There Is Some Weird S**t Going Down
There is so much weird in this story, I don't know where to begin. U2's Bono is producing a Spider-Man musical. No, seriously. That's been known for a while. He cast Evan Rachel Wood, recently The Wrestler and Across The Universe (and also know for being Marilyn Manson's creepy plaything) as Mary Jane Watson. Now Alan Cumming, best known from... like, a billion things, has been cast as the Green Goblin. It's being directed by Julie Taymor, known for her eye-popping Broadway adaptation of The Lion King, as well as Wood in Across The Universe and Cumming in Titus, one of my personal faves (check the review here). Bono and The Edge are writing the music. The whole thing is too bizarre for words.
Lord only knows how I did not know about the 80/35 Music Festival in Des Moines, IA. Probably because it's in Iowa that state holds nothing of interest to me. Well now there is, because 4th of July weekend Des Moines is hosting the likes of Tilly and the Wall (jeepers yes!!!!!!!!!!), Public Enemy (holy shit!!!!!), Broken Social Scene and Brother Ali at Western Gateway Park. 80/35 is put on by the non-profit Greater Des Moines Music Coalition, where they help raise awareness for local and independent music in the Des Moines area. Two-day passes are $70, which is a bargain compared to the $35 (for July 3) and $45 (for July 4) single-day tickets. Currently planning impromptu road-trip....
Not surprisingly, bulk of this week's music hubbub is devoted to the sudden death of
Billy Mays Michael Jackson. Almost instantly, MJ's album sales skyrocketed -- most regular music stores were completely sold out of Michael Jackson stock within 24-36 hours. Online sales have also shot through the roof -- on Friday, 9 out of the 10 top-selling albums were Jackson's. Reports are in that he's likely to break album sales. Again. Even in death, he's the King of Pop. If you haven't yet, read Felicia's excellent piece here).
Holy shit times two! The Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore, Maryland is FREE this year. In the past, they have charged up to $90.00 for a single day pass. They are offering the free tickets due to the recession, which is nice. But honestly, if I hear the word "recession" one more time I might need to break someone's teeth. The first round of tickets will go to Virgin Mobile users and previous festival goers. After that, you can order them on Ticketmaster and pay their fees or pick them up at Merriweather Post Pavilion or the 9:30 Club in D.C. So who's on the bill? Well if you don't count headliners Blink-182, the line-up looks pretty d*mn good considering the cost is almost nothing (other than the cost of battling the insane crowd). Other acts include Weezer, Girl Talk, Franz Ferdinand, Mates of State, Jet and Wale.
Wilco and Feist. WILCO AND FEIST. Damn, that's good stuff.
Because we have room for a little bit more awesome, here's Mos Def's jaw-droppingly awesome performance from Letterman earlier this month.
Finally, here's your Monday Afternoon Playlist:
Felicia: I'm currently listening to Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana." RIP.
TK: One of last year's best metal albums was Meshuggah's oBzen. It's another jarring, thunderous effort by the Swedish metal veterans. This track, "Pineal Gland Optics," is a return to the straightforward metal, a shift from their more recent experimentalist efforts, and it's sheer metal heaven.
Darcy: "Solo" by Chew Lips. Kitsune Maison Compilations are always great for offering a variety of fresh new music from budding artists and the seventh edition delivers. I know nothing about Chew Lips; I have never heard of them before, let alone heard them, which is sometimes a good thing because it allows the work to speak for itself. This song is awesome. It's a heavily layered song with playful bleepy synths, strong disco vocals (a la Candy Stanton on the song "You've Got the Love") and New Order-esque bass. All of this sounds very contrived, I know, but effective structure and strong production give the listener fresh, pleasant and beautiful song.
John Wiz: "Abraham Lincoln" by Clutch off of their forthcoming album Strange Cousins From the West, due out 7/7/09. Neil Fallon and Clutch can paint a musical picture and tell a story through song like no other band. A full album review is on the way as soon as it's released.
Caspar: The Jackson 5 -- "The Love You Save." Like so many people, I played lots of my old Michael Jackson albums this morning, and felt nostalgic and excited at the brilliance of songs like "Beat It," "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" and -- er -- "Man In The Mirror" (it has a great key change; I'm not going to apologize). But I felt most emotional when I listened to his material with the Jackson 5: on this storming, bouncy pop song, with its crisp strings, disco beat and barbershop-like chorus, Michael Jackson sings with a passion and a technical assurance that show you just what an extraordinary talent he was.
Chris P.: The Massachusetts electronic duo Arms and Sleepers should be as huge as Moby and the title track for their new EP "The Motorist" should put them on them on the path for such acclaim. It harks back to the glorious days of Play while incorporating some slight but intensely powerful flourishes of modern glitch and wafting ambiance that acts as a spacious and moody backdrop for the single pitch-shifted lyric that repeats throughout. It's the band's first foray into distinguishable vocals and I can hope they get some attention for doing it with such grace and beauty.
The #1 selling album last week was... The Jonas Brothers. Sleep tight.