Rock News Two: The week in pop

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Nov. 16, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Phish is set to treat its fans with a reunion after a two-year break during which various members did a lot of playing with a variety of other musicians. That experience should open up the band's sound considerably. The band has a new album in the works and a series of winter shows scheduled. "Round Room," the new album on Elektra records, consists of 12 songs and will be released Dec. 10. The track listing is as follows: "Pebbles and Marbles," "Anything but Me," "Round Room," "Mexican Cousin," "Friday," "Seven Below," "Mock Song," "46 Days," "All of These Dreams," "Walls of the Cave," "Thunderhead" and "Waves."


U2's "Electrical Storm," one of two new tracks on "The Best of 1990-2000," is a "connecting point to our next record" guitarist the Edge tells "I really think that in terms of arrangement, it's really back to guitar, bass, and drums -- the primary colors of rock 'n' roll. I think that's where we're gonna take the next album," the Edge told Billboard. "I've already started working on rough ideas, which hopefully will go on to become U2 songs at some point. "But I don't think there's any plans to really get serious about a new studio record between November and December. We might do a couple of weeks and just see what comes out of it. But I think next year, come January, we'll really start getting serious about it." The Edge told he has been listening to Sonic Youth, the Hives, the Pixies, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Mooney Suzuki for inspiration. "You're always hoping you're going to hear some great new band," he said. "To me, that's the ultimate thrill -- when you hear a band like that for the first time. I'm always looking out for the young bands that are gonna come and give us a run for our money." Another song on "The Best of 1990-2000," "The Hands That Built America," has been reworked for inclusion in the forthcoming Martin Scorsese film "Gangs of New York."


The legendary Beat Farmers held a reunion at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., last week on the seventh anniversary of Country Dick Montana's (Dan Mclain) death. Mclain, the band's manic drummer, collapsed onstage during a show in what many fans viewed as the ultimate rock 'n' roll heroic gesture. The band for the reunion gig consisted of Buddy Blue, Jerry Raney and Joey Harris on guitars and vocals, Rolle Dexter Love on bass, and Joel Kmak, Mclain's next door neighbor in high school, on drums. The show included "Reason To Beleive," "Powderfinger," "Bigger Stones," "Ridin'," "Gun Sale At The Church," "Sweet Little Deceiver," "Goldmine," "What I Mean To Say," "Lakeside Trailer Park," "Big Ugly Wheels," "Blue Chevrolet," "Texas," and special guest Mojo Nixon singing "King Of Sleaze."


The Fenwicks, who bill themselves as the world's only Afro-Yiddish-Celtic ska band, have just released a new album, "Truth and Memory: Live and Unleashed at Arlene's Grocery in NYC." The band plans to celebrate the release with four release parties in three states in two weeks -- all with little to no rehearsal. The NYC date will be "the first time we've all been in the same room" since the album was recorded, singer Steve Schub told DIY Reporter. Schub will soon be seen in the film "No Vacancy" with Christina Ricci.


The first Bahamas World Music Festival came off without a hitch last week. The festival, which took place at the Wyndam Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino was headlined on opening night by Jonathan Butler and Nancy Wilson. The G-note All Stars, a popular Bahamian band, opened for the international acts. Other local acts that played over the five-day event included Sweet Emily, Terez Davis, Ronnie Butler, Abigail Charlow, K B, The Spank Band, and The Bahamas National Youth Choir. Also featured were Cuban artists Los Papines, Son Damas and Habana Sax.


Michael Musto, the colorful Village Voice columnist, has New York gossip circles atwitter with his Dorothy Parker-esque review of the new Eminem film, "8 Mile," in this week's "La Dolce Musto" column. The film, Musto comments, "has you weeping for downtrodden, troubled Eminem, who's not -- well his character's not -- a dried-up dog turd after all. "In the flick -- which touchingly starts with the rapper vomiting from nerves -- it turns out the guy you mistook for a big bully actually is a victim of the bullies, who want to oppress his spunky spirit. And this version of Eminem is not a misogynist -- in fact, women are the abusers, one lying to him and another heathen harpy betraying his trust. What's more, Eminem -- I mean 'Rabbit' -- doesn't really want to dig a grave for his mama, he just wants her to lose her bully boyfriend, get focused, and stop talking about oral sex," Musto continues. "And by the way, 'Rabbit' hasn't appropriated anyone else's art form," Musto notes. "Oh noooo, it's his black rap opponent who's unmasked -- by him -- as a real phony and not a real gangsta at all." Wait until Triumph the insult comic dog hears about this.


The Derek Trucks band is on an extensive tour that included a stop at B.B. King's in New York Thursday. "Things are going well," Trucks said from a stop in Columbus, Ohio, along the road. "We're mixing up the set quite a bit to keep things fresh. Probably about a week ago we had a band meeting and we emphasized the idea that we wanted to keep moving material in and out of the set to keep us on our toes musically. "We've added a Paul Pena cover and we're doing something Dexter Gordon tunes, 'Cheesecake,' stuff to keep us going," Trucks said. Guitarist Trucks, who's taking time off from his duties with the Allman Brothers Band to promote his excellent new album, "Joyful Noise," said the band has been jamming with local musicians.


Delbert McClinton, whose latest album "Room To Breathe" sits at No. 1 on Billboard's blues album chart and No. 1 on the Americana Airplay chart, will again embark on the Delbert McClinton Sandy Beaches Cruise ( Now in its ninth year, the cruise will set sail from the port of Tampa, Fla., Jan. 11, 2003, returning Jan. 18, and features an all-star cast of recording artists representing the full spectrum of American roots music. This year's lineup includes bluegrass master Del McCoury, Bonnie Bramlett (of Delaney and Bonnie fame), The Derailers, Marcia Ball, Tommy Castro, Wayne Toups and Zydecajun, singer/songwriters Stephen Bruton, Al Anderson, Fred Eaglesmith, Gary Nicholson, Bob DePiero, Jeffrey Steele, Jimmy Hall, Bekka Bramlett, Mary McBride and Theresa James, plus keyboardist Nick Connolly, Miles Zuniga (of Fastball fame) and Bruce Channel, in whose band Delbert toured the United Kingdom in the '60s, sharing a bill with the Beatles. This year's cruise departs Tampa on Holland America line's five-star ms Veendam, and visits George Town in the Grand Caymans, Santo Tomas de Castillo, Guatemala and Cozumel, Mexico, during the week-long trip. The real action, however, happens every day and night on the ship, where concerts, jam sessions and songwriter shows play from noon well into the wee hours. It's no wonder the Cruise enjoys an annual 70 percent return rate. "It's a great opportunity to get a bunch of friends together and make music and hang out. And why not do it in the Caribbean?" said McClinton, the two-time Grammy winner known for his hits like "Giving It Up For Your Love" and "Sandy Beaches," from which the cruise derives its name. The eclectic musical mix spotlights blues, rock'n'roll, R&B, country, Cajun and zydeco music, singer/songwriters, bluegrass and more. "It's shaping up to be the best party we've ever thrown," said Wendy Goldstein, McClinton's wife and manager, and a partner in Entertainment Travel Ltd., the company that promotes the cruise. "It's not like going to a concert, because everyone's in the same boat."


Paul Brady, one of the giants of contemporary Irish music, is setting out on his first American tour since 1996. A performer who has distinguished himself among fans of both classic Irish traditional folk music and sophisticated modern pop, his elegant, soulful original compositions have been recorded by such luminaries as Bonnie Raitt, Mark Knopfler and David Crosby, while his traditional performances have brought him worldwide acclaim. The tour will feature songs from both of his recent Compass releases, "Nobody Knows: The Best of Paul Brady" (a collection documenting both his pop and traditional leanings) and "The Missing Liberty Tapes," a set of vintage, unreleased 1978 live recordings that capture Brady performing entirely traditional music backed by an all-star ensemble of Irish musicians.


New York progressive rock band My Outdoor Life showcased new material from their eponymous debut album before a packed, enthusiastic crowd at Siberia in New York last weekend. The band -- Ryan Healy on guitar and vocals, Lukas Alpert on bass and Joseph Chaney on drums -- was at its best during a set that included "Song X," "More Captives in the Star Hospital," "Anger Management," "Personalize Your Weather," "The Surface," and "Kosmos Lone Astronaut." The Brooklyn-based band has built a strong following over the past year, and looks poised for a regional breakout in the coming months.


Indie favorites the Mocking Birds made a rare New York appearance Thursday at the Lakeside Lounge. The quartet, based out of New Haven, Conn., is led by the quirky singer/songwriter James Velvet. "Still Here" is the band's eighth release, on its own Mr. Lucky Records. Velvet has a back catalog of some five dozen recorded songs, "some of them way too good for the industry, some of them lousy, and all of them self-published," says a bemused Velvet. "Still Here" is a nuanced look at one American's winter of '01-'02. Songs like "Gas Masks And Vaccines" and "Freedom Ring" address specific cultural and political trends while "I'm Still Here" and "Sail Away" examine images of home and loss, and the identities of place and possession. The tracks are stitched together in suite-like fashion with percussion loops by producer Vic Steffens of Horizon Studios.


Rapper Jay-Z is on a unique tour to promote his new album, "The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam), appearing at various high schools around the country as guest principal for a day. The dozen schools will be treated to a speech from Jay-Z and a question-and-answer session, followed by a live performance later in the evening before an audience of approximately 300 people. The schools on the tour and the audience participants are the winners of contests held by local radio stations. The tour winds up Nov. 26 in San Francisco.


INXS, the popular Australian rock group, is headlining a benefit for victims of last month's terror bombing in Bali next Tuesday at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Tickets for the concert are available at the Hammerstein Ballroom box office or through Ticketmaster.


The New York Blues and Jazz Society's annual Battle of the Bands is scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. Sunday at Tribeca Blues in lower Manhattan. The "Battle" is a regional preliminary competition for the annual International Blues Challenge, to be held in Memphis, Tenn., in 2003. The Challenge represents an international search by The Blues Foundation and its affiliated organizations for the "Best Unsigned Blues Band" and the "Best Unsigned Solo Blues Artist." The line-up includes the East River Blues Band, Ratso, Tonemasters, The Shades and Peach. Proceeds from the $10 cover, CD sales and raffles go to the winning band to help support their trip to Memphis to compete in the worldwide International Blues Challenge.


Singer/songwriter Susan Tedeschi has just accepted an invitation to perform with The Other Ones -- featuring Grateful Dead alumni Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart -- for a two week stint, kicking off at Boston's Fleet Center Monday and including a New York City show at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 26. Tedeschi returns to New York Dec. 11 to celebrate the release of her new album, "Wait For Me," with a headlining show at the Bowery Ballroom.

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