click here to buy Liberty of Norton Folgate from Amazon.

Robert Plant has been made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire).

Book Notes:

Ripped book cover art
The Lowside of the Road book cover art
Juliet, Naked book cover art

Greg Kot’s Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music (Scribner) offers the first probing and in depth study of the digital revolution in the music industry and how the consumer has used digital technology to circumvent traditional means of getting music. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

Author Barney Hoskyns has little inner circle access but still manages to compel with Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits (Broadway). There’s a lot to muddle through here but in the end the art and reclusive life of Waits bears scrutiny. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

Juliet, Naked (Riverhead) is the newest novel from Nick Hornby. For this go round he explores the relationship between an obsessive music fan and a singer who has slipped comfortably into obscurity. Hornby’s mélange of popular culture and the power of music as stimulation work perfectly. Click here to buy it from Amazon.

Finally, I’d like to point out that 30.9 million people saw the Jackson Memorial service. By contrast 30 people will read this column.

Kiss pinball machine image.


  • Back in high school, I made that KISS pinball machine my bitch. The red “Special” light was easy to light, and the CRACK, CRACK, CRACK of the free games won was music to my ears. Coincidentally, one of my high school buddies who haunted the arcade with me was Robert Levy. But probably you, Rob Levy, weren’t even born in 1983.

  • Great column Rob. TSBM was one of my faves from the get go, glad to see the reissues- hopefully remastered? I did not watch the Jackson memorial by the way.