Bits on Frank Black, Pearl Jam, Har Mar, Costello, more.

The hills are alive, with the sound of . . . the Pixies! Yep, it's official—Frank Black (a.k.a. Black Francis, a.k.a. some chubby kid called Charles Thompson) is getting his own Big White Way treatment with the upcoming musical Teenager of the Year, featuring songs from both his former band and solo career, with consultation from ex-Pixies Joey Santiago and David Lovering (Kim Deal was way too busy doing Buffy guest spots to contribute). Says writer/producer Josh Frank, "It's sort of a beat poem to the '80s and how alternative rock crashed the mainstream party." This monkey's gone to Broadway, baby! . . . As you've likely heard by now, Pearl Jam is indeed making a pair of Showbox appearances in addition to their fund-raising two-night stand at the KeyArena this week. But unless you have Fastixx superpowers or an uncle named Vedder, you missed out—tickets were almost gone before they arrived. Still, if you're one of the lucky ones, know that both shows are all-ages, with local band NEO opening Thursday, and Steve Earle starting with an acoustic set on Friday. . . . Oh, Calvin Johnson, the Rodney Dangerfield of indie rock. The crown prince of Olympia canceled a lowly opening slot for the Gossip and Har Mar Superstar in Houston last week, saying, "I have been in the scene for almost 20 years. I deserve some respect." Responded Har Mar, "Please, Calvin, play the show, and take all of the money. We need you! I don't know what rock 'n' roll would be without your perv warblings. Have no fear, though. Soon enough there will be a new crop of Evergreen freshmen to adore you and recharge your fantasy." Rreerr! . . . Wow, that Soft Cell show last week at the Showbox was so awesome! Didn't you love when they did "Sex Dwarf" all sultry like? And that acoustic version of "Tainted Love" just about killed me! Oh wait—they never actually played anything, because the band freakin' canceled! Haw! Due to something (poor ticket sales, travel snafus, bad case of

gout), the '80s reduxers completely bailed on the remainder of their West Coast dates last week. Thanks for nothing, Marc 'n' Dave! . . . But some shows happened somewhere outside of our imagination, and here's what our men on the street had to say—of Rilo Kiley and Rainer Maria, Andrew Bonazelli recalls: "R.K. challenged Hanson for the notorious title of tiniest aggregate keyboard-driven American band during Wednesday's opening slot at Graceland, but easily trumped the blonde Blood Bros. in terms of riotous sentiment. Charged with the tall order of catching a red-eye back to New York City at 11:30 p.m., Rainer Maria frontlady Caithlin DeMarrais was shaken but not stirred as the headlining trio cranked out a lovely, if expedited, greatest-hits set." Meanwhile, down Benaroya way, Beck and the Flaming Lips impressed Bob Mehr to varying degrees: "The Lips' opening slot was clearly the evening's highlight—especially their uproarious animal- suited, beach-ball-bouncing take on 'She Don't Use Jelly.' Meanwhile, Beck's headlining set included all the expected hits ('Loser,' 'Devils Haircut'), and—at the Lips' insistence—a couple surprise selections from the Midnight Vultures LP. Detours included Coyne narrating a long-winded aside, as he and Beck played snatches of 'I Got You Babe' ('I've got you, Beck/ I've got you, Wayne') and the old Waylon/Willie number 'Good Hearted Woman' before settling on and finishing a much more fitting duet of the Velvet Underground's 'Who Loves the Sun.' Although an ambitious and conceptually inspired pairing, the onstage chemistry was clearly amiss—at times it seemed the overly self-conscious Beck was almost uncomfortable at the gloriously goofy direction the Lips had pushed him in. This became all too obvious as the relatively tame (a nice way of saying boring) Mr. Hansen played second fiddle to Coyne's endearingly ham-fisted antics during much of his own set. Despite a spirited two-encore closer—with Beck clad in lighted

jumpsuit—you couldn't shake the feeling that somehow the bill seemed better in theory than in practice." . . . Speaking of the Lips, they've got Frodo on the line: That's right, The Lord of the Rings' Elijah Wood is signed on to film a role in the band's upcoming Christmas on Mars movie, as soon as they work out some scheduling conflicts. . . . And speaking of movies and music, there are a couple interesting collaborations coming down the ol' pipe: Eels frontman E recently completed the score for the upcoming Billy Bob Thornton movie Levity—a sunshine-y story of a parolee trying to make up for killing a teenage store clerk in a botched robbery. And while we thought Analyze This was pretty tragically unfunny, we're thinking sequel Analyze That may have one redeeming feature: ܢer-talented electro- pastiche artist David Holmes—who already did an excellent job on the soundtracks for Out of Sight and Ocean's Eleven—has taken on That's scoring job. . . . The Bitch is back: Freakishly prolific music man Ryan Adams has, according to NME, secretly recorded a hardcore record. Due to contractual obligations with label Lost Highway, Adams can't officially say whether he appears on the Finger's We Are Fuck You with N.Y.C. buddy Jesse Malin, but the ever-crafty one did say, "There may or may not be this band called the Finger that just released a record on vinyl and . . . I don't know . . . I heard that I played on it. Let's leave it at that. I heard that they're good, though." You figure it out, Sherlock. . . . It may have been a Good Year for the Roses, but it was a bad year for the marriage: Elvis Costello and his wife, former Pogues bass player Cait O'Riordan, have amicably called it quits after 16 years together. We wish them lots of luck as singletons.

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