Monthly Archives: September 2011

Radiohead + Occupy Wall Street (Not Happening)

Update X4: Nope.

Update X3: Er… maybe not. (? added back.)

Update Update: There’s an Occupy Wall Street live stream. I’m not 100% positive the Radiohead show will be broadcast on it, but maybe.  

Update: I’ve changed the question mark (?) to an exclamation point (!) because the rumor has been confirmed.

Occupy Wall Street is, of course, in NYC. Radiohead is also in NYC and they mentioned the Occupy Wall Street protests at their concert at the Roseland Ballroom.

Now there’s a buzz that a secret musical guest is going to play for free for the protesters in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park at 4 PM today. Rumor has it that that musical guest will be Radiohead. Pretty cool, eh? We’ll see.

Continue reading “Radiohead + Occupy Wall Street (Not Happening)” »

Sik (sic) Bed Music #2

Dear Reader: I don’t intend to draw this out as a lengthy series but I do strongly wish you all to feel my pain! Although I do realise that I need to get back to the “Important Albums” series and set the record firmly crooked on a few matters I see as being important.

One of my hobbies is having migraine headaches. And while I’m lying in the dark writhing in pain, waiting for the $18 pill to work (the only thing that will!), I find often that the silence is absolutely painfully deafening! I need to set the iPod in the little dock I have in the bedroom and play something at a manageable volume to cover the excruciating silence. Now you would probably think that some Enya or Dan Gibson’s Solitudes would be the logical choice, wouldn’t you? Forget that!!! I find, for some reason that it is soothing to hear something that is the audio equivalent of the headache.

Ladies and Germans; I’ve included one of my little soothing numbers for your irritation! I mentioned previously that I’ve been consuming vast quantities of Sonic Youth in my down spell, and the song “Brother James” in particular, from the “Kill Yr Idols” EP was very helpful.

Sonic Youth – Kill Yr Idols (1983)

Continue reading “Sik (sic) Bed Music #2” »

Pink Floyd Week on Jimmy Fallon

This week Jimmy Fallon’s late night show is having a Pink Floyd week to celebrate today’s release of the Pink Floyd Discovery Box Set and the Dark Side of the Moon Immersion Box Set.

Last night The Shins kicked off the week with a cover of “Breathe.”

The schedule for the rest of the week:

The Foo Fighters with Roger Waters will cover “In The Flesh” from The Wall on Tuesday.

MGMT will cover “Lucifer Sam” on from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn on Wednesday.

Dierks Bentley will cover “Wish You Were Here” from Wish You Were Here on Thursday. (From what I’ve heard of Dierks Bentley, he’s a terrible country pop singer – his inclusion in the week is a bit confusing.)

Pearl Jam will cover “Mother” from The Wall on Friday.

In other music on late night TV news: Radiohead played four songs on a special one hour long Colbert Report on Comedy Central last night.

Sik (sic) Bed Music

I haven’t been feeling so hot lately. And I know this’ll sound crazy but it’s hard to enjoy much music in this state. So, lately I’ve been on a bit of an anti-music trip. Not strictly noise per se but songs that grate! Most people would call it noise but this noise has a beat. And not really “heavy” music either. What I’m looking for is dissonance and a certain amount of tunelessness. If you’ve been following Important Albums, and you’ve bothered to check any of them out, I’m referring to stuff like The Residents or Metal Box. I’ve been consuming vast quantities of Sonic Youth these days as well.

I’m not quite sure why, but ‘nice’ music or ‘good’ music irritates me` right now but this ‘noise with a beat’ totally hits the spot.

I thought I’d share my personal hell with you all and let you in to my inner music sanctum. You’ll all thank me for this one day in the distant future! I’ve been playing a rare EP from 1978 rather a lot lately and I wanted to share one of the ‘nicer’ songs on it.

Don Letts, Jah Wobble, Stratetime Keith, Steel Leg – Steel Leg v. Electric Dread (1978)

There Is No Explanation! Continue reading “Sik (sic) Bed Music” »

R.E.M. is Breaking Up

REM has announced that they are breaking up the band.

They formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980 with singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry. That original line-up remained for 17 years until Bill Berry left the group in 1997.

Stipe, Buck, and Mills remained with the band until the end which officially came today.

REM released 15 studio albums beginning with 1983′s Murmur and ending with 2011′s Collapse into Now.

REM’s Albums Ranked by Users

1.  Murmur (1983)
2. Automatic for the People (1992)
3. Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)
4. Reckoning (1984)
5. Document (1987)
6. Fables of the Reconstruction (1985)
7. New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996)
8. Green (1988)
9. Out of Time (1991)
10. Collapse into Now (2011)
11. Accelerate (2008)
12. Monster (1994)
13. Up (1998)
14. Reveal (2001)
15. Around the Sun (2004)

Say It Ain’t So, Joe!,

30 years after releasing High and Dry, the album in which Def Leppard began to crawl out of obscurity and begin to develop the sound that would be uniquely theirs, front man Joe Elliot doesn’t look much worse for wear.  In fact, he doesn’t appear to have changed at all, except for a few scowl lines.  He’s doing the same kind of uncomfortable two step move that’s defined his stage presence, at least for me, for thirty years.  Come to that, in spite of all kinds of theatrical help and staging, the Leps have never been the most dynamic band in rock.  But who cared?  The music was good and the energy swept through sold out audiences.

These days it doesn’t seem to be so much about selling out arenas as it does about selling out, period.  In the days of Pyromania, the 1982 release that catapulted Def Leppard into the stratosphere of the American rock scene, I was a die-hard fan.  I can still quote from the pile of Lep-related articles I read and collected (“Is Def Leppard The Next Led Zep” for instance).  But while I was tuning in, devotees of an older, classical kind of heavy metal were tuning out.  Now I see it clearly.  Def Leppard was never going to be a Black Sabbath or a Judas Priest–or a Zeppelin, come to that.  It was the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” and there was a thriving clash of the two. Continue reading “Say It Ain’t So, Joe!,” »

Thanks For Nothing, Oprah!

I don’t imagine I was the only counterculture personality who smiled at the news–news?  really?–that the goddess Oprah planned to shut down her televised bubble gum juggernaut in 2011.

Now I may be totally off base with this, but when Oprah wasn’t giving away cars to focusing on the medical ailment du jour, she’d pad her show with dark and wicked tales of youth gone awry and the parents trying to save their souls.  Goths, punks, headbangers, and their kindred were an especially favorite target, what with their prescribed sociopathic appearance and demeanor–or that’s how the audience was supposed to see them.  This was especially true after the Columbine incident and the two gunboys (who, for the record, were not goth, punk, or headbanger) lovingly dubbed the Trenchcoat Mafia.

Yes, those were interesting times.  I’d say they were dark times, but that would be paying into the stereotype.  But our good old Oprah, the woman with her finger on the pulse of a nation, was as fast to frame music fans as anyone else.  If any of us get wide berth today, I blame Oprah and anyone else who took the concept of being different and warped it into something not just negative, but to be feared.

I haven’t even gotten into my real reason for disliking Ms. Winfrey.  You see, gunning for musical genres means attacking music.  Remember the late 1980′s and Tipper Gore’s crusade against naughty lyrics?  Oprah decided to bring an entire circus onto her show to “discuss” the issue.  The panel on March 7 1990 included Gore as well as Jello Biafra, former frontman of the Dead Kennedys and advocate of artistic rights. Continue reading “Thanks For Nothing, Oprah!” »

Important Albums #11: Public Image Limited – Metal Box (1979)

Ha Ha Ha! Ever Get The Feeling You’ve Been Cheated? Goodnight.

With those words, John Lydon brought the curtain down on one of the most important bands in the history of Rock and Roll. The American tour had been a shambles. Having Sid Vicious in the band was a disaster. Malcolm was more interested in chaos than art and people.  Steve Jones and Paul Cook didn’t like John Lydon’s new ideas for songs like “Attack” or “Religion”.  Or his concept that “we should make it really unlistenable.” It was such an anti-climactic end to an exciting era.

However, Lydon had the desire to progress musically and become something completely different to what the Pistols were. With old friend Jah Wobble (Sid slurred John Wardle’s real name), and Keith Levene (early Clash member) and a Canadian drummer Jim Walker, Public Image Limited released their first single and shortly after, their first album and set out on a Very unique musical direction.

First Issue (1978) was completely different to what fans and critics were hoping for from John Lydon and co. They were all looking for Sex Pistols II and didn’t even remotely get it. To many disappointed listeners, much of the album like “Cowboy Song” or “Theme” was virtually unlistenable and that suited the band just fine because they got a new group of fans that were interested in more than just “recycled Chuck Berry riffs”. Continue reading “Important Albums #11: Public Image Limited – Metal Box (1979)” »

Competition & Feedback For Songwriters: Song Fight!

If you’re a songwriter who is interested in some friendly competition with other songwriters & constructive feedback on your songwriting you should check out Song Fight!

It works like this: Every week (or so) a new song title is given and you have to write an original song based around that title to be submitted before the deadline. The idea is that the song should be completely original; it should be written & recorded just for this competition with nothing in it that was previously written or recorded.

After the deadline has passed all of the submissions are put up on the site to be streamed by listeners who can vote on their favorite songs. At the end of the period (a week or so) the winner (the song with the most votes, of course) is announced along with the next Song Fight! song title.

There’s also a message board where each submitter is expected to share some thoughts on  all of the other submissions. This is a great way to get some unbiased feedback on your song. Hopefully some of it will be constructive criticism you can use to improve your songwriting.

That’s really the idea with this; It’s a way to get motivated to get serious about your songwriting and to hopefully learn some things that can help you to improve it. It can also be a lot of fun.

Books on Songwriting

Continue reading “Competition & Feedback For Songwriters: Song Fight!” »

Important Albums – Round Up #2

Where were you in 1985? I finished school that summer and things have never been the same since. Things were so much simpler when I had everything taken care of for me. Now that I have to do it myself, life sucks. Soooo…

These albums represent a time when everything was still OK. So the impact they had on me is not quantifiable in any easy to explain way, like, they were ground breaking, etc, etc,  except that they made me feel good! But looking up reviews of these albums, often by people who weren’t around for them the first time, they do seem to have a wide appeal.

Again, in my opinion, there is a lot of musical ground covered here on each album. These were all artists that were ACTUALLY artists. They cared about their craft and producing a long lasting musical statement. And it did so happen that some of this stuff was actually a hit. What do you know? Here’s the round up:

Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love

The Cure – The Head On The Door

Love And Rockets – Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven

Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

The Waterboys – This Is The Sea

For the next 5 albums, I have to start getting back into some of the more extreme stuff that has slipped under your radar, but will be totally life changing for you and you’ll have me to thank. Although I make no guarantees.