Category Archives: Music Reviews

The 10 Best Jimmy Buffett Songs He Probably Won’t Play On Tour

Florida Times-Union — Jimmy Buffett has scored unimaginable bank as king of an empire that encompasses music, restaurants, apparel, shrimp, tequila, casinos and whatever industry puts blowup pools in the back of pickup trucks.

But before he was able to convince untold thousands of concertgoers in suburban amphitheaters and basketball arenas they were actually watching the sun drop in someplace like Tahiti, Buffett really was a struggling, easygoing and fairly well-lubricated storyteller from the Gulf Coast, a guy who came up in the early ’70s singer-songwriter golden age of John Prine, James Taylor, Steve Goodman and countless others.

It’s tougher to find that side of Buffett onstage after decades of sold-out cheeseburger parties, but it’s not impossible: For decades he’s ended his beach blanket blowouts with a solo acoustic number (we call it the Let’s Get The Hell Out Of Here Before These People Get In Their Cars song), his best chance to retune his guitar, rummage around in the song trunk and revisit some of the softer, simpler corners of the catalog. If you’ve gotten your fill of the songs you know by heart, here are a few lost treasures worth digging up.

Read more at Jacksonville.com.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-N9L3ZXWPA]
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Alive Out There: Review — Bruce Springsteen, “London Calling: Live In Hyde Park”

Paste — Bruce Springsteen’s most recent eyebrow-removing live documentary is evidence that the aging process may be purely theoretical. “IS THERE ANYBODY ALIVE OUT THERE?” he shouts all of 12 minutes into the show, throwing down the gauntlet to the behemoth Hard Rock Calling Festival audience with a crazy-eyed boxer’s glare that’s part statement of purpose and part f*#&-you to the AARP Magazine cover. London Calling: Live at Hyde Park then explodes open with its ace in the hole: Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt tearing into the Clash like two scuzzy-looking punks thirsting to prove themselves, which is, of course, profoundly insane: By the time London Calling was shot in June 2009, Springsteen and the E Street Band, most loitering around the parking lot of 60, were firing on all cylinders, inventing more cylinders and then firing on those too, laying waste to festivals and towns huge and small with three-hour sweat-fests highlighted by nightly Stump The Band requests delivered via creative poster boards (the DVD’s: the Young Rascals’ fest-ready “Good Lovin’”).

Read the full review at Paste.

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Review: Magnetic Fields, “69 Love Songs,” or, Magnetic Fields, how do they work?

Paste — Shopping for music reissues is like hitting the sundae buffet on your birthday: It’s one of the few times you are allowed, if not obligated, to put aside your cares about portion size. In the world of repackaged albums, volume is king, sets are super-sized and few demos are considered too scruffy for inclusion. The most bank-breaking reissue of Pearl Jam’s Ten, for example, came with dueling mixes of the album, a live DVD, a vinyl LP, a replica cassette of Vedder’s early demos, some recipes, a coupon for 50 percent off your second pair of shoes, Six Flags tickets and a Don Mattingly rookie card; an apparently sizable audience was once even heard clamoring for 22 outtakes from the Gin Blossoms’ New Miserable Experience.

Magnetic Fields’ spry, sprawling 69 Love Songs album was no small investment in its original proportions, and its three 23-track discs—each loaded end-to-end with near-comprehensive coverage of the highs and horrors of love—cemented Stephin Merritt’s standing as a kind of misanthropic dark knight. And so, while the recently-reissued version is plus-sized—the whole shebang comprised of six vinyl LPs (plus a code to download the remastered MP3s)—this new, limited-run package features no outtakes, no demos, no live cuts, no extra anything. It makes sense, as anything more would bungle the math. Plus, Merritt doesn’t exactly seem like the kind of guy who would throw open his journals. “He made Lou Reed look like Little Orphan Annie,” says author Neil Gaiman in the trailer for the newly released, decade-in-the-making documentary Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields. Read the full review over at Paste Magazine.

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http://bit.ly/d3EO8l

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Paste review: “Rock N’ Roll High School” 30th Anniversary Special Edition DVD

Paste — Producer Roger Corman’s Rock ’N’ Roll High School is a teenage lobotomy. It’s an overcaffeinated parable about punk rebellion and the seething drive to maintain one’s countercultural ethos against a long-ingrained totalitarianism that, in 2010, appears approximately as dangerous as a pre-sectionals pep rally. You get where Corman, the B-movie emperor, is going with the whole punk-inflames-the-youth thing somewhere around the 12-second mark, but why bother suppressing such gleeful silliness, especially when it assumes a world where the Ramones are national heroes? Read the full review at Paste.

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Review: Drive-By Truckers, “The Big To-Do”

Paste — The last hot-barbecue platter from these Athens, Ga.-based workaholics, 2008’s “Brighter Than Creation’s Dark,” was a characteristically stomping monster, 19 tracks of roaring awesomeness that felt like a pretty deliberate screw-off to supporters of the Judiciously Edited Album. This quick-to-arrive follow-up whittles things down to more manageable levels, but still swings big. The full review is over at pastemagazine.com.

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http://bit.ly/dhVgXl


Review: Jimmy Buffett, “Buffet Hotel”

It was my understanding there would be no spelling on this

Billboard — Excepting “Weird Al” Yankovic and possibly AC/DC, there isn’t a musician alive who needs worry about recalibrating his system less than Jimmy Buffett, though he could pretty much deliver an album of sousaphone-powered oom-pah standards and still sell the fins out of his summer tour next year. True to form, “Buffet Hotel,” the title of which will ensure that the “one T/two Ts” debate among the entertainment world’s copy editors will persevere until the end of time, is an easy, breezy stroll through basically all of Buffett’s usual stomping grounds: well-poured sunshiney escapism (“Summerzcool,” better than its title), light ballads with Hawaiian hints (“Beautiful Swimmers”), a gently insistent carpe diem (Bruce Cockburn’s “Life Short Call Now”), a nearly unbearably cheesy love note to his fans (“Big Top”), a tale of international adventure (the title cut, featuring Toumani Diabate) and a snarky, Steve Goodman-style vaguely political monologue on current events (“A Lot To Drink About’). “Buffet Hotel” might be less about the songs and more about the generating a vibe, and if you subscribe to it going in, you’ll check out happy.

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http://bit.ly/bGrPhZ

The Steel Horse Archives: Cinderella, “Somebody Save Me” (1986)

1986+NIGHT+SONG

At midnight, they turn into Warrant.

PopDose — Part One of The Steel Horse Archives, my ridiculous and self-indulgent series over at PopDose concerning the rise and mostly fall of Hair Metal, involves Cinderella, the ladies pictured at right who were responsible for one of 1986’s fizziest pants-metal records, “Night Songs.” Head over to PopDose at once to get Saved and for a pumpkin-coach full of free mp3s that you can quietly download without telling anybody.


Review: Bruce Springsteen burns down Bonnaroo — for the Official Site (TM)

saddler_bonnaroobrucespringsteen.net (Tour Notes) — Even setting aside the Tennessee hot, the sprawling carnival-world landscape, and the frequent need to avoid people who are hula-hooping where you need to be walking, it’s safe to say Bruce Springsteen has never played an environment like the one he burned down Saturday night at Bonnaroo. The night was jammed full of Bruce-time idiosyncrasies: it was only the band’s second-ever festival date (after Pinkpop), and it unfolded not in the relative safety of an arena but on a lush, pastoral and almost entirely inaccessible farm that 48 hours prior had been prolifically drenched by what amounted to a freak one-night hurricane season (and spent all of Friday being dried out by a sultry sun that seared the grounds and turned the place into a wonderland for fans of the smell of fast-drying mud).

Read the full review at brucespringsteen.net (over in the Tour Notes section).

• Phish (with Bruce Springsteen) — Glory Days.mp3


Snoop Dogg on Hilton Head: He don’t cause trouble, he don’t bother nobody

snoop3_0

Photo: Sarah Welliver

Island Packet — The good news about Snoop Dogg’s sold-out show at the Shoreline Ballroom on Sunday night is that everyone appears to have emerged largely undamaged, that the island survived a music concert without plunging into sub-apocalyptic anarchy, like how things are in the new “Terminator” movie, or in Texas. Unless I was in the wrong parking lot, this concert did not result in flash-mobs in the streets, a terrorist attack, swine flu, or the return of Frankenstein (although it did mean bad things for the pinheads who banked on cops not noticing them smoking weed outside a Snoop Dogg concert — kids, if margaritas were illegal, do you think police might be on alert at Jimmy Buffett shows?).

The bad news: I was pulling for “Pump Pump,” but that’s from his debut record. I’m kind of old.

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Live Review: Elton John and Billy Joel in Jacksonville

73633-john_elton_joel_billy_01lBillboard — The closest thing the live music industry might have to a stimulus package, Elton John and Billy Joel’s Face 2 Face tour kicked off on March 1 to a packed house in Jacksonville, Fla. This latest incarnation of the pair’s tour operates under a simple business model: maximize reward, minimize risk.

Since its 1994 inception, John and Joel’s co-headlining tour has been as critic-proof as AC/DC lyrics and a reasonable backup option for the United States Mint, which probably explains its current revival — one that John indicated could continue on and off for two years. It’s a customarily full-bore nostalgia trip that’ll likely move tickets as fast as it does oversized souvenir sunglasses.

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