ATN's Music News of the World: Lollapalooza '97 and Sleater-Kinney
LOLLAPALOOZA '97: KORN, TOOL, PRODIGY & FOO FIGHTERS APPROACHEDAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Lollapalooza '97 organizers have begun approaching bands for this year's summer festival tour. Korn are, according to a source close to the band, "in talks" with the Lolla brain trust, which once again includes founder Perry Farrell (as previously reported in ATN).Two other major bands who have been contacted regarding Main Stage slots are Tool and the Foo Fighters. A source close to the action told ATN that "the Foo Fighters have been approached, but they aren't remotely done with their album and aren't committing to anything until they finish it."The other name being floated, not surprisingly given their "next big thing" status, their current MTV hit ("Firestarter") and their recent multi-million dollar signing to Madonna's Maverick label, is The Prodigy. A source at William Morris, the agency booking Lollapalooza '97, would not comment on any acts being approached, responding to queries regarding the line-up with an enigmatic "you'll know when the fat lady sings."BIS LAMPOON FAKE INDIE LABELSAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Bis, those cute Glaswegian teens who signed to the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal label after a vicious bidding war last year, are so jaded they make the first wave of punkers look like uptight Poindexters by comparison. How do we know? Well, just one listen to their recently-released GR EP, This is Teen-C Power! reveals a remarkably sharp wit, not to mention a weird clairvoyance not usually found in such young buds.Imagine a mix of the Runaways, Lunachicks, Gang of Four, Devo and a punkier/poppier Talking Heads and you might start getting a sense for what these three energetic boys and girls (Manda Rin, Sci-Fi Steven, John Disco) are capable of. Take the New Wavy jump spazz song "This is Fake D.I.Y.," for instance. The seemingly autobiographical lyrics, allegedly written before they signed their GR deal, read like an almost too-dead-sly playful slag of their new bosses:"This is funded by a major"but shabbily packaged to pretend that it's cool"this is a fake indie label"release the records you want but yr under our rule"this is limited edition"with a nice little sticker and a personal number"this is limited edition"how they sell it so cheap it's no longer a wonder..."Heard alongside the snotty dirt rock of "Kill Yr Boyfriend" and bouncy Japan pop of "Kandy Pop," it's no wonder the folks at GR were high on this band, who started recording their full-length debut just moments after the ink on the contract had dried. Bis' full-length debut is scheduled for a spring release.BILLY CORGAN JAMS FOR TIBETAddicted To Noise Hollywood correspondent P.R. Flack reports: Again proving that Tibetan freedom from 50 years of Chinese oppression is a cause the artistic community cares about deeply, the line-up for the fifth annual Tibet House Benefit at Carnegie Hall in New York on Feb. 17, is stacked with big names.Heading the list this year are Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan, Michael Stipe, Natalie Merchant, Patti Smith, John Cale, Ben Harper, Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg. Those artists will also be joined by a number of traditional Tibetan artists, including Yung Chen, Lhamo, Nawang Khechog and Yoshitaka Shinada and the Drepung Loseling Monks.The event, whose honorary Chairperson is Stipe, has a history of both raising consciousness and preserving Tibetan culture by mixing pop/rock artists with traditional musicians and cultural displays. Ticket prices range from $25-75 and this year's proceeds will go towards the purchase and renovation of a new home for the Tibet House's Cultural Center.The event, which organizers say traditionally has a very low-key, spiritual vibe despite its all-star line-up, coincides with Tibet House NY's 10th anniversary and falls on the day of the Tibetan New Year, which this year celebrates the Year of the Fire-Ox.GET READY FOR THE 60 FOOT DOLLSAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Here at Addicted To Noise world headquarters, we sort of like the fact that the Welsh trio 60 Foot Dolls fell well short of "Next Big Thing" status in Britain (although their drab steeltown home of Newport, Wales did get the "next Seattle" nod from a Dec. SPIN story on the hot Welsh rock scene).Modest hit singles, an average amount of hype, a so-so selling debut album, The Big 3 (released in England last summer, in the U.S. today) and a sound that's thankfully shaggier and refreshingly sloppier than their Brit Pop peers, the Dolls are that rare combination of punk, pop and dirty white soul that sounds so invigorating the moment you hear it you can almost remember the chorus mid-way through the next song.The lead-off track, "Happy Shopper," bolts off with a Clash-like drum roll and air-raid guitar before dropping into a nice clip "we're so bored" tale of evil commerce and working class woe. Half the time, singer/guitarist Richard Parfitt doesn't so much sing the band's three minute disaffection anthems so much as squeeze them out between the bulging veins in his neck, while struggling, and to these ears, sometimes failing to find the right notes on his guitar. He and bassist Mike Cole pound, flail and wail together so earnestly, though, on songs like the strident "Loser," you might find yourself nodding in joyful agreement when Parfitt spits "don't you know that everyone loves a loser/standing up and falling apart.""Pig Valentine" (produced by Mekon Jon Langford) bridges an unholy marriage between The Alarm and Generation X (the Billy Idol band, not the marketing concept) by dredging up pop music that's a little too rambunctious and loose to be top 40 mind candy, with a typically spastic solo by Parfitt and a bashing, trashing bottom supplied by drummer Carl Bevan. It's not pretty ("Crashing out and killing time/ Feeling like a stupid child/ Build it up and paint it blue"), but even on skiffle-like songs like the first single "Stay," where the band bring to mind those foggy images of the pill-stoked Beatles crunching out tunes on a tiny Hamburg stage, with a heavier backbeat and over-the-top guitar solos, the Dolls honor their predecessors while side-stepping the rote photocopying of so many Brit Poppers.Geffen Records pushed back the release of the Dolls' debut from last summer because they feared a new, energetic band like this might get lost in the shuffle of superstar releases by R.E.M., Pearl Jam and U2 (who also got pushed back), but given the Low Budget-era Kinks sound of songs like "Talk to Me" and the commercially disappointing returns on those "big" releases, maybe the good old-fashioned rock these boys play is just what the doctor ordered.The Dolls will start their first U.S. tour in mid-Feb. on the East Coast and have finished work on the video for "Stay," directed by Lance Bangs, who created the on-stage films for R.E.M.'s last tour.NEW ALBUM DUE FROM SLEATER-KINNEYAddicted To Noise Washington correspondent Chris Nelson reports: A new album from the acclaimed all-female punk trio Sleater-Kinney will be released on April 22 by the Olympia, Washington based Kill Rock Stars label. The group attracked attention last year for its Call the Doctor LP on Chainsaw Records.The new album is (very) tentatively titled Dig Me Out. Tracks on the disc include: "Dig Me Out," "One More Hour," "Turn It On," "The Drama You've Been Craving," "Heart Factory," "Words & Guitar," "It's Enough," "Little Babies," "Not What You Want," and "Buy Her Candy."A source at Kill Rock Stars who has heard the album says that Sleater-Kinney has "gelled a lot more. They're a lot tighter. Of course, [Corin Tucker's] vocals are still amazing." Another source close to the band says that the album is "more complicated than the previous one, as they're evolving and maturing. The songwriting is more complex. The sound is the same."That sound has been described as "unflinching," "defiant," and "ferocious." Critic Greil Marcus says Call the Doctor was the best album of 1996. Last year he wrote that the album is "a piece of music that means to call everything into question...Perhaps more than any band before them, Sleater-Kinney are all or nothing."The group, named for an exit off Interstate 5, will hit the road in March to play four dates on the west coast with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Word to the Blues X: beware your opener. Sleater-Kinney has garnered quite a rep for its live shows.THE MONKS TIME HAS COMEAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: From the same on-line magazine that last month wouldn't leave you alone about the Memphis Goons, the best band nobody's ever heard of, comes news of another long-lost release from a band you've never heard whose barely-released album is some sort of rock & roll Holy Grail for folks inclined to look for those kinds of things.This time, the band in question is the self-proclaimed "anti-Beatles," The Monks, and the album is Black Monk Time (Infinite Zero, Feb. 11), a startling debut from one of the first wave of punk bands that time forgot. Truly one of the strangest stories in rock, The Monks' tale is one of anti-war sentiment, unfashionably harsh beats and guitar feedback in an era when sugar-coated pop and folk were all the rage.The Monks were a four-piece formed in 1965 by some American GI's stationed in Germany who started their career as a beat/skiffle band named the Torquays, but quickly changed to the more cloistered Monks name and adopted a look and sound unlike any of their contemporaries. As part of their unorthodox stage ensemble the quartet shaved the tops of their heads and performed in monks' clothing. assaulting audiences with a minimalist sound interspersed with the occasional organ blast, electric banjo and squealing guitar feedback, while their crude lyrics dripped with anti-Vietnam sentiment and nihilistic love tales.Although somewhat quaint-sounding in the '90's, the album, which was never released in the U.S., is, like the Goons' recently released "lost" debut, a loud and sloppy snapshot of a separate reality from a familiar era. And, if you're really inspired by songs like "I Hate You" and "Shut Up," look for bassist Eddie Shaw's hard-to-find exhaustive biography of the group, Black Monk Time, in which the writer and his wife tell the short (the band broke up in 1967), bittersweet tale of the band that history forgot.