10.0: Essential
9.5-9.9: Spectacular
9.0-9.4: Amazing
8.5-8.9: Exceptional
8.0-8.4: Strong
7.5-7.9: Very good
7.0-7.4: Not brilliant, but nice enough
6.0-6.9: Has its moments, but isn't strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre; not good, but not awful
4.0-4.9: Just below average; bad outweighs good by just a little bit
3.0-3.9: Definitely below average, but a few redeeming qualities
2.0-2.9: Heard worse, but still pretty bad
1.0-1.9: Awful; not a single pleasant track
0.0-0.9: Breaks new ground for terrible


Wesley Willis Dead at 40

[Posted Friday, August 22nd, 2003 18:06:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

Ryan Schreiber reports:
Alternative Tentacles has reported that Chicago's most prolific street singer, Wesley Willis, peacefully passed away yesterday evening in his hometown. Willis, who suffered from schizophrenia and Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, was brought to a Chicago hospital to undergo emergency surgery at the beginning of June to supress some internal bleeding, but his health had reportedly been deteriorating since. He was 40 years old.

Wesley Willis' recordings were strikingly unique, a textbook example of what music journalist Irwin Chusid has termed "outsider music" due to its similarities to outsider and folk art. Willis began to gain national recognition for his unusual songs-- on which he was often notoriously backed only by a Casio keyboard-- that routinely paid homage to musicians whose work he appreciated. He managed to score minor hits in the early-to-mid 90s with two of these, "Alanis Morissette" and "Kurt Cobain".

Jello Biafra-- ex-Dead Kennedys mouthpiece, Alternative Tentacles founder and dear friend to Wesley-- stated in a press release today that Willis "will go down as one of the most unique songwriters and entertainment personalities in history. His music, lyrics, drawings, insight and the way he put them together are like no one else. Ever. There will never be another."

Willis recorded more than fifty full-length albums for various labels during his lifetime, the most recent of which, Full Heavy Metal Jacket, was released via the Artist Workshop label in 2001. He has also released two greatest hits CDs, with a third volume due out on Alternative Tentacles in October.

.: Alternative Tentacles: http://www.alternativetentacles.com




Songs: Ohia To Retire Name, Record New LP
Dude, this guy has got Oldham nailed!

[Posted Friday, August 22nd, 2003 06:30:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

Marnie Christenson reports:
It's looking like a busy fall for Jason Molina, better known as the driving force behind Songs: Ohia. Or should I say, as bespectacled record-store clerks will in that condescending comic-book-guy-from-The Simpsons manner come this November, the Magnolia Electric Co.? That's right, Molina is spending the next couple of months touring as time ticks away for the Songs: Ohia name. On precisely November 1st (and yes, we will be that exact), the old name will be retired like a sweaty basketball jersey, and Molina and crew will officially become Magnolia Electric Co. (a reference, of course, to the Songs: Ohia album released earlier this year). Message-board fans are reportedly thrilled, as they will no longer need to deal with the automated "shocked" emoticon that simply typing a semi colon followed by an "O" creates.

During September, the not-long-for-this-world Songs: Ohia will tour the eastern U.S. before heading to Spain and Portugal for a few weeks in October. In November, The Magnolia Electric Co. will celebrate their new start with three tour dates, and more are expected. Dates:

Songs: Ohia
09-02 North Manchetser, IN - The Firehouse
09-03 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern (w/ The Six Parts Seven)
09-04 Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
09-05 Morgantown, WV - 123 Pleasant Street
09-06 Richmond, VA - Nanci Raygun
09-07 Carrboro, NC - Go Rehearsal Room 4
09-08 West Columbia, SC - New Brooklyn Tavern
09-09 Mt. Pleasant, SC - Village Tavern
09-10 Chattanooga, TN - Lamar's (w/ Charles Allison)
09-11 Athens, GA - Tasty World
09-17 Atlanta, GA - The Earl (w/ American Dream)
09-18 Tampa, FL - Orpheum
09-19 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder
09-20 Orlando, FL - The Social
09-21 New Orleans, LA - Mermaid Lounge
09-23 Jackson, MS - TBA
09-24 Memphis, TN - Hi Tone
09-25 Nashville, TN - The End
10-02 Zaragoza, Spain - TBA
10-03 Valencia, Spain - TBA
10-04 Barcelona, Spain - TBA
10-05 Tarragona, Spain - TBA
10-07 Castellon, Spain - TBA
10-08 Madrid, Spain - TBA
10-09 Valladolid, Spain - TBA
10-10 Vigo, Spain - TBA
10-11 Oporto, Portugal - TBA
10-14 Cadiz, Spain - TBA
10-15 Granada, Spain - TBA
10-16 Sevilla, Spain - TBA
10-17 Cordoba, Spain - TBA
10-20 Pamplona, Spain - TBA [final Songs: Ohia show]

Magnolia Electric Co.
11-05 Portland, ME - Space Gallery [first-ever Magnolia Electric Co. show]
11-06 Northampton, MA - Iron Horse
11-13 Lexington, KY - Arts Place

After the November name change takes effect, the Magnolia Electric Co. will take up residence in Steve Albini's studio, Electric Audio, to begin work on a new album. The lineup for the session is expected to be Jason Molina, Jennie Benford, Mike Kapinis, Mike Brenner, Mark Rice, Pete Schreiner, and Jason Groth.

The long overdue, almost relic-status Pyramid Electric Co. LP, once due this month, has been pushed back again-- to January 2004. The recording took place in Nebraska with Mike Mogis way, way back in 2001. Although the wait will be just a little longer, there is some good news: the songsohia.com fansite is now reporting that each LP will also include a CD version tucked inside the sleeve, all for the price of a standard LP. The CD will not be sold alone and pressing will be limited to between 4000 and 5000 copies. And that's all fine and good, but what name will it come out under?

.: Pitchfork Review: Songs: Ohia: Magnolia Electric Co.
.: Songs: Ohia: http://www.songsohia.com
.: Secretly Canadian: http://www.secretlycanadian.com




Grandaddy Add 52 Dates To Fall Tour
Rolling Stone cover story cancelled when Olsen Twins start making out

[Posted Friday, August 22nd, 2003 06:30:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

Ed Howard reports:
Like the way your redneck neighbor with all the NRA stickers on his pickup truck burns a playing card every time the U.S. military rounds up another of Saddam's Brady Bunch, so will Grandaddy be knockin' em off, one at a time, from the middle of next month on through December, until all 52 are down. That's right: Grandaddy-- that's the band, not the old guy who keeps trying to get you to sit on his lap-- is heading out on tour this September, and they won't be stopping any time soon.

First off, the band'll be hitting a number of U.S. cities in September co-headlining with Welsh rockers Super Furry Animals. After that, Grandaddy will be splitting off on their own for more U.S. engagements, this time accompanied by the Starlight Mints, and then in November the group will head across the pond for a string of dates in Europe (with as-yet-unannounced openers) that will carry them through the mid-December. Whew! The dates are:

09-18 San Francisco, CA - Fillmore *
09-19 Los Angeles, CA - Fonda *
09-20 San Diego, CA - 4th & B *
09-21 Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre *
09-23 Dallas, TX - Gypsy Tea Room *
09-24 Houston, TX - Numbers *
09-26 Austin, TX - Stubbs BBQ *
09-27 New Orleans, LA - House of Blues *
09-29 Atlanta, GA - Roxy Theatre *
09-30 Louisville, KY - Headliners Music Hall *
10-02 Washington, D.C - 9:30 Club *
10-03 New York, NY - Irving Plaza *
10-04 New York, NY - Irving Plaza *
10-06 Providence, RI - Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
10-07 Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall
10-08 Newport, KY - Southgate House +
10-10 Indianapolis, IN - Birdy's +
10-11 St. Louis, MO - The Pageant +
10-12 Lawrence, KS - Liberty Hall +
10-13 Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre and Cafe +
10-14 Salt Lake City, UT - Zephyr Club +
10-16 Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom +
10-17 Seattle, WA - The Showbox +
10-18 Portland, OR - Aladdin Theatre +
11-05 Belfast, N. Ireland - Limelight
11-06 Dublin, Ireland - Ambassador
11-07 Glasgow, Scotland - Academy
11-08 Manchester, England - Academy
11-10 Leeds, England - Metropolitan University
11-11 Wolverhampton, England - Wulfrun Hall
11-12 Newcastle, England - Newcastle University
11-14 Lille/Tourconing, France - Le Grand Mix
11-15 Eindhoven, Netherlands - Effenaar
11-17 Aarhaus, Denmark - Vox Club
11-18 Stockholm, Sweden - Munchen Brewery
11-19 Oslo, Norway - Rockefellar Brewery
11-20 Hamburg, Germany - Schlachthof
11-22 Munich, Germany - Backstage
11-23 Vienna, Austria - Szene Wein
11-24 Basel, Switzerland - Volkshaus
11-25 Strassbourg, France - La Laiterie
11-27 Orleans, France - L'Astrolabe
11-28 Toulouse, France - Havana Cafe
11-29 Nantes, France - Olympic
12-01 Paris, France - Elysee Monmartre
12-02 Brussels, Belgium - AB
12-04 Cerrmont, France - Ferrand La Cooperative
12-05 Lyon, France - Ninkasi
12-07 Brighton, UK - Corn Exchange
12-08 Norwich, UK - Waterfront
12-09 Portsmouth, UK - Pyramid
12-10 London, UK - Brixton Academy

* with Super Furry Animals
+ with Starlight Mints

As previously reported, the second single from Grandaddy's Sumday, the Weezeresque "El Caminos In The West," is due in UK stores next week. As for guitarist Jim Fairchild, who fractured some bones in his shoulder when a tour vehicle hit him back in May (yes, he was goofing off when it happened), he appears to be fully recovered. You just know a guy who begins a sentence with "I'd like to extend a very personal branch of gratitude to all the people who have wished me well in the wake of being run over by a tractor trailer" has gotta be good people.

.: Pitchfork Review: Grandaddy: Sumday
.: Pitchfork News: Grandaddy Ready New EP, Keep Touring
.: Pitchfork News: Grandaddy Announce Dates For Summer World Tour...
.: Grandaddy: http://grandaddylandscape.com




Pernice Brothers: Back To School, Back To Tourin'
"Girls Gone Wild: Pernice Edition" features hot Ivy League coeds working crosswords

[Posted Thursday, August 21st, 2003 06:30:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

Will Bryant reports:
For those about to lite-rock, we salute you. The Pernice Brothers, freshly returned from a trip to Ireland, just kicked off the second leg of their U.S. tour in support of this year's just-pleasant-enough Yours, Mine and Ours. The 29-date tour actually started Wednesday night in Oak Bluffs, MA and continues with tonight's show in Pittsburgh, PA. Most states east of the Mississippi and around the nation's breadbasket will get to see 'em some Pernice Brothers before the whole kit and kaboodle head for Florida and the south just in time for spring break! September style, come on, it's all Florida has going for it. Then, it's back up to New England and specifically Vermont, where Yours, Mine and Ours was recorded and this whole mess got started. Tour dates:

08-22 Pittsburgh, PA - Rosebud
08-23 Columbus, OH - Little Brothers
08-24 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
08-26 Lexington KY - The Dame
08-27 Memphis,TN - Hi-Tone
08-28 Nashville, TN - 12th and Porter
08-29 St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
08-30 Kansas City, MO - The Brick
09-01 Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
09-02 Milwaukee, WI - Onopa Brewing Company
09-03 Madison, WI - Annex
09-04 Champaign, IL - Cowboy Monkey
09-05 Indianapolis, IN - The Patio
09-06 Chicago, IL - The Hideout
09-07 Newport, KY - Southgate House
09-08 Knoxville, TN - Pilot Light
09-09 Raleigh, NC - Kings
09-11 Ybor City, FL - Orpheum
09-12 Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
09-13 Orlando, FL - Will's Pub
09-14 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder
09-16 Asheville, NC - Stella Blue
09-17 Charlottesville, VA - Tokyo Rose
09-18 Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
09-19 Brooklyn, NY - Luxx
09-20 Bennington, VT - Downstairs Cafe
09-21 Burlington, VT - Club Metronome

Pernice Brothers drummer Mike Belitsky and keyboardist Laura Stein were not available for the first leg of the U.S. tour (Pat Berkery of Bigger Lovers and keyman James Walbourne subbed). The group's manager did not specify if the group would be touring with the regular lineup in August and September. In addition, Pernice's manager reports on the group's official forum that occasional sideman Bob Pernice's home was destroyed by fire in June. Thankfully, no one was injured in the blaze. Whatever the lineup, the Pernice Brothers will return to Europe in October and November and spin the states once more in December, according to Ashmont Records.

In the meantime, Joe Pernice's novella Meat Is Murder, concerning "suicides, gymnasium humiliations... and incendiary teenage infatuations" (both with a girl and the Smiths' 1985 album), has been given a release date of October 15th by Continuum Books. The book is part of the publisher's 33 1/3 series of fiction, critical essays, and autobiography as filtered through the prism of a single influential album. Look for Ryan Schreiber's love letter to Lionel Richie, Can't Slow Down, in 2005.

.: Pitchfork Review: Pernice Brothers: Yours, Mine, and Ours
.: Pitchfork News: Joe Pernice Writes Novella Based On Smiths Obsession
.: Pernice Brothers: http://www.pernicebrothers.com
.: Continuum Books: http://www.continuumbooks.com




Sebadoh Frontmen Reunite For Acoustic Shows In October
Rick Rubin still pushing cover of "Homemade" on poor Johnny Cash

[Posted Thursday, August 21st, 2003 06:00:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

Will Bryant reports:
Sebadoh principals Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein are reuniting for a pair of acoustic shows in October to celebrate Domino Records' 10th anniversary, according to the label's official website. "I thought it would be an excellent time for Jason and I to play together," Barlow wrote Pitchfork via e-mail on Wednesday. "I was missing him anyway... plus Sebadoh [1992's Rockin' The Forest EP] was the first Domino release, it'd be absurd not to."

Barlow hopes to re-create the vibe of Sebadoh's first tour, which was just himself and Loewenstein on four-string guitar and bass, "stomping on a tambourine" for percussion. "I'm thinking we'll reprise that for my songs, do Weed Forestin-era things, and any others that fit that approach," Barlow says. "We are rehearsing for it. I get to visit Louisville again, which I always enjoy. Once I'm there Jake will show me what he wants to play... and I will play it, it's going to be good."

Upland, CA indie Shrimper Records just released a remastered version of Barlow's 1994 solo cassette Wasted Pieces '87-'93 on CD, suitably expanded to include tracks from another Shrimper cassette, Most Of The Worst and Some Of The Best. Both homemade cassettes (released under the Sentridoh moniker) have long been out of print. Even so, Barlow excised the few tracks that have previously appeared on CD, most notably on Mint Records' 1994 collection Lou Barlow and Friends: Another Collection of Home Recordings. He also trimmed the cut "Brown Confessin," an enigmatic and sexually explicit 35-second fragment that might make Peaches blush. "I don't want my mom to hear it," Barlow confesses. "She listens to my CD's." Tracklist (untitled cuts are fragments of noise from the original cassettes):

01 Pooh Piece
02 Stiff To Rhythm
03 Broken II
04
05 Nitemare *
06
07 Be Nice Me
08 Never Tried
09 J.O.J. '91 *
10 Rather Die *
11 God Won't Let You Die
12 Saliva Drips
13 Albuquerque '89 *
14 Abandon
15 No Way At All
16 I Know Before
17 It Might Be
18 Old Man
19 I Can't Wait *
20 Suede *
21 Raise Your Head
22 Raise The Bells
23 Conspiracy
24
25 Funpool
26 Why We Swing
27 Nothing Lasts
28 Heartness Crane
29 Organ
30 Cello
31 End

* from Most of the Worst and Some of the Best cassette

According to his official website, Barlow mastered the expanded Wasted Pieces from his original four-track cassettes: "All I know is: my originals always had half the hiss of what was released. That goes for Weed Forestin [through] Losers."

Sebadoh's first two albums for Homestead, The Freed Man (1989) and Weed Forestin (1990), remain in print on vinyl only. Homestead's CD version (The Freed Weed) presents both albums in a hurriedly-made mishmash that omits nearly half of The Freed Man. In a 1992 interview with indie zine Cool Beans!, Barlow admitted that he and then-bandmate Eric Gaffney originally turned in a 120-minute master tape for The Freed Man that included every song recorded and a handful of sound montages to boot. Forced with capping the CD at a then-standard 72 minutes, Barlow and Gaffney were forced to slice around 48 minutes from their so-called "huge perfect version" of The Freed Man.

So is Sebadoh's back catalog due for an overhaul, as with those of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr? "That'd be nice, except I have no idea where Eric Gaffney stands on that issue," Barlow told Pitchfork. "I'm scared to call him, I'm chickenshit. I keep hoping he'll e-mail me or something."

Barlow finds the nostalgia for music from indie's golden years, music that's less than ten years old, a bit amusing: "Premature reissues are just obnoxious... Sebadoh isn't classic music yet. It needs to stew longer." Toward that end, Barlow is concentrating on the future. "I have 20 or so [new songs] that I've been completing in my head, playing at live shows," Barlow wrote. "I'm going to a studio next week and I've been recording around the house with promising results. I'll send a few around to see if anyone wants to release it (anyone?) but keep recording, which I'll do [through] mid-September, then concentrate on jakenloubadoh." Dates:

10-14 London, England - Cecil Sharp House (Domino Records' 10th Anniversary show)

Domino are expected to announce further dates in Ireland as they become confirmed. So far, the label's 10th anniversary hoe-down spans the entire month of October, with London appearances from Clinic, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Quasi, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, The Pastels, Four Tet, Mouse On Mars, and the Kills already confirmed.

.: Pitchfork Review: Sentridoh: Free Sentridoh: Tales From Loobiecore
.: Pitchfork Review: Sebadoh: The Sebadoh
.: Pitchfork Feature: Pitchfork Interview: Lou Barlow, March 2002
.: Lou Barlow: http://www.loobiecore.com
.: Jason Loewenstein: http://www.jakerock.com
.: Fields of Gaffney: http://www.angelfire.com/indie/ericgaffney
.: Sebadoh: http://www.sebadoh.com
.: Domino: http://www.dominorecordco.com
.: Cool Beans!: Sebadoh Interview: March 3, 1992




Starlight Mints Touring the Shit Out of United States
Non-handwashing restaurant patrons dig fecal fingers into dish -- mmm, feces

[Posted Thursday, August 21st, 2003 06:00:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

Kevin Keenan reports:
Oklahoma's second-favorite musical sons (and daughter), the Starlight Mints, have not only announced-- but also already embarked on-- a pretty darn extensive tour, if you ask us. And, if you did, we obviously didn't hear you or we would have posted these dates before last week, when the tour began. Alas, we have that "extensive" bit to fall back on and it's quite safe to say that with 30 dates remaining, you still have like an 85% chance of catching their act, provided you live somewhere listed below (sorry certain Texas towns, Phoenix and San Diego).

The Mints will be touring with a pretty sick trio of 2003 hype-warranted acts along the way. The August leg of the tour has the sugary popsters on the road with former Blues Clues host and wide-eyed "wow"-meister, Steve Burns, whose brand-new album was recorded with none other than Oklahoma's first favorite musical sons, the Flaming Lips, and received a favorable review from your friends at the 'Fork earlier this week. In September and early October, major label signees and dry cleaner's wet dream The Polyphonic Spree will hook up with the Mints during the second leg of the tour. And then the last nine dates will see the band opening for Grandaddy who, by then, will have grown completely shameless back-of-the-neck beards in an attempt to further prove their indie cred. It will work. Tour dates:

08-21 Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar *
08-23 Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour *
08-24 San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord *
08-26 Seattle, WA - Graceland *
08-27 Portland, OR - Dante's *
08-28 Boise, ID - Neurolux *
08-30 Denver, CO - Bluebird Theatre *
09-05 Oklahoma City, OK - The Green Door
09-19 Dallas, TX - Granada Theatre +
09-23 New Orleans, LA - Howlin' Wolf +
09-24 Atlanta, GA - Variety Palace +
09-25 Birmingham, AL - WorkPlay Theatre +
09-26 Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel +
09-28 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church +
09-29 Toronto, Ontario- Lee's Place +
09-30 Toronto, Ontario - Lee's Place +
10-02 Detroit, MI - Shelter +
10-03 Detroit, MI - Shelter +
10-04 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle +
10-05 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle +
10-07 Chicago, IL - Metro +
10-08 Newport, KY - Southgate House $
10-10 Indianapolis, IN - Birdy's $
10-11 St. Louis, MO - The Pageant $
10-12 Lawrence, KS - Liberty Hall $
10-13 Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre $
10-14 Salt Lake City, UT - Zephyr Club $
10-16 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom $
10-17 Seattle, WA - Showbox $
10-18 Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater $

* with Steve Burns
+ with The Polyphonic Spree
$ with Grandaddy

.: Pitchfork Review: Starlight Mints: Built on Squares
.: Pitchfork Review: Starlight Mints: The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of
.: Starlight Mints: http://www.starlightmints.com
.: PIAS America: http://www.pias.com




Sun Ra's Space Epic Hits DVD in Fall
Expanded film only slightly longer than this news story

[Posted Thursday, August 21st, 2003 06:00:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

Rod Waterman reports:
Plexifilm is set to release the director's cut of Sun Ra's 1974 film Space Is The Place October 28th. Initially conceived as a half-hour PBS documentary, the project morphed into a feature-length freakout, described by biographer John Szwed as a "revisionist bibilical epic." The restored version of the film, which saw a very limited engagement on its initial release, features home-movie footage of the Arkestra's trip to Egypt in 1972, where they played in front of the pyramids. The package includes liner notes by Szwed, author of the definitive Sun Ra biography of the same name, and also a written introduction by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore.

Here is some plot summary, because, really, nothing I might say could better convey the wonder that is Sun Ra. And as you read this, think about the recall in Cali and the situation in Liberia, and how much better everything would be if Sun Ra were still alive to be running against the Terminator and stepping up as the new President of Liberia:

After having traveled through space in a yellow spaceship propelled by music, Sun Ra finds a planet he believes could serve as a new home for the black race. Returning to earth he lands in Oakland, California, circa 1972 and has to fight The Overseer, played by Ray Johnson (from 1971's Dirty Harry), a supernatural villain who pimps out the black race. Sun Ra offers those who would follow him into space an "alter-destiny," but the Overseer, the FBI, and NASA-- who are after Ra's Black Space Program-- ultimately force him to return to space before the destruction of Earth.

Any questions? And seriously, that's by no means as weird as it gets. There's a card game in the desert, a stroll through an intergalactic garden, a cloaked figure with a mirror for a face, and-- dare I say it-- so on. It's kind of like Earth, Wind and Fire meets The Seventh Seal, if you need some kind of hook to hang this funky shit on. Opinions vary as to whether or not you need to be baked out of your mind to enjoy this, or if just watching it straight will totally get you where you need to be. We leave this decision entirely up to you, gentle reader.

Did we mention that Sun Ra was kind of odd? You all must know by now that he claimed to have been born on Saturn, although pedants will point out that his real name was Herman P. "Sonny" Blount, that he was actually born in Birmingham, AL, lived and played for a long time in Chicago, and that he called Philadelphia home for a pretty long time after that, living in Germantown with the aforementioned Arkestra, who still ply their trade today-- even without their beloved leader.

Regardless of the little matter of factual biography and the possibility of life on Saturn, Sun Ra's legend grows ever stronger through the years as the Evidence and Universe/Comet record labels continue to reissue long-unavailable live and studio albums. It's worth pointing out, too, that although Sun Ra has a reputation for being pretty radically outside (and he undoubtedly cut a giant swath through free jazz, as well as being a pioneer in electronic instrumentation), Sun Ra has also committed more than his fair share of straight-ahead standards to tape. If you choose to enter his wonderful and amazing world, you're going to experience the gamut of jazz emotions-- everything from his album of Disney covers, Second Star to the Right (which features a very fine version of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah") to the newly reissued 1966 album The Sensational Guitars of Dan and Dale: Batman and Robin.

But if you're looking for a serious place to start, Jazz in Silhouette, Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy, and Heliocentric Worlds, Volume 1 should be more than enough to keep you going for about the next ten years. Also, he wrote that "Nuclear War" thing that Yo La Tengo covered recently, so he's getting his indie props, no doubt, and in perpetuity. And no matter what you think of him, you can't deny that nuclear war is indeed a motherfucker.

.: Pitchfork Review: Sun Ra: Nuclear War
.: Plexifilm: http://www.plexifilm.com
.: Comet: http://www.cometrecords.com
.: Sun Ra: http://www.dpo.uab.edu/~moudry




Madlib, Jay Dee Join Forces As Jaylib
"Gimme an adjective." "Uh... baked."

[Posted Thursday, August 21st, 2003 06:00:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

Ed Howard reports:
Fresh from his recent exhilarating spurt of jazz-worship on his Blue Note remix album, eclectic producer/rapper Madlib is getting set to release a potentially amazing collaboration with equally versatile producer Jay Dee. Dee is best known for his production work behind A Tribe Called Quest, Common, D'Angelo, and Q-Tip, while Madlib is known for a spate of albums under aliases too numerous to keep track of. The pair recorded for months from late 2002 through this summer, and they've finally narrowed down all the resulting material to the 17-track album Champion Sound (with two as-yet-unspecified bonus cuts that will presumably appear on overseas releases).

Both Madlib and Jay Dee take turns at the mixing board and behind the mic, and the result is an album with eight tracks produced by each of them, plus one production collaboration. The album also features guest MC turns from Talib Qweli, Percee P, and most intriguingly, Madlib's high-pitched alter-ego Quasimoto. Champion Sound will be coming out October 7th on Stones' Throw, and the tracklist for the domestic release is:

01 L.A. to Detroit
02 McNasty Filth [featuring Frank-n-Dank]
03 Nowadayz
04 Champion Sound
05 The Red
06 Heavy
07 Raw Shit [featuring Talib Kweli]
08 The Official
09 The Heist<
10 The Mission
11 React [featuring Quasimoto]
12 Strapped [featuring Guilty Simpson]
13 Strip Club
14 The Exclusive [featuring Percee P]
15 Survival Test
16 Starz
17 No Games

.: Pitchfork Review: Madlib: Shades Of Blue
.: Stones' Throw: http://www.stonesthrow.com