January 25, 2005

RANA 0/21/2005: Club Metronome, Burlington, VT

RANA is like taking in a Pavement, Devo, Talking Heads, Cars, Ween
and Ted Nugent concert in 1 two-hour show. Led by the new-wave
vocals of keyboardist Matt Durant, who stands behind the keyboards
in cool Ric Ocasek fashion, and guitarist Scott Metzger, who mans
his guitar with showmanship and grit, RANA is definitely best seen
and heard live.

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KCRW: Sounds Eclectic 3

Its hard to get excited about a compilation. Its typically no more than a glorified mix tape like the ones you made for your girlfriend in high school. But this is no ordinary collection of artists – and these are not the songs you dubbed off the radio. Believe it or not, but had this

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U.K. Bands Hitting Down On South By Southwest

There will be a significantly upgraded British presence at this year’s South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, which takes place March 17-21. A U.K. new talent showcase will be sponsored by BBC Radio 2 and its digital station, 6 Music, in conjunction with the British Phonographic Industry. A second showcase will be aired in the United Kingdom by MTV2.

The Radio 2/6 Music showcase is set for March 18 at Buffalo Billiards and will be headlined by Embrace. The bill will also feature Dogs Die In Hot Cars, Go! Team, James Blunt, Tom Baxter and Amy Smith.

The MTV2 showcase will take place March 19 at La Zona Rosa, where a five-act bill will be headlined by the Music. Also playing are Idlewild, Nine Black Alps, the Magic Numbers and Tom Vek. The network, which visited SXSW for the first time last year, will produce a one-hour special from the showcase to air March 25-26. MTV2 will also broadcast between three and five SXSW specials on its “Gonzo” series, commencing March 21.

The BBC’s commitment to the festival includes extensive broadcasting on Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6 Music. The latter two stations are building their SXSW coverage into a Texan-themed season of programs, and will also launch a dedicated SXSW Web site.

Additional U.K.-based acts confirmed to appear at SXSW include Doves, Robyn Hitchcock, Kaiser Chiefs, 22-20s, Bloc Party, Fatboy Slim, the Kills, Graham Coxon and keynote speaker Robert Plant.

Source billboard.com.

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Bob Dylan’s Chronicles Honored By NBCC

Long considered rock’n’roll’s poet laureate, Bob Dylan can now add literary laurels to his list of honors. The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) has named Dylan’s “Chronicles: Volume I” one of five nominees for best biography/autobiography.

The nod places Dylan alongside such luminaries as past bio winners Sylvia Nasar (“A Beautiful Mind”), Frank McCourt (“Angela’s Ashes”) and Philip Roth (“Patrimony: A True Story”) and fellow 2005 bio nominees Ron Chernow (“Alexander Hamilton”); Stephen Greenblatt (“Will in the World”); John Guy (“Queen of Scots”); and Mark Stevens & Annalyn Swan (“De Kooning: An American Master”).

Source billboard.com.

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Pearl Jam Scraping The Rust In The Studio

Pearl Jam has begun work on its eighth studio album in its Seattle homebase. “We’re recording but not really putting any pressure for something to actually come out of it,” frontman Eddie Vedder told former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones on his Friday radio show, Jonesy’s Jukebox, which emanates from Los Angeles radio station KDLD-FM (Indie 103.1).

Asked if he still enjoys the recording process after 15 years of making music with Pearl Jam, Vedder answered, “Depends [on] what day it is or how much sleep you’ve had. We’ve been getting together as a whole group, all five [members], for five days a week. Actually, seven days — that was one of the problems. I think we’re going to slow it down a little bit and we’ll get something down in February.”

Vedder acknowledged it had taken some time for band members to get back in the swing of things after several months apart from one another. “You get together as a band and you want to push yourselves harder or get some place you’ve never been before, and there’s work to get there,” he said. “The length of time you all have to be communicating; when you’re not working, you don’t have to communicate at all, and you get spoiled and quiet.”

“Even close-knit bands like Fugazi, [which seems] like a four-headed monster, are [made up of] four completely different individuals,” Vedder continued. “They seem like a gang, but it’s a gang made up of individuals. It’s not as easy as you would think.”

The as-yet-untitled album will be the follow-up to 2002’s “Riot Act” and Pearl Jam’s first since leaving longtime label Epic last year. The band’s official Web site previously confirmed the set would be released “on the BMG label” but did not reveal specifics of the new arrangement.

Band members have also been at work on other endeavors. Guitarist Stone Gossard is making a new album with his Brad side project, while drummer Matt Cameron has completed the first new album since 1993 with the band Hater, which features his ex-Soundgarden colleague Ben Shepherd on bass and guitarist John McBain, his longtime collaborator in Wellwater Conspiracy.

As previously reported, bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Mike McCready can be heard as part of an as-yet-unnamed project with King’s X leader Doug Pinnick, but no release date has been announced for the completed album, tentatively titled “Montana.”

Source billboard.com.

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Bob Marley 60th Birthday Celebrations Planned

India.Arie, Angelique Kidjo and the Marley family join a roster of international music stars here next month to celebrate the 60th birthday of the late reggae legend Bob Marley – the first time the event has been held outside the singer’s native Jamaica.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to participate in a month of festivities starting February. 1 dubbed “Africa Unite” in tribute to one of Marley’s many famous songs. The highlight is Ethiopia’s largest ever concert on Marley’s birthday, February 6, in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Rita Marley will sing with Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt as the I-Threes, Bob Marley’s former backing group, on February 6. Joining them on stage will be Senegal’s Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour, Benin’s Kidjo, Reggae rapper Shaggy, soul singer India.arie and Marley’s children.

Other events include a film festival, an exhibition of African art, the Ethiopian launch of Rita Marley’s autobiography “No Woman No Cry – My Life with Bob Marley,” and conferences on the themes of African unity, women and youth.

Source pollstar.com.

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The Aviator Leads Oscar Nominations

The Howard Hughes epic “The Aviator” led Academy Awards contenders with 11 nominations Tuesday, including best picture among them, plus acting honors for Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett and Alan Alda and a directing slot for Martin Scorsese.

The boxing saga “Million Dollar Baby” and the J.M. Barrie tale “Finding Neverland” followed with seven nominations each, among best picture and acting nominations for Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank and Johnny Depp.

Eastwood also got a directing nomination for “Million Dollar Baby.”

The other best-picture nominees were the Ray Charles portrait “Ray” and the buddy comedy “Sideways.”

Along with Eastwood, Jamie Foxx also scored two nominations, as best actor for the title role in “Ray” and supporting actor as a taxi driver whose cab is hijacked by a hit man in “Collateral.”

Foxx’s dead-on emulation of Charles has made him the front-runner in the lead-actor category.

Starring as aviation trailblazer and Hollywood rebel Hughes, DiCaprio also was nominated for best actor. He and Foxx will compete against Depp as “Peter Pan” playwright Barrie in “Finding Neverland”; Eastwood as a cantankerous boxing trainer in “Million Dollar Baby”; and Don Cheadle for “Hotel Rwanda,” starring as hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered refugees from the Rwandan genocide.

The best-actress category presents a rematch of the 1999 showdown, when underdog Swank won the Oscar for “Boys Don’t Cry” over Annette Bening (news), who had been the front-runner for “American Beauty.”

This time, Swank was nominated as a bullheaded boxing champ whose life takes a cruel twist in “Million Dollar Baby.” Bening was chosen for “Being Julia,” in which she plays an aging 1930s stage diva exacting wickedly comic revenge on the men in her life and a young rival.

Both actresses won Golden Globes for the roles, Swank for best dramatic actress, Bening for actress in a musical or comedy.

Also nominated for the best-actress Oscar were Catalina Sandino Moreno as a Colombian woman imperiled when she signs on to smuggle heroin in “Maria Full of Grace”; Imelda Staunton as a saintly housekeeper in 1950s Britain who performs illegal abortions on the side in “Vera Drake”; and Kate Winslet as a woman who has had memories of her ex-boyfriend erased in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Joining Eastwood and Scorsese among directing nominees are Taylor Hackford for “Ray”; Mike Leigh for “Vera Drake”; and Alexander Payne for “Sideways.”

Scorsese, arguably the most prominent modern filmmaker who has never won an Oscar, also has never delivered a best-picture winner. Considered a nominal best-picture favorite, “The Aviator” offers him a shot to finally triumph on Oscar night, though Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” is a formidable competitor.

“The Aviator” won the Golden Globe for best-dramatic film, but Eastwood beat out Scorsese for the directing prize at the Globes. Eastwood is a past Oscar winner for best-picture and director with 1992’s “Unforgiven.”

Along with Foxx in “Collateral,” Alda was nominated for supporting actor as a senator tussling with Hughes in “The Aviator” while Freeman was picked as a worldly-wise ex-boxer in “Million Dollar Baby.” The other nominees: Thomas Haden Church as a bridegroom out for a final fling in “Sideways”; Clive Owen as a coarse lover in “Closer.”

For supporting actress, academy voters picked Blanchett, who plays Katharine Hepburn (news) in “The Aviator”; Laura Linney as the title character’s sexually adventurous wife in “Kinsey”; Virginia Madsen as a deceived lover in “Sideways”; Sophie Okonedo as innkeeper Rusesabagina’s wife in “Hotel Rwanda”; Natalie Portman as a gutsy stripper in “Closer.”

Source yahoo.com.

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Ben Folds Releasing New Album -Songs For Silverman – April 26

Since the release of 2001’s “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” Ben Folds has toured various parts of the world time and time again, collaborated extensively with William Shatner, released a live album and a trio of EPs and recorded nearly all of a new studio album twice. The fruit of the latter endeavor will emerge as “Songs for Silverman” April 26 via Epic.

After finishing nine songs in early 2004, presumably in the studio he built in his adopted home of Adelaide, Australia, Folds re-recorded most of those cuts plus two more in a six-week fall session at a historic Nashville studio. In the same rooms once used by Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, Folds returned to the trio setup with which he first found fame as leader of Ben Folds Five, pairing himself with bassist Jared Reynolds (Allison Moorer, Shatner) and drummer Lindsay Jamieson (Departure Lounge, Butterfly Boucher).

Here is the “Songs for Silverman” track list:

“You To Thanks”
“Give Judy My Notice”
“Sentimental Guy”
“Prison Food”

Source billboard.com.

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Xavier Rudd U.S. Tour Dates Planned

Multi-instrumental solo musician Xavier Rudd is returning to North America to tour in support of his 2004 independent release, Solace. As a follow up to his sold-out and critically acclaimed Fall 2004 tour, Xavier will perform a handful of dates including a special performances at Canadian Music Week in Toronto to celebrate the release of Solace on Universal Canada.

Following these dates Xavier will stop in New Zealand to perform at Womad before embarking on tour with Jack Johnson later this year support for both Jack and Xavier provided by G Love. In June, Xavier will return to North America for a summer festival tour to follow up on the success of last years festival appearances that saw him breaking historical CD sales records and being touted as the breakout artist of the summer. With invitations to reappear flooding in, confirmed dates thus far will include Bonnarro, Rocky Mountain Folk Festival in Lyons, CO and the Ottawa Blues Festival.

Tour Dates

Feb. 22: San Francisco, CA Slims
Feb. 24: Victoria, BC Alix Gooldin Hall
Feb. 25: Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
Feb. 26: Seattle, WA Crocodile Caf

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