Johnny Marr & Reviews of El-P and Killer Mike

Guitar hero Johnny Marr joins Jim and Greg live in the studio to talk about The Smiths and his new solo career. Later, Jim and Greg review Run the Jewels, the latest collaboration between Killer Mike and El-P.

Johnny Marr
Download Subscribe via iTunes

Music News

You can't always get what you want, but that doesn't mean The Rolling Stones can't. Billboard reports that the band recently grossed $21.3 million in just five concerts on their "50 & Counting Tour." Not bad for a bunch of rockers pushing 70. This tour also saw TheStones' return to London's revered Hyde Park venue. Forty-four years after their free concert honoring Brian Jones, the band performed to a crowd of 60,000 paying customers. Clearly TheStones can still bring out the crowds, but can they deliver the musical goods? Greg's answer is a hesitant "yes." He caught them in Chicago and admits that while he wishes they'd throw more surprises into the set-list, the boys can still play.

Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr is something of a serial collaborator. First, there's his most famous partnership: with Morrissey in The Smiths. Then there's Bernard Sumner, Billy Bragg, Bert Jansch, The Cribs and Modest Mouse. So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that it took three decades for him to go solo. On The Messenger Marr isn't afraid to harken back to his Smiths sound. Mostly, he explains to Jimand Greg, he thought about all the fans he meets at shows (all but one fan). He admits that some of the lyrical content isn't that far from the songs he wrote as a lad, but lucky for us he was weened on great guitar pop from T. Rex. Greg asks Marr about the almost insane decision to quit The Smiths at the height of their fame. But he insists that the band wouldn't have lasted another two weeks; musically, they achieved everything they could. That's not to diminish the band. He also credits them with inventing "indie."

Run The Jewels Killer Mike

Run The Jewels

Last year we got El-P's Cancer 4 Cure and R.A.P. Music, the album he produced for Killer Mike. Now the two come together again to form Run the Jewels and release a self-titled album. Greg hears the two rappers "blowing off steam." But that shouldn't suggest Run The Jewels is a blow-off. It's like breathless, old-school battle rapping with great beats to boot. He says Buy It. Jim admits El-P is a genius producer, but is disappointed by the lyrical content. He hears lazy smack talk about nothing. So while Run the Jewels is free, it's still a Try It.


Greg paraglides into the desert island this week with a nod to his past. Just as Jim recalled a "summer song" last week, Greg remembers listening to AM radio in his parents' kitchen. The station was playing the 500 greatest songs of all time, and "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals hit him like a bolt. Many have recorded their own versions, but no one did it like The Animals and vocalist  Eric Burdon.

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!