I was impressed by the jazz album released by Wayne Shorter last year. Not a masterpiece, but it was solid. And it came out last year just before he turned 80.
it gets discouraging seeing artists go through decline. I wince when I hear various pop songs by Paul McCartney. He put out a string of mediocre songs and albums in the 1970s. It was a far cry from what he did with the Beatles. The Beatles had the right idea after all, when they split up in 1970 after seven years of releasing albums.
Their best albums were in the mid 1960s. Rubber Soul was the band’s best album. It’s hard to top “Nowhere Man.” The band still came up with a number of memorable albums.
There were good songs. But they deserve points for moving aside. In retrospect it was odd they kept going as long w they did without touring.
I saw the Beach Boys and the Kinks in concert in the 90s. Those were entertaining shows. I wouldn’t have seen the Beach Boys except they performed prior to a minor league football game.
The reality seeing those concerts is they were oldies acts. Robert Christgau wrote about this phenomenon with his list “Everything Rocks And Nothing Ever Dies.” It was part of his book Christgau’s Consumer Guide: Albums of the 90s.
This isn’t to say people should just pack it in rather than cranking out albums and touring whatever gig they can find. There’s something to be said for giving the people the chance to reminisce. And perhaps there’s joy in continuing to play.
But this doesn’t mean we’re going to listen. Judy Garland kept singing longer than Deanna Durbin. In Garland’s case more good music was made by her decision to continue after the movies stopped. In Durbin’s case, we can keep streaming and downloading from the days she was a superstar in her youth. Read more
Scoping the teaser videos for the dope new show, ‘Alpha Girls’ which premiered this week, I was intrigued. ‘Alpha Girls’ follows four powerful Asian and Asian-American women (artist Mina Kwon, DJ/producer TOKiMONSTA, Hellz Bellz designer Miss Lawn and model Soo Joo Park) as they navigate the fashion, art and music worlds, offering behind the scenes access to their career successes, struggles and personal lives. Turned off by the other female reality franchises which focus on backstabbing and talking behind each other’s backs to the camera, it’s refreshing to get glimpses into real artists’ creative processes, crazy busy schedules and obstacles encountered while living their dreams. On a rare rainy night at the premiere party in LA, I connected with two ‘Alpha Girls’ -Mina Kwon who told me her fav cartoon character was Bart Simpson as you’ll see in her art and that Pharrell, who appears in the show and is a big inspiration to her, is proud, as well as TOKiMONSTA who explained her reasons for doing the show and plans for new music in 2014.
Among the flurry of hot new albums dropped during the month of February, underground cloak-loving NY based pair The Doppelgangaz’s fourth studio album, “Peace Kehd”, made the fav list, consistently blaring from my speakers since its release. Duo Matter Ov Fact and EP’s amusing and brilliantly bizarre content’s become their trademark in their catalog with colorful titles of songs like “Suppository”, “Barbiturates”, “Sh*t Rock”, “Dumpster Diving” , covering topics like diseases, food, sailors and liars with past videos settings at the Renaissance Fair and haunted houses. Often put in the 90’s NY hip-hop box, there’s nothing typical about them.
Between his vocal contributions on “Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky”, Pharrell Williams was heard absolutely everywhere in 2013. That music ubiquity is only going to continue with the release of his own album G I R L on March 3rd. If anyone has the makings of being the next big crossover star, it’s this multitasking hip-hop, R&B and funk dynamo. In addition to guest appearances from Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake, it will feature “Happy”, first heard as part of the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. If for whatever reason this song hasn’t burrowed its way into your eardrums yet, I command you to spend some time at 24HoursofHappy.com, where you can watch 360 videos of celebrities like Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove, the occasional minion, as well as ordinary Los Angelenos creatively dancing along to Pharrell’s infectious toe-tapper.
There is a word which every music critic in the history of music criticism will use at least once. No matter how hard you strive to avoid it, that word will keep popping up and you will be forced to confront it. You will consult a thesaurus to try to identify alternatives, but in the end, this word will knock on the door of your mind until you finally let it in. And that word is…….”over-rated”! We all have our bands/songs/albums which meet that description – Yes/”A Day in the Life”/”OK Computer” are just a few of mine. Don’t confuse over-rated with over-familiar. Just because you have heard a song so often does not make it over-rated – you are probably just tired of hearing it. In truth, if you think about it, it probably is a classic. You’ve just probably heard too much of it.
As Curtis once said, “Move on up!”
In the world where we live or die on the hot single, as a music fan nowadays, it’s rare to find cohesive albums that hold your attention with intricate production from start to finish. E-digging in the crates yet again, I came across such a gem called “Renegades” by New Zealand born, LA based producer, musician and orchestra bandleader Mark de Clive-Lowe. I immediately explored more of his diverse discography and found fiery music cutting across at least five genres (latin and classic jazz, soul, electronic, broken beat) from someone drawing comparisons to other avant-garde producers like Quincy Jones. Fortuitously, as is the case in LA, that same week, I attended Mark’s live “CHURCH” show which brought the music (which will be on his upcoming album dropping in June) to life and had the whole crowd dancing with some spirit-filled tambourine shaking.
One consequence of not having LP album covers any more is that I find myself unable to recite the lyrics of many of my favourite songs which date from after the demise of the vinyl LP. This is a direct consequence of not having the lyrics printed on the inside sleeve, as was so often the case back in the seventies and early eighties. Sometimes, I do not even remember the names of the tracks, but just know where they are. And that is a consequence of the dreaded skip button. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of advantages to the CD and the MP3/M4a, especially where domestic space is at a premium. But to my mind, if I cannot make space for one of the greatest loves of my life, in my living space as well as in my heart, then I feel I would be lacking something.
On we go.
Fans of Canadian indie rock were pleasantly surprised a few days ago with the unexpected news that Constantines are reuniting in 2014. For the uninitiated, it’s been four years since the Guelph-born band’s last show together, who were celebrated throughout the 2000s for beautiful and brilliantly written songs such as “Young Lions”, “Soon Enough”, and “Shine a Light”. The latter is the title track of their first album to be distributed worldwide with Sub Pop – if THAT name rings a bell, they were the record label to sign a little band named Nirvana and kick start the grunge movement. As the 5-man group collectively wrote in a comeback proclamation (which you can read for yourself at TheConstantines.WordPress.com), Shine a Light being reissued for its unconventional 11th anniversary is apparently the catalyst for Constantines getting back together.
Back in the day, when this place was crawling with forums and chats about random acts of music, we used to poll ourselves to see which release by an artist not only set them atop of the industry but stapled them in as musical gods.
No longer just a face of the Rhymesayers group, Brother Ali has notched himself a styling and fan base that can not be underestimated. With that being said…