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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Joy Division and The Fall: The North Will Rise Again

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“Who remembers Rudolf Hess?”-Warsaw Manchester, England is my home time. A rainy, grimy, miserable place half an hour from Liverpool which fancies inself a major player and isn’t at all except musically it’s a frontier of sound that seems to rise every decade or so and take over the music scene. Considering its size the amount of major league rock stars it has thrown up is ridiculous. From Graham Nash thru the Buzzcocks to the Stone Roses and Oasis, Manchester was a scenes definition of a scene. So this could be about the Smiths if I placed this blog ten …

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Impotence and rock: the real love that dare not speak its name

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I actually found a list on The Onion of 8 song about sexual mishaps and they are quite right – Elastica’s “Stutter” was a big surprise to me. Dead Kennedy’s “Too Drunk To Fuck” less so. Here is the URL if you wanna check it out http://www.avclub.com/articles/8-songs-about-sexual-mishaps,1736/. Impotence is really antithical to rock: from its name to the climax release so typical of its song structure, impotence is like death in Disneyworld: something to be hidden even as a subject matter. Look at Dylan, he has written about everything, everything but the nihilism and nothingness of going soft. How can …

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new music week of May 25th: it’s a family affair

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2009 appears to have awaken from its winter slumber with the third good week in a row. Not great, mind but definitely good Doom Draw – Julian MarleyFamily Time – Ziggy Marley (featuring Judah Marley)Don’t Lose your Head – Zion IThe Marley siblings have a real problem: call it another Julian’s son problem, Julian Lennon, however good they are they just aint good enough. So once you get that out the way what you have is long and creative careers in reggae and pieces of crap like “Family Time” don’t help. Julian’s “Doom Draw” is that hardcore rastaman stuff and …

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The Replacements: Color Me Depressed or shocking band i should like but don’t…

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I know, it’s terrible right? I mean, not only were they the early 80s saving grace rockwise but a) my friends were their friends and fans b) the Replacements had in Paul Westerberg a great rock voice, all hoarse and sexy, c) they looked the part, d) they rockd hard, e) they were more messed up then i was f) they had a sense of humor g) i loved their third album “Hootenany”. So what’s wrong with this picture? I remember having a loud, drunken argument at a bar on Lexington and 30 something in 86 with Bill and Barry …

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Country Music Part V: Olivia Newton-John Country Superstar

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At first glance Olivia Newton-John’s career trajectory appears to be a refraction on the Sandy charecter she played in the iconic movie musical “Grease, chocking on her cigarette, high heel ib Travolta’s chest, snarling “You better shape up because I need a man.” Gone the “Look at at me I’m Sandra Dee lousy with virginity…” of yore. She honestly wanted him. And so like Sandy Olivia had gone from Australia’s first country superstardom to the video diva of “Physical”. But that’s only at first glance. From the age of 14 in her native Australia ONJ had pursued pop supremacy and …

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Adam Lambert and the Mix List week of May 18th, 2009; Best Sets Ever # 7

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A Change Is Going To Come – Adam LambertHe was a standby for the road production of “Wicked” which, if not making him and amateur, sure made him a passing fair minor talent when American Idol gave him his chance. Though he lost AI that was as much a demo switch as anything else and on very shaky ground when covering the sainted Sam Cooke, Lambert pours himself into this song and gives an indelible, sexy and powerful performance which deserved to win the AI contest not just this year but every year sinces its inception. The only question left …

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True Blue

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My ex text me the other day to tell me her new guy’s favorite color is now blue because she looks so good in blue. Very nice, right? Well, it got her to thinking of why there were so many songs with the color blue in their title. One reason might be because it is the only color that has a style of music named after it. Also, along with green (for envy) it is the only color to signify an emotion. My ex is a big Bright Eyes fan so when she started her list I knew she wasn’t …

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Damaged Dames and the keyboards they love: Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor

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One of my very favorite novels is Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” (she is absolutely my favorite) but as novels go it doesn’t translate well into other mediums: even the Olivier movie was wrecked by Merle Oberon’s performance. So it is is bizarre indeed that in 1979 the nineteen year old English girl Kate Bush’s first single “Wuthering Heights” was such a brilliant transmogrification from one medium to another. Keyboardist Bush had a restrained hysteria more than apt (and something of a calling card) for the sentiments and central to both the album, the terrific and eccentric “The Kick Inside.” Fast …

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My Favorite album of all time in review: Get Happy!! by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

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Greatest album of all time? “Sgt Peppers,” Best? “Are You Experienced”? My fave? No contest: from Steve Nieve’s Booker T pounded intro on “Love For Tender” to the lost in pain coda from “Riot Act” there is no album that has ever moved me this much, mattered to me this much. The year was 1980 and new Wave raged and “Get Happy!!” was EC’s follow up to “Armed Forces” but although the sound was built completely around Nieve’s keyboards and the influences were named explicitly in one song “Tempted”, it was essentially new wave. 20 songs worth: a cavalcade of …

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I bet you a tenor I made a mistake; new songs week of May 18th, 2009

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As my good friend Anonymous kindly corrected me, I asininely referred to Leonard Cohen as a tenor in my live at Radio City review. He is, of course, a bass -the same instrument John Lennon played with the Beatles. This is Part V in a multi-part series. Now, if I still hold any credibility at all, let’s completely lose it by saying that after loathing Jarvis Cocker’s new single “Angela,” I bought a number of songs off his new album and liked em a lot. I mean, after all, the man wrote “The Fear,” not to mention “Common People” and …

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Eminem does what he does and does it well; last thoughts on Cohen tour

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Look at it this way: we live in a world filled with real and terrifying fears and as consumers of entertainment we deal with these fears. Female sexuality, virginity, death, bankruptsy, homosexual panic: all of these things are real fears and if we get it out of our system through horror movies or hip hop, or cartoons, or reality shows, well, good. The most terrifying thing in the world right now is not Eminem’s fun (and any way, what constitutes pleasure?) new album “Relapse” it is Farrah Fawcett dying on television: on one hand, Eminem slamming Kim Kardashian, on the …

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Leonard Cohen Forum hates me; live in NYC

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I checked out the folks who hate me at leonardcohenforum.com . The actual review by Patricia Zohn is very good and if you want to see what the fans thinks please feel free. I essentially stand by my opinions (and I absolutely stand by NYC being the media center of the world where we’ve seen everything at least twice) and aren’t the LCFers a little bored with everybody genuflecting to the great man? No they certainly aren’t (it’s the moral equivalent of Brad Pitt complaining he doesn’t get enough girls) and I think the LCFers are a bit silly (plus …

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Music and Protest

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With Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown” having all the hallmarks of a protest album dated before its release, and with critics writing drivel like “If it is out of step today we may surely need it tomorrow,” I thought I would take a quick moment and think about protest music. Way back, in the 16th Century, the man behind the man paid the man to write sings about thegreat war like deads of The Man (usually The King) and the other men, you and I, well we didn’t get our say. Political music not protest msuic. But by the American …

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Leonard Cohen by the numbers last night at radio City Music Hall

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Earlier this year I went to see Van Morrison perform “Astral Weeks” twice, once at MSG and once and for days later at the Beacon. The MSG set was excellent, glad to have seen it. The Beacon Theater was electrifying -mid way through the second set Morrison took off and everybody knew it, the band, us, him: he had reached that place even the greats don’t always get to (Funnily enough I saw Maroon 5 do the same thing a coupla years ago so it can happen to any one). But it is tough to do when you have bleed …

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The Mix List week of May 18th, 2009; Best Sets Ever #6; more people I don’t like but maybe should

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The Static Age – Green Day (“21 Guns” pretty lame on SNL last night)Get Down – Cam’ronOn the Road To Find Out – Cat StevensSofter, Softest – HoleGood Ol’ USA – Billy Joe Shaver (this guy is a minor revelation)The Dream Of You – Bob Dylan (the keeper off the newbie)Missisippi – Sheryl Crow (a hot dylan cover does not a career make)Big Momma Thang – Lil Kim (she had it going on)Formed A Band – Art BrutParanoid – Jonas brothers (play nice children)Stillness Is The Move – The Dirty ProjectionsJar – Green dayWalk Right Back – The Everly Brothers …

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Divas and the dead men who love them; Yusuf Islam was Cat Stevens and you weren’t

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It is June 1997 and Lil Kim is a mess -I know this because she is performing at a great women of hip hop concert and she can’t speak and she can’t talk and she is stumbling and crying. Notorious B.I.G. had died a coupla months earlier and she wailed and wailed and wailed. Two years earlier, February 14, 1995 to be exact, I am watching Hole kill at the Brookyn Academy Of Music recoding their MTV Unplugged concert. Courtney is facing her audience less than a year after her husband’s suicide and both the “Live Through This” songs and …

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Two Great albums; Country Music IV: From rock to soft

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One day after writing the obituary of the album, I bought the album of the year and first runner up. I have only spinned Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown” once but I can’t imagine hearing a better album this year and, mind, i didn’t like “American idiot” all that much. The lyrics to “Breakdown” are already passed it (one of the reason Dylan got into personal politics was how dated the lyric became with public politics) and it’s a real problem on “Breakdown” but despite the dated and stupid anti-Bushisms the album sounds so great. If I hear a better …

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The Death Of The Album 1954 – 2009

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Chris Difford once claimed Frank Sinatra’s “In The Wee Small Hours Of the Morning” was the first record album as we know it. And he might be right. Produced by Nelson Riddle and recorded in three long sessions it was a series of songs on the theme of unrequited love. And so it began. Vinyl was the perfect size for the album: 15 minutes each side, long enough to expound on a sound but not so long as to be impossible to fill. Vinyl and the album marched hand in hand through the 70s and many a masterpiece followed and …

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Elvis Presley: I’m right, You’re Left, He’s Gone

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“Before there was Elvis there was nothing.” -John Lennon The last time I wrote about Elvis Presley I was a 20something and i did a think piece about how Capitalism destroyed a blue collar, working class hero. Not exactly a lie but hardly the whole truth either. I guess I found the Elvis I needed for those days. And in many ways that’s one of the hidden stories of Elvis, we keep on finding the Elvis we need. When I was a wee slip of a thing in the early 60s my Mom loved Country Elvis, my dad loved the …

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New Music week of May 11th; Country Music Part III: when mythic heroes roamed the world

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After listening some more I must admit to having underestimated Cam’ron’s “Get It In Ohio” -Cam’rons spits the lyric real good, gangstas in the mid-west. The other two songs I have from the new album “Crime Pays” are alright with me, “Silky (No Homo)” has an excellent King Floyd sample and “Cookin’ Up”is all percussion. This is Cam’ron’s best work since 2004 but I bet Eminem ends up the hip hop album of the year because, for sure, “Beautiful” -a self portrait, is yet another great song off the forthcoming relapse. Gallows, an English punk band who made few friends …

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Dylan and Oberst by the numbers: no masterpieces here…

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Together Through This – Bob Dylan 11 Songs:1 Pointless studio rehearsal of “Lay lady Lay”.1 Middling Berry knock off (Chuck, is that you?)1 Croaking atrocity.1 Missed opprtunity-but really missed, missed by a mile the way the “When the night Comes falling from the sky” missed on “Empire Burlesque” only to be redeemed on “Bootleg vol 3”.3 Blues boogies1 Extended not very funny joke1 Real good blues boogie, “Beyond Here Lies Nothing”2 Minor additions but real additions to the ouevre, “I Feel A Change Coming” and “This Dream Of You,” the former finding only love for the times that are a …

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Best Albums Of 2009

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Alphabetically by album name All I Ever Wanted – Kelly ClarksonArt Brut Vs Satan – Art BrutBl0od Bank EP – Bon IverCarolina – Eric ChurchCrack The Skye – MastadonDown The Line – Buddy HollyI Feel Cream – PeachesIt’s Blitz! – Yeah Yeah Yeah’s (Album of the year?)It’s Not Me, It’s You – Lily AllenJigsaw – Lady SovereignLive In London – Leonard CohenMetamorhasen – Branford Marsalis QuartetThe Open Door EP – Death Cab For CutiesOther covers – James TaylorOuter South – Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley BandThe Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (album of the year?)Potato Hole – Booker …

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PUBLIC ENEMY: BLACK LIKE ME

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Eleven years ago I saw Public Enemy open for Run DMC. PE had recently released their excellent soundtrack for (him again) Spike Lee’s “He Got Game” and they were pretty good. Flavor Flav hadn’t become a cartoon yet and Chuck D hadn’t become irrelevant yet but, and don’t get me wrong I don’t particularly care (my interest is on how it reflects on their music), did they really need to hang a white man in effigy? I mean even eleven years ago it was more, well, boring than shocking. “Damn right I’m hostile,” as Chuck D. once put it, “my …

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This Weeks Playlist; Worst Set Ever!!

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Love Your Love the Most – Eric Church (latest in a long tradition of real good country boys) Alcoholics Unanimous – Art Brut (angular satire produced by the bloke from the Pixies) Spoiled – Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band (a keeper from the newbie) Bridge – Lucy Wainwright Roche (is it something in the water these Wainwrights drink?) Midday (Avoid the City After Dark) – Yusuf (from the 06 album) Buttons and Bows – Bob Hope (I know the song from “”Paleface”, listen Hope held his own with Bing Crosby. Have you ever heard the original “Thanks for …

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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, ALL WRONGS REVERSED

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The first of a long, long series: Contrary to my earlier comment Cracker’s “Darling One” is a lovely ballad…. Also, Cohen’s “Live In London” is better than I gave it credit for. Finally, my break up with Angelica was entirely my fault.

Branford Marsalis Quartet at Jazz Standard last night: Tight and Unwound; Greatest Sets Ever # 4

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What pictures and videos don’t show you about Branford Marsalis is his sheer presence on the stage. Leading a young (the drummer is just eighteen!) intensely vigorous sharp as hell quartet, he rminded me of the Denzel Washington character in Spike Lee’s “Mo’ Better Blues” -a movie Branford wrote the music for. With the exception of a sleep inducing ballad in the middle the set was awesome.All rhymic attack, with the pianist and the drummer fighting to see who could take the sharpest angles on songs like the opener “The Return Of The JitneyMan” much, much than on the quartet’s …

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Greatest albums of all time

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Get Happy!! -Elvis Costello and the Attractions Are You Experienced? – Jimi Hendrix Experience In the Wee Small Hours Of the Morning -Frank Sinatra Ready to Die – Notorious B.I.G. Conor Oberst Here My Dear – Marvin Gaye Off the Wall -Michael Jackson Dragnet – The Fall In Utero – Nirvana Singles Going Steady – the Buzzcocks Crooked Rain Crooked Rain – Pavement The Gospel Collection – George Jones The Sun Sessions – Elvis Presley Nebraska – Bruce Springsteen Hard Knock Life – Jay Z The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill Pinkerton – Weezer Big Fun – Miles Davis Portrait Of …

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What we talk about when we talk about populism; Miles Davis, Branford Marsalis and Jazz fusion

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As a self-professed populist I believe that in a consumer society fiscal success is a hugely important part of artistic (or at least cultural) merit. In the 80s I championed as potentially big time stars: the dB’s, the Individuals, Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo, Marshall Crenshaw. All pop musicians. Which lead me to a problem: my taste in music wasn’t particularly popular. I called the Eurthymics one hit wonders, R.E.M. dreary bores— so on and so forth. And for everyone I got right (I championed Prince as early as 1980) there were a relentless hoard of bands, hip hop …

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Country Music II: DOES YOUR HEART STILL BEAT FOR ME?; more new songs; more thoughts on new Conor

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This is a love story. In 1980 I was a huge Elvis Costello fan (still am: the albums have lost their consistency but the live shows are stellar and his TV talk show “Spectacle” was a must see earlier this year, especially the Elton John and Rufus Wainwright interviews) and so when I heard he was appearing on a George Jones special I went out of my way to see it. Though Costello was sick with the mumps it was the first time I heard him in full country mode (except for “Stranger In the House” circa 1978). One of …

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