We dip into the interview archives this week for a previously unheard chat from June of last year with ’90s alternative veteran Matthew Sweet
The three members of Papas Fritas — Shivika Asthana, Keith Gendel, and Tony Goddess — discuss the creation of their self-titled debut album.
Ken Shane recommends some of the year’s best music books
Brian Wilson and his band played a dazzling show in Boston last week
Paul Dano is Brian Wilson. (John Cusack, too.)
No Pier Pressure is another triumph in a legendary career
Win an amazing Four Seasons prize package!
Exhilarating. Emotional. Exhausting. The 2014 Newport Folk Festival.
“Expressway” started it all for Gamble & Huff
Ken Shane’s annual Holiday Gift Guide
If you’re a fan of catchy pop tunes and you aren’t familiar with the Paley Brothers, prepare yourself: you’re about to get an education. Andy and Jonathan Paley released their lone album – a self-titled effort – on Sire Records in 1978, just on the heels of the punk rock explosion, featuring a cover photo of brothers looking like they were born to be teen idols, but their music, while certainly not as raw or rough-and-tumble as their labelmates the Ramones, also wasn’t just your typical disposable pop fare. But despite the best efforts of label head Seymour Stein and even with fans like Brian Wilson and Phil Spector in their corner, the Paley Brothers never managed to take off in a big way. Heck, they didn’t even get a chance to suffer through a sophomore slump! Andy and Jonathan soon began working independently of each other, with Andy gaining considerable press for his production work a few years later, and although they’re still tight, they’ve never managed to release another album…until now. Sort of. …
It’s hard to dispute 2012 as the best summer to be a Beach Boys fan in the last quarter-century or so, but thanks to the band’s new Made in California six-disc box set, out tomorrow from Capitol, 2013 comes pretty darn close. Admittedly, it’s hard to keep regenerating compilations under the guise of “greatest hits” when a group already has 10,000 (give or take) of them. To put it in Beach Boys terms, however, all this is not that. (See what I did there?) Given, Made in California has all the usual suspects – “Surfer Girl,” “God Only Knows,” every song about a car, etc. – but what makes it so drastically different are the fingerprints embedded within the tracks. Even the most beloved songs have a handmade touch, be it a slightly different mix (the alternate treatment of “It’s OK” is a personal favorite of mine), a rarely-heard live version, a radio tag in which each Boy identifies himself, or even an introductory soundbyte of infamous patriarch Murry Wilson urging guitarist David Marks to …
5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Shuffle! Join in this week’s Friday Five.
At a time when albums are teased, hyped, leaked, dissected, discarded and re-evaluated before they are even officially released, it has become increasingly rare to be able to approach one with fresh ears, no preconceptions and little baggage. Perhaps that’s why I was so pleasantly surprised last month when I came across the sounds of one mysterious Orval Carlos Sibelius just as a pair of French robots were setting the Internet ablaze with an album that seemed equal parts new music and marketing plan. Perhaps it’s also because his most recent full-length, Super Forma, offers an hour of music brimming with ideas, richly inventive arrangements and layer upon layer of ingenious hooks that demands – and rewards – multiple listens. Super Forma is French multi-instrumentalist Axel Monneau’s third release under the Sibelius moniker (the con extends to the liner notes, which are written in Portuguese) and follows a self-titled album and an EP of the kind of home-recorded folk music that suggests hundreds of hours spent listening to scratched copies of Fairport Convention or Tyrannosaurus …
What can be said about two legends getting together to combine forces on a double album? Beach Boys lyricist Stephen Kalinich and producer/musician/journalist Jon Tiven (with production help from no less than Mark Linett) have created an incredible 2-CD 31 track magnum opus that runs the gamut from classic rock of the late ’60’s/early ’70’s with some swampy-grooves for good measure. This sounds so much like an album I would have heard on the radio as a kid in the mid-to-late ’70’s; the sounds I grew up with – so easily, I admit, I’m enamored with this collection. There’s a lot to digest, so here’s a summary: From Shortcuts To Infinity – the first standout is the disc’s leadoff track, “It Takes Time” which is later ’60’s Dylanesque in its vocal feel and lyrical delivery. Pure Americana. “Fingers To The Sky” grooves in a Stones-y way; “Out Of The Darkness” stands out strongly and “Fight For Peace” (dare I say it) choogles in a nasty-Credence way. “Touch Of Sanity” has that wonderful ’70’s rock feel and …
In which we look at once common curiosities of pop culture that don’t exist anymore, be it because of changing tastes, the fragmentation of culture, or merely the fickle nature of fads. In the late ’70s in the Netherlands, most disco music came in bootlegged medleys on 45, in which popular dance songs were strung together with a cohesive beat, or the music of one band, say, the Beatles, was remixed with a generic 1-2 drum beat and some synthetic hand claps. Dutch music publisher Willem Van Kooten got wind of this trend when he heard a mix that included a danced-up version of “Venus,” of which he owned the copyright. He decided to record a legit dancebeat-assisted disco medley, using “Venus” as well as some Beatles songs as recorded by studio musicians who he thought sounded like John Lennon and Paul McCartney. (They didn’t.) Because of copyright reasons with the Beatles’ songs, Van Kooten and Stars on 45 had to list the name of every song in the medley in the song’s title: “Intro”/“Venus”/“Sugar, …
Singer/songwriter Alexander Fairchild lists his five Desert Island Discs.
At 72 years of age, there’s not much that Jim Horn hasn’t done. While his name might not be immediately familiar, you’ve definitely heard a lot of his work over the years. The session vet got his start playing sax and flute as a key member of Duane Eddy’s band in the late ‘50s (in fact, Eddy once turned down an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, because they didn’t allow saxophones – which they called the “instrument of the devil”). His work with Eddy was merely the starting point of his professional career. From there, he would become one of the most in-demand session players (and a member of the well-known “Wrecking Crew”) during the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. He got the chance to work with all four Beatles. What else needs to be said? Okay fine, here’s more: You’ll find his work on songs like “Good Vibrations,” “God Only Knows by the Beach Boys, “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” by the Righteous Brothers, music for the movie …
Beat the post lunch dip and play along with this week’s Friday Five!
A look at the first big hit for The Four Freshmen, 1952’s “It’s a Blue World.”
Not a fan of Chicago? You may change your mind after hearing these ten tracks.
Hearing the stories behind how the new Camper Van Beethoven album came together, we’re not surprised to find out that God is a CVB fan. And as you listen to La Costa Perdita, the new Camper album which landed in stores on January 22nd via the fine folks at 429 Records, it’s a safe bet that He has a permanent spot on the guest list whenever the band comes to town. David Lowery and the members of Camper Van Beethoven were set to play a show at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur in June of 2011 when rain — an unusual visitor for that particular time of the season — forced the band to postpone. With the unexpected opening on their schedule, the band decided to seize the opportunity to launch into the writing process for what would become their first album of new Camper material since New Roman Times in 2004. The moments of collaboration were fruitful, birthing enough material for an album and then some. There’s a distinctive Northern California tint …
Just because a song gets stuck at #3 on the charts doesn’t mean it’s not an all-time great.
When you get an offer to speak with a guy like Jim Peterik, it’s an opportunity that you really sink your teeth into. As Jeff points out during our conversation, Peterik, whether he realized it at the time or not, was writing songs that were (and would become) the soundtrack to the youth of many. While Peterik is perhaps best known for his work as the keyboardist and songwriter for Survivor, his songwriting success extended well beyond that project as he wrote songs for artists ranging from .38 Special and Sammy Hagar to REO Speedwagon, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Beach Boys in more recent years. Jeff and I really enjoyed having the chance to pick his brain on songwriting (something which he says is still “50% inspiration and 50% perspiration), the business side of things and more than anything, we just enjoyed the chance to hear Jim tell us a few of the stories behind the songs and at times, simply how he was able to get it all done. And how does he continue …
Ken Shane’s favorite albums of the year
Due to the extreme length of this 2012 year-end recap, Michael Fortes recommends that you skip ahead to the entry on Joey Dosik.
Shuffle through Michael’s Top Five records of 2012, and share your own!
Chris Holmes breaks it down to give you his favorite albums of the year that was 2012.
There are a lot of great music autobiographies out there, but there are great ones still to be written. Chris Holmes counts down the Top 5.
Don DiLego’s first album in five years, the Western And Atlantic EP, is an excellent return to form.