Saturday, February 28, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
an "all caps and exclamation points" type guy. But seeing the photo of Trent Reznor in the studio with Dave Navarro was exciting enough, and not Trent is confirming the rumors: he has produced a new Jane's Addiction album, which will include founding bass player Eric Avery. Trent actually did one better: on his website he posted a note called "A Note From Trent and a Wave Goodbye," and said that Nine Inch Nails will be touring with Jane's. Both bits of news are mindblowing. Trent also mentioned that after this tour, he would be hanging up NIN, at least for a while. Probably a good idea: he's been so prolific with NIN in the past few years, I think he may benefit from doing things like producing other artists, and getting out of his own "comfort zone." At any rate, this is pretty much the must-see show of the summer.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
But know this: if you do rock the autotune, you're steppin to Death Cab For Cutie, and they go hard. The members of the band were all wearing blue ribbons to the Grammys to protest autotune! Frontman Ben Gibbard says, "Auto-tuning is a digital manipulation, a correction of a singer's voice that is affecting literally thousands of singers today and thousands of records that are coming out. We just want to raise awareness while we're here and try to bring back the blue note... The note that's not so perfectly in pitch and just gives the recording some soul and some kind of real character. It's how people really sing." Believe me, you don't want to mess with Death Cab, so be careful before you download that app!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
"He's a force to be reckoned with for sure. Anyone who says he's not relevant or somehow too old to be sharing a stage with current bands have got it all wrong, and really underestimate the power of his music. And really, the spirit of his music. I mean, what's at the core of Neil Young is at the core of so many rock n roll bands and so much music that I don't think audiences can really make a difference. On stage he's incredible live. He sounds wonderful, his voice sounds great. He fuckin shreds guitar more than...I mean he's just a force to be reckoned with. There's no doubting the cultural icon that he is, once you see him do his thing. It's fantastic."
It is interesting that many of the same people fall over themselves praising Jay-Z, who joined Chris Martin onstage at the Grammys (it was pretty embarassing I thought) and who is just as mainstream, and way more pandering than Coldplay ever could be.
But I saw an interview with Chris Martin before the Grammys on 60 Minutes, and he's such a likable guy. During the interview, Chris Martin showed a list of Coldplay's rules for making an album, which I loved. And during the show, I loved that they apologized to Paul McCartney for nicking The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" outfits. Finally, when the band played "Viva La Vida" thankfully without Jay-Z, Chris Martin threw in a bit of Bruce Springsteen's "Working on a Dream" (a very Bono move). Nicely done, boys.
But I'm glad that Tony, Geezer, Dio and Vinny are about to put out a new album as Heaven & Hell: The Devil You Know is coming out in April. I know they're going to be touring. I wonder if Black Sabbath will ever work together again. The last time they appeared together was at their long-overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years back. They looked like they genuinely were enjoying each other's company, and the accolades. If it was the last page of their book, it was a good last page. I'm glad Tony and "Geez" are playing a completely different repertoire with a completely different band.
Then came a somewhat underrated album called Warning in 2000. I loved the title track - although it was a blatant rip-off of The Kinks' "Picture Book" - but the song that converted me and made me a fan was "Minority." And then came American Idiot in 2004, a classic, their best album ever. And if that wasn't enough, last year, under the alias Foxboro Hot Tubs, they released Stop, Drop and Roll!!!, my favorite album of 2008.
I was glad to see the guys from Green Day at the Grammys (they presented the Album of the Year award to Robert Plant & Alison Krauss). I can't wait to hear their new album, 21st Century Breakdown, produced by Butch Vig. It comes out in May!
Monday, February 9, 2009
Full disclosure: I'm a Grammy voter, and I voted for Robert and Alison for all five categories that they were nonimated in. After last year when Herbie Hancock won Album of the Year, the Grammys really do need to try not to seem totally out of touch. I like Herbie Hancock, but that was crazy. On the other hand, no one minded that Amy Winehouse won a bunch of Grammys, and who knows, maybe in a few years she'll be the star of "I Love The '00s." I predict that the 2008 Grammys will be seen as pretty embarassing, but in 2009, they got it mostly right (Bruce Springsteen's lack of nominations in major categories for "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" notwithstanding).
But here's the real deal: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss mainly let their album speak for itself. I think MTV must have had a story about Lil' Wayne every day for the past year. Wayne's a young guy: he does mixtapes. He collaborates with anyone who asks him to. He's young. He does drugs and courts trouble. He needs to do this to sell records, and MTV, Vibe and everyone else need constant Wayne stories to make themselves seem "relevent." To a lesser extent, many of the other artists in the running for big awards kept themselves in the news cycle, or at least their publicists did it for them. They are part of a conversation that Robert and Alison stay far away from, by choice.
Robert and Alison seemed to do interviews as a favor for thier record label, Rounder (who did a incredible job with the album that other record labels and marketers should really take note of), and were happy to let Raising Sand speak for itself. Of course, Alison collaborates with artists nearly as much as Lil Wayne does: but no one really wrote about the fact that she guested on Yo-Yo Ma's new album, Songs Of Joy and Peace, or that she put out a Plant-less DVD, A Hundred Miles Or More, featuring other collabs with the likes of Brad Paisley, James Taylor and John Waite. Yes, "Missing You" John Waite. I actually love the fact that she doesn't know (or care) that when you have a certain amount of cred and you work with Robert Plant that you don't also work with Yo-Yo Ma or John Waite. Robert Plant did occasionally entered the news cycle: mainly because he wouldn't reunite with Led Zeppelin. If you want to talk about "cred," the guy turned down tens of millions of dollars (maybe a hundred million) to do that tour, to stick with Alison Krauss, and to do the music that he believed in, instead of trying to relive 1972.
If you had any awareness of popular music in 2008, it was impossible not to know that Lil Wayne had an album. Or Coldplay, Radiohead or Leona Lewis. You may have not heard about Raising Sand. To find out about it, you had to look a little harder, you had to listen. Same deal if you wanted to appreciate it: you couldn't just play a hook from a song, you had to actually listen to the whole thing. The fact that an album like that, that was made outside of any real commercial considerations, that didn't pander or beg to be noticed, made by adults who know their age, to win six Grammys (it actually won one last year) seems like a miracle in 2009. And one we should be thankful for.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
This year I watched the "pre-tel" on the Grammy's finally improving web site, and there were some great moments. George Carlin's daughter accepted his fifth career Grammy for Best Comedy Album for It's Bad For Ya. Dweezeil Zappa had a moving speech to a nearly empty house when his group Zappa Plays Zappa won Best Rock Instrumental for thier version of "Peaches en Regalia," which his father Frank Zappa wrote for him when he was born, 40 years ago. This category was a bone of contention between my wife and I: I wanted Metallica to win for "Suicide & Redemption," and she wanted Nine Inch Nails for "34 Ghosts I-IV." But I was glad that Dweezil won, it meant more to him. Apparently, someone who co-wrote a song for Lil Wayne died, and someone accepted for him and that was sad too.
Other cool awards: The Blind Boys winning thier fifth career Grammy, Weezer winning for their "Pork and Beans" video, Peter Gabriel winning for the Wall-E song "Down To Earth," B.B. King winning his 15th for his great album One Kind Favor, Alicia Keys winning her 12th for "Superwoman," Al Green winning his 10th and 11th for songs from Lay It Down, Duffy won one, Rick Rubin won Producer of the Year, and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss won their first two of hopefully many tonight (they won one last year also). Other than the Blind Boys, none of these people were there though. In fact, the only big names there were Carrie Underwood and Robert Trujilio of Metallica (who won Best Metal Performance for "My Apocolypse").
Other cool awards: Juno took best soundtrack, They Might Be Giants won for a children's record, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers won long-form video for Running Down A Dream, Pete Seeger won in the folk category for At 89.
Some lame upsets: John Mayer's "Gravity" beat Bruce Springsteen's "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" for Best Male Rock Vocal (I don't really think of Mayer as a rock singer), the Kings Of Leon beat AC/DC in a rock category, and country singer Jamey Johnson didn't win anything. But on to the main show! Good luck to everyone... but especially Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.
Martin, who played with legends including Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Faron Young, The Everly Brothers and Charlie Rich, among others before founding The Springfield, never really got his career off of the ground afterwards. He formed different bands here and there, but mainly tried to revive Springfield, often with bassist Bruce Palmer, leading to legal battles with Stills and Young, who didn't want them using the band's name. But it must have hurt to see those guys with such stellar careers. There were often rumors of a full-on Springfield reunion, but it never happened. Even in 1997, when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there was talk of a performance, but Neil ducked out at the last minute, when he found out that the show was going to be televised (which shouldn't have come as a surprise: when he was inducted a few years earlier as a solo artist, the show was broadcast on MTV).
I don't know too much about the guy, but the Springfield made great music. If you want to check it out, pick up Retrospective, a single CD compilation. They only had three albums, all of which were great (I like the first one best): 1966's Buffalo Springfield, 1967's Buffalo Springfield Again and 1968's Last Time Around.
as predictions by Keith Price, the ebony, chunky, funky co-host of The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio. On Monday morning, we'll see how well we did, and discuss the show.
Record of the Year
Adele’s “Chasing Pavements”
Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”
Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love”
M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’ “Please Read The Letter”
No Expiration says: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss should win, it was a phenomenal track from an incredible record that gave two career artists a new career highlight. Record of the Year is also an award for the production: Robert Plant recorded the song ten years earlier with Jimmy Page, produced by Steve Albini. The new version, produced by T-Bone Burnett, casts the song in a new light. I also think it will win, this is the kind of record that Grammy voters love, and all of the younger artists will cancel each other out.
Keith Price saysAdele should win, but Leona Lewis, a favorite of Larry Flick, will win.
Album of the Year
Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends
Lil’ Wayne’s Tha Carter III
Ne-Yo’s Year of the Gentleman
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand
Radiohead’s In Rainbows
No Expiration says: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, again, should win, although Radiohead’s album is great and Coldplay’s is the rare “rock” record to have a long shelf-life with lots of single, and Lil Wayne’s sold over three milli. But I think Wayne and Ne-Yo cancel each other out, and Radiohead and Coldplay cancel each other out.
Keith Price says: Coldplay will win, but Robert Plant & Alison Krauss should win.
Song of the Year
Estelle featuring Kanye West: “American Boy”
Adele: “Chasing Pavements”
Jason Mraz: “I’m Yours”
Sara Bareilles: “Love Song”
Coldplay: “Viva La Vida”
No Expiration says: there’s no clear cut winner here, but Jason Mraz shouldn’t have been invited to this party, with all due respect. I liked a lot of these songs, but I voted for Coldplay, and I think that is who will win (which isn’t why I voted for them).
Keith Price says: “American Boy” will win, but “Chasing Pavements” should win.
Best New Artist
The Jonas Brothers
No Expiration says: Duffy should and will win. Yes, The Jonas Brothers sold tons of records and film tickets and concert tickets and deserve recognition for that, plus they write songs and play instruments. But the Grammys don’t want to become the American Music Awards. Duffy’s album is a great debut by a career artist that had the old-fashioned slow build, and she never seemed like she was getting overexposed.
Keith Price agrees!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I'm a big fan of lots of Willie's recent music: I enjoyed his collaboration with Wynton Marsalis last year, the live album Two Men With The Blues, and I kind of enjoyed the Kenny Chesney-produced Moment Of Forever, which also came out last year. I thought that might take him back to the commercial country mainstream, but no such luck. I also kind of liked 2007's collaboration with Ray Price and Merle Haggard, Last Of The Breed. Ryan Adams has bitched about Songbird, which he produced for Willie in 2006, but I liked some of the songs on that one also. I loved 2006's You Don't Know Me -- The Songs Of Cindy Walker, and 2004's It Will Always Be may be my favorite Willie album.
People might be getting burned out on biopics (but I'm not)... but I think there will be interest in this no matter what due to how compelling the story is, and the fact that Spike Lee is directing. You know Spike isn't just going for the tabloid stuff, either.
It's true, rap/hip-hop isn't rock and roll, but in the early days, it was like rock and roll being played on a different instrument: the turntables. Run-D.M.C. had more of the spirit of rock and roll than half of the bands that get played on classic rock radio. And plus, they had cooler guitars. I look forward to seeing Run and D.M.C. performing together for the first time since the tragic death of Jam Master Jay at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. I wonder if they'll use a different DJ. I would think that he's pretty irreplaceable; maybe they should just use a band. I'm sure lots of musicians would line up to be their backing band.
Stevie's next album is supposedly a duets album with Tony Bennett, and will feature a number of Marvin Gaye songs. I'm not a Bennett fan, but I might check that one out. But I hope if Stevie tours, it's not with Tony Bennett.
The song which I presume is from the "rock" album, "Colonized Mind," is pretty incredible. I also liked the more funk/pop one, "Discojellyfish," and his protege Bria Valente's song, "Another Boy," was sweet also.
On February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper died in a small plane crash (along with the pilot, Roger Peterson).
I became a fan of Buddy Holly when my mom took me to see The Buddy Holly Story on Broadway, I think I was in college at the time. I don't remember if the show itself was great, but I was struck by how many of Buddy Holly's songs I already knew, and also by just how incredible his songs were. You can sort of take someone like him for granted: his songs are part of the culture, it may not be apparent that you need to have some of his records in your collection. "That'll Be The Day," "Rave On," "Everyday," "Words Of Love," "Maybe Baby," "Not Fade Away," the guy just had so many incredible songs, he was only 22 when he died! Do yourself a favor if you haven't already: pick up The Buddy Holly Collection, or just Buddy Holly.
I'm not as familiar with Richie Valens, but "La Bamba" is obviously a classic and so is "Donna" and "Come On, Let's Go." I think he was 17 when he died! So he didn't have a vast catalog, but anyone who was there at the beginning of rock and roll... it's not about the amount of classic songs, it's about the impact of the songs that they had, and Valens' had a big impact.
I think that The Big Bopper was more of a novelty act, but that's cool: "Chantilly Lace" was a classic.