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Showing posts from August, 2006

Rock Star: Supernova - Week nine

And the dark horse is out of the race. Ryan Star was eliminated this week from Rock Star: Supernova. This is one of those weeks in which I hated to see someone go. It has been entertaining to watch Ryan improve his performances over the course of the show. When the season began, he made no impression on me at all. And he got off to a bad start in the first reality webisode, when he refused to do the impromptu singing that Supernova asked the contestants to do. Jason Newsted remarked that Ryan needed to work harder to get up to the same level as the other 14 original contestants. As it turned out, he outlasted 9 of those 14, because he did work hard to stand out. His methods during the first three weeks were weak, but once he hit his stride, he became an interesting performer, generally improving from one week to the next. He only fell in the bottom three twice these past nine weeks, but the second time was his last. Of course, he is now free to continue his solo career (he has already…

Rock Star: Supernova - Week eight

To no one’s surprise, Patrice Pike was eliminated from Rock Star: Supernova this week. I thought she was going to go sooner, but I’m glad she didn’t. I thought she was deserving of the opportunity to sing an original song of hers in front of millions of viewers. Patrice’s song “Beautiful Thing” really took me back to the ‘90’s, like I was watching a second-stage performance at the H.O.R.D.E. festival, and that’s meant as a compliment. I’ll probably be purchasing a 99 cent download of the song from MSN Music. Her Wednesday performance of the Pretenders’ “Middle Of The Road” was adequate, but adequacy doesn’t quite cut it at this point in the competition. I hope to see more of Patrice in the future.

Magni made a second undeserved appearance in the bottom three. He did well with Nirvana’s smash “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, and probably would have done it even better if he wasn’t feeling ill. On Wednesday, he brought down the house with Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”, keeping him safe for at least an…

Two solo albums from Cars members are reissued

This week, the reissue label Wounded Bird Records has released two mid-'80's solo CDs from members of the Cars: Elliot Easton's Change No Change (1985) and Benjamin Orr's The Lace (1986).

Elliot Easton was the Cars guitarist, and was the catalyst for the current New Cars fronted by Todd Rundgren. His solo album is mostly un-Cars-like, except for one song called "I Want You". The rest of the album is guitar-based singer-songwriter rock. Easton partnered with Jules Shear for the songwriting duties on the ten proper album tracks. Change No Change gets good marks for effort, but Easton is no singer. His flat vocals are the album's downfall. The reissue features five bonus tracks which were recorded in 1993 by an Easton-led group called Band Of Angels.

Benjamin Orr was the bassist and sometime lead singer of the Cars. Orr died in 2000 from pancreatic cancer. The Lace is his only solo effort. If you remember the hit single "Stay The Night", you have a g…

Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson split

You've probably heard by now that actress Kate Hudson is separating from Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson after six years of marriage. The American media is claiming that Kate's relationship with Owen Wilson is the reason for the split, although Wilson's lawyer says that Wilson didn't cause the split. I'll leave the gossip to Us Weekly:

http://www.usmagazine.com/blog/2006/08/16/inside-owen-and-kate%e2%80%99s-romance

It doesn't seem like six years to me since Hudson and Robinson were married. The year 2000 almost seems like yesterday to me.

Of course, 2000 was the year in which Hudson received an Academy Award nomination for her role as a groupie named Penny Lane in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. If you haven't yet seem that film, which is based on Crowe's experiences as a 15-year-old reporter for Rolling Stone, I highly recommend renting it. It is one of the best rock and roll movies ever made, although I realize that sounds like faint praise.

If you …

Redbone impostors played at Montana state fair

If you ever go to see a show in your town by a forgotten band who are best known for a decades-old hit song, you can sometimes expect to see no original members on stage -- but this is ridiculous. A band who played at the Butte-Silver Bow Fair in Montana claimed to be Redbone, a '70's group best known for their 1974 hit "Come And Get Your Love". Redbone does still exist, but the band that played under that name at the Montana state fair were impostors! Here is the story.

My first question is: who would have the 'nads to pull a stunt like this? And my second question is: why would anyone want to impersonate Redbone?

Rock Star: Supernova - Week seven

Goodbye, Zayra. Zayra Alvarez was finally eliminated from Rock Star: Supernova, a number of weeks after she was expected to be. INXS would have eliminated her at least three times by this point. Her performances on the show were often bizarre renditions of classic rock selections, sometimes bordering on camp. I think everyone was well aware that there was no way Zayra would fit into Supernova in a million years.

So, why am I so sad to see her go? This may be the first time since week one that I hated to see someone go this much. Say what you will about Zayra, but she was never boring. For better or for worse, she has been a standout contestant every week. I am totally going to miss her strange-yet-sexy stage presence, and her way of rethinking songs. Granted, she lasted as long as she did for entertainment purposes. But now that she has been sent packing, Rock Star will be a bit less entertaining in the coming weeks.

But I doubt that Zayra is very sad to go. In my view, she was not in t…

Rock Star: Supernova - Week six

Ooh! Double elimination! I was wondering if and when it would happen. INXS did it last season. The difference is that INXS did it to two contestants whose performances stuck out like sore thumbs that week. This week, the two unlucky contestants didn’t perform all that badly. In fact, no one performed badly this week – which is not to say that everyone sounded good.

Josh and Jill were the ones who got the dual axe. I think it has more to do with time constraints (there is now talk of Supernova tour dates!) and with past performances than with their performances this week. Josh and Jill were both on borrowed time for different reasons. Besides, this double-axe gives Supernova one less person to take to Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, Jill did a decent job on Tracy Bonham’s demanding “Mother Mother”, although her stage antics got in the way, even causing her to miss one crucial note right near the end. On Wednesday, she did okay with Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”, but she didn’t hit it out of the par…

More Cure deluxe editions

Following the 2005 releases of 2-CD deluxe editions of the first four Cure albums, Elektra has now released three more this week. The Top (1984), The Head On The Door (1985), and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987) are the three latest Cure albums to receive the expanded treatment. The first disc of each set contains a remastered version of the proper album. The second disc of each set contains a lengthy set of bonus tracks, mostly consisting of related demos and live recordings culled from bootlegs. These deluxe editions are mainly geared toward Cure fanatics.

The Top has been out of print in the U.S. for some time, so it is good to have it available again in some form. This album was recorded at a time when leader Robert Smith had temporarily become a member of Siouxsie and the Banshees as well as the Cure, and his health suffered as a result. On The Top, Smith is noticeably stressed out, seemingly unable to decide if he wanted to stay with the Cure's earlier doom-and-gloom approach…

Arthur Lee of Love dies at 61

Arthur Lee, the founder of the '60's cult band Love, died yesterday from leukemia at age 61. The troubled Lee did not attain much commercial success with his band, but he is regarded as a major influence on other rock veterans. Robert Plant has said that Love's 1968 album Forever Changes is one of his all-time favorite albums. Others who claimed a Lee influence include Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Syd Barrett. Lee must be receiving quite a hero's welcome somewhere.

Rolling Stone has a good article on Lee, with a playlist of essential Love tracks, here.

The first three Love albums are the only proper ones currently in print in the States: Love (1966), Da Capo (1967), and Forever Changes (1968). The best place to start is the 22-track compilation The Best of Love, which contains the essential songs from the first four albums. Those who want to investigate further should try Forever Changes. It is an odd but brilliant album which requires multiple listenings to fully app…

Rock Star: Supernova - Week five

Dana Andrews is the latest contestant to be eliminated from Rock Star: Supernova. She took it well, and went out with a smile on her face. The guys from Supernova chalked it up to maturity on the part of the 22-year-old. That may be true, but I also think that Dana was relieved. Even with her new dark-and-damaged look, Dana was much too nice to front Supernova, and everybody knew it. In order to stay on the show, Dana would have had to continuously (and increasingly) act like someone she wasn’t. And for what? I don’t think the girl was in this competition to win it. She has her own band (called Everything After) and now has had five weeks of TV exposure to use as a springboard. Her chances of getting a recording deal are good, and she’ll probably be quite the local hero when she returns to her hometown. Besides, she clearly wasn’t happy with the criticism she was getting from the other contestants in the mansion. I’ll bet she’s not sad to be leaving those trappings. Dana’s performance…