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03 Apr 2010 21:50


Music: Saturday Mixtape: What comes next after the split?

  • OK, they aren’t exactly hip. Doesn’t matter. The Barenaked Ladies are a fascinating band to watch right now. After lead singer Steven Page (who sang, among other hits, “Brian Wilson”) was arrested on drug possession charges in 2008, the band quickly started falling apart, which led to Page’s departure last year. The band continued on as a four-piece and just released a new album, “All in Good Time.” So what comes next for them, and other bands in their spot? We examine.

  • 1. Well, this doesn’t sound like the cheeky band that did rapid-fire hit “One Week” 12 years ago. The Barenaked Ladies sound like weary warriors, trying to get past the one truly controversial moment of their career. It’s traditional pop-rock, but not without bite.
  • 2. The Pixies: Greatest band of the last 25 years probably, right? Well, yeah, but one thing evaded them while they were together – an inescapable hit. Fortunately for Kim Deal, she had another highly-regarded band with her sister Kelley Deal, The Breeders, and they had a major hit right away with “Cannonball.” Frank Black probably wished he had a hit of this caliber after the break-up.
  • 3. Maybe Gorillaz is a better fit for Damon Albarn. After a falling out with Graham Coxon, Blur’s lead singer had to take the lead on the band’s “Think Tank,” an album which notably got a 9.0 on Pitchfork, a C+ in Entertainment Weekly and 2 stars on Allmusic. Albarn hasn’t made another Blur album since, with or without Coxon.
  • 4. At the Drive-in were looking like the great punk heroes of the last decade when, all of a sudden, they split. The love child from this divorce? The Mars Volta, a band which took the crazy, interesting parts of the band’s sound and held on tight. Oh, and Sparta. But nobody remembers Sparta.
  • 5. Jay Farrar’s career didn’t exactly live up to that of Jeff Tweedy’s, but the breakup of Uncle Tupelo sixteen years ago was a huge blow to the alt-country scene. Wilco’s first album, “A.M.,” was a lot of going through the motions, but Farrar’s band Son Volt hit it out of the park with “Trace,” a true classic which they never replicated. Wilco is now a stadium act.

11 Jul 2009 17:00


Music: Our Saturday Mixtape gives into our mopey strummer addiction

  • 1. Before Paul Simon got countermelodies and drum backing, he was a busker in England who happened to find himself in a recording studio, doing lo-fi versions of songs that everyone now knows by heart, such as this ragged version of “Kathy’s Song.”
    2. Jandek will never be as successful as Jeff Tweedy. He spent three decades hiding from the world, releasing rickety avant-strangeness and getting mentioned in the same sentences as Roky Erickson and The Shaggs, only to finally play in public in the last couple of years. Jeff Tweedy, whose band’s most recent album debuted in the Billboard 200’s top five, does us a favor and makes “Crack a Smile” pretty and palatable.
    3. After posting about Leonard Cohen yesterday, it got us to thinking – which song of his would never get covered on “American Idol”? “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” fits the bill: It’s pretty, but about sordid hotel room encounters with famous singers like Janis Joplin.
    4. You can’t have a list of mopey strummers without Elliott Smith. You just can’t. His early albums use their lo-fi setting to focus directly on the darkness in the words. “Condor Ave.,” off “Roman Candle,” set Smith’s template.
    5. The Tallest Man on Earth pretty much kills this song. The Swede wails at his guitar, putting everything he has into being the best Bob Dylan acolyte he can, and gets closer than most, especially on “This Wind.”source

29 Jun 2009 02:04


Music: Wilco (The Album). Pitchfork (The Review). Positive (The Rating).

  • 7.3 Pitchfork’s rating of Wilco’s self-aware new album source