RAVE'S FAVES (since April)
The Hives, Snow Patrol, The Sounds, The Streets, Goldfrap, Ben Kweller, Secret Machines.
The new Hives' Stones-like single is my top song of the year so far. It doesn't have an obvious radio chorus, but it's great fun. I'm glad to see that Goldfrap may finally be on her way to a hit with "Strict Machine." The other five artists all are up and coming with cool tunes. Snow Patrol and The Streets are from the U.K., and Sweden's Sounds' song sounds like radio in the 80's. An honorable mention goes to Queens of the Stone Age for their cover of Romeo Void's "Never Say Never."
As we approach the midpoint of 2004, my favorite musical events have been the Von Bondies show and CD (see below), theFranz Ferdinand concert, and Air's CD. Franz have a nice disc, but I think they'll have trouble following up "Take Me Out." They're one band that few people actually seem to dislike. Air will play at the Hollywood Bowl with an orchestra on September 26.
While in Europe, I got to catch a Von Bondies/Ima Robot gig in Amsterdam. The V.B.'s were nothing short of awesome with their blues-flavored garage rock. They play great and look great with lots of intensity. There was not a dull note in their set. Ima Robot, much like their CD, were uneven but had some hot moments. Both bands have star potential, especially the V.B.'s. The B-52's continue to be great fun, and they're still backed by some great players. This blast was at Hollywood's Avalon, and New York's Scissor Sisters preceded them with a fun, tight, camp show. Already big in the U.K., they're starting to develop a domestic buzz in the dance and indie rock worlds.The Knack emerged from their hiatus with a great show near San Diego.
The Motels will be on VH-1's Bands Reunited series this fall. The taping went really well and the original members got along great. Meanwhile, Duran Duran's Epic Records deal is getting publicity, and they anticipate a fall release.
We've been talking recently about guitar hooks, and many rock cuts are actually doing well because of their backing tracks rather than due to hooky choruses. I think this is a reaction to all of those grunge and post-grunge songs in the 90's, and it may also be influenced by rap, where there are rarely such things as vocal melodies.
Rock has returned to many of the top slots on the CD sales charts. Most of these disks are of the harder, mainstream variety.Jet have the second "garage" CD to go platinum, following the White Stripes. Like most other genres, the biggest garage hits will come from bands who get the most airplay. Stations that play heaps of indie rock can get into trouble if they're not careful how they present it. I hate to report that Internet legend WOXY is gone. However, LA's new Indie 103.1 can be heard at http://www.indie1031.fm/listenlive.html. "Rolling Stone" called them "the coolest station in the country," but I don't they can survive long-term unless they find a way to attract a somewhat broader audience.
My spring visit to Madison allowed me to do my semi-annual "Return of Rave" show on WSUM as I again revisited my college radio roots. This year's recipient of the Bruce Ravid Music Industry Award is station Music Director Errol Packard, who was recognized for his hard work and contributions to the station's musical profile.
So that's it for now. I wish you a great summer and encourage you to write with any feedback that you've got for me. Please remember to reference "Raves" in the subject line of your email. Have a great summer. Until late-August,