Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:24 pm
The physical environment surrounding a band can have a pronounced influence on the songs said band produces, whether it's a sunny beach in Malibu or a craggy, wind-swept hillside in Scotland.
Given that Yukon Blonde calls Vancouver home, it wouldn't be surprising if the group's music took some cues from the perpetually rainy skies that settle over the city every winter. Perhaps as escapism, though, the songs written by Jeff Innes, Brandon Scott, Graham Jones and John Jeffrey have an inherently sunny quality to them, drawing heavily from 1970s American radio-rock.
As you probably heard by now, the great sitar player Ravi Shankar died yesterday at the age of 92. His music arrived in most American ears thanks to George Harrison and the Beatles, whose interest triggered something of a sitar craze back in the late '60s. Harrison played the exotic instrument on a couple of tracks. The Rolling Stones followed suit on "Paint It Black." The electric sitar soon followed. But Ravi Shankar remained the unchallenged master. But what do I know? He's the only Indian-born sitar player I ever heard.
Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 9:06 am
When news spread about an Afghan Whigs reunion tour, we knew we had to have the band on KCRW. The group showed no signs of rust from a 10-year hiatus, playing powerful soul ballads propelled by straight-up rock 'n' roll riffs. It was an honor and a real pleasure to host Greg Dulli and company as they performed a set covering a wide range of their catalog, including "Fountain and Fairfax" from the band's widely worshiped 1993 album Gentlemen.
How do you inject a Celtic core into your music library that will reflect the past and present, honoring the purity of tradition and the spirit of innovation? It's a tall order but we have some suggestions this week to enhance any collection.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Ke$ha uses a dollar-sign instead of an "s" in the middle of her stage name. It's one of those gestures that's meant to bait her detractors — suggesting before anyone else does that she's only in it for the money. It turns out, though, that like pop stars ranging from Madonna on back to Chuck Berry, Ke$ha wants it both ways: mass-audience success and artistic acknowledgment. For Ke$ha, that's what her album title Warrior means: She's fighting a war on multiple fronts.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:57 pm
Every year as I make my lists of best releases, I feel like that cartoon bodybuilder at the beach, ridiculously flexing in hopes of gaining some fluttery attention. How silly! My ego is all wrapped up in proving my superior powers of discernment, and here's the big competition, where my picks prove that I have more muscle than than my peers. Some years defeat the critic's effort to show off, however: consensus is so strong about a few releases that we all have to strike the same adoring poses.