John Cale & Tame Impala Review

Experimental art rocker and Velvet Underground founder John Cale is live in the Sound Opinions studio.

John Cale
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Taylor Swift, not surprisingly, continues her hit-making reign with a new #1 album called Red. But how she arrived at this top slot is curious, especially considering music industry trends. Her record label Big Machine kept the album off streaming services during its first week. That might’ve forced fans out to the retail outlets. However, it contradicts the success Mumford and Sons was able to achieve with the heavily-streamed Babel. There’s just no making sense of rock and roll.

The votes have been tallied and the results are in! No, not those results. The Mercury Prize, of course. Britain’s prestigious music prize has been awarded to the Boffin Rock band Alt-J. These young lads beat out Django Django, Richard Hawley and Field Music, among others. What will they do with their 20,000GBP? Dinner with Mum and Dad, of course.

John Cale

When John Cale first visited Sound Opinions in 2005 as part of our debut on public radio, he shocked us all by name-dropping Snoop Dogg, The Neptunes and the MPC. These influences have come to fruition on the Welshman’s latest recording Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood. And Jim and Greg were excited to have him come by the studios to perform the new material. Plus, there’s no lack of things to talk about with Cale, considering his decades-long career that includes founding The Velvet Underground and producing music by the likes of Patti Smith and The Stooges.

Innerspeaker Tame Impala

InnerSpeaker (Collector’s Edition)

The Psychedelic era might’ve predated the boys in Tame Impala by about half a century, but it’s the major musical influence on this Australian band. The brainchild of Perth’s Kevin Parker, Tame Impala was discovered on MySpace. The band’s debut, Innerspeaker, was mixed by longtime Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann. Fridmann was also on board for the band’s latest, Lonerism. As its name suggests, Lonerism is about someone who doesn’t fit in. But Greg says Parker cannily avoids solipsism by cloaking his melancholy songs in uplifting (and obsessively detailed) pop production. It’s a Buy It record for him. Jim agrees. Tame Impala delivers psychedelic transcendence while remaining Britney Spears-catchy. Lonerism gets an enthusiastic double Buy It.

Jim

It was movie night recently in Jim’s Critiquing the Arts class at Columbia College. He and his students sat down to watch Almost Famous - still the only feature film he knows about rock criticism. The film’s opening number The Oogum Boogum Song blew his students away, so this week Jim pays homage to this hidden gem with his Desert Island Jukebox pick. The Oogum Boogum Song is the work of R&Bsinger Brenton Wood, a Compton native and fan of Sam Cooke who narrowly avoided being a one hit wonder with his other hit, Gimme Little Sign. Jim puts The Oogum Boogum Song alongside other nonsense rock classics like MMMBop and Tutti Frutti.

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