By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
There's been too much of this lately. Doug Ferguson, the musician behind Yeti and Ohm, passed away February 23 after slipping into a diabetic coma. J. Bone Cro, a friend and occasional collaborator, says that Ferguson wasn't even aware he was diabetic until it was much too late; when Ferguson started to get sick, he apparently thought he was battling a simple case of the flu or something similar. Ferguson was one of the few musicians who didn't just promote himself or whatever band he was working with at the time. He just wanted people to listen to the music--whether it was his or someone else's didn't really matter. It was clear from the calls we received in the days following his death just how many people he touched, friends like The Falcon Project's Wanz Dover, who sounded so shaken up he couldn't seem to find the right words. Others, like J. Bone Cro, were simply trying to figure out why he was gone. "He was a good guy, you know," J. says. "He didn't have any enemies as far I knew. He was well-liked by the inner crowd. He didn't party or anything like that. He was just hungry to play music all the time." For a longer look at Ferguson's life and music, read "Transcendental Blues."
If you pick up To Everybody, the latest disc from Chicago's 90 Day Men, and you really, really should, you'll see a familiar name in the liner notes: The pAper chAse's John Congleton. He recorded the album last September at various locations around Dallas, and To Everybody definitely bears the stamp of Congleton's steady hand in the studio. But Congleton's not the only reason To Everybody is a giant step forward from last year's (It [is] It) Critical Band; between the sessions for those albums, piano-keyboard player Andy Lansangan was added to the existing lineup of Cayce Key, Robert Lowe and Brian Case. Rather than being used merely to fill in the sound, Lansangan's piano often overwhelms it, especially on "I've Got Designs on You" and "Last Night, a DJ Saved My Life," songs that rest on Lansangan's keys like crutches. But maybe the best part of the new disc is the closing couplet on "A National Car Crash": "God, Morrissey is such a bitch/But at least he's right." To indulge in a bit of catchphrase coattail-riding: True. See and hear for yourself on March 9, when 90 Day Men performs at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, along with History at Our Disposal and Full Court Press. If it's even half as good as To Everybody, you shan't be disappointed...
Just got an advance copy of Speedealer's latest, Second Sight, set to hit stores May 7. The band recorded the disc late last year outside of San Francisco, with former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted producing. Following up last year's Here Comes Death--which actually was in stores briefly in 1999, about five seconds before the group's label at the time, Royalty Records, went bankrupt--Second Sight is Speedealer's second effort for NYC-based label Palm and probably the band's strongest album to date. Still working mainly under loud-fast rules, the group slows its usual sprint to the finish line on occasion (such as on leadoff track "Leave Me Alone"), giving you enough time to actually hear what it's doing. It may be a coincidence, but with Newsted behind the boards, Second Sight is reminiscent of Metallica's metal-up-your-ass glory years, you know, before they dropped a Load in their pants and started worrying more about Napster than writing good songs. There was a time when "Mandatory Metallica" was a good thing. No, really...
Red Animal War recently wrapped up a recording session in Kansas with producer Ed Rose (who also recorded RAW and Slowride's split disc, which hits stores April 2, courtesy of Deep Elm Records), a week in the studio that should result in the group's second full-length album later this year. In the meantime, besides the three songs on the split with Slowride, look for a new Red Animal War track ("Last Train Out") on Deep Elm's Unreleased Volume 1 compilation. The group will also be spending the better part of April in Europe, supporting last year's Breaking in an Angel. Which is still a good listen...
We told you a few weeks ago that The D.O.C.'s comeback effort, Deuce, would be hitting stores in early February. As you may have already guessed, that is not the case. Though D.O.C. liked the sound of a February 2002 release date (what with the disc being named Deuce and all), it looks as though the first release on his Silverback Records won't be on the shelves until around June. We know there was some trouble getting approval to use all the guests D.O.C. had assembled for his return to the mike (former N.W.A. running buddies Dr. Dre, Ice Cubeand MC Ren among them), so we'd assume that's the holdup. But we've been wrong before. Like, just the other day, we thought the Grammy Awards telecast would actually be worth watching. We swear, sometimes it's almost as if someone dropped a pipe on our head. Really...