Ray Davies and Opinions on Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

One of the most influential singer/songwriters of all time joins Jim and Greg live in the studio. Ray Davies, former frontman for the Kinks, talks about his four decades making music and plays songs off his new album Working Man’s Café.

Ray Davies
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Pop phenom Leona Lewis made news this week by becoming the first British artist to debut at number one on the U.S. album charts. It seems that the hit factory built by Clive Davis and Simon Cowell is serving the X-Factor winner well. She’s poised to become the most successful alum of the Arista- American Idol partnership. But, Jim and Greg are not impressed by Lewis’ dramatic vocal style—one that owes a lot to Mariah Carey. Carey also has a new album out next week called E=MC2. The diva may give the upstart a run for her money, but as Jim and Greg explain, neither have sales that compare with the success of this style of music years ago. Despite the wishes of Davis and Cowell, audiences may be ready for a new sound.

Ray Davies

One man who is certainly not a flash in the pan is Ray Davies. (Pronounced Daviz, not Daveez. We promise.) The former, and perhaps future, Kinks lead singer joins Jim and Greg to talk about his long history making music and his second solo album, Working Man’s Café. Ray describes how different it is to make music as a solo artist. When he was writing songs for The Kinks he was able to assume different personas. But, the songs on this new album are much more personal. He has to take the credit... or the blame. Ray performs songs off Working Man’s Café, which you can hear during the show.

Some of Ray Davies’ songs have undoubtedly been affected by his experience being shot by a mugger in 2004, as well as the stroke of his brother Dave Davies. These subjects perhaps contradict the idea of the songwriter as a wit and social satirist. But, as Ray explains, even the lightest, most humorous Kinks tracks started from a serious place.

Elephant Shell Tokyo Police Club

Elephant Shell (Remixes) - EP

After getting raves with their 2006 EP, Tokyo Police Club have finally released a full-length album called Elephant Shell. The four-piece band from Ontario signed to Saddle Creek Records to record 11 songs, but don’t expect a denser album. This effort is still a quick jaunt into garage rock, power-pop, and new wave that ends before you know it. But, neither Jim, nor Greg, is complaining. Jim loves their great sense of melody and high-energy enthusiasm. His only quibble is with the band’s minor diversion into indie-rock pretension. But, overall he gives the record a Buy It. Greg also loves the tightly constructed arrangements, but notes that the band’s lyrics still haven’t developed much. He appreciates their exuberance but thinks they still have room to grow. He gives Elephant Shell a Try It.

Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

Critically acclaimed side project Grinderman, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are back together for a new album called Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! Both Jim and Greg loved the Grinderman album. In fact, it took Jim’s number one slot last year. But, while that record got an A+ from Jim, Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! merely gets an A. Both he and Greg are impressed with Cave’s ability to get stronger with age. He loves Cave’s brilliant, intellectual lyrics that are full of humor and gives the album a Buy It. Greg agrees that the songwriter really amped up the humor, along with standard Cave topics like sex, death and religion. Amazingly those subjects fit into hook-filled pop songs, prompting Greg to give the album another Buy It.

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