Thursday, December 29, 2011

Deja Vu

Exactly three years ago I started this blog, in anticipation of the upcoming release of Bruce Springsteen's latest album, Working On A Dream. I called it a brilliant record when I reviewed it back in Jan of '09. I take that back now; I gave it a spin just the other day, and I must say it doesn't hold up well, aside from four or five songs. It's nothing compared to The Rising and Magic. At this point, we are waiting for the release, or announcement rather, on the details of Bruce's record, rumored to be out in Feb or March. No one is sure if it's a solo or E Street effort, but either way I would expect it's gonna be something vastly different from what he has done in the past, and I strongly believe he's capable of putting out another masterpiece.

I also made a sort of new year's resolution to attend as many E Street shows as possible, time and money permitting of course. So instead of waiting for the announcement of any Australian dates (which I'm sure will happen eventually), I've decided to travel back to the UK next summer to see the band. But this trip would not have been possible if not for two other acts: Pearl Jam and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (doing their first European tour in 20 years).

This has never happened before and probably won't happen again. PJ, Petty and Springsteen all touring the UK in the same exact week. They're all headlining Isle Of Wight, providing one of the best line-ups of any 2012 summer festival. Meanwhile, Glastonbury will not take place next year, and Hard Rock Calling is bumped back to mid-July. I'm happy that Bruce and his band are playing Hyde Park again, and as much as I'd like to go back to it, I would take any non-festival show any day. That's where the real fans are.

So it'll be PJ in Manchester (20 Jun) and Springsteen in Sunderland the next night. 22 Jun is still pending; Petty is doing the first night of Isle Of Wight, same night as Springsteen at Manchester's Etihad Stadium. Would like to avoid IOW if possible, so I'm holding out for more Petty gigs in the UK (there's a one week gap before his headlining gig); anyway, I do not believe he and the Heartbreakers will travel all the way to Europe and not play a show in London at least. It's still a long way to summer, but I can already feel the emotion welling up in me when I think of Clarence not being on stage with the band.

Whenever a major Springsteen tour is announced, I can imagine people immediately dropping what they're doing, rushing to post on BTX and GL, start making traveling plans around Europe or the States, like it's the most important thing in the world. And then before you know it, the ticket-buying anxiety starts kicking in. And then the other 'worries'; will I have good seats, will I have a good view in GA, how long will the show be, what will the setlist be like. I can easily apply the same situation now for the case of Pearl Jam. I love that whole feeling. Happy new year, and keep on rockin' in the free world!

Friday, December 16, 2011

American Slang, glorified

Happy holidays, everyone!

CLICK HERE for a cool Christmas gift from our friends at Backstreets.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage

This is the first and possibly last R.E.M. greatest-hits compilation that combines both songs from the I.R.S. and Warner years. This is the perfect entry album for anyone who's looking to get into the band's music; every one of their albums are fairly represented here (maybe except Monster). But it'll leave new listeners wanting more, cause for every song here, there at least two equally good or better ones not included --

Harborcoat, Pretty Persuasion, Letter Never Sent, Maps And Legends, These Days, Cuyahoga, I Believe, Welcome To The Occupation, World Leader Pretend, Hairshirt, Near Wild Heaven, Texarkana, Drive, Try Not To Breathe, Find The River, Star 69, Strange Currencies, Tongue, E-Bow The Letter, Bittersweet Me, Daysleeper, All The Way To Reno, I'll Take The Rain, Until The Day Is Done, Discoverer, It Happened Today, and the list goes on and on...

That's the incredible legacy R.E.M. left us with. As for the three new songs: A Month Of Saturdays is one of the 'weirdest' things they've done, very short with a post-punk, new wave vibe happening. Hallelujah is slow-burn mediocrity. The best is We All Go Back To Where Belong, a sad but fitting tune to sum up the band's three-decade career. The title says it all, and strings and horns accompany Michael Stipe as he sings "Is this really what you want?". We all know the answer to that. Thanks for the memories, guys.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Little Steven interviews Robbie Robertson

Special two-part episode at the Underground Garage, with "one of the most important cats in the history of Rock n' Roll". Great interview, great stories, and as always, great music.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Top 20 Albums Of 2011

I bought about fifty odd albums released this year; not much really, but much more than the previous few years. It's really hard to narrow down to my top ten, cause there is an overwhelming amount of good stuff. So after much serious re-listening and consideration, here are my top twenty:

1. The Whole Love – Wilco

2. Rome – Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi

3. Ashes & Fire – Ryan Adams

4. Bad As Me – Tom Waits

5. Circuital – My Morning Jacket

6. Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars

7. Nothing Is Wrong – Dawes

8. Collapse Into Now – R.E.M.

9. The Harrow & The Harvest – Gillian Welch

10. Blessed – Lucinda Williams

11. Go-Go Boots – Drive-By Truckers

12. How To Become Clairvoyant – Robbie Robertson

13. Elsie – The Horrible Crowes

14. I’m With You – Red Hot Chili Peppers

15. Wasting Light – Foo Fighters

16. Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

17. Revelator – Tedeschi Trucks Band

18. The King Is Dead - The Decemberists

19. Bon Iver - Bon Iver

20. The Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams - Various Artists

almost made the list:
Ukulele Songs - Eddie Vedder
Wild Flag - Wild Flag
So Beautiful Or So What - Paul Simon
The King Of Limbs - Radiohead
Laughing Down Crying - Daryl Hall