The oil crisis has been an easy target for the media, so now it's our turn to get in on the hype. No matter what your political views are (left, right, or center), the rising price of oil is a concern for everyone. Even the most patriotic gas-guzzlers out there are beginning to question their driving habits. Now, if you ask the R&B star Rihanna, she'll tell you to "shut up and drive," but we think (and hope) that she's making a sexual reference.
While we wait for gas prices to drop, let'… Read more
Now that we're knee-deep into summer, it's time to recap the big festivals going on this season. Coachella and Bonnaroo have come and gone, so now our eyes are on, among others, Lollapalooza in Chicago, Outside Lands in San Francisco, and Rock the Bells in cities nationwide. And it's not too late to catch the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Festival. This two-day tribute to one of the greatest indie labels ever is happening in Seattle--aka the home of grunge rock--this weekend. Road trip!
With sales for digital singles outpacing CD sales, it's hard to imagine an artist overlooking any avenue of digital distribution and revenue. Yet with the exception of a handful of tracks, American rap icon Jay-Z has resisted releasing his 100-song catalog as ringtones--until last week. That's when most of the remaining tracks streamed into the digital media marketplace. Most. Through August, ten of the artist's smash singles have been earmarked for only one site.
Starting Monday, those hidden hits, including 'Can I Get A', 'IZZO (H.O.V.A.)', and 'Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)', became … Read more
Ghosty, one of my favorite satellite radio DJs, he's on Sirius Disorder, urged listeners to email their favorite weird and obscure music. Never heard of any of the records, but it set me to wondering about some of my more out titles, and if I had to pick one I'd go for, The Rotor Rooter Good Time Christmas Band LP. It came out in 1974 and yes, I bought it for the wacky title, but it's actually a really good record, I've played it many dozens of times. Mixing equal parts polka, psychedelic, rock, classical and just flat out bizarre, Rotor Rooter is a blast from start to finish. If I had to pick just one cut, it would have to be "Fanfare/Buick LeSabre."… Read more
It's no short order opening for Ms. Norah Jones, but her Blue Note labelmate Lee has lately been pulling it off with aplomb. The Philly native's disarming soul-folk sound suggests Neil Young gone R&B or the great ballad record Ben Harper will never make. Most impressive of all, Lee's voice can match Jones's note-for-note on the scale of hushed intimacy.
New York has always been a breeding ground for talented musicians, but not since East Coast hip-hop emerged in the '80s has there been enough of a scene there to call it a movement. Today, if you zoom in on the map, you'll find the trend-setting and musically productive borough of Brooklyn. It's definitely a mecca for indie rock hipsters, but not everyone there wears ironic thrift store t-shirts. Artists such as Nada Surf, Antibalas, and Beau Jennings have ubiquitous styles that could be from anywhere, really. And this diversity is the reason why we love New York.… Read more
Chances are, whether you're a fan or not, you've heard the blue-eyed soul vocals of Michael McDonald. He's best known for his formative years with the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, however he's also had a remarkable career as a solo artist and a guest harmonizer on numerous pop hits such as Christopher Cross' "Ride Like The Wind" (he's the guy who echos "such a long way to goooo"). Basically, McDonald was the Timbaland of yesterday, as the go-to guy for hits in the '70s and '80s.
He recently released a Motown tribute album called Soul Speak, and even more recently--last night--he headlined the 50th anniversary gala at the NARM convention in San Francisco. He delivered a crowd-pleasing performance with originals such as "What A Fool Believes," "It Keeps You Runnin'," and covers such "Living For The City" and "Love T.K.O." And to top it off, BB King (who accepted an award earlier that night) came out and did the "The Thrill Is Gone" with McDonald and his band. Industry suits and biz-casual editors (like me) were all impressed.… Read more