2/28/2009

What's the Score?

The music industry has perpetrated quite a few scams and foisted upon us many a lame-brained scheme over the years. (Some of which they are now paying for, dearly.) So have the Hollywood studios. But when they join forces in this regard, it’s a sight to behold. But for all the wrong reasons, mind you.

The main instance that comes to mind was the proliferation of the pseudo soundtrack during the ‘90s. You know the one: “Music from and Inspired by [insert name of purported blockbuster]”, littered with tunes of no relevance to the movie at hand—that most of the time weren’t even featured in the damn thing—and frequently just a cheap ploy to draw interest in the flick; promote catalog sales of an artist in need of some current relevance; or to simply create extra revenue via soundtrack album sales, with no regard to an actual connection to the film at hand.

There’s way too many of those for us to list here—you may own one or two—but with music sales being hit hard in recent years, we were wondering if the original scores of today’s movies are being released as frequently as they once were. Guitarist David Torn’s original score for Lars and the Real Girl and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s for Silk, both of which we’ve been enjoying recently, got us thinking about our old record store days, when our then-place of employment had a modest but solid soundtrack section, that did brisk business with followers of this subgenre.

Yes, Garden State’s was a big deal and so are the High School Musical ones, but we’re interested in finding out what’s going on with those similar to the aforementioned Torn and Sakamoto albums.

Anyone?

Speaking of Record Stores...

Billboard:
The six-unit Virgin Megastore chain will close two more stores, the Union Square location in New York City at the end of May and the Market St. store in San Francisco at the end of April, sources say. As previously reported, the company announced that its Times Square store will close in April.

In August 2007, the Virgin Entertainment Group North America was acquired by two real estate companies - the Related Cos. and Vornado. Since then, the chain has been reduced from 11 units - with the industry awaiting word of the fate of the three remaining stores in Denver, Los Angeles, and Orlando, Fla.

New Wilco DVD; Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick Tour

- They sure know what side their bread is buttered: Wilco's upcoming concert DVD is titled Ashes of American Flags, after the song from the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album. It's set for an April release.

- When we heard Def Leppard, Poison and Cheap Trick were co-headlining a tour this summer, we thought, "if Poison headline, we'll try to make it. That way we can slip out after Cheap Trick and Def Leppard." Except...none of their shows will be in the immediate NYC area. (Long Island and Jersey don't count.) Never mind...

U2 on Letterman All Week

The Late Show with David Letterman will have U2 as their musical guest on March 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. The band's latest album, No Line on the Horizon (Interscope) will be released on Tuesday, March 3rd.

Sorry, Matt

As fans of Guns' N' Roses' seminal Appetite for Destruction album, we've told anyone who'd listen how much we loved then-GnR drummer--now, reality TV personality--Steven Adler's work on the record. In our opinion, Adler's slightly wobbly timing made the album groove and come alive, and as such, was much more palatable than the precise but plodding work of his successor Matt Sorum, who was prominently featured on the subsequent Use Your Illusion albums.

And guess who agrees with us?

With 'Illusions' several years ago, something came on the radio and I realized how the energy in the drums, though solid and consistent, brought me down in a way I feel damaged the material in the long run, if not from the get-go. Maybe it's there with some, most or all of us in ways, but I specifically notice it more with the drums. - Axl Rose

Of course, in that same interview, Axl also refers to rehearsing with Adler in the early days as "a nightmare", so go figure.

You can read the entire exchange--where he nixes the idea of a reunion with the original lineup; calls Slash "a cancer"; and lets us know what he thinks of a timeframe for the next GnR record--at Spinner.

The Politics of "Selling Out" (part 2)

Jake Brown, who authored the "Iggy Pop Peddles Insurance" post on Glorious Noise--which led us to examine the controversy this ad provoked over in Britain, and offer up our own views on the topic--had this to say about the whole licensing-songs-for-commercials subject:

I'll quote what I quote every time this topic comes up. Tom Waits:

"Songs carry emotional information and some transport us back to a poignant time, place or event in our lives. It's no wonder a corporation would want to hitch a ride on the spell these songs cast and encourage you to buy soft drinks, underwear or automobiles while you're in the trance. Artists who take money for ads poison and pervert their songs. It reduces them to the level of a jingle, a word that describes the sound of change in your pocket, which is what your songs become. Remember, when you sell your songs for commercials, you are selling your audience as well."


Musicians are allowed to do whatever they want, sell whatever they want to sell to whoever's willing to pay for it. But once our connections to a song are replaced with connections to some product we don't care about, is it even possible for us to still care about the song?

Some songs and memories and associations are powerful enough to stand up against a dumb ad. "London Calling" isn't any less awesome after it was used in a Jaguar ad. "Whip It" on the other will forever be associated with swiffing up dustbunnies.

"Pink Moon" may have been enhanced by that VW ad. The whole "it looks like a great party, but we'd rather stay in the car and listen to Nick Drake" punch line of the ad says more about Nick Drake than it does about the Jetta, or whatever car it was. That was a Nick Drake ad.

Zep's "Rock and Roll" went from being a badass boogie that made me think about adolescent raunch to making me think about impotent old businessmen driving around in big cars. Been a long time, indeed.

So who knows?

The solution, of course, is to just turn off the television.


Spot on, Jake. Spot on.

2/27/2009

Milestones: Say Anything (and the Dobbler backlash)



Obviously, with every passing year there are quite a few significant anniversaries that come to mind. But for some reason 2009 has made us quite aware of more than the usual share. (It probably has to do with various friends and family members respectively turning 20, 30, 40, and 50, this year.)




There are a few pop culture milestones we've either already brought up (Nine Inch Nails' debut album, Pretty Hate Machine turning 20) or are thinking about (Kurt Cobain died 15 years ago this April),
and among the latter group was the quintessential Generation-X romantic comedy, Say Anything, released in 1989.

More than any other, the '80s were the decade of the teen movie. Amidst the mountain of dreck from that era--remember Porky's?--there are some choice flicks (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, among them) but writer/director Cameron Crowe's nuanced Say Anything is is still considered tops by many, including critic Roger Ebert who called it

...[O]ne of those rare movies that has something to teach us about life. It doesn't have a "lesson" or a "message," but it observes its moral choices so carefully that it helps us see our own. That such intelligence could be contained in a movie that is simultaneously so funny and so entertaining is some kind of a miracle...one of the wisest and most touching movies about teenagers I have seen.

(Then again, he hated Crowe's Fast Times at Ridgemont High, so...)

Now, let's be fair: high praise alone--coupled with its iconic boom box scene and happening soundtrack--is not what has made this movie an enduring favorite. One of the main reasons it has remained a perennial rom-com darling lies with the ladies of Gen-X--and younger--who took to the leading male character Lloyd Dobler (played by John Cusack, in the role that made his career) in a big way, and have over the years awarded Dobbler perfect boyfriend archetype status.

Which is why we were very surprised to find the sensitive martial artist on Lemondrop's acidy "Beta Males" gallery, which is for the most part, comprised of some of the lamest on-screen dudes ever.

Oh, Lloyd Dobler. Now that we know that kickboxing was not, indeed, the sport of the future, following gorgeous, smart Diane Court to college in England without a job or prospects of his own just seems kinda pathetic.

Ouch!

Now, we are clearly fans of this flick. Which is why--aside from Dobbler taking back the girl when it's patently obvious she returns to him waaaaay more out of necessity than love, which would eventually bite him on the ass and leave scars that would surely take years to get over--we've always believed it hit all the right notes and understood why the ladies loved Lloyd. But maybe they've reconsidered. Or perhaps they may have surmised Lloyd Dobbler subsequently turned into Rob Gordon. Either way, it sucks.

It's rough out there, guys.

[Theatrical poster courtesy of Wikipedia.]

2/25/2009

The Josh Freese Experience

It used to be you could purchase the deluxe/collector's edition of a particular artist's latest release or just go for the regular version like everyone else. Those were your choices, and that was that.

In recent years, however, the likes of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have tried to counteract overall, industry-wide diminishing album sales by offering different versions of the same album and at various price points, depending on how elaborate the packaging or the amount of extra goodies included.

Josh Freese, a well-known session drummer/songwriter who's appeared on some 300 albums and played with everyone from The Vandals, Guns 'N' Roses, A Perfect Circle, The Replacements, Devo, Sting, and up until late 2008, with Nine Inch Nails, has followed in the footsteps of his last employer and is releasing a solo album in 11 different versions.

Ranging from a simple $7 digital download w/3 videos to a $75,000 package, the latter includes among its bonuses: a 5 song EP written by Freese about you; meeting and hanging out with some of his famous co-horts; your choice of any one of his drumsets; have Freese perform in your band for a month (being your personal assistant is the alternate option for non-musicians); and dubiously legal partying in Tijuana.

Actually, for what you're getting in return, each package is a really good deal, as well as a great gimmick to get the album some exposure. Oh, yeah the album: it's called Since 1972 and comes out March 24th. More info at Freese's website (where in addition to details about each package and price point, you can get a free MP3 from the upcoming Since 1972) or check out the clip below.


New Neko Case Album Streaming on NPR

Middle Cyclone, the new album from part-time New Pornographer and red-haired temptress Neko Case, is streaming in its entirety on NPR. Sounds pretty good.

The album will be released by Anti on March 3rd.

Steven Page Leaves BNL

After some two decades with the band, frontman Steven Page has left Barenaked Ladies to go solo. In a joint statement posted on the band's website, Page states, "These guys are my brothers. We've grown up together over the past twenty years. I love them and wish them all the best in the future." The split is said to be amicable.

The remaining Ladies will be entering the studio in April to record a new album.

This is Where that 'Seinfeld' Money Comes in Handy, Jerry

A copy in good condition of 1938's very hard to find Action Comics #1, the very first Superman comic book, will be auctioned off this Friday on the Comic Connect website. Bidding starts at $1.

Happy Birthday

How the hell could we have forgotten?!

Belated birthday wishes to punk icon/author/actor/talk show host/rock'n'roll badass, the inimitable Henry Rollins, who turned 48(!) on Feb. 13. (At least we had the good sense to kick off the "5" anniversary edition of the podcast with our fave Rollins Band track, "Low Self Opinion".)

Cheers, Hank!

[Photo courtesy of the OC Register.]

Tinted Windows Debut Single

You guys know how much we dig the power pop. And when we heard of the newly-formed Taylor Hanson/James Iha/Adam Schlesinger/Bun. E. Carlos supergroup known as Tinted Windows, we speculated its output "could be a delicious helping of some crunchy power pop".

Well, if their first single, the Buzzcocks-meets-Cheap Trick "Kind of a Girl", is any indication, we were right on the money. Rolling Stone's got it (as well as a pic of the quartet in skinny ties and circa '79 duds). Check it out here.

We Care A Lot

After more than a decade away from the public eye, the much-beloved Faith No More are set to reunite for a European summer tour. No word as to who exactly will be in the lineup or whether there are future dates, recording, etc.

New Releases

Among this week's debuts are:

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART AND THE MAGIC BAND Safe as Milk [reissue] (Buddha)
J.J. CALE Roll On (Rounder)
CHRIS ISAAK Mr. Lucky (Wicked Game/Reprise)
JACKIE McLEAN Bluesnik [reissue] (Blue Note)
SCREAMING BLUE MESSIAHS Live at the BBC (Hux)

RIP

Guitarist Randy Bewley of Athens, GA new wave combo Pylon passed away on Feb. 25th after suffering a heart attack two days prior.

He was 53 years old.

2/24/2009

This Week's Podcast: Episode 16 of The Kiko Jones Experience

As we mentioned before, this February marks the 8th anniversary of "5" which debuted in its original incarnation--an e-mail newsletter--in 2001. We couldn't let the occasion pass, and since February is almost over, we decided to get cracking and put together a podcast. Nothing special, just some tunes we'd been enjoying of late. Enjoy!

THE ROLLINS BAND "Low Self Opinion" from the album The End Of Silence (Imago)
ATMOSPHERE "Always Coming Back Home To You" from the album Seven's Travels (Epitaph)
BRAD "Buttercup" from the album Shame (Epic)
BRIAN WILSON "God Only Knows" [live]
CAFE TACUBA "Trópico De Cancer" from the album Re (WEA Latina)
THE CURE "A Letter To Elise" from the album Wish (Elektra)
LEWIS TAYLOR "Hide Your Heart Away" from The Lost Album (Hacktone)
JANE'S ADDICTION "Ocean Size" from the album Nothing's Shocking (Warner Bros.)
DAVID S. WARE "African Drums" from the album Surrendered (Columbia)

New U2 Album Streaming on MySpace

No Line on the Horizon, the upcoming March 3rd release from U2, is streaming in its entirety on the band's MySpace page.

By the way, Rolling Stone's much-respected David Fricke--a favorite of ours who knows what he's talking about--has already given the album a five star review (!) and calls it "their best, in its textural exploration and tenacious melodic grip, since 1991's Achtung Baby".

Well, we like what we've heard so far of Horizon itself and we'll get to reviewing it in a future post.

The Politics of "Selling Out"

The folks at Glorious Noise have hipped us to some controversy brewing in the UK over Iggy Pop doing a car insurance commercial out there, following in the footsteps of Sex Pistol John Lydon's recent butter ad.

Long-time readers know we've always been against the licensing of songs for TV ads. But our beef is with the well-off artists and estates that choose to do so, not with financially struggling songwriters and/or musicians. (When we heard Mike Watt had OK'd the use of a Minutemen song in an ad in order to pay for an operation for the late D. Boon’s dad, our reaction was “License the whole catalog if necessary!”) Yes, it’s disappointing when our heroes resort to this sorta thing, but sometimes it’s about survival.

We could be wrong, but we don’t think Lydon or Iggy have ever made more than average money. And by average, we're referring to what a regular office job pays—$30-$50K/yr—which is fine if you have that kind of cash coming in uninterrupted. But there’s no real revenue when you’re off the road, and records never made artists that much money unless they sold in the millions. Faced with practically non-existent record sales and diminishing concert revenue—which is why The Roots took a day job—and old age creeping ‘round the corner—what’s a 70 year old Lydon or Iggy gonna live off?—we're not surprised to see more and more artists surrendering their songs to Madison Ave. (And it gets even more complicated when we take into account certain artists who bemoan the availability of less and less avenues for exposure and license their songs to commercials for this reason first and foremost. Right, Sting?)

Are we happy with any of it? Hell, no. We've always felt it cheapens our personal relationship to the music in so many ways. But people gotta live somehow. And for the above dudes, it’s as close as they’re getting to a day job. (On a personal note, years ago we righteously waved our rebel flag, but now our broke ass would bite the bullet and let some bullshit light beer have one of our tunes for $20K, in a heartbeat. That’s a year of rent and bills right there.)

It’s a just a sad fact of life and music these days.

Bye, Conan

Last Friday was the last show for Late Night with Conan O'Brien, as its host leaves NYC to take over for Jay Leno at The Tonight Show out in Los Angeles. We're going to miss the wackiness and great musical guests that made the show a late night institution over the last 16 years. We wish Conan all the best and hope he won't let the mainstream schlockiness of the show he's about to inherit overcome him too much. Especially, if his replacement sucks.

Speaking of sucking, Conan's final guest were The White Stripes, who in their first performance since the cancelled Icky Thump tour, played a guitar duet version of "We're Going to Be Friends." So, wow, Meg White sucks at more than one instrument. Jeez. When is Jack White gonna drop this deadweight and concentrate fully on The Raconteurs?

Guess the money's too good, huh?

Why? - Limp Bizkit Reunites

from the Mojo blog via Yahoo! Music (emphasis ours):

"We decided we were more disgusted and bored with the state of heavy popular music than we were with each other. Regardless of where our separate paths have taken us, we recognize there is a powerful and unique energy with this particular group of people we have not found anywhere else. This is why Limp Bizkit is back." - Fred Durst

And we had hoped this would be a promising year. [sigh]

Q&A: 30 Seconds to Mars

Beleaguered rockers 30 Seconds to Mars do a video Q&A with Billboard and talk about their new album produced by noted producer Flood (U2, Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins).

Also on the Billboard video playlist is Gene Simmons, talking trash about The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and its inclusion of rappers, Madonna, etc. (Of course, his main gripe is that the cartoon rockers he's played bass with for the last 40 years aren't in there.)

RIP

Former Electric Light Orchestra bassist Kelly Groucutt, died of a heart attack on Thursday Feb. 19th. He was 62 years old.

2/22/2009

The Lost Artist



LEWIS TAYLOR
The Lost Album
(Hacktone-2006)

Despite some big friends in high places—David Bowie, Daryl Hall, Elton John, and Paul Weller are among those who have raved about him—British soul music visionary/multi-instrumentalist Lewis Taylor has remained firmly ensconced in the nether regions of the musical underground. What a sorry, sorry shame this is indeed. For you see, Taylor is a man of monumental talent.

We first heard of him when coming across a copy of Stoned [Hacktone-2005] and were summarily impressed with Taylor’s Marvin Gaye/Isley Bros/Hendrix approach to current-day R&B. Unfortunately, Stoned sank without a trace here, but the album’s promotional cycle brought Taylor to the US to perform his first ever stateside solo shows, which were met with much love by the devoted. Sadly, soon after an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the tour came to a grinding halt, and subsequently, little was heard from Taylor.

Thankfully, our dear friend and occasional “5” contributor Greg Casseus is a man with an ear to the ground and all around, and has just turned us on to what just might be Taylor’s final release. The Lost Album is a departure from Taylor’s signature neo-soul and in fact an exercise in classic power pop, reminiscent at times of the likes of Todd Rundgren and Brian Wilson, with a hint of the slick L.A. pop-prog turned soft rock quartet Ambrosia. Regardless of the new sound, the man’s reputation for brilliance lingers on with this release, which also dabbles in psychedelia and acoustic balladry. We'll be the first to admit that clichéd terms like "ear candy" and "classic '70s AM radio" have been both used to death to describe this kind of music, but it is so appropriate in this case, that we feel absolutely no guilt in hauling them out to describe The Lost Album. Seriously.

Whether or not this is a new direction for Taylor’s music remains to be seen—he is rumored to have retired from the solo career and was most recently spotted as live bassist for Gnarls Barkley—but both Stoned and The Lost Album are great introductions to the music of this multi-talented marvel and proof positive of the fickle nature of destiny. In a just world—or alternate universe—Lewis Taylor would not only be at the top of the charts but also influencing a new generation of upstarts. At least we have his music.

Highlights: This one is packed with gems, but a special mention must be given to "Listen Here", "Hide Your Heart Away", "The Leader of the Band", "Please Help Me If You Can", and "Let's Hope Nobody Finds Us".

2/21/2009

Milestones: Deconstruction

[Our "Pick of the Week" for mid-October '03 was the lone album from former Jane's Addiction members Dave Navarro and Eric Avery's new band. Now that, fifteen years later, it is considered a cult classic we thought we'd look back on one of our fave albums from the '90s. - KJ]


DECONSTRUCTION
self-titled
[American - 1994]

With vocalist Perry Farrell joining forces with drummer Stephen Perkins and attempting to recapture the magic of Jane's Addiction in Porno for Pyros, the other half of the L.A. art-rock quartet--guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Eric Avery--opted for a similar approach and released this one-off to much fanfare but very little sales. Puzzling, considering that at its core this is simply a Jane's record without Farrell's vocals, in and of itself an enticing proposition for any fan of the band. However, Avery's vocals are most certainly an acquired taste--even if Farrell's float your boat. His bass playing is stellar, of course; Navarro is at his most inspired on quite a few of the tracks; and drummer Mike Murphy--who's no match for Perkins--gets the job done in an admirable manner.

Dark, brooding and at times rather insular, but with all the virtuosity, controlled bombast and majesty that marked Jane's Addiction's best moments, Deconstruction is definitely worth the attention of anyone who enjoys both Van Halen and the Velvet Underground. Sadly, this baby is out of print. But that's what eBay and Amazon are for, right?

[Album cover courtesy of allmusic.com]

2/20/2009

Happy Birthday

The great Sidney Poitier (82); jazz great "Sweet" Nancy Wilson (72); guitarist J. Geils, of the band that bears his name (63); Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker (59); Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown (46); the '80s supermodel Cindy Crawford (43); R&B vocalist Rihanna (21); all today, Feb 20th.

Had he lived, the mighty KC would've turned 42 today, so in his honor here's one of our fave songs of his:



Oh, and by the way, we are among those who believe Kurt was murdered. Yup. Look it up.

2/19/2009

The Roots Prepare for Fallon House Band Gig

Esteemed veteran hip-hop band The Roots will be the house band for the upcoming Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC and are said to be working hard at writing musical interludes for the show.

While many are wary of what this may do to their cred--Gawker called it "the cultural equivalent of Miles Davis playing his horn on the subway platform to back up a semi-trained dancing spider monkey"--the Philadelphia-based band itself are said to be looking forward to the normalcy in their personal lives the gig would afford them. (It would be an hour commute to NYC via commuter train.) Not to mention the exposure and financial considerations involved, especially in these dire economic times in which they've seen their concert revenue decrease.

Cheers to you, guys. You just gave us a reason to watch the show. We hope it works out for the best.

Hammer Don't Hurt Yourself

Yes, (MC) Hammer has a new reality show on A&E.

2/18/2009

Jane Says, "Sasquatch!"

L.A.'s seminal art-metal quartet, Jane's Addiction, will add to the recent spate of shows with their original lineup--vocalist Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, bassist Eric Avery, and drummer Stephen Perkins--with a headlining appearance at Washington state's Sasquatch! Music Festival, to be held in the town of Quincy, WA from May 23-25.

Among those also scheduled to appear are Ben Harper & Relentless 7, Erykah Badu, The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, TV On The Radio, Doves, M. Ward, and Sun Kil Moon.

File Under: Damn, We're Getting Old

Nine Inch Nails will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album Pretty Hate Machine with a co-headlining tour with Jane's Addiction.

Supergroup Alert: Tinted Windows

While at first it seems a bit jarring, the lineup of new band Tinted Windows, starts to make sense when you think about it: former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha has teamed up with Fountains Of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger, drummer Bun E. Carlos from the legendary Cheap Trick and vocalist/keyboardist Taylor Hanson.

Yes, from those Hansons.

The band will make it live debut at South by Southwest next month, and its debut album has been already recorded at New York's Stratosphere Sound Studios, which Iha and Schlesinger co-own. The album is due this spring.

Hmm..could be a delicious helping of some crunchy power pop. Stay tuned.

Daptone Was Robbed

Dap-tone, the retro-soul label behind Sharon Jones, as well as Amy Winehouse's chart-topping smashes, was recently burglarized. Thieves made off with a large amount of gear and office equipment, according to label honcho/Dap-Kings bassist Gabriel Roth. The Brooklyn Vegan blog has a list of the stolen equipment here.

Now, this was very unfortunate, indeed. However, running a recording studio--one featured on MTV no less--without insurance, in a sketchy Brooklyn neighborhood is, without a doubt, stupidity of the highest order.

Sorry, guys. Hope you get your gear back. And we're glad that, thankfully, no one got hurt.

Elliot Smith Outtakes Leaked

Rawkblog:

An entire album’s worth of Elliott Smith unfinished recordings and outtakes from From a Basement on the Hill has leaked.

Amongst the tunes is a cover of The Beatles' "I'll Be Back". Dig in, kiddies.

Bigger is Better? You Decide

Pop singer Beth Ditto has posed nude for new magazine Love.

RIP

Joe Cuba, known as the "Father of Latin Boogaloo", died of a bacterial infection on Sunday, Feb. 15th in New York City.

The renowned band leader/percussionist, who was at the height of his popularity in the 1960s and '70s, but still performed live until recently, was 78 years old.

Long-time "5"er, Carolina Gonzalez, over at her own Sound Taste has more.

Louie Bellson
, the man who Duke Ellington once referred to as "the world's greatest drummer" has passed away in Los Angeles.

The acclaimed musician and composer was afflicted with Parkinson's disease and had suffered a broken hip. He was 84 years old.

2/14/2009

Peter Gabriel - "Down to Earth"

We are quite embarrassed to not know about the great Peter Gabriel's contribution to the animated flick Wall-E. It wasn't until the recent controversy surrounding the performance of the Oscar-nominated song at the upcoming awards telecast came to light that we learned of Gabriel's quite cool tune.

So, to rectify this somewhat--and to wish Mr. Gabriel, who turned 59 on Feb. 12th, a very Happy Birthday--here's "Down to Earth" from Wall-E.

Happy Valentine's Day (or not)

Here it is, boys and girls, our gift to you:

25 Really Unromantic Album Covers courtesy of the folks at Houston Press.

Awesome.

Maybe I'm Amazed

OK, now a more appropriate Valentine's Day gift:

Our favorite all-time song turns 40 this year: Macca wrote it in 1969, as a tribute to his bride Linda, who was his rock during the difficult time during and immediately after the break up of The Beatles. Suffice to say, we've always loved this one; both a heartfelt song of love and a rocker, this just might be the man's finest moment bar none.

Paul McCartney and Wings live in Seattle, 1976:

2/13/2009

Friday the 13th


[Album cover courtesy of allmusic.com]

"We thought 'We have two days to do it and one of the days is mixing.' So we played live. Ozzy was singing at the same time, we just put him in a separate booth and off we went."

- Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi.

The mighty Black Sabbath's self-titled debut was released on Friday the 13th, in February of 1970. So to commemorate such a momentous occasion—hey, any excuse to post some Sabbath and to take advantage of a cheesy 'Friday the 13th' segue—we bring you the legendary Birmingham quartet's
unofficial theme song in all its doomy glory. Enjoy!

2/12/2009

Is it April 1st Already?

AP:

LOS ANGELES – Singer-actress Mandy Moore and rock singer Ryan Adams are engaged.

Moore's publicist Jillian Fowkes confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the two are planning to wed. No details were announced.

The 24-year-old Moore started out as a squeaky-clean teen singer and later crossed into movies with featured roles in such films as "License to Wed," "A Walk to Remember," "Saved" and "American Dreamz."

Adams, who played in the band Whiskeytown during the 1990s before turning solo, is known for his song "New York, New York," which appeared on his album Gold, released in 2001.

2/10/2009

Oh, and We'd Like to Thank the Academy, for...

...giving the lame-ass Blink-182, a massive audience for them to announce their unwelcome comeback. Ugh.

RIP

Bassist Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez, often referred to as the heartbeat of the Buena Vista Social Club, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 9th.

Cachaito, nephew of fellow bassist and mambo innovator Israel "Cachao" Lopez--who died last year--was 76 years old.

2/09/2009

Random Grammy Notes

This is what caught our attention last night:

- That chubby British chick got Best New Artist. Good for her.

- Radiohead were actually at the Grammy ceremony. And performed, too. Strange days, indeed.

- So many cringe-inducing bad jokes from the presenters. A word to the wise: comedy is dangerous; leave it to the professionals.

- Kickin' it old school: Neil Diamond's performance of "Sweet Caroline" met with the approval of many of the hip-hop world in attendance; they were unmoved by Paul McCartney's rendition of the early Beatles classic "I Saw Her Standing There", though. Maybe they're Red Sox fans.

- Speaking of "I Saw Her Standing There", Dave Grohl was inexplicably unimpressive behind the kit. Dave, how hard can it be? Ringo used to play this, you know?

- Keith Urban is a mean guitarist. Didn't know he could offer up some tasty soul/blues/jazz licks.

- The Bo Diddley tribute--featuring Buddy Guy, BB King, John Mayer, and the aforementioned Urban, backed by a grooving rhythm section--was the best thing we saw all night.

- The new U2 song is just OK.

- Pregnant artists should be preparing for birth not prancing around on stage on their due date.

- Robert Plant--alongside Alison Krauss, who has 26 of 'em--won his first Grammy ever. (Led Zeppelin got a Lifetime Achievement nod in 2005.)

- Kanye West is an ass.

- Did not know President Obama has won two Grammys. (For the audio versions of each of his two books.) A Grammy winner in the White House. Now, there's a first.

2/08/2009

Happy Birthday...

...to us.

"5" recently turned 8, and we thought about doing special. But we remembered the limited interest in our special features of late--heard the podcast?--and promptly changed our minds. But we might do something anyway. Stay tuned.

2/06/2009

Broken Record: Rap Ain't Art/Music/Rock (Run DMC edition)

When Run DMC are inducted in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this April, it will be one-time collaborators Aerosmith who will be in charge of performing the honors. Pretty cool, huh?

Not according to comments posted at hard rock site Blabbermouth, some of whom are foaming at the mouth, incredulous that faceless, forgotten acts like UFO or cult heroes like Venom haven't made the cut, while the Hollis, Queens rap pioneers are being enshrined. A sampling:

"RUN DMC??? I'm sorry, when's the last time they made ANY music?"

"Rap isn't rock and roll. "

"While it's fitting that Aerosmith be the band to induct them, what in the hell are [Run DMC] doing there?"

"Lame-ass, no-talent rappers. This is ridiculous."

This kind of ignorant nonsense is still going on 30 years later? The revival of the "Disco Sucks" rallies is probably right around the corner, then? Sheesh...

Of course, some cooler heads on the Blabbermouth comments list do rightfully point out the RRHOF has yet grant entry to quite a few deserving artists, while a few were unjustly overlooked until finally inducted. No excuse for that. But Run DMC deserve to be in there. Oh, and yes, as a musical descendant of Run, DMC, and the late Jam Master Jay, Kid Rock would've been a more appropriate choice for inducting them, but Aerosmith is a sentimental one. And we're down with that, yo.

TicketMaster Caught Scamming Springsteen, Phish Fans

Last weekend, fans of The Boss and Vermont's favorite hippie sons experienced a rude awakening when seeking to purchase tickets online for their respective upcoming shows.

Spinner:
Both Phish fans and Springsteen fans became irate at Ticketmaster when they went to purchase tickets only to be redirected to TicketsNow--a secondary ticket site where "brokers" (or, as we used to call them, scalpers) offered up seats for hundreds of dollars above face value. This happened from the very moment tickets first went on sale. Oh and ... Ticketmaster owns TicketsNow.

On Wednesday, Springsteen fired off an open letter to Ticketmaster, condemning their actions. By the end of the day, Irving Azoff, CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment, posted a response. It reads, in part, "While we were genuinely trying to do the right thing for fans in providing more choices when the tickets they requested from the primary on-sale were not available, we clearly missed the mark."

The letter, which apologized outright to Springsteen, his manager, his tour team and his fans, publicly states that Ticketmaster will never again link to TicketsNow "in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale." Additionally, Ticketmaster will seek artist and venue approval before presenting a direct TicketsNow option from Ticketmaster.

So sleazy... Wait--isn't Irving Azoff The Eagles' manager? Hmm...

Appetite for Investment: Duff McKagan Talks Dollars and Sense

Most Surreal Gig of the Year: Did you ever think questions like “What should I do with my 401k?” or, “Is now a good time to invest in the stock market?” would ever be directed in all seriousness to former GnR and current Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan, someone whose one-time prodigious alcohol and drug intake would have likely depleted his past financial windfall or at the the very least made him forget what he'd done with the loot? (This is a man, after all, who allegedly had the beer on The Simpsons named after him.)

Well, believe it or not, it's true: the now clean-and-sober, and purported health nut has become Playboy magazine's resident financial advisor. Oh, his column/blog is called "Duffonomics." Yup.

Quote of the Day

"You guys know your president, right? You know the one with the big ears? Wait a minute, he ain't my president. He might be yours; he ain't my president. But I tell you that woman he had singing for him, singing my song — she's going to get her ass whipped."
- The legendary Etta James, on Beyonce singing her signature song, "At Last" at President Obama's Inauguration. Ouch!

2/05/2009

And We Thought Audioslave Was a Bad Name

Sammy Hagar--who looks pretty good for a senior citizen--along with guitarist Joe Satriani, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, has formed a new band, the unfortunately called Chickenfoot. Seriously.

As for the band's music, the brief, untitled music clip on their homepage sounds like a slowed down "Poundcake" or something else off VH's F. U. C. K. album. Not promising. But...let's reserve judgement for now.

Chickenfoot, which Hagar has taken to comparing to Led Zeppelin in the press, plan on releasing an album in April. No word on what label, if any, is involved. (Wonder if Chickenfoot is actually the 21st century HSAS...)

Oh, in case you were curious: at 47 years of age, Smith is the youngest member of the band.

Life (and music) Are Full of 'Em

Paste's Andy Whitmanlists all-time disappointing albums from five artists he obviously cherishes. (No, nothing earth-shattering. And yes, Dylan and Springsteen are both on there.)

Looks like our quintuple motif is catching on, huh? Not really, but...

RIP

Cramps frontman Lux Interior--born Erick Purkhiser--died on Wednesday, Feb. 4th from an existing heart condition. He was 62.

Dewey Martin, drummer for the Stephen Stills/Neil Young-led '60s faves Buffalo Springfield, passed away of unknown causes on Jan. 31st. He was 68 years old.

2/04/2009

Hold On, It's About to Get Worse

In the future you might say to your friend, "Wow, do you remember when this song came out?! It was the summer Nike's Titanium Air-Splint Max Torque Silicon Return Q Factor high tops came out! Those shoes were pretty comfortable but that commercial rocked!” – Doak Calloway

“Should I Stay Or Should I Go" is [a] Smirnoff Ice jingle (Jesus!). In a related topic, "Rudy, A Message To You" is also [a] Pampers jingle. What's next, The Replacements "Can't Hardly Wait" as the new E.P.T. stick pregnancy test? - G.R. Jones

…I'm sure Fogerty never envisioned his Vietnam-era protest song [“Fortunate Son”] to sell pants to kids that were born post-Vietnam… – Leo Susana

Like the "5" readers above, quite a few of you have, over the years, echoed our distaste for artists dealing with corporate sponsorship or doling out their songs to Madison Ave. Well, brace yourselves for this:

The Register:
Brand Sponsors - The Most Worrying Trend in Music

Smells like Doritos™

Sponsorship by corporate brands will replace the disappearing record label, Avril Lavigne's manager Terry McBride told us one soggy summer day last year.

"We'll have Dorito™-sponsored bands. They'll come to an artist with a $5m ad budget, and they will say will add x money to your business, but we want something for that." Recorded music would be "an upsell technique" to sell you something else - like a T-shirt.

A few months later, Avril Lavigne left to get a new manager. Perhaps it's a coincidence, or perhaps she wasn't inspired by Terry's Doritos™-centric vision of the future. Chris Castle calls the dependence on advertising and sponsorship the most worrying trend in music.

"I can't see this new music business producing another Bob Dylan - or anyone like that who openly defies corporatization," he told us gloomily last year.

Well, a music business dictated by a guy marketing deodorant gets nearer every day. Announcing its results last week, EMI said it was switching its focus away from the CD, where sales are falling, and focussing on brand advertising "partnerships" and sync licensing deals.


The days of The Black Crowes getting kicked off the opening slot of a beer-sponsored ZZ Top tour, over discomfort with corporate sponsorship, are long over, kids. Simple as that.

...on the other hand:



How cool is that? Gives new meaning to "Long live rock!" and "Hope I die before I get old", huh?

2/03/2009

"The Day the Music Died"

Today is the 50th anniversary of the tragic airplane accident that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, also known as "The Day the Music Died." (It also inspired Don McLean to write "American Pie", which itself is the inspiration for Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly", but we digress.) We're going to observe this sad milestone by paying tribute to these two rock and roll pioneers and one radio DJ turned performer, with a few video clips.







And of course:

Hudson, Hill Lip-Synched at Super Bowl

Yes, it's true.

Say what you will about Bruce Springsteen's allegedly pitchy rendition of "Born to Run" at Sunday's football extravaganza, The Boss don't fake it, yo.

Quote of the Week

"Flaming Lips doing the soundtack to a movie about magic mushrooms? That's like doing a documentary on feminine cleansing products and having Fall Out Boy write songs for it."
- Fark.com

New Releases

This week's include:

THE BAD PLUS For All I Care (Heads Up)
BEN KWELLER Changing Horses (ATO)
RONNIE McNEIR [self-titled; 1972] (RCA/Dusty Groove)
GRAHAM NASH Reflections [box set] (Rhino)
THE VON BONDIES Love, Hate and then There's You (Majordomo)

2/02/2009

Smells Like Leeds Spirit

It was bound to happen: 15 years after the death of Kurt Cobain (!) and the final throes of the so-called "grunge" era, the sludge is back. In Leeds, England.

But since this pseudo-flannel hype is fueled by the notoriously over-embellishing UK press, the question, as always, is should you believe it? Yes. Partially, anyway.

The Guardian's Dave Simpson is on it:

Dinosaur Pile-Up are at the forefront of what may turn out to be the year's most unlikely musical development: grungy music from in and around Leeds. The original American grunge bands fused rock with a punk aesthetic in a revolt against the "hair metal" bands that had been the dominant form of hard rock over the preceding few years. It seems their Yorkshire successors are also reacting to something: the "New Yorkshire" sound that has dominated guitar music in the north for the last three or four years.

"If you're involved in the music scene in Leeds, you get it rammed down your throat that the Kaiser Chiefs and the Pigeon Detectives are your legacy," says Harry Johns, who fronts the Old Romantic Killer Band, a guitar-drums duo who sound like a grunged-up 60s power trio. "We all love the Cribs because of the punk aesthetic and the stripped-down sounds. But otherwise [New Yorkshire] wasn't for us. We'd meet at parties and say, 'We're not really into this are we?' Then we started bands."

But why grunge bands?

Grunge has been unfashionable for years, but among the twentysomethings who experienced it at a formative age – many weren't long out of pushchairs – it never really went away. "When I used to run a club night I'd always play Smells Like Teen Spirit," admits Russell, the guitarist with Wonderswan, a quintet who shuns surnames but make a beautifully shambolic fuzz-laden racket. "If you talk to people at gigs or in clubs, they've never really gone off that stuff."

"It wasn't a case of, 'Let's start a grunge band,'" says Johns. "It was a case of, 'What records do you listen to? What can we do that's a bit fresher? Rawer and dirtier.'"


Personally, we're quite into the tracks Dinosaur Pile-Up have on their MySpace page. We'd dig The Old Romantic Killer Band a bit more if we weren't so over the bass-less duo thing. But they are pretty cool, regardless.

And the rest? Eh...

[h/t Idolator.]

Springsteen Rocks the Super Bowl

Well, did he? We missed it: We're not football fans; baseball is our thing. (Last year's SB was the first we have ever watched. And that was due to the young lady in our company wanting to watch her New England hometown team. Thankfully, they lost. Unfortunately, so did our libido.)

There's numerous takes on the halftime show here.

What We're Listening To

Mostly individual tracks lately:

THE BEATLES
"Fixing a Hole" (Parlophone)
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER "The Endless Enigma (part one)" (Manticore)
ALEX FERREIRA "Rómpase En Caso De Incendio" (self-released)
GENESIS "You Might Recall" (Atlantic)
33 Hz "I Know" (Outlook)

What are YOU listening to?

Stevie Wonder Live DVD

March 10 is the release date for Stevie Wonder's first ever live DVD. Live at Last (Universal/Motown) was filmed in London, during a late September/early October '08 concert run.

The tracklisting is as follows:

Intro / "All Blues"
"As If You Read My Mind"
"Master Blaster (Jammin')"
"Did I Hear You Say You Love Me"
"All I Do"
"Knocks Me Off My Feet"
U.K. Medley: "London Bridge Is Falling Down," "Fool On The Hill," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Satisfaction"
"People Make The World Go Round"
"Higher Ground"
"Spain"
"Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing"
"Visions"
"Living For The City"
"Part-Time Lover"
"Overjoyed"
"Lately"
"I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life" (performed by Aisha Morris)
"My Cherie Amour"
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)"
"Sir Duke"
"I Wish"
"Isn't She Lovely"
"You Are The Sunshine Of My Life"
"I Just Called To Say I Love You"
"You Are The Only One" (snippet)
"Superstition (So What The Fuss)"
"As"

Are We the Only Ones that Think...

..people have gotten way too addicted to technology, when an established artist gives birth to a child and is blogging/twittering while it happens?

2/01/2009

Why PETA Doesn't Get It

(Before we go any further, let's have some full disclosure: a juicy cheeseburger is one of life's simple yet wondrous pleasures, in our book.)

We men are simple creatures. It doesn't take much for us to be content. (According to Chris Rock, it only takes three things to do the trick.) Because of this, Madison Ave. constantly bombard us with ads featuring attractive women, in the hopes that we'll equate owning their product with the possibility of lovely ladies flocking to us. No dice. No Swedish Bikini Team in the world is making us drink any of that swill. (That we are lifelong drinkers of a cola once endorsed by Cindy Crawford and are fans of the '80s supermodel herself, IS A COINCIDENCE. Yes, really.) So the folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are not known for subtlety, decided to go for the Super Bowl crowd with a racy ad [see below], featuring gorgeous ladies in seductive lingerie, cavorting with pumpkins, broccoli, celery, etc. and exhorting us to "Go veg" while bad hair metal plays in the background. The ad was rejected by CBS, the network airing the game, and PETA were said to be surprised. We're more baffled by the organization's cluelessness in this whole matter.

Where to start?

First of all, after the whole Janet Jackson fiasco of a few years back, they had to know CBS would be skittish about this kind of ad. Second, you can try to convince men to consume your version of whatever product they already have a predisposition for. But veggies to a Super Bowl crowd? Put as many hot, scantily clad women as you want in that ad, carnivores are not giving up tangible steaks and burgers for a fantasy chick, no matter how hot. Third--and this is a very personal one that has nothing to do with why the ad didn't air--while we respect the noble intent which fuels PETA, it has been our experience that militant animal lovers hold people in a much lower regard than those they advocate for. It is underscored by this ad, which both objectifies women in the most heavy-handed of ways and shows off their contempt for the intended audience most blatantly. (At least the beer companies are good at it.) This is the equivalent of the equally dumb Carl's Jr ad featuring Paris Hilton, of a few years back. Is that what you were aiming for PETA?

Here's a free tip: we red-blooded, hetero males don't find offense in being considered horn dogs, but no one likes to be thought of as stupid.



UPDATE: It has been suggested to us that perhaps PETA was never interested in getting their over-the-top ad shown during the Super Bowl, but just wanted to reap the benefits of the publicity the situation would bring. Fine. Still, not a great idea.