Friday, October 30, 2009

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert

Um, I went to this ridiculous concert:

yes, my seats were behind the stage, and I didn't technically SEE the whole show (or most of it, unless you count a screen by my seat), but it was pretty awesome anyway.

1. Simon and Garfunkel. So nice to see them together in my lifetime. I didn't think it would happen. From my seat, I had a perfect view of the bands that were coming up next setting up (it was a rotating stage so each band was completely set up as the previous band was completing their set) and I got to watch Stevie Wonder absolutely JAMMING to The Boxer from backstage. What a moment.
2. Stevie Wonder breaking down during The Way You Make Me Feel. He also led the audience in the following chant at the end of Superstition: "Death, where is your sting? Long live Michael Jackson!". Just awesome.
3. John Fogerty and Springsteen playing together with the E Street Band. Such power. And Fogerty's voice is in SUCH good shape. He was belting Fortunate Son like he was still in his twenties, and then they did Pretty Woman and he was beautifully crooning without any grit in his voice.
4. Billy Joel playing with Springsteen. They did You May Be Right, Only The Good Die Young, New York State Of Mind and Born To Run. They totally messed up the end of Die Young, and then went back and replayed the ending. I bet the edit is seamless.
5. The special guests were unstoppable: B.B. King, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Smokey Robinson, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Rait, Sting and so so so many more.
6. Sam, from Sam and Dave, backed by the E Street Band was also really really great sounding.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Waiting for Luscious Left Foot

Big Boi (of Outkast) has been talking for some time about the upcoming release of his first solo album, supposedly titled Sir Luscious Left Foot...the Son of Chico Dusty. The release has been repeatedly delayed by record label troubles (the great ones always are, aren't they?), and depending on what you read, it seems he has now moved to Def Jam, and hopefully it will be out soon.

In the meanwhile, a couple of tracks have made it to the internet, and as I mentioned to Tex last night, they are very very promising. I think Royal Flush is my personal favorite, though Shine Blockas sounds more likely to (rightfully) be a huge hit whenever it sees release.

Here's hoping this sees the light of day soon, in part because Big Boi has promised in interviews that the new Outkast album will be on the way sometime thereafter...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Who Knew Morrissey's Solo Career Was So Awesome, and If So, Why Didn't You Tell Me?

As someone who likes the Smiths but is not obsessed with them, I figured Morrissey's solo work was largely skip-able, but boy was I wrong.

Have you guys heard this new album? It was released in February, and I'll be damned if it doesn't rock harder than any Smiths album. Really tight band, with Moz's vocals in peak form and great songwriting to boot. I honestly had no idea the guy's solo output was this good.

Also got Your Arsenal on high recommendation from All Music Guide. Really great albums... and to think I hadn't heard any of his solo stuff until about a month ago.

Monday, October 19, 2009


In light of my earlier praise of the new Bill Callahan album, it's time I tried getting this group into his erstwhile alter ego, Smog... or as it later became spelled, (Smog).

Let's put it this way: If you love Bonnie "Prince" Billy, there is no reason you aren't going to love Smog. The owners of Drag City Records would presumably argue the same thing.

The deal with this guy is that he's moody, sometimes unpredictable, often emotionally arresting, and he wields a wonderfully dark sense of humor. And his music is beautiful.

There are many sides to Smog, and I'll give you a few examples here. First is "Dress Sexy at My Funeral," which is representative of his dark humor:

Next is "Our Anniversary" which represents the more dark, meditative, intimate Smog:

Then "I Break Horses" which is raw and naked, just him, an acoustic guitar, and a horse/women metaphor. (He loves singing about both horses and women.)

And finally, "Bathysphere," which is more weird and experimental. This is representative of his early period but not the late (Smog) era. And not the Bill Callahan era either.

There you have it. There's a lot of material to cover with the guy, but I'd recommend starting with either the album Red Apple Falls or Knock Knock, which came out in succession. (Although oddly enough, I didn't include a track from either one on here.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jim O'Rourke - The Visitor

Wanted to give a shout out to the new Jim O'Rourke album. Drischord turned me onto him in the late nineties, and he has become one of the most enduring favorite musicians I've ever had. The Visitor, his new one is absolutely spectacular - a single track (unless you have it on vinyl, like me), and unavailable for download (unless it's been ripped by now, which i'm sure it has been).
No vocals, every instrument played by Jim in his apartment in Japan. It's been 8 years since his last record and I am ecstatic that the new one is not laptop improvisation (though I have been known to like those albums of his too). It is absolutely beautiful - fans of Bad Timing will not be disappointed.
I dare say this is the rare album the entire Collective can agree on.

Here's a nytimes article on The Visitor that the good Dr. turned me onto

And a trip down memory lane to hear Drischord's thoughts in the Daily Northwestern circa 2002!

Bob Dylan's Christmas in the Heart

Bob Dylan's Christmas album comes out on Tuesday and--if I may be so bold--JESUS CHRIST, everyone has got to give a listen to the song samples currently available at Amazon. You'll hear Bob Dylan's aged voice growling over traditional Christmas songs, as competently played by his band with a few extra strings, bells, and Christmasy Drummer-Boy drums thrown in...and being assisted by incredibly jarring back-up singers who sound like they're right off of a Gene Autry album from 60 years ago. Also, the album cover is amazing. I don't know where to being analyzing this one.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Built To Spill Is BACK

I'm guessing a few of you guys have gotten the new Built To Spill record, There Is No Enemy. If you haven't, and are a BTS fan, then wait no longer. The record is fantastic-- instantly rates as their third best behind the bona fide classics Perfect From Now On and Keep It Like a Secret.

And this is coming from a guy who thought Ancient Melodies of the Future totally bit and has spoken disparagingly of the band's live shows for over a decade. I think I've got an objective viewpoint on Built To Spill, and I'm here to say the new album is great.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The New Yorker Taps Into Our Brains

Q&A on the Concept / Qualities of a Band Reunion. Gets into some serious Type A/B/C Band shit.

New York, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down...

Believe it or not, I actually only saw Taxi Driver in the past few months, but, of course, absolutely loved it (watched it twice in a row). One of my favorite things was the images of New York in the 70s, which was such a weird yet alien
place that was still oddly familiar. (I think I've written about this here
before in connection with The French Connection / The Warriors / Taking of
Pelham 1-2-3). After watching the movie, I actually used Google Maps street
view to try and figure out the location of the Belmore cafeteria, where the cab
drivers hang out late at night (There's a picture here: But the block
looks so different I couldn't even figure out where it used to be even once
I found out the intersection.

Anyway, someone has gone one step better and documented the current state of
every location in the movie. It's insanely thorough and incredibly awesome
(and only partially complete). This, for me, is as if they put porn on the
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Was This Song Created in a Lab?

This is not an endorsement but simply a query.

I heard this song, "Compulsion" by the Doves, on satellite radio today and all I could think was that some rock producer sat down in a studio and decided he would make a carefully calibrated synthesis of Pink Floyd and U2. And this is what came out:

Now I love me some (good) Floyd and can palette a small handful of U2 songs, so therefore I sorta like this. But I don't really like it because the song itself doesn't necessarily speak to me. But points for style I guess.

Anyway, just wanted to share.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The A.V. Club taps into our brains

One of our longest running and most greatly contested music-dork debates has gone public:,33870/


I had to cut into the music discussion for a second to gasp in disbelief: Obama the Nobel Laureate??

If he's smart about this, he'll politely decline the prize, for all the reasons listed here, among (I'm sure) many more good reasons.

UPDATE: My favorite internet reaction to the news thus far:


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What Do You Think of the New Flaming Lips Album?

I had fallen off of listening to the Lips as they decided to just become a children's novelty band (with occasional same-sounding spacey ballads), but this new one sounds like the non-poppy songs off of In a Priest Driven Ambulance. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. Midway through and this one sounds like a grower at best.

Full Album Stream from NPR:

Monday, October 05, 2009

Chris Rock on Roman Polanski

Chris Rock tells it like it is!

Most consistently funny comedian working today?? I think he's up there.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Olympic word from Chicago

Allow me to break from the Pitchfork-y-nessfor a moment of political discourse:

So, my fair city lost the Olympics, and I must say, I could not be happier. There has been much debate around these parts lately about the value of the Olympics, if we should have them and all that noise, but the fact is, this is a city in dire need of money for schools, public transportation, and numerous other infrastructure needs. The Olympics was a huge potential money-drain (HUGE) and, even if they would bring in more than they cost, and there’s no proof that they do, we can’t afford to rack up debt for 7 years with the hope of fixing it later. Students who are now in 5th grade will graduate high school in the time, and without some money going into CPS, the number of those students is going to dwindle. Many of the pro-Olympics crowd either argues that they will help the city financial or just fall into a “Hey that would be fun!” stance. The latter is not very well thought out, and the former has been argued a bunch lately. Read some articles on how Vancouver is getting completely screwed by the 2010 games and is in serious financial crisis because of them. As a whole, I’m not sure what the games offer a city, aside from the short-term prestige they bring to a mayor and his camp, and hope for Rio’s sake they have a strong plan in place.

Sorry for the rant, but I am a happy man over this news and felt the need to share.