Play.Stop.Rewind. | July 2006

What's happening in music?  What's NOT happening in music?

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke is not only releasing his solo record, The Eraser, on July 10, but is scheduled to appear on IFC Network’s The Henry Rollins Show July 15 to promote the record and chat with the former Black Flag frontman.

Blowoff, the moniker for a monthly DJ party at Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club and the collaboration of Bob Mould and Richard Morel, is set to release a self-titled debut album September 5, under the auspices of the duo’s own Full Frequency Music label, with a tour most likely to kick off at some point later in the year.

After just one release on the label, the Ataris are leaving Columbia Records. This move leaves any plans for the band’s new record, Welcome to the Night, up in the air at the moment. A message posted on the band’s MySpace blog read: “As you know, So Long Astoria sold nearly a million records, following the tremendous indie success of our previous albums. Normally, a label like Columbia would not honor a million-selling band’s request to leave the label. Fortunately for us, the people granting our request were, in fact, leaving Columbia themselves.”

The Mars Volta and Trent Reznor are both making appearances on hip hop star El-P’s upcoming new album, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. Reznor contributed to the song “Flyentology,” while the Mars Volta track has yet to be named.

Metalcore act As Cities Burn is calling it quits after four years together. A member of the Solid State Records roster, the band will headline some July and August shows before finishing up at the House of Blues in New Orleans on August 19.

Doves are taking a break from live performance for the rest of the year while they hit the studio to record their fourth album.

Slayer, currently headlining their Unholy Alliance tour, has pushed back the release of their first new album since 2001 from July 25 to August 8. The new record, Christ Illusion, will also mark a return to the band’s original lineup of Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King on guitars, Tom Araya on bass and vocals, and Dave Lombardo on drums, for the first time since 1990’s Seasons in the Abyss.

Suzanne Vega has signed a deal with Blue Note and is tentatively set to debut on the label with a release next spring. The record will be a follow-up to the 2001 album Songs in Red and Gray, which was Vega’s last with A&M, a label the singer/songwriter has been with since 1984.

Bob Dylan is also putting out his first new album in five years. Modern Times is slated for an August 28 release.

Even on the heels of strong album sales, the Dixie Chicks are finding the road a tougher terrain. Still reviled by many country fans for the band’s 2003 appearance in London where singer Natalie Maines told the audience the group was “ashamed” President Bush was from their home state of Texas, ticket sales for live dates are sporadic at best, forcing the act to cut back on arena configurations and sizes.

The Crane Wife, the newest release from the Decemberists, is due October 3, and will be the band’s first since jumping ship from Kill Rock Stars to Capitol.

Country singer Loretta Lynn was forced to cancel a handful of shows set for June and July after she broke her shoulder in a fall at her home, and was scheduled to have replacement surgery.

After 45 years of competing, Finland finally came out on top of the Eurovision Song Contest. The win by GWAR-lite rock group Lordi came after the band scored a record-setting number of points for their lively performance of “Hard Rock Hallelujah.”

On July 8, Sonic Youth is performing a free show at a secret Los Angeles venue for a limited number of fans who purchased the band’s new album, Rather Ripped, from area record stores. The group is also set to play several late summer shows with the Flaming Lips that will begin August 24 in St. Paul and wrap up September 3 in Boston.

The Strokes have recorded a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me” as the B-side for the “You Only Live Once” single. Scheduled for a mid-July release, the song features Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder sharing vocals with Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme joining the Strokes’ Fabrizio Moretti on drums.

Rob Zombie is giving new life to Michael Myers and the Halloween franchise by writing and directing a new chapter for the long-running series. Zombie will also act as a producer and a music supervisor on the film, which is conveniently penciled in for an October 2007 release.

Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes are joining forces for some North American tour dates later this summer, and will kick things off on August 4 in Ottawa, Ontario. Spencer Krug, Wolf Parade’s vocalist/keyboardist, will be playing both sets, having ended his extended break from Frog Eyes when he rejoined the band earlier in the year.

Hot on the heels of their successful new album, Eyes Open, Snow Patrol has been forced to postpone the rest of its North American tour. Singer Gary Lightbody needs the time to recover from polyps on his vocal cords. Concerts will be rescheduled in September.

The Grateful Dead’s last keyboard player, Vince Welnick, died on June 2 at the age of 55. Welnick was also a veteran of bands such as the Tubes and Missing Man Formation.

Billy Preston, the keyboard player, singer, and songwriter frequently referred to as “the fifth Beatle,” died on June 6 in Scottsdale, Ariz., from respiratory complications. Preston had also toured and recorded with the Rolling Stones, in addition to working with the everyone from Aretha Franklin to Bob Dylan over the years, and scoring major hits with his own work: “Outta Space,” “Will It Go Round in Circles,” and “Nothing From Nothing.”

Novelist Gilbert Sorrentino died at the age of 77 of cancer May 18 in his Brooklyn, N.Y., home. Sorrentino, who the New York Times once said “has long been one of our most intelligent and daring writers,” authored more than 20 books of poetry and fiction, and was best known for his critically acclaimed Mulligan Stew.

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