U2 SET LIST JUNE 30TH, 2009

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May I be the last to say too much from “Horizon” and no “Stuck In Moment”??? Breathe No Line on the Horizon Get On Your Boots Magnificent Beautiful Day I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For Angel of Harlem In A Little While Unknown Caller Unforgettable Fire City of Blinding Lights Vertigo I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight Sunday Bloody Sunday Pride (In The Name of Love) MLK Walk On Where The Streets Have No Name One ——- Ultraviolet With Or Without You Moment of Surrender.

Lip Service: The question of authenticity and pop music

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In 2001 I went to see Madonna on the Drowned Tour (her best of the decade, maybe ever) and in 1999 I went to see Janet Jackson on the Velvet Rope Tour. It was odd. Both are very physical, dance oriented performances but whereas Jackson was sometimes out of breath and you could hear her gasping for air, Madonna wasn’t once. Here is why: Madonna had tapes of herself singing that played when she needed a break. It is the only humanly possible way for ANYONE to dance and sing simultaneously on that level and not huff and puff. In …

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Kalefa Sanneh, Michael Jackson, Manu Dibango, Rihanna

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Novelist Vladimer Nabakov once noted that all fiction writing is an act of faith in God: as God gives life a pattern so the novelist gives his story a pattern. And this is equally true of music and especially true of New Yorker Staff writer Kalefa Sanneh’s fascinating article about the etymology of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” classic “Wanna Be Starting Something”. Here is the link to the article: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2009/07/06/090706ta_talk_sanneh Here is Manu Dibango: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16UUi61H3sEHere is Michael Jackson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKMfjUp9xYsHere is Rihanna: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsRWpK4pf90

New Music week of June 29th, 2009: old geezers, young geezers, country geezers, alternative geezers and a coupla Wu Tangs

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Questions For the Angels – Paul SimonTennessee Jed – Levon HelmGrowing Trade – Levon HelmReal World 09 – Rob ThomasHer Diamonds – Rob ThomasBack when I was a whippersnapper we had a name for this stuff: Middle Of the Road and plonk your car right in the center of the edge here. After a terrific concert last Valentine’s day Simon has boatloads of goodwill in my vehicle and he uses a lot of it here. A pretty shimmer of a glossammer wings of a tune, “Questions For the Angels” is not as good as “St. Judy’s Comet” or “Father And …

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My Worst Post Ever: Esperanza Spalding and Jonathan Batiste at Central Park Summerstage; Wrongs reversed

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I have no idea what I am talking about but I don’t like this at all. On a sunny Sunday afternoon made for Central Park a multi-ethnic hodge podge of jazz lovers are having picnics, snuggling, playing with their kids and cheering on some of the dreariest jazz fusion imaginable. Now here’s the hard part: nobody except me thinks so because they like it and I don’t. I’m the guy who walked out on Cassandra Wilson opening for Ray Charles: I completely distrust my opinion and would love if somebody could tell me where I’m going wrong. But before I …

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Kirsty MacColl: Pure Pop, Pure hero

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As we mourn the passing of R&B crossover genius Michael Jackson let’s remember a genius English pop Princess Kirsty MacColl who found a better way to leave us. Remember Stiff Records? Let me remind you at one point this tiny independent (“If it ain’t Stiff it ain’t worth a fuck” was their motto) , they had Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Nick Lowe, the Damned, the Motors, and Wreckless Eric signed up. And the sweet voiced born to be a back up singer Kirsty MacColl who after stiffing at first recorded one hit after another for former husband legendary producer Steve …

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The Mix June 28th, 2009: Broken

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Unbreakable – Michael Jackson Round about here Jackson was morphing into and r&b guy to the exclusion of any halfway decent pop balladeering while Prince continued as the Prince of funk. Both of these guys had lost their pop chops but both were pretty good. This is an all beat extravaganza with a killer drum hook and Notorious BIG lending a rap around four minutes in. Biggie introduces himself with his trademark grunts and makes Jackson seem a little past it but it isn’t a terrible mix. Good Morning Judge – 10ccRise Above – Dirty ProjectorsI Want You Back – …

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Deceptive Bends in Review

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Robert Nevin reviews 10ccs “pop masterpiece” “Deceptive Bends” I think most people stopped at “The Things We Do For Love”, and why not? It is a perfect pop song; double hand claps, ethereal oohs and aahs, a well-produced guitar break and of course, the cleverly crafted lyrics. But to stop there is to miss why Godley and Creme could leave, and Steward and Gouldman could pick up without missing a beat (sorry ’bout that). Working with only a session drummer, a studio full instruments ranging from Moogs to marracas, and down to their last few miles of audio tape, the …

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Robert Nevin’s fave band of 1977 and my fave band of 1980; MJ all over Itunes

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My friend Robert Nevin’s taste in music gives the term eclectic whole new vistas of meaning; he obsesses over the minutia of weirdness, the sound of the strange, the found sound, the dropped noise, the daft baker from Dumbarton and the forgotten born again bluegrass museum. A couple of months ago when I asked for favorite albums, Robert name checked 10cc’s “Deceptive Bends”. “Deceptive Bends”? half their original line- up had hit the road after the fair to middling “How Dare You” (a better album then the previous one hit song album “The Original Soundtrack” -the song was “I’m not …

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The Big Bounce and Air Bombay: Two new bands tied to a place and a moment

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The thrill of pop music is the thrill of the new: the instantly disposable built to last surprise of the thing that you put in your ears and it is eternally youthful, we grow old but pop remains younger than springtime. I was introduced to Floridians The Big Bounce by Attorney In Waiting Rachel Tuckerman and I was introduced to local talent Air Bombay by Columbia graduate (I mention that for a reason) Bobby Sciortino. Both these kids are in the low twenties and both have spectacular tastes in music. Rachel’s taste is eclectic and most interesting when it veers …

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Michael Jackson Dead at age 50

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Michael Jackson died today at the age of fifty. An American tragedy as awful as that of Elvis Presley ends all too inevitably with the passing of this master of pop, this breaker of racial barriers, and this deeply disturbed and repulsive man. In awhile when the eulogies are over I will take a closer look at his tremendous career. for right now before we condemn his personal actions let’s applaud the man who remade Motown in his own image.

An Open Letter To Conor Oberst

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Conor, my old friend, it’s me, Iman. How could you do this to me? Me, your faithful as a horse drawn carriage , loyal as a Siamese Cat, fan and rock critic and buddy. Don’t you love me anymore? Or worse, don’t you love NYC any more? Remember back in the day, you had a place in the village and were tripping the light fantastic on fairy dust and rake thin models? Wrote some pretty terrific songs as well, “Train Under Water,” “Road To Joy,” omg, “Lua”. I mean, cmon, “Lua” is the most New York of New York songs …

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Diana Krall at Carnegie Hall, June 24th, 2009: SHE’S BLONDE

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Diana Krall: Jazz Superstar, long, blonde, luscious, intimidating, in a black skirt and heels, has turned away from her piano and, there is only one word for it, she is babbling. Ms. Krall is telling us about meeting President Obama at the Lifetime Achievements Awards honoring Stevie Wonder and she is talking to the President and Mrs. Obama at a mile a minute about living in New York, and having twins and both her and husband being on the road and…” The president interrupts her. “Wait a minute, you mean you’re married to Elvis Costello? Do people know about this?” …

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everybody must get stoned

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From today’s New York Times Science section, the earliest known musical instrument dating back 35,000 years to the stone age. Here is the (missing) link http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/science/25flute.html?_r=1&hp

WHY BROADWAY DOESN’T ROCK

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Somewhere during the first act of the “Rock of Ages” at the Minskoff on Broadway I could feel my eyes roll but not rock back in my head. This is a rock and roll musical? This? The book was camp garbage and the music was 80s hair metal covers. Look at hair metal this way: get Roth Halen, get Guns N Roses and pick and chose maybe ten songs according to taste from the rest and you’re done. DO NOT go to Broadway to hear naff covers of naff songs. What’s the problem here? While Presley was singing to a …

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New Music Week of June 21st, 2009: NANA NA NA HEY HEY GOODBYE

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D.O.A. (Death Of Auto- Tune) – Jay-ZWhy did he do this? So he can say Justin Timberlake beat him to the punch on the re-mix of “Can’t Believe It” ? Who is he aiming his vitriol at? It’s not Kanye West, sure not Lil Wayne or any ol “T” out there. What year is he living in? This might have been cutting edge in 2008 and would have been important in 2007 but in 2009? Puhleeze. But really, when was the last time Jay-Z was on top of the zeitgeist? Not since before his retirement. “Kingdom Come” was honest but …

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The Mix June 21st, 2009: Weird “Al” opens a Door to the world of parody and satire

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Craigslist – Weird “Al” Yankovic The problem with Weird “Al” is that there is never a natural connection between his lyrical and musical parody and this leads to the music veering closely towards plagiarism. This Doors satire sounds exactly like them especially the organ which is flat out hysterical and the lyric is a witty swipe at the flakes on craigslist: “Got a trashcan of Styrofoam peanuts, you can have em for free, you can drop by on the weekend and pick ’em up from me, but the trashcan ain’t part of the deal, only givin‘ you the peanuts, get …

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Louba Lababedi with some thoughts on Judy Garland

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Louba Lababedi comments on her beloved Judy (and Liza). I was introduced to Judy Garland(besides Wizard of Oz) in 1999 through herdaughter Liza! with a Z My Uncle treated me to dinner and “Minnelli on Minnelli” Liza’s tribute to her father, Vincent Minnelli’s music/movies . Liza was amazing, it was a fun upbeat performance with a bit of emotion, her talking about beingon set with her dad and mom…When she was singing ” The Trolley song”, a black and white screen came down and there was Judy swinging on a trolling and sang one line “to the end of the …

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The return of the album review: Eminem’s “Relapse”

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I haven’t done much album reviewing on this blog and that isn’t solely because I am more likely to buy a couple of songs off an album than the entire album. I bought the new Eminem in one gulp the day it was released though I had previously purchased four songs as they were offerred, and I bought Bitte Orca a couple of songs at a time and Rhett Miller over a period of a week. The result of this new sense of discrimination is three fold, 1) it takes me awhile to review actually albums, 2) many of the …

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Marie Lynn finds a different kind of popular music at the CMA Country Music Festival, 2009

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Our intrepret young reporter Marie Lynn went to Nashville and posted this review of the Country Music Festival 2009 As a born-and-bred Brooklyn girl, going to the CMA Country Music Festival was not my ideal way to kick of the summer. I reluctantly agreed to go and keep my sister company. I boarded a Greyhound Bus at New York’s Port Authority with a stomach ache and a head full of preconceived notions about country music and the south. Twenty-three hours later we stepped out of the Nashville bus station to find a warmer, more humid, deader city than the Big …

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Debbie Reynolds at the Cafe Carlyle last night: Hollywood Royalty shares life, loves, laughs

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Kris Kristoffesson once said love is the last thing to go but having seen such greats as Mel Torme, Peggy Lee, Ray Charles, Mel Torme, Leonard Cohen and now 77 year American classic and Hollywood sweetheart Debbie Reynolds in the Autumn of their careers, I believe technique is the last thing to go for a true professional. At the Cafe Carlyle last night -the last week of a four week run at this classically lovely room, Debbie Reynolds was sometimes out of breath and till the last fifteen minutes, constantly out of tune, but during her first visit to NYC …

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Bruce Springsteen at the Superbowl 2009, pictures taken by Bob Klein

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One of my favorite photographers is Bob Klein, a man who ridiculously shares this gift with friends and family only instead of the wider audience who would appreciate his unique vision of life as seen behind a camera. Bob doesn’t even have a website. These pictures were taken at rehearsals for Bruce Springsteen’s half time set at the Superbowl 2009.Mr. Klein is a busy man but hopefully we will get him to share some more photos in the future. for now, please enjoy.

Judy Garland Gets Happy

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What constitutes a performer whose life and art is so mingled it is impossible to think of what without the other? What does she mean to us? There was a public outcry of grief at Judy Garland’s death but little surprise. The girl who turned into a train wreck had an edge of tragedy to her life that informed her artistry by the mid 50s on. After “A Star Is Born” you could not think of her, could not listen to her, without the edge of the precipice in her low voice overwhelming the songs she covered with layer upon …

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Regina Spektor at The Beacon Theater June 17th, 2009: A Perfect Body Of Work

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Half an hour into her joyful set at the Beacon Theater last night regina Spektor has completely lost her place. She is giggling at first and then laughing and then almost gurgling with pleasure. “Rehearsing at the Beacon theater,” she says, “there’s so many of you”. then she shrugs, “Fuck it,” and turns back to arranging the song with her string section. “I’m so happy,” she says and she is obviously in a great mood. Opening band Little Joy are happy to be there as well and their cocktail lounge, Brazilian bossa nova easy tilting grooves are going down easy, …

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Paul McCartney Retro: Junk?

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In anticipation of McCartney’s concert at Citifield this July, a look back at his recorded works. It is difficult (not to mention irrelevant) to compare McCartney’s long and lustrous solo career to Lennon’s so tragically cut short. However, a look at the work they were doing in tandem finds exactly what we might think it would. McCartney all thumbs up and wink wink, Lennon all chip on his shoulder and overshare. Lennon was better of course, Mac has never managed something as powerful as “Merry Christmas (War Is Over If You Want It”), Mac did the excrutiating “Wonderful Christmas Time” …

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New Songs Week Of June 15th, 2009: What experiences brings

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My friend Bari Wartell (we saw Conor at “Other Music” together last year) when asked for a couple of lines for my blog came up with this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” Hmmm, or maybe it’s a confession as to their opinion of the world. Or maybe more than character it’s experience that colors our opinion of the world. And maybe Bari forgot this was a music blog!!! Anyway, I changed a word and came up with a the same truth said a …

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Juliana Hatfield: Brave girl, good memoir, the songs? not so much

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Please let me help Juliana Hatfield a little and explain to her what her problem as a musician is: she doesn’t write very good songs. She can write good songs mind, and lotsa lousy ones, but she seldom writes truly brilliant rocks songs and so her career imploded. Please let me help Juliana as a memoirist. She is a liar. Well, that’s a little harsh but the only time I was on hand and can absolutely verify or not her recollections, she gets it COMPLETELY WRONG. In discussing her sold out Roseland concert in which Jeff Buckley opened for her …

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The Mix June 14th, 2009: The Pleasure Principle

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Poker Face – Lady GagaToo Tough – The Rolling StonesTomorrow – Paul McCartney Off Wing’s loudly maligned “Wild Life” in the early 70s, Wings spoke to McCartney’s very successful attempt to forge a new band identity (a friend of mine was the photographer on Wings college tour around this time and speaks of the team spirit) even if he kept all the money. “Tomorrow” is a high light off this sprite, weightless recommended album Boyfriend # 2 – Pleasure PI’m A Beast – Pleasure PGotta Have You – Pleasure P – Pleasure P began life in an R&B boy band …

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Black Like Me…

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Listening to songs off Mos Def’s pretty good new album “The Ecstatic” I wonder what he learnt playing Chuck Berry in the movie “Cadillac Ranch”.? Berry never rested on his ethnic identity, he roared through it. Maybe he had no choice but he sure had every reason. The social effect of Berry’s blackness is much closer to Dred Scott than Mos Def -the discriminations he had against him lead to jail and could have lead to much worse. Even Public Enemy had a valid reason to place themselves in the public arena as a victim and advocate of black rights. …

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Bjork and the Dirty Projectors… this is popular music?

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It’s a good question and the answer is maybe. It is certainly accessible enough, by Bjork’s standards even more than by David Longstreth. I’ve been a fan of Bjork since “Human Behavior’ -never much cared for the Sugarcubes for some reason- but year after year I have found her harder to listen to. The last songs I singularly enjoyed were the ones for her movie “Dancers In the Dark”. Since then I have listened to exceedingly difficult albums by her like “Volta” from 2007 -i can’t remember a single song off it though I kinda enjoyed it from a distance. …

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Vera Lynn: An English Rose sang for the honor of England

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Have you ever seen the Britcom “Goodnight Sweetheart”? A man finds a pothole between London in the 1990s and 1942 and, like all great sitcom heroes, uses the opportunity to make money. The sitcom does something great: it makes the iconic Londoners who carried on in the face of the Nazi’s blitzreig human again. It kicks them off their pedestal and makes them that much braver for being brave, cowardly, avarious, licentious, drunken, mortal humans living with death imminent and occuring every moment. It is suckers game to discuss WW2… we won and they lost the world’s last good war. …

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LMFAO: Dance-Hop?

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I mentioned yesterday I thought the New York Times music pages were the best in the business and not just because my old pal Jon Pareles writes for em; it’s because they have the clearest idea of all aspects of the landscape and they proved it again today with a heads up and foresighted article for all us music lovers who simply can’t keep up with this stuff. Writer Jon Caramanica begins with what I am certain we can all agree is the single of the year so far, Black Eyed Peas “Boom Boom Pow,” rewinds for a look at …

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Elvis Costello At The Beacon Theater Last Night: First A Mistake And Then Brilliant

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First Costello was awesome and then he was fair to middling for an hour and a half and then he was awesome again. In front of a hometown audience and in front of his session players deluxe the Sugarcanes, the four eyed fiend opened with a rollicking cover of Hoagy Carmichael’s “My Resistant Is Low” (you remember: “I’m going overboard with a capital O…”). EC originally tried it on “The Kojack Variety” but it wasn’t up too much if you knew the original. Last night Hoagy must have been smiling to himself as EC does what he can do with …

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Watchmen Intro…

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I loved the movie though i can understand why people may have had problems with it. And I think “The Times They Are A changing” was way too obvious for the intro. But it works very well and, unfortunately for the movie as a whole, the introduction is easily the best part of the movie. If you haven’t seen the intro yet please do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceKIN272dmQ

Marshall Crenshaw: Will Your Heart Ever Be Satisfied?

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It is one of gods’ great jokes that on the first song of the first side of his first album Cremshaw fell into his career epitaph. “Will her heart ever be satisfied?” he asked. “There she goes again with another guy”. And for the past 30 years the great songwriter has seen his audience drive off with another guy. Crenshaw’s new album is another great release from the master. If the singer/songwriter’s calling card is consistency Crenshaw is easily the most consistent songwriter, er, ever. I don’t mean to keep on taking swings at Costello (and Costello is vastly more …

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New Music w/o 6/8: The Boom Boom Pow Continues; odds and sods

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Rock That Body – Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas From “The Energy Never Dies” -their new album- and it’s true, the energy just keeps pumping. “Rock That Body” is awesome dance music -not “Boom” but what is? It still stomps and moves, “Feeling” starts off as indie rock before stomping all over with the call to party “tonight’s gonna be a good night”. I was never that big a fan of these cats but really, how long can you fight the irresistable tug of Will I am? And why bother. This is the pop album …

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Rolling Stone and cronyism in music criticism: IS THE FIX IN?

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In the letter from the editor for the Kings Of Leon Rolling Stone cover story, the editor Will Dana brags how writer Austin Scaggs is long time drinking buddies with the band. Eh? Friend Scaggs writes about his good buddies: well, sure no conflict here boys. Er, actually the story was pretty damn good but that notwithstanding, cmon guys. You wanna be friends with these folks? Why? In my days the line between performer and writer was clear cut: we wanted to be free to be as rude and aggressive as we chose to. I fought with everybody. I told …

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The Mix June 7th, 2009: CHICKENFOOT… Yes I said FOOT

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Oh Yeah -ChickenfootSoap On A Rope – Chickenfoot“Got money, got fame, fast cars and everything”. Who do they think they are? Kid rock? Whatever, this should solve everybodies metal, not to mention hedonism, with a full frontal attack on your dopamaine. In my youth I tried and I tried to read Heidergger but he went right over my head, I needed Hannah Arendt to interprete him before I understood. I tried and tried to like Led Zeppelin but I couldn’t take all the fairies and stairways. I needed a less self-conscious interpretation and the trashy fun and resolutely unpretentious Chickenfoot …

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TV On the Radio at Central Park: Buzzworthy Band in soaking rain

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I wish I could get the picture from my cell on my blog so you could see as much as I saw of the Dirty Projectors and TV On the radio: a sea of umbrellas. And I could’ve lived with that but it was also very very cold and I was very very wet and essentiallythe weather killed what sounded like one of the best concerts I’d heard in a long while. It was also the kiss of death for a band like Dirty Projectors who travel the line between an esoteric art pop and an untraditional form of prog-rock. …

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Some thoughts on Bob Hope as a vocalist; Postcard Records from the edge; buzzy bands

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I don’t suffer from social nostalgia. I don’t believe the past was better than today, I know it was worse. The 40s may have been a fairy tale time for Western civilization but not if you were Jewish or black or gay or female or working class or simply poor. The 40s were a hall of mirrors and little of what was reflected was real. To take just one instance:baseball was a much bigger lie in the 40s then the 90s ever were -how can you respect any stats at all when the Black population was not allowed to play? …

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Sound City: a record store closes after 18 years; Louis Armstrong, W.C. Handy, Vilma Middleton and St. Louis Woman

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Sound City was my local record store in Long island City till I stopped frequenting the place a couple of years ago because I was buying all my music on line. It closed on Sunday after an 18 year run. “When I started here there were five record stores along Steinway Street,” the owner Gus explained. Gus is around 50 years old with long straight hair to his shoulders though he doesn’t look like a hippie refugee. “I was the last man standing,” he explained. “and now there is none.” “I mean, I lost you, my most loyal customer. What …

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New Songs Week of June 1st, 2009: Everybody Knows this Is Nowhere; Born again Cliff; a quick wrong reversed

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Heart Of Gold – Neil YoungOnly Love Can Break Your Heart – Crosby, Stills, Nash and YoungEverybody Knows This Is Nowhere – Neil YoungMarrakesh Express – Crosby, Stills, Nash and YoungMy Love Is A Gentle Thing – Stephen StillsMy Baby Blue – Dave MathewsNew music? Oh, OK… Neil Young is a great but he aint a great today. It has been ten years since CSN&Y reunion tour, twenty years since “Freedom” but within the past five years I’ve wasted tons of money on sustained pieces of crap like “Are You Passionate,” “Living With war, “Greendale” (ugh -was Greendale the worst …

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When Cliff Richard Said Yeah

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In August of 1962 I was five years old and on vacation in Bournemouth, a somewhat working class vacation resort in the North of England. It was then I went to my first concert, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, with my family. I would be lieing if I claimed to remember much about this: it is the haziest of memories, a very small, very round boy, dancing near the stage (that would be me, not Cliff). I went with my family and legend has it my father hated it, my eldest sister loved it, and everybody else was some variation …

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The Mix May 31st 2009: Beauty and the Beast

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Just A Friend – Biz Markie Let Me Clear My Throat – DJ Kool Have you seen the Heinekin ad with the kids singing “Just A Friend” in the back of the cab and the cabbie singing along. Awwww. Bug – Mandy Moore Love Me Love Back – Mandy Moore All Good Things – Mandy Moore I didn’t say Moore’s “Amanda Leigh” was a bad album, I said it was disappointing album and it is. “Bug” is another hubby Ryan soundalike and not bad but no “All Good Things” -a heartbreaker off 2007s magical “Wild Hope”. I saw her at …

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X at Bowery Ballroom Saturday May 29th,, 2009: See How They Are

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Have you ever known a person who seem perfectly nice and everybody thinks he is just wonderful but for some reason you just don’t get on? Well, this is me and X. I loved “Los Angeles” and “Wild Gift” and have enjoyed their punkbilly to a certain degree thru “See How We Are” all the way to their last album. But my dislike is not just because I argued nastily with vocalist Exene Cervenka during an interview for a radio syndicator in a hotel room in Atlantic City (about the class structure of the boardwalk: go figure) though I don’t …

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