Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Longtime No Expiration readers know that every Wednesday morning, I am a guest contributor to OutQ's Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on SiriusXM. Last week I got bumped for some women from a TV show called "Mob Wives," but better to be bumped than bumped off!  Tomorrow morning I am being moved, from my usual 9-ish time to 8-ish. I think songwriter/music exec/artist Kara DioGuardi is in the 9 am slot, I'm ok with that!

But seriously, tomorrow we're paying tribute to some artists who are no longer with us.  I got the idea for this after TV On The Radio bassist Gerard Smith passed away last week. And then today, punk rock icon Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex died.

Poly Styrene was kind an iconoclast, standing firmly against the typical sex symbol type chick. She wore braces, was of mixed nationality (British, Scottish, Irish, Somali) and grew up around hippies. She started out as a reggae artist, but when she saw The Sex Pistols, like so many others, she became a punk rocker, and one of the first female punks at that. You should check her out, the classic album is Germ Free Adolescents, and the biggest song is "Oh Bondage Up Yours!"

It is so strange that TV On The Radio released their new album, Nine Types Of Light, and less than two weeks later, Gerard Smith succumbed to lung cancer. But what better tribute to the guy than his last album with his band? Well, it's a funky album, and as bass player, he had a lot to do with that. TV On The Radio is a band I've always respected, but I never really got into. I liked them in theory, but not too many of their songs stuck with me. This album has some songs that I really dig, especially the opener, "Second Song," which reminds me of mid-90s U2. I've read that some people feel that this album is too accessible, but that's probably why I like it. Still, I think I'll check out some of their older material now.

There's a sort of weird INXS tribute album out now called Original Sin. It features the members of the band backing different singers re-doing their songs. I bought it because it has Ben Harper's "Never Tear Us Apart," which is a perfect song for him. I like his version, I don't love it. The best thing on the album, I think, is Nikka Costa's "Kick," which she really "makes her own." Tricky does a kind of predictable "Mediate," and Rob Thomas and Pat Monahan of Train are on it as well. I think INXS is totally underrated, and I don't necessarily think this tribute does them justice, but I guess it isn't hurting anyone.

I was shocked to find out that The Cars are reuniting. Ric Ocasek seemed dead set against it for years, and then when two of the guys reformed as The New Cars with Todd Rundgren singing, I figured that sealed it, Ric O wouldn't go anywhere near them. Their new album, Move Like This comes out next month, and I have a new song called "Sad Song" that I'll bring tomorrow. I guess the album is, in a way, a tribute to bassist/singer Ben Orr, who is no longer with us.  It's too bad that they didn't do this while he was still alive.  I read that keyboardist Greg Hawkes plays some of the bass on the album on a bass that Orr owned. I'm going to see The Cars at Roseland next month, I'll definitely write about them a bit more in the next few weeks.

Finally, tomorrow I'll discuss Solomon Burke's final album, recorded with Dutch band De Dijk, Hold On Tight, and also Ben Waters' tribute to founding Rolling Stones piano player Ian Stewart, Boogie 4 Stu.

Monday, April 25, 2011


You'll want to check this album out if you like pre-rock and roll boogie woogie. Or if you are a Rolling Stones fan. Or if you like PJ Harvey.

Rock and roll fans know Ian Stewart: he was the original piano player of The Rollling Stones. Their original manager, Andrew Loog Oldham (who currently is a host on Little Steven's Underground Garage) deemed him surplus to requirements to the Stones. He was demoted to road manager, and also studio and touring piano player. But yet, he stuck with the Stones for the rest of his life until he passed away in 1985.

Ben Waters' parents were friends with Stewart, and when young Ben saw him play piano at their house, he decided he wanted to be a piano player also. These days, he's a pretty popular musician on the roots music scene in the U.K., and he also plays in Charlie Watts' band, The ABCandD of Boogie Woogie.

Watts plays drums on most of the album, most of which was recorded in Jools Holland's studio (appropriately, as Stewart was likely an influence on Holland's style). But the album took on a life of it's own, with Keith Richards, Ron Wood and even ex-Stone Bill Wyman making multiple contributions. On one song - a cover of Bob Dylan's "Watching The River Flow" features Charlie, Keith, Ron, Bill and Mick Jagger. (Apparently, Stewart considered it the only good song Dylan ever wrote!) Although they all recorded their parts separately, and it isn't billed as a Stones tune per se, it's the first new recording by the band in six years, and the first recording with Wyman in 20 years.  There's also a Keith/Ronnie duet on "Worried Life Blues."

The other big guest is Waters' cousin, Polly Jean Harvey.  They recorded "Lonely Avenue" in her parents' living room, on a piano that Stewart once owned. It's an interesting contrast to her very British new album, Let England Shake.

The album is a great reminder of how much fun pre-rock and roll boogie woogie music is, and also has some great blues moments. If you're a Stones fan, you gotta have it, but it's worth checking out for anyone interested in the roots of rock and roll music. By his own admission, Stewart was a limited piano player: to progress with their music, they had to leave him behind (and he hated some of their more "progressive" material like "Sympathy For The Devil"), but this album offers an interesting glimpse of what the Stones would have sounded like if Loog hadn't canned him.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Last year, the album that I thought was Solomon Burke's final release, Nothing's Impossible, was released and it was one of my favorite albums of 2010. But it turns out that there was one last album that we hadn't heard: Hold On Tight. The album features De Dijk, one of the biggest Dutch rock bands.

No, I hadn't heard of them, either. They are sort of like the Dutch version of The Commitments: they love American R&B and soul. But they are proud of being Dutch, and they sing in Dutch, which obviously limits their ability to cross over.

But Solomon shared a stage with them at a European festival and loved them so much, he wanted to collaborate with them. First they did a single, and then they did this album, which is basically songs from De Dijk's catalog, translated into English and I guess rearranged a bit. It was recorded in October of 2009, a year before Solomon passed away.  I don't know if it is his best album, but it is legit, De Dijk sounds incredible (they could give any late night TV show band - except for maybe The Roots - a run for their money). Solomon's singing is as strong as ever.

I think that Solomon Burke had as strong a final act as any legendary artist ever has. I'm grateful to have found this last chapter, which fits in well with Solomon's might final run of albums. So I, and Solomon's fans, owe a "thank you" to the guys in De Dijk.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Over the summer, I went with my cousin's son Kyle (age 14!) to see Green Day on their 21st Century Breakdown tour, and after the show, we reviewed the concert together via IM. I thought he did such a good job, I wanted to let him review their new live album, Awesome As F***, on his own. I think he did a great job, and I bet you'll agree. Without further adieu:

Green Day is back at it again, releasing their second live album, Awesome as ****. To describe it in one word, it is AWESOME. Featuring songs from 21st Century Breakdown, American Idiot, and even featuring songs from the '90s, such as "Going to Pasalacqua, "which is off Green Day’s first album, 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, and "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?," which, as Billie Joe says in the recording, “This is my favorite song from Kerplunk, by the way.” The CD also includes other classics such as "When I Come Around," "J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)," "Geek Stink Breath," "Burnout" and "She." The CD also includes an unreleased song, "Cigarettes and Valentines," which was supposed to be off the album of the same name that would have been released instead of American Idiot, except the recordings for the album were stolen from the studio. Instead of rerecording the album, Green Day recorded and released American Idiot (maybe they are re-recording "Cigarettes and Valentines," who knows?). Each song on the album was recorded from different concerts all around the United States and the world.

The DVD that comes with the album is the recording of the band’s concert in Japan. The songs included in the DVD are "21st Century Breakdown," "Know Your Enemy," "East Jesus Nowhere," "Holiday," "Static Age," "¡Viva la Gloria!," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Burnout," "Geek Stink Breath," "Welcome to Paradise," "When I Come Around," "My Generation," "She," "21 Guns," "American Eulogy," "Jesus of Suburbia," "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and "Cigarettes and Valentines." The DVD starts off with the band walking through the halls of the stage flashing signs at the camera while the credits introduce the band members. The show then begins with a bang and "21st Century Breakdown." The DVD is just as awesome if not more than the CD.

In comparison to Bullet in a Bible, which was a live album recorded on the American Idiot tour, Awesome as **** is an overall better album. This has to do with the limited song choice in Bullet in a Bible (21st Century Breakdown wasn’t released yet) and Green Day being livelier in a way. In the new album, new effects were used (for example, in Holiday, there are gunshot sounds when Billie Joe yells, “Bang! Bang! Goes the broken glass and, bombs away is your punishment!”) on the stage to make it more exciting. This of course, doesn’t mean Bullet in a Bible is a bad album by any means, it is a really good album, but Awesome as **** goes that extra mile, that extra degree from 211, where water is just hot, to 212, where water boils.

I would definitely recommend the new live album for any Green Day fan, as it is a giant rollercoaster of fun and excitement, as Green Day takes you to one of the greatest tours they have ever done.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I love this album. The Foo Fighters' Wasting Light is one of their best LPs, certainly their best album since 1997's The Colour and The Shape.

Recorded on all analog tape (a piece of the actual master is included in the album if you pre-ordered, I have one) in Dave Grohl's garage (a "ballad-free" zone) it is loud and rocking. When the band recorded two new songs for their Greatest Hits album in 2009, Dave reunited with Nevermind producer Butch Vig.  I guess they enjoyed working together ("Wheels" is a great song, albeit 100% different from what they've done here), so they decided to do a full album.

Pat Smear, who was a member of the original Foo Fighters band, rejoined as a touring member after the release of 2007's Echoes, Silence Patience and Grace, and now he's back in the band full time... but Chris Shiflett is still in the band also, so they now have a muscular three guitar attack.

Grohl comes from a hardcore punk background, but his great sense of melody comes through on every song he writes.  So even when the guitars and drums are crashing down, there's still great melodies, his songs are memorable.  Some of the recent Foo Fighters albums have had a bit of filler - this album has none. If I write about highlights, I'll end up mentioning every song on the album. Seriously.  But I will mention "Dear Rosemary," which features Bob Mould on guitar and vocals. Grohl is always really cool about citing his influences, and lately he's been saying that without Bob's old band, Husker Du, he wouldn't be doing what he's doing. I think the band's lineup is maxed out at five members, but I'd love to see Bob join the band! Also, Krist Novoselic plays bass and accordion on "I Should Have Known."  It's a great song that will kick ass when they do it live.

It's been a long time since I've said that a Foo Fighters release would be one of my favorite albums of the year, but this will be in the running for my top 10.


Yesterday was Record Store Day, and hopefully some of you went to record stores, and bought some cool exclusive Record Store Day stuff, as well as some albums that you've been wanting to get for a while.

Fistful Of Mercy put out a 7" single with their cover of The Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes." The B-side was "Things Go 'Round," recorded live at the SiriusXM studios.  I actually was one of the camera people on that shoot, so I thought I'd share the video.  It was a huge thrill to be in the studio for this. Ya'll know what a huge Ben Harper fan I am: this was the first time I ever saw him play bass.

I'd love to see the band release some of their other covers: when I saw them at the Apollo Theater, they also did Bob Dylan's "Buckets of Rain" and, in one of the highlights of the night, PJ Harvey's "To Bring You My Love." Ben has a new album coming out next month, but I look forward to seeing him with Dhani Harrison, Joseph Arthur and Jessy Greene (she should be a full-fledged member! - I think she will, once again, tour with the Foo Fighters when they hit the road) in the future.


Chris Cornell’s local solo acoustic concerts – two at New York City’s Town Hall and one at Montclair’s Wellmont Theater – sold out almost instantly. When I went to a ticket re-sale site, the cheapest seats were twice as much as the list price. I decided to take the gamble – I’ve seen some great performances by Chris (notably on his tour for his 2007 solo album Carry On, and with Audioslave on Lollapalooza in 2003) and some that weren’t so good (most of the Soundgarden shows I saw). 

I’m glad I spent the bucks, tonight’s show blew me away. It was a great mix of Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog and solo songs, and a couple of incredible covers, including two Bruce Springsteen Nebraska-era tunes. 

The show was over two hours, but he only played four Soundgarden tunes – probably because he’ll be playing them in July, when the band finally tour

He opened with the great Audioslave song “Be Yourself,” and then went into “Ground Zero,” from his most recent (and much-maligned) solo album, Scream. Scream, of course, was slammed in large part because it was produced by Timbaland, and while I thought it was an interesting idea, it just didn’t work. Timbaland treated Chris like any other singer in his assembly line of hitmakers, and a lot of the songs just sounded forced. But “Ground Zero,” and the other Scream tunes, "As Hope And Promise Fade" (a B-side) and "Scream," came off a lot better stripped down of the huge arrangements. I'd love to see an acoustic version of that album ("Long Gone" is definitely a great song). 

He played lots of "hits" (Soundgarden's "Fell On Black Days," "Burden In My Hand" and "Black Hole Sun," Audioslave's "I Am The HIghway," "LIke A Stone") all of which took on a new life without the hugely muscular bands that he played with on those songs.  There were also lots of fan favorites, Temple Of The Dog's "All Nite Thing," "Call Me A Dog," "Say Hello 2 Heaven," his Singles solo tune "Seasons," and "Sunshowers" from the film Great Expectations. And some really unexpected selections, like Soundgarden's "Mind Riot" from Badmotorfinger (inspired by the first Gulf War) and Audioslave's "Wide Awake" from their final album Revelations (inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina). Back in the Soundgarden days, Chris seemed not to enjoy being onstage, and while he has always been really charismatic, he was never what you'd call "warm." Seeing him tonight was an altogether new experience: it was fun listening to him talk about the songs, and discuss politics a bit. I remember reading that when he hooked up with the Rage guys to form Audioslave, one of his conditions would be that it wasn't a political band. But it seems that maybe he was influenced by his former bandmate Tom Morello, he was getting a bit political at points, which I'm totally cool with. At some points, he seemed as engaging as Eddie Vedder on a good night, or even Bruce Springsteen. And speaking of... 

About an hour into the show, he strapped on a electric guitar and played a familiar riff. When he sang "New Jersey Turnpike..." people went nuts.  He covered the Nebraska era classic "State Trooper!" And funny enough, it was the most Soundgarden-y moment of the night, and even veered on being Sonic Youth-ish. He looped his riff and started soloing over it, and then just played with feedback for a while.  It was intense and totally awesome. And that wasn't enough Springsteen for him, he closed the show with another Nebraska tune, "Atlantic City." Unbelievable.  Who even knew he was a fan? 

There were a few other covers: Led Zeppelin's "Thank You" (which was funny, I remember the guys in Soundgarden claiming that they weren't influenced by Zeppelin at all, which sounded hard to believe... and "Thank You" kind of makes up for Chris' "Whole Lotta Love" debacle with Santana), John Lennon's "Imagine," MIchael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and Mother Love Bone's "Man Of Golden Words." 

I remember last time I saw Chris, thinking how much pressure his band must be under to be able to play like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam (on the Temple songs) and Rage Against The Machine (in the Audioslave songs). To me, it makes much more sense for him to tour solo acoustic, and I hope he does more of this between Soundgarden albums and tours, if they are in fact back as a semi-full-time thing. 

I have to mention Chris' opening act, William Elliott Whitmore. Amazing. Do yourself a favor and check him out. Right after he finished, I went right downstairs and bought his album (for $20!  But I had to have it).  I'll be writing about him more in the future, I think. 

Friday, April 15, 2011


Well, if you've been reading No Expiration, you know I love record stores, and more than that, I love rare tracks and B-sides. That's why Record Story Day is so cool! It encourages people to go into record stores, which has been such an important part of so many peoples lives.  I'm not saying that the decline of the record store is as tragic as, say, an animal facing extinction.  But it is a bummer that lots of kids have never known the thrill of going to a record store, thumbing through the racks, finding that hard-to-find record, or even finding something they've never heard before.  Yes, there were ornery record store clerks everywhere from the small indie store to Tower Records (see: Jack Black's role in High Fidelity), but there were also really cool people working at record stores, too, who could lead you to great music you might not have known about.

As for me, I'll be in class all day Saturday at NYU (a marketing class - interesting for sure, but not as much fun as going to record stores) and that night I'm seeing Chris Cornell's solo acoustic show in Montclair, New Jersey. And there aren't really any good record stores near me, anyway. But if there's one near you, do take advantage of it. You can learn more about Record Store Day at their website (you can find out where the closest record store to you is, and see a list of exclusive releases).  And if you're on Twitter, why not Tweet about your Record Store Day experiences (use the hashtag #rsd11, and follow them at @recordstoreday).  I'll tell you what, if I had my way, I'd head to Nashville to go to the Third Man Records store: Jerry Lee Lewis is performing there that day, and in true Third Man fashion, they're going to have t-shirts (limited edition, of course) promoting the show. Check this out below... how cool is that?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


OK, I'm glad to introduce this post.  My brother, Steven, turned me on to Greg Dulli's original band The Afghan Whigs years ago, and I became a pretty big fan.  Steven is an amazing writer, you can check out more of his writing at his blog, Halo Of Hornets. I'm really proud to present his first (and not last) guest post to No Expiration. Without further adieu...

What does it mean to be original?

Art by definition is derivative. No one has ever picked up a pen or guitar or paintbrush to create without previously being influenced by someone who has done the same before them.

Now, in an era where our umbilical reliance on the internet results in a collective experience of most of the same creations in about the same time, it would seem even less possible to produce original art.

But then why does the new Twilight Singers release, Dynamite Steps, feel so groundbreaking and new?

At the heart of the Twilight Singers is Greg Dulli, whose musical roots can be traced back to the Afghan Whigs in the early ‘90s. Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, the Whigs claim to fame was the fact that they were the first non-Washington state based act signed to Sub Pop records when they were defining counterculture music just before “grunge rock” threw its coup d’etat over the mainstream. Back then, Dulli’s music sounded, if not original, idiosyncratic, perhaps based on the disparate influences it clearly melded: the boozy, bottom-about-to-fall-out power pop of The Replacements, the sonic guitar assault of Dinosaur Jr., the distorted self-loathing of Northwest grunge.

Over the course of five albums, the Afghan Whigs’ sound evolved to incorporate elements of ‘70s R&B while Dulli’s lyrics and songwriting became more cinematic and incisive, resulting simultaneously in a cult status and a schism from the mainstream. They remain one of the lost gems of American rock music, but Dulli’s career was far from over. Soon after the Whigs’ dissolution, Dulli made his former side-project The Twilight Singers his fulltime gig. They released four full-length albums before Dulli put them on the backburner for a variety of side projects.

Last year, Dulli reassembled the Twilight Singers and set to work on the recently-released opus Dynamite Steps, breaking new ground for not only himself as a songwriter but for anyone lucky enough to listen to the album. On Dynamite Steps, Dulli incorporates elements of Memphis soul to his cinematic style of rock, and sends the listener through a series of builds and falls in nearly every song, of ominous simmering and epiphany, a journey which makes rock-and-roll sound fresh again, redefining “rock-and-roll” as something far greater, as “seethe-and-explode.”

The album opens with a haunting piano intro in “Last Night In Town“, as Dulli growls: “Whenever you’re here, you’re alive/The Devil says you can do what you like.” It is not the last time we will meet the Devil on Dynamite Steps, but before we do the song explodes into epiphany, and our senses are bathed in illumination, we can almost feel the light as the minor chords turn major and Dulli’s voice rises to falsetto: “I promise to be with you until the end/or somewhere near there.”

The album alternates between the smoky darkness of “Be Invited,” “Get Lucky” and “The Beginning of the End” and the frenetic lightning of “Waves” and “On The Corner.” The melodic soulfulness of “Never Seen No Devil” and perhaps the album’s apex, “She Was Stolen” are memorable, staying with the listener long after the song itself has ended.

Dynamite Steps closes with the epic title track, a song with so much emotion and so many hooks it is perhaps the definition of “moving,” taking you from one place within yourself to many others by the time the last note fades out.

Originality as a concept is perhaps impossible in a world where we are bombarded by art, much of which is strictly derivative or commercialized. Yet the one true idiosyncrasy in the art world may perhaps be our own true selves, the only inimitable variables in the universe. Greg Dulli has clearly taken the influences of rock and R&B and soul and mixed them with his own emotional complexity and brilliance to create what can only be described as an abject originality in the art world, an album which the listener does not so much listen to as become illuminated by.

Dynamite Steps is without a doubt an early contender for the best release of 2011, and in my opinion some of the best new music I have heard in years. It juxtaposes moments of scraping with the abyss with moments of almost angelic soul, and it rocks and rolls, and it seethes and explodes. Any lover of art would be fortunate to experience it as, with much of Greg Dulli’s work, it may slip just below the mainstream of both mainstream and alternative acclaim.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I recently posted about the return of the 120 Minutes franchise to MTV.  Tomorrow on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick, I'll be talking about the return of the show, as well as some of the artists who used to appear on the show who have new music out. Radiohead's King Of Limbs, PJ Harvey's Let England Shake,  R.E.M.'s Collapse Into Now, former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft's United Nations Of Sound and The Twilight Singers' Dynamite Steps (the band is led by former Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli). I may also get to The Kills, the band featuring Alison Mosshart from The Dead Weather, who weren't around for the 120 Minutes era, but were recently featured on the newly launched 120 Seconds.


I haven't had time to listen to former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft's new solo record, United Nations of Sound yet.  But I did have the great privilege to film a recent solo acoustic performance that he did at the SiriusXM studios.  Here are two songs.  First, the first single from the album, "Are You Ready?"

Next, Richard's version of The Verve's classic "Space and Time" from their best album, Urban Hymns.

Dude still has it.


I love R.E.M. I want to love this album.  I'm not one of those guys who doesn't like anything they've done in decades - in fact, I really dug their last album, Accelerate.

I don't have much to say about it, though. It's a bit disappointing, coming after Accelerate. Lots of it reminds me of classic R.E.M., but I don't feel that any of it is actually classic.

I read an interview with Peter Buck where he said it was as good of an album as they could make right now. He's a long time fan of music, and the guy has no tolerance for bullshit. He's saying it's a good album for middle aged guys with lots of money and nothing to prove.

The problem for me is, Accelerate was a great album for middle aged guys with lots of money and nothing to prove.

It actually pains me to write this. I rarely go negative on my blog, and I don't really ever do it with my favorite artists. But I don't really recommend this one, unless you're a completist.  That said, I've read lots of very positive reviews of it, and I'm glad that other people like it.


I am always interested to check out whatever PJ Harvey is doing. Doesn't always mean I'll like it, but she's never boring.

A hallmark of her career is that she never repeats herself. So you never know what you'll get, or if you'll like it.

Let England Shake is really different from her past work. Musically, it's as far from her punk blues beginnings as she's ever gotten. On this album, it sounds like she's never left the U.K.  It's very British somehow, but I wouldn't compare it to any specific examples of British music. That's the thing about PJ Harvey, she always sounds like herself.  I want to say it's like British folk, but it doesn't sound like Bert Jansch or Richard Thompson.

Also, PJ usually writes about herself, and on this one she is writing, as the title insinuates, about England. Specifically war in England, World War I.  She's writing a lot about the horrors of war, which obviously resonates today.  She's not gonna do a Devils and Dust or a Rage Against The Machine album. But when she sings about dead bodies dropping, it doesn't matter what war she's talking about, does it?

I don't love every PJ Harvey album... her last one, John Parrish + PJ Harvey's AWoman A Man Walked By didn't really stick with me. This one does.  Maybe because of the times, it does.  I happened to be listening to this today while reading Rolling Stone's "The Kill Team" story which documents some true atrocities, but this one is really resonating with me.


Every Radiohead album seems to be nothing short of an event, or an occasion among music fans. Even their last one, In Rainbows, which they released just days after announcing it, had tons of hype despite the fact that they cut down the lead time to the album's release (the whole "pay what you want" thing and the cavalier announcement really only added to the excitement).

The King Of Limbs seemed to come out of nowhere.  I actually thought that the next thing we'd hear from Thom Yorke would be another solo album, with his band Atoms For Peace. And in some ways, this feels like a very Thom Yorke-centric record. I know everyone in the band is really into electronic music, but I can't help but wonder how much fun it is to be a guitarist, bassist or even drummer in the band sometimes. Much of this album would fit in more on SiriusXM Chill than SiriusXMU (SiriusXM's indie rock channel).

Like the last few Radiohead albums, it takes a few listens to get.  That's almost part of the deal when you pick up a Radiohead album. Like The Velvet Underground or Joy Division, they reward repeated listens, and they become a part of your life. But how does this one hold up?  I haven't had it long enough.  I know lots of people love "Codex," and I do too. They are definitely avoiding going back to being too much of a guitar band after In Rainbows, which sort of pointed in that direction. There's lots of electronic sounding beats and rhythms, but it's not a dance album.  Although I wonder if the band kept their commitment to being weird and different, but also wanted to dance, how cool of an album could they make?

King Of Limbs is cool, very trippy, but cool. It's a short album and feels a bit incomplete. I'm curious how'll they'll play this live, if they even decide to tour. Still, I'd recommend it and say it's worth the time to get to know it.

Monday, April 4, 2011


MTV has sort of re-launched their 120 Minutes franchise as 120 Seconds.  Every few years, MTV realizes that it isn't relevant in music anymore, and tries to reclaim the importance it had in the '80s and '90s (although I think their ratings are as good or better than they've ever been).

120 Seconds features former 120 host Matt Pinfield hanging with various bands who fit the format.  I saw one segment with The Kills, and another with Richard Ashcroft, who was probably on the show back in the day with The Verve.

I always liked Pinfield. I remember seeing him on MTV for the first time, I think he was filling in on 120 before he landed the gig full time.  For a while, he seemed to be hosting every show on MTV, including an early version of TRL. But you could tell that they didn't hire him because he was a model, and they didn't hire him because he was a slick TV guy.  He was a music fan. One of us.  He got a bit lucky, but did a great job.  I felt represented by him.  It's too bad that he threw it away, due to drugs.  I'm not dishing anything that isn't public.  I saw him hosting a concert a few years ago, and he said he was going to rehab the next day... I think the rehab worked out for him that time.

A new monthly version of 120 Minutes will also air on MTV2.  I heard they may re-air classic episodes as well. That show turned me, and thousands (or millions) of others, on to lots of new music back in the day. I'm glad it's back, but I wonder what its impact will be.