Show 327: Fred Armisen, Reviews of Bruce Springsteen and Mark Lanegan, Jim’s DIJ Pick
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1 Monkees fans young and old were sad to learn of the passing of lead singer Davy Jones at age 66. As Jim and Greg explain, Jones wasn’t much of a singer or musician, but had acting chops and most importantly, charisma. This was fitting for this postmodern band that still polarizes people today. Was he a manufactured pop star or the real deal? Whatever the answer, he will be missed. Jim and Greg play The Monkees’ last top 10 hit “Valleri” in remembrance.
2 You know him as Fericito, the Tito Puente-like talk show host on Saturday Night Live or Spyke, the stretched hipster from Portlandia. But before Fred Armisen was a comedian, he was a punk rock drummer, working with groups like Chicago band Trenchmouth. It was only after spoofing the music industry conference SXSW and its “How to Make It”- style seminars that Fred transitioned into comedy. He went on to successful television projects and also produced a hilarious mock drum instruction video and a single by the aging hardcore act Crisis of Conformity. He returned to his old Chicago stomping grounds as part of Portlandia’s live tour and spoke with Jim and Greg about the connections between music and humor. For example, musicians and music fans are rife for parody. And, Moammar Gadhafi is more like a rock star than you might think.
3 Get ready for another classic Sound Opinions Bruce Springsteen debate. Historically, Greg is in the pro-corner, while Jim is in the con. But, there have been exceptions. And on this 17th release Wrecking Ball, which is like a soundtrack to Occupy Wall Street, Greg says you lose the songwriter’s sense of urgency and anger because of the glossy production. The album goes straight for stadium anthems, so he can only give it a Burn It rating. Jim thinks he’s letting the Boss off easy. He compares the performance to that of a bad Irish bar band and says Trash It.
4 Whether it was with the Screaming Trees, dueting with Isobel Campbell or on his own, Mark Lanegan has a tremendous voice. And on his new solo record, Blues Funeral, he goes for a rootsy sound, but also experiments with more digital production. You might think this would mask his signature “whisky soaked” vocals, but Jim loves this rainy day mood record and would recommend you Buy It. Greg, on the other hand, would take any of Lanegan’s other records over this one. He thinks he’s gone too far out of his comfort zone and questions some of the clichéd lyrics. Of Blues Funeral, Greg says Trash It.
5 Last month bassist Michael Davis of the legendary Detroit bands the MC5 and Destroy All Monsters died at age 68. So during this episode Jim wants to honor him by adding a 1979 Destroy All Monsters track called “Meet the Creeper” to the Desert Island Jukebox. It features Davis on bass along with Ron Asheton of The Stooges and a lead singer simply called Niagra.
Songs Featured in Show #327
The Monkees, “Daydream Believer,” The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, Colgems, 1968
The Monkees, “Valleri,” The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, Colgems, 1968
Trenchmouth, “Washington! Washington!,” Trenchmouth vs. The Light of the Sun, Skene!, 1994
Crisis of Conformity, “Fist Fight!,” Fist Fight!, Drag City, 2011
Crisis of Conformity, “Kick It Down and Kick It Around,” Fist Fight!, Drag City, 2011
The Damned, “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today,” Machine Gun Etiquette, Chiswick, 1979
Bruce Springsteen, “Easy Money,” Wrecking Ball, Columbia, 2012
Bruce Springsteen, “We Are Alive,” Wrecking Ball, Columbia, 2012
Bruce Springsteen, “We Take Care of Our Own,” Wrecking Ball, Columbia, 2012
Mark Lanegan, “The Gravedigger’s Song,” Blues Funeral, 4AD, 2012
Mark Lanegan, “Phantasmagoria Blues,” Blues Funeral, 4AD, 2012
Destroy all Monsters, “Meet the Creeper,” November 22, 1963, Black Hole, 1979
Jodeci, “My Phone,” Forever My Lady, Uptown, 1991
Ani DiFranco, “Life Boat,” Which Side Are You On?, Righteous Babe, 2012
Dessa, “Palace,” Castor, The Twin, Doomtree, 2011
John McLaughlin, “Marbles,” Devotion, Douglas, 1970
David Bowie, “Changes,” Hunky Dory, RCA, 1971