Vivian Girls & Opinions on Usher

Rock trio Vivian Girls stop by for a conversation and live performance. Plus Jim and Greg review the new album from Usher.

Vivian Girls
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The news starts with Front Line Management's lawsuit against Axl Rose. Front Line's founder and chief executive is Irving Azoff, who is also executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, which merged with Ticketmaster last month. Jim and Greg discuss the impact of such a lawsuit on an artist. Considering the mega-corporation controls ticketing, venues and many other aspects of the industry, they may not be one to tangle with. Also, they note that the lawsuit is over a breach of "oral contract." Who agrees to an oral contract these days? Especially with Axl Rose!

Jim and Greg discuss the yet again delayed emergence of Spotify in the U.S. The Internet music service, introduced in 2008 by Daniel Ek, has become one of the most popular of its kind in Europe with 7 million users. But despite rumors that it would come to the States this summer, Ek is still having trouble navigating our thick legal system. He wants Spotify to be legitimate, and that means a lot of licensing fees. But once it does hit our soil, Greg predicts big success.

It hit about 80 degrees this week in Chicago, and while it may snow again next week, we've got our eye on the summer. Jim and Greg run down some of the biggest music festivals of the season. First up is Coachella this month, which will feature Jay-Z, LCD Soundsystem and Faith No More among others. The following month, music fans can travel to Washington for the Sasquatch Festival to see My Morning Jacket, Kid Cudi and Ween. In June Bonnaroo will host the Dave Matthews Band, Stevie Wonder and Weezer. Two of the biggest festivals are right here in our hometown: Pitchfork Music Festival, which will boast a Pavement reunion, and Lollapalooza, which Greg can nearly confirm will have headliners Lady Gaga, Green Day, and a reunited Soundgarden. But, Jim points out that not all of the best multi-act concerts are destination festivals. Lilith Fair is back this year as a traveling women-fueled act with Mary J. Blige, Cat Power and Kelly Clarkson.

Vivian Girls

Speaking of "girl power," this week's guests have plenty. The Vivian Girls visit the studio to perform songs from their new album, Everything Goes Wrong, as well as a special cover. The band's current lineup consists of guitarist  Cassie Ramone, bassist  Katy Goodman, and drummer  Ali Koehler. They discuss with Jim and Greg their quick rise to indie success and the challenges they face as three females on the road.

Raymond V. Raymond Usher

Raymond v Raymond

Usher is back this week with his 6th record called Raymond V. Raymond. The title is a reference to the R&B singer's divorce, and based on the content of the songs, Jim and Greg would say he's quickly back to being a playboy. Usher carved out a successful niche as a less threatening version of R. Kelly, but Jim thinks a few of the songs would make even Kelly blush. He calls it empty, tasteless, and worst of all-boring-and gives Usher a Trash It. Greg believes the singer should've known better. He has always admired artists like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, but is currently doing a poor job emulating them. There are a couple of tracks where he digs deep and explores his relationship issues, but Greg gives the rest of it a Trash It as well.


For his Desert Island Jukebox selection, Jim chooses "Bad Reputation," a song by girl group-pioneer Joan Jett. A film about Jett's band The Runaways was just released, but as Jim explains, that band's identity wasn't as much about empowerment as it was about their youth and sexuality. Since that time the singer has spent a career trying to distance herself from that, and Jim calls her the godmother of riot girl rock. That attitude comes through in "Bad Reputation," which we always enjoyed as the Freaks and Geeks theme song.

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