Black Is Back with Tenacious D Print
Music - Music News
Written by John James   
Tuesday, 26 June 2001 18:00
• It could not be refused. It will not be denied. And we’ve waited long enough. The Epic Records label has just announced that the heavily anticipated debut album from Tenacious D is now on schedule for September release. Fueled by the chubby manic powerhouse of Jack Black (last seen stealing scenes in High Fidelity) and Kyle Grass, the CD will include many of their bawdry concert favorites and a swell list of guest stars, such as Phish’s Page McConnell, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl, Warren Fitgerald of the Vandals, and Steve MacDonald of Redd Kross. And how’s this for inspired scenarios? The production team of the Dust Brothers performed the knob twisting at Neil Diamond’s ArcAngel recording studio.

• And speaking of Neil Diamond, he releases his new Three Chord Opera album next month on the Columbia label – the first album since 1974’s Serenade set that’s been completely written and composed by the singer-songwriter.

• My favorite new record of the moment is the better-late-than-never debut of Rosa Chance Well, a girl-boy duo that bloomed in 1996 Boston via Washington D.C.’s Art Monk Construction scene. The stunningly intimate self-titled acoustic-based album is a wonderful melancholy creeper of a CD, rich in fragile melodies and pulsating dark cocktail-jazz explorations. While the playful, seductively aloof voice of Vanessa Downing and multi-instrumentalist Dean Taormina first lured me in with their soft acoustic side, the album really gets under my skin when it starts to heat up and buzz, rolling out a sonic space that reminded me of Television founder Tom Verlaine’s Warm & Cool solo album from 1992. Guests Gavin McCarthy and Jeff Godard of Karate and Chris Brokaw of Come electrify these richer passages, laying down a smoky vibe that simply sizzles. One cover track is featured: a dark, haunting take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” deliciously minimal and delicate. The Kimchee Records label has now issued this delicious lost nugget of highbrow pop, and I highly recommend it to fans of early Suzanne Vega, Mary My Hope, Mazzy Star, and Tarnation.

• Also hugging up to the CD player and not letting go is the new live CD from Dr. Duke Tumatoe & the Power Trio. The new J-Bird Records release is entitled Pompous & Overrated, a perfect out-door BBQ house-party soundtrack of funky electric blues with extra saucy guitar work and personality by the doctor himself. Tumatoe has built quite a following on the Midwest blues touring circuit and is a frequent guest on the syndicated Bob & Tom radio show, as his wickedly funny repertoire of smokers and gigglers is a real crowd pleaser. This new set also has a few covers as well, including Willie Dixon’s “Backdoor Man” and “Something Wrong With the Blues” by Richard Bowden of the comedy and western duo of Pinkard & Bowden. Highly-recommended good-time music.

• Also recommended to backdrop your next funky shindig is Polydor’s CD re-issue last week of James Brown’s white-hot Live at the Apollo Volume II, remastered and expanded to shine under the labels’ new Deluxe Edition packaging. This new love polish restores the original pace and track order of the 1968 concert performances, and almost 30 minutes of previously unreleased material. Some of those rarities include Bobby Byrd’s “Sweet Soul Music,” the band’s intermission music, and patter from MC Frankie Crocker. Other highlights include Brown’s duet with Marva Whitney on “Think” and his “Bring It Up” finale.

• Remember the 1984 monster FM hit “In a Big Country” by Big Country? The UK band is alive and well, and has just released the first CD in the new series on the Cleopatra label under the title Undercover. All four discs in the series will contain simply that – cover versions and interpretations of other artists’ material. The first volume features the band’s take on Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My (Into the Black),” Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” and Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen.”.

• Los Straitjackets have decided to get hip with that new singing thing the kids are so crazy about these days. The group’s upcoming album, Sing Along with Los Straitjackets, features guest vocalists The Rev. Horton Heat, Dave Alvin, Big Sandy, Nick Lowe, Exene Cervenka of X, Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer, Mark Lindsay, and more.

Television Alert:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno hosts Sisqo on Thursday and the simply terrific Poe on Monday; The Late Show with David Letterman welcomes Coldplay tonight and Brian Wilson on Thursday; Late Night with Conan O’Brien serves up Green Day on Thursday overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn gets down with the legendary Ian Hunter this evening overnight, Tyrese on Thursday overnight, and The Cult on Friday overnight; and Saturday Night Live’s musical guest this weekend is Aerosmith.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, July 3:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change.

A.I. – original motion picture soundtrack (Warner Bros)

Absinthe Blind – The Everyday Separation (Mud Records) from Champaign, Illinois

Cheech & Chong – Joint Venture: The Cheech & Chong Anthology (Warner Archives / Rhino)

Chicago Underground – Chicago Underground (Thrill Jockey) now expanded to a quartet featuring Jeff Parker of Tortoise and Noel Kupersmith of Brokeback

The Chitlin’ Fooks – The Chitlin’ Fooks (Hidden Agenda/Parasol) new from Carol Van Dyk of Bettie Serveert

Billy Cobham – Rudiments: The Billy Cobham Anthology (Rhino) two-CD set focused on his Atlantic Records period

DJ Zeph – DJ Zeph (Wide Hive) featuring guests Azeem of Spearhead and Ron E. Beck of Tower of Power

The Fixx – Missing Pieces (Fuel 2000) collection of rare tracks and remixes

Him – New Features (Bubblecore)

Jack & the Beanstalk – Cowboys in Sweden (Parasol) featuring the Aussie power-pop take on The Dictator’s “Who Will Save Rock & Roll”

Jethro Tull – The Very Best of (Chrysalis/Capitol) on tour all summer long in support of this new 24-bit re-mastered 20-track collection

Lazy Cowgirls – Here & Now: Live! (Sympathy for the Record Industry) featuring covers of material by Bill Monroe, Flamin’ Groovies, Nat King Cole, and Billy Joe Shaver

Motley Crue – Lewd Crued & Tattooed (Beyond) VHS and DVD live concert documentary filmed last year, with the DVD featuring a 5.1 mix and the first track the band ever recorded – “Nobody Knows What It’s Like to Be Lonely” - recorded seven days after the band formed

Squarepusher – Go Plastic (Warp) featuring the single “My Red Hot Car”

Stretch Arm Strong – A Revolution Transmission (Tooth & Nail)

Tindersticks – Can Our Love (Beggars Banquet)

various artists – Cafe Del Mar: Volume Eight (MCA) featuring chilled-down remixes of songs by U2, Goldfrapp, Afterlife, and Lamb

White Octave – Menergy (Initial) new from Stephen Pedersen of Cursive