When The Baseball Project‘s Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey paid a visit to the XPN studios last month, they promised they’d be back for a full band show sometime in the not too distant future. Sure enough, a full-band show has just been announced for World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Monday, July 28th. Arriving just a few week’s after the MLB’s own mid-summer classic, The Baseball Project’s starting lineup will include Wynn and McCaughey (also known as founders of The Dream Syndicate and Minus 5, respectively), utility drummer Linda Pitmon (The Miracle 3) and bassist Mike Mills (now a free agent following the 2011 breakup of R.E.M.). The crew just released a stellar new album, 3rd (Yep Roc), whose songs range from the historical (“Pascual On The Perimeter” and “The Day Dock Went Hunting Heads”) to the personal (“Box Scores” and “The Baseball Card Song”). If past Baseball Project shows are any indication, classics from each member’s other bands and some choice covers are sure to be in the mix as well. Tickets will be available here (they go on sale Friday 5/9 at 10a.m.). Stream 3rd below:
Thom Yorke, Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco waltzed into Temple University’s Liacouras Center last night to begin the North American Atoms for Peace tour. It was no ordinary night for rock: you had members of the three “R’s” – Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and R.E.M. – joining forces. It was also not ordinary since Philadelphia failed to show these music luminaries the respect they deserved.
The venue was far from capacity – and only half of the University’s basketball arena was used in the first place – with the general admission floor not sold out and the top sections being a semi-barren wasteland. And the clientele who did come did not seem to understand an encore break – scores left after the first encore when it should have been quite obvious Yorke and company were about to return and lay down some more serious alternative beats. Despite the negatives, Atoms for Peace played a solid and impressive set, drawing on their album, Yorke’s solo album The Eraser, and a few other choice cuts, like Radiohead’s “Paperbag Writer” and UNKLE’s “Rabbit in Your Headlights.”
Yorke and Flea bounced about the stage with their childlike abandon aided by the one-two percussive punch of Waronker and Refosco and the keys and strings of Godrich. And with it being a Yorke-led band, the lighting was bound to amaze with its rich reds, blues, and greens bathing the electronica and rock amalgam with a touch of otherworldliness. And as the show came to a close with a stunning combo of “Atoms for Peace” and “Black Swan,” during which Flea brandished a Temple basketball jersey to cover his skirt/kilt apparel from earlier, the power of the message implied in the band’s title comes into clear focus: amongst the turmoil and din of the everyday, one will find a unifying beat of peace. The future cities to be visited will hopefully be more open and understanding for this experience than our own Philadelphia.
Artists Project Earth (APE) is an international organization that, according to their website, “has funded over 300 projects and awareness-raising initiatives around the world that combat climate change and develop local resilience and solutions to climate injustice – and gives emergency funding for natural disaster relief.” Some of APE’s projects have been collaborations with musicians resulting in three fundraising albums to date including Rhythms Del Mundo Cuba, Rhythms Del Mundo Classics and Rhythms Del Mundo Revival. Next Tuesday Rhythms Del Mundo Africa is being released. It includes contributions from Coldplay, R.E.M., Fleet Foxes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mumford & Sons, Aloe Blacc, Beyonce, Eminem, and others, along with African musicians including Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré Band and Rokia Traoré. Listen to the album below. Go here for more information.
Tomorrow evening (Tuesday, November 15th), XPN Welcomes John Wesley Harding to World Cafe Live with The King Charles Trio and The Minus Five. John has a new album that he recorded in Portland called The Sound Of His Own Voice, which was released on October 11th. The album was produced by Harding and Scott McCaughey (The Minus Five, The Baseball Project, R.E.M.) and features the King Charles Trio, (John Moen, Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee and Nate Query of The Decemberists), Peter Buck of R.E.M. and McCaughey. All of them are currently out on the road with Harding and will be performing tomorrow evening. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, listen to a couple songs from John’s recent album.
“To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.” R.E.M. In their own words: The guys share their thoughts on why now:
“During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, ‘what next’? Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.
“We have always been a band in the truest sense of the word. Brothers who truly love, and respect, each other. We feel kind of like pioneers in this–there’s no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.”
“A wise man once said–’the skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave.’ We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we’re going to walk away from it.
“I hope our fans realize this wasn’t an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way.
“We have to thank all the people who helped us be R.E.M. for these 31 years; our deepest gratitude to those who allowed us to do this. It’s been amazing.”
“One of the things that was always so great about being in R.E.M. was the fact that the records and the songs we wrote meant as much to our fans as they did to us. It was, and still is, important to us to do right by you. Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you.
“Mike, Michael, Bill, Bertis, and I walk away as great friends. I know I will be seeing them in the future, just as I know I will be seeing everyone who has followed us and supported us through the years. Even if it’s only in the vinyl aisle of your local record store, or standing at the back of the club: watching a group of 19 year olds trying to change the world.”
Below, check out some performances from R.E.M. at various venues in Philly.