Show 269: Superchunk, Review of The Decemberists & Jim's DIJ
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1 A group of musicians led by the estate of jazz musician Chet Baker filed a lawsuit against the four major labels in Canada. The labels were using artists’ songs for compilation albums, but had yet to pay any royalties. Now they’re paying up to the tune of $47 million.
2 Music publisher and television host Don Kirshner died this week at age 76. Kirshner began in music at the Brill Building, working with songwriters and producers like Carole King and Phil Spector. He then developed bubblegum acts The Monkees and The Archies before going on to host Don Kirshner’s Rock Hour in 1973. Greg and Jim both fondly remember watching Kirshner’s stiff, deadpan intros to that era’s great acts including Kiss, Led Zeppelin and Sly and the Family Stone. To pay homage to Kirshner, Jim and Greg choose to play Blue Oyster Cult’s “Marshall Plan,” which features a sample of an intro by Kirshner.
3 It’s a cliché to say it, but when you look up “Indie Rock,” you do in fact see a photo of Superchunk. Since forming in 1989, the North Carolina quartet have helped establish indie rock’s DIY model, as well as its sound. And Superchunk bassist Laura Ballance and guitarist Mac McCaughan founded Merge Records which is one of the music industry’s most successful indie labels. The label is still home to the band, as well as The Arcade Fire, Spoon and Teenage Fanclub. Mac, Laura and bandmates Jim Wilbur and Jon Wurster talk with Jim and Greg about how they’ve done it their way for so long. And they perform songs from their most recent release Majesty Shredding.
Listen to Superchunk’s entire live performance. And check out videos from the day.
4 Since 2004 The Decemberists have evolved into full-blown theatricality. Now they scale it back with their 6th album The King is Dead. And, according to Jim, it’s with this record that they silence critics of their prog antics and prove it’s simply great songwriting. Lead singer Colin Meloy and the band looked to American folk and roots music and enlisted R.E.M.’s Peter Buck for a track. And Greg finds the result more straight forward. The King is Dead shows that less is more and gets a double Buy It.
5 Jim gets to pop a quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox this week, and he admits his choice is more about him than the music. He hates moving—especially in January in Chicago. And the boxes and boxes of music books, records, CDs and even cassettes don’t make the task any easier. But on the upside, Jim explains, he could finally set up his turntable again. He christened his new place by throwing on the vinyl of Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones, and despite all the stress of moving, everything felt better. Jim even enjoyed the skipping during the album’s second track “Sway,” so he decided to add it to his desert island collection.
Songs Featured in Show #269
Chet Baker, "My Funny Valentine," My Funny Valentine, Prism Entertainment, 1954
Blue Oyster Cult, "The Marshall Plan," Cultosaurus Erectus, Columbia, 1980
Superchunk, "Slack Motherfucker," Superchunk, Matador, 1990
Bricks, "A History of Lies," Microphone and a Box of Dirt, Merge, 1994
Superchunk, "Crossed Wires," Majesty Shredding, Merge, 2010 Live on Sound Opinions
Superchunk, "Cool," Tossing Seeds, Merge, 1991
Superchunk, "Seed Toss," No Pocky for Kitty, Matador, 1991
Superchunk, "Hello Hawk," Come Pick Me Up, Merge, 1999 Live on Sound Opinions
Superchunk, "Out on the Wing," Here's to Shutting Up, Merge, 2001
Superchunk, "Digging for Something," Majesty Shredding, Merge, 2010 Live on Sound Opinions
Superchunk, "Like a Fool," Foolish, Merge, 1994
The Decemberists, "Calamity Song," The King is Dead, Capitol, 2011
The Decemberists, "This is Why We Fight," The King is Dead, Capitol, 2011
Rolling Stones, "Sway," Sticky Fingers, Atlantic, 1971
The Nerves, "Hanging on the Telephone," Nerves EP, Nerves, 1976
Corinne Bailey Rae, "Que Sera, Sera," The Love EP, Capitol, 2011
Sly & The Family Stone, "Que Sera Sera," Fresh, Epic, 1973