RAVE'S FAVES (since the beginning of the year)
Spinnerette, Lily Allen (various), Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Depeche Mode, Franz Ferdinand (various), Ladyhawke, Late Of The Pier (various), Glasvegas (various), Decemberists, A.C. Newman ("There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve"), M Ward, Cut Off Your Hands, Jay Reatard (various), Brian Eno & David Byrne.
All of the above are singles unless otherwise noted. There are lots of fine new tracks out there. Ex-Distiller Brody Dalle has returned with her new band Spinniker. This group is a bit more pop and less punk than the former. Their "Ghetto Love" track is my #1 of this young year. Lily Allen has surprised some people with a supreme sophomore effort. Anti-Bush people need to check out her "Fu-k You" ode to the former President.Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Decemberists, and Depeche have strong new singles. I'm liking the new YYY's album, which has veered in a dance direction with some sweet ballads as well. The Franz CD is very solid but it's the first time I haven't found tracks that I absolutely love. From New Zealand, Ladyhawke is a strong entry into the retro/indie-electro world, while Cut Off Your Hands are a great new guitar-oriented band with a Britrock sound. Speaking of the U.K., both Glasvegas and Late Of The Pier are gaining fans.Jay Reatard is from Memphis and "NME Magazine" calls him the "new king of garage rock.A.C. is the male lead in the New Pornographers, and long-timer M Ward is half of She & Him, who had one of 2008's better releases.Eno and Byrne found their collaboration on a number of year-end Top 10 lists. With so many people weighing in on the new U2 CD, I'll add my 3 cents. Musically, I feel it's their best in awhile but I haven't found several songs on this one, that I love.
My January travels took me to Melbourne, where I was able to enjoy the Hot Chip show at Billboard. They've always been great live, and they've become more animated these days. All their songs have been rearranged, mostly in positive ways. Except for occasional breaks to introduce band members while they reprogram synths, they blended their songs together seamlessly (tempo and key) the way a club dj could only hope to. Pendulum played at Melbourne's Corner Hotel a couple of nights later. They are intense as their drum and bass electro is heavily peppered with metal influences. Singer Rob Swire motivates the crowd in more of a hard rock way, which was a little over the top for my tastes as we were club that holds 400. That said, I was thinking that many their fans would have been more likely to see Iron Maiden than Hot Chip.Koko is a hot London club, where I saw Metronomy in February. This electro band is a favorite of NME's. It was a good show but we felt there are better bands in the genre.M83 joined the L.A. Philharmonic at L.A.'s Walt Disney Concert Hall. This gig sold out in an instant. Most of the show featured separate performances by the two entities, and they finally combined for the final five tunes. The music was beautiful but very low-key. It would have been nice to see them do more together. The hall itself is magnificent, and the acoustics might be the best I've had the pleasure to experience.
I enjoyed my third annual 8+ hour winter Rave-a-thon at WSUM in January. Thanks to GM Dave Black and everyone else who participated, including our own Uncle Joe Benson. We're talking about a return engagement in May, so keep an eye on ravesraves.com for details... Speaking of my site, I'm excited to inform you that I'm about to launch an upgraded redesign of the Rave's Raves site, that will be more interactive and pleasing to the eye. You'll have to let me know what you think. I'll be blogging from South By Southwest and Twittering as BruceRave. I'm a little late to the Twitter party, but it's about time. Feedback on anything is always welcome so please write. Talk soon, and make sure you continue to...