I've seen scores of release dates for new music this fall, and I've noticed that there are few local superstars on the list. Last year seemed full of chart-topping acts, from Ludacris and Young Jeezy to Ciara. But this year may be relatively quiet. Sure, the Black Lips and Shawty Lo are cool, but they aren't exactly top 10 material (except on critics' lists, maybe). Keyshia Cole, who recently moved here, gets love but doesn't really count.
No, I'm talking about the A-list superstars that run A-Town. Namely, what's up with Usher?
Despite a few teasing comments to MTV, Usher has yet to announce a release date for his first album since 2004's Confessions. The New York Times just leaked the news that he'll appear on the season premiere of "Ellen" (alongside Hillary Clinton, no less), which indicates that he's about to kick the promotional campaign into high gear. The episode broadcasts Monday, Sept. 3. But will it be for a Christmastime bonanza, or an early 2008 comeback?
Here are a few other local stars that may or may not drop albums before the year is out:
1. Big Boi: For much of the year, Big Boi talked about issuing his solo debut in 2007. But Rolling Stone just announced that it won't come out until February 2008 at the earliest. But he gets a pass for popping up on UGK's "International Players Anthem," one of the best singles of the year.
2. Ludacris: Luda is still telling people to wait for his next album, Theater of the Mind. But, in my opinion, that will probably depend on whether he can come up with a few hit singles to launch the album properly, and whether he can finish those songs in the next month or so. If not, he'll probably wait until next year.
3. Lil Jon: Crunk Rock has been in the works for nearly three years now. Last month, Lil Jon told Billboard that he has finished tracks with Kid Rock, Lil Wayne, Remy Ma, the Game, Gucci Mane, Fabo from D4L, P.O.D., Ciara, Ice Cube and R. Kelly. Lots of stars, sure, but when will the damn thing finally come out? He says it will arrive before the end of the year but, again, no release date.
4. Bow Wow: The artist formerly known as Lil Bow Wow hasn't moved major units in a minute. But with his devoted teen base and history of radio hits, he's still a threat to do so. He's teaming up with another teen idol, Omarion, for the collaborative album Face Off. It drops via Jive Records Dec. 4.
(Sleeve art by Andrew Jeffrey Wright)
In case you haven't noticed, Creative Loafing -- like most media outlets, whether they be New York Times-big or blog-small -- has its favorites. One of the bands we tend to cover over and over again is the Black Lips. The thing is, the biggest acts tend to lead busy lives. And since signing with Vice -- which is pulling out all the stops to convert the band's early buzz into actual record sales for its upcoming album, Good Bad Not Evil -- the Black Lips have been all over the place.
Last month the Fader, the cool hunting magazine/marketing company, pressed up a limited-edition 7-inch single. It's a double-A record; the A-side is a Black Lips cover of "Wild Man," while the B-side is Yacht's "No Favors Policy." Near the end of the Black Lips side, there's a brief snippet of "Mary Had a Little Lamb." The "Wild Man" 7-inch is only one of several Black Lips singles this year; others include "Cold Hands" and U.K.-only single "O Katrina!"
If you haven't seen the Black Lips perform live, then your chance arrives on Tuesday, Sept. 11, when the band holds a CD release party at MJQ Concourse before heading out on a two-month national tour. (The band is currently touring in the U.K.) Advance tickets aren't available, and you can only gain admission from buying a presale copy of Good Bad Not Evil at Criminal Records. In addition to the CD, you'll be put on the guest list for the show and get a DVD, Black Lips Live in Israel, as well. Appropriately, presale copies of the package will cost $11.11 ($12 with tax).
If you're unable or don't want to participate in the Black Lips presale, Vice's online video channel, www.VBS.tv, has been showing clips of the Black Lips' time in Israel that you can view. There's also the chance that MJQ's guest list won't be full by Sept. 11; if that happens, you can get into the show by buying a copy of Good Bad Not Evil for $13 at the show (DVD not included).
I spent last Tuesday night (Aug. 28) at El Bar, and by doing so, simultaneously paid homage to rock music, alcohol and the Coathangers. (You can read more about them in Chad Radford's CL story, "Boobie trapped," this week.) The new Triple Dâs Rock Night (occurring Sept. 11, Sept. 25, then every Tuesday beginning in October at El Bar) features Damon Hare, Drennen Quinn and Dustan Nigro spinning rock favorites â a rare and pleasant break from the normal (and sometimes tired) DJ routines.
The Triple Dâs hosted a Coathangers listening party for the release of their upcoming debut CD. And though there were no miniature horses, as rumored to be in attendance at the upcoming release party at Criminal Records Sept. 4, the club was packed by midnight with the Coathangers, their label managers Trey and Travis at Robâs House Records, and a crew of friends squeezed into the small club in the basement of El Azteca.
Everyone was in good spirits as the booze flowed and the DJs spun old rock favorites mixed with the sounds of the Coathangers' new album. The girls were all smiles â giddy, confident and grateful. Their new album drops Sept. 4 on Robâs House Records, with an album release show that day at Criminal Records at 7 p.m. It's free, and there's beer. Go, and pay your own respects to beer and fun local music.
Here are more gratuitous shots from Moskow Diskow 2, the Russian-themed party thrown at the Mark Ultralounge last Friday night. CL's Happenings Editor Debbie Michaud and freelance photographer Eamon Siggins braved the bloc party and brought back some interesting stories despite the language barrier. Read about it in this week's Nightcrawler column, written by Debbie.
(All photos by Eamon Siggins)
When Drive-Invasion 2007 revs up at the Starlight Six Drive-In from Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 1-2, I probably won't be there. I don't have anything against it ... just not my thing. Besides, I'd rather see Billy Childish at the Decatur Book Festival.
But I have to admit that the Drive-Invasion website is impressive. The launch page is a Shockwave animation that lights up Drive-Invasion's logo like an electric billboard. Click on the music page, and then the bands' tabs (which include rockabilly legend the Blasters as well as local heroes like Tiger! Tiger! and the Woggles), and each band name turns into a photo as a short description floats above it. The movie page is even better: As you click on the tab for each flick, a short snippet from the movie's trailer begins to play. Neat!
Other goodies include a game where you can drive a hot rod over a bunch of cars like Evel Knievel. I'd love to know who designed the Drive-Invasion 2007 website ... it's on some next-level shit.
Although I couldn't find anybody to go to the show with me last week, I know there are plenty of Ludacris fans out there because they almost filled Center Stage for his free Samsung/AT&T-sponsored show last Tuesday.
Here's a shot of Luda (far left) and Lil' Fate working the crowd:
Don't look for me in the shot, though. I was way at the top in the very last row. The view was actually much better up there â three seats down from me a couple was grinding on each other the whole time. It was almost better than going to the strip club and spying other people's lap dances for free. Almost.
Oh, and Ludacris' show wasn't too shabby, either. He had his Disturbing Tha Peace crew in tow. By the way, Ludacris drops the DTP compilation today, Aug. 28. Here's the cover:
Lotta damn rappers, right? Now, besides Ludacris (front row, center), Chingy (next to Luda on the left), Bobby Valentino (to his right) and Shawnna (directly behind him), I'd be willing to bet most people have no idea who those other cats are. Every rapper has a crew â Ludacris has one of the biggest â but like most crews, most of the members of DTP have had a hard time distinguishing themselves. Putting all their faces on the cover is an attempt at doing so.
It's also kinda ironic that the name of the album is Strength in Numbers since the success of rap releases has everything to do with the numbers posted in first-week sales. Unfortunately, the lead single, "Duffle Bag Boy," shines the light on guest MC Lil' Wayne more than the two DTP members on the track, who go by the group name Playaz Circle. But it could still pay off for them. Surely, you can't go wrong by putting Lil' Wayne, the "best rapper alive," on your track, right?
As long as no one is confused about whose track it really is. And in this case, that's almost as confusing as the faces on album cover.
Much luck Luda and crew.
The lineup for Atlantaâs Echo Project Music Festival (Oct. 12-14) seemed a bit lackluster when it was first reported a few weeks ago. Things started looking a bit brighter, however, when the festival announced new additions to the lineup last week. Bringing onÂ the Flaming Lips, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Man Man, MSTRKRFT and Thievery Corporation has seriously upped the festivalâs indie appeal. The fest also beefed up its already huge jam-band roster by adding Les Claypool and the Benevento/Russo Duo. Hopefully, theyâll get around to tacking some local bands on to the lineup (cough, cough, Deerhunter).
(Photo by John Crooms)
One of the best events I attended last year was House in the Park, a Labor Day event where a few DJs and hundreds of dancers gather at Perkerson Park.
Before that day, I associated daytime dance music parties with young people standing around in shades and drinking beers and surreptitiously smoking weed while a DJ hung over from the night before trainwrecked on turntables. I'm exaggerating, of course, but I had never seen entire families â children and middle-aged men and women as well as club heads â dancing and enjoying house music at a party until House in the Park. It reminded me of that scene in Hoop Dreams where the two main characters celebrate their high school graduation by stepping in the name of love.
After writing about the event in CL's Summer Guide, I got a few e-mails asking when this year's edition would happen. (You can read the story here.) House in the Park 3 happens Sunday, Sept. 2, at Perkerson Park from noon to 8 p.m. The DJ lineup includes Ramon Rawsoul, Salah Ananse, Kemit and Kai Alce. All of you Lunar Magazine cats bragging about how much you love the ATL EDM scene should make a point of attending.
I had a bad feeling about Morrissey's concert at Chastain Park Amphitheater Friday, July 20. Ever since I moved to Atlanta, I've heard bad things about the wine-and-cheese crowds that patronize the Classic Chastain concert series during the summer: how disconnected and self-involved they are, and how they talk loudly over the music. So I decided not to go, even though I felt bad about missing the show. When I read Andisheh Nouraee's review, I was happy I wasn't there.
Well, Morrissey is doing a final run of U.S. dates before heading back into the studio to record a follow-up to his last album, Ringleader of the Tormentors. Shockingly, the itinerary consists solely of major markets and makeup dates from when he got sick in June and had to cancel a bunch of shows -- and Atlanta! Guess he thought that Chastain gig really sucked, too. The concert happens Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Tabernacle -- not one of my favorite venues, but sure to attract a livelier crowd.
In this week's issue, I noted that the third annual Atlanta HipHop Film Festival will go down at the Westin Atlanta Airport hotel Friday, Aug. 24-Sunday, Aug. 26. (You can read the story here.)
Well, according to a just-released press statement, the location has changed. Due to mysterious "unresolvable circumstances," the festival has now been moved to the Holiday Inn Select Atlanta at 450 Capitol Ave. The Holiday Inn holds special meaning in hip-hop history -- remember "Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn" from the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight"?
Panels, workshops and film screenings start tomorrow at 10 a.m. As of this writing, the new information has not yet been posted on the event's website, www.atlhiphopfilmfest.com.
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