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Show 128: Rock Doctors, Reviews of Nine Inch Nails, Flight of the Conchords, Elvis Costello and Santogold, Jim’s Desert Island Jukebox pick
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1 This summer concert season marks a number of make-ups and break-ups. First is the news that The Police will be wrapping up their successful reunion tour. The group had one of the top grossing tours of 2007, but will be ending their “journey” in the place it began: New York City. Also making news is the Gang of Four, which is now down to the Gang of Two. But on a happier note, New Jersey’s own The Feelies will be reuniting after 17 years for not one, but two shows this summer. Jim and Greg are also excited about the highly-anticipated reunion from groundbreaking British band My Bloody Valentine. The question is – will any of these reunions result in new music that matches these bands’ former glory? Fans will have to wait and see.
2 Jim and Greg next review an artist who is popping up a lot on the show recently: Nine Inch Nails. In fact Trent Reznor’s new album The Slip is the 5th volume of music he’s released this year—more than his entire output between 1986 and 1989. But is being prolific such a good thing? It is if you don’t have to pay for the music. Neither Jim nor Greg think The Slip is on the same level as some of Nine Inch Nail’s earlier, more meticulous albums. But, both critics think the free release is definitely worth a listen. They give it a Burn It.
3 One of the most successful music acts this year actually comes from TV. Flight of the Conchords, the fictional band portrayed on the HBO series of the same name, has a new self-titled album. And, while they’re stuggling musicians on their show, the duo debuted at #3 on the billboard pop chart, outselling Ashlee Simpson. There’s a long tradition of satirical rock acts—from Spinal Tap to the Metalocalypse’s Dethklok, but Greg thinks that Flight of the Conchords is better suited to the small screen than his CD player. The first couple of songs were smart, but after that he thought the parody went sour. Jim dismisses Greg as a scrooge; he loves the faux-folk music and thinks the music matches the humor. Flight of the Conchords gets a Trash It from Greg and a Buy It from Jim.
4a At this point in the show Jim and Greg put on their lab coats and welcome another patient for an appointment with the Rock Doctors. This week’s patient is listener Joel from Chicago. Joel describes his symptoms for Drs. DeRogatis and Kot: he’s a big music fan, particularly roots rock, but hasn’t been inspired in recent years. He’s hoping the doctors can prescribe some new music that has a definite sense of blues, bluegrass and roots music, but also has some rocking edge.
Dr. DeRogatis goes first and prescribes Sparklehorse’s 2006 album Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain. The group is led by multi-instrumentalist Mark Linkous who has been paralyzed since 1996. Jim explains that Linkous’ sound changed dramatically after being confined to a wheelchair. There’s a definite influence of alt-country and Southern gothic that Jim thinks Joel will appreciate. Plus, this album features some impressive guests like Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips and Tom Waits.
Dr. Kot recommends the new album from The Kills. The transcontinental duo met via the mail and have made three albums. Greg thinks the latest, Midnight Boom, is the best. He describes the band’s sexy, in-your-face attitude and deep appreciation for the blues. Greg just hopes that Joel doesn’t have an allergic reaction to their drum machine.
4b After a week taking his medicine, Joel returns for a follow-up appointment. He explains that the heavy production in the Sparklehorse initially put him off. But despite the fact that the music was a little slow at times, he can see himself returning to it. Joel describes Dr. Kot’s pick as some strong medicine, but he really enjoyed The Kills’ melodies and guitars. He thinks the album is at its best when the two singers are featured together, and was able to forget about the drum machine for the most part.
5 Elvis Costello has a new album out called Momofuku, which is named after the creator of instant ramen. Costello made news after he decided to release a vinyl record a month before the digital/CD release, but Jim thinks the real news is the speed at which the singer/songwriter made it. Costello has released a number of albums and dabbled in a number of genres, but he isn’t known for his expediency. Greg wishes that Costello didn’t dabble so much and would stick to his stripped down rock roots. Jim agrees, citing Costello’s fantastic, pared down performance during his tour with Bob Dylan. Both critics wish this Ramen concoction had less ingredients. Greg gives Momofuku a Burn it, and Jim gives it a Trash It.
6 The final album up for review comes from Santogold, an artist Greg highlighted during the SXSW episode. He has been a fan of her songwriting since he knew her as Santi White, an A&R executive turned musician. He thinks the songs are as strong on her self-titled debut, which features production from people like Diplo and Switch. He gives the album a Buy It. Jim is put off by the branding of Santogold, and what he thinks is blatant ripping off of M.I.A. But he’d be willing to forgive Santi if her voice wasn’t so irritating. He gives Santogold a Burn It.
7 Jim uses his turn with the Desert Island Jukebox to pay homage to a man who changed the face of rock and roll. Albert Hofman, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD, died last week at the age of 102. After LSD hit the music scene, bands that were once R&B and pop, became experimental, psychedelic acts. One of the best examples of rock’s psychedelic era is Tomorrow. Jim always interpreted their song “My White Bicycle,” as a tribute to Hofman’s famous bike “trip,” and he thinks that listening to the tune is the best way to remember the scientist. Read Hoffman's obituary here.
Songs Featured in Show #128
My Bloody Valentine, "Only Shallow," Loveless, 1991
Nine Inch Nails, "Discipline," The Slip, 2008
Nine Inch Nails, "Letting You," The Slip, 2008
Flight of the Conchords, "Foux Du Fafa," Flight of the Conchords, 2008
Dethklok, "Go Forth and Die," The Dethalbum, 2007
Flight of the Conchords, "Bowie," Flight of the Conchords, 2008
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, "The Equestrian Statue," Gorilla, 1967
Thank You, "Pregnant Friends," Terrible Two, 2008
The Who, "Doctor Doctor," Magic Bus, 1968
The Steeldrivers, "If you Can't Be Good, Be Gone," The Steeldrivers, 2008
The North Missippi Allstars, "Take Yo Time Rodney," Hernando, 2008
Big Black, "Kerosene," Atomizer, 1986
Sparklehorse, "Don't Take My Sunshine Away," Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, 2006Sparklehorse, "Some Sweet Day," Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, 2006 Sparklehorse, "Morning Hollow," Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, 2006 (0:36)
The Kills, "Last Day of Magic," Midnight Boom, 2008
The Kills, "Goodnight Bad Morning," Midnight Boom, 2008
The Kills, "U.R.A. Fever," Midnight Boom, 2008
Elvis Costello, “Harry Worth,” Momofuku, 2008
Elvis Costello, “Stella Hurt,” Momofuku, 2008
Santogold, "L.E.S. Artistes," Santogold, 2008
Santogold, “Say Aha,” Santogold, 2008
Santogold, “Creator,” Santogold, 2008
Tomorrow, “My White Bicycle,” Tomorrow, 1986
The Andrews Sisters, “The Telephone Song,” Music Lessons with the Andrews Sisters, 2003
Ray Davies, “Is There Life After Breakfast,” Other’s Peoples Lives, 2006
Madonna, “Beat Goes On,” Hard Candy, 2008
Black Crowes, “Remedy,” The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, 1992
311, “Come Original,” Soundsystem, 1999