Show 287: Mike Watt, Reviews of Lady Gaga & Death Cab for Cutie
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1 Last week Jim and Greg said they were waiting for the big zeppelin to head to the clouds. That’d be Apple, and this week it did. Apple has entered the final stages of negotiations with the major record labels and music publishers for a service that will allow people to upload and store their music on the web and listen to it on any of their devices. Unlike its competitors Amazon and Google, who beat Apple to the punch, iCloud is in cooperation with the big labels. Because of this and because of iTunes already huge user base, Apple may again become king of the clouds.
2 LimeWire has agreed to pay $105 million to a group of major record labels in an out-of-court settlement over piracy. The file-sharing site was one of the biggest and received a court order to shut down last year. The RIAA has been going through sites like LimeWire one by one, and with success. But the rate of file-sharing hasn’t slowed. And the real question is if any of the musicians “infringed” upon will actually receive this bounty.
3 The Smoking Gun has revealed surprising demands in pop singer Katy Perry’s concert rider. We suppose it makes sense to ban conversations with chauffeurs. And of course you’d need specially designed furniture. But no carnations! Actually, the biggest revelation concerned the icky practice of ticket re-selling. Perry’s camp reserves the right to require promoters to hold back tickets to be re-sold on the secondary market. In other words, Katy Perry may scalp her own tickets. Jim and Greg spoke to Wall Street Journal reporter Ethan Smith about this topic a couple of years ago, but laying out these plans in plain words on a contract is on a whole new level. It makes you yearn for the days of M&M demands.
4 This week Jim and Greg are joined by Mike Watt of the Minutemen, a band that changed the game of punk rock. The San Pedro hardcore group was founded by Watt, drummer George Hurley, and larger than life lead singer and guitarist D. Boon, who died in 1985. That was shortly after the release of their hugely influential album Double Nickels on the Dime. Before then, punk rock was about breaking the rules, but it actually had many of its own. The Minutemen threw that out and began experimenting with their sound, jamming out and incorporating jazz and funk. The band also employed a DIY model they dubbed “Jam Econo,” which would go on to inspire indie rock in the years after. Watt talks about jamming econo, making Double Nickels and his idea of Hot Topic.
5 There’s a new hit pop album with Euro-pop dance beats and controversial lyrics designed to tweak the Catholic Church. Sound familiar? No, it’s not Madonna, but Lady Gaga and her new album Born This Way. She might be the biggest star in the world right now, but she still has some surprises in her—including a fondness for ‘80s hair metal bombast. Jim was disappointed to hear Clarence Clemons on sax and Mutt Lange on production. He was further disappointed to hear the amount of over-singing. Jim wanted to love Born This Way, but it’s a Trash It. Greg agrees that the record is totally overblown. It’s like Gaga on steroids, and unfortunately, never lets up. A few standout tracks will work pounding in a stadium or club, but as an album, he’d just say Burn It.
6 Death Cab for Cutie also has a new album out called Codes and Keys. It’s been only three years since Narrow Stairs in 2008, but lead singer Ben Gibbard has a whole new life outlook. He’s become Mr. Zooey Deschanel, and he’s become sober. But, Greg insists that the lyrics still express a lot of anxiety, mostly about the idea of “home.” Greg also notes the wonderful sonic experimentation courtesy of band member and producer Chris Walla. In fact, this was their Eno-inspired album, much to Jim’s delight. He hears a much happier Gibbard, nothing like the emo-sap that repelled Summer from The O.C. Both critics give Codes and Keys a Buy It.
Songs Featured in Show #287
George Harrison, “Cloud Nine,” Cloud Nine, Dark Horse, 1987
AC/DC, “Live Wire,” T.N.T., EMI, 1975
Katy Perry, “Firework,” Teenage Dream, EMI, 2010
The Minutemen, “Maybe Partying Will Help,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “Shit From An Old Notebook,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “D.’s Car Jam/Anxious Mo-Fo,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “Political Song For Michael Jackson,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “Corona,” Double Nickles On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “Two Beads At The End,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “June 16th,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “My Heart And The Real World,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
Wire, “Ex Lion Tamer,” Pink Flag, Harvest, 1977
Husker Du, “Something I Learned Today,” Zen Arcade, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “Don’t Look Now,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “Doctor Wu,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “History Lesson, Part 2,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “The Glory Of Man,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “This Ain’t No Picnic,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
The Minutemen, “Love Dance,” Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
Lady Gaga, “Born This Way,” Born This Way, Streamline, 2011
Lady Gaga, “Bloody Mary,” Born This Way, Streamline, 2011
Death Cab For Cutie, “You Are A Tourist,” Codes And Keys, Atlantic, 2011
Death Cab For Cutie, “Doors Unlocked And Open,” Codes And Keys, Atlantic, 2011
The Antlers, “I Don’t Want Love,” Burst Apart, Frenchkiss, 2011
Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers, “Get Off The Phone,” L.A.M.F., Track, 1977
The Gaslight Anthem, “American Slang,” American Slang, Side One Dummy, 2010
Babes In Toyland, “Bruise Violet,” Fontanelle, Reprise, 1992
The Cars, “Blue Tip,” Move Like This, Hear Music, 2011