Results for early '90s

interviews

Teenage Fanclub

Few bands from the early '90s are still going strong. But Teenage Fanclub is an exception. The Scottish power pop band formed in 1989, and, for most of its existence, has maintained the same lineup: guitarists and songwriters Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley, Gerard Love and Francis McDonald. Now they're also joined by keyboardist Dave McGowan. Jim and Greg talk to the band about their roots, their longevity, and the rarity of a band having three chief songwriters. They also ask them about the recording and reception of Bandwagonesque, the band's third record and the one that brought Teenage Fanclub its first taste of success in the States. In fact, Spin Magazine voted Bandwagonesque the #1 album of 1991 - favoring it over Nirvana's Nevermind, R.E.M.'s Out of Time and My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. While in the Sound Opinions studio, Teenage Fanclub performs songs from its new album Shadows, plus an oldie from 1995's Grand Prix.

Go to episode 260

Wire

This week our guests are the art punk innovators, Wire. Their first album, Pink Flag, catapulted the band to critical success in 1977 with its unusual song structures with shifting bursts of sound. Over the years, Wire has refused to stop making new and different music, at times refusing to even play older material live. After that incredible first trilogy of albums, Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, and 154, they took some time off and reemerged in 1987 with a very different sound. That phase lasted until the early '90s and the band again went away. But in 2003, they reunited again for a third phase of their career that is still going strong. They released their 14th studio album this year, which showed up on Jim's midyear best-of list

Jim and Greg were lucky enough to host a special performance and conversation with Wire in front of an audience at the Goose Island Barrelhouse in Chicago. The current lineup includes guitarist Colin Newman, bassist Graham Lewis, and the very soft-spoken drummer Robert Grey, all of whom were with the band at the beginning. But Jim started out the interview by asking the newest member of the group, guitarist Matthew Simms, about how he got the call inviting him to join the band.

Go to episode 512
specials

Victims of the Music Business

nellie This week Jim and Greg stick it to the man, or more specifically — record companies. They discuss the phenomenon of major labels pulling the plug on established artists. The most recent victim is Nellie McKay, whose album Pretty Little Head was denied release by Sony Music. McKay wanted to release one version, Sony wanted to release another, and after the“pretty little”singer told her label to take it or leave it, they left it. Of course, upon hearing the advance copy, our hosts can't necessarily blame them.

Whether you enjoy the music or not, McKay's situation does pose an interesting question of how much creative control an artist has while under major label contract. As Jim states:“As long as there have been major labels, there have been executives deciding that they know better than the artist.”What are some of the other lost albums that fell prey to the big bad record company? Jim and Greg list off some of their favorites, including:

The Butthole Surfers

During the early '90s when "alternative" music was achieving commercial success, The Butthole Surfers were signed to Capitol. When the alternative fad waned, their label no longer appreciated the band's weird aesthetic and refused to release their album After The Astronaut. The Buttholes sued Capitol and demanded early release from their contract. The record, however, remained under Capitol ownership. Fans needn't fret though; most of the material was re-recorded and released by Hollywood Records.

Wilco

The hometown favorite's album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, was delayed release by its label because it was more conceptual than it was pop. Conceptual, of course, is hard to sell, so Reprise Records asked Jeff Tweedy and his bandmates to go back into the studio and find a hit. Wilco decided to stand by its album, and bid farewell to Reprise. Normally it would take a lot of time and money to recover tapes made under a label's contract, but in this case, Reprise let Wilco take their music, rather than face a public relations nightmare. The album was eventually released in 2002 by a different Warner Music subsidiary and ended up being the biggest selling of their career. The story played out very nicely in life, in film, and most importantly, in print.

Fiona Apple

This singer's label woes were perhaps the most highly publicized of the bunch, but according to our experts, the often difficult artist needs to take some of the blame. Apple decided to work with producer Jon Brion for a third time, but felt she needed more time on this effort. Epic Records, not pleased with what they‘d been hearing all along, told Apple that they’d need to approve a track at a time. Or at least that's what she thought she heard. In a dramatic move, Apple stopped recording, leaving the album unfinished. Neither Epic nor Apple wanted to release the music, however some of the songs leaked, and the response was so overwhelming that Apple was inspired to start working again. This time, she joined up with producers Mike Elizondo and Brian Kehew, and Extraordinary Machine can be heard in not one, but two forms.

Go to episode 117
reviews
The Mountain Will FallThe Mountain Will Fall available on iTunes

DJ Shadow The Mountain Will Fall

DJ Shadow emerged in the early '90s as a major figure in the northern California underground hip-hop scene. His debut 1996 full-length Endtroducing….. was one of the earliest and greatest of sample-based albums. But when you make a masterpiece your first time out, where do you go from there? His latest album The Mountain Will Fall features fewer samples, more synths, and more collaborations – notably with rap luminaries Run the Jewels. Jim says the album is not an easy listen – there are tracks that seem frivolous or intentially grating. But after spending time with it, he finds the record a great soundtrack for ominous times and calls it a Buy It. Greg appreciates that DJ Shadow never repeats himself. Instead he's nodding to contemporary EDM, Italian classical music, and old school hip-hop and turntablism. Greg calls The Mountain Will Fall a fine record that isn't as cohesive as Endtroducing….., but still worthy of a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 554
dijs

Greg

“De-Luxe”Lush

Greg gets the first Desert Island Jukebox pick of 2008. Inspired by the collaboration between Markéta and Glen, he started thinking about other songwriting teams in rock history. Most bands have one central songwriter, or perhaps a team, but very few have more than one person contributing their own songs. One of these exceptions is the band Lush. The U.K. band came out of the shoegazer scene of the late '80s/early '90s, but didn't get as much attention as their peers. Songwriters Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson created a sound that Greg describes as falling somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and The Cocteau Twins. The fragile female vocals paired with a cyclonic gust of guitars can be best heard in the track, "De-Luxe," from the band's 1990 album Gala.

Go to episode 111
news

Music News

The Sex Pistols were recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and upon the announcement, Jim and Greg predicted that the irreverent punk rock band would not necessarily play nice with the music industry“man.”Well, our hosts love to be right. The band posted a letter to the Hall of Fame telling explaining that they aren‘t anyone’s monkey and will not be attending. The Hall of Fame chalked up the behavior to a“punkster”rock and roll attitude, and offered no other comment. With the Pistols out of the picture, now it is up to Ozzy Osbourne to shake things up.

The band Cracker hasn't been heard from in a while, but made news this week when they released not one, but two, greatest hits albums. Cracker achieved success in the early '90s with songs like "Teen Angst" and "Euro-Trash Girl," and their record label, Virgin, decided to release a greatest hits album this year. This was apparently done without the band's knowledge or consent, as they were preparing a new album to be released at the same time. Not feeling like their label was taking very good care of them, Cracker decided to retaliate and release their own greatest hits album — one that is currently outselling the Virgin version.

Go to episode 14

Music News

phife A Tribe Called Quest founding member Phife Dawg has died at the young age of 45 from complications due to diabetes. Jim and Greg are still inspired by ATCQ's masterful early '90s rap recordings, which introduced a jazziness and Afrocentric positivity into hip-hop. Born in Jamaica, Queens, Phife had a distinctive high-pitched tone and some of the most nimble rhymes in rap history. In tribute to Phife, Jim and Greg play Tribe's biggest hit, "Can I Kick It," showcasing the humor that was his trademark.

Go to episode 539