Results for Yoko Ono

interviews

Yoko Ono

This week Jim and Greg welcome music legend Yoko Ono. While many know her simply as John Lennon's widow, Yoko is also an accomplished artist in her own right. Since coming into the spotlight, Yoko has often been reviled her for her radical views and radical music (and for "breaking up the greatest pop group in the world"), but she recently found a new role as a heroine in the indie rock underground. A new generation of musicians who didn't grow up with the same kind of reverence for The Beatles have claimed Yoko as their own. This was especially evident at the Pitchfork Music Festival, where she headlined Saturday's show. Yoko not only played to an audience of thousands people — young and old — but she invited Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Cat Power's Chan Marshall on stage with her to perform.

Recently Yoko has been busy working on some new albums. The first is Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, which features two discs of artists covering songs by John Lennon. She's also released a couple of disc of her own work. Yes, I'm a Witch is a collection of remixes of Yoko's songs by artists such as Peaches, Le Tigre and The Flaming Lips. This was followed by Open Your Box, a collection of dance remixes. The title is a testament to the artist's strong will. It stems from her song "I'm a Witch," which she was reluctant to officially release when she penned it years ago. She explains to Jim and Greg that it wasn‘t as acceptable at the time to come out with such strong lyrics. But, it’s much easier in 2007 to proclaim yourself a bitch.

John and Yoko both influenced each other's music greatly. Greg explains that Yoko's collaboration with her husband brought out the“beast”in him as a guitar player But, Greg wanted to know what Yoko first thought of John's“simple”pop songs considering how avant-garde her compositions were. Yoko explains that she actually found that approach quite refreshing. He helped her to understand how beautiful even the most simple, fun songs can be.

It would be unfair to categorize Yoko strictly as avant-garde. In addition to influencing John's undoubtedly mainstream music, she's also influenced contemporary bands like Cibo Matto and Deerhoof. Jim and Greg talk to the artist about hearing elements of the song "Why" in The B52s' pop hit "Rock Lobster." Yoko explains that she never looked at this as any kind of vindication, but that John actually found great joy in hearing "Rock Lobster" for the first time.

Go to episode 86
specials

Episode 500!

Who knows how we did it, but Sound Opinions has made it to its 500th episode on public radio. Since debuting in December 2005, Jim and Greg have had the pleasure of interviewing many heroes, reviewing countless records, dissecting their favorite classic albums, and welcoming live performances by great artists. They reflect on the prehistory of the show, tracing its origins to previous incarnations on commercial radio. Then they highlight some of their favorite moments from the first 500 episodes, and look ahead to what they'd like to see in the next 500.

Go to episode 500

The First 500 Episodes of Sound Opinions

Who knows how we did it, but Sound Opinions has made it through more than 500 episodes on public radio. Since debuting in December 2005, Jim and Greg have had the pleasure of interviewing many heroes, reviewing countless records, dissecting their favorite classic albums, and welcoming live performances by great artists. They reflect on the prehistory of the show, tracing its origins to previous incarnations on commercial radio. Then they highlight some of their favorite moments from the first 500 episodes, and look ahead to what they'd like to see in the next 500.

Go to episode 526
reviews
Scars (Bonus Track Version)Kish Kash available on iTunes

Basement Jaxx Kish Kash

Scars by British producers Basement Jaxx is the group's fifth album. The duo is known for their inventive dance collages and unique guest vocalists. This time around they are joined by Kelis, Santigold, and Yoko Ono. But despite the appearance of outsiders, the sound is distinctly their own, according to Jim. He describes the album as“relentlessly melodic”and gives it a Buy It. Greg loved their earlier album Kish Kash, but hears them trying to be songwriters rather than producers on this album. And when they abandon the party grooves for more nuanced efforts, they lose him. He gives it a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 200
The Cherry ThingThe Cherry Thing available on iTunes

Neneh Cherry The Cherry Thing

For their final review, Jim and Greg turn to Neneh Cherry and her collaboration with Norwegian/Swedish jazz band The Thing. While Cherry's best known for her hip-hop inflected single "Buffalo Stance," jazz is in her musical DNA. Her stepfather, Don Cherry, was a renowned jazz trumpeter, and Neneh's first band, Rip Rig + Panic, attempted to merge free jazz with a punk sensibility. Still Greg admits, it was hard to imagine how Cherry's voice and Mats Gustafsson 's freewheeling sax could work together on her latest album, The Cherry Thing. He was pleasantly surprised. Cherry's voice is a versatile instrument. She samples hip-hop and trip hop styles and channels everyone from Billie Holiday to Yoko Ono. Still Jim says this album is unquestionably Cherry's, a feat even more impressive considering the material is almost all covers. This is a woman who can sing Iggy Stooge's“Dirt”and make it her own. Jim and Greg both say Buy It, making this an especially feel-good episode of Sound Opinions.

JimGreg
Go to episode 345
news

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

First up in the news is the passing of longtime Beatles friend, manager and business associate Neil Aspinall. The man who many called the“fifth Beatle,”died earlier this week at the age of 66. He grew from childhood friend of the Paul McCartney and George Harrison to CEO of Apple Corps, and was known for his fierce loyalty to the band. But, as Jim and Greg explain, many fans blamed Aspinall for the slow release of Beatles archival materials, as well as Apple Corps' resistance toward moving into the digital age. But, as Jim points out, before launching any new Beatles venture, he had to get Paul, George, Ringo and Yoko on board — no small feat.

Go to episode 122

Music News

Fans have long been wondering when the Beatles will finally come to iTunes. Well, according to Yoko Ono, not anytime soon. John Lennon's widow recently said fans shouldn‘t hold their breath, adding “There’s just an element that we're not very happy about, as people. We are holding out.” But, rest assured, that when Apple Inc. and Apple Corps. do come to an agreement, digital sales will start flying. When the Beatles released their reissues last year, they sold 2.25 million copies in the first five days of release.

Lady Gaga has a record breaking 13 nominations for MTV Video Music Awards. But, ironically, her videos will no longer be available on MTV.com. Gaga's label Universal has decided to take all its content off the music channel's website and show them instead on the label-owned Vevo. Jim and Greg think it will be interesting to see what kind of industry influence MTV can sustain without much music content on its airwaves or website.

Sometimes life does imitate art. "If I Was President" singer Wyclef Jean is, in fact, running for president. The Haitian born former Fugee announced his official candidacy for president of the devastated nation last week. While Jean faces a number of barriers on his road to the office, including controversies regarding his charities and taxes and, of course, celebrity, this got Jim and Greg thinking about some other pop politicos including Sonny Bono, who served in Congress and as the mayor of Palm Springs, Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil, who is an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives and is the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, and The Doobie Brothers' Jeff“Skunk”Baxter who now serves as a defense consultant and chairs a Congressional Advisory Board on missile defense.

Go to episode 246

Music News

The verdict is in: three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of "hooliganism" and are sentenced to two years in prison. Pussy Riot caught international notice when they performed their song "Punk Prayer" in Moscow's foremost Orthodox Cathedral in February, calling upon the Virgin Mary to“banish Putin.”The Russian government responded with a Soviet-style show trial, making Pussy Riot the darlings of the West. Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, and Madonna are just a sampling of the pop music illuminati who have publicly supported the group. Jim's impressed that in 2012, punk music still has the power to seriously rile governments. To those who think rock music is just entertainment, he says,“think again.”Greg points out that Pussy Riot aren't the first musical act to suffer serious consequences for politically charged music. They join a list that also includes Fela Kuti, Gilberto Gil, and The Plastic People of the Universe.

In other news, the RIAA's profits are way down according to their latest tax filings. Membership dues from the major labels fell 50% in two years, reflecting the hemorrhaging of the industry as a whole. Unsurprisingly, the RIAA's executives are still doing just dandy. President Carey Sherman and VP Mitch Bainwol each pulled down million-plus salaries last year.

Go to episode 352