Saturday, December 16, 2017

This is What Happened to the Music

This is what the music "aisle" at Target looks like now. 

It's like watching your old home town die. Yes, that's a fucking Foreigner album in the middle. Jesus, what the hell went wrong with the world?

That's a greatest hits album by the B-52s on the top of the rack. It came out in 1998. How much do you want to bet that copy has been there for 19 years?

I know that the kids are going to look at me like I'm weird, but, at one time, you could actually go into a Target store and buy music. I once bought a Portishead album at Target. Hell, you could go into a Best Buy or a Circuit City and buy CDs for ten bucks. Their selection ran into multiple aisles, and they would have these big racks full of CDs. If you wanted to find obscure stuff, you could find it there. If you wanted to pick up an album by a big name artist, you could do it at Target for a bit of a discount.

This was before everyone lost their minds in the early 2000s and started thinking that their new album should cost 19 dollars. This was before the Internet gave you everything for free as long as you were willing to pay for a computer, an ISP, and the CDs on which to burn the music you were stealing.

Anyway, back to being disillusioned.

Monday, December 11, 2017


I love to drop in on a new release and see how it feels and see what an artist is putting out. There's nothing more immediate that a just-released single and Paul Weller's latest, Alpha, is no exception to the rule that there is no such thing as a "late period" or "decline" for him. Weller evolves, and it's up to you to stick with him. He's not going to wait for anyone to catch up to what he's interested in doing.


Weller is one of the most consistently current musicians in all of music. Alpha is experimental and thought provoking--can you really make a harmonica work like this? Can you match it with avant garde film and release something instrumental in 2017?

Hell yeah, you can. But, seriously--where are the blues? I heard dissonant guitar and riffs that would make The Charlatans jealous. This is a bit more adventurous than the old NME describes.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Josh Homme Needs to Go to Jail For This

Kicking a person with a camera in the face during a guitar solo is not cool:

Video footage appears to show Homme kicking Chelsea Lauren's camera out of her hands at a concert in LA

A photographer claims she spent the night in hospital after being kicked by Josh Homme during a Queens Of The Stone Age performance in LA last night (December 9). 

The band played at The Forum in Los Angeles as part of KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017 event. 

Video footage from the concert appears to show Homme trying to kick the camera out of Chelsea Lauren’s hands during the fourth song of their set, ‘The Evil Has Landed’.

According to Lauren, there were no restrictions on photographers down close to the stage. She was not filming them with her phone--she was working as a professional photographer at the concert.

If you follow this link, you can see other footage from the show where Homme is out of his mind.

It's a criminal matter now. Someone needs to lock him up.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ed Sheeran and Prince Charles

Royal protocol be damned:

Ed Sheeran became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) on Thursday, but he made a royal faux pas during the Investiture ceremony: Sheeran touched Prince Charles' arm when he received the honor at Buckingham Palace in London. The singer was awarded his MBE for services to music and charity.

Sheeran said on "Today" that he "shook the prince's hand and talked to him for a little bit."

Then he confessed, "Apparently, I did a big faux pas, though. I shook his hand and then grabbed it and you're not meant to do that."

A photo shows Sheeran touching Charles' arm as he shakes the royal's hand. 

I used to think that the United States was a nitpicky country. We have nothing on the British. And, look, I don't think this is even a thing really because no one with a serious look on their face came up and manhandled poor Ed. It was his music that got him to this place, and everyone should be thankful that they didn't frog march him into the garden for a stern talking to.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Stone Roses

Despite releasing two somewhat disappointing and weak tracks to overwhelming indifference, this does not necessarily mean the end of the Stone Roses:

Rumours of The Stone Roses‘ split continue to grow, as it looks as if the company they formed for touring is set to dissolve.

Earlier this year, rumours began to circulate that the band’s show in Glasgow would be their last, before comments made by frontman Ian Brown during the gig seemed to confirm that they had indeed come to an end once again. Then, it was confirmed that Brown was working on a new solo album.

Now documents on the Government’s Companies House show that ‘Second Touring Limited’ (which was set up by the band in 2015)  had its First Gazette notice for compulsory strike-off in October. This means unless contrary action is taken, the company will be struck off the register and dissolved on December 24.

This could be happening because of tax reasons (this is Britain, after all) and it could be happening because no one wants to play live right now. It could be happening for a number of reasons, but do you know what isn't happening?

New music from the Roses isn't happening. And that's a shame.

At some point, I would imagine that there will be a release of live material. There was a wealth of it created when they were playing reunion shows. Some of it was downright transcendental and I don't think anyone was shocked to see them ease out of the spotlight like this. You either have the passion or you don't. If the "insiders" say they're done, well, then they're done.

I agree with the overall sentiment, though. Be glad that it happened.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Jimmy Fallon is Sad and Irrelevant

How do you get away with butchering a Bruce Springsteen impression in order to try to make yourself part of the discussion about politics and current events?

I guess you have to be Jimmy Fallon:

"You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not lie to the FBI."

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon channeled Bruce Springsteen on Monday night to address the recent guilty plea by Michael Flynn to lying under oath to the FBI special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian investigation. 

Sporting mirrored shades, a red bandana, and no sleeves, Fallon sang a festive, politically-charged version of Springtsteen's "Santa Clause is Comin' to Town" entitled "Robert Mueller's Comin' to Town."

"It's all cold down along D.C., wind's whipping round the White House," Fallon sang in his best Springsteen growl. "You guys all been good this year? Jared, you been good? Everybody in the Trump Administration been good, or what? That's not many, not many - you guys are in trouble out here..."

He then launched into the chorus: "You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not lie to the FBI. Robert Mueller's comin to town."

That's some Andy Borowitz level of satire and hilarity right there.

Over a year ago, Jimmy made the decision not to offend "Trump voters" and look how that turned out. He went from being on top to being the guy who got left behind.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


I feel like Adam Driver is a brother of mine:

The “emo” label is applied pretty liberally, as any sensitive boy singer from an alternative rock band can attest, but it specifically seems to be given to a lot of fictional characters who primarily wear black, have stylish hair, and are often sad or angry. Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3 was totally emo, for example, but Darth Vader is not because he doesn’t have any hair under his helmet. Then there’s Kylo Ren, who is a decidedly emo Star Wars character because of his black robes, long hair, and frustrated whining about not being evil enough. Despite that overwhelming evidence, though, Adam Driver doesn’t think Kylo Ren is emo—partly because he claims to not know what it means.

I missed the "emo" movement in its entirety because I just didn't give a shit in the 2000s. I never used Napster, I never followed or read music magazines after 1996 and there's a good reason for that--I was active duty military.

That fact changed how I followed and consumed music. I was still putting things on cassette tapes (until 2006 or so because of the vehicle that I drove) and I was not interested in reading any of the music magazines from the era of about 1997 to 2004 or so. Emo happened on both sides of that time, of course, but the break in how I learned about and followed music was driven by the reality of having limited accessibility to music information and to the really good record stores.

I swear to God this is true. Up until a few years ago, I thought Neutral Milk Hotel was a parody of a band name, and not an actual band with actual albums. I refused to believe they were a real thing.

Five or six years ago, I looked at an "alternative music" magazine and I thought it was a weird relic from an alternative universe. I didn't know any of the bands. I had never heard of any of them. I did freak out for a minute, and then I realized, "oh, this is the shit I don't care about."

For me and, I suspect, my new brother Adam, "emo" is the shit we never cared about because we were busy enjoying other things.



Someone is Mad at Morrissey in Spanish

Have you read a lot of think pieces about how people shouldn't be mad at Morrissey because he said some things about Kevin Spacey that were meant to convey his own point of view about human relations? I hope you've gotten through a few of them before you stumble though mine on your way to happier things.

Here's one in Spanish. He won't play Argentina. Damn, dude.

I will not defend Morrissey--he can do that himself.

I do think people are misunderstanding one salient point--older human beings who chase after younger human beings for sex are doing something unethical, illegal, and unmistakably evil. Never mind that we are programmed by nature to seek out mates who will carry our emissions and the results of our aggression forward into the future. Society is the reorganization of such things. Yeah, it's fun to bash someone in the head and take their stuff, but we don't allow that. We look for enlightenment and the common good when we organize ourselves into situations that prevent this from happening.

I believe the point Morrissey was making was, "where were the parents?" Or, to expand on the idea, "what did you think was going to happen when you entered the orbit of this horny man who seems charming but can't keep his hands out of your goddamned pants?"

This is not a popular sentiment. You can't blame bad parenting on everything. I think you can say that a parent who would let their minor child party with actors until the wee hours of the morning unsupervised have opened the door to the possibility that someone might take advantage of their child. I totally understand that.

You are not to blame for being sexually assaulted. But, for people of a certain age when it was understood that going into certain places with certain kinds of people would probably result in horrible outcomes, you should know better. I don't agree with the "you should know better" part but I do understand how that idea has worked its way through the culture. Angela Lansbury is a great example of it.

This sort of thing is commonplace in small towns and big towns and in every facet of American life. There's a Kevin Spacey in the auto-detailing community in such-and-such suburb of whatever town you can name. This fucker fucks around, and he's been getting away with it because what the fuck are you going to do, he's at the top of the auto-detailing game in this town. There is a universality of it all. Spacey is a prominent American artist who has been a successful actor for decades. 

Yelling at Morrissey in any language isn't the solution. Being mad at the specific people who can't stop sexually assaulting people is the better way to go.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How Good Are Electronic Drums These Days?

I am not really a drummer anymore, nor was I ever much of one. I do remember what electronic drums were like--they were awful. Cheap, sluggish, and they sounded terrible. I thought that the market for these things was reduced to triggering effects and not much else.

And while this probably seems like some sort of cheesy ad, it's not. I can't believe how good these things sound. They sound very responsive and like they are of pretty high quality. The video below is fascinating to me if only because I had no idea anyone was actively trying to make these products useful:

Again, this is not an ad of any kind. It's more of a 'holy crap--when did they find time to make these things actually sound good' thing.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

How Can Wolf Alice Make it in America?

Wolf Alice are set to play huge festivals in 2018. They are coming off the release of their second album, Visions of a Life, and this tour should be the one that breaks them in the U.S.

Notice anything?

Eleven days in North America? Really?

They're back in 2018:

Eight days, this time.

How do you expect to make it in America if you're only willing to spend 19 days promoting your latest album? I would hope that popular demand would leave room to add some shows. I don't understand this strategy. I would think that this is a band that could pull in a huge crowd in the Northeast. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought they were bigger than this.

They're playing with Guns and Roses, Foo Fighters, and Queens of the Stone Age, to name a few. And that's great--I hope they win people over. Why aren't they headlining?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Stevie Nicks

When Tom Petty died, it reminded me of his collaboration with Stevie Nicks, which was a brilliant and groundbreaking move for both of them as artists. Nicks has always been overshadowed by the men she played with, whether it was Petty or Lindsey Buckingham. 

This photo, from a book by Neal Preston, captures the spirit of Stevie Nicks without trying to place her in the context of a partnership or duet.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

This is Why You Don't Smash Guitars

Nick McCabe of the Verve once smashed a very treasured guitar:

Those who follow my ramblings online will know I’ve struggled with my many misdeeds. One of the many: my destroyed Les Paul, first night of the Roundhouse, 2007. That was no mere instrument, that was my partner; and that was no way to treat a friend, but you know, the only upside is that it was the guitar that got it, not the pair of two legged warring friends in that then obviously disintegrating band.

I’ve tried, consistently, since 2007 to find 1. someone capable of repairing the guitar, 2. someone willing to invest the care and patience to make it happen.

This story has a happy ending, and you can click over to see how it all turned out. 

Anger gets the better of all of us, once in a while, but it's nice to see how, a decade later, someone was able to see one of their regrets turned into an opportunity to make more music.

Hey Muse

Hey Muse is a song you should hear.

It's by a Minneapolis band called The Suburbs and even if you don't know their history and even if you don't actually like "new" music anymore, it's amazing.

Released this past summer, it demonstrates that all of your old bands can come back and make relevant, urgent music that needs to be heard. I'm embedding this special live version, but the studio album version is phenomenal as well.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bauhaus Undead

Don't tell anyone, but I am a huge fan of Bauhaus and really, really good books.

English goth rock band Bauhaus will have their career chronicled in a new book. It’s called BAUHAUS UNDEAD: The Visual History and Legacy of Bauhaus, and it’s curated by original member Kevin Haskins. Haskins shared personal materials and recollections from the band’s run. The book features handmade flyers, backstage passes, photos, contracts, handwritten lyrics, a Bauhaus comic strip, and more. See the cover art, as well as images from the book, below. Find more information and updates on the book here, and read an excerpt from the “Iggy Pop” chapter here.

This is probably more nostalgia than anyone is prepared for. There was a veritable industry around Bauhaus, using their look, their philosophy, and their incredible run of albums and tours to craft an indelible goth image. This is some of the very best art that you can find from that era.

Monday, November 13, 2017

As You Were

Liam Gallagher has released his first proper solo album, and it is excellent. I highly recommend this release in the vinyl format because it has everything you'd expect from a man who, literally, had no good reason to make this record and every reason not to. This is guitar music in the age of the disposable click track and it sounds like someone actually showed up and tried their damndest to create a classic.

Let's dispense with the main criticism of the record--the fact that Gallagher had to bring in outside help to shape the songs and put it together. This is more common than you think because, nowadays, you can make an album on a laptop. Collaboration can happen without anyone getting on a train and going to a studio. Having extra help might mean more sales, more quality, and enough success to get you through to another release. 

Morrissey has been doing it this way since 1989, using different writers, different producers, and different sounds to create a tremendous body of work. Every Morrissey solo album has his passion and his talent and his ear for a great song. That's what you have here--a man who knows what he can and can't do and is smart enough to enlist people to bring him closer to a finished product that doesn't embarrass anyone. This is not Liam rolling around on thin carpet with a Tamborine and a bottle of gin, emoting out of his ass. This is the work of a proper craftsman who takes a drink at the appropriate time of day when recording. It's not 1997 anymore, and this is the sound of a man who wants to have a seat at the table. 

Pop records can certainly work if they are written by committee. You can't bring in all of the different styles and elements to a project completely on your own unless you're Prince and, come on, who's Prince these days? No one. So, don't expect Gallagher to have played all the instruments and written everything and put it all down on tape in his home studio. If you were to assemble everything he's written from Oasis forward, you'd have a solid body of work. 

For this album, the committee that was assembled got it right. Every song goes by with a handle on what it's trying to do and what it's place in the universe is supposed to be. "Wall of Glass" is supposed to do just what it says--tower over everything. "For What It's Worth" is going to be a live staple for a very long time. I probably like "Paper Crown" better than everything else, but, even then, it's hard to single out tracks because this is a solid body of work. There are hardly any misses and a raft of hits. This is the kind of album that the British music buying public will embrace for a solid two years. Gallagher can tour this one for as long as he wants. And if they can release a steady stream of singles, and put out some solid B-sides, this will feel like a proper success I would imagine. Whatever else you can say, they got the cover right, they got the track listing right, and they didn't miss the mark.

The band is great and the performances are stellar. From what I've seen of the live airing of these songs, someone made the right decisions, and the worst tendencies of indulgence and self-referential flattery are no where to be found. Gallagher tells you what's in his heart, sings it for you, and the song carries it through. If only more "solo" artists could approach things this way, there'd be fewer duds out there. You are never going to hear him overthink anything.

I don't know what this album will do in America, but it's no slouch and no embarrassment. It's straight up rock and roll. There is no deep dive into the complexity of modern life. This is the album that won't confuse you with anything other than surreal forays into late-catalog Beatles and a healthy dose of mid-period Oasis. Remember, the last three Oasis records were largely done as a whole group, with Noel Gallagher writing about half of the songs and with former Beady Eye bandmates Gem Archer and Andy Bell adding their own tracks along with some of Liam's finest tunes (the ones he should be playing live are The Meaning of Soul, Songbird and The Boy With the Blues, and all of them are his, so why not?).

As You Were is better than either of the Beady Eye records, in my humble opinion, and ranks up there with some of Liam's best singing. I don't get why people have to bag on that work, either. Beady Eye had a lot going for it and was maligned unfairly from the start. I can't think of any period where Liam gave up and phoned it in. On As You Were, his performance is spot on. You can tell he held himself in check, sought out criticism, and refined his approach on this album. It was not thrown together in a month in order to start a desperate race with his brother for relevance. It's a sure thing that stands on its own.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stop Nagging the Man Already

I think that, from now on, Noel Gallagher should just walk out of interviews when the subject of an Oasis reunion comes up:

“I’ve been very consistent about it,” Noel told Q. “I don’t need the money, I don’t need the glory, I don’t need to relive the memories. If I was to get Oasis back together tomorrow and then do a tour, I’d have a hundred million dollars in the bank but I’d have learnt fuck all.”

“I’d have actually wasted a year of being in the studio with a person like David Holmes. It would be the death of me as a person.”

Gallagher added: “I could understand if we were a band who’d been going for five years and were just at out peak, but Oasis have got no unfinished business. We did it. We fucking did it, and then some. It’s done.”

He's been very even-keeled about it over the years, and with every new project, the subject is always going to dominate the coverage of what he's doing. 2018 is clearly going to be about touring the third solo album and watching to see if it sells in America. And there's nothing wrong with that--why would there be?

The way to elevate Oasis, in Gallagher's mind, seems to be in how he's going about the discussions of the possibility of reuniting. He wants Oasis to join The Jam and The Smiths at the pinnacle of great bands who moved on with things and never got back together. That's really the only thing that explains it for me.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gord Downie 1964-2017

Gord Downie passed away, and it is a tragic loss for music and the arts. The Tragically Hip were never given the sort of audience they deserved in America; in Canada, they are mourning the loss of a man who was, for all intents and purposes, their own Tom Petty.

Downie and his band were the beating heart of Canadian music, but they should have been stars everywhere. That thin, almost universally ignored border running between the two places should not define them as artists.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Breeders

Kim and Kelley Deal put the band back together:

In Kim’s living room, in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, the Last Splash lineup – Kim, twin sister Kelley, Jim and Josephine – are sitting around, discussing texts and calls and emails and shows, working out a timeline of how it all snapped back into place. “There’s something about this sound that really feels like home,” says Kelley, warmly. Spending time in their company is like being at a family get-together. They tease each other, they bicker over song titles. They chat effusively about current affairs and why it might be that so many serial killers are from Ohio. Kim has always lived here, on and off, but moved back permanently in 2003 to help take care of their mother, who has Alzheimer’s. She and Kelley’s parents live at the end of the road.

With a new Breeders album and tour on the way, Josephine gave up her apartment in Brooklyn and moved into Kim’s attic. Kelley lives a couple of streets away; the sisters have an older brother, who is just around the corner with his family. Jim cycles over to rehearse in the basement, when he has time off from his carpentry job; his wife helps take care of Kim and Kelley’s mum. Kim gives me a tour of their rehearsal space in the cellar, where the band have been practising since she first moved in, in 1990. Brilliantly, they sometimes get noise complaints from the neighbours, particularly if the bass is too loud. They play me some new Breeders songs, the first with this lineup since 1993. As we’re listening, the Deals move to sit right in front of my face and stare at me, closely, with jokey intensity. “It’s really comfortable, isn’t it, listening to someone’s music while they’re there,” teases Kelley.

I have followed Kim Deal for decades. I saw her and Pixies play live in 1989 and she was unbelievable. Her voice carried through the room like nothing I have ever heard. 2017 is turning out to be a terrible year for everything except music.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Liam Gallagher's Mega Reunion

You know, this makes a lot of sense:

Liam Gallagher has revealed that he’s been trying “for years” to book a gig featuring OasisThe Stone Roses and The Verve, also hinting at “something big” coming next summer.

The former Oasis frontman releases his debut solo album ‘As You Were’ this Friday (October 6), but took to Twitter earlier today (October 4) to tell a fan how he wants the three bands to unite for one big gig. “What a night,” he said, “Some people need to get [off their] high chairs”.

“So many extraordinary people on this planet,” Liam added. “We need to come together, c’mon music is power”.

Gallagher also teased his plans for an event next summer, saying: “Stay tuned but I’m gonna round up the troops for something… all are welcome”.

Next year is a "fallow year" for Glastonbury, and so the timing is right for a massive outdoor festival featuring several big acts. Gallagher's idea makes sense--bring together three defunct, almost impossible to reunite bands and have them play over the course of three days, each of those three headlining. You could get five bands to play before each of them come on, and charge whatever you like. It would be a mini-Glastonbury, and if you did it in Manchester, all the better.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Grant Hart 1961 2017

Grant Hart's death comes as a shock to me because I did not know he was sick. I did not know he was suffering from a debilitating illness and I did not know that he was trying to get as much living in before he died. It is fitting that he went to be with the angels, launching himself without a care as to where he might land. 

He was brilliant.

He was tortured.

He was a home town hero, never leaving the people who loved him.

He will always be a mad hippie on the drums, barefoot and loose, a performer who helped kick the 1980s in the ass. It's hard to explain to people, but Minneapolis saved music, it really did.

If you want to know what saved music, look at the murderer's row of incredible bands that came out of the scene.

In the '80s, there was Prince, who was briefly the greatest of them all. He checked his crown, said Nah, and went on to be an interesting artist who cared nothing for popularity. Prince left the Earth like a space alien, forever entwined with David Bowie. Both were gone too soon.

Grant is gone too soon. 

There was the Replacements, the sad, drunken poets of chaos and confusion, and they're all with us, save Bob Stinson. They reunited for as long as they could, and that's probably the end of that. Did the ghosts of old punk rock clubs spook Westerberg in those shiny new theaters? What would a Husker Du reunion tour have looked like, with everyone in clean denim, buttoned-down shirts, and loafers, drinks on the tables and dinner cleared away for the start of the show? How can you have a mosh pit when everyone's waving a phone at the stage?

There was Soul Asylum, but Karl Mueller is gone now and it was his battle against cancer that reunited Grant with Bob Mould for a noble cause, helping a man cover the costs of his cancer treatment so that others wouldn't have to carry the burden. When someone was fighting, Grant picked up a guitar and did his part. You can say whatever you want about his relationship with Bob, but the only thing that could get them to play together again was a good cause full of integrity and support for a fellow musician. That's all the reunion we'll ever have. It is enough. Why be greedy? Husker Du left a lot of music. They have a catalog that most bands would kill for. 

You can extend all of that to the modern day. Minneapolis-St. Paul is an incubator of terrific bands, too numerous to mention.

We'll be getting Husker Du reissues, I would imagine, and this is where you will see only part of Grant's legacy. The music he made after leaving the band should not be ignored. They should reissue all of it, all the stuff he did. Marvelous things, marvelous art, too.

The acrimony of Husker Du's split should be forgotten. I refuse to condemn Hart, Mould or Greg Norton because I Wasn't There. I've heard different accounts, but it's all water under the bridge. You can love someone and still be angry at them, disappointed in them, and feel like everything is over. You can love someone and still be proud of what you accomplished and not want to every do anything with that person again. This was not the first band to break up because of--choose your reason. It doesn't matter. Celebrate the catalog. Celebrate what you can hold in your hands and hear and look at. It was a marvel unto itself. There is a wealth of material in the pipeline. When they get it all out there, you'll forget who said what and why that happened and we'll get past the hurt and the sorrow. Turn that shit up, son, and let the walls shake.

You used to hear gossip about things like drugs and homosexuality and this was supposed to "scare" you off liking them. Fuck that shit. The things they had to go through is what has always bothered me. Reading Mould's book about the extraneous bullshit associated with Hart and Mould having to keep their lifestyle a secret is a crime against common sense. If you can't like someone's music because they may or may not be gay, what does that say about your empty soul? You're hung up sartorial choices, on long hair, a buzzcut, floppy ears, ratty jeans, tight t-shirts, parachute pants, and whatever else? Really? 

To have that be the thing that derails you is sad, it really is. It says you're carrying around something horrible. Get rid of it. Get it out of you. Free yourself from these things. Grant was a man who lived his life for art. His special talent was letting pain inform beauty as to where it could go. He exorcised demons because they were with him, always. 

You know, a guy who has lived in the shadows probably has an amazing take on what it's like to be in the light of day. A wonderful, fucked-up romantic who knew what he was found a way to turn it all loose and come up great tunes, great imagery, and transmit amazing ideas. That was the music scene in Minneapolis. This is the world, this is what we sound like, hang on, fuckers. When Midnight Oil used to play, they had to drive long nails into the gear to keep it from flying into the air. When Husker Du used to play, nails were never enough. That shit could not be contained. 

Turn the lights out and listen to Admiral of the Sea (79 AD Version). If you're not spooked, play it again. 

Grant has left his burdens on Earth, and gone off somewhere else. He leaves behind family and friends and a catalog of songs that should have rightfully given him the sort of comfortable life you want your favorite artiste to have. The music business has always been cruel. God bless the punks, for they made it better with their integrity.

In the world of punk and independent rock, there are scores of great songwriters still with us who are living with the meager remnants of whatever came of their works. It's one of the great crimes of the modern era--the people who made a terrible time bearable are living their lives as best they can and their genius was never translated into comfortable situations or the respect they earned. Punks were never in it for the cash. But punks deserved better than what they got.

How many half-starved, neglected, broken teenagers got through the Reagan years because of Grant and Bob's songs? How many people survived it and can now remember with crystal clear clarity what Husker Du stood for and are at a loss for words?  I'm flailing around, making nervous edits. I have nothing but good memories of tremendous songs. Nothing seems right anymore. 

Grant Hart was approachable. I asked him for his autograph while I was in the Garage D'or record store in South Minneapolis in March of 1989. Grant was animated, and talked about having the French musket commands for ready, aim, fire embedded in a song he was recording across the street. He indulged me, he signed this thing I handed him, and he went about his day, an artist and a creator.

His songs mean more with every passing day. If you're going to read anything, you have to go to the hometown newspaper, the Star-Tribune. I'm out of things to say. It's all too much, it's all too sad. Goddamn.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

U2's Forgotten Masterpiece


Are there any "forgotten" songs by U2?

It has taken me several weeks to write about what I believe to be one of the greatest songs of the 1990s and what is easily U2's own forgotten masterpiece.

I'm speaking of the song So Cruel from Achtung Baby, which is an album millions of people own. How can it be forgotten if it is in so many hands? Untold millions stream their work on Spotify and whatnot. I think there is no chance that So Cruel has been forgotten but, perhaps, a little misplaced in relation to the band's output. 

If you're going to select something from that era, One is probably the song. I think there are sentimentalists who would say that Mysterious Ways was more revolutionary and Even Better Than the Real Thing had more punch than anything else on the album. The nihilism of The Fly is ever present. Was it acknowledgement that a decade spent in Christian and political repose had to come to a crashing end? There are so many great songs on Achtung Baby that it took six CDs to properly honor the album when the deluxe reissue came out a few years ago. I called it the greatest comeback album ever, and now I would like to drill down into what makes the album as grounded and as relevant as ever.

Did you know that So Cruel has its own massive Wikipedia page:

"So Cruel" is a song by rock band U2. It is the sixth track on their 1991 album Achtung Baby, concluding side one of the album. The song was written at Elsinore in Dalkey. While audio engineer Flood changed reels to listen to a demo of another song, lead singer Bono began to improvise a song on guitar. The rest of the band quickly joined in, creating the first take of the song. It was developed as an acoustic track, with Flood adding overdubs and additional elements later. Bassist Adam Clayton and Flood noted that the technology in the studio was crucial in transforming the acoustic song into the final mix.

There's this myth that the album was crafted entirely in Berlin amidst the decadence of modern history and between the shattered remnants of the Wall. Much of the album came together at home with the lads sleeping in their own beds, or in borrowed beds, depending on their personal situations. I was always led to believe that it was written and recorded entirely in Hansa studios, but the majority of the output from those sessions ended up being shelved in favor of the work done in Ireland.

So Cruel is the sound of Dave "The Edge" Evans' marriage crumbling. You can be a successful musician with millions in the bank and your whole world can unravel just the same as anyone else. A miserable heart doesn't care what's in your accounts when it shatters all over the place. Capturing it in a song, well, leave that to your lifelong songwriting partner.

I think there is a companion piece to it that should not be ignored. What created the need for a comeback was the disastrous Rattle & Hum album, which was so poorly received in America, U2 chucked the idea of touring it in the states. They went everywhere else, most notably Australia and New Zealand, and it was received with rapture and praise from audiences used to being neglected by superstar acts. I think you can draw a straight line from All I Want is You to So Cruel, and you can see that they are linked by a common desire to understand love, longing and loss in a way that the superficial music of the era couldn't fully compete with. Listen to them both, side by side, and you can see that there is a mash-up out there waiting to happen. 

It's easy to dismiss an album track, but there's no reason why it couldn't have been a single. I don't know what the thinking was in 1991-92 as far as the marketing of the singles and the strategy for getting the album into the hands of people who weren't already fans.

How does this change the way that Achtung Baby is regarded as an album? My guess is that it doesn't change a thing. You could make the argument that making So Cruel the sixth (!) single would have been overkill if Island Records already believed it had run its course and was not going to do well; I don't know. It's hard to make the case that it was a criminal act not to release it as a single since the band has only played it live a handful of times. But it is my belief that it is easily the strongest "album" track ever.

Most bands would kill to have a song like So Cruel; for many, it would be their defining single and a permanent fixture of their live shows. For U2, it's just one of many.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Urban Hymns Deluxe Box Set


The Verve are set to release a deluxe 20th anniversary edition of their 1997 album ‘Urban Hymns’.

The release will come in four different formats including the standard remastered CD, a deluxe two-disc CD version, a super deluxe 5 disc CD plus bonus DVD box set and a triple LP box set.

The re-release of this landmark album happens on September 1. Sadly, there is no reunion planned to celebrate the greatest album of the 1990s.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Being Human by Salad Undressed

Let's not talk about reunions. This is a fantastic song:

Salad Undressed is the acoustic version of the British band Salad. It's Marijne and Paul making wonderful music. This is not nostalgia. This is in the here and now.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Everything About This is Stupid

The dumbing down of our culture begins and ends when someone writes something like this:

Pink Floyd may be the only rock band that can credibly be compared to both the Beatles and Spinal Tap.

I'm sorry, but that's fucking stupid.

The article goes on to make a hash out of Pink Floyd. Does anyone really care that some side two filler from a post-Waters album is considered the 153rd worst song? No. This is just random bullshitting. There's no rhyme or reason to any of it. This is just someone taking the piss out of something impossible to calculate or estimate.

Pink Floyd was a group that made albums, not merely songs or singles, for the majority of their career. Every band has an arc that follows the beginning, middle, and end. Were they interesting all the way through? No, of course not. You could throw out thirty songs and not harm their catalog at all. At least one fifth of everything they ever recorded was meant for a film score and, as such, shouldn't even be included in a breakdown of what matters. Judging them by a standard that sorts everything from best to worst ignores the fact that much of their music was never meant to be evaluated in that manner.

During the advent of punk, they released the least punk rock album ever made (Animals) and followed it up two years later with an album that swallowed up the nihilism, the alienation, and the new wave reaction to punk and spit it back out in virtually one song that had everyone singing along as if it was the new national anthem (Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 from The Wall). They went from irrelevant to essential listening in an instant, and did it without even bothering to cater to anyone's taste.

In the case of Pink Floyd, they should have broken up after The Wall. Their legacy would never have been tainted if they had. But, people have to eat, so they kept going. Was it a mistake? Sure, but who cares?

Nobody cares about Ummagumma, for example, so why include it here? At one point, there was a real danger that Rick Wright was going to write all of the songs and sing on all of them. How far would they have gotten if everyone else had let that happen? No one remembers Syd Barrett except people who were into that sort of thing. No one who went to see them in the late 1980s or mid-1990s saw the real Pink Floyd because, without Roger, well, all you were getting was a David Gilmour vanity tour. But, again--so what?

I hate these articles, and I'm not going to tell you that you should hate them, too. I just think it's sad that there is so little going on in music right now that people are concerned that far too many of those Division Bell songs are going to be considered "good."

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Darling Buds

The Andrea Lewis version of the Darling Buds came back to life recently and they're putting out new music. Complicating everything is that there was a band in the 2000s that called themselves the Darling Buds. I know! It's as if the 80s and 90s didn't count for anything.

They put out an EP last year and, this year, they have a cover version of Our Lips Are Sealed for something called Cassette Day, which I didn't know was a thing.

Excellent stuff, and, as always, definitely worth checking out. They were a great band and they're a great band now if you get a chance to see them.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Replacements For Sale: Live at Maxwell's 1986

A live album from the Replacements is a must-have no matter what.

Disc: 1

  1. Hayday (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  2. Color Me Impressed (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  3. Dose Of Thunder (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  4. Fox On The Run (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  5. Hold My Life (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  6. I Will Dare (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  7. Favorite Thing (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  8. Unsatisfied (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  9. Can't Hardly Wait (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  10. Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  11. Takin A Ride (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  12. Bastards Of Young (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  13. Kiss Me On The Bus (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  14. Black Diamond (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)


Disc: 2

  1. Johnny's Gonna Die (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  2. Otto (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  3. I'm In Trouble (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  4. Left Of The Dial (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  5. God Damn Job (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  6. Answering Machine (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  7. Waitress In The Sky (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  8. Take Me Down To The Hospital (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  9. Gary's Got A Boner (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  10. If Only You Were Lonely (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  11. Baby Strange (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  12. Hitchin' A Ride (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  13. Nowhere Man (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  14. Go (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

  15. Fuck School (Live at Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ, 2/4/86)

There are twenty more of these out there that I would love to hear, if not a thousand. I would like something definitive from their last tour and I would really like to see that documentary one day.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Queen is Dead

This is long overdue:

The Smiths have announced a ‘Super Deluxe Edition’ of their iconic album ‘The Queen Is Dead’.

The iconic Manchester band teased the release last month, after the official Smiths Facebook page posted an archive image of a coffin being carried, along with the caption: “#TQID 16.06.17″

As Stereogum points out via Morrissey fan-forum Morrissey-Solo, the re-issue was available to pre-order via Amazon’s UK store, but has since been taken down. Available as both a two CD box set and a CD/DVD set, the first disc of the release features a fully-restored version of ‘The Queen Is Dead’, while the second features a number of b-sides and rarities.

The full tracklisting for ‘The Queen Is Dead’ Super Deluxe Edition is as follows:

Disc 1
01 “The Queen Is Dead” (2017 Master)
02 “Frankly, Mr. Shankly” (2017 Master)
03 “I Know It’s Over” (2017 Master)
04 “Never Had No One Ever” (2017 Master)
05 “Cemetery Gates” (2017 Master)
06 “Bigmouth Strikes Again” (2017 Master)
07 “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side” (2017 Master)
08 “Vicar In a Tutu” (2017 Master)
09 “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” (2017 Master)
10 “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” (2017 Master)

Disc 2
01 “The Queen Is Dead” (Full Version)
02 “Frankly, Mr. Shankly” (Demo)
03 “I Know It’s Over” (Demo)
04 “Never Had No One Ever” (Demo)
05 “Cemetery Gates” (Demo)
06 “Bigmouth Strikes Again” (Demo)
07 “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” (Demo)
08 “The Boy With the Thorn In His Side” (Demo Mix)
09 “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” (Take 1)
10 “Rubber Ring” (Single B-Side) [2017 Master]
11 “Asleep” (Single B-Side) [2017 Remaster]
12 “Money Changes Everything” (Single B-Side) [2017 Master]
13 “Unloveable” (Single B-Side) [2017 Master]

Okay, I'll take it, but I do have numerous complaints to air because that is my role in all of this.

Two discs is not exactly a "super deluxe reissue" or a really special edition. At a minimum, you release this on vinyl and you include something along the lines of a special book or something to tell the story of the album. A reissue of the poster that featured all four band members in front of Salford Lads Club--that would be fantastic.

I think they should have included at least one live album's worth of material from that era. I know that we have "Rank" out there, and it's a great album, but I think what we need is a different show recorded during the tour for this album. But that would hinge upon whether any of those shows were recorded in a salvageable way--you never know. There are tons of bootlegs out there, and I'm sure there's something worthwhile, so I would have boosted this to at least three CDs. A fourth CD of rarities, perhaps? BBC Sessions, and the like? That's where I would have gone. Something for the obsessives.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A War Upon the Arts is Brewing

One of the inherent dangers of normalizing the Trump Regime is that it will be possible to attack the arts when they reflect the evil that has been unleash on America:

An inflatable pig with Donald Trump's face on the side. Screens that show doctored images of the President throwing up. Photos of Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a big baby, and as Hitler.

They're just a few of the images music fans can catch on Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters' 54-date North American tour, "Us + Them," which kicked off on May 26 and coincides with the release of Water's first studio album in 25 years, "Is This the Life We Really Want?"

The political nature of his show, Waters told CNN, is a calculated and defiant response to what he calls the "charade" of the American presidency.

In an interview with Michael Smerconish, the 73-year-old Waters said he has no regrets about turning parts of his 2 1/2-hour performance into what the CNN host described as just "as much an anti-Trump rally as a rock concert."

"It would be a lot easier to be on tour if I wasn't doing any of this, if I didn't have opinions," said Waters, a longtime Trump critic.

The positions that Waters has taken are no different than they were in the early 1980s. He is an artist who has consistently skewered politics and fascism and cults of personality. The danger for Waters is that his stance on Israel can be weaponized against him. The Trump people could easily paint him as an anti-Semite (quite a few people have tried over the years) and the media will probably let them get away with it.

Why would Waters sit down with a turd like Michael Smerconish? I have no idea. But the demonization of anyone who uses art to explain the damage Trump has done to America is well underway.

Monday, July 10, 2017


Tanya Donelly says that there might be a new Belly album on the way:

We’ve only recently hit the midway point of 2017, but here’s a good reason to look all the way into next year: There’s a good chance we’ll be getting a new album from Belly

The reunited Boston alt-rock band — who returned to the stage exactly a year ago in Newport, Rhode Island — have announced they are headed back into the studio in coming weeks to record a new album. The as-yet-untitled LP will be Belly’s first in 23 years, the follow-up to 1995 sophomore record King. 

“We very much appreciate all the patience regarding the new Belly material we’ve now promised several times!” they band writes on its website. “We really have been busy writing and demo’ing new songs since the conclusion of the reunion tour last year, and we’re happy to reveal that we’ll be going into the studio in just a couple of weeks with our old friend Paul Q. Kolderie working the knobs and faders. It is our hope that we’ll have a new Belly record ready for release sometime in 2018, and in the meantime we’re laying the ground-work for some touring to coincide!”

More touring, new music--this is what good new sounds like. We need more of this. Damn, I can't believe how depressed I've been lately. It's as if this is the lift a lot of people needed, myself included.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Sir Paul McCartney

This is Sir Paul McCartney, all by himself on a train in London, free of Distractions:

What is this thing in life that persuades me to spend
Time away from you?
If you can answer this you can have the moon.
This is the place to be, anyway you can see
There's a lovely view.
Why are there always so many other things to do?
Distractions, like butterflies are buzzing 'round my head,
When I'm alone I think of you
And the life we'd lead if we could only be free
From these distractions.

The postman's at the door
While the telephone rings on the kitchen wall,
Pretend we're not at home and they'll disappear.
I want to be with you, tell me what I can do,
Nothing is too small
Away from all this jazz we could do anything at all.
Distractions, like butterflies are buzzing 'round my head.
When I'm alone I think of you
And the things we'd do if we could only be through
With these distractions.
I'll fond the peaceful place far a way from the noise of a busy

Where we can spend our nights counting shooting stars,
Distractions, like butterflies are buzzing 'round my head.
When I'm alone I think of you
And the things we'd do if we could only be through
With these distractions, like butterflies they're
Buzzing 'round my head, when I'm alone I think of you
And the life we'd lead if we could only be free
From these distractions.


Monday, June 26, 2017

The Church Release Another Century

The Church have released a new single, and this is somewhat different from previous releases. I knew that they had basically made another album, but this one lands as a complete surprise, and it's a very welcome one at that.


No matter what you think of the direction, the changes, the choices, or the evolution of the band, every new project reveals something interesting. These are musicians who just don't sit still. They are constantly discovering something new by refusing to chase old glory. I think this method is preferable to any other. The reason why new music from Ride, Slowdive, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and a host of other bands has been so successful this year is because of a refusal to entertain the past and wallow in what once was. 

Anyway, the Church are on tour this summer and, keeping with my luck, they have avoided Texas completely.

Wednesday, June 28
The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI

Thursday, June 29
Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI

Friday, June 30
The Woodward, Cincinnati, OH

Saturday, July 1
City Winery, Nashville, TN

Monday, July 3
City Winery, Chicago, IL

Tuesday, July 4
City Winery, Chicago, IL

Thursday, July 6
The Broadberry, Richmond, VA

Friday, July 7
Ardmore Music Hall, Ardmore, PA

Thursday, July 8
Daryl’s House, Pawling, NY

You should definitely go see them. Why they didn't book a night in Arlington, VA or Annapolis, MD is one for their agent. No show in Austin? And no Minneapolis gigs? Wow. Here's hoping it's a smashing success of a tour. Can't wait for the album.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Joe Scarborough is a Radiohead Critic

This is some pretty specific shit. Joe Scarborough, who knows fuck-all about anything other than how to trick people into thinking he's a television host, is nitpicking the beginning of Radiohead's critical peaks and valleys, and he's opining on Kid A as if he understands what it was all about.

Clearly, he is some sort of genius we did not realize was in our midst. What a wanker.

Be Happy That it Happened

The Stone Roses have split up, again. 

Ian Brown has seemingly suggested that The Stone Roses have split up after the Manchester band played the last date of their UK tour in Glasgow.

As the gig at Hampden Park drew to a close, Brown reportedly told the crowd: “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy that it happened.”

Are they fucking with everyone? Probably.

Are they going to put out an album? Nope.

Are they going to play again? Maybe in a decade, maybe never, maybe next summer. Who knows?

I cannot fault them for their business decisions. They reunited, they earned back all of the money they should have made when they were dominating the British music scene in the late 80s and early 90s, and they delivered what they had left. Two songs, neither of which were memorable, a spate of gigs here and there, and memories. What more do you need?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Weather Diaries is Out Now

Ride are doing an amazing job of promoting their new album Weather Diaries. As I work my way through the album, I should have a proper review up in no time. 

But, look at what they're doing. The release of the album was coordinated on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The band are working their asses off to get the word out. This is how you have to do things now--there's no label to do it for you. Ride have partnered with the small label that released their new music, and that's how things are done now.

Good for them. I hope it gives them a good bump and gets them through the tour that they're going on to promote the album the right way. Here's to another Ride album before the decade is out.

Why didn't someone package them on a world tour with Slowdive? Still can't figure that one out.

Call Yourself Whatever You Want

Finally, some sanity prevails:

On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed that this use of Section 2(a) is unconstitutional. Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the opinion, could not have made it clearer: 

"We now hold that this provision violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. It offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend." 

This decision could also wipe out the Redskins' decision -- effectively ending that team's need to continue its appeal. The Redskins are involved in a similar case, where they lost a long-registered trademark because the US. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia held that the "Redskins" name disparages Native Americans. 

The Supreme Court has made an inspiring decision in The Slants case in that it protects all of our rights -- not just the rights of an eminently likable rock band and a somewhat less-than beloved football team.

I don't care about the football team the plays in Washington D.C. I care about the fact that a band got to call themselves what they wanted to without interference from the courts. 

In the case of the Washington football team, there is no comparison to the case involving the Slants. Public money is not being used to showcase the band in their own stadium. If they play in a stadium, it will not be because their manager negotiated a tax break from the local municipality. A band is just a band; there is no public money being used to subsidize them unless they accept a grant of some kind. Then there might be an issue with their name, provided it is one designed to incite hate or violence. In the case of the Slants, nope. 

Washington, on the other hand, uses public money to create space in which to play. They negotiate tax breaks, they are part of the local economy, and they play in a multi-billion dollar league where the sale of their image to the public, the presentation of their games, and the name which they call themselves is all used to market the team. There is no way Daniel Snyder is going to use his own money to build a stadium. He is currently demanding that someone pay for that for him, and that someone happens to be a bunch of taxpayers somewhere in suburban Washington D.C. The Slants aren't holding anyone hostage for cash.

So, no. There's no comparison. That's just dead wrong.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Make Sure You See Slowdive This Year

Slowdive are in the middle of a massive tour to support their new self-titled album, and what a tour it is. They are absolutely killing it live, and these are the dates ahead:

16-18 June 2017 - Maifeld Derby, Mannheim, Germany

1 July 2017 - Roskilde Festival, Denmark

6 July 2017 - Pohoda Festival, Slovakia

7 July 2017 - Mad Cool Festival, Madrid, Spain

9 July 2017 - Pointu Festival, Six-Fours-Les-Plages, France

21 July 2017 - FYF Fest, Los Angeles, CA

28 July 2017 - Valey Rock Festival, South Korea

30 July 2017 - Fuji Rock Festival, Japan

19 August 2017 - Pstereo Festival, Trondheim, Norway

27 August 2017 - Rock En Seine, Paris, France

31 Aug-1 Sept 2017 - End of the Road Festival, UK

7 September 2017 - Barby, Tel Aviv, Israel

15-16 Sept 2017 - Levitation France, Angers, France

17 Sept 2017 - Beyond the Tracks Festival, UK

29 Sept-01 Oct 2017 - Way Back When Festival, Germany

30 Sept 2017 - Copenhagen DR Koncerthuset, Denmark

2 Oct 2017 - Warsaw Palladium, Poland  

3 Oct 2017 - Berlin Huxleys Neue Welt, Germany

4 Oct 2017 - Hamburg Uebel & Gefaehrlich, Germany

6 Oct 2017 - Amsterdam Paradiso, Netherlands

7 Oct 2017 - Brussels Botanique, Belgium

9 Oct 2017 - Glasgow O2 ABC, UK

10 Oct 2017 - Manchester Albert Hall, UK

11 Oct 2017 - Leeds Town Hall, UK  

13 Oct 2017 - London Roundhouse, UK

See them if you can! 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

One Love

Liam Gallagher and Coldplay?

Liam Gallagher made a surprise appearance, to duet with Coldplay to perform the Oasis classic ‘Live Forever’ at the ‘One Love Manchester’ concert tonight.

Coldplay performed at the special fundraiser and tribute gig at Manchester’s Emirates Old Trafford Lancashire County Cricket Ground alongside the likes of Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Usher, and many more – to honour and raise money in the wake of the terror attack in which 22 people were killed and 59 injured when a lone bomber attacked the foyer of Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande gig.

Despite Gallagher having frequently slammed the band, just last year comparing Chris Martin to a vicar and saying that Coldplay were ‘beyond shit‘, the former Oasis frontman put past differences aside to deliver an emotional acoustic rendition of ‘Live Forever’ backed by Martin on guitar.

It's for a good cause. I'm sure that went through everyone's head more than once. The heart of music's Manchester royalty did not show up, but this was for the pop fans so it's all good.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


When people began to spontaneously sing "Don't Look Back in Anger" in the wake of the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena, I had an inkling that Noel and Liam would give it a go:

Rumours have spread that iconic Manchester band Oasis will reform for the One Love gig in the city this weekend to benefit the victims of last week's terrorist attacks.

A tweet posted by Taboo, a member of The Black Eyed Peas, listed Oasis as one of the confirmed acts for Sunday's concert, sending fans wild.

If brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher do reform their band, it will mark their first gig together since 2009, and the end of a long running and bitter feud.  

I also had a distinct feeling that Johnny Marr and Morrissey would do something as well, either together or separately but not as The Smiths. I do not believe New Order will ever reconcile with Peter Hook, but who knows?

There are a number of reasons why this matters, but I can't think of them now. There will never be an "original 5" reunion of Oasis; they'd never let Tony McCarroll get behind the kit. I can see Bonehead on guitar, and that's about it. Gem Archer is still fully in the picture, so that complicates things. Really, it's Noel and Liam and that's enough of a reunion if it happens.

UPDATE - No Reunion.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Midnight Oil Are a Tremendous Live Band

Yes, I am still very, very pissed off that I cannot go see Midnight Oil this summer:

Midnight Oil selling out the modestly sized Vic was a foregone conclusion. But coming back from a 15-year break for a fiery set that felt like no time had passed at all? That was a welcome surprise.

Proselytizers place the Australian band in the pantheon of great live acts, and justifiably so, but it takes a certain sense of pride for a reunited group not just to coast on its reputation but push itself like it still has something to prove, and the world to change. As frontman Peter Garrett noted, the band's pointedly politically minded songs — many delivered with the desperate immediacy of a Molotov cocktail — remain as timely as ever.

Beginning with the menacing "Outside World" and continuing with the interlocking riffs and rollicking drum fills of the righteous "Only the Strong," the group (whose recent set lists have been impressively varied) proceeded to play its 1982 album "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1" in its entirety, and for those more familiar with Midnight Oil's subsequent work, the almost alien art-rock might have come off a little jarring had the tricky time signatures and weird arrangements not been held together by the band's inventive, impeccable musicianship.

But when the band shifted gears to play more acoustically driven material such as "The Dead Heart" and "Beds Are Burning," both from its hugely successful 1987 album "Diesel and Dust," Midnight Oil demonstrated how even more considered songcraft could course with barely contained energy. Later, when the group blazed through "Dreamworld" and "Sometimes" from that same album, you could discern the same passion and penchant for innovation that marked the band's early years, more refined but no less effective.

Midnight Oil can blow people away live and you do not want to follow them onstage. They have a catalog that will surprise you and the political immediacy of their songs has never dissipated. When they were singing about Reagan and Bush, they might as well have been singing about Trump. They are the band that America needs to hear right now, and how fitting is it that they are on the road at the same time as U2 in a country that has lost its collective mind?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Jesus and Mary Chain Appeared on Stephen Colbert

This is pretty impressive. For the Jesus and Mary Chain to appear on a major television show, you would have to assume that there's a pretty good public relations push behind the band. This is something that is getting harder and harder to find nowadays because music labels aren't really pushing guitar rock.

I'm going to track down video of this when it becomes available. In the old days, the Reid brothers would show up drunk, trash the place, turn in a diffident performance, and slink away with their rock and roll integrity in place. They were banned from the BBC for years. They plowed their way through shows in fifteen minutes, cursed everyone, and walked off. But they did come to realize that even that was not quite the way to do things. They changed and evolved. That's why I like this new record so much--there's the snarling attitude and there's that essential guitar sound, but it's in a better place.

Now, they show up and do the real rock and roll thing--play like they're on fire and give people what they want. There's a little bit of both in rock and roll--not giving a shit sometimes is exciting to watch, but a solid performance doesn't hurt, either.

Times, they have a-changed.