Results for Lollapalooza

interviews

Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood

This week on the show, Jim and Greg have two very special guests: Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of the band Radiohead. Our hosts consider Radiohead one of the most important bands of the past two decades, and were thrilled to have the lead singer and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist on the show. Greg asserts that Kid A is the most avant-garde album to ever debut at the top of the Billboard charts — it's rare that a band can be so experimental and still achieve such mainstream success.

Radiohead was in Chicago to perform two shows at the Auditorium Theatre, and when they come to town, it is always memorable. Their 2001 outdoor performance at Hutchinson Field was a landmark event for Chicago music. Though the city has not always been eager to invite droves of young rockers into its public spaces, the success of that show seems to have paved the way for outdoor music concerts like Lollapalooza. Nevertheless, the Brits‘ return to the city this year was not completely drama free. The city rejected the band’s bid to play at Millennium Park, although it's not clear whether or not Radiohead would have even accepted. Never one to do the same thing twice, the band was eager to try out a smaller, indoor venue like the Auditorium Theatre.

Thom and Jonny explain that this tour was an opportunity to work on songs that may be a part of their upcoming 2007 release. That's good news, since some suspected that there might not even be a next album. Radiohead's extended family keeps growing, as does their interest in solo work, so there was speculation that they might not continue in this incarnation. But unlike bands of their stature who stay together for the sake of the business, the bandmates explain that Radiohead will go on as long as the music makes it worth it. And in the meantime, they'll have to juggle the music with the nappies.

Doing solo projects is still a priority for members of Radiohead. Jonny composed the music for the 2004 film Bodysong, which he also co-produced. And Thom Yorke will be releasing The Eraser in July, though he explains that the term“solo”is not really appropriate in this case. The album was produced and arranged by longtime Radiohead collaborater Nigel Godrich, and contains music composed by his bandmates.

One of the songs on The Eraser, "Harrowdown Hill," was inspired by the death of weapons inspector and government scientist Dr. David Kelly. After acting as a whistle-blower and telling a journalist that he disagreed with claims the British government made about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Kelly was found dead only days later. A Parliamentary committee investigated the death and determined it to be suicide, but many, including Thom, are skeptical of the validity of this finding. It's not the first time Thom and the band have infused their music with political meaning — though, as Thom explains to Jim and Greg, his approach differs from that of his fellow countryman.

Go to episode 30

Secret Machines

From Dallas to Brooklyn, and now to Chicago, Secret Machines have stopped by to talk with Jim and Greg and play a rare acoustic performance. The band is known for their full-blown, spacey rock sound, which Greg explains was perfect for the outdoor setting at Lollapalooza this summer. It's interesting, therefore, to hear them so stripped down. Listen to brothers Benjamin Curtis and Brandon Curtis on guitars and Josh Garza on percussion as they perform "Daddy's in the Doldrums" off their most recent album Ten Silver Drops and a cover of "Rest of the Day," by fellow Texans Bedhead. You can also check out the bonus track "1000 Seconds."

The Machines talk about their evolution as a band, which wasn't ordinary. They moved to New York and set up recording time in a studio before they had ever even played together. Their do-it-yourself attitude has paid off though. Both Ten Silver Drops and their debut Now Here is Nowhere were recorded by the band, despite requests from big name producers like Bob Ezrin. Thank God for Eno's "oblique strategies."

Go to episode 57

The xx

The xx This week's guests are The xx. The young British band released their self-titled debut last year, and it went on to make Greg's list of top albums of 2009 (Listen here). Since then their music has appeared in a number of major television shows and ads, and they're playing Lollapalooza. The group is known for their intimate, call and response sound–one that emerged more out of necessity than art. Bassist and vocalist Oliver Sim explains that neither he nor Romy Madley Croft were confident to sing on their own. But Romy assures us that there's nothing romantic about their intimacy. The two have been friends since they were small children.

Go to episode 233

Arcade Fire

This week Jim and Greg are joined by Régine Chassagne and Win Butler of indie rock giants Arcade Fire. Arcade Fire, critically acclaimed for their debut album Funeral, are known for their rich, anthemic sound and diverse instrumentation. Neon Bible, their latest release featuring a military choir, Hungarian orchestra, pipe organ and a hurdy gurdy among other instruments, has been an overwhelming commercial success. Régine retraces her relationship with husband, Win Butler. They became musical collaborators after Win saw Regine playing medieval music in Montreal, and eventually the band became headliners for such major festivals as Coachella and Lollapalooza. After seeing Arcade Fire perform at a number of venues, both Jim and Greg agree that their live show is something truly special.

Jim and Greg discuss the band's music-making process. Win and Régine elaborate on the primacy of beat and rhythm to the Arcade Fire aesthetic. Just as their rhythms could be perceived as classic rock and roll, Régine confers with Win about the multicolored sound they strive to create with different instruments and orchestration. Jim and Greg discuss the meaning behind the religious themes and allusions in Neon Bible with Win and Régine; Win articulates the moral ambiguity of evangelism as a source of influence and inspiration for writing the album.

Go to episode 85

Twin Peaks

Our guests this week are garage rockers, Twin Peaks. This 5-piece up-and-coming band from Chicago consists of singer and guitarist Cadien Lake James, bassist Jack Dolan, guitarist Clay Frankel, drummer Connor Brodner and recent addition, keyboardist Colin Croom. They started the group back in 2009 as high schoolers and later decided to drop out of college to pursue music full-time. Some of their influences include The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and The Stooges, which you can hear in their debut album, Sunken, released in 2013. Last year, they released their second album, Wild Onion, to critical acclaim and in 2015 performed at Lollapalooza. Their youthfully energetic performance style, guitar-based rock and roll and playful song lyrics make them a draw for young adult music fans looking for something other than EDM. Jim and Greg spoke to them a few weeks ago at the Goose Island Barrelhouse in Chicago and gave a performance afterwards.

Go to episode 516

Grizzly Bear

Jim and Greg are joined next by the members of Grizzly Bear. The Brooklyn-based band started rather modestly in 2004. Now they've become one of the most talked about groups in indie music today. In addition to notable appearances at Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival, the band opened for Radiohead and Paul Simon. Plus, they count Jay-Z and Beyonce as fans! Jim and Greg spoke with Daniel Rossen, Ed Droste, Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear on a Sunday morning in front of a live studio audience at the House of Blues in Chicago. There the band performed songs from its latest album Veckatimest. Unfortunately Michael McDonald wasn't there to join them on "While You Wait for the Others."

Go to episode 206
specials

Revisiting 1991

1991

Though it seems like just yesterday for many, it's been 25 years since 1991. Along with 1964, '67 and '76, 1991 was a landmark year for music. You can hear its influence everywhere from neo-grunge band Bully to Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar. While Bryan Adams and Garth Brooks topped the charts, there are even more musicians that made groundbreaking strides back in '91. For Jim and Greg, 1991 was all about:

  • Nirvana and the birth of grunge
  • My Bloody Valentine and the growth of shoegaze
  • Lollapalooza and the rise of the Alternative Nation
  • N.W.A. and the reign of gangsta rap
  • Massive Attack and the birth of trip-hop
Go to episode 538

1991

It's hard to believe, but it has now been two decades since 1991, a year Jim and Greg believe to be as influential and significant as 1964, 1976 and other great rock years. 1991's artists, albums and events made way for big changes in the music industry, and the sounds of that year continue to be referenced today. Just look at recent guests Teenage Fanclub and Superchunk, who both released major albums in 1991 and are still filling our playlists in 2011. While Bryan Adams and Garth Brooks topped the charts, they don't tell the true story of this year. For Jim and Greg, 1991 was all about:

  • Nirvana and the birth of grunge
  • My Bloody Valentine and the growth of shoegaze
  • Lollapalooza and the rise of the Alternative Nation
  • N.W.A. and the reign of gangsta rap
  • Massive Attack and the birth of trip-hop
Go to episode 270
reviews
New York CityNew York City available on iTunes

Brazilian Girls New York City

After seeing Brazilian Girls wow crowds at Lollapalooza, Jim and Greg wanted to review the latest album from the international quartet called New York City. Jim compares the group to Stereolab, with influences in '60s lounge music, as well as German krautrock, but explains they are more danceable. He loves lead singer Sabina Sciubba's on-stage and on-record persona which is part Nico, part Jane Birkin and part Astrud Gilberto. He gives the album a Buy It. Greg is less enthused. He finds the album to be pleasant, but less up-tempo than previous efforts. He wishes they had more to say and thinks it's just merely background music. He gives it a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 142
Sir The Baptist

Sir the Baptist Saint or Sinner

Chicago's Sir the Baptist broke on the scene with a gospel-fueled single called "Raise Hell", and his debut album Saint or Sinner continues his experiments in blending the sacred and the street. Greg says that at Lollapalooza last year, Sir performed part of his set out of a casket on stage, "a commentary on the gun violence in Chicago; but also, a deeper message about faith, about spirituality, and about the role it could play in the lives of young people." Jim and Greg note that Sir the Baptist was ahead of the curve of mixing religious music and popular urban music that fellow Chicagoans Chance the Rapper and Jamila Woods have also explored. Jim says that Sir the Baptist is "firmly based in that rich Chicago tradition of gospel music" but Sir is "skeptical… of faith that is not grounded in morality". He calls "Deliver Me" an extraordinary track. Jim praises the album's deep themes. Both Jim and Greg give Saint or Sinner an enthusiastic Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 600
At War with the Mystics (Deluxe Version)At War With the Mystics available on iTunes

Flaming Lips At War With the Mystics

Next up is a review of the new Flaming Lips album At War With the Mystics. The Oklahoma band has been around for almost 25 years, and this is their 12th album. The Lips' first big breakthrough came in 1993 with Transmissions from the Satellite Heart. That album was lauded by Jim and Greg at the time, and the single "She Don't Use Jelly" was one of the big alternative hits of the year. Then, in 1999, the band released The Soft Bulletin, which became a huge critical success, and in 2002, the band finally got some commercial recognition with their first Gold album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. After listening to one of the new songs, "Pompeii am Gotterdammerung" (which gives multi-instrumentalist and musical wizard Steven Drozd his first stab at vocals), Greg gives his review of the album. Jim refrains from offering his review because he feels he is too close to the work. Mr. DeRogatis just released his 5th book, Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips, and the journalist in him can‘t give a rating of the record. However, listeners can certainly surmise his opinions after listening to our hosts’ discussion. Greg admits off the bat that he is not blown away. He feels like the band tried to out-gimmick itself, providing the song "Yeah Yeah Yeah" as an example. Greg admits that the songs translate better live, and Jim predicts that come this summer, when the Flaming Lips perform at Lollapalooza, Greg will have to eat his Burn It. We'll just have to wait and see.

JimGreg
Go to episode 19
dijs

Greg

“I Am A Scientist”Guided By Voices

Greg's newest addition to the Desert Island Jukebox is by Guided By Voices. Greg recalls seeing them at one of the first Lollapalooza festivals when they were first emerging, and how great of a live show they put on. While they have a lo-fi sound on recordings, Greg says that live they have a giant, exciting sound that drew crowds from all over. In remembrance of that concert over 20 years ago Greg adds "I Am A Scientist" by Guided By Voices to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 559

Greg

“Dig Me Out”Sleater-Kinney

All girl indie rock group Sleater-Kinney recently announced that following their performance at Lollapalooza this year, they'd be taking an indefinite hiatus. Essentially, this means that the Portland group is breaking up, but reserving the right to reunite should they be inspired (or in debt). Sleater-Kinney is one of Greg's favorite groups. He loves all seven of the group's albums, but thinks they really hit their stride on their third effort, Dig Me Out. This is because singer/guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein were joined by powerful drummer Janet Weiss. Also, there's an inherent tension in the music, which Greg imagines was caused by the demise of Tucker and Brownstein's romantic relationship. So, to say goodbye, Greg is choosing the title track, "Dig Me Out," as his Desert Island Jukebox pick this week.

Go to episode 32
news

Music News

Jay Z just launched his music streaming service, Tidal, to the public. Kanye West, Madonna and Daft Punk were just a few of the artists who attended a press conference to announce their support for the service. According to emphatic speaker Alicia Keys, Tidal's mission is to give artists more control over how their music is distributed while taking some of the authority out of the hands of tech companies. The basic monthly fee is $9.99, while the premium, hi-fi subscription is $19.99. It will be interesting to see how the service will compete with giants like Spotify and Beats, or fellow artist Garth Brooks' brand Ghost Tunes.

This year Lollapalooza Festival is being anchored by a Beatle. Paul McCartney is one of the Lolla 2015 headliners, which also includes Metallica, Florence + the Machine, Sam Smith, Alabama Shakes and The Weeknd. This will be McCartney's first stint at Lollapalooza, though he previously played at Bonnaroo in 2013.

In other festival news, if you're planning on getting a pass, don't bring your selfie stick. Lollapalooza and Coachella have banned the photographic aids from the grounds as the monopods often block the views of other concertgoers and could be potentially dangerous. However rest assured, you can still take pictures and selfies as long as you use your arms like a normal person.

Go to episode 488

Music News

Jim and Greg begin the show with a discussion of Lollapalooza and other summer festivals. There's Coachella in California and Bonnaroo in Tennessee, but Chicago is shaping up to be the major destination for music fans this year. The Lollapalooza lineup is impressive, with a diverse mix of bands including Lolla vets The Flaming Lips and Red Hot Chili Peppers, indie favorites Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins, and Chicago natives Wilco and Kanye West. Plus, the city will be home to two of the biggest independent music festivals: The Pitchfork Music Festival, featuring Destroyer, Art Brut, Spoon and post-punk pioneers Mission of Burma, and the Intonation Music Festival featuring The Streets, Bloc Party, Lupe Fiasco and a rare appearance by 13th Floor Elevators founder Roky Erickson.

Go to episode 21

Music News

For the third year in a row the Lollapalooza Music Festival took over Chicago's Grant Park for a weekend. Jim and Greg were both there to report on how the festivities went down, and both critics agree the highlight was, by far, Iggy Pop and the Stooges. The punk rocker's high-energy performance toed that line between good fun and danger, something Jim wishes there was more of in rock and roll. Something Jim also wished there was more of at the festival was less of a“shopping mall”environment. He asked Lollapalooza impresario Perry Farrell about the need for such extensive VIP sections and the effect that things like the“radius clause”have on struggling bands and struggling clubs. Greg actually thought the festival was run quite well and treated fans with respect; there was plenty of food, water and bathrooms — something he can‘t say about all other festivals. This critic’s major beef with Lollapalooza is mostly aesthetic. He would like to see fewer stages, fewer filler bands, and more emphasis on thoughtful bookings. We'll just have to wait until Lollapalooza 2008 to see if they take this free advice.

The news takes a slightly darker turn next, with two stories involving Adolf Hitler and Hitler memorabilia. The first concerns the pop purveyor of all things dark: Marilyn Manson. The goth-glam rocker is being sued for $20 million by his former keyboardist, known to fans as Madonna Wayne Gacy. He claims that Manson spent band profits on personal items, including coat hangers used by Adolf Hitler, a handbag owned by Eva Braun, and the full skeleton of a four-year old Chinese girl. Manson says the claims are ridiculous, adding, "I would never spend my money on a Chinese girl skeleton… That would be crossing the line. It's a Chinese boy, for the record.‘’

Another surprising news item: Around 100 records apparently belonging to Adolf Hitler have been discovered in a former Soviet intelligence officer's attic. The collection reveals that while Hitler was publicly heralding“racially pure”German music, his musical taste included some artists forbidden in the Third Reich. Some of the findings were not shocking: Wagner, Beethoven and Anton Bruckner. But, the dictator also appears to have owned works by Jewish and Russian performers like Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninov and Artur Schnabel.

To quote Elton John's own song, "The Bitch is Back." The singer/songwriter has popped up in the news again, this time expressing his beef with…the Internet, of all things. In a piece in British tabloid The Sun, John contends that the web has destroyed music, and explains, "I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole Internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span." Sir Elton adds that he's doing his part by shutting out iPods and cellphones, and, we can only guess, communication with the world. Apparently this musician hasn't had the same experience with music on the internet as fellow Brits Lily Allen or Pete Townshend.

Just a week after Jim lauded his new album Cake or Death, psychedelic cowboy Lee Hazlewood died of cancer at the age of 78. The musician is best known for writing and producing hits for others, including "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" for Nancy Sinatra. But, Jim and Greg discuss how he developed a cult following in later years, and became legendary for his innovation and independence. This earned him the adoration of a new generation of rock musicians that includes Nick Cave and Sonic Youth. Jim and Greg pay tribute to Hazlewood by playing his song, "Some Velvet Morning."

Go to episode 89

Music News

The news starts with Front Line Management's lawsuit against Axl Rose. Front Line's founder and chief executive is Irving Azoff, who is also executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, which merged with Ticketmaster last month. Jim and Greg discuss the impact of such a lawsuit on an artist. Considering the mega-corporation controls ticketing, venues and many other aspects of the industry, they may not be one to tangle with. Also, they note that the lawsuit is over a breach of "oral contract." Who agrees to an oral contract these days? Especially with Axl Rose!

Jim and Greg discuss the yet again delayed emergence of Spotify in the U.S. The Internet music service, introduced in 2008 by Daniel Ek, has become one of the most popular of its kind in Europe with 7 million users. But despite rumors that it would come to the States this summer, Ek is still having trouble navigating our thick legal system. He wants Spotify to be legitimate, and that means a lot of licensing fees. But once it does hit our soil, Greg predicts big success.

It hit about 80 degrees this week in Chicago, and while it may snow again next week, we've got our eye on the summer. Jim and Greg run down some of the biggest music festivals of the season. First up is Coachella this month, which will feature Jay-Z, LCD Soundsystem and Faith No More among others. The following month, music fans can travel to Washington for the Sasquatch Festival to see My Morning Jacket, Kid Cudi and Ween. In June Bonnaroo will host the Dave Matthews Band, Stevie Wonder and Weezer. Two of the biggest festivals are right here in our hometown: Pitchfork Music Festival, which will boast a Pavement reunion, and Lollapalooza, which Greg can nearly confirm will have headliners Lady Gaga, Green Day, and a reunited Soundgarden. But, Jim points out that not all of the best multi-act concerts are destination festivals. Lilith Fair is back this year as a traveling women-fueled act with Mary J. Blige, Cat Power and Kelly Clarkson.

Go to episode 227

Music News

One of the news stories Jim and Greg have been writing about this week is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's anti-trust investigation of Lollapalooza promoters C3 Presents. Chicago's Lollapalooza, like many large music festivals across the country, imposes a radius clause on its artists. That's an industry-standard contract of exclusivity with performers that restricts their touring within a certain distance. These clauses impact not only bands, but local music clubs, and really shrink their bookings for the summer. Jim and Greg wonder if this type of investigation will grow to the federal level.

Also in the news this week, Led Zeppelin is being sued for copyright infringement by Jake Holmes, a 70-year-old folk singer. Holmes, who toured with Jimmy Page and the Yardbirds in 1967, claims he actually wrote "Dazed and Confused." Lawsuits like this are a dime a dozen these days, but this one sparked Jim and Greg's interested because the evidence is just so darn convincing. Listen for yourself.

Go to episode 240

Music News

First up Jim and Greg do an update on a story discussed a few weeks ago. Despite pleas from a broad spectrum of internet radio broadcasters including National Public Radio and Yahoo, as well as some small scale mom and pop stations, the Copyright Royalty Board threw out requests to reconsider a ruling that hiked the royalties they must pay to record companies and artists. In addition, the judges declined to postpone a May 15 deadline by which the new royalties will have to be collected. While there is still one more chance to open the case with the court of appeals, it's likely that many webcasters are going to be put out of business by these new rulings. One thing that is for certain is that rulings like these and those to come down the line are certain to change the entire landscape of digital broadcasting.

Next up Jim and Greg talk to Doug Brod, Editor-in-Chief of Spin Magazine, about the upcoming season of“destination festivals.”While previously music fans would be treated to traveling music festivals like Lollapalooza coming to their neck of the woods, now there are large-scale, multi-day outdoor concerts dotted in different areas across the country. Often, these festivals have to compete for your attention by getting the biggest coup. This year it's the Rage Against the Machine reunion at Coachella, the Pearl Jam and Daft Punk performances at Lollapalooza, and a Police reunion at Bonnaroo.

Jim and Greg ask Doug to choose his favorite out of the many destination festivals this summer, and he goes with Coachella because of the line-up and the location. Greg agrees that the Coachella Valley is a spectacular place to experience a rock show, but he also urges music fans to travel two hours outside of Seattle, Washington to attend the Sasquatch Festival in the Gorge Amphitheater. It's another meeting of spectacular natural surroundings and an impressive bill of bands. Jim thinks that people will get the most bang for their buck at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, which features a number of indie bands, plus groups like Sonic Youth performing entire albums for a very reasonable price. But, being the sand and sun hater that he is, Jim won‘t pick his favorite summer festival. He’s actually ready for the entire phenomenon to die out and for rock to return to smoky clubs where it belongs.

Jim and Greg talk to Chicago Tribune Television Critic Maureen Ryan about the recent "Sanjaya phenomenon" on American Idol. Our hosts have long avoided talking about this popular TV show because, frankly, it has little to do with music. But, they were intrigued by the curious forces at work to keep the apparently talentless contestant Sanjaya Malakar on the show, and wanted to turn to Mo Ryan to find out why he became so popular, and why he couldn‘t survive. The only sense these critics can make out of Sanjaya’s reign is that for one brief moment the pop forces (pre-teens who love Sanjaya's androgynous, harmless sex appeal) and the punk forces (Vote for the Worst.com, Howard Stern, etc.) came together with one common goal: to save Sanjaya (and possibly take down the show). The convergence of these two sets was a rare occurence in popular culture, and it seems they weren‘t strong enough to prevent Sanjaya’s elimination. American Idol proved itself to be a more powerful“death star”than anyone expected.

For more information on music festivals, check out the footnotes below.

Go to episode 73

Music News

The annual Lollapalooza music festival brought over 300,000 fans to Chicago's Grant Park last weekend. Festivals like Lolla have become huge sources of revenue for music corporations, primarily attracting“millennials”interested in hearing newer pop and electronic acts. Jim thinks the nature of the festival is the reason for the primarily young audience – it provides younger listeners with the chance to party with their friends while enjoying their favorite music. But Jim notes that the hundreds of hospitalizations and dozens of arrests make the festival unnecessarily dangerous. Despite the younger audience, Friday headliner Paul McCartney attracted a large number of fans to his performance, but Greg says he's an exception to the rule. While older acts can sometimes be out of place at these sort of festivals, Greg and Jim are both doubtful that any current pop act – save Taylor Swift – could attract the same number of fans as a McCartney. Both hosts think the concept of the music festival needs to be redesigned to suit the needs of the modern audience.

Go to episode 506

Music News

While file-sharers in this country face lawsuits, downloaders in France now risk being thrown off the net entirely. French officials are proposing to cut off the broadband connections of people who illegally download films or music over the internet. French President Nicholas Sarkozy explained that he's backing a "three strikes" policy against internet pirates, while simultaneously announcing a new deal with film and music companies to boost“cultural offerings”on the web. Jim and Greg think that government intervention in this issue sets a troubling precedent. Let's keep our fingers-crossed that U.S. lawmakers don't follow suit (no pun intended).

The RIAA is making news yet again this week. Earlier this month, the record industry organization announced that it sent another round of pre-litigation settlement letters to college campuses across the U.S. They are targeting 16 schools, almost all of which are members of the Ivy League. But, where's Harvard? The RIAA has offered no response. Jim and Greg aren't quick to join conspiracy theorists, but the whole thing is a little peculiar. In fact, the American record industry's tactics in general are very peculiar. But, no more so than those across the pond…

After two successful runs of Lollapalooza in Chicago, concert promoters C3 Presents have announced they're going to extend their festival reign to the Garden State. This August C3 and European promoters Festival Republic will launch the Vineland Music Festival in Vineland, NJ. But, music fans shouldn‘t expect a different formula. The Vineland concert will also be a 3-day destination festival with over 100 bands in various popular music genres. In fact, some acts will overlap with Lollapalooza. Jim and Greg don’t understand the need for another big summer music festival when the market is already so glutted with the same product. Everyone, including C3 executives, admit that the market is over-saturated and that many of these festivals won't survive. Sound Opinions H.Q. just hopes that over-heated, over-charged music fans do.

Go to episode 105

Music News

The first story in the news this week involves that age-old practice of“pay-for-play,”or payola, in the music industry. In recent years, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been investigating major record labels like Sony and Warner who engaged in this practice. But now, the FCC has joined the battle against this unethical behavior by launching an investigation of the four major radio corporations: Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting and Entercom Communications. The FCC's enforcement unit is looking into accusations that broadcasters illegally accepted cash or other compensation in exchange for airplay of specific songs without telling listeners. As per usual, the federal government is late to the game — but this investigation is admittance of a problem. And as we all know, that's the first step.

Also making news recently are some major acts from the early 1990s. It seems that people are already nostalgic for the music of the alternative era, and many of the surviving bands are cashing in on it. Alice in Chains announced tour dates for this summer, despite the fact that their original lead singer, Layne Staley, died of a drug overdose in 2002. Like the members of Queen and The Doors, the surviving Alice in Chains bandmates don't seem fazed by this loss, and will continue with the addition of Guns 'N Roses bassist Duff McKagan and Comes With the Fall vocalist William DuVall. Former Jane's Addiction members Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins will also tour this summer under the name Panic Channel, though their lead singer has not passed on. Rather, he's now the impresario of what may prove this summer's big moneymaker: Lollapalooza.

In the typical fashion, Neil Young is stirring up some controversy. The prolific rocker finished recording music for an upcoming album mere days ago and will have it in stores within a couple of weeks. Young is just coming off his last release, Prairie Wind (featured in Jonathan Demme's recent concert film), but on Living With War, he will shift gears completely. According to Greg, this release is a completely political, guerilla-style protest album. Young wrote and recorded songs like "Let's Impeach the President," in just one day in response to the current administration and its failed war in Iraq. Jim points out that Young works well in this situation. Less than two weeks after the Kent State shootings in 1970, Young was inspired to write "Ohio," and it was on the radio within a week. Almost 40 years later, the classic rock icon shows no sign of slowing down — neither his writing, nor his politics.

Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins are also in the headlines again. Nirvana widow Courtney Love sold 25% of her share of the band's publishing rights to Larry Mestel, a former executive at Virgin Music. She reportedly received over 50 million dollars for this settlement. That should help alleviate Love's financial woes, though not necessarily the woes of Nirvana fans who worry that Cobain's legacy will be boiled down to Teen Spirit ads. Smashing Pumpkins fans are also a bit curious about the fate of that band. Lead singer (and Love ex) Billy Corgan has stated that the Chicago group will reunite, but no one is quite sure in what incarnation. That really just leaves Pearl Jam, who you'll hear about later in the show.

Go to episode 22

Music News

Jim and Greg talk about some surprising numbers Nielsen SoundScan recently released. According to the sales trackers, 40% of the albums old in 2006 were catalog sales. While there were a number of successful new releases from acts like Mary J. Blige, The Dixie Chicks and High School Musical, it seems that music fans still have a lot of nostalgia for the hair metal era of the 1980s. AC/DC's 1980 album Back in Black sold 444,000 copies last year, a figure that would make a contemporary CD a success. Also faring well was Metallica's 1991 self-titled album, Guns 'N Roses' Appetite for Destruction and Bon Jovi's Greatest Hits collection. The New Jersey band is also having success with their new release Lost Highway, though this is one figure Jim really can't wrap his head around.

Next the hosts discuss their recent experiences at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. The three day festival organized by the Chicago-based Internet music magazine pitchforkmedia.com and indie music promoter Mike Reed was attended by 48,000 people in Chicago's Union Park. In fact, both Jim and Greg worry that the concert is getting too big for its britches, and the park. There were a number of highlights including performances by Yoko Ono, Mastodon and Clipse and full-album performances from Sonic Youth, Slint and GZA. But, one of the problems with a festival that celebrates the underground is that eventually things move above ground. Even Third Stage acts like electronic artist Dan Deacon demanded a huge crowd. In addition a number of artists from previous Pitchfork Festivals are appearing at this year's Lollapalooza. One thing this proves is how big the Pitchfork tastemakers are now. More than MTV play or radio play, it's coverage on indie sites like pitchforkmedia.com that thrust an artist into the spotlight.

Go to episode 86

Music News

Five years ago LCD Soundsystem announced its retirement. Boy has time flown, because they are back. James Murphy and his bandmates will be reuniting this summer for a series of performances at festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. Jim and Greg lament that the schedules for the season's major festivals are virtually the same. Music critics from the New York Times agree and won't be covering any of the big three, instead focusing on boutique festivals and summer concerts. As they write, these destination festivals are more about fun in the sun than music.

After one year in business, Jay Z's streaming service TIDAL has numbers to report. According to the service, they have 3 million subscribers total and Kanye West's new album The Life of Pablo has been streamed roughly 250 million times. Jim, Greg and other industry-watchers are skeptical about this figure. But, however the accounting shakes out, TIDAL is small potatoes compared to the leader Spotify with 30 million subscribers and Apple Music with 11 million.

Go to episode 540

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Eminem is having a good week. He was not only announced as a headliner at this summer's Lollapalooza, but his Marshall Mathers LP 2 album hit the two million mark in sales. This puts him in the rarefied air of only one other artist in the SoundScan era. (The other is the Backstreet Boys.) His cumulative sales are approaching 50 million, making him the 2nd best-selling male artist of the SoundScan era behind Garth Brooks.

Irving Azoff is one of the most powerful men in the history of music. He managed careers of bands like The Eagles, Van Halen, andSteely Dan. He was also the CEO of Ticketmaster and the chairman of LiveNation. Now, he is has brokered a big deal involving…Phil Jackson? Azoff is a former partner of New York Knicks CEO James Dolan, and he told Bloomberg News that he helped broker the deal to bring Jackson to the Knicks. But, he can join Spike courtside whenever he wants.

Go to episode 435

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It has been an historic few weeks for aging rockers on the Billboard charts. First, at age 88, Tony Bennett broke his own record as the oldest living artist to have a #1 record with Cheek to Cheek, his duet with Lady Gaga. Then, we have diva Barbra Streisand with her own duet album Partners. The success of her latest endeavor makes her the only artist to have a #1 album in each of the past six decades.

Just when you thought concert tickets couldn't get more expensive, they just might. Independent concert and event promotion company, C3 Presents will reportedly sell 51% of the company to Live Nation. C3 is responsible for events like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival. A collaboration with“Death Star”Live Nation would greatly increase that company's stake in the U.S. concert market and possibly lead to higher ticket prices for you the concertgoer.

Which designer has English indie pop band The xx in a fury? Hugo Boss recently used a song in its new ad campaign—one that sounds strikingly similar to "Intro" by The xx. The band is extremely unhappy, calling the song“a poorly designed fake.”Perhaps Hugo Boss should stick to designing clothes.

Go to episode 463

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R. Kelly surprised people by turning up in Chance the Rapper's closing set on the final day of the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago this past weekend, but it's his involvement with another, much smaller festival that has been making headlines. The Fashion Meets Music Festival (FMMF) of Columbus, Ohio, scheduled to kick off at the end of this month, originally booked Kelly as headliner of the three-day weekend celebration. However, the Columbus community and the event's sponsors met the news of the controversial R&B star's involvement with disapproval and condemnation. Kelly, well-known as the target of allegations of manufacturing child pornography, as well as dozens of accusations of sexual misconduct from young women, was removed from the festival bill last week. And this is one instance of an ongoing public conversation about whether or not you can support the art without supporting the artist. Jim has been at the center of this debate—with reporting that was captured in a Village Voice piece by Jessica Hopper. Kelly is certainly not the first (Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, etc.) to raise this question, and he won't be the last.

Go to episode 454

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If you were one of the unfortunate few to tune in to last week's Golden Globes“ceremony”then you know first hand how the Writer's Guild strike can affect awards season. Now it appears the Grammy Awards might be next to fall. The Recording Academy is seeking an interim agreement from the WGA to insure that the Feb. 10th awards broadcast will go off without a hitch. While they have gotten support from other industry unions, a WGA spokesperson didn't recommend betting on a waiver. Jim, for one, would welcome a trimmed down Grammy Awards. But, Greg doesn't think that audiences will tune in without the promise of star power. The one upside — perhaps this year the Grammys will actually be about music.

By next year Live Nation will not only have severed ties with Ticketmaster, but become its biggest competition. The concert promoters, turned music moguls, announced plans to launch their own ticketing company. Therefore, they'll have their hands in every aspect of the music industry: production, marketing and sales of both albums and concert tickets. According to Jim and Greg, this brings up a lot of ethical issues that make them question how the consumer will be served. Ticketmaster is also blurring the lines of business; the company made its own announcement regarding the purchase of TicketsNow. That website is the second-largest site in the secondary-ticket market behind StubHub. Ticketmaster has been criticizing these kinds of brokers for years, but…if you can‘t beat ’em, join ‘em. As Jim and Greg explain, now there isn’t a lot stopping Ticketmaster from withholding a large quantity of tickets from the first round of sales, only to jack up the prices and make a huge profit the second time around.

The other big area of competition is turning out to be the summer concert festivals. The concert promoters behind Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California are headed east to set up shop in New Jersey. The Liberty State Park event will be held on August 8-10 — the same exact dates as the Vineland Music Festival. That event is being put on by the promoters behind Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. Can New Jersey handle two 3-day concert festivals with a similarly diverse bill of hundreds of bands? Jim and Greg think no. The stage is set for“a blood bath”between the two corporate giants, but the real victims are probably going to be music fans.

From the concert wars to the real war… In an effort to boost morale, the U.S. Army has put out a request for a“professional rock band.”Following suit with the National Guard, who used 3 Doors Down to help them recruit moviegoers, the Army is looking to get a little more rock and roll. Or rather, Southern Rock, Pop Rock, Post-Grunge or Hard Rock. If you play these genres of music and are some kind of celebrity, national or local, and also don't mind suiting up in kevlar and being shipped off to Kuwait or Afghanistan, then submit your“proposal”today. Sound Opinions H.Q. can think of a few music celebs they'd nominate to be shipped off.

Next up Jim and Greg warn you to get ready for a full-blown Michael Jackson revival. That's right, the man who many of us reduced to an E! True Hollywood Story may actually return to being an important music figure. A 25th anniversary edition of Thriller is scheduled for release next month, and Jermaine Jackson has said that his brother will be joining the rest of the Jackson 5 for a reunion tour later this year. But kicking the revival off is rapper Rhymefest, who just posted a free download of The Michael Jackson Dedication Album on his website. The album was produced entirely with Jackson song samples, as well as inventive skits featuring the rapper and his pop idol. Jim and Greg both recommend listeners check the album out, with Greg adding that it's the best thing Michael Jackson has had his name on in two decades. Rhymefest fans should also check out his appearance on the show.

Go to episode 112

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Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch announced this week that he has cancer and will be undergoing surgery. He explained on a video on the group's site that the cancer was caught in time, and he will recover. The Beastie Boys are being forced to cancel a number of big tour dates, however, including headling slots at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and All Points West in New Jersey. Lollapalooza will not be offering refunds for tickets. As Greg explains, this is standard policy at many festivals where you are there to see dozens or hundreds of bands. Jim thinks that when a headline drops out, people should be able to get a refund, especially if they purchased tickets for just that one day.

It's only July, but Jim is already thinking about Christmas gifts. He noticed that yet again, Greg missed an opportunity to get him the perfect gift — John Bonham's gong. Bonzo's famous 48-inch gong went at auction this week for $64,000. Jim thinks it's a reasonable price for such a massive gong used by such a massive drummer.

Go to episode 191

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Making news are recent announcements about upcoming summer concerts. First, there was release of the lineups for the annual Coachella and Bonnaroo music festivals. The Coachella Festival in southern California usually has one of the more exciting and diverse bills of the summer, with past headliners like Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead. This year, though, Jim and Greg are skeptical of whether headliners Tool and Depeche Mode can be enough of a draw. It's up to support acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Massive Attack and Wolf Parade to make the desert heat bearable. There is also exciting news for Chicagoans: Lollapalooza will be returning with an expanded three-day format. Plus, indie rock fans can look forward to not one, but two new festivals in the city—the Pitchfork Music Festival and the newly independent Intonation Festival.

Joining Jim and Greg for the news this week is former Supreme Mary Wilson. Ms. Wilson made headlines recently when she began a national campaign to support legislation that would prevent imposters (but thankfully not cover bands) from posing as major artists. To prove the point that there is only one true Mary Wilson, the singer did an a cappella rendition of The Supremes' "Stop! In the Name of Love" for the Illinois House of Representatives.

Go to episode 12