Friday night Slash hosted his after concert party at TAO. After opening for Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, his wife Perla and a large group of friends gathered for a dinner of signature dishes at the Asian Bistro, including the rocker’s favorite, General Tso’s Chicken.
On the red carpet he shared that he loves coming to Vegas because it is so close to Southern California and he has so much fun here. He said he has some projects coming up for his movie production company, Slasher Films, but said there are no plans for him to get in front of the camera as he is only going to produce.
Slash and the group, including Laura Croft from Holly’s World, arrived upstairs in the club to great fanfare, taking over several tables on the dance floor as fans crowded to get pictures. He joined DJ Ross One in the DJ booth, announcing to the crowd that he was going to play make shift DJ and, “and interrupt your regular programming for an hour or so.” Slash started off his set with Sweet Child O’ Mine, Welcome to the Jungle and Crazy Train, setting the stage for the perfect night. After getting the party started, Slash returned to his table to watch the crowd enjoy his specially selected play list.
Goodnight Charlotte is the debut album from Cara Jean Wahlers and Grover Parido. It’s an intimate collection of songs that feature the primary instruments of Wahlers’ wonderful singing voice and Parido’s cello playing. This unique paring of singer/songwriter and cellist working together for an entire CD may not be new, however, on Goodnight Charlotte, the music is fresh and vibrant and the lyrics are thoughtful, creating a unique experience.
Wahlers’ songwriting is very visual, creating a sense of place and time. As a storyteller, she’s reminiscent of Lucinda Williams or Joni Mitchell, two names her publicist has included as influences. The singer’s voice recalls the elegance and naturalness of Mary Chapin Carpenter, another great singer/songwriter who can put you at ease, even though she’s breaking your heart.
Parido’s cello playing adds another layer of poignancy to Goodnight Charlotte. The instrument is such a melancholy instrument to begin with that no matter how hard Parido may try, his performances tinge the songs with sadness. Take a listen to “Black Dog,” a beautiful tale about a long lost love, and you’ll understand. Parido takes a solo on every single song and his presence fills in the empty spaces of Wahlers’ sparse guitar playing. This partnership between Wahlers and Parido is effective and lifts the material above the usual coffeehouse fare.
Still, it would have been interesting if they’d included a couple of songs that were just Wahlers backed by her guitar, and maybe some other acoustic instruments. The singer has a strong enough voice ad her guitar playing is subtle enough that she could have survived without the cello. This would have given Goodnight Charlotte just enough variety to make the album a classic. That said, it’s still a fantastic debut and will keep me looking out for this duo when they release future albums. (CDBY 2010)
RIYL: Primal Scream, The Ting Tings, Basement Jaxx
Yet another lesson in why bands should choose their names carefully. The word ‘bully’ suggests someone aggressive and intimidating (and, conversely, someone insecure and a little scared). The Audio Bullys, however, are no such thing. They’re beat mongering rockers, like Hard-Fi pulling the late shift in an Ibiza club. (Singer Simon Franks and Hard-Fi’s Richard Archer should do a duet, just to mess with people’s head over who’s singing which line.) The band’s third album Higher Than the Eiffel has some good ideas – lead single “Only Man” is armed with one hell of a hook, and closing track “Goodbye” is a nifty modern-day take on the Specials – but is sorely lacking a filter, not to mention an editor. Two of the first three songs contain fragments of ideas stitched together, much like Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, but there is no flow. Why did “Daisy Chains” need to end with an a cappella bit? (Answer: it didn’t.) “Shotgun” is the only song here that takes advantage of melding two separate ideas into a whole, but it arrives a bit too late to care, thanks to the album’s 56-minute (!) run time. Take out some of the clutter, and this bully could have been a contender. (The End Records 2011)
The world will probably never see another album rule the world like George Michael’s Faith did from 1987 to 1989. Twenty million copies sold worldwide. Number One on the R&B charts, a first for a white artist. Six Top Five singles, four of which went to #1. As pop records go, it was a monster, and while Michael Jackson’s Bad, released two months earlier, notched one more #1 single than Faith did, Faith managed to outsell Bad by two million copies. It also, strangely, won the Grammy for Album of the Year two years after its release.
Looking back at the album today, it’s easy to see why it was so popular; the songs have held up remarkably well (unlike, say, a good chunk of the songs on Bad), and Michael covers a lot of territory in the process, from contemporary dance pop (“I Want Your Sex,” “Hard Day,” “Monkey”) to mid-tempo ballads (“Father Figure”), while throwing in a Bo Diddley-style jam (the title track) and a jazz-fueled torch song (the underrated “Kissing a Fool”) for good measure. Michael’s voice has tremendous range and versatility, and his production is downright minimal in an era known for bombast. It’s a dead brilliant pop record, and the fact that Michael was a mere 23 when he made it is, well, sickening, really.
The bonus disc of Epic/Legacy’s re-release of Faith culls together B-sides and remixes from the era, which includes instrumental versions of “Faith” and “Kissing a Fool,” Michael’s covers of “I Believe When I Fall in Love” and “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” and, at long last, the full-length version of Shep Pettibone’s remix to “Hard Day” (the version that appeared on the Faith CD is a good two to three minutes shorter). Also included are Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ mixes to “Monkey” (single edit, 12″ mix, a cappella). Very shrewd move on Michael’s part to get them involved, as the song would not have reached the top of the charts without them. Curiously, the track “Fantasy” is included as well, though it first appeared as a B-side to Listen Without Prejudice Vol. I track “Freedom ’90.” Tough to argue with its inclusion, as it’s a gem, but there are some UK-only and promo-only remixes to “Faith” and “Father Figure” that should probably be here instead.
The DVD contains all of the music videos from the period, as well as the MTV promo film “Music, Money, Love, Faith,” where Michael gears up for his first solo world tour (don’t blink, or you’ll miss his chreographer, a then-unknown Paula Abdul). The uncensored version of “I Want Your Sex” is included as well as the censored one, and both clips seem pretty tame by today’s standards. (Michael wearing nothing but a sheet, horrors!) The best bit is the 40-minute interview Michael did with British TV personality Jonathan Ross, where he delves deeply into Michael’s personal life, even asking him if he’s taken an AIDS test and whether or not he wears a condom. Fans of George Michael, or ’80s pop in general, will find much to love here. (Epic/Legacy 2011)
There are few slopes that are as slippery as music that could fairly be described as precious. A wrong move in any direction, and that ‘c’ becomes a ‘tent’, if you know what we mean. It was therefore with great trepidation that we clicked Play on the song from Little Tybee, a group of Georgians whose press release was quick to mention Fleet Foxes. And don’t get us wrong, we like Fleet Foxes…but do we need a dozen of them?
As it turns out, “Nero,” the first song from the band’s upcoming album Humorous to Bees, is probably being done a disservice by being compared to anyone, but you know how press releases work – they need to mention a couple of successful bands to give the reader a reference point (and truthfully, that’s exactly how we like it). If anything, the song reminds us of a less amped version of the Noisettes’ song “Wild Young Hearts,” perhaps refitted for play in a jazz club. Trade out drum sticks for brushes, throw in some fiddle, and groove, man. Good stuff. The record drops in April. Hopefully this will tide you over until then.