Taking the express superstar train to the top—Omaha's the Faint, whose sexy, synthesizer-mad new-wave redux Danse Macabre put them on the tip of hepster tongues everywhere, are going major with an opening slot on No Doubt's national tour. Weird? Completely, but points to Gwen and company for eschewing the usual ready-for-their-radio-push major-label upstarts and taking a risk on Nebraska's finest. Not that the boys will be staying minor for long; seems the big-time bidding wars have already begun. . . . In other to-the-highest-bidder news, word on the street is that Nada Surf—yep, the guys who brought you 1996's novelty hit "Popular," then seemed doomed to K-Tel obscurity—are back on the scene, and the big guys are battling it out to sign them on. The band's four-year delay on a follow-up to their '96 release, The Proximity Effect, left the band basking in critical accolades but didn't exactly break down the Soundscan, saleswise. Now, their new material is suddenly stirring up all kinds of industry excitement, even in these troubled times. It's all due for public release sometime in late spring, so we'll get to judge for ourselves soon enough. . . . That old let's-get-nekkid theatrical favorite, Hair, is currently in early production here in Seattle, and casting director David Armstrong has taken the rather novel tack of reaching out to Seattle's music community to fill out his cast. Following an extensive audition process, only one, singer-songwriter Nancy Colton (you may have caught her before at the Crocodile or the Tractor) made the hippy-licious final cut. Maktub frontman Reggie Watts—who, as anyone who's ever spent five minutes with him must agree, was born for the stage—was also chosen, but touring commitments have forced him to bow out. Others, we may speculate, just couldn't get down with the nudity clause. . . . The Man in Black is looking down the barrel of his
70th year in 2002, which, of course, means releases aplenty. First comes The Very Best of Johnny Cash, a double set due Feb. 25 (the day before his birthday), with the reissuing of five classic albums to follow, all remastered and with bonus tracks. Meanwhile, while Cash works on his fourth album with extraordinarily bearded ber-producer Rick Rubin, several famous fans, including Dwight Yoakam, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, and (eep!) Little Richard, are putting together their own tribute, due for release soon on Sony. . . . According to our own Andrew Bonazelli, last week's Pretty Girls Make Graves show at I-Spy, featuring the public debut of Carissa's Wierd co-founder Jenn Ghetto's new side project, Crictor, sounded pretty much like "Enemymine-style instrumental metal." Adds our man, "They moved around slightly less than wax sculptures. Everyone ate it up." There'll be more to chew on soon, since Jenn and her drummer have reportedly already recorded five tracks in the studio, and could be up to more as we speak. . . . While we fully enjoyed the physical beauty of rambunctious N.Y.C. rockers the French Kicks (along with every other drooling female in the room and a considerable number of males), we couldn't get over the fact that they all seemed a little too ready for their close-ups. How do we explain this without sounding completely looksist? Let's just say they're primed for a hot 'n' heavy Strokes-esque climb to glory, and they know it. . . . If you're holding your breath waiting for the release of that legally mired Nirvana box set, well, you're about dead by now, but dedicated fans can pick up a tiny morsel on the re- release of 1995's Sunn Amps and Smashed Guitars (No Quarter), from Sub Pop also-rans and friends-of-Kurt Earth. Cobain contributed lead vocals to the 1990 track "Divine and Bright," which appears as a bonus track on
the new Sunn, though the label certainly isn't making that a selling point. Says lead singer Dylan Carlson: "If people buy it 'cause they're some Kurt-worshipping type and it makes them happy to have one more track with him on it, that's fine, but people who like Earth will buy it for Earth." . . . Indie-shmindie—we're peeing our pants over the news that faded pop tart and former Queen of the Mall Concert Tiffany will be appearing in Playboy's April edition exactly how the good lord made her (plus or minus freaky nips and tucks, ࠬa Belinda Carlisle's scary 2001 spread). What's next—Debbie (excuse us, Deborah) Gibson in Ass Masters? Ooh, we hope so.
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