erasing clouds

Moving in Stereo, Volume 4

as heard by darren paltrowitz

Moving in Stereo is a monthly column of music news by media-obsessed New Yorker Darren Paltrowitz. It also runs in Long Island Entertainment, Agouti, Rag Magazine, Suburban Clash, and other publications. If you have news to report for the next edition of Moving In Stereo, press releases and all other correspondence for Darren should be sent to

The music industry is still in the habit of complaining about declining sales, but here’s another month gone by and still no shortage of exciting news to report. Despite the spring weather, my CD player and television are as active as ever, and hopefully this edition of Moving In Stereo will provide a few more reasons for yours to be as well. Either way, I’m always open to suggestions of when, where and how I might be better off spending my time, and can be contacted via the e-mail address above.

…From The Island

Although former members of The Movielife have recently popped up in Keep Breathing and Nightmare Of You, I Am The Avalanche is the new vehicle for frontman Vinnie Caruana (who had been part of an early edition of Head Automatica). Those who are MP3-savvy can catch some demos at long-rumored second album from Taking Back Sunday – whose guitarist Eddie Reyes was a founding member of The Movielife – is due out on July 27. Titled Where You Want To Be, the disc will be produced by Lou Giordano, whose impressive resumé also includes Sunny Day Real Estate, The Ataris and The Lemonheads. Prior to that, appearances on The Warped Tour and at the Reading and Donnington Festivals will be on the agenda…Not to be outdone, the former Taking Back Sunday members in the just-as-hyped Straylight Run, vocalist/guitarist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper, are hard at work themselves. Following the success of their self-helmed online-EP, the quartet’s debut full-length for Victory Records should be in stores this September…From Autumn To Ashes, who are currently on a co-headlining jaunt with Atreyu, recently parted ways with guitarist Scott Gross. No permanent replacement has been announced as of press time.

…From The Ex's

Even though their albums are still in demand and the tours keep selling out, Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices has let it be known that the end is in sight for GBV. Half Smiles Of The Decomposed will be the last studio album for Dayton's finest; the final gig will be on New Year's Eve 2004 in New York City…On the contrary, after the minimal touring behind the not-up-to-par Rewind & Record, it isn't much of a surprise that The Stereo has called it quits. It appears that founder and songwriter Jamie Woolford and bassist Chris Serafini will be forming another band together in the near-future with drummer BJ Wuollet going his own way back to Minneapolis. Former Impossibles mouthpiece Rory Phillips, on the other hand, has been keeping busy with a variety of projects since his days in The Stereo with released music in Slowreader and The20Goto10 to speak of. The latter looks to be putting out new material through Fiddler Records while the bigger-budget albums Rory's producing for Recover and Armor For Sleep have even higher hopes…Former Smashing Pumpkins and Hole bassist Melissa Auf Der Mar will be making her major label debut on May 18 in the midst of a world tour. Her long-rumored disc features cameos from Queens Of The Stone Age leader Josh Homme, Screaming Trees singer (and ex-QOTSA sideman) Mark Lanegan, previous Marilyn Manson member Twiggy Ramirez and two of her former bandmates of hers, Eric Erlandson and James Iha…Seemingly more active than Auf Der Mar and Iha combined is Billy Corgan, who disbanded Zwan last year but will soon be launching his solo career with a forthcoming DVD, album and book of poetry.

…From The Stereo

Many choose to think of Fastball as a now-extinct Top 40 group of the 1990's, a la Semisonic and the also-underrated Gin Blossoms, but Keep Your Wig On proves that it was worth the four-year wait since The Harsh Light Of Day. Miles Zuniga and Tony Scalzo still alternate between lead vocals, while keeping all of the songs within the power-pop spectrum. Fans of Fountains Of Wayne (whose bassist Adam Schlessinger produced several of the Wig tracks) and The Figgs will be pleased; those who are more captivated by lyrics than music ought to check out "Perfect World"…The four-CD Judas Priest box-set known as Metalogy is also worth the price tag. Combining the hits and favorites with some alternate versions and unreleased selections, it is unfortunate that some post-1980's Priest had to be included; metallically speaking, it just doesn't get much better than British Steel and Screaming For Vengeance. Either way, you can see the newly-reunited Metal Gods on Ozzfest this summer…One of the more interesting compilations to surface as of late is Chrome Peeler Records' You've Got Your Orders Volume 1. For each of the 22 tracks on this limited-edition release, the contributing artist was given a song title and with that had to write a song. Amongst those who creatively indulged themselves were Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, Mudhoney's Mark Arm, Mike Watt, Bluebird, and Mike Gent of The Figgs. It'd be nice to see somebody top that in terms of quality and originality; hopefully Volume 2 will keep running with this winning formula.

…From The Screen

It finally seems that comedian Lewis Black is getting his due. Not only has the guy got a funny CD (Rules Of Enragement) and worthwhile DVD (Unleashed) to promote, but also some TV time. Beyond those weekly spots on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, a recently-taped stand-up special titled Black On Broadway will be airing on HBO and a pilot for ABC appears to have been green-lit with Lewis playing a disgruntled history teacher-turned-principal…Andy Richter also appears to be faring well with another show in the works for Fox; this time he plays the father of quintuplets. The name of the project in these early stages, you ask? Quintuplets…On a different plane of television programming comes an upcoming VH1 spotlight on Brooke Hogan, daughter of the almighty Hulk Hogan. A blonde 16-year old singer of the teen-pop kind, as affiliated with *N-SYNC svengali Lou Pearlman, this ought to make for a very interesting one-hit wonder.

…From The Stage

Neil Hamburger is known to those with a sense of irony as "America's Funnyman," but the comic's following seems to be exclusively comprised of in-the-know indie-rockers. This particular gig at Lower East Side club Pianos saw Mr. Hamburger playing to a well-packed room that knew all of the heckles from his "live" CD's by heart -- to which the headliner gave the very same "off-the-cuff" comebacks. Switching between his trademark outdated material and new bits about the likes of Courtney Love and Michael Jackson, this was satirical comedy at its finest. Opener Nick Flanagan, on the other hand, performed gross-out, wordy comedy that was read entirely out of a notebook he was looking down at. This was equally inventive and unnerving, but a lot of what the guy had to say would catch you off-guard and bring you into minutes of consecutive laughter…Coming up from West Virginia for a one-off show at The Luna Lounge was The Emergency, who relied upon material from How Can You Move? for all but a handful of songs. Although the always-melodic songs of the trio are often indistinguishable and similar, there isn't one without an interesting hook, fill or solo somewhere - without getting too "prog," these three are real musicians. Adding a cover into the mix would most likely make these charismatic and cheerful guys even more exciting to catch live…Allister didn't have a new album to support upon this performance at The Continental, but in their stellar set at The Continental alongside The Goodwill, Punchline and Drive-Thru labelmates Hidden In Plain View, the band did showcase a few songs from its already-written, pre-produced third record. Economical as pop-punk bands come, the Chicago quartet was able to merge more than a dozen of its catchy songs into a 45-minute set, all while giving the near-capacity crowd some fresh and witty banter. Around the time that Allister starts its stint on The Warped Tour, the group shall be seen as a house-band in a teen-comedy called Sleepover.

copyright 2004 - Column used with permission from Darren Paltrowitz. All right reserved.

Issue 23, May 2004

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