King Without a Beard:
Remember Matisyahu, the Hasidic Jew who made reggae (and adolescent Hasidic Jews) cool again in a post rap-rock world, singing about his God and “songs of love and healing?” Dude done shaved off his beard, debuting his baby face on Twitter and explaining on his website, “No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias,” among other statements about reclaiming his identity, “trusting” his “goodness” and “divine mission” and above all, getting “ready for an amazing year filled with music and rebirth.” Godspeed, Mr. Matthew Paul Miller (his non-Hebrew name).
Port of Morrow:
The band that changes (people in Garden State’s) lives is finally getting around to follow-up 2007’s effort Wincing the Night Away. Principal songwriter and veritable Shins creator James Mercer announced on the band’s website this morning of the new record, Port of Morrow, “[The album] was recorded in Los Angeles and Portland over the course of 2011 with James Mercer as usual handling all songwriting duties, lead vocals and the majority of instrumentation.” Friendly reminder: James Mercer made this record. A tour and actual drop date sometime in March will be announced soon, promises the rest of the statement, followed by the names of some touring musicians. It’s also important to note that the record will be on the Aural Apothecary imprint, a division of Columbia Records, and not Sub Pop.
The Jean Genie:
British television pop-culture goldmine, Top of the Pops, had some choice footage of David Bowie performing “Jean Genie” in 1973, but apparently “wiped” their master copy shortly after filming, the BBC reports. But not before then Top of the Pops cameraman, current now retiree, John Henshall, asked for a personal copy on 2” broadcast videotape. And here we are 38 years later with a moment in Bowie glam nobody has seen save for the original viewers of the first broadcast. Henshell, who went on to record videos for Blondie, Roxy Music and George Harrison, among others, made his own fisheye for the video. Lookout for a BBC4 documentary in 2012, Tales of Television Centre, to catch the goods.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is now within $10 million of a $75 million expansion campaign thanks to a massive donation of $10 million from the Country Music Association, the L.A. Times reports. The project, expected to be completed in early 2014, will double the Hall of Fame’s size from 140,000 square-feet to 350,000 square-feet. And here we thought country musicians were poor. Chief Executive Steve Moore said in a statement, “CMA and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are connected by history and our shared interest in preserving the legacy, rewarding excellence and advancing the further of the format.”
Entering the Billboard charts on this day in 1968, Tommy James and the Shondells would go on to sell near six-million copies of “Crimson and Clover” to date. Following the release of the garage-rock classic “Mony Mony,” Tommy James was pushing to paint the music world red with a new sound and his own pen (Bo Gentry and Ritchie Cordell had being scribing beforehand). Or in his case, crimson, on account of his favorite color. Clover happened to be his favorite flower. Slap a tremolo on the phrase, allude to love and bam – hit single, “over and over.”