Cobain Plays... Bon Jovi?
This week we saw the new Guitar Hero 5 featuring the late Kurt Cobain. Who approved this? Who knows, but no one is willing to take credit for the avatar, which once unlocked can move beyond the Nirvana catalog and plays tunes by Bush, Bon Jovi and other bands Mr. Cobain would have likely never covered without a slight ironic half-smile on his face. Stereogum aggregates the fallout, which pitted Courtney Love against Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Activision. "Courtney Love very calmly took to Twitter to call out Activision and threaten filing suit. In her words: 'FOR THE RECORD I DID NOT APPROVE KURTS AVATAR FOR GUYITARHERO5. i think Kurt would despise this game alone let alone this avatar ... WE are going to sue the shit out of ACtivision we being the Trust the Estate the LLC the various LLCs Cobain Enterprises'." Once the internet got a hold of all this, a statement from Grohl and Novoselic landed in our inbox, stating in part, "We want people to know that we are dismayed and very disappointed in the way a facsimile of Kurt is used in the Guitar Hero game. The name and likeness of Kurt Cobain are the sole property of his estate—we have no control whatsoever in that area. It's hard to watch an image of Kurt pantomiming other artists' music alongside cartoon characters. Kurt Cobain wrote songs that hold a lot of meaning to people all over the world. We feel he deserves better."

Ryan Adams Returns
Ryan Adams has come a long way since singing "New York, New York" on the Saturday Night Live stage in post-9/11 2001, or for that matter, since his alt-country band Whiskeytown. Currently married to Mandy Moore, contributing to the Awl and showing artwork around town, the ambitious multi-talent is has also published a new book, titled HelloSunshine. On September 25th he'll be joining Mary Louise Parker (Weeds) at the New York Public Library to discuss his latest penned piece. Tickets are still on sale, get yours here. [via The Modern Age]

Gordon Does Brooklyn
Two things: The Phish "community" is a decadent, ridiculous joke, and Phish bassist Mike Gordon is phenomenal. You gotta take the good with the gross, as we were reminded Tuesday night when Gordon brought his four piece band to the Musical Hall of Williamsburg and inadvertently transformed North Sixth Street into a grotesque, neo-hippy parking lot, replete with nitrous oxide vendors brazenly peddling balloons on the sidewalk. But once inside, Gordon somehow made you unashamed to be there, playing a characteristically eclectic mix of white-boy blues, pop/jam fusion, and groovy cow funk.

The highlight of the night was the encore, a far-left-field cover of Radiohead's "15 Step," nestled like warm chocolate nougat inside Gordon original "Andelmans' Yard," the standout track on his last solo album. The bust-out was riveting and perfectly executed, but it also gave the game away a little on the rest of the set, which had a tendency to slip into forgettable bluesy vamping. (Exhibit A: The cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Swamp Music," which Gordon jokingly acknowledged as the source material for Phish warhorse "Possum.") Gordon's responsible for some of the best songs in the Phish repertoire, but there's a tension missing from some of his new compositions, and it was impossible for a phan to watch the gray-haired Scott Murawski skillfully jamming on a red hollow body guitar and not think at some point, "Thank God Phish got back together."

It surprising that Gordon would go so far to evoke the Phish line-up of keyboard (Tom Cleary), drums (Todd Isler), and guitar (there's also percussionist Craig Myers stage left)—you'd think such an eclectic musician might branch out with a different musical arrangement after decades with Phish. But on Tuesday night, the first gig of the tour, Gordon and company often escaped the curse of familiarity and found the sweet spot in a well-balanced groove. In other moments, the show was merely agreeable. But it could be a nitrous oxide balloon was the missing element to bridge that gap. - John Del Signore

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