If C&W had a soul Jason Isbell would be the biggest thing in Nashville.
Keith Urban is a judge on American Idol. Blake Shelton is on The Voice. Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and the rest of these prancing pinup models are the stars of the moment.
Meanwhile, down in Alabama, Jason Isbell has produced as good a set of back-to-back records as anybody in country (C&W, alt.Country, Thunder Country, you name your sub-genre) history – maybe as great as any consecutive albums in any popular music genre – and Nashville treats him like something it scraped off its diamond-spangled distressed ostrich boots. Read more
It has been observed, here and elsewhere, what a fucking embarrassment Steven Tyler has become. Once Aerosmith was among America’s greatest bands, and today they occupy the #5 spot (with a bullet) on my Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen list.
It was refreshing, then, when Joe Perry brought the hammer down on his silly-ass 64-going-on-14 Teen Beat bandmate. Reports TMZ:
Perry went off on Tyler during an interview with the Calgary Herald — saying, “It’s his business, but I don’t want Aerosmith’s name involved with [American Idol]. We have nothing to do with it.” Read more
I remember distinctly how I first discovered Jag Star. I was snooping around on eMusic for new bands and was using the old triangulation method – who sounds like band X? One of my favorite bands is VAST, and Jag Star turned up as a “Similar Artist.”
That was both a great moment and a confusing one. On the one hand, I immediately liked Jag Star’s music. I’ve long loved Power Pop, and while you wouldn’t exactly slot Jag Star in with other bands in the contemporary disciples of The Beatles / Raspberries / Who / Big Star / Badfinger Pop Underground scene, they write great hooks, play really well and aren’t at all afraid to turn up the volume. Not only that, they’re doing it on their terms, the establishment and labels be damned.
On the other hand, I can’t for the life of me figure out how they got into the “Sounds Like VAST” queue. Read more
Lilac, lovelace / remind me of / your true grace
About four years ago I tripped across a band called The Lost Patrol. Since then I’ve noted their work a number of times: they made my best CDs for 2007 and 2008 reviews; their music served as a key element in a piece on the nonlinearity of influence; and they were the subject of a TunesDay post on the band’s “epic retro-futurism.”
Their lead singer when I found them was one Danielle Kimak Stauss, a woman whose hypnotic vocals haunted Steven Masucci’s vast, empty musical landscapes with an ice-cold passion that bordered on the transcendent. After 2007’s superb Launch & Landing Stauss and the band parted ways, and while LP has produced two wonderful CDs in the interim (featuring new singer Mollie Israel), Danielle was nowhere to be heard. Read more
Ten years ago, at the turn of the millennium, Nostraslammy took a stab at predicting the 21st Century, with a promise to check back every ten years to see how the prognostications were turning out. Odds are good I won’t be able to do a review every ten years until 2100, but I figure I’m probably good through 2030, at least, barring some unforeseen calamity. And if you’re Nostraslammy, what’s this “unforeseen” thing, anyway?
Let’s see how our 22 articles of foresight are holding up, one at a time.
1: Researchers will develop either a vaccine or a cure for AIDS by 2020. However, it will be expensive enough that the disease will plague the poor long after it has become a non-issue for the rich and middle classes (although this is one case where political leaders might fund free treatment programs). The end of AIDS will trigger a sexual revolution that will compare to or exceed that of the 1960s and 1970s (unless another deadly sexually-transmitted disease evolves, which is certainly a possibility). Read more
2009 was arguably the best year for new music since 1979, and that’s saying a lot, even if I’m wrong. For whatever reason, this year was just packed with incredibly great CDs from bands we knew were great, bands we didn’t know were this good, bands we hadn’t heard from in a long time and bands we’d never heard of, period. The result – it was all I could do to keep up, and I fully expect to spend the next couple of years tripping over even more awesome releases from 2009 that I missed this year. So in advance, apologies to those artists I didn’t find my way to in 2k9.
So here’s the format. There are usually three tiers: Gold LP, Platinum LP and CD of the Year. (The LP is taken from my personal site, Lullaby Pit, which is where this annual tradition started several years ago. And the fact that albums used to be LPs. Get it?) This year the glut of outstanding CDs have necessitated the addition of a new level – SuperPlatinum – because a few of those platinum discs are a notch above the rest. Over the next few days, then, the Scholars & Rogues/Lullaby Pit Best CDs of 2009 will be rolled out in four installments.
Up first, in roughly alphabetical order… Read more
Finding and buying music used to be a lot simpler process. You could sample new stuff by turning on this thing called a “radio,” and when you heard something you liked you could go purchase it at this other thing called a “record store.” It wasn’t a perfect system, of course. Sometimes the great song on the radio was the only thing worth listening to on the whole “album.” Product was often over-priced. And the radio industry had its own special problems, especially once it became infested with a species of parasite known as the “consultant.”
But all that amazing music you love from the 1960s and 1970s (and even the ’80s and early ’90s in some cases) was the result of this system. Now radio mainly gives us four things: Read more
Three weeks ago we devoted Saturday Video Roundup to “Chicks That Rock.” Then we did an edition on some of the top male artists of 2007. My wife wanted to know why I included a number of male vids but only three from female artists. Good point, that. So today, here are some more Chicks That Rock v.2007.
We begin with one of my favorites, Sarah Nixey. She used to be in Black Box Recorder with the estimable Luke Haines, and this year she released her first solo disc.
I hope this doesn’t become a regular thing, being pissed off before 9am. Maybe I should just avoid the news until after lunch. Anyway, here are a few things I’m not terribly happy about this fine morning: