In the fine tradition of The Moog Cookbook (Grunge and Rock hits rendered with vintage keyboards) and the seemingly endless stream of Pickin' On ... discs (which tributes various Rock and Pop faves, Bluegrass-style), comes Nouvelle Vague, whose self-titled album is re-issued May 3 by David Byrne's wonderfully eccentric World Music label, Luaka Bop. Previously released on the Peacefrog imprint (it was a huge seller for the indie), Nouvelle Vague is the work of French duo Marc Collins and Olivier Libaus, who reconstruct classic Post Punk songs into warm Bossa Nova gems. Using several guest female vocalists, the twosome strip down songs like The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks," P.I.L.'s "This Is Not a Love Song" and Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," and slather them with a sensual Tropicalia glaze. The less known covers translate beautifully, sounding like originals, which is what sets this project apart from other genre-bending tributes. Other artists getting the Bossa makeover include XTC ("Making Plans for Nigel"), Killing Joke ("Psyche"), The Cure ("A Forest"), Sisters of Mercy ("Marian"), The Clash ("Guns of Brixton") and Dead Kennedys, whose anthem "Too Drunk to Fuck," is even more intoxicatingly giddy in Nouvelle's hands.
While most albums of this ilk have the usual novelty shelf life of a comedy album, Nouvelle Vague is a record you'll pull out more than just to make your friends laugh.
Go, Bastards, Go
Cincinnati's Heartless Bastards have apparently found some fans at Rolling Stone magazine. The seminal publication's current issue features a profile of the band and mentions them again in their review section, following a glowing review when the album, Stairs and Elevators, first came out. Recently wrapping up a U.S. tour opening for critical and cult faves Drive-By Truckers, the Bastards' quest for global domination gets another boost in June, when the band plays the huge Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee alongside artists like The Dave Matthews Band, The Black Crowes, Modest Mouse, The Mars Volta and Widespread Panic.
Can't Buy Me Freedom
When Paul McCartney embarks on his upcoming U.S. tour this fall, he may no longer be singing songs "owned" by Michael Jackson. Some reports say Jackson, who is apparently in some kind of legal trouble, is willing to give up much of his share of the rights to the Beatles catalog, which he acquired (to Macca's dismay) 20 years ago. The Martyr of Pop needs the dough to pay off his substantial debt, which is on the rise due to his legal drama. Or maybe he just wants to put an addition on his nose. But the early gossip may indeed just be rumors. Jackson's camp reportedly issued an official denial of any potential sale. Jackson spent over $45 million for the rights originally; estimates say he could nab $500 million for the catalog today. Just enough for a free child sex toy, apparently.
Dart of Darkness
With people willing to watch famous and non-famous people play cards, TV's standards and the public's taste are on a perpetual downward spiral. At least that's what it seems Justin Hawkins, cat-suited singer for British Cheese Metal act The Darkness, is counting on. Reports say the singer is planning a British television show, Fame On, which revolves around celebrities playing darts. It sounds like a prank from the always-cheeky Hawkins, but if it takes off, we've got dibs on pitches for Celebrity Quarters, Celebrity Golden Tee and Celebrity Drunken Bar Brawl, so no stealing!