Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Killers Sawdust Rewards Listeners

The Killers- "Sawdust"

The Killers third release, a collection of previously unreleased songs and B sides, increases the bands' potential for staying power on the cultural landscape. A feat difficult for many bands that, like The Killers, have been blessed with such early, instant success. Too often they fade quickly into obscurity, becoming forgotten one hit wonders. This album may not be full of brand new material but what is there measures up to the best of their previous work.

However, with this release it could be argued that, until proven otherwise, The Killers best work remains in the past. Their sophomore effort being a disappointment. But it also proves that they are capable of producing more than just one or two catchy songs and then disappearing.

There may be no anthemic, massive crossover hits such as "Somebody Told Me" or "Mr. Brightside" on this album. Something that The Killers attempted on their 2nd release and failed miserably in trying. Bombastic attempts at Springsteenish epics have wisely been jettisoned here. And that's ok. The lowering of the expectation to produce a huge hit just may be the right climate for The Killers to give us their creative best.

Songs "All the Pretty Faces" and "Under The Gun" are signature Killers with with foreboding themes, driving beats, dark bass line undercurrents and synth sounds. "Sweet Talk" would be at home on a U2 album with its "Mysterious Ways" percussion, message of spiritual redemption and lead singer Brandon Flowers channeling Bono's falsetto.

The Killer's take on Joy Division's "Shadowplay" is a worthy tribute to New Wave heroes Joy Division. And covering the Kenny Rogers' classic, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" shows a willingness to take a shot at their own self importance- something many people doubted The Killers had the ability to do.

The Sawdust collection is impressive and leaves us looking forward to the next Killers creation.

Thumbs Up!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Free Live Music!

Free Live Music is now available from NPR on iTunes!

Entire concerts can be downloaded for free on iTunes from "NPR: Live Concerts From All Songs Considered".

Featured artists include Arctic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, OK Go, Neko Case, Belle & Sebastian, Arcade Fire, The Frames, Bjork, Peter Bjorn and John, Death Cab For Cutie, Nick Lowe, Iron And Wine, Spoon, Travis, Broken Social Scene and more, more, more!

Download them before they change their minds, it doesn't get better than FREE!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why The 80s Were Better

A recent debate on the merits of New Wave music brought up some comparisons to the current music scene. 80s inspired Rock seemed to be painted from a palette with more colors available than today's over-hyped, "cutting edge" acts can display.

From New Romanticism to Rockabilly to Ska to Punk, many diverse sounds and influences were represented, accompanied by a spectrum of subject matter and feelings. The spooky strangeness of Talking Heads, the politically charged, raw spirit of The Clash, even the tongue-in-cheek, debonair posings of Spandau Ballet all helped create a diversity that made radio fun to listen to.

By comparison, it seems that popular alternative music now is more one dimensional, mostly emo or thrash, Blink 182 clones or Nirvana wannabes. It's less about rebellion and more about being a whiny victim. Things are oh so serious now. The fun irreverence of bands like B-52s, Go-Go's and Sparks is completely missing. Along with irony and a sense of humor.

The emotional range in New Wave music is what sets it apart and continues to make it appealing. Sure, anger and lust were there as they always are. As were many other subtle and not so subtle tones of displacement, irreverence, kitsch, alienation, loneliness, love, heartbreak, romance, elegance, futurism and downright wackyness.

If MTV darlings My Chemical Romance is the best this generation has to offer, something has gone horribly wrong.