Thursday, August 28, 2008

Music blogger arrested, charged with leaking songs from unreleased Guns N' Roses album

In a case likely to send shivers down the spines of music bloggers everywhere, blogger Kevin Cogill of antiquiet.com was arrested by FBI agents yesterday and charged in court with streaming songs from the infamously still-hasn't-been-released Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy. The charges accused Cogill of posting streams of nine tracks from the album, whose ten-year gestation period and repeated missed release dates have bestowed it with an almost mythic status.

What this means for the ongoing debate over creator's rights, the RIAA's heavy handed enforcement tactics, and/or the continually evolving music industry business model will no doubt be the subject of continuing speculation.

Of more immediate concern to GNR fans -- who, amazingly enough, still exist -- is the loss of access to the only new music the band has produced in the past 15 years. As one fan pointed out ruefully online, "For all we know, that could be the closest we ever get to an actual release."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday item-fest: Little Feat and friends, Obama-Springsteen, Radiohead live

Items galore this Tuesday:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oh Madonna...

...will you ever tire of being an attention whore?

I mean, first you call your latest album Hard Candy, then you call the accompanying tour "Sticky & Sweet"... And you just turned 50? A extremely fit 50, and after all it is the new 40 and everything, but really... you have kids. They have friends. And you're still prancing around like a pole dancer and making shock-value-only videos?

I mean, it's almost as cringe-worthy as a bunch of sixty-somethings prancing around under a giant lips-and-tongue-logo...

Oh, wait.

Never mind.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"The Day That Never Comes" just arrived for Metallica

Metallica fans all around the world finally got a taste of the band's latest studio album Death Magnetic with the release of the single "The Day That Never Comes." While the group had debuted another new song entitled "Cyanide" at Ozzfest, this is the first official release of material from their upcoming LP.

The song is a complete reversal of the sound Metallica was reaching for on the much maligned St. Anger, channeling their classic period with a hint of the 90s era. Don't be surprised if the opening few minutes of the song remind you of "Fade To Black," or "The Unforgiven," because the vibe is very much similar to those stellar tracks. The dueling guitar harmonies are back, as are the mind numbingly fast solos, delivered by one Kirk Hammett. Sure the lyrics are a bit cheesy in areas, but Metallica really never delivered incredibly profound wordplay.

Friday Roundup: TV is the new radio, Fleetwood Mac attack, Bono's boo-boo

  • This morning's USA Today profiles the new generation of mellow, sunny singer-songwriters (Colbie Caillat, Marie Digby, Meiko, Brett Dennen, Sara Bareilles, Yael Naim, Greg Laswell), but what struck me about the article is how many of these folks experienced a very much 21st-century phenomenon: TV is the new radio. Never mind pitching to radio station music directors; it's the music producers for One Tree Hill and Grey's Anatomy you want to get your stuff to when you're shooting for the big career bump.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

LeRoi Moore of Dave Matthews Band dead at 46

Word came last night that one of the great pure players of the last quarter century of popular music died, and far too young. LeRoi Moore, founding saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band, died yesterday at just 46 years old. As the message on the band’s site states, Moore passed away from “sudden complications stemming from his June ATV accident on his farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. LeRoi had recently returned to his Los Angeles home to begin an intensive physical rehabilitation program.”

Moore was one of the finest horn players of his generation. I had the privilege of seeing him play with the DMB twice, and he was exceptional on both occasions, at ease and in the flow whether stringing together sweet phrases on his alto sax or honking out rhythmic accents on his bari. His swinging lines anchored DMB classics like “Ants Marching” and his flute work on tracks like “Say Goodbye” was nothing short of transcendent. His versatility and deeply soulful playing helped define the DMB’s unique sound, and while they may find someone else to play his parts, he can never truly be replaced. Moore was no less essential to the DMB than Keith Moon was to The Who, and will be missed equally.

Heartfelt condolences to his family and bandmates on this tremendous loss.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Metallica's James Hetfield: "Enter Fenceman"?

It seems Metallica frontman James Hetfield is a big believer in the old axiom "Good fences make good neighbors. " After buying a 500-acre piece of property in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco, the singer let it sit for nine years. Until recently, that is, when workers erected a metal and barbed-wire fence, cutting off a fire trail that locals say has been "used for at least a half-century to access treasured hiking trails along scenic ridgelines." Apparently Hetfield's even better-known neighbor has been able to work out a public access arrangement for hikers to traverse his property, so maybe Hetfield will follow the example set by George Lucas...

Monday, August 18, 2008

New AC/DC album Black Ice drops October 20

The rumors are true... the release date is confirmed... and they're baaa-aaack. Columbia Records announced today the October 20th release of hard rock heroes AC/DC's Black Ice, the band's first studio album in eight years.

The new album features 15 new tracks from brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams, and Phil Rudd, the very same lineup that made 1980's immortal Back In Black. The album was produced by Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Train) at the Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, BC.

"Rock 'N' Roll Train," the album's first single, will debut on August 28th, with a video to premiere in September. Maybe the best news of all for fans -- the band is set to kick off its first world tour since 2001 in late October. Break out the cannons and get ready to head-bang!

Friday, August 15, 2008

What do Jackson Browne, ABBA and John Mellencamp have in common?

Answer: they have all asked Republican presidential candidate John McCain to stop using their songs in his campaign events and advertising. Browne yesterday went even further, suing the McCain campaign and both the Ohio and national Republican Party over a pro-McCain ad that used Browne's "Running On Empty." Regardless of which side of the political fence you're on, there is definitely something amusing about watching McCain struggle to generate some sort of youth appeal by latching onto popular music, only to get slapped down repeatedly by the artists he picks. Just ask Garry Trudeau...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The album is dead; long live the album

Interesting trend popping up in the news this week: artists doing their damnedest to make sure the album survives as an art form.

As the Associated Press notes on MSNBC.com, the list of artists taking a moment to perform classic albums live in their entireity has ballooned from an oddity into a full-blown trend. In recent months we have seen: Lou Reed playing Berlin on its 35th anniversary, Public Enemy performing It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Sebadoh playing Bubble and Scrape, Mission of Burma performing Vs., Liz Phair recreating Exile In Guyville (which she will do again later this month), and -- well, okay, THIS isn't exactly news -- Roger Waters playing the entire Pink Floyd classic Dark Side of the Moon as his second set at Coachella. Not to mention similar recent performances of whole albums by artists as diverse as Jay-Z, Lucinda Williams, Sonic Youth, Wilco, Slint, Iron Maiden and GZA.

In the era of the download, where individual tracks and custom playlists have gained prominence in the marketplace, it's great to see that the artist's vision of a substantial set of interconnected songs can still have a place at the table. Rock on, album-makers...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Soul legend Isaac Hayes dies

Soul legend Isaac Hayes died yesterday at his home in Memphis, he was 65. Hayes had been struggling with health issues following a stroke in 2006.

Hayes got his start as a house songwriter and musician at Stax records in the 60s, eventually emerging as a successful solo artist with his breakout album Hot Buttered Soul. Hayes was a pivotal creative force in the genesis of 70's soul music, influencing artists to this day. He received numerous gold and platinum awards, and headlined the legendary Wattstax concert in 1973.

He also acted, and for several years provided the voice of Chef on the animated series South Park. Throughout his career he garnered dozens of Grammy's and other accolades, including an Oscar in 1972 for best original song and induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

CNN: Isaac Hayes obituary

Mixtape Mondays

Today the Vault launches a new occasional feature: Mixtape Mondays. Before iPods, before playlists, back in the days when dinosaurs (and Isaac Hayes) roamed the land, there was a thing called the mixtape, wherein the author would put together a sequence of songs intended to convey a specific mood or idea. We've resurrected the concept and Assistant Editor Melanie Love is first out of the gate with a summery mixtape themed on "Ocean Waves" and featuring tracks from artists including Weezer, Styx, the Shins, the Unicorns, Death Cab For Cutie, Pixies and Band Of Horses. Grab a cool drink and a towel and enjoy...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tom Petty raises the roof in St. Louie

Just had to share a link to this great review of last night's Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers gig in St. Louis. It sounds like this writer -- part of the younger segment of Petty's audience -- got baptized with some genuine rock and roll.

Trent Reznor and HBO in talks for possible Year Zero maxi-series

The man America counts on to turn nihilistic anger into high art -- Trent Reznor, natch -- may be on the cusp of his biggest multimedia triumph yet. The LA Times reports that Reznor is in talks with HBO about transforming the backstory behind his band Nine Inch Nails' 2007 album Year Zero and the video game of the same name into a two-year maxi-series for broadcast on the cable network. Year Zero chronicles a dystopian future vision in which holy wars rage worldwide as the environment collapses around us. Just the sort of thing to put a skip in your step... but, potentially powerful dramatic raw material.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Police wrap reunion tour with live webcast

There's a nice piece on tonight's Madison Square Garden finale of the Police reunion tour on USA Today this morning. Among other things, it promos the live webcast of three songs from the encore set on bestbuy.com at 10:45 pm ET. Best Buy will subsequently release The Police: Certifiable, a DVD/CD set featuring the Buenos Aires concert, on Oct. 7. Best comment from the band goes to guitarist Andy Summers, 65: "Thank God people still love hair bands."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Americana Music Conference and Festival

Americana fans are in for a treat (again) this September...

Slated for Wednesday, September 17 through Saturday, September 20, the 9th Annual Americana Festival and Conference will offer daily seminars, panels and networking opportunities at the Nashville Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Each evening brings more than 80 Americana showcases to key venues throughout the city. Approximately 2,000 industry executives, artists and fans are expected this year.

This year's list of showcase artists is amazing. How about: Joan Baez, John Hiatt, Jim Lauderdale, Tift Merritt, Levon Helm, Steve Earle, James McMurtry, Gary Louris and Mark Olson (from the Jayhawks), Kathy Mattea, Reckless Kelly and on and on.

Also, on September 18 the 7th Annual Americana Music Association’s Honors and Awards Show will recognize John Hiatt with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting and Jason and the Scorchers with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Performance. The two-hour event will be broadcast live on XM Satellite Radio, and rebroadcast on Sirius Satellite Radio and BBC2 Radio.

Tickets are available through www.americanamusic.org, where you can also find more details about award nominees, showcases, prize packs, etc.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Retrospective: Women Of Country

Fans of any of the following artists may want to tune in to the Daily Vault this month as we focus our monthly retrospective sights on the Women Of Country: Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, Martina McBride, Kathy Mattea, Rosanne Cash, Deana Carter, Carrie Underwood, Tammy Wynette, Trisha Yearwood, Shelby Lynne, Linda Ronstadt, Matraca Berg, Katy Moffatt, Shania Twain, Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams, Suzy Bogguss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Neko Case, Alison Krauss, Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, K.D. Lang, Garrison Starr, Carlene Carter and Reba McEntire. That's a lot of musical territory to cover, so don't be late...