When the 90′s house music French duo Daft Punk announced a new album, the blog-o-sphere was tilted on its side. Releasing teaser posters, commercials featuring 30 seconds or less of new music and a sound-byte a day to the music press, you realize that whoever does Daft Punk’s publicity should give up their day job and run for political office. They took a non-event and turned it into a media blitz. The press as well as the fans seemingly could not get enough and for over 3 months, very thin news with hardly any meat about Daft Punk clogged up everyone’s news feeds. The funny thing is, I actually like Daft Punk, but as the weeks rolled on, I got so fed up about hearing about them, I started rooting for them to fail just so the press and all the fans would once and for all shut the fuck up about them! The daily news on this band made me realize that while I’ve bought their albums consistently over the years (and there aren’t many), I like very few of their songs. Sure their debut track “Da Funk” made me shake my ass on a dance floor many times, but upon further inspection, it’s really a song featuring one minute of different music looped together over and over for 6 minutes! They pulled off the same trick for their next big single “Around The World” too. Take a serious listen if you think I am hating for the sake of hatred.
The music industry has changed a lot since Daft Punk first came on the scene and in 2013 the record labels leak the album in full and then are forced to “stream it” ahead of its release date. This gives the label the perfect excuse to account for dubious sales numbers by blaming the bootleggers on an album’s failure instead of the fact that many times, the biggest failure of the record is the record itself! Also, don’t these labels wonder that if an album is under lock and key and somehow it gets out, why don’t they question the hiring managers of these departments. There’s seemingly no accountability when you can loudly shout out in the press “we’ve been robbed!” Why nobody speaks about this very obvious fact is beyond my comprehension, so if you think of the last few years of blockbuster albums and how they’ve all followed this pattern, you can thank me later for being the true voice of a generation. You certainly can’t rely on press release regurgitating blogs because they are never going to jeopardize losing their perks by speaking the truth. Since I do things renegade style and 99 times out of 100 get better access on my own than going through the “proper channels,” the time has come to break the silence! So spread the word!!!!
Back to Daft Punk. I’ve given their new album “Random Access Memories” a couple of spins and I could not be any more underwhelmed with the record. However, I’ve noted that it follows the same pattern as their other albums – 2 or 3 decent tracks with a whole lot of filler. Obviously the best tracks are the ones that feature Nile Rodgers producing. The man knows how to craft a hook and has done so successfully for over 30 years. The tracks he is featured on should actually be called Nile Rodgers tracks featuring Daft Punk and not the other way around, but we can save that for another time. The vocoder is ever present in many of the songs ruining great cameo appearances by Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and the majority of the album features completely forgettable songs. The album hasn’t even seen the official release date and I am already at the point where if I never hear any of the album again, you will not see one tear fall from my eye.
The hype machine has already labeled this album a “game changer,” and for those who really believe that, I urge you to get a better education in dance music because if you do, you will find yourself (probably to your dissatisfaction) agreeing with me 100%. I didn’t come here to make you hate the Daft Punk record. I hope that you like it. I want you to stop allowing the media to force feed you what you “should” like because I am starting to find that with so many big time releases, people only like them because they read somewhere that they should. 6 months, or hell, in the one second attention span generation we live in, 2 weeks from now, I am quite sure once the buzz has died down from this record, your enjoyment of it will have as well. Think for yourself!!!
Johnny Fuckin’ Marr! The guitar god from The Smiths and Electronic has a solo album out called “The Messenger” and he performed a sold out show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on May 3, 2013 to promote it. Johnny Marr didn’t sing when he was with The Smiths, so many people may not know that he is both great on guitar and vocals. The show was epic on so many levels. Of course, the final song featured former Smiths band mate Andy Rourke (more on that in a moment), but in addition Johnny Marr busted out some classic Smiths songs and also a pair of Electronic songs mixed in with tracks from his latest album.
Johnny Marr played two Electronic songs that I never thought I’d ever hear live before, and though he doesn’t sing lead vocals on the studio versions, he made them his own last night. He performed “Forbidden City” and “Getting Away With It” which were both great, and if you stay tuned, a video of the latter will be coming soon. He also dusted off some Smiths classics including “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” “London” (and a video will be coming soon, so stay tuned) as well as the final song “How Soon Is Now?” where he brought former band mate Andy Rourke on stage for what will probably be the closest thing to a Smiths reunion that the world ever sees.
Johnny Marr doesn’t often tour, but a friendly word to the wise, the next time he comes to your city, do not miss him! I hope he comes back around because it was really epic hearing his new album mixed in with classic tracks from his past. Hearing 500 people sing the words in unison also was pretty cool and you could tell that Johnny was having as great a time as the audience. Respect!
Johnny Marr Merch
The setlist was:
The Right Thing Right / Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before (Smiths) / Upstarts / Sun & Moon / There is a Light That Never Goes Out (Smiths) / Forbidden City (Electronic) / London (Smiths) / The Messenger / Generate! Generate! / Say Demesne / Bigmouth Strikes Again (Smiths) / Word Starts Attack / New Town Velocity / I Want The Heartbeat.
Encore: I Fought The Law (Clash) / Getting Away With It (Electronic) / How Soon Is Now (Smiths) – Featuring Andy Rourke.
Several months ago, I saw British singer Tom Odell’s first US show. I was blown away watching the 21 year old singer who at times channels Thom Yorke, Chris Martin and Tom Waits. Needless to say, I was very excited to see Tom Odell on his second trip to New York where he performed at Bowery Ballroom on May 2, 2013. The show opened with folk/rock singer Jeremy Messersmith who got the crowd in good mood with his mellow love songs (and songs about Tatooine, graveyards and organ donors!)
Go to Jeremy Messersmith’s website where you can sample his music and if you like what you hear, you can download his 4 albums for a “pay as you wish” price for a limited time. Don’t be cheap, support emerging artists!
At 10 pm, Tom Odell hit the stage and kicked off the evening with a cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” before launching into his soon to be hit “Hold Me.” You can see a video of the pair of tracks below. Throughout the 12 song set, Odell played piano and guitar and had a nice mix of ballads and rockers. I spotted Tony Award winner James Corden in the audience who was singing along to every song by Tom Odell. Odell also performed an awesome cover of The Beatles’ “Oh Darling,” which will hopefully be officially released because it rocked! His EP “Songs from Another Love” is out now, and you should check out his music as Tom Odell is tremendously talented. Just click play below and you’ll see what I mean.
On every blog in the blog-o-sphere, they are unanimously up Danish punk band Iceage’s dress. Iggy Pop has raved about them and chances are, Pitchfork has named them “best new band of the day,” which as we know is the best honor that could ever be bestowed upon you. NOT! Iceage are young kids, making it more impressive that they are rockin’ at such a young age. Most kids in this band are around age 21 now (approximately). Well that’s the legal drinking age in America and these punks decided to drink to excess before going on stage at New York’s Bowery Ballroom for a sold out show on April 20, 2013. Although lead singer Johan Surrballe Wieth (damn you Wikipedia)! Elias Bender Rønnenfelt made it through the show, he was so fucking drunk, he fell over into the crowd and onto the sound monitors – that had to have hurt- many times throughout the show. Really piss poor, according to G. I would have left almost immediately, but I was stationed a few feet away from Bjork and Matthew Barney, who were also in attendance, so at least I had some good people watching. I attempted to meet the lead singer once the show was over and after such a crappy performance, you’d think he would have been nice, but he was not. Well, Elias, it sucks for you that you won’t be photographed with me because I will never see your shitty band again. Best of luck. You’re going to need it. But as we all know, both in music and in life, shit always seems to float to the top.
I’ve seen Muse in concert many times before and they never disappoint. On their second of 2 sold out nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden, despite feeling very under the weather, Muse did their jobs as rockstars and for two hours catapulted me into another time and space! Here are 10 reasons Muse are one of the best band ever.
1. Non-stop stage action for two solid hours. This came in the form of great visuals, flashing lights and lead singer Matt Bellamy running all over the stage.
2. Great songs that rock. I mean, holy shit! Their songs rock. To see a stadium of people singing in unison to a Muse song instead of your typical stadium fare is awesome! People play it safe too often. Way too often.
3. They change the setlist up. Seeing them two nights in a row, I think I had more fun the second night! The energy was so much better and people were really getting loose. Speaking of setlist, they have good pacing too. They have so many songs that could be the encore because they are so epic, but they are peppered in throughout the set because they have so many great tracks to choose from.
Matthew Bellamy of Muse
4. Ticket prices were not horribly expensive (considering). I understand that so many rockers need to build another wing on their mansion, but why make the fans pay for it?! The cost of tickets to both nights was cheaper than 1 night of Fleetwood Mac! I blame Stevie for that!
5. Matthew Bellamy is a guitar god. On his knees, he performed the Star Spangled Banner on guitar! And rocked the shit out of it!
6. Their lyrics have something to say but are not overtly preachy. I like a band who may make you investigate something you may not previously thought of. I’ve said this a lot before, and I will say it again, their song “Uprising” should be the world’s national anthem! I used to enjoy that so much with Prince, because his lyrics made you curious to investigate spirituality, unfortunately, now his lyrics are like a sermon of why you are going to hell. Ugh!
7. Great use of covers. They did a snatch of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” and on the second night, they did their cover of “Feeling Good,” which definitely adds something to the original – some rock and roll! Plus, what great lyrics to hear a room of 20,000 people sing. It’s a new dawn/It’s a new day/and I’m feeling good!
8. Great stage set up. I briefly touched on it above, but it’s worth repeating. Every song found the stage transforming into something different and the lights and visuals were super cool. I think if you were a non-Muse fan and just watched the visuals, you’d be hard pressed not to be very impressed.
9. The band is nice to fans. A lot of people most likely have not met them, and maybe they don’t find it important. But I do. If a person preaches love and peace and then behind the scenes they are a prick (like Madonna, Prince just to name two brief examples), that taints my experience. I’ve met the band on several occasions and they have no problem being cool to fans.
Matthew Bellamy of Muse and Geoffrey Dicker
10. If you walked into the Muse show with zero knowledge of their music and you witnessed the things I’ve mentioned above, unless you are just a bitter and angry person, you would have found at least one of these qualities rocking your world and these days, that’s all you can ask for!
The set list on April 15, 2013 was: The 2nd Law: Isolated System / Supremacy / Map of the Problematique / Supermassive Black Hole / Resistance / Star Spangled Banner (on guitar) / Panic Station / Knights of Cydonia / Monty Jam / Explorers / Follow Me / United States of Eurasia / Liquid State / Madness / Time Is Running Out / Undisclosed Desires / Stockholm Syndrome / The 2nd Law: Unsustainable / Uprising. Encore: Starlight / Survival
The setlist on April 16, 2013 was: The 2nd Law: Isolated System / Supremacy /Panic Station / Supermassive Black Hole / Plug In Baby / Resistance / Star Spangled Banner (on guitar) /Hysteria / Knights of Cydonia / Feeling Good / Follow Me / Sunburn / Liquid State / Madness / Time Is Running Out (with “House of the Rising Sun” intro) / Undisclosed Desires / Dead Star / The 2nd Law: Unsustainable / Uprising. Encore: Starlight / Survival