New releases April 21st; anti-Beatles matter; best gay anthem ever?

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Every Tuesday Itune changes my life: I go through the new releases, buy ten to fifteen songs, tuesday evening buy another couple from people’s whose songs I liked and by Saturday decide whether I want to invest in the entire album. So here’s this weeks round up: It is more than possible Pet Shop Boys is the best band still around from the ’80s. Every two years or so they bring out a new, ridiculously consistent, synth-pop album; every coupla years I catch em at the Radio City Music Hall. Better then Erasure, nowhere near the revival circuit where ABC, …

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Taylor and Miley: the difference between talent and genuis

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Miley Cyrus is a talented girl, a fine comedienne with a nice voice and some good -and sometimes some great- material. She might be the Marie Osmond of the 00s and she might be more. With a howling pack of tweens and younger girls screaming for blood she appears to be traversing the horrors of fame at a young age with a lot of aplumb but she has a problem: Miley isn’t good enough and she is staring at a mirror double who is more than good enough. Lennon to her McCartney; Beatles to her Monkees; Taylor to her Miley. …

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Lily Allen live at Roseland April 20th, 2009 reviewed; the Dead were the Byrds, no, really

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The back up band was a bit nondescript, the mix was screwed up on the first two songs, she didn’t perform “Alfie” and otherwise Lily was excellent at Roseland last night. I arrived halfway through the opening band’s set and I have one valuable piece of advise for them: CHANGE YOUR NAME. They are a fun young band with amusing songs and a pleasing attitude; they sound a bit like the B-52’s and they sure should have a career but I, for one, had no interest in a band named Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head. Lily stands center stage chain smoking …

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Me and Polly Magoo; lost rock clubs; best sets ever; people I should love and don’t

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Back in the day PJ Harvey could do no wrong: from the insane charged and sexual confusion of her earliest solo work like “Dry” and “Rid Of Me’ to the Jungian wetness of “To Bring Your love To Me” (possibly the best album of 1994) we were right there with her. But then things went wrong. “Dance Hall at Louse Park” was a disaster and though “Is This Desire?” was anything but a disaster Polly wasn’t playing guitar on the “Is This Desire” tour and the concert was stupified. She followed that with another great album , the New York …

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Lil Wayne and the state of hip hop

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To paraphrase: hip hops been going down hill ever since Biggie died and by now… wow, if you’d told me five years ago, when the Cash Money crew got blown off stage by Eminem, Snoop, and Dre at Summer Jam, Lil Wayne would be the keeper of the faith idda wondered who shot Jay-Z. Well, success shot Jay-Z and try as he might Hova can’t get out from under the cloud of his success. It’s one thing to own your own plane and sing about it, it’s something else entirely to try and convince an audience you are still one …

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Dylan and Conor 2009

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Look at it this way: every album Conor Oberst and Bob Dylan have ever released are must owns with the possible exception of the 1973 “Dylan”. And it looks like Conor’s “Outer South” (due May 5th) and Dylan’s “Together Through This” (April 28th) could well be masterpieces. Start with Oberst: recording as a member of Bright Eyes as early as ’98’s “A Collection Of Songs” you could find perfect first steps like “Saturday As Usual,” and the very next album included “June On the West Coast” and now… well here are his last coupla albums by release date (latest first): …

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Hair today; middle age Tilbrook; Yeah Yeah Yeahs; bring back sunday afternoon concerts; god vs god

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Say what you will about Andrew Lloyd Webber, and I can think of a few choice words, when he put on a Broadway show you could see the money. The same can’t be said about “Hair” and the very cheapness of the enterprise (orchestra: two keyboards, four horns, two guitars and a bass), stage? barren) suggests it might have a long life… The songs are pretty damn good but they are faux-rock (often quite jazzy) and not even the slightest bit psychedelic and boy does the second act bore. By the way, try and pick up Evan Dando’s wonderful cover …

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The Beatles without their clothes on (yes, Spector again); Hair yesterday; album of the year?

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Any true Beatles fan can’t listen to them any more. Much like 60s’ Dylan, there is no more to be learnt in the byways of their material and even the three anthology’s did little to shed new light. For one thing, they had been available for decades on boots and for another thing, they were such a produced album band that with the possible exception of “Let It Be” the out takes are musically first take irrelevancies. “Let It Be” was the exception. Produced, many, including McCartney, claim overproduced, by Phil Spector, it was the Beatles album failing to live …

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U2 and changing your mind and writing about music; initial thoughts on Live In London with a peek at “Death Of A Ladies Man”; a word about my writing

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The Stone gave it 5 stars, Blender gave it 5 stars, Q gave it 5 stars. Unfortunately, “No Line On The Horizon” is one of the worst albums of U2’s career. If I was still writing professionally I’d have given it 1 star and now, a coupla weeks after my imaginary review, I’d have to raise it to 2 1/2 stars. “No Line” went, for me, from a simple disaster to a complicated disaster. So why did we all get it wrong? A music critic, a freelancer, tends to do the band in town experience: review the album, see the …

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Prolific Prince; Kris and Ethan and country music

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I’ve been waiting to get my hands on the new prince “Lotus Flower,” triple for awhile but not wanting to blow $70 online and with no “Target” stores in NYC it had to wait till a trip to orlando this weekend. And I’m not really ready to discuss it yet. But i am ready to think about Prince. Look at Prince this way: just about everything he released from theR&B debut “For You” thru “Lovesexy” are must owns and then its every man for himself and god against all. “Emancipation” is the template for his post-80s material: a coupla masterpieces, …

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Bob Mould at Joe’s Pub -Waiting for Lily Allen

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About Joe’s Pub -the food is OK, the sightlines are great and if you wanna see a band up close hope and pray they visit this village haunt. Last nights Bob Mould gig was sold out. Mould is the former frontman for Husker Du and Sugar and the set was sure brilliance -I had a table (alone again, naturally) at the foot of the stage and nicked the set list. I’d just bought Nabakov’s “Verses And Versions” and planned to read it before the set but the place is so dimly lit all i could do was play Tetris on …

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And Away we go…

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My name is Iman Lababedi. I am 52 years old. I was a music critic for Creem, the Village Voice and other publications in the ’80s and hung up my typewriter in 1988 never to return. But i continued to listen to music and I continued to write. I listen to music just about every waking moment. I go to a coupla concerts a month at least. I am going to write about music and only music. So let’s start like this: concert of the year? Titus Andronicus and Los Campesinos at Bowery Ballroom on February 15th— the night before …

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