July 2006 - Volume 1, Number 1
Modern drum & bass is like a little puppy with a broken leg: it’s kind of lame, but I still love it unconditionally and hope that it gets better. Also, I sometimes feed it table scraps.
(My friend Shane, on That Web Site That Everyone Except Aaron Cameron Loves)
Welcome to the July 2006 edition of sKR33d!.
You are witnessing something incredibly historic in this, the dawn of a new institution, brought to you by the minds that brought you The Saturday Swindle Sheet. One day, you’ll tell your grandkids that you were here for the very first edition of sKR33d!; that you remember it like it was yesterday. They won’t believe you, but in your heart, you’ll know you were here.
As previously mentioned, this will essentially be a longer version of The Saturday Swindle Sheet, with all the usual features, plus the new release list and commentary. We’ll be reporting the news from over the past month, and I will post it the first week of every month, unless I can crank it out earlier.
EMPLOYEES OF THE MONTH
With tips on how to irritate everyone in the music section…
Shawn M. Smith (tell him that Kevin Federline is just misunderstood) holds strong at 44 editions, and in his latest edition, he discusses getting married to Ryan Adams and what songs he wants played at his wedding. Maybe not. Maybe I read through it too fast because I was actually looking forward to roping the bull and winning a free ringtone.
Mathan Erhardt (tell him 50 Cent looks like… never mind) continues his More Reasons Why Being Deaf Sucks/Rocks Redux with a new batch of cheesy love songs to show that deep down he’s hiding an emo kid who’s whining to get out. The emo kid’s name is pronounced MAY-THIN.
Congratulations to my fellow Chicago head Mike Eagle (tell him Three 6 Mafia is better than anything West Coast), who recently got married and therefore took the week off to
have lots and lots of sex listen to the new Busta Rhymes album over and over again in an effort to wrap his head around the fact that Stevie Wonder makes a cameo.
Greg Wind (tell him that you didn’t get a chance to read his entire column because you were trying to rope the bull and win a free ringtone) has been making me proud in my old Saturday biweekly slot. Plus, as far as I know, he’s been posting on time, so that already puts him a step above me.
Kyle David Paul (tell him the Dell DJ Ditty is better than the iPod) has been tearing up South Korea’s karaoke circuit while on a mission to teach young Korean children that English rules. He’s also had tons of free time to devote to copious amounts of CD reviews and the return of Let’s Rave On. He’s easily the most hard-working person in the entire section, so be sure to check out all of his work.
Gloomchen (suggest stylistic changes for top stories the day before she’s supposed to get married) is all about reaching out to the random MySpace bands who add everyone that lists any band that they might sort of possibly sound like they want to be as an interest, instead of blocking them like I do. She also reaches out to DMX yet again, but I don’t think he’s listening, because he’s still as detrimental to society as ever. Plus, read about cover songs and why Disturbed sucks.
Tom D’Errico (call him a fanboy, or tell him Chinese Democracy will never be released) is another hard worker, with two columns posted on the same day. In last week’s edition of Auditory Assault he opines on this year’s rock releases, in a mid-year report. Included are his sentiments re Ministry, In Flames, Rob Zombie, Pearl Jam, Tool, Sepultura, QueensrÃƒÂ¿che, and many more.
NEWS TO USE
The 5th annual Bonnaroo Music Festival took place in Nashville, Tenn., June 16-18. It featured Radiohead, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (w/Stevie Nicks), Sonic Youth, Beck, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Oysterhead, Bonnie Raitt, Death Cab for Cutie, Les Claypool, Bright Eyes, Steve Earle, Blues Traveler, The Neville Brothers, BÃƒÂ©la Fleck & the Flecktones, Cypress Hill, Buddy Guy, Damian Marley, Ben Folds, Common, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Dr. John, The Streets, Matisyahu, G. Love & Special Sauce, Umphrey’s McGee, Cat Power, Phil Lesh & Friends (w/Joan Osbourne), Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steel Pulse, moe., Medeski Martin & Wood, My Morning Jacket, Nickel Creek, Gomez, Atmosphere, Disco Biscuits, Stephen Malkmus & Not Pavement, Son Volt, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Soulive, Rusted Root, Mike Doughty, Sasha, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, Bill Frisell, Shooter Jennings, Andrew Bird, The Dresden Dolls, and bunch of other bands that I don’t care about. My girlfriend’s sister said it was a really good time, with plenty of hackysack, drugs, and patchouli to go around. Unfortunately, two people died throughout the course of the festival: the first being a festival worker who fell off of a construction truck as it was moving. The other was an idiot who thought it was a good idea to jump a fence and try to cross the interstate on foot. Said idiot was hit by Ricky Skaggs’s tour bus and pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital. I know he wasn’t performing or even in attendance, but I have a feeling that Lil Jon was responsible for these incidents. That or LSD. Maybe shrooms.
St. Louis-based record producer Ronald R. Gavin is suing Chingy for $250,000, claiming breach of contract, and tacking on an additional $25,000 for legal fees. Chingy (also from St. Louis) allegedly signed with Capitol Records while still under contract with Gavin’s 49 Productions Inc., after, as Gavin claims, he spent over $100,000 to develop an image for the rapper, then known as H. Thugzy. Gavin claims that he also helped jump-start Thugzy’s career by getting him airplay on local radio stations. However, much to the chagrin of Gavin, Thugzy signed with the production team Trak Starz in 2002, who promised to align him with Ludacris, and give him an even stupider moniker. At the time, this did not seem very feasible, because H. Thugzy is definitely one of the worst names ever.
My name is Chingy. I’m wearing it on my neck, see? Just like that Mexican girl who works at the cheap silver jewelry kiosk at every mall.
Drag queen/dance musician Kevin Aviance (nÃƒÂ© Eric Snead) was attacked and robbed on June 11, as he was walking out of a nightclub in the East Village in Manhattan. Four suspects were subsequently arrested on battery and hate-crime charges, since, according to Snead and other witnesses, the men, along with up to three others, shouted anti-gay slurs as they were beating him. Snead was not in drag at the time of the incident. He sustained a fractured jaw, and had to have his mouth wired shut, and told reporters that he was hopeful to still be able to perform for New York’s gay pride parade at the end of June, but it looked as if that would not happen. All gay jokes aside, this is absolutely reprehensible. Making ignorant “faggot” wisecracks is one thing, but beating up a guy because he’s presumably gay is something that should have gone out of style with “colored only” drinking fountains. The pieces of shit that did this are homophobic twats who are more than likely also racist, and hopefully they get thrown in jail and ass-raped by someone of a different race, just for the sake of irony.
The White Stripes prevailed in a lawsuit on June 15, when a jury in U.S. District Court in Detroit decided that sound engineer Jim Diamond, who mixed the band’s 1999 debut album, The White Stripes, and the subsequent De Stijl album, was not entitled to royalties from the band’s more current material. The band, who originally paid Diamond $35 for his services at his studio, disputed his claims that he helped the band develop their style and sound, even though he was credited in the 1999 album’s liner notes as co-producer. “None of [the work Diamond did] constitutes originating an original work or causing it to come into being,” White Stripes attorney Bert Deixler said. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, Jason Stollsteimer needs to be punched in the face again.”
Shortly after The White Stripes won a federal lawsuit in Detroit on June 15, Lego Jack White (left) punched Lego Jason Stollsteimer (right) in the face after the two had a dispute over whose Lego garage rock band was better.
Jay-Z has announced that he will be boycotting Cristal, after FrÃƒÂ©dÃƒÂ©ric Rouzaud, managing director of the Louis Roederer company said, in an interview for the current edition of The Economist, that popularization of their champagne in rap culture is considered by the company as “unwelcome attention.” Jay-Z responded by saying that he found Rouzaud’s comments as “racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands including the 40/40 Club, nor in my personal life.” Seriously, how many people under the age of 60 would know what the hell Cristal is if not for rap culture? Roederer has shot itself in the foot. The reason why the hood rich motherf*cker in Baton Rouge drinks Cristal isn’t because it tastes good… it’s because his favorite rappers drink it. But is that really so wrong? If Jay-Z can make this boycott successful, and consistent among the genre, Roederer has basically lost one of their largest markets. What’s next? Abercrombie and Fitch and Dave Matthews Band teaming up to say that frat boys and sorority girls are the scourge of society and will never amount to anything with those associate’s degrees in marketing? I sure hope so.
After lead singer Jonathan Davis was admitted to a London hospital on June 11 for a blood ailment, Korn was forced to cancel the rest of their European tour. According to Davis, after seeing a doctor to inquire about some lesions on his body, he was diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a disorder that he reportedly developed due to an allergic reaction to some medication. It causes an abnormally low level of blood platelets in the blood (specifically, 5 platelets per blood cell to the average count of 140 and 400), which makes it difficult for the blood to clot, even in the case of minor bumps and cuts. Davis told reporters at the time that he should be fully recovered in just under a month, in time for the Family Values Tour, and was able to walk around a bit but could not travel or perform, saying that “[i]f I [had] continued to headbang onstage, I could have had a brain hemorrhage and dropped dead on the spot.” Does anyone know what medication it was that caused this, and if we could get some sent to Fred Durst?
Oprah Winfrey recently denied that she’s opposed to hip-hop music and culture, after reportedly making derogatory comments to Ludacris during the filming of a show, and then having them edited out afterwards. “I’m not opposed to rap. I’m opposed to being marginalized as a woman.” she told reporters for sKR33d!, in an EXCLUSIVE interview, at Antonio “L.A.” Reid’s 50th birthday party in Manhattan, referring to what she views as the negative way that which hip-hop treats and portrays women. “Oh yeah, and here’s a secret about 50 Cent… he loves to f*ck fat chicks. Especially egotistical, self-righteous ones with eyes that are unusually far apart.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently pulled another one of its trademark stunts, this time targeting singer BeyoncÃƒÂ©, who has fur products in her House of Dereon clothing line. The animal-rights organization made a winning bid on an eBay auction in which a dinner with the BeyoncÃƒÂ© was being offered for charity, and arrived at a New York restaurant on June 14 to confront her, more than likely carrying pictures of mutilated and emaciated baby seals. As a result, I’m sure many innocent diners who do not wear fur lost their appetites and were not able to finish their porterhouse steaks. Is that what you call victory, PETA? Not only were cows killed for those delicious porterhouse steaks, something that you were obviously too lazy to prevent, but then their charred flesh went to waste, so it’s like they were killed for absolutely no reason. PETA, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Your “victory” is soaked in the blood of those cows. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my leather and fur jacket on and eat a veal and lamb sandwich.
Illinois legislators passed a new law on June 14, focusing on tribute bands that fraudulently bill themselves as the original artist. The law, signed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich and pushed by former Supremes singer Mary Wilson, will require such bands that perform at Illinois venues to bill themselves as a tribute band. So, a Creed cover band would have to be called “Arms Wide Open: A Salute to Creed,” “My Own Prison: A Creed Tribute,” or “Shitty-Ass Shit Creed Cover Band Who Sucks More Than The Original And That’s Pretty Bad Because The Original Is Fucking Horrendous.”
Jessica Simpson recently told Maxim that she thinks her sister/McDonald’s troublemaker Ashlee Simpson “has the most perfect boobs and skinniest legs.” Meanwhile, Ashlee told Marie Claire a few months back: “I love my boobs. My sister Jessica always grew up having a larger chest. Men love it and stare at it, but she needs to wear two sports bras to even play volleyball.” Classic! I personally prefer Jessica’s boobs, but I think we can all agree on the fact that Ashlee is a bigger idiot. And that includes “Chicken of the Sea.”
According to a source close to the family, singer Lionel Richie has offered to buy his untalented anorexic socialite daughter, Nicole, a Caribbean yacht cruise with her friends if she can gain some weight. The UK’s The Sun reports that “Lionel thought some of Nicole’s pals were encouraging her to stay skinny. So he thought if he gave them an incentive to get Nicole to put weight on then that would help her. She has admitted she has a problem and Lionel wants to be as supportive as possible to help her recover.” Hey Lionel, forget about Nicole. She’s a lost cause. Adopt me. I’ll gain enough weight for both of us, as long as you keep the presents coming, and there’s a Carl’s Jr. nearby.
Famous keyboard player/collaborator Billy Preston died on June 6 at a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., after being in a seven-month coma, which was brought about by a heart infection. Preston, who had also previously battled kidney problems, was 59.
Missy Elliot has signed a deal with Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Films, to star in a movie of her story. In other news, I agree with that guy on the Cingular commercial, because I really hate it when I’m on the phone trying to buy 20 pounds of pork, and my network DROPS MY CALL.
This just in… formerly blonde British singer Joss Stone is now an even hotter brunette. Sweet jumpin’ Jesus.
After being forced to cancel their June 3 show in Boston due to singer Gary Lightbody’s throat ailment, Brit-mope band Snow Patrol have pushed back their entire summer tour to September. The Boston show will now take place on Aug. 15 at Bank of America Pavilion.
Barbra Streisand has announced a U.S. tour for October and November, when she will play 20 shows to raise money for The Streisand Foundation, which raises money for such causes as human rights, environmental aid, breast cancer research, and giving Bill O’Reilly an ulcer.
Natasha Bedingfield performed live on the Today show, on June 9, as part of the Toyota Concert Series on Today. I don’t know if that makes me want to buy a Toyota, but it does make me want to have sex with Natasha Bedingfield.
Brent Wilson, former drummer of crap-rock band Panic! at the Disco, recently told reporters for MTV that he was fired for what the band cited as “musical purposes.” The band claims that he didn’t help write or record any of the songs on their last album, while he cried and curled up into a ball, like many of the band’s fans like to do when they get sad.
Poison the Well has officially parted ways with Atlantic Records, and is working on a new album, to be released by next spring.
Bunny Wailer (nÃƒÂ© Neville O’Riley Livingston) has announced that he will perform at the upcoming Roots Rock Reggae Festival, alongside headliners Stephen Marley and Ziggy Marley. Ozomatli will also be there, but without Chali 2na. Fuckers.
Country music legend Loretta Lynn fractured her shoulder on June 4, after probably tripping over a banana peel at her home in Nashville, Tenn. She had surgery the following Thursday and is currently recuperating at home, although police are still searching for Donkey Kong Jr. and his “go-kart.”
After nailing Sony BMG and Warner Music Group with payola lawsuits over the past year, New York Attorney General/gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer got EMI Music Marketing to follow suit and agree to pay a $3.75 million settlement to the State, on June 15.
THE NEW RELEASE REPORT
Next month I’ll try and have this posted before the month’s first new release day. However, July 4 was a relatively light release day, so I got off sort of easy there.
Thom Yorke –The Eraser
The canonized Radiohead lead singer gives the mopesters a reason to smile with his highly anticipated solo release, on XL Recordings. In recent interviews, Yorke hinted that the content of The Eraser, which was produced by Nigel Godrich, who produced much of Radiohead’s catalogue, will be primarily instrumental, saying that “it is more beats and electronics,” although he’d still be singing over a great deal of it.
Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
The Brit-Pop Band Who Hates Being Called Brit-Pop returns with its first album since 2003, although they’ve kept busy with soundtracks and secret Caesar cipher-driven treasure hunts in the meantime, and even had a string tribute album made in their honor. The album will also be available in a version with a bonus DVD.
Rhymefest – Blue Collar
Morgan Park’s own Grammy Award-winning Rhymefest (whom you may remember from Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” and “We Can Make It Better”) releases his long-awaited major label debut on J Records, including collaborations with the aforementioned West, No I.D., the late Dirt McGirt, Mario, Carl Thomas, and Citizen Cope. He’s highly entertaining, while calling out fake thugs and keeping a oft-comedic tone to his work. The Wal-Mart Version will also be available.
Dirty Diamonds Vol. 3
This 2-disc set is the final installment in the Diamond Traxx Dirty Diamonds mix trilogy, selected and mixed by France’s D*I*R*T*Y Sound System. Selections range from Ennio Morricone and Soft Cell to Wilco and Nico. Sounds like fun.
Bleed the Dream – Asleep/No Apologies
Screamo sucks. Emocore sucks too. That said, this 2-disc set features acoustic versions of songs from the band’s first two albums, and the second is a DVD showing them sucking at life in living color. Hey, whatever pays the bills.
Bury Your Dead – Beauty and the Breakdown
Why is it that all of these “core” bands have three or four-word names that all sound the same? Bury Your Dead, As I Lay Dying, Bleed the Dream, Every Time I Die, Haste the Day… is it supposed to be a secret sign to fans of the genre who’ve never heard of a band, so that they know it’s something they’d like? If that’s the case, I happen to hate your genre, and I’ve got your code figured out. So when A Bleeding Truth, Death of Blood, and My Bleeding Tirade come out with albums next year, I’ll know ahead to time to avoid them. I win.
Ska Cubano – Ã‚Â¡Ay Caramba!
I’ve heard this band before, and they basically sound like something Ricky Ricardo would have thrown together if he were alive today, with the help of modern technology. Whether or not that’s a good thing, I’m still trying to figure out, but I suppose either way it’s a welcome change from the Bleed the Dreams of the world. That, and the album has a cover of “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”.
Ben Watt – Buzzin’ Fly, Vol. 3
This is what happens when house music gets artsy, in a good way. The production mastermind behind Everything But the Girl (whom I waited in line for two f*cking hours to see at Notting Hill in ’03) returns with the third installment in his Buzzin’ Fly series. Like the other two compilations, this one features tracks from Watt’s own label, combining deep house gems with some more progressive electro sounds, intermingled with his excerpts from his unique spoken word project. In addition, the album boasts unreleased remixes and other material from Buzzin’ Fly artists like Darkmountaingroup, Kayot, and Lephtee.
Dead to Me – Cuban Ballerina
Jack Dalrymple and Brandon Pollack of punk band One Man Army formed this new project in 2003, but this is their first full-length album, which was produced by Alex Newport, who’s worked with At the Drive In and Locust. Available on Fat Wreck Chords on CD and 12″.
Behemoth – Demonica
This special edition Digipak import (numbered 1-10000) from the Polish black-death-metal group, is a collector’s wet dream, with 2 discs of demos and re-recorded songs, along with a 44-page book of photos, lyrics, and the recipe for Tomasz WrÃƒÂ³blewski’s mom’s outstanding krokowska kielbasa. The secret ingredient is an extra half-teaspoon of marjoram!
Alec Empire – Futurist
The angry electronic mind behind Atari Teenage Riot and Digital Hardcore Records returns with another album chock full of noise to drive you up a wall and make you want to smash yourself over the head with hammers to get the sound out of your head. However, it’s still more much tolerable than most all southern rap.
Peaches – Impeach My Bush
As she currently tours with Nine Inch Nails and Bauhaus (she’s so not worthy it’s not even funny), it’s in support of this, Miss Merrill Beth Nisker’s 4th album (3rd under the Peaches moniker), which contains the usual sexually vulgar, gender-bending content that has won her over with fans in and out of the electroclash circle. All things considered, I should like Peaches, but I do not. Her music does not impress me, and I think she’s trying way too damn hard with the whole filth gimmick. If I want to hear good electroclash, I’ll listen to Felix or Goldenboy, and if I want vulgar, compromising lyrics, I’ll listen to Shat. Impeach My Bush (okay… that’s pretty clever, I guess, but not particularly original… I would have preferred Summa Cum Loudly) will be available in CD and 12″.
James Blunt – Back to Bedlam (re-release w/ DVD)
Jamie Kennedy – Blowin’ Up (also available in Wal-Mart Version)
Canned Heat – Canned, Labeled & Shelved
Jurassic 5 – Canto de Ossanha/Turn It Out (single)
Moloko –Catalogue: Best of Moloko
The Format – Dog Problems
Cursive – Dorothy at Forty (single)
John Waite – Downtown Journey of a Heart
Typical Cats – Easy Cause It Is (single)
Khia – Gangstress (also available in Wal-Mart Version)
Plaid – Greedy Baby
Busta Rhymes – I Love My Chick
Ray Parker, Jr. – I’m Free!
Lillix – Inside the Hollow
Cattle Decapitation – Karma. Bloody. Karma.
Seether – One Cold Night (live CD, also available w/ DVD)
Home Grown – Respect to the Riddim (import)
Bizzy Bone – The Midwest Cowboy
The Early November – The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path (3-disc set)
Strapping Young Lad – The New Black
Boy Hits Car – The Passage
Soul Asylum – The Silver Lining
Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys – Turntable Matinee
DJ Logic – Zen of Logic
Krayzie Bone & Mo Thugs Records Presents: 100% Pure Thug Tour
I really couldn’t find too much information on this CD/DVD set, other than that it’s a compilation featuring the likes of the Bone Thugs, Fat Joe, The Game, Kurupt, Ice-T, Jayo Felony, Knocturnal, Sticky Fingaz, Spice 1, Shade Sheist, and other rappers that usually make terrible records. To add even more confusion to the situation, it appears that this will be released on Cleopatra Records, which is primarily an industrial, synth-pop, and terrible tribute albums imprint. They did release some material by Lee “Scratch” Perry & The Upsetters a few years back, but this is a whole new can of worms.
’80s Metal Tribute to Van Halen
Hey, that’s more like it, Cleopatra. Although I could have sworn that they already put out this album, perhaps it was an industrial tribute instead. This is being touted as an “’80s metal” tribute, when in actuality, there’s only one entire band performing on here, and that’s Enuff Z’Nuff, with a rendition of “Yankee Rose”. The rest of the albums is peppered with has-beens that don’t even perform anymore in the bands that they’re being credited as being from, like Paul Dianno (ex-Iron Maiden), Gilby Clarke (ex-G N’ R), Rob Beach (ex-Whitesnake), Blues Saraceno (ex-Poison), Jani Lane (ex-Warrant) (easy there, Widro), and Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Deep Purple AND ex-Rainbow). A few artists that are still in their respective bands do make appearances, like Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Doug Pinnick (King’s X), and Jack Russell (Great White), who no doubt treated everyone to one of his now famous terrier breeds. To make this ridiculous skein even worse, Dweezil Zappa and Fee Waybill of The Tubes make appearances for absolutely no reason, maybe because they happened to be spotted walking around in the street and were invited up to the Cleopatra studios. The only possible saving grace here is Yngwie Malmsteen because he’s f*cking Yngwie Malmsteen, and Chip Z’Nuff, who possibly breaks off into a narrative explaining how back in the day he f*cked Madonna and peed inside of her afterwards. Probably not, though.
John Pizzarelli – Dear Mr. Sinatra
My father’s favorite jazz singer/guitarist, who is well-known for his Dear Mr. Cole album, a tribute to Nat King Cole, returns with another tribute in the same vein, this time with a nod to Ol’ Blue Eyes, and is joined by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. A few standards included on the album are “You Make Me Feel So Young”, “Witchcraft”, “I’ve Got You under My Skin”, and “Nice ‘N’ Easy”.
Eighteen Visions – Eighteen Visions
After being pimped to space by the WWE with their song, “Victim”, as the theme to the Vengeance pay-per-view, metalcore favorites Eighteen Visions releases their first full-length album on Epic Records since making the jump from indie imprint Trustkill in 2004. Since I pretty much detest all genres “core”, and am not able to objectively tell you if this is a good or bad album, just wait, as I’m sure Tom D’Errico will review it in the next week. He will give it a 12 out of 10, saying it’s one of the greatest albums released since the Berlin Wall fell, which will cause Gloomchen’s head to explode, after which she will say that it was because she’s getting married again tomorrow. This album will also be available in the Wal-Mart Version.
Sugar Puff Demons – Falling from Grace
Fans of psychobilly’s elusive Sugar Puff Demons will be happy to know that the band’s late ’80s LP, Falling from Grace, after being out of print for years, is finally available again, on CD. The band had one previous album and appeared on numerous compilations before disbanding and never being heard from again. CD packaging also contains exclusive photos and lyrics.
Gangsters and DJs Box (4-disc set)
DJ Shadow’s “Changeling” appearing on a Thump Records compilation? I can’t f*cking believe it. I really can’t. Sure, the other three CDs are chock full of Latino gangster rap that will give you a little bit more cholo cred than your Homeys collection and those Dickies pants you bought at K-Mart in 1998, but that’s expected. DJ Shadow is not. Also appearing on the all-DJs CD is a pleasant surprise lineup of Cut Chemist, Peanut Butter Wolf, Mix Master Mike, and DJ Q-Bert. And since the suggested retail price for this collection is $14.98, it’s probably worth your while.
Helmet – Monochrome
After a 7-year sabbatical, New York City’s Helmet releases their second album in two years, just after hopping from Interscope Records to indie label Warcon, supporting the new album with a headlining gig on this year’s Warped Tour. Singer/guitarist Page Hamilton and guitarist Chris Traynor are joined by newcomers Mike Jost (drums) and Jeremy Chatelain (bass). After hearing the band’s first single from the album, “Gone”, it appears as if they’ve stayed relatively true to their ’90s alt-metal sound that won them fans with Aftertaste. Should be fun.
Cock Sparrer – The Decca Years
Nope, it’s not some sort of ironic album title… these oi! legends actually were signed to the classic label in 1977, as the Decca people were looking to capitalize on the then-up-and-coming punk movement, although they ended up dumping the band a year later. This collection, re-released in one tidy package by Captain Oi!, features well-known classics “Chip on My Shoulder’ and “Runnin’ Riot”, along with several bonus tracks that have never before been available in CD format. Also included in the package are exclusive, never before seen photos of the band, along with cover art images of all of their Decca releases.
French Kicks – Two Thousand
Oh, this one’s actually going to be pretty big with the indie kids, as one of Star Time’s sweethearts releases its first new album in three years. Expect dueling reviews again from Kyle David Paul and Jeremy Botter on this one, and expect me to not comment too much on this one due to the fact that I’m pretty unfamiliar with anyone from Star Time except The Walkmen. Also, that piece of fruit on the album cover looks an awful lot like a floating boob out in the middle of nowhere.
Alien Ant Farm – Up in the Attic
Poor Alien Ant Farm. They will perpetually be known as the band that did a crap cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. No matter how many albums they release and no matter how hard they try, they will never be able to shed that cachet. With this new album, they’re at least moving on to album titles that don’t include the text “ANT”, which is a step forward in not seeming so hokey. That, however, does not help them in the aforementioned peril.
Golden Smog – Another Fine Day
Aswad – Aswad vs. The Rhythm Riders
Sheep on Drugs – Best of a Bad Bunch
OPM – California Poppy
Soraya – Entre Su Ritmo y el Silencio
David Holmes – Free Association
John Tucker Must Die Soundtrack
Boot Camp Clik – Last Stand (12″ also available)
Bruce Cockburn – Life Short Call Now
N.O.R.E. – N.O.R.E. ya La Familia… Ya TÃƒÂº Sabe (Wal-Mart Version also available)
Chingy – Pulling Me Back (single)
Ozric Tentacles – The Floor’s Too Far Away
Paul Weller – Catch-Flame!
Everyone’s favorite Mod rocker (who happens to be The Fucking Man in his native England) returns with a 2-disc set of a live electric performance with a full band. While he belts out a set including solo hits like “The Changingman” and “Peacock Suit”, he also throws in a few tracks from The Jam and Style Council, most notably the global ’80s hit “A Town Called Malice”. All in all, it’s a strong set and should be a fun listen.
Voivod – Katorz
The Quebecois thrash metal band returns almost a year after the death of founding member and guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour with an album that they recorded alongside solo recordings that D’Amour had made with ProTools before his death. The title of the album comes from what he had written on the disc. I don’t really know much else about this band aside from that their name comes from the Pan-Slavic word for “military commander” and that Jason Newsted dumped Metallica to join them, which was a good idea.
Flogging Molly – Whiskey on a Sunday (w/bonus DVD)
Good Lord, has this band blown up since around 2000 or so, or at least here in Chicago, where they rank up there with Dropkick Murphys and The Tossers with the Irish-punk fans. Plus, they have a cute girl who plays the uilleann pipes, so that’s a bonus. I haven’t heard anything they’ve done since 2002’s Drunken Lullabies, but if this new album and 2004’s Within a Mile of Home are anything like the band’s two previous major albums, they’re both going to be as fun as they are energetic and Celtic-influenced.
Cirque du Soleil – Delirium
The Diplomats Present Hell Rell – For the Hell of It (Wal-Mart version also available)
The Supersuckers – Paid (EP)
The Sleepy Jackson – Personality (One Was a Spider, One Was a Bird)
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Stranger Things
Spoon – Telephono/Soft Effects (Remastered on one disc)
Raul Malo – You’re Only Lonely
THE BILLBOARD BREAKDOWN
#20 – Sean Paul, “Temperature”
(Last month: #3)
After taking a dive from #3 last month, this song is yet another example of the country’s fixation with mediocrity repackaged as more mediocrity. I liked it better the first eight times I heard it, when it was eight other Sean Paul songs, all of which sounded the same (see below, Red Hot Chili Peppers). One credit to Sean Paul, though, is that every single one of his songs gets hot women to dance, so I guess he gets to live when the Mexicans take over the world.
#19 – Panic! at the Disco, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”
Okay, I like the very beginning of it, just before the guy starts singing. The string instrument (whatever it is, I’m bad at identifying anything other than guitar, bass, and violin) is a nice change from the usual. However, once the song kicks off into what is supposed to be the meat and potatoes of the thing, it’s just another whiny pop-punk song. Actually, it probably could work if they toned down the power riffs strewn throughout, and got a new singer that was a little less whiny and little more goth. In the meantime, meh…
#18 – Chris Brown, “Gimme That” [f/Lil Wayne]
(Last month: #20)
Was it the remix or the original that’s making the chart? Since it doesn’t say “remix,” I went with the original, and I f*cking hate it. It sounds like Lady of Rage singing, first of all, and I don’t care for Lil Wayne at all. The beat is terrible, and tries to be thug but ends up sounding like the boss level from a Nintendo game. I thought that it went somewhere there for a minute, but it was actually my iTunes segueing into “Sail Away,” by Enya.
#17 – Rihanna, “S.O.S. (Rescue Me)”
(Last month: #1)
After predicting that this would hit #1 last month, it took a substantial dive, but Rihanna is still managing to have two singles in the Top 20. As a rule, I get pissed off when a song that I really love gets sampled into an expendable pop track that will be forgotten in the next year or so. This one apes the background music from “Tainted Love,” but it’s actually not as obnoxious as it could be, and the sound effect from the transition into “Where Did Our Love Go,” that gets thrown in there, too, is a nice little chestnut. However, I’d like to propose that anyone who buys or steals this track must also buy or steal the original, because it’s still exponentially superior to this.
#16 – Field Mob, “So What” [f/Ciara]
What if this was a Ministry cover? Even though I knew it wasn’t going to be, it was the first thing that popped into my head. This song, relatively speaking, is actually pretty good. The beat has an mid-’90s feel to it, which works to break up the doldrums of Lil Jon and his f*cking Casio. Field Mob have decided to enlist the incredibly hot Ciara and join in with the Dungeon Family and a chosen other few1 in their crusade to show that not all rap/hip-hop east of Los Angeles and south of Chicago has to be absolutely worthless.
#15 – The Fray, “Over My Head (Cable Car)”
(Last month: #9)
This is one of those bands like Lifehouse or The Calling that more or less targets sorority girls and manages to sucker some poor idiotic men on the way. It’s not really that good, but it’s also not horrible, either, although the lead singer’s got a bit of a whiny voice that could be a little irritating.
#14 – Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Dani California”
(Last edition: #8)
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are the kings of rehashing the same song over and over again into huge hits (an art form which Sean Paul, supra, is getting closer and closer to mastering). This song keeps with that paradigm, although it’s hard to hold it against the band, as it’s obviously a winning formula for them. I actually kind of like this one, and like I predicted, it wasn’t going to get any higher than #8. I am awesome at life.
#13 – Christina Aguilera, “Ain’t No Other Man”
Wow… I was actually worried that she fell off the face of the earth, but it’s good to see XXXtina back in all of her delicious whoredom with this, the flagship single off of her new album. To add to the goodness, Sony somehow persuaded DJ Premier to create the beat for this record, and although it’s faster than just about everything in his repertoire, it still has that trademark Primo feel to it, making good use of a Luis Aviles sample. It’s good to see that they opted for Primo over the more obvious Lil Jon or Neptunes (although I’d be surprised if the latter doesn’t make at least one appearance on the album).
#12 – Fort Minor, “Where’d You Go” [f/Holly Brook]
(Last month: #5)
I forgot all about Fort Minor. I liked the idea when I heard about it; a Mike Shinoda hip-hop side project (as I detest Chester), however, I was expecting something slightly less sappy as a vanguard single. Seeing as Shinoda’s done really nice collaborations with people like Jay-Z, Pharaohe Monch, and Motion Man, I was misled. That said, Shinoda’s certainly entitled to his own creative direction, and I actually do like this song, albeit I’m kind of confused. I think the beat is fantastic, with a two-step drum and nice piano loop, but I think that the female vocals could have been executed in a better way. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a love ballad or a hip-hop track or some sort of hybrid, so I’m going to stop typing and finish eating this Simply Asia brand sweet & sour chow mein that’s not really the greatest thing, but I’m pretty hungry.
#11 – Daniel Powter, “Bad Day”
(Last month: #2)
What would happen if Train sucked even more ass than they already do? This. Yes, I’m glad it dropped, but it’s been on this chart for waaaay to long, and it needs to go. I am severely stymied as to why the country loves this song so f*cking much. What the f*ck. Is it because they play it whenever someone gets voted off of American Idol? Fuck American Idol. I want my f*cking Boston Public back. Wait… that one Katherine girl can come to my house for cocktails; otherwise, f*ck American Idol. No wonder the whole f*cking world hates us. It’s not because of Iraq. It’s not because of Bush. It’s not because we use so many resources that if everyone on Earth consumed the same resources as the average American, it would take more than five Earths to meet the demand. It’s because Americans love Daniel Powter. For shame, America. For f*cking shame.
#10 – Lil Jon, “Snap Yo Fingers” [f/E-40, Sean Paul of YoungBloodz]
(Last month: #13)
If you know me or have read my columns, then chances are that you’re well aware of sentiments vis-ÃƒÂ -vis Lil Jon. So as far as I’m concerned, that shitstarter can take his f*cking Casio keyboard that he uses to make all of his shitty beats and shove it up his ass. It’s a dire day and age when something like this not only passes for music, but also is widely accepted by the hoi polloi. And who the hell is this fake Sean Paul (of Youngbloodz)? It’s one thing when Prodigy (of Mobb Deep) decides to use the same name as one of my favorite electronic acts (I bought the f*cking Bulworth soundtrack because I thought that The Prodigy had for whatever reason decided to collaborate with Method Man and KRS-One… boy was that a rough lesson), but this Sean Paul of Youngbloodz is sucking off of the dancehall artist’s heat. For that, he deserves to be kicked in the nuts, and Lil Jon deserves to be stabbed about the face with something rusty.
#9 – Cassie, “Me & U”
There’s apparently another version of this, featuring 50 Cent, floating around, and I’m not sure if that’s the one that’s getting airplay or not, but since I don’t like 50 Cent, I decided to download the one without him. Good. The song is so incredibly slow that you’d probably even have a hard time f*cking to it. I’ll take Christopher Cross’s “Sailing”, instead, thank you very much. When it does finally pick up, though, it qualifies as a decent mainstay in your local gentlemen’s club. The beat is simple and nothing offensive, just like the lyrics, but with the only discerning element of it being a little submarine blip sound, it’s going to be forgotten quicker than Cascada.
#8 – Rihanna, “Unfaithful”
Three cheers to Rihanna for having two records in the top 20. The first one was dance-tastic, with its nicely executed Soft Cell sample, while this one is a straight-up ballad. While the suburban kids have their emo, the urban kids have this. It’s nothing new, bores the ass off of me, and is a definite step down for Rihanna. Hopefully her next single makes up for it with a sample of “Sex Dwarf”, and featuring Cee-Lo. I doubt it, though.
#7 – Rascal Flatts, “Life Is a Highway”
Taken from the Cars soundtrack, this is a forgettable cover of a forgettable original song. Who the f*ck was Tom Cochran? You could put it in Final Jeopardy, and only one person would probably get it, and they would just so happen to be Tom Cochran’s only remaining fan. What’s next, Sugarland covering The Soup Dragons?
#6 – Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy”
Hey Mathan, holler at a player when you see him in the street. I hate… hate Gnarls Barkley’s Violent Femmes cover. Other than that, they are f*cking great. I’m seriously in shock that something this underground sounding could break the top 20, let alone the top 10. It’s the closest thing that we’re going to get in this day and age to the classic R&B sounds of Al Green and Marvin Gaye, so soak it up while you can. I’ve still yet to hear this get played at a club, but when that does happen, you bet your ass I’ll be out on the dancefloor.
#5 – Chamillionaire, “Ridin'” [f/Krayzie Bone]
(Last month: #4)
Where in the bloody hell are these idiots coming up with their names? Is there something I’m missing here? Chamillionaire? Why not just call yourself WIOdcdhsvgbdycvb? I’m not sure if Chamillionaire is the guy who wants to be Nate Dogg, or the guy who sounds like he wants to be a Bone Thug. Either way, he wants to sound like something crap, so that makes him extra crap. I’ve never really gotten into that whole speed rap thing (and I really, really tried with Twista, but to no avail), so this one’s pretty forgettable. However, I will admit that this is leaps and bounds above any of that Lil Jon, Cash Money, or other various DRRRTY South related garbage.
#4 – Yung Joc, “It’s Goin’ Down”
The beat sounds like your generic Lil Jon Casio thing, and the guy’s voice is growl-y and just dreadful. This is something I could expect from the Lil Jon or Paul Wall circle, but I thought that The Ad Hoc Award-Demanding Piece Of Rat Bastard Shit’s Bad Boy Records was above this. Sure, his songs aren’t amazing or anything, but he’s shown with this little shift that he’s willing to toss what modicum of quality his label had remaining into the DRRRTY South mud puddle just to sell records.
#3 – Nelly Furtado, “Promiscuous” [f/Timbaland]
Nelly Furtado wants to sell more records. End of story. Old Nelly was cute and quirky, and she sang songs that were original and pretty damn good to boot. New Nelly is a bust-down who wants to sell as many records as Sean Paul does. Did I mention that she wants to sell more records? This saddens me. It’s kind of like hearing that that girl you really used to like in high school ending up being a big fat whore and is single and has like seven kids and works as a cashier and Costco, and you’re actually just pissed off because you never got to do her.
#2 – Shakira, “Hips Don’t Lie” [f/Wyclef Jean]
(Last month: #17)
Boy, did she make a jump… but Shakira’s worked really hard to get somewhere favorable on the U.S. charts. I must say, although I primarily felt that this song was average and nothing to squawk about, I’ve begun to grow a little attached to it. No, I wouldn’t download it to my iPod, but I’m starting to like it a little bit more, as over the past week, I’ve heard it on the radio at work and at an area dance club, and it had me moving around a little bit more than usual. I do, however, still think that the Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz thing (which I’m quite sure they aped from someone else) needs to go.
#1 – Taylor Hicks, “Do I Make You Proud”
This is exactly what you’d expect from this year’s winner of American Idol, while it’s a lot less sugary than some of its predecessors have been, it obviously has to appeal to the masses, who are the reason why this show is such a great success. Nothing offensive, and nothing awesome, it’s just kind of there, but the whole American Idol buzz is really what has skyrocketed this one. I say good for Taylor Hicks, who just barely got past the auditions, but was then able to tame a case of Tourette Syndrome and get the country to fall in love with his bluesy sound to take the cake. In the meantime, rock band Fuel asked Brian J. Blottie to be their new lead singer, since Chris Daughtry turned them down. According to insiders, Blotto accepted the spot, and recorded one song before disappearing for three weeks, then returning to record another two songs before disappearing again. Blotto did not answer calls on Thursday. More on this story as it develops.
Ever wonder what makes me tick? No? Too bad. Here are some of the random songs that came up on iTunes as I wrote this column…
LaTour, “People Are Still Having Sex”
Devo, “Through Being Cool”
Berlin, “Sex (I’m a…)”
DJ Shadow, “Changeling”
The Only Band That Matters, “Lost in the Supermarket”
Chaka Demus & Pliers, “Murder She Wrote”
First Choice, “Let No Man Put Asunder”
Violent Femmes, “Blister in the Sun”
Future Sound of London, “While Others Cry”
Touch & Go, “Would You…?”
Badfinger, “No Matter What”
Pink Floyd, “Time”
Deftones, “The Chauffeur”
Los Amigos Invisibles, “Groupie”
VNV Nation, “Epicentre”
Fluke, “Kitten Moon”
Lords of Acid, “Rough Sex” (The All Night Grinder Mx)
The Cure, “Close to Me”
Butthole Surfers, “Pepper”
T’Pau, “Heart and Soul”
The Cramps, “Primitive”
THE MOST RIDICULOUS ITEM OF THE MONTH
Axl Rose was arrested in Stockholm, Sweden, on the morning of Tuesday, June 26, after allegedly biting a security guard on the leg outside of the Berns Hotel. Guns N’ Roses had played a show at the Globen Arena, and afterward they went out for a night of drinking at CafÃƒÂ© Opera. After that club closed, Rose returned to the hotel, where the band had been staying. It was there that hotel security approached him because they thought he was accosting a female (who was actually his assistant) he got very belligerent and reportedly broke a large decorative mirror and bit one of the security guards on the leg. Stockholm police were called, and Rose was taken to a local station and held until he sobered up. He was eventually released after questioning, and was fined 40,000 Swedish krona (approx. US $5,500), along with as 10,000 krona (approx. US $1,300) in restitution to the security guard. It’s incidents like this that lead me to believe that Axl still does not have his shit together enough to manage to release Chinese Democracy this year. It will instead be released in 2025. Your kids will love it.
Separated at birth? The case is getting much stronger…
1 See, e.g., The Geto Boys, Ludacris, Arrested Development, Little Brother, Missy Elliot, Timbaland, The Neptunes, and to a lesser extent, 2 Live Crew and 69 Boyz.