Friday, February 24, 2006

I've Been Bad This Week

Sorry I haven't written more this week. I've been busy with other stuff, and there really hasn't been much going on. I plan to do some looking around this weekend and post as much as possible.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Animated Short by Me



I made a little short with the help of an animator friend and my wife. It's a celebration of Abe Lincoln and George Washington. I'm the only one who thinks it's funny, but oh well.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Billy Bragg: Boxing Day

There's an article in Rolling Stone about the non-Advanced but still great Billy Bragg. He's got a box set out:

Each of the remastered albums -- his 1983 debut Life's a Riot With Spy Vs. Spy, 1984's Brewing Up With Billy Bragg, 1986's Talking With the Taxman About Poetry and a disc that combines the EP's Live and Dubious (1988) and The Internationale (1990) -- comes with a bonus disc of outtakes and rarities that shed new light on the forty-eight-year-old singer's development. Life's a Riot, for example, is accompanied by extras that show Bragg's transition from singer in the punk band Riff Raff to solo performer, armed only with his electric guitar, Cockney accent and sharp wit. "There's some strange transitional stuff there where I'm veering towards Elvis Costello, who I've always admired," he says. "I'm trying to find my way, and I guess I discovered it on 'A New England.'"
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It goes on to talk about his development and how strange it is that Britain's new conservative leader David Cameron is a "Smiths fan whose favorite album is The Queen Is Dead." Bragg says about that, "It's like Karl Rove coming out and saying he always liked Black Flag." Actually, Rove just likes Henry Rollins' solo stuff.

Rare VU Recording

Well, I think it's rare. It's "I Can't Stand It" and you can hear it now.

Public Enemy: We'll Always Have Paris

A little bit about "Public Enemy featuring Paris" from Rolling Stone:

Why would one of hip-hop's most legendary lyricists recruit another MC to write him an album full of rhymes? According to Public Enemy's Chuck D, it's an experiment he's been wanting to try for some time, finally realized on Rebirth of a Nation, due March 7th.

The album features veteran Bay Area rapper, producer and activist Paris, who not only created the music but also wrote "98 percent" of Chuck's verses. "I was gonna have somebody do it one time, and he happened to be the one," says Chuck, who adds that he hadn't seriously considered any other collaborators. "I told Paris that he would have to come more than halfway to make this happen. There was a diligence he had that was very thorough."
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Does this sound like he just decided to tell people who the ghost writer is? Regardless, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

"Other People's Lives" Review

There is a review of the new Ray Davies record at Yahoo!. Here's a bit:

Former Kinks frontman Ray Davies makes a welcome return with "Other People's Lives." Davies, who has always had a knack for telling the tale of the common man, delivers an album with a voice that is all too often missing in modern music: mature, introspective, articulate and funny. Yes, it rocks too, just like the best material from Davies' past. From the impossible-to- resist opener "Things Are Gonna Change" to the last track examining the peculiarities of an American holiday "Thanksgiving Day," there's nary a dud in the bunch.

… "Other People's Lives" is not a painful attempt at reclaiming past glories. It's a modern-day, quiet but forceful statement from one of rock's elder statesmen who sounds fresher than ever and, thankfully, has more than a few songs left to share with the world.
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Sounds good to me. In case you haven't noticed, I'm on a bit of a Kinks kick these days. I hope it isn't too annoying.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Lou Reed Cancels on the Olympics

From Contact Music:

"Rock legend LOU REED has chilled the organisers of the Winter Olympics in Italy after pulling out of two New York shows, due to an undisclosed illness.... No details have been released about what is ailing the former VELVET UNDERGROUND star, who cancelled concerts in Poughkeepsie, New York, and New York City...."

Let's hope he's okay. There's no information on his website, but it doesn't sound like anything is too wrong. Hopefully he's just transforming into another Advanced stage and can't be seen in public.

"Bush of Ghosts" Reissue

From billboard.com:

David Byrne and Brian Eno's landmark 1981 collaboration "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" will be reissued March 28 via Nonesuch. The new edition features seven previously unreleased tracks that date from the original recording sessions.

By 1979, the artists had worked together on the Talking Heads albums "More Songs About Buildings and Food" and "Fear of Music." While recording the follow-up to the latter, "Remain in Light," they set out to make an album inspired by their fascination with the groove-driven music embodied by African artists like Fela Kuti. The pieces were then accented by African field recordings, as well as samples of everything from talk radio shows to evangelists.
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The extra tracks are "Pitch to Voltage," "Two Against Three," "Vocal Outtakes," "New Feet," "Defiant," "Number 8 Mix" and "Solo Guitar With Tin Foil," are "bolstered by a film for album track 'Mea Culpa' by Bruce Connor." And don't forget, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's musical about Imelda Marcos will be performed next week!

Tom Waits Yearbook Auction

According to stereogum, you can buy Tom Waits' high school yearbook on ebay. Stereogum was amused at the description, which said it had 225 pages of great text and photos as "if the winning bidder is going to read the whole thing." I'd read the whole thing, wouldn't you?

Ray Davies Talks About His New Album

Go to Ray Davies' website to read track-by-track commentary about his new material. Here's a sample: “Sometimes when I am trying to introduce new material, I feel like a stand-up comedian in a room full of lager louts,” admits Ray. “This demon will not go away.” Enjoy.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ray Davies Documentary on Ovation

I just got finished watching a little documentary about Ray Davies on the Ovation channel. Speaking of Ovation, he played an Ovation acoustic in the live footage, which I think is pretty Advanced. He talked a lot about his songwriting process and the history of the Kinks, but what I enjoyed the most (besides hearing him sing his songs with just a couple of acoustics) was talk of the musical version of "Come Dancing." Also, he wore a UNC Tar Heels cap in many of the interviews. Oh and there was some nice footage of him wearing an American flag shirt. I wonder if there is some link between flagwear and Advancement. Something to think about.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Peter Gabriel: Imagine All the Advancement

An astute reader told me that Peter Gabriel sang "Imagine" at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. It doesn't get any more Advanced than that, I don't think. I have to hand it to the reader for understanding the theory so perfectly! So all you regular readers, feel free to send me more tips like that. Now that I'm at Best Week Ever, my attention isn't on the Advanced world as much as I would like.

Ray Davies: The "Rolling Stone" Interview

Two highlights:

Where was the sloppiest Kinks show ever?

In Virginia, in the early Seventies. It was on a revolving stage, and during the first song I jumped in the air, fell on my head and knocked myself out, and was carried offstage. My brother [Dave] was drunk, so he had to sit down for the set [laughs]. The moment my brother could have taken over the band, he was too out of it! So Mike Cotton, our harmonica player, took over center stage and began doing "You Really Got Me." I had to fight the ambulance crew to let me back onstage, because they sounded terrible without me. I did the rest of the set with my head bandaged up.

Is it annoying to hear people ask all the time, "When are the Kinks going to reunite?"

I can play my whole album for someone, sit there and talk about my new music, and all they can say is, "When are the Kinks going to be recording?" But it's touching. I met them all again last week and we had dinner. I hadn't seen them all in ten years. And I realized there was a chemistry there. At the end of the day, bands can have fights, argue all the time, battle through mishaps, brawls and lawsuits, and still come out with a string of great albums. And I got the feeling that there was still something special there.
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Please note how the interviewer is cleverly asking the very question he characterizes as annoying. Those "Rolling Stone" folks sure are sharp!

Friday, February 10, 2006

BioWillie Goes to California

From news.com.au:

COUNTRY singer Willie Nelson has introduced BioWillie, his brand of clean-burning fuel made from soybeans, to California. BioWillie this week went on sale at an alternative fuel station in San Diego where the 72-year-old singer drew a crowd as he filled his tour bus from a pump emblazoned with a picture of himself strumming a guitar. "It is the future," Nelson said. "Through biodiesel, we can reduce dependency on foreign oil and adopt an energy source that's clean, renewable and helps family farmers find new uses for their products." Actor Daryl Hannah, who drives a biodiesel-powered black Chevrolet El Camino, joined the singer at Pearson Ford Fuel Depot.
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Dary Hannah drives an El Camino? I don't know if that's Overt or Advanced, but it's definitely sexy.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Kanye West: I Would Do Anything for Gloves

One other thing about the Grammys: Kanye West's outfit, especially the gloves, was awesome. I think he and Jim Steinman would get along very nicely. By the way, you should spend some time at his website if you want to see some truly Advanced fashion.

Stewart Copeland's Police Documentary: Update

From billboard.com:

The documentary "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out" will be released March 28 on DVD via Universal Music Enterprises/A&M. As previously reported, Police drummer Stewart Copeland assembled the film from his own personal footage shot over the years while both on and off stage. "Inside Out" premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

As Copeland previously told Billboard, visiting his past brought many thoughts to mind. "It's very cheerful," he said of the footage. In fact, when he looked for scenes to accompany his narration about the band's demise, he could not find shots "of us looking pissed off at each other." However, he admitted, "I put my camera down the last year or two. I felt like I should be living it instead of shooting it."
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Sting's solo career has been almost enough to sour me on the Police (though he may just be more Advanced than even I can take), I look forward to this DVD. I think I wouldn't care that much if it hadn't been Stewart Copeland's movie.

Slap Your Grammy Now: U2 and Mary J. Blige

I have to admit that when U2 started playing "One" I thought to myself, "Do we really need to hear this again?" But then Mary J. Blige came on, and I understood (I had forgotten that she was appearing with them). She was amazing, no?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

David Byrne/Fatboy Slim Musical Update

You can learn all about it at David Byrne's website. Here's a brief description:

Here Lies Love – A Song Cycle deals with the life of Imelda Marcos, co-ruler of the Philippines in the 70s and 80s, as well as the life of Estrella Cumpas, the woman who raised her. Through a series of songs written by David Byrne, with musical contributions from Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook), Here Lies Love – A Song Cycle presents Imelda Marcos meditating on events in her life, from her childhood spent in poverty and her rise to power to her ultimate departure from the palace. In particular, the production looks at the relationship between Imelda and a servant from her childhood, Estrella Cumpas, who appeared at key moments in Imelda's life.
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This sounds really Advanced, but I'm afraid it might turn out to be just plain good and interesting.

R. Kelly is Mr. Show Biz

According to rollingstone.com, possibly Advanced R&B artist R. Kelly will be going out on tour under the monkier "Mr. Show Biz." At this point, why not?

Ray Davies: You Can Call Me Max

From contactmusic.com:

Sixties rock legend RAY DAVIES has an alter ego he blames for all his past indiscretions. The 61-year-old credits 'MAX' with helping him escape his shyness, particularly onstage - but also blames him for all his regrets, notably his attempt to reform THE KINKS in the late 1970s/early 1980s for financial reasons. Davies says, "He brings out the showman in me, that relentless, inappropriate behaviour, that embarrassing person. "It's been Max all along. I hate him."
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But we love him!

New Bob Dylan in the Works

From NME:

Dylan is recording his first album of new songs in five years. According to reports, he spent four days last week rehearsing the material with an unspecified band, prior to entering a studio this week.

...Dylan and five unnamed musicians rehearsed the new material from Tuesday to Friday (January 31-February 3) last week behind closed doors at the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, New York, reports the local paper The Poughkeepsie Journal.

"It was experimental, all kinds of different licks," according to the venue's executive director Chris Silva, who watched the sessions. "They would get into one thing and they would go over it and over it, then they would change gears."
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It's always promising when you hear the word experimental associated with an Advanced artist.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Spock and Rock

There's article by Robin Cembalest about Lou Reed's photography at nextbook ("A gateway to Jewish literature, culture & ideas"). Here's some of it:

After accusing me of kicking Lolabelle, the rat terrier he shares with his girlfriend, Laurie Anderson, [Lou] Reed calmed down and discussed his frequent subject, downtown Manhattan; his favorite inspiration, the beauty of the sky at sunset; and his unquenchable obsession for ever-more sophisticated digital equipment. I brought up my former job at the English-language Forward; he mentioned a family connection with the Yiddish one.

At the Herm├Ęs opening, a crowd including fashionistas, photo types, professional party crashers, and Julian Schnabel sipped champagne and martinis amid $450 beach towels and Reed's unexpectedly picturesque photos of cotton-candy clouds and stunning twilight cityscapes. I approached Lou, wondering if he'd remember who I was. "Yes, the nun," he said. A pause. "Oops, wrong religion." I guess he did.

But what I really like is the title: "Out and about with Leonard Nimoy and Lou Reed."

The Ayatollah Is a Rock-n-Rolla: The Amanpour Perspective

I found this blog entry from Christiane Amanpour at CNN:

It's always a rush to revisit Iran. I grew up there, left during the Islamic revolution 25 years ago, and now regularly go back on assignment for CNN. I went back recently for a series of reports on the country.

I never quite know what to expect these days. Who would have thought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a fundamentalist Islamic hardliner, could have been elected president by a country that's overwhelmingly young and overwhelmingly wants reform, modernization, travel and dialogue with the West?

For me, the most interesting thing about this country is the juxtaposition of the regime's hardline, even militant, supporters with the young kids, teenagers and adults who could belong anywhere, even the United States.

One day, these kids go underground to listen to...a ROCK BAND!!!! The next day they head to the mosque to hear the young hardliners wax passionate about the Islamic revolution that happened in 1979, as if it were yesterday, praising the new conservative government for taking them back to those values.

Many of these kids just want to play their music. They are not political, yet they have to play their music in secret.
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Judging by all those exclamation marks, it looks like Amanpour really likes her rock. I like that.

Love for Casale: Jihad Jerry and the Evildoers

From billboard.com:

With pioneering synth-rock act Devo unlikely to pursue a new studio album and/or extensive touring in the near future, principal member Gerald V. Casale is progressing with his solo project, Jihad Jerry and the Evildoers.

The group's debut album, "What's in a Name," is due for release in March via Cordless Records, a division of Warner Bros. Three songs -- "Beehive," "The Owl" and "Army Girls Gone Wild" -- are already available for download via digital music services. Casale also recently completed a video for the latter cut.

"Obviously, you'll hear some Devo in it, but it's not trying to sound like Devo, other than that I brought half of Devo to the table," Casale tells Billboard.com. "You'll probably hear some familiar themes and some familiar types of progressions."

Casale says he went "for something more basic and raw" than would normally be found on a Devo record. Session drummer Josh Freese plays on every track, while Casale contributes bass, harmonica, tambourines and shakers. "There are very few synthesizer touches," he says, adding that the Evildoers are actually two female backup singers.
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I don't have to tell you that the name of the project is quite Advanced, as is the lineup.

Finn Again: Split Enz Reunion

From Yahoo!:

They once sang history never repeats. But the members of innovative art-rock band Split Enz said Wednesday they would reunite for an Australian arena tour in June, 22 years after they broke up. The band, which spawned chart-topping trio Crowded House, has booked an initial five dates between June 7 to 16. It still has an active fan club in Australia of 15,000, and the tour is expected to see it play to its largest crowds on the continent.

Group co-founder Tim Finn said that while no further dates were planned, he would like to play shows in Los Angeles, New York and London. The run would most likely also include a run through Split Enz' New Zealand homeland.

Formed in New Zealand in 1972, Split Enz quickly made a name for itself with its eccentric theatre-pop flamboyance and pre-MTV innovative videos and artwork. It inspired the late 1970s British new wave as well as American bands like Pearl Jam.

The lineup that is reuniting (there were 13 member changes in the group's 12-year career) was its most successful, thanks in part to the addition of Tim's younger brother, Neil, who went on to form Crowded House after Split Enz broke up.

...An Enz reunion tour has been rumored for two years. The clincher, Tim Finn said, was when the band reunited to play two shows when they were inducted at the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall Of Fame last June in Melbourne. "There was an electricity there," Finn explained, adding that the only rehearsing they'd done for the show was a run-through at soundcheck.
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Not Advanced, but I always liked Split Enz and the Finns.