Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Yule, Y'all

Saturday, December 8, 2012

While You're Waiting for The Hobbit to Hit the Theatre

A fan compiled the various trailers into the One Clip, to rule them all.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Playing in Nashville - Confirmed

I had an advance word the other day when I posted the new NCatBS audio clip. March 16, at the Mother Church - The Ryman Auditorium. When you consider Cave's long-standing fascination with the American South and religion, and the Ryman's history as a place of Southern worship, well ... if I weren't so busy being thankful we'll finally have a Bad Seeds show in Nashville, I might ask what took so long.

My program director just said to me that "every radio chick" he ever knew loves Nick Cave and he had no idea why. I think it has something - a lot, actually - to do with the Wim Wenders' generational touchstone, Wings of Desire. Cave and band's primal performance in a Berlin night club is heavily featured, in a pivotal scene that comprises a good portion of the film's emotional climax.

There are some literary characters that are so universal, anyone with the right set of gear can imagine themselves in that character's shoes. I think just about every performing woman who ever saw Wings of Desire had several moments where we could identify with Marian's jitters and fears as a trapeze artist. Performing without a net. It's one of many underlying themes in Wings of Desire, from Marian's gig, to Damiel's plunge from the Wall and transformation from heavenly angel to newly human.

The character of Marian transforms from a tragic loner to a confident, confrontational woman while Damiel, who she's never met but knows is with her, wanders around the club looking for her, finally settling to wait at the bar. Before she goes in there to meet Damiel, she loses herself in the raw power unleashed in "From Her to Eternity."

Or, it could just be that we women like dark, sexy music.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I Wanna Hear Higgs Boson Blues

But I'm going to have to wait until February 19, when Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds put out their 15th album, Push the Sky Away. In the meantime, there be morsels.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Meet Jake Bugg

He's 18, he's got melody and a knack for words, he's cute and right now, in the UK, Jake Bugg is receiving more scrutiny than Lindsey Lohan wandering around in a Harry Winston shop.

Depending on who you trust, he's either the second coming of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Billy Bragg all rolled into one, or a wanky exercise for late 40-and-early-50-somethings you'd see at a Paul Weller show. That is, if you live in a city large enough to have enough Paul Weller fans to fill a room in the first place. Either way, when the Nottingham-raised Bugg's debut album knocked Mumford and Sons out of the #1 spot on the UK charts, people sat up.

Recently Nashville got a look at Bugg when he opened for Snow Patrol and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at the Ryman, where an already impressed fan had the camera rolling.

The only US release available is his "Two Fingers" EP, but the full length is out there as an import. On Lightning 100 we're playing "Two Fingers," a minor anthem for anyone who's ever faced the choice of self-medication or flight. I'm pretty sure we were the first in the country to add it, a few weeks ago. And if you want to see why people are throwing in Johnny Cash comparisons, here you go ....

Friday, November 23, 2012

Best of 2012 Pt 5

Lambchop - Mr. M.
         This one is another entry from the start of 2012 — and it's a Nashville band to boot. Lambchop have been following their own muse for something like 15 years, evolving from the world's "most fucked up country band" to introspective chamber pop. A tribute to the late Vic Chesnutt, Mr. M's a melancholy affair that haunts, long after the strings come in and out.


Alt - J - An Awesome Wave 
      It's no surprise that England's 2012 Mercury Prize winner is a fascinating album that never bores. What is shocking is that this shimmering "folkstep" debut got picked up by a US major label and is actually being promoted.

Warning: the following video is considered highly unsettling by many.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Best of 2012 Pt 4

Oh, Japandroids, how do I love thee? It takes a surrender. When you've lived through 85% of the rock era, you hit a point (several, really) where you realize that just about everything that can be done with 3 chords has been done, and we should all move on, already. And then some little punk comes along and flogs the corpse until it sits up like a Black Plague victim in a Monty Python movie and yells, "I feel happy ..."


Django Django - Django Django This exciting UK electronic outfit was putting out singles for a couple of years and finally put them all in one place, on this Mercury Prize nominated album that gets a lot of mileage out of its minimalism. "Hale Bopp" contains one of the best lyrical metaphors I've encountered in ages.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Best of 2012 Pt 3

So here we are with more of the spring crop of 2012, of which there was much goodness. The third lp from San Diego/Brooklyn residents Delta Spirit made its online streaming debut on, of all places, the Wall Street Journal's website. We were happy to let our airwaves be occupied, anyway.

Here's one I forgot to throw in with the winter stuff. Lana Del Rey's controversial debut. 

Why controversial? Well ... that's a great question. Even before Lizzie Grant (her given name) first appeared, not quite ready for prime time, on Saturday Night Live she had detractors. The visually arresting videos she put up on YouTube took in millions of hits; anyone who saw the sheer number of people checking her out, months before her album even came out, could easily guess sales would be on the high side out of plain curiosity factor. So you had a group of self-appointed taste-makers dissing it purely because they didn't get to be the first ones to decide if it should be a hit or not, or if people who should like it or not. Some people get uptight when they have no control over things. And I get the idea our Lizzy likes making some people uptight.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Best of 2012 Pt II

Continuing with what I started yesterday. This next pair of albums both came out in the spring, and brought vastly different vibes and coastal mentalities to its soundtrack. From California, Father John Misty, the stage name of former Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman, carried a late '60s/early '70s psychedelic throwback to a modern conclusion on Fear Fun.

Meanwhile, in Baltimore, Beach House were cooking up their fourth, Bloom, with electronic landscapes that paid a nod to the 1980s.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Great Music to go under the tree.

Seems like 2012 is going to go down as a fantastic year for new music getting heard. Not just any kind of music (but every kind) but good music. Stuff that matters. Here's a brief rundown of the standouts, off the top of my head.

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

This is what the year started with .. and things only got better. ... 

Next up:

Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls


... more to come.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Look or Three at Red Riding Hood

     If getting caught with one of the sinus infections Nashville is famous for has any benefit, that would be getting caught up on movie-watching. Among this months fare on HBO is Catherine Hardwicke's retelling of the fairytale classic Red Riding Hood, with the luminous Amanda Seyfried in the title role. When the previews were first around I had some interest in this movie, as Hardwicke was the director of the first Twilight movie and was dropped from the second in that series, claiming, as I recall from the news stories at the time, she was at odds with Summit over the rush to cash in and get New Moon finished.

     In my review of Twilight it was Hardwicke's striking visuals that saved the movie from being an utter joke. Not surprising, then, that Red Riding Hood would be equally striking to watch. Also, like Twilight, the movie's score and soundtrack merge for a lush experience both visually and aurally.

       Unlike Twilight, movie critics aren't falling all over themselves to try to be fair in their reviews. Is the story weak? Well come on - what do you want from a fairy tale?

     Hardwicke's spin on the Grimm tale has the big bad wolf coming for young Red, but this time, he doesn't want to lunch on Red (or Valerie, as she's named in this version) and be done with it. He comes during a "blood moon," a rare full moon event wherein a werewolf can reproduce, so to speak, and create another of his (or her) kind, and this werewolf wants Valerie as Lucy to his Vlad.

        Acting? Let's say it's adequate. Scenery chewer Gary Oldman does everything asked of a veteran actor sent in to lend credibility and some small pathos to a role that could easily have gone 100% straight camp, as the heavyweight Medieval cleric come to aid in hunting/killing the wolf and ends up witch-hunting. Seyfried isn't asked to do much beyond stand around looking mysterious and sexy and vulnerable and wise beyond her years. Her typical line is no longer than five words. Most often, she's reduced simply to calling people out: "Peter?" "Henry?" "Father?" "Grandmother?" With dialog like that, perhaps underplaying it even more is a virtue.

       Most of the movie deals with Valerie's dilemma about the wolf: just who is it presenting the danger to her and her village? Her childhood sweetheart, a poor woodcutter? The wealthy blacksmith's son who she finds herself engaged to? Perhaps Grandma, with those big teeth? And about that wolf - is it her doom, or her salvation?

      Among all the vivid imagery in Red Riding Hood that stands out is the repeated use of long, pointy things. Pointy teeth. Pointy things on trees (above pic). Pointy things on doors and on gates. Pointy knives. It becomes overkill. If one is going to compare Red Riding Hood to Hardwicke's previous blockbuster, though, you can at least get a chuckle at the visual stab at Twilight's chastity.