• Do We Really Need a Reunion from The Culture Club?

    Boy George

    Boy George

    The ‘80s are revisiting again and again with bands like Duran Duran releasing a new album as well as flashback tours by the likes of OMD, Gang of Four, Spandau Ballet and countless others.  Mega producer Mark Ronson (whose sister is none other than celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson) just produced Duran Duran’s latest release “All You Need is Now” which drops March 22nd.  He has also produced and written a new track for George Alan O’Dowd, aka Boy George, called “Somebody to Love Me” which is the rave across the pond.  There is also talk that Ronson is going to produce and write songs for a new Culture Club album with a tour to follow.  Look for the video to “Somebody to Love Me” which stars actress Diane Kruger playing the part of Boy George in a flashback of what his life was during Culture Club’s heyday in 1982.

    Contributed by Alex Espinosa

  • Greatest Unsigned Band

    rolling stone logoWhen it comes to the thousands and thousands of bands out there who are struggling for that one chance, Rolling Stone Magazine might have a solution.  This week, the popular publication announced a contest in search of the Greatest Unsigned Band in America.  It has already been narrowed down to 16 bands hailing  from New York to Seattle and everywhere in between.  If you’re like me and love to go out and see local bands play their hearts out, this is a big deal for those up for the honor.  The prizes for the winner are pretty impressive as well, starting out with a recording contact with Atlantic Records.  Then, they’ll perform on the coveted late show “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” as well as getting a spot on the sold out Bonnaroo Festival that takes place June 9-12 in Manchester, Tennessee.  Last but not least, they will be the first unsigned band or artist to ever adorn the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

    Vote Now: http://www.rollingstone.com/choosethecover

    Contributed by Alex Espinosa

  • Motown Goes to Washington

    White HouseThe White House adds soul to this month’s Black History Month celebration with Motown’s most popular acts. The event broadcasts on PBS March 1st with performances by Smokey Robinson, Sheryl Crow and John Legend in keeping with Michelle Obama’s dedication to music and arts education.

    “In Performance at the White House” is a series of performances that has spanned the music range and included a Broadway celebration, Thelonius Monk, Alison Krauss, The US Marine Band, Linda Ronstadt and Aretha Franklin. Even dance has been spotlighted. It’s good to see different genres of music brought to the public. I expect that this will be a performance worth catching.

  • Currently Obsessing Over

    imagesDavid Bowie rose to stardom way before my time and despite the fact that he first became known to me as Jareth the Goblin King in the movie Labyrinth, Bowie is an icon. He has presented himself as glamorous, flamboyant and sometimes even androgynous with many alter egos. Having experimented with different styles of music over the years, Bowie is innovative, intelligent and quite possibly one of the greatest rock artists of all time.

    So, it’s no surprise that any musician would desire and be honored to cover a David Bowie song. I accidentally stumbled across We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie a few weeks ago even though it was released September 2010. To think I’ve been missing 4 months of these awesome tracks!

    Showcasing their unique perspectives, each of these artists has taken on the daunting task of re-creating a Bowie song. So daunting, in fact, that Bowie himself has never approved any other tribute album. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up – or even better, download it on iTunes for the bonus tracks. Not only does the album feature amazing contributions, but proceeds go to War Child, a charity Bowie himself supports.
    Stand out songs and artists on this album (i.e. songs I can’t stop listening to):

    Ziggy Stardust by Ariana Delawari
    African Night Flight by Aska + Bobby Evans feat. Moon & Moon
    As the World Falls Down by Lights
    Ashes To Ashes by Warpaint
    Always Crashing in the Same Car by Chairlift
    Suffragette City by A Place To Bury Strangers
    Fashion by Afghan Raiders
    China Girl by Xu Xu Fang
    Space Oddity by Exitmusic
    Look Back In Anger by Halloween Swim Team
    Soul Love by Genuflex
    The Bewlay Brothers by Sister Crayon
    Fame by All Leather
    Heroes by VoicesVoices

    Why I’m obsessing over this album: hearing some electronic versions and female versions of Bowie songs is enough to satiate my constant craving for new music. Also, I discovered some new to me artists on this album. One in particular is Ariana Delawari, who put an album out in 2009, Lion of Panjshir, produced by David Lynch, yet another innovative musician, filmmaker, director and artist of our time.

    To all who played a role in We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie, rock on.

    Contributed by Ashley Columbus

  • Cochella, Then and Now

    image003[1]Indio, CA and its surrounding neighbors of Palm Desert and Palm Springs has always been a location where retirees go to relax and enjoy the warm weather or play some golf. Since 1999 though, the Empire Polo Grounds, which sits right smack in the middle of Indio, CA is basically is a huge oasis of irrigated lawn and has been the sight of The Coachella Music Festival.

    Every year around April, masses of music lovers from all around the globe attend this 2-3 day festival which has grown  immensely since its inception.  With over 25,000 people attending the inaugural event with headliners Beck and Rage Against The Machine, the festival is now a haven for either the up and coming artist, established acts or the ever recurrence of bands reuniting for that one off show.

    With acts ranging from Madonna to Sir Paul McCartney, you’ll get everything here via the many music tents situated around the grounds. In one tent, you may get DJ Shadow performing to a hip young crowd of ravers and then in another you may here a spoken word performance by the legendary Leonard Cohen. With 2001 being the only year this festival has not taken place, it’s now averaging over 75,000 to 100,000 a night.  image006

    Out of the 12 years this event has taken place, I’ve been to 3 of them. The 2004 festival was my favorite, with Radiohead and the Cure headlining as well as the reunited Pixies performing too.  So, if you’re looking to run into a celebrity or two and are tough enough to brave the 100+ heat that comes along with it, this is the music festival for you!

    This year’s lineup is getting a lot of attention, with some great acts across all 3 days. For more information, visit: www.cochella.com.

    Contributed by Alex Espinosa

  • Britney: Coming Back?

    223258,xcitefun-britney-spears-hold-it-against-me-cover-1No doubt by now, you’ve heard Ms. Spears’ latest single ‘Hold it Against Me’, produced by Max Martin and Dr. Luke. The impossible to avoid track, done in classic Britney style, offers no real surprises. What surprised me was that it managed a chart debut at # 1, even with all of the new material and fresh faces competing for the same target listener’s attention.

    For someone who has been in show business her entire life, Britney Spears deserves credit for delivering consistently catchy material. But while consistency has been the key to her success thus far, I’m not sure how much longer the twice married mother of two can continue banking on her current image.

    That’s not to say that parenthood or an impending 30th birthday should change who anyone is in the slightest. But getting a job or just getting older has undoubtedly changed the lives of many of her most die hard fans. When ‘Baby One More Time’ was topping MTV’s Total Request Live with Carson Daly in 1999, my friends and I were instant fans because Britney was just like us, only way cooler, bopping through the halls of her high school. Now? For fans like me, it’s getting harder to connect to her music at 7:30am on my way the office after dropping my daughter off at daycare.

    Clearly, many fans have shown that they can overlook the rehab stints, the psychiatric ward and the head shaving incidents, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t also looking for something new. In this unpredictable age of Lady Gaga, pop divas can’t maintain their status with good looks and racy lyrics alone. A new, higher level of art and creativity is sneaking into a traditionally superficial genre–and that’s something that a simple fan mom like me can appreciate during my commute.

  • Losing Greats in 2011

    image003

    This is not a good start to 2011!

    First, news today broke about Gerry Rafferty losing his battle with liver disease and now it was just announced that Bassist and founding member of the British band Japan has lost his battle with cancer at 52.

    There was a time in my life (1985-1987) where I was obsessed with everything Japan.  Even though they had already broken up and Mick Karn went on to form Dali’s Car with Peter Murphy, I went out of my way and purchased everything I could get my hands on; record, tape and later compact discs on the band.  If you listen to their 1980 release “Gentlemen Take Polaroid’s” which guest stared Ryuichi Sakamoto; this release still sounds current even today.  Listen to the song collaboration with Sakamoto on “Taking Islands in Africa” below:

    Taking Islands in Africa

    It’s sad to start off the new year losing such talent.

    Contributed by Alex Espinosa

  • Nashville Music Hall Reopens

    SchermerhornSymphonyCenter

    This past May, the nearly brand new Schermerhorn Symphony Center was damaged by record breaking flooding in the city of Nashville, Tennessee. Constructed in 2006, the center required over $40 million in repairs after suffering extensive damage to the basement and sub basement areas.

    The Tennasean reported, that as a nod to the flood, the opening concert performed by violinist Itzhak Pearlman included a rendition of Strauss’ “Thunder and Lightning Polka”.

    More information about the center can be found by visiting their website: http://www.nashvillesymphony.org/

  • 30 Years Ago

    image003

    I was just 11 years old but still remember how quiet everything seemed around me.

    Seeing the expression on my older brother’s face was like witnessing a passing of a family member; in a way, I guess it was. As far back as I can remember, the music of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney was perpetually blaring from the house speakers, be it from their early tunes like “Please Please Me” and “Do You Want To Know A Secret” to later tunes like “Come Together” or “Let it Be”.

    While the youth of today still respect the legacy of the Beatles, it might be harder for those who were not yet born to understand how profoundly the senseless murder of John Lennon affected his fans. For Baby Boomers and Generation X , The Beatles really were the soundtrack to our young lives, and John Lennon, in particular, had the guts to say what our generations were thinking with a grace that made almost everyone receptive to his ideas and messages.

    Being around music pretty much my whole life, I’ve seen lots of music trends come and go. But I’ve never seen or heard an interview with any respected, popular musician, where the Beatles were not mentioned as an influence one way or another. He may be gone, but John Lennon is not lost. And his words still have much to teach us, even 30 years later.

    Contributed by Alex Espinosa

  • Alex on Paste’s Top 50

    Photo credit: mr.bever

    Photo credit: mr.bever

    It may not have been the very best year for music.

    Even though 2010 didn’t give anything spectacular, there are a few gems included on the revered Paste Top 50 albums of the year list,  like:

    The National

    Sleigh Bells

    Arcade Fire

    Sharon Jones

    Cee Loo

    Kanye West

    My personal #1 for this year is The National’s “High Violet”.  Not only was this album a haunting roller coaster of emotions but it also followed up another great album of theirs, The Boxer (2007).

    (+ they were absolutely mesmerizing live which gives them bonus brownie points.)

    Check them out here live on David Letterman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5C2WVCruPM&feature=related

    And my favorite song of the year by the same artist  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5C2WVCruPM&feature=related

    Here’s the full link to the Paste Top 50, 2010. Did any of your favorites make the list? Let us know in the comments!

    http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2010/12/the-50-best-albums-of-2010.html

    Contributed by Alex Espinosa

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