Week in rock

Last week rumors abounded about the Smashing Pumpkins and their possible reunion for the massive Coachella festival this April. Sadly for many, Corgan and company have not confirmed their presence on the bill, and the release of the festival’s lineup this week was noticeably Pumpkin-less. Despite their absence, the roster is crammed with both modern-day and past luminaries. Topping the list is Depeche Mode, riding high on their awful new hit single, “Suffer Well.” Doesn’t anyone remember how much they suck? Like that “People are People” song? Ugh. Anyway, the desert rock blowout this year will feature diverse talents spread out over two days, with a price tag of $165 which will grant concertgoers full access to each and every performance. April 29 will feature Depeche Mode, Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros, Damien Marley, My Morning Jacket, Ladytron, Wolf Mother, Stellastarr, The Walkmen, Deerhoof, Devendra Barnhart, The Zutons, Cat Power, Lyrics Born and Nine Black Alps, among others. The 30th will bring Tool, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Minus the Bear, The Subways, Mates of State, The Magic Numbers, Art Brut, Imogene Heap, The Go! Team, Wolf Parade, Digable Planets, Sleater-Kinney, Mogwai, TV On The Radio, Scissor Sisters, Bloc Party and the ever-popular Matisyahu. A healthy lineup to be sure, and one that ought to kick off the summer festival season in style. And, to leave you hanging a little more on the Smashing Pumpkins reunion issue, word around the campfire is that Corgan will be at the helm of his old group for this year’s Lollapalooza.


The story of Mudhoney’s new album, the first in three years, just got a little bit better. The track listing for Under A Billion Suns, due out March 7 is now in the light of day. Get it? Light of Day? A Billion Suns? Don’t you think that’s funny? I do. Moving on to brass tacks, the record will be released on Sub Pop and feature 11 searing tracks that, for the first time in their history, will take on political issues as well as the continual sickness and girl troubles of Mark Arm. To keep you satisfied until their record release party at Dante’s on March 13, here is the song listing for the new long player.

1. “Where Is the Future?”
2. “It Is Us”
3. “I Saw The Light”
4. “Endless Yesterday”
5. “Empty Shells”
6. “Hard On for War”
7. “A Brief Celebration of Indifference”
8. “Let’s Drop In”
9. “On the Move”
10. “In Search Of”
11. “Blindspots”


Also released on Mudhoney’s web site is the awesome cover art for the record, featuring psychedelic, blurry suns and a cool early-sixties style font. Can you dig the light? I sure can.


In more grunge-related news, Atlanta’s Livewire Records has announced the release of a grunge compilation on the 7th of this month. Entitled Sleepless in Seattle: The Birth of Grunge, the comp promises to be horrible compared to the old grunge compilation Deep Six. Please, if you even have the slightest inclination to buy this awfully named record, try and find Deep Six instead. The bands featured on the new comp provide only a semi-decent overview of the history of grunge, even though it manages to snag a couple good songs, like Malfunkshun’s great “With Yo’ Heart (Not Yo’ Hands)” and the U-Men’s also-great “Solid Action.” It also manages to include bands like Love Battery and Tad, and deserves points for its inclusion of a Mr. Epp and the Calculations number. Slipped gently inside the 20-track CD will be a booklet on the rise of the Seattle sound, another minor plus. However, what makes Deep Six so much better is the fact that it was recorded a long time ago, when all this stuff was still happening, and features the primary players of grunge at their earliest and rawest, back in ’86. If you really want to hear the birth of grunge, that’s the one for you. Sleepless in Seattle might work on its own, but with Deep Six to compete with, prospects aren’t good.