RAVE'S FAVES (on the air since April)
The Vines, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul Oakenfold, No Doubt ("Underneath").
The new song by The Vines has really begun to grow on me. This sounds like a great band, and the vocals remind me a bit of Kurt Cobain. This Australian group is the great new hype in this genre. The CD comes in July. Word is that they're strong live. Meanwhile, The Hives continue to score live and on the air. Unlike the vast majority of modern rock bands, these guys have a great time on stage and put smiles on lots of faces. White Stripes continue to progress, and The Strokes are the grand old men of "Garage." Thanks to these bands, times are becoming more exciting in rock. As these groups become bigger, I think the "Garage" handle will go away, and they'll simply be known as good(great?) rock bands. As for their futures, radio/MTV play will be essential, and their next albums will be crucial.
I've heard the music they've been working on, and I'm surprised to tell you that it sounds like a great Soundgarden album. The music is mid-tempo and blusey. Cornell's vocals sound great. Lots of people like this kind of music. Assuming that the CD is released, I predict it will do very well. For my money, though, I'm disappointed. I was really hoping for Rage-like intensity and for an approach that would have been heavier as well as faster.
You've probably heard that the Library of Congress is considering an insane proposal where many Internet broadcasters will have to pay an extremely high percentage of their revenues in the form of royalties to record companies and artists. The survivability of many Internet broadcasters is now in question. I'm certainly not opposed to people and labels being compensated, but let's remember that more new artists need to be exposed at a time when the music business needs all the help it can get. I'm not one to devise the correct formula, but let's hope something workable can be arranged. This is an extremely important issue. If you feel strongly about this, I suggest you contact your federal government reps. By the way, Internet broadcasters from outside the US will not be subject to these payments.
I've been sampling some of the XM channels. It seems their versions of formats already on the radio won't be much more adventurous than what we already have. We must remember that XM have veteran radio programmers who are after the masses. Most people want to hear the hits. So far, there aren't nearly enough listeners to be making an impression, but it's very early times.
Fans of Weird Al Yankovic will be glad to hear that VH-1 has prepared a "Driven" episode about him, premiering Tuesday, July 30 at 9pm (8pm Central). At Al's suggestion, VH-1 interviewed me about my dealings with him at the beginning of his career. As someone once said, Al is the one "Behind the Music" subject that has been a consistently happy guy.
After years of raving about Garbage, I finally got to see them in concert and I wasn't disappointed. The show was tight and efficient, but surprisingly basic in terms of production values. I'm flattered to report that WSUM at the University of Wisconsin, Madison now has the "Bruce Ravid Award." Congrats to Aaron Honore, Loud Rock Director, who is the first recipient. In the words of station GM Dave Black, he was the "most enthusiastic and persistent staff person when it came to procuring music, establishing rapport with the record companies and reviewing music for FCC suitability and musical quality. It didn't hurt that he is a very pleasant young man who helped create a positive atmosphere around the station."
Have a great summer. I'll be back in September. Meanwhile, enjoy life and...