Archive: November, 2011
African desert nomads Tinariwen made their way to Stephen Colbert's Comedy Central studios on the west side of Manhattan yesterday, where they performed with Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio. Performance and interview below. My review of this month's Tinariwen show at the Troc is here.
The Grammy nominations were announced on Wednesday night, with British singer Adele, producer and pop singer Bruno Mars and Eau Claire, Wisconsin indie band Bon Iver - the surprise choice - each pulling in nominations in three of the four major categories revealed in a live telecast on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Adele - whose last name is Adkins - is up for a total of six Grammys, all stemming from her commercial blockbuster of a sophomore release, 21.
But though he received only one in the major categories - a song of the year nod for "All Of The Lights" from last year's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West was the night's top nomination getter with seven, with most coming for Watch The Throne, his collaborative album with Jay-Z.
Philadelphia band Dr. Dog is back in action. Last week, the sextet did a surprise gig at Kung Fu Necktie in Fishtown, and their new album, Be The Void, which was recorded at their Meth Beach studio in Kensington, is due February 7 on Anti-. On one spin, it sounds like a keeper, a fuzzed-out psyched-up tinkering with the band's timelessly catchy retro-rock sound. Today the Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman fronted group announced a U.S. tour that will commence on February 1 in Columbus, Ohio and come to a close with two shows at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on March 24 and 25. Below is the video for the deceptively jaunty first single, "That Old Black Hole," in which McMicken spins on the treadmill and does his best to skirt the abyss: "I don't want to fight, but I'm constantly ready / I don't rock the boat, but it's always unsteady."
The Roots' new album, Undun, comes out next Tuesday. As of today, the song cycle about the life and death of the fictional Redford Stephens is streaming in its entirety over at NPR Music. The album cover photo is by Jamel Shabazz. Click here to hear it. Look for my review in Sunday's Inquirer Arts & Entertainment section and on philly.com.
Saratoga Springs' loss is Philadelphia's gain. Apparently, the good people of upstate New York have long laid claim to Don McLean's "American Pie," which first charted 40 years ago this week and was long believed to be have been written on a series of napkins in the town's Tin & Lint bar, during a time period when he was a regular at the music venue Caffe Lena.
But now the truth can be told. In an interview with the Post-Star of Glen Falls New York - winners of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize - McLean dashed the hopes of Saratoga Springers this weekend when he revealed that he actually wrote the eight and half minute perennial bar singalong about the 1959 plane crash death of Buddy Holly in - well take a wild guess.
"Was the song written in Saratoga Springs?," McLean rhetorically asked a Post-Star reporter. "The answer is no. The song was written in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania... That is from the horse's mouth that's exactly what happened."
Rest in peace to Ken Russell, the 84 year old British director of Tommy, Women In Love and, more importantly, The Lair Of The White Worm, who died today. The almost always over-the-top Brit received the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema's Phantasmagoria Award in 2002. Besides The Who's Tommy (which, truth be told, was not a good movie), he also directed Roger Daltrey in the forgettably baroque Lisztomania, which shares a title with the terrific 2009 breakthrough hit for the French pop band Phoenix. a.d. amorosi's interview with Russell from the 2002 Inquirer is here. My colleague's Steven Rea's most excellent appreciation of the director and sometime actor, which will appear in tomorrow Inquirer, is here. Watch Ann Margret - who's pictured with Daltrey and Oliver Reed, get covered in baked beans in Tommy here, and see Amanda Donahoe and Hugh Grant in the Lair of The White Worm trailer below.
Earlier this month, British folk-rock John Wesley Harding and his band The King Charles Trio came to Range Recording studios in Ardmore for an In The Mix Live session in support of the Philadelphia-based JWH's excellent new album The Sound Of His Own Voice. In this configuration, The King Charles Trio was a quintet, featuring Scott McCaughey plus Jenny Conlee-Drizos, John Moen, Chris Funk and Nate Query, all of Portland, Oregon's The Decemberists.
At Range, Harding - who also writes novels, the most recent of which is the high entertaining classical music thriller Charles Jessold, Considered As A Murderer, under his given name, Wesley Stace - also sat for an interview with me, and did a live video chat with fans on philly.com. A truncated version of the interview, which ran in Wednesday's Inquirer, is here. The archived chat with the witty Renaissance man (and Arsenal fan), who plays the New Hope Winery on Dec. 9, is here. JWH and the KCT doing The Sound Of His Voice's "There's A Starbucks (Where The Starbucks Used To Be)," a droll and incisive "Big Yellow Taxi" for the gentified new millenium, is below. Two more videos are available exclusively on the apps for the Inquirer for iPad and the Inquirer Arnova tablet. Look for more from the session on Philly.com next week.
From Big Star and I to you, thank you friends. I'm so grateful for the things you helped me do. Happy thanksgiving, everybody.