Results for Pearl Jam

reviews
Pearl JamPearl Jam available on iTunes

Pearl Jam Pearl Jam

After taking a number of years off, alternative rock giants Pearl Jam are now back with a self-titled release. Since their heyday in the early '90s, Pearl Jam has gone through a number of highs and lows. Yet they remain the only band from that alternative era to continue to be able to sell out rock arenas. On this album, they are trying to remain relevant with political songs like "World Wide Suicide," but Jim and Greg feel they only half-succeed. The first half of the record rocks, our hosts agree, but the second half is more sleepy and probably not worth your time. In addition, lead singer Eddie Vedder's lyrics are really hard to understand — but is that necessarily a bad thing? Pearl Jam is a Burn It for both critics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 22
Lightning BoltLightning Bolt available on iTunes

Pearl Jam Lightning Bolt

Grunge rock stalwarts Pearl Jam are back with their tenth studio album called Lightning Bolt. It comes 22 years after their landmark debut Ten. Jim and Greg would happily trade Ten for this tenth release. Nonetheless, Greg does find some interesting experimentation in Lightning Bolt, noticeably on songs like "Pendulum" and "Yellow Moon" which show enough growth in the band's sound to earn the record a Burn It. Jim, however, thinks those same tracks are some of the weakest with their misguided allusions to the U2 and Elton John ballads. He prefers the faster pace of songs like "Lightning Bolt," which combined with a few others, might make for a decent EP. Therefore this LP gets a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 412
BackspacerBackspacer available on iTunes

Pearl Jam Backspacer

Jim and Greg kick off their record review roundup with Backspacer, the ninth album from Pearl Jam. The band is back with producer Brendan O'Brien, but the mood has certainly changed. They are sounding a lot more optimistic, and, as Greg explains, more energized. They kick up the fast-paced punk more on this album, but still have a couple of noteworthy ballads. Greg gives Backspacer a Buy It. Jim wishes he heard something new from the Seattle rockers. He agrees that the slower songs are great, but feels he's heard the rest of the album before. He gives Pearl Jam a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 200
Into the Wild (Music from the Motion Picture)Into the Wild available on iTunes

Eddie Vedder Into the Wild

After 17 years fronting Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder has released his first solo album, Into the Wild. The album provides the soundtrack to Sean Penn's new movie based on Jon Krakauer's 1991 book of the same name. It's the story of an existentialist kid who leaves civilization to go live in the wild. Jim and Greg can understand why this kind of story appealed to Vedder, who fled the Chicago suburbs for the West Coast. The songs on this record are very stripped down and showcase Vedder's strong baritone. Both critics love the way the record sounds and love the cover of Indio's "Hard Sun." Where they take issue with Vedder is with the lyricism. It doesn't take long for the pseudo-new-age-quasi-mystical poetry to get old, and therefore, Into the Wild only get two Try Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 95
Because of the TimesBecause of the Times available on iTunes

Kings of Leon Because of the Times

Southern rockers Kings of Leon have a new album out called Because of the Times. The members of the Nashville quartet were just in their teens when they first got signed to a major label, and now they're on to their third album. Jim comes right out of the gate with his opinion. He explains,“I loathe this album with a bile I reserve for very special occasions.”He thought the band was fairly harmless when they were just a hipper take on The Black Crowes. But, after receiving much hype from their label and being brought on large scale tours by Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam and U2, they've added an echo-drenched, reverb-laden arena rock sound that even U2's The Edge has moved on from. Because he finds the album retro, sexist and stupid, Jim gives it a Trash It rating. Hearing Jim's review of the record makes Greg like it even more. He describes Kings of Leon as sloppy Southern rock to the core, and really likes their guitar sound. It's retro, but unapologetically so for Greg. He gives Because of the Times a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 72
news

Music News

Pearl Jam made big news this week after announcing an exclusive deal with Target. The alternative band will release a new album along with the big box chain. And in addition they will allow Target to use a Cameron Crowe-directed video in a series of ads. Pearl Jam has long been known for its anti-corporate and anti-commercial attitude, so this was a surprise to Jim and Greg. But, as Greg says, at least they aren't selling the album exclusively through Target — good news for mom and pop record stores.

The usual record industry story goes like this: Label likes artist, label pays artist, artist makes music. But, in a twist, EMI recording artist Joss Stone has offered to pay her label not to make music. The British pop/soul singer is apparently desperate to get out of her four-album contract, after making only one of those records. This is one of many blows to the label, which has already said goodbye to Radiohead and Paul McCartney.

After a six-year trial, producer Phil Spector was finally sentenced this week. The judge showed no mercy and put him behind bars for 19 to life, with a mandatory 15 years. That means that Spector will not be eligible for parole until he is 88.

Go to episode 184

Music News

The first story in the news this week involves that age-old practice of“pay-for-play,”or payola, in the music industry. In recent years, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been investigating major record labels like Sony and Warner who engaged in this practice. But now, the FCC has joined the battle against this unethical behavior by launching an investigation of the four major radio corporations: Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting and Entercom Communications. The FCC's enforcement unit is looking into accusations that broadcasters illegally accepted cash or other compensation in exchange for airplay of specific songs without telling listeners. As per usual, the federal government is late to the game — but this investigation is admittance of a problem. And as we all know, that's the first step.

Also making news recently are some major acts from the early 1990s. It seems that people are already nostalgic for the music of the alternative era, and many of the surviving bands are cashing in on it. Alice in Chains announced tour dates for this summer, despite the fact that their original lead singer, Layne Staley, died of a drug overdose in 2002. Like the members of Queen and The Doors, the surviving Alice in Chains bandmates don't seem fazed by this loss, and will continue with the addition of Guns 'N Roses bassist Duff McKagan and Comes With the Fall vocalist William DuVall. Former Jane's Addiction members Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins will also tour this summer under the name Panic Channel, though their lead singer has not passed on. Rather, he's now the impresario of what may prove this summer's big moneymaker: Lollapalooza.

In the typical fashion, Neil Young is stirring up some controversy. The prolific rocker finished recording music for an upcoming album mere days ago and will have it in stores within a couple of weeks. Young is just coming off his last release, Prairie Wind (featured in Jonathan Demme's recent concert film), but on Living With War, he will shift gears completely. According to Greg, this release is a completely political, guerilla-style protest album. Young wrote and recorded songs like "Let's Impeach the President," in just one day in response to the current administration and its failed war in Iraq. Jim points out that Young works well in this situation. Less than two weeks after the Kent State shootings in 1970, Young was inspired to write "Ohio," and it was on the radio within a week. Almost 40 years later, the classic rock icon shows no sign of slowing down — neither his writing, nor his politics.

Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins are also in the headlines again. Nirvana widow Courtney Love sold 25% of her share of the band's publishing rights to Larry Mestel, a former executive at Virgin Music. She reportedly received over 50 million dollars for this settlement. That should help alleviate Love's financial woes, though not necessarily the woes of Nirvana fans who worry that Cobain's legacy will be boiled down to Teen Spirit ads. Smashing Pumpkins fans are also a bit curious about the fate of that band. Lead singer (and Love ex) Billy Corgan has stated that the Chicago group will reunite, but no one is quite sure in what incarnation. That really just leaves Pearl Jam, who you'll hear about later in the show.

Go to episode 22

Music News

Some interesting chart news this week: Despite being music vets, Tom Petty and Weird Al Yankovic, both just achieved their first #1 in the past month. Over on the Jazz charts, Tony Bennett, who himself took 54 years to produce #1, has reached another hight, this time with strange bedfellow Lady Gaga. Comic book fans are showing their support for Marvel's most recent super-powered adventure, Guardians of The Galaxy. The soundtrack for the flick, an eclectic mix of '70s rock, soul, and pop staples, is the current chart topper, beating out the prolific Now series, Volume 51. Over on the vinyl end of things, Jack White's most recent release, Lazaretto, is making history with its soaring sales. The LP has already sold over 60,000 copies, the most since Pearl Jam's 1994 album Vitalogy.

Go to episode 455

Music News

First in the news Jim and Greg discuss the controversy over the censorship of political lyrics in a song by Pearl Jam during the AT&T Blue Room webcast of their recent Lollapalooza performance. While Pearl Jam criticized this kind of censorship on their website and posted both versions of the song, it appeared that the audio editing was a fluke. In the days following the festival, though, it was revealed that this was not the first time such censorship had occurred, sparking interest from advocates of Internet neutrality. Both Jim and Greg agree that webcasters have a public responsibility to broadcast what actually happens at events, and concert promoters have a responsibility to tell bands whether or not they're giving up their right to free speech. Both critics are anxious to see how things play out in the weeks leading up to the next big festival, Austin City Limits.

Another news story confirms our suspicion that music fans have better brains. Or at least more active brains. Researchers at Stanford Medical School recently released findings that show that music increases brain receptivity and reception. To find out about the study Jim and Greg speak with the paper's senior author, Dr. Vinod Menon, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of neurosciences at Stanford. Dr. Menon explains that the greatest amount of activity occurred during moments of transition or pauses. While he used the tunes of 18th-century English composer William Boyce, it's interesting to think about how this research applies to rock music. Check out the MRI for yourself here.

In another miracle of science, (most of) the original members of '80s rock group Van Halen announced they are reuniting this fall for a series of concerts. The band's first lead singer, David Lee Roth, will perform with the band for the first time in 22 years. Fans expected this announcement a few months ago, only to be left disappointed by guitarist Eddie Van Halen's trip to rehab. But now the Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone-haters will get their wish… sort of. Founding bassist Michael Anthony has been given the boot, and Eddie's son Wolfgang van Halen will replace him. Not only were the names Anthony and Hagar omitted from the group's press release, but Anthony's image had been airbrushed from a picture of the band's album cover on the website. As quick as history was revised, it was re-revised, though, and Anthony is back in the picture. Only literally of course.

Record label owner, broadcaster, journalist, pop impresario and nightclub founder Anthony Wilson died last week at the age of 57. Wilson is the man who put the Manchester music scene on the map, a scene that included Joy Division, New Order and The Happy Mondays. He ran Factory Records in the late 1970s and the Hacienda nightclub in the 1980s and early 1990s. Many listeners will remember Steve Coogan's portrayal of Wilson in the semi-fictional story of the Hacienda, 24 Hour Party People. But, Jim and Greg choose to remember Wilson through the music he influenced.

Go to episode 90

Music News

First up Jim and Greg do an update on a story discussed a few weeks ago. Despite pleas from a broad spectrum of internet radio broadcasters including National Public Radio and Yahoo, as well as some small scale mom and pop stations, the Copyright Royalty Board threw out requests to reconsider a ruling that hiked the royalties they must pay to record companies and artists. In addition, the judges declined to postpone a May 15 deadline by which the new royalties will have to be collected. While there is still one more chance to open the case with the court of appeals, it's likely that many webcasters are going to be put out of business by these new rulings. One thing that is for certain is that rulings like these and those to come down the line are certain to change the entire landscape of digital broadcasting.

Next up Jim and Greg talk to Doug Brod, Editor-in-Chief of Spin Magazine, about the upcoming season of“destination festivals.”While previously music fans would be treated to traveling music festivals like Lollapalooza coming to their neck of the woods, now there are large-scale, multi-day outdoor concerts dotted in different areas across the country. Often, these festivals have to compete for your attention by getting the biggest coup. This year it's the Rage Against the Machine reunion at Coachella, the Pearl Jam and Daft Punk performances at Lollapalooza, and a Police reunion at Bonnaroo.

Jim and Greg ask Doug to choose his favorite out of the many destination festivals this summer, and he goes with Coachella because of the line-up and the location. Greg agrees that the Coachella Valley is a spectacular place to experience a rock show, but he also urges music fans to travel two hours outside of Seattle, Washington to attend the Sasquatch Festival in the Gorge Amphitheater. It's another meeting of spectacular natural surroundings and an impressive bill of bands. Jim thinks that people will get the most bang for their buck at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, which features a number of indie bands, plus groups like Sonic Youth performing entire albums for a very reasonable price. But, being the sand and sun hater that he is, Jim won‘t pick his favorite summer festival. He’s actually ready for the entire phenomenon to die out and for rock to return to smoky clubs where it belongs.

Jim and Greg talk to Chicago Tribune Television Critic Maureen Ryan about the recent "Sanjaya phenomenon" on American Idol. Our hosts have long avoided talking about this popular TV show because, frankly, it has little to do with music. But, they were intrigued by the curious forces at work to keep the apparently talentless contestant Sanjaya Malakar on the show, and wanted to turn to Mo Ryan to find out why he became so popular, and why he couldn‘t survive. The only sense these critics can make out of Sanjaya’s reign is that for one brief moment the pop forces (pre-teens who love Sanjaya's androgynous, harmless sex appeal) and the punk forces (Vote for the Worst.com, Howard Stern, etc.) came together with one common goal: to save Sanjaya (and possibly take down the show). The convergence of these two sets was a rare occurence in popular culture, and it seems they weren‘t strong enough to prevent Sanjaya’s elimination. American Idol proved itself to be a more powerful“death star”than anyone expected.

For more information on music festivals, check out the footnotes below.

Go to episode 73

Music News

A number of free agents are popping up in 2009 including 50 Cent, Beck, Ryan Adams, Pearl Jam and Metallica. These music heavyweights have been on label rosters for years, but now, following in the footsteps of bands like Radiohead, it appears they have a shot at going out on their own. Jim and Greg agree that none of these artists actually need a record label. But, Greg points out that many might be tempted by 360 deals similar to what Madonna and Jay-Z have with Live Nation. The money's not in record sales anymore, so if major labels can entice an artist with the promise of profits from touring and merchandise, we may not see as much independence.

Go to episode 165

Music News

Jim and Greg have been reporting on the tragic events of last week's Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany. At the time of this recording, 20 deaths and over 500 injuries were reported. This was likely due to mass overcrowding at the electronic music festival which began in 1989. While a criminal investigation is still ongoing, festival organizers have announced that this was the last Love Parade. Jim and Greg count this as one of the biggest tragedies in concert history, up there with Pearl Jam's 2000 Roskilde show, the 2003 E2 stampede, the 2003 Station fire, and The Who's 1979 concert at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum. They hope promoters will do better to learn from the past.

You know the record industry is in crisis when they turn to the church for help — literally. Universal Music's Decca Records searched high and low for the next big pop phenom and came up with a group of cloistered French nuns. The nuns of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation beat out over 70 convents from around the world for a record deal. Their new album will be coming out this fall. Who knows, they might release the next “Gregorian Chant” or "Dominique".

Go to episode 244

Music News

First up in the news, Jim and Greg discuss the murder trial of famed producer Phil Spector. Spector was found guilty of shooting actress Lana Clarkson six years ago. This was the second trial for the man behind the sounds of The Beatles, The Righteous Brothers and The Ronettes. While the first jury was deadlocked, this one handed Spector a conviction that will lead to a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Jim and Greg have been following the debates in France concerning internet piracy with some interest. The French parliament recently defeated a highly anticipated bill that would have given users caught illegally downloading files two strikes before disconnecting them from the internet entirely. A re-vote is scheduled for later this month. Back in the states, President Obama tapped Recording Industry Association of America attorney Ian Gershengorn to join the Department of Justice's Civil Division. This is the fifth RIAA attorney to join the DOJ–not a promising precedent for file-sharing proponents.

While most of us are spending more modestly in today's economy, some Prince fans will be shelling out $2,100 for his limited edition Opus iPod. For that price, 950 devoted fans will get purple touch iPods loaded with live tracks and a 40 minute movie. Sounds absurd, but Jim and Greg agree that there is a market for high end, specialty items like this one. Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead had luck with their box sets last year, and Pearl Jam recently released a deluxe reissue of Ten.

Go to episode 177

Music News

Social media continues to be controversial terrain when it comes to music. This week comes the announcement that Twitter has shuttered its music app.“What music app?”you say. #Music has been a rare flop for Twitter. It was introduced with great fanfare months ago, but hasn't made any noise. And so the company is rethinking its strategy. Instagram is another social networking tool much beloved by those in the entertainment industry. But The Guardian is wondering if it's killing music videos.“Heck no,”YouTube might respond. It's hosting its first YouTube Music Awards next month. Place your vote at youtube.com/musicawards.

The Brits continue to surprise us stateside. The #1 album this week is not by Sir Paul McCartney. It's not by Pearl Jam. It's by…John Newman? This up and comer (and Rick Astley look-alike) debuted in the top slot on the U.K. Billboard chart. Pearl Jam fared better at home with its 5th number one. Listen to Jim and Greg's review.

Go to episode 413