ATN's Music News of the World: John Lydon

John Lydon Goes SoloAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: P.I.L./Sex Pistols front man John Lydon has finally completed his long-threatened first solo album, Psycho's Path (June 17). Co-produced and performed by Lydon, the 15-track album was written and, for the most part, recorded more than three years ago, only to collect dust while everlasting gobstopper Lydon slipped back into his Johnny Rotten persona for 1996's Sex Pistols reunion tour.The album is "very techno-y, really a late harbinger of the whole techno thing, since it was recorded a while ago but isn't coming out until now," said a source at Virgin. And with remixing contributions from Moby, Leftfield, Danny Saber and Chemical Brothers, our source might just have a point.The album, whose mixing was finished a few weeks ago, features 11 new songs, plus four remixes, by Moby ("Grave Ride"), Leftfield ("Sun," "Psychopath") and Danny Saber ("Stump"), and one song, "Open Up," performed by Lydon and Leftfield and mixed by the omnipresent Chemical Brothers.Of his decision to go solo, the always acidic Lydon says: "Although I love working in Public Image Ltd. -- which is kind of a corporation of people where everybody contributes equally -- a solo album has to all come from inside, and I think it results in a less dissipated energy... This album is more like an angry horse being held on a leash, whereas in Public Image we let the angry horses run wild. The way I see it, I've built four walls around myself, and I've gone insane inside them. It's organized chaos."Lydon goes on to admit being a "really bad musician," but adds that he doesn't "use other people's samples," preferring to create his own and run them through keyboards.The tracks listing looks like this: "Grave Ride," "Dog," "Psychopath," (which Lydon says is based loosely on serial killer John Wayne Gacy) "Sun," "Another Way," "Dis-Ho," "Take Me," "A No and A Yes," "Stump," "Armies" and "Open Up."The techno connection is not as tenuous as it might look. Lydon cropped up on Leftfield's record last year, on the same song that appears on his new record, "Open Up," and, for all intents and purposes, P.I.L. has made a type of electronica for years.World Party Back With Egyptology[B]Addicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Karl Wallinger and World Party return from their paisley pop underworld on June 17 with their first album in four years, Egyptology. In typical Wallinger fashion, the 13-track album was written, produced, recorded and performed almost entirely by the ex-Waterboy, with the exception of some drum tracks by longtime WP collaborator Chris Sharrock.WP's fourth album was recorded at Wallinger's Seaview Studios in London and a source who's heard it described the organic tunes as "a return to the Goodby Jumbo, super-melodic uptempo pop song vibe," of songs like "Put the Message in the Box," "Is It Like Today" and "Way Down Now."The first single, "Vanity Fair," was released on March 31. The rest of the tracks are: "It is Time," "Beautiful Dream," "Call Me Up," "She's the One," "Curse of the Mummy's Tomb," "Hercules," "Love is Best," "Rolling off a Log," "Strange Groove," "The Whole of the Night," "This World" and "Always."The album, Wallinger's first since 1993's Bang!, also features contributions from ex-Waterboys Anthony Thistlethwaite and Guy Chambers, and, as Wallinger told ICE magazine, despite his recent fascination with technology, is not a huge departure from his pure pop past. "I haven't gone technological in the sense that it's reflected in the music," Wallinger said. "If anything, I suppose this is the most old-fashioned album I've done, especially sound-wise. I still record with [magnetic] tape; I still use Hammond organs, valve mikes and real guitars; and I still tape the grand piano in mono, not stereo, because I think it sounds better."In preparation for recording this album, Wallingers said he spent three entire months recording and re-recording the Beatles' "Penny Lane." The avowed obsessive explained, "It was a way for me to gain insight into their construction process. It was a reflective, learning process." The song doesn't appear on the new album.Bob Dylan's Jimmie Rodgers AffairAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Jimmie ("The Singing Brakeman") Rodgers is perhaps the most beloved hero (of rockers) most fans have never heard of. A giant to a legion of songwriters, from Bob Dylan to the late Jerry Garcia, Rodgers, also known as the Father of Country Music (in addition to being a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the very first inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the first musician ever commemorated on a postage stamp), will get the old tribute treatment on July 22.The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers -- A Tribute, will be the first release on Bob Dylan's new Egyptian Records imprint, with contributions from Dylan, U2's Bono, Dwight Yoakam, John Mellencamp, Aaron Neville, Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers' Dickey Betts and Van Morrison.Among the highlights: Jerry Garcia with longtime collaborator David Grisman covering "Blue Yodel #9 (Standin' on the Corner)" in what a source at Columbia Records (Egyptian is distributed by Columbia) said is believed to be his final studio performance, Dylan covering "My Blue Eyed Jane" with Emmylou Harris on backing vocals (produced by Daniel Lanois) and Willie Nelson's version of "Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia," produced by Don Was and featuring famed session drummer Jim Keltner.Dylan wrote the liner notes to the album, in which he praises Rodgers as a "blazing star whose sound was, and remains, the raw essence of individuality."The interactive portion of the tribute CD is slated to include a web browser that will allow fans to link to a Rodgers home page for more information on the artist and his life.ATN Album Preview: Radiohead's OK ComputerAddicted To Noise contributing editor Clare Kleinedler reports: Almost two years after the release of their critically-acclaimed album, The Bends, England's Radiohead have completed their self-produced third album, OK Computer. The album is tentatively set for release in Japan in mid-May, and in the UK and U.S. on July 1.The album (ATN obtained an advance copy of the Japanese version, which may differ slightly from the U. S. release) is a striking departure from the group's previous work. OK Computer offers up a fresh sound from the band that became famous for the 1993 angst-ridden anthem, "Creep" (off their debut album, Pablo Honey).With the exception of a few songs, OK Computer displays the more mellow, dreamy side of Radiohead. "Exit Music (for a film)," a bare-bones acoustic number, has the timeless characteristics of U2's "One." Singer/songwriter Thom Yorke's beautiful, almost feminine vocals crack with solid emotion as he pleads, "Breathe, keep breathing/ Don't lose your nerve...sing us a song/ A song to keep us warm."If the album has a theme, it would appear to be politics. "No Surprises," a beautifully-dark ballad, directly calls for a revolt: "Bring down the government/ They don't speak to us." "Electioneering," a furiously quick, guitar-dominated track, has Yorke yelling, "You can't fool us!"Some unexpected twists make the album hard to categorize. "Fitter, Happier" contains samples of author/professor Stephen Hawking, who speaks through an electronic voice synthesizer. There are no vocals from Yorke, just music with Hawking speaking on the ways to a fitter, happier lifestyle.Yorke's own vocals on many of the songs are hard to understand. Radiohead appears to have in some ways fashioned OK Computer after R.E.M.'s debut album, Murmur (Radiohead are self-professed R.E.M fanatics and spent two months as openers for the band). When Murmur was released, some critics nicknamed the album "Mumble" after Michael Stipe's vocal style which made it impossible to make out the lyrics.Yorke has said in interviews that he and his band mates wanted to make something that would not only enthrall listeners but confuse them. It appears will accomplish that goal when the album is released. For instance, "Subterranean Homesick Alien (Uptight)," the third track on the album, has nothing to do with Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues." It sounds nothing like Dylan's breakthrough "rap" song, and there is no mention of the word "subterranean," "homesick" or "alien" (or any reference to Dylan's song) in the four-minute number. This kind of head-wrecking is typical Radiohead.OK Computer is laced with thick piano chords and electronic dubs. Not easy listening (particularly the first this), the album is a brilliant, gorgeous piece of work.The full track listing (for the Japanese version) is: "Airbag," "Paranoid Android," "Subterranean Homesick Alien (Uptight)," "Exit Music (for a film)," "Let Down," "Karma Police," "Fitter, Happier," "Electioneering," "Climbing Up the Walls," "No Surprises," "Lucky," "The Tourist."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close