Don Was

Don Was, Opinions on Superchunk & Dessa

Don Was is a bassist in the band Was (Not Was), a successful music producer for artists like The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, and the president of legendary jazz label Blue Note Records. This week, Jim and Greg pick the brain of the multi-talented Don Was about his influences, what he looks for in an artist and what he loves about music. Plus, Jim and Greg review new albums from indie rock band Superchunk and rapper Dessa.

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reviewWhat a Time to Be AliveWhat a Time to be Alive available on iTunes

Superchunk What a Time to be Alive

Superchunk has returned with their 11th album, What a Time to be Alive. According to Greg, in recent years the North Carolina indie rockers tend to put out work only when they have a purpose behind it. Jim and Greg both believe this album strikes a particularly insistent political tone. In fact, Greg adds that the album“just roars.”He's never heard singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan sound so worked up, and adds that with tracks like "Reagan Youth" Superchunk“return the favor”to groups like Reagan Youth that inspired them back in the 1980s. Jim says that in times of crisis, music helps motivate people. He thinks that songs like "Break the Glass" fuel that motivation. Jim and Greg give the record a double Buy It.

reviewChimeChime available on iTunes

Dessa Chime

Chime is Dessa's fourth full-length album, and the singer/rapper/philosopher has given us an album that is according to Jim“brilliant,”even name-checking St. Thomas Aquinas. Greg notes that the record explores how“women measure their lives today”in a world where getting through the day without incident is a win; and suggests that she's saying“we need to have a better world than this.”He praises the creative production, whether it's a sitar sample (in "Fire Drills") or a chamber pop cello solo (in "Velodrome.") Greg thinks Dessa's pop vocals are less unique, but concedes that they provide a“good counterbalance”to heavier themes. Jim says the record balances“self-empowerment and sensitivity.”Chime gets a Double Buy It from Jim and Greg.


Don Was

Don Was This week, our guest is musician, producer and label president Don Was. Was hails from Detroit and since the early '80s has been a part of the group Was (Not Was). In Was (Not Was,) Don is the bassist, a songwriter and a producer, creating unique music that blended the genres of jazz, pop, rock and dance music. He then found a second career as a super producer, working with Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and more. Then beginning in 2012, Was became the president of the legendary jazz record label Blue Note Records. He talks with Jim and Greg about the methodology behind Was (Not Was), working with The Rolling Stones throughout the decades and his transition into being a label head.

Featured Songs

  1. Dessa, Half of You, Chime, Doomtree, 2018
  2. Superchunk, What a Time to Be Alive, What a Time to Be Alive, Merge, 2018
  3. Superchunk, Reagan Youth, What a Time to Be Alive, Merge, 2018
  4. Superchunk, Black Thread, What a Time to Be Alive, Merge, 2018
  5. Superchunk, Break the Glass, What a Time to Be Alive, Merge, 2018
  6. Dessa, 5 out of 6, Chime, Doomtree, 2018
  7. Dessa, Fire Drills, Chime, Doomtree, 2018
  8. Dessa, Shrimp, Chime, Doomtree, 2018
  9. Dessa, Velodrome, Chime, Doomtree, 2018
  10. Esperanza Spalding, Crowned & Kissed, Radio Music Society, Blue Note, 2012
  11. Was (Not Was), Spy in the House of Love, What Up, Dog?, Chysalis, 1988
  12. The Beatles, All My Loving (Live on the Ed Sullivan Show), With the Beatles, Parlophone, 1963
  13. The Waltz 40, Chest Fever (The Waltz 40, Live at the Chicago Theatre), N/A, N/A, 2017
  14. Pharoah Sanders, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, Tauhid, Impulse!, 1967
  15. MC5, Kick Out the Jams, Kick Out the Jams, Elektra, 1969
  16. Was (Not Was), I Feel Better Than James Brown, Are You Okay?, Chysalis, 1990
  17. Was (Not Was), Out Come the Freaks, Was (Not Was), Island, 1981
  18. Was (Not Was) and Ozzy Osbourne, Shake Your Head (Let's Go to Bed), Born to Laugh at Tornadoes, Geffen, 1983
  19. Was (Not Was) and Mel Tormé, Zaz Turned Blue, Born to Laugh at Tornadoes, Geffen, 1983
  20. Was (Not Was), Knocked Down, Made Small (Treated By a Rubber Ball), Born to Laugh at Tornadoes, Geffen, 1983
  21. Bonnie Raitt and John Hiatt, Thing Called Love, Nick of Time, Capitol, 1989
  22. Bonnie Raitt, Love Letter, Nick of Time, Capitol, 1989
  23. Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time, Nick of Time, Capitol, 1989
  24. Iggy Pop, Livin' on the Edge of the Night, Brick By Brick, Virgin, 1990
  25. Was (Not Was), Walk the Dinosaur, What Up, Dog?, Chysalis, 1988
  26. Robert Glasper, Ah Yeah… That's Just Great (feat. Musiq Soulchild & Chrisette Michele), Black Radio, Blue Note, 2012
  27. Gregory Porter, On My Way to Harlem, Be Good, Motéma Music, 2012
  28. The Rolling Stones, Just Your Fool, Blue & Lonesome, Polydor, 2016
  29. The Rolling Stones, Blue and Lonesome, Blue & Lonesome, Polydor, 2016
  30. The Rolling Stones, Everybody Knows About My Good Thing, Blue & Lonesome, Polydor, 2016
  31. Midnight Star, Operator, Planetary Invasion, SOLAR, 1984
  32. Saint Etienne, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Foxbase Alpha, Heavenly, 1990
  33. Neil Young, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, After the Gold Rush, Reprise, 1970
  34. The Miracles, Ooh Baby Baby, Ooh Baby Baby (single), Tamla, 1965
  35. Sir The Baptist, Wake Up (feat. ChuchPeople), Wake Up (single), Tympa Chapel, 2015