Friday, July 25, 2008
XM/Sirius Merger Approved
Where did you go, AO? And best album of the '00s thusfar is still ...
Beck's "Lost Cause" is playing, which leads me to thinking about my best of the decade list. I could debate the list of continders with myself for an hour, at least, but I think I'd end up coming back to Sea Change by Beck. Such an amazing album. 2003 really was 1977. (I know the album came out in August of 02).
I know you guys have never all five been in the same room, but I'd love to sit and talk music with Preston, Stone, Smack, Sam and Dave for a few hours over a couple drink and a big plate of nachos. And so it goes ...
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Last night I sat down and finally watched the Joe Strummer documentary, The Future Is Unwritten - Joe Strummer . I went into it looking for education as much as entertainment. While I have known some of The Clash's music for most of my life, I really didn't know much about the band or Strummer.
Julien Temple's film follows a chronological path through Strummer's life from a youth growing up around the world through his success as the front man for the legendary punk band, The Clash, until his final days finding peace, success, influence and, of all things, the UK rave scene.
With an abundance of video footage of his life and musical career prior joining The Clash, the first half of the documentary provides a great look has Strummer's early career. The last half of the film focuses Strummer during the U.S. success of The Clash, it's subsequent demise, and the decade-long search Strummer led to re-find is voice as an artist.
A common theme through the film was the gathering of Strummer's friends around campfires. These were also the setting for most of the sound-bytes provided throughout the film. With a seemingly endless number with former band mates, friends and family providing a plentiful amount of commentary. Understanding Strummer, as a person, is easier when hearing how many people where changed by his direct influence.
Two hours after starting the DVD, I came away knowing more about Strummer than I knew going in, but I'll have to admit, it left me wanting to know more about the man and his music. During the next 24 hours, I found this to be a feeling of frustration than enticement. The Future Is Unwritten seemed to create more questions than it answered.
Temple chose not to provide nameplates to identify the interviewees. While, from an artist perspective, this is understandable, it quickly became frustrating as a viewer. Not everyone is as easily identifiable as Bono, Matt Dillon or Courtney Love.
Furthermore, the film seemed to be geared more toward diehard fans of Strummer - and to a lesser degree The Clash - than to relative newcomers to his work. The relationships between he and his contemporaries featured in the film were, at best, difficult to piece together.
More attention could have also been focused on the known and lesser known facts around career. While the film provided a general overview, it often only scratched the surface of the story, then quickly cutting to an interview, live footage of recordings from Strummer's radio show.
One of the many items briefly mentioned - and one that would have been fascinating to learn more about - was The Clash having Grandmaster Flash open for them for a show in New York. Other than a few video clips of the concert and a quick clip of Grandmaster Flash making a comment about the event, there was no back story. One of many exampled of more questions than answers.
Overall, The Future Is Unwritten is a solid, and at times, spectacular film. More important than the film itself was the interest gained in the fascinating life of Strummer. I kept thinking of how his life interested me in a similar way to Johnny Cash. Both men having legendary musical careers, but also having a depth of being only few possess.
It is that quality that catapulted Strummer to the forefront of a sweeping musical revolution, and one that is captured in this film
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Win the new Medic Droid CD
Thanks to the good folk at RED, I have a couple of copies of The Medic Droid's new CD What's Your Medium to give away. All you have to do is e-mail me with your mailing name and address. E-mail me at: chuck (at) deadjournalist (dot) com
The Medic Droid is a Phoenix-based electro band whose MySpace page can be accessed here
Is the time now the Euro leagues?
It will be interesting to see how the U.S. team fairs in the Olympics this year because the global basketball aptitude continues to increase at a near exponential rate while the U.S. game has not.
And while the Euro league, as a whole, may not be as strong as the NBA now, that may not be the case in another 10 years. For David SternŐs faults, he has never been less than a shrewd businessman. And he first mentioned the reality of the NBA expansion last year.
One of the largest problems with the Euro leagues is its organization, largely due to the number of countries involved. That is where the NBA and itŐs ability to organize a top-tier, multi-country league might play a role. The problem is, while the NBA can typically get the end result it is looking for in the states, dealing with multiple sovereign nations would add a level of complexity even Stern might not be able to resolve.
And with the weakened US dollar, the ability for the NBA to retain mid-level players may become a bigger issue. Superstars will always have endorsements to supplement their income, but for players like Josh Childress, this might be their best chance to earn top dollar.
And if he goes, I would not be shocked to see another player in a similar situation also jump to Europe. Not only because the players will know they can follow the lead, but owners of Euro league teams will see an opportunity of getting top NBA talent by throwing more money at guys like Gordon, Deng, etc. than they could get here.
(The end result will probably lead to a lock-out because NBA owners will want a change in collective bargaining agreement. But I digressÉ)
A final thought on this, the NBA has scene an influx of international players in the last decade primarily because those players could make more money in the NBA than in other global leagues. ThatŐs changing, and changing rapidly. Seeing those players go back overseas for more lucrative deals should be surprising to anyone. ItŐs the reason they came here in the first place.
This is the reality of the new global economy. For better, or worse.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Joe Strummer Review Coming Soon
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The All Star Game
I love baseball. As much, if not more, than music. I dearly love the sport, its history and its future.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Stuck at WD-39
I have become a rusty hinge in need of some WD-40.
The past week the chase of this mystical article has been top of mind. Finally, tonight, I found a topic.
This was the topic.
During the last year, I have written less than I have in the past 15 years. What started out as a late-night scribble became loose free verse. I was productive in spurts. One such burst was inspired by an episode of My So-Called Life. (It was the one where Brian Krakow stood up to the principle.)
I wrote some throughout college - finding my groove in the late-'90's. I was incredibly productive writing hundreds of free verse. When, in '99, I took a job with a magazine, my own personal writings fell completely off the map. Nothing will zap one's creative zest like trying to make a career out of that which you most enjoy. At least that was the case with me.
After a couple of years, I got out of the writing business and moved on to other career opportunities. Soon thereafter, I found myself writing again. My big project - a screen play - still sits unfinished. If it was in paper form, It would be yellowed and covered in years of dust. Despite positive response to the dialog, I lost momentum and have yet to find the needed footholds to dig back in my masterpiece. Masterpiece, right.
Where I failed the screenplay, I succeeded in free verse. And so I went on like a poet in a park, writing little notes about what inspired me. But there only so many events to draw on, and so my pen ran low. I needed a new challenge.
Having rediscovered my joy for music, I began talking about a Web site that would allow me to focus on music while also allowing me to get back to journalistic writing. After years of talk, DeadJournalist.com was launched in March 2006.
Look at the number of interviews from that year. Keep in mind I was deejaying, working my regular job and freelancing for Performer Magazine. That, my friends, is the smell of burnout.
The last few years I've tried to keep DeadJournalist.com rolling with interviews and a few articles here and there. But in the last year or so, I've fallen into decline. Gone are the long-winded interview intros. Gone are the random ramblings. But the site stays, and hopefully will continue, as an avenue of musical relevance.
I've written before about my journey through the internet in the past. My journey through writing is not so different.
But now, I find myself struggling. Finding topics on which I can expound is far more difficult now than in the past. Some topics, I've covered before with nothing new to add. Others would require too much research and thought - and more realistically time - to cover without feeling like an AM radio blow-hard.
And so I struggle through a few interviews for the Web site, or a couple of paragraphs worth of reviews. I'd gotten harder, not easier.
Rust. Damn the rust.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
News and Notes
- Ben Sollee was recently interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered. Here's the interview: here
- The Old Believers heading out on their first West Coast Tour on July 11.
- Secret Machines have announced plans to self-release a full-length in the fall of 2008.
- Less Than Jake, who will be releasing a new album this summer, will be making a number of in-store appearances this week.
- Brooklyn songwriter Luke Temple has released two new songs and a video from his upcoming album. They are available here: http://www.myspace.com/luketemple
- Australia native, Paul Turner, will release his debut CD, Clear Blue, in the U.S. on September 16.
- On July 12th 2008, Less Than Jake will be broadcasting their concert live on Woozyfly.com from The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Elvis Is Dead has left the building
That's the bad news.
The good news is that it isn't gone forever. Let's just call it an extended hiatus. It might be back next year, or it might be back the year after or it might be back for the 10th anniversary of the first. We'll just have to wait and see.
What started as a small party of about 20 people ended up seeing hundreds each year. It was successful beyond our expectations. Elvis Is Dead t-shirts even became part of a national traveling t-shirt exposition.
To everyone who made a point to rock E.D. shirts and/or came out to parties, a big thank you!
Labels: elvis is dead
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
There are moments that scream '70's soft rock, but that is part of the charm of the album. For a new generation of music fans, who may have discovered the Beach Boys through the Brian Wilson's Smile, Dennis Wilson's album likewise offers a glimpse into his own talent. An influential album for a generation of artists, like Elvis Costello, it is a wonderful journey back in time.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Albert Hammond Jr. Interview
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Videos of The Day
Ladyhawke - "Paris is Burning"
Those Dancing Days - "Run, Run"
Dark Meat - "Freedom Ritual" (live)
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