ATN's Music News of the World: Fine Young Cannibals

FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS' FINEST HOURIf, like me, you never thought you'd get tired of Roland Gift's throaty soul moan on songs like "Couldn't Care More" and "Ever Fallen In Love," (hey, you can't be cool all the time), then the Fine Young Cannibals' The Finest should both comfort and depress you.Comfort because Gift and former English Beat members Andy Cox and David Steele reprise their biggest hits on this 14 song snapshot from a time when FYC could sell eight million copies of their album The Raw and the Cooked and the ride seemed like it might go on forever if only Gift would give up those silly dreams of being a movie star.Depress because it is the final nail in the coffin, proof positive that the band has thrown in the towel after hitting a serious creative wall in the early 90's, when they spent nearly three years trying to record a follow-up to their enormously successful album, to no avail.The good news for Cannibalites is that a few of those new tracks do surface on this greatest hits collection, including the bossa-nova doo wop shuffle of the first single, "The Flame," a strong track that gives a hint that they weren't necessarily out of tricks when the trio called it quits. Also included are the not-as-revelatory new tracks "Take What I Can Get" and "Since You've Been Gone."NICK COMES OUT OF HIS CAVENick Cave fans will get two heaping doses of misery from the ominous Aussie in the new year. First up is the soundtrack to Australian filmmaker John Hillcoat's (Frankie and Johnny) new movie, To Have and To Hold, which will be available in the U.S. (it's been out in Europe for a few months already) on February 25.Then, in early March, Cave will again stun his fans, with yet another musical right turn by his Bad Seeds entitled The Boatmen's Call, an album of languid love ballads a source who's heard it described as "beautiful, piano-based love songs." The soundtrack teams Cave with longtime collaborator Mick Harvey and Blixa Bargeld (Einsturzende Neubauten), for a lushly orchestrated score to the noirish film starring Rachel Griffiths (Muriel's Wedding).The titles to the new Bad Seeds songs are: "Into My Arms," "Lime Tree Arbour," "Brompton Oratory," "Are You the One?," "Where Do We Go Now," "West Country Girl," "Black Hair," "The Idiot Prayer," "Far From Me," "Green Eyes" and "People Ain't No Good."JOHN SQUIRE'S SEAHORSES READY TO RIDEWe know we've been teasing you for months about the mysterious line-up of John Squire's post-Stone Roses band, but now the truth can finally be told. Squire has chosen Chris Helme as a vocalist for The Seahorses, which also includes Stuart Fletcher on bass and Andy Watts on drums. According to a source, the relatively unknown Helme could be seen, until fairly recently, busking on the streets of York, England, not exactly the place you'd expect to find the singer for one of England's most eagerly-anticipated bands.The group, who've been rehearsing for several weeks, made their live debut at the small (200 capacity) club Buckley Tivoli in North Wales on Wednesday (November 27) at an unannounced gig. How unannounced? Not only did the marquee promote it as an appearance by the Candyskins, who were scheduled to play, but bowed out for unspecified reasons, but even the band didn't know where the gig would be until they were dropped off at the venue, which is exactly what they wanted. They played an hour and twenty minute set of new songs (sorry, no Roses tunes), including "Blinded by the Sun," "Happiness is Egg-Shaped" and "Boy in the Picture," all or some of which may appear on their debut, expected sometime next summer.The band is currently off to L. A. to record the album, reportedly with veteran producer Tony (Bowie, T-Rex) Visconti, although a source at their label, Geffen, said that producer duties were still somewhat up in the air. They expect to start recording the album in early January, with eyes on a May release. Bucking the trend towards collaborations with the acknowledged brains of the band Oasis, Squire recently put his head together with troubled singer Liam Gallagher, with whom he co-wrote the song "Love Me and Leave Me," to which Gallagher reportedly contributed the melody and several verses.Helme has written five songs for the band and that the remainder of their current repertoire of 14 songs are Squire-penned tunes described as, "amazing pop songs with a Beatles influence and fantastic melodies." A Geffen Records source said the only resemblance the new songs bear to the Stone Roses is that they are "clearly written by John, who continues to write in his unique style, but without the Manchester beat sound."SUPERSUCKERS GO COW-PUNKMust've Been High is the title of the next Supersuckers' album, and fans of the pseudo-Satanists may think the band was indeed lit when they decided to make this album a strictly country affair. Guest stars include Willie Nelson himself on the title track, as well as Nelson's harp player Mickey Rafael, fiddler Brantley Kearns (who has worked with Dwight Yoakam), and Houston session man Brian Thomas on pedal steel guitar. Randall Jamail, president of Justice Records, produced the album. Kelley Deal also takes a guest turn, dueting with Eddie Spaghetti on "Hungover Together."According to a source at Sub Pop Records, Must've Been High "is not a hokey album. This is the direction the Supersuckers genuinely headed towards. This isn't a novelty record for them -- it's something that they are really excited about." The label aims to release the album next March, to be followed by a tour that will mix the band's country and rock and roll material.In addition to the numbers featuring Nelson and Deal, Must've Been High includes "Dead In The Water," "Barricade," "Roadworn and Weary," "Roamin' Round," "Non-Addictive Marijuana," "The Captain," "Blow You Away," "Juicy Pureballs," "Hanging Out With Me," "One Cigarette Away," "Hangliders," and "Supersuckers Drive-by Blues."While the new record may come as a surprise to some, it's hardly the Supersuckers' first pairing with Nelson. In the past they've appeared with him at Farm Aid and on the Tonight show. The band also contributed "Bloody Mary Morning" to the Nelson tribute album Twisted Willie.BLUES EXPLOSION'S JUDAH BAUER TAKES SIDE TRIPJon Spencer (Boss Hog) and Russell Simins (Butter 08) aren't the only Jon Spencer Blues Explosion members who get off on doing side gigs. We recently caught up with the, until now, most faithful member of the band, guitarist Judah Bauer, and found out that he's got some extra work of his own cookin'. Bauer told us he recently released a limited-edition triple 7" collection of "fucked-up fife and drum music" on the Burbank, California-based label In The Red. Buoyed by that experience, Bauer set out to record an entire album of same with, among others, octogenarian fife and drum master Othar Turner, who played flute on the album, credited to 20 Miles, and a crew of field drummers. "It's sort of a free jazz thing that's kind of bluesy, no riffs or nothin'," says Bauer, adding that it's packed with all kinds of "boogie drummers." The album was recorded in September and he hopes to put the collection out sometime next year, although he's not sure on what label yet. Bauer is set to mix his solo debut in Tucson, Arizona this December with Jim Waters, who produced the Blues Explosions' latest album, Now I Got Worry . Joking that the sound is "like Botswana, like real fuckin' Africa shit," the politically incorrect and loving it Bauer jested that he might call it "White Bread and Black Beans," but who knows? As to why it took him so long to follow his brothers onto the side gig road, Bauer said, "It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. I mean, the 7" just came out a month ago and it's pretty good, except my singing gets a little annoying after a while. It's worth a listen. You're not going to keep playing it over and over, I can tell you that much. I think side projects go either way, it's probably good because they give us a break and not good because it's a break. But when Blues Explosion time comes around, there's no conflict, but maybe if this was the only band we had it would be a better band, I'm not sure."ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BJORK TURNS POST OVER UNDER SIDEWAYS DOWNThere's remixing, which you're undoubtedly familiar with, adding a new beat here, a new sound there, and then there's radical reconstruction, the likes of which you haven't really heard until now. You might have thought you knew all about Bjork's last album Post, but one listen to her new CD of remixes, Telegram (January 14), and you'll think maybe you missed the boat entirely the first time.Not to worry, these remixes are so radical and whacked-out they barely resemble the originals at all, so it's not your fault. Whether she electronically distorts her voice to near incomprehension under a psychedelic trip-hop mix by Mark Bell as on the first track, "Possibly Maybe," or turns the already upbeat "Army of Me" into a funky, freaky robot symphony courtesy of remix artist Big Muff Bass, Bjork doesn't just remix her latest, she damn near reconstructs the songs from the ground up, including fresh lyrics and arrangements so radical they bear scant resemblance to the originals.How about "Isobel" with a seductive salsa beat, or "You've Been Flirting Again" still a lush, string-laden ballad, but this time book-ended by ethereal snippets that find Bjork floating high above the moon, surrounded by the electronic echo of space? Or "Enjoy," revived with a thick blasted-speaker jungle break and thoroughly menacing beats, while "Headphones" reduces the already minimal prototype to a nearly ghost-like specter, with Bjork's whisper of a voice often floating on nothing more than a single piano riff and a murmured heart-beat rhythm.With an assist from the classical Brodsky Quartet on several songs and (re)production by mixmasters like Dillinja, Outcast, Dobie and Graham Massey, Bjork pushes the envelope under the door, around the corner and wedged into a crack in the sky with the ten new mixes and one fresh tune -- the tinkly, tinny, frantic steel drum ditty "My Spine," (which features percussion from noted British banger Evelyn Glennie) -- on this stunning EP, which, strangely, is a minute longer than the album it's based on.OFF-THE-(ATN)-WIRE: The next Jon Spencer Blues Explosion video, for the song "Wail," was directed by none other than rock prankster "Weird" Al Yankovic. It seems Al is a fan of the band and submitted a treatment for the video, which a source at Matador assured us is not a joke clip, but rather an uncharacteristically straightforward job...Guitarist Steve Vai and his band were sleeping on their tour bus on Monday (November 25) when the guitarist woke up to the smell of smoke, and it wasn't from his fingers, either. The bus was on fire, and while all the crew and band members escaped the blaze, nearly all their gear, two of Vai's prized guitars and all the new orchestral scores (?) he was working on were burned to a crisp...Primus' Les Claypool joined Phish at the Alladin Hotel on Dec. 6 and sang a weird country song about weed farming. The group was also joined on-stage at one point by five (5) Elvis impersonators. And, Phish have already begun preliminary work on their next album, entering a Seattle studio with producer Steve Lillywhite...Mike Watt has a new group that he calls purr, man. Plan is to enter the studio soon to begin recording a "punk rock opera" called "contemplating the engine room...

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