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The Vaselines & Opinions on Lupe Fiasco

Scottish rock group The Vaselines are back together in the Sound Opinions studio to perform some old gems, as well as new tunes from their recent release Sex With an X.

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It's the dirty little secret of the music industry. If you've got the loot, Mariah Carey, Nelly Furtado and Usher, among others, can perform at your wedding, birthday party or bar mitzvah. And these big stars don't appear to be too selective about their gigs – a fact that has caused some controversy recently. The aforementioned pop singers performed at private parties for members of Muammar Gaddafi's family. Now they are expressing regret, and in some instances, promising to donate their fees to charity. Usher, for one, has claimed ignorance, but Jim and Greg think these high powered artists can afford to pay a little more attention to their schedules.

Phil Collins has sold about 100 million albums – and to him that seems like a good place to stop. The Genesis drummer recently announced his retirement and was then hit with a number of unkind rumors about the impetus for this decision. He set the record straight on his website, explaining that he wants to spend more time with his children. Jim and Greg think this is a noble way to bow out – assuming he doesn't launch an expensive comeback tour in a few years.

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The Vaselines

The Vaselines join Jim and Greg in the studio this week. The Scottish indie pop group was founded in 1986 by Eugene Kelly and then girlfriend Francis McKee. And then only three years, two singles, and one album later, the couple and the band broke up. But their sound managed to make its way across the pond, getting college radio airplay and the notice of emerging bands likes Mudhoney and Nirvana. In fact, Nirvana would go on to cover a number of Vaselines tracks, including "Jesus Don't Want Me For a Sunbeam," which they performed on MTV Unplugged in New York. Cobain convinced the band to briefly reunite and open for Nirvana in 1990. Now two decades later, the Vaselines are back together with a new Sub Pop release called Sex with an X. That's a lot of effort to avoid the sophomore slump. Eugene, Francis and the band perform tracks from the album, as well as an old gem. Check out the songs and the videos.

reviewLasers (Deluxe Version)Lasers available on iTunes

Lupe Fiasco Lasers

Next up, Jim and Greg review the new album by Lupe Fiasco called Lasers. The Chicago hip-hop artist debuted in 2006 with Food and Liquor, showcasing a sensibility unique in rap. This third album was a labor, and not necessarily of love. Lupe has admitted to having real difficulties with his record company – difficulties that led to compromises on a lot of tracks. That said, Jim loves Lupe's lyrics and "1960s message." There are inflated choruses and too many guest stars, but his words trump it all. Jim says Buy It. Greg wishes he could agree, but it's too clear which tracks he was less involved in. He looks forward to the next effort, but for now says Burn It.

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“East-West”The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

We really do read your letters! Last week a listener commented on our interview with Jac Holzman, saying he'd like to hear more about Paul Butterfield. So this week Jim drops a track by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band into the Desert Island Jukebox. In 1966, on an album of the same name, the group recorded the song "East-West" written by guitarist/composer Mike Bloomfield. Bloomfield was influenced by blues, psychedelia, free jazz and Indian raga music. This track in turn influenced everyone from the Grateful Dead to Joe Boyd. It's a landmark in rock, and it's goin' with Jim to the island.

Featured Songs

  1. Usher, Yeah!, Confessions, Arista, 2004
  2. Phil Collins, In The Air Tonight, Face Value, Atlantic, 1981
  3. Vaselines, Molly's Lips, Enter The Vaselines, Sub Pop, 2009
  4. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, Some Velvet Morning, Movin' With Nancy, Reprise, 1968
  5. Vaselines, Son Of A Gun, Enter The Vaselines, Sub Pop, 2009
  6. Vaselines, Such A Fool, Sex With An X, Sub Pop, 2010
  7. Vaselines, No Hope, Enter The Vaselines, Sub Pop, 2009
  8. Vaselines, Ruined, Sex With An X, Sub Pop, 2010
  9. Nirvana, Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam, MTV Unplugged, Universal Distribution, 1994
  10. Vaselines, I Hate The '80s, Sex With An X, Sub Pop, 2010
  11. Vaselines, Slushy, Enter The Vaselines, Sub Pop, 2009
  12. Nirvana, Son Of A Gun, Incesticide, Geffen, 1992
  13. Lupe Fiasco, Words I Never Said, Lasers, Atlantic, 2011
  14. Lupe Fiasco, All Black Everything, Lasers, Atlantic, 2011
  15. Lupe Fiasco, The Show Goes On, Lasers, Atlantic, 2011
  16. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, East West, East-West, Elektra, 1966
  17. De La Soul, Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey), Me Myself & I, Tommy Boy, 1989
  18. R.E.M., Fall On Me, Life's Rich Pageant, Capitol, 1986
  19. Destroyer, Poor In Love, Kaputt, Merge, 2011

Footnotes

nytimes.com Pop stars and Gaddafi telegraph.co.uk Phil Collins retires thevaselines.co.uk The Vaselines lupefiasco.com Lupe Fiasco soundopinions.org Lupe Fiasco on Sound Opinions