RAVE'S FAVES (on the air)
Kaiser Chiefs (various), Kasabian (various), NIN, Green Day ("Holiday"), Queens of the Stone Age, Bloc Party ("Banquet," "Helicopter"), Fischerspooner, Garbage, Doves, Stereophonics, World Leader Pretend, Arcade Fire (various), Oasis.
The Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian albums are my favorites of this young year, and stations are airing various tracks from each one. The Chiefs' "Modern Way" may turn out to be a mid-tempo monster.NIN sounds like a great version of what Trent's been doing for ages. Lots of friends love Bloc Party, who seem to have been the talk of SXSW.They also aced their Letterman appearance, as did the Kaiser Chiefs. "Helicopter" is my favorite Bloc Party track. Virtually every critic writes the same thing about Fischerspooner: They've become more song-oriented and this album is better. It took awhile for the new Garbage direction to grow on me but their straight ahead mode has finally put them in my win column. For years, I thought that Stereophonics were over-hyped, but their "Dakota" single gives them their best shot to date. See the World Leader Pretend concert review below. The Oasis single is their best in years. The Gorillaz, Decemberists, and Futureheads tunes all crack the Honorable Mention category.
World Leader Pretend have twice notched "fave" status with their "Bang Theory." They're good musicians but had absolutely no stage presence at their Roxy show. As my friend put it, they looked like "high school computer class kids who just happened to find some instruments to play during a break." There were times when the conversational buzz at the back of the club was louder than the music. Headlining act Brazilian Girls were a completely different story. Their mix of jazz, electronica, and rock is engaging. Singer Sabina Sciubba is a star and it was no surprise that the chorus of "pussy pussy pussy, marijuana" got the biggest response from the positive crowd. I caught Crystal Method at the Avalon as they are touring to promote their "Community Service" CD. They were awesome once again.
Iron Maiden will follow their huge European headlining dates with a chunk of the Ozzfest tour. Too bad they'll miss L.A. this time around. The Knack, The Motels and Missing Persons continue to play out, but I'm not aware of any Weird Al dates. Meanwhile, my my my "My Sharona" remains in the national consciousness as it was reported that it's on George Bush's iPod along with numerous country songs. I asked Knack singer/songwriter Doug Fieger how he'd respond if he ever met W. He'd say, "So you used to do cocaine too!" I can speculate that the Pres. might reply in a Clinton-esque manner: "I didn't inhale. I only put it on my gums."
I'm heading to Madison for WSUM's annual Party in the Park on Saturday April 23rd. I'll be presenting the annual Bruce Ravid Music Industry Award (BRMIE) as well as doing a quick "Return of Rave" show on Sunday (April 24t) from 5-6pm Central Time. You can hear my show live at www.wsum.org... There's lots of buzz about the demise of L.A.'s Classic Rock radio station Arrow 93, the home of our own Uncle Joe. I always thought that their music should be harder and a bit less predictable. Having followed Joe's career for decades, I'm biased but was still amazed at the public outpouring of regret that Joe wouldn't be on the air. I know that he continues to be in high demand, and he may have a new home by the time you read this. Good luck, Joe!
Please send email and put "Raves" in the subject line. I promise to answer. By the next time you hear from me, summer will be in full swing if you're in the Northern Hemisphere. Until then...