Week In Rock

Once, a few years ago, I saw a video clip of Sonic Youth where Thurston Moore was playing some trashed guitar, and then he throws the thing in the air and catches it and keeps playing without missing a single note. That pretty much sealed the deal for me with them, and dispelled the clinging-band-that-people-like-because-they-think-it-will-make-them-“cool” stigma that I’d had prior to that point. Anyone that can pull off that kind of rock ‘n’ roll wizardry is OK in my book. So that means I can forgive their tour opening for Pearl Jam this summer. That’s kind of sad, since PJ’s existence is one of my pet peeves, but who am I to judge? I know for a fact that tons of folks love them, so I won’t dwell on the negative. Instead, I’ll tell you about Sonic Youth’s exciting plans for this year, other than that tour. As you probably know already, SY’s new record, Rather Ripped, is due out on the 13th of June. Weird name, but OK, I can run with it. Even weirder, though, is the band’s plan for a breakthrough into the television market with an appearance on the “Gilmore Girls” season finale episode on May 9. Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and their sprightly offspring Coco plan to perform an acoustic version of SY’s new song, “What a Waste.” When I first read about this, I mistook “Gilmore” for “Golden” and thought that the appearance was a great idea! Upon performing a Google image search, however, I discovered that not only does the program feature a bunch of rail-thin teen girls and backwards-hat-wearing wankers, but is played on none other than the horrible network the WB! Man, Sonic Youth, I thought you guys were supposed to be cool! Unless that particular episode sports some serious throwing-up-in-the-air-and-catching-while-playing-of-guitars, SY just lost some major points with me.

Jack White’s new band, the “indie-rock supergroup” The Raconteurs or Racketeers or whatever their name is, have run into some trouble down in Australia. Word is that the band, which features the awesome White and the bassist from that crappy band The Greenhornes, share the name “Raconteurs” with, of all things, a jazz band. To avoid trouble, the foursome will go by a different name, but only in Australia. Yes, I found that odd as well. The band released a statement to the Australian press to explain their reasoning. “The Raconteurs’ name was already taken by a jazz band, to make things easier and in the spirit of espionage and subversion, we have decided to become The Saboteurs in Australia only.” Personally, I think they should have gone with “Rocketeers.” Do you remember that movie? Then all the band members could wear those futuristic and fanciful helmets. Or the “Racketeers,” and wear sweatbands.

Now here’s some big news. The Beatles may be releasing a new album, even though the best two are dead and McCartney’s gone from writing great songs like “Things We Said Today” to lousy ones like “Ebony and Ivory.” The new album will be culled from some 200 hours of recorded material, with help from Sir Paul, Ringo and the venerable George Martin. Its release will coincide with a live show based on the band’s work that is due to premier in Las Vegas this summer, complete with theatrics courtesy of Cirque du Soleil. Neil Aspinall, the head of Apple Corps and former Beatles road manager, elaborated on the project. “It involves the creation, by the re-mixing and re-mastering of The Beatles’ recorded performances, of completely new music, which will be featured in the show, and which should lead to the release of the show album.” Now, I don’t know about you, but this whole thing kind of leaves a weird taste in my mouth. Vegas? Cirque du Soleil? Is this really necessary? Even though the remaining Beatles are on board with this, it seems a little, well, tacky. Neither Paul nor Ringo’s personal web sites had any further information. So, at least for now, this is mostly speculation. Here’s hoping it doesn’t turn out as bad as it sounds.