Franz Ferdinand & Opinions on St. Vincent and Green Day

After taking the U.S. by storm with their hit song Take Me Out, Scottish band Franz Ferdinand is back touring the country. They stopped by our studio for a conversation with Jim and Greg, as well as a live acoustic performance. Later, the hosts will review new albums from Green Day and St. Vincent.

Franz Ferdinand
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We’re still waiting for the Justice Department to weigh in on the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster. But meanwhile, mega corporation Live Nation is still making news. They announced a significant loss of $103.2 million this year, but CEO Michael Rapino is confident that the company is on track and that concert attendance will be strong this summer. And, as Jim and Greg discuss, Live Nation has a plan to make even more revenue: beer. Despite this recession, the company hopes people will buy more beer and hotdogs at increased prices.

While the traditional label system struggles to survive, it looks to the digital realm for salvation. But, as Warner Music reported this week, not all digital music investments pay off. It had to write off a $33 million loss, mostly due to its web services Lala, Imeem and MySpace. And consumers continue to skirt the system—for every legal download purchased, 40 are shared illegally. iTunes remains the only truly successful digital music service.

Franz Ferdinand

Next up Jim and Greg are joined by Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy from the band Franz Ferdinand. Many people will be familiar with the Scots’ 2004 hit Take Me Out, but they’ve since gone on to do two more albums. Their most recent, Tonight, shows the band experimenting more. As Alex explains, they like to keep fans surprised—whether it’s with a lengthy house track, unique sense of style or even a live acoustic performance of the songs Katherine Kiss Me, Darts of Pleasure, and Walk Away. Alex further confounded expectations by taking a turn as a food author with his 2006 road food memoir Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand.

21st Century Breakdown Green Day

21st Century Breakdown

After releasing the blockbuster album American Idiot in 2004, pop punk band Green Day is back with their 8th album 21st Century Breakdown. This album was over 4 years in the making, and the result is an 18-track rock opera produced by Butch Vig. Lead singer Billie Joel Armstrong is rallying against the establishment as always, but for Jim, he’s not rallying as effectively. He hears a lot of Queen-like bombast. Jim thinks half of the album is amazing, but because of the other half, he gives it a Try It rating. Greg explains that this record deserves a number of listens, in sequence, something he says about very few albums these days. He thinks the bombast is actually reigned in pretty tightly, and believes 21st Century Breakdown is the best work they’ve done yet. Greg gives the album a Buy It.

Actor St. Vincent

Actor (Bonus Track Version)

One of Greg’s favorite acts at this year’s SXSW was St. Vincent, also known as Annie Clark. After performing with the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, she’s released her 2nd solo album Actor. Greg finds this sophomore effort to be a big step up. Clark wrote and produced the material all on her own, and the arrangements blow Greg away. He thinks it’s one of the year’s best records so far. Jim agrees, noting that while Clark may look like a Disney heroine, her songs are full of dark, subversive images. Actor gets a double Buy It.

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