Music World Happenings

Just because you’re too busy being a student to pay attention doesn’t mean that the music world has stopped turning. Sure, most new CDs would probably sound better if I played them on my record player, since the digital feedback would be preferable to the music contained therein, but that doesn’t mean that everything that’s coming out is bad. In fact, a lot of good bands have been busy in the studios and on the road, giving you lots of choice selections to delight your CD changers, turntables and DVD players.

– Sonic Youth have a pair of retrospective DVDs in the works, expected later this year, along with a new CD and LP release. They’re releasing a 2-CD version of Goo, chock full of bonus oddities, demos and b-sides. Not only that, but there’s an updated 2-DVD version of “1991 – The Year Punk Broke” on the way, with tons of new SY footage. There’re some legal issues to work through on this, but hopefully the slough of new SY official releases will be sufficient to sate you.

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– Other musicians are busy releasing DVDs as well, with Ted Leo and The Pharmacists release of Dirty Old Town on Lookout Records and The Black Heart Procession’s Tropics of Love coming out on Touch & Go. Both discs are due out March 9. Not only are both these bands excellent, but they’re both on indies who deserve your financial support more than Sony or Capitol would.

– The prolific Lou Reed is releasing a live album called Animal Serenade, which will contain material from the Velvet Underground days all the way up to his newest release, The Raven. I just hope there are some songs from Metal Machine Music on it as well …

– Bjork’s box set of singles is due out in April after a long gestation period. Bjork also plans a new LP/CD for later this year, so Bjork fans have plenty to look forward to. Her DVD, “Volumen,” is already out and should be owned by you or someone you know, so you can watch it at their house.

– Weezer is planning on re-releasing their seminal Blue Album with a bonus disc entitled Dusty Gems and Raw Nuggets, which contains rarities and b-sides. Their DVD “Video Capture Device” is coming out the same day (March 23). Show your respect for the band who made it okay for mainstream kids to like Kiss.

– Rumors are flying about the Coachella festival that’s scheduled to take place on May 1 and 2 in Indio, Cal. One of them places Weezer at the huge desert festival, but this hasn’t been confirmed as of yet. Official participants include Wilco, The Flaming Lips, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, My Morning Jacket, Broken Social Scene, !!!, Dizzee Rascal, LCD Soundsystem, The Sleepy Jackson, Prefuse 73, (International) Noise Conspiracy, Air, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, The Cure, Stereolab, PJ Harvey, Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie, The Black Keys, Sage Francis, Basement Jaxx, Sparta, Electric 6, Thursday, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Additionally, The Pixies are going to play the concert. The initial arrangement was just to play this date, but the group decided to make it a full-length tour. Their U.S. dates will culminate with Coachella, after which they head for Europe. Although a little hard on the wallets at $75 a day, there are a lot of good bands playing, and the added bonus of a reunited Pixies makes it even more tempting.


– My Morning Jacket lost two members, guitarist Johnny Quaid and keyboard player Danny Cash, who left the group amicably to spend more time focusing on family and other interests. Friends Carl Broemel and Bo Koster respectively replaced the two on the road and will continue to play with the band permanently.

– Billy Corgan has left Zwan behind and is moving on with a solo album, which he described as “loud and beautiful and poetic and dumb.” Hopefully for Billy, who has had a hard time finding success after the Smashing Pumpkins broke up, this new venture should have better luck than Zwan, which many perceived, (not without good reason), to be a bloated vehicle for the fulfillment of Corgan’s musical desires.

– Corgan’s ex, Courtney Love, is also readying a solo album for release and, in an unsurprising move of cashing in, she is putting out a collection of her journals based on what proved to be the extremely lucrative publishing of Kurt Cobain’s private writings last year.

– Indie sweethearts Yo La Tengo, Former Talking Head David Byrne, Kinks songwriter Ray Davies and the super-talented Bright Eyes are all gathering to support Tibetan art, culture and spiritual heritage at the 14th Annual Tibet House benefit concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. The Beastie Boys will not be involved, but the other great musicians and the Tibetan monks that will be performing should make it a show to remember.

– Speaking of the Beasties, their label Grand Royal is up for sale … on auction site For a starting bid of $10,000, one could obtain ownership of the label, which declared bankruptcy two years ago. As of writing, the bid had risen to $65,000, with 15 vying for ownership of the defunct record label.

– An indie documentary chronicling the tumultuous friendship between The Dandy Warhols’ Courtney Taylor-Taylor and the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe, called Dig, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year. A core conflict of the film ends up being the struggle between Newcombe’s desire for absolute artistic integrity and Taylor-Taylor’s willingness to have his music in Michelob commercials.

– Ween has embraced the modern age by announcing its intention to start a P2P service, WeenAmp, which will allow fans to not only download live shows but access such resources as Ween Radio, Streaming video channels, Ween chat channels and most everything that has to offer. How awesome and forward-looking is this? If more bands showed this much dedication to music lovers and this good of a grasp of technology and what it can do for musicians, then the music industry might be a more friendly place for artists and fans.