RAVE'S FAVES (on the air)
White Stripes ("7," "Button"), RAVEonettes, Hot Hot Heat, Pete Yorn, Blur, Queens of the Stone Age ("Flow"), The Coral, No Doubt ("Running")
The White Stripes CD is over 314,000 units in the first four weeks following release, and this bodes well for those who are hoping that the "garage" genre has staying power. Hot Hot Heat's infectious "Bandages" continues to garner top 5 requests at KROQ. It's great to have Blur back after four years. "Crazy Beat," produced by Fatboy Slim, has a new punk feel but is apparently atypical of what the new album sounds like. As vocalist Damon Albarn says, melody is a constant for them and I'm excited about hearing the new CD. The Coral are a young, bouncy pop band out of Liverpool. They're great for college and underground programming, but seem too pop for mainstream alternative. No Doubt now have their 5th "fave" from their most recent album, and that's a record.
It has been over a year since I've designated CD's that have caught my attention. Discs by The Strokes, The Hives, and Spoon were leaders for me last year. Also, Basement Jaxx have a good CD with a song called "Do Your Thing," which is about as much of a party song as a tune can be. Of the 2003 releases by newer bands, I'm liking Hot Hot Heat, The Libertines, Fischerspooner, and The Datsuns. My favorite release of the last few years was by the Dandy Warhols, and their new one will drop by June. I'll also mention that I quite liked the Yeah Yeah Yeahs debut last year, and their new full-length disc has created quite a buzz.
It's interesting how early in the year tickets went on sale for the major summer rock tours. Promoters must be very nervous about the economy. Meanwhile, I've attended some interesting shows. The Foos are very strong and will please fans of the band. The Vines had very poor sound on stage, which led to a show, which(hopefully) was one of their worst. The RAVEonettes have great energy, play well, and show potential. The Music, who have been a major buzz band out of the U.K., are very progressive if not song-oriented, and they are also strong players.
Iron Maiden are back, following a year off, and will be headlining the huge Donnington Festival in the U.K. on May 31. Look for an extensive tour and a new CD. Weird Al is also emerging from a year's hiatus, and his new album is called "Poodle Hat." Knack singer Doug Fieger is working at his home studio with Cars guitarist Elliot Easton and Blondie drummer Clem Burke. What an interesting combo. As of this writing, they've come up with three cool songs.
I was fortunate enough to be on hand to personally present the second annual Bruce Ravid Music Industry Award to Anna Filipek, who is Music Director for WSUM at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (my alma mater). This award is given to the station staffer who puts the most energy into the station's musical direction as well as into relations with the record community. Congrats once again to Anna, who is doing a tremendous job for the station... Tom Teuber, PD of WMMM in Madison, tells a story that illustrates how rough the current record industry slump can be on people. The Epic promotion guy out of Chicago was on his way to cover the Tori Amos show in Mad-town. The poor dude was called en route on his cell phone and was instructed to turn around and go home. He was one of the 1,000 people being laid off by Sony Music... The night before the war began, I was flying from Dallas to LA, next to a 14 year old guy from suburban Dallas. His favorite bands are Blink 182 and Nirvana. I asked him what kids in his class had to say about Iraq. His reply: "Most kids in my class like rap."
On that note, I hope the world is treating you better right now. I'll be back in June. Meanwhile, I hope you have enjoy your spring and continue to...