MUSIC NEWS OF THE WORLD: Soul Asylum
SOUL ASYLUM PREVIEW NEW MATERIAL UNDER FAKE NAMEAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: There was an unexpected treat on Friday (May 31) for fans attending the CD release party for Minneapolis' Carpetbaggers, an unannounced opening set by the Overreactors, who are better known as Soul Asylum. The show, at the First Ave. side venue, 7th Street Entry, was a chance for the stunned audience to get a preview of a bunch of songs that could show up on the next Soul Asylum record. Apparently, the band, in the wake of the disappointing response to last year's Let Your Dim Light Shine (the follow-up to their multi-platinum breakthrough, Grave Dancers Union), had been rehearsing and cutting demos in town all week and wanted to get a live show in before drummer Sterling Campbell jetted back to New York. So they called up the Entry's booker and asked to be quietly added to the bill. According to a friend of the band, some of the songs in the 70-minute set, whose names she cautioned were not final, included: "Waiting for You," "Candy From a Stranger," "Losin' It," "Dreams Deferred," "I Will Still Be Laughing," "Black Star," "Snowblind," and "Blood Into Wine." Our source told us that, although a band member told a local newspaper they were thinking about recording in New Orleans, no definite studio plans have been made yet and no producer has been decided on. The earliest Soul Asylum can even enter the studio, due to Dan Murphy's Golden Smog tour duties, is late this summer, with an eye towards an early 1997 release. Our snitch also told us that the new stuff is very "rock oriented," and that, with the exception of a few songs that featured Dave Pirner on keyboards, is "a lot heavier." Heavier than what, she didn't say.NEW RAMONES LIVE ALBUMAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Don't get me wrong. I love the Ramones as much as the next pinhead, but isn't it starting to feel like their final ring around the arenas is getting a little long in the tooth? Diehards probably have a copy of their first live album 1979's It's Alive in their record (and I do mean record) collection, and real gabba-gabba-heysters might even own 1991's so-so Loco Live, but now, after they promised Adios Amigos would be their swan-song, comes a third (and allegedly final) live collection, this one chronicling the never-ending good-bye tour, entitled, simply, Greatest Hits Live. Available on June 18, the thirty-seven minute, eighteen-track slugfest, recorded live at NYC's Academy on February 29, 1996, is a fitting end to a long (and lately more) respected career. The good news is Joey Ramone sounds pumped-up and ragged as ever, especially on the ripping "Do You Wanna Dance." A trio of tunes are sung by the youngest, and most energetic, Ramone, bassist CJ: "Strength to Endure," "Cretin Family" and his appropriately twisted homage to professional wrestling, "The Crusher." The quartet sound tighter than ever, providing sonic proof why they can still claim to be going out on top. Even the thrashing takes on such timeless two-minute "hits" as "Blitzkreig Bop," "Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio," "I Wanna Be Sedated," and "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" feel electrified by a new-found energy. The band, who are "huge in Argentina," will, as previously reported, be taking their third and (supposedly) final stab at eternity on this summer's Lollapalooza festival main stage and lead Ramone Joey, announced on the air in New York on Tuesday that the absolute, no-doubt-about-it, we-mean-it-man, last Ramones shows will be in Seattle on August 10 and 11, with a possible assist into retirement from Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Pointing towards the future, the collection ends with two new songs: a cover of a Motorhead-penned tribute to the band, "R.A.M.O.N.E.S.," and a cover of "Any Way You Want It" by the Dave Clark Five.JEWEL TO RECORD NEW ALBUMJewel is about to enter a studio in Woodstock, New York to record the follow-up to her fast-becoming-a-hit album, Pieces of You." Producing her album will be Peter Collins, who has previously recorded, Rush, Suicidal Tendencies, the Indigo Girls, and Nanci Griffith. Must be the Suicidal Tendencies album that got him the job.CARDIGANS COME TO AMERICAThe Swedish lounge-pop act the Cardigans arrive in the U.S. next week to kick off their first ever American tour. the group's sound, defined in part by lead singer Nina Persson's sugar-sweet vocals, is best described as upbeat and happy. Persson tells us she doesn't like comparisons to other Swedish bands like Abba and Ace of Base. "I have never heard a comparison that is true," she told us. Fair enough.VIC CHESNUTT TALKS ABOUT TRIBUTE ALBUMAddicted To Noise Philadelphia correspondent Chris Nelson reports: Vic Chesnutt , whose songs are the subject of the Sweet Relief Foundation's second benefit tribute record, says he's more than happy with each and every one of the album's recordings. Considering that 13 other artists submit his work to their own artistic vision, Vic is a bit surprised with how well the record turned out."I love all of them," he told me recently. "Which is really weird, because I thought that it could get..." He searches for a polite phrase. "You know, I might have to be really diplomatic about it. But I don't have to be diplomatic at all. I do love them all."The compilation, whose full verbose title is Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation, the Songs of Vic Chesnutt, is due out at the end of July. It features interpretations of Chesnutt songs by Garbage, Soul Asylum, Smashing Pumpkins with Red Red Meat, Joe Henry with Madonna, and nine others, plus a new song that Chesnutt co-wrote and recorded with Victoria Williams.Williams is the founder of Sweet Relief, and the subject of the organization's first tribute record. Her foundation provides financial assistance to musicians facing medical hardships.Of the material on Sweet Relief II, Vic says he is particularly excited about Mary Margaret O'Hara's recording of "Florida." "She's an amazing singer. I don't think she's recorded anything in a long time. Her version of 'Florida' is really exciting to me. It's almost like hearing a Bessie Smith recording or something. It's really kind of timeless."The modest and soft-spoken Chesnutt is also thrilled to have R.E.M. contribute a song to the album. I ask how it feels to have the fellow Athenians return the favor, since he recorded his way-out take on "It's the End of the World As We Know It" for a 1992 R.E.M. tribute called Surprise Your Pig."It's funny," says Chesnutt. "I was really excited to hear that they would do a song. They're friends of mine and everything, so it wasn't kind of a stretch, really. They're busy guys, and I was really excited to see that they could actually take the time and record it."In a way, he says, it's not such a shock that he was chosen as the subject of the record. "I have a lot of friends in the music business now, that I've met over the years...Several big bands were already doing my songs live. I had lots of, you know, big friends in big places," he concludes, laughing. "But it still kind of blows my mind."OFF-THE-(ATN) WIRE: Pearl Jam have completed its fourth album, which was produced in Seattle by Brendon O'Brian and will be released in September. According to a friend of the band who has heard the as-yet-untitled, 15 song album, it is "a beautiful record -- very tender, more like the first album in its sensitivity."...The L. A.-based punk band X says it's over. "X is no more and not getting back together," singer Exene Cervenkova (formerly Cervenka) told the L.A. Times. Singer/bassist John Doe plans to continue acting (he was in Georgia) and record another solo album with his band, the John Doe Thing. Meanwhile, Cervenkova and former X drummer D. J. Bonebrake have formed a new punk band called Auntie Christ. ....Idaho frontman Jeff Martin is still recovering from a beating he received from skinheads in Philadelphia May 7 following a performance. Police have not found the attackers...The stage set for this summer's tour by the Cure is expected to be one of the most outrageous band leader Robert Smith has yet assembled. "Imagine a nightmare playground, complete with a huge broken down roller coaster, a broken carousel and other ruined rides. It's strangely happy in a very spooky way," says a source close to the band.