Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael Jackson Pepsi Footage Revealed

Here's some astounding video that captures the infamous 1984 Pepsi burning incident where Michael Jackson's hair caught fire.

The much-discussed accident happened when pyrotechnics exploded too soon during one take of the Pepsi commercial.

You can actually see MJ's head catch fire. This is like the Zapruder film for pop music fans, and it was only recently released by Us Weekly.

Some say MJ developed an addiction to painkillers after this that might have precipitated his June 25 death by cardiac arrest.

I say that's an astounding leap. Either way, it's odd to finally see this footage.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Genesis To Release Live Box Set

Good news if you're a Genesis fan.

Billboard reports that the band, on the heels of reissuing its tremendous 1970-1975 output, is pulling together its live albums.

Keyboardist Tony Banks told Billboard the live compilation is "the next logical thing to do."

Expect small-venue tracks from the Peter Gabriel years - the only years if it's up to me - as well as mega stadium shows from the Phil Collins years.

Included in the 10-disc box, set for a Sept. 29 release from Rhino, is five of the group's six live albums, as well as a treasure trove of unreleased booty.

The Salmon's got his eyes on the oft-bootlegged "Live at the Rainbow" show in 1973, shortly after the band released Selling England by the Pound.

The Gabriel years, while commercially disappointing, reeked of brilliance.

As an aside, check out Collins' (second from left) sweet beard and muscle shirt. He already looks like he's mulling pushing Gabriel (center) out of the picture.

Let me wet your gullet with an underrated gem off the band's 1971 LP Nursery Cryme. Only Brits would spell in so goofy a manner.

- SoR

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Michael Jackson Revival

No big surprise here.

The death of Michael Jackson seems to be doing wonders for his album sales.

Since his death last week, Jackson has dominated the charts.

Billboard says Jackson occupies nine of the top 10 album catalog sales, meaning sales of records from back catalogs.

iTunes has also gone Jacko crazy. Nine of the top 10 most-downloaded music videos as of Thursday afternoon belonged to Jackson, and the Essential Michael Jackson collection remains poised atop the albums list.

We've seen this phenomenon before when it comes to recently-passed artists. See Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Nirvana and Tupac Shakur if you need proof.

Me? The Salmon already has his Jackson albums, although I could go for a 90-minute collection of MJ's greatest dance moves. I hope the Jackson fam's listening.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Review: Wilco- Wilco (The Album)

Rating: 7.5
Released: June 30, 2009

What's more unexpected than doing what's expected?

Which is to say that more than 14 years since this Chicago band released their debut, Wilco continues to defy expectations.

Their latest (peep the camel cover!) is as close to a career retrospective as you're going to get at this point in the group's career, capturing the arc of frontman Jeff Tweedy's ever-finicky muse.

From country rock (1995's A.M.) to heartland Sonic Youth-disciples (1996's Being There) to indie poppers (1999's Summerteeth) to would-be industry killers (2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) to minimalist Krautrock (2002's A Ghost Is Born) and back again (2004's Sky Blue Sky), the only thing that's remained consistent about Tweedy's evolving songcraft is its quality.

I defy you to find a subpar record in Wilco's catalogue, other than its fledgling debut, and there's an argument to be made in defense of that LP as well.

2002's YHF is, by all accounts including the Salmon's, the band's high-water mark to date.

A near-perfect distillation of Radiohead-esque atmospherics with a beating country heart, YHF set the bar for post-Radiohead American acts, and it set it pretty high with 12 songs documenting a disintegrating relationship under the guise of a coming-and-going radio signal.

The band, ever cagey, has yet to make a sequel to YHF, opting instead for Crazy Horse guitar antics and spacey, country rock.

Seems at this point in their careers that Wilco, now a little older than most indie rockers, could take a deep breath and look back.

Enter Wilco (The Album).

The songs are as solid as ever, if not more subtle, revealing their charms over repeated listens.

"Deeper Down" isn't going to blow you away, but it's shifting soundscapes and straining pedal-steel overlay are as lovely as music gets. See the Peter Gabriel-era Genesis segue as a side of Wilco you've never seen.

The self-titled album opener and ethos-spouting "You Never Know" are the obvious singles, three-minute blasts of mid-tempo hoodie songs with certified grade-A choruses.

"Come on children, you're acting like children/every generation thinks it's the end of the world," the ever-ascerbic Tweedy sings at one moment, responding moments later with an "I don't care anymore" hook over Beatles-fuzz and harmonized slide guitars.

The real stars here are "Bull Black Nova" and "One Wing," the former a paranoid, chiming growler with a dank underbelly of purring guitar and the latter being the best Wilco power ballad you'll ever hear.

Recent addition Nels Cline remains a versatile gem, filling in Tweedy's most sparse moments with post-punk guitar heroics.

You get the sense that Cline, like refined genius Richard Thompson, could give you a searing guitar solo at any time, but he picks his spots.

His gentler moments - the eerie closing tones of "Everlasting" - are as effective as the harder tones of the aforementioned "Bull Black Nova."

Tweedy's none-too-precious vocals are as essential as ever, imparting a world-weary authenticity to even the biggest songs.

"I'll fight, I'll fight, I'll fight for you/I'll kill, I'll kill, I'll kill for you," Tweedy sings in the aptly-titled "I'll Fight."

In Tweedy's hands, it's an interesting, if not chilling, statement. Imagine those words sung by a silver-throated pop star and you can see the danger for overkill.

Not everything here hits the bulls-eye. The pretty Feist duet "You And I" sometimes strays dangerously close to schmaltz, and rocker "Sunny Feeling" feels oddly shallow after several listens.

But the road, much like the bumpy airplane flight of "Sunny Feeling," hasn't been easy for Wilco.

Members defected, sued Tweedy and then died. Tweedy faced and overcame a dependency on prescription painkillers. Record labels deemed them "unsellable" and dropped them.

But for all the storm clouds that once hovered around the band, the future seems awfully bright for this fantastic, potent giant of a band and its omnipresent leader Tweedy.

Float on, brother.

- SoR

Friday, June 26, 2009

Last Days of Michael Jackson: Aug. 29, 1958-June 25, 2009

It could be said that Michael Jackson died long ago.

Sometime around the first accusation of child molestation, guilty or not, Michael Jackson, the megastar with the highest-selling album of all time, became Michael Jackson, world-class oddball.

Gone was the white glove. Gone was the Sgt. Pepper coat. Gone was the awe-inspiring moonwalk.

What we had left to devour was a scarecrow with an eroding face, piles of financial trouble and questions about his sexual preferences.

Still, the disturbing news that one of pop music's greatest ambassadors died from what appears to be cardiac arrest is a sad conclusion to a strange tale.

Michael's legacy, like Elvis', will always reside somewhere in limbo. Here was a personality and a fame worth noting.

His musical output, spotty in the latter years, remains the strongest testament to his greatness.

MJ needed only three albums and a bucket of jaw-dropping music videos to make the 1980s his playground. His peak LP Thriller redefines chart-topping, thanks to three massive smash singles in "Thriller," "Beat It" and "Billy Jean."

The three tracks run back to back to back on the album. By the time you turned that record over, MJ had already laid the blueprint for the perfect pop song and made one of the greatest party songs laid to tape (I'm looking at you "Thriller").

The music deserves a thorough analysis, and it's gotten it many times. But considering MJ on his LPs and singles alone isn't enough.

Check out the music videos. Mini-movies with professional actors, sets, costumes and rigorously practiced choreography.

It's not hard to look at every popular dancer after Thriller and see something of MJ.

His career as a world-conscious philanthropist set the standard for generous celebrities, and the millions he donated in his arc have done untold good.

Yes, there are the messy issues. MJ fit the profile of a child molester to the tee, and his free-spending lifestyle leaves millions in debt behind.

But if we are to look at life as an equation, MJ probably comes out on the positive end, and the only thing about his mysterious life not bookended with question marks is his output.

That tremendous, stellar musical output. Pour one out for Michael and put on "Thriller," you'll probably never hear a pop song that breaks more generational and racial boundaries than this one.

As a reminder of his greatness, here's MJ's performance of Billie Jean at Motown's 25th anniversary celebration in 1983. The dancing around the 3:40 mark is nothing short of magical.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Live Review: TV On The Radio

June 11, 2009
TV On The Radio at Amos' Southend
Charlotte, N.C.

Band Rating: 9.0
Venue Rating: 5.0

So I'm staring Kyp Malone (above) in the face.

The TV On The Radio bassist and vocalist, who is not unlike a panda bear in appearance, has a Frederick Douglass-style beard and he's wearing what looks like a tunic.

His band has just put on a solid and occasionally great show marred by subpar acoustics.

I'm in this business to interview rock stars and listen to great music, but oddly enough, the only thing I can think to say to one of the architects of 2008's best LP (see Dear Science) is, "Great show!"

"Thank you," he replies, smiling shyly. He shuffles his feet for a moment, hugs an excited fan, and walks nervously back to the band's tour bus.

Amazing that one of the most overwhelming records in a decade comes from such a muted guy.

All personality quips aside, TVOTR's stopover in Charlotte (they're scheduled to play today at Bonnaroo) is a rare treat for a city that can't seem to find the right venue for the medium-range acts who tend to make the best records these days.

Respect to Amos' Southend for bringing the group here, although the squat, two-story building with the muddy equalization did little for TVOTR's very fetching sound.

The set list hit the highlights of the Brooklyn band's ever-expanding sound, which runs the gamut of Joy Division stomp to Radiohead atmospherics and Parliamentary funk.

Playing live, TVOTR uses the opportunity to stretch out on their moody tunes, which didn't coalesce into something resembling pop music until last year's aforementioned and truly outstanding Dear Science.

The band opened with the tender "Love Dog" before whipping up frenzied takes on "Wolf Like Me" and "Halfway Home."

Throughout, frontman Tunde Adebimpe blew out the be-hoodied hipsters with his elastic, Arthur Lee-style tenor and frantic stage presence.

If you can hear TVOTR - and by that I mean, hear them without shoddy acoustics - you'll hear a great band with a big future.

Here's hoping Charlotte can find more places to fit rising stars like Malone, Adebimpe and company.

- SoR

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Review: Mos Def - The Ecstatic

Rating: 7.8
Released: June 9, 2009
Downtown Records

A funny thing happened on the way to reviewing Mos Def's comeback The Ecstatic.

Two days ago, I started with a rating hovering somewhere around a 6.

But each time I queued the record up, what before seemed like a jumbled mess of foreign instruments, breakbeats and tone-deaf choruses now sounded like a pitch-perfect love letter to planet Earth.

Suffice to say, Mos Def's latest is somewhere around an 8 for me today.

This is why I listen to LPs multiple times before I dare to make some form of a critical assessment.

Aside from his award-winning Hollywood output, a stellar guest turn here and there (I'm looking at "Two Words" from Kanye West's debut) and a pair of mish mash albums, the actor/rapper (we've got a slashie here) has been quiet in recent years.

Flash back to 1999. Mos Def was just the latest hip hop savior with a smooth flow, social awareness and penchant for experimentation.

His collaboration with Talib Kweli and soulful solo turn Black On Both Sides made the Brooklyn-born MC a breath of fresh air for hip hop fans exhausted by lyrical beef and gunplay.

It wasn't long before Hollywood stole Mos Def away. Our loss, but the good news is he's back in the studio and trying a little harder, at least for now.

The Ecstatic is just that, ecstatic.

These are good times for left-leaning political pariahs with street cred, although Mos Def doesn't let the good times hamper his skill for bucking the system. See Common's goofy Universal Mind Control if you want to see how happiness can sometimes dull a once sharp wit.

If you think Mos Def is satisfied with having the first black president in office, look no further than the album-opening Malcolm X monologue on the need for extremism. It would seem there is more work to be done.

"Ecstatic, ecstatic, ecstatic," he chants moments later.

What follows is roughly 45 minutes of Middle Eastern instruments, electro-tinged hip hop, antique Madlib samples and Mos Def's ruminating, anti-gangsta presence.

"Sometimes it's too hard to sit still/ things are so passionate, times are so real/ sometimes I try to chill mellow down blowin smoke/ smile on my face but it's really no joke/ you feel it in the streets the people breathe without hope," he raps over classic film scores on the outstanding "Auditorium."

The recipe for comeback success in rap often involves a good producer. In Mos Def's case, he's got six - Madlib, Preservation, Chad Hugo, Mr. Flash, J Dilla, and Madlib's brother Oh No - and they're all up to the task.

Madlib and Preservation provide the best beats, the latter cooking up a storm in the grainy minimalist "Quiet Dog Bite Hard."

Mos Def seems most at home on the simple, jazz-infused samples, although multiple tracks showcase a traveler's flair for world-savvy pop, including the MC's ode to hotels "The Embassy."

Still, The Ecstatic isn't perfect.

There probably isn't much of an audience for Mos Def's tuneless singing on Latin ballad "No Hay Nada Mas," and electronic stompers like "Life In Marvelous Times" seem oddly out of place on an album that only occasionally masquerades as pop.

Mos Def might be front and center on the big screen, but he seems more comfy trolling the hip hop underground.

Perhaps best of all is his 90-second manifesto "Priority," a mellow builder that sums up all things Mos Def.

"Top priority: Peace before everything/God before anything/love before anything/real before everything/home before anyplace," he riffs in street preacher mode.

The proof is in the pudding.
Acts like Eminem and Lil Wayne may be the body of hip hop, but MCs like Mos Def are its soul.

- SoR

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Review: Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

Rating: 8.3
Released: May 26, 2009

Bringin' pretty back.

That could be the second title for Brooklyn four-piece Grizzly Bear's latest, and greatest, album to date.

The lovely Veckatimest is the band's most adventurous, and oddly enough, most accessible LP in its catalog.

It's no surprise that the record finds Grizzly frontman Daniel Rossen sometimes eschewing the sparse arrangements of past work for the wrought pop ambition of last year's gem In Ear Park, a riveting listen from Rossen side project Department of Eagles.

With some bands, you ask for a redefinition of sound to prove growth. Not the case here.

Veckatimest is largely a refining of Grizzly Bear's spooky, folk aesthetic. Where previous albums were sleepy and at once forgettable, Veckatimest is anything but.

The woozy dreamscapes are still here, but the melodies stick like fly paper and the Pet Sounds horns and symphonics make it sound like a classic.

Case in point: The Bear has never recorded a pop song as memorable as "Two Weeks," or as blissful as "Cheerleader."

Rossen's delicate voice and airy harmonies still sound like the backdrop for "Wizard of Oz," and two seconds of any Grizzly song remains enough to identify the protagonists.

"While You Wait For The Others" is a triumph, employing smoky guitars and breathy vocal acrobatics like seasoned veterans. It's enough to make you forget these babyfaced folkers are twenty-somethings.

"They'll try, they all try/to keep us apart," Rossen laments on "I Live With You," a psychedelic, lonesome call for an estranged lover.

With tunes like these, Grizzly Bear isn't likely to remain lonely too long.

Heartily recommended, Veckatimest is one of the first great albums this year.

- SoR

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hop on Pop: Live Acts to Catch in June

Hot month for live music.

Here's a listing of acts playing in the North Carolina region in the month of June.

Most notable is TV On The Radio's (left) sweep through Charlotte and Atlanta.

The Brooklyn band had the top album of last year in my humble opinion and they've earned a reputation as a ferocious live act.

I can guarantee the Salmon will be there, although not without some temptation from TVOTR's Brooklyn contemporaries Grizzly Bear.

Grizzly Bear's playing that night at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill.

Also look out for Band of Horses' stop in Charlotte's always delightful Neighborhood Theatre.

The Peaches show in Chapel Hill promises to be an eyecatcher too.

June 9: Phish, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville
June 10: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte
June 11: Grizzly Bear, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill
June 11: TV On The Radio, Amos' Southend, Charlotte
June 12: Jenny Lewis, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill
June 12: Yardwork, Milestone, Charlotte
June 13: TV On The Radio, Tabernacle, Atlanta
June 15: Sunset Rubdown, Local 506, Chapel Hill
June 16: Band of Horses, The Orange Peel, Asheville
June 16: Peaches, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill
June 17: Band of Horses, The Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte
June 20: Camera Obscura, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill

- SoR

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hop on Pop: June Album Releases

Supergroups are a tricky thing.

The road to superstardom is littered with so many Blind Faiths and Traveling Wilburys.

Enter The Dead Weather, Jack White's latest side project with The Kills frontwoman Alison Mosshart, Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Dean Fertita and Raconteurs bassist Jack Lawrence.

The good news about White's side projects is they usually bring all the goods of a main act. From the looks of it, The Dead Weather is a beast unto itself.

That's White straddling the front in all of the press photos, but he'll be taking a step back on the records and hiding behind the drum kit.

This raises the question: If Jack White can play drums, should Meg White consider modeling full-time?

The Dead Weather isn't the only meal you'll get this June (UPDATE: The album has been delayed until July 14). There's plenty to go around.

Check out Lil Wayne's rock Rebirth (Update: Lil Wayne's latest is postponed until Aug. 18) and piano-pop queen Regina Spektor's return in Far. There's the Dave Matthews Band launching its comeback less than a year after the death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore, and former The Band drummer Levon Helm releasing his latest solo outing (the man's a marvel).

Also, feast your ears upon Wolf Parade offshoot Sunset Rubdown, virtuoso rapper/actor Mos Def, and, of course, Wilco's sort-of self-titled record.

June 1:
Patrick Wolf - The Bachelor

June 2:
Elvis Costello - Sweet, Profane & Sugarcane
Eels - Hombre Loco
Dave Matthews Band - Whiskey and the Groogrux King

June 9:
The Dead Weather - Horehound
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Joan of Arc - Flowers
Mos Def - The Ecstatic
Sonic Youth - The Eternal

June 16:
Amanda Blank - I Love You
Twista - Category F5

June 23:
Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer
Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs)
Regina Spektor- Far
Pete Yorn - Back And Forth

June 30:
Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away
Levon Helm - Electric Dirt

- SoR

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review: Eminem - Relapse

Rating: 4.5
Released: May 19, 2009
Aftermath, Interscope, Shady

The cover of Eminem's vaunted comeback album has a photo illustration of Shady made out of pills and a fake prescription label in the lower corner.

That's all you need to know about the once great Slim Shady's latest self-flagellating, narcotic opus, subtly titled Relapse.

Em's appetite for pills has been well-documented in his decade-long career, thanks to his fiendishly virtuosic turn on 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP, a hip hop classic by all accounts.

Two years later, he set the bar for comeback singles when he dropped "Without Me," arguably one of the most devilishly produced call-to-arms you could get out of a non-political artist.

But he's dropped off the map in recent years, making more headlines for his perceived eating habits and drug problems than his rhymes.

Record buyers' taste in pop stars is notoriously fickle. Here today, gone tomorrow. If so, that doesn't bode well for Shady, who hasn't had an LP since 2004's limp-wristed Encore.

Nevermind that.

The American public's appetite for Em has apparently not waned, based on the 600,000 or so buyers gobbling up copies of Relapse in the first week, making it the fastest-selling album so far in 2009.

Truthfully, that's no major feat since he's among the first of the heavyweights to really clock in this year, but his success has to come as some sort of a surprise.

More surprising still might be his eagerness to get back to work.

Encore was, above all things, a tired effort from a tired artist. The put-downs sounded oddly manufactured, and the choruses, always Em's forte, were forgettable.

Flash forward five years and Shady hasn't improved that much, but he at least seems to be trying harder.

He's still making fun of mile-wide targets like Sarah Palin and Kim Kardashian, he still hates his mother, and he still wants us to believe that he'll say anything, anytime.

First single "We Made You" is dreadful in its nursery rhyme beat, produced under Dr. Dre's watchful eye, and its business-as-usual verses.

Does anyone really need to hear more jabs at Jessica Simpson? Really?

Predictably darker second single "3 a.m." fares a little better, although Shady's mock Jamaican accent is troubling at best. More troubling? The embarassing off-kilter accent makes a victory lap in several Relapse tracks.

"It's 3 a.m. in the morning, put my key in the door/bodies laying all over the floor/ I don't remember how they got there but I guess I must of killed them," he spits on "3 a.m."

Ensuing rhymes about masturbating to Hannah Montana are sure to offend whoever it is that still gets offended by this guy.

The album tracks are stronger than the dud singles here, a switch from any previous Em album.

The slick, horn-driven beat of "My Mom" is a cure-all for the routine rhythms of "Hello" and "Medicine Ball."

"I know you're probably tired of hearing about my mom," he raps on the former, the closest you're going to get to an apology from Em for his redundant subject matter.

"Insane" employs a skittish, horror-movie soundtrack to make a chilling manifesto for Shady's loose screws, if you can bear accounts of anal rape.

Although c'mon, if you bought an Eminem album in the first place, that's probably not going to bother you too much.

Later tracks like "Crack A Bottle" bring the star power courtesty of 50 Cent and Dre himself, but by then, it's too late for the Shady one.

The verdict? Relapse is a step up, but it's still a throwaway from a once indispensable artist.

- SoR

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jay Bennett: 1963-2009

As you've probably heard by now, former Wilco multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett died Sunday in his sleep.

The 45-year-old performer was found in his Urbana, Ill. home. Cause of death has not been released.

The news comes just weeks after Bennett filed a lawsuit against his former Wilco bandmate Jeff Tweddy over royalties and his part in the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot documentary "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart."

A lot of things have been said about Bennett, even on this blog.

But his contributions to Wilco albums, including their masterpiece YHF, are undeniable.

He's remembered as a gifted arranger and all-around musician, but his public film battles with Tweedy added another dose of drama to Wilco's tortuous history.

Bennett was weeks away from hip surgery and his latest solo record. Seems a terrible shame. R.I.P. Jay.

Tweedy posted the following comment on Wilco's Web site:

"We are all deeply saddened by this tragedy. We will miss Jay as we remember him -- as a truly unique and gifted human being and one who made welcome and significant contributions to the band's songs and evolution. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends in this very difficult time."

- SoR

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Review: White Rabbits - It's Frightening

Rating: 7.5
Released: May 19, 2009
TBD Records

Yes, this is another indie band named after an animal.

Yes, they have two drummers.

Yes, it sounds like Spoon, thanks in no small part to silvery-sheen production from Spoon frontman Britt Daniel.

Yes, it's one of the best rock albums of the year so far.

No, Grace Slick is nowhere to be seen.

Brooklyn-based White Rabbits, touted for their sharp hooks and minimalist approach, deliver on their sophomore record.

Their debut, 2007's Fort Nightly, was that rare debut that sounded like it was made by decades-old rock vets. It was polished, the tunes were dramatic and they lent themselves to singalongs.

All the keys were there for a big splash.

The big splash never really came, but It's Frightening finds the Rabbits playing to their strengths, which is seamless pop songs driven by the left end of the piano.

Like Spoon, the Rabbits recording approach likely requires hours of trimwork. The best songs sound shaved to their most basic elements - eerie vocals, chugging keys, and amped up drums and bass.

The rhythm section, much like in Spoon's 2002 opus Kill the Moonlight, is the star. It's true that Daniels has a formula, but it works.

Frontmen Greg Roberts and Stephen Patterson record menaced, harmonic vocals with the right amount of pretty to keep it pop.

"They done wrong/and we done wrong/ what makes you so certain all their fingerpointing's done," Roberts sings in paranoid album highlight "They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong."

A low-end piano riff keeps the track gassed until the shimmering, melodramatic coda straight out of a Sigur Ros cookbook.

Other songs like the aptly titled album opener "Percussion Gun," employ Spoon and Cold War Kids tricks - the dark guitars and soaring vocals - to make indie drama ripe for the radio. More power to ya.

- SoR

Monday, May 18, 2009

Review: Steve Earle - Townes

Rating: 7.5
Released: May 12, 2009
New West

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the long unheralded late Townes Van Zandt (photo right) is due for some flattery.

A brilliant folk and blues songwriter, Van Zandt's acolytes read like a laundry list of popular and influential modern artists: Conor Oberst, Neil Young, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Norah Jones, Meat Puppets, Devendra Banhart, and, oh yeah, Bob Dylan.

His three-decade recording career yielded heaps of blues and country originals that injected Woody Guthrie's everyman poetry with Texas attitude and grit, including the Van Zandt-penned country smash "Pancho and Lefty."

It also produced equal heaps of financial disarray and addictions.

Yet his death in 1997 passed, much like his troubled life, under the radar.

It should come as no surprise that perhaps the most moving tribute so far for the "songwriter's songwriter" comes from his protege, Nashville roots icon Steve Earle (photo left).

Earle once called Van Zandt the best songwriter in the world. Still, he doesn't let his devotion get in the way of a good performance on Townes.

This 15-track collection cherrypicks Van Zandt's wandering catalogue of sparse folk and gritty blues over three decades, delivering faithful takes that, for the most part, steer clear of overly reverent canonizations.

The wry Van Zandt would probably have wanted it that way.

The hits, or as close as Van Zandt came to hits, are all here, including "Pancho and Lefty," Townes' legendary outlaw drama.

In the hands of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, "Pancho and Lefty" was a chart-topping smash in 1983. Don't expect the same for Earle's lonely, acoustic interpretation.

But the highlights here are the overlooked numbers.

Earle delivers an apocalyptic take on "Lungs," spicing up Van Zandt's original with breathy vocals, Crazy Horse guitar distortion and an amped up rhythm section.

"Won't you lend your lungs to me/mine are collapsing," Earle sings like he wrote it.

Earle seems positively giddy to spin "Delta Momma Blues," Van Zandt's playful folk ode to lusty Mississippi stool pigeons, and his pub love letter "Loretta," which Earle turns into a Celtic ballad.

"My guitar sings, Loretta's fine/Long and lazy, blonde and free/I can have her any time," Earle drawls on the latter.

For an artist like Van Zandt, whose music is often packaged with the troubled, drug-addled story of his short life, it's refreshing to hear what pushed the blues troubador more than booze and narcotics: women.

All of it sounds like Earle, whose earned the right to sing the blues. The "hard-core troubador" has had his fair share of drug and legal problems.

As with most covers albums, most of the tunes end up sounding like the performer and not the icon, but the 15 songs here hew closely enough to Van Zandt's homespun pastiche to weave a fitting tribute.

If you're into Earle's ragged roots rock and churning grungy anthems, you'll dig it. If not, buy the originals for the real deal.

It may be too late to give Van Zandt's wallet a well-deserved fattening, but here's hoping he finds a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a little help from his friends.

- SoR

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wilco (The Album) - Get Some!

Good news if you're a Wilco fan, which you should be.

Wilco is streaming its entire new album, brilliantly titled Wilco (The Album), now on the band's Web site.

Listen to it here. (Update: Wilco has temporarily stopped the streaming, but they promise it will return).

The LP doesn't debut until June 30 on Nonesuch Records, but Rolling Stone is reporting the band is responding to its leak on the Internet.

This is nothing new for the band. They've streamed each of their last three albums free on the net.

First impressions? The Chicago band is retreating from the country-rock of 2007's Sky Blue Sky and embracing more of the spacey guitar heroics that made 2004's A Ghost Is Born so memorable.

The early highlight is "Bull Black Nova," an extended cut with haunting, staccato keys and chiming guitar rawk. This sounds like the first time fans will get to hear Wilco guitar superhero Nels Cline cut loose in the studio.

Listen and enjoy. Then buy in June.

- SoR

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lil Wayne and Rock = Vietnamese Food?

Alright, I've kept my peace on this long enough.

What's it like to ascend to the very top of your genre, declare yourself the greatest in that respective genre, and then switch genres?

Few people can give you an answer on that, save for Lil Wayne.

The mini-rapper extraordinaire's rock album, Rebirth, is still weeks away from a tentative June 23 release, but the piecemeal offerings that have trickled out from the LP in recent weeks all point to one thing.


Miss Limp Bizkit? Can't get enough Linkin Park and Kid Rock? Still waiting for a Faith No More reunion? Don't everybody jump up at once.

That's what Wayne's first single from the album, titled "Prom Queen," sounds like. If you were to drop several forks in a trash compactor and ask your 12-year-old brother to play his first guitar solo, you might have an idea.

You can understand my trepidation.

Rolling Stone is reporting that at least one of the tracks will shoot for an old-school Beastie Boys sound. The Beasties were one of the few groups that managed to pull off rap-rock. Let's hope that carries through the rest of Rebirth.

Just months ago, Wayne was topping the world with Tha Carter III, one of the most potent hip hop records from the last decade. The singles were unforgettable and the album tracks were brilliantly subversive.

No doubt it takes stones to switch it up when you're at the top of your game. Kudos to Weezy for the stones.

But that doesn't mean we have to like it, and according to Wayne's manager, "He don't care."

This isn't the first time a rap star believed he could fly. Check out Tupac in 1994's "Above the Rim" to see Tupac act like, well, Tupac.

Red Man and Method Man soon followed suit, while Kanye West released his soul record, 808s and Heartbreak, last year. Kanye sings and he sounds not unlike a drowning goat!!

Still, maybe Rebirth will be awesome.

If I ruled out everything based on the first taste, I never would have liked beer, wine, vodka or Vietnamese food. Let's cross our fingers and hope that Wayne's latest is like Vietnamese food.

- SoR

Monday, May 11, 2009

Art Brut - Art Brut vs. Satan

Rating: 4.0
Released: May 12, 2009

To quote Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand, who so clearly influenced Art Brut, "You could have it so much better."

British pop act Art Brut made a name for itself in recent years making the kind of tongue-in-cheek disco rock that, in theory, would make Pulp proud.

Whether they've lived up to that expectation or not is another thing.

Frontman Eddie Argos shoots for the singspeak wit and presence of vet Jarvis Cocker, but on Art Brut's latest, Art Brut vs. Satan, he just sounds oddly tuneless.

The propulsive tracks and slashing angular guitars are, no surprise, like the heaviest tracks from an Artic Monkeys or Bloc Party album, but without the tight pop sensibility.

"Bring me tea/bring me coffee/I was up all night/I've been making mistakes/I'm hiding it well but I don't feel great," Argos sings on first single "Alcoholics Unanimous," which sounds like an anthem for unimaginative pub crawlers.

Other tracks like "DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake" make you wonder if Art Brut is running out of things to say.

"DC Comics and chocolate milkshake/some things will always be great ... even though I'm 28," Argos rants on the grating chorus.

The song is funny, but it sticks like a song in an ad. Which is to say, it's annoying.

Some tunes fare better than others.

Pixies mastermind and producer Frank Black predictably brings the guitars and it works sometimes, like on slash and jab rocker "Demons Out!"

"The record buying public shouldn't be voting," Argos sings to the demon idiots in the room.

It's likely someone will find love in Argos' cockney jabbering, but his voice, which tends to make all Art Brut songs sound identical, could turn just as many people off.

"How am I supposed to sleep at night/when nobody likes the music I write," Argos bemoans during "Demons Out!"

Um, have you tried sleeping pills?


Friday, May 8, 2009

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - Outer South

Rating: 6.0
Released: May 5, 2009

Let's just say we're going to take this Dylan comparison seriously.

If so, 29-year-old Conor Oberst is in Dylan's late 60s, early 70s John Wesley Harding and New Morning period.

Perhaps tired of being asked to sit in as the voice of a generation, he just wants to wear matching jackets with his drinking buddies (it's like the Pink Ladies in Grease 2!), drive a motorcycle, wear Top Gun aviator glasses (woot homoerotic beach volleyball!), drive to Nogales and indulge his classic rock bone.

Like Dylan, he's going to take his knocks for not making the album everyone wants to hear. For Dylan, it was Highway 61 Revisited or Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. For Oberst, it's his landmark 2005 folk opus I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning.

But if you like your artists subversive and willful, it goes with the territory. So hush up! Outer South isn't that bad.

It isn't that good either.

You can't talk about what this album is without saying what it isn't. It's not a Bright Eyes album or even a Conor Oberst solo record, like last year's even-keeled, self-titled travelogue. It's more like a jam around a campfire. With electric guitars.

Oberst writes 10 of the 16 tracks here, ceding some songwriting and vocal duties to bandmates Nik Freitas, Taylor Hollingsworth and Jason Boesel.

The non-Obersts are pleasant. They're not the least talented guys in the room, but The Band they ain't.

Their amicable folk and power-pop numbers pass by without making a fuss, which is to say they're forgettable.

No surprise, the strongest songs here belong to Oberst. The good news is if you trim those six Mystic Valley tunes, you still have an album's worth of new Oberst.

"To All The Lights in the Windows" sounds like Wilbury-era Tom Petty, and "I Got The Reason" is patient folk rock with some Crazy Horse spice for good measure. It knows where it's going so there's no need to rush.

Meantime, "White Shoes" and "Roosevelt Room" is as close as you're going to get to old Bright Eyes material. "Just tell me what you want to do/anything you want to do," Oberst sings over spare acoustic guitar in the former.

It's a haunting reminder of just how good a songwriter Oberst can be. His strength has always been his lyrics, which have grown increasingly cryptic.

In "Roosevelt Room," he's still raging against the political establishment.

"You want me to pay my taxes/ So you can propagate your lies/While there's barefoot dudes down in New Orleans
Looking like they're gonna die," he sings.

Somebody go find Bush, it's time to stick it to him again.

Others like "Slowly (Oh So Slowly)" and "Nikorette" are regrettably generic songs, especially from an artist whose blunt histrionics and trembling baritone made him one of the most distinct singer-songwriters in the whole pack.

Chances are this material breathes well on the road; much of it sounds like it was recorded there anyway.

In the end, that's one of the biggest differences between Dylan and Oberst, at least for now.

In the early 1970s, Dylan found happiness living a remote, homely life with his love. Oberst seems to have found his love too, and it's the road.

- SoR

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hop On Pop: May Album Releases

Yes, in honor of Eminem's comeback this month, I have posted a picture of him looking 14 and wearing a pink Alf T-shirt.

Something about this picture just screams, "Beware the coming onslaught of homophobia!!!"

Otherwise, it looks like a pretty slow month for music, aside from Steve Earle's tribute to his late mentor Townes Van Zandt and Grizzly Bear's well-timed return.

We also have an hour-long punk-pop opera from Green Day to look forward to. What has two thumbs and is highly skeptical? This guy!!

The Field is an excellent electronic artist and Iron and Wine can make seductive modern folk. Check it out.

May 12:
Art Brut - Art Brut vs. Satan
The Crystal Method - Divided By Night
Steve Earle - Townes
Roman Candle- Oh Tall Tree In The Ear

May 15:
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown

May 19:
Eminem - Relapse
The Field - Yesterday and Today
Iron and Wine - Around the Well
Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications
John Vanderslice - Romanian Names
Iggy Pop - Preliminaires
White Rabbits - It's Frightening

May 26:
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - II

- SoR

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tweedy Returns Fire

One day after the Chicago Tribune reported that former Wilco member Jay Bennett is suing frontman Jeff Tweedy, Tweedy is speaking out.

Bennett is seeking royalties and claiming Tweedy didn't have permission to include him in the 2002 Wilco documentary I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.

Here's the text of Tweedy's statement, posted Tuesday by Paste magazine:

"I know exactly as much as everyone else does. I've read the news and I honestly have no idea what these claims are based on. It was such a long time ago. Aside from everything else, I'm being sued for not paying someone for appearing in a movie I didn't produce. Go figure. I am truly sad it has come to this. I am equally convinced, however, that I have done nothing wrong and that this will be handled fairly and swiftly."

Seriously? Tweedy didn't produce that movie.

- SoR

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hop on Pop: Live Acts to Catch

Here's a new addition for the Salmon.

I'd like to point out fantastic live music to see in the coming days.

Obviously, this list focuses on Charlotte, Asheville and the Triangle region of North Carolina because that's where I live.

This isn't comprehensive. It focuses on major or up-and-coming acts, but it might leave out what you're looking for, especially if you're into jam bands. Send me any suggestions if you've got any.

So many venues, so little time. Seek tickets from the respective sellers.


May 6: India Arie, Amos' Southend, Charlotte
May 9: The Lights Fluorescent, Local 506, Chapel Hill
May 12: Richard Shindell, The Evening Muse, Charlotte
May 13: Mastodon, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill
May 13: Snoop Dogg, Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh
May 14: Snoop Dogg, Amos' Southend, Charlotte
May 22: Roman Candle, The Evening Muse, Charlotte
May 27: The National, Tabernacle, Atlanta
May 28: The National, Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh
May 30: Josh Ritter, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill
May 30: The Lights Fluorescent, Milestone, Charlotte
May 31: Little Feat, Amos' Southend, Charlotte
June 3: The Decemberists, Tabernacle, Atlanta
June 4: The Decemberists, Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh
June 6: Gaelic Storm, The Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte
June 6: Rusted Root & The Rosebuds, Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh
June 9: Phish, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville
June 10: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte
June 11: Grizzly Bear, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill
June 11: TV On The Radio, Amos' Southend, Charlotte
June 12: Jenny Lewis, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill
June 12: Yardwork, Milestone, Charlotte
June 13: TV On The Radio, Tabernacle, Atlanta
June 15: Sunset Rubdown, Local 506, Chapel Hill
June 16: Band of Horses, The Orange Peel, Asheville
June 16: Peaches, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill
June 17: Band of Horses, The Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte
June 20: Camera Obscura, Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill
July 13: Handsome Furs, Local 506, Chapel Hill

- SoR

Ex-Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett returns! Mwa ha ha!

It's like night of the living ex-band members over here.

Jay Bennett, former Wilco multi-instrumentalist, is suing frontman Jeff Tweedy for royalties and his part in the 2002 Wilco film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.

Check out the story in the Chicago Tribune.

If you can't remember Bennett, he was the sort-of dreadlocked white guy grousing during the making of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. It's a good thing he was there to grouse. That album totally sucked!! On opposite day!!

Bennett says he wasn't compensated for his part in the film and that Tweedy didn't obtain the releases he needed for Bennett to appear in the movie. It's an odd claim because it's unclear if Tweedy had any production role in the movie.

For his part, Bennett probably has a point. Every good movie needs a villain, a well-paid villain, and Bennett certainly appeared to play the part, fair or not. He left the band shortly before the album and the movie made a splash.

In other Wilco news, the band has a new album coming out in June titled Wilco (The Album). There's a song on it called Wilco (The Song). Hmmm, hope this isn't like a Bad Company thing. Naming songs and albums after the band doesn't always make for record gold.

- SoR

Don't Call It A Comeback, I've Been Here For Years

I'm making a comeback, and hopefully I'll fare a little better than Britney.

Apologies for the silence radiating like waves from the Salmon of late. Work and grad school applications have kept me away, but there's much to talk about.

There's good music to be had, and good shows to talk about. If you're still reading, thanks.

- SoR

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Love Hangover" playlist - Shogun Dialectic

As promised, the Salmon is presenting playlists for your digestion. The first comes from my friend Shogun Dialectic. Shogun's a wicked writer who introduced me to the Velvet Underground.

Dig Chet Baker and Heartless Bastards in the same playlist.

1. Chet Baker – I Fall in Love Too Easily

2. M. Ward -- Never Had Nobody Like You

3. Ladyhawke – Back of the Van

4. Lily Allen – The Fear

5. Poland – Finally September

6. The Enright House – Darkwave = MC Squared

7. Efterklang – Mirador

8. Selfish Cunt – Feel Like A Woman

9. Heartless Bastards – Be So Happy

10. The Cloud Hymn – Wide

11. The Long Blondes – Autonomy Boy

12. Sunset Gun – I Want to Fuck You Up

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bruce Springsteen- Working On A Dream

Rating: 7.2
Released: Jan. 27, 2009

I have come to think of Bruce Springsteen as America's conscience. Think of him as Jiminy Cricket with a bandanna.

There are few constants in this life, save for The Boss and his link to our better instincts.

When thousands of Vietnam vets returned to a lukewarm ovation in America in the 1970s and 1980s, Bruce sang for them (see "Born in the USA").

When Reagan Republicans turned a blind eye to AIDS research because the disease was commonly associated with homosexuality, Bruce sang for them too (see "Streets of Philadelphia").

When scores of Americans prepped for holy war after 9/11, there was Bruce, singing, "Better ask questions before you shoot (see "Lonesome Day")."

When former President George W. Bush made the case for war in Iraq, there was Bruce singing about political slight-of-hand (see "Magic").

And when Republican demagogues threatened to shout down Presidential candidate Barack Obama as a liberal firebrand, Bruce was there to make the case for change.

Of course, the Boss is a legend today not just because he was in the right place at the right time. He is one of America's most enduring songwriters, and few artists can claim to have recorded as brilliantly as Bruce did from 1972 to 1980.

That said, his latest album "Working On A Dream" is Bruce coasting. His lyrics, once sharp and keen, have grown increasingly vague, and his voice, once a harrowing rock and roll battle cry, has deepened and weathered.

Rolling Stone will crown "Working On A Dream" a triumph. Pitchfork will dub it an unmitigated bland failure. As is often the case when overzealous critics look for bold proclamations, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

There are great songs here. Who knew Springsteen was still capable of romantic epics like "Outlaw Pete" and "Working On A Dream?" Both songs are heavy with massive Born To Run guitars, strings and Clarence Clemons' explosive saxophone.

There are intimate gems, like bonus track "The Wrestler." Written for the film of the same title, the sparse, downtrodden tune is perfect for Mickey Rourke's Raging Bull-style epic of an aging fighter.

There are oddities like The Boss gone Tom Waits on bluesy stomper "Good Eye."

And there are sleepers here too. I'm not sure that the cheesy "Queen of The Supermarket," a weird hymn to a grocery store clerk, is going to last in a good way.

But Bruce will last, and when he takes the stage during the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday, it'll be most fitting.

In this time of turmoil, as our economy collapses underneath us, Bruce will sing to the gathered throngs in Tampa to call on our better nature again.

In the meantime, go out and buy this album.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Charlotte Viewpoint

In addition to the blog, the Salmon is now doing work for Charlotte Viewpoint, a fine multimedia publication covering local and national arts and culture.

Check it out. It's a good read. I will hope to post to the Salmon blog with more frequency in the coming weeks. Master's applications are a grueling, time-consuming process.

There are lots of albums to read about. Expect new album reviews for The Boss, Franz Ferdinand and A.C. Newman in the coming days.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Bon Iver- Blood Bank EP

Rating: 7.3
Released: Jan. 20, 2009

Bon Iver makes winter music.

It doesn't matter that Justin Vernon recorded his 2008 debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, while holed up in an old, drafty cabin.

The music just sounds like it was made for a blustery evening. Hushed guitars, check. Campfire vocals, check. Singer pining for a woman while the metaphorical wolves bark at the door, double check. I'm feeling chilly already.

It may come as a surprise then that the best track here finds Vernon singing about summer. "Summer comes/to multiply," he sings over a simple, repetitive piano chiming variations on the same note. This tune, titled "Babies," might remind you of LCD Soundsystem's 2007 stunner "All My Friends" without the full-band outro.

The important thing is it thaws any reservations that Bon Iver is going to record the same song over and over.

The first two songs on the four-track release tread the same ground as For Emma, but "Babies" and the a capella "Woods" are the real stunners.

In "Woods," Vernon uses a - GASP! - vocoder to layer his always haunting tenor, stacking vocals one upon another like a dusty Beach Boys tune.

It's a bold trick for a folk star, and it pays off. We might have seen this coming.

Vernon used the device, infamously popularized by hat-wearing geeks like T-Pain, sparingly on his first album. Let's hope he doesn't go Kanye West on it and O.D. in his next set.

EPs can serve a few purposes. Some are merely collections of leftover tracks immediately following a popular album. Others are rough drafts that can give clues on a rising star's direction.

Blood Bank
is likely the second of the two, and it should pacify Bon Iver's bloodthirsty, devoted fans at least until Vernon releases his next full-length.

- SoR

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ryan Adams Not To Retire?

An update on Ryan Adams Retirement Crisis 2009!!!

He's not going to retire.

Here's his most recent post, in its entirety:

"Of course everything i said got taken out of context. as always, i did not say i was quitting i said i was taking a step back…so thanks…..thanks again."


Ryan Adams to Retire?

Bad news if you're a Ryan Adams fan. Maybe.

The prolific singer/songwriter is apparently taking a break from music.

This according to a post on his band blog this morning. Adams has released five albums and an EP since 2005, at least three of which were solid to excellent. That's not a bad ratio in this biz.

But Adams wrote Wednesday that a March 20 show at Atlanta's Fox Theatre will be his "last venture" with his band The Cardinals. Adams said he is "ready for quieter times."

In the lengthy post, Adams also finds time to blast the music media. It seems fair given the snark-tastic tone music writers have taken to the Raleigh songwriter for several years now.

"This is not much of a life, not glamorous," Adams wrote this morning.

It's likely that a slowdown for Adams really means he'll release music at the rate of a normal artist. Who knows? He indicates in his post that he hopes to eventually be in a position to make music again.

Here's hoping that we hear tunes from Adams again. If not, live well.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Animal Collective- Merriwether Post Pavilion

Rating: 9.5
Released: Jan. 6 (vinyl), Jan. 20 (cd)

Question: How do you know when a band has the indie world's ear?
Answer: When the months leading up to an album release are filled with cloak and dagger grabs to get an early copy.
Somebody even hacked into a band member's e-mail and sent fraudulent messages pleading for an Internet leak.
People want this album. They won't be disappointed.
Merriwether Post Pavilion is electrifying.
Animal Collective is one of a handful of bands that gets more beloved every time its members innovate.
Like Wolf Parade, there is more than one savant in this band (see Panda Bear and Avey Tare). The wild thing is these guys actually collaborate.
With 2005's Feels, AC sounded like a Pet Sounds-revival with acoustic guitars. By 2007, the band was making Strawberry Jam: the weirdest pop you've ever heard, which, depending on your ears, might have sounded like the most thrilling pop you've ever heard.
This record should convince everybody that Animal Collective, once dismissed as "freak-folkers" by people who write such things, is one of the best bands in the land.
Merriwether Post Pavilion might not be a superficial grab for record sales, but the Beach Boys vocal acrobatics and MGMT electronics could sell a few.
Less club-friendly than MGMT, Animal Collective washes every second of the tape with sublime noise. If these guys were painters, they'd be impressionists.
Panda Bear takes the lead on this album (good news if you heard his 2007 solo masterpiece Person Pitch), but AC blends its sound into a big melodic soup.
It's hard to pick out one ingredient in a great soup. Same thing applies here. The lyrics have never mattered with this band. Just the sound.
"In the Flowers" is a slow-building stunner. "If I could just leave my body for a night," Avey Tare sings just before the bottom falls out, climaxing in a pulsing keyboard coda.
Other tracks like "Also Frightened" and "Daily Routine" cover the tape in spacey harmonies, tribal hoots and warm vocals like Dennis Wilson's best solo output.
The lyrics have never mattered with this band. Just the sound, and Panda's voice has always bore an uncanny resemblance to Dennis' brilliant bro Brian. The comparisons won't stop here.
The most accessible tracks here, "My Girls" and "Summertime Clothes," might be the real stunners.
Always oddly rhythmic, these are dance tunes disguised as indie rock. Look out MGMT.
There's little stopping AC if it's capable of Merriwether Post Pavilion. This is an astoundingly good record. We're in for a good year if this sets the tone.

- SoR

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hop on Pop- The Salmon's Guide to January Albums You'll Want To Pick Up Soon

With the new year comes new albums. That December dry spell is always the toughest to weather for a certified music fanatic.
Here are the albums I think you should be picking up in January.
I urge everyone to buy the albums. These artists deserve the money.
I have also tacked on the mind-bending album cover for Animal Collective's latest. Check it out. It's moving man! I think I'm going to hurl!
Also, look for my review of the new Collective album this week.

Jan. 6
Animal Collective- Merriwether Post Pavilion (vinyl release)
Burial- DJKicks
King Khan & BBQ Show- Animal Party

Jan. 20
Animal Collective- Merriwether Post Pavilion (CD release)
A.C. Newman (from the New Pornographers)- Get Guilty
Andrew Bird- Noble Beast
Antony and the Johnsons- The Crying Light
Bon Iver- Blood Bank EP
Diplo and Blaqstarr- Get Off
John Frusciante (from Red Hot Chili Peppers)- The Empyrean

Jan. 27
Franz Ferdinand- Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Bruce Springsteen- Workin' On A Dream
Duncan Sheik- Whisper House
Of Montreal- An Eluardian Instance EP
Of Montreal- Jon Brion Remix EP
RZA- Afro Samurai: The Resurrection

- SoR