RAVE'S FAVES (on the air )
Jet, Hot Hot Heat ("Bandages," "Talk"), Queens of the Stone Age ("Flow"), A Perfect Circle, White Stripes ("Button"), Fountains Of Wayne, Rancid, Junior Senior, Turin Brakes, New Pornographers.
Jet are from Melbourne and have a great song somewhat reminiscent of Iggy's "Lust for Life." Stations nationally are beginning to pick up on this one, and boy does it sound hot on the radio! I predict big things for their "Are You Gonna Be My Girl." Hot Hot Heat's second L.A. hit is actually outperforming the first in terms of local requests and airplay. The new song by A Perfect Circle doesn't have the usual "Rave's Faves hooks," but the tune is pure quality. FOW's "Stacy's Mom" is hooky and funny. In an attempt to become more radio-friendly, Rancid have lost some of their bite, but they still sound good. Junior Senior continue the Scandinavian invasion with their dancy, retro ditty, while Turin Brakes are gracing the more progressive airwaves with their pretty ballad. The catchy New Pornographers song has been around the underground for awhile, and it has grown on me. Honorable mentions go to Vendetta Red, B.R.M.C. and Bleu. Grandaddy have some interesting tunes as well.
NO POST 9/11 AFTERMATH IN ROCK
It's surprising that 9/11 has had little impact on alternative rock up to this point, aside from the welcome reduction in angry rap rock. Perhaps the popularity of the newest wave in rock music will partially come from a growing anti-corporate backlash. From Enron to the increasing disdain for major record labels, active rockers may start looking even harder for new bands and sounds. There are more and more cool, melodic, edgy, indy-like bands lurking just under the surface. I've been writing about these bands, and the hope is that they'll show the depth to become major forces in the years to come. The anti-corporate climate may well help them. As usual, it will mostly come down to song strength and uniqueness of sound. Also, many of these bands are still being called "garage." I think it's time to drop that term. They're all rock bands, and may the best ones win...
Meanwhile, will computers replace humans in music evaluation? Scientists in Barcelona have developed software that supposedly can pick pop hits 93% of the time, using such factors as beat, melody, and harmonies. They laud their success in predicting the Norah Jones smash. That's fine, but let's see some more evidence.
HAS THE RECORD INDUSTRY OVERDONE IT?
While I see both sides of the downloading controversy, I'm a bit surprised at the militancy shown by the RIAA toward offenders. Surely there must be an effective deterrent besides litigating in a manner that will alienate millions of fans. As one high profile industry writer said the other night, "They couldn't he handling it any worse."
The Rubber City Rebels made it back to L.A. last month for some great shows. L.A. Weekly called their Knitting Factory gig the top show in town that night and said that with people like The Ramones gone, the Rebels are "the best of the old buzz." Amidst lots of publicity, Duran Duran returned to The Roxy prior to playing a larger show in Orange County the following night. Their first American gig was at that club, and I had to miss it due to illness. This time I was on vacation. Guess I'm not meant to see them there. Iron Maiden came through SoCal and were so good that they even exceeded my lofty expectations. Their fine new CD comes out in September. I'm lucky to have worked with a group of bands who have turned out to be truly ageless. In late October, VH-1 will debut a new series called "Behind the Song." I've been interviewed for segments on The Knack's "My Sharona" and Duran Duran's "Rio." Watch this space for airdate information.
OK fellow fans, I hope you've had a great summer. I'll be back in a couple of months. I always enjoy hearing from you, so please make sure you mention "Raves" in the subject line to ensure that your message won't be accused of being spam, and thusly deleted. Until early November,