People might be buzzing about shows in the desert featuring bands that you might not ever be able to see again but there is a not to be missed show this weekend with bands that you must see before it’s too late.
There is not a more Southern California show than the ones this weekend featuring X,Los Lobos and The Blasters. They defined the diversity of the LA scene in the 80s and there still as vital as ever.
Two Los Angeles bands are back after each taking a long hiatus.
It’s been three years since we last heard from Local Natives but all the yearning vocals and driving drums are still present with their first single entitled “Past Lives”. It sounds like they’re swinging for the fences with this one. I can hear this song on Alternative and then morphing into Hot AC and hitting Top 40. Time will tell. They’re going to play Lolapalooza this summer but I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more from the band in 2016.
I don’t think there was a big demand for new music from The Monkees but it is something that just arrived this week. I think the band likes to recognize when it hits milestones.
It’s their first album since their 40th anniversary album, Justus. It was the last album to have all four Monkees on an album. It’s been 4 years since Davy Jones passed away in 2012 but the three surviving members are here to celebrate their Golden Anniversary.
Just like in the old days when artists performed songs written in New York’s Brill Building, The Monkees have some hired guns to write their songs. The first single “She Makes Me Laugh” was written by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo. It’s a simple non-threatening song filled with hooks and feel good lyrics. Nothing wrong with that. The album will contain songs from Indie Pop Gods Noel Gallagher, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and Andy Partridge of XTC…and of course their will be Brill Building faves Carole King and Jerry Goffin in there as well. Good Times, indeed!
Normally I have a look at new music that is coming out today but I’m still in a Prince funk. When George Harrison was freed from The Beatles he released the 3 disc “All Things Must Pass”. When Prince was freed from his Warner Bros. contract it took him only a week to release “Emancipation”. The cover features hands breaking free of chains. You may remember that it was in the mid 90s that Prince started to print the word “slave” on his cheek and refer to himself with a unpronoucable symbol.
Emancipation is the 19th full-length studio album by Prince (his third using the name )
It contains 3 hours of music and each disc, varies sonically and lyrically. Disc one is the most pop, the second features a song cycle devoted to his new marriage, and the third is a dance/funk jam fest.
It’s an overlooked record that is worth revisiting.
You still can’t hear the album on streaming services but his music has been trickling on to YouTube so know you can hear this 30 minute concert from Paisley Park featuring music from Emancipation with a “Purple Rain” and “If I Was Your Girlfriend” thrown in for fun. He also covers Joan Osborne’s “God” to close the show.
This weekend the look of the music fan may change from hipster to country as the Coachella Valley prepares for the Stagecoach Festival but I guarantee that Prince will still be on the mind of many at the Empire Polo Club. There are few artists that touch all music formats and Prince was one of them.
Two of my favorite stories I’ve heard regarding Prince also involve competing in sports. I guess it’s no surprise that the joy he brought to his music, he also brought to competing with others. They’ve both been told numerous times, but here’s Jimmy Fallon talking about ping-pong and Charles Murphy talking about basketball.
Here’s Lin Manuel Miranda and the entire cast of Hamilton performing an impromptu version of “Let’s Go Crazy”
Prince at Coachella 2008
Bonus: Here’s one of my favorite songs that Prince covered at Coachella in 2008. This is Prince’s version of Radiohead’s “Creep”. Ironically, Thom Yorke of Radiohead thought Prince’s version was “hilarious” and wanted it blocked from YouTube until he heard that Prince had already blocked it and then wanted it unblocked, stating “It’s our fucking song”.
That said enjoy this song while it’s up on the web before it’s blocked.
Like most music fans, I’m still trying to come to terms with Prince’s death. Saturday Night Live this past week paid tribute to Prince by airing his many appearances on the show. Watching his first appearance on the show back in 1981, you are in just awe of his performance of Party Up. The best part is that he abruptly leaves the stage knowing he played like no one has played before and there is not need to soak up the applause. It is so punk rock. Who has that confidence?
Last Saturday, his remains were cremated and their final storage will remain private. Just like in his performances, Prince’s life was so inspiring that there is no need for an encore. He Soul will live on and we are just here to gasp in awe of the artistry he left behind.
I really have no words to speak of this tragic loss. Our only consolation is the music will always be there for us. Many of the lyrics in his songs from “Let’s Go Crazy” to “I Wish U Heaven” to “The Cross” indicate he was fully prepared for this moment. We were not.