Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TOMORROW ON OUTQ: OLD GUYS WHO ARE NEW TO YOU (and new guys who sound old)

Longtime No Expiration readers know that every Wednesday morning, I go on SiriusXM OutQ's Morning Jolt with Larry Flick to talk about music. Tomorrow's theme, as the headline says, is old artists who may be new to you, and also some new artists who just sound like they are old. None of these artists are huge in the mainstream (yet). But you never know!

Charles Bradley is a 60-something soul singer who just released his debut album. So, he's a bit old for a debut album (but there's no time like the present) but he may be new to you.  No Time For Dreaming is out now on Daptone Records. No surprise there: it's the same label that Sharon Jones is signed to.  You can read Charles story on his bio at his official website. He spent years honing his very James Brown-like act, but he also has a lot of Otis Redding in him.  This guy can sing soul music because he's lived the life.  I gotta give a lot of credit to the label for signing people like him and Sharon Jones and letting them do their thing.  I should also mention that I was introduced to this artist by a former colleague at VH1; VH1 has been pretty supportive of him, and even recently featured him in a news segment.

Seasick Steve has been around for a minute, he's kind of like a rock and roll Forrest Gump in a weird way.  He's a 70 year old dude. Again, a bit old, but maybe new to you. He used to be a hobo, traveling the country by hopping on freight trains. In the '60s, he was friends with Janis Joplin.  In the late '80s, while working in a studio, he became friends with Kurt Cobain. In the '90s, he produced early recordings for Modest Mouse. And in the '00s, he started making his own records on customized guitars.  He recently signed to Jack White's Third Man Records.

I don't know as much about Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, but they sound like an old time Stax band or something like that. They play southern sounding hard driving soul music. So I was kind of surprised to learn that they aren't that old. (They're a new band who sound older than they are.)  It is hard to imagine a band like this getting too popular these days, but I hope that they prove me wrong. If you went to a party and these guys were playing, you would probably be drinking, sweating and having a great time. Their new album is Scandalous.

Fitz & The Tantrums is probably the most popular group I'm bringing with me this week. I saw them perform in the SiriusXM studios recently, and I thought they were a hell of a lot of fun. They sort of split the difference between '60s Stax and Motown.  (Also a new band who sound older than they are.) They write really great songs in that style, but they don't sound like rip-offs. It takes a lot of earnestness to write like that, maybe that's why I enjoy them.  I would love to see them get huge. Their new album is Pick Up The Pieces.

I wrote about William Elliott Whitmore last night, so you can check out that post. I'll talk about him tomorrow as well. And we'll also probably discuss Ted Hawkins, a guy who signed his first major label deal in the twilight of his life.  Ted will get his own No Expiration post in the near future. I'm a big fan.

Monday, May 30, 2011


... uh, well... they *are* recording.  The rub: they are recording separately.  The new issue of Rolling Stone (not the one pictured here, the new one with Lady Gaga on the cover) has two separate blurbs about upcoming projects from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Both mention a rumored 2012 tour.

A small feature on page 18 discusses Mick's new project, a supergroup of sorts that features Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, Joss Stone, Damien Marley and Oscar winning composer A.R. Rahman. Mick has worked with Dave before in his solo career, notably on songs to the soundtrack of the 2004 film Alfie ("Old Habits Die Hard" is one of his best non-Stones moments). Joss and Mick did a duet on that soundtrack as well.

Mick has always expressed a bit of boredom with doing things the same way with The Stones, but his attempts to do different music projects outside of the band haven't done well.  His last full length solo album, 2001's Goddess In The Doorway, got a five star review in Rolling Stone, which only called attention to the fact that it was far from being a five star album.  (It did have one of his finest moments: his excellent collaboration with Lenny Kravitz, "God Gave Me Everything"). Anyway, it didn't sell well and I remember it being laughed at in the press (and by Keith). I guess his new "super-group" is an interesting project to him.  I have to admit, I'm interested to hear it. In the article, Mick says he doesn't have any Stones plans to announce at the moment.

Meanwhile, an "In The News" item on page 20 says that Keith is finally working again with his former backing band, The X-Pensive Winos. Unlike Mick, Keith seems to love working in the Stones' blues/country/R&B/rock style, which the Winos did so well.  So it's surprising to me that he hasn't done a real solo project in nearly 20 years. I saw the Winos twice (once on each tour) and they kicked ass.

So who knows what this means for The Rolling Stones. They can't wait too much longer to do another album and tour, can they?

Anyway: I know that conventional wisdom says that Keith's solo career is better than Mick's, but I'm planning (planning!) on writing about both men's careers outside of the Stones this week.  Feel free to weigh in, right here in the comments section.


A few weeks ago, I was knocked out by William Elliott Whitmore, an artist I hadn't heard of before. He was opening for Chris Cornell at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, New Jersey.  I'd never heard of him, so I checked him out online the week of the show and found this video of him performing "Hell Or High Water." That's all I needed to know to get me to get to the Wellmont early enough to catch him, and I'm glad I did. Like Cornell, he played a solo show, and he did really well - odds are that most people didn't know who he was, and by the end of the show, everyone in the theater was paying attention.

He is a solo acoustic badass.  If I had to guess, his influences are Cash, Waits and Springsteen.  As soon as his set ended (I felt it ended too soon, a rarity among opening acts, especially ones that I'm not familiar with) I went downstairs to buy his new album.  I wasn't surprised to see that he was on Anti- Records, the same label that Waits is on, as well as Mavis Staples and Nick Cave. Anti- is one of the best labels out there, but most of their artists are a lot more well known than this guy. But good on them for taking a chance, he deserves it. Anyway, I picked up his most recent album, Animals In The Dark, and I definitely recommend it highly. His next record, Field Songs, comes out July 12, and you can hear the first song, "Everything Gets Gone," here. Meanwhile, he has lots of older records that I have to catch up on.  (PS I got the above photo from WEW's website)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Tonight I went to see The Cars for the first time. They were absolutely huge when I was in high school, but for some reason, I never caught them in concert. And it doesn't seem like they've done a great job of curating their legacy. Ric Ocasek in particular has always seemed ambivalent about the prospect of a reunion. So the news that they were reuniting for a tour and album was pretty surprising.

But I knew Ric wasn't going to make it easy on us. He's not a nostalgic guy. Yes, they played  a lot of their greatest hits, but they also played a lot of songs from their new album, Move Like This. But it made it hard for the setlist to pick up too much momentum.  I hate to sound like a classic rock radio person here.  With other artists, like Petty, Dylan and Springsteen for instance, I like hearing new songs. But when you haven't toured in 25 years, I just don't think it's cool to play that many new songs.

Fortunately, almost all of their old songs are so incredible, that all it takes is a few notes from a song, and the energy level exploded whenever they went into a classic. When I was listening to some of those songs tonight, it struck me that their greatest moments can compare to the some of the greatest rock and roll artists ever, like Buddy Holly (always an obvious influence on Ocasek) and Creedence Clearwater Revival (whose Doug Clifford and Stu Cook hired Elliot Easton for one of their Creedence Revisited projects).  I mean, some of the songs, like "My Best Friend's Girl," "Let's Go" and "Just What I Needed" are perfect and have not an ounce of fat on them. They're just perfect.

I wondered how they would replace singer/bassist Ben Orr, who passed away a few years ago. It turns out, they really didn't. Ric sang all of Ben's songs, and keyboardist Greg Hawkes played some basslines on keys, and picked up the bass guitar (which actually belonged to Orr) on a few songs. (On the album, Hawkes played some bass, as did producer Jacknife Lee).

So, the deal is (if you're looking to see them on this tour): they don't use an opening act, they play almost exactly 90 minutes, lots of new songs but also classics, including "Let The Good Times Roll," "My Best Friend's Girl," "Let's Go," "Just What I Needed" and "You're All I Got Tonight" (which was NOT followed by "Bye Bye Love": I almost think of them as two parts of the same song).   Some more surprising picks were "Since You're Gone," "I'm In Touch With Your World," "Moving In Stereo" and "Heartbeat City." Also "You Might Think," which I never really loved, but listening to it in my car earlier today, I realized what a great song it is.

My friend who I went to the concert with and I agreed that if they just did their 1978 self-titled debut start to finish (which would take a little over a half hour) that that would be a pretty satisfying show, so I'll hope for that in the future. (Fill in the blank with your own variation on a "You're All I Got Tonight" joke here).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Longtime readers of No Expiration know that on Wednesday mornings at 9 am ET, I go on SiriusXM OutQ's Morning Jolt with Larry Flick to talk about music. Sometimes I have a theme: tomorrow the theme is cool new music.  I know, that's a bit vague.

First off is the new Ben Harper album, Give 'Till It's Gone. I wrote about that the other day: I like it a lot, and I prefer it to his last album with Relentless7 (R7 is the backing band on this one, and they are credited with co-writing songs, but for some reason the album is being referred to as a "solo album").  Ringo Starr and Jackson Browne both guest on the album... Ben is slowly entering the classic rock echelon of artists, and rightfully so.

I am digging Raphael Saadiq's new album, Stone Rollin'.  He is such a talented musician, and I give him a lot of credit for doing an album like this.  There's almost no imaginable context where this could be a hit in 2011.  Shame on us: it deserves to be a hit. He kind of splits the difference between classic Motown and classic Chess here, with maybe a bit of Stax thrown in. He plays most of the instruments, and there are very few guest stars on the album, and I have a feeling that this is going to be a hard one to sell.  So do your part as a music fan and go BUY it.

Rome is a very cool project that I just wrote about: it features producer Danger Mouse and Italian film composer Danielle Luppi paying tribute to spaghetti western scores. Jack White (him again, uh oh) and Norah Jones are the featured singers on the album. It's a score to a film that hasn't been made yet.

Booker T Jones just released his second solo album in a row (I guess he doesn't want to make records with The MG's again?). On his last album, Potato Hole, he used The Drive-By Truckers plus Neil Young as his backing band, and the album was all instrumental (which is fitting, because his Hammond organ playing is so lyrical). This time, on The Road To Memphis, he uses The Roots and Questlove co-produces.  There are a couple of cool guest singers, including Sharon Jones, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and even Booker T himself.

Finally, Take The High Road, the new album by The Blind Boys Of Alabama. It has a bunch of country collaborations on it (including one with Willie Nelson) and the album was produced by Jamey Johnson. It's a good album!

Hey, if you're a reader and haven't gotten to hear me on the radio (and if you want to), why not get a free online subscription trial, at www.siriusxm.com/freetrial .


I've been looking forward to this Rome project for a while now. Producer Danger Mouse, who has worked with Cee-Lo Green in Gnarls Barkley, with James Mercer of The Shins in Broken Bells and the late Mark Linkous in Dark Night Of The Soul has a new project, Rome.  It's a collaboration with Italian composer Daniele Luppi, and it's a tribute to spaghetti western soundtracks.  The featured singers on the album are Jack White (for once, doing a project that he's not in charge of) and Norah Jones.

Much of the album is instrumental pieces, and they're pretty cool.  In some places, I thought maybe someone should send this stuff to Quentin Tarantino, in case he starts working on Kill Bill 3.

Jack White wrote and sang his own lyrics, but he didn't compose the music and doesn't play any instruments.  But because of his unique lyrical style, it sounds like a Jack White project (although the music doesn't sound like anything he's done before).  Danger Mouse wrote the lyrics for the Norah songs - but when she sings a song, I feel like she almost rewrites it.  She's one of the best collaborative singers out there today. The album plays like a soundtrack in search of a film, but I'd love to hear Jack and Norah perform their songs with their day jobs on their next tour.

You have to admire Danger Mouse: besides all of his projects that I mentioned above, he's produced Gorillaz, Beck and The Black Keys and is producing the next U2 album. He is an artist who had led us to understand that every time he does something new, it will be much different from what he's done before. I don't love everything he's done, but you have to respect the fact that he's a very successful modern artist who really can't be boxed in.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Is Raphael Saadiq the most underrated guy in music these days?  Could be! He has the respect of music fans and musicians alike, and is relatively well known. He's never become a huge star. That's a shame, I really dug his last album, 2008's The Way I See It, and I also like his new one, Stone Rollin'.

The last one was a tribute to old school Motown, and this one sort of splits the difference between Motown and Chess. He still brings his distinctive voice, as a singer and songwriter, to the record. The title track is the standout here (as "100 Yard Dash" was on the last album) and sounds like Smokey producing Muddy.  I know that that's high praise, but I really dig the song.

The thing that strikes me about the album is how out of synch it is with the mainstream. There aren't really many nods to contemporary hip-hop or R&B on the album (other than Taura Stinson's guest vocals on "Good Man"). No high profile guest appearances: Robert Randolph plays on "Day Dreams" and Larry Graham makes a guest appearance on a hidden bonus track.

Saadiq knows where the mainstream is: his original group, Tony! Toni! Tone! had quite a few hits.  And he's worked with superstars like Whitney and Snoop. But he's not letting it sway his vision, I just wish there were more outlets to help make this record a commercial success.  That's why it's important for YOU to pick it up (I mean to say, BUY it) and tell other music lovers about it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


It's no secret to No Expiration readers that I'm a huge Ben Harper fan.   I've been looking forward to this album for a while - it was originally supposed to come out in the fall, but I guess it got pushed back because of Ben's Fistful Of Mercy project with Dhani Harrison and Joseph Arthur

The new album, Give Till It's Gone, is billed as a "solo" album - I'm not sure why, since Relentless7 (his backing band on 2009's White Lies For Dark Times) is on the album. But whatever, it's a great album, and I think it is an improvement on White Lies (which was one of my favorite albums of that year). 

The album will probably be seen as "the divorce album," due to recent events in Ben's life.  I'll leave that alone, I don't need to know what every song was actually based on, and I respect the man's privacy.  

My favorite moments on the album are actually pretty positive. The first single, "Rock and Roll Is Free" being one of them. I would think that by now, all rock and roll songs that are about rock and roll are kind of cliche - it seems like Lenny Kravitz territory (with all due respect). I've read interviews where Ben said that he was inspired to write the song after seeing Neil Young perform "Rockin' In The Free World." He wanted to write a song with the words "rock" and "free." It's not his most profound moment, but it's a lot of fun, and it makes me feel energized.  It reminds me of a Matthew Sweet song (he's another artist that I dig). 

The other moment I can't get enough of is "Spilling Faith" which goes right into the instrumental jam "Get There From Here." Both songs were co-written with Ringo Starr, who plays drums on them. It's a bit psychedelic and Beatles-esque. (Ben and R7 were Ringo's backing band on his promo tour last year - I wish he'd use them on a full tour instead of another All-Starr Band). Apparently, Ringo asked Ben to do a positive song (we know Ringo loves to say "peace and love!").  I'd love to hear King's X cover this one, the song made me think of them for some reason. 

There are much darker moments, on the album, like "Don't Give Up On Me Now," "I Will Not Be Broken" and "Pray That Our Love Sees The Dawn" (featuring Jackson Browne on backing vocals, the album was recorded at his studio). 

The album actually has a lot of range, and it makes me wonder how Ben decides what songs go where (is a song a Relentless7 song, or a Fistful of Mercy song or something he'll hold for The Innocent Criminals?).  "Waiting On A Sign," for instance, would sound great done by The Innocent Criminals. 

Well, Ben Harper is at the peak of his powers, and it feels like he's been there for damn, over a decade, and he's gonna be staying there for the foreseeable future. I am looking forward to seeing this tour (he's playing Terminal 5 in NY in the fall, yes I have my tickets) and what he'll do next. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


First off, to longtime readers and frequent visitors, sorry that I haven't been too prolific this month. Aside from the day job at SiriusXM, I've been taking classes at NYU. I have a lot of records and DVDs to review for you guys.  And by the way - as is usually the case - I buy them myself.  I don't write positive reviews because I got something for free - even when I do get it for free.  But these days, I get most of my music from iTunes or Amazon, just like you do.

OK, so tomorrow on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on SiriusXM OutQ, I return to a topic that I always love: garage rock!

First off is the new Foo Fighters album, Wasting Light, which was actually recorded in a garage, namely Dave Grohl's garage (which is probably nicer than most people's houses, but still).  I wrote about this last month, and having revisited the album today, I maintain that it is one of their best, and one of the best of the year so far.  I was discussing with someone how Dave Grohl is a guy who everyone loves, but you don't hear about Foo Fighters albums being listed as classics.  This one might be a classic (but I'd argue that the first one - really a Grohl solo project - and the second one, The Colour And The Shape, are excellent).

Another great garage rock band is The New York Dolls.  I wrote about their new album Dancing Backward In High Heels in my last post.  I came late to this band's party, but I would recommend their 1973 self titled debut to anyone. The three albums they've released since reuniting in 2004 are all really good. They couldn't have the impact of that first album, but they are good records. I maintain that the Dolls belong in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Frontman David Johansen was one of my favorite artists of the '00s, both because of the Dolls but also because of his great SiriusXM Radio show (yes I work there).

Also, the new album by The Strokes, which Larry gave me.  For some reason, they are just a band that I absolutely cannot get into. I remember reading all about them in the British magazine Q (I read about them there first, even though they are from New York), lots of hype.  When I heard them, I found them pretty boring. In 2004, I saw them "perform" at Little Steven's Underground Garage Rock Festival.  Maybe part of the problem was that they went on after The New York Dolls (playing NY for the first time in three decades) and before The Stooges.  They were so out of their league. I know people think their first record is a classic, but I just can't get into them. I don't "go negative" on No Expiration, but that is a band I just can't get with. But Larry and I will discuss some songs from their new album, Angles.

Other than that, this week I did the modern day equivalent of going to buy 45"s: picking garage rock songs out on iTunes. I have songs by: Spanking Charlene, a band that got signed to Little Steven's Wicked Cool Records after winning a contest. The Woggles (also on Wicked Cool) are a cool band - their singer, The Mighty Manfred, is a DJ on The Underground Garage. The Breakers from Denmark, have also recorded for Wicked Cool, I dig their new song, "The Jerry Lee Symptoms." Larry lent me some music by The Vaccines, they remind me a bit of The Smiths. And Dum Dum Girls are kind of big on the indie rock scene, and they actually cover The Smiths' "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out," but I also have one of their own songs, "He Gets Me High." People sometimes ask what the appeal of garage rock is: I don't know, I like the idea of a few people getting together with instruments and making short, great songs. I don't care if it isn't sonically innovative: sometimes it can make you feel good to be alive, and sometimes that's more important than anything else.


I became a New York Dolls fan fairly late in life. I guess my first exposure to the band was singer David Johansen's solo videos on MTV back in the day: they used to always play his medley of Animals covers. Of course, after that was his era as Buster Poindexter, which in retrospect, was a very clever character (but I don't need to hear "Hot, Hot Hot" anymore).

When I finally learned about the Dolls, I wasn't into it: they reminded me of the hair metal bands that I wasn't into. But I was missing out! And in 2004, I realized it, when a publicist took me onstage to watch the band. They were playing Little Steven's Underground Garage Rock Festival, right before the two other headliners, The Strokes and The Stooges. The Dolls were unbelievable. The minute Johansen walked on stage, he just owned it. After that reunion, they started making records again.

Their latest, Dancing Backward In High Heels, is their third since getting back together. They only did two albums before breaking up, so they've more than doubled their discography! And let's get one thing straight: nothing they do will ever match the power and impact of their self-titled debut from 1973. But even though there are only two original members: Johansen and guitarist Syvian Sylvian, the current band kicks ass live and has made good records.  Dancing Backward is cool: it sort of leans heavily towards their big "wall of sound" and girl group influence, and doesn't have much of the aggressive punk rock sneer. The thing I like about that is, they are being relatively appropriate for their age, while remaining true to their influences (that said, I love the in-your-face sound of some of the songs from their last album, 'Cause I Sez So). I think the album makes more sense if you listen to Johansen's SiriusXM show (yes, I work there, but I listened to his show before I worked there), where he plays everything from Motown to opera to country to girl group songs to soft rock (like Toto and Bread!) to, well, The New York Dolls. Dancing Backward brings more of these influences to the forefront than maybe their previous albums did. "I Sold My Heart To The Junkman," with its strings and female backing singers is something that Johansen probably wanted to do for years. "Funky But Chic" is a great mission statement for the band and Johansen himself, and is one of the only rockers.

I was a bit appalled to find out what the band is doing this summer (and I imagine Morrissey - who coaxed the band out of retirement in the first place to perform at the Meltdown Festival, which he curated - feels the same way).  They are OPENING on the Motley Crue/Poison tour. I guess it's cool of those bands to take the Dolls out: they don't need openers, and at any rate, their audience probably won't "get" the Dolls. It's strange that they are promoting their least rock album on a tour with conservatively rock bands on the bill. But who knows, maybe a few people will get turned on to the Dolls, which would be a great thing. If you are one of those people, start with the 1973 album, but Dancing isn't a bad one either.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Longtime readers of No Expiration know that on Wednesday morning at about 9 am ET(ish), I go on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on SiriusXM OutQ to talk about music. You can listen even if you aren't a subscriber yet: get a free online trial subscription here. This week I'll be talking about some artists who were huge on MTV in the '80s (I'm not calling this an '80s themed episode though).

I just wrote a bit about Stevie Nicks.  People are really excited about her new album In Your Dreams, which was produced by Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics. I think it's a pretty good album, but I am a much bigger fan of her last one, 2001's Trouble In Shangri-La (several songs were produced by Sheryl Crow). Dave Stewart is an interesting choice.  What do they have in common? How about being involved with a bandmate?  Plus, they've also worked with Tom Petty.

When I was a kid, my mom took me to see a play called "Brigadoon." It was about a city from another dimension, and the portal to get you there only opens once every hundred years or something.  Sade is like that.  Every couple of years, she reappears for a short while, and then vanishes for another decade, only to return looking as if she hasn't aged a day! Anyway, has a new best of out, with a couple of new songs.  The one that I like is "Still In Love With You." It's a Thin Lizzy cover, believe it or not! There are some remixes of her songs with Jay-Z and The Neptunes that I'm not digging as much.

The Go-Go's are reissuing a 30th anniversary edition of their classic Beauty and The Beat album.  I feel a bit old saying that. People forget that The Go-Go's come from punk rock ( I think Belinda Carlisle used to be involved with The Germs) but by this, their debut album, they were moving in a more pop direction.  I'm not mad  at that.  There are some great songs on this album.  The reissue comes with a live concert from the era.

Duran Duran have a new album, All You Need Is Now. Great title for a band that is so heavily associated with the '80s. But some of the most happening producers want to work with them: their last album was produced by Timbaland, and this one is produced by Mark Ronson. I'm curious how fans will react to this one.  I'm hoping that my friend Katy (aka "Ask Katy" on their website), who listens to Larry's show, will call in.

A few weeks ago, I talked about The Cars reunion, and I played a new song, "Sad Song." Their album, Move Like This, is out now, so I have a few more songs, including "Blue Tip." I'm looking forward to seeing them in concert soon, I have my tickets! I never got to see them back in the day.


Lots of people are really excited about Stevie Nicks' new album, In Your Dreams, and I'm glad for Stevie.  But when I hear people say that it's her best solo album since the '80s, I wonder if they were paying attention ten years ago to 2001's Trouble In Shangri- La.  My opinion: track for track, it's her best solo effort. It may not have a colossal hit like "Edge Of 17," but I don't think that there's any filler. I think she was really energized by the extremely successful Fleetwood Mac reunion, and the fact that the Mac had a huge hit with her song "Silver Springs" (a song which the Mac had declined when Stevie had presented it in the '70s). Also, Sheryl Crow was a huge fan, and helped to produce the album (probably the first time Stevie worked with a female producer). So, here's my list of Stevie songs (many from Trouble) that I think people sleep on. I chalk it up to ageism.

1. "Candlebright" from Trouble. She originally wrote it for Buckingham/Nicks, before she and Lindsey Buckingham joined the Mac.
2. "Sorcerer" from Trouble, which prominently features Sheryl Crow.
3. "Planets Of The Universe" from Trouble, another song that started in the Buckingham/Nicks era.
4. "Every Day" from Trouble. See, it's a great album.
5. "Blue Lamp" is one of my favorites - it is from the '80s animated midnight movie Heavy Metal. I told Stevie about that - she said it actually is about a blue lamp that she still owns.
6. "Reconsider Me" is her cover of the Warren Zevon classic.
7. "I Need To Know" is her cover of the Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers classic.  I saw her perform this backed by Tom and the HBs, it was pretty great.
8. "If You Ever Did Believe" is a collab with Sheryl Crow from the Boys On The Side soundtrack.
9. "Somebody Stand By Me" written for her by Sheryl Crow for Boys On The Side.
10. "You May Be The One" from her new album In Your Dreams, my favorite song from the new album.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I've been listening to Jeff Beck's live album from last year, Live And Exclusive From The Grammy Museum, and I have to say that his guitar playing is just so unbelievable. And lyrical.

He does some of his own compositions, like "Hammerhead" and "Brush With The Blues," which are pretty badass.  But what really knocks me out are his instrumental covers of songs that originally featured iconic singers.  Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready." The Beatles' "A Day In The Life." The opera piece "Nessun Dorma."  "Over The Rainbow" for godsakes! How do you take Curtis, John Lennon, Judy Garland out of those songs, and make them work?  But Jeff does.  His band sometimes has a real '80s adult contemporary vibe (his drummer, Narada Michael Walden, who produced huge hits for Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey during that decade), and on paper, this sounds like it could be "muzak," but in fact, it really works.

One reason Jeff Beck probably isn't more popular than he is, is because he doesn't sing. But the reason musicians and hard core music fans love him so much is because his guitar does. This album is exhibit A, you should check it out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Longtime No Expiration readers know that once a week (usually on Wednesday morning at 9 am ET) I go on The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick on SiriusXM's OutQ channel. This week, we  moved my day to Friday. You can listen even if you aren't a subscriber: get a free online trial subscription here.

Last week, Perry Farrell announced this year's Lollapalooza festival, and it turns out that this year the franchise turns 20 (although it was dormant for a few of those years).  Some of my favorite bands ever have played the festival (check out a fun timeline here) and so I figured I'd talk about what a few of them are doing tomorrow.

Of course, I have to talk about Perry's group, Lollapalooza's first headliners, Jane's Addiction. When I last wrote about them, they'd released a live DVD from one of their last shows from their reunion tour, their only one to feature original bassist Eric Avery. By the time the DVD came out, Duff McKagan replaced him, and had already left the band. Dave Sitek from TV On The Radio played bass on the album, he also co-wrote songs and co-produced. But he's not in the band, and now it looks like they're back with Chris Chaney, who played with them in the early '00s.  Their next album, The Great Escape Artist, comes out in August, and the first song, "End To The Lies," is out now.  I don't know if I dig it yet.

I have yet to write about the great Pearl Jam box set, which includes remastered versions of Vs. and Vitalogy (both with bonus tracks), a live album recorded April 12, 1994 at the Orpheum in Boston and (on cassette!) a copy of the radio show they did when Vitalogy came out, which featured performances by them, as well as Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Mad Season and The Fastbacks.  I'll write more about that later.

Tres Mts, who I wrote about last night - that's the supergroup featuring Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament and Mike McCready, King's X frontman Doug Pinnick and Fastback Richard Stuverud.

Eddie Vedder, meanwhile, releases his second solo album, Ukelele Songs, later this month, and I have the first song, "Longing To Belong."

The Beastie Boys released Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 this week, I haven't gotten mine in the mail yet.  What up, Amazon? I will certainly write about it after I get it.  I know people want to know about it: a post I did in late 2009 is one of my most popular posts lately.

Green Day just released a live album, Awesome As Fuck. Check out my cousin Kyle's guest review.

The new live Soundgarden compilation, Live On I-5, which I just wrote about.

And Tom Morello's latest song as The Nightwatchman, "Union Town," which makes me proud to be a fan. Dig the video, and get the Union Town EP when it comes out digitally next week. The Nightwatchman's next full length, World Wide Rebel Songs, comes out later this summer.


I've been listening to Soundgarden's newly released Live on I-5 lately.  It's a collection of performances from their final tour from 1996.

I'd seen Soundgarden a number of times, starting with their Louder Than Love tour in 1990 (they were opening for Voivod, and Faith No More was first on the bill). That was probably the best Soundgarden performance I'd ever seen. I saw them open for Neil Young, Guns N Roses and headlining shows as well. I saw them on the Superunknown tour playing the New York Armory, one of the worst shows I've ever seen, mostly because it was the worst sounding venue I've ever been to.

On their last tour, also in '96, I saw them twice on Lollapalooza. They were touring for their last album, Down On The Upside, which I loved. But they just weren't that good. Ben Shepherd was looking like he'd rather be anywhere rather than playing to tens of thousands of people a night. And Chris Cornell's voice was sounding pretty awful. On record, especially on Superunknown and Down On The Upside, his vocals were incredible. Listening to him live, he was straining.  Those shows were a few months before the ones recorded here.

So, QUESTION 1: Would this really be a "live" album, or would Chris go in and doctor his vocals. Peter Gabriel did this on live recordings on the Genesis box set Archive 1967-1975, but his voice was so different all those years later, it was obvious that he'd done it, and it pissed fans off.

ANSWER: I am fairly sure that no 2011 doctoring was done. Listen to "Searching With My Good Eye Closed," he is straining, big time. His vocals on the studio version is, like, superheroic.  Live, he just couldn't cut it. He sounds similarly messy (and not in a good way) on lots of other songs.  I would love to get a live Soundgarden album from the late '80s or earlier '90s.

That leads me to my second question: given that this was the last time Chris sang many of these songs with a rock band (although he has done lots of Soundgarden with Audioslave and on his solo tours)... is this live album a terrible advertisement for their upcoming tour (many of the dates were announced earlier today)?

MY ANSWER: on its own, this live album doesn't really make a great argument to see the same band, 15 years later. We know Matt Cameron is still an amazing drummer, due to his many of years with Pearl Jam (he still is in Pearl Jam, BTW). Kim Thayil has seemed to be semi-retired since Soundgarden packed it up, but I bet he hasn't lost his serrated edge on guitar. I wonder about Ben Shepherd.  Back when he was younger, as is the case with lots of the bands of that era, he had an attitude about playing to large crowds.  All these years later, lots of those guys have had to return to their day jobs.  There have been stories that Ben wasn't in great financial shape (he clarified a bit after one magazine's sensationalistic take on his situation), I wonder if he will appreciate his good fortune now. But Chris Cornell would be the real question mark.

And you know my take on that: I saw Chris do a stunning solo acoustic show a few weeks ago, it was truly incredible. And while there is a big difference between doing a solo acoustic show and playing with Soundgarden, I think his is clean, clear and ready to rock.

So my final answer: I'm getting tickets.  I think you should also.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I have been waiting for a long time for this album! For years, I'd heard that Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam and Doug Pinnick from King's X were doing some sort of project together. Well, that project is Tres Mts and it's out now.  The band also features Fastbacks drummer Richard Stuverud (who also played with Jeff in the band Three Fish and on Jeff's solo album 2008's Tone).

I think the album was recorded at Jeff's place in Montana, and a lot of it sounds like it was created out of some pretty rockin' jams. At some point, they realized that the songs needed lyrics to become songs.  A lot of it has that "jammy" sound - not in a "jam band" way, but it sounds like they were just rocking out in the studio and hammered the jams into actual songs. Mike McCready plays a lot of lead guitar on the album - Doug Pinnick plays most of the guitar on the album, but he's mainly a (great) bass player.  When it was time for some face-melting solos, Jeff knew who to call!

What does it sound like? I guess a bit like if Doug sang for Pearl Jam. It's heavy rock, it's soul, it's psychedelic.  Not much of a punk rock influence, and no indie rock pretensions.

One song that stands out is "God Told Me." The context: King's X were a Christian band when they started out. Not like Christian metal, and they weren't playing revivals or anything, but they had a Christian message in their lyrics, and they didn't have a problem with discussing it. Years later, Doug came out as a gay man, and also as an agnostic, although on this song, he seems to have come to terms with God, if not with organized religion. It's pretty heavy.

Another great one: "She's My New Song," which reminds me a bit of Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly." I had the great privilege, the great pleasure, of filming the band when they were at the SiriusXM studios recently. It meant to world to me to film a band with members of two of my favorite groups, Pearl Jam and King's X.

I dig the album, it's pretty rockin'.  I'm not putting it on a level with King's X or Pearl Jam, but it is my favorite thing Jeff has done outside of Pearl Jam since Temple Of The Dog, and it's my favorite thing Doug has done outside of King's X.  I'd love to see a full-on show live (when they played NYC, I had tickets... and then realized my cousin Bat Mitzvah - in Ohio! - was that day, oops!), and I hope they do another album. I've been using the album to run to, and it works great.  But I've also listened to it while just hanging out in the house.  Watching them perform, you wouldn't have known that they hadn't played together too much, they were really tight and knocked out three songs in like ten minutes. They seemed to work so well together, and seemed to enjoy it, so hopefully we'll hear more from them in the future.