We live in an era, sadly, where all too often our greatest talents never find the sort of broad audience their genius deserves. Once upon a time, back in the age of mass media and record labels committed to artist development, back before the Internet nichified music almost to death, back then Jeffrey Dean Foster would have been a massive star. Way too famous for a guy like me to have even met him, probably.
But that’s no reason for us not to appreciate him, is it? Let’s celebrate his day by listening to a few of his tunes. We’ll begin with my favorite Foster tune ever, “Summer of the Son of Sam,” which earned the highest praise I have for an artist: I wish I had written it.
When they first hit in 1997 with “MMMBop,” I remember Hanson being dismissed by my music intelligentsia friends as some kind of put-up job, a prefab kiddie novelty act. Thing is, it wasn’t true. At all. The brothers Hanson – Taylor, Isaac and Zac – were legit talented, their shiny, radio-friendly sound underpinned by a rich sense of Chicago R&B rhythm and Gospel-inflected harmony. (It’s fun trying to write in hipster-reviewer speak, init? Hey, I’ve been telling you for years I ain’t no reviewer.)
Now, nearly two decades on, they’re better than ever. Let’s kick today’s #SVR with a recent acoustic performance of that hit, one that strips down to the naked essence of a worthy pop gem.
Today on SVR we honor Dire Straits, one of my all-time favorite bands. I will always remember the exact moment when I first heard Mark Knopfler’s opening note of “Down to the Waterline” – that was back when kids who loved music sat around together in the basement and listened to their big brothers’ and big sisters’ albums. End to end. With wonder and reverence.
The first one today was passed along by Dr. Denny. Sweet hell, these boys can play.
I recently started a new daily feature on my Facebook page. It’s pretty simple – each day I post a song/video. No rhyme, no reason. Usually. Here are the first 18 days, all in one handy place for your enjoyment.
I needed a soundtrack for yesterday’s workout and settled on my favorite Toronto band, The Birthday Massacre. Chibi and company are still rattling around in my head, so I thought I’d share the love, starting with the new video for “Superstition.”
Chvrches, Metric, Meg Myers and IAMX lead the charge into autumn
No major theme today – just some cool new discoveries. Let’s start with the latest from Chvrches – folks, end to end this is one of the absolute best pop CDs I have ever heard. “Leave a Trace” is the lead single and it’s the earworm from hell, but I’m not sure it’s one of the five best songs on the disc.
So, I wake up this morning to find that Frank Balsinger has uncovered an a capella take on Rammstein’s “Du Hast.” Because of course somebody would have to do that, and of course Frank would find it. So for SVR today, let’s enjoy some a capella abomination. I guess that would be a bomination, huh?
First, Viva Vox, and if you don’t get why this is so great, by all means click the link above and review the original.
Okay, the verdict is in. I’ve spun the eponymous Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats at least 20 times now and it’s a legit CD of the year candidate. I’m hearing influences ranging from Sam Cooke to Van Morrison to old Appalachian gospel. Let’s check a couple vids, shall we? Here’s the one people seem to be raving about, “SOB.”
I was listening Sunday night to The National’s most recent album, Trouble Will Find Me. As I lay there with headphones on and the first song playing, I thought, “I don’t know why I don’t listen to these guys more often.” Minutes later, I remembered: Regret, sadness, and a failure to connect with people permeate The National’s songs. Sometimes we need to be reminded we’re not the only people in the world whom trouble has found. Other times, we don’t need to be reminded. The National often belongs in the “other times” category. Continue reading →
Kevin Gosztola, a Firedoglake alumnus, raises a cultural dilemma and proposes his own solution.
There is a recurring story media organizations like to publish. The story typically asks where all the protest music has gone or something like that. Or, the writers ask, who is this generation’s Bob Dylan?
This perspective has seeped into the consciousness of Americans. One thread on Reddit asked:
With all the racial and class tension in the past year or two, I’m really surprised that there hasn’t been much in the way of protest songs. At least not that I’ve heard. My generation had Rage Against the Machine (whose lyrics seem even more relevant today). What artist is carrying their torch today?
Sometimes bands we love break up. Or someone dies. Or … maybe they just slide from relevance. If you’re like me, there are a lot of acts who fit this description. I miss Space Team Electra so bad it hurts, for instance. REM faded away more or less gracefully, but still I long for 1984.
Here are some bands and solo artists I miss. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments.
Oh look, Till Lindemann from Rammstein has a new side project with Peter Tägtgren of Hypocrisy and Pain. What are the critics saying?
Pigs, blood, phlegm and characters right out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting alternatively play in morbid grime or on a virginal white stage. Heavy guitar sounds, dark choirs and driving drum beats surge in the background. The lyrics are laced with hatred: “I hate my life, and I hate you / … / I hate my kids, never thought / That I’d praise abort.”
Yeah, that sounds about right. So for SVR let’s watch the first video, and then celebrate Till’s genius with a couple of the high spots from his work with Rammstein. Strap in, bitches.
I hope you’re enjoying a gorgeous spring day wherever you are, but i’s been raining here in the 5280 for a week now, and the weather report promises more for the weekend, except for the period when the rain stops and the snow starts. But we need the moisture. And some music to celebrate it.