Two new smashingly nice independent seven-inch singles have just been released, thrusting their collective fist in the air to all those who fell in love with music the old-fashioned, organic way - dropping a needle on wax.
Vagrant Records' new split seven-inch single from Rocket From the Crypt and The Get Up Kids is a slice of pure collector's heaven. Housed in a stunning minimalist hard-stamped sleeve is a white vinyl shared space for their respective "Free Language Demons" and "Up on the Roof." Look for a new Rocket From the Crypt album, Group Sounds, in March, and check out The Get Up Kids currently on tour with Green Day. Also having some fun with a cool single release is H2O with the new blue-vinyl seven-inch featuring covers of Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day" and Suicidal Tendencies' "I Want More" on the Side One Dummy Records label. ... A new documentary on the historic Sun Records label is being completed by director Bruce Sinofsky, with hopes to shine a stronger light on the lesser-known acts that held court at this Memphis, Tennessee, landmark in the 1950s. A various-artists tribute to these pioneering songwriters is also in the works with Kid Rock reportedly covering "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" - a hit for the Johnny Burnette Trio and Jerry Lee Lewis. Other highlights will include Paul McCartney's take on the Elvis Presley hit "That's All Right" with original Presley backing-band mates Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana, as well as contributions from Elton John, Third Eye Blind, Van Morrison, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, and The Who. ... With his White Ladder album on many best-of-2000 critics' charts, David Gray's exposure quotient has blown up, giving him the opportunity to issue selections from the hours of acoustic material he's collected from life in his home studio. Entitled Lost Songs 95-98, the 11-track bare-bones set is scheduled for release in the U.K. next month. ... Also due later this year on a U.K.-only imprint is Blackbird Singing, Paul McCartney's new book of poetry and lyrics. The book is being touted as a "highly personal collection" that will contain poems and elegies to his late wife, Linda McCartney. ... Dig this. The next album from Air, the hypnotic French electronica duo fresh from scoring the Sofia Coppola film The Virgin Suicides, will feature guest vocalists as diverse as Beck and Japan's Buffalo Daughter. ... Screw your listening caps on tight. The infamously delicious Alternative Tentacles label is serving up couple of cerebral stews this Tuesday: the new three-CD rant from label founder and former Dead Kennedys' helmsman Jello Biafra and an audio lecture from historian Howard Zinn. Biafra's new Become The Media set collects his reflections on the WTO convention, "frankenfoods," the e-issues of the day, and suburban hell, all captured live in spoken-word concerts this past year. As compelling as any top-notch college course lecture, Zinn's Heroes and Martyrs two-CD set, released in conjunction with the freedom-fighting radicals at the AK Press, retells with vivid detail the life of feminist anarchist Emma Goldman and the courtroom tragedy of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. As a professor emeritus of history at Boston University, Zinn's passion for the labor struggles of the immigrant and working class fuels his often-humorous retelling of these significant tales of our American experience. ... So, your band has its own Web site, but does it have its own comic book? A new issue of the Insane Clown Posse's own personal comic book, Chaos Comics, hits comic-book retail shops this weekend featuring a CD EP of three new, never-before-available tracks. ... And this coming Tuesday, Columbia Records is releasing two highly anticipated DVDs from Bruce Springsteen: his updated Video Anthology 1978-2000 and an E Street Band road documentary that originally aired in 1996 on the Disney Channel. The Video Anthology is split between two DVDs and features 15 additional rare clips, including the Sean Penn-directed "Highway Patrolman," an alternative version of "Secret Garden" with strings, and a solo acoustic performance from The Charlie Rose Show. Directed by Ernie Fritz, the E Street Band documentary Blood Brothers captures the 1995 reunion of the band and now contains additional features such as lyrics, the video for "Murder Incorporated," and 5.1 Surround sound.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Common and Macy Gray on Friday, and David Gray on Monday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Seal on Friday; and NBC's Later concludes this week's in-depth conversation with popular musicians with Billy Joel on Thursday overnight and Paul McCartney on Friday overnight.
New Releases Coming Tuesday, January 16:
Acetone - York Blvd. (Vapor)
Arlo - Up High in the Night (SubPop)
Azure Ray - Azure Ray (Warm Electronic) with guest Brian Causey of Man Or Astroman?
Bad Azz - Personal Business (Priority)
George Benson - Breezin' (Rhino) the best-selling jazz album of all time in a special deluxe edition featuring three bonus tracks
Boredoms - Vision Creation Newsun (Birdman)
Alice Cooper - Mascara & Monsters: The Very Best of (Rhino) 22 hits spanning 26 wild years
The Gun Club - Fire of Love (Rhino) re-issue from 1981 of Jeffrey Lee Pierce's psychobilly punk blues
Jonzun Crew - Lost in Space (Tommy Boy) CD re-issue of this seminal early hip hop "wickie wickie" outfit
The Knoxville Girls - In a Paper Suit (In the Red)
The Makers - "Tiger Of the Night" (SubPop) seven-inch single with a cover of the Pretty Thing's "Miss Fay Regrets" on the flip
Stephen Malkmus - "Discretion Grove" (Matador) new solo single from the former Pavement singer
Curtis Mayfield - Love Songs (Rhino)
Charles Mingus - A Modern Jazz Symposium (Rhino/Bethlehem) CD re-issue from the mid-1950s
Pan Sonic - Aaltopiiri (Mute)
Pharcyde - The Best of (Rhino) 15-track hits, rarities, and B-sides package
Matthew Shipp - New Orbit (Thirsty Ear)
Shipping News - Very Soon & In Pleasant Company (Quarterstick)
Silk the Shocker - My World, My Way (Priority)
Dusty Springfield - Love Songs (Rhino) selections from her soulful 1967-1971 period featuring a bonus track of her cover of The 5 Stairsteps' "O-o-h Child"
various artists - 1-800-NEW FUNK (Bellmark) re-issue of this compilation featuring Prince, Madhouse, George Clinton, Nona Gaye, and more
various artists - Fireside Jazz (Rhino)
Grover Washington, Jr. - Love Songs (Rhino)