Results for art rock

interviews

Michael Rother

Our guest this week might not be a familiar name to most. But, Michael Rother is one of the most innovative figures in rock. Along with Klaus Dinger, he formed Neu! and created three hugely influential albums in the 1970's. They were part of a great wave of German art rock of that period and continue to be name checked by everyone from Wilco to Sonic Youth to U2. Rother talks to Jim and Greg about his solo work and his time with Neu!. The band's back catalog is now available in a limited edition box set, and Rother is touring the country with a new band under the name Hallogallo 2010.

Go to episode 253
reviews
Sweet Heart Sweet LightSweet Heart Sweet Light available on iTunes

Spiritualized Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Jason Pierce, the force behind Spiritualized, isn't shy about returning to his inspirations, album after album. There's the noise/melody combo of the Velvet Underground, German art rock, gospel music and free jazz. But melding those elements together well is no small feat. He does it again on Sweet Heart Sweet Light, which Greg says is good, but only 2nd tier. He‘d refer listeners back to 1997’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. The new one is just a Burn It. Jim is forced to bite his tongue when he hears this, as he sees Sweet Heart Sweet Light as Spiritualized's most optimistic album to date. Pierce has battled a lot of pain and fought liver disease, and the musical result is a masterpiece. Jim says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 334
Hypnotize - SingleHypnotize available on iTunes

System of a Down Hypnotize

These guys are nuts. System of a Down, one of the best art rock and heavy metal bands in existence, has released two albums in a year. Hypnotize and Mezmerize together make one great album. The albums do have some filler, but not enough to prevent Greg and Jim to both give the double-album a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 1
Consolers of the LonelyConsolers of the Lonely available on iTunes

The Raconteurs Consolers of the Lonely

Like Gnarls Barkley, The Raconteurs had a successful debut album in 2006. Now, Jack White, Brendan Benson and company are back with a follow-up called Consolers of the Lonely. From the start this project was clearly an opportunity for Jack White to step outside of the boundaries of minimalism that contain the music of The White Stripes. But at the core of all the instrumentation and experimentation of the first Raconteurs record were strong melodies. And for Greg, that's where the second album falls short. In addition to missing the great songs of the White Stripes, he found himself longing for their humor and eroticism. There isn't really anything appealing to Greg on Consolers of the Lonely, and he's not sure why the band rushed it out. Jim, who is an admitted fan of the art rock genre, says there is nothing worse than a bad art rock record — and this is a really bad art rock record. He notes that the band has made a point to encourage listeners to take in the album as a whole, but thinks this is terrible advice. There are only a couple of good tracks on the album, so listening to it as a whole was not an enjoyable experience for Jim. He calls it awful and depressing. Looks like our two hosts need the consoling. They both give the new Raconteurs a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 122
I'm Going Away (Bonus Track Version)I'm Going Away available on iTunes

The Fiery Furnaces I'm Going Away

In just six years the brother-sister duo The Fiery Furnaces have released eight albums. But, as Jim points out, being prolific doesn't make you infallible. He admires lead singer Eleanor Friedberger's Lou Reed singing style, but otherwise was put off by their newest album I'm Going Away. Its hyper-literary and overly orchestrated songs gave Jim a headache, and therefore prompted a Trash It rating. Greg couldn't disagree more. He calls I'm Going Away one of the great pop albums of the summer. He admits that much of their previous work was a little obtuse, but he thinks The Fiery Furnaces have channeled their energy into a less frantic, more melodic record. Greg calls it art rock on a budget and gives it a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 192
Nine Types of Light (Deluxe Version)Nine Types of Light available on iTunes

TV on the Radio Nine Types of Light

After taking a small hiatus and dabbling in film projects, TV on the Radio is back with its fourth album. The Brooklyn art rockers are one of the best bands to come out in the last decade, according to Jim and Greg. Nine Types of Light is a more optimistic, ballad-heavy album, which normally Greg wouldn‘t say is the kind of record for him. But it’s so layered and substantive that he says definitely Buy It. Jim puts them up there with Radiohead, and compares the subtle rhythms on this release to that on King of Limbs. He also praises the singing. Nine Types of Light gets two types of Buy Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 280
OrphansOrphans available on iTunes

Tom Waits Orphans

Next up is a review of the new album by Tom Waits. Longtime listeners know that Waits is often a bone of contention between our two hosts, and this time is no different. The new record, Orphans, is a three-disc set that began as a trip through the Waits archive. But Waits also added 30 new recordings to the mix. Jim thinks this is a perfect example of the songwriter's consistent inability to self-edit. He used to love Waits, but now just plain hates him. For Jim, Waits is an art-rock caricature, and this album is a Trash It. Greg is a tried and true Waits fan, and thinks that his storytelling is in top form. He is also interested in the sonics on Orphans and thinks it's one of Waits' best albums. He recommends listeners Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 52
dijs

Greg

“Final Solution”Pere Ubu

The Breeders' home state of Ohio inspired Greg's Desert Island Jukebox song choice this week. One of his favorite bands to emerge from the“fly-over territory”is Pere Ubu. Greg describes their unique sound as avant garageart rock combined with garage rock. But, the band created their own scene and didn't care what categories they did or did not belong to. In fact, even though they set a template for punk and post punk music, front man David Thomas denies the band has any relationship to punk. According to Greg, the best example of their sound is in the song "Final Solution," this week's DIJ addition. When the band was on Sound Opinions they also performed“Final Solution”live. You can listen to that performance and their entire interview here.

Go to episode 124

Greg

“Tropicalia”Beck

Drawing inspiration from the discussion with Ernesto Lechner, Greg chooses Beck's "Tropicalia" as his Desert Island Jukebox pick. The notion that people were ever jailed or sent into exile for playing Tropicalia music in Brazil got this host all fired up — especially because this music, pioneered by artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, has remained such a formative influence on contemporary artists. Beck displays his love for the tropicalistas in this song from his 1998 album Mutations (a nod to fellow Brazilians Os Mutantes). Beck combines the Bossa Nova chords and gentle singing of Tropicalia music with art rock guitar and synthesizer. The result is a perfect example of Beck's pop collage style and a perfect homage to his Brazilian heroes.

Go to episode 27
news

Music News

Jim and Greg have done many news stories about changing modes of distribution, production and sales in the music industry. But Jill Sobule recently presented a unique idea that caught their eye. They talk to the "I Kissed a Girl" singer about why she decided to ask fans to finance her new record. Depending at what level a fan gives they're entitled to gifts ranging from a free digital download of the album ($10) to a Sobule-recorded instrumental theme song ($500). So far Sobule has raised over $80K. Now listeners just have to wait and hear the result. And, Sobule says she's open to album title names.

Obituaries are sad to be sure, but as Jim explains, they are also an opportunity to honor important artists. Last week German art rock pioneer Klaus Dinger died at the age of 61. Dinger is one of Jim's heroes, so while he was crushed to hear the news of his death, he was also happy he could showcase the musician's work at the top of the show. Dinger was a member of both Kraftwerk and Neu!, two of the most influential Krautrock bands of all time. In fact, without both groups electronica as we know it wouldn‘t exist today. Check out Jim’s blog post about Dinger and listen to his classic Neu! track "Hallogallo."

Go to episode 124