Rob Thomas succinctly captured the spirit of the night before Thanksgiving with this tweet of Wednesday:
tonight begins holiday drinking. cheers.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
It's time for my every-six-months list of my favorite bands. My indie leanings have taken a turn toward the mainstream over the past few months, with dance and pop music moving much higher on my radar. Here's the current list.
1 MATT & KIM
Grand might be my favorite album of 2009. It's an entire record full of catchy indie pop. I never thought I'd see the day this duo won an MTV Video Music Award, but somehow they did it. Their reign has just begun.
Video: Lessons Learned
2 LADY GAGA
Until recently, I'd enjoyed Lady Gaga's dance hits but didn't see her as much more than another fly by night pop singer. But then I saw her artistic performance at the VMAs. I finally listened to the rest of her album, and it's great. Madonna recently said she saw herself in Lady Gaga, and I agree - she's likely to be a force for years to come. Her new video for "Bad Romance" is simply captivating.
Video: Bad Romance
3 COBRA STARSHIP
The sassy pop band finally hit the mainstream with "Good Girls Go Bad." The rest of their album Hot Mess is excellent as well, even if radio continues to ignore all of their music that doesn't feature Leighton Meester.
Video: Hot Mess
4 SIGUR ROS
Sigur Ros is still probably my favorite band, but when you haven't released any new material in over a year you start to fade a little. Singer Jonsi has a side project going called Jonsi & Alex, a mostly instrumental ethereal kind of thing that makes Sigur Ros seem accessible.
Video: Inní mér syngur vitleysingur
I bought the blue album not long after it came out, and my Weezer-fanhood has never wavered since, not when they released Maladroit, and not even with their new album Raditude, which features a collaboration with Lil Wayne. Their sound may change, but it's still good stuff.
Video: I Want You To
Others earning consideration: Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Ghostland Observatory, MGMT
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Tonight I'll be live blogging the laughingstock of music award shows, the American Music Awards. The performance lineup is actually quite good, with Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, and a host of others.
Head over to Examiner for my minute-by-minute commentary as the 2009 AMAs happen.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I love Lisa Loeb's tweets because they're so pedestrian. The woman thinks she's still on a reality show, and that everyone cares about the tiniest bits of information:
spoonful of home-made chocolate pie for breakfast appetizer. I made it last night... practicing making crust.
Lisa's tweets are kind of refreshing, considering that many other musicians only tweet when they're trying to pimp their music. "Stay" was one of the best songs of the 1990s, and the one-take video has stood the test of time.
Video: Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories - "Stay"
Posted by Scott at 11:02 AM
Thursday, November 19, 2009
This week it was revealed that Lady Gaga would be ineligible for Best New Artist at the 2010 Grammys. But, no worries for Gaga. She's still eligible in other categories for that Michael Bolton duet.
Wait... Michael Bolton duet? Yes, everyone's favorite mullet-wearing balladeer teamed up with Gaga for his new song "Murder My Heart." It's officially credited to Michael Bolton featuring Lady Gaga, but you can only hear her singing backup vocals on one or two lines in the entire song.
Still, if you were Michael Bolton, wouldn't you do anything to try to revive your long-dead career? Giving a recording credit to the hottest artist in the world is definitely a smart idea.
Video: Michael Bolton featuring Lady Gaga - "Murder My Heart"
Friday, November 13, 2009
This week's Tweet(s) of the week are huge, absolutely huge. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry made waves this week by declaring that singer Steven Tyler had quit Aerosmith. Perry backed up his claims on Twitter this week:
Aerosmith is definetly NOT breaking up. One of the members is doing his own thing and said so in the press. That's all I know.
Inthe meantime aerosmith is positivly looking for a new singer to work with. You just can't take 40 years of expiriance and throwitinthebin!
Replacing Steven Tyler? Good luck with that, Joe. I hear Gary Cherone is available.
Turns out that Tyler and Perry patched things up a couple days later and Tyler confirmed that he's not leaving the band. Rock fans can sleep easy now.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
That's right, I'll be live blogging the 2009 Country Music Association Awards tonight, starting at 8 pm EST.
I'm always amused by country music award shows. I'm not a huge fan of country music but I appreciate good music no matter where it comes from. And there are always enough moments at these shows to keep rock fans interested. Like Darius Rucker being nominated for Male Vocalist and Dave Matthews showing up to perform on the broadcast.
Tonight, the big question is whether the Academy will reward Taylor Swift with its Entertainer of the Year award. Clearly, she deserves it, but as I've written before, it takes a superhuman effort for a female to take the trophy. My prediction? She loses to someone boring like Kenny Chesney.
The show opens with Taylor Swift performing a song no one knows, "Forever and Always." She was a little pitchy and the performance itself wasn't very interesting. You expect more from a show-opening performance.
Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley are the hosts for tonight. I cannot tell you how much I hate when award shows are hosted by artists who are nominated themselves. It just seems so phony, and a little too coincidental, when they inevitably win.
After a humorless Kanye joke, Underwood announces Taylor Swift will be performing again later in the show. WTF?
Here's the evening's first effort to pander to the rock community - Kid Rock presents the first award. Single of the Year goes to "I Run to You" by Lady Antebellum, a song I've never even heard of. I'm just happy it beat that godawful "People Are Crazy" song by Billy Currington.
HOOTIE! Darius Rucker performs his excellent single "Alright." You have to feel good for this guy, who was written off as a musical footnote just a couple of years ago.
Darius goes into the crowd for part of the song. What a strange crowd! The women in the crowd are all wearing gowns. Like they're at the opera or something.
Song of the Year goes to "In Color" by Jamey Johnson. I have to say, I saw Jamey Johnson perform live last month and he was absolutely dreadful. Just painfully boring. When I do my year-end recap of 2009 concerts, that one's going to rank near the bottom. I don't know what people see in this guy.
Here's a great performer - Miranda Lambert, the official badass of country music. I saw her perform live last month too, and she was fantastic. She performs her hit single "White Liar." Well done.
After a ho-hum Brad Paisley performance, Zac Brown is singing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Why he's doing this is unclear.
It's time for George Strait. I resent this guy because he gets nominated for Entertainer of the Year every single year, even though he hasn't deserved it for at least a decade now. He could release an album of himself sneezing and he'd still get nominated for Entertainer of the Year. It's a joke.
George is standing there with his guitar, but he's not playing it. Fantastic. That's an entertainer right there.
Lady Antebellum performs while fake snow flies. Nice! That takes me back to the Counting Crows video "A Long December."
Patricia Heaton is ecstatic about the CMA Awards. "This is rocking!" she says. Now that's high praise - you can't have an endorsement bigger than Patricia Heaton. She presents the award for Vocal Group of the Year to Lady Antebellum. They beat out the Eagles. Hell freezes over again!
During the commercial break, a promo appears for a new ABC show called "Cougar Town." You've got to be kidding...
Carrie Underwood sings with a bunch of ladies in lingerie. Neither edgy nor interesting.
The Judds are back! Wynonna has spent so much time in the tanning booth she looks like a completely different race than her mother. They present the very competitive Best New Artist category to Darius Rucker. "Thank ya'll for accepting me," he says in a speech that was a little too intense. He almost came off as angry instead of happy. I had these visions of the country bumpkins watching on tv being frightened by the angry black man. Tone it down a little, Darius!
Good God, it's Daughtry performing at the CMAs. Can it get any worse than this? At least he's joined by Vince Gill, so the song is only half bad.
I like Keith Urban a lot but his performance is pretty pedestrian. He's followed by the great Tim McGraw, who sings "Southern Voice," which sounds like the country version of "We Didn't Start the Fire," as it runs down a list of influential people including Aretha Franklin, Michael Jordan, Dolly Parton, Rosa Parks, and Billy Graham. Nifty.
It's Sugarland's turn. I was hoping they'd play the song with the chorus that goes "Shhh... it happens!" Instead they opt for a ballad. There have been a few too many ballads tonight. Someone needs to come out and tear the roof off the place with some electric guitars. Only Zac Brown has delivered that so far.
Some kid in the audience gives a thumbs-up on cue and everyone laughs. Yeah, that wasn't rehearsed at all.
Album of the Year goes to Taylor Swift! The ironic thing is, as much as I love Taylor, I don't think her album is particularly strong. Her debut was actually better. The new album is a couple of good songs and a bunch of filler. She thanks a producer "who's believed in me since I was 14." Way back in 2004!
They've been hyping this performance all night. It's the "final" performance ever at the CMAs for Brooks & Dunn, who are parting ways. They're joined by Billy from ZZ Top.
There's no way in hell this is the last CMA performance for Brooks & Dunn. In five years, maybe ten, you know they're going to reunite and play the CMAs again. I'll give everyone reading this $100 if they don't. There isn't a single band in music that stays broken up for good.
Jamey Johnson is singing with Kid Rock. How many times has Kid Rock played the CMAs now? At least three, by my count. They sing about drunks and record executives, with a heavy dose of slide guitar to back them up. Not bad.
Sugarland wins Vocal Duo of the Year. There's absolutely no reason for this category to exist. Duos and groups should be combined into one category, like they do at every other award show in the world. Sugarland wins for the third year in a row.
Taylor Swift is back. She sings an acoustic version of "Fifteen" while her fans sing along. I give the CMAs credit - they know who the big draw is, and they're putting her on the screen as often as possible.
LeAnn Rimes presents Male Vocalist of the Year to Brad Paisley. I won't argue with this one.
It's the "Hall of Fame" segment. They're inducting Barbara Mandrell. When I was very little, my mom used to be a fan of the Mandrell sisters. So I will watch with mild reverence and refrain from any snarky comments.
Actually, I won't. You just know Taylor Swift's young fans are watching Mandrell's speech thinking, "Who the hell is this old lady?"
It's Reba McEntire. She's just trying to go by her first name these days. Sorry, lady, you're still Reba McEntire. McEntire. McEntire!
I love Reba but this song is shit. In fact, I can't name one worthwhile song she's recorded since the '90s. Even her duet with Brooks & Dunn was less than earth-shattering.
Here's Billy Currington, performing "People are Crazy," my most-hated song of 2009. When your chorus begins with the line "God is great," it's obvious you're just pandering to the bible-thumping country audience. I might respect this guy more if he didn't need to stoop to such cheap tricks to earn a hit single.
Female Vocalist of the Year is Taylor Swift. Her competition wasn't very stiff, but it's still quite an achievement to win this award at age 19.
It's time for the Kenny Chesney/Dave Matthews duet "I'm Alive." This is a good song. Dave didn't co-write it, but it sounds like he could have, given its "live for the moment" attitude. I enjoy the dark, moody melody, which is something new for Chesney.
Time for Entertainer of the Year, presented by the first couple of country music, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. History is made as Taylor Swift wins! A satisfying ending indeed. Maybe the old boys network in Nashville has finally met its match.
Monday, November 9, 2009
When I first heard the Owl City song "Fireflies," I was floored. It's such a ripoff of Ben Gibbard/The Postal Service, I can't even believe it.
Lots and lots of ignorant teens are downloading the song, thinking it's some cool new sound. But the song is a disgrace because it's so derivative.
I've held by tongue long enough on this horrible band, but now that the song has stunningly reached #1 on Billboard, I have to speak out. I guess Owl City is one band I won't be interviewing any time soon.
Decide for yourself.
Video: Owl City - Fireflies
Friday, November 6, 2009
From Martina McBride's Twitter:
Oprah was fun. Glad they didn't show the "crack house" where I used to live! Not literally a crack house..but it kinda looked like one!
Martina had to later explain to her fans that she was talking about the house she first moved into as an adult, not the one she grew up in.
It could be a big week for Martina - she's nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2009 CMAs. I might live blog the 2009 CMAs, just for the hell of it. Stay tuned!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
11/23 Jay Reatard @ Brillobox
This is worth going to if only to see what all the fuss is about. I've been reading about this guy nonstop over the past couple years, but for some reason, I thought he was a teenager. Turns out he's 29. A few weeks ago he tweeted that his entire band quit on him. Hopefully they'll have their shit together by the time the Brillobox show rolls around.
ALSO WORTH ATTENDING:
11/4 OK Go @ Mr. Small's
Our recent interview subjects are kicking off their tour in the Burgh, and they'll be showing off some of the tunes from their forthcoming album. "White Knuckles" and "End Love" are the two most Prince-sounding songs I've ever heard in my life. It'll be cool to hear how they sound in a live setting.
11/6 Brian Wilson @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
I saw Brian Wilson once before, when I used to work security at the Post-Gazette Pavilion in 2002. I wasn't sure how a guy whose speech was slurred would be able to sing coherently, but he did, and the show was outstanding. Expect lots of Beach Boys classics during this performance.
Others to keep in mind:
11/3 State Radio @ Mr. Small's
11/4 Atreyu @ Ches-A-Rena
11/5 Ingrid Michaelson @ Mr. Small's
11/6 Hawthorne Heights @ Diesel
11/7 Get Up Kids & Kevin Devine @ Mr. Small's
11/7 WPA & Erin McKeown @ Disel
11/7 Jill Sobule & Kelly Joe Phelps @ Carnegie Lecture Hall
11/8 Forever the Sickest Kids @ Diesel
11/11 Harper Simon @ Andy Warhol Museum
11/11 Flyleaf @ Mr. Small's
11/12 Breathe Carolina & Kill Paradise @ Altar Bar
11/12 Tim Reynolds & TR3 @ Hard Rock Cafe
11/12 Dark Star Orchestra @ Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
11/13 The English Beat @ Diesel
11/15 The Academy Is..., Set Your Goals, Mayday Parade @ Altar Bar
11/15 Thrice @ Diesel
11/19 Umphrey's McGee @ Mr. Small's
11/20 Minus the Bear @ Mr. Small's
11/24 Metric @ Mr. Small's
11/28 Ari Hest @ Thunderbird Cafe
11/29 LMFAO & Shwayze @ Diesel
11/29 Saosin & innerpartysystem @ Altar Bar