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Sometimes you gotta go it alone. That's what members of Interpol, Vampire Weekend, System of a Down and Das Racist are saying this week. And wouldn't you know it? Joey Ramone, were he alive, would agree. Or at least, that's what BMG would have you believe.
The record label will be releasing the Ramones frontman's long-gestating second posthumous solo album "...Ya Know?" on May 22, with its 15 tracks featuring collaborations from " Joan Jett, Little Steven Van Zandt, former Ramones drummer Richie Ramone, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, Dennis Diken of the Smithereens, Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye and members of the Ramones' punk-era contemporaries The Dictators."
"Joey Ramone was one of the key figures in a musical revolution whose impact is still being felt today. We are honored that Joey's brother Mickey and his estate have entrusted this album to BMG," BMG exec Jason Hradil. "The album represents the very best of the recordings Ramone left behind and assembled by his brother Mickey Leigh, manager Dave Frey and trusted producer Ed Stasium."
The single "Rock 'N Roll Is the Answer" will be released in advance on Record Store Day on Saturday (April 21).
I don't have any authority to say whether or not the late Ramone -- dead 11 years -- would care for another solo go-round on the heels of 2002's "Don't Worry About Me," but like so many of these projects that occur long after death has transpired, it still smells like cash-grab. (Or like teen spirit?)
As for folks who are still alive...
Vampire Weedend bassist Chris Baio is putting out his premiere solo EP "Sunburn"on May 21, and teamed with Matias Aguayo for its first big reveal, "Tanto," streaming here:
The band's producer and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmangli is in headlines lately, too, as he contributed the original score to 2011 Sundance pick "Sound of My Voice." That film is now getting a wide release at the end of this month on April 27; Batmangli is brother to Zal Batmangli, who directed and co-wrote the film.
Paul Banks from Interpol is also releasing a set in EP form, for "Julian Plenti Lives," out on June 12. The Matador set features three covers in its five songs, including Frank Sinatra's "I'm a Fool to Want You" and... get this... J Dilla's "Mythsysizer."
The Interpol songwriter, singer and lyricist put out his first solo set under the Julian Plenti name in 2009, with his first set "Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper." It was OK.
Serj Tankian from System of a Down has plotted another solo set, which got a release date today. "Harakiri" will be out on July 21 via Reprise/Serjical Strike (I see what you did there), making it Tankian's third solo effort.
And, as previously reported, all three members of Das Racist have plotted solo releases in 2012. Kool A.D. is already done making another mixtape, "51," out on April 24. There's a new song from it, "Ticky Ticky" featuring Main Attrakionz and Green Ova, streaming below: