September 30, 2004
And the songs that made you cry
When you lay in awe
On the bedroom floor
And said : "Oh, oh, smother me Mother..."
Last night was the third and final show of my Magical Music Tour of 3 shows (I failed to mention last week's Trashcan Sinatras show, lovely as it was). I never thought I would see Morrissey live, ever, much less singing Bigmouth Strikes Again (modified so that Joan of Arc's "iPod started to melt").
The show began with a funny bit: synthy music with a woman's voice listing off terrible things like problems in the Sudan and "The Jimmy Swaggert Show". Finally, after milking the tension in the crowd, Morrissey and his band rushed the stage to How Soon Is Now, another surprise.
I have never been to a Morrissey show, unlike the very hyperactive fan I traveled to the show with (someone I did not know, who seemed lost in the Metro. One of those guys who travels to see 4 or 5 shows a tour, on a bartender's salary). The staging was great: at the very back, a big glittery curtain and in front of that (just behind the band), huge letters that spelled out MORRISSEY and lit up with red lights (we got it: Elvis). Each song had a different lighting feel, including some of that dramatic backlighting. Morrissey mostly wore a black shirt and pants and did a lot of funny posing and frequently seemed to be clutching his chest inside his shirt, sort of like Napoleon. There was not a gladiola in sight!
The surprise element of the set list was muted for us because we sat just behind the soundboard and could read which song was next on a computer on the desk (those guys wore shirts that said "Mozzer's Men" by the way!). They did five Smiths songs: How Soon, Bigmouth, Rubber Ring (you know - with the lady at the end: "You are sleeping. You do not want to believe"), Last Night I Dreamt.. and the closing song, mentioned below. The crazed Moz fan told me to only expect two Smiths songs b/c Morrissey doesn't like to do them - guess that's changed. Now he just wants love, which he got in spades.
The band, pictured above on another night, was really strong, particularly Deano the drummer, with his super-huge gong! They were also really loud, so I am now deafer than I was before the show. I don't want to think about it...
Morrissey was chatty, sweet and funny the whole time and he sang perfectly! There were no Moz fan antics until the final song, There Is A Light, (swoon) when the kids began jumping the stage and being dragged away by security. It wasn't setup, but it wasn't discouraged. The last guy was too far from Morrissey when he was tacked by security, so Moz ran across the stage and held out his hand. The guy kissed it and the whole auditorium roared! Then Moz ripped his shirt off, threw it into the audience and made a fast exit! A little thick, a little pale, but we appreciate the effort.
My favorite songs? Probably First Of The Gang To Die, an epic Now My Heart Is Full, Bigmouth (of course) and Rubber Ring. Thanks to my musical compadre for the company at all these shows! What shall I see next?
Set List: How Soon Is Now? / First Of The Gang To Die / November Spawned A Monster / Such A Little Thing Makes Such A Big Difference / Bigmouth Strikes Again / Let Me Kiss You / The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores / Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me / Subway Train (into) Everyday Is Like Sunday / How Can Anyone Possibly Know How I Feel? / Now My Heart Is Full / Rubber Ring / Irish Blood, English Heart / I Like You / You Know I Couldn't Last / There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
September 29, 2004
Last night I went to see Keane at the 9:30 Club. The evening had a rocky start as they were over an hour late hitting the stage - on a "school night" it matters more for an oldie like me! A cheesy HFS guy came on and announced they had been stuck in Manhattan doing Conan O'Brien's show and had to fly back (in the storms) on a private jet. Well, boo fucking hoo. It's amazing how much good will disappears after standing in place for an hour waiting, knowing a band is late for a live show because they have been on fucking TV in another city.
So, finally they roll on at like 11:15 with a brilliant light show and BOOMING sound. Mind you this band is just a keyboardist, a singer and a drummer. No guitar, no bass. Can't Stop Now is the opener and ALL IS FORGIVEN in moments. By the time they hit the "emotion keeps my heart running" part I had goose bumps. An absolutely amazing performance and completely worth the wait. I had no idea what a muscular sounding show this would be.
I was also surprised at Tom Chaplin, the singer. In the video he appears as an overgrown child, apple cheeked and doughy, but he is well suited to the stage. Constantly in motion and working the long curly hair. The incredible "backlit" light show is perfect for snazzy rock star silhouettes, though he didn't "over pose." The keyboardist, Tim, was a riot- like he was playing for Motley Crue with the constant headbanging. Schroeder (sp?) gone MAD.
IT WAS GLORIOUS. This is the album of the year for me and one of the best shows I've seen in a long time. There were several "misty" moments (Your Eyes Open) and a number of singalongs like the single Somewhere Only We Know. They did their full album because, hey, they only gots one!
I urge anyone to see them when they can, though I think they only have one American show left in Boston.
thank you to one of the forum fans for her (don't know her name!) photo, taken a few weeks ago at another show.
September 28, 2004
I've heard Gwen Stefani's new song "What Are you Waiting For" several times now. At first it caused an involuntary icky face because it's a bit...chaotic. Now it has grown on me. If this song doesn't go to No. 1, I don't know what will. It's an amalgamation of numerous 80's girl pop singers - little bits of homage to Nina Hagen, Cyndi Lauper, Toni Basil et al. Gwen's artistic forbears! The title refers to her nervousness about doing a solo record (listen closely for the "Take a chance you stupid ho" refrain). She shouldn't be nervous - she is a big star now and is only going to blow up bigger. Who's got it all? Bitchin' Gwen!
Anyway, for a good interview with Gwendolyn, check out this Vogue article.
If you have an interest in Fleetwood Mac or even just how an album is made, I highly recommend the documentary called Destiny Rules - it's now for sale on Amazon. First shown on PBS, this film gives some insight into the dramas that it took to make their first record in 15 years. From Lindsey's insistence (and ultimate failure) to release a double CD in a crashing
CD market to Stevie's concerns over who would mix her songs, this is truly behind-the-scenes, warts and all. Note that it's cheaper in Amazon Marketplace. The Amazon buyer reviews have more details.
The Japanese are insane, but in a good way. They have weird obsessions with cute animals: this cat clothing website is evidence.
Note that the style shown above is called Anne's Housekeeper Package and here is the blurb:
Let her play the leading role in the masterpiece "Anne of Green Gables"! Isn't her coquettish red hair cute? Let's give her a broom and this lady with little red hood is likely to start cleaning up your room. The country-tone blouse are made of the same material as the hood, presenting a consistency in the appearance. The yellow flower in the center of the collar is impressive as well! All ornaments are velcrod and can be attached or detached easily.
thanks to Babs for this!
September 27, 2004
You know how they (the mysterious they) are always releasing Deluxious editions of CDs you don't care for? Finally one is coming out that I want. That I must have. That everyone must have. Lloyd Cole And The Commotions first CD, Rattlesnakes. SHOUT OUT TO LAURIE! This is one of the finest records of the 1980's - it's literate, witty, highly melodic and Lloyd has such an original voice.
Seeing /hearing him live for the first time was like going to the Taj Mahal: all of the sudden, there it was... that voice I'd known for so long.
All I want to show is that we are one,” says Karan. “We are all one. I’m a traveler. I’m an explorer. I live nowhere. I live on my mat,” she says, referring to her yoga mat, on which she spends a couple of hours each morning. “I don’t do either/or. I’m very in the inclusive. I’m very in the dichotomy. In Africa, I get off the plane and the first thing I see are the zebras. I say, ‘Whoa, black and white.’
note: if you click on the link you can see a quite hideous, unretouched photo of DK
September 24, 2004
Moving as far from politics as possible, there is an interesting piece in the new New Yorker on Mert ("Matt") Alas and Marcus Piggot, two popular fashion photographers who also do a lot of work in music. It's a good behind-the-scenes look into this type of work.
One editor calls their photography "fakey fakey fakey," because so much alteration takes place in Photoshop, which I think is really just a variation on a darkroom (and they defend themselves by saying as much). An analogy: Why is it that stripped down organic rock music is considered innately better than any sort of ornamented or electronic music? This is true of photography too, as if the goal of all photographers should be to capture a moment honestly. That is such bull! Fake is good too.
Another one of their friends says that all of their work seems to reference Madonna in some way (they are mid-thirties in age). At the end of the piece, when they are critiquing their own images for a fashion spread, they look at a picture and one of them says, "A bit too Breathless Mahoney!" so I guess that's true!
Mert and Marcus did these Bardot-inspired pics for Kylie Minogue's last CD. How much did they have to change her face in Photoshop to get that!? I like the top photo, but the one below is kind of creepy.
Here is an excerpt from Kevin Drum's piece: The Scandals Finally Break
And once again, George Bush is especially vulnerable to this since his first term already has several good candidates for scandals waiting to flower. Take your pick: Valerie Plame? The National Guard? Abu Ghraib? Intelligence failures? Or maybe something that hasn't really crossed anybody's radar screen yet
"Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great. Well, so be it," Rumsfeld said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "Nothing's perfect in life. So you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet."
Where the fuck is the Secretary of State? Was he sitting next to Rummy saying, "Uh, yeah"?? Maybe he was too busy trying to calm down his fuckhead son Michael Powell, who runs the FCC so badly.
September 23, 2004
The new REM video for Leaving New York is out now. It finds Stipe standing around in airports and train platforms, dressed as either Ashton Kutcher/Guy Ritchie in Kabbalah white or as Jake Shears in a hip, Brooklyn-y cap. He looks forlorn and increasingly like John Hurt or old Alec Guiness.
Do we really need another wistful 9/11 memory? How about leaving New York with happy memories?
September 22, 2004
Thanks to Jim C, I have the link for the new REM stream of Around The Sun. I have not heard it all, but I initially like The Outsiders (check out Q-Tip at about 2:55! It's better in execution than in theory, for a change), I Wanted To Be Wrong (nice harmonies at about 2:00) and the title track. It all sounds very mid-tempo, which is okay since we all hate the "uptempo" Monster and we all love "Automatic..."! As long as it's not weak and redundant, like Up...
UPDATE: I have heard the whole album and have to say I am not overly impressed with this band's ability to make even small changes. The record is a bit sagging on first listen, with the only jaunty track being a piece of shit called Wanderlust. Michael seemed to have gain some energy for his vocals on The Ascent Of Man, a song in which he seems to actually give. What happened to the edginess they presented in songs like Oddfellows? This is all so... middle aged.
Note that the photo above is FIFTEEN years old because REM have aged badly. Sorry, but they have. That picture is Michael's last gasp of Rock Star Beauty.
September 21, 2004
A second link to BB2 has their own Finn goodies - some pics and a 17-minute interview / performance.
thanks to Princess Yum Yum for this information
To buy her record! The new Nancy Sinatra song is now on iTunes: her version of "Let Me Kiss You" by Morrissey. Although the words really don't work as well with her singing them (Close your eyes / and think of someone / you physically admire /and let me kiss you), I like the song more with her voice - it has a very Dusty Springfield feel. I am very excited to get her CD next week! In the meantime, do you like the Playboy pic above of ol' Fancy Nancy?
September 18, 2004
Who knew my latest TV obsession would be Patti Labelle? The funniest show on TV in years is not intentional comedy. It's Livin' It Up With Patti LaBelle on some new channel called TV One (show bio). This is the kind of low-budget vanity show that will be spoofed on MadTV (SNL is not sharp enough to pick up on this). You don't have to hear the theme song to know it - it's merely the name of the show wailed by Patti and a bunch of black girl singers.
Each week we see Miss Patti exploring her "timeless journey" (yes, she said that) which means doing photo shoots ("I was on the flo’ giving him the cover of Vogue!"). meeting her apparently pre-op gay stylists or going to her favorite places, often in hometown Philly. She loves to buy herself new bling bling or, to use her words, "get my eat on" at a local restaurant.
Miss Patti loves herself some material booty and you can imagine her at award shows clamoring for the swag. Patti is so rich she carrries her own diamonds to the jeweller in little Ziplock baggies in a big makeup case, the chains of multi-carats twisted together. The show bio mentions this, as if it signifies that she's REAL. No, trolls (another Patti-term of endearment), it means she doesn't value her jewels. One man's treasure...
Patti is also obsessed with ugly ghetto-ass high heels, almost always stilletto and usually featuring fur, more diamonds or some lucite. At what age does a woman stop wearing pointy heels like this? Especially when her bozoonga size is like 60-DDD? Talk about top heavy! Of course, Lady Marmalade isn't aging much- her face has been tweaked more than Pam Anderson's nipples... but she does look pretty good.
In last week's episode she had her "sisters" over - Moesha mom Sheryl Lee Ralph and pompous windbag Cosby wife Phyllicia Rashad. They sat in her kitchen gnoshing on lobster tails and champagne - all the while carrying on about how much other women looked up to them. Patti asked each guest to share some wisdom and Rashad droned out some new-age hokum: "You are beings far greater than you know. If you lack, this is not the truth of your being. [pause] It’s conditions brought about by your [pause]thinking.” Sheryl Lee and Patti shuddered and carried on about the brilliance of this completely new idea, but I don't either of them quite got what Rashad said. I certainly didn't.
Having said all this, I really do like Miss Patti. She loves the world, but more importantly she loves herself, she wants you to know how much she loves herself and she genuinely hopes self-love will rub off on you too (no pun intended). In the latest episode, Patti treated Iraq War POW Shoshanna Johnson to a day at a Harlem spa. Johnson was a cute, normal woman and the show didn't have to make any effort to prove that bravery seems even more astonishing when exhibited by everyday people.
Unlike the "real" J-Lo [dry heave here], Patti knows that lifelong success comes from more than just hard work - it comes from true soul. One person described her as doing "God's work" through music because she brings such emotion to her perfomances, she truly loves her audience and wants to share her joy.
Let me close with some of the more quotable moments from (all wail) Livin' It Uh-uh-up with Patti Labe-ellllllle:
I’m diabetic. I’m menopausal, but I’m a fierce heffer!
I am so real that it might be my downfall.
Martha girl, she’s on lockdown, so I wanna have me another space to fill.
(reference to Patti's own show on the Home Shopping Network)
Wanna watch Patti on Saturdays? Here is a schedule.
September 17, 2004
September 16, 2004
September 15, 2004
What would a band sound like if Chris Martin wrote them a pretty ballad? They'd sound like Coldplay of course. For Embrace's first single after many years in the pop culture wasteland, they have released a beautiful Coldplay castoff called "Gravity." Is this good for the band? It will get them sales, but will it give them respect? Listen here and judge...
For a review of their newly released album, try the Guardian
Faded Beauty Queens
Whatever Happened To Corey Haim?
You Can't Fool Old Friends With Limousines
Found My Rosebud
The Irish Keep Gate-Crashing
The sound is poppy melodic rock. It's fun. Samples on the site.
Marianne Faithfull is hot and tough. This is, after all, a woman who once sang:
Oh, big grey mother, I love you forever / With your barbed wire pussy and your good and bad weather / Why'd ya do it, she said / Why'd you do what you did ...
She's got a mega new CD coming out on 9/27 called Before The Poison. I will try and post a song sample soon. It still saddens me that the week I first went to England (in 10/95) Marianne played here at the Birchmere. I could have been so close that I might have sat in her lucious bosom. She probably wouldn't have minded, though I am not Jude Law, who she is seen canoodling above (Jude is lucky. I know that Jim C. would "hit it" if given the chance, age be damned!).
A self-absorbed writer from the Guardian did a pretty nasty piece about her in 2001, but it's worth reading. Marianne is bitched out, neurotic about sex and somewhat controlled by a drunken lover/ manager named Francois. She says she's glad she doesn't have to have sex with strangers, which is ironic since her 2002 single (a collaboration with Beck) featured the chorus, "It's time for sex with strangers." Here is an unflattering description of the moment the writer first sees Marianne:
Marianne, in a black mac and fishnet tights, is sprawling with her legs wide apart, her black satin crotch glinting between her scrawny 55-year-old thighs, doing sex kitten moues at the camera...
After playing on her last record with Beck and Jarvis Cocker, Marianne has moved on to a new crop of worshipful (and talented) younger musicians. The list of songs and songwriters for Before The Poison is impressive:
01. THE MYSTERY OF LOVE (3.53)
Lyrics & Music by PJ Harve
y02. MY FRIENDS HAVE (2.48)
Lyrics & Music by PJ Harvey
03. CRAZY LOVE (4.04)
Lyrics: Marianne Faithfull / Music: Nick Cave
04. LAST SONG (3.19)
Lyrics & Music: Damon Albarn / Additional Lyrics: Marianne Faithfull
05. NO CHILD OF MINE (6.15)
Lyrics & Music by PJ Harvey
06. BEFORE THE POISON (4.10)
Lyrics: Marianne Faithfull-PJ Harvey / Music: PJ Harvey
07. THERE IS A GHOST (4.32)
Lyrics: Marianne Faithfull / Music: Nick Cave
08. IN THE FACTORY (3.51)
Lyrics: Marianne Faithfull-PJ Harvey / Music: PJ Harvey
09. DESPERANTO (4.22)
Lyrics: Marianne Faithfull / Music: Nick Cave
10. CITY OF QUARTZ (3.45)
Lyrics: Marianne Faithfull / Music: Jon Brion
I can't wait for this! It can be ordered now at Amazon.uk (cover pic on this link too)
September 13, 2004
Tomorrow night is the end of Madonna's best tour...IMO...FYI. It will not be shown on TV after all, so if you missed it you suck! In her honor, here is a confusing tech-head article about her show. Apparently, if Esther decides to be spontaneous (gasp!) and talk longer than she usually does between songs, the whole production goes into technical chaos and has to be taken offline or the video stuff will start while she is talking. At least she does sing live...
September 10, 2004
I am not fried, but I know some peoples who izzzzzz.
This is Fried we're talking about: a new duo featuring David Steele (who started Fine Young Cannibals) and a new American singer from N'awlins named Jonte Short. They have a self-titled debut CD of new soul that is far too sophisticated and emotional for the bullshit American r'n'b scene, where "real" Usher "joints" are in vogue.
This album has been getting raves in the UK. TimeOut said that every song was a gem. I wouldn't go that far, but it's a real grower. The single When You Get Out Of Jail is KILLER. It's the type of music that Fantasia Barrino should (and probably won't) be singing because it harkens back to Aretha and other soul goddesses. Another fave is the delicate Love Is A Stranger sounds like it was recorded 30 years ago.
They don't seem to have a website yet, but...
Fried Whatever I Choose I Loose video sample
Fried When You Get Out Of Jail video - this song is fucking GREAT
Purchase it here
The Motels on Friday 9/10 at 10pm (Martha Davis used to be on my locker door. Birthday girl Joanna faked Martha's autograph on it!) more
The English Beat on Sunday 9/12 at 2pm more
ABC on Sunday 9/12 at 3pm more
Thanks to smallsquirrel and Stephan for this information!
Message to Keane: I will see you in two weeks!
September 9, 2004
The evidence submitted. First, the UK cover:
September 8, 2004
Following up on the Greatest Hits sort-of-theory I posted, we find Robbie Williams releasing a new hits CD this Fall. His new single is not by Robbie, but his new alter ego named Pure Francis. The song Radio sounds like something you'd release if you hope to alienate your original fanbase... or maybe it just sounds like a Taco b-side! I don't picture this being a success, but stranger things have happened. As many a music blog has already noted, this plan didn't work so well for Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines. The sad thing is that this song was done with the esteemed Stephen Duffy, who I have admired for many years. These two need to step out of the k-hole and into reality!
In the meantime I will listen to Client's new song Radio instead...
Here is a link for their new video for "Sunrise." Seems to me there was an effort to give it a "Hungry Like The Wolf" feel, with the whole band in different parts of the world, all seemingly in motion. But you keep thinking they'll all end up in an Indiana Jones Sri Lankan bar setting; they don't. They probably were all headed to various botox centers around the world, cuz they is aging!
September 7, 2004
Note: the end of the article mentions the Salon writer Cintra Wilson. If you'd like to read her eulogy for Kevin Gilbert, you can find it here. It's a lovely and very sad piece.
"This is from the second album by Rufus Wainwright who I’m very into. His arrangements are fantastic and I really like his vocal style; he fits a lot of words in. I suppose there’s a similarity there with Randy Newman, both very classy American songwriters. As far as our treatment goes, well, I love the original and I suppose we’ve copied it really."
Some of the other notable songs are: You're The One That I Want (yes, the hideous Grease song), Living Thing (ELO), and Don't Fear The Reaper (good choice!)
September 3, 2004
A dick-bouncin, dynamic booty, that defies the laws of physics and reminds men why we wanna be dogs or an urban term used to define approval of the voluptuous curvature of a feminine rump.
It even gives this useful example of proper usage: We snapped our necks 'round, lost the beat of the funk, and laid our eyes upon Maryjane's beautiful badunkadunk.
Chief Inspector Lynley
September 2, 2004
1) The genuine one, after many albums (preferably at least five). Joni Mitchell refused this for years and years because she felt it would "kill the catalog," but Joni is an Album Artiste, so people still buy her. Many big selling artists, like Mary J. Blige, resist this.
2) As a "stop-gap" after a dud CD (see Mariah Scarey). The record company needs some cash to replenish what they lost as they cravenly promoted the craptastic CD. I wouldn't be surprised if Janet Jackson did this soon.
3) As a stop-gap when an artist has no idea what to do next. They have exhausted their sound and seem to be floundering.
4) Contractual Obligation Downfall Record. Often 4 is a result of 3. These artists will never be heard from again. See Kula Shaker.
5) Some artists, like The Bangles or Stray Cats, clearly have no control over their publishing. Chintzy labels are created overnight just to release a new compilation each year! How many Stray Cats collections does one need, especially in the era of the CDR? Do Stray Cats make any money off of these releases?
6) My favorite category is the one-hit wonder has-been also-ran category. Like a hits compilation from Kajagoogoo, Katrina And The Waves or even Jane Weidlin, who never really had even one Billboard hit. These exist! But they never seem to call them Greatest Hit.
Travis has released 4 records, but only two of them really count. No one heard the first, which came out in the shadow of Oasis as a sort of low-rent rip off (minus any genuine "gaggin' for it" laddish swagger). They followed that with The Man Who, a record where they found their honestly twee voice - and a bit of Radiohead's voice too! - and had a hit with the perfect "Driftwood." They met the follow-up challenge with the The Invisible Band,which I like better than The Man Who, even though it was a bit toothless. And then... the DUD. 12 Mammories - no Memories - was lacking in ideas, melody, interesting arrangements (and notably, producer Nigel Godrich). It was, to me, bad enough to sink this band. So now they take the Greatest Hits route? I find it hard to believe they couldn't come up with a new record - is this their way out of a contract? We'll see. Here are the songs for the cleverly titled Singles, out on November 1st:
Sing; Driftwood; Writing To Reach You; Why Does It Always Rain On Me?; Re-Offender; Walking In The Sun; Tied To The 90’s; Coming Around; Flowers In The Window; Love Will Come Through; More Than Us; Side; U16 Girls; Happy; All I Want To Do Is Rock; The Beautiful Occupation; Turn.
There is but one new song - Godrich produced! - called "Walking In The Sun," and you can hear it on their website.