Are The Killers the greatest band in the world? We find out today…

A lot of bands have released pretty good debut records, only to follow them up with less-than-spectacular careers. The rule used to be (before the FCC, the recording industry and the radio industry conspired to destroy all music) that you learned what you needed to know about a band with its third album. Given how things worked, you often saw a pattern that looked something like this:

  • Debut: Band (or solo artist) has been on the road for awhile, writing and building an audience and developing as a creative and performing force. Continue reading

For your drinking and listening pleasure

I am sitting here trying to feel it. Got some Chris Whitley on the iPod, “Dust Radio”:

Baby got vision child
Like a loaded gun
She use my body
Like carrion crow
Doing our transmission thing
On dust radio
Baby call the number
Nobody left in town …

I’ve got the cold, cold Bombay Sapphire and tonic, splash of sweetened lime juice, in easy reach.

“So what’s it going to be then, eh?”

Now we’ve got some Jeff Beck going: “Led Boots.” He is razoring the atmosphere.

Another sip of gin. And another.

Continue reading

Obscurity and influence

Who are the most influential bands and artists in the history of rock? Well, start with The Beatles and Elvis, I guess, and for good reason. Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Stones, of course, The Who and David Bowie. The big names. All of them signed their names on our culture with a fat permanent marker, and in doing so insured that just about all future artists would have to navigate their legacies in one way or another.

The funny thing, though, is just how influential some far, far lesser known artists became. Many people have heard of Velvet Underground, although comparatively few have actually listened to them, but if you factor VU’s overwhelming influence out of our collective cultural history would we have had Bauhaus, Echo & the Bunnymen, Lenny Kravitz, Sonic Youth, Jesus & Mary Chain (and subsequently Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), Galaxie 500 (and the army of bands that followed their lead) and REM?

How about Big Star? Continue reading

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