Tuesday, February 22, 2005

As part of a pitch during WLUW's pledge drive today, the DJ pointed out that they played a deep cut from Gang of Four's Entertainment, not just "Damaged Goods" or "I Found That Essence Rare," as if to imply that the commercial radio stations are all over those "hits." It also made me realize the extent to which I discovered the punk and post-punk of the '70s and early '80s mostly after the fact and almost exclusively from great radio stations, mostly of the non-commercial variety. So while the Drive brags about their Deep Tracks from Beatles albums, I'd settle for a commercial station that regularly features even shallow tracks from Entertainment, Pink Flag or All Mod Cons.

And while I heartily endorse the 'LUW pledge drive, that doesn't mean I actually want to listen to it, so I've been catching up on my CDs. As much as I'm enjoying Franz Ferdinand and the Futureheads, I don't know if I can claim to be listening to new music when it sounds like much like Gang of Four, the Jam and early XTC. These are well-chosen influences, but I'm not sure if it helps my hipster cred to be listening to such young bands or if I'm just a stick-in-the-mud because I'm not venturing into new sounds. I think the distant time frame wins out on cred points. The Mighty Lemon Drops were clearly riding the coattails of Echo & the Bunnymen, the former emerging during the latter's peak in popularity. But Franz Ferdinand and the Futureheads are reviving an aesthetic from 25 years ago, which I think therefore makes at least one of them the new Stray Cats.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I gave up on Spin in 1992 when they couldn't be bothered to fact check that March 10 was a Tuesday, not a Sunday, which called into question plenty of other facts they reported that weren't so easily verified. But they occasionally have some useful nuggets of information. Namely, although I'd already heard that Gang of Four are back together, I learned first in the latest issue of Spin that Pop Will Eat Itself and House of Love are, too. No U.S. tour dates announced for any of the three bands yet, but Gang of Four claims an American schedule is coming soon.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Looks like Lance Armstrong will be subject to another round of questioning. Some of his critics have wondered whether his cancer treatments enhanced his performance as a cyclist, a claim he has repeatedly dismissed. But at last night's Grammy awards, Melissa Etheridge, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, gave a rousing, spirited performance in tribute to Janis Joplin, certainly besting much of he "competition," mainly the tentative "Across the Universe," performed by a group of nervous, under-rehearsed all stars. So either cancer treatment does indeed enhance performance, or Melissa, like Lance, just came in better prepared.

Monday, February 07, 2005

WXRT DJ Terri Hemmert recently played Aztec Camera's cover of Van Halen's "Jump," noting that she was playing it from vinyl, the b side of a single, because the track wasn't available on CD. Which had me pondering, is "b side" becoming an antiquated term, unfamiliar to the youngest generation of music listeners (a.k.a. Kids These Days)? CD singles, which were never very popular, usually have additional tracks, but there is no flip single to them like a 7-inch has, which makes "b side" arbitrary nomenclature to begin with. With the growing acceptance of buying single tracks as downloads, there aren't even additional songs attached to better known recordings.

A high school student responded "What's that?" when I said, "LPs" to her.  She knew what records were, but the concept of a long playing record was meaningless to her even though I think of it synonymously with "album." I didn't think to quiz her on 8-tracks.