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The Rock Doctors do Kung Fu & Opinions on Nine Inch Nails and Sam Phillips

Jim and Greg are the Rock Doctors. They prescribe an epic workout playlist for a martial arts instructor in need. Later they review new albums by Nine Inch Nails and Sam Phillips.

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Music News

Katy Perry wasn't the only thing roaring at MTV's recent Video Music Awards. Digital sales for artists featured on the program have seen significant bumps. Among those feeling a lift were Lady Gaga's Applause, which saw a 20% rise and Bruno Mars' Gorilla, which had a staggering 175% sales increase.

In other chart news the British Phonographic Industry recently updated its sales award rules. So now, a little band called The Beatles has finally gone platinum. The official count only began from 1994, though, so actual sales of hit Beatles albums like Revolver and Help can only be estimated.

By now everyone's heard Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. But, have you heard 86-year old Canadian composer John Beckwith's Blurred Lines? Well, thousands of listeners have, though perhaps not intentionally. Beckwith's 1994 recording for harpsichord and violin has gotten a huge boost in online streams ever since Thicke's song of the same name came out earlier this year. Blame it on Google, but it seems hard to mistake Thicke for Beckwith's sounds inspired by the Swedish hardanger.

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Kung-Fu

Yes it's time for a visit to the doctor. But don't fret, the Rock Doctors are way fun. During this episode Jim and Greg treat a Kung Fu master. “Sifu” Richard Baron runs Kung Fu Power in Highland Park, IL. While it isn't traditional for martial artists to train to music, he finds it helps to inspire his students. But, he admits the playlist is getting a bit stale. So he turns to Drs. Kot and DeRogatis for a prescription for new music.

Dr. DeRogatis recommends an album by Thundercat. It's the project of Bassist/songwriter/vocalist Stephen Bruner, and Jim hopes Sifu Richard will enjoy its grooves. But, after a week of using the 2013 album Apocalypse in his classes, the diagnosis is not good. This medicine did not go down well, according to our patient. It was too discordant and lacked soul, he says.

Dr. Kot prescribed some Thin Lizzy. He picked out the most“epic”and“awesome”songs from the band's 1975 and '76 albums Fighting and Jailbreak. Cheesy? Perhaps, but Greg vetted this with a friend of his who boxes. Sifu Richard says that some of the tracks will make it to his regular playlist, but he can't abide something like The Boys Are Back In Town.

So, the treatment had mixed results. But on the upside, Jim and Greg gained some epically awesome martial arts knowledge. Just check out their training session!

And if you want to make an appointment with the Rock Doctors for yourself or a friend in need, fill out our patient form.

Unless you are a full-time rock critic, it can be difficult to maintain good musical health. That's where the Rock Doctors come in. Do you have a musical allergy or addiction? Or do you have a friend or relative who needs an intervention? The Sound Opinions clinic has its doors open​.

reviewHesitation MarksFragile available on iTunes

Nine Inch Nails Fragile

Ever since he debuted Nine Inch Nails in 1988, Trent Reznor has had a tortured relationship with his one-man-band. He's moved in and out of the major label system, retired, returned and done a number of side projects. He also made a memorable visit to the Sound Opinions studios. Now, Nine Inch Nails is back with its 8th album called Hesitation Marks. A dark title, but an apt one, according to Greg. It feels like a hesitant, tentative album and one in which Reznor wasn‘t fully invested. It’s his quietest Nine Inch Nails release, even going back to the masterful Fragile in 1999. But, there's a lot of filler. Greg says Burn It. Jim is shocked that Greg isn't digging this groovy album full of a sonic palette unlike any other. He says Buy It.

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reviewPush Any ButtonPush Any Button available on iTunes

Sam Phillips Push Any Button

If all you know about Sam Phillips is that she used to be married to T. Bone Burnett and that she provided the delightful score to Gilmore Girls, you are missing out. Jim and Greg point to her gorgeous songwriting, expert pop craft and skilled editing. The Brill Building-inspired songs on this latest release, Push Any Button, are concise and add up to only 29 minutes. Phillips always leaves you wanting more. Jim and Greg both say Buy It.

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“Here Comes a City”The Go-Betweens

The Australian band The Saints has been ushering in our Desert Island Jukebox segment for years. And this week, Greg wants to stay in that continent and add a song by The Go-Betweens. The band's series of albums in the '80s were wonderful, but never made a big commercial impact. They reformed in 2000 and had one of those rare successful second acts. And it's from that era that Greg culls his DIJ pick: "Here Comes a City" from 2005.

Featured Songs

  1. Goose Island Credit Music: Pure Sunray,“Caramel,”Pure Sunray, 2013
  2. Katy Perry, Roar, Prism, Capital, 2013
  3. John Beckwith, Blurred Lines, Jalsaghar, Centrediscs, 2010
  4. Nine Inch Nails, Copy of A, Hesitation Marks, Columbia, 2013
  5. Nine Inch Nails, Came Back Haunted, Hesitation Marks, Columbia, 2013
  6. Sam Phillips, When I'm Alone, Push Any Button, Littlebox, 2013
  7. Sam Phillips, You Know I Won't, Push Any Button, Littlebox, 2013
  8. The Go-Betweens, Here Comes a City, Oceans Apart, Lo-Max, 2005
  9. The Pretenders, Phone Call, Pretenders, Sire, 1979
  10. Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin', The Times They Are A-Changin', Columbia, 1964
  11. Betty Filkes, If You Miss Me from the Back of the Bus, Voices of the Civil Rights Movement, Smithsonian Folkways, 1997
  12. The Ornette Coleman Quartet, Folk Tale, This Is Our Music, Atlantic, 1961
  13. U2, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Under a Blood Red Sky, " Island, 1983

Footnotes

mtv.com Katy Perry & the VMA's billboard.com The VMA's bump sales youtube.com“Applause” youtube.com“Gorilla” billboard.com New platinum rules bbc.co.uk The Beatles go platinum youtube.com“Blurred Lines” musiccentre.ca John Beckwith's“Blurred Lines” theguardian.com Beckwith's boost in streams spotify.com John Beckwith on Spotify kungfupower.com Kung Fu Power ninjatune.net Thundercat's artist page pitchfork.com Pitchfork reviews Apocalypse thinlizzy.org Thin Lizzy's band page amazon.com Thin Lizzy's Fighting amazon.com Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak youtube.com“The Boys Are Back In Town” youtube.com Jim and Greg's Kung Fu session soundopinions.org Trent Reznor on Sound Opinions rollingstone.com Trent Reznor retires latimes.com Reznor's side projects nin.com Buy Hesitation Marks chicagotribune.com Greg's NIN review go.com T Bone Burnett's Ex Finds Her Voice popmatters.com Sam Phillips on Gilmore Girls chicagotribune.com Greg's Sam Phillips review songwritershalloffame.org Brill Building amazon.com Buy Push Any Button youtube.com“Stranded” allmusic.com The Go-Betweens youtube.com“Here Comes a City”