Local Current Blog

Today’s Music News: J Dilla’s beatmaking boards go to the Smithsonian, and more

J Dilla's mother with her son's gear. Photo courtesy Smithsonian Institution.

Beat-making equipment used by hip-hop producer J Dilla will join Dorothy’s red slippers, Julia Child’s kitchen, and the Star-Spangled Banner in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. The late musician’s mother will donate her son’s equipment to the National Museum of African American Arts and History, the new Smithsonian museum currently being constructed on the Mall. J Dilla, who died of lupus in 2006 at the age of 32, came out of the Detroit underground scene and went on to work with artists including the Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, and De La Soul. (Pitchfork) Watch the announcement, at the July 17 DC Loves Dilla benefit concert:

Good news about Tim Alexander, the Primus/Puscifer drummer who suffered a heart attack last week. Alexander underwent open-heart surgery on Monday, and Primus announced that “The Mighty Tim ‘Herb’ Alexander has pulled through surgery, the blockage from his heart has been removed with no complications and all signs point to a glorious and speedy recovery.” (Billboard)

Where’s Casey Kasem‘s body? While a dispute between the late DJ’s widow and his three children over the disposal of Kasem’s remains is being resolved, said remains are being stored in an undisclosed location. The radio icon died last month at the age of 82. (Rolling Stone)

A confrontation between the Westboro Baptist Church and Panic! at the Disco escalated into a small but heated protest outside the band’s Sunday night concert in Kansas City, Missouri. The conflict began last week when the church released a video parodying the band’s 2006 single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” changing the lyrics to convey anti-gay messages that the band found deeply offensive. The band pledged to donate $20 to the Human Rights Campaign for each member of the church who showed up to protest at the show, but when only 13 protesters materialized, the band raised their donation to “an even $1,000” plus 5% of merch sales from that show. (Rolling Stone)

Kanye West says he has a new album coming out this fall and that he’ll release an initial single soon. In an interview with GQ, West credited his new bride Kim Kardashian with giving him “skill sets” that will help him take his already wildly successful career to the next level. “Starting now,” he says, “you’re just starting to see a glimmer of what the idea of West will mean.” (Pitchfork)

Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr announced that he’ll be releasing Playland, his second solo album—the follow-up to last year’s The Messenger—on October 6. A press release indicated the album will contain “songs that move at the speed of life,” but stopped short of promising any changes in “the idea of Marr.” (Consequence of Sound)

There’s a new trailer for the James Brown biopic Get On Up, scheduled for local release on August 1.

In other music/movie news, Beyoncé is going to have something—as yet unspecified—to do with the Fifty Shades of Grey movie (Rolling Stone), and Lifetime has re-cast the lead of its upcoming Aaliyah biopic after the late singer’s estate protested the casting of original lead Zendaya Coleman. In fact, Aaliayah’s estate has protested just about every other aspect of the production as well, saying the singer “deserves to have a tribute much more grand than a television network debut that won’t even consider the perspectives of those who were closest to Aaliyah.” (Consequence of Sound)

The video that launched one of recent years’ most enduring memes is a lot harder to come by: likely due to a copyright claim, YouTube has blocked the orginal “RickRoll’D” video, after 71 million views, in several countries including the United States. Rick Astley has thus far declined to comment. (Billboard)

In local music news, a show has been booked for July 28 at the 400 Bar’s new Mall of America incarnation, which now seems to be called the “400 Gallery.” The show, by Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden, is four days earlier than the only performance previously booked at the venue: an August 1 gig by Denny Laine. (Local Current)