The sun looks to be rising again on Sunny Day Real Estate—albeit from a whole different latitude. Former SDRE members Jeremy Enigk, William Goldsmith, and Nate Mendel have regrouped and are in the studio working on their debut as the Fire Theft. What's in a name? Something about ancient mythology that we're too far out of school to remember (or, more likely, never knew), but it sure sounds smart, no? No release dates yet, but from what we hear, it's classic Enigk material. . . . In case last week's sold-out Lovage show at I-Spy and the upcoming just-as-sure-to-sell-out Gorillaz appearance in March aren't quite enough Dan the Automator for you, here's more: His upcoming Wanna Buy a Monkey? features the black crusties at the bottom of Dan's far-ranging musical barrel, including outtakes, rarities, remixes, and B-sides from the aforementioned Lovage and Gorillaz projects, plus stuff from Air and Black Rob that he's dipped his own production paw into, and others, like Tortoise, De La Soul, Zero 7, and Dilated Peoples, that he just likes, and, um, wants to share with us. Really, Dan, you're good, but sheesh, take a long weekend, will ya? . . . Since we're not so hot for the new turn the Charlatans UK have taken, we let the ever-reliable Kurt B. Reighley report: "Thursday night's appearance at the Showbox was top-notch. The band did a great job of tempering their outstanding new faux soul material ('A Man Needs to Be Told,' 'Love Is the Key') with older fare like 'North Country Boy.' The only bummers were the inevitable nostalgia seekers who'd shown up just to hear 'the hit' 'The Only One I Know' and Tim Burgess' unfortunate Dickensian cap, which seemed better suited to a chorus member in a community theater production of Oliver! than a seasoned pop singer. But the real kudos go to openers Starsailor. Despite drummer Ben
Byrne being sidelined by a hand injury, singer James Walsh soldiered on and played a four-song acoustic set (including that damn 'Alcoholic' tune) before bringing on the rest of the band—and even roping in the Charlatans' drummer for the big finale—to wrap up the short, but strong, set. As for Wednesday night's Handsome Family gig at the Tractor," he continues, "let's just say that Rennie Sparks plays the meanest Autoharp this side of my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Phillips, while the image of her blowing into the melodica left me with a strange craving to go rent Dumbo. And her husky husband Brett's rich and buttery-smooth vocals left me reconsidering my resolution to stay away from married men." . . . If you've got a spare 200 bucks laying around, you could always head down to San Francisco in a few weeks for the Noise Pop Festival, which hits the decade mark this year. From Feb. 26-March 3, great bands like Guided by Voices, Big Star, Preston School of Industry, and the New Pornographers, plus locals Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse, will fill out multiple venues. Having recently returned from the City by the Bay, we can attest to the fact that even 10 degrees warmer makes a world of difference, and seeing as how we have been freezing our heinies off here lately, we might make the trip just for the chance to remove our goddamn gloves and slipper socks for a few days. . . . We would be remiss if we didn't note that our namesakes (that's their record title we snatched for our own personal column use) Luna are back in business. A sort of canary in a coal mine, the band were the first to hint at massive label cleansings to come, having been unceremoniously dropped by Elektra just before the 1999 release of (coincidence? We think not!) Days of Our Nights. Eventually, they found a temporary home on Jericho, but now Dean Wareham and company
are happily—and, we hope, permanently—ensconced with Jetset, which will release the band's sixth album, Romantica, on March 19. . . . Speaking of label troubles, hip-hop imprint Jcor Records—home to the critically acclaimed Slum Village, plus 8ball and Mystic—has filed for Chapter 11. In the meantime, Rawkus (Mos Def, Black Star, Company Flow) aren't looking so hot either. Having "fired" all their employees just before Christmas (nice!), they were supposed to rehire a lucky few following the holidays. Still, however, no word. . . . In happier news, Girls Against Boys has returned to the loving arms of indie, signing with Jade Tree for a two-album deal after a go-round with big-boy Geffen. Says bassist Johnny Temple, "After finally wrestling our career back from the suits at Geffen/Universal/Vivendi/Who-Owns-Them-This-Week, we are thrilled to be with the hoodies at Jade Tree." The band's currently at work in the studio with producer Ted Nicely (of Fugazi, Shudder to Think, and Jawbox renown). . . . Singer-songwriter and former Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg has also found a new place to hang his hat: Vagrant Records. His first album in three years will hit the streets April 23. . . . We hope you enjoyed this week's death-free edition of DOON. Go see 764-HERO (Graceland), Rosie Thomas (Crocodile), and, if you're feeling lucky, Eyes Adrift (I-Spy). That's where we'll be, home-chickens.
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