Posts

Showing posts from 2005

Bob Dylan to Host XM Satellite Radio Show

Here's the AP story:

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/news/wire/sns-ap-dylan-radio,0,3703865.story?coll=sns-ap-entertainment-headlines

NEW YORK -- Bob Dylan will host a weekly music show on XM Satellite Radio, the first time the rock star has had his own radio show. Dylan will select music for the hour-long show, which will debut in March on XM's deep album rock channel, the station announced Tuesday.

He'll also offer comments on music and other subjects, interview guests and answer e-mail from XM subscribers. "Songs and music have always inspired me," the 64-year-old Dylan said in a statement. "A lot of my own songs have been played on the radio, but this is the first time I've ever been on the other side of the mic."

The Rock Star: INXS DVD

First off, let me apologize for reporting some time ago that the Rock Star: INXS DVD was going to be released on December 6th. I was going by Amazon.com's release date (again). It actually was released a week earlier, on November 29th. Maybe they moved the date up at the last minute, but in any case, the DVD was released two weeks ago.

How is the DVD? It could have been much better, but for $10 (that's what I paid), it's a good-enough-for-now souvenir to remember the show by. If you expect to see performances by the show's early eliminatees, you'll be disappointed. Only the last six finalists (J.D., Marty, Mig, Suzie, Jordis, and Ty) are showcased here. But good performances were selected to represent them. Among the 17 clips are: Jordis' stunning performance of "The Man Who Sold The World", Marty's bold acoustic rendition of "Mr. Brightside", Ty's flawless "No Woman No Cry", and Suzie's sensational "Bohemian Rhapso…

INXS "Switch"

The much-heralded INXS CD Switch, the first to feature new lead singer J.D. Fortune, was released last Tuesday. I've listened to it a number of times since, and I have to conclude that it's a decent effort with mixed results.

Some of the time, the band seems to be sticking to its '80's dance-rock formula, sometimes too much so. For example, the opening track "Devil's Party" sounds very much like "Original Sin", and Fortune's vocal sounds slavishly like Michael Hutchence, the band's late original frontman. Fortune still sounds Hutchence-like on the single "Pretty Vegas", the song he co-wrote with Andrew Farriss. (Songwriting credit is also given to Marty Casey and Jordis Unga for that song; am I remembering that Rock Star: INXS episode wrong?). But it's a solid song -- after all, it helped J.D. get the job. "Hot Girls" duplicates Hutchence's brand of sexual panting. "Hungry" and "Perfect Strangers…

Valerie Bertinelli Divorcing Eddie Van Halen

It's actually happening this time. After 24 years of marriage (and on/off divorce rumors), actress Valerie Bertinelli has filed for divorce from Eddie Van Halen. How do we know it's true this time? Bertinelli's publicist confirmed it yesterday. The AP story is here:

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/news/wire/sns-ap-people-bertinelli,0,1697589.story?coll=sns-ap-entertainment-headlines

It's a shame it has to happen. Still, it's (sadly) surprising when a celebrity marriage lasts nearly a quarter-century, especially after the divorce rumor was rampant so many times in the past.

No Genesis reunion within the next 12 months

This was reported by the German website Deutscher Genesis Fanclub yesterday:

Both the Genesis and the Steve Hackett Management told the Italian Fanclub DUSK that there are no plans for any kind of action (Reunion, live performances) for the next twelve months. This indicated that the protagonists will meet again in twelve months to discuss the possibilities for a reunion in 2007. It seems that the different commitments, especially of Gabriel and Collins, simply make a Reunion in 2006 impossible. Meanwhile, the mysterious Reunion-Talk took place on November 19, not the 20th as rumoured before.

http://www.genesis-fanclub.de/genesis/reunion/genesis_of_a_reunion_engl.htm

Velvet Redux on DVD -- when?

Velvet Redux - Live MCMXCIII is a currently out-of-print VHS title containing live footage of the Velvet Underground from three Paris shows performed during their 1993 reunion tour of Europe. I have always avoided buying the tape, until about six months ago. The reason was because I have never been an admirer of the 2-CD set Live MCMXCIII, the live album that resulted from that 1993 tour. I've always felt that three-fourths of the reunited VU (John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker) were in fine form on this album. But Lou Reed's vocals on the album are irritating. It sounded as though Reed was determined to destroy the great songs that he had created with his influential '60's band. (During one cut titled "Velvet Nursery Rhyme", Reed tells the audience that he thinks the songs are "pretentious s--t"). I felt that the album marred the Velvet Underground legend, and I didn't want to bother viewing the videotape that resulted from the sa…

Thoughts on Genesis

About the aforementioned rumors of a five-man Genesis reunion which would feature Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford...I've been informed that Peter Gabriel recently appeared on the TV show Extra to promote his upcoming DVD Still Growing Up: Live and Unwrapped, and he confirmed that there was a planned meeting to discuss a possible reunion, though he mentioned no date. Interesting news, but I think it's still too soon for anyone to get excited. It's my understanding that at least four of the five men are currently involved in their own activities, so it may take time for something, if anything, to come of this.

I've finished listening to the recently released 3-CD set The Platinum Collection, the first Genesis compilation to feature songs from both the Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel eras. (It only contains one song from the short-lived Ray Wilson era, which is all anyone needs. For what it's worth, a better song than "Ca…

Four T. Rex reissues coming from Rhino

Rhino Records is releasing four T. Rex reissues on November 8th: The Slider (1972), Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow (1974), Dandy In The Underworld (1977), and the collection The T. Rex Wax Co. Singles A's and B's 1972-77, which was originally released as two separate discs but will now be available as a 2-disc set. Each of the three proper album reissues will be 2-disc expanded editions, containing the complete album, bonus tracks, and a second disc containing a "work-in-progress" version of the album. The singles collection combines two compilations originally released separately; the first disc contains all 19 A-sides issued on Bolan's own T. Rex Wax Co. label, while the second disc includes all 25 B-sides in chronological order (several singles featured two B-side tracks).

The Slider is a great, bombastic classic of the glam-rock genre that definitely deserves its U.S. re-release. Zinc Alloy is a less thrilling album that catches Bolan at the begi…

Genesis - The Platinum Collection

Image
Speaking of Genesis...Last month, Rhino Records released a 3-CD set called The Platinum Collection, the first compilation to cover the band's entire history, containing songs from both the Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins eras. (And one song from the short-lived Ray Wilson era, as well). Also, Rhino has released a DVD called The Video Show, which contains all of the band's promo videos. These videos cover the entire post-Gabriel Genesis era, from the 1976 album Trick Of The Tail (with Steve Hackett) to the 1997 album Calling All Stations (with Ray Wilson). It even contains a 1999 remake of their 1974 song "Carpet Crawlers" featuring Gabriel.

Here is the official press release, provided by M80 Services:

PRESS RELEASE
GENESIS
HISTORY OF PLATINUM SELLING BAND CAPTURED ON
• ‘GENESIS PLATINUM COLLECTION’: First hits collection spotlighting both the Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins Years
• ’GENESIS VIDEO SHOW’: Complete video collection on DVD for the first time
Plus, Mike + the Mech…

Reunion rumors

On my local classic rock radio station, DJs are reporting rumors of at least two band reunions. After playing a song by the Cars, the DJ mentioned that a Cars reunion was in the works. Also, on the same station, a DJ mentioned rumors of a "full-on" Genesis reunion, which would include Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett.

Hard rumors to believe, especially that second one. So I thought I'd investigate.

It turns out that a possible Cars reunion is being spearheaded by guitarist Elliott Easton. But the band's former leader Ric Ocasek -- who essentially embodied the band's persona -- has no plans to participate. (Ocasek recently released Nexterday, his first solo album in eight years). And bassist Benjamin Orr, who shared lead vocal duties with Ocasek, died in 2000 from pancreatic cancer. The Cars without Ocasek or Orr? Can't see it.

And those Genesis rumors? Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, who left the band in 1977, had this to say to the Chicago Sun-Times on O…

Big Star "In Space"

In Space, the first studio album in 30 years from the early-'70's power pop band Big Star, was released this past Tuesday. Big Star have been called the Velvet Underground of power pop. During their initial existence, Big Star's albums only sold a few thousand copies apiece, but they are now regarded as a major influence on countless bands that followed.

The Memphis-based band was led by former Box Tops singer Alex Chilton. The original quartet was rounded out by singer/guitarist Chris Bell (who died in a 1979 car crash), drummer Jody Stephens, and bassist Andy Hummel. The lineup that recorded In Space consists of Chilton, Stephens, and two members of the Seattle power-pop band called the Posies, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. This is the same Big Star lineup that recorded the 1993 album Live At Missouri University, currently available as Extended Versions.

Big Star played Beatles-and-Byrds style pop at a time when it was out of fashion. Their 1972 debut album #1 Record was…

Rock Star CD

Yesterday I got the CD Rock Star: A Night At The Mayan Theatre, which contains performances from all 15 of the Rock Star: INXS contestants. (I had trouble finding it in music stores for the first few days, so I ordered it from Amazon). It is not a best-of compilation from the show; it merely contains the 15 performances (in their full length) from the premiere episode that aired in early July. According to the liner notes, it was recorded on May 18th, a month and a half before it aired. The contestants lived in the mansion all that time?

Fortunately, the CD contains two "bonus tracks", namely Jordis' stunning performance of "The Man Who Sold The World" and Mig's standout piano-based rendition of "Baby, I Love Your Way". You won't find "Pretty Vegas" or "Trees" here. If this CD sells well, Burnett/Epic Records intends to release another CD, which would hopefully contain a broader selection of songs from the show's run.

As …

Rock Star: INXS -- and the winner is...

J.D. Fortune.

What?!? J.D. the troublemaker? J.D. the food-fight instigator? J.D. who was nearly eliminated on the very first episode? J.D. whose performances have been so inconsistent? J.D. who couldn't work with others for a songwriting assignment? J.D. who was unprepared to lay down a vocal track for a new INXS song?

Lo and behold: he is the new lead singer of INXS! When Tim Farriss (after teasing him -- and us -- with a negative-looking expression) revealed that J.D. was right for INXS, my jaw dropped. I realize that troublemakers often do well on reality shows. I figured it was good entertainment having him around until the finale. But I did not think he was going to get the gig!

If I had never seen J.D. before last night, I suppose I wouldn't be surprised. Last night, he seemed to fit right into INXS. When he performed their song "What You Need" with them on stage, he was amazing. He also sounded good performing their new single "Easy Easy" with them at …

Rock Star: INXS -- week 10

And then there were three. "Sweet" Suzie MacNeil, the last female in the competition to be the next lead singer of INXS, was sent home this week. She was given a decisive test by INXS with the two songs that were given to her for her Tuesday night performance. She passed the first test well enough, doing a respectable rendition of the very masculine Stone Temple Pilots tune "Interstate Love Song". But the 4 Non Blondes hit "What's Up" is a virtual minefield of tricky vocal dynamics, and it exposed Suzie's weaknesses. Her Wednesday performance of "Suicide Blonde" was fine, but someone had to go, and the "Queen Of The Bottom Three" was the logical choice. After six strikes, she was finally out.

Suzie is a singer who has certainly grown over the last ten weeks. She was nearly eliminated on the very first episode, but recovered quickly. She avoided elimination five more times with mostly strong performances of INXS songs. Her self-c…

Ray Manzarek's second solo album

The second solo album from Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, titled The Whole Thing Started With Rock & Roll Now It's Out of Control, is being released on CD for the first time today. The album was originally released in 1974, and was the follow-up to his 1974 solo debut The Golden Scarab. The reissue label is Lemon Records, who also reissued The Golden Scarab last year.

The Whole Thing Started With Rock & Roll Now It's out of Control is a good title wasted on a mostly dull album. It does have its admirers among Doors connoisseurs, but I am not one of them. On this album, Manzarek avoided most of the quirkiness of The Golden Scarab and reverted to standard singer-songwriterism. Its sound alternates between awkward funk and Elton John-like piano-based rock, and it usually misses the mark on both counts. Manzarek's vocals are stilted at best, and strained at worst. Even the instrumentation is nothing special here. One of the high points is "Bicentennial Blues"…

Jordis Unga and Liars Club

Now that Jordis Unga has been eliminated from Rock Star: INXS, her future is wide open, and she has her foot in the music industry door. She is now back with her St. Paul, Minnesota band Liars Club (formerly known as Fighting Tongs). A few rough demos can be heard on their Myspace site:

http://www.myspace.com/liarsclubband

When Jordis did her exit chat on MSN on Thursday, September 8th, one person asked her:

"Your voice and style are truly unique and emotionally moving and I'm seeing you as a solo artist as opposed to a lead singer in a band. What is your ideal dream for your career?"

Jordis replied:

"I'm a band girl, I don't see myself being solo artist. It's weird, people are suprised when I say that, but I like the idea of standing in front of a band and having my boys behind me."

Jordis should be aware that if her band does hit the big time, the industry and the media may not share her sentiments. I can imagine one thing: if Jordis and her band ever …

Rock Star: INXS -- week 9

Fare ye well, Jordis. The youngest contestant on Rock Star: INXS was sent home this week (although she told the other contestants she would see them in two weeks; what was that all about?). There's no doubt that we will see more of Jordis in the future. Her week 4 performance of "The Man Who Sold The World" was nothing short of stunning. It truly looked like a star was born that day. Unfortunately, her star faded fast over the next 5 weeks. She was never able to match the brilliance of that performance again, and she stumbled badly when she performed "Dream On" during week 7.

Of the five performers this week, Jordis was the least satisfying. Her performance of Queen's "We Are The Champions" was unspectacular. Her original song "Try Not" was the least impressive of the five (though it was more INXS-like than three of the others). And her Wednesday night performance of INXS' "Need You Tonight" confirmed what I thought last wee…

Rock Star: INXS -- week 8

Ty Taylor was eliminated this week. He struck a sour note in his farewell speech by implying that his color played a part in his three showings in the bottom three. If he had been a bottom three regular from the get-go, he may have had reason to feel this way. But he outlasted more than half of his white competitors. The first time he made the bottom three (during week 4, after performing the Foo Fighters' "Everlong"), he admitted that he felt he deserved to be there. I was somewhat surprised when he landed in the bottom three last week. I thought his performance of "Proud Mary" was the most impressive performance that evening. But his Motown extravaganza may not have appealed to a majority of audience tastes. This week, there were only six performers left, so everyone had a fifty-fifty chance of landing in the bottom three this time. There was nothing wrong with Ty's performance of the Stones classic "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on Tu…

Rock Star: INXS -- week 7

Goodbye, Deanna. The contestant whom I had originally pegged as the standout performer during the first week was sent home the seventh week. At this point, it's no surprise at all. As the weeks went on, the husky-voiced singer showed little variety. She did what she did well, but it was all she did. However, she did get a great showcase on her final Tuesday night performance. She was able to perform her original composition "My Truth", a suitable blues-rock number that was co-written by her and Ty, in front of a worldwide audience of millions, and she did well. She has already lived many a musician's dream, and I'm almost certain we'll hear more from her in the future. When she sang the INXS song "Elegantly Wasted" on Wednesday night, her voice put a unique spin on the song, but it showed that she was not the appropriate person to become the full-time frontperson for INXS. But I hope to buy a Deanna Johnston CD someday.

My vote this week went to Ty. …

"Best of" albums

This article appeared in the Associated Press a few days ago:

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/music/wire/sns-ap-music-greatest-hits,0,5706787.story

It doesn't surprise me at all that "Best Of" collections are available for so many artists. You can usually see how well such CDs sell when you look at Billboard magazine's Top Pop Catalog Albums Chart:

http://www.billboard.com/bb/charts/popcat.jsp

It is a matter of free market demand, and I'm all for CD buyers having these types of choices and conveniences. The only thing that worries me is that catalog titles in general have reportedly not been selling well in recent years. If consumers continue to mainly buy compilations and avoid buying the artists' proper albums, it could lead to more albums going out of print.

Garth Brooks Albums to Only Be Sold at Wal-Mart

Today it was announced that country star Garth Brooks has signed a contract with Wal-Mart Stores that will make his CDs available exclusively at Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and their online outlets. Here is the AP article:

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/news/wire/sns-ap-people-garth-brooks,0,4298324.story?coll=sns-ap-entertainment-headlines

I have never been a fan of Brooks. I've always failed to understand the broad appeal of his generic country music, and I certainly find it incredible that he is one of the all-time best-selling recording artists. But that brings me to my point. If a recording artist as successful as Brooks is willing to sign on to a deal that will allow only one company to sell his CDs, will other artists follow suit? Time will tell, but I don't like the looks of this. This does not seem like a healthy thing for music retailers in general.

Rock Star: INXS -- week 6

How about that all-acoustic show? The eight performances on Tuesday night were quite a change of pace for this show. The songs were chosen for the singers, and all of them were performed acoustically, which presented dual challenges for them.

My vote went to Suzie this week, for her classy rendition of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me". (Evidently, my vote couldn't save her from the bottom three). Close runners-up were Ty for his soulful interpretation of Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" (although I agree that he should lose the tongue affectation) and Mig's solo piano performance of Peter Frampton's "Baby I Love Your Way" (although his inclusion of Jordis and Marty for the Wednesday night encore was a bit corny).

Deanna struggled through "I Can't Make You Love Me". Her voice is well-suited to the heartbroken country ballad, but she couldn't quite make it ache like Bonnie Raitt could. Jessica actually did fairly well with …

Joydrop with Tara Slone

Image
Tara Slone, the Rock Star: INXS contestant who was eliminated during the fourth week, is the former lead singer of a defunct Canadian band called Joydrop. Joydrop released two albums: Metasexual in 1998 and Viberate in 2001. Metasexual is currently in print. Viberate is out of print but isn't hard to find; I was able to find a factory sealed CD with relative ease.

Metasexual at once sounds modern and retro-'80's. Musically, it has traces of '90's alt-rock and ambient sounds. But Slone's opera-trained vocals are more reminiscent of '80's hair bands like Heart and Vixen. Slone avoids the '90's "riot-grrl" trend almost completely. In fact, the lyrics of "Fizz" seem to poke fun of the '90's alternative mentality. A few songs ("Spiders", "All Too Well") hint at post-Alanis angst, but Slone bears more vocal resemblance to Pat Benatar and Debbie Harry on those songs. The unexpected mixture of '80's…

Deconstruction (1994)

Image
Seeing Dave Navarro co-hosting Rock Star: INXS brought one of his lesser-known projects to mind. After the breakup of Jane's Addiction and before Navarro's recruitment by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Navarro and former Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery formed a short-lived trio called Deconstruction with a drummer named Michael Murphy. Their only album was the self-titled Deconstruction, released in 1994 on Rick Rubin's American Records label. The album is out of print, and has become the subject of Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #9:

http://rarebird9.net/deconstruction.html

Eric Avery was the main creative force behind Deconstruction. He was a fine bassist, but was far less skilled as a vocalist, lyricist, and band leader. He and Navarro shared vocal duties, but both of them had unappealing voices that sank the album. Navarro's guitar heroics are the only thing that redeem the long and labored Deconstruction album.

Rock Star: INXS -- week 5

I thought it would be Jessica who would go this week. Instead, it was Brandon. Jessica redeemed herself (again) after a forced performance of Nirvana's "Come As You Are" on Tuesday with a strong rendition of INXS' "Disappear" on Wednesday. She covers INXS songs better than she covers anyone else's, which has been the key to her survival up to this point. Brandon was given the task of singing the obscure INXS song "Don't Lose Your Head", from their out-of-print 1997 album Elegantly Wasted. His fate was sealed when he forgot the words to the band's song on judgment night. He never seemed like a top contender in this contest. Maybe he has a future as a Southern rocker. Has anyone from New West Records been watching?

My vote this week went to Marty. He took a very gutsy chance performing the Killers song "Mr. Brightside" acoustically and without the house band. It was a move that could have destroyed him if he didn't pull it o…

Rock Star: INXS -- week 4

Jordis! Jordis! Jordis! It's all about Jordis this week. Did you see Jordis? When I saw her emotional performance of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World" Tuesday night on Rock Star, I didn't feel like I was watching a 22-year old novice contestant on a reality show. I felt like I was watching a star. Jordis shone as brightly as a world-famous pop star on an awards show. As Dave Navarro and the INXS members said, I felt it. There's a new front-runner in town!

However, there were no slackers on Tuesday night's show. It was the most solid episode yet. The contestants were more aware than ever that one bad performance could be the end of them, so they sang for their lives. The bottom three was not a matter of who didn't perform well. It was a matter of who didn't measure up to the rest. Ty can be forgiven for a less-than-perfect performance of the Foo Fighters' "Everlong", a song he claims he never heard before(!). There's no wa…

Words of wisdom posted on Usenet

While reading a thread on the Usenet newsgroup alt.music.inxs about the show Rock Star: INXS, I came across this well-stated post by a user named zaryzary2003. It was in response to someone who claimed that no great albums have been made since 1972:

"I think that most people say that the "great" era of music occurred at some point between the ages of 17 and 25. So if you were born around 1950, then the greatest music was late 60s. If you were born in 1940, then it was late 50s -early 60s early rock and roll stuff. People born in 195-60 will probably say it was either Disco/ Led Zeppelin/ other 70s rock depending on what they were doing. People who were born in 1985 will probably look back and say that today's music is the pinnacle. and people born today will someday back fondly at the greatest hits of the year 2025. It's all subjective, which is probably why people can't agree on it, and also why they argue so vehemently about it. No no no! they say. The mu…

The other Fantastic Four movie

Have you seen The Fantastic Four? It's enjoyable enough, and probably as good as a live-action movie about the Marvel Comics superhero quartet can be. It's doing respectable business. It is officially a blockbuster, so it will likely turn a profit on its $100 million budget. It doesn't look like the superhero movie genre has played out yet, as some people think it has.

What you may not be aware of is that another FF movie was made in 1994. There's good reason not to be aware of this, because it was never released in theatres or on home video. In fact, it was never meant to be. So, naturally it has become a much-bootlegged film.

Here's the story behind it. The owners of the film rights to the Fantastic Four nearly lost those rights due to time limits. If the movie was not made by a certain date, the rights to the movie would have expired and would have been made available to another buyer. Chris Columbus (the director of the first two Harry Potter movies) was waiting …

Rock Star: INXS -- week 3

Wow! Two birds with one stone! Heather and Daphna are both gone. At the beginning of this week, it was stressed on the show that contestants are only one bad performance away from elimination. As if to illustrate that point, not one but two contestants who did OK the first two weeks were sent home the third week. Jessica saved herself with a solid performance of INXS' "Elegantly Wasted". She's bought herself some more time. Heather's performance of the band's ballad "By My Side" was underwhelming. Daphna's performance of "What You Need" was OK, but unimpressive. It seemed like Heather was the one who would get the boot, but it was quite shocking when she and Daphna both did. If nothing else, Heather and Daphna can say that they performed with INXS' rhythm section; bassist Garry Beers and drummer Jon Farriss sat in with the house band for Wednesday night's performances. The other contestants are now on notice: they can't aff…

Whatever: The '90's Pop & Culture Box

Image
This Tuesday, July 26th, Rhino Records is going to release the 7-CD box set Whatever: The '90s Pop & Culture Box . This follows two other Rhino decade collections: Have A Nice Decade: The '70s Pop Culture Box , and Like, Omigod! The '80s Pop Culture Box . Those first two collections were very well done, although the '80's box wasn't quite as well done as the excellent '70's box. Critics have been panning Whatever, and when I look at the track listings it's not hard to see why. There are plenty of cool tracks scattered about the 7 discs, but they don't represent their decade's pop or culture too well. No one can deny the importance of grunge to the music of the '90's. But there are no tracks by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, or Bush to be found on the whole set. That's probably because the bands wouldn't allow the use of their songs. As a result, the grunge era is represented by such lesser-known Seattle…

Rock Star: INXS -- week 2

Since week 3 of Rock Star: INXS is about to begin, I'll belatedly comment on week 2. Neal is gone! Nothing personal, but -- good! Ever since the second night when he came out on stage doing an extreme Mick Jagger impersonation, I knew he wasn't going to last long. What killed his chances was his rendition of Bryan Adams' "Summer Of '69"; he sounded like your average open mic night performer. His band Bona Roba is reportedly making some waves in New York; maybe his TV exposure will help his band get further.

Tara made the bottom three again! I know people have issues with her song selections -- she sounded country singing the Eagles' "Take It Easy" and perhaps over-compensated when she did Black Sabbath next -- but she's good! Her performance of INXS' "Mystify" on Wednesday hopefully saved her for a while.

Jessica? She's on her way out. She isn't bad, but she seems to make all the songs she sings sound the same. Her sex ap…

Rock Star: INXS -- so far

Well, the first week (three episodes) of the CBS reality show Rock Star: INXS is behind us. (The last two, from Tuesday and Wednesday night, will be repeated this Saturday night. I don't know if they'll do that every week). I have to say that a colorful cast of characters are in this competition to become the new lead singer of INXS. There are white males, females, and one black male vying for the title, and all of them have talent. Some of them are just not right for INXS, as guitarist Tim Farriss has had to tell two of them before sending them home. The first night, a dancer/yoga instructor named Dana got the boot. She was a character. If the show was called Rock Star: No Doubt and they were searching for a new Gwen Stefani, she could have been a contender. On Wednesday night, a singer named Wil was also sent packing. If the show was called Rock Star: Coldplay and they were searching for a new Chris Martin, Wil could have been the man. But he was too low-key for INXS. Since …

Fountains Of Wayne family tree

I recently picked up the new Fountains Of Wayne 2-CD set titled Out-Of-State Plates. It's a B-sides and rarities collection, containing 28 songs that the band recorded between 1994 and 2005. Yes, the band has been around that long, despite the fact that they received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 2003. In case you don't recognize the name, Fountains Of Wayne were the band who scored a top 20 hit with "Stacy's Mom", from their 2003 album Welcome Interstate Managers (which IMHO is one of the best albums of its year). Their power-pop sound usually combines hooks and humor with a sophisticated sound. Like most odds-and-sods collections, Out-Of-State Plates does have some inconsistency, but far less than you would expect from a set of songs recorded over the course of 11 years. In fact, the second of the two discs is quite solid. The newer songs tend to be the better ones. This is not surprising, because this band has so far been improving with age. All t…

eMpTy V

Right now, VH-1 is playing selected performance clips from Live 8. MTV will be doing the same later in the day. Call it a day of atonement. The reason this is being done is because MTV received media criticism and over 2,000 complaints from viewers about their coverage of the Live 8 events last Saturday. They focused more on interviews and commentary than on the music. I'm glad people let their voices be heard on this.

Now, perhaps people can persuade MTV to actually become a music channel again. I know, I doubt it too. I don't know why they bother calling the channel "Music Television" anymore, because as far as I'm concerned, it hasn't been that for 10 or 15 years now. Almost every time I tune in anymore (which, I must admit, is not very often), I feel like I'm watching a hipper-than-thou version of TLC (The Learning Channel). MTV should change its name to "Punk'd TV", or "Cribs TV"; anything besides "Music Television". …