Wednesday, June 30, 2010

TOMORROW ON THE CATHOLIC CHANNEL: THE SONGS OF AIMEE MANN

For those of you who are new to No Expiration, once a month I go on SIRIUS XM's The Catholic Channel's Busted Halo Show on SIRIUS channel 159 and XM channel 117.  Tune in at 7:20 pm ET (for a free online trial subscription, go to www.sirius.com/freetrial). Thursday nights are "Faith and Culture Thursdays," and we usually discuss the music of a specific artist, and tomorrow night we'll be talking about one of my favorite artists of all time, Aimee Mann.

Ms. Mann might find it odd that her music is being discussed in that forum, but I feel that her songs have a really strong moral code. She comes off as a very strong and together person, but she seems to be surrounded by very flawed characters with a variety of problems.  Paul Thomas Anderson's film Magnolia, which I watched over the weekend preparing for the Busted Halo show, was inspired by a line in Aimee Mann's song "Deathly." In so many songs, she sings about these characters.  You don't get the impression that these people can take advantage of her, she doesn't seem like an "enabler." But she doesn't reject anyone either, and she doesn't judge them. Rather, she seems to give hard advice, the advice that only someone with compassion would bother to give.  That's why I guess I felt she fit in on the show. It's difficult to forgive.  It's easier to just hold a grudge.  But to try and understand other people's problems and why they are the way they are, that's something we should all be able to do, and something religion should help us to do.

There are a lot of parts of Magnolia that stick out to me.  But one big one is towards the end where John C. Reilly's character, pretending he is being interviewed for a "COPS" type show, says, "Sometimes people need a little help. Sometimes people need to be forgiven. And sometimes they need to go to jail." There's a lot of humanity and realism in that statement. Sometimes you can help people if you try.  And sometimes you can't help them. That is sort of at the core of Magnolia, and in a lot of ways, it is at the core of many of Aimee Mann's songs.

Agree?  Disagree?  Tune in tomorrow and call in with your opinions.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TOMORROW ON OUTQ: THE BRITISH INVASION AND R&B

UPDATE: I'm not going to be on OutQ today, due to a number of other guests. So I'll do an extended version of my weekly thing next week. Sorry everyone, I just found out! Tomorrow night, however, I will be on The Catholic Channel, and I'll post more about that later on.

For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning at 9 am ET, I go on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ to talk about music on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. Tomorrow I will talk about the "British Invasion" of the early 1960's, and the American R&B of that era, and the effects they still have today. It's something I love to talk about: how music can bring together different cultures, and that was definitely happening in the early '60s. 

First, I'll talk about The Kinks' late founding bass player Pete Quaife. He passed away last week. The Kinks were kind of seen as the quintessential British band, and they were. But on their first album, they were covering Chuck Berry and blues and R&B artists. It's still amazing to me: there was no internet in the early '60s: the fact that white British kids were going crazy over American artists like Chuck and Muddy Waters - who many American kids didn't know about, or didn't appreciate, it's pretty amazing.

After that, I'm going to talk about The TAMI Show DVD. The TAMI Show was a concert film recorded October 28 and 29 of 1964 and was released in December of that year. The concert featured performances by James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, Lesley Gore, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Chuck Berry and The Beach Boys among others. It was when desegregation was still a relatively new concept. The show was mainly attended by white kids, but there were black kids too, and I bet this made lots of people nervous. You can hear the white girls going crazy throughout the entire performance, especially when James Brown is on. Brown's TAMI performance is legendary, he blew everyone away. The Rolling Stones were pretty badass, and the Motown artists were excellent, but James was by far the best. Anyway, this DVD costs like $15 and it's one of the best things I've ever seen. I can't say enough about how awesome it is, just trust me.

It's been a year since Michael Jackson died. Before he was The King Of Pop, he was the star of a great Motown band, The Jackson 5. A newly released live album, Live At The Forum, recorded at the L.A. Forum in 1970 and 1972. I brought in their cover of Traffic's "Feelin' Alright."


One British rocker who was profoundly influenced by the music of 1964 is Paul Weller. In the late '70s and early '80s, he fronted a legendary band called The Jam, who were influenced by The Who and The Kinks, but only through their mod periods. Not only The Who and The Kinks, but their American R&B influences, and when they moved away from that, I think he moved on. In the '80s, he formed a new band, Style Council, who were very influenced by the very synth-heavy American R&B of that era. He's been solo since the '90s, and done some of the best music of his career in that time. Some say that his latest album, Wake Up The Nation, is his finest. Larry Flick has already said that it is his favorite album of 2010.

Finally, Bettye Lavette. Last year, I said that her 2005 album I've Got My Own Hell To Raise was one of the most underrated albums of the '00s. I'll stand by that: the album saw her covering classic songs from great female songwriters. Her new album, Interpretations, sees her covering Britsh rock artists, most of whom started in the '60s, including The Beatles (individually and collectively), The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. It's good, I don't love it as much as I've Got My Own Hell To Raise, but it's a cool album.

One album that I wanted to discuss, but I just won't have time, is the newly released Otis Redding collection Live On The Sunset Strip. If I don't talk about it on OutQ at some point, I will at least write about it here.

MOTOWN ON THE TAMI SHOW

Motown's slogan was "The Sound Of Young America." I think that classic Motown records still make people feel young, but here are some videos from when their music really did appeal to young folks (and it's a glimpse of when the artists themselves were still young!). Check out these performances by Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross and The Supremes (I couldn't find any videos online of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles from The TAMI show, but they played also).



THE ROLLING STONES ON THE TAMI SHOW

A couple of days ago, I was digging listening to The Rolling Stones' early 1970s-era stuff via the Exile On Main Street reissue and the Stones In Exile documentary DVD. They were a very different band from a few years earlier, when they were still up-and-coming and featured Brian Jones as the guitarist (replaced in the Exile-era by Mick Taylor). You get a glimpse of the band on the recently released TAMI Show DVD, where they performed at a concert that also featured James Brown, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Chuck Berry and The Beach Boys, among others. The Stones' performance is pretty incredible (although they got blown away by James Brown, who performed before them - Keith Richards said going on after him was the biggest mistake the band ever made). But check it out, here's The Stones from the TAMI show doing "It's All Over Now."


Monday, June 28, 2010

SHOCK ROCK 101: SCREAMING LORD SUTCH AND THE SAVAGES

I've heard of Screaming Lord Sutch and The Savages, but didn't know much about them. I just read a pretty big feature on them in a recent issue of the great British music mag Mojo. Lord Sutch was a big influence on Arthur Brown, of the band The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, and also Alice Cooper... and via Alice Cooper, pretty much every other shocking rocker who followed.

Some musicians who did time in The Savages include: Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple, John Bonham, Jimmy Page, Viv Prince of The Pretty Things, Mick Waller of The Jeff Beck Group, Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Nicky Hopkins, among others. So, I'm going to search out some of his music, but for now, check out this video of "Jack The Ripper."

He has a pretty interesting and sad story: he was also involved in politics, and suffered from depression, taking his own life in 1999. Read a tribute to Sutch from his former drummer Carlo Little (who was in an early version of The Stones, and was replaced by Charlie Watts) here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

AIMEE MANN AND MAGNOLIA


It's hard to believe that Paul Thomas Anderson's film Magnolia came out ten years ago. I remember being curious about it because I loved his prior film, Boogie Nights, and this one featured some of the same great actors, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy and the lovely Julianne Moore. And Tom Cruise was in it as a member of an ensemble cast. But the video for Aimee Mann's "Save Me" which included most of the cast really got my interest - at the time I was working at MTV2, and we played that video often.

Anderson knew Aimee because her husband, Michael Penn, scored Boogie Nights and also made a cameo in it (as the guy who owned the studio that Marky Mark and John C. Reilly cut their album in). At the time, she was going through well-documented issues with her label, Interscope, who was enjoying great success with music by the likes of Eminem and Fred Durst. They weren't sure how to market her,  and didn't hear a single on her new set of songs.  One of those songs, "Deathly," included the line "Now that I've met you, would you object to never seeing each other again?" Paul Thomas Anderson heard that line, which inspired one character named Claudia, and he started writing the rest of the film from there. He wrote about this in the liner notes to the Magnolia soundtrack.

The film also provided Aimee's music a better vehicle than Interscope ever could, not only did it find her audience, but it gave her a bigger audience than ever, and helped her launch the next phase of her career as a truly independent artist (she owns her own label, SuperEgo Records). In some ways, her story is a bit Magnolia-like.  Going through crap with at least three major labels for years led to greater popularity as an independent artist.

I was one of the people who became a fan due to Magnolia. I liked some of her old songs, but I wasn't a huge fan, and this film and soundtrack changed that. Her music figured pretty heavily into the film, not just "Deathly" and "Save Me" but also "Momentum" and "Wise Up," which was used in a scene where different characters sang along with it (I remember lots of the Cruise fans in the theater weren't going along with the premise).  I loved that the songs described people who you might say were "damaged," but did so without really judging them  - which is kind of what Anderson did in the film.  Over the last decade, I've listened to her music as much as anyone else's and I'm always struck by that.  She doesn't seem like someone you could take advantage or, she's not an "enabler," in psychological terms. She doesn't suffer fools lightly (particularly if they work at major record labels!).  But she also doesn't judge, and sort of has hope for characters/people no matter what their flaws are. I find that noble, and often try to be more like that. I'm going to be talking about Aimee Thursday night on The Catholic Channel.  I haven't selected which songs yet, but I'm sure at least one will be from Magnolia.

Here's the video for "Save Me":

Saturday, June 26, 2010

STONES IN EXILE DVD

I've got to say, I've really been digging listening to The Rolling Stones' classic Exile On Main Street over and over since the reissue came out. Tonight I watched Stones In Exile, the documentary about the album.

The doc was pretty cool, it was interesting to see footage of the era.  But you know Mick Jagger really isn't too into talking about it (in a recent interview he said he didn't know the point of it, other than getting paid, or something like that), and Charlie Watts really really isn't into talking about it. Keith Richards is cool with talking about whatever, but he didn't have any incredible insight, nor did former members Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman, although it was cool to see and hear them in the doc. My favorite parts were the interview segments with Bobby Keys, who played sax on the album (and still plays on their records and tours today). But I enjoyed the doc.

What I loved about the DVD though, was a bonus feature with extended interviews with "Exile fans": Jack White, Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair, will.i.am and Caleb Followill from Kings Of Leon, as well as Martin Scorsese and Don Was.   I used to do interviews with rock stars, and I often was more interested in talking about things other than themselves - especially music that really, really meant a lot to them. Whoever did these interviews, I was definitely envious of, because these were the types of conversations I loved, back in the day. It was fascinating to see what Exile meant to these folks: to Jack White, it was an album that could confound rock critics, they could no longer box the Stones in. To Sheryl Crow, it was how they looked at the place where she was from, the south. will.i.am is one of the most proudly modern and commercial artists - but he likes the fact that it is an entire body of work, and part of a greater continuum of work, and one that isn't reliant on having hit singles.  It's the "cool" album to like, because it isn't as well known. Followill, the son of a preacher man, thought it sounded like the devil's music, and loved it. Don Was, an artist and producer (who has produced The Stones' records of the past 15 years) can't figure out what is on the essence of the album (which I'm sure some critics will have field day with).  And Liz Phair, as her fans know, has a pretty complex relationship with this particular record. Maybe the doc will get some Stones fans to pick up her debut, the classic Exile In Guyville. I know Mick, Keith and Charlie exec-produced the doc, but I would think that they might be weirded out by all of the things that everybody said about the album - not just Liz (but especially Liz!).

A cynic could say that they selected the artists they interviewed for marketing purposes, but I take a different point of view.  Through these interviews, you really see why the album, and the band is so relevant today. I give the main doc a B but this feature an A.

Friday, June 25, 2010

PETE QUAIFE OF THE KINKS - 1943 - 2010

Founding Kinks bass player Pete Quaife passed away last night. He played on the band's early, and most classic albums.  He left the band briefly in 1966 after a car accident, and was briefly replaced by John Dalton.  Then he rejoined a few months later, leaving permanently in 1969 (and being replaced by Dalton again).

Of course, when people talk about The Kinks, they mainly talk about Ray Davies, or the rivalry between Ray and Dave Davies, but there was definitely a serious chemistry to the original lineup, which also included drummer Mick Avory. All the members were important, and it wasn't the same once Quaife left, the chemistry changed. For the last few years, there have been rampant rumors that the original four would reunite, but alas, it wasn't to be. Maybe they will reunite and use John Dalton.

Quaife said that his favorite album was 1968's The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. This performance features two of the songs, "The Last Of The Steam-Powered Trains," and one of my favorites, "Picture Book" (recently used in a camera commercial, I can't remember exactly what it was for?). (This performance looks like they are performing to a backing track, but you can still see the chemistry).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

THE GODFATHER OF SOUL

When people talk say that a performer is "great," they should keep this performance in mind.  James Brown on the TAMI Show from 1964.  Supposedly, The Rolling Stones didn't want to go on after this performance, and you can't blame them.  You can see this and the rest of James' set, along with The Stones, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Miracles and other great bands on the newly released DVD, which might be the best $15 you spend all year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TOMORROW ON OUTQ: VAMPIRE MUSIC!

For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning at 9 am ET, I go on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ to talk about music on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. Tomorrow, I'm talking about vampire music!  Because nothing says "summer" like pasty faced white kids dying their hair jet black, wearing all black, and avoiding the sun at all costs!  Ha ha, I kid!

First off is the new True Blood soundtrack.  I am a huge fan of the show, and I don't even have HBO! We watch it on DVD.  Anyway, with season 3 having just started, they've just released the season 2 box set and also the soundtrack. I have to express admiration here for the people who decide what songs make it to the show. They are really well chosen, they aren't done strictly as marketing, and it doesn't seem to matter what genre they are in, what era they are from, or if they are exclusive to the soundtrack. While I'm watching the show, I'm not distracted by the music, but I'm always amazed how it seems to fit, whether it's a song from the '50s like Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Frenzy" or a newer song like Bob Dylan's "Beyond Here Lies Nothing" (used in the season finale, it was also that episode's title).  Jace Everett sings the show's theme song "Bad Things" - a choice of sheer genius by the producers, it was an already existing song. That song is available on Volume 1 and iTunes, but Everett returns this time with swamp blues dude C.C. Adcock (his self titled 1994 album is great by the way) with a cover of Howlin' Wolf 's "Evil." One of my favorite indie rock dudes, M. Ward, also covers Wolf with "Howlin' For My Baby." There are also great songs by Beck and eels.  I was actually disappointed with a Lucinda Williams/Elvis Costello song, and a Robbie Robertson song. But overall, it is a great listen.

This weekend the new Twilight film opens.  I haven't seen any of the films or read any of the books. About a year and a half ago, Larry and I discussed the original Twilight soundtrack, comparing it to The Crow films and soundtracks in the '90s. Twilight actually seems to have more legs, and is seen as a really important soundtrack to be on, three films in.  I see the soundtrack as more of a marketing thing - and I don't say that in a mean way, it's just true.  All the acts are probably familiar to hipper high school and college kids.  And the big names line up to be on the soundtrack: Muse makes their third Twilight appearance, plus Dead Weather, The Black Keys, Beck (him again!), Florence + The Machine and Cee Lo Green are all on the album, which is pretty solid, I must say.

Finally, The Cure just reissued a three CD deluxe edition of their classic album, Disintegration. Disc 1 is the album remastered (and it sounds great), disc 2 is demos and rehearsal versions (only for the obsessives, of which there are many) and disc 3 is all the songs on the album played live in concert.  I put Disintegration on my list of the best albums of all time, but of course it isn't for everybody.  But unless you need to hear every note Robert Smith has committed to tape (again, I realize many of you are out there) you really just need to listen to the main album. One misconception that people had, and maybe still have, about The Cure is that they are  a "wimpy" synthy band.  Not true: Smith is a badass guitar player, and Hendrix was a huge influence on him.  Check out "Fascination Street" from this album if you don't believe me. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

YOU ARE NOT ALONE: JEFF TWEEDY PRODUCES MAVIS STAPLES

Earlier this year, I wrote about Wilco's Jeff Tweedy producing the upcoming album by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples. It's one of the records I'm most excited about. 

Mavis has been singing since 1950 - back then, she was in the family band, The Staple Singers. Their big hits were "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There." She's also been making solo records since 1969.  A couple of years ago, she signed to Anti- Records, the label owned by punk label Epitaph. Anti- has also put out albums by Tom Waits, Solomon Burke, Bettye Lavette, Merle Haggard and Joe Strummer.  It's probably one of the coolest record labels of all time. Needless to say, they let artists do their thing, and don't try and make them trendy or contemporary.  The results are always great. Teaming Mavis with Jeff Tweedy was especially inspired. A recent press release (announcing the 9/14 release date and the title, You Are Not Alone) contains this Tweedy quote:

"I have almost everything she's ever recorded, and I dug back through very thoroughly when I was given this job to do.  I thought that if I refreshed myself about where she's been, it would help her figure out where she wanted to go. I wanted to be sure that we were making a record that she really wanted to make."  He wrote the title track for her.  The press release says that the song could apply to anyone - a lover, a sibling, a friend - but Mavis got teary eyed singing it, she had her father, Pops Staples, in mind when she sang it. 

So it sounds like it is going to be a great album, hopefully it will get a lot of attention for Mavis. That said, the album will have a hard time living up to her last one, 2006's We'll Never Turn Back, produced by Ry Cooder.  That is a classic which you should check out, and I also highly recommend 2008's Live: Hope At The Hideout.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

MORE "HELP" FOR ROLLING STONE'S 500 GREATEST

So, once I was done paring down Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs," it was down to 486.  I tried to add 14 more, but I ended up adding almost 100 more songs.  This isn't my definitive list, but it's my job to share important stuff like this with all of you. Ha ha.  In no order at all, here's the rest of the songs on my "remix" which is now at 570 songs and counting.
  • A Tribe Called Quest - "Award Tour"
  • de la soul - "Ego Trippin' (part 2)"
  • Alicia Keys - "No One"
  • Fiona Apple - "O' Sailor"
  • Ben Harper - "With My Own Two Hands"
  • The Wallflowers - "One Headlight" (although the best version of this is the one from the MTV VMA's where they were joined by Bruce Springsteen)
  • John Hiatt - "Have A Little Faith In Me"
  • Cowboy Junkies - "Miles From Our Home"
  • Jamey Johnson - "High Cost Of Living"
  • Everclear - "Strawberry"
  • Buddy & Julie Miller - "Gasoline & Matches"
  • The Replacements - "Bastards Of Young"
  • Gaslight Anthem - "The '59 Sound"
  • Steve Earle - "The Devil's Right Hand"
  • X - "Los Angeles"
  • The MC5 - "Kick Out The Jams" (how'd they miss this one?)
  • Pearl Jam - "Corduroy"
  • Rancid - "East Bay Nights"
  • Social Distortion - "I Was Wrong"
  • Jane's Addiction - "Mountain Song"
  • Nine Inch Nails - "Wish"
  • Fugazi - "Repeater"
  • Black Flag - "Rise Above"
  • Dropkick Murphys - "The State Of Massachusetts"
  • Rage Against The Machine - "Sleep Now In The Fire"
  • Faith No More - "Midlife Crisis"
  • Soundgarden - "Superunknown"
  • Primus  -"Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers"
  • Iron Maiden - "Iron Maiden"
  • Alice In Chains - "Angry Chair"
  • KISS - "Deuce (live)"
  • The Raconteurs - "Steady As She Goes"
  • Matthew Sweet - "Dinosaur Act"
  • The Jessica Fletchers - "Summer Holiday & Me"
  • Cocktail Slippers - "Sentenced To Love"
  • The Drive-By Truckers - "This Fucking Job"
  • Loretta Lynn - "Rated 'X'"
  • Lucinda Williams - "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road"
  • Emmylou Harris - "I Don't Wanna Talk About It Now"
  • Patty Griffin - "Mary"
  • Sade - "By Your Side"
  • John Legend - "Used To Love U"
  • EPMD - "Crossover"
  • Gang Starr - "You Know My Steez"
  • LL Cool J - "Rock The Bells"
  • Nas - "Made You Look"
  • Peter Tosh - "You Can't Blame The Youth"
  • Fishbone - "Ghetto Soundwave"
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Can't Stop"
  • The Afghan Whigs - "Going To Town"
  • PJ Harvey - "Long Snake Moan"
  • Florence + The Machine - "You've Got The Love"
  • The Avett Brothers - "I And Love And You"
  • Crowded House - "Distant Sun"
  • Living Colour - "Bless Those (Little Annie's Prayer)"
  • The Yardbirds - "Heart Full Of Soul"
  • Van Halen - "Mean Street"
  • Muse - "Uprising"
  • Peter Gabriel - "Solisbury Hill"
  • Wilco- "Jesus Etc."
  • Pete Yorn - "Don't Wanna Cry"
  • Kathleen Edwards - "In State"
  • Norah Jones - "What Am I To You?"
  • David Gray - "The One I Love"
  • Rilo Kiley - "Silver Lining"
  • Ben Folds - "Landed"
  • Duffy - "Stepping Stone"
  • Adele - "Chasing Pavements"
  • James Hunter - "No Smoke Without A Fire"
  • Levon Helm - "When I Go Away"
  • Ray LaMontagne - "Three More Days"
  • The Black Keys - "I Got Mine"
  • My Morning Jacket - "I'm Amazed"
  • Wyclef Jean featuring Norah Jones - "Any Other Day"
  • Raphael Saadiq - "100 Yard Dash"
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead - "Say Hey (I Love You)"
  • Mark Ronson featuring Daniel Merriweather - "Stop Me"
  • KRS-One, Kanye West, Nas and Rakim - "Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been)" (produced by DJ Premier)
  • Common featuring DJ Premier - "The Game"
  • N.A.S.A. featuring Kanye West, Santigold and Lykke Li - "Gifted"
  • Mary J. Blige - "Be Without You"
  • Black Star - "Definition"
  • Mos Def featuring Q-Tip and Tash - "Body Rock"
  • Talib Kweli - "Going Hard"

ROLLLING STONE'S 500 GREATEST SONGS

A couple of years ago, in the pre-No Expiration era, Rolling Stone magazine put out a special issue with the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time." For some reason, they've just updated it slightly in a special collector's issue. And for some reason, you can't see the list on RS's confusingly redesigned website, but you can see it here.

I decided to use this as a launching pad for a great iPod mix, since I'm often finding myself to be ok with Rolling Stone's choices (minus their prejudice towards Jann Wenner's friends, and prejudice against progressive rock and metal). 

So, the first thirty songs… I couldn’t touch and left them intact on my mix. Some of them aren’t songs that I need to hear many more times, but I would feel downright sacrilegious replacing any of them. But I didn't mind ditching some sacred cows of classic rock radio.
I started making my own revisions at #31, where I replaced Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” with “The Rain Song.” I’m so tired of “Stairway.” I don’t know if “Rain Song” is really my favorite Zeppelin song – there are way too many awesome songs to choose one. But I love the line, “Upon us all, a little rain must fall.” That has always stuck with me.

I love The Rolling Stones but I am way more into some of thier album tracks, as opposed to the hits (that said, I left a lot of the hits alone): At #101, I replaced The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with the live, super badass version of “Midnight Rambler.” The former probably has a better message, as the latter is about a murderer, but I can’t help it, I never loved “You Can’t…” I replaced “Honkey Tonk Women” with “Stray Cat Blues.” “Wild Horses” was replaced “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” from the same album, 1971’s Sticky Fingers. And I replaced The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” with “All Down The Line.”

At #193, I replaced Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” with “Saturday Night Special." And at #407, I replaced “Sweet Home Alabama” with “The Ballad Of Curtis Loew.” So my Skynyrd songs are anti-gun and one honoring an African American blues musican. Yeah, I'm from a blue state.  But I love Skynyrd.

I’ve often argued that Elton John is more a slave to his greatest hits than any other major artist – he has so many amazing songs that most people aren’t even familiar with. So, I replaced #137 “Your Song” (a great song) with “I Need You To Turn To,” off of the same album, his self titled second album from 1970. Also, I replaced Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” a song about loneliness, veiled in a song about space travel, with “I Want Love” from 2001’s Songs From The West Coast, a much more honest and mature song.

Rod Stewart’s “Maggie Mae” (#131) is a great song about cougars, but another one that’s been driven into the ground. It was the b-side to “Reason To Believe” (written by Tim Hardin), and Rod has said that if the radio DJ hadn’t flipped the single, he’d have ended up going back to digging graves. That’s probably not true, but maybe he would be reuniting with The Faces this year! So, I’m replacing “Maggie Mae” with “Reason To Believe.”

I know that Ray CharlesModern Sounds In Country and Western was groundbreaking. And I love Ray singing country. But the album is way too overproduced with strings and corny backing vocals. I know that was the way Ray wanted it. But I don’t want to hear “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” so I replaced it with “Come Rain Or Come Shine.” (I did leave "Georgia On My Mind" alone.)

I got really crazy when I replaced Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” with his “Precious Time” from 1999. Sorry everyone! I’m just so tired of that song , and I don’t feel bad saying it, because I think Van is too. “Precious Time” speaks to me more. Also, I replaced Van Morrison’s “Moondance” with “And It Stoned Me.”

People will want to clobber me for replacing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” with “The Show Must Go On.” “Rhapsody” is a great creation, and of course I love the scene from Wayne’s World. But I just don’t need to hear it anymore. I’m not a Queen fanatic, but “The Show Must Go On” hits me hard every time. I imagine Freddie Mercury knew he didn’t have much time left when he was writing this, and it certainly comes off that way when he’s singing it. I was going to replace Queen’s “We Will Rock You” with The Roots’ “Rock You,” but instead I used “The Seed (2.0) from the same album. Sorry, I like The Roots more than Queen.

I replaced The Strokes’ “Last Nite,” with the song they stole the riff from, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ “American Girl.”  And Pavement’s song was replaced by Rush’s “The Spirit Of The Radio.” It’s only right. (I do rip on Pavement a lot, but they have like five good songs.  I can't remember any Strokes songs though).

More replacements:
  • Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” with “Love To Love You Baby,” it’s plain sexier.
  • “Losing My Religion” from Out Of Time with “Try Not To Breathe” from my favorite R.E.M. album, Automatic For The People.
  • Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” which I could never stand with “A Case Of You.”
  • Aerosmith’s “Dream On” with “Make It” from the same album, their 1973 self-titled debut. Aerosmith are almost as bound to their greatest hits as Elton.
  • Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” with “Beyond Here Lies Nothing,” although I like the sentiment of the former better, the latter is a better song.
  • Beck’s “Loser” with the funkier “Beercan” from the same album, Mellow Gold.
  • Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me” has a nicer message than “Use Me,” but I switched it anyway. Sue me!
  • I replaced the studio version of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” with a live version recorded at The Concert For New York City, which took place a few weeks after 9/11.
  • The Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’” with “I’m A Man.”
  • Bobby Darin’s “Mack The Knife” with Louis Armstrong’s version. That may pre-date the rock and roll era, but it’s my mix.
  • I don’t have The Dixie Cups’ “Chapel Of Love,” so I replaced it with The Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl.”
  • I replaced Stevie Wonder’s “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” with “As,” which he told me was the best lyric he’s ever written.
  • I replaced Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” with “Harvest.”
  • I replaced Daft Punk’s “One More Time” (which I do like) with The Chemical Brothers’ more rocking “Block Rockin’ Beats.”
  • The Rascals’ “Good Lovin’” with “People Got To Be Free.”
  • Earth Wind & Fire’s “That’s The Way Of The World” with “September.”
  • Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky” with a newer version by The Blind Boys Of Alabama.
  • I never was that into Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” so I was going to go with The Fugees’ version, but I decided on Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” instead.
  • I replaced The Allman Brothers Band’s live “Whipping Post” (clocking in at over 20 minutes) with “Statesboro Blues” from the same album, At Fillmore East. Even though Gregg Allman wrote “Whipping Post” and “Statesboro Blues” is a Blind Willie McTell number. But my wife will be using this mix too, and a twenty something minute blues jam ain't gonna fly. 
  • I replaced The Bees Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love?” with “To Love Somebody” because I like it better.
  • Only one Metallica song, and it’s “Enter Sandman” ? At #408? I replaced it with “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” the first Metallica song I ever heard on “Metal Shop.”
  • I just can’t stand The Carpenters, sorry. I replaced their song with Aimee Mann’s “Save Me” from the 1999 film Magnolia.
  • I replaced Nirvana’s “In Bloom” with “School” from Bleach.
  • I replaced Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” with “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems.”
  • I replaced Crosby Stills & Nash’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” which I never really liked, with Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s “Carry On.” (both songs were written by Stephen Stills.)
  • I replaced Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” with the live version of “Captain Jack.”
  • #431 was The Smiths’ “William, It Was Really Nothing,” which I like, but I replaced it by moving up “How Soon Is Now?” from #477, and then replaced that with “Panic.”
  • I replaced Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water” with “Highway Star.”
  • I replaced Gladys Knight & The Pips’ “Midnight Train To Georgia” with “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.”
  • I replaced Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” with “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”
  • I replaced Guns N Roses’ “Paradise City” with “It’s So Easy.”
  • I replaced George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” with one of my favorite songs ever, “All Things Must Pass.”
  • I used the remix of Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On,” the one with Nelly Furtado.
  • I replaced Jay-Z and UGK’s “Big Pimpin’” with Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I. and Lil’ Wayne’s “Swagga Like Us.”
  • I replaced Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” with Yes’ “Starship Trooper.” (sorry honey)
  • Yeah, I love “I Love Rock N Roll” (#491) too, but I replaced that with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ version of “Crimson and Clover.”
  • I replaced MGMT’s “Time To Pretend” (#493) with “Kids.”
  • At #496, I replaced Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty” with Warren Zevon’s “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me,” which he wrote about Jackson, and which Jackson later covered.
  •  Finally, at #499, I replaced Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” with “In My Garage.”
There were also a bunch of songs I had to flat out ditch. 
  • I had to flat out ditch #49, The Eagles’ “Hotel California.” Like “Stairway To Heaven,” it’s another classic rock sacred cow. I like other Eagles songs better, but I don’t think any Eagles songs belong in the top 50, sorry. “Stairway” and “Hotel” were the only things I changed from the top 100.
  • Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”
  • ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”
  • Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman”
  • I don’t mind The Lovin’ Spoonful, but I got rid of both of their songs, “Do You Believe In Magic” (#218) and “Summer In The City” (#401). I know they're in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they don't make my top 500, or my top 600.
  • I can’t stand The Jefferson Airplane at all, so I dropped their songs “Somebody To Love” (#279) and “White Rabbit” (#483).
  • 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” (But don’t tell him.)
  • Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe.”
  • Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.”
  • R. Kelly’s “Ignition (remix),” I always thought the dude was corny before we all found out how creepy he is.
I added a bunch of songs as well, those are for the next post.

Friday, June 18, 2010

PROG ROCK STAND UP! KANYE WEST SAMPLES KING CRIMSON

Kanye West is back to rapping (as opposed to singing with autotune).  His new song "Power" features a sample of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man."  Who would have thought that Greg Lake (later of Emerson, Lake & Palmer) would end up on one of the hottest hip-hop tracks of the year?   Check out the track for yourself right here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

GASLIGHT ANTHEM VIDEOS: PEARL JAM COVER, ACOUSTIC ORIGINAL

This week, The Gaslight Anthem released their new album, American Slang. It seems like this is their moment.  I read that they recently sold out a gig at New York's Irving Plaza, and thier next NYC date will be headlining Radio City Music Hall. Frontman Brian Fallon also appears on a track on Bruce Springsteen's upcoming live DVD, London Calling. The band is actually from New Jersey, and have gotten the Bruce comparassions a lot, which is tough to live with, but at least it means that people have a high opinion of them.  Anyway,  I bought the new album today, so I have to listen to it a bit before I have anything to say.  For now, I'll post thier cover of Pearl Jam's classic "State Of Love And Trust" from Jimmy Fallon's show, and Brian Fallon (no relation) doing a solo acoutic version of the title track from the SIRIUS XM studios.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NOW I CAN WRITE ABOUT KAREN ELSON

Those of you who listened to my weekly report on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on SIRIUS XM OutQ this morning heard me sort of pull a fast one on host Larry. I was playing new releases from some well known singer-songwriters: James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Jakob Dylan and Jack Johnson. I also came with some music from a new singer-songwriter, Karen Elson.  Larry, who has been known to get annoyed at my bringing in any record that Jack White has any part in (apparently Larry isn't a fan!) asked me, so who is she? He liked the first song, "The Ghost Who Walks."

So I said, "I was hoping you wouldn't ask." Larry immediately knew what was up and asked, "What's her relation to Jack White?!?"

"She's his wife..."

"@#$%^!!!"

But Larry had to admit that "The Ghost Who Walks" is a really good song. I have to admit, I was a bit worried about how *I* would like Ms. Elson's music. I mean, model-turned-rock-star-wife-turned-artist doesn't sound so promising.  That's not fair, and it's not right to prejudge, but I can't help it.  And anyway, in some interviews I've read with her, she's pretty much said the same thing, so I don't feel so bad. The fact is, the record is really, really good.  Jack doesn't write any songs on the album: he did produce it at his Third Man Records studio (so it sounds great) and he plays drums on lots of tracks, but that's it. The other guys from The Dead Weather are on the album, but it's not his project at all. She wrote her own songs, they are very confident and fully realized.  I bought two songs on itunes when they were released a few weeks ago, and was knocked out by how much I liked it. I bought the album, Karen Elson, and I think it's great. It's kind of like somewhere between Mazzy Star and PJ Harvey's quieter material.  So, it's another album that I recommend.

By the way, a few months ago, I mentioned that she sang on a remix of Robert Plant 's "Last Time I Saw Her" (the only original track off of his 2002 covers album Dreamland).  I just realized that it's available on his Nine Lives box set, and you can buy the track on iTunes.  It's a better version than the studio version, and Karen's vocals are cool - albeit really different than what she does on her record.

Here's a video of her performing with her band:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TOMORROW ON OUTQ: SINGER-SONGWRITERS

For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning at 9 am ET I go on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ. I am a weekly contributor to The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. Tomorrow I'll be talking about some great singer-songwriters, including one of Larry's favorites.  


A while ago, I wrote about James Taylor's tour with Carole King. It turns out that it is one of the hottest tours of the year! In the early '70s, James and Carole shared a backing band and did gigs together.  They actually did a few shows at the Trobadour in L.A. a while back, and have just released an excellent live album from the shows. It's easy to make fun of this and call it boomer soft-rock or whatever.  But James is an incredible songwriter and in my opinion, Carole is even better. She is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - as a "non-performer." For her career as a songwriter for other people (along with her former songwriting partner and ex-husband, Gerry Goffin). I would argue that she should be inducted for a second time, this time as a performer. 


Speaking of Carole King, Sony Legacy has just released The Essential Carole King. It is a bit different than the many other releases in the Essential series, in that one disc is Carole performing her own songs, the other disc features other artists, including Aretha Franklin, Little Eva, The Cookies and Billy Joel, performing her songs.  Before she was a performer, she worked as a songwriter in the Brill Building (Neil Diamond worked there as well). She wrote a lot of great songs for other people: but her own album Tapestry is a stone cold classic. 


A lot of people classify Jackson Browne along with James and Carole: a singer-songwriter who came of age in the late '60s and early '70s who seemed to be the drier next movement after the hippie era. And like James and Carole, he was never part of a band to reunite with.  James and Carole had both done some stripped down and solo tours, and without a band to reunite with, they reunited with each other (and their former backing band). Jackson has also done the stripped down thing in recent years, but for this live album, he reunited with his multi-instrumentalist collaborator David Lindley.  Their live album was recorded on a tour of Spain in 2006, and features some collaborators from Spain. I'm not a huge Jackson fan.  I love his politics, but I'm not totally into his music.  He is one of Larry Flick's favorite artists though. I interviewed Jackson once, and he was very cool.  


Jakob Dylan just released his second solo album, Women & Country.  His first one was produced by Rick Rubin and was stripped down a la double R's productions of Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. This time around he worked with T-Bone Burnett who produced his most successful album, The Wallflowers' Bringing Down The Horse. Women & Country is great. I think Jakob is always going to be underrated. First of all, there's dad. Second, that Wallflowers album was so big, he isn't likely to get another album that is that popular. But you have me, so you don't need hype!  Trust me, get this album. 


Jack Johnson has just released his latest album, To The Sea, which apparently had one of the best first week sales numbers of 2010.  Of course, that doesn't mean as much as it used to, but good for Jack. I think even he is surprised at how successful he's been.  I've interviewed him, and he seems to be such a good guy. People think he doesn't have any edge to him, but he grew up listening to Fugazi and Metallica.  It's just not his thing to make that kind of music. Anyway, I like a lot of his songs (I don't know if I'd go to a concert, but I've enjoyed seeing him open for other people and at festivals), and I really like his new song, "You and Your Heart." 


Finally, Karen Elson a new artist who took me totally by surprise. I promise to write more about her pretty soon.  I really like her self titled debut album. 



NEIL YOUNG 101

Jimmy McDonough's Shakey, the at-first-authorized, and-then-not-authorized book on Neil Young is kind of the definitive Neil book, as much as there can be one.

But this new book, Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, co-authored by a former colleague of mine, Gary Graff, is also sort of a must-have.  The way it's laid out, it's almost like a history textbook, it just so happens that the subject is Neil.  

The book tells Neil's entire story (often citing from Shakey), from his earliest days playing music through his latest, Fork In The Road. But there are lots of fun sidebars, like "Cowgirls In The Sand" (about Neil's female collaborators), "Mirror Ball" (Neil Young and Pearl Jam) and "Train Of Love" (about Neil's involvement in the Lionel toy train company). It also has a discography, filmography, and features on all of Neil's sidemen.  Great read for the Neil fan young and old.

Monday, June 14, 2010

ME'SHELL, NORAH, SHERYL, MOS DEF RAISE HOPE FOR CONGO

Some charity compilations get a lot of attention, and some don't.  I actually keep up on this stuff, and still, I nearly missed Raise Hope For Congo. According to the organization's website, "Our insatiable demand for electronic products is fueling the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the deadliest conflict since World War II and the most dangerous place in the world for women and girls. There are few other conflicts in the world where the link between our consumer appetites and mass human suffering is so direct. The armed groups perpetuating the violence generate an estimated $183 million each year by trading in illicit minerals, which end up in our electronics, from cell phones to laptops.  Since women are the primary targets in this war, proceeds from this compilation will fund efforts to make the protection and empowerment of Congo’s women a priority, as well as inspire individuals around the world to raise their voice for peace in Congo." I knew about conflict diamonds, but not conflict electronics.  I hope to learn more about this, so it will inform my choices as a consumer, and I hope you look into it too.

As for the album, it comes out June 22.  I downloaded two songs: a Norah Jones called "World Of Trouble," that was originally on the soundtrack to a film I never heard of, 2007's The Hottest State. The other was MeShell NdegeOcello's cover of U2's "40," which is lovely. There are also tracks from Sheryl Crow and Mos Def on the album.

WATCH: JAMEY JOHNSON AT THE CMT AWARDS

Not that No Expiration is becoming a southern rock (or Outlaw Country) blog, but there's a lot of music in that genre that is worth getting excited about. I've written a lot about my favorite album of the year - The Drive-By Truckers' The Big To-Do. And I've also written about Reckless Kelly's Somewhere In Time.  But I'm also really excited about Jamey Johnson's next album, The Guitar Song, coming out in September. He performed the first single, "Macon," at the CMT Awards last week (see the performance below, and buy the single on iTunes). I am a big fan of Jamey's last album, That Lonesome Song, and I agreed with Rolling Stone magazine's feature about 40 reasons to be excited about music in 2010: I also think that Jamey Johnson is a good reason to be excited about music. Dude is the real deal, and I urge you to check him out.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

TOMORROW ON OUTQ: SHOWTUNES! (REALLY)

For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning at 9 am ET I go on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ. I am a weekly contributor to The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. Tomorrow I will

veer slightly from my usual comfort zone and talk about showtunes, albiet ones that are pretty rocking.  That's because The Tonys are this weekend. And while I'm not a Broadway guy, this year's Best Musical nominees are pretty rocking.

First is Green Day's American Idiot: The Musical which I saw a few months ago.  I enjoyed it, but the story didn't knock me out. I liked the music.  To me, there's something inherently funny about a musical - people just breaking into song.  The Simpsons have been genius at parodying this (see below video).  Still, if you can get over that, you can have a good time at a musical. In the case of American Idiot though, it was more like a cover band or a musical revue.  I guess I had higher hopes for it, but I have to admit I had fun. So, I'll be playing some songs from the cast recording, as well as some of the original versions, and also Green Day's new version of "21 Guns" with the cast.

Fela! On Broadway is the stage adaptation of the life of Nigerian musical legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Look him up, his music is very different from western rock and pop, it is very funky. I have a song from the cast recording and a Fela original.

The Million Dollar Quartet is about the four Sun Records legends who recorded together... once. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. I'm not sure how they turned this into a show - or if it is just another review. Either way, the source music is mind blowing, hopefully they do it justice.  I don't have that soundtrack yet, hopefully I can grab it in the morning.

Memphis: A New Musical is, as it says, actually new.  Which seems to be a new concept for Broadway - I'm not an expert but all of their shows based on things we've already seen and heard? I have a few songs.  I read that Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan wrote a lot of the songs.  It's pretty impressive. You can hear his Elton influence, but Elton was influenced by Memphis soul and R&B.

Well, I'm not a Broadway expert, so if you're listening, call in and help me out!

Anyway, here's one of my favorite showtunes, courtesy of The Simpsons.  "See My Vest." And by the way, I'm an animal lover, this is just a parody, I'm not endorsing Mr. Burns' wardrobe and neither were The Simpsons' writers.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

PUBLIC ENEMY AND THE DRIVE BY TRUCKERS: THE CONNECTION

That headline might be a bit misleading: the connection between Public Enemy and The Drive-By Truckers I am referring to is in my mind, but follow me for a second here.


I really, truly believe that one of the most important things music can do is make you see something from someone else's point of view. It doesn't have to do that, of course. It rarely does. But I think it is great when it happens.

When I was in college, I came upon Public Enemy's 1988 classic, It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back. I had already been listening to hip-hop for a while: I was not a hard core fan, but I enjoyed it. I had Run-D.M.C.'s King Of Rock when I was in high school. I didn't really understand where they were coming from, exactly, I just knew I liked the music. I liked LL Cool J and a few other artists. But It Takes A Nation Of Millions just blew my mind. That's an overused phrase, but it was true. I never heard anything like it before (fair to say, neither had anyone else). The lyrics made me think about things that I hadn't thought about before: namely, what it was like to be black in America in the '80s. When you put together all the songs it really tells a story. Not just the "hits" like "Don't Believe The Hype" and "Bring The Noise." I'm talking about "Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos," "Rebel Without A Pause," "She Watch Channel Zero" and "Night Of The Living Baseheads." These songs informed me about the lives of people who lived less than 30 miles away from me, but who I never met and wasn't likely to. That's pretty valuable, and very few art forms are able to do this.

Nation saw Chuck D rebelling against the system, as it were: he did this brilliantly in "Black Steel" where the main character goes to jail for refusing to be drafted, and then escapes. But he didn't shy away from pointing the finger at his own community, as he did in “Night Of The Living Baseheads” (about the effects of drugs and dealing drugs). Without having anything to "check" the album against, I felt it was a, uh, fair and balanced album.

Much more recently, I got into The Drive-By Truckers, thanks pretty much to the great SIRIUS XM channel Outlaw Country. I'd heard of them before listening to the channel, but hadn't really paid them much mind. I'd read that 2001's Southern Rock Opera was considered to be a classic. But after hearing the band frequently on the channel, I realized that this is a great American band, so I started getting their albums. I am a big fan, and Southern Rock Opera is straight-up incredible.

I kind of pride myself on being able to get along with people from different cultures and sub-cultures, and I like learning about them. I'm not trying to appropriate or claim anything, I just like learning about different people and what they like and what their lives are like. In the past decade or so, I have been realizing just how different the south is to where I grew up in New Jersey. I've been trying to understand it, but nothing has ever explained it to me as well as Southern Rock Opera. "Ronnie and Neil" - about Lynyrd Skynyrd frontman Ronnie Van Zant and Neil Young - says a lot about what Drive By Trucker Patterson Hood called "the duality of the southern thing." Young famously called out some racist stuff that took place in the south in his songs "Alabama" and "Southern Man," and while Van Zant was a fan of Neil's, he sang in "Sweet Home Alabama" that "I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don't need him 'round anyhow." "Ronnie and Neil" touches on the sensitivity that southerners feel when they think they're being judged by someone who isn't from there. But still, Hood concludes, "to my way of thinking, us Southern men need both of them around." He explains a lot in "The Three Great Alabama Icons" (they are Van Zant, Bear Bryant, George Wallace) and later in "Wallace" (sung from the perspective of the devil, waiting for George Wallace). He kind of sums it up in "The Southern Thing" where he sings "Proud of the glory, stare down at the shame, the duality of the southern thing." The album isn't political per se, it's more about how people are affected by the times that they live in. And the album isn't just about that. "Let There Be Rock" (not the AC/DC classic, but it quotes it) is as much a rallying cry for rock and roll as "Bring The Noise" is for hip-hop. They both take great pride, without reservation or cynicism, in their music.

The Truckers started in 1996, and PE about a decade earlier. The Truckers' latest, The Big To-Do, is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. You don't hear much about it: the media is much more occupied with the latest indie rock band with an expensive publicist. PE's latest, How Do You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?, was incredibly underrated. The song "Harder Than You Think" is classic, and towers over whatever singles were on the hip-hop charts that year. Again, the media doesn't pay much mind: hey, soulja boy just tweeted something! These are both groups in it for the long haul, who have made several great albums (and have several important contributing members, I don't mean to diminish the importance of Flavor Flav, Mike Cooley, Terminator X, etc. just because I haven't mentioned them here). But if you trust the recommendations that I make here at No Expiration, I urge you to get these albums if you don't already have them. If you do, maybe I've helped you to listen to them in a new light.
Patterson Hood (via Bon Scott): "Let There Be Rock."

Chuck D (via, well, you know...): "Run-D.M.C first said a DJ could be a band, stand on its own feet, get you out your seat."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

LISTEN: RUSH AT THE CANADIAN SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME

Back in March, Rush was inducted into the Canadian Songwriter's Hall
of Fame.  Seemed like a cool event that didn't get much press here.  But I just discovered the CBC Radio 2 has posted audio clips from the event so you can listen to the parts that you want to hear (Rush wasn't the only artist to recieve the honor, so it was probably a long ceremony).  You can hear Neal Peart's acceptance speech and also Les Claypool and his solo band performing "Spirit Of The Radio." Check it out here. This is normally the type of thing I tweet about - since I'm not using this blog to cover news, but I thought this was so cool I had to share it here and on twitter. Follow me on twitter here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

MEET THE LEN PRICE 3

This is turning out to be a pretty cool year for new music. I've really been digging the new album by The Len Price 3, Pictures. I talked about them and played some of their songs earlier this week on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on SIRIUS XM's OutQ channel.

As I mentioned, they remind me a lot of The Who and The Kinks circa the early '60s.  Short hair, mod suits, scooters.  They also sound like a lot of other garage rock bands of the era, maybe I'd add in The Pretty Things or The Creation.  They also remind me a bit of The Jam, or Green Day's alter egos, Foxboro Hot Tubs. Of couse, The Jam and FHT are totally influenced by the aforementioned bands. These guys should be in the next "Austin Powers" film if there is one.

I don't think I would have ever heard of the band if it weren't for Little Steven's Underground Garage. They used to play the band's music (this is their third album) but this time around, they actually signed the band and Steven exec produced the album. The songs are all tight and memorable, with firm backbeats and excellent backing vocals.  It's not a mellow album, it's a high energy dance party album from swinging London in 1964.  Some people will write it off as "retro" or something like that, but I personally prefer great songs to originality.  I also firmly believe that more songs should have "ba ba ba BA!" backing vocals.  Anyway, this is another cool album that you may not hear about elsewhere, but you should check it out.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

REVIEW: LIVING COLOUR AT MEXICALI LIVE

For the second night in a row, I went to Mexicali Live in Teaneck, New Jersey to see one of my favorite bands.  This time it was Living Colour. I've seen them at The Ritz, The Beacon Theater, Shea Stadium (opening for The Rolling Stones), Central Park Summerstage (where they are playing this weekend), Roseland and The Academy, to name a few venues of the top of my head. Tonight was kind of a weird one: Mexicali is sort of a restraunt, LC were playing the early show, and people were still at their tables.  Frontman Corey Glover wasn't happy about it. Understandably: but I was worried that he'd have an attitude about it and that it would effect the show.

Luckily, that didn't happen.  Although he voiced his sort of discomfort about the show throughout the night, seemingly blaming it on guitarist Vernon Reid, he still gave a great performance, if not the best one I've ever seen. I've always thought of him as a star, and he performs like one. The thing about Corey is that he could have just as easily joined another more commercial band, and been just as happy.  Whereas Vernon Reid is so avant-garde with his playing, I could just as easily see him playing a guitar through a computer on the ground floor of an art museum that receives grants from David Bowie. It is almost surprising that he has ended up being in a band as popular as Living Colour, he could have ended up doing Phillip Glass type stuff. So it is a weird combination of two very different guys in the band. (That said, Vernon could also play guitar for Dionne Warwick or someone real mainstream also). The other guys, bassist Doug Wimbush and drummer Will Calhoun, could play any kind of music, but like Vernon, left to their own devices they could be doing Knitting Factory art stuff. All that being the case, I think Vernon, Doug and Will are happy to play thier music and get paid for it, even if they aren't playing huge rooms. This is all my perception of the band.

Anyway, they were great. It wasn't the best Living Colour show I've seen (Will was having drum pedal issues) but they were great, and after a slow start, the crowd got into it. Maybe half the crowd were familiar with the new album, The Chair In The Doorway, which came out last year. It has definitely been growing on me. The song "Bless Those" holds up to anything they've ever done.  Check out a video below of them performing it in 2008, before The Chair was released (on this version, Doug took most of the lead vocals, but now Corey sings it). They played a bunch of other new songs, but of course the best reaction was the oldre songs, "Cult of Personality," their cover of Talking Heads' "Memories Can't Wait," "Love Rears It's Ugly Head," "Go Away," "Middle Man" and "Type." They also did the lovely "Solace Of You" by request for a couple who had it played at their wedding. Another nice moment: Doug Wimbush calling out original bassist Muzz Skillings who was in the audience. Nice moments aside, I wish  I could go to Central Park this weekend, I bet it will be a way better show, and when they are on thier game, Living Colour is hard to beat.

TOMORROW ON OUTQ: ROCK AND ROLL! (THE STONES, BLACK KEYS, HOLE)

For those of you who are new to No Expiration, every Wednesday morning at 9 am ET I go on the SIRIUS XM channel OutQ. I am a weekly contributor to The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. Tomorrow I will earn my title (given by Larry) of "rock reporter."

First, I'll be talking about The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street reissue, which I love. The Stones have never really been too interested in adding bonus tracks to their catalog releases, but I'm glad they did for this one. Actually some of the songs are kind of like collaborations between the Stones of the late '60s/early '70s and today, as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and even Mick Taylor have added some new parts to some of the bonus tracks (which were unfinished and sitting in the vaults for decades). Of course, even without any extra stuff, Exile is a classic album and perfect for the summer.

I recently wrote about how much I like The Black Keys' Brothers. I'm excited to play them for people who aren't familiar with them.

Likewise, I'm excited to play The Len Price 3 for people. They are an awesome garage rock band who I doubt I would be familiar with, were it not for Little Steven's Underground Garage. They remind me of The Who or The Kinks from the early '60s.

Finally, the new Hole album, Nobody's Daughter. I think it is weird that Courtney Love is using the Hole name, since none of the other members used to be in the band. But I guess Hole has always been about her. I don't know if I love the album, but "Skinny Little Bitch" is pretty classic.

Hey, if you're around a computer or radio at 9 am ET, tune in and let me know what you think!