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After the recent release of Happy Holidays: A Very Special Christmas Album, I have come to realize that the Billy Idol I once knew and loved is dead.
1) Just a reminder that there’s still time for the perfect X-mas gift: Big Takeover magazine! We will be glad to send the package by priority mail. 2)I am stunned and sad. Wiz was a friend and we just had dinner in September; I never suspected I would never see him again. 3)Dirksen fit the late ‘70s punk rock times better than anyone as an MC. Instead of lauding the fans and artists, he was like a one man Dean Martin roast, encouraging a state of near riot.
It’s more common and generally easier for a lower-class musician to develop a local reputation through live shows than it is to develop a mass-cultural reputation through recordings. Conventional wisdom claims that the former is a pre-condition for the latter. The success of my old band, THE SILVER JEWS, is
a rare exception to this, yet, lacking such fortune that allows me
access to the cultural middleman of mass culture, I now feel that in order to continue to make music, I must forget about the solitary listener, alas, and with it, the ideal of the well-crafted song—-at least for the time being
Hello BT Readers and Decent Music Fans! Here’s the latest on our end: 1) Info about the new issue 59, out in the stores now, and some sample quotes from it! The perfect holiday gift! 2)A rave review of The Big Takeover from The Idolator music web site 3) import Don McGlashan (ex-Mutton Birds) CDs (at domestic price) and out of print Springhouse CDs now available for sale on our secure online store here!
It was an enormous success, as you can probably tell from the blog write-up and the shots. I really had an excellent time, as you further tell from the happy look on my face in the photo where it’s clear I am amazed to be introducing the great Don McGlashan, all the way from New Zealand. It looked like all three artists, and everyone in attendance, and our colleague/alumni, Sound Fix’s proprietor James Bradley were pleased with it as well. So it’s looks to be a sure bet that we will do another one!
In her New York Times Magazine piece on the Toronto ‘youth’ music scene that revolves around the ‘flagship’ band BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE, ALISSA QUART shows that piercing wit and, at times, brutal insight, are alive and well in today’s muckraking rock journalism.
While punk and rap bands for the most part didn’t want to blow their ‘street cred’ or coolness by crying, country music and to a lesser extent, ‘adult contemporary,’ largely took up the slack, even if too often it felt like muzak version of tears.
Hey, we haven’t had a Big Takeover party in a few years, and we have come up with a new wrinkle for one. Rather than doing it on a weekend night with loud live bands as we have in the past, it’s time we did a weekend afternoon with some international all-star acts playing unplugged/lo-fi in a comfy cafe adjoining one of New York’s truly great record stores, Sound Fix! For free!
Done up in glistening war paint, tricked out with teeth and feathers and bone and laced into plenty of black leather and denim, The Hunt not only look the part, but play it all too well.
Critics debate the usefulness, or uselessness, of canons all the time. I only care about personal canons, about what albums really mean something to individual people who care about music.
I’ve been performing my version of your song “Ride The Fence” to very enthusiastic mostly white ‘indie rock’ and/or primarily apolitical folky audiences on both sides of the bay, and I’d like to record it for an upcoming album. I need to get your permission and/or blessing to do this.
You could ask, why would they do it? But it’s probably better to ask, would you do it? And if not, why not? But what if love itself has to be a work of art in order for the art you make to be a loving art?
In our Internet era, anyone can instantly become a music critic, and for a lot of reasons I love that. At the same time, what’s the point if everyone’s writing variations of the same article?
In this sense the fantasy is embodied, the private is public, and there is peace in the universe, or at least an image of peace, and, ay, there’s the rub! For an image of peace, like any idol or icon, threatens the very peace it may be said to represent.
We’re all familiar with music that slowly grows on you. But what about music that slowly means less to you over the years?
I have a hard time writing concert reviews myself. The reason: it’s hard to write about a concert without it turning into a journal entry.
Yes, you could marshal the full force of your persuasive muscle to convince these industry types that pushing more acoustic acts could still ROCK or radiate whatever kind of intensity, warmth, and emotive power deemed marketable.
In receiving these CD versions of long-forgotten-but-once-precious-to-me albums, I’m enjoying re-experiencing them, facing them head-on once again.
... I can now say with conviction (that I wouldn’t have had only a month ago) that with the success of KYOU, music podcasting has finally arrived and AM music radio is back.
With a sweeping silver mane that would be better suited to an aging rockstar rather than a prime minister, JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI is not only the most powerful man in Japan, but also a rock ‘n’ roll obsessive.
Listening to that much GBV in a row was never tedious; instead, I found it consistently exciting. I was reminded of how many truly great songs ROBERT POLLARD has written…
... the “iPod revolution” may light a long overdue fire under the butt of increasingly complacent ‘independent’ radio program directors.
I know that MICHAEL NESMITH had a lot to do with easing the transition from what DAVID BERMAN calls the roped off amusement park called ‘Rock World,’ toward a wider appreciation of ‘roots music’ and country in particular, just as GRAHAM PARSONS, GENE CLARK, RAY CHARLES, THE GRATEFUL DEAD, BOB DYLAN, or maybe (just maybe) the ‘alt country’ movement have for others.
The flip side of the too-much-music dilemma is this: the more music I open myself up to, the greater the likelihood that I will be surprised.
While some could claim that we probably never would have heard of, much less care, about MICHAEL NESMITH, had it not been for the Monkees, it’s equally plausible that his success with THE MONKEES has actually prevented a greater appreciation for his solo work.
This jazz that is life is set to a tune you can’t get out of your head and it feels like your most understanding companion. You’ll carry around your wonder of it from place to place like you’ve got the museum of truly modern and moving art in your clutches, and how wonderful that, unlike MOMA, this same stuff you schlep was available to your friends and cronies for them to own too and revel, revel, revel in the current that makes you feel like your hair is standing up on end, Linus-like.
But even if the words don’t matter as much as the tune, the tune may not matter as much as a good singer. “The singer not the song” dichotomy definitely complicates the words/tune dichotomy…
While I’ve always rejected the notion that there’s too much music released day-to-day, sometimes I wonder whether there’s too much music in my world.
I am betting that a ton of our readers are similarly peculiar in this aspect of moving. We have compiled a truly unusual amount of musical detritus as the years have passed. I mean, let’s just think a second about that word “cassettes.” I mean, how many cassettes do I play in a year these days? A few dozen? Well, it took some 14 large boxes to get all of the ones I have ready for their maiden voyage to Brooklyn.
I found that trying to fit words to this particular melody was threatening to make me abandon the song for another one without as pretty of a melody and I didn’t want to have to do that.
“In many a dark hour I’ve felt so ashamed
That the world Jesus fought loves to shout out his name
But I can not speak for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Jake Dylan’s father had Bob on his side”
While strength of songs and/or intensity of passion can help make up for many folk or acoustic guitarists lack of virtuosity, such allowances are less likely to be made for solo pianists.
While there’s been ample hand-wringing about the evolution from vinyl to CD to the MP3, something good and very underappreciated has happened in the process.
One can be called a ‘freak folk’ artist, for instance, if one plays the harp, but there’s not enough novelty for a pianist to warrant this currently fashionable designation.
The idea of cheap production and cheap entertainment, as in THE MINUTMEN’s ‘econo’ philosophy, which was so central to 1980s alternative culture, has largely gone the way of the small car, and with it, we’ve lost a certain aesthetic beauty of jagged edges…
If I were a DJ or podcaster and someone called up and requested Bragg’s version of “She’s Leaving Home,” I’d suggest his rendition of “Walk Away Renee” or one of Bragg’s many great originals…
I automatically have a bias against this show from the start, even though I’m curious to see it.
You’re trying to catch the ears of labels, reviewers, and DJs who may give it one half-listen while multitasking, and never make it past the first song, or who may play each song for 30 seconds without giving the album time grow on them (a practice which may explain why so many popular albums don’t hold up to repeated listening).
From undulating butts lighting up panoramic scoreboards to BARRY BONDS’ troublesome pursuit of the all-time home run record to a cynical steroids investigation, baseball has never strayed so far from its idyllic roots.
Sometimes, you just need to be reminded of what made you want to be a musician in the first place…
One of the things I want to do in this space is to occasionally give you an inside view of how magazines are made. Today, I will give a glimpse of why our print mag comes out only twice a year (1982 was the last time we came out more often), since it’s a question I am frequently asked by readers.
I thought that taking my music to ‘market’ would somehow destroy the freedom of expression I found by playing it in more informal settings. I was out there in the park busking more to meet girls than to make money.
I start to imagine that every city, town, or village has so many of these unknown bands in their past, present, and future: bands without the ambition or resources it takes to “make it big” (or even semi-big), yet whose music meant so much to their fans.
We’ve begun a “25th Anniversary” sale on our Big Takeover Secure Online Store. Buy three back issues get one free. (Or buy four and get a CD or t-shirt for free.) Limited time offer, get it today! But both the anniversary and the sale remind that neither that milestone nor its attendant celebration would have been possible were it not for one person in particular: SHIRLEY SEXTON, our webmistress emeritus.
Don’t let the record labels fool you. Thanks to the Internet there are more possibilities for musicians to prosper than ever before.
Today concludes my countdown of my top picks for the year 2005 in this space, with brief comments on each. I hope you’ve enjoyed these lists—sometimes we’re so preoccupied with the latest releases in the in-box (I could already make a strong list for 2006 based on January and February releases and the advance copies I have for March and April!!!), that we need some kind of reminder to play ‘old’ music that was only released anywhere between 2-to-14 months ago. Hope this has inspired some of that. Enjoy!
I am continuing with my countdown of my top picks for the year 2005, with brief comments on each. Having done all the new recordings 60-1, and then 40-1 for Old Recordings/Retrospectives, here’s my Top 10 selections for music DVDs (a new category this year, now that they’ve become so prevalent)!!!
I’m still counting down my top picks for the year 2005 in this space, with brief comments on each. Having done all the new recordings 60-1, and last week 40-21 for Old Recordings/Retrospectives, here’s 20-1 for Old Recordings/Retrospectives!!! After all, why should old recordings have to compete with the new work of artists? Note, now that this list is finished, that’s 100 Top CDs for 2005. For all the same old perennial moaning, 2005 was another brilliant year for music, same as every year, and don’t let some stupid aging critic or hipster gone jaded tell you different!
There is a great untold history of eyebrow-less people in rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s time that their hairless brow bones were noticed.