Show 271: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, Reviews of Destroyer & North Mississippi Allstars
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1 These days it’s not unusual for pop stars to simultaneously be topping the charts and filling the court dockets (T.I., Lil Wayne). But, it is unusual for a commercial, family-friendly star to have such infamy. Singer/songwriter Bruno Mars has the #1 song in the country, “Grenade,” and he’s been all over mainstream TV this year with appearances on the Today show, Saturday Night Live, Ellen and Glee. Now he’s pleading guilty to cocaine possession charges, so Jim and Greg are interested to see if this affects his popularity. Our guess? It won’t.
2 After Wilco’s first label, Reprise, refused to put out their critically acclaimed 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, many people thought they should abandon the major label system. Now, almost a decade later, they’re doing it. Wilco is leaving the Warner subsidiaries to form dBpm Records. It will be run by the band’s manager, with distribution provided by Anti-.
3 Oscar-winning composer John Barry died last week at age 77. The Guardian claims he’s as “pop as the Beatles,” and Jim and Greg agree. It’s hard to imagine the ‘60s without Barry’s brassy, melodic orchestrations. He was not only the man behind the iconic Bond music, but his compositions were critical to stories in a number of film. So to honor Barry, Jim and Greg play the theme to Midnight Cowboy.
4 Rock is filled with great duos, Jim and Greg being at the top of that list. But coming in at a close second is Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, who join Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Many people know Campbell as a former member of the Scottish pop group Belle and Sebastian. And Lanegan is the iconic voice behind the Screaming Trees. For their collaboration, it’s Campbell who takes the reigns with songwriting and production. Lanegan, they joke during the interview, is just her tool. It’s a role he relishes, even if Campbell can be a bit of a taskmaster. And you can’t argue with the results. Check out their live performance and videos.
5 New Pornographers fans know Dan Bejar from his collaborations with the band. But, he saves his most adventurous music for his solo project Destroyer. Bejar is often all over the map with Destroyer releases, so Jim and Greg did not see his latest album coming. Kaputt has some ‘80s pop sheen and elements of smooth jazz—things Greg doesn’t generally like. But upon further listen, Greg began to understand where Bejar was coming from. He especially picked up on the influence of Blue Nile. Greg loved the tension between the warm, “pastel” sound and the angst-ridden lyrics. He gives Kaputt a Buy It rating. Jim was also initially put off by the record. And upon further listen he was even more put off. He doesn’t’ understand how after all these years, Bejar’s records could still be so mediocre and spotty. The obscurity is not worth the effort. Jim says Trash It.
6 The North Mississippi Allstars also have a new album out called Keys to the Kingdom. This album was written following the death of producer Jim Dickinson, the father of bandmates and brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson, and the songs are not only filled with emotion, but steeped in the sound of their youth—the blues of the North Mississippi hill country. They also collaborate with some of Dickinson’s favorite musicians, including Mavis Staples. This is a great return to form for the band. Both Jim and Greg say Buy It.
Songs Featured in Show #271
Bruno Mars, "Grenade," Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Elektra, 2010
Wilco, "I'm the Man Who Loves You," Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Nonesuch, 2002
Shirley Bassey, "Goldfinger," Goldfinger Sountrack, Capitol, 1964
John Barry, "Midnight Cowboy," Midnight Cowboy Score, Capitol, 1990
Isobel Campbel & Mark Lanegan, "Come Undone," Hawk, Vanguard, 2010
Isobel Campbel & Mark Lanegan, "Time of the Season," Hawk, Vanguard, 2010 Live on SO
Isobel Campbel & Mark Lanegan, "Sunrise," Hawk, Vanguard, 2010
Isobel Campbel & Mark Lanegan, "Black Mountain," Ballad of the Broken Seas, V2, 2006
Isobel Campbel & Mark Lanegan, "Snake Song," Hawk, Vanguard, 2010 Live on SO
Isobel Campbel & Mark Lanegan, "Rambinman," Ballad of the Broken Seas, V2, 2006 Live on SO
Isobel Campbel & Mark Lanegan, "You Won't Let Me Down Again," Hawk, Vanguard, 2010
Destroyer, “Poor in Love,” Kaputt, Merge, 2011
Destroyer, “Kaputt,” Kaputt, Merge, 2011
North Mississippi Allstars, “The Meeting,” Keys to the Kingdom, Red General Catalog, 2011
North Mississippi Allstars, “New Orleans Walkin’ Dead,” Keys to the Kingdom, Red General, 2011
James Luther Dickinson, “Samba De Orfeo,” Jungle Jim & The Voodoo Tiger, Memphis Int'l, 2006
Abba, "Ring, Ring," Ring Ring, 1973, Polygram
Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nevermind, DGC, 1991
Swervedriver, “Son of Mustang Ford,” Raise, Creation, 1991
Smashing Pumpkins, “Rhinoceros,” Gish, Caroline, 1991
Wanda Jackson, “Busted,” The Party Ain't Over, Nonesuch, 2011