Show 320: The Jayhawks, Review of The Weeknd & Jim's DIJ
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1 Following up on their 2011 music business report last week, Jim and Greg are happy to announce that vinyl album sales continue to be healthy. For the third year in a row, Abbey Road was the top-selling vinyl album. But nostalgia isn’t the only thing pushing record sales. New artists like Mumford and Sons, Bon Iver and The Black Keys also had top selling vinyl products. Jim and Greg are pleased to know that music fans continue to have affection for this format, especially in a year when digital music sales finally topped physical ones.
2 Coachella, the first of the big music festivals of the season, announced its upcoming lineup. During not one, but two weekends in the California desert, attendees can see performances by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Radiohead, The Black Keys and Jeff Mangum. But they’ll miss out on a reported Black Sabbath reunion due to guitarist Tony Iommi’s recent cancer diagnosis.
3 Our last bit of news proves that when it comes to the life of a musician, not a whole lot has changed in two centuries. A letter written by composer Ludwig van Beethoven has emerged in Germany valued at over $128,000. In what the BBC describes as six pages of “scrawled corrections,” Beethoven complains about his ailments, and like many a rocker today, a lack of money.
4 After 8 years apart, the original lineup of The Jayhawks are back together with a new album called Mockingbird Time. Lead singers/guitarists/songwriters Mark Olsen and Gary Louris were joined by fellow Jayhawks Karen Grotberg, Marc Perlman and Tim O’Reagan for a live session in our studio. Mark and Gary talk to Jim and Greg about their decision to reunite and how their less-than-hip sound allowed them an easier transition into this century. At the time of the release of their two big albums in the 1990’s, Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass, which featured the hit song “Blue,” the band’s melodic, harmony rich sound was anything but grunge. Even the harmonies themselves were unusual. Mark and Gary never wanted to be the Righteous Brothers, and instead went for more of a Dylan/Emmylou approach. You can hear this style during their performance—check out the tracks and videos.
5 Canadian musician and producer Abel Tesfaye, otherwise known as The Weeknd, is emerging out of the underground after the release of three acclaimed mixtapes. Those free albums earned him a Polaris nomination and the support of fellow countryman Drake. Jim includes The Weeknd in the great tradition of unnerving strange R&B (Marvin Gaye, D’Angelo). He is an interesting vocalist, but on this recent free mixtape Echoes of Silence, the real reason to listen is the music, which blends R&B with industrial and trip hop influences. Greg agrees, noting that Echoes is not the best of the 3 releases, but certainly worth a listen. He uses his voice to play against type and really draws you into the dark lyrical content. Both Jim and Greg say Buy It, but luckily, you don’t have to.
6 Jim is always excited by the opportunity to talk about one of his favorite bands: Can. The pioneering German band took that trademark Velvet Underground drone and updated with elements of punk rock. And on its second album Tago Mago, Can was joined by experimental lead singer Damo Suzuki. A 40th anniversary reissue of Tago Mago was released late last year, so Jim adds a classic track from the album, “Mushroom,” to the Desert Island Jukebox.
Songs Featured in Show #320
The Beatles, “You Never Give Me Your Number,” Abbey Road, Apple, 1969
London Symphony Orchestra & Sir George Solti, “Missa Solemnis in D Major,” Immortal Beloved, Sony, 1994
The Jayhawks, “High Water Blues,” Mockingbird Time, Rounder, 2011
The Jayhawks, “She Walks In So Many Ways (Live on Sound Opinions),” Mockingbird Time, Rounder, 2011
Bob Dylan, “One More Cup of Coffee,” Desire, Columbia, 1976
The Jayhawks, “Bad Time,” Tomorrow the Green Grass, American, 1995
The Jayhawks, “Crowded in the Wings,” Hollywood Town Hall, American, 1992
The Jayhawks, “Tiny Arrows (Live on Sound Opinions),” Mockingbird Time, Rounder, 2011
The Jayhawks, “Blue (Live on Sound Opinions),” Tomorrow the Green Grass, American, 1995
The Jayhawks, “Waiting for the Sun,” Hollywood Town Hall, American, 1992
The Weekend, “D.D.,” Echoes of Silence, XO, 2011
The Weekend, “Montreal,” Echoes of Silence, XO, 2011
Can, “Mushroom,” Tago Mago, United Artists, 1971
Kevin Lyttle, “If You Want Me,” Kevin Lyttle, Atlantic, 2004
Sufjan Stevens, “Redford (For Yia-Yia and Pappou),” Greetings From Michigan, Asthmatic Kitty, 2003
The Black Keys, “Money Maker,” El Camino, Nonesuch, 2011
The Black Keys, “Do the Rump,” The Big Come Up, Alive, 2002
Rod Stewart, “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” Every Picture Tells a Story, Mercury, 1971