Headliners include Jane's Addiction, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Kings of Leon
Fittingly so, Jane's Addiction will headline Lollapalooza, which takes place Aug. 7-9 at Grant Park in Chicago. As many of you recall, Jane's Addiction founder Perry Ferrell founded Lollapalooza in 1991. It was a touring festival in those days instead of a three-day stop in one city and it set the precedent for many such festivals that followed included Warped and Ozzfest.
This year's line up positions Lollapalooza solidly between the cool, alternative hipness of Coachella and the rock/jam feel of Bonnaroo. Among the 85 artists on the bill are Depeche Mode, the Killers, Tool, Kings of Leon, Lou Reed, Beastie Boys and Ben Harper and the Relentless7.
Also playing is the usual assortment of critical alternative rock darlings: Vampire Weekend, the Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, TV on the Radio, Animal Collective, Of Montreal, Silversun Pickups, Band of Horses and Neko Case.
Lollapalooza is also a little country and a little rap. Country artists coming to the Windy City include alternative-leaning Robert Earl Keen and Eric Church. Rappers Snoop Dogg and hot newcomer Asher Roth are also playing the three-day festival.
At some point, to be quite honest, my eyes start to blur and all the festival line ups look the same because they all overlap in some form of fashion. For example, the big draw on the main stage Saturday night at the just concluded Coachella was the Killers. Other artists on both bills include Cage the Elephant, Crystal Castles, Band of Horses, Lykke Li, Fleet Foxes, Ida Maria, Thievery Corporation and a few others.
Bonnaroo, which is two months earlier than Lollapalooza, shares many of the same artists including Ben Harper, Snoop Dogg, Beastie Boys, Band of Horses, Neko Case, Andrew Bird, Hockey, the Decemberists, Robert Earl Keen, Crystal Castles and some others.
Three-day passes are on sale now and are $190. For those of you who aren't quite aware there's a recession going on, you can buy the Lolla Lounge VIP Pass for $850. That gets you air conditioned restrooms (that's worth the extra moolah right there, access to VIP lounges, a spot on the raised viewing platforms adjacent to the main stages, lunch and dinner buffets and other stuff. We're sure it comes with a cool laminate to show your friends).
So is the festival worth $190? It offers almost 50 fewer acts than Coachella (for which three-day passes were $259) and the four-day, 112-act Bonnaroo (tickets are $249.50). The price is extremely appealing and boils down to about $2.50 per act. Of course you're not going to see everyone on the bill or full sets by most of the artists, but Lollapalooza is smack dab in the middle of Chicago, which counts for a lot in terms of extremely easy access in and out. It's not like Bonnaroo, which is in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee with very few creature comforts, or Coachella, which is hot as blazes and also in the middle of nowhere. What Lollapalooza lacks in start power (I'd give the line up a B), it makes up for by being in the Windy City.
Is power pop super group greater than the sum of its parts?
It's hard to imagine a project with a stronger power pop pedigree than Tinted Windows. All four members come from bands that have perfected the craft of the perfect pop song: Tinted Windows is Hanson's lead singer Taylor Hanson, guitarist James Iha was in Smashing Pumpkins and A Perfect Circle, Adam Schlesinger is bassist and chief songwriter for Fountains of Wayne and Bun E. Carlos is Cheap Trick's drummer.
Hanson and Schlesinger have been friends for years, as have Schlesinger and Iha. The threesome wrote the self-titled album's 11 tracks and then brought in Carlos.
Even though Carlos wrote none of the tunes, Tinted Windows recalls Cheap Trick more than any of the other members' bands. That simply could be that Cheap Trick influenced Hanson and Fountains of Wayne (I don't know about CT's influence on Smashing Pumpkins, although given that Billy Corgan is a Chicago boy and Cheap Trick is one of the most successful bands to ever come out of Illinois, it seems very unlikely that a little Trick didn't rub off on him when he was writing the Pumpkins' songs). Melodically, both "Back with You" and "Nothing to Me" recall Cheap Trick tunes. Furthermore, Hanson sounds like he's channeling CT lead singer Robin Zander on the two tracks. That's part of the fun of Tinted Windows: hearing Hanson stretch his great voice here. It's as if he's flexing a different muscle than he uses when he sings with his brothers and it suits him well. For anyone who's followed Hanson from the band's start more than a decade ago, Taylor Hanson has emerged as a major talent.
Trio starts tour July 3 in support of '21st Century Breakdown'
Consider it an early Independence Day celebration: Green Day will kick off its first North American tour in more than three years on July 3 in Seattle. The first leg will end in Lost Angeles on Aug. 25.
The Bay Area trio is touring behind "21st Century Breakdown," its eighth studio album, which comes out May 15. The first single from the Butch Vig-produced set, "Know Your Enemy," came out April 16.
Revealing interview sets up new album, 'Together Through Life'
It's a long, but very digestible Q&A with the master himself conducted by Bill Flanagan. Dylan's website has been rolling the interview out in installments, like a serialized novel, and it is riveting. It takes Flanagan a few minutes to get Dylan going, but he knows exactly when to pry and when to let an exchange go and let the answer, as short as it may be, marinate in Dylan's brilliance.
I have a bit of a confession to make in that I've never really gotten into Dylan's music as much as I want to. I'm young enough to have missed him in the ‘60s and I've never taken the time to go back and explore his stuff. I feel like I don't have the time to properly devote to it-as if I need a study plan, like reading the Bible or something like that. After reading this interview, it's clear that Dylan doesn't take himself seriously, so maybe I need to just jump right in and quit feeling so intimidated.
Report says Brit tabloid favorite has new album in the works
Timberlake wants to duet with Winehouse, according to a story in Sunday's Daily Mirror . Winehouse, who was supposed to play at Coachella this past weekend, is still hanging out in St. Lucia and is starting to map out her third album. It follows Grammy-winning "Back to Black," which included the hit, "Rehab."
The Mirror's unsubstantiated report claims that Timberlake is so eager to work with Winehouse, he's volunteered to fly to St. Lucia (as if going to tropical paradise is a hardship.). The British paper also claims she has turned down offers to work with Snoop Dogg and Eminem.
What do you think? Should JT and Amy duet? Or, ist all just a bunch of rubbish?
What it means to be a Springsteen fan
Their foundation held steady and true over a two-night run at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, April 15-16. The WOAD tour is only a few weeks old, but it is already a sure-footed exercise.
One of the things Springsteen does better than any other artist is acknowledge the outside world; while at the same time provide an immersive escape from its trials and tribulations. On this tour, he deliberately sends some musical relief in response to our collective economic SOS. Much of the song selection---even though the tunes were written long before the current mess--focus on characters who are crying uncle, but aren't going down without a fight.
Thursday night's show featured a killer triptych of the driving "Seeds" (a rare track from "Live 1975-85"), a hopped-up "Johnny 99" (which includes the never more relevant line, "I had debts no honest man could pay/The bank was holdin' my mortgage and they was takin' my house away," even though it was first recorded for 1982's "Nebraska") and "Youngstown." The latter featured a Nil Lofgren guitar solo so sharp, razor perfect and ferocious that it, as my former Billboard editor Timothy White used to say, could put a new part in your hair. (On the first night, "Youngstown" was dropped for "The Ghost of Tom Joad," which featured an electrifying guitar solo from Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello that seemed to breathe life directly into Springsteen's lungs. I've seen all three times Morello has played the tune with Springsteen and it's never been less than incendiary).
Will it change anything at all?
Does the Pirate Bay decision matter? To recap: Today, a Stockholm court convicted four men affiliated with the illegal file-sharing site of breaking Swedish copyright law. Pirate Bay is a peer-to-peer site that allows users to download music and movies for free.
According to the Associated Press, the four men were ordered to pay $3.6 million to a number of music and movie companies, including Warner Bros., Sony Music and EMI.
One of the convicted men, Peter Sunde, said don't expect any money from him: Firstly, he and the three others found guilty will appeal; secondly, he doesn't have the money and thirdly, as the AP quotes him as says, "Even if I had the money, I would rather burn everything I own."
And therein lies the problem. While such cases need to wend their way through the courts, the legal process is having no real effect on halting piracy, as far as I can tell. It's just chest thumping. Of course (and, for me, it is this black and white), illegally downloading is stealing. But, and I can speak only from the record business perspective, the music industry has certainly muddied the already opaque waters, when labels offer free downloads for promotional purposes. It sends a bit of a mixed message: "Downloading for free is only wrong if we tell you it is, but we really want you to download something for free if we tell you it's from us and it's okay. In the meantime, enjoy this free download from [insert artist's name here], but don't dare try to download it for free after we've taken it down."
Also, as Sunde's blustery comments make abundantly clear, if you have enough flagrant disregard for the law to set up an illegal p-2-p site, you really aren't going to care when the law comes after you and you are completely unrepentant. He also said, according to CNET, "You can looked upon it as a movie, at the point when the heroes have just had the first real setback. But thanks Hollywood! You have taught us that in the end the good will win. And it will be a really big victory", he said. Get this guy a reality show, he's gold every time he opens his mouth.
Here's Billboard's take on the matter, which puts some valuable perspective on the issue:
As it to be expected, the IFPI and other upholders of copyright laws are happy about the decision, according to this CNET piece, but feel there's still more work to be done.
Silversun Pickups also expected to enter Top 10
Look for "Making the Band 4" winners Day 26 to make a return trip to the top of the charts next week when "Forever in a Day" is predicted to come in at No. 1.
Hits Daily Double estimates the boy band will sell up to 125,000 copies, giving it a slight lead over the soundtrack for "Hannah Montana: The Movie," which will continue to surge on the strength of the movie's box office. This week's charttopper, Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable," drops to No. 3.
Hits has all three titles selling north of 100,000, but after that the rest of the top 10 plummets into the 50,000 and lower range. The only other debut is SoCal rock band Silversun Pickups' "Swoon," which should come in around No. 6.
After next week, the chart will definitely shake up a little bit when Depeche Mode, Asher Roth, Tinted Windows, Pet Shop Boys, Super Furry Animals and Chester French all release new CDs on April 21. There's also a two-CD set from the Boxmasters, the group featuring that noted musician (don't DARE call him an actor) Billy Bob Thornton.
More than 100 artists participate in National Record Day
This Saturday marks the second annual Record Store Day. What is a record store you may ask? It's a small shop that sells round discs, sometimes even black vinyl ones, instead of small, shiny ones that look the same as DVDs. Ask your parents, they'll remember.
Seriously, Record Store Day was started a few years ago as a way to show appreciation for the dwindling number of independently-owned record stores that still sold physical CDs and/or vinyl. It's a way to salute the stores that either haven't been forced out of business since the big boxes like Best Buy, etc. started selling CDs as loss leaders or have managed to survive the digital age. There's still no better way to spend an afternoon to me than to go to Amoeba Records here in Los Angeles and comb the racks for goodies. It's a fast-fading pleasure.
This year, many artists have taken on Record Store Day as a cause célèbre.
Among the more than 100 offerings awaiting you on Record Store Day-and, no, you won't find any of these at the record department in Target, Best Buy or Wal Mart, include:
*Bob Dylan: "Dreaming From You" 7-inch single from last year's "Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series."
*Tom Waits: An exclusive, 7-inch single with live tracks recorded last summer. Tunes are "Lucinda/Ain't Goin' Down to the Well" and "Bottom of the World."
*Jane's Addiction: An exclusive, limited edition vinyl single of "Mountain Song," priced at $5.98. The same day, 180-gram vinyl versions of Jane's Addiction albums, "Nothing's Shocking" and "Ritual De Lo Habitual."
*Bad Religion: A re-release of the punk band's first release: its 1981's 6-song 7" EP.
*Derek Trucks Band: "Already Live," a 5-song EP consisting of live tunes recorded last Fall.
*Booker T. Jones: A two song 7-inch single with two new studio tracks his upcoming, first solo album in more than 20 years.
Additionally, a number of acts, like Queen's Brian May, have donated guitars fans can register to win.
For a complete listing of the exclusive vinyl releases and more details, go to www.recordstoreday.com.
M.I.A.? Killers? Franz Ferdinand? Nope, see who made the list
The best thing about a festival like Coachella is the act of musical discovery that takes place when you least expect it. For me, it inevitably happens when it's too crowded to see whom I'd planned to see and I just free myself to wonder from music space to music space with no expectations. Or, and I did this very successfully one year at SXSW, I pick an act solely based on its name (that's how I discovered I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness-which remains, to this day, one of the hippest band names ever). There are a number of acts playing at the April 17-19 festival whom we aren't familiar with, like Surkin, a French DJ, or electronic act Busy P, that we would love to check out. However, we've put together a list of acts that are guaranteed to put on a good show. They get the Hitfix Seal of Approval.