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Neko Case & Opinions on U2 and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Jim and Greg welcome back singer/songwriter Neko Case to talk about storytelling, piano-collecting, and life on the farm. Plus hear her perform songs from her brand-new album Middle Cyclone.

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Music News

At the beginning of the show Jim and Greg give an update on a news story they've been following–one of the biggest in contemporary music history. Last week they reported the planned merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster. This week the heads of those companies spoke at a hearings before our nation's legislators. At the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, CEOs Irving Azoff and Michael Rapino were greeted with skepticism, even sarcasm, as they tried to defend their plan and its effects on consumers. Jim and Greg have a very different feeling after this hearing than they did during the Ticketmaster investigation in the mid-'90s. This time, they think the law might come down on the side of the consumer.

In other sad industry news, New York City landmark Manny's Musical Instruments will close down in May. The store, which was purchased by Sam Ash in 1999, has served such customers as Benny Goodman and Kurt Cobain over the years. Even our own Jim DeRogatis used to visit the store and“music row”in his youth.

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Neko Case

This week's guest is a repeat offender. Neko Case returns to the show to discuss her new album Middle Cyclone. Neko doesn't want to give away too much though. She explains to Jim and Greg that she likes to leave a bit of mystery for the listener. Along with mystery, the singer-songwriter has packed this album with passionate tales of tornadoes, killer whales and mating frogs. And, she is literally a“man eater,”as you can hear in the song "People Got a Lotta Nerve." Check out all of the live songs Neko performed with vocalist Kelly Hogan and guitarist Paul Rigby.

reviewNo Line On the Horizon (Deluxe Edition)No Line on the Horizon available on iTunes

U2 No Line on the Horizon

Irish super rockers U2 have a new album out called No Line on the Horizon. It's the band's 12th album, and after a brief stint with producer Rick Rubin, they've returned to working with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Greg was pleased to hear that after a couple of“U2 by numbers”albums, they‘ve returned to emphasizing sound. They’ve restored the sense of mystery and atmosphere on a handful of tracks. But, Greg wishes the entire album was like that. He doesn't feel they quite pulled it off and gives No Line on the Horizon a Try It. Jim is shocked to hear himself say it, but he disagrees. Bono was wrong to suggest this record is the band's best, but Jim thinks they are definitely still relevant. And he finds the good tracks so extraordinarily good that they overshadow the bum ones. Jim gives the new U2…a Buy It!

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reviewThe Pains of Being Pure at Heart - EPThe Pains of Being Pure at Heart available on iTunes

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

After getting a lot of notice from their singles and EPs, Brooklyn quartet The Pains of Being Pure at Heart has released their full-length, self-titled debut. Jim admits the band has a formula – equal parts jangly pop and heavy bottom. But for him, it's a great formula, especially when combined with some of the twisted lyrics. He gives the album a Buy It. Greg is surprised to hear Jim say this. He doesn't hear anything fresh or unique here, and thinks there are better bands using this formula today. Greg gives The Pains of Being Pure at Heart a Try It.

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“St. Elmo's Fire”Brian Eno

As discussed earlier, U2, and countless other artists, turn to Brian Eno as a producer. For this week's Desert Island Jukebox pick, Jim wanted to illustrate why. Eno is a magician in the studio. He turns one sound into another and the result is pure joy. You can hear this in Eno's 1975 song "St. Elmo's Fire" from Another Green World.

Featured Songs

  1. Joe Jackson, Breaking Us In Two, Night and Day, A&M, 1982
  2. Neko Case, Polar Nettles, Middle Cyclone, ANTI-, 2009
  3. Neko Case, Don't Forget Me, Middle Cyclone, ANTI-, 2009
  4. Neko Case, People Got a Lotta Nerve, Middle Cyclone, ANTI-, 2009 Live in the Studio
  5. Neko Case, The Next Time You Say Forever, Middle Cyclone, ANTI-, 2009
  6. Neko Case," Vengeance is Sleeping, " Middle Cyclone, ANTI-, 2009
  7. Neko Case, Middle Cyclone, Middle Cyclone, ANTI-, 2009
  8. Neko Case, Don't Forget Me (Live on Sound Opinions), Middle Cyclone, ANTI-, 2009
  9. Neko Case, Prison Girls, Middle Cyclone, ANTI-, 2009
  10. U2, No Line on the Horizon, No Line on the Horizon, Island, 2009
  11. U2, Moment of Surrender, No Line on the Horizon, Island, 2009
  12. U2, I‘ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, No Line on the Horizon, Island, 2009
  13. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, A Teenager in Love, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Slumberland, 2009
  14. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Stay Alive, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Slumberland, 2009
  15. Brian Eno, St. Elmo's Fire, Another Green World, Island, 1975
  16. Earthless, Godspeed, Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky, Tee Pee, 2007
  17. Electric Light Orchestra, Telephone Line, A New World Record, United Artists, 1976
  18. David Byrne and Brian Eno, One Fine Day, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Todo Mundo, 2008
  19. Frightened Rabbit, Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms, The Midnight Organ Fight, Fat Cat, 2008

Footnotes

latimes.com Ticketmaster/Live Nation Senate Hearing blogspot.com Manny's To Close nekocase.com Neko Case thepainsofbeingpureatheart.com The Pains of Being Pure at Heart u2.com U2 youtube.com Listen to St. Elmo's Fire