RAVE'S FAVES (on the air since August)
Velvet Revolver ("Machine"), U2, Green Day (various), Flogging Molly (various), Elefant, Keane, My Chemical Romance, Social Distortion, Dogs Die in Hot Cars.
With their new single, U2 has again shown an amazing knack for hitting the pocket perfectly.Velvet Revolver's "Big Machine" is getting some L.A. play and is my top current track.Flogging Molly is just plain fun, while Elefant's "Misfit" sure sounds like a radio tune to me. It's taken awhile, but the Keane song has now become a fave and is finally breaking nationally.My Chemical Romance is yet another popular band who cite Iron Maiden influences. They say they'd like to tour with the guys, and their "I'm Not Okay" radio tune/video has grown on me as well.Dogs Die in Hot Cars has a fun track called "I Love You Because I Have To" that is highly retro and hooky in the vein of The Killers' "Somebody Told Me." I like the little bit I've heard from Le Tigre's third release, and I want to hear more. The Green Day CD actually turned out to be even better than the hot pre-release buzz.Brian Wilson's "Smile" is another CD that is a highlight of 2004.
ACTIVISM IN ROCK
As it has turned out, 9/11 didn't really bring much activism to rock lyrics and concerts it was the prospect of a Bush reelection that finally got things moving. Effective as this political wave in music appeared that it would be, 18-29 year olds still didn't vote in the desired numbers. It will take more than just a couple months to inspire younger rockers to the point where going to the polls becomes a priority for more of them. The "moral values" people worked their crowd for many years before getting them to the point where they made the difference in the last two Presidential elections. I never thought I'd be as supportive of Eminem's lyrics(of all people) as I was when I heard his "Mosh" and saw the video.
On September 26, I awoke in Madison at an ungodly hour to catch flights that would guarantee my return to L.A. in time for Air's early evening Hollywood Bowl performance in front of an orchestra. The show was worth that pre-dawn pain, as the guys thrilled the sold out crowd. It was their debut adventure with an orchestra, and most of the parts worked quite well. The show was pretty mellow, but when Air wanted to rock, they didn't mess around. The same can be said for when they elected to create a dance club effect ("Sexy Boys").Stereolab preceded them and only seemed to impress about half of the house. They're an acquired taste and don't do much for me. England's Libertines did a good job at the Henry Fonda, especially considering that singer Peter Dougherty wasn't with them. They are fun and energetic, although the set started to blend together after awhile.Radio 4 opened. They don't have a visual thing going for them, but they're good, precise players with good songs. I like their album.
Duran Duran have received strong reviews for their "Astronaut" album. It has done reasonably well up to this point and their upcoming tour should provide a huge boost. I'm not always a fan of VH-1's editing prowess, which seems to target the lower common denominators more and more. However, I feel they did a great job on The Motels' "Bands Reunited" program. The show captured them well, and it seems the band were pleased."Getting the Knack," the nicely-produced story of The Knack, is now available on DVD in music stores and Internet sites. I'm hoping that it will be shown on VH-1 Classic, as it is perfect for the channel and it's a must for fans of the band.
The "Dig" documentary has gotten strong reviews from movie critics and is well-done. I'm not sure music biz insiders will enjoy it as much, as many have already seen much of that self-destructive behavior by musicians. As a big fan of the Dandy Warhols, I wish the film had spent more time on their career. But they're more normal, and normalcy usually doesn't sell movie tickets... I had a blast doing my two "Return of Rave" shows this fall on WSUM-FM in Madison at the University of Wisconsin. It seems that my four shows have been well-received, and I loved the super feedback from some "Raves" readers. Thanks to station GM Dave Black and the others for their hospitality. I'll be back on the air during my next visit in late April. Isn't it cool that as an L.A. dude, I'm again doing college radio in Madison, where my music career began? Life sure takes interesting turns.
So that does it until mid-December, when the final "Raves" of the year will list my annual Top Five. I always enjoy feedback from my readers and hope you'll write. Please mention "Raves" in the subject line to ensure that your message gets read! Have a good T-Giv. Until I'm back in touch...