Black Gold

A local blues duo makes the Shortlist's short list.

Cowslingers CD release party, with Lords of the Highway The Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road 9 p.m. Saturday, September 6, $6, 216-383-1124.
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler opened wide at - Blossom last Wednesday. - Walter  Novak
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler opened wide at Blossom last Wednesday.

White-hot Akron blues-subversives the Black Keys just vaulted further into the stratosphere: They're among the 10 finalists for the 2003 Shortlist Music Prize. The band edged out such stiff competition as Beck (who chose the Keys to play his summer tour), Gillian Welch, and Blur to place in the company of fellow finalists Sigur Rós, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Interpol.

The props, says Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, come as no surprise.

"We rip so hard and rule so much that we expected to be on the Shortbus Awards," he says.

The Shortlist Awards were established in 2001 with the intent of exposing "left-of-center" artists who have sold fewer than 500,000 copies of their latest release. The competition's two previous winners were Sigur Rós and N.E.R.D.

This year, 16 artists, writers, and directors nominated 80 discs for the equivalent of an ultra-hip Grammy. The panel included Dave Matthews, Tori Amos, Perry Farrell, Tom Waits, Flea, and Erykah Badu.

The Keys will perform October 5 at the 2003 Shortlist Concert in Los Angeles. The winner will be announced at the end of the concert; MTV2 will air an edited version at later dates.

· 'Head games: Kevin Jardine, guitarist for the international metal phenomenon that is Slaves on Dope, took time out from his group's busy schedule to slag hometown faves Mushroomhead for allegedly stealing his group's idea to cover Seal's 1991 adult-contemporary hit single, "Crazy."

"We were at the same management firm when we did the demos for [the new Slaves on Dope album]," Jardine told the popular metal website "If you check . . . you'll see that the song was listed for our record. I guess Mushroomhead liked what we did."

Mushroomhead drummer Skinny laughs at the accusation.

"The only reason we did that song was that we were working with [producer-engineer] Matt Wallace. He suggested the song," he says. "The band definitely didn't know about Slaves on Dope. If they had the same management, we didn't know it. October 23 will be 10 years that Mushroomhead have been playing together. Who are Slaves on Dope again?"

"Crazy" will appear as a hidden bonus track on Mushroomhead's album XIII, due out October 14 on Universal. Skinny says that the group also recorded Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath," the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony," and a bleak version of Prince's "When Doves Cry" that he likens to Marilyn Manson's take on the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)."

· Cleveland's Tim Tobias is no longer bassist for the indie rock-critic-darlings Guided by Voices. Neither the band nor Tobias has explained the split yet; the Guided by Voices website simply announces new touring bassists for a fall tour.

Tobias is likely to land on his feet. In addition to duty in Guided by Voices, he has spent the past several years playing guitar and singing with the underrated Cleveland rock combo Gem. He also played guitar in Robert Pollard's Circus Devils project, along with his brother Todd.

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