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

The Shuffle: “Nobody Hurts You,” Graham Parker and The Rumour (1979)

Some of us never laughed when Jerry Lee Lewis kicked his piano. We knew he wasn’t doing it for laughs; we knew that if Mozart himself had walked into the concert hall, Lewis probably would have kicked him, too, and the president and the pope or whoever else had the balls to step into the squall of Lewis’s rock-and-roll rage.

That’s what’s at the heart of a certain strain of rock: rage. Lewis got it. But the honor of perfecting it went to Graham Parker, in “Nobody Hurts You” from his snarling “Squeezing Out Sparks” LP (1979). “Nobody Hurts You” remains today a song that quickens the pulse, raises the blood pressure, makes the arm hairs dance. After you hear it, you’re bulletproof. Continue reading

What is, what was and what almost was: an interview with Don Dixon

I’ve been a very big Don Dixon fan since the late ’70s, so when his new CD, The Nu-Look, dropped I was bouncing around the living room like Snoopy doing a happy dance. Sadly, a lot of people don’t know Don’s music – although many know his work as the producer of Murmur and Reckoning by REM and multiple records from The Smithereens and Guadalcanal Diary (as well as stuff from Chris Stamey, Beat Rodeo, Kim Carnes, The Connells, Marshall Crenshaw, Hootie & the Blowfish, Tommy Keene, Let’s Active, James McMurtry, The Pinetops, The Reivers, Matthew Sweet and X-Teens). Continue reading