· Beating the bootleggers to the punch, this Tuesday Pearl Jam unrolls the first batch of concert CDs from the band's recently completed North American tour. This continuation of band-controlled "domestic bootlegs" promises to cover 47 U. S. dates, with the November 6 tour-closer in Seattle being released as a three-CD set. Initially available exclusively at the band's Web site, copies will make their way into retail stores in about a month. (Last fall, Eddie Vedder & Co. released recordings from the European tour.) The band is also readying a new DVD and VHS documentary to be released in April, simply titled Touring Band 2000. The footage will capture 28 songs culled from 19 dates, with the DVD containing almost an hour of bonus footage, including rare video clips, outtakes, original music, and film montage. You have to admit that Pearl Jam's radical action last year to affordably release all their shows is a moral gemstone in the turdbowl of the record industry.
· Another defining moment in the rapid reshaping of the game is Prince's announcement of his new "club" and Web site, NPGMusicClub.com. Taking healthy cues from They Might Be Giants' and Todd Rundgren's groundbreaking "creator to subscriber" experiments, fans will have access to new music and other Web cast perks - all for the magical $7.77 per month. As a major artist who's chosen to be completely unencumbered by a record-label contract (most recently ending his relationship with Arista), Prince's bold direction will be interesting to watch as a new distribution model. Will fans cough up a monthly fee to each of their favorite artists, and to whatever Napster-esque powerhouse that tries to wrestle the greased digital sow?
· This Tuesday brings a novel CD package from perhaps the hardest-working man in rock and roll - Seattle's prodigal son, Scott McCaughey. As the founder of The Young Fresh Fellows in 1980 and The Minus 5 in 1994, he's released 21 albums between the two bands and participated in more than 50 other EPs and compilations. But can a man serve two masters? His new two-CD set on the Mammoth label lets you decide as each band serves up its own disc, fighting for your power-pop attention. The Minus 5's disc, Let the War Against Music Begin, continues its tradition of an ever-changing lineup and this time features collaborators Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Buck of R.E.M., Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees, Jason Finn of the Presidents of the United States of America, and Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of the Posies. The Young Fresh Fellows' disc, Because We Hate You, is their first in nine years. The band has also announced a tour this spring, possibly with Wilco, the Soft Boys, and Guided By Voices.
· Close your eyes, will you, and let winter's brace fade away. Let yourself dream of Mediterranean waters and the island beaches of the Spanish island of Ibiza, and watch the sun come down. This tranquil setting has been the inspiration for a successful series of chill-down CDs crafted by DJ Bruno Lepetre from his electronic lair in the Café Del Mar, a Luis Guell-designed nightclub famous for its seaside view. Each night the sunset is freshly scored to the super-chilled selections of Lepetre, thrilling the guests and eventually becoming an import-only CD compilation series. The latest, Café Del Mar: Volume Seven, has just been released domestically on the MCA label and is a mesmerizing smooth-groove breeze that's delightfully organic for all the electronic waves breaking about. Wonderfully seductive, it most notably features an exclusive and essential Moby track, "Whispering Wind," a five-star pulse that recalls Air, Ebbling Hughes, and The Art of Noise's "Moments in Love." Other stand-out artists include Bush and their haunting N.O.W. remix of "Letting the Cables Sleep," Deep & Wide's funky Roxy Music-esque "Easy Rider," and hot newcomers Underwolves, Bent, and Afterlife.
The Late Show with David Letterman welcomes Nelly Furtado tonight, Shaggy on Thursday, and the Dave Matthews Band on Monday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien hosts R.L. Burnside on Monday overnight; The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn has Jeff Beck scheduled for Friday overnight; Saturday Night Live's musical guest this weekend is the Dave Matthews Band; and this Sunday Fox's The Simpsons features 'N Sync in the new episode "New Kids on the Blecch."
New Releases Coming Tuesday, February 27:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change.
2nd Gen - Irony Is (Nova/Mute)
A*Teens - Teen Spirit (MCA) the ABBA Generation's sophomore effort
Actionslacks - The Scene's Out of Sight (Self Starter)
Agents Of Good Roots - Needle & Thread (Pigeon Hole)
American Hi-Fi - American Hi-Fi (Lookout) alternative pop from Stacy Jones, former Letters To Cleo and Veruca Salt drummer
Jessica Andrews - Who I Am (Dreamworks)
Arab Strap - The Red Thread (Matador)
The Benjamins - The Art of Disappointment (Drive-Thru Records) from Milwaukee
The Chamber Strings - Month of Sundays (Bobsled)
John Digweed - Global Underground: Los Angeles (Global Underground) two-and-a-half-hour mix condensed from a seven-hour October set
DJ Clue - The Professional 2 (Def Jam) with guests Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah
The Flying Dutchmen - Trip to the Core (Tone Casualties)
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (Motown) deluxe edition expanded to two CDs featuring the original unreleased "Detroit mix" that Gaye abandoned in favor of the Los Angeles mix and a previously unreleased live version of the classic album recorded at the Kennedy Center on its first anniversary
Nina Hynes - Creation (Reverb) debut EP from this Irish singer who has previously toured supporting Stereolab, David Gray, and Cat Power
Immature - IMX: Greatest Hits (Hip-O)
January - I Heard Myself in You (Poptones) import debut
The Kiss Offs - Rock Bottom (Peek-a-Boo)
Kuroi Mori - Dawning (Tone Casualties) new side project from Japan's Hiroki Furutani
Laika & the Cosmonauts - Laika Sex Machine (Yep Roc) new live album
Dave Matthews Band - Everyday (RCA) intriguing teaming with producer Glen Ballard
Mirwais - Production (Epic) this father of French electronica was recently bestowed a Record of the Year Grammy nomination for Madonna's Music album
Mouse on Mars - "Actionist Respoke" (Thrill Jockey) CD single from the band's upcoming album, due in April
The Orb - Cydnia (MCA) continuing adventures of Alex Paterson's pulsating electronica project Over the Rhine - Films for Radio (Virgin/Backporch)
Powerman 5000 - Backstage & Beyond the Infinite (Dreamworks) VHS and DVD
Run-D.M.C. - Crown Royal (Arista) long-awaited return with guests Jagged Edge, Sugar Ray, and Prodigy of Mobb Deep, and featuring a cover of Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run"
Duncan Sheik - Phantom Moon (Nonesuch)
The Shins - "New Slang" (SubPop) seven-inch single debut
Silver Scooter - The Blue Law (Peek-a-Boo)
Six for Sixty - The Secret of Machines (Record Cellar)
Third Eye Foundation - I Poopoo on Your Juju (Domino) import-only remix project featuring Blonde Redhead and Tarwater
various artists - History of Portland Punk Vol. 1 (Zeno) early collection of singles from the Trap Records era of the Wipers and Neo Boys