10/31/2008

Goodbye Rocktober...

We'll miss you. See ya in '09.

Diminishing Returns: The Current State of Music

Whenever discussing one of our favorite topics—which are currently politics, baseball, music; in that order—we find ourselves lamenting the lower standards in all of these. But what is at the root of this situation? Are politicians less challenging and ambitious or are people simply more narcissistic? (i.e. voting not necessarily for resume or intellect but for someone that resembles them and/or with whom they’d like to have a beer with); has the expansion of the American pastime, with now 30 teams in Major League Baseball, diluted the pool of available talent and as such compromised the quality of the sport? Are people more susceptible to crappy artists and their disposable music more than before?

(For the record, politics: the latter; baseball: yes; music: yes.)

Regarding the third category, when we refer to sub par music we’re not talking about the stuff within the parameters of the Britneysphere. That junk has always been around and always will be; the packaging gets changed every few years and presto! No, we’re alluding to the fresh-faced upstarts that everyone seems to be bringing up in conversation lately, of which we have very little or no interest in.

Since we write about music and pop culture here, we felt we’d be remiss if we didn’t put in the time to check out these artists that the likes of Pitchfork, Stereogum and the rest of the hipper than thou blogosphere are always going on about. Boring exercise in futility it turned out to be, for the most part. Why? Well, it doesn’t help that we’re not won over by any of these amateurish upstarts. (And before you get off on a ‘hey, they don’t all have to be musos’ rant, can we state that The Ramones were amateurish but had lotsa heart? And tunes, too.) This latest batch of newcomers seem to approach making music as something to do while they figure out where to go for an MBA; a 'first job out of college' experience, if you will. Zzzz.

But, here’s the more important and determining issue: in the end, none of these bands will be around 5 years from now—oh, XL Records: so much to answer for—either by design or as a result of the fickle nature of their increasingly pliable fanbases, which are either bored or—depending on the speed and level of notoriety gained by the artist in question—consumed by the spirit of backlash 6 months into the artists’ arrival on the scene. Despite a band’s ardent desire to make a realistic go of it, no one with that kind of following can aspire to any sort of longevity. Of course, we suspect that these artists have no intent to do so, and their fans, cut from the same cloth of ADD, know this and react accordingly.

So, tell us again why we should give a damn.

The Double Album, RIP?

Frankly, with so many artists barely able to put out one album's worth of halfway decent music this one's a no-brainer. But, you know, hope springs eternal, and all that.

Inspired by The Cure's recent double album nixing by their label, The Guardian weighs in on the subject.

Zep's New Singer?

Myles Kennedy formerly of The Mayfield Four and Alterbridge--aka Creed 2.0, heh heh--is rumored to be at the top of the list of candidates to front Led Zeppelin for an upcoming tour.

While original frontman Robert Plant has told the press he'd be taking 2 years off from any touring commitments, solo and otherwise, sources inform us that at the heart of Plant's decision not to tour with Zeppelin is his inability to properly sing many of the band's classic tunes, and thus, to not shortchange the band's fans. Quite noble, indeed.

Meanwhile, we have a question: how is it that the 1980 death of drummer John Bonham precluded the remaining members from continuing but now they have no problem cashing in without their iconic lead singer as well?

(PS: If Alterbridge is inactive during that Zep reunion could it mean the return of Creed??!!)

The Jackson 4?

The Jacksons will reunite in 2009 sans guess who?

Happy Halloween!

Don't ruin yours and everyone else's by picking lame subjects to dress up as.

Like these 3 dudes doing "Flight of the Conchords" whose concept is as lame as FoC is unfunny:




The 3 chicks version is no better:

Yikes!
[photos courtesy of Pop Candy]

10/30/2008

Magical Mystery Game

The Beatles will join video gaming culture with their own upcoming venture into that market. But instead of simply licensing their music to one of the existing music-related video games out there—Guitar Hero, Rock Band, etc—a brand new game will be designed for Fab Four, with its music content supervised by Giles Martin, who oversaw the Love album and is the son of famed Beatles producer George Martin. None of the music tracks included will be remixed or remastered versions. The game is due to be released for the 2009 holiday season.

Joaquin Phoenix Quits Hollywood

The 34 year old actor has tired of movie-making and is said to be concentrating on music from here on in. According to Charlatans UK frontman Tim Burgess, who is collaborating with Phoenix on an upcoming album, “Once he learnt guitar he found that he had quite a lot of demons inside himself that he wanted to expel through music.” Phoenix played the legendary Johnny Cash on the big screen in 2005’s Walk the Line.

Hey, if this turns out to be interesting, maybe Greg Dulli can play him in the movie.

What We're Listening To

THE BEATLES self-titled [aka The White Album] (Parlophone)
THE PRETENDERS self-titled (Sire)
RADIOHEAD OK Computer (Parlophone)
STEELY DAN A Decade of… (MCA)
MIKE STERN Upside Downside (Atlantic)


What are YOU listening to?

We Are Soooo in the Wrong Business

Those overflowing with cash are paying anywhere from $50 to $250/hr for audio stylists to program different playlists for their homes, depending on the room, mood and/or time of day. “I love that I don’t have to think about what to put on. It’s already done for me,” says one happy homeowner. “Does This Song Match My Sofa?” indeed.

RIP

Painter, jazz vocalist and actress Esthelle Reiner—wife of Carl, mother of Rob—best known for her iconic scene in When Harry Met Sally (“I'll have what she’s having”) passed away at her Beverly Hills home on October 25th. She was 94.

First Yes, Now Zep?

Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, to the BBC about the increasing possibility of hitting the road sans lead singer Robert Plant:

"We want to do it. It's sounding great and we want to get and get out there. It's got to be right. There's no point in just finding another Robert."

We're speechless.

10/29/2008

Seen Your Videos

MTV has set up MTVmusic.com (what genius came up with that one?) where they now have some 16,000 videos available for viewing, from David Bowie's "Space Oddity" to Britney Spears' "Womanizer". More clips are being added daily.

Here's an old fave that pays tribute to our neck of the woods:


By Any Other Name

In an effort to make Seattle a music mecca, a new initiative geared towards having the city considered “a home to music business, musicians and live music" will include a $13,000 yearly grant by the Sub Pop label to help new, developing artists “get their music business ideas off the ground”.

Um, isn’t that called a record deal?

Happy Birthday

Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon hit the big 5-0 on Oct. 27th; actress Winona Ryder (37) on Oct. 29th.

10/28/2008

Runnin' Away

Behind the Scenes at a Sly Stone show
by Gabe Meline

The insane circumstances surrounding Sly Stone's bizarre appearance in Santa Rosa on Friday, Oct 18, were told to me by several people involved with the show. Crazy doesn't begin to describe it. Here's how it went down.

The morning of the show, Sly Stone is in Los Angeles. He fires his business manager. Sly tells the promoter that he's his own boss now,that he's the one who's going to get paid at the show and that he needs $3000 wired to the bank account of an Iranian BMW saleswoman before he'll even get on the plane to San Francisco.


And about that plane: it was supposed to arrive from Los Angeles at 11:30am. no Sly. The limo waits at the airport. Sly's next flight becomes 1:30pm, then 2:30pm, 3:30pm and 5:30pm. No one can get a hold of him at all. The promoter drives to the airport in the slim hope that Sly might walk through one of the gates.

Finally, at 7:30 pm, with his young Japanese girlfriend in tow, the 65-year-old Sly shows up at the airport. He's an hour and a half away from the show - which starts in a half hour - and he demands to go to the hotel. The young girlfriend finally talks him out of it, and he agrees to go to the show, but he's still talking about getting paid. He sleeps all the way to Santa Rosa.

Sly doesn't hit the stage at the Wells Fargo Center until 10:30pm, during the fifth song of the set. He walks off the stage 25 minutes later in the middle of "I Wanna Take You Higher,"telling the crowd, "I gotta go take a piss, I'll be right back." But Sly never comes back. The band continues on without him, killing time for 30 minutes. During the last song, a man appears on the stage, whispering into band members' ears.

Meanwhile, backstage, Sly is demanding to be paid.

The show is still going on, and the promoters are telling his handlers to get him back out to perform more. But his handlers know the drill. It’s been this way for years. What can they do? Before the show is over, Sly is out in the parking lot, still in his white suit, trying to get into the promoter’s car. All the doors are plainly locked, but he keeps trying.

Finally, a woman drives by, picks him and his Japanese girlfriend up, and they whiz away. Word of his departure gets inside. It’s not too hard to figure out what the man on stage was whispering to the band. How about: Sly’s making a getaway? How about: Sly’s driving off right now? How about: You’d better chase after him if you want to get paid?

And after quickly finishing the song and exiting the stage, that’s exactly what they do. The band members pile into their cars and find Sly precisely where they thought he’d be: The Fountaingrove Hilton. Except he’s not in his room. All the rooms are reserved under the business manager’s name, whom Sly fired that morning. So Sly’s there, fuming about not being able to get into his room, when the rest of his band suddenly pulls up. “Get me out of here,” he’s heard telling his driver, and they peel out.

It’s not an uncommon sight to see cars racing down Mendocino Avenue one a Friday night. But it’s a different story altogether when the lead car giving chase contains an absolute funk music legend, pursued by five more cars driven by band members , some of whom have played with him for 40 years and are actual family members. Six cars race down the street, weaving in and out of lanes. Finally, past midnight, Sly’s car is cornered at a gas station. A long stand-off ensues between him and the band while the young Japanese girl cries hysterically in the car. A gas station on Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa. That’s where it all falls apart. At press time, no one can get a hold of Sly Stone - not his management, not his band mates, not his family. The last anyone sees of him, he’s headed south on Highway 101. Everyone’s got a pretty good idea how he’s spending the money, but no one knows where he is.

And no one ever wants to play with him again.

[Thanks to regular contributor Greg Casseus for the heads up.]

New Releases

Debuting this week are:

RYAN ADAMS and the CARDINALS Cardinology (Lost Highway)
BLOC PARTY Intimacy (Atlantic)
RY COODER The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed (Rhino)
THE CURE 4:13 Dream (Geffen)
LIVING COLOUR CBGB-Omfug Masters (CBGB)

10/24/2008

O Say Can You Rock and Roll

Texas power trio Los Lonely Boys (of #1 hit "Heaven" fame) did a great job performing the US national anthem a cappella at Game 2 of the World Series at the Tampa Bay Rays' Tropicana Park and overshadowed the previous night's Nick Carter, who accompanied by 3 of his former Backstreet Boys offered up a cheesy rendition of the same. (The Rays won the second game 4-2 after losing 3-2 on opening night.)

The Backstreet Boys performance was reminiscent of The Simpsons' "New Kids on the Blecch" episode when Bart, Milhouse, Nelson and Ralph joined boy band the Party Posse and sang the song "Drop Da Bomb" with its suspicios "Yvan Eht Nioj" lyric. Except Bart and co. were better and funny on purpose.

10/23/2008

In Doug We Trust


DOUG GILLARD
Southpaw
Brooklyn, NY - 10/22/08

When it comes to the music business, October in NYC means only one thing: the College Music Journal’s annual conference and showcase, for which, in one of yesterday’s posts, we showed our mildly restrained, long-held contempt. Not gonna take it back, but we’ll acknowledge CMJ sometimes does come through for the greater good.

Taking the Southpaw stage close to midnight after performing at an earlier CMJ-related gig in Manhattan, the former Guided By Voices guitarist clearly demonstrated why he’s such a respected figure amongst fellow musicians and diehards: a gifted six-stringer with killer chops who always defers to the song and its arrangement, but despite possessing a keen sense of the classic Who and Kinks canons, is talented enough to be his own man within those tight margins. No wonder Bob Pollard worked with him for so long.

Gillard was ably-accompanied by a solid 3-piece band, performing a top-notch 45 min set for an enthusiastic audience that took much pleasure in the healthy helping of tunes from his upcoming release, as well as his stellar solo debut album Salamander. (“Valpolicella” and “Me & the Wind”, from the latter, were among the evening’s most memorable moments.) Gillard brought the evening to an end with his best-known composition to date: a rousing rendition of the GbV classic “I Am a Tree”, which reminded us how much we miss Uncle Bob’s bunch of loveable misfits, but also how lucky we are to have a musician and songwriter with Gillard’s ample gifts to keep looking forward to.

Rock and Roll Glossary: Power Pop

Term coined by The Who’s Pete Townshend in 1967 to describe his band’s musical output at the time. Many consider the tracks "I Can't Explain", "The Kids Are Alright", and "Substitute", from 1965-1966, to be the first true examples of the subgenre, which would explain why subsequent power pop acts—especially those who lean equally on both sides of this musical equation—may have noticeable elements of The Who’s sound in their music. (Special mention must be made of the influence of early Kinks on future power poppers, as well. The Who, in turn were influenced by The Beatles and American R&B. )

Power pop’s main characteristics are highly melodic, (mostly) guitar-driven songs with a penchant for prominent vocal harmony married to classic pop sensibility. Among those associated with this style of music are Big Star (‘70s cult figures whose influence cast a large shadow over subsequent practioners of power pop), Fountains of Wayne, Jellyfish, The Posies, The Raspberries, Todd Rundgren, Squeeze, Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub, XTC.


Classic examples of power pop include:

Badfinger / "No Matter What" (1970)
The Raspberries / "Go All The Way" (1972)
Big Star
/ "September Gurls" (1974)
The Cars
/ "Just What I Needed" (1978)
The Records
/ "Starry Eyes" (1979)
The Knack / "My Sharona" (1979)
Cheap Trick
/ "I Want You To Want Me" [live] (1979)
Rick Springfield / "Jessie's Girl" (1981)
Tommy Tutone
/ "867-5309 (Jenny)" (1982)
Weezer / "Buddy Holly" (1994)

10/22/2008

The Death of the Devil Horns Salute

We still flash it—sans irony, of course—but our metal-inclined buddies (among them Woody High from hard-rockin' mofos Mighty High) have been sounding the deathknell of the iconic hand gesture for some time now. Finally, there's tangible proof:

New Guns 'n' Roses Single Hits Airwaves

And here it is: the title track from the upcoming—for real this time—Chinese Democracy.



So what do YOU think?

Meanwhile, Billboard’s got reaction from radio programmers all over the country.

Why is J. J. Abrams Directing Star Trek?


The Star Trek OGs: Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy)

We’re not sci-fi geeks by any stretch of the imagination. Never been into Star Wars, Space:1999, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, etc etc etc. But, there’s a special place near and dear to our hearts when it comes to writer Gene Roddenberry’s best known creation. And while we enjoyed a bit of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, when we’re talking Star Trek, we’re all about the original TV series (1966-1969), and a couple of the feature films made by the original cast, namely, 1986’s The Voyage Home and 1991’s excellent The Undiscovered Country. (The latter we recommended to anyone who enjoys a good whodunit, even if they dislike science fiction. Oh, and yes, Shatner rules, by the way.)

But the question is—aside from all his current Hollywood blockbuster clout—why is a man who never much liked the franchise and has higher regard for the 1999 Trek satire Galaxy Quest—which, admittedly, was funny—than the real deal, helming a Batman/Superman-like return of the iconic sci-fi adventure to cool and hip status? No, we’re not being naïve. Just wondering if there was another equally talented, box office-proven director—since that’s all Hollywood cares about—that would be more sympathetic to the material. That’s all we’re saying.

Live long and prosper.

CMJ Conference Underway in NYC

Yeah, well...whatever. [yawn]

For Those About to...Not! (We Don't Blame You)


AC/DC
Black Ice
[Columbia-2008]

We didn’t know Allison Stewart dabbled in music criticism. After a 1991-93 stint, she left MTV News for the real thing—or what passes for it these days—and became an award-winning journalist (Emmy, Peabody) we kinda assumed that was the end of her professional relationship with the world of music.

So imagine our surprise when we came across her Washington Post
review of the new AC/DC album Black Ice. Especially since she starts things off noting how the band “hasn't made a great album since For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”—actually, they haven’t made a great album since the undeniable classic Back in Black [Atlantic-1980]; FTABTR was OK but the last decent one was Flick of the Switch [Atlantic-1983], which was a cool quarter century ago—and proceeds to disparage Black Ice’s producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Stone Temple Pilots) for his work on the most recent Bruce Springsteen records, before raving about O’Brien’s job here.

Stewart also seems astounded by the fact that AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson is 61 years old (well, if he joined at age 33 in 1980…) but for the most part her take on the album vacillates from praise to disappointed acceptance, as she vouches for “its near-greatness” before rendering a final verdict of the album’s “15 songs, which is about five too many: After its pulverizingly pleasurable first half, it's all filler and very little killer.”

We wouldn’t limit it to the first half, though. We're gonna have to pass on this one.


Oh, and Allison: your music reviewing is a bit rusty. Read up on some old J.D. Considine. Thanks.

Carter; Lonely Boys to Perform Anthem at World Series

Ex-Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and Texas power trio Los Lonely Boys will perform the US National Anthem at Game 1 and 2, respectively, of this year's World Series at Tropicana Park, home of American League champions Tampa Bay Rays.

Some have suggested that perhaps Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers--originally from Gainsville, FL--would've been a more appropriate choice. (Carter was raised in central Florida.) Now, it's bad enough that the Rays have to play in a state where baseball is an afterthought and there's not much in the way of prominent hometown rock and roll talent. To compound that by bringing in a band from a town that's, from what we gather, ALL ABOUT football, is just wrong.

We're rooting for the Rays but if the Phillies can get local boys Hall & Oates to sing in their park for Game 3, they'll wrap up the WS. Just sayin'.

10/21/2008

Richard Marx: Real Curse of the Chicago Cubs?

New Releases

Debuts and reissues include:

AC/DC Black Ice (Columbia)
RAY BARRETTO Jazz (Universal)
LUCKY DUBE Retrospective (Rykodisc)
GARY LOURIS Acoustic Vagabonds (Rykodisc)
THE SEA AND CAKE Car Alarm (Thrill Jockey)

Rape Me

Cobain Unseen is the title of a new book of rare photos, artwork and journal entries by the late Kurt Cobain.

Please. Enough already.

Indies Complain of MySpace Favoritism Towards Majors

This seems like a pointless argument for artists that genuinely want to get their music out there via MySpace and have no record company support, indie or otherwise, but Koch Records president Bob Frank seems to fancy himself our David in this epic battle against the two-headed Goliath of MySpace and the major labels. The folks at Billboard's music industry site have granted Frank op-ed space to expound on the subject.

Who You (not) Gonna Call?

Apparently, there is a Ghostbusters 3 in the works, WTF?

Seth Rogen (The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) has been rumored as part of the cast of the alleged upcoming sequel. But has anybody informed him? He doesn't seem to be hot on the idea of a third installment of what was once the highest-grossing comedic film of all time.

"It’s hard to imagine that would be good, isn’t it? I mean just as a movie fan I am the first guy to be skeptical of that. It sounds like a terrible idea when you first hear it. At first hearing it sounds like the worst idea ever. I dunno. Maybe. I mean, that would have to be one mutherfucking good script."

When asked if the involvement of Harold Ramis--who is said to be directing GB3 (as it will probably be called) and played his dad in Knocked Up--would push him towards accepting a part in the movie, Rogen answered "It all depends on how bad the script was. [laughs] There is a point where it’s so bad it’s really easy to say no. I have enough insulation around me now that I don’t have to say anything."

You know, the more we think about it, the more curious we've become...

The complete interview with Rogen is here.

10/20/2008

The Wait



THE PRETENDERS

Break Up the Concrete

(Shangri La-2008)

We can remember exactly the time and place when we first heard The Pretenders: listening to the radio, summer of 1980, reeled in by an enchanting female voice singing an inescapable rock ballad we later found out was called "Brass in Pocket." And so, began an almost 30-year love affair. To this day, the classic self-titled debut--one of the greatest initial bows in the annals of rock music--and its better than average follow-up, Pretenders II (Sire-1981) are not just beloved pieces of our music collection, but an identifiable part of our musical DNA.

After original members guitarist
James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon died within months of each other in 1982-83, it was never the same in more ways than the obvious. Vocalist/guitarist Chrissie Hynde and powerhouse drummer Martin Chambers soldiered on, releasing soon after the "Back on the Chain Gang" single, which later happened to carry some personal significance, as it was a big fave of a friend of ours who passed away shortly thereafter. We stuck around for the Learning to Crawl (Sire-1984) and Get Close! (Sire-1986) albums but as the band increasingly became The Chrissie Hynde Experience, backed by a a small army of studio musicians--Chambers, the last remaining original Pretender, was gone by this point--we progressively lost interest.

Following Hynde and co. from a distance we caught a whiff of a bunch of substandard releases with the occasional OK song and never regretted having mostly turned our backs on what was once was a great band and had become an empty trademark; the shingle Hynde hung outside her place of business. (The 1993-2006 lineup of Hynde, guitarist Adam Seymour, bassist Andy Hobson, and a returning Martin Chambers, was the best they'd had since the original one, though.)

Since every album since
Learning to Crawl has been hailed as a return to form, we greeted the release of Break Up the Concrete with the same skepticism we've mustered for the last 20 years. But lo and behold, it doesn't suck. It's actually pretty good. What it's not is a return to form per se. You see, Hynde's best album in a while is more of a roots/rockabilly record. And yes, we purposely meant hers--The Pretenders have not been a band since Farndon and Honeyman-Scott were in the ranks. (We'll never know what the band could've been had they remained on board, but at least we have 2 great albums to remember what a kick-ass band they once were.)

Some have called this Hynde's most mature record--and not in a pejorative sense. It's the sound of someone who still has plenty of fire in the belly but has invested that energy in making an album that nods heavily to the past. Not her band's but perhaps that of her youth. (She has recently moved back to her native Ohio and is living in the US for the first time in decades.) Yes, that cool chick with the unforgettable black eyeliner is pushing 60 and is going a more age-appropriate route with her songwriting. Nothing wrong with that, especially if it's good stuff. Certainly, we won't begrudge her sounding her age and making a tasteful Americana influenced album, but we already have
Lucinda Williams and others holding down that end already. What we lack is the sassy, in-your-face, hard-rockin' magic heard on those 2 aforementioned initial discs almost 30 years ago. (It's telling that Martin Chambers chose to sit this one out and let legendary studio drummer Jim Keltner take over the recording of the album and rejoin the band on the road.)

Oh, well...

This Week's Podcast: Episode 15 of The Kiko Jones Experience

Here's the playlist for this week's 2-hour special edition. We're taking a brief break from podcasting so we thought we'd give you twice as much this time out. As always, you can subscribe for free and get all 15 podcasts on your iTunes. Check out the sidebar on the right and enjoy!

1. TIN MACHINE “Heaven's In Here” [self-titled album] (EMI)

2. JOE JACKSON “Soul Kiss” from the album Big World (A&M)
3. BIG STAR “Back Of A Car” from the album Radio City (Ardent)
4. CHARLIE HUNTER QUARTET “Rebel Music” from the album Natty Dread
(Blue Note)
5. CHICAGO "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" from the album Chicago Transit Authority (Columbia)

6. DONNY HATHAWAY “Someday We'll All Be Free" from the album Extension Of A Man (Atlantic)

7. SMASHING PUMPKINS “I Am One" from the album Gish (Caroline)
8. KING CRIMSON “The Court Of The Crimson King” from the album In The Court Of The Crimson King (Atlantic)

9. EDIE BRICKELL & THE NEW BOHEMIANS "Love Like We Do" from the album Shooting Rubberbands At The Stars (Geffen)

10. ELTON JOHN “Levon” from the album Madman Across the Water (MCA)

11. JANE’S ADDICTION “Three Days” from the album Ritual De Lo Habitual (Warner Bros.)

12. WAYNE SHORTER / MILTON NASCIMENTO “Ponta De Areia” from the album Native Dancer (Columbia)

13. PESCADO RABIOSO “Las Habladurías Del Mundo” from the album Artaud
(Pampa)
14. NELSON POKET “La Vida Mata” from the EP Bonanza (La Viuda Negra)

15. JLS “Enemigo de la Sociedad” from the album Testigos de la Historia (828)

16. NADA SURF “Happy Kid” from the album Let Go (Barsuk)

17. STEELY DAN “F.M.” from the F. M. soundtrack
(MCA)
18. OWSLEY “Uncle John's Farm” 2:38
[self-titled album] (Giant/Warner Bros)
19. MAIN STREET PEOPLE "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" from the album This Is Acid Jazz
(Instinct)
20. ROTARY CONNECTION "I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun" from the album Hey Love! (Chess)

21. BRAND NEW IMMORTALS "If I Had A Dime" from the album Tragic Show (Elektra)
22. TEENAGE FANCLUB "Alchoholiday" from the album Bandwagonesque (DGC)

23. YES "Siberian Khatru" from the album Close To The Edge (Atlantic)

24. THE THE "Love Is Stronger Than Death" from the album Dusk (Epic)

10/17/2008

Buzzcocks Reissue and Perform Early Albums

by Jeff Kent

The Buzzcocks are hopping aboard the nostalgia train with reissues of their first three full-lengths and a tour on which they'll play the first two in their entirety. The reissues come to the UK courtesy of EMI on October 27. Another Music in a Different Kitchen (1978), Love Bites (1978), and A Different Kind of Tension (1979) all get the deluxe treatment. That means two discs per reissue full of associated singles, demos, live versions, backing tracks, and Peel sessions, some of which are previously unreleased. Then in January, the band will hit the road for a UK tour performing Another Music in a Different Kitchen and Love Bites front-to-back and other songs from their catalog. They're calling this trip the "Another Bites Tour".

In addition to the Buzzcocks tour, guitarist/vocalist Steve Diggle has a single solo show at Harlow, England's The Square on November 28.

Another Music in a Different Kitchen reissue tracklisting:

Disc 1:

1 Fast Cars
2 No Reply
3 You Tear Me Up
4 Get on Our Own
5 Love Battery
6 Sixteen
7 I Don't Mind
8 Fiction Romance
9 Autonomy
10 I Need
11 Moving Away From the Pulsebeat
12 Orgasm Addict
*13 Whatever Happened To...?
*14 What Do I Get
*15 Oh Shit
*16 Fast Cars (Peel Session)
*17 Moving Away From the Pulsebeat (Peel Session)
*18 What Do I Get (Peel Session)
* bonus track

Disc 2:

1 Boredom (demo)
2 Fast Cars (demo)
3 No Reply (demo)
4 You Tear Me Up (demo)
5 Get on Our Own (demo)
6 Sixteen (demo)
7 I Don't Mind (demo)
8 Fiction Romance (demo)
9 Autonomy (demo)
10 I Need (demo)
11 Orgasm Addict (demo)
12 What Do I Get (demo)
13 Whatever Happened To...? (demo)
14 Oh Shit (demo)
15 Fast Cars (live at the Electric Circus)
16 Fiction Romance (live at the Electric Circus)
17 Boredom (live at the Electric Circus)
18 Sixteen (live at the Electric Circus)
19 You Tear Me Up (live at the Electric Circus)
20 Orgasm Addict (live at the Electric Circus)
21 Moving Away From the Pulsebeat (live at the Electric Circus)
22 Love Battery
23 Time's Up


Love Bites
reissue tracklisting:

Disc 1:

1 Real World
2 Ever Falling in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)
3 Operators Manual
4 Nostalgia
5 Just Lust
6 Sixteen Again
7 Walking Distance
8 Love Is Lies
9 Nothing Left
10 E.S.P.
11 Late for the Train
12 Love You More
*13 Noise Annoys
*14 Promises
*15 Lipstick
*16 Noise Annoys (Peel Session)
*17 Walking Distance (Peel Session)
*18 Late for the Train (Peel Session)
*19 Promises (Peel Session)
*20 Lipstick (Peel Session)
*21 Sixteen Again (Peel Session)
*22 E.S.P. (Peel Session)
* bonus track

Disc 2:

1 Love Is Life (Lies) (demo)
2 Just Lust (demo)
3 Operators Manual (demo)
4 Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) (demo)
5 Nothing Left (demo)
6 Sixteen Again (demo)
7 Raison d'Etre (demo)
8 Real World (demo)
9 Nostalgia (demo)
10 E.S.P. (demo)
11 Lipstick (demo)
12 Children (Promises) (demo)
13 Mother of Turds (demo)
14 Breakdown (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)
15 What Do I Get (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)
16 I Don't Mind (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)
17 Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've) (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)
18 Noise Annoys (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)
19 Nothing Left (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)
20 Get on Our Own (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)
21 Love You More (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)
22 Fiction Romance (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)
23 Autonomy (live at Lesser Free Trade Hall)


A Different Kind of Tension reissue tracklisting:

Disc 1:


1 Paradise
2 Sitting 'Round at Home
3 You Say You Don't Love Me
4 You Know You Can't Help It
5 Mad Mad Judy
6 Raison d'Etre
7 I Don't Know What to Do With My Life
8 Money
9 Hollow Inside
10 A Different Kind of Tension
11 I Believe
12 Radio Nine
13 Everybody's Happy Nowadays
*14 Why Can't I Touch It
*15 Harmony in My Head
*16 Something's Gone Wrong Again
* bonus track

Disc 2:

1 Are Everything
2 Why She's a Girl From the Chainstore
3 Airwaves Dream
4 Strange Thing
5 What Do You Know?
6 Running Free
7 I Look Alone
8 You Say You Don't Love Me (demo)
9 I Don't Know What to Do With My Life (demo)
10 Harmony in My Head (demo)
11 I Don't Know (demo)
12 Run Away From Home (demo)
13 The Drive System (demo)
14 Mad Mad July (demo)
15 Jesus Made Me Feel Guilty (demo)
16 Something's Gone Wrong Again (backing track)
17 You Know You Can't Help It
18 I Believe July 1979 Arrow-Chronology
19 Everybody's Happy Nowadays (Peel Session)
20 I Don't Know What to Do With My Life (Peel Session)
21 Mad Mad Judy (Peel Session)
22 Hollow Inside (Peel Session)


Buzzcocks' "Another Bites Tour" dates:


1-13 Exeter, England
1-14 Bristol, England
1-16 Manchester, England
1-17 Leeds, England
1-18 Newcastle, England
1-19 Glasgow, Scotland
1-21 Nottingham, England
1-22 Wolverhampton, England
1-23 Leamington Spa, England
1-25 Norwich, England
1-27 Oxford, England
1-28 Southampton, England
1-29 Cambridge, England
1-30 London, England

Music and Film: Scoring 101


[Rumble Fish soundtrack album cover courtesy of All Music Guide.]

Before the pervasive inanity of the "music from and inspired by" phenomenon of the 1990's took hold, the world of film had shown us many a movie enhanced by a soundtrack. Two examples from the decade prior to the one mentioned above immediately come to mind: Birdy (1984; directed by Alan Parker, music by Peter Gabriel) and our all-time favorite soundtrack, that of Rumble Fish (1983; directed by Francis Ford Coppola), written and performed by the former Police drummer, composer Stewart Copeland.

One expects many a low-budget film to be hampered by a misguided or inappropriate score, due to many reasons: financial constraints, a lack of time to properly get the job done, etc etc. But when a big Hollywood flick with A-list talent both in the directing and lead acting departments succumbs to this hindrance, one has to inevitably scratch the old scalp and wonder.

Case in point: another film from the the same decade as the two previously mentioned films, 1989's Family Business, starring Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick. The legendary Sidney Lumet of
12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon fame, directed.

Family Business is a generally enjoyable film about three generations of men of the same family who come together to pull off a caper that ends badly. In his review, Roger Ebert insisted the movie's main fault was "to play it down the middle, when it probably should have jumped in one direction or the other, toward a pure caper or toward a family drama." We wouldn't disagree with that statement, but what really jarred us was how, for the most part, the score drew attention to itself in a negative way, taking one's attention away from the screen in a confusing, and at times uncomfortable manner. A big no-no, if there ever was one.

Calling Family Business' score--composed by
Cy Coleman--"puzzling, wildly inappropriate," the All Movie Guide's Karl Williams wonders how perhaps "the true story behind the soundtrack's creation and employment must be a fascinating one, so utterly wrong in tone, style, and usage is it for the material. More than a handful of wonderfully written, acted, and shot scenes in the film are sabotaged by the dippy, simple-minded tunes that overwhelm everything in their trite path. If Jaws (1976) is one of the best examples of how much a great, coherent score can add to a film, then this is one of the finest examples of how bad compositions can ruin one."

Watch for yourself. It might be quite the learning experience if there are any aspiring soundtrack composers out there.

Church of John Coltrane Fights Financial Woes

The San Francisco landmark has been struggling to keep afloat ever since funding from the New College of Califormnia--one of its main sources of revenue--disappeared due to its own financial collapse. Here's more.

Chinese Democracy Available for Pre-Order

We gotta admit, the above headline is weird...

Anyway, the heavily anticipated Guns ' n' Roses release has been set up with a pre-order page at the album's exclusive retailer Best Buy's website. Oh, and here's the tracklisting:

Chinese Democracy
Scraped
Shackler's Revenge
Street Of Dreams
If The World
Better
This I Love
There Was A Time
Riad N' The Bedovins
Sorry
I.R.S.
Catcher
Madagascar
Prostitute

Silly News Item of the Day

from YahooNews.com:

Disco Tune "Stayin' Alive" Could Save Your Life
by Will Dunham and David Storey


U.S. doctors have found the Bee Gees 1977 disco anthem "Stayin' Alive" provides an ideal beat to follow while performing chest compressions as part of CPR on a heart attack victim.

The American Heart Association calls for chest compressions to be given at a rate of 100 per minute in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). "Stayin' Alive" almost perfectly matches that, with 103 beats per minute.

CPR is a lifesaving technique involving chest compressions alone or with mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing. It is used in emergencies such as cardiac arrest in which a person's breathing or heartbeat has stopped.

CPR can triple survival rates, but some people are reluctant to do it in part because they are unsure about the proper rhythm for chest compressions. But research has shown many people do chest compressions too slowly during CPR.

In a small study headed by Dr. David Matlock of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, listening to "Stayin' Alive" helped 15 doctors and medical students to perform chest compressions on dummies at the proper speed.

Five weeks after practicing with the music playing, they were asked to perform CPR again on dummies by keeping the song in their minds, and again they kept up a good pace.

"The theme 'Stayin' Alive' is very appropriate for the situation," Matlock said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "Everybody's heard it at some point in their life. People know the song and can keep it in their head."

The findings will be presented this month at a meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians in Chicago.


[Thanks to the Divine Ms. M for the heads up. -KJ]

RIP

Levi Stubbs, vocalist for Motown's legendary Four Tops, died in his hometown of Detroit today, Oct. 17th, of complications from cancer and a stroke. He was 72.

10/15/2008

New Releases

This week we have newbies and reissues among those debuting yesterday:

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB At Carnegie Hall (Nonesuch)
JOHNNY CASH At Folsom Prison [2CD/DVD] (Columbia/Legacy)
JULIAN COPE Black Sheep (Head Heritage)
RAY LAMONTAGNE Gossip in the Grain (RCA)
LUCINDA WILLIAMS Little Honey (Lost Highway)

10/14/2008

Revenge of the (computer) Nerds

Over the weekend we heard about someone downloading the entire Miles Davis discography for free. Our first thought was, that’s a pretty sizeable collection; how long would it take for them to listen to and absorb the whole thing? The second thing that popped into our heads was, Wow...a musician’s work is of no monetary value these days.

We’ve been theorizing how this scenario can be seen as the plot for Revenge of the (computer) Nerds. Except, that instead of the grateful thanks from the artists they seem to think they have liberated from the evil record company empire, the musicians' response is more along the lines of Thanks a lot, dorks: you just killed a revenue stream.

Of course, immediately, the ‘Hey, I buy new music but download for free the music of artists who’ve already made their money' argument makes its customary appearance. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to hear from anyone who has tried this line of logic with General Motors, Wal-Mart or A&P. Let us know, will ya?

And what about songwriters? How do the people that don’t perform live make a living when their main revenue source is depleted? And without songwriters there is no new music.

Thanks, guys. Go fuck with someone else’s livelihood next time.

Happy Birthday



The one and only Diamond Dave, David Lee Roth (54) on October 10th.

10/13/2008

This Week's Podcast: Episode 14 of The Kiko Jones Experience

Here's the playlist for this week. Subscribe for free and get the podcast on your iTunes as soon as it's uploaded. Check out the sidebar on the right and enjoy!

1. JESSE MALIN “Wendy” from the album The Fine Art of Self Destruction (Artemis)
2. THE DISMEMBERMENT PLAN “Academy Award” from the album The Dismemberment Plan Is Terrified (DeSoto)

3. BLUE ÖYSTER CULT "Don't Fear The Reaper" [live]
from the album A Long Days' Night (Sanctuary)
4. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE “Cath...” from the album Narrow Stairs (Atlantic)

5. ALAN PARSONS “Tijuaniac” from the album A Valid Path (Eagle)

6. AL Di MEOLA “Carousel Requiem” from the album Heart of the Immigrants (Mesa)

7. DOVETAIL JOINT “Beautiful” from the album 001 (Aware/Sony)
8. GUNS 'N' ROSES “My Michelle” from the album Appetite For Destruction (Geffen)
9. LUNA “Sweet Child Of Mine” from the album The Days Of Our Nights (Jericho)

10. ERIC AVERY “Philo Beddoe” from the album Help Wanted (Dangerbird)

11. GILBERTO GIL “Cérebro Eletrônico” from the album
Cérebro Eletrônico (Phillips)
12. MATTHEW SWEET “I Love You” from the album Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu
(RCAM)
13. EVERCLEAR "Nehalem" from the album Sparkle And Fade (Capitol)

14. MERCHANTS OF VENUS "Solitary Fighting Man" [self-titled album] (Elektra)

10/10/2008

New Music Reviews



BOSTON SPACESHIPS
Brown Submarine
[Guided by Voices-2008]

Sometime between Mag Earwhig [Matador-1997], the Ric Ocasek-produced Do the Collapse [TVT-1999] and 2001's excellent Isolation Drills, [TVT-2001], those who'd been hoping Guided by Voices would return to the lo-fi terrain of previous discs had to give up the ghost, and either wear out their copies of the classic Bee Thousand [Matador-1994] album or get with the program, resigning themselves to the fact that Bob Pollard wanted his loveable band of Bud-swilling renegades to play in the big leagues and wasn't looking back. We welcomed it, wholeheartedly.

Almost half a decade has passed since the much-beloved Guided by Voices was put to rest, which is nothing in terms of hang time these days, but for a song factory like Pollard this was no idle time. After a myriad of releases since then--including more than half a dozen solo albums (!), two of which he released on the same day a year ago this week--Pollard decided to go the band route once again with Boston Spaceships on the mid-period, lo-fi, GbV-sounding Brown Submarine. So the question is, was the self-deprecating, toiled-related album title (and obvious reference to his beloved Beatles), a knowing admission of the subpar quality of the disc in question? Perhaps. But we're sorry to say, it's not entirely off the mark.

You broke up GbV for this, Uncle Bob? Really?




Chris Cornell (right) with producer Timbaland

CHRIS CORNELL

Scream
[Interscope-2008]

We don't care if
Timbaland used to go record shopping with Mark Arm, roadied for Tad, or cooked up smack with Layne Stayley using one of Artis' spoons, he has helped Chris Cornell squander whatever fan-based goodwill he had left. Period.

Gen-X, you now have your own version of Rod Stewart. [shudder]




OASIS

Dig Your Own Soul

[Big Brother/Warner Bros-2008]

To label a multi-platinum populist act like Oasis an acquired taste these days is a misnomer for sure. But like certain veteran acts--Peter Gabriel comes to mind, albeit for different reasons--their music is only of interest to the faithful at this point. This is due in large part to the scattershot nature of their releases post-1995's What The Story, Morning Glory? [Epic], still their crowning achievement and one of the stellar rock records of the '90s.

So, you may lazily inquire, what have the infamous Brothers Gallagher cooked up this time? We're glad you asked.

For starters, the album is a much fuller sounding production than anything else in their catalog, which facilitates pushing to the forefront the psychedelic strains evident in quite a bit of their music. (Think “D’ya Know What I Mean” from Be Here Now [Epic-1997].) But also the rockers stomp a little harder—thanks to now-former drummer Zak Starkey—and the ballads have a bit more sonic detail to them. That they sound better doesn’t translate to them actually being better, however, but there’s some good stuff on here, regardless.

Needless to say, there’s nothing necessarily new or groundbreaking on Dig Your Own Soul. And it’s a safe bet no one who rightfully or not has dismissed Oasis in the past will be swayed
to reconsider by any of it. But “The Shock of Lightning” will be a big crowd pleaser—deservedly so: it’s one of Noel Gallagher’s best rockers ever—while “The Turning”, “Falling Down” and “Ain’t Got Nothin’” show Oasis are willing to get out of their comfort zone—even if it’s just a step or two—and not embarrass themselves. You know what we mean?




TODD RUNDGREN
Arena

[Hi-Fi Recordings-2008]

It's been said that Rundgren’s recent stint in The New Cars got him in the mood to belt out some arena-ready, guitar rock. We’d really like to hear that record. ‘Cause instead, what we’ve got here is stale, retread riffs and canned drums, on uninspiring, half-baked songs wrapped in a demo-quality production circa '89, that is surely an inside joke and play on the both the album title and label.

After the widely-acclaimed Liars [Sanctuary-2004] we thought maybe TR was gonna take his music seriously again. No dice. (It's not completely a wash: hopefully, a piano-based version of "Courage"--with its classic Rundgren chord changes--exists out there somewhere; the Liars outtake-sounding "Today" ain't bad.) Better luck next time. You too, Todd.

Chinese Democracy Gets Nov. Release Date

Yes, the looooooooong-awaited Guns 'n' Roses disc Chinese Democracy will be for sale on electronics retail chain Best Buy's racks all across the country on Nov. 23.

As for Dr. Pepper's offer to give everyone in the US a can of their soft drink if Chinese Democracy goes on sale before Dec. 31 of this year, the company's VP of marketing, Tony Jacobs, had this to say to Billboard:

"We're waiting to hear about Chinese Democracy just like all the other GnR fans. But if the rumors are true, we're putting the Dr Pepper on ice."

Too bad we drink something else.

Meanwhile, the vinyl version of GnR's seminal Appetite for Destruction will be reissued on Oct. 28.

10/09/2008

Happy Birthday

Today, Oct. 9th, is the 68th anniversary of John Lennon's birth. Wow... (Coincidentally, his son Sean turns 33 today.)

We thought we'd offer up as a tribute, two latter-day faves of ours. First, "Just Like Starting Over" form Double Fantasy:



How 'bout some Milk and Honey? Here's "Nobody Told Me" from that posthumous album:

Foos Chastise McCain Campaign for Use of Song

Add one more to the list of artists upset with John McCain's campaign usage of their music: the Foo Fighters have objected to "My Hero" being played at rallies for the Arizona senator and Republican presidential hopeful.

"The saddest thing about this is that 'My Hero' was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential. To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song," reads a missive by the band.

If the widely-held assumption that the late Kurt Cobain is the inspiration behind the popular track from 1997's The Colour and the Shape album is true, this usage would understandably add to the offense taken by head Foo David Grohl, the song's composer and Cobain's bandmate in Nirvana.

The band Heart, veteran hard
rockers Van Halen and singer/songwriter Jackson Browne have each voiced similar complaints about the McCain camp using their respective music without permission, as well.

10/08/2008

That Was Your Career

Glorious Noise's Todd Totale breaks down Metallica's most recent, Death Magnetic, and it ain't pretty:

"I’ve firmly believed ever since The Black Album, the spirit of Metallica is no longer with us. The late Cliff Burton seemed to embody the idea that it was the band’s responsibility to test themselves before anything else and he also seemed to be the voice of reason that the band ultimately needed, and spent the better part of two decades trying to find again. After he was so callously taken, the burden of running Metallica was shared by a pair of drunks with major communication issues and a guitar player who seems incapable of any form of confrontation unless he’s plugged in to an amplifier."

"There is no spirit…anywhere…on Death Magnetic. It is as by the numbers as anything the band has done in the past twenty years and it demonstrates that the band, specifically James Hetfield, has actually reached a point where he thinks that returning to the type of music that made them so legendary means that he needs to dumb down his lyrics. Words are thrown together with phonetic abandon, totally disregarding their meaning while gaining inclusion on the sheer merits that they sound gnarly. "

Ouch.

We're not as harsh on Death Magnetic as Todd is--we like it, kinda--but we're reminded of something once written about another mega band trying to capture the sound of past glories:

"As one song segues into the next, it feels like [Robert] Smith is striving to make a classic Cure record, putting all the sounds in place before he constructs the actual songs. That makes for a good listening experience, especially for fans of Disintegration, but it never catches hold the way that record did, for two simple reasons: there isn't enough variation between the songs for them to distinguish themselves, nor are there are enough sonic details to give individual tracks character." - AMG's Stephen Thomas Erlewine on The Cure's Bloodflowers album.

Read the rest of the Todd Totale's Death Magnetic review here.