Ray Davies

Ray Davies and Opinions on Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

One of the most influential singer/songwriters of all time joins Jim and Greg live in the studio. Ray Davies, former frontman for the Kinks, talks about his four decades making music and plays songs off his new album "Working Man's Café."

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Music News

Pop phenom Leona Lewis made news this week by becoming the first British artist to debut at number one on the U.S. album charts. It seems that the hit factory built by Clive Davis and Simon Cowell is serving the X-Factor winner well. She's poised to become the most successful alum of the Arista-American Idol partnership. But, Jim and Greg are not impressed by Lewis' dramatic vocal style — one that owes a lot to Mariah Carey. Carey also has a new album out next week called E=MC2. The diva may give the upstart a run for her money, but as Jim and Greg explain, neither have sales that compare with the success of this style of music years ago. Despite the wishes of Davis and Cowell, audiences may be ready for a new sound.

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Ray Davies

One man who is certainly not a flash in the pan is Ray Davies. (Pronounced Daviz, not Daveez. We promise.) The former, and perhaps future, Kinks lead singer joins Jim and Greg to talk about his long history making music and his second solo album, Working Man's Café. Ray describes how different it is to make music as a solo artist. When he was writing songs for The Kinks he was able to assume different personas. But, the songs on this new album are much more personal. He has to take the credit… or the blame. Ray performs songs off Working Man's Café, which you can hear during the show.

Some of Ray Davies' songs have undoubtedly been affected by his experience being shot by a mugger in 2004, as well as the stroke of his brother Dave Davies. These subjects perhaps contradict the idea of the songwriter as a wit and social satirist. But, as Ray explains, even the lightest, most humorous Kinks tracks started from a serious place.

reviewElephant Shell (Remixes) - EPElephant Shell available on iTunes

Tokyo Police Club Elephant Shell

After getting raves with their 2006 EP, Tokyo Police Club have finally released a full-length album called Elephant Shell. The four-piece band from Ontario signed to Saddle Creek Records to record 11 songs, but don't expect a denser album. This effort is still a quick jaunt into garage rock, power-pop, and new wave that ends before you know it. But, neither Jim, nor Greg, is complaining. Jim loves their great sense of melody and high-energy enthusiasm. His only quibble is with the band's minor diversion into indie-rock pretension. But, overall he gives the record a Buy It. Greg also loves the tightly constructed arrangements, but notes that the band's lyrics still haven't developed much. He appreciates their exuberance but thinks they still have room to grow. He gives Elephant Shell a Try It.

JimGreg
reviewDig, Lazarus, Dig!!!Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! available on iTunes

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!

Critically acclaimed side project Grinderman, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are back together for a new album called Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! Both Jim and Greg loved the Grinderman album. In fact, it took Jim's number one slot last year. But, while that record got an A+ from Jim, Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! merely gets an A. Both he and Greg are impressed with Cave's ability to get stronger with age. He loves Cave's brilliant, intellectual lyrics that are full of humor and gives the album a Buy It. Greg agrees that the songwriter really amped up the humor, along with standard Cave topics like sex, death and religion. Amazingly those subjects fit into hook-filled pop songs, prompting Greg to give the album another Buy It.

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Featured Songs

  1. Leona Lewis, Bleeding Love, Spirit, Syco, 2008
  2. Mariah Carey, Touch My Body, E=MC2, Mercury, 2008
  3. The Kinks, All Day and All of the Night, Kinks-Size, Reprise, 1965
  4. The Kinks, David Watts, Something Else by the Kinks, PRT, 1967
  5. Ray Davies, My Name, The Storyteller, EMI, 1998
  6. The Kinks, You Really Got Me, The Kinks, PRT, 1964
  7. Ray Davies, Working Mans Cafe (Live on Sound Opinions), Working Man's Cafe, Mercury, 2007
  8. The Kinks, The Village Green Preservation Society, The Village Green Preservation Society, PRT, 1968
  9. The Kinks, Waterloo Sunset, Something Else by the Kinks, PRT, 1967
  10. Ray Davies, Morphine Song, Working Man's Cafe, Mercury, 2007
  11. The Kinks, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, Kinkdom, PRT, 1965
  12. Ray Davies, Vietnam Cowboys (Live on Sound Opinions), Working Man's Cafe, Mercury, 2007
  13. The Kinks, Well Respected Man, Kinkdom, PRT, 1965
  14. Tokyo Police Club, Graves, Elephant Shell, Saddle Creek, 2008
  15. Tokyo Police Club, Your English Is Good, Elephant Shell, Saddle Creek, 2008
  16. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!, Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!, Mute, 2008
  17. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Albert Goes West, Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!, Mute, 2008
  18. M83, Couleurs, Saturdays=Youth, Mute, 2008
  19. New Edition, Mr. Telephone Man, New Edition, MCA, 1984
  20. The Pixies, Where is My Mind, Surfer Rosa, 4AD, 1988
  21. Disfear, Get It Off, Live the Storm, Relapse, 2008

Footnotes

leonalewismusic.com Leona Lewis cnn.com Leona Lewis tops U.S. album charts, makes history cbsnews.com The Golden Ears of Clive Davis businessweek.com Simon Cowell: From Idol to Inventor amazon.com E=MC2 on Amazon chicagotribune.com Greg on EMC2 myspace.com Ray Davies allmusic.com The Kinks on AllMusic metacritic.com Working Mans Café on Metacritic metrolyrics.com The Kinks'“Morphine”lyrics cnn.com Ray Davies star shot in New Orleans davedavies.com Dave Davies mp3lyrics.org The Kinks'“Dedicated Follower of Fashion”lyrics amazon.com Tokyo Police Club's 2006 EP, A Lesson In Crime tokyopoliceclub.com Tokyo Police Club's homepage saddle-creek.com Saddle Creek Records chicagotribune.com Greg on Tokyo Police Club grinderman.com Grinderman's homepage nick-cave.com Nick Cave's metacritic.com Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! jimdero.com Jim on Grinderman chicagotribune.com Greg on Grinderman