Show 311: Wild Flag, Review of Lou Reed/Metallica & Jim's DIJ
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1 Chuck D is always “fighting the power.” This time around he’s taking on Universal Music in a $100 class-action lawsuit, alleging that the label has short-changed its artists and producers in licensing deals for digital downloads and ringtones. The suit says that artists are entitled to 50% of profits from digital downloads, and that currently Universal is paying out as it would for physical product, giving a lower royalty rate and deducting for physical media charges like containers and packaging. The Public Enemy front man is just one of many artists to take to the courts during this digital music revolution. Eminem recently won a landmark case against Universal, and previously Cheap Trick and the Allman brothers settled a similar suit.
2 Members of the hip-hop community are mourning the death of rapper Heavy D this week. He died Tuesday at age 44. Jim describes the “Overweight Lover” as larger than life in every way. He wasn’t a hardcore rapper, but was full of charm and humor. He also moved over to the film and television worlds, appearing in The Cider House Rules, Tower Heist and Boston Public. To say goodbye to Heavy D, Jim and Greg play his 1991 hit “Now That We Found Love.” It was written by Gamble and Huff and recorded by The O’Jays and Third World, but it’s Heavy’s version we’ll always remember.
3 Wild Flag was this year’s buzzed about debut. But, its members are actually industry veterans. Members Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss are two-thirds of the pioneering indie rock band Sleater-Kinney. Rebecca Cole was a mainstay in the Minders, and Mary Timony fronted the band Helium as well as her own solo projects. Brownstein is also well known as one-half of the successful comedy duo behind Portlandia with Fred Armisen. She explains to Jim and Greg that while the band’s pedigree is impressive on paper, they didn’t take for granted that this supergroup would necessarily be super. The chemistry took time to develop, but now that it has, Wild Flag’s live performance is sure to blow your socks off. See for yourself
4 In the list of rock collaborations we never thought we’d witness, Lou Reed and Metallica are right at the top. A pioneer of punk has joined forces with pioneers of thrash metal for Lulu, an album inspired by the writing of German expressionist playwright Frank Wedekind. Yep it’s as strange as it sounds, though Jim reminds us that Reed has gone metal in the past, and well. But here, he is just talking his way through the vocals. And Metallica isn’t doing him any favors. Jim compares their virtuosity to the kind you’ll hear at Guitar Center. To Greg the album is so dashed off and improvised, its sound like raw demos with no actual songs to be discerned. And he’s especially critical of singer James Hetfield’s backing vocals. Greg calls Lulu one big raised middle digit to fans; Metallica and Lou Reed get a double Trash It.
5 Not to completely dis Lou Reed, Jim decides to present the musician’s softer side during the Desert Island Jukebox segment. Reed has an enviable encyclopedic knowledge of rock and roll, and he showcases his fandom in a recent issue of Rolling Stone. He talks about one of his, and Jim’s, favorite songs: “Save the Last Dance For Me" by The Drifters. The song was co-written by one of Reed’s heroes, Doc Pomus, and Reed schools even our critics by describing the song’s inspiration. Pomus, suffering with Polio, is unable to dance with his wife at his wedding, so he jots down the lyrics on a place card (which was later gifted to Reed). The song became a classic, and one Jim wants to take with him if stranded on an island.
Songs Featured in Show #311
Public Enemy, “Can’t Truss It,” Apocalypse 91…The Enemy Strikes Black, Def Jam, 1991
Heavy D & The Boyz, “The Overweight Lover’s in the House,” Living Large, Uptown, 1987
Heavy D & The Boyz, “Now That We Found Love,” Peaceful Journey, Uptown, 1991
Wild Flag, “Boom,” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Wild Flag, “Black Tiles (Live on Sound Opinions),” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Wild Flag, “Endless Talk,” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Wild Flag, “Glass Tambourine,” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Wild Flag, “Romance (Live on Sound Opinions),” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Wild Flag, “Racehorse,” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Wild Flag, “Short Version (Live on Sound Opinions),” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Wild Flag, “Something Came Over Me,” Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
Lou Reed and Metallica, “The View,” Lulu, Warner Bros., 2011
Lou Reed and Metallica, “Iced Honey,” Lulu, Warner Bros., 2011
Lou Reed and Metallica, “Cheat On Me,” Lulu, Warner Bros., 2011
The Drifters, “Save the Last Dance for Me,” Save the Last Dance for Me, Atlantic, 1960
Nick Lowe, “Switchboard Susan,” Labour of Lust, Columbia, 1979
The Ramones, “You Should Never Have Opened That Door,” Leave Home, Sire, 1977
Tom Waits, “ Goin’ Out West,” Bone Machine, Island, 1992
Brian Eno, “1/2,” Ambient 1: Music for Airports, EG, 1978