You've gotta love Pearl Jam. Um, what the Gnome means is, whether or not you appreciate the earnest emotionalism that they continue to pump out as if it were timeless, Eddie and the boys deserve props for maintaining an artfully unconventional stance. Case in point: Pearl Jam goes on Letterman a full month before the release of Binaural (May 16 on Epic), and rather than hawk the first single, "Nothing Is as It Seems," they play the less catchy "Grievance." Then, during the cut to commercial, PJ and Letterman's band launch into Urge Overkill's "Tequila Sundae." Weird. (Well, maybe not, seeing as Stone Gossard's Loosegroove label—now part of Will Records—just released Nash Kato's new album. Still, that's kind of a stretch.) At any rate, those wanting a preview of "Nothing..." can check out any of the PJ-approved Web sites for an MP3 or head straight to www.studiolitho.com, the site for the groovy place where the band recorded Binaural.
Pearl Jam's album could be called part of this spring's Seattle record-release explosion, if ya wanted to get all silly about it. Already crowding local shelves are new discs by Voyager One, Welcome, Bugs in Amber, Polecat, Pedro the Lion, Nevada Bachelors, Jen Wood, and the Makers (to name a few). Universal Music Group is trying to cash in on the Posies' legacy, having quietly released The Best of the Posies: Dream All Day in late February. (Fortunately, Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer got a say in selecting the tracks.) In the coming-soon category are: Sunny Day Real Estate's first album since leaving Sub Pop, The Rising Tide, due June 20 on Time Bomb; and the Murder City Devils' third full-length, In Name and Blood, out June 6.
As if that weren't enough, both Death Cab for Cutie and Acetylene released records last week then played a sold-out Crocodile show Friday night to get the word out. Death Cab seemed unusually lethargic, perhaps because guitarist Chris Walla pulled quadruple duty! Not only did his band play the all-ages matinee and 21-and-over nightcap, but he jumped in at the last minute to replace Saltine's departed guitarist Blake Wescott during their daytime and evening sets.
Guided by Voices' massive Saturday gig at the Showbox featured some out-of-line Sub Pop bashing. In the midst of a rousing set, a predictably beer-besotted Bob Pollard shouted an epithet at the label, though it was oddly timed: He was in the midst of welcoming guest vocalist Chris Slusarenko to the stage. Slusarenko, you probably won't remember, was frontman for Sprinkler, the first Portland band signed to Sub Pop. And that's the thanks their old label gets? You betcha!
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