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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Modern Rock

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Here come the Liars

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Liars are prepping to release their fourth studio disc, the eponymous Liars, and the band seems equally geeked about their upcoming U.S. tour with fellow NYC band Interpol, which will kick off on September 9th in Albany, NY. Other live Liars/Interpol dates will include stops in Philly (9/15), Nashville (9/22), Minneapolis (10/12), and Seattle (10/18) - and, if you miss ‘em on the road, you can catch their new album’s first single, “Plaster Casts of Everything,” which will be available as a digital download beginning August 14th, with the B-side tracks featuring “Volcano Police” and “Mimic the Hurricano.” The full Liars album will hit stores on August 28th on Mute Records...
Thursday, August 2, 2007

The White Stripes‘ idea of a joke

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Our pals Meg and Jack - otherwise known as The White Stripes, of course - have spent a good chunk of the past week bringing a couple of odd twists to the summer concert scene. First of all, the band treated a random busload of fans to an impromptu concert on a moving bus in Winnipeg; later, the band played a one-note pre-show “concert” in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, hitting a single note (no joke) – reportedly a C-sharp – before telling fans they’d see them at the actual (full-length) show later that night. The hundreds of fans who had assembled for the secret pre-show, instead of being annoyed at the too-short event, embraced the Stripes’ oddity and cheered loudly as the duo left the stage...
Thursday, July 26, 2007

Strike a Match

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Matchbox Twenty haven’t had an album out since 2002 (More Than You Think You Are) due in part to singer/frontman Rob Thomas’ success with his solo work; but now the band is ready to get back at it, so they’ve popped into the studio with producer Steve Lillywhite to work on some new tracks for their upcoming retrospective album. The greatest hits collection - which will also include several of the new tracks - has been humorously titled Exile on Mainstream, and you’ll be able to snag a copy for yourself on October 2nd, when the album hits stores on Atlantic Records; Thomas says that the band is writing the new tunes together as a band for the first time, so it will be interesting to hear what transpires...
Thursday, July 19, 2007

Live Earth

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Did you DVR the rilly big Live Earth show this past Saturday? Hope so, because there were a plethora of pretty fantastic performance moments that you shouldn’t have missed - and if you watched the entire 15 televised hours straight, then you deserve a prize, as Live Earth only rivaled ‘80s event Live Aid in its extensiveness. More than 100 of the world’s biggest musical acts performed on all seven continents (yes, even Antarctica!) in an effort to raise awareness of climate change and global warming, complete with an appearance from former U.S. vice president Al Gore, who headed up the project, which qualifies as the largest musical event ever staged.
Thursday, July 12, 2007

On the Catwalk with Rockin‘ Fashions

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Celebrating “the synergy that exists between music and fashion,” the 4th Annual Fashion Rocks event is now set to hit NYC’s Radio City Music Hall on September 6. Hosted this year by actor Jeremy Piven, the models will do their little turns on the catwalk to live performances from the likes of Fergie, Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy, Carrie Underwood, Aerosmith, and Santana, among others. If you can’t make it to the actual event, you can watch what you missed the very next day, as CBS will be airing the show as a two-hour special event on Sept. 7...
Thursday, July 5, 2007

New vibe from The Verve

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Ten years after disbanding, UK modern-mood popsters The Verve have reunited and are figuring out how to best offer up some new Verve music. All four original members are apparantly on board - Pete Salisbury, Simon Jones, Nick McCabe, and singer Richard Ashcroft (who’s also had success with his well-written solo work) - and they’ve already booked a half-dozen UK live shows in November to test out some of the new songs that they’re working on for what’s said to be a “potential” follow-up album to their last smash, 1997’s Urban Hymns, the set that brought “Bittersweet Symphony” to radio and beyond...
Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ben Lee is Ripe for something new

Modern Rock Kristi Kates 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...
Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Firery Furnaces heat up summer

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Brooklyn modern rockers The Fiery Furnaces have wrapped work on their first album for their Touch & Go label home, and they’ve dubbed it Widow City. Set to hit stores this upcoming October, the disc will get plenty of early fans via FF’s longggg summer tour, which they’ve decided to call “The Fourth of July Tour” despite the fact that they’re not playing on the 4th of July. Longtime Fiery Furnace Fans will appreciate this continuation of the band’s usual irony, and will likely be out in droves to see the band live in Chicago (6/22), Ann Arbor, MI (6/23), Toronto (6/25), Boston (6/29), Washington D.C. (7/5), and Atlanta, GA (7/7)...
Thursday, June 14, 2007

U2 feels the beat in Morocco

Modern Rock Kristi Kates All four members of U2 have arrived in the African country of Morocco, along with long-time producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, to begin songwriting sessions for what is assumed will be the next U2 album, although U2’s Bono says that, for the time being, they’re just writing to write and see what happens. Lanois and Eno, although having primarily worked with U2 to date in a producing sense, will be co-writing some of the songs along with the band. It will be interesting to hear if the distinctive African rhythms and native music will influence the band’s next set of compositions...
Thursday, June 7, 2007

Spiderman, The Musical

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Spiderman, Spiderman, U2 digs the Spiderman... that’s right - Bono and the Edge are not merely fans of the Webbed Wonder, but they’re looking to collaborate (well, kinda) with him. The U2 duo will be working with Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor on a new musical based on the Spiderman story. The project is already so far along that casting has started - U2 and Julie are currently working on finding actors to take on the roles of Peter Parker/Spiderman, Mary Jane, Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson, and a trio of teenage guys who will serve as narrators for the story. They’ve also added a new Spiderman character, a woman called Arachne who was “turned into a spider for her lack of respect for the gods.” The as-yet-unnamed musical will kick off rehearsals in NYC in July so keep your spider senses tuned in for more info...
Thursday, May 31, 2007

More copy from The Editors

Modern Rock Kristi Kates UK modern rockers Editors are set to drop their sophomore effort in June, with a TBA release date on the way for U.S. fans. The new album, titled An End Has a Start, will feature 10 new Editors songs that are said to continue their emotional, catchy sound and intricate lyrics, among them “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors,” “When Anger Shows,” “Bones,” “The Racing Rats,” “The Weight of the World,” and the title track. Pick up your copy of An End...later this summer...
Thursday, May 24, 2007

Band taps into global warming

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Global warming? It’s none more black of an outlook, if you’re Spinal Tap. That’s right - the landmark ’80s hair-and-spandex metal band are back in black (and other assorted metal-friendly colors) as part of the continuing movement to raise global warming awareness. The band will reform to play the Live Earth concert in London on July 7, and the Tap, along with filmmaker Marty “Rob Reiner” DeBergi, will also appear in a new special short film set to premiere at NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival.  The film will outline Spinal Tap’s “long history of charity work,” which includes “the feeding of Caesar Salad to starving ferrets” and “helping people cursed with high insteps” (ahem.)  They’ll also (seriously, folks) release a brand new Spinal Tap single as part of their environmental efforts; listen for “Warmer Than Hell” on a radio-station-with-a-good-sense-of-humor near you...
Thursday, May 17, 2007

Monkeying around with the Gorillaz

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Blur/Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn, now busy with his latest band project, The Good, The Bad and The Queen, has news of both The Good and The Bad sort regarding one of his bands - namely Gorillaz. The Bad? Well, Albarn says he’s decided that there will be no more Gorillaz studio albums. And The Good? Take heart, Gorillaz fans - you’ll at least get a Gorillaz feature film before it’s all over, and, if you (and Albarn) are lucky, the film project will be helmed by none other than Monty Python/12 Monkeys/Brazil filmmaker Terry Gilliam...

The White Stripes, who, contrary to popular belief, have not broken up, are doing the opposite, actually - they’re planning live shows around the release of their new album, which they’ve dubbed Icky Thump. Jack White and Meg White will kick off their tour schedule on June 17 in Tennessee, and will continue on for over two dozen concert dates, which will include stops in Toronto (7/5), Montreal (7/6), Boston (7/23), and Birmingham, Alabama (7/30); no West Coast or Midwestern dates have been announced yet, but that’s expected to change...
Thursday, May 10, 2007

Elvis brings out his best

Modern Rock Kristi Kates May means a Costello-level of cool for
Elvis Costello fans, as this week sees the release of UME’s The Best of Elvis Costello: The First 10 Years and Elvis Costello: Rock and Roll Music, two sets of Costello’s hits, album tracks, rarities, and B-sides.  Compiled by Elvis himselvis (er, sorry), the collections will include favorite Costello tracks “Radio Radio,” “Pump It Up,” “High Fidelity,” “Alison,” “Clean Money,” and, of course, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding.” Costello and his Imposters band will also kick off a 10-city tour that will begin on May 2...
Thursday, May 3, 2007

A web of new Spidey songs

Modern Rock Kristi Kates The soundtrack for Spiderman 3 will hit stores across the U.S. on May 1, with quite a lineup of appropriately super acts contributing songs.  Among the artists being featured on the movie-accompanying set are The Killers (“Move Away”), the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (“Sealings”), The Flaming Lips (“The Supreme Being Teaches Spiderman How to Be in Love”) ,Snow Patrol (“Signal Fire”), Jet (“Falling Star”), and The Walkmen (“Red River”), among others...