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beatlesarehere

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“The Beatles liberated young people from Victor Borge, Robert Goulet, Steve and Eydie, and the demented sing-along-with-the-bouncing-dots schlock immortalized by Mitch Miller. The Beatles liberated young people from bland show tunes, ethnic hooey like ‘Volare’ and ‘Danke Schoen,’ and stultifying novelty tunes like ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh’ and ‘Mr. Custer.’

The Beatles held out hope that life might actually be worth living, that popular culture need not be gray, predictable, sappy, lethal. To this day, what I feel toward the Beatles is not so much affection or reverence. It is gratitude.”

Joe Queenan, humor writer

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The girl with pink hair is in the opening band. Later, she will sing and writhe on the stage. Her red microphone cord will be wrapped around her head and neck so tight that it will leave marks. But right now the couple working the door don’t know who she is. The are taking tickets and checking identification. They either don’t recognize her or don’t believe her when she tells them she’s performing. “I can show you my ID,” she says, “If I have to.” They tell her that, yes, that would be good. The girl with pink hair opens her pocket book and the couple at the door check a sheet of paper and wave her through. The couple at the door are with the company that is promoting the show.

reyFirst, a little story: I used to be an obsessive user of Livejournal. I started back in 1999, before Facebook and microblogging. I posted long, personal entries, often accompanied by photographs (I wanted to be a photographer—I became a poet instead). One of my favorite journals was by a writer whose handle I can’t quite remember, but it included the name “Lolita.”

die4From the press release:

Celebrated journalist, TV personality, and award-winning author Touré investigates one of the most enigmatic and fascinating figures in contemporary American culture: PRINCE

Drawing on new research and enlivened by Touré’s unique pop-cultural fluency, “I Would Die 4 U” relies on surprising and in-depth interviews with Prince’s band members, former girlfriends, musicologists, and even Bible scholars to deconstruct the artist’s life and work.

Prince’s baby boomer status allowed him to play a wise older brother to the latchkey kids of generation X.  Defying traditional categories of race, gender, and sexuality, he nonetheless presents a very traditional conception of religion and God in his music.  He was an MTV megastar and a religious evangelist, using images of sex and profanity to invite us into a musical conversation about the healing power of God.  By demystifying the man and his music, “I Would Die 4 U” shows us how Prince defined a generation.

Prince deconstruction?  Musicologists and Bible scholars?  I’ve been waiting to talk to Touré all my life…

The Strokes

I had a strange dream two months ago. I don’t remember all the details, but it left me feeling so affected that something about it still lingers—one of those.

The general gist of the dream was that I was alone with a woman and I was in love with her. I don’t know who this woman was, but she looked like Jessica Chastain, only with rounder features like Uma Thurman, except that she reminded me of a woman that I used to work with.

Clearly, I am not doing this description justice, but I sat in a chair facing her and she told me something profound.

bleached-ride-your-heartJennifer and Jessica Clavin of Bleached have released an energetic and enjoyable debut. Ride Your Heart is a pop-punk record that will draw comparisons with other all-girl or female-fronted bands like Dum Dum Girls and the Vivian Girls.  The Clavin sisters have used their experience fronting punk bands and cutting seven-inch singles to shape and craft a record full of love and heartache and everything that comes in between.

sonvoltcoverartforweb Since the break-up of Uncle Tupelo in 1994, fans have traditionally split into two camps. These two camps seem to be less Son Volt or Wilco and more Farrar or Tweedy. Jay Farrar may never win the popularity contest with Wilco and Jeff Tweedy. And it seems as though he doesn’t care. He and Son Volt have largely stayed true to the roots of their first album, 1995’s Trace: a kind of country-infused rock. Even as Farrar moved away from that earlier sound on his solo work, he seemed to be moving towards this record. Like the albums that came before it, Honky Tonk is flush with skilled musicians and well-crafted songs dealing with matters of the heart and the human condition.

Before Cars on BainbridgeWe all know Dave Grohl’s story. Drummed for Nirvana. Played on Nevermind. After Kurt Cobain died, he switched to guitar and started Foo Fighters, then proceeded to win Grammys and sell millions of records.

But what of Nirvana’s previous percussionist, Chad Channing? The one who left the band before it became huge, the one who toiled in obscure clubs; who cut a swath through Europe; who helped bring Seattle music to the world; who played on Nirvana’s debut album, Bleach. What of him?

[Above photo: Before Cars, 2013. From left: Chad Channing, Andy Miller, Paul Burback, Justine Jeanotte.]

We here at TNB Music would like to extend a swift kick in the ass with a steel-toed boot to 2012, with menacing threats to never, ever show its ugly mug around here again. That said, this open heart surgery of a year has yielded a rich trove of enduring albums and songs, and as we impatiently wait for 2013 to pull up out front and beep its glorious horn, the intrepid writing corps at TNB Music now pause to share our favorite offerings from 2012.

To our readers, colleagues, conspirators, confederates and harried editors, we wish you all a happy, healthy and hopelessly sexy new year.

-Joe Daly

TNB Music Editor

 

By the dawn of the 80s, punk rock was dead and a leaner, more muscular sound known as hardcore had commandeered the underground. On the West Coast, hardcore pioneers like Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Social Distortion and The Minutemen unleashed rage-fueled anthems that bypassed the cheek of punk and went straight for the jugular.

Chronicling every show, rumor and police raid was We Got Power, a fanzine founded by a pair of first generation hardcore freaks and best friends, Dave Markey and Jordan Schwartz. The epitome of DIY publishing, We Got Power seethed with unchecked passion, snark and attitude, and three decades later, their humble periodical now stands as one of the most vivid and enduring documents of Los Angeles in the Reagan era.

In late ’70s New York City, kids forming underground bands often drew from the Ramones and their brethren. Punk rock rejected the sanitized mainstream music of the era, seeking to recapture the excitement of pre-Beatles rock n roll.

Long Island native Slim Jim Phantom took a different path when he formed Stray Cats with Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker in 1979. He had discovered rockabilly, a style of music that predated rock n roll. Rockabilly in 1979 seemed out of place, at least on the surface, but upon further examination, it made just as much sense as punk. “[Rockabilly is] the most American music,” says Phantom, who plays drums. “Gene Vincent wasn’t affected by the British. Eddie Cochran wasn’t affected by the British.”

I kid. I have nothing to contribute in terms of White Rock journalism, which is fierce over here as of late. And that’s not to say I haven’t loved this year’s releases by screamy white-boy bands like the Japandroids, the Cloud Nothings or, say, Titus Andronicus. White Rock is in pretty good shape, and when is it not?

Nah, right here is this petulant white boy’s favorite rap tracks of 2012, in no particular order, mostly Black, in no way comprehensive, just as good as good gets.

One is hard-pressed to find a more festive American than Andrew W.K. The muti-talented musician, artist, motivational speaker and TV host announced his arrival with his 2001 debut I Get Wet, and its narcotically-catchy anthem, “Party Hard.” The ensuing decade saw the classically-trained musician release a slate of hard-charging rock albums celebrating the time-honored art of partying, as well a record full of J-pop covers and an album featuring only improvised piano pieces. He has published advice books and delivered motivational speeches at some of America’s most prestigious universities, including Yale, New York University and Carnegie Mellon. Anything but a vapid party animal, Andrew’s unwavering positive attitude and magnetic charisma saw him recently commanding headlines amid rumors of a State Department appointment as Cultural Ambassador to the Middle East.

 

TNB Music’s staff picks for December, 2012. All the folk, pop, electronica, hip hop and metal a stocking can hold.

 

With the November release of Adler’s Back from the Dead, former Guns N’ Roses timekeeper and notorious reality TV underdog Steven Adler has transcended the milieu of improbable comebacks and released one of the finest rock albums of 2012. At the year’s outset, few would have registered surprise that a member of the classic Guns lineup would record one of 2012′s most bracing releases; it’s just that nobody would have bet on Steven.