Our Lollapalooza 2011 Wish List

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.

Motorhead

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.

Franz Ferdinand

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.


Read the rest after the jump...

Bullz-Eye’s Favorite Albums of 2010: Senior Editor David Medsker’s picks

Having children has had a profound impact on my musical tastes. Will it make them cry? Will it teach them naughty words? Will it bore them? Then it doesn’t get played around the house, which has resulted in my sharp turn towards the poppier side of modern. And really, once you’ve seen your three-year-old completely lose his shit when hearing a song with a chorus of “Na, na na na, na na na, na na na na na na na,” it’s hard to push anything on him that doesn’t come armed to the teeth with the pop hooks. Mind you, I think the Ramones are a pop band too, so I’m painting with a pretty broad brush here. But make no mistake – these bands are pop bands, of varying stripes and shapes. If you fancy yourself a hipster, you’d be best to move on and check out one of the other writers’ lists. I gave up being hip a couple years ago, and let me tell you: it’s extremely liberating.

Note: Some of the notes at the end of the write-ups will offer suggestions of which songs to check out. Others actually offer the songs. If you see “Click here for a free download…”, those songs are on our server, meaning you won’t be dragged off to some site that asks you to give up your email address for a song. These puppies all come with no strings attached, so please download away.

Top 10 Albums of 2010

1. Mark Ronson: Record Collection
Ahhhhhh. If I get to heaven, this is what the radio station will sound like. Tasteful drum beats paired with even tastier synth tracks, highlighted by brilliantly chosen guest contributors from Q-Tip and D’Angelo to Simon Le Bon and a devastating performance by Boy George. Definitely gonna ride this bike until we get home.
Download these: “The Bike Song,” “Somebody to Love Me,” “Record Collection”

2. Hey Champ: Star
I’m a sucker for any band that justifies my love for New Order and the Buggles, and this Chicago trio threw down synth pop/rock that, in an ideal world, would have Passion Pit opening for them, not the other way around.
Click here for a free download of Hey Champ’s “Neverest”
Click here for a free download of Hey Champ’s “Cold Dust Girl”

3. Prefab Sprout: Let’s Change the World with Music
Man, what a sweet surprise this was. Originally scheduled to be the follow-up album to 1990’s Jordan: The Comeback, the album was scrapped despite Prefab leader Paddy McAloon already finishing studio-quality demo versions of every song. Eighteen years later, the songs finally see the light of day, and the result is instant nostalgia. He supposedly has dozens more albums on his shelves from the same period. Please don’t make us wait 18 years for the next one, Paddy.
Download these: “Let There Be Music,” “Ride,” “God Watch Over You”

4. The Hours: It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish
This one is knocked down a few rungs on a technicality, in that it’s a Franken-album consisting of the best songs from the band’s two UK-only releases. But hot damn, are those songs good. Shimmering, sky-high, piano-driven pop that addresses the darkness in people’s lives but strives for hope and change. No wonder Nike used one of these songs for their unforgettable “Human Chain” ad earlier this year. Favorite lyric: “I can understand how someone can go over to the dark side, ’cause the Devil, he’s got all the tunes.”
Download these: “See the Light,” “Big Black Hole,” “Come On”

The Hours – “See The Light” 2010 Edit from Adeline Records on Vimeo.

5. The Silver Seas: Chateau Revenge
I’m still pissed about this one. I got a sneak peek of the record months before its release because our publicist is tight with the band. We played the daylights out of it, and couldn’t wait to sing its praises when it came out in April…only April never happened. Then it was July, and when it came out, the damn thing was buried. Why, why, why? Not enough irony or cynicism? I see no reason why the Shins can sell millions while the Silver Seas still toil in obscurity. The phrase ‘criminally underrated’ was written about bands like this.
Click here for a free download of the Silver Seas’ “The Best Things in Life”


Read the rest after the jump...

N.E.R.D.: Nothing


RIYL: Prince, Lady GaGa, Justin Timberlake

As the Neptunes, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo are as responsible as anyone for the sound of popular music over the last decade as anyone else. Starting out as the apprentices of New Jack Swing godfather Teddy Riley, Chad & Pharrell’s minimal synth stabs took a diverse array of artists to the top of the charts: from coke-rap duo Clipse to teenyboppers the Backstreet Boys, Britney & ‘NSync.

As their performing alter egos N.E.R.D., Pharrell and Chad (joined occasionally by rapper Shae Haley) have not been as successful. One moderately successful debut album (In Search Of…) should have led to bigger things, but two subsequent efforts have been average performers commercially and critically. N.E.R.D.’s sound might be a little too eclectic for Top 40 radio – it’s not very easy to put in a box or define. Is it hip-hop? It is soul music? Is it rock?

NERD 3 - SMALL

A year or so ago, as the band prepared to record their fourth album, Nothing, they introduced a fourth member into the group, female singer Rhea. This move was a head-scratcher to many. It seemed as though N.E.R.D. was looking at label mates the Black Eyed Peas as a blueprint to success. Thankfully (because Lord knows we don’t need another version of BEP in this world), Rhea was sacked and N.E.R.D. returned to its original configuration.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the band’s inconsistent output and the Neptunes’ declining commercial fortunes, Nothing is quite a good album. The sound is still as varied as ever: the guys are still equal parts garage-rock and synth-pop, but none of it feels forced. There are a handful of eye-rolling lyrical moments – Pharrell Williams isn’t and will never be the world’s best lyricist – but Nothing offers more bang for your buck than any N.E.R.D./Neptunes/Pharrell album other since their debut.

The album’s opening track, “Party People,” turns out to be a bit of a red herring. The synthed-up club jam (boasting vocals by T.I.) is certainly the most commercial thing they’d ever released. Interestingly, N.E.R.D. pulls off that sound well – at least for the one song. The rest of the album veers from the rocking “Help Me” to the quasi-mystical “Life as a Fish” (which honestly reads like the diary entries of a very, VERY stoned college student). There’s a cool Daft Punk production (“Hypnotize U”), way more saxophone than on the past 15 years of N.E.R.D. albums and Neptunes productions combined, and a refreshingly varied approach to subject matter that includes the inspirational “God Bless Us All” and the politically motivated “It’s in the Air” in addition to the usual ass-shaking anthems (which happen to be MUCH less annoying and even kinda enjoyable in this context).

Nothing won’t reinvent the wheel and it probably won’t be a huge commercial success, either – the Neptunes’ moment (well, more like a decade than a moment) seems to have passed them. However, this is the most vibrant work that Pharrell in particular has been a part of in quite some time. Strangely (and happily for those of us who don’t live and die by radio and the charts) their music appears to be getting more interesting as their star fades. (Interscope 2010)

N.E.R.D. MySpace page

  

Me, Myself, and iPod 7/7/10: Nelly Furtado is hot. And fun

esd ipod

Ah, the post-holiday edition. It’s admittedly small this week. The publicists have been unusually quiet so far, which is fine because I need to put questions together for an interview with former MMi subjects Hey Champ. They’re awesome, by the way.

N.E.R.D. featuring Nelly Furtado – Hot n’ Fun (Yeasayer Remix)
With the album mysteriously bumped to the fall, this lead single from the Pharrell & Co.’s new album Nothing serves as one tasty teaser for the full-length. This remix is a bit too busy for its own good, but I bet it sounds great in a club.

Bishop Morocco – Last Year’s Disco Guitars
It’s as if this Toronto duo saw that James Mercer was off doing the Broken Bells thing, so they decided to make a Shins record…you know, if they were into the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Joy Division rather than the Beach Boys. They even got Martin Hannett to produce. How’s that for authenticity?

Deluka – Nevada
We were big fans of “Cascade,” the lead single from the band’s EP, but were less excited with the rest of that set. If “Nevada” is any indication, they’re saving up the really good stuff for the full-length, which is due in October.

Kathryn Calder – Arrow
The second song released from the New Pornographers keyboardist’s upcoming solo album Are You My Mother?, and it’s another gem. So why is it that she’s not being invited to the songwriting table for her day job, again?

Robert Pollard – Moses on a Snail
If it’s Tuesday, it must be another solo album from Robert Pollard, who’s put out, no joke, ten solo albums since breaking up Guided by Voices in 2004. This is the title track, and it does something almost no Pollard song has ever done: crosses the five-minute mark.

  

Bullz-Eye’s Favorite Albums of 2008: Staff Writer Jim Washington’s picks

It’s the dawn of a sunny new day in America, but we’re still working through the past in this year’s batch of music. But great art can come from great pain, right? Some people deal with it by making sad music, others try to lift you up. There was plenty of super music from both camps this year.

Best albums of 2008, in no particular order.

Beck: Modern Guilt
Take some Beck, add a little Danger Mouse and a lot of existential angst, what do you get? A killer album from an older, wiser and more bummed-out Beck.

Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend
You can’t possibly be in a bad mood while listening to the upbeat, world music-infused indie rock of VW. This is the album I probably played more than any other all year. Really, who does give a fuck about an Oxford comma?

The Black Keys: Attack & Release
After leaving a Black Keys show this summer a buddy of mine said, with echoes of Jack Black, “That rocked so hard my stomach hurts.” That about sums them up.

Elvis Costello & The Imposters: Momofuku
EC is riding high these days with a cool new TV talk show, but it’s this raw, energetic album, banged out in a few weeks, that tells us he still matters.

Ryan Adams & the Cardinals: Cardinology
Ryan Adams, newly clean and sober, made two really good albums this year and last combining his pop and alt-country pasts. Here’s hoping he stays on the straight and narrow in ‘09 and beyond.

My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges
“Highly Suspicious” turned off as many people as it turned on, but tracks like “I’m Amazed” put this solidly on the list of feel-good albums of the year.

TV on the Radio: Dear Science
Art rock? Dance rock? Yes. TVOR produced an album of tortured songs about love in a bleak time.

Death Cab for Cutie: Narrow Stairs
Death Cab created a darker, and yet more uplifting sound on this album, which produced a new classic anthem for stalkers with “I Will Possess Your Heart.”

N.E.R.D.: Seeing Sounds
Not to be too much of a homer, but Pharrell and company (who hail from my neck of the woods) put out a freakily brilliant album this year. Alongside home girl Missy Elliott, it makes you wonder what’s in the water down here.

The Roots: Rising Down
The perfect rap album for the end of Bush’s America, chock full of anger, fighting and hate. Here’s hoping the next one will be just as good, but a little sunnier.

Welcome to 2009 everybody!

  

Related Posts