Letters 05-18-2015

Will History Repeat Itself? What large patterns or trends can guide our ideas about the next century? We can look at the history of Easter Island as a warning about the dangers of a future crisis.

Applauding Michigan’s Renewable Standards Recently, state legislators introduced dueling initiatives that would impact the state’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) expiring at the end of the year very differently.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Starving artisits get a food boost from Denny‘s

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Taking your band on the road... on a budget? Never fear - Denny’s is here! The national food chain is dipping its toes into the music biz via their new Adopt-A-Band program, which you can check out on the restaurant’s microsite, www.dennysallnighter.com. Indie bands can apply to be a “participating touring band,” and, if selected, they’ll be able to eat at Denny’s restaurants for free at any time, and will have content (including streamed songs, tour dates, and pics) posted on the Denny’s microsite. Every two months, six new bands will be “adopted” and added to the site - the first half-dozen include Switches, Take the Crown, and Saving Abel. In return for the free grub, the bands are asked to visit three Denny’s a month and post photos of their Denny’s visits. In addition, bands dining at Denny’s can check out Denny’s new Rock Star Menus, which will consist of dishes invented by more high-profile bands - Taking Back Sunday and The All-American Rejects have already contributed recipes, but you’ll have to wait until August to order ‘em...
Monday, May 26, 2008

Beach Boy Brian offers up Lucky Old Sun

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Following the release of other recent work on Nonesuch and Rhino Records, the incomparable Brian Wilson is back at Capitol Records for his next album, That Lucky Old Sun, which is due out on September 2. Eleven new songs plus four spoken narratives will be included on the set, which was premiered last September at London’s Royal Festival Hall; track titles include “Oxygen,” “Southern California,” “Forever My Surfer Girl,” “Morning Beat,” and the title track, which surfaces in both song form and as a narrative. Wilson worked with longtime collaborator Van Dyke Parks on the set, which serves as his first new studio album since 2004; fans can also catch Wilson on a few North American and UK tour dates this upcoming summer, including stops in Niagara Falls, Canada (7/8), Hampton Beach, NH (7/13), and at the Hollywood Bowl (9/12-14)...
Monday, May 19, 2008

Can you stand losing The Police...again?

Modern Rock Kristi Kates NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a press conference with The Police (the band, not the NYPD) last week in Times Square to announce that the band will perform their final concert ever (or so they say) in New York on a date to be revealed in August. The show itself will be a fundraiser, with proceeds benefiting public television arts programming. The band will also contribute $1 million to the mayor’s MillionTreesNYC initiative, which aims to plant 1 million trees by 2017; The Police’s contribution will fund the planting of 10,000 trees across all five of NYC’s boroughs. The mayor also presented each member of The Police with his own key to New York City, in exchange for which he received an all-access backstage pass to any Police concert. Now, whether or not that whole “final” concert thing actually sticks or not is anyone’s guess...
Monday, May 12, 2008

V Fest, Voodoo, Monolith announce lineups for this year‘s shows

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Festival news continues to roll in right on the heels of the Lollapalooza and Rothbury announcements. This year’s V Fest, which will take place in Baltimore on August 9-10, will include headliners Jack Johnson, Stone Temple Pilots, Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, Wilco, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Go! Team, and The Black Keys, while the dedicated dance/electronica music tent will include DJ sets from Moby, Ferry Corsten, and Underworld, among others. The 10th Voodoo Music Experience (October 24-26) will also host Stone Temple Pilots as one of their headliners, along with R.E.M. and The Neville Brothers; and the Second Annual Monolith Festival (Sept. 13-14) will feature Devotchka, Band of Horses, TV on the Radio, Vampire Weekend, Cut Copy, The Fratellis, and (as the popular term goes) many, many more...
Monday, May 5, 2008

Rock The Bells takes Hip-Hop Festival on the road

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Ten major U.S. cities will play host to this year’s edition of the Rock the Bells festival tour, bringing along an eclectic roster of acts that is a real cross-section of different genres of hip-hop. After the stateside performances have wrapped, the whole fest will travel overseas for Rock the Bells events in Europe and Japan, in an attempt to widen the audiences for the Rock the Bells artists. On the bill this year are Mos Def, De La Soul, Rakim, Nas, The Cool Kids, and A Tribe Called Quest, among others; tour stops will include Chicago (7/19), Toronto (7/20), Philly (8/3), and Vancouver (8/30)...
U2 are currently recording at their home studio in Dublin, Ireland with Brian Eno on board. U2’s guitarist, The Edge, recently told the press not to expect a new album any time soon, as the band intends to focus on “the indulgence of making music” as opposed to rushing to meet any deadlines. That doesn’t mean they’re not serious, though - the recording that they’re doing is indeed slated for a new U2 album, they apperantly just don’t want to be pinned down on exactly what or when yet. In the meantime, The Edge’s co-founded charity, Music Rising, which benefits those who lost musicial equipment in Hurricane Katrina, is going strong, and The Edge himself just donated two Gibson guitars to a Music Rising auction...
Monday, April 28, 2008

Billboard names Earth Day‘s greenest musicians

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Last week’s Earth Day celebrations prompted Billboard to count down the “Greenest” musicians of the last 12 months, and it’s quite a lineup. Among those honored were The Roots, who gave away autographed compost bins at this year’s pre-Grammy Awards jam session; Radiohead, who delivered their latest album as a price-optional digital download, preventing the manufacture of thousands of CDs, and who choose to only tour minimally and selectively, help reduce their carbon footprint; singer-songwriter KT Tunstall, who worked with her record label to create a 100% post-consumer waste recycled and chlorine-free package for her sophomore album and who tours on a biodiesel-fueled tour bus; Dave Matthews Band, who purchase renewable energy credits through NativeEnergy to compensate for their CO2 emissions while on tour; Mexican rock quartet Mana, who advocate environmental causes from endangered species to reforestation through their own nonprofit Selva Negra Foundation; and Jack Johnson, whose Brushfire Records studio was recently refurbished to be solar-powered...
Monday, April 21, 2008

STP confirm reunion (really?) and hit the road for tour

Modern Rock Kristi Kates This could conceptually change by press time, since last week consisted of Stone Temple Pilots’ booting singer Scott Weiland out of the band, Weiland offering up his own disgruntled counterattack, and the band then showing up, apparantly reconciled - and complete with Weiland on vocals - at Harry Houdini’s former estate in Los Angeles to play a set for industry folk and radio contest winners. But as of your reading this right now, STP have announced that they’re “back” and are going to take on a full summer amphitheater tour of North America. STP’s tour stops - well, provided the band can keep themselves together - are set to include Cleveland (5/20), Chicago (5/22), and Detroit (6/3); a new album is also expected to follow. More info and presale tix are available at STP’s new website, www.stonetemplepilots.com...
Monday, April 14, 2008

Ireland‘s U-2 Join Michigan‘s Madonna at Live Nation

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Live Nation, who recently signed Madonna to a 10-year deal for touring, merchandising, and more, have just snagged U2 for a similar (but longer - 12 years) contract, in which the promoter will execute and promote U2’s tours as well as handle their broadcasts, streaming audio/video, website, and fan club. U2 signs with Live Nation on the heels of their Ticketmaster deal finally expiring; with U2 in a tour class of their own (their last tour took in around $400 million), it should be interesting to see what new power and range the band will gain via their new partnership. U2 are now expected to release an album in fall of 2008, with touring said to follow in 2009...
Monday, April 7, 2008

DJ Paul Oakenfold contributes music to New Bourne videogame

Modern Rock Kristi Kates DJ/producer Paul Oakenfold has just wrapped work on the soundtrack for a new video game based on the Bourne Conspiracy movie, working with Sierra Entertainment to craft a game designed around character Jason Bourne’s (Matt Damon) combat style. Oakenfold’s musical contributions to the game are said to “drive the rhythm” of the immersive gameplay, setting a new bar for the action title; the game’s story and characters were written with Bourne screenwriter Tony Gilroy. Oakenfold’s tracks won’t be available as a separate album, but, as a bonus, fans will be able to unlock various Oakenfold tracks within the game for listening-on-demand by passing certain levels in the game itself...
Monday, March 31, 2008

Rothbury Fest‘s jam-band toster

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Arriving over this year’s 4th of July weekend, the new Rothbury Festival is set to take place July 3-6. Appearing to be taking half of its cue from Chicago’s famed, environmentally-focused Lollapalooza fest and the other half from the more hippie-fied Bonnaroo, the Rothbury Festival adds RV parking and luxury camping to the mix, with tix starting at around $250 per person, plus RV tix for an additional $100, or a VIP ticket for $475. “Good Life” cabin camping can also be purchased for around $1,400 per person for the entire four days’ worth of festivities. So what do you get for all that cash? “Circus” and “Theater” experiences, food and water vendors, an Energy Fair, and sets from a broad lineup of over 60 musicians and bands, including the Dave Matthews Band, 311, Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, Of Montreal, Gomez, The Dresden Dolls, John Mayer, Snoop Dogg, Beth Orton, Railroad Earth, The Black Keys, and more, all at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan, just north of Muskegon. Get more info at www.rothburyfestival.com...
Monday, March 24, 2008

Jack White‘s Raconteurs pull off a surprise album release

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Detroiter Jack White and his Raconteur bandmates have been slowly but surely working on recording a completely new album that’s - surprise! - complete, and will be in-stores on Tuesday, March 25. Huh? Yep, it’s true - The Raconteurs’ Consolers of the Lonely - complete with new accompanying MS-DOS-humored website (www.theraconteurs.com) is all ready to go right now, in spite of assumptions that the disc would be released later this year. The album is being released on, as the band’s official newsletter puts it, “every format at once,” so as to leave no listener behind - it’ll be available on CD, digital, and vinyl formats, and you’ll be able to get it everywhere from iTunes and Amazon to corporate superstores to the band’s own website. Listen for first single, “Salute Your Solution,” coming soon, too, to a radio station near you... as well as a music video which they say was “just filmed the other day.” When The Raconteurs want to get something done, they apparently don’t mess around...
Monday, March 17, 2008

Which James Bond Theme Will You Be Whistling?

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Which James Bond Theme Will You Be Whistling?
James Bond will be returning to the big screen later this year, but in the meantime, an audiobook about Bond’s adventures is being released, and a Bond musical contest is taking place. Musicians were invited to submit ideas for the next Bond theme song at www.myspace.com/devilmaycarebook, and fans can vote for their favorite theme out of a whittled-down shortlist. But you’d better move fast if you want to put your two cents’ worth in - the winning theme will be announced this week, to give it a good head start on the book’s publication date in May...
Monday, March 10, 2008

Academy Awards honor Irish Indie Rock

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Academy Awards Honor Irish Indie Rock with Best Song Oscar
Indie rockers (most specifically, ones from Ireland) scored one for the little guy at last week’s Academy Awards, where Frames frontman Glen Hansard and his collaborator Marketa Irglova won the Oscar for Best Original Song (“Falling Slowly”) from their also-indie film project, Once. Other music-related awards at the big Oscar night included Dario Marianelli, who won Best Original Score for his work on Atonement, Best Achievement in Art Direction for the Johnny Depp musical (yes, musical!) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Best Actress for Marion Cotillard, who took on the lead role of Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose...
Meanwhile, overseas, the UK’s NME held their annual Shockwaves Awards Show last week, with Arctic Monkeys sweeping a trio of honors including Best British Band, Best Video (for “Teddy Picker”), and Best Track. Other honorees included Klaxons for Best Album (“Myths of the Near Future”), Muse for Best Live Band, Kate Nash for Best Solo Artist, and The Killers for Best International Band. Meanwhile, the overhyped and overrated Amy Winehouse won only one of the four categories she was nominated in - Worst Dressed...
Monday, March 3, 2008

Alex Turner: From Monkeys to Shadow Puppets

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner is making good use of the band’s current temporary hiatus by kicking off a new band project that he’s calling The Last Shadow Puppets. Teaming up with his musical pal Miles Kane, The Last Shadow Puppets are set to release their debut album, The Age of the Understatement, on Domino Records this upcoming May. Produced by James Ford and featuring the conducting skills of Owen Pallett, who conducted the London Metropolitan Orchestra on several tracks, the set will be prefaced by a single, the album’s title track, which will hit radio and digital download formats on April 15; other tracks set for inclusion on the album are “Calm Like You,” “The Chamber,” “Black Plant,” and “Meeting Place”...
Monday, February 25, 2008

Greenland is 30 seconds to Mars‘ choice video shoot

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Jared Leto and the rest of his bandmates in 30 Seconds to Mars utilized their latest video to document the effects of global warming 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in an effort to share their “life-changing” video shoot and travel experience with fans. Shot in Greenland, the clip, for 30 Seconds’ song “A Beautiful Lie,” was directed by Angakok Panipaq, and continues the band’s burgeoning tradition of shooting videos in unusual locations; the band’s previous video (for the track “From Yesterday”) was the first American music video shot in the People’s Republic of China...
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is prepping for its return this April 25-27 in Indio, California, and you can bet it will be cause once again for a spring road trip. Jack Johnson and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters are the headliners, along with fellow major-stagers Kraftwerk, Spiritualized, Jack White’s band The Raconteurs, Death Cab for Cutie, Fatboy Slim, Battles, Rilo Kiley, Cafe Tabuca, The National, Cold War Kids, Minus the Bear, and The Streets among others; also appearing will be Portishead, in their first American show in almost 10 years. Tix are on sale now at