Show 338: James Mercer of the Shins, Donald Duck RIP & Norah Jones Review
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1a Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s practice of reselling, or scalping, its own tickets on the website TicketsNow drew a lot of negative attention from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and the New Jersey Attorney General. The company agreed to stop linking and limit advertising for TicketsNow as part of a 2009 settlement, but now they’ve quietly begun resuming linking. They are trying to be more transparent, but it looks like the secondary ticket market isn’t going away anytime soon.
1b In an effort to take matters into its own hands, the jam band String Cheese Incident is taking a novel approach to spare its fans from paying Ticketmaster’s loathed service charges. Fans and friends recently brought $20,000 in cash to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles and purchased tickets to the String Cheese show. They then brought the almost 400 tickets by hand to the group’s headquarters in Colorado where they went on sale again, sans extra fees. Robin Hood would certainly approve.
1b One of the great all-time bass players, Donald “Duck” Dunn, died this week at age 70. Along with high school friend Steve Cropper, Dunn was part of one of rock’s best rhythm sections. As a member of Booker T. and the MGs, he played alongside legendary Stax acts like Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. He later worked with everyone from Bob Dylan to Eddie Floyd. To remember Dunn’s trademark concision and swing, Jim and Greg play “Knock on Wood” by Eddie Floyd.
2 You’re in a beloved band at the height of success. Natalie Portman tells the world that your band will change lives. So what do you do? Blow everything up, of course. At least you do if you’re James Mercer. The Shins frontman and founder followed up his Grammy nominated, Billboard charting album Wincing the Night Away with a decision to completely change the group’s lineup and sound. He sought out producer Greg Kurstin, best known for working with Lily Allen and Kesha, and the result is Port of Morrow. As he discusses with Jim and Greg, this transition wasn’t easy, but was necessary. And it’s not the first time Mercer made an unexpected collaboration. He and Danger Mouse (of Grey Album fame) joined together for Broken Bells. Check out video of Mercer performing songs from the album, as well as an oldie, but goodie.
3 Norah Jones also teamed up with Danger Mouse for her 5th album called …Little Broken Hearts. She’s sold 40 million albums, won a ton of Grammys, and gained fans with her jazzy, laid back vocals. But it’s too laid back for Jim’s taste. He accuses Jones of bringing Danger Mouse down, and is irritated by her utter lack of passion. Unless you are looking to doze, Trash this album. Greg understands Jim wants Jones to shout, but that’s never been her thing. And subtlety is undervalued these days. Not everything works well, but Greg finds Little Broken Hearts a nice left turn and says Burn It.
Songs Featured in Show #338
Bruce Springsteen, “We Take Care of Our Own,” Wrecking Ball, Columbia, 2012
Booker T. & the MG’s, “Time is Tight,” Up Tight, Stax, 1969
Eddie Floyd, “Knock on Wood,” Knock on Wood (single), Stax, 1967
The Shins, “The Rifle’s Spiral,” Port of Morrow, Aural Apothecary, 2012
The Shins, “The Past and Pending,” Oh, Inverted World, Warner Bros., 2001
The Shins, “Simple Song (Live on Sound Opinions),” Port of Morrow, Aural Apothecary, 2012
The Shins, “No Way Down,” Port of Morrow, Aural Apothecary, 2012
The Shins, “Bait and Switch,” Port of Morrow, Aural Apothecary, 2012
Echo & The Bunnymen, “The Killing Moon,” Ocean Rain, Korova, 1984
Broken Bells, “Your Head is On Fire,” Broken Bells, Columbia, 2010
The Shins, “40 Mark Strasse,” Port of Morrow, Aural Apothecary, 2012
The Shins, “It’s Only Life (Live on Sound Opinions),” Port of Morrow, Aural Apothecary, 2012
The Shins, “New Slang (Live on Sound Opinions),” Oh, Inverted World, Warner Bros., 2001
The Shins, “Kissing the Lipless,” Chutes Too Narrow, Interscope, 2003
Nora Jones, “Happy Pills,” Broken Little Hearts, Blue Note, 2012
Nora Jones, “Miriam,” Broken Little Hearts, Blue Note, 2012
Gold Panda, “Financial District,” Financial District (single), Ghostly, 2012
Jodeci, “My Phone,” Forever My Lady, Universal, 1991
The Beastie Boys, “Pass the Mic,” Check Your Head, Capitol, 1992
Chase, “Run Back to Mama,” Pure Music, Sony, 1974
Jay-Z, “December 4,” The Black Album, Roc-A-Fella, 2003
The Intruders, “I’ll Always Love My Mama,” I’ll Always Love My Mama (single), Gamble, 1973
Al Jolson, “My Mammy” The Jazz Singer, Warner Bros., 1927