RAVE’S FAVES (on the air)
Franz Ferdinand, The Rolling Stones, Bloc Party (various), Kasabian (various), The Vacation, 22-20′s, Green Day (various), Arcade Fire (various), Beck (“Girl”), Hot Hot Heat, Death Cab For Cutie, Madness, Dandy Warhols, Goldfrapp, Royksopp(various).
All of the above are singles unless otherwise indicated. So many promising bands disappoint the second time around, but if Franz‘ “Do You Want To” is any indication, their fans will really love their harder, darker release in October. This tune has enough hooks to fill a closet. How about the new live-sounding Stones tune? Their whole album is supposed to be like that. This is the first time Mick and Keith have actually written together since “Exile on Main Street.” Bloc Party, Kasabian, and Green Day continue to have CD’s at or near the top of my list. L.A.-based The Vacation are being championed by our Indie 103.1 and the U.K.’s 22-20′s are a blues-influenced rock band being played on Indie and KCRW. Death Cab‘s soothing single is garnering lots of local radio requests. This band may be ready to blow up. As a big fan of the Dandys‘ last two albums, I’m starting to like their “Smoke It” and hope the rest of their disc will grow on me as well. They like to throw curve balls with their unpredictability, so their albums become acquired tastes. Goldfrapp now has four Faves in a row, and I’m liking lots of the new Royksopp. Honorable mention goes to the Foo Fighters‘ new “DOA”, some cool Spoon tracks, and also to Avenged Sevenfold, who blew people away on the Van’s Warped Tour. Expect bigger things from Sigur Ros this time around, as taste makers are embracing these eclectic Icelanders. We Are Scientists are a cool U.S. band getting a U.K. buzz. Watch for their October release.
HELD UP BY HIP HOP?
For way too long, hip hop has been by far the dominating genre in music, but could it be that it is actually hurting the music business? The ailing record industry certainly needs this sales volume, but perhaps hip hop has been so huge that it has actually suffocated the development of other types of music. At least this year has seen more rock albums top the charts; and it’s encouraging that more and more indie rock songs continue to turn up in commercials, TV shows and, movies.
Over 45,000 people were forced to endure one of the most surreal and disgusting concert events as Ozzy‘s people sabotaged Iron Maiden‘s set at the L.A. show. Sharon Osbourne has admitted that she had the PA cut three times, was behind the “Ozzy” chants over the PA at the beginning and end of Maiden’s set, and had daughter Kelly provide a kid with the dozens of eggs that he hurled onto the stage. This juvenile stuff could have easily incited a riot. Sharon couldn’t have appreciated the fact that across the country Maiden consistently got better reviews and stronger crowd reactions, or that many fans were leaving during Ozzy’s sets. She’s unhappy with some things Maiden’s Bruce Dickenson said onstage. As Maiden manager Rod Smallwood said on the band’s website, “If I had any sort of problem or misunderstanding with a band working on a tour we were involved in, I would go and talk to them or their manager — not wait until the end of a tour and assault and ambush them. Or was that really it?” Maiden played through this mess and the crowd was fantastic. After the debacle finally ended, Sharon actually came on stage to announce that Bruce is a “prick.” She made an ass of herself and summarily made enemies out of thousands of booing fans, many of whom soon left the venue. Maiden persevered with their usual class and professionalism. They’re some of the nicest rockers ever to grace a stage, and their integrity has never dipped below 100%. At the huge Carling Weekend Leeds Festival six days later, Bruce and the band rose above the drama and had nothing to say about the Osbournes.
Jack White‘s protege Brendan Benson played at the El Ray in Hollywood. He’s an unassuming guy with good songs and a good band but it all started to sound alike by mid-set. Robbers On High Street preceded Brendan. They achieved Fave status in my last edition and are a talented, likeable group. Robbers didn’t play with enough presence to hold the crowd but I hope they improve with more time on the road. The 22-20′s (see Faves above) headlined a sold out gig at the Troubadour. These guys are a solid blues rock band that will also benefit from U.S. touring. Also on the bill was the L.A. band Marjorie Fair who have a good song getting some local airplay. Unfortunately, no other tunes stood out and their set was listless. Gigs I missed but heard great things about, included British bands Kasabian and Hard-Fi. I loved Arcade Fire‘s show earlier this year and they continue to knock people out wherever they play.
Following their Ozzfest tour, Iron Maiden headed back to England for headlining stints at the Reading and Leeds Festivals. Following a few more shows, they’ll take a few months off before starting a new album after Christmas. While in L.A., they were inducted into the Guitar Center’s RockWalk of Fame. About 1,000 fans turned up. The Knack played before 20,000 enthusiastic people at Japan’s Fuji Festival and have two L.A. shows over the late August/early September period. Missing Persons‘ Dale Bozzio has kept their profile up with performances on “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and on tour. The Church have released an unplugged disc with acoustic versions of their hits and other tunes.
When I first heard the concept for reality show “Rock Star: INSX,” I was embarrassed for this great band. Having given it more thought, I now subscribe to the theory that it’s a positive career move for them. Rather than finding a singer on their own and recording a comeback disc that might have merely “escaped” from a label, millions of people will know the new singer and there will be a larger fan base. The show itself is pretty good. I’ve watched a bit and feel the new vocalist should be Marty or Mig… That’s it for this time around. Let me hear from you, and please put “Raves” in the subject line to make sure that I see and reply to your email. Take care of yourselves. Until late October…