Show 177: Record Store Day, Reviews of Bat for Lashes & Asher Roth
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1 First up in the news, Jim and Greg discuss the murder trial of famed producer Phil Spector. Spector was found guilty of shooting actress Lana Clarkson six years ago. This was the second trial for the man behind the sounds of The Beatles, The Righteous Brothers and The Ronettes. While the first jury was deadlocked, this one handed Spector a conviction that will lead to a minimum of 18 years in prison.
2 Jim and Greg have been following the debates in France concerning internet piracy with some interest. The French parliament recently defeated a highly anticipated bill that would have given users caught illegally downloading files two strikes before disconnecting them from the internet entirely. A re-vote is scheduled for later this month. Back in the states, President Obama tapped Recording Industry Association of America attorney Ian Gershengorn to join the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. This is the 5th RIAA attorney to join the DOJ—not a promising precedent for file-sharing proponents.
3 While most of us are spending more modestly in today’s economy, some Prince fans will be shelling out $2,100 for his limited edition Opus iPod. For that price, 950 devoted fans will get purple touch iPods loaded with live tracks and a 40 minute movie. Sounds absurd, but Jim and Greg agree that there is a market for high end, specialty items like this one. NIN and Radiohead had luck with their box sets last year, and Pearl Jam recently released a deluxe reissue of Ten.
4 The official Record Store Day is April 18, but for Jim, Greg and other hardcore music fans, every day is Record Store Day. To honor the independent record store industry, Jim and Greg speak with Matt Jencik, head buyer at Reckless Records in Chicago, Marc Weinstein, co-founder of Amoeba Music in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and John Kunz, owner and president of Waterloo Records in Austin. These veterans of mom and pop record shops discuss the challenges they face in the wake of the digital music revolution, including exclusivity deals that artists like Prince and AC/DC have made with big box retailers. They also stress the value local retailers have in our communities.
5 Jim and Greg both have personal relationships with record stores as well as professional ones. During the next segment they recall two indie shops that were important to them and play songs they discovered subsequently.
Jim plays “You’re So Cool,” by The Cyclones, a band he discovered at Pier Platters in Hoboken, NJ.
Greg plays, “Temptation” by New Order, a band he fell in love with at Wax Trax in Chicago.
6 Now on to something you might want to buy at a record store. Jim and Greg first review the latest album from Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes. The British artist’s first album was nominated for a Mercury Prize. Now she is back with Two Suns. Jim and Greg hear a lot of heavy subtext in the songs, half of which are sung from the perspective of Khan’s alter-ego Pearl. Greg thinks these tracks are the most interesting. The melodies and hooks aren’t that insistent on this record, but listeners who pay attention will hear some really complicated stuff. For ambition alone, Greg gives Two Suns a Buy It rating. Jim admits that this album will not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, that’s what he loves about it. He also gives Bat for Lashes a Buy It.
7 Next up is Asleep in the Bread Aisle, the debut album from rapper Asher Roth. “The bread aisle” refers to Wonder bread, and part of the marketing push behind Roth is that he is not just a rapper, but a white rapper. Comparisons to Eminem are inevitable, but Jim thinks that comparisons to Beastie Boys and The Streets are more apt. He appreciates Roth’s honest, mundane storytelling, as well as the great grooves and gives the record a Buy It. Greg hates to say it, but believes that if Asher’s race wasn’t a story, no one would be paying attention. He calls Roth’s frat rap mediocre at best and gives Asleep in the Bread Aisle a Trash It.
Songs Featured in Show #177
The Righteous Brothers, “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling,” You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling, 1965
Carla Bruni, “Ma Jeunesse,” Comme Si de Rien N'Etait, 2008
Prince, “All the Critics Love U in New York,” 1999
The Antennas, “Here We Go (Record Store),” The Antennas, 2009
Hank Jacobs, “Elijah Rockin’ with Soul,” Instrumental Explosion, 2004
The Brunettes, “The Record Store,” Mars Loves Venus, 2004
The Cyclones, "You're So Cool," You're So Cool, 1981
New Order, "Temptation," Substance, 1987
Bat for Lashes, "Glass," Two Suns, 2009
Bat for Lashes, "Daniel," Two Suns, 2009
Asher Roth, "I Love College," Asleep in the Bread Aisle, 2009
Asher Roth, "As I Em," Asleep in the Bread Aisle, 2009
Cam'ron, "I Hate My Job," Crime Pays, 2009
The Drifters, "Answer the Phone," I'll Take You Where the Music's Playing, 1965
The Dismemberment Plan, "The Ice of Boston," The Dismemberment Plan, 1997
Tom Waits, "Lucky Day," The Black Rider, 1993
Cream, "White Room," Wheels of Fire, 1968