By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Contrary to popular belief--well, our misguided thoughts, anyway--Ben Kweller is not actually selling copies of Sha Sha (Radish's long-lost follow-up to 1997's major-label debut, Restraining Bolt) on his Web site (www.benkweller.com), and that isn't the only place you can find Kweller's solo material after all. You can indeed purchase songs from Sha Sha, however: "The songs from that album are actually scattered across the three solo albums"--Freak Out, It's...Ben Kweller; Melange; and Bromeo--"being offered from the site," reports Matt Morgan, the director of street affairs ("unless we come up with a better title," he notes) for Team BK, Kweller's grassroots marketing team. Morgan adds that the discs can also be found at the Borders Books and Music location on Coit and Arapaho, though at the moment, only Freak Out is in stock. (More should be on the way once Kweller returns from vacation in Argentina.) We should point out that the Coit and Arapaho location is the only Borders outlet carrying the Kweller albums at the time. Hey, it's worth the drive...
While we don't always agree with folks over at Spin--listing "your hard drive" as the best "album" of last year was certainly, uh, precious--they do make a good decision every once in a while. For example, the mag invited Slobberbone to perform acoustic renditions of a few songs during one of the band's recent visits to New York. The results, top-notch versions of "Dunk You in the River" and "Lazy Guy," can be found at Spin.com. And the band itself can be found at the Gypsy Tea Room on January 12, opening for The Jayhawks...
File under "slim pickings": Erykah Badu picked up a couple of Grammy nominations--Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song--for "Bag Lady" (off the otherwise disappointing Mama's Gun) when the nominees were announced on January 3. The late Johnnie Taylor also got a nod in the Best Traditional R&B Vocal Album category, for his Gotta Get the Groove Back. In addition to Taylor and Badu, the Dixie Chicks are up for one award, Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, though the group was nominated twice: "Strong Enough," their teaming with Sheryl Crow on Crow's Live From Central Park, and "Walk Softly," the Chicks' joint with Ricky Skaggs, from Big Mon: The Songs of Bill Monroe. Other local acts singled out by the Recording Academy include Pantera (Best Metal Performance, for Reinventing the Steel), The Light Crust Doughboys (Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album, for their team-up with James Blackwood and The Jordanaires, The Great Gospel Hit Parade), and erstwhile local boy Don Henley, who must have some friends at the Academy, since his dreadful Inside Job is up for Best Pop Vocal Album, as well as Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for "Workin' It." Winners will be announced on February 21, when the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards is broadcast live from Los Angeles' Staples Center. Not counting the local folks, the nominees for this year's edition of the Grammys are a bit hipper than in years past--including Beck, Radiohead, and the Foo Fighters, among others. But until they get rid of the stilted categories--isn't Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album just a little too specific?--there will be no winners...
According to Quality Park Records' Matt Barnhart, the long-delayed full-length album from Wiring Prank might actually come eventually. When? Well, that's still up in the air, but the band has indeed finished recording the as-yet-untitled disc. Barnhart said on the Quality Park Web site (www.qualityparkrecords.com) that he hopes the album will be ready by the summer. Meanwhile, Wiring Prank should be playing some live shows in January and February, before locking themselves away until the album is fit for consumption. Barnhart won't be sitting around waiting, since he has a full schedule of releases set for next year, including Legendary Crystal Chandelier's untitled sophomore album, a split CDEP with Centro-matic and Vermont, a seven-inch single from [DARYL], and tentative releases by Little Grizzly and the Baptist Generals...
Get out: Earl Harvin Trio (rumored to have a new record on the way, possibly some sort of dub experiment, from what we hear) plays Trees on January 12, with Sub Oslo; Unit 33 and The Falcon Project perform at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on January 11, Chomsky, The Deathray Davies, and The Shells (fronted by Good Records' Carlos Jackson) are there the following night, and Sub Oslo is at Rubber Gloves on January 13; Clumsy releases its debut for Idol Records, Center of Attention Deficit Disorder, on January 11 at Club Clearview; and Carter Albrecht plays Club Dada on January 13.