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Showing posts from February, 2006

Weezer as the Velvet Underground?

First off...I did purchase the Velvet Underground DVD Velvet Redux: Live MCMXCIII when it was released late last month. It was worth the wait. It contains performances from the band's 1993 reunion tour in Europe. The original four members are here (Lou Reed, John Cale, Maureen Tucker, and the late Sterling Morrison), and their warts-and-all performances of 15 songs are something to see and hear. This definitely shows that tour in a better light than the 2-CD set Live MCMXCIII, where Reed's vocals made it sound as though he was trying to destroy the great songs he created. When watching Velvet Redux, we can see that Reed put energy into the performances, which may be what makes the difference. It's interesting to watch a lengthy instrumental duel between Reed and Cale during "Hey Mr. Rain", and also to see Cale taking part in several songs that he was not originally involved with. This is most likely the only Velvet Underground performance DVD we're going to g…

Björk notes

A note for fans of the Sugarcubes, the late-'80's avant-pop band from Iceland that helped Björk achieve worldwide fame. Earlier this month, two Sugarcubes DVDs were released in the U.S. Both had previously been released in the U.K. in late 2004. Sugarcubes - The DVD is a collection of their videos; Live Zabor is a collection of live performances from 1988 and 1989.

Also, I recently made a correction on my Bjork page that I should point out. On her self-titled 1977 album which was released only in Iceland, the then-11-year-old sang a song about a fairy-tale cow, and sang it to the tune of the Stevie Wonder-Syreeta Wright song "Your Kiss Is Sweet". I had erroneously reported that the album's third track, "Alta Mira", was that song. But it was actually the second track, titled "Bukolla". "Alta Mira" is actually a remake of a song by the Edgar Winter Group, from their 1973 album They Only Come Out At Night. I regret the error.

Speaking of …

Juicy Groove - "First Taste" (1978)

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Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #10 is completed. The subject? A short-lived late-'70's band called Juicy Groove, which featured former members of Steppenwolf, Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, and Spirit. Their leader was a character named Michael "Rainbow" Neal, who was involved with many of Sky Saxon's post-Seeds activities. Their 1978 album First Taste is a fun piece of garage psychedelica that sounds like it was recorded a decade earlier. It is recommended for fans of Rhino's Nuggets box sets, if they are able to track the album down.

Most of that same group also recorded a 1980 new wave album under the name Rainbow Red Oxidizer. I've reviewed that album as well. Here is the page:

http://rarebird9.net/juicygroove.html

Ten Years After reissues

Undead, the 1968 live album from Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, has been reissued in the United States after a short time of being out of print. It was the British blues-rock band's second release, following their self-titled 1967 studio debut. It's a great musical snapshot of Lee and company in their early days, when they were still hungry and playing in small clubs. Undead captures them in exactly that type of venue, playing a skilled and enthusiastic combo of blues, rock, and jazz, before they began to fall into the psychedelia trap. It's good to see this worthwhile album get quickly rescued from the out-of-print oblivion that it was in danger of staying in.

Recently, the Fontana label has also reissued the band's first two studio albums on CD in the U.S.

Ten Years After was a stunning debut, and was out of print in the States for far too long. This 1967 album shows the quartet playing unusually subtle blues rock, avoiding the psychedelic indulgences of the day. Ten Y…

"Rock Star" Season Two

In case you haven't heard, CBS ordered a second season of Rock Star last month, and it is intended to be part of the summer 2006 program schedule. Dave Navarro and Brooke Burke will return as co-hosts, but it still isn't known what band will be the subject, or even if the format will be the same. Here are details:

http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/cbs-orders-rock-star-sequel-for-summer-but-format-still-undecided-3909.php

And here's a kicker: rumors are now back that Van Halen may be the subject, and that contestants may compete to be the new VH frontman. Eddie Van Halen, the band's leader, flatly denied these rumors last October. But Larry Solters, the band's publicist, was asked about it again recently, and he replied:

"I'm not denying it. I'm not going to answer any questions about it."

A big tease? Maybe. But it's nice to know that another season of Rock Star is in the works.

A future season of the show was in doubt, not only because of the unc…

Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow break up

More rock star breakup news: singer Sheryl Crow has split from Tour De France racing champion Lance Armstrong. The two had been engaged since September, and had been living on a ranch in Austin, Armstrong's adopted hometown.

In November, Crow did an interview with the Associated Press in which she pointed out that celebrity magazines are more interested in seeing a couple break up than reporting on them being happy together. She said:

"When we were rumored to have split, and when our publicists called these magazines to say we haven't split, the magazines were all so disappointed because that's really what's selling, rooting for a couple and then they split. That's what sells the magazines. Why can't we just report things the way they are or see things for the good in them? ... It's an insidious energy."

The Cult are energized for 2006 tour

The Cult is returning to the road after a three-and-a-half year hiatus. Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy are in the midst of auditions and rehearsals, and the tour is set to begin on March 1st and continue until March 26th. Astbury is hoping that new Cult music will be a byproduct of the reunion. The story is here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060131/music_nm/cult_dc_1

In April, Astbury is apparently scheduled to rejoin Doors Of The 21st Century, now known as Riders On The Storm, for dates in Europe. For those who are unfamiliar with that story: Astbury has toured for the last three years with original Doors members Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, taking the place of Jim Morrison as the band's frontman. Original Doors drummer John Densmore sued his former bandmates for breach of contract in February 2003. Last July, a judge ruled in Densmore's favor, and issued an injunction barring Manzarek and Krieger from using the Doors name and any likeness of Morrison. (Morrison's and Pamel…

New Poll Examines Music Buyers and Their Needs

A new poll by Ipsos, conducted for the Associated Press and Rolling Stone magazine, suggests that music downloading is only part of the reason for declining CD sales. Of the 1,000 adults surveyed, 74% think that CDs are too expensive, and 58% feel that music is getting worse. Older respondents (age 40 and over) were more likely than 18-to-34-year-olds to feel this way, but still, 49% of that latter demographic did feel that music is getting worse. The poll says that four out of five respondents consider unauthorized downloads to be "stealing".

I would fall into the 58% who feel that music is getting worse. Maybe it's because I'm older (I'm not 40 yet, but I'm older than 34). But many contemporary mainstream rock bands sound whiny, or creatively lazy, or both, to me. Most newer rock music just isn't as fun as the older stuff used to be. Sure, CDs are expensive, but they always basically have been, and I've been collecting them for most of my adult life.…