St. Louis-based roots rockers The Bottle Rockets have recently replenished the stock of their long-out-of-print first two albums, Bottle Rockets and The Brooklyn Side. And to celebrate the completion of the remastered two-disc set, the Bottle Rockets (bottlerocketsmusic.com) have not one but two release parties on tap in the region this weekend.
The first touches down at Fall River’s Narrow Center for the Arts Jan. 23, followed by a play in downtown Noho at the Iron Horse Jan. 25. If that weren’t enough, the band will also have the honor of remaining on stage after both sets at both venues so they can back a veritable classic rock legend, Marshall Crenshaw.
“When we first started trying to learn his stuff, it was like, what the heck is this?” Rocket-man Brian Henneman recalled in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch interview. “But now we’re hip to his stylistic moves. So we’ve sort of cracked the Marshall Crenshaw code.”
In other news, the Crawler would like to illuminate the masses on what he calls a tale of two divas. And, like the Dickens classic of yore, it has literally been the best of times for one Mrs. Knowles-Carter, more commonly known as Beyonce, and the worst for the mayor of Monster-ville, Lady Gaga.
The former Destiny’s Child siren stunned the industry last month with a surprise self-titled “visual album” released exclusively on iTunes that went on to become the most successful album launch in Apple history, with 828,773 copies sold in the first three days alone.
Less than a week after setting the musical milestone, Beyonce upped the holiday cheer quotient in a Tewksbury, Mass. Walmart by informing the approximately 750 store patrons that the “first $50 of their holiday shopping” was on her. In addition to amassing a $37,500 tab and gobs of goodwill/press, perhaps pop’s reigning “Queen B” exacted a little revenge on those not down with her master plan, too. You see, not coincidentally, the nation’s largest retail chain—Walmart—also happened to be a staunch supporter of the project, immediately agreeing to carry physical copies of the release as soon as it was offered.
Others like Target considered the cyber-sale a snub and consequently made their prized shelves a “no-buy zone” for her CD seconds.
“While there are many aspects that contribute to our approach and we appreciated partnering with Beyonce in the past, we are primarily focused on offering CDs that will be available in a physical format at the same time as all other formats,” Target explained in a company press release. “At this time, Target will not be carrying Beyonce’s new, self-titled album.
Both stores did accept Lady Gaga’s third studio effort, Artpop. Heck, even China’s Ministry of Culture has rescinded its ban on her, making the sale of the new disc—and others in her catalogue—legal for the first time in three years.
But that hasn’t stopped it from being an unprecedented flop for the “Pokerface”-d popstar. Or sending her into an apologetic tailspin.
After selling a meager 258,000 units in its opening week (some 75 percent less than 2011’s Born This Way, for some perspective), sales of Artpop took an 82-percent nosedive in week two. That’s the biggest second week drop of all CD sales in 2013, and apparently a distinction Gaga did not take lightly.
“Those who have betrayed me gravely mismanaged my time and health and left me on my own to damage control any problems that ensued as a result,” she wrote on a fan site recently as she cleaned house from the top down, including firing longtime manager Troy Carter. “Please forgive me for not seeing this coming. Let me be for you the Goddess that I know I truly am.”
To add insult to injury, Ms. Gaga was also nominated for a Razzie award on Jan. 15 in “recognition” of her acting chops in 2013’s Machete Kills movie.
She’s slated to play Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun (mohegansun.com) May 10.•
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