Play. Stop. Rewind. | March 2006

No Tour for Cat Power

Detroit hip-hop producer James Yancey, more commonly known as Jay Dee and JDilla, died of complications from lupus on February 10 in a Los Angeles hospital. Yancey was 32, and had been diagnosed almost three years ago with the disease. A highly regarded talent, Yancey had produced beats for Kanye West, Ghostface Killah, Busta Rhymes, Common, and De La Soul. Jay Dee`s latest solo album, Donuts, was released just prior to his death.

Somewhere between a slew of bland performances on the Grammys and usually appearing at the bottom of the screen, some awards were handed out, including a few notables—other than U2. Green Day surprised a few as “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” took home Best Record, while the White Stripes picked up Best Alternative Music Album and Gorillaz were honored with the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for their “Feel Good Inc.” featuring De La Soul. Best Recording Package went to Aimee Mann’s The Forgotten Arm, while the Chemical Brothers won Best Electronic/Dance Album for Push the Button.

Newcomer Sam Riley has been cast as Goth messiah Ian Curtis in director Anton Corbijn’s Joy Division biopic Control. Samantha Morton is already set to play Deborah Curtis, Ian’s wife and author of the book Touching From a Distance, on which Matt Greenhalgh’s script is based. Also joining the cast is Alexandra Maria Lara who will play Curtis’ lover Annik. This will be Corbijn’s debut feature film, although he has already made a name for himself directing music videos for U2, Depeche Mode, Nirvana, and Metallica, while also being a celebrated for his photographs of musicians like R.E.M., Miles Davis, and David Bowie. New Order is set to record new tracks for the film, and the soundtrack will include several re-recorded Joy Division songs.

CBS has already pulled the plug on their promising music industry show Love Monkey after it lost 1 million viewers between its first and second episodes. Only slightly formulaic, the show’s biggest failure was probably not having a team of forensic police officers recreate the crimes of the show’s antagonist: a major label.

The Juliana Theory has announced that their show in Cologne, Germany, on January 28 was indeed their last. A lengthy post on their Web site details regrets of jumping to Epic in 2001, a move that the band says “when looking back now, was probably the wrong choice.”

Old 97’s guitarist Ken Bethea recently made his stage acting debut in a production of The Philadelphia Story for Dallas, Texas’, Garland Civic Theatre.

Ted Leo has jumped ship and left the ailing Lookout! Records behind, signing with Touch and Go Records, saying: “As sad as I am that circumstances have forced a move from Lookout! Records, I’m insanely happy and thankful to be able to make that move over to Touch and Go…a label that has provided me, personally, with amazing music for 25 years; over those years, I have become friends with many of their artists and staff, and it’s an honor to now be a real part of their ongoing ruling-ness.” Leo will also spend the month of March on the road, including three performances at SXSW and a stop at Coachella in late April.

Bloc Party is set to play a special London show at the Royal Albert Hall on March 29. The one-off gig, which will include Mystery Jets and Biffy Clyro, with all proceeds going to the charity Teenage Cancer Trust.

Richard Butler is leaving the Psychedelic Furs aside and embarking on a North American tour in support of his upcoming self-titled solo album. Covering 13 cities, the trek starts in Chicago on March 20 and includes New York City, Seattle, Toronto, and Los Angeles before concluding in San Diego on April 8.

Dinosaur Jr. is in the midst of an extensive tour and, following last year’s reissuing of their first three albums, has announced plans to release a new record. In the meantime, the tour is taking them not only through the United States but across Japan, Australia New Zealand, and England, ending with their date to curate the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. The band’s first DVD, filmed last December at New York City’s Irving Plaza, will ship this summer.

Cat Power (aka Chan Marshall) has canceled her spring U.S. tour. Her Web site states “health reasons” as the cause, and asks that the performer’s privacy be respected.

After 14 years, Californian rockers Grandaddy are calling it quits. The band’s fourth album is scheduled for release later this year and will be its last.

March 14 marks the release of the Pretenders extensive box set, Pirate Radio. The Rhino anthology will include 81 tracks spanning four CDs along with a DVD. The set offers the usual enticements, including 15 previously unreleased songs that range from alternative takes to live cuts, and also covers by the likes of Radiohead, Morrissey, and Neil Young. The band is taking to the road to support the release, making a pair of appearances at SXSW, including an interview, before playing a string of U.S. dates.

While the lineup for Coachella does not include a much-hyped Smashing Pumpkins performance as rumors portended, the band does seem headed for a reunion. Melissa Auf Der Maur, former Pumpkins replacement bassist, told Billboard.com: “As long as Billy has Jimmy [Chamberlain], he can make the essential Pumpkins record.” Sources say that Corgan will be joined by Chamberlain and Billy Mohler in the studio to record new material. Guitarist James Iha and original bassist D’arcy Wretzky are not currently linked to the project.

With festival season getting ready to kick off, lineups are just rolling out to the press. Bonnaroo, the festival on the farm south of Nashville, is upping its profile this year with headliners Radiohead and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Other notable acts scheduled include Beck, Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, Ben Folds, My Morning Jacket, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Devendra Banhart, the Magic Numbers, and Dungen.

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