January 2000
s m u g
ear candy
by Ben Auburn

Wish List for 2000

Resolving things at the beginning of a New Year seems a silly thing to do -- you're making demands on yourself, after all. Here at SMUG, we aim to make demands of somebody else, always have, and New Year is no different. So for the second year in a row -- which qualifies as "annual" by the way -- I hereby offer the Ear Candy Wish List.

Last year we hit about 50-50. I won't run down the entire list, but we did manage to get a fabulous Built to Spill record, two by Prince Paul, and double the number requested from Super Furry Animals. On the other hand, Black Box Recorder's stateside debut was somnambulant, and The Sebadoh wasn't much livelier.

However, we're terminal optimists here at SMUG, and if nothing else, we've always believed our mothers when they said, "It can't hurt to ask." [That "if you can't say something nice" thing, though, is total bullshit.] So, assuming that the world won't end and that power will be restored in a few days, we trust that the music industry will be able to handle a few of our requests.

De La Soul: Not Dead
We were teased with the possibility of the first of De La Soul's three-part Art Official Intelligence starting around July, but it never materialized. Now scheduled for May 2000 (but don't hold your breath), here's hoping that their second Prince Paul-less record brings back some of that familiar lazy-manic De La magic.

What about Bob?
After a much publicized retirement from his loud sound, Bob Mould's been awfully quiet. Apart from a consulting gig for the WWF (or NWO, who bothers fact checking around here?), there's been nary a squeak from the guy. Pleasant memories of a pre-Sugar acoustic tour have started to reverberate, and it's about time Mr. Mould took the twelve-string into the studio and tore his heart out once again.

Bring back the 5
I asked last year and was unheard, it seems. Where's the long-awaited full-length from Jurassic 5? Granted, we got around half of 'em on the half-Latin half-something else Ozomatli disc, but it was nowhere near as satisfying as their terrific Ep, "EP."

British Invasion, 2nd request
Baby Bird continues to languish across the pond, not an exciting addition to US radio charts when Backstreet Britney rules the roost. Still, maybe we're ready to hear good pop music that's not totally chirpy -- bring on Baby Bird's There's Something Going On already. Ditto the debut by The Webb Brothers, which was rumored for March release and now rumored for Not. And what about that last Tindersticks record?

More ketchup, please
Stereolab seems to be grabbing even more accolades for Cobra and Phases than they did for Dots and Loops. Too bad neither of 'em are all that good. Maybe this year they can go into the studio and really play (as in frolic, not generate sound) like they did with the unbelievably, orgiastically good Emperor Tomato Ketchup.

Bastard of Old
Is it too much to ask that Paul Westerberg get over getting old and maybe make a rock record?

End this tyranny of Vinyl!
Not really. But wouldn't it be nice to have the Beastie Boys' Blow Up Factor 12" release compiled on discs as the series progresses? Allow me to answer my own hypothetical question: yes.

Kool Keith will find another collaborator who pisses him off
Keith's prolific as hell, so even though he did two records this year, it doesn't seem a lot to ask him to turn around and do another for 2000. He produces his best work, it seems, with people who eventually alienate him, like Dan the Automator and Dr. Octagonacologyst, whereas his trusted collaborators end up helping him produce tepid stuff like Dr. Dooom. Maybe Prince Paul can coax greatness out of Hip Hop's supreme freak again.

I asked the SMUG staff to weigh in this year -- here's what many of them are looking forward to, or just looking for, in ought-ought:

Leslie poses the burning question: Can Neutral Milk Hotel make a new record good enough to complete a hat trick?

Get Back
We're never satisfied: Sometimes we want our heroes to find the spark -- brought on by joy or misery -- that lit us up in the past. Among those whose past glories we would like to be recaptured: Can't Mark Lanegan repair the damage his last two records did? asks Leslie. Scout especially misses the Vic Chestnut of old, and also asks if Bill Berry can return to REM and make his old band matter.

Compile them and we will come
Todd reminds us all that there are plenty of good bands awaiting the Greatest Hits treatment, including but not limited to Camper Van Beethoven -- as if Cracker and the Monks of Doom could compensate us for the (still catastrophic) loss of CVB. Plus, Todd asks, what about a six-CD box set of Prince -- since the five-disc Crystal Ball was really only three, plus that weird acoustic one, plus the even weirder ballet. Shit, what about just one good Prince CD, while we're asking for the moon. Labels that could stand a retrospective include IRS, 4AD, and Teen Beat.

Where have you gone?
Many of the SMUG staff have risen up . . . in search of favorite artists MIA in '99. For 2000, we'd welcome the return of Wedding Present, Breeders, Devo, Lambchop, Portastatic (superchunk is dead; long live portastatic!), Ass Ponys, Halo Benders, Steve Earle (the rocker, please, not Mr. Bluegrass). . . .

Both Joe and Scout would like (separate but equal) record contracts.

You love me, you really love me
And finally, in 2000, we at SMUG would like those musicians who are secretly in love with us to go public with their affection at long last -- to wit: Juliana Hatfield loves Scout, John Doe digs Leslie, Grace Jones has a jones for Todd (though he claims it's already confirmed), Courtney Love hearts Joe (ditto), Mel C. (that'd be Sporty Spice) is into Josh, Bjork is devoted to Brian, Claudia Gonson of the Magnetic Fields carries a torch for Gregory, and David Bowie can't stop thinking about Ben, you know, that way.

What are you looking forward to this year? Blab away.


in the junk drawer:

and such
and such

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