Category Archives: music

Happy 33rd Birthday to CDs, Terre Haute and “Born in the USA,” Not in That Order (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

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The Loop / Golf Digest — Thirty-three years ago today, an event of monumental cultural significance took place just down the road here in Terre Haute, Ind., a quiet, unassuming southern Indiana town known primarily for smelling like a barn full of tire fires.

The event: The first-ever production of a music compact disc—a.k.a. the CD—which occurred on Sept. 21, 1984, forever burning in Indiana’s place in music history, alongside (rifles through papers) Michael Jackson and Cole Porter and Axl Rose and Hoagy Carmichael and John Mellencamp and David Lee Roth and Wes Montgomery and yes I get me a little defensive about Indiana. You guys make your flyover-corn and Fat Bob Knight gags, but without us, there would be no “Mr. Brownstone” and that is a Hoosier fact.

All the warm birthday wishes here. 

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U2, power, nostalgia and the arms of America at Lucas Oil Stadium (via Indianapolis Monthly)

Photo / Tony Valainis

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Indianapolis Monthly — First things first: It is futile to resist the first 45 minutes of the tour marking the 30th anniversary of U2’s The Joshua Tree, a nine-song block of monolithic power so expansive and relentless that it’s profoundly insane to put it at the beginning of a concert. This is a show that schedules “Pride (In the Name of Love)” fourth, because the rest of the set is frankly already too crowded.

On Sunday night at a packed Lucas Oil Stadium—with the roof wide open, because outside it’s America—U2 mobilized the assembled force of its history to deliver two hours of sturdy argument for the best show of the year. The first half nearly did it alone: Unfolding more or less chronologically, it fires to life with the militant bangs that open “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and going through “New Year’s Day,” the glistening “Bad” and the flight-worthy “Pride (In the Name of Love)” before the stars-coming-out riff of “Where the Streets Have No Name” directs things to the task at hand, which, you’ll remember, is the start of an album that then serves up “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “With or Without You,” and “Bullet the Blue Sky.” It’s a good 45 minutes before you really have a chance to mull another drink.

The full review at Indianapolis Monthly.

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Attn Fellow Old People: This is What ‘Despacito’ Is (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

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Golf Digest — Over the weekend, the global reggaeton smash “Despacito” became the most-viewed YouTube video of all time, a cross-cultural milestone that came as a total shock to the vast percentage of us who have never consciously heard “Despacito.” Released in January and now boasting more than 3 billion views, the track unseated the previous most-viewed thing in the history of Earth, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again,” which unseated the previous previous winner, and there’s no way to accurately get across how hard we’re sighing while typing this, “Gangnam Style.”

“Despacito” is performed by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and reggaeton star Daddy Yankee, two very famous and accomplished musicians whom we would not recognize in the slightest. And while we are experiencing strange sensations of cultural optimism about how America’s wall-happy culture still allows for global-reach music performed in “other languages,” we have no idea what this song is. So, for those of us who confess to being out of touch with this particular milestone (read: are old as hell), a primer to “Despacito,” as written by a guy who will hear it for the first time in approximately 15 seconds.

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The All-Ages Genius of Rockabye Baby (via the Washington Post)

I ain’t sorry.

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Washington Post — Pro tip for aspiring PR executives: If you’re ever announcing a Beyoncé-themed baby product, try to do so just days before she Instagrams her pregnancy.

Such was the most recent stroke of good news in the potent, enduring tale of the Rockabye Baby series, which for 11 years and 78 albums has tried to alleviate one of the worst parts of being a parent — the music — with lullabied instrumental covers of songs from, you know, real bands. The Beyoncé version is the latest in a list that includes Prince, the Beatles, Springsteen, the Pixies, David Bowie, Eminem, the Cure, Guns N’ Roses, Rush, Kanye West, Radiohead, Adele, Cyndi Lauper, Tool and Iron Maiden. (If you think you had a weird day at work, imagine trying to coax “The Number of the Beast” out of a harp and glockenspiel.)

A look inside the world of the planet’s dominant Kanye West lullaby-making machine.

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How the Lumineers Took Over Folk-Rock with Two Sounds and a Snappy Pair of Suspenders (via Indy Star)

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Indy Star — Rarely have clomping feet and two onomatopoeias made a bigger splash than they did in “Ho Hey,” the evocatively old-timey and globally ubiquitous single from the self-titled debut by the Lumineers — you may remember it if you turned on a music machine in 2012. In not even three minutes, the world’s leading melancholy folky foot-stomping breakup anthem both threw more coal on the folk-Americana fire and vaulted the Lumineers from the Denver coffeeshop circuit to arenas, other continents and festivals full of people who like to clap and stomp together. Jeremiah Fraites — the one without suspenders — spoke by phone from an early tour stop in Chicago about “Ophelia,” opening for U2’s “Joshua Tree” tour and how to make a hockey arena feel like a Colorado coffeeshop.

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The Head and the Heart on “Signs of Light,” ’90s Videos and Bob Knight (via Indy Star)

the-head-and-the-heart

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Indy Star — Tyler Williams, drummer for the Seattle-based folk-rock outfit The Head and the Heart, can remember every single show his band has played in Indiana. He’s got good reason: His parents hail from Columbus, his mom is an IU graduate and his dad’s decorating tastes are heavy on the Hoosiers. “(My mom) was there for (former coach Bob) Knight’s undefeated season in ’76,” Williams said. “And my dad still has a shrine to Knight in the basement.”

The Head and the Heart has been enjoying plenty of acclaim of their own since the release of their 2011 self-titled debut, which quickly settled into a prime spot in the post-Mumford artisan folk-rock scene and became the best-selling debut for Sub Pop records in years. That album produced “Lost in my Mind” and “Down in the Valley,” which continue to appear on your Pandora stations, as well as a studio version of the band’s stirring, gospel-kissed “Rivers and Roads,” which had served as their walk-off song for years. The 2013 follow-up “Let’s Be Still” was maybe a little more intimate and refined than its predecessor, but it enjoyed a warm reception and kept the band plenty busy on the road. The full interview at the Indy Star.

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Henry Rollins on His Favorite Indiana Bands, This Stupid Election and Why He Writes Like He’s Running Out of Time (via the Indianapolis Star)

Works more than you do.

Works more than you do.

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Indianapolis Star — Spoken-word artist, actor, former Black Flag frontman, activist, authoritative-opinion owner and self-described “vinyl cat lady” Henry Rollins is a guy who — to steal a line from a musical about another American overachiever — writes like he’s running out of time.

Rollins, 55, and his endless-bordering-on-insane work ethic has positioned him not just as the “aging alternative icon” he jokingly called himself in the past, but as a harder, steelier critic on a culture that offers no shortage of material. His current spoken-word tour, featuring shows that routinely hit the three-hour mark, visits Indianapolis shortly after Election Day, so there should be no shortage of material.

Rollins checked in via email in September from a tour stop in Australia, weighing in on his approach to the election and what his audience means to him now:

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Question: Obvious yet sincere opener: Who are your favorite musicians/bands from Indiana? 

Answer: The Ink Spots. I got introduced to their music in the late 1980s.

Q: You’ll be here shortly after Election Day/Recount Week/The Fall of the Republic. What’s your mood been about the election?

A: Indifferent. I will vote and live with whatever the result is. President Obama tried to make things better. Congress and the USA were not interested. To be overly concerned with a country that obviously isn’t motivated to confront global climate change, renewable energy, health care or education is a fool’s errand. Marriage equality, something easily covered by the First, Fourth and 14th amendments of the Constitution, had to go to the Supreme Court. USA lost me. I just pay my taxes and obey the law. Past that, I hope I don’t get shot.

The full interview at the Indy Star.

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Springsteen’s Record-Breaking Night in New Jersey: There is Something Wrong With This Man (via Live Nation TV)

City = busted in half

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Live Nation TV — Something is wrong with Bruce Springsteen. On Tuesday night, to open a three-night series at MetLife Stadium in his home state of New Jersey, he played three hours and 52 minutes–his longest-ever show on U.S. soil and a demonstration of terrifying fitness for a 66-year-old. On Thursday night, at the same stadium, he ambled right out and promptly beat his record by eight minutes. His TWO-DAY-OLD RECORD. If you’re seeing him on Sunday night, bring protein bars.

Whatever your count, Thursday’s show is easily the speediest-feeling four-hour anything I’ve attended. It’s important to note that in the mythological Legends of Springsteen passed down through the generations, the marathon shows he performed on the Darkness and River tours often included an intermission, or a long speech about how he met Clarence, at the very least an encore break. The MetLife shows had zero of these. For the second night in Jersey, Bruce eschewed the full-River construct that was the basis for the River Tour in the first place, but dug up a bunch of the album’s high spots, including “I’m a Rocker,” “Cadillac Ranch,” and “Hungry Heart,” which he sang, naturally, strolling around the floor. Here’s what else he did.

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How I Destroyed a Bruce Springsteen-Related Guinness World Record in 60 Seconds Flat (via Success Magazine)

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 10.21.52 AM August 8

Success — Jumping right into the book of Guinness World Records with the mission of finding one to break is daunting. You’re not simply trying to decide how to order your eggs or which project to launch, you’re trying to be remembered for something incredible—something that will etch your name into a metaphorical mountain that will endure time, memory and erosion. Have you ever sat down and said, “All right, at what thing should I become the best in the world?” It’s scary. Big ambition can be. So I went with the only thing I knew I was really good at.

The full story at Success magazine.

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Chris Cornell Has an Absurd Number of Songs (via Indy Star)

chris cornell

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Indy Star — Great Caesar’s ghost, Chris Cornell has a lot of songs. Technically his current solo acoustic tour supports “Higher Truth,” his sterling fifth solo record and one that’s powered not by the thunderstorm roar of Soundgarden and/or Audioslave but an acoustic guitar — though, happily, his valkyrie four-octave voice hasn’t gone anywhere. (If you haven’t, check out “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart,” a near-perfect single and a fine on-ramp into where he’s going with this.)

But Cornell’s show, which visits the cozy environs of the Murat on July 9, also draws from a galaxy of work that includes — deep breaths — grunge pioneers Soundgarden, the rhythmic and raging Audioslave, the Seattle supergroup Temple of the Dog and his previous four solo records (including that one with Timbaland). Throw in a James Bond theme, his contribution to “12 Years a Slave,” a cut from the “Singles” soundtrack, a track from a second Seattle supergroup Mad Season and a Donald Trump spoof called “Make America Great Again” and we’re dealing with a pretty huge grab bag.

But more than shining a light on his catalog, this tour serves to reinforce just how powerful Cornell’s voice remains. At 51, he’s applying it to reframed versions of “Black Hole Sun,” “Blow Up the Outside World” and “Doesn’t Remind Me.” But he’s also throwing in material from his recent round of killer viral covers, including a room-flattening “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a rewrite of “The Times They Are a’Changin’,” (in Cornell’s version, they aren’t) “Thank You” (something that probably happens after three solid decades of Plant comparisons) and a live mashup of Metallica’s “One” vs. U2’s “One,” which sounds like it has no right to work and then totally does.

Here’s how he makes his picks, via the Indy Star.

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