Janet Weiss Leaves Sleater-Kinney

Janet Weiss announced today that she is leaving Sleater-Kinney because the band is heading in a “new direction.” This will no doubt be devastating news for many, as Sleater-Kinney won’t be the same without her. Weiss’s drumming style helped define the band’s raucous sound, as it evolved from wailing indie-punk to an explosive power trio.

Weiss’ statement reads diplomatically enough, but one can’t help but wonder what precipitated such a decision. There is speculation that the band’s radical new sound with producer St. Vincent at the helm has colored her attitude towards the music- her bored expression in recent publicity photos, notwithstanding.

STREAM: Silkworm “Dremate”

A definitive version of Silkworm’s 1994 classic In The West is forthcoming from Comedy Minus One records. It has been remixed from the original two-inch tape by Steve Albini, who also served as the engineer on the initial recording sessions. The physical release will be on double vinyl with re-imagined artwork and limited to 1500 copies. A bonus CD completes the package featuring 7″ b-sides and a live version of “Halloween.” This streaming version of album highlight “Dremate” is limited to the download accompaniment to the bundle.

Despite being released in the midst of college radio’s halcyon days, this record has never before been released on vinyl. Mindblowingly, Silkworm also released Libterine later that same year.

REUNION: Babes in Toyland Announce First Show in 18 Years

In other bizarre, unexpected reunion news, Minneapolis’ Babes in Toyland have announced its first shows in 18 years. I first saw BIT when I was in high school at a tiny club in Nashville, and it scared the ever-living shit out of me. Ket Bjelland’s manic stage presence is not for the faint of heart. And it turns out her demons were/are real, which makes it all even crazier. A trio of Google employees are footing the bill for the reunion, which is as surprising as it is cool. The fact that this band ever made it to a major label is quite a coup and just reiterates the power of Nirvana’s impact on the music business in the early 1990’s. Hit singles were not in the cards for this band, but by God they rocked.

REUNION: Ride

I’m always completely torn when a band I worship – or have worshiped – decides to reunite. Of course, there’s the selfish desire to relive the nostalgic emotions a certain record may have evoked during the formative teenage years. But then there’s the cynical desire to understand the invariably disappointing motivation, which always points to the potential pile of cash. The Pixies have reduced the reunion act to its basest form: an obvious (and unending) play on fans’ collective nostalgia followed by the dreaded yet inevitable failure of “new music.” When I read that Ride had decided to reunite, I felt the usual dose of inner conflict. On the one hand, Nowhere was a seminal record for me. I immersed myself in it, obsessing over every note for months and basking in the wash of glorious shoegaze feedback its majestic wall of noise created. I can return to it any time and still feel the same rush- a rare feat for any album to sustain that sort of impact, especially outside of the context of being 17. A Ride poster adorned my freshman dorm room, much to the bewilderment of my TLC-loving roommate. But decades have passed. I used to think rock n roll was a decidedly youthful endeavor. But, as I age, I am less strict in my cut off points for what is “too old” for rock n roll. Obviously, part of it stems from my reticence to accept my own age and relative stage in life. I used to be appalled by the fact that The Rolling Stones existed a day past 1975. Now, I find myself starting to justify their longevity, despite the obvious cash cow their “brand” generates. I once heard a guy say, “there’s nothing sadder than an old punk.” I get that. And my 19-year-old self would completely agree. I probably still agree. Certain genres do have a lifespan that has a definite expiration date. But being so cut and dry is probably missing the point. I’ve seen plenty of reunited bands over the years. Some lived up to the idealized potential while others were beyond embarrassing. If you can still pull it off without compromising the integrity of the music, I don’t see why you can’t forge on. But then the thought of watching a bunch of haggard ass has-beens trying to act like they’re 25 sounds like hell on Earth. Nostalgia and curiosity almost always win. So, I’m definitely erring on the side of excitement at the thought of Ride existing in any form in 2015. It’s just not without a healthy dose of trepidation.

Mark Kozelek Wants The War on Drugs to Fellate Him

photo026

Last week, Mark Kozelek seemingly joked that he’d written a song called “War on Drugs: Suck My Cock.”

“I challenge War On Drugs to let me join them onstage and play a hilarious song I’ve written called ‘War On Drugs: Suck My Cock/Sun Kil Moon: Go Fuck Yourself’ at the Fillmore, October 6,” Kozelek wrote in on his website (in a post that seems to have since been deleted), “provided they let me handle the beer commercial lead guitar.”

He wasn’t joking. Kozelek released the song to his Sun Kil Moon website at midnight EST, presumably right before The War on Drugs took the stage at its sold-out show at The Fillmore in San Francisco. In addition to repeatedly inviting the Philadelphia band to “suck my cock,” he talks about the Sun Kil Moon Hopscotch performance where he called the crowd “fuckin’ hillbillies.” (He’s still selling T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan.)

The War on Drugs dudes, Kozelek concedes, are “pretty nice,” but “definitely the whitest fuckin’ band I’ve ever heard.” “Sounded like basic John Fogerty rock,” he sings, and, later: “The War on Drugs loves John Mellencamp.” Also: “Bridge-and-tunnel people love them some War on Drugs.” Burn, yo.

The song is actually, as Kozelek claimed it would be, kind of hilarious — whether it’s intentional or because it paints Kozelek as an increasingly crochety, curmudgeonly dude. For instance, he follows up following up a line about The War on Drugs’ “beer commercial lead guitar” by yelping “Wait, there’s more!” and deploying a harmonized dual-guitar line. After needling the band with “To make three albums, took ’em nine fuckin’ years!,” a canned audience applauds.

It’s not all tongue-in-cheek: He lashes out at Indyweek writer Allison Hussey with the particularly vituperative couplet “Someone got offended and wrote a piece of crap / Some spoiled bitch rich kid blogger brat.” Not cool, Kozzy.

The War on Drugs, meanwhile, have yet to respond with a song called “Sun Kil Moon: Go Fuck Yourself.” I’d pay to hear that one.

Stream the song from Sun Kil Moon’s website, or download it from Pitchfork.

Impluse! to (Finally) Officially Release John Coltrane’s 1966 Temple University Concert

john-coltrane-4e43dd5ebaf8c

Back when I had, y’know, steady employment, I bought a lot of records. I made a particular mission to pick up every piece of John Coltrane vinyl I could afford. (I’m really, really regretting not buying a mint first pressing of Om when I had the chance.)

Now that I, y’know, don’t have steady employment, I don’t buy many records. But I still search out Coltrane gems when I have the extra scratch — and in September, Impluse! is releasing one.

On Sept. 23, John Coltrane’s birthday, Impulse! will release Offering, a long sought-after 1966 performance by Coltrane that took place in Philadelphia. It was one of Coltrane’s wildest but last performances; he’d be dead in less than a year. It features most of the lineup that comprised his live band in his later years: Alice Coltrane on piano, Pharoah Sanders on reeds and flute, and Rashied Ali on drums; Sonny Johnson filled in for regular bassist Jimmy Garrison.

Bootlegs of this concert have been circulating for years; to wit, Discogs currently has two for sale. But the bootleg doesn’t feature the entire show, and the sound quality is poor. Offering, uh, offers a remastered version of the entire 90-minute performance. It’ll be available as a double CD and double LP. The concert spans Coltrane’s entire oeuvre — extended interpretations of earlier material like “Naima,” from Giant Steps, and the title tracks from 1961’s My Favorite Things and (a personal favorite) 1964’s Crescent, and of later, freer jams like “Leo” and “Expression.”

Coltrane’s late ’60s concerts, when he was entrenched in the most difficult but most fascinating work of his brief but bright career — see: Concert in JapanThe Olatunde Concert — were often physically thundering affairs that nonetheless overflowed with emotional and spiritual energy. Coltrane, nearing the end of his life, played with the incendiary fury of a man in pain, but his energy — songs often stretched to near hour-long lengths — is nonetheless unflagging. If the Temple concert — I’ve never heard it — resembles anything on Concert in Japan or Olatunde, it’ll be a wild ride.

Anyway. I’ll be saving up for this one.

 

Nirvana’s Going to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — Without Chad Channing

Nirvana1

There’s one big sticking for eligibility for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (outside of that whole, y’know, being good and important thing). As in baseball, it’s all about time: To qualify for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there must be a passing of 25 years since the band’s first release.

It’s been exactly 25 years since Nirvana released Bleach, and if there are few first-ballot decisions as no-brainer as Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl.

But Grohl didn’t play on Bleach. Chad Channing did. (He’s the guy on the far right in the above picture.)

But Chad Channing isn’t getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Worse, he found out via text message.

“Can you tell whoever looks after Chad Channing that he isn’t being inducted,” the Rock Hall wrote to Nirvana’s manager, reports radio.com. “It is just Dave, Krist and Kurt.”

Cold. Blooded.

“I’ll be there at the table ready to walk up,” Channing told the site in an earlier interview about Nirvana’s imminent induction. “When I told my daughter about the induction, she was super excited for me! So much of my excitement about it is for her!”

COLD. BLOODED. I haven’t been this upset about a Hall of Fame snub since Tim “Rock” Raines.

(Then again, if the Hall inducts Chad Channing, shouldn’t it induct Dale Crover, who played on Bleach‘s “Floyd the Barber”, “Paper Cuts” and “Downer”? Then again, isn’t the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame kind of stupid to begin with?)

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is April 10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.