It’s the end of the year and that means end of the year lists. As your resident music critic at the Bartblog here are my top ten albums of 2008. The albums are in no particular order.
- Cardinals “Cardinology”
- Beck “Modern Guilt”
- Bob Dylan “Tell Tale Signs”
- Conor Oberst “Conor Oberst”
- Kings of Leon “Only By the Night”
- TV On the Radio “Dear Science”
- Portishead “Third”
- Pretenders “Break up The Concrete”
- Vampire Weekend “Vampire Weekend”
- Ray LaMontagne “Gossip in the Grain”
Join in the fun and leave your top ten lists as comments or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will post all of your favorites. Happy Holidays to all and to all a good listen.
Axl should just apologize to the Chinese now and get it over with. With that over let’s head straight for the heart of the matter: The first Guns n Rose’s album in 13 years is to put it plainly, a pile of decayed roses lying in a mound of dog shit. At times the album is wildly off the map, completley horrible and way unhinged none of which is a complement. Rose has taken all that was good from the original Guns, the very ingredients that made them the biggest rock band in the world, loud slashing guitars, a punk rock beat and his primordial wailing and turned it into a circus. By taking 13 years of studio time and compressing it into a disc of ridiculously overdubbed guitars, orchestral fanfares, strange hip-hop electronics, metallic tabernacle choirs and his sometime-virile rusted-siren singing he has produced a record not worthy of the band’s name
This is not the Guns n Roses I knew back in the 90’s. This version is one crazed musician’s attempt to prove that he could be Guns all by himself. Clearly he has failed. If all those session musicians used on the album from, Buckethead to the Replacements’ Tommy Stinson, had stayed the hell away from Rose maybe their careers would be in better places than they are now. As for Axl, hopefully it will be another 13 years before he tortures our ears again.
Like or hate this review or just got something to say about music let me know at email@example.com
Welcome to the new music postings for Bartcop. I had hoped to start with something really cool like a soundtrack for the recent election of Barak Obama but I encountered one problem. I am less interested in my own selections and more interested in what the rest of Bart’s readers had in mind when then watched history happen last week.
So here is the challenge. Let’s kick off the new music stuff with your soundtrack for the Obama victory last Tuesday night. For those who maybe favored the other candidates that’s cool too. You share what a soundtrack to a lost election sounds like. Try to keep your soundtrack to 10 songs or so and you can leave them as comments or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.( Sorry just fixed the email address.) I will take em’ and post them.
I am also interested in know about your own music scenes where you live so if you tip me off I will give it some play. Music is for everyone.
Thanks for joining me in bringing everyone’s music to everyone else.
When the Hold Steady captured and captivated the indie rock world with its last album Girls and Boys in America it was a major shout out to literate rock that somehow didn’t take itself too seriously. Lead by writer/singer/guitarist Craig Finn, the Hold Steady has perfected the combination of classic rock, serious literature, punk rock and party time fun. The band has returned with even more swagger on its new platter, Stay Positive and the record proves that yes, you can go home again.
Finn and company infuse the record with much of the beliefs of positive hardcore of which Finn was involved in with his previous band Lifter Puller. Positive hardcore basically put forth the idea that you can make your life and also the world around you a better place. Given that, Finn has never been one to hide his influences and on Stay Positive he’s providing more shout outs to his heroes. In the song “Constructive Summer” he shouts out to Iggy Pop, Youth of Today, 7 Seconds and of course the father of all things punk Joe Strummer(“our only decent teacher”). So what’s not to love!?
The band even opens up the Hold Steady sound a bit to add some new wave –like keyboards and some killer guitar solos. While the lyrics still follow that its dark but its going to get better formula, the band still makes you feel like it could be you up there playing and that’s the way they like it and so do I. Check out Stay Positive and feel the positive blast from a band really hitting its stride.
Although weaned on prog-metal, educated in classical music at Harvard, and once viewed as a representative of the indie rock set, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo prefers to write simple music that can be easily enjoyed by a mass audience. It was one of many elements that defined him in the beginning, on his band’s hugely popular 1994 self-titled debut (The Blue Album), if one of few remaining characteristics defining his music today.
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Shirley Manson is set to pursue a full-time acting career, having landed a regular role on a US TV series.
The Garbage lead singer will appear in a recurring role on ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ which airs on Fox.
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This is how rock musicians are supposed to age. At 50, Nick Cave’s hairline is receding, but he’s turned that setback into a “look,” growing out his locks and cultivating the coolest mustache in the industry. Over 30 years, first with the Birthday Party and then with the Bad Seeds, he has refined his lurid growl and lascivious subject matter– the usuals: sex, death, God, murder, redemption, all in the most brutal and salaciously poetical terms possible– without losing any of his charisma or menace. During the past decade alone, despite sounding hoarse on No More Shall We Part and Nocturama, he has transformed his swagger into a potent brand of musical and amoral authority, honing his persona in tandem with the Bad Seeds, who a few years ago were one of the tightest and most versatile backing bands around and have only gotten better with each release.
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Maybe Moby sensed it himself, and, rejecting complacency, set himself some ambitious goals with Last Night, a concept album that serves as a nostalgic trip down clubland lane. (more…)
Just when you thought reunion tours couldn’t get any worse comes the news that former boy band, The New Kids On The Block, are set to reunite. Sources close to the band say all five original New Kids – Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, and Jordan and Jonathan Knight are participating. Who the hell asked for this reunion? Are the band members so desparate for cash they are willing to make fools of themselves? There are a lot more real bands that I would rather see reunite than these posuers from Boston.
Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli. Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan. Afghan Whigs meets the Screaming Trees. When I first heard that these two veterans of 90s alternative music were joining forces I could see the possibilities. Lanegan’s deep growl combined with Dulli’s manic scream sounded like a match made in rock and roll hell and on their debut album, Saturnalia it is.
Lanegan and Dulli have remained busy since the demise of their original bands, Screaming Trees and Afghan Whigs respectively. Lanegan has released solo records and has been a mainstay with Queens of the Stone Age, while Dulli has released three excellent records with his Twilight Singers collaborative. By taking the best of both their work and combining them, Lanegan and Dulli have recorded a powerful album that comes from straight from the gut and the gutter.
On cuts like Idle Hands, Lanegan’s back from the dead howl and Dulli’s last chance yelps build to massive heights with grinding guitars and pounding drums. In The Stations you can almost see the horror of the little girl as she witnesses the twisting of Lanegan’s junkie sick caricature singing “Little girls might twitch at the way I itch, but the way I burn, it’s a son of a bitch.” Dulli and Lanegan mine the depths of human emotions for the raw feeling of our insecurities so well its frightening.
The more the album moves on the deeper and darker the Twins get and we are the better for it. Its not often that two artists can get together on a record and each bare their souls to us to help save ours. Lanegan and Dulli have earned the right to be the Gutter Twins, let’s hope they stay around and wallow in our gratitude for a while.
Dinosaur Jr. roared to epic levels of noise and pure indie rock pleasure during a full on sonic assault Friday night at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club. From the opening riffs of “Almost Ready,” a stellar song from Beyond the band’s excellent new record, to the show’s final attack of “Chunks,” the reformed trio played loud and fast, just the way we like it.
After opening with three songs from the new disk, “Almost Ready,” “Been There All The Time,” and “Back To Your Heart” the band kicked into the old stuff with a searing version of the “Lung”, followed by “Little Fury Things.”
Since I am too broke to afford satellite radio and since it is illegal to wear headphones while driving, I am often stuck with the choice between regular radio or silence on my daily commute. I have taken a liking to the song “Rock Star” by Nickelback, but whenever I hear it on our local Clear Channel or Cumulus affiliate (I can’t remember which), I am always destracted by the amount of the song that is bleeped out. Personally, I don’t think that any government group should tell a privately owned broadcase corporation what they can or cannot play, but this is beside the point. Since the local Butler Broadcasting affiliate plays the song in its entirity, I know that FCC regulations do not prohibit the broadcast of words that the mainstream stations can’t force themselves to play.
For those of you who do not know the song, here are the lyrics (courtesy of www.sing365.com):
Radiohead are a band. What’s that you say? You knew this all along. Well, I was beginning to wonder if the computer from OK Computer had taken over in the wake of Kid A and Hail To The Thief. With the release of In Rainbows, however, it is clear that Radiohead are a band and a damn fine one at that.
Radiohead has always been a group that seemed like it had something to prove. After hitting it large with The Bends and OK Computer the band decided to test our loyalties with the experimental albums Kid A and Amnesiac. These two albums made me begin to wonder if the computer had taken over. Don’t get me wrong I like both those albums, but I missed the rest of the band. Fortunately, with In Rainbows the band is back.
Bruce Springsteen has created some of the best rock music of his generation. Over the years the Boss has very rarely let his fans down except for maybe Lucky Town, but even that is debatable. So it was a complete shock to me to listen to the Boss’ new effort Magic with the E Street Band because its so……great.
Since coming off the tour behind the emotional album, The Rising, Springsteen has been off dong his own thing away from the band. He recorded the stripped down Devils and Dust album and most recently the Seeger Sessions album and tour. Apparently, the Boss felt the time was right to bring the E Street Band back into the studio and from the results he was right on. Magic brings Bruce and the band together to bring their magic to a stellar batch of rocking Springsteen originals.
As anticipated, Springsteen and the band bring us the guitars right from the beginning with the rocking yet poignant opening track, “Radio Nowhere.” The song is one of those simple but classic songs that sticks with you from the very first listen. The Boss even brings back the classic E Street Band sound with the rollicking “Livin’ In The Future” that makes excellent use of some sweet Clarence Clemons sax riffs. On songs like “Gypsy Biker” and “I’ll Work For Your Love,” the band rocks us E Street old school like you knew they could.
Its not until later in the album that Springsteen gives us a piece of his political mind. With the trio of songs, “Last To Die,” “Long Walk Home” and “Devil’s Arcade,” the Boss reminds us that we need to be careful with those that we allow to govern our country.
With Magic, the Boss keeps us moving to the future, reminding us of why a long time ago people called him the future of rock and roll.
Hilly Kristal, owner of the legendary New York club CBGB, has died. Kristal died after battling lung cancer during the last year.
Kristal and his legendary bar, located in New York’s Bowery district, were the catalysts behind the birth of punk and underground music. Bands and musicians like Blondie, Patti Smith, Television, the Talking Heads and later bands like Living Color, were given their first shot at CBGB. However, it was Kristal’s decision to let the Ramones play the club that made rock and roll history. The Ramones are credited with stoking the fires that brought Punk Rock, and all the alternative music that has followed. Without Kristal’s openness to the music and the shows he booked in his club, music today would look a whole lot different, and certainly not for the better.
CBGB was forced to close last year after a dispute about back rent and future agreements with the building’s owner. The club was given a proper farewell with a set of concerts that was capped by a three and a half hour show by Patti Smith. Right to the end Kristal promised to open a new CBGB in Las Vegas with pieces from the Bowery club including urinals from its infamous bathroom.
An accidental rock legend has died and will be sorely missed.
Prince is one of those recording artists that can either set the music world aglow or just give it a little light. With his latest offering Planet Earth, the Purple One isn’t giving us much illumination at all.
Prince seemed to be on a creative rocket. He returned to form with Musicology, a killer record, followed by a massive world tour where Prince wowed audiences with his showmanship and killer music. Following Musicology came 3121 with some seriously hot numbers and more killer shows, including a gig at the Superbowl. Now we get Planet Earth and save for a few songs like “Mr. Goodnight” it appears that Prince’s rocket has run low on fuel.
Not that Planet Earth is a complete dud, its not. However, we expect more from the man that gave us Purple Reign and 1999. Most of Planet Earth, seems like throwaway songs that didn’t make it. Prince has always been one of the “It” artists but here he has hit a road block. With many tracks on Planet Earth Prince wants us to take his politics seriously but the lyrics make it hard. The title track is an ecological anthem that is so sappy it seem like saving the world might be a questionable idea; the closer, “Resolution”, is self righteous attack on war that makes being for peace sound cynical and smug. Prince tries to tell us what is wrong with war and killing the planet but its hard to take him seriously.
The record certainly has its strong moments like the slow jam of “Future Baby Mama” and the rock of “Guitar”, the first single. This in not nearly enough of the eclectic Prince that we have come to expect. Planet Earth is a good record and many artists would love to have made it but its not full on Prince. Maybe all the touring and such has sapped his energy. Maybe the diminutive one needs to kick back, relax and recharge his funky batteries. One thing is for sure, if you can see Prince live, go for it, his shows are amazing.