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.

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