September 2004

Citizen Cope: The Clarence Greenwood Recordings

On his second album, The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, Cope takes a bite from Eminems’s alter ego playbook, mixing fact and fiction. But rather than a straight hip-hop record, Cope fuses rock, dub, reggae, and blues into an eclectic effort that, although sleepy and moody, proves patient and drawing.

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Shawn Lee

Have Mercy! This album from beat guru extraordinaire Shawn Lee is the shiznit. It

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DJ Harry: Collision

DJ Harry is an artist apart from the ranks of more mortal DJs, and some of the usual rules don

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Steve Earle: The Revolution Starts…Now

Emotionally and politically charged, Revolution feels like the freshest batch of songs that have come out of Steve Earle and his band, the Dukes, in quite a while. Speaking in more direct terms than he has ever before, right away we get the feel of a record that is so raw and inexorable that Earle could have sworn that the songs were recorded within 24 minutes, not hours, of their birth.

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Shortlist Nominees Compiled For Album

Tracks from 15 albums nominated for the 2004 Shortlist Music Prize will be culled for the first compilation stemming from the annual contest. Due Nov. 2 from Razor & Tie, “MTV2 Presents: 2004 Shortlist Music Prize Nominees” will include cuts from each of the 10 finalists for the honor, as well as tracks by “longlist” nominees Muse, Jem, Secret Machines, Caf

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New Flaming Lips Album – At War With The Mystics – Due In 2005

“We always have a few things going on at one time,” says Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, explaining why it’s been almost three years since they’ve released a new album. The Oklahoma City psychedelic-pop band has been hard at work in upstate New York on its twelfth full-length record, At War With the Mystics.

According to Coyne, you can blame the delay on the Lips’ increased popularity. “The success of [2002’s Yoshimi Battles the] Pink Robots took us out of the loop for a couple of years,” he admits. “What year are we in now? 2004? It took us two years to pick back up.”

For War, due next year, Coyne and his bandmates have been toying with some different sounds, on songs including “Mr. Ambulance Driver” and “Space Bible.”

“At the moment it sounds like progressive Dixieland — if there’s a phrase like that,” says Coyne. “There’s one piece we’re working on that’s kind of banjo-driven. There’s some elements of country in there, but there’s also some futuristic jazz going on. When you say those two things together, it sounds horrible. But it’s a new path — not a big path, more like a dirt road, but we’re treading it.”

When not recording the new album, Coyne is continuing work on Christmas on Mars, the Lips’ long delayed foray into movie-making that began all the way back in 2001. “It’s not being shot like a normal film,” admits the singer, who claims he’s only halfway done. “I build the sets, get the actors and we shoot it and develop it right there.” A release date is tentatively set for Christmas 2005, although Coyne is cautious with the date. “Hey, I told people originally it was coming out three years ago,” he says. “At least this way, it’s built up some mythology.”

The movie centers around a group of people living on Mars who slowly start to lose their minds. When they accidentally blow up their oxygen generator, their fate appears sealed . . . until a Martian (played by Coyne) lands, fixes the generator and becomes a de facto Santa Claus to the grateful Martian residents. A “gothic, Christmas-y, big choir, David Lynch-like” soundtrack to the movie will be released simultaneously.

Until then, Lips fans will have to be content with a number of one-off releases. The band recently finished a track, “Patrick and SpongeBob Confront the Psychic Wall of Energy,” for the upcoming SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, due in November. “The title sounds like a Flaming Lips song already, doesn’t it?” says Coyne. “Musically, I think it sounds like something Parliament-Funkadelic would do if they had access to digital equipment. Or maybe something that would have been on a kids’ show, like Schoolhouse Rocks: simple and catchy, but it moves along.”

Then there are the covers: Over the summer the band recorded a “Nina Simone-like” version of the old Devo track “Gates of Steel” for compilation to benefit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The Lips also recorded a bizarre remake of the Wizard of Oz chestnut “If I Only Had a Brain” for the soundtrack to a new zombie-themed video game. The results were typically atypical. “We had these kids in the background screaming, and we sped up and slowed down their voices,” Coyne says. “It sounds pretty cool.”

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Rock Comes To Broadway With Pink Floyd, Queen, Beach Boys

Pink Floyd’s music has always been theatrical and operatic, but now former frontman Roger Waters is taking those aspects one step further: Floyd’s 1979 double album The Wall is being made into a Broadway musical. And it’s not alone. We Will Rock You, which features twenty Queen songs, opened in Las Vegas on September 8th, and musicals based on the songs of John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Frankie Valli and the Beach Boys are all in the works.

“These songs are simply the new standards,” says Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax, which is co-producing both The Wall (expected in late 2005) and the Elvis musical All Shook Up (slated for March). “The Broadway audience has been graying for many years,” says New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood. “This is a way of appealing to the baby-boomer generation, who don’t really go to traditional musicals anymore.”

We Will Rock You, about a rebel trying to bring creativity to an Orwellian world, opened in Las Vegas after a successful continuing run in London. “All of our songs speak about human emotions and human fears and human aspirations,” Queen guitarist Brian May says. “It’s uncanny how much the songs tell the story that needs to be told.”

Broadway insiders point to the runaway success of the Abbamusical Mamma Mia! as the inspiration for the current crop of rock-based shows. It debuted in London in the spring of 1999 and now includes fifteen productions in thirteen countries. “When one of these things hits big on Broadway, then you have roadshows and multiple-venue opportunities,” says former Sony Music head and Wall co-producer Tommy Mottola. “For some of these bands, it really can be the jackpot at the end of the rainbow.”

Of course, artists don’t always have control of their music. Good Vibrations, for example, uses the Beach Boys’ biggest hits, owned by Universal Music Group, to tell a tale of four teens’ last fling before adulthood, via a road trip to Southern California. The show opens at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on Broadway in January, but sources close to the band say that members might not be at the opening party.

Much like attaching a star actor or actress, boasting a hit-song catalog gives would-be producers one more reason to believe in a show’s prospects. But it doesn’t guarantee success. In London, Our House, based on the ska band Madness’ catalog, closed after less than a year (it opened in October 2002), and Tonight’s the Night, featuring the hits of Rod Stewart, opened in November 2003 and will close in October.

Still, producers are betting that fans will want to hear their favorite songs performed live, especially when catching a concert is no longer an option: Lennon is tentatively scheduled to open on Broadway next summer, and Don Scardino, the writer, director and co-producer, has worked with Yoko Ono and combed historical archives to present Lennon in his own words, creating ten vignettes, each detailing a different point in the singer’s life. Toward the end of the play, the narrative moves to the Double Fantasy period. “It’s all this amazing music he never got to play live,” says Scardino of Lennon’s last recording. “The play becomes a concert we never got to hear.”

Coming to the Great White Way:

The Ticket: The Wall, Pink Floyd, expected late 2005 on Broadway.
The Plot: The story mirrors the Wall movie — a dark, semiautobiographical tale about a rocker named Pink Floyd. “I’m superexcited,” says co-producer Harvey Weinstein. “Roger Waters has been talking about adding humor and new songs.”

The Ticket: We Will Rock You, Queen, currently playing Las Vegas’ Paris hotel.
The Plot: A futuristic planet lacks musical instruments; rebels must save the day. “It was conceived three years ago, in response to boy bands and reality TV,” says Queen guitarist Brian May. “We thought it wouldn’t be relevant for long, but it seems to be getting more relevant.”

The Ticket: Lennon, opening in April at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre, then on Broadway.
The Plot: Ten actors each play John Lennon at various stages in his life. “Lennon wasn’t just the art-college student or the Liverpool tough or the famous Beatle,” says director Don Scardino. “He went through all these phases and embraced each of them wholeheartedly.”

The Ticket: Good Vibrations, the Beach Boys, opening in January on Broadway.
The Plot: Four small-town teenagers travel to Southern California, having adventures along the way. “It’s perfect for the Beach Boys,” says musical supervisor David Holcenberg. “Their songs all deal with themes of youth and growing up.”

The Ticket: All Shook Up, Elvis Presley, opening in March on Broadway.
The Plot: The story of a guitarist who comes to a middle-American town in 1955 to help everyone discover “the magic of romance and the power of rock & roll.”


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Lord of the Rings: ROTK Extended-Version To Be Released in December

The December 14 home video release of director Peter Jackson’s extended version of the Academy Award-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will feature 50 additional minutes of new footage, a new musical score and a cameo appearance of Jackson being felled by an arrant arrow.

The 200-minute theatrical version of King has sold more than 10 million combined DVD and VHS units since its May 25 release, according to several industry sources.

The extended-version home-video releases of the first two films in the Rings trilogy, Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, have sold about 5 million combined DVD and VHS units each, generating high sales expectations for the $39.99 extended King release.

The extended four-disc DVD and double-cassette VHS will feature 300 additional special effects shots and scenes among the 50 additional minutes of never-before-seen footage, giving the new extended version a 250-minute running time.

The limited collector’s edition DVD of the King extended version includes a fifth disc that contains a 52-minute feature, “Howard Shore: Creating the Lord of the Rings Symphony — A Composer’s Journey Through Middle-Earth.” The bonus feature includes excerpts of live concert footage of the Lord of the Rings Symphony recorded with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. There’s also a hand-painted polystone sculpture of Minas Tirith and its accompanying keepsake box.

All DVD and VHS extended versions of “King” will be featured in a widescreen format with Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround Sound, DTS ES 6.1 Surround Sound and stereo surround sound.

The extended-version DVD also offers four audio commentaries. One is from Jackson, while the other three include members of the cast and the production crew — among them actors Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and Orlando Bloom and Academy Award winners Richard Taylor (makeup), Howard Shore (music) and Randy Cook (visual effects).

Source: CNN.

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