Abbey Road Studios: not for sale!

22 02 2010

Here’s a bit of good news (unless you were a prospective buyer.)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601014&sid=a803UNSYTsBs

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I’ve had it up to here with…

17 04 2009

I try to stay positive on this blog, but tonight I feel like ranting.  This is a list of things in/around popular music that I can no longer tolerate.  I’d like these things or people to vanish from sight for just awhile.

John & Yoko’s wedding and bed-ins — I’m about as big of a Beatles fan as you’ll meet, but I’m sick to death of all this stuff celebrating the 40th anniversary of John & Yoko’s marriage and their bed-ins for peace.  The bed-ins were a funny idea, but the fact that we’re talking about them 40 years later baffles me.  These weren’t marches like civil rights supporters held in the south in the 50’s and 60’s.  The marches actually changed things.  The bed-ins were a gimmick that attracted a lot of media attention for a positive subject (world peace is a good goal, I agree) but, in the end, accomplished nothing.  I’m frankly sick to death of seeing those old photos of John and Yoko laying in bed together.  I saw Imagine: John Lennon when it came out in theaters 20 years ago.  It had all one would ever need to know about their wedding in Gibraltar and the bed-ins.  Let’s move on, ok?

Phil Spector’s reputation as a genius — I can’t say all about this subject that I would like to, at least not in this post.  Suffice it to say that I think his “wall of sound” sucked on albums like George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.  Spector ruined that brilliant album.  McCartney was wise to “de-Spectorize” Let it Be a few years back.  He sees (hears) what many others are unwilling to recognize: that Spector could be a hack and he overproduced stuff.  More about this some other time perhaps.

Beatles Rock Band video game — I’m not going to blast Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia for allowing this video game to come out.  It will introduce younger kids to the Beatles just as I was introduced to them the better part of a decade after they split.  That said, I’m sick to death of reading and hearing about it.  Instead of playing video games, kiddies, get a damned bass or guitar and learn to play music yourselves!  Parents can get starter guitars, with amps, cords, the whole bit, for $200.  XBox or wii or whatever systems kids play on these days (I sound old, don’t I?) cost as much or more than that.  Make your own music.  Stop living in the fantasy world of playing someone else’s music on a computer.   Either that or stop telling me that Rock Band comes out in September.  Stop posting ab0ut it.  I’ve read it at least 100 times already.  I get it.

Disney actors cutting albums — I fully support a lot of what Disney does.  But I’m disgusted that they keep pumping out CDs by child actors that can’t sing a lick.  That Emily Osment has her own album is proof positive that the music business these days is just plain awful.  It’s a joke.  I like Disney’s TV shows for kids, but how about we get kids listening to good music instead of garbage like the Jonas Brothers.  To balance out the sonic assault on my daughter’s ears that she gets from Disney channel and Radio Disney, I play the Beatles, Oasis, Marvin Gaye, Hank Williams, Sr., Paul McCartney, Sinead O’Connor, and other artists that actually have (or had) lots of talent.  She knows what a good singer should sound like and she knows that the crap Disney is trying to sell her isn’t good.

Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — I was recently happy to learn that George Harrison was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Besides being a Beatle and a pretty darned good solo artist, George was into film and his company, Handmade Films, put out some pretty cool stuff in the 80’s.  My happiness for one of my favorites being honored was diminished when I learned that guys like John Stamos also have stars on the walk.  John Stamos?  Really?  C’mon.   It seems anyone that’s ever been on a bad sitcom gets a star on the walk.  It’s the equivalent of every kid in little league soccer getting a trophy.  Ugh.

Coldplay — I’m not going to attack them.  They seem to be a pretty decent band.  They’re not my cup of tea but, hey, I think I have an idea why others like them.  My beef, though, is that it has been put ’round that Coldplay are the “Beatles of their generation.”  I hate declarations like that!  Coldplay might be one of the most popular bands around these days, and for the last several years, but this generation has no Beatles.  Since the height of Beatlemania, there has been nothing even close to the Beatles.  Michael Jackson in 1983-85, U2 in the late 80’s and again in the early 90’s, and Oasis (mostly in Britain) in 1994-97 came about as close as anyone ever will, but were still light years behind the overall popularity and madness surrounding the Beatles from 1964-66.  The world will never see a band as popular and influential as the Beatles.  Never!  So the comparison is ludicrous.  Can’t we call Coldplay the “U2 of their generation” or the “Michael Jackson of their generation”? Those labels work better.

I think I have more rants in me, but I’ve run out of steam.





So far, no good

9 03 2009

I just picked up the new U2 album, No Line on the Horizon, yesterday.  It would be completely and utterly unfair of me to review it since I’ve only listened to it a few times.  Many times in the past, I’ve had to listen to an album a dozen or more times to get a true feel for it and actually come to love it.

So far, though, NLOTH is uninspiring.  I have little interest in returning to it.  I think I heard 3 songs that sounded promising.  My strongest reaction to the album was, “Gee, U2 sounds an awful lot like Coldplay these days.”

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, though maybe not their best work, really struck me positively the first run-through.  I loved that album (until it got overplayed by me and on radio.)  There is no similar reaction for me with NLOTH.

Maybe in time I will learn to love it.  So far, though, it’s nothin’ special.

u213





Albarn staring at the sun

20 02 2009

My mp3 player on shuffle played U2’s “Staring at the Sun” just as I lay back on the bench to do my skull crushers.  I hadn’t heard the song in a long time as it has been buried behind thousands of other songs on my player.  “Gosh, what does this first verse sound like?  This is really familiar.”

It bothered me the rest of morning at the gym, the nagging war in the mind between a lost memory and the battle to reclaim it.

Then it hit me.  The verse sounds just like part of one of Damon Albarn’s songs. I was pretty sure it wasn’t from a Blur song, so when I got to work today, I started going through Gorillaz tunes.  Sure enough, the song I was thinking of was “Feel Good, Inc.”  I’m not sure whether it is a verse of that song — there are so many bits to it — but it kicks in about 1:10 into the song, the bit that starts “Windmill, windmill…”

The first verse of “Staring at the Sun”

Summer stretching on the grass… summer dresses pass
In the shade of a willow tree creeps a crawling over me
Over me and over you stuck together with God’s glue
It’s going to get stickier too…
It’s been a long hot summer
let’s go undercover
Don’t try too hard to think… don’t think at all

The lifted portion of “Feel Good, Inc.” is

Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Love forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your strife
It is sinking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Mind you, I don’t think this is some sort of blatant rip off.  But George Harrison was sued (successfully) for a less blatant borrowing of “He’s So Fine.”

Both of these songs are great.  I like these twin verses the best.





RTE debuts U2 single

20 01 2009

bono

It’s been over four years since U2 released How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.  The band’s new album, No Line on the Horizon, is slated for release here in the States on March 3.

RTE (Radio Ireland), as with all U2’s singles got to debut their new single, “Get On Your Boots.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090120/ap_en_mu/eu_ireland_people_u2

Give it a listen.  Tell me what you think.





Ten Albums (I Think) I Need

5 01 2009

The Pet Sounds Sessions [Box Set] or Pet Sounds audio DVD – Beach Boys. I have the cassette, but it’s long overdue I got a digital version.

pet_sounds
Costello Music – The Fratellis. Here We Stand is dynamite and most reviews I’ve seen say the debut album is better, so it must be super-duper dynamite.

thefratelliscostellomuslu1

Pacific Ocean Blue – Dennis Wilson. One of the most heralded (by music critics) albums that most of us have never heard. I love the Wilsons so this is a no-brainer.

dennis_wilson_pacific_ocean_blue2

The Stone Roses — The Stone Roses.  This is the album that (supposedly) launched  Brit Pop.  No Stone Roses = no Oasis, Blur, The Verve, etc., at least not as we have known them.  This is another album I’ve thought about buying a million times but never when I was at the store.

stone_roses

Cardinology – Ryan Adams & The Cardinals. I saw these guys with Oasis and was pretty impressed with their sound. Ryan as a solo artist is a known commodity. I have no idea how good this particular batch of songs is, but I’ve heard lots of good things about it. It’s on perma-hold at the local library so folks ’round here must like it.

cardinology

Electric Arguments – Firemen (i.e. Paul McCartney & Youth). It’s a little known fact that Macca was the original “avant garde Beatle,” the first to listen to experimental music and introduce primitive electronica (tape looping) to the band. Since 1994 he’s had an electronic music side project, Firemen. All the Brit music mags say Electric Arguments is good.

Music Review The Fireman

Johnny Cash at San Quentin – From the bits and pieces of film I’ve seen from the show, that might be one of the best live albums ever made.  Seems to capture Johnny at his best.

johnny_cash_at_san_quentinRattle & Hum – U2.  The Joshua Tree meets Under A Blood Red Sky, this half studio half live album is loaded with great material.  I just never bothered to get it.

rattleandhum

Electric – The Cult.  In my humble opinion, Electric is one of the 10 or 20 best (hard) rock and roll albums ever made.  I have some MP3s and the entire album on cassette, but it’s time to get my hands on the entire disc.

the_cult-electric_album_cover

Way to Normal – Ben Folds.  I loved Ben Folds Five.  I kind of lost track of Ben since he’s gone solo.  The two songs I heard from his latest release sound pretty good.

ben_folds-way_to_normal-album_art