Thursday, October 29, 2009

Music News & Notes

Constantines expand 10 year anniversary celebration

The Constantines have expanded their 10 year anniversary plans from two December gigs to a week of shows across Ontario. A few of the special guests for these shows have been confirmed so far, with Attack In Black joining the group on the 11th in Toronto and Oneida and Metz joining them the day after. The expanded tour now includes stops ranging from the Ottawa and Kingston down through London, including their former home of Guelph. Click below for the details.

The band was formed in Guelph, Ontario in 1999 by Steve Lambke, Bryan Webb, Doug MacGregor, and Dallas Wehrle and now features keyboardist Will Kidman. Over the past decade they've released four full lengths and a handful of EPs and singles on a variety of labels including (the now-defunct) Three Gut Records, Suicide Squeeze, Sub Pop and Arts & Crafts. Their latest was 2008's Kensington Heights.


X (California)

Los Angeles punk veterans X have announced a handful of December tour dates in California. The band's second "Merry Xmas" show takes place on December 19th in LA with guests Calexico. Dates in Sacramento and San Francisco to follow.

Keeping with the holiday theme, the group recently convened at guitarist Billy Zoom's studio to record their versions of the standards "Santa Claus is coming to Town" and "Jingle Bells." Expect them to be available this Thanksgiving as a "digital 45."

X has had a busy year. Frontman John Doe recently released his Country Club collaboration with Toronto's The Sadies. Exene Cervenka was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but regardless put out a new solo record Somewhere Gone on Bloodshot Records. The band performed at Coachella in April, England's All Tomorrow's Parties in May, and on an all-requests tour earlier this year.


Cobra Starship releases third album amidst great fanfare, excitement

Cobra Starship released their highly anticipated third album, Hot Mess, in early August, and since its release their popularity has soared to new dimensions.

The first single, "Good Girls Go Bad", took the radio hostage but Gabe Saporta, Ryland Blackinton, Alex Suarez, Victoria Asher, and Nate Navarro hardly knew that their venom had taken hold.

"It's crazy, because we didn't really feel it," Suarez said. "We were hearing about it in texts and e-mails long before we had ever heard it on the radio."

The band did a lot differently during the creation of Hot Mess, including changes to the creative process of producing.

While on a previous tour, Cobra began writing new material, but were not content with the songs they had. So, instead of trying to do it on the road, they sought an alternative method of inspiration by secluding themselves from worldly fancies.

"We really wanted to make this record the best so we thought, 'Let's just put ourselves in the woods'," Suarez said.

Once they had turned off their cell phones and televisions, the band was able to focus on their music and began to produce album-worthy material. Cobra has always drawn a lot of inspiration from their loyal fans, so as a treat they set up a web cam so "Cobracadettes" could watch during the writing process.

Cobra Starship is known for their profound proclivity towards partying, but manage to convert any scrutiny into a good time. When a fan suggested the new album be called, "Pete Wentz is the Only Reason We're Famous," they saw an opportunity to one up on the critics who would say the same thing, and added the title as a track on Hot Mess.

"The song doesn't have anything to do with Pete Wentz," Suarez said. "If we can pull the joke on ourselves first then the last laugh is ours."

Beyond antics, and a really trendy fashion sense, Cobra Starship has developed maturity in the midst of their intergalactic party that can only come from labor over time.

"You've got to take it seriously to a certain extent, and we work really hard to have success," Suarez said. "Our whole thing is that we want to have fun, and we can have fun at the next level."

Suarez says they've learned that they're always going to have a mixture of "haters" and "lovers", but that both perspectives should be appreciated.

"We've learned to pick out the things we want a run with it. Keep it positive, because if you get bombed out then you don't have fun," Suarez said.



12 x Grammy Award winner, Alicia Keys releases her highly anticipated 4th studio album, THE ELEMENT OF FREEDOM, on December 14th. The first single, “Doesn’t Mean Anything,” written and produced by Alicia and her longtime production partner Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, is released on November 30th. Alicia is the girl of the moment; not only is she already riding high in the charts with the Jay Z collaboration ‘Empire State Of Mind’, but she also wrote Whitney Houston’s come-back single ‘Million Dollar Bill’ which is currently in the top 5.

Alicia describes THE ELEMENT OF FREEDOM as a dichotomy of strength and vulnerability: “The music is really strong, and the drums are really aggressive, but my voice is vulnerable and delicate,”states Keys.

In addition to Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, the multi-award winning singer, songwriter, musician, actress and philanthropist enlists the production talents of Jeff Brasker (Kanye West, Keri Wilson) amongst others.

Since Alicia first exploded onto the music scene she has proved that she is more than talented - she is gifted. Alicia Keys is now as much of a global superstar as she is a musician’s musician. She is not only a singer, songwriter, musician and producer, but also a credible actor. Unlike many figures in the public eye who appear to be politically aware and engaged, Alicia has proved that she doesn’t just talk, she acts, her work with Keep a Child Alive is testimony to this.

THE ELEMENT OF FREEDOM is the follow up to Keys’ multi-platinum selling 2007 album As I Am, which featured the Grammy Award winning tune “No One” as well as hit singles “Like You’ll Never See Me Again,” Teenage Love Affair” and “Superwoman”.


Scott Weiland and Stone Temple Pilots Plot New Album for 2010

“There’s more to be revealed and more to be told,” Scott Weiland has said about recording a new album with Stone Temple Pilots. “The story’s not finished.” Those quotes date back to April 2008, when STP first announced plans to reunite to tour and record new music. The band has managed to keep it together since that initial tour, but there’s been no sign of a new STP album. That is, until now. Weiland talked to Spinner recently about the prospects of the band’s first album since 2001’s Shangri-La Dee Da, and vowed that STP will get to work on the new LP once they’re off the road.

“When we finish the album, there will be a big tour around its release and that will probably be a long tour,” Weiland said. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in May that STP already had 18 songs written and that producer Don Was would be working on the LP. After that “long tour,” Weiland told Spinner he’d also get to work on his next solo album, the follow-up to 2008’s “Happy” in Galoshes.


Peter Gabriel Planning New Album For Spring

Peter Gabriel is in the process of completing a new album for release next spring, but don't be looking for another So or Us. This album will be the result of the new Scratch My Back project which is described as "song swap with some of the world's most legendary artists."

Arranger Mike Metcalfe, who is working on the project, describes it on Gabriel's official site:

I have been busy working closely with Peter Gabriel on his 'Scratch My Back' project. This is a song swap with some of the world's most legendary artists and is due for release in the Spring. My role has been to re-interpret the music of the song's he has chosen to cover - quite honerous as some of the songs are among the best known in the last 40 years. The album will be acoustic, using only orchestral instruments (no guitars, drums or world instruments) and range in size from sparse chamber music to a much fuller orchestral sounds. We recently recorded the orchestra at Air Lyndhurst studios (George Martin's studio) in London which was an enormous thrill hearing my arrangements performed by some of the best performers in the UK. The producer of the album is Canadian legend Bob Ezrin who has recorded dozens of classic albums including Pink Floyd's The Wall. We performed one of the songs, Paul Simon's Boy In The Bubble at Womad back in July. I have been working a lot down at Real World studios editing and mixing and will be continuing with that in the Autumn and it's been a huge privilege to work with the great man.

The Scratch My Back moniker comes from the plan for Gabriel to cover an artists' song and, in turn, that artist will cover one of Gabriel's tunes. What is not clear is if Gabriel will release his set of covers followed later by the other artists, it will be a two-CD set or some other distribution will be used.


Mustaine Says Megadeth May Do Just One More Album

Dave Mustaine has written on Megadeth's forum that Endgame may be the one of the last original releases for the band. Mustaine has had both hand and spine problems in the past and is unhappy with their U.S. label, Roadrunner Records.

He wrote, "The president of Roadrunner came out and said this was the last record but if we didn't re-sign with them for more records they were going to stop selling Endgame. I've always known there's another record owed. I'm a man of my word and I'm going to fulfill my contract - rest assured, though, that I'm not going to release a compilation record or a live record for my final record with Roadrunner."


Sports Songs Revealed

BMI has released their list of songs that were played the most in National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball stadiums over the past year:

1.We Will Rock You
2.Pump It
3.Twilight Zone
4.Song 2
5.Rock and Roll Parts 1 and 2
6.Black Betty
7.Cowboys From Hell
9.Let it Rock
10.Put On

What, no "Who Let The Dogs Out?"


Led Zeppelin Scrap Plans To Tour Without Robert Plant

Led Zeppelin's bassist John Paul Jones has confirmed the band have dropped plans to tour without singer Robert Plant. Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page and Jason Bonham had hoped to hit the road with a session singer after Plant said he had no plans to return to the band.

But the bassist, who is currently playing in Them Crooked Vultures, has now revealed that the idea had been scrapped.

"Jimmy and I rehearsed a bit with Jason Bonham and we couldn’t really agree on singers and that fell by the wayside,” he told BBC 6 Music.

“Then this came along and to be honest, I’m really happy."

Calls for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour were ignited after the band – including Plant – played a one-off show in London in 2007.

But the singer later ruled out a full-time return, saying he wanted to focus on his other projects.


Michael Jackson's This Is It Movie Earns $4.4 Million In Two Days
In the US...

Screenings of Michael Jackson's This Is It generated an estimated $4.4million in its opening two days in the US. The film, which shows the late singer's final days, opened late on Tuesday after being premiered simultaneously in 19 different countries.

Trade publication Variety says This Is It took around $2.2 million on Tuesday and the same number on Wednesday. It is on course to replace Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour as the highest grossing opening for a concert film.


Foo Fighters To Play Facebook Gig On Friday (October 30)

Foo Fighters are to stage a live performance from their studio in California via Facebook on Friday (October 30). The US band, who are preparing to release their greatest hits album, announced details about the gig on their Facebook page.

In an update to fans, they wrote: “We'll be Live on Facebook from Studio 606 this Friday! RSVP and Invite your Friends.”

The performance will begin at 7pm (PST) / 10pm (ET), according to Foo Fighters page on the social networking website.

The band's greatest hits collection features sixteen tracks, including two new songs, 'Wheels' and 'Word Forward'.


Teenage Singer Taylor Mitchell Savaged To Death By Wild Coyotes

Teenage folk singer Taylor Mitchell has been savaged to death by two wild coyotes. The animals attacked the 19-year-old when she was on a solo trek in Cape Breton park in Nova Scotia, Canada on Tuesday.

Walkers heard Mitchell's screams and alerted rangers who shot one of the dogs and arranged for the singer to be airlifted to hospital in Halifax. Despite reaching hospital, Mitchell died in the early hours on Wednesday morning after loosing a vast quantity blood.

Brigdit Leger, spokesperson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told Reuters: "Coyotes are normally afraid of humans. This is a very irregular occurrence.”

She continued that the two animals who savaged Mitchell were “extremely aggressive”.

Mitchell's manager Lisa Weitz said of the critically lauded singer: "Words can't begin to express the sadness and tragedy of losing such a sweet, compassionate, vibrant, and phenomenally talented young woman.

"She just turned 19 two months ago, and was so excited about the future."

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