Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oprah, BET and Congress put rap on blast

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 9:04 PM

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About a month before T.I. walked into a federal courtroom in Atlanta, he took the stand in a televised but slightly less publicized trial of a different sort. "Hip-Hop vs. America," the taped town-hall panel that aired on BET, also featured rappers Nelly (of credit-card ass-swiping, "Tip Drill" fame) and Mike Jones. They defended commercial rap's exploitative excess against critics such as Stanley Crouch, Nelson George, Farai Chideya and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

The YouTube video above is from part one of the second round of congressional hearings held in September on hip-hop. You can read more about that hearing -- which featured rappers David Banner, Master P and intellectual Michael Eric Dyson -- and some of the controversy surrounding the genre in this week's music story: "It's bigger than T.I.: Hip-hop is on trial and everybody's snitching."

The rest of the congressional hearing footage, below the jump, is must-see stuff, even though nothing much is likely to result from it. Curiously, footage of record company executives speaking before Congress in part one of the hearing is harder to find.

Click here to view BET's three-part town-hall panel "Hip-Hop vs. America," which aired in September.

Click here to view Oprah Winfrey's "After Imus: The Hip-Hop Community Responds," which aired in April.

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Guess who's (almost) back: B-52's get '08 release date

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 7:06 PM


MARCHING ORDERS: Cindy Wilson (left) and Fred Schneider of the B-52's at Chastain Park in August.

(photo by Perry Julien)

When CL contributor Lee Valentine Smith wrote his July feature on Cindy Wilson, the group didn't even have a label home for its long-awaited follow-up. Funplex is now scheduled to drop Feb. 26, 2008, on Astralwerks.

Track list for B-52's Funplex

1) Pump

2) Hot Corner

3) Ultraviolet

4) Juliet of the Spirits

5) Funplex

6) Eyes Wide Open

7) Love in the Year 3000

8) Deviant Ingredient

9) Too Much to Think About

10) Dancing Now

11) Keep This Party Going

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sinead's new clothes @ the Tabernacle

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2007 at 2:20 PM


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Friday, October 26, 2007

T.I.P. freed, but forewarned by judge

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 10:30 PM

T.I. smiled and waved at cheering fans as he descended the steps of the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and Courthouse on Friday, free on bond and placed under house arrest nearly two weeks after being arrested on federal gun charges.

"Well, I don't have much to say," T.I. told the media. "I just want to thank all of the fans for their continued prayers and support, and due to the severity of the situation I must decline comment and have you refer to my counsel. Thank you all."

After giving Clifford "T.I." Harris' team of high-powered attorneys another week to iron out the terms of his proposed house arrest, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman released the rapper on a $3 million bond Friday afternoon.

He stressed, however, that if anything happened to any witnesses and/or informants associated with T.I.'s case, the rapper would be held liable.

"I don't want to sound crass about it," said the judge, "but in addition to being in the music and entertainment business you're essentially in the insurance business now. If any harm is [befallen upon] the informant, the court will be looking to you. Do you understand that?"

T.I. then responded, "Yes, your honor."

After the judge read and reread the lengthy conditions of the release, he placed him in the custody of Richard McMichael, CEO of Judicial Correction Services Inc., whom T.I.'s attorney's employed to meet the judge's strict GPS-monitored house arrest requirements.

"He will be able to work from his home in a studio there, he will be under supervision and it should be a time in which he deals with these issues in a very contemplative way," said Ed Garland, one of the rapper's attorneys.

His fans were out in full force Friday, with dozens waiting outside the courtroom and on the steps of the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and Courthouse during the hearing. One mother and her teenage daughter wore matching ATL T-shirts, based on the movie T.I. starred in last year, and held posters of the rapper while yelling "Free T.I." to drivers on Spring Street.

Another fan, Tamika Jones, cut pictures of T.I. out of a magazine and pasted them to her car to show support.

"He has received a lot of fan mail during his incarceration," said the defendant's attorney Dwight Thomas. "It shows that he is well-received, well-liked throughout this country and even outside of this country."

When asked how it felt to be out on bond, T.I. immediately responded, "Great. Great. I look forward to getting this behind me and moving forward."

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Tonight only: Manchester Orchestra movie

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 7:46 PM


I know that Rodney Carmichael posted an item about Manchester Orchestra yesterday, but he neglected to mention that the fast-rising quintet has two events tonight, Oct. 26. The first takes place at 7 p.m. at Aurora Coffee at 468 Moreland Ave. (next to Criminal Records) and is a free screening of What's Left Behind. The 40-minute documentary was directed by Sam Erickson, who also helmed My Morning Jacket's 2006 live DVD Okonokos. And yes, free snacks and coffee will be provided. If you need more convincing, check out a trailer of What's Left Behind here.

After that, skedaddle over to Drunken Unicorn, where Manchester Orchestra will co-headline a concert with Annuals. If you've seen the Raleigh, N.C., band during its frequent visits here (including a performance at the Variety Playhouse, where they basically blew the Dears off the stage), then you know that Annuals is a fine live act. Watch out, Andy Hull! If you're completely unfamiliar with Manchester Orchestra's charms, read my Oct. 12 CL profile here.

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Trances Arc's masquerade

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2007 at 6:03 PM


Believe it or not, I listen to local rock music other than the Black Lips and Deerhunter. One band that impressed me recently is Trances Arc, who nearly stole the show when it opened at the Whigs/Jason Isbell concert last Saturday, Oct. 20. The group's recordings fall into the pop-rock category, but it plays hard and fast in concert, and gives a performance that can hardly be categorized as soft.

Today, Oct.26, the Trances Arc crew celebrates the release of a new disc, XOXOX, with a party at the Star Bar. Dubbed "Interstellar Masquerade," the Halloween-themed costume party features guests such as Blake Dalton from Crossover Movement Arts, Three Dog Stevens and DJ Benji the Blender (aka Ben H. Allen of Gnarls Barkley/Constellations fame). But the evening's MC, Whigs manager Josh Rifkind, will be worth the price of admission alone. Have you seen him tell jokes during his yearly Open Mic Madness? Dude is a laff riot.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Otis Redding: They just don't make 'em like they used to

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 3:00 PM

Otis Redding had more soul in his pinky toe than most of today's artists could ever hope to summon in any genre. It's not their fault. He was just one of a kind.

Click this link and check out a classic 1967 video of Redding lip-synching "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)." Impossible not to feel good after that.

The Georgia Music Hall of Fame exhibit, I've Got Dreams to Remember, runs through next September in Macon, where more than 175 artifacts including photographs, hand-written lyrics, posters, letters and other memorabilia are on display in recognition of the 40th anniversary of Redding's death.

Here he is in what is reputed to be his last televised performance before his death, performing "Try a Little Tenderness" backed by the Bar-Kays — four of its six members also perished in the December 1967 plane crash that claimed Redding's life at age 26.

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Click here to read Lee Valentine Smith's recent review of the DVD, Dreams to Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding.

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Honorable mention: Best of Manchester Orchestra

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 12:00 PM



(photo by Perry Julien)

Manchester Orchestra came oh so close to winning the Critics' Pick award for Best Georgia-based Band MySpace Page in our recent Best Of Atlanta issue. But how could we deny Soulja Boy? (That's a rhetorical question.)

You gotta love a serious band that's willing to show its silly side on tape, though. Video podcasts such as the two Manchester Orchestra posted on its MySpace page two days ago remind fans (and critics) that sometimes it's cool to do lame stuff, like videotaping a squirrel stuck between your backyard fence:

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And check out this footage from the band playing the Leeds Festival, where member Chris Freeman won the Air-Guitar Challenge:

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Now how can Soulja Boy compete with that?

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tupac: vandalized and assassinated?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2007 at 5:41 PM


More than a decade after his unsolved murder, it seems Tupac still can't rest in peace.

A bronze statue of the rapper was vandalized over the weekend in Stone Mountain at the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts (5616 Memorial Drive). DeKalb County police report that a cross was found around the neck of the statue; but Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation representatives state both a cross and a noose were found hanging on the statue.

In a press release issued today, the foundation links the incident to other recent hate crimes that have received national attention, such as the Jena 6 case:

The noose hung around the statue's neck is an imitation of other cases recently reported in the media after a surge of hate crimes. The statue was also plastered with handbills of garbled rants that include references to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina as well as vague threats against various record companies and rappers. The manner of the attack indicates it is the work of one or more individuals.

A male found inebriated at the site Monday morning has been arrested by DeKalb police in connection with the vandalism. The investigation continues. Ironically, the center was supposed to serve as the primary site for a Monday rally to bring attention to the amount of killings by police in DeKalb County last year.

In other Tupac news, Kevin Hackie, one of the rapper's former bodyguards, publicly admitted at a recent L.A. screening of the new DVD documentary, Tupac: Assassination, that he was an undercover FBI agent during his employment as a bodyguard with Tupac's label Death Row Records from 1992 to 1996.

The surprising revelation comes at an inauspicious time considering the federal charges rapper T.I. faces, in part, as a result of his bodyguard's cooperation with federal ATF investigators.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hanson turns 10 at the Roxy

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2007 at 6:03 PM


MMMBOY: Hanson post-puberty

(photo by Vonnie Lee)

I have no problem admitting it: I love Hanson.

I’m not sure if it was the long hair, or the cheesy, catchy lyrics, but 10 years ago, when Middle of Nowhere hit stores and made the No. 1 slot on MTV’s original version of "TRL," I fell head over heels for the family boy band, plastering my bedroom with posters of Isaac, Taylor and Zac. I have since lost my copy of the album (the liner notes were cut up to make collages), but I never fully got over my first band crush.

Which is why I was unabashedly excited to find out Hanson was playing in Atlanta last week.

Hundreds of girls and a few reluctant boys crowded into the Roxy last Tuesday night for Hanson’s concert, a stop on The Walk Tour, promoting their latest album of the same name. The crowd, which ranged in age from a whopping 20 to 24, felt like a middle school reunion, all of us having had the same phenomenal Hanson experience. The room smelled strongly of incense wafting from the overcrowded bathrooms to the main floor. If I closed my eyes long enough, I was sure I had never left my poster-filled room.

“We’re going to take you back a few years,” said Isaac Hanson, the oldest of the brothers, receiving a round of ear-curdling shrieks. “Back to 1997 when we first met you.”

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