ATN's Music News Of The World: Veruca Salt

VERUCA SALT GET HEAVYAddicted To Noise editor Michael Goldberg reports: The upcoming Veruca Salt album (Feb. 11) is indeed the harder rock extravaganza that one would expect from pairing the Chicago-based quartet with producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi). Titled Eight Arms To Hold You (a title the Beatles once considered), the album, recorded at Rock's home studio in Maui and at a Chicago studio, contains 14 songs that range from the up-against-the-wall slam of "Straight" (a plea to a boyfriend to stay "straight") to the gorgeous power-ballad "Loneliness is Worse."Is the new wall-of-sound approach a good thing for Veruca Salt, a band that caught my attention based on the more personal production work of Brad Wood (who sat behind the board for the group's debut, American Thighs, as well as for albums by Liz Phair and Ben Lee)? I think so. Veruca Salt have always wanted to be Led Zeppelin, and Eight Arms To Hold You is a step in that direction. And while they've turned the volume up, Veruca Salt leaders Louise Post and Nina Gordon haven't abandoned the quirkiness that made songs like their smash hit "Seether" so compelling. Just check out the brilliant pop confection, "With David Bowie," to know that Veruca Salt haven't lost their sense of humor. That said, make no mistake: Veruca Salt are no longer living in indieland.Under the seasoned hand of producer Rock, the band leaders' edgy songs have been turned them into larger-than-life rock epics. Would I have preferred that Veruca Salt record the album with Steve Albini, who brought out some of their raw, punk roots on the EP Blow It out Your Ass It's Veruca Salt? Perhaps. But on its own terms, this is a stunning work that reveals more with each listen. It contains 14 songs: "Straight," "Volcano Girls," "Don't Make Me Prove It," "Awesome," "One Last Time," "With David Bowie," "Benjamin," "Shutterbug," "The Morning Sad," "Sound of the Bell," "Loneliness Is Worse," "Stoneface," "Venus Man Trap" and "Earthcrosser." Like that other Chicago-based band, the Smashing Pumpkins, Veruca Salt seem to feel that bigger is better. Based on Eight Arms To Hold You, this time they're right.THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS COMPILATIONAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: For most bands, a 72-song retrospective would be sufficient to cover most of their output and then some, whether they'd been around ten years or twenty. But, for the restlessly prolific duo of John's in They Might Be Giants, a 72-song compilation comprised of their first three albums, and 19 rare, previously unreleased tracks is just a drop in the bucket. Due in early 1997, Then: The Earlier Years is a two-disc collection of TMBG's material from the era when they were a cult band that sold several thousands of records instead of several hundreds of thousands and they were best known for early MTV hits like "Don't Let's Start" and "Birdhouse in Your Soul."PORNO FOR PYROS BACK IN ACTIONAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Porno for Pyros are getting ready to hit the road again now that guitarist Peter DiStefano has completed chemotherapy treatment for a bout of cancer. According to the band's management, the group will re-group on January 15 for a show in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and work their way up the coast before heading West in March to make-up the dates they were forced to cancel when DiStefano learned he would need the treatment. (The band canceled eight North American dates and a planned South American swing while they waited for DiStefano to recover). Guest bassist Mike Watt will continue in his previous role as Porno's bassist. A source at Porno's management said DiStefano is "really psyched" to get back on the road and resume touring.REAL LIVEAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Live have revealed the name of their follow-up to 1994's six-times platinum Throwing Copper. It's Secret Samadhi and it will hit stores on February 18, 1996, preceded by the single, "Lakini's Juice," which the boys tell us is named after the Hindu goddess of destruction.As previously reported in ATN, the album was co-produced by the band and Jay Healy (who produced their original demos--the ones that got them signed), and they will be mounting a four-week mini theater tour upon its release, to be followed by a bigger U.S. and Canadian tour in the summer. Some other song titles on the album are: "Gas Head Goes West," "Freaks," "Rattlesnake," "Ghost," "Graze" and "Heropsychodreamer."BJORK JOINS A TRIBEAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Aside from the millions of dollars raised and awareness raising, this summer's Tibetan Freedom Concert also set the stage for one of the most unusual collaborations since Noel Gallagher teamed up with the Chemical Brothers. According to a source at Jive Records, A Tribe Called Quest hooked up backstage with big fan Bjork at the Concert and the mutual admiration society decided a collaboration was in order. It took a while, but now you can hear their hook-up on the Tribe's latest single "Stressed Out." The diminutive Icelandic superfreak did three remixes of the song, all of which feature Oliver Lake of the World Saxophone quartet and one of which features vocals from Bjork, the barely two-minute track, "Bjork's Married to the Mob Mix." The other two Bjork remixed tracks are "Bjork Dandelions" and "Bjork's Say Dip." The single also contains a few alternate versions of "Stressed Out" with vocals from R&B singer Faith Evans.MEMO FROM DR. WAS: CITIZEN WAYNE NEARLY DONEOnetime MC5 axeslinger Wayne Kramer has nearly completed his next album, which is tentatively titled Citizen Wayne. As we're previously reported, none other than ATN's own David Was -- Ok, he is also known for being one half of Was (Not Was), as well as for producing a number of other albums including the X-Files compilation -- is not only in the producer's chair, but co-wrote some of the songs. Here's his latest report from the front:"I have dubbed (and it has stuck) Wayne's new album Citizen Wayne (amended from his manager's suggestion, Brother Wayne). He is in great form throughout, plays guitar like an mf-er, and brings loads of heart to songs honoring the working dead, e.g., a tune we penned together called 'Shinin' Mr. Lincoln's Shoes,' about an aged, no meds-no benefits govt. contract worker who plotzed while cleaning the Lincoln Monument (true story). That and a tune called 'We're Having a Revolution (In Apt. 29),' an opus about politicos of dubious commitment -- they can't decide whether to storm the barricades or refill the tonic and soda supplies... Keep ya posted."ATN ALBUM OF THE MOMENT: TOLEDO'S FISHNETS & CIGARETTESYou're sitting in a bar, smoky, of course. The tumbler in front of you is empty, again, although you don't remember how it got that way and you wish it wasn't. The singer on stage is leaning up on the front two legs of his chair, whispering in that cracked, cool hiss of a way you like to think would make you sound sexy, except it works on him and it just makes you sound like you need a cough drop. You fish a half-soaked smoke out of the puddle of spilt something or other on the sticky bar top and light it, trying to make the smoke curl up towards the dim light like it does on Toledo's Fishnets & Cigarettes, (Moonshine) only it's stinging your eyes and making ol' Toledo's grumbling sad-sack splinter jazz scats even sadder.Tom Waits didn't release anything this year, but Toledo did, and if Tom still imbibed, he'd probably tip one, or twenty, to his slick, seductive offspring, you know, imitation being the sincerest form and all. Because Toledo doesn't just lay it down with the squealing saxophone frown and hard, sexy beats on songs like "Danny," but also moves along the stage like a scratchy-throated cat and the nimble-footed choreographer (Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, George Michael) that he is. You can't see him move on the album, but you can feel him jar something loose, whether it's a drowsy-eyed, Hammond organ and saxophone dead-end tale of "Sony & Lorraine" or the Afro-Cuban hotel detective Shaft-funk of "Saxface." You can feel Toledo crawling through the juke joint gutters, collecting the oozing, sensual leftovers of a hundred barfly's, aiming his "Beat Up Thunderbird" towards "Downtown," hoping not to fun afoul of the "Pistol of a Cuban Girl." This is the sound of drunken, illicit encounters, raw, hazy, sometimes smooth, often rough and soaked in plenty of booze and cigarettes. -- Gil KaufmanOFF-THE-(ATN)-WIRE: For the first time in nearly fifteen years, Depeche Mode will not tour to support a new album. When the trio (fourth member Alan Wilder left the group earlier this year) release the still-untitled effort in April, a management source said they might make some television and other promotional appearances, but it's not likely they'll mount a year-long tour like the one that accompanied their last album, Songs of Faith and Devotion...What's up with the Breeders? The group Kim Deal is taking on the road for pre-New Year's eve and New Year's eve shows, doesn't include her sister Kelly, but does resemble, exactly, the group she toured with as The Amps...Smashing Pumpkin singer Billy Corgan's name has been added to the still-growing all-star bill set to pay tribute to David Bowie on Jan. 9 at New York's Madison Square Garden. The concert, a 50th birthday celebration for Bowie, with all proceeds going to the Save the Children foundation, is already scheduled to feature cameos from Sonic Youth, Frank Black, the Foo Fighters, Lou Reed, The Cure's Robert Smith and an opening set from Placebo...

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