Slayer & Opinions on Weezer and Richard Thompson

Jim and Greg sit down with members of the influential metal band Slayer to talk about speed, Satan and Tipper Gore. Plus Jim and Greg review new albums from Weezer and Richard Thompson.

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By Christmas this year, get ready for the digital universe, that is. Google has announced plans to open a digital store and music service that would compete with iTunes. Not to be left out, Apple has gotten in on social networking with its new service Ping. Currently there are other sites like Pandora that merge social sharing with music, but with iTunes' 160 million users, they are likely to dominate this turf.

With a #1record on the Billboard Chart, Eminem hardly needs any handouts. But, a court ruling recently made him an even richer man. A federal appeals court has overturned a victory for Universal Music Group in a dispute over how much in royalties it owes the rapper for digital sales of his songs. A previous ruling said that Eminem would receive traditional song royalties for digital tracks. Now he'll be "licensing" his songs rather than selling them. So his rate of return jumps from 18% to around 50%. If this decision sticks, the music industry is in for some big losses.

Sound Opinions wishes congratulations to recent guests The xx. The British trio was just crowned the winner of that country's Mercury Prize. Jim and Greg note that this achievement can sometimes mean more than prizes like the Grammy's in the states because the judges are not just industry insiders, but critics like this year's chairman Simon Frith. Frith credits the group's mysterious atmosphere for the win, which many thought would go to veteran musician Paul Weller. Cheers to you xx!


In the 1980’s  Slayer redefined the metal genre, bringing more speed and intensity than many had ever heard. But the musical virtuosity of members Tom Araya, Jeff Hanneman, Kerry King and Dave Lombardo was often overshadowed by their lyrics and imagery, which at times referenced violence and satanism. That made them the target of groups like the Parents Music Resource Center, which was co-founded by Tipper Gore. But despite critics, they've been going strong for over three decades and are currently out on tour. Drummer Dave Lombardo and guitarist Kerry King sit down with Jim and Greg to talk about their favorite Slayer moments, working with Rick Rubin and what they'd say to parents concerned about their music.

Dream Attic Richard Thompson

Dream Attic

On the other end of the music spectrum is veteran folk rock musician Richard Thompson. After releasing 5 albums with Fairport Convention, he went on to form a duo with former wife Linda Thompson, and then launched a solo career. His latest solo release is Dream Attic, which is a collection of live performances of new songs. As Greg explains, live is where Thompson is at his best. It's where audiences really get to experience his tremendous guitar skills. Previous releases focused more on Thompson's songwriting, so for Greg, this is one of his best. He gives Dream Attic a Buy It rating. Jim agrees, and would tell listeners who haven't experienced Thompson's music to start here and work their way back. The songs are full of wit and wisdom and deserve a Buy It.

Hurley Weezer


If you've seen the mug of Hurley from Lost lately, chances are you've been looking at the cover of the new album by Weezer. The band, fronted by Rivers Cuomo, has been recording at a prolific rate in the past few years. And many original fans continue to hold out hope that they'll meet or top their releases from the 1990’s. But, as Greg explains, Cuomo, now a married father, is probably as happy as he's ever been and won't be returning to his old style of angsty songwriting. The upbeat pop songs he's making now are good, but the emotional heft isn't there. Greg gives Hurley a Burn It rating. Jim admits there's a lot of silliness on this record, but the songs are very well-crafted. That's enough for him, so he gives it a Burn It.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!