Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham put their rural stamp on Kanye and shake they booties in the meantime. Love it.
Being labeled a “great bar band” is a double-edged sword. It’s a music critic’s way of praising a band and marginalizing them at the same time. The subtext of this over-used phrase is, “this band plays good, loud, infectious rock that will go down well with your PBR on a Saturday night in a small club, but don’t expect them to rise to popularity or artistic heights of Radiohead or Wilco or R.E.M. or any other band that can sell out stadiums and two-tiered auditoriums at $40 a ticket (+ handling fees).”
Nowadays just playing good rock music isn’t enough to get a band noticed. Critics are always looking for the next big thing… the next Strokes… the new White Stripes… something different… something challenging… something else. So a band had better get to reinventing the wheel if they want to become critical darlings.
AOL’s Spinner blog has the video for Patti Smith’s cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from her latest album, Twelve (review).
I like the banjo. Overall, a pretty successful cover. Creepy video, too. Watch it after the jump.
The Strokes are taking a break, having recently wrapped touring in support of First Impressions of Earth, produced by the guy who dumped Wilco. They leave their fans with a “cinematic interpretation” of the album’s lead track, “You Only Live Once,” directed by Star Wars prequel concept artist, Warren Fu, who also helped redesign the official Strokes site.
The Strokes – “You Only Live Once” (imeem)
I read about this 1970 clip in the most recent music issue of the Oxford American in a great article by Charles Wolfe called Country Music in Black and White:
Then Cash himself, cracking a rare grin, moved in and sat and talked with him about Jimmie Rodgers, one of Cash’s heroes. Yes, Satchmo remembered backing him on “Blue Yodel No. 9,” and yes, it would be fun to try to recreate it. So with Cash playing Rodgers and Armstrong playing—well, himself—the pair brought the audience back to 1930. Cash and Armstrong swapped choruses on the old blues standard—Cash doing a swaggering vocal, Armstrong playing a dynamic, elegant series of trumpet breaks, in spite of the fact that his doctors in New York had told him to stop playing for good.
In a sense, this was one of those unique cultural cusps that seems to occur only in American music—the kind that gave rise to Western swing, rock & roll, and rhythm & blues, one of the better nights at the Ryman, a place, Lord knows, that has seen its share.
I finally got around to searching for it, and of course it’s up on YouTube (thanks to user opurkert). Check out this amazing historical artifact after the jump…
As the lone songwriter for two active bands, Centro-matic and its offshoot South San Gabriel, you would think Will Johnson would have ample musical outlets. After all, Centro-Matic has released 8 albums in its ten-year career, as well as several EPs and 7-inch singles, while South San Gabriel has released two full-lengths since forming in 2003. But Johnson’s abundant song output (somewhere between Ryan Adams and Bob Pollard on the songwriter’s proliferation chart) has necessitated a solo career resulting in two more albums, Murder of Tides and Vultures Await.
Not that any of this has come close to soaking up the hundreds of songs Johnson has written that have never been recorded for a proper release. (He says he records all songs on a four-track as soon as they are finished and then sorts through them for those that best fit his current project.) Johnson’s favorite place to write is a walk-in closet at his mother’s house. When asked why that location seems to be so fruitful, he shrugs and says “it’s kind of like a womb… warm and dark and comfortable.”