By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
The Strokes appear to be stretching their artistic wings on their next album. It's rumored they may ditch Gordon Raphael, the producer of their debut Is This It, for Nigel Godrich, best known for his esoteric work on Radiohead's Kid A, Amnesiac, and OK Computer albums, as well as Beck's critically acclaimed Sea Change.
Reps for the band confirmed that Godrich is one of several people the band are "talking" to, and that Raphaelwho helped them cement their poppy, garage punk soundis "still in the mix." They hope to make a decision by mid March.
It seems that the band has been having a bit of an identity crisis. In the January issue of Spin, singer Julian Casablancas was quoted as saying, "I don't want to be like, 'We had success, let's get weirder' and call it art and be arrogant about it. If anything, I'd like to make it sound a little more modern, because I don't want people to hear the second record and think, 'Oh, it sounds like '60s garage punk." And in a recent interview with MTV, bassist Nikolai Fraiture said fans should expect a more "sophisticated" Strokes. Does that mean they'll be getting haircuts?
RAVE Act Redux. After last year's successful grassroots campaign to stamp out support for the RAVE Act (Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy), the government's at it again, this time couching changes to the Crack House Statute in a domestic security bill (S. 22). Democratic senator Tom Daschle introduced the new version two weeks ago, whichlike previous incarnationsis written broadly, and could be used to prosecute nightclub owners and party promoters.
This time, though, they downplay that whole rave thing, and there's nothing about glow sticks or pacifiers qualifying as drug paraphernalia. The bill, which is backed by 11 Democrats and zero Republicans, would "apply to those who (1) knowingly open, lease, rent, use or maintain . . . and (2) manage or control any place, whether permanently or temporarily, for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance. These changes clarify that the law applies not just to ongoing drug distribution operations, but to 'single-event' activities. This section also applies the law to outdoor as well as indoor venues." (Emphasis added.)
In other words, any person who has an event where drugs are found could be prosecuted and fined $250,000 or two times the gross receipts. And, since it's wrapped deep in the bowels of a domestic security billwhich no God-fearing, red-blooded American senator would dare opposeit's likely to get a swift OK. Never fear, there are a few folks organizing. The Drug Policy Alliance are coordinating a National Call-In Day on Tuesday, January 21, encouraging people to voice their opposition to the bill. Those who wish to write to Daschle can do so at www.blackkat.org.
Plant, the weekly house party hosted and DJ'd by Marcus and Dominique, is leaving its longtime venue, Centro-Fly, after more than three years. The headliners of Saturday's very last Plant party are the Jungle Brothers, who haven't played in New York City in nearly as long as Plant's been going. In the meantime, Dominique says they are snooping around for a new venue; he also threatens to open shop in a dingy downtown go-go bar and to "get his old 2 Live Crew 12-inches out." Please do!
Daft Diva. In yet another Madonna-like move, Britney Spears goes techno. She's in talks with Daft Punk and William Orbit (yep, Madge's Ray of Light producer) to produce her next non-teen pop record, say British news sources. But Spears should beware of getting too electronic. Her idol Madonna was supposedly told to re-record certain tracks on her next album with producer Mirwais because the label found them too avant-garde (one song supposedly clocked in at 12 minutes) and her tricked-out vocals too robotic, reported London's Mirror. Um, sounds like a regular techno record to me.
DJs strapped for cash should sharpen their skills if they want a shot at 10 G's worth of booty. Gen Art and Eclipse Flash are hosting a national DJ search and spin-off. All contestants must be U.S. residents, must mix with vinyl (no CD-mixing dorks allowed), and cannot be signed to a major label. A 12-minute-max demonstration CD and a one-page bio must be submitted by January 24 to be eligible for the final showdown on February 26. While the short format does favor turntablists, the contest is open to any and all styles. For more info go to www.genart.org.