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Ben Lee is Ripe for something new

Kristi Kates - June 28th, 2007
Ben Lee is ‘Ripe’ for something new

Ben Lee has been collaborating with a host of cool pals for his next album, including members of Rooney, Mandy Moore, Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins, keyboardist Benmont Tench, and Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden. The set, dubbed Ripe, is now due out on September 4th on New West Records, and will include tracks “American Television,” “Numb,” “Just Say Yes,” and “Is This How Love’s Supposed to Feel?” Lee is also currently the subject of an as-yet-untitled music documentary that will chronicle his career from his work in the band Noise Addict to now; the rock doc will include commentary and interviews from the likes of Mike Watt, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Lee pals Winona Ryder and Claire Danes...

Following a rushed drive from Indianapolis, where their plane got cancelled due to threatening weather, Bela Fleck on banjo along with pal Chick Corea on piano thrilled and chilled out the sold-out crowd last Monday at Frederik Meijer Gardens Outdoor Amphitheater in Grand Rapids MI amidst high temps and a threat of rain. Alternating compositions they’d each written, the unassuming pair, both in jeans and sneakers, played a remarkable two-part set of intricate jazz-pop confections and also casually threw out several short modern jazz improv sessions that wowed the audience. After one such session, Fleck said, “this is some pretty wacky stuff you’re listening to very politely, and we appreciate that - give us an example of something wacky, Chick,” to which the eminent Chick Corea placed his hands on top of his head in the form of moose horns. The show then wound up with the terrific double whammy of Chick’s “The Enchantress” and Bela’s “Strange Romance.” Upcoming shows at Meijer Gardens include Cowboy Junkies, Crowded House, and Los Lobos; find out more at www.meijergardens.org...

In Austin, Texas, the popular Austin City Limits event is ready to go, with the dates this year set for September 16th through the 18th. Topping the bill are Bjork, who will headline the 16th, The White Stripes on the 17th, and Bob Dylan doing the honors on the 18th. But that’s not all, folks - also on the docket for the weekend are Queens of the Stone Age, Arcade Fire, Damien Rice, Wilco, Bloc Party, and the aforementioned Bela Fleck...

And British singer-songwriter James Blunt, whose previous hit, “You’re Beautiful,” resulted in a love-him-or-hate-him situation for the musician when his song hit heavy rotation on every radio station in the U.S., is now looking to prove that he can do a whole lot more than a one-hit wonder with the arrival of his sophomore set. Dubbed All the Lost Souls, Blunt’s latest follows the same thoughtful formula as its predecessor, and is set to his stores on September 18th; the album will be prefaced by its first single, “1973,” which will hit radio on July 23rd...

MODERN ROCK LINK OF THE WEEK:
New York modernist rockers Interpol have revamped their website and have included a clip of their new song, “Pioneer to the Falls,” from their upcoming album Our Love to Admire (due out July 10th) - grab your skinny tie and stop by for a visit at
www.interpolnyc.com...


MINI BUZZ:
The Arcade Fire are teaming up with LCD Soundsystem for a double-bill that will tour the U.S. this fall, right into October, including stops at Red Rocks in Colorado (9/17) and L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl (9/20)...
This year’s Rock the Bells Festival has secured its dates, and will stop in Hotlanta (8/2), Chicago (8/26), Detroit (8/29 at the DTE Energy Music Theater) and Toronto (8/30) with Rage Against the Machine, Nas, and Cypress Hill in tow...
Speaking of bells (well, kinda,) Electronica duo Underworld will return with their first album since 2000 - look for Rick Smith and Karl Hyde’s Oblivion With Bells to hit stores some time in October...
The San Diego Street Scene Festival is now set for September 22nd and 23rd, with the lineup including Muse, Arctic Monkeys, and The Killers...
The Beastie Boys are set to drop their latest CD, The Mix Up, and are in the midst of planning out a run of live shows for August; stops so far include Philadelphia (8/1), Boston (8/6), and (of course) Brooklyn NY (8/9), with more dates to be added...
Detroit’s White Stripes celebrated the release of their new disc, Icky Thump, with a two-and-a-half hour long set at NYC’s Irving Plaza last week...

And as for this week, here are your new releases... ON CD: Datarock’s Datarock Datarock (that’s a lotta Datarock)... Hot Chip’s DJ Kicks... Architecture in Helsinki’s Heart It Races... Feist’s The Reminder... Emily Simon’s L’Olympia... and Django Reinhardt’s Jazz in Paris: Nuits de Saint-Germain des-Pres... ON DVD: Garbage’s Absolute Garbage... Beyonce: B’Day Anthology... *Englebert Humperdinck: Greatest Performances 1967-1977* ... and the music festival documentary Glastonbury, with appearances from Bjork, David Bowie, Billy Bragg, and more... and that’s the buzz for this week’s Modern Rock.

Questions, comments, rants, raves, suggestions on this column or your fave musicians? Send ‘em to Kristi at modernrocker@gmail.com
 
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