RAVE'S FAVES (on the air)
The Killers ("Somebody," "Brightside"), Franz Ferdinand (various), Secret Machines, Muse ("Time," "Hysteria"),Bad Religion ("Burning," "Empire"), Green Day, Hives ("Idiot," "Bones), Duran Duran, Scissor Sisters, Air ("Surfin"), Ambulance, Jet ("DJ"), Radio 4.
The Killers are breaking wide open, and the buzz on their entire CD is very strong.Franz have passed gold as radio loves them and people consistently rave about their live shows.Secret Machines and Ambulance have cool tracks that are gaining in video channel and radio play. A second Muse hit will hopefully begin to increase sales for them.Green Day sound like a new band again, and I hear their upcoming album is more of the same. While the Scissor Sisters are an immediate cult act in their native U.S.A., they immediately hit #1 in the U.K. and are blowing up all over Europe with their interesting new CD and tours. I don't know a whole lot about Radio 4, but they have a danceable rock tune just hitting the airwaves.
Speaking of CD's, Velvet Revolver made a great rock record, most of which I like much better than their mellower second single. Honorable mentions go to Walkmen, Interpol, Sum 41 and Snow Patrol ("Run") songs. Kudos to L.A.'s legendary and influential KROQ for playing all of these, as well as most of the faves listed above. Interpol's new single "Slow Hand" isn't necessarily one of their best, but I'm amazed that KROQ is playing it out of the box. Sum's new single brings them closer to their heavy metal roots.Linkin Park came up with a great melody and have the most played rock song in the country. As of this posting, Social Distortion's hot new song is #1 requested at KROQ while Marilyn Manson's cover of "Personal Jesus" is #2.
For me, their new tour and CD were among the two or three most anticipated events of 2004. I like the new CD, and it's an improvement song for song. Hopefully "Bones" or another tune will be a second hit this time around. The record feels rushed and some of the passion from their initial release is missing. Ditto for their live act at L.A.'s Henry Fonda Theatre.Howlin' Pelle Almqvist is as good as advertised and the guys are great. Still, their "we're a great band" schtick gets old because it continues all night. Like the second album, there's the feeling that they're in too much of a rush to get through the set. It was quite a good show, but I was hoping for a "9" or a "10."Spin Magazine calls them "the best live band on the planet." I continue to maintain that these guys can be huge, especially since Almqvist can be a prince to the young girls. This round seems basically like a step sideways for them and CD sales have been disappointing. Let's hope the third time is the charm.
Opening for The Hives were Sweden's Sahara Hotnights. Their set was just okay and they seem to be better in the studio. (See The Hives review above.) Meanwhile, The Knack have dates around the country and just conquered the crowd at L.A.'s Canyon Club with their usual splendid gig.
Duran Duran's "Sunrise" is out as their new single after it originally appeared on the "Queer Eye" soundtrack. I believe it was remixed and it sounds great on the radio. It's currently #1 requested at L.A's Star 98.7. From what I've heard of three other album tracks, it sounds like the lads have done exactly what I was hoping they'd do merging electronic music with those positive melodies they were so good at writing. As lead singer Simon LeBon put it, it's a combination of Kraftwerk with the Mamas & Papas. Weird Al, The Motels and Missing Persons are also active this summer, and Kraftwerk have played some festival dates. The Motels' "Bands Reunited" episode premiers Friday September 10th on VH-1. Check your listings to catch one of its many airings.
As you know, mainstream rockers tend to be very secondary when it comes to these Raves. If you're a regular reader, you probably agree that most of the true rock excitement is coming from the indie side. Alternative radio has slowly become more accepting and much more fun, while Fuse is helping on the video side. On the other hand, the nice, moderately-known emo band Taking Back Sunday just debuted at #3 nationally with their second CD that sold 220,000 copies in its first two weeks of release. It shows how far newer rock has to go. Let's hope that people like Jet and Franz Ferdinand will come up with stellar second efforts. As we keep saying, it all comes down to freshness and the songs... For my eyes, the best rag by far for indie rock is the U.K.'s "NME." It's at major newsstands, and you can also check out the website at www.nme.com... Finally, I'm doing two "Return of Rave" radio shows on Madison, Wisconsin's WSUM-FM. Mad-Town people can hear me Friday, September 24th from 10-midnight and at the same time on Friday, October 22nd. If the station resumes Internet streaming, I'll update this column to keep you informed.
Any input from you is welcome as always. Make sure you put "Raves" in the subject line to avoid the probability of being deleted as suspected spam.Raves 21.1 will be out in two months. Until then,