Monday, December 21, 2009

Donald Fagen on Jean Shepherd and A Christmas Story

Nice little thing on Jean Shepherd by Donald Fagen in Slate. Shepherd was responsible for the stories that make up A Christmas Story. Here's a peak under the lampshade:
If you know Jean Shepherd's name, it's probably in connection with the now-classic film A Christmas Story, which is based on a couple of stories in his book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. He also does the compelling voice-over narration. On Christmas, TBS will continue its tradition of presenting a 24-hour Christmas Story marathon. There are annual fan conventions devoted to the film—released 25 years ago this Thanksgiving—and the original location in Cleveland has been turned into a museum. But long before A Christmas Story was made, Shepherd did a nightly radio broadcast on WOR out of Manhattan that enthralled a generation of alienated young people within range of the station's powerful transmitter. Including me: I was a spy for Jean Shepherd.

In the late '50s, while Lenny Bruce was beginning his climb to holy infamy in jazz clubs on the West Coast, Shepherd's all-night monologues on WOR had already gained him an intensely loyal cult of listeners. Unlike Bruce's provocative nightclub act, which had its origins in the "schpritz" of the Catskills comics, Shepherd's improvised routines were more in the tradition of Midwestern storytellers like Mark Twain, but with a contemporary urban twist: say, Mark Twain after he'd been dating Elaine May for a year and a half. Where Bruce's antics made headlines, Shepherd, with his warm, charismatic voice and folksy style, could perform his most subversive routines with the bosses in the WOR front office and the FCC being none the wiser. At least most of the time.

Read the whole thing if you've got a few minutes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Father Christmas, Give Me a Kinks Reunion

From 101.5 WQUT Tri-Cities Classic Rock:
Ray Davies has expressed interest in teaming up with brother and Kinks co-founder Dave Davies on a new project from their long-standing rock band.

Though they haven't worked together as bandmates since 1996, Ray said that a reunion was contingent upon Dave's recovery after a 2004 stroke, and whether or not he was able to play music again.

"I suggested he do some low-key shows to see how well he can play. If we're going to play together again, we can't hit the road straight away with a big-time announcement," Ray said in an interview with News of the World.

"But, if Dave feels good about it and there's good new material that we can write, it'll happen," Ray added.

Additionally, Ray said that the project could include other musical contributors as well, such as a certain New Jersey songwriting legend.

"Bruce Springsteen has expressed an interest" in the project," Ray said.

Bruce Springsteen will not be a part of this project. The Advanced are always saying that things like this will happen, but they never do. I do hope Dave can come back though.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lou Reed's iPhone App: Lou Zoom

Lou Reed has a new iPhone app, and though it has nothing to do with music, your grandfather might enjoy it:
With Lou Zoom, your contacts have never been this beautiful—or this huge and legible! Each name in your contact list expands to the full width of the display, making them easier to select, and allowing you to read you contact info without squinting. No pinching, no panning around—just your contacts, clearer. Dramatically set in Helvetica Neue type, this contemporary take on classic Modernist design turns heads as quickly as it dials phone numbers.
This is one of the most subtly Advanced moves I've ever seen. (Thanks, Michael, for the tip)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bob Dylan "Must Be Santa" and LIttle Drummer Boy Videos

I'm late on this, but the video for Bob Dylan's "Must Be Santa" is one of the most Advanced things you'll ever see. What is up with the Advanced and wigs?

And now Little Drummer Boy is out.

For an interview with the director, go here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pixies to Play What You Tweet on Jimmy Fallon Show

The Pixies are currently in the throes of the North American leg of their Doolittle tour, a wormhole of a trek we’ve been quick to spill much digi-ink over in these parts recently. Via an e-mail from the band’s publicist, we’ve just learned that the band will sandwich in an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon next week when they come to New York for four sold-out nights at Hammerstein Ballroom.
I like this. (Too much facebook!) The picture for the article is not quite up to date, though.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nick Cave Up for Bad Sex Writing Award

From Jacket Copy:
British magazine the Literary Review has announced the shortlist of finalists for its Bad Sex Award. The contenders list could be plucked from any highbrow literary award competition: John Banville has won a Booker, Amos Oz has been awarded the French Legion of Honor and Philip Roth has one Pulitzer and two National Book Awards. But maybe they'd prefer not to add the Bad Sex Award to their achievements.

"Nobody wants to win that award," Margaret Atwood -- who is not in the running -- told Jacket Copy in October.

Not all the finalists feel that way. Nick Cave's "The Death of Bunny Munro" follows the sexual misadventures of traveling salesman Bunny. "Frankly, we would have been offended if he wasn't shortlisted," his British publisher Canongate told the Guardian. Maybe that's because Cave deliberately rendered a crude, sexually obsessed character. "I think it’s a hard look at a particular aspect of masculinity," Cave told Jacket Copy in September. "It’s fronting up to that and railing against the kind of misogynistic and predatory element of the male psyche."

The longer list:

John Banville for "The Infinities

Nick Cave for "The Death of Bunny Munro"

Jonathan Littell for "The Kindly Ones"

Richard Milward for "Ten Storey Love Song"

Sanjida O'Connell for "The Naked Name of Love"

Amos Oz for "Rhyming Life and Death"

Anthony Quinn for "The Rescue Man"

Philip Roth for "The Humbling"

Paul Theroux for "A Dead Hand"

Simon Van Booy for "Love Begins in Winter"

Serge Gainsbourg - animation des graffitis sur 5 ans du mur rue de Verneuil

Serge Gainsbourg - animation des graffitis sur 5 ans du mur rue de Verneuil from Arnaud Jourdain on Vimeo.

You'll like this.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Velvet Underground Reunite at Live from the NYPL

Here's the story:
Former Velvet Underground members Lou Reed, Maureen Tucker and Doug Yule will make an extremely rare joint public appearance on December 8 at the New York Public Library.

The three will discuss the Velvet Underground's music and legacy with rock journalist David Fricke as part of the "LIVE from the NYPL" series.

The reunion of the legendary New York band comes on the heels of the publication of "The Velvet Underground: New York Art," a compendium of previously unseen photographs, poster and cover designs by Andy Warhol, Lou Reed's handwritten music and lyrics, underground press clippings and other reviews, flyers, handbills and posters.
Feel free to get that for me this Christmas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meet Mississippi Gary

Was thinking about this the other day. I just love YouTube sometimes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Andy Warhol's Children's Illustrations for Sale

Kind of interesting (the Guardian):
They are a long way from the iconic pop art for which he is best known but a set of illustrations for a children's book series by Andy Warhol are set to go up for auction in New York next month.

Warhol's pictures illustrate the story of the little red hen, a folk tale about the value of team work, and show a perky little red hen happily sowing her grains of wheat, as a lazy cat, mouse and dog – who is reading the paper – look on. They were drawn by Warhol early in his career, between 1957 and 1959, for the Doubleday Book Club's popular series Best in Children's Books.

The Warhol illustrations will be auctioned on 9 December as part of Bloomsbury Auctions's sale of 365 original illustrations and books....
I love his early stuff, maybe better than I like the art that made him famous. Wait, I'm being Overt!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

About Nicolas Cage

The NY Times has a nice article about Nicolas Cage. Basically the writer is groping for an explanation for his career. Of course we know you can explain everything with one word: Advancement. Here's a snip:
THERE are any number of characteristic Nicolas Cage scenes in Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” interludes you watch with a now-familiar mixture of genuine appreciation and more than a touch of bewilderment. In one Mr. Cage, as the drug-addled cop of the film’s title, enters a room to join a stakeout. The cops are watching a house. And, crammed in the foreground of the shot, two iguanas are watching Mr. Herzog’s low-lying camera, their bodies stretched across the image. “What,” demands the looming Mr. Cage, waving an arm toward the creatures, are these “iguanas doing on my coffee table?” He looks affronted. There aren’t any iguanas, another cop replies, too busy to wonder at the question. Mr. Cage gives the iguanas a small, appreciative smile, eyeballing the animals who continue to eyeball the camera as the image begins to jump and shake. It’s the look of a man who sees something no one else does: he’s in on his own joke. But it’s also the smile of self-recognition.
Read the whole thing.

Bono Editorial in the New York Times

Bono has a pretty sweet gig all the way around. Here's part of the story of "One":
We scan inside the cool cathedral of Hansa, a recording studio made famous by David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Nick Cave. In earlier times, it was a ballroom popular with the Nazis. The members of the Irish band hold a prayer meeting to exorcise the demons. (Seriously.) But it is their own personal demons that are present this day.

About to leave their 20s, the bandmates are bumping into one another’s adult-sized egos. Men, they discover, when they become lords of their own domain, can lose the supple nature that a band requires. For these Irish musicians, the love it takes to sublimate one’s ego for the meta-ego of the band is more and more being reserved for families.

BRIAN ENO, a producer, is only half-joking when he tells the band that “possessions are a way of turning money into problems.” The band has had a taste of success and, even worse, a taste of taste, poison to the pursuit of rock ’n’ roll.

The dreamspace in which songs emerge has been filled by nice houses needing not-nice art. ADAM CLAYTON dreams of Jean-Michel Basquiat; Bono of Louis le Brocquy; EDGE of designing furniture; LARRY MULLEN of not being in Berlin.

Edge, the Zen Presbyterian, no longer a study in restraint, is heartbroken, in the middle of splitting up with his wife; he now sees the same fate for his band. He is trying to write an eight-bar lift section for a song called “The Fly.” He writes two, but when he and The Singer put them together a different song emerges ... and fresh words and a new melody come out of The Singer’s mouth .... the words fall out.

BONO (sort of singing) We’re one, but we’re not the same ... we get to carry each other...

LARRY (charming but hard-nosed, sitting behind his drum kit) Sounds sentimental.

BONO It doesn’t have to be. I can give the verses enough bile to balance the hook. It’s no big kiss, it’s a shrug of resigned optimism. Really, it’s the polar opposite of the kind of hippie nonsense you would expect with a title like “One.”

LARRY So why do you call it “One,” then? You think that’ll help get it to No. 1?

ADAM (one eyebrow permanently raised, thinking they should get on with it as it’s the first good thing the band has done all month) Isn’t “One” a Bob Marley song?

EDGE (deadpan) That’s “One Love.” Completely different.

ADAM I don’t care — as long as I believe you when you sing it.

DANIEL LANOIS (also a producer) I don’t care, as long as there are lyrics. What’s it about?

BONO I don’t know yet .... Er, having to live together rather than wanting to. It could mean a lot of things to a lot of people.

BRIAN ENO For God’s sake, don’t make it a love song, or I’ll retch.

BONO It’s a song about love, not a love song.

This is a good example of Bono's Overtness. He's afraid of writing a love song, has to balance the hook with bile, and it is the opposite of something (hippie nonsense). Bono needs to just Advanced already.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Who at the Super Bowl

I figured this would happen soon:
The Who will perform at Superbowl XLIV, marking the British band's first performance in North America since 2008.
The NFL has yet to officially confirm the report, saying, "When we have something to announce, we'll announce it."

During a recent stop on his "Use It or Lose It" solo tour, frontman Roger Daltrey told that he and bandmate/composer Pete Townshend were working on new material for the Who's followup to 2006's "Endless Wire."

"Hopefully if this tour has done it's job, I'll be in really good form as a vocalist," said Daltrey. "And who knows, we might make our best work."

Townshend has acknowledged working on two projects -- a new musical called "Floss" and the Who's next album, which he has said will include some pieces from the "Floss" project.
All of these things are fantastic, but the Who's status in the Advanced world is still unresolved.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Jay-Z and U2 in Berlin

From Stereogum:
In conjunction with yesterday's 16th annual European Music Awards, MTV set up a special, free U2 concert at the Brandenburg Gate to celebrate the 20th anniversary of tearing down the Berlin Wall.

[T]hose that were lucky enough to be on the right side of the wall were treated to a six-song set of U2's classics, kicking off with Bono yelling "Berlin, Du bist wunderbar!" (Berlin, you are wonderful!)(better than calling yourself a jelly donut) and highlighting with Jay-Z joining the band on "Sunday Bloody Sunday."
They certainly dressed correctly for the occasion.

Echo and the Bunnymen Cancel Tour Due to Taxes

Cancel your plans, Atlanta, Echo and the Bunnymen aren't coming:
[The group has] cancelled their US tour 10 days before it was due to begin over a tax dispute. Due to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule, foreign bands have to pay a fee if they tour in the US more than once in 30 days. The band played a one-off gig in New York last month.

A statement on the group's website said the cancellation was due to the IRS's "unreasonable demands" and they would return to tour the US in April 2010.

Please don't tell Glenn Beck. (He loves "Lips Like Sugar.")

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Willem Dafoe Gets Pesonal

Most of us don't understand the reasons that Advanced Artists choose the projects they do. For instance, if an actor like the possibly Advanced John Cusack does a movie like 2012 Overt people who prefer to think of him as Lloyd Dobler will assume that he is doing it solely for the money, likely to fund what Cusack is "really" interested in. That happens sometimes, but I think more often serious actors make action films (and other blockbuster- type movies) because they actually want to do it for reasons other than paychecks.

If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe the I'm-starting-to-think-he's-Advanced Willem Dafoe:
“The fact that even close friends can wink at me and say, ‘Well, he does it for’ ” — he paused to fan a wad of imaginary cash in his hand — “it’s like: ‘You idiot. No, I like doing this.’ They can’t recognize the personal filmmaking in a movie like ‘Spider-Man.’ But the truth is it was a very personal film.”
Then he said, "I thought you was a bunny! Bunnies jump fast. You jump slow."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Brian Eno and Daneil Lanois Remembering "The Unforgettable Fire"

From Pitchfork (you may have heard of it):
Pitchfork: Daniel, the story goes that Brian Eno recommended you produce U2 after they first came to him.

Daniel Lanois: Brian and I had been working in Canada in a town called Hamilton. We'd been making ambient records [including On Land and Apollo] for a few years, some very cool records. But I'll be real straight with you. During that ambient music-making chapter, I was pretty isolated. Nothing had really come my way that was illustrious, in terms of invites. I had poured my soul into these ambient works with Eno, and a lot of phone calls were coming in-- David Bowie was calling, Iggy Pop the next day. None of them to me, all to Brian. Brian was pretty much in the fast lane of record making at that point. He was pretty much on the pulse of things in New York City, and then he said that he wasn't producing records anymore. He was finished with it, and was therefore not interested in working with U2.

Brian Eno: I had never worked with that kind of music before, and I was not completely convinced that I would be the right person for it. I thought, well, I can handle the ideas side of it all right, but can I handle the actual traditional production side alright? I knew Dan was very good at that side of things, and very good at working with bands, getting the best out of the players and so on, so I said, "Why not have both of us? We'll sort of overlap in some parts, but we actually sort of serve different functions as well." That was how that working relationship started.
I would read the whole thing if I were you. By the way, I wonder if the Pitchfork folks were intentionally making a joke about Eno/Lanois remembering the unforgettable fire. I hope so.

One other thing: it's giving me chills thinking about how good that record is.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ray Davies to Do Kinks Klassics With Full Khorus

This is going to be sweet:
Last week, Ray Davies told [Paste] of his forthcoming choral collection: a new album Kinks classics featuring a full choir. And this November, you can hear it for yourself, live and in 65-voice surround sound: Davies just announced a seven-city, eight-date tour through the U.S. Although some of the dates will find Davies playing solo, the New York dates will feature The Vox Society Choir and the New York shows will feature The Dessoff Chamber Choir.
“I didn’t want the Chorus to just do ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs,’” Davies said of the project. “There had to be something within the song that’d allow them to express themselves.” And so there are; the re-imagination of some of The Kinks finest songs will make for a concert equal parts rock ‘n’ roll and gospel soul.

But don’t fret if you live somewhere in the vastness of America; Davies will hit David Letterman’s show on Nov. 18.
I might have to get up to New York for this one. Ray Davies barely made it into the book, but he is one of the most Advanced Artists of all time. And this project is proof of that.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Slate: Why Bob Dylan's Christmas Album Isn't a Joke

As is often the case, Slate gets it: dismiss Christmas in the Heart as mere mischief is to misunderstand Dylan—and Christmas songs. In recent years, Dylan has been less folk singer than folklorist. On albums like Love and Theft (2001), Modern Times (2006), and Together Through Life (2009)—and on his fabulous satellite radio show—Dylan has been dipping further into America's musical back pages with an expansive vision of roots music that takes in not just blues and gospel and country but 19th-century parlor songs, vaudeville ragtime tunes, Tin Pan Alley's Hawaiian ballads, and other products of the ye olde pop industrial complex. Dylan's love for crooners like Bing Crosby is evident in Modern Times' "Beyond the Horizon," a note-for-note homage to the 1930s hit "Red Sails in the Sunset."
Dylan...knows that holiday schlock is a profound tradition in its own right. Most yuletide standards are of relatively recent provenance, cooked up by pop tune-smiths during and just after World War II. But it was the special genius of those (mostly Jewish) composers to create songs that feel as if they have always existed, that can sit comfortably beside the ancient "O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" as icons of that bizarre civic-religious rite, the American Christmas—the one time each year when the country's consumerist and spiritual excesses merge in a mass celebration of the enchanted and uncanny. Even the silliest Christmas tunes are surreal—cheerily, unblinkingly narrating tales of flying reindeer and talking snowmen. Then there are songs like Berlin's titanic "White Christmas," which fuses Stephen Foster's antebellum nostalgia, Jewish schmaltz, and Broadway melodicism into a secular hymn that is as dark and blue as it is "merry and bright."

Dylan gets this, and that's why Christmas in the Heart is less a joke or a provocation than a polemic.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wyclef Jean's Concept Album: From the Hut to the Projects to the Mansion

This is pretty interesting (from a press release):
On November 10, 2009 Wyclef returns to hip-hop with the gritty release of From The Hut To The Projects To The Mansion on Carnival House via Megaforce/Sony Music....

Wyclef now returns with this brilliant hip-hop EP with all new material collaborating with DJ Drama. It’s the concept mixtape he has wanted to make and features a gritty, yet melodic effort with some amazing guests such as Eve, Timbaland, Maino, Cyndi Lauper, and others.

“I wanted to do this release with Megaforce/Red as I want to hi my hip hop can college fanbase and who better to do that than an indie label/distributor,” says Wyclef.

Toussaint St. Jean, the title character of Wyclef’s new EP, is a persona suggested to Wyclef by his friend and collaborator T.I. The character Toussaint is loosely based on the 18th-century Haitian revolutionary hero, Toussaint L’Ouverture, a figure who brought Haiti to significance on the international stage.
Inhabiting the role of Toussaint on these songs, Wyclef recreates himself in the spirit of a noble fighter, a man who says exactly what is on his mind. Toussaint’s rhymes hit hard, in a “militant style,” and make his words felt – and remembered...

And so what is the difference between Wyclef and Toussaint? “Toussaint is more direct,” Wyclef says. “He ain’t going to sugarcoat nothing. Whatever he’s thinking, he’s going to tell you. It’s like, I’ve still got this machete – my tongue is sharper than it’s ever been.” To help create suitable musical settings for the grisly tales Toussaint has to tell, Wyclef turned to DJ Drama, who has worked extensively with T.I. “I asked myself, ‘Who’s the toughest guy out there?’” Wyclef says. “Then I said, well, DJ Drama is pretty badass. So I called him and asked if he’d be interested in doing a mixtape. He heard what I was up to and he said, ‘We gotta do a book – this is a novel!’ He got excited, and it became more like an EP than a mixtape...

Tracks like “Warriorz,” “Letter From the Penn” and “Toussaint vs. Bishop” paint riveting pictures, “hood stories,” as Wyclef describes them, of street life and its consequences. The gripping storytelling in those songs recalls the raw environments in Haiti and Brooklyn from which Wyclef emerged – “from the hut to the projects to the mansion,” as he memorably puts it in “Slumdog Millionaire.” It’s a story arc that these songs make compelling.
That, and Cyndi Lauper.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dr. Dre Teams Up With HP

From Hothardware:
With HP's dedicated Voodoo PC line pretty much in the tank (or just phased out), it looks like Dr. Dre will be stepping in to fill the superstar void. Both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine have jointly worked with HP in order to issue the HP Beats Limited Edition notebook, which is little more than a highly styled ENVY 15 with a thing for multimedia.

The HP ENVY 15 Beats limited edition notebook features a sleek, piano black, high-gloss finish and signature Beats design as found in the "Beats by Dr. Dre" line of headphones, and while specifics are scant, we're told that the audio capabilities on this notebook far exceeds those found on rivals. As expected, the machine comes with something a little extra that only music-heads will love: Native Instruments’ Traktor LE software and Audio 2 DJ.
Plus free membership to the World Class Computin' Cru.

George Lucas Likes Star Wars

From CNN:
Holding fast to his vision -- and his marketing rights -- for the "Star Wars" empire has made it the biggest franchise in history, and made Lucas one of the most powerful people in entertainment.

But while he's enthusiastic about the new touring show "Star Wars In Concert," it wasn't his idea, and when I talked with him before the first Los Angeles performance this week, he kept giving the credit to others.

"Star Wars In Concert" is built around John Williams' well-known scores from the films, performed by a symphony orchestra and choir, and accompanied by specially edited clips from all six movies, displayed on a mammoth LED screen.

Anthony Daniels, who has played and voiced the golden protocol droid "C3PO" in every film and most of the spinoffs, provides live narration -- and another reason for the "Star Wars" fans in the audience, especially those waving lightsabers and dressed as everything from sand people to Imperial stormtroopers, to cheer mightily, as they did the night I interviewed Lucas. iReporter praises the 'Force' of the show

George Lucas: I've seen some presentations of, you know, live orchestras with "Star Wars" clips, and that sort of thing. But this is so much more than that -- it's so much more emotional, because what they've done is taken the emotional content of the score ... one is obviously the Imperial March, one is obviously romantic ... and then they've cut all the pictures around that from all the movies, so that you get this really wide range of visuals going with the music, and it really is quite powerful when you see the depictions of all of the various Imperial shenanigans that were going on over the Imperial March.
Ah yes, the Imperial shenanigans. So powerful. Seriously, though, I'll bet this really would be awesome.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Invest in Public Enemy

A little Bowie-esque (or perhaps Green Bay Packers-esque) Advancement from Public Enemy:
Public Enemy are asking fans to help fund the recording of their next album. The rap collective have signed a deal with fan funding engine SellaBand, and are aiming to raise $250,000 in increments of $25 in order to record and release the as-yet-untitled album. In return, fans who invest in the album will receive a share in the revenue of the album, as well as a numbered copy of it.

Speaking about the deal in a statement, Public Enemy's Chuck D hailed SellaBand's business model. SellaBand's financial engine model goes about restructuring the music business in reverse, he explained. "It starts with fans first, then the artists create from there. The music business is built on searching for fans and this is a brand new way for acts to create a new album with fans first, already on board."
I like the idea, of course, but: If you invest $25 of $250K, and the artist is likely to get a fair portion of the royalties (which is why they would be doing this instead of working with a label), how many records would have to be sold to get even your initial investment back? You're probably better off just buying the record for $15. But then again you wouldn't have the same pride of ownership.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Blind Boys of Alabama Duet With Lou Reed

This sounds good:
Blind Boys Of Alabama will release a duets album next with appearances from Timothy B. Schmit, Lou Reed, Ben Harper and Bonnie Raitt. ‘Duets’ features the previous unreleased ‘Jesus’ with Lou Reed.
I'm re-reading "Sweet Soul Music" by Peter Guralnick, which talks a bit about the Blind Boys (Alabama and Mississippi). It occurs to me at this moment how great it would be for Lou Reed to cut a record with Steve Cropper and his gang, sort of like that Frank Black record from a few years back, only a straight-soul record. It actually makes perfect sense to me, filled with coffee as I am.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Comes After Metal Machine Trio?

I love the name Metal Machine Trio, of course. Here's part of an old review that I missed:
It was good to have this Lou Reed back: not an American Master nor a Legend of Rock, but a barking, brooding, beneficial irritant. On Thursday night at the Blender Theater at Gramercy, onstage between Sarth Calhoun and Ulrich Krieger, two much younger musicians, he was making noise — improvised, loud, heavily processed, and some of it ugly enough to make people leave.
Contrary to expectations — and the original record [Metal Machine Music]— the show did include some singing, in Mr. Reed’s wayward croak, barely distinct through the din. Some of these interjections were just stray phrases, trailing off into nothing. “I can’t get you back,” was one. “Sorry if I made you mad.” “Free fly ... oh, baby, like a bird.” “I went to Avenue C. ...” And then, somewhere in there a recognizable lyric: “Standing on the corner, suitcase in my hand.”
I'm surprised that he didn't quote from Walk on the Wild Side. Anyway, I bring this up because I'm wondering if Reed is ready for his Time Out of Mind. It would seem that he isn't interested in that, but I can just imagine his following up Metal Machine Trio stuff with a record that everyone loves next year. Then again, if I can imagine it, then it probably isn't Advanced.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brian Eno iPhone App: Music for Air Tropes

Brian Eno just keeps on being interesting, the bastard:
Brian Eno has two new applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, based on his ambient music. One is called Air. The other is called Trope. Air is basically an endless version of Eno's 1979 album Music for Airports. Here's the official description:

Air is a generative audio-visual work created by musician / software designer Peter Chilvers and Irish vocalist Sandra O'Neill. Based on concepts developed by Brian Eno, with whom Chilvers created Bloom, Air assembles vocal and piano samples into a beautiful, still and ever changing composition, which is always familiar, but never the same.

Air is beautiful, but not as astonishingly beautiful as Trope. Like last year's Bloom program (which I still play with on a weekly basis), Trope let's you draw beautiful and colorful patterns while producing gorgeous drones and plaintiff piano motifs.

And all for just $3.99.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Okay, Then, I'll Change It. Hello Cliff Richard.

From tipster Judas Constant:
I just found this in the Guardian, attempting to explain the peculiar career of Cliff Richard. It reads like Advanced Theory 101:

"Cliff, though, is a little more problematic. At heart, he is clearly rather odd, an eccentric even. At every turn, Cliff will say or do something to spoil my argument that his catalogue is worthy of deeper analysis and investigation. He'll say something about wine or Jesus or how "rock'n'roll" he is; or offer his holiday home to Tony Blair at the height of the Iraq crisis, or force Chris Evans to take a stand and say he'll never, ever play a Cliff Richard record on the radio."
I don't know enough about Cliff Richard, other than his name is better on a hamster than special patrol group, but this sound very promising!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Preview: Christmas In The Heart by Bob Dylan

Listen here. Just click "preview all" and enjoy the unbelievable Advancement. Pretty Advanced cover, too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Michael Stipe and Barry Manilow, Low, Low

And Tom Hanks too:
Looks like he's finally made it! Barry Manilow will soon write the songs that make the cinematic world sing.* Oh, yes. Variety reports that Michael Stipe and Sandy Stern of Single Cell are joining Playtone's Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman to create a romantic comedy focusing on Manilow's extensive song catalog.

But we're not talking about some Mamma Mia! sort of flick where famous folks get together and try to belt out songs like they're Abba. Why get some stand-ins when you can get the real thing? The film will be a character-driven smorgasbord of Manilow fans heading to Las Vegas to see the icon headline Mandalay Bay. His music will drive the piece, and there will even be a performance or two by the man himself.
Stipe has never really Advanced, but he does have a solid record of embracing music that you wouldn't expect him to like, especially if it's sweet and from the 1970s.

Monday, September 07, 2009

PiL to Reform

It was inevitable:
Punk rock singer John Lydon, formerly known as Johnny Rotten, is re-forming his band Public Image Ltd -- or PiL -- after a 17 year hiatus with a five-date tour in December, according to media reports.

Lydon told Britain's Guardian newspaper that the influential band he created in 1978, a year after the disintegration of the Sex Pistols, and which lasted for 14 years, would reform with a new line-up.

He said the new-look PiL will not contain original band members Jah Wobble or former Clash guitarist Keith Levene but will feature guitarist Lu Edmonds, drummer Bruce Smith and a new arrival, multi-instrumentalist Scott Firth.

PiL, which had chart success with singles such as "Public Image" and "This Is Not a Love Song," will start its tour on December 15 in Birmingham. The band is also launching a new website (
Also in the article, Lydon complains, "Younger people at the moment are very mouthy and aggressive."

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Trailer

One other thing: Val Kilmer is in it. This might be the most Advanced movie in a long time.

Thanks Roger.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Nicolas Cage in "Bad Lieutenant": Don't Call It a Remake

Completely awesome on a million levels:
Actor Nicolas Cage plays a deranged, drug-addicted detective in "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans," re-visiting the corrupt cop role made famous by Harvey Keitel 17 years ago.

Despite the similarity in title to Abel Ferrara's 1992 cult classic "Bad Lieutenant," and Ferrara's obvious displeasure at the idea of a remake, Cage and German director Werner Herzog say their movie is not connected.

"It would be unfair to compare the two movies," Cage told Reuters in an interview in Venice, where the picture is in competition at the annual film festival.

"Harvey's trajectory is really dealing with guilt and all of that, and perhaps fits more into that (Judeo-Christian) program, so to me it's a completely different story and a different cop," added the 45-year-old, who won a >best actor Oscar for playing an alcoholic in "Leaving Las Vegas."

"This is a New Orleans cop, it takes place in New Orleans, it's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, it's not Bad Lieutenant."

Ferrara has criticized the idea of a remake, and was quoted in the media as saying: "I wish these people die in hell."
"It's not 'CSI' it's 'CSI New Orleans.'"

Hats off to Herzog on creating a totally original version of being an Advanced Irritant. Also this is a perfect illustration of something that is not the opposite of what is expected from an artists, which is at the heart of Advancement. What gave Cage/Herzog the idea that this project would inspire anything but rage? Fans of the original will be mad, non-fans won't see it, so why would they do it? And who's paying for it? Whoever it is may be the most truly Advanced player in this whole project.

By the way, if you've never seen the original, he really is a bad lieutenant. Very, very bad.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bob Dylan to do GPS Voice

This is fantastic:
[Bob Dylan] said on a recent broadcast of his radio show that he may lend his distinctively gravelly voice to a satellite navigation system for cars, Agence France-Presse reported. In the latest edition of his “Theme Time Radio Hour” program, Mr. Dylan said, “I’m talking to a couple of car companies about being the voice of their GPS system,” according to Agence France-Presse.
That GPS should come with the Cadillac that Dylan promoted. And it should be pre-loaded with Victoria's Secret locations.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Zemeckis to Remake Yellow Submarine

Robert Zemeckis is in negotiations to direct a remake of the 1968 animated Beatles feature "Yellow Submarine" for the Walt Disney Studios Disney had no comment on the deal. Still being sorted out is the acquisition of rights to the film's music, which includes the title track as well as "Eleanor Rigby," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," "When I'm Sixty-Four" and "With a Little Help From My Friends."
Apparently he's going to use the animation style we saw in Polar Express. I've got to admit that even I have reservations about this one. Prove me wrong, Robert!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Weezer Is Rad-vanced?

I don't like Weezer much, but I do like the name of their new album: Raditude. Might have to give that one a listen.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sonic Youth on Gossip Girl

Another good story for Saturday (NME):
Sonic Youth are set to appear in an upcoming episode of the popular US television programme 'Gossip Girl'.

The veteran rockers are reportedly fans of the show, and guitarist Thurston Moore recorded a cover of the Ramones' 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker' for inclusion in a previous episode.

Now the band are set to perform an acoustic version of their 1986 single 'Starpower' on the fifth episode of the upcoming fall season, reports Entertainment Weekly.
Let everybody know.

Bob Dylan: I and ID

A teacher friend pointed me in this story's direction:
A 24-year-old police officer apparently was unaware of who [Bob] Dylan is and asked him for identification, Long Branch business administrator Howard Woolley said Friday. “I don’t think she was familiar with his entire body of work,” Woolley said.

The incident began at 5 p.m. when a resident said a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.

The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:

“What is your name, sir?” the officer asked.

“Bob Dylan,” Dylan said.

“OK, what are you doing here?” the officer asked.

“I’m on tour,” the singer replied.

A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.

The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” said that he didn’t have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night’s show.

The officers asked Dylan, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.

The officers thanked him for his cooperation.

“He couldn’t have been any nicer to them,” Woolley added.

Meanwhile Cate Blanchett was in Patterson, NJ, robbing a bar and grill.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Dylan Christmas Album

This should be good (Reuters):
Bob Dylan is set to release an album of Christmas songs, including "Here Comes Santa Claus" and the carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem," according to music websites.

Rumours of the album first emerged on Isis magazine website, which is devoted to Dylan. It later reported the songs had been recorded in Jackson Browne's studio in Santa Monica, California, in May.

David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, who played accordion on Dylan's chart-topping latest album "Together Through Life," is one of the musicians who took part in the sessions, it said.

"It is a personal project of Dylan himself rather than an idea put forward by his record company," Isis said.

Billboard magazine said it had confirmed the album existed. Other songs included "Must Be Santa" and "I'll be Home for Christmas," it said.

Dylan was originally of the Jewish faith and was a Born Again Christian from 1979-1981, releasing three religious-themed albums.

"At first glance it may sound bizarre, but I don't think Dylan cares much about what his detractors might make of it," Scott Marshall, who has written a book 'God and Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life' told

"He's both never renounced being Jewish or renounced his experience with Jesus some three decades ago," Marshall said.

This is classic Advancement on a number of levels. Being religious is Advanced, as is liking Christmas (especially if you're Jewish), but recording a Christmas record after releasing three critically acclaimed albums in a row and doing it at Jackson Browne's studio with a member of Los Lobos is amazing. This record is also an example of an Advanced musician managing to do something unexpected that is also not the opposite of what is expected. By now I thought I had a handle on Dylan, but a Christmas album is surpising, but exactly why that is I can't say, nor can I say why he would want to do one.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Waterloo Sunset vs. Breakfast in America

Getting back to blogging has been difficult because I can never find anything good about the world of Advancement. Or maybe it's harder to get interested these days. But whatever, it's hard. So here's just a thought:

Since moving back to Atlanta a couple of years ago, I've had to get used to listening to the radio again because I don't have anything to play iPods in my stereo and I can't seem to make enough CDs to keep myself happy. Anyway, I've just heard "The Logical Song" by Supertramp for the eight-millionth time on our classic-rock song and I just want to know why you never hear "Waterloo Sunset" on the radio. The Kinks have tons of radio-friendly music, but I can give that a pass. But what on earth prevents a DJ from putting on such a great song? If I were to request it, would the average classic-rock station even have it?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jimmy Carter Thought Born-Again Dylan Wasn't to Die For

From beliefnet via
Jimmy Carter, it seems, believes in the separation between church and rock. The former president, whose 1976 White House campaign saw both performances by the Allman Brothers Band and the introduction of the term "born again" to the Washington media's lexicon, has revealed in a new book that he became disenchanted with Bob Dylan after the singer was converted to Christianity. Writes Kevin Mattson in his history of Carter's "malaise" speech, "Jimmy Carter's favorite rock musician now refused to sing the songs the president most enjoyed . . . [those] written before Dylan found Jesus."
A surprisingly Overt take from Jimmy Carter. But then again, most Advanced Musicians side with the Republicans, so maybe this isn't so surprising.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bowie iPhone App

Good stuff from Mobile Entertainment:
A new iPhone app from iKlax will celebrate the 40th anniversary of David Bowie's Space Oddity single by letting fans remix it. The app will be released on 20th July on the App Store, and has been made by music developer iKlax. Fans can sign up on a dedicated website to be notified when the app goes live.

It ties in with an anniversary release of a digital EP featuring different versions of Space Oddity, as well as 'stems' that can be remixed in desktop music tools like GarageBand and Audacity.
The attached picture is Bowie hard at work, developing the app.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Kraftwerk Get Some Help From Olympic Cyclists

Kraftwerk found a way to spice up their live show a bit that I find quite Advanced:
The German godfathers of electronica played a two-hour set to open the Manchester International Festival. They were joined by Ed Clancy, Jason Kenny, Jamie Staff and Geraint Thomas - who all triumphed in Beijing in 2008.

The quartet appeared from behind the band to ride in a wave formation during Kraftwerk's song Tour De France. The cyclists' names were announced from the stage with a thick German accent a couple of minutes into the song, much to the delight of the crowd. The wave formation was then mirrored by elaborate visual effects on screens behind the stage.

Most of the audience agreed the appearance was the highlight of the show. "I think I died and went to heaven when the cyclists came out for Tour De France. That's the best track and action I've ever seen working together - it's my gig of the year," said one enthusiastic fan.
I like that in the mind of this fan, heaven is a Kraftwerk concert that features four guys on bicycles. Oh and that in heaven you get to see the best gig of the year, not the best gig ever.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lou vs. Liu: Do Not Talk While Lou Reed Is Performing

Lou Reed is weird in that he wants people to be respectful when he performs, and he's not afraid to say something about it:
An insider tells us that the iconic rocker demanded the bar be shut down when he sang at Persol's Incognito design exhibit at the Whitney on Tuesday - because he didn't want to hear the clinking of glasses or ice. Onstage, the musician even shouted to the crowd, "Shut the [bleep] up - you're talking too much!"
Apparently one of the fans who obeyed was Lucy Liu. I'm not sure if I like her more or less now.

In related news, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders says the show was "flawless." He talked to Reed, who said, "It''s always fun to play a museum. When I was with Andy Warhol, we played hundreds of them." Especially when you can tell Lucy Liu to shut up and she does, I guess.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lionel Ritchie to Pull Reverse Rick Springfield

Here's the mildly interesting story:
Singer Lionel Ritchie is set to star in U.S. soap One Life To Live.

The 'Easy' singer will tape his debut on the show next week and the episode will be telecast in July, reports Contactmusic.

Although, Richie's role is being kept a secret, a show spokesman said, "He won't just sing and go."
Of course not. He'll stay all night long. But seriously, the end of the article is what caught my eye:
Other celebrities like Snoop Dogg have also made an appearance on the show.
I don't know if Snoop is Advanced, but he is truly fascinating.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Eddie Van Halen Suing Nike

Here's the latest (and only), from Blabbermouth:
According to KTLA-TV, guitarist Eddie Van Halen filed a lawsuit against Nike in Los Angeles Friday, alleging the company used the trademarked striped design from his guitar on their new line of "Dunk Lows" tennis shoes.

The Nike shoes feature red, white and black streaks along the midsole.

The suit states that Van Halen received a 2001 copyright for the design on the body of his "Frankenstein" electric guitar.

Court papers allege that Nike infringed on that copyright by using the design on sneakers without "consent, approval or license."

Van Halen claims Nike is doing "irreparable harm and damage" to his signature design. He is seeking general and punitive damages, all profits arising from the sales of "Dunk Lows" and a permanent injunciton halting production of the Nike shoes.

Wow. Don't mess with Frankenstein. If you would like the EVH approved shoes, go here for his sneakers that look suspiciously like Chuck Taylors. I smell another lawsuit.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cheap Trick to bring 'Sgt. Pepper' to Las Vegas

Here's the story:
Cheap Trick will interpret The Beatles' classic 1966 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" during a September Las Vegas engagement.

The band will kick off the performances, complete with a full symphony orchestra, Sept. 13 at the Las Vegas Hilton. The showcase will run over nine nights and will feature "special musical guests to be announced later," according to promoters.

"We are going to make rock 'n' roll history by incorporating this legendary American rock group with the music of The Beatles," said Bill Edwards, the show's producer, in a press statement. "This is a groundbreaking performance that everyone said couldn't be done live, but Cheap Trick has perfected it."

I used to joke about making an album called Jason Hartley Perfects the Classics, but I'll be darned if Cheap Trick hasn't gone an one-upped me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


It's a clash of priorities in Australia:
AC/DC is booked to play three concerts at Docklands in Melbourne next February. Two of the concerts have already sold out. But the AFL [Australian Football League] has booked pre-season matches on the same nights. The AFL has written to stadium officials to remind them of their contractual obligations saying it has first call on the indoor venue. But concert promoter Garry Van Egmond says the AC/DC shows will not be rescheduled or relocated.

"We're going ahead as planned. We couldn't, we wouldn't even consider it. We've got dates in Japan after this which we can't change," he said. "We've got three dates booked, we've sold 180,000 tickets and there's still some tickets available for the third show.

"We're going ahead, full steam ahead. We've got a watertight contract." AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has told Fairfax Radio the debacle is a matter for the stadium to sort out. "The ball's in the Etihad Stadium management's court. We're being absolutely open and honest in our agreement," he said
Please note that this is a preseason game! Those Aussies are serious about their football. But what a dilemma for an Advanced Fan of AC/DC. AFL chief broadcasting and commercial officer is really bummed because he has tickets to the concert.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bono and the Edge Talk Spider-Man Musical

While Batman seems to be the most Advanced superhero, doing a Spider-Man Musical is still pretty good. Plus U2 already did a song for a Batman movie. Still, U2 cannot be Advanced because bands don't qualify. Only solo acts can achieve Advancement.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr to Collaborate

Well, this could be interesting (Paste):
Sir Paul McCartney, his fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, and Bob Dylan are joining forces to collaborate on new material.

The three musicians—all of whom are in their late 60s—have shared stages before, but never created new music together like this. McCartney recently became interested in working with Dylan, and after Dylan reciprocated, the two decided to move forward with this project. Starr will play drums.

This is the stuff music critics’ dreams are made of, and harkens back to the grandaddy of supergroups, the Traveling Wilburys, which consisted of Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne. Details are scant otherwise, but expect to hear more about this collaboration soon.

I'm glad they told us that Ringo will play drums. I have no idea what this would sound like, but I hope it's an album of George Harrison covers. Or maybe a re-recording of All Things Must Pass.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ghostbusters' Afterlife Continues in Video Game

Of course the New York Times had to use "Who You Gonna Call?" in the headline about a Ghostbusters video game. But anyway, here's a bit from the story:
“My mother claims that when she was nursing me, a man and woman appeared at the foot of the bed, so she called to my dad, and they opened up the family album, and it was Sam and my great-grandmother Ellen Jane coming to welcome the new baby.”

“We had total confidence at that point,” said [Harold] Ramis, one of the film’s stars and co-writer of the final screenplay. “We were at the top of our game. I remember during ‘The Blues Brothers’ Dan had been down on doing a lot of merchandising. He would say, ‘I don’t want to be on every lunchbox in America.’ Well, when it came time for ‘Ghostbusters’ his tune had changed, and he said, ‘Now, I do want to be on every lunchbox in America.’ And we were. And we were getting our own action figures and so on. We’d sort of already made some small mark on pop culture with several of the earlier movies, so we felt like we had arrived, and then ‘Ghostbusters’ kind of put it over the top.”
I'm not really sure why this game inspired this big write-up, but I was glad to see that Ghostbusters III is still a possibility.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Danger Mouse, David Lynch, and Sparklehorse: I Like This

Here's something interesting from Wired:

For [Danger Mouse's] new album, Dark Night of the Soul (due in June), he collaborated with indie rocker Mark Linkous (aka Sparklehorse) and filmmaker David Lynch. The power trio...reinvented the album as a guerrilla art project. "When formatting changed from vinyl to cassette, packaging got smaller. With MP3s, it's completely gone," Burton explains. "I wanted to get back to a time when packaging was a visual fantasy about the music and created a mystery for people to unpack."
In case you were worried that he might have been left out, Iggy Pop supplied some lyrics.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Book Update

Just finished the first draft on Monday! I'm taking a little time off from thinking about Advancement, but then I'm going to try to start posting some more. Is anyone still there?