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CD Asks, “What’s Going On?” PDF Print E-mail
Music - Music News
Written by John James   
Tuesday, 30 October 2001 18:00
• Painfully poignant as today’s headlines bring us closer to adopting a Robocop reality, I beg of everyone to stop and listen to a simple question: “What’s Going On?” A star-studded re-mix CD posing Marvin Gaye’s soulful question has just hit store shelves, a puff of hope and harmony from the lips of the next generation to keep the dream of brotherhood afloat. The Columbia Records release was originally developed as a fundraising benefit for Artists Against AIDS Worldwide and the group’s campaign to raise American awareness and involvement in the African AIDS calamity. In response to the terrorist attacks on the U.S., though, proceeds will now also go to United Way’s September 11th Fund. Gaye’s masterpiece single receives the royal re-treatment as some of today’s hottest production talent and interesting guest stars create fresh takes on the 1971 classic. Moby, Junior Vasquez, and Mike Mangini take the “I’ll do it all by myself, thank you” approach, while others more resemble one heck of a house party, such as Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst and his “Reality Check Mix” with guests Bono of U2, Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, and Wes Scantlin of Puddle Of Mudd. Other highlights include Jermaine Dupri’s “Dupri R&B Mix” with guests Michael Stipe of R.E.M., Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, Alicia Keys, Nelly Furtado, Mary J. Blige, and Wyclef Jean; and Brian Eno’s “The London Version” with guests Chris Martin of Coldplay and Bono and The Edge from U2.

• The Vitamin label has just released another volume in its classical-cover series with Strung Out on OK Computer: The String Quartet Tribute to Radiohead. Featuring violin, viola, and cello, the tasteful 12-track affair produces a lush take on Radiohead’s man-versus-machine mythos with tracks like “Exit Music (for a Film),” bringing to mind images of a turn-of-the-century Godfather wedding scene.

• Fans of Robyn Hitchcock have a few new places to find the eclectic British songwriter, one as a favor returned and one as the voice of an octogenarian poet. The classically trained violinist Deni Bonet was featured heavily in the live Storefront Hitchcock project, and he and fellow Soft Boy Kimberly Rew can both be found as guests on Bonet’s new CD, Bigger Is Always Better, on the MR2 label. Another indie label, Gadfly Records, also hosts a nugget of Hitchcock’s psychedelic genius as he contributes “Book” to the Ernie: Songs of Earnest Noyes Brookings various-artist homage to Brookings, a late bloomer who discovered his talent as a poet while living at a home for the elderly in New England. Pop-culture followers might remember that Brookings and other residents found fame and respect from a variety of indie rockers who discovered their observational writings in David Greenberger’s series of Duplex Planet self-published ‘zines of late 1980s.

• Some nifty details on the upcoming Chemical Brothers album, Come With Us, are leaking out. Due in January on the Astralwerks label, the set will feature collaboration with two premier vocalists of the new British troubadour era: Verve founder Richard Ashcroft on the track “The Test” and Beth Orton on “The State I’m In.”

Television Alert:

The Late Show with David Letterman welcomes Tony Bennett and Tenacious D on Monday, and Britney Spears on Tuesday; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno hosts Enrique Iglesias on Friday; Late Night with Conan O’Brien has the band of the moment – The Stokes – scheduled for Thursday overnight, and Los Straitjackets Friday overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn gets gooey with the Butthole Surfers on Thursday overnight; Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher digs into the mind of Gene Simmons of KISS on Thursday overnight; and Saturday Night Live’s musical guest this weekend is Ja Rule.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, Nov. 6:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change

Aerogramme – A Story in White (Matador) from Glasgow, Scotland

David Axelrod – David Axelrod (Mo Wax/Beggars Banquet)

David Barbe – Comet of the Season (Backburner) new solo CD from the fellow conspirator in Bob Mould’s Sugar and Athens, Georgia’s Mercyland

Tony Bennett – Playin’ with My Friends (Columbia) featuring duets with Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, k.d. lang, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and more

Clairvoyants – Your New Boundaries (Badman)

Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model, Blood & Chocolate, and Brutal Youth (Rhino) re-mastered reissues with bonus second discs of rarities

Dead Can Dance – 1981-1998 (Rhino) three-CD box set

Deee-Lite – The Very Best of Deee-Lite (Rhino)

Flickerstick – Welcoming Home the Astronauts (Epic) re-mastered re-issue of the homegrown debut from the Band on the Run television contest winner

Future Pilot AKA – Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea (Domino) new from Sushul K. Dale with guests from Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian, The Pastels, and the Delgados

GWAR – Violence Has Arrived (Metal Blade) the group’s ninth costumed carnage opus, featuring “Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles”

Merle Haggard – Roots Volume One (Anti/Epitaph) featuring four covers in tribute to Lefty Frizell

Enrique Iglesias – Escape (Interscope)

Mark Twain: A Film By Ken Burns – original soundtrack recording (Columbia Legacy) from the forthcoming January PBS mini-series

Natalie Merchant – Motherland (Elektra) new from the former 10,000 Maniacs vocalist

moe. – Warts & All (Fat Boy) featuring three new studio tracks and a cover of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated”

Morrissey – The Best of Morrissey (Rhino) 21-track collection featuring the rare single “Lost”

Beth Nielsen Chapman – Deeper Still (Artemis) with guests Vince Gill, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, and John Hiatt

The No-Neck Blues Band – Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones ... (Revenant) featuring an interesting wood-and-plexiglas CD case for this favorite band of John Fahey and Sonic Youth

One Time Angels – Tricks & Dreams (Lookout) six-track CD EP of emocore featuring song and lyric collaboration with Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy.

Outerstar – Outerstar (Jaggo/EMI)

The Psychedelic Furs – Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live (Columbia Legacy) recorded earlier this year at the House of Blues in Los Angeles and featuring a new studio track

Racer X – Superheroes (Shrapnel) all new featuring a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla”

Shakira – Laundry Service (Epic) English-language debut from this Columbian superstar

Sigur Ros – Svefn-g-englar (Fatcat/Pias) recorded live at the Icelandic Opera House in 1999

Britney Spears – Britney (Jive) featuring a cover of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”

The Takers – Never Get Out of These Blues Alive (Rubric) five-track EP from this hot Boston garage punk band on tour in November with Oxbow

The Wash – original motion picture soundtrack (Interscope) featuring stars Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg busting suds at a crazy car wash

Tilt – Been Where? Did What? (Fat Wreck Chords) 22 B sides and rare tracks such as the band’s cover of the Dukes of Hazzard theme, “Good Ol’ Boys”

Tunnel Rats – Tunnel Vision (Uprok)

Paul Van Dyk – The Politics of Dancing (Ministry Of Sound) featuring his exclusive remix of U2’s “Elevation”

various artists – Awaken (Immergent) promising a “full-contact” DVD Audio and CD listening revelation with Divine Styler, Rabbit in the Moon, King Britt, Mount Cyanide, and more
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