Thursday, May 27, 2004

Before my son was born, I got advice from several sources to bring along CDs of soothing music to listen to during labor, with specific suggestions like classical harp music. My husband and I had far more fun coming up with a list of inappropriate songs to play. We didn't think of enough to fill a mix CD, but we did get some good ideas:

"Baby's On Fire" - Brian Eno
"I Want My Baby . . . Dead?" - New Bomb Turks
"Drinking for Two" - Mudhoney
"Hung Up and Hanging Out to Dry" (specifically for the lines "Let's keep the afterbirth/and throw the kid away) - Julian Cope

I did bring my own take on soothing music, artists like Stereolab and Tom Waits. When the going got really tough, Night Song by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan effectively alleviated some of the stress.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin just had a daughter that they've named Apple. If you're going to name your baby after a vanity record label, there really are much better choices than the Beatles' imprint. Just for starters, there's 50 Skidillion Watts, the label founded by Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame, and Smell Like, which Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley runs.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Concert Review: Fountains of Wayne, Rockin' de Mayo Fest, Chicago, Saturday, May 8

I never thought I'd say this for a band I like as much as Fountains of Wayne, but would you please go home already? This was their third trip to Chicago in 10 months, and the time on the road is really showing on Chris Collingwood. The band still sounded great, but the normally energetic, funny singer/guitarist really looked tired and barely had anything to say between songs. I'm thrilled that they've received a fair amount of success and can understand their continued touring in hopes of expanding their audience, but I hope it doesn't destroy them physically and mentally. So take some time off. Recuperate and recharge, then continue with your plans to take over the world.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Movie Review: Mayor of the Sunset Strip

His name carries much more cache in L.A. than elsewhere in the country, but Rodney Bingenheimer has been an important taste-maker in American music, providing the initial exposure that helped launch many careers. He introduced British glam to Los Angeles with his English Disco, a tiny but trendy club on the Sunset Strip. He then moved to KROQ, one of the country's biggest radio stations, where he was known as Rodney on the ROQ and continued to break new artists. The documentary Mayor of the Sunset Strip explores the many facets of his life: his obsession with famous people, his relation with his parents, how his radio show created careers, the decline of his own career in an increasingly profit-driven radio market, how his sexual conquests exceeded Robert Plant's in their heyday.

The movie boast lots of cameos. Musicians such as David Bowie and Gwen Stefani, who he helped break in America, cozy up to him. Ray Manzarek talks about how he fit into the L.A. scene, but I kept thinking of the Onion headline, something like "Ray Manzarek Goes a Whole 10 Minutes Without Discussing the Doors." Kim Fowley extols his own genius, a frequent habit of his since others either don't think he's a genius or don't think he's worth extolling. Fortunately, former Runaway/protégé Cherie Currie offers up a different viewpoint on Fowley than his own elevated one.

The movie had playe briefly at the Music Box; it now looks like the only way to catch it in Chicago is to wait for the DVD.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Concert Recommendation: Fountains of Wayne, Rockin' de Mayo, Saturday, May 8

The sun still shine in the summertime
I'll be yours if you'll be mine
I tried to change but I changed my mind
I guess I'll have another glass of Mexican wine

The above chorus, from the song "Mexican Wine," is the most likely explanation for why New Jersey's Fountains of Wayne is playing a Cinco de Mayo festival. Well, that and they're such a damn fine band. As I've expounded many times previously, they craft songs with insanely catchy hooks and smart lyrics. It's unfortunate that it looks like "Stacy's Mom" will leave them as one-hit wonders when not just Welcome Interstate Managers but also their previous albums are chock full of should-have-been hits. They also have the charisma and sense of humor to put on a great show, unlike the rather wooden Strokes (Sorry, guys, but good songs and a cool wardrobe are not enough to make a great concert.)

Fountains of Wayne play Rockin' De Mayo at Slow Down, Life's Too Short, Elston & Division, Chicago. Music runs from 4 to 10 p.m.; LP, Wheat and Howie Day are opening.