Joan As Policewoman & Opinions on Metallica

Jim and Greg welcome Joan As Policewoman. The classically trained musician has collaborated with the likes of Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, and now she brings her unique brand of American soul music to the Sound Opinions studio.

Joan As Policewoman
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The labels are still holding onto the idea of selling physical media and have rolled out a new music format called SlotMusic. Each memory card will contain albums and other extras that can be played on mobile phones, computers and some portable MP3 players. So far listeners can only purchase these SlotMusic cards at big box stores like Walmart, but the big labels are certainly hoping they can entice digital music fans to actually purchase more than a single mp3. SlotMusic mp3s are higher quality than most purchased by consumers, but Jim and Greg aren't sure that will be enough incentive to walk into a store to buy music when you can simply do it online from your own home.

Keyboardist Rick Wright, founding member of Pink Floyd and psychedelic rock genius, passed away recently at the age of 65. As Jim explains, Wright was a quiet figure in a larger than life band, but he deserves to be honored. Wright was a huge jazz fan and brought a lot of those musical influences to Pink Floyd's sound. You can hear this in the song, "Summer ‘68" from the band's 1970 album Atom Heart Mother.

Joan As Policewoman

Joan As Policewoman, otherwise known as Joan Wasser, stops in for a visit this week. The singer/songwriter has many fans, including Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, and of course Jim and Greg. It's easy to hear why after her live performance, which includes songs from her latest album, Real Life. Joan, who began as a classically trained violinist, describes her music as "American Soul."

Death Magnetic Metallica

Death Magnetic

Metallica's ninth album Death Magnetic has already soared to the top of the charts, but did it deserve to? As Jim and Greg explain, there's been a lot of controversy surrounding the way the album sounds. It was mixed for radio, rather than headphone listening, and is much louder and more distorted than it should be. But that's not even its biggest problem. Both Jim and Greg were shocked at how bad and insincere singer James Hetfield's lyrics are. So awful sound + awful lyrics = a Trash It, right? Well, not quite. Jim and Greg were impressed by the guitar-playing and think that the album is better than other recent Metallica efforts. Death Magnetic gets two Try Its.


The Desert Island Jukebox pick this week marks another passing of a musical great. Legendary drummer Earl Palmer passed away this week at the age of 83. Like Buddy Harman, who was discussed on the show a few weeks ago, Palmer was an unsung hero. Greg credits him with establishing the sound he defines as rock and roll. You can hear this primitive, brutal style of early rock in the Little Richard track "Ready Teddy."

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!