As 2006 comes to end, Jim and Greg take a look back at the year in music — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and give out their annual“Soopie Awards.” Here are this year's winners:
The 14:59 Award: Kevin Federline. The dancer turned husband turned wannabe rapper started off this year with a new single, "Popozao," and a new hope for a better, bill-free, life. Now K-Fed is a soon-to-be twice-divorced father of four who was dumped via text message and booed by fans on the same night. The clock is ticking…
The Most Clichéd Criminal Act Award: Snoop Dogg. Rapper Snoop Dogg was arrested a number of times this year, but the final criminal act really took the cake. He was stopped after an appearance on The Tonight Show with what must be the gangsta rap starter kit — pot, cocaine and a weapon — soon to be available at a Wal-Mart near you.
The Award for Rock Aging Gracefully: The Sex Pistols. Upon receiving an invitation to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Sex Pistols responded thusly. Sound Opinions H.Q. is glad the punk spirit is still alive somewhere.
The Award for Rock Aging Poorly: CBGB's. One place the punk spirit isn't alive is Las Vegas. Yet that's exactly where the original Lower East Side punk headquarters is relocating. We just hope Patti Smith doesn't join Celine for an extended residency.
The Best New Sheriff in Town Award: Eliot Spitzer. 2006 was a big year for the Attorney General. Mr. Spitzer not only won the office of Governor of the State of New York, but he also brought down some of the giants in the music industry who continued the practice of payola. He received his largest settlement from Universal Music (which checked off all major record labels) and is now moving on to radio.
The“Hootie”the F** Are You? Award*: three-way tie between Rascal Flatts, The Fray & KT Tunstall. No one seems to know who you are, but your names continue to appear on the charts. Jim and Greg can only blame this on the Hootie effect.
The Politics Paying Too Big a Price Award: Dixie Chicks. After telling a British audience that she's ashamed the President is a fellow Texas native, Natalie Maines and her fellow Dixie Chicks have been boycotted by country radio stations and have been forced to cancel many tour dates. Jim and Greg wonder whatever happened to free speech?
The Politics Not Paying Enough of a Price Award: Barbra Streisand. Maybe we'll rethink that free speech thing… On her recent tour, the always liberal Barbra Streisand decided to incorporate political satire and sketches into her performance. After paying hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for tickets, many audience members wished Babs would just stick to singing. Jim and Greg agree.
Award for Best Rock Couple. Nominees: Paul McCartney and Heather Mills; Kim and Marshall Mathers; Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson. The Winner: Jay-Z and Nas. They've been“beefing”for years, and made their careers dissing one another. But now pure friendship (aka Def Jam and profit-sharing) have brought them together. Thank God those two kids worked it out!
From all of us at Sound Opinions, Happy New Year!Go to episode 57
Christmas Spectacular 2008
It's the Sound Opinions Christmas Spectacular! Every year Jim and Greg hand the show's reigns over to the official Sound Opinions holiday music curator, Andy Cirzan (aka DJ Lo-Fi). By day, Cirzan is the Vice President of Concerts at Jam Productions, the largest independent concert promoter in the country. But by night, Cirzan scours the earth to find rare, and often times wacky, holiday music to add to his collection. This year is no exception.
- "Holiday Proclamation…"
- Dick Huemer & Camarata, "Futuristic Christmas Tree"
- Patty Marie Jay, "Space Age Santa Claus"
- Donna & the Dees, "I Know There's A Santa Claus"
- Duke Ellington Orchestra, "Dasher"
- The Sisterhood (by Eugenia), "I'm Santa Claus"
- Magnus T. Cook, "Snow Bunny"
- Margo Guryan, "I Don't Intend To Spend Christmas Without You"
- The Wilson Sisters, "Little Klinker"
- Israfel's Son, "Rudolph Pouts"
- "Snowkenstein Speaks!"
- Sylvia Reid, "Christmas Rock 'N Roll"
- The Mar-Teks, "Twinkletoes"
- Ben Hinds, "All I want For Christmas Is A Go-Go Girl"
- The Free Design, "Shepherds & Wisemen"
- Lalo Schifrin, "Joy To The World"
Turkey Shoot 2006
Every Thanksgiving, Jim and Greg like to get out and shoot some turkeys. But don‘t worry — these turkeys deserve to die. This year’s nominees for most disappointing album are:
- Pharrell, In My Mind (original review)
- Pink, I'm Not Dead (original review)
- Tool, 10,000 Days (original review)
- Audioslave, Revelations (original review)
- David Gilmour, On an Island
- The Killers, Sam's Town (original review)
- Outkast, Idlewild (original review)
Box Set Gift Suggestions
This episode of Sound Opinions isn't all negative. Jim and Greg also provide you with some holiday gift suggestions for the music lover in your life. They recommend wrapping up the following box sets:
- The Clash: The Singles
- What It Is! Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977)
- Rockin‘ Bones: ’50s Punk & Rockabilly
- Jerry Lee Lewis: A Half Century of Hits
- Tommy Boy Presents Hip Hop Essentials
Here are some other box sets to check out:
- Steve Reich, Phases: A Nonesuch Retrospective
- Gram Parsons, The Complete Reprise Sessions
- Buddy Guy, Can't Quit the Blues
- Waylon Jennings, Nashville Rebel
- The Byrds, There is a Season
- Various Artists, A Life Less Lived: The Gothic Box
- The Pretenders, Pirate Radio
- Tori Amos, A Piano: The Collection
- The Bee Gees, The Studio Albums, 1967-1968
- Robert Plant, Nine Lives
- David Crosby, Voyage
And for DVD fans:
- Michael Franti, I Know I'm Not Alone
- Nirvana, Live! Tonight! Sold Out!
- Jeff Tweedy, Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest
Touch and Go Records
This week Jim and Greg wanted to take a look at one of the music industry's most important independent labels: Touch and Go Records. Touch and Go recently turned 25 and celebrated with a three-day bash at Chicago's Hideout Block Party. Over the course of the show, you‘ll hear why Jim and Greg wanted to focus on this modest Chicago label. You’ll also hear from the founder himself, Corey Rusk, and a number of the label's artists, including Scott McCloud from Girls Against Boys, Janet Weiss from Quasi (and formerly Sleater-Kinney), Ted Leo, David Yow from Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard and recording engineer and musician Steve Albini of Big Black and Shellac fame.
Touch and Go's founder Corey Rusk is known not just as a tastemaker with an incredible ear for talent, but also as one of the most honest businessmen in the biz. This is what separates Touch and Go from other labels, major and independent alike. Rusk's business model, which doesn't shy away from the Internet and which relies merely on trust and a handshake, has kept it going for 25 years, helping it to outlive its peers. Labels like Twin/Tone in Minneapolis, which launched The Replacements, SST in California which launched Black Flag and Hüsker Dü, and I.R.S. in which launched R.E.M. and The Go Go's, all emerged in the early '80s after punk's mainstream explosion and before alternative's reign. However, Touch and Go is the only one of the bunch not only to stay in business, but to do so successfully and independently.
The best way to understand the label's significance is to sample some of the music. You'll hear these songs in our short-but-sweet montage of Touch and Go music:
- Killdozer, "Hi There"
- Girls Against Boys, "Kill the Sexplayer"
- The Dirty Three, "Doris"
- Jesus Lizard, "Mouth Breather"
- TV on the Radio, "Dreams"
- Butthole Surfers, "Fast"
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Art Star"
- Calexico, "Cruel"
Touch and Go has put out a lot of music over the past quarter century, but Jim and Greg both manage to pick their single favorite T&G tracks. Greg goes first and chooses "Stage 2000" by Seam. Touch and Go is often thought of as the place to go to for loud, hard-edged punk music, and that is certainly true. However, their roster is actually quite diverse, and there are a number of bands like Seam, who are making beautiful, soft, melodic music.“Stage 2000”is on Greg's favorite Seam album, The Problem With Me. That album was recorded with Chicago producer Brad Wood, best known for producing Liz Phair's classic Exile in Guyville.
Jim's Touch and Go pick is "Kerosene" by Big Black off their 1985 album Atomizer. Though Atomizer was initially released by Homestead Records, Big Black moved to Touch and Go a year later, and the label reissued the band's entire catalog. So we'll let Jim slide on this one — especially since no one has been as closely associated with Touch and Go as Big Black founder Steve Albini. Albini came to Chicago to study journalism at Northwestern, and Jim can hear this sensibility in his lyrics. Songs like "Kerosene" are essentially sensationalistic tabloid stories backed with thrashing noise-rock.Go to episode 43
MTV's Silver Anniversary
MTV turns 25 this week. To celebrate (or perhaps mourn), Jim and Greg discuss the station's impact on the music industry. To kick off the dissection, Sound Opinions surveys the opinions of festivalgoers at Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival.Go to episode 36
Songs About Money
This week on Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg play their favorite songs about money. It's a show honoring public radio's favorite season—the spring pledge drive.Go to episode 17