Katy Perry: The Awkward Years

Most of you know that Katy Perry has the headlining slot for the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show.  Katy has put in her 10,000 hours to reach this point but before you see her multi-million dollar extravaganza on Sunday, let’s look back at Katy trying to find her true voice.

Katy Perry (then known as Katy Hudson 2001

Katy Hudson 2002

Katy Perry does her Alanis Morissette impersonation from this cut on her unreleased 2005 ablum

Katy has a hit song, joins the 2008 Warped tour and tries a stage dive

Whatever she does during her show, let’s hope cake is involved.

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Localchella

Localchella 2015 Poster by Luke McGarry

Localchella 2015 Poster by Luke McGarry

 

I now look forward to this announcement more than Coachella.  Since Coachella keeps artists captive for two weeks they gotta do what bands do and that’s to gig around towns.  Usually about two weeks after the big Coachella lineup announcement comes a Luke McGarry created poster announcing smaller shows in more intimate venues for a much cheaper price than the $375 plus service charges for the Festival.

While all the shows above are highly recommend,these are my four shows I’d attend to see full sets in smaller venues.  Total cost for these performances is $109 (plus service charges).

Jenny LewisVoyager was one of my favorite albums of last year and I can now see her for $30 on April 7 .

I’ve wanted to catch Benjamin Booker but his music is more conducive to a club show which is why I think his show at the Roxy on April 9 should be the place to be, especially at a price of $22.

Seeing New York’s No Wavers Swans with Angel Olsen opening up is too tempting to pass up at $32.  They are playing the intimate El Rey Theatre on April 14.

Based on 137 year-end top ten lists compiled by Metacritic, Lost in the Dream by War On Drugs was the most critically acclaimed album of 2014, appearing on 53 lists and being named first on 12 of them”.  See them for $25 at Pappys and Harriets on April 15.

 

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Songwriting Credits

Sam Smith Tom Petty mashup

Well it happened again as Sam Smith and his team of lawyers decided that his multi-million selling single “Stay With Me” bares a too close for comfort resemblance to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”.

Songwriting credit will now be shared with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.

It happens.  I even wrote about it after Bruce Springsteen stated in his SXSW keynote that he blatantly ripped off song licks for inspiration.

Joni Mitchell says in a fairly recent interview that “tradition is a copycat.

Dylan is sick of hearing about plagiarism accusations

The Rolling Stones immediately gave kd lang songwriting credit shortly after Keith Richards heard his daughter singing “Constant Craving” over the Stones song, “Anybody Seen My Baby”

My favorite excuse for not giving songwriting credit when it is clearly due, goes to Vanilla Ice. I’ll let Mr. Ice explain why he originally did not give credit to Queen and David Bowie for use of the baseline in his song “Ice Ice Baby”

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New Music Tuesday

Once in a while, you open up your ears and hear new sounds and artists with unfamiliar names.  Bands from across the globe are releasing new music today in the hopes it might catch fire. Based on my initial listening experience, these five artists are all worth seeking out.

Amason "Sky City"

Amason “Sky City”

Artist: Amason

Album: Sky City

Bio:  ‘Swedish supergroup,’ Amason are the collective talents of Pontus Winnberg (Miike Snow), Gustav Ejstes (Dungen), Petter Winnberg (Little Marjorette), Amanda Bergman (Hajen, Idiot Wind), and Nils Tornqvist (Little Marjorette).

Sounds like: A perky Velvet Underground

Jessica Pratt: On Your Own Love Again (DC606)

Jessica Pratt “On Your Own Love Again”

Artist: Jessica Pratt

Album: On Your Own Love Again

Bio: Los Angeles musician.  Her sound has been called Freak Folk

Sounds like: She is the love child of Donovan and Marianne Faithfull

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis "The Third"

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis “The Third”

Artist: Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

Album: The Third

Bio: Kitty sings and plays drums, harmonica, ukulele, banjo, trombone and guitar. Daisy sings and plays drums, piano, accordion and xylophone. Lewis Durham sings and plays guitar, piano, banjo, lap steel and drums.  Oh yeah, they also share the surname of Durham since they are siblings from London.  Mick Jones of The Clash produced the new album.

Sounds like: Well the bio says  it’s “a mix up of dirty R’n’B & blues, whiskey soaked country, haunting Hawaiian jungle drums and Gospel fever, with a punch in the face by Daisy’s hard beatboxing!.”  Let’s just say it’s quirky.

The Dodos "Individ"

The Dodos “Individ”

Artist: The Dodos

Album: Individ

Bio: Duo from San Francisco.  Logan Kroeber plays on a drum kit without a bass drum, playing often on the rims of the drums, and also uses a tambourine taped to his shoe. Meric Long plays mainly acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars during performances,  Long has been known to favor using his fingertips instead of a guitar pick.

Sounds like: Local Natives meets Interpol

Twerps "Range Anxiety"

Twerps “Range Anxiety”

Artist: Twerps

Album: Range Anxiety

Bio: Band hails from Melbourne, Australia.  This is their second album and their first on Merge Records

Description: They call it Janky Pop so who am I to argue?  They do sound uniquely Australian which is why I think they remind me of The Hoodoo Gurus

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Sundance Film Festival Music Features

The Sundance Film Festival is running from now until February 1 and while those of us outside of Park City, Utah won’t get to see these films just yet, there are a number of music related films that are intriguing.

KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK

“Fans and those of the Nirvana generation will learn things about Cobain they never knew while those who have recently discovered the man and his music will know what makes him the lasting icon that he is.”

Interestingly, Kurt’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain is an executive producer on this film but Kurt’s wife Courtney Love is not listed in the credits.

First official image released from Kurt Cobain film 'Cobain: Montage of Heck'

Kurt Cobain film ‘Cobain: Montage of Heck’

The title derives from the title of a sound collage Kurt made.  For those that enjoy The Beatles Revolution #9, you’ll love this.

What Happened, Miss Simone?

“The film stays true to Simone’s subjectivity by mining never-before-heard tapes, rare archival footage, and interviews with close friends and family. Charting Simone’s musical inventiveness alongside the arc of her Jim Crow childhood, defining role in the Civil Rights Movement, arrival at Carnegie Hall, self-imposed exile in Liberia, and solitary life in France.”

DOPE

“Director Rick Famuyiwa delivers an energetic, super-fresh, modern-day coming-of-age story that is a delightful mash-up of DIY punk, Yo! MTV Raps,YouTube, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.”  It stars Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet’s daughter Zoë Kravitz and features rapper A$AP Rocky. Pharrell contributed to the soundtrack.

 

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Free Music Friday

When you think fun in the sun, the state of Alabama may not spring immediately to your mind.  The people organizing the Hang Out Festival at the Gulf Shore in Alabama think there is no finer place to be in Mid-May.  And who’s to question the music lineup.  It’s pretty impressive.  To entice you to come to the Heart of Dixie, a mixtape with many of the artists has been made available to download and enjoy. Below is the full list of 23 songs.

HOMF Poster1 Father John Misty- Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
2 Umphrey’s McGee- Puppet String
3 Charles Bradley- Strictly Reserved For You
4 The Lone Bellow- Cold As It Is
5 Trampled By Turtles- Wild Animals
6 Rubblebucket- Sound of Erasing
7 Colony House- Silhouettes (Leagues Body Talkr Remix)
8 Kopecky- Heartbeat
9 Knox Hamilton – Work It Out
10 Strand of Oaks- Goshen ’97
11 The Districts- 4th And Roebling
12 ODESZA- Say My Name (feat. Zyra)
13 Drive-By Truckers- Primer Coat
14 J Roddy Walston and The Business- Boys Can Never Tell
15 Lake Street Dive- Seventeen
16 The Suffers- Make Some Room
17 GRiZ- A Fine Way To Die Ft. Orlando Napier
18 Beats Antique- Sideswipe
19 FIVE KNIVES- Sugar
20 Gramatik – You Don’t Understand
21 Preservation Hall Jazz Band- That’s It
22 Steelism- Cat’s Eye Ring
23 Skylar Spence- Mr. Wonderful

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NAMM

NAMM 2015

The National Association for Music Merchants (or NAMM) convention is coming this weekend. It’s like Comic Con for music nerds or the Consumer Electronic Show for gear heads.

The great thing about this convention is that, people don’t crawl all the way across the world just to touch the hem of Bob Dylan’s garment. They go because they respect the music, the instruments, the hardware and the musicians that bring these elements to life.

It’s a great convention in that it can be your entry into the world of becoming a living, breathing and actual working musician.  Everyone is approachable and is happy to talk about their craft.

Best of all there there is no smoke and mirrors or fancy light show.  This is like a close up magic show only it’s not magic, it’s actually happening.

And it’s simply thrilling to watch bassist extraordinaire Victor Wooten tinkering on his instrument from 10 feet away

or watching Ronald Bruner Jr. (Suicidal Tendencies) show off the drum skills he learned from his Dad (Diana Ross, The Temptations) in a five minute solo

or watch Orianthi just kill it with her guitar virtuosity. Go and enjoy!

 

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Joshua Tree

When you make a  pilgrimage to a pop culture destination, the possibility is fraught with disappointment.  I can just imagine those that finally make their long imagined journey to Hollywood to stand on the corner of Hollywood and Vine only to be met by tourists in cargo shorts and crocs and celebrity impersonators that demand money if you dare snap their picture.

Fortunately, my trip to Joshua Tree did not disappoint.  The story of Gram Parson’s life and death can be found throughout the world-wide web and is worth investigating.   I am just very thankful that it was Gram’s music that finally brought me to this remote and beautiful area of California.

Life is slow at Joshua Tree and the sky is wide open and the city practically invites you to create.  I did not create but I read and hiked and observed and loved the deceptively sparse desert that is full of life and activity.  Climbing up the 5500 feet to the top of Ryan Mountain inside the National Park you can only think about the task ahead and putting one foot in front of the other.  It’s not a particularly hard hike but it demands your attention and there was nothing more freeing then just thinking about reaching the top.

Mount Ryan at Joshua Tree

Of course, I did have to visit Cap Rock, site of the infamous incident with Phil Kaufman, a stolen body and 5 gallons of gasoline.  It was actually immortalized in the 2003 movie “Grand Theft Parsons

“Wheels” by the Flying Burrito Brothers may be a clue to help explain why Gram and so many others  like to travel  the two hours outside LA for this land of Joshua trees and Mojave yucca.

we’ve all got wheels to take ourselves away
we’ve got telephones to say what we can’t say
we’ve all got higher and higher every day
come on wheels take this boy away
we’re not afraid to ride
we’re not afraid to die
so come on wheels take me home today

 

 

Safe At Home Joshua Tree Inn

“Safe At Home” Gram Parsons memorial in front of room 8 Joshua Tree Inn

 

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Bands Back From Hiatus

The list is long of bands that have reunited after a long hiatus.  Here are the ones off the top of my head (with researched dates)

Steely Dan 1980 Gaucho -2000 Two Against Nature

 

Van Halen with David Lee Roth 1984 1984 – 2012 A Different Kind Of Truth

 

The Cars 1987 Door To Door – 2011 Move Like This

 

The Pixies 1991 Trompe Le Monde – 2014 Indie Cindy

 

Soundgarden 1996 Down On The Upside – 2012 King Animal

 

The Rolling Stones 1997 Bridges To Babylon -2005 A Bigger Bang

 

Portishead 1998 Portishead -2008 Third

 

Results have varied.  Steely Dan won a Best Album Grammy (albeit controversial beating Eminem, Beck and Radiohead) for Two Against Nature.  Portishead’s album sounded like it never lost a step while the other albums, depending on your taste were good to poor.

Which brings me to Sleater-Kinney 2005 The Woods – 2015 No Cities To Love

      

Despite all three band members (Corrin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss) having several major and minor projects on their slate, they  secretly came together last year and crafted this album. On “Surface Envy” they declare

“I feel so much stronger now that you’re here We’ve got so much to do, let me make that clear”

And togehter these women in their 40s have created a work more passionate than any one of the above mentioned bands made in their 40s.  The music is punk but it’s not angry and it comes from a mature perspective.  They’re not pretending to be anyone but themselves (Carrie Brownstein can pretend to be other people with her work on Portlandia).  It’s thrilling to have them back.  Make sure to see them when they come to town.

Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein, Corrin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney

Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein, Corrin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney

 

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MLK Day

Go see Selma.  Here’s a primer thanks to the Oscar nominated song of John Stephens (aka John Legend) and Lonnie Lynn (aka Common).

Here’s also a nice acceptance speech from the duo as well as presenter Prince at the Golden Globes.

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