Brian and Bill sit down in the virtual lecture hall with Professor Jonathyne Briggs of Indiana University Northwest who literally wrote the book on French music with Sounds French: Globalization, Cultural Communities and Pop Music, 1958-1980 (2015, Oxford University Press). We get a cool history lesson on how rock and roll entered French pop in the 60s and its influence on France's culture through today. From chansons and Elvis Presley to the Beatles and Dylan and onto new wave and electronic music, we explore how an international audience reacted to, were inspired by, and innovated genres we only thought we were well versed in. Jonathyne kindly curated a play list of 10 songs that includes Franciose Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, Michel Polnareff, Telephone, Marquis de Sade, Alain Bashung, Les Rita Mitsouko, Louise Attaque, Air, and M83! We make our way through it, questioning and commenting as Bill mangles the pronounciation of everything, a track at a time.
It's Bonus Song Thursday! And Brian and Bill decide to mix things up a bit by doing an even deeper dive into a song from this week's album by spending way too much time discussing Pearl Jam's "Betterman" off the 1994 album Vitalogy. Bill tells the story of how PJ helped unlock his fandom of music while vacationing in the mountains of West Virginia with his family in 2000. He then talks about watching Touring Band 2000, the Pearl Jam concert film, and watching Eddie Vedder's hands to learn how to play Betterman, which of course leads to a little bit of a guitar demonstration. Additionally, we read a listener email that throws some artists at us that we should cover!
Bill and Brian are joined by rock journalist and music critic Steven Hyden (Pitchfork, Uproxx, Grantland, A.V Club) to talk about Pearl Jam's divisive third album Vitalogy (1994, Epic). Written on tour and recorded piecemeal and haphazardly, the band started to showcase its eclectic nature by featuring some noise collages and a more "punk" sound. Especially influenced by singer Eddie Vedder's trouble dealing with fame and the suicide of one of their closest peers Kurt Cobain, the album took on a darker, grittier tone that, although dismissed at the time, has become revered by Pearl Jam die hards. Steven talks about how Pearl Jam and their "feud" with Nirvana figures into his book, Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me, and how Nirvana helped shape his views on Pearl Jam and this album upon its release. Then Bill, Brian, and Steven discuss Dave Abbruzzese's excellent drumming and why his guns and sport cars got him dismissed from the band, how Eddie Vedder can be too good of a singer, how powerful the band is on "Corduroy," how using early takes both helped and hindered the album, PJ's penchant for trilogies, Vedder's ability to successfully write from a female perspective, how Pearl Jam has become the last huge rock act that has sustained its career, Vitalogy's similarities to Rust Never Sleeps, the importance of viewing this album as a whole, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track!
Be sure to check out Steven's book, available at all fine book establishments, including at the following link!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill is once again joined by Jim Hanke of the Vinyl Emergency podcast (soundcloud.com/vinylemergency) to talk about Foo Fighters! We fast forward a little bit in the band's career to discuss a song from their 1999 album There Is Nothing Left to Lose, "Aurora." Jim talks about how this album reflected the band adopting a more mainstream sound but how this song stood out to him and has held up over the years. Bill defends his fandom of this song and the album while complimenting Nate Mendel's exceptional bass playing. Additionally, we read some listener email that gets us analyzing the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack in detail and revealing some great trivia about Lou Reed pre-Velvet Underground history!
Bill welcomes podcaster/music guru Jim Hanke from the Vinyl Emergency podcast (soundcloud.com/vinylemergency) to talk about Foo Fighters' self titled debut album (1995, Capitol/Roswell). Following the tragic suicide of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, the band's drummer, Dave Grohl, was left with no band and an uncertain future. Instead of taking offers from Tom Petty to join the Heartbreakers, Grohl decided to take his future into his own hands and front his own group. Jim talks about his podcast, forgives Bill for not really owning vinyl, and discovering the Foos on Eddie Vedder's Self- Pollution pirate radio broadcast in early 1995. Bill and Jim also discuss the album's "indie" aesthetic, the influence of Nirvana on how the album is perceived, how Foo Fighters maybe haven't really ever put out a front to back great album, how Dave Growl has become the official spokesman of rock 'n' roll, how studio noise draws us in, the band's attitude toward and humor in music videos, William Goldsmith's heavy drumming, the album working in groups of 3, and much more as we make our way through the album track by track!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian follow up their interview with Those Pretty Wrongs, Luther Russell and Jody Stephens, about their debut album by discussing the b-side, ""Fool of Myself," to their 2015 single "Lucky Guy." The gentlemen talk a little about the Big Star "box," why this song doesn't quite fit with the rest of the album, and a little bit about a Badfinger "vibe." Additionally, we read a listener email about how we helped keep his sanity in check by mentioning the Beatles. Make sure to check out his web comic, crustedsalt.com!
Bill and Brian welcome legendary Big Star drummer Jody Stephens and acclaimed LA musician Luther Russell for a slightly different than usual episode. We had the pleasure to have the artists themselves provide a track by track commentary! Bill and Brian took the opportunity to head down to Memphis, spend time at Ardent Studios, and chat with Jody and Luther about the making of their album, the self titled debut from Those Pretty Wrongs (due out May 13th, 2016 from Ardent Music and Burger Records). Jody and Luther discuss the beginnings of the band, the cross continent writing process, recording at the historic Ardent using some of Chris Bell's guitars, their influences (such as Willis Alan Ramsey), and the positivity inherent throughout the album before we discuss the entire album, one song at a time. As we make our way through, we talk about how mean Eva Gardner could be (in film), Jody's dog's journey through some health issues, empty Chinese cities, arranging harmonies (that feature Danny De La Matyr!), a great story about a toy cube and sideshow freaks, the influence of Big Star's Alex Chilton and Chris Bell on the songwriting and their presence in the DNA of the music, remaining positive in the face of loss, and so so much more!
Make sure to check out the album from Those Pretty Wrongs, due out May 13th from Ardent Music in partnership with Burger Records!
Many thanks to Addison Hare for making this happen!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill has returned from his world travels to join Brian in a follow up to our remembrance of Prince to discuss his performance as part of the George Harrison tribute from the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. On a stage filled with other distinguished artists such as Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood and others, Prince stole the show with his electrifying lead guitar. In the face of such a huge cultural loss, Bill takes the opportunity and some time to discuss his own recent personal loss and how the two compare and contrast. Additionally, we read a couple emails about great film soundtracks from the 90s!
Brian is joined by thegreatalbums.com's blog author (and previous on-air guest) Jeff Fiedler to discuss the recent passing of Prince Rodgers Nelson who died suddenly and unexpectedly on April 21, 2016. They queue up six of their favorites, talking about his immense influence over the 80s and early 90s. Jeff talks about a fortuitous Prince-related Halloween experience and Brian recounts a fateful drive with his friends when he was only 18. Along the way they touch on the fact that Prince, even in the face of failure, never stopped trying to move things along and always - always - made sure that wherever he was in his career, he never stopped bringing it live!