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Did You Miss Me Like I Missed You?

January 9, 2010

Welcome back, dear readers!  I haven’t seen you this year and you know, I’ve really missed you.  It’s been a bit lonely here without you waltzing in, looking around at all the fixtures, making a comment or two, then leaving without so much as saying goodbye.  But you’re here now and that’s all that matters and I’ve got a lot to share with you.  Would you like a drink?  How about a Shasta?  Sorry, don’t have that, you’ll have to settle for a Diet Dr. Pepper.  But in celebration of Kevin Bacon’s birthday, I’m going to hit you with a lot of news, Six Degrees style.

First off, what does former Smashing Pumpkins’ front-man Billy Corgan do when someone questions his coolness?  First, he decides to release his next Pumpkins project one song at a time, for free, over the internet.  If that’s not enough to convince you of his total hipster cred, he gets the bright idea to start up his own record label.  Signing such psychedelic acts as Electric Prunes and the Strawberry Alarm Clock along with punksters The Germs, Corgan is proving once again that he’s a visionary genius trapped in the body of an aging rock star has-been.  Right about now, a lesser writer would make a joke about Corgan using his new record label as a vehicle for ladyfriend Jessica Simpson’s new album, but I’m going to resist that urge.  I’ll just point out that according to People, Jessica says that she and Billy are “taking it slow”.  Bill, my boy, that’s one step from “It’s not you, it’s me” and a quick slide to the left of “I don’t like you in that way.”

Speaking of artists starting up their own record label, word on the street is that My Morning Jacket’s beard connoisseur Jim James has himself a new label, called Removador.  Let’s give James some props for thinking up a better label name than he did a moniker last year (Yim Yames?  Yikes!).  It looks as if James has collected a stable of relatively-unknown artists, and we here at Tweed Central are hearing good things about some of them, for example Nashville’s own Cortney Tidwell.  Interestingly enough, MMJ remains signed to their original label, ATO Records, but James has an agreement in place to sell MMJ records through Removador as well.  I’m willing to bet that in 10 years, Removador will still be alive and kcking long after Corgan’s as-yet-untitled label has been forgotten.  Also, for anyone interested, James will play a solo show on Valentine’s Day in his hometown of Louisville, KY at Seelbach Rathskeller.

In other Jim James news:  his non-MMJ musical project, Monsters of Folk, is not–I repeat NOTworking on a new album.  Stop asking, OK?

In even further James-related news, the bearded one has produced the new Ben Sollee album, which will be released February 6 on the immaculate Sub Pop records.  The album, titled Dear Companion, is a collaboration with fellow Sub Pop artist Daniel Martin Moore and we expect the two to head out on the road soon in support of this new release.  Sollee is one of the coolest artists around and with all the supergroup fever running around indie rock lately, let me tell you I’d pay to see a lineup of Sollee, Andrew Bird, and Vienne Teng as all classicly-trained artists who have found comfortable homes in popular music.

Continuing with the “soon to release a new album” theme, I am stoked to hear about the new Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings record, which will drop on May 4, called I Learned the Hard Way.   Sharon, who maintains her perch as the matriarch of Daptone Records, will also celebrate a birthday on the same day the record is released.  It is safe to report that Kevin Bacon will not celebrate a birthday that day.  There is not much in the world that is better than seeing Sharon and the Kings live, so I suggest you check their tour schedule to see if they’re playing near you.  Those of you in the Pittsburgh area can see them at the State Theater on January 23rd, so rejoice.

Finally, to expound on the soul of Sharon Jones, we bring you Jeff Tweedy.  You heard right, Mr. Wilco himself  will soon take up the producer reigns for Melody Cool, soul legend Mavis Staples.  This should be very interesting.  Tweedy’s own soulful group is currently touring the Northwest US and has a string of already sold-out shows in February in Portland and Seattle.  But for our Canadian readers, the tour starts out in The Great North with a sold-out show in Victoria.  Then they hit Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Saskatoon.  Click here for more info on the band hailed by many (including your mom) as the best live band in America.

Well kids, it’s time to wrap it up.  Don’t let the door knock you down on the way out.  What’s that you say, today’s not Kevin Bacon’s birthday?  I never said it was today, jack.  Later!

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