All posts tagged: Neil Young


ALBUM REVIEW: Jolie Holland – “Wine Dark Sea”

Second take? Such a treasure! On Wine Dark Sea, Jolie Holland’s sixth LP, the eclectic singer-songwriter doesn’t just sit at the intersection of blues, soul and folk – she proves she can own it. After the joys of records like Escondida, a true studio-debut gem, or her collaborations with M. Ward and guitarist/sound-assassin Marc Ribot, Holland, she of Vancouver’s The Be Good Tanyas, took a bit of a skewed turn with Wine Dark Sea, out now on ANTI, letting go of some of the art-fixated, mid-century folk – think Americana-by-way-of-Andrew-Bird – in favor of what we’ll call a Blue Period: raw and edgier, more soulful crooning, piano stomping, Joe Tex cover, snarling and punchy guitars, the whole nine. And that voice! Holland always has displayed a knack for making her beautiful, highly original voice sound smoky and seductive (case in point: “Old-Fashioned Morphine”). But the word on Wine Dark Sea that comes to mind is affectation. It’s a more pointed delivery – and incredibly engaging. She doesn’t “push” her voice because that somehow implies she’s …


PopSmarts: This Summer I Hear the Drumming

Last week saw the anniversary of one of the most horrific events in American history, the shootings of four unarmed college students by National Guardsmen on the campus of Ohio’s Kent State University. Four casualties may not sound like much of a body count, in a world where collapsing factories kill 900 workers and suicide bombers can wreak havoc in crowded public spaces. Hell, as I write this article, at least 35 people are dead in India after their bus crashed through a guard rail and into a gorge along the Beas River. Thirty-five lives snuffed out, and each of them precious; 35 people, each of whom had hopes and dreams for the future, hopes just as valid as those of Sandy Scheur, or Allison Krause, or Jeff Miller, or Bill Schroeder. But the Kent State massacre was a uniquely traumatizing incident in the social history of the United States. Three days of ugly antiwar demonstrations had escalated into full-scale rioting, with wholesale property damage culminating the torching of the University’s ROTC building. Some student …


10 Movies…Directed By Rock and Pop Stars (To Prepare You for Rob Zombie’s ‘The Lords of Salem’)

Lots of musicians decide they are famous and attractive enough to act, but it takes a special kind of hubris to take a break from making music to direct a movie. Sometimes it works out, as with the fruitful horror filmmaking career of Rob Zombie, whose The Lords of Salem comes out this week. Here are some others who gave it a shot. The Education of Charlie Banks The guy who got an Oscar nomination for The Social Network was once directed by Fred Durst, the guy who wrote the line “gimme somethin’ to break / how ‘bout your fuckin’ face.” But he does know what it’s like to be a violent thug, so there’s that. Yentl Streisand has one of the greatest voices ever, and she’s a good actress, too. And then there’s this literal vanity project, in which the 41-year-old Streisand directs her own performance as a teenager, who disguises herself as a boy to attend a yeshiva. Falling From Grace Ol’ John Cougar made himself up a movie-film real good like, with …

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young with group members Dallas Taylor and Greg Reeves, from the cover of "Deja Vu" (Atlantic)

The #1 Albums: “Deja Vu” by Crosby Stills Nash & Young

Their long musical partnership has been good to David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash. During the period when they added Neil Young to the group, it was very good indeed—although those good days were relatively short. The partnership among the four artists was a reluctant one. Crosby Stills and Nash had already released their classic debut album and considered adding Steve Winwood as a member. When he was unavailable, a record executive suggested Young. Stills knew him well from their days in the Buffalo Springfield, but Nash hardly knew him at all. Each of the four intended to maintain solo careers, which sometimes made it difficult for them to defer to one another in the studio—or to share, preferring instead to hold their best songs for their solo projects. The process of making Deja Vu put the group under strain, and their 1970 tour broke it. The group had been together as a foursome for barely a year before splitting up. One more album would follow under the CSNY name, the live Four Way …

Los Lobos - photo credit: Drew Reynolds

The Popdose Interview: Steve Berlin of Los Lobos

As music fans, bands find their way into our song-obsessed hearts in a variety of ways and some of the best experiences come about very unexpectedly. I think we all have those early albums that we remember hearing that were different. They were different, because top to bottom, the listening experience provided a sonic knockout because of the quality of the songs and in some cases, where the band took those songs. Kiko by Los Lobos hit the mark on both of those points. Spanning 16 tracks, it was a remarkably filler-free listen that found the band reaching new creative peaks throughout. Los Lobos were extremely inspired during the recording sessions for Kiko and that comes through in the vibe of the songs which made it to our ears in album form. And yet, it wasn’t an easy time for the band. They began the sessions for what would become Kiko surrounded by feelings of frustration. The creation of their previous album The Neighborhood had been somewhat of a soul sucking experience on many levels …


Looking Back on Outside Lands: A Reckoning

I didn’t intend for this lapse to happen, but it’s taken me over a week to get around to writing my Outside Lands coverage. Yeah, I happened to have a really busy week and my laptop was out of commission for two days being fixed, but this also happened because at the culmination of Outside Lands last Sunday night, I could hardly even see straight or hear myself think, having experienced three straight days of one of the biggest music festivals San Francisco has to offer. Yes, I’m getting old but I’m not that old; this festival just happens to lay me out due to its sheer size, volume, and intensity. And so after last Sunday, I simply needed to let the experience resonate for a few days before just firing off my recap or notable highlights.


New Video: Neil Young and Crazy Horse, “Oh Susannah”

There are wide swaths of the Neil Young catalog that I’m never going to have any use for, but when I heard he was cutting traditional American folk songs with Crazy Horse and a children’s choir, well…I mean, how can you help but be intrigued? Legendary horse’s ass Jeff Vrabel will fight me on this, but I think the leadoff single from the Americana record, “Oh Susannah,” is worth a listen — and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest. Pre-order Americana here and watch the video — made, as Warner Bros. hastens to tell us, “from actual early American archival footage” — below:

Desert Island Discs with Henry Wolfe

If you had to go away for awhile and you could only take five of your favorite albums with you, which ones would you choose? Yes, we know it isn’t a fair question, but that hasn’t stopped us from asking music fans who happen to be recording artists in their own right. This edition of Desert Island Discs comes courtesy of singer/songwriter Henry Wolfe, whose first full-length album is scheduled for release next month. Visit Henry’s site for samples of his music — after reading his Desert Island picks, of course! Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes This album is slightly unhinged. Dylan and the Band at their most carefree. It just sounds like they’re having so much fun.

Product Review: NuForce Icon uDAC-2

Since the advent of recorded music, there’s been a more or less constant tension between the audiophile segment of the marketplace and the great unwashed hordes of transistor-toting plebes who have always purchased most of the albums. High-end hi-fis, quadraphonic speakers, deluxe super metal cassettes (and no Dolby NR!), top-of-the-line earbuds and lossless files are all different battles in one long war — and now we’re back to shockingly expensive turntables again. It’s like Elton John said. Gear that promises audiophile sound at midline prices is also nothing new, but a lot has changed on the hardware front in the last 50 years — you can still spend thousands of dollars on an amazing home theater system, but the gap between that and more judiciously priced equipment is thinner than ever. Case in point: NuForce’s new entry-level USB-DAC, the Icon uDAC-2. “Hold on a second,” I can hear you saying. “What the hell is a USB-DAC?” The long answer is that I’m really not the guy to ask, because I haven’t used a soldering iron …

Desert Island Discs with Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies

We’re honored to have Cowboy Junkies guitarist Michael Timmins as our guest for today’s edition of Desert Island Discs. The Junkies are currently celebrating the digital release of their latest offering Demons (physical copies of the album will be available on February 15th), a tribute to the music of singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt.  Demons is the second release in their four album arc dubbed “The Nomad Series.”  We’ll tell you some more about the album in a moment, but first, here are Michael’s desert island picks! 1) The White Album – The Beatles I think that Magical Mystery Tour has more songs on it that I’d consider my favorite Beatle songs, but the White Album has so much variety and oddness that I think it can be listened to endlessly.