All right, you’s guys, I’ve got opinions about albums and since everybody likes to show off their super-important and highly-refined musical tastes by way of year-end lists, I’ve decided to join everyone…like a sheep to slaughter. I’m gonna have some oldies which I’ve just been turned onto in 2008 sprinkled in there too, so please don’t be alarmed that I don’t only listen to new music. In fact, it’s not healthy to only listen to new music.
After mine, you have to show me yours though…as creepy as that sounds. So start thinking about everything you heard in this last great year of our unruly despot’s reign, and be ready to list ‘em by the time you finish looking at mine.
In no particular order…
Okay, yes, they are friends but this album is truly original and stands out in a sea of indie-rock music that is becoming more and more boring. Hooks abound, beautiful harmonies, and amazing arrangements…all with a good sense of humor too.
Here’s an album I was all over when I got an advance copy. It’s totally trippy and neo-psychedelic and totally up my alley. Here’s me singing it’s praises last January…lalala. The backlash is already present but isn’t it always there for bands who get any kind of recognition for actually being good?! They sounded great at a super-packed McCarren Park Pool this past summer too! I look forward to a second album from these cats.
Here’s another one that I got an advance of and I picked it for my year-end list last year even though it came out in 2008. Trippy , heavy, ter’riff’ic! These guys have a great loud live show too. On the album, “Wucan” will hypnotize you…and live, “Wucan” will bewitch your skull. You’ve been warned!
All right now. I just sat down at the ol’ Macbook with a fresh cup of coffee after a nice restorative sleep last night and yoga session this morning, and I’ve noticed that a lot has happened over the last few days. I was camping in the Catskills with friends and caterpillars, but mostly caterpillars. We had some heavy rain on Saturday, that we waited out and weathered and ended up having a rockin’ good time in trout country. We saw the world’s largest kaleidoscope ™ and even swung by Woodstock to make sure nobody was slacking on the drum circle. If a drum circle happens in Woodstock and no one is there to hear it…maaaaahhhhhn. Anyway, let’s look what happened in the less-trippy world outside of Woodstock. I know that a ton of rock fans (as well as fans of Jack Johnson) did some camping in Manchester, TN over the weekend for the country’s biggest music festival ™, Bonnaroo. Let’s check out some stuff…
Winning Bonnaroo’s biggest-douchebag award looks like it was, hands-down, Kanye West, who had already forced organizers to change his time-slot to late-night so that he could take full advantage of his ‘amazing’ glow-in-the-dark set. With the later time granted, it seems he still couldn’t even get to the stage on time. I think it would be you though, that would be Bonnaroo’s biggest DB if you would wait till 4:30 am for a hip-hop show. It just couldn’t possibly be interesting enough to warrant that kind of wait!
After hitting Bonnaroo on Thursday night, Vampire Weekend played to a soaking-wet Central Park Summerstage crowd on Saturday. Both of these videos are very much worth watching…1) this Bonnaroo video has some good festival footage and a hilarious MGMT interview at the end (which shows us how young the MGMT boys are), and 2) in this one from Saturday with Andrew WK, I’m kinda like, c’mon VW, just play the Petty song and stop making an excuse for liking Petty since your Columbia friends think he’s ‘frat rock’!
Here are some great Bonnaroo pics on Pitchfork.
I just gotta say that for some reason, my Sh*t L*sts post featuring the lovely Duffy, got around 1000 hits over Saturday and Sunday. She didn’t play Bonnaroo, but maybe it’s because she won the Mojo award for Song of the Year. No Rock & Roll Fun seems less than thrilled about the list of winners, although it doesn’t look so bad to me…but I’m also an easily-amused Yank!
No Rock & Roll Fun also posts this Duffy live video, against it’s will. I guess Britain is just inundated with Duffy and tired of the hype, but listen to her sing! Beats the shit out of American fave, Fergie!
Bob Lefsetz continues to know everything about everything in the music world. Which is sometimes very insightful and other times a bit annoying. Bob should see Dave’s math on the pressing of vinyl though!
Just in, Carrie Brownstein at NPR’s Monitor Mix is also opposed to the new wave of British soul singers, and she’s not even British! What do you think, is this genre just too derivative?
Ben Folds does ‘Bitches Ain’t Shit’ at Bonnaroo, for the last time.
And on a random note, here’s an interview with Nick Drake from 1971.
More fairly-solid Phish rumors (yet still rumors).
Crystal rocked Round 10 on NewmRadio Rock Trivia, and will soon receive her booty, and Round 11 will start some time this week. Be prepared.
Well, it’s been quite a week so far with Obama winning the Democratic nomination (go Barack!) and the passing of one of Rock’s true innovators and pioneers, Bo Diddley. Not to mention, the birthday of my lovely wife on Tuesday and our second wedding anniversary today! I am an extremely happy and lucky man.
And with the dreams of America’s regime change inching ever-closer to becoming reality, here’s my little photo tribute to the men and women in the Armed Forces who have been putting their lives on the line to protect our ways of life. Hopefully we’ll soon get someone in office who won’t risk their lives frivolously and as a means to support their owns’ greed. AND I couldn’t resist taking the pic when I saw these guys sitting at a table in Little Italy.
So here’s some stuff to check out…
Speaking of photos, check this out, it’s really cool but it may just jerk a tear or two.
Raconteurs on Conan.
There goes the neighborhood!
R.E.M. recently rocked “Ignoreland” for the first time.
Leaked Vampire Weekend demo performed by their keyboard player (and mastermind). Be sure to look at all the comments.
Oh yeah, more great Diddley on NPR’s Monitor Mix!
Shameless plug...it looks good if I get some clicks on my articles.
New MAN remasters. I’m completely addicted to this band now!
Well, here’s news that I’m sure will delight all… I’ve had a couple breakthrough moments concerning Radiohead in the last couple days. ‘So what!’ you may scoff, but never do I get any stranger looks on peoples’ faces as when I inform them kindly that I don’t really listen to Radiohead. I think the popular assumption is that everyone does, so that would especially include me. But I’ve never really caught on to their brand of magic, although it certainly must be there (here’s where I’ll avoid saying ‘millions of people can’t be wrong’). I think the biggest factor was that when they were really blowing up after Kid A, it was a time right after I had discovered Krautrock, so when I heard Kid A, it didn’t floor me the way that it floored everyone else the first time they heard it. I had already been listening to way trippy electronica mixed with droning rock guitars. That said, I just kind of missed the wave when it was at it’s crest.
But a couple nights ago, I fell asleep near the beginning of Conan and awoke near the beginning of the musical guests’ live simulcast from England. It was Radiohead (who was the very first musical guest Conan had on Late Night when the show launched in ’93). I was captivated. It sounded beautiful. I must say I didn’t even know the name of the song, but I was in a sleepy trance. Well, I’ve got the full performance for you below. I missed all the stuff at the beginning with the ‘carbon emmissions’ and ‘dedicated to the **** who walked away from the Kyoto agreement’ and was happy to see it all on YouTube.
And before I play the projection for you, the other thing that put Radiohead in a nicer light for me was today when I was reading in Rolling Stone that Radiohead performs (or will perform) a different set list every time they play, so each show is different. I dig that. Anyway, come 2010, I may be headed for becoming a big Radiohead fan ten years after Kid A was released. That would be sort of typical for me… always dabbling in the old sounds!
And I’ve got a few more links to throw at you at the start of your weekend, links that will shape your world…
- You must hear and see the new Animal Collective song and video, ‘Water Curses’, which will be the name of the upcoming EP release.
- New Eno/Byrne album and tour coming soon, although I would unpopularly say that My Life In the Bush of Ghosts was not a favorite of mine. The show will be fantastic though, I’m sure!
- Do you have time/interest to read a lot about African music and why white people should be outlawed from playing it? It’s a very well-written and informative piece with lots of great mp3 examples, but I do think Heart on a Stick is missing one very valid point.
- Van Halen is back at it!
- Cool video from the new John Varvatos at CBGB… now that’s punk rock. Or something.
- The 2008 Celebrate Brooklyn schedule is up.
- Daryl Hall in action at Live From Daryl’s House
What else is up?
Wow! A couple recent reviews are really helping to reinforce the fact that music is purely subjective and that there is a huge difference between a good music critic and a bad one.
In a recent Village Voice review for Vampire Weekend‘s debut album, Julianne Shepherd jumps on the backlash bandwagon and reaffirms her love for 80′s punk. Unfortunately, it seems that Julianne is airing out her own baggage with trust-fund boys she knew in college and overusing the term steez, whatever that may be. Take a read and see what you think?
I don’t work with or for Vampire Weekend and I couldn’t care less what direction their career goes, but it annoys me to see people who think they know all about music rip into bands for the wrong reasons. And why is Paul Simon (and even Peter Gabriel, as I’ve seen in other negative reviews) an originator of African music? Is it because he could actually afford to pay to fly out the whole Ladysmith Black Mambazo to Nashville and use them on his album? How punk rock is that!? There is lots of African music before Graceland, Julianne. Paul Simon stole another culture’s steez! And why are you talking about punk rock? It’s like talking about Big Band music when you’re reviewing a Radiohead album, or ‘dancing about architecture’, even. Oh yeah, and you’re so punk rock that you think these guys are stupid for reading sheet music!? Maybe if you read sheet music, you’d make a better music critic, Julianne. Hang up your hangups before you start trashing someone else’s art.
Another awful review comes to us from Maxim, and here it is…
*review photo courtesy of Scotty B at Hidden Track
Not inherently evil, but what we find out is that this reviewer, David Peisner, never even heard the record, as no advances were given out AT ALL! Meaning that he was probably only judging the album on the one single that has been released. The Black Crowes fought back.
So, a big NewmRadio SHAME ON YOU to David Peisner and Julianne Shepherd.
What do you guys think? Am I too hard on these two?
So, I’ve recently stumbled on some new music that I really like, but of course that’s because it’s music that isn’t afraid to go in new (old) directions. It may sound confusing, but how uncool has it been in the last 20 years to sound like prog-rock at all? Correct, very. But throughout that time I’ve still always harbored a love for progressive rock, in all it’s ‘indulgent‘ grandeur. The argument against prog rock has always been that it’s over-indulgent, which I never understood because I figured music would be the perfect place to indulge. It’s every other facet of life that we must curb our indulgences…but why not let’s make the music freer than we?
All right, now that I’ve confirmed that I’m a dork, I wanted to turn you on to some examples of new Indie bands who aren’t afraid to borrow from some of rock’s taboo past. All of these bands had albums that just dropped this month too, that I recommend any and all of. Let me start with this video from a duo called MGMT, who have a prog thing going on in their music. They’ve got something pretty magical going on…this video will prove that… See the video for “Time To Pretend” here.
And here’s the same song performed on Letterman, with capes, mind you…
Now check out this band, Black Mountain, who have a heavy prog thing going on. Their new album, In The Future, is one of my favorites right now. Check out them performing ‘Wucan‘ at ATP…wicked riffin’…
And here’s Vampire Weekend whose album just dropped today, who are not afraid to use African rhythms, rock-style, like the Talking Heads did…and Paul Simon. The Dirty Projectors kinda have the African thing going on too, but first check out this brand-new Vampire Weekend video, and dig their style…
Click on through to the other side, to see the amazing Dirty Projectors video, as promised…
I thought it was pretty cool this morning when I found this here blog was getting referrals from the U.K.’s Guardian popular music blog, who are linking to my post from way back in November regarding Sparks’ upcoming 21 albums in 21 nights tour. I guess I’m a legitimate news source now. HA!
The link to NewmRadio is in the text ’20 studio albums over 20 nights‘ right under Ron Mael’s picture. Check it out here…
Whilst I was there I read a fun piece about genre-naming and Vampire Weekend, the band who once opened for our buddies, Frances, and who are blowing up, full-stop. Have you guys heard them yet? What do you think? Read about them here… and the review is here…
Btw, anyone see any good shows lately?
So what’s been going on? Round 8 of RT is really draggin’ on, innit? I’ve been turned on to another great band, the Streetwalkers, which features a couple ‘chaps’ from the band Family, who actually I’ll be exposing to the Nights With Alice Cooper radio audience in the next few weeks. Some other cool shit I’ve heard lately…speaking of street walkers (zing!), Amy Winehouse doing Toots and the Maytals’ ‘Monkey Man’ (magnificent!), and Cat Power covering Dylan’s ‘I Believe in You’ is hot!
Let’s see…I think I have some other shit to show you. Here it is…
I love the last sentence of this Amazon description of an upcoming (very good and catchy) album, because haven’t I been saying this for a while now?:
This NY four-piece draw on their diverse backgrounds and interests, experimenting with African guitar music, the Western classical canon, hazy memories of Cape Cod summers, winters in upper Manhattan, and reggaeton. “Equal parts shruggy New York indie strumming and groovy Afro-pop, Vampire Weekend’s organ-and-drum runs highlight narratives about relationships, punctuation, and sometimes both” – Spin. Named “Hot New Kids” in Rolling Stone’s “Hot” issue. Vinyl contains MP3 coupon.
You absolutely MUST see this video of Tom Cruise talking about Scientology over at the Star-Room!
Did you miss Jimmy Page’s Birthday?
Grab this rare Earth & Fire album (notice: no Wind) over at Chris Goes Rock.
Let NGOoTB turn you on to the amazing music of Henry Kaiser.
Fight the Good Fight, ya’ll…for Triumph has just reunited! Not sure how excited I am, if at all. It’d be funny if they hit Bonnaroo though!
And how do you all like the new NewmRadio look?