The Week In Music: Radiohead, Jewel, Weezer, Spiritualized, Robert Pollard

radiohead The Week In Music: Radiohead, Jewel, Weezer, Spiritualized, Robert PollardThere’s nothing like a good feud between two massively iconic rock artists to keep the fanboys sweating. And that’s just what happened last week when an unlikely Internet controversy erupted between Prince and Radiohead. See, Prince did a rendition of Radiohead’s 1993 break-through hit, “Creep” at this year’s Coachella Music Festival in late April. And at first, the guys in Radiohead thought that was pretty awesome. Thom Yorke reportedly got a text message about it, and found it so “hilarious” that he had to see/hear the cover for himself. So, much like the hordes of Radiohead fans who weren’t lucky enough to witness Prince utter, “You’re so fucking special” on April 26, he popped over to YouTube, only to find that Prince had ordered the removal of all clips of the performance on the basis copyright infringement. (There still seem to be a few floating around, for now at least.) Mr. Yorke was not pleased, as he explained to the Associated Press on May 30:

“Really? He’s blocked it?” asked Yorke, who figured it was their song to block or not. “Surely we should block it. Hang on a moment.”

Yorke added: “Well, tell him to unblock it. It’s our … song.”

(Best headline goes to Stereogum for, “Prince Is Being A ‘Creep,’ Radiohead Tell Him He’s A Loser.”) But the brouhaha also served a more useful purpose by reminding us how friggin’ good early Radiohead was. “Creep?” “Fake Plastic Trees?” “The Bends?” Hell. Yes. All three songs are on the new Radiohead Best Of, a two-disc collection that compiles 29 songs from the band’s seven releases, and which comes out tody just in time for Radiohead’s extensive summer tour. Speaking of which, on Aug. 8 and 9 in Jersey City, N.J, they’re headlining the inaugural All Points West festival, the east coast version of Coachella. Is that a droned out cover of “When You Were Mine” we hear? Well, one can dream!

AH, JEWEL. What can we say about Jewel? She’s blonde. She has this deep voice that’s part K.D. Lang, part Eddie Vedder. She writes terrible poetry. Her career has been reduced to ironic snippets on VH1’s I Love the 90′s. Or has it? Yes, Jewel has a new album out today called Perfectly Clear, which is being billed as the singer-songwriter’s first foray in country music (her dad was a cowboy, after all), and it’s supposedly a little more Nashville twang than “Who Will Save Your Soul?” But not so fast—this doesn’t mean Jewel actually made a good album. As Rolling Stone writes:

[Jewel] went on to sell 12 million copies of her debut, only to become the butt of countless zingers. So Perfectly Clear, her first proper country record, should have been her true calling to an art that’s one part twang to two parts self-mythology. But the album’s biggest setback, other than the fact that its title sounds like a Neutrogena product, is that Jewel doesn’t call upon the gritty storytelling of a real Nashville star … [T]he album is overcrowded by placid soft-rock tunes … with schmaltzy choruses and flavorless piano-laden verses. Jewel contributes bland pickup-truck philosophy about relationships in cutesy little-girl vocals that rarely show off her voice’s texture (though, yes, there’s some yodeling) … Jewel, prepare to be zinged again.

 

IT’S SAD TO say, but Weezer probably should have called it quits after 1996’s Pinkerton. What was up with that “Beverly Hills” song they did a few years back? Cringe much? But alas, the lovable power pop boys are back at it with a new album in stores today, (a self-titled release known as “The Red Album”) whose title and cover art give a nod to their 1994 debut, (a self-titled release known as “The Blue Album”). The first single is called “Pork and Beans,” the opening line of which is, “They say I need some Rogaine to put in my hair.” (Video below.) We’ll let you decide for yourself. But one thing’s for sure: Rivers Cuomo needs to ditch that moustache.

ALSO, SPIRITUALIZED sees the U.S. release of Songs in A&E, the British space rock outfit’s first album in half a decade. (Catch them July 27 at Terminal 5.)

Sweet Talk – Spiritualized

AND GRAYING former Guided By Voices front man Robert Pollard releases Robert Pollard Is Off to Business. Pop Matters says, “This album is the start of a new era for Pollard. And if this album is a sign of what’s to come, then Pollard’s long-time fans should rejoice.” Aging indie rockers never seem to disappoint!

Gratification To Concrete – Robert Pollard