In case you’ve been sleeping (or ignoring those trending Facebook items like a good, red-blooded whatever nationality you are), rock god, virtuoso, musical authority, and in no way, shape or form, a mere cunning businessman who played rock ‘n’ roll to the tune of inflating his bank account, Gene Simmons (not to be confused with fitness guru Richard Simmons) declared rock music dead in an interview with Esquire magazine. While Ace Frehly (official doctor of rock medicine) declined to provide a time of death, he did pander a bit about his recent solo album. Which is more than Mr. Simmons can do. Meanwhile, Simmons, in his coroner’s report, officially declared that lack of funding was the ultimate cause of death.
We'd bury it in a KISS casket, but it can't afford it
According to Simmons’ reports, it would seem that none of the many rock and metal bands rising up through the modern day miracle of free, online publicity and simplicity of self-recording/releasing made an impact in attempting to revive the presently deceased genre. In fact, said modern realities were glossed over in acknowledging that rock died because “no one will pay you to do it.” The deceased bands counted in Simmons’ toll number in the tens of thousands, many of which will have to be told to cease touring and producing music due to the recent death of their genre. Many do not expect this news to be easily received and believe…
Rock veterans Wilco recently left Nonesuch Records to start their own label, and with that comes, of course, another new Wilco release. “I Might” is the first single off it, initially available only to those who picked up a copy at the band’s Solid Sound Music Festival in Massachusetts but thanks to the magic of the Internet now available here online for everyone. The band’s eighth proper album, tentatively titled The Whole Love is set for a September release.
The track itself has a driving acoustic melody with a thick bass that reminds me a bit of “I Am A Wheel’s” hook minus the adrenaline, but the track is about what you’d expect from Wilco at this stage in their career: enjoyable, light, dare I say happy. It may veer a bit closely towards “dad-rock” for those who didn’t really enjoy Wilco (The Album) but if you like joyful Jeff Tweedy over depressed, pill-popping Jeff Tweedy, than you’ll be even more excited for the upcoming record.
Friends, family and complete strangers often ask me where the best place is to start discovering the work of Wildhearts frontman Ginger. Usually I’ll say something like “Earth vs. the Wildhearts” or “P.H.U.Q.” Occasionally I’ll throw out a “Valor del Corazon.” One time I even said “Yoni“!
There have been a couple of Wildhearts compilations over the years, and a raft of live recordings that could easily double for best ofs, but until now there’s never been an proper retrospective of the solo output of South Shields’ finest export since Phil Brown.
Celebrating a decade as a solo performer, 10 contains tracks from Ginger’s three solo albums, various singles and side-project Silverginger 5, as well as two brand new tracks: ‘No Way Out But Through’ and ‘This Too Shall Pass.’ Luckily, 16 tracks just isn’t enough, hence 10 (Two): a free digital compilation featuring ten tracks that didn’t make the cut.
Here’s my personal pick of the bunch: ‘The Drunken Lord of Everything,’ from 2005’s grammatically-dodgy Valor del Corazon.
10 is out now on iTunes and in record stores. 10 (Two) is free for download from Bandcamp.
As far as rock bands go, they don’t really come any more profit-oriented than KISS.
It’s decades now since the New York glam pioneers cottoned onto the idea, first articulated by the Rolling Stones, that nostalgia is the true money pit, that unabashedly playing the hits year-on-year to the same audience is a far more profitable well than the whole “recording new music” deal. In the last decade, the KISS and the Stones have released no fewer than two full albums between them, suggesting recorded music may not be a priority for them.
Which makes it all the more unusual that Gene Simmons, The Demon himself, continually manages to get himself caught up in disputes with illegal downloaders. Granted, he has a lot of albums in the can, but very few of them are actually sold in record stores, and it’s difficult to imagine the torrent sites buzzing with excitement over the latest 320kbps rip of Hot in the Shade or Revenge. You’d feel he might be better off leaving the record sales to the people who make records and stick to the pursuit of the midlife crisis dolla.
This week, though, he’s managed to outdo himself. Not only has he continued to voice his support for suing illegal filesharers (an approach even the RIAA has abandoned), he’s threatened to sue Anonymous – yes, the online community of teenage bigots and paedophiles – and have it/them jailed for launching a brute force Denial of Service attack on…
You know, something has only just occurred to me. After the respective falls of France, Italy, and England, there was plenty of talk on football websites about the dominance of South America at this tournament, with their representatives in the quarter finals totalling half the draw. And yet, the tables have turned dramatically – European teams have put an end to Brazil and Argentina’s hope in emphatic style, while an admittedly impressive Paraguay couldn’t do enough to take Spain out and the continent’s lone remaining team, Uruguay, needed the Hand of God II to even have the chance to beat Ghana on penalties.
And to think, back when Mexico and Uruguay qualified from Group A at the expense of 2006’s beaten finalists France, it all looked so rosy. It was only a spot of continental in-fighting with Argentina that stopped Mexico’s impressive run – one so incredible that it even managed to make Giovani dos Santos look like a professional footballer.
In case you’d forgotten that he played for Ipswich, here’s proof.
Since they border America, you would expect that plenty of Mexican acts have found favour there – intriguingly, that’s not the case, as most of the acts that have crossed the border from the Mexican charts to the American ones have been from elsewhere in South America, be that Columbia (Shakira), Spain (Julio Iglesias), or Puerto Rico (Ricky Martin). The one clear and obvious exception to that is Carlos Santana, the man behind one of the biggest…
Time for a breather? Girlfriends and wives the world over are suddenly breathing a sigh of relief this sunny day, as for the first time in three weeks, there isn’t a single World Cup game taking place. For me, that’s a handy opportunity to go back and pick through the wreckage of the teams who’ve already found themselves eliminated and wonder why my predictions were so woeful (considering I’ve already written about Paraguay, Ghana, and Uruguay, and they’re going strong for now). Then again, at least I’m not the only person in England who’s put in a woeful performance this summer!
Fabio Capello reacts to Rooney losing the ball yet again.
Trying to pinpoint one piece of music that completely encapsulates everything about a country is impossible unless you’ve spent a significant portion of your life living there, which is why I haven’t done it yet. England, however, is another matter, so I hereby present to you the single most English piece of music in history. You want camp? You want a pompous and slightly lily-livered sense of pride? You want a romantic view of the rolling hills of the countryside painted by people who’ve never actually lived there? You want a bunch of drunken yobs chanting meaningless crap at each other in large groups? Elgar’s got the goods. Why the hell isn’t this our national anthem?!
So where do we find Englishness specifically in popular music? Well, here’s an interesting, if flawed thought; in a recent…
As the World Cup moves into the second round, it’s going to be interesting to see which of the over-performing minnows will continue to impress. Hosts South Africa have already fluffed their audition, finding themselves on the end of a 3-0 spanking by Uruguay, but it remains to be seen how teams like North Korea will hold up. Greece – champions of Europe as recently as 2004, let’s not forget – will be a special case indeed, because right now, they hold the record as the only team ever to play in the World Cup without scoring a single goal. It’s a deeply unwelome record, of course – it remains to be seen whether they will break that duck against Nigeria today or – welp – Argentina next week.
Don’t worry, it’s not actually Chris de Burgh.
The wunderkind of Greek music is unquestionably Vangelis. For all the movie-score cheese he’s been guilty of (look me in the eye and honestly tell me the theme from “Chariots of Fire” doesn’t make you cringe), he deserves to be regarded alongside Jean Michele-Jarre as one of the lynchpins of a very early form of adult-friendly electronica, and a progenitor of much of the new age and ambient music since. As you probably already know, his crowning achievement is his score for the sci-fi-film-noir epic Blade Runner.
To pick up on Vangelis is a stunning obvious move, though, so let’s look elsewhere….
You know, there used to be a time when the words ‘Uruguay’ and ‘World Cup’ went together like ‘Billy Corgan’ and ‘whiny bitch’. They both hosted and won the first one, in 1930, before hopping over the border to Brazil and gazumping them in their final in 1952. All this and two Olympic golds in the ’20s, too. They’re a shadow of their former selves now, though; largely relying on the skills of two gifted frontmen, one of whom looks not entirely unlike Simon Amstell.
So, who’s your favourite McFly?
Not unlike football, Uruguay’s music has tended to be overshadowed by that of its much larger neighbours, Brazil. Yet it had its own version of tropicalia, running concurrently to the Brazilian psychedelic revolutionaries, and the biggest name was in that was Eduardo Mateo. Finding an English-language equivalent for Mateo is difficult; he was an enfant terrible of the nation’s music scene, who was rumoured to struggle with mental health issues, and yet he became arguably the most influential musician the country had ever produced. The below track comes from his 1976 collaboration with Montevido born percussionist Jorge Trasante; a record recorded after both musicians were exiled from the country by the government-imposed period of martial law that ravaged the nation in the mid-’70s.
Before Mateo’s blend of rock, traditional Latin-American folk forms, and psych, though, there was the Uruguayan invasion – which is exactly what it sounds like. After The…