music

Werewolves of Kid Rock

Skynyrd, sure, but don't forget Warren Zevon.

Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” looks like the monster summer hit of 2008. In today’s compartmentalized market for pop music, this song is big in a lot of compartments. The lyrics reminisce about a summer when he was young, and the girlfriend he had then, and how they would all sing “Sweet Home Alabama” a lot. Like “Sweet Home Alabama,” the song’s chords are half a bar of D, half a bar of C, and a bar of G, repeated with no variation throughout…

Pavarotti duets

Lou Reed? James Brown? The Spice Girls?

My small appreciation for opera focuses more on specific composers like Alban Berg and Puccini than on singers, but WFMU’s Beware of the Blog led me to an interesting Pavarotti duet, and YouTube showed me that it was one of a truly strange collection. For example, there is the goofy and gimmicky: with Barry White. The less goofy, but still gimmicky (and I’m a bigger fan of Lou’s than of anyone else mentioned on this page): with Lou Reed. Strangely powerful and moving: with…

Roy Head's "Treat Her Right"

Somersaulting off the stage—in a buttoned-up double-breasted suit.

Texan Roy Head had several small and regional hits and one really big one: “Treat Her Right”, a single that was second only to the Beatles' “Yesterday” at its peak on the U.S. charts. The chorus doesn’t come until the very end, but what a chorus, and it’s well worth the wait through the long slow burn leading up to it. The song remains an R&B standard for many bar bands, at least among the hipper ones.

The Nazz: "Open My Eyes"

Vintage rockin' psychedelia.

When I was a teenager, Todd Rundgren had his one big hit, “Hello It’s Me”. Combining pop, jazz, and so-called “progressive rock” usually results in a self-indulgent mess instead of good pop music, but he hit the balance right for this one.

Buying the new Radiohead album

The price? "IT'S UP TO YOU"

If you follow the news of either hi-tech media or music, you already know that Radiohead is selling their new album “In Rainbows” to customers online for whatever they want to pay. A deluxe boxed set is also available for a fixed price of 40 pounds.

The 13th Floor Elevators

Lip-syncing at a pool party!

When people started retroactively applying the term “psychedelic punk” in the late seventies, the late sixties Texas band the 13th Floor Elevators were among the first to earn the title. Tom Verlaine’s band Television covered “Fire Engine” live, but the Texas band’s most well-known song (mostly because of the Nuggets compilation that everyone had) was “You’re Gonna Miss Me”. I’m not sure whether it’s annoying or just trippier that…

David Bowie on Dinah Shore

The Thin White Duke in his prime with a great band.

While I’ve sworn that I would never write about my new favorite album in this weblog—if I think that the White Stripes' latest album is even better than Get Behind Me Satan, what do you care?—but at the recent XML Summer School in Oxford Norm Walsh convinced me that more coverage of non-technical topics is a good thing. A few recent Tim Bray postings convinced me that it’s worthwhile to point at great musical performances on YouTube that people don’t know about. While…