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|Two Books Celebrate Rock-and-Roll Independence|
|Music - Music News|
|Written by John M. James|
|Wednesday, 09 April 2008 01:55|
An anomaly in today's hit-driven radio, WFMU-FM is an oasis in the New York marketplace. Founded in the late 1950s as a part of Upsala College and becoming independent in 1994, the beloved station is one of this country's last bastions of noncommercial, "free form" programming, with music selected by the eclectic taste and knowledge of the DJ, not some industry consultant. With madcap zeal and the battle cry of artistic freedom, the station has served as a musical education and inspirational soundtrack to the brightest and best minds within its reach, documented by its beautifully garish program guide, LCD (Lowest Common Denominator). The publication ceased in 1998, but for those of us who missed out the first time, senior disc jockey Dave the Spazz has assembled The Best of LCD: The Art & Writing of WFMU-FM 91.1FM, recently published by the Princeton Architectural Press. From missives on "monster punk garage music" to Dadaists Coyle & Sharpe to anti-rock-and-roll books from the born-again community to songwriter Doc Pomus, every page is an eyeball-twitching, gut-busting wonder.
Also tripping through time is the latest edition in Black Dog Publishing's "Labels Unlimited" series, saluting the history of London's Ace Records. The company was created in a flea-market stall off Portobello Road in 1971 by Ted Carroll, and blossomed into a must-visit record shop and later a groundbreaking label that sated the worldwide thirst for quality re-issues of vintage rock and roll. The nearly 200 full-color pages in this book are a breathtaking visual rush, from advertisements to album covers to promotional ephemera. Anyone who's thrilled at discovering Wanda Jackson, The Cramps, Hank Ballard, Arthur Alexander, Motorhead, or Elmore James for the first time probably owes that tingle to Ace's passionate commitment and evangelical passion.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes The Redwalls on Thursday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Rogue Wave on Tuesday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien boasts They Might Be Giants on Thursday and A.A. Bondy on Friday overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson presents Counting Crows this evening, Del the Funky Homosapien on Thursday, and Daniel Lanois on Monday overnight; Jimmy Kimmel Live breaks out the Lysol for Bret Michaels this evening overnight; and Saturday Night Live's musical guest this weekend is Gnarls Barkley.
New Releases Coming Tuesday, April 15:
Air - Moon Safari (Astralwerks) 10th-anniversary expanded reissue featuring a bonus disc of demos, radio-studio recordings, and remixes by Beck and the Moog Cookbook, as well as a DVD of videos and a hour-long documentary from 1999
Steven Alvarado - Let It Go (Mott St. Records) with guitarist Mark Ribot; the song "New York" is for poet Aaron Smith
Ananda Project - Night Blossom (Nite Grooves/King Street Sounds) two-CD set with remixes by Pasta Boys, King Britt, and Blaze
Apparat - Things to Be Fricked (Shitkatapult) with a second disc of remixes by Thomas Fehlmann of Orb, Modeselektor, Monolake, and Telefon Tel Aviv
Christopher Bissonnette - In Between Worlds (Kranky) soothing, cinematic white noise for watching rain trail down windows
Bjork - "Wanderlust" (One Little Indian) import-only 12-inch and CD single featuring a bonus 3D DVD and 3D glasses
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - My Bloody Underground (A Recordings) new on manic leader Anton Newcombe's artist-owned label, the album featuring the intriguing track "Bring Me the Head of Paul McCartney on Heather Mills' Wooden Peg"
Mariah Carey - E=MC2 (Def Jam)
The Child Ballads - Cheekbone Hollows: Pop. ½ Life (Gypsy Eyes) dynamite six-song CD EP from former Jonathan Fire*Eater vocalist Stewart Lupton
Children of Bodom - Blooddrunk (Spinefarm) Finnish metal giants with a synth-prog underbelly
Does It Offend You, Yeah? - You Have No Idea What You Are Getting Yourself Into (Almost Gold) on tour later this month with Yo Majesty, this is strobe-light dance-floor heaven, contorting, spinning and heaving
Everclear - The Vegas Years (Capitol) 15-track collection of live and studio recordings of television theme songs and covers
Ian Hunter - Behind the Shades (Airline) recorded live in 2004 with guest Brian May of Queen and Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, with an acoustic bonus of his Mott the Hoople hit "All the Young Dudes"
Goldfrapp - "Happiness" (Mute) import-only single available as a two-part CD and picture-disc seven-inch
Gossip - Live in Liverpool (Columbia) CD and DVD set recorded this past July with mesmerizing vocalist Beth Ditto, featuring wild covers of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" and Wham!'s "Careless Whisper"
Groove Armada - Soundboy Rock (Strictly Rhythm) slick London big-beat duo featuring guest vocalist Mutya Buena of the Sugarbabes on "Song 4 Mutya," and a wild "Where's Waldo?"-esque fold-out poster
Carole King - Tapestry: Legacy Edition (Epic/Ode Legacy) expanding the 1971 classic with a second disc recreating the album, track-by-track, with sparse piano and voice selections recorded in 1973 and 1976
The Kooks - Konk (Astralwerks) anticipated sophomore release from these punchy, sunny Brit-pop heroes, touring the states in May
The Last Shadow Puppets - "The Age of the Understatement" (Domino) twin seven-inch and CD single from Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of The Rascals
James McMurtry - Just Us Kids (Lightning Rod) powerful and political; guests include John Dee Graham, C.C. Adcock, The Faces' Ian McLagen, and Timbuk 3's Pat McDonald
Phantom Planet - Raise the Dead (Fueled By Ramen) vocalist Alex Greenwald has said that cult leaders David Koresh, Charles Manson, and Jim Jones inspired the album
Portishead - "Machine Gun" (Island) import-only 12-inch single featuring an etched B side
Tristan Prettyman - Hello (Virgin) on tour this spring and summer with G. Love & Special Sauce
Diane Reeves - When You Know (Blue Note) featuring a cover of The Temptations' "Just My Imagination"
Aaron Robinson - We Are Racing Ghosts (Undertow) excellent solo debut from the former leader of the Imaginary Baseball League, featuring a beautiful ode to Karen Carpenter in "Karen"
Rush - Snakes & Arrows Live (Anthem/Atlantic) two-CD set
The Silver State - Cut & Run (Young American) with Clem Snide keyboardist Brendan Fitzpatrick
The Strugglers - The Latest Rights (Acuarela Discos) the band's fourth album, setting the lights to the dim, quiet place of early R.E.M. via North Carolina
Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Vols. III & IV Earth & Air (Vagrant)
Toby the Fugitive - Proxima Distort (Chamberlain) young band from Clarksville, Tennessee
Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders - Holdin' Onto Trouble's Hand (Rankoutsider Records) terrific, ass-kicking, knee-slapping return of the Lazy Cowgirls vocalist with former members of Sparks and the Defendants, featuring the acoustic "Wrong Turn" and the banjo-driven "King of Drugs"
TSOL - Early Years Live (MVD Visual) DVD filmed in 1983, featuring a bonus reading by Jack Grisham from his upcoming new book
Whiskey Priest - Hungry (Bric-A-Brac) pensive, fragile solo debut of Noah Hall of Easterly
Jordan Zevon - Insides Out (New West) solo debut featuring his father's previously unreleased "Studebaker"
various artists - Body of War: Songs That Inspired an Iraq War Veteran (Sire) special vinyl edition on three LPs
various artists - Miles from India (Times Square) fantastic two-CD set where the East meets West with a plethora of Miles Davis alumni and Indian musicians re-creating Davis tracks with khanjira, flute, ghatam, sarangi and violin
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