Results for Neil Young

interviews

Booker T. Jones

When Jim and Greg were at SXSW, they were invited to interview soul legend Booker T. Jones in front of a live audience. This week, you'll get to hear some highlights of that interview. Jim and Greg start the interview by asking Booker how he became such a musical prodigy. The multi-instrumentalist, who has played tuba, piano, saxophone, guitar, oboe, and of course, most notably, organ, credits his musical family with steering him on that path. This path took him to Stax Records where he, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson, Jr., and Lewie Steinberg (later replaced by Duck Dunn) formed Booker T. and the MGs. While Booker was still in high school, the group recorded "Green Onions," which went on to become one of their most well-known hits.

Jim asks how Booker feels about being relegated to the role of“side man,”in music history, but the musician explains that he feels nothing but pride about being“best supporting musician.”In fact, Booker explains that being a side man elevated him as a musician and allowed him to do so much more than he would have been able to solo. Some of the people our guest has recorded with over the years include Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Ray Charles, and even Barbra Streisand.

Booker T. and the MG's not only played with an impressive cast in the studio, but on the road as well. Jim and Greg highlight his 1967 European tour with other Stax artists, and ask Booker what everyone must have been on to get that powerful, lighting fast tempos. Booker attributes that kind of energy and enthusiasm to people like Otis Redding and Al Jackson, describing them as“possessed people.”The Monterey International Pop Music Festival followed in the summer of 1967, and Booker describes this experience as one of the most eye-opening of his life. With everyone (including the Hell's Angels) collectively joining in to ensure its success, this concert was an affirmation of the values of peace and love everyone there believed in. The MGs went on to perform with Neil Young and with many artists at the Bob Dylan tribute in 1992 including George Harrison and Eric Clapton, who he dishes on later in the interview.

Performing at Monterey eventually led Booker to leave his steady stream of jobs at Stax and venture out to California. As a solo performer and producer Booker challenged himself with a number of new projects including a collection of standards for his neighbor, Willie Nelson. He also worked in the studio with Stephen Stills, Rita Coolidge, Bill Withers and Neil Young.

Go to episode 72

Spooner Oldham

Despite its location in a relatively obscure part of the South, Muscle Shoals, Alabama was home to some of the greatest studio musicians of the 1960's and 1970's. One of those pros was our guest Spooner Oldham, keyboardist and songwriter at FAME Studios. Spooner played piano and organ on hits like "Steal Away" by Jimmy Hughes and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." Pretty soon, record executives from the North were sending artists down to record with the excellent house band at FAME. Spooner provided the drive behind Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally," and even rescued a stagnating Aretha Franklin session by coming up with the iconic keyboard line for "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)."

Along with his collaborator Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham wrote huge hits like "Cry Like a Baby" by The Box Tops and "I'm Your Puppet" by James & Bobby Purify. After leaving Muscle Shoals, he played with Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bobby Womack, and more, and continues to perform with acts like Cat Power and Drive-By Truckers. In 1972, Spooner recorded his own album Pot Luck. It was largely forgotten except by cult record collectors, but now is being honored with an overdue reissue from Light in the Attic.

Go to episode 515

Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson is a rock survivor, and with each decade comes a new successful era—whether it's Fairport Convention in the 1960's, with Linda Thompson in the '70s or as a solo artist. (You can check out producer, Joe Boyd, talking about Thompson & Fairport Convention here.) In fact, he's one of only a handful of artists, along the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, who have sustained a high level of artistic intensity and integrity since the '60s. And to further set him apart, he's one of few guitar heroes from that generation without an obvious debt to the blues. Instead, you'll hear blends of Eastern tones, jazz, Scottish balladry and Celtic folk. Jim and Greg agree he's one of the most underrated guitarists and songwriters in folk history and would urge acts like Mumford & Sons to“Listen and Learn.”The first step would be to study his live performance, which includes a gem from the "Capitolyears," the yet to be released "Fergus Lang," and the Richard and Linda classic "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight." Plus, check out the bonus track, Greg's request, "Dimming of the Day," which may be his most beautiful love song to date.

Go to episode 446
specials

Desert Island Jukebox

Frequently at the end of Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg add songs to the Desert Island Jukebox. This jukebox is filled with tracks that Jim and Greg would take with them if stranded on a desert island. They‘ve posed this same age-old rock question to many of their guests. In this episode you’ll hear the music that these artists say they can't live without:

  • Saul Williams: James Brown, Live at the Olympia
  • Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand: Leonard Cohen, The Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand: Neil Young, "Ohio"
  • Peaches: Prince, Purple Rain
  • Laurent Brancowitz of Phoenix: Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire de Melody Nelson
  • Thomas Mars of Phoenix: D'Angelo, Voodoo
  • Craig Finn of The Hold Steady: The Replacements, "I Will Dare"
  • Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady: American Music Club, Mercury
  • Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: Bob Dylan, Planet Waves
  • Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips: John Lennon, "(Just Like) Starting Over"
Go to episode 213

Turkey Shoot 2014

Turkey Shoot: It's Turkey time! Dip these albums in the deep fryers (safely of course). Here are the albums that most let Jim and Greg down in 2014:

Go to episode 468

Culinary Music

During this episode we also hear from other music-loving chefs from around the country including:

  • Wesley Genovart of Degustation in New York
  • Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's in Chicago
  • Brenda Langton of Spoon River and Café Brenda in Minneapolis
  • Craig Serbousek of Crow and Bette in Seattle
  • Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues in Chicago

To cap off this show, Jim and Greg run through their favorite culinary-inspired songs. All of them are either about food, inspired by food, or simply name foods, and all of them certainly rock.

Go to episode 113

Presidential Rock

On January 20th, thousands will celebrate the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. But before that Jim and Greg wanted to host their own celebration by playing the best songs ever written about the office of Commander-in-Chief.

Here's a collection of songs to kick off this new administration:

Go to episode 164

SXSW 2009

On this episode Jim and Greg give their annual South By Southwest reports. Our hosts head down to Austin, TX every year to check out new bands and learn about what's happening on the business end of things. While most folks spend their days frolicking at outdoor parties, Jim and Greg go from conference room to conference room to hear about industry trends. One panel Jim attended focused on the state of independent labels. He was struck by the suggestion that indie labels might have to sign artists to deals similar to corporate 360 deals in order to survive. Greg understands why artists who aren't at a Radiohead level might want a small support system to get their music made and heard.

Another buzzword at this year's festival is the "darknet," which refers to a looming state where data is shared in a closed, unregulated virtual market. Greg describes how industry analysts are looking at the digital music business and see implications beyond the industry. To them, the future of democracy is at stake!

While many SXSW attendees fret about product distribution, Jim and Greg attended a discussion dedicated to one single release: The Neil Young box set. Fans have anxiously been awaiting such a collection, and this summer they‘ll not only get Young’s music, but the capability to dive into Young's archive and future archive.

Of course, it's not all work at the SXSW Music Festival. Jim and Greg check out as much new music as they can. And with more than 1800 bands playing during the four-day affair, they had a lot to choose from. Now they've returned home with some new favorites for you to check out.

Go to episode 174

Ask the Critic

  • In the New Year Jim and Greg resolve to answer more of your questions starting with Pete who asks,“How do you tell the difference between and album that's bad, and one that just isn't made for you?”Lee on Facebook adds,“Can you fairly review an artist you may think sucks. (This is meant as a serious question).” To make a long story short…yes (if you're a good critic). See Greg's Yanni reporting below.

  • Thomas in Maine leaves a voicemail asking about the best psychedelic bands of 2013. Greg recommends Wooden Shjips, Darkside, The Warlocks and Besnard Lakes.

  • Jonathan asks on Facebook,“Why such a preference for the underground?” Jim doesn't think they really have such a preference, especially now that underground music is so accessible online. But Greg admits that mainstream, major label acts are expected to appeal to as large a population as possible, and that often means buffing out the good edges.

  • "Chili Mac Klein" also posts: "How awkward is it to have to meet with a musician after you have slammed his/her work in the past?" Greg describes an interesting conversation with Neil Young in which he asks the singer why he kept doing this. But, for the most part, artists are good sports, especially if a critic does his or her homework and gives critiques with confidence.

We want to hear from you, too! Post, Tweet, Email or Call 888.859.1800.

Go to episode 423
classic album dissections
Rust Never SleepsRust Never Sleeps available on iTunes

Neil Young Rust Never Sleeps

For our 300th episode, Jim and Greg wanted to do a Classic Album Dissection of one of their favorite records of all time: Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young. The 1979 release was mostly recorded live during Young's 1978 tour, save some overdubs. As Jim and Greg discuss, it was in large part a response to the emerging punk music. How does a classic rocker from the '60s grow and evolve? This is how. As Young sings in "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)," "It's better to burn out, than to fade away."

That song bookends the album, with the middle tracks broken into an acoustic section and an electric one. Jim remarks how brave it was for Young to come out with nothing but an acoustic guitar. He particularly loves the song "Pocahontas," which makes reference to the Native American icon in addition to the Hollywood icon Marlon Brando. Greg chooses to highlight the hard-stomping electric "Powderfinger," which attempts to reconcile America's complicated identity.

Go to episode 300
reviews
A Letter Home (Deluxe Version)A Letter Home available on iTunes

Neil Young A Letter Home

Neil Young is living in the past. Over the last few years, he's released several box sets, a memoir, and a 2012 album called Americana stuffed with vintage folk tunes. Now, on A Letter Home, his 35th album, he's again stepping back in time, revisiting the songs he loved as a teenage folkie in Toronto. For bonus nostalgia points, Young recorded the entire album on the 1947 Voice-O-Graph at Jack White's Third Man studios. Jim points out that the record was literally recorded in phone booth, so it's not an easy listen — but the unrefined sound is somehow fitting for Young (despite the artist's hi-fi evangelism). For Jim, A Letter Home is a fascinating look at the influences of a musical treasure, and he'd gladly Buy It. Greg predicts that some listeners will be turned off by the "sub-lo-fi" quality, but advises them to reconsider, and to take this album for what it is: the scrapbook of a young Young, equal parts warm and spooky. Still, while it's nice to hear that inspiration brought to life, Greg doesn't consider it essential Neil, and only suggests you Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 444
Chrome Dreams IIChrome Dreams II available on iTunes

Neil Young Chrome Dreams II

Fellow rock rebel Neil Young has a new record out called Chrome Dreams II. Chrome Dreams I was a 1977 album that Young decided to scrap, despite the fact that it had some early versions of some of his most famous songs. None of those original songs are on this second effort, but you definitely get the sense that the musician is taking stock. This makes sense considering that it's been only two years since Young suffered a brain aneurysm. As Greg describes, it's a patchwork of different eras made with a bunch of different musicians, and many of the songs can be interpreted as prayers. Greg was surprised to hear such spirituality, but he found the album quite moving. He gives it a Buy It. Jim didn‘t hear as much heaviness on the album. He heard goofball moments as well. Young is looking back at his life, but he’s laughing at himself too, and Jim loves it. He also gives Chrome Dreams II a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 99
Psychedelic PillPsychedelic Pill available on iTunes

Neil Young Psychedelic Pill

It's been a busy 2012 for Neil Young. Not only has he given us a memoir, Waging Heavy Piece, he's also given us two albums. This spring we got the antique folk romp Americana. Now we have Psychedelic Pill- an epic three records' worth of psychedelic guitar from Neil and the band he was born to play with, Crazy Horse. How good a prescription is Psychedelic Pill? Greg's the first to admit there's a lot of flab on this record. But standout tracks like "Ramada Inn" (about an affair gone sour) and "Walk Like a Giant" (in which Neil reflects on the hippie dream) make this record a worthwhile, if lengthy, listen. Greg says Burn It. As much as it pains him, Neil's #1 fan Jim DeRogatis has to disagree. Never has he heard worse lyrics or more self-indulgent guitar from Neil. This record is sprawling in a bad way. Jim says Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 362
Fork In the Road (Deluxe Version)Fork in the Road available on iTunes

Neil Young Fork in the Road

One of rock's greatest lyricists, Neil Young, has a new album out this week called Fork in the Road. Young is not only a talented songwriter, but a quick one, and this album is another one of his fast and dirty social statements. For Greg this sounds like recycled Neil. He wishes the musician had put more time into refining the lyrics, as well as the music. It breaks his heart, but Greg gives Fork in the Road a Trash It. Jim can‘t go that far. He agrees that the lyrics are not impressive, but he is inspired by Young’s energy and passion. He gives the album a Try It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 176
MagicMagic available on iTunes

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Magic

Jim and Greg have been arguing about the merits of this next artist for what seems like a lifetime. And, luckily for us, they aren't tired of it yet. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band are back together for a new record called Magic. The Boss and his band haven‘t always had an easy relationship in their 33-year history, but they decided to take another go at it after 2002’s The Rising, although as Jim explains, the singer/songwriter and the E Street musicians didn‘t spend any actual time together in the studio. And that’s part of the problem for Jim. The effort feels very contrived to him, and he just doesn‘t buy the Springsteen“schtick.”As with most of Springsteen’s songs, the ones on Magic express nostalgia for a golden age that was never that golden. He wishes Bruce had followed suit with his peers, Neil Young and Tom Petty, and expressed political feelings in a bold way. This critic gives Magic a Trash It. Greg thinks Jim completely misunderstood the songs on this record. He prefers not to be“bludgeoned”with ideas, and finds this release to be one of Springsteen's best records in over 25 years. He gives it a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 96
Sky Blue SkySky Blue Sky available on iTunes

Wilco Sky Blue Sky

After much anticipation, Sky Blue Sky, the new album by Wilco, has finally been released. As always band members Jeff Tweedy and John Stirratt are on board, and this time they're also joined by Glenn Kotche, Nels Cline, Mike Jorgensen and Pat Sansone. While their last album, A Ghost Is Born, was fairly experimental, this release is more of a return to form. In fact, Greg describes the record as kind of a“one-trick pony,”but it's a trick he really enjoys. Because the record has been streaming at Wilco's website, many fans have already formed their opinions and are not over the moon about Sky Blue Sky. But the music is so quiet, so intimate that Greg urges listeners to let it sink in more. One might expect musical acrobatics from a guitar wizard like Cline and a master percussionist like Kotche, but their performance is intentionally subtle in order to serve the song. Greg gives Sky Blue Sky and its message of consolation a Buy It. Jim also came to this conclusion, but much later in his listening experience. It took 12 times through for this critic to overcome his expectations of a ferocious, rocking record. But, as he explains, if any artist has earned the right to ask us to listen to something 12 times, it's Jeff Tweedy. Jim notes that this album is representative of a specific time and space for Tweedy and company, one that was very introspective. He wishes that Tweedy had responded more to what's happening in the world around us, and admits that at times, some of the songs can border on tedious. But, because Tweedy is as important an artist as someone like Bob Dylan or Neil Young, Jim thinks it's worth going on any journey the musician invites you on. He also gives the new Wilco a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 76
The Black Swan - SingleThe Black Swan available on iTunes

Bert Jansch The Black Swan

The final album up for review this week is by Scottish folk legend Bert Jansch. The guitarist and songwriter first received attention from fans like Neil Young, Jimmy Page and Sound Opinions guest Donovan, and now, 40 years later, he has finally been signed to an American record label. The Black Swan, released by Chicago-based Drag City, sounds like a classic Jansch record with melancholic tunes and his signature skillful guitar playing. But, there's also some young blood: Devendra Banhart, Beth Orton, and Mazzy Star's Dave Roback all make contributions. Immediately after listening to the track "When the Sun Comes Up," Jim announces that he despises this record. He thinks it is“pretentious boring drivel,”which he“hated to the core of his being.”This critic gives The Black Swan a Trash It. Greg contends that the guitar playing is brilliant and the songs beautiful. He thinks Jim completely missed the point, and gives it a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 51
Le NoiseLe Noise available on iTunes

Neil Young Le Noise

Another musician with impressive career longevity is Neil Young. At 64, he's still trying to reinvent his sound, and with Le Noise he comes out with a "folk-metal" sound. This is a true solo effort, though he did get help from super-producer Daniel Lanois. It's Young's voice and guitar + Lanois‘ effects, and Greg loves the result. While the lyrics are simple, they are really powerful and emotional. It’s one of his best, according to Greg, and deserves a Buy It rating. Jim admits that much of the lyrical content isn‘t new, but it’s done beautifully. And the sound is beautiful. He commends Young's courage and seconds that Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 254
CircuitalCircuital available on iTunes

My Morning Jacket Circuital

My Morning Jacket's new album is Circuital, a nod to the band's desire to return to its roots. The Louisville quintet has a huge touring fan base these days, but their experimentation has sometimes taken them away from their original Neil Young-influenced sound. Greg appreciates their attempt to make a more cohesive album, and he really thought they got it…until he got to side two. Things totally fall apart there, so Greg can only recommend that people Burn It. Jim thinks even that rating is kind. He wonders how cartoonish music has to be to get passed up by the makers of the new Muppet movie. Jim says Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 288
Potato HolePotato Hole available on iTunes

Booker T. Jones Potato Hole

Multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones also has a new album out called Potato Hole. It's a rare solo release from the man behind much of the Stax Records sound. This time around he's joined up with Neil Young and the Drive-By Truckers for a more guitar-centric record. That was problematic for Jim, who wished there was more of a focal point. He gives Potato Hole a Try It. Greg was impressed when he heard about the project's esteemed line-up. But, for him it didn‘t translate to the music. Greg didn’t hear anything persuasive and thinks Booker T. should stick to soul. He gives the album a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 178
The Boxing MirrorThe Boxing Mirror available on iTunes

Alejandro Escovedo The Boxing Mirror

Eno's occasional partner in crime, John Cale, also makes an appearance in this week's show, having produced the latest release from Alejandro Escovedo. The Boxing Mirror is the ninth album from the musician, who can only be described as part-punk, part-country and part-rock. Escovedo grew up admiring the Velvet Underground, and Jim and Greg agree that the match between him and Cale is one made in heaven. Jim has never been a major fan of Escovedo's singer/songwriter style, but he thinks this is his best solo effort, perhaps due to Escovedo's newly found lust for life. He survived a life-threatening outbreak of Hepatitis C a couple years ago, and the music demonstrates that he is indeed very happy to be alive. Greg agrees and compares Escovedo's renewal to that experienced by Neil Young. Both albums give The Boxing Mirror a Buy It and urge fans try to see Escovedo, along with musicians like Susan Voelz, perform live.

JimGreg
Go to episode 23
dijs

Jim

“Powderfinger”Neil Young

Jim took his turn at adding a track to the Desert Island Jukebox as an opportunity to hear more Neil Young. He chooses "Powderfinger" from Young's 1979 album Rust Never Sleeps. As Jim explained in the review segment, many of Young's best songs were on the original, never-released Chrome Dreams, and“Powderfinger”is one of those songs. He considers it a standout in the musician's career for two reasons: the powerful, emotional guitar-playing and the fascinating, albeit enigmatic, lyrics. However you interpret the song, Jim is certain it's one you'll want with you on a deserted island.

Go to episode 99

Jim

“Unknown Legend”Neil Young

The final Desert Island Jukebox pick of the year goes to Mr. DeRogatis. Both Jim and Greg had the pleasure of seeing Neil Young on his recent tour. Jim explains that there has never been a Young misstep live although such is not the case with his recordings. In particular, he was not originally a fan of the 1992 album Harvest Moon. But now he's motivated to give the album and its track "Unknown Legend" a second look. This shift was partly inspired by the use of the song in the new Jonathan Demme film Rachel Getting Married. Lead actor (and TV on the Radio frontman) Tunde Adebimpe sings "Unknown Legend," as part of his character's wedding vows, and Jim came to realize that it's a classic tune in the vein of other Young greats.

Go to episode 161

Greg

“Rockin' in the Free World”Neil Young

In the early days of Saturday Night Live, it was a must see program not only because of the legendary talent like John Belushi, Gilda Radnor and Dan Aykroyd, but also because of the great musical acts. Unfortunately, that dissipated somewhat over the years as musicians were at times limited by restrictions. However Neil Young surpassed excellence with his explosive 1989 performance of "Rockin' in the Free World." Greg tells the story of when he first saw Neil on the show and how excited and drawn in he was. This performance became iconic in the history of television and ended up reinvigorating Neil Young's career.

Go to episode 506
lists

The Best Albums of 2006 (So Far)

While most pop culture mavens wait until the end of the year to tally their favorites, Sound Opinions is so list-crazy, that we've decided to take 2006's half-way mark as an opportunity to take stock. Here are the albums Jim and Greg are loving so far:

Jim DeRogatis:

  1. Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  2. Van Hunt, On the Jungle Floor (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  3. Misson of Burma, The Obliterati (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  4. Wolfmother, Wolfmother (Interscope)
  5. The Bellrays, Have a Little Faith (Cheap Lullaby)
  6. Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Downtown) (hear Jim and Greg's interview with Art Brut)
  7. Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit (Matador) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  8. Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  9. Dilated Peoples, 20/20 (Capitol)
  10. Alejandro Escovedo, The Boxing Mirror (Back Porch Records) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  11. The Flaming Lips, At War with the Mystics (Warner Bros.) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  12. Grandaddy, Just Like the Fambly Cat (V2) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  13. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat (Team Love) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  14. Prince, 3121 (Universal/Motown) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  15. The Raconteurs, Broken Boy Soldiers (V2) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  16. Secret Machines, Ten Silver Drops (Reprise) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  17. The Strokes, First Impressions of Earth (RCA) (hear Greg's original review and interview with Julian Casablancas)
  18. The Subways, Young for Eternity (Sire)
  19. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, Under the Covers Vol. 1 (Shout Factory)
  20. Neil Young, Living with War (Reprise) (hear Jim and Greg's original review)

Greg Kot (in no particular order):

  1. Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll (hear Jim and Greg's interview with Art Brut)
  2. Love is All, Nine Times That Same Song
  3. Ghostface Killah, Fishscale (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  4. Neil Young, Living With War (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  5. Dirty on Purpose, Hallelujah Sirens
  6. Parts and Labor, Stay Afraid
  7. Alejandro Escovedo, The Boxing Mirror (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  8. Mission of Burma, The Obliterati (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  9. Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  10. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Rabbit Furcoat (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  11. Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  12. Anthony Hamilton, Ain‘t Nobody Worryin’ (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  13. Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
  14. Midlake, The Trials of Van Occupanther
  15. Van Hunt, On the Jungle Floor (hear Jim and Greg's original review)
Go to episode 31

The Best Albums of 2010

It's the moment all music fans wait for…the end of the year best-of list!

Go to episode 263

Rock's Best Lead-Off Tracks

This week's show is dedicated to the true rock geeks out there. Continuing in the tradition of "Track 1, Side 1" Jim and Greg take the discussion into the post-vinyl age. What songs best kick-off an album? Here are their picks for the best Lead-Off Tracks of all time:

Go to episode 92

Murder Songs for Halloween

With Halloween looming large, Jim and Greg are feeling a bit morbid. They've got Murder on the brain. Here are their favorite“killer”tunes:

Go to episode 412

Turkey Shoot 2015

It's time for the annual Sound Opinions Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot! Each year, Jim and Greg serve up their biggest musical turkeys of the year with a hefty glob of cranberry sauce. They share the albums that they had high hopes for, but ended up letting them down.

Go to episode 521

Best of 2006: Listeners' Picks

Jim and Greg sounded off on the best albums of 2006 a few weeks ago, and this week it is the listeners' turn. Sound Opinions H.Q. received many calls and emails telling us what Jim and Greg got wrong, what Jim and Greg got right, and what some other great albums were. During this show we hear from just a few of you.

  • John from West Virginia called in to take Jim to task on his choice of Neil Young's Living With War as one of the best albums of the year. He found it to be just terrible and one of the worst albums of the year. But he didn't disagree with everything, stating that he also really enjoyed Lily Allen.
  • Carl emailed his“Top 40”of the year: a very extensive list with great descriptions of each album. His number 1 album was by The Decemberists, but Greg asks Carl to explain why he chose Night Ripper by Girl Talk as another one of his favorites. He says it's“perfect for the no-attention span generation,”and adds that it“kicks ass.”We couldn't agree more.
  • Matt also wrote in with his five favorite albums. On that list were many alt-country bands like The Drams, the Drive-by-Truckers and Glossary. He and Jim also agree that The Raconteurs had one of the best albums of the year. Matt explains that one of the reasons Broken Boy Soldiers is so successful is that it is so concise: 10 songs all averaging three minutes. The short attention span of a listener is something Matt and Jim both agree is still an important consideration in the post-vinyl era.

Thanks to everyone who gave us his or her "Sound Opinion"!

Go to episode 59

End of Summer Songs

Labor Day Weekend is here and it's the last gasp of days at the pool, outdoor barbecues and fun in the sun. As fall starts to set in we say goodbye to the sunny season with our End of the Summer playlist.

Go to episode 562

The Best Songs of 2007 - Mixtapes

Jim and Greg present their Mixtapes for 2007. Check out the track listing below.

Go to episode 109

Favorite Culinary-Inspired Songs

To cap off this show, Jim and Greg run through their favorite culinary-inspired songs. All of them are either about food, inspired by food, or simply name foods, and all of them certainly rock.

Go to episode 187

Songs About Dad

Rock and roll is filled with father figures–some dear dads and some deadbeat dads. But the male parent doesn't get nearly as much song time as Mom. So in honor of Father's Day, Jim and Greg decide to give the fathers some. Here are their favorite Songs About Dad.

Go to episode 289

Turkey Shoot 2009

Every year Jim and Greg celebrate Thanksgiving with the Sound Opinions Turkey Shoot. They take out the year's biggest musical turkeys-albums from normally great artists that fell flat. Hope you're hungry…here are six turkeys for your feast.

Go to episode 209

First Love Songs

Being such romantics, our hosts love to do Valentine's Day shows. However, sometimes the themes are less -than romantic-Unconventional Love or Love Stinks. But this year is all about the sweet, innocent and sometimes terrifying feelings of First Love. Here are their tracks:

Go to episode 324

Unconventional Love Songs

It's easy to get overloaded with sugar on Valentine's Day, especially when it comes to love songs. So Jim and Greg welcome an antidote: Unconventional Love Songs. Here are their favorite, slightly off-kilter love songs.

  • The Byrds, "Triad"
  • Concrete Blonde, "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)"
  • Velvet Underground, "Venus in Furs"
  • The Beatles, "Happiness Is a Warm Gun"
  • Black Sabbath, "Sweet Leaf"
  • Alice in Chains, "Junkhead"
  • Lester Bangs & The Delinquents, "I'm In Love with My Walls"
  • Neil Young, "Will to Love"
Go to episode 168

Best of 2006

Jim

  1. Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Listen to the band's appearance on the show)
  2. Lily Allen, Alright, Still (Listen to the original review)
  3. Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere (Listen to the original review)
  4. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife (Listen to the original review, or listen to lead singer Colin Meloy's appearance on the show)
  5. Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor (Listen to the original review)
  6. Grandaddy, Just Like the Fambly Cat (Listen to the original review, or listen to front man Jason Lytle's appearance on the show)
  7. Neil Young, Living with War
  8. Peaches, Impeach My Bush (Listen to the original review)
  9. The Dresden Dolls, Yes, Virginia…
  10. Rhymefest, Blue Collar (Listen to Rhymefest's appearance on the show)
  11. Cursive, Happy Hollow (Listen to the original review)
  12. Beck, The Information (Listen to the original review)
  13. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat (Listen to the original review, or listen to the band's appearance on the show)
  14. Van Hunt, On the Jungle Floor (Listen to the original review)
  15. The Raconteurs, Broken Boy Soldiers (Listen to the original review)
  16. Mission of Burma, The Obliterati (Listen to the original review, listen to the band's appearance on the show)
  17. Tom Petty, Highway Companion (Listen to the original review)
  18. Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Listen to the original review)
  19. Secret Machines, Ten Silver Drops (Listen to the original review)
  20. Album Leaf, Into the Blue Again

Greg

  1. TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain (Listen to the original review)
  2. Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury (Listen to the original review)
  3. Mission of Burma, The Obliterati (Listen to the original review, listen to the band's appearance on the show)
  4. Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat (Listen to the original review, or listen to the band's appearance on the show)
  5. Midlake, The Trials of Van Occupanther
  6. Ghostface Killah, Fishscale (Listen to the original review)
  7. Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Listen to the band's appearance on the show)
  8. Girl Talk, Night Ripper
  9. Parts and Labor, Stay Afraid
  10. Lupe Fiasco, Food and Liquor (Listen to the original review)
  11. M. Ward, Post-War (Listen to the original review)
  12. Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Listen to the original review)
  13. Love is All, Nine Times that Same Song
  14. Rhymefest, Blue Collar (Listen to Rhymefest's appearance on the show)
  15. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife (Listen to the original review, or listen to lead singer Colin Meloy's appearance on the show)
  16. Mastodon, Blood Mountain (Listen to the original review)
  17. Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere (Listen to the original review)
  18. Tom Waits, Orphans (Listen to the original review)
  19. Lily Allen, Alright, Still (Listen to the original review)
  20. Cursive, Happy Hollow (Listen to the original review)
Go to episode 54

Rock Operas

For many music fans, when you hear "Rock Opera," you probably think of The Who's 1969 album Tommy. But, Jim and Greg assert that Tommy is neither the first, nor the best, Rock Opera. Credit for the first goes to S.F. Sorrow by The Pretty Things in 1968. Credit for the best? Well, there's a long list throughout music history, including those listed below. But whatever your favorite, just don't call it a concept album!

  • The Who's Quadrophenia
  • Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  • Green Day's American Idiot
  • Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger
  • Janelle Monae's The Archandroid
  • The Pretty Things's S.F. Sorrow
  • The Kinks' Arthur
  • Lou Reed's Berlin
  • David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust
  • Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall
  • The Decemberists' Crane Wife
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Greendale
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar

Share your favorite at 888.859.1800, at interact@soundopinions.org or on Facebook and Twitter.

Go to episode 455
news

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

While CD sales are down, vinyl sales are up this year, and labels are looking to cash in on this trend. A number of major artists, from Coldplay to The Raconteurs, are releasing vinyl versions of their albums. Jim and Greg talk with Tom Biery, a VP at Warner Bros./Reprise who is heading up the label's vinyl initiative. Tom explains that the resurgence there really began with Neil Young. The veteran WB artist explained to label executives how important sound still is, and that sparked something with Tom. Now a number of major albums are being re-released in high-quality vinyl, and according to Biery, it's not just the audiophiles who are buying.

Even though CD sales continue to plummet, new research is showing that major label artists can remain successful. Eric Garland is the co-founder of Big Champagne Online Media Measurement, which researches piracy and file-sharing sites. Jim and Greg talk with Eric about how distributors are facing the facts of the digital era and looking for ways in which they can use leaks to the industry's advantage. Leaks can even be viewed as promotional tools today, Nas‘ manager believes that the latest leak has helped the rapper’s new album, which Jim and Greg review later in the show. Evidence shows that the artists that have the highest album sales also see the most illegal downloads. Eric admits that piracy isn't the only factor in the consistent drop of CD sales, suggesting that alternate forms of media may take a priority today; competitive products like video games and DVDs are more popular now than ever.

Go to episode 138

Music News

Taylor Swift dominated 2014 with her album 1989, selling 3.6 million copies and narrowly beating out Disney's Frozen for the top spot. With only four records achieving platinum status, not even Queen Bey made the cut this year. 2014 also saw a change in how consumers listened to music, as streaming increased 54% and vinyl sales were at their highest since 1991.

Just when people thought they "forgot about Dre", it turns out he was the highest paid musician of 2014 according to Forbes. Dr. Dre made $620 million before taxes, which can be attributed to his success with Beats headphones and collaboration with Apple. In second place is Beyoncé. Rounding out the top five are boomer acts The Eagles, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen.

For the first time in UK chart history, the ten best-selling albums of the year were British acts. Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Coldplay and One Direction all held prominent places on the list, perhaps signaling that there is another British invasion on the way.

vx2 Sony is reintroducing the Walkman to give music enthusiasts a new old obsession. This Walkman has 128 GB of memory and 60 hours of battery life, and the device is competing with Neil Young's Pono, another high-fidelity music player. Young says his device does not do anything but play music and argues that is what it all should be about.

Go to episode 476

Music News

Go to episode 596

Music News

Last weekend was the famous Eurovision Song Contest, the“World Cup”of music. A fixture in Europe since 1968, past winners include ABBA, Celine Dion and Katrina and the Waves. Eurovision never fails to feature weird music and geopolitical controversy, and this year was no exception. Singer Jamala from Ukraine beat out Australia and Russia for the top prize. Russia was irked by Jamala's song choice, a track called "1944," about Stalin's exile of the Crimean Tatar population – with obvious connections to today's crisis in Ukraine. Better the countries fight via silly pop songs than actual guns, Jim argues.

Get your sunscreen, hats, and wallets out for the first Desert Trip! The new music festival will be held in the same location as Coachella, and with its septuagenarian lineup, it quickly acquired the nickname "Oldchella." Desert Trip will feature six major acts from the 1960s rock scene: The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who. Ticket sales have already exceeded a record $150 million – thanks to ticket prices reaching into the thousands. That's not to mention the $6,500 resort packages. Jim thinks that for that price, they ought to air condition the desert.

Go to episode 547

Music News

With Black Friday kicking off the official holiday shopping season, Jim and Greg offer gift recommendations for the music lover in your life. Jim's been known to rail against Capitol records' flagrant re-issuing and re-re-issuing of the Beatles catalogue. But even he's been seduced by the label's new Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set. If your giftee is more of a Pink Floyd type, consider the band's Reflections and Echoes DVD box set, chock full of rare interview footage. Greg goes literary with his first pick. In a year that saw big rock biographies from Neil Young and Pete Townshend, he recommends David Bryne's under-the-radar How Music Works - a book that's part memoir, part meditation on the musician's craft. As for music, he recommends the new Bill Withers box set, The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums.

Go to episode 365

Music News

While pop divas like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have impressive strategic plans for their upcoming albums, news from Beyonce's camp suggest things are more chaotic over there. Sources told the Hollywood Reporter she recently scrapped 50 songs and is starting over, despite having the promotional push of the Superbowl and a world tour.

Is it fair to say Jack White's an all-around good guy? First, he may have donated money to a Detroit baseball field. Then he pitches in to save the city's historic Masonic Temple. And now he's made a generous $200,000 donation to the National Recording Preservation Foundation. Three cheers for this former guest!

Influential guitar player and songwriter J.J. Cale died this week at age 74. Countless musicians have covered Cale over the years, from Captain Beefheart to Neil Young. And to honor him, Jim and Greg play one of Young's favorites, "Crazy Mama."

Go to episode 401