Finally heard the echoes round the sun

31 05 2010

I try to pay attention to what’s going on with my favorite artists.  The guys in Oasis are some of my favorite artists, especially Noel.

I know he’s a great friend of the Modfather (Paul Weller) but I was unaware of this song’s existence until about 5 minutes ago.  I like it.  It’s a great rocker.  It (at least the video) features Noel Gallagher on bass and the Modfather and Gem Archer on guitar.


Taking me back to my youth

26 05 2010

I’ve always loved music.  By the age of 4 or 5, I was a pretty ardent Beatles fan.  I cut my teeth on “oldies” on the radio, Olivia Newton John, Linda Ronstadt and other soft rock, with some country sprinkled in.  But my musical coming-of-age, if you will, was during the early days of MTV.  While we didn’t have MTV in our house — my mom didn’t get cable TV until the late 90’s — I watched it at other people’s homes.  MTV made music videos, as a medium, explode across the rest of TV.  Anyone remember “Friday Night Videos”?  More than that, MTV, at least I would argue, helped spread fresh music back through FM radio.  Bands that had big video hits seemed to be able to make radio hits out of songs that probably wouldn’t have gotten much airplay otherwise.

What that whole period — 1982 through 1985 — did for me was expose me to all kinds of styles.  Hard rock and heavy metal were starting to explode, hitting something of an apex with the success of the countless hairbands (which happily ended when “Grunge” took over in the early 90’s.)  Punk morphed into a more listener-friendly style: New Wave.  Rap (the nice kind that doesn’t talk about murder and drugs) also took off like a rocket.

I wasn’t necessarily into New Wave.  In fact, I was more of a rocker.  Van Halen was my favorite band back then.  But New Wave, then and now, defined the sound of that period.  Just like the Beatles or the Yardbirds take Baby Boomers back to the mid-60’s or Elvis and Buddy Holly take the previous generation back to the mid to late 50’s, New Wave takes me back the early to mid 80’s.  Much of what is called “80’s music” these days is really the New Wave, which ranged from dark and edgy (The Cure) to pop (Soft Cell.)

I can hear the Beatles and not think of the 60’s or hear the Bee Gees and not think of the disco movement of the 70’s.  But I almost cannot separate New Wave from that period.  I can’t hear it in a vacuum.

All that said, this song, which, ironically, is from 2009, takes me right back to that period.  I hear it a few times a week at the gym and I flash back — not necessarily in thought but in feeling — to 1983.   It’s a pretty catchy song.  I wish I had written or performed it.

Noel previews “Time Flies”

25 05 2010

Noel Gallagher, seemingly content to look back on his fine career with Oasis, previews Time Flies, Oasis’ soon-to-be-released singles collection.

I’m not much for greatest hits or compilations — at least not when there are albums to be had.  But it’s good to see that Oasis is kind of putting a ribbon on the career of the band as it was.   It kind of kills any notion of Liam, Gem, Andy and Chris carrying on or being Oasis.

Here’s the clip.

Goats on my roof

17 05 2010

Martin Scorsese and Nigel Sinclair team up to make a documentary on the life of George Harrison.  Scorsese and George’s widow, Olivia, talked about the project at Cannes.

This is a deeply personal journey for me, it’s been excruciating,” she (Olivia) says. I’ve been archiving for five years — 35 years, really. Throwing cassettes and letters in drawers, little things and pieces of paper that you find that say, ‘Goats on my roof.’ You think, What does that mean?

Ronnie James Dio, dead at age 67

16 05 2010

Small Town

16 05 2010

I was listening to “Penny Lane” today — which, by the way sounds brilliant in remastered stereo! — one of several of the Beatles’ songs that so adeptly look back at the area of their youth.   I wondered if my hometown, in the Detroit suburbs, had a song that described it, at least implicitly.

The first song that came to mind was “Main Street” by Bob Seger.  But other than mentioning “Main Street,” the song bears no resemblance to where I grew up or where I live now (which, coincidentally, are not far from where Bob Seger was raised.)  That songs about the seedy side of town.  Then, of course, there’s “Detroit Rock City,” which really isn’t about Detroit.  It’s more about a vibe.

John Mellencamp’s “Small Town” kind of fits.  My current town is really a small town surrounded the more urban massive “Detroit metropolitan area.”  It’s still a town within miles and miles of city and the people have that “small town” feel, the good kind, not like a bunch of hayseeds.

It seems like English bands have a lot of songs like this.  Lennon and McCartney, as mentioned, were quite good at writing that kind of song.  The Kinks’ entire Village Green Preservation Society album is built around the theme of the then-vanishing 19th century English lifestyle.  My suspicion is that there are more American songs out there to be found.

The Gospel According to Jerry Cantrell

10 05 2010

I had a very strange dream last night. Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains had become a Contemporary Christian singer/songwriter. Crazier than that was that in my dream he had written entire songs and he played many of them. The songs I dreamed were very good, with very complex melodies and sophisticated lyrics.  Too bad I could not have written them down.  The human mind is a very strange thing.