lists 2019

Reunions

reunions

Summer is coming, and along with the sunshine and warm temperatures comes a miriad of music festivals and big arena tours. This summer we've got Mott the Hoople, Heart, Wu-Tang Clan and Hootie and the Blowfish reuniting. And then there are the 'reunited' bands who are always playing like Styx and Foreigner. However, many original members of bands like these have either died, become estranged or are afflicted with health issues that prevent them from performing. Sometimes there might only be one original member in the group, and it's not even the lead singer or guitarist. Jim and Greg wonder: is it sacrilegious to attend a "reunion concert" if it's not really one?

They talk with music journalist Rob Tannenbaum about his article in the New York Times on band reunions. (Artwork by Mark Pernice for the New York Times)

Jim and Greg also each pick two of their favorite reunions and one that they hope for.

Go to episode 701

Songs About Space

Fifty years ago this summer, the Apollo 11 mission successfully put a man on the moon. In honor of that“giant leap,”Sound Opinions is going to space with an interplanetary selection of songs.

Here are Jim and Greg's picks of songs about outer space from across the sonic galaxy, from Sun Ra to Portishead.

Go to episode 700

Buried Treasures

It's time once again for Jim and Greg to share some of their buried treasures - new songs you haven't heard that you need to!

Go to episode 698

True Crime Songs

This week, Jim and Greg selected tracks written about true crimes, or at least allegedly true crimes. There's a long tradition of crimes that have been immortalized in songs, going back to the blues and folk troubadours, and before that the murder ballad has been a classic trope for centuries. One example of a true crime song is "Stagger Lee", a hundred year old folk song, popularized by Lloyd Price in 1958. The song details the 1895 murder of Billy Lyons by“Stag”Lee Shelton. "Stagger Lee," "Stack-A-Lee" "Stag-O-Lee" or "Stack-O-Lee" has also been performed by James Brown, Dr. John, and even Bob Dylan.

There's a deep well of songs about doing wrong. Here are Jim and Greg's picks:

Go to episode 696

Greg's SXSW 2019 Recap

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The 32nd South By Southwest festival wrapped up last weekend in Austin, Texas. The music industry spring break has long been one of the best places to discover ambitious new bands for record labels, managers, promoters and critics. Jim was sad to miss the event for the first time in 27 years, but was eager to hear what Greg learned while down south.

Greg was happy to report that after years of expansion (the film and tech conferences are in some ways bigger newsmakers now) and over-the-top corporate presence (Doritos vending machine stage, anyone?), the music festival was scaled-back this year. There was less focus on major stars and more emphasis on acts from around the world.

The decline in corporate influence at SXSW could be heard in the keynote address from T. Bone Burnett, the producer of many Coen brothers film soundtracks. He didn't hold back, claiming that tech companies like Facebook and Google were a threat to our humanity.

"To stay human, to survive as a species, we have to wrest our communications out of the control of the lust for power, the avarice, larceny, hubris, deceit, and self-delusion of the heads of Google and Facebook. I am confident that we can do this," Burnett said.

Greg juxtaposed Burnett's comments against a panel with Nile Rodgers on songwriting as an investment. In that discussion Rodgers' business partner made a plea to keep streaming platforms like Spotify alive until they can become worldwide platforms despite the low dividends they provide artists now.

As for new music discoveries, Greg shared three:

Go to episode 695

The Best of Sound Opinions Live

Jim and Greg share some of their favorite Live Sound Opinions performances.

Click on the songs above to listen to the full episode and watch videos of the performances (please refresh the pages if they are having trouble loading.)

Go to episode 694

Buried Treasures

In music, like other things, sometimes it's easy for the little guy to get overlooked. So every once in a while, Jim and Greg dig into their chest of musical treasures to unearth some records that deserve more attention. These Buried Treasures aren't household names, but are worth adding to your collection.

Go to episode 693

Songs About Writers

jar It's common for artists to shout out other musicians they admire in their songs, but how about name-dropping prominent literary figures? From Hemingway to Plath, Metallica to Bobby Womack, Jim and Greg explore literature's influence on music with songs about writers.

Go to episode 690

Weird Instruments of Rock

weird Since its earliest days, rock music has been dominated by guitar, bass, and drums. But, as Jim and Greg reveal in this episode, sometimes it's the more unusual instruments (aka weird instruments) that really make a song. They play their favorite tracks featuring non-traditional rock instruments.

Go to episode 688

Buried Treasures

It's time yet again for Jim and Greg to share some of their recently uncovered treasures: albums flying under the radar.

Go to episode 687

Great Starts

The first few bars of a song can make it or break it! Jim and Greg share tracks they think have great starts. They also share one song each that has an iconic ending.

Go to episode 685

Great Duets

Like peas and carrots, and Jim and Greg, some things are better in twos. That especially goes for voices! There's something special about a great Duet, so this week our own duo play their favorites.

Go to episode 684