Ah, St. Patrick’s Day, where everyone is Irish for a day. March seems to be full of days like that, since Fat Tuesday is the day where everyone is Catholic for a day.
Since we know many of you will be getting a full-fledged drink on this St. Paddy’s Day, especially since it is also the first day of the NCAA tournament, we have provided a small list of songs about drinking, the effects of drinking, and the vow that many of you will make the following morning. Think of it as the bender that you never took; we love booze as much as the next guys, but sometimes those things are better lived vicariously.
“It’s Time to Party,” Andrew W.K.
With a whopping three songs about partying on his debut album, Andrew W.K. will forever remain our master of ceremonies when it comes to partying. Until we saw the grammar-challenged lyric video, though, we didn’t know this song made a reference to a money shot. Yikes.
“Have a Drink on Me,” AC/DC
The night is young. Everyone is flush with cash and feeling generous. Try and remember this moment when 1:30 rolls around and you’re buying Natural Light pounders. For now, though, you’re living on the top shelf.
A few weeks ago, there was a leak that Muse, the Foo Fighters and Eminem would headline Lollapalooza this year. In previous years, when band names have been leaked well before the official announcement, they’ve been accurate, so let’s assume that those are your headliners. Pretty cool and eclectic group, if you ask us. We’ve seen some dyed-in-the-wool alt rockers scoff at the idea of Marshall Mathers playing Lolla, but why the hell not? Snoop Dogg did it two years ago, and no one complained about that.
The festival’s organizers are a good month away from unveiling their lineup, so while we’re in the lull between the leak and the formal announcement, we decided to have a little fun. Here are some bands that we’d love to see take the stage in Grant Park this summer.
Don’t laugh – this makes more sense than the decision to invite Metallica in 1996. They rock harder and faster than anyone alive today, and courtesy of their appearance on “The Young Ones,” they were instantly grandfathered as alt rock forefathers (Ministry’s Psalm 69, anyone?). Still think it’s a long shot? Consider this: Head Foo Fighter Dave Grohl loves Lemmy and has recorded with him, plus the band just released a new record (The World Is Yours), which means a tour is sure to follow. Come on, Perry. You know this would be awesome. Lemmy shows up, drinks all the other bands under the table, and wipes the floor with them onstage. That’s the way we like it, baby.
Of the big UK bands of the last five years, only Franz Ferdinand and Coldplay have yet to play Lolla, and we’re not sure why. It looked as though the stars were aligned for them to play when the band released Tonight, Franz Ferdinand in 2009, but for whatever reason, it never happened. Considering the heavy nature of the three headliners, both musically and lyrically, the festival could use a party band. The only catch is that the band is not working on a new record, and therefore will not likely be on tour this year. Pity.
The World Is Yours sounds like MotĂ¶rhead’s previous album MotĂ¶rizer, which is to say it sounds like Kiss Of Death, Inferno, Hammered, We Are MotĂ¶rhead, and most of the other 20-plus albums in MotĂ¶rhead’s discography. Lemmy growls and scowls, while guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee support him by playing as loud and as fast as they can. Its a formula that worked in 1977 (albeit with a different lineup) and it still works today. About the only discernible difference between this record and MotĂ¶rizer is that Lemmy doesn’t bother with anything close to a ballad this time around. Instead we get non-stop speed metal songs about killing (“Outlaw”), screwing (“Waiting for the Snake”) and just being the all around badass that the 65-year old bass player from hell is (“Devils in My Hand”). The closest thing to sonic experimentation on The World Is Yours is â€śBrotherhood of Man,â€ť which loops what sounds like a distant soccer chant as the chorus, while Lemmy somehow makes his voice even more menacing by lowering it a couple registers.
Sure, its nothing new. But at this point does it even matter? This is Motorhead sounding like Motorhead, and that’s good enough for us. (MotĂ¶rhead Music 2011)
Pendulum have the most apt band name in history, because they love to swing back and forth between two genres; drum and bass and hard rock. Their 2006 debut Hold Your Colour was almost exclusively drum and bass, but their 2008 follow-up In Silico saw the group abandon almost all of the drum and bass influences in exchange for a hard electronic rock style (think Nitzer Ebb meets metal) that put off much of their core fanbase. It also made them mainstream stars throughout much of their native Australia as well as Europe, leading bassheads around the world to cry “sellout.”
Well, this should shut them up, although it probably won’t. With Immersion the band takes a hard swing back to their drum and bass roots while still keeping just enough of their rock influence to sound exciting and different. They even pull in some electro-house and dubstep influences into the fold. Sometimes they even do it all at once, like with the two-parter track “The Island,” which starts as a straight-up electronic-rock song before suddenly exploding into a sea manic breakbeats and then transforming again into a shockingly good dubstep sound, a genre that is usually as boring and empty as the fans who listen to it. There are a couple mid-tempo tracks on Immersion that stick closer to the rock/dance formula of In Silico, and most of the songs still feature an abundance of vocals. I’m sure the most hardcore drum and bass fanatics out there will cling to those two facets of the album to convince themselves that Pendulum are still a bunch of sellouts. They can go ahead, the rest of us will be rocking out to the first great electronic album of 2011 (or the last great electronic album of 2010 if you live in the rest of the world, where it came out months ago). (Atlantic 2011)
I don’t even know why I’m here, frankly. I think it’s pretty well documented that all I do these days is write about television and interview people ’til the cows come home. Once upon a time, though, I used to be a music critic, dammit…and once you’ve had opinions about music, you’ll always have opinions about music. As such, here are my thoughts on the albums and songs that grabbed me this year. This may be the first time I’ve actually written about most of them, but you can damn well be sure that I’ve spent plenty of time listening to them.
1. Tom Jones: Praise & Blame
Itâ€™s a pretty consistent tradition that my #1 slot on my Best Albums list of any given year belongs to an artist whose career Iâ€™ve followed for quite some time, but Sir Tom earned his spot fair and square. Kicking things off with a stark cover of Bob Dylanâ€™s â€śWhat Good Am I?â€ť which will leave listeners spellbound, the Welsh wonder goes gospel with this record, and while itâ€™s admittedly not the sort of career move that generally results in the shifting of mass units, itâ€™s a creative success, one which befits a man entering his seventies far more than, say, another retread of â€śSexbomb.â€ť Having already secured legendary status (not to mention a knighthood), our man Tom can afford to step outside of peopleâ€™s perceptions, and for those whoâ€™ve been paying attention, thatâ€™s what heâ€™s been doing for the past several albums, including 2008â€™s 24 Hours and his 2004 collaboration with Jools Holland. But while Praise & Blame is a continuation of an existing trend, itâ€™s also arguably the first time Jones has made absolutely no commercial concessions. Thereâ€™s no wink-and-a-nudge cover of â€ś200 Lbs. of Heavenly joy.â€ť Thereâ€™s no song by Bono and the Edge nor uber-hip production from Future Cut. Thereâ€™s just Tom Jones, age 70â€¦and, by God, heâ€™s still got it.
2. Glen Matlock & The Philistines: Born Running
It isn’t as though it’s surprising that John Lydon’s the member of the Sex Pistols who’s gone on to have the most successful solo career – he was, after all, the frontman for the group – but it continues to be equally eyebrow-raising that so few of the band’s fans have kept their ears open for the consistently solid material emerging from Glen Matlock‘s camp. It’s not quite as punk as the Pistols – which makes perfect sense if you believe the story about Matlock supposedly getting the boot from the band for liking the Beatles a bit too much – but the songs on Born Running still pack a fierce wallop.
3. Brian Wilson: Reimagines Gershwin
The older I get, the less I allow myself to feel guilty about enjoying an album that I could easily peddle to people my grandparents’ age. All things considered, I’d much rather have a full collection of new originals from Mr. Wilson, but the way he takes these Gershwin classics and arranges them to match his traditional sound is still music to my ears. Then, of course, there’s the added bonus that he’s taken on the task of completing a couple of previously-unfinished Gershwin songs. Unsurprisingly, they sound just like Brian Wilson compositions…not that there’s anything wrong with that. At all.
4. Farrah: Farrah
There’s Britpop, and then there’s power pop, but you don’t tend to find bands who can manage to comfortably keep a foot in both camp; I’d argue that Farrah succeeds at this task, but given that they don’t have a particularly high profile in either, I suppose it really all depends on how you define success. For my part, though, if an artist releases an album which contains a significant number of catchy-as-hell hooks, it’s top of the pops in my book, which means that this self-titled entry into their discography is yet another winner for Farrah.