The Brooklyn based band ‘TV on the Radio” began in the early 2000’s when two musicians (Tunde Adebimpe & David Andrew Sitek), who were also visual artists, started to make music together. So it sort of makes sense that their first EP (Ok Calculator) was a very experimental collection of music that would have made Frank Zappa proud. By the time they released 2006’s “Return to Cookie Mountain” they were already considered one of the most innovative bands of the decade and had found fans in people like David Bowie who lent backing vocals to one of the tracks on that album. If you haven’t listened to this band yet, start with this song and my guess is it will make you want to try another, and another…..
When that first Coldplay single came out (“Yellow”) there was a lot of hype about the band and everyone seemed to be OK with that, but then they got HUGE which created a divide. You either loved Coldplay or you didn’t think it was cool to like Coldplay and you only listened to early Elvis Costello records, Radiohead, and pre-Zooropa U2. Well, I like Coldplay regardless of what the cool police have to say about it. And let me tell you what: when Willie Nelson covers one of your songs it’s like a get out of jail free card from those cool police. In support of one of the many farming initiatives that Wille is involved with he recently recorded a version of The Scientist.
Last week I talked about what a great year 1991 was for music; now let me go back even further to 1969. First of all Woodstock happened in ’69 which of course has become a musical and cultural landmark but 1969 gave more than just a festival, it gave music that has shaped what we listen to today. The first Led Zeppelin album came out in ’69 as did Johnny Cash’s Live at San Quentin, Tommy by The Who, Stand! By Sly and the Family Stone along with debut albums from The Stooges, MC5 and The Jackson 5. I could have picked a lot of songs from this year but without the Jackson Five we wouldn’t have any good Jermaine and Tito jokes. (Shaping pop music is a given).
I was immediately biased towards Bruno Mars when I found out he got the nickname “Bruno” from his dad who loved wrestling great Bruno Sammartino, which is probably interesting to me and about 15 other people out there who like old school wrestling. Turns out I would have liked him anyway; he has written or co-written some of the best songs on radio over the past little while like F**K You by Cee-Lo Green. Even though I was a little bit unsure about Bruno when he released his own single “Just the Way you Are”, I must say he has grown on me and I think he is a rare fresh sound in pop music. The times I’ve been road tripping this past summer and had to play a game of channel scan to stay awake I would always listen to the end of one of his tunes. “Grenade” is as good a love song as I’ve heard in a long time and you know I’m a sucker for a good love song.
In my opinion Chilliwack are not mentioned enough when you hear historians or critics recount the great Canadian rock and roll bands of the 70’s and 80’s. Yeah I said Chilliwack. I guarantee you there are songs you hear everyday on the radio that you know you love and you’ve heard a million times, but you don’t know who the band is…and I bet you every time, the band is Chilliwack. My Girl (Gone Gone Gone) is a classic tune, one of the greats from our country. As good as it is however, it’s no where near as good as the SCTV version that Rick Moranis, John Candy and Eugene Levy did, not even close.
thanks for listening,