Might as well go out the way the way I came in… looking for an excuse to post something about The 77′s. It’s still strange to me that I’ve had this platform where I could irritate two members of Fall Out Boy, write extensively about Larry Norman, and have phone conversations with both Pet Shop Boys. For what started as a one-off sub stint, it’s been a really great run (at least for the guy on this end). Maura, I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity; same goes to the readers who actually clicked through to read things I wrote. If any of you threw a party and invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me, and the card attached would say “Thank you for being a friend.”
I’m sure there’s quite an active low-rider musical genre out there, but despite living in a town with an active and significant Hispanic community, you wouldn’t really know if from the urban radio station in Tucson. That’s probably how I’ve missed out on the Far East Movement (who aren’t Hispanic, but make music seemingly oriented towards that market) until today. Other than promoting the occasional Amanda Perez club appearance, the playlist on Hot 98.3 seems about the same as any Clear Channel-operated station playing rap and R&B hits. It makes me a little sad, especially when a group makes a tribute to riding in old cars low to the ground that uses an Autotuned snippet of the Cure’s “Love Song” as a chorus. What’s not to like?
I like this song so much that it instantly joins my very short personal playlist of tracks about riding around in cars.
No. 1, of course, is Lighter Shade of Brown’s “Sunday Afternoon.”
No. 2: Masta Ace’s “Sittin’ On Chrome.”
I’m certain there are others probably worth mentioning, but those are my favorites. That’s serious company, Far East Movement. I hope you appreciate the honor.
My on-and-off tenure at Idolator began in February 2007 (whoa), and it’s resulted in me being addicted to sharing my opinions with people. So I’ve been trying to find another blogging outlet since the bad news rolled down the hill here. Unfortunately, the odds of finding a music blog that would actually pay me are somewhat slim, so here’s my open application to any site that will let me comment on my second love: the ABC soap All My Children.
Still, this is a music blog, so I can’t just recap yesterday’s episode with my thoughts on Krystal’s secret might be, or what’s going to happen with Scott Chandler and the newly married former prostitute Randi, or why I love Zach Slater’s recent face turn. So I turn to the beloved form of the YouTube tribute video.
The last year has been a little nutty, plot-wise, with crazy re-casts and characters flying in and out of the series on a regular basis. While Reese Williams is making a brief re-appearance on the show the next two weeks to resolve the story line with her jilted bride Bianca, there is apparently an Internet cabal wanting her to stay for the long term. I have no idea why they would choose Ray LaMontagne to soundtrack their tribute, but you have to applaud their dedication to a character who spent less than a year on the series.
Ray LaMontagne, “You Are The Best Thing”:
Characters get re-cast all the time–Jamie Luner took over the part of Liza Colby this week, despite zero resemblance to the previous holder of the role–so having affection for a specific actor can only lead to heartbreak. In this case, someone made a tribute to the children who once played Spike, the oft-abused child of Zach and Kendall.
Beach Boys, “When I Grow Up To Be A Man”:
This whole soap opera thing is my wife’s fault, and her favorite romance was between the supposedly deceased Greenlee (although I suspect Hayward has an amnesia-stricken Greenlee hidden somewhere in New York) and the long-departed Leo Du Pres. Nothing could be more romantic than Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, right?
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, “My Guardian Angel”:
Just so I can convince Maura to actually post this, here’s Ne-Yo singing “Closer” at Jesse and Angie’s wedding last year.
I’ve seen the All My Children blogs out there, people. I’d be a significant improvement. Until someone is willing to pay me, I’ll be kind enough to offer my opinions for free on my Tumblr, starting Monday. At the very least, I know I’ll have Lucas supporting me.
Some people seem to really dislike Hot Chip, but since around 2006, I think they’ve been one of my favorite acts as far as single releases go. Since the band is playing some sort of benefit for the homeless in London soon, they remade part of the “Over and Over” video with actual homeless people. It’s a joyous mini-reminder of a miserable situation, but it helped cheer my foul post-Doves/last day mood a bit, so why not share it? [NME]
When the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” was named as the official rock song of Oklahoma, I was a little surprised and impressed; after all, an act like the Lips would seem to offend the occasionally delicate sensibilities of the sort of person who aspires to state office. Well, as it turns out, Michael Ivins wore a hammer and sickle T-shirt to the state Capitol the day the state Senate announced the Lips’ honor, which didn’t sit well with some of the more conservative members of the Oklahoma House. And then Wayne Coyne added an f-bomb to his acceptance speech.
Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, also spoke against the measure, saying the band has a reputation for using obscene language, recalling the leader of the band used the “F-word” in expressing his gratitude during an event in 2007 after the city named an alley after the band.
“Their lips ought to be on fire,” Reynolds said.
The House voted 48-39 to approve the resolution — it needed 51 votes to pass.
Rep. Joe Dorman, the House sponsor of the resolution, said three Republican members told him they would vote for the resolution “but ran with the mob” and voted against it.
“Had those three members kept their word, this resolution would have passed, and Oklahoma wouldn’t be experiencing national embarrassment,” said Dorman, D-Rush Springs.
The Flaming Lips were scheduled to be at the Oklahoma History Center next week for a ceremony that included the governor signing the resolution. National media members also were invited to attend, said Dorman, and The Flaming Lips were to appear later in the week at a music exhibit at the center.
“They may as well have burned Flaming Lips albums on the House floor today,” Dorman said.
The governor has stepped in and overridden the House’s non-passing of the resolution, so “Do You Realize??” remains Oklahoma’s official rock song, for whatever that’s worth. I’m certainly thankful that all this trouble has worked itself out, and that my fourth- or fifth-favorite Flaming Lips song can have a largely meaningless honorific. Yay for democracy!
Congratulations, Gospel Music Association! You got what you wanted when you added Miss California to the lineup of last night’s Dove Awards: A flash of added publicity for one of the most tedious award shows ever. A rant on the night, and a list of the winners, after the jump.
First of all, on behalf of anyone who has ever listened to Christian music (regardless of whether they agree with me or not), I’d like to apologize to Marvin Sapp. Sure, you released the chart-topping, record-breaking gospel classic “Never Would Have Made It” this year, the sort of song that will be a mainstay of the genre for decades to come. But somehow the Dove awards seem to have missed that fact entirely. Unless I missed it, they didn’t have you perform, and they certainly didn’t manage to give you an award.
Meanwhile, Steven Curtis Chapman didn’t actually put out a new album of material this year (although his 2007 album This Moment was repackaged for the second time in 2008, which counts for something, I guess), but he won the Entertainer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year awards, and was given the largest chunk of the show to perform. Yes, his daughter died. Yes, that is a very sad thing. But theoretically, the Doves are supposed to be about recognizing greatness, not making up for unfortunate circumstances, and between appearances by former American Idol contestants and pseudo-Christian celebrities (Stephen Baldwin! Chynna Phillips! Sinbad!), they should have found more time for you, Marvin. For that, I’m sorry. (At least Song of the Year winner Brandon Heath acknowledged that you probably should have won from the stage.)
But, hey, Miss California was there, and booking someone who stammered through half an opinion at an event that is sort of a strange thing for Christians to support anyhow (how do beauty pageants fit in with everyone being the image of God?) is just how the Dove Awards roll. Brandon Heath’s likely well-meaning song about wanting to see people as God sees them gets a bunch of awards, and the sort of audience that most likely spent April 15 waving around teabags and the night of Nov. 4 complaining about how the world was going to hell in a handbasket gets to feel like they’re being sensitive and caring. Jars of Clay win a special award for their incredibly worthwhile charity Blood:Water Mission, but the official charity of the Doves is something about making sure everyone has a Bible. Every Christian that doesn’t subscribe to the party line of the conservative right is left out, but look, there’s MercyMe performing a song from 10 years ago!
The Doves, at their best, are a world preserved in amber, one where being allowed inside depends on whether you’re willing to allow the charade going on around you to continue undisturbed. Next year, things will likely be exactly the same… some fading star will embrace Christianity and present the Artist of the Year award to Steven Curtis Chapman and Natalie Grant will win Female Vocalist of the Year for the fifth consecutive time, even if neither of them release a new album. Meanwhile, even acts that work within the Christian music system and release music that’s remotely interesting or modern sit on the outside, looking in. Even the Grammys eventually pieced together that their system wasn’t working at some point, but I don’t know if that sort of introspection is possible over at the Gospel Music Association. Just ask Marvin Sapp.
Artist of the Year: Steven Curtis Chapman
New Artist of the Year: Tenth Avenue North
Songwriter of the Year: Steven Curtis Chapman
Song of the Year: “Give Me Your Eyes” Brandon Heath, Jason Ingram
Male Vocalist of the Year: Brandon Heath
Female Vocalist of the Year: Natalie Grant
Group of the Year: Casting Crowns
Producer of the Year: Bernie Herms
Rock Recorded Song of the Year: “Lost” by Red
Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year: “Washed By The Water” by NeedToBreathe
Urban Recorded Song of the Year: “Get Up” by MaryMary
Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year: “Do Yo Thang” by KJ-52
Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year: “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath
Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year: “A New Hallelujah” by Michael W. Smith
Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year: “Reason Enough” by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year: “They’re Holding Up The Ladder” by Jeff & Sheri Easter
Country Recorded Song of the Year: “I Wish” by Point of Grace
Rap / Hip Hop Album of the Year: Ordinary Dreamers, Group 1 Crew
Rock Album of the Year: Satisfied, DecembeRadio
Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year: Never Going Back to Okay, The Afters
Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year: Revelation, Third Day
Inspirational Album of the Year: Great God Who Saves, Laura Story
Southern Gospel Album of the Year: Lovin’ Life, Gaither Vocal Band
Bluegrass Album of the Year: We Are Family, Jeff & Sheri Easter
Country Album of the Year: Around the Bend, Randy Travis
Urban Album of the Year: The Fight of My Life, Kirk Franklin
Traditional Gospel Album of the Year: Down in New Orleans, The Blind Boys of Alabama
Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year: Change the World, Martha Munizzi
Instrumental Album of the Year: Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Various
Children’s Music Album of the Year: Absolute Modern Worship for Kids 4, Various
Spanish Language Album of the Year: Aline Barros, Refrescate!
Special Event Album of the Year: Passion: God of This City, Various
Christmas Album of the Year: Peace on Earth by Casting Crowns
Praise & Worship Album of the Year: Hello Love by Chris Tomlin
Musical of the Year: God Bless the USA by Sue C. Smith, Brentwood/Benson
Youth/Children’s Musical of the Year: An Island Christmas by Wayne Haun, Shelby Haun, Joel Lindsey, Lillenas Publishing
Choral Collection of the Year: I’ll Say Yes by Carol Cymbala, Brooklyn Tabernacle Music
Recorded Music Packaging of the Year: Revelation (Third Day) by Tim Parker, Becka Blackburn, David McLister, R.W. Sims, Essential Records
Short Form Music Video of the Year: Slow Fade, Casting Crowns, Erwin Brothers Motion Pictures
Long Form Music Video of the Year: “Alive & Transported,” tobyMac, Eric Welch, Tameron Hedge
Hey Hyper Crush, if you want to be known as the band that commits acts of vandalism after you play a venue, I suppose that’s a angle to run with. But I prefer to think of you (and your single “RoboTech”) as the worst music I’ve ever heard.
I originally assumed 3OH!3 were some sort of parody act until I saw 500 teenage girls sporting the band’s merchandise when I went to see the AP tour featuring Family Force 5 and the Maine along with 30H!3. As far as I can tell, their big single “Don’t Trust Me” is about teenage girls getting drunk and having sex with guys from bands. Classy!
The song has recieved some airplay here on the pop station, which makes me realize I need to have the radio in my car removed as soon as possible.
What I wonder is, what influenced these guys? For a long time, synths were largely the territory of sickly kids that didn’t get out much–this writer included–so where this stuff comes from is beyond me. If it could go back to that place soonish, though, that would be great!
In case you wanted to see the hard rocking life of some bros on tour, here’s the clip of Hyper Crush as accomplices to vandalism here in Tucson (from MySpace, natch):
Hey, I want Coachella to be successful as much as anyone not employed by Goldenvoice or the Indio Chamber of Commerce. I missed this year’s incarnation, but I’m hoping to head back to the desert for some music and fair food eventually. Still, when festival producer Paul Tollett hands out a press release saying the festival had its second-biggest year (out of 10 incarnations), could cheerleadery press types–I’m looking at you, Los Angeles and New YorkTimeses–just take a second before running with a story that heralds Coachella’s triumph over the economy?
Let’s do the math: Of the ten Coachellas to have taken place, six were two-day affairs, while 2001 was only one day; only the last three years have stretched from Friday through Sunday. So, the big accomplishment wrought by this year’s Coachella? It attracted 10,000 more sweaty bods than last year, which itself saw a 30,000-attendee decline from the 2007 incarnation. (I’m going to assume that Paul McCartney’s headlining stint on Friday helped this year’s rebound a lot.) Comparing the attendance figures of two- and three-day events brings up images of apples and oranges, no?
This is my last week here at Idolator after a year and a half or so of regular appearances, and it’ll be a little strange to not have such a high-profile opportunity to broadcast my preferred (if odd) mix of music tastes to the Internet world. For example, I’ve been waiting for some excuse to post something by Christian rock’s answer to the Replacements the Altar Boys (not to be confused with the similarly titled Broadway musical) for awhile now, but I couldn’t really come up with a legitimate reason. Well, the clip above takes care of that problem, so while I still have the platform, let’s run through a few other things I’ve been listening to lately.
It wouldn’t be right for me to say goodbye to this place without some Christian rock. Sure, it’s cooler to wash your hands of the recent stuff and only declare your love for obscure albums from the ’80s and ’90s, but there are still a few mainstream Christian artists who manage to put out quality music, including Jars of Clay. While the band hasn’t done much to cross over since their debut and its somewhat surprising hit “Flood” from their debut, Jars of Clay has been plugging away for 16 years now, with each album bringing them closer to the adult alternative camp. Two years ago, they put out Good Monsters, a disc I absolutely loved thanks to the little bit of a rock edge added to their sound. Their new album The Long Fall Back To Earth came out yesterday, and while it’s a little more in the U2-anthemic style that’s still so popular in Christian music, there are still some songs I like a lot, including “Weapons”:
I mentioned how much I liked the Road Hammers a few months back (mostly because their first album here in the U.S. was full of songs about trucking), and through the magic of label promotional people who are actually good at their job (Thanks, Carly!), their new, unjustly Canada-limited album was in my mailbox a few days later. While there aren’t as many trucking songs as I would prefer, the disc is just a solid hard-working country/rock album from start to finish. I like to feel like a tough guy on occasion, and even in my seven-passenger family vehicle, “I’m Got The Scars To Prove It” nearly does the trick.
I’m a little slow to getting on the Juan Son bandwagon, even though I liked his work as the frontman for the falsetto-heavy Mexican act Porter. But I can’t get enough of his new album Mermaid Sashimi, which is a somewhat Bjork-like concept album about falling in love with a mermaid. I have no idea where the sashimi comes in, but the disc is strange, weird and wonderful. Even with a good deal of the songs in English, I have no idea what’s going on, but as long as there are songs like “El Resplandor” that appeal to my somewhat embarrassing synthpop-nostalgia tendencies, I’m in.
There’s probably not much I can say about a Basement Jaxx single at this point that’s going to convince anyone one way or the other, but it’s probably worth noting that they seem to have dropped their obsession with Gypsy music for the moment. This track has one of the guys from the group singing (I think), but it’s a nice interpolation of T-Pain for white guys like me, who like dancing to music with hard-to-miss rhythm cues. I mean that in the best possible way.
I don’t know if I’ll get around to a “farewell” post on Friday, but for a few months, I’ll hear a song and probably still have the reaction of “I should post about this on Idolator”, and while I’ll probably start actually writing something on that Tumblr I set up ages ago at some point, I’ll miss having you all to share things with.
Today would have been Charles Mingus’ 87th birthday, which seems worth mentioning if for no other reason but to acknowlege Idolator’s one reader from Nogales, Arizona (Mingus’ birthplace). Oh, and Mingus was probably one of the true geniuses in jazz’s history.
By most accounts, Mingus was a difficult guy to deal with on occasion, punching fellow performers, shooting guns in his New York apartment, threatening audience members, but I don’t know if any of jazz’s big names had the ability to take odd collections of musicians and instruments and make something amazing from it. Sure, Miles Davis sounded great when he pulled the best musicians around for his albums, but there are Mingus albums with rosters that seem assembled from whoever happened to be hanging around the studio that afternoon. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be anything embeddable from my favorite Mingus album The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (complete with liner notes by Mingus’ psychotherapist), but some Mingus is better than none.
I can understand that jazz as a genre isn’t for everyone, but if you pretend to like jazz at all, sit back and enjoy Eric Dolphy, Clifford Jordan and Mingus from Mingus’ post Black Saint… combo, recorded in Oslo, of all places.