Zappagram #3

Thank gawd Coachella 2022 is over, Happy bday Ben Bridwell, R.I.P. Cynthia Plaster Caster, and Ray LaMontagne's summer tour kicks off soon

Zappagram #3

Zappagram is the mother of all music newsletters, covering the latest in music news, reviews, interviews, releases, discovery, history, and more.

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Hey everyone,

I hope this update finds you all well, and that you’re enjoying this little slice of musical pizza every week. For tons of music-related (and sometimes silly) content, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook, too.

This past week was a busy one in the world of music.

Let’s get into it!

“The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.” ― Bruce Springsteen

Recent Essays

The latest music essays by Chris Zappa


Eddie Vedder’s Earthling is Out of This World
A stellar offering for his third solo album

The Joshua Tree Turns 35
U2's iconic album is a timeless masterpiece

The Greatest Band You Never Knew Was Named After a Dildo
Bring this up at your next dinner party

10 Awful Songs From Great Bands
They can't all be winners

Bands You Should Know: Tennis
The dynamic husband and wife duo nail ‘70s nostalgia

Music News

The latest happenings in the world of music


Thank gawd, Coachella 2022 is finally over. At last, we can now stop reading about it and constantly experiencing it second-hand through endless coverage via our social media feeds. According to one reporter who attended, the over-priced and over-hyped event really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway, unless you’re a VIP patron. [via Insider]

Smashing Pumpkins fans rejoice! According to guitarist Jeff Schroeder, the band have finished working on their 12th studio release, a double album, comprised of 33 tracks and described as an “epic” follow-up to their earlier double albums Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Cyr. They’re also kicking off a spring tour April 30 in Memphis at the Beale Street Music Festival. [via NME]

Les Claypool, Sean Lennon, Stewart Copeland, and Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hütz have teamed up to release a new track, “Zelensky: The Man With the Iron Balls” which is, obviously, about the brave, fearless leader of Ukraine. The entire proceeds from sales of the track are set to benefit Nova Ukraine, a non-profit organization providing humanitarian relief to Ukraine. You can listen to (and purchase) the track on your platform of choice here. [via Rolling Stone]

On Friday, April 22, Neko Case released a new compilation album including one new track, and a new website (which is really slick) to accompany the release. The website includes essays on Case written by Susan Orlean, Shirley Manson, David Byrne, Jason Isbell, Jeff Tweedy, and Sasha Frere-Jones, to name just a few. If you’re a Neko Case fan, it’s definitely worth a few clicks to check this out. [via]

In a recent interview with Heavy Consequence, Perry Ferrell spoke about his plans for Jane’s Addiction to record new material as soon as possible and that they want to tour later this year. If nothing else, the band will definitely be performing at Lollapalooza in Chicago, July 28-31. [via Consequence]

Metallica guitarist, Kirk Hammett, just released Portals, his first solo EP, which he says shows a musical side of him “much bigger than what people see in Metallica.” After listening to the EP, I can say that while still being heavy-leaning, the music does not sound like Metallica, but the guitar work is unmistakably Kirk Hammett which, as we all know, is a good thing. The third track and highlight here is “High Plains Drifter” which sounds like it would fit nicely into the soundtrack of a Tarantino-directed western. [via Billboard]

Cynthia “Plaster Caster” Albritton died last week at the age of 74. Albritton made a name for herself in the late ‘60s when she began making plaster casts of famous male rock star’s penises. She started with Jimi Hendrix, the master of the Stratocaster himself, but would go on to do casts of Wayne Kramer from the MC5, Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks (punny coincidence,) Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, among dozens of others. In later years, she began making plaster casts of breasts belonging to Laetitia Sadler of Stereolab, Peaches, and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. [via LA Times]

In celebration of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot turning 20, Wilco sold out a series of six anniversary shows, playing the album in its entirety, exactly as it was recorded. In the performances, the band didn’t leave out a single static pop, tink, thud, or feedback squall — they played the whole album, front to back, verbatim. For one of the rare albums to earn a rating of 10 from Pitchfork, Jayson Greene writing for the same publication put it well when he said, “Twenty years later, it still plays like a dream a rock album is having.” I couldn’t have said it better. [via Pitchfork]

Heavy Rotation

Great music, new and old, getting lots of spins



Neko Case: Wild Creatures [listen]


patchnotes: Golden Hour [listen]


Feist: The Reminder [listen]


Flock of Dimes: “Spring in Winter” [listen]


Monophonics: “Love You Better” [listen]


Tom Waits: “Chicago” [listen]

Video Spotlight

See it to believe it


Watch Houston, Texas’ very own Khruangbin perform a beautiful set on Austin City Limits. I’ve recently fallen in love with this band. The first song they perform here is one of my favorites, but the second track is such a daaamn smooth groove, I could listen to it for hours. [via YouTube]

New Releases

These albums have recently dropped


- APRIL 15 -

Neko Case
Wild Creatures [listen]

Conspiranoid [listen]

Everything Was Beautiful [listen]

- APRIL 23 -

Kirk Hammett
Portals [listen]

Upcoming Releases

These albums are coming soon


- APRIL 29 -

Bloc Party
Alpha Games

Karen Elson

Parov Stelar
Moonlight Love Affair

Profound Mysteries

Skylar Grey
Skylar Grey

The Head And The Heart
Every Shade of Blue

- MAY 6 -

Arcade Fire

Sharon Van Etten
We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Suki Waterhouse
I Can’t Let Go

- MAY 13 -

The Black Keys
Dropout Boogie

Florence and the Machine
Dance Fever

Sage Motel

The Smile
A Light For Attracting Attention

On the Horizon

Upcoming albums with no release date yet


Smashing Pumpkins Butthole Surfers The Cure Lana Del Rey Todd Rundgren

Tour Updates

The latest tour news and announcements


Bob Dylan just announced new dates for west coast shows in May and June.

Ray LaMontagne hits the road with 25 dates booked in May and June.

Tori Amos kicks off her 34-stop North American tour on April 27 in Dallas.

Flock of Dimes has a limited number of intimate shows beginning April 28 in Asheville, NC. (Personally, this would make my “don’t miss this” list.)

Monophonics drops a new album and launches a limited-date tour in May.

Smashing Pumpkins have 19 upcoming dates starting April 30, going through the end of May. (15 of those are U.S. dates, with 4 shows in Mexico.)

Khruangbin has tons of U.S. dates (and many international ones) starting April 29 and running through October. Plus, their website is as groovy as their music. Dig it.

On This Date

Musical happenings of historical significance

Note: Some days get multiple entries below for being a big day in music.


April 19, 2012

Multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Levon Helm of The Band dies at the age of 71 after battling throat cancer.

April 20, 1992

“A Concert For Life” takes place at Wembley Stadium as a tribute to Queen singer Freddie Mercury and for AIDS awareness. Among the acts that appeared were Elton John, Roger Daltrey, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, David Bowie, James Hetfield, George Michael, Seal, Paul Young, Annie Lennox, Robert Plant, Axl Rose and Slash.

April 21, 1947 (1)

Legendary punk icon Iggy Pop is born in Muskegon, Michigan.

April 21, 1959 (2)

Robert Smith of The Cure is born in Blackpool, England.

April 21, 2016 (3)

Prince is found dead at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota at the age of 57.

April 22, 2013

Richie Havens, the legendary folk singer who opened the 1969 Woodstock festival, dies at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey of a heart attack at 72.

April 23, 1976

The Ramones release their eponymous debut album on Sire Records. Their record company pays just $125 for the now famous photo of the four band members leaning against a brick wall in NYC that became the iconic album cover.

April 24, 1976

Paul and Linda McCartney spend the evening with John Lennon at his New York Dakota apartment and watch Saturday Night Live on TV. SNL producer, Lorne Michaels, makes an offer on air, asking The Beatles to turn up and play live. Lennon and McCartney consider taking a cab to the studio, but decide they are too tired. This is the last time the two hung out together.

April 25, 1978 (1)

Band of Horses bandleader, singer, songwriter extraordinaire and one of the nicest guys in all of rock and roll, Ben Bridwell is born in Irmo, South Carolina. Happy birthday, bud!

April 25, 1974 (2)

Pamela Courson, long-term companion of the late Jim Morrison, dies at 27 of a heroin overdose. It was Courson who found Morrison dead in the bathtub of their Paris apartment three years earlier.

Off Topic

May or may not be music-related



Tornados often plague the southern and mid-western states, but did you know that a tornado tore a path through Los Angeles in 1983? Neither did I. The more you know… [via YouTube]


Taylor Swift now has the honorable distinction of having a newly discovered species of millipede named after her. I think I’d rather have the honor of having a constellation named after me, à la David Bowie, but whatevs. [via Stereogum]


On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the comedic commentator rips concert ticket behemoth Ticketmaster a new one for their shady business practices resulting in horribly overpriced concert tickets. One shouldn’t need to sell a vital organ or take out a second mortgage just to see their favorite band live. [via YouTube]


Spin Magazine has a great feature on their website called “5 Albums I Can’t Live Without” where they interview a wide variety of artists on their favorite albums of all time. I’ve discovered some real gems, both new and old, from those featured. Highly recommended. [via Spin]


Question of the week


What was the first concert you attended? Leave a response and let me know what your first show was, when and where it was, and what it meant to you.

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share it with friends and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more great music-related content.

Have an excellent week, everybody!

Peace and love,
CZ 🤘🏻