This week's "List to Get Your Panties in a Bunch" comes from British cultural mag, Uncut, whose latest issue features their poll results for the 100 "Best Debut Albums." Considering most every other publicly voted on survey from England slobs the knobs of Oasis (one such poll recently named their debut, Definitely Maybe, the best album ever), we're going to guess the surveyed are artists or, at least, in the "biz." DefMaybe placed a mere No. 36 on Uncut's "debuts" list. The list showed its lack of perspective in other forms, though -- the Arctic Monkeys first album (released, what, two months ago?) placed No. 30 and The Arcade Fire's Funeral came in at 100. Mercifully, none of the Top 10 were released in the past five years -- The Velvet Underground and Nico topped the list, followed by Television's Marquee Moon, The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced, The Stone Roses, The Band's Music From Big Pink, The Clash, Led Zeppelin, Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, Roxy Music and The Stooges. Keep this in mind: Kevin Federline and Paris Hilton both have albums coming soon, so the list could change at a moment's notice.
Hatch Springs Austin
Utah Senator Orin Hatch seems desperate for the musical community to embrace him.
The budding singer/songwriter has been one of the strongest political supporters of the crackdown on illegal downloading. But he's more than just some square wagging his finger on the Senate floor -- now he's helping drug-smuggling musicians get out of foreign jails. You're awesome, O Dawg! Hatch's office issued a statement after Pop and R&B producer Dallas Austin was let out of a Dubai jail, saying the conservative senator helped arrange for Austin's release. Austin was arrested on May 19 and eventually sentenced to four years in prison for possession of 1.26 grams of cocaine (Dubai's ruler pardoned him after he was sentenced). So why's an old guy from Mormon Central doing a solid for a superstar producer from Atlanta? They share the same entertainment lawyer, of course. But, hey, we're sure he'd do the same thing for Rush Limbaugh.
Lovin,' Touchin,' Squeezin' Every Penny Out
It takes balls to carry on a fading "legendary" band without the original lead singer. On the bright side, when the new singer goes down, no one is going to give a fuck who you replace him with. Just ask Journey. When their new singer, Guy Who's Not Steve Perry, recently bailed on their tour due to a throat infection, the band simply found Guy Who's Also Not Steve Perry. Hey, as long as he can hit the high notes in "Any Way You Want It," who cares? The band's tour with Def Leppard hits Riverbend July 25 -- think they'll offer refunds for fans upset that Steve Augeri isn't going to be rocking the mic?
Cardboard to the Rescue!
The numbers for music sales in the first half of '06 are in and they again reflect the ongoing trend away from compact discs and towards digital downloads. CD sales are down just 4.2 percent from last year, but download sales have gone up another staggering 77 percent, according to a recent report from Nielsen SoundScan. Labels are doing what they can to keep people going to the stores to buy music, offering CDs with various bonus features. Heck, we may see CEOs going door-to-door offering free back rubs if things don't turn around soon. Or labels might take the approach of Universal Music Group in Europe, where plans have been unveiled for new CD packaging formats. The conglomerate reportedly will now sell CDs in durable "super jewel cases" (because people don't buy CDs because the cases break too easily?) and also offer some discs with just a cardboard sleeve for the price of an album download on iTunes. For an extra buck, they'll write the track listing on the case in Sharpie instead of crayon.