The Red Hot Chili Peppers – “I’m with You” (2011)

August 31, 2011 at 10:25 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles)

The new Peppers with Josh Klinghoffer taking over for John Frusciante on lead guitar. This review comes from the PopMatters website, Aug. 29th. Written by Daniel Tebo…

You’ve got to hand it to the Red Hot Chili Peppers: these guys have never stopped believing in their own bullshit. There’s really no other way to explain why these forever shirtless Angelenos are still making music in 2011. The group’s unshakable core of singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary have, by the bewitching power of the state of California, stayed true to their teenage vision of a cosmic funk-fueled brotherhood. Over the last 28 years, the band has overcome everything from death to Dave Navarro. They’ve been given their last rites more times than Dick Cheney and, like the former VP, they always come back more terrifying powerful.

But when guitarist John Frusciante walked away for the second and final time in 2009, the general consensus was that the Chili Peppers would hang up their tube socks for good. And really, why shouldn’t they? When Frusciante left for the first time focus on massive drug consumption and poor dental hygiene, the band foundered with the hopelessly mismatched Navarro in his place. It was only upon his miraculous return that the band finally evolved from misogynistic party boys to gentlemanly purveyors of finely crafted, heavily melodic rock ‘n’ roll. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lenny Kravitz – “Black and White America” (2011)

August 31, 2011 at 10:10 pm (Lenny Kravitz, Music, Reviews & Articles)

The perfect end-of-Summer album. This review comes from Paste magazine, Aug. 30th and written by Ryan Reed…

Pop music chameleon Lenny Kravitz, being a half-white/half-black American, has plenty of justification for titling his ninth album Black and White America. There aren’t too many biracial rock stars in the U.S., after all. But as a musician, producer and songwriter, Kravitz has always been a tough nut to crack—he’s been a spaced-out guitar hero-hippie (“Are You Gonna Go My Way”), a falsetto-sporting soul man (“It Aint Over ‘Til It’s Over”), a fist-pumping, riff-driven modern rocker (“Fly Away”) and a piano balladeer (“I’ll Be Waiting”), among other titles. Being deeply immersed in both black and white cultures—and the musics of both—he brings a fairly singular perspective to his songs.

But Kravitz’s genre-hopping skills are pretty impressive, regardless of ethnicity. Few pop stars have been able to cover so much stylistic ground, and even fewer have been able to do so without falling out of the record-buying community’s good graces (even if there have been a few critical speed bumps along the way). If you turn on your car radio, you can flip through three or four stations and hear a Kravitz song at any given moment. Which is certainly saying something. There’s a reason he’s been able to stick around for over 20 years in an unforgiving industry. Even in his clumsiest, most awkward Read the rest of this entry »

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Glen Campbell – “Ghost on the Canvas” (2011)

August 31, 2011 at 10:05 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles)

This review of Glen’s final and quite excellent album comes from the Consequence of Sound website, Aug. 25th, and written by Nick Freed.
The title track, written by Paul Westerberg, just might be Campbell’s best song since “Southern Nights” — it’s an instant classic.
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Back in the early ’00s, there was a brief and odd resurgence for old country singers. It became the cool thing for legends to release new albums, consisting entirely of rock covers, to try and tap into a new, younger fan base. Johnny Cash, perhaps, did it best by teaming with super producer Rick Rubin on the American Recordings collection. Pat Boone also joined in with a country covers album of heavy metal tunes. Glen Campbell did the same, much later, with the under-appreciated Meet Glen Campbell in 2008. The album consisted of covers from bands like Foo Fighters, Green Day, and Lou Reed. Unlike the grittiness of Cash’s work and the kitsch factor of Boone, Campbell was comfortable in the pop songs and created lush-yet-country versions of the tracks. Now in 2011, Campbell is back with Ghost on the Canvas, a companion to the previous album, but this time all the songs are original.

Campbell’s producer for Meet Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond, helped him produce Ghost on the Canvas and also helped him co-write a majority of songs, such as the simple opening track, “A Better Place”, which is about as country as the album gets. Aside from Raymond, Campbell was able to corral an incredible team of songwriters: Paul Westerberg, Jakob Dylan, and Robert Pollard, among others. Westerberg wrote the titular track, which sounds Read the rest of this entry »

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President Obama’s Weekly Address (Aug. 27, 2011)

August 31, 2011 at 5:38 pm (Life & Politics)

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