Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

At a time when most artists start to slow down, 30-year rock vets Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are only revving up. The band recorded one of Jim and Greg's favorite albums of the year, and now you can hear them perform their bitingly funny, dark and raucous garage rock live on the show.

Nick Cave visits the Sound Opinion's studio
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Music News

The first story in the news this week is a sign of things to come according to Jim and Greg. They have been reporting on power shifts in the music industry for years, and now they're seeing two giants come together: Ticketmaster and Irving Azoff. For listeners not familiar with that second name, Azoff, a longtime tastemaker and power broker in the record business, is behind the careers of New Kids on the Block, Van Halen and Guns ‘N Roses, and brokered the recent deals between AC/DC, The Eagles and Wal-Mart. Now he'll be helming Ticketmaster Entertainment, and Jim and Greg think consumers should beware.

The next two stories showcase two new ways the industry is trying to curb file-sharing. As reported on the show previously, the U.K. is going after Internet service providers, since no one has had much luck putting the fear in consumers. Now we know who will be heading this war on downloading: punk rocker Feargal Sharkey. The former Undertones lead singer is being unveiled as the chief executive of UK Music, an umbrella organization that will represent songwriters, promoters and other members of the music industry.

Back in the States, Universal Music has struck a deal with Dell Computers to provide consumers with a bundle of tunes along with their computer purchase. They believe that if people have legal music on their hard-drive, they won't try to get more illegally. But Jim and Greg don't think this deal factors in the importance of choice. In 2008, with so many ways to hear and consume music, fans don't want label executives curating their listening for them.

A recent survey shows that indie labels still don't have access to radio airplay despite the FCC's effort to equal the playing field. Part of 2007's payola settlement was to insure that 8,400 half-hour segments of airtime should be dedicated to indie labels and local bands. This was to help cease any pay-for-play practices. But, organizations like The American Association of Independent Music and the Future of Music Coalition are saying that, unfortunately, things are as grim as ever.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Both Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' new album Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, and Nick Cave's side project Grinderman are big favorites of our hosts. So when given the opportunity to have Cave and his Bad Seeds into the studio, Jim and Greg, of course, jumped at the chance. Cave has been making music, along with poetry, plays and novels, for three decades, and Jim and Greg are amazed that Cave has managed to be so strong for so long. And in fact, it's hard to tell that the man behind the dark, noisy and funny songs you hear on the show has passed the 50-year mark.

Gift of Screws Lindsey Buckingham

Gift of Screws

Lindsey Buckingham has released a new album called Gift of Screws. It's the third solo album from the Fleetwood Mac singer/songwriter, and Greg notes that Buckingham is much more experimental when he's on his own. But unlike with his previous record, Jim finds Buckingham to be also be much more joyful. He and Greg are both impressed with the guitar work and give Gift of Screws a double Buy It rating.

The Vivian Girls The Vivian Girls

Vivian Girls

The next album up for review is from The Vivian Girls. The band is getting a lot of buzz, particularly after the recent CMJ Conference. They get their name from the controversial artist Henry Darger, and both Jim and Greg think you can hear his themes of innocence and violence in the Vivian Girls' music. The production is extremely lo-fi, but the record is filled with wonderfully complicated and short pop songs. The Vivian Girls gets another double Buy It.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!