My So-Called Nineties Indie Rock Lovefest
There are a few things J.I. is not jaded about. Puppies. Sassy Magazine. Classic rock radio (childhood memories overshadow any potential for snark). And of course, My So-Called Life, the best television show ever produced. To celebrate the deluxe DVD that is sitting on the J.I.'s desk and tempting us to blow off work and watch, we thought we'd do some digging and find out what the indie rock stars of the show are doing in 2007.
Animalbag: According to a blog post by a â€œfriend of the Bag,â€ two members are working on an unnamed band, another is affiliated with a band called â€œTaterâ€ out of North Carolina, and member â€œBooâ€ Duckworth passed away in June of 2006.
Jawbox: The band was dropped from Atlantic in 1997, and split shortly thereafter. J. Robbins is in Channels, and spends time caring for his son Callum, who was recently diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. Drummer Zach Baracas plays with Minneapolis band The Millions, and Bill Barbot and Kim Coletta run DeSoto Records.
Bettie Serveert: They continue to tour, and their cover of a Bright Eyes song was featured on The OC. Their last record was 2006â€™s â€œBare Stripped Naked.â€
Buffalo Tom: The band was on hiatus from 1998 to 2005, returning with a live CD. They played South By Southwest and toured this year, as well as releasing a new record, â€œThree Easy Pieces,â€ on New West Records.
Toad the Wet Sprocket: Toad broke up in 1998, but continue to do things like â€œreuniteâ€ to play full US tours. Lead singer Glen Phillips has released a number of solo records that J.I.â€™s dad seems to like, and the other members have been involved with a band called Lapdog.
Juliana Hatfield (pictured) : Juliana left Atlantic and has been prolific, putting out a number of solo albums, but never quite recreating the commercial success she had at the time of â€œMy So-Called Life.â€ Sheâ€™s still a compelling live performer and her later work is criminally underappreciated. A mutual love of her work is how J.I. met our excellent friend Kelly. Hi Kelly!
Lemonheads: J.I. interviewed Evan Dando a few years ago after a solo show. Dando was so addled he could barely answer questions like, â€œSo, howâ€™s the tour going?â€ Apparently Dando did a lot of drugs in the nineties. The Lemonheads reunited in 2006, released a self-titled record, and toured.
Madder Rose: The band split in 1999. Lead singer Mary Lorson sings for Saint Low.
Archers of Loaf: After splitting in 1998, Eric Bachmann joined Crooked Fingers, Matt Gentling went on tour with Superchunk, and Eric Johnson went to law school.
Urge Overkill: UO, the band the J.I. always thinks about when people talk about Okkervil River, had a monster hit with their cover of â€œGirl, Youâ€™ll be a Woman Soonâ€ on the Pulp Fiction Soundtrack, then broke up. They got back together in 2004 and are preparing a new album.
Afghan Whigs: They disbanded in 2001, but recently reunited to record some new material and put together a greatest hits comp. Greg Dulli fronts the Twilight Singers and continues to be one of the dirty-sexiest men alive.
October's Top 5 Most Drama-Filled Music Stories
In honor of the theatricality that is Halloween, Jaded Insider is indulging our music news obsession by making a list of October's Top 5 Most Drama-Filled Music Stories. Comedy! Tragedy! Oddity!
5. Radiohead's "OK Computer" was turned into a BBC play. If a musical isn't dramatic, then nothing is. Personally, we wonder if there's a good 'n' creepy "Fitter Happier" interlude.
4. Legendary punk club CBGB, which has been closed for a whole year now, is slated to become a high-end fashion boutique. A few doors down from the Bowery Mission, no lie!
3. Now the bane of soccer moms everywhere, resellers snapped up all the Hannah Montana tickets in nanoseconds.
2. Five Words: Kid Rock's Waffle House Scuffle.
1. There's tons of drama in Britney Spears' life with all the custody and album shenanigans, but it's not every day that the Catholic League reportedly comments on your liner notes.
Agree? Disagree? The comments section is waiting for you.
So J.I. is trying to control how happy we are that Eddie Vedder is all up on the cover of Billboard this week (with his director buddy Sean Penn). We know we've got a pronounced affinity for all things Pearl Jam, we can admit it. Jonathan Cohen unpacked all the Vedder/"Into the Wild" interview goodness that would not fit in the magazine in the online version here. But the mag cover made us geek out all the more because EV's giving quiet props to a couple of things if you look closely enough at the buttons on his lapel...
The button on the left with a red star on it is Easy Street Records, an indie store in West Seattle where PJ did a live record a couple of years ago called, er, "Live at Easy Street." The button on the right says "77" and is a low-key nod at the Talking Heads: 77 album. But hey, we already knew he was a Heads fan. He covered "Love Goes to Buildings on Fire" way back in '99.
Fujifilm Party: Freebies & Faint Praise
J.I. is an unrepentant Us Weekly fan, and always enjoys the pictures of B-list stars posing on the red carpet at launch events for products. When we attended the launch party for the Fujifilm FinePix Z10fd camera last night (Oct. 25) at Irving Plaza, we found out why those celebs seem drawn to those parties like moths to a flame. The line at the door was organized, the booze and snacks flowed freely, and pretty people hung around listening to palatable alternative rock.
J.I. was promised all sorts of famous people sightings, but our best Gawker Stalker moment came earlier in the evening, when we saw Moby at SoHo bookstore McNally Robinson. Our only brush with fame at Irving came when the dude who plays Chuck Bass on "Gossip Girl" (Ed Westwick, pictured) stood in front of us and asked if he was blocking our view in his delightful British accent. He can try to get in our pants on a rooftop anytime.
As far as the music went, J.I. only managed to catch openers Locksley, and found them quite pleasant, if ultimately forgettable. They play the type of accessible rock music that makes for nice background noise, and covering the White Stripes was certainly an interesting, out-of-left-field choice. J.I. had to split before the boys with curious hair of the Bravery hit the stage, but sources tell me they were solid.
As far as the camera the party was supposed to celebrate, we thought it looked spiffy enough. Then again, J.I. is a luddite who has never owned a digital camera and only uses a cell phone cam to take pictures of perverts on the subway, so our opinion on this matter holds very little weight.
Joy Of Film Division
Admittedly, we're not big Joy Division fans. It's nothing personal -- and we understand the band's influence, the New Order connection, etc. etc. -- but we've never poured over their (two) albums with any amount of teenage glee.
That being said, we were completely spellbound with the new Ian Curtis biopic "Control," which is already out in New York and goes wide to the top 10 U.S. markets tomorrow (Oct. 26).
Starting from when the future Joy Division frontman was a makeup-wielding adolescent to his gut-punching suicide at 23, the film follows Curtis' quiet, tormented state of mind and health as Joy Division's popularity grows. The debut of director Anton Corbijn (who is perhaps best known for his iconic photography of rock stars), the film is shot in black and white and features incredibly close imitations of JD songs. The movie was gorgeous and affecting, even more so when you realize his widow helped co-write and co-produce.
The film doesn't answer the mystery of why Curtis couldn't leave his wife or how much of his crippling depression was angled by anti-epilepsy drugs, but it's haunted comfort that Corbijin leaves some things a mystery.
We're not film critics here, but we'd be mistaken not recommending this amazing movie.