RAVE'S FAVES (on the air)
Chemical Brothers/Klaxons ("All Rights Reserved"), White Stripes (various), Fujiya & Miyagi (various), Queens Of The Stone Age (various), Art Brut (various), Maximo Park ("Girls" and "Velocity"), Blonde Redhead ("23"), u.n.k.l.e. ("Restless")
This Chemical Brothers/Klaxon track is on the new Chems' album and really stands out to me. The White Stripes are back to having fun as Jack says he's happier than he's ever been. They have a "mariachi metal" song called "Conquest." It is so unique that I squeezed it into my Go Deep show even though the album was just coming out and I had another artist in mind for that particular spot. The U.K.'s Fujiya & Miyagi are very melodically and instrumentally orientated within the indie dance genre. QOTSA have come back with one of their strongest albums. It is good to hear that Art Brut's humor is still intact but it's strange that this new album would be mixed in a way that Eddie's essential vocals are much harder to hear.Maximo Park have had several standout tracks on each of their first couple of albums.Blonde Redhead has been a grower for me and title tune "23" has caught my ears. Electro/dance fans know u.n.k.l.e. their "Restless" track features a lead vocal by QOTSA's Josh Homme. I continue to hope that Merge will release Arcade Fire's "Intervention" as a single. It's begging for major exposure.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club played a successful show in early May at L.A.'s Wiltern Theatre. These guys continue to be one of the more unique and compelling groups out there. While their new album rocks harder than their prior release, the album and live show continue to be filled with lots of mid-tempo songs. What seems to work best for this band is the faster stuff. Otherwise I'm afraid that BRMC will remain at the same level of popularity. After being blown away by Arcade Fire at Coachella, I was excited to see them at the Greek Theatre where I could be closer to the stage. The band again delivered, much to the delight of the enthusiastic full house. For whatever reason, they seem to be going for a tinnier sound, as I got similar reports from people who saw them in Chicago and San Francisco. As much as everybody loved the show, it would have been even more effective if there had been more bottom-end in the mix. I was able to catch CSS at Mezzanine in San Francisco. Similar to their Coachella gig, they played great with lots of energy, and they also got the crowd off. The reports I got from their L.A. show at the Henry Fonda the following night were that it was more of the same, except possibly even more intense. They're a great party band and in case you haven't heard, their Portuguese name translates into "tired of being sexy".
The Knack's lead singer, Doug Fieger, has completely flabbergasted his doctors by going into remission from his highly publicized bout with cancer. Doug has beaten incredible odds to get to this point. It goes to exhibit the importance of attitude when combating life's greatest challenges. The Knack will play various U.S. cities this summer, and they'll be touring Australia in August as part of a "Countdown" reunion tour.The Motels' Martha Davis will also be on the bill. Iron Maiden is headlining European festivals this month. Original manager Rod Smallwood continues to work with the band. Rod was beloved at Capitol and has deserved every bit of his success. One might have expected him to only handle Maiden and to try and lay lower. However, his Bullet For My Valentine has done quite well for a new band, and now The Gallows are beginning their assault. This hot punk/metal band was signed amidst lots of label interest. They've been getting great press in the U.K. and are about to invade the U.S. for the Warped Tour.
LET'S GET OUT OF THE GUTTER
All of the recent Paris Hilton coverage has turned a lot of our stomachs. This is actually systematic of what is wrong with the music business right now. Besides downloading, the fact of the matter is that the entire machine is f----d up and is mostly about lower common denominator product (like Paris Hilton). So many label and media resources are placed with predictable, pre-processed, sterile types of simple artists that fit certain formulas. There isn't enough bandwidth for truly deserving indie artists, or for deserving people in other genres. Lower-common denominator stuff suffocates higher quality artists. Sure this American Idol stuff sells and some of it is okay, but it's no way to get more fans inspired enough to purchase more music than what's being bought now. It can certainly be documented that the more sterile most corporate radio has become, the more that young musical tastemakers have defected.
My monthly Go Deep webcast continues to chug along. I've been truly gratified by continued responses from fans and industry pros alike. Check it out if you haven't heard it lately, as I play less familiar songs by artists who are known to most listeners. The show plugs that huge gap between the college and mainstream alternative formats. Playlists are posted on the front page of my site. Input is always welcome. Have a great July and August, and I'll write again in two months. Until then...