Road Warriors 42

A so-called summit of music festival minds has gotten together and will be bringing a new event to the U.S. this summer. The people behind Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits have teamed up with British officials behind the Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury Festivals to head up a new festival called Vineland Music Festival. The event will take place August 8-10 in Vineland, New Jersey, but no acts have been announced yet.

Pop artist Kylie Minogue has apparently put her health problems behind her, and will head out on tour beginning in May 2008 in support of her tenth and latest album, X. The album has been released in the UK, but will not be available in the States until early 2008.

Mr. Prolific, otherwise known as Ryan Adams, has announced West Coast tour dates along with his band The Cardinals, in support of their new EP, Follow The Lights. Earlier in 2007, Adams and his band released Easy Tiger, which Time Magazine called a “career breakthrough.” This guy just doesn’t slow down. Here are the upcoming tour dates Read the rest of this entry »

DMed’s Video of the Week: The White Stripes, “Conquest”

The White Stripes cannot have been amused when eBay decided to use Patti Page’s “Conquest” for a recent commercial involving a group of potential bidders racing down a dog track for an item. The band’s newest single is, yep, a cover of Page’s “Conquest,” which makes them look like opportunists — hey, look at us, we’re covering that wacky song from the eBay commercial! — but I think it is in fact eBay’s ad agency doing the, um, opportuning. I’m willing to wager that someone in the creative department was listening to Icky Thump, heard the White Stripes’ version of the song and thought, “We totally have to get this.”

Regardless, the Whites came up with an obvious but amusing video for the song, featuring Jack as a matador who just can’t bring himself to finish the job. He even trained with matadors to make it look authentic. Ah, the life of a rock star. “What are you doing today?” “Working with a matador.” Don’t let Us Weekly fool you: stars are not just like us.

Man-About-Myspace: Bomp! Records

“Bomp is doing everything we can think of to salvage what’s useful from the music industry’s pending bankruptcy. We are trying to preserve the best of alternative music culture from the creeping mediocrity that always seeks to envelop it. We believe each generation is given a chance to make its mark; not every generation is born in revolutionary times, but it seems such times are rapidly coming upon us. We’re here to help.” – Greg Shaw

the shaws
Greg and Suzy Shaw, circa 1968. He passed away
in 2004 but she’s proudly Bomp!ing away still

Pssst! MySpace music also hosts books about your favorite rawwwk as well as some labels. Now we couldn’t give a flying fudge (yeah, I’m G-rated today) about amping one major-label project or another, but damn–I mean dang–there’s a couple indie labels out there to whom I’ll give endless PR until they go under.

Bomp! Records is one such label, and its MySpace catalogs the history of the label and its rock-loving founders Suzy and the late Greg Shaw since they began publishing fanzines in the 1960s.

Their unending devotion to garage rock and psychedelia and the ensuing Nuggets, punk, power-pop, and punk-pop that followed was downright endless, and their label/distributing company keeps track of an amazing treasure trove of lost pop gems from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s that you just can’t find anywhere else.

Caution: Once you start dipping into that catalogue, there’s no way out. Best to just admit the inevitable and get a high-limit credit card to begin with, and save all the denial and other issues that go along with it. Unless you really think you can resist the call of vintage English freakbeat. What, you say you don’t know what that is? You will soon enough. The Shaws have hooked many a more resistant rocker into their fold starting with the freakbeat…

Top 10 most overpraised albums

Blender has put together a list of the top 10 most overpraised albums. Let me just say how much I more than wholly agree with the first two entries.

Ruby Tuesday: Mega City Four, “Anne Bancroft”

The ’90s were flooded with a ton of UK-based bands who made precious little impact on the U.S. charts…mostly because the few of them who scored Stateside release for their debut albums rarely got a chance to build an audience by getting to put a second album on our shores. But if it was bad for the British bands who were just getting started, you can imagine how rough it was for the artists who’d already been around for awhile and still couldn’t get an album released over here.

Such was the case for Mega City Four, the pop/punk/grunge band who got rolling in the late ’80s and went on a three-year streak of releasing an album a year – Tranzophobia (’89), Who Cares Wins (’90), and Terribly Sorry Bob (’91) – yet with none of them finding American distribution. Finally, in 1992, high-profile indie label Caroline Records cut the band a break and delivered Sebastopol Rd. onto our nation. Were we grateful? Not so much. Those who actually heard the album were thrilled; unfortunately, their numbers were few, and that was the last America heard from Mega City Four. (The Brits, meanwhile, were gifted with two further studio albums, a live record, and a collection of the band’s Peel Sessions.)

One of the highlights of Sebastopol Rd. was a unique love song, one sung to – of all people – Mrs. Mel Brooks, a.k.a. Mrs. Robinson herself, Anne Bancroft. We’ve all had an unrequited and ultimately pointless crush on a movie star at some point in our lives, but MC4 frontman / songwriter Wiz put pen to paper and, in three and a half minutes of bouncy pop bliss, captures the feelings that might happen if you never had that inevitable realization, “I am never, ever going to actually meet this person.”

To put it into prose form…

I get some second looks, but they can’t hold a candle to you.
Your photo’s in my book.
I’m wearing it out.
I gaze into your eyes.
The distance gets me down; I just want be around you.
My friends think I’m a fool, keeping it up for such a long shot, but I don’t care who knows it: I’m right here waiting for you.
My latter years are strewn with broken dreams and delusions; I hope like any fool, but this time I’m sure it’s coming true.
I don’t care who knows it: I’m right here waiting for you.
I don’t care who knows it: I’m right here waiting for you.

Alas, Wiz isn’t waiting any longer: he passed away from a blood clot on the brain on December 6, 2006. But if there’s any justice in the afterlife, he and Ms. Bancroft have already had a good laugh over how she inspired one of the finest moments of his songwriting career.

Mega City Four – “Anne Bancroft” (Sebastopol Rd.)

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