Show 302: Iron & Wine, Review of Wild Flag & Greg's DIJ
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1 It’s always interesting to see what the Brits pick as the winner of the Mercury Prize. The almost 20-year old award grants a £20,000 prize to an act from the U.K. or Ireland. And unlike many of our awards, the Mercury usually recognizes unique artists rather than popular ones. This year’s winner is PJ Harvey, making her the first person to take home a Mercury Prize twice. Her first win was for 2001’s Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, an album Jim and Greg loved, unlike this year’s Let England Shake. They gave it Burn It and Trash It ratings.
2 Despite Jim and Greg’s review of Lil Wayne’s new album Tha Carter IV, sales approached 1 million records in the first week. It also broke iTunes single-week record. Weezy is contributing to what’s proving to be a successful year for the music industry, thanks to a couple of factors. First, retailers discounted the prices of back catalog items, encouraging consumers to go out and shop. In addition, digital sales are up, perhaps because consumers couldn’t rely on LimeWire for their free goods.
3 Legendary guitar manufacturer Gibson (of Les Paul fame) has been catching the attention of the US government. Recently their factory was searched by agents of the US Fish and Wildlife Service looking for illegally obtained exotic hardwoods. This is the second raid in two years, but Gibson denies any wrongdoing. The Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace also give the company good marks. But, since recording this episode, this story has gone political. Gibson’s CEO has taken to conservative airwaves and become a symbol for anti-big government and pro-“Made in the USA” proponents.
4 Next up, Iron and Wine join Jim and Greg in the studio. The band began as a lo-fi 4-track project for folk singer/songwriter Sam Beam. Today, he works with a full band and is selling out shows across the country. Many listeners may also be familiar with Iron and Wine through their contributions to soundtracks like Garden State, Twilight and Grey’s Anatomy. Iron and Wine’s most recent album is Kiss Each Other Clean, which was produced by Brian Deck. As Sam explains to Jim and Greg, it’s a more pop-driven record, inspired by his own early experiences falling in love with music like Fleetwood Mac. But, he didn’t abandon his lyrical style, one that is often inspired by the Bible. Check out Iron and Wine’s live performance and video.
5 Ever since seeing them perform at this year’s SXSW conference, Jim and Greg have been eagerly awaiting the self-titled debut from indie supergroup Wild Flag. And now that it’s here, they aren’t disappointed. The band is comprised of Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein, of Sleater-Kinney, Mary Timony formerly of Helium and a number of solo projects, and Rebecca Cole formerly of The Minders. Greg describes the songs as intense as Sleater-Kinney, but with more joy and a sense of abandonment. He’s especially in awe of Weiss’ drumming. Jim also loves Wild Flag, but for different reasons. For him Sleater-Kinney was lacking in melodies, something these songs have in spades thanks to Timony, who he calls an indie rock Stevie Nicks. Wild Flag gets a double Buy It rating.
5 The harmony vocals on Wild Flag’s record inspired Greg to give the back up singer some. And there’s no better back up singing group than The Pips. Everyone, Jim and Greg included, wanted to be as cool as The Pips. Their music with Gladys Knight epitomized what was great about the golden era of soul music—not just sophisticated songwriting, but sophisticated arrangements that were influenced by the call and response style of gospel music. Greg chooses to add their hit song “Midnight Train to Georgia” to the Desert Island Jukebox, which incidentally is an improvement from the original title “Midnight Train to Houston.”
Songs Featured in Show #302
PJ Harvey, “The Glorious Land,” Let England Shake, Vagrant Records, 2011
Lil’ Wayne, “She Will,” Tha Carter VI, Cash Money, 2011
Rush, “The Trees,” Hemispheres, Island / Mercury, 1997
Iron and Wine, “Me & Lazarus,” Kiss Each Other Clean, Warner Bros., 2011
Iron and Wine, “Tree By The River (Live on Sound Opinions),” Kiss Each Other Clean, Warner Bros., 2011
Iron and Wine, “Rabbit Will Run,” Kiss Each Other Clean, Warner Bros., 2011
Iron and Wine, “Big Burned Hand,” Kiss Each Other Clean, Warner Bros., 2011
Iron and Wine, “Lion’s Mane (Live on Sound Opinions),” The Creek Drank the Cradle, Sub Pop, 2002
Iron and Wine, “Such Great Heights,” Around the Well, Sub Pop, 2009
Iron and Wine, “Woman King (Live on Sound Opinions),” Woman King, Sub Pop, 2005
Iron and Wine, “Half Moon (Live in Sound Opinions),” Kiss Each Other Clean, Warner Bros., 2011
Iron and Wine, “Innocent Bones,” The Shepard’s Dog, Sub Pop, 2007
Wild Flag, “Romance,” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Wild Flag, “Racehorse,” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Gladys Knight & The Pips, “Midnight Train to Georgia,” Imagination, BMG Music, 1973
Lou Reed, “New York Telephone Conversation,” Transformer, BMG Heritage, 2002
The Roches, “Mr. Sellack,” The Roches, Warner Bros., 2010
The Sex Pistols, “Seventeen,” Never Mind the Bollocks, Warner Bros., 1977
Ceremony, “Into the Wayside Part I/Sick,” Rohnert Park, Bridge Nine, 2010
The Clash, “Career Opportunities,” Sandinista!, Sony BMG, 1980
Johnny Paycheck, “Take This Job and Shove It,” Take This Job and Shove It, Legacy, 1975